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Objectivism Online Forum
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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"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    A Handmaid's Tale (2017 Series)

    JASKN
    By JASKN,
    I'm a sucker for apocalyptic stories, and this one delivers, in both seasons so far. I've heard "liberals" compare it to present-day US, but that's crazy - and I don't get that viewpoint from the show, either. However, I think the show's representation of the US transitioned into a violent Christian dictatorship is convincing. Opinions, thoughts, analysis?    

    Why follow reason?

    sjw
    By sjw,
    (In other terms: Why be rational?) What is the "official" Objectivist answer to this question? One supportable by the works Ayn Rand wrote or sanctioned in her lifetime? To be clear, I'm not asking what is the correct answer to this question, but rather the more academic question of what is the answer Ayn Rand actually gave?  

    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.

    Starting College. Freshman anxiety.

    Marzshox
    By Marzshox,
    Your first year at college can be intimidating. Especially since most high school students in the US have not been explicitly taught to excel at a collegiate level. More often than not, high schoolers are simply not equipped with the tools, mentality or skills to make the smooth transition from 12th grade to their freshman yr at their University of choice.   However, with effort, focus and some determination... anyone can do well in their preferred fields, get their full credits and pass their classes with a solid understanding of the material that they are expected to have learned.   This short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37X_CEzG-xY) is designed to give you a blueprint of what to expect in college and how to tackle each course, and hopefully will leave you feeling optimistic regarding your studies in such Universities.   Please watch the full video as I will outline some important information you should know and give you a "basics" 101 video of what to expect and how to apply yourself and study effectively at college.   You must know first that college consists of lectures. (alas, on line) Generally your professor will be teaching his/her student's the most important information and facts relative to the subject of study.   Don't be confused and think that you will be reading large manuals and texts that cover the entire subject from A-z.   Actually the most important material will be what the teacher transmits to her students. It's important to be perceptive of what the teacher is explicitly highlighting or writing on her chalk board during class.   Taking notes is important. But remember again that the most important information is what the professor directly feeds from the front of the classroom, in to the minds of his students.   Taking notes is simple enough. But some people can not keep up with their professors. This is why they abbreviate words that their professor seems to stream out endlessly without pause. One tip for students, is to paraphrase the notes into something easily digestible while retaining the general sentiment and facts.   Not only does writing it in your own words make it an easily understood reference. But rephrasing in your own words, will enforce it into long term memory. This is important to know as your notes will increase in size. Dumbing over excerpts in your notes that you do not understand or remember writing will just send you in the wrong direction. Put it in your own words.   What you must know is that studying time, varies among student's. Some may need more time, others may study faster. Do not compare yourself to other students. Everyone is unique and their study times will varry. No worries there.   Pay attention to terms and concepts that are addressed during class. Most of this in class material usually ends up on a test or final exam. It's important to remember that study time will include reading essays, papers or otherwise daunting chapters of various texts.   One thing you must be aware of, and expect... is the complex discourse or syntax that college texts utilize.   This means that material that you are required to read, may seem very difficult at first. But there are effective ways to power through this, even for someone with average or weak reading skills.   The more you read, the easier it is to read. So make sure you read a lot especially related texts to your field of study. If something read does not make sense, but is of importance to your overall understanding, don't hesitate to reread the section several or more times.   Often reciting and re-reading is a big part of college. Some texts will require your attentiveness, patience. Sound it out like a baby reading dr suess, slow and steady, repeat repeat repeat. This pays off in big ways.   There is something called previewing. This is a very affective way of conquering long texts or full chapters. Before reading a chapter it is ideal to skim the entire chapter page by page . Making note of the titles, sub headings, highlighted words, introductory and ending paragraphs. Plus underlined or otherwise emphasized words or concepts.   By skimming the entire chapter (briefly flipping through all pages). Your brain will make inferences and give you an idea of what to expect or clue you in to the main line of argument and supporting details.   Organization is important. For each subject, you should have a separate note book, or folder. Also several writing utensils.   College is a fun and rewarding experience. Generally you will find that college essentially creates fine minds capable of learning and expanding their possibilities, collaborative skills are obtained and you are left with a well rounded individual.

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