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New Buddha

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  1. Yes. Aesthetics properly includes the study of how aesthetic experiences are at all possible in the first place. And aesthetic experiences can apply to all experiences. As a demonstration, many have probably heard of synesthesia. I tend to believe that synesthesia should be subsumed under the broader concept ideasthesia. If you were asked to name the two figures below either 'Bouba' or 'Kiki', we would probably all name them the same way. This is a fascinating example of the cross-modal blending of senses and concepts, and this cognitive capacity lies at the root of aesthetic experiences. It includes visual, tactile, kinesthesia, audio - even how words are formed by the lips, etc. The sounds 'Ki" and 'Bou' are 'sharp' and 'rounded' respectively.
  2. I think it's valid to have two concepts (per Rand's Razor that concepts are not to be multiplied beyond necessity): Art and Athletics. But I agree with your point that there are similarities. From the Lexicon entry ART: By a selective re-creation, art isolates and integrates those aspects of reality which represent man’s fundamental view of himself and of existence. Out of the countless number of concretes—of single, disorganized and (seemingly) contradictory attributes, actions and entities—an artist isolates the things which he regards as metaphysically essential and integrates them into a single new concrete that represents an embodied abstraction. For instance, consider two statues of man: one as a Greek god, the other as a deformed medieval monstrosity. Both are metaphysical estimates of man; both are projections of the artist’s view of man’s nature; both are concretized representations of the philosophy of their respective cultures. Watching a great athlete selectively hone certain physical skills to an extraordinary degree - as does a ballet dancer - is something that we can enjoy aesthetically. It's no accident that the Greeks often sculpted athletes.
  3. To add to my above post. From the Lexicon entry America. It took centuries of intellectual, philosophical development to achieve political freedom. It was a long struggle, stretching from Aristotle to John Locke to the Founding Fathers. The system they established was not based on unlimited majority rule, but on its opposite: on individual rights, which were not to be alienated by majority vote or minority plotting. The individual was not left at the mercy of his neighbors or his leaders: the Constitutional system of checks and balances was scientifically devised to protect him from both. This was the great American achievement—and if concern for the actual welfare of other nations were our present leaders’ motive, this is what we should have been teaching the world. The Americans were political revolutionaries but not ethical revolutionaries. Whatever their partial (and largely implicit) acceptance of the principle of ethical egoism, they remained explicitly within the standard European tradition, avowing their primary allegiance to a moral code stressing philanthropic service and social duty. Such was the American conflict: an impassioned politics presupposing one kind of ethics, within a cultural atmosphere professing the sublimity of an opposite kind of ethics.
  4. Rand did not invent capitalism, individual rights, private property, individualism, the concept of rational self-interest, etc. I question to what degree you even understand what Rand's "message" was. Specifically, what is it that you think she contributed to philosophy and the above ideas?
  5. And you don't think rational self-interest leads to people being all of the above?
  6. What was not foreseen when Social Security and other entitlements programs were enacted in the United States (and Europe in general) was the precipitous drop in population replacement rates in the West, coupled with a dramatic increase in life expectancy (which increases the number of years that people will collect entitlements). From an article at the Mercatus Center : Most of the major shifts in worker-to-beneficiary ratios before the 1960s are attributable to the dynamics of the program's maturity. In the early stages of the program, many paid in and few received benefits, and the revenue collected greatly exceeded the benefits being paid out. What appeared to be the program's advantage, however, turned out to be misleading. Between 1945 and 1965, the decline in worker-to-beneficiary ratios went from 41 to 4 workers per beneficiary. The Social Security program matured in the 1960s, when Americans were consistently having fewer children, living longer, and earning wages at a slower rate than the rate of growth in the number of retirees. As these trends have continued, today there are just 2.9 workers per retiree—and this amount is expected to drop to two workers per retiree by 2030. The program was stable when there were more than 3 workers per beneficiary. However, future projections indicate that the ratio will continue to fall from two workers to one, at which point the program in its current structure becomes financially unsustainable. We have a $19 trillion debt and are borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars each year just to keep these entitlements programs afloat. We also have over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities associated with these programs. Last time I checked, interest payments alone on the national debt comprised over 6% of collected Federal revenues. To a large extent, the reason the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates hovering at just over 0% has been to reduce payments on the national debt.
  7. But is it in your rational self-interest? Edit: I feel a bit like I'm trying to explain to a Bernie Sanders supporter why a hike in the Federal minimum wage to $15 per hour will hurt most the very people that they think it will help.
  8. This is not quite what Objectivism says. From the Lexicon entry Values: “Value” is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. The concept “value” is not a primary; it presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? It presupposes an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative. Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible. It is only an ultimate goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life.” To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.” If you "act to gain and/or keep" values that result in your own demise, then the whole question of morality becomes a moot point. Eating a donut may not be the most healthy thing in the world for you to do, but it will hardly result in your demise.
  9. I don't really keep with what is happening at the Ayn Rand Institue, but I searched and found this: http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/24/the-government-is-not-structured-to-do-health-care-says-president-of-ayn-rand-institute/ And I am aware that many Think Tanks, who engage in lobbying for a variety of issues, do have people that have been influenced by Objectivism, and credit as much on their websites.
  10. Is it really in your rational self-interest to live in a society where people constantly steal from one another? Doesn't trading value-for-value work better? There is no moral vs. practical dichotomy. Life is not a zero-sum game where, for one to prosper, another must suffer. Most decisions that we make in life require a cost vs. benefit analysis. Eating a donut has both a cost (not being very healthy) and benefit (enjoyment of the taste). And many decisions in life are complex enough (how to distribute your money across a 401K) that we don't necessarily see or know the outcome until a length of time has passed. If one part of the investment goes south, then we make adjustments once that becomes clear. 99.99% of the decisions we make in life are not "life or death" decisions. Rand avoids "life boat" ethical discussions because what lies behind that premise is that life is nothing more than having to constantly make decisions between "bad" and "worse" outcomes.
  11. Knowing that eating donuts is not the healthiest thing to do, knowing that there are consequences and accepting those consequences (or off setting them thru increased exercise, etc.) is being "objective".
  12. Subjective (and Objective) have several meanings in philosophy. As an example, I am a Subject and my keyboard is an Object. If my knowledge of my keyboard is formed from my experience of it, then that knowledge is "objective." If I believe that I have an innate, a priori concept of "keyboard" in my mind, prior to my experience of it (or of any keyboard whatsoever) then my knowledge is "subjective" - meaning that the source of knowledge is not the object, but me, the subject. This has to do with the Primacy of Existence vs. the Primacy of Consciousness.
  13. Dialectic can be "epistemological" in the sense that it is a method of discourse, but it can be understood more broadly as having arisen from the contemplation of the correspondence between Plato's archetypes of Form(s) and our knowledge of their particular manifestations in everyday life. This "dialectic" between "what a thing is" and our "knowledge of it" is a theme that has been replayed down through the ages of Western Philosophy since Plato. Much of Christian theology was a continuation of Greco-Roman Neoplatonism and has had a huge influence on Western thought, of course. Axioms in Objectivism are very broad generalizations/concepts arrived at through a long chain of inductions/concept formation (abstractions-from-abstractions). Axioms are not grasped as perceptually self-evident from first-level concepts (abstractions-from-concretes) although the process of forming them does start from there. Axioms are implicit in perception but are grasped conceptually. I haven't read his book so I'm not sure what he means by contemporary. Are we talking in the last 100 years? or what is being published in philosophical journals in 2017?
  14. I think, generally speaking, that Western philosophies (and philosophers) can be seen as falling into one of two camps: the dialectic of Plato or the realism of Aristotle. Most are mixed, so I don't know that a broad claim can be made about contemporary academic philosophers much beyond that.
  15. Or he could be right about some things and wrong about others.