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  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
    merjet

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    I didn't see a forum where I thought this post fits well. If the moderators want to move it to another forum , that's okay. Anyway, I've been posting to this blog for a while, and believe some would find an interest in a couple recent ones. LeBron, Trump, Altruism Marconi #6 This is one of a series of 11 that I wrote while reading a biography of Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless technology and often credited with inventing the radio. The post refers to John Galt.
  28. 2 points
    Nicky

    Grieving the loss of God

    I used to believe in God, and study the Bible, when I was very young. I don't look at it as "lost time" at all. In fact, those were some of the most intellectually productive years of my life. I didn't just read the Bible, I also read Dostoevsky and several other Christian authors, but it was all connected to my faith, and it was all very much productive and worthwhile. I highly recommend crazy ol' Fyodor. Every single thing he ever wrote is genius. Insane (or maybe just insanely pessimistic) on some level, but he cuts to the essence of things on every other level. So does Nietzsche (who is very much Christian, and a fundamentalist at that, in his critique of the Church, though he's nowhere near as sophisticated as Dostoevsky). So does most of the Bible, as do some other religious texts. There's a lot you can learn from religion, when you're really young. You can even learn some stuff from it when you're old. The main things wrong about the Bible are the (occasional) altruism and the supernatural God part. Most of everything else makes quite a bit of sense, and is well worth studying. When you study the Bible, you're studying thousands upon thousands of years worth of human experience. And even the supernatural God part can just be interpreted as a metaphor for reality, and you're fine (well, it's more complex than that, it involves the context of knowledge people had before science was a thing, but there's no reason to get into that here). Thing is, this is all off topic. The thread is about the loss of a literal God. There's no loss there, because there's no literal God.
  29. 2 points
    KevinD

    Grieving the loss of God

    I was raised with religion. Over time, as I developed and become more intellectually independent, I outgrew it. For me, there has been no grief, only relief. I'm tempted to say the grief happened when I believed. Life as an atheist is considerably more laid-back and enjoyable.
  30. 2 points
    I'm going to limit myself to a single idea, which I suggest you repeat over and over to yourself like a mantra: If you don't get this area of your life handled, sorted, managed and mastered, you are in for a very unhappy life. You'll not only make yourself miserable, but crazy as well. From what you've written here, it seems like you're well on the way. You talk about driving past this girl's house to check on the cars parked outside? I don't know if that's immoral per se, but it sure is loony as hell. You come across in your posts as very young, totally inexperienced (you admit as much), and utterly, absolutely naïve about women and relationships. This is not a crime, but also it's not a state you want to remain in for long. While you're crushing on and obsessing over this one particular girl, the reality is she is of no significance whatsoever. You think (or rather, you feel) that she is someone extremely important, when in fact she is nobody, irrelevant to the big picture. The important person here is YOU. You need to focus on improving yourself, bettering yourself, and above all gaining a mature sense of emotional perspective, particularly where sexual emotions are involved. In short, you need to make yourself into the kind of man who doesn't get irrationally obsessed with girls like this. Now that I've beaten you up, let me say there isn't a man reading your posts who can't sympathize with you, at least a little. Fortunately for some of us, your story serves as a reminder of our distant past. For others, the pain you describe is like an experience out of the movie Groundhog Day, something to be revisited and re-encountered again and again. The unfortunate reality is that most men never get this area of their lives handled, sorted, managed and mastered. They never really figure out sex. To the average man, sex — and its attendant features, such as attraction, masculinity and femininity, etc. — is always a bit of a mystery, which is why so many men make such humiliating wrecks of their sexual lives.
  31. 2 points
    softwareNerd

    What is 'reason'?

    Humans notice causal chains when they're pretty young. This means, they start to figure out that when thing A happens followed by thing B, it is a common pattern, and if thing A happens followed by thing C it is probably coincidental. As they observe more closely, they start to understand the other elements in reality that are playing a role, and thus understand certain causal chains not just as "there's a pattern of correlation", but in a more detailed way: of seeing how that causal chain works and leads up to the observed effect. This faculty is reason.
  32. 2 points
    The essence of Randian egoism is a hierarchy of values rooted in that which is necessary for a human being to survive as required by his nature. Each value must, in some way, contribute to that specific form of survival. The virtues are principles that, enacted, result in gaining and/or keeping such values. At this level of abstraction, it would be improper to have, as a beneficiary of one's acts, anyone other than oneself. But as these abstractions are particularized, as one fills in the relevant values and virtues, it becomes apparent that some actions can be taken that also benefit others and, concretely and short-term, benefit others more than oneself. This would be true in relationships, where one might act "altruistically", benefiting others, to satisfy the long-term goals of gaining or keeping appropriate relationships. Or politically, where one might act "altruistically" by putting one's life on the line to protect one's society. Such "altruism" is not justified on the premise that the good is that which benefits others. (Hence the scare quotes.) Rather, it is justified on the premise that to obtain certain values -- a proper relationship, a proper society -- values that benefit oneself -- one must put others' immediate welfare above one's own immediate welfare. If, at this point, one drops the context, ignores the value hierarchy, one can mistakenly see a mother's actions that benefits her child but cost her dearly, or a soldier's putting his life on the line and even losing it, as actions "for others", a sort of altruism that egoism supposedly rejects. But keeping the context, it's clear that the person who chooses motherhood also chooses the emotional bonding that requires that she "sacrifice". But she does so for the long-term benefits of motherhood, as she conceives them. Similarly for the soldier; if he chooses to defend his society, he also chooses the soldierly virtues that go with it, which may involve "sacrificing" his life. Keeping the context, remembering that humans have a nature, and refusing to accept contradictions -- those are how and why Randian egoism, even though it requires that the beneficiary of one's actions be oneself, also permits and even requires acting for others, sometimes even "sacrificing" for others.
  33. 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.
  34. 2 points
    Just that Dave Rubin has accumulated quite a history of excellent interviews over the past couple years. Yaron Brook did an outstanding job particularly on his first appearance. Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell (naturally), and Alex Epstein's appearances are particularly worth checking out. https://www.youtube.com/user/RubinReport/videos Rogan is a new name to me.
  35. 2 points
    STEPHEN - Yes, the Berkeley idea seems the same, but in other terms. And a lot of Objectivist types when thinking about the nature of mathematics come down rather like Berkeley. I disagree with them both on the mathematical situation. We do have physical applications of complex numbers. But we did not have any such applications (i.e., physical structures known to coincide with the structure of complex numbers) at the time complex numbers were first thought up. They were never ungrounded in rationally grasped realities, even before physical application was found for them. And there are other things mathematically sensible that to this day we’ve found no physical instantiation of, and perhaps there is no such instantiation. Rand wrote against the idea of a system of free-market private protective agencies replacing government in the primary functions of the latter: “Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately.” Here she seemed to think of floating abstractions as having some weak connection to reality. Although, presumably, that could still leave them of limited use and even detrimental for knowledge. On the NOT side, it occurs to me that I’ve NOT noticed any Objectivist writings taking Platonic Ideas as floating abstractions. The fact that such Ideas have regular relations to concretes may perhaps be enough to save them from being the sleaze of floating abstractions, even though we do not obtain them by abstraction from concretes perceived by the senses. In the 1960’s while articulating Objectivism, together with Rand and others, Barbara Branden gave a lecture series called “Principles of Efficient Thinking.” Therein she spoke in a kind of psychological-type way of persons who characteristically think in terms of floating abstractions. She said they don’t see the trees for the forest. There’s “nothing in his head but floating abstractions—that is, abstractions which he’s unable to concretize, which he believes, without any idea of what they would actually mean in reality. / An example of this kind of thinking is a meeting at which a political candidate declares that he stands for a balanced budget, decreased taxes, and increased government spending; and his audience bursts into applause. No one who understood concretely what these abstractions meant could possibly applaud. / A man who holds floating abstractions understands words not in terms of what they denote, but in terms of what they connote. Words connote things to him. They call up pleasant or unpleasant emotions, associations, memories. They suggest; they do not denote. His abstractions float in space, untied to meanings, to facts, to reality.” (Transcribed on p. 178 of the book THE VISION OF AYN RAND.) In the 1980’s Leonard Peikoff gave a lecture series called “Understanding Objectivism.” I notice there that he thought of Leibniz, and presumably Rationalists more generally as dealing in floating abstractions (which is rather the idea you get of Rand’s view of Rationalism in her “For the New Intellectual” even though she doesn’t use the name ‘floating abstraction’ there so far as I’ve found). Peikoff mentions a type of psychosis “which has some elements of being concrete-bound, and has some elements of floating abstractions (certain schizophrenics will build castles in the air), but still they are crazy, and Leibniz wasn’t.” (Transcribed on p. 265 of the book UNDERSTANDING OBJECTIVISM.) The quotation on floating abstractions you found in Peikoff’s OPAR is helpful. Thanks. There he seems to be back to thinking about persons not very philosophical in their thinking. (Cf. Rand’s ITOE 75-76; also p. 214 of Harry Binswanger’s HOW WE KNOW.) Gregory Salmieri maintains that floating abstractions are one possible result of not taking the dependency relations of concepts into one’s thinking. He seemed to have in mind the dependency chain of concepts ultimately to “first-level concepts” (presumably elementary concepts of kinds of concretes ordinary in perception). “A floating abstraction is a concept that has become detached in one’s mind from its basis in perception and has therefore lost its meaning (Peikoff 1991, 96).” (p. 71 in CONCEPTS AND THEIR ROLE IN KNOWLEDGE – REFLECTIONS ON OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY.)
  36. 2 points
    dream_weaver

    Why follow reason?

    From Hellenistic History and Culture: The reapers in Idyll 10 are a gruff, perhaps elderly workman called Milon, given to coarse rustic proverbs, and a lovestruck young man, Boukaïos, whose name suggests a cowman and his song: in the Iliad Hector uses it as an insult to Ajax, as Antinoös does to Iros in the Odyssey. Homer says βουγάïος, not βουκάïος, and the two citations confirm one another, but the difference of spelling is nothing. It is typical of the freakish pedantry of the Alexandrians to use a Homeric word in a corrected form. Bougaïos or Boukaïos has fallen for the girl from Hippokion's farm, the daughter of Polybotas, who must be a farm slave if not a wage laborer. She plays the flute for the reapers, and Milon's advice about her is “Take what you want and pay for it.” Boukaïos sings a song about love: If the translation of Milon's advice is accurate, it provides a source of the citation of greater antiquity than the 1920's. To know how or why, or even if, this is true, is hardly axiomatic. As was pointed out in Introduction To Objectivist Epistemology "reason" is "a complex, derivative concept." This translation of the Tenth Idyll of The Idylls of Theokritus provides Milon as having said: "God finds out the guilty. You've been asking for it."
  37. 2 points
    softwareNerd

    Why follow reason?

    Formally, it is redundant to ask "why be rational", since the question assumes it is.
  38. 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.
  39. 2 points
    The key lesson Objectivism gives me is that I should prioritize creating a better life for myself much higher than creating a better world. And, creating a better world is a priority only to the extent that it creates a better life for myself. The "mystics and collectivists" create the laws and culture. So, of course it has an impact on us. Nevertheless, certain aspects impact certain people. A law denying a person access to try a new drug (the topic of the OP) impacts that person, but does not impact many others in the same, direct way. I should be concerned too, because I could need some such medicine tomorrow; but, I cannot be concerned in the same way as someone who is actually suffering from some illness. The impact on their life is way more than it is on mine. One needs a hierarchy of concerns. Of all the bad cultural and legal things in our world, some are more direct concerns while others are more remote. Of the direct ones, some may be annoyances, while others may be major. Some may cost you a bit of extra time and money, others may cost you a lot. How do you live in a irrational world? You start by understanding that hierarchy of concerns and figuring out what's really important to you. Then, you come up with plans to manage around the high impact ones. Sometimes, that's not possible. For example, if you're thrown in jail under some bad law, you may not have any good solution. Or if, like the OP, you are denied an important treatment, you may have to spend a lot of time and money flying abroad to get it. So, yes: sometimes the bad culture or laws will be a huge barrier. There are so many girls in Saudi Arabia who would love to be free to get out of the situation they find themselves in: about to be married to a cousin who is a strict Muslim, while they themselves are not; to someone who will not allow them to work or drive -- and the law won't give them recourse. Where they will be stopped at the airport if they try to leave and other countries won;t accept them if they manage to get out anyway. A whole lot of people, all over the world, face huge constraints on their freedom of action. Still, if one lives in any of the relatively modern countries in Europe or Asia, one has a lot of freedom of action, unless one hits a specific situation like the OP did.
  40. 2 points
    DavidOdden

    Race Realism

    I think you’re missing the point, in speaking of “self-evident racial differences”. The only self-evident differences are, in fact, skin color and a few similar morphological differences. IMO the number one scientific problem with the concept is that there are no objective criteria for racial classification. That is, there are neither necessary nor sufficient criteria for being classified as “white” versus something else. We do not know how many “races” there are. Being “black” is epiphenomenal, and it has independently arisen in Africa, Greater Australia, and Southern India. An analogous question would be, how many breeds of dog are there? What breed is the offspring of a German Shephard and a Collie? In order to have a rational discussion of race, you have to be able to say what you are talking about in objective terms. This is why broad racial concepts have given way to somewhat better historico-geographic concepts that have some real connection to genetics: the ancestors of African-Americans historically came from Africa (this is still very course granularity, but it’s an improvement). Reasonable research is being done on the geographical distribution of various alleles, and this can be used in various ways to generate a probability of a certain ancestory (the Duffy Null allele occurs about 100% of the time in sub-Saharan Africans and infrequently elsewhere, likewise the earwax-type gene correlates with ancestoral geography, dry earwax having developed in North and East Asia). In other words, race isn’t even a scientifically useful concept: we have better concepts based in genetics and history. The main problem with attempts to impute a correlation between behavior and race is the failure to control variables, which is a fatal flaw in scientific research.
  41. 2 points
  42. 2 points
    Running naked through the park: Yes you've identified a crucial problem with "public property," that is, property that has no clear owner, there is no way to regulate conflicts regarding its use without resort to arbitrary solutions. Now, Rand describes a free society in which all property is privately owned. But let's make an allowance here for some sort of land as you stipulate. Private property has its foundations in the Lockean homesteading principle, that which is unowned and I mix my labor with becomes my private property. Note that this doesn't mean all property has one single individual owner, that would be the fallacy of composition. There are of course "group owned" properties and corporate entities allow for a legal method to deal with this. Legal doctrine has traditionally allowed for some sort of "commons" area or such associated with small towns or villages. A village is built, and there is a small space in the center reserved as a "town square" that people agree is available for general use. Or consider a fishing village near a lake, in the early days of the community it was hard to get to the lake because of all the brush and debris, but the path was slowly cleared over the years and not by any one single effort, but by the combined effort of walking through the path over time. I think there's also records in England of private roads that were built during the 19th Century and then donated to public use (the builders had businesses alongside.) So there's a public space in each of these, but what is the sense in which it is "public?" Surely it isn't truly "unowned," the village or townsfolk own it. And surely it isn't "government owned," or "owned collectively by the human race" or some such nonsense. It would simply be corporately owned by the actual village and they can set the community standards for their space. Surely I, as an outsider, cannot just come to their square or path and block it off for my own personal use, nor can I start streaking. As to how they go about decision making? They can vote, they can set up a board, they can have meetings, they can take disputes to arbitrators, they can form a homeowners association. They can leave rules real loose, or they can really get down and dirty and decide who the real owners are: Sam, he didn't really clear any brush, and Jones, he was lifting fallen branches every day, Sam gets a single share, but Jones gets a 20% share, whatever. You get the point. On the last point, pollution: certainly you have to provide proof of harm. And certainly our understanding of what is harmful changes over time. That's why issues are solved through tort law, not legislative law. This specific person harmed this specific person. And multiply it many times for class action suit, even for hypothetical massive cases. Objectivists accordingly view these issues like climate change as scientific issues, not political ones. One looks at scientific evidence, in a court of law, and if the plaintiff proves their case, then the court stops the pollution. Environmental crusaders are always looking for problems to solve, instead of becoming lobbyists and trying to buy influence from politicians, their efforts would be better served in a more Randian society as litigators for the aggrieved. But what Rand was truly opposed to was the ones that claim humanity must subordinate itself to instrinsic value of nature, or that civilization's progress must be stopped.
  43. 2 points
    Where is this debate and news? When I turn on the TV, channels are reporting that a Trump staffer was a wife beater. But, not just that: that is only background. The bulk of the discussion is about whether the White House knew and how they acted on the knowledge. But, even there, a lot is about what they knew and how they spun the story in public. Switch from the Democratic channel to the Republican channel and it is more of the same. Occasionally, you have things like taxes or immigration make it back to TV news. The thing to remember on these topics is that rhetoric is not the same as action. Trump says he'll build a border wall, but it is in his political advantage to come up for re-election saying the Democrats obstructed him, and if you elect him one more time -- along with a few more Republicans (or "better" Republicans) -- he will build it the next time around. You can really rest comfortably in the knowledge that after both sides have staked out this position or that, the actual ship will move in one direction or the other, but not too much. Paying close attention does not have any utility: it's just a modern day genre of soap-opera. (The exception is when something targets you directly: e.g. if you are an immigrant and have to make decisions, and need to figure out the precise details of what is playing out.) When it comes to news watching and debate following, my advice would be to do less of it. Give yourself some objective rule: like no news and debate of certain days of the week, or whatever works. Instead, pick up an actual long-form book and read it. Even if you choose a book about crises (lol), odds are it will still pay off more than paying attention to things you will not remember happened a few years from now, and won't impact your life too much more than the average impacts you can expect anyhow.
  44. 2 points
    Thank you for this post. Perhaps others tempted to rush in to chastise someone as unpatriotic or overly pessimistic before understanding where they are coming from will learn to think twice before passing judgment. Your case is one with which I wholeheartedly sympathize. I simply do not have the right to patronize you, pity you, or presume to advise you and I will not because I am not in your unfortunate and serious position and although I can try to imagine it I cannot fully understand your experiences. I can promise you I won't belittle your experience or insult the reality you face by treating this as some philosophy undergrad snide fest. Your life and your health are yours. No one has any moral right to deprive you of your freedom to pursue either of them as punishment for merely being alive in the wrong society. I hear you.
  45. 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.
  46. 2 points
    MisterSwig

    The Royal Family of Nominalism

    Is there something about the Rand quote or the first couple paragraphs with which you disagree? I'm mostly relying on Rand and Wikipedia for my understanding of the subject, but if you want to point me elsewhere, that would be great. I think nominalism is essentially the rejection of universals, and the idea that words have no basis in objective reality, they are merely names for categories of particular concretes. This is expressed in "non-binary" gender theory by applying the rejection of universals to concepts of "male" and "female." There is no "male" or "female" concrete thing in reality, therefore they don't really exist and are socially constructed concepts. Hence: "non-binary" which is just a six-dollar word for "not male or female."
  47. 2 points
    StrictlyLogical

    Truth as Disvalue

    Truth as Disvalue Truth as disvalue, evasion as value, a belief system which maximizes life’s value. I have heard it said that nothing which is untrue can ultimately be of value to a rational person and that knowledge of the truth is always a value. When dealing with statements of these kinds, of course one must keep in mind what one means by value, we know for example that truth does not have intrinsic value, as there is no such thing as intrinsic value. So investigating the claim that truth is always a value necessitates an evaluation according to a particular chosen standard of value. Is it true that truth is always a value? Can it ever be a disvalue? I will herein below show that according to certain classes of standards of value, truth can be a disvalue. Moreover, I will illustrate how, in that context, evasion can in fact be a value. I then proceed to show how one can proceed successfully (according to that standard of value) to adopt a belief system which maximizes values according to that standard, and in fact that such a belief system is entailed and required by such a standard. The One Truth Knowledge of reality is incredibly powerful. It is indispensable to action, allows prediction of nature, is the foundation of science, invention, agriculture, architecture, medicine, art, literally everything we know which sustains us and enables happiness is in some way tied with knowledge and rationality. None of these truths which prove useful are to be abandoned or contradicted as they are invaluable. They form a wholeness of knowledge which is at one with the blinding Truth of existence. In this the wholeness though lurks but one black hole… one truth in which sits the opposite of the whole of truth’s promise for life, the very fact of Death itself. After decades of accepting as true, complete oblivion, as the state succeeding life on Earth, I have come to the realization that it is an ugly life draining truth which brings me nothing but horror, fear, and sadness. Resignation to its truth has not assuaged the extreme aversion to physical risk, the morbid thoughts, the nagging sense of death being around every corner, on every highway, hidden in every airplane booking. The reflection that all those living, family and friends will end in the same zero… and that all the daughters and sons of my sons and daughters will, finally, amount to more than the dead matter from which they sprung for their brief lives, ripples unceasingly in my mind. When I was a Deist and believed in an afterlife, I of course did my best to avoid death, I did not entertain unduly risky behavior, because after all, I enjoyed and cherished my life, my family and friends and what I could achieve over my life span, but death itself was seen only as a bump in the road, another transformation, that once traversed, would seem almost inconsequential. Upon death, Life would become some nostalgic memory, no more disturbing than the memories of an adult fondly recalling some childhood haunt or cherished toy. We throw off the trappings of our former selves to become that which we are meant to be, and death was only one step of growth in an existence beyond this one. But the final and true death, of non-being, non-existence, of oblivion, is the black maw of the worst possible monster, literally, as nothing could be worse for me than the negation and destruction of absolutely everything of value to me. It pesters my mind and my soul like some incessant midge from the underworld, and no matter how much I swat at it in a futile attempt to live my life in peace, it always harries me time and again. According to a standard of value which belongs to a class in which the standard of value to the life of man qua man comprises a combination of survival, pleasure, and happiness, the one truth of death IS and always will be a disvalue to me. This I know of myself with unshakable certainty. When I compare my happiness, and daily pleasure at the wonders around me, as they are experienced now, with that ever present darkness in the sky, with my happiness and daily pleasure as one who believed in an afterlife, as I had in the past, I am certain, absolutely certain, that the truth negates a great deal of happiness, pleasure, and peace in my life. As such, according to those certain classes of standards of value, the one truth of death, IS a disvalue to me. Truth indeed can be a disvalue. [For simplicity, “value” hereafter means “value” according to those classes of standard of value to the life of man qua man comprising a combination of survival, pleasure, and happiness] The One Evasion As a Deist, I believed that nature and the beyond (the supernatural) were distinct and sundered. I faithfully held that there was absolutely no connection between them except the traversal (and one way only) upon death. The dead cannot reach the living nor the living reach the dead, and no God nor Omnipotency could affect the natural world of reality. There was only existence, and nothing supernatural there, until death, after which there was nothing but that realm beyond. Maintaining such an evasion was not uncommon to me, nor even unique to my life as a Deist. My former self as a traditional Christian, was very interested in science was very adept at the necessary evasions. Compartmentalization is no mystery to me, and I am all too familiar with it and evasion. I am very cognizant that these are “skills” which I used often and relentlessly. As a person very interested in science, and even after having gone through a few degrees in science, I was capable of all kinds of evasions, but then I did not have the motivation any more. At one point I decided that the truth was more important that what I wanted to believe, more important that the comfort or pleasure I might obtain from a falsehood. According to what standard? Why? At this point, not having been exposed to Objectivism, I really did not have any well-reasoned basis, I simply took for granted that what is true is the Truth and that the Truth was more “important” than any falsehood, that indeed Truth was a kind of “intrinsic” good. So over time I was able to escape the trap of mysticism, because of my motivation for truth, and nothing more. I escaped all forms of mysticism and embraced the absolute of reality and Objectivism. As an Objectivist, I understood the vast majority of truths for what they are, a great value to life. Woven into a web of integrated understanding of reality and man, they are the basis for living. Seeing this I dropped evasion as a disvalue. And in all things other than the single dark truth, evasion indeed would be a disvalue. Because all of reality is interconnected no evasion about any single existent which by necessity is related to any and thus every other thing in existence, could be held without some fact of reality being sullied, warped, held in error. Therefor evasion in this regard is inevitably a disvalue and leads to the corruption of the whole. Only now, armed with a proper understanding of the standard of value is it possible to see that blind pursuit of truth is not necessarily a value. Value is defined by and depends upon a standard. A truth which is sad and painful and brings no happiness and which never could be but a stain upon existence and happiness, cannot be a value. Such a truth is clearly a disvalue. But what of the interconnectedness of truths, what of the disvalue of evasion? There is one evasion which does not encounter this problem if surrounded by judiciously held supporting evasions. Clearly a religious person (as I was) is able to hold evasions able to withstand a great deal of reality thrown against it. Using compartmentalization and ignorance and avoidance, I could simultaneously hold truths about reality while believing in the miraculous. But miracles, and intervention by God poses a real problem, the evidence such would leave behind, the absence of which we clearly note. Of course once I became a Deist no such lack of evidence was logically entailed. The belief of that sort of Deism was in an afterlife wholly separate and sundered from reality and for which there would and could be no evidence until death. The One evasion, that there is an afterlife, of a completely unconnected supernatural and everlasting afterlife, although arbitrary is not disproven by the evidence of the senses. Such to be sure is an arbitrary assertion, a groundless maybe…. Not even worth the label “possible”. The onus is on he who asserts the positive… but what reason, by what standard would I hold myself to that onus? The subsidiary evasion then would be the permission of arbitrary assertions… no… the permission of ONE arbitrary assertion. I know I am capable of evasion, I have done so throughout my life, why not employ these evasions, to permit a single arbitrary assertion, and to believe that arbitrary assertion in absence of any evidence? Clearly, Truth in and of itself is not automatically a value. This is clear from the above. Second, the problem of accepting the arbitrary would only be a threat if it invaded into all aspects of knowledge of reality, I am considering to allow it for only one aspect of reality which is (arbitrarily) wholly disconnected from all of existence. Moreover, if I am required to permit the arbitrary and the belief in one single truth through evasion in order to regain the value of life without the constant fear and darkness and morbidity, then by what standard am I to give up the evasions which permits it? Evasion in these aspects only, to permit the arbitrary belief in an afterlife, are a value. The Objectivist Deism Plan In order to maximize my life according to the standard of value I need only engage in minimal evasion to permit a belief of a single falsehood and deny a single truth. With practice and effort I will come to believe it with all my being, because I know it is a value to believe it. I am motivated by my very life to do so. I will not fail in my minimal evasions for the sake of my very life. I will permit myself that one evasion, supported by the subsidiary evasion (from the fact that the arbitrary should be dismissed), in only this one single instance, the one evasion permitting the belief that there is an afterlife. Such brings about a belief system I call Objectivist Deism. Reality is as it is, A is A, but there is another reality, a super-reality for which there is no evidence, and into which I will have an afterlife. This sole major evasion, that I will not die the true and unending dark death, with its subsidiary evasion permitting the acceptance in only a single arbitrary assertion, is my choice, precisely BECAUSE it is of value and my life will be better for it. I will still understand reality as it is with all the rigor of Objectivism and science, but I will live my life, essentially better than I would have, with the added pleasures, and happiness, and the flourishing which accompanies it, with the knowledge that I will not truly die. I will not be JUST AS successful as I would have been but for the evasion, in fact, because of my added pleasure and happiness and zest for life, I will flourish more, I will have lived more, I will have lived a life of more value than I otherwise would have lived. As such, it is not merely an option open to me, it is necessary for me to follow this path. According to the standard of value it IS the moral course of action, I must and will take it and I will benefit all the more throughout my entire life because of it.
  48. 2 points
    Reidy

    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.
  49. 2 points
    Although I believe we have self proclaimed objectivists who are apparently ready to abandon reason by embracing studies that fail to adhere to basic methodological and scholarly standards, ready to abandon individualism by drawing invalid inferences about people based on these studies, and ready to abandon liberty by supporting deportation of those individuals that don't have the culture they want them to have, however I want to discuss is the original topic. The basic contention to me is within two opposing theses. On the one hand we have the "pro meme" thesis, which holds that the only conceptual content that matters is whatever you want it to mean (e.g., "ill say whatever I want to," "I'll take from the package whatever I want to,") and one can ignore the rest. On the other hand we have the "anti meme" thesis, which contends that the former is guilty of context dropping and that the origin, agenda, and background intent of a meme have consequences for the implicit meaning of that slogan. Consider that the meme was posted on a section of forums frequented by white nationalists claiming that spreading the message would feed social unrest and sway people to embrace white nationalism. The poster claimed that normal Americans would see that news outlets and leftists hate whites and then these would "convert to the white nationalist, alt-right side." White supremacists and neo-Nazis have believed for a long time in the strategy of the "white victim" as a means to gain more adherents. They also discuss watering down the message and removing references to other races in order to make it more palatable to normal white Americans to participate in their advert campaign. White nationalists and alt-right groups are also making efforts to "clean up" their image from the tattooed, cross burning skinhead, and taking their newly watered down message to campuses. They also are attempting to exploit social media and meme warfare. This is a young, hip, tech-savvy white supremacist movement, and they want to bait new believers and adherents by using social media to play off "leftist anti-white bias" (which certainly does exist on the leftist fringe) and portray campus diversity as inherently anti-white. By using a grain (a very small grain) of truth and a watered down message of triviality, they succeeded in getting "the normies," and apparently some self-proclaimed objectivists, to dance on a string. Although Grames claims I don't understand how memes work, I contend I perhaps understand it better than him, and I wholeheartedly reject it. As an individualist, I would rip one of those papers off and throw it in the dirt, happily. No alliance with fascists, no alliance with white supremacists, and objectivists cannot put enough daylight between themselves and these alt-right groups. We know how spontaneous orders work in economics, but there are also negative spontaneous orders that serve to sustain statism. We know that Republicans, right wingers often times hijack the rhetoric of capitalism and free markets to defend and advance statism. Just look at Rand's comments on Regan. She was an individualist of the old school, having been influenced by Rose Wilder Lane and Isabelle Patterson. The conservatives have been doing it for decades and now alt-right white nationalists and neo-Nazis are joining in. They are openly trying to water down their racism and cloak it under the guise of scientific studies, and wrap it in libertarian and free-market packaging. I hope my fellow individualists and objectivist friends are not so easily deceived.
  50. 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.
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