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William O

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  1. Thanks for your posts in this thread, Boydstun. You have been very helpful. A word of clarification: The points I listed in the OP were my own summary, and do not appear in that form in Audi's book.
  2. This isn't true. If someone cares about being right and is paying attention, it matters how good your evidence is. The problem is establishing credibility with someone so that they will pay attention to what you have to say, as well as engaging their emotions at appropriate points. As Aristotle said, ethos, pathos, and logos are the key elements.
  3. This part has been cleared up, I would say: However, this part could use clarification, since it seems like a version of the analytic - synthetic dichotomy:
  4. I think I thought that propositions can be self evident for Rand because I was under the impression that axioms like "existence exists" and "A is A" are regarded as self evident in Objectivism. I can find a lot of blogs and websites by non-scholars saying that online, but it's difficult to find a place in the primary sources where Rand actually says that. (The other reason is that, well, these propositions do seem self evident, and I would expect - rightly or wrongly - that Rand would agree with me about that.)
  5. When you talk about a computer malfunctioning or producing an error, what you are doing is imposing a mathematical model on the behavior of the computer and pointing out that the behavior of the computer diverges from the model. The word "malfunction" contains the word "function" right in it - it's a mathematical concept in the context of computer science. Unless you are telling me that the computer fails to correspond to its correlate in Plato's intelligible realm of mathematics, there is no such thing as a computer error apart from the interpretation of a rational observer.
  6. The page number for the fallacy of retroactive self evidence is 157.
  7. That's a good distinction, I'm glad you posted this. I need to figure why I thought that and whether I had any evidence for it.
  8. It appears that propositions are only self evident in a derivative sense, for Rand. By contrast, academic philosophers, in my experience, only regard propositions as self evident (e.g. 1+1=2). Dr. Binswanger identified a fallacy in How We Know called the fallacy of retroactive self evidence, which is basically when we get so used to a claim that we start to call it self evident even though it wasn't originally. The discussion so far in this thread, then, seems to have a striking implication: If Rand is right, then every usage of the term "self evident" in contemporary academic philosophy commits the fallacy of retroactive self evidence. What are your thoughts on my reasoning here?
  9. Objectivism holds that the denial of any true proposition is self contradictory. Read Peikoff's essay on "The Analytic - Synthetic Dichotomy."
  10. Maybe I need to clarify the goals of this thread. Goal 1: Clearly identify how Ayn Rand thought about self evidence, using primary sources. Goal 2: Clearly identify how most academic philosophers think about self evidence, using reputable secondary sources. Goal 3: Compare the two and identify similarities and differences. That is all I am trying to do in this thread. I would appreciate any help from knowledgeable forum members.
  11. Can you clarify what you mean? I don't mean to be rude, but I would think it obvious that Rand accepted the concept of the self evident. At the very least, if you're going to interpret her that way then you need to explain how you interpret passages like those quoted in the Lexicon under "self evident." aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/self-evident.html Also, haven't you essentially reinvented the analytic - synthetic dichotomy here?
  12. Okay, but how is that relevant in the current context? We are comparing Rand's concept of self evidence to the contemporary academic concept. Thanks, that's helpful. I don't know what he means by contemporary. He mentions Mill, so a reasonable assumption would be that he means since 1800.
  13. Regarding the claim that 20% of Objectivism be removed, wouldn't that completely gut Objectivism if carried out consistently? For example, if Objectivism made some allowance for forcible taxation in order to help the poor, we would have to give up the non-initiation of force principle and the trader principle. Further, the non-initiation of force principle and the trader principle are based on the Objectivist ethics, so we would have to give up the Objectivist ethics. Rand regarded Objectivism as an integrated system. It is not a bunch of independent parts with no connection to each other that you can freely tinker with.
  14. This is something you would need studies to establish. The work I've seen done on public opinion seems to indicate that it generally acts sensibly, although there are different theories about why this is. The public pays attention to the arguments politicians and public figures make and responds to them. If people were so stupid that they couldn't grasp critical, life saving ideas and vote based on them, democracy would have crashed and burned centuries ago.