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Everything posted by Eiuol

  1. I am wary of saying any particular sense of life is malevolent. Or at least there are malevolent people, but a careful summation is difficult when you don't know a lot about a person's mental habits and routines. One thought I had is that some people go through a lot of adversity, so "dark" elements are familiar to them. Familiarity does bring about preferences, so this is okay. Then, if these people are benevolent, they will likely contemplate and appreciate how growing is still possible. That is all to explain some of my art preferences, and how I still also like extremely triumphant Romantic artwork. I do not think I'm a mixed bag of a person. What I mean is that there are a number of ways sense of life is benevolent. By merely thinking of thinking about benevolence, we lose sight of major human personality traits or interests, such as novelty, need for cognition, introversion, familiarity, etc. Benevolent people vary to different degrees on all these traits regardless of one's philosophy or ideas. Anecdotal support that explicit philosophy alters art preferences: Nietzsche used to adore Wagner and his music, then grew to hate it all, that work later on evoking irritated and angry emotions about anti-semitism, nationalism, and exaggerated art that's empty of meaning. I also recall a lot of changes in David Bowie, but these are the people I think of offhand. As for myself, well: I had a strangely strong aversion to "emo" music in high school around 2005. It was an emotion I didn't like. I can speculate, but I don't remember the feeling. After definite changes in my philosophy as well as a wider repertoire of music history knowledge, it became a preferred genre. Largely that philosophy was Objectivism, and other thinkers. I don't recall liking things less over time. Probably FPS video games. I like Harry Potter a tad less. I like how the His Dark Materials series seems better now, so I want to re-read it. I like abstract art more, but not a work like Pollock. Some horror movies are cool like Saw, and my morbid sense of humor is stronger. Roald Dahl stories are more appealing now, and I liked him since I was 9. I also like psychological thrillers more, especially those of people with a confused consciousness. Yet it's the characters who offer clarity that drives me to take it all in.
  2. Well, as far as what a work means, there is meaning as far as what it means that doesn't vary according to who sees it, in the way that a word has meaning regardless of who said it. As long as some mind is able to think about it, of course. Then there's the meaning as in your emotional reaction to parts or the entirety of the work. I think we agree here on both, so I wanted to write it down to see if this is what you're thinking, too. An objective evaluation of art's denotation - as opposed to connotation of the elements and your emotional reaction - depends a lot on studying which styles and which details in a painting use which sort of focus. Generally, messier composition requires less focus, otherwise there will be detail. But there are so many ways to harness "messiness" that sometimes lead to clarity.
  3. Psychology of aesthetics is a thing nowadays, so it's less mysterious than when RM was written. It's an area I want to study, as in work on profesionally. Anyway, I agree that it starts to look like armchair psychology based on what one is able to project onto another. There are trends, but when figuring out what your sense of life is, you must focus on the emotions you feel. You'd need to look at what you do when you feel that way. You'd need to classify a wide array of emotions you feel. It's nice to talk about explicit interpretations of what an artist creates, and what you see as valuable - but it says nothing at all as to the feeling the artwork evokes. I brought up Starboy to show that while we can interpret the song, it won't necessarily show malevolent aspects of my sense of life. Regardless of what the song means, the important part is how a variety of people react to the same thing. That sunny painting? It bugs me. It makes me feel torn, as if the scene is fake, as if I'm being lied to. The woman's face feels false. I sense nothing negative about the song you linked KP, and I saw all of Wolf's Rain a while back. Even if the -song- were malevolent, it depends on how you react and which part. Sure an artwork has a general sense of life unified for the creator who puts in every small and big detail on purpose. As a viewer/listener, I don't even notice all details, and often only react to portions. Then, the more versed or experienced I am with a medium, the more I seem to take in at once. Here's some top of the line dark stuff: The thing is, I feel a sense of internal conflict that needs resolution. Solving problems is big to me and huge in my personality. In a song like this, it is as if I see a problem and work to fix it. That is only a partial analysis of my emotion about that song. The degree of malevolence in any artwork does not always correlate with the malevolence the viewer holds if any. Not reliably at least.
  4. Sure, but part of that is, perhaps, not knowing a lot about opera. Van Gogh probably is one example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh#/media/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Wheat_Field_with_Cypresses_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg This is a sunny landscape. There is little reason to suspect he had an overall positive sense of life judging from his behavior and unstable mental health. As a non-painter, I don't know how to judge it besides "dreamy floatiness is important here". As a viewer, there are many unknowns. For a creator, there are fewer unknowns, but even then, how will I get down to what is my sense of life as opposed to an emotion as fed through sense of life? It starts to reach a point where more analysis is draining. It starts to become special science, e.g. psychology. I'll tease this apart. On the one hand, you are speaking of how your explicit ideas have been habituated. On the other, you are attributing your reaction to the bad ideas you held a while ago. Your philosophy sets the criteria for emotional abstraction, that is, classifying things according to the emotions they evoke (paraphrased from somewhere before page 33). But you may still be reacting through largely positive/pro-life philosophy. I believe you when you say there is a malevolent streak somewhere. The issue is if it truly is malevolent per se, or a result of searching for the good in the bad. Maybe it's both. Also, a written interpretation is not one in the same as your feeling and the depth there. Take this song I like a lot: I hear many reasons to say it is malevolent, even I can explain the malevolent vibes. But, my reaction to the song isn't a tragic appreciation for the starboy (the character who The Weeknd is singing as in the video). It's more that he fell from grace for doing wrong, the song captures what it means for bad people to get their just desserts. The feeling I get is like one I feel if a bad person has bad things happen to them. I don't feel as if I need to resign myself to living my life through force. What counts is how you feel.
  5. How do you know this? I mean, this is a simplification of symbolism, such that you seem to base this on the connotations you've learned. I don't really like sunny landscapes, while I prefer dark landscapes generally. If a person hated life, and painted a sunny landscape, would they actually love life? You would be best off saying that what you choose to paint shows something about a person. What it shows, well, depends on your knowledge of art. I can say I really like this painting: I can attempt to give reasons, but I am not a painter or art historian. I would be making guesses. This isn't to say "there is no reason", only that it's really hard besides some really general ones, like "peculiarity is seen as important". What do the swans suggest, the clouds, the weird trees? I don't know. Delving deeper is beyond my ability. By the way, you'd also need to consider the degree of liking when it comes to one's sense of life. Paraphrased from page 33, "one's sense of life is fully involved only when one feels a profoundly personal emotion page". I understand you are talking in broad strokes, so here is paraphrasing from page 43 to remind you of some ideas: "it must be stressed that the pattern is not so gross and simple as preferring happy music to sad music according to a benevolent or malevolent view of the universe" "it is not merely what particular emotion a composition conveys, but how it conveys the emotion" I want to remind you that Rand didn't say any two people shared the same sense of life, so there will be many variations of even positive senses of life. Sense of life described here is her theory, so it's worth noting this point. There may be a broad category "positive sense of life" with differentia allowing for variations of individuals in their background experiences. Why is this mildly malevolent? Sure, you describe it with these words, but it's hard to say that you aren't missing something or lack the conceptual vocabulary to say the sense of life captured. All you can do is say if you feel good or bad. Rand understood at least in RM how hard it is to judge your own sense of life, and how we can't really judge what sense of life another person has.
  6. I agreed, mostly, up to here. Wouldn't it be better to say it is knowledge because it is about how the world is presented? Alternatively, you could say the "likeness" is not conceptual so it isn't knowledge. But I certainly lack knowledge of the first person details. It is no issue, though, as the form in which you know isn't the same as holding a belief of a fact of reality. I will -never- know the form in which you see a red cherry through the eyes and awareness of you ass an individual. However, we and all other aware animals can know in principle all about cherries. So, it presents no asymmetry with reality.
  7. Epist, you literally said you don't understand what universal entities are - while also criticizing the idea. It's not at all reasonable to criticize it in any sense before you do. It's fine to ask questions about it, but you can't rationally take a definite stand. It's not dishonest to say there's no point in discussing it with you based on that. If you meant that -now- you realize you don't get quite get it, then I think it's a simple misunderstanding.
  8. First off, if the consequences of a theory are in some sense distasteful, the theory doesn't become false for that reason. If the standards, in order to work at all, require a means no one is capable of, then the end is impossible no matter how important the end is. So, saying "well, knowledge is important, therefore my standards need to be possible!" would be pointless. I don't think any Objetivist-minded scholar would put any weight on the "possibility" argument except to say that knowledge is epistemic so the only way to talk about knowledge and attaining it are through possible means. The stronger argument I see is that people really are connected to reality by virtue of their senses. There isn't anything about reality that one is not able to identify in principle. That is, an asymmetry does not exist unless we also have something in reality that is undetectable by any human means. We'd have to postulate that there's a supernatural world in a literal sense, a world in which we'll always be separate from. I doubt many detractors would buy into that, so they'd go on to say that our human means can at best create ideas and beliefs; these beliefs will not be objective thanks to [animal nature/impulse/cognitive biases/etc.] When we get down to it, impossibility is not the real issue, but what human capabilities are. People generally agree that knowledge is properly true, as far as I've seen. An "above man" standard is really just denying that perception is good enough for developing all kinds of knowledge. Or the other end, perception is all there is, abstractions are all myths.
  9. My description in that paragraph ( "I don't like the title at all, but it's not hard to see that the actions of all the characters in the end lead to living life better. No one was glued to their past in the end." ) was about Collateral Beauty. Personally, I found that the wording all flowed in Ninety-Three, but perhaps that was the translation. The "loose cannon" scene was brilliant in the book, and I can imagine that in French it's even better. As far as Romanticism, there are dark scenes, except there is great triumph when overcoming adversity. In this sense, a "darker side" is spot on. After all, good drama has some nasty obstacles. It's less about details than it is -why- the characters act, even if the events are "unrealistic". I agree somewhat that the 3 roles got too much weight as far as the plot. I blame that on weakness in some of the writing rather than a philosophical choice or theme. Through the ending though, we can say that the point overall was about rediscovering purpose. Keep in mind that by the end, Howard at last reacted, upon Madeleine's advice. He was finding values again that he never really lost. Early on, he was passively pulled along by death, love, and time. Same with the supporting business partners. At the end, everyone took responsibility.
  10. I saw this on your suggestion in this thread. I liked it. True, the theme of the movie is death of a loved one and resulting need to move on in life. I would not characterize this as focusing on the negative. Rather, the recurring idea is that the negative elements in life don't need to dominate anyone's thoughts - not even Howard's. If this were philosophically dark, Howard would not have gotten better, or perhaps he'd come to "love" death. That's not how the plot progressed. Although part of the idea is that there's beauty in death, but that's only the explicit philosophy. Consider how Rand, in her intro to Ninety-Three, said she stood against Hugo's explicit philosophy, yet his implicit philosophy as seen in his writing was deeply good and sought the best in man. I don't like the title at all, but it's not hard to see that the actions of all the characters in the end lead to living life better. No one was glued to their past in the end. It's a short and to-the-point movie. Worth watching.
  11. "As a side issue, (not to be a distraction), in many cases there are a very large number of "best" (based on rationality) "choices" ... which are on perfectly equal standing rationally speaking, a particular SUV might be the best choice based on rationality for your family but the color need not require any rational analysis..." I suspect that the reason you say that some choice can be equally rational is related to how a feeling can originate from a non-rational mental state, or did not involve interpretation. I agree with Grames that something like color preference can be the basis for a rational distinction due to their nature as information. Further, they aren't emotions anyway, so it's more like perception or near the level of perception - you can't like purple more than green by interpretation or evaluation. On the other hand, colors often have psychological connotations, but that's not too much different than getting scared when you see a spider. There's a difference between getting a "feeling" when you see a color, and what you think about when you see a color. That "feeling" leads to absolutely correct answers for yourself as related to what makes you physically and psychology different than another person. To make that clearer: while sometimes there is no answer to "what color SUV should I pick?" for people as a whole, that doesn't mean all answers are equally as rational. A. Anything the result of deliberate thought can be rational or irrational. Resulting thoughts that employ epistemic principles is rational. Anything else is non-rational. B. Only when/ if rational thought could not be used somewhere in the process we're referring to. D. I don't make a big deal about it personally, I just use epistemic principles. So, choices I make are all rational by that standard. But, of course, sometimes I learn a principle was not any good and I stop using it. An issue comes up if a person obsesses on a past error, when that action looks irrational only in retrospect.
  12. How does that follow? You explained a little bit, but would you flesh it out more?
  13. It's also partly that they have no need for quantities, so thinking about numbers is complex to them. But, there are clear difficulties in teaching math from this. The interesting thing is that while people may fail at tests that measure ability to remember, individuation is natural to all people. Also, there's a difference between holding individuals in mind (individuation) and recognizing quantities as a whole (ennumeration). 4 is about the normal amount an adult is able to individuate. The 5 plus or minus two is not that same mental process. Remembering 7 items of a list, like days of the week or colors of the rainbow, isn't so bad. If you tried to think about 7 balls with a different color each, you'd do poorly. You'd do poorly at thinking of the balls as individuals. It seems that the focusing is limited to 4 perceived items in working memory at a time. Maybe up to 6 with extensive and intense training (think professional gamers).
  14. Good, I only object to you using the word universal. William expressed better than me why your use of the word universal seems so problematic. Your point seems good, but seem to think Rand was a nominalist for not believing in some metaphysical -entity-. This is hard to express. I'll take it back and defer to William's post for what I mean. I thought you were proposing an entity. I don't think you are now. But it is grounded in something basic! Rand grounds it in an entity, and any entity having identity. We have a direct connection to entities via perception. Sure, Rand adds some pragmatic criteria to form concepts and their definitions. This doesn't at all contradict grounding in entities. After all, Rand says measurement is needed, where measurement is only with the givens of perception. This reminds me of how you claim consequentialism any time consequences are mentioned in arguments on ethics, as if one pragmatic element ruins objectivity.
  15. The more I read your posts on this subject, your main issue looks to be that you're criticizing Rand for not clearing up how -entities- have meaning. You could call identity a universal, or the identity of something is a universal, but this doesn't follow how people mean an -entity- when they say universal. I seriously doubt that people here would deny that there are metaphysical givens, and some entities share some intrinsic traits, and that such givens are how we create an epistemic "mental entity" (which is a term Rand used). See your other thread for more thoughts...
  16. It's simple for me, I do that sorta thing for a living. I'll make a hierarchy, then see if Jaskn can implement it.
  17. Isn't a bigger issue what allows for a universally united notion of some concept? I am not sure what metaphysically basic universals are supposed to be, or why they are needed. Why not a universal-making metaphysically basic fact of all that exists? The way you propose a universal makes it sound like it is either an actual entity (you deny this) or a mental entity like a visualization. Rand seems to say identity and existence are metaphysically basic facts, and that by virtue of having identity, a number of entities can share features. From there, one creates a mental entity - a concept - based on those features. As man-made, the concept is epistemic, but refers to some metaphysically basic truth (identity) and the metaphysically given features of an entity. You seem to begin with a universal as a mental entity, pre-formed, before explaining how one may sense such an entity. You haven't addressed how Rand thinks meaning comes from an entity.
  18. That's my point. There are elements of one's mind that one isn't aware of. Mental content simply refers to a mental operation using either a representation or a presentation. The operation need not be deliberation. No, this doesn't establish that there are thoughts without awareness. There is no entailment here except that thoughts require a physical realization. That's not a change in perception, i.e. the world as you see it. That's a change in conception: if an Incan figures a ship is a whale, this is only an error of identification. Thus, an Incan might choose to ignore it.
  19. It'd be wise. But not sure if there's a good means to do so given older threads. It should be easy, dunno how the software is about it.
  20. Forget "your" philosophy for one moment. I wasn't even presenting a substantial argument. I wanted to get the terms right. I was first giving a broad distinction as "what happens in the head mentally" and "what doesn't happen in the head mentally". This way thoughts one isn't aware of makes some sense, as long as we stop saying "thought" and note that mental content says nothing about how aware one is of a particular mental happening. From there, it is fine to differentiate emotion from deliberation. Notice how I didn't say "thought". Also, neither of those are unconscious. There is no such thing as an unconscious thought, emotion, or intuition. To be sure, there are non-conscious mental content or events (arguable which one as a scientific theory). What you are describing needs some name besides "thought", as the term gets confusing. "Not enough experience to detect them" suggests, along with the above, that they literally saw the ships in a vaguer way. There's no reason to suppose that their eyes had trouble focusing as if it were blurry. Concepts help in terms of what to focus on and why, thus aiding perceptual interaction with the world. By the way, some psychologists suppose that thinking -alters- perception, or tweaks it. Like wearing a heavy backpack makes a hill look steeper, that sort of idea. That might be arguable. But it goes too far to say that seeing a Galleon clearly is harder for an Incan.
  21. Why call it a thought? If you are not at all aware of a specific thought, it is not a "thinking thing" as implied by being the noun form of "think". A mental event, or mental content, makes more sense. Taking the above, the question becomes: what mental content is being integrated into a percept? Cognitive psychologists study exactly how and to what degree. There a number of studies, particularly in psycholinguistics. Your reasoning goes wrong here. Trial and error is needed to know how to focus well and why. The problem is to focus at all doesn't require experience. To focus purposefully, maybe. But the human body is innately attuned to certain stimuli, thus allowing for initial focus without innate concepts. As far as Objectivist epistemology here, this does not contradict Rand's notion of tabula rasa - the mind is only ever blank as far as knowledge and concepts. The scientific analysis shows how it is focus works in detail. This is true, but your example is bad. If you need to have the concept "ship" to detect ships..... no one would see ships nor would the concept exist. Whales would literally wander into boats, fish wouldn't nibble on hooks. You'd be fine as an Incan to see a huge Spanish Galleon. You'd see a floating thing, all its sails, but it'd be a little confusing. Drawing it from memory would not work well. In this way, your focus would be less efficient. Forming new concepts helps make narrower distinctions. Concepts do not alter how the world looks, but recognizing distinctions helps you decide what to look for.
  22. If Szal is like me regarding learning, it helps to have a healthy bias against what I am learning. Eventually, if the idea is validated, I'll deeply integrate it into my thinking. When I say bias, I mean not being skeptical of your own beliefs. Being skeptical of new ideas by being willing to lay out all my existing ideas. Since not all people share this cognitive style, the important thing is to read their tone. Anyway, yeah, general podcast advice: if you want comments, ask one or two specific questions at the end (like a talk or lecture), then encourage people to answer.
  23. Some people do better when they present arguments against the very thing they are learning about. Perhaps the objection is trite to the more learned person, or oversimplified, or confused, but this is how learning works. When a kid learns astronomy, there may be weird objections that are bizarre, asking about how aliens built the solar system. Clearly, Szal's objections are more sophisticated than that. But by presenting the objection, often that suggests wanting to learn more. Szal probably has some good questions, and also errors in reading Rand as people do with any philosopher. A good way to find contradictions in oneself is to use one's ideas "above" their knowledge level. To do well in that setting, you need to say what you understand and your issue with it, even before a strong foundation. When you get something totally wrong, errors become clearer. If you learn to cook, say, sometimes deliberately ignoring an ingredient or technique, objecting to fantastic advice from pros, helps you learn why those techniques are used.
  24. True, reality exists as a whole. Reality isn't merely a collection. While the essay I wrote that you read pondering if the universe is properly classified as an object, I'm certain enough to say that all of reality's concretes are causally connected to some degree. Often, we can and do express any relations as abstract relations that are entirely manmade. But there certainly are abstract (non-concrete) relations which have a standing towards each other intrinsically. When I think about reverse square sort of laws, those seem to be about intrinsic aspects of reality, the metaphysically given in a fundamental way. The specific measurements are manmade, yet the part of reality our theories use are based on a law. We can argue which those "intrinsic laws" are (say, if the pythagorean theorem is), though. Perhaps we disagree on what a law is, though. If a law is best classified as an abstraction, this doesn't affect my position that the reason Rand's epistemology doesn't end up subjective, it is because there are intrinsic relations. Or abstract objects as SK suggested (I find it misleading as a term, so I'm not phrasing it that way). My bigger concern is how we can relate the entities and objects objectively. Identifying particulars is plenty fine for direct realism. But THIS box and THAT box are objectively united as the concept "box" is additionally integration. We need something to allow for that besides -only- grasping onto concrete that are metaphysically given. It looks fine to say when we identify more than one particular, an intrinsic relation exists implicitly. Furthermore, this does not apply to abstractions of abstractions. All that is why your "therefore" doesn't seem to work. The singling out is man-determined, but what would one single out besides a metaphysical given? On the other hand, "singling out" abstractions is real, I can focus on an abstraction like "egoism" when forming arguments. For the context here, perception only focuses on the given, even if the product of focus is manmade. Ultimately, then, relations are not the same as the individual parts. Noticing a tree, just like that, isn't true, or even a logical relation. It just is. It is intrinsic to reality. "Tree" = false is senseless. A thinker doesn't enter anyway - it's irrelevant. Tree x Tree is sensible. As concretes, there is something intrinsic with how they stand to each other. Their relation. " What reality is and what you know about reality necessarily differ because of your finite powers of observation. " So this really does sound like truth is an approximation. The same error theory I spoke of. If I know X, by this reasoning, reality CANNOT be X. If X is a fact, what I will and can ever know cannot correspond to X - they necessarily differ. I can't make any other sense of your statement.
  25. The facts of reality that are true without reference to a thinker are intrinsic in the sense that what you think or how you think doesn't matter. A law seems like an intrinsic relation, unlike a theory where man's means matters (e.g. is constructed by man, or is a relation between manmade abstractions). When people say scientific law, they don't seem to mean the abstraction one holds, but a relation strictly between concrete objects. I'm still thinking about it, though. By the way, Jacob Bunting is Jacob86 from this forum.