Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 11/20/17 in all areas

  1. 1 point

    Is "groupthink" an anti-concept?

    ...kind of. It still needs to be checked in some (or many) ways against what you already know from your own experiences and thinking. Presumably the server of a valid conclusion has already integrated the material properly, and presents it in such a way that the recipients can integrate it on the basis of their own experiences and thinking.
  2. 1 point
    It doesn't matter how it sounds, what matters is whether I provided reasoning. When you're trying to make sense of anything, whether it's a news story or whatever, do you rest on mental shortcuts? Or, do you take those shortcuts for what they are, and actively update your thoughts when new information is found? Especially when you suspect you don't have the full story, you're not writing things off as concluded, right? A person who does otherwise is a non-thinking idiot to the extent they are instead fine with those fuzzy "conclusions." Even if they're "nice," "hardworking," or "non-racist" - they may be civilized, but it's not really their doing, is it? They're not active participants in their own lives, the groupthink will determine things for them instead. Thinking individuals shouldn't waste their time on groupthinkers.
  3. 1 point
    William O

    Aristotle and the science

    I'm reading Francis Bacon's Novum Organum at the moment, which is very relevant to this. According to Bacon, all of the fundamental concepts of Aristotle's philosophy (like "substance," "quality," and "essence") are unclear, and all of his scientific claims are invalid. The reason for this lack of clarity and invalidity is allegedly that Aristotle did not build his philosophy up from the ground, based on experiments. Instead, Bacon claims that he jumped from a few observations to the widest generalizations, then deduced intermediate conclusions from those widest generalizations. The correct way is to start with very concrete generalizations based on plenty of experiments, then slowly build up from there, until finally you arrive at the widest generalizations. There is a lot of truth in what Bacon says in the book, but as you can see, there's also some anti-philosophy scientism in his reasoning. I don't think Rand built up Objectivism using experiments, so it's not clear how Bacon would view her work.
  4. 1 point

    Aristotle and the science

    It's okay to be an Aristotelian.
  5. 1 point

    Aristotle and the science

    "All" ... haven't heard that; but, I have heard about the conclusions he based on very flimsy premises (what an Objectivist might call "rationalism"). On the other hand, he's known to have collected specimens, and attempted classification: which shows a respect for the study of reality. Along with the Renaissance, came a real thrust to the "scientific method" and for experimentation (a move attributed to Francis Bacon in the Anglophone world). Before Galileo became controversial about astronomy, he was doing experiments in physics that were upending long-held beliefs in Physics. Yet, these were beliefs one could upend by an experiment that did not take that long. It indicates that people had not thought of actually experimenting about many things they took for granted. Consider a farmer in the 1500's who always used a particular amount of fertilizer for his vegetables. It is unlikely that he would say to himself: "let me vary this in a small experimental plot and learn from those experiments". (We see "gentlemen farmers" doing this post-Enlightnment). Of course human beings have been "experimenting" even before they were human, as animals do; but that changed to be way more purposeful. Reading about Galileo's controversy with the Church, I got the impression that the fear was not that he was overturning the Bible, as such; but, Aristotle: who had reached his conclusions nationalistically. So, from a certain perspective, one might say that Aristotle was partly responsible for Galileo being rejected and prosecuted. But, I don't buy that argument: it comes from treating Aristotle as scripture. Blame the faith-based epistemology of the church, rather than Aristotle. Imagine that the Wright Brothers had made some conclusions that would be proven true through the propeller age, but were actually false and would be proven false by the jet age. Imagine that this held back the jet age by a decade. Would we blame the Wright brothers for holding back the jet age? We (being ingrates) can criticize them for being wrong, but everyone else who agreed with them is primarily to blame. We should not follow and agree with all a person's ideas just because they have a lot of great ones: be they the Wright brothers, Aristotle, or Ayn Rand.
  6. 1 point
    On whether the meaning suggests pride: the context of a slogan has consequences for determining its meaning. If I said "I have a standup view of women," I might be praised for virtue signaling, but if I'm Bill Clinton and I say it, perhaps a different meaning is suggested. Context is a part of meaning. So while the phrase itself doesn't suggest pride, when said by a neo-Nazi it does now. And on groupthink, is it true that Objectivist are entirely exempt from this tendency, especially when it comes to pissing "the left" off? Well that's not objective either. Indeed, it's better to identify particular thinkers and particular stated philosophy. Like the alt right and its proponents, the ones who started this campaign: they want to deport all non-whites. Identifying that is a crucial part of examining the ad campaign, ignoring it just sounds like the opposite of rational analysis: a blank-out.
  7. 1 point

    The Law of Identity

    Whatever the merits of the wider point here, the participants show a shaky understanding of Heraclitus. He lived and wrote before philosophy had the sophistication to express a notion such as the law of identity. What people nowadays think are his positions are actually the work of soi-disants Heracliteans of later generations. Aristotle distinguishes between the historical Heraclitus and "Heracliteanism" a couple of places in the Metaphysics: - For it's impossible for one and the same both to be and not to be, as some think Heraclitus said (IV 3, 1005b23); - Further, seeing that nature is in motion, they all thought that of what changes nothing can be said truly and that what is always changing in every respect does not admit of the truth. From this supposition grew the most extreme of the foregoing views, namely the view of those who claim to Heraclitize, such as Cratylus, who in the end thought nothing could be said, but only moved his finger and criticized Heraclitus for saying that there's no stepping into the same river twice; he [Cratylus] didn't think we could even do it once. (IV 5, 1010a6) (emphasis added) though not always: 1012a24, 34, 1062a32, 1063b24. When I studied H. I hit on a reading that I was later flattered to hear from Julius Moravcsik, a famous academic. He observed diversity and change in the world and yet wanted to find some way to see it at once and to pronounce stable truths about it. That is to say, ,he was struggling to identify conceptual thought, but nobody could grasp this until Plato came along. The nearest Heraclitus could get was simultaneous perceptual awareness of everything, in the mind of god. Thus he was like the man in Anthem, struggling to identify the first-person singular, but he never quite got there.
  8. 1 point
    I suppose you need to read the books that your target cohort respects. Not sure what that would be: the Bible, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas, ... just throwing some names out, you can replace with actual examples. Do rap fans have some books they love? It helps to start from the context of your target. If I want to convince an average Muslim about an idea, it would help if I knew something about the Quran. Of course, that doesn't mean you'll be able to convince the person. If you tried convincing a hundred people and not one changed their minds, it would be no surprise. On the other hand, if there's some particular person you'd like to convince, then understanding their context would give you a step up.