Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.

  • °

    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"

    A Brief History of Atomism

    New Buddha
    By New Buddha,
    Here is a good brief article by the physicist Carlo Rovelli outlining the history and importance of Atomism and it's reintroduction into Western thought by the rediscovery of Lucretius's On the Nature of Things in 1417.  This work was very influential on Newton, and even Jefferson owned 5 copies of it (Jefferson described himself as an Epicurean in a letter to a friend).  Rovelli is known for his Relational Quantum Mechanics interpretation and Loop Quantum Gravity.  Though he is critical of the Aristotelian influence in the Middle Ages, he is by no means critical of Aristotle in general, and shows in this paper Aristotle's Physics how and why it was so pervasive and not easily overthrown until the 16th and 17th Centuries. An interesting extract from the AEON article: The closure of the ancient schools such as those of Athens and Alexandria, and the destruction of all the texts not in accordance with Christian ideas, was vast and systematic, at the time of the brutal antipagan repression following the edicts of Emperor Theodosius, which in 390–391 CE declared that Christianity was to be the only and obligatory religion of the empire. Plato and Aristotle, pagans who believed in the immortality of the soul or in the existence of a Prime Mover, could be tolerated by a triumphant Christianity. Not Democritus. But a text survived the disaster and has reached us in its entirety. Through it, we know a little about ancient atomism, and above all we know the spirit of that science. It is the splendid poem De Rerum Natura (The Nature of Things, or On the Nature of the Universe), by the Latin poet Lucretius. Lucretius adheres to the philosophy of Epicurus, a pupil of a pupil of Democritus. Edit:  Marx's Doctoral Thesis was entitled The Difference between Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature. 

    Reblogged:Slavery: NOT the American Dream

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    If you'd like a succinct demonstration of the wide gulf between conservatism and advocacy of individual rights, look no further than RealClear Politics, which has just published a piece by Diane Black (R-TN), who sponsored the ObamaCare replacement bill recently passed by the House:
    Where to begin?

    Governments, which act by wielding force, cannot create a free market in anything: That's the job of individuals who decide by mutual consent to trade with one another. What the government can and should do is create the necessary conditions for this to happen. But that would require the government to use its courts, jails, and guns only to ensure that individuals are free to act according to their best judgment, that is, to keep men free from other men.

    ObamaCare does the opposite, by enslaving everyone in a medical context in one way or the other. Here are a few broad examples: We are forced by taxation to pay for the care of complete strangers. Patients cannot avail themselves of (actual) medical insurance, because the government effectively outlaws it. Physicians work under onerous regulations. I could go on and on. All of these things are immoral, and a government that imposes them is tyrannical. This bill, and numerous other more established ones should be repealed root and branch, and as quickly as possible. There was nevera need to "replace" this measure with anything but freedom, and certainly not to add a new class of slaves (via a "job" requirement) to this reeking stew. And why do state governments, rather than individuals, get the few, limited choices ObamaCare Lite leaves open? For the same reason that this bill is fundamentally the wrong thing to do about ObamaCare. Replacing one tyranny with fifty is about as "free market" as the idea that the government should compel someone to nurse or employ a complete stranger, rather than making it possible for interested parties to offer medical care or employment for others to take or leave.

    That said, I am aware that an actual, total repeal is probably beyond the scope of the politically possible in today's context, and I understand that the idea of a work requirement is to "disincentivize" use of the program. But note that this piece in no way frames any of this as "in order to return government to its proper scope, we will adopt X measure as a way of sunsetting." (I would still hold that a work requirement would be wrong in that context.) Rather, the whole piece accepts the premise that it is somehow the government's job to take care of people by stealing from us or otherwise compelling us to do things. THIS is what distinguishes an effort to excise a cancerous lump from mere cosmetic surgery to make the lump easier for the patient to ignore for a while.

    Until and unless "as conservative as possible" refers to government limited to its proper scope, that phrase will offer cold comfort to advocates of liberty.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    The Only Thing I Know Is That I Don't Know Anything

    Nxixcxk
    By Nxixcxk,
    The statement: "Knowledge does not exist," is quite obviously contradictory. Socrates said something like: "The only thing I know is that I don't know anything." Is this contradictory as well? It seems Socrates was trying to say one thing about knowledge, yet said two, an intimated a 3rd. 1) "The only thing I know" , 2) "I don't know anything," and 3) "I know that I know these things. So really, in saying that "the only thing I know is that I don't know anything," one is really saying three things. He knows that the only thing he knows is that he doens't know anything. Is this a way of refuting his statement? Or is it extraneous, because when I say that I know there's a computer infront of me, I also know that I know that there's a computer in front of me, ad infinitum. (or maybe I'm just not making sense altogether)

    Reblogged:On Really Helping a Friend Succeed

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Back in December, Business columnist Suzanne Lucas considereda common Christmastime request coming from friends, or friends-of-friends, pushing us to buy from small businesses they know about. She titles her column, "How to Make Your Friends Rich (Without Spending a Dime)," and she addresses why such requests aren't as helpful as they might seem: Lucas was kind enough not to mention that such requests are often awkward (and even borderline rude) for such reasons, but the real kindness was in what she did about them: She asked several entrepreneurs what they would appreciate friends and acquaintances doing -- and not doing. One item describes the right way to become part of a virtual sales team:This and all the other points were excellent advice, and all offer the kind of long-range support that a few one-off purchases don't provide, anyway. I especially like the last tip, too, as it is good etiquette to follow regarding anyone you might know who works from home.

    This advice, as worthwhile as it is, caused me to have an interesting thought about the ideas of charity and helpfulness so pervasive in our culture. Most people perform such things ritualistically, and tinged with a mixture of annoyance and guilt. This all comes in various ways down to the pervasiveness of altruism as our society's dominant code of morality. The idea that we have no right to exist for our own sakes is impossible to practice consistently, so most people evade it most of the time. This induces guilt, especially at times when most of our intellectuals urge us towards their notion of the good. And that leads to guilty attempts to make amends, such as by charitable donations or one-off purchases like these in the name of helping someone who "needs" it. And the fact that this is (a) associated with guilt, and (b) has nothing to do with long-range goals leads to both resentment and a desire to put it back out of one's mind.

    By contrast, selfishness, the opposite of altruism, is hardly inimical to the idea of helping others -- others one values and cares about. As an egoist, I must say that I find the common idea and practice of charity I described in the paragraph above appalling, and for many reasons besides the one exemplified by the perfunctory, once-a-year rituals so many people perform. But one thing stands out to me here: A real friend who actually wanted to help another succeed would put much more thought into doing so than making a half-hearted, one-off purchase. I have been fortunate enough to have many such friends over the years, and this column has reminded me to be on the lookout for chances to be such a friend myself in the future.

    The desire to offer genuine help from others comes from benevolence. It is interesting to consider how the idea that we must help others debases the quality of this help and can snuff out the emotion that motivates it.

    -- CAV Link to Original

Portal by DevFuse · Based on IP.Board Portal by IPS