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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus. And what is left of the rose is only its name. That is false and hateful.
  2. . A rose by any other name . . . In 1976 Rand wrote the following of a new 12-lecture course that Leonard Peikoff had prepared in consultation with her: "Until or unless I write a comprehensive treatise on my philosophy, Dr. Peikoff's course is the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism, i.e., the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate." This series of lectures was titled The Philosophy of Objectivism. These lectures were recorded, then heard for several years around the country in a controlled social format—no pirating—by groups of people who paid to hear the lectures. I heard the recorded lectures and took 53 pages of notes. The recordings included Q&A following the lectures, and Rand participated in these (once she had recovered well enough from a major surgery). It was stated at these lectures, and through years after, that Peikoff would work the lectures into a book. This he completed in 1991. That book is Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. It is. The book is indeed true to the content of his lecture series, which were, by Rand's own statement, an accurate presentation of her philosophy. Fortunately, Peikoff references his statements in the book to Rand's own published writings. This is a help in checking for oneself how truly it expresses Rand's philosophy.*
  3. The unfortunate thing—now that I have heard some of what these three new contributions will amount to—is that I will have to get the second edition of this book into my library alongside the first. Shoshana Migram’s new chapter is titled “Educating Kira and Leo.” In this essay, Prof. Milgram argues that Rand had studied two particular texts being used in courses at university in 1921, the setting of the students in We the Living. These texts have not been previously identified. One is N. I. Bukharin’s Theory of Historical Materialism: Popular Textbook of Marxist Sociology. (Bukharin was also a coauthor of the well-known ABC’s of Communism.*) The other is A. I. Vvedenskij’s Lectures on Ancient Philosophy. (Vvedenskij also supervised the Russian translation of Windelband’s History of Ancient Philosophy. Chris Sciabarra [1995] mentioned Vvedenskij in connections apart from Rand’s early education in ancient philosophy.) Robert Mayhew is contributing a new chapter “The Sacred in We the Living.” This is an examination of the attitudes of Kira, Andrei, and Leo towards sacred values, in their secular sense crafted by the author in this novel. The new contribution from Onkar Ghate is a study of Leo. It includes comparisons of the ways various souls in the novel are destroyed: Kira’s father, her sister Lydia, her uncle, her cousin Victor, and Andrei. And Leo, Kira's love. Kira’s end is in contrast: “broken, but not conquered,” as Rand described her in a journal entry.
  4. Intervention by the anti-nuke part of US citizenry has been most prominently through this venue it has seemed to me. Electoral politics has also been an intervention point, at least in connection to the federal responsibility for permanent disposition of high-level radwaste.* The recent federal backup of capital ventured for the new units at Vogtle* has only been necessary due to risk of interventions from the anti-nuke part of the public. Also, the longstanding federal limits on tort liability for nuclear accidents is, I think, a bolster that has only come about at all due to the underlying irrational public fears (jury fears) about the safety of nuclear power.
  5. Jacob, I worked in nuclear power a number of years. I helped in the preoperational testing and in turnover of systems from construction to operations. I do not recall regulatory uncertainty concerning construction or operations. The fundamental circumstance that seemed to have driven up fantastically the cost of making steam from uranium was, as Chris says: unfounded public fears about the safety of nuclear power. The accident at Three Mile Island harmed no one so far as I recall. But the cost of losing a reactor is staggering. I always knew, too, while I was working in nuclear generation, that if there were another accident as large as at TMI, that would be the end of nuclear power in America. Since TMI the industry in this country has been ultra safe, in no small part due to the competent watch of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (I know about the fire at Brown's Ferry and so forth; nothing has come near the TMI fiasco.) After the Japanese loss of Fukushima, the irrational anti-nuke movement finally prevailed in Germany. Very sad. Germany (West) had been very competent in nuclear power. Happily, the French and American governments reaffirmed their commitments to continuation of the nuclear component of electric power.
  6. . Wireless Charging Light, Networked – “Leave the driving to us.”
  7. . The latest issue of the newsletter for the Center at Rockford College has an interview with John Allison. In addition to his career achievements summarized at the head of the interview, I should add that Mr. Allison’s support has been a major factor in making possible the academic effectiveness of ARI, Anthem Foundation, and CEE. Thank you, John Allison. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS, The correct spelling: THE CENTER FOR ETHICS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
  8. Mr. Huffman, concerning #26: I know a man who, after fathering two children, had himself sterilized (vasectomy). He is not operating according to some principle antipodal to life, his highest value. He had long planned to have two children. He and their mother, though they divorced when the boys were in late grade school, raised those boys devotedly and to wonderful result. He never regarded having children or his embrace of woman to be for the sake of the life of the species or for conformance to an essence Man. Children and love-making were treasures he wanted for his individual life. Father sought and found gay relationships, and eventually came to one that was for keeps.* That man, as a young man, had not wanted to have children; he wanted as much time as possible for his brain children. Those were the treasures he wanted in his individual life. There was nothing opposing life in him from mind to fingertips, whether he found woman (and practiced birth control) or found man. All these individuals love each other as one family. There is a grandson. The childless man watched that wonder from its first lights and expects to do so to his own last.
  9. Re: #19 Tony, I gather that the talented young man who manages that site-sector of Olist (the sector's name is offensive to some older folks like me) is very much one who thinks for himself, as seen here. The rule about excluding posting privileges to persons who “associate with” Dr. Kelley, Dr. Sciabarra, or the Brandens is a rule set by site owner Diana Hsieh. Dr. Hsieh had sharp personal and intellectual conflicts with those first two a few years ago. I did not follow the particulars. It was anyway their problem, and I had my own work to do, as ever. As I understand from a recent talk by Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute, Nathaniel Branden is held in contempt, as an institutional doctrine, because of his horrible deception of his lover Ayn Rand. David Kelley is singled out for public repudiation by ARI officials because of his alleged failure to understand some basic principle(s) of Objectivism, as expressed in an essayed exchange between him and Leonard Peikoff concerning “open” and “closed” Objectivism. I was glad when Dr. Peikoff declared he was not going to continue further in the essay debate of the issue; he too had more important work to do. As I recall, those seemed to be good essays on both sides. However, I have not studied them carefully, and anyway, like everyone else, I was familiar with the important heuristic at work in the conflict: don’t pull rank. Competitors will run down their competitors. I imagine some good has come of the rivalries. I recall a page in Marvin Minsky’s The Society of Mind, in which he spoke of how enormously powerful is the motivation Beat Professor X. I’m pretty sure humanity is greatly benefitted by that supplementary spur to thinkers and researchers at the frontiers of knowledge. Certainly the scholars associated with ARI have produced excellent work concerning the literature and philosophy of Ayn Rand. To be clear, that is mainly due to dedication of the individual scholars and to some extent due to financial support from generous rich people who support ARI in its support of Rand scholarship. I was a young man when the break between Miss Rand and Dr. Branden occurred. I was a little pissed off at them at first because they had blown up the organization NBI. That proved really not so important. Further writings and lectures streamed forth. They were important. Personal partisans, now in their 70’s and 80’s, who knew Ayn Rand, continue to throw punches at each other and will continue those punches so long as they breathe. The conflicts (personally rooted) between well-known Objectivist thinkers were not my problems, and I had my own work to do, as ever. I did grasp upon the split between Rand and Branden that she aimed to destroy him. What he had done was a serious moral failing (and one did not need to know a blessed thing about Objectivist morality to see that), but that was not all: I had learned about their affair of the heart shortly after the break and had some inkling of how extra full of hurt and rage Rand would have to be from such an experience. I was pleased to see Branden’s first book a couple years later. He had survived psychologically and continued a vigorous producer. Rand produced also, and for her days, I wished only she be “watched by every human love.” (At Peace)
  10. . Welcome, Andre! --Stephen ("About Me")
  11. . “Tomorrow's green sunrise belongs to us.”
  12. Hugh of St. Victor (1096–1141) pondered the beauty we find in animals. He presents the reader with a list of all sorts of animals: “a resounding roll call of the graceful and the grotesque, the enormous and the miniscule” (Cizewski 1992, 298). “For Hugh, the category of beauty includes not only shapeliness or grace, but also the curious, the exotic, and the grotesque. His catalogue of creatures is designed to move his reader to admiration, and so also praise of the Creator. Thus, divine wisdom is sought not only in conventional elegance, but in the beauty of the beast at its oddest . . . .” (ibid.) Well, in naturalistic terms, I can appreciate that a wood tick is abstractly beautiful in its internal organization, development, and species survival. However, at a more immediate, untutored, perceptual level, I have not thought any of the ticks with which I have been personally acquainted to be beautiful. I find the mosquito to be beautiful in form and flight (notwithstanding its enemy-status in my book). I don’t think this perceptual-level response has anything to do with convention or instruction, though, of course, conventions can be elaborated from it. I suspect Hugh was sliding back and forth from perceptual appreciation to conceptual appreciation without cognizance of the slide. At any rate, I notice that he classifies all the creatures and all their behaviors as beautiful, as they exhibit the wisdom of God (or as we would say, the marvel of biological nature). When it comes to people, I have noticed that if you meet someone with some hideous deformity that is hard to witness, it begins to go away if you are able to join the intelligence and feelings of the person. Maybe some art is a little like that too. I mean maybe its ugliness can recede if we find some intelligence there to appreciate. Reference Wand Cizewski 1992. Beauty and the Beasts: Allegorical Zoology. In From Athens to Chartres. E. J. Brill.
  13. . Not only the geodetic and frame-dragging precessions, but Thomas precession is exhibited in GP B (§7). Here is a nice summary report from Lockheed Martin. NASA Press Conference – Excellent! The Paper What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty. –WS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here is a review of experimental evidence for Einstein’s special relativity and general relativity as of 2005. Here are experimental tests between the gravity theories of Whitehead (1922) and Einstein (1915), once thought to imply no experimental distinctions.
  14. Thanks. Two more titles: Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art Alexander Nehamas (Princeton 2007) Beauty Roger Scruton (Oxford 2011)
  15. Gravity Probe B A drag-free satellite equipped with exquisite monitoring of spin axis of superconducting gyroscopes brings confirmation of two effects of GR. More on final results of the experiment will be posted soon here at the Stanford site.
  16. . Improving Efficiency of Fuel Injectors – Electrorheology Improving Efficiency beyond Spark Ignition – Laser Igniters Electric Current from Rapid Thermal Waves – A, B
  17. Leonid, Yes. At the end of this post, in block quotation, are my thoughts from an earlier composition* complementary with your posts emphasizing the biological nature of consciousness. I should mention also that your idea that there is no meaningful statement “I think” without grasping the I is surely correct and accords with Rand. There is no thinking without the self that thinks, and no knowing that one thinks without knowing the existence of that thinker. “Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists” (AS 1015, emphasis added). Also I note that Rand agreed with your view that a being with concepts must have self-consciousness. At least she expressed that view in her epistemology seminar (ITOE 255–56; see further, Edelman 1989, chapter 11). I think that view is correct at the level of conceptual and linguistic development in which one is able to add the preface “I think” to any of one’s thoughts. At earlier stages of one’s conceptual development, the “I think” is only implicit. When my partner’s grandson began saying his first word “ba” (for “ball”), he could not yet say or think “I think ba.” But that was implicit in his one-word stage of language in the sense that it would emerge later in the course of conceptual and linguistic development grown from this beginning. Rand also remarked in her epistemology seminar that any person or animal possessing consciousness necessarily is an entity having consciousness as an attribute. There is a self that is coordinate with its states of consciousness in any conscious animal (ITOE 251–52). This is a matter of basic ontology, taking care that the concept self is here broader than the concept ego. Both are biological attributes and biological unities. In the case of nonhuman animals, I would caution that although self is implicit in their consciousness, it is not more than logically implicit (and therefore existentially so at all times of their consciousness). That is different than the further, second layer of being implicit: implicit in the developmental sense. Kant was the first to stress that we are able to preface all our thoughts with “I think” (B131–32, 136–39, 158n296; B399–406 A341–47; A108, 348–66, 398–99 [Critique of Pure Reason B=1787, A=1781]). See also B428–29, where Kant sets all this in the realm of appearance, not in the noumenal realm, leaving as dark noumenon the self as it is in itself. Schelling gets by with one realm (1800, 32). Schelling held “the objective world belongs only to the necessary limitations which make self-consciousness (the I am) possible” (14). The proposition I exist is In untying I am from I think of what is presented in sense and by giving logical precedence to the former, Schelling differs from Kant. In binding consciousness and self-consciousness to independent existence and putting existence in the lead, Rand differs from both of them. Shifting back to the first paragraph of this post: E2 – One exists and possesses consciousness of existing things.
  18. Consciousness precedes identification of itself as consciousness in the course of individual human development. Consciousness is never without object of consciousness (however vague the latter) throughout the life of the individual animal, human or other. Those are observations about temporal priorities. They belong to the story of when and how consciousness and self-consciousness emerge, not to the basic analysis of the concepts consciousness and self-consciousness. By Rand’s lights and mine, that little analysis is this: Self-consciousness presupposes consciousness. Consciousness presupposes existence. It is conceptual and ontological priorities that Schelling and Rand aimed to set correctly. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ That basic distinction—between analysis and developmental sequence—being understood, here is some of the latter: On day of birth, the infant possibly has some faint sense that there are different locations of things out there, as distinct from those at her own body. Possibly, too, she has some faint sense of self as locus of coetaneous and active touch, of sensory attending, and of proprioception. By eight weeks, the infant definitely relies on visual cues for posture stability (head, arms, chest). This is in addition to muscle/joint cues and operation of the vestibular system. By three months, the infant visually detects 3D structure of objects from motion of object or self. Visual tracking is becoming anticipatory. By four months, the infant is able to discriminate video of her own concurrent leg movements and a display of unrelated leg motions. She looks longer at the latter, discerning that something is amiss. By five months, she can determine visually what is within reach and what is out of reach. By six months, the infant can keep spatial directions fixed under rotations about vertical axis (up to 90° only) of her own body (sitting). She can by now detect changes in distance from sound source through changes in intensity of the sound. By nine months, the infant can reach through the open side of a transparent box side that is not the side of line of sight; there is now independence of line of sight and line of reach. She now shows awareness of her movement in a mirror. She turns from the mirror to locate objects in real space. She knows (still without words) some of her own causal powers, and she is able to execute means-ends actions. She has a sense of self as a perceptual object at some place within her interaction space. By twelve months, the infant will use mechanical aids to extend her reach. She will touch Mother’s mouth, then touch her own. At about twelve months, she will begin to speak her first words. By fourteen months, the toddler points to indicate an item. She manifests self-recognition in social mirroring (I and me: self as subject and as object of knowledge). Also, she knows which adult is mimicking her own actions. By eighteen months, the toddler can identify herself in a mirror (me: self as object of knowledge); she points to a spot of rouge surreptitiously placed on her face.* She now shows the self-consciousness of shy smiling, gaze aversion, or self-touching when confronted with an image of herself. By twenty-two months, she correctly names herself in an image. She begins to use the pronouns I, me, and you. She begins to use the mental terms think, know, and remember. By thirty-six months, her use of mental terms (think, know, mean, forget, remember, guess, pretend) definitely refer to the mental. She states spontaneously the contrast of the real with the mental, as in “It’s only in his head.” Sources Bremner, J. G. 1994 [1988]. Infancy. 2nd ed. Blackwell. Clifton, R. K. 1992. The Development of Spatial Hearing in Human Infants. In Developmental Psychoacoustics. L A. Werner and E. W. Rubel, editors. American Psychological Association. Diamond, A. 1991. Neuropsychological Insights into the Meaning of Object Concept Development. In The Epigenesis of Mind: Essays on Biology and Cognition. S. Carey and R, Gelman, editors. Lawrence Erlbaum. Johnson, M. H. 1990. Cortical Maturation and the Development of Visual Attention in Early Infancy. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2(2):81–95. Kellman, P. J. 1995. Ontogenesis of Space and Motion Perception. In Perception of Space and Motion. 2nd ed. W. Epstein and S. Rgers, editors. Academic Press. Meltzoff, A. N. 1993. Molyneux’s Babies: Cross-Modal Perception, Imitation and the Mind of the Preverbal Infant. In Spatial Representation. N. Eilan, R. McDarthy, and B. Brewer, editors. Blackwell. Nelson, K. 1996. Language in Cognitive Development. Cambridge. Wellman, H. 1990. The Child’s Theory of Mind. MIT. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ See also: Ulric Neisser’s “Two Perceptually Given Aspects of the Self and Their Development” and Robbie Case’s “Stages in the Development of the Young Child’s First Sense of Self.” Both are in volume 11 (1991) of Developmental Review. The Body and the Self Bermúdez, Marcel , and Eilan, editors Animal Consciousness Colin Allen
  19. Jacob, I thought you might like to have these references in this thread. Ayn Rand on Concepts – Another Approach to Abstraction, Essences, and Kinds Allan Gotthelf [Edit: I see Ryan has just noted that one.] Aristotle’s Conception of Universality & Advent of Universals Gregory Salmieri* Here are some remarks of mine (2006) on the placement of Rand’s theory of concepts among contemporary theories (see also A, B, C). I have not treated the relation of Rand’s objectivist theory to contemporary forms of moderate realism, such as that of David Armstrong, John Bigelow,* or Andrew Newman.* Anyway, here is what I have: These questions remain lively in philosophy today: What, in reality, corresponds to a particular concept in the mind? What is the relation of universals to concrete particulars? What is the ontological status of concepts, of universals? Rand summarizes and critiques four traditional answers to those epistemological and metaphysical questions: extreme realism, moderate realism, nominalism, and conceptualism. The two realist schools regard concepts and universals as intrinsic, “as special existents unrelated to man’s consciousness—to be perceived by man directly,” though not by sensory means (53). The nominalist and conceptualist schools regard concepts and universals as subjective, “as products of man’s consciousness, unrelated to the facts of reality” (53).
 In Rand’s theory, concepts are regarded as objective, “as produced by man’s consciousness in accordance with the facts of reality, as mental integrations of factual data computed by man—as products of a cognitive method of classification whose processes must by performed by man, but whose content is dictated by reality” (54).[1] David Armstrong’s celebrated treatise on universals appeared in 1978. This watershed work classified all the traditional and contemporary schools (save Rand’s) under a great divide: realism and nominalism. Realism is divided into extreme and moderate realism, where these now include modern varieties, not only ancient and medieval varieties. The realist holds that in mind-independent reality, there are not only particulars, but universals. Nominalism is divided into predicate, concept, class, and resemblance nominalism. The nominalist holds that there is nothing in mind-independent reality besides particulars and that each particular is a single undifferentiated whole.[2] Under Armstrong’s characterization of realism and nominalism, we should say that Rand’s theory is neither. Rand holds that everything in mind-independent reality is a concrete particular. That includes recurring properties and relations. It includes the similarity relation (1, 10, 13–15). Unlike epistemologists in the moderate realist tradition, which includes Armstrong himself, Rand does not take for universals the multiple identical or similar entities, attributes, and actions that exist in mind-independent reality. The constitution of a universal requires also the membership relation and measurement relations in Rand’s view. These are not in mind-independent reality, though their bases are in mind-independent reality.[3] Rand’s theory is not realist, neither is it nominalist. In her view, the properties and relations on which universals and concepts are based—properties and relations such as identity, similarity, and having measurable dimensions—are concrete circumstances that occur independently of whether we grasp them and compose our concepts with them.
 Armstrong’s division of the schools and his arguments concerning their virtues and failings is the main currency with which subsequent academically successful work on universals has been transacted. What Rand had called nominalism would now be called predicate nominalism. What she had called conceptualism would now be called concept nominalism.[4] Predicate nominalism proposes that a particular object is a stone just in case “is a stone” applies to it. To say that the object is an instance of a stone is only to contend that the word stone correctly means such objects as this one. There is nothing more to the universal stone than the meaningful word stone. The universal is merely the shadow of the word.
 One objection to predicate nominalism is that stones are the kind stones before the predicate “is a stone” comes about. How could correctly saying of something that it is a stone be logically prior to the existence of the kind stones? It could not. Authentic predication is identification of identities (Boydstun 1991, 44–45). If identifying any and all concretes were logically prior to the existence of those concretes, then identifications of any and all concretes could be made before any such concretes existed. Like some monotheists, we might imagine such identifications prior to all concrete existence as residing in the divine understanding. This is not logically possible under Rand’s conception of logic. A wholly nonconcrete identifier has no identity and cannot exist (Rand 1957, 1016, 1035–37; 1966–67, 39, 79–82; 1974, 24–31). The existence and identity of some concretes is logically presupposed for authentic identifications. Most stones are among those preexisting concretes. Moreover, identification of stones designed by humans are not logically prior to the identities of these possible concretes. Identification in predication is not logically prior to identity.
 Being specifically a stone is more than having “is a stone” said of it. Predicate nominalism ignores the metaphysical objectivity of universals. The universal said in the general term stone is an aspect of particular existents held in a certain way by conceptual consciousness. Concept nominalism proposes that a particular object is a stone just in case it falls under the concept stone in the mind. But, surely, many particulars were stones before one obtained the concept stone subsuming those particulars. The argument just given against predicate nominalism goes through against concept nominalism.
[5] Predicate nominalism and concept nominalism do not countenance the circumstance that predicates and concepts are actions of consciousness holding as their object those aspects of existence that are under their correlate universals. They do not countenance universals. That is, they do not countenance the circumstance that the objects of predicates and concepts are aspects of existence held in a certain way by consciousness. These theories neglect universals and so neglect the sound anchorage of predicates and concepts to the world.
 Extreme realism about universals, as Rand remarked, proposes that universals are mind-independent existents that are the archetypes in terms of which concretes may be characterized. The archetypes are to be “perceived by man directly, like any other kind of concrete existents, but perceived by some nonsensory or extrasensory means” (53). A nice modern example of this sort of view is Kurt Gödel’s favored view of the epistemology and ontology of sets, in the theoretical sense of the term sets. Any collection of seventeen items is an instance of a certain single self-same finite set, which we may call S17. Gödel thought that just as we perceive by the senses some collection of concrete items that are seventeen in number, so the mind perceives purely intellectually the universal S17 of which that particular concrete collection is a member. In Rand’s view, all consciousness is a specific sort of action on a content, and this action is made possible by a specific means. That would be so for a direct intellectual perception no less than for a direct sensory perception (78–82). It is so for direct sensory perception. A sensory perception is an action of consciousness having a content that is some aspect of concrete particular existents. Gödel agreed that direct intellectual perception would require some definite means. He conjectured that there was some such means, so far unknown to us, but that it was independent of our sensory means of comprehending existence. To this day, the means of purely intellectual perception that Gödel envisioned remains undetected, not located, and unnecessary to suppose. We have available far less extravagant accounts of the objectivity of sets and our knowledge of them. These accounts invoke means that are at root sensory, and Rand’s is such an account. Rand would have us analyze the concept length as an attribute of many kinds of objects (and of the spaces between them). The attribute and its objects are given in perception. We can mentally isolate the attribute and consider it apart from the particular objects in which it has been perceived. Our concept of seventeen inches is a particular magnitude of length applicable to innumerable different objects and regions of space (6–8, 10–11). The concept number and the concept set are demonstrably implicit in the concept seventeen inches, seventeen pears, or seventeen anything. Abstract entities like numbers and sets are traceable to sensory perception. They are ontologically and cognitively objective. There is no need to take them to be intrinsic, no need to take them to be mind-independent archetypes accessed by mysterious means. We can account for them more realistically than is done by extreme realism.
 Notes [1] Rand’s definition of concepts as amended by me is that they are “mental integrations of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted or with the particular measurable forms of their common distinguishing characteristic(s) omitted” (Boydstun 2004, 285). (The italicized portion of this definition is Rand’s fundamental definition.) I have noted two senses of universals and have defined them as follows: “Universals as (abstractions that are) concepts are concept classes with their linear measure values omitted. . . . Universals as collections of potential concept-class members are recurrences on a linear order with their measurement values in place” (ibid., 286). Notice that in taking universals to be concept classes with or without their measurement values, universals are natural classes in the logicomathematical sense. These are not intrinsic in the intrinsic-subjective-objective trichotomy; they are objective.
 [2] Armstrong 1978, 11–16, 48. Since the appearance of Armstrong’s book, a third major class of theories has grown up, and these are called trope theories. These hold that mind-independent reality includes no universals, but that in addition to concrete particulars such as tables, mind-independent reality includes tropes (abstract particulars) such as the temperature of a particular table. A trope in one concrete particular may resemble, but is never perfectly the same as, a trope in another concrete particular (Rodriguez-Pereyra 2002, 22–23). Rand’s is not a trope theory.
 [3] See further, Boydstun 2004.
 [4] See Armstrong 1978, 13–15. [5] Rand’s theory of universals is not class nominalism because in her view the classes that are designated by concepts are not arbitrary collections (1966–67, 13). Her theory of universals is not resemblance nominalism since her theory does not take resemblance, or similarity, as an unreduced primitive. Rand analyzes similarity in terms of identical measurable attributes possessed in various degrees by the things perceived as similar (13). Identity, differences, and differences of degree are the eminent primitives in Rand’s theory, and they are taken to be in the world independently of our cognitions concerning them. See also Register 2000, 211–12; Den Uyl and Rasmussen 1984, 15–18; Jetton 1998, 64–65; and Saint-André 2002. References Armstrong, David 1978. Nominalism and Realism. Volume 1 of Universals and Scientific Realism. Cambridge: University Press.
 Boydstun, Stephen 1991. Induction on Identity. Part 2. Objectivity 1(3):1-56. 
 ---------. 2004. Universals and Measurement. Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 5(2):271-305. 
 Den Uyl, Douglas, and Douglas Rasmussen 1984. Ayn Rand's Realism. In The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Jetton, Merlin 1998. Pursuing Similarity. Objectivity 2(6):41-130. Rand, Ayn 1966-67. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Expanded 2nd ed. Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff, editors. New York: NAL Books. Register, Bryan 2000. The Universality and Employment of Concepts. Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 1(2):211-44. Rodriguez-Pereyra, Gonzalo 2004. Resemblance Nominalism. Oxford: University Press. Saint-Andre, Peter 2002. Conceptualism in Rand and Abelard. Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 4(1):123-40. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Note, an error in the preceding: It is a common mistake concerning Gödel's realist view on the ontology of sets. Gödel did not maintain that the means of purely intellectual perception (mathematical intuition) in mathematics and set theory is distinct from the conceptual faculty that operates on sensory perceptions. He writes in 1963: "Evidently the 'given' underlying mathematics is closely related to the abstract elements contained in our empirical ideas." Gödel was not proposing a second conceptual faculty. He was proposing that the relationship between the abstract elements in our concepts and reality differs in kind from the relationship of our sensory data to reality. So the argument I made against Gödel's platonist view in my preceding survey is irrelevant. For this correction, I am indebted to a note in "Truth and Proof: The Platonism of Mathematics," by William Tait. This essay is contained in his book The Provenance of Pure Reason (OUP 2005). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ By the way,
  20. Notes on GM electric propulsion for automobile: A, B
  21. In the summer of 1937, Ayn Rand wrote Anthem. At the core of this manifesto of individualism she set a foundational sequence of thoughts: “I am. I think. I will.” In 1943 in The Fountainhead, Rand wrote of the secular sense of soul: the inner you, “the thing that thinks and values and makes decisions” (GW II 454; also HR IV 582–83, and XVIII 737).[1] The protection of man is a thought in the mind of a man, and fundamentally, “not the content of that thought, nor the result, . . . nor the will . . . that [makes] it real—but the method of his thought, the rule of its function . . . .” (HR I 548). Roark tells Wynand “We live in our minds, and [our] existence is the attempt to bring that life into physical reality, to state it in gesture and form” (HR II 558). Roark’s self-conception has a hint of what Friedrich Schelling would have called an unconditioned, or absolute being. Roark remarks “I never think of myself in relation to anyone else. I just refuse to measure myself as part of anything. I’m an utter egotist” (HR IV 631). This self-standing of the purely selfish ego is absolute not with respect to the limit of widest existence, but with respect to the limit of a person’s social surroundings. In his egoism, Roark is sovereign “in the realm of values, of judgment, of spirit, of thought” (HR XI 658). In Roark’s courtroom speech near the close of Fountainhead, Rand included the following fundamental ideas: By the summer of 1945, Rand’s crafting of the foundational core of her philosophy had reached this stage: “Any conception or discussion of man’s existence is an axiom implying three parts: that man exists, that an objective world exists around him, and that he has the faculty of rational consciousness which enables him to know the external world” (Note, quoted in Harriman 1999, 300). Her transformation of the foundation for her philosophy, from ’37 to ’45 consisted of the shift of perspective: From I am to Man and the objective world exists. From I think and will to Man has rational consciousness of the world.[2] By the fall of 1949, Rand had formulated her far-reaching and settled view on the basic nature of consciousness and logic. From her Notes: “Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. / The essence of consciousness is identification” (ibid., 612). By the summer of 1953, Rand had in her notes “Existence Exists—A is A” (ibid., 646). As readers of Rand 1957 know, she no longer rested her systematic philosophy on I am nor on Man exists. Rather, on Existence exists. She retained the old work for I am: “I am, therefore I’ll think” (AS 1058). That counter-Cartesian thrust had been set already in print in 1943, and in ’57 it is magnified by being set within a widest metaphysics of existence exists, existence is identity, and consciousness is identification of existence (AS 1016). “Existence exists—and the act of grasping statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness [of existence]” (AS 1015). One’s self is one’s mind (AS 1030). “Self-esteem is reliance on one’s power to think. The ego . . . that essential ‘you’ . . . is not your emotions or inarticulate dreams, but your intellect, that judge of your supreme tribunal” (AS 1057). “By refusing to say ‘It is’, you are refusing to say ‘I am’ (AS 1018). It is instructive to compare Rand’s final configuration of existence, consciousness, and ego with their configuration by Schelling, as of his famous 1800 work System of Transcendental Idealism.[3] The objective component in knowledge is what we call nature. The subjective component is called “the self, or the intelligence” (5). Nature is what can be presented to us; it is the non-conscious. Intelligence is the purely presentative; it is the conscious. Truth is the non-accidental coincidence of presentations with their objects. In knowledge there is, necessarily, reciprocal concurrence of the conscious and the non-conscious. Schelling sets himself the task of explaining how that concurrence takes place. Natural science, without realizing it, works on the question “How does intelligence come to be added to nature, or how does nature come to be presented” (5). “This and nothing else is at the bottom of the urge to bring into the phenomena of nature.—The highest consummation of natural laws into laws of intuition and thought” (6). Nature develops so as to become an object to herself, an intelligence. “The dead and unconscious products of nature are merely abortive attempts that she makes to reflect herself” (6). Nature’s aim is attained in man, or, more generally, in “what we call reason, whereby nature first completely returns into herself, and by which it becomes apparent that nature is identical from the first with what we recognize in ourselves as the intelligent and the conscious” (6). That is the outline of an approach to explaining how in truth presentation coincides with object and how in knowledge the conscious and non-conscious concur. That is the approach of nature-philosophy. (See Schelling 1799 and 1803.) It describes in a grand arc how the subjective is derivative of the objective. That way of exposing the unity of object and subject, explaining truth and knowledge, is perfectly valid according to Schelling. But there is a second valid way, which Schelling calls transcendental from its kinship to leading methods in Fichte and Kant. In Schelling’s transcendental approach, one begins with subjectivity alone, as ground of all reality. Innately, we are convinced “that there are things outside us,” things other than self (8). The truth of this conviction cannot be disproven, nor proven, by inference from something else. The transcendental task Schelling sets for himself is to demonstrate that I exist entails by identity there are things outside me (7–9). What does one know unconditioned by factors external to self? One knows the purely formal A=A, where A is abstracted from all particular content. In such abstraction, this formula comes only to this: “In thinking A, I think nothing else but A”( 22). Well, “having thought A, I admittedly think of it as A; but how then, do I come to think of A in the first place? If it is a concept freely engendered, it begets no knowledge; if it is one that arises with the feeling of necessity, it must have objective reality” (22). Genuine knowledge has its object outside itself. A proposition that is knowledge has subject and predicate linked not “by the mere identity of thinking, but by something alien to the thought and distinct from it” (22). Such propositions are called synthetic, in contrast to analytic ones stating relations of identity only within thinking. Only in synthetic propositions do we find genuine knowledge. “The whole of our knowledge consists of nothing but synthetic propositions” (22). If there is some point in which the identical and the synthetic are one, we shall have there a spring for certainty in synthetic propositions, thence in all our knowledge. At such an originating point, “being and presentation are in the most perfect identity” (24). There, “subject and object are immediately one” (24). It is obvious now that the desired point is in self-consciousness, where the presented and that which presents are the same. Self-consciousness is a free act of thought. Thinking is not the consciousness we have in an involuntary succession of presentations. The proposition I think has an actual predicate. The proposition I am has only potential predicates; it is “the locus of an infinity of possible predicates” (26). The self knowing I am is purely act, making itself by its doing. The self as the producing of itself stated in I am is what stands in Schelling’s fundamental postulate and principle of philosophy: self=self. Here, product is identical not only with product, but with its own producing (26–30). Self=self converts A=A into a synthetic proposition. There is some ambiguity and hand-waving in Schelling’s presentation of his thought. His philosophy is sufficiently clear in this 1800 work for definite comparison with Rand’s philosophy (and with Kant, Reinhold, and Fichte, whose ideas are refashioned into Schelling’s own edifice). Rand, too, makes A is A into a form of all true existential propositions, a form beyond the keeping of a thing with itself and the tracking of that keeping in thought. This she does by the conception existence is identity (where identity answers what) and the conception of logic as presupposing existence exists. Schelling does not have Rand’s conception that consciousness is fundamentally identification of existence. “Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification” (AS 1016). That is the basic connection of subject and object. Let us see some more of Schelling’s attempt to arrive at there exists things outside me from I exist by showing their identity. The self who knows the self-construction of I am should not say, strictly speaking, that it exists. Rather, “it is being-itself” (32). The self of I am does not possess the predicates of determinate, conditioned things. Such things derive from the free act that is self-constructed self. Unlike things, this self is unconditioned and free. This the self knows directly and most surely. Freedom is more fundamental than even being, which “in our system is merely freedom suspended” (33). Kant had answered Hume’s subversion of rational causal necessity in experience by arguing that a principle of causality is required else experience is not possible. Similarly, Schelling argues against the subversion of human free will stemming from total determination of physics and physiology by arguing that knowledge of the deterministic world is only possible if it is a manifestation of the thought I am, the free act I am. In the self, freedom and restriction are cohorts; the self cannot be one without being the other (35). As the self, originally pure activity, becomes an object for itself, it wins the concept of something limited and restricted. The pure producing self could never become product unless it set limits on itself. This limit on producing cannot be had without the self opposing something to itself (36). The freedom of the self is expansive. It cannot expand its boundary without acting on the boundary and “cannot act upon it unless the boundary exists independently of this action. Hence the boundary becomes real, only through the assault of the self against it” (39). The boundary there is beyond one is real, but as the boundary depends on the intellect I am, it is also ideal. As Kant’s transcendental idealism would set out the world of experience as at once empirically real and transcendentally ideal, so Schelling’s transcendental idealism (drops Kant’s noumenal realm and) sets out the real and ideal as an endless dynamic of the self-conscious self. Rand does not concur with Schelling’s nature-philosophy. Philosophy is not to derive consciousness from existence. Consciousness is necessarily acknowledged in comprehending the statement existence exists (AS 1015; ITOE 249). There is no need to make the act of consciousness a prior of being in order to warrant assertion of the reality or freedom of thought. With consciousness most fundamentally identification, utterly dependent on independent existence, there is no need to retain the religious model of world-making intelligence as the manner of coincidence between the world and the human mind. So Rand also does not concur with Schelling’s transcendental idealism, his subsequent objective idealism, his idealism.[4] Existence exists. Existence is identity. All things have specific natures or are specific natures. A is A. Man is man. Consciousness is identification of existence. The consciousness that is thinking is volitional. Notes 1. See also Rand’s first notebook for Fountainhead on page 78 of Harriman 1999. 2. Rand’s 1938 protagonist in Anthem is given these lines: “All things come to my judgment, and I weigh all things, and I seal upon them my ‘Yes’ or my ‘No’. Thus is truth born. Such is the root of all Truth and the leaf, such is the fount of all Truth and the ocean, such is the base of all Truth and the summit. I am the beginning of all Truth. I am its end” (quoted in Mayhew 2005a, 39; see also Milgram 2005, 17–18). This sounds subjectivist. I think, however, Rand is only affirming in this passage that all judgment of truth is individual and that all truth we render from the world is for our own final value. Those lines in Anthem (in ’38; excised in ’46) are preceded by these: “It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.” Something is seen, and with the subject, it is rendered beautiful. Something is heard, and with the subject, it is rendered song of existence. Something is given, and with its recognition, it is rendered truth. A subjectivist reading of ’38 is unsustainable given the protagonist’s discovery of scientific truths by (in part) his own physical experimentation in defiance of doctrine accepted merely on authority. Furthermore, the subjectivist reading is unsustainable given Rand’s portrayal of protagonists in We the Living (1936) as set on objective reality contrary to Communist mockups and mandates of reality. 3. This work was 10 years after Kant’s third and final Critique; 7 years after Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre and 7 years before Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. 4. Schelling reaches his philosophy known as objective idealism in 1801 in Darstellung meines Systems der Philosophie (Exposition of My System of Philosophy). This work is not available in English. Consult Beiser 2002, chapter 6. References Beiser, F. C. 2002. German Idealism: The Struggle against Subjectivism, 1781–1801. Harvard. Harriman, D., editor. 1999. The Journals of Ayn Rand. Plume. Mayhew, R. 2005a. Anthem ’38 & ’46. In Mayhew 2005b. ——., editor. 2005b. Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Lexington. Milgram, S. 2005. Anthem in Manuscript: Finding the Words. In Mayhew 2005b. Rand, A. 1938. Anthem. Cassell. ——. 1943. The Fountainhead. Macmillan. ——. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. Random House. ——. c. 1970. Seminar Transcript. In Appendix of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. 2nd ed. H. Binswanger and L. Peikoff, editors. 1990. Meridian. Schelling, F.W.J. 1799. First Outline of a System of Nature. K. R. Peterson, translator. 2004. SUNY. ——. 1800. System of Transcendental Idealism. P. Heath, translator. 1978. Virginia. ——. 1803 [1797]. Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature. 2nd ed. E. E. Harris and P. Heath, translators. 1988. Cambridge.
  22. . I met Jimmy here in 1993. He was not “opposed to the ARI” as I recall. I remember him as simply an Objectivist, interested in all its areas of philosophy.
  23. . An accidental coincidence with #6: We watched The Asphalt Jungle last evening. Excellent in every way. A couple of years ago, through Netflix, we watched the first season of two old television programs, and I found them very enjoyable these decades after their creation: Gunsmoke and Route 66. These are not movies, but I mention them as I think viewers here would find one episode of 66 in particular quite an experience. Some might recognize something of themselves in it. It is called Ten Drops of Water.
  24. Leonid, In America there is a saying by people who love New York City: “New York, New York, is there any place else?” In those pages of We the Living under discussion, Rand recalls a similar saying about Petrograd, whose residents “wonder, sometimes, at the strange bond that holds them. After the long winter, they curse the mud and the stone, and cry for pine forests; they flee from the city as from a hated stepmother; they flee to green grass and sand and to the sparkling capitals of Europe. And, as to an unconquerable mistress, they return in the fall, hungry for the wide streets, the shrieking tramways and the cobblestones, serene and relieved, as if life were beginning again. ‘Petrograd’, they say, ‘is the only City’” (229). Rand and her character Kira loved the city Petrograd. That she spoke without much criticism of and with some favor in its manner of creation is not an unqualified approval of Peter and his project. “‘Petrograd’, its residents say, ‘stands on skeletons’. / Petrograd is not in a hurry; it is not lazy; it is gracious and leisurely, as befits the freedom of its vast streets. . . .” (226–27). The city as a directed basic construction and its resulting feel, particularly by the early twentieth century, are things the author clearly loved. That the massive construction project be planned and directed by Kira, with willing workmen executing her orders, rather than directed by Peter in his historical manner, would bring at least as well what was essential in its character: the spirit of man. As you know from my essay, love of city and technology was a permanent difference between Rand and Nietzsche. Kinship with Nietzsche on these pages of We the Living would include Rand’s side with masculinity (of Petrograd) in contrast to femininity (of Moscow). Also in kinship (with Nietzsche, but also with Emerson) would be Rand’s siding here with man the individual, as against men the collective. I recall you have said that English was your third language, Russian your first. I do not recall where you lived in Russia nor your age there. Did you ever live in or visit Leningrad? Have you read We the Living? Your perspective on it could be quite fresh for us to hear, and anyway you might find this novel a real experience. At the time Rand wrote this novel, she would not have known that Stalin was a strong fan of Peter. (I say strong fan, putting mildly. I was a fan of Peter myself, when I read a child’s biography of him in the fifth grade.) As you know from my essay, Rand eliminated reference to the fact that in post-revolutionary Russia there were no subways (such as that in New York) in her final draft of the novel. I suggested that that was in part due to Stalin’s big-propaganda opening of the Moscow subway just in time for the final draft. Had she known of how Stalin was comparing himself to Peter, she might have had second thoughts about her use of Peter in We the Living. I concur with Nerd in the feel of Hugo in these pages of the novel. I shall always associate the name Ayn Rand when I think of St. Petersburg. When I have visited Paris, I have begun and ended at Cité in front of Notre Dame. Forever it is Hugo’s city to me.
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