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Szalapski

I have made "Objections to Objectivism", a podcast that examines problems with Objectivism, as a way myself to learn it. Would love feedback.

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Great to find this forum, I'll browse around and hopefully have some time to jump in.

I have made "Objections to Objectivism", a podcast that examines problems with Objectivism, as a way myself to learn it. Would love feedback.This podcast is intended for those with a bit of familiarity with Objectivism, but even those who have never looked into Objectivism or Rand, this podcast is still for them, as I try to explain the basics before examining them.

I'm guessing many members here know more about the topics than I do and you will find much to comment on, object to, or agree with. Let me know what you think!  I'll read every reply here, or just e-mail the address I give in the podcast. Here's the main podcast feed and the podcast website. Also you can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, and PodcastAddict as well as any podcast app you might have. Just look for "Objections to Objectivism" using your app's podcast search/add feature.

 

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1 hour ago, Szalapski said:

 

Great to find this forum, I'll browse around and hopefully have some time to jump in.

I have made "Objections to Objectivism", a podcast that examines problems with Objectivism, as a way myself to learn it. Would love feedback.This podcast is intended for those with a bit of familiarity with Objectivism, but even those who have never looked into Objectivism or Rand, this podcast is still for them, as I try to explain the basics before examining them.

Have you considered reading some of the many volumes written by Ayn Rand and Dr Leonard Peikoff? If you have, what are your opinions of Objectivism? Trying to piece together a comprehensive philosophy from online posts would only leave you with gaping deficiencies. Otherwise, welcome to the forum; I look forward to constructive exchanges.

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Posted (edited)

16 minutes ago, Repairman said:

Have you considered reading some of the many volumes written by Ayn Rand and Dr Leonard Peikoff? If you have, what are your opinions of Objectivism? Trying to piece together a comprehensive philosophy from online posts would only leave you with gaping deficiencies. Otherwise, welcome to the forum; I look forward to constructive exchanges.

Yes, I've read Atlas, Fountainhead, TVoS, Anthem, and many articles online, and listened to lots of Peikoff.  Need to read lots more, though; I just started We The Living.  Thanks for that concern!

Edited by Szalapski

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2 hours ago, Szalapski said:

examines problems with Objectivism, as a way myself to learn it

How is it possible to know what problems there are with something before you know it completely?

Does it concern you at all that you might accidentally allege some problem with Objectivism only to find out that what you alleged was not Objectivism, or that only upon proper and complete understanding you actually would determine that it was an advantage or virtue of Objectivism?

I fear you have purposefully or negligently decided not to be prudent but first I want to give you the benefit of a doubt and the chance to dispel any false suspicions.

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Posted (edited)

Good thoughts. 

Does it concern you at all that you might [be wrong about something]?  

It does not concern me--in fact, I look forward to it, as it is just a small-time podcast and a way (and motivation) to learn and explore these topics.  I hope you decide to have a listen and then tell me all the points that I misunderstood!  In fact, I made an error in episode 2 that I addressed in episode 3.

> How is it possible to know what problems there are with something before you know it completely?

It isn't possible to fully completely know anything of sufficient breadth, and more than just experts are allowed to comment on something. Podcasts can be somewhat conversational and relational, so that's what I'm going for here.  I don't think it is imprudent to try something out without being an expert.

Edited by Szalapski

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Posted (edited)

Care to start a thread of your own here? 

1. Podcasts can be time consuming and not easy to listen to or quote

2. Writing is succinct and accessible

3.  You learn faster, get more of a reaction and be more engaged if you write a post here with your various "problems" or queries

I am curious about your "objections"... as an Objectivist if anything about my philosophy is in error and contradicts reality, I need to correct it immediately.  :)

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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3 hours ago, Szalapski said:

Yes, I've read Atlas, Fountainhead, TVoS, Anthem, and many articles online, and listened to lots of Peikoff.  Need to read lots more, though; I just started We The Living.  Thanks for that concern!

While these books are excellent works of fictional literature, only TVoS, (The Virtue of Selfishness), is a non-fiction book, which mainly addresses morality and politics. It was my first choice when I decided to learn more about Ayn Rand and her philosophy, in fact, and I still consider it the best introduction to Objectivism. For a more complete and orderly view of Objectivism, I would recommend Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, by Leonard Peikoff.

Now, perhaps you could share your "problems with Objectivism," or as StrictlyLogic suggested, start a new thread. I will take a look at your query on other preexisting threads, and see if there is anything I could contribute.

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Sure, I will post questions in new threads, as time allows.

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welcome to OO! i agree it would be great to see links to the podcast episodes and summaries of the objections discussed on them posted here! that would help us keep track and not forget and miss something interesting.

there have been all kinds of arguments against Objectivist positions made over the years, more and less successfully. i imagine you have plenty to get you started. whenever you run short on material and need ideas, bump the thread again and let us know which branch of philosophy you're interested in getting into, and i'm sure we can suggest some sources.

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Pyramid of ability you get a bit wrong - it's just to say that greater intellectual effort has an incalculable value.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/pyramid_of_ability.html

The other thing is lifeboat scenarios so to speak. It's not really agreed upon in Objectivist thought. There are a few threads, and I've made arguments as to how that there is context to moral principles, yet moral principles are binding. Others would say the context is being alive at all. Either way, rational self-interest is the point, which is difficult to figure out. It at least involves figuring out one's identity as a whole which includes psychology, not just a desirable material outcome.

Lastly, Rand didn't arrive at her ideas deduced from the law of identity. That's just the logical structure. She arrived at her ideas by slowly studying history and philosophy, and more. Robert Nozick wrote one paper on Rand, but took her as -deducing- ethics, which is an error.

Good idea on the podcast - thinking out loud is a good way for some to learn.

 

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10 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Lastly, Rand didn't arrive at her ideas deduced from the law of identity. That's just the logical structure. She arrived at her ideas by slowly studying history and philosophy, and more. Robert Nozick wrote one paper on Rand, but took her as -deducing- ethics, which is an error

You yourself may or may not be confused on this point, but the way you have phrased it would certainly be confusing to someone learning about the philosophy. The logical structure of Objectivism does not consist of a series of deductions from the law of identity. You cannot deduce anything from the law of identity, as you can see just by looking at it. Objectivism's logical structure is inductive, for the most part.

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7 hours ago, William O said:

You yourself may or may not be confused on this point, but the way you have phrased it would certainly be confusing to someone learning about the philosophy. The logical structure of Objectivism does not consist of a series of deductions from the law of identity. You cannot deduce anything from the law of identity, as you can see just by looking at it. Objectivism's logical structure is inductive, for the most part.

I 'liked' your post because you are picking out something unclear to newcomers. You're right that altogether, Objectivism is not a series of deductions. It's not that Rand studied a while, then wrote down her deductions. I'm saying that Rand induced her principles, and any deductions are only one part of Objectivism's logical structure. The first episode suggested Rand did a lot of question-begging. This is not true, or at least it doesn't address where Rand said her principles come from.

Rand wrote at times in such a way that it looked like she reasoned from a set of assumptions. Looking at all her work though, she spoke of examples quite a bit, not just "if A then B".

A lot of people speak of Rand as if -she- thought that all her ideas come from the law of identity, and use that as grounds to reject her as a wannabe philosopher. Of course, you and I know that Rand didn't do that. But for whatever reason, that's the initial vibe I've heard about several times.

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11 hours ago, William O said:

You yourself may or may not be confused on this point, but the way you have phrased it would certainly be confusing to someone learning about the philosophy. The logical structure of Objectivism does not consist of a series of deductions from the law of identity. You cannot deduce anything from the law of identity, as you can see just by looking at it. Objectivism's logical structure is inductive, for the most part.

 

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Rand wrote at times in such a way that it looked like she reasoned from a set of assumptions. Looking at all her work though, she spoke of examples quite a bit, not just "if A then B".

A lot of people speak of Rand as if -she- thought that all her ideas come from the law of identity, and use that as grounds to reject her as a wannabe philosopher. Of course, you and I know that Rand didn't do that. But for whatever reason, that's the initial vibe I've heard about several times.

Is this explained more fully in OPAR?  Rand certainly seems to appeal back to A=A fervently enough that she should have explained this more fully if she didn't think that her philosophy could be implied from it.  I never took it to be a strict deduction of logical proof, but rather a place which a thinking, reasoning person can start from and yield many valid conclusions using other knowledge.  I guess we've started this discussion in this other thread:

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/30488-how-does-a-is-a-connect-to-government/#comment-348916

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4 minutes ago, Szalapski said:

Rand certainly seems to appeal back to A=A fervently enough

She uses A is A, usually after an induction that ties back to the identifiable facts from which she drew an inductive conclusion. The mathematical variant, A=A, is not the same. Identity and equivalence have subtly different connotations.

As the French are fond of saying: "Viva la difference!"

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55 minutes ago, Szalapski said:

 

Is this explained more fully in OPAR?  Rand certainly seems to appeal back to A=A fervently enough that she should have explained this more fully if she didn't think that her philosophy could be implied from it. 

I can't think of a specific source. OPAR gives a better sense of where the principles all come from, and the way Objectivism treats the development of knowledge. Rand certainly is different than Descartes, who sought all his ideas by first thinking on what is undeniable and reasoning from that point. The best suggestion I have is to read ITOE (you noted you didn't read it yet). That book explains more about the law of identity (A is A) and how it is one of the widest integrations. So, as DW said, "A is A" is usually used by Rand as a sort of "tying back", almost an affirmation that "I am certain this is true".

Many people, myself included, find Rand's epistemology quite illuminating, the whole process of how we know what A even is. 

 

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

The best suggestion I have is to read ITOE (you noted you didn't read it yet).

Szalapski,

If it's true that you have not read ITOE yet, then you really need to.  It's central to understanding Objectivism.

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6 hours ago, Szalapski said:

...  A=A

... a place which a thinking, reasoning person can start from and yield many valid conclusions using other knowledge

One can't really get anything useful from A=A as such. It's the "other knowledge" that's yielding all the concrete conclusions. However, even scientists who've never heard of Rand and who only know Aristotle as a name, assume that A=A when they think about all that "other knowledge".

ot just scientists though: everyone, every day, in almost every little sphere of life, simply assumes A=A when they brush their teeth each morning, start their car, open the garage door, and so on. Most will never explicitly identify this in words, but when a magician does a trick, they assume its not really magic, because they know that A=A.

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6 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

One can't really get anything useful from A=A as such. It's the "other knowledge" that's yielding all the concrete conclusions. However, even scientists who've never heard of Rand and who only know Aristotle as a name, assume that A=A when they think about all that "other knowledge".

ot just scientists though: everyone, every day, in almost every little sphere of life, simply assumes A=A when they brush their teeth each morning, start their car, open the garage door, and so on. Most will never explicitly identify this in words, but when a magician does a trick, they assume its not really magic, because they know that A=A.

I agree and will follow this up with this:

Unfortunately, due to Man's capacity for insanity, rationalism and mysticism, a multitude of philosophers and philosophies have implicitly or explicitly rejected that "things are what they are"... such eventually leads to irrationalism, skepticism, idealism, intrinsicism, mysticism, materialism, and a whole host of disastrous ideas.

The sad truth is, Rand felt she had to re-state the truly obvious, and she did have to.

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Welcome, fellow critic of Objectivism. To understand your view of Objectivism it would be most helpful to understand your personal philosophy. Have you yet developed your own philosophy, and, if so, would you kindly direct me to where your own views are displayed (in whichever form)?

On 26.04.2017 at 4:28 PM, William O said:

Objectivism's logical structure is inductive, for the most part.

That's what Peikoff now would have you believe, although he rationalized a lot with Rand prior, in the history of Objectivism. As any other philosophy, Objectivism evolves over time, so it's not correct to criticize a single, obsolete version of Objectivism. Rather it needs to be taken as a whole throughout its lifespan. So in this regard Objectivism is not even reducible to what Rand or Peikoff wrote. Rather, it's a way of living.

On 27.04.2017 at 0:30 AM, Eiuol said:

A lot of people speak of Rand as if -she- thought that all her ideas come from the law of identity

Of course not, because that would be tautological. Rather, Rand offered new ideas that have no precedent in the way she explained them. The law of identity is one of her axioms that is necessitated by her overarching (realistic) metaphysics.

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On 4/25/2017 at 7:42 AM, Szalapski said:

Great to find this forum, I'll browse around and hopefully have some time to jump in.

I have made "Objections to Objectivism", a podcast that examines problems with Objectivism, as a way myself to learn it. Would love feedback.This podcast is intended for those with a bit of familiarity with Objectivism, but even those who have never looked into Objectivism or Rand, this podcast is still for them, as I try to explain the basics before examining them.

I'm guessing many members here know more about the topics than I do and you will find much to comment on, object to, or agree with. Let me know what you think!...

Szalapski,

I resort to stating the obvious. You have made no specific criticism of Objectivism. It may be that you have no specific criticism of Objectivism. Having listened to the audio recording most recently listed on your podcast, it seems apparent that you have a desire to undermine the validity of Objectivism. While the motive for such an endeavor eludes me, I wish to offer these comments:

Objectivism is a fully comprehensive philosophy. Most rational and coherent individuals would find it easy to live with the moral assertions of Objectivism, if not for the fact that there presently exists a ubiquitous acceptance of irrational ideas. The popularity of these irrational ideas undermines the likelihood of Objectivsim becoming a mainstream or well-accepted philosophical norm in the leading industrial nations of the world. Religious clerics, modern philosophy professors, and Hollywood producers are hard at work preserving the mystical/collectivist standard of ethics. Do you really believe that someone seeking a rational explanation for the general insanity of the world would be best served by presenting "Objections to Objectivism" without a firm grasp of the concept of Objectivism? Referring to the podcast, would a person questioning the foundations of ethics benefit from the confusing salad of unsubstantiated assertions I heard in the conversation you had with Zack Schmitt? How does Zack Schmitt, an admitted mystic who claims "we can't know your own selves," (paraphrased) qualify as an expert on Objectivism?

On this thread alone, you have received feedback from people with a much broader breadth of knowledge in the formal study of philosophy than anything I would care to engage. If you have arguments with Ayn Rand's metaphysical or epistemological assertions, I recommend you address these concerns directly; perhaps these more scholarly participants could help you with these more abstract fundamental, however I always recommend some self-study followed by your own independent contemplation before engaging in any argument. As for me, a man of less academic reasoning, I am perfectly willing to accept the notion that that which I perceive is quite real, unless there may be some deception involved, or something as yet to be discovered. Deception is a matter of reality, as is the undiscovered. As for the manner of reacting and responding to reality, that is a matter for every individual to determine for his/her self. It is a matter of morality.

The question of morality in Objectivist thought is not very difficult to grasp, unless one is confused by religious beliefs, or the skeptical premise that knowledge is an illusion, or a combination of both. Not everyone would benefit from a society governed by Objectivist morality. The indigent, the criminally insane, the inherently corrupt, and certainly those who presently prosper from the sales of mystical products would find themselves isolated from a community of rational thinkers. The majority of rational thinkers would thrive and flourish. If our present-day civilization spirals downward to the depths of a new dark age, it won't be because the world was populated by too many Objectivists. That fate would be the property of the mystics and skeptics. It is my profound conviction, and one supported with evidence, that the entire population of the world and beyond will live more contented, if not more joyous lives, when the reality, so obvious to Objectivists, becomes the standard of philosophic thought.

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19 minutes ago, Repairman said:

Zack Schmitt, an admitted mystic who claims "we can't know your own selves," (paraphrased)

I hope the OP would elaborate on whether this interesting paraphrase reflects the actual standpoint of someone with whom he agrees. I see two ways in which to take such a position involving questions of self-hood. The way I prefer is that it is very difficult for us to not merely know but understand our own consciousness without relating to consciousness of others. Say, if you are living on an uninhabited island, understanding who you are, as per your essential character, is nearly impossible. You may be really good in growing food, hunting, gathering, and building things, but philosophically you would be very malnourished, since you don't have anyone with whom to get involved in dialectics and no books of this nature either.

The second way I deem to be incorrect. This would sounds very, very bad if we took for understanding ourselves our pragmatic endeavors on such an island. Equivocating such materialistic tendencies with our very being is one point that is perhaps criticized by Repairman when he refers to the current world's state. In contrast to him, however, I do not deem such destructive tendencies mystical at all but Kantian as in rejecting any understanding of human nature per consciousness, replaced with an instrumental, end-in-itself internalist approach (based on the prior equivocation).

It's like living with a blindfold, praising math and science above commonsensical humans. Rather than mystics, generally only materialists believe in such a power of science that overshadows humans as perceptual beings. As can be seen from my comment here, which I intend to serve as an example of a correction for the popular belief of Objectivists in the supposed irrationality of mysticism, one of my own major criticisms of Objectivism is their misunderstanding of mysticism taken as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. On the other hand, this misunderstanding also verges on a complete rejection of anything labeled as 'mystical.'

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53 minutes ago, Ilya Startsev said:

I hope the OP would elaborate on whether this interesting paraphrase reflects the actual standpoint of someone with whom he agrees. I see two ways in which to take such a position involving questions of self-hood. The way I prefer is that it is very difficult for us to not merely know but understand our own consciousness without relating to consciousness of others.

Take it as many ways as you wish, Ilya, but take them away. Your comments as usual are out-of-context, over-worded, and irrelevant. If you wish to start a discuss relating to the inner working of the mind, go ahead; I would stop you. Neither will I join you.

1 hour ago, Ilya Startsev said:

Say, if you are living on an uninhabited island, understanding who you are, as per your essential character, is nearly impossible. You may be really good in growing food, hunting, gathering, and building things, but philosophically you would be very malnourished, since you don't have anyone with whom to get involved in dialectics and no books of this nature either.

I could always discuss matters with Wilson, or some equivalent. I hardly see myself stranded on an island and I don't think most people do either. Your hypothetical is irrelevant.

 

1 hour ago, Ilya Startsev said:

The second way I deem to be incorrect. This would sounds very, very bad if we took for understanding ourselves our pragmatic endeavors on such an island. Equivocating such materialistic tendencies with our very being is one point that is perhaps criticized by Repairman when he refers to the current world's state. In contrast to him, however, I do not deem such destructive tendencies mystical at all but Kantian as in rejecting any understanding of human nature per consciousness, replaced with an instrumental, end-in-itself internalist approach (based on the prior equivocation).

Incorrect(!?) It's incomprehensible. Can't you express yourself more clearly? Better yet, write a dissertation on the subject, and see if you can get a publisher to buy it. I guarantee, I won't.

 

1 hour ago, Ilya Startsev said:

 As can be seen from my comment here, which I intend to serve as an example of a correction for the popular belief of Objectivists in the supposed irrationality of mysticism, one of my own major criticisms of Objectivism is their misunderstanding of mysticism taken as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. On the other hand, this misunderstanding also verges on a complete rejection of anything labeled as 'mystical.'

Where would we be without Ilya Startsev's commonsensical corrections of Objectivism, so commonsensical that it couldn't possibly be misunderstood by anybody.

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Well said Repairman.  

I do, however, take issue with your own modesty and implicit self effacement.  

You already know more than you think you know (or admit to yourself). Whether or not you understand the fundamentals of why you know or how you know it, what you know, your implicit philosophy, is far superior to the intricate ramblings of madmen.

Also, although it it not my place to suggest what is a value to you, your positive and insightful contributions to the ideas exchanged on this thread are a value to me and frankly that value is diminished when you waste your time responding to the likes of Ilya.  But, as I said it is not my place to suggest what you should do.

Good premises.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Repairman said:

I hardly see myself stranded on an island and I don't think most people do either. Your hypothetical is irrelevant.

Really, but what about Peikoff illustrating the nature of society as that “the independent man is as alone in society as on a desert island” (OPAR, 1991, p. 381, cf. pp. 202, 252)?

30 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

the intricate ramblings of madmen ... you waste your time responding to the likes of Ilya

Very commonsensical of you, SL. Also very illuminating of the nature of rejection I've mentioned and that the OP needs to be aware of.

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