Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Doug Morris

Regulars
  • Content Count

    174
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    8

Everything posted by Doug Morris

  1. Doug Morris

    The Trolley Problem

    Somebody challenged me once with the following. You're driving a car down a mountain road. The brakes fail. You can steer but not slow or stop. You are approaching a bridge packed with kids. Your choices are steer for the bridge and mow down the kids or steer to the side and be killed yourself. He indicated he wouldn't have any respect for anyone whose choice was to steer for the bridge. I tried to explain that this was an abnormal situation with no fully satisfactory outcome and he said he would be perfectly satisfied to steer to the side and die. He had a military background. I don't know to what extent that entered into it.
  2. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    That should be perceive race as a very real concept.
  3. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Some of this is starting to get repetitive again. The greatest amount of evil exists in places like North Korea. How can I have a significant effect there? I understand and acknowledge that some people perceive race a a very real concept. They are deluded.
  4. Doug Morris

    Abortion Rights and Parental Obligations

    Here's another approach. Man has rights because reason is the primary tool by means of which he lives. So the question becomes, at what point does a fetus or baby start using this tool? Wouldn't that be when he or she starts forming concepts?
  5. Doug Morris

    Universals

    How does Nagel, or do you, conclude that it is fundamentally inexplicable? We don't have a full explanation yet, but that doesn't mean an explanation is fundamentally impossible.
  6. Doug Morris

    Abortion Rights and Parental Obligations

    That might work. In order for there to be a concept there must be a word symbol. In order to observe that a child has concepts, we must either observe it talking (or perhaps signing, writing, or typing) in concepts or observe it understanding when someone else does. The latter often comes first. I take it you are referring to the potential we know they have, not to their actual performance so far as I at first thought you were. So we can conclude that a newborn is a potential person. But can we conclude that a newborn is an actual person?
  7. Doug Morris

    Abortion Rights and Parental Obligations

    David Odden, I didn't mean to be denigrating any concepts. I was just trying to clarify my position by giving examples of concepts that seemed low level to me. "Dog" would certainly qualify as a concept involving low level abstraction and qualifying anyone who understood it as reasoning and therefore actually human. When I wrote of "some amount of abstraction", I was distinguishing concepts from proper names such as "Mama" or "Papa". How is it plain that a newborn is a person but a dog or cat is not? The newborn has much greater potential than the dog or cat, but is there a plain difference in what is actual? The burden-of-proof issue may justify drawing a legal line in a way that probably sets it earlier than actually achieving reason and/or personhood.
  8. Doug Morris

    Abortion Rights and Parental Obligations

    Why not say that a baby becomes an actual human being when it starts reasoning, that is, when it understands concepts involving some amount of abstraction, such a "food" or "chair"? Not speaks, but understands. If it is too difficult to draw a legal line at this point, the legal line might have to be drawn a little earlier, perhaps a fixed short period of time after birth.
  9. Doug Morris

    Immigration restrictions

    Offhand, no, I can't imagine any such scenario. The closest I can come is to borrow the concept of mind control from science fiction and fantasy. Suppose someone was using mind control to make a lot of people uphold socialism. In that case we would need to outlaw the mind control, not the advocacy of socialism. I think such mind control would count as physical force, although this might lead us into quibbles about the exact nature and workings of such mind control. If anybody does ever come up with such mind control, I hope there is a good defense against it.
  10. Doug Morris

    Immigration restrictions

    Mister Swig, I think we're better off presenting better ideas as best we can than trying to get the bad ideas outlawed.
  11. Doug Morris

    Immigration restrictions

    2046, What would your reaction be if someone organized a "Death to Jones" rally?
  12. Doug Morris

    Immigration restrictions

    Mr. Swig, What if a law is passed preventing non-citizen Objectivists from entering the country? What if a lot of people in some other country such as India become Objectivists, enough of them come here to get noticed, and some people get panicky about it?
  13. Doug Morris

    Immigration restrictions

    Does this mean that any idea or system that a significant number of people find loathsome, which would include Objectivism, should be barred from public display or public advocacy? If the government starts actually imposing the kind of restrictions you're advocating, I think Objectivists will be on the receiving end more than socialists will.
  14. Doug Morris

    Universals

    Have you read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology?
  15. Doug Morris

    Immigration restrictions

    Does this mean that if things are happening on college campuses that convert a lot of students to socialism, the government should move in and put a stop to it? Yes, but advocating that the government turn into a dictatorship does not rise to the same level.
  16. Doug Morris

    Which Eternity?

    Strictly Logical, please give me your reaction to the following statements. Six plus one is seven. Six is an even number. Six is the smallest perfect number.
  17. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    If a few million come in every year they have time to assimilate and become more American, especially if they are not forced to keep a low profile by wrongful immigration restrictions. Many of the people who come here do so to work, which is compatible with becoming more American. Any portion of collectivism or individualism present in any person's ideas is there by their choice and can be changed by their choice. It is not biologically determined. This is also true, in a less direct manner, of most, if not all, of a person's attitudes and emotions. And where reason conflicts with emotion, we can choose reason. That approach may be of value, especially in breaking through initial resistance, but to really accomplish something we need to work positively, on a fundamental level, by teaching them the right fundamental principles. The major practical reason being that humans are the main variable in the equation and that we are to a large extent selfish beings and that capitalism leverages said fact. Perhaps. That's stated very generally, making it hard to get a handle on. It's not the whole story, though. For example, central planners have trouble knowing what prices to set. In at least some cases they have used prices in freer economies as a guide. That's tribalism right there. If every country should have open borders, if we're all individuals and all have equal rights then that statement is a contradiction. The nation state of the USA is an arbitrary construct if you believe in open borders. Why focus on the arbitrary when you could focus on the concrete? It's not tribalism. It's recognizing where I can have the most effect and where this will most affect me. Where exactly national borders are drawn is not arbitrary but optional. (I am using the words "arbitrary" and "optional" in Ayn Rand's sense.) The world badly needs to have a U.S.A., although it really needs a better one than the one we have now. I have no doubt in my mind that that is a firmly held core belief of yours. Doesn't mean it's objectively true though. To the extent that people distinguish "races", they do so on the basis of minor physiological differences. The evidence for greater differences is weak at best and implies at most statistical differences which are much less than the differences among individuals within each "race". The biggest genetic differences that do exist among humans fall not along the lines of traditional "races" but among different groups in Africa, one of which gave rise to all modern humans who left Africa. Just because differences are real doesn't mean the answer has to be bloody murder every single time. There are some shades of gray here. It's just that you can't see them based on your current belief system which demands that only black and white are allowed to exist. I am well aware that the "races" have had different histories which have had measurable statistical effects and have also had a major effect, in a variety of ways, on people's ideas and attitudes. Can you name even one shade of gray that actually exists that I can't see?
  18. Doug Morris

    Which Eternity?

    Is that the claim? Does the claim require a nothing or a something for the observable universe to expand into? Or is the claim simply that the observable universe is getting bigger? As I understand it, the observable universe is not supposed to have a boundary and its expansion consists not of acquiring more space or of any sort of moving "into", but rather of existing space stretching out.
  19. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Azrael Rand, There is enough belief in and respect for property rights to prevent a situation in which hundreds of millions enter the country. Not that I see so many people trying in any case. We can resist collectivism of all sorts without becoming collectivists ourselves. The reason capitalism works better than communism is that communism practices the sacrifice of the individual to the collective, which gives evil results. In addition, there are practical reasons why markets work better than centralized planning. All countries, including Japan, should have open borders. As an American, I am most interested in the policies of the U.S.A. and have the best chance of exerting influence here. Race is an illusion. Racism of various kinds and its destructive effects are real, but race itself is an illusion.
  20. Doug Morris

    Good 2 Person Board Games

    There's something called the infinite board game which is a set of equipment with which you can play many different games. It comes with a booklet describing a number of them, and there are sources of info about more, or you could make up your own. If you are willing to consider card games, you might see if you can find a copy of Abbott's New Card Games, which contains very original games invented by the author. There are eight card games, some of which work for two people or are even designed that way, and one game called Ultima which is played with a chess set.
  21. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Was this meant to counter my quoted point? As a stand alone scenario I would say the property owners would try to use the government to get them to move elsewhere. Arresting and jailing them all would likely cause an undue tax burden on the system, especially if their population is ever increasing. If the government failed to effectively deal with the problem, the property owners would likely decide to move elsewhere if the problem gets out of hand. Kind of what you're seeing in certain parts of California right now. The point I was making was that there was not as much difference in principle between Africans and homeless people as you were implying, and that a drastic increase in the numbers of either here would probably mean that at least some of them were committing violations of property rights that could be addressed as such.
  22. Doug Morris

    Immigration restrictions

    Agreed.
  23. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    If something is going on at my house that physically threatens or harms you, your family, your guests, or your property, you have the right to call the police on me. You do not have the right to impose any prior restraint on whom I invite into my house unless it is a known wanted fugitive.
  24. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    You didn't mention letting people stay here indefinitely without granting them citizenship. In fact, anyone should be permitted not only to enter the country but to stay here a long as they see fit, as long as they are not convicted of a felony. This is entirely different from citizenship and voting
  25. Doug Morris

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    The racial situation in America, including race consciousness, started with black slavery and continued with white supremacism and Jim Crow. It's taking us a long time to recover from those evils. Bad philosophy and its fruits have done a lot to worsen the situation and delay the recovery. Right. We have a lot of convincing to do, starting on a more fundamental level. But we can't hope to succeed at this if we don't clearly understand the truth ourselves. We shouldn't worry about the ethnic composition of the country. We should worry about how well people understand basic principles. I don't support rape on an individual level or a group level so the individuals or groups of individuals that are committing these rapes, wherever they are (on campus, off campus, etc) should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Do we need to do anything about some groups sharing and reinforcing ideas that encourage rape? I don't mean treating them as criminals because of their ideas. Do we need to use any techniques of persuasion that take into account the existence of a subculture? Do colleges need to have policies addressing the matter? If they have a moral right to access then you can't deny them access. Their rights would equal those of homeless American citizens who also have a right to live within the US even though they do not own any property. If you make something a moral right you can't use practical concerns to reign in those rights. If the number of homeless people in the United States drastically increases, where exactly would they go? No private property owner would have to let them onto his or her property. Even owners who were willing to accept some of them would probably have a limit to how many they would accept. If they are squatting on or clogging government property, the government would have the right to require them to leave. This might mean arresting and jailing them for trespassing, especially if there is no other place for them to go.
×