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AshRyan

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About AshRyan

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 10/25/1981

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    AshRyan0
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    http://uofu.objectivismonline.net
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    Male
  • Location
    Utah
  • Interests
    Philosophy, particularly as applied to fiction writing.

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    United States
  • State (US/Canadian)
    Utah
  • Real Name
    Andrew "Ash" Vidrine
  • School or University
    University of Utah
  • Occupation
    I work at a bookstore and am an aspiring novelist.

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  1. AshRyan

    Esthetics as a branch of philosophy?

    Yeah, I must be missing something, because I've never heard of a philosophy that addresses itself to the question of "what and how we consume by way of food and drink." The last time I checked, the science that deals with principles of nutrition was, well, nutritional science. Ethics can tell you that you should eat food and not poison, but it can't tell you which is which. Philosophy does have some interesting things to say about sex, but there isn't a whole branch of philosophy devoted to the subject, like aesthetics. That's the context of this discussion. Okay, now you're whittling it down a bit, but...sex is about the body and not consciousness? Really? I strongly urge you to re-read the Dagny-Galt sex scene. And what about other special sciences in the humanities that are unequivocally about consciousness, such as psychology? Your argument about why aesthetics is properly a branch of philosophy would still have to include those as well, and is thus too broad.
  2. AshRyan

    Esthetics as a branch of philosophy?

    Surely that can't be all there is to it. Sex and nutrition, for instance (among many other things), are universal needs of all men, yet philosophy doesn't deal with them. And one could very well argue that math, history and physics (especially physics) "deal with a universal topic that affects all men." Of course, physics and other special sciences were considered part of philosophy until about a couple of centuries ago, until they began to become more specialized. But why not call aesthetics a special science now, as well, like other special sciences within the humanities like history or psychology? (Not that I disagree with your conclusion, as you can tell from my previous post---just trying to give you a Socratic nudge to hone your argument.)
  3. AshRyan

    Esthetics as a branch of philosophy?

    I haven't been on this board in nearly five years, but I just can't pass up commenting on this rather odd survey. "Of lesser importance"---to whom? Personally, I think one could make a very strong case that aesthetics is of greater philosophical importance than politics, particularly in the framework of an individualistic philosophy such as Objectivism. I mostly agree with adrock's initial post in this thread, only I think he could have gone much further. (As he said himself, "There are too many things to say on this" in a brief forum post.) I find the short shrift given to aesthetics among Objectivists especially bizarre considering that the philosophy was created as a means to Ayn Rand's aesthetic end of projecting the ideal man. I think The Romantic Manifesto is one of Rand's most important philosophical (non-fiction) books, surpassed only by Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (and perhaps itself surpassing even The Virtue of Selfishness). I think that model is oversimplified. Aesthetics is a normative branch, like ethics, and in many ways "spirals" with ethics, but is more directly based on metaphysics and epistemology itself. "Derivative" does not necessarily mean "of lesser importance." Until fairly recently, I would have been inclined to answer, "Well, maybe..." But the more I have studied and come to understand aesthetics (Objectivist and otherwise), the more I am inclined to say, "Probably not." P.S. It's extremely interesting to me that this discussion is focused on the "importance" of aesthetics, with that term being used in a vague manner and no attempt made to answer the question "important to whom, and for what?" (since "important" is a normative term). And yet, "important" is also a metaphysical term, which usage serves as the standard for what Ayn Rand called "metaphysical value judgments," which in turn form the base of both ethics and aesthetics. (See "Philosophy and Sense of Life" in The Romantic Manifesto.)
  4. AshRyan

    University of Utah Objectivist Club

    Hey, I ran the previous club at the U of U about five years ago (which is incidentally also about how long it has been since I was active on this board). I'm very glad to hear that someone is trying to start one up again. I sent you an email at the club email address a couple of days ago, and just signed up for the GoogleGroup. I'll look forward to hearing more from you about this. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance. Ash
  5. AshRyan

    Victor Hugo

    I just finished The Man Who Laughs a couple of weeks ago. I didn't like it as much as either Ninety-Three or Toilers of the Sea (which is still my favorite). Gwynplaine is not nearly as compelling or heroic of a character as Gilliat, IMO. [spoilers] He accomplishes a great feat as a child, but then grows up, becomes a circus freak, gets arrested, finds out he is a Lord, accepts his lordship, sort of (but not really) turns down a beautiful woman's advances because of his Platonic relationship with a blind girl, gives a rather lousy speech to the House of Lords, is made a mockery of and loses everything, is reunited with the blind girl, and then, after she dies for no good reason, drowns himself. [/spoilers] Not particularly inspiring. The ending of The Man Who Laughs was by far the worst of the three. Hugo imposes the moral-practical dichotomy he accepts on it (by killing off the heroes since the moral man cannot be successful in this life), only in this case with no decent plot reason. I'm still scratching my head as to why Ayn Rand thought this was Hugo's best novel. Her statement that it is his best-plotted one is particularly mind-boggling to me. Toilers of the Sea certainly surpasses it in that regard, as does Ninety-Three (aside from the boring middle section). This comes across as overly-critical, though. I do think that The Man Who Laughs is worth reading, just not as good as some of Hugo's other novels. I would definitely like to read his plays, though, those sound interesting. Is there an English translation available?
  6. AshRyan

    Andy Bernstein In Utah

    Dr. Bernstein is coming to Utah to lecture on "Religion vs. Morality." For real this time (we had to fly in a replacement speaker at the last minute last time after Dr. Bernstein's flight was cancelled). If you are in Utah, or are going to be on March 1st, please come and support us. What will you get out of it? An entertaining and informative lecture. It beats a night at the movies, and it's cheaper, too. Visit our website for more info, or send me an email through the board.
  7. AshRyan

    Ayn Rand in Waldenbooks

    I also work at Barnes & Noble, and there Branden's biography is shelved in the biography section, not philosophy. A slight improvement, but I'm not so sure it can accurately be called a "biography" either. Perhaps the best place for it would be in "fiction."
  8. AshRyan

    I'm back

    Hello all, After a long absence, I'm finally back. I still won't be as active as I once was, just because I'm very busy, but I'll try to check in at least once every week or two. Finishing up last semester consumed a lot of my time, as has a new job at a bookstore (I started on as part-time seasonal help in November, but have since gotten a promotion to a full-time position). Also, it turns out that the classes I finished last fall fulfilled all of my major requirements by my advisor's reckoning (much to my surprise), so he signed off on my graduation application and I'll be receiving my B.A. in philosophy when the next batch of diplomas rolls off the press, come May. So school isn't so time-consuming anymore, but my job more than makes up for that, along with some other personal issues in my life right now. On top of that, I no longer have regular internet access at home, so I can only do this stuff when I'm on campus (which is over an hour commute for me) and have a few extra hours to spend on it. But it's good to be back, hope I will be able to be a bit more active now and avoid anymore four-month absences.
  9. AshRyan

    Justin King

    Click here. Click on the videos at the bottom and watch, in this order, the Larrivee video clip, the "Knock on Wood" live video, and the "Change" music video. You will be amazed. Then buy his CD. This guy is incredible. He honestly does for the guitar what Bela Fleck did for the banjo and what Victor Wooten did for the bass, if you're familiar with the Flecktones' work. You can thank me later.
  10. AshRyan

    Isn't Everyone Selfish

    Moved from "Metaphysics and Epistemology" forum to "Ethics" forum.
  11. The problem is in thinking that the spread of Objectivism can be measured only in the political realm. In fact, if Objectivism is to have a chance to spread as a philosophy, the focus has to be on education, not politics (which are an effect, not a cause). That is the approach ARI takes, and they are making significant headway. By the way, there have been plenty of mentions of Objectivism in the culture since Ayn Rand died, and gaining momentum lately (some of which Thoyd Loki detailed). How do you think that there are so many of us here who are too young to remember when Ayn Rand was alive? How did we hear about the philosophy? And there are more coming all the time.
  12. AshRyan

    Defense Against Arbitrary Assertion

    You might be surprised. After all, many people are proudly agnostic on theological questions, and people do tend to go around bragging about dumb things (such as selflessness).
  13. AshRyan

    Ari Needs To Raise $52,000

    The left may be based on nihilism and subjectivism, but most individual leftists are not hardcore nihilists or subjectivists. The vast majority of them have genuine values. That gives us an opportunity to get our foot in the door. Granted, it may be more difficult than doing the same with the Republican party, but it would be doing the same. Because it's directly analogous to how the Republican Party is based on blind faith in a higher power--another form of irrationalism to which we could not appeal directly--and yet most individual Republicans are not hardcore intrinsicists, and acknowledge, for example, that murder is wrong because of its real consequences and not just because God decreed it in the Bible. Exactly.
  14. AshRyan

    I Thought This Was Pretty Funny.

    Exactly. That's what I was referring to, in case I wasn't clear enough in my previous post.
  15. AshRyan

    Objectivist Rides...

    Oh man, if any of you saw what I drive, you would probably die laughing (or just be horrified). My car is over a decade and a half old (but not in a "classic" kind of way) and I only paid $200 bucks for it, but that's just because I needed something cheap quick at the time...and amazingly, it's still running a year and a half later. For the time being, I really only need something to get me to the light rail station and back anyway. (Well, and to my girlfriend's house, but I could walk that if I had to.)
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