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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

    Reblogged:Contempt From the Contemptible

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    In his discussion about why Houston didn't evacuate, J.P. Miller notes in passing an increasingly common attitude that I find curious and disturbing:
    This contemptuous attitude towards people making their own decisions reminds me of many experiences as a parent of young children, a stage of life of which I once observed, offers more than ample "'opportunities' to receive unwanted (and often presumptuous) advice from complete strangers."

    It is interesting to contemplate where this attitude might be coming from in light of an example of when Those Who Imagine They Know Better Than You did get their wishes: the massive air flight ban years ago, after the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull. I noted of that at the time:
    Likewise with the consequences of evacuating on essentially zero notice Miller describes. The proponents of precautionary thinking are quite happy to pronounce from afar what others should do in the name of "safety," as if knowledge of what is safest (or of anything) can exist in a vacuum or be applied in a vacuum. They clearly didn't consider the many things Miller lays out about evacuating Houston (or banning flights), the possibility that their prescribed action might be wrong, or the costs of carrying it out. How much mental effort did they put into this? And if they didn't put any real effort into formulating or evaluating their pronouncements, how dare they sit in judgement of others whose decisions had major consequences for their own lives?

    My best general guess about those who feel the need to alternately hector others with questionable advice "for their own good" and sneer at them when they don't obey it without question is this: Both are defensive reactions to a deep level of a fear of independence. Crises confront us with how little we really know. How does one react? By considering all the available alternatives and choosing the most feasible -- or by sitting around and waiting to be told what to do (or be rescued, as some did after Katrina)? The answer to that will often be similar to how one approaches everything else in life, and the reaction to how others respond to crises will reflect that. The former group will take solace in the fact that those in danger have minds of their own, and will be highly motivated to learn and evaluate relevant facts quickly. The latter, being mentally lazy, will let fear of the unknown (which is a lot of territory for them) override what really ought to be considered and dealt with: They will react badly to those who question the wisdom received from their usual media and government oracles, thereby causing them to question, for a brief, terrifying moment, their choice to "live" without Thinking Too Much. They just gave stupid advice to people in the crosshairs of catastrophe: Their basic choice is to backtrack and apologize -- or find a way to double down. A form of the latter is to project self-contempt onto the victims.

    That's about as far as I care to speculate about the legions of sneering busybodies out there. Whatever my level of understanding of this phenomenon, my curiosity is far overmatched by how disturbed about it I am: Many of these same people put a great degree of effort into making sure the government can force others to do as they imagine best.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Biologists Replicate Key Evolutionary Step

    dream_weaver
    By dream_weaver,
    Yeast not only gives rise to bread, it gave rise to an answer to a question that has eluded evolutionary biologists.   "To understand why the world is full of plants and animals, including humans, we need to know how one-celled organisms made the switch to living as a group, as multicelled organisms," said Sam Scheiner, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Environmental Biology. "This study is the first to experimentally observe that transition, providing a look at an event that took place hundreds of millions of years ago."

    Transcending Objectivism and Kantianism

    Ilya Startsev
    By Ilya Startsev,
    As can be seen with an old popular thread I started on Objectivism online forum, I am very interested in putting side-to-side various philosophies, even before I learn that some of them cannot be thoroughly compared! So I would like to find out whether it is even possible to conceive of transcending Rand’s worldview with that of her well-known ‘archenemy’ – Immanuel Kant himself. I’ve spent the last two years trying to figure out this big conflict in contemporary philosophy by studying Kant’s philosophy and debating Kantians, especially on Philosophy forums, which are now, unfortunately, non-operational. So what are some ideas that I’d like to put forward to initiate this discussion? Part I: Describing conflicts First, I want to delineate the premises of my argument as conflicting characters of both philosophies. Let Objectivism take only (a) subdivisions, while Kantianism take only (b) subdivisions. General vs. specific Objectivism is general in respect to being broadly applied to most areas of life, including even sex (in Rand’s words!). Philosophy, according to Rand, is a way of living, rather than only a way of thinking (which is a part of living but not the whole). Hence Rand is more concerned with having an integrated picture of the whole rather than only its parts in isolation or abstraction. Rand’s epistemology starts with metaphysics (most broad or general field of philosophy). Kantianism is specific in respect to being narrowly applied only to thoughts concerning positive knowledge in theoretical science, moral/ethical practice, and judgments in art. Kantian way of thinking takes ideas in isolation and abstraction and only bounded by mind, representing all areas of knowledge within mental structures and through categories of thought. Kant’s epistemology cycles through itself, making metaphysics subservient to it without a possibility of deriving any knowledge about ends. External vs. internal Objectivism is concerned with external experience of reality, where it finds knowledge. Every judgment must correspond to or be ultimately derived from external reality. Kantianism is concerned with internal experience, wherein it claims to find all positive knowledge. Everything considered to be ‘external’ to mind is merely thought to be a representation or appearance structured by our mind as pure reason or inwardly directed by mind as practical reason with aesthetic judgments connecting the two reasons. Public vs. academic Objectivism is well known in general public by means of popular novels, podcasts, presentations, and audiobooks, but not among many academicians, who openly oppose it or try to avoid it. Formal discussions of Objectivism mostly occur in Objectivist journals, and Objectivist scholars do not take these discussions to established and trustworthy academic philosophical journals. Hence the nature of Objectivist discussions and research is mostly closed rather than open, in regard to academic work. Kantianism is popular among many academicians but not in general public. Kantianism is considered by many academicians to be a ‘suble’ and ‘true’ philosophy not comprehended quite enough by most others. Objective vs. subjective Objectivism follows the ethics of rational or objective egoism to the detriment of sometimes being able to develop healthy relationships with others. Objects in this philosophy precede private subjects. Kantianism follows the ethics of rational yet subjective altruism to the point of forcing others (even violently) to heed one’s ‘social’ will (especially of those in power) as if it were universal law. Peikoff describes Kantian influences on Nazism in The Ominous Parallels, and Kant himself praises the sublime in war over peace in Critique of Judgment, §28. Thus, subjects in this philosophy are not only central but the only ones, as physical objects in themselves are non-existent. Political vs. scientific Objectivism has greatly influenced the progress of politics and economics through conservatives, neoconservatives, libertarians, and even some liberals. However, Objectivism hasn’t had much effect on science. Kantianism has greatly influenced the progress of science through Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, Chomsky’s universal grammar theory, and various neuro and cognitive scientists, anthropologists, and psychologists. However, Kantianism hasn’t had as much direct effect in politics. Part II: Transcending conflicts Second, as a possible way to transcend these areas as it would mostly benefit Objectivism (like a stronger connection to academia in 3), I need to provide a potential idea to be built upon. My current and main source of inspiration is Leonard Peikoff’s DIM Hypothesis (2012), which is based on Rand’s epistemology, in particular her theory of concepts. What Peikoff develops in his book called after his hypothesis is a metaphilosophy (although he doesn’t call it that) specifying boundaries of all philosophies involving three categories: disintegrating, integrating, and misintegrating. As a point of contention, these are Peikoff’s words that I reinterpreted in favor of my own hypothesis: I’ve been building on some concepts from Peikoff’s hypothesis this past couple of years and have found another way (a visual method) to describe all philosophies, while also borrowing some of these terms from Peikoff. Based on my extensive research, I would like to show not only that I independently verified some insights from Peikoff’s hypothesis (as I also did a few years back for Rand’s theory) but also describe what he had achieved (and he considers this book his greatest achievement so far) as an understanding of Rand’s epistemology not as an epistemology in academic sense (which they don’t accept as such) but a meta-epistemology that transcends epistemology as conceived by Kant. If Rand’s epistemology be truly a meta-epistemology and Peikoff’s hypothesis be truly metaphilosophical, then we can use these areas to transcend Kant’s ‘transcendental’ philosophy without losing specificity required (as in 1). As far as I know, Kant never covered these areas in his philosophy. Considering that there also exists a term ‘metametaphysics’ (books on the topic: 2009, 2015, and 2016; cf. my metaphysics), maybe this so-called ‘transcendence’ can also achieve greater breadth than Rand was able to conceive, although, as speculative as all this may sound, there is currently not enough understanding of these new ‘meta’ (meaning not just ‘after’ but ‘beyond’) fields because they are on the frontier of contemporary philosophical research. Maybe we can share knowledge and understanding to see whether any of my suggestions have ground for further developments. At the end, if we reach any conclusion, we may find and improve upon the missing links required for Objectivism to hold the center stage it deserves in philosophical discussions.

    Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Four Things

    1. File under Things That Make It Hard to Keep a Straight Face: "You're a bad Daddy! You're going to jail!"
    Mom and Dad in jail. Little Man has been known to send us both there at once. (Image courtesy of Pixabay.) That's how my son, now four, has been reacting to decisions he deems unacceptable lately.

    A close second happened as I was dropping him off at daycare on a day he wasn't in the mood. He had his Maui hook in hand and, as I was about to unbuckle him from his car seat, he threatened me with it. I somehow managed a stern demeanor as I said, "You're not hitting anybody with that," and took it away from him.

    2. From a story about Hurricane Harvey, I learned about a redeeming quality of the fire ants seen floating around in huge mats:
    Living near all the deer I do, and thanks to anti-vaxxers, having some fire ants around would be a welcome development: I wouldn't have to worry about Lyme disease.

    3. The following passage, about Premier League fandom in America, brings back Boston memories, thanks to a fellow Gooner:
    Back in Boston, I enjoyed either seeing the games at home as early as 6:45, while holding a sleeping baby or watching Pumpkin crawling around. Or, better yet, enjoying a later game over brunch with her and my wife at a sports bar within walking distance.

    And why am I an Arsenal fan? One year when I was in high school, my dad coached my team. He chose the name upon a gun shop agreeing to become our uniform sponsor.

    4. And speaking of kids, the following passage from a list of of "Five Types of Moms You Meet in the Office" made me chuckle more than once:
    I am happy to report that having kids two years apart has gotten noticeably easier over the past couple of years.

    -- CAV Link to Original

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