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About TomR61

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  • Birthday 03/25/1943

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    Tom Rowland
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    Music, Philosophy, Reading, Travel -- all very eclectic

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  1. For those interested in this topic, I am writing an analysis and posting it on my blog. I believe that Tracinski's essay is not consistent with Objectivism on several grounds and would like feedback, comments on the first draft of the first part: Ignoring the Hierarchy. Thanks, Tom Rowland PLEASE READ TRACINSKI'S ESSAY BEFORE YOU READ MINE IF YOU LEAVE A COMMENT OR DISAGREEMENT OR OTHER FEEDBACK IT SHOULD REFLECT YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF HIS ESSAY
  2. I was a friend of Fred's for 30 years. And a supporter of IOS/TOC (Navigator subscriber) from its inception to the attack on the Twin Towers, which started me on a journey back home. In all those years I maintained a friendship despite disagreements on everything from his views on Kant and Hume to Music to Epistemology. His style of quoting out of context (on both sides of every issue) infuriated me. It was, finally, his support of TOC in the face of growing evidence that they were corrupt, that finally broke the camel's back of my patience. What I found was that trying to maintain a friendship was very difficult -- and in the end impossible -- because there was no way to avoid the issues that divided us. So I wish you good luck. I will be interested to know how well you pull it off. Tom Rowland
  3. To the Dogs, First, I appear to have misunderstood your objection to quoting Peikoff, for which I apologize. Yes, I think the value of the book and of the meteorologist example is precisely in their respective abilities to demonstrate and teach us the method of lie detection and how to act in the face of lies. Notice, for example, that my reason for searching for obscure instances of intellectual trash, was in an effort to learn how to recognize and counter the trash. Sometimes that is not as easy as it was in this case. The meteorologist example is a good one. For the average layman the value would be in reading a book summarizing the analysis and showing the method, and the reason for writing it up in a paper or book might be to show, for example, the junk science behind the environmental movement. Both would be examples of good premises in action -- one dealing with the proper method of analysis in science, the other with the proper method in judging people. On the more "positive" side, there are, in the Journal entries as well as Valliant's notes, discussions of "stylized life", Rand's attitude toward giving love, and "autism" among other subjects, which were new to me. In short, the object is always to get at the truth and integrate it with the rest of our knowledge in any area of interest in one's hierarchy. Tom
  4. To the Dogs, Sure. Everything in my post was aimed at the link I had found and which I assumed was the deleted link, as well as at the claim that Ayn Rand had denied having an affair. I meant no more than to point out that in Rand's context (and the context of Objectivism) word's like "affair" and "love." have a hierarchy which precludes their being used in the context of what Rand came to consider a fabrication on Branden's part, and therefore meaningless. My reference to OPAR was precisely to avoid running through a demonstration that Peikoff had already made. I was counting on his ability to "point to the facts of reality" for anyone who cared to pursue the subject further. (In fact, if the written work of others is a signpost to the facts of reality, why are you skeptical about using them to that end?) As to Valliant's integration of the facts with Objectivism, I think the entire book is a series of such integrations, least of all in ethics and most of all in epistemology and psycho-epistemology. To give an example, the passage starting on pg. 243, first full paragraph, begins with an explanation of the relationship between the passage from the Journals that has gone just before and Objectivism's rejection of the "theory-practice" dichotomy. In the next paragraph, Valliant goes on to point out that Rand is focused on assessing what Branden's "mental drift" means about the mind (the psycho-epistemology) and character of Branden rather than on moral anger. At the bottom of the same page, he goes on to integrate the fact that Branden seems to be able to "tolerate extreme cognitive dissonance in his own life" with what that means in terms of the identification of contradictions which must be resolved (a principle of psychology) and further with Rand's method of mental functioning (in contrast with Branden's). Over and over Valliant points to Rand's commitment to reason over whatever emotions she may be feeling (all the time acknowledging that she has them). The whole of Part Two is a demonstration of what it means to "forgive errors of knowledge but not errors of morality." Valliant integrates the facts given in the Journal with this principle of Objectivism, as well as with Branden's claim that Rand is "moralistic." The whole of Part Two is a demonstration of hierarchy and context. Rand eventually comes to the conclusion that whatever their relationship was, it was not love and it was not an affair in any sense with which she would want to participate knowing the full context. Valliant consistently points to this, leading to his biggest wallop of an integration, the argument for which begins on pg 382 and which I will not spoil for those who have not read the book. And all of this is the context for judging the content of the "evidence" presented on the page provided by the excised link. That content demonstrates, if such a demonstration remains necessary, that Rand never rejected her insistence that reason, not emotion, be her guide; that she was a person of almost unbelievable benevolence on an individual by individual basis; and that she held the full context of her established hierarchy of knowledge to the very end. Tom
  5. I, too, want to add my recommendation. This is a superior job of integration of the facts with Objectivism. An example of a lack of such an integration is the content of the page whose link was deleted on this thread. Some explanation is in order. As a personal project I am studying the output of various authors who claim Objectivism as their "foundation" My purpose is understanding the difference between a "foundation" and an "integration" of Objectivism -- between a "recitation of words" and an honest understanding. I reason that in understanding this difference, I will be better equipped to promote Objectivism and argue its case. I found what I suppose to be the missing link (pardon) at the site of one of these authors (whose name will remain unmentioned out of respect for the owners of this forum). What was lacking from this quote -- besides the strong possibility that it was all a lie -- was any sense of Ayn Rand's context as well as any understanding of Objectivism beyond the "recitation of words." I mean specifically the words "affair" and "lover." Each of these terms has an appropriate context attached to them. In the absence of that context, the words become "sounding brass, signifying nothing." Valliant's book is a superior example of such context-keeping. The link posted here is not. Tom Rowland PS The relevant passage in OPAR begins on pg 121
  6. Advice welcome. No pardon needed. I'll check it out. Tom PS Judging from your posts, you have a firm grasp of Objectivism. Am enjoying reading them.
  7. Sean, Your commitment to study more is commendable. One of the things you'll find out about people on this forum as you do is that we are really big on defining the words that we and others use -- like dogma. Another thing we typically do is make sure that we and others back up their statements. When you say that the rivalry is "silly" and "closed-minded" what do you mean and what makes this rivalry fit your definition? You see, I and a great many others, believe that the issues that divide ARI and TOC are extremely important. Hopefully you'll come to understand from your reading and study and from our answers here why they are so important to us. Best premises on your quest. Tom Rowland
  8. Tettra, 1) I'm not sure what you mean by "dogmas" Could you define please.. 2) The argument between ARI and TOC is over more than whether Objectivism is a closed system or not. It is also about the relation between "fact" and "value" and, indeed, which side is legitimately called "Objectivist". Each believes they are right. Since the views contradict each other, they can't both be right. They could both be wrong, in which case it doesn't matter. But otherwise it does matter. I trust you'll keep looking at the issues involved. Nothing should be accepted on faith or because you feel that it's easier to give up and not decide. Keep thinking and questioning until you are convinced one way or the other. 3) Yes it is important to point out fallacies in anyone's thinking. Have you any that you'd like to discuss? Tom Rowland
  9. I apologize if all of this has been covered in the posts that follow the one to which I am replying. If it has I assume the moderator will delete it. This is all true. Objectivism is a tightly integrated system. Find an error at any point and it effects the whole, destroys the system and the philosophy would not endure. Perhaps it would be good to describe what sort of mistake -- what kind of 'logical inconsistency' or what sort of 'evidence' -- you believe might do that. In my judgement, when I claim that Objectivism is true, I mean that all of it can be reduced to the facts of reality -- to what exists. That's how abstract philosophy is. And, since a philosophy claims to be true of existance qua existance, it must be static, for reality is static in this context ("matter can neither be created nor destroyed" is one expression of this). So it behooves the person that posits some arbitrary "fact" that "might" destroy it, to be specific. Otherwise the claim is completely arbitrary and should be treated as such. Same applies here. Name your inconsistancy or your evidence and let's talk about it. Otherwise your insinuations are arbitrary. The fact that man is fallible is not a license to assume that any particular claim has failed or that any particular thinker has failed IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SPECIFIC COMPLAINT OR EVIDENCE. But, of course, we do talk about 'Newtonian Physics' to contrast it with the discoveries of 'Quantum Physics'. Saying that concept formation is like algebra is not the same as giving the essense of her philosophy while standing on one foot. "The philosophy of Ayn Rand" is not a definition or an attempt at a definition of "Objectivism". Objectivism is defined by its essential content, which content is contained in and only in the writings of Ayn Rand. "Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand" is no more a definition than "Kantianism is the philosophy of Kant" is a definition. Both are essentially defined by their essential content, as contained in the writings of each. Tom Rowland
  10. Reality (existence) is not an arbitrary end. That's the point. Tom Rowland
  11. Oh, how I wish I could share them. The only things I have are old reel to reel recordings made some 30 or more years ago. I'm not even sure they can be salvaged. My playing now is not worth recording. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's desease in 2003 and, while the desease itself is mild at this point, it has affected my playing to a considerable extent. If I can afford to have the tapes digitalized at some point, I will certainly share them. Tom Rowland
  12. (X) I guess I didn't make myself clear. Tom Rowland
  13. To all, I am amazed that this conversation went on as long as it did. In my judgement it didn't need to go beyond any poster's arbitrary statement that proof (logic) can be divorced from the acceptance of the existance of the facts that one uses in any premise of a logical chain of reasoning. Let's all go back and re-read the sections of OPAR on the nature of the arbitrary. In other words, in order to begin a chain of reasoning with the premise "P" one must recognize the axiom "existance - including P - exists" If existance doesn't exist, neither does god, or any other fact of reality. And if the facts of reality don't exist, there is no need to ague with or about a non-entity. Tom Rowland
  14. Hi, all My involvement with Objectivism goes back a long way to a day in the 7th Grade when our drama teacher read the bicycle scene from the Fountainhead. That was some 48 years ago. I've taken courses live (in New York with NBI) and on Tape (NBI and ARI), been the founder of a Campus Club at University of Maryland, and known some of the people close to Ayn Rand at various times. Education includes formal study of Piano Performance, Theatre, and Philosophy at Juilliard, University of Pittsburgh, University of Maryland, Circle in the Square. and Ohio State University. I have a BA in Philosophy (with Honors) from UM. I did graduate work at Ohio State in Philosophy. Occupation: I own a piano teaching studio in my home. Married to my High School sweetheart and soul mate (Julie Darrow) after 42 years of seperation. It's about time! I'm looking forward to meeting you all via your posts. Tom Rowland
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