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  2. I do not permit it. But dammit, people just refuse to obey me. If only Ayn Rand had incorporated jihad into Objectivism maybe some real social progress could be made. edit: I have sorted out sensation/perception/conception to my satisfaction largely with aid of Kelley's Evidence of the Senses. Evidence was originally a doctoral dissertaion not a work for a popular audience so it is seems fairly comprehensive in covering prior arguments of other philosophers rather than exclusively shilling his own pet theory.
  3. Today
  4. Thanks to Eiul and DonAthos for some great replies. You've given me some good stuff to think about. I'll reply when my week quiets down some; I've been--as we all are--pretty busy.
  5. "elevate" "worthy" "held" "need" "subordinate"? My 2 cents: as mentioned before Myth is not philosophy whether it self-professes that it is or not. Myth and storytelling are primarily relevant to the experience of being human, it will not tell you what reality "out there" is or how to understand and apply knowledge, but it has the potential to assist your inward journey and can be of instrumental value insofar (and only insofar) as it can be illuminating to you. If you find that reflecting upon Myth does not serve as useful to you, in the context of your life, in the acts of introspection and reflecting upon who and what you are, your relationship to the universe and others, finding your center and deciding what life means to you, why you choose to live and whether you choose to and how best to live fully, by all means stop investigating Myth completely. Values are contextual and if you personally gain no value from Myth you should not pursue it. IMHO
  6. I assume you are asking if we agree this an accurate characterization of Objectivism I agree with this. A few further caveats I would add: A concept must have an ultimate referent tied to reality i.e. through indirect and/or direct web of reference, something of reality since floating concepts are invalid concepts. So although a concept need not directly refer to a collection of concretes, no matter how wide or remote the abstraction it must ultimately refer through a complex web of direct and indirect reference to reality as perceived by the senses... i.e. at least some concrete. "Strictly pragmatic value" is problematic as it is undefined. Furthermore, it is not necessarily the case that concepts have value since value is contextual. If someone lives in the arctic, knowledge of how to capture a desert mouse for food, and having the concept "desert mouse", are not directly useful to the knower and conceiver in reality. Hypothetically, such a knowledge and concept could become a value IF the person were to find himself starving in a place where desert mice live. So the rejoinder then would be all knowledge is "potentially" useful. This again is not necessary as potentialities are sometimes reduced drastically. Knowing how to exercise one's thumb and index finger to play the piano are not "potentially" useful to a person born with no arms. A counterargument might be, what of the person with no arms is an excellent communicator and could very well teach people how to do the exercises. Potentially such a person, aiming to write such a book for money, could find such a concept valuable. Indeed, however, this depends on volition, this person, to find such knowledge useful must choose to endeavor on that strange path. The vast majority of people without arms simply have not chosen to be (and it would likely not be the optimum choice) in the business of writing books about muscle exercises for piano players. Not all valid concepts are a value to everyone. We cannot know everything, and even if we could, continually gain perfect knowledge (forget nothing we learn and retain it perfectly) such a process requires time, and we have a finite amount of time. So without our value hierarchy, in our finite lifetime, some concepts and knowledge have value, others simply have no value. Why? Because value is contextual and given one has only so much time to learn during life, and one has to choose what one learns, some at the lowest priority must fall in the "there simply is not enough time to get this one" category. No not all concepts must be a value to everyone during their finite lifetimes. What about "pragmatic" value. Can something be "unused" and yet still be a value? I think yes, but here "unused" is subtle, a concept can still have instrumental value even if not "applied" to physical action. If we replace the term "pragmatic" with "objective value" in the sense Rand used, then there seems to be no conflict. Concepts which obviously further one's life and enable one to life as one chooses are useful. It's easy to see how knowledge of how to open a can of soup, trade for food, or plant carrots, furthers life (in context). But what of knowledge and concepts attained purely for contemplation? Does knowledge about the origins of the planet and the evolution of life, the concept of "natural selection" for example, have value to a diamond mine excavator operator? Again, this is contextual. (There is way too much confusion among some who take "objective" to mean something "universal" rather than contextually true) An objective value is any value that in context sustains life long term. Psychological health is a crucial objective value. It is instrumental and indispensable to life. Taking pleasure in some form is a manifestation of satisfying that objective value, a mode of doing so, (which some refer to as optional values, I prefer to refer to optional form of an objective value which leads to less confusion). IF a hike in the countryside, fishing in a pond, eating a well prepared gourmet meal, or sitting by a fire with a book by Charles Darwin, are pleasurable rewards to the excavator operator, which he chooses to engage in during times of rest, he is pursuing objective values in his context. So although the value of reading about natural selection has no direct, choice of action type value to him (he lives on a scale other than millions of years and does not stand to gain from attempting to manage progression of species on that timescale) the knowledge and concepts thereof have objective instrumental value in his context because it keeps him psychologically healthy because he derives enjoyment and pleasure quietly contemplating them.
  7. The Gray "Lady" has published an op-ed to the effect that the government should break up some of our largest tech firms or regulate (i.e., run) them like "natural" monopolies. The piece contains several glaring contradictions, not the least of which is its ridiculous assertion that the tech giants are somehow stifling innovation: It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent.Jonathan Taplin will "begin" a little late for many of his readers, namely, any reading the above on a smartphone, which is one of many recent innovations not to have emerged from Bell Labs. Call me crazy, but dirtying my hands on the old kind of "access point" to (day-old) news strikes me as a step backward. And excuse me for pointing out that it isn't the fault of Apple (Oops! There's another "access point!") et al. that newspapers either find new channels of distribution unacceptable or haven't yet found a better way to make money. Throughout history, genuine improvements to our standard of living have caught the unprepared off-guard or killed off entire industries premised on an old, outmoded way of doing things. Taplin's solution, by the way, would effectively reduce the two (major) "access points" to one, the government. No thanks. That said, Taplin does raise a legitimate issue, although it has nothing to do with the size per se of any company: Some companies, like Google, have undermined protection of intellectual property, and not just copyright. The remedy for this problem is governmental, but it involves enforcement of intellectual property rights. Amazingly, Taplin, the same man who bemoans the loss of revenue to Old Media, conjures up as part of his solution to this problem, exactly the opposite type of measure: In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.If you're going to deny patent-holders the right to set their own terms, you have no business complaining about revenues lost when copyrights are violated. Furthermore, Taplin makes it seem as if the kind of licensing agreements that lead to start-ups would never occur without government strong-arming. This simply isn't the case as history amply demonstrated long ago in the caseof the now taken-for-granted sewing machine, and has repeatedly, ever since. I could go on and on about how self-contradictory, rights-violating, and antithetical to innovation and prosperity Taplin's proposal is, but I will leave it at that and the following question: If a single, large company (which must obey the law) controlling an industry is so dangerous, how is it an improvement for another large entity (which, because it must enforce the law, can be said to be above the law) to control that industry and all others? It is revealing that the same man who insults our intelligence with such a proposal speaks so enthusiastically of "force" regarding Facebook, Apple, or Google. -- CAV Link to Original
  8. First, I believe the author of Corruption is a man, not a woman. I think the problem of universals is an epistemological issue, so I agree with Ryan. Rand had something similar in its place, calling it entities (as Eiuol mentioned), but entities, to me, is so abstract a term that it can only be used to merely differentiate some terms from other terms with similar meanings, and that's not a very substantial addition to epistemology. The reason existence also doesn't solve the problem of universals is that existence is singular and universals is plural, which is a more important distinctions than 'entities.' Aristotle was directed toward existence and yet he set up the problem of universals by his essentialist philosophy. Since many non-mystic philosophers fail to understand essences (as conceptual things in themselves we hold in our consciousness), they continue to claim that there is the problem of universals. Of course, if you reject Aristotle's essences and Kantian categories, you have a problem with universals. Oh, there is someone else you need to fear on this - the academically accepted Thomas Reid, who differentiated sensation and perception, and yet conflated the latter with conception, calling it illusionary (he didn't believe centaurs were ideas). Reid, who called himself a 'direct realist' and who refuted, in Schopenhauer's words, Locke, was praised by Kant before being completely annihilated by him (of course, thus making him into such an important academic figure of 'direct realism' in the history of philosophy). Hence we need to fear those people like Reid who sacrifice their entire life, from their own naivete, for a straw-man, so future disintegrators could say they 'disproved' direct realism. In this regard, Reid is the same as Rousseau, another idiot whom disintegrators praise before placing all the influence on fascism on him. Insanity, yes, and also chaos, but this is known as progress in philosophy, didn't you know? This may be problematic still if you allow others like Thomas Reid to interpret that because there is a conflation of concepts and percepts in some points of the conceptual continuum then perception must be epistemologically purified into sensation (a darling of Kantians and positivists like Wittgenstein). Hence Rand is rejected by academia as not important.
  9. No, concepts are open-ended and can refer to a potentially indefinitely large quantity of referents, existing in the past the present and the future, near at hand or far away. Nor do concepts need refer to concretes; concepts can be the units of other concepts.
  10. In Philosophy: Who Needs It, Miss Rand writes: The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power. Is it philosophy or myth from which such power is derived? While story often proceed explanation, causal relationship only exist between an entity and its actions. To elevate myth as a subject worthy of study, what does it need be held subordinate to, or what need be held subordinate to it?
  11. My Protestant upbringing had surreptitiously provided a source of Greek Mythology. An implicit line of demarcation quickly developed into the understanding that rendering unto Caesar is applicable—when in Rome. The shield of literality has to indeed be lowered in order to cross the metaphoric bridge into the arena of mythos. My mother, God rest her soul, invoked the aphorism that you can't believe everything you see on television so often it is only under the guise of entertainment that it is permitted passage. Even this, however, does not ensure 100% filtration. Taking one concrete example provided in the first episode, he holds akin the process of birth as a type of heroic journey, passing from the subconscious emersion in the embryonic fluid to the conscious experience in air and on land as a carte blanch association of the subconscious with water, esp. deep waters, as a typical archetype correlation. While it makes an interesting allegorical example, it doesn't quite cut muster as necessarily being "some [psychological] element of truth, some actual, if profoundly elusive, aspect of man's existence."
  12. I’m relating Sense of Life to Campbell’s first function of myth. This connection only goes so far, however. Objectivism has little to do with a “sense of awe before the great mystery of being.” Particularly the mystery part. But Campbell says that’s what myths elicit, and this gives them great power.
  13. Yesterday
  14. Take everything literally and surely it will not help. Take some of it literally some of it metaphorically while politely and judiciously ignoring some of it and you will pleasantly get value from it (imho).
  15. This was a helpful analogy. You had gone on to say: It is the interest that drives the investigation. The PBS series was in the mailbox. Next, to see if it aides or serves as an impediment in the investigation.
  16. Dunno, I don't know what "strictly pragmatic" means here. All concepts are useful, but aren't -only- measured by their utility.
  17. Are you correlating between Rand's sense of life and Campbell's references to the masters of spiritual breath; the sensitive, creative, living minds? As it reads, it is only discovered by accident of experience and the sign symbols of a living myth. As such, Campbell's comes across as: some do, some don't.
  18. does everyone here agree with this too?
  19. The US federal government isn't operating under the assumption that taxation is voluntary.
  20. I assume this isn't a specifically Objectivist symbol. The firebird/pheonix is a symbol of rebirth.
  21. The scientists-on-Mars illustration is also incorrect because it reduces the categories to experience when they are also conditions for scientific knowledge, which is based on experience. Building on the discussions of this thread, I would like to give three arguments to clarify further my points: Randians and Kantians are unable to understand each other's positions while their levels span the following: Transcendent reality: noumenon Phenomena, sense data Transcendental ideas of Kant Transcendental reality of Rand Positions of their philosophies complement each other in the following way: Noumenon is missing in Rand Phenomenon is included in both Concepts condition phenomena (internalism) Transcendental reality is missing in Kant (externalism) The combination of their positions becomes a condition for a new philosophy like this: Nonexistence, from which matter differentiates Material particles Internal concepts External Existence as a metaconcept, which pre-conceptually conditions internal concepts An important provision of studying these arguments is to remain neutral toward both philosophies.
  22. I really should've elaborated a bit more. Sorry about that. There is one and only one "rational" method of thinking. Whatever conclusions you reach by that method, regardless of whatever evidence is at your personal disposal, are rational; whatever you conclude for any other reason is irrational. I use "conclusion" here with a special emphasis on commitment. There's nothing irrational about the guess-and-check method unless it becomes guess-and-cling-to-forevermore. The number of alternative ways someone could arrive at their beliefs (I.e. the number of possible forms of irrationality) is unlimited. They could go by the Bible. They could go by their elders' beliefs or The Party's beliefs or they could go by their negations. They could go by whatever undigested impressions they take from whatever random experiences. They could go by the stars or the weather or the behavior of birds or something they once saw in a bad acid trip. There is an infinity of wrong options. If your only complaint is the way we1 (O'ists) lump all "irrational philosophies" into a single bucket - we1 do that because Objectivism is the only philosophical system that fits with "reason" from top to bottom (in essence and in sum if not in every microscopic detail). We1 can rationally demonstrate that this is true and that it is (again, demonstrably) the single most important factor in the quality of every single one of our1 lives. It's a very real difference which we1 ought to take very seriously. If you have some particular philosophy in mind - name it! I'm far too familiar with the various tribes of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Wicca, Satanism (Theistic and LaVeyan), a handful of pagan pantheons, the ritualistic methods of Aleister Crowley and the Indian death cult of which Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was such a good caricature. I did some ideological scavenging before I found Objectivism and most of it is still there, today, wasting some irretrievable portion of my brain. I'd love to put it to some use by explaining to you what's wrong with any particular one but you have to pick one. I will not run through them all, individually, just for your amusement. If you'd be a bit more specific I'd be happy to discuss it (whatever it is). If not then have some music, anyway. It's good for the soul. Footnote 1: I'd like to apologize for my somewhat cavalier use of "we", in that sentence, but if you consider yourself an Objectivist and also believe that reason is either useless or meaningless then I simply don't take any account of you. Life is too short, you know?
  23. Last week
  24. From the article. But this is basically what philosophy of mind a information needs to be a significant field of philosophical study. Among our mundane and technical concepts, information is currently not only one of the most important and widely used, but also one of the least understood. We need a philosophy of information. nd language does. He's not wrong, but he's behind the times. Perhaps ethics is a bad field to be in. From my limited experience in upper level academia, the jargon-laden works are in a some humanities like sociology or gender studies. Philosophy isn't doing so bad. On the other hand, cognitive science is my area. I only really deal with people concerned about information, knowledge, and concepts.
  25. Yes. I'll go further to claim Rand discovered the fact of reality that universals are epistemological. So much insanity for so many millennia... even in today's day and age mysticism, intrinsicism, philosophical rationalism are not showing any signs of stopping. Humans don't even need drugs to be whack... it's freaking sad.
  26. The entity itself. That is, any meaning comes from particulars, and exactly those particulars. Any uniting essence is epistemic as far as being a mental construction, classifications of particulars of features that other particulars also have. There is nothing that unites this cat and that cat as the concept 'cat' except my identifying a similarity between them. There is no "perfect" cat either in the sense some features are not shared. This is how I understand Rand as not a nominalist but not like Aristotle either. I believe nominalists like Wittgenstein deny that perception is direct or at least would argue for some subjective notion of perspective.
  27. The idea of Jo and other mythical thinkers is not a sort of dichotomy or division which you point out, but a kind of opposite. The leaf and the branch, or the water and the wave are not the same thing but they are not separate either. Nature could have been and was without you but you cannot be without that of Nature of which you are made. One as an integration not as one and the same.
  28. Just the first function of myth.
  29. Thanks, Harrison. Having taken some computer programing back when the lines of code were still numbered, I gained some insight with what could be done using it by writing a program that emulated many of the responses of the IBM370 mainframe used for the class. One of my classmates commented often how he mistyped his program name while trying to execute it. I saved the 'emulator' under that name. Inevitably, he ran the program, and both he and the teacher where at their wits ends trying to exit from it. I don't think it is a need for a "philosophy of information". I think just having a sound rational approach can be applicable for a great many things. I printed out the 'emulator' program and turned it in as a bonus along with the 'euchre' program I wrote for the final 'exam'.
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