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  1. 3 points

    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.
  2. 3 points


    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!"
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 2 points

    Top 10 Life Tips for the Young You

    Just move on when it’s boring or when you’re stuck. Change what you can, accept what you can’t. Failures are inherent, but success is very likely over the long haul and makes trying worth it. It’s truly in your power to change things. Try, try again. Don’t take on debt without an honest plan to pay it back. Avoid. Uncontrolled debt is a life sandbag. People don't change unless they want to, and even then it's a process requiring diligence. Love evolves, not necessarily into something worse. The fairytale is only part of the truth. Dwelling on negatives punishes you first and worst. Are things really what they seem? You’d better find out. It’s all about you, really. But, it’s not just you. Worry is a negative default of an idle mind. Take a walk, it's not that serious, someday you'll be dead. An advice list will change depending on your target person or audience. These are the top tips 33-year-old me thinks would have most helped 18-year-old me (and up to 33, I guess). Youthful naivety prevents full understanding, and with blissful ignorance, so I tried to phrase it in a way that might have gotten my younger self thinking and thinking back again after some experience, or in a way to which I would have been receptive, especially since I was prone to rationalism. I suppose this list would work without the influence of Rand, but I found Rand right around that age... so, she's baked in by now. I wonder how a list like this might be different 10 years from now, as it won't be geared toward a flailing know-nothing who hasn't established mental habits of systematized truth gathering. Some other tips weren't as important to my younger self without first learning something about the other tips on the list, and they arose naturally afterward based on life experience. Life doesn't seem like a catch-up game anymore. What are your 10?
  6. 2 points
    The high school me was a confused Christian, so other than telling myself to read Ayn Rand, my advice would be: 1. Take life seriously. 2. Pay attention to your thoughts. 3. Question what you're doing. 4. Study everything. 5. Talk to everyone. 6. Listen to people. 7. Write something every day. 8. Learn to dance. 9. Learn to draw. 10. Don't smoke weed. That pretty much covers it. I kept it simple and direct so my stupid young brain wouldn't misinterpret anything.
  7. 2 points

    The Law of Identity

    I suppose that's possible, but I think it is the most generous, positive assumption of the motive involved. Would you call it the intrinsic view of transitioning? I don't mean they are literally destroying their life. But they often do destroy their sex organs and other physical characteristics. My deeper point is that this is what transitioning means for them: destroying the man, and becoming a woman, or vice versa. Bruce is dead, long live Caitlyn! It's like some kind of crucifixion and resurrection. It's less about "identification" or "confirmation", and more about self-annihilation and rebirth. They hate the person they are and want to be someone else--only the someone else is the opposite sex. And so they rationalize the transition and claim that a man can become a woman, rather than admit that they are mentally ill. Mentally ill people rarely diagnose themselves. It's up to the mentally healthy to recognize the problem and help these people. Instead, we are allowing them to dictate laws.
  8. 2 points

    The Law of Identity

    I'd say that's exactly what they are. Though we'll probably squabble over the adjective imaginary. Here is the popular definition at Google: And here is the more serious definition at Oxford: Notice the genera: an idea, notion, invention, artifice, concept, perception. And the differentia: created by or based on a society, collective, social group; but does not exist naturally and might not represent reality. Sounds very much like a product of imagination to me. You'll have to give me an example. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that trans people don't identify with a biological or physiological trait, but instead with a social or cultural value. For example, let's say a biological male identifies with the cultural values of beauty and seduction traditionally associated with females. If he already identifies with those values, then why does he need to chop off his penis, get breast implants, and take hormones to change his appearance? The point is that he doesn't identify with those values. Identification is the recognition of reality. If he identified with beauty and seduction, he wouldn't need to transition into something beautiful and seductive. He'd already be it. Trans people want to transition precisely because they are not what they imagine themselves to be. It's not about identifying who they are. It's about destroying who they are and becoming something else.
  9. 2 points

    Is objectivism consequentialist?

    I come back to the fundamental question of the topic which is: "Is objectivism consequentialist?" This time I've read most of the topic (not all because a lot of messages seem to deviate from the original subject) and I felt trouble in the force. Sorry if I made mistakes in English, it's not my primary language. As 2046 rightly said, the point of Grames (page 5), which says consequentialism is an "empty doctrine" is invalid in itself, because consequentialism is not a moral doctrine as such, but simply a category of moral doctrine. The generally opposite category, deontology, is also "empty" and silent about on what the good is. Grames (and others) makes another mistake in believing that "every theory of good and of the virtues is trivially consequentialist" and that one can "bolt the standard objectivist of value - your own life - onto consequentialism" because Objectivist ethics is actually incompatible with the consequentism, I will explain why. It's pretty simple. I will use quotations from Rand and Peikoff that have already been given several times in this topic, but which, I think, have not always been clearly understood. The reasoning of StrictlyLogical (who, if I understand well, thinks that Objectivist ethics is compatible with consequentialism) are sometimes brilliant, but he has just missed a crucial point. Objectivist ethics can not be classified as consequentialist for exactly the same reasons that Ayn Rand rejected utilitarianism and hedonism. What is consequentialism? Taking the consequence as the sole standard of good. YES, the Objectivist ethic deals with causality, so it fully takes into account the consequences (which is why some people seems troubled), BUT it does not consider the consequences as the standard of the good. The pursuit of values does not imply consequentialism. To know whether Objectivist ethics is consequentialist or not, the crucial question is not: Should the consequences be taken into account in a moral theory? (The answer is YES, of course, otherwise we fall back anyway into the intrincist theory of value). The crucial question is: WHERE does morality lies? In the action? In the consequences of the action? Both ? In the relationship between the two? Or elsewhere? Here is why, in short, Objectivist ethics is not consequentialist: Consequentialism confuses the consequences of morality with morality itself. In other words, it confuses the standard with the purpose of morality. Consequentialism says: morality does not lies in action, but exclusively in the consequences of action. Objectivist ethics does not say that. Think about the relation between morality and consequences like the relation between knowledge and emotions, because it's exactly the same kind of relation. Values are knowledge, and emotions are consequences. Ayn Rand used to say: "Emotions are not tools of cognition." because emotions are consequences of ideas or knowledge and not idea or knowledge by itself. We can also say somehow : "Consequences are not tools of morality". Back to the fundamental question: Why does man need a moral code? (Any moral code.) In order to guide his action. And action is always a mean. In other words, morality always deals with means. Of course it is necessary to have a goal, values (to give meaning to the action-means), but the goal alone is not enough (contrary to the consequentialist view), there must be a standard for discriminating actions that are consistent with this goal and actions that are not. In other words, a standard is needed to identify the virtues. Why do we need a standard? Why do our actions need to be guided by a moral criterion? Because man does not have automatic knowledge. He does not function by instinct, and he is not omniscient, a human being can not fully foresee the future when he acts, he do not know in advance all the consequences. (Which would be a pre-condition of consequentialism ...) So he needs a guide, that is to say a moral code. As it has been said by many of you, we can not evaluate actions post-facto ... We must therefore identify a standard that accords with the purpose, where we can rationally show the necessary dependency relation between the standard and the purpose as a cause-and-effect relationship (life is the cause, the effect is happiness, as Ayn Rand says in the following quote). According to Objectivist ethics, life is not the consequence or the purpose of morality, it is the standard. The purpose is happiness. Life is the ultimate value because it is the condition of happiness. Without life, there is no happiness. But life is not an action. Life is the standard that makes it possible to judge the morality of an action, in other words, whether it is virtuous or not. Moral action is virtue, and it is practiced by choice. A consequentialist morality such as utilitarianism for instance, says: What is the purpose of morality? Happiness. (We agree.) But then immediately it says: So, everything that makes you happy is good. Happiness is the good. But it is not happiness that is moral as such. Happiness is a consequence of a proper morality. In other words, happiness is not the good, happiness is a consequence of the good. There is confusion in utilitarianism between standard and purpose. To say: "the consequences are the moral standard" is a contradiction, it's like saying: "morality is useless" or "morality does not serve to guide action" or "man does not need a guide to action." To say, as consequentialism claims, that morality does not lie in action is to say that virtue does not exist. There is no moral code, no moral principles. For example, imagine that I am faced with an alternative. To determine how I should act, I will think, "I must choose my action according to such consequence." (happiness for instance) This is the consequentialist morality in its totality. This is not wrong in itself, but there is no morality yet: it is obviously insufficient to guide the action. Then I have to think and tell myself: "What actions would cause this consequence?" How to know? (In other words, what virtues should I practice?) In short: I need a moral code. In itself, having a purpose (happiness for example) is necessary, but not enough to determine a rational action plan. How do you determine what makes you happy? The moral code (life for example) is used to identify how to achieve this purpose. The purpose of your life.
  10. 2 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.
  11. 2 points
    From Journals of Ayn Rand: Shall we believe that tiny groups of collectivists are nothing special, or do something about the future?
  12. 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.
  13. 2 points
    Fraud A unilateral breach of contract involves an indirect use of physical force: it consists, in essence, of one man receiving the material values, goods or services of another, then refusing to pay for them and thus keeping them by force (by mere physical possession), not by right—i.e., keeping them without the consent of their owner. Fraud involves a similarly indirect use of force: it consists of obtaining material values without their owner’s consent, under false pretenses or false promises. This is a perfectly legitimate identification of an indirect use of physical force. A civil mechanism, authorized to use retaliatory force once breach of contract or fraud is established in order to neutralize the indirect force initiated by the perpetrator via refusing to give up physical possession of the material value.
  14. 2 points

    The Audit

    I'm curious, does frustration enter into your thought process at all? Perhaps you get frustrated about a certain line of thought, such as why Peikoff would discuss this or that topic, and so you give up pursuing that angle and instead turn to the next line of thought that pops into your head. I'll give you an example that I experience frequently. Sometimes I get frustrated with a forum thread (or it could be an in-person conversation). I don't think I'm making any headway with other participants, and so the frustration kicks in. I have the urge to end the dialogue, abandon the topic and move on. But I've given myself a standing order to re-think what I'm doing when I feel frustration. I'll ask myself something like, why am I frustrated? Are there still unanswered questions? Can I rationally reduce my position to objective reality? Etc. Usually I find that I'm frustrated not because I'm having trouble convincing others, but because I was having trouble convincing myself. Essentially I had forgotten to focus on my own mind, and was focused on other people's minds.
  15. 2 points

    The Law of Identity

    Whatever the merits of the wider point here, the participants show a shaky understanding of Heraclitus. He lived and wrote before philosophy had the sophistication to express a notion such as the law of identity. What people nowadays think are his positions are actually the work of soi-disants Heracliteans of later generations. Aristotle distinguishes between the historical Heraclitus and "Heracliteanism" a couple of places in the Metaphysics: - For it's impossible for one and the same both to be and not to be, as some think Heraclitus said (IV 3, 1005b23); - Further, seeing that nature is in motion, they all thought that of what changes nothing can be said truly and that what is always changing in every respect does not admit of the truth. From this supposition grew the most extreme of the foregoing views, namely the view of those who claim to Heraclitize, such as Cratylus, who in the end thought nothing could be said, but only moved his finger and criticized Heraclitus for saying that there's no stepping into the same river twice; he [Cratylus] didn't think we could even do it once. (IV 5, 1010a6) (emphasis added) though not always: 1012a24, 34, 1062a32, 1063b24. When I studied H. I hit on a reading that I was later flattered to hear from Julius Moravcsik, a famous academic. He observed diversity and change in the world and yet wanted to find some way to see it at once and to pronounce stable truths about it. That is to say, ,he was struggling to identify conceptual thought, but nobody could grasp this until Plato came along. The nearest Heraclitus could get was simultaneous perceptual awareness of everything, in the mind of god. Thus he was like the man in Anthem, struggling to identify the first-person singular, but he never quite got there.
  16. 2 points

    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.
  17. 2 points

    What are you listening at the moment?

    I've been into Johnny Cash' American Recordings, the last few weeks. Especially "Help Me", off his final album. It's a very religious collection of songs, this one especially...but just so ridiculously, brilliantly touching, from a man mourning his soulmate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv4i4t2hj2I It's one of his many Kris Kristofferson covers. I think Kris wrote most of his truly great songs. But John made them eternal...especially this song would've been totally forgotten.
  18. 1 point
    Difference is, you don't need to build a gulch, to opt out of Venezuela's economic system. You just need to leave the country. Over 2.1 million people left already. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolivarian_diaspora And, unlike with Mexico and some Central and South American countries (where it's the poor emigrating to the US, seeking menial jobs), this is the upper and middle class, leaving and settling in pretty much every country in the world, outside maybe Africa and some of the bad parts of Asia. That's actually one of the reasons why the crash is happening so quickly, compared to other communist states. These idiots forgot to build a giant wall, guarded by men with guns and attack dogs. So all the productive people just packed their bags and took a plane out of there. P.S. the third stage of the migration is actually whoever is left...lower middle class and the poor, crossing the border into Colombia (some staying, some making their way to the US through smuggling routes).
  19. 1 point
    I was working on an essay about immigration, and realized that I had to first deal with an error in Objectivism. So here is what I ran into. (All quotes are from Rand.) "The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others." ("The Objectivist Ethics".) And, "In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use." ("The Nature of Government".) These statements are false. To explain why, I need to go back to first (political) principles. A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action — means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. ("Man's Rights".) So, the determination of what constitutes a right requires an analysis of what actions the nature of a rational being require in a social context. From "The Nature of Government" (all further quotes are from there): Man's rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. It is only by means of physical force that one man can deprive another of his life, or enslave him, or rob him, or prevent him from pursuing his own goals, or compel him to act against his own rational judgment. This is not true. Fraud, for example, violates rights, but no physical force is used. Rand gets around this by asserting that fraud involves "indirect force", but this is silly — if there is any physical force involved in fraud, it is in the retrieval of that which was taken by the fraud, not in the fraud itself. Moreover, Rand nowhere explains how one determines what constitutes indirect force. What force, fraud, and certain other categories of action have in common is that, by their nature, they are incompatible with their object's actions to further his own life. Force necessarily deprives a person of the ability to act on his own will. Fraud necessarily deprives a person of the information needed to engage in voluntary trade. Rand observed that, "The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships — thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement." Rand's error here is not in her conclusion, but only in how she arrived at it. Fraud, e.g., must be banned, not because it is a species of "indirect force", but because it is inconsistent with "voluntary, uncoerced agreement" which, in turn, makes it inconsistent with a person's acting to further his own life in a social context. Why is my way better? Because it allows one to solve other problems that would otherwise have to be dealt with ad hoc, by asserting that they involve some species of "indirect force". So, for example, if I invite you into my property and then forbid you to use its exits, I may not be using any sort of physical force, but I am preventing you from furthering your own life. Such an action would therefore violate your rights. So what to make of the "nonaggression principle" I started out with? It must be taken as a mere approximation, to be clarified later. (It's not really germane here, but I should note that Rand's critique of libertarianism — that it takes the nonaggression principle as an axiom when it is anything but — misses the real problem, which is that the nonaggression principle is simply false.) So what is it an approximation to? The essential point Rand makes is that society is a value because it enables one to obtain knowledge from and to trade with others in the service of one's life. What must be banned is not force, or even the initiation of force, but whatever, by its nature, is inconsistent with those values (which includes the initiation of force). Such things necessarily violate rights and it is proper to use force (or fraud or any other species of otherwise rights-violating action) to protect against them or to vindicate rights violated by their use. There is no short phrase for these things, so I am going to use the phrase "violative force" — with scare quotes — from hereon to refer to these things. (If you will, my "violative force" comprises physical force plus what Rand called "indirect force", except that my definition allows one to use reason to determine what constitutes "violative force".) The proper formulation of the nonaggression principle is that no person may use "violative force" against another. But this principle is not sufficient to for the needs of society. There are situations where it is proper to take actions that would otherwise constitute "violative force" to defend or vindicate one's rights. Such actions, "defensive force" and "retaliatory "force" (again, I'll keep the scare quotes), are not only permissible, they are necessary to a proper society. As necessary as they may be, society cannot function if their use is left to the judgment of each person. There must be an organization, the government, that constrains the use of all three sorts of "force". This constraint operates in two ways. The use of "defensive force" in exigent situations cannot, by its nature, be delegated to the government. If you have a burglar in your home, it's too late to call the police — your rights are being violated and only you (or others right there) can put an end to the violation. The government's function is, first, to define such situations and what constitutes "defensive force" in those situations and, second, to review each use of "force" to see whether it is "defensive" or "violative". You get to shoot the burglar, if that is your chosen method of self-defense, but you will be required to show that his actions were "violative force", thereby permitting you the use of "defensive force". Non-exigent uses of "defensive force" and all uses of "retaliatory force" must be left to the government, but the government must be utterly rule-bound, constrained to act objectively, as Rand noted: The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures. Consider, however, what would happen if people could arbitrarily deprive the government of facts it needs to make proper use of "force". Its procedures would then necessarily lack the objectivity that a government must have, and would therefore be inconsistent with the rights of the governed. It follows then that no person may arbitrarily deprive the government of the information it needs to properly employ "force", that doing so is in itself a violation of the rights of the governed. Note here that, under Rand's formulation, a refusal to respond to a subpoena would have to be classified as indirect force, but it is anything but obvious that such a refusal is any kind of force, or even that it violates anyone's rights. It was this conclusion that led me to rethink the formulation of the nature of force. Under my formulation, such a refusal is clearly "violative force" because it is demonstrably inconsistent with the requirements of life in society, just as much as non-defensive physical force, fraud, etc., is. But, to return to the point with which I began this essay, it is simply not true that, "In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use." Only by twisting the word force into a hyperpretzel is it possible to consider, for example, a refusal to answer a subpoena as an initiation of force justifying retaliatory force. This proposition needs to simply be excised from Objectivism, replaced with a more accurate description of what sort of actions are forbidden and when an action that would ordinarily violate rights is legitimate.
  20. 1 point

    The Royal Family of Nominalism

    Then you are at odds with a phantom, because that's not my position at all. I don't hate nominalism because it says concepts are man-made, I hate it because it says man-made concepts have no basis in reality because only particular concretes exist.
  21. 1 point
    This would be a good point at which to raise questions: I don’t understand what you mean by “physical force”. Let’s consider two other kinds of rights-violations: punching a person in the face, and stealthily taking cash from their home (let’s say, unbeknownst to them, though this could also be with them seeing you do it, if that matters). I presume that you would consider the former to involve physical force, but if not, please clarify. How about the latter? In what way is ‘physical force’ involved? What about a friendly handshake, or accidentally touching a person on a crowded subway. Is that “initiation of force”? And finally… back to the punch in the face: suppose we’re talking about boxers or stuntmen in a movie. Are they initiating force and should they be imprisoned? If not, why not (don’t just say “they agreed to it” – you haven’t shown that agreeing has any bearing on what force is). You ask how a person can properly defend himself against breach of contract and fraud (“how can a person … properly defend himself against it”, where it can only sensibly refer to “fraud (n)or violations of contract”). If you are asking “how do you prevent this from this happening to you”, the answer is caveat emptor. If you are asking how you restore your property rights, that is what the legal system is for. You assuredly do not have the right to poke the guy with a knife, as you would if someone were actually beating you. The problem I see is that you’re attempting to put things under the umbrella of self-defense that have no business there. For one, it simply is not true that “self-defense must be implemented via a government”. If a man attempts to beat me or steal from me, I may quite rightfully defend myself forcibly, without the intervention of the government. It is however correct that such a use of force must be placed under the objective control of the law – every jurisdiction has laws permitting self-defensive force. Self-defense pertains to the immediate situation that arises when the government cannot intervene, i.e. when someone is beating on you right now and the cops are not there, or someone is taking your property right now. When it’s not right now, it’s not self-defense. Where you say “It is improper for anyone to use physical force or the threat of physical force to prevent or respond to that which another has the right to do”, I have two objections. First, “use physical force or the threat of physical force” is redundant, in fact whenever a principle is stated in terms of “A or B”, that should tell you that the principle is misstated. The mind does not deal well with arbitrary lists. Second, “prevent or respond to that which another has the right to do” misses the point, which I think is amply made in Rand’s writing, that the principle is about “forcing a mind”, and not the complex list that you set forth. I take the following two sentences from Peter Schwartz’s essay “Free markets and free minds” as the clearest explication of “force”: It is my judgment that if you were to focus on what “force” is (and basically accept Schwartz’s sentences, although I highly recommend the whole essay), many (though not all) of the issues that you are facing would go away.
  22. 1 point

    The Royal Family of Nominalism

    Neither. Such statements are normative. Gender and sex identify metaphysical characteristics but ideas like "a rational woman cannot want to be President" are different. For example, it is incorrect to say that "human beings are selfish". It would be correct to say that "humans should be selfish". In a similar way, it is incorrect to say that "girls play with dolls". It would be correct to say that "girls should play with dolls". I'm not sure what word I would use to denote such normative characteristics. Perhaps, "feminine" and "masculine" would be good terms. In popular usage, "feminine" may denote some characteristic that is "becoming of a woman" (woman qua woman). It is normative. For reference, Cambridge Dictionary defines "feminine" as "having characteristics that are traditionally thought to be typical of or suitable for a woman". The "suitable for a woman" part is normative. Of course, other dictionaries define things differently, stressing qualities traditionally associated with women, but that definition may be derivative (derived from the traditional standards of society). These 2 words come the closest. I think this is also the way AR used the words 'feminine' and 'masculine'. In this sense, these two words do not identify characteristics that humans universally possess. They refer to virtues (in the same way that "selfishness" refers to a virtue everyone need not possess). They refer to characteristics that one must possess. Femininity and masculinity are treated as virtues in popular usage (validating their usage as normative concepts. By comparison, gender isn't treated as a virtue. It is a metaphysical concept). However, the dictionary definitions aren't very good. So new definitions: male = male animal; female = female animal; man = male human; woman = female human (of a certain age); feminine = characteristics that are becoming of a woman; masculine = characteristics that are becoming of a man. Male/female are sexes. Man/woman are genders. Feminine/masculine are virtues. Sometimes, the term "manliness" is also used to denote the corresponding virtue. Virtues aren't arbitrary. (Again, disclaimer: English isn't my first language. I don't even know what a subjunctive is. I can only talk about the simple, obvious meanings of these terms)
  23. 1 point

    The Snowflake Conjecture

    Just in case clarification need be made here: I would have to conclude the the truth or falsehood of the two propositions can be reached. My question is are the propositions demonstrably true, or can it be be shown to be demonstrably false? Here are two citations attesting to the falsehood. Using a controlled environment: Who Ever Said No Two Snowflakes Were Alike? And from Guinness World Records: First identical snow crystals. This article is found at Forbes: Ask Ethan: Could You Have Two Perfectly Identical Snowflakes? drawing these two particular attested falsehoods into question.
  24. 1 point

    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.
  25. 1 point

    What's Going On Here?

    When someone doesn't laugh at your joke, there are at least two possible explanations.
  26. 1 point

    The Royal Family of Nominalism

    The first step toward full-blown physical bondage, is mental bondage. And the first step in mental bondage, is accepting that someone else is inherently, mystically superior to you in some way. "Non-binary" people claim to have knowledge unavailable to "binary" thinkers. They know of a third "gender." Their "gender." And their "gender" class possesses this special knowledge via feelings. They simply feel (or somehow know) it in their souls. They divine it from somewhere. They can't tell you where. It just comes to them. It's been there since childhood. They don't know why. But it's a fact. If you don't feel this fact, this revealed truth, then you are spiritually inferior and should defer to their experience, their feelings, their knowledge, their belief system. You should rewrite your biology books, alter your language, and update your legal system, all in accordance with the feelings and demands of the superior class of "non-binary" diviners of essential truth. That is mental slavery. It is you surrendering your mind to someone else's feelings. It's only a matter of time before you surrender your body too.
  27. 1 point
    Political Factions: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Psychiatrists usually equate good mental health in decision making with proper and prudent understanding of the decision (s) required, knowledge of the decision (s) complexity, discussions with confidents and above all honest rational thinking. Only then psychiatrists say can the proper decision (s) be made. Notice however that most elected officials nowadays decision making are based on range of the moment expediency, whim, intuition and/or false reasoning. For example, if a bridge is to be built or replaced in your town, do elected officials seek out the most qualified (and not necessarily the cheapest) construction companies to perform such a complex time consuming task,or is the hiring based on favors, long standing friendships or in the extreme, promises of some method (not necessarily money) of “payback?” In small towns (and in some larger cities) elected officials are often voted into office by “factions.” A faction is a well organized group of voters who dedicate themselves and their votes to one specific candidate. Factions are not illegal but they (in extreme cases) may interfere with the voting process by totally blocking out oppositional voting. If the town is small enough (by average city standards) only two factions may exist. This means that faction candidates are voted into office over and over, one after another, making many qualified persons without a change (or factions) to ever become elected. In this example towns of this sort find themselves in a quandary when nothing seems to improve or even modest improvements in the life of the town citizens in question can advance. Why? Well, it makes sense if you owe your election to a faction, elected officials will do nothing to embarrass, mock or rule against their particular faction for fear of losing their support. Now, what is the result of faction voting.? But first I don’t want anyone to get the idea that all political factions are bad. They are not. Electoral factions can be correctly judged by their ideas, aspirations and goals. For instance a faction can be formed to elect a good official against one that isn’t. A faction can be formed to elect a model sheriff or mayor. One’s that are known to put the people’s interest as their highest priority. It’s not all one way. However, if a faction sole interest is gaining or preserving power then here is what happens. Suppose you live on one street and there is a street right next to yours. Both are in dire need of repair. You are a fine citizen of your city, you help with needed causes and so do your neighbors. But there is not enough money to repair both. You wonder what is going to happen. You wake up one morning with the sound of repair trucks working the road,you look out your window and see, yes they are repairing the street but it is the one next to yours. You street will remain in needed repair for years. What happened? You have been a victim of faction “favors” because over time you learn that most of the people on the other street voted for those in power. Factions are a definite threat to our Republic. Factions however, will continue to exist. There will always be the good, the bad, and the ugly factional positioning in any election. Be aware, be confident, never give up, never give in and always vote your conscience and resist being told who to vote for! Stand up as an Independent and a knowledgeable voter the founders intended you to be!
  28. 1 point

    The Law of Identity

    Right. Agreed. I'm not certain that this stance is justified (more or less than we would take anyone else at their word, at least). Well, all right. If his rationale requires individual attention, then I don't think that we should make an off-the-cuff or prejudicial decision that a trans person has something terribly wrong with him or that he cannot be taken at his word. I believe those sorts of things should yet be assessed individually. It may be a mistake to try to answer for someone else, hypothetical or no, but suppose that the purpose is to manifest physically in a way that is consonant with one's sense of being or identity? To look in reality how one envisions one looking, ideally. Honestly, there are a lot of things I don't understand about the choices people make in terms of appearance, personal style, and what not. Fashion, as a rule, is beyond me. I further do not understand the tie, or why one would ever wear such a thing... (except in response to threats, cajoling and peer pressure, which seems to me to be how that particular wear survives into the modern era.) I do understand that how one appears has something to do with both personal expression, and also how one is received by the world. If I saw myself as female, fundamentally (whatever that means to me; though speaking personally, I don't expect it would mean a hell of a lot), then I guess I could understand the desire to both express myself as a female, and for the world to respond to me accordingly, as I see myself. I don't want to say that it's as simple as fashion -- I don't think that's it (if, in fact, fashion is all that simple... which despite my ignorance of the subject, it might not be). But I suspect that there may be commonalities. Exactly. And, not to speak for him, but I believe that these are the issues that 2046 is driving at when he refers to "social construct." The penis, and whether one has one, is a metaphysical condition. But everything that we associate with "being a man"? That, I suspect, is a grab bag of metaphysical and man-made. And if we hold these ideas of "being a man" or "being a woman" above and beyond the simple possession of certain physical genitalia, and etc., and if one is identified in one category but considers himself to belong to the other, on the basis of these other qualities, that's the point at which I say that we can at least begin to understand the desire to "transition." This is largely what I'm referring to by "the state of the science." But -- and this may be the tip of the iceberg here -- I'm not certain that the possession of all of the physical genitalia is central to our idea of "sex," or to most people who seek to transition. For instance, the ability to nourish and develop a fetus. I don't know whether that's of genuine importance to this subject (though of course it may be very important to a given individual), but my initial inclination says that it is largely immaterial. In saying "I consider myself a woman," I don't think that most trans folks are saying that they desire to have a functioning uterus, though perhaps they would avail themselves of that, if the science made it possible; and when some people respond, "no -- you're not a woman," I don't think they're saying that they don't have a functioning uterus, or that it would matter to them if science did make that possible.
  29. 1 point

    The Law of Identity

    But social constructs are not imaginary things. There are tons of things that are social constructs. Culture, language, institutions, none of these things are imaginary or nonobjective. Race and gender identity are just part of those things. What you appear to think is "innately" a part of gender identity (genitals) and race (presumably color, body structure, hair type, etc.) aren't non existent, they're just not significant or essential to these psychological and social concepts as you seem to want them to be. Wheb someone says "I identify as" a man, woman, trans, black, white, whatever, they aren't saying the identify in those ways which are biological only. That would be subject to your criticism. But rather, they are saying they identify in those ways which are not regarding biological sex, or race or whatever, those ways to which they are perfectly entitled to claim, those ways in which gender roles are conventional practices or accepted cultural values and norms. And regarding things like acting appropriate for an objectivist... an argument from intimidation isn't becoming of an objectivist either, nor is knee jerk reactions against perceived heretical opinions. Let us avoid ignorant kneejerkism and dogmatic pronouncements on what an objectivist should act like.
  30. 1 point

    Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Very good. I learned what is the point of consequentialism as a category. edit: To elaborate, there is the category of intrinsicism, which can be deontological or consequential.
  31. 1 point
    Not to mention, Hitler and the Nazis used the political tactic of "entryism" to gain parliamentary control. He and his tiny cadre started by infiltrating the center left DAP (German workers party) and began slowly filling it with antisemetic and racist ideology, partly by alluding to allegedly "scientific" studies done in the early 20th century regarding IQ and eugenics. We should be aware of alt-right collectivist attempting to do the same with libertarianism and objectivism for our own tiny movement sake, even if it's not for the sake of argument, as of right now, a political threat.
  32. 1 point

    Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    So, you have identified a political proposition which conflicts with rights, and are prepared to jettison rights. Whereas I am inclined to jettison the political proposition. I would agree with Rand's epic statement: When we say that we hold individual rights to be inalienable, we must mean just that. Inalienable means that which we may not take away, suspend, infringe, restrict or violate -- not ever, not at any time, not for any purpose whatsoever. You cannot say that "man has inalienable rights except in cold weather and on every second Tuesday," just as you cannot say that "man has inalienable rights except in an emergency," or "man's rights cannot be violated except for a good purpose." What are the reasons for thinking this? Well if you believe, which I do, that philosophy is hierarchical, then you believe that rights both are formulated and exist prior governments, then that is prima facie reason to resolve any conflict between a government policy or construction in favor of rights and not the government. If how to properly construct a legal system depends on facts about my rights, and my rights are more fundamental, then any conflict between the two should generally lead me to favor my rights. Nor could I appeal to the existence of a contradiction as a reason for favoring the govermental construction over my rights, since what kind of governmental construction I want to have depends on what my rights are. Now you certainly could come down on the view that we need to reformulate our understanding of our rights, but you can't appeal to needs of the government in order to do so. Nor would your specific argument work. The government isn't a person, it's an institution or organization, it therefore has no needs other than the needs and interests of individuals. And my needs and interests include not being forced to think or act, as a potential victim of your compelled testimony government, for to quote Mises, at the end of every government policy is the gendarme, the hangman, and the firing squad. If your government is subjecting innocent people for the sake of its "needs," then sorry, it loses out. The "objectivity" in objective law has no needs outside of and against the needs of the individual, that is what makes it objective, if objective law is subjecting nonaggressors to violence, it has lost its objectivity. Yes it's true that sometimes jurors, judges, and arbitrators do not possess enough information as they need to make a judgment, but that's just how it is in a free society sometimes. As the great liberal Sir Thomas Moore stated, I give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.
  33. 1 point
    My silence is largely due to disinterest -- I don't think memes much matter. People who are unthinking accepters of ideas are no more than force multipliers, and they'll serve whoever happens to catch their unthinking fancy. They won't serve reason, that's for sure. If they're not spreading Nazi memes, they'll be spreading Christian memes, or Antifa memes, or whatever. So why worry about whether saying "White lives matter" helps the Nazis? It only helps them against the equally evil, and abstaining from saying "White lives matter" will in no way serve rationality. Whether one does or does not say "White lives matter" should be decided based on the needs of your own life, and not on whether it serves the ends of one gang of thugs as they battle another gang of thugs for the alleged minds of sheeple. As to what I respond to, I wouldn't look for an agenda there. I don't really have one in this thread; it's whatever happens to trigger a thought I want to share. You might recall that I titled my intro post "Living on the edge of a volcano". I assumed that people understood that I was not merely referring to myself, but to all of us -- that we're all within range of an unthinking violence that could destroy our lives at any moment, that it is sheer luck that others here haven't experienced what happened to me or something equally awful. (Or worse. I'm still alive and in command of my faculties. Others have not been so lucky.) But I've seen little sign of it. Instead, we're beating up one another for the sin of saying/not saying "White lives matter". Sheesh. It may be true that ARI and company will save the day, that America will come to its collective senses and reject the irrationality that infects it today. But it is insane to act as if that will happen, to take no thought for the possibility -- I would say the near certainty -- that any rationality will appear only after a period of violence and destruction. I, of course, am acutely aware of that possibility, and so I'm easily provoked to say that we need to wake up and smell the coffee.... Hence, my reaction to the quote from the Declaration of Independence.
  34. 1 point
    I don’t give a crap what Neonazis think or do to further whatever goals they may have, and likewise I don’t give a crap about people who believe those ideas or help to further those goals. Why would I accept or care about some idiotic new meaning given to normal English phrases by this group? What is the standard for accepting their “context”/meaning over common understanding? Is it a majority group of the US population? Isn’t this implicitly siding with “groupthink”?
  35. 1 point
  36. 1 point

    Is "groupthink" an anti-concept?

    ...kind of. It still needs to be checked in some (or many) ways against what you already know from your own experiences and thinking. Presumably the server of a valid conclusion has already integrated the material properly, and presents it in such a way that the recipients can integrate it on the basis of their own experiences and thinking.
  37. 1 point
    William O

    Aristotle and the science

    I'm reading Francis Bacon's Novum Organum at the moment, which is very relevant to this. According to Bacon, all of the fundamental concepts of Aristotle's philosophy (like "substance," "quality," and "essence") are unclear, and all of his scientific claims are invalid. The reason for this lack of clarity and invalidity is allegedly that Aristotle did not build his philosophy up from the ground, based on experiments. Instead, Bacon claims that he jumped from a few observations to the widest generalizations, then deduced intermediate conclusions from those widest generalizations. The correct way is to start with very concrete generalizations based on plenty of experiments, then slowly build up from there, until finally you arrive at the widest generalizations. There is a lot of truth in what Bacon says in the book, but as you can see, there's also some anti-philosophy scientism in his reasoning. I don't think Rand built up Objectivism using experiments, so it's not clear how Bacon would view her work.
  38. 1 point

    Aristotle and the science

    It's okay to be an Aristotelian.
  39. 1 point
    On whether the meaning suggests pride: the context of a slogan has consequences for determining its meaning. If I said "I have a standup view of women," I might be praised for virtue signaling, but if I'm Bill Clinton and I say it, perhaps a different meaning is suggested. Context is a part of meaning. So while the phrase itself doesn't suggest pride, when said by a neo-Nazi it does now. And on groupthink, is it true that Objectivist are entirely exempt from this tendency, especially when it comes to pissing "the left" off? Well that's not objective either. Indeed, it's better to identify particular thinkers and particular stated philosophy. Like the alt right and its proponents, the ones who started this campaign: they want to deport all non-whites. Identifying that is a crucial part of examining the ad campaign, ignoring it just sounds like the opposite of rational analysis: a blank-out.
  40. 1 point
    Disturbed—The Sound Of Silence
  41. 1 point

    Jan Helfeld Interviews

    I think the anarchist, armed with the same understanding of rationality can and should wholeheartedly agree that everyone should not be exposed to the constant threat of force. Historically anarchist have argued along those lines you mention more often than Randian lines, but it need not be so. The anarchist nor the objectivist should accept this distinction between "natural forces" and government as a "man-made imposition." What does that mean to be an imposition versus natural? It's not as if the government exists in some Archimedean point outside of society and the individuals in it. Likewise, "natural forces" are "man-made impositions" in the sense that it's just individual doing things. Neither government nor spontaneous order has any existence outside of the interactions of actual human beings.
  42. 1 point
    Harrison Danneskjold

    Truth as Disvalue

    A literal cognitive zero wouldn't have anything for anyone to learn about (or subsequently know about); every fantasy, no matter how outlandish, is a mental rearrangement of previous mental content (which was ultimately derived in some way -valid or not- from reality). Although it makes a handy metaphor, to speak of literal "knowledge about a zero" is a contradiction in terms. One can come close to contemplating a zero, as in certain forms of meditation or the attempt to visualize nonexistence, but even if successful (which I'm not sure is possible) it would not leave you with knowledge - but it would leave you with something. "They was men who reached the edge of space, saw a vasty nothingness and just went bibbledy over it." -Kaylee's explanation of the Reavers, from Serenity That's why I originally responded to the OP with a warning against pondering the experience of death. Staring into the vasty nothingness is very bad for you. Just because we acknowledge its reality and incorporate the fact of it into our cognition doesn't mean that we have to torture ourselves with it. I'm well aware that Al Gore exists in reality, at this very moment, and yet I hardly ever soil my mind with the thought of him. Only if evasion can actually lead to the kind of pleasure we seek. I've been trying to show that it can't. Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I think "the rational pursuit of tranquility" is a perfect description of some of the millennials I've known. Suppose you'd just fallen from the top of a skyscraper and only had a few more moments to live. You could face that fact and choose how to spend that time accordingly (reflecting on your life, making one last phone call to a loved one, screaming some well-chosen last words, etc) or you could evade it and squander that time (perhaps continuing whatever text you'd been composing when you fell). Neither option will change your doom one bit and yet one of them is clearly morally superior (on the basis of what you can get from that time). As mortals we're all in freefall together. The only question is what we choose to do about it. But you can't choose to do anything about it unless you first know about it. If you evade it then nature will make the choice for you.
  43. 1 point
    Attention is the act of focusing your consciousness on sensory experience. It happens most dramatically when you wake up from sleeping or snap out of a "daydreaming" episode. Attention is valuable in relation to your particular needs. If you need sleep, then attention is not so valuable. If you need to escape from a burning building, then it's very valuable. You can also broaden or narrow your attention--expand or concentrate your focus. If you're guarding a fortress, you should probably keep your eyes and ears open at all times. If you're trying to learn a melody, you might want to close your eyes and put down the sandwich. Part of volition is your ability to choose where and how to place your attention.
  44. 1 point
    Easy Truth

    Truth as Disvalue

    You seem to be making the case that value is absolutely tied to truth. That rationality is a value because it leads to truth. That truth is almost identical to value. Or that value, at its core, is the truth (a constituent). A plant can't go toward an untrue sun, an imaginary sun, it will die in darkness. The implication is that even one single evasion can't be a value.
  45. 1 point

    Sanity, or The Human Evasion

    According to Ayn Rand admirer, psychologist Celia Green, If I had to bluntly assign those broad characteristics to two groups in relation to Objectivism I'd describe the ones who do think about what they don't yet understand as the creators, and those pathologically interested in other people as the altruists (by def.) and the second handlers. But that's me, what do you make of the above quote?
  46. 1 point
    A similar question came up during a Q&A session of the 1976 Objectivism course. I am quoting the exerpt bellow:
  47. 1 point

    Is objectivism consequentialist?

    I would go so far as to say almost all values (I am adhering here to the objective theory of values) in fact ARE instrumental, imho all but one value is instrumental, instrumental to the only value which is at once both an end in itself and a choice: life.
  48. 1 point

    Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Sorry for interjecting... your response was to ET, but this is tantamount to arguing against the Objectivist standard of morality itself. It claims that bad conduct can support life long range... implying that the standard of morality is wrong. It amounts to saying really, conduct is to be judged as "good" or "bad" according to something which is not the Objectivist standard of morality. This is an error. Actions are bad precisely because they are inimical to life, long range, and any action which is not inimical to life, long range simply is not bad.
  49. 1 point

    The value of apologizing

    What you say is accurate, but I think the benefits of saying sorry are much bigger than what's being mentioned here. I find that when I say sorry on a frequent basis (and I make mistakes every single day), it inspires courage. I'm not afraid of being wrong, because I can trust myself to correct my mistakes. Because I know I'll make mistakes and can correct them, I can steam ahead and crash into walls and have the resiliency to get up very fast. I'm also not very worried about hurting people, because many times after I've hurt them and say sorry, the relationship to that person is actually improved. In other words, it's better to hurt them, acknowledge the mistake and fix it, then not taking any action at all. Saying sorry has so many benefits. Another is that the internal fear of being "discovered" goes away. "What if someone finds out" becomes a though of the past, and instead there comes the pride of "yes, I did this, and I stand by it, because I've corrected my mistake". So I'd say; make heaps of mistakes, learn from it, apologize, and go full throttle. Life is short, make the most of it. You cannot drive a formula 1 car with a lot of weights hanging behind it. Fix errors and move on.
  50. 1 point
    Harrison Danneskjold

    Metaphysics of Death

    Yes. And you're right; death isn't inherently good or bad - when considered in complete isolation. However, as far as alternatives go, death is always worse than the continuation of life.