Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Leaderboard


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/03/10 in Posts

  1. 6 points
    One of the greatest regrets of my early life is cutting off ties with a girl I loved, and several of our common friends, because I couldn't have her. Yes, staying friends would've been painful...and, back then, I thought pain was a hindrance to any kind of accomplishment or success, and therefor to be avoided at all cost...but, as I found out later: pain is a part of life. A necessary, and therefor GOOD part of life. It would've TAUGHT me a lot, about both myself and the nature of the human experience in general. So just take the pain. Don't betray your values, by removing a good person from your life, because you're scared of a little pain. If you take the pain of a short term, probably illusory heartbreak, you will be rewarded for it with a learning experience you can't access in any other way... and possibly a lifetime of friendship as well. P.S. You DO want to stay away from any kind of an exploitative relationship. My post assumes that your relationship with her is a straight forward friendship (like mine was), and she is not taking advantage of your feelings in any way.
  2. 5 points
    I’m in the Cayman Islands now, where I just had my second Regenexx-C procedure with culture-expanded stem cells. I saved for it for two years. We treated almost every joint in my body. The first procedure 20 months ago probably saved my life, and I’m stoked to get even more improvement from this one.
  3. 5 points
    DavidOdden

    Race Realism

    As you think about this topic, I suggest that you keep in mind the possibility that “race” is simply a mistaken concept, a mis-identification. It’s not like “gremlin”, “unicorn” of “free lunch”, being purely fictitious, but is is sufficiently detached from reality that it needs to be consigned to the intellectual trash heap that also contains phlogiston and epicycles. In its place would be some concept pertaining to human evolution and genetics. The genetic concept of “haplogroup” is based in objectively measurable fact, and the study of Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups has produced some interesting results pertaining to population genetics. (The reason for these 2 groups is that they do not recombine, so Y-DNA gives you good information about the patrilineal line and mtDNA is about the maternal line). In tracing shared mutations, you can come up with something resembling a “family tree” of humans. There are geographical correlates of haplogroups, where for example haplogroup A appears in parts of Africa especially among the San, who have probably been hanging on in the same spot for tens of thousands of years. Haplogroup A represents the “original situation”, lacking any of the subsequent Y-DNA mutations. And then you start adding mutations, and you check the geographical distribution of that mutation. (Geographical distributions have to be controlled by knowledge of history, for example the Siddi in India were transported from East Africa about 1500 years ago; obviously, Europeans only appeared in the New World a few hundred years ago). There are some surprises there, for example haplogroup B is high frequency in Africa, but also among the Hazaras of Afghanistan, which is surprising since usual racial classifications would have them be Mongoloid. Eventually you will get to haplogroup L-M20 which has high frequency among Tamils and I assume Malayali. It is also frequent (though not as frequent) among Pashtuns. Again, Dravidians can be racially classified in lots of ways, depending on what morphological features you’re attending to; Pashtuns are pretty much standardly classified as Caucasian. So the problem is that there is a physical reality (a genetic fact, which refers to your ancestry) which however doesn’t match well with any extant theory of “race”. The reason is, simply, that the theory of “race” is based on a false premise of absolute and instantaneous separation of humans – as though God split the human race into 6? groups and instantly transported them to their ancestoral homelands. Instead of race, we have a better concept of haplogroup, which is actually related to genetics. There are very many haplogrops: it is a hierarchical concept.
  4. 5 points
    Nicky

    How much danger are we in? What can we do?

    Yes, of course. Western countries are democracies. Ordinary citizens decide who runs our governments. We should vote for leaders who recognize basic facts about Vladimir Putin, such as: 1. He is a murderer, behind a series of assassinations and assassination attempts both at home and in countries around the world (including Britain, which shows how brazen he is). 2. He is fueling the Ukrainian civil war. 3. His intelligence services hacked the DNC, and released compromising information to Wikileaks in order to prevent a Clinton victory. This was an unprecedentedly hostile act. While espionage, including hacking, is par for the course between competing world powers, none of them have dumped the information they obtained through espionage onto the web, to influence elections, before. As such, this is a new level of hostility, which warrants an equally hostile response. 4. The DNC hack is part of a media and intelligence campaign aimed at destabilizing western countries. It is Russian propagandists (behind outlets like Russia Today) and intelligence services working together to sow confusion and poison western politics. In other words, we need to elect leaders who recognize Vladimir Putin as the enemy, treat him and his government as such, and retaliate proportionally for every single act of aggression or attempt to interfere. And, of course, we need to speak up about these basic facts, whenever someone is willing to gloss over them and write them off as "the leftist media trying to justify losing the election". Not saying they're not doing that, by the way. But what the leftist media is doing doesn't change what the facts are.
  5. 4 points
    StrictlyLogical

    Grieving the loss of God

    I'm no psychologist, but it is fairly common knowledge that grief is a natural part of life, if we conceive of it broadly as going through the process of psychologically dealing with loss. Loss is natural and ubiquitous if one is alive, growing, or changing... all the time one loses one's former self to become something new , something more (or different), a process of being is not static - it is a process of becoming. We transform from a dependent child to an adult, we learn to accept that Santa Claus is a fiction, as an adult we accept "the highschool years" as a part of our ever evolving lives and not its definition, and we must learn to make the transformation through old age and decline as well... These transformations and the subsequent introspections of the differences of self, require a process to fully deal with. We are aware that those who do not properly process these changes, as with those who do not properly process the death of a loved one, have psychologically unresolved issues... which can and will be problematic, until they are properly processed and there is closure and acceptance of the reality of that particular loss or change on a deep psychological level. One of the biggest psychological transformations a person can go through is to convert from an adherent of the religious/supernatural/mystical to a complete atheist. This is no trifle... it is a fundamental shift of a world view, indeed a view of the universe, all of existence, its relation to the self and the very definition of self also. Is anyone aware of any authority, academic, or psychologist who delved into, contemplated, and/or wrote substantively on the subject matter of the psychological process of Grief necessary for fully completing the transformation from religion to atheism in a psychologically healthy manner?
  6. 4 points
    Ninth Doctor

    Grieving the loss of God

    This came to mind, though she's not a psychologist: If you know someone going through it, good chance this talk will be relatable. The transition from Catholic to Atheist is long in my past, so I'm more interested in people's thoughts/experiences with the social context of being a member of this particular oppressed minority. Especially at work. I avoid the subject at work, and when asked try to leave it at "I'm not religious". But there's always some nosy parker. I once had an outside consultant I had barely met tell me, intending it as friendly advice, that the only thing he knew about me is that I'm an atheist and that I shouldn't let people know that. He was from a communist country and hadn't been raised with religion, so he was speaking as one atheist to another. "Just tell them you're spiritual". Up to that point I'd only had one person quiz me about my religion, starting with "where do you attend church?"; suffice to say she was not about to take "I don't" as a final answer, and she was one to make the most of her time around the water cooler. And I didn't even use the "a" word. This was years ago, and I didn't stay there very long. Nevertheless, it rankles.
  7. 4 points
    NOW, obviously. Lifespans are the longest ever, people are more civilized, every single life is a zillion times wealthier, leisure time abounds, knowledge only goes up because all past knowledge is instant and free, ice cream only gets more popular so we have like 500 more choices than ever before, and humanity still has its built-in bullshit meter intact. Now, a lot of people just need to realize it's this good not because it always was.
  8. 4 points
    KALADIN

    The Serene Metaphysic

    Two quotes to begin. The first: “In general, it is absurd to make the fact that the things of this earth are observed to change and never to remain in the same state, the basis of our judgment about the truth. For in pursuing the truth one must start from the things that are always in the same state and suffer no change.” - Aristotle, Book 11, from his Metaphysics. Now the second: “Serenity comes from the ability to say ‘Yes’ to existence.” - Ayn Rand, 1973, from her essay “The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made”. Any science of first principles rightly supposes that the justificatory structure of our schemas and assertions are terminal. It would seem then that there ought to be a terminus of judgment also, for how is one to judge a thing which can not be justified, even in principle? Justification surely is a form of explanation, namely one which identifies a cause whose identification itself deals in adherence to a kind of normativity appropriate to the production of human knowledge. Aristotle points out that all explanation is in terms of something more fundamental, and nothing is truly capable of explaining itself, for nothing is more fundamental than itself - it simply is itself. It has seemed strange then to philosophers throughout history that those concepts and principles occupying the base of human knowledge, being capable neither of having explanation or justification, should still be the ultimate source of both, hence the perennial quest for and atheological concerns towards an explanation of something like Being as such. This sort of meta-attitude is not confined to metaphysics or what calls itself metaphysics. Indeed in Hume’s infamous passage about the inescapable bifurcation or rather the inexplicable marriage of descriptive and normative statements, we see the presence of an anxious, “something from nothing” worry more familiar to us in the context of discussions about God. We may find this sort of sentiment just as easily in epistemologies also of the last century, where neo-Kantians like Wilfred Sellars marshal the notion of inference as constitutive of the perceiving act so as to escape the undesirable conclusion that the perceptually given could at once be justificatory and non-propositional, i.e., not itself justified or justifiable. The ability of certain things to be a power unto themselves has always been met throughout history with skepticism and derision, especially by philosophers. While this fact may owe some to the prevalence and intuitive attractiveness of a naive necessitarian conception of causality (which itself necessarily invokes a prime mover), where the supposed constant conjunction of motion is appropriated as identifying the form of epistemic relations or ethical systems, I believe the source is more complicated in matter if not in form, and partly social. Namely, that in human interaction we constantly seek the identification of a final cause to explain the behavior of the human agents we interact with. And insofar as these motivations are explicit - as is the case with more noticeable, determined action - the cause can be expressed in propositional form, and we are thus loathe to think that any cause ought not to be able to expressed to one another someway, somehow. Even in relations lacking humans altogether, say perhaps the evolutionary development of an alternative organism, we identify the final cause of species survival and propagation as an explanatory summation of the efficient - and principally chemical - causes responsible for an organism’s biological integrity. We understand our mature language to be capable of reaching all corners of nature, both now, before, and forevermore. We understand and believe then that if there are no reasons to accept something, then there can certainly be no reasons not to reject it. And it is precisely here, in elevating a particularly - and this is key - conceptual mode of grasping existence to legislate what is and is not permissible to treat as existent that all philosophical hell breaks loose. The explicit error is thus: the holding of the man-made, for no conceptual artifact is necessary, to constrain the metaphysically given. That is, the total inversion of epistemological primacy, of treating not perception but conception as cognitively basic. There is really only one tradition in the history of philosophy which explicitly recognizes a kind of metaphysical acquiescence as the source of epistemological accuracy, and that is the Aristotelian one, of which Objectivism is a part. Just as Aristotle refuted logical determinism by affirming the direction of truth to move from the metaphysically given to the man-made, so we may chastise those anti-foundationalist tendencies which make much ado about the fact that those so-called primaries of cognition cannot be explained or justified, yet serve as the source of both; the primaries, insofar as they constitute an identification of the relation of man's necessary formatic apprehension (for to be aware is not merely to be aware of something, but to be aware of something somehow) of existence to existence are not to be judged. The man-made can not arbitrate how the metaphysically given ought to be, or how its epistemic status ought to present itself, indeed the very concept of “ought” is inapplicable. It as arbitrary to assert that because primaries are inexplicable they are somehow invalid or untrustworthy as it is to rule out the concept of “inertia” with Aristotelian physics. In both cases, perception, our primitive and primary contact with and awareness of reality - because it is metaphysically given and the identities of the human, sensory apparatus as well as the existents which act upon them are outside the power of human volition, of human making - vindicates what may be thought of as possible and trustworthy, and no more and no less. You may recall that I mentioned that there can be no reasons given not to reject the metaphysically given, and this is true unless those reasons are tied to some normative conception of what it is thought should be about and what it should serve. Indeed one is always free to ask: “why shouldn't I contradict myself?”. Objectivism has no answer to give this question save: man shall not live on thought alone, and if he is to acquire his bread also, he will need non-contradictory thought and a non-contradictory method to achieve it. Objectivism does not judge the metaphysically-given precisely because its recognition, its identification, is the means of making proper judgments about it, its very precondition. To say “yes” to the metaphysically-given is not to judge it as true or good, but to acknowledge the metaphysically-given fact that correspondence between and conformity of the metaphysically-given to the man-made is good or otherwise conducive to the survival of the man-made, and moreover still that the content of this relation is itself metaphysically-given. Objectivism does not promote an attitude of metaphysical acquiescence as true because it is good, but as good because it is true. Power over nature does not come from asserting man's omnipotence, but from asserting where and indeed how power is possible to him. To paraphrase Bacon: Nature, to be commanded, must not be judged.
  9. 4 points
    softwareNerd

    Donald Trump

    I'm not sure on what you base your view of the psychology of middle-class Americans. What Trump saw was the the number of whiny whites had grown to a point where they had become a voting bank that nobody was speaking to. He saw that the Democratic party had started ignoring these people, and not been giving them enough hand-outs. These people felt invisible. In the wake of the great recession, they were also scared. For 40 years, ever since early Japanese competition, people have been telling these cohorts that the world is changing and they'd better adapt. Many did. But, too many pouted and refused to adapt. As if the world owed them a living! Japan came, the Asian tigers came,...and there was blowback each time, but net-net the system adjusted. Then the Chinese came -- a billion workers. And these Americans, still competing mostly on their low-skilled labor -- and having not heeded a few decades of warnings -- were finally scared. The great recession was the final straw. These loser Americans were then looking for someone to blame for their folly. Trump saw that. And, trump is a master of blaming others. And truth has no meaning to him, so he was the right person at the right time. Hillary was seen as "status quo", so these unthinking Americans -- clueless about right and wrong political ideas -- wanted to kick out anyone conventional. A bit to his surprise, trump found himself leading. Being the zero-ego that he is, he was expert in reflecting back the emotions of the crowd. A populist in the worst possible sense. He does not represent self-reliance, self-esteem and independence. He won because he pandered to the whining low-middle class white voters who think the world owes them something, and who think any type of intellectualism is just trickery.
  10. 4 points
    The Soviets, and now the Russians, have been trying to influence U.S. politics for decades, primarily by influencing public opinion. And, not just U.S., they did the same all over the world. The most blatant way was to helping professors and intellectuals who were favorable to socialism. They would invite them to see how well their revolution was going, they would provide them with "data" about how well their economy was doing. It seems unbelievable now that Samuelson's widely used Economic text book kept projecting that the U.SS.S.r would surpass the U.S. in a decade a two... and continued to predict this through years of revisions. Another thrust was the aiding of anti-war and anti-nuke movements all over the world. Along with that, they always had an eye out for disaffected groups in the west, and would help fringe groups if they were railing against the political system of the west. It did not matter if the ideology of such groups was counter to their own. In the eyes of a Russian KGB/FSB officer, a fringe group with a religious agenda or even with a radically free-market agenda is a potential asset. There's potential for such groups to spread dissent while never actually succeeding too much; but there are all sorts of related advantages in using local groups for cover and to lend an domestic legitimacy to other activities that may otherwise appear suspiciously Russian. In the post Soviet era, semi-private organizations like RT work with this as their dual agenda. Social media opens another avenue. From their premises, the Russian FSB would be stupid not to use this new media, when it is available, and becoming the primary source of news for so many U.S. voters. It's also a place they have a slight advantage, because they are quicker to censor things they do not like. SO, they set up organizations to publish on social media, for a U.S. audience. Of course, "publish" means something different from traditional media. On FB, you have to create sock-puppet accounts, build networks of friends, build cred, and then start to send out the propaganda. In the last election, the Russians seemed to have preferred Trump over Hillary, but that is in keeping with their usual playbook of disrupting the establishment. I doubt the potential policies of the two candidates was a big deal. And, apart from social media, they also influenced people in Trump's campaign, promising them dirt on Hillary, and possibly delivering. U.S. Politics: None of this implies that Trump won because of Russian influence. Is it possible that he did? Yes, of course. Given the razor thin margin by which Trump won the election (only certain states matter in this calculus), and given how big a role Hillary's negatives played, it is possible that a small percentage in swing states might have voted differently. Even those voters themselves would not be able to tell you; so, it is an impossible question to answer either way. The only thing that makes it "possible" and plausible is the thin margins and the nature of the positives/negatives. It is really bad strategy -- from the Democratic perspective -- to think that Trump won because of the Russians. If they truly think this, they won't address their actual weaknesses: the things that explain the bulk of the difference in votes. In my judgement, influential mainstream Democrats do not believe this. They understand that people wanted to chuck them out, and that they had a candidate whose core message was "more of the same". However, most Democrats are willing to spread this narrative because it is the only explanation that many party faithful will buy. This is short-sighted, because their best long-term solution is to re-position themselves a bit, for which they need to explain the real reason they failed. Instead, they seem to be hoping that the country will tire of the buffoon in the White house in 4 years. it's a gamble; but they've been in this game for a long time, and understand how difficult it is to change their members' ideology. Back to the Russian menace: At heart, the problem with the country is the ignorant and confused American voter, who has mostly bought in to statism as a theory of politics. With such voters being the vast majority, they'll keep voting for statist politicians and cheering statist laws. Whether it's Trump or Hillary, ... that's not going to make any fundamental changes to the country.
  11. 3 points
    softwareNerd

    National Borders

    Do you take any of those points seriously? People who make those points are either rationalizing or using them to try win an argument. Their real argument is that they don't want more than a certain number of immigrants each year, because it dilutes existing culture and brings competition for jobs.
  12. 3 points
    dream_weaver

    Which Eternity?

    It was in the Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy to be found: The climax of the "miraculous" view of existence is represented by those existentialists who echo Heidegger, demanding: "Why is there any being at all and not rather nothing?"—i.e., why does existence exist? This is the projection of a zero as an alternative to existence, with the demand that one explain why existence exists and not the zero. Granted the claim of the "miraculous" view is not stated explicitly in your lines leading up to it, but Heidegger's demand resonates in the cited portion. The denial that it is "NOT Reification of the Zero" brushes aside just 'what' is the alternative to existence.
  13. 3 points
    Replaced it with a quote from Howard Roark, rather than Ellsworth Toohey: I've always demanded a certain quality in the people I liked. I've always recognized it at once --- and it's the only quality I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters.
  14. 3 points
    . I’ve had Scott Ryan’s 2003 book critiquing Rand’s epistemology about four years, though I’ve not gotten to work through it fully. His book displays considerable knowledge of Objectivism and some other philosophy as well. I have the impression that his is one of the two most substantive book-length critiques so far of the Objectivist philosophy itself (the other being Kathleen Touchstone's Then Athena Said). The material quality of his book, paperback, is excellent. The quotation from Intrinsicist is from page 41 of Ryan’s book. Mr. Ryan died in Feb. 2016 at age 52. He had a degree in mathematics, and late in life, he earned a JD. He was an esteemed participant in a blog of Edward Feser, who is author of a very helpful book Scholastic Metaphysics – A Contemporary Introduction (2014). Greg Salmieri observes in his 2008 Ph.D. dissertation Aristotle and the Problem of Concepts: "It may be that the dominant non-realist theories of concepts in the history of philosophy all render concepts subjective, but it does not follow from this that all non-realist theories must. There is room for theories that hold that concepts have an objective basis, without having univesals as their proper objects." The qualification “proper” in Greg's phrase “proper object” is meant as in Aristotle's speaking of a given sensory modality's proper object. So as an Aristotelian conceives of sound as the proper object (dedicated object, we would say in engineering) of hearing, the Platonist conceives of universals as if they were proper objects of concepts. Greg argues that Aristotle did not think of universals as “proper objects” of concepts. In his 1964 Ph.D. dissertation, Leonard Piekoff has a footnote on page 107 in which he cites an old jewel. That jewel is The Theory of Universals by R. I. Aaron (Oxford 1952). In this work, the author treats the varieties of realism, conceptualism, and nominalism across the history of theory of universals. He argues the sound points and bases of each and what each of them of itself leaves out of account. In the end, like Rand, but earlier, Aaron rejects all realism, conceptualism, and nominalism as inadequate. He then sketches what he takes to be the right theory, so far as it goes. I add that last clause because he had not got onto Rand’s idea of measurement-omission analysis of general concepts (and related analysis of similarity relations). This book, and of course Peikoff’s dissertation, is work to which Peikoff would have exposed Rand in those years leading to her publication in ’66-67 of her own theory of universals and concepts. Aaron titles his sixth chapter “Is There a Real Problem?” He responds to various reasons for thinking there is no such problem. He proposes that it is not wise, given the history of the problem and reasons against there being any problem, to begin with the questions “Are there universals?” or “Is the universal a word?” He begins, rather, with the question “How do we use general words?” which engenders more narrow questions such as “What past experiences are necessary to successful use of general words?” and “What sort of objects and what sort of arrangement of objects in the experienced world enable us to use general words successfully?”
  15. 3 points
    Reidy

    Why Read Aristotle Today?

    The author is apparently unaware of Rand, but much of what she has to say is of Randian interest. https://aeon.co/essays/what-can-aristotle-teach-us-about-the-routes-to-happiness?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AeonMagazineEssays+(Aeon+Magazine+Essays)
  16. 3 points
    Peter Suderman of Reason Magazine argues that, "Under Trump, Republicans Have Become the Party of No Ideas." Suderman makes some disturbing connections of data with his thesis, such as the following: Ayn Rand's image of the hollow oak seems particularly apt, but this will do. (Image via Pixabay)... Republicans are not merely struggling with difficult vote math, or with converting broad ideas into legislative form. They are abandoning the notion of a policy agenda entirely. That abandonment can be seen in the slew of GOP retirements -- more than two dozen so far, including a large number of committee heads, who have historically taken charge of writing legislation and moving it through the congressional process. In a very real sense, the Republican Party, or at least the party as we have known it, is calling it quits. The most notable of the retirees is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a veteran lawmaker who built his career as a legislative entrepreneur, the closest thing the GOP had to an idea man, pitching a broad policy agenda he at one point dubbed "A Better Way." Even among Republicans, Ryan's ideas, especially on entitlements, were always more popular in theory than in practice, and Ryan's status as a deficit hawk was often overrated. But at the very least his ideas served as a sort of ideological placeholder, a sense of what the party should, or could, aim for in the absence of a more promising program. [bold added]Signs of this were evident during the campaign, as Bret Stephens noted in the Wall Street Journal back in 2016, when he commented on the leadership of the GOP folding like a cheap law chair after Trump became the nominee: What isn't normal is the ease with which so many conservative leaders, political and intellectual, have prostrated themselves before Mr. Trump simply because he won. In July, Dan Senor, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012, tweeted that he had once commiserated with a Midwestern governor about how unacceptable Mr. Trump was as the GOP nominee. That governor? Mike Pence. As for conservative thought leaders, the book that comes to mind is Julien Benda's 1927 classic, La Trahison des clercs, "The Treason of the Intellectuals." Benda railed against a new class of European thinkers who specialized in "the intellectual organization of political hatreds," the "desire to abase the values of knowledge before the values of action," and above all "the cult of success," based on "the teaching that says that when a will is successful that fact alone gives it a moral value, whereas the will which fails is for that reason alone deserving of contempt." [bold added, links omitted, format edits]But lest you think Stephens is some kind of prophet, consider the following words, written over a half-century ago by Ayn Rand: [T]o those of you who do wish to contest [this country's uncontested collapse] -- particularly those of you who are young and are not ready to surrender -- I want to give a warning: nothing is as dead as the stillborn. Nothing is as futile as a movement without goals, or a crusade without ideals, or a battle without ammunition. A bad argument is worse than ineffectual: it lends credence to the arguments of your opponents. A half-battle is worse than none: it does not end in mere defeat -- it helps and hastens the victory of your enemies. At a time when the world is torn by a profound ideological conflict, do not join those who have no ideology -- no ideas, no philosophy -- to offer you. Do not go into battle armed with nothing but stale slogans, pious platitudes, and meaningless generalities. Do not join any so-called "conservative" group, organization, or person that advocates any variant of the arguments from "faith," from "tradition," or from "depravity." Any home-grown sophist in any village debate can refute those arguments and can drive you into evasions in about five minutes. What would happen to you, with such ammunition, on the philosophical battlefield of the world? But you would never reach that battlefield: you would not be heard on it, since you would have nothing to say. It is not by means of evasions that one saves civilization. It is not by means of empty slogans that one saves a world perishing for lack of intellectual leadership. It is not by means of ignoring its causes that one cures a deadly disease. [bold added]This is what Rand said of the conservatives back then, when they still were pretending to offer an alternative to the left. Suderman and Stephens rightly observe the effects of what Rand discussed then, but they don't go far enough. It's not just that the conservatives failed in 2016 or now -- it's that they are no longer even bothering to pretend to be serious opponents of the left. Whether that be because they don't know or don't care what will happen as a result of failing to do so, is as irrelevant as they will prove to be in the long term. As for anyone not wishing for a Bernie Sanders's version of the American dream (as is being realized today in Venezuela), I strongly recommend reading the entirety of Rand's Conservatism: An Obituary. We need ideas, and if Donald Trump has given us anything more than a few random rollbacks to particularly bad regulations, it is this: He has shown -- sooner rather than later -- that the GOP is not the "party of ideas" we need for an actual return of America to the greatness of capitalism. -- CAVLink to Original
  17. 3 points
    MisterSwig

    The Royal Family of Nominalism

    In the November 1966 issue of The Objectivist, Ayn Rand wrote: It might be said that fifty years ago nominalists self-identified as "non-binary definitionists." True and false pertained to propositions, but not definitions. A proposition suggests mere possibility, but a definition suggests actual certainty. And certainty implies knowledge of reality. If the goal is to enslave people's minds, then you certainly don't want to encourage them to pursue knowledge of reality. Fast forward fifty years to today, and the nominalists' appetite for slavery has turned to the social-political realm. Now they self-identify as "non-binary genderists." Male and female pertain to propositions, but not definitions; the mind, which possibly reflects reality, but not the body, which certainly reflects reality. If the goal is to enslave people's bodies, then you certainly don't want to encourage them to pursue knowledge of reality. Slavery is about controlling people's minds and bodies. Nominalism is a philosophy of slavery. A nominalist wants to be a master, a ruler of humans. And so he places himself above normal humans, both mentally and physically. Mentally he is a "non-binary" word-maker, whose speech must not be questioned. And physically he is a "non-binary" entity, whose very identity must not be questioned. When he says he is this or that, then he is this or that. And if he orders you to call him she or they, then your duty is to call him she or they. For he is the master, and you are the slave. He is a member of the "non-binary" royal family. And you are part of the lowly, unenlightened "binary" or "cisgender" class. If Rand were alive, she might say that nominalism has managed to reach an even deeper depth than anyone ever imagined possible. Verbal and sexual aberrants are being crowned as intellectual and moral superiors. And we, the normal ones, are the tolerated clown jesters of the circus kingdom. Drag queens and miladyboys. Bow down to your new rulers!
  18. 3 points
    MisterSwig

    A Complex Standard of Value

    There has been some great discussion about values lately, and so I'd like to present a brief case for my notion of a complex standard of value. Any feedback or criticism would be appreciated. This is only the beginning of a work in progress. I start with the idea that humans have three basic aspects: the physical, the mental, and the biological. Also, for each aspect we can hold a separate standard of value. For the physical it's pleasure over pain; for the mental, it's knowledge over ignorance; and for the biological, it's health over sickness. Next, many people seem to believe that man is primarily one of these aspects, while the others are secondary. They argue for what I call a simple standard of value. If man is primarily physical, then his standard of value is pleasure. If he's primarily mental, then his standard is knowledge. And if man is primarily biological, then the standard is health. I call such positions the Simple Man Fallacy. It means taking the standard of value for one aspect of man and applying it to the whole person. I suppose it's an example of the fallacy of composition. I believe it is critical that we form a complex standard of value which integrates the three standards of man's existence: pleasure, knowledge, and health. Rand of course argued for the standard of value being man's life. But there is much confusion over what that means precisely. She said it means: "that which is required for man's survival qua man." And what does that mean? She explained: This is a complex answer that is difficult to digest. For example, how do we figure out which terms, methods, conditions and goals are required for our survival as a rational being? Well, to answer that question, I suggest we consider in equal measure the three basic aspects of our existence: the physical, the mental, and the biological. We should formulate a complex standard of value which integrates our critical needs for pleasure, knowledge, and health.
  19. 3 points
    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.
  20. 3 points
    I haven't watched it either but since that didn't stop you from posting about it I'll post about it too. There is no danger whatsoever. The whole Russia thing is a collective exercise on the part of the Democratic party to attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the last election while simultaneously helping them continue their psychological denial of responsibility for their loss.
  21. 3 points
    Boydstun

    The Law of Identity

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -- Process Philosophy --Johanna Seibt (2017) The Activity of Being --Aryeh Kosman (2013) / From the publisher: “For Aristotle, to ask “what something is” is to inquire into a specific mode of its being, something ordinarily regarded as its “substance.” But to understand substance, we need the concept of energeia―a Greek term usually translated as “actuality.” In a move of far-reaching consequence, Kosman explains that the correct translation of energeia is not “actuality” but “activity.” We have subtly misunderstood the Metaphysics on this crucial point, says Kosman. Aristotle conceives of substance as a kind of dynamic activity, not some inert quality. Substance is something actively being what it is.” / This book from Kosman is not an argument over what is true in the matter, only over what Aristotle thought true in the matter. As for true in the matter, I think Aristotle (under this interpretation of him) was wrong, although one doesn’t have to go back to Plato or Parmenides and pals to get things right. And I take Rand as by her philosophy to agree with me in all that. I’d like to add to the other thought in this thread that on the mere face of ‘A is A’ one can say ‘change is change’ even while ignoring ties of change to stasis or to other categories of existence, such as entity (in the Randian sense of that term). But one is then saying much less than one who is saying ‘change is change’ while keeping those ties in mind. At Metaphysics 1030a25–27, Aristotle allows ‘nonbeing is nonbeing’. But he takes such a statement to say far less than were one to say ‘substance is substance’. Those of us who, like Rand, take ‘A is A’ to be making an assertion about existence of A, take A to have ties to other things (counting its own parts as one type of other thing), to have a nature, to have identity (in Rand’s broader sense of the term). For us, saying ‘nonexistence is nonexistence’ is only a sameness of words, a metaphysical zero.
  22. 3 points
    To briefly get back to the original question, it is clear that Peikoff rejects the standard philosophical concept "tautology". The problem with the transcription which KyaryPamyu cited is that it doesn't represent what Peikoff wrote, it's what he said. In his writings, you can see that he abjures the term because he always puts scare quotes around it (plus, of course, what he says about so-called tautologies). It's possible but unlikely that he did air quotes when he said "tautology", and the quotes were not transcribed. "Tautology" is an invalid concept (though you may plead for validity, by removing the thing that makes it invalid). To be valid, there has to be a definition: it has to identify a specific range of things. We don't know what "tautology" refers to, and until we do, it's pointless to get into an extended discussion of it. Since the term is widely used in philosophy, I am inclined to attribute some meaning to it, thus I would more or less accept William O's initial quote from the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy: it is The pure form of these statements does not render them always true. A formula which is "always true" is something like "P ∨ ¬ P", but these are meaningless formulas. The proffered tautologies are not of this form. In the Cambridge examples, there might be a valid method of translating the statements into a symbolic form such that these are "tautologies". For example, you have to add a special stipulation of referential identity in these cases (see the last example: we must additionally assert that the first Socrates is the same individual as the second Socrates – we're not mixing Socrates the philosopher and Socrates my dog). Examples like "A brother is a male" is "tautological" not by dint of the form, but because of what we know of the referents of words "male" and "brother", and we know that experientially. It is particularly obvious that one cannot arrive at a formalization of "tautology" by simply inserting the definition of a word, when you are dealing with names, which have no definition. As for concepts and proper nouns, to quote ITOE, "A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition". A noun is the label by which we access a concept. A proper noun is a noun identifying units that name that name – they have no CCD. "Cow" identifies a range of existents with certain characteristics; "William" simply is a conventional label that some people have.
  23. 3 points
    StrictlyLogical

    Thankgiving

    We all know how awkward Thanksgiving can be at that moment when some family member asks all to state what they are "thankful" for. Particularly if you want to be completely honest and you are somewhat suspect of what others might consider "thankfulness" to be. While regretfully awaiting your turn... and after having counted the number of people in the "round the table" queue, you begin to ponder: Thankful to whom and for what? For that matter what does it mean to be "full" of thanks? What are these "thanks" you are full of? Are these left over pleasantries that you've gathered up like obligations and IOUs: there's that nice summer day I should have thanked the universe for, oh and that old guy kept the door open for me I should have said something to him, and the grocer lowered her price on bread which I really like I should have given her an innocent pat on the back, oh and my employees, clients/customers, and employer all rationally pursued their self-interest generating economic value all around, which is ALL good... I should have really said something to all of them (over and above eagerly and professionally participating in the value generating interactions themselves??...). A pile of pleasantries indeed... Then again, without a doubt I am proud, proud of myself and my accomplishments, and the bounty of my metaphorical harvests (which do not necessarily coincide with autumn), and proud of my family and friends, for what they have accomplished, who they are, and for the fact that they are my family and friends and that we have made strides and grown together. Without a doubt I am appreciative, appreciative of reality and of many others and their actions, appreciative in the sense that I fully recognize and treat rationally and with justice all that I deal with. And upon a reflection I realize that I already do generally try to exercise justice on a day to day basis, which requires that in every interaction just values in both matter and in spirit are exchanged, but that I could do better... So what is thanksgiving really? Is it a pile of pleasant IOUs to be balanced through a cosmic confessional around a dead turkey or is it a celebration and a reflection on life and its bounty? I think it is more the latter than the former, but perhaps as a small tribute to both, Thankgiving can be seen as a recognition and a celebration of life and a reflection of all its bounty and also an opportunity to resolve to go forward consciously keeping all of it in perspective so that, day to day, in all our interactions, value is created with everyone we deal with, in both matter and spirit, while we all pursue the happiness and life that is ours for the making. Happy LifeCelebMaking! EDIT: So what do you say when finally your turn arrives? Without being too picky about what thankfulness IS (to whom?) and the little cognitive white lie of actually using the term in order to ignore the concept's "inadequacies", the story could proceed as follows: Finally, after your uncle quips something about being thankful for Scotch, with his disarmingly odd smile, and looks your way, you stand up, and raising your glass, you clear your throat, and smile thoughtfully, "To be honest, I'm 'thankful' for this moment in time, a moment to celebrate life and all its bounty, to say how proud I am of us and all of you and everything we and each of us has accomplished and become, and I'm 'thankful' for the opportunity to reflect and resolve to go forward pursuing the happiness and the life that is all, each of ours for the making, and it is you, all of you, I 'thank' for being here, all together, for making this moment and opportunity possible. Thank you!"
  24. 3 points
    For one, that's the liberal left. The Communist left does not like identity politics and engages in class warfare. For the sake of identifying threats properly, you need to know who you're arguing against - we don't want to fight Communism by fighting liberals. The racial stuff is mostly liberal, filled with contradictions. The more important thing to do, at least when making arguments, is to state the position rationally. It would be better to dismantle an ideology alongside an alternative, rather than only point out stupid ideas. If people don't engage you, that's their problem. By doing that, you attract persuadable individuals. Yes, they exist. There's no need to say you'd need a therapist to do that. Appeals to rationality are appeals to people who might care, even the minority of good people who in fact will make a difference. Appeals with memes attracts the lowest common denominator, the people who don't care to think deeply. Sure, they are amusing sometimes, maybe even correct. The issue is that they are still shallow. This is what propaganda relies on, hoping you don't care where it came from, getting you to think the issue is as simple as the image. This is fine to a small degree as motivation where an issue really is that simple. Except, Nazis get that the issue is complex. So they simplify. Make it sound benign. Let people who don't know better keep saying IOTBW, they won't know the point is to slowly make white identity seem important and dominate the race war. No, most people who say IOTBW aren't neo-Nazis. That's the point. It hides the fact that neo-Nazis are running that dialogue. It makes the phrase defendable. An important thesis of Objectivism is that philosophy drives the course of history. It matters where ideas come from. It matters that IOTBW is from neo-Nazis. For this reason, we need a better strategy than to regurgitate a neo-Nazi phrase. The worst reply would be to say you don't care where IOTBW came from. You'd be saying origins of ideas don't matter.
  25. 3 points
    A man from deserts afar wrote this as he gazed to the stars: "There is no greater love than that which comes from god above. Pray the Lord your soul to keep do not thine understanding seek." A boy from Georgia read that book but never took a deeper look. If God's love was real inside this boy, Then why did it seem to steal his joy? He could not feel this god above. He did not know the truth of love. Was lost as those around him said, "You'll find your heaven in the end." For years he searched, blind and sad. Was love in this world not to be had? A woman from tundra afar wrote this as she gazed to the stars: "There is no greater love than what a man for himself does. Pull pride and reason off the shelf and let your guidance be yourself." The lost boy, then a man become Knew that his search was now done. He felt the love inside his soul; for his own sake, he was made whole. For the first time since his birth, he could have heaven here on earth. No waiting on a realm unseen, when this world can fulfill man's dreams. There is no greater love than this: to live life here in selfish bliss.
  26. 3 points
    I don't think philosophy is all that dissimilar to other ideas through history: man made flight, electricity, combustion engine etc., etc. All these ideas became popular because they resulted in worthwhile concretes. They weren't ideas the general public could've successfully been presented with, in theory alone. There was a need for concrete achievements, to go along with the ideas themselves. So that's the key: to go along with all the activism, people who like the ideas should live good lives, and that achievement will cause interest in the ideas that shaped that life. That doesn't mean activism is useless, but activists need to be conscious of the full range of their communication: both the intended and the unintended messages. For instance, an Oist activist focused on pointing out the flaws of the political system may think he's just communicating political ideas, but, in reality, to the average person, he projects a sense of isolation and even fatalism (us vs. them, as SN put it). When there's a contradiction between a more concrete and a more abstract message, people (rightfully) give more weight to the former. So that activist is hurting more than he's helping. To effectively control the message, and only communicate what he intends to, an activist needs to be well versed in communication and dedicated to the work full time. Even if you're naturally charismatic and an effective leader in your day job, it's not enough. Your message, no matter how convincing, can still be presented selectively, or misrepresented, by others (both in the traditional media and on social media). So you still have to be deliberate about everything you do and discerning about who you talk to...and that takes a lot of expertise and tedious research. Just to be clear: you don't have to be "fun", charming, or even nice and friendly, to be an effective communicator. Trump's an effective communicator...I doubt even his minions would ever accuse him of any of those four things. But you need to be aware of the times when you might be perceived as unhappy or a pessimist (as well as of the many other unintended messages we send out on a daily basis).
  27. 2 points
    Yes, and it was magnificent. Indeed. I don't know how else to square your responses in this thread. Do I really need to recap them? (Technically you should be able to read them over again for yourself, but I don't know that I can trust you to do that honestly, either.) You argued that people should not be allowed to advocate for socialism; I questioned whether that was consistent with Objectivism (or at least with Rand's views), and I provided quotes to demonstrate that Rand supported free speech, specifically including that for communists/socialists. In direct response, you claimed consistency with Rand and that you were not arguing against free speech. The implicit dishonesty involved in such a thing is just staggering. I don't know whether "Orwellian" or "Trumpian" would be more damning, but they both apply -- it is doublethink, pure and simple, on par with 1+1=3. A month on, fresh off of a vacation, and I'm still blown away by it. So I'll put it this way: perhaps it goes too far to say that you have zero respect for reason (how could I possibly know such a thing to such a degree?)... but if you do have any respect for it, that respect will drive you to understand your incredible error, and the disregard for reason and reality it conveys, make amends for it, and try to root it out from all future conversation -- because it is the kind of error that renders all such conversation worse than worthless (to say nothing of what it portends for your thinking).
  28. 2 points
    I recently read a book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. It really helped me make peace with this ever present contradiction between supposed workplace rules and what people actually do, as a rule (not sure how to phrase this exactly...maybe "what people actually do as if they were following a different rule book"?), at work. Because it's not chaos: people aren't acting unpredictably, or unilaterally, when they're ignoring the official rules. They are just following a different set of rules: one that's not written down. But they're all following the same unwritten rules, it's not like one person follows one set, another one another set. You should just read the book, it's really good (the first half is dedicated to individual habits, the second to organizational ones), but I will try to sum it up briefly. It says something along the lines of: organizations, just like people, are guided by habits, not by rules. For instance, you acknowledge that Objectivist principles are rational, and should be followed...but you can't just flip a switch and follow them, you must consciously and constantly work to develop habits that make it easier to act the right way. Same is true for organizations, except developing good habits is even harder, because there are different people, with different values and personalities, involved. I would argue (based on personal experience) that the ONLY way to get people to follow the rules and do so with enthusiasm and good intentions (as opposed to begrudgingly, which produces worse results than not bothering with rules at all) is if the rules are created by EVERYONE in the organization, from the lowliest intern to the top boss, working together and agreeing to them. In other words, you can't impose a set of rules from the top down, and expect your business to stay productive if you're tyrannical about enforcing them. People will simply hate you for it, and work against you. Not just "irrational" people. Everyone. The notion of top down rules one's inferiors just follow unquestioningly goes against basic principles of productive human interaction. That leaves managers with two options: 1. In an ideal situation, with an organization that's small enough, or with a branch of an organization that has enough autonomy, the person in charge of the place does what I suggest above: talks to everyone regularly, asks everyone's opinion on what the rules should be, and finally gets everyone to agree on a reasonable, minimum necessary set of rules people are willing to follow. And, of course, the rules are updated regularly. 2. The second options is what usually happens: a set of rules gets handed down, and promptly ignored. Doesn't mean that anarchy follows. Far from it: as the rules start being ignored, people come up with their own replacement rules fairly quickly. There are conflicts at first (in the process of these rules being formed), but conflict is unpleasant, and people quickly reach compromises meant to avoid conflict, and those settlements end up guiding their actions from that point on. And smart middle managers aren't just aware of these organizational habits, they know how to make slight modifications as needed, to keep things functioning smoothly, and with minimal conflict. They're essentially doing what's described in point 1., but not explicitly (because they don't have the power to do it explicitly). My advice is, figure out these hidden rules quickly, and follow them. When you asked your coworker about the hidden rule concerning eating, for instance, they were beyond forthcoming and honest with you. People usually are, because they love these rules (they love them because THEY made them, and they made them to make work life easier and more productive), and they want to help newcomers understand and follow them to. And once you prove that you understand the system, and are willing to work within it, you can start to influence it as well, and bend it to your will. You have to be willing to start small conflicts, to gain any territory, but people will respect you for it (conflicts shouldn't be shouting matches, they should be calm, brief, rare but well timed expressions of dissatisfaction with someone's actions). And none of this is irrational. It's not ideal, but it's not irrational. It's the second best solution to the problem, when the first one (explicit cooperation to reach the same result) isn't an option. P.S. Don't mistake this with an absence of principles, or dishonesty. Again: in a functional organization that functions in spite of the written rules rather than because of them, people are honest about the unwritten rules. They are honest about their scope (they're not official rules you can be written up for breaking, they are enforced by your co-workers, through social pressure). They are well intentioned about their purpose, and, finally, the rules DO NOT contradict basic human principles like honesty, property rights, etc. If you are not honest, if you do not have the business' best interest in mind, if you steal, etc., these unwritten rules will get you ostracized and even fired more surely than any written rules. And don't think that the above description only fits fast food chains that hire minimum wage workers. I've seen the same habit driven work environment everywhere I ever worked, and in every organization I ever came in contact with. The book also goes into the detailed functioning of organizations like ALCOA, the London Underground, a major East Coast hospital, etc. In a dysfunctional organization, of course, dishonesty, theft, and much, much worse becomes the "rule". Such organizations exist too, obviously. Just look at the history of the 20th century, examples abound. Functional organizations can't exist without freedom of association, and self interested, rational owners and managers. But you haven't posted anything to suggest this organization you worked for was dishonest, encouraged theft, etc. Having a bite to eat during your shift, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone who works there, is not theft. Who knows why that rule was written down (could be anything from regulation to some out of touch manager on a power trip)...point is, no one cares about it. If no one cares about a rule, it DOES NOT MATTER. IGNORE IT.
  29. 2 points
    I agree. There is a thread here discussing Consequentialism as the category of moral theories holding that morality lies in the ends not the means. Deonotological moral theories hold that morality lies in taking certain actions, i.e. the means not the ends. The two together form a category of Intrinsicist moral theories. As intrinsicism is entirely false, ends versus means is a false dichotomy. Recapitulating what user gio reminded us of in that thread : Morality guides action, and actions are means. Thus in Objectivism morality is about means and so cannot be characterized as Consequentialist or compatible with Consequentialism. But Objectivism does not tell us what actions to take. No actions are intrinsically good in Objectivism because Objectivist ethics are not Deontological (or intrinsicist of any type). Objectivism is based on identity and causality, thus the appropriate actions to take are the ones that cause the consequences desired. The full appreciation of the problem of morality is that multiple actions may bring about the desired consequence, and each action will have multiple consequences in addition to the desired consequence. It's just too much to deal with, it's an epistemological overload. Objectivist ethics then, goes on at length about values and codes of values and the standard of value in order to deal with the epistemological problem of morality.
  30. 2 points
    Many things exist. Everything that exists interacts with every other thing that exists, and no matter how small or attenuated that interaction may be it is not zero. For an existent to be somehow isolated fully from every aspect of existence it would effectively be in its own separate universe, unknowable and epistemologically out-of-bounds as an object of valid thought. Identity which does not involve a relational aspect with other identities is just unknowable. So it can't be discussed. Metaphysics and epistemology go together because the limits of what can can be claimed to exist coincide with the limits of what is knowable. No one can justifiably confirm or deny either the existence or nonexistence of what is outside of the Universe. Any justification that one might discover to such an isolated unknown would also be a casual link that would rope that existent into inclusion in what the concept Universe refers to which is the entirety of existence. Existence is Identity is Casuality.
  31. 2 points
    softwareNerd

    Donald Trump

    There's a substantial number of Trump voters who still think Trump was the right choice as President.While some might have soured on him, only a small minority of those who voted for him would want him gone. I've spoken to Trump voters who seemed reasonable in political conversations 4 or 5 years ago, and who are wary of Trump being over the top, but who would feel disenfranchised if he were removed. The idea that the U.S. is controlled by a "deep state" has spread to a wider section of people. I believe the numbers are substantial, even though not a majority. A large number of people feel out of control and alienated from the system. They do not see it as a system they want; but as a system that is imposed on them. Of course, they're the cause of the system, but there's little hope they will ever figure that out: it's an intellectual feat that is beyond most of them. Some of these folk might actually be happy that a few Trump advisers are acting as dampers to his worst gut instincts; yet, they would only want them to act as dampers, not to do anything fundamental.
  32. 2 points
    2046

    What is 'reason'?

    Also, in Rand's epistemology, it's not the sensations that are being conceptually united by the process of reason, one does not experience sensations in most normal circumstances (ie., unless you have diminished mental capacity, are in a sensory deprivation experiment, etc.) The process of integrating sensations into perception is physiological, not rational (as in Kant), one experiences a united perceptual field, rather than sensations. The process of reason proceeds, under this theory, by abstracting from the field of perception, and then integrating the units conceptually as you described.
  33. 2 points
    It seems like you're pointing to an apparent conflict between the following claims: Full validation only requires reduction and integration. Full validation requires induction. Induction is distinct from both reduction and integration. The solution will require rejecting or modifying one of these three claims somehow (probably the third).
  34. 2 points
    Nicky

    Global Warming

    Meh. I'm still hoping I can get you to do two things: 1. consider how ridiculous the proposition that "20% of all greenhouse emissions on Earth come from cows belching and farting" is. 2. As a result, re-read the articles you posted, to find the disclaimer they buried deep within, where it's explained that the click-bait, simplistic headline is in fact misleading, and they added together a bunch of other emissions that have nothing to do with cows belching or farting, to come up with that estimate of 20%. Had they stuck with just cows belching and farting, it would be a far smaller number, no one would care, no one would click on the article, and then the writer would have to get a real job, that produces some actual value.
  35. 2 points
    Hello In parts of the world still today, homosexuals are literally thrown off of roofs to their deaths. Though the US has come leaps and bounds in just a couple of short decades, many homosexual youths still grow up terrified that their social circle will discover their true sexual desires. Personally, the first half of my teen years were spent desperately trying to will myself to be attracted to females, trying to pray the gay away, and finally accepting my inner fate while still deciding I would just have to marry a woman anyway. Though not explained scientifically, there are enough individuals with stories like this to give reason to believe it is not possible to change one's sexual orientation, at least not with today's understanding of the human mind/body. Why would so many people choose a way of life that guarantees that they will be ostracized, or even murdered?
  36. 2 points
    softwareNerd

    Why follow reason?

    Formally, it is redundant to ask "why be rational", since the question assumes it is.
  37. 2 points
    There's a bunch of odd similarities between them, for one they were both in open relationships, the both wrote novels to convey philosophy, they both used amphetamines, were heavy smokers and died of lung disease. According to Nathaniel Branden, early in her career (perhaps owing to her earlier Nietzchean influences) she one considered naming her philosophy existentialism, but decided against it. They both have a very minimalist ontology, limited to a few broad descriptive categories. They both uphold the primacy of existence and a kind of conscious intentionality, that is, that consciousness is awareness of objects, and not simply awareness of itself, and both reject the prior certainty of consciousness and the cogito. Sartre, however, is a phenomenalist in the tradition of Hegel and Heusserl and so upholds a kind of Kantian thing vs thing in itself distinction, though he does believe in the validity of sense perception, although sorta kinda, because the fact that sense perception is limited and fallible counts against them for him and not for Rand. Plus Sartre days a bunch of incomprehensible gibberish like, "consciousness is nothingness," which Rand denies the possibility of. Apart from that they both stridently believe in free will, but Sartre's is a kind of indeterminist and acausal agency that overrides and literally cancels out the causal reality that underlies it("nihilation".) Rand's is compatible with the law of causality and is a naturalistic faculty at one with biological identity. They both also draw different conclusions, for Rand volition is the startig point of human value achievement, and so undergirds her heroic and optimistic ethical egoism, whereas Sartre pessimistically laments free will, which "condemns" us to make choices and face suffering and failure and navigate a nauseous array of subjective values. Sartre, in general agrees that reason and science are valid and efficacious, but are cold impersonal, only giving us formal knowledge, but not meaning and purpose in life. But they're both atheists and are searching for meaning and purpose and want to substitute a kind of secular humanism in the place of religion. Sartre has a lot (more) to say about psychology as well, but I'll cut it short there.
  38. 2 points
    The various state laws are at risk because they attempt to override federal law, which is unconstitutional (Supremacy Clause). What the federal bill would have done is allow state to, individually, override federal rules on this subject matter, as long as the device etc. “is authorized by, and in accordance with, State law”. If your state has no such law, you’re out of luck. If it does, the federal law says “we won’t interfere”.
  39. 2 points
    Your moral indignation is understandable from a rational and moral perspective. Your dilemma is that you have discovered morality and yet you live in a culture where evil and immorality abounds. The egalitarians who see equality as such as the basis of morality do not care what happens to you or anyone as long as equality of result and the machine or system in place working toward that end is not disturbed. They will trade your LIFE rather than face the possible "expense" of "weakening the FDA’s critical role" in making sure that all Americans "can have confidence" in the safety and effectiveness of our medical products. They are willing to trade your life for ensuring the "strength" of some system and for the implied need for the "people" to have confidence in that system. Is this a direct call for your sacrifice? Absolutely. Should you be enraged at those espousing this view? Absolutely. Should you try to live in a culture or society such as this? If it is in your self-interest overall, of course. The key is not to spend more of your time than is necessary to contemplate the evil if everything considered you are going to remain. You've noted the evil, it is not in your self-interest but it is not an imminent threat to your immediate health or safety. File it away, understand it, perhaps think about how one day you could deal with it if necessary, and put it out of your mind. Your life is yours and no one else's to morally regulate. If this means someday you need to leave the US to get the treatment, perhaps fly the US doctor to a country where you and the doctor could work on saving your life.. then certainly you need to look at how you could fund and arrange for that to happen, if and when that day comes. Understandably, you are mad others think they own your life... just remember to mentally tell them to F-off, but then you have to put it behind you and live, taking all the necessary actions to pursue your life.
  40. 2 points
    Craig24

    Universals

    Is it proper to say that individual trees are not concepts they are just trees but the concept tree objectively refers to the particular trees? In the same way, a similarity (the common denominator that makes a tree a tree) is not a universal it is just a similarity but the universal (treeness) objectively refers to the similarity. Is that really all that hard when you think about it?
  41. 2 points
    dream_weaver

    Universals

    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.
  42. 2 points
    I never understood how sex can be a topic for philosophy to make such statements on in the first place. This is a highly concrete and specialized issue that depends on an individual's concrete values, psychology and physical constitution. Who is to make statements about what your own concrete and objective values are? What values to look for in another person? How abstract they are to be? And in order to fulfill which actual needs of interaction with them and to what extend? And knowing that Objectivism enters into this topic, I typically detect certain ideas surrounding and relating to it, that I find rather strange: A ) Limitation of the need of "physical attraction" to a purely physical pleasure. No such thing in my opinion. Every physical feature you identify is an aspect of a conscious living being that perceives itself and this world through exactly those physical features of its body, and hence in that very form. And you know this, and only knowing this gives meaning to that attraction. Simple introspection tells you that. You like a particular form in which he or she exists as a perceptually conscious being (with certain implications even for some of its conceptual values). What you like is a form that physically best facilitates your contact to the reality of another human beings' existence. Of his or her existence as a conscious living entity. You cannot like "just his or her body", without demanding and knowing that it is the body of a conscious living being that you are liking. And you cannot like "just the aspect of his or her being alive and conscious" without it being so in a particular form that appeals to you. You are seeking some specific conceptual knowledge here, and you want it to manifest itself in a specific perceptual form. That's to a degree of 100% a mental, as well as of 100% a physical need, you cannot separate the two. Individuals may vary, but how one would exclude that this alone might form to certain individuals an indispensable prerequisite, possibly even a highly important value in and of itself, is incomprehensible to me. Just think of how you prefer watering certain plants only, and like to have certain animals as pets only. Now, how much more exciting is the case of a particular form of a human being?! It already starts with only wanting a particular sex to begin with. Not to talk about all the other physical features, of which there are numerous. B ) Sex as valid only in romantic love celebrating achievement. Well, what about things like "puppy love" among human beings? Love driven by infatuation? I can conceive of it as being an immense pleasure and source of mental energy. Certainly enough so, to be valuable. Something to want to keep living on for in order to enjoy. I find the idea of suppressing it repulsive, if not disgusting. Unless you can conceive of something more fulfilling. And assuming of course, the person in question is not harmful. I think I heard or red Ayn Rand say in some documentary that her sisters were into puppy love, while she was the only hero worshiper. And that she never really understood how that could be enough for them. Whether she outright condemned it, I don't know. But I'd rather doubt that she approved of it, given her demands for "appropriate sex". C ) The frequent emphasis that your enjoyment needs to be about your achievement. I find this mind boggling. There can be a million things I could value without having achieved them. Many of them come naturally (like beautiful landscapes I see in nature). Others were built by other people (like the sight of impressive Skylines). I certainly would like to keep them in reality, whether achieved by me or not. In some cases, I might even not want to know in detail how they came about (You certainly wanna eat the steak, but that doesn't mean you wanna meat the cow ). Identifying the fact that me or other people had to - or didn't have to - achieve those things to put them into this world is not what makes my enjoyment of them possible or impossible. My enjoyment stems from my need to survive, which requires having certain experiences that make it worthwhile. Knowing that "I build this" can be a pleasurable add-on, though. Achievement is also not the psychological root of the motivation. In order for me to say "oh, there's something I want to achieve", I must first say "oh, there's something I want to enjoy". All this tells me that values (realized or not) are considered values independent of their achievement, but rather due to the valuing, the prospect of their enjoyment. But achievement is very often necessary to realize them - whether on my own or on other people's part. Since other people cannot be my slaves and shouldn't, I recognize the need to engage in a certain amount of my own achievement. While recognizing also, that I benefit from the achievements of all the other people as well. Together, we're all better off, plus the free riding. The rest is done by mother nature. And due to all those achievements, the amount of daily achievement necessary to maintain a desired degree of enjoyment becomes less and less. Nevertheless, you must always maintain some level of achievement, to keep your brain active so you can figure out how to best enjoy. Or to prepare yourself in case some new idea happens to come about some time on what next to realize. Psychologically, this means that achievement is a means to the end of enjoyment. But it needn't be focused on explicitly. It's simply an implicit part whenever it is required. I would rather separate the means from the end this way, while still recognizing they're both necessary.
  43. 2 points
    MisterSwig

    The Law of Identity

    That's hilarious. You'll accept whatever gender someone wants to be called, but you won't accept whatever screen name someone wants to be called.
  44. 2 points
    There are several matches for "certain" on 100 Philosophical Quotes from Bertrand Russell. Here are the most relevant ones: “Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.” “A religious creed differs from a scientific theory in claiming to embody eternal and absolutely certain truth, whereas science is always tentative, expecting that modification in its present theories will sooner or later be found necessary, and aware that its method is one which is logically incapable of arriving at a complete and final demonstration.” “Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.” “To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.” “Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom.” None are footnoted. They do tend to belie the same essence. Many of the Google results on "nobody can be certain of anything" are Miss Rand's usage. Citing from Ayn Rand is dead, which has a few footnotes I didn't pursue: "Despite the quotation marks, she is the actual author. It is a false, incorrect paraphrase of Hume’s Problem of Induction plus an anachronistic paraphrase of Bertrand Russell." Once “There are no absolutes,” they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are uttering an absolute." is grasped, the rest is dotting i's and crossing t's.
  45. 2 points
    I really don't know what you mean by "obligated to accept that meaning into our own brains," unless you're trying to describe the process of "understanding"? If so, then yes: to understand what another person means, you are obligated to accept that meaning (i.e. what they intend), with reference to relevant context, into your own brain. That's how you are able to understand another human being. Look, I'm sure you get this with respect to other things... it's like... take "Black Lives Matter." Is it a true statement that "black lives matter"? I'd guess (or hope) that we can all agree that it is. Yet in 2017, in our society, when someone says "black lives matter," they mean more than the simple identification of a true statement. And participating by, say, having a sign on your lawn which reads "black lives matter" is a political act which goes beyond the mere utterance of a true statement. It's not that you have to "use some guy's hateful screams" or have the idea that "black lives matter" redefined for yourself, or whatnot, it's just that you have to... you know, be aware of what's going on around you, and be aware of what you're communicating to others. If you're naive and ignorant, and wear a "Black Lives Matter" shirt because you say to yourself, "well, it's true enough that black lives matter... no harm in saying something true," then that's fine as far as it goes. You'll suffer the consequences you were ignorant of, as you lend support to that movement (even unawares) and as other people (in reason) group you together with that movement. But it is another thing altogether to be aware of what "black lives matter" means in context, and yet argue that the context doesn't matter. That you should be able to wear the shirt, or post the sign, and not care about the real world consequences of your action. That's arguing for the intentional dropping of context, and it is a very bad idea.
  46. 2 points
    DonAthos

    How Do You Achieve Bliss?

    There's a lot of conversation in this thread, and I might not have time for it all, at present, but I wanted to pull this out for response. I find it fascinating. The question of desert, I think, can be evaluated in two different ways: 1) Relating to cause and effect. We may say of a person that, if he has not done the things which in reality will lead to happiness, he does not "deserve" to be happy. And this sense is true enough; a person who does not "deserve happiness," because he has not done the things which his nature requires to achieve happiness, will not experience it (even if he has convinced himself that some other, ersatz emotion is "happiness"). 2) The second is something else. It is ostensibly an appeal to morality -- but which morality, and according to whose standard? If a man has done the things which his nature requires to achieve happiness, in reality, and thus experiences happiness... on what grounds could we say that he does not "deserve" it? Because perhaps he has done something bad in his past? Perhaps. But then, how could a man redeem himself sufficiently to be able to experience happiness thereafter; to what possible standard and judge could he appeal, apart from himself and his own natural capacity for happiness? Should a man, in any event, be capable of experiencing happiness... but tell himself, "I don't deserve this"? On what grounds? And what would that serve? I would say, rather, that every person in the world "deserves happiness," of their nature, of their capacity for happiness. And then it remains to discover the requirements of our nature, and to understand our context, such that we can achieve happiness for ourselves (in the "cause and effect" sense of desert described above). We require no further sanction than this, that we are ends in ourselves, and that our highest purpose is our own happiness.
  47. 2 points
    I did my bit for perspective and sanity, and I have nothing material to add. As for this terrorist, I prefer Roark's answer to Toohey: "But I don't think of you." Evil is not important, not unless it happens to significantly affect my life, and neither this scum nor his brothers-in-murder are likely to affect my life even a little. Unless, of course, public hysteria about terrorism is used as an excuse to tighten up the American police state. But whose fault would that be? All of which is a long-winded way of saying, "I'm outta here". I need to return my attention to where it belongs, on ways of making a better future.
  48. 2 points
    I think there are two separate streams of ideas here: Should Objectivists be having lots of fun? Can Objectivism be popularized without compromising objectivity, truth and the good? On Fun: No, definitely not. We should struggle stoically. Life is a challenge. LOL, just kidding! Of course, Objectivists should have as much fun as they can. However, fun is really not a great word to describe all the ways of enjoying being alive. You could use it that way, but many people do not: so there could be an issue in communication. As an example: I've occasionally worked with people -- just regular middle-class colleagues -- who consider the jobs they do to be more than drudgery. They think of their jobs as draining their souls. Then, there is the larger set who "like their jobs", because the pay meets their expectations and their colleagues are fun to hang out with, but when it comes to the job itself they do it competently enough but do not seem to have much zest to improve or to change. And, finally, one has the third set -- not insubstantial -- who seem to find a degree of purpose in their work, and try to improve how they do things, and to put in their best. People spend almost all their adult lives working. SO, the key to long term happiness is to be working somewhere and on something that gives you some degree of enjoyment. A 2 week vacation to Florida isn't going to do it. Westerners advise their kids to "follow their passion", whereas your traditional Easterner tells their kid that they should get a well-paying career and that money will bring them the happiness they need. None of them are talking about fun in its narrower sense. They would all advise fun. Even most Christians and a church social have lots of fun, in the narrower sense. But, the broader idea is: enjoy life. That's a place where Objectivist-inspired authors still have a role to play. Candidly, I wouldn't find it weird is people at a Christian social are having more "fun" in the narrower sense than folks at an Objectivist social. I would find it depressing if those Christians understand the broader value of seeking a purpose (and diving into that purpose, and feeling rewarded by achieving that purpose) better than Objectivists. That would be a true wake-up call. History: I think the history of Objectivism does support some of Cart's critique, but it's "so 1990s". Again though, the problem is not that fun was undervalued. More importantly, the focus was on politics; and the psychological feel was one of us-vs-them; never healthy. From me, this is a critique, and not criticism. I think the movement through a learning process where everyone, from Rand down to new readers had to digest what it all meant, in all sorts of aspects of life. As it grew, the many new people in the movement questioned some false assumptions and I think the late 1990s might have been a time -- the internet did it -- when the majority discarded various concrete-bound false ideas around the whole idea of fun. However, I think too many Objectivists continued to be more outward-focused rather than focused on their values. That appears to have changed in the last decade or so. It has probably been a combination of on-going learning and maturity of the movement, and also the ability of the internet to allow people to come together, but also to selectively meet-up in real life and do things that have little to do with philosophy. Job #1 is to maximize happiness: Still, this last bit is where more "work" is needed. It has to be done primarily by each Objectivist individually: turning a focus inward, understanding that some things outside are unlikely to change, and figuring out how to make the most of one's own life anyway. If one is living in the U.S., and most western countries, there's seldom an external excuse for not having a good, enjoyable life. There are exceptions of course. Some people fall afoul of "the system" and it chews them up. For others, it may be too late. And, for still others, reality might have dealt them a really bad hand: a debilitating disease, for instance. So, I'm talking about the typical Objectivist here. Spreading the philosophy: I'd start with asking: "why?" and, even more importantly, "are you going to focus on that at the cost of your happiness, or as something that would bring you great happiness under realistic assumptions about what you can achieve?" If the things you think you can achieve, and the process you have to go through to achieve them, will not bring you happiness, then why would you waste your time doing them? This is not to diss those who spend their time doing this. For instance, the Institute of Justice fights cases that take a small bar-grade ice-pick to an ice-berg. But, I think this could be enjoyable and purposeful and some lawyers could have a lot of fun (that word again) doing it. If they can put food on their table in the process, more power to them! Similarly, if someone makes it his mission to get a few thousand additional kids to read The Fountainhead each year, and they enjoy this, and can make a living doing this, I wish them well. In the end though, most people have other career goals, and since work is such a large part of life, that's where they have to seek fun and fulfillment. The Objectivist youth organization that began as a campus newsletter, changed its focus. They figured out that their members could do more with their lives if they know a little less about Kant and Plato, and a little more about more immediate ways to make one's life a success, or if they had a way to network while looking for work, etc. In terms of spreading the philosophy, I think it will take something similar. It won't take people having more fun as narrowly defined. It's more likely to take someone who can craft a coherent message that gives great advice about how to live one's life to the fullest. it would take someone who understand the best ideas of modern motivational speakers, evangelists and self-help writers. Someone who can throw out the bad, and keep the nuggets that make sense. Someone who can craft that into a coherent whole, and can do so consistently with Objectivist Ethics. That could be a a game-changer. Meanwhile, if you're not that person, I'd fall back to: get a life... where you can find the maximum happiness for yourself, and feel a sense of purpose.
  49. 2 points
    Harrison Danneskjold

    Pleasure and Value

    Because it doesn't have to be rare or ephemeral. As @DonAthos observed, although you may or may not be able to find happiness in the next few hours or days, in the long run your overall quality of life (the quantity of joy you can experience) is in your own hands. That's exactly what the purpose of Egoism is; for you to learn how to correctly apply your brain and your hands to the pursuit of consistently-experienced happiness. For example, I'm at work right now (on my lunch break). I've been working 10 hours a day, five or six days a week, and frankly it sucks. As much as it truly sucks right now, though, I know it'll be worth it on payday; it'll result in a net gain of my own happiness. This is exactly analogous to your working out in order to pick up hot chicks. The trick to doing it correctly is to understand which desires are worth pursuing (will lead to happiness) and which aren't, and that's where Egoism comes in. Whether it's worth it to pursue your own happiness, in the first place, is something you have to judge for yourself. All I can try to give you is hope.
  50. 2 points
    Regi F.

    What is Subjectivity?

    The question of, "What is Subjectivity?," has two answers, because the same word, "subjective," refers to two different things. The first refers to the nature of consciousness itself. Every conscious experience is subjective in the sense that it cannot be known to anyone except the individual having the conscious experience. Whatever one consciously perceives by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling it, or their perception of their own body by interoception, or their consciousness of their own thinking and feelings, are subjective experiences, because they cannot be known or examined or detected by anyone else. Every individual consciousness, in that sense, is totally subjective and private and beyond the ability of anyone else to perceive or know it. The other meaning of subjective pertains to how one thinks and makes their choices and is based on the difference between objective and subjective. The objective refers to the reality all conscious individuals perceive, however they perceive it. It is called objective reality because it exists and has the nature it has independently of anyone's consciousness or knowledge of it. It is that objective reality that determines what is true and not true. Objective, in contrast to subjective, means allowing nothing but one's knowledge of objective reality to be one's guide in all one's thinking and choices. Subjective, in that sense, means allowing one's own subjective experiences, their whims, their feelings, their desires, prejudices or sentiments to influence or determine what they think, believe, and choose, in defiance or ignorance of objective truth. Randy
×
×
  • Create New...