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     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"

    Reblogged:Admin: New Posting Schedule

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    As you may have guessed from the title and form of yesterday's post, I have decided to change my posting schedule. The reason for doing so is to give myself a couple of deadline-free mornings on weekends for writing and writing-related activities that aren't directly related to the blog. (I'd been juggling these most days with very inconsistent results.) Interestingly, although this involves a lighter posting schedule, it is possible that, once I get used to the routine, I will produce more posts per week than I used to. I'm not committing myself to that, though.

    The new minimal schedule will be as follows:
    Monday-Thursday: One Post Friday: One Hodgepodge Post (This will consist of a "Three Things" section, usually of things I like or find interesting; a "Weekend Reading" section of Objectivist commentary from publications aimed at the general public; and sometimes an additional section.) Saturday: Optional Post Sunday: No Post I will also experiment with Friday being entirely devoted to the blog, with activities ranging from the creation of extra posts (on those days when the posts are practically writing themselves), administrative work, or working to better publicize my writing (which I haven't really been able to do for the past few years).

    I have been thinking about making a change like this for some time, and a very productive weekend (made possible by writing a Saturday post in advance recently) confirmed for me that this was a good idea.

    As always, thank you for reading.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Mental Entities and Causality

    By Eiuol,
    This really bugged me so I'm addressing it now. You say there are two types of causation. If volitional causation is not physical, then it's literally unreal. Or at least, this is not entity-based causation. Mental entities don't exist, as there is nothing in reality that is a non-physical concrete. Mental existents exist, but don't "cause" action any more than justice does. You yourself as a whole entity makes choices. In other words, ALL actions are caused by entities, and ALL entities are physical. Non-physical entities are causeless, i.e. unreal. And Rand doesn't disagree, I don't think she ever talks about "mental entity causation", just that volition is an action caused by an entity (your body, and your mind as integrated with it as an activity).

    Reification and Suicide

    By epistemologue,
    A negative concept identifies the negation of another concept, its object, on which it logically depends. Negative concepts refer only to an absence of the specific object, not to the presence of anything else - they are merely the logical negation of the object, not the assertion of the existence of some other object. To assert the existence of a negative thing, as a different kind of existent, is a fallacy of the Reification of the Zero, a variant of the fallacy of the Stolen Concept. The concept "nothing" does not assert the existence of something called "nothing" - there is no such thing as "nothing" in and of itself, only the absence of a thing (the word literally means no-thing). The concept "non-existence" does not assert the existence of a "non-thing" - there is no such thing as "non-existence" in and of itself, only the absence of a thing in existence. In the same way, the concept "evil" depends on the concept "good". Evil is a negative concept indicating the logical negation of the good. The concept "evil" does not assert the existence of a "non-good", there is no such thing as an "evil" in and of itself, only the absence or contradiction of a good.1 Pain and fear are innate capacities to alert us that something is wrong, that there is a potential threat to our life and our pursuit of the good, but they do not by themselves offer us any positive value to seek. Pleasure tells us what is good, what is right, but pain can only tell us that something is wrong - it cannot tell us what is good or right.2 Rationally we can identify pain and suffering as a contradiction to the good, as a negative and an impediment, but innately pain simply does not offer us any pleasure, that is, it is a zero. It do not offer us the presence of any incentive to seek, so it cannot logically be the source of any conceptual values, nor can it be the fuel that makes us function.3 Man is by nature faced with a fundamental alternative: identity or non-identity, existence or non-existence – life or death. The concept of value, of "good or evil", is not an arbitrary human invention, but rather is based on a metaphysical fact, on an unalterable condition of man's existence: his life. The ultimate value, the final goal or end to which all lesser goals are means, is man's life. His life is his standard of value: that which furthers his life is the good, and that which threatens it is the evil.4 The choice to live is therefore the most basic moral choice that one faces.5 Only in life do we have any possibility of acting to seek the good or to enjoy happiness. Death offers no possibility of action or enjoyment. Moral action means to act for one's own rational self-interest, but there are no interests to seek in death. Only life can offer us a positive incentive. Death, like pain, cannot offer any positive incentive, but rather it is a zero. Suicide is the act of sacrificing life for death. Suicide is the sacrifice of the good for the sake of a zero. But it cannot be in one's self-interest to destroy one's self. One cannot rationally or morally act to end their life. John Galt
    Atlas Shrugged    Observe the contradiction present in Piekoff's "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" (aka. OPAR):  and later, On the one hand he says the commitment to life is essentially axiomatic, and that there's no basis for questioning it, and on the other hand that suicide is justified if you're suffering and your condition seems hopeless. This is an apparent contradiction. But Peikoff is not the pope, OPAR is not the Bible, and Ayn Rand is not God. It's possible that this is merely a contradiction. OPAR is not inerrant. Finding such a contradiction does not fundamentally break the philosophy of Objectivism, either. On the contrary, the fundamental moral conviction of the Objectivist philosophy is that life is the ultimate standard. This defense of suicide is inconsistent with the basic moral premises of the philosophy. The mistake here is derivative, not fundamental. The philosophy as a whole is sound; only the position on suicide is not. I submit to you that this position on suicide is a contradiction to the fundamental moral philosophy of Objectivism. If you disagree, let's hear your arguments.   I'll start by responding to Peikoff's argument for suicide: can suicide be an "affirmation" of life if it's impossible to achieve happiness? Suicide cannot be an affirmation of life - it's the deliberate choice to destroy life. You cannot affirm your life by destroying it. As long as you are alive, and you are conscious to think and act, then you can either choose to act in the best interest of your life and happiness, no matter how tragically hopeless the situation may seem, or you can choose to sacrifice your best interest for something lesser. Suicide is the sacrifice of all possible interest. Death is non-existence, it knowably has no value at all - it is a zero. You cannot seek values in death. To act on the assumption that happiness is impossible would not be an affirmation of a happy life - that would be in fact be the most damning denial you could make. In such a tragic situation where happiness seems impossible, the way to affirm your life is to continue to seek your happiness despite the tragedy and hopelessness of the situation. In Peikoff's own words: That is an affirmation of life.   Footnotes: (1) John Galt
    Atlas Shrugged    (2)  - The Objectivist Ethics, Ayn Rand   (3) John Galt
    Atlas Shrugged    Howard Roark and Dominique Francon
    The Fountainhead   Atlas Shrugged
      (4) See "The Objectivist Ethics", in "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand   (5) John Galt
    Atlas Shrugged 

    Next on <em>The Yaron Brook Show</em>: Specialization and Trade

    ARI Media Feed
    By ARI Media Feed,
    What’s wrong with mainstream economics? Has it placed mathematical gymnastics above a genuine understanding of how a division of labor economy encourages specialization, innovation and economic progress? Link to original

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