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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"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    What are YOUR criticisms of Objectivism?

    By Dormin111,
    There are plenty of fine scholars of Objectivism on here and I am hoping to hear of some enlightened criticsms some of them may have of Ayn Ran'd explicit philosophical teachings. Off the top of my head: - Johnathan13 believes Rand's views on aesthetics are contradictory. - Hotu Matua believes Rand's views on sex were mystical - Nearly everyone believes Rand's views on homosexuality were outdated.

    Artificial intelligence (AI): What are the real detrimental effects of the materialist concepts?

    patrik 7-2321
    By patrik 7-2321,
    I think it is undisputed that the development of technologies normally classified as AI hold a great value for us. It is at root simply a kind of human-like computer automation, with applications to almost all technologies we use, and even to science as when AI-software has been used to help solve scientific problems. However I sometimes wonder what to make intellectually of the hype surrounding it, what is valid and invalid, and what is good and bad about it. The first thing I am confronted with in this task is the bad terminology used. Hence my question:
    What are the actual practical problems with labeling certain (AI-)computers as "conscious" and "intelligent", able to "perceive", and able to perform advanced "computations" on "information", and store enormous amounts of "knowledge" in its "memory"? Many Objectivists rightly object to the common usage of these terms when applied to computers, as they imply a certain materialist view of consciousness. Given that we agree on this however, are the actual problems that result strictly philosophical, in that it creates philosophical confusions over time, or is it that it can cause real practical limitations to technological success? (That would seem to run contrary to the fact that this technology is successfully developing so quickly, wouldn't it?) Maybe the problem is only that it permits certain irrationality in the future projections of how AI will impact human life? Or is it all of the above - if so, why? What do you think about this? What's so bad about how people use these words? Should we care about it?

    (Posted under epistemology because I see this as a good example of the practical application and value of Objectivist epistemology.)

    The Snowflake Conjecture

    By dream_weaver,
    It snowed last night.
    It snowed last night.
    The sky bears had a pillow fight.
    They tore up every cloud in sight,
    and tossed down all the feathers white.
    Oh, it snowed last night.
    It snowed last night… Every snowflake is different. No two snowflakes are alike. Looking out over snow covered fields, there are a lot of snowflakes. They melt. More snow falls. They don't melt. More snow falls, increasing the depth of coverage. That's a lot of snowflakes. Isolate a snowflake. Catch one falling from the sky. Look at its intricate detail. Catch another one. Compare it. Every snowflake is different. No two snowflakes are alike. There are too many to compare. There are too many winters from which the snowflakes are no longer available for such a comparison. Their icy, crystalline structure have a clear prism appearance to them. Yet the field of snow appears white. The crystalline structure has an appearance of symmetry, often across multiple planes of symmetry. Still, with such a vast number of snowflakes that fall . . . how many snowflakes have fallen? Break the problem down into smaller, soluble considerations. How wide is one snowflake? How long is it? How thick is it? Measure a few more. Identify a range for each axis of measurement. Wait. These snowflakes are not thin square prisms. They are more like thin hexagons. Hexagons can be nested, except . . . they don't all fall laying flat. And there are more than can be seen from one geographic location. And then there's this snowfall, and snow has fallen before. How can it be that every snowflake is different and that no two snowflakes are alike? Snow falls in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Is the planet Earth the only place the in the universe that snow forms? Look at the shape of those snowflakes again. How many permutations can there possibly be. Can there be more permutations than there are snowflakes? Is this the axis down which every snowflake is different and that no two snowflakes are alike? All S is P. All snowflakes are different. Wherein lies the logical leap? In the finiteness of quantity? In the finiteness of permutations? Should a variation in the specific temperature of the particular snowflakes be tossed into the mix to augment the permutation angle? In the grand scheme of things, this may be a trivial inquiry. But is it? Does this challenge the notion for the basis of accepting the truth or falsehood of a proposition? Another consideration may be a case of two snowflakes found to which no measurable difference of any kind can be found. (I would consider this a hypothetical scenario.) In one of Pat Corvini's talks, she approaches this angle using Achilles and the Tortoise. The short of her conclusion, with which I agree, is that if two lengths or distances are indiscernible by available measurement means . . . they are the same. The onus of proof lay with the asserter of the positive. If mom or dad said that all snowflakes are different, being challenged, could invoke the response "Look for yourself, and see." Does the limited sampling of comparisons justify the logical leap? From my examination of Collatz Conjecture, I would have to conclude that the truth or falsehood of "Every snowflake is different" and "No two snowflakes are alike" can be reached. In the examination of Collatz Conjecture, all sorts of patterns emerge that can be identified which repeat themselves, yet each pattern is distinctly different. Permutations manifest that repeat in a similar manner without being the same, other than in their form. I'm not so sure I can do the same with this snowflake conjecture . . . before they melt.

    Reblogged:A Master-Class in How Not to Oppose Subsidies

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Jazz Shaw of Hot Air has a complaint about some "renewable" energy subsidies, but it isn't what you might expect from an ally of capitalism:
    Let that last sentence, in bold, sink in for a moment.

    Of all the things to complain about with a government subsidy that is fraudulent to begin with, the fact that a company  inadvertently gets extra rewards for an intelligent work-around to a nasty waste problem is about the last thing I'd complain about. Indeed, unlike the "renewables" (read: unreliables) these subsidies are intended for, black liquor actually represents an economical source of energy, as witness the fact that it has been in use for nearly a century. Unfortunately, Shaw comes across like he is an environmentalist himself. This is  because his post amounts to complaining that the subsidies aren't being directed efficiently enough to those who would continue throwing money down the rat-hole of "renewable" energy. Worse, in his last paragraph, he basically dares leftists to fix this problem. His time would be much more productive if he stopped worrying about what they think. Instead, he should focus on reaching an audience receptive to the idea that the use of black liquor, despite its flaws, represents a counterexample to the argument that government meddling is necessary to cause people to find creative ways to extract energy or control pollution.

    Government subsidies are immoral no matter who gets them, because, as wealth-redistribution schemes, they necessitate picking someone's pocket, which is exactly the opposite to what the government ought to be doing. Likewise for mandates, in which the government, rather than protecting freedom so that we might live according to our best judgement, issues marching orders. The real problem here is that there are mandates and subsidies in the first place, not that someone has managed to game the system for a tidy profit. Worse, from the standpoint of improving the situation, Shaw has opted to focus on some penny-ante profiteering rather than on the greater problem, and missed an opportunities to (a) name that real problem (misuse of government) and (b) suggest an alternative (such as better enforcement of property rights) that offers us more freedom and a real way to prevent companies or individuals from poisoning land, water, or air.

    I'm not thrilled with paper companies getting subsidies, either, but at least what they are doing is in line with how pollution problems would get solved in a capitalist economy. Rather than complaining that they get free money that shouldn't be on the table in the first place, or don't live up to some improper government mandate or other, we should applaud their enterprise and work to put an end, altogether, to "green" command-and-control schemes by our government.

    -- CAV Link to Original

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