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About ragnarhedin

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  1. Romantic Art And Volition

    The answer to your (Hal’s) question ”where would a work like the Iliad fit into Rand's division of art into the Romantic and the Naturalistic” is that she did not so divide art. These are nineteenth-century schools, and Ayn Rand regarded it as anachronistic to apply the terms to earlier works of art. This is why she classified Shakespeare not as ”a Naturalist,” but as the ”spiritual father, in modern history” of Naturalism. (The Romantic Manifesto) In regard to Homer, she definitely regarded him as an exponent of determinism, not an upholder of volition, for much the same reasons you give. (She discusses this in one of her university radio interviews from the 1960s. I think it is for sale by the Ayn Rand Bookstore.) Yet she did not regard Homer as a ”Naturalist,” and she recognized the heroic stature of his characters. The line of hers that I remember, quoting from memory, is ”If a man is in chains, he may still be a hero – but he is not free.” In general, it is a mistake to reduce Romanticism to merely ”an idealized vision of man’s greatness.” There is a lot more to Romanticism than that – as the case of Homer shows.
  2. A Public Statement From Stephen Speicher

    Thoyd Loki makes a valid point about the use of quotation marks to indicate that a word is used in an ironic sense, as in "The 'debate' resulted in three cracked heads." But what is his point in this connection? Since he seems to imply that Stephen Speicher *is* my nemesis, it makes no sense for him to distance himself from the literal meaning of the word. By contrast, it would make perfect sense if *I*used the word ironically, as in "Thoyd Loki seems to think that I regard Stephen Speicher as my 'nemesis.'"
  3. A Public Statement From Stephen Speicher

    Betsy Speicher writes: "We certainly DID object and the matter was dealt with privately between us and the forum moderators and administrators." If that is true, I apologize. I did not know that. I still think that it was perfectly obvious what the moderator had done in the case of your husband: deleted the content and substituted the paragraph of the moderating guidelines that explained his action. Of course, the rest of us are unable to judge the wisdom of his decision; we are only debating the *form*. But that form was hardly confusing in any substantial way. It may be debated, but is not a cause for high drama.
  4. A Public Statement From Stephen Speicher

    Thoyd Loki writes: "Funny, no posts since April 30th. Why now, and why this topic?" Because I don't like lynch mobs, and I think people are unjustly condemnatory of the moderator, who has more or less followed established practice, as far as I can judge from my own experience. The moderating practices may obviously be debated, but this is being done in a far too emotionalist way. "How did you happen to peak back so soon after your 'nemesis' left? What timing!" Well, I have not been waiting for Stephen Speicher to leave so that I could dare to post again. (By the way, "nemesis" is standard English and does not need quotation marks. In this case, it might leave the implication that it is a quote from me, which it is not.)
  5. A Public Statement From Stephen Speicher

    The outrage against the moderator here seems a bit overblown. He is not instituting any new practice on this forum. In fact, last April I had an exchange with Stephen Speicher. In one post, I quoted a sentence of his and made a short reply. The moderator, RadCap, evidently found my reply to violate the rules, because he deleted it, but let my post stand with Mr. Speicher's quote and the moderator's addendum "Content edited by RadCap." In other words, much the same that has now happened to Mr. Speicher. Neither Mr. Speicher nor his wife had any objections whatsoever at the time.
  6. Content edited by RadCap This person has been removed
  7. Stephen Speicher wrote: I replied: Stephen Speiher replied (his "question number one"): (Further, all of his other questions to me are of the same order.) This seems to me like something straight out of a Monthy Python skit, but I am apparently not allowed to describe it as "dumb." So let me just repeat very slowly: no - there - is - no - important - distinction - between - these - synonyms - but - that - is - not - the - point.
  8. Essays on Ayn Rand's We the Living

    Thanks, bub.
  9. Essays on Ayn Rand's We the Living

    Hey, the most important work of Ayn Rand literary scholarship ever has recently been published, and you guys are all busy discussing "Kill Bill"! What's up with that?
  10. (1) The point is not so much any distinction between 'instantaneously,' 'immediate,' and 'no time delay,' but whether it is implied by the wider context of the sentences that, say, a series of motions could take place in no time. A phrase like "instantaneously redounds throughout the whole" could be interpreted this way, and was therefore changed. Or so I assume - I am certainly not speaking for David Harriman. 2) The purpose of my thought experiment was to illustrate that there is very little physics we can deduce from philosophical axioms alone. I am therefore not going to entertain detailed questions about the physical properties of my scenario. The question is not, How could this be the case? I have no idea how or whether it could be the case. It probably isn't. If one knows something of physics, one might well be in a position to say it certainly isn't. But one cannot sit and deduce this stuff from axioms. On that basis, one can merely rule out that which directly contradicts the axioms. And it really has to be direct and obvious. (3) I have no idea how this relates to the DDC experiments. That would be physics, not metaphysics. Maybe the change in one particle effects the "little stuff" in a way that causes a change in another particle somewhere else. Maybe the "little stuff" is really the "big stuff." And maybe not. And maybe physics can prove that this could not be the case. But not metaphysics. (4) I can't answer for Harriman on anything. But there is nothing in his considered statement that implies either that there could be magical "action-at-a-distance," if this means that some entity can have direct causal efficacy where it is not, OR that there could be motion without time, or anything that that one could rule out by A is A.
  11. The personal accusation made against Stephen Speicher was not unwarranted. I explained why "providing an accurate quotation" constitutes misrepresentation. It does so because Speicher knows perfectly well that the "accurate quotation" he provided was a formulation quickly emended by the author. He also knows very well that there is indeed a "meaningful distinction" between the quotes. There is a good reason why the original formulation was emended; it is the same reason why Speicher likes to quote it. The first formulation could be taken to imply that something moves from A to B in no time, which is of course impossible, whereas Harriman's actual position is that we cannot rule out on metaphysical grounds that action at A can cause a change at B without something moving between them - as when A and B are different points of an entity which starts moving. Speicher likes to argue against the former position, which is easy. He then pretends he has disproven the second position, and when challenged on this, he refers back to his arguments against the first position and claims that these have not been rebutted. Well, of course they haven't, since they're right. But they're irrelevant.
  12. Stephen Speicher writes: David Harriman published his article on the Objective Science web site on November 13, 2001. The very next day, he emended the section Speicher quotes above, presumably because he thought it was imprecise and did not fully reflect his views. The emended version was the quote I gave in my post. It is all documented here: http://www.objectivescience.com/articles/dh_tew.htm Stephen Speicher knows all of this perfectly well. He deliberately misrepresents Harriman's views. His describing the formulation he quotes as Harriman's "original words" is meant to insulate him from any charge of dishonesty by being "technically correct." Well, draw your own conclusions. As for the rest of his post, Speicher gives no arguments from metaphysics why an entity cannot move as a whole, or why Harriman is incorrect. Cracks about "The Philosophy of Teeter-Totterism" is not enough.
  13. I have a comment regarding the Harriman quote discussed in this thread. I would agree that it is absurd that the action of an entity at one location could cause a change in another entity at another location, without something "going on in between." If this is what is meant by "non-locality" and "action at a distance," I can see why one would rule it out. It would be magic. But the Harriman quote, or at least his example, deals with the case of a single entity that is set in motion. And here there is no "action at a distance" if one part starts moving simultaneously with another. An entity is not at a distance from itself. Remember that we get the very concept of "action" from watching entities like teeter-totters move. And indeed, to our eyes, it does seem as if both ends are set in motion at once. There is no apparent "causal process" involving the impact on one end "redounding throughout the whole" across time. The entity just starts moving (as far as we can tell by sense perception alone), and the cause is grasped as the perceivable impact on one end. It is from observations like these that we also get the concepts/axioms of identity and causality. To attempt to deduce from these that there must be a causal process across time internal to the entity - a process not perceivable by us and not part of the basis for our original grasp of identity, action and causality, is pure rationalism. And it is reversing the hierarchical order of "entity" and "action." Maybe the ether is one big entity, and an impact here on earth causes an instantaneous change in the next galaxy - a change in the *same* entity. Tortuous deductions from axioms cannot tell us one way or the other.
  14. "GOP Convention Program"

    It should be made clear that the "DNC Convention Program" is something that has been circulating on the web, and is not the work of the Peikoffs. Only he "GOP Program" is.
  15. Brian Leiter, a philosophy and law professor at the University of Texas at Austin (and a leftist), has published on his blog Amy and Leonard Peikoff's "GOP Converntion Program." Worth a look. http://webapp.utexas.edu/blogs/bleiter/