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Grames

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  1. searching for "Scott Ryan" in the search bar placed on the top right of this page yields several threads. I think Scott Ryan's critique of O-ist epistemology is a good place to start. Intrinsicist universals, that is metaphysical universals, just don't exist. Scott Ryan can hold his breath until he is blue in the face and beyond but there will never be a solution to the "problem of universals" as long as the universals must be metaphysical. Rand's theory makes universals epistemological and that is its merit.
  2. No modern novel, movie. play , etc. has been around long enough to have survived generations of retelling as did the myths that Campbell systematically surveyed and compared. That includes Atlas Shrugged. The idea of using Campbell's idea of a monomyth in making a modern story is to steal some of that old time magic of success; it does not make a modern product into a myth. The myths are the source material of a theory, which then becomes a square hole into which people try to pound all sorts of rounds pegs.
  3. Existence is primary. If those "invisible" unknown and ungraspable objects exist then that is the only criterion necessary for them to also to be included in a "set of all objects". Setting up a contrived epistemological problem as if it were a metaphysical paradox is putting Consciousness as the primary. The only resolution to the quandry you posit here is to have the omniscience of God, who can have no perceptual limits or any kind of limits. If the only solution is impossible then the problem is ill-posed. Specifically, there is a common understanding of the definition of the word fruit which delimits the membership of that conceptual category. Whether a new, exotic or unknown object ought or ought-not be referred to as a fruit is strictly a matter of us earthbound rational animals to sort out amongst each other, there is no third party or ultimate authority apart from us to decree what is or is not a fruit. Gooblegorks may be categorized as fruits or they may not be, but it is a moot point until someone discovers gooblegorks in the first place. Conceptual categories are human constructs made for the benefit of humans, they are not given as Kantian or Platonic absolutes. If this is a problem for you, then the philosophic "problem of the beard" (that conceptual categories do not necessarily have hard boundaries) should be looming in your mind as a problem as well for the exact same reason, that what is or is not a beard is merely a subjective impression, all conceptual thought is therefore arbitrary, all is bullshit (bullshit being my subjective translation of 'maya' into colloquial English).
  4. Technically, a story in which you as the reader/listener/viewer are intended to identify with the protagonist because of his virtuous and exemplary conduct is a hero, but in a 'negative example' story the reader/listener/viewer is to learn what not to do, and what path not to follow because the protagonist is lacking virtue and is classified as an "anti-hero". Campbell is centered around finding similarities in the mythic heroes only, not similarities among all mythic protagonists and so anti-heroes are excluded from consideration. It has been many years since I read Campbell so I do not recall if he ever did comment more in depth on the anti-hero.
  5. I do not agree that the return and reintegration with society is collectivist. It is just what people do. Consider some hero who left and never comes back: the story ends with his departure and nothing further can be learned. Consider some hero who returned but in some sense was not re-integrated, such as no one believed his story: then why re-tell his story? Also, the 'Destiny of Everyman' is no more determinist than the insistence that man has an identity and that 'human nature' is therefore a valid concept because it has an objective referent. The "labyrinth and the linen thread" works as a metaphor for the Objectivist theory of concepts, where the labyrinth is all the various possible combinations of words and meanings attached to words of which most are false and the linen thread is the insistence on the part of the hero (in epistemology the knower, and since "all men desire to know" then this is an actual "everyman") on maintaining contact with reality by ensuring all of his concepts are reducible to percepts.
  6. In this case if the competition attempts to lower manufacturing costs as well by the same means, that means the entire industry leaving the country. Once there is once again an approximate parity on end-product price competition resumes. But, the entire industry is moved to the detriment of my neighbors and myself. Decades of emptying America's industrial heartland of industry after industry for the utilitarian collectivist ethos of "greatest good for the greatest number" has only brought into sharp focus the fact that I should care more about the welfare of the people in my country for my own selfish reasons than people in other distant countries.
  7. Prices are set by supply and demand to wring the best price for the seller that the market will bear. Lower manufacturing costs increase the profits of the manufacturer, and do not lower prices for the end purchaser.
  8. Explain Rand's usage of the peculiar term "mental entities" referring to concepts, if it isn't this extended sense of entity. Strictly, concepts are attributes of the man holding them. That's where I get it, trying to make sense of Rand. I have a high degree of certainty that I've got this one right, at least. Also, Kelley gives the examples of shadows and smoke for the extended sense of entity in chapter 2 of Evidence of the Senses. Peikoff's given examples are poor because they all rely on abstraction to even create the context in which they could be called entities, but Kelley's examples are self-evident.
  9. That three-crop rotation worked is/was knowledge, justified by perception of the results of the practice. Why it worked is a different item knowledge. It is not necessary to know why it is in order to know that it is when dealing with perceptual evidence and first level concepts.
  10. Yes but, the extended sense of entity stresses the 'perceptual given' quality of entities, such that things which are strictly not entities are promoted to such status anyway because they are given to us that way by our perception of them as seeming wholes, as things-in-their-own-right. You are correct about the central importance of the perceptual scale for both the primary and extended senses, and I had not denied it. Boydstun in the chapter he presented here is doing an ontology informed by state of the art human scientific knowledge, not laying down an a priori metaphysics (I would be surprised to be wrong here). Rand's usage "mental entity" seems odd to bring up in that context, so I contributed what I hoped was relevant context. I think you (Plasmatic) are shadow-boxing because I see no point of disagreement between us.
  11. It is a broadest possible lesson of the industrial revolution, which Ayn Rand pointed out and I'm sure others as well because its such a basic point, is that philosophy is a practical tool for living not merely a distraction for the rich to show off their high class and social status, or merely an exercise in rhetoric for political gain, or to be a consolation or distraction from life. The real distinction is between mere opinion and knowledge, which is the distinction that Plato made in the excerpt from the Meno Spooky used above. Opinion and knowledge can both be useful, but knowledge is superior because it is opinion that is caused by perception and logic. Better perception and better logic is always welcome, but what was at one time opinion with cause ( knowledge ) does not retroactively become demoted to baseless opinion without cause when better perception and better logic appears.
  12. Now there's a question that could only be asked by a Rationalist. Knowledge is really only ever about "making stuff". That's what keeps you fed, dry, gets you to and fro the places you need to be. It is the ultimate justification of all knowledge because it enables living, and in the modern era of the 2000's it is living in pretty high style compared to all that went before.
  13. The context here is ontology, an aspect of metaphysics. What exists does not need to be easily comprehensible in order to exist, that would be letting primacy-of-consciousness premise sneak into our tent. Spacetime is unconditional not merely in the strong sense that it is found everywhere we look, but rather spacetime is the everywhere. Furthermore spacetime has attributes such a electric permittivity and magnetic permeability, and the ratio of those quantities sets the speed of light in a vacuum, a vacuum being a defined as the absence of everything but the space itself. (edit: It is entities that have attributes.) Relativity considers a rotating mass to impart a sheer energy to the space around it. Spacetime participates in a relationship with inertial mass (the so-called curvature) and relationships are primarily between entities. Spacetime as entity is consistent with the full-plenum ontology, the claim that the universe cannot have gaps or holes in it much less huge stretches of true nothingness between particles. There exists a strong case for spacetime as entity in local volumes. Your question does raise the issue of what is the appropriate level of knowledge context for setting out an ontology. The pre-Socratic and pre-scientific "first philosopher" Thales asserted an ontology with his "everything is water". So long as we do not engage in circularity in making our fundamentals of philosophy dependent on a sophisticated idea like spacetime there is no reason to restrict our understanding of what exists to a pre-scientific level, or some intermediate scientific understanding preferred because it is easier to understand.
  14. Thank you for posting this here, Mr. Boydstun. The idea that "To qualify as an entity, I say and think Rand could have been brought around to say, an entity has to do more than be able to stand as the subject of predication (or as the argument of a propositional function)" is relevant to a recent topic here, and I intend to link this thread in there. Concerning material as entity I don't think "attributes are causal" is enough of a justification. Without a specific extent the material would not exist to participate in any causal relations at all and so casting away extent as nonessential is not workable. On the other hand, I am welcoming a move to regard spacetime as an entity because the objection that the existence of a sample of wood is conditional upon its having an identity including a particular extent, the existence of spacetime is unconditional and so that objection cannot apply. Rand addresses a question in the ITOE appendix that touches on this issue where she regards a square-inch of ground as a valid entity, but that according to her is an epistemological move not a metaphysical or ontological claim. Also, there is a usage of entity "in an extended sense" in both the Peikoff's and Kelley's works. The extended sense of entity stresses the 'perceptual given' quality of entities, and refers to smoke, wind, shadows, or anything given to us by our senses that that appears to us to stand out from its background. This is another way to justify the peculiar usage "mental entities" as particular thoughts do seem (subjectively) discrete enough to be objects of introspective attention.
  15. Citation please, I have no idea of your level of knowledge on this subject. Furthermore, I claim that relativity cannot even be derived without using Newton's laws. For example the equivalence principle that states that a mass in a gravity field and mass under a constant acceleration are indistinguishable presumes Newton's Third Law is valid to set up the equality m1aq=m2a2. Claiming Relativity proves Newtons Laws invalid is like claiming there exists a logical proof that the Law of Noncontradiction is invalid. Ummm ... yes? Because of the principle of mass-energy equivalence Relativity takes into account all of the energies present aw well as the inertial mass, but that mass component is still there, still subject to inverse square attenuation with distance and still proportional to a gravitational constant.