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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. 4 points
    I'm not so sure I've acted in my self interest raising this issue... Also, I have misunderstood and/or been negligent in honestly seeking the motivations of Merlin... justice demands an apology when treatment does not match desert... so Merlin I apologize for making this an issue, I have no excuse or justification.
  4. 4 points

    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?
  5. 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.
  6. 3 points

    Late Term Abortion

    Geez if this is her position then it's illogical (I never thought I'd say that about something she said). There is *zero* difference in what the child *is* depending on what side of the woman's, um, body parts it's currently at in the span of minutes or hours of it being born. A child doesn't magically transform into a rational animal in a short time span based on what side of a vagina it's currently at.
  7. 3 points

    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.
  8. 3 points

    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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?”
  11. 2 points

    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.
  12. 2 points

    There Is No "Thing-In-Itself"

    From a recent discussion: "Nietzsche also rejects the need for a world beyond the world of appearances (the thing-in-itself)..." Rand does not merely reject the "need" for noumena. She regards the very concept as invalid: "But 'things-in-themselves' as separated from consciousness and yet discussed in terms of a consciousness—is an invalid equivocation" (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Appendix Discussions). It is an equivocation on "consciousness" because in order to metaphysically sunder an object from its appearance, and posit corresponding gradations of Being (letting the "thing-in-itself" alone participate the Real), the form of conscious awareness must be taken to constitute its object - there is precisely nothing else to be aware of - and more this formatic apprehension must be taken as the "disqualifying element" (Rand's terminology) in coming to know the Real. In other words, in order to make sense of "separated from consciousness" or a principle of absolute unknowability, we have to make recourse to this appearance-object distinction which is itself a form of coming to know the object that is the apparently Real relationship between consciousness and existence ("everything is done from the human perspective" - Rand). Awareness is always awareness of something somehow, and there is an equivocation in treating awareness or identification of the Real with the Absolute - out of all relation to awareness - as something not also thereby distanced from the Real. For it treats of awareness as both capable and not of grasping something independent of what it constitutes - beyond the bounds of representation - just like how Rand sees "consciousness" (in the aforementioned quote) being used to capture a principle of separation and not. In truth, it is simply a category error to speak of "things-in-themselves" or "things-as-they-really-are" - let alone have them alone participate the Real - because the form and object of perception are incommensurable; to offer the objects of perception as "things-as-they-really-are-not" is to completely fail to grasp that there is no magically privileged perspective on anything whatsoever, and no standard of veridicality which does not grip the world with a specific identity. Attempts to evade, subvert, or negate these facts are attempts to judge or re-write the metaphysically given. ... Unfortunately, Kant does not posit the relation of his transcendental schema to the world as an accidental one, or some potentially interesting hypothesis. The principle of transcendental idealism is not merely offered as a reflection on phenomenal awareness simpliciter. Kant must be committed to the knowability of the self-in-itself as beyond mere representation if he is indeed to affect the reality of a world of representational content (which is "nothing but representations, and they cannot exist at all outside our minds.” Critique of Pure Reason, B235) whose subject is the seIf-in-itself, i.e., the noumenal mind, which he attempts to establish only indirectly by deduction or inference more generally. But inference is radically dependent upon causality, and for Kant causality is imposed. One does not and can not properly infer the simple existence and operation of those activities which are already a necessary precondition of any right to the concept, performance, and meaning of inference - this is simply another consequence of the illicit character of Kant's epistemological vehicle(s). Indeed Kant is not even allowed some unknown explanans as the cause of the unity of experience precisely because causality is not something to mediate the phenomenal and noumenal worlds. To be imposed is to be of one. To infer the so-called activities of the self-in-itself is to make use of them here, so there is no way to make sense of the notion that their cause could be something beyond representational content, beyond the mere elucidation of an explanatory schema. Knowledge is a causal relation, and the utter incoherence of Kant's transcendental psychology is a consequence of him holding the mind to be constitutive of its contents except where those contents concern the cause of constitution, so as to be offered as something beyond the mere recognition of representational content. The distinction between noumena and phenomena is not synonymous with nor as innocuous as proclaiming the metaphysical independence and priority of the object of awareness, something all realists do. For the realist, form and object are naturally commingled, and the form of awareness is the identity of that specific relationship between consciousness and its objects, the somehow of being aware of something. Think for a moment about the contrapositive of this principle and just how perverse it is to understand the means of awareness as a metaphysical bar to awareness of the Real - that in order to be aware of the Real, of things as they "really" are, you would have be aware of it nohow (I am well aware that Kant doesn't regard our knowledge of the phenomenal world as something delusory). This fashioning the domain of the Real as metaphysically outside the purview of experience and reason is fundamentally Platonic in spirit, and its ruthless philosophical opposition is the basic spirit of Aristotelian epistemology - an unrelenting acquiescence before the evidence of the senses, and a principled recognition that "consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists" (Atlas Shrugged, John Galt's Speech). To quote Marc Champagne: "Aristotle was able to make change intelligible because he shunned facile recourse to 'appearances' and made it a sort of methodological compact to always strive for concordance with the data that set his inquiries into motion. By our lights, this is the aetiologic posture all philosophers should adopt: to eschew ladder-discarding." [emphasis mine] And from Leonard Piekoff, who Champagne quotes immediately after giving the above quote: "According to Aristotle, the question to start with is not: What must reality be like in order to make it possible for us to acquire knowledge of it? But simply: What, as a matter of fact, is reality?" For Rand there are no boundaries of pure intuition. There is no such thing as anything "in-itself", no das Ding an sich Selbst betrachtet. Objectivism does not hold that we perceive things as they really are because there is no such thing as something as it "really is" or "in itself". Things as perceived by your mind - to paraphrase Galt - are not things as they really are but simply things as they are. There is no such thing as the noumenal world, or the completely unknowable Real. Knowledge is prior to ignorance and skepticism for the same reason existence is prior to consciousness; the latter in each case is itself a relational phenomenon, having meaning only in virtue of being commingled with or otherwise actualized through the former. As such, queries like "is knowledge possible?" or "can we be aware of reality as it really is?" are completely invalid. There is no vehicle for these questions that, to be a vehicle - to have weight, does not necessarily depend upon some form of knowledge and some prior apprehension of the real. There is always and everywhere substance before the void, and all voids are simply an absence of substance. Epistemology is never properly about the possibility of entangling the real, of asking when and how our "ladders" can be "discarded", but only of that entangling's norms and reproduction. Recognizing that we have consciousness or knowledge of the real is the starting point of true and efficacious cognition in general. Consciousness is a faculty of knowing reality; consciousness is conscious.
  13. 2 points

    Of Peripheral Randian Interest

    In Oak Park IL on Thursday the 11th, a rare chance to hear the music that inspired We the Living in the building that inspired Roark's Stoddard Temple: http://www.utrf.org/operetta-in-exile/
  14. 2 points

    Late Term Abortion

    I know there are a lot of abortion topics on this site, apologies if this is a duplicate - I didn't want to get lost in an old thread and didn't want to read through all of the old topics. I wanted to get some thoughts on this. For an argument against late term abortion and birth as the clear line: there is a point, maybe around 6 months(ish), where a mother has a moral (and legal - ideally) obligation to carry out the pregnancy, given that her health isn't at risk. At around 6 months (ish) or however far along the process it is determined, the fetus is developed enough to be considered human - it experiences consciousness, feelings, could live outside of the mother at this time if given the opportunity, etc. At this point, the mother has a responsibility to carry out the pregnancy because it is by her action that the cells were able to develop inside her body to the point where it actualized into a human being deserving of rights. Although it is the mother's body and she has the right to do what she wishes with it, she does not have the right to kill another human being after initially extending an invitation (I mean this metaphorically, though I suppose it will be a point of contention, especially using the word invitation). The fetus is "trespassing" at this point, but that does not give her the right to kill it when it depends on her for life. She had a responsibility to abort the cells before it developed to the point of a human being deserving of rights. I liken this to when you invite someone on a boat and travel into the ocean. You are cannot get upset with them in the middle of the ocean and claim that they are trespassing as it is YOUR boat and demand that they get off your property (i.e. jump in the ocean, leading to their death). In the same fashion, you cannot demand a fetus get removed from your body after you have implicitly invited them through inaction. I'm not stuck on this argument, I just was thinking about it and wanted to get some thoughts.
  15. 2 points


    Defender of the faith? How Ukraine’s Orthodox split threatens Russia A rather lengthy article, covering the topic over time, comparison to similar events and providing a synopsis at the end of the chronology cover as well as the key players Here is the Summary provided at the beginning of the article: The Orthodox Church in Ukraine this year became ‘autocephalous’ – meaning it is no longer answerable to the Moscow Patriarchate Church. Autocephaly is of huge symbolic importance: for Ukraine, as a sign of political independence; for Russia, as a sign of political loss. The Kremlin and Russian Orthodox Church enjoy a close relationship, but both are biding their time and deciding what to do next. The uncertain course of events means that issues arising from autocephaly may not be settled for many years. The domestic consolidation and international recognition of the new church will not be easy or quick, but this is an irreversible change – Moscow is unable to overturn it.
  16. 2 points
    Maybe the problem is that this should be in Member Writing. My impression is that Misc Topics is for single topics that otherwise don't have an appropriate forum. While I'm here, I'll suggest adding a couple lines of description or opinion with each forum post. This might help stimulate interest or debate. Just posting a link potentially kills a thread later on, if the link goes dead. Having some substance in the post itself will keep the thread viable, even if the blog disappears.
  17. 2 points
    I appreciate all the links Merlin makes to his blog entries. They are informative, and convenient for me to go to from here. I don't get to follow up with comments usually, because I'm on other things for in-depth assimilation in these years of my life. Merlin's professional background and continuing study of economics and of philosophy are a lucky stream into this site. I'm delighted to see that such an old, old man is still learning. I remember 25 years ago when he and I together studied philosopher after philosopher concerning theory of truth. I'll try to link to some of his essays on that and on other subjects naturally of interest to learners who have an interest in the span of topics Rand undertook. I had not heard of this book and social theory of Walzer's until Merlin conveyed notes on it to us in this modern medium. Makes me kind of feel like being back with Merlin in hours after our business jobs, plodding our way through Spinoza. (I'm not kidding; to us that is interesting and very worthwhile.) I see that Merlin has summarized Waltzer through chapter 2 and that there are several chapters more he might think to convey notes on to folks here who might well be interested in modern theories of justice. Perhaps he will have some evaluations and Rand-comparisons at the end. Good research and thinking from Merlin in these finished products: Imagination and Cognition Theories of Truth I II III On Probability Pursuing Similarity Perhaps some participants here would like to talk to Merlin right here in this thread about some things he wrote on these topics. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS - I first met Merlin, as I recall, listening to tape lectures being played at Northwestern in 1977. That was The Philosophy of Objectivism which had been recorded the year before in New York. (It was by Leonard Peikoff, and Ayn Rand participated, a fine experience.) It's quite possible one could get acquainted with this learned guy by attending OCON 2019. He and wife reside in that vicinity, and I know he attended OCON last year.
  18. 2 points

    Buy gold and silver?

    The typical advice from financial advisers to clients is to put their money into an index fund, getting a combination of: low commissions and lowered temptation to try an beat the market. In general, this is still good advice. but... ... it is based on a key assumption that the future U.S. performance will be pretty much like the past. Stocks can be hurt by inflation, but their prices inflate too. And, couple that to an unwritten assumption that statist governments have an incentive to subsidize the most common vehicle of investment. A true hyper-inflation type scenario is different. But, since such situation has not really occurred in U.S. history, a financial adviser will never advise you to plan for it; not qua financial adviser. A few economists might be willing to predict hyper-inflation in the U.S., but they're basing their advice on a theory that has not been borne out for a century. One can compare the DOW vs. Gold, but looking at the DOW "priced in gold", how many ounces of gold would it take to buy the DOW. Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/1378/dow-to-gold-ratio-100-year-historical-chart A big problem with this raw chart is that the price of gold was fixed in the U.S. from the great depression all the way to Nixon. So, the relatively bad performance of the DOW during the 1970s was gold shooting up in price from many years of pent up legal binding. Given that legal context, one really ought to look at post-1980 data. Which gives us this portion: Since 1980, the only time when one could have bought gold and still be better off than the Dow today was the years between 2000 and 2008. Notice that this is pre-Great recession, pre-housing-crisis, not post. Why? because the factor at play was the DOW rather than gold. It was the DOW that was shooting up. Since 2009, the DOW has shot up again, far beyond its previous highs. Since about 2012, the price of gold has not followed. Consequently, the DOW has risen significantly in gold terms. if you think the DOW is in a new bubble, then that might be an even better (as in history-based) reason to buy gold than a hyper-inflation scenario. However, betting against the stock market averages is something that a typical financial adviser will not recommend because it is usually a way to under-perform. My personal view on gold is that if I own it, it will likely under-perform the stock-market over most multi-decade periods. Personally, I don't see a complete break down of the U.S. system during my lifetime. I'm also aware that in a complete breakdown, either the government or some thug is likely to take my gold from me, and to prevent that it may become necessary to hide it and not actually use it... making its value theoretical. But, as I said, I don't expect anything even close to this scenario in my lifetime. I think gold is a decent multi-generation asset, if you want to buy some to leave to your grand children. Even here, buying something like a rental property is likely to have better returns, because it is a true investment. Finally, if you do buy gold, beware of the scammers out there. Companies that hype the coming inflation etc. are dicey. Many of them try to convince their customers to buy coins that are not near 100% gold. So, if you do buy physical gold, stick with regular U.S. Gold eagles and the like.
  19. 2 points

    Gravity Threads are Real

    To say something is possible means that you have some evidence for its existence. I don't see any evidence for gravity threads. There is clear observational evidence of various individual falling objects creating parabolic paths through the air. And the fact that everything free falls back to Earth suggests a force coming from the Earth. But where is the evidence that Earth creates gravity threads? When I asked about this, you said it hasn't been discovered how Earth creates them, but we know about them because of the way things move. Isn't this arbitrary? Why not imagine projectile elves that live in every object and guide it according to elven magic, which happens to make parabolas that fit with the math? That seems just as possible as gravity threads which mysteriously emerge from the Earth.
  20. 2 points

    Gravity Threads are Real

    What's wrong with the theory? It appears to be missing a spool. For the thread to take the shape of a parabola, the spool would be needed to unwind the initial thread and provide the initial involute. If only a portion of the entire involute is considered, it might get conflated with a parabola. The more developed involutes more closely resemble a spiral. Rather than traveling along the thread, what is being described is the endpoint, and the course it makes as it becomes unraveled from the spool, where if properly wound, serves as an excellent example of a helical coil. The specific gravity, in this case, might be derived from the weight granted to the original development in the vacuum of having left out the spool around which the original thread was packaged and subsequently unraveled from thereafter.
  21. 2 points
    In general, we know patterns of inference as codifications of regularly successful mental policies. In particular, we know logically valid inference patterns as means to certain conclusions, the denial of which results in contradiction. But seeing as conceptual knowledge and method are indivisible, valid forms of inference are less what we may know than that by which we know (conceptually). The knowing of logic and of basic inference patterns are in large part the faculty of knowledge turning back in on itself, and stating the implicit causal relations by which one knows as explicit propositional forms or rules for one to know. Modus ponens is an explicit statement of the indivisibility of cause and effect, a principle implicit in every mental consequence as caused by the apprehension of some object of consciousness. "p therefore q" underscores the premise behind all valuation and recognition, for it is in recognizing the necessary connection between q and its cause that motivation may find real purchase.
  22. 2 points
    This book provides transcripts of many of Peikoff's podcasts. I've bought the Kindle version and I'd say it's pretty good. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P5TWX4J/ref=nav_ya_signin?#reader_B07P5TWX4J
  23. 2 points
    “If p, then q” is taken in logic texts to be identically equivalent to “Not (p and not-q).” “Not (there is a naturally evolved bird with talons, and it is not a bird of prey)” is identically equivalent to “If there is a naturally evolved bird with talons, then it is a bird of prey.” It seems that we know up front that this “identically equivalent” relation holds however much our knowledge of birds increases; it cannot be found false. Whether there are presently unknown conditions under which this particular “If p, then q” can be found false is open, though until specific prima facie plausible conditions of that sort are proposed (at least in a sketchy way), that open possibility is a vacuous possibility, a degenerate, impotent sort of possibility, whether the if-then concerns nature or mathematics. The nature of birds is a matter of identity, but it seems a wider sort of identity than that in the “identically equivalent” relation. And the latter would seem to be something one learns about later than the former, although maybe the latter is already present in a precursor way in prelinguistic action schemata (eg. there’s more than one way to get attention, more than one form under the schema get attention). In his book How We Know, Harry Binswanger takes syllogistic inference to be a case in which what is already implicit in the premises is drawn out and made explicit in the conclusion. That is a common perspective on deductive inference. The syllogism is a form of “If p, then q” in which p is a conjunction of two propositions: “If r and s, then q.” For r and s to be true and to bear implicit truths, of course, r and s both have to express awareness of facts (254–55). This viewpoint is smooth with the views of Rand that logic is a form of identification and that existence is identity. In his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff remarked: “The method of logic . . . does reflect the nature and needs of consciousness. It also reflects the other factor essential to a proper method: the facts of external reality. The principle which logic provides to guide man’s mental steps is the fundamental law of reality” (120–21). There are no contradictory facts in reality, I should add, to be thought in conjunction if thought is aimed at fact. To put forth without evidence or design for evidence the thesis that there are naturally evolved birds with talons that are not birds of prey contradicts evident facts without resolving the purported contradiction with other (not-adduced) evident facts. I suggest that denials of modus ponens should be understood as that sort of denial under the basic conception of logic in Objectivism. Logical validities are never independent of all facts of reality. Some excerpts from Nathaniel Branden’s lectures The Basic Principles of Objectivism: “Logic is the tool of reason. Logic is based on facts, on the fact that that which is, is; but it is not a science of facts. It is a science of method (75).” “One proves a proposition by demonstrating that it is logically necessitated, that its denial would contradict facts already known to exist. . . . . “Until one has grasped that A is A, and that contradictions cannot exist, there can be neither proof nor the concept of ‘proof’. . . . “The Law of Identity is a genetic root of the concept of ‘proof’. . . . (73, transcription in The Vision of Ayn Rand)
  24. 2 points

    The Only Possible World? (Leibniz)

    A possible world makes sense if and only if it refers to a future state of the one real world. Other ways I've seen it used are gibberish.
  25. 2 points

    Law of Identity and Evolution

    The argument here (identity precludes change) first showed up in Parmenides ca 500 BC. From the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology: On the former path [i.e. of reason] we convince ourselves that the existent neither has come into being, nor is perishable, and is entirely of one sort, without change and limit, neither past nor future, entirely included in the present. For it is as impossible that it can become and grow out of the existent, as that it could do so out of the non-existent; since the latter, non-existence, is absolutely inconceivable, and the former cannot precede itself; and every coming into existence presupposes a non-existence. His writings give us the first example of an explicit premise-and-conclusion argument. Much of Aristotle's metaphysics amounts to an explanation of what's wrong with that argument.
  26. 2 points

    Late Term Abortion

    So you are in favor of the right of mothers to have a baby in an alley and leave it to death? I say death, because that is what will happen most likely, without any assistance from third parties. What if the mother has a baby in the desert or in a rural mountain town in Colorado, where third parties aren't around? Can we leave a baby in the snow to fend for itself because it is a 'physically independent entity' that has a self responsibility to gain 'the values it requires to sustain its own life.' The baby is physically dependent on the mother because of its undeveloped nature, and the mother has a responsibility to the child (until adulthood or transfer of that duty) because she is the one who brought the child into the world. Despite what you say, babies would not be able to survive very long in this world without someone taking care of it (proof is meet any newborn and read the stories of babies that ARE left to fend for themselves - spoiler: the ending is usually tragic). The mother brought the baby into the world and, therefore, she has the responsibility to make sure its rights are protected. She cannot expect anyone else to take care of it.
  27. 2 points

    Which Eternity?

    Potential is identity viewed from epistemological perspective, a mind with memory and imagination. All that exists are particulars, doing particular definite things in accordance with their identities. It takes imagination or memory to divert the mind's attention away from what the object of the mind's attention is doing right this moment. 'Potential energy' is a concept taught in elementary physics classes. Pendulum motion is described using the principle of conservation of energy such that the sum of the pendulums kinetic energy of motion and its potential energy of position must remain constant (neglecting friction for the moment). Here the so-called potential energy is real and actual because the pendulum is a real and actual existent with a real and actual position within a gravity field at every instant. One can avoid the potential confusion of thinking of potentials as real because it appears in an equation describing the pendulum's motion by using the term 'energy of position' instead. This kind of statement "a sea battle either will happen tomorrow or not happen tomorrow" is formally true because the alternatives are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive, but it does not constitute knowledge and cannot be categorized as a fact because it does not predicate anything. (It predicates two perfect contradictories which cancel to net zero predication.) The grammar of the statement is correct, the logic of the posited alternatives is flawless, yet it remains entirely an exercise in method. It is an unfalsifiable statement of the kind Popper scorned. The statement employs the useful and valid concept of "tomorrow", but that does not transform the referent of "tomorrow" from an epistemological construct (a 'concept of method' in Objectivist jargon) into an existential fact. Tree rings exist in the present as an effect with a cause in the past. The cause existed, then the effect existed. The present existence of the effect does not require the present existence of the cause. Going back to your argument: No beginning and no end can still be literally true if a finite Universe had some kind of strange asymptotic boundary conditions governing time. For example, space and time are related such that a very high mass density implies a very high space time curvature such that time slows to a crawl relative to a lesser curvature. The Big Bang would have played out very slowly, and extrapolating backward in time beyond the Big Bang requires crossing an inflection point where time would not pass at all. A remote future in which all matter had entered black holes and then been re-radiated as Hawking radiation until all the black holes were gone would be a perfectly static universe in which time had no meaning.
  28. 2 points

    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
    I recently read a book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. It really helped me make peace with this ever present contradiction between supposed workplace rules and what people actually do, as a rule (not sure how to phrase this exactly...maybe "what people actually do as if they were following a different rule book"?), at work. Because it's not chaos: people aren't acting unpredictably, or unilaterally, when they're ignoring the official rules. They are just following a different set of rules: one that's not written down. But they're all following the same unwritten rules, it's not like one person follows one set, another one another set. You should just read the book, it's really good (the first half is dedicated to individual habits, the second to organizational ones), but I will try to sum it up briefly. It says something along the lines of: organizations, just like people, are guided by habits, not by rules. For instance, you acknowledge that Objectivist principles are rational, and should be followed...but you can't just flip a switch and follow them, you must consciously and constantly work to develop habits that make it easier to act the right way. Same is true for organizations, except developing good habits is even harder, because there are different people, with different values and personalities, involved. I would argue (based on personal experience) that the ONLY way to get people to follow the rules and do so with enthusiasm and good intentions (as opposed to begrudgingly, which produces worse results than not bothering with rules at all) is if the rules are created by EVERYONE in the organization, from the lowliest intern to the top boss, working together and agreeing to them. In other words, you can't impose a set of rules from the top down, and expect your business to stay productive if you're tyrannical about enforcing them. People will simply hate you for it, and work against you. Not just "irrational" people. Everyone. The notion of top down rules one's inferiors just follow unquestioningly goes against basic principles of productive human interaction. That leaves managers with two options: 1. In an ideal situation, with an organization that's small enough, or with a branch of an organization that has enough autonomy, the person in charge of the place does what I suggest above: talks to everyone regularly, asks everyone's opinion on what the rules should be, and finally gets everyone to agree on a reasonable, minimum necessary set of rules people are willing to follow. And, of course, the rules are updated regularly. 2. The second options is what usually happens: a set of rules gets handed down, and promptly ignored. Doesn't mean that anarchy follows. Far from it: as the rules start being ignored, people come up with their own replacement rules fairly quickly. There are conflicts at first (in the process of these rules being formed), but conflict is unpleasant, and people quickly reach compromises meant to avoid conflict, and those settlements end up guiding their actions from that point on. And smart middle managers aren't just aware of these organizational habits, they know how to make slight modifications as needed, to keep things functioning smoothly, and with minimal conflict. They're essentially doing what's described in point 1., but not explicitly (because they don't have the power to do it explicitly). My advice is, figure out these hidden rules quickly, and follow them. When you asked your coworker about the hidden rule concerning eating, for instance, they were beyond forthcoming and honest with you. People usually are, because they love these rules (they love them because THEY made them, and they made them to make work life easier and more productive), and they want to help newcomers understand and follow them to. And once you prove that you understand the system, and are willing to work within it, you can start to influence it as well, and bend it to your will. You have to be willing to start small conflicts, to gain any territory, but people will respect you for it (conflicts shouldn't be shouting matches, they should be calm, brief, rare but well timed expressions of dissatisfaction with someone's actions). And none of this is irrational. It's not ideal, but it's not irrational. It's the second best solution to the problem, when the first one (explicit cooperation to reach the same result) isn't an option. P.S. Don't mistake this with an absence of principles, or dishonesty. Again: in a functional organization that functions in spite of the written rules rather than because of them, people are honest about the unwritten rules. They are honest about their scope (they're not official rules you can be written up for breaking, they are enforced by your co-workers, through social pressure). They are well intentioned about their purpose, and, finally, the rules DO NOT contradict basic human principles like honesty, property rights, etc. If you are not honest, if you do not have the business' best interest in mind, if you steal, etc., these unwritten rules will get you ostracized and even fired more surely than any written rules. And don't think that the above description only fits fast food chains that hire minimum wage workers. I've seen the same habit driven work environment everywhere I ever worked, and in every organization I ever came in contact with. The book also goes into the detailed functioning of organizations like ALCOA, the London Underground, a major East Coast hospital, etc. In a dysfunctional organization, of course, dishonesty, theft, and much, much worse becomes the "rule". Such organizations exist too, obviously. Just look at the history of the 20th century, examples abound. Functional organizations can't exist without freedom of association, and self interested, rational owners and managers. But you haven't posted anything to suggest this organization you worked for was dishonest, encouraged theft, etc. Having a bite to eat during your shift, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone who works there, is not theft. Who knows why that rule was written down (could be anything from regulation to some out of touch manager on a power trip)...point is, no one cares about it. If no one cares about a rule, it DOES NOT MATTER. IGNORE IT.
  30. 2 points

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    IQ distributions work in such a way that this doesn't happen anyway. At best, you would need a very limited population, which we aren't even talking about. But you missed the point. I'm not going to go over how you got the Objectivist position on individual rights incorrect, since we went over that already. Suffice it to say that it is a principle, not an "absolute" (contextless truth) in the way you put it, to guide how we establish an organized society, rather than a consequence of an organized society. Regardless of the person's IQ or race, we care about their actions or their stated beliefs, especially reasons to think the person is a threat to individuals. We might hold people to different standards of accomplishment, but we hold people to the same standard of morality. This is than the basis we should use in which to create a stable and healthy society. This then establishes a shared culture and all that, which only enhances the stability. You still avoid the whole IQ discussion that you've created when you refuse to talk about what you would do about black people in the US.
  31. 2 points
    It is a bit of a paradox: that we want certain values and the easier they come, the more of them we'll be able to achieve, yet if everything is super-easy where's the mental satisfaction to come from? Evolution "made" us feel positive about the work that goes into creating/achieving value. The stoic who achieves value too easily keeps piling on more "to-dos" on his list. This is a good approach, but must be done consciously and by questioning whether one really wants to achieve that value and why. There's a yarn about a young, ambitious MBA vacationing on a small island, chatting with a local fisherman about his life-plan. "I'll join a great company"... "And then what, senor?" ... "I'll form my own company" ... "And then what, senor?"... "I'll go global"... "And then what, senor?" ... and it ends with "And then, I'll buy a plot on this far-away island and retire here to fish for the rest of my life". The epicurean, on the other hand, tells people to chill out and enjoy life. Don't be lazy, he says, but don't be in the rat-race for fame or fortune either. True laziness, in this perspective, is to work so little that you cannot provide for a comfortable life: a nice home, nice food, ample wine, time to relax, and throw in a good bunch of close friends. This approach too makes sense, but can leave the stoic feeling unsatisfied: will I die having done nothing to be super-proud of? The point that's missed in the fisherman's yarn is that the young MBA has a lot of fun (or at least he ought to) through the process of his achievement. Chances are, he'll never even retire the way he dreams of. He'll have the means, but it'll just seem too boring. As an individual, one has to think this through, and make the choice that suits you.
  32. 2 points
    I'm reading a good book that deconstructs all this anti-woman/ PUA mentality, and offers an alternative approach. One that is respectful of women without putting them on a pedestal, and congruent with Objectivism. In fact a lot of it seems to be written from a partially Oist perspective (the author fleetingly mentions that reading Atlas Shrugged in college changed his life, in the book, as well). It's from Mark Manson (who's known for "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck", which is the second best "life advice" type book I have ever read in my life), and it's titled "Models: Attract Women Through Honesty". ( I don't think "models" refers to fashion models, but rather "things to model yourself after"...but it is an ambivalent title, on purpose...pretty sure it's meant to mock PUAs). The two books are very, very different. "The Subtle Art..." is short, it's written in a provocative style (lots of cursing), it throws flashy, provocative ideas around somewhat carelessly, and uses a wide lens to look at life in general. But it's very interesting, and frames a lot of good life advice in some very surprising and original ways. The "Models..." book on the other hand is longer, analytical, detailed, carefully thought through, and focused on the subject at hand. But, as you go along, you find out something very important: the subject at hand (getting women) is as wide as life itself...because you get women based on who you are, personally and socially, not on what "techniques" or lines you use. So the book actually sets out to encourage the reader to change their entire life, and become an interesting, opinionated, provocative, well dressed and groomed, physically fit, healthy, independent, well traveled, knowledgeable, well read, sexually uninhibited, confident, courageous etc. person. Do that, and women won't be able to resist you...no aggressive, fake alpha behavior needed.
  33. 2 points
    I agree. There is a thread here discussing Consequentialism as the category of moral theories holding that morality lies in the ends not the means. Deonotological moral theories hold that morality lies in taking certain actions, i.e. the means not the ends. The two together form a category of Intrinsicist moral theories. As intrinsicism is entirely false, ends versus means is a false dichotomy. Recapitulating what user gio reminded us of in that thread : Morality guides action, and actions are means. Thus in Objectivism morality is about means and so cannot be characterized as Consequentialist or compatible with Consequentialism. But Objectivism does not tell us what actions to take. No actions are intrinsically good in Objectivism because Objectivist ethics are not Deontological (or intrinsicist of any type). Objectivism is based on identity and causality, thus the appropriate actions to take are the ones that cause the consequences desired. The full appreciation of the problem of morality is that multiple actions may bring about the desired consequence, and each action will have multiple consequences in addition to the desired consequence. It's just too much to deal with, it's an epistemological overload. Objectivist ethics then, goes on at length about values and codes of values and the standard of value in order to deal with the epistemological problem of morality.
  34. 2 points

    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.
  35. 2 points
    Many things exist. Everything that exists interacts with every other thing that exists, and no matter how small or attenuated that interaction may be it is not zero. For an existent to be somehow isolated fully from every aspect of existence it would effectively be in its own separate universe, unknowable and epistemologically out-of-bounds as an object of valid thought. Identity which does not involve a relational aspect with other identities is just unknowable. So it can't be discussed. Metaphysics and epistemology go together because the limits of what can can be claimed to exist coincide with the limits of what is knowable. No one can justifiably confirm or deny either the existence or nonexistence of what is outside of the Universe. Any justification that one might discover to such an isolated unknown would also be a casual link that would rope that existent into inclusion in what the concept Universe refers to which is the entirety of existence. Existence is Identity is Casuality.
  36. 2 points

    Institute for Justice

    While so many American fret worry about issues that are really only marginal to their lives. the Institute of Justice continues is slow and steady chipping away at violations of rights. They just won a case that will restrict civil forfeiture in Philadelphia There's a win on city code enforcement in Charleston and many other Each of these cases is very local. It is easy to despair that it is like fighting a giant with a tiny pin as a sword, inflicting minor cuts. On the other hand, the big-picture approach to philosophical change isn't easy, and with the cases that IJ wins, there is the satisfaction of having helped at least those people, in that one city or state win back some right. If a few women in one city can now make a career hair-braiding, and that let's them earn more money and have a better live: that's something, even if it's a small cut to the system at large. The list of cases continues to grow. Here's the list. In the long run, I think their wins could help other lawyers, in other states and cities, win similar cases. Maybe, one of two of these issues might even become a theme that can be tied together to ripple across the country. All the best to IJ
  37. 2 points
    Here's a quote I came across in the sidebar, attributed to Ayn Rand: Google indicates that this quote comes from The Fountainhead. I don't think this should be in the sidebar, because it is patently false - your first glance doesn't tell you everything about a person. Rand probably intended for this fictional ability to play some role in the world of The Fountainhead, but the quote doesn't say that it's from a work of fiction, and it isn't particularly insightful out of context.
  38. 2 points
    Regardless of who said it, and whether or not it’s true, the quote states a matter of profoundest conviction for Rand, and I think it’s a key to the enduring hold she has over her readers. When we meet a character in one of her novels, we get a physical description as we do in just about any novel. We come across Roark immediately in The Fountainhead and James Taggart and Dagny Taggart very early on in Atlas Shrugged. Rand’s descriptions are largely in terms of acquired, character-revealing traits such as facial expression, carriage, posture or eye focus. The impersonal narrator makes these matters of fact like hair color or eye color. On a few occasions we get this indirectly, through the words or thoughts of a character recollecting a first sight (Rearden’s first sight of Dagny Taggart, Galt’s first sight of Rearden). What these descriptions and the many others like them have in common is that they are never wrong. Rand’s characters turn out to be just what they first seemed to be. Sheryl’s first impression of James Taggart doesn’t fit this pattern, and she misjudges him disastrously, but: (a) she sizes him up on the strength of his name, not of his visible air; (b) we first saw him a couple of pages into the book, and he has amply lived up to the expectations that his appearance gave him. In her theory of art Rand spoke of eliminating the inessential: in life, one ignores the unimportant; in art, one omits it. False visual clues are among those forgettable contingencies that have no place in her art. In the Randian universe, our first impressions are correct. People don’t let us down in this respect. This habit spilled over into her personal life. In her obituary for Marilyn Monroe, she says Monroe had “the radiantly benevolent sense of life, which cannot be faked”. Readers have quoted this remark many times over the years, more times, I venture, than Rand expected. Yet I’ve never seen anyone ask why it can’t be faked. Monroe was an actress. Faking what she didn’t feel was her job. Elsewhere in the same column Rand says she “brilliantly talented” at it, but here she says Monroe couldn’t act. She wanted MM to be the person she saw up on the screen, and convinced herself that she was. Rand herself and her biographers have told various stories of how often this acquaintance or that public figure “disappointed” her. She wanted people to live up to her expectations, and their failures to do so were a personal hurt. We’ve all known this feeling, and we’ve all been glad to meet somebody finally who is what we hoped, but it doesn’t loom as large for most of us. Barbara Branden tells a story of Rand’s girlhood once in her 1962 biography and again in 1986. Young Alisa admired a schoolmate and wanted to get to know her. She asked, point-blank, what is the most important thing in the world to you? She replied, My mother, and Rand walked away in disappointment. That was the end of that. In her earlier telling, BB makes this the other girl’s fault for not being was Alisa wanted her to be. In the later version, she says it’s typical of Rand’s failure to consider other people’s context before judging them. This failure on her part, and her idealism, may be closer than we realized.
  39. 2 points

    Donald Trump

    There's a substantial number of Trump voters who still think Trump was the right choice as President.While some might have soured on him, only a small minority of those who voted for him would want him gone. I've spoken to Trump voters who seemed reasonable in political conversations 4 or 5 years ago, and who are wary of Trump being over the top, but who would feel disenfranchised if he were removed. The idea that the U.S. is controlled by a "deep state" has spread to a wider section of people. I believe the numbers are substantial, even though not a majority. A large number of people feel out of control and alienated from the system. They do not see it as a system they want; but as a system that is imposed on them. Of course, they're the cause of the system, but there's little hope they will ever figure that out: it's an intellectual feat that is beyond most of them. Some of these folk might actually be happy that a few Trump advisers are acting as dampers to his worst gut instincts; yet, they would only want them to act as dampers, not to do anything fundamental.
  40. 2 points

    Donald Trump

    A high ranking White House official wrote a little essay on the subject of this thread: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html He didn't leave his name, which should only fuel Trump's paranoia about his subordinates undermining him. Best quote: Another quote: This is not a liberal. It's not a Democrat. This is a conservative Republican. One of many, sitting in a position of power, waiting for the right time to finally end this absurdity.
  41. 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.
  42. 1 point

    There Is No "Thing-In-Itself"

    Sure, it's from his dissertation. Link below. Champagne, Marc. (2007). Atomism, Wholism, and the Search for a Tenable Third Way. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/32049136_Atomism_Wholism_and_the_Search_for_a_Tenable_Third_Way/link/5b2e63dfaca2720785dc6302/download
  43. 1 point

    How does one find its values?

    No, not if fun and value are intertwined. Too many people look at Roark and misinterpret him as a stoic, driven to deliver value to the world at great personal sacrifice. Not at all surprising... this is what it looks like to people who do not understand the fun of working in a field that gets your heart pumping. I did not say that finding a central purpose is impossible. I said that you aren't going to find it if you go looking for it. It works the other way around: you try things that seem like fun (and give you objective value... not hedonistic things you regret). Of the things you try, some seem more fun that others. If you pursue those, and start to become more adept, you'll find that you get deeper into it, become more of an expert, and it is even more fun that before. That way, you might well discover a central purpose. But, even if you do not... it isn't something to sweat. All that matters is the purposeful pursuit of value: because that's what will bring you a deep sens of happiness. Not sure what absurdism is (I'm not a philosophy buff, and don't plan to look it up either). You correctly answer that we should seek out rational goals that make us happy. Yes, it is subject to our knowledge. You say that makes it non-objective. Objectivism actually uses the term "objective" differently. In Rand's terminology, she's say (instead), that values are not intrinsic. However, they aren't subjective either. There's a difference between choosing with a toss of a coin and choosing with all the adult knowledge we can bring to bear on a subject, coupled with asking other people for advice, reading books and so on. This latter approach is what Objectivism considers "objective". The whole reason we're even having this conversation is that you assume that you can think about things, get other opinions, and make decisions. There's really no such thing as intrinsic knowledge anyway. Bottom line: use the best of your knowledge, and seek out advice from people you consider more knowledgeable. Couple this with how you feel -- emotions are not tools of cognition, but are extremely important in giving us automated feedback about our likes and dislikes. Put all this together as best you can to figure out what value-pursuit seems to be most interesting to you. Then, go for it. You'll likely make a lot of mistakes, and take a lot of wrong paths. So, you watch, think, emote, and course-correct. I don't know the details here. But, yes there are times we want some goal that is not immediate, and we have to go work through negative experiences to get there. Being animals, we always have the here and now -- current happiness and comfort -- singing a siren song to us. As humans, we are able to imagine the better long-term future, and are able to be disciplined about keeping our focus there. It is not easy --- as many people who try to lose weight will testify. Still, it is possible -- even with some slips, falls and a few backward steps.
  44. 1 point

    Gravity Threads are Real

    To bounce off this... What is your educational background in physics? My main comment is I'm wondering about the foundation this is based on. I really am curious.
  45. 1 point

    Peikoff's Dissertation

    2046, I’ll hold off remarking on pragmatism until we get to Dewey and Lewis. Concerning the classical ontologists, “they regarded the laws of logic as themselves matters of fact (i.e. ontological in character, not ‘mere’ matters of fact)” (Peikoff 1964, 13). The classical philosophers basing logic in ontology (such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Leibniz) would want to have PNC both as an ontological fact of the world and as a norm, a consciously followed constraint, for ascertaining any fact, whether itself or other facts, whether facts empirical or mathematical. With the variations in ontology between various theories basing logic in ontology are variations in what is ontological form. I think it is always what philosophers say about the ontology of form that is key to their ontology of PNC and their account of how PNC is also a norm. Below is Peikoff’s representation of Aristotle’s ontology at work in a syllogistic inference. I should like to mention that this text is my personal favorite in Peikoff’s dissertation. Also, I’d like to mention that, as Jonathan Lear showed from Prior Analytics, the certitude of the validity of the syllogism below, and the other first-figure ones, is the base certitude of validity by which Aristotle, using some self-evident logical conversions, certified validity of the syllogisms of the other figures. Lastly, in their lectures and writings concerted with Rand; Branden and Peikoff point to contradictions that occur if one denies the conclusion of this syllogism below while affirming its premises. It is a good assignment for the future to work out the moments of Aristotelian form in rendering those contradictions. Under Aristotle’s account, we learn the truth of PNC by observing instances of it and performing an intuitive induction to it (also called an abstractive induction). PNC has to be a law prior to the operation of thought in order to be discovered by such observation and abstraction. The normativity of PNC in Aristotle’s account is from the purpose of thought, which is the comprehension of existence. To serve as guide to that purpose in the way PNC serves, PNC must, in Aristotle’s view, be a first principle in existence. We must not think a thing has and has not a certain character at the same time because, as Joseph puts it, “we see that a thing cannot have and not have at once the same character; and the so-called necessity of thought is really the apprehension of a necessity in the being of things’” (Peikoff 1964, 162). I’ll be looking at Dewey’s expansive notion of logic in turn when we come to it in this series. Looking also at Lewis and at Peikoff’s extractions from both of them. I don’t expect to take up Wittgenstein, and Peikoff also did not. But I thought I’d mention just now a book from Penelope Maddy The Logical Must – Wittgenstein on Logic (2014).
  46. 1 point

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Moral action depends on context, but this is no blank check on action in an "improper society." The question before us resolves into whether there is a right to restrict immigration. If there is no right to do it -- if, in fact, restricting immigration is the initiation of the use of force -- then that is immoral equally in a "proper society" or otherwise. The proper time to protect peoples' individual rights is immediately and always: not when "a proper society is set up," which we currently have scheduled for... well, sometime in the distant future, I continue to allow myself to hope. The checks you mention with respect to immigration? I agree that some sort of "checks and criteria" is warranted, and that action/restriction can happen there, too, according to the same criteria with which we would countenance retaliatory force domestically. Meaning: if we would rightly restrict the liberty of a US citizen for some reason, then we could rightly restrict border entry for that same reason. But otherwise, no. Otherwise, there's nothing special -- with respect to our recognition of individual rights -- to being born in Tijuana as opposed to San Diego. If immigrants plan on using the welfare state, that's the welfare state's problem, not mine. (And I have less than zero interest in restricting immigration so that the welfare state may better survive.) It doesn't warrant my telling someone that he may not move to a certain city, buy a certain house, take a certain job, etc. I believe in liberty, and more to the point that I do not have the right to initiate the use of force. Let's talk about this in concrete detail for a moment. You have a man in Tijuana who wishes to move to San Diego, to get a job there and rent an apartment, so that he and his family may have a better life. You're telling me that an Objectivist such as yourself believes you have the right to tell him that he may not do these things -- in the name of self defense? Well, why not? If we apply the principles given, I don't see why an Objectivist wouldn't support restraints on a person's freedom to leave. If the people who believe in freedom choose to leave the US, that might leave me just as poorly off as allowing an influx from countries with some poorer culture, right? So if I can restrict people and their actions on the one hand, so that I may have a more favorable political culture, why not on the other? (For what it's worth, I don't know that a person like Trump -- though quite far from an Objectivist -- is expert at drawing these sorts of distinctions. If he had his druthers, do you suppose he would make it illegal for certain businesses to leave the US and build their factories elsewhere? I do. So even if we're going to approach this from some "realpolitik"/pragmatic angle, I think there are good reasons for mistrusting walls, generally.)
  47. 1 point
    Doug Morris


    The concept of "God" pushed by scriptuarians is pretty bizarre too, but you can't tell this by looking at a picture of "God". You have to think in principles.
  48. 1 point
    Your advice is good, but, despite what a lot of sources say, the quote doesn't come from Aristotle. It originated in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up: "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." Aristotle says that a good intellect will not require more or less rigor than a topic allows. Nichomachean Ethics I 1 1094b23: "The mark of the educated man is to seek precision insofar as each class allows it, so far as the nature of the subject-matter admits. To accept probable argumentation from a mathematician is like asking a rhetorician for formal proof." I.e. the two are equally absurd. Philosophers other than Rand observe what they call the principle of charity: when in doubt about how to read a text, prefer the interpretation that makes it come out correct.
  49. 1 point
    The first sentence of the second paragraph in the opening post expresses a centuries old view about universals. Wikipedia's summary of the problem of universals is here. It refers to conceptualism, for which Wikipedia has a link to another summary. It arose later and now is generally considered a major alternative to realism and nominalism. The quote in the opening post is from Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality. On Amazon there are several reviews, most of which are 1-star or 5-stars. One of the 1-star reviews is by me. If you haven't already read the book, maybe the reviews will help you to decide whether or not the book is worth reading.
  50. 1 point
    I wouldn't call mens clothing boring at all! Most men, of course, dress terribly, as do most women. But that is not some inherent fault in the clothing options available to men, but rather in the fact that modern society places no value either sex dressing well. From what I have seen most men don't even know how to tie a tie properly, much less coordinate pattern, color and cloth between 4 or 5 different articles of clothing. But for the man with an interest in clothes and style, mens clothing offers a wide array of possibilities.
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