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Dr.Peikoff has weighed in on the issue of applications of Objectivism and determining if someone can still be called an Objectivist if the application has been proven to be false or not an application of Objectivism. I think this podcast is germane to this thread, as it is the primary accusation Checking Premises is making against Diana Hsieh.

Hey, that was a great podcast. Thank you very much for linking to it.

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Someday some group more orthodox than CheckingPremises.org is going to come along and read them out of Objectivism. Fresh from their success, they'll train their sights on Binswanger, Schwartz, Mayhew and Peikoff in succession. You read it here first.

Edited by Reidy

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I did not say it supports the Checking Premises side at all, just that Dr. Peikoff was weighing in on the general subject of when one can and cannot support someone qua asserting they are an Objectivist and in what context. Like I've said before, umpteen times in this thread, which I think a lot of people are ignoring, it all comes down to the issue of objectivity. Yes, people are capable of making mistakes; but if they are only making a mistake, then as Peikoff says, they ought to be open to the facts and reasoning from the facts. And their original applications must be based upon the facts and be consistent with Objectivism.

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Oh brother! I linked to this on OL yesterday, just to get a rise out of George H. Smith. Here’s a link to what he wrote in response.

http://www.objectivi...ndpost&p=161191

Here’s a better link to Peikoff's podcast, so you don’t have to download anything:

http://www.peikoff.c...s-are-on-deriv/

It plays from the website without all that extra bother.

In his article The Peikovian Doctrine of the Arbitrary Assertion, Robert Campbell put in the leg work to show that Peikoff’s rendering of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem is so inaccurate that it qualifies as arbitrary by Peikoff’s own standards. I’m afraid that his characterization of anarchism is just as bad. However, it might apply to Aleister Crowley (Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law); now was he an anarchist? Did he even write about political ideas?

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It is a downer for sure, particularly when members on both sides of such schisms want to promote their shared views outside the movement. Then, it becomes disappointing because time spent on "in fighting" is time not spent fighting externally. Also, one comes to a point when one thinks: "wow! there are 5 times the Objectivists than when I first read Rand", then three schisms later the group with which you really interact with is down to (say) a sixth of its peak!

You say you're relatively new to the Objectivist "culture". Still, you might know that schisms are really nothing new. I'm not trying to depress you further :) , but just the opposite. The fact is that through all this, the number of people reading Rand has continued to grow, and Rand's influence has not ebbed. Further, its a pretty good guess that Objectivists interact more with other Objectivists today than they did two decades ago. It's a bit like a boom-bust cycle, with an upward secular trend.

Also, consider examples from history. Islam has Shia and Sunni denominations, and there are regions where these two see each other as primary enemies, and others (infidels) as being more of "enemies in theory". Within Shia and Sunni, there are further divisions. Similarly, look at the Christian church: it divided into Catholic and others over issues that would seem really silly to outsiders. Then, came Martin Luther and another major schism. And, look at the U.S. today with all sorts of independent churches. It doesn't seem to harm the core Christian cause. The Christians have had an uphill fight against reason-based philosophies, but I doubt they'd have done "better" if they'd all stayed under the umbrella of the Catholic church. The same pattern of fracturing and growth can be seen across most other major religions. Even Buddhism has its schism.

In general, some of these historical schisms are based on a disagreement about some core idea, while others are based on personality and politics. Of course, often the two are wrapped together: something that would have remained a disagreement on which collaborators agree to disagree can become a schism when personalities grate or when one or both sides are jockeying for power and influence.

I'm not trying imply that schism are pointless or that they're "just politics" etc. On the contrary, some schisms end up helping. the obvious effect of a schism is that -- when the dust dies down -- each side feels that it has cut off a group of people who are diverting it from its core business. When the schism is in progress, things can get really petty: people can focus on much more than just the core argument... they can get personal about all sorts of personal things. It really is pretty sad when one sees a person you thought was sensible being petty and irrational. I know Objectivist friends who have stopped claiming to be Objectivists on forums etc. because they don't want to argue about whether the label really ought to apply to them or not. Either way, it is not going to change their philosophy.

Basically, every schism among Objectivists has been based on one of two things: sometimes a group sees another group as being dogmatic (i.e. as trying to limit Objectivism to some specific concrete), and thinks Objectivism as a movement should distance itself from dogmatists. At other times, a group sees another group as being subjectivist (i.e. as trying to expand Objectivism to support ideas that are antithetical to it) , and thinks Objectivism as a movement should distance itself from subjectivists.

From my years of interacting with Objectivists, I have come across some who are dogmatic and some who are subjectivist. I have less in common with these people than I have with some more rational non-Objectivists. I think Objectivism as a movement would be well rid of both errors. Mostly, it seemide futile to argue with these folk: there is some deep epistemological-divide which I'm not competent to bridge.

It is depressing when personality and pettiness play a large role in the schisms. this happens all too often. I've seen enmities start over whether some view is too subjectivist or dogmatic, but morph into personal insults about what papers someone reads, about past friendships, and even people's weight! Then you have one side going out of its way to scorn and mock any little mistake of the other side. That's the type of thing that depresses me. I think the only solution is to constantly remind oneself not to let other people set one's agenda, to remind oneself that one is not going to let the tail wag the dog, and to remind oneself that happiness comes from a focus on values rather than on dis-value. Further, I remind myself that when the dust settles, Objectivism as a movement will be stronger as long as the right people still continue to do the right thing.

I don;t think one is going to end schism. I think the healthy solution is to deal with them by encouraging splits. Years ago, I'd have thought this was the worst thing possible: fragmenting the movement. However, I now think this is the healthiest approach. Like the various denominations in some religions, it might actually allow each group to pursue its aims more peacefully, and without having to deal with the other. The net effect might be to promote, rather than to detract from, any common goals they still share.

So, for instance, if there is some serious schism on a forum, I think there comes a point when the healthiest thing is to set up a separate forum. When one chat room gets too petty and personal, it might be healthiest to set up another. In the past, I have offered to help people set such things up: not because I love "helping the competition" but because I think it is healthier than trying to get along when one has crossed a certain line.

Thank you SoftwareNerd. The clarity is very helpful and certainly brings some needed optimism.

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 . . .

. . . Aquinas, who re-introduced Aristotle . . .


That is incorrect. In the century before Aquinas, there had been translations into Latin of Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, Physics, Meteorology, On the Heavens, Generation and Corruption, Metaphysics, On the Soul, Sense and Sensibility and the commentaries of Averroes on Aristotle. The logical works, by contrast, had not been lost to the West. Abelard, for example, had benefitted from them; he lionized Aristotle simply from those. Champions of Aristotle in Aquinas own time included Roger Bacon and Albert the Great, mentor of Aquinas.

Rand was in error on this point when she wrote “For the New Intellectual.” No excuse for us.

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Rand was in error on this point when she wrote “For the New Intellectual.” No excuse for us.

Rand would probably reply that it was with Aquinas that Aristotle’s ideas achieved critical mass in the medieval west, a reasonable and defensible position, depending on how you define your terms. He certainly didn’t rediscover Aristotle in the sense of finding forgotten manuscripts and translating them, the work had to be available first. BTW, Frederick II deserves a place on your honor roll, he sought out manuscripts from the Muslims and employed translators. He also had in his service Thomas Aquinas’s father, who helped him in his multiple wars with the papacy. The 13th century was certainly a fascinating time.

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Ninth,

Aristotle's ideas on logic were already dominant in the Latin West. In the rediscovered parts of Aristotle (the works I listed), there was a largely non-mystical, this-world comprehensive view to compete with the Christian view. Aquinas' synthesis co-opted that competitor for Christianity, perhaps extending the dominance of that mysticism considerably. Even as late as the 17th Century, when the modern mechanistic physics had become a new threat to Christianity, we find Leibniz bringing Aristotle's concepts such as substantial form to the rescue of Christian Mysteries. Aquinas' synthesis continues to give a patina of rationality to Christian faith in some quarters to this day. Yes, I concur that Aquinas was the one who more than any other thinker made Aristotle in those rediscovered parts of his philosophy, when curtailed, acceptable in Christianity. Whether that notable weight of Aquinas favoring Aristotle was greater than the combined weight of all the others in the West favoring Aristotle, I do not know.

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Yes, I am well aware that Aristotle's works on logic were available pre-Aquinas, as were some of his other works. However, they were used to confirm rationalism; the way Plato used logic (disconnected from the facts). The man who made the Renaissance possible was Aquinas, who integrated Aristotle's method into a wider range of issues prevalent in his day, and tied logic back to existence instead of mind games. Granted, he did have some rationalism in his own works (preserving Christianity), but he was able to show more than anyone else during that time period that Aristotle had real-world applications and wasn't to be used solely for mental parlor games. In other words, Aquinas was rational, in spite of his using logic to better (falsely) explain the Mysteries of the Church in some cases, and was able to show that logic applied to a great many factual questions they had at the time. Without his integration of Aristotle to those issues, logic would have just been used by the rationalists, and not those interested in living life on earth.

Added on edit: Ayn Rand identifies logic as the art of non-contradiction -- non-contradiction of what? the facts of reality as given by observation. No philosopher between Aristotle and Aquinas did that consistently enough to make a difference.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.

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I'm not going to get off-topic on the issue of anarchy, which Ayn Rand most astutely rejected, but since it was brought up, you might want to read my essay on Governments and Individual Rights and Rebuttal to Anarcho-Capitalism.

Besides, this issue has been thoroughly discussed in another thread.

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Looking to the text, I see that Rand did not err by saying as Thomas, whom I quoted in #332, that Aquinas reintroduced Aristotle. She wrote: “Aristotle’s works were lost to the scholars of Europe for centuries. The prelude to the Renaissance was the return to Aristotle via Thomas Aquinas.” There is error in the latter sentence in saying that the return was only by Aquinas. Not only were there other minds bringing Aristotle’s ideas in his rediscovered work to ascendance in Western intellectual culture; without the Aquinas conduit, that ascendance would still have occurred via those other minds at that time. Think especially of the more scientific thinkers, with Posterior Analytics in hand, and think of the broad impact of On the Soul on philosopher-theologians other than Aquinas.

In Rand’s first sentence, there is error in neglecting the logical works that had been already in the hands of earlier thinkers such as Abelard. That only concrete particulars exist outside the mind was already a live position, thanks in large part to Abelard’s interpretation and promotion of what is in those works of Aristotle. From those works, syllogistic logic was already the dominant mode of reasoning, and as Thomas has indicated in #335, to the purpose of much sterile rationalization (contrast with Rand: a, b, c). What was of interest to Rand in Aristotle’s logic was the (at once logical and metaphysical) principle of noncontradiction. That and Aristotle’s defense of it was not at hand full weight until Metaphysics was translated into Latin in the century before Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas.

For the prelude to the Renaissance, we should add to the Aristotle of Aquinas and to the translations into Latin of Posterior Analytics, Physics, Meteorology, On the Heavens, Generation and Corruption, Metaphysics, On the Soul, Sense and Sensibility and translation into Latin of the commentaries of Averroes on Aristotle. We should add, also in the century before Bacon, Aquinas, et al., the translations into Latin of Euclid (Elements, Optics, Catoptrics), Ptolemy (Almagest, Planisphere, Optics), Avicenna (The Healing, Canon of Medicine), and Alhacen (De aspectibus).

Edited by Boydstun

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The podcast is something both sides in this debate would readily agree with. While you see somehow see it as a basis that supports CheckingPremises, in fact it supports Diana Hsieh's position and is a rebuttal of Chip Joyce's essays. In fact, it is abstract enough that both sides would agree it is right, as such. Therefore, if by "germane" you meant it addresses the argument in this thread; no, it does not.

The podcast is worthwhile, but not surprising, and as you say could apply both ways.

Trying to get my head round Objectivists "misinterpreting" O'ism - and being ousted as a result...

Is it possible to be a. an intrincist O'ist? b. a subjective O'ist?

That was a new notion for me until I read LP and DK, on the subject.

"Peikoff is giving voice to intrincism - a belief that the truth is revealed and that error

reflects a willful refusal to see." [ D. Kelley: Truth and Toleration]

Also:

"Fundamentally, the choice is objectivity vs. non-objectivity in its various forms.

Being objective in practice however, does require a kind of mental balancing that

sometimes feels like striking a compromise.

We have to hold in mind the requirements both of reality, and of our own nature, and if

we focus too narrowly on one, or the other, we tend to slide into intrincism or subjectivism."

"Compromise"? " mental balancing" ? not things that I wanted to hear, as an Objectivist.

Except. I know what he means. Who of us picked up our first Ayn Rand novel, followed by

everything else she wrote (in quick succession) and did not get a 'sense' of "revealed knowledge"?

I'll bet that it lasts to this day in many of us.

Partly her style, partly her self-evident truthfulness, partly her sense of urgency in her terse essays, partly

the reader's own hunger - lots of elements to this. Of course, she did, and would, reject intrincism with contempt.

She proved every step of the way.

But the effect still lingers. Emulating her (or trying to) can lead to dogmatism, in my opinion.

I know what Kelley means by the narrow gap between subjectivism and intrincism.

It is that (I suppose) psycho-epismological sense - again - that one is both observer of, and participant

in life. Kinda like simultaneously watching a play onstage as an audience member - and being the main character

in the spotlights.

Part of the value, the essential one for me, of Nathaniel Branden's works, is that he 'ties them together', and avoids

both pitfalls in the process.. (An 'enemy of O'ism'? hardly. Perhaps its greatest supporter, in hindsight.)

As an afterthought, it's occurring to me that the difference between the DK 'school', and the LP one, is not only

epistemological, but also metaphysical. That is indeed a very deep divide. Personally, I will continue to learn

from both schools.

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Intrinsicism is a widely applied term. In ethics it means a divorce of value from the valuer, a notion that an entity has value in itself, regardless the valuer. This notion Ayn Rand rejected. In epistemology some people refer to the notion of innate knowledge as intrinsicism. This notion also rejected by Objectivism. But in metaphysics intrinsicism means that entity's features are pertain to its very nature., independently from the observer. This is Law of Identity and primacy of existence-Objectivist axiomatics. Dictionary defines intrinsic as "belonging to a thing by its very nature" or " belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing " ( Merriam-Webster). So man's mind, volition or rights are metaphysically intrinsic to the human nature. I don't think that such a notion would be rejected by Ayn Rand.

Edited by Leonid

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Looking to the text, I see that Rand did not err by saying as Thomas, whom I quoted in #332, that Aquinas reintroduced Aristotle. She wrote: “Aristotle’s works were lost to the scholars of Europe for centuries. The prelude to the Renaissance was the return to Aristotle via Thomas Aquinas.” There is error in the latter sentence in saying that the return was only by Aquinas.

I think you are dropping some context here because while, yes, there were other Westerners interested in Aristotle, Aquinas came up with an entirely new rational philosophy based upon Aristotle's teaching. In context, Aquinas was as revolutionary to the prevailing Platonism of his time as Ayn Rand is revolutionary to the prevailing Kantianism of our time. It took an Aquinas, who integrated Aristotle to the problems of his age, to sell Aristotle to the West wholesale. Yes, others were applying Aristotle (in a much more minor way), but if Aquinas would not have broken through the culture with a revolutionary rational philosophy, the Platonist would have risen to ascendency once again and would have done to them what they later did to Galileo; and there would not have been a Renaissance.

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A one sentence summary of Aquinas' role was to make the world (or Europe, at least) safe for other Aristotelians by displacing Augustine as chief theologian of the Catholic Church. That was important.

Given how Rand writes (not as an academic) I think she was essentializing here.

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Dr.Peikoff has weighed in on the issue of applications of Objectivism and determining if someone can still be called an Objectivist if the application has been proven to be false or not an application of Objectivism. I think this podcast is germane to this thread, as it is the primary accusation Checking Premises is making against Diana Hsieh.

That basically rubberstamped business as usual. Considering business as usual is what gives people like the Checking Premises Village the excuse to pile on citizen Number 6 it is disappointing Peikoff didn’t take the opportunity to clarify the issue.

As an aside, when did the stance on what is “official” Objectivism as a qualifier to be an Objectivist change from the works of Ayn Rand or the material she approved in her lifetime to “fundamental subjects or their derivatives”? Did I miss this somewhere before?

Between this and spending some time at the CP website, I’m starting to a clear picture of how this is working together to fuel this culture of obsessing over real or imagined negatives at the expense of positive values.

Edited by Spiral Architect

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Where was this link previously on the ARI site? I just checked, and under "community groups" there's:

Colorado

Front Range Objectivism, Denver, CO

Contact

Diana Hsieh

E-mail

[email protected]

http://www.aynrand.o...ommunity_groups

I suppose that if this disappears in the near future we'll have some evidence for your purge hypothesis.

Well well, guess what? Click the link above and see. Now whether this is just a matter of a change of leadership and/or contact info initiated on the FRO side, or was done at the behest of purge-driven ARI leaders, obviously I don’t know. Neither side is liable to talk to me. One fact that suggests the former is DH’s continuing presence on the FRO site. A “sanctioning the sanctioners” policy lacks solid precedent in ARI history; if there’s been an excommunication that ought to be it, ye “buck privates” are to get in line. It sure would be easier if they’d just publish a list of “unpersons”; perhaps they could outsource this task to Checking Premises, with relish they would manage that for the rest of us. Just don’t leave me out, I figure by now I’ve earned my place in the Pantheon/Bestiary.

But anyway, there’s a new offering on that site which I take to be evidence for the purge hypothesis. Note particularly the line at the bottom: “Mr. Boeckmann is not affiliated with Checking Premises, however, at the time of this publication, he lets it be known that he supports what we are doing.” I’ve sent exactly one question to the Peikoff podcast, and I received a written answer from Mr. Boeckmann, explaining that LP had forwarded him the question, that it was too involved for the podcast, and so he would answer it. He proceeded merely to dodge it, but never mind that, my point is that he is certainly a figure close to the throne. I take “supports what we are doing” to mean effecting the purge of one uppity “PhD with podcast”, since, at least I believe, that’s the whole point of the site.

Nothing conclusive either way.

For my part I’m continuing to enjoy the irony, in fact this post amounts to a bit of stirring the pot, but it feels like a good time/place to suggest some essential reading coming from another point of view. I say it's time to cut out the lunacy.

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http://www.objectivi...ndpost&p=161191

Note to go off topic but that is a great debate going on over there.

SA,

Since you mentioned it, I would be curious about any feedback you (or anyone) might have about the OL anarchy debate. I'm referring to the the philosophical points, of course, not the unfortunate personal tone. (I did my best to minimize that, but sometimes self-defense makes it unavoidable.)

Thanks

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Well well, guess what? Click the link above and see. Now whether this is just a matter of a change of leadership and/or contact info initiated on the FRO side, or was done at the behest of purge-driven ARI leaders, obviously I don’t know.

Neither.

ARI's longstanding policy is to list only ARI donors as contacts for the community pages. (That's a perfectly reasonable policy, in my view.) I'm no longer a donor to ARI. That's why the link to OActivists was removed recently, as well as why I gave ARI a new contact person to be listed for FRO.

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Neither.

ARI's longstanding policy is to list only ARI donors as contacts for the community pages. (That's a perfectly reasonable policy, in my view.) I'm no longer a donor to ARI. That's why the link to OActivists was removed recently, as well as why I gave ARI a new contact person to be listed for FRO.

Well there we go. The subject originally came up as a result of this post:

Evidently, DH's OList Objectivist Activist link has been removed from the ARI (Ayn Rand Institute) website primarily due to her shown disrespect for Dr. Peikoff. From a FaceBook posting by Charlotte Cushman:

"The Ayn Rand Institute has removed all links from Diana Hsieh on their web site. The time has come to make a choice. Are you with ARI or the group of people who have been mutilating the Objectivist philosophy and insulting Leonard Peikoff?"

I checked and I don't see anything official on either Yaron Brook's FB pages nor on the ARI website, but OList is no longer there.

I must say I enjoyed demonstrating that Thomas was, as is quite typical, in error, having not verified claims before repeating them. Now, why ARI would remove one contact reference and not all at once remains a question. I suspect the answer is that there was an oversight, or rather, to put it in a way better suited to recovering conspiracy theorists, a kind of demonstration of Hanlon’s Razor.

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I must say I enjoyed demonstrating that Thomas was, as is quite typical, in error, having not verified claims before repeating them. Now, why ARI would remove one contact reference and not all at once remains a question. I suspect the answer is that there was an oversight, or rather, to put it in a way better suited to recovering conspiracy theorists, a kind of demonstration of Hanlon’s Razor.

Considering your inability to think past the level of a sound-bite, you are quite free to ignore me. But her OList being delisted wasn't for the same reason as her FRO delisting of her name, from what I can tell from a few people who have direct contact with ARI / Dr. Peikoff.

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But her OList being delisted wasn't for the same reason as her FRO delisting of her name, from what I can tell from a few people who have direct contact with ARI / Dr. Peikoff.

Unsubstantiated claims help nothing. Since your claim here has no verification for us forum readers, it can and should be ignored as hearsay.

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Unsubstantiated claims help nothing. Since your claim here has no verification for us forum readers, it can and should be ignored as hearsay.
Much of the speculation around how ARI etc. works and who is "in" or "out" etc., shares one essential trait that one also finds in conspiracy theories: a failure to understand how people and organizations really work. Edited by softwareNerd

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You've certainly have a point that I cannot prove that ARI removed DH's OList listing a few months ago due to her continued conflict with Peikoff through those being free to write against him on those forums. ARI didn't come out with an official statement, they just removed the listing without comment.

All in all, though, since DH is not asserting that she is speaking qua Objectivist philosopher, then it won't be against Ayn Rand's writings anyhow. I myself consider myself to be an Objectivist but not an Objectivist philosopher because I have not yet come out with my own form of OPAR, and I am assuming DH is doing so likewise. She has stated recently that she and her group are re-studying OPAR, and I sincerely hope it does her well. We need more rational spokespersons for reason.

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