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  1. 3 likes
    "Observe the persistence, in mankind's mythologies, of the legend about a paradise that men had once possessed, the city of Atlantis or the Garden of Eden or some kingdom of perfection, always behind us. The root of that legend exists, not in the past of the race, but in the past of every man. You still retain a sense—not as firm as a memory, but diffused like the pain of hopeless longing—that somewhere in the starting years of your childhood, before you had learned to submit, to absorb the terror of unreason and to doubt the value of your mind, you had known a radiant state of existence, you had known the independence of a rational consciousness facing an open universe. That is the paradise which you have lost, which you seek—which is yours for the taking. — For The New Intellectual, page 177 Joseph Campbell has done extensive work in collecting mythology from all around the world, offering one of the most secular explanations from his analysis of the similarity and differences between them. In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand decried the absence of rationality in the field of esthetics and provided her keen insights into the nature of art in her most controversial work. There are a few here, that have expressed interest in Joseph Campbell's works. His book The Hero With A Thousand Faces was to him what The Fountainhead was to Ayn Rand, setting each, in their respective areas, a notoriety they had not had prior to their respective publications.
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    searching for "Scott Ryan" in the search bar placed on the top right of this page yields several threads. I think Scott Ryan's critique of O-ist epistemology is a good place to start. Intrinsicist universals, that is metaphysical universals, just don't exist. Scott Ryan can hold his breath until he is blue in the face and beyond but there will never be a solution to the "problem of universals" as long as the universals must be metaphysical. Rand's theory makes universals epistemological and that is its merit.
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    About 5 years ago, Steven Farron wrote an essay in Liberty titled Defending Capitalism against Ayn Rand. Contemplate this for a moment. He thinks Ayn Rand, in some sense, was anti-capitalist even though she explicitly promoted and defended capitalism. In the essay he writes: “She thought that the heroes she created were exemplars of pure, uncorrupted capitalism. In fact, the heroes she created in Atlas Shrugged came from her sense of life, which was not only un-capitalist but anti-capitalist.” That’s a head scratcher. He continues: “In Atlas Shrugged, Rand created heroes who embodied her sense of life and described how such heroes would fulfill their heroic natures if they engaged in economic activities. She thought that the sum of their economic activities and interactions provides a template of what laissez-faire capitalism would look like. She was wrong. When the heroes who embody her sense of life engage in economic activities, they function like Communist administrators, not capitalist businessmen.” Her heroes function like Communist administrators in what way? Farron continues: “To paraphrase Rand, “Grandeur is the one word that names” the sense of life of Communist economies. They had no concern with anything “penny ante.” … The heroes of Atlas Shrugged are heroic because, like Communist bureaucrats, they produce or maintain impressive products, not mean little ones. It would be unimaginable for a Rand hero to be a manufacturer of “penny ante” products, such as disposable baby diapers, menstrual tampons, or dependable contraceptives. But these distinctively 20th-century inventions improved the quality of life immeasurably by freeing people from preoccupation with brute, animal existence.” Farron is saying that what makes you anti-capitalist is a grandiose preoccupation with the heroic struggle to create impressive products, not mean little ones. When Galt invents his motor he is being anti-capitalist because his motor is so much more impressive than a tampon. Wrap your head around that one. Capitalism is the system of individual rights. The essence of capitalism is the banning of coercion in human relationships. Under capitalism you deal with others by persuasion and trade, not force and fraud. Now what part of inventing an impressive motor instead of a tampon consists of promoting or using force? Galt, Hank Rearden, Francisco D’anconia, Ellis Wyatt and Dagny Taggart do not promote or use force by being grandiose or impressively productive and Farron has to know that. So what the **** is he really trying to do in this essay?
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    Hi Will_to_Know and welcome to the forum! I see you've already received some response. Yet I hope you won't mind if I start fresh with your OP? I'll say broadly up front that, as an Objectivist, I'm not interested in "standing up for business," as such; rather, I'm interested in standing up for individual rights. It happens that individuals do business. As for tools that individuals can use to push back against immorality (in business or otherwise), well, they can generally do as seems reasonable, so long as they do not initiate the use of force. I know that's a very generalized answer, but perhaps we can find some specifics as we go... I think this comes closest to my position (though the specifics of governmental transition to a Capitalist system are far beyond me): I believe we ought to govern differently because the initiation of the use of force is immoral and destructive. Accordingly, I would like to see these changes made as fast as possible, because people are suffering in the interim. (It is a little like wondering -- "what will the plantation families do if slavery is outlawed overnight?" Honestly, I consider such a consideration to be in distant second place.) I do not expect any radical change in our current society, however, because most of the people of the United States (and world) do not support the system I endorse; there will be no immediate reduction of government. (If there were radical change in modern America, it would almost certainly be for the worse.) The changes we're talking about would require, first, something of a philosophical revolution (or evolution). I trust that, by the time anything close to an Objectivist system were implemented politically, that a good percentage of the citizenry would have already adopted the kinds of tools that they would need to be more successful absent modern governmental oversight and support. It's the only way for such a fundamental political shift to occur in the first place. This may be me being a bad Objectivist, but I'm not completely convinced that law/regulation is inappropriate for the handling (or documentation) of certain harmful materials, etc. I regard it as similar to arms control. If we would not permit a private individual to own his own nuclear missile (as I would not... or at least, not without regulation as to approximate a governmental entity), due to the capacity for incredible and irreparable damage that it represents, then we might be equally sensitive to activities that can, say, ruin a river serving one or several communities. Further, when you ask how a group of citizens can stand up to a wealthy offender, I would say that the challenges we're discussing are similar to the challenges we experience today. Wealth, of its nature, confers advantages. Bribery of governmental officials (or those acting in such a capacity) ought to be illegal, and yes, we will need good criminal investigators to uncover hidden tracks. Yet the citizens are not powerless. If they could, in theory, unite through tax and vote and governmental action, then I would expect that they could unite without those things, too -- in a voluntary, cooperative capacity. If people do not want their rivers polluted (and generally speaking, I'd say that we don't), then that suggests to me that there would be the ability to raise funds and take appropriate action. Isn't this, again, already a bug (or feature) of the current system? I'm no expert in it, but I'm certain that the present legal system could use reform to prevent such abusive lawsuits, as already exist. I don't see how there was anything untoward in that particular situation. If Thiel funded Hogan, or Hogan funded himself, what difference does it make? Well, what's needed to make boycotts effective, or more effective, is more education. (Isn't that what's always needed?) I'm not convinced that the notion that "because dumping happened in Alabama, not here, so what do I care?" is particularly "legitimate." It reminds me of the old "first they came for the Socialists" poem. We would defend against other intrusions against liberty (free speech, property, etc.) in Alabama, because we understand the implication for liberty everywhere; I expect such a sort of reasoning might provide the impetus for Californians to take events in Alabama personally. (And if you investigate, I believe you'll find that many already do.) I don't know how to rectify the death of hundreds, either in contemporary society or any utopia we might imagine. I will say that a company that poisons people, and the individuals responsible within that company, ought to be held accountable for their actions (with reasonable distinctions made between accident and intention, as in other applications of proper law, and etc). That doesn't sound much like justice to me. Knowing that these toxins may cause these problems (if indeed we do), we would need to be extra-vigilant against them. Whether through regulation (if we can agree that any are appropriate) or economic/internal pressures (such as boycott, and the kind of industry-created groups New Buddha mentioned), if people have an interest in protecting our children -- and we do -- we will find a way to ensure that our children are protected. It remains to do so morally and rationally. But Objectivism carries with it no call for us to stand back and allow our rivers and children to be poisoned. There is no Big Objectivist Book of Answers, unfortunately. Objectivism advocates for the use of reason and logic and evidence, which I think is a good way to approach questions such as these, and morally/politically it insists that we do not violate the rights of others through the initiation of the use of force. Some of the scenarios you're presenting, where companies poison rivers and give people cancer, are, I would argue, an example of the initiation of the use of force. That is to say, they are a violation of individual rights. Per Objectivism, and if I am correct, they ought to be stopped. How best to do this, how best for people to organize, how best to administer the court system, and etc., are all worthy and difficult questions that we struggle to answer today, just as I would struggle to answer them in any theoretical future.
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    KyaryPamyu I retract the last sentence of my last post.
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    If anybody is interested in other philosophers or movements apart from Objectivism and Aristotelian philosophy, you are welcome to share your experiences here. What attracts you to those ideas? Do they influence your own thinking or philosophical positions? For the sake of the topic, these presentations need not necessarily point out the similarities/divergences with Objectivism. My first encounter with philosophy was a long time ago in primary school. After scrambling in my aunt's book collection, I found a Romanian philosophy textbook from the communist era. It was full of pictures and it probably covered every major philosopher known at the time, from Thales to the moderns. Marx and Engels where the only ones that had full page photographs. At the time I didn't understand much of what I was reading, but being a philosopher seemed like a really prestigious thing. Upon reading that the history of philosophy can be described as a duel between materialist and idealist points of view (as it's commonly taught by marxists), I promptly declared myself a materialist, because idealism struck me as an extraordinarily bizarre point of view. Nobody I knew subscribed to the primacy of consciousness view. (Objectivism is the only philosophy I know of that is not monist or pluralistic in some way, although there might be many others). My first encounter with the world transcendental was on the page about Immanuel Kant, and I quickly used it afterwards in a test paper at school (it was not a philosophy test, obviously). I didn't realy know what it meant, apart from reading the dictionary definition and considering it to be one of the coolest words in my vocabulary. After the grades were announced, the teacher asked me what transcendental means and, after I blurted out the dictionary definition, she said that she just wanted to make sure that I'm not using words without knowing what they mean. Until about half an year ago, when I started to study Objectivism seriously and I read Atlas (I knew about Objectivism much earlier than that, and I read The Fountainhead three years ago), philosophy seemed to be no less pointless than religion. After all, with all the advances in science and psychology, what could philosophers possibly bring to the table? Objectivism provided interesting answers to this question, and I am sympathetic to a lot of Objectivist positions (most strongly in metaphysics). I also emphaticaly disagree with some points, from Rand's denial of human instincts all the way to her claim that Dali's paintings portray an 'evil metaphysics'. Lately, I remembered about that old gang of philosophers who called themselves the Idealists and decided to see exactly what line of reasoning brought them to their philosophical claims. I'm not really interested in Kant since his version of idealism is nowhere as weird as that that of his succesors (he still believed in a noumenal world), but I do have a strong interest in Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. Even without believing much, if any, of their speculations, it's still fascinating as hell to read about their philosophy as a classical musician. Romantic classical music composers were inevitably inspired by the contemporary trends in German philosophy; Wagner was notably a follower of Schopenhauer, although S. is a bit too Kantian (and Buddhist) to grab my interest. Speaking of Buddhism, my first encounter with detailed information about it (meditation always fascinated me) was also in a communist book of my aunt's, titled Questions and Answers Pertaining to the Atheist Education of the Youth. If I have to take something good out of German Idealism, it's definitely the enthusiastic, creative and imaginative spirit that was its trademark (and was also present in the arts). Apparently Fichte and Schelling were extremely charismatic teachers, managing the feat of being university teachers and superstars at the same time. Hegel was notorious for his classes, which people attended without understanding a single word of what he was saying. His system is absolutely gargantuan, and nobody since him attempted such a feat. His famous claim, 'The truth is the Whole' is quoted at the beginning of Leonard Prikoff's OPAR (systems were the big trend of German Idealism) As much as I like Rand, I have to say that the whole Romantic Realism thing never appealed to me as strongly as the movements and genres that feature a great deal of fantasy, myth, even the supernatural. And I'm an earthly guy. It seems to me that this type of art does something that Romantic Realism does not: it's a concretized presentation of some of the more 'metaphysicaly adventurous' parts of ourselves: myths, the dream world, imagination, altered states of consciousness. It also inspires me to study the broader nature of consciousness, apart from its perceptual and reasoning faculties. I leave you with this beautiful romantic painting, The Chancel and Crossing of Tintern Abbey, Looking Towards the East Window, by JMW Turner. Exploring the visual arts of the Romantic era is also on my current to do list.
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    As you are probably aware, Peikoff wrote an article on The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy included in ITOE, where he indicated the following: The theory was originated, by implication, in the ancient world, with the views of Pythagoras and Plato, but it achieved real prominence and enduring influence only after its advocacy by such modem philosophers as Hobbes, Leibniz, Hume and Kant. (The theory was given its present name by Kant.) According to a wikipedia entry on the Analytic-synthetic distinction, Frege and Carnap revise the Kantian definition touching base on the mathematical side. You can also add the logical positivists as being sympathetic to this view as well. Peikoff further identifies: Today, each man must be his own intellectual protector. In whatever guise the theory of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy confronts him, he must be able to detect it, to understand it, and to answer it. Only thus can he withstand the onslaught and remain epistemologically untouched. More importantly he continues with: The theory in question is not a philosophical primary; one's position on it, whether it be agreement or opposition, derives, in substantial part, from one's view of the nature of concepts. Given the position that each man must be his own intellectual protector, there is merit in concurring with Rand in her article "For the New Intellectual": Those who accept any part of Kant's philosophy—metaphysical, epistemological or moral—deserve it. The law of identity, as well as a corollary found in the Crow Epistemology indicates that in his own intellectual defense he must be able to detect and understand it as a clear and present danger. If a man pulls a gun on you, it is relatively easy to detect and understand it as a clear and present danger. In some martial arts, defense against guns and/or knives can be an adjunct to the training. There are techniques and approaches toward dealing with either. They go hand in hand along with the recognition that there are risks involved, dealing with either, that also need be taken into consideration. It is interesting to note that Peikoff's Criticisms are listed (as of this posting date) on this same wikipedia entry as well.
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    Welcome back, Ilya It's always refreshing to view your multi-faceted concise and to-the-point interlocutions.
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    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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    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.
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    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).
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    He's thinking in terms of a nonessential (in this case "grandiosity") which chops the proper concept of "Capitalism" into 'Big Capitalism' and 'Little Capitalism' and treats those as opposite kinds of things. It is true that if Big and Little Capitalism were mutually exclusive then he'd be entirely correct about which one Rand would've advocated - only they aren't, in reality, and I am not aware of when in the Hell Rand ever said otherwise. Given her stressed repetitions that degrees don't matter and that one doesn't have to move mountains or travel the stars in order to be a good person (compare the 'smallness' of Eddie Willers to the grandiosity of Robert Stadler) the misrepresentation can only be intentional, provided he actually opened that book. His logic would follow from his false dichotomy (which he produced, in its entirety, from his own rectum) if it weren't for the obscene package-dealing of 'Big Communism' with 'Big Capitalism' in order to insinuate that Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart and John Galt were all secretly Red on the inside. In Ancient Greece there were people who prided themselves on being able to "prove" that black is white, freedom is slavery and truth is falsehood. Today we have people who follow in their footsteps, not even for the sake of their intellectual vanity, but just to piss off whatever suckers might actually be paying attention to their noises. To infuriate anyone who actually takes Atlas Shrugged seriously and happens to expect to hear human words and ideas from the speaker, for example. Let's not make that mistake. You wouldn't get upset with a parrot that happened to insult your mother, would you?
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    Whose fault is it? If someone is a legitimate threat to anyone, that must be proven by objective standards. "To believe" that a threat exists may be brought on by your own emotional reaction to someone's behavior. Cruelty to animals is not objective evidence that a person poses a threat to people. It is a problem that should be dealt with by some method other than imprisonment. Taking away a person's freedom and designating that person as a criminal is much more serious than the life of an animal. Iatan Petru, I can see that your interest in Objectivism is sincere. But you ought to research the Objectivist moral position on human freedom a bit more. Welcome to the forum.
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    As I said above, your argument is: People who are overly cruel to animals (e.g. actual irrational torture for no gain other than some sick emotion), are a potential threat to other human beings. Therefore, such cruelty is beyond being immoral: it should be criminal. I'm not troubled at any of the semantics or style of your argument, but I am troubled by your fact-lacking approach. Do you have evidence of your premise? My impression is that you have no evidence that such people are a real threat -- at least any more a threat than many others; instead, you're simply assuming this. Frankly, without any evidence to back it up, it seems like you're purposely grasping at this assumption because it helps your argument, rather than because it is true. If someone is very drunk, we have ample evidence that they lose control, and -- in the right context -- we have no problem using force to restrain them from some anticipated dangerous action. If someone is dangerously psychotic where they're having hallucinations and can act dangerously toward others, the law allows them to be held -- and, if the kinks could be removed from the system, it is fine in principle to do so. The point is this: if your premise is true, then you might be able to make a case. Imagine you have a neighbor who starves his pet, or kicks it, or abandons it is some area it will probably die... etc. do you actually live in fear this person will assault you? I don't ask this as an argument: I ask that you introspect about this.... make it real, and see what evidence you really have, and what fears you really and legitimately feel .. then, argue forward from that, to your conclusion.
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    I do not agree that the return and reintegration with society is collectivist. It is just what people do. Consider some hero who left and never comes back: the story ends with his departure and nothing further can be learned. Consider some hero who returned but in some sense was not re-integrated, such as no one believed his story: then why re-tell his story? Also, the 'Destiny of Everyman' is no more determinist than the insistence that man has an identity and that 'human nature' is therefore a valid concept because it has an objective referent. The "labyrinth and the linen thread" works as a metaphor for the Objectivist theory of concepts, where the labyrinth is all the various possible combinations of words and meanings attached to words of which most are false and the linen thread is the insistence on the part of the hero (in epistemology the knower, and since "all men desire to know" then this is an actual "everyman") on maintaining contact with reality by ensuring all of his concepts are reducible to percepts.
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    Stuff I forgot: Shostakovich was acquainted with Zamyatin (though Rand probably wasn't), he had a school friend who sounds like a model for Leo in We the Living and who was executed, and Rand's middle sister attended the Leningrad Conservatory a year behind Shostakovich. I checked Anne Heller's Rand bio and found she claims that the Stoyunina Gymnasium was for girls only. Maybe the sexes were kept segregated. Or maybe Volkov has it wrong. I lean toward the former. I was pretty surprised late in the book that Shostakovich is documented (privately) saying/writing antisemitic things in the 1920's. Obviously he completely changed his tune later (e.g. the Babi-Yar symphony).
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    I’m finishing up Shostakovich and Stalin by Solomon Volkov, and came across some interesting things. Conclusion: Shostakovich and Rand traveled in the same circles. They attended the same high school, the Stoyunina Gymnasium, and were of course only a year apart in age. Shostakovich, aged 11(!), had a piece of his performed at an assembly at the school, a memorial for some anti-Bolshevik figures who had recently been murdered. This was in January 1918, and I haven’t gone back to check exactly when Rand’s family fled to the Crimea, so I don’t know if she was (or rather, could have been) there. The Lossky family were friends of the Shostakovich family. The latter hosted the former for dinner immediately after they were ordered into exile, in the brief period before their departure when it was most dangerous to be seen interacting with them. Quick background on Lossky, he was a distinguished philosophy professor that Rand took a course with, and spoke of later as being important in her development. I’ll refer you Chris Sciabarra’s writings on the topic for details, the really important point being that she had to go well out of her way to take his course, and it was the last time he taught it before being exiled. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Lossky Shoot, there was another data point, now I’m drawing a blank. It’s an interesting book. Quite grim, naturally.
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    Men are afraid that war might come because they know, consciously or subconsciously, that they have never rejected the doctrine which causes wars, which has caused the wars of the past and can do it again—the doctrine that it is right or practical or necessary for men to achieve their goals by means of physical force (by initiating the use of force against other men) and that some sort of "good" can justify it. It is the doctrine that force is a proper or unavoidable part of human existence and human societies. — Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, pg. 35 Sometimes the distant beating of the war-drums, as read in the headlines of the news aggregates and resonating from their various news affiliates by the self-appointed modern-day medicine-men of the super-villages, can be heard setting a tempo for the march of Attila's henchmen to the battlefield—should they heed the call. With the recent activity in Syria, a Russia warship and 150,000 Chinese military lining up outside the combat arena. How many of the archer's have pinch-drawn their weapons in anticipation? Conjure an image of Theoden in Helm's Deep just before he utters "And so it begins." With this in mind, it was time to read The Roots of War again. Her mastery of the language leaped out in the opening line of the CUI quote. Men have never rejected the doctrine, i.e., men still accept the doctrine that force is a proper or unavoidable part of human existence and human societies. Alas, for those that have rejected it, there are still those who have not. A quick trip to Wookieepedia (The Star Wars Wiki) found that those on the Dark Side of The Force aptly drew their power from raw emotions and feelings (used as tools of cognition?). In reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell provides an encounter with Microprosopus. Perhaps J.R. Tolkien ran across another historic reference that served as inspiration for his 'Eye of Sauron'. (The lidless eye, and per Tolkien . . . that never sleeps.) As she ended the paragraph previous to the one cited at the beginning of this post: "[W]ars have kept erupting throughout the centuries, like a long trail of blood underscoring mankind's history." I would have to add that the largest pools of blood in that underscore seem to be gathered where statism has been the most deeply entrenched.
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    It’s an alternate narrative, and it’s probably exactly the way Barney thinks of it. And it fits the facts very well. BTW, the "certain background" line had to do with the ex-fundamentalist Christian I wrote of. Today being Easter, and myself having been raised Catholic...at least I know why leg of lamb is on special at the the supermarket. Barney? I imagine he still (after all these years) could transform two Campbell's soup cans into an E-Meter, if the need ever arose.
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    This strikes me as belonging to a malevolent universe premise.
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    Existence does not logically depend on anything to be true. Before the academic philosopher tries to prove existence, he must first exist. Logic is not the blueprint or cosmic equation from which the universe springs from and conforms to; it's your method of grasping what the senses tell you about the world. Neither existence nor identity can be arrived at by inference of any kind. The validation of existence and identity is sense perception. You're trying to validate identity by means of a method (logic) that already makes use of the law of identity. Or perhaps you using Hegelian logic or some other type of logic?
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    Well, Ilya seems to think that Rand saw the -concept- of nothing as beyond existence, e.g. as apart or separate from existence thus making it nonreal. And he says Rand is wrong about this, given that in his eyes Rand seems to reify 'nothing' in order to prove its "nonreal"ness. Rand doesn't think that anyway. 'Nothing' exists qua existent insofar as it depends on the concept 'existence'. She says "non-existence" identifies the negation of a fact, suggesting that the concepts 'nothing' and 'non-existence' are about reality, not some intuitive sense of being "nonreal". Stating it this way, this easily explains why the question "why is there something rather than nothing?" is a bad one. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/non-existence.html
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    I think IS, is stating that Rand's problem was that "she saw nothing beyond existence", implying she should have seen "something" beyond existence (all that which exists). IS (IMHO) is not stating that Rand's problem was that she thought there was a "nothing" which is beyond existence. Such a claim would be factually inaccurate, she did not think or see such a "nothing" since she knew (as Parmenedes solved MILLENIA AGO) that there is no "nothing", no thing that exists which is the "nothing". In the end, as for (nothing) versus ("nothing"), given a proper sane understanding of reality, quotes here mean (pardon the conceptual pun) nothing.
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    This is not evidence of ANY kind. It is nothing but introspective (and wildly fantastical and imaginative) ramblings of one or more human mind(s). If you have any evidence based on reality and verifiable by third parties through perception of reality, I would open to persuasion on that basis, however, until then I will you leave to discuss this matter with other members of the forum. Best of luck.
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    I'm worn out on the topic. But since you're calling me out by name: let's assume Barney made a nice pile out of Scientology (which, point conceded, is a scam). He got booted out, who cares why, though probably for being too successful, thus becoming a threat to other "intellectual heirs". He discovered Objectivism, and attended Rand's final public appearance, when she excoriated the Universities. He goes home and watches the Fountainhead movie, and finds himself (sitting on his ill-gotten pile) identifying with Wynand when he calls his earnings from the Banner the "financial fertilizer" to build a great building with Roark. Putting two and two together, he launches into private colleges for his next venture. And someone else can fill in the rest. That student loans aren't exactly money from the Government, they are how the customers get the money to pay. Many will be happy afterwards, plenty won't. If Government weren't involved (via guarantees, special tax treatment, and a special exemption from bankruptcy discharge) there would be a private alternative. That's been crowded out, that's just the way these things work. And the Government is going to stick it's nose in eventually, eventually having arrived within the last few years. But I meant to wrap up about 5 sentences ago. My verdict: not convinced. Maybe he is a bad guy, but on this evidence I'm voting for acquittal.
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    Valid philosophy has its purpose and it is limited. I mention this because my response otherwise would be misleading. Philosophy is not properly concerned with specifics of the special sciences or humanities or in fact any special aspect of knowledge. Philosophical writings which err, by definition fall outside of correct philosophy which deals with knowledge of reality. Incidentally (and I refuse to engage in any sort of argument with anyone here) I am of the view that no knowledge transcends true philosophy and I happen to believe that qua philosophy in its proper role, Objectivism is actually correct. I am quite interested in the writings of Joseph Campbell and his ideas of Monomyth. I find interesting his connections between the psyche and various stories and myths which for millennia have been propagated generation to generation. What's crucially interesting to me is his identification that myths are true in a metaphorical sense in what effect they have, what insight they provide for, the human psyche. This is not properly philosophy although some may call it that. I would place this somewhere in the special humanities between (or combining) art (literature), anthropology (culture and religion), and psychology. As with everyone, Jo has an implicit metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics but most of his writings are much more narrow and hence not actually philosophical. To the extent he errs, he ironically serves as a useful example consistent with his own theories. A myth is useful not because what it denotates is true but because of truths it tells us something about (what it is to be human) by what it connotates... this truth can be extended to Jo's own implicit philosophy although that itself is primarily expressed as symbolic of something like an "I know not what" and hence appears mostly itself metaphorical. In a similar fashion, erroneous philosophies, their crazy speculations and flights of fancy, although they tell us nothing about reality, epistemology, ethics, politics, they do serve as useful insight into the human psyche. Of course the level of insight varies but as metaphor, the ramblings of thinkers across the ages together are connotative in some aspect of the human condition/psyche. In this sense (connotative) all myths and philosophies reveal truths to be gleaned from them.
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    Pittsburgh is almost as convenient as Columbus. If I attend, people need to add their internet aliases to their name tags so that I can recognize them in person.
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    Since just before 2012, . . . originally painted, followed by vinyl lettering, now acid etched into the glass:
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    According to a word document I put together just based on your comments in this thread, (including non-OOmember/referenced quotes) you've logged about 15,000 words, (14,964, to be precise by my count.) Per the searchable CD-Rom, I know Rand (and Peikoff) has made many comments regarding Kant, and what she regarded as specific deficiencies, as well a psychological estimates of some of his tactics, the most relevant in the context of what I can make heads and tails of here coming from The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. III, No. 10 February 11, 1974 Philosophical Detection--Part II Philosophical rationalizations are not always easy to detect. Some of them are so complex that an innocent man may be taken in and paralyzed by intellectual confusion. At their first encounter with modern philosophy, many people make the mistake of dropping it and running, with the thought: "I know it's false, but I can't prove it. I know something's wrong there, but I can't waste my time and effort trying to untangle it." She goes on to point out: Here is the danger of such a policy: you might forget all about Kant's "categories" and his "noumenal" world, but some day, under the pressure of facing some painfully difficult choice, when you feel tempted to evade the responsibility or to make a dishonest decision, when you need all of your inner strength, confidence and courage, you will find yourself thinking: "How do I know what's true? Nobody knows it. Nobody can be certain of anything." This is all Kant wanted of you. A thinker like Kant does not want you to agree with him: all he wants is that you give him the benefit of the doubt. He knows that your own subconscious does the rest. What he dreads is your conscious mind: once you understand the meaning of his theories, they lose their power to threaten you, like a Halloween mask in bright sunlight. Without going into the concretes here, I thought of this thread when reading the recently posted Reblogged:A Gush Gallop, especially with regard to the section on the Gish Gallop. Who is your target audience here? The newbie to Ayn Rand's ideas, who comes here to find out more about her ideas? The more seasoned Ayn Rand reader, who has spent time studying her works in general, and perhaps has an area or two of more specialized interest? Or perhaps you're looking for an expert on Objectivism that can unravel what you are spring-boarding from your initial successful defense, in academia, of your Master's thesis on Objectivist rhetoric in America? Or, more sinisterly, are you trying to thwart the newbie to Ayn Rand's ideas, or buffalo the more seasoned reader? With regard to the expert or more seasoned reader, I suspect you're mostly harmless. The seasoned reader is more likely to know what you are saying has issues, albeit they may not be able to pinpoint it precisely (I'll admit, I fall somewhat into this category.) It is the newbie that will look at what you have to say and be struck with "WTF", or perhaps "Maybe there is something here."
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    This is a thread about comparison and failure to understand N on Rand's part. People should be able to notice that explaining is not the same as endorsing; pointing out a similarity doesn't mean I'm equating N with Rand. I didn't write a substantial essay on how Rand gets right the things N was skeptical about and/or denied. N didn't believe in systemetizing, Rand did.
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    A recent visit to the office supply cabinet revealed the fact that various refills to the paper-based Franklin Planner still exists in the corporate world. After being somewhat chided about carrying 4 different colored pens and a notepad of paper to a recent product meeting to a roomful of individuals, mostly sporting laptops, highlighted the fact that differing approaches to processing information where afoot. Electronic vs. hard-copy. As a hard-copy advocate, it is astonishing to me how I can advocate such an antiquated approach, and still be the individual that puts together an Excel file that "automates" an electronic, integrated approach to identifying quantitative differences along a stack path that distinguishes between three industry standards of tolerance comparisons. Equally impressive, to me, is the ability to automate in VBA, a systematic approach to automating various functionality to generating and modifying routine tasks that most immediate users take for granted due to having it. Where is the world going to be in another decade? Will the successors to my generation be equipped with the epistemological know-how needed to persist?
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    Thanks, Repairman. Honestly, I missed you and every one else on this forum, even Harrison Danneskjold, whose comments had been always cutting and hewing me, but I even miss his comments. It's been long three years, my dear Objectivists, and I am back!
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    I am gay, and Ayn Rand's opinions on the morality of homosexuality don't affect my self esteem too much. Either she learned to accept that being gay is not immoral and was right, or she didn't and she was wrong. My curiosity is academic. It's a frequently asked question from non-Oists and students, and I've heard many conflicting answers on the subject so I'd like to collect evidence and see if I can get to an accurate answer. Objectivism has taught me how to think, not what to think. Thanks for the concern.
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    Perceptual Ontology appears to be a "solution" looking for a "problem". This post is just degenerating into a game of definitions. What concrete problem does Perceptual Ontology solve? Why is it necessary to form the new concept. Rand's Razor: The requirements of cognition determine the objective criteria of conceptualization. They can be summed up best in the form of an epistemological “razor”: concepts are not to be multiplied beyond necessity—the corollary of which is: nor are they to be integrated in disregard of necessity.
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    Share your tips on how to beat do-nothingism: I'll start off... Here is a remarkably simple way to stop procrastinating... I can see a lot of folks here saying that it would never work but don't knock it until you try it'! http://zenhabits.net/leggo/
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    Eiuol, I applaud your effort to grasp Nietzsche, especially in D, GS, Z, BGE, and GM. I am delighted to report that the number of reads of my series Nietzsche v. Rand has now passed 14,000. I want to direct you to the Appendix (scroll down) to this essay in that series. This Appendix traces the transition in Nietzsche from “feeling of power” to “will to power” and elaborates just what was his mature conception “will to power.” Nietzsche’s conception of life in terms of will to power includes domination of organism by organism in all the forms of life. He foisted his favored conceptions of human social relations onto the nature of all life (defining life differently than Rand would do seventy years later for mainstay of an objective morality [and differently than had Guyau 1885, also for purport of an objective morality]), then pointed to that supposed way of all organisms as rationale for his often nasty views of human nature, particularly focused on social relationships. Never forget Nietzsche’s BGE 265, which is antithetical to Rand’s ideal in Anthem (1937) and to her mature ideal of Atlas Shrugged. “At the risk of annoying innocent ears I will propose this: egoism belongs to the essence of the noble soul. I mean that firm belief that other beings will, by nature, have to be subordinate to a being “like us” and will have to sacrifice themselves.”
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    Lester Hunt, a philosopher anthologized in the book mentioned in #9, once said that N. is important to a biographical or developmental understanding of Rand but useless for understanding the positions she arrived at.
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    Eioul, If you have access to the Modern Philosophy: Kant to the Present, Lecture 5 starting at 30:45, Peikoff devotes almost 48 minutes in a much more charitable view than Rand's in the interview shared in your OP. Knowing that Rand deals with broad ideas, she is speaking of Nietzsche as a general overview of his overall philosophy. Peikoff examines examples of his writings as you have used in outlining the issues you've identified. In one passage from the lecture, LP makes the statement: In general, all you can say is the irrational element dominates progressively as Nietzsche grows older. Another statement, paraphrased, likens Nietzsche's writings to the Bible, as he is supposed to be all things to all men. In LP's summary he says: Nietzsche shares a kinship with Objectivism only in isolated, unsystematic passages.
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    I have read a little bit of Nietzche's work, and I've found his to be rather amoral. He rejected free will entirely, and believed as a result that someone who was truly wise would recognize that there was no distinction between good and bad, and that everyone's actions were just the predetermined result of their nature -- thus, someone like Hitler would not really be responsible for the atrocities he committed, and it is foolish to condemn him or to see creators of value as superior to Nazi oppressors. He also had a contemptuous attitude toward morality, and my understanding is that he did, in fact, want to see the "masters" trample on the slaves as punishment for the slaves' choice to believe in a moral code, and as a reward for the masters' ruthless pursuit of (What Nietzche would consider) their own self-interest. He also regarded all morality as socially prescribed, and nothing more than the will of the strong imposed on the weak, and did not recognize any possibility of an objective morality based on the value of human life. I believe that Nietzche preferred masters because he saw them as strong due to their willingness to coerce the slaves into obedience. I haven't found much of value in Nietzche's works. I suppose he deserves some credit for his recognition that altruism was wrong. But his response, like Rand's, should have been to construct a new moral code based on self-interest which recognized the right to life of all human beings. What he created instead was a blank check to trample on human life, in order to satisfy one's own whims at the expense of others.
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    I use the word "psycho-epistemology" at work every now and then. My co-workers mostly seem to think I just have an overly-large vocabulary. (I remember once using the word "irredentism" in a discussion. There was a pause, and somebody asked "what does that mean?". I said "It's a form of revanchism." There was a longer pause, and I realized that probably wasn't as clarifying as I'd hoped it would be. ) At this point I think that any of my co-workers who care are at least broadly aware of my philosophical and political leanings. Rather than hammer directly on ideas, I 'evangalize' by being very good at my job and then connecting that success back to its intellectual foundation. Show, don't tell.
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    I once complained to my boss (in all seriousness, too) that my coworkers have a concrete-bound mentality. She didn't get it, so I had to explain.
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    That's funny. Makes sense though -- kinda like a Masonic handshake? Co-worker: I saw a file here yesterday, and nobody has been here, yet it's gone now. Could you help me search for it, please? Me: Sure, gotta trust the evidence of one's senses. It must be here someplace. Co-worker: I'm absolutely sure it was here, and I'm absolutely sure this room was locked. Me: Well, contradictions don't exist, so let's examine the first premise by searching your room. Co-worker: Unless it just disappeared, somehow. Me: (smiling) No reason to think that could happen. That would be arbitrary. Ah! there it is, it fell behind the desk. Co-worker: Thanks! Me: (leaving) You're welcome. Co-worker: Er... one more thing.... Me: (turning back)... ? Co-worker: Why're you talking funny?
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    At one point I had a magnetic bumper sticker on my truck that said "Why Yes, It Is Made Of Rearden Metal". I also have a framed quotation ("These two -- Reason and Freedom -- are corollaries, and their relationship is reciprocal: when men are rational, freedom wins; when men are free, reason wins.") in my cubicle at work. Oh, and two t-shirts from Objectivist conferences of years past. Over the past week or so I've been reading Tara Smith's Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics on the exercise bike at the gym, but it has yet to provoke comment.
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    Patrecia Neil (sp?) who played Dominique was quite good, I thought. And the guy who played Toohey was wonderful.