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  1. Of related interest: "A Metaphysics for Freedom argues that agency itself-and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it-is incompatible with determinism. For determinism is threatened just as surely by the existence of powers which can be unproblematically accorded to many sorts of animals, as by the distinctively human powers on which the free will debate has tended to focus. Helen Steward suggests that a tendency to approach the question of free will solely through the issue of moral responsibility has obscured the fact that there is a quite different route to incompati
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  2. I think this is the hold up because purpose is a subspecies of standard (in a certain context). Standard and Purpose, both give guidance. (but with Rand the primary difference seems to be that one is abstract, the other concrete) The difference between “standard” and “purpose” in this context is as follows: a “standard” is an abstract principle that serves as a measurement or gauge to guide a man’s choices in the achievement of a concrete, specific purpose. “That which is required for the survival of man qua man” is an abstract principle that applies to every individual man. The task of a
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  3. DavidOdden

    Observations on Politics

    You have to distinguish “leader” from other related political concepts such as “ruler”, “elected official”, “politician”, “dictator”, “influencer”, “follower” and so on. People usually equivocate over who our leaders are for this reason. Emmanuel Kant, the scum of the Earth in philosophy, was one of three great leaders in that domain. The plain meaning of “leader” is once who gets people to follow him. There are many ways that a person can get others to follow them, for example they can threaten your life if you don’t follow (using force), or they can appeal to your emotions (following by free
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  4. I have a feeling it was this: When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. https://www.cato.org/blog/ayn-rand-front-page-ecu
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  5. “We do not need and should not want to have an openness in the flow of reality that consists in the possibility of our making decisions for which we can imagine no conceivable rationale. We do not therefore need the (incompatibilistically construed) power, in respect to each decision made, to have made the opposite decision. But we do need, if there is to be such a thing as agency at all, the general capacity to organize, order, and direct our lives in such a way that we thereby settle the particular details of what happens in those lives at the time at which we act (or decide to do something—
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  6. What and When is Capitalism? William Thackary was evidently the first to use the word capitalism in print. That was in his 1854 novel The Newcomes. Its essential mark was ownership of capital. So if one knew what is capital, one should have a definition of capitalism. By that simple definition, I’d say capitalism goes back at least to the periods of the various archaic states, that is, back at least to the social organization coming after hunter-gatherer groups, after tribes and chiefdoms. Capital Rand took the essential mark of capitalism to be purely private ownership of prope
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  7. I take it this is a first draft, and you are looking for comments so that you can improve your argument. Here are my suggestions. First, simply asserting a contrary position is not making an argument, it just makes us aware of an alternative position. What more-perceptible facts support your claim over the contrary claim? My recommendation is to begin by clearly and accurately stating what the common premises are, and what the essential difference is between the two positions. The argument against anarchism then has to be based on that difference. The essential difference is that Anarchis
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  8. What you observe here are "free will" and the "man made". These are somewhat different from the primacy of consciousness. The relationship between existence and consciousness in the same thing is hierarchical. Your consciousness is possible due to and indeed arose from existence. You weren't, then you were (now you are) and your consciousness is, but one day you simply won't be. Technically, the existence of you, in all your complexity, does not at once "cause" you to be conscious... you ARE conscious because of your identity... the whole nature of the complexity of you... things are
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  9. Nice to meet you Sebastien. Neat and tidy conceptualization... very important for proper thought. Query: Why do some tend to avoid neat and tidy conceptualization? What is achieved by "avoiding" it? What motivations are at play? The left will conflate and equivocate and provide arguments which are semi-formed, confusingly self-contradictory and anti-conceptual... how does a person adhering to reason "argue" against a position which inherently eschews neat and tidy thought? In the end I suppose being clear in your own mind is more important than worrying about another's lack of under
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  10. The Taggart Tunnel in Atlas Shrugged was 8 miles long. The following "Poisonous air..." link provides some historical recollections about the 1 mile long (6026 feet) St. Clair River Tunnel. Poisonous air made St. Clair River Tunnel a deadly place to work
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  11. If one defined subjective as "of and due to and dependent upon the perceiving subject's consciousness", does that hold? Naturally there are physical, biological differences among all brains as among all bodies, but consciousness is consciousness. If "subjective" were accepted in the colloquial meaning (as it usually is): loosely as "variably specific to each person" - I'd agree. The proper one - opposed to objectivity - has to be maintained by O'ists, though. Therefore the careful distinction between "personal" and subjective (that Rand made some times). Otherwise, great. There is an identifia
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  12. As a preliminary what I find as interesting here is an accent on motivation rather than consequence. Which brings up a subtle issue.. are you more interested in asking whether the action of a person (while making a choice) is moral or not or in determining whether the choice presented is a moral one or not? There is the question of "being good" but also there is the question of "what IS the good". I think in terms of "traditional" subjective philosophies about morality, the motivation of a person, their subjective intent to be moral "as such", i.e. to do what they think is their dut
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  13. Not to get hung up on ice cream flavors or other sense-perception tastes, but having such preferences for this over that (or that, not at all) has an objective base when one pays it mind, I think. Saying this, because many a time we hear that these are "subjective" tastes and values. One finds out from experience that strawberry is tastier for you than chocolate, or 'agrees' with you better. This might be a minor variation in the arrangement of taste buds specific to you or a digestive system that reacts to chocolate, for all I can tell. (Then if strawberry isn't available, your taste hierarch
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  14. "Perfect practice makes perfect. If you practice a mistake long enough, you'll get very, very good at it." — Miss Byrd, piano teacher.
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  15. Values, proportionate to time - a life's duration (i.e. "long term"): "Since a value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep, and the amount of possible action is limited by the duration of one’s lifespan, it is a part of one’s life that one invests in everything one values. The years, months, days or hours of thought, of interest, of action devoted to a value are the currency with which one pays for the enjoyment one receives from it". “Concepts of Consciousness", AR
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  16. Coronavirus -- NY Times biased statistic
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  17. I'm not sure this is really showing an example of amoral values or choices. I think 2046's post is a good example of why this isn't really a good example. If we conceive of Rand promoting virtue ethics generally speaking, we don't need to think of certain actions not consequential "enough". Sure, you're not going to die the next day because you impulsively bought ice cream. Nothing much negative would happen. But the point about being moral is to have a flourishing life, not a good "enough" life. What does it say about you if you sometimes give in to impulse and laziness? Why would you on one
    1 point
  18. Jonathan, A hierarchy of values you've seen indicates that many objective values are of lower/higher value "significance" in the greater scheme of things to one (for whom his/her life and its entirety is the supreme, objective-value significance). Why then to declare a cut-off point, between: this is a moral choice, that is non-moral? I can see no advantage and only downsides. These minimally important things are what sometimes give our simplest rewards in anticipation, enjoyment, a sense of well -being. We could see this input as the maintenance and sustenance of a huge range of material val
    1 point
  19. Before I read Rand, I would have said Capitalism is an economic only system, independent of politics. After Rand, Capitalism is a new concept for me (as new as morality became for me), and is not so much economics as an economy defined by politics... and I cannot but utter the implied preface "Laissez-faire"... even though ironically insistence on that is as redundant as saying "independent" before "thought". Ownership, refers primarily only to the rights in one's property. But can we say that (capital C) Capitalism is a system agnostic to freedom of speech? What about freedom of a
    1 point
  20. DavidOdden

    Job Tired

    I’d suggest starting by laying out what you mean by “better job”. I’ve never had a job that sucked intrinsically, it was always because of something bad about it. If you have an actual list, that may help you decide what job to pursue: maybe being a lion tamer, maybe a chartered accountant. Since you apparently haven’t lost your job, you can take a bit of time to do some long-term thinking. For example, what is your central purpose in life? How does your (current or dream) job relate to that purpose?
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  21. I question the assertion that public skepticism about the role of scientific expertise has reached new levels. I grant that Bayer and Journo have some expertise on the beliefs of the masses. So how do we resolve this apparent paradox, w.r.t. my views? First, questioning an expert opinion is not an assault on expertise, it is a valid demand to see the evidence (as a prelude to evaluating the claim). I really do not have any idea what the evidence is that there has been an increase in skepticism about scientific claims. Are they referring to some opinion surveys asking “Do you believe in scienc
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  22. merjet

    The Assault on Expertise

    On second thought, maybe that is a bit strong. Non-experts often attack other non-experts saying they "deny science." Of course, that goes with cherrypicking experts.
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  23. This is all beautiful, and quite literally brought a tear to my eye.
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  24. These are two lines cited by Gena Gorlin as being her personal favorite quote (from Ayn Rand's works). These lines also appear twice in Atlas Shrugged (albeit in slightly different forms). The first time, as cited, as quoted in the chapter 'Atlantis', the second time in the chapter 'In The Name of the Best Within Us': She fell down on her knees by the side of the mattress. Galt looked up at her, as he had looked on their first morning in the valley, his smile was like the sound of a laughter that had never been touched by pain, his voice was soft and low: "We never had t
    1 point
  25. I think this is her argument, and she does try to demonstrate this. Her view is that the echoes of expropriation and exploitation exist, and that capitalism necessarily takes advantage of the conditions that expropriation and exploitation create. Moreover, the mechanisms with which capitalism operates will focus on making money at the cost of those who still suffer from the echoes. So what we end up with is a system that will always be oppressing and holding power over someone. This would be systemic racism, the system in this case being all of capitalism. I disagree that she doesn't tal
    1 point
  26. MisterSwig

    Liberals For Trump

    Smith was on Timcast IRL and said that she's voting for Trump because "he doesn't speak woke." She sees him as the only anti-SJW candidate. Yes, it's the nature of Marxism to frame liberalism as an aspect of a certain class, the bourgeoisie. So even today we have the spectacle of rich Democrats downplaying their capitalism and wealth and pandering to the working class and poor socialists who have been taught that "liberty" means freedom from capitalist exploitation and racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia and hate speech and misgendering and racial dispari
    1 point
  27. There is so much which is conspicuously wrong with Fraser's address that it is almost a waste of text here to try to address the flaws we all can see and which Rand has specifically refuted throughout her work. As for addressing "specifics advanced" in the paper... what stands out to me is actually what is NOT specifically advanced in the paper. Although I feel a sense akin to the futility of disproving an arbitrary claim and the impossibility at pointing at traces left by that which does not exist, I realize that pointing out what should have been investigated, presented, and arg
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  28. The title of Fraser's essay is "Is Capitalism Necessarily Racist?" That and more -- such as "Everything depends on what exactly is meant by capitalism" -- at least suggests that her essay's goal is the essence of capitalism. Do racism, exchange, exploitation, and expropriation capture the essence of capitalism? To me no more so than having opposable thumbs captures the essence of man.
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  29. Physiocracy The page has links to Quesnay and Marquis de Mirabeau (1715-1789). The latter includes the following. Mirabeau joined the army. "He took keenly to campaigning, but never rose above the rank of captain, owing to his being unable to get leave at court to buy a regiment." Buy a regiment? Wow. Manchester Liberalism ""It expounded the social and economic implications of free trade and laissez-faire capitalism. ... It also promoted pacifism, anti-slavery, freedom of the press and separation of church and state."
    1 point
  30. The typical advice from financial advisers to clients is to put their money into an index fund, getting a combination of: low commissions and lowered temptation to try an beat the market. In general, this is still good advice. but... ... it is based on a key assumption that the future U.S. performance will be pretty much like the past. Stocks can be hurt by inflation, but their prices inflate too. And, couple that to an unwritten assumption that statist governments have an incentive to subsidize the most common vehicle of investment. A true hyper-inflation type scenario is different. B
    1 point
  31. I suppose this thread will do for posting a review. If there's to be a single thread for that here than this can be moved later. I went to a 2:30 showing. There were 4 people there, including me, but there was hardly anyone in the theater period, so that doesn't mean much. I find that I'm in agreement with Brian Doherty's basically positive review: http://reason.com/ar...lection-edition Overall it's better than Part 1. The problem of clunky rhythm, particularly with transitions, remains in evidence, but I found it's less bothersome than in Part 1. I know I had less occasion to crin
    1 point
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