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Betsy

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About Betsy

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  • Birthday 10/09/1943

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    Betsy Speicher
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    University of Pennsylvania - a long time ago
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    Administrator, http://www.4aynrandfans.com

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    Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
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    Everything, especially people, especially Objectivists, especially Objectivists actively pursuing personal values, especially Objectivists actively pursuing personal values rationally.

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  1. My book is now available on Kindle and will soon be an audiobook too.
  2. My book has just been published! You can get The WHYS Way to Success and Happiness from Amazon right now. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1517501105/ You can also order a special limited edition book (100 numbered copies) signed by me, that will ship in mid-October. If you want one, PayPal $35 (includes free shipping) to [email protected] before they're all sold out. ====== My book is significantly different from most of the other fine books written by Objectivists because Its intended audience is not just Objectivists, Ayn Rand fans, or professional intellectuals. It is a popular book for general audiences. While very philosophical, it's not what Ayn Rand would call "philosophy for Ragnar." It's philosophy for Rearden and for Eddie Willers and for the boy on the bicycle in Monadnock Valley. Its subject is neither ethical nor political. It's about epistemology and psycho-epistemology but, unlike Harry Binswanger's How We Know, it doesn't attempt to comprehensively describe or explain consciousness. Instead, it's a small "how-to" book -- a user's manual or quick-start guide -- for consciousness. It's not about Objectivist epistemology per se, but about an important aspect of epistemology and of Ayn Rand's unique thinking method that is crucial to everyone's life and well-being: causal reasoning. The style is friendly, conversational, and entertaining with a focus on principle-based solutions to real-life problems. From the book description on Amazon:
  3. Some names seem obvious from the sounds. John Galt-gaunt tall gold gelt (gold money) Orren Boyle=sore boil Wesley Mouch=weasely mooch ouch Bertram Scudder=burr tramp cruddy Tinky Holloway=hollow tinkling Robert Stadler-staid stagnant
  4. My son read and enjoyed Anthem when he was in 4th grade and was about 9 or 10. We didn't encourage him to read The Fountainhead until he was a junior in high school and had developed a serious passion for astronomy. At that point, we thought he could understand and identify with a man driven by a love of his work.
  5. That is something Ayn Rand denied ... sort of ... in 1966. I was part of a group of 3-4 people talking to Miss Rand after an NBI lecture and we were discussing naming children. She was very opposed to naming children after their parents or after living people because she thought a child should have his own identity. Then I asked her, "What about naming fictional characters after real people." She said she was against that too and that she chose her character names if she liked the sounds and the associations with similar words. She cited Lois Cook making rhymes out of "Toohey." I didn't completely buy that, so I asked "How do you say Frank O'Connor in Spanish?" She smiled a great big innocent smile and said, "That does sound good, doesn't it?"
  6. That depends on how one measures productiveness. Did you have a particular example in mind? I don't believe I made a universal statement. As I recall, we were discussing assessing another person's honesty and you can never be as certain of another's honesty as you can be of your own.
  7. It is incorrect to assume I am saying that the motive of a person is always important with respect to judging his virtues from his actions, but it usually is. Would you conclude that Keating is just as virtuous as Roark because they both chose to be architects and they both went to the Stanton Institute? Why they did it makes a difference. What if someone really wants to tell a lie but refrains because he doesn't think he can get away with it right now. Does the fact that he told the truth right now prove he is honest?
  8. Whoa! I never said the action was unintentional. Almost all actions are intended -- i.e., motivated by something. What I actually wrote was "I cannot know, with equal certainty, what you intended to do." Of course it is. I never said otherwise.
  9. That is significant evidence, but not 100% certain. It could be the intent was to quit smoking, but willpower failed. No, for the same reasons as the above. Observing the actions first-hand, I can know, with 100% certainty, that you puffed on the cigarette and ate the cookie, but I cannot know, with equal certainty, what you intended to do.
  10. If you haven't determined the cause yet, you should be holding out for more evidence. For instance, it was noted when I was studying finance, that every time womens' hemlines went up, so did the stock market and vice versa. All the evidence confirmed it and no evidence contradicted it. There was no evidence to the contrary to raise a doubt. The only problem was, there was no reason to believe hemlines were causally related to stock prices or how. That begs the question What is "sufficient evidence to consider it as something non-arbitrary?" But there is a real, non-arbitrary standard of proof that tells you when you know "enough". The standard is, "Have I found the cause yet?"
  11. Is it, or is it the other way around? Having conclusive evidence is what causes doubt to be dismissed because the conclusive evidence contradicts the doubt. The opposite is not necessarily true. The fact that you have little knowledge of, and no reason to doubt, the theory of relativity does not establish it as conclusively true. I don't think so nor do I see Dr. Peikoff defining it that way. An essential definition is in terms of causes rather than consequences. Having conclusive evidence causes and results in the dismissal of doubt as contradictory. Observe that Peikoff defines certainty positively as having conclusive evidence and then mentions lack of doubt afterward as a consequence.
  12. Only in the sense that "Considering that I don't know enough about this, maybe there's something I don't know that would disprove it." That does not mean there is specific, identifiable grounds for a specific, identifiable doubt. That doesn't follow. When Ayn Rand refused to endorse Darwin's theory, it did not mean she had any reason to doubt it or that she had an "alternative" explanation but only that she didn't know enough about it to be sure it was true. The basic doubt is that one does not have enough evidence for a conclusion and not that one has any specific, identifiable alternative.
  13. That is not what I was saying at all. In the indicated post I was making the case that Dr. Peikoff's definition of "certainty" was a positive definition based on what certainty IS -- i.e., having conclusive evidence. I was contrasting this to other definitions of "certainty" that define it negatively in terms of what it IS NOT - i.e., it does not have any doubt. When I wrote that Dr. Peikoff "does not say that there is no longer any possibility of doubt," I meant just that literally. He doesn't make any claims whatsoever about the possibility (or impossibility) of doubt. I did not mean to say or imply that there was a possibility of doubt at all. As Dr. Peikoff wrote, there is no grounds for asserting that possibility.
  14. I was using metaphysical possibility, as y_feldblum pointed out, to mean a potentiality. Whether a potentiality will be actualized depends on the nature of the entities acting. Where human action is not involved, the results are totally deterministic and, if we understood the entities well enough, totally predictable. Where human action is involved, whether a potentiality will be actualized depends on volitional choices. In the case of the acorn, whether it grows into an oak tree might depend on whether someone chooses to plant it in fertile soil or not.
  15. I don't see any contradiction here because we are discussing two different propositions here: 1) the possibility that something is true and 2) the possibility that a conclusion is not true (doubt). There are many situations where you have evidence that something is true, but not sufficient evidence for forming a conclusion, and no evidence that it is not true. In such a situation you would say "It is not certain, but it is possibly true, and I have no reason to doubt it."
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