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Fawkes

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Everything posted by Fawkes

  1. In response to a question during his Advanced Seminars On OPAR (see the ARI estore), Dr. Peikoff said that you can look at logic as an art, a method, or a science. He said that AR used 'art' in AS because she was thinking of it as a practice or skill you have to learn, although what you're learning is a method, a set of rules. The study of those rules is a science. Accepting the fact that right now you sit in a chair is not an act of logic. You go through no process of inferring the conclusion--the information is a given, you simply accept and assert it. It's "a non-contradictory identification", but logic is not "all instances of non-contradictory identification" including the self-evident. Logic is rather a method for inferring further true identifications from the given.
  2. VoS has spoilers for AS. So if you want to fully enjoy AS, wait. On the other hand if you already know a lot about AS through reading various spoilers in discussions about AR, you may as well go ahead if you're so motivated. A friend of mine who has an aversion to fiction and doesn't usually read dense material became quite absorbed in VoS.
  3. Fawkes

    Animal rights

    Concepts such as 'rational' or 'conceptual' condense facts of reality about humans. You could spend the rest of your life enumerating concrete specific instances for those concepts. Look at the endless stream of ways in which humans are different from other animals, including specific instances of the facts which give rise to the moral principle of rights. The more you do that, the less tempted you will be to apply 'conceptual' as some sort of percentage-based litmus test for rights, i.e. if an animal seems sorta conceptual then maybe it sorta has rights. No, rights are moral principles which arise in a specific and unique context, and animals don't even come close to recreating that context. If you recognize that the idea of animal rights is 'ridiculous', what makes you think you can change the minds of those who hold such a position? Leaving aside the problem of 'proving' (showing the connection to self-evident facts of reality) the non-existence of something (i.e. something not in reality), how do you condense an education in the primacy of existence and proper formation and use of concepts to a single writing or conversation? Better to take the opportunity to practice some philosophic detection and try to figure out where your opponent's most fundamental error is, and see if you can figure out an engaging way to encourage them to rethink it.
  4. Hi Steve, The way I understand you to be using the term, nostalgia refers to your own response, something along the lines of enjoying the way some familiar art reminds you of the past. There is not necessarily any nostalgic element in the work of art itself, in the sense of a reference to the past included by the artist as a result of a value judgment. Although your nostalgic response is a valid reason for valuing a work of art, it's not an esthetic criterion. The nostalgic impact of a particular song in this sense derives entirely from the history you share with it, and not an aspect of the song itself which can be evaluated. An esthetic criterion is a standard of judgment. There is a sense in which nostalgia can be such a criterion, at times: once it has been identified as the theme, or an aspect of the theme of a work of art, it can be taken as a crterion for judging the means by which the artist projected his theme.
  5. An attempt to distill a very short version: We choose our actions. We live in a complex web of consequences and relationships over a long period of time. Our lives will be more successful the more we can account for those complexities in our choices. Distillation from reality and consistent following of best practices in the form of principles to guide our choices increases our command over the scope of our lives. We have to produce the material which sustains our lives. If living together is to be life-serving we must mutually respect each others pursuit of life by not taking away the results of others' production. Taking someone else's production is taking a piece of their life away from them. No matter how small the instance of your violating this best practice, it puts you in conflict with the essential requirement for us all living together, if living is what we want to do.
  6. The definition specifies the units of the concept by means of their essential characteristics. The units of the concept retain all their characteristics. (See the last two entries: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/definitions.html ) Both the passages you've quoted reflect the operation of the subconscious (or perhaps what Harry Binswanger has since referred to as the periphery of consciousness--the area which is not quite subonscious or fully conscious). It's important to distinguish what sort of 'knowing' is going on. In the first passage what Taggart "knew" by means of his emotion in the part you've bolded is his own internal state--this is the only actual knowledge emotion can bring you. The other description "all his knowledge had consisted of emotions" is a description of a pathology. If all a person does is feel that things are true, then what they've got isn't knowledge. In the second passage Cheryl is seeing patterns in reality which she does not have the ability to name. She senses their meaning wordlessly and experiences her evaluation of that wordless meaning as an emotion. Don't be thrown off by the word 'knew' in "...what she knew only as a sudden fury...". In that instance I think 'knew' is being used in the sense of 'experienced'. Wordless thoughts can be brought to the surface by a commitment to always being explicit and specific in your thinking. The subconscious is accessed by asking questions or using prompts such as Jean Moroney talks about here: http://thinkingdirections.com/Tip41Wishing.htm Wordless or subconscious material comes from the same places your fully conscious thoughts come from: experiences, memory, imagination, etc. For any of it to be knowledge you have to have established its non-contradictory connection to sense experience and integration with your other knowledge.
  7. The second entry here will be clarifying I think: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/psycho-epistemology.html Asking oneself (relevant) questions is brilliant, it is the essence or at least the impetus of thinking, and it is a vastly under-appreciated tool of introspection. Consciously pursue a policy of asking yourself questions and you will develop an ever more active mind. I think Harry Binswanger's courses on P-E (available very inexpensively at the ARI estore) would be a great place to start with generating questions to illuminate one's own P-E. Some general questions to ask at any time can be created of course but the real meat of understanding how you operate will come from knowing enough to ask yourself relevant questions in the moment, i.e. just after a moment of uncertainty, just after giving an answer, just after waving an issue aside, when trying to understand something new, when faced with a contradiction, etc. "How did I arrive at that?" "What was my initial reaction to that?" "What was I doing?" "What were the first connections I made to that idea? Why those?"
  8. I don't, but I haven't read FTNI in a while. I would say that on the whole her non-fiction is really efficient and dense. If you think she's repeating things chances are you are missing something. She did not choose words lightly, and she was capable of being quite tough-minded when editing her own work. But your question is too vague--better for what? If you mean as a means of learning her philosophy then you can't choose just one. The novels are necessary, and certain of the non-fiction is also necessary (ITOE in particular). I would go even further and say that it is unlikely anyone could learn to understand Rand's ideas properly without getting help from other authors such as Dr. Peikoff. The key is in learning to practice the epistemological ideas. If you don't handle concepts well it is going to be very difficult to really grasp Objectivism.
  9. No, really the onus is on you to show that you have read and understood what Rand said on this. So far it sounds like you have not.
  10. A lot of people feel alienated or disgusted about the culture once they begin to read Ayn Rand. You are not alone and a negative reaction is appropriate. There are a lot of Objectivist 'trade secrets' and connect-the-dot information in the lectures sold by ARI that will help with things like introspection and refining the way you use your mind. Harry Binswanger's psycho-epistemology lectures and Ayn Rand's book on writing non-fiction would help with introspection (and Ed Locke has a course on the subject).
  11. Aw ya got me all excited, I thought you were going to say it's out. Some of us are checking the net every day to see if it's out yet. I heard a rumour that the schedule got expanded a little and it will be out at the end of the summer.
  12. I think extrospection will prove out the examples too, at least as suitable illustrations for the points they are serving. These are not principles, they are not intended to encompass the soul of every man who fits a category. People are usually mixtures of motivations and ideas, but you will find themes and threads running through even the most mixed-up examples. The comment about sexual attraction is more than an illustration of course, but in this case you have to look at the two parts separately. Knowing what a man finds sexually attractive requires much more than just knowing who he finds attractive, you have to know why he finds that person attractive--is he a Rearden making a mistake, or a Jim Taggart? The second part is a little easier since you don't have to get to a whole philosophy, but even there you may need to go deeper than appearances in a specific instance. How does the man see his choice? According to stories told by Leonard Peikoff, if I remember right, Rand herself said that you can't always judge someone's romantic choice. The chosen person may offer values which are not immediately apparent to an observer outside the relationship.
  13. Reason_Being--you're using a very modern and narrow definition which begs the question. So the question becomes--is the modern idea of what science is correct? I think the entries here provide a more helpful range to start with when seeking to understand what the concept 'science' most sensibly refers to. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/science You may find Leonard Peikoff's comments in OPAR helpful. (pp 35 --so says Kindle anyway): ...and that last sentence ties into Grames' post.
  14. Philosophy is a science, but not a branch, since it is the fundamental science. Since in daily use the word 'science' refers only to what Ayn Rand referred to as "the special sciences" that may further confuse things. Helpful quotes: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/philosophy.html
  15. "the ideological dispute, not the personal one." You can't separate the two. Branden's initial 'disagreement' was in the form of faking reality on a large scale. Only after Ayn Rand died did Branden begin to comment on her, saying In essence that Ayn Rand's ideas encourage 'moralism', repression, and the unfair blanket dismissal of mystical phenomenae. The more I have learned about Rand and Objectivism over the years, the more I have come to realize what a confession Branden's charges are. If you want to know what Rand's 'disagreement' with Branden was, I would say it was pretty simple in essence: 'don't pretend to embody and agree with my philosophy, or lie in other ways to gain values from me'.
  16. People would have joined Galt without the motor. The motor's fabulous technology serves to ocncretize the power of the mind and the great loss to everyone if the mind is shackled. As far as the practical uses of the motor they could have used anything. What is hope? Insofar as it is an emotion it is "rational", i.e. appropriate, according to the context. I vaguely recall hearing somewhere that Wisconsin was considered the most average or typical of American states. But I don't find that in AR's Journals and not in 100 Voices, so I can't confirm.
  17. According to the "What Art Is" website, Harry Binswanger has said that the reason architecture does not appear in the Ayn Rand Lexicon is that when he showed AR the entries under A, she said it was best left out because she had decided it is primarily utilitarian. Whatever one's position on architecture as art, it's important to remember that it is far more metaphysical in its realm of value-selection than most decorative arts. One can understand Ayn Rand's initial position if one keeps that in mind. As to photography, the use of photographic processes in some controlled way with endless modification and selection in order to produce what were clearly works of art would not change the status of normal photography in which an image is reproduced of something which already for the most part existed in reality. But at that point we would probably need a new concept to distinguish the two.
  18. Since your question seems mostly to revolve around therapy: There are some good therapists who can help people learn to introspect and deal with destructive thinking patterns. From what I have experienced and heard from others though, a lot of therapists are a waste of time. They provide no structure and no direction or homework and going to them amounts to expensive 'venting' sessions.
  19. Private arbitration is not force. It's a contracted agreement to use a third-party service to resolve a dispute. If the arbitrator's decision is ignored by one of the parties the enforcement would still be a matter for the state. A private detective is primarily a gatherer of information and must function within the law. They are only allowed to use force in self-defense, essentially in the same way as other citizens, i.e. in emergencies.
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