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nimble

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  1. I'm still curious as to why libertarianism is evil (with a lower case l), it is merely a word loosely associated with those who advocate free-will and its political implications--that is that freedom to act is a requirement of life, and thus all people should be free to act in so far as they don't impede someone else's freedom--because it is a requirement of all human life. Now that is not word for word what an Objectivist would consider the basis of political philosophy, but I don't see it as evil. And now that term is even more mainstream and merely means advocate of small government. It think it is like being opposed to atheism because some atheists have bad arguments for not believing in God. What am I really missing? Is this merely a practical stance, that some libertarians are nut jobs, therefore its best to stay away from the fanatics with bad logic?
  2. If reason and volition are all that is required to have rights, then this article isn't too far out there. Robots will probably require rights within the next 50 years.
  3. Don't worry, I knew what you meant, and thank you for your answers, they have been more helpful than usual in clearing things up for me. Chris
  4. Okay, I have one final question (I hope). I think you convinced me that Objectivism rejects categorical imperatives, but I still believe it is amoralism, and here is why. So we have established that morals are purely contextual and are all hypothetical imperatives with the basis of morality being "IF you want to live life as man qua man, then you ought act in your rational self interest as Objectivism defines it" (I use Objectivism just to avoid any conflicts about the actual moral code being used) What happens if you don't want to live life as man qua man? Does that give me free reign to act as I please? It may be a long road of self-destruction, but why couldn't I be a prudent predator? I think Nozick asks the question, I am asking. Is everything morally permissible when I opt not to hold life as man qua man as an ultimate end? In other moral systems, there is some objective moral code that says stealing is inherently wrong. I'm definitely not advocating those systems, but I am merely asking how a system of all hypothetical imperatives actually constitutes as morality in what people commonly mean by it.
  5. Thank you very much...that post cleared up a lot. I was kind of waiting for you to post anyway, aren't you in linguistics? Again, I never made the claim that you absolutely should not refine/redefine things. That's anyone's choice, however, if it causes confusion then it is the burden of the refiner to clear it up.
  6. I think the standard definition of possibility is adequate, maybe not for Objectivism's purpose, but I do think that "not inherently contradictory" is a concept that can exist and relate to the world. And that IS the standard definition of possible. I think one can say that X idea is "not inherently contradictory" and have it be a true statement. Thus it holds truth value and works as a concept that can have a word symbolize it in language (eg-the word "possible"). Whether that suffices for Objectivist explanation of epistemology becomes the problem of Objectivism. And I do grant anyone the right to redefine terms as they feel, however when others don't understand what they mean, the burden lies on them to explain what they mean, using some form of language that is commonly accepted. And it might just be entirely more practical to make a new word, but that's a separate issue, and I'd be interested in what Rand thought about making new words. But I can look that up on my own. Also, I have a question I understand how a word can be meaningless or self-contradictory, but how can a definition be inadequate? I mean couldn't you theoretically pack more meaning into every word? I could change the definition of the word "hello" to mean "greetings, how are you doing?" since I usually say "hello, how are you?" anyway. And that way I could make the word "hello" more adequate for my usage, but I don't think that would cause anything but confusion. If words are just auditory symbols, so long as the things they represent can relate to reality in some way I don't see how they can be inadequate. Whatever they don't explain can just be explained by another word, or am I mistaken? Thanks Chris
  7. I think both of you are missing the point the word itself isn't that important its the concept and whether the word is recognized as matching the concept by others. If i want to use "wise" to label the concept "not true or false, but has no evidence to support it" then thats fine, however if no one recognizes that term as valid, then I'm in for a hard time. Also, I will run into problems with people who think the word "wise" means something entirely different than how I am saying it. So because I am creating a concept that isn't already in the dictionary, I ought create a new word for it. However, I do recognize that there are multiple definitions of words, like RationalBiker said...so I suppose it is okay to use possible in two different ways, however I think it is best to put an asterix (spelling?) near it and explain how its different from common usage, when using it.
  8. Okay, I accept that I wasn't fair in implying (not stating) that Rand changed what she didn't like, because I don't know that---I only suspect it. And you are also correct that things do have multiple meanings. However, I ask you--do you like how the word "liberal" was stolen and changed over time, to mean it's exact opposite? If you don't then you ought be with in saying that when one wants to make a new definition, they ought use a new word.
  9. By the way, I apologize for calling you softwarenerd. I wasn't paying attention---inspector.
  10. First SoftwareNerd, you read correctly, I agreed. Second, words need be specific to the concepts they represent. They are auditory symbols for concepts. However, it is also true that words serve zero purpose if you use them in a fashion that others are not familiar with. I could arbitrarily move every word in the dictionary down a spot to represent the next definition in line, that way no words are lost, and no meanings are lost, just words would represent different meanings. The words would still serve as succinct auditory symbols, so they fulfill their first role, but then when I spoke them, no one would have a clue in hell what I meant. And thus they would fail the second role of communication. So, if no word previously existed that explained things as "neither true nor false, but has no evidence to support it," then why not create an entirely new word? Leave the old one with its old meaning, and create a new one for your (all you's and your's are in general--not specifically anyone)personal use. That way when the word is uttered, there is no confusion about what it means, instead the person you are talking to will not have a clue what the word means and will ask you, and then you can give him the definition. But when you redefine words to something other than the common definition and do not forewarn people before using it in an argument, that is a huge error in argument technique. And I would argue that it is best to stay away from redefinitions. Every word in the dictionary has a definition, and if you want to create a concept that isn't already in the dictionary--then you ought create a new word for it, not steal a word who's definition you don't like. And obviously I am not accusing you of this, because I doubt you've written any philosophical works that redefine things as you see fit. However, just in general--it is bad habit to have.
  11. Ummm...if you read the title of the thread, you will find that the last 3 pages have been off topic, so I wouldn't worry about posting off topic. Haha.
  12. I agree with you SoftwareNerd on what you said, however I think you are overestimating the post-modern movement. In my opinion, it is dead in every academic circle except language arts and anthropology. So I don't know how much of a fundamental threat Rand is. I would argue that for most intellectuals, pursuit of knowledge is a cultural status game, that no one takes that seriously. So I'm not sure that someone who has no experience with Rand would say "oh gosh, her certainty scares me to the point that I don't want to read her." But I do accept your stance as legitimate given your skepticism of anyone who went to college and studied philosophy. So, I thank you for your time. Chris
  13. I will refer everyone back to my post, where I argued that academia isn't opposed to her core tenets because honestly, they aren't new in academia. People have been free marketists, materialists, inductive epistemology, and been selfish ethically. So if that's all you knew of Rand and had not read her to learn how she is a variation of those stances, I don't think you would hate her without having read her. Just like people don't hate Aristotle, Neitzche, Hume, Freidman, etc. And as for having more Objectivists in academia, I intend to be a prof of either Economics or Political theory, so hopefully I can change that a bit. Thanks Chris
  14. I think it could be argued that knowledge of wavelengths, or diameters serve as a means to an end. There are reasons why anyone even inquired to know the diameter of an electron. If principles are facts, just like wavelengths and science is the study of facts/nature, then science is also broken up into two categories: applied (means based) and pure (knowledge as an end in itself). So I think JL made an error when he asked if principles are means or ends, but wanting to know principles is either a means or an end.
  15. I suppose I did underestimate your contempt for MAP. However I completely disagree with number 2. They don't have contempt for Rand and her ideas (some do, I'll concede that), but Rand is not the most radical person I've ever read. There are complete hedonists who advocate doing anything your whim wants. There are philosophers who argue that agriculture is the cause of all troubles in the world and we should regress back into hunter-gatherer types. There are people who openly support facism, socialism and terrorism and still get more leeway academia than Rand, why? I honestly don't believe it is simply for her ideas. I mean someone who hasn't read Rand might think, that she has Aristotelian/Neitzchian mixed ethics, Lockean political theory, inductive epistemology, and materialist metaphysics....all of which are not scary ideas that one hates without even having read her. People do read Aristotle, Neitzche, Locke, Hume, and any materialist you can name without hatred, yet they have contempt for Rand. I don't mean to blame Objectivism for the mess MAP is in. I'd honestly like to study the history behind Objectivism in philosophy. I mean even if Rand had a bad reputation as a person, I'm not sure how that should affect her standing in academia. Neitzche was a crazy jerk, but people still read him. Lastly, I want to say that you don't have to reject Objectivism to persuade people. And you do so yourself, with your co-workers. Of course there are people which can't rationally speak, and obviously you can't deal with them. However I doubt that every person involved in MAP is evil by nature in believing say Kant. People believe in God, even if it's only because they have not challenged it yet. If you believe people can only learn through induction, then it stands to reason that they can't know what they haven't encountered yet (ie-those who haven't read Rand). That IS the reason people read lots of philosophy, to get ideas that took people lifetimes to think about, and take what they worked on, analyze it and go on from there...and they pick the best which fits reality. If I am not all that smart and can't derive a philosophy on my own and all I have read is Kant and the Bible as my only serious texts, and I choose to be a Kantian--I don't think that is evil. The person just hasn't challenged it yet, but he will when he reads a text or gets an idea that opposes some tenet that a Kantian holds. And hopefully he chooses the one that matches reality. Now, assuming this kid has limited time (as we all do) he doesn't want to read every work ever written, he wants to read those that will grow his understanding of the world exponentially, and if popular culture advises him that Rand is a waste of time then he may never read it. So having a culture adverse to Rand only creates problems of reaching potentially rational individuals. As I said before, lacking knowledge is not evil, but refusal to change when given the right info. is what is evil.
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