Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Leaderboard

Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/10/23 in all areas

  1. Congratulations on your achievement.
    2 points
  2. I suggest that moral responsibility for training and education of children lies firstly with the child's parents, although not as part of a package of responsibility attaching merely to having caused the child's existence. That Objectivist position focussing on causal relationship, down from the era of N. Branden in the 1960's, was off the mark. Moral responsibility for training and educating the child lies firstly with the child's parents, I suggest, because of the moral goodness of responsiveness to persons and the potential person they may become, responsiveness to persons as persons. That responsiveness is, I say, the core of moral relations among people (and indeed, differently, relations of a self to itself). That is the preciousness that is the moral in a social setting. This position is a cashing out of the concept of moral justice, treating a thing as the kind of thing it is—that moral virtue. What a thing is includes its internal systems, but as well its distinctive external relations, actual and potential. The relations of responsiveness to persons as persons have a specially intense and distinctive character in the relation between the persons who are parent and child (natural parent most strongly, of course, but strong with adoptive parents as well). Additionally, there is a moral goodness in the benevolent protectiveness—that responsiveness—between any adult and any child. That such responsiveness fosters continuance of the species human as human may well be the underlying biological reason for this responsiveness. But that is not the reason the responsiveness of parent or other adult to the child and responsiveness of the child to them as persons is moral. Rather, the nature of value in the life of individual humans together, which is their best situation in the world, is the source of the moral goodness of such responsiveness to persons as persons.
    2 points
  3. Arguendo "wanting" to have or keep raising children MEANS being prepared for, and earnestly and genuinely loving and caring for another person who starts out deeply dependent. Whether it fits any philosophical standard, humans DO literally need love to grow into a sane and moral adult.. it is not a psychological luxury, it is a deep human necessity. Perhaps it is only moral to "have" and/or be the guardian of anyone, if and only if you actually WANT to be one, with everything that entails, and ALL that it means. Summary: Have a kid you don't want and/or cannot care for? Just f#@&ing give it up for adoption as soon/early as you know, so someone else can do so. Our world would be a MUCH better place, and so many people SO much better off, if everyone followed this.
    2 points
  4. By “obligation”, I presume you are referring to a moral obligation, one that rationally follows from your choice to create a human being. Some people end up creating a child by accident, or are tricked into it, and I’m not talking about those cases – I mean a conscious deliberate choice. Just to be explicit, I also assume when you say “our” children, I assume you mean your own children, not “society’s children”. What do I owe my child, what do you owe your child, what does he owe his child. Creating a person should not be done on a whim, one should have a clear understanding of why you are doing so, and not just buying a puppy. A puppy will never become a rational being, a child might. An infant will not actually develop into a rational being without some kind of guidance. It’s irrational to think that children are born with Galt’s Speech planted in their brains whereby they can magically discover how to become fully rational. This is what a parent has an obligation to do: to provide such guidance. It is probably a joint effort between the parents and the parent’s agents, so that mom and dad don’t have to actually devise lessons in reading and writing. Your question seems to be focused on specific technical content. The list of specific technical things that a child should learn is huge: reading, writing, rhetoric, literature, history, philosophy, physics, biology, economics, fishing, hunting, home economics (i.e. “how to wash your clothes; how to cook a meal”). Personally, I think one should try to explain the basic logic of numeric exponentiation, if you can. You don’t teach long lists of facts, you teach very small sets of facts in the course of teaching methods of reasoning. In other words, all you have to teach is the tools of reason, but you do have to go beyond just saying “A is A”.
    2 points
  5. One point that needs to be clarified is the hierarchical nature of knowledge: knowledge is a hierarchical system of concepts and propositions. Insofar as we are speaking of human knowledge (not some table-looking computer), this system must be simple (see the various references to “crow”). Second, moral knowledge is a specific kind of knowledge, about good and bad with respect to choices. Part 2.1 is that “rights” is further specialized kind of knowledge, it is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. The fundamental right is a man’s right to his own life. From this flows the rest of the discussion. If you reject that principle, then we need to understand what you offer in its place. For example, you may instead hold that only males have rights, or men over age 25 have rights, or females under age 65. In a discussion of rights, the fundamental question is whether you accept the fundamental principle that a man has a right to his own life. I recognize that Rand used more classical language in her writing, when she continually speaks of “man”. She means “person” or in Latin homō. It does not mean “male” and it does not mean “adult”. There can be no doubt that she means “person”, and furthermore a child is a person. A child, indeed a newborn, can be distinguished from a fetus because a child, or any other person, does not live inside a person, but a fetus does live inside a person. This is essential to the abortion question. It is true that a four-month-old can’t use his freedom to survive, also a person undergoing surgery (who is unconscious) can’t use his freedom to survive, but still these people have rights. So the inability of a four-month-old to survive on his own is irrelevant in the face of the fundamental principle that all men have rights. I am harping on the hierarchical nature of moral knowledge, because you are dipping down in the direction of those facts that establish the fundamental principle, as though those facts might directly replace the principle itself. This is contrary to the nature of human cognition. It is a mistake to argue that a child has rights, because child rights are self evident from the fundamental moral principle that defines rights. It would be more coherent to reject the principle itself and offer in its place a different principle, for example that only those that survive the Spartan agōgē have rights.
    1 point
  6. DavidOdden: "The classical, objective-reporting view is decidedly on the decline" I agree. But such an approach had always been greatly compromised. DavidOdden: "The contemporary activist view is that the journalist should promulgates a progressivist viewpoint (or on rare occasion, an anti-progressivist viewpoint)." It is the purpose of any polemicist - progressive, reactionary or moderate - to promulgate a point of view. U.S. media on average is much more polemical and slanted than in previous decades. But most outlets are a mixture in a range from fair to somewhat fair to biased and sometimes to profoundly biased. Also, right-wing and conservative views are not rare in the media. Fox, NY Post, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Boston Herald, Newsmax, The Federalist, American Greatness, Substack and a myriad other outlets. Also some publications such as Newsweek have commentary from both the right and left. And sometimes even liberal media hosts commentary from the right. Moreover, though most of the most powerful outlets are slanted toward a liberal point of view, I wouldn't describe them as predominately progressive. And Real Clear Politics lists its articles virtually always in a back and forth between right and left, so there are equally as many from each. DavidOdden: "The massive destruction of value mandated by the various governments in an attempt to thwart The Apocalypse was significantly under-reported" There was a considerable amount of media discussion about the economic, educational, social and psychological costs from the government actions. Also, the loss of liberties was hardly ignored. But as to such things as social and psychological costs, to report them very well would depend on studies that could only come later. And I don't see that a clear discussion is enhanced by nudging a point of view with tendentious sarcastic rubrics such as 'The Apocalypse'. DavidOdden: "the magnitude of the death and destruction was vastly over-stated." What evidence do you offer for that generalization? Meanwhile, both the Trump administration (including Trump himself) and certain media egregiously tried to minimize the treat. DavidOdden: "the failure of the media to engage the public in basic education about the underlying science" There was a terrible paucity in from both media and health officials of clear, accurate explanation of the science, even granting that so much was unknown at the time. The worst was Fauci saying that masks were not needed, then saying masks were needed and that a cutup T-shirt would work. And health officials never got it right; even after the studies, they never finally properly informed that N95 or KN95 should be the standard. DavidOdden: "Insofar as there was always a respectable scientific view that covid was not the end of the world, why were the nay-sayers disregarded" "End of the world" is strawman exaggeration. It would be a rare media source that claimed that Covid would be the end of the world. In any case, the pandemic was a massive threat (there is still the potential for Covid to mutate so that it is both far deadlier than Delta while also far more transmissible than Omicron). Meanwhile, there were some experts who advocated different approaches to the pandemic, and some of those views were discussed in the media. But there is always this famous question: In a subject requiring expert understanding, if 99 experts say statement P and 1 expert says not-P, does fairness require that the side for not-P be given equal time as the side for P? DavidOdden: "covid sensationalism" What are examples you have in mind of such sensationalism? DavidOdden: "The problem is that The People are suffering, and only proper guidance by The People (via the dictatorship of the proletariat) can alleviate that suffering." You lose credibility, and again, cloud discussion with things like "dictatorship of the proletariat". The federal, state and local governments are not dictatorships of the proletariat. DavidOdden: "their cause was also advanced significantly by the fact that the only visible opposition to the progressivist trend was the moron in the White House." Trump was only vaguely at times opposed to government intervention. For the most part, he favored it, especially in certain profound ways. DavidOdden: "the dominant trend in the media was to encourage fear, and to promote the progressivist agenda." Again, I'd like to see examples of any supposed pattern of common media having the purpose of making people afraid as opposed to advocating that people should recognize the threat and take precautions. Indeed, if there was one general theme, it could be summarized as "Recognize the threat, learn about it, take precautions against it, but don't panic." In fact, though I couldn't dig up cites now, a number of times I had to read the cliche of quoting Roosevelt "There only thing we have to fear is fear itself". As to a "progressivist agenda", (1) The administration itself very much pushed governmental interventions, profoundly so, (2) Many staunchly conservative politicians both in the federal government and in state governments favored government interventions, profoundly so. (3) I don't know exactly what agenda you mean. Staunch conservatives, liberals, progressives and moderates acted for the purpose of ending Covid or at least avoiding the worst consequences or at least to get the country past the stage where the medical infrastructure and available care were overwhelmed, especially to avoid a course in which even more than 1.2 million Americans died (and nearly 8 million worldwide). Whether or not one agrees with the government interventions, I don't see evidence that the goal was more than to end or ameliorate the pandemic.
    1 point
  7. NYA, things-in-themselves taken as things not in relation to any things not themselves are non-existent (ITOE 39). If one is thinking of things-in-themselves as not what the name says on its face, but as things as they are independent of any consciousness of them, then one has taken things-in-themselves as saying things-as-they-are-independently-of-mind. That last thing exists. But we should call it what I called it there and not call it things-in-themselves. Kant's talk of things-in-themselves smuggles things as existing independently of mind, which is a legitimate conception, and mixes it together with the idea of things as they are, out of all relation to other things. Were there things existing out all relation to to other things, then naturally they could not stand in the known-knowing relation with consciousness. But as Rand argued, no such thing-in-itself exists. All existents have identity, and all stand in some relations to existents not themselves. I concur. Kant contrasted the phenomenal world and appearances composing it with his things-in-themselves, but in his outlook, that is not a contrast between the illusory and what truly exists. For Kant the phenomenal world is a reality and one worth caring about and learning more about. An analogy would be with Locke's view of material substance, which he took to exist and to support the traits of the material world, though he thought that only those traits are knowable. He thought that the substances cannot be known by the human mind. Leibniz took issue with Locke's view on that, and the history of science since then vindicated Leibniz and has ground Locke's view into dust. The point of the analogy between Kant and Locke is that just as Locke held both substance and its traits to be real, so too did Kant hold both the phenomenal world and the noumenal world (and things-in-themselves) to be real. "Still less may appearances {Erscheinung} and illusion {Schein} be regarded as being the same. For truth and illusion are not in the object insofar as it is intuited, but are in the judgment made about the object insofar as it is thought. Hence although it is correct to say that the senses do not err, this is so not because they always judge correctly but because they do not judge at all." (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason A293/B349-50; see also B70. Against the idea that Kant’s “appearances” are illusions, see Anja Jauernig, The World According to Kant [New York: Oxford University Press, 2021], pp. 248–57 and 267.)
    1 point
  8. The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece is exceptional in its recognition that Aristotle was right, as demonstrated by the success of the independent Greek city states, when he posited that humans "are distinctive among social animals in our natural capacities to use reason and our ability to communicate complex ideas and information through language." (p 54)
    1 point
  9. To that one, we might pin a particular story: Plato of Athens: A Life in Philosophy
    1 point
  10. Salva, Welcome to Objectivism Online. I suggest that highest goodness of your life has come to consist in having this child. Part of that goodness is the opportunity to love someone so greatly and to have occasion of this special love that nature has set up in the life of humans. In your life as an agent and as a subject of experience, your own life remains as highest context of your valuations after having a child, as it was before having a child. I suggest that the child and your lives together has become a paramount project within your life as an agent and as one experiencing a human life. But there is more to it. It is for the sake of continued life of the child that you would be willing to lose your own individual life to save continued life for the child. When Rand writes in the VoS Introduction that each person should be the ultimate beneficiary of all of their value-pursuits (a proposition she argues for in “The Objectivist Ethics”), I think an exception should be added in the case of one’s children (and perhaps their are other specific kinds of exception-cases that should also be added). That is, what might be called uniform beneficiary-egoism is not entirely correct. In needing to forfeit one’s continued life for something, one remains in the human business of making one’s life as a whole-story, purposed sequence. What might be called uniform agent-egoism remains correct. Stephen
    1 point
  11. Now we should aim to find the fodder for a proper law, since the spectre of legal enforcement of rights has been lurking at the edges. When you directly cause a financial loss to a person which they did not invite, you should accept that cause-effect relation and you should compensate them for their loss. If necessary, the government should require you to compensate for such a demonstrated loss. We don’t say that the loss only occurs when the customer starts to eat, perhaps it occurs when the meal is delivered, or plated, or when it is cooked – but these specifics are not part of the law, which is only about the general principle of loss, and compensation. The government integrates facts with specialized moral principles, a.k.a. laws, to reach a conclusion (“pay up”). The loss suffered by the business might be incurred at the point of requesting a table (making a reservation, for example). Turning to repudiation of guardianship, your prior actions show that you have accepted the responsibility to be the custodian of the individual’s rights, which obliges you to do certain things. If you want to shirk that responsibility, you can if you do so in an orderly manner as specified by law. The proper concern of the government is whether there is a successor who accepts the responsibility. This need not directly involve the government, it means that if the question arises, you have to prove that there is a successor who accepted that responsibility in your stead. The gravity of being a custodian of rights is significant enough that I believe that an actual legal process should be required, just as real estate sales require legal formalities.
    1 point
  12. What do you think, Infra? What do you think is a correct basis of a right of an innocent human being not to be killed? Do you think right bases of rights are emotion-free? Rand took individual rights to rest on the circumstance that individuals are ends in themselves endowed with capability for autonomous thought and direction. Respecting rights of others is from recognition of that circumstance and the rightness of treating things as the kind of things they are. Layers of strategic-game consideration could be added to that in defense of respecting individual rights, but the fundamental is that each life is an end in itself. Do you think this basis for the right of an innocent human being to not be killed is a sound basis? I think it is. Additionally, proper responsiveness to others (or to oneself) requires operational emotion. There are no human desires, valuations, or thought were all varieties of emotions unplugged. Just as there would be no thought as purported by Descartes in Meditations were it really possible, as he pretended, to unplug entirely from body inputs and sensory inputs. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Welcome to Objectivism Online, Infrabeat.
    1 point
  13. tadmjones

    Math and reality

    I have to follow in your footsteps. When we built our house I was excited about designing and laying a brick/paver walkway from where the driveway pavement gave way to the front porch 'apron'. I formed the sections and laid under material and tamped the crap out of it , but the job I did only had a two decade 'halflife',lol. I doubt I'll redo it in brick, just have to figure the elevation change/slope to see how many sections I'll need to pour of cement.
    1 point
  14. Boydstun

    Math and reality

    I finally finished it yesterday. There was a ten-day interruption, as I needed to be in Colorado a while due to death of a nephew,* but finally these old hands got the job done.
    1 point
  15. Toxic by Design (video) Reasons to think the harmfulness of the vaxx was intentional. Features Michael Yeadon, Meryl Nass, and others.
    1 point
  16. Life in Russia: 1.5 Years Later, by Setarko, Russia, 27 May 2023 "it's been almost 1.5 years since life in Russia changed dramatically. But today I would like to talk not about the life and prosperity (or decline) of the country, but about the lives of ordinary people in it. There are two points of view. According to the first, people in Russia have lost access to hundreds of services and services, people are leaving the country by the millions, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to survive. According to the other, the country has only benefited from the special military operation that was launched, the people have rallied, import substitution is in full swing, and the next few years will be OUR years. Well, let me, as a really average resident of Russia, try to describe what has really changed in our lives during this time."
    1 point
  17. At the level of college education, your moral responsibilities have very little to do with children. There is nothing resembling a principle “you should pay for your child’s college education”. Perhaps the child needs a life lesson in finding their own means of survival; perhaps a college education would not be beneficial to the particular child; perhaps shouldering the cost would be self-sacrificial; perhaps the child will foreseeably become the next John Galt or Hank Reardon given an advanced education. Parents have to engage in a long-term cost-benefit analysis to determine what role they should play in their child’s higher education. As for the dangers of woke Marxist propaganda, it is short-sighted to declare that you will never send a child of yours to such an institution. The alternative of sending them to Bible school is even worse, and there are slim pickin’s when it comes to Objectivist universities. If you feel that you have done a bad job of teaching your child to disregard irrational propaganda, that makes your balancing analysis harder. The analysis can be made easier if the child is dead set on a degree in social justice and community activism, and a career in destroying civilization.
    1 point
  18. "If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty." Ayn Rand I suggest we read between the lines and remember what kinds of values Ms. Rand deemed to be valid, and just how human Ms. Rand actually was.
    1 point
  19. It depends on what colleges are available, how much real knowledge they teach, how much Marxist indoctrination they push etc. It may be worth the money to self learn, hire persons with knowledge, private tutors, mentors etc. Good parents do everything in their power to launch their children as high and as far as they wish to go, sometimes that is something more spiritual than economic, like a small business, or career in art... it depends greatly on the context of the child's wants and needs and realistic dreams, and the means of the parents, good people work this out and do their best. Rationalizing falling short of this is usually confined to people who really would rather have the "hat" than feed the child...[paraphrasing] but really that was one of THE wisest things Rand ever said in her writings.
    1 point
  20. If the very nature of your method causes errors, then yes, you lose the ability to attain any kind of certainty. But Objectivism doesn't portray rationality as a matter of finding an absolute truth and anything short of that is an error. Certainty is instead about knowing you use a method that brings you closer to hitting the mark every time. Using an objective methodology doesn't cause errors, or at least, it's a method that doesn't take you further away from the truth or what is the case. If objectivity by nature caused errors, there would have to be something pervasive about human reasoning that completely prevents you from even getting closer to the truth. Say you wanted to make a cheese omelette. There is a basic method to it, with variations in technique and skill that lead to different qualities of omelettes, but there is nothing about the basic omelette making technique that by its very nature prevents you from making a successful omelette. You could apply the methods incorrectly, but that's not because the methods necessarily cause you to do it wrong. There are different wrong ways to do it though, that by nature will always make a failed omelette. You can't crack the eggs into boiling water to make an omelette, you're always going to end up with poached eggs. No matter how much you try, if you cook eggs that way, you will never make an omelette. You might make something that resembles one, but it will always be an "erroneous" omelette.
    1 point
  21. Over the past decade or so it has become much more acceptable to "punish" people because of their opinions -- because they expressed them, or just because they have them. It has been pointed out that there is a big difference between the government carrying out this "punishment," such as by throwing people in prison, and private individuals (or groups) carrying it out, such as by denying service at a bar or a bank. In the latter case, property owners are merely exercising their right to their own property, and their right to choose who they associate with, and if somebody were to force them to serve people they don't want to, even if this force is only forcing them to do what is in their actual best interest anyway, then, as Leonard Peikoff puts it, the act of forcing it on them makes it wrong. However, in some cases the motivation behind using your own personal property to do something, and using the government to do it, can be the same, and in the case of "punishing" opinions, the motivation is wrong in both cases, even though initiating force is the only thing that should properly be illegal. It is proper to address the motivation and expose its incorrectness even if it is not (yet) infringing anyone's rights. By doing so, it may be possible to talk people out of acting on it. One can say that, for example, nihilism ought to be legal if you don't infringe anyone's rights, but one can also say that it is still wrong. My point is: the motivation for punishing people's opinions contradicts the motivation for having free speech, which means, a person can't consistently support both. When you see more and more people "punishing" opinions, and supporting the punishment of opinions, you can know that the days are numbered for free speech, even if the government itself has not yet begun to act against it. The motivation for free speech is confidence in reason (and reality). We can afford to allow people to state falsehoods because we have confidence that reason will expose the falsehoods as such. Free speech also ensures that it's possible for people to speak the truth even when it's controversial, so that the truth can also be exposed. This confidence is what allows a store owner to let people he disagrees with walk into his store and buy stuff. He knows that their opinion, even if wrong, is not a threat to him; he knows that reality and reason will prevail in time; he can count on the police to be on his side if they initiate force, so he can just smile and sell them their goods. When people have abandoned reason, when they believe they are the exclusive owners of truths that cannot be reached by means of reason (or "reason alone"), when they decide that "unbridled" reason is a threat to their point of view, when they find that reason (and ultimately reality itself) can be "misleading," they do not feel that confidence, and they seek to suppress contrary opinions. If they cannot do it through the government, then they can do it through their own private property, but if they don't see the problem doing it with their own property, they will not see the problem with using the government to do it. So, in that sense, saying "it isn't really censorship if they're using their own private property" is true, but it's not addressing the root of the problem. The real problem is that people have abandoned reason -- and without reason, the distinction between merely using their own property and using government force to go beyond it will be abandoned, too. It's only a matter of time. (Actually it has already been abandoned. The separation between usage of private property [i.e., economics] and government powers [i.e., state] has never been formally recognized and has been on the way out for decades; however, it cannot be upheld unless reason itself is upheld.) The notion that "free speech is dangerous," that "free speech corrupts people" and so forth, is coming from both political parties. Because of its widespread popularity, even if you do not see it affecting government policy now, it is going to affect government policy sooner or later, unless it can be exposed as the mistake that it is. Exposing the mistake -- and defending free speech as such -- requires a defense of reason.
    1 point
  22. I am not surprised at the claim, since NPR is sort of famous for making assertions of fact without evidence, but perhaps that have some document that they think supports the belief. Perhaps these sources will help in doing better historical research. This article traces the history of college athletics in the US. As the author notes, college athletics was on the rise well before the Morrill Act was passed. At the time (1840 and onwards), American students were accused (by the British) of being inferior to their British counterparts in manly qualities. Increased attention to athletics was a natural outcome of the growing Muscular Christianity movement. College sports first sprung from the east coast traditional universities, and incidentally was primarily centered around crew, not football, the former requiring water, not land. Once agricultural colleges were well-enough established, they predictably followed suit and like everybody else developed athletic programs. We can turn to the Morrill Act itself to see why the government passed this law. It was specifically to create agricultural colleges, and then in order to secure passage of the bill after a previous veto, it was expanded to include engineering and military tactics (and was signed into law by Lincoln in 1862). This significantly changed the profile of American university education from a focus on classical studies, eventually leading to what we have now. If the allegation is true – “we’ve got all this land, what do we do with it?” – we would expect there to be a significant correlation between being a land grant university and having an athletic program. These are the land-grand universities. The hard part, IMO, is distinguishing “developed athletics because of all the land” from “developed athletics because of all of the interest”. The University of Washington is a sports powerhouse, but it is not a land-grant university. Washington State University is a lesser powerhouse, and it is a land-grant university. I think the idea of universities trying to “fill the spaces” lacks merit, in that there is no need whatsoever for those spaces to be filled. The act was intended to serve as a source of revenue for states to create university systems, and is not just the giving of federal lands so that you’ll have a place to build a university.
    1 point
  23. My first lover and I were together for 22 years, to his death 22 years ago today. This then is a remembrance I would like to share today. It is my eulogy for Jerry at the memorial service for him in Chicago three weeks after his death, all those summers ago. The ceremony consisted of alternations of speaking and music, and the music that followed my speaking was the Rachmoninoff Prelude Op. 23, No. 2 in B flat. Jerry D. Crawford (11 October 1948 – 17 June 1990)
    1 point
×
×
  • Create New...