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  1. 2 points
    50 years after the event, Dr. Harry Binswanger has decided to reveal the identities of all of the workshop participants named in the appendix to the second edition of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. This has been a mystery for quite some time! I'll quote the key section, and you can visit Dr. Binswanger's public blog to see the rest: https://www.hbletter.com/objectivist-workshop-participants-identified/
  2. 1 point

    Weird online TOS article

    If evil extorts values from the good, then punishing evil is rewarding the good. It is helping restore what rightfully belongs to the good. It is justice.
  3. 1 point
    The "broken units" problem is an aspect of the "problem of two definitions". I will make that link in the broken units thread (sorry for the epic necro). The problem of two definitions is covered by Peikoff in lecture 3 of "Unity in Ethics and Epistemology".
  4. 1 point

    Ayn Rand's official public notice

    This is a transcription of Miss Rand from her initial Columbia University radio broadcast from 11:00 to 16:35 minutes into the program. I am addressing myself to those who are genuinely interested in ideas, and who therefore, have an authentic desire to understand Objectivism. Those who are making an effort to fail to understand me are not a concern of mine. Please take the following as an official public notice: The only authentic sources of information about Objectivism are: my own works, the Objectivist Newsletter, a monthly journal dealing with the application of Objectivism to current cultural and political problems. The above public notice is necessitated by the fact that most of such comments on Objectivism that I have seen in print consist of outright misrepresentations and smears. Some of the misrepresentations may be unintentional, some people find it difficult to grasp new ideas, let alone to summarize them correctly. But most of the misrepresentations are deliberate, since an attempt to ascribe to a writer the exact opposite of her ideas can hardly be attributed to an innocent error. There are many such attempts. Those who created them, deserve them. If you do wish to understand Objectivism, the one helpful suggestion I can give you is this. Remember that the basic premises from which I speak are not the ones most people take uncritically for granted. It is precisely the basic premises of today’s culture that I challenge. Therefore, do not leap to conclusions and equate my viewpoint with somebody else’s, by assuming automatically that you have heard it before. You haven’t. For instance, do not equate my views with Nietzsche, or Herbert Spencer or Senator Goldwater. My views are not theirs and vice versa. So whether you choose to agree with me or disagree, do not set up a straw-woman. It is a futile procedure, which does not fool anyone except that man who attempts it. If you wish to disagree with me, you have to start by identifying my basic premises, and then refuting them—if you can. You have to take me up on the issues. None of my antagonists have done it so far, and, I venture to say, none ever will. I say it because the whole case of the mystic-altruist-collectivist axis rests on the evasion of basic issues, on never identifying their own base. Objectivism holds that: A.) Men must be guided exclusively by reason. B.) That man has a right to exist for his own sake. And C.) That no-one has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. In order to refute this you would have to admit and maintain that: A.) Man ought to be irrational. B.) That man is a sacrificial animal. And C.) That you seek to impose your own ideas or wishes on others by means of physical force. This is what you would have to admit, and then attempt to prove that you have a right to. You see all three of these premises dominating our culture and being practiced all over the world today, but you do not hear anyone admitting it openly. Instead, you hear such things as: A.) Rationality consists of recognizing that reason is impotent, or, an intellectual is one who denies the existence of the intellect. B.) To enslave men is to act for their own good, or, to slaughter men by the millions is the proof of one’s love for humanity. And C.) Freedom consists of obedience to the edicts of the government, or, to compel men to obey by means of physical force and violence constitutes a defense of liberty and entitles one to be called a liberal. Ladies and gentlemen, I could almost rest the entire case for Objectivism on this kind of pronouncements by my antagonists. The fact that they find it necessary to evade in such manner is one of the clearest [and?] least attractive evidences of the fact that the truth is on the side of Objectivism.
  5. 1 point
    I crossed my fingers that Mark Twain would return in 1985. Alas, it seems not to have happened. He hasn't appeared in 34+ years. 🙂
  6. 1 point
    Between Ben Domenech of the New York Post and psychologist Michael Hurd, who blogs at the Daily Dose of Reason, we have some bad news about our culture in snapshot form. First, Domenech contends that Joe Biden -- queue jokes about him taking his old boss's "lead from behind" literally -- has fallen victim to a process he helped create. Domenech starts with the irony that Biden bragged in the last Democratic debate about "almost single-handedly" keeping Robert Bork off the Supreme Court: Bork's defeat in the Senate at the hands of Mr. Biden and his colleagues was a turning point in many ways. One of the most significant ways was that it upended the standards for desirability in a judicial nominee. Pre-Bork, the most desirable thing was to have lots of experience so that senators would be convinced that the nominee was qualified for the job. Post-Bork, the most desirable thing became to have as short a paper trail as possible, so as to minimize the chances that a nominee's writing could be distorted or seized upon in a way that could ultimately derail the nomination. People haven't focused on it quite yet, but what we are and have been witnessing is a similar transformation in presidential politics. In presidential candidates, as with post-Bork judicial nominees, lengthy government experience has become a liability rather than a strength. [bold added]Domenech is absolutely right about this, and he elaborates a bit later: Image by Tarun Deep Girdher and Rana Swarajsinh, via Wikipedia, license. There is something, though, about the Democratic swoon for Messrs. Obama and Buttigieg that is particularly emblematic. It goes beyond the mere mechanics of campaigning or of opposition research. The short-on-experience candidates are the personification of judging on intentions rather than on results. They are the perfect representations -- Bernie Sanders, in a way, too -- of a party that prioritizes virtue-signaling over actually getting things done. [bold added]My only complaint with the above observations is that they don't go far enough. The Republicans went with a political novice in the last election, and their primary process, which Hot Air's Allahpundit observes "allowed Trump to pile up an insurmountable lead" isn't exactly built on the premise of thoroughly vetting anyone or carefully weighing alternatives, either. (The Democratic "debates" accomplish this in a different way: by everyone having (or pretending to have) views so indistinguishable we end up with things like all the candidates raising their hands as being in favor of medical care for indigent immigrants at taxpayer expense.) To begin to understand the significance of this bipartisan quest for a living, breathing embodiment of "none-of-the-above," we turn to Michael Hurd, who recently said: I think I finally figured out why Pete Buttigieg holds any appeal at all to Democratic primary voters. It's not because of who he is; it's because of who he isn't. [links omitted, bold added]And later: ... If you follow some of the things he has been saying over the last year, you end up pretty confident that he will, in the end, come out for things like the Green New Deal, nationalization of medicine, free college, economy-crushing tax rates and all the rest. And he did claim, at one point, that Thomas Jefferson references should be removed or renamed. If none of these things matter to Democrats, then they should have no problem voting for the socialist schoolmarm or the outright Communist, just as easily as Buttigieg. Maybe Mayor Pete's bland vagueness is a way for them to close their eyes to the destruction of their party and, quite possibly, the country. [links omitted, bold added]Our country has been sleepwalking from freedom to chains for generations, now, and the records of our uniformly lousy politicians are proof. And yet most people are too comfortable with our unstable mixed economy or too averse to thinking deeply about politics (which the mixed economy keeps making intrude our daily lives more and more each day) to think deeply about making a different choice than they have their entire lives. Voters sense something is wrong, but do not know or care to ask why. They evade the fact that all the unlikable people with bad records they reject were once young spouters of good intentions themselves -- and end up repeating the very same mistake. News flash: If everyone who runs on the same set of platitudes ends up with a bad record, consider the idea that it is the platitudes which are bad, having been put into practice and failing so many times. Until this changes, we will ironically have politics, which nobody wants to discuss seriously, taking up more and more of our daily lives because we keep electing people who tell us that they will take care of everything, and that they mean well. To propose to take even partial control of the lives of other adults is to propose to do exactly the opposite of what a government official should be doing. And it is not a good intention, no matter how nice the person making the proposal might seem. -- CAV Link to Original
  7. 1 point
    Went to the planetarium to listen to a talk on Betelgeuse. Afterward, in some small talk, the fact that Samuel Langhorn Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain (1835-1910), was born and passed away during years that Halley's comet had been visible from earth had come up. The internet is a marvelous resource in one regard, and can also provide plenty of distraction as well. A quick search for when Halley's comet has appeared in the visible skies of earth provide a history spanning from prior to 1066 until its anticipated return 2134. Utilizing the appearances provided searches can be created using any span indicated on the 75-76 year cyclical span. Combine this with the knowledge that historical figures are often listed with the year they were born and the year they passed away, keying in two consecutive appearances of Halley's Comet will provide the following. 1759-1835 1835-1910 1910-1986 The first batch provides a return that includes a print artist, Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759-1835). An illustration of his work can be found by clicking on the provided link. A second search provided "In memoriam Ernest Bueding (1910-1986). - NCBI", somewhat of a dead end usually for me, and "Customer reviews: Joe Owen, Seagrove N.C. ... - Amazon.com" linking to a book that perhaps has more appeal to folk that are related. Last, Samuel Clemens dates were punched in, and provided with two further potential follow through leads, Sydney Ringer (1835-1910) and Nelidov Alexandr (1835-1910), Russian diplomat, should that be an area of further interest. Speaking of distraction, this post was compiled with the recent blog and forum postings brought to the forefront by merjet kept in mind. Stand Out Of Our Light: #1, #2 & #3, as well as the sidebar dealing with the related reference to Diogenes, a funny philosopher, being duly noted here. A question that could be put forth on basis of what this started with is: What (other than the fact that they have all passed away) do Karl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759-1835), Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), Ernest Beuding (1910-1986), and Joe Owen (1910, 1986) have in common? Alex Trebek, I'll take Halley's Comet for $1000.
  8. 1 point

    Diogenes, a funny philosopher

  9. 1 point
    The author of the op-ed, Garry Galles, wrote, "The main problem with understanding Ayn Rand’s position on this today is that modern usage of the term has eroded his meaning of altruism to little more than a synonym for generosity, so Rand’s rejection of the original meaning — the requirement of total selflessness — is erroneously taken as rejecting generosity. Portraying the modern usage as "little more than a synonym for generosity" is a stretch. A parent, human or another animal, caring for its young is often not mere "generosity."
  10. 1 point
    William O

    Ayn Rand and Computers

    @itsjames, the Ayn Rand Institute has an audio lecture course you can buy called "Charles Babbage and Induction in Computer Science" by Martin F. Johansen. It is Johansen's work rather than Rand's, but Johansen is influenced by Objectivism, and the course is very relevant to your interest in the history of computers. Very cool thread!
  11. 1 point
    Is "... liberty, Rand’s focus in politics” acceptable?
  12. 1 point

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    The Knowledge Illusion #7
  13. 1 point

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    The Knowledge Illusion #5 The Knowledge Illusion #6
  14. 1 point

    Rand and the Greeks

    I wrote this and originally posted it online in 2010. Rand and the Greeks In the “The Objectivist Ethics” Rand stated: “Aristotle did not regard ethics as an exact science” (14). “He based his ethical system on observations of what the noble and wise men of his time chose to do, leaving unanswered the questions of: why they chose to do it and why he evaluated them as noble and wise” (OE 14). Insofar as Aristotle’s approach was indeed as described in the preceding quotation (see e.g. NE 1140a24–25), Rand stakes ethics in a dramatically different way. Rand aims to ground an ethics in something more firm, namely, in biology. In the soul, Aristotle marks three divisions: passions, faculties, and states. He argues that excellence, or nobility, cannot be a passion nor a faculty, and so must be a state. In particular excellence “will be the state which makes a man good and which makes him do his own work well” (NE 1106a22–23). More particularly still, excellence “is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it” (NE 1106b36–1107a2). A number of thinkers sympathetic to Rand’s rational, life-centered ethical egoism have argued that, in a variety of ways, her ethics is closer to Aristotle’s than she had expressly gauged it to be. One of the additions Rand made to the exposition of her ethics in “The Objectivist Ethics” beyond the exposition in “Galt’s Speech” was her introduction of the phrase ultimate value. Rand rejected the Aristotelian conception of vegetative and non-conscious animal activities as being due to some sort of “teleological principle operating in nature” (OE 16). Like the early moderns Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza, like we moderns today, Rand held the domain of Aristotle’s final causation to be confined “only to a conscious being.” Final causation in its only reality is “the process by which an end determines the means, i.e., the process of choosing a goal and taking the actions necessary to achieve it” (CvD 99). Taking that modern layout for understood, Rand wrote: “In a fundamental sense, stillness is the antithesis of life. Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of self-sustaining action. The goal of that action, the ultimate value which, to be kept, must be gained through its every moment, is the organisms life. “An ultimate value is that final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the means—and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are to be evaluated.” (OE 16–17) The only such ultimate value, the only end in itself, is the life of the individual organism, in Rand’s view. In the vegetative and appetitive organizations within the human animal, that end is supposed by Rand to be their healthy overarching one. Those systems run that way automatically. But the human individual is fundamentally free to choose how far he keeps his mind and actions set upon that same ultimate end, the preservation and fullness of his own life. There is a parallel here with Aristotle’s conception of the mature human ability to craft deliberate virtues upon natural virtues (see Lennox 1999). Then again there is the glaring difference that Rand would not have philosophical contemplation to be the overarching end driving a human life taken to be happiest of all other human lives (NE X, 7). In his 1975 work Human Rights and Human Liberties, Tibor Machan argued that “only if a specifically human goal can be identified—one shared by all people just in virtue of being the kind of thing they are—could an identifiable standard for moral valuation be found. If there is nothing on that order that human beings ought to achieve, no summum bonum, then the idea that they ought to achieve it could not be meaningful” (71). Rand had argued that “it only an ultimate goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of ‘value’ is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of ‘life’” (OE 17; see also Den Uyl and Rasmussen 1984a, 65–67). What goes for value goes as well for the Aristotelian coins excellence, success, and doing well. Life—the physical phenomenon of life—is their original and perpetual grounding context (cf. Kelley 1992, 58). Professor Machan went on to endorse an argument by function-explanation put forth by Eric Mack (1971) to the conclusion that “the end of the objective function” of an individual’s choices and actions “is the sustenance of his life” (72). Machan then linked Rand’s summum bonum, as defended by Mack, with Aristotle’s idea that “the proper goal of each person is his own success as a human being, his own happiness” (72). Tightening the link, Machan observes: “The happiness discussed by Aristotle is far broader than what people usually mean by the term ‘happiness’. It is closer to what Ayn Rand has characterized as ‘a noncontradictory state of joy’. The main feature of this state is not pleasure, fun, or excitement. Instead it is a self-acknowledgement of worth, a sense of being a successful living entity of the kind human beings are” (73; see further, Lawrence 2006). There is considerable difference, nonetheless, I should say, between what Aristotle and Rand conceived the human mind and life to be and between what they took as the source of ethical norms (see e.g. Long 2000). Aristotle argued for happiness as the unique final end; Rand found life as final end-giving end of happiness. Moreover, Rand conceived happiness, with its self-sufficient quality, to be integral with, not aloof from, the pleasure of human animal life (see Frede 2007, 264–67, on Aristotle; cf. Saint-André 1993, 152, 159–66, and Branden 1964, on Rand). Among others stressing the kinship of Rand’s ethics to Aristotle’s would be Jack Wheeler in his contribution “Rand and Aristotle: A Comparison of Objectivist and Aristotelian Ethics” (1984). Similarly, Peter Saint-André stresses that Rand’s project, and Aristotle’s too, is “at root metaphysical,” both projects dealing with “‘what is possible’ to the human individual” (1996, 209). He objects to Rand’s representation of Aristotle as only “sifting through what the noble and the wise say and do” to uncover norms. That may be what Aristotle sometimes says he does, but, Saint-André would have us look at Nicomachean Ethics I, 6–7, “wherein Aristotle investigates the ontological status of the Good and derives the nature of happiness from the ergon or ‘characteristic work’ of man quo man” (1996, 210). In his 2005 paper “Ayn Rand as Aristotelian: Values and Happiness,” Fred Miller observes that Aristotle’s presentation is open to interpretation among noted scholars. John Cooper, Terence Irwin, and David Reeve read Aristotle along the lines read by Machan, Den Uyl and Rasmussen, and others, which allows one to see Aristotle as near Rand in pattern of meta-ethical reasoning. Gabriel Richardson Lear reads Aristotle along those lines in her deep study (2004, 121–22, 145–46). Sarah Broadie dissents from the Grand End reading of Aristotle (1991), though she takes Aristotle as having practical reason discern right action, rather than constituting it (2006, 348). John McDowell finds Aristotle more like Rand found him: “Rather than giving a criterion that works from outside the ethic, [Aristotle] says that such things are as the virtuous person determines them to be” (1998, 35; quoted in Miller 2005). In any case, biological existence is not among the candidates for external ultimate criteria for ethical norms various scholars have drawn from Aristotle’s text. Professor Miller draws attention to Rand’s remarks on Aristotle a couple of years after her critical remarks on Aristotle’s ethical theory. Rand approved of Aristotle’s conceptions of life and knowledge as naturalistic facts. She viewed Aristotle as giving “living entities, the phenomenon of life,” a central place in his philosophy (1963, 10). “Life—and its highest form, man’s life—is the central fact in Aristotle’s view of reality. The best way to describe it is to say that Aristotle’s philosophy is ‘biocentric’.” (The same can be said for Protagoras, who influenced the Cyrenaics and Epicurus, I should note.) Rand continues: “This is the source of Aristotle’s intense concern with the study of the enormously ‘pro-life’ attitude that dominates his thinking” (11). When it comes to his ethical writings, however, I do not find Aristotle bringing biology expressly to bear. I do not see he has any understanding that the physical phenomenon of life, and its continuous self-generated struggle for continuation, is the source of all value. Happiness is not ordered to life by Aristotle in the express and deep way it is ordered to life by Rand. “Just as the pleasure-pain mechanism of man’s body is an automatic indicator of his body’s welfare or injury, a barometer of its basic alternative, life or death—so the emotional mechanism of man’s consciousness is geared to perform the same function, as a barometer that registers the same alternative by means of two basic emotions: joy or suffering.” (OE 27) “The maintenance of life and the pursuit of happiness are not two separate issues. . . . When one experiences the kind of pure happiness that is an end in itself—the kind that makes one think: ‘This is worth living for’—what one is greeting and affirming in emotional terms is the metaphysical fact that life is an end in itself.” (OE 29) Aristotle recognized that there is no desire, no valued thing, where there is no life (EE 1281a26–27). That is short of seeing that and how the concept value, or goodness, presupposes the concept life. Aristotle observed that pleasures complete competent activities “as an end which supervenes as the bloom of youth does on those in the flower of their age” (NE 1174b31–33). Life is desirable, and pleasure completes the activity that is human life (NE 1175a10–21). Moreover, the life of the virtuous is pleasant, and its pleasures are harmonious because they are pleasures taken in things that are by nature pleasant (NE 1099a6–14). But Aristotle does not proceed expressly from pleasure to joy to happiness, and on the steps life, life, life. Aristotle held that eudaimonia is a complete thing, an end in itself (NE 1097a30–35; 1176a36–1176b5; EE 1219a24–39; see further, Richardson Lear 2004, 69–71). He held it to be something of a self-generated achievement (NE 1114b30–1115a3; EE 1215a15–19). One barrier to Aristotle fully seeing happiness as emblematic servant of life itself, morality’s true ground, is perhaps this: Although he recognized the self-generated dimension of life, he “did not clearly identify that a living organism’s existence depends on this activity” (Smith 2000, 119n11). Born nine years after Aristotle and living five decades beyond him was Epicurus. He promoted a form of eudaimonistic hedonism, directed by the reins of physical life, which life dwells in a world devoid of Aristotelian natural teleology. That Epicurus keeps ethics close to biology is fast upon his view that “the soul is a body [made up of] fine parts distributed throughout the entire aggregate, and most closely resembling breath with a certain admixture of heat . . . . All of this is revealed by the abilities of the soul, its feelings, its ease of motion, its thought processes, and the things whose removal leads to our death” (Ltr. To Herodotus 63). Human nature “was taught a large number of different lessons just by the facts themselves, and compelled [by them]; . . . reasoning later made more precise what was handed over to it [by nature] and made additional discoveries” (H 75). Good and bad arise only within sense experience. So death cannot be the root of that which is bad (Ltr to Menoeceus 124–25). “The wise man neither rejects life nor fears death” (M 126). Among natural desires, “some are necessary for happiness and some for freeing the body from troubles and some for life itself” (M 127). As for the first two, Epicurus writes: “The cry of the flesh: not to be hungry, not to be thirsty, not to be cold. For if someone has these things and is confident of having them in the future, he might contend even with [Zeus] for happiness” (Vatican Collection 33). Epicurus held to a conceptual primacy of pain over pleasure—the latter is only the absence of the former—although plenty of harmonious pleasure is possible in life if one keeps ones desires limited to what is necessary for a modest style of life (M 128–32; Principal Doctrines III–V). “One must not force nature but persuade her. And we will persuade her by fulfilling the necessary desires” and the natural but unnecessary ones, provided they are not harmful (VC 21). Epicurus anchors happiness to absence of bodily pains and harms. This suggests he takes physical life to be the basis of right desires. In addition, as seen in the paragraph before last, some right desires are necessary “for life itself,” in the view of Epicurus. I do not find in Epicurus the insight that it is the concept of life, with its fundamental perpetual alternative, that makes the concept of right desire possible. Still, it should be clear that on the relation of moral values to life itself, there are precursors of Rand’s pages in the writings of both Epicurus and Aristotle. (See further, Shelton 1995, 1996, and Saint-André 1996.) (Coming in a few weeks: Salmeiri 2020.) References Aristotle 1984. The Complete Works of Aristotle, volume 2. J. Barnes, editor. Princeton. Branden, N. 1964. The Psychology of Pleasure. In Rand 1964. Broadie, S. 1991. Ethics with Aristotle. Oxford. ——. 2006. Aristotle and Contemporary Ethics. In Kraut 2006. Den Uyl, D. J., and D. B. Rasmussen 1984a. Life, Teleology, and Eudaimonia in the Ethics of Ayn Rand. In 1984b. Den Uyl, D. J., and D. B. Rasmussen, editors. 1984b. The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand. University of Illinois. Epicurus 1994. The Epicurus Reader. B. Inwood and L. P. Gerson, translators and editors. Hackett. Frede, D. 2006. Pleasure and Pain in Aristotle’s Ethics. In Kraut 2006. Kelley, D. 1992. Post-Randian Aristotelianism. Liberty (July). Kraut, R., editor. 2006. The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Blackwell. Lawrence, G. 2006. Human Good and Human Function. In Kraut 2006. Lennox, J. G. 1999. Aristotle on the Biological Roots of Virtue: The Natural History of Natural Virtue. In Biology and the Foundation of Ethics. J. Maienschein and M. Ruse, editors. Cambridge. Long, R. T. 2000. Reason and Value: Aristotle versus Rand. Objectivist Studies. No. 3. The Objectivist Center. Machan, T. R. 1975. Human Rights and Human Liberties. Nelson Hall. Mack, E. 1971. How to Derive Ethical Egoism. The Personalist (Autumn):736–43. McDowell, J. 1998. Some Issues in Aristotle’s Moral Psychology. In Mind, Value, and Reality. Cambridge. Rand, A. 1961. The Objectivist Ethics. In Rand 1964. ——. 1963. Review of Randall’s Aristotle. In The Voice of Reason. 1990. Meridian. ——. 1964. The Virtue of Selfishness. 1964. Signet. ——. 1974. Causality versus Duty. In Philosophy: Who Needs It. 1982. Signet. Richardson Lear, G. 2004. Happy Lives and the Highest Good. Princeton. Saint-André, J. P. 1993. A Philosophy for Living on Earth. Objectivity 1(6):137–73. ——. 1996. Epicurean Pleasure and the Objectivist Good. Objectivity 2(4):205–11. Shelton, R. 1995. Epicurus and Rand. Objectivity 2(3)1–47. ——. 1996. Parallel Metaethics. Objectivity 2(4):213–25. Smith, T. 2000. Viable Values. Rowman & Littlefield. Wheeler, J. 1984. Rand and Aristotle: A Comparison of Objectivist and Aristotelian Ethics. In Den Uyl and Rasmussen 1984b.
  15. 1 point

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    The Knowledge Illusion #3 The Knowledge Illusion #4
  16. 1 point
    Thanks for the information, William, and the link. There is a bit more here from the wife of Laurence Gould.
  17. 1 point
    Human, you seem to see things as they are, without considering an optimistic vision of the way things could be. While I commend you for your grasp of the predicament facing Western Civilization, your emphasis on the multitudes of collectivist irrationality, my best counter-argument is that until the worst outcome is manifest, the best within each of us must continue the struggle to achieve the best outcome, by whatever definition you hold as the standard of the "best overcome." And so it is true. We make the best use of our freedom to exchange information, to innovate or engineer, and to create our own enterprises. I recommend to you to try to disregard the masses and their collectivist agenda. When conditions allow, argue the best case for reason to those who know only how to follow. Perhaps they may find new leaders one day. You may never "convert" some people, but if one individual begins to doubt his/her beliefs, you might make them aware of the fact that there are alternatives to mainstream myopia. Objectivism celebrates the great achievements of capitalism, and other movements advocating personal prosperity, constructive purpose, and entrepreneurial success are gaining popularity. Using our freedom of communication, you could create a video exposing the absurdity of the socialist agenda. This is a very important question: A regular cycle of history, or a Second Dark Age??? So many modern nation-states have experienced the pains of reforming runaway socialist economic systems. If we learn anything from it, I'm fairly confident that the USA will not have to endure the worst privations that have resulted in the failure of other economic systems. If they're unaware of the causes, they will only continue to treat the symptoms. It sure would be a shame, and it'll be wild ride to the bottom. Either way, the men of the mind may go on strike for a period, but eventually a few of them will emerge, and the arch of history marches on.
  18. 1 point

    Willful ignorance.

    What is evil here is the 12 year necromancy involved in raising this thread from the dead.
  19. 1 point

    I am a bit confused...

    In Socratic fashion, in order to know how to normatively apply a concept, we have to know what your definition and meaning of those terms are. Socrates, being accused of impiety, asks Euthyphro "What is piety?" To which he responds (summarizing here), "That which pleases the gods," Socrates responds, "The gods disagree..." To which Euthyphro responds "That which pleases all the gods..." Socrates then says well that doesn't tell us what it is, and then gets some basic definition to work from. Rand has this idea of hierarchy and context, that you start off with a paradigmatic case and then develop a meaning based off that, then you obserbve other problematic cases or integrate it with your other beliefs, then you go backwards and refine it as needed. Again, summarizing here. So what facts of reality gives rise to the need for these concepts, what knowledge is already presumed by the time you get "honor," "pride," "traditions," and "cultural identity," and what context are you attending to when you apply it in the propositions like "I'm proud of my cultural identity." So we can start off with some initial meaning and then refine it from there. My initial thoughts are that honor and pride are proper virtues when applied to individualistic human flourishing, and not the nation-state as a whole. I think one can be proud of, or take pride in one's cultural identity insofar as that identity promotes the proper values that one has formed, in the general sense of "I'm glad we're doing this right," or "our polis (so to speak) is right for living in reality and functioning properly. This is good that it exists, and I am in it, as opposed to a different city." The honorable man then, is one that defends his city, but only insofar as it is right and promotes human flourishing. To the extent it doesn't, I would be inclined to say the honorable man is the critic, the reformer, the protestor. In the same way, I think there's invalid uses of this concept. If you're on a baseball team and the other members of the team make skilled plays that facilitate winning, you'd be "proud of them" in some sense. But you're not going to say something like "we have the same color jersey on, therefore I get credit for his good plays." It doesn't make sense to claim "pride for x" when you didn't contribute to or aren't a part of x, or on the basis of some nonessential, like "he is virtuous, he is tall, I am tall, therefore I am virtuous." Likewise, just simply being born in one human community versus another isn't a source of honor or pride, since they'd have to be achieved by your own character development and discipline.
  20. 1 point
    I've heard some proclaim that the basis of this was egoism, that as a creator she wanted spiritual recognition and ownership. Of course full on altruists and mixed or sloppy thinkers have a field day with this... twisting it into some kind of childish need for approval or akin to a rotter's lust for fame. A kind of grasping Greed in a realm of academia which should remain pure and untrammelled by it. In the beginning, unquestioning of the very basic premises Rand refers to, I remained confused... this doesn't sound like Rand. That because it isn't Rand. I think it is because of the very possible misrepresentations that she decided in order to both preserve the core philosophy and to defend what she actually thought that giving it a name was necessary and the most effective way to defend the ideas and her connection to them , and only them.
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