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Grames

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  1. It is not clear to me that Rand has committed to a position that emotions can only ever be caused by one's conscious integrations, or how how important that is to the rest of Objectivism if Rand did make that commitment and was wrong. Emotions are not tools of cognition, after all.
  2. Can you apply the correspondence principle to it? Reaction Y is not true or false it simply is, the legacy of your biological inheritance and integral to your identity as a rational animal (don't deny the animal part). So no, it is not knowledge. Genetics encodes a great deal of information and it is expressed in the material form of the body and in its behaviors. If you study photosynthesis you gain knowledge, but when a plant performs photosynthesis that is not application of knowledge. 'Information' already has a general, low level and thoroughly objective definition given by Claude Shannon that doesn't really focus on a biological context. Using 'instinct' on plants doesn't seem correct either. I think of it as 'technique'. It is capacity for action which is genetically encoded, and action is not true or false. An action improves evolutionary fitness or does not.
  3. Moods are not knowledge.
  4. Yes. Rand's rejection of tabula rasa applies to conceptual knowledge. That consciousness has an identity and therefore specific causal means and mechanisms for its functions should not be controversial for an Objectivist to accept because that is not conceptual knowledge. Do not make the error denying the slate exists when you only need to insist on its blankness.
  5. Animals don't have language and so cannot have concepts. Without concepts they cannot regard instances of the concept as units. What animals do have is abilities of pattern recognition and memory and patterned behavior and those do a pretty good job together of doing everything a conceptual capacity would do with respect to (for example) a mammalian predator taking a go at stalking a new type of prey it hadn't encountered before. So those mammals would not benefit from a conceptual capacity so evolution has not rewarded selection for it. Humans can operate at that level: Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink is about pre-conceptual pattern recognition and I am specifically referring the examples there of "antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance" long before they can articulate what exactly is wrong with the fake.
  6. So, Yoram Hazony has a twitter account. He got alerted to Yaron Brook discussing nationalism. He replied: https://twitter.com/yhazony/status/1070444820575985664
  7. Here is small test to figure out or affirm your own premises. Which of the following statements would you (any reader of this thread) thinks is most true? Liberty is the foundation of social order. Liberty is one by-product of social order. Liberty is an impediment to social order. "Social order" is crime-think, do not go there.
  8. Chapter X: How Are States Really Born? Fairy Tales Some parents tell their younger children that newborn babies are delivered to the home, sometimes adding the detail that a stork drops the newborn on the doorstep. No parent ever believes that, so why do they say it? Perhaps because the full truth is bloody and unpleasant, and a pre-pubescent child wouldn't be able to fully understand it anyway, the lie prevents some avoidable distress [to the parent as well as the child]. At any rate the truth must come out when the child is older, this merely prolongs a child's innocence and ignorance for short while. Instructors in politics, law, and philosophy tell their students about how states are born by invoking a similar fairy tale. They say that while living in a state of perfect freedom and equality, each individual consents, together with countless others, to form a government and to submit to its dictates. None of them believe it, so why do they teach it? Perhaps to protect the minds of their students from ugly and unpleasant truths. Unfortunately the truth does not necessarily reveal itself in time. The story of consent is impressed upon students at every level of their education, high school, college, grad school, law school. Legislators, scholars and jurists of renown still have this fairy tale taking up space in their minds where actual competence is needed. The fiction that states are formed by the consent of individuals hides from us the way in which states are born, and goes on from there to confound our understanding of how they continue to exist through time, of what holds them together, and of what destroys them. How the State Comes into Being The "state of nature" described by Locke or Hobbes in which individuals were loyal only to themselves has never existed. The political order of anarchy is the order of clans and tribes. There is no permanent central government, no standing army or police force, no bureaucracy capable of raising taxes sufficient to maintain such a force, and therefore no one with the ability to issue decrees that can then be imposed by means of armed force. A clan or tribe acts as a unified body when agreement of the clan or tribe exists that its leaders have decided a given matter correctly. Where such agreement is lacking loyalty of the clan or tribe to its leaders can still bring the tribe to act. And finally, the pressure that those who agree with the decision and those who accept it out of loyalty together bring to bear on anyone who remains uncertain will bring those to act. Where these are insufficient, the clan or tribe simply does not act as a unified body. The disadvantages of the order of clans and tribes are that defense is based on a fractious and irregularly trained militia, justice is attained only with great difficulty, and the customs of religion are maintained only voluntarily. When tribes and clans fall away from loyalty to their common customs and to one another, warfare among the tribes, injustice, and defeat at the hands of foreigners inevitably follow, with no one having the ability to set matters aright. The state is born out of the relative weakness of the old order of tribes and clans. A standing central government establishes a professional armed force that is not disbanded in peacetime; a bureaucracy capable of raising taxes sufficient to maintain such a force; and a ruler or government with the authority to issue decrees that are then imposed, where necessary, by means of armed force. Thus the political order of the state can defend the tribes against external enemies, adjudicate and suppress disputes among them, and institute uniform religious rites [or more generally, a uniform culture] on a national scale. The state is created in two ways: voluntary and involuntary. The voluntary state, or the free state, is created by heads of a coalition of tribes, recognizing a common bond among them as well as a common need, coming together to establish a national standing government. Free states are created by joining together, consolidating, existing political structures. The loyalty to the new layer of political hierarchy is founded first in the loyalty to the leader and structure that made that decision and second, if the leadership's decision was sound, that the interests of the new state are in fact common with his own. Examples in history of free states: the coming together of the tribes of Israel, the joining of the former colonies in North America first into a federation then into a constitutional union, ancient Athens constituted several clans thus making it a tribal city-state [rather than a national state, the usual modern form], Alfred unifying England. The involuntary state or despotic state is the subjugation of conquered clans and tribes. Foreigners or usurpers rule with no mutual loyalty to the ruled. Force is required to compel individuals to act as if they were loyal. A tyrannical state can suppress dissent by force and terror, impress workforces for large projects or military service, and can extract taxes to pay for the foregoing and make bribes as well. States can also come into being by the combination of the two methods. A method that never comes into play is consent of the governed individuals. The consent of the individual never comes into play in the creation of states. Obviously the despotic state has no role for consent. In the free state the decision for unification takes place in counsels to which the common man has little access. It is thus the interests and aspirations of the tribe and the nation, as these are understood by the tribal leadership, that are decisive in the birth of a free state.[Where cohesion is strong the individual will be loyal to the new state out of loyalty to the tribe, and if he does not agree with the decision of his leadership he can at least be counted upon to comply in action. Hazony does not make the following summary formulation it is mine: the state is founded upon compliance not consent.]
  9. The article states that Thailand has a 60 percent tariff, and that Harley-Davidson was avoiding the tariff by producing in Thailand. That is a plain example of an economic incentive inducing action. If there is a rights violating initiation of force here, it appears Thailand initiated it with its very high 60% tariff rate. Responding tit-for-tat with equivalent tariffs against Thailand is the proportional response. After trade is harmed in both directions by symmetrical high tariffs then perhaps Thailand may reconsider its strategy and lower its tariffs. That seems to have been the outcome with Trump's other successful trade negotiations, so why couldn't it work again? Qua political theory, no. Nationalism does not need to rely on racism as justification. Racism has been around long before nations were founded. Nationalism's relation to racism is neither cause nor effect.
  10. So much to unpack here.... Let me start at the end. This part : "The reason mixed economies are inevitable .." I am disappointed to learn that you don't regard capitalism as actually achievable. That must put a real damper on your overall optimism. The separation of church and state was first achieved only on the basis of a particular national political and religious culture. If ever the separation of state and economics is to be achieved it too will only first happen within a particular national cultural context that makes it possible, not an overnight worldwide revolution. Erasing nations and nation-states would erase the means by which political progress is made at large scales. Capitalism is not merely the presence of trading.
  11. Trump uses tariffs as a retaliatory measure and negotiating tool against other countries tariffs and trade controls. He has already dropped tariffs where progress on trade agreements have been made. See the USMCA agreement and the announced basis of negotiation with the EU From https://www.npr.org/2018/07/25/632436795/trump-announces-trade-deal-with-european-commission-that-will-lower-u-s-europe-t As for your other questions, Hazony has been taking pains to emphasize that the basis of mutual loyalty is shared values and specifically shared actions to gain or keep values in the face of joint adversity. Race has nothing to do with it, not in the present day and not in the ancient biblical roots of nationalism that he cites. There are hundreds of occurrences of the word 'nation' in the King James presentation of the Old Testament, a period of history when there was no science of biology and no possible biological rationalization of race awareness. Certainly people noticed different features of different peoples but they also noticed their different architecture and different gods and temples. Culture is primary. Further chapters will spend additional time hammering that point home. It is a valid and pertinent question as to which nations also should have states. The short answer is: not all of them. That gets addressed in a later chapter.
  12. That is an immediate descent into incoherence. If capitalism is an individual resource because the individuals are free than tyranny is an individual resource because you have to oppress the individuals. A social context is required for any political theory to be applicable, so no, capitalism is not an individual resource. It is also well settled in both Objectivist and wider pro-capitalist thought that what makes capitalism possible is a government with a legal scheme and that protects property rights systematically. Put emphatically, it is simply impossible to have capitalist political system without a state. The additional point of nationalism qua political theory is that is also necessary to have a nation, some(any) particular national culture, to maintain a state.
  13. Superficial yet also one of the day's deadliest issues. Is this a paradox or poor writing by Rand? No. Capitalism versus socialism is the more basic question because it can be answered by using the moral concept of individual rights and ethics is epistemically prior to politics. Nationalism versus internationalism can be such a deadly issue because of the possibility of ensnaring an entire nation into a international agreement or policy which will result in open warfare. This first sentence nicely dovetails with Hazony's Part I critique of liberals Hayek and von Mises supporting world governments. Here's the money quote: From this we have: the primacy of domestic affairs in a nation's interests; an affirmation that individual rights and individual interests can be the basis of defining a nation's interests; and that national interests are the basis of international cooperation. Rand here is endorsing the role of the nation-state in the international political order and definitely not envisioning a utopian future where all the states and their borders whither away.
  14. Salting the thread with some actual Rand content: From THE AYN RAND COLUMN
  15. [warning: this is a long post] Chapter IX: The Foundations of Political Order Politics, Done Empirically [these bolded topic headings are my creations, the text of each chapter is a single smooth presentation] definition of politics: "the discipline or craft of influencing others so that they act to accomplish the goals one sees as necessary or desirable." [This is a good objective definition as opposed to a normative definition. ref: The Principle of Two Definitions It establishes a category of observable actions much broader than just 'the actions of or concerning governments'.] Individuals can obtain some values acting alone. Other values either require or are much easier to obtain by working with others. But others have their own values, and may be indifferent or hostile to our values. The fundamental problem of the individual living in a social context is the political problem of influencing others to act to gain or keep one's own values. [Translated into Objectivist jargon.] [Objectivism names one solution to the problem of influencing others: the trader principle. But that is a high level abstraction and a normative one at that. In the spirit of descriptive empirical investigation a lower, intermediate level of abstraction is appropriate. ] One solution to the problem of influencing others is establishing a group of like-minded people. Examples of standing bodies or collectives of individuals are: family, clan, tribe, nation, state, army, religious organization, business enterprise, and chess club. definition of institutions: human collectives that persist over time, keeping particular fixed purposes and forms (ex. the name, procedures for deciding and acting at the group level, facilities, etc...) An institution teaches, persuades, or coerces its members to abide by its own accepted general rules and procedures before action is needed so the collective can act reliably and promptly, rather than persuade or coerce individuals anew as each action is called for. Three Possible Motives for Individuals to Join Collectives [no claim this list is exhaustive] individuals will join if threatened with reprisal individuals will join if offered payment or other advantage individuals will join if they see the interests and aims of the institution as their own In the face of ongoing cost, effort or adversity the motive of payment creates the weakest institutions because of the possibility of withdrawing or defecting to a different institution based on a cost/benefit/risk analysis. Intimidation against individuals or their loved ones can produce more stable institutions but only so long as a credible threat can be maintained. The strongest institutions are those wherein the individual sees the interests and aims of the institution as their own. Example: Consider a soldier who takes up a rifle in the hope of establishing the independence of his people after a long history of persecution. Such individuals do not need to be coerced to fight, or to be well compensated for their services. The identification of the interests and aims of the collective as his own is what moves him to acts of bravery and self-sacrifice that no intimidation or promise of pay could elicit. Human individuals are capable of regarding the aims and interests of a collective or institution of which they are members as their own, and of acting upon these aims and interests even where such action will be detrimental to their lives and property. No convincing account of how strong human institutions are built can be made unless this capacity is at its center. Extension of the Sense of Self The human individual is by nature fiercely concerned to ensure the integrity of his or her own self. Self refers to the body which has a biological fight to flight reflex. The same fierceness also applies to the protectiveness over land or possessions, defense of one's reputation when accused or insulted, and the defense of loved ones. All of these—property, reputation, family—are all experienced as if they are also a part of him insofar as his consciousness has embraced them. [They are integrated to some degree into his self-concept, his sense of identity.] This capacity to regard others as part of one's identity is not restricted to kinsmen, but can include a friend, townsman, platoon member, or any other human being based on some possibly abstract grounds. [How much is Ayn Rand through her works part of our identities even for those of us who have never met her?] "What we see across the range of human activities and institutions, then, is that the self of the individual is by nature flexible in its extent, and is constantly being enlarged so that persons and things we might have supposed would be outside of him and alien to him are in fact regarded as if they were a part of himself." [Inserting endnote 2 here:] Loyalty definition of loyalty: the attachment that results when an individual includes a certain other within the purview of his or her self. definition of mutual loyalty: the bond established between two individuals when each has taken the other into his extended sense of self. Persons experiencing mutual loyalty remain independent persons, and may experience competition, insult, jealousy, and quarrels as independent persons do that are spouses or siblings. But as soon as either of them faces adversity, the other suffers this hardship as if it were his own and in-progress disputes are suspended or forgotten. When the hardship is overcome, they experience a sense of relief and pleasure, of walking together in joy, each recognizing the happiness of the other as his own. These experiences of adversity and triumph establish a strong distinction between an inside and an outside: an inside, comprising the two individuals; and an outside, from which a challenge arises against them and in the face of which they experience a joint suffering and a joint success. Institutions that are Small and Strong Institutions constructed principally out of bonds of mutual loyalty are the most enduring and resilient institutions. The family is the strongest and most resilient of all small institutions known to human politics, precisely due to the existence of such ties of mutual loyalty between each member of the family and all of the others. Bonds of family loyalty can be either birth ties or adoptive ties (spouse to spouse and spouse to in-laws are adoptive and parent to child can be adoptive). The squad or section is the small scale military unit of about 10 men, led by a junior officer or sergeant. The capacity of this unit to function under extreme duress depends on its ties of mutual loyalty, founded upon each individual's personal acquaintance with all the others and extensive experience of relying upon them for support during training and combat. [Other examples include: small towns or villages, churches, local political factions and unions, and street gangs.] Political Order is Hierarchical Larger scale political institutions of every kind are built upon small institutions such as the family or the squad. Heads of families can be brought together in an association of mutual loyalty to one another, creating a clan. A clan may number in the hundreds or thousands and may be scattered over a considerable territory. Heads of clans can unite to form a tribe that may have tens of thousands of members. Heads of tribes can come together to form a nation whose members number in the millions. This process of consolidation is familiar from the Old Testament history of Israel and from the histories of the English, Dutch, Americans and many other nations. [Note that when consolidation happens the lower layers are not dissolved, they persist.] [Thus the four part hierarchy Hazony uses is: family, clan, tribe, nation. Settling on four is somewhat arbitrary, the scheme could be elaborated upon by distinguishing more layers but there is less room to remove layers. From endnote 7:] Transmission of Loyalty up the Hierarchy For a child raised within a clan it is not possible to directly develop a bond of mutual loyalty with most other individual members of the clan. But his parents, who have direct bonds of mutual loyalty to the other heads of families, experience the suffering and triumphs of the clan as if these were happening to themselves, and they give expression to these things. And so the child, who experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as if they were happening to him, is able to feel the suffering and the triumphs of the clan as his own as well. Thus even a very young child will feel the harm and shame when another member of his clan is harmed or shamed by members of a rival clan. In this way, the child’s self is extended to embrace the entire clan and all its members, even those whom he has never met. And because of this extension, he will be willing to set aside even bitter disputes with other members of his clan when a threat from the outside is experienced as a challenge to all. [also from endnote 7:] Like ties of loyalty to the clan, the bond of loyalty to one’s tribe or nation grows out of loyalty to one’s parents: The child experiences the suffering and triumphs of his tribe or nation as his own because he experiences the suffering and triumphs of his parents as his own, and the parents feel and give expression to the suffering and triumphs of the tribe or nation as these unfold. endnote 5 Cohesion definition of cohesion: the bonds of mutual loyalty that hold firmly in place an alliance of many individuals, each of whom shares in the suffering and triumphs of the others, including those they have never met. The concept of cohesion can be applied at any scale. endnote 6: The Limit of Consolidation Nation can develop attachments to other nations. The English-speaking nations are sometimes referred to as a "family of nations" due to both common descent from English influence and experience of common struggle against the Axis powers of WWII and then against the communist bloc of nations during the Cold War. The Hindu peoples of India have a similar relation to each other founded in common struggle against Islamic and English domination. What has never been seen is a genuine movement toward mutual loyalty of the entirety of the human population worldwide. That would require a worldwide common adversity as an impetus. [The conclusion from this point is that a world government is compatible and possible with an imperialist political order, but a nationalist political order will not have impetus to organize itself beyond international agreements among groups of nations.] Biological Kinship Not Essential to Mutual Loyalty Long years of joint hardship and success are essential to establishing ties of mutual loyalty, not kinship. The husband-wife bond is adoptive, families can adopt children, clans can adopt families, tribes adopt clans and nations, tribes. An isolated individual, having been cut off from his own family due to war or disease will invariably attach himself to a new family or a new clan, lending his strength to theirs and gaining their protection. The constant regeneration of bonds of mutual loyalty implies that there can be no society whose member individuals are without loyalty to anyone other than themselves. Even in modern society, where the traditional order of clans and tribes is weakened or supplanted by formal state structures, collectives built from bonds of mutual loyalty are visible everywhere: there are still churches, political chapters, schools, and other community organizations equivalent to the clan level. On a national scale, powerful religious, ethnic, sectoral, and professional associations vie with one another as if they were tribes. The attraction of individuals, even under the modern state, to ally themselves to collectives is a constant. [I would call it a facet of human nature, an attribute of the identity of humans.] [Anecdotal evidence from an entirely different perspective: the progression of American situational comedies from family situations (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Brady Bunch, All in the Family, etc...) to modern "found family" situations (of Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Big Bang Theory, etc... ) The depiction of mutual loyalty remains the same and is necessary to the format which seems to work as well even without depicting kinship.] Health and Prosperity of a Collective Words such as 'brotherhood' 'health' and 'prosperity' when applied to collectives are metaphors drawn from the life of the individual, but the underlying referent of the usage is real. "Health and Prosperity of the Family" refers to at least three things: physical and material flourishing - health and property and their increase strong internal integrity - the bonds of mutual loyalty, honoring differences in age or status, minimizing discord the extent and quality of the cultural inheritance that is transmitted by the parents and grandparents to the children (3 is a significant means of accomplishing 1 and 2) The individual at all times experiences the strengthening or weakening of his family as something that is happening to himself. And because this is the case, he is constantly moved to take action to defend and build up the family in its material prosperity, in its internal integrity, and in its capacity to transmit an appropriate cultural inheritance to the children. Thus parents will take employment not to their liking in order to feed their family, spouses humble themselves for the sake of peace in the home, the older devote long hours teaching children even though the children have a limited ability recognize the value of what they are taught. All of this happens not out of altruistic impulse to help a stranger, but because strengthening the family is experienced as strengthening themselves. In principle the health and prosperity of every human collective can be measured in much the same way as that of the family. When individuals take into their own hands the task of strengthening the tribe or nation, they do so not out of altruism, but because strengthening the tribe or nation is experienced as strengthening themselves. No universal ideology—not Christianity or Islam, not liberalism or Marxism—has succeeded in eliminating or even weakening this intense desire to protect and strengthen the [particular] collectives to which an individual also belongs. As that desire is derived from the individual desire to defend his own life and improve his material circumstances it cannot be and should not be diminished. The devotion of individuals to particular non-universal collectives creates persistent division among mankind. But division is necessary for diversity, innovation and advancement. The separate nations of mankind are as validly viewed as walled gardens as fortresses, where what is original and different is given a space of its own to be tested. The figurative walls of language and culture provide both a means to nurture beneficial innovations in laws, morals and industry as well as means to inhibit the spread of what is destructive and misguided. [I put in all these endnotes to show that Hazony does not coin neologisms nor invent the definitions he uses. ] [endnotes 1-17 , the endnotes of part two are their own series]
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