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Devil's Advocate

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Devil's Advocate last won the day on August 24 2016

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  1. Devil's Advocate

    What are the basic emotions?

    I agree that the existence of primaries implies the absence of non-primaries, so complex or mixed emotional states shouldn't be considered as a different kind of emotion any more than a brick house would be considered a different kind of brick. I believe there is an emotional landscape comprised of basic elements (such as envy) in complex combinations (such as admiration or ressentiment). As such, the basics remain discernible individually and are not diluted by combination. Unfamiliar territory, for example, is still recognizable as a territory with discernible basic elements. As to what the basic emotions are, I think the list is relatively short compared to the emotional states created by combining them. Envy appears to me to be non-reducible, i.e. basic, whereas admiration and ressentiment appear to be more a sum of their basic parts, i.e. complex mixtures of the basics. Substitution of any of the basics (except envy) could transform admiration to ressentiment, so I would look at the reducibility of an emotional state to find its components and settle for basic as a particular emotion that cannot be reduced.
  2. Devil's Advocate

    What are the basic emotions?

    There's evidence in today's headlines that this is the case, particularly in the form of ressentiment. I'm currently reading a great book called, The Age of Anger, in which the author pulls together quite a bit of history supporting this.
  3. Devil's Advocate

    how does objectivism hing on free will?

    Free will is simply having the ability to choose (or refrain from) an action that is possible for you to perform. Determinism and coercion are the usual arguments against free will, used primarily to escape moral accountability. Contrary to popular fiction, resistance isn't futile.
  4. Devil's Advocate

    Potential rights... abortion vs. comas etc.

    Lacking an explicit expression of will to the contrary, parents and surviving family members are the appropriate executors of those in utero or infirmity. That being said, securing rights of action in a social context implies that a momentary lack of action, as while asleep, doesn't diminish these rights because one expects a person to awaken. The same can be said of persons in coma or in utero, and we cannot dismiss these states of being for the same reason we cannot dismiss the rights of even the heaviest of sleepers.
  5. Devil's Advocate

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    Hello whYNOT, Google "cynical". I generally use Merriam-Webster because words matter in this forum, and the one provided by Google remains consistent with that source. A common definition is of people acting in their own self-interest, which means one thing to an Objectivist and another to the Donald. "Draining the swamp" wasn't coined by the Donald, but the candidate appreciated the crowd's reaction to that phrase and quickly added it to his speeches. What is amusing to me is that he candidly admitted to being part of the problem as a lobbyist, which apparently provided him with the credentials to make everything great again in that regard too. In practice, he is simply draining the swamp of competition from other lobbyists
  6. Devil's Advocate

    Innate ideas and animals

    And yet humans are animals too. There is the tendency (probably a mistake) to exclude other animals from philosophical considerations even though it's likely they perform many of the requisite actions of philosophy, e.g. accumulate knowledge about the reality of their environment, their place in it and accumulate a sense of identity. They may even have the advantage of not becoming distracted by the arbitrary. If what we make vs what they make is any indication, then the man-made and other-animal-made are two sets that intersect in areas like agriculture, housing and tool making. These activities require thought, discipline and passing on experience, so the realm of philosophy may be more of a shared experience than we are willing to acknowledge.
  7. Devil's Advocate

    Why is the right to the pursuit of happiness needed ?

    Because it's the right to PURSUE happiness that delimits those of life, liberty and property in a social context to allowing the practice self-governance with the understanding that individual happiness occurs outside the scope of constitutional provision, or majority vote. I would argue that it was this right of pursuit, initially secured inconsistently, that exposed the need for emancipation and suffrage in order to create a more perfect union of principle and practice of equal rights. The more recent recognition of sexual orientation and medicinal/recreational preferences have also advanced the principle of self-governing rights, yet there remains room for improvement in the practice of allowing individuals to pursue their own happiness in a social context.
  8. Devil's Advocate

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    Thank you. Cynical, by definition, means believing that people are motivated by self-interest and concerned only with one's own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them. The Donald isn't a difficult person to read, by tweet or otherwise, and anyone who believes he upholds a significant portion of the "flyover" electorate as anything other than a political stepping stone is denying the obvious. But yes, he is my president, again by definition, and I appreciate the collateral effects this capricious bull is wreaking in the china shop of increasingly socialist ideals.
  9. Devil's Advocate

    Questions about Free Will and Morality

    Hello Mike, You might add "Philosophy, Who Needs It?" to your reading list because it addresses how to approach these kind of questions as a kind of primer. 1) Is there a difference between your internal soul and your individual consciousness? If not then perhaps the argument is one of semantics. 2) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The Law of Identity applies to mechanical things with artificial intelligence and to the result of whatever choices they make, but the law and freewill are only meaningful to what is possible. 3) Because Objectivists don't rely on God to establish moral principles. Objective morality, influenced by factual considerations, is objective by definition.
  10. Devil's Advocate

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    The Donald's view of history is filtered through the same prism of "positive thought" that his view of the future is; it's not about what was, but what ought to have been. In one respect he is making America great again by testing every check and balance put in place to safeguard against tyranny, and in the process exposing every weakness. However, he remains less troublesome than his supporters, and will likely be viewed more generously than whoever rises in his wake.
  11. Devil's Advocate

    Quick Question: What time period was America at it's Best?

    The Donald means great for himself and those who support him. He's a student of Norman Vincent Peal's, The Power of Positive Thinking, which continues to influence his actions. On the upside, he will seek to remove restrictions on liberty like individual mandates because that increases his freedom to do as he pleases. However, it's a unilateral view of liberty at best, that also seeks to restrict by mandate the actions of others who impede his pursuit of happiness. Make America great for the powerful who are entitled to do as they please with impunity, and secure from those who don't know their place and get in the way.
  12. Devil's Advocate

    Is Donald Trump Dangerous?

    In the end it was a tactical victory provided by the electoral college, but yeah, I saw that one coming too. Now we get to wait and see if he can pull it off a second time without the element of surprise. My early prediction is, yes he will, because the 30% who support him are as hardened as the 30% who supported Hillary (or any alternative to him). 40% of the electorate will probably (and sadly) continue to avoid participation in the process. It's amusing that pundits continue citing historically low approval ratings that are in fact higher than the percentage that brought him into office. Until electoral support for a particular candidate in closely contested races rises above *33-35%* we'll continue to see the duopoly produce wave after wave of divisive, two-term candidates. The Donald (and his predecessors) are not nearly so dangerous as the cold math being relied on to seat divisive minority agendas. **https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections
  13. Devil's Advocate

    Moral anomalies?

    I'm coming into this late, but... Moral action doesn't require legal permission, and in most cases one's legal jeopardy would depend more on the morality of one's peers than the letter of the law when put on trial. So what might appear to be morally anomalous in a legal context is in fact what a proper government relies on to prove the law (or to check the premise). I believe it's in the rational self-interest of a moral witness to intervene, even when not immediately effected by the immoral action of another, because immoral behavior of the kind described undermines the security of individual rights upon which one depends. Appropriate intervention depends on the circumstance and may amount to simply making ones presence and disapproval known, however I recognize there's no compulsion to act because it remains a mater of individual choice (liberty).
  14. Devil's Advocate

    The Inherent Rights and Forbearance of Individuals

    As a freedom of action, I believe the word right is as appropriate as the word proper to describe the freedom necessary to accomplish a physical action, and I defend this term as part of the action itself because it's descriptive of an ability in action. Seeing legs, for example, doesn't indicate what legs can do, but seeing walking does. One immediately understands the freedom necessary to walk, and that binding legs negates their proper action. So I believe it's fair to say that inherent abilities demonstrate inherent rights sufficiently enough to posit them as an existent part of the nature of man by the law of identity. As to the SCOTUS appeal, my position is that having the right to do something doesn't imply every action is harmless.
  15. Devil's Advocate

    The Inherent Rights and Forbearance of Individuals

    Yes, I should have made that more apparent.