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  1. 2 points
    A Guide to Effective Study, by Edwin A. Locke, sports the following contents. Part I. Study Methods 1. Introduction 2. What is Studying? 3. How To Do Abstract Reading 4. How To Do Abstract Integrative Reading 5. How To Identify and Designate What Is Important 6. How To Program Your Memory: The Nature of Memory 7. How To Program Your Memory: Specific Techniques 8. The Physical Context of Study 9. The Social Context of Study 10. How To Manage Time 11. How To Take Lecture Notes 12. How To Prepare For and Take Exams 13. Study Monitoring Part II. Study Motivation 14. Motives for Going to Col3ege 15. How to Cope with Fatigue and Boredom 16. Blocks to Mental Effort 17. How To Cope with Test Anxiety 18. How To Cope with "Failure" 19. Motivational Monitoring 20. Autobiographical Portraits of Two Self-Motivated Students. Here is a breakdown of the bold type headings: 3. How To Do Abstract Reading Techniques of Abstract Reading Establish the Proper Mental Set Formulate the Ideas in Your Own Words Form General Mental Images Break Down The Material Into Smaller Units Common Errors in Abstract Reading Overconcreteness Vagueness "Cheating" on Yourself The Problem of Time Summary Exercises Evaluating You Answers While this book may be out of print, Study Methods & Motivation: A Practical Guide to Effective Study by Edwin A. Locke is listed over at the Ayn Rand Instititue e-store, and is likely a revamped version.
  2. 2 points

    Feynman And Ayn Rand

    Lawrence Edward Richard, firstly, welcome. I wondered if you are related to the Lawrence Edward Richard who died in 2011, because a Facebook man of that name stopped posting there at that time and recently that page has started again having posts under that name. I wondered if perhaps you were his son or other relation. Anyway, welcome to Objectivism Online. I enjoy your posts, as so many others here. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I think Rand, as any person in a sensible moment, would squarely object to the statement of Feynman’s as stated, which William Hobba rightly disputed, at the root post of this thread. In its context, which is unknown to me, we might see some better sense to Feynman’s remark. To the remark as it stands here, I would add to Mr. Hobba’s remark that Newton’s definition of Force, as well as its expanded formula by Einstein/Planck, is precise. They are both precise. That the later one is wider in correct application and contains the earlier one in the appropriate physical limit, does not make the later one more precise, but more widely correct. On and on, there is precise definition in physics. The definition of what are canonically conjugate pairs of dynamical variables is precise. The indeterminacy of their precise joint values in the quantum regime is precise. The definition of what is a Feynman Diagram is precise. Rand praised modern science a lot, but had criticisms of a number of general things being said about science by ’57, quoted from the fictitious book Why Do You Think You Think? (AS 340-41). Also in Atlas Shrugged, she made a couple of criticisms of some particular modern science. Most famously, she criticized Behaviorist psychology, which critique she extend in a later essay concerning Skinner. She indicated what was by her lights a wise attitude towards QM, with its “Uncertainty Principle” so salient with the educated public at the time, through words of the fictional character Dr. Stadler (346). She never returned to QM physics stuff herself, but she put her stamp of approval on all the contents of Peikoff’s 1976 lecture series “The Philosophy of Objectivism” which included his understanding and critique of the “measurement problem” in QM. Rand’s rejection of Behaviorism and (with Branden) of human instincts (under some prominent meanings) and the subconscious (under some prominent meanings) was under her view in what is usually called philosophical psychology. Her conception of What is a human being? was at odds with those quasi- or pseudo-scientific psychology schematics. Rand carried in The Objectivist a serial article on epistemological issues in biology that was authored by Robert Efron, a distinguished neuroscientist (Christoff Koch was a student of his). The title was “Biology without Consciousness” (1968). Rand savaged a paper by philosopher of science Feyerabend in her 1970 essay “Kant v. Sullivan.” Rand’s philosophy has also had some interface with science in her conceptions of what sort of thing could or could not be a cause anything.
  3. 2 points


    Welcome to the forum, Giemel, Your experience seems similar to my own. Reading through the many posts, you will find that there are as many differing views contesting to be the most rational point of view. I wouldn't worry too much about trying to identify as Objectivist, as I would see it more as an aspiration, rather than an identity. Most people I've discussed ideas with have never heard of Ayn Rand, let alone any philosophical school of thought. Most people are religious and anti-intellectual. There's little you can do about it. In conversation, I usually identify as "rational egoist," if that's any help to you. If they wish to know more, they need to listen, or it's their loss. In any case, it's a comfort to know our ranks are growing.
  4. 1 point
    I go to Ford to purchase a new car. I buy a car with all the latest features, but I get home and the car is missing some features. I go back to the Ford dealer and summoning my best Karen, I ask to speak to the manager. I bought the package with all these features, but my car doesn't have these features, I say. Ah, but you bought the car from StrictlyLogical and Merjet. They were your salesmen. And they're not here. They're gone. Sorry, you're out of luck. And they won't be in tomorrow, or the next day. In fact, they're saying home and we're shielding them. And you can't get reimbursed from Ford because, see, you only have the right to get reimbursement from those who sold you the car. No such entity "Ford" sold you the car, see? SL and MJ sold you the car. And you will never see them again. Now begone! If I were to do some cliche Randian analysis, beyond just peppering every other sentence with boilerplate jargon like "objective" this and "metaphysical" that, would probably conclude that this is the "concrete-bound" mentality. I would probably conclude that it is the refusal to abstract. And the reason for that is because organisations and institutions are groups of people, and these various people are representatives of the organization. And they know that, they're just being an insufferable pedantic.
  5. 1 point
    Regarding "retaliation" Ayn Rand wrote: "Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use" (Lexicon). So violence against a Minneapolis police officer who was not on the scene of the George Floyd incident would not qualify as "retaliation" in her view.
  6. 1 point
    Yes, if you can talk you can breathe, but you might be able to say you can't breathe a few seconds before you stop breathing. But that's stupid to talk about. Do we really need some linguistic argument to understand that he was in severe medical distress? The category is police abuse, full stop. It might be justified, I haven't really decided, but it's a pretty simple connection between initiation of force to retaliatory force.
  7. 1 point
    Absolutely agree. Additionally, for those wanting to delve further into ethics and values I have to recommend Tara Smith (professional philosopher) and her works Viable Values and Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics. Her writing is exceptionally clear, succinct, and her razor sharp logic is as flawless as humanly possible.
  8. 1 point
    Welcome to Objectivism Online, Carl Leduc. I was wondering, given your university, whether you are bilingual French/English. Also, if you read both well, would you say there has been a good translation of Atlas Shrugged into French? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is only a sidebar to your question, Carl, but I do not agree with the idea that understanding Objectivism completely takes years. I know that the philosophy can go on and on, effectively endlessly, in the different traditional and new philosophical questions it can be developed to tackle. And on and on in detailed scholarly comparisons with other philosophies. And on and on in the ‘philosophy of x’, where x stands for the various special areas of knowledge such as mathematics and the various sciences. Objectivism itself—considering Rand’s writings she chose to publish as well as subsequent works by competent expositors in this close period beyond Rand’s life—can be thought to be of various sizes it seems to me. The first size would be simply what all is in the novel Atlas Shrugged (mainly Galt’s Speech, with its organized conceptual progression). In my own estimation, anyone fully understanding what is said in that book alone understands Objectivism. Everything further, fine and fascinating as it is concerning the philosophy set out there, is inessential to Objectivism insofar as the further work delineates the philosophy at all beyond what was said in that book. It has been my experience that people interested in learning more of the philosophy beyond what they could or did find in Atlas are somewhat above average general intelligence, usually at least one standard deviation above. Seekers of more, in my encounters with them, were seldom genuinely seeking to get something clarified they had found in Atlas nor figure out what good applications the book and its philosophy might have for making their own life. Rather, they were reaching for additional intellectual adventures and realms stemmed from aspects of the Atlas one. There are two books beyond Atlas that present the philosophy, in its larger, more luxurious size, in an organized way. So to a great extent, these present the philosophy with the integration needed for integrated understanding of it. Those are Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and The Blackwell Companion to Ayn Rand. Stephen
  9. 1 point
    To take this one step deeper, Can the notion of one receiving the spiritual values, goods, or services of another, then refusing to pay the spiritual price for them be regarded as keeping them by force?
  10. 1 point
    Fraud, when it comes to breach of contract, is consider to be an indirect initiation of force. What is the purpose of a guilt trip for earned guilt versus unearned guilt? Eiuol, how much are you getting paid per hour to employ on Mr. Veskler's behalf your moderation skills for the Objectivism Online forum?
  11. 1 point
    Guaranteeing they will need another job? Ooops there's that n-word ... "NEED" Hogwash. You base your entire argument re. $15 upon nothing but a subjective whim, an arbitrary edict, as all proponents of minimum wage do. Who decides what kind of food, (basic or fancy), what kind of shelter (living alone in a mansion, or in an apartment with 6 others), what kind of clothing (basic or brand-name), what kind of leisure activities and luxuries (smart phones, movies, game consoles, cigarettes, booze, junk food, etc.) are "necessary" to a person's "need" of a certain wage or number of jobs? What about an intelligent industrious 13 year old hoping to become a doctor. What is wrong with him starting with summer employment in a kitchen because he has in an interest in cooking - say at $3-$5 an hour? He has no expenses at all and he might find that very much "worth" it while being very worthy and good at it, maybe he'll take the job for the experience only, or the odd cookie. ...and wouldn't responsible parents want their children to learn the importance of employment at an early age, to learn that as adults they will not be "entitled" to get anything from anyone except by voluntary trade? What about a young trade college student with flexible hours, already on a scholarship or funded by parents, wanting to do a little work on the side. Who's to tell him he cant accept a $3-$5 an hour job if that is all he is currently good for? What about a "failure... to launch" adult who lives with his parents or lives with 6 room-mates, and the household costs to him are so low he is nowhere near "needing" a second job? What about an honest hard working person willing to take two jobs but looking to move up in value so that one day they can stick with one? Who should decide that a person "should" only have one job? Who should decide how many hours a week a person is allowed to devote to productive money earning work? What about an unskilled wife or (an unskilled husband for that matter) of a professional who wants to do something and is willing to work for $3-$5 as a cook? Who should decide how much a couple "should" earn, or how many jobs a couple "should" have? Moral wage rates include everything, right down to $0 where volunteers are willing to work in exchange only for the experience of working. And I'll tell you who should decide the rates, the employer and the potential employee, and given their specific circumstances either the employee will accept the job for a wage which is also acceptable to the employer, or they will part ways. THAT is moral.
  12. 1 point
    The terms used sometimes confuse the subject, as in "completely fair" vs. "fair" vs. "moral". One fundamental problem is that if you objectively as a third person look at many transactions, you will see that one person gets more value than the other. Frequently!! You can conclude that most transactions are unfair. What makes it fair, or just, or enforceable is the fact that there was an unforced agreement, a voluntary one. The "agreement" is what makes it voluntary. Voluntary meaning "not tricked into it" or not threatened by the other party into it. We are not born with the ability to make the best transaction all the time, we learn to make better and better ones. Some people have low self esteem and are consistently taken advantage of. In many of these cases, resentment builds and they will not transact anymore. The example you bring up is more about what is workable or practical or a best practice for one of the transactors. To observe the other person and IF a long term relationship is desired to make sure that the other person is satisfied as to not create problems later on. It is not about fairness, it is dealing with your own rational self interest (personal ethics). But what if a rational person does business with an irrational person. Does the rational person have to determine what the irrational person should get? In most cases, it can't be done. You may say that 15 dollars is what they should get, but then I think it should be 50.3425 dollars per hour. Why? It feels right to me. Here you are controlling the process of transacting as a third person, as an authoritarian. Don't they have a right to be free to transact? Without you refereeing it? Or perhaps regulating it?
  13. 1 point
    They can be actually. To subsidize means basically to provide financial support. Financial support through public funds is not the only meaning of subsidize. I think many libertarian minded people have a genuine hard time understanding that just because something is a voluntary market transaction does not mean that transaction is morally good. It is also possible to accept a transaction without endorsing the transaction as completely fair, especially in the short term. I think this especially applies to internships. Generally, I think paying employees what looks to be very small wages is often due to the employer failing to acknowledge the value that an employee provides. Suppose I hire an employee for $10 an hour, and they would accept it. If I hire them for $15 an hour, they would accept it. An employer has to make a decision about the wage they want to pay above the bare minimum that the employee would accept. I don't imagine that the moral way to make this calculation is simply to figure out what is the lowest wage that the employee would accept. The moral way to make this calculation is to think about the value that an employee provides - not merely the monetary value. As far as full-time employees, at really any job, I can't see a reason to say that an employee should be paid less than $15 an hour. That is, a full-time employer should have enough respect for their employee that they pay a living wage. This is just a long way to say that I agree with you. I mean, they might be financially viable businesses, but I wouldn't call them morally viable.
  14. 1 point
    In diatonic music, even in the greatest symphonies, the chord must be resolved to the center. Choirs must follow strophe and antistrophe and end the play in catastrophe. — Ao Aoen, The Warlock
  15. 1 point
    And if a cameraman had shot you in that situation, inadvertently mixing with neo-Nazis? Such a sleazy old media trick, I'm amazed the public falls for it still. If the Press wants to destroy someone's character they have taken or pull out an old photo of him/her in the company of notorious scumbags and publish it. That's a simple variation on "guilt by association", guilt by proximity. The short attention span and 'symbolic' mindset of readers and viewers does the rest. He/she will always carry that slur on their public reputation. No different to the guilt by association technique here, that suggests very different people, conservatives and supremacists, protesting the lock down, lumped as one 'group'. For what reason? Why should the media make that play? Obviously some have a vested interest in keeping the economy from recovering.
  16. 1 point
    I composed this three-part essay five years ago. This sector of OBJECTIVISM ONLINE is a natural spot for it. Beauty – Francis Kovach Part I The author of Philosophy of Beauty (PB) was my first philosophy professor Francis Kovach. Beauty is “that which, in sole virtue of a knowledge of it rather than its usefulness, delights its knower” (PB 24). What is “that which”? What is beauty? A sense of beauty can be companion to other feelings engendered in a work of art. “Pure beauty merely delights; the sublime delights and awes; the tragic delights and saddens; the comic delights and makes one laugh; . . .” (PB 29). Michelangelo’s Pieta: pathos with beauty. Bernini’s David: power and determination with beauty. Brancusi’s Bird in Space: suspension and sweep with beauty. Ugliness crafted in art is craft of the contrary privative of the positive value beauty (PB 250–64). Ugliness has been taken as a privative since Plato, although, since the nineteenth century, there have been dissenters. One version of a positive interpretation of ugliness “seems to go back to Winckelmann, who ventured to assert that expressiveness was one of the primary characteristics of classic art, whereas Lessing held the more traditional view, viz., that beauty is the main purpose of classic art. Schlegel, at the end of the eighteenth century (1797) declared that the main concern of modern art is not beauty but the characteristic or the interesting, and the characteristic or the interesting may be, among others, the repulsive or hideous, i.e., the ugly.” (PB 255) The kind of beauty in art is what Kovach called material beauty, “the integral unity of a multitude or variety of proportionate parts” (PB 185). Integral means the capability of the parts to contribute to the whole of the beautiful work, where “these parts, through their presence, actually ensure and constitute the wholeness of the beautiful material being” (185). Proportionate means capability of being put together with the other parts and of being united with them into the whole of the beautiful work of art (185). In any “obviously well-arranged whole” there can be found “integrally proportionate and unified parts” (PB 185–86). The integrity of such an orderly material whole is the principle of its order. Integrity is “the property in virtue of which order has all the parts necessary and no parts unnecessary for it” (190). (I notice in passing that having all the parts necessary does not preclude there being alternative necessary parts; necessary part of a piston engine could be spark plug or fuel injector.) Such an artistic whole damaged or never completed, or composed as if those were so, frustrates the viewer. It frustrates fulfillment of the natural cognitive desire for and cognitive delight in the fully knowable. A full integrity renders things fully knowable with the delight that holds, and thereby, integrity is a true principle of beauty (193). The esthetics of my Prof. Kovach, who was very learned in the history of esthetics, has considerable affinity with that of Rand. In much of her thinking about art, she was not alone. What Kovach says about integrity and integral unity in the work of art fits well with Rand’s writings on esthetics in The Fountainhead and in her nonfiction. The proportionate “is intuitively intelligible and, thereby, cognitively delightful; whereas that which is disproportionate is, as such, intuitively puzzling, upsetting, disturbing, even displeasing to the beholder” (PB 195). Suppose a man “is listening to a lullaby, and suddenly he hears drums sounding fortissimo. . . . He will instantly intuit the unsuitability of the loud sounds of the drums to the soft sounds of the other musical instruments in the lullaby” (195). The role of proportion is to render intelligibility and its delight intuitively. Unity in the work of art, or in a machine for that matter, “unity, as such, is intelligible; multitude, the privation of unity, is not. Inasmuch as the unity of a material being is intuitively, effortlessly intelligible, the knowledge of it is delightful, and the thing itself is cognitively delightful and, as such, beautiful” (PB 195). Kovach goes on to argue for the presence of integrity, proportion, and unity in all material things. That we do not encounter beauty in all of them is due to the order in some being not directly perceivable by us or not intuitively knowable by us or relatively inferior or conspicuously defective or so frequent that it cannot delight. The artist aiming to realize beauty, for cognitive delight of the beholder, will be concerned with composing details in right definite relations to the whole she has in mind, or at least selecting among particulars according with a whole emerging in mind. The order in her representation, if beautiful, will be an exemplification of the three principles of order of material being, concretely intelligible and, therewith, immediately delighting (198–208). Francis Kovach belonged to the Scholastic tradition in philosophy. He took their view that beauty is objective. Beauty is there whether or not it is discerned. He argued for that view and, furthermore, he argued that beauty is a property of being the Scholastics called a transcendental property of being. Such a property is convertible with being and with other such properties. The distinction between being and its transcendental properties is only ideational; in reality they refer to the self-same thing. (Here I shall stay with the customary name transcendental property, though I think merely cohort is a better name.) In Rand’s metaphysics, identity is such a transcendental property of being, where being means any and all existence, actual or potential, physical or mental (AS 1016–17, 1035–37, 1040–41, 1054; ITOE 56, 82, App. 240). The oneness or unity of each existent is also a transcendental in Rand’s metaphysics. Or, at least we can say that the oneness or unity of each entity, which is the primary and fundamental category among all existents in Rand’s metaphysics, is also a transcendental in that system (ITOE App. 199). The convertibility of unity with being is from Aristotle (Top. 127a27–28; Metaph. 1003b22–23; cf. Aquinas ST Q.11 A.1). Rand’s convertibility of identity and being was most fully seen before her by Avicenna with his addition of the transcendentals “thing and something, meaning definiteness and otherness, respectively” (PB 240). Avicenna was adding those specifically to the Plotinian set of transcendentals: unity, truth, goodness, and beauty. In the thirteenth century, there began efforts to systematically derive the transcendental properties, and those various efforts led to a variety of sets of the transcendentals. The set and derivation of Thomas Aquinas came to be quite influential among modern Scholastics from mid-nineteenth century on. In his early work On Truth, Aquinas set out the following system of transcendental properties, as summarized by Kovach: “Considering being absolutely, one can pass this affirmative judgment on it, ‘Every being has an essence’ or ‘Every being is something definite’—a judgment which leads us to realize the transcendentality of ‘thing’—‘being with a definite essence’, and the abstract transcendental of ‘definiteness’. Next, still considering being absolutely, we can pass a negative judgment on it, ‘No being is actually divided’, that corresponds to the judgment, ‘Every being is actually undivided’, and leads the mind to the recognition of the transcendentality of ‘the one’ and its abstract correlative, ‘unity’ or ‘oneness’. In the next steps, one may consider ‘being’ relatively. In so doing, and relating it to non-being, he can realize the truth of this proposition, ‘Every being is other than non-being’, which is the recognition of the transcendentality of ‘the other’ and the abstract ‘otherness’. If, next, somebody relates being to the first unique power of the human soul, the intellect, he can discover the truth of the following proposition, ‘Every being is intelligible’ or ‘true’, and thereby the transcendentality of ‘the true’ and of ‘truth’. If, on the other hand, one relates ‘being’ to the second unique power of the human soul, the will, he may recognize that it is true to say, ‘Every being is desirable’, and, through this judgment, the transcendentality of ‘the good’ and ‘goodness’. Summing up, we may say that there are exactly five transcendental properties of being in such a way that definiteness is an affirmative absolute transcendental; unity, negative absolute; otherness, negative relative; and truth and goodness, affirmative relative. (PB 241) Aquinas latter expressed his belief that beauty also—in accord with Plato, Plotinus, and others—is convertible with being. Kovach argues for incorporation of beauty into Aquinas’ system of transcendentals. Consider intellect and will not separately, but jointly. Then, affirmatively and relative to that combination, we can say, “Every being is cognitively delightful,” which, according to Kovach, we have reason anyway to think true, outside its consideration in connection with Aquinas’ system. Then beauty is a transcendental property of being, for “we call a thing beautiful precisely if and when it delights upon becoming known to us” (PB 242). Now Objectivists should be ready to correct and adapt this objectivist theory of beauty and artistic beauty. The Scholastic objectivist is on the right track in taking the intelligible and the good to be affordances of existence for human cognitive and evaluative powers. However, firstly, in Rand’s system, the fundamental affordance for truth is not truth, but fact (cf. Metaph. 993b30; ST Q.16 A.3). Truth is recognition of fact, which latter is a cohort of existence. Secondly, the affordance of goodness in existence is not fundamentally for will or desire, but for life. All occasions of value are confined to relationships of existents to life, including distinctly human forms of life, and to derivatives of life. Value and goodness are not cohorts of existence in Rand’s system (contrast with Aristotle’s NE 1096a23–29). Then beauty is not a cohort of existence; though if a sense of beauty is cognitive delight, sensed beauty is yet a function of the true and the good and can be objective in a new mix of the definite ways in which the true and the good are objective. Then too, whether an artwork crafts an illusion capable, in right conditions of the beholder, of eliciting cognitive delight by its concrete integral unity of held truths and values is an objective matter in an elaborate sense. In her literature, Rand had bannered an objectivist view of beauty, with ugliness as its antithesis. The range of things she called beautiful was considerable, from the beauty of human face and body to the beauty of countryside and city skyline, to the beauty of an evening of formal debut composed by a mother for her daughter, to the sense of beauty a young woman would have for familiar items in the surroundings of her occasions with her lover, which occasions had carried “a feeling greater than happiness, the feeling of one’s blessing upon the whole of the earth, the feeling of being in love with the fact that one exists and in this kind of world” (AS 108). The character Lillian Rearden, in a lecture to her husband, says that telling a beautiful woman she is beautiful is a gift of no cost. “But if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful, you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept beauty” (AS 305). In Fountainhead Peter Keating accepts a commission to build a home for the successful writer Lois Cook, who tells him she wants it to be the ugliest house in New York. “’The . . . ugliest, Miss Cook?’ / ‘Sweetheart, the beautiful is so commonplace!’ / . . . / ‘Keating, where’s your courage? Aren’t you capable of a sublime gesture on occasion? They all work so hard and struggle and suffer, trying to achieve beauty, trying to surpass one another in beauty. Let’s surpass them all! Let’s throw their sweat in their face. Let’s destroy them at one stroke. Let’s be gods. Let’s be ugly!’” (ET IV 256) In oral reply to a question in 1976, Rand maintained that beauty is a sense of harmony. A beautiful face, body, sunset, image, or object will have parts that are harmoniously integrated to the whole unit. “If there are contradictions and clashes, the result is marred or positively ugly.” Consider a face you find beautiful. It is beautiful because all its features “are harmoniously integrated, . . . they all fit your view of the importance of all these features on a human face.” A sunset or landscape will be regarded as beautiful “if all the colors complement each other, or go well together, or are dramatic together.” Rand went on to say that this was an objective definition of beauty (in her particular relational sense of the objective) and that to maintain it as a universal standard of beauty, you need to “define the terms of the objects you are going to classify as beautiful and what you take as the ideal harmonious relationship of the elements of that particular object. . . . It is true, of course, that if there were no valuers, then nothing could be valued as beautiful or ugly, because values are created by the observing consciousness—but they are created by a standard based on reality. So here the issue is: values, including beauty, have to be judged as objective, not subjective or intrinsic.” (Beauty in Binswanger 1986; see also Hospers 2001, 322–23; PB chap. V) There are some ambiguities in those remarks, but there is clear enough fit with Rand’s writings, and it is a little surprising Rand never committed those remarks on beauty, polished perhaps, to writing. Three observations: She spoke of the harmoniously integrated. Yes, integration is at work in Rand’s analysis of beauty and at work in several ways in her whole theory of esthetics. She spoke of importance (relative importance), and this does have definite work in selections made in composing an artwork, including literary work, but, I say, not in analysis of the integral unity of the parts of a beautiful face. She spoke of harmony. That is a species of proportion, that is, harmony is one of several ways by which parts may be joined with other parts into a whole that is beautiful, a whole whose knowledge delights (PB 207). Notwithstanding that last point, Rand’s view of beauty as a whole had by harmoniously integrated parts is subsumable under my Thomist professor’s wider definition of material beauty: the integral unity of a multitude or variety of proportionate parts. In those oral remarks, Rand spoke of the positively ugly. I do not take that as an affirmation of the views of some modern estheticians that ugliness is some sort of fundamentally positive antithesis to beauty, another, equally positive reality. (On history, analysis, and resolution of the issue, see PB 250–59.) It would seem most natural in Rand’s philosophy to see ugliness vis-à-vis beauty as parallel evil vis-à-vis goodness (AS 1024). That is, ugliness would be lack of beauty and not equally a positive reality, but a real lack and, moreover, a positive opposition to beauty. Rand’s principle of the harmonious for the beautiful should be widened to the proportionate. I should note, however, that her conception of the harmonious was not confined to the tranquil, for she spoke of dramatic composition of colors, and her own art form, the novel, required dramatic conflict. Harmony for Rand could not plausibly be confined to accord. Perhaps Rand’s conception of the harmonious was synonymous with the proportionate. Perhaps her definition of beauty did not differ from Kovach’s definition in that element (cf. PB 205). The view of beauty defended by Kovach is an intrinsicist one, which in common parlance and in philosophy has been called the objectivist view. He defends the position that everything is beautiful, though by contingencies of our minds, we do not always experience the beauty there. One way in which Rand’s view of beauty needs to be objective in her special sense, not intrinsic, is as follows. On the beautiful, I propose a Randian contraction in comparison to the conception of Scholastic objectivists. Similarities given in perception are there whether or not this were a world in which sentient life such as we had arisen. Integral unities of multitudes or varieties of proportionate parts are not something that exists outside the context of life. Only with the entry of life into the world is there entry of the proportionate. It is only the concept life than makes the concept proportionate possible, just as it is only the concept life that makes the concepts value or problem possible. Magnitude structures are in the world. Ratios are in the world without our putting numbers on them. Proportions are in the world and can be an element of the proportionate. Proportions, however, are not enough to constitute an occasion of the proportionate said of a multitude or variety of parts forming an integral unity, which type of unity is beauty. There is a complication of expression. The noun correlate of the adjective proportionate is proportionateness. That is ugly, and one seldom sees it used. One sees instead proportion used as the noun correlate of proportionate. That is a broader sense of proportion than I mean in saying proportions are an element of the proportionate, and in such cases, one could substitute the proportionate for proportion. For example, instead of saying harmony is a species of proportion, I would better say harmony is a species of the proportionate. Life is the force of beauty. Even the singular stillness and quiet around thought of a loved one deceased has its faint, shadows-beauty by life and our knowing it. We may not know how our visual, motor, intelligent, and affective systems have evolved such that we delight in perception of the intense pattern of a butterfly wing, evening soar of swift, or display of fireworks. But of beauty as integral unity of multitudes or varieties of proportionate parts, we know life is the force of beauty. (To be continued.)
  17. 1 point

    Those Lockdown Protests Across America

    White supremacists pop up in strange places wherever they might think they could persuade someone to join their side, and the types of people that I've seen go to those protests are stupid enough to fall for it. I don't know how many of them think that the virus was created in a lab as a weapon, or think that the flu is more dangerous, but they are there. Not to mention that libertarian types have a terrible time at condemning racism, so white supremacists and certainly white nationalists fester quite easily there.
  18. 1 point
    Lawrence Edward Richard

    Feynman And Ayn Rand

    Hello Boydstun Nice of you to say hello and the friendly feedback. I became in as much as it is my main consideration in rational argument and used in my Substance Misuse Worker career an Objectivist in 2019 after reading the Fountainhead around Easter of that year. I picked it up in a Charity Shop in North Wales and cherish this battered old book. NO other book has given me so much beauty. I forced my way through Atlas Shrugged over a long period. I remain unconvinced grand political theories and live in much cherished social housing and value my NHS. For a while after reading Fountainhead and beginning Atlas Shrugged I couldn't understand why I kept coming back to a book that said to me (left wing as I was) such shocking truths, or why I found Dagny so beautiful and Hank and Eddie so relatable. In the end I gave in to the fact that beauty exists and to try to treat everyone like they have goodness and good intentions is futile. It also made me value people around me a lot more for their virtues. The joke is in any conversation I have with my wife, who doesn't read Rand at all, she MAKES RAND'S arguments as if Rand has possessed her. I find her very beautiful anyway, but when I hear her passion when she speaks about right and wrong it is gorgeous. I had to accept in the end that what I loved turned out for too long to have been told to me rather than realised by me.
  19. 1 point
    Clearly not. It's just shorthand for saying "the people in charge of running the business who decide which values should be promoted in the operations of that business". We don't need to go "back to basics", you and I are both trying to use Objectivist standards of judgment here. So, the proper beneficiaries are first the individuals running the business, and a consideration within that (for themselves) is about the values that their actions promote in society. But you already know this. It's fine to promote products that you personally would not use (there could be many rational reasons someone would use a product that you just haven't thought of, or things that don't fit into your life for whatever reason), the problem only comes in if you deliberately try to create demand through the irrationality of others, through ends or motivations that you know are immoral. And of course I don't mean a contextless absolute - I'm referring to immoral actions that are immoral for anyone by virtue of being human, like being second handed. In this case, with the so-called price gougers, the ends and motivations are positive. I had a typo in the bit you quoted, I fixed it now just in case that caused any confusion for some reason.
  20. 1 point
    @LER, I think you are missing the contextual nature of moral evaluation. If I have a choice between buying 5x toilet paper and having no toilet paper at all (returning to the sponge on a stick days), I will spend 5x on toilet paper. The proper question is not whether the law of supply and demand is overridden by some theory of non-governmental price controls, the question is why my supply (of money) is and what my demand (for TP) is, and how that relates to supply and demand of other people (stores and online sellers). Where the supply is very low and the demand is high, you expect the price to go up. If you actually have TP in your store, that changes the supply equation for you, so of course you would not spend 5x on online TP, you would only spend 1.5x to buy it at the store. The reality is that the shelves are still bare (ymmv). Your analysis of the situation is wrong, when you imply that the online seller is the creator of the shortage. This implies that there is some constant natural force which provides our needs without any effort on our parts, which the “speculator” has unnaturally interfered with. If you want to assign blame, you can blame the store for not getting more TP, or the manufacturers for not making more TP, or your neighbor for buying TP (whether it is in ordinary amounts or in horder amounts). It is morally inconceivable that blame should be assigned to a person simply because they recognized an opportunity to make a buck. This goes for TP as well as eclipse glasses. Temporary shortages exist all the time, and in a free market are generally solved when the producers increase production. That TP on the shelf is the property of the store owner. It becomes the property of the bulk-buyer when he puts it in his cart and pays for it. That TP is not your, until you actually buy it. It’s a risky business, reselling. There is no such a thing as a moral economy that predates modern capitalism: “moral economy” is the same as and came into existence as modern capitalism.
  21. 1 point

    Weird online TOS article

    Then this is not the venue for making such a case. Present your findings via the proper channels. There is no statute of limitation on murder. I don't know of a statute of limitations exists for attempted murder.
  22. 1 point

    Weird online TOS article

    One of the shining beacons from within the literature of Objectivism is the unknown future of humanity and by extension of human beings brought about by the ability to choose. Its future is up to those who fight for or against it.
  23. 1 point

    best one-liners in Atlas Shrugged

    "We never had to take any of it seriously, did we?" she whispered.-- Dagny Taggarrt "No, we never had to." John Galt in response. I know that's two lines, but one implies the other and together they are a work of art.
  24. 1 point

    Free State Initiative

    CF - exactly. The project is just a blank-check support of an undefined and unidentified political platform that mouths vague platitudes about achieving 'liberty' - but without providing any intellectual basis (or even definition) for that liberty.
  25. 0 points
    I have to digress first: The situation cannot ONLY be described in terms of retaliation, as some of it is random and illegitimate simply blowing off steam. Some are people trying to find something to express their frustration with. Young men being bored, people being upset at losing their jobs and wondering about their future. Aggression will go up. So to prevent it, other pressures have to be alleviated too. Having said that, back to the current thread: If this violent activity is reduced to the premise that "this is only justified if it were retaliating against the officer who was on Floyds neck", then this is not retaliation. But ... that would imply that retaliation is only justified against the necessary and sufficient cause (which can't be true). Amount of legitimacy in retaliation is based on destroying a proximate cause (anything that supports the existence of (the harm/damage/effect)). To defend yourself against a larger assailant you have a right to hit them where you can, not only the hand that contains the weapon. And yes, the closer to the necessary cause, the more legitimate the retaliation. A proximate cause could be the "supporting police", or the employing police station, or the state that has the police force, or the nation or society that finances it. Now, if these people went to Senegal/Africa and brunt their police cars, they had nothing to do with the Floyd Killing. That would be retaliation that was absolutely and objectively illegitimate (zero amount of Legitimacy). What is going on in cities in the US has "some" legitimacy as retaliation. Therefore it "eventually" requires and deserves some sort of non violent alleviation. The areas where it had zero legitimacy it deserves aggressive retaliation by the government.
  26. 0 points
    Rioters are not necessarily connected to protesters. Sometimes rioters are people who take advantage of a chaotic situation to do things they have been wanting to do for a long time. Another reason is that by seeing other people push the envelope, they are willing to push themselves to act in ways they would not normally, even if has nothing to do with why the other people are acting so extremely. So if a convenience store is set on fire, it is probably for unrelated reasons than why a police station was set on fire. They simply correlate with each other. What's inexplicable? If you're talking about stealing TVs, those are just the usual reasons why anybody steals anything. If you're talking about setting police stations on fire, that's retaliatory force. Force should be at least proportional. You wouldn't call an air strike to stop someone who stole your bench outside. You wouldn't mock someone and tell them to get up when you know you won't let them get up, if you aren't using more force than necessary. This isn't a case where we are utterly shocked that this use of force ended up with someone dying. The guy was completely subdued, there was no need to keep going.
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