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theestevearnold

Is Objectivism an Open or Closed System?

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Let's find a word for "rational philosophy based on existence, reason, self interest".

Verisimilitude; a concept referring to degrees of truth (distance from reality).

Henceforth, whenever this "closed" system comes up, I'm calling myself a Verisimilist; someone who holds a philosophy identical to Oism in every way, except for being an "open" system.

Problem solved forever.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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And how do you know which concretes Rand would have applied any given idea to?

Which concretes? Dearest Harry, with a firm understanding of Objectivist principles, I'm able to apply it to ALL concretes. The only danger I face is that I lack knowledge in some issues-of-the-day, so I risk making assertions or taking actions without enough context, but that's not her fault, it's mine.

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skylab

It's not my thesis, this poster posited that as a thesis on a different site.

Kinda figured FH was a root cause. Just wanted to emphasize some known, (and documented elsewhere), AR bio data... 

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Dearest Harry, with a firm understanding of Objectivist principles, I'm able to apply it to ALL concretes.

How, specifically?

Because the very application of such principles, to any given situation, is a deductive judgment which cannot take place in a vacuum. You reinterpret Rand's ideas essentially every time you apply them, through nothing more than the act of application; it is a mental necessity.

I will elaborate, if you'd like.

My point being that where a "closed" system is concerned, the distinction you've mentioned is a band-aid solution, at best.

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How, specifically?

Concrete example: AR proved that Man has a right to dispose of his body how he chooses (as long as the action doesn't violate the rights of others). So when an aquaintance complained that Oregon wanted to legalize euthanasia, I said it should be legal (based on my Objectivist principles).

The system is closed. I didn't alter Objectivist principles and then present my new principles as Objectivism. If there was any Objectivist principle I disagreed with, I wouldn't call myself an Objectivist; I'd have to find another philosophy or create my own. Thanks, AR.

Dearest Harry, since we disagree on the closed system, please give me an example of a change you think you should make to AR's work (without her consent) while still calling the result Objectivism. And I don't mean an interpretation that maintains the intent. I mean a perceived flaw that a New Objectivism wouldn't have.

Edited by theestevearnold

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Concrete example: AR proved that Man has a right to dispose of his body how he chooses (as long as the action doesn't violate the rights of others). So when an aquaintance complained that Oregon wanted to legalize euthanasia, I said it should be legal (based on my Objectivist principles).

Because of your own conceptions of the human body and "choice", to name a few.  Not that I'm opposed to such conceptions.  The application you described is precisely what I would have said, as well.  They are not, however, anything which Rand mentioned explicitly; they are not part of the Objectivist writings, proper.

For an example of such conceptions actually distorting Rand's ideas in irrational, but internally self-consistent ways, see this thread; particularly the comments of Crow Epistemologist.

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?showtopic=22606&hl=

 

Dearest Harry, since we disagree on the closed system, please give me an example of a change you think you should make to AR's work (without her consent) while still calling the result Objectivism.

 

Intellectual property rights, the necessity of a government and the closure of Objectivism.

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Intellectual property rights, the necessity of a government and the closure of Objectivism.

First off, in your correction to Objectivism you're mistaken: AR clearly stated the necessity of government. Unless you meant that govt is unnessecary, which makes you some sort of anarchist. AR proved why anarchy results in gang warfare

Dearest Harry, I've read the crow epist many times and it showed me why dice shouldn't go beyond sixxes. I don't see your point.

Every change you proferred to AR's philosophy aren't changes, they're applications of her principles. The open-systemers are those who feel it's okay to change the principles. I don't know what you meant (in your earlier post) when you asserted that there are degrees of truth but it seems shady. Please clarify why you are willing to make Truth a non-absolute.

I say A is A. If you say a is B, are you saying it's not as bad as if you said A is Z?

Edited by theestevearnold

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Another way of defining 'open' and 'closed' would be to assess the willingness to engage dissent and other philosophiies.

 

For example has anyone seriously considered an open debate with Marxism in which the opposition is given a level playing field?

 

Engagement would also entail open public forums in which all philosophies are fairly aired.

 

In other words, without an open polemic, all philosophies tend to fall into dogma. Active questiong --from ther outside--in the only way to keep a philosophy vibrant.

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Another way of defining 'open' and 'closed' would be to assess the willingness to engage dissent and other philosophiies.

 

For example has anyone seriously considered an open debate with Marxism in which the opposition is given a level playing field?

 

Engagement would also entail open public forums in which all philosophies are fairly aired.

 

In other words, without an open polemic, all philosophies tend to fall into dogma. Active questiong --from ther outside--in the only way to keep a philosophy vibrant.

frank we may finally have something in common

I for one would love to see the Marxist debaters drop the dialectical materialism and hash 'it' out, here here and bravo

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For example has anyone seriously considered an open debate with Marxism in which the opposition is given a level playing field?

There have been plenty of debates, get out there and look for them. Here's one:

Is there any reason to say this wasn't a level playing field? The "socialists" (may as well call them Marxists) had equal time.

There was once a debate between Christopher Hitchens, back in his Marxist days (I'm talking early 90's), and Objectivists. Some people have it on tape but I don't know where it might be available.

Where Objectivists (particularly those associated with Peikoff) have been bad is in being willing to debate with people who are closer to them philosophically. Libertarians, mainly. Here's an example of what that might look like:

Smith isn't technically an Objectivist, but the case he makes here is basically the same as I'd expect any well spoken one to make. Obviously Friedman is a different animal, though also in the Libertarian tent.

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I don't know what you meant (in your earlier post) when you asserted that there are degrees of truth but it seems shady. Please clarify why you are willing to make Truth a non-absolute.

I say A is A. If you say a is B, are you saying it's not as bad as if you said A is Z?

Truth is correspondence to reality.  If I say that A is B, that is closer to reality (and hence more true) than saying that A is Z.  To grasp that B is closer to A than Z is, does not make A=B any more than 1=2.

To extend that slightly further, if you were to ask "what is A?" there would only be one truly correct answer to that; A.  But not all incorrect answers are equally wrong.

 

Unless you meant that govt is unnessecary, which makes you some sort of anarchist.

 

That is true.

 

AR proved why anarchy results in gang warfare.

If you wish to believe so.

 

---

 

The purpose of a government is the retaliatory use of violence.

The initiation of violence is self-destructive, and therefore irrational.

Without irrationality, there simply is no reason to have a government (and I do include peaceful arbitration in that statement).

 

---

 

If you wish to treat principles as of a different nature from their various applications then knock yourself out.

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Dearest Harry, Unless I misread you, you said you're an anarchist. Do you think that AR's philosophy supported anarchy? Of course not. Even if it weren't for the fact that irrationality will always exist among men, there will always be honest misunderstandings regarding contractual agreements that require civil courts to arbitrate. 

 

You accuse me of misapplying Objectivist principles. Please tell me exactly what you're referring to. 

Edited by theestevearnold

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There have been plenty of debates, get out there and look for them. Here's one:

Is there any reason to say this wasn't a level playing field? The "socialists" (may as well call them Marxists) had equal time.

There was once a debate between Christopher Hitchens, back in his Marxist days (I'm talking early 90's), and Objectivists. Some people have it on tape but I don't know where it might be available.

Where Objectivists (particularly those associated with Peikoff) have been bad is in being willing to debate with people who are closer to them philosophically. Libertarians, mainly. Here's an example of what that might look like:

Smith isn't technically an Objectivist, but the case he makes here is basically the same as I'd expect any well spoken one to make. Obviously Friedman is a different animal, though also in the Libertarian tent.

Thanks for the youtubes, which I'll watch with interest. I was referring, however,  more to a lack of on-line polemics.

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Dearest Harry, Unless I misread you, you said you're an anarchist.

Yes.

 

You accuse me of misapplying Objectivist principles.

No.  You are wrong, but not for that reason.

 

Do you think that AR's philosophy supported anarchy?

That depends on precisely what you mean by "AR's philosophy."

Rand was quite clearly opposed to anarchy.  The reasoning she provided for such opposition, however, contradicts her own metaphysical, epistemological and ethical framework.

 

For that reason, while Ayn Rand may have adamantly opposed anarchy, I think that Objectivism supports it.

---

 

As for Rand's central argument against anarchy:

 the fact that irrationality will always exist among men

This means that we cannot improve ourselves and are hence doomed to wallow in our own sins, forever.  It is a rejection of volition.

 

there will always be honest misunderstandings regarding contractual agreements that require civil courts to arbitrate. 

Government power is coercive power and civil courts are no exception.  To require a civil court is to require someone else's advice, provided at gunpoint.  Now, in what universe are guns required to solve honest misunderstandings between rational men?

It is not quite a rejection, but rather an exemption from objectivity.

 

 Even if it weren't for the fact that irrationality will always exist among men, there will always be honest misunderstandings . . . that require civil courts . . . . .

The argument is predicated on a rejection of both volition and objectivity, and amounts to an Argument from Depravity.  In short, it assumes that anarchy is the actual goal, but that we do not (and can never) deserve to have it.

And all I have to say about that, on every point and every implication, is:

 

 

 

Speak for yourself, tovarisch!

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Yes.

 

Seeing as though Miss Rand created a philosophy that explicitly opposed anarchism, why don't you create your own corrected philosophy (based on the things you agree with) and give it its own name?

 

When you meet men who show a sincere interest in AR's philosophy, and you explain the part about Objectivist politics, do you present your politics as representative of Objectivism, or do you tell them that your politics differ?

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When you meet men who show a sincere interest in AR's philosophy, and you explain the part about Objectivist politics, do you present your politics as representative of Objectivism, or do you tell them that your politics differ?

When I am dealing with interested laymen I do not overcomplicate things by launching into the things I think Rand was wrong about.  In the grand scheme of things they are not essential and not worth bothering with.  So I do not even mention anarchy, in such situations, for the same reason that I still consider myself an "Objectivist".

I do not believe that the ideal sort of society is an issue even remotely equal to reason, truth or my love of my own life

 

Seeing as though Miss Rand created a philosophy that explicitly opposed anarchism, why don't you create your own corrected philosophy (based on the things you agree with) and give it its own name?

I still claim to be an Objectivist because I still believe that I am one.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Seeing as though Miss Rand created a philosophy that explicitly opposed anarchism, why don't you create your own corrected philosophy (based on the things you agree with) and give it its own name?

Have you ever imagined how your life might have played out, if you had never heard of Ayn Rand?

I had already started figuring some of this out on my own, long before I read her stuff.  If it were not for Ayn Rand, I probably would have made some portion of my current progress, eventually.  At the rate I was going, however, I could not have gained a significant grasp of my own philosophy until I was too old to truly and fully implement it.

 

So what I have gained, from standing on her intellectual shoulders, is time; my own lifetime with the knowledge of how to spend it.  And when I think of "Objectivism" I think of what I have gained from Ayn Rand.

 

Now, I have always taken great pride in my own intellect, and on some level I am tempted to invent some "new" philosophy and call it my own.  I would enjoy that.  But if I were to do that I would know that no matter what I changed, my philosophy would still be Objectivism at its root.  No matter what I added to or improved about it, I would know that without Ayn Rand I could not have formulated it.

 

So personally, if I were to say "I am not an Objectivist" it would feel like theft.  At least within my own mind, I would be denying Rand's role in my philosophy.  In a way I would be cheapening my own philosophy, to myself, because I would be saying that those who contribute to it don't necessarily deserve my respect.

 

It's difficult to articulate but it would be something like selling my soul.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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