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Is Objectivism a dogma?

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No one argues that Kant or Hegel's systems should be "open": they said what they said, and it's up to you whether you decide it is true or not. [...]  A philosophical system is an integrated whole: if part of it is false then the whole structure crumbles.

While agreeing with most of your other comments, I disagree with the points above -- maybe. But, perhaps we should discuss it for clarification.

There are modern philosophical scholars who admire some aspects of Kant's philosophy, but not other parts. These scholars want to "save" Kant's philosophy by excising the faulty parts and replacing them with improved ones. I have seen this in reading parts of Henry Allison's Kant's Transcendental Idealism. Allison is a strong defender of Kant (in most ways). He rejects the attempts of others, such Kant expert Paul Guyer, to open-up Kant's "critical philosophy" and improve it. (Allison concedes that Kant's style is atrocious.)

Now, and perhaps this is your point, the Kant revisionists would not say that their revised version of Kant's philosophy is Kant's philosophy or Kantianism. However, the fact remains that the Kant revisionists do consider Kantism to be "open" in the sense that one can replace some of its organs, so to speak. Again, perhaps that is one of your themes: If one sincerely believes that Objectivism is only four-fifth's right, then -- for one's own personal guiding philosophy -- one should replace the allegedly faulty one-fifth -- but, as an act of honesty, call the whole by some new name (while, one hopes, giving due credit to Ayn Rand for creating the original four-fifths).

For example, David Kelley could have "revised" Objectivism and called it ... something. I can't think of a logical name for such a kluge. Perhaps Consensusism would capture the essence of his purpose (making Objectivism likable by libertarians and liberals).

As for your second point, which also deserves elaboration through discussion, I would say that a well-made philosophical system is an integrated whole. An incompetent or even simply an erring philosopher might be consistent, for example in inferring his epistemology from his metaphysics, but not his politics from his (proclaimed) ethics.

So, given a hierarchy of philosophical knowledge, I do not believe that all the remainder of a philosophy will collapse simply because the philosopher makes an error in logic in a technical element of a less fundamental branch, such as esthetics.

Perhaps, though, your point is only that the philosopher's philosophy ceases to be an integrated whole if one element is shown to be out of place. Nevertheless, of course, that philosopher's philosophy is what it is -- not what someone else wants it to be.

Aristotle's philosophy is Aristotle's philosophy regardless of whatever errors he might have made. I am not an expert in Aristotle's philosophy, but perhaps his views on women and on an unmoved mover would be examples of errors that do not invalidate his overall objectivity in approach: a sense-perceptible world exists; we can understand it using logic and reason; and we need to act in certain ways -- courageously, for example -- to achieve happiness.

This subject is very abstract -- involving vast systems of ideas as single entities -- and is therefore difficult to think about. I welcome comments.

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If one sincerely believes that Objectivism is only four-fifth's right, then -- for one's own personal guiding philosophy -- one should replace the allegedly faulty one-fifth -- but, as an act of honesty, call the whole by some new name (while, one hopes, giving due credit to Ayn Rand for creating the original four-fifths).

For example, David Kelley could have "revised" Objectivism and called it ... something. I can't think of a logical name for such a kluge. Perhaps Consensusism would capture the essence of his purpose (making Objectivism likable by libertarians and liberals).

That's somewhat the nature of the beast of calling Rand's philosophy Objectivism. Can there be conflicting objective theories, at least on the same issue? Anyone who believe their philosophy is the sole objective one will, natch, want to claim the Objective name.

Objectivism can't be one of several objective philosophies, can it? Either only Objectivism is correct, only one of the others is correct, or multiple "correct" philosophies are really multiple parts of the objective philosophy, it seems to me.

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That's somewhat the nature of the beast of calling Rand's philosophy Objectivism.

I don't understand what you are saying here.

Can there be conflicting objective theories, at least on the same issue?
Of course. Objectivity is a relationship between facts of reality and ideas drawn logically from facts. The term "objective" does not, in one sense, necessarily mean "correct." One can be objective in one's method -- that is, one's approach to a problem -- but, through an error in logic (not a rejection of logic) or ignorance, reach an erroneous conclusion. So there are two questions to ask about an idea: Was it derived objectively, in general method, and is it correct?

Some speakers mean both things -- method and correctness -- when they say "objective." That is okay, but that dual meaning should be made explicit. In that case, no, there cannot be two objective theories on the same problem -- assuming, as always, that the context is exactly the same.

Of course, two theories can be objective and different when they are developed from or for different contexts. Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand discussion of the theory of blood-typing provides one example. The initial theory was correct as far as it went; subsequent theories were also correct, but different because they considered a wider context. Have you studied that section of OPAR?

Anyone who believe their philosophy is the sole objective one will, natch, want to claim the Objective name.

I don't know why you are capitalizing an adjective. Nor do I see why an honest person would want to usurp a proper name already created by an earlier philosopher. Surely a superior philosopher would have enough intelligence to think of a new name?

Objectivism can't be one of several objective philosophies, can it?
Of course it can, as described above. Aristotle's philosophy was objective but mistaken. Someday, perhaps a thousand years from now, another philosophical genius following Ayn Rand, will develop a new philosophy, with a new name, that is as objective as Ayn Rand's creation, but incorporating a wider range of branches, for example -- just as Ayn Rand discussed capitalism because she saw the effects of the Industrial Revolution, a sight not available to Aristotle or Aquinas or Locke.

Either only Objectivism is correct, only one of the others is correct, or multiple "correct" philosophies are really multiple parts of the objective philosophy, it seems to me.

What do you mean "the objective philosophy"? Do you believe that a philosophy exists outside the mind, and is waiting to be discovered? I don't. A philosophy is a set of a certain kind of abstractions, a set that exists only in someone's mind. The referents -- the facts of reality -- of the philosophy exist outside the mind (and inside the mind, in the case of epistemology, for example), but not the philosophy.

Edited by BurgessLau

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Of course. Objectivity is a relationship between facts of reality and ideas drawn logically from facts. The term "objective" does not, in one sense, necessarily mean "correct." One can be objective in one's method -- that is, one's approach to a problem -- but, through an error in logic (not a rejection of logic) or ignorance, reach an erroneous conclusion. So there are two questions to ask about an idea: Was it derived objectively, in general method, and is it correct?

Then the erroneous logic isn't objective i.e. based on reality, though its creator may not realize it. Nor would such an erroneous philosophy be objective, though the proponents wouldn't realize it. They could claim their philosophy was objective, but in actuality, such a claim wouldn't be based on reality, but based on an error in logic.

If you wish it rephrased, I'm saying that two theories can't be objective from the same contexts.

Can theism be objective?

Of course it can, as described above. Aristotle's philosophy was objective but mistaken. Someday, perhaps a thousand years from now, another philosophical genius following Ayn Rand, will develop a new philosophy, with a new name, that is as objective as Ayn Rand's creation, but incorporating a wider range of branches, for example -- just as Ayn Rand discussed capitalism because she saw the effects of the Industrial Revolution, a sight not available to Aristotle or Aquinas or Locke.

This all seems to imply that any philosophy can be objective within a yet-unknown context. Also Aristotle wasn't objective even without considering new advances like capitalism e.g. Prime Mover. Rand didn't merely incorporate wider branches: she corrected Aristotle before metaphysics was even left, and this would imply that Rand could be corrected in metaphysics herself... if there can be different objective philosophies.

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Concepts should be used with careful attention to their meaning.

Objectivity indicates the end result of a process; the process of adherence to reality (Existence). Such a process is required by a conceptual consciousness in order to validate the truth of any knowledge above the perceptual level of awareness. Objectivity does identify a certain relationship between consciousness and existence at the end of this process; 'correct' or 'incorrect'. If, regarding a certain idea, a man was successful in integrating all the relevant data and proved to be consistent with the facts of reality--He (or the idea) is objective. If, the said individual missed something along the way, resulting in an error-- He failed to be objective. In this context there is no difference if the mistake was done deliberately or otherwise innocently. (The only difference is that a man striving to be objective will, upon the discovery of an error, retrace his steps and correct it--thus gaining objectivity. While the man defaulting on objectivity will keep on evading--like he always does.)

It might be worthwhile to mention that an individual can reach a truth while making some minor errors on the way--which (luckily), due to them being of side issues(or otherwise not direct premises), did not flaw his end conclusions. Yet, in that case, the truth (objectivity) of his end conclusions does not altar the falsehood of his errors and vice versa.

Edited by Maty

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Now, and perhaps this is your point, the Kant revisionists would not say that their revised version of Kant's philosophy is Kant's philosophy or Kantianism. However, the fact remains that the Kant revisionists do consider Kantism to be "open" in the sense that one can replace some of its organs, so to speak. Again, perhaps that is one of your themes: If one sincerely believes that Objectivism is only four-fifth's right, then -- for one's own personal guiding philosophy -- one should replace the allegedly faulty one-fifth -- but, as an act of honesty, call the whole by some new name (while, one hopes, giving due credit to Ayn Rand for creating the original four-fifths).

Yes, this is precisely what I meant, thank you.

As for your second point, which also deserves elaboration through discussion, I would say that a well-made philosophical system is an integrated whole. An incompetent or even simply an erring philosopher might be consistent, for example in inferring his epistemology from his metaphysics, but not his politics from his (proclaimed) ethics.

Also correct. I erred in not taking into account that incompetant or erring (i.e. non-integrated) philosophy is still philosophy: that is the fallacy of the "frozen abstraction".

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It might be worthwhile to mention that an individual can reach a truth while making some minor errors on the way--which (luckily), due to them being of side issues(or otherwise not direct premises), did not flaw his end conclusions. Yet, in that case, the truth (objectivity) of his end conclusions does not altar the falsehood of his errors and vice versa.

I forgot to add that the minor mistakes, if left unattened, might cause problems later on. (In addition to their implications).

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