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Everything posted by Gramlich

  1. Leibniz claimed that this is the best of all possible worlds. I wonder whether it is the only logically possible world or whether it is possible to have a different universe in the first place. Both Leibniz' claim and my subsequent inquiry most likely can't be proven, but it's an interesting thought experiment, even without the invocation of God. It makes one wonder what sort of leeway something like a law of a universe could have and what does it mean for something to be possible. My reasoning for why the universe would be the only logically possible world is based primarily on the fact that the universe is logical. This should leave it to be something of an immense logical system with potentially innumerable number of interlocking and non-contradicting components and systems (Although, an infinite universe may put to question whether the universe could be described as a "system," since it would never be "closed," which may significantly effect this line of thought/argument). As such, I would presume that this logical interlocking where laws and entities must act non-contradictory, harmoniously, and simultaneously would necessarily disqualify certain "potential" laws and false ways of existence, leaving this universe and its orientation as the only ones that could ever exist.
  2. Thanks for the replies, guys. This was what I was wondering.
  3. I've started reading Friedrich Nietzsche, and I can't help but be confused anyone took him seriously. The man seems to advocate for ideas that ultimately imply a kind of evil, and I'm wondering if I'm missing historical context that helps explain some of his more ridiculous statements. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche writes: "For us, the falsity of a judgment is still no objection to that judgment -- that's where our new way of speaking sounds perhaps most strange. The question is the extent to which it makes demands on life, sustains life, maintains the species, perhaps even creates species. And as a matter of principle we are ready to assert that the falsest judgments (to which a priori synthetic judgments belong) are the most indispensable to us, (emphasis mine) that without our allowing logical fictions to count, without a way of measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world through numbers, human beings could not live -- that if we managed to give up false judgments, it would amount to a renunciation of life, a denial of life." Isn't the advocacy of falsehoods as "most indispensable" implying that one should engage in falsehoods as often as they can, that fictions are the true preferred content of one's mind and thoughts? I could understand how he could say that falsehoods were "indispensable," with his subsequent argument, but I can't understand how he would say they're "the most indispensable." Obviously, if a person was entirely contained with falsehoods, none of their words would count. They would have to admit that they're not seeking truth, and we have no reason to assume that the words they write and speak are expected to be truth. It all seems self-contradictory, and I would expect someone to assume that Nietzsche is simply a charlatan trying to manipulate people for some alternative, personal purpose. Yet, people seem to think he's a great philosopher, so I'm wondering if I'm missing historical context or whether the speech of the times lent itself to peculiar wording.
  4. There was a half Puerto Rican - half white guy at my high school who would cry "racist" every time he did poorly on a test. (His purpose for this was obvious: he didn't want to be responsible for his own failure. This was a private school, and he came from a cushy, well-off family.) Racism is so heavily ingrained in some people's minds that it's the only thing they can see. They can't comprehend the existence of a mind separate from their skin color, hair/eye color, facial structure, and/or body build. It's an assumption they can't afford to challenge because it would leave too much in their own hands, and they couldn't turn their brain off anymore to satisfy their blanket convictions. "Aristotle was white" doesn't just denote some minor fact about Aristotle. It means all whites are suddenly the equivalent of Aristotle and that, due to the immense achievement provided by this one white person, or the immense achievement of other white people, we should all just listen to white people because they're now the superior race. Also, as a side note, "white" is poor nomenclature for "Caucasians." Caucasians have a wide range of skin tones, some darker than some "blacks," or "Sub-Saharan Africans."
  5. Merriam-Webster gives the definition of intelligence as "1.a (1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : reason; also : the skilled use of reason(2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests) c : mental acuteness : shrewdness " The incorporation of free will into the concept of intelligence instead of the usual "dumb" deterministic view of it as a simple, flat quantity that you're born with doesn't dictate how much free will affects intelligence as such. However, if intelligence is as the definition states above, and I agree it is, and the use of one's mind and reason is a volitional activity, volition plays a pivotal role in the determination of intelligence. One's will would be the driving force of intelligence and the attribute which defines its function. Yet, when people speak of intelligence, they usually mean the comparative IQ standard. In which case, how much is a question of neuroscience. As per your second question, I think it would have been harder for her to stay rational in those abusive conditions and with a comparably lower IQ, whatever that means, but her rationality would still be up to her. I'm guessing it would be something like comparing Dagny to Cheryl. The rest of your questions are also based on neuroscience, which I don't know much about.
  6. I think the "come down to Earth" attitude may be different between your parents and Rand's example in the quote. A person can legitimately live in a fantasy world by not taking heed to the particular complexities of real life, or, as I think Eioul implied, it may just be your parents legitimately thinking that your worldview is unrealistic when it may be otherwise. Rand's example is in the context of a person directly addressing romantic art and trying to get a child to drop his interest in the idealized nature of it. The psychology behind this has already been explained in this thread. The critiquing individual is attempting to attack the ideals the child wishes to hold because they fear their own abandonment of those ideals. Also, I don't think outright laughter would be appropriate in this situation, mostly because of the complete lack of respect it implies for the mistaken valuer. That's why it would have to be "friendly or indifferent amusement." Although, outright laughter may just be a person with poor social understanding or a deeply cynical view of others. I think Rand was speaking of the general populace, though. As for your unrelated quote on fear, which probably isn't as unrelated as you think, I think you came closest with " If there is something that you think may elicit an emotion you need to fear it and find a way to avoid it." Repression is essentially emotional evasion. One attempts to pretend, either for the sake of one's own or another's mind, that one's subconscious isn't feeding certain data to one's consciousness. What must follow, then, since one has no real direct control over one's subconscious, is that any sort of emotional information the subconscious feeds to one's consciousness is potentially dangerous. Repression makes enemies of the two parts of a person's mind. The subconscious is told its very method of functioning is bad or evil, which leaves it lost - which leads to fear, and the conscious mind, as you also stated, isn't fed any personal information about oneself.
  7. You could read The Art of Non-Fiction, written by Rand, herself.
  8. Rock Lobster is the ballad of our ages. How dare you insult it's good name? You disgust me, sir.
  9. It's just short-hand for the law of non-contradiction.
  10. I never said it was "the only reason." It is a main reason for people targeting them, however. Most people who criticize business' collusion with the government do so on the grounds that you have the dirty profit seekers corrupting the otherwise pure egalitarians. And it's particularly the very successful companies collusion with the government that brings their ire the most, but this is a mixed economy, which makes success within it more dubious than a free-market. Judging the merits of a company on the grounds of "Did you have any dealings or manipulations with the government? Then you're bad." is the same as judging the merits of a person on the grounds of "Have you used any government aid or services? Then you're bad." Snap judgments aren't more acceptable because your target is a company instead of a single person or family. A company can still be fundamentally good and/or its owners a boon to a society while taking advantage of or being in collusion with the government. I think that's where Svanberg and Binswanger are coming from. I don't think they're conflating anything, just not making a distinction in their short articles. Of course, I don't know when one assumes a company is fundamentally evil or good. When I read Binswanger's piece, my first assumption was that he included Goldman Sachs for shock value. I don't know the man, though, and I don't know why he chooses to say everything he does. But I have enough respect for him not to assume he's an ingrate or a stray turd floating in the toilet bowl. So I find a lot of the hostility towards him unjustified.
  11. It's commonly assumed that all large businesses are large due to nefarious purposes. Even companies from the industrial age that had little collusion with government are assumed to be evil and exploitative for seeking profits and succeeding in the attainment of them. What the vast majority of people attack these days is the profit motive as such, that it's bad to want to make wealth. Even conservatives have a lot of trouble being comfortable with large businesses making large profits (You seem to, as well). But the profit motive is the cornerstone to the entire free-market. Professional Objectivists, and Rand, rightly focus on the profit motive as the main subject of defense and upholding, because it is the most fundamental point that is attacked most rigidly these days. The other many, many benefits of the free-market come after that principle's defense, particularly when addressing the mainstream.
  12. That's because big businesses are always targeted as evil simply because of their success. It's a point that almost no one makes other than Objectivists. There's nothing wrong with being large or successful. To think Objectivists never point out that the poor are hurt the most due to government intervention is fallacious. Rand, herself, pointed it out.
  13. Because romantic feelings imply they are a value of which you want to obtain. Them being with another person means they are "possessed" by another person, so they are not a value that is obtainable, at the moment at least. The pain you feel is from your realization that a value is unobtainable.
  14. This is just insulting, and you're insulting our intelligence. You're assuming the only reason Objectivists are supporting the right to self-defense is because it's American tradition and it's where we grew up, not because there's any actual logical argument behind it. For someone who goes on about how you have to be willing to consider divergent opinions, you certainly are unwilling to do just that, so you psychologize, instead. Patronizing.
  15. I voted for Romney. I'm not ashamed of my choice. Your supposed moral judgment means nothing to me.
  16. That's what I originally thought you were striking at because of how you phrased your previous statements. I can't stand submissive women, especially the ones that actually start sounding like children when they talk.
  17. I find the first part of this thread's title grotesquely and unfairly misleading.
  18. Because it's difficult to admit when you're wrong.
  19. This. 20+ years of your life to try to convince one person or so to follow your ideas or 5+ years writing a book to convince thousands. That would be like saying: Ayn Rand would've been more successful if she and Frank had a baby instead of her writing Atlas Shrugged. This whole thread smacks of a complete ignorance of the very existence of the human mind, and instead chocks the progression of history up to whoever had the biggest mound of flesh behind them.
  20. Oh, no. I agree. I was approaching the topic very broadly. Well, realistically, how often are you physically attacked at all?
  21. That's a loaded question that already assumes you know she's not willing to do it again and that you have ample time to just walk out of the room at any time. Also, I don't see how you could imply striking someone in retaliation to an initial attack on your physical person is the same as someone initiating that attack. I don't understand your differentiation. I'm defending myself by punching her. It may be more gentlemanly to go out of your way to restrain a woman instead of hitting her, but the reality of the situation is that that's not always a safe choice. I don't know what kind of women you're used to being around, but there are some really nasty ones out there, with a proclivity for physical engagements, who would gladly attempt to incur further harm upon you for going out of your way to be a gentleman.
  22. This is all dependent on context. In a lot of situations, you really can't know whether the person is going to hit you again or not, and it's better to err on the side of safety than to figure "They won't do that again." Striking another person is a serious violation of their rights and isn't supposed to be taken lightly. I could easily see myself responding to a woman slapping me in the face with a hard punch to her's. Of course, in accord with the correct context, I could see myself not doing anything if a woman were to slap me, e.g. I know her to have upstanding character, but, nonetheless, this criteria doesn't change once one makes the rights violator a man. The principle still stands.
  23. Yes, it's moral to retaliate if a woman strikes you. No, force shouldn't be treated differently between a woman and a man. Whether you find it appropriate, yourself, to retaliate is dependent on the context, man or woman. There may be typically different contexts for a man and a woman, but that fact doesn't change the basic principle: an assault on your rights.
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