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Doug Morris

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Doug Morris last won the day on November 16

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  1. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Most people who are led by emotions not reason still have free will; they just don't make proper use of it. If a low IQ, low empathy person thinks rape is OK, it is still very wrong. If there are so many such people that it becomes impossible to enforce laws against rape, we have a very serious problem, and a lot of bad things will happen. It might not be possible to have a viable society in that case, especially if they think other aggressions are OK too. I understand there are some pathological circles in which a guy gains prestige and status by raping. I'm sure this is more cultural than anything else. Such a person still has the power to think things through and realize it's wrong. Such people do not dominate society. Fortunately men with similar attitudes and practices who have achieved positions of power are now being weeded out. Is any data available on the IQ's of such men? Some of them have been very economically productive, but weeding them out does not seem to be endangering our society. How many people are there anywhere who consider rape to be OK? Letting reason have the final say in what we do does not mean abstaining from sexual intercourse. It does not mean treating any sex or race as less than human. It probably does not even mean totally abstaining from fast food. It certainly does not mean forcing anyone else to do any of these things. The reason Ayn Rand's solution has yet to materialize is that it can only do so when a lot of people make fundamental changes to their thinking, and that takes a lot of time.
  2. Doug Morris

    Metaphysical status of First Person Experience

    Here is a question for those worried about the transporter: If you go to sleep, or lose consciousness some other way, and then regain consciousness, is that the same consciousness? Or did the previous consciousness end and a new one arise using the same wherewithal?
  3. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    If there are "non-minor differences in characteristics that aren't just superficial" among races in some statistical sense, there is still even greater individual variation, and it is still essential to think of people and treat them as individuals. None of this shakes the moral foundation of Objectivism as it applies to people with free will. People without free will are insane or severely mentally retarded and are a rare special case. People have natural incentives to do things like eating, drinking water, staying warm, and having sex. As long as we have free will, we can give reason the final word on what we do, although a lot of people fail to do this. If there are any natural incentives to be tribal, the same applies.
  4. The light hitting your eyes gives you an image that looks like a 3D object. That is on the level of perception and is true. Whether it really is a 3D object is on the level of interpretation, and there it is possible to make errors. This is not really different from other cases that have been used to attack the senses, such as a stick partially in water looking bent.
  5. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Reidy sent me a message saying he thought it was Foundations of Morality by Henry Hazlitt. My best guess is he's right. I apologize for any confusion.
  6. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    I once looked at, but did not read, a book on philosophy (by Friedrich Hayek, I think - there are at least two such books). I looked up what he said about Ayn Rand. He mentioned her once, as the only exception he knew of to a general statement he was making about philosophers, that egoists are psychological egoists and altruists are ethical altruists.
  7. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    The April, 2018 issue of National Geographic has articles on race that may be helpful. In particular, the genetic differences within sub-Saharan Africa are greater than the genetic differences within a group that includes some people in eastern Africa and all of the people that left sub-Saharan Africa.
  8. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Ayn Rand did not claim the opposite. She said that human consciousness is volitional and that reason is not automatic and requires effort. Anyone who does not put forth much mental effort will be guided by emotions and/or the path of least resistance. I'm skeptical of the notion that there is anyone who is truly unable to do this except for the mentally retarded, or at least some of them. As I said, I'm skeptical. If it's true that the average person is unable to engage in abstract thought to the extent required to form and sustain a truly free society., we'd better hope that they'll at least be willing to go along when there is enough of a consensus among the more able thinkers. If even that isn't true, we may be screwed, but I'm not worried. To what extent were they pandering to the masses, and to what extent did they truly believe in some sort of God? My understanding is that at least some of them were deists, which is a halfway house on the road from traditional religion to unbelief. This is vague. It reminds me of someone I saw posting on a liberal blog who said we are not "totally free" because we are not free to rape, rob, and murder. Can you clarify?
  9. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    What, exactly, do you mean by individual liberties being absolutes and who is saying that they necessarily are in every instance? If I possess a nuclear weapon, there might be a mistake or accident involving it, or vandals might break in and mess with it without knowing what they are doing, or someone sick, malicious, and suicidal might break in and get at it. If it were an ordinary gun, the potential for harm from these possibilities would not be enough to make me guilty of a physical aggression. With a nuke, the potential for harm would be much greater. Your hypothetical rich person might not be committing a physical aggression, depending on how big the nuke was, how far his property extended from it in all directions, and how well he warned people that his property was dangerous.
  10. Doug Morris

    What is the relationship between Christianity and altruism?

    I took a peek at the Wikipedia article on the Sermon on the Mount, and one thing that struck me was "Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction; ". So not relying on force would be a point in common between this sermon and Objectivism. Of course the alternative presented is omitting reason and trade, and in that respect is severely lacking. If we want to analyze the relationship between Christianity and altruism in depth, we probably need to distinguish among what's actually in the Bible, what interpretations have been added to it, and what altruism from other sources has been passed down.
  11. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    If I acquire a nuclear weapon I am seriously endangering my neighbors and their property, to such an extent that I don't really have a right to do it. It makes no difference if I paid good money for the nuke and am keeping it on my own property. For further clarification, if I own a gun, this does not give me the right to use it in any way I see fit. If I do something on my land that causes, or is likely to cause, harm on adjoining property, I am violating the rights of the owner of that property.
  12. Doug Morris

    What are the basic emotions?

    A long time ago I was seeing an Objectivist psychotherapist. He was talking about how, in introspecting for psychotherapeutic purposes, you need to be specific about what you are feeling. It is certainly not enough to say you are upset. It is not even enough to say you are mad, because that could mean either anger or hostility. He called hostility a neurotic counterpart to anger and said it is a combination of emotions. I don't recall him listing them.
  13. Doug Morris

    The family cannot survive without duty.

    On the incentive to have children: Some people should not have children. It's OK if some people who could be good parents choose not to be parents. Having children can be a great source of joy. The parents provide them with an environment in which they can grow and develop, give them additional help in doing so, and see them actually growing and developing. The parents see the children benefiting and acting, having played a crucial role in making this possible. Why do you say this is not enough incentive?
  14. Doug Morris

    Using geometry to fight gerrymandering

    The constitution mandates separate representation for each state, but says nothing about districts. So each state individually could adopt proportional representation within that state if the politicians saw fit or were pressured into it.
  15. Doug Morris

    Using geometry to fight gerrymandering

    For what it's worth, the November issue of Scientific American has on article on using geometry to fight gerrymandering.