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  1. 2 likes
    Welcome back, Ilya It's always refreshing to view your multi-faceted concise and to-the-point interlocutions.
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    This is a good point (though perhaps not applicable to the OP)... it's really pathological to question whether something is rational *just because you are interested in it*. If you like something, that is positive evidence that it *is* rational, all other things being equal. Pleasure is not the result of sin, it is a result of virtue. It's not a cost, it's an end in itself. If you like something, that is not a signal that you should stop and carefully think about it. The natural inclinations and innate desires in human nature are not rigged against your rational self-interest. There is no original sin in Objectivism. If you have some reason to question whether something is rational or right, then by all means stop and be careful. But *just being interested in something*, just *liking* something, is *not* a reason to question whether it's rational or right.
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    It can be, sure. It's the history of how you, as an individual, came to exist. It only becomes tribalism if you assign significance to the tribal or ethnic background of your ancestors. But, if you are simply interested in who they were as individuals, it's a selfish, individualistic pursuit.
  4. 2 likes
    Terms such as theorems, proofs, conjectures, etc. are fairly well defined in mathematics. I happen to believe that much of how modern mathematics is practiced is either Rationalism gone wild or mathematical Platonism. My use/training in mathematics (Mechanics) is something entirely different from mathematics as practiced by your typical mathematician. If you ask ten mathematicians about mathematical foundationalism, you'll get 12 answers. That being said, if you approach something like Collatz Conjecture, then you need to either play by the rules of the game, or reinvent the rules. The following is a fairly well accepted definition of Proof. Mathematical Proof In mathematics, a proof is a deductive argument for a mathematical statement. In the argument, other previously established statements, such as theorems, can be used. In principle, a proof can be traced back to self-evident or assumed statements, known as axioms,[2][3][4] along with accepted rules of inference. Axioms may be treated as conditions that must be met before the statement applies. Proofs are examples of deductive reasoning and are distinguished from inductive or empirical arguments; a proof must demonstrate that a statement is always true (occasionally by listing all possible cases and showing that it holds in each), rather than enumerate many confirmatory cases. An unproved proposition that is believed to be true is known as a conjecture.
  5. 2 likes
    A guy named Bob wakes up in the morning. Throughout the day, he makes various choices, including making a to-do list, working on his music album, ordering Chinese food, unwinding with his girlfriend, reading a novel for relaxation. What precedes and motivates those choices? A desire for them, either as ends in themselves (the pleasure they give him) or as a means to another value, or anything in between. Now, why does he desire them? If you answered, "because Man's life is the standard of moral value, and his own life is his moral purpose" you are ipso facto advocating intrinsicism. To paraphrase something I wrote in another thread, you're turning the metaphysicaly given into a god, the way Spinoza did, then giving moral significance to your obedience to the metaphysicaly given. "You exist, therefore: if you want to live, you're moral. If you don't, you're rotten." You can't say "I choose to live because it's moral". You're moral because you choose to live. On the same note, it's wrong to say "I choose to live because of so-and-so metaphysical fact", but you can say "I want to live, and although there's no categorical imperative telling me to live - after all, morality is my servant, not the other way around - my choice is not a whim or arbitrary, but rooted in the fact that I am a living being, i.e. justified by my identity or nature, not by a moral code." This is why Peikoff stresses in his OPAR seminar that this choice is both pre-moral and justified.
  6. 2 likes
    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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    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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    Or maybe run this theory by his parents, I bet they would have some input
  11. 1 like
    Why collectivists grow rice and individualists grow wheat “Growing rice requires far greater cooperation: it is labour-intensive and requires complex irrigation systems spanning many different farms. Wheat farming, by contrast, takes about half the workforce and depends on rainfall rather than irrigation, meaning that farmers don’t need to collaborate with their neighbours and can focus on tending their own crops. My gut reaction is this is a red-herring. The automotive industry, as well, the fairly well documented "I, Pencil" shows that many industries are interconnected in the specialization of specific functions and tasks required to bring together the "simple" writing implement, or the more complex assembly of an individual transportation unit. From the standpoint of farming, one aspect disregarded is the implementations of the protection of property rights that make possible the reaping of the harvest after the other safeguards have been implemented to protect the crops from wildebeests that do not recognize the concept of individual rights. While it is interesting that rice developed as an eastern crop while wheat thrived to the west, the interactivity between those growing rice is still a form of voluntary mutual consent. In the case of pencils and automotive parts, the reliance on the particular suppliers is less prone to the 'accidental' geographic provision of irrigation. If this is the case and point of the more "collectivized" approach in growing rice, I can willingly cede it. The fact that the activity of irrigation for such a crop requires long-range planning bodes well for the need of thinkers to orchestrate it. The fact that where rice has been demonstrated to be reared in areas where a more individualistic approach has been found t be conducive to profitable farming of the commodity and that collectivized communities have restricted its importation on this basis is telling. It is here that the genealogy of rice-growing reaches an impasse. Where the conditions required for growing rice were not naturally occurring, the reward for the effort of understanding the causal relationships to a bountiful harvest was amply rewarded. Where the conditions required for growing rice occurred naturally, the more efficient method of production is viewed as an affront to the tribal traditions.
  12. 1 like
    " Family and the reality of it CAN have deep personal meaning and value " This IS moral weight. " Also in large part, what you are is by Nurture, who you are, what you think, has been formed and shaped by who they are, what they think and feel. " This too. Who you are is a moral issue. " Objectivism is NOT antithetical to Family or the idea that Family can have and provide special Meaning in one's life. " Special meaning is moral weight. Your posts show that genealogy is part of your concept of family and that genealogy matters to some people. That means some people -should- value their genealogy. But no person at all -should- find meaning in it is my claim. " Consider now a family rich in civility and tradition who provided great educational and philosophical instruction, inspired and demanded of their children high standing and achievement and the pattern repeated generation after generation for a statistically significant offspring " This is not genealogy anyway. Each generation has to establish values anew. You can only observe a continuation based on a person believing the people they know personally and culture. That a great grand parent taught your grandparent taught your parent egoism is not to be judged differently than Rand's great grand parent that perhaps taught egoistic ideas. If someone learned to be a racist and lynch black people, that's on them, and only brought on by accepting their culture, not linked to ancestors qua ancestors. The causative link is no different if there is also a genealogical link. Thus, no special meaning exists. " These to families did not become EXACTLY the same after ONE generation. " Each generation is wildly different than the last. No family will be the same. So we judge people as individuals or their values, with no consideration on lineage. If it does affect who I am, even a little (say, 5% of who I choose to be), if you had particularly admirable ancestors, then I can judge some of your moral worth based on your ancestry. But I say 0%. " It's almost as if you take my sense of family and meaning personally? Does it threaten you somehow? " I think you're wrong is all (weird to ask, I'm practically zen about it).
  13. 1 like
    Rand put at least six partial genealogies in Atlas Shrugged. Consider the insights derived from providing genealogical tidbits about the Starnes heirs and the quite detailed background of Wesley Mouch provided on page 498. Ragnar had a briefly summarized past, as did Cherryl Brooks-Taggart. John Galt was even identified as the son of a gas-station mechanic. These are coming from someone who stated in The Art of Fiction: I can give the reason for every word and every punctuation mark in Atlas Shrugged—and there are 645,000 words in it by the printer's count. I did not have to calculate it all consciously when I was writing. But what I did was follow a conscious intention in relation to the novel's theme and to every element involved in that theme. I was conscious of my purpose throughout the job—the general purpose of the novel and the particular purpose of every chapter, paragraph, and sentence.
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    Let us not forget one of the greatest, most virtuous, admirable and heroic characters which has ever been created, namely: Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastián d'Anconia He is one of the men Rand created which exemplify the aspects of the ideal, what a man can and should be. This man speaks of his ancestors with pride and admiration, of deeds of Sebastián d'Anconia in the 1600s, how he was self-made, would not submit to the oppression of others, and how he built a fortune, legacy, and example to sustain his family and its heirs for generations. Francisco's stories show Sebastián confidence in the love of his wife and the pride and confidence, a connection, with those who would come after him. Francisco speaks of the successors of the great Sebastián d'Anconia, how they prided themselves and took it an honor to follow the examples of their ancestor's self-reliance, independence, and discipline. Each was inspired, raised, and wished to live up to his priors. Francisco stated, not with embarrassment or criticism, but with solemn pride, a meaning too deep for the superficial or the crass, that before any man took over D'Anconia Copper he first had to prove himself worthy of the family name. Ask whether or not Francisco finds meaning in family and why. Ask whether or not Rand portrayed this aspect of Francisco as a flaw or as an admirable passion of honorable solemn meaning. Was Franciso or Rand irrational? Was Francisco or Rand a tribalist? I suggest anyone who is confused about the issue, re-read ATLAS SHRUGGED, and consider a true hero's sentiments about his family and ancestry. THEN... by all means get back to me.
  15. 1 like
    I agree that animals have no rights and no inherent moral status. Also that an animal's suffering is not of equal worth to a human's suffering. But that does not mean that, in the treatment of animals, "the only issue is economic viability." You yourself make the case here: It should change your answer. If you like animals in general and enjoy treating them well, then your enjoyment of treating them well is another issue to take into account when deciding on how you're going to treat them. Not simply how much money you'll make based on your treatment of them.
  16. 1 like
    That's about the suffering of animals, not just "others". Since that statement is about killing animals for some end, such as medical research, or food, or anything really, the only issue is economic viability. Their suffering would be not ever be of equal worth to human suffering. Animals have no rights, or and no inherent moral status, at least not more than an autonomous car. For sure, pets and wild animals may be worth different treatment than animals you plan to eat. I like animals in general and I enjoy treating them well, but that doesn't change my answer.
  17. 1 like
    The thinking here seems to be that money is the only rational motivator and that a rational actor would consider this and nothing else. This looks like a good case where this would not be true. Being kind to animals is also a motive. The question would rarely come up anyway; gratuitously painful slaughtering methods would probably not be economically prudent. On the other hand, people hold snails to starve in order to empty out their digestive tracts. The Japanese (I've read) appreciate sashimi from fish butchered live at the table; feeling the reflexive death twitches on the tongue is part of the experience.
  18. 1 like
    Peikoff is asked the question in a podcast, "Can a gay person be a true Objectivist?": Link Binswanger does not talk about homosexuality nor Ayn Rand's friends in 100 Voices, but he mentioned a blurb in an email to the Objectivism Study Group list in 1991: I present this only as a shortcut to others' judgements that her early viewpoint is not important. As a gay fan of Rand's, I understand an interest in her views on "homosexuality" (already an old fashioned term, amazingly). But, Rand's best ideas have also brought me to the point of judging for myself and not caring what Rand thought, since she was wrong. I'm not too concerned with her living in ignorance (as most were about gays) and influenced by the ideas of her times, as a fallible human just like us.
  19. 1 like
    There are different purposes for "thinking", or exerting mental effort (or "focusing" one's mind) such as: 1. to learn knowledge others shared with you (you specifically, or with a group you're a part of) 2. to apply that knowledge in creative ways (to create new knowledge) 3. to communicate with others effectively I think there are enough qualitative differences among those three activities, that they should be discussed separately...as evidenced by the fact that a person can excel at one or two, and be really bad at the other one or two. Since the subject you seem to be most interested in is learning, I'd love to take a crack at a partial answer to that. Partial, because it's a big subject, and I don't think anyone understands it as well as we should (compared to other fields of research). I'll start with my personal experience. My main two areas of focus are language learning (I do it for enjoyment, been doing it almost every day, since the day I was born) and programming (that's my profession), and I have basically the same approach to both. I learn in two ways: 1. I immerse myself into an environment where the knowledge I'm trying to learn is being used/put into practice by people who are better at it than me. In language learning, that can mean a wide variety of things, including watching TV or hanging out with friends who speak the language. So it's really easy to do, especially in the Internet age. Probably why I do it regularly. In programming, it's a little more tricky, because, in this field, information tends to be presented in the form of courses or books written for the purposes of teaching beginners or entry level programmers, most often in an extremely oversimplified manner. That doesn't work for me. Never has, never will. I will use them if I must, but I prefer immersion. So I look for places where the knowledge is actually being put into practice, on a level that is the same or close to what a professional programmer would do. I don't want someone holding my hand through the process, I want to be thrown into the thick of things. There are people who will open up a youtube channel or blog, and just start DOING programming on it. Not teaching, not "Hello, world" exercises, actual projects. There are also books like that, where professional programmers don't try to teach, they just present knowledge to their peers. There are also collaborative projects, etc. That's what I'm looking for. 2. I practice what I learn. Sometimes, if I must, I rely on "exercises" (in programming, not in language learning...in natural language learning, I just dive into using the language in whatever way I can, with the small exception of learning pronunciation...that area benefits greatly from structured exercises), but, in general, I prefer to do actual, professional level projects from the start. Also, this second "step" doesn't come AFTER the first step is over. It's in parallel. The most important things to note, about my process, are that a. it doesn't involve and conscious decision making, once the immersion begins...I don't "think", or "make decisions" about learning (I don't take mental notes along the lines of "oh, this is an important bit", or "oh, this is related to this other thing, I better make a conscious connection here"), it just happens incidentally, and b. ideally, there is a degree of difficulty involved: keeping up with what's going on is a challenge, it requires effort, and forces you to think in a way you wouldn't in a more easily accessible environment (my theory on why this difficulty helps is that, by forcing you to focus on trying to process what's happening, it prevents you from trying to focus on "learning", meaning "memorizing" or "remembering" discrete items of information). That's what works for me, and for many others I talk to about this subject. Structured classes, teachers, memorization techniques, etc., don't work as well. Finally, just to back the above up with some research, I've come across some very interesting research recently, involving memorization and learning: https://bjorklab.psych.ucla.edu/research/ It's a lot of information, covering a variety of topics related to learning, but here's an especially relevant quote, on what they call "desirable difficulties":
  20. 1 like
    Jennifer Burns of the Hoover Institution has written an interesting op-ed titled, "Ayn Rand Is Dead. Liberals Are Going to Miss Her." Along with several other things in the piece, I dispute the premature obituary -- and can almost hear Rand say, "It's earlier than you think." That said, Burns ends with a very good point: Mixed in with Rand's vituperative attacks on government was a defense of the individual's rights in the face of a powerful state. This single-minded focus could yield surprising alignments, such as Rand's opposition to drug laws and her support of legal abortion. And although liberals have always loved to hate her, over the next four years, they may come to miss her defense of individual autonomy and liberty. [bold added]This sentiment echoes a point Onkar Ghate of the Ayn Rand Institute made a few years ago, when he asked of liberals, "Why let conservatives monopolize her?" This is precisely one issue on which Rand challenges modern liberals: whether it's consistent to advocate an individual's intellectual and personal liberty while denying him economic liberty. It wasn't always so. Liberals in the nineteenth century were champions of science and at the forefront of abolishing slavery and securing a woman's individual rights. But they were also champions of private property, free trade and economic liberty. It is this combination that produced the individual's unprecedented progress in that century. Modern liberals, however, abandoned the right to private property in favor of various socialistic visions, which have since faded with awareness of what socialism and communism actually wrought. The result is what [Yale historian Beverly] Gage notes: modern liberals bereft of an ideal. Any liberal-leaning person today who seeks long-term goals and a new vision, but will not touch the political right because of conservatives' anti-evolution, anti-immigration, anti-abortion platforms, would do well to remember nineteenth-century liberalism. Perhaps the two alternatives confronting us, a government with virtually unlimited power to dictate our personal lives or our economic lives, are both defective.Each piece provides evidence that neither "side" of today's political "divide" consistently stands up for what it claims to uphold, be it prosperity (by the right) or personal freedom (by the left). But each also indicates why: an unmet need for the philosophical ideas that these goals depend on. It's only more obvious that the left never gave Rand a serious look, but the alleged adoption of Rand by the right sketched by Burns wasn't exactly deep. Someone who happens to want to spout off about some position that happens to align with one espoused by Rand will find eloquence and polemical material in abundance to lift, but so what? Can anyone who does this, and yet so plainly continues embracing contradictory ideas (e.g., Paul "Ayn" Ryan's professed desire to save the unsavable Social Security system) really be said to have taken a serious look at Rand, either? As a long-time student of Ayn Rand, who was initially attracted to her in part for the ability I thought she would confer on me to eviscerate opponents, I can say this: Any fool can be a critic. Building a positive case for freedom is much harder, and requires a mode of thought that differs in kind from simply tearing down opponents (which just about sums up what most people do these days when discussing politics). If you truly value economic freedom, don't yield to the temptation to simply take easy (and easy-to-ignore) pot-shots at leftists. And if you truly value personal freedom, consider the idea that government "social" programs rob individuals, like yourself and people you care about. The fact that no one was able to rise above the palpably toxic level of "discourse" during the last election raises the question of why the GOP's alleged fans of Ayn Rand didn't display the certainty and serenity that comes with conviction. Ayn Rand is too powerful a voice to ignore, but she is also too subtle a thinker to win instant converts. Whether Rand truly becomes a strong-enough cultural force to turn the political tide of history remains to be seen, and it is a mistake take abandonment by people who never really accepted her as a sign that the force of her ideas is spent. -- CAV Link to Original
  21. 1 like
    Just to put this in perspective: 1 billion years is 1000 million years. 1 billion years ago no multicellular organisms existed (800 million is the estimate for when they arrived). Mammals evolved into man over 65 million years (if we give them a start of about when the dinosaurs met their end) Man split from other primates about 8 million years ago, when our common ancestor with the Chimpanzees lived. Civilization is at most 12000 years old The Industrial revolution and the renaissance are on the order of only 250 years old. 5 billion years is long enough for something as advanced as Man to evolve from a single celled animal 6 times. Potentially you could destroy every multicellular organism on the planet, and something like man could emerge in 800 million years, you could do it again, and again ... all before the sun eats Earth. If instead you chose only to kill off all advanced mammals (including man), conceivably it could take 65 million years to produce man or something equivalent. So that could happen 77 times, over. You could kill them all off, 77 times, right down to say rats. If instead we killed off Mankind, its possible something as sophisticated as man could evolve from primates 625 times. If we left man alive and only destroyed civilization, every trace of it, it could reappear almost 420 thousand times. Finally we could reduce man to the pre-industrial pre-renaissance era a whopping 20 Million times. Certainly there is no guarantee that if these catastrophic events occurred things would come back in the same time, then again sometimes it could be faster rather than slower... On a more positive note, if there are no such catastrophes, Man will likely be capable of interstellar travel in less than 500 years. Assuming we start making journeys then, we could: Travel to and back from the nearest star system Alpha Centauri (about 4 light years away) - a total of 50 Million times (going at only ten percent the speed of light...) Travel to and back from the interesting TRAPPIST-1 planetary system (about 40 light years away) - a total of 5 Million times Travel to and back from the nearest star cluster Hyades (about 140 light years away) - about 1.4 million times Go around the circumference of the Galaxy (about 300,000 light years) - about 666 times Go to the Andromeda Galaxy and BACK again, 80 times IF it stayed at its current distance of 2.4 million light years. (speaking of which, since the Andromeda Galaxy is actually on a collision course with the Milky Way in 4 billion years... this number is a fiction... ) All of these assume we only achieve 10 percent the speed of light... which is VERY modest. AND Who knows what we shall FIND or MAKE out there over the vast spans of space and time... 1. Since taking truly catastrophic negative action of unimaginable magnitudes, including destruction of civilization, mankind, and even all forms of higher life, hardly directly ensures any outcome (positive or negative) 5 billion years from now, it makes little sense to argue that taking any token positive "action" now, could have any predictable result in 5 billion years. 2. Since interstellar travel may be somewhat normal (assuming a positive future) it is very possible many worlds having fully formed biospheres will exist in 5 billion years, in which case Earth might no longer be "central" to humanity or life.
  22. 1 like
    I've watched you wax eloquent on the subject for some time, but this sticks (one must choose to live, before one embraces morality) in my craw. We eat, yes. as babies, we cry when we are hungry. But volition begins with the first syllogism. We learn language, starting with first level concepts, moving toward being able to coalesce our thoughts cogently. Mom/Dad put food on the table, we eat—because we are hungry. At 2 . . . have we learned what something as abstract as "life" is?, much less recognizing that a code of morality extends from the recognition that existence exists—and in a single choice: to live? I respect the fact that to you, life is a value. Haven't you, then, already made the choice to live (explicitly or implicitly)? There may be many compelling reasons to offer someone else for living. Conceptually, the question boils down to what does the concept of morality presuppose? If it presupposes the choice to live, then how does that choice qualify as moral?
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    I'm at a loss at how to state this more clearly. Let me try to answer in the style of Dr. Seuss's "green eggs and ham": I would not murder someone in a house I would not murder them with a mouse I would not murder someone here or there I would not murder them ANYWHERE! I would not, I could not on a boat I will not, will not, with a goat I will not murder someone in the rain I will not murder someone with a train Not in the dark! Not in a tree! Not in a car! You let me be! I will not murder someone! *** Seriously though, there is no trade you can offer me that would make it worth it, it doesn't matter what are the stakes, it doesn't matter how many murders, tortures, or rapes you put on the other side. Why? Because it's a moral principle based on the metaphysical nature of man. It's a matter of integrity, and as Rand has demonstrated in her fiction and philosophy, to sacrifice one's integrity is irrational. Intentionally killing an innocent man cannot add value to the world or to your life; all values that are produced in the world come from such men, and to murder them goes against the cause of your interests. All of those deaths you want to put at stake are not caused by this innocent man, destroying him can only add to the destruction and affirm the evil. If you want to stop the destruction and fight this evil, you must stop it at its cause. In a hypothetical where you are cut off from that cause and there is nothing you can do to stop it, the only choice remaining to you is to not add to the evil in the world in your own actions and in your own person. You can only fight evil by standing on principle for the good in your own person in the alternatives and choices available to you.
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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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    One of the lecture from ARI that I have makes the analogy of integration to a puzzle. As the various pieces are put together, a picture begins to emerge. If random pieces from another puzzle are present, it doesn't really matter because one you have the puzzle fully assembled, the errant pieces are easily discarded as irrelevant to the completion of the now completed puzzle. If I were to extrapolate that analogy to DIM, the example given would be applicable to the (I) method or approach. The (M) approach would be to start assembling the various pieces on some preconceived notion of what the picture ought to look like while ignoring that the two edges of some of the adjoining pieces do not fit correctly together, in essence, forcing the pieces together to create the preconceived picture. When the puzzle is finally completed, any extra pieces are discarded as before, whether or not the discarded pieces were part of the (I) puzzle or not. Mixing the (M) approach with elements of the (I) method, the disagreements come down to a combination of "these edges don't appear to align properly" against "this is how I imagined the picture should be". The (D) approach prefers to leave the pieces unassembled. Even if you could put all the pieces together, they counter, you can't know if that is what the picture actually looks like and even so, each puzzle piece is a picture within itself. Mixing the (D) approach with aspects of the (M) method, a few pieces that fit together are discovered here and there, Once you've put these 2 or three pieces together, they are no longer individual pieces. If these groups of pieces happen to fit with another group of pieces, you're no longer trying to assemble a puzzle, you're just trying to assemble groups of pieces. You may be able to determine how two adjoining edges fit together, but once they're together, those adjoining edges are no longer available for adjoining with other edges. Rationalization, from this standpoint, is so much easier to grasp and in many ways see the errors therein. The "floaters", as Peikoff refers to them in DIM, miss reality. The empiricists miss understanding.
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    I thought you haven't read the book yet? I can't tell if Nicky has read it either. In any case, I was hoping for more substantive discussion on the book itself so I can evaluate if it's worth my time. I would be surprised, too, if Peikoff was showing a malevolent universe premise, but I'd have to read the book to say if he is. Although the quotes mentioned from DIM don't support that idea at all so far.
  30. 1 like
    That is what I assumed. Pessimism is the great term for what I sense when I listen to and read his work, though I hate to focus on it. His work is amazing.
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    Let's see, DIM is an acronym broken into 5 subdivisions under which the destination of each subdivision was explored. A Totalitarian state lies at the end of one path. The road to freedom lie down another. Observation identifies which path the most people trod. Do most people even know what path they are on? The solution is to illuminate why the destination is so dark, and the same time indicate the power source that resides at the alternative direction that can keep the lights on. Objectivism, like Aristotelianism has already been discovered.
  32. 1 like
    As opposed to which book, the DIM Hypothesis? You're implying that Peikoff's goal is to help totalitarianism triumph with this book? Peikoff recognizes that American intellectuals hold the wrong ideas, that those ideas cause them to view the Universe as malevolent, and that these ideas and view inevitably lead to a dark future for those who hold them. He also recognizes the fact that these intellectuals aren't willing to listen to anyone with better ideas. The Benevolent Universe Premise has nothing to do with what you expect of him: pretend that the statements above are not true. The Benevolent Universe Premise is the reason why an old man put all the effort he has left into finishing a book identifying those facts: it's because he believes it will make a difference, sometime, somewhere. Not here and now, obviously, because here and now, American intellectuals won't even read it (or Atlas Shrugged for that matter, except maybe to jeer at it). So, you made it clear what you're arguing against here, but what exactly are you arguing for? That any day now, America's leadership is gonna see the light and turn the country around? What are you basing this on (other than the Benevolent Universe Premise, which you are misinterpreting to mean something it doesn't and cannot mean: that evil can turn into good all by itself).
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    This is, in my opinon, possibly one of the best line in the whole history of literature: JG: Tell that bastard to look at my face, then look in the mirror, and then ask himself if my moral stature was ever at the mercy of his actions. I also love this one (the first line is just to clarify what the second means): Mr. Thompson: Don't you see? What I've got to offer you is your life! JG: It's not yours to give, Mr. Thompson. The whole Galt @ the Wayne Falkland is brilliant.