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  1. I am constantly running into this same argument. If human nature is inherently broken and corrupt, favoring the morally subjective and dishonest, then any argument needs to justify less external human involvement in human affairs - as each individual, acting according to an honest assessment of human nature, is naturally the most favorable actor to partake in that scenario. How can the alternative, massive oversight by OTHER human beings, rationally prove to be favorable?
  2. Thank you for your response. The relation to the thread comes in where I point out that there is a very important difference between refusing to name what you are (objectivist, etc) versus openly sharing that information. Whereas I am careful who I tell that I am an objectivist, it is still crystal clear in my own mind that I am one. Regarding concept formation, Rand directly states that a concept must be given a name before the concept formation is complete. My post argues that the ambiguous, fluffy, blurry notions that some people today "identify" with are an example of the anti-conceptual mentality for exactly this reason. They refuse to name what they are. They are anti-conceptual. (to your point, yes, "Objectivist" is an already formed concept to someone who has integrated it from the ground up in their mind and understands what it means. "Atheist-ish libertarian-type" is not a fully formed concept and breaks down the more hyphens and attributes you add on to it...similar arguments can be made for anti-concepts such as "bi-gender", or whatever other terms Facebook gives you to choose from) From the ITOE, page 119 (in my edition at least :)) "Prof. D: I’ve described the process, but I have arrived also at a product which is: these regarded as units. Now at that point do I have the concept of “pad,” or do I still have something further to do, a further integration to make, before the product would be a concept? AR: Yes. You have to give it a name." ...This is precisely what people who "identify" with vague, arbitrary, undefined notions refuse to do - objectively assign a concept to who they are. By saying "I am nothing in particular", or "I am two contradictory things at once", they are really saying "I am nothing at all". This stands in stark contrast to simply...not saying (but knowing full well who and what you are).
  3. I wanted to add something to this thread that I created, even though it's been a few months since it's been active. In the Objectivist Epistemology, Rand makes it very clear that the last step of concept formation is to name the concept. In the latest revised edition, with the Q&A at the end, she reiterates this point - the naming of a concept ties together the importance of objective language and concept formation. There is an article that recently appeared on "spiked-online" (I admittedly am not familiar with this site outside of this one article, so please don't take this as a promotion for that site) that spoke to the recent trend of "identifying" subjectively with some external aspect of existence as opposed to objectively naming WHAT (who) we are. http://www.spiked-online.com/spiked-review/article/the-crisis-of-character/17691#.VoQIIjfnbkL Such is a symptom of the anti-conceptual mentality that refuses to admit the law of identity into it's consciousness - the refusal to define oneself. And, as we all know, definitions are of key importance to coming to an understanding both within our own minds and with others. Thus, those who wish for others not to understand them, those who wish desperately not to be defined, those who "identify" with vague notions rather than explicitly define who and what they are within the appropriate contexts, are desperately revealing a dangerous aspect of themselves. They ultimately wish not to be. Or at least, they wish to evade the necessity of making the choices inherent in existing. They are attempting to entertain contradictions by refusing to name and define themselves objectively. Unless one excludes so many key characteristics of a conceptual integration that it ultimately resembles nothing and is no longer a concept at all, one can NOT be a woman AND a man. One can NOT be an objectivist and a subjectivist (in definition - errors in cognition will occur). Otherwise, to quote from the article "Feeling is reality. The entirely subjective sentiment becomes objective, legal fact." So to bring it full circle, and to add context to my original question - there is no question as to whether an objectivist is an objectivist in name, definition, and concept, or whether an objectivist should make the claim that they are an objectivist (if only within their own mind, at a minimum.). These are a given for a rational thinker who understands the concept. The question is whether it benefits the objectivist to share this FACT of their identity (having no reasonable cause to doubt it's truth) with others. To sanction an anti-conceptual philosophical opponent by giving them a bulls-eye to target with their brain dead zero-reifications is to sanction their assault on your mind (see my post on Sanctioning Skeptics). Therefore, the answer to my own question is that I will share the fact of my objectivism with those who will be of greater benefit to my highest values in knowing this information. My wife, who is open to these ideas and understands them at a high-level and supports my quest to improve myself with a rational, non-contradictory moral philosophy. My children, who I endeavor to guide towards being the noblest expression of my values. Friends and strangers, who I induce may be receptive to objectivist ideas and who may latch onto these concepts and improve the world for me through their own efforts, and hopefully, may turn around and educate me on some aspects I haven't considered myself. All the rest, I have found, pose the detriment of conflict and misunderstanding when I share Rands theories, and I have not found value in these interactions. These people will not receive the benefit of further interaction with me on this topic, and I find there is no benefit to me in my sharing this objective definition of my self with them. Please read the linked article and let me know your thoughts.
  4. Fair enough, I think we are dancing around the same conclusion. I do think, though, that statements about the "worth" of people based on profession are slippery slopes that can very easily lead to misunderstanding without copious context, even among objectivists. No one is suggesting that an abstraction be formed through the impossible task of looking at specific cases - however due to the specific topic it is worth preceeding these value judgements that are based on profession with Peikoffs recommended "In the context of current knowledge", especially when the conclusion being drawn has so many obvious alternate considerations such as the ones outlined above. No one here is asserting that every human is of equal value (even if this was possible) - I do think an objectivist argument can be made that (in principle) all humans have a rational faculty of equal worth (this being what makes us human) however the volitional choice to exercise that faculty to the maxiumum extent possible is what separates humans by the value they offer. It is this fundamental value of the human rational faculty that makes it immoral to murder another human being (without objective cause, such as their being an immediate threat to your family etc), for being human, they hold the same rational faculty as you - and it is a contradiction to hold that your rational faculty has value and theirs doesn't - it is the product of their volitional usage of that faculty that provides the value by which they must be judged by every individual they interact with, and indeed, the laws of causation offered up by nature itself - of which they have no choice but to abide by the consequences.
  5. I think that value must be judged on an individual basis using all available information - it is a hazard to rely on a single data point such as occupation when performing an evaluation. I think the occupation examples in Rands "Intellectual Pyramid" are just that - examples - and her larger point is that men of greater ability are a benefit to those of lesser ability - and ability can manifest itself in many ways. Rand was "just" an author, if one was to drop all other context and evaluate her "greatness" based on her occupation alone - she was no scientist or doctor or industrialist. Yet I can argue that she has made an incomparable contribution to this world. I reiterate that a mooching, irrational subjectivist skeptic who also happens to have made their way through med school (somehow!) but does their best to destroy the thinking minds of their children and everyone they meet by teaching them that reality can not be defined, and A does not equal A, and they are only a means to other peoples ends is a much more disgusting, lowly, immoral and worthless worm than the janitor who stands upright in his rationality and treats others according to the standard of his own objective reason.
  6. With regard to the original posters question, here is a fantastic article just posted by Dr. Hurd discussing a topic very similar to this. https://drhurd.com/56694-2/
  7. I was using the term in another context [paraphrasing from wikipedia], representing the notion of a major change in a certain though-pattern - a radical change in...complex systems, replacing the former way of thinking or organizing with a radically different way of thinking or organizing. I have never heard of Kuhn until now and am unfamiliar with his ideas, but I'm now aware of the source of the term "paradigm shift" and will add context if I choose to use it again. I should have said "A paradigm shift in my conceptualization of knowledge as it relates to reality." I appreciate your responses.
  8. You have it backwards. These actions tend to be the result of a lack of property rights. When government exists to enforce individual rights, you have property rights, and someone owns the grassland, and you will find the type of activities you mention are curtailed to the extent that they don't support a higher rational value according to the owner of the property. When people have a right to own property, they tend not to want to see it destroyed (in entirety - the christmas tree example above is a perfect one).
  9. First, you need to explain why you think irreparably destroying the resources needed by you or or company to profit/survive is rational. Second, you will notice that the examples you provide are scenarios in which property rights have been destroyed. So in one swoop, you eliminate the circumstances that allow rational self interest to even work and then demand that it provide a solution to the irrational scenarios you supply. Savages dont value property rights and run through the world consuming resources they can't create or own. Answer the question of who owns those forests, animals and oceans and you'll have your answer. It may also be worth examining your own assumptions about environmentalism and how it relates to man's rational faculty. Here is a great starting point: http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/Evil_Environmentalism.html
  10. Rand is not advocating a new kind of math. She is demonstrating how massively complex hierarchies of percepts and concepts can be (MUST be) condensed in the form of new concepts - be it calculating incomprehensible numbers or deconstructing erroneous assumptions in a therapy patients mind.
  11. Also, be wary of trying to get Objectivism to fit the out of context criticisms levied against it by it's opponents. You seem to be operating under the *assumption* that Objectivism is a *materialistic* philosophy that judges worth by possessions or power or some other standard. This is not a conclusion that can be derived by reading Rand. This is a false conclusion that can only be arrived at by taking snippets of the philosophy out of context. Objectivisms standard of value is mans life, and it's noblest virtue is the rational usage of ones mind, or rational faculty. The goal of a materialistic pragmatist may be the accumulation of wealth and power. The goal of an Objectivist is the moral acheivement of ones values as they pertain to living a flourishing life - something that can be different for everyone!
  12. Objectivism asks that we use the entirety of our minds in our pursuits, whether we are housewives or CEOs. Rand has stated that you don't have to be a genius to live your life as a moral rational egoist - you just have to be honest and not evade the facts of reality. The CEO that recently gave all of his lowest paid employees a huge salary bump to $75k, regardless of merit, for the sake of equality and altruism, is a more disgusting human being than the owner of a small landscaping company that pays his employees according to their market value. In this specific context, the latter is more righteous. You just dissuade yourself of the egalitarian standards that you have been taught. They have no place in Objectivism.
  13. I am a 35 year old IT Project Manager with a Masters Degree in MIS. Since high school I considered myself strongly libertarian and have had a major resentment of how virtues are denigrated by popular culture and law - a mental, if not physical, assault on honesty, integrity, hard work, and individualism. I am a really, really nice guy. I go out of my way for others. I work out, and take care of my body. I work hard to study topics that are important to me. I work really hard to achieve the goals in my life that are most worthy of my efforts. I am an Eagle Scout with a Masters degree and a good job and have never taken from anyone that which is unearned. And I have always resented being told that I must pay penance for being successful in my life, and that my accomplishments weren't mine to claim but my failures were to be hung around my neck and borne alone. I fundamentally resented the evasions that take place when it comes to race and religion and poverty, and despite not having a name for my thinking, or a framework for my morals I always felt uneasy about faith and religion, despite being a devout Christian at the time (now firmly atheist) - but I didn't know a name for my uneasiness. Until I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time, after being laid off for the second time in a row, while working as a security guard and nightclub bouncer (I had a little time on my hands!). I cried multiple times. My mind was blown. Atlas Shrugged put into words what I had always felt to be true but couldn't quite put together into a cohesive structure in my mind. I realized that I have ALWAYS been an Objectivist - I just didn't know what it was called until that point. Rands fiction, and later her non-fiction, has clarified in my mind what I have always known. I have read pretty much everything she has written (at least once). And I am still learning so much, especially thanks to this forum. I am now exploring Peikoff and Branden, as well as other contemporary Objectivist authors such as Roslyn Ross and Tara Smith. I find Objectivism to be somewhat lonely - my wife understands and agrees with the basics but doesn't have the same passion about philosophy that I do. This forum has been indispensible for me during my darkest hours, when my mind has been plagued with questions that haunt me. And I have not been let down. This philosophy is so deeply, deeply relevent to me. I truly believe that Objectivism teaches us to love the very best in each other, and to appreciate the beauty of everything this world has to offer, because there is no other. Objectivism gives us the framework for morally interacting with other human beings in non-sacrificial, mutually beneficial way. Objectivism tells us that we are NOT evil, that we are right to be proud of ourselves and to seek our achievements in an upright posture. As Rand writes in Atlas Shrugged: “It’s only human,' you cry in defense of any depravity, reaching the stage of self-abasement where you seek to make the concept 'human' mean the weakling, the fool, the rotter, the liar, the failure, the coward, the fraud, and to exile from the human race the hero, the thinker, the producer, the inventor, the strong, the purposeful, the pure—as if 'to feel' were human, but to think were not, as if to fail were human, but to succeed were not, as if corruption were human, but virtue were not—as if the premise of death were proper to man, but the premise of life were not.”