Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
  • °

    Objectivism Is The Everyman's Philosophy

    In the universe, what you see is what you get,

    figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,

    and each person's independence is respected by all

  • Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words

    • "Metaphysics: Objective Reality"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
    • "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
    • "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
    • "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Image of first page of United States Constitution via Wikimedia Commons. Notable Commentary

    "Rather than fighting against the separation of Church from State, Star Parker would better serve the ideas of Capitalism and the Constitution by noting that religion is merely one set of ideas that can be taken on faith and argue for a separation of State from all ideology." -- Bob Stubblefield, in "Letter: U.S. Is Not a Christian Nation" at The Aiken Standard.

    "The goodness of a legal system's efficacy -- goodness that would constitute that system's being an ideal -- is completely dependent upon the ends that it advances." -- Tara Smith, in "Neutrality Isn't Neutral: On the Value-Neutrality of the Rule of Law" in Washington University Jurisprudence Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 49-95. (PDF, 2011)

    "One of the bedrock principles of Western medicine is a respect for a patient's bodily autonomy." -- Paul Hsieh, in "Pelvic Exams on Anesthetized Women Without Consent: A Troubling and Outdated Practice" at Forbes.

    "I'm hoping that as people realize that she is deeper and more interesting than just politics and the way the Left (and sometimes the Right) presents her, ... [m]ore people then will be open to studying her ideas and discussing them." -- Yaron Brook (interviewed by Alex Baltzegar), in "Interview with Yaron Brook: Why Ayn Rand Still Matters" at Merion West.

    Vote for a Worthy Candidate in 2018

    Impact Today recently pointed out an opportunity to help place the 1996 documentary, Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, in the National Film Registry:
    You can find further details, including where and how to vote, here. Polls close in December.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    A theory of "theory"

    DavidOdden
    By DavidOdden,
    I have a fairly simple problem / question / or need (let my need become a demand on your attention!): what is a theory? From experience, I know a number of specific theories, but I do not know what the proper definition of “theory” is, and what its properties are. My ultimate goal is to say something about a particular scientific theory (to identify flaws stemming from a misunderstanding of what a theory is). To show this, I need to say what the essence of a “theory” is. By analogy, I know what the concept “concept” is. Knowing the nature of a “concept”, I know that “1967 Dodges, black cats and the act of running” –excluding all other things – cannot be a concept, since those things have no similarity. I confess that I have a draft of a theory of “theory”, in the more literal scientific or philosophical sense (thus excluding uses where someone says that they “have a theory that X”, when they mean that they “feel that X is so” or they “have an idea that X may be true”). A theory is (defined as) a system of identifications which allow man to grasp the nature of a (conceptualized) subject. It presumes a definition of the subject concept, thus “theory of gravity” presumes a concept “gravity”, which implies a definition of “gravity”. Likewise “theory of mammals” presumes a concept “mammal” (and therefore a definition of “mammal”). A theory of a subject is a set of (highly) probable propositions which state the essential properties of that subject. The underlined parts here are my theory of “theory”. I need to clarify a few points. A “property” of a thing is a fact about its composition that determines what it does, which is not the same as “an observation” or “a correlation” true of the thing. For example, Android is the most popular OS for smartphones, but this is not a property of Android. Plutonium is used in reactors and making nuclear weapons, but this is not a property of plutonium. As for “essential”, I first want to disclaim any connection to discussions of essential vs. accidental properties in professional philosophy, which gets bogged down in proper names as opposed to concepts, and “possible worlds”. What I mean is those properties that characterize the subject, and which are not already implied by some other property. For example, being warm blooded is a property of man, but it is not an essential property of man, since man is a mammal (etc.), and “mammal” implies “warm-blooded”. An obvious essential property of man is having the faculty of reason, also having free will. I stop short of requiring that the identifications which constitute a theory have to be proven to the point of certainly; a fairly high standard of proof is necessary, to distinguish a theory from a hypothesis. And finally, an explanation about “subject”: this is basically shorthand for “the existents subsumed by a concept”. Here are a couple of corollaries of this meta-theory. Because of the defining nature of “theory” – it is cognitive (it is created for a cognitive purpose) – theories inherit the economy requirements of concepts and their definitions. This derives various Occamite principles such as Aristotle’s “We may assume the superiority ceteris paribus of the demonstration which derives from fewer postulates or hypotheses”, and so on. “Grasping the nature of” an existent summarizes the Objectivist epistemology: it is a proper and objective relationship between a consciousness and reality. As a form of knowledge, there must be proper evidence for the claim, and a theory cannot be arbitrarily stipulated. I would appreciate any criticism of this meta-theory directed at whether it does correctly describe what a theory is. It is irrelevant to me whether contemporary science teaching sees “theory” as a social construct. It is likewise irrelevant that most explanations of “theory” insist on adding stuff about repeated testing, standardized protocols or “testable”, since these are non-essential consequences of more basic concepts such as “knowledge”, “non-arbitrary”, or “probable” which the concept “theory” depends on. In other words, I’m trying to say what a theory is, and I am not trying to recapitulate what others have said about theories. I had hoped that How We Know would have a pre-packaged answer, but it does not seem to. Of course, alternative theories of theory important, since any claim has to be evaluated against reasonable alternatives.

    Where can I buy an Ayn shirt?

    Nicky
    By Nicky,
    Just saw this shirt, while watching a (dirty hippy, organic) gardening vid totally unrelated to Oism (really surprised me, too, that the guy even knows who Ayn Rand is):   Any idea where you can order these from? Because it looks great.

    Reblogged:Sabbaths Have It Backwards

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Writing in Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics about the intellectual demands of the virtue of pride, Tara Smith discusses the problem of evasion:
    Among the things this passage reminded me of is a very common lure: The Internet. This lure is particularly dangerous because using the world's biggest library is very often necessary for one's job.

    Fortunately, Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, offers advice on how to manage the temptation to give in to boredom it represents. Noting that many people suggest or use what they call an "Internet Sabbath" as a means of stepping back, Newport acknowledges the advantages these offer while noting a major drawback: Like a fad diet that effects no long-lasting or meaningful change in behavior, that measure does not really help on a daily basis. Instead, Newport devotes significant time arguing that one should turn this idea on its head and schedule breaks from concentration rather than breaks from such a distraction:
    Newport further addresses such matters as jobs that require lots of Internet use, and recommends also scheduling Internet use at home.

    Internet use is not, in and of itself, evasion, but it can easily lead to drift and using it is a kind of "spending decision" -- of time, which is precious and irreplaceable. It is worth noting that even if one is in control of his Internet use, Newport's approach can be applied to other instances in which one might want to make the vigilance Smith urges easier, by incorporating it into one's routine. Sabbaths from temptation worse than fail to do this.

    -- CAV Link to Original

Portal by DevFuse · Based on IP.Board Portal by IPS
×