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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

The part I quoted especially. "This comes from being the egg-maker, and the desire to seduce a sperm-maker."

So I'm arguing that most women want to look beautiful and attractive in order to seduce a seed-maker (a father for her baby). She might do this to get a particular type of man, such as the handsome, rich banker next door; or to get a general type of man, such as a nice guy who falls madly in love with her; or maybe some combination of both. The question is: how does she get him?

Women learn early on what motivates a man, from watching family members, friends, movies. It's no secret that most men want a beautiful woman. Intelligent guys tend to also want a smart, affectionate woman. But it's a known fact that in order to make a baby, the woman must get the man sexually excited. Otherwise she better save up for a trip to the sperm bank.

Thus making herself look as attractive as possible becomes an important virtue. And since she doesn't know when she'll bump into Mr. Right, she tries to always look her best and be ready to flirt with the potential ones.

This only applies to women who have a basic understanding of sex. Young girls who want to dress up are most likely imitating their mothers or something they've seen other people do. They don't understand the sexual purpose of such dress and makeup.

Also, as I said before, popular articles of clothing usually have multiple functions. The dress probably has some more general function as well, even besides protection from the elements. For example, easy access to the breasts makes it good for breastfeeding babies.

Edited by MisterSwig

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7 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

most women want to look beautiful and attractive in order to seduce a seed-maker (a father for her baby).

If you are arguing for this, then do it. Anyone can make up a reason - you are begging the question. You are also making a trivial claim. If a woman wants <some type of person> to attain <some end>, then yes, then a woman wants to attract that person in some way. The issue is you say that the reason women in general dress up is in order to make babies. Well, no, not to mention that plenty of women with no intent to make babies now like to dress up. 

All you said is "women dress up to be attractive to someone". So do men. So does anyone in the world.

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The Servant-Slave Mentality and Nominalism

Early man experienced the world with an unscientific, ignorant mind. Basic things puzzled him, such as the meaning of life and the origin of thoughts. Indeed, such mysteries still baffle philosophers even today. They must have seemed hopelessly confusing before the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Before Socrates, the problem of universals must have received little attention, if it was recognized at all. So how did societies cope with the natural struggle to survive using knowledge of the world? How did they determine the true and the good?

Actually it's not hard to figure this out, because we have many historical and contemporary examples of the same sort of primitive survival. Essentially the law of nature requires that the fittest member of a family, clan, or tribe, be the supreme leader and dictator of the collective, in order to ensure the survival of the family, clan, or tribe. This is usually the wisest member, whose deeds and advice have proven sound and strong enough to gain the loyalty of many followers.

If it's not generally known how to acquire universal knowledge, then the natural struggle itself impels people to submit to the power of the greatest particular knower, the father of a family, the chief of a tribe, the philosopher of a nation. For this is the best way to ensure their own survival, since they don't really know how to do it themselves. In a state of abject ignorance, it actually makes sense for a group to rely on the wisdom of the leader to guide them in making tools, building shelters, finding food, staying healthy, raising children, training for battle, etc. And if the leader wants to use his servant like a slave, by what right should the servant-slave object? He is a foolish follower and would likely die or be killed without the master. He should be happy that the leader wants to use him at all. For it means his continued survival, unless of course he's used as a sacrifice of some sort. But maybe that's okay too, because he's been told it’s an honor to be chosen as an offering to the gods who provide the leader with knowledge. 

If that is essentially how the servant-slave mentality takes root, what happens when knowledge of the true and the good becomes more common? What happens when Socrates, for example, systematizes the problem of universals and teaches that each individual needs to be responsible for his own knowledge? Very quickly someone like Antisthenes comes along to try to stop it, that's what happens. Antisthenes, a student of Socrates, argued against the existence of universals and has been credited with inspiring the later development of Nominalism.

Nominalists fight against universals, perhaps because they realize that such knowledge signals the end of the servant-slave mentality. If universal knowledge becomes available to the average man, what use does he have for a dictator of knowledge? He can figure out the true and the good on his own, and he can survive by his own wits.

Nominalism is thus a philosophical formalization of the primitive ignorance that justifies a servant-master, or slave-based, social system. To the degree a person fails to understand the problem of universals, he necessarily submits himself to someone else's knowledge and will. And today that someone else is the “non-binary” moral-political activist, who claims to possess special knowledge of human nature--and of how we should reshape society to reflect this wisdom.

Edited by MisterSwig

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In reality, who is becoming the slave? The servant-slave mentality, or the "nominalist" attempting to gain a stable of servant-slaves by deceiving their minds, in essence, raising the stableboys to a position higher than reality, where the "nominalist" becomes a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions?

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On 12/11/2017 at 9:17 PM, Eiuol said:

If a woman wants <some type of person> to attain <some end>, then yes, then a woman wants to attract that person in some way. The issue is you say that the reason women in general dress up is in order to make babies. Well, no, not to mention that plenty of women with no intent to make babies now like to dress up.

Is the main point of contention the quantity of women who dress up to attract a man? I say it's most women. You seem to think it's not, because plenty of women dress up with no intent to make babies.

First of all, you're arguing against a semi-straw man. My position is not exactly that most women dress up to make babies. It's that they dress up to attract and then keep a man. This is necessary if they want a baby the natural way. But obviously some women are not interested in having a baby the natural way--or at all. Still, I think it's safe to say that most women do, so my qualified position still holds. If you believe most women don't want a baby, then let's argue that point.

I'm less interested in haggling over why women dress up in the first place. I understand that many also want to look good for themselves or for friends, for their own self-esteem or public image. I get that. But those are all subjective motivations for dressing up. I'm trying to get at the primary, objective fact of the matter. Aside from whatever goes on in their minds, how does dressing up objectively benefit most women? I say it helps them get a man. 

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17 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

In reality, who is becoming the slave? The servant-slave mentality, or the "nominalist" attempting to gain a stable of servant-slaves by deceiving their minds, in essence, raising the stableboys to a position higher than reality, where the "nominalist" becomes a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions?

That's a good point, which probably explains why many masters lose control of their stableboys and suffer the consequences. This is essentially what happens in primitive cultures. If a tribal leader treats his followers poorly, they rebel and kill him. Then they fight over who will be the replacement. Maybe the new leader learns something from the old and treats his followers a little better. Maybe not, because "power corrupts," and then he too gets taken out by disgruntled stableboys. This cycle continues until the masses are sufficiently educated in universal knowledge to support a kind of democracy. At which point you see the philosophical nominalist-types emerge and attempt to control minds at the lower levels of society, such as in religion or education, all the while trying to gain enough power to be a force at the political level again.

I don't say there is some grand nominalist, anti-universals conspiracy. Slave-based philosophical and political systems simply result naturally from the fact that man, in general, has not solved the problem of universals. Even America was founded as a slave-based nation, and much of our society today remains rooted in involuntary servitude. Ideologically, Western Civilization exists in some sort of midworld, halfway between slavery and freedom.

If you agree that Rand solved the problem of universals, then really it has only been solved for fifty years. It's going to take a long, long time for her solution to be fleshed out, taught in universities, and commonly understood among the people. Until then, nominalism will remain a threat to mankind's pursuit of universal knowledge. Nominalists will continue to attack important concepts and erode common sense to the point that more segments of society will rely on them for knowledge of the true and the good.

For example, we see nominalists who apply the rejection of universals to the standard of value itself: man's life. Because life qua man is a universal, it must not really exist, they either say outright or evasively imply. The default standard therefore becomes life qua life, meaning man’s self-generated activity. We witness this already in the ancient "nominalist" Antisthenes, who made virtue itself the standard. And we see a glimpse of it with the modern trans movement, where  transitioning itself is virtuous; and also with the "non-binary" crowd, whose form of transitioning is convincing themselves and others that they are something different from male or female.

Once activity becomes the standard, almost any activity will do. As long as it's activity in service of the will to power. Making every business and school install special bathrooms for you. That's a good activity. Making all the "cisgenders" refer to you in the third person. That's an even better activity. Making scientists rewrite science books based on your word. Is there a more awesome activity than that?

Edited by MisterSwig

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11 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But those are all subjective motivations for dressing up. I'm trying to get at the primary, objective fact of the matter.

Well I think this explains why I don't think your idea of nominalism is incorrect. To say that a standard is man-made is not to say it is necessarily wrong. You seem to think nominalism is wrong because using a man-made idea cannot be objective, while a nominalist thinks all things are man-made, thus a nominalist wants us to all enslave us to man-made concepts.

Nominalism is wrong to say that all man-made things -must- be arbitrary, but it is right insofar as some things like gender norms are man-made, or even morality. What it gets wrong is the idea that any objective link is not possible. The issue I see is that you seem to insist that a concept should not be man-made in any sense, so you want to find the true and "objective" referent or reason any norm exists.

Even if the vast majority of women dress up to "get a man", you won't find the "primary fact of the matter". You could argue that this is why most women should dress up, just not that there is the essential reason women dress up. That is, it's not caused by some "female nature" - all you really said is people do things to attain values. It seems that any reason not attributed to some factor of femaleness is non-objective. Well, perhaps consider that the reasons are not grounded past "feeling good". That's all it really is, and it is awfully arbitrary anyway when it comes to clothes.

I mean, kings and royalty wore dresses first. Boys used to wear dresses as toddlers so it was easier for them to walk.

 

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The issue I see is that you seem to insist that a concept should not be man-made in any sense, so you want to find the true and "objective" referent or reason any norm exists.

Then you are at odds with a phantom, because that's not my position at all. I don't hate nominalism because it says concepts are man-made, I hate it because it says man-made concepts have no basis in reality because only particular concretes exist.

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7 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Then you are at odds with a phantom, because that's not my position at all. I don't hate nominalism because it says concepts are man-made, I hate it because it says man-made concepts have no basis in reality because only particular concretes exist.

To modify my thinking:

It seems that you don't accept that some man-made concepts have no basis and reality, and there never will be for those. Either way, "primary fact" doesn't make sense.

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

It seems that you don't accept that some man-made concepts have no basis and reality, and there never will be for those.

Yes. All human concepts are man-made, meaning they don't magically appear through divine or natural implantation or whatever. And all human concepts have a basis in reality, meaning some element represents something about reality, including humanity. Even the concept of "god" represents an existent, entity, thing, which creates another thing. God is essentially a creator--or ruler. I don't think such a being created--or rules--the world, but, at the same time,  I don't deny that creators--and rulers--exist. Likewise, I don't deny that Caitlyn Jenner creates things. I deny that he created a woman out of himself.

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14 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I mean, kings and royalty wore dresses first. Boys used to wear dresses as toddlers so it was easier for them to walk.

That's debatable. The roots of the dress can be traced back to ancient Greek tunics. Woven fabrics came in sheets which could be easily folded into similar attire for both men and women. As fashion evolved in the West, males preferred tighter and tougher clothing. The hemlines for males rose to their crotches and stockings turned into pants. Blouses into shirts. Yet women kept the hemlines and generally looser, softer clothing. The dress, as we know it today, became popular for women during the Victorian era.

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On 12/13/2017 at 1:26 PM, MisterSwig said:

If you agree that Rand solved the problem of universals...

^is that your own opinion?
i know you've said you don't want to make this thread about her theory of universals.. but your complaint against nominalism here is that it "argues against the existence of universals" and says that "only particular concretes exist". but Rand does not accept Aristotle's metaphysics concerning the real existence of universals either.
2046 makes an important point here-

On 12/9/2017 at 7:46 AM, 2046 said:

You must be mistaking Rand's theory of universals for realism, for objectivism does not post that universals exist as a concrete thing in entities..

ITOE:

Quote

"Let us note . . . the radical difference between Aristotle’s view of concepts and the Objectivist view, particularly in regard to the issue of essential characteristics.

…Aristotle held that definitions refer to metaphysical essences, which exist in concretes as a special element or formative power.

…Aristotle regarded “essence” as metaphysical; Objectivism regards it as epistemological."

Peikoff, from DIM:

Quote

Ayn Rand did have several disagreements with him... specifically, his idea that the grasp of similarity among objects is the grasp of a common form or structure intrinsic within them. AR rejects this 'intrinsicist' viewpoint, as she called it, on the grounds that it regards the object of conceptual awareness as a metaphysical ingredient of entities.

In AR's theory, as I have indicated in chapter one, concepts are… only human devices, and thus nothing apart from man, but devices with a factual, mathematical base. So man does reach unity through abstraction, but he does not find it pre-existing in objects; he creates it by his mind's method of interrelating the measurements of the Many."

but this leaves open any grouping as being equally valid if grounded in fact, and contextually pragmatic. rather than the concepts "male" and "female" that we currently have, (if there are no metaphysical essences to adhere to, and it's just a matter of pulling out any commonality of measurement to attach a label to), an argument could absolutely be made that we should have x different concepts, for various segments of a spectrum or constellations of properties. -which is the kind of expansion the non-binary crowd seems mostly to be endorsing. that would be at least a suggestion worthy of consideration under Objectivist epistemology.

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3 hours ago, splitprimary said:
On 12/13/2017 at 10:26 AM, MisterSwig said:

If you agree that Rand solved the problem of universals...

^is that your own opinion?
i know you've said you don't want to make this thread about her theory of universals.. but your complaint against nominalism here is that it "argues against the existence of universals" and says that "only particular concretes exist". but Rand does not accept Aristotle's metaphysics concerning the real existence of universals either.

Two points:

1. You don't have to be an Objectivist to accept the fact that universals exist. Plato and Aristotle knew they existed. But they didn't know how they existed, or even what they were exactly. That is the problem they were trying to solve. The ancients also knew the stars existed, but they didn't know how or what they were exactly. Should we take star-deniers seriously, like we take concept-deniers seriously? The only difference is that one thing is experienced through extrospection, and the other through introspection. Nominalism has been, and will be again, neutralized by basic common sense. It doesn't take Rand's theory to defeat it. But it might take her theory to eradicate it as a serious position.

2. I believe Rand solved the problem of universals, but there is some confusion over her idea of a "mental entity." She rejected the idea that concepts exist as concrete things outside of man's mind. But are they concrete-like things inside man's mind? If so, precisely what does it mean to be a mental-concrete-entity-thing? I tried to explain my position in this thread, and I would prefer to continue such a discussion there rather than here. Or, perhaps you would like to begin a new thread devoted more generally to Rand's theory of universals. I'm sure I would be interested in that too.

5 hours ago, splitprimary said:

an argument could absolutely be made that we should have x different concepts, for various segments of a spectrum or constellations of properties.

What spectrum? What properties? Can you describe the "gender" spectrum and the properties that differentiate the segments along that spectrum? Maybe you could start by simply defining "gender" for me. What is it that you're talking about? 

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i'm saying that if you're an Objectivist you don't accept the fact that universals exist. (Rand did clarify in the ITOE Q+A that she did not mean "mental entity" literally). i think Objectivism as presented is a species of nominalism, but i do believe in universals myself. and i don't see any reason why someone couldn't take a position she rules out: that universals do exist in reality, but that we obtain knowledge of them through a mediated process of concept-formation much like she's outlined.

Quote

"Rand appears to reject [the existence of real universals] on the grounds that, if universals were real, we would have to acquire our knowledge of them via “non-sensory” or “extrasensory” means.
...she rejects the combined claim that (a) there are real universals and that (b) we “perceive” them by a means other than the senses."

but, "If there really are universals... we may give either an “active” or a “passive” account of knowledge. The acceptance of real universals leaves the problem of activity vs. passivity just where it was."

Quote

"A (universal) realist is not, as such, committed to the view that the mind is “active” in the production of knowledge. The mind may in fact be active in such production, and I think that it clearly is. But the role of activity in an epistemology grounded in the reality of universals is not the same as in a nominalist account; a realist need not make the mind “active” just in order to account for the possibility of knowledge itself. The nominalist is in a far worse position. What nominalism needs is an account that describes just how the mind goes about “creating” (apparent) universals"

this comes from an author you might be interested in.-http://www.scholardarity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Objectivism-and-the-Corruption-of-Rationality-Scott-Ryan.pdf  @Ilya Startsev pointed me to him, and i was reminded of it by your observation above about how one of the hallmarks of nominalism is that in the absence of an existent (the universal), there's a fixation on activity.

he finds this sign in Rand, in her insistence about the activity of consciousness in concept-formation, and the aggressiveness of her opposition to any kind of naive/direct (Kelley uses the term "diaphanous") realist model.

even your other example-

On 12/13/2017 at 1:26 PM, MisterSwig said:

We see nominalists who apply the rejection of universals to the standard of value itself: man's life. ..The default standard therefore becomes life qua life, meaning man’s self-generated activity.

sounds just like her "Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action." (-FTNI)

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On 12/10/2017 at 5:14 PM, Eiuol said:

You should be talking about feeling. Talking about conceptual identification isn't what anyone else is after. Any sort of awareness as a type of thing isn't conceptual. The "bad feeling" is neither an emotion nor a concept. It's not thinking one has a brain the opposite of the body. It's feeling that something is wrong, and later identified as stemming from something related to one's sex.

-at all these steps, there is possibility of error in the identification. you're trying to translate a really basic, gut-level awareness and bring it up to the level of a conceptual statement. it's very hard to pinpoint what's wrong and people misattribute all the time. this is just introspection! in any instance of this, even a much more trivial one, it can take a wrong turn and yield an answer that’s off, which you might not realize for a long time.

i might feel vaguely bad.. manage to trace it back to this morning.. realize it’s centered somehow around my sister.. eventually land on it being a certain comment i made in the conversation at breakfast.. and determine that i feel awful because i was overly critical of her. it could seem like the right answer because i’m getting close, so i might settle there. but with even further investigation and discrimination, it could turn out to have been a different emotional shade completely: i thought it was guilt for what i said, but actually it was regret that i hadn’t spoken up back when the honesty could have made more of a positive difference to her. or alternately, it could be that i snapped at her defensively, i got hurt by something she said just prior to this and the part of the conversation i'm fixated on is a decoy- the negative feeling actually coming from whatever insecurity she managed to brush against.

i really like your description, that you start to try to put it into words, getting more precise: from “bad feeling” to “something wrong” to “this is somehow related to sex”.. eventually way down the line maybe you come to something like “i don’t identify with my biological sex, but with the opposite gender” that feels true. but that has been derived, there is so much that has gone into reaching that conclusion. it's not beyond challenge, and that’s what someone is doing when they express skepticism about the claim. they’re not automatically right making a call from the outside via observation or from their armchair of course, but this person doing the introspection is not necessarily right either just because they're up closer to it. friends and therapists help people disentangle and get to the root of what they’re actually feeling all the time; there is no rule that says the subject is always understanding themselves correctly.

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On 12/11/2017 at 1:15 PM, DonAthos said:

Insofar as you insist that gender and sex are synonymous (albeit that "gender" refers to humans), then "playing with dolls" would not have to do with gender, either.

perfect response! his post that i liked has moved off of that original severely limited definition, he’s now smuggling in a lot more.

On 12/11/2017 at 1:15 PM, DonAthos said:

it would be too much of a digression for this thread, perhaps, but I'm not certain I agree that "a rational woman cannot want to be President" is the same sort of claim as "a woman ought not be President" or "...ought not want to be President.")

i can’t help it, i’m so curious about “a rational woman cannot want to be President" not being the same as “a woman ought not want to be President”. is this due to some grammatical trickiness i’m not catching? it seems like saying that you can’t rationally want x.. is saying that you can only irrationally want x (or that wanting x is irrational)… which is saying that you ought not want x. it’s safe to say, like tautologically almost, that you ought not be irrational, yes? irrational always = bad? or, more simply, the rational will be the same as the good. that’s the only step i can see that i’m skipping or "extra" i'm bringing in. maybe you’re thinking you can “want x” in some way that’s arational, neither rational nor irrational?..

i don’t mean to throw the thread off, but i have to know! the proof looks airtight to me!

On 12/11/2017 at 1:15 PM, DonAthos said:

So now, we're discussing the supposed "virtue" of acting in ways which are deemed "suitable for a woman." Well, if we'd like to know the root of things like "gender dysphoria," I expect it may have to do with assigning moral value to activities such as playing with dolls, along with (mis)identifying gender along those lines, as well (i.e. according to "gender role"), as is typical of children (and thus all humans, if at least initially) -- just as they are also forming a concept of self.

-there are all kinds of things that parents assert (either explicitly or implicitly) that a child ought to do, as a matter of being a good and virtuous person. i don’t see how “playing with dolls” is any more significant or damage-inflicting a proposition than “going to church” or “brushing your teeth”, all of which the child may take on faith at first, but will eventually have to judge for themselves and either accept or reject. part of growing up is realizing that it’s possible for authority figures to be wrong, and daring to disagree with them.

parents can’t help having opinions, and they’re not infallible. the only alternative to exposing your child to them would be to attempt to hide them, and that’s not without cost either.

maybe playing with dolls has no real connection to being female they only mistakenly supposed it did, perhaps as a memorized association. maybe church isn’t valuable because the premises of religion are false. maybe certain hygiene rituals or diet advice that is passed down are silly wives tales or based on bad science and the child will find out they don’t actually improve health, or have negative effects instead. (-the parents don't know that already or they wouldn't be endorsing these things). it’s always hard to go against your parents expectations and your early conditioning. you will see kids have similar sort of identity crises over losing their religion, failing to be a good student or to perform well and enjoy a sport or activity a parent loved and strongly encouraged so they felt extreme pressure about, etc. depending on what it is, that can cause crippling guilt or anxiety disorders, an eating disorder, all kinds of complexes. feeling pressure to conform to some model that you don't fit isn’t an experience that’s unique to those with same-sex attraction or gender-nonconforming characteristics.

but it’s possible to raise a child to be capable of independent judgment, and not self-destruct when they come up against a negative judgment of them- even if that judgment is your own.

i think that’s a better solution than to attempt to eliminate any hint of a normative prescription that could influence them. because parents and teachers and peers also have a lot of -good- and helpful advice from their own discovery that will be hugely beneficial if shared.

a very laissez-faire approach to parenting is in vogue now, and the “raising kids gender neutral” stuff is just one example of it. (just having both trucks and dolls available doesn’t constitute this btw, what follows is not directed at you). it’s very non-interference, sort of a “leave no carbon footprint” on your pristine “noble savage” offspring kind of mindset, trying to have a perfectly controlled and balanced environment with zero distortion, so you can see what naturally manifests. that can make sense as far as letting kids explore what they're good at, try out different skills.. but it can also become pathological. in the extreme it entails a very non-tabula rasa premise. if that were false, and instead children did need to be taught, what you’d actually be doing by following this is depriving your child of valuable guidance and stunting their development. they would feel lost and neglected more than happy and free to explore.

the attachment theory stuff in psychology seems to be showing that the attunement that goes on in a close relationship, where parent and child have an affect on each other, is incredibly valuable in itself. the benefit of having that is usually going to outweigh miscellaneous negative -content- that may be transferred in the process. yes, being wrong and inadvertently imposing a false standard is going to be detrimental and leave your child with feelings of unearned guilt and inferiority. but trying to withhold your soul from them- never showing your thoughts and opinions and genuine reactions at all, out of fear of that, would be incredibly damaging in its own way!

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5 hours ago, splitprimary said:

i'm saying that if you're an Objectivist you don't accept the fact that universals exist. (Rand did clarify in the ITOE Q+A that she did not mean "mental entity" literally). i think Objectivism as presented is a species of nominalism, but i do believe in universals myself.

You read ITOE and came away believing that Rand denied the existence of universals and that her philosophy is a type of nominalism? If you want a reply, you'll have to ask a moderator to split this into a new topic. I won't discuss such a basic epistemological issue on a political thread.

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2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

-there are all kinds of things that parents assert (either explicitly or implicitly) that a child ought to do, as a matter of being a good and virtuous person. i don’t see how “playing with dolls” is any more significant or damage-inflicting a proposition than “going to church” or “brushing your teeth”, all of which the child may take on faith at first, but will eventually have to judge for themselves and either accept or reject. part of growing up is realizing that it’s possible for authority figures to be wrong, and daring to disagree with them.

Generally, I agree with you. I only mean to examine these ideas of gender, "gender dysphoria" and the like, which is why I'm currently more interested in "playing with dolls" as opposed to the rest. If we were talking about people growing up with bizarre religious convictions, I'd think "going to church" would play a prominent role -- or if it were tooth rot, then yes, "brushing your teeth." These all may be more or less significant or damage-inflicting, in a given context, but I find this more significant (and potentially damage-inflicting) with respect to gender dysphoria/transgenderism.

I also agree that part of growing up is realizing that it's possible for authority figures to be wrong, and daring to disagree with them, but with respect to "gender identity" specifically I do wonder how easy it is (if not in every case, at least in certain cases) to root out misconceptions that may have been smuggled into your thinking, about yourself and your own nature... perhaps on quite a deep level.

It's like, the idea "only girls play with dolls" -- though I think it's been challenged somewhat over the last several years -- this is an idea that I think will still find a lot of backing and emphasis generally in society. And we get so many messages about gender, and gender role, and expectation -- from so many people, from such an early age. And these ideas are meant to form a part of our core identity, and as noted, we sometimes give them moral/value significance, such that "being good" is equated to "being male" or "being female" or (as I argue) "acting in ways that are stereotypically male" or female.

Perhaps a person can, over time, think his way through all of this -- but imo, this may require a heroic effort, especially in a context (culture and/or family) where it is stressed, and who knows how long it might take, regardless, and what the opportunity costs might be.

2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

parents can’t help having opinions, and they’re not infallible. the only alternative to exposing your child to them would be to attempt to hide them, and that’s not without cost either.

Certainly, I agree. Though if we're relying upon the child to see through his parents' mistakes, then perhaps we can also remember that the parents themselves have had that same opportunity to correct their own misconceptions prior to having/raising children. :)

I'm not saying that parents ought to refrain from raising their children in the best manner they can (which is, as always, prone to error). I'm saying that these particular errors, in putting value significance on things like whether one conforms to some gender role/expectation, like playing or not playing with dolls -- for I think that they are errors -- may help to account for the emergence of phenomena like gender dysphoria, etc. Our mistakes, even when honest and understandable, are not consequence free.

2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

it’s always hard to go against your parents expectations and your early conditioning.

Yes, that's right. Some have it harder than others, and some much harder. And while I don't want to say that some (desired) outcome is impossible in a given circumstance -- I believe in the power of the individual mind and volition quite a lot -- I don't expect that, say, we would be having this same sort of conversation, had we been born and raised in the Dark Ages. In Carolingian France, I expect we would not have been Objectivists a thousand years before Rand, heroically seeing through all of the bullshit foisted upon us by our parents, our wider family, our community, our education (insofar as we would have received one), and (nigh) literally everyone in our lives. I frankly* expect we would have been Christian.

______________________

* Pun intended.

2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

you will see kids have similar sort of identity crises over losing their religion, failing to be a good student or to perform well and enjoy a sport or activity a parent loved and strongly encouraged so they felt extreme pressure about, etc. depending on what it is, that can cause crippling guilt or anxiety disorders, an eating disorder, all kinds of complexes. feeling pressure to conform to some model that you don't fit isn’t an experience that’s unique to those with same-sex attraction or gender-nonconforming characteristics.

I agree that there are similarities (although I am reticent to group "same-sex attraction," for instance, with an eating disorder, in other respects; I am unconvinced that same-sex attraction does a person any harm, of itself). And well a person may struggle if he sees himself as a "good student" -- or desires to be -- and fails to meet that expectation, etc. For some children, this is a crippling issue.

Yet I would imagine religion, and the crisis of losing it, as taking place on a deeper level than one's identification as a "good student" (generally speaking; there are individuals for whom the opposite would be true, I'm sure); and gender, for most people, much more deeply than either of those. Actually, come to think of it, I suspect that may help to account as to why there's so much vehement pushback against transgenderism... Some of us identify ourselves so strongly with our gender that the idea that someone may identify themselves in a different way is received as a kind of blow against our own sense of identity.

2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

but it’s possible to raise a child to be capable of independent judgment, and not self-destruct when they come up against a negative judgment of them- even if that judgment is your own.

Oh, I quite agree that this is the ideal.

2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

a very laissez-faire approach to parenting is in vogue now, and the “raising kids gender neutral” stuff is just one example of it. (just having both trucks and dolls available doesn’t constitute this btw, what follows is not directed at you).

It's fine. I don't know whether this counts as "raising kids gender neutral," or "laissez-faire," but what my wife and I have done is let our daughter know that she is a girl (and we've had some discussion as to genitalia, etc., though as I've said, I don't think this has meant a heck of a lot to her yet). Beyond that, as to what "being a girl" means, we are largely hands-off. We've done nothing in particular to encourage her to choose dolls over trucks, or vice-versa, but nothing to discourage her, either, from choosing whatever it is that interests her. She does love the color pink, and so we've made many of our aesthetic choices accordingly; but we also get her toys and sign her up for classes (like taekwondo, t-ball), etc., meant to give her a broad perspective and range of experience.

Please let me know if you consider this to be "pathological"; I do try not to be pathological...

2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

if that were false, and instead children did need to be taught, what you’d actually be doing by following this is depriving your child of valuable guidance and stunting their development. they would feel lost and neglected more than happy and free to explore.

That's all right. I've been assured recently that parents can't help having opinions. :)

2 hours ago, splitprimary said:

the attachment theory stuff in psychology seems to be showing that the attunement that goes on in a close relationship, where parent and child have an affect on each other, is incredibly valuable in itself. the benefit of having that is usually going to outweigh miscellaneous negative -content- that may be transferred in the process. yes, being wrong and inadvertently imposing a false standard is going to be detrimental and leave your child with feelings of unearned guilt and inferiority. but trying to withhold your soul from them- never showing your thoughts and opinions and genuine reactions at all, out of fear of that, would be incredibly damaging in its own way!

I'm not too well-versed in attachment theory. My wife has done some reading on the subject, and I think she's incorporated some aspects from it into our approach, but I couldn't tell you specifically what.

I have no intention on withholding my soul from my child; you see how I share myself in this cold, impersonal forum -- in real life, let alone in a familial relation, I am utterly unbearable. No, I fully plan on dealing my daughter all of the psychological trauma that is the father's right (or even duty) to impart. But it is my thought, opinion and genuine reaction that "being a girl" imposes nothing with respect to dolls or trucks, and as I share that openly with her, I also share it with you.

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On 12/14/2017 at 12:40 PM, MisterSwig said:

Yes. All human concepts are man-made, meaning they don't magically appear through divine or natural implantation or whatever. And all human concepts have a basis in reality, meaning some element represents something about reality, including humanity. Even the concept of "god" represents an existent, entity, thing, which creates another thing. God is essentially a creator--or ruler. I don't think such a being created--or rules--the world, but, at the same time,  I don't deny that creators--and rulers--exist. Likewise, I don't deny that Caitlyn Jenner creates things. I deny that he created a woman out of himself.

I'm talking about the referents. Indeed all concepts are man-made. But the referent itself can be man-made or not. Morality, cultural norms, and so on, are man-made. They may or may not be based on rational standards derived from reality. There does not need to be an objective referent for all concepts - such concepts are invalid. Nor is there always a mididentified referent - god does not refer to a ruler, it is a man-made construction and that's it. There is -no- thing god refers to except the idea god.

I think this goes back to your idea of "mentities". I think you are reifying things rather than analyzing what is arbitrary or not.

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On 12/15/2017 at 7:57 AM, splitprimary said:

friends and therapists help people disentangle and get to the root of what they’re actually feeling all the time; there is no rule that says the subject is always understanding themselves correctly.

Yup this is all true. The key point is that psychiatrists have verified that dysphoria is real, and is rooted in some phenomenon relating one's sex to one's "feeling" of being. The words used by patients may be wrong, and we can criticize their reasoning about their own theories, it doesn't alter that the feeling is apparently not an emotion. There may well be biological explanations of how and why the feeling exists at all. We don't know the answer, but for now, it seems to be that for some transgender people, SRS is an appropriate treatment.

The root of the feeling in this case seems to be biological. Sorta like phantom limb syndrome. It isn't cured by psychotherapy or some deep analysis that the person has not accepted the limb is gone. It's not an emotion, it's a feeling produced by the brain's mapping of the body's anatomy and has not yet re-mapped the brain area dedicated to the missing limb.

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4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

There is -no- thing god refers to except the idea god.

What is the idea "god"? Can you define "god" without referring to anything in reality?

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5 hours ago, Eiuol said:

We don't know the answer, but for now, it seems to be that for some transgender people, SRS is an appropriate treatment.

There is zero scientific consensus on this matter. For some conflicting evidence, consider that post-op transgender people still have a suicide rate that dwarfs the general population. If SRS was truly a cure, you wouldn't expect to see that. The truth is that transgenderism is a mental disorder. Body dis-morphia and mental dysphoria aren't only present in transgenders. They are also present in anorexics and bulimics, who feel that they aren't "thin enough" so resort to under-eating or to binging and purging. Is the correct treatment for them to give them liposuction so that they can be ridiculously thin? No. The correct treatment for a mental delusion is not to give in to the delusion; the correct treatment is psychotherapy.

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5 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

The correct treatment for a mental delusion is not to give in to the delusion; the correct treatment is psychotherapy.

I'm not sure that is obvious. If Gender Identity Disorder is linked to schizophrenia, as some psychiatrists suspect, anti-psychotic medications might also be necessary.

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6 hours ago, CartsBeforeHorses said:

There is zero scientific consensus on this matter. For some conflicting evidence, consider that post-op transgender people still have a suicide rate that dwarfs the general population. If SRS was truly a cure, you wouldn't expect to see that. The truth is that transgenderism is a mental disorder. Body dis-morphia and mental dysphoria aren't only present in transgenders. They are also present in anorexics and bulimics, who feel that they aren't "thin enough" so resort to under-eating or to binging and purging. Is the correct treatment for them to give them liposuction so that they can be ridiculously thin? No. The correct treatment for a mental delusion is not to give in to the delusion; the correct treatment is psychotherapy.

I didn't claim consensus. The confound there is stigma among other issues that are secondary to being transgender. SRS is a fine treatment for some - but we should also realize good treatments are not always cures. What we'd want to compare is suicide rates of those who do not get SRS. The only question is if it is a delusion or if the treatment *causes* damage. Neither seems to be the case, and not all transgender people want SRS. If SRS is bad, fine, doesn't mean being transgender is a delusion. Mental disorder, sure. Anorexia is not a delusion either (even if the solution taken by some is wrong).

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10 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I'm not sure that is obvious. If Gender Identity Disorder is linked to schizophrenia, as some psychiatrists suspect, anti-psychotic medications might also be necessary.

I'm glad we have such great keyboard psychiatrists here to diagnose and prescribe people they've never met and give such solutions when they have no medical evidence or credentials to back up their ex cathedra pronouncements.

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