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  1. 1 point
    The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. III, No. 9 January 28, 1974 Philosophical Detection There is an old fable which I read in Russian (I do not know whether it exists in English). A pig comes upon an oak tree, devours the acorns strewn on the ground and, when his belly is full, starts digging the soil to undercut the oak tree's roots. A bird perched on a high branch upbraids him, saying: "If you could lift your snoot, you would discover that the acorns grow on this tree." Fable writer Ivan Krylov monument in Saint Petersburg A Poem: The Sow Under The Oak Tree A poem by Ivan Andreyevich Krylov, translated by Yana Kane Beneath an oak a sow pigged out on acorns, Then napped under the shady canopy, At last, refreshed, she set her snout to digging, Baring the roots that fed the ancient tree. “Stop! Stop!” called out a raven from the branches. “The oak tree’s roots are damaged when you dig.” “What do I care if this useless stump does wither? Acorns are all I’m after,” said the pig. The oak tree’s voice then joined the conversation. “Ingrate!” said to the swine the mighty tree, “If you could lift your snout up from your grubbing, You’d see that all the acorns come from me.” ------- An ignoramus mocking education, Scoffing at science, is blind just like that sow, Failing to see that on the tree of knowledge Ripened the comforts he’s enjoying now. A Hog under an Oak Ivan Krylov A Hog under a mighty Oak Had glutted tons of tasty acorns, then, supine, Napped in its shade; but when awoke, He, with persistence and the snoot of real swine, The giant's roots began to undermine. "The tree is hurt when they're exposed," A Raven on a branch arose. "It may dry up and perish - don't you care?" "Not in the least!" The Hog raised up its head. "Why would the prospect make me scared? The tree is useless; be it dead Two hundred fifty years, I won't regret a second. Nutritious acorns - only that's what's reckoned!" - "Ungrateful pig!" The tree exclaimed with scorn. "Had you been fit to turn your mug around You'd have a chance to figure out Where your beloved fruit is born." A paragraph from Alexander Volokh: Twenty-Five Years Of Environmental Regulation: What Americans Have Learned Even in the absence of the legal system to settle disputes, the very existence of private property was often an effective conservation device. For example (or rather, for a counterexample), many of you may remember the fable by Ivan Andreyevich Krylov about the pig beneath the oak, who ate its fill of acorns and started to dig up the roots of oak. "But this will harm the tree, you know," from the oak's branches said the crow. "Without its roots, the tree may dry." "Oh, let it!" was the pig's reply. "What do I care? The roots don't matter. I just want acorns -- for they make me fatter." In America, we call this the story of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Economists call this problem "The Tragedy of the Commons" -- when a resource is collectively owned, no one has an incentive to invest in the improvement of that resource. Instead, they have an incentive to chop down the tree and take the acorns before they are ripe, because if they don't, someone else will. This is why Americans have dirty public parks. On the other hand, private ownership of the resource encourages responsible stewardship. This is why Americans have clean private lawns. If the pig had been a shrewd businessman who owned the oak and had secure property rights, he would have waited until all the acorns were ripe, and probably would have planted more trees and sold the excess acorns. Click for additional illustration of the Krylov's fable "Pig under the oak" by aleks-klepnev found at Diviantart.
  2. 1 point
    It's inept because I don't think ignoring me is really his goal. He clearly wants to stop me from replying to his posts. That's the objective here. Hence this call to remove me from the forum. And this call to ostracize me. And what is my crime? 1. I'm irrational. 2. I put meaning into his words which he did not mean. 3. I had no intention of advancing the discussion. Even if that were all true, which it's not, how is that cause for banishment or ostracism? This philosophy discussion board entertains all sorts of irrational arguments, straw man attacks, and counter-productive ramblings. That's actually one thing I like about it, because I can come here to hone my ability to recognize such things. Also, while I'm here, I don't enjoy seeing people falsely denigrate my philosophical heroes, and I'll exert a little effort to correct the record, even though that's not my primary purpose here. My main goal is to present my theories and consider the replies. In return I offer comments on other people's posts. I hope that is evident from my general activity. For anyone who thinks Invictus has a valid point, I'd ask you to take a hard look at his causes for calling for my banishment. How easily could they be applied to you? What if he thinks your argument is irrational? What if you believe he's using concepts incorrectly or employing a fallacy? What if he thinks your post doesn't advance the conversation? Is he then going to ignore you while indirectly calling for your banishment?
  3. 1 point


    Knowledge about a fictional world implies the existence of the fictional world (qua fictional world, of course). You could make something up about the fictional story of Harry Potter, for example claiming that Harry is a mathematician, when actually he isn't one, and that wouldn't be knowledge. Whereas some truth about Harry Potter, for example that he is a boy, is knowledge. But I think this is all an aside from the main point, hopefully it's clear to everyone else by "knowledge" I'm talking about correspondence with reality.
  4. 1 point


    This is wrong. Knowledge of a thing does not imply the existence of that thing, since you can have knowledge about things which don't exist (e.g. fictional worlds).
  5. 1 point


    Contrast Wikipedia's neutral presentation of the issue (the problem of universals) with the Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Forward to the First Edition. Here's the first paragraph from the Forward directed toward presenting the issue: The issue of concepts (known as "the problem of universals") is philosophy's central issue. Since man's knowledge is gained and held in conceptual form, the validity of man's knowledge depends on the validity of concepts. But concepts are abstractions or universals, and everything that man perceives is particular, concrete. What is the relationship between abstractions and concretes? To what precisely do concepts refer in reality? Do they refer to something real, something that exists—or are they merely inventions of man's mind, arbitrary constructs or loose approximations that cannot claim to represent knowledge? Bypassing the quotation, she raises one example To exemplify the issue as it is usually presented: When we refer to three persons as "men," what do we designate by that term? The three persons are three individuals who differ in every particular respect and may not possess a single identical characteristic (not even their fingerprints). If you list all their particular characteristics, you will not find one representing "manness." Where is the "manness" in men? What, in reality, corresponds to the concept "man" in our mind? Note the immediate identification of "the problem of universals" as the issue of concepts and planting it squarely as philosophy's central issue. This is followed by the recognition that man's knowledge is conceptual in nature, the validity of man's knowledge rests on the validity of concepts. Knowledge and concepts have logical element to them. Concepts are abstractions or universals. This reiterates that it is the issue of concepts., which subsumes abstractions or universals. This is contrasted with everything that man perceives as particulars, concretes. So far, I don't think Miss Rand has offered either a theory or an attempt at solving "the problem of universals." She is framing the questions and setting her stage, if you will, for the introductory acts yet to unfold.