Welcome to Objectivism Online Forum

Welcome to Objectivism Online, a forum for discussing the philosophy of Ayn Rand. For full access, register via Facebook or email.


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About organon1973

  • Rank
    Junior Member
  • Birthday 05/02/73

Profile Information

  • Gender Male

Previous Fields

  • Country United States
  • State (US/Canadian) Florida
  • Relationship status Single
  • Sexual orientation Straight
  • Real Name John
  • Copyright Copyrighted
  • School or University Williams College

Recent Profile Visitors

1398 profile views
  1. On Visiting a Cemetery One day I walked through iron gates Through which some came one way, alone – My eyes roamed o’er the spread of land, The ordered names there set in stone. I walked the rows, and read the names My legs moved forth with even pace – Beneath each stone, now still and gone, What once had mind, and pulse, and face. I stopped at one, now deep in thought, Another would have done as well The name not in my memory now, But rather what the stone did tell. Beneath this plaque, now matter lay, Once with lungs quick with breath, with eyes Perceiving all that ‘round him stood, And at day's end, no longer would. And though the time a different one, Still day like this, with air and sun And on that day, his light did leave From life, as soul from flesh did cleave. And once did leave, could ne’er return, And nothing more his soul might learn – Existence done, no further fete, The journey played, his time complete. Yet now though dead, and ne’er to live Again, what if his mind might think? Now knowing what would come to pass, Now firmly grasping that black brink? Would he look back upon his days And say, “Alas, what have I done! “The sunlight that moved o’er my skin! “My eyes that o’er the earth might run! “I did not know that which I owned! “This life, that should have earned my love! “This tree, this earth, the thoughts of men! “Oh God, that I might live again! “To live each day no less than I “And that sweet life should have deserved! “Rejecting fear, embracing pride! “Treating that life as though a bride! “And now, alas, my time is done! “My body cold, no honor won – “No pride of soul, no joy, no life! “I’ve lost it all, my breath, that wife! “Throughout each day, she ever stood “Before an altar in white gown – “Her body straight, her form ideal, “And yet with ever deep’ning frown! “For as time passed, and years moved by, “I did not come to meet this love! “I somehow fell into the depths! “I somehow lost the light above! “And light as I think I once knew! “Once in the days of long past youth – “But this – somehow – it fell away! “Alas, to live again that day! “The day on which the path began “That took me from that church of light “Into a graying world of doubt “And farther from the path of right! “And by this ‘right’ I do not mean “A duty from a world above, “But rather knowing Life, with Joy! “And with each sight, sealing that Love! “And what is it that caused this loss! “This cleavage ‘tween my is and ought? “The thought that such life could not be! “By God, now I will find this key! “I can recall, during my time “Some moments where my joy did surge “But only that – a moment – then “That joy lost strength, the gray did merge. “What was the nature of this foe? “This thing that took from me my sight? “What is that beast that rose against “The glory which was mine by right? “Alas, I know that which it was! “It was no beast that took my life! “It was the false that took my mind! “It's wrong ideas that left me blind! “The thing which said, ‘It cannot be!’ “‘Men in this realm cannot be such!’ “‘No blacks and whites, but only grays!’ “This was the nature of that haze! “And all it would have taken was “To call these to the court of light! “And from me fog would then have fled! “And that dear wife, I would have wed! “And now I have lost my own worth! “Now without hands to take the earth! “Now without eyes to give me sight! “Without the joy that was my right! “And fault for this was mine alone! “It's to myself I owe this moan! “I did this fog, myself condone! “My life lost, and the guilt – my own!” And now this pale, unhappy ghost Returned to that from which he came – A void, where he does not exist As all men someday will the same. And then I asked, “What shall life be?” And saw another, shining ghost, But one who did not give his days To less than what might be the most. “I heard his tale,” he said with smile, “That wife he left, I took with pride “And on that day, when her I took “I that foul fog with thought defied!” O noble soul, O proper Man! To drink of life thus deep and pure! Who did not give his soul to loss! Who with firm hand opened that door! The door through which that bride was met! Her bright eyes brimming with glad tears! The one who you did never leave Throughout the length of all your years! Heroic soul, golden in form! It shall be yours I make my tone! No minute lost, no day unsung! No thought within but Reason's own! To think that one might lose one’s life To that which does not have defense! To thoughts, that if identified Would be released with laughing pride! And then did I to myself speak Upon the earth an oath I swore – To hold that dear wife by my side! To take her and with her abide! “By all that is, I swear this now! “Upon my life a solemn vow! “Before such fog I will not bow! “Neither in days to come, nor now!” And with that firm decision made To take that wife while still she stayed I grasped her with soul unafraid And on that day our vows were made. And evermore she walks with me, And so she will as I grow old – For as long as I choose to live My soul is forged in shining gold. And on that day, in days to come, When this fair earth at last I leave, With pride will I look on my life, And I will have no cause to grieve. For that foul day, when I must go, And leave this dear, beloved world, My heart will carry no regret, No curse at this existence hurled. For as long as I walk this earth I will not lose the joy I’ve won For never shall my soul relent To thought unthought, or deed undone.
  2. To She Who Walks in Light Were Light endowed with human form, Were Joy endowed with Life, Upon the earth, in matter wrought, Would stand my love, my wife. A priestess she, of Earthly creed, Her vows to Thought, and Light, Her temple, bright Reality, And I her love, her knight. Her form, alive with radiant joy She knows that she is Good – Her soul, a thing immaculate, Be less? Ne’er would, nor could. For what to gain, through sacrifice? Of one's own supreme Joy? What cause, to seek out suffering? Why Gold, with lead alloy? What choice is there, to one as Her! ‘Tween Reason, Life – and pain! What choice to her, ‘tween Life and Death! When Life’s her life’s refrain! And what to me, this radiant form? This Angel of the Right? And what to me, this shining soul? Wrought only of pure Light? But this, and all – I see in Her All that I love in me – And as I know whence that love comes, Cannot less love, than see. And were I to ask of myself To name that which I feel, When my eyes meet her form, her face, When we with act, love seal – I would reply, Were all the stars That are, and ever were, To shine with all their strength as one, They would be dim, next Her. And all that light, nought but a trace Of that joy we endure When comes that burst, of two as one, Each of our Glory, sure. Good God, I love her as my life! I love her as the Earth! All that is Good in female form! Pure, incandescent worth! And were ten thousand years to pass, Ten thousand times, or more, My love for her, each day, would be No less than that before. Ten thousand years, ten thousand times? By all the stars above! Not time enough, to see her face! Not time enough, to love! For as I love this Earth, and Life, Such is my love for You. Ten thousand years, ten thousand times? Each dawn, dear wife, I Do.
  3. How's that again?
  4. Hmm. I was thinking that a general scientist in relation to existence might first divide existence into matter and energy (in a general sense, no equations needed : ) ) and then, of matter, into that which lives and that which does not. I need to consider further if this approach is fundamentally incorrect.
  5. I am currently working on a text on psychology, and write to offer a question that some of you may find interesting: Was the full development of an objective, reality-based and fully integrated philosophical system a necessary prerequisite of the beginning of development of a science of psychology? Why? Be well.
  6. Is the expansion of knowledge an inductive process? Rand writes: "All thinking is a process of identification and integration. Man perceives a blob a color; by integrating the evidence of his sight and his touch, he learns to identify it as a solid object; he learns to identify the object as a table; he learns that the table is made of wood; he learns that the wood consists of cells, that the cells consist of molecules, that the molecules consist of atoms...." (Galt's Speech) Is this an inductive process? Certainly our knowledge of what a concept is can continually expand. But does induction relate instead (as described in the paper) to establishing the conceptual level at which a discovered property inheres (informing that property for all subconcepts), and achieving certainty that this property is demonstrated by the concept on this level by virtue of its nature (our grasp of which can continually grow)?
  7. Could one first divide existence into matter and energy?
  8. Miss Rand defined reason as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses". It is true that reason does this -- but as a formal definition, doesn't this entirely leave out the facts of which we are aware by introspection?
  9. This is a paper of mine on the subject of induction; I welcome your thoughts. -- The problem of induction asks, “How does one infer a general truth relating to a concept as such from the observation of a number of particular instances?” How does one establish that a property (by which I mean an attribute or causal implication of an attribute) is something all units of a concept have in common, or share, by virtue of their inclusion in the concept? How can one know that “Men are rational beings” — “Men are mortal” — “Men require self-esteem in order to live”? All of these statements are inductive truths, i.e. truths that assign a property to all units of a concept. An inductive truth is applicable universally to all units of that concept. But how does one determine that something is true of all instances of a concept based on a limited number of observations? There are two types of valid induction, that I will designate as ‘simple’ and ‘relational’. The first type, ‘simple’ induction, identifies a property that the units of a concept share by virtue of that which gave rise to the concept, i.e. the concept’s differentia. This type of induction involves an identification of a property of a concept informed by that which serves as the basis of the concept’s identity; it requires no further work than to look to the identification from which the concept was generated. “Spiders have eight legs”; “water has the chemical formula H2O”; “man is the rational animal”; are examples. Any organism one identifies as a spider will have eight legs; this is mandated in order for it to be identified as a ‘spider’. Any water will have the chemical formula H2O; this is mandated in order for it to be identified as ‘water’. Any man will have the capacity of reason; this is mandated in order for him to be identified as a man. In all cases, to identify a thing as a unit of the concept, is to identify that it possesses the attributes that were isolated and integrated when the concept was formed. The second form of induction I designate as ‘relational’ induction. This is the identification of a property that belongs to all units of a concept, not by virtue of the differentia, but by virtue of the nature of a wider group to which the concept belongs. The nature of the wider group informs the property for the narrower concept; it serves as an umbrella that informs the property for all that which comes within its scope. The famous relational inductive truth we will explore below is that which Aristotle applied to the case of Socrates, namely, “All men are mortal.” – ‘Relational’ induction begins with the observation that some units of a concept demonstrate a property and that the property cannot be established to characterize the units of the concept by virtue of the nature of the concept’s differentia – i.e., ‘simple’ induction is insufficient. Are men mortal? Let us consider the process of a hypothetical thinker. “What are Men? Men are living beings whose distinct means of survival is rational thought. “That they are beings of thought is the key differentia of the concept of man in relation to living things, and were I called upon to validate the induction, ‘Man is the rational animal,’ I could look to this. I can thus easily make the simple induction that all men are beings with the capacity of reason, for this is true on the basis of what is involved in identifying man as man. But this is wholly unrelated to the mortality of men. Is there any other aspect of man that as such can be related to the fact that men have the capacity of dying? What can I look to? “As the differentia is not helpful, let me then look to a genus of man, and see if that will help. “What is the genus of ‘Man’ related to the context here? Is there a genus of man relevant to the fact of mortality? “What is ‘mortality’? It is the capacity for the life of a living thing to end. Perhaps help can be found here. Is there something in the nature of life that implies mortality? “Life (I have observed) is a conditional state of self-generated, self-sustaining action. For all living things, a certain course must be pursued for life to continue, this course dictated by the nature of the living thing. It is conditional on following such a course of action, which one must pursue. An organism has no alternative. If it does not follow that course, its life will not continue. “Thus the key identification here in relation to ‘living thing’, the genus of ‘man’ I am investigating, is that it is conditional, and does not necessarily endure. Should a living thing not engage in the requirements of life dictated by its nature, its life in all cases will end. “Does this characterize life as such? Yes, it does. It is true of any living thing. The continued life of a living thing depends upon meeting the requirements of its existence in reality, these requirements dictated by its nature. “So then. “Living things are mortal. “All living things are mortal, by the nature of life. Men are living things. The syllogism is clear. Men are mortal.” What has our thinker done here? He has established (by means of independent thought) a quality relating to the nature of a wider group within which men are a narrower, valid grouping, that informs that quality for the narrower concept. Men are living things, and, by virtue of the nature of living things as such, men are mortal. And this quality is applicable to all men, as well as all valid narrower groupings within the concept ‘organism’ (i.e., that which subsumes living things). Everything that is alive is mortal – men, and dogs, and dolphins, and birds, and insects. To review: Induction is the process of identifying a truth relating to a concept. It identifies a property (whether an attribute or a causal implication of an attribute) that all units of a concept have in common, or share, by virtue of their inclusion in the concept. For example: “Men are rational beings” – “Men are mortal” – “Men require self-esteem in order to live.” There are two types of induction, ‘simple’ and ‘relational’. ‘Simple’ induction identifies a truth informed by an attribute true by virtue of the concept’s differentia. It relates to that which was isolated and integrated when the concept was formed. ‘Relational’ induction identifies a property shared by all units of a concept, not deriving from the concept’s differentia, but instead from a wider group to which the concept belongs, the nature of which informs that property for the narrower group. And it is a property shown by all things that come within its scope of the wider group. Thus a truth common to all units of a concept thus derives either (1) from the nature of the the concept qua the concept, i.e. by reference to the concept’s differentia, or (2) from a wider group, the nature of which informs the property for the narrower subgroup. Note that the units of a concept retain all of the properties of all of the wider groups to which the concept belongs. Again: Are all Men Mortal? Men are living things. All living things have the capacity of dying (this follows from the nature of life – see above). Therefore, men have the capacity of dying. Thus all men are mortal. As are all living things. And once we establish with certainty that all Men are Mortal, then given that we know (as Aristotle wrote) that Socrates is a Man, we can say with certainty that Socrates is mortal. This is the process of deduction – the application of an inductive truth to a given unit of the concept identified in that truth, establishing a property of that unit. Why is Socrates mortal? Because Men are mortal. Why are Men mortal? Because living things are mortal, by virtue of the nature of living things, a wider group within which men are contained. And a man stops here, once he, by means of his own reason, establishes that living things are mortal. And he is certain of his related convictions on every level from the point of the validated induction forward. Two final notes: (1) The widest categories – the Phyla, if you would, of the kingdom of reality – are existence and consciousness. All properties identified as belonging to each of these apply to all narrower categories within these groups. (2) In pursuit of an inductive truth, one first identifies that the units of a concept demonstrate a certain property. One can then look to the differentia of the concept, and see if the induction can be validated there (‘simple’ induction). If this offers no assistance, one then seeks the path of relational induction, and begins with the goal of identifying the relevant wider group the nature of which informs the property. How? There are two ways. First, to seek the relevant genus by seeking a genus that relates in some way logically to the attribute. E.g., if the issue is that of mortality, we can consider looking to the nature of life, for mortality is the capacity for life to end. Thus, perhaps there is something in the nature of life that causes life to the have the capacity of ending. Second, if we have no guidance from the first method, we can look for other concepts that share the attribute (e.g. mortality is shared by dolphins and men), then seek for a common, wider group they share to investigate. One then can inquire into the nature of that genus, and if all goes well establish the truth on its foundation (“Living things are mortal”). One can then go forward again, now with the confidence of certainty, and let that inductive truth inform all narrower concepts within that genus (“All men are mortal”, “All dolphins are mortal”, “Ants are mortal”), and all units of those concepts (“Socrates is mortal”, “This dolphin is mortal”, “This ant is mortal”). Also note that no matter how many instances of a given quality you witness, i.e. no matter how many men you see die, or apples you see fall, you do not achieve the certain belief that “All men are mortal” or that “All apples fall” until you yourself validate the induction by one of the two above described methods.
  10. On Sunlight I lift my head, and see its rays A sphere of yellow might – A glowing orb of light and life, Obliterating night. And in my soul, I choose light's path When two roads lie ahead – When one, to a gray living death, It's to Life's that I'm led. For that gray death is e'er a threat, Of life's light growing faint – And then to no more walk with pride, With soul of black'ning taint. How then to keep from this dark road? But choose the path of Right – The gleaming rays of glowing good, A soul forged in pure light. My life is won with every choice To face fact, not to flee – The choice to open both my eyes, And always seek to see. And when I choose to make that choice, And, as a man, to be – It's loyalty, to all that's good It's loyalty to me. The death I face is not of soul, The living death some know – The only death I can e'er face Is blood's bemoaned last flow. And when it comes, what is that death? It will not know my cry – What can I fear, when I will know What life was, should I die. For while I choose to live, and think What care I of life's term? No enemy, can tear my soul My grasp on light is firm. Yes, it is true my days may end, And I, no longer live – But all the days I'll have till then, Are all that joy can give. The star-bright sun will ne'er fear night When it fades with light's gaze – There's nought to fear in lack of light When one knows Life's bright rays. That shining sphere will daily set And I'll not see its light – But in my soul, I'll know bright day Even in darkest night. * * * Read my book of poems on Kindle; it's included with Kindle Unlimited: The Uplifted Gaze The Poetry of John Rearden
  11. Truth involves the grasp of fact by a mind. Facts are objective. If something is established to correspond to fact, i.e. to reality, it is true. The concept of truth exists in the context of consciousness. Fact is metaphysical; truth is epistemological, though informed by fact. Facts can exist without being true, i.e. without having been validated as such by a consciousness, though we do not know them as fact until they are established to be true. Take for example an apple, that is, at present, red. Its redness is a fact. And it is true that it is red. What do I mean when I say this? I mean the proposition "it is red" corresponds to fact, i.e. reality. My belief that it is red is valid. There are any number of facts in the universe that have not yet been identified as truths, for example the diameters of as yet undiscovered stars, or the biological natures of as yet undiscovered organisms, or aspects of our own biological natures that have not yet been investigated. But when a truth is identified, the facts identified therein are established as such once the proposition is established to be true. How does one know if something is true, i.e. corresponds to reality? By means of reason, the faculty that establishes truth by means of logic. Reality is firm, reason and logic are objective, and contradictions cannot exist.
  12. I would like to expand on Rand's idea of a "self-sufficient ego" (mentioned in The Fountainhead): An ego that is self-sufficient requires no external validation of its moral value -- the only authority it consults for such a validation is itself. Its self-esteem, i.e. its personal conviction of its own moral worth, is complete, and is maintained in every action. It is grasped with iron, confident and completely autonomous certainty. Moreover, that grasp is wholly justified, and follows from the facts of one's identity as evaluated by rational standards of value. (Note it is impossible for a man to be confident of one's own moral value if he subscribes to irrational ethical standards, in the same way as it is impossible for any man to be truly confident that two and two are five). Do you agree with this formulation? Why, or why not?
  13. Do you have any objections to the following definition? "Thought is a self-initiated, self-regulated, goal-directed process of cognition (i.e., identification by a logical process)."
  14. Of course you should return the money; the amount you are paid was specified at the time of the hire or your last raise. To keep it would be theft.
  15. *** Mod's note: Merged topics - sN *** *** Original Topic title: "Work and self-esteem" *** Is it possible for a man to value himself in any way, and to any degree, if he does not have a central purpose? Is work -- and more, a central purpose at which one's life aims -- the absolute precondition of self-esteem?