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  1. Yesterday
  2. On Thursday evening January 6, 2022, at 7pm, there will be a session of the Ayn Rand Society. That will be at the Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association. Lester Hunt will deliver a paper on Rand’s comments on film in her essay “Art and Cognition”. This session will be in person, not via Zoom. The Meeting this year is being held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. The commentator on Prof. Hunt’s paper will be Prof. Andrew Kania.
  3. Last week
  4. Four (More or Less Random) Things 1. When you're a parent of young children, there is no such thing as "winning" when it's clock-changing time. First, like everyone else, you lose an hour of sleep when it's time to spring forward. Second, since kids that age are oblivious to such things and don't appreciate opportunities to sleep in, you don't get that extra hour when it's time to fall back. A few weeks ago, Mrs. Van Horn and I accidentally scored a rare win in that department when we had her folks -- who recently moved nearby -- take the kids for a sleepover so we could have a date night. I'd completely forgotten about the change, and realized it only the next morning, when I felt unusually well-rested despite being up relatively late. And yes, I did have a small chuckle at my in-laws' expense, because my son wakes as soon as it's light outside. But Pumpkin is ten and he's eight. By next year, he might also fall back with the rest of us, so this might well have been the last time he would have woken us early. We'll see next year: I'll be careful not to goof up their time change then. 2. This week, I did two things I haven't done in at least a decade: (1) unintentionally deleted a file with hours of work in it; and (2) not had a backup copy of that file elsewhere. Not wanting to spend a bunch of time re-creating the work and aware that it is prudent to completely overwrite hard drives when getting rid of computers, I cast about for ways to retrieve deleted files on Linux. GREP -- a standard utility I use every day -- turned out to be up to the task:[T]he [search] pattern is some string that is known to be in the deleted file. The more specific this string can be, the better. The file being searched ... is the partition of the hard drive the deleted file used to reside in. The "-a" flag tells grep to treat the hard drive partition, which is actually a binary file, as text. Since recovering the entire file would be nice instead of just the lines that are already known, context control is used. The flags "-B 25 -A 100" tell grep to print out 25 lines before a match and 100 lines after a match. Be conservative with estimates on these numbers to ensure the entire file is included (when in doubt, guess bigger numbers). Excess data is easy to trim out of results...Per a commenter, I saved the results file to a pen drive to avoid looping. I worked on something else for a few hours and then found about ten versions of the lost file among the results. The most-up-to-date was very close to what I had deleted. Whew! I hope not to have to repeat this neat trick, but for anyone passing by who might need to do this, a refinement: The string -- a URL -- I was able to remember and use for searching was likely also in other files. Fortunately, I could also remember another, non-URL string that was in the file, but which probably would also appear in another set of files. So I ran the GREP search of the hard drive using one string, and looked for the file among those results using the other string: No false positives. 3. En route to other things, I encountered the following compilation of ten funny commercials: Of the ten, I liked the astronaut commercial and the one for the web-slinging chef the most. I don't watch much television, so I had only seen the commercial featuring the eco-warrior before. 4. Paging Robert Ripley: Here is a rare sighting in the wild of a labor union backing off from harassing someone (It's Item 1, but consider also scrolling down a bit and stopping for ... the warm gooey...):My fellow baker/staff member was incensed and being the most vocal member of the (union) department, called her rep to complain. The grounds? My "sway" with the staff (I had no sway, they hated me) gave me an unfair advantage, which was the only reason I won [the baking contest]. The union, needing to do due diligence, phoned me for my "side." I had so many real issues to deal with, Bananagate needed to be put to rest quickly, so I told them to just have their baker/member bring in a loaf and then, call me. I heard later that she did provide a loaf to them ... but they never called me again.That's all, folks! -- CAVLink to Original
  5. Metaphysics translated by Joe Sachs Book A 1 - Aristotle says that art is about things that are usually the case, produces something, and often involves skill. It seems that art in this sense is any subject that is deeply inductive by virtue of being extremely complex or being heavily context bound. I would say that anything he says about art pertains more to what we think of as induction in the modern world than what he says of what is translated with the word induction (epogee). Art comes out of many conceptions from experience, in a universal judgment or as from what is similar. This idea is even more like the modern sense of induction. 2 - Aristotle seems to say that people seek knowledge out of the freedom to do so and that knowledge freely gained is the best. This is explained mostly in terms of how scholarly thought is best accomplished when leisure is possible. But leisure seems to also suggest that knowledge can be pursued more deeply when one doesn't need to worry about basic survival or warfare. If knowledge freely gained is the best, then implicitly, I think Aristotle is advocating freedom of thought. 3-8 - A history of analyzing causes. 9 - Forms are shared in so they must be of independent things. They must share in each by virtue of what is not attributed to underlying subject. If forms were patterns, then there would be forms of forms. Aristotle says that philosophy has become mathematical for people. He is pointing out that other philosophers of his time were overly focused on the abstract instead of observation. Book a (α) 2 - Acting for sake of something requires that the process be finite. 3 - Mathematical precision is best for immaterial things. Book B 1 - It is easier to know you reach the end if you know all the ways you can get stuck. 3 - There cannot be a genus of thinghood because the differentia needs to be outside the genus. 4 - If the one is not independent, the number of things can’t be either. If the one is independent, then how is any being more than one? 5 - If the forms are things like points more so than the forms own bodies, nothing could be independent. 6 - If the universal were independent then Socrates would be many kinds of animals. I think this means that if a universal is independent, it would have being - in which case Socrates would be an independent individual animal, independent individual human, and so on, all at the same time.
  6. "It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt." -- Unknown*** The Federalist is calling this perfectly legal exercise of Twitter's property rights "censorship," which is factually incorrect since Twitter is not part of our government. Note the Twitter sharing icon at the left. (This 12-2-21 screen capture is by the author, who believes its use to be appropriate under American copyright law.)This morning, my news feed churned up a piece at the Federalist, whose title complains, "Twitter Implements New Rule So It Can Selectively Ban Memes, Mockery of Democrats." That figures, I thought. Soon after, I had the exact same thought again, but about The Federalist, a publication I once respected. This happened when, upon seeing the story mislabeled "Censorship" in red, I took a look and saw that this publication has mislabeled numerous similar stories dating at least back to 2018 as censorship. I am no fan of the often blatant left-wing bias of the major social media companies, but what they are doing is not censorship. Let's review the meaning of that term:"Censorship" is a term pertaining only to governmental action. No private action is censorship. No private individual or agency can silence a man or suppress a publication; only the government can do so. The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and not to finance one's own antagonists. -- Ayn Rand ("Man's Rights," The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 98) [bold added]Just as anyone hosting a Thanksgiving dinner has the right to eject a guest -- justly or not -- from his own home, so do the owners of a platform to refuse service to anyone they please. The reason for someone doing so is irrelevant to the question of whether he has the right to do so. Conversely, the fact that someone has the right to do something does not exempt him from moral judgement. Archie Bunker turned me away because he's a bigot is morally wrong, but the fact remains that it's his house. And so it is with Twitter. Having made those points clear, I must add that I am always puzzled when left-wingers do whatever they can to silence political opponents. Are they not so sure that they're right and might lose an argument? Does hearing a dissenting opinion put them so much into an emotional fetal position that they feel they must avoid encountering one at all costs? Are they afraid they'll look bad by comparison? I don't know why leftists are so apparently frightened of dissent or falsehood, but I think the Archie Bunkers of the world deserve one cheer: At least they're letting us know they're asses. I say, Let them speak up so we can be warned! (And, let me add, before fans of such policies start slapping themselves on the backs for being so much more broad-minded than Archie Bunker: Actions speak louder than words: Not only are people who spew nonsense telling us about themselves, so too are the ones who selectively shut up only certain brands of nonsense while pretending to be neutral. In my mind, neither Twitter nor The Federalist look good. So, in case you were wondering to whom I refer with that old cultural reference, it's both media outlets.) In that vein, I hope Twitter doesn't squelch the Federalist. The world needs to see them demonstrate that they are friends to neither freedom of speech nor property rights. In this way, those of us who are will know not to rely on those who are incompetent or treasonous for support. Likewise, we could use a more even-handed Twitter, or at least a different outlet that is even-handed, and out-competes it. -- CAVLink to Original
  7. Data from gravitational waves confirm Hawking's area theorem for black hole event horizons.
  8. I've decided to complete this study and do it now (before completing my work comparing Dewey and Rand/Peikoff/Kelley concerning logic, perception, conception, and foundations). I have gotten hold of the needed materials for completing Dewey and Peikoff on Kant's Responsibility, shown in the list below. This chronology I’ve put together should be a good help to me and to my readers of the remaining work on this. Chronology 1914, July — WWI begins. 1915, May — Dewey’s book German Philosophy and Politics (GPP). 1915, Oct. — William Hocking’s criticism of GPP: “Political Philosophy in Germany” and Dewey’s reply. 1915, Oct. — Kuno Francke’s “The True Germany”. 1916, Feb. — Dewey’s “On Understanding the Mind of Germany” (picks up Francke). 1916, March — Santayana’s book Egotism in German Philosophy (EGP). 1916, Dec. — Dewey’s “The Tragedy of the German Soul” (his review of EGP). 1917, April — US enters WWI. 1918, Nov. — WWI ends. 1938 — Aurel Kolnai’s book War against the West. 1942 — Second edition of GPP with Introduction by Dewey bringing the old text to bear on Nazism and WWII. Dewey’s Introduction is titled “The One-World of Hitler’s National Socialism”. 1943 — Review by Leo Strauss of GPP second edition. 1947 — E. M. Fleissner’s “In Defense of German Idealism”. 1948 — Frederic Lilge’s book The Abuse of Learning – The Failure of the German University. 1950 — Walter Kaufman’s book Nietzsche, chapter 10 “The Master Race”. 1964 — Leonard Peikoff completes Ph.D. dissertation under direction of Sidney Hook. 1979 — Hook writes Introduction to John Dewey - Middle Works, Volume 8, which includes Dewey’s German Philosophy and Politics (1915) as well as Dewey’s “The One-World of Hitler’s National Socialism”, which was the Introduction to the reissue of GPP in 1942. 1982 — Peikoff’s book The Ominous Parallels, with Introduction by Ayn Rand. 1998 — Randall Collins’ book The Sociology of Philosophers, chapter 12 “Intellectuals Take Control of Their Base: The German University Revolution”. 2004 — James Campbell’s “Dewey and German Philosophy in Wartime”. 2010 — Stephen Hicks’ book Nietzsche and the Nazis. 2019 — Wolfgang Bialas, editor of the book: Aurel Kolnai’s ‘The War against the West’ Reconsidered.
  9. Image by Office of U.S. Health Secretary, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.Chris Christie, possibly to goose book sales or to run against Trump in 2024, is apparently attacking Donald Trump for failing to deliver on his campaign promises. Paul Mirengoff of the conservative Power Line blog considers the criticism more or less as a Trump supporter and makes some good points along the way, but I want to add a couple of things. If we assume that Christie is interested in running against Trump, though, his attack just caused me to lose his vote: Trump is not a pro-capitalist and I actively oppose major parts of his platform, such as the anti-immigration, the protectionism, and the wildly extravagant and inappropriate government spending he championed during the early part of the pandemic. I do not want someone who can wall our country in, violate the right to trade freely, and take my money even more effectively than Trump did. I want -- and America needs -- an advocate for individual rights who will do what he can to protect those rights, including explaining any situation in which his hands are tied and what would need to change to move forward. (Regarding that last bit: We have a President, not a dictator. It is a good thing that no one man can just do whatever he wants. In fact, I seem to recall that a country somewhere -- get this -- designed an entire government around the idea of preventing that from happening.) The attack is weak -- just like Republicans who currently whine about Biden being senile or incompetent (as if they want Biden to succeed at his agenda), or opponents of sitting Presidents who complain when they have the temerity to play golf -- and is a lazy attempt to escape the responsibility of offering voters a positive alternative they can vote for. To laud effectiveness -- but to duck the question effective at what? -- is a confession of ideological bankruptcy and weakness; and it raises the question of how well the attacker understands American government in general and the job of the President in particular. -- CAVLink to Original
  10. Jill Filipovic of CNN argues that a Supreme Court decision overturning or severely weakening Roe vs. Wade would be extremely unpopular both in the short term and in the long term. The short-term unpopularity would arise from the fact that most Americans support a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy:I say we should make abortion fully legal, instead. (Image by Gayatri Malhotra, via Unsplash, license.)According to this latest [ABC News/Washington Post] poll, even a slim majority of Republicans and conservatives, and 75% percent of Americans generally, believe that abortion should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor. Just one in five Americans, a small minority, want to see the decision of whether or not to have an abortion regulated by law. Majorities support abortion rights across racial, gender, regional, and educational lines; almost half of white Evangelicals, the most conservative voting bloc in the country, say abortion should be between a woman and her doctor instead of regulated by law and 62% of Catholics favor upholding Roe v Wade. Only about a quarter of Americans strongly support state laws that make it more difficult for clinics to run. [link omitted, bold added]Truth is, of course, not a matter of majority opinion, although it is nice to know that most people support what I consider to be the correct position on reproductive freedom. Longer-term, the implications of such a decision would make it even more unpopular:This poll didn't look at support for contraceptive access, but Americans should understand that the right to prevent a pregnancy and plan a family is tied up with the right to abortion. Even though access to highly effective and long-acting contraception is the most effective way to reduce the abortion rate -- and is in fact the primary reason abortions have become less common in the US -- many major "pro-life" groups actively oppose most forms of modern contraception, including the IUD and the birth control pill... ... ... Roe was decided based on the precedent set by a 1965 case, Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to sexual privacy for American adults and legalized contraception for married couples. From that case sprung Roe and others, including cases legalizing consensual sex between adults regardless of gender and establishing a right to same-sex marriage. The primary right-wing legal argument against Roe is that a constitutional right to sexual privacy doesn't exist. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe on that basis, it's hard to imagine a universe in which the rights to contraception and marriage equality couldn't be similarly challenged. [links omitted, bold added]These are at least thought-provoking arguments, if not good ones. But a question: If support for reproductive rights is so strong, why won't Democrats run on a promise to pass legislation to make abortion unambiguously legal? I think at least part of the answer lies within Filipovic's otherwise perspicacious piece, in the form of the word access, which is a word the left does not use in the same way normal people use the word. Many (if not most) people would regard access to contraceptives in a political context as being free to purchase and use them. But at least since before the ObamaCare debates, the word access has been code for "obtain at someone else's expense," much in the same way Southern planters had "access" to manual labor in antebellum times. This kind of "access" was wrong then and it is wrong now, even if the form has changed from chattel slavery to forms of government theft and redistribution that everyone is way too comfortable with. That said, while most people support (actual) access to contraceptives and abortion, with the understanding that they will pay for their own or find someone willing to pay on their behalf, most also know that when Democrats say access, a new tax or coerced expense is lurking in the background. Among other things, this fact makes it perfectly reasonable (to say the least!) to exempt businesses from having to pay for insurance plans that include abortion benefits. (I'll pass over arguing that government shouldn't be dictating terms of insurance coverage, and there should be no need to scrounge around for an excuse based on religious freedom to get such an exemption, for starters.) My views are far from the Overton Window, but the fact remains that every time the Democrats talk about the freedom to have an abortion, they wrongly package it with forcing third parties to pay for it. This makes the cause of legalizing it less compelling for the very significant part of the American population -- which this poll did not measure, but of which I am a part -- that fully supports reproductive freedom, but strongly opposes being forced to pay for the decisions or medical procedures of others. Separate those issues. Promise to do one thing: Just ... make ... abortion ... legal. If the Democrats really cared about any kind of freedom in general and reproductive freedom in particular, they'd get over their desire to take money from everyone, and do just this, rather than hoping for a terrible Supreme Court decision so they can ... oh, I don't know ... overrun Congress and the pack the Supreme Court so it can legislate from the bench instead. -- CAVLink to Original
  11. "Anyone who follows Ayn Rand slavishly or sets her up as a goddess is being a very bad Objectivist." Yes. That is all I am saying. As with any search for truth, we should be prepared to change and grow. "Just what does this mean?" If one is a democrat before being an objectivist (or any other philosophy), then all well and good. If one seeks to install their philosophy at any cost (at whichever extreme), it is a problem - and necessitates the bypassing of democracy. There may come a time when objectivism is central and generally accepted, but (in my humble opinion) there are too many problems for this ever to become likely. It looks very much to me that there are philosophies on the left and on the right which are self-contained and true within their own truths and axioms. They can never meet each other in the middle, and are irresolvable (even nonsensical) when imported into each others' frames of reference. I also wonder how those without land or capital can gain access to these, under a strictly objectivist regime. I also wonder how power can be controlled without democratic oversight. Power doesn't vanish, it moves, whack-a-mole style, so instead of the state (the electors within a democracy) holding the power, power makes its move into the hands of those with wealth. And (to me) very importantly, how can those who want all learners to have access to all ideas in order to arrive at their own conclusions be sure that they can - in particular within the state-run education system (or whatever should come to succeed it)?
  12. Anyone who follows Ayn Rand slavishly or sets her up as a goddess is being a very bad Objectivist. Ayn Rand's thinking and contributions go much deeper than politics. The world is dominated by very fundamental philosophical errors that lead most people astray on multiple levels. We have to fight this. Just what does this mean? I think a system in which political power derives from elections with a broadly based electorate is less dangerous than any alternative. I think we should keep the bill of rights and add additional protection to it. I think most Objectivists would be in essential agreement with me on this.
  13. Andrew Bernstein and Dave Goodman joined us for this episode on Kyle Rittenhouse and the left's attacks on private property and self-defense rights. Check it out!
  14. As a fellow NZer I would say don't go following any one school of thought slavishly or go acquiring new gods or goddesses for yourself - read and listen to everything and everyone across the spectrum, and form your own ideas and critiques of all you hear. Personally I have tarried with Ayn Rand-type ideas (especially in the 90s during the Douglas/Richardson era as finance ministers), but they don't really gel with me now - in particular their implications for/with democracy. I have (I suppose) moved in towards the left and find agonism is what makes the most sense to me for the time being.
  15. Published works by Merlin Jetton in the vicinity of topics in this thread: Egoism and/or Altruism (2013) The Beneficiary Statement and Beyond (2017) -see also Roger Bissell (2020) Egoism and Others (2018) Selfish versus Selfish (2021)
  16. Earlier
  17. Two books pertinent to this thread are: Sacrifice Regained: Morality and Self-Interest in British Moral Philosophy from Hobbes to Bentham Underivative Duty: British Moral Philosophers from Sidgwick to Ewing I have lately been studying the latter's chapter 7, titled The Birth of Deontology. I have needed to learn more about noted ethical theory, from the time of Kant, in Britain and in America. This by way of completing my study Dewey and Peikoff on Kant's Responsibility. I'll have that study completed and posted in that thread pretty soon. Then I'll turn to completing the two thread in which I'm comprehending the differences and commonalities between Dewey and Rand/Peikoff in perception, conception, foundationalism, and logic. Other threads here at Objectivism Online related to this present thread are: Aristotle on Selfishness Spinoza and Rand
  18. "He should read a book or watch some tasteful pornography to learn what to do with a girl. " lol, I'll know tasteful when I see it.
  19. There is an exquisite entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for ALTRUISM. Its author is Richard Kraut. ALTRUISM 1. What is altruism? 1.1 Mixed motives and pure altruism 1.2 Self-sacrifice, strong and weak altruism 1.3 Moral motives and altruistic motives 1.4 Well-Being and perfection 2. Does altruism exist? 2.1 Psychological egoism: strong and weak versions 2.2 An empirical argument for psychological egoism 2.3 An a priori argument for psychological egoism 2.4 Hunger and desire 2.5 Desire and motivation 2.6 Pure altruism and self-sacrifice 2.7 Does egoism exist? 3. Self and others: some radical metaphysical alternatives 4. Why care about others? 4.1 Eudaimonism 4.2 Impartial Reason 4.3 Nagel and the impersonal standpoint 4.4 Sentimentalism and fellow feeling 5. Kant on sympathy and duty 6. Sentimentalism revisited 7. Conclusion
  20. Doug I'm not sure, here are several articles that seem to challenge that idea. https://www.medicalauthoritarianism.com/index.php/category/unvaccinated/
  21. LOL. I actually agree with your post, but I would say going to the gym and working out may do you more good in this realm. It's not the "Objectivist correct" thing to say, but that is my experience.
  22. I'm sure they are relatively vague and indefinable, but hard-core neoliberalism would be one aspect Neoliberalism - Wikipedia Not logically connected (though you might understand how they evolved a hand-in-hand 'pairing-off') is social conservatism. I'm pretty sure we would agree that certain baggage often (though not exclusively) associated with right wing parties, such as conservatism on social issues (religion, sexuality, etc), is not desirable. Education and awareness tends to exorcise that kind of busy-bodying from the wider community, and indeed from people who are otherwise bent on 'freedoms' - as it takes their fancy to be. One issue that I think is rather ridiculous but seems to emanate from one element of the political right wing is on gender - that science (suddenly!) dictates how we must present ourselves socially. Now, suddenly, if I have male genitalia or even if I'm chromosomally male, I cannot put on make up or wear a dress and be a woman, if I chose to. Not that I have an inclination to do this, but I just cannot understand why anyone would be so hung up on anyone else's freedom to do so - unless, of course, they had an agenda to push. Personally, I find it kind of sexy when people enjoy being who they truly feel they are on the inside - which would be the nearest thing to an agenda I would have on this issue.
  23. Would you care to define these terms?
  24. "I mean what would you mean somewhat specifically for outcomes to count as improvements?" I think that the more politically aware and engaged folk are the better it is for democracy. Irrespective of their political views - and how they might transform. I also think that the interplay between education and democracy across the centuries (particularly in Europe) seems to show that. With reference to more recent events, when people's noses are kept pushed into the grindstone, they barely have time for anything else, including the deeper reflection (education by any other name) needed to be politically engaged in a meaningful way (and instead bringing about manipulative and unsavory characters like Trump and Boris Johnson). I'm pretty much centre-left in my views, and would want neither the hard right or the hard left in either extreme manifestation to be in power. However I am a democrat way before I am a socialist. I also think multi-party electoral systems are preferable (such as New Zealand or Germany). I don't think of an improvement as being an approach toward the pure right (or necessarily, for that matter, toward the pure left). I think of an improvement as when people have a better picture of what they are voting for or against, and the electoral outcome is a reflection of this. Part of the problem is that (with the loss of jobs - due to AI among other factors) the political centre is moving leftward, and classic right-wing parties (Republicans in the US and Conservatives in the UK) are resisting the leftward shuffle by manipulating those who Hilary Clinton might have referred to as 'the deplorables', and manufacturing a distorted world view for them to buy into. Just my take on things.
  25. Tuning True Places Home Five Poems
  26. Boydstun


    CARAVAGGIO Music: Bruno Moretti after Claudio Monteverdi Choreography: Mauro Bigonzetti Dancers: Vladimir Malakhov and Mikhail Kaniskin https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2963852373853645&set=a.2562699263968960
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