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Weird Email About ARI

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I am sure that at the Karl Marx institute anyone who shows symptoms of rabid laissez faire capitalism will be thrown out too. After all, the official dogma cannot be challenged. It doesn't matter that you had to read all the works of Karl Marx before being admitted to the classes. It does not matter that you passed the entry exam showing you have a good grasp of what Karl Marx believed. The purpose of the classes is to turn out Marxist intellectuals (in the case of ARI Objectivist intellectuals) who would then seek to spread the official dogma. The idea is not to produce indepedent minds at all...

My point exactly. They are not looking for peoplewho take objectivity serious they are looking for people who subscribe to Ayn Rand's ideas. The classes are to make them more articulate in espousing those ideas not to question those ideas rigorously. Consider a seminary is dedicated to producing good Christian theologians who embrace the official dogma. Can anyone graduate from OAC who thinks that alturism is moral?

So, according to you, any idea that claims to be an absolute or true, is a dogma--regardless of how one came to hold that idea, its actual relation to reality, etc.

Your argument depends on the premises of subjectivism.

Also, I will not tolerate further groundless slurs against my friends at the OAC. You had better be prepared to back up such claims before you make them.

Finally, you claim that you are not a troll. But according to your signature, you have renounced Objectivism. If you renounced the philosophy which it is the purpose of this board to discuss, then what are you still doing here, if not trolling? I will give you one opportunity to give me a good answer to that question. If you are unable to do so, your posting privileges will be revoked.

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Dogma: a belief or set of beliefs that a political, philosophical, or moral group holds to be true.

Given the definition above I am perfectly justifed in saying that ARI wants to spread dogma. I never said anything about religiousity mind you.

If this is what is mean by dogma, then think of how much is subsumed under the concept. ANY ideology passes the test of that definition. Your definition says nothing about whether the 'beliefs' or 'set of beliefs' was arived at objectivly or by faith. According to you definition dogma can be either good or bad.

Here is what I found as the various defintions of dogma

1. That which is held as an opinion; a tenet; a doctrine.

2. A formally stated and authoritatively settled doctrine; a definite, established, and authoritative tenet.

3. A doctrinal notion asserted without regard to evidence or truth; an arbitrary dictum.

(source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.)

Clearly, 'dogma' carries more negative baggage than your definition allows for. Wether by your intention or not, you are cashing in on the negative connotation carried with the word 'dogma'. When you use the term, you are using it as a slur against the ARI and the professors that teach at the OAC. As has been repeated over and over, these accusations are entirely unjustified.

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So, according to you, any idea that claims to be an absolute or true, is a dogma--regardless of how one came to hold that idea, its actual relation to reality, etc.
Yes! Call a person who by definition is a mystic-a "mysti"c and they tend to get upset. One usually gets the same reaction from dogmatists (when are called for what they are). To answer both you and Andrew I would say that I would not insult your intellects by saying you believe in the arbitrary. I used the word dogma to mean a philosophy that is believed to be true and a "formally stated and authoritatively settled doctrine; a definite, established, and authoritative tenet." If you take offense by me saying this then so let it be.

Finally, you claim that you are not a troll. But according to your signature, you have renounced Objectivism. If you renounced the philosophy which it is the purpose of this board to discuss, then what are you still doing here, if not trolling?

Are we to believe that only self-proclaimed Objectivist can discuss Objectivism? If this is indeed the case I would be happy to leave the forums. By your reasoning anyone who is not an Objectivist is a troll. Is this objectivity!

Andrew:

Clearly, 'dogma' carries more negative baggage than your definition allows for. Wether by your intention or not, you are cashing in on the negative connotation carried with the word 'dogma'. When you use the term, you are using it as a slur against the ARI and the professors that teach at the OAC. As has been repeated over and over, these accusations are entirely unjustified.
I do not believe that my charges are unjustified. The thing is that ARI is a sacred cow on these forums and I have been warned not to molest the cow. The purpose of OAC is to mold Objectivist intellectuals so that they may spread Objectivist dogma near and far. All other considerations are secondary. I gather this by the acceptance criteria and the course requirements . I do not need to sit in one of those classes to know the modus operandi. :lol:

Training Objectivist teachers and writers is essential to the spread of Objectivism and the establishment of a new philosophical foundation for our culture. [...] The OAC offers a four-year undergraduate program in the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Through a systematic course of study, aspiring intellectuals will receive a thorough grounding in the basics of Objectivism. Although the program is currently unaccredited, all courses include graded assignments and periodic assessment. The undergraduate program is a prerequisite for our graduate program. --ARI

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Would you prefer

Training Objectivist teachers and writers is essential to the spread of Objectivism and the establishment of a new philosophical foundation for our culture. [...]The OAC offers a four-year undergraduate program in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, Hume, Kant, Zen Buddhism, and Fundamentalist Christianity. Who are we to think Objectivism is truer or more valuable than everybody else's ideas? Through a systematic course of study, aspiring intellectuals will receive a thorough grounding in the basics of Objectivism, but we don't go to extremes and claim that Objectivism is all that great. We're certainly not dogmatic about it.

That was a proposed OAC mission statement, but ARI didn't buy it.

TOC probably will.

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Betsy:

Training Objectivist teachers and writers is essential to the spread of Objectivism and the establishment of a new philosophical foundation for our culture. [...]The OAC offers a four-year undergraduate program in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, Hume, Kant, Zen Buddhism, and Fundamentalist Christianity. Who are we to think Objectivism is truer or more valuable than everybody else's ideas? Through a systematic course of study, aspiring intellectuals will receive a thorough grounding in the basics of Objectivism, but we don't go to extremes and claim that Objectivism is all that great. We're certainly not dogmatic about it.

You are exaggerating at this time. Are all of you saying that Objectivism is an esoteric philosophy that one must take 4 or 6 years to master under the instruction of special tutors?

Is it so difficult for someone to become an Objectivist philosopher or intellectual on their own research? If reality is knowable through reason then one does not need tutors to color things. Is this the Shaolin temple where monks study Shaolin Kung Fu techniques (forgive me)?

The ARI should only broadcast Ayn Rand's views and publish books that espouse her philosophy by Objectivists philosophers. The classes in question are not becoming of the philosophy. I am not against college clubs or MeetUps though (organized by individuals not an ARI styled organization).

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You are exaggerating at this time. Are all of you saying that Objectivism is an esoteric philosophy that one must take 4 or 6 years to master under the instruction of special tutors?

Objectivism is a systematic philosophy applicable to all areas of life and it does take many years to understand what it is and to properly integrate it with a person's own experiences and knowledge.

Is it so difficult for someone to become in Objectivist philosopher or intellectual on their own research? If reality is knowable through reason then one does not need tutors to color things. Is this the Shaolin temple where monks study Shaolin Kung Fu techniques (forgive me)?
It is more like a medical school where a prospective MD studies for years with experts on the current state of the art and then interns under the watchful eyes of knowledgable mentors before he is ready to present himself to the world as a doctor.

The ARI should only broadcast Ayn Rand's views and publish books that espouse her philosophy by Objectivists philosophers. The classes in question are not becoming of the philosophy. 

Are classes in surgery and residencies in cardiology "unbecoming" to the science of medicine?

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Is it so difficult for someone to become an Objectivist philosopher or intellectual on their own research?

Apparently so, if we take you to be an example of one who has attempted to understand Objectivism solely by his own research.

The ARI should only broadcast Ayn Rand's views and publish books that espouse her philosophy by Objectivists philosophers. The classes in question are not becoming of the philosophy.
Why on earth is that?

I am not against college clubs or MeetUps though (organized by individuals not an ARI styled organization).

Again, why are these things okay only so long as ARI doesn't have a hand in them?

Yes! Call a person who by definition is a mystic-a "mysti"c and they tend to get upset. One usually gets the same reaction from dogmatists (when are called for what they are).
Oh, I see. So, since we don't like being called "dogmatists," we must be dogmatists! Brilliant reasoning, Capleton! I am at the mercy of your flawless logic!

Are we to believe that only self-proclaimed Objectivist can discuss Objectivism? If this is indeed the case I would be happy to leave the forums. By your reasoning anyone who is not an Objectivist is a troll. Is this objectivity!

That is not what I said, and obviously not what I meant. Nor is it implied by what I said. People who are seriously interested in the philosophy are welcome here--they do not have to currently consider themselves "Objectivists." But those who are outright hostile to the philosophy--as the term "renounced" implies, along with most of your recent posts, that you are--are not.

You have failed to convince me that you have any legitimate purpose here. But I am not going to completely revoke your posting privileges at this point. I am, however, going to put them on moderator preview, so they will not appear on the board until one of the moderators approves them. That way, only your posts that actually have something interesting to say will be posted here.

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Quote Caplton

You are exaggerating at this time. Are all of you saying that Objectivism is an esoteric philosophy that one must take 4 or 6 years to master under the instruction of special tutors?
Not esoteric, but. Yes, if your aim is to become a professional intellectual, and you desire the best training in the Objectivist approach. Suppose I want to be an academic philosopher and to teach the history of philosophy from an Objectivist perspective. Do you realize how many questions, issues, sub-issues within sub-issues, meticulous hairsplitting there can be with a single point of philosophy? Do you realize how many wildly disparate questions can fly at you from your students? I do, I asked them.

Why not benefit from our division of labor society, and learn from others? Are you suggesting that everybody reinvent the wheel everytime. Would it not be best for those that are choosing the field to gain from the experince of those that went before him? You are attacking the very essence of how human knowledge is passed on!

Forget the examples from other fields. The history of philosophy is replete with exactly this kind of training. Plato wasn't following around Socrates to save his rope from getting dirty on the ground. What do you think Aristotle was doing at the Academy, washing Plato's clothing? How do you think Peikoff can rip out answers to questions (if you've ever heard one of his question periods) sometimes with the questioner only getting half the sentence out? Because he was Ayn Rand's butler?

It is so obviously for people wanting to enter the intellectual fields, your point is moot. I myself would love to take courses there, but I don't know if they take time on sci-fi writers, and an unpublished one at that.

For my everyday life I don't need the OAC. Do I need years of training for the problem: do I lie to my wife about what time I got off work? My co-worker is a hot slut, do I take her as a side dish? Hey, my boss left his wallet... Should I keep pursuing fiction or should I get that certificate in technical writing? Or even in what ways is Plato the father of communism? I don't have to teach it to someone else, I can make with it what I need for myself. There are no minds depending on my knowledge.

Caplton

Is it so difficult for someone to become an Objectivist philosopher or intellectual on their own research? If reality is knowable through reason then one does not need tutors to color things. Is this the Shaolin temple where monks study Shaolin Kung Fu techniques (forgive me)?

Yes! If one ever wished to secure tenure in a position before they dropped dead of old age. Just to get the PhD from the regular stuff is ten years or more (or 8 something long), and 99.999999999% of that will not be Objectivism. It will be the exact opposite. I went to college for electrical engineering a while back, I had time for absolutely nothing else, and that stuff was easy compared to philosophy.

It is an assumption and an isult on your part to arbitrarily assume that 1)the instructors color things and 2) that the students are dupes without minds of their own, and that they are there to get indoctrinated.

And what is wrong with the Shaolin temple if your goal was to master Kung Fu? Hey reality is knowable through reason! Watch these guys, and then do what they do! Or, get it from a book. I took martial arts for a while. You'd be in the hospital-fast.

The current mass disagreement with Peikoff voting against Bush is also a telling refutation of your assertion of dogmatism.

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This is for the record, in case some person interested in the OAC should stumble across this thread in the future.

The email was written by Will Thomas and his intern at the time, Andrew Bissell. According to what Bissell told me during a conversation on this topic, Thomas had listened to several tapes from an OAC class given by Gary Hull. Thomas then lied about the contents of those tapes, claiming that disobedient OAC students were put in a "dog pen," forbidden from participation in the class. A total figure of Thomas's imagination. The discussion between myself (poster Mike_M), Boaz the Boor, and Andrew Bissell contained on the thread is worth reading. The relevant discussion lasts for 5 posts. To summarize: Will Thomas knowingly lied about the content of OAC courses to advertise his own program. Keep that in mind if you're new to Objectivism and have heard bad things about ARI from people in and around The Objectivist Center.

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