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Reidy

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Everything posted by Reidy

  1. Reidy

    What are the basic emotions?

    Can you give us a quote? She said in The Objectivist Ethics that pleasure and pain are the lowest-level signals of whether we are being affected for good or for ill, but I don't recognize the claim you mention. Hunger and satiety are built-in, automatic signals, but they aren't enough to tell us what to eat or how to obtain it.
  2. This isn't very informative, but Nathaniel Branden has spoken well of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
  3. Competition implies that the lesser performers lose market share and revenue (as the USPS has of late). This may even be a tautology (since lesser performance is failure to gain market share and revenue). Competition doesn't entail that they'll go out of business, though. Otherwise we'd have only one TV network or make/model of car. Second- and third- and nth-place performers can still prosper.
  4. The internet has been competing with the feds for mail delivery since the 1990s, and most successfully.
  5. 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.
  6. Reidy

    Holding an idea without accepting it

    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.
  7. Reidy

    Red Cross

    Like Doug Morris, I'm unsure what you mean by "government charter". Specifically, is the Red Cross the creation of governments or does it simply cooperate with them, as it does in case of floods or earthquakes? You're right that Rand would disapprove of either. This would not make the Red Cross unworthy of support, though, any more than government involvement in schools or roads entails that we shouldn't use them. In the US, at least, it relies largely on voluntary support. Non-coerced and non-sacrificial donation of money, goods or blood would not clash with Rand's advice. In his Playboy interview, Milton Friedman (Objectivist-disapproved, but that's a separate topic) pointed out that the major charitable organizations - Red Cross, SPCA, Shriners, Goodwill, etc. - all date from before the age of welfare statism; what has come along since - labor unions and professional cartels - are organizations devoted to redirecting wealth from society at large toward their own members.
  8. Reidy

    An Ally Emerges

    Rodrigo Duterte, crackpot Philippine dictator, has questioned theism and original sin. I wonder if Trump, a professed admirer of Duterte, will follow his lead.
  9. Two of Rand's inspirations for the character were The Scarlet Pimpernel (novel and movie with Leslie Howard) and the Fairbanks Mark of Zorro. In all three cases, a man passes himself off as a frivolous lightweight while up to a much more serious enterprise. As for Bond, have you tried the novels?
  10. The author is apparently unaware of Rand, but much of what she has to say is of Randian interest. https://aeon.co/essays/what-can-aristotle-teach-us-about-the-routes-to-happiness?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AeonMagazineEssays+(Aeon+Magazine+Essays)
  11. Reidy

    Ayn Rand and the French

    Thank you for the information. Did Laurent do any new research for his biography?
  12. Reidy

    Ayn Rand and the French

    In another, little-trafficked corner of OO I asked a question that got not response but that I'm still curious about: A search turned up two full-length books, in French, that I'd never heard of. Is anybody here familiar with them? Ayn Rand or The Passion of Rational Self-Interest: an Intellectual Biography The Esthetic Philosophy of Ayn Rand The second seems to be a synopsis of The Romantic Manifesto, enabling readers to get familiar with its ideas while no French translation is available. Reminds me of the way ancient authors were preserved and disseminated before the invention of printing.
  13. Whether or not determinism is a consensus among scientists (i.e. empirical scientists as we have understood the term in recent centuries) is beside the point, because the question belongs to philosophy of mind. None of the sciences is tasked with answering this question any more than interior design or Spanish cooking is. What is the evidence that such a consensus holds among scientists anyway? I wonder how many Objectivists are aware that debbil Kant was using the argument about the self-excludingness of determinism long before anybody heard of Nathaniel Branden. It's in part 3 of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. I've even seen Epicurus cited to that effect (by the late Ted Keer in one of the O-forums, though I never checked it myself).
  14. A search turned up two full-length books, in French, that I'd never heard of. Is anybody here familiar with them? Ayn Rand or The Passion of Rational Self-Interest: an Intellectual Biography The Esthetic Philosophy of Ayn Rand The second seems to be a synopsis of The Romantic Manifesto, enabling readers to get familiar with its ideas while no French translation is available. Reminds me of the way ancient authors were preserved and disseminated before the invention of printing.
  15. If the future is not a permissible answer, then I'm with the others who say it's now. A family of four can live on a single income if it's willing to accept an early-60's middle class standard of living. One voice-only phone. One b&w tv. One bedroom for every two household members. One car. No air conditioning (and none in the car either). Maybe a dishwasher, probably a garbage disposal.
  16. Reidy

    Coercive School Photos

    You don't say whether the school is trying to obligate you to buy photos, though some of the posters here have taken your statement that way. A straightforward refusal (put it in writing) would probably get around such a claim. Otherwise a lawyer could tell you more. (Save anything the school gave you in writing. It might come in handy.) If the school or the photographer publishes the photo without your permission you probably have a case. Apart from that you're afraid of hurting your son if you don't buy the pictures. Do you know for a fact that your refusal would hurt him? One solution would be to tell him that he's better-looking than the photos show and that's why you don't like them. If that doesn't work you could buy a few to humor him.
  17. JASKN's advice looks good to me. Hank and Dagny were not co-workers. They worked at different companies in different industries in cities 371 miles apart. Galt was down the chain of command from her, though, when they first rode the tracks together.
  18. Such large claims need fleshing-out. They are so large that the web forum format may not have room for all you'd need to say. The first and so far last I've read about Reid was his Wikipedia writeup, and nothing characteristically Randian leapt out at me. So much effort has been expended over the years making her out as a Taoist, a Hegelian, a postmodernist, a highbrow Tillich / Niehbur Christian, a lowbrow fundamentalist Christian, a secretly-coded Jew, a 60s radical, a Manhattan / LA westside establishment liberal, a flower child and probably plenty more that I haven't heard of, that one of your tasks will be to explain why nobody saw this before. Let us know when you're ready.
  19. Reidy

    Rand and Sartre (Objectivism vs Existentialism)

    I can't tell you much, but An Existentialist Ethics by Hazel Barnes, an eminent academic Existentialst, contains a chapter on Rand.
  20. Reidy

    When to take time off

    Two thoughts occur: 1. This is a matter for you and a financial planner, who could tell you, e.g. how much to save in order to have a certain amount in a certain number of years, assuming plausible portfolio growth for, or what your expenses are likely to be assuming a plausible inflation rate. Those aren't the only questions a planner could answer. 2. If you have a good career going and your employers or clients value you, you might cut back to part-time and use the hours gained to work on your other projects. Another possibility is to spin down to a more routine and undemanding job, part-time or full, to have time and energy for your other projects. Let us know how this turns out.
  21. Ed Younkins is another who has written on related topics.
  22. An article in today's National Review Online takes up this point. The author says that treating all offenses alike (Franken's along with much worse acts by Clinton and Moore) risks aiding the feminist line that virtually everybody (everybody male, anyway) a rapist.
  23. Reidy

    The Law of Identity

    Whatever the merits of the wider point here, the participants show a shaky understanding of Heraclitus. He lived and wrote before philosophy had the sophistication to express a notion such as the law of identity. What people nowadays think are his positions are actually the work of soi-disants Heracliteans of later generations. Aristotle distinguishes between the historical Heraclitus and "Heracliteanism" a couple of places in the Metaphysics: - For it's impossible for one and the same both to be and not to be, as some think Heraclitus said (IV 3, 1005b23); - Further, seeing that nature is in motion, they all thought that of what changes nothing can be said truly and that what is always changing in every respect does not admit of the truth. From this supposition grew the most extreme of the foregoing views, namely the view of those who claim to Heraclitize, such as Cratylus, who in the end thought nothing could be said, but only moved his finger and criticized Heraclitus for saying that there's no stepping into the same river twice; he [Cratylus] didn't think we could even do it once. (IV 5, 1010a6) (emphasis added) though not always: 1012a24, 34, 1062a32, 1063b24. When I studied H. I hit on a reading that I was later flattered to hear from Julius Moravcsik, a famous academic. He observed diversity and change in the world and yet wanted to find some way to see it at once and to pronounce stable truths about it. That is to say, ,he was struggling to identify conceptual thought, but nobody could grasp this until Plato came along. The nearest Heraclitus could get was simultaneous perceptual awareness of everything, in the mind of god. Thus he was like the man in Anthem, struggling to identify the first-person singular, but he never quite got there.
  24. Reidy

    Vedic Sanskrit

    This has parallels in the west. Christianity used Latin long after it had otherwise gone out of use. Hebrew occupied a similar place in the Jewish liturgy until Israel made it a living language again.
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