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Sparrow

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    Michelle Fram Cohen
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  1. I would like to retract my statement above. I realize that Diana Hsieh has demonstrated very well that she was facing up to her past. (In http://www.dianahsieh.com/misc/toc.html ) I was wrong.
  2. I realize this discussion has been going for quite a while, so I would like to add some historical facts: 1. When Israel returned the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, there were several Israeli settlements there as well. Israel evacuated the residents of those settlements against their will, but the Israeli population was mostly supportive of this policy. Egypt was regarded as a reliable partner for peace, and kept its part of the peace agreement. In contrast, the Israeli population today is strongly divided about the forced evacuation of the Gaza Strip settlers. The PA is not regarded as a reliable partner for peace, and for good reason. 2. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 and granted the Arabs living there Israeli citizenship. They were Druze rather than Moslem, so they were second class citizens under the Syrian regime and were better off under Israeli rule. They did not mind the multitude of Israelis who came to live in the Golan Heights.
  3. Thank you for your message, Mr. Rowland. I will let you know.
  4. Arianna: It is important to pay attention to the ideas a speaker promotes rather than to the manner in which he delivers them. Remember that Ellsworth Toohey was also a gentlemanly speaker who could charm the ladies. I think that if Ayn Rand was still alive, Kelley would let her present her case against Libertarianism and make sure she is not hampered by other toc members. Then he would have Ed Crane comment on why she was wrong, and proceed with his present course. I, for one, think there's something wrong in this scenario.
  5. Eudaemonia - you can't be first in line to make waves if you won't even reveal your identity.
  6. I doubt TOC will admit Kelley was wrong about objectivity. Here is the record I know of: in the 1997 advanced seminar, Eyal Mozes presented a paper where he criticized Kelley's position on "the free rider issue" in Unrugged Individualism. Mozes's paper is available on his website at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/4082/fr.html Kelley did not mind that his position was criticized by Mozes, but his recent paper "Generosity and Self Interest" indicates that he did not learn anything from Mozes's criticism. Kelleys' article is available at: http://www.objectivistcenter.org/articles/..._generosity.asp -- Michelle
  7. Ariana, I just realized you were born in 1985, which means you are 20, so I wonder: How many TOC advanced seminars have you attended, and how many philosophical seminars under other auspices, to make the statement that the advanced seminar was where I can get the best feedback and help on my specific thesis? Just curious. Michelle
  8. Ariana, I attended the 2003 advanced seminar, where I also commented on Fred Seddon's paper "Kant on Faith." Based on my experience there, I don't think it's the place where I can get the best feedback and help on my specific thesis. In contrast, I found my presentations to several local clubs to be far more effective and beneficial than my presentation at the 2001 regular seminar. Eudaemonia's attitude demonstrated the stifling atmosphere of "be thankful you are given an opportunity to speak so don't make waves." Note that I did not condemn anybody, I simply withdrew. I realized that appearing at an organization when I disapprove of its underlying philosophy is indeed unfair to me and to them. I had a conflict about my participation for a while, and finally made the decision to withdraw. Regarding old friends, not attending the seminar does not mean I would not keep in touch with them. Surely one can have friends who support TOC without supporting the collective "them." -- Michelle
  9. Eudaemonia, I agree with you that Objectivists should seek constructive criticism from non-Objectivists, but the TOC seminar is not the only venue to expose my paper to criticism. There are local Objectivist clubs, as well as scholarly magazines where the paper can get a peer review. My impression at the 2003 advanced seminar was that those who presented papers were not awe-stricken by the criticism they received. I found that giving presentations at local Objectivist clubs can be very beneficial. For example, my paper on Rand and Nietzsche received good constructive criticism at the Arizona Objectivists last year. There is also a problem with the content of my paper. The meaning of objectivity is such a sensitive issue in the Peikoff/Kelley dispute that I doubt it can be discussed *objectively* at the advanced seminar, with attendees honestly considering the possibility that Peikoff is right and Kelley is wrong. Indeed, it is pointless to use an organization in order to disparage the philosophical foundation of the organization, which is one reason I withdrew. Regarding the open/close system, I think that the applications and interpretations of Objectivism should be wide open, while the principles must be “closed” – that is, absolute and definite. I don’t hear of anybody redefining the principles of Marxism in order to allow for the tolerance of Capitalists. -- Michelle
  10. Eudaemonia, For your information: I decided to withdraw from the TOC seminar on my own. You can verify it with them. I rather find a better venue to present or publish my paper, and making a point about objectivity at TOC appears inconsequential anyway. -- Michelle Fram Cohen
  11. Eudaemonia, This is how the schedule for the advanced seminar works: A proposal for a paper is submitted early in the fall. It is approved or rejected around the end of the year. Then the program for the entire seminar is posted and published. The paper itself is not due until May 31. After the seminar, the papers are posted publicly on the TOC web site. When I submitted my paper, I still held hope for TOC. My proposal referred to "objectivity" in the Randian (i.e. Objectivist) sense, but not to Peikoff or Kelley. When it was approved, I already lost hope for TOC, but decided to use the opportunity to express my views and speak to attendees and friends (who live too far to see otherwise) about my concerns. Please note that while I spoke at TOC in 2001, it was the only talk I ever gave there. My subsequent proposals for both the regular and the advanced seminars were rejected for odd reasons, while talks by anti-Objectivists were accepted. You can speculate on the reason. I was never asked to comment on Fred Seddon's "Rand on Kant." I requested to comment on it because it distorted Rand and Kant so badly. Overall, I was never a "respected scholar" at TOC. I was not asked to contribute to the anthology "The Literary Art of Ayn Rand." I had to hound Roger Donway for a year and waive my fee to get an essay published in "Navigator" last May. While working on the advanced seminar paper over the last two months, I did my homework on what Rand, Peikoff and Kelley actually said about objectivity. I realized how Kelley's notion of objectivity is totally different from Rand's and decided to use this in my paper. After I submit it in a couple of weeks I'll find out. If you have other questions, by all means ask. Michelle Fram Cohen
  12. Yes, I am the one. My paper on "Cognitive Poetics and Objectivity" quotes from "Fact and Value" to show that objectivity is not a matter of true/false identification, but of evaluation. Hence objecitvity belongs in the realm of ethics as well as epistemology. This, I believe, was the gist of the disagreement between Peikoff and Kelley in 1989. Rather than simply leave TOC, I decided to put TOC's statement of "tolerance" to the test. If my paper is rejected at the last moment because of the position it takes in favor of "Fact and Value," it will prove the hypocricy of TOC. If my paper is accepted, it will be posted on the TOC web site, to remind anybody who visits this web site of the true meaning of objectivity. In any case, this will be my farewell to TOC.
  13. Yes, I am the one. My paper on "Cognitive Poetics and Objectivity" quotes from "Fact and Value" to show that objectivity is not a matter of true/false identification, but of evaluation. Hence objecitvity belongs in the realm of ethics as well as epistemology. This, I believe, was the gist of the disagreement between Peikoff and Kelley in 1989. Rather than simply leave TOC, I decided to put TOC's statement of "tolerance" to the test. If my paper is rejected at the last moment because of the position it takes in favor of "Fact and Value," it will prove the hypocricy of TOC. If my paper is accepted, it will be posted on the TOC web site, to remind anybody who visits this web site of the true meaning of objectivity. In any case, this will be my farewell to TOC.
  14. Actually, I think Mrs. Hsieh realizes this point, since she acknowledged her gratitude to Shawn Klein on her 1/9/2005 blog entry, in spite of his work for TOC.
  15. Andrew -- I agree with you that this is the incorrect attitude. There should be objective standards for evaluating the degree of a person's involvement with an organization and the reason for his support. My point is that those who supported TOC in the past may want to consider that current supporters are committing the same errors they did, and that condemning them is not very constructive.
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