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Eiuol

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About Eiuol

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  • Birthday 05/01/89

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  • Experience with Objectivism Rand related: All major works. (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Virtue of Selfishness, Atlas Shrugged, etc)

    Peikoff related: OPAR and three lecture series (Objectivism Through Induction, Understanding Objectivism, Unity in Ethics and Epistemology)

    Tara Smith related: Most things, including Viable Values and Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics.

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  1. That's great, and I enjoy that attitude. My main point was that it's important to get an argument right. Also it is far from unique for Objectivists to get an opposing side's argument wrong. I think you exhibit this too, that you studied a lot so you think that you got the argument right. I don't doubt you understand a lot, but you seem to miss the main arguments about the basis to ethics, by using distinctions that aren't present. If you think survival and happiness are not unified, therefore Rand's ethics are untenable - that's a plausible argument. But it's wrong to say that Rand sees one as a means to the other, or that they are distinct phenomena. A common error is to dismiss all of an argument because you see the conclusion is false. People have trouble with counter-factuals. Even Objectivists. It takes practice.
  2. That's good, but we probably have a couple thousand hours.
  3. In some sense this is complex, but in -general- a joyous outlook goes with a flourishing survival. Mere survival is slowly dying (you would be tending towards death on average) and happiness with nothing concrete to show for it is a chore. But to "do" life, to flourish, is both. Neither is a means to the other, but the process to live. In other words, the process is the reward, as doing it right brings its rewards of happiness as a state of being. (This isn't a full answer - but it's a start to my really long answer!) That's too bad. =\ For example, I think Nietzsche is an awesome philosopher. Rand lambasted him, but I think she was guilty of the same error I spoke about. She seemed to think her own study was enough to say she understood him, when she seems to only have read some quotes. (I'd argue that they have many good similarities) Rand is great when she makes her own viewpoint, and perhaps narrow aspects of philosophers' positions. She isn't so great with philosophers as a whole, criticizing them. I don't think this is unique to Objectivism - it's a common issue for anyone to get caught up in criticism.
  4. Not if the supposedly different things are essentially the same thing. Circularity would be if A justifies B because B justifies A. If A and B are part of the same thing, it's just two parts of how C works. So happiness AND survival are two aspects of life, where survival and happiness are one in the same as far as -doing- life. This is where flourishing comes in, as that's the measure of surviving and happiness. To talk about survival leading to happiness because happiness allows survival would be circular. That's not the Objectivist position though. Rand doesn't split the two except as concepts. This brings in some points for the OP presuming that's still your main interest. One is that no matter the viewpoint, you only get it as far as you study. You might find something wrong so then you spend time on other ideas that make more sense. But it's still possible to say your judgment of an idea being wrong was based on an error or mistake with interpretation. It's all too common that people refuse to go beyond the initial understanding. If you want to argue against someone, you better get their argument right. That's hard to do unless you're an expert or studied that topic a lot. Making a positive case is better. There isn't always a use to lambast anyone unless they are intent on making issues. An Objectivist will be better to -make- a case for their view. KP made great points, but I'll add some ideas. "I want the cake, but I don't want to be fat, so I don't eat it. A behaviour without a pre-rational drive is in essence a causeless behaviour. I find that logically incomprehensible. Perhaps you have a solution?" These aren't really drives in a precise way. All you said is that drives are wants. Okay, of course. Innate drives in this sense exist: there are pre-rational wants. Rand treats choosing life as pre-rational based on pleasure seeking. What still counts is that behavior still isn't about which desire is stronger. If that was it, animal behavior would be all solved. But it's not. Rand would say that's the whole point: principles are functionally useful to get through life with less problems. The principles also apply to all people, so it's not only about utility. For an organized thread, it might be best for you to make a thread if you want to argue out your positions. Kind of off topic by now.
  5. Both together at once. In general, not even with Objectivist positions alone, people are resistant to arguments where one person says two things are simultaneous so they work in unity, and their own position is that one thing must be prior to the other. So with happiness and survival here, it's not that one causes the other, but happiness only happens when one survives, i.e. follows one's nature. Same with free will. It's not that a third person mechanism CAUSES the first person operation of free will, but that they really are the same thing (we can argue if they're parts of the same thing, but it's not two separate things). That's why it looks circular. Opposing sides, if their reasoning isn't top notch, easily fall into false dichotomy. By the way, innate drives are still not as obvious as you say, as it does not address how that then translates into a behavior. People still study animals exactly because such drives are not a full story. Inclinations are no issue. She was wrong about instincts and her reasoning from that, but throwing that out doesn't undo Rand. The wider idea here is that criticizing is easy to do, but it's hard to get a total picture of other sides. I often see people get REALLY riled up by one side, then fail to think about it. The harder thing is to offer a new idea. How well -your- ideas stand is the most important part.
  6. Privatizing a government agency isn't an answer, as I think it'd create worse problems by nature of a mandated relationship of state and government. The transition would itself be decided by the government, with government assets, to some favored company of the state. I would rather a system where there is private control at all levels. Even if a person cannot afford care, in principle, non-profit organizations can help. I know, charitable giving is not itself a solution to all ills, but if there is no other way to get care, you ought to show that you're worth helping. The main idea is that voluntary action is the best means for health care to work. An economist knows the details. Since it is part of our nature to make our own decisions, and to reason out what we do, a system using that as a standard will be the best type of society. In general, this is true, better quality of life and even medicine. Medical treatments get cheaper, as people find it necessary to demonstrate and share an incredible value. Yes, profit is in there, but even on an investor level, getting a return at all requires others getting that value. If a company purposely raises the price so only rich people afford it, so fewer units need to be sold, that may easily create motvation to create alternatives. Part of the issue isn't care per se. It will be things like questionable IP practices and laws, the FDA (or other regulators), and insurance companies that are resistant to providing long-term care so their service sucks. We'd need a model or method to make something like MRI scans cheaper. Too bad most people only answer that with a public system.
  7. An additional way to look at it is to actually combine them! The free will thing is hard to get, in particular if you use the typical definition of free will. A combination can lead you to see that first- and third- person can be -of- the same process. I think this relates to the OP since if "lambast" another side you also need to grasp the foundation of ideas and errors, not just being right or wrong. Similarly, some people are caught up in a definition of free will without looking at the possibility of other foundations, -then- judging that side or what value is present in that side.
  8. It's the only moral way that might work. I would probably know pretty fast when a person is totally unwilling to talk. At least as far as I see, even the most combative people tend to be open to people who are willing to understand them as people and their interests. It really depends on the specific person, though. It also depends on my skills as a good listener.
  9. There are two parts: 1) ideologies based on emotional commitments can only be engaged through emotions (e.g. art, asking about feelings, asking about their intellectual journey) 2) after emotions start to shift, a person is more amenable to rational persuasion and argument I don't imagine this is controversial. 1 is essentially what a psychotherapist does for patients with personality disorders (you don't persuade them to change their behavior directly, you get them to introspect on emotions), 2 is what a psychotherapist may do as a patient begins to respond and become inclined to a full change. We're not therapists, the point is that in principle, this is the only way to reach a person with deep emotional commitments of all kinds. Can a Marxist, after becoming a committed Communist, really be persuaded? As long as people have free will, of course. Laika might be such a person. So the only issue is your time. It's hard to say when it's worth it, but it is possible to change the minds of several people at once, or affect a community. It's the same as persuasion for anything. Whether your time is wasted depends on a person's virtues while considering their vices (Marxism is a vice most of the time, so that's a big hurdle for value to outweigh disvalue).
  10. Maybe moralizing is an issue, but these aren't issues of Objectivism per se. Nothing in Objectivism makes Nietzsche, Kant, or Hume inherently wrong. That is, evaluating whether they are right or wrong is a matter of studying them. I guess (I'd say there aren't a ton), but whatever the case, don't be pragmatic with what's useful! Ask what is true or really does evaluate the world. Dustin seemed to be saying Objectivist type people are simply unwilling to understand any alternative views. I agree that other philosophers have great and valuable ideas - only you can ultimately judge their words.
  11. Agreed, it is at least some information. As you were asking, here is what I'd alter: Familiarity with past leaders needs to have people of similar historical stature, and time period. How does Mao compare to Nixon? To Khrushev? To Jimmy Stewart, to have non-political examples of the 60s? It's a survey, so sticking to leaders between 1940 and 1990 is probably best. Some big names. The questions about Stalin causing death is hard to measure. Do we mean people he sent to the gulag and executed? Do some people count soldiers being sent to war as a death -caused- by a leader? Millions of people died from starvation and other issues during Stalin's regime, but it's not the same as Stalin killing them or the regime killing them indirectly at best. So the survey results about which regime killed the most is not so helpful. It is better to phrase it like "Do you think Communism led to most of the deaths in the USSR during Stalin's leadership?" This captures more about how people -attribute- the deaths, not just "how many died". The questions on how the American economic system is too mixed to be useful. As far as economics, I'd say the system works against me on average. The survey takes this as vaguely anti-capitalist. A better question would be if a person thinks Communism would be superior. And is Communism a problem? I find it low on my list of political problems. That question is not helpful. Problem compared to what? It's not really a pressing issue. White nationalism is the problem that I see. Rather, I'd ask some question about the future of Communism. Do people see it as dying out? Or do respondents mean to say Communism is not a problem because it's good? Anecdotally, there is an uptick in Communism as far as I've seen, but this survey only seems to confirm an uptick vaguely speaking.
  12. Whoever made the report misrepresented the data for sure. But the survey question itself seems fine. The survey question was if familiar a particular person. Some were Communists, some weren't. Actually, looking through it, the whole thing was rather poorly done.
  13. I was speaking of the same thing. I'd say let's add some specifics. Suppose Hitler had an heir and Nazis won WW2 (this would be similar to the show Man in the High Castle). His son was a good Nazi, really adopting the mindset. Gaining the trust of high ranking Nazis. But, having been so "deep" into it all, he honestly changes his mind on a lot, yet doesn't show his change of heart. Then Hitler dies, then people are excited for the new Fuhrer. (This sets the context of a massive empire, or world-wide regime.) Using that... In this case, I disagree. If I were this heir, starting war would revolve around provoking in-fighting such that rebel groups would be able to take advantage. We'd want destabilization to the degree great empires only fall apart if the empire loses stability. Then it would fragment as Rome did. A war would help that process, at least to create a quagmire that hinders the empire. (Similar to Cold War tactics by both Soviets and Americans). For smaller nations, let's say Argentina in the 70s, I would not advise this tactic. Good point. I need to think more on this point.
  14. I should've said to his own citizens and all sorts of practices of violence. But it's not a huge line away from invasion and conquest. Anyway, going more on topic, I don't think being an heir is not something you'll get unless you already lip service to the regime/family. Heirs (if it's by blood or by "merit") are also uniquely able to alter the political situation. So, that veil of deception is critical if the country is worth saving - at which point Machiavelli has a lot to say. I think it actually might be best to focus on the high-end people, the real threats. How would you get them out of the government? My thinking is that the best course of action is to be there long enough to institute an unsustainable law to destabilize the government on purpose. Something easy and acute, then get the hell out of there - join a rebel group perhaps. How long it's worth staying in the dictator position depends on the size of the nation, the spread of corruption, and how long the nation has been that way.
  15. It's about the same thing as The Prince. You brought it up by talking about Machiavellian politics. It's meant to help deal with exactly these situations. Oh, I was thinking of dictators as those who take absolute individual control as an absolute authority. Those who use violent means of asserting authority, so Napolean wouldn't be one. But I agree if you mean any cult of personality in political regimes, I agree. As long as the heir believes in the same ideas.