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2046

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  1. Also chapter 2 of Piekoff's OPAR has a somewhat lengthy discussion of volition and causality. Also definition would be something like, at its most basic level is a choice, a primary choice: the choice to attain a state of active mental alertness of reality, or to not do so.
  2. There is far from a scientific consensus on this matter. There is not even a scientific consensus on what free will means. There is of course increasing study of human consciousness and even concepts like volition and willpower are being used more often in cognitive psychology. But anyways, to Rand, at the level of philosophy one does not pronounce a priori the contents of science. The philosopher does take the fundamental facts of direct perception into account, that is, that one can directly perceive one's control over the ability to focus and direct ones awareness. This is essentially what she posits "free will" to entail. How this actually works at the level of science is for observation and experimentation to figure out. One does not make something "not exist" by explaining it, that is the fallacy of "rewriting reality." For the scientist to say "free will is magical and acausal, or would have to be in order to exist" and then proceed to show that since that obviously isn't the case, then our choices must all be an illusion, etc., is an example of a scientist irresponsibly philosophizing (and an example of "rewriting reality.")
  3. 2046

    Contextually shocking editorial

    It's funny how left-liberals are suddenly becoming reborn laissez faire free traders when it comes to international trade, because of Trump of course, as Obama and Clinton did the same type of thing.
  4. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    What you don't like trolling and pedantic comments and you want your arguments to be examined and exchanged seriously... Hmm 🤔🤔🤔
  5. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    An argument form incredulity!!! Questioning the person instead of proving it!! Fallacy fallacy!! Guess you can't prove it then! 😂
  6. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    Help me understand objectivism. Where does it say I should be rational? Why should I be rational? And why do I have to be consistent? Prove it. I want citations from Ayn Rand.
  7. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    Also there's a Greg Salmieri talk about the proverb themed "taking responsibility for your happiness" although it's more of a motivational Ted-talk style than a talk about academic philosophy, but interesting theme nonetheless. He brings up a connection between Sartre's concept of "bad faith," that a kind of self-deception involved in not taking responsibility for your actions.
  8. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    Well you've moved the goalposts. Surely you can see that the question of whether or not her argument for ultimate ends is a successful one is a different question from whether she believed there are ultimate ends and life is just a matter of choosing arbitrary goals. And you've now shifted these goalposts with this post. Of course we can address both questions, but we should be clear that these are two different claims. If you can't even recognize that, then it seems I'm not dealing with an honest broker here. Let's take "why be rational?" Like we said, you don't have to be, but if you want to engage in thought, one must fellow certain methods, such as the principle of non-contradiction (PNC.) To draw an analogy, it could be put into the form "If I want to engage in thought, then I ought to follow the PNC." Since the PNC binds all thought, one way to evade it then, is simply to stop thinking. It doesn't apply to a non-thinker. The PNC isn't a categorical injunction to engage in thought. On the other hand, its non-application to the non-thinker is hardly a threat to its logical or epistemic authority. A non-thinker can't raise an objection (or even have one), and thus cannot constitute a problem for the PNC.
  9. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    The proverb refers to actions having consequences, the "and pay for it." Nowhere in there does it say "and one ought to take whatever one happens to want." If you want to interpret it that way, that's fine, but it seems hardly as "pretty obvious" and "clear" as you think. You can say, well I just don't know, I guess she's not consistent. Could be, but you'd have to address the fact that Rand clearly doesn't accept the idea that any and all ends are equal, that there are ultimate ends (see David Odden's post), and accordingly that the standard of moral goodness is set by man's nature. If she argues for a standard of value, your interpretation is threatened.
  10. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    I'm not seeing your interpretation there. It seems to be a basic observation that if you will some ends, you must will the means to said ends. There is nothing in that statement "giving license" to any specific end at all, just a statement that on the relationship of means to ends, that actions have consequences because that's how reality works. If you try to square your interpretation with the pages and pages of Rand's text against emotionalism, subjectivism, relativism, hedonism, "taking desires as a primary," and "whim worship," should clue you in to something you're missing.
  11. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    In Rand morality is a hypothetical imperative, an "if-then" type relationship. A good quote is from "causality versus duty" In answer to a man who was telling her that she's got to do something or other, a wise old Negro woman said: “Mister, there's nothing I've got to do except die.” (PWNI, 133)
  12. It is true that Reid has utmost respect for Hume and wrote to him that if he stopped doing philosophy "we would have nothing to talk about." It seems Reid considered Hume the reductio ad absursum of enlightenment epistemology, so it makes sense he would attack Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Locke quite often. Have you heard of the "New Hume" tradition, according to IEP: Against the positions of causal reductionism and causal skepticism is the New Hume tradition. It started with Norman Kemp Smith’s The Philosophy of David Hume, and defends the view that Hume is a causal realist, a position that entails the denial of both causal reductionism and causal skepticism by maintaining that the truth value of causal statements is not reducible to non-causal states of affairs and that they are in principle, knowable. (Tooley 1987: 246-47) http://www.iep.utm.edu/hume-cau/#H6
  13. Wow that is really weird, as I've just started a class on Thomas Reid and the Scottish common sense school today. It's quite true that Reid and his followers have some very proto Randian ideas. First, it is important to understand Reid was a contemporary of David Hume and his writings were basically a response to Hume's skepticism. Reid basically says if this is where your philosophy ends up, then that's a prima facie reason for your philosophy being wrong. When we reach a conclusion that was inferred from premises, if the conclusion is plainly false, such as we can't know anything or reality isn't real, etc., then we must reject the entire line of reasoning as absurd and start over. Reid reinstated foundationalism, that is, there must be noninferential justification. This is quite similar to Rand's conception of "verification," which is a wider genus to which "proof" belongs. The epistemologist doesn't start out by saying "prove existence and logic and consciousness, etc.," as in Descartes, rather the epistemologist starts out "we have knowledge, we know existence exists, we need to find the proper method." He also argues against representationalism in Locke, and although he doesn't have a theory of perception of his own, he takes for granted the validity of the senses. Perception is not of ideas, but direct perception of objects. I don't need a "proof" for why my hand is in front of my face currently, I just point to it. There is no propositional justification necessary. He would've likely foubd much to enjoy of Kelley's Evidence of the Senses. Once we perceive objects, we can abstract our ideas from their similarities and differences, building more complex ideas upon less complex ones. A remarkably proto Randian view, although he holds to some older distinctions like primary vs secondary qualities that Rand rejects. Although he holds to a mind-body dichotomy, he does not draw inferences from it. There are minds and consciousness, we study the former with natural science and the latter with psychology, they are whatever they are. I don't know about his ethics yet, be he was a religious man, and seems he was an ethical intuitionist applying his common sense view to morality. And therein lies probably Rand's major difference, that sometimes Reid seems to be saying there are innate beliefs about the foundations of reason. Although he does say that "morality can be demonstrated as of mathematics." He also believes free will is among his self evident principles. All in all, his major influence seems to be saying most of modern philosophy is absurd and abstruse gibberish. There is a certain framework that must be within which an investigation can take place. Reality is real, existence exists, there are objects we are directly aware of, the senses are valid, reason is valid, yes believe your hand in front of your face, and if you doubt any of these things then throw your philosophy away or check your premises. http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/authors/reid "For, before men can reason together, they must agree in first principles; and it is impossible to reason with a man who has no principles in common with you." One of the first principles he goes on to list is that "qualities must necessarily be in something that is figured, coloured, hard or soft, that moves or resists. It is not to these qualities, but to that which is the subject of them, that we give the name body. If any man should think fit to deny that these things are qualities, or that they require any subject, I leave him to enjoy his opinion as a man who denies first principles, and is not fit to be reasoned with." (Cf. Wikipedia) "It is useless to reason with someone who denies the first principles on which the reasoning is based. Thus it would be useless to try to prove a proposition in Euclid to someone who denies Euclid’s axioms. Indeed we ought never to reason with men who deny first principles because they are obstinate and unwilling to yield to reason." (Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man)
  14. 2046

    Questions about Free Will and Morality

    😂🤣😂 Grandpa, thats enough computer for today
  15. 2046

    Questions about Free Will and Morality

    This points to a problem Wittgenstein talked about, that is imprecise language and its effects on philosophical conversation. "Connotation" is an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its primary or intended meaning. In addition to things like synonym and homonym, equivocation, undertone, implications and so forth, almost like Rand's conception of anticoncepts as package deals, all helps to obscure conversation. Anyways the point is taking an argument involving differing interpretations, saying something like "if what you mean by..." can help, like I said, that's why you define your terms. If there's a package deal, you seek to remove the meaning you don't want. So William, would you accept a framework involving something like "If what you mean by S is P, and Q entails P, then Q can be seen as a species of S." Keep in mind, the entire issue was raised in response to the OP asking about how free will was supposed to square with cause and effect. But Eiuol raises a good point, one that questions whether free will/determinism is a good distinction. Rand sought to eliminate many dualities, why not this one. It isn't just as simple as "because one side is correct" because, as we have seen, if what you mean by determinism is simply "all causes have effects," then it's not as if every deal in the package is bad, and furthermore not every deal in the "free will" package is good (in fact most conceptions of free will are rationalist and acausal.) So sometimes Rand wants to jettison a package deal like "isolationism" or "meritocracy" but wants to keep ones like "selfishness" and "capitalism" and "radical." She never really provides a criteria as to how to know what ones to keep and what ones to jettison, I suspect it largely depends on culture context. But anyways, just a side observation, and the "if what you mean by..." can be seen as a strategy for overcoming package deals.
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