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Diana Hsieh on ARI vs. TOC

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solo founder Lindsay Perigo says David Kelley is wrong about O'ism being a

closed system. Joe Rowland runs solo and thinks David is right.

Perigo and Sciabarra are Homosexuals but then there is Reginald Firehammer, who wrote and sells a book called "Hijacking of a Philosophy." Its about a cabal of homosexual seeking to take over O'ism.[non fiction]

Sciabarra disagrees with the book, but encourages people to read it.

Perigo supports preemption in the terror war but Sciabarra thinks preemption is the opposite of what Ayn Rand supported.

But Reginald Firehammer agrees with Sciabarra that Perigo's view of preemption

is total non-O'ist.

Then there is...G. Stolyarov the II.

He's worth the price of admission all by himself.

He has his own spelling of words. Example: philosophy is filosofy and

photographic is fotografic. He must also get paid per word, but not to make sense.

LOL. Your post was hillarious and on the money.

Still, all and all I like Perigio. He's got spunk. Emotionally, he's much more in tune with ARI than TOC but he just believes ARI runs their organization dogmatically. He refers to ARI as the 'Intrincisists' and TOC as the 'Subjectivists'. He's closer to Peikoff than he'd admit.

As for Sciabarra. I can't really figure him out. He's a smart guy and I think he understands O'ism as well as just about anyone (excepting Peikoff) but he believes placating academia is the best way to advance it. Also, he came from a strong libertarian background (I believe Rothbard was his teacher) and its influence is strong in his foreign policy. He even quotes Rand extensively to back his point that the Iraq war is an example of "Wilsonian corporate-statism nation building." But at least he's a gentleman when he argues. Not like another 'independent' O'ist by the name of Arthur Silbur who runs the Light of Reason blog and is a very angry, and seeming troubled man.

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He's closer to Peikoff than he'd admit.

That's the reason I metaphorically said SOLO was more ARI than TOC. I thought I was the only one that noticed that. I usually get hollered at by the ARI's when I bring that up.

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It seems to me that SOLO is completly undifined, and anybody may be anything (so long as they call it Objectivism) and affiliate with SOLO.

I don't believe they can "affiliate" with SOLO. In my opinion, it's people writing their own perspectives of Objectivist matters and anyone who cares discusses the subject matter.

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This is regarding my earlier post about Diana Mertz Hsieh. Diana responded to me today stating that she thinks my first post was inaccurate, she also asks that I post this letter to show all of you her response on this issue. I will also take the liberty of addressing her errors in logic that become very apparent in the letter. Due to her request:

“Joe,

I saw your post on Objectivism Online regarding our e-mail exchange.

Your summary was inaccurate and loaded. Since you created this false

impression of my views without even informing me, I didn't have the opportunity to correct you in a timely fashion. If I had ever expected that you would so use our brief private discussion, I would not have corresponded with you at all.

I have many substantial questions and concerns about the closed system

view of Objectivism. I will surely be writing about the issue on my blog in the coming weeks. I will be particularly interested to hear from knowledgeable and thoughtful advocates of the closed system. As always, my basic question will be: What is the identity of Objectivism?

Contrary to your summary, I will not be asking anything along the lines

of: Can Objectivism be more than it is? Can I put words in Ayn Rand's

mouth? Nor will I be asking: Does Objectivism have an identity? Can

it be something that it is not? Those are most certainly not legitimate questions in my view.

How about you post all that to Objectivism Online -- verbatim -- as the

reply you got from me?

diana.”

As I said before, Diana’s errors lie in that she thinks A can be A and B(edit: Her error is that she thinks A can be not A). Observe, “my basic question will be: What is the identity of Objectivism?” and “I will not be asking anything along the lines of: Can Objectivism be more than it is? Can I put words in Ayn Rand's mouth?”. Diana knows fully that Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, she studied it for 10+ years at the TOC. By asking the identity of Objectivism, while knowing it is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, she is asking if Objectivism can be more than it is.

This problem is what you will all find to be wrong with the TOC, among other things. I don't really know the stance of SOLO but I'd imagin they are the same.

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It seems to me to be bloody obvious that we capitalize Objectivism because it is a proper noun. It is the name Ayn Rand gave to her body of ideas.

Regardless of whether or not "benevolence" is a cardinal virtue that Ayn Rand somehow missed, one has to accept the identity of Objectivism.

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Joe,

You're not being fair to Diana. Saying that Objectivism is Ayn Rand's philosophy still leaves a lot of questions open. What parts of her writing qualify as philosophical? Is her view on a woman president part of the philosophy, or is it primarily psychological? How about homosexuality? Which applications of the philosophy, if any, count as part of the philosophy? Etc. We've debated these on here repeatedly. They're real questions, and I'm looking forward to her attempt to answer them.

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MinorityOfOne,

This was not the topic being discussed by Diana and myself. This is what she later attempted to make the conversation appear to be. Here is a quote from her in one of our earlier letters.

“Although I think the closed system view is mistaken, I do regard it as a far less serious error -- both in principle and in practice -- than Kelley's open system view”

The discussion started as me congratulating her on leaving the TOC and my question to her, why she had not become and advocate of ARI. As shown here she thinks Objectivism is not a closed system. However, she also says she does not agree with the open system either. Which is it? I believe she is still attempting to figure this whole situation out because she never explains why or what her real stance is. You cannot disagree with both open and closed system views. As long as she does not agree that Objectivism is a closed philosophy, she believes at least in part that it is open.

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It is inappropriate to post details of a private email exchange to a public forum. Joerj11's peculiar attempt to reformulate what he takes to be Diana Hsieh's position into logical formalism ("A can be A and B"), his lack of a clear statement of Mrs. Hsieh's position, and his approach to this correspondence, gives us every reason to question the accuracy of his reports on their exchange. Given this, the proper course in evaluating Mrs. Hsieh is to ignore Joerj11's comments and to judge her on the basis of her public writings.

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As for the TOC, I agree with what was written on the Blog.

I read a few of their articles a few years ago and they just all appear to have this watered down quality about them. None of their articles were as good as those written by the  ARI writers.

If spaghetti sauce has less than 2% meat in it, they have to call it "meat flavored" sauce.

TOC is Objectivism flavored philosophy.

If jewelry has a thin layer of gold over a base metal, they have to call it "gold plated."

TOC is Objectivism plated libertarianism.

;)

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his lack of a clear statement of Mrs. Hsieh's position
What are you talking about? Have you forgotten this quote Joe provided us with:

“Although I think the closed system view is mistaken, I do regard it as a far less serious error -- both in principle and in practice -- than Kelley's open system view”

Joe did not have to give a clear statment of Mrs. Hsieh's position, she did it for him, and he needed only quote it.

Incidentally, Joe's recent statments have been backed up with direct quotes from Mrs. Hsieh. If you would like to argue that Joe's assesment is incorrect, you are going to have give some reasons why.

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Joerj11 said:

You cannot disagree with both open and closed system views.

Why not? It sounds like she thinks there are more views one might take, and she's right. If all that "open system" meant was "not closed system", you'd be correct; but there's more to it than that. Kelley has given a list of things he thinks are essential to Objectivism, and he thinks it's open to debate whether anything else counts as part of Objectivism. The closed system view says that "Objectivism" is a proper noun referring to the body of philosophical principles espoused in certain books & publications by or under the auspices of Ayn Rand. It should be pretty clear that there are other positions one might take.

A few examples, off the top of my head:

1. One might believe that Objectivism is a proper noun, but that it refers to everything Rand ever wrote. (This is the version that's often used as a straw man against the closed system view.)

2. One might agree broadly with Kelley's view, but disagree about what's essential to Objectivism.

3. One might believe that Objectivism is a sort of "family resemblance" concept which groups views in the "Objectivist tradition", thus perhaps making it even more inclusive than Kelley thinks it is.

None of those are right. But the list is not exhaustive. The point should be clear, anyway: when Diana says she doesn't agree with either the closed system view or the open system view, she's not rejecting the law of identity. She's just rejecting two particular views. The interesting question is what she thinks is the proper view. Like I said, I'm looking forward to hearing it.

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I don't mean to be defending Diana's view here. I don't even know what it is. My point is only that we should wait for her to put forth her view before we begin to assess it. What we have from Joerj11 can mean anyone of a number of things depending on how DH understands the ideas of open and closed systems. We would need more context.

Moreover, it was inappropriate for Joerj11 to publicly quote bits of a private correspondence, and it is inappropriate and counterproductive for the rest of us to conduct a conversation based on this information. I would suggest that the moderators delete the relevant messages altogether.

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I find nothing wrong with quoting someone from a private message. If I had reason to believe that she was telling me these things in confidence then I would not have posted them publicly. I am only sharing with you her already public opinion.

If you disagree with the closed system then you think things can be added to Objectivism. She gave me specific examples of what she thinks could be added, they include: a full theory of certainty, a theory of moral development, a theory of jurisprudence, further development of the virtues. Objectivism is Objectivism and by its own nature it is a closed system. If you do not think Objectivism is a closed system you think it is open, even if just a crack. No mater how close you are to being right, if you are a slightly wrong you are wrong. She may disagree with Kelly, but she still thinks it is open. This is very apparent.

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If you disagree with the closed system then you think things can be added to Objectivism.  She gave me specific examples of what she thinks could be added, they include: a full theory of certainty, a theory of moral development, a theory of jurisprudence, further development of the virtues.  Objectivism is Objectivism and by its own nature it is a closed system.  If you do not think Objectivism is a closed system you think it is open, even if just a crack.  No mater how close you are to being right, if you are a slightly wrong you are wrong.  She may disagree with Kelly, but she still thinks it is open.  This is very apparent.

It still depends on what she means by "Objectivism" and "open." One way Kelley bamboozles people is to use the term "Objectivism" to stand for "all correct philosophy." Then he claims that there are important truths yet to be discovered in philosophy, like the ones Diana named. Therefore, he concludes, Objectivism is either open or ARI wants to halt all further philosophical discoveries.

The way to answer that is to say that Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand and nothing can be added or changed in Objectivism without her consent. PHILOSOPHY is open to many new ideas and discoveries, and ARI is all for the development and expansion of philosophical knowledge.

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Wouldn't such things as theories of jurisprudence be applications of philosophy? I.e., in such instances, one wouldn't be expanding the philosophy, but rather it would be the proper use of philosophy as the foundation for more specific areas of study, such as law. Using Objectivist philosophy as a basis for understanding the proper premises to be applied to specific questions doesn't mean that Objectivism is an open system, it is merely the proper use of philosophy.

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I would like to direct some of you who may have the same question as oldsalt to Harry Binswanger's website for the HBL.  Read the Loyalty Oath at the bottom.HBL

Note that Harry writes:

If you bristle at the very idea of a "loyalty oath" and declaring certain ideological movements and individuals as "enemies," then my list is probably not for you. To join my list while concealing your sanction or support of these enemies, would be to commit a fraud. Again, if you have any questions on this policy, please let me know.

Harry doesn't assume that anyone who is curious about "certain ideological movements" or finds their arguments convincing is necessarily an enemy too. It takes years for people to thoroughly integrate and understand Objectivism. Also, it requires a constant process of observation and evaluation to understand who the Good Guys and the Bad Guys are and why. That's why Harry patiently answers questions about his policy and the reasons for it.

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Exactly Betsy, it depends on what she means by Objectivism.  There is only one Objectivism and it is what it is.  Diana appears to have trouble with its identity.

She's not alone. A lot of people I know who call themselves Objectivists, support ARI, etc. seem to have trouble understanding what Objectivism is too -- for various reasons ranging from the truly awful to the totally understandable.

It really depends on what those reasons are and an individual's context of knowledge. From what I know about Diana, I would say she is at an important turning point in her life. Where she will end up will depend on the choices she is about to make.

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Hmm. One thing I disagree with in HB's definition of Objectivism: when he says that it includes the articles in Rand's anthologies, he should point out that this means the articles which were in the anthologies published during her lifetime. Both Why Businessmen Need Philosophy and Return of The Primitive include articles which Rand never endorsed, yet they still have her name listed as author.

I don't have Why Businessmen Need Philosophy, but I just checked Return of The Primitive. Schwartz doesn't point out that his articles are not part of Objectivism. He should have.

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Joerj11's charges against Diana are irresponsible and unfair, and say infinitely more about him than Diana. Let us consider the facts. Diana has made no public claims as to her position on the question of whether or not Objectivism is an open or closed system.

On the contrary, she has stated very clearly that she is re-considering that issue along with many others and will make her conclusions public when she decides it is appropriate to do so. In the meantime, she has chosen to discuss these issues with several people in private. Why in private? Because she has nothing definitive to say.

Diana, in a private email to Joerj11, attempted to explain her tentative position on the open/closed system question. Joe, without asking Diana for further clarification, without asking for permission to publicize her private comments (which is, at minimum, a matter of courtesy), without waiting for her public statement regarding the issue, and without giving her anything close to the benefit of the doubt, accuses her - not simply of failing to grasp the correct conclusion - but for rejecting the law of identity!

This is gross intellectual negligence. Consider the nature of his action. Diana has had the integrity to admit to a fundamental error in her approach to Objectivism, and rather than congratulate her and perhaps argue for the ARI position, Joerj11 attacks her without paying head to context, justice, or even common decency. It is people such as him who give those of us who support ARI a bad name.

I want to end on a positive note and thank people like Betsy Speicher and MinorityOfOne for making it clear that Joerj11's actions are NOT representative of the ideas we support. Moral judgment is a virtue, but the rush to condemn people as honest and intelligent as I know Diana to be is NOT an instance of moral judgment, but of non-objective moralizing. That sort of thing has no place in our movement.

Don Watkins III

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This is gross intellectual negligence. Consider the nature of his action. Diana has had the integrity to admit to a fundamental error in her approach to Objectivism, and rather than congratulate her and perhaps argue for the ARI position, Joerj11 attacks her without paying head to context, justice, or even common decency. It is people such as him who give those of us who support ARI a bad name.
This is nonsense, Joe has previously stated that the discussion began with him congratulating her, and then asking why she does not yet support the ARI position. So he did exactly what you suggested, and from there was given information regarding

without asking Diana for further clarification

How do you know this? From Joe's posts, I would guess that his discussion with diana included a number of such requests for further clarification.

However, I think there is one good point in all of this: e-mail Diana yourself, tell her why the closed system is correct, and judge her response to you yourself.

Out of respect for her (now obvious) wish that such discussions remain private, I will not be quoting her response to my own e-mail... but I will say this: I am inclined to agree with Joe's assessment.

In the meanwhile, drop the personal attacks. This:

It is people such as him who give those of us who support ARI a bad name.

is uncalled for and counter productive.

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