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dark_unicorn

A Neo-kantian Attack On Objectivism.

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Synthetic A Priori

This site contains an interview that was used in a debate by an opponent of mine on another forum who was arguing in favor of subjectivism/utilitarianism. Upon reading it, I discovered a rather hateful and frankly irrational polemic against both Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff at the end of it. (entitled "Against Objectivism") Most of the other parts of the interview are pretty much rehashes of Kantian philosophy by a second-hander who is more keen on worshipping a philosophy steeped in complexity rather than explaining it's actual use to human beings.

I am curious to know if anyone else has read this interview, or whom wishes to read it, and offer up some comments on what your assessment is of this ad hominem attack on Ayn Rand and perhaps also the current state of the Kantian philosophers whom are becoming dinosaurs in a world of ever-growing trends of nihilism, post-modernism, and existentialism.

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After reading through this, I can offer only a few possible explanations:

1. The man hasn't read Ayn Rand, at least to any degree to come to a sound conclusion or offer true characterizations.

2. He has read what he claims to have read, but is so sloppy a thinker or so steeped in modern philosophy as to be rendered utterly unable to actually understand it.

3. He has read what he claims to have read, and understands it to some degree, but nevertheless willfully distorts Objectivism for the purposes of smearing it.

None of these lends any credence to his comments. To be honest, I pictured a psychotic homeless guy when reading this, because I simply couldn't make a bit of sense about what he was saying. It's definitely not worth any effort to "refute" this, because he hasn't even addressed Objectivism - he has addressed some chaotic mess in his mind, and whether this comes from ignorance or modern philosophy or malice I can't say.

Just proves Ayn Rand's point about today's leftist intellectuals.

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He understands it to a point, but He rejects it because it doesn't give him what he wants, it won't allow him to "have his cake and eat it too."

He keeps complaining that it doesn't allow freedom, but the freedom he wants is "metaphysical freedom" i.e. freedom from identity. He wants a primacy of consciousness and won't allow himself to see that existence has primacy, he doesn't want it so he shuts his eyes.

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Anybody who constructs and publishes an "interview" with themselves should be examined psychiatrically. I don't see any reason to take him at all seriously.

Edited by DavidOdden

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@David - I actually said something similar to the person who I was debating, who was himself a big time fan of Mill and Bentham, I also told him that he was a better debater than this guy probably is. Unfortunately my opponent is pretty clearly in the subjectivist realm, and is not open to reason, which he views as merely the slave of the instinct driven passions.

@Spano - From what I gather, he read Intro. to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtue of Selfishness, and the Fountainhead. While these three books provide a good beginning, these are far from sufficient. Furthermore, this fellow is a bit of a drama queen, I would not use such colorful metaphors to describe the Critique of Pure Reason, though it is immensely mistaken and utterly absurd.

@IamMetaphysical - I have always been perplexed by people's desire to, if you'll forgive the expression, be non-metaphysical. Essentially what this man states is that in order for individuality to exist, our one massive, still unmeasureable universe is not sufficient and that we need 5 billion of them, one for each human being with functioning sensory perception. :lol:

Edited by dark_unicorn

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DARK: Yeah it perlexes me as well, but since reading that guys arguments I've come to a better understading for myself of thier motivation. I'm going to do some research on my hypothesis and maybe I'll be able to share my reslts on this forum. Its not so much anything new that Rand hasn't identified before but for me it was a revelation, a new integration, a new concept to clasify the desire they possess and how they try to implement it and what the results are.

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It's interesting. In response to this question:

Is it possible to discuss anything objectively without

recognizing an objective standard of it? If there is no

objective standard, is any knowledge of it subjective?

He says:

Is it first possible to discuss anything objectively? Isn't it

more like, talk is the construct of things as objective, and

as such, thereby creates an "objective standard"? In other

words, I first do not assume a dualism of subject/object,

but then much of the force of subjectivity allows me to

construct this dualism, which is so pernicious, that it

tricks me, constantly, into beleiving, that there really IS

another realm besides subjectivity? I do not mean that

there is no matter, or force, but that there is not another

realm. There is only one realm, and that is matter itself,

or existence, as some would say it.

In his critique of Rand's statement "existence exists," he says:

We cannot use an axiom as a fundamental building block

of an ontology in the same way that "existence exists" is

used, since it can quite easily, as I have shown, be made

dependent on other assumptions, which negates the claim

that it is fundamental.

This seems, to me, a blatant contradiction. He "assumes" the primacy of existence in his previous statements but then blathers on about how "existence exists" makes use of too many assumptions.

I agree that Rand did not meet the criteria of an academic philosopher. By using his pre-conceived Kantian criticism, he can attack Rand. But why should I be convinced of his analysis? After all, there is no realm other than subjectivity. He basically admits that his statements have no universal meaning. To him, asserting that something is true or objective is ipso facto irrational religious dogma that is one step away from totalitarianism. What a bunch of rubbish.

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This seems, to me, a blatant contradiction. He "assumes" the primacy of existence in his previous statements but then blathers on about how "existence exists" makes use of too many assumptions.
His non-polemic answers in regards to metaphysics are peppered with similar contradictions, one that are so blatant that they would make Kant seem like John Locke in comparison. I don't have the time right now but within the next few weeks I'm going to examine this entire interview a little closer and see how many metaphysical and epistemological contradictions I can find.

I agree that Rand did not meet the criteria of an academic philosopher.

Ask yourself what is currently required to be an academic philosopher, this is essentially the greatest complement you could have paid Rand. But more basically, ask yourself what makes a philosopher academic or non-academic. There are several definitions of the word academic in the dictionary, let us consider 2 potential definitions.

Academic:

1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a school, especially one of higher learning.

2. (a)Relating to studies that are liberal or classical rather than technical or vocational.

(:thumbsup: Relating to scholarly performance: a student's academic average.

3. Of or belonging to a scholarly organization.

4. Scholarly to the point of being unaware of the outside world. See Synonyms at pedantic.

5. Based on formal education.

6. Formalistic or conventional.

7. Theoretical or speculative without a practical purpose or intention. See Synonyms at theoretical.

8. Having no practical purpose or use.

Now, definitions 1-3, 5 and 6 deal specifically with someone belonging to an association, particularly one of learned scholars. However, scholarly associations or academies do not just spring up out of the ground, they are built by individual thinkers whom use their minds to collect pieces of truth from their surroundings. The Ancient Greek Academies of Philosophy are probably the earliest form of this, and they're success as institutions were dependent upon the ideas they were founded on, not the other way around.

This brings us to definitions 4, 7 and 8 which underscore the disconnect now in place between individual persons and institutions of learning. In a truly objective society, these definitions would not apply to this word, but because of philosophers like Mr. Parrott, many young minds become alienated from institutions of higher learning and regard academics as voodoo mysticism, which is not really that far off base.

Furthermore, absent a supportive example of an academic establishment to illustrate what is implied by an "Academic Philosopher", such terms become vague and could be used to describe any association advocating any ideas, the only requirement is that they have the backing of some institution with a past track record. I don't think that most Atheistic/Secular Philosophers fancy being equivocated with Catholic students of Theology such as myself. You will note that the various Catholic Universities that were started by the Dominican Order in Europe predate American Universities by several centuries.

By using his pre-conceived Kantian criticism, he can attack Rand.
If he is fully consistent in his criticism, no one will understand what the hell he's saying and will assume that it was something intelligent. This is hardly the tactic of a philosopher concerned with truth, but when remember that we are dealing with Kantian criticism, we realize that truth is the caprice of the sophist engaged in convoluted rhetoric.

But why should I be convinced of his analysis? After all, there is no realm other than subjectivity. He basically admits that his statements have no universal meaning. To him, asserting that something is true or objective is ipso facto irrational religious dogma that is one step away from totalitarianism. What a bunch of rubbish.

During my time at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, I debated many Kantians in the philosophy department, and I can testify right now that not a single thing that they argued could be made sense of. Essentially you are dealing with master chameleons whom will morph from a Pragmatist to a Hegelian absolutist in seconds flat if backed into a corner.

Yeah it perlexes me as well, but since reading that guys arguments I've come to a better understading for myself of thier motivation. I'm going to do some research on my hypothesis and maybe I'll be able to share my reslts on this forum. Its not so much anything new that Rand hasn't identified before but for me it was a revelation, a new integration, a new concept to clasify the desire they possess and how they try to implement it and what the results are.

I too have a hypothesis that I started researching not long ago. I don't think that there is really much connection between Kant and Plato, as Leonard Peikoff suggests, I think that the origin of Kant's epistemology goes to a different school that Plato was at odds with. I am currently doing some research on Gorgias, Prodicus, Hippias and a few others to see what kind of parallels I find between them and Kant.

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I too have a hypothesis that I started researching not long ago. I don't think that there is really much connection between Kant and Plato, as Leonard Peikoff suggests, I think that the origin of Kant's epistemology goes to a different school that Plato was at odds with. I am currently doing some research on Gorgias, Prodicus, Hippias and a few others to see what kind of parallels I find between them and Kant.

You might be right that Kant has more in common with some Greeks besides Plato, but I'm not sure which specific comments from Peikoff you're referring to. Usually when I've seen Dr. Peikoff compare Kant to Plato, it's been in the context of making an analogy between the History of Philosophy and "a duel between Plato and Aristotle," in which Plato stands for an otherworldly philosophical system, and Aristotle stands for a this worldly system, and sometimes he'll mention the Sophists or Pre-Socratics as not representing a proper system at all. So Kant is like Plato in that he advocated a complete philosophical system that was other-worldly. And he ushered in a new kind of Sophist.

But maybe you're referring to a more specific link drawn by LP between Kant and Plato's epistemology that I've missed or forgotten about.

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You might be right that Kant has more in common with some Greeks besides Plato, but I'm not sure which specific comments from Peikoff you're referring to. Usually when I've seen Dr. Peikoff compare Kant to Plato, it's been in the context of making an analogy between the History of Philosophy and "a duel between Plato and Aristotle," in which Plato stands for an otherworldly philosophical system, and Aristotle stands for a this worldly system, and sometimes he'll mention the Sophists or Pre-Socratics as not representing a proper system at all. So Kant is like Plato in that he advocated a complete philosophical system that was other-worldly. And he ushered in a new kind of Sophist.

But maybe you're referring to a more specific link drawn by LP between Kant and Plato's epistemology that I've missed or forgotten about.

I may have taken Peikoff's comparison the wrong way, I've watched all of the lectures on the ARI website and noted his references to a connection between Plato and academia during the Weimar Republic in the Ominous Parallels, and a template of Kant and Plato in cahoots sort of pops up in my mind.

The historical battle of philosophers in the "otherworldly" sense does hold some legitimacy in the case of Neo-Platonism and Aristotelian philosophy, and I do think that Leonard Peikoff does hold Kant and Plato in different respects, but I think that Kant's attack on man's mind is more in line with the "No truth at all" school of the Sophists than Plato's "Reason and a superior Faith" model.

I would view Kant's "otherworldliness" is traced to the Lutheran Church, which is one of several havens for Platonic Christianity, but his debating methods and his epistemology abandon Plato's arguements that an absolute truth can be known. Furthermore, Plato did not have a "this worldly" point of reference from Socrates, so a sense of perspective should be drawn between Plato's dual track of reason and revelation versus Kant's "the mind is impotent" arguement.

Both Plato and Augustine had a good measure of respect for reason, although their views of this world metaphysically are loaded with irrational conclusions, particularly in the case of Augustine's belief in the nature of Free Will. This respect for reason is nowhere to be found in Kant, he holds some remnants of Augustine and Plato in his murky metaphysics, but his epistemology is completely removed from their assertments that this world is, to an extent, knowable objectively. Furthermore, when we consider Kant's contemporaries, his evasions of reason can not be explained away as the innocent errors of a pre-Aristotle philosopher who strayed from the trend towards rational thought.

Kant is essentially a different kind of creature, one that is worthy of all the scorn that has been visited upon him by Objectivists, and then some. His responsibility for the chaos in Europe during the late 19th and 20th century has been clearly proven visive Peikoff's Ominous Parallels. Furthermore, disapproval of his arguements are not unique to Objectivism, my former mentor in the Philadelphia Arch-Diocese is among many critics of his that I've encountered in the Catholic Church.

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I'm not sure if anyone picked out this error in the interview, but he refers to a character called "Peter Toohey." I don't recall a character called Peter Toohey in the Fountainhead.

dark_unicorn:

Concerning your discussion on "academic philosophers" I would have to say I agree with you. It was probably due to the fact that Rand was outside the confines of academia that she was able to be so productive in the way that she was.

Another thing is that I find it interesting how critics can attack Objectivism as leading to some sort of totalitarianism because (presumably) of its absolutist approach to all branches of philosophy. I'm trying to wrap my head around the logic on this one, because it's not the first time I've heard it. If anyone actually reads Rand, it becomes strikingly clear that she was an absolutist for freedom -- how one derives tyranny from this, I fail to understand. Talk about "assumptions" and unsubstantiated claims.

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I guess for them freedom is also tyranny :thumbsup: I wouldn't be surprised if one of these minds could even accept something as silly as that, if you're good at ignoring the meaning of words and context you may be able to justify it to yourself without too much trouble.

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I guess for them freedom is also tyranny :thumbsup: I wouldn't be surprised if one of these minds could even accept something as silly as that, if you're good at ignoring the meaning of words and context you may be able to justify it to yourself without too much trouble.

This is exactly what happens when a person goes against reason, and enters what Rand referred to as "the realm of Non-A", everything becomes inverted. In this sense, the irrationalist (interchangeable with Kantian) becomes the servant of the tyrant, regardless of what his intentions are. Kant's relationship with Hegel's philosophy is thus comparable to that of an anarchist with a totalitarian despot, and thus we pave the path to both Hitler and Marxism. If Mr. Parrott is truly a rising star in academia, if things do not change, some rabid emotionalist will pick up where he laves off and Peikoff's prediction of a fascist America will become a more real possibility. We came close to falling into this trap in the 1930s during the depression, several candidates for President in the 1930s were sympathetic to the philosophies that spawned Fascism and Communism. FDR is well known for his rabidly socialistic policies, but some of his opponents would have been far worse, and unfortunately there wasn't anyone really better until Barry Goldwater came along.

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Another thing is that I find it interesting how critics can attack Objectivism as leading to some sort of totalitarianism because (presumably) of its absolutist approach to all branches of philosophy. I'm trying to wrap my head around the logic on this one, because it's not the first time I've heard it.

What they see as totalitarian is the fact that man must be subordinated to his nature, that he can't have his cake and eat it too, that truth is absolute. They see freedom as being able to do whatever they want without consequences. They see freedom being the ability to wish their desires into reality, and when reality doesn't abide they cry out that "it's not fair!"

Rand wasn't the first to recognize this, but she has the most influence today so they attack her as a conduit to attacking reality. They don't see the difference between metaphysical necessity and man-made coercion.

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What nonsense. In response to this question:

Have you have already made your mind up that objectivity

is all fake?

He says:

It is not that there are no objects beyond me, but that I

can never know them in themselves; I will always be

representing them to myself, which is itself a

representation. If there is an objectivity, and it is

connected to me, then my freedom can only be an

illusion, because the order of the universe would extend

to my every whim

.

Because you are not omniscient, reality is unknowable. How then does it follow that freedom could only be an illusion if objectivity is connected to you? Totally unexplained and arbitrary.

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You have to admit, though, that some Objectivists can be rather dogmatic. While his potshots at Rand and Piekoff make him come off as an irrational cultist, he doesn't completely miss them mark in the first part.

As I read on, however, this guy has to be one of the worst philosophers I've ever read. Where the hell did they get this guy? I couldn't bare reading the whole thing or even all of the part on Objectivism. What frustrates me more than anything is that he doesn't argue--he just says, "Oh, and Ayn was wrong about this, and this, and let's not forget this thing over here!", then slanders her in the same way that upsets him about Ayn's style. Sounds like an idiot to me.

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You have to admit, though, that some Objectivists can be rather dogmatic. While his potshots at Rand and Piekoff make him come off as an irrational cultist, he doesn't completely miss them mark in the first part.
Which Objectivists would you say fall into this category? Some novice who only read "The Fountainhead" or one of the senior members of ARI? If you think the latter, I have read works by Gary Hull, Harry Binswanger, Edwin Locke, Leonard Peikoff, Andrew Bernstein, and Yaron Brook. None of them fall into the category of dogmatic. If it is the former, this would be a lack of knowledge that doesn't apply to the actual philosophy itself.

As I read on, however, this guy has to be one of the worst philosophers I've ever read. Where the hell did they get this guy? I couldn't bare reading the whole thing or even all of the part on Objectivism. What frustrates me more than anything is that he doesn't argue--he just says, "Oh, and Ayn was wrong about this, and this, and let's not forget this thing over here!", then slanders her in the same way that upsets him about Ayn's style. Sounds like an idiot to me.

I'm not sure where they dug this guy up, but he is very popular in leftist circles, despite the fact that he makes Noam Chomsky look like Socrates. ;)

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You have to admit, though, that some Objectivists can be rather dogmatic.
That is absolutely untrue, unjust, and a completely irrational accusation. Seriously, though, one trait of Objectivists is that they don't do things because that's what's popular in some social circle: they will do something that is unpopular because it is right. That's the most striking difference between Objectivists and irrationalists. The other thing that is striking about Objectivists is that they strongly tend to believe their beliefs, rather than simply passively identifying with their beliefs. Many people get very confused, and think that, for example, actually passing moral judgment is a sin (which is a commonly held view). That is not dogmatism; at worst, you can say Objectivists are obnoxious. Now I won't say that there are no nut-cases (I shan't name names), but apart from a small handful of nutters, I don't know any dogmatic Objectivists.
While his potshots at Rand and Piekoff make him come off as an irrational cultist, he doesn't completely miss them mark in the first part.
He does miss a few marks, such as this fictitious "Piekoff" person. Never heard of him. You'd think Mr. Parrot would learn how to spell. Reading through his preachy claptrap, I can't find any serious criticisms. Huemer, at least, has real criticisms though they are answerable. This bird-brain doesn't have any real criticisms, just denunciations. Lucky for me, I read some real philosophy before I read his authoritarian claptrap.

BTW, no plural pronouns should be used to refer to any aspect of this book: it's all "he". Samizdat.

Edited by DavidOdden

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@aleph0 - Could you please give us the definition of "dogmatism" that you are operating under? Neither one of the dictionary definitions apply to any aspect of Objectivism as I understand it, and I'm pretty up-to-date on the literature. Which sources do you cite as being dogmatic that apply to the Objectivist, and please make sure that it is something sanctioned by ARI, I'm not falling for the "subjective" idea that anyone whom wishes to be an Objectivist is one.

He does miss a few marks, such as this fictitious "Piekoff" person. Never heard of him. You'd think Mr. Parrot would learn how to spell. Reading through his preachy claptrap, I can't find any serious criticisms. Huemer, at least, has real criticisms though they are answerable. This bird-brain doesn't have any real criticisms, just denunciations. Lucky for me, I read some real philosophy before I read his authoritarian claptrap.

I've counted more than a dozen spelling errors in this entire interview, whoever transcribed this interview did a half-assed job. Furthermore, by Parrott's own admission, he hasn't fully studied the philosophy, so his denunciations are more in line with the "dogmatism" that aleph seems to wish to attribute to certain Objectivists, although he has yet to name any.

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Anybody who constructs and publishes an "interview" with themselves should be examined psychiatrically.

Yeah, seriously :/

I could sort of understand it if he was a notable philosopher or something, but I cant personally say that I've ever heard of him before (and he doesnt seem to have publications in any major philosophy journals, or notable books). The whole thing looks hilariously cranky and including a chapter on Objectivism at the end of a book on Kant seems rather random. I can only assume that he's trying to appeal to the popular market, since Rand is fairly widely known.

His constant berating of Rand for not being a 'real' philosopher is ironic given his apparent admiration of Continentals like Deleuze/Lyotard/Derrida, who wouldnt really be classed as 'real philosophers' either within several anglo-American philosophy departments (remember the widespread oppositoin to Derrida being granted an honorary degree by Cambridge). The label of 'real philosopher' tends to be fairly arbitrary and based largely on current academic fashion - Heidegger was not considered a 'real philosopher' by many people back in 1930, and several would oppose Nietzsche being classed that way today. It's obvious that Rand wasnt doing philosophy in the same way as most modern academics (in the sense of rigorous focus on very specific, highly technical problems that sometimes struggle to find real-world relevance) but its nonsense to imply that this was a "break with the tradition" or 'not real philosophy' - I think Rand was more concerned with a more wide-scale cultural criticism and in that sense there's an obvious continuity with people like Voltaire, Diderot, Nietzsche, Kierkagaard etc (if you _have_ to make comparasions). If anything, the over-specialisation of philosophy departments in the 20th century and their seperation from the rest of the academic world was the real "break with tradition", and it would have been alien to most people writing in the 17-19th centuries, not to mention Greece.

I realise that this I'm largely attacking his credentials rather than his points, but its hard to reply in any other way since he doesnt really provide anything substantive. Most of what he writes is one extended ad hominem, and when he does provide points of actual criticism, he tends not to expand on them and instead returns immediately to the adhoms. His continual focus on "existence exists" is especially puzzling - he makes it sound like Rand repeated this multiple times on every page of her published work, whereas in reality she mentioned it a couple of times and then got on with doing actual philosophy. Peikoff does tend to over-emphasis it in OPAR, as if anyone notable in the history of philosophy had seriously disagreed, and I can fully understand why someone would object to the first chapter of that book, but Peikoff isnt Rand.

edit: also, the fact that an admirer of Nietzsche would criticise someone for lack of rigour and 'continually misunderstanding philosophers" is hilarious,

Edited by Hal

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Which Objectivists would you say fall into this category? Some novice who only read "The Fountainhead" or one of the senior members of ARI? If you think the latter, I have read works by Gary Hull, Harry Binswanger, Edwin Locke, Leonard Peikoff, Andrew Bernstein, and Yaron Brook. None of them fall into the category of dogmatic. If it is the former, this would be a lack of knowledge that doesn't apply to the actual philosophy itself.

I've met and had brief words with Bernstein and certainly consider him in the class of dogmatic Objectivists, Brook to a lesser extent. I haven't met any others, so I couldn't say. Peikoff strikes me as being of that category, but I only once saw him speak and I don't remember much of it so I withhold judgment. I've read Locke's work and I wouldn't suspect it of him, but who knows?

There are also other people, including some on this forum who will remain unnamed, whom I consider dogmatic. And they're not all people with a poor grasp of the material, they seem to have read and mostly understood Rand. They simply seem to approach philosophical questions as not philosophical or questions. Because Rand said to take nothing on faith, these randroids (that's a fun word, admit it) feign asking questions, but demand that your answers be the same and disregard as insanity any answer that might diverge--or even a simple ambivalence in the absence of sufficient argument. So these questions hardly are questions, since these people seem to have an answer they'll live and die by before they even formulate the question that it answers.

That is what I consider essentially dogmatic.

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They simply seem to approach philosophical questions as not philosophical or questions. Because Rand said to take nothing on faith, these randroids (that's a fun word, admit it) feign asking questions, but demand that your answers be the same and disregard as insanity any answer that might diverge--or even a simple ambivalence in the absence of sufficient argument. So these questions hardly are questions, since these people seem to have an answer they'll live and die by before they even formulate the question that it answers.

That is what I consider essentially dogmatic.

There are two parts to your dogma: one is knowledge, and the other is fallibility. If a person professes to have knowledge, that is not dogma, and to deny the possiblity of knowledge is nihilism. You may arrive at the conclusion in a particular instance, given your own "knowledge", that a person who professes knowledge that you disagree with, that the person is simply wrong. If you yourself are a dogmatist, you should avoid rational discussion of the issue since that could lead to overtly uncovering that you are engaged in the fallacy of infallibility: that is the defining characteristic of a dogmatist. I think your dogma fails to see the distinction between how the world is and how you perceive the world. Dogma isn't actually defined in terms of your reaction or unreasoned conclusions about a person or a philosophy, it is defined in terms of objective facts. Hence you could state "I find Bernstein to be obnoxious, which is the only basis for my claim that he is dogmatic", and then we could take or leave your conclusion based on whether we think that obnoxiousness is in fact proof of dogmatism (this would be ration if, for example, we hold that one person's percept of obnoxiousity is caused exclusively by another person's actual dogmatism. I don't happen to adhere to that dogma: in fact, I hold the belief that the percept of obnoxiousness is usually caused by one's own dogmata getting in the way of reason).

Would you admit (publically) that I might be correct?

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I've met and had brief words with Bernstein and certainly consider him in the class of dogmatic Objectivists, Brook to a lesser extent. I haven't met any others, so I couldn't say. Peikoff strikes me as being of that category, but I only once saw him speak and I don't remember much of it so I withhold judgment. I've read Locke's work and I wouldn't suspect it of him, but who knows?
I see no examples to support your arguement here, I have not spoken with Bernstein personally, but I have listened to several interviews on the ARI website with him debating Thom Hartman and I don't get any traces of dogmatism. Furthermore, I disagree with both Yaron Brook and Leonard Peikoff on their views of the Catholic Church, but their arguements are not what I would consider dogmatic. They provide historical examples to back up their claims, a dogmatist does not waste his time with such proofs, for proof is not neccesary to assert that which ought not be proven.

P.S. - One of the things that makes me a little suspicious of your motives here is the sort of "inquisitor" like tone to your post. You've seen nothing that would suggest Locke is a dogmatist, and yet you seem uncertain of it, despite reading his works. A man's character is exemplified by his works, if you are unable to grasp that, I'd suggest reconsidering throwing out accusations like this, they do not make you look smart, trust me.

these randroids (that's a fun word, admit it)

As someone who has myself been the victim of childish ridicule for my beliefs (though obviously different from Objectivism) I don't get a whole lot of fun out of doing it to others. I operate by the rules of reason as asserted by Thomas Aquinas. When I am wrong, I concede the arguement to my opponent and learn from my mistakes so as to continue to perfect my perspective of existence, I do not resort to name calling. When I am right, I don't presume to gloat at my opponents and again, I do not resort to name calling.

I suggest learning how to debate ideas before posting again on this forum, you are clearly in over your head.

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There are two parts to your dogma: one is knowledge, and the other is fallibility...

Would you admit (publically) that I might be correct?

I've never said that one cannot be right or wrong, or that knowledge is impossible, or that assertions are invalid. You seem to have really launched into me on very little given, and made some wild assumptions. All I said was that some people take their answers (I should add, answers to non-axiomatic questions) to be so undeniable that to even maintain that it is a question is taken as insanity. I assert that I am correct, so you can drop that little charge right now, along with the charge of infallibility which seems to be wholly derivative of the first.

As for my definition, I believe it does take into account perception versus actuality. These dogmatists that I have described obtain their conclusions not from observing reality but from reading Rand alone--taking her conclusions as, per se, the right ones. That is how they have the answers to questions before ever formulating the questions.

As for you possibly being correct, I'm not sure about what. You don't seem to have a particular thrust in your response except the (unsubstantiated) claim that I am dogmatic. And if that is what you are asking, no, neither in public nor in private do I believe that you could be right about that, and so neither in public nor private will I say it. If I have a dogma, please name it, but as far as I can see there is no conclusion that I am sticking to without reasons for holding it.

I see no examples to support your arguement here, I have not spoken with Bernstein personally, but I have listened to several interviews on the ARI website with him debating Thom Hartman and I don't get any traces of dogmatism...

I suggest learning how to debate ideas before posting again on this forum, you are clearly in over your head.

I have no respect for this method of conversation and am not going to sanction it with a response to its content. If you want names, ask for names--I gave them after you asked rudely. If you want specific examples, don't just lampoon me that I haven't given any--you haven't asked for any. If you ever have a mind to discuss like reasonable human beings, don't just insult me or attempt to intimidate me with these childish assertions such as,"I suggest learning how to debate ideas before posting again on this forum, you are clearly in over your head."

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I've never said that one cannot be right or wrong, or that knowledge is impossible, or that assertions are invalid.
No, and indeed I didn't say that you did. I said that giving an answer can be reduced to one of two things, either knowledge or dogma. If you reject a claim based on knowledge, that's not dogma, and that is a rational basis for rejecting a claim. I would hope that if you reject some claim, it would be on the rational basis of knowledge, and not a dogma that you hold. Of course I can't tell if you're appealing to knowledge or dogma, because you haven't been very specific in the basis of your accusations. You have the upper hand in that you state that you've met Bernstein and I don't, so I can only wonder what fact you are referring to in drawing the conclusion that Bernstein is dogmatic rather than rational. Maybe if you videotaped an interaction with him, we could judge whether your accusation of dogmatism is justified. Alternatively, you could just point to specific writings (which have the advantage of being objectively checkable) and say "Because of X, Y and Z, I declare that Bernstein is dogmatic".
You seem to have really launched into me on very little given, and made some wild assumptions.
You're mistaken, I haven't lauched into you at all, despite your attacks on Objectivism. I'm just pointing out that your condemnation of Objectivists as being dogmatic is a bit dogmatic in itself, and I'm inviting you to look carefully into the nature of dogmatism. Dogmatism is rationalism, which is the antithesis of Objectivism. So it is really incomprehensible to me that a true Objectivist could be dogmatic. If, for example, some seeming Objectivist were to declare "We absolutely must bomb Ankara, and that fact cannot be discussed", then that person would be acting as a rationalist and not as an Objectivist.

You have made a very serious accusation against up to four prominent Objectivists, plus a blanket unsupported attack against an unspecified number of other Objectivists, so I want to know what the basis is for your accusation. Are you dogmatically declaring that dogmatism is perceptually self-evident?

These dogmatists that I have described obtain their conclusions not from observing reality but from reading Rand alone--taking her conclusions as, per se, the right ones.
How about if you take one conclusion and show how the author has rejected an actually valid proof that the conclusion is pure rationalism? I'm unwilling to psychologize the writings of others without evidence, so I would like to see the basis of your claim that Bernstein, for example, evades reality. If your conclusion is based only on what you consider to be an obnoxious personal style, that is not a valid basis for concluding that he is dogmatic.
As for you possibly being correct, I'm not sure about what. You don't seem to have a particular thrust in your response except the (unsubstantiated) claim that I am dogmatic. And if that is what you are asking, no, neither in public nor in private do I believe that you could be right about that, and so neither in public nor private will I say it.
That's a pretty dogmatic conclusion on your part, to claim that you are infallible on this point.
If I have a dogma, please name it, but as far as I can see there is no conclusion that I am sticking to without reasons for holding it.
First, that you are infallible in your judgment, and second that Objectivists are rationalists. Note also that I'm not irrevocably committed to the conclusion that you are a dogmatist, and I am inviting you to state clearly and explicitly your basis in fact for condemning Objectivists (some or all, you decide) as dogmatists. I am trying to show you that if you are not dogmatic, you are mistaken.

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