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2046 last won the day on March 10

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  1. Words do get hijacked, meanings change and get debated, people have differing interpretations of meanings. Certainly, part of what we do when we do philosophy or exchange ideas is deliberating over meanings and interpretations. As Locke wrote in "Essay on Human Understanding" and the "Letters Concerning Toleration," these are just parts of being human, knowledge is not automatic and reason is not automatic, nor does it function without effort. People are doing to disagree on ideas. So tell me, how exactly do you plan on getting around this little fact? Your question of "who decides" is ill conceived, the real question is what decides and on what basis. You wouldn't build an engine and go "Even physicists disagree on how physics work, and well, who decides how internal combustion works anyways? These are constantly shifting goalposts, guess I'll walk, or use a horse and carriage."
  2. Using my argument? So the SJWs are using my arguments to shut down free speech? That's quite impressive, I didn't know Ayn Rand was so popular amongst Antifa. Of course anyone can define "harm" or "violating rights" or "force" in any such what that would constitute any meaning whatever. I remember one of the Jan Helfield interviews with some Democratic Congressman and Helfield got the Congressman to admit that stealing was wrong, just that taxes weren't really theft because the government owns all the money and so they're just taking their own money back from citizens. People will claim all kinds of things to avoid cognitive dissonance. The question is what arguments are they making? Are you sure you're representing them correctly, and are these arguments the same one Ayn Rand made to justify egoism and the non-aggression principle? And what would you substitute in its place if not? I think you'll find they are influenced by a specific philosophy called postmodernism and not the individualists.
  3. Idk what to tell you man. People have disagreements because that's part of being human. Objectivists believe that the principles of justice are discoverable by human reason, the method of finding stuff out. Everyone's not going to always agree. You will be left alone by objectivists on your own property, but if you are looking for something with no laws and license to, say, blast your neighbor with 140 db (120-130 I'd generally the threshold of pain), then don't be shocked when the cops storm your property cause you like totally "weren't touching them." Noise vibrations that are invasive, surely we can discern the difference between this and say, "my feelings were hurt," and can go with something like "uninvitedly altering the physical integrity of someone elses property" or something like this as the basis of our tort claim. There's always going to be all sort of legal issues involving civil torts, what constitutes fraud, threats, breach of contract, incitement, negligence, what is proportionality, strict liability, what kind of restitution, etc. These legal issues are only just going to confuse you if you don't grasp "I have freedom so that I can pursue my human flourishing without interference and everyone else in society has that same right." Understand the basic issues of political science first. What grounds your right to do X, or what forms the basis for you to say "no one can stop me from doing X!" If you're looking for something to justify "I want to do X because I feel like it and no one can stop me!" well, you don't need objectivism for that.
  4. Force versus freedom. Look to understand this difference. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/physical_force.html The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man—or group or society or government—has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense. A holdup man seeks to gain a value, wealth, by killing his victim; the victim does not grow richer by killing a holdup man. The principle is: no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force.
  5. 1. Culture: No, it means culture and legal systems are not unidirectional. And all current "Western" values, certainly not. The US neoconservatives thought they could turn Iraq into a liberal democracy by giving them the ability to vote, for example. Politics is a consequence of a larger philosophical and cultural mileu. Change the culture if you want to change the system. E.g. address the widespread mysticism of reincarnation if you want to eat a nice sirloin. 2. I'll do you a better one, radio waves are constantly moving through our bodies night and day, why haven't we banned all radio stations? Again, you have to objectively prove harm to your property and a specific source(s) of it (i.e. not just "cars" in general.) 3. If you are actually harming someone, as in their physical body or property, then yes, you should be made to stop. That is the point of individual rights. Harming their feelings, yes they should get over it. Only force can be met with force. Forget the legal issues, stick with understanding the issue of property rights.
  6. 1. Culture and liberty: It is true that there is a close link between culture and liberty. The legal institutions of a free society cannot be imposed from above without regard to pre existing cultural norms. Objectivism is very cultural universalist in which it definitely believes a general liberal and enlightened Western cultural ground is necessary for long term liberty to grow. This is what separates it apart from other theories of liberty. I think Rand may have been a little narrow in terms of what cultural ideals she thought were objective (Beethoven being malevolent for example), but a general egoistic cultural bedrock certainly makes sense. Objectivists tend to like the ancient Greeks for example, and they were pretty liberal with public nudity... It is important though not to mistake objectivism for intrinsicism. There is not one single culture that's valuable for every single place and time, that wouldn't make sense. Maybe cultural practices are "optional values" many are valid only for certain times, some are just plain made up traditions, but hey, doesn't mean they're bad or wrong. 2. Nuisance law: Export of noxious fumes, dust, particles, light, vibrations, noise, etc. definitely can constitute trespass and invasive interference. If I'm pumping a high decibel noise onto your property I am exporting noise-aggression, just as much as if I dumped my garbage into your bedroom myself, and can be enjoined. Damages can call for further liability. 3. Regulation vs civil law: Libertarians and objectivists often talk about what kind of law they want to see, but less attention is paid to the form in which the law system is organised. Rand seemed to be okay with a legislative body writing the Constitution and debating big picture issues, but seemed to favor tort law and a decentralized legal system for actual enforcement. One shouldn't blithely assume all law must proceed from a legislative body, as people like Mises and Hayek showed that without decentralized feedback mechanisms, economic calculation is impossible. Their criticisms apply equally to a legislature attempting to centrally plan the laws of a society. The widely dispersed, decentralized nature of information makes it impossible for a legislature to know the details of every legal situation. Objective judicial review denies the "prior restraint" theory of law inherent in legislative regulation. Only the civil or tort system is constant with objective law, with its judges, juries, arbitrators pursuing charges of torts by plaintiffs made against defendants. It is in this manner that these decentralized "law finding" systems, like the common law and Roman civil law evolved as jurists discovered legal principles applicable to specific factual situations while building upon previous decisions over time. It is this way that we reject "regulation," in the sense of centralized regulatory law, but support "regulation" in the sense of application of generally accepted and known legal principles applicable to the specifics of a given case. 4. Self-interest: There's a lot of different points in here, I'll just touch on one that sticks out to me. I'm not sure if most humans do have self interest as a top priority, not in the full sense used by objectivism. There is a sense in which all people are pursuing ends, all behavior is motivated behavior, but are those ends that are actually consonant with a long term full, flourishing life? I'm not sure about that, maybe on a basic level, but are they really pursuing excellence and self actualization? I think only the exceptional reach this. But anyways, the point here that self interest is prescriptive, not descriptive. The fact that we think something is in our self interest can't make it so, we know we have been wrong before. Nor is it just because you want something. You have to actually find out what is good for your long range well being, and this is quite difficult. Prescriptive vs descriptive. 5. Principles: Just a final conclusion to everything in general, it is important to think in terms of principles. You can't hold all of the facts in your mind at once, you have to have principles to guide you through your intellectual journey. It's important not to fall into the "blueprint" fallacy, that is the demand to blueprint every single detail of how this or that law or this or that industry would work. Whenyou think in terms of principles it makes it way easier to delve into a philosophy. I don't know "who will build the roads" or how every single detail of the medical industry would work, for example, but I know that there's a contradiction between individual rights and free markets on the one hand and socialized medicine and government monopolized infrastructure. "I have no idea how it would work" I tell myself, so I'll continue to think on it, research it, look at historical cases, read some literature on it, for example. Just know that it's not going to come all at once, it's a process. As RE Howard has Conan the barbarian say in one of his books, "trust not men. But steel, trust in this," (something like that.) The point, don't hold to people, organizations, or personalities, hold to principles. Anyways here's some supplemental reading material for you: Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist Tara Smith https://books.google.com/books?id=G8f9f_QOXegC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false Objectivism In One Lesson: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ayn Rand Andrew Bernstein University Press of America, Sep 12, 2008 - Philosophy - 127 pages https://books.google.com/books/about/Objectivism_In_One_Lesson.html?id=hF261sdsB-UC Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution Murray N. Rothbard This article was originally published in the Cato Journal 2, No. 1 (Spring 1982): pp. 55-99. https://mises.org/library/law-property-rights-and-air-pollution
  7. Veganism under Objectivism

    To be fair, and VO can correct if I'm wrong, but he's not arguing for animal rights as equivalent to human rights. He's arguing for animal rights on some sort of level as child rights, as in humans have some sort of guardianship or caretaker role over them, but we can't kill or maim them. That is enough to undercut a few of these counter arguments at least.
  8. Veganism under Objectivism

    Personally, I am somewhat sympathetic to this position. I don't think it follows from the fact that animals are sentient that animals can reason. Certainly they don't have conceptual thought and language, not even remotely the way humans do. And if they did posses full rights, it wouldn't follow that you shouldn't just kill them, but you couldn't compel them at all. I want to clear out some land and build a farm, well I can't because some muskrat of some sort has made it his home. Silliness follows from this. But I am somewhat sympathetic, like I said, to some sort of basic animal rights, to be differentiated from human rights. It is clear that they are sentient beings, and have some sort of basic level of awareness and free will, they have emotions and personality, research shows even that some of the more intelligent ones can abstract and even form some first level concepts. I think this leads to a certain very basic level of protection, that you can be compelled by the law not to cause unnecessary suffering and cruelty to animals. They can still be killed and eaten, can still be used for our ends and purposes, but that has to be done within certain cruelty laws. Idon't think most objectivists believe this, unfortunately, they believe it to be monstrous and immoral, of course, just that the law cannot address it. Interestingly enough, it seems that Ayn Rand was also very sympathetic to the idea of animal rights, she just thought ultimately it couldn't be proven, according to Barbara Branden in an interview in Liberty Magazine. Source: http://mises.org/journals/liberty/Liberty_Magazine_January_1990.pdf
  9. Argument about rights

    Also: Here's some resources for you, Tara Smith, professor of philosophy, University of Texas at Austin: Moral Rights and Political Freedom https://books.google.com/books?id=AQlvAAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false Seeking a way out of today's bewildering rush of rights claims, Tara Smith's Moral Rights and Political Freedom offers a systematic account of the nature and foundations of rights. The book carefully elucidates what political freedom is and demonstrates why it should be protected by rights. Smith's thesis is that rights are teleological: respect for freedom is necessary for individuals' flourishing or eudaimonia. Smith illustrates how many alleged rights would actually undermine that objective. Her decisive refutation of the assumption that conflicts between rights are inevitable—demonstrating how such conflicts are theoretically incoherent and practically self-defeating—should go a long way toward resolving many contemporary disputes about rights. http://web.a.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=01675249&AN=58776760&h=dYFFb%2fpp0DVDxUB4dEqXLQ94D24Myci%2baeSwVWOXQld0cLPwbD0FzIdf1DUgInw8eH%2fLtaOi76oHHC7sGOoXWg%3d%3d&crl=f&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d01675249%26AN%3d58776760 On deriving rights to goods from rights to freedom Source: Law & Philosophy . Aug1992, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p217-234. 18p. Author(s): SMITH, TARA Abstract:This paper examines a particular type of argument often employed to defend welfare fights. This argument contends that welfare fights are a necessary supplement to liberty rights because fights to freedom become hollow when their bearers are not able to take advantage of their freedom. Rights to be provided with certain goods are thus a natural outgrowth of a genuine concern to protect freedom. I argue that this reasoning suffers from two fatal flaws. First, it rests on an erroneous notion of what it is to have a right, neglecting the fact that the exact source of a person's inability to exercise a fight is crucial to determining whether that fight is being respected. Second, the argument equivocates as to the "freedom" that fights are intended to protect, sometimes confusing freedom with ability, sometimes confusing not being free with not having other desired things, and sometimes confusing what a person is able to do with what a person is entitled to do.
  10. Argument about rights

    1. Reason is a method, not an argument. If I said "how do you prove the law of gravity?" And I said "reason," I'm talking about a methodology, not a specific argument. In natural rights theory, saying they "are justified by reason" just points to the methodology employed. We reason from man's life as the standard of value to what are the requirements for survival and flourishing in a political society. 2. The end is not mere survival, it is a rich conception of a flourishing life. Food, water, shelter, of course but also learning, development of skills, career pursuit, self acceptance and personal growth, social relationships, love, sense of purpose in life, etc. None of this can be provided at the point of a gun, it has to be achieved, and again according to the natural rights folks, that requires a sphere of independence in which we are free to act and pursue our ends. Secondly, because someone has a right to or needs some ends it doesn't follow they have a right to be provided said end. That's just a non sequitur. Thirdly, if someone is forcibly provided some end, someone else is therefore forced to labor for someone else's ends, and that introduces a contradiction. Welfare rights are accordingly incompatible with individual rights. In short: you don't own anyone. 3. There are some serious logical leaps being taken here. I need food, corn is food, therefore I have a right to force you to labor in a cornfield for me? Doesn't follow. I have a right to this specific river, let's say, because I labored on it, I built a fishery or a mill. I don't own "water" in the abstract, I own this specific water. You don't have rights to abstract classes, just specific things you either homesteaded or traded for.
  11. Running naked through the park: Yes you've identified a crucial problem with "public property," that is, property that has no clear owner, there is no way to regulate conflicts regarding its use without resort to arbitrary solutions. Now, Rand describes a free society in which all property is privately owned. But let's make an allowance here for some sort of land as you stipulate. Private property has its foundations in the Lockean homesteading principle, that which is unowned and I mix my labor with becomes my private property. Note that this doesn't mean all property has one single individual owner, that would be the fallacy of composition. There are of course "group owned" properties and corporate entities allow for a legal method to deal with this. Legal doctrine has traditionally allowed for some sort of "commons" area or such associated with small towns or villages. A village is built, and there is a small space in the center reserved as a "town square" that people agree is available for general use. Or consider a fishing village near a lake, in the early days of the community it was hard to get to the lake because of all the brush and debris, but the path was slowly cleared over the years and not by any one single effort, but by the combined effort of walking through the path over time. I think there's also records in England of private roads that were built during the 19th Century and then donated to public use (the builders had businesses alongside.) So there's a public space in each of these, but what is the sense in which it is "public?" Surely it isn't truly "unowned," the village or townsfolk own it. And surely it isn't "government owned," or "owned collectively by the human race" or some such nonsense. It would simply be corporately owned by the actual village and they can set the community standards for their space. Surely I, as an outsider, cannot just come to their square or path and block it off for my own personal use, nor can I start streaking. As to how they go about decision making? They can vote, they can set up a board, they can have meetings, they can take disputes to arbitrators, they can form a homeowners association. They can leave rules real loose, or they can really get down and dirty and decide who the real owners are: Sam, he didn't really clear any brush, and Jones, he was lifting fallen branches every day, Sam gets a single share, but Jones gets a 20% share, whatever. You get the point. On the last point, pollution: certainly you have to provide proof of harm. And certainly our understanding of what is harmful changes over time. That's why issues are solved through tort law, not legislative law. This specific person harmed this specific person. And multiply it many times for class action suit, even for hypothetical massive cases. Objectivists accordingly view these issues like climate change as scientific issues, not political ones. One looks at scientific evidence, in a court of law, and if the plaintiff proves their case, then the court stops the pollution. Environmental crusaders are always looking for problems to solve, instead of becoming lobbyists and trying to buy influence from politicians, their efforts would be better served in a more Randian society as litigators for the aggrieved. But what Rand was truly opposed to was the ones that claim humanity must subordinate itself to instrinsic value of nature, or that civilization's progress must be stopped.
  12. In the objectivist view, conflict over the use of goods is solved by adherence to strict private property rights. The function of government is to organize a body of law based on that principle. 1. Pollution is the export of harmful particles onto someone else's physical body or property. Just as if I came and dumped my garbage on your lawn, if I am exporting harmful air onto your property I can be made to stop via a legal injunction, and sued for the damages. Indeed, historically this was the legal tradition, the problems involving pollution have been caused by the governments failure to live up to this role and to allow certain producers to export pollution in the name of the "public good." 2 and 3. Again, in a free society people will always have conflicting values. Differing opinions regarding the use of scarce resources is part of human nature. I want to do this on some property, you want to do that, who decides? Private property rights involves a kind of meta-ethical space in which people can seek their interests without coming into physical confrontation. In a market economy, individual choices and tastes prevail. Not all members of society will approve of the choices of others. But, by and large, the mass of the consumer choices will determine the way in which resources are used. Ifa library or retail store started allowing dress (or non-dress) far out of line with cultural value systems of the mainstream, consumers will be quick to express dissatisfaction with these management decisions. Same in education services. Some prefer Catholic schools, creationism, others a liberal arts education, or progressive education. Who decides what the schools should do? There is not one monopoly decision. Parents, as consumers, decide with their money, and the owners pay the price of their decision in terms of profit or loss. That is the beauty of the market system, when there is not one single monopoly decision. Let a million different flowers bloom, as the Maoists say.
  13. Questions about Free Will and Morality

    So a couple of things. First well it's just there in black and white. Okay but does that prohibit us from processing the information? Of course not, so like Eiuol said, the kind of "hard determinism" or "psychological determinism," predestination, mechanism, reductionism, Calvinism and so forth, all this stuff is out. But the OP was asking what about the law of identity, how to square this with freewill. When most normal philosophers use determinism or physical determinism they just mean broadly that things have causes and effects. It's clear that Rand isn't opposed to this kind of determinism, and thinks whatever it is we perceive through introspection, however it actually works biologically, is compatible with this broad sense of physical determinism. This can be incredibly helpful to people trying to understand freewill in objectivism. Most people, in my experience, seem to think freewill must be this magical thing, and indeed if you read an incompatibilist account, if not outright religious it'll sure sound like that. Determinists count on that, take for example Sam Harris' incredibly popular book Free Will, where he basically argues (poorly) that free will means denying causality, quotes a bunch of libertarians, and then says therefore either science or freewill. He even basically says yes, the epicurean swerve must be true, because it's inexplicable how people choose things. It's total rubbish. Anyways, you get my point, it's important to engage with the conceptual content and not just repeat quotes about how dictatorship leads to determinism, you're just going to confuse an otherwise curious person.
  14. Questions about Free Will and Morality

    It would seem your points are not as profound as you want them to be. Gee golly, Rationality (with a capital R, because lower case just isn't good enough) is man's essential characteristic, why thanks, I've never heard that one before. So elucidating. Next you'll be telling me, why mate, didn't you know Reason is Man's means of survival qua Man?? Gotta throw that qua in there. You strike me as someone that's just discovered objectivism and philosophy and every thought is of great insight. Much as I love a good pissing match, this ceases to interest me. If you are interested in, for example, what is sense of agency (SA) in cognitive psychology, as it is the base level of self-awareness. There's some good papers out there to read. A lot of the recent cognitive psychology research is fascinating when it comes to explaining free will, "how it works." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12798261/ Abstract Recognizing oneself as the owner of a body and the agent of actions requires specific mechanisms which have been elucidated only recently. One of these mechanisms is the monitoring of signals arising from bodily movements, i.e. the central signals which contribute to the generation of the movements and the sensory signals which arise from their execution. The congruence between these two sets of signals is a strong index for determining the experiences of ownership and agency, which are the main constituents of the experience of being an independent self.
  15. Folks, here's the video of the actual discussion between Yaron and Sargon that was scheduled to take place before the attack. The "free speech marshalls" of King's College shut down the talk after anti-fascists used fascism to silence it, they relocated to a backup venue.