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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 2 points
    Bertrand Russell ( 1872 -1970 ) famed British mathematician and philosopher once remarked to a large lecture audience at Cambridge that “....nobody can be certain of anything!” contrary to his insistence on previous occasions that mathematical knowledge was a certain and a provable science. He wasn't being funny. He of course was being very serious. How his epistamology changed we can only speculate but his lecture did proclaim to the whole world that no absolutes can exist, the tree you see or the car you drive or the meal you eat is not real, forgetting substanuously and unknowingly that he was uttering an absolute of his own.This type of evasion is like stating that the pursuit of knowledge is not only fruitless but pointless at best:that reality is unknowable, that the syllogism is corruptible and prone to error and that thee brain doesn't work; therefore rendering the mind impotent. If one accepts Russell’s quotation above as true, the logical conclusion would be that, if nobody can be certain of anything then everybody can be certain of everything that he pleases. Since nothing can be refuted anything and everything would be permissible. In politics this is called the “double twist” used to confuse voters into accepting facts that are not only untrue but to fall into the condition where a voter voluntarily gives up his independent judgement and concedes to the politician in question that he/she must know something better/more than I do (regardless of the true facts) This is the biggest reason America is falling into an ever lowering ring of fatalism that she may not be able to recover from and that my fellow Objectivists would truly be a shame.
  9. 2 points
    gio

    Ayn Rand and the French

    I just started a Youtube channel. I have a terrible accent and I probably make a lot of mistakes in English. I hope it's understandable. I devoted a video to the following topic: What do the French (in general) think about Ayn Rand? I would be glad to have your feedback.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 2 points
    The various state laws are at risk because they attempt to override federal law, which is unconstitutional (Supremacy Clause). What the federal bill would have done is allow state to, individually, override federal rules on this subject matter, as long as the device etc. “is authorized by, and in accordance with, State law”. If your state has no such law, you’re out of luck. If it does, the federal law says “we won’t interfere”.
  13. 2 points
    Hot off the presses, boys. Yaron's forum talk with the liberal YouTuber Sargon of Akkad at the King's Libertarian Society, when ironically they were literally in the middle of denouncing the Alt Right and discussing the objectivist critique of fascism, the thugs burst in the room to shut down the forbidden wrongthink. Looks like they were more interested in Sargon than Yaron, but they seem to have held their own against the masked effeminate commies, even though security was rather inept at removing them. Yaron posted a follow up video afterwards. Some good comments on there. Yaron heroically stomping on the captured Antifa flag, just warms my heart. ❤️
  14. 2 points
    Okay, thank you.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 2 points
  19. 2 points
    Craig24

    Universals

    Is it proper to say that individual trees are not concepts they are just trees but the concept tree objectively refers to the particular trees? In the same way, a similarity (the common denominator that makes a tree a tree) is not a universal it is just a similarity but the universal (treeness) objectively refers to the similarity. Is that really all that hard when you think about it?
  20. 2 points
    dream_weaver

    Universals

    Contrast Wikipedia's neutral presentation of the issue (the problem of universals) with the Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Forward to the First Edition. Here's the first paragraph from the Forward directed toward presenting the issue: The issue of concepts (known as "the problem of universals") is philosophy's central issue. Since man's knowledge is gained and held in conceptual form, the validity of man's knowledge depends on the validity of concepts. But concepts are abstractions or universals, and everything that man perceives is particular, concrete. What is the relationship between abstractions and concretes? To what precisely do concepts refer in reality? Do they refer to something real, something that exists—or are they merely inventions of man's mind, arbitrary constructs or loose approximations that cannot claim to represent knowledge? Bypassing the quotation, she raises one example To exemplify the issue as it is usually presented: When we refer to three persons as "men," what do we designate by that term? The three persons are three individuals who differ in every particular respect and may not possess a single identical characteristic (not even their fingerprints). If you list all their particular characteristics, you will not find one representing "manness." Where is the "manness" in men? What, in reality, corresponds to the concept "man" in our mind? Note the immediate identification of "the problem of universals" as the issue of concepts and planting it squarely as philosophy's central issue. This is followed by the recognition that man's knowledge is conceptual in nature, the validity of man's knowledge rests on the validity of concepts. Knowledge and concepts have logical element to them. Concepts are abstractions or universals. This reiterates that it is the issue of concepts., which subsumes abstractions or universals. This is contrasted with everything that man perceives as particulars, concretes. So far, I don't think Miss Rand has offered either a theory or an attempt at solving "the problem of universals." She is framing the questions and setting her stage, if you will, for the introductory acts yet to unfold.
  21. 2 points
    MisterSwig

    The Law of Identity

    That's hilarious. You'll accept whatever gender someone wants to be called, but you won't accept whatever screen name someone wants to be called.
  22. 2 points
    human_murda

    The Royal Family of Nominalism

    I completely agree with this. They usually provide two (mutually contradictory) justifications for why nobody can contradict them: 1) From evolutionary psychology: the idea that this "feeling" (actually: identification) of who they are is obtained through genes or some means other than perception. Such inheritance can be random, is not derived from reality and may eventually be discovered to be in conflict with physical reality. They may claim that they are physically a man but their brain comes with the identification that they are a woman. Since the identification is obtained through means other than perception and "cannot be helped", they claim that these identifications (of themselves as male or female) are as valid as a person whose genetic consciousness is "cis" (people who get a transmitted consciousness which identifies their biological sex correctly but don't have a choice in their identification either, since that part of the consciousness [which identifies their own biological sex] is transmitted genetically and is not derived from perception). 2) The idea that gender has nothing to do with biological sex and is a social convention. Under this paradigm, gender is a man-made concept. Hence, it is arbitrary. Hence, they're all equally valid. The concepts are considered to be derived from reality but in a loose sense: through social agreement. What is considered is "normal" or correct is also part of this agreement and has no basis in reality and must be fought. The latter argument can also be applied to all concepts: all concepts are man-made (true) and hence, arbitrary (false) but are given meaning and made "real" by society (false). Both justifications cut off consciousness (identification) from reality (one says identifications are hereditary; other says they are arbitrary.) and they contradict each other. There are still more (less important) arguments. Definitions: sex and gender are two different concepts but your sex determines your gender. Some heuristic definitions can be given: sex: biological sex of all animals gender: biological sex of humans male sex: male & animal female sex: female & animal male gender = male & human female gender = female & human man = male & human & 18+ boy = male & human & 18- woman = female & human & 18+ girl = female & human & 18- For example, a cow is female but not a woman. A bull is male but not a man. This is the only distinction between sex and gender. Humans can be referred to by their sex as well as gender. Your biological sex and the fact that you are human (and hence your gender) are determined by your physiology and is not an arbitrary choice open to debate. Note: saying something like "that female offered me candy" is a bit dehumanizing so the latter is more preferred [gender contains the implication that you are human]. But both are correct. This doesn't mean that gender has any additional special non-physiological attributes. Gender is preferred over sex (when referring to people) for the same reason that "those gay men are playing in the field" is preferred over "those gays are playing in the field". The only thing gender adds to sex (and "gay men" adds to "gays") is personhood (the fact that you are human). The addition (of personhood) makes sure that you are not reduced to your biological sex or sexual orientation while somebody else is referring to your biological sex or sexual orientation. It is a respectful way of addressing people (but it is not a title or indication of social status as some "constructionists" would want you to believe). There is no mystical undefinable element. Gender is a respectful way of referring to a person's biological sex by including the fact that they are human. The same thing happens with "gay men" or "gay person" as opposed to just "gays". Both sex and gender refer to biological sex but for different classes of species. Sometimes the word "man" refers to all humans emphasizing the personhood and getting rid of the biological sex. This is more evidence that what the words man/woman add to the table is the concept of being human, not some BS social convention. Also, English isn't my first language, but this is how I understand these words (male, female, man, boy, woman, girl). It seems extremely simple to me. But pretty much all native speakers seem to have some problems with this. I don't understand what their objections are to this (I have heard some say that since gender roles are made-up and different throughout the world [eg: marumakkathayam in Kerala], the concept of gender is false. That's faulty logic. Gender and gender roles are two separate concepts. The validity of gender roles has no implications for the validity of the concept of gender). To summarize: gender is a different concept from sex (which is broader) but if you are human, your sex determines your gender.
  23. 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."
  24. 2 points
    There are several matches for "certain" on 100 Philosophical Quotes from Bertrand Russell. Here are the most relevant ones: “Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.” “A religious creed differs from a scientific theory in claiming to embody eternal and absolutely certain truth, whereas science is always tentative, expecting that modification in its present theories will sooner or later be found necessary, and aware that its method is one which is logically incapable of arriving at a complete and final demonstration.” “Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.” “To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.” “Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom.” None are footnoted. They do tend to belie the same essence. Many of the Google results on "nobody can be certain of anything" are Miss Rand's usage. Citing from Ayn Rand is dead, which has a few footnotes I didn't pursue: "Despite the quotation marks, she is the actual author. It is a false, incorrect paraphrase of Hume’s Problem of Induction plus an anachronistic paraphrase of Bertrand Russell." Once “There are no absolutes,” they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are uttering an absolute." is grasped, the rest is dotting i's and crossing t's.
  25. 2 points
    Eiuol

    Depression

    The thing with depression is that physiological causes are rarely ever the whole story. There is also some amount of one's position in the social world, or some deeper things besides strictly how your brain is working. It's difficult at times to keep up a motivated outlook. Sometimes, physiology makes it more difficult than for other people. Personally for me, there is a mix of all this that leads me to show symptoms of depression. Objectivism has had an important role for me so that while at times depression is there, it helps me to prevent things like self-hate, or beating myself up as a bad person. I don't feel that, and I attribute it to a few principles of Objectivism. Some Nietzsche, too, but my opinion on him is complex. 1) Benevolent Universe Premise No, this doesn't mean the universe "wants" you to be happy. Rather, it's a belief that evil doesn't win out over the good, that is, if one acts justly and acts virtuously, evil cannot last. This isn't to say tragedies don't happen - after all, Rand wrote "We The Living", which is really good at making the point that on a wider scale, the triumph of good is affected by things like respect for individual rights. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolent_universe_premise.html 2) Art fuels one's passions Rand wrote this, I recommend reading all of The Romantic Manifesto: "Since a rational man’s ambition is unlimited, since his pursuit and achievement of values is a lifelong process—and the higher the values, the harder the struggle—he needs a moment, an hour or some period of time in which he can experience the sense of his completed task, the sense of living in a universe where his values have been successfully achieved. It is like a moment of rest, a moment to gain fuel to move farther. Art gives him that fuel; the pleasure of contemplating the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life is the pleasure of feeling what it would be like to live in one’s ideal world." http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/art.html 3) Celebrate the good Perhaps this is obvious, but it is important to see the good in the world and celebrate it. Some people are truly jealous of success, seeing happiness as zero-sum, and think a successful billionaire is inherently bad. This is what Rand pointed to as hating the good for its good qualities. At times, a depressed person may want to wallow and blame others. If you go out of your way to admire the good, you'll have an easier time recognizing that it is possible to achieve your goals by your own efforts. It's a sense of self-responsibility.
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