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Ninth Doctor

Peikoff on date rape

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Peikoff did not readdress the issue in today’s podcast. Perhaps he records these in batches, and won’t have an opportunity for a while. Or, maybe he has nothing more to say on the matter. I’m with Jonathan in being totally unsure whether he will retract, ignore, or reaffirm the worst implications of last week’s statement.

We’re dealing with a loose cannon here.

Are you calling the intellectual heir to Ayn Rand a loose cannon? I'm scandalized!

Edited by John Link

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Are you calling the intellectual heir to Ayn Rand a loose cannon? I'm scandalized!

Well, “loose cannon” might be overdoing it. How about loose handful of ball bearings? In search of a missing quart of strawberries…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUp3vhMSfZE

And let’s not bring up that intellectual heir business again!

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Absolutely not. I fully agree with Mr Peikoff's statement - in the context in which it was meant.

What next, z0mg Fountainhead 'rape' scene attacks?

Are you going to tell us what your view of that context is? Maybe explain how so many people here are getting it wrong? Tell us what he really meant? Or did you just come here to ejaculate?

BTW, shouldn’t it be Galt’sGulch? What the hell’s a Gultch?

Another thing, since we've taken the time to go over the details of Kobe case, let me just mention quickly that the fact pattern in The Fountainhead also has nothing to do with what Peikoff described in the podcast.

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I really have better things to be doing right now (homework, anyone?), but since I've already spent two hours reading this I may as well reply:

I have to say, I'm sort of on the fence about this one. Or, rather, I'm on one side of the fence for one argument, and the other side for another. First of all, I think that Peikoff did likely make this comment off-the-cuff, and he shouldn't be personally attacked for it (unless and until such time as he chooses to clarify himself with a more carefully worded remark, at which point we should judge him one way or another, as he would be making explicit important ideas that he holds). So there's where I stand on that.

On the other hand, taking Peikoff's statement verbatim now, I think that the most legitimate defense of his statement -- that the verbal withdrawal of consent, if actions which imply consent are still being performed, does not amount to actual withdrawal of consent -- is flawed when referenced against reality. As one person has already brought up (I think it was sNerd, but I'm not sure), words are not empty abstractions without meaning*. That is to say there is no realistic scenario in which a woman would say, "No," and mean it, while still participating in the act. If you can think of a scenario in which a woman would not attempt to physically remove herself from the scenario after verbally removing consent, I am legitimately interested to hear it. Admittedly, there are times when women will say things without meaning them (as I'm sure we can agree; the concept of token resistance is an example of this), but this is not the sort of situation to which I am referring. Thus, continuing after only verbal cues cannot constitute rape, however a situation in which the woman gives sincere verbal cues but no accompanying non-verbal cues, such as attempting to remove herself from the situation or struggling against her aggressor, would not occur in reality. Because of this, there is no situation in reality that can be morally considered rape that does not involve the use of force in some way (unless, perhaps, the victim is a paralysis patient and has no way to physically resist, in which case verbal cues should be taken as absolute).

I would prefer not to discuss rape in a legal context, because I don't believe I am well informed enough on the current laws surrounding the issue to make a valid assessment of what would and would not constitute legal rape.

*As an aside, I was reading Aristotle's metaphysics about this earlier today, in which he demonstrates why words must have specific meanings.

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First of all, I think that Peikoff did likely make this comment off-the-cuff, and he shouldn't be personally attacked for it (unless and until such time as he chooses to clarify himself with a more carefully worded remark, at which point we should judge him one way or another, as he would be making explicit important ideas that he holds).

First of all, no one is "personally attacking" Peikoff. We're simply disagreeing with his stated position on consent and the denial and/or withdrawal of consent.

Secondly, why should judgment of Peikoff and his ideas be delayed? I don't see such courtesy ever being extended by Objectivists to anyone else. Rand asserted that we are to judge and to be prepared to be judged, no? Well, then, Peikoff and his ideas should be judged, and if he has erred in his statement on consent and rape, and if he feels that he has miscommunicated, then he can clarify it, and then we can modify our judgments of him and his ideas accordingly. Until then, his position stands as stated, and it should be judged for what it is.

If you can think of a scenario in which a woman would not attempt to physically remove herself from the scenario after verbally removing consent, I am legitimately interested to hear it.

There are often situations in which a woman who is being raped is so physically intimidated that she dares not offer any physical resistance out of fear that she will enrage her rapist. In such a case, she might very timidly say "No," or "Please stop," while not putting up a physical fight so as not to incite her attacker.

Also, women are often much smaller and weaker than men, and someone of Kobe Bryant's size and physical power might not even realize that a woman is struggling against him as hard as she can. That's why a woman's words should be taken as an attempt to remover herself from the situation.

Now, as for any situation in which a woman is saying "No" or "I do not consent" while the man is getting the impression from her actions or body language that she means the opposite, the safe and intelligent thing for him to do would be to explicitly address the issue and tell the woman that he feels that she is giving mixed signals, that he doesn't play that game, and that she should make up her mind and either explicitly consent verbally, or leave.

J

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There are often situations in which a woman who is being raped is so physically intimidated that she dares not offer any physical resistance out of fear that she will enrage her rapist. In such a case, she might very timidly say "No," or "Please stop," while not putting up a physical fight so as not to incite her attacker.

That's because she's already being raped by an attacker. Yes, women who have been attacked, and are being raped will often not put up a fight.

Luckily, in Dr. Peikoff's scenario, the woman hasn't been attacked, nor is she being raped. You added those yourself. Either that, or worse: you're begging the question.

Also, women are often much smaller and weaker than men, and someone of Kobe Bryant's size and physical power might not even realize that a woman is struggling against him as hard as she can.

That's a verifiable claim. Let's say the Mythbusters decided to run with it, got a bunch of large men and small women, paired them up for some simulated sex (because Discovery wouldn't sign off on the real thing), told some women to struggle, others to not struggle.

Be honest, do you really, honestly believe that their results would confirm your theory: the guys wouldn't be able to tell which women struggled and which didn't?

Now, as for any situation in which a woman is saying "No" or "I do not consent" while the man is getting the impression from her actions or body language that she means the opposite, the safe and intelligent thing for him to do would be to explicitly address the issue and tell the woman that he feels that she is giving mixed signals, that he doesn't play that game, and that she should make up her mind and either explicitly consent verbally, or leave.

If you like explicitly addressing the situation before you have sex with someone, that's your style, not the absolute, devoid of context "safe and intelligent thing to do". Most people manage to safely have wonderful sex without explicitly addressing anything about it.

In my experience, for instance, explicitly addressing the obvious (= second guessing yourself) is not the intelligent thing to do. You certainly don't come across as intelligent and confident, doing it.

That leaves the question of safety: in rare contexts, if the woman isn't obviously in control of the situation for some specific, unusual reason (like she's socially or emotionally challenged enough), it would be safer to explicitly address the situation. Otherwise, it wouldn't be.

Edited by Nicky

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I think personal attacks and speculation on other members' motives and failings aren't allowed. We should just leave it at "somehow all three of you are getting it wrong".

You don’t need to speculate on motives and failings, just stick to the ideas.

And three? Only three posters on this thread interpret Peikoff differently than you? Which three?

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First of all, no one is "personally attacking" Peikoff. We're simply disagreeing with his stated position on consent and the denial and/or withdrawal of consent.

I agree with this statement, but feel that what we’ve seen on this thread are a few instances of people “personally defending” Peikoff. By this I mean there’s a certain element that defends anything he says, and I believe that it’s strictly because he says it. Quoting Ayn Rand, I called it a “mentality that’s ready for a Führer”. On the Checking Premises site we see this mentality on display, particularly in these two quotes:

http://checkingpremises.org/openletter

"When attempting to understand and evaluate Dr. Peikoff’s statements in this podcast, the cognitive method of objectivity, which is a central principle of Objectivism, demands that one maintain the full context of one’s knowledge. The full context of one’s knowledge includes, not only every word of Peikoff’s statement, but also all of one’s knowledge of Objectivism, and all of one’s knowledge of Dr. Peikoff’s history and works."

“[T]he man who, above all, has earned the maximum benefit of the doubt regarding his understanding and integration of Objectivism”

These statements amount to granting Peikoff a blank check to contradict Objectivist principles, or rather, a call to faithful cultists to ignore contradictions when they occur. He makes a statement that, coming from anyone else, would be taken as moral sanction to commit rape, and how many among the faithful can accept that his words mean what they plainly mean? There’s the claim that Peikoff “has earned the maximum benefit of the doubt”, but why should you ever need to extend him benefit of the doubt? Is he not a clear communicator? I think he was amply clear in this podcast, the main problem was his citing the Kobe Bryant case, since the facts of that case don’t line up with what he said about it.

Back to “personally attacking” Peikoff. I’ve attacked a lot of things he’s said over the last few years, and wouldn’t have bothered if they were said by just about anyone else. His statements about the Ground Zero Mosque, McCaskey, the transgender (including their doctors(!)), and so on weren’t inherently interesting. The problem is that Ayn Rand and Objectivism are so visibly saddled with what Nathaniel Branden laconically (yet accurately) called “not a serious thinker”. He drives good minds away and perpetuates the public image of a Randroid loony cult. So, do I personally attack him? In a sense yes, I acknowledge that I do specifically target his public statements. In fact, the main value (and enjoyment) to be had from listening to his podcasts comes from the off-the-wall stuff he says, otherwise I’d have tuned out long ago.

Does Peikoff need to be publicly exposed, and his faithful cultists along with him? Repeatedly, even ad nauseum, in whichever forum will permit it? If you value the ideas, I say hell yeah.

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Does Peikoff need to be publicly exposed, and his faithful cultists along with him? Repeatedly, even ad nauseum, in whichever forum will permit it? If you value the ideas, I say hell yeah.

"Exposed" is probably too strong of a word to use here. I have no reason to speculate that he has any beliefs worth exposing. His podcasts are too short to tease out very many principles even, as compared to his lectures which I have listened to and got a lot of intellectual value from in the process. That's the quality of work I expect out of Peikoff, like OPAR in particular. Not only that, I can hold him to a very high standard *because* of his very long effort at grasping and understanding as much about Objectivism as possible, and because he's a philosopher by career. So when he provides a podcast answer with a tangent that sounds bizarre on the face of it, it's quite bothersome that he didn't put forth more time and effort into the reply. My altered version of what you said is that absolutely it's worth addressing what Peikoff says, and strongly too, precisely because of how much he can legitimately claim to know about Objectivism. Regarding McCaskey or the transgender questions he replied to in his podcast, those things are especially strange, so anyone NOT familiar with OPAR or any of his lectures probably have no reason *but* to judge Peikoff negatively. That is bad for not only Peikoff, but also any newcomers to Objectivism.

Edited by Eiuol

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"When attempting to understand and evaluate Dr. Peikoff’s statements in this podcast, the cognitive method of objectivity, which is a central principle of Objectivism, demands that one maintain the full context of one’s knowledge. The full context of one’s knowledge includes, not only every word of Peikoff’s statement, but also all of one’s knowledge of Objectivism, and all of one’s knowledge of Dr. Peikoff’s history and works."

This is actually the incorrect context to apply to Dr. Peikoff's podcasts, which are non-technical short discussions aimed at people new to Objectivism. That audience by definition does not have any knowledge of Dr. Peikoff’s history and works or much knowledge of Objectivism.

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Eh, alright. I wrote all that after spending some time at the Checking Premises site, it put me in a bad mood.

Refute? Debunk? Ridicule? Mock? Shame? Blow the whistle on? Rain on his parade? Take the wind out of his sails? Burst his bubble? Stick a pin in his balloon?

What word would best describe what the boy did when he said that the emperor has no clothes?

Edited by John Link

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Refute? Debunk? Ridicule? Mock? Shame? Blow the whistle on? Rain on his parade? Take the wind out of his sails? Burst his bubble? Stick a pin in his balloon?

What word would best describe what the boy did when he said that the emperor has no clothes?

Oh I don’t know, but I’m thinking that the “maximum” benefit of the doubt line ought to be replaced with “minimum”. Peikoff should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one. I think there’s a certain number of what I called, on another thread, Peikoff purists. I’m thinking I should switch that to Peikoff parrots, however. One of their main features is that they’re awfully motivated to get out there and…parrot Peikoff. They make more than their share of noise. I just can’t believe that their numbers, as a percentage of those who get into Objectivism, are as high as it seems online. Even so, about 10% is the minimum figure, and that’s taken mainy from my impressions of people I’ve met in person, while omitting people met at Atlas Society events.

Edited by Ninth Doctor

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Refute? Debunk? Ridicule? Mock? Shame? Blow the whistle on? Rain on his parade? Take the wind out of his sails? Burst his bubble? Stick a pin in his balloon?

What word would best describe what the boy did when he said that the emperor has no clothes?

Refudiate.

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Didn't I already settle this? Seriously read my last post I put forward a pretty plausible interperetation of his words that fits the larger context of his previous statements (oh and his very next paragraph).

It wouldn't make anysense for him to be like "Oh yeah if she is in your house you get a free pass to rape her, but don't you lie your way into getting laid!".

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Hairnet: I am assuming you are referring to this post (if not, please give a post number so I know we are both talking about the same thing.):

I will have to go back on my earlier statement. I don't think the facts of the Kobe case are actually what is important. Apparently Peikoff may have had no idea what he was talking about.

What was important was that he clearly had an idea of what had happened. That narrative, although fictional, was what was important, not the actual case. The reason is that Peikoff was trying to illustrate (very poorly, and for no reason) a case where a woman wasn't raped.

If that is the case, Dr. Peikoff could clear this whole issue up by clarifying it. And he should--by which I mean I cannot see how it could possibly be in his self interest not to do so, not that I have some right to demand it. Why a professional intellectual very familiar with the importance of the meaning of words would choose to leave a vague, confusing statement as his published view on a matter is beyond me. Unless he simply does not care if people understand him or not, but if that is the case, why bother to say anything at all? Sure, one can argue that it's extemporaneous, but he subsequently published it on his website, thereby "blessing" it as his opinion, at least until corrected or clarified.

Edited by Steve D'Ippolito

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It looks like Leonard is going to revisit his views about date rape in a podcast on March 4. For whatever it's worth, Amy Peikoff does not agree with Leonard about whether consent to have sex may be withdrawn. See http://dontletitgo.com/2012/02/17/on-leonard-peikoffs-brief-podcast-discussion-of-the-kobe-bryant-case/

Is Amy the daughter of Leonard?

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Amy Peikoff has announced (February 17, 2012):

I have shown the following to Leonard Peikoff, who encouraged me to make it public. He plans to discuss this issue in his next unfilled podcast, which will be the first Monday in March (March 4).

(SPOILER ALERT for those who haven’t read The Fountainhead)

See the rest of her post on her blog (Don't Let It Go):

On Leonard Peikoff’s brief podcast discussion of the Kobe Bryant case

Miss Peikoff ends her note with:

(Please note that I did not find it necessary to use any of the following adjectives or phrases in expressing the above disagreement: “disgraceful,” “disgusting,” “anyone of good moral character or intelligence…” etc.)
Edited by Trebor

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