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Is Objectivism a dogma?

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I ask because the purpose of the site is to provide a place for people interested in discussing Objectivism, not for those interested in debating it. When the forum rules page comes back up, I suggest you read those rules.

We are, however, thinking of a subforum for people (that is, if things called people even exist) wanting to debate Objectivism. If and when that subforum is created (that is, if subforums even exist), you may very well be asked to bring your skeptic self (that is, as Kevin pointed out, if you actually exist) and debate (that is, if there's such a thing as debating) Objectivism. Oh wait, I actually don't know if I exist, so disregard this post...

The rules are back up.

Edited by Felipe

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no, it does not . Read General Theory of Relativity . Lesson for objectivists . What you percieve or what is intiutive may not be reality    . A may not be A but only percieved as A .

Read J.R.R. Tolkien and find out what happens to creatures like you when the sun comes up. :dough:

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I hope it is not a "You pat my back and I pat yours" forum  . I hope you don't mind a dose of dissent .

By the way, sceptic, how do you know you are dissenting? If what you said earlier is true:

What you percieve or what is intiutive may not be reality . A may not be A but only percieved as A
Then you might actually be supporting, not dissenting, right?

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A skeptic is bad enough, but a sceptic might be even worse.

Isn't that some kind of tank that stores ungodly, um, chemicals?

Now now, people. "Sceptic" is an entirely vaid spelling of the term (in fact, it's considered standard in most non-U.S. parts of the world). There are lots of good reasons to bash an individual like this — the way he spells his name isn't one of them.

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I could have sworn I read a post here today by someone called "sceptic", where he said: "I hope you don't mind a dose of dissent", but I don't see it any longer.

Perhaps it is just not appearing in my "reality" :dough: . Hopefully, it'll turn up in my parallel universe one of these days and I can answer it.

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BTW, my confusion was really semantic, not conceptual.

This is a distinction I have never understood. What do you mean by "semantic" as distinct from "conceptual"?

What I meant was that I was confused by language and the language I used was, thus, not appropriate to express what I was actually thinking.

More specifically, by "semantic" I meant "having to do with language," and by "conceptual" i meant "having to do with thought."

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Where is the distinction between language and concepts? How come something be a matter of language yet not be conceptual?

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I think you are slightly missing the point of objectivism, and I think you are misunderstanding Rand's ideas on altruism. Altruism, defined by Rand, is evil. It is a grand idea and concept used to force people into relinquishing themselves and their minds and following blindly the concept of "serving the whole", and in this, altruism is evil. Now if you are talking about ...charity, or maybe helping the people you know or care for, then that isn't evil, but you have to put into perspective the fact that you are gaining from the help you are giving. Aka, you are recieving pleasure knowing that you have helped someone, this is not altruism.

Just a little correction for you, her name is Ayn rand, pronounced INE rhyming with Mine. (It isn't ann). :thumbsup:.

"relating to this paragraph: The human race has evolved a collection of information that we hold in common. We are able to learn things and communicate that to other people. Ann Rand's work is part of that collection of knowledge. Everything, how to make plastic, metal, cars, planes, cell phones, roads, grow food, all of it - comes from other people. When we thing in words we are using the words that other people invented. Our thought, our life, who we are and what we believe in are 99.99% not our own. It's hand me down information from the "hive mind"."

We are lucky enough to optain knowledge from one another, but that doesn't make it false knowledge. How do we know that the knowledge we recieved on how to make a car works, because when we apply that knowledge we get a car. No questions asked. There have been times in history when people have been wrong about science, but as an objectivist I have dismissed all of those falsehoods and now only accept what can be proven true to the best of current science.

Take religion, if one day Christ appears in the Sky and informs me, and the rest of the world (because I'll only believe that im not crazy if others see it as well:)) that he is the god, and he can preform miracles, yada yada, I will relinquish myself to him...until that day, im an athiest:). Btw, I don't think its going to happen.

Why do you think altruism is a good thing? Have you ever benefited by blatent charity in your direction. Do you think it's a good thing to give to someone because you think they need it, instead of because you want to give it to them. Is it a good idea to sacrifice your life for that of anothers. You yourself were saying that humans are a selfish being. Consider this, If I had absolutely no money but a dollar to my name, and I had 2 starving children, would that give me a right to have your money? Or, if i was that same person with the two starving children, would someone with no money and three starving children deserve my last dollar? Now, if I knew you and you WANTED to help me out, that's a completely different story. But Altruism is evil, especially when it is used as a means to keep people in a state of guilt to the "masses" they'll never know.

If I was starving and I was another animal, no one would help me, and i would die, so how is altruism natural or morally correct when it goes against the natural moral code of human beings? (who are just an intelligent primate themselves) Ayn rand, and since I happen to agree with her, I, am not opposed to charity in a...give to others because you want to sense. Infact, I find great joy in helping out people I care for who need help...and so I'm likely to do it. But it is selfish in the true sense of the word, because I enjoy it.

Finally I'll give you some advice. In my experience, Objectivists are not bred, we are not developed, we are not convinced, and we are not recruited to Objectivism. We are born and we learn and we know what we know, and when we read the words of Rand, we're reading words we could have written ourselves. I would NEVER sign on to be part of something I didn't agree with complete, that's why I avoided christianity for so many years before I found Rand. If you agree with Altruism, it's because you're not an objectivist, you're denying pieces of the reality around you, and chances are, your mind will not be changed. My advice is, find something else to battle in your free time:).

Selfishly,

-Ashley

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Where is the distinction between language and concepts? How come something be a matter of language yet not be conceptual?

That's a good question. Still, I think it's possible to linguistically misrepresent something you're thinking correctly about.

I'm kind of waiting for BurgessLau to tell us what he thinks, though, as I know he had something to say about it and will when he gets around to it.

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What I meant was that I was confused by language and the language I used was, thus, not appropriate to express what I was actually thinking.

Terms are labels for ideas and ideas reference reality. Perhaps what you mean is that you used the wrong terms? If so, then now I understand your point.

More specifically, by "semantic" I meant "having to do with language," and by "conceptual" i meant "having to do with thought."

I would like to extend Cole's very perceptive point in post 55. I don't understand how there can be language without thought (which, informally, is a purposeful combination of ideas saying something about something else) -- or thought without language.

Ayn Rand defines "language" as "a code of visual-auditory symbols that serves the psycho-epistemological function of converting concepts into the mental equivalent of concretes." Without concepts (and proper names) -- which include the terms that label them -- there can be no language.

So, I see now that perhaps what you meant to do was to distinguish the terms from the ideas named by the terms. I was concerned that you might be dichotomizing language and thought as if they exist in different realms. I have heard non-Objectivists make that dichotomy but I have never understood their point. They seem to use the distinction as a way of dismissing objectivity, that is, the relationship between thinking and reality: "Oh, it's just semantics!"

That statement deserves philosophical detection, but I have not yet succeeded in doing so.

P. S. -- For anyone new to Objectivist epistemology, see Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, pp. 10 (language) and 32 (thought).

[Edited: Added comment about philosophical detection.]

Edited by BurgessLau

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I've been an acknowledged Objectivist for 31 of my 47 years, prior to that I still accept I was an Objectivist in nature if not in name. My becoming an Objectivist predates most Objectivist organizations and publications (excluding Rand's collective and publishing/speaking efforts). I have never thought of my Objectivism as belonging to any group, religion or subset of my society. The philosophy stands on it's own regardless of it's namer and most effective champion.

I truly believe Objectivism is an individual way of living and not an organized group, religion or political party. I truly believe that among the earliest primates to one day become homosapiens that there were those who lived rationally and were more than likely the first to harness fire or figure out the creation of tools.

In all this time I have never understood how a philosophy based on individual self interest could spawn religion style groups, institutes or centers that behave like the very institutions they would point to as a catalyst for unreasoned selfless abandon of reality and gang up on each other in similar quests for power over others minds. Though it is named and described in the 20th century Objectivism was neither created from the dust or formed fully from a single thought. To attribute any divine inference to the author is to degrade the message.

I've been posting to BBS and Web based chats for over 20 years now so I understand that you find many diverse and critical even hateful personalities as well as honest and rational thinkers. My visits to sites claiming to be Objectivist in nature are few and far between as they generally end up tearing themselves apart or disappearing for lack of interest or funding or I find a lot of those confused people who mistake Rand's fiction for a guide to their own lives.

So my question and my possible rational for reviewing and participating on this site: Is Objectivism a personal philosophy or an organized belief system? Do we have the free will to rationalize for ourselves or are we bound in biblical style to the words of the author?

My personal stance is that not all can be known of living objectively because not all is known of life. We must use reason to adapt to change. We must never deny reality especially if reality changes. If open and free exchange is our capital then we can never devalue the currency by restricting when, how or what can be traded.

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So my question and my possible rational for reviewing and participating on this site:  Is Objectivism a personal philosophy or an organized belief system?  Do we have the free will to rationalize for ourselves or are we bound in biblical style to the words of the author? 

For all your years as an Objectivist, you should know what a "package-deal" is, and that this is that. Objectivism is a personal philosophy -- it's Ayn Rand's personal philosophy. To call oneself an Objectivist is to have used one's own mind and one's free will to determine that Ayn Rand's philosophy is true. Are you bound to her conclusions? No. You are free to reach whatever conclusions you wish -- you just aren't free to call yourself an Objectivist if you differ with Rand on a philosophic principle.

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In all this time I have never understood how a philosophy based on individual self interest could spawn religion style groups, institutes or centers that behave like the very institutions they would point to

Can you give us two examples of which institutions you have in mind?

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  Is Objectivism a personal philosophy or an organized belief system?  Do we have the free will to rationalize for ourselves or are we bound in biblical style to the words of the author?
As you must surely know from your 31 years of being an Objectivist, man is a volitional being, thus he has free will. He may therefore rationalize and evade all he wants. You can hear an idea stated many times with great clarity, and still refuse to accept it, no matter how much evidence you see that it is true.
My personal stance is that not all can be known of living objectively because not all is known of life. We must use reason to adapt to change.  We must never deny reality especially if reality changes.  If open and free exchange is our capital then we can never devalue the currency by restricting when, how or what can be traded.
I'm not sure what you're saying here: you can't really be not saying that man isn't omniscient, since that is so obvious that it would be bizarre to say it (at least, when speaking to Objectivists). Of course you have to change your actions in response to changes in reality. If the weather suddenly gets really cold, you don't insist "But it is always hot in August -- it can't be 30 degrees out!"

What are you really asking? Are you asking whether people who reject Objectivism can still claim to be Objectivists?

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Can you give us two examples of which institutions you have in mind?

According to the forum rules I may not. Suffice to say though that the two major institutions are the subject of a major and well publicized split in organized Objectivism (if you can really have such a thing).

I am not trying to be difficult or intetionally obtuse, as a guest on this board I have an obligation to respect it's stated boundries.

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According to the forum rules I may not.  Suffice to say though that the two major institutions are the subject of a major and well publicized  split in organized Objectivism (if you can really have such a thing).

I am not trying to be difficult or intetionally obtuse, as a guest on this board I have an obligation to respect it's stated boundries.

First off, I think you misunderstand the stated boundaries. If you believe that the Ayn Rand Institute and The Objectivist Center are in some way harming or misrepresenting Objectivism then you would be half-right, and you can certainly name their names. Second, if you really believe, for whatever reason, that there is a rule that prohibits any implied criticism of either institute, then it is quite dishonest of you to imply these two major institutions and merely avoid using their names. Try coming out from behind the innuendos and directly say what you're thinking: TOC has completely twisted Objectivism into the antithesis of Ayn Rand's philosophy, solely for the purpose of becoming a mass movement. It is actually okay to admit that here.

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