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  1. I think there is more to "man qua man" than people who like to philosophize are willing to dive into. There are certain rational shortcuts and superficial calculus' we like to throw at things like the trolley problem or the definition of a human (recall the story of the throwing of a plucked chicken to ridicule "featherless biped" as the definition of man). IF man WERE cannibals, by nature, by flavor, by urge, by intuition, by evolution, culture, and institution, then what makes a person thrive should probably involve some cannibalism, as well as some virtues for avoiding being supper. BUT our nature is NOT cannibalism. Letting defenceless babies of our own nature, other individuals, other persons, other ends in themselves whose natural life includes parental or adult care, simply die for the want of it... when each and every one of us was provided... had to be provided with it ourselves... offends our very nature. It is not simply emotional... nor outside the realm of rational... it is part of what makes humans what we are. No matter what kinds of rationalizations people bandy about to support dehumanization , or inhuman existence... they imagine we can be anything, but an anything is nothing in particular. We have natures, and the order of nature is in us, we are human, and at the root ARE things like our our innate ability to respond and to care for children. So to be sane, to be healthy, flourishing humans... we are our children's keepers. Parents first, family second, friends and local people, and the rest of us at large if only temporarily, until someone takes over.
    4 points
  2. I was deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of libertarian author and lecturer George H. Smith. The world is definitely worse off for his absence. From a personal standpoint, his passing has left a painful stain on some of my fondest memories from my early years in California, because he was an important part of those years. The best way I can think of to deal with my sadness is to recount some of my memories of George—positive and negative--in writing. I first met George at a taping for one of Nathaniel Branden’s monthly “Seminar” recordings around 1970. The informal question-and-answer session was held at Branden’s hilltop home in Bel Air near Los Angeles. I had only recently moved to California after graduating from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I had been a devoted follower of both Ayn Rand and Branden for many years, and decided to move to L.A. in large part to derive what guidance I could from Branden, who had opened a psychotherapy practice in Beverly Hills following their celebrated parting of the ways. At the time I had no friends—Objectivist or otherwise—in California, and George impressed me as not only highly intelligent but also a kindred spirit. Nash Publishing had recently published an anthology of essays titled The University Under Seige, offering the perspective of myself and several other students who had been witness to the campus unrest of the late 1960s. George had only recently signed a contract with Nash to write Atheism—The Case Against God, his now classic and brilliant defense of the atheist position, and he asked me a few questions about my experience as a published author. We became friends, and I often visited him and his wife at the time—the lovely Diane Hunter—over the next few years. I also attended several events at The Forum for Philosophical Studies, a lecture organization he founded in Hollywood. At that point, George impressed me as having an excellent grasp of the Objectivist philosophy, and I had the sense that I could learn from our discussions. I remember seeing him present his essay on “Objectivism as a Religion” to a group of avid listeners in a home near Santa Monica, and I became convinced that his view of the break between Rand and Branden was on the mark. I went on to attend a series of lectures--“The Fundamentals of Reasoning”—which he gave at his Hollywood apartment, and to this day I am aware of the enormous benefit I derived from what he had to say. One seemingly minor example of a lesson I learned from George was the importance of a single principle—persistence. Even today, I often invoke that concept when working through some challenging problem. And it was George who planted the idea if my head that few things were as important to long-term success. When I think of the vital importance of persistence, I think of George. Once the lectures were over, George often invited me (and others) to stay and spend some time socializing and watching TV. As I recall, by this time he had separated from Diane Hunter and was living with Wendy McElroy. We often watched a couple of highly irreverent television comedies—“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and “Fernwood Tonight.” In the years that followed I occasionally attended parties at George’s home. To repeat, George was very much an important part of my experience of California in the 1970s, and those memories mean a great deal to me. Through him I eventually met such well-known libertarian icons as the late Roy Childs and Jeff Riggenbach. I never agreed with George’s staunch position in favor of anarcho-capitalism, and I think this may have prevented our relationship from developing into a closer friendship. He did not seem to enjoy extended discussions with people who did not see the world as he did. But we were friends, nonetheless. The last time I remember seeing George in Los Angeles was in 1989, at a gathering to celebrate the release of Branden’s autobiography, Judgment Day. At that same occasion, I informed George that I had, along with a colleague, started my own educational organization, The Forum for the New Intellectual. He seemed mildly curious, but never attended during the several years it was in existence. George and I fell out of touch for roughly two decades, until we happened to cross paths again on an Objectivist website. In the meantime, I had pursued a career in psychology, and George had won considerable prominence as a libertarian writer, teacher and scholar. Following our rendezvous in the cyber world, we began comparing notes and had several cordial exchanges, often of a very friendly nature. Although I was delighted to have renewed our acquaintance, I was also shocked and disappointed by a number of things George said. It was clear that he no longer considered himself an Objectivist, even to the point of being disdainful of those such as myself who strongly advocated for Ayn Rand’s ideas. Incredibly, he even went so far as to distance himself from many of his own pro-Objectivist arguments in his book, Atheism: The Case Against God. He no longer considered it important that libertarians have a rational philosophical foundation for their beliefs. Then inevitably the topic of anarcho-capitalism raised its obstinate head. I made my opposition to that (IMO) destructive, rationalistic viewpoint very clear, and he was decidedly unhappy that I would undermine a position that had been the centerpiece of his intellectual career. At some point, a rancorous online debate ensued. It went on for days and it did not end well. George decided to engage in what I considered to be a personal attack on my integrity, and that was the end of it. George displayed a bitterness toward me that cut very deeply. My background in psychology helped me to see where his anger was coming from, but that did little to attenuate my pain and disillusion. That was 2012. We never had any sort of verbal interaction again. And now—ten years later--I have learned of George’s tragic passing, and all the wonderful memories from the 1970s have come back in an avalanche—all the warmth, all the laughter, all the joy, all the hopes for the future, all the dreams of a better world. No matter our differences, George and I shared many of those hopes and dreams, and he helped me learn how to live and work for that world and that future. Farewell, old friend. No matter how virulent and outraged and vicious the waves—the loud, turbulent water that has long since passed under the bridge separating us--I will miss you. Dennis Hardin
    4 points
  3. *** Split from: Objectivists are working to save the world from tyranny--isn't that altruism? *** >Just today I saw a news report that a gov't official in Russia had said that domestic opponents to Russia's current war in Ukraine will be sent to concentration camps. What was the news source? Most of what mainstream media has presented to the public regarding Ukraine has been propaganda. Even many images have been shown to be hoaxes. Ethnic Russians who speak Russian but live in Ukraine don't want to live under a Ukraine government run by a neo-Nazi gang (the Azov Battalion) with a puppet president (Zelensky). The Ukraine government has been shelling the ethnic Russian regions of Ukraine since 2014 and thousands of those Ukrainians have been killed. Additionally, as Undersecretary of State, Victoria Nuland, has confirmed in a recent videotaped Senate hearing, Ukraine has a number of bioweapons laboratories (she called them "research facilities") that we now know through documents released by the Pentagon, were and are, financed by the U.S. Apparently, Mr. Putin doesn't like the idea of U.S.-backed bio-weapons labs on his doorstep, especially given what is now know via leaked emails, etc., from Fauci, Daszak, Baric, et al., regarding gain-of-function research on viruses that began in North Carolina (Chapel Hill, University of N. Carolina, Fort Dietrich) and continued in Wuhan, China at their Institute of Virology. Can't understand why anyone would uncritically believe the narrative spun by mainstream media.
    3 points
  4. I know poetry is the most hot-button issue on this forum, but I'm chiming in with yet another installment, this time on modern poetry. Usually when we talk, we use whatever words, metaphors and styles help us effectively communicate the message. In poetry, however, the form is not passive, but an active participant in achieving the desired meaning and effect. We all know that rhyme and meter are artificial, but check this out, if I write the next words Like This there is a special kind of emphasis which would not be achieved by conventional prose. Or, if I said that the sentence you're reading right now raises in your mind like a hungover woman getting up from a bathroom floor, there is disconnect of style that is not strictly necessitated by communicating the gist of the message, but irreplaceable if you want to achieve that exact meaning and effect. Put more simply, poetry is a bona-fide syncretic art, much more than regular prose literature is. This description only takes form in consideration, and remains silent regarding the possible (legitimate) uses of things like opacity an incomprehensibility in poetry (and other art forms). Ayn Rand was against concrete-bound rules when it comes to art, so one can only imagine if she would've been open to modern poetry if she head a rational defense of it. Peikoff, in one of the few treatments of poetry given by an O'ist, thinks that poetry is synonymous with works by western authors. But rhyme and rhytm are not the only kinds of formal artifice employed historically. Tanka poetry uses the 5-7-5-7-7 scheme (number of sylables per line); Greek epics have no rhyming scheme and their meter is meant to facilitate memorization. And many other examples. My newest addiction is looking for gems in Poetry magazine. You have to plough through the 98% of questionable stuff in order to find the 2% of gems, but when you do... it's uncanny how precisely things you deemed incommunicable can be put on a page when you give free reign to form. There's also no particular literary school or theory associated with the magazine, so it's impossible to predict what you'll find when you turn the page to the next poem. All issues can be read on the website. ...though I will occasionaly encounter the full-blown type of subjectivism which claims that an artwork is an artwork because the author said so (the advice is this work is mostly good, by the way). Either way, here are some modern poems to kick-start this thread (which I'm sure will break the OO.com servers due to the massive influx of comments from modern poetry enthusiasts). I don't necessarily condone the values contained inside, only the interesting execution. Some have audio as well (use the play button near the titles) Peripheral (Hannah Emerson) I'm not a religious person but (Chen Chen) New Rooms (Kay Ryan) End of Side A (Adrian Matejka) (an inspiration for this thread, though I like this one of his better, awesome reader)
    3 points
  5. If you study just one thing, I recommend going with this article. Without understanding this topic, the O'ist conception of rights, honesty etc. will always sound like chinese to you, because the key issue according to your posts is 'what if'. 'What if I'm in such and such situation where I can get away with it?'. The article is long and might seem pointlessly abstract at first, but there will be a huge payoff if you stick with it till the end.
    3 points
  6. >which is objectively evil Russian aggression As a response to objectively evil Ukrainian government aggression against other Ukrainians who are ethnically Russian. If you study some history of the subject instead of watching CNN and MSNBC you might learn something and arrive at a conclusion more consistent with the actual historical record. This is known as the "correspondence theory truth," in which "truth = correspondence to fact"; as opposed to slavishly following MSM, which is known as the "coherence theory of truth," in which "truth = beliefs and statements that are not only internally consistent but concur, and are consistent with, stories and viewpoints espoused by pundits on MSM." As an example of the latter, when Brian Stelter on CNN went to one of the areas that were rioting after the George Floyd killing, and with a straight face told the cameras that "this is mainly a peaceful demonstration" when viewers could plainly see buildings burning in the background and people rioting violently in the streets, there were many viewers who, to this day, deny that there was any violent rioting in the streets because Brian Stelter -- Johnny-on-the-Spot -- told them what to think, and told them how to interpret what they were seeing. That's called "controlling the narrative." It's like the scene in "The Wizard of Oz" where the little terrier Toto pulls back the curtain, revealing a harmless old man at a machine that amplifies his voice, making him sound menacing, and who then shouts (as a last-ditch attempt to "control the narrative" of Dorothy and her companions), "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" >war crimes, and atrocities False flags. For example, the maternity hospital that was shelled several weeks ago, with reports of dead women and babies, and blamed on Russian forces by western mainstream media, had been evacuated several weeks earlier in February and was being used as a headquarters by Ukrainian military and the Azov battalion. That's why it was shelled by Russian forces. But women and babies were not among the casualties. The online newscast called "The Hill: Rising" hosted by Kim Iversen had a webcast at the end of February about some of the fake images and newscasts coming out of Ukraine and promoted by mainstream media, such as spectacular nighttime rocket attacks that were actually images from a video game; images of "brave" president Zelensky donning military gear, apparently "ready to appear on the front lines to support his troops" that were actually recycled pictures from a year ago of a training exercise; etc. See link. The more recent hysteria by MSM over Russian forces "about to attack a nuclear power plant" was a false flag, too. Ukrainian military took over the power plant and fired on Russian forces hoping to goad them into returning the fire (they didn't). Nevertheless, sleepwalkers in the west who swallow Blue Pills handed out to them by MSM got to shake their heads and virtual-signal to one another, "I just saw on The View that those nasty, nasty Russians were about to attack a nuclear power plant! That Putin guy sure is nuts!" Etc. Controlling the narrative. >that are clearly reminiscent of those of the 3rd Reich That's for sure! The members of the Azov Battalion are the scions of WWII-era Nazis (can't even call them "neo-Nazis; they're actual, old-style Nazis, and they even don some of the runic symbolism on their military gear). So when Putin declared that one of the aims of the incursion would be to "de-Nazify" Ukraine, he was being literal. The Objectivists on this board are simply uninformed. It's understandable, though. Ayn Rand hated Russia, so followers of Ayn Rand should also hate Russia. That seems to be about the extent of "research" most Objectivists here have done on the topic of Ukraine. As for Tucker Carlson: he's a good interviewer and very likable. Many haven't forgiven him, though, for the insulting way he treated attorney Sidney Powell after the fraud of the 2020 election started to become known (see Dinesh D'Souza's recent documentary on that, titled "2000 Mules" showing video evidence of massive ballot-stuffing by Democrats). The problem isn't Tucker; the problem is that Fox is really part of MSM now (it was been for a long time), whose function within that space is being seen by many (including me) as being "Controlled Opposition", i.e., a venue that is permitted to voice opposition to some of the prevailing narratives but only within certain limits. This applies to Newsmax, as well. Both Fox and Newsmax have taken large sums of money from Big Pharma so you won't hear a peep from them regarding the poisonous effects of the mass vaccination and mass boosting programs, and both news venues have demurred on the January 6th "insurrection" at the Capitol, and the 2020 election fraud. Regarding the vaccines: as Edward Dowd (former managing director at BlackRock) has said, there's been a 40% increase since the vax rollout in 2021 of "All Cause Mortality" in a demographic that shouldn't be having such an increase: working age adults between 18 and 64. This was first reported a few months ago by the CEO of OneAmerica, a large insurance company headquartered in Indiana. A 40% increase in All Cause Mortality is about 10 Standard Deviations on a Normal Distribution, indicating an event that one wouldn't expect to see even in 200 years. Other insurance carriers, both US and European, have noticed similar kinds of increases over the past year. There are probably several causes (the lockdowns, for sure) but the injurious effects of the mRNA technology on causing long-term damage to the immune system, as well as contributing to blood clots and myocarditis, has now been admitted even by Pfizer during its recent FOIA releases of its trial data. Dowd and others (MDs and PhDs) are expecting huge numbers in excess mortality -- in the many millions, possibly more -- to die in the next few years. Unfortunately, many of those will be children. Alternative viewpoints that aren't censored or controlled can only be had on alternative platforms such as Rumble, BitChute, Telegram, Gab, Gettr, Parler, Truth Social (Trump's platform), Frank Speech (Mike Lindell's platform), and maybe a few others. Under Elon Musk's helmsmanship, Twitter might rebound as an actual mainstream platform promoting free speech, hence, alternative narratives, but we'll have to wait to see how that all plays out in the next few months.
    3 points
  7. One thing I've noticed among the pro-Russian right wingers is that they spend a lot of effort telling you about all this stuff about the US/NATO expansion, leaked phone calls, Azov, etc. to keep focus on the US/NATO as the "bad guys" in their current programming. But very few of them (?) either (a.) continue to say that since the US/NATO did all this stuff that therefore Russia's invasion is justified and amounts to self defense on the part of the Russians, or (b.) continue to say that nonetheless Russia's invasion is not justified and in fact they are committing a grave injustice worthy of resistance on the part of the Ukrainians. Question: why is that? Possible answer: They're not interested in the typical philosophical questions surrounding the issue. Finding out what one ought to do about a given situation in accordance with some set of general principles. (I mean in a Socratic sense that "care for one's own soul" would lead one to make sure one wasn't supporting or condoning or excusing injustice.) The interest here isn't even philosophical or practical at all. There is no truth one is trying to get at. One's goal is something else, like promoting one's self being an exciting contrarian "maybe I can make myself look like a really cool transgressive thinker." It's kind of a role play in one's head. The use of one's faculties is not aimed at guiding action, but is rhetorical in nature, as if to say "don't look there!" To remind one "we're bad too!" is designed to shift the focus of the listener and leave the rest to implication. Counter proposal: Putin/the Russian government does not have a legitimate security interest in NATO not expanding eastward or in the Ukraine wanting to be part of Europe. The reason is very simple: Putin is not a legitimate ruler and the Russian government is not morally legitimate. Putin has no right to rule at all, not over Ukraine and not even over Moscow. Indeed I, 2046 have more of a right to rule over Russia because at least I haven't violated anyone's rights or liberties and would immediately resign. It may or may not be strategically prudent to not upset Putin, to include tactical deception about one's intentions to join NATO, but he has no moral claim to keep NATO from his doorstep.
    3 points
  8. I mean, not really. While there is a great deal of exegesis of "the arbitrary as neither true nor false" in ch. 5 of OPAR, but the burden of proof principle is a logical commonplace. On the second point, I had made the following remark already: "The one way we could know whether we were in error about a given faculty is by discovery of some truth which reveals us our error." This is the way to counter the method of Cartesian doubt with regards to individual faculties, that all of our faculties couldn't be in error all the time. But the point of the simulation or BIV scenarios is not to deny existence, it's to deny your knowledge of it. Imagine someone saying you are really a brain in a vat, you are hooked up and experiencing a simulation. They're perfectly content to say yes, existence exists, you just don't genuinely experience it beyond what is fed to you. And since we can imagine this being the case, it is therefore possible, unless the realist prove it's not. The way to counter this is the burden of proof principle, and a denial of the assumption that because something is imaginable it is possible.
    3 points
  9. "The burden is on those who claim fraud..." The burden is on anyone making a claim. Not just those claiming fraud took place. The burden is also on the officials running the election to convince me that they are honest actors who ran an honest election. And they have failed that basic criteria in several ways, namely by littering the streets and mailboxes with "mail-in" ballots and not checking IDs at voting centers. It doesn't matter if people can't prove fraud when the people running the election can't prove legitimacy.
    3 points
  10. This brings up a related question: how does the novel's historical setting affect first-time readers today? It was a bit of a period piece in 1957 (execs no longer took cross-country business trips by train; network radio was no longer the primary news and entertainment medium) and a bit more when I first read it. For most newcomers today it's a book of their great-grandparents' era. Does this make it harder or easier (or neither) to get into?
    3 points
  11. A virus is an element of nature and an inherent risk of life on Earth, not a weapon that an infected person goes around assaulting people with. If you don’t have symptoms, haven’t tested positive, or knowingly been exposed to an infected person, it’s rational to assume you’re not infected and go about your business. You can’t live if you have to assume you are infected with a deadly virus. Each individual’s health and safety is his own responsibility. The onus to stay home and/or get vaccinated is on those who are at risk. Every medical treatment has benefits and risks. If you fear the risks of vaccination more than you fear the virus, you have an absolute right not to get vaccinated. No one has a duty to sacrifice himself by accepting potential bodily harm for the sake of protecting others. The ardent anti-vaxxer’s assessment of the risks might be incorrect, but it’s his judgment, and he has a right to act on it, even if others disagree.
    3 points
  12. There are no long term studies on mRNA covid vaccines, none. You are no different than people who place blind faith in institutions. Fear is a mind killer , you are fully boosted , right ?
    2 points
  13. Stephen Boydstun provided the following as an example of the government's attack on the gold standard. “Genuine free banking, as we have noted, exists where entry into the banking business is totally free, where banks are neither subsidized nor controlled, and where at the first sign of failure to redeem in specie, the bank is forced to declare insolvency and close its doors.” Doug, it looks like Murray Rothbard's book The Mystery of Banking is a good resource on this controversy, including the historical record. The book is available online. Pages 197-234 of the book (220-257 in the PDF pagination) look to be exactly the pertinent material, though it is challenging and probably requires some portions earlier in the book to understand it well. (i would suggest starting one page earlier.)
    2 points
  14. In each of the following your friends may have additional questions, so try to be prepared to answer such. "Ayn Rand’s raped-girl-decides-she-likes-it novel, “The Fountainhead.”" "Rand’s hero Roark, in fact, “raged” so much in her novel that he blew up a public housing project with dynamite." It can help in both these cases to provide context from the novel. Also, make the point that the encounter between Roark and Dominique is an unusual encounter between unusual people, not a guide to ordinary relationships. "Only billionaires should rule the world, Trump has suggested. And he tried to put it into place, installing a billionaire advocate of destroying public schools in charge of public schools, a coal lobbyist representing billionaires in charge of the EPA, an billionaire-funded oil lobbyist in charge of our public lands, and a billionaire described by Forbes as a “grifter” in charge of the Commerce Department. Trump’s chief of staff said that putting children in cages and billionaire-owned privatized concentration camps (where seven so far have died) would actually be a public good." No one should rule the world. Such positions should be eliminated, not just filled by someone from a different faction. "Trump’s chief of staff said that putting children in cages and billionaire-owned privatized concentration camps (where seven so far have died) would actually be a public good." Neither "illegal" immigrants nor anyone else should be put in cages or concentration camps. Imprisonment should only be for people convicted of serious crimes, which does not include "illegal" immigration, and should be done in a properly thought-out manner, especially if children are involved. Rand's personal life is not relevant to evaluating her philosophy. If anyone insists on digging into her personal life, we need to sort out actual imperfections from smears. " Rand believed that a government working to help out working-class “looters,” instead of solely looking out for rich capitalist “producers,” " The working class are producers, not looters. The looters are politicians who seize people's wealth. Government should not "help" anyone at anyone else's expense. Its sole proper function is to keep physical coercion out of it, leaving everyone free to produce and trade and to enjoy the fruits thereof. Of course Ayn Rand disagrees with the traditional Judaeo-Christian ethic of self-sacrifice, for reasons which she has explained. It might be helpful to explain about metaethics here, for those people that are willing to listen. "Ironically, when she was finally beginning to be taken seriously, Ayn Rand became ill with lung cancer and went on Social Security and Medicare to make it through her last days. She died a “looter” in 1982," Government takes a lot more from us in direct and indirect taxes and reduced economic efficiency than it ever gives back. Anyone who leads a basically productive life and does not vote or advocate for government handouts is entitled to take whatever government is willing to give back to them. Ayn Rand first explained this in "The Question of Scholarships", written long before she got cancer. "over a million dead Americans from Covid" I don't think Ayn Rand would be a vaccine denier or a vaccine skeptic. Lockdowns kill people too. "an epidemic of homelessness, and the collapse of this nation’s working class." This is the result of mixed-economy statism, certainly not of laissez-faire capitalism, which we haven't even approximated for a long time. (Here you may have to persuade people that this is a well-thought=out position, even if they still don't agree.) "the Republican Great Depression" (If people want to argue with the following, you may have to research it.) The gold standard provided a natural discipline which prevented monetary and financial matters from getting too far out of balance. The government sabotaged the gold standard and moved further and further away from it, giving more and more control to the Federal Reserve. In the buildup to the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve loosened money and banking up too much, creating a speculative bubble which had to burst sooner or later, creating a massive dislocation. The specific trigger that burst it was a combination of crop failure and financial panic. Then Herbert Hoover intervened in ways that may have been well-intentioned, but made things worse. He propped up wages and prices, pricing people, goods, and services out of the market. He signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff act, which restricted trade when it needed to be opened up, and provoked retaliatory restrictions from other countries. If Hoover had been a do-nothing President as some people say, the Depression would not have lasted as long or been as bad. "pitting Americans against each other, and literally killing people every day." It is mixed-economy statism that does this, not laissez-faire capitalism. Mixed-economy statism pits people against each other in pressure-group warfare and impairs the functioning of the economy. "get billionaires and their money out of politics" The way to do this is to get away from mixed-economy statism and the resulting pressure-group warfare, and establish laissez-faire capitalism. (Sorry, I can't get rid of the bolding here.)
    2 points
  15. No, I have never denounced Tony. Where do you get this?
    2 points
  16. Boydstun

    Guns in America

    "While the shooter, 20-year-old Douglas Sapirman, fired 24 rounds from an AR-15-style rifle, Dicken did not hesitate to use the Glock handgun he was legally carrying. Sapirman was "neutralized" within two minutes, police said." Hero Within that CNN story in the link, is a story of a shooting in Colorado in which police arrived, mistook the private rescuer for shooter and fatally shot him. A thing like that happened in the small country town where my Mom lived her whole life, in southern Oklahoma near the Red River. There had been an armed robbery of the bank going on, a local man wrestled the gun away from the robber and was holding it on the robber when the police arrived from a neighboring, larger town. The police shot the good guy, but fortunately, in this case, it was only a wounded arm, and he lived.
    2 points
  17. necrovore

    Guns in America

    My "conspiracy theory" is that people wrote books hundreds or in some cases thousands of years ago, and then died of old age, but many people today are still following those books, and their actions come out to be coordinated even if they do not communicate with each other at all, because they are following the same books. That may not be true for much longer. The environmentalists are now banning nitrogen fertilizer in places. If this becomes widespread, billions of people will starve, and I think the environmentalists would welcome that as "less of a load on the Earth." (Of course Peikoff quoted one of them as saying "we can only hope that the right virus comes along," and along comes COVID-19...) The selfishness of self-defense is a virtue. (I use "selfishness" here in the Ayn Rand sense, which could be described with redundancy as "selfishness without victims.") There is something in Atlas Shrugged (probably from Ragnar Danneskjold) about the killed attacker achieving the only destruction he has any right to achieve -- his own. And I suppose it's okay to regard it as a sad thing if someone commits suicide, perhaps more so if they do it at your hands, as it were... Technically the Left is correct that they are "more Christian than the Christians," in the sense that they are more consistent about self-sacrifice than the Republicans. The Republicans support both freedom and Christianity, even though consistency would make it an either-or choice. A lot of Republicans are too anti-conceptual to see the contradictions, and they don't want to see them. (They sometimes argue that such inconsistencies prove that reason is inadequate by itself and that religion is necessary, but this argument is circular, because it is religion that creates the inconsistencies in the first place.) In the past I have interacted with atheist groups, but was disappointed that they wanted to be "Good without God" which suggests that if you take God out of the Bible you can get something good. Thomas Jefferson also tried that, writing his own Bible with the miracles edited out, or so I've read. But if you secularize Christianity and make it more consistent, you get Communism, as Ayn Rand observed. Thomas Paine ended up a Communist, if I remember correctly... (I don't recall the chronology around this.) Ayn Rand was right to call selfishness (as she defined it) a virtue. American intellectuals have been unwilling to embrace what she said (or even read it I think), but what is left of the originally American sense of life seems to understand it perfectly (without reading Rand or knowing that she provides a logical basis for it). It is this sense of life that the Left seeks to destroy, and they are trying to use Christianity as a tool with which to do it. I hope this is not successful; I would hope it undermines support for Christianity instead, but far too many people would rather give up consistency.
    2 points
  18. Don't have sex with strangers. Link sex and romance by reserving sex for romantically significant others. Use contraception with planning and conscientiousness. Don't rely on abortion as contraception. These points are what pass for common sense among normal people.
    2 points
  19. Voluntary sex is not the only way to get pregnant. Not all sex is voluntary. (Also, penis-in-vagina is not the only way to get pregnant, for whatever that's worth.) I know of no woman bemoaning pregnancy, as such (at least with respect to the current debate). They are desiring to have sexual activity and embrace the potential consequence -- and meet it head on -- by being able to seek a legal abortion after the fact. There's nothing dishonest about it. Sex is not trivial. "Just don't have sex" is bunk advice. Sex, pleasure, intimacy, and the host of things which accompany it, are the furthest from "trivial" they could possibly be. Pregnancy might be avoided through abstinence (rape notwithstanding), as obesity might be avoided through starvation, but neither "solution" serves our greater goal. Birth control is a better approach, but it isn't completely effective. More to the point, creating remedies for undesirable consequences on any level is not "dishonest"; it is capital-h Honest. Human beings mess up. Our actions create further problems we must then deal with. Legal abortion is not a means of avoiding the consequences of one's mistakes: it is the means by which we deal with those consequences. Perhaps. But I believe that what more greatly animates the present discussion is not that someone does not "approve of their life choices"; rather that they seek to make their choices illegal.
    2 points
  20. Boydstun

    Theory of Mind

    EC had written “The universe is deterministic but a rational entity’s mind is not because of . . ..” SL remarked: “This is a naked contradiction.” Rand’s considered (1973) defintion of the Law of Causality was: “All the countless forms, motions, combinations and dissolutions of elements within the universe—from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life—are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved.” The notion of “determined” here is broad enough to apply not only to nature, but to human artifacts such as a pulley, a tee-pee, or an aircraft. They are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Similarly, volitional consciousness can be caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Human inventions, and the brain too, have natures to which that sort of determination applies. When I freely choose to compose this note before returning to mastering some eighteenth-century philosophers this morning, I am making a choice caused and determined by the nature of human brain and its feature of (free)volitional consciousness. Earlier, in her 1957, Rand had further claimed that the choice to think was one’s only genuine choice, and all other choices and the course of one’s life, depend on that continual choice. This was a view of William James in Principles of Psychology (1890). It is false. One chooses some actions, and one has some free choice in direction of mental actions additional to, even if part of, the choice to think (and therewith the choice to live). Also in her 1957, Rand strongly insinuated that all causality per se is of the uniquely-determined-path genre, which Leonard Peikoff expressly confirmed for Rand in a Q&A of his lecture series “The Philosophy of Objectivism.” Which is false. That false physical determinism is the assumption for which EC is trying to find an end-run around by take-offs of critical-point phenomena—phase changes in states of matter. That is the sort of determinism, one that in fact does not hold in full physical reality, even at the macro classical scale—no matter how often people repeat the falsehood down from Laplace. Uniqueness for every physical outcome and uniqueness of the string of outcomes in the past does not entail uniqueness of possible outcome for any of them at the time of their occurrence; there may come an intersection with an independent causal stream along the way. A droplet of water in the mist at Niagara Falls just now was not predetermined to be composed of just those molecules it is or to have just the temperature it has, because: It was formed to its present constitution and conditions by intersection of independent causal stands. Then too, the course of situations into which a water molecule may enter during the course of its existence is not uniquely determined from the outset of its formation. Volition is NOT the only possible reason for lack of unique possible outcomes in the course of nature (contra Rand, Leibniz, . . . but in step with Peirce and Aristotle). The reason for that lack is simply that that is not the way physical reality is, when one gets seriously realistic about it. Period. The fact of that lack of a pedestrian-acclaimed predetermination character in physics and in everything going back to physics makes possible the background in which activities of brain and of mind can evolve and develop free volition. And, for that matter, that lack makes possible the background in which life and aircraft can come to be. SL, EC has a contradiction if universal one-path determinism is from what (and apparently it is from what) he is concerned to except rational mind. There is another and more important contradiction—a contradiction with reality—in characterization of all the processes of physical reality as being of that nature in the first place.
    2 points
  21. Tony next you’ll say the American regime is acting in an authoritarian manner just because its officials arrest political opponents on bogus charges or broadcasts show trials https://www.theepochtimes.com/michigan-republican-gubernatorial-candidate-arrested-in-connection-to-jan-6-capitol-breach_4522911.html?utm_source=partner&utm_campaign=whatfinger Tune in tonight to see and help the regime identify and punish its enemies! 81 million people can’t be wrong , Joe’s legit everybody knows it , and it’s criminal to think otherwise !
    2 points
  22. Steven Pinker suggested this in his recent book, Rationality, Chapter 10: What's Wrong With People? "The obvious reason people avoid getting onto a train of reasoning is that they don't like where it takes them." Page 289
    2 points
  23. Here is a succinct and slightly different take for newbies (meta-paraphrased from various sources): An individual has a nature, and his flourishing requires among other things the ability/freedom to act in accordance with those ethical principles which are consistent with, and both necessary and sufficient for that flourishing. A like-minded group of individuals who wish to flourish, recognizing those freedoms/abilities to act are necessary for flourishing and what actions would constitute their violation, undertake to uphold the protection of those freedoms as against actions which are to their detriment, undertaken in kind (as an agreement... and as a trade) with those like-minded others. Each realizes that any breach of the above, violates not only the agreement, but must stem from a violation of the very freedoms of action which were so recognized as necessary for flourishing. A person who chooses to violate the freedoms of action (rights) of any other has chosen to be no longer trusted as recognizing the freedoms of action (rights) of all others, and must understand that in accordance with sound judgment all others are now no longer bound by agreement to recognize his rights...(unless shown sufficient reason to forgive and re-enter an accord, i.e. payment of restitution, proof of remorse and rehabilitation) when one picks up one end of the stick one picks up the other end also... one's choosing not to act reciprocally in favor of individual rights, asks quite frankly, for war. a person who chooses war risks far more death, injury, and hardship, and is therefore far more "selfless", than one who chooses merely to recognize (in a reciprocal fashion) for others, what oneself should be free to do. Recognizing individual rights, for everyone, is decidedly selfish.
    2 points
  24. It was correct, from the standpoint of her philosophy, for Rand to counter Kant’s notion that our minds cannot grasp things as they are apart from contributions from our minds. But there is a deeper criticism of Kant, based in Rand’s philosophy, that we should observe, one she never expressly stated: there is no such thing as a thing-in-itself in Kant’s most fundamental sense. From Rand’s metaphysics, fully grown, it is not only that Existence is identity and consciousness is identification. It is, additionally, that every existent has measures—they bear magnitude relations—and cognitions engage measurements, discernments of magnitude relations. “If anything were actually ‘immeasureable’, it would bear no relationships of any kind to the rest of the universe, it would not affect nor be affected by anything else in any manner whatever, it would enact no causes and bear no consequences—in short, it would not exist” (ITOE 39; Baumgarten §53– “whatever is entirely undetermined is nothing.” ). Then there is no such thing as Kant’s thing-in-itself. It is not only “as nothing to us,” it is nothing (and not because it would be as nothing to any kind of intelligence whatever, even an omniscient one, contra Rand’s thought in ITOE App. 194). With respect to relations, Rand’s dicta “Existence is identity” should be cashed as “No existents are without relations to other existents.” Among relations to things not itself would be possible real relations of any real thing to human consciousness. Kant’s distinction between things as perceivable or knowable and things in themselves is in reality a distinction between things as perceivable or knowable and things that do not exist. Inability to know things that do not exist is no shortcoming; said thing-in-itself is not something at which our perceptions and conceptions aim. Then too, it is not a thing-in-itself that brings us sensations; from nothing, nothing is supported or arises. Never “is the thing in itself . . . at issue in experience” (A30 B45) is so for the Kant-missed reason that there are no such things as things in themselves. However, although Kant was wrong to characterize things as they are independently of our discernment of them as things as they are “in themselves,” and we have exposed that misidentification of the two notions, it remains to complain against Kant that he should have the human mind, led by the senses, incapable of any discernment of things as they are apart from the human mind.
    2 points
  25. This one's from RT, definitely has to be "Putin's propaganda" ... (as opposed to overwhelming western, war mongering propaganda) https://www.rt.com/news/555356-hatred-russia-mcdonalds-us/
    2 points
  26. Not at all, Putin's propaganda. A prescient speech delivered in 2015.
    2 points
  27. I should also add -- for those who harp on the issue that "Putin is not the legitimate leader of the Russian Republic" -- that not only (as posted earlier) is Zelensky not the legitimate leader of Ukraine, but Joe Biden is not the legitimate leader of the U.S., so the lend-lease arrangement recently made between the U.S. and Ukraine has no "moral legitimacy" either. You really believe a guy who stayed in his basement during most of the campaign phase, and made a few public appearances in which a dozen or so people showed up, each one sitting compliantly with a face mask, and separated by one another by six feet, sitting in a chair with a circle drawn around it -- that he got 80 million votes? The most popular POTUS in history? Even more popular than Obama? When Trump would speak at rallies in various cities, each filled with capacity crowds, e.g., when he spoke in Butler, PA, there are almost 60,000 people who showed up. And yet Biden won in a "secure, fair, and honest election"? I don't think so. Watch "2000 Mules".
    2 points
  28. What point are you trying to make? Why are you spending time on stupid and uninformed people? I just find it curious when people opt for self-mutilation rather than something interesting and productive even in their own eyes.
    2 points
  29. You alleged that the Ukraine government “is run by a neo-Nazi gang”. I’ve asked you to prove it. I even suggested you a specific method: by naming the top government officials who are Nazis. Or you could list the specifically neo-Nazi policies of this government. You did neither of these. Neither have you done it in any other proper, i.e. rational, way. Evasions, misrepresentations and ad hominems are NOT arguments. Therefore: do you intend to prove that allegation? And make only claims you can prove? Otherwise it will mean that you intend to continue to contaminate this forum with putinist propaganda.
    2 points
  30. EF, as a student of aesthetics, my research regularly leads me to thinkers like Schelling and Whitehead, which see nature as a living organism or super-subject, contra the so-called mechanistic or lifeless view. Since I'm using the base of Objectivism to ground my thinking about subjects such as art, beauty and personal freedom, I always find myself thinking about how those who hold the view of nature-as-living would react to arguments about the primacy of existence, the derivation of concepts from percepts, and so on. I can't pinpoint your overall worldview yet, but so far there seem to be some themes. You do seem to believe there is a world out there, albeit you claim that the sensations which reach you are integrated by an act of thinking, which was the fashionable view in Kantianism, but not much in line with the current science. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant claims that the manifold of mental contents must be seen as belonging to one single subject (my consciousness), that this necessitates distinguishing between what is subjective and what is objective in experience, and that this in turn depends on representing what is objective (from out there) according to rules which belong to the objects and not to your will: causality etc. You also mention the double-slit experiement, which allegedly shows that consciousness affects the world in some way, and in another thread on this forum you mention a disagreement with a purely 'undirected' emergence of life. This would be more in line with a consciousness-first view, such as the one in the OP. I am asking out of curiosity if you can describe your view in some essentials, especially: if the universe emerges out of a consciousness; or if a Nature-as-intelligence gives rise to all particles, chemistry, life and consciousness as it gropes (consciously or unconsciously) for some end goal, like self-consciousness. It could also be that, for you, nature is an objective absolute, but it simply can't be known through perception, and for instance, the double-slit experiment is merely true for how things apppear to your mind and not indicative of some fact about nature. In your opinion, does your view solve some inadequacies or 'evil' implications of materialism, biological evolution or Aristotelianism? If there are some books on your worldview (it could be that it's actually an original view of yours), they might be of interest to future readers of this thread. It is a monumentally important topic, since all forms of departing from the existence-as-absolute view depend on showing that some ideas are innate or created by the mind, independent of perception.
    2 points
  31. No, you never understood or answered my question. What are your grounds for saying the "Azov Regiment" or "Azov Battalion" runs the government there? What are your grounds for saying President Zelensky is a puppet?
    2 points
  32. What are your grounds for this accusation?
    2 points
  33. I mean if we're going by Rand's honesty, that isn't even what she says honesty is. The pivotal feature of Rand's egoistic honesty versus the conventional account is one's relationship to facts, not to the beliefs of others. Independence can be contrasted with dependency, but the moral 'pull' of independence comes from the responsibility one has to oneself. Justice, in common parlance we often speak of resiliency in terms of not being unfair to too harsh or unjust to oneself. Rationality is often a cooperative enterprise and is inherently connected with language use, productivity without others to trade with is impossible, and pride often deals with commitment to one's moral conduct in the face of criticism or disapproval from others, as well as giving and receiving honor from others. Integrity deals with congruence with one's words and behavior, which far from being a redundancy with "be virtuous" is a sharpening of the focus on something that comes up almost every day in life. There are a lot more aspects to the virtues from different angles than are accounted for here. It's not easy to just put ones "founded in ethics" over in this basket, or "requiring others" in that basket. If by ethics we mean anything pertaining to our character, then they are all for that. If living well requires others, then they are all for that as well. Rather it seems they all interpenetrate in both individualizing and social ways (as one would expect who knows what logikon and politikon point towards.) We are left asking again, "what was the need for this distinction?" "What problem is it solving?" We may as well divide the virtues into those with even amount of letters and those with odd, or those over six letters long and those under.
    2 points
  34. Twice the strength of steel and one-sixth the density of steel: MIT I am grateful to philosopher Neera Badhwar for notice of this important development.
    2 points
  35. Agreeing with Grames, politics should not be synonymous with government. Aristotle had the right idea beginning his thinking about politics as an investigation into the way humans organize themselves, and the way that those forms of organization lead to (or detract from) living life in the most complete sense. Broadly speaking, he considered that many species of animals organize themselves according to what they need to acquire food, and thoroughly investigated the organizational structure of beehives. In other words, organizational structure is grounded in biology, and that structure is what the actions of individuals move towards ultimately. The difference from animals though is primarily the city. Maybe not necessarily city as we think it, but as the primary political unit with an upper limit to the size of the population. I don't think that the basic political unit can be the family. Organizational structures of animals usually need something larger, otherwise they don't serve the necessary biological function. Humans are the same. Even more, it's quite natural for families to create a greater level of organization to attain more human needs, eventually settling down at the level of the city. Family might be a basic part, but the primary unit of analysis should be the city. This is the level where we know if the objective purpose of social organization is being met. Any smaller, we have an incomplete way of living out human life. Any larger, and it becomes chaotic. Cities can combine for coordinated action, but these combinations don't have the same level of integrated lives across the population - the level of integration where culture can grow from sharing meals, living in the same ecological environments, communicating the same words or related ideas, and observing others live their lives.
    2 points
  36. Grames, thanks for bringing up this interesting topic, and in light of your two block-quotes. We have recently had an opening glance into Aristotle's Politics from Eiuol. I'll try to look into some pertinent books before long on your topic. One thing I'd say in advance, however, is that a general definition of politics should, because of modern anthropology, be broad enough to include not only the wide variety of governments, but the predecessors of any government in the central organization of deliberate force: in chiefdoms and, before that, in autonomous tribes. I'd suggest a most general formula by now must encompass all those three and each in all their varieties, at least all the ones we know to have come about in human history and pre-history so far.
    2 points
  37. ~J~ In 1975 Rand composed an essay she titled “From the Horse’s Mouth.” She had been reading a book by Friedrich Paulsen (1846–1908) titled Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrines, published in 1898 and translated from German to English in 1902. The horse Rand was referring to was Immanuel Kant. She took Paulsen to be “a devoted Kantian” giving a fair reflection of Kant in this book, a modest commentator in comparison to the stature of the originator of the system that is transcendental idealism, but a philosopher parlaying Kant’s ideas in an exceptionally honest way. She took Paulsen’s Kantian views at late nineteenth century to illustrate what she took to be the fundamental cause—philosophic influence of Kant—of twentieth-century progress being, in her estimation, second-rate in comparison to what had been accomplished in the nineteenth century. Indeed, she took the Kant influence to be the reason one could no longer go to the theater and expect to find a great new play such as Cyrano de Bergerac (1897), rather, productions such as Hair or Grease. In the Preface of the second edition (1899) of Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine, Paulsen lamented that belief in ideas, such belief in ideas as Kant and Lessing had exhibited and imparted to the nineteenth century at its beginning, had “gradually given way to belief in the external forces and material goods that now dominate our life. Nevertheless, as in families the grandson may resemble the grandfather, so it may perhaps happen in history; perhaps the twentieth century will be more like the eighteenth than the nineteenth.” Not that Paulsen hoped for a revival of the intuitionistic formalism in ethical theory (Kant) of the eighteenth century. Alongside being a philosopher (metaphysics, knowledge, ethics) and historian of philosophy, Paulsen was a famous conservative educator and commentator on current affairs in Germany. He saw at the turn into the new century a “general breakdown of traditional patterns of authority and respect” (Aschheim 1992, 37). That was why, according to Paulsen, the youth were so attracted to Nietzsche. Rand was correct in her essay when she described Paulsen as an admirer of Kant, but she erred in taking Paulsen to be a Kantian. Neither was he a post-Kantian, which anyway is too revisionary of Kant to pass off as genuinely Kantian. No, the correct classification of Paulsen would be post-idealist, meaning following on the entire load of German Idealism. Paulsen had been a grad student under Trendelenburg, a major late German-Idealist. A few months after Paulsen’s death, Frank Thilly, composed a review essay titled “Friedrich Paulsen’s Ethical Work and Influence” (1907). Thilly had been the graduate student of Kuno Fischer and Friedrich Paulsen. Thilly had translated Paulsen’s most important philosophical work A System of Ethics (1889) into English in 1899. That is, Thilly translated the first three of the four books constituting that work. Those three books come to over 700 pages. Paulsen’s critique of Kant’s duty-consumed and a-prioristic-intuitionalistic ethics runs to 13 pages; it is not different than the critique Rand and others would make across the decades since then. The ethical views that Paulsen himself espouses are not Kantian. In her essay, Rand did not seem aware that in Paulsen’s view it is the effects of an act that make it right or wrong, contra Kant. Then too, Paulsen rejected hedonism. It is life, not pleasure that is the ultimate good. The proper end of the will is action, not feeling. The highest good of human life is its objective content, including perfection of psychical powers and including pleasure (Thilly 1909, 146). “The highest good for man, that upon which his will is finally directed, is a complete human life; that is, a life that leads to the full development and exercise of all capacities and endowments, particularly the highest, the mental and moral capacities of the rational personality” (quoted in Thilly 1909, 146–47). The highest good “consists in the perfect development and exercise of life” (Paulsen 1889, 251). “In the moral sphere, every excellence or virtue [positive ones, not absences of wrong] is an organ of the whole, and at the same time forms a part of life; it is therefore, like the whole, an end in itself” (Paulsen 1889, 276). This is like Rand in seeing the individual whole life as an end in itself, but differs from Rand in giving virtue (the positive ones) not only a means-value, but an end-in-itself-value on account of being not only in a relation of service to the living whole, but in a relation of part in the constitution of the living whole. Similarly, Paulsen takes the individual life as part of the sphere of civilization and nonetheless as an end in itself. Paulsen recasts certain aspects of the ethics of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer partly from variance with them on ordinary manifest human nature, but also by explaining those aspects in terms of the modern theory of evolution, which was not available for assimilation into those systems of metaphysics or ethics. The metaphysics on which Paulsen rests his ethical theory contains a teleological element, expansive in the way of Aristotle, not rightly confined to the realm of life, which was the confinement Rand gave to teleology in her golden insight. The take of Paulsen and many other intellectuals in the late nineteenth century was that the process of evolutions was teleological, rather than rightly understanding that novel generation and natural selection explained the appearance of teleology at work in biological nature—apart from intentionality in we higher animals. In his book on Kant, the book about which Rand wrote, Paulsen devotes pages 324–33 to criticism of Kant’s ethics. The portions of this book of about 400 pages that Rand made use of in her essay were pages 1–6. Rand’s marginalia in Paulsen’s book, the marginalia published in Mayhew 1995 (40–46), span the first 143 pages of Paulsen’s book. It is only after that point of the book that Paulsen digs into the Critique of Pure Reason; the Prolegomena; Kant on traditional issues in metaphysics; Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science; Kant’s moral philosophy; and Kant’s theory of the law, the state, and religion. Rand used only those first few pages of Paulsen’s Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine. She was struck by his opening picture in which religion, philosophy, and science all bear truths of reality, that “the history of philosophy shows that its task consists simply in mediating between science and religion,” and that Kant had created a peace pact between science and religion. She was rightly appalled that science and religion or reason and feeling should be regarded as each having rightful claims to truth. She took Paulsen to be claiming, at the end of the nineteenth century, that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. Well, as a matter of fact, that was what I was learning from my Thomist philosophy professor in my first course in philosophy in 1967. It is nothing foreign to America or Europe to this day, pretty sure. Paulsen was certainly wrong in saying that the task of philosophy is “simply” mediating between science and religion, in his day, Kant’s, or ours, if the translation “simply” is intended to imply that that is the only function served by philosophy. Rand paints a picture in this essay (and in FNI) in which men were getting over the ancient split between mind and body and between morality and the physical world until Kant “revived” and steadied the split. Rand overcame the latter split by her theory of value in general and moral value in particular. She overcame, or anyway attempted to overcome, the former split by her metaphysics. The Kantian division of reason and faith, she alleges, “allows man’s reason to conquer the material world, but eliminates reason from the choice of the goals for which material achievement are used. Man’s goals, actions, choices and values—according to Kant—are to be determined irrationally, i.e., by faith” (79). Well, no, that is not Kant, and differently, not Paulsen either. Rand thought that the Kantian picture painted by Paulsen at the outset of this book, if typical of intellectuals at the end of the nineteenth century, surely would doom the twentieth century (to 1975) to what she saw as its declining achievements and to the century’s totalitarian states and the Holocaust. The outset-picture of Paulsen was not untypical among philosophers of Idealist stripe, though we should keep in mind that German Idealism (and its posts) was not the only major philosophy on the scene and the season of German Idealism was coming to an end. The conflict of faith and reason tearing apart integrated life and the award to faith the province of values continues to this day, as it did in the age of Copernicus. It did not and does not require the thoughts of Kant on it for its continuation. The Baptist University across town does not require Kant for continuing their faith-based rejection of the scientific account of the formation of the earth or of the biological evolution of our kind or of the separability of body and soul or of the other-worldly source of morals and home of the righteous. References Aschheim, S. E. 1992. The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany 1890–1990. California. Mayhew, R., editor, 1995. Ayn Rand’s Marginalia. Ayn Rand Institute Press. Paulsen, F. 1889. A System of Ethics. F. Thilly, translator. 1899. Charles Scribner’s Sons. ——. 1898. Immanuel Kant: His Life and Doctrine. J. E. Creighton and A. Lefevre, translators. 1902. Charles Scribner’s Sons. Rand, A. 1975. From the Horse’s Mouth. In Philosophy: Who Needs It. 1982. Signet. Thilly, F. 1909. Friedrich Paulsen’s Ethical Work and Influence. The International Journal of Ethics V19N2:10–55.
    2 points
  38. In the progression of knowledge, familiarity with what is right precedes the discovery of the concept of wrong. One of the roots of the concept "simulation" is the "what" that is being simulated. Unless you are going to embark on an infinite regress, ultimately a simulation of reality would have its foundation based on existence. Knowledge of reality is a prerequisite to ascertaining what you are dealing with is a facsimile. The skeptic has weight of the onus of proof on his shoulders.
    2 points
  39. It's not complete. In her late years, Rand was planning a theory of induction: Any kind of essay, book etc. is complete if it fully covers what the author intended to cover. It's his decision how in-depth that treatment is. A system is a collection of interconnected principles. It is not a theory, but it can contain any number of theories, completed or not. The system is the main work, and is distinct from any presentation it might receive in full books, short essays, spoken lectures and many more. With Objectivism, Rand was concerned with the essentials regarding five fundamental needs: the status of reality (mind-independent); proper cognition; survival; protection of individual rights; condensing our widest principles. Systems that cover this many branches are not commonplace in history. The system craze reached its peak in the 19th century. Everything in the universe is interconnected (and thus all knowledge). We can expand any subject we want until we exhaust it completely. This is obvious to anyone. Protestations for 'openness' are simply calls for such expansion. If you fiddle with the core ideas behind a worldview, you reach a different worldview (even if it's a close sibling of the original). According to my judgement, Kelley's corrections are not congruent with, and misinterpret, parts of Rand's system. When Fichte become involved in a scandal, Kant had to publicly repudiate his philosophy because Fichte kept suggesting that his own system was simply the Kantian system, with a few rough edges softened. (It wasn't).
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  40. System building rests on the assumption that reality is a closed system, i.e. that facts are aspects of a larger picture, and merging them will reveal that picture. An 'open system' is an oxymoron. The term 'open', when applied to a system, means that its application to various issues is open to options. For example, Objectivism advocates the primacy of existence. It is not open to views which rest necessarily on the primacy of consciousness. In this, and other issues regarding fundamentals, it's closed. In regard to its application to concrete cases, such as a romance, hobbies and political events, it allows for a variety of options and applications, which is why some disagreements are possible. In this, it is open. Hearsay is never conductive to any fruitful conclusion or discussion. Always go straight to the source. Relevant: Peikoff answers this question Ditto for Objectivism being 'built on the chassis' of Aristotle. That's false. Agreeing with someone on big issues is a completely separate issue from building a system on top of his system. On this matter, one resource I suggest is the course 'Objectivism Through Induction', available for free on the ARI website. There, Rand's methodology of system-building is explained.
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  41. I have neither seen The Shawshank Redemption nor read the book I understand it to be based on, so I will have to engage in guesswork based on your post. If he gets pleasure and satisfaction from seeing other inmates better themselves and knowing he played a crucial role in this, that could be benefit enough, especially when you consider the limitations on expenditure of time and effort imposed by the prison. This does seem like altruism, unless he got enough out of it to make it worth the punishment. If he values his friend enough to make this worthwhile for him, it is not altruism. *** If Andy Dufresne does a good job of living up to his principles and values, this speaks well for him, even if those principles and values are mistaken. In her very favorable introduction to Victor Hugo's Ninety-Three, Ayn Rand says the focus is not "What great values these men are fighting for" but "What greatness men are capable of when they fight for their values". The hero of Anthem initially intends his invention, at least consciously, as a gift to the society in which he lives. At one point he suffers a severe beating for not making it back in time from working on his invention. Only after his invention is rejected does he flee that society and discover full egoism.
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  42. I watched this chat, and these are the same "small potatoes" curtailments of individual liberties today relative to the giant curtailment, ever-growing today and for a long time in the US. And that really big one is not even mentioned, let alone put as the top-priority current policy issue here, just as in almost all media and voices of political leaders. I'm embarrassed to to have to state the obvious for an audience of this caliber: the greatest stab against individual liberty in America since 2001 (and many, many of the years before that) are federal budgets in the red. There is indeed something seriously undermining liberty here, and that is the governmental plundering of property in America. Your right to your property together with your rights over your body and your labor makes for much of what is your freedom. Every federal budget that is in the red is an acceleration of the taking of your property and your making of a life for yourself (ditto for posterity yet to be). This is the most import stab against liberty going on today. All the chatter on masks or which bathroom to go to or stopping illegal crossings of the Mexican border or the stopping my maple syrup at the Canadian border is small potatoes compared to our failure to get these deficit budgets stopped. It should be the top political issue you see gets talked about. In April 2017, with both chambers of Congress in the same Party as the White House, a federal budget in the red was passed. The leaders all congratulated themselves for compromising with the other Party. Was that comprise “I’ll cut this if you’ll cut that”? No. It was “I’ll agree to you raising that if you’ll agree to me raising this.” This is the serious issue on which voices should be sounding.
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  43. To The Laws of Biology and Monart, While I admire your attempt to reduce the concepts of Ayn Rand and Objectivism to as few words as possible, whether poetry, psalm, or song, I have to agree with the others, that is, Objectivism requires much mental gestation. Monart, you mentioned in your other post that you didn't exactly grasp Ayn Rand from the very beginning of your reading of Anthem. You understood more as you studied more. The crisis of our time may be reduced to the fact that people are not as introspective as you or I. Our society endures a deluge of information, evidenced by the continual assault from mass media, be it mainstream or social media. The message of most of the media is not helpful to mental health in a free society. For a society addicted to cell phones, it may be challenging enough to encourage people (especially young people) to set aside enough time to think of philosophic questions. Though some individuals may start their journey into Objecitivist enlightenment through your online posts, I believe the overwhelming majority will find their path as you did: friends sharing conversation, leading to the recommendation of a book or an author. Nonetheless, I wish for your success, as America and Western Civilization desperately need to be informed of Objectivism in a positive light.
    2 points
  44. I found Ayn Rand the way I did, only because I had escaped in 1956 from the tyranny and starvation of Maoist China (but at the cost of losing and forgetting my parents) to finally land in Canada in 1959, two years after Atlas Shrugged was published. I first read Ayn Rand in 1968 because of a school friend’s recommending Anthem, which I enjoyed but did not grasp its significance at the time. Then in 1971, while waiting to start a summer job, I read The Fountainhead because of an army friend’s reference to it, and I was so moved afterwards that I read Atlas Shrugged, and thus began a life-long study of all her works and my full commitment to Objectivism. At university, I changed my major from Astrophysics to Philosophy, with little regard for career prospects, because I saw that, no matter what, to understand Objectivism and philosophy was of supreme urgency to me. In classes, papers, and meetings, I argued with professors and students while ignoring somewhat the cost in grades. Rand’s heroic genius was that empowering and inspiring for me. By 1976, I arrived at a clear identification of my life-purpose, in the form of a succinct description of a romantic, philosophic vision of the future as being objectivist and astronautic, in an essay, “Project Starship”. https://www.academia.edu/67747715/Project_Starship Elaborating further, by 1985, I completed a thesis, Starship Astronuaut as Rational Egoist, https://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/2343which qualified me for a M.A. from the University of Calgary. A copy is also at https://www.academia.edu/40416024/Starship_Astronaut_As_Rational_Egoist_Ayn_Rand_s_Objectivist_Philosophy_Applied_to_Space_Civilization While earning needed income from various jobs, mostly in Quality Management for IT companies, and, along with my wife, helping to raise 2 children and 3 grandchildren – I continued to engage individuals in seeing the value of Objectivism and the starship vision. One outreach project in 2004 was commissioning and producing the music album, Concerto of Deliverance, created by John Mills-Cockell - http://www.starshipaurora.com/concertoofdeliverance.html in his unique interpretation of Rand’s statement of the music’s theme in Atlas Shrugged. I was last here at Objectivist Forum in 2004, when it was far from welcoming for me, but now, 18 years later, I'll see how it has changed. Currently, as part of my continuing role as a private objectivist philosopher, I am a Mentor for the Astraean Individualist Society https://www.astraeansociety.org/ a new outreach organization to attract individuals to Objectivism. So, for a most fortunate boy refugee that I was, born in 1950 in dark communist China, Rand’s sunlit, romantic, Objectivist world became my indomitable source of a lifetime of revitalization and self-improvement – a full and rich life that I firmly embrace and for which I feel a profound gratitude to the heroic Ayn Rand. The core and code she taught me I call Rand’s 4Rs: Reality. Reason. Rights. Romance. Reality exists. Reason knows. Rights protect. Romance loves. Reality is objective and absolute. Reason knows truth by sense and logic. Rights protect reason's goodness against force and fraud. Romance loves rights to life and its beauty. ------- A fuller statement is the attached philosophic-poetic precis, “Romance for Reason and Rights in Reality” Romance for Reason and Rights.pdf
    2 points
  45. William and Doug, Electromagnetic waves are not composed of electrons, but of photons. The former are fermions (which cannot be in the same state as another fermion, including particle location), whereas the latter are bosons (which can be in the same state with another boson, including particle location). E-M waves, including radio waves, are quantum waves. They can interfere which each other, as waves, and thereby degrade the ability of the carrier wave of radio broadcast to carry information. (Also, if I remember correctly, in cases of waves in matter, such as ripples on the surface of otherwise still water, interference of waves with each other [cancellation or other alteration of each other] is not essentially due to the impenetrability of molecules [fermions].) Of related interest: Energy Wave Theory
    2 points
  46. Dealing with radiation: Optimal Radiation Shielding of Astronauts on a Mission to Mars
    2 points
  47. I would suggest that instead of a brief, concentrated rite of passage, we need an ongoing process of pointing children in the right direction by precept and example. Bad ideas do a lot to hold people back from the conceptual level. As better ideas spread, we will get better results. To the extent that we also write and talk, we will help the process along.
    2 points
  48. To confuse risk of physical force with initiation of physical force is to confuse a potential with an actual. The whole mandatory vaccination position depends on a Parmenidean worldview in which all that exists is fully actual, combined with disregarding the need to obtain sufficient information to blame any one person for anything. It is the same fallacy employed by advocates of anti-immigration, gun control, and environmentalism. Thank you for helping to make that connection.
    2 points
  49. I also recently heard some more arguments: 1. There are other societies that had even more slavery like Haiti or Brazil that did not do as well as the United States in their economy. 2. To say there was zero labor cost is false. The "owners" had to give a minimum standard of living to have viable workers. That included lodging, food and southern government had to spend a lot to maintain the system i.e. catch runaways. This expense was constant 24 hours a day even when there was no "work" to be done. 3. The fact that the slave could not go looking for job meant the areas of the economy that needed the most labor could never attract the labor, therefore never achieving maximal efficiency. 4. Slavery in general serviced the wishes of the owner, as in the pyramids which were built by slaves, and pyramids don't do much for an economy.
    2 points
  50. Similar history here. I heard the story as gossip and found it too weird to believe, so I didn't until BB's book came out years later. The two published In Reply to Ayn Rand a and sent it to the Objectivist subscriber list. He said that what finally, irrevocably broke them up was his telling her that the age difference was "an insurmountable barrier to a romantic relationship". We took it to mean that she wanted to start it, not revive it. The text used to be at his website and perhaps in one of his books.
    2 points
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