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    Objectivism Is The Everyman's Philosophy

    In the universe, what you see is what you get,

    figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,

    and each person's independence is respected by all

  • Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words

    • "Metaphysics: Objective Reality"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
    • "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
    • "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
    • "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"

    Defending Capitalism against Ayn Rand?

    By Craig24,
    About 5 years ago, Steven Farron wrote an essay in Liberty titled Defending Capitalism against Ayn Rand.  Contemplate this for a moment.  He thinks Ayn Rand, in some sense, was anti-capitalist even though she explicitly promoted and defended capitalism.  In the essay he writes: “She thought that the heroes she created were exemplars of pure, uncorrupted capitalism.  In fact, the heroes she created in Atlas Shrugged came from her sense of life, which was not only un-capitalist but anti-capitalist.” That’s a head scratcher.  He continues: “In Atlas Shrugged, Rand created heroes who embodied her sense of life and described how such heroes would fulfill their heroic natures if they engaged in economic activities.  She thought that the sum of their economic activities and interactions provides a template of what laissez-faire capitalism would look like.  She was wrong.  When the heroes who embody her sense of life engage in economic activities, they function like Communist administrators, not capitalist businessmen.” Her heroes function like Communist administrators in what way?  Farron continues: “To paraphrase Rand, “Grandeur is the one word that names” the sense of life of Communist economies.  They had no concern with anything “penny ante.”  … The heroes of Atlas Shrugged are heroic because, like Communist bureaucrats, they produce or maintain impressive products, not mean little ones.  It would be unimaginable for a Rand hero to be a manufacturer of “penny ante” products, such as disposable baby diapers, menstrual tampons, or dependable contraceptives.  But these distinctively 20th-century inventions improved the quality of life immeasurably by freeing people from preoccupation with brute, animal existence.” Farron is saying that what makes you anti-capitalist is a grandiose preoccupation with the heroic struggle to create impressive products, not mean little ones.  When Galt invents his motor he is being anti-capitalist because his motor is so much more impressive than a tampon.  Wrap your head around that one.  Capitalism is the system of individual rights.  The essence of capitalism is the banning of coercion in human relationships.  Under capitalism you deal with others by persuasion and trade, not force and fraud.  Now what part of inventing an impressive motor instead of a tampon consists of promoting or using force?  Galt, Hank Rearden, Francisco D’anconia, Ellis Wyatt and Dagny Taggart do not promote or use force by being grandiose or impressively productive and Farron has to know that.  So what the **** is he really trying to do in this essay?  

    New Anti-Kant

    By Boydstun,
    New Anti-Kant František Příhonský S. Lapointe and C. Tolley, translators   The full title is New Anti-Kant, or Examination of the Critique of Pure Reason according to the Concepts Laid Down in Bolzano’s Theory of Science. This book was published in 1850. Its author was a student and friend of Bernard Bolzano.* New Anti-Kant and Bolzano’s Theory of Science (Wissenschaftslehre, 1837) came into full English translation only last year. Until I read these books and recent works of contemporary scholars concerning Bolzano’s philosophy, I had known of Bolzano only slightly, by the brief remarks of Frederick Copleston in A History of Philosophy; and I had known the name Bolzano-Weierstrass Theorem* from a text on Real Analysis I had studied decades past. In recent years, a critical edition of the entire body of Bolzano’s works has been underway, and his major works are being translated into French and English. Bernard Bolzano has, at last, become recognized as one of the great philosophers of the nineteenth century. Not great in influence. Great in vista.   My interest in Bolzano for my own book and philosophy caught fire when I noticed a certain closeness to Rand in his foundations of theoretical philosophy. I treat that logical kinship and its differences with Rand in my book. Of interest there is Bolzano’s conception of a general ground-consequence relation and its relations to deducibility and causality (and to Kant’s ground-consequence relation). I reform it for my own foundational work, closer to Rand’s. Of interest also for that project is Bolzano’s analysis, contra Kant, of the nature of concepts in relation to experience, the purely conceptual nature of pure mathematics, the nature of deduction, and the relations among logic, mathematics, and our empirical sciences. Logic and mathematics were known as science to Bolzano, and his monumental four-volume Theory of Science is importantly theory of logic in a broad sense.   New Anti-Kant was written by Příhonský in close collaboration with Bolzano in the last years of Bolzano’s life. It was published two years after Bolzano’s death. It is called New to distinguish it from an earlier, then-known (and inept) work titled Anti-Kant (1788*) and to indicate that the case against Kant’s first Critique in Příhonský’s book is a fresh one. New Anti-Kant did not receive much comment from scholars at the time. For me it is a help for further grasp of Bolzano’s views. In the present note, I’d like to mention some remarks of Příhonský concerning influence of Kant’s philosophy which resemble some views of Rand on Kant’s influence, a topic that will not fit in my own book. In his Preface, Příhonský pauses to forestall the impression one might get from the book’s title that he and Bolzano (not idealists of any stripe) thought Kant had done nothing good by his philosophic writings. Příhonský’s corrective to that possible presumption provides a window into how Kant was being viewed, and lauded, by some of his well-versed opponents as of 1850 in German lands. One laudation from Příhonský concerned ethics:   Rand wrote in 1960 “Kant’s expressly stated purpose was to save the morality of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice. He knew that it could not survive without a mystic base—and what it had to be saved from was reason” (FNI).   The extent to which Kant was undermining reason in Rand’s meaning of the term needs to be detailed by consideration of how Kant had characterized perception and its relations to concepts and how he had characterized (partly affirming and partly limiting the) powers of understanding, reason, and judgment.* Where Rand wrote “expressly stated purpose,” she likely meant the Kant passage in the Introduction to the second edition of Critique of Pure Reason (KrV) at Bxxx about knowledge and faith.* She slides from faith to Judeo-Christian morality. That slide is not too wrong, considering what Kant did subsequently in moral theory. His is not altruism, to be sure. His is a partial self-sacrifice at base, but that sacrifice, so far as it is in the base, is not for the sake of others. His base shadows the First Commandment. Kant’s moral ideal entails of course only self-authored self-sacrifice.   In his early formal education at Königsberg’s Collegium Fredericianum (from age 8 to 16), Kant would have memorized Luther’s Small Catechism and studied the Large. He would know Luther’s explication of the First Commandment. In the Lutheran doctrine, God is the source of goodness in the world. Every good in the world—health, wealth, and family—are gifts from God. Every right gift one might give to another or receive from another, must be seen as a gift from God. It is more than a pleasing coincidence that the words Gott and Güte are so similar. God commands that one’s heart and mind be set first and foremost on God. He will bring good things, temporal and eternal, to people who follow this commandment, and he will bring woe to people who put other goods in first place, higher than God. To keep the true God in first place, one must have the right heart and head, the right faith. Luther: “Believe in Christ and do your duty.”   In his secular construction of morality, Kant would give to a good will the role Luther had given to a right faith. Kant wants to keep with individual necessary reward and penalty for individual condition of will, and he thinks he can find this necessary connection right here in the constitution of human will and reason. Beyond the sure sanctions for a good will is the hope of happiness in this life and hereafter.*   Contradicting what Příhonský would say later, Schopenhauer (1839) had indicated a number of ways in which Kant’s ethics profoundly favors egoism, which Schopenhauer took to be a demerit of Kant’s theory. How much of this contradiction is surface and how much substantial, I’ll leave open in this remark. But I should enter a caution about Příhonský’s characterization of the condition of German ethical theory at mid-century. In his criticisms of the portions of Critique of Pure Reason outlining Kant’s ethics, we read some encouraging metaethical tenets of Bolzano-Příhonský. When common sense “determines the good nature or wickedness of an action to be performed, it usually weighs the advantages and disadvantages that can reasonably be expected from it, i.e. its influence on the welfare of the living” (Příhonský 1850, 128). Moreover:   Those propositions combined with one conception of the nature of life give later in the century the moral theory of Jean Marie Guyau;*\* more recently, with another conception of life, the moral theory of Ayn Rand; and with yet another conception of life, the theory of Richard Kraut.* With Bolzano-Příhonský, we get a leap from those quoted propositions straight away to still another moral theory, again an anti-Kantian one: utilitarianism, which they rate excellent for its unselfishness. Many earlier thinkers, though not all, connected utilitarianism with conscious or unconscious psychological egoism (Windelband 1901, II.513–18). Příhonský’s picture of ethical egoism as a dead theory in his era in German lands might well be an exaggeration, an aim at death by reporting death, or it might be the true situation and the truth about Kant’s role in bringing it about. I speculate the truth is somewhere in between. Devotees of the subjective egoism of Max Stirner there may have been, quietly, secretly. Modest currents of egoism from Aristotle, from Judaism, Spinoza, and Heine, and from Christian personalism surely continued in the culture. But until the last decade or so of the century, until the entry of Nietzsche into the melieu, there was evidently no forthright ethical egoism (anti-ethical in some moments) publicly squaring off against Christian and Kantian self-sacrifice as moral virtue and gaining at least some popular following, if not academic following.   At the end of the nineteenth century, Wilhelm Windelband writes:   Of Kant and his first Critique, Rand writes:   That sounds to me like someone who actually opened the book and gave it a try. Which translation would that have been? The best at that time in English would have been the one by Norman Kemp Smith. That was the translation of KrV in my hands 1971–1997. The book became a step less opaque with the new translations (plus copious notes and ample index), by Werner Pluhar in 1996 and by Paul Guyer in 1998. When I first read Rand’s remark that KrV rests on no definitions, I was taken aback a little. Kant defines analytic, concepts, contingency, empirical, experience, faith, freedom, happiness, and on and on through the alphabet. He has incorrect views, in my assessment, of empirical and philosophical definitions and conceptual change, views at odds with Rand’s, although these views held by Kant were perhaps unknown to her. Kant writes: “To define, as the term itself yields, is in fact intended to mean no more than to exhibit a thing’s comprehensive concept originally within its bounds” (A727 B755). To that statement, he attaches a footnote:   In the case of empirical concepts, Kant argues that with the growth of knowledge of an object some characteristics in the object’s concept may need to be removed, or new characteristics may need to be added. Therefore, the concept is never securely bounded. For philosophical concepts, which Kant thinks of as a priori concepts, such as substance, cause, or right, he argues:   Příhonský has important criticism of those views of Kant, starting with Kant’s notion of a priori concepts as independent of all experience (24–25). I’ll close with a lamentation of Příhonský over the effect of this section of KrV on German philosophy to the middle of the nineteenth century.   References Bolzano, B. 1837. Theory of Science. P. Rusnock and R. George, translators. 2014. New York: Oxford University Press.   Copleston, F. A History of Philosophy. Vol. 7, Pt. 2. Garden City: Image.   Kant, I. 1781, 1787. Critique of Pure Reason. W. S. Pluhar, translator. 1996. Indianapolis: Hackett.   Příhonský, F. 1850. New Anti-Kant. S. Lapointe and C. Tolley, translators. 2014. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.   Rand, A. 1960. For the New Intellectual. In collection by that title. New York: Signet. ——. 1973. Untitled Letter. In Philosophy: Who Needs It? 1982. New York: Signet.   Windelband, W. 1901. A History of Philosophy. Expanded edition. New York: Harper.

    Can legal punishment for animal cruelty be justified?

    Iatan Petru
    By Iatan Petru,
    Hello. Before proceeding to the matter itself, I would like to specify that I am new to Objectivism and that the ideas and arguments I am about to bring forward come from the research I've done thus far and from how I've personally come to look at the issue of Government intervention regarding animal abuse from an Objectivist standpoint. Also I've just made an account on this website and I have no previous experience with it, so I apologise if this topic should've fallen under a different category other than the one I have selected. Alright, I shall get right into it. I would say that authorities should take action against people who display cruelty towards animals. By cruelty I mean unjistified torture, abuse, and arguably neglect. On short, generating pain just for the sake of it. Here's how I've come to believe this : It's already been concluded that animals have no rights, that one's pet is one's property and that animal abuse, while not directly violating anyone's rights, is immoral (since empathy towards sentient creatures is natural for psyhically healthy human beings, cruelty is irrational and disgust towards cruelty is rightly justified). I won't go into detail regarding these aspects, there are already materials out there addressing them. Undeniably, there's a strong gut feeling that makes us want to be able to punish animal abusers, but how can we justify it? In order to understand why animal cruelty could be objectively considered punishable, I went ahead and looked for the Objectivist stance on punishment. To make it quick about it, when someone violates your rights he becomes indebted towards you, if he refuses to pay that debt Government's intervention and often use of physical force are objectively justified and the purpose of the punishment that person is given is to clear that debt. Sounds fair. But then, what about murder? If I murder you, even though I violated your right, I cannot be considered indebted towards you, since you no longer exist (you're dead). So, while serving my legal punishment for murder, to whom am I paying the debt? Objectivism also addresses this issue, from what I've read, and the quick is answer is "to your fellow citizens". When you live in a society, you are on a sort of a social contract with everyone else, which, among other things, states that you shouldn't murder or commit any sin against someone that may prevent him from taking legal action against you, since if we were to be consistent with this idea, then that would mean you could commit the same sin towards anybody and that no one should be legally able to stop you. On short, people are objectively entitled to believe you are a physical threat to them,because you don't just resort to peacefully living by means of production and trade and therefore you are to be isolated from the rest of the society if you're a psychopath or suffer from a mental derangement, or to be legally sanctioned if you are irrationally evil. That brings us finally to the issue of animal abuse. If someone unjustifiably kills or tortures sentient animals (dogs, cats, hens etc.), it could objectively be considered a sign of either mental derangement or evilness. In the first case, that person belongs in a mental institution, since if rights come from the existence of reason and that person's reason is altered, then he doesn't have certain rights that a sane person would have. He is a real threat to the other human beings. What if the animal torturer is just irrationaly sadistic though? Can we objectively declare that by generating unjustified suffering in an animal without rights he becomes indebted to humans? I say yes, and here's why :
    When you torture (for example) a dog, provided you're doing it out of sadism and not a mental illness, you don't : Act like a human towards an animal,
    Act like an animal towards an animal, or Act like a human towards a human. You act like a being that can generate pain and wants to generate pain towards a being that cannot generate pain (if you torture the dog, it is defenseless) and can feel pain. That is objectively how sadism works. Therefore, since sentient beings can feel pain, by generating pain out of sadism you become indebted to the sentient beings that have rights : humans. People can objectively conclude that if you are capable of torturing a dog just because you like it, that you could the same to a human. In conclusion, Government can initiate physical force and punish animal torturers, but not to make justice to the tortured animal (that would be absurd, since animals don't have rights), but to the people, who share with that animal the ability to feel pain. Sorry for any philosophical flaws this article might display, because again, I am fairly new to the philosophy of Objectivism.  

    Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Three Things

    1. Part of the reason I was away from here last week was a great family vacation. Comparing notes with Mrs. Van Horn, I realized that we both came back feeling unusually energized. She thought we just really needed the break, and I agreed. But we'd traveled plenty of times before without feeling this refreshed. And I think I know why this time was different: The kids have passed a threshold. Yes, they are still toddlers, but Pumpkin was more mature and Little Man much more independent on this trip. Two things stood out: First, they were much better at entertaining themselves without getting hurt or breaking things; and second, playing with them was much more about having fun with them than being vigilant.

    Caring for infants and young toddlers has its moments, but it is hard work, and parents are always on call. I am glad I got to be as involved as I have been, but I won't mince words: I feel as if I've had my first real vacation in nearly six years.

    2. This guide, "How to Survive the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017," is geared for the curious, not the superstitious. That said, the anticipated "hurricane evacuation-like traffic" -- Scroll down to "Day 2" -- is worth factoring in, if it doesn't outright make you want to stay put.

    3. Save a life, get razzed for your painted toenails:
    My toenails remain unpainted ... so far.

    Weekend Reading

    "People will not change without first arriving at the deeply held conviction that change must take place." -- Michael Hurd, in "We Change Only if We Want To" at The Delaware Wave

    "The [value judgment behind the] emotional state of students 'diagnosed' with now-being-debunked 'attention deficit disorder' is, 'Schooling is not important.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "How to Unlock Your Motivation" at The Delaware Coast Press

    "If we are to truly learn the lessons of Communism's history, it is the moral premise of collectivism that [Ayn] Rand asks us to question and reject." -- Yaron Brook, in foreword to "Our Alleged Competitor (PDF)," by Ayn Rand (1962) at The Conservative

    -- CAV Link to Original

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