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Boydstun

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  1. . The transcription of Rand’s epistemology seminars (1969–71) included in the second edition of ITOE, contain some deep exchanges between Rand and Gotthelf (Prof. B ) and Peikoff (Prof. E). Outside those, the most sustained dialogues (in the transcription) are the penetrating exchanges between Rand and John O. Nelson (Prof. D).* Prof. Nelson had contributed an article on matters political to Rand’s The Objectivist in 1969. A note listing therewith some glimpse of Nelson’s academic stature included: “Professor Nelson agrees with the basic principles of Objectivism in ethics and politics.” That expresses perhaps too much concord even in those areas, but anyway, that statement rightly indicated that Nelson was of another perspective in areas of theoretical philosophy. Jeff Broome, an acquaintance of John O. Nelson (1917–2005), writes in the Preface to a couple of Nelson studies on Hume: “It wasn’t just Wittgenstein who was impressed by John’s penetrating philosophical mind. Ayn Rand would also become friends with John and Edna, inviting them to her Manhatten apartment for weekend exchanges of philosophical ideas. John was impressed with the depth of Ayn’s intellect, especially her ability to talk in depth about nearly countless topics and ideas. John proved her equal in conversations, a rarity among Rand’s inner circle of close friends.” (2010)
  2. . The Political Economy of Public Debt - Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence Richard M. Salsman (2017)
  3. . The strings of the harp return to silence. That is so not only for each individual, but for the species, and eventually for all life in the solar system, and eventually farther, for all life-organization and intelligence-organization in the universe. Stardust to stardust. “When we are here, death is not come. When death is come, we are not here.” –Lucretius Taking a third-person perspective on oneself, one can be in advance conscious of one’s death, one’s full stop. In the first-person perspective, full ending of any object of consciousness whatsoever is collapse of both together, conscious process and object. I like better the third-person perspective, which is the only perspective with real interest for one's endpoint. Value is here on this earth beyond one's own life. Look to here and to the tomorrows of here all through one’s own last look at all.
  4. . You’ll have to do the study and make your own informed discernments. (Record your sources and page numbers in your notes and drafts; it saves you time later and helps you make real progress over the years.) Before Kant what criticisms of Locke’s realism were made by Berkeley, Hume, and Reid? What criticisms were made by Kant of all those predecessors? Chapters 6-12 of Primary & Secondary Qualities – The Historical and Ongoing Debate (2011, Lawrence Nolan, editor) and see Kant’s Prolegomena and his Critique of Pure Reason (Pluhar translation, index). What empiricist rejoinders were promptly made against Kant? Kant’s Early Critics –The Empiricist Critique of the Theoretical Philosophy (2007, Brigitte Sassen, editor) Philosophy of perception continues alive and lively to this day, as in A. D. Smith’s The Problem of Perception. As for the Kant scholars, none find Kant either faultless or the last word worth saying on any of his topics.
  5. Here are the Abstracts. Beyond that, dive in for the swim. “Would Immortality Be Worth It” In this paper, one is invited into a carefully composed thought experiment about the meaning of life. In discussions touching on the meaning of life, one hears ordinary folk and beginning students of philosophy rather complacently assume that immortal life in heaven is the goal of life and that no more questions need be asked. The common contrary position is the view that since in reality we are not immortal, life is ultimately empty of value. Both positions rest on the premise that only immortality, and infinite life span, would make life worth living. This is the premise Hick’s thought experiment challenges. “Can Art Exist without Death” Reviews the currently envisioned [1993] theoretical biological limits on human life span; barriers to the human impulse to live effectively forever. Discusses the validity of the concept of infinity, distinguishing the metaphysically infinite from the physically infinite and from the mathematically infinite. Surveys carefully how and what Einstein's general theory of relativity, in its contemporary development, can tell us about the physical infinity of spacetime (in the large). Assimilates the possibility of effectively endless life with Rand's thesis that the concept of life—as we know it, vulnerable life—is what makes the concept of value possible. Elaborates and extends Rand's gedanken of the immortal, indestructible robot. Answers the question "Can art exist without death?"
  6. . Free online recent papers of high quality on Kant are available at Contemporary Studies in Kantian Philosophy.
  7. . Would Immortality Be Worth It? --Stephen Hicks (1992) Can Art Exist without Death? --Kathleen Touchstone (1993)
  8. . There you have it.
  9. . Peikoff's Dissertation Prep Plato Aristotle I To be continued.
  10. . On sensation for Kant: KANT'S THEORY OF FORM --Robert Pippin (1984) On sensation and perception: KANT'S INTUITIONISM --Lorne Falkenstein (1995) On sensation, perception, and definition: Follow Index of Werner Pluhar's translation (1996) of CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. On definition, see especially A727-32 B755-60.
  11. . No, Budd. We do not have or even enter the discipline of geometry, such as that of Euclid without grasp of language stating axioms, postulates, definitions, and permitted constructions and remarking on the lettered diagrams. Prior to having language and any discursive concept, we have action- and image-schemata which of course entails some knowledge of geometrical forms (round, rollable ball / shape and motions of the dog); and without those attainments, an infant nearing its first word, its onset of first discursive concept, could not engage in the co-reference with caretakers by joint gaze or by finger pointing, which are necessary to attainment of first word. But that is not geometry in the sense of the structure Euclid lays before us, extensively and deeply illuminating character of space. Euclid, by the way, should be a prerequisite for study of philosophy in its epistemological and metaphysical wings. Both of those wings today, of course, should also be informed by assimilation of the results of our modern science of cognitive developmental psychology* and our physics. The absolute prerequisites for approach of philosophy in its theoretical parts are an elementary course in logic and a course working through Euclid's plane geometry. (With a serious interest, one can learn those two things in one's own study, without taking a course. That geometry is offered in high school, and what a divine joy it was and is for me. I had elementary logic in college. Then on my own I was able to learn whatever more advanced geometry [synthetic, like Euclid and later, or analytic, like Descartes and later] and more advanced logic.) Not knowing Euclid's geometry is not knowing really much of what Plato or Aristotle or Kant or Peikoff (dissertation) or I are talking about in epistemology or metaphysics. Not knowing both Euclid and the syllogistic logic of Aristotle's from elementary logic is like having a flat tire when turing Aristotle's thought in theory of science, definition, and metaphysics. There is no substitute for opening Euclid and just doing it. Euclid’s axioms (or common notions) are part of the starting points for the system and are not argued for. One is “things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another.” That is a relationship rather far beyond something one was simply presented in perception. It may fairly count as an intuitive induction, but we need to learn more about what that process was thought to be and what have been the problems with it. Work for the sequel of this study on LP’s dissertation.
  12. . Bravo to Tyler against the spoiling of 'begs the question'. Please say 'invites the question' or 'suggests the question'. Preserve the phrase 'begs the question' for our centuries-old informal logical fallacy of that name. I still mount an American flag once a year, for Independence Day, by the road, in our front woods. The republic for which it stands is still a great protector of individual rights, notwithstanding all its downfalls on that score. I recall once in college in the late '60's there was this black man, an older guy, who was a featured guest speaker sponsored by some left-socialist group (perhaps our SDS). He was speaking for socialism and telling of his recent international travels organizing and speaking in Africa. And then he mentioned that when he got back to America, he felt like kissing the ground, and he said there's nothing else this good. His hosts were extremely embarrassed, pretty sure. His vista was not entirely concordant with their own. In those days, we had the military draft, and an Administration with a big war need for our bodies, our lives. Over the arc of my life, that state aggression against our young men has been on hold, and that was some credit of our country in this interval (unfortunately, the recognition the draft's status as an aggression is cloudy in the view of most Americans, pretty sure). Over that arc, in a strand affecting me distinctively, our country legalized consensual adult gay sex throughout the land, got gays and lesbians openly and fully accepted into the armed forces, and recognized a legal power of same-sex couples to marry. We also mounted our flag in our Chicago years upon the attack of 9/11/01. And we mounted it here in Lynchburg on the day we got Bin Laden. I don't care what other people do to the American flag, and I certainly respect the diversity of feelings towards the flag and the republic, and the right to diverse expressions, including flag burning. But from me, respect and love of this flag and the now long line from Valley Forge to now of lives lain down for it and this country.
  13. . Peikoff's Dissertation Prep Plato Aristotle I To be continued. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the 'Aristotle I' post, I had written that “there is some recognition that existence is identity in Aristotle: ‘If all contradictories are true of the same subject at the same time, evidently all things will be one . . . . And thus we get the doctrine of Anaxagoras, that all things are mixed together; so that nothing exists’” (1007b19–26). The translation I had quoted was by Ross. I made an error in my transcription. It should read ‘. . . so that nothing really exists.” That translation of 1007b26 very possibly should be otherwise. These other ways squash the suggestion that here Aristotle is virtually stating Rand’s “Existence is Identity.” The translations of Kirwan 1993 and of Reeve 2016 do not say “. . . so that nothing really exists.” Rather, they say “. . . so that nothing is truly one” and “. . . so that there is nothing that is truly one.” If these later translations are truer to Aristotle’s text here, then the connection between existence and identity is here rather more indirect, turning on rigid attachment of oneness to existence and depending on the fullness of Rand’s Identity being covered by the variety of Aristotle’s ways of oneness. New Reference Reeve, C. D. C., translator, 2016. Aristotle, METAPHYSICS. Hackett. http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/metaphysics/
  14. . Kant and Principia Space, Rotation, Relativity - Kant ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS - In that second link, my essay was written in 1997. I'd like to mention two scholarly grand works appearing since then and pertinent to the topics in that essay: The volume Natural Science (2012) in the Cambridge edition of the works of Immanuel Kant. And by Michael Friedman, Kant's Construction of Nature (2013).
  15. . I’m pretty sure when I first learned the word “libertarian.” It was in a current issue of THE PERSONALIST at my university in around 1970. There was a debate in that issue wherein one side argued for government limited in the way I was familiar with from Rand, while the other side argued for anarchocapitalism. John Hospers was then the editor of that journal. I didn’t give the anarchocapitalist theory much thought until Nozick’s ASU came out (1974) and he made his case against that theory (especially those basing their position on individual rights) in consideration of issues of procedural justice. In 1971 Hosper’s book LIBERTARIANISM had been issued. Therein he defined libertarianism, “according to which the function of government should be limited to the protection of individuals against aggression by others or by government” (27). The last chapter of his book is titled “Is Government Necessary?” which I imagine set out the debate between limited-government libertarians and anarchocapitalist libertarians (his own side would have been the former, to be sure). Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the latter portion of that book including that chapter in my paperback fell off and is lost. In 1972 I was old enough to vote for the first time, and I wrote in the name John Hospers, who was the Presidential candidate of the newly formed Libertarian Party. I was in the Party and worked pretty hard with it until 1984, when I left it. All of our Presidential candidates to that year were limited-government libertarians as I recall. It was at the national convention in New York in 1975 that I spotted and bought Tibor Machan’s HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN LIBERTIES (1975). It was a systematic rights-based defense of limited-government libertarianism by another professional philosopher: “‘Libertarianism’ is the label that has been applied to the theory of society or political philosophy that identifies the initiation of force against others as the one form of human interaction that is impermissible in a human community under all circumstances. I have not used the label thus far because many libertarians base their acceptance of this basic prohibition on something other than a theory of human rights. Some take the principle to be self-evidently true. Others view it as an efficient device for social organization without giving it a foundation based on a moral point of view. But I will henceforth use the term ‘libertarianism’ to indicate the theory of human community proposed in this work” (147). We never thought of our rights-based limited-government libertarianism as some sort of poor stepsister to anarchocapitalist libertarianism. We did not concede the name “libertarianism” to them as most rightly theirs. I did read Murray Rothbard’s FOR A NEW LIBERTY (1974) and THE ETHICS OF LIBERTY (1982). Nice writing, but on his theory of property rights in land and their relations to enforcement institutions, the anarchocapitalist case collapses (again). (This was my comment in the link mentioned by William upstream.) Further, from my 1988 Right, Games, and Self-Realization.