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  1. A good starting point would be OPAR ch. 1, which says “Science is systematic knowledge gained by the use of reason based on observation.” Science thus includes “specialized science” and philosophy. It differs from mere observation, which is not systematic. It differs from religion and emotion, which are not based on reason or observation. Philosophy (actual philosophy, not purported philosophy) is a science: again, OPAR ch. 1 “philosophy is a system of ideas. By its nature as an integrating science…”, Peikoff in “The analytic-synthetic dichotomy”: “Epistemology, the theory of knowledge, the science that defines the rules by which man is to acquire knowledge of facts…”. Rand says (“Philosophy: who needs it?”) that “Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man’s relationship to existence. As against the special sciences, which deal only with particular aspects, philosophy deals with those aspects of the universe which pertain to everything that exists. In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible”. In the broader context, “science” refers to systematic knowledge gained by the use of reason based on observation, but in the narrower context where philosophy is distinguished, we would contrast philosophy and special sciences. In the appendix to ITOE, “Philosophic vs. Scientific issues”, Rand begins by noting “Philosophy by its nature has to be based only on that which is available to the knowledge of any man with a normal mental equipment. Philosophy is not dependent on the discoveries of science; the reverse is true”. Philosophy is not “the art of just making crap up”. In this context (which presupposes the distinction between science and philosophy), the simple term “science” is used where elsewhere “special science” might be used. This second sense of “science” as special science, specialized knowledge, is what is ordinarily called “science” especially by people who haven’t read OPAR and ITOE. Philosophy is science, in the broader sense, but not in the narrower sense. “Evidence” is not, as far as I know, defined in Objectivism, but observation of how the word is used shows that it refers to knowledge in relation to a proposition – a fact supports a proposition, or it contradicts a proposition. A bit of knowledge can depend heavily on an immediate observation – “I just saw an eagle!” – or it can depend heavily on applying knowledge to previously gained knowledge (insert your favorite mathematical proof here). When people speak of “empirical evidence”, they mean knowledge that depends heavily on immediate observation. “Empirical evidence” brings us back to the axiomatic, because the distance from the axiomatic to the conclusion is shortened. All knowledge rests on observation, but some knowledge is separated by quite a distance from observation. It is true that some people treat philosophy as non-empirical, which allows patent nonsense to be promulgated as “philosophy”. You have to consider the concept “evidence” from two perspectives as well, depending on whether it has been evaluated. People often look at the observation as being the “evidence”, in which case since you can’t deny the axiomatic, you end up with a very goofy notion of “balancing” evidence, and seeing truth as scalar. Which, b.t.w., is poppycock. This notion that evidence is the raw observation is wrong. An observation has to be logically evaluated and integrated with all of your knowledge, before it becomes “evidence” for or against anything. “Uncontrolled observations” then are not evidence, because there has been no validation of the relation between the observation and the proposition that the observation stands in a supposed evidentiary relation to. How does that observation integrate with other observations (all other observations, not just the ones of interest to the advocate of the position)? The specific form of stupidity that you’ve identified is failing to consider alternative. There are alternative propositions that are consistent with the observation, and those alternatives are arbitrarily rejected. That means that the resulting emotion of “certainty” is achieved at the expense of acquiring knowledge.
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  2. Is this thread a joke? I don't think I've ever seen such a messy hodpodge of personal misunderstandings, clunky symbolism, and arbitrary assertions cobbled together to posture as a "critique".
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  3. Psychology used as a common noun usually refers to the totality of our thoughts. The things that happen in our (according to Oism individual) consciousnesses. So, when I read that something is part of "human psychology" (singular, no less, not "human psychologies"), the only way that makes sense to me is by assuming some kind of collective consciousness. There would be no other way for 7 billiion individuals to have the same set of thoughts, except if they share a consciousness. We don't share a psychology. We share a biology, and we develop our own psychologies. Some, more rational than others. And we certainly choose our own values, we don't have any values that came with the frame. So attributing the irrational valuing of scarcity that some humans have, and marketers like to take advantage of, to human nature, is absurd. It's not human nature to be irrational. You choose it.
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  4. The way I see it, the key phrase is "the harder their work and the less their gain, the more submissive the fiber of their spirit". The passage you quoted is comparing and contrasting primitive totalitarianism, the kind that controls peasants, with more modern totalitarianism, the kind that attempts to control factory workers, and observing that the former kind of tyrant had an easier go at it, whereas the latter kind has to resort to expropriating factories in order to keep the people under his thumb. She is saying that although the modern dictators act as though they just want to collect the fruits of industrialization's labor, deep down psychologically they're motivated by fear of those factories' power: the power to enable free-thinking men when unhindered by the state. A farmer in a primitive society isn't as likely to rebel against tyranny since it's so easy for the primitive tyrant to expropriate more and more from him (or just kill him). If you're the farmer in that situation, it's "rational" to submit, because otherwise you could lose your harvest and/or your life. On the other hand, the factory worker uses his mind more than the primitive farmer, needs to THINK more to do his job (you know, assuming his job involves technical expertise and not just working the assembly line), and, in a free economy, it provides him a higher standard of living than the primitive farmer (he doesn't have to worry about going hungry because of a failed harvest as market speculators will warn him through a gradual hike in food prices, giving him more time to plan for it by cutting other spending/dipping into his savings). He's more individualistic and not as easily pushed around, so long as the economy remains free. The modern tyrant needs to seize factories, impose price controls, etc., so that our factory worker has to work harder for a lower standard of living, all the while knowing that if he speaks out against the state it means the loss of his job (or worse). The modern tyrant has to "work" harder to keep people in line. That some have claimed that "civilized men are docile and tame" shows how ignorant people are of how much civilization we've actually lost, even in relatively free countries like the U.S. Yes, in many ways we've gained tremendous advancements in civilization in terms of technology and social progress, but we've also gone backwards when it comes to government regulation of the economy. The latter is important as it has resulted in, to some extent, people having to work harder for not as high standards of living. Oh yes, overall, standards of living have gone up for everyone in spite of more regulation (don't let those pounding the drum on income inequality fool you), but who knows how much more wonderful things would be now had the past century gone another way? If modern "civilized" people (especially Americans) act docile and tame, it's because they observe that they don't have it so bad, and government regulations only affect rich people anyway, they think, so what's there to rebel against? If they appear softer, it's because the insidiousness of a mixed economy has made it relatively easy for the government to conceal its role in making things a little more miserable than they otherwise would be, and so people have been lulled into the false belief that government controls are mostly benign, "for our own good", etc. If you ask, "But what about our more individualistic forebears? Why couldn't they stop this massive increase in the growth of government controls?" 1) Because it wasn't massive for them for the most part, it was gradual over years and decades. 2) To the extent that they rebelled against radical new controls (the income tax, the New Deal, etc.), they lacked the right ideas to consistently oppose them, so they gave in and compromised needlessly.
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  5. The new year often brings people into my office who tell me that they feel like they’re never going to get “caught up.” They’re always worrying about how (and when) they’re going to achieve all the goals they’ve set for themselves. When it comes to goal setting, it makes sense to set general and attainable objectives such as being efficient, having clear priorities and being timely. Always striving to “catch up” sounds like preparing for a life where there’s no longer any forward motion. Catch up to what? Do we really want to have nothing to do, nothing to think about, and nothing to make time for? It might seem nice on the surface, but it sounds to me like the gateway to monumental boredom. Beware of the tempting (but false) alternative that, “If I stop trying to catch up, I’ll let everything go and become irresponsible.” Cognitive psychotherapists would call this “all or nothing” thinking. You don’t HAVE to choose between being a disorganized slob and a compulsive, anxiety-ridden maniac. It reminds me of a little dog I used to have who constantly chased his tail. He never caught it, but he apparently clung to a vague optimism that he eventually would. The key is to focus on what you can realistically accomplish today. By refusing to labor under the delusion that you’ll “finally” be caught up, you’ll get the same things done – minus all the nervous baggage. Imagine driving on a busy road with no traffic jam, but still lots of cars. You hurriedly weave around every possible car, cursing the slower drivers — and then, there you are at the next red light, sitting right next to those very same drivers. You achieved nothing but stress for all your rage and anxiety. Those unrealistic compulsions can arise from the inability to live in the moment. When I suggest to people that they reduce their stress by spending more time living in (and enjoying) the moment, their reaction is often, “I can’t do that. I’ll be disorganized! I’ll get behind!” Wrong. People often tell me they’re amazed that I get all the things done with my full-time practice, daily updates to my website, writing several columns and my other publications — while still finding time to walk on the beach. There’s no mystery: I simply MAKE the time. There’s nothing wrong with refueling your mind in whatever way suits you. If that seems like “wasting time” or “taking time away” from whatever, then you’re setting yourself up for unnecessary stress. You’ll be a slave to your responsibilities instead of treating them as part of what you want to have in order to enjoy your life. Living IN the moment is not the same as living FOR the moment. How sad to drift irresponsibly through life, moment to moment, disregarding anything beyond today or tomorrow, with the only clear plan being to “hope for the best.” The obvious and much more reasonable alternative is to plan long-range, while still making time to experience the moment. You’re not obligated to choose one or the other. In fact, they work best together! The more you enjoy living in the moment, the more incentive you’ll have to be responsible; to pay your bills, live within your means and honor your commitments. I have an old friend who is a very high-level event planner. When he finally takes a few days off to visit the beach, all he thinks about is what he has to do back at work. While dining in a fine restaurant, strolling the boardwalk or shopping the outlets, he’s constantly distracted and preoccupied as he anxiously maps out his “getaway” to wherever he has to go next. I’ve never once seen him unwind and quietly enjoy the moment. So make every minute count, whether you’re working, playing or relaxing. Instead of always trying to “catch up,” catch on – and live a little. Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1 The post You’ll Never “Catch Up” (DE Coast Press) appeared first on Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D. | Living Resources Center. View the full article @ www.DrHurd.com
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  6. What does that have to do with anything? It is relevant though it is a different topic. It is relevant because it is about epistemological approach: i.e. your approach to the topic and to reading and understanding the text. If you read Rand you'll see her speak of man/humans as being rational animals. Fine; but, she also thinks that is a defining factor. So, prima facie, one could assume she is saying that non-rational humans (or at least lunatics) are not human. In fact, why would one not read this as an obvious implication? Similarly, you interpret Rand as saying that there must be multiple actual existing concretes in order to come up with a concept. In fact, a concept is like a set in math. Of course the crucial reason we have the notion of sets is to think about multi-member sets, and then about intersections etc. This does not preclude empty sets or sets with 1 member. It does not preclude sets that start out with 10 members and then they all die out and we can still think of the set. We can come up with a concept even though there are zero existents in that concept; but, we would never be doing this whole process if the classification of various entities into some organized manner was not a crucial human need.
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  7. Here is a somewhat different tack on critiquing the offered critique (refering to objCrit2.pdf). The paper lists no author. There is no bibliographic list of works cited. Abstract starts out "We ..." but the first paragraph is "I ...". Abstract makes a claim about finding internal inconsistency in Rand's epistemology, but then the first thing the author does is substitute his own definitions for Rand's terms in the name of "neutrality", immediately nullifying the entire point of the paper. The abstract is in error where it claims concepts must subsume two entities, Rand's definition is "two or more units". Rejecting the requirement that every concept subsume two or more entities is irrelevant in relation to Rand's system, doing neither good nor harm. That's my superficial and cursory take from a brief page-through and reading of the first page. However, ambition is a good thing and I appreciate SpookyKitty's effort in making a pdf of his article.
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  8. SK: Your perception is not wrong. What you see is a very slightly curved surface from a relatively small height on an enormous sphere which is reality. You see exactly what it is. Your judgement is wrong and whether or not your claim that judgement is based on perception alone is true, judgement is not perception and the fact that your judgement is wrong does not make your perception wrong.
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  9. I'm not sure if this has already been established in this thread, but proper names are not concepts with a single unit. They name, and thus mentally differentiate, a particular unit within a particular class of units. There's no abstracting going on. Just isolating. Mars is a proper name for a planet. It is a unit of the concept planet. By giving it a unique name we can more easily isolate it from every other planet in the known universe and remember its measurable attributes like redness. However, Mars isn't the only red planet in the universe, so we also need to remember that it's the red planet fourth closest to our Sun, which, by the way, is another proper name--for a unit subsumed under the concept star.
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  10. This whole thread is about imaginary creatures that fly around inside our heads and breathe statements.
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  11. What do you mean by this, Eiuol? It seems like you're saying MisterSwig ought not participate in this conversation because you and he disagree with respect to some more fundamental matter. Perhaps in the same way that someone who doesn't believe in angels isn't welcome in the thread devoted to discovering how many of 'em can Lindy hop on the head of a pin. But I thought what MisterSwig said about dragons was sensible. (Just like I think the person in the angels thread who says, "angels don't exist" is right, even if no one else in the thread appreciates the contribution, because they don't think it helps them answer their question.)
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  12. From your paper (blue is mine): "Abstract: We show that Rand’s theory of concept formation, more specifically, the requirement that every concept subsume at least two entities..." That requirement is not a part of Ayn Rand's theory of concept formation. Rand endorses metaphysical pluralism and never legislates entities as the only kind of existent which can serve as a unit. Because the argumentative vehicle for your criticism of Objectivism is (entirely) the rejection of this requirement you fundamentally miss the mark. "Definition 1. A set of statements Σ is philosophically neutral with respect to some set of philosophical positions Π if and only if all of the statements in Σ are logically independent..." If indeed "the truth is the whole" then logical independence makes since only as a concept referring to a subject's lack of knowledge (like 'randomness'). This means then that only when you can not identify, say, the logical dependence of higher-abstractions upon more primitive ones is it possible to be philosophically neutral towards those more complex abstractions. Interesting. "Both true and false statements are representations of reality." One wonders at the standard of appeal by which we come to distinguish truth and falsity. "If subjects represent things, then predicates represent concepts." Your entire section pertaining to "Definition 3." is very confused. It is merely because the three statements you make use of in turn make use of proper nouns (which can not represent concepts) as subjects that you feel licensed to regard subjects as necessarily non-representative of concepts. Subjects are things. Predicates are composed of concepts. "Definition 4. A concept is a mental phenomenon that which, given a subject, outputs a statement about the subject." This definition, if held also as an operational definition and in conjunction with your "Definition 2.", leads to the impossibility of the beginning of concept-formation; one would require the constituent concepts of the outputted statement before one could have the concept which outputs that statement. Or maybe you think concepts output things to and exist apart from knowing subjects. "It is possible to apply the concept “a red planet” to Earth and thereby obtain the false statement, 'The Earth is a red planet'." This whole passage is ridiculously messy and your quotation actually makes pretense to concepts and predicates being identical but a concept is not the kind of thing that can be "said of some subject" unless you consider, per your own phraseology, every phenomenon "a mental phenomenon". "The third is that a concept does not represent anything . . .Instead, a concept is what connects statements to subjects." How is something which represents nothing capable of connecting or "outputting statements" about anything? And moreover how does a concept connect "statements to subjects" if, again by our own definition, a statement is already essentially composed in part by a subject? Perhaps what you meant was to connect statements to subjects which are alien to the ones of the original statement's composition but then again what would your non-representational, non-referential connective tissue even mean? "The role that these axioms serve in the overall analysis is to . . . 3) establish the truth of the conclusion." See: Rationalism. "For example 'red and a planet' and 'not neither red nor a planet' are equivalent predicates because: 'Mars is red and a planet' is true if and only if 'Mars is not neither red nor a planet' is also true, 'Earth is red and a planet' is true if and only if 'Earth is not neither red nor a planet' is true, ... , and so on for every other such statement." Therefore, according to you (in virtue of logical dependency being a bar to neutrality), the determination of any equivalent predicates can not be philosophically neutral and must necessarily be "biasing the investigation beforehand". Also interesting. "Axiom 7. (Axiom of Concept Representation) For all concepts c and all predicates ϕ and all predicates ψ, if ϕ represents c and if ϕ is equivalent to ψ, then ψ also represents c. What the above axiom basically comes down to is that people understand logic. If one understands every statement like 'Mars is red and a planet' then one cannot also fail to understand any logically equivalent statement such as 'Mars is not neither red nor a planet'." Did you forget earlier where you said "Note that the word 'is' is not part of the predicate"? Note that the logical equivalence of these statements depends exclusively on "predicates ϕ and ψ" containing forms of the verb to be. "Since there is an infinite variety of predicates equivalent to each predicate..." Being allowed to say this means rejecting your "Note that..." assertion just quoted above insofar as the very possibility of pairs of equivalent predicates depends precisely on what you've already banished from the predicate. I admit to being bored at this point and have decided to skip to the part of your paper where you supposedly actually talk about Objectivism. " The Objectivist theory of concept formation makes at least the following claims:" Here we go... "Claim 20. For every concept, there are at least two (non-mental) subjects subsumed by the concept." I guess the concept of concept isn't possible in Objectivism. *facepalm* "Claim 21. Existence exists. That is, the concept represented by the predicate 'has existence' exists." First, the theory of concept formation does not claim "existence exists". Second, that is perfectly not what the existence axiom means and your characterization of "has existence" makes pretense to existence as an attribute of things, an assertion which is clearly repudiated in Chapter 6 of ITOE where Rand says, "Existence and identity are not attributes of existents, they are the existents." [emphasis original] "Claim 22. A is A. That is, the concept represented by the predicate 'has identity' exists." See again response to "Claim 21" and substitute "existence exists" with "A is A" and "has existence" with "has identity". "The predicate 'has existence' will be denoted by ex and the predicate 'has identity' will be denoted by id." So we finally get to the part in your paper where you actually deal with Objectivism and you present three claims its theory of concept formation makes - all of them being abjectly wrong and clearly contradicted by primary Oist literature - then finish your "criticism" with three theorems all resting on perfectly inadmissible predications (e.g. "has identity", "has existence"). I don't know what it is you are critiquing (and I'm fairly sure you aren't either) but it isn't Objectivist Epistemology and it definitively isn't definitive.
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  13. Dragon is not an invalid concept. Your definition of it is incorrect. A dragon is a mythological creature often depicted as a large, lizard-like monster that can fly and breathe fire. This concept does have representative units in reality, in fictional books and movies.
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  14. Dadmonson, Persuasion is not an easy task for many of us. In most cases, an individual must come to his/her own senses, and realize that they are an individual. To inform them about Objectivism may not be necessary; it may be best to let people be as they are. I know of people who would be quite naturally inclined to approve of Objectivism, but for the fact that they are weighed down with the conventional challenges of life, and won't take the time to read Ayn Rand. While there are only a few of these people that I know of personally, such people tend to take the necessary actions to achieving their goals and happiness. There is no reason to impress them with any details, when they already follow a rational code of behavior. Generally, I let them know that I support their lifestyle, and I might even ask some question to find out if they've any knowledge of Ayn Rand. Are you sure these things need to be dealt with? In what way? If a greater understanding of history is what you're looking for, there are many books you could read until you become an expert on the subjects. But my experiences with African-Americans is that their metaphysics are firmly rooted in their religious background. Selling Objectivism to such people would be nearly impossible. If you meet anyone openly atheist/agnostic, exudes confidence in their industriousness, and disapproves of the welfare state, you might find an ally regardless as to the person's complexion. Knowledge is power. I hope you find as much knowledge as will inform you about the history of the march to freedom that led to the Declaration of Independence, and the continuing complexity of achieving universal liberty, for your own sake. Don't be disappointed that people resist reason; it's their life. Freeing one's mind is only a start.
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  15. I would say that, to the extent that one intends to live an interesting and fulfilling life, he should develop within himself the soul of an artist. Indulge greedily in works of art, yes — but more broadly, cultivate your personal values (what you like, enjoy, appreciate, etc.), and curate your life in such a way so that your daily existence reflects and embodies that which matters most to you.
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  16. In brief, it's part of human psychology to value things that are scarce. I think a lot of people wouldn't care that much about making the most of their lives if they knew that it went on indefinitely. None of their time would ever be 'wasted' on anything, since they have an infinite supply of time at their disposal. This is not to say this would make them suicidal, since the struggle for survival is not the definition of happiness. Here we are confusing the metaphysical with the psychological. Metaphysicaly, when we fulfill our needs, we are maintaining or improving our capacity to survive and reproduce. But psychologicaly, we are not after either of these, but after pleasure, which is the physiological incentive to pursue those needs in the first place. If we didn't have emotional feedback mechanisms, there would be no reason to survive since emotions are our means of enjoying life. Regarding whether the struggle for survival is necessary for happiness, and whether happiness is defined by the struggle to survive: it's true that every human need has some effect on either survival or reproduction, but not all of them require 'struggle' in order to get fulfilled. Solving the survival problem is the basic precondition of happiness - namely, the security of food, shelter, clothes and financial stability. Many people, especially those in first world countries, are well past this stage. People like that are freed to pursue less urgent needs that are nontheless essential to happiness. Is acquiring friendship, romantic love, making or consuming art, ordering pizza, working on your earth-shattering philosophical system a struggle? Those things might pose different levels of challenge, but it's a pleasurable and fulfilling kind of challenge. The only people to whom survival is a struggle is those who actually need to toil day and night for their basic survival needs. Those people cannot be said to be happy, because their other needs go unfulfilled. Now, about longevity: who wouldn't want that? But people don't want to lenghten their life unconditionaly, they want to do it because it's like extending their stay in Disneyland. Agreed.
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  17. . In May of 1964, Rand wrote a letter to Prof. John O. Nelson at the University of Colorado. The letter includes the following paragraph: “I must mention that Galt’s Gulch is not an organized society, but a private club whose members share the same philosophy. It exemplifies the basic moral principles of social relationships among rational men, the principles on which a proper political system should be built. It does not deal with questions of political organization, with the details of a legal framework needed to establish and maintain a free society open to all, including dissenters. It does not deal with specifically political principles, only with their moral base. (I indicate that the proper political framework is to be found in the Constitution, with its contradictions removed.)” Letters of Ayn Rand, Michael Berliner, editor (1995, 626)
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  18. I agree completely with this. Aesthetics is a much more fundamental branch of philosophy than it normally gets credit for. I think hierarchically it should follow directly from metaphysics, and actually has implications in epistemology and ethics. In the same sense that everyone has to be a philosopher to some extent, since man by nature must be guided by a comprehensive view of life, do you think in a sense everyone has to be an artist to some extent, since aesthetic principles also perform a necessary function in the guidance of life (when it comes to metaphysical value judgments and sense of life)?
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  19. Perhaps Trump will make that effort easier over the next few years. He'll give ARI plenty of opportunities to oppose him, I'm sure, so hopefully they'll find a way to present that in a compelling way -- battles over immigration, religious liberty and free speech, for instance, could appeal to the left. Of course, articles like the Washington Post's aren't a great start, and I have to hope that Objectivists won't ally themselves with the Trump administration. He's almost a parody of what most people already assume Objectivism to be about; we have to work to fight that image.
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  20. Over the last few threads in which I've participated substantially (here, here, and here), I've been pushed to look more and more into a conception of ethics that I've been developing for quite some time. A conception I've temporarily labelled as "life-as-experience," which I contrast with the "life-as-survival" view I attribute to David Kelley1, among others -- where "life-as" refers to my understanding of what "life" in "life as the standard of value" means. I hold that Kelley, et al., contend that Rand truly means that survival is the standard of value; whereas I think this fails to express Rand's full meaning, and moreover fails to express the truth of ethics, which is that it is not survival alone which is the standard of value, but "life as it is experienced." By "experience," I primarily mean as it is characterized by pleasures and pains. I'm not yet ready to try to describe this idea in full. I have not yet settled on a terminology. I haven't satisfied myself that I even understand what I'm driving at, in totality, let alone thought the whole thing through in all of its application. I don't know whether I will finally accept this burgeoning concept or modify it substantially or discard it altogether. I don't know whether I will come to find that it still fits with Rand's ethics (though so far I think this is the case), or whether it will finally constitute a breach with Objectivism and the emergence of some new philosophy more reflective of reality. This thread, then, is an attempt to try to "think out loud" about some of these issues -- it is an "exploration," rather than an argument (though arguments for or against my position are welcome in response). Specifically, I would like to explore the relationship between pleasure and value. It is my current position that there is a a deep and abiding relationship between the two. One that is under-realized and consequently underappreciated, or even absent from the stated ethical reasoning of other Objectivists. (I have even seen some Objectivists display what I would call hostility, or suspicion at the least, against the pursuit of pleasure.2 I believe that this sort of attitude is deeply misplaced.) One of the key confusions that often plagues this sort of topic, I find, is that "pleasure" can refer to a variety of experiences. Eventually I mean to speak to all that sort of thing "pleasure" represents, in totality, but first and foremost we should consider pleasure in its most basic sense: a positive physical sensation. This is the pleasure of the taste of good food, or the soft caress of satin sheets, or the cooling of the skin from a breeze on a hot day, or the whole-body lightning of orgasm. In the first place, we should wonder whether there is any relationship at all between such pleasure and value. Value is, as always, "that which one acts to gain and/or keep," but it is more to the point to ask whether there is any relationship between pleasure and that which a rational man values: value consonant with Rand's conception of ethics, holding "life as the standard of value." I say that there is. Moreover that Rand was aware of this, describing this relationship thusly (in "The Objectivist Ethics"): Consider first that this observation implies that it is pleasure (i.e. physical pleasure) which allows a man to have some conception -- any conception at all -- of "the good." It is through the experience of such pleasure that teaches man to discern good from evil (which finds its corresponding analogue in physical pain). Now, this cannot be the end point of ethics. Moreover, the standard Rand refers to in that final sentence (His life.) is not describing the full standard of the Objectivist Ethics, where "life is the standard of value." If it were, then ethics would be as simple as equating pleasure to good and pain to evil: Objectivism would be hedonistic. What we come to learn, however, is that some things our "natural standard" pronounces good (which is to say, that which we find physically pleasurable of our nature) will lead, in time, to pain and death. Even that which is very pleasurable, should it ultimately lead to pain and death, cannot be "the good," then, as we come to understand it conceptually, abstracting away from our experience of temporary, momentary pleasures -- which, remember, is our source of the very concept of "the good" in the first place. How would this operate in a person? Rand describes the experience of pleasure/pain as the "first step in the realm of evaluation." Well, what are the subsequent steps? And where do they lead? Consider a child. Or a baby. There are pleasure and pain for the baby ("innate," as Rand has it), and though the baby has no conceptual understanding of it initially, what these sensations communicate are the launch points for "good" and "evil." Pleasure is the good, it is what is desired, it is what is wanted, it is what is valued. And pain is not simply the lack of such pleasure, or a "neutral" state, but it is a negative analogue to pleasure. (Pain is no less "real" for that, and matters just as much as any other fact... despite any admirable sense of life which may eventually inspire a man to act as though some pain is "less important" than a corresponding pleasure). Pain is thus the evil, it is what is shunned, what is avoided, and I believe it sensible to say that it is disvalued in consequence. The baby grows and matures. With experience and development comes the understanding that certain things cause pleasure and others cause pain. Concrete values follow suit, as the baby comes to value those things that bring pleasure and disvalue those that bring pain. Such simple associations develop and grow into childhood and can persist well beyond, into adolescence or even adulthood. The young child will, more than likely, not wish to go to the dentist. The young child sees no good in it, whatever lecture he hears, because for him the dentist is simply a bringer of pain. The young child wishes instead to eat ice cream, morning, noon and night. Ice cream is pleasurable, and the young child cannot conceive of even the mid-range consequences of overeating ice cream, let alone the long-term effects of habitual poor eating. Those long-term effects have no reality whatever to him. But as the child grows, and acquires perspective (and continues to gain experience, and continues to develop mentally), he may come to see the sense in putting down the ice cream from time to time and going to the dentist. He understands that his forbearance from eating ice cream comes at the cost of some "good" now (i.e. pleasure), but will help him to avoid even greater "evils" (pains) to come. So, too, the dentist, such that eventually the mild pain of a regular cleaning may be borne for the sake of avoiding worse pains later, or to continue to enjoy the pleasures that having healthy teeth affords. It may be, in time, that the child can pronounce going to the dentist as "good" and eating too much ice cream as "evil" (though "bad" is more likely, but amounts to the same) -- just as an adult might -- because he finally and thoroughly understands the actual relationship these activities have with pleasure and pain, long-term. As I'm describing it, it is not that man acquires some perspective which completely divorces pleasure from "the good" (or pain from evil), but that he comes to understand that the simple equation of pleasure to good (which is natural, "innate") will not serve him long-term, because it will lead to far more pain than pleasure. If he would like to have more pleasures as he lives, and fewer pains, then he must learn to value accordingly. These are the "next steps" of evaluation. But is it the last step? Is it ever the case that good and evil stand free and clear from pleasure and pain? (For instance, does the final conception of "life as the standard of value" have anything at all to do with pleasure and pain, apart from heritage? Or are they utterly separate by that point, such that one may evaluate "good," qua the Objectivist Ethics, without ever any need to consider such pleasures or pains, or even reference them?) I will most likely approach this question more substantively in a later post, but for now, let me introduce another quote from Rand (per the Lexicon, from "Our Cultural Value-Deprivation" in The Objectivist, 4/66; and please note Rand's use of the term "experience" here, which obviously predates my own adoption of the term to express my meaning, but was wholly independent of it, as I was completely unaware of this quote at the time): I am open to the interpretation of other intelligent, rational minds (as I always strive to be), but this suggests to me that the relationship between pleasure and "the good," or value more generally, is not just that pleasure provides some initial spark for evaluation, before they go their separate ways... but that there is an ongoing, vital relationship between them. I would go so far as to say that a life without pleasure (again: this is "just" physical pleasure in my current usage, though I mean to argue that there is also a vital relationship between such physical pleasures and those of the corresponding cognitive/emotional/spiritual kind -- including happiness) is not worth living. The consequence of a life filled with pain is something else entirely, and far, far worse. _____________________________________ 1) Kelley's written position is a convenient way to address what I consider to be a widespread understanding (or misunderstanding) of the Objectivist Ethics, where he's written (in The Logical Structure of Objectivism): 2) The pursuit of pleasure can sometimes be misread as "hedonism," but these two things are not -- or need not necessarily be, at least -- the same thing. Hedonism is, as Rand writes, "the doctrine which holds that the good is whatever gives you pleasure and, therefore, pleasure is the standard of morality." Yet it is possible to reject the idea that "the good is whatever gives you pleasure" and that "pleasure is the standard of morality," while still wanting to experience some particular pleasure consonant with life, with man's nature, and with a rational standard of morality. Pursuing such a pleasure, even for the sake of that pleasure alone, is not "hedonistic" but life-affirming.
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  21. I was going to add something like this too. Germany (going back to at least Bismark and Kaiser Wilhelm II) was anything but a primitive or uneducated society. They were leaders in science, mathematics, industry, engineering, music, the arts, etc. But they did place the State (as personified by the leader) above everything.
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  22. Whatever it is, it's certainly not a proof that knowledge is impossible, nor is it intended to be. This is how analytic philosophy is done. One proposes the necessary and sufficient conditions for a certain thing, and then others try to find counterexamples. These counterexamples are then used to discover new conditions (or to jettison wrong ones) and the concept becomes further and further refined. The JTB analysis is especially interesting and it led to the development of the causal theory of knowledge which I think is on the right track. However, some philosopher (I forget who) claimed to have proven that it is always possible to come up with Gettier cases regardless of the conditions for justification. This has led some other philosophers to propose that knowledge is not a "state" of consciousness at all, but something else entirely. EDIT: Here's a video:
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  23. Heh, as if Hurd were a "legitimate" commentator. Hurd is talking about accusations of racism, without saying who said Trump is a racist -because- of this incident. Apparently no one worth mentioning. "If you doubt what I’m saying, imagine the ensuing hysteria bordering on martial law if a member of the Republican Party had called Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (had she won) an “illegitimate” occupant of the White House. " Lol. Trump did that. He said that Obama wasn't born in the US, therefore is an illegitimate president. Nowhere near martial law - just Trump coming across as an idiot.
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  24. And I was hoping that they might make sense in German! Karl Popper in his book The Open Society and it's Enemies give a pretty strong tongue lashing to German philosophers and the German language in general. Despite Popper's faults, he can at least be understood.
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  25. More like you perceive the world as what you call flat. But that's just the -way- it looks in the conditions given. It's "supposed" to look that way, so it isn't "wrong". To then claim Earth is geometrically flat is a judgment. Perception does not produce judgments or claims like that.
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  26. Assuming that a concept must have multiple actual concrete entities comes from reading the text and forgetting the "why". This is similar to taking a definition and reasoning from a definition. (A famous example that probably has a 100-post thread on the forum goes something like this: Humans are rational animals; therefore lunatics and not human!)
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  27. What "larger reason" can there be other than "to flourish in life and be happy"? As for WHAT you need to do to achieve it that is not a simple matter. The end goal requires achievement of other goals. Goals purposes and actions are thus part of a hierarchy. You should gather straw to make a straw hat if you want to make a scarecrow.. if you want to scare crows from your corn.. if you want to grow and sell corn. In reality BOTH. The little ones must at least not contradict and ideally support each larger one in the hierarchy. This is odd. If you mean to say one should not act absent a purpose for action... or one should not act aimlessly and randomly.. well sure that is true. However, purpose and action are not the same things metaphysically. You act ... whether you act based on a purpose is within your volitional control... WHAT you choose as your purpose is also within your control, as WHAT ACTIONS you follow in pursuit of the purpose of those actions is also in your control. They simply are separate things. IF you exercise deliberate control over your actions (which I hope most humans do) then you can act in accord with your reasons for acting but you metaphysically have the choice to act without reason or purpose. You have the choice to think or not. You also have the choice to act in accord with thinking or, choosing to abstain from thinking you can choose to act in the absence of reason.
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  28. See this! http://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume7/v7i3/angels-7-3.htm
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  29. The nicest way to put this is that this topic is out of your league. Referents are things in reality, and that's a main interest - concepts and referents. A drawing or description of a dragon is not a dragon in reality, they're (supposed to be) creatures, not abstractions like math theorems. This goes back to your form of dualism no one else here thinks makes sense.
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  30. It has everything to do with this post if you believe that language, math, logic and physics are about the world and the universe that we live in and not just a nominalist game of symbol manipulation that may or may not end up having some meaningfulness or "truth-value" with regards to the real world. From a previous post of yours: "Imagine that the world was such that everything lay in the same plane. Nothing would be above anything else, but that does not mean that the concept of "aboveness" would be meaningless." In this imagined 2-d world of yours (see Flatland, which is probably what Plasmatic was thinking about) you axiomistized a world where "aboveness" would in fact be be meaningless. But when Plasmatic pointed this out, your response was to arbitrarily throw in another axiom that space would be 3-d - thus preserving "aboveness". Quote: "As for the second part, just because everything happens to lie in a 2d plane, does not mean that space is not 3-dimensional, just that everything happens to lie in some 2d plane of a 3d space." This type of thinking is the reason why I posted the Bertrand Russell quote regarding inconsistent logical systems. In such systems, you can provide a proof for any theorem. Because inconsistent systems have no limits, they also have no value with regards to reality. Regarding String Theory and extra-dimensional hyperspaces, this represents the blurring of the line between mathematics and physics (but that's another post). But related to this, you asked me if I doubted mathematics: "Your mistrust and lack of understanding of logic is your own. That an argument is formalized is not a point against it. Do you seriously doubt mathematics, or something?" Your problem is that you are unknowingly blurring the line between three different domains: mathematics, formal logic and language - all of which, to be useful, must have limits. I replied that I do understand the limits of formal systems (such as mechanics used in engineering). Without these limits, these systems would be meaningless. They would be inconsistent and could "prove" anything. We could not tell a right answer from a wrong answer, true from false. Beams may or may not resist loads.... In structural engineering, for example, the "axioms" that is, the abstract generalized understanding of the behavior of beams, columns, and footings, are derived inductively by subjecting different materials (steel, wood, concrete) to tests that measure their capacity to resist such stresses as shear, bending, buckling, modulus of elasticity, etc. These empirically derived properties of the different materials are the limits imposed on our more abstract and mathematized understanding of how beams behave in general i.e. abstractly. From your paper: "Before proceeding, let us explain what is meant here by “axiom” and what role they serve in the overall analysis. An axiom here is simply a common sense, although completely explicit, assumption we must make about concepts. I do not claim that these axioms are self-evident nor that everyone must accept them. Rather, I hold that they are implictly regarded as true by any reasonable person, just as the axioms of arithmetic or geometry are implicitly regarded as true by any reasonable person." This is precisely how not to form "axioms". Axioms are arrived at through induction - that is from concretes to abstractions, and then by further abstracting from abstractions in order to form even more broad generalizations - all via concept formation. But without defined limits imposed by concrete reality, any deductive reasoning from these axioms would result in meaningless statements. This is true for formal logic, mathematics, mechanics and language. Your understanding of how knowledge is acquired is exactly backwards.
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  31. Welcome back. I still use this background from time to time.
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  32. No - concepts need not be true, and not all concepts are valid. A concept doesn't say what is true, rather, its connection to reality determines if it is valid. A theory of truth is needed to evaluate or justify concepts. Verificationsm is about only empirical verifiable statements being cognitively meaningful, so that's different. I think all valid concepts constitute knowledge, though. That is, knowledge need not be true to be valid.
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  33. Well that's the first smart question you've asked in a while. No, concepts themselves are not knowledge and they cannot be considered knowledge, period. By themselves, all they do is generate statements about things. They don't decide whether those statements are true or false. That's the million dollar question.
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  34. Recently there has been some talk on this forum about the ethics of suicide. In my view it is a mistake to argue that suicide is universally right or wrong, moral or immoral. Like all judgments of human behavior, context is critical. With that in mind, perhaps we can focus here on an unusual type of suicider: the captured spy. Sometimes a spy is captured, or about to be captured, by the enemy, and he or she decides to suicide rather than cope with whatever future awaits them. Let's consider a couple specific examples, which I've found on a list at Wikipedia. Meir Max Bineth was an Israeli agent who spied on Egypt in the 1950s. He got caught during a failed operation and was then tortured for months. The Egyptians wanted to put him on trial, but the night before his court date Bineth killed himself in jail. He did not want to give the Egyptians the satisfaction of publicly executing him. I think this is a perfectly justifiable reason to kill oneself. While some might argue that Bineth could have enjoyed a day or two more of imprisoned life, I would counter that such a brief and pointless extension of life might be utterly worthless compared to the final psychological satisfaction in knowing that one's suicide will deprive the enemy of a public victory. Sarah Aaronsohn, a Jew working for the British during World War 1, was part of a large network who spied on the Ottomans in the Middle East. The enemy discovered Aaronsohn and tortured her for days. She refused to reveal any secrets. Her captors then let her return to her house to change clothes. While inside she grabbed a hidden pistol from her bathroom and shot herself in the head. Aaronsohn killed herself rather than suffer more torture and possible betrayal of both her fellow conspirators and their greater cause in pursuit of a Jewish homeland. Not betraying her friends was clearly a more important value than the continued physical and psychological torment that awaited her. Such cases of captured spies killing themselves are perhaps the closest thing we have to a truly moral suicide. They are done with great and serious purpose, which might be condemned but certainly cannot be denied or evaded. The purpose is not merely to escape the pain of torture, but to deprive an enemy of the value which is the spy's own self. By killing themselves, they are maintaining the integrity of their chosen purpose in life, which is to fight the enemy and give them nothing. Spies like Bineth and Aaronsohn probably died with whatever joy they could get from knowing that they remained true to their purpose until the bitter end.
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  35. By rationalism I don't mean deductive logic, though rationalists certainly rely upon deduction to make their key arguments. What I mean is that a rationalistic argument proposes to glean some truth from pure conceptual reasoning, as opposed to making appeals to the facts of reality and working your way from the ground up, inductively. Deduction only works if you logically connect your idea to actual reality, without contradiction. But you don't do that. You won't even connect your idea to a popular idea. Your idea is hopelessly being twisted into mental knots inside your own mind. Nobody, including yourself, has a clear understanding of what you're trying to argue. Whatever meaning there is to find has been thoroughly suffocated by a tangled web of wacky theorems and axioms and claims and definitions. I got you to see a critical error in Claim 20. But that's just the beginning. We could devote another couple pages of this thread to fleshing out what you really mean by concept! I have personally watched a room full of elite Objectivists try to break a young Objectivist intellectual out of the rationalist mindset. It's not a pretty sight, and it takes a brutal effort simply to make a dent in the subject's psychological defense mechanisms. I'll make one more brief attempt to show you that something is very wrong with your definition of concept. Then I'll give it a rest for awhile. Please google "concept definition" and peruse the various popular definitions. You'll notice that the genus is almost universally something like "a general idea" or "an abstract idea." You'll also notice that the differentia commonly makes it clear that the idea is a result of some prior process. Phrases like "derived from" or "formed by" are popular. Yet, not only does your differentia fail to establish that a concept is created, it actually does the opposite. It says that it's in fact the concept which does the creating, or "outputting", of some other thing (a "statement"), like a computer system outputs digital information. Doesn't that strike you as very wrong? If you were serious about getting to the root of this, I think you would go to the OED and research the historical development of the word concept. And maybe write a ten-page philological essay on it. Because even Rand's definition establishes the fact that a concept is a creation, not a creator. You have a theory of concept-function, not concept-formation.
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  36. Racism is a hot topic right now. There is an article on it in The Virtue of Selfishness. But I'd tailor suggestions to personal preference, no matter what race a person is. If they like reading fiction, set them up with one of Rand's novels instead.
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  37. This is totally dismissive about the field of psychology! Human psychology refers to the nature of the human mind. One's psychology is a different concept than psychology the nature of human thought. Now, at least value pertains to seeking some end by choice - and it is part of human nature to actively seek those ends by choice. What psychology shows, Kyary, is that people have an innate capacity to recognize scarcity. Scarcity is a major basis to decide value, because it is so easy and notable to recognize. As far as philosophy, this doesn't say -why- life should or does have meaning.
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  38. If you want a value judgement, the people to ask would be women (since they wouldn't get the physical reaction the first photo is intended to cause in men). And even then, it's an unfair comparison. The second woman doesn't have the team of stylists and professional photographers the Japanese pop star in the first image has. [just as a note: I know a little bit about the girl in the picture. Her name is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and she works hard to create a very interesting image for herself. I even like some of her songs (check out Fashion Monster on youtube, that's probably her best video). But that has nothing to do with the picture. The picture shows a model, made up and photographed by professionals...just by looking at it, the safer assumption would be that the picture has almost nothing to do with the person in it, she might as well be an inanimate object someone else dressed up to look a certain way. Point is, there aren't many objective value judgements you can make about the person in the picture, just by looking at it. ]
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  39. (This is an article I wrote for my romantic advice blog for men, The Leading Man.) In her book The Passion of Ayn Rand, Barbara Branden quotes from interviews she recorded with Rand about her life and career. Talking about her years as a teenager in Soviet Russia, Rand spoke of walking with a young man who made an indelible impression on her: "I don't remember the conversation on the way home, we just talked, nothing romantic. But he had a manner of projecting that he's a man and you're a woman and he's aware of it." "By the time I arrived home," Rand said, "I was madly and desperately in love."* (Years later, Rand would name one of the main characters of her novel We the Living — Leo — after him.) If there is a single idea which a man must grasp and master if he is to build a powerful romantic relationship with a woman, it's polarity. Polarity is the recognition of the fact that romance — at least heterosexual romance — is predicated on the existence of two sexes; there is male and female, man and woman, masculine/feminine. To a Leading Man, the fact of sex, and therefore of sexual differences, is an enormously good thing. We do all that we can to positively stress and to celebrate that women and men are not exactly identical in every way. Unfortunately, many men ignore, minimize or attempt to downplay sex differences. In their efforts to be respectful and "modern," they treat a woman they are romantically interested in as a buddy or pal. Instead of torrid passion, these men often find themselves caught in a tepid friendship. Polarity is essential to forming a deeply erotic connection with a woman. In romance, a woman wants & needs to be seen and experienced by a man as a woman — not merely as a person, and definitely not as a sexless neuter. To fall in love with a woman means falling in love with her feminine essence. It means being turned on by the challenge that her femininity poses to you. When polarity weakens in a relationship, things get boring. When it isn't there from the beginning, relationships often don't get off the ground. A sophisticated man is not threatened by sexual differences. He embraces, enjoys and appreciates them. To the man who understands romance, "I'm a man, you're a woman" isn't a put-down, nor does it represent an attempt to return to caveman days. It's a basic fact of reality, one which underlies and makes possible the most exciting kind of relationship between two human beings. *I have a number of misgivings about Ms. Branden, and I do not generally endorse her biography of Ayn Rand. However I have no reason to believe that this quotation is inaccurate. © 2013 Kevin Delaney
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  40. 'Twas the night before Christmas, and here on this forum, discussions of suicide challenge decorum. ... Midas Mulligan answered Swigs objection in The Utopia of Greed on pg. 742 of Atlas Shrugged: "But, John!" cried Mulligan, waving his arm at the valley, "if anything happens to you, what would we—" He stopped abruptly and guiltily. Galt chuckled. "What were you about to say?" Mulligan waved his hand sheepishly, in a gesture of dismissal. "Were you about to say that if anything happens to me, I'll die as the worst failure in the world?" "All right," said Mulligan guiltily, "I won't say it. I won't say that we couldn't get along without you—we can. I won't beg you to stay here for our sake—I didn't think I'd ever revert to that rotten old plea, but, boy !—what a temptation it was, I can almost see why people do it. I know that whatever it is you want, if you wish to risk your life, that's all there is to it—but I'm thinking only that it's … oh God, John, it's such a valuable life!" And Eioul, Galt gives his reasoning in The Egoist, pg. 1003 of Atlas Shrugged: "I don't have to tell you," he said, "that if I do [kill myself], it won't be an act of self-sacrifice. I do not care to live on their terms, I do not care to obey them and I do not care to see you enduring a drawnout murder. There will be no values for me to seek after that—and I do not care to exist without values. While Francisco and Hank could be potentially be added to this list in one sense, Francisco answered it for quite another on pg. 708: "You still love me—even if there's one expression of it that you'll always feel and want, but will not give me any longer. I'm still what I was, and you'll always see it, and you'll always grant me the same response, even if there's a greater one that you grant to another man. No matter what you feel for him, it will not change what you feel for me, and it won't be treason to either, because it comes from the same root, it's the same payment in answer to the same values. No matter what happens in the future, we'll always be what we were to each other, you and I, because you'll always love me."
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  41. Lately we've seen a whole flurry of articles — many of them overstated — about the influence of Ayn Rand on some of Trump's cabinet picks, and in that there's some (qualified) good news. Now comes this heartening news story: Israel's newspaper of record, Haaretz, reports that the country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was seen in parliament reading a book by an Objectivist historian, the late John David Lewis. Link to original
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  42. Yes, we basically agree on that. I don't mean to suggest that Maynard was less moral than the spies. Initially I intended to leave open the question of whether the act of suicide, itself, could be considered moral. This would include the spies and Maynard. I focused on the spies because I thought it was the clearest example of what might be considered a moral suicide, rather than a mere "philosophical non-rejection of the standard of life" suicide, as Peikoff might put it. I'm still about 10℅ unconvinced that the actual act of killing oneself could ever be considered moral. It strikes me as morally neutral unless done for a purpose that extends beyond your own life, not in a self-sacrificial sense, but in the manner of the captured spies who wish to deprive their enemy of a value.
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  43. Don, as far as extreme, I am not arguing that IF one has pain to such a degree that one is not at all able to direct attention to positive values, THEN suicide is okay. I agree with that as I stated it. My idea is that such situations do not exist, as long as you are able to have positive values and focus on them. The reason "pure" pain is nreal is that there are a multitude of experiences available. People who are literally tortured for years and have also had reasons to live in spite of the horror of that torture. Life still supercedes the pain as a whole. No pain overwhelms the inherent pleasure of life - the right attitude makes the difference. You haven't addressed though how one is going to decide, objectively, that Maynard's or anyone else's pain is severe enough to make life a zero, to make life into suffering. If I were in her position, I'd avoid treatments that ruin my mind, but I'd never kill myself or try to die as fast as possible. Perhaps the obstacle cannot be cleared. So what? There are other things to do, a lot to think about, a lot to experience. It'd look awfully weak and cowardly to stop there. Hardships happen. People often surprise themselves at how much they can handle. Happiness matters, except the Objectivist idea is that being virtuous always brings happiness. In that way, I am not arguing that one must suffer for the sake of morality. As long as you take the steps to think rationally, improve yourself, develop grit, and all that, you will be happy on the whole, or on the way to getting to the ideal state. Pain will exist, but it will not become an existential pain. As far as I read, Maynard made a decision based on subjective standards and only feelings. She is an example of giving up on life and therefore morality.
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  44. I don't think there are any, at least not in the sense that there is a detailed model to follow. It's not in the spirit of Objectivism, that is, egoism and individualism, to provide such a model. A lot of it depends on a myriad of details, so any discussion you find will probably discuss trading value for value, independent thought, voluntary exchange, and helping those that deserve it. Principles, not details. If you are really interested in operational possibilities, studying free market economists and thought regarding medicine and aid would be good. Does that seem about right?
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  45. Child rearing is a subject of its own (widely covered in Objectivist circles). Don't have any links for you, but they shouldn't be too hard to find. As for illness, it is addressed through medicine (sorry for stating the obvious, but since you haven't...). Objectivism believes that all science, including medical science (both basic and applied), should be free from government coercion. Given the current state of the world (in which medical science and the healthcare industry are not free), most Objectivists are focused on pointing out the flaws of socialist systems, rather than on creating or imagining a healthcare system without government corercion...simply because such a world is so far from reality, given current politics. But there may be materials I'm not aware of, that do that as well. So don't let me stop you from searching for them.
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  46. You brought it up as a reason to think it is part of Putin's game plan to maintain authority, in a thread discussing whether Putin did/would manipulate the election. If it's crazy idea, I don't know why you linked us that article then, or what's wrong with what Swig said. He didn't do anything except tell more about a term he didn't know about until you mentioned it.
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  47. Context is imperative, so at least I'm not saying that suicide is immoral because the "rules" say so. There are moral rules, but exist as the conditions and actions needed to attain a good life. Peikoff was saying how if all that left is pain and sorrow, it may be proper. Tara Smith wrote about it in a similar way, that it may be proper in those contexts. As stated, before any analysis this is fine. Epist said that if one loses their mental faculty, they're essentially dead. Another idea (my position) is that in a situation of only pain, nothing else, may qualify as "appropriate" suicide, or morally neutral. Then with further analysis, you'd ask if that type of pain exists. This is where I say these possible contexts aren't real, even if imaginable. People talk about dying with dignity, but I don't know reasons to say this. Don mentioned that a person is declaring how they go, thus are taking control of their life. I don't see what is dignified about giving reasons to die over finding the depth of life that people in worse situations are able to find. The fact is, a person in "pure pain" doesn't exist - this at least tells us that one must first identify some good, some value, in order to live at all. Let me add some context to my claims. I was unsure about bringing it up, but it applies to the real life example Harrison wanted to talk about. I've got a disability that makes me physically dependent on others to even live, e.g. to even get food in my mouth. At some point in my life, I may be presented an opportunity, by a doctor, for assisted suicide. To some, my life is already torturous. It is not. Objectivism, as a philosophy, helps one to feel, first-hand, the power of being alive and that experience - the fullest sense of existing. Only outright obliteration of one's mind erases that power. The presence of pain does not.
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  48. But you should try to explain the anomaly. Why did so many Independents support the Democratic ticket in 2008 but not in 2016? Obama, being a black Democrat, represented a raw assault on the white, Republican Establishment. But then, as President, he became part of the hated Establishment and thus lost some support from Independents in 2012. And now we have Hillary in 2016, whose bland femininity could not blind people to her rank as Queen of the Democratic Establishment. Thus, anti-Establishment Independents who normally would have helped out the Democrats instead stayed home on election day.
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  49. Another way to avoid infinite regress would be to just not say anything. That would have the added benefit that you couldn't say anything absurd.
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  50. The reversal you ask of is nothing else but the primacy of consciousness. This turns measurement into construction, objectivity into creation, consciousness from the faculty of perceiving that which exists into the faculty of creating it. All of which not only undermines Oist premises but makes everything nonsensical contradictions and philosophy meaningless. Identification does not "produce" identity but discovers it. Edit: "common parlance" I've actually never heard anyone say identification "produces identities " Where did you hear such a silly thing? The closest thing I know of is the Copenhagen "measurement miracle" of quantum mystics.
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