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2046

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Everything posted by 2046

  1. 2046

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    Suppose we are organizing a baseball team in the old sandlot. As we huddle up, Rodriguez giving instructions says, "Okay guys, the pitcher must throw the ball every play." We all take the field and Ham hits a pop fly to Merjet in right field. He misses it, of course, but runs quickly to retrieve it, then looks at Squints tentatively at second base. "C'mon what are ya waiting for?!" Hmm, he used the singular when he gave instructions, Merjet thinks to himself, unsure of the meaning of the rules. I guess only the pitcher can throw the ball then. He then runs all the way to second from the outfield and hands the ball to Squints. "You're killin' me, Merjet!" Ham exclaims. Seems like, in our ordinary language use, the singular modifies that specific noun. It's used when you want to talk about that one thing. But it doesn't seem like it necessarily excludes other things. In the sandlot example, just because the pitcher throws the ball every play, doesn't mean other players don't get the throw the ball too. They might even throw it every play, like say, the catcher does during a no-hitter. There is no logical necessity tying the two together positively or negatively. We just don't know if it's included or excluded because the singular just modifies that one thing. Another thought experiment: Suppose there are two dishes in the sink: a pot and a plate. My mom says to me "2046, can you put the plate in the dishwasher?" I proceed to put both the plate and the pot in the dishwasher. My mom then exclaims, "No, you dofus, I said the plate not the plate and the pot, don't you listen? That's your grandmother's cast iron skillet and needs to be washed by hand. You don't listen!" In this case, we didn't actually want anything else included in "being in the dishwasher." In the sandlot example, we did want other players included in "throwing the ball" (chopping off "every play" here.) But at the time we were just focusing on one aspect. We didn't know about the others until we looked at the facts of the situation. So when we look at the facts of the situation, which I gave reasons for before, it does seem like sometimes we want others to benefit from our actions as well as us. But the question is also how best to interpret Rand. What this shows is that the singular modifier doesn't necessarily, as I said before, include or exclude others also benefiting. And when we look at all the other context where Rand literally does say "mutual benefit" over and over again, it seems as myopic as Scotty Smalls from The Sandlot to insist otherwise.
  2. 2046

    What is 'reason'?

    You seem to think that the "Objectivist method" is some thing, like an actual sui generis "method," apart from a philosophic explanation of the scientific method of observation and experimentation and why it works. In a sense, we start out from knowing that we have knowledge, we know that we have useful ideas, epistemology is then going back and saying "what was the method that I used and how does that work?" And yeah like Eiuol said, I'm not sure how formal logic and probability theory are opposed to, say, the world of Bacon or Mill or a Rand.
  3. 2046

    What is 'reason'?

    Also, in Rand's epistemology, it's not the sensations that are being conceptually united by the process of reason, one does not experience sensations in most normal circumstances (ie., unless you have diminished mental capacity, are in a sensory deprivation experiment, etc.) The process of integrating sensations into perception is physiological, not rational (as in Kant), one experiences a united perceptual field, rather than sensations. The process of reason proceeds, under this theory, by abstracting from the field of perception, and then integrating the units conceptually as you described.
  4. 2046

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    Let us review the Rand quotation again: "Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action " (Rand 1964, ix-x). If we're going to take the Randian "literalness" approach, where one does not "translate it" nor "endow it" with some "meaning of your own," then it seems neither necessarily follows. My (1) would be something like: [T]he actor must always be the beneficiary of his action, and no one else. My (2) would be something like: [T]he actor must always be the beneficiary of his action, and others can too. Both add a predicate that is not literally present and endow it with meaning that is not literally present in the original single quotation. So if we're going on the literalness approach alone, you can't say only (1) follows. Strictly speaking, we don't know if others are allowed to benefit, based singularly on the literalness of the quotation. We don't know that they are or aren't. It is neither logically excluded or entailed. Suppose in some cave somewhere, a long lost scroll of Socrates' writings were found. The scroll contained the following passage: Scroll 1 Socrates: S must always P. Suppose Scholar A had the following interpretation: Scholar A: What Socrates means is S and only S must always P, and no one else. It's the only literal interpretation! Suppose Scholar B had the following objection: Scholar B: Well that's not literally what Socrates says here, clearly not the only interpretation. I assume Socrates means S must always P, and sometimes Q as well. Strictly speaking, based on the Scroll 1 alone, both interpretations are "live options" as academics say, we can't infer one or the other just on the literal words of Socrates. Suppose then a second scroll is uncovered: Scroll 2 Socrates: Men trade their goods or services by mutual consent to mutual advantage, according to their own independent, uncoerced judgment. Every agreement is delimited, specified and subject to certain conditions, that is, dependent upon a mutual trade to mutual benefit. In a free society, men deal with one another by voluntary, uncoerced exchange, by mutual consent to mutual profit... Men trade their goods or services by mutual consent to mutual advantage... It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit... The deserved belongs in the selfish, commercial realm of mutual profit; it is only the undeserved that calls for that moral transaction which consists of profit to one at the price of disaster to the other. (And I know I'm shifting from symbols to text here, but bear with me.) What would we then say about Scholar A's interpretation? Perhaps in the days when all we had was Scroll 1, it was a viable option. Even then, it wasn't the only option, because the predicate "and no one else" was added, that is, not literal, an endowment, if you will, like the character from the Chris Rock movie "Head of State," whose campaign slogan was "God bless America... and no place else!" It was an interpretation that wasn't logically incompatible, if not logically entailed. But now that we have Scroll 2, what would we say if Scholar A persisted that his interpretation of Socrates was the only one true logical interpretation? We might say that's just silly.
  5. 2046

    Salmieri's CV

    Indeed, most academic departments require faculty to have a web page with their CV and many contain links to PDFs as well as just lists of papers, which you can then search a site like PhilPapers or JSTOR to find. Usually there is a paywall, but JSTOR allows a certain number of free articles, and if you have an institution password or just want to pay, you'll find a treasure trove. Ben Bayer has PDFs up, Fred Miller, Edward Younkins, Steven Hicks, Carrie-Ann Bondi, James Lennox, Allan Gotthelf, most of these people have PDFs online. For example Onkar Ghate's PhD dissertation is up, lots of neat stuff.
  6. 2046

    "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

    I don't get how "one can benefit others without self-sacrifice” isn't compatible with the above? It doesn't seem to follow, from the above quote, "another can never benefit from one's actions." I mean if you categorized it thusly: (1) actions which benefit myself and not others (2) actions which benefit both myself and others (3) actions which benefit others and not myself It seems 1 and 2 are entailed by Rand's quotation. And why would you always want to be the beneficiary? If "benefit" in this taxonomy is defined as that which contributes to my survival and flourishing, then you just wouldn't want to be going around doing 3 all the time. Even on the margins, time is scarce and life is short, if the standard of ethics is that which contributes to your survival and flourishing, doing 3 is ultimately a drain on your resources and harmful in that sense. Also, as most economical analysis of positive externalities will tell you, most human action lies in 2. Suppose I enjoy gardening and have a rose garden outside, well you can enjoy my garden by looking at it. Is this a 1 or a 2? I work out and educate myself in manners and etiquette, you too can then enjoy my attractiveness and good manners as a little bonus. The point here is, most action is 2, the human race would have died out long ago if only 1 was allowed. Of course, I haven't read the paper in question, and you could break the categories down a lot more, so I shall reserve my judgment, but it just seems silly to interpret that as "no one else can ever benefit from my actions." The scope of actions that fall under 2 that Rand does recommend, friendship, love, commerce, living in a human society, if all of these things seem squarely under 2, then it seems a big problem for merjets interpretation.
  7. Dave Rubin was recently featured on Rogan's podcast, which Yaron has expressed that he wants to go on. Rogan, if you don't know, has one of the highest rated podcasts out there. Rogan has also stated that (1) he doesn't like it when people suggest to him about having someone on, if people keep asking it annoys him and he doesn't want to have that person on, and (2) he doesn't like anyone who is too doctrinaire about anything. When I suggested this to Yaron (in chat) his response was "well I'm not doctrinaire." I'm positive Joe will not see it that way. Joe is really averse to principles, I have a feeling he equates "nuance" with concrete-boundness. But apparently Joe enjoys Peter Schiff and has had him on multiple times. (If you watch those you'll see what I'm talking about.) Anyways: Relevant part is at about 2:05:00 ish. The background is Rogan saying that we have to have government regulation because people won't build houses correctly. Rubin suggests that he doesn't think that implies government regulation, but Rogan is having none of it. People aren't inherently benevolent and so will try to bilk as much as possible out of the next guy, so there will be much more hazardous construction without regulation. Rubin suggests this isn't the only way to organize things, but admits he doesn't really have a good argument. [My transcript guaranteed to not be 100% accurate] Rubin: You know who should have on to talk about this, and I know people have looped you in before, is Yaron Brook from Ayn Rand Institute cause he's really good on this. Rogan: No one's looped me in with him. Maybe they have, but I haven't paid attention to that. Rubin: I'll hook you up, I'll be happy to do that, he's a really interesting guy that has moved my thinking a little bit on this. Rogan: Those Ayn Rand people, they're really fucking harsh. Rubin: They like ideas, man. Rogan: Those are... They're.... Pssssss.....[shakes head] yeah. Rubin: They're not the most fun people on the planet, but I generally like them, cause they just want, they're kind of live and let live. That's really it, that's really the crux of it. Pretty much. Rogan: Is that really the crux of it though? Rubin: Yeah. Rogan: People think that there's like a cruelty aspect to it, though, the Ayn Rand philosophy. Rubin: Well, they believe in rational self-interest. Which, if you say "self," people think you're evil. But we all basically operate in rational self-interest all the time. Rogan: Right, but espousing it, that's the thing. It's like proclaiming it, that's what makes people go "ohhhh," you're essentially setting up the Gordon Gekko idea, that "greed is good." Rubin: Yeah, I kinda buy into that idea. Rogan: Do you buy into "greed is good"? Rubin: Yeah, basically. Not greed to destroy the word, but if you, Joe, do what is good for you, by extension... Rogan: Right but is that greed? Or is that ambition? Rubin: Right, exactly, that's my point. Rogan: That's where it gets conflated, isn't it? Rubin: Right, so without whittling it to the definition of greed versus ambition, it's like you do what is good for you, but it doesn't mean you're just running this rampaging program to destroy the world in the name of Joe Rogan, you're doing what's good for you because you actually like your audience and you want them to learn, you want to have money so that your family can live in a house that you can afford, so that you can send your kids to good schools and all of those things. That's all rational self-interest. If, at the same time, you're running a nuclear power plant, and you're Mr Burns, and you're dumping in the river, well no, that's actually no longer rational self-interest because you're polluting the very environment you live in. Rogan: Who takes care of that, who regulates that? Is that where government comes in? Who gets you in trouble, in your opinion, if you're this deregulation guy, who goes after you when you dump shit into the river? Rubin: I'm not saying there should be no regulation, I'm just saying I generally like this line of thinking. [...they discuss how there's ways to may money through green entrepreneurship] Rogan: What's the solution if someone pollutes? If you're not gonna have regulation, what is the solution when someone does something that's illegal? Rubin replies basically that it's not as if you get rid of regulations and then every businessmen everywhere just goes, "ah finally, let's dump into the rivers!" and that if someone did, it's easy to catch, and that there are more market-friendly ways of doing things. Rogan remains unconvinced and just thinks not having laws wouldn't stop people (which he equates to Rubin's position.) Anyways, comments, deconstructions, analysis?
  8. Think of it as a continuum. There's some point between having a negative thought and plunging a knife into someone such that the border between each adjacent segment of action might not be easily perceptually identifiable but where the extremes are, and where acting in self defense of negative throughts is too early and when the knife is already in your chest is too late.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.")
  11. 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.
  12. 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 🤔🤔🤔
  13. 2046

    Why follow reason?

    An argument form incredulity!!! Questioning the person instead of proving it!! Fallacy fallacy!! Guess you can't prove it then! 😂
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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)
  20. 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
  21. 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)
  22. 2046

    Questions about Free Will and Morality

    😂🤣😂 Grandpa, thats enough computer for today
  23. 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.
  24. 2046

    Questions about Free Will and Morality

    Well, that's not exactly true. Determinism and free will are notoriously hard to debate about because different philosophers do use the terms differently and add different elements to them. Some use it to mean all events have causes, which would seem vital to Rand's conception. Some then add "that you can't have acted otherwise," some add a time-element and use it as synonymous with predestination, some take it to mean mechanism and reductionism, some don't, some mean strictly biological causes, some mean environmental causes only. I mean to say that all philosophers have the same concept of determinism is fantastic. That's why you define your terms and use clear language. And even if they did have meanings "as traditionally defined," well so does "selfishness" and "capitalism," and yet Rand would acknowledge the meaning she wants to use is different from the meanings popularly ascribed precisely in order to change people's minds about what the true meaning of the concepts actual are. So we can replace your criticisms as the following: The problem is that the terms you are using - primarily "selfishness" and "capitalism" - already have perfectly clear meanings in academic philosophy (and even in the Objectivist literature, which to my knowledge always uses them the same way academics do [do they????]). As they are traditionally defined, neither of those terms are consistent with Objectivism. If you continue to describe Objectivism as a selfish/capitalist philosophy, you will mislead and confuse people about what Objectivism says.
  25. 2046

    Race Realism

    NY times had a surprisingly good op-ed by Harvard geneticist David Reich, researcher on "ancient DNA" wherein he makes several points that sound downright Rand-tastic. Some snippets: institutional discrimination also has a negative impact on I.Q. of populations, which when those factors are controlled (education, economic upbringing, even being adopted and raised by parents who are of a different race), leads to even less substantial difference in even the average I.Q. of populations. Differences in individuals vary far more widely than populations. Especially with intelligence. The key point is that whatever science finds should not affect the way we behave toward one another. Whatever small average differences across groups might exist (and genetic studies have already made it clear that average differences across populations are much less than those between individuals), we are members of a single species, all of whom must be given every opportunity to flourish in every realm. “Race” is fundamentally a social category — not a biological one — as anthropologists have shown. As a society, we are already committed to giving everyone a full opportunity for self-realization — regardless of the particular hand each person is dealt from the deck of life. https://nyti.ms/2GmRY2n Of course the mainstream right and left want to "provide opportunity" by coercive legislation, and the postmodern leftists want to provide it by tearing everything down, but ah, we can't have everything can we.
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