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fanofayn

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  1. I am currently reading Atticus Falcon, Esq's Planet Law School II (of course a pen name), and I was wondering if 1) there are any other members of this forum who are currently enrolled in or about to enroll in law school, and 2) if any of those people are prepping for their 1L year (or did/didn't prep who have any recommendations). I am really excited about the book, and of course want to get the opinions of my fellow students of objectivism as well. (warning: the author is definately philosophically corrupt, but his advice re: tactics and practical methodology seem really dead-on.) Any thoughts?
  2. As a philosophy major on her way to law school, I am extremely interested in studying objective law. However, I find myself in a resource-drought. I cannot find any discussions of or extensive materials on the subject. All I can find are brief mentions of law as it should be in Rand essays. Does anyone know where I can find more information on this subject?!
  3. It's conservative crap. Basically there will be three or four rational statements that only make the rest of it worse because it brings some validity to an absolutely abhorrant argumentative strategy/content. See: "The Anatomy of Compromise" (Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal) Try not to let the fact that liberals are so disgusting get you to the point of being able to like/agree with/tolerate a conservative. They are the ones that should have stood for capitalism and freedom (that which they should have "conserved") and didn't. They are your Gail Wynands. Liberals are mere Keatings. Conservatives are a "could have been." Liberals are a "never could be."
  4. Hi everyone! I have seen the topic "Know any good books?" posted many times over the course of my participation here, and I have never been able to contribute, but now I can! DiLorenzo's "How Capitalism Saved America" is the rational person's antidote to Zinn's "People's History of the United States." He quotes Rand and von Mises, and he presents a wonderful pro-capitalist argument in a rational and engaging way. I feel like singing to the world that this book, a history of how capitalism is the ultimate life-giver, was even published and in my lifetime no less! I recommend it to any student of objectivism who finds him/herself inundated with socialist muck as a poor replacement for what should have been the glorious study of history--the study of how reality exists and what happens when people ignore that fact. ENJOY! Your friend Margot
  5. First of all, when you declare your Kantianism in the second sentence of an introduction, you let everyone on a philosophical forum know the most important things about you. Especially an Objectivist forum, where the members tend to be even more aware of the importance of philosophy than any other philosophical mind might be. Hence, we are not "prejudging" you, which implies a "judgement" based on nothing but impression rather than reason and fact: we are perfectly justified in judging you, and judging you on the most important aspect of your person: your ideas. You offered a character analysis of yourself when you proclaimed your "Kantianism" as well as your distaste for "Dogmatic Objectivists," in other words people who hold reason as their means of understanding and don't sometimes use emotion and whim so that they seem *friendlier* or more approachable (i.e. compromising and therefore principleless). Second of all, no one deserves the benefit of the doubt. You prove yourself or you don't, and until such time as you traverse either course you don't warrant any consideration whatsoever. In other words, until you prove yourself worthy of taking up someone elses precious mental space, why should you be granted it? By virtue of the fact that you are breathing? Or by virtue of the fact that it is "uncivilized" to do otherwise? I understand the draw to Kantianism, when taken in translation through professors or other students. He seems to like reason, and punishing people who do bad things, and individualism. But someone who is actually personally acquainted with his ideas, someone who understands that subjectivity is at the basis of all his arguments, has no excuse to agree with him, and should be ashamed to admit, let alone to proclaim with such pride as you did in your introduction, that they continue to hold him as a respectable philosopher and not as the filth that he is.
  6. Wow. So reality is only the way it seems to be--to me--because it is more convenient for my little brain to perceive things in such a manner? Is it any wonder you've incurred such wrath on this forum? Please, please don't say that human beings only seem to be individuals seperate from a "single consciousness" (a collective consciousness) because their pathetic, bothersome little ego-hallucinations require such an illusion to continue on. And pretty please, if you must say it, don't say it under the banner of Objectivism.
  7. This is wonderful. It's wonderful because these people never think of the word "standard," and when confronted with it they most often respond with a frantic "what do you mean?!" The horrifying thing is that they really mean the question: They don't know what I mean. But that doesn't concern me too much because, as RadCap and oldsalt so eloquently put it, these people aren't effectible, or as I like to put it--they aren't "worth it." What I mean by that is that these people have nothing to offer me in the way of a challenge and hence there is no point in my wasting time speaking with them any further. However I disagree with the insinuation that all people who don't already have the same philosophy as me, or who don't see it right away, aren't worth it. I couldn't agree more, and this is certainly not what I am doing in my philosophy classes. There are people there who aren't dead yet. They aren't completely irrational nor do they wish to be. They are engaging and intelligent and they present their arguments in such a way that I am actually incapable of answering them--it is this, my inability to answer them, the fact that they seem to have more of a grounding in reason in their process of destroying it then I have trying to champion it that tortures me. They aren't destroying reason by any conscious hatred for it, it is simply the fact that this doctrine is all they teach in school. There is no alternative offered. Rand is outside reading. I am a senior in this major and I have yet to take a course in Aristotle. But they offer one every semester in Kant and Hegel and all those other morons. And when I come into the class and try to introduce rational ideas, I am met with arguments that have been in the process of being perfected since the dawn of time, the arguments that they pound into our heads and never counter. These other students, the ones that I seek out after class because they actually challenge me, because they want to find the right answer and they are open to hear it, they are the ones I want to "convince." They aren't being forced, I don't want to force them and they don't want to be forced. It is a mutual understanding that we want to find the right answer, the truth. And yet I find their arguments unanswerable. I know that I must be missing a crucial point, some ultimately trumping argument, and I am desperate to find it. That is what this whole thread is about. Not loneliness or force or even convincing others of the validity of this philosophy. Only to know it myself, to the full extent of that validity. I can't agree so wholeheartedly with every objectivist word I read and hit this horrible wall every time I try to destroy those other, invalid philosophies with it. I can't surrender the classroom to the likes of Hume and Kant, and I am watching it happen anyway.
  8. I have been really depressed over this for some time: How can I possibly respond to anti-realism? I am a philosophy major, and there is literally a giggle that goes through the classroom whenever I defend mind-independent existence (i.e. the existence of an objective reality). I am faced with transcendental idealism, Berkeley, Hume's problem of causality and inference, the absolutely disgusting phenomenon of "dialetheism" (a "logic" based on assuming certain contradictions), and countless other nonsense. The problem is, how can I PROVE a mind-independent existence? For example, Xeno's argument against the concept of movement was meant to refute the concept, not the phenomenon. He 'proves' that it is logically impossible to move, so to waive your arms around and say "But look! I'm moving!" doesn't prove his argument false. This is the problem I encounter. Here's another form of it: How do you convince someone of an "objective fact" if they don't see it/agree with it? If they don't think such things exist? The analogy I use is this: there's a red chair in a room, and two people enter the room. One is color-blind and the other has perfect vision. One sees a gray chair and one sees the red chair. How does the man who happens to see the objective fact convince the man that it is an objective fact? If the answer is "through science" (i.e. we can show the colorblind man scientific reasons for his colorblindness and he can accept them and agree that it is probably red even though he can't see it) then we need to have a scientific reason to prove those things people disagree philosophically with us about, and this is sometimes (almost always) an impossibility. I do not have a scientific proof that tells communists that individual rights exist and that they are not to be violated. I have pleanty of evidence that it works better this way, that people flourish when they have rights, but I don't have a proof that they exist, only that a government should want to grant them (not even respect or protect because these imply the existence of the right which I can't prove). I just feel paralyzed, knowing something and being unable to defend it with the reason I used to come to it in the first place.
  9. The people who argue for utilitarianism, of the Mill persuasion, answered my arguments against it with the following: "The impartial observer"--this is what they use instead of saying "the objective perspective," but it is meant to be the same thing. To an impartial observer (this concept originated with Adam Smith, not Mill, but Mill appropriated it, as did Bentham), every life is equally as valuable as every other life, and therefore no one life can weigh "more" or "less" than any other life. Since an individual values life, and the standard of value is that individual's life, no (rational) individual can value another's life more than his own, but the impartial observer is not one of those individuals. It is a perspective outside of any individual's perspective, and therefore all lives are weighed as equal. I argued that rationally, even from an impartial observer standpoint, a murderer's life is of less "value" than a producer's life. I was answered with the idea that the impartial observer would not agree, that the happiness of the murderer, the interests of the murderer, are weighed equally with that of the producer. From the producer's point of view, he is more valuable than the murderer, but from the murderer's point of view he may not be. From the impartial point of view, everyone's happiness is weighed equally. If this is the argument you are up against, there are some obvious inaccuracies. And, since this is the very best argument for Utilitarianism (at least that I've ever seen), you don't really have to worry. If you present your arguments against this view and are still denied, the person is most certainly evading reality and can no longer be of any use to you intellectually (or in any other sense).
  10. Also, can you email me that article if you still have it on your computer? This (my name here) is my email address, only @ aol. Thanks!
  11. Am I to understand that any violation of rights in any manner or form renders the violater completely right-less; that it negates his right to life? That instead of a 20 year sentence, the protagonist of Hugo's Les Mis should have received a death sentence? I ask because I am inclined to agree that violating another's rights negates your own, but this concept has stopped me, and you seem absolutely certain of it, so please explain it to me. What must the basis of rights be if this is true? Is the basis of rights the fact that you respect other people's rights (in this scenario, that is what it seems to be)? You say it is "man's nature as a rational and volitional [being]." So does that mean that only people who are rational have rights? Or only people who act volitionally? Noone has as of yet answered the question of the mentally disabled, people who cannot act volitionally nor rationally, yet they are undoubtedly human. Some people settle this claim with the answer of "capacities" (i.e. mentally disabled people are still people and have the capacities of people, the capacity to be rational and volitional beings), but if this were true, we could use evolution to say that dogs have the potential, the capacity to develop into rational beings (since there is as much of a chance for them as for the mentally disabled) and therefore they should have the same rights as people. But this can't be true, so what is it about people that means they must have rights. You are all using a definition of rights here that assumes a social context. But this in itself is a dependent definition. You are saying that the rights of the individual only exist in a social context (to enable freedom of action), but individuals are have freedom of action (and much more of it) when they are alone. Would individuals have rights in an island scenario, or are they only brought into being through social relationships? I assume that this is false, that once a single individual exists rights exist, but that those rights are only really interesting (and therefore visible) when other people exist. However, this doesn't mean they don't in fact exist. This is what is hard to prove. How do you prove they exist at all, in social circumstances or otherwise? Or are they just a tool to enable man's life. And if they are the latter, what would make group rights impossible? Groups enable mans life, therefore groups should have rights. That would be the argument. If that's the only basis of rights, then there is no counter argument, even the value-valuer argument. Because all the men in a group may value their lives differently, but without the group, that life would not exist. (The life created by the fact of their inclusion in a group, trading with and protecting each other.) Also, no matter how differently they each value the "extra" life the group has provided, the fact remains that it is that much more, that this life would not exist but for the group. That fact is not traceable to any single individual. No single one of them provided the benefit, the thing to be valued differently by each. That is the essential problem.
  12. "the instant one deprives another of rights, one loses one's own, and this applies equally to societies" - y feldblum This isn't true; right here in the US prisoners, convicted guilty of violating others rights, retain many rights, including the right not to be cruelly and unusually punished, so really the fact of being capable of violating the rights of others doesn't mean that you yourself are not capable of having rights. In effect, the mere fact that groups have a great capacity for violating the rights of individuals does not preclude them from being capable of having rights. The question is, what does?"There can be no right that conflicts with another person's rights." Yes, group rights inevitably lead to conflict with individual rights. The question posed is: why are "persons" the only ones who have rights? It is obvious to me why you cannot have conflicting rights, if not for the only reason that the only way to settle "conflicting rights" would be through some arbitrary power deciding whose right is more convincing or convenient and using force to distribute the right accordingly. However, if groups have rights rather than individuals having rights, or if it is merely assumed that group rights trump individual rights because groups enable those individuals to be alive when they otherwise wouldn't be, then there is not conflict. The problem is, I am trying to prove that only individuals can have rights! This is where it gets interesting for me, because that's my whole purpose. And by the way, LucentBrave, you misunderstand what I mean when I say dependent rights. An example of a dependent right is the idea of the right to education, or healthcare, or food. The idea of a right to something produced by another human hand (another human mind). I argue that this is nothing but forced labor. This is the idea of a right that can only exist when the other person is there to provide you with your right. Independent rights are, however, possible as long as that human being is possible. It exists as he exists, it is as inseperable from him as his mind. The people on this forum, all the answers I've gotten, frighten me in the same way I was frightened when I was first faced with the professor, but in a completely different way (obviously). It's as though I can see on both sides of a wall and I am scared for both sides. No one here can even conceive of his argument, but I literally had no defense to it on his terms. His arguments trouble me because I can see his kind of logic, but you didn't. Let me try to explain it better, because I honestly don't think any of the arguments posted (although I agree with almost everything I read) really answer him. Yes, each individual has value, and his own life is the standard of that value. But when many of these individuals get together to form groups, there is a value created that could not have existed but for their joining together in the group, and because of this fact, that greater value is not traceable back to any specific individual. And forget about governments, focus on simple voluntary associations like the order of the Elk and the Ronald McDonald house and flea markets. That value is not stolen, as y feldblum suspects. It would not exist without those individuals, so it is dependent on them existing for it to exist. However, when they do get together and it (this value) is brought into being, it is a value that is not of any one individual in the group. If a man's life is a value, and that value is the basis of rights, then this new value created by the existence of a group is the basis for the group's rights. The idea of value being the basis of right. I don't know exactly how to answer this, and I don't see an answer in any posts yet that really negate his argument. If I am misreading or misapplying these arguments, please point out in what manner I am doing this. One thing that was really helpful (although I don't know if I can develop it into a trumping argument to the group rights theory) is that each man values his own life in a different way from any other man, and a "group" cannot value anything, since the act of "valueing" is a function of a mind, and a group cannot have a mind. But would this mean that the basis of rights is the ability to value? If it is, what about all the people who value the wrong things, or nothing at all, or the people who have mental disorders that make it impossible for them to value, or only to be able to value on the same level as animals, and what then--do we assume animals have the same rights as these people?
  13. I think the problem I see comes from the fact that although a group is undoubtedly a mere collection of individuals, the value created in virtue of those individuals coming together in a group is not by or of any single one of those individuals. It is cumulative. It wouldn't exist unless there were exactly that many individuals in the group doing what they are doing and contributing what they are contributing. Without their status as "group," they wouldn't have the benefits they are receiving, but more then that, they wouldn't have the life they are living. The life designated after some point (possible flaw in his argument: where do you draw the line? Where is an individual's life their own?) would not exist but for the group. That "extra" life, that life which the group created BY BEING a group, belongs to the group and no one individual within the group. Do you see why I am stuck here? Also, what is the exact meaning of "human life as the ultimate value," because I am (obviously) inclined to agree with you, but I get questions like this: What about the human life makes it the ultimate value? Are fetuses human? What about the mentally disabled? What about murderers and rapists? What about human life being the ultimate value makes rights necessary?
  14. I am writing an honors thesis on the topic of independent versus dependent rights schemes. I try to prove that only independent rights schemes are valid, and that dependent rights cannot exist. I defined independent rights as the moral power to execute your will over your body. There was a law professor I was discussing this with who asked me why there are only individual rights and not group rights. He wanted to know the origin of these individual rights/what they are based on, and I said that the original right is the right to life, and all subsequent rights are traceable back to that right; since life is an attribute of the individual, only individuals can have rights. He brought up an interesting objection, and I wanted to know if anyone here has a response. He argued that the value of life is cumulative/exponential, that each additional day increases the total value of the life (that each day is not equally valuable, but the fact that each day is built upon the previous day makes that new day more valuable). When people come together in groups to create institutions such as states and markets, their lives are enabled to be much longer then they would have been in a Hobbesian state of nature; in anarchy or total solitude. He argued that all the days each individual in the group lives longer than they would have lived without the group are not traceable back to those individuals. He said that the group creates these new days, and the group appropriates the life that it creates. In this way, the group has its own life, untraceable back to the individuals who constitute the group, and this life gives the group a basis for rights just as individuals gain the basis for their rights from their lives. I have a counterargument but I want to see what interesting responses this group might have to his argument.
  15. And these books are to be trusted? They are compatible with the needs of the objectivist philosopher?
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