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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. The political class is not capitalist. Just because someone has money doesn't mean they're capitalist. It is even possible for someone to earn money legitimately and still not be capitalist. They can be corrupted later, or as they go. (If they are not corrupted, I would not call them members of the political class. There is no "capitalist class.") The political class are criminals, like gangsters or bank robbers. They have the same psychology. They don't earn money by producing anything; they get it either by favors or by taxation or by just printing it. They regard productivity itself as a plum to be handed out, or a favor to be fought over; although they are willing to compete against each other, they do not want random people being productive and inventing new successful businesses in their garages (unless they can seize them, or buy them with printed money). They would rather have a few big businesses than thousands of little ones. (One of them said "I don't think we want people starting banks in their garages.") They want businesses to be awarded to people. They want to control who succeeds and who fails, so that they can ensure that they keep the successes among themselves and their friends. They do not want capitalism or freedom for anyone else ("You will own nothing and be happy"), just themselves, and maybe not really even that. They are trying to create the "state of ultimate inversion" that Ayn Rand warned about, where the people have to act by permission, but the government can do anything it pleases. That is fascism. Some of them claim to be supporters of Ayn Rand or freedom or capitalism but they are not selfish in the Ayn Rand sense. They have victims and (metaphorically speaking) they hide the bodies under layers and layers of bureaucracy. The political class likes to provoke crises and emergencies ("never let a crisis go to waste") because it gives them an excuse to seize political power and do end runs around mechanisms (such as due process) that are intended to protect individual rights, because, hey, it's an emergency! Even if they didn't originally provoke the war in Ukraine, they are acting to prolong it, because it is useful to them. The political class seeks to eradicate the rights of the West's citizens. They seek to have all the wealth for themselves. They would rather destroy wealth than not possess it, so Ayn Rand's observations that the mind is the root of wealth and that the mind only functions when free, are irrelevant to the political class. The never-ending "emergencies" are just one way for them to proceed. (Sensing that time is running out, they are trying to speed up the process.) The Covid lockdowns were the first large-scale example, but that didn't work. They've decided it's in their best interests to keep provoking Putin and to deliberately get rid of any possibility of a diplomatic solution. (Blinken was recently caught saying that the destruction of the Nordstream pipelines was a good thing...) This does not make Putin a good guy and I don't much care what happens to Putin in all this. What I do care about is the people of the West who are losing their rights (and, secondarily, their wealth) because of the self-appointed elites in charge of the bureaucracies of Western governments. (Douglas Adams was right when he said that the purpose of the President was not to wield power, but to attract attention away from it...) As far as I can tell the populist leaders who keep getting elected, like the Prime Minister of Italy, or Donald Trump, are derided because they are obstacles to the ongoing quest of the political class. Such populist politicians, if elected, are not always effective because all they (and almost all the people who voted for them) have is a sense of life and not an integrated philosophy. This can cause them to make stupid anti-freedom mistakes such as trying to ban "woke" books and the like. However, they are not integrated fascists; the political class are. And of course, as Ayn Rand herself observed, the mistakes of the defenders of capitalism make it easy to pick holes in their philosophical positions, and the holes, unfortunately, are very real. On the other hand, the political class has much bigger holes in their theories, and they are doomed to fail eventually. If they keep printing money, the currency will collapse. If they keep pursuing shortsighted environmentalist policies, they will destroy their own ability to produce energy (or win wars). If they keep pushing Putin, eventually Putin will be forced to react violently. The important questions are only how many victims the political class will take with them -- and what, if anything, will arise to take their place.
    2 points
  12. Famine and war versus more mean tweets. I'd pick the tweets every time. Trump was the only president in decades to have not started a new war or military intervention. Of course that was the main reason he had to go.
    2 points
  13. "I can't argue that Newton's Laws are not true because they are just generalizations that Newton made up..." (My point being that what you are saying could be applied to any argument whatever and therefore is a rejection of reasoning as such)
    2 points
  14. Well Done! Ken Danagger asks Dagny Taggart: Dr. Chris Sciabarra is ending his long labor of love The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. He produced the journal for 22 years, which means a total of 44 issues of the journal. I list here some tidbit teasers from the first 10 years of the journal. V1N1 “But something changes. At the end of the book, Roark is no longer a seemingly isolated young man, alone with his thoughts in the depths of the countryside. He is just as individual as he was at the beginning, but now he stands at the heart of his country’s economic life, building its most conspicuous symbol, with the glad permission of his fellow citizens. Of the many inversions of perspective and expectation that are suggested by Roark’s dive into the sky, this is one of the most remarkable.” –Stephen Cox V1N2 “Although both Andrei and Wynand are men guilty of their own tragedy, Rand presents their falls more as the logical outcome of their mistakes than as the just desert of their sins. As in the Aristotelian tradition of tragic ‘hamorita’, theirs is a type of transgression that must be distinguished from pure evil, making their fatal ends deserving of respectful pity rather than righteous condemnation.” –Kirsti Minsaas V2N1 “You can live any way you choose within a regime of well-drawn non-conflictng individual rights. But again, to know what those rights are, to better be able to shape them coordinately, to limit all but procedural distinctions, we require minarchy.” –Murray Franck V2N2 “The character may be embroiled in highly implausible situations, but he must still ‘live and breathe before us’ as an actual human being, with motivations we find at least intellibible, else we cannot empathize with the character or imaginatively share his fate. There is much more to it than this, and I am greatly condensing the account. But when I presented it once to Rand she agreed with it, and was pleased by my Aristotelianism on this issue.” –John Hospers V3N1 “The data the sensations provide us with must come from somewhere, and this somewhere cannot be, as on the Cartesian account, from the physical objects. On pain of rendering incomprehensible why we all largely agree in our empirical beliefs, something that the formal agreement in geometrical belief cannot suffice to explain, there must be some common data source. Given the Kantian account of the physical world, this data source must be supra-physical.” –R. Kevin Hill V3N2 “It isn’t just Rand who stumbled over the implicit. It gets under psychologists, feet, too.” –Robert L. Campbell V4N1 “Indeed, I would argue that we can see Rand’s epistemology as an updating of the project that Abelard pursued over 800 years ago.” –Peter Saint-Andre V4N2 “There is the marked disparity between her popularity as a novelist and the number of articles of literary criticism written about her work, though this too is not without precedent. It took some time for John Steinbeck to achieve recognition by certain sectors of the critical establishment. His work was disdained for its popularity, sentimentality, and the fact that it is accessible even to high school students.” –Mimi Reisel Gladstein V5N1 “Considerations of self-esteem and self-esteem-based happiness THEMSELVES do not provide an agent with a reason that makes the difference in how he should act.” –Eric Mack V5N2 “Rand’s measurement-omission analysis of concepts could be correct even if her account of their genesis were incorrect.” –Stephen Boydstun V6N1 “Dr. Stadler’s complaint that he almost froze to death and numerous references to city-dwellers exposed to the elements for the first time in their lives [also] describe the first winters of Communist rule.” --Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal V6N2 “I find it tempting to believe that we can gain knowledge through the faculty of reason both in an a priori way and from experience. . . . These two ways could work together.” --Richard C. B. Johnsson V7N1 “Rand’s trader principle does not suffer from the problems of [Adam] Smith’s invisible hand principle because she explicitly grounds her defense of trade in an individual’s right to exist for his or her own sake. . . . I do not sacrifice my interests for your sake, and you do not sacrifice your interests for my sake.” --Robert White V7N2 “If you want a deconstructionist, go to the English Department. Philosophy departments in Anglophone countries are still predominantly homes for linguistic and logical analysis, the whole tone and tenor of which are very much in opposition to subjectivist nihilism. In fact, analytic philosophy of all styles began in self-conscious opposition to such German gobbledlygook.” --Max Hocutt V8N1 “That worry is precisely the worry that being unmarried ISN’T a necessary property of anything, prior to and apart from the convention in question. . . . It’s only qua bachelors that those entities are necessarily unmarried, and the worry is that what it is to be something qua bachelor is an artifact of the convention, not a fact about the world. / I believe this worry can be met, but that the way to meet it is to show that it can arise only from OUTSIDE the linguistic practice in question, and cannot coherently be raised from within it. No one who assents to the proposition that bachelors are necessarily unmarried (thereby participating in the practice) can consistently add “oh, but that’s not a fact about the world.” --Roderick T. Long V8N2 “To be fair, Objectivists do not deny the existence and importance of ‘spiritual’ qualities. Objectivists argue strongly against any sort of reductive materialism such as behaviorism or eliminativism. But, for Objectivists, material entities are the ultimate reality and conscious beings somehow supervene upon this underlying reality. Thus, the existence of any sort of supernatural entity, such as God, is ruled out.” --Stephen E. Parrish V9N1 “A human being is a coherent unity of mind and body, yet this way of stating the fact still leaves ‘mind’ and ‘body’ conceptually separate. The concept ORGANISM conceptually integrates these two facets of human nature in a graceful and unit-economical way.” --Andrew Schwartz V9N2 “Both see rationality as our distinctive means of avoiding threats and securing our survival, given our animal vulnerabilities. However, where MacIntyre diverges from Rand is in relation to the implications of this in respect of our ongoing dependence on others.” --Ron Beadle V10N1 “We do not believe there are untethered and dispositionless will acts made in complete freedom of antecedent conditions. . . . We endeavored to use notions of self-direction in ‘common-sense’ ways not packed with a lot of philosophical baggage, because we believed that ordinary usage (say, ordinary common law usage of choice and intent) were sufficient to complete the political argument.” --Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen V10N2 “He [Nietzsche] insists, as she does, that it is absurd to live for the sake of the collective (i.e., what he calls ‘’the majority’), but the reason he gives is not the one that she would give. Her reason would be that it is absurd to live FOR ANYONE [who is not oneself]. The answer he gives is the aristocratic one, that one should live for the best and the rarest. Even here, though, his position still overlaps with hers IN A WAY: for what he is saying here can be captured by a phrase that Rand sometimes applies to herself, namely, hero-worship. Nietzsche’s aristocratic hero-worship I think is the key to understanding the collectivist-sounding language in . . . .” --Lester Hunt
    2 points
  15. Spherical Gear – Active Ball Joint
    2 points
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. No, I have never denounced Tony. Where do you get this?
    2 points
  19. Whenever the fetus has become capable of sustained survival outside the womb with or without artificial support, it is a living being worthy of adult protections and support (far beyond such worthiness of one's dog, for example). And adults willing to step up and provide that protection and support should have a right against interference with their project by other adults. As to when an infant or child becomes a person, that is a gradual process. We usually and correctly think of individual rights as belonging to (obtaining between) autonomous human persons and sourced in such personhood. In abortion rights and child rights, the question all along the way is not about rights of the little one not yet autonomous, but about rights of various adults concerning protection and support of the particular little one at all stages of development. Persons not the mother don't have a proper right to control the pregnancy until the fetus is capable of sustained life outside the womb with or without artificial support. It is only then that support-projects by persons not the mother can get underway without impressing the mother into service of their project. In other words, when does the fetus/infant become a person has always been a faulty and distracting way of looking at the rights that are actually in play over Law concerning abortion. Rights between various adults are the whole story.
    2 points
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. Another possible description is "sacrificing others". This gets at a key confusion in popular concepts of "selfishness".
    2 points
  24. So quickly a discussion of politics loses all sense of principle. Getting it wrong on either end violates rights of one or more humans, and the most important rights. Getting it right for those persons is more important than any amount of personal political posturing of any kind.
    2 points
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. "Whenever you committed the evil of refusing to think and to see, of exempting from the absolute of reality some one small wish of yours, whenever you chose to say: Let me withdraw from the judgment of reason the cookies I stole, or the existence of God, let me have my one irrational whim and I will be a man of reason about all else—that was the act of subverting you consciousness, the act of corrupting your mind. Your mind then became a fixed jury who takes orders from a secret underworld, whose verdict distorts the evidence to fit an absolute it dares not touch—and a censored reality where the bits you chose to see are floating among the chasms of those you didn't, held together by that embalming fluid of mind which is an emotion exempted from thought." (Rand 1957, 1037 [1st ed. hb.]) Rand here argues for constant rational moral principles by claims about human psychology, about bad results for the mind that crosses moral principles once in a while. This is opposite the sort of argument she makes for her principles of metaphysics: she does not argue that Existence is identity (if no identity of a thing, then no such thing) by observing that incoherence in the mind will result if that principle is not so. She points to examples of identity-delimitations, examples from various categories of existents, and generalizes to all existence, and then she defends the generality by showing* contradiction in any denial of the generalized principle. I think it is fair for Rand to shift strategy for moral principles as distinct from metaphysical principles. Appealing to effects of decisions on the mind of the agent seems fine in thinking about moral principles. Human beings have a general nature, which is pertinent in every human act. Of course, claims about what that general nature is need to be substantiated to support a thoroughly sound argument for constant rational moral principles. * Rand did not execute much of this showing, but a few years ago, I did some of it for her. Every entity is of some kinds that are exclusive relative to other kinds of entity. Let me argue this thesis for Rand. That is, let me argue the axiomatic standing of “existence is identity,” where the existents are entities and the identity is kind-identity. All entities are of some exclusive kinds—a leaf cannot be a stone at the same time—and this postulate must be accepted on pain of self-contradiction. Suppose an entity exists and is not of any kind that excludes it being any other kinds. If the supposed entity is nothing but existence itself, then there is no contradiction; one is simply talking about existence as a whole. So suppose an entity exists and is not of any kind that excludes it being other kinds and is not existence as a whole. Then the supposed entity could be one with any other entities that are of exclusive kinds (just as a leaf that is a drain clogger could be one with a leaf that is dead, maple, and wet). For it is not an entity of any kind excluding it being other kinds. But to say that an entity is not of any exclusive kind and that it is one and the same with another entity that is of some exclusive kind(s) is a contradiction. (Non-A is A.) Indeed, if some entity were not of any exclusive kind, then it could be one with the person who supposes such an entity. Then to suppose an entity that is not of any exclusive kind is to suppose that one’s person could be an entity not of some exclusive kinds. (If A is identically B, then B is identically A.) But that supposition contradicts the presupposition that one is of the exclusive kind person, a person who makes the (errant) supposition. (Cf. Aristotle’s Metaphysics 1007b19–1008a28.) My argument is supposing that particular, numerical identity is admitted by both disputants, while specific identity is the identity at issue. But that seems a fair supposition.
    2 points
  29. Not at all, Putin's propaganda. A prescient speech delivered in 2015.
    2 points
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. What are your grounds for this accusation?
    2 points
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. A few things to keep in mind as pertinent to the discussion, either as limiting or informing factors to consider: 1. Metaphysical status of the "individual" versus metaphysical status of a "society" or "collective" (just a group of those individuals). 2. The distinction between the metaphysically given and the manmade, more precisely, "free-will" of the individual (the way things are in current or past societies are manmade in the sense that they were/are chosen). 3. Natural philosophy or special sciences (e.g. economics, social sciences) properly deal with what IS, i.e. description, Ethics and insofar as Politics derives from it, and as a branch of Philosophy, is an investigation into "prescription", what should one do (Ethics), or what kind of society (its nature, attributes and properties) one should try to bring about to live in (Politics), given the nature of Man, the metaphysical significance of the individual, and in consequence of free-will and Ethics (objective morality). Politics as a branch of philosophy and not special sciences, although informed with descrive knowledges, is itself prescriptive.
    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. Proving, entirely from consciousness, that there is a world outside of consciousness, is not as straightforward as other philosophical issues. This is because the arguments for the primacy of consciousness do not always immediately strike rational people as unjustified, even if they hold the opposite view. In such cases, analysing those claims can help us grasp exactly where the uncertainty about 'direct perception' comes from, and why it occurs. In ITOE, Chapter 6, Rand mentions: In other words, consciousness is a specific instance of seeing, tasting, feeling something. An awareness-as-such is the same as 'feeling without feeling'. With that in mind, we can explore various statements that occur in arguments for the primacy of mind. ______________ Table of Contents: 1. Awareness of sense objects 2. I am the Seer 3. A consciousness independent of the brain 4. Why is there qualia? 5. I am consciousness 6. Reality is hallucinated 7. Consciousness is not a thing 8. Time is ideal, not real 9. Space is ideal, not real 10. Free will is an illusion 11. The self is an illusion 12. Matter must be formed by Universals 13. Hegelian coherentism 14. Mind-independent causality = no free will 15. Why are things the way they are? ______________ 1. I am aware of sense objects. Not true. The sensory field is not located outside of the sensory field, waving at us from the next room. Awareness is the sensory field. 2. I am the Seer. In eastern philosophy, this means: do not identify with what you perceive (the embodied person of a certain sex, age) and instead recognize yourself as the Eye who is seeing, perceiving that person from afar. Here, awareness (the Seer) and the sensory field (the seeing of an embodied man) are separated like previously. They are, in fact, not separate. Note that this applies even to states of consciousness where sensory awareness is suspended, or minimal. In such cases, the Yogic sense of 'I am' or 'am-ness' is the relevant instance of consciousness. 3. Why does consciousness need to be connected to a brain or a man? Can't instances of it simply exist independently of some other agent? Whatever exists, is what it is (lawful). It doesn't matter whether it's made of matter, energy, or neither. Sensory experience is not less real than the brain's electric signals and synapse firing. Normally, we can point out that actions are the actions of entities, such as the rolling of a ball, or the waving of a hand. But here, we are not connecting an object with its motions. We are linking two kinds of motion: the motions of the brain, and the motions of sense data (colors, tastes etc.) However, consciousness cannot create an instance of seeing color, because consciousness is that instance of seeing color. A perception that already is, needs not create, because it is itself the product of some external condition. 4. Biological organisms can pick up data, and act on it, without an accompanying sensation, such as pain or sound (qualia). So what's the point of having any sensation at all? Humans have a limited alphabet of sensations, which are arranged into various combinations to 'tag' received information, the same way concepts tag percepts, and letter-combinations tag concepts. This allows the mind to store information, and locate it, by means of its specific 'qualia-combination'. It also enables it to link certain qualia-codes to other information, such as 'danger'. Without memory, an organism cannot combine pieces of information to expand the range of its awareness. 5. I am consciousness The argument states that a good life would be irrelevant if we didn't experience it. Therefore, we can say that we are not the material body, we are consciousness - the experiencing of this raspberry, or of this mountain hike. Except, 'I am the experiencing of this raspberry' is not true. The correct statement is: 'the experiencing of this raspberry, is the experiencing of this raspberry' (A=A) Awareness is a specific instance of awareness, not an independent entity which takes the form of all experiences, like water takes the form of snow, vapor and ice. The closest referent to a concept of 'awareness as such' is not an instance of experiencing, but the totality of existents and processes that lead to consciousness. 6. What if what we perceive is all a hallucination, like in the Matrix? Are we a brain in vat? This argument assumes the existence of brains, vats, and Matrix techology, even though we got this belief from our (possibly hallucinatory) perception. Philosophy can show that the base of cognition (sense perception and its corresponding axiomatic concepts) grounds all arguments - and so, no arguments can be made through cognition against cognition. This puts the question outside of philosophy, and within the onus of proof. 7. Consciousness is not a thing; all things are its perceptions. It's not subject to time and space. Time and space are notions of consciousness. Consciousness cannot create its own instances of sense perception, such as that of a color, thing, or space-time notion. Put differently, it can't create its own self. The reason is covered in point 3. Note that 'consciousness is not a thing' assumes that it is, in fact, a thing: 'the identity of X is not this, but that'. 8. Motion is actually a sequential view of an unmoving thing, hence Time is an illusion. No, relating a sequence of mental pictures mistakenly implies that the pictures are outside of awareness, and you are relating them from afar. We grasp motion directly. If you study a painting sequentially, it does not follow that you've seen a movie. An unmoving consciousness is a consciousness that does not grasp (move), i.e. not consciousness. 9. Space is a perspective on a non-spacial thing. In awareness, separate perspectives on that thing, are spread out like photos in a collage, making it seem as if there are many things. Space is just a snapshot's position relative to the other within the totality of the sensory field. We do not spacially relate the contents of perception, because that implies that the objects of perception are situated outside perception. We relate actual positions of objects, by means of direct perception. 10. If the source of consciousness is not within itself, how do you prove that your brain isn't tricking you into believing that your choices are free? Proof means: 'self-verify the properness of your argumenting'. The ability to do so is presupposed by all proof demands, i.e. is already accepted by the question. 11. By introspection I only see various sense data, thoughts, feelings. I see no self. The self is a superstition. Various brain processes work in concert to give rise to the unitary experience of self, but that self has no referent in reality. (An instance of seeing color, does not act. It is the act of some existent.) The existent which performs judgements, chooses values, and is aware of doing it, is a self. Existents which perform action, but are not aware of it, are not a self. Involuntary processes - such as sense data, feelings, and the sense of being/existing - are not a self. If that which acts and is aware of it (the self), stops being aware that it is acting, then it is no longer a self. 12. Is something that is continually renewing itself, or changing, the same thing throughout? That's not possible unless that object is a concept whose elements self-organize to bring that concept into existence. Changes are undergone by entities. If a ship changes, e.g. gets slightly damaged, then it is the same ship. If the ship is completely pulverized, its components no longer form a ship, but a dust pile. If part of a ship is changed, then the ship is partially not the same. If all of its parts are changed, then it is a completely different ship. If a kidney is renewing itself, then it is the same kidney. If that kidney is replaced with another kidney, then it is obviously not the same kidney. One can't describe reality in terms of disembodied universals. For example, If things are what they are because of an Universal of Identity, it means that the Universal in question can be what it is without the legislation of a second Universal of Identity. Platonic universals disprove themselves. Universals are epistemological (see Rand's ITOE). Natural laws, and categories such as 'potentiality', are not independent existents which legislate things. E.g. 'potentiality' is an identification of what things can do in a specific situation. 13. Aren't the 'categories' (being, becoming, quality, quantity etc.) merely the same category viewed from less or more comprehensive viewpoints? Knowledge is indeed hierarchical, since it is relational. Understanding the concept 'life', for instance, is rooted in concepts such as: existence, alternative, goal-directedness. However, concepts condense percepts. When we think a concept, we involuntarily need to recall the percept for which it stands. This is especially true of abstract concepts, like 'relation', because one can only grasp them by observing things acting - using that as a 'perceptual aid' to hold the meaning of such abstractions in mind. (Concepts, also, cannot be recalled without a concrete perceptual code, such as spoken or writen word.) One can only go from categories like 'quality' to 'quantity' if he already holds perceptual knowledge. Considering concepts in their 'pure' form is akin to reaching 'xxq, from yqz, because qqw'. 14. Causality disproves free will. Freedom requires a mind-first universe. Causality means that how a thing is, affects how it acts. Biological structures act in a goal-directed fashion. Rocks act with no goal directedness. Goal-directed organisms are made out of particles which are not capable of goal-directedness. Consciousness is enabled by neurons which are not capable of consciousness. Free will results from structures of elements which are not capable of free will. The cause of human action is motives. One's legs do not randomly start walking by themselves, without their owner's volition, i.e. without an intention motivated by a goal (such as reaching the refridgerator). Man can question his motives. He is forced by nature to make a choice between grasping reality clearly (conceptually), in honest fashion, or not. He can choose either, but cannot choose not to choose. Free will, like everything, is an instance of the law of identity. 15. Why are emergent properties, as described in the previous point, possible? This is akin to asking why the universe exists, or why do things move. There is no why. Causes are rooted in entities. Entities are not rooted in disembodied causes. Philosophy describes what is. What is, is.
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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. 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.
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  45. 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
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  46. 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
  47. Here is another to complement the Barber: Korngold Violin Concerto
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  48. I had never gotten around to reading Ronald Merrill’s original The Ideas of Ayn Rand until now, in parallel with Marsha Enright’s expanded version Ayn Rand Explained. Enright has expanded Ideas considerably in Explained, beyond the three new chapters. For example, Merrill wrote in Ideas: “Rand’s predilection for paradox and her pleasure in surprising and shocking the reader probably owed much to the influence of O. Henry and Oscar Wilde.” That statement, its paragraph, and its section remain in Explained. But the element of paradox and six others (mostly additional to those remarked by Merrill) in Rand’s literature receive fresh and delightful notice and discussion from Enright. One of the hazards Nathaniel Branden had attended to in “The Benefits and Hazards of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy” (1984) is perhaps more a psychological hazard than a philosophical one: repression.* As I mentioned in another thread,* his lectures The Basic Principles of Objectivism, as transcribed in The Vision of Ayn Rand, contain much more psychology than does Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. As readers here know, Branden published quite a bit of psychology in The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist. In recent years, he has allowed that the psychology he propounded then as well as his later corrections and extensions to it are not part of the philosophy of Objectivism, and he has acknowledged that Peikoff’s OPAR is an accurate representation of Rand’s philosophy. The divide between philosophical psychology (as my Thomist first philosophy professor called it) and what we call cognitive psychology* or therapeutic psychology* is not sharp. For example, Rand would not have gotten far in posing her view of the nature and role of reason in human life without saying things about the nature of perception and emotions and their relations with reason. Theory of perception and emotions at some level of outline has to be part of a philosophy such as hers. Moreover, emotional dynamics figure into film, such as Love Letters,* and novels, such as Fountainhead and Atlas. It is in connection with Rand’s literature that Branden came to see a hazard in the “philosophy” of Ayn Rand. He wrote: No such lesson took on me as a young person reading those books. In Fountainhead again and again Roark is shown to be the character not evasive about himself, the character most not evasive about himself. In Atlas Dagny, Rearden, and Galt are shown as kin of Roark in that respect. Rand was no Doris Lessing when it came to space devoted to self-reflection in characters. Lessing is no Rand when it comes to space devoted to the glory of sustained productive achievement. The two authors had different aspects of human existence, both of them important, that they especially wanted to embroidery. The view that Rand’s protagonists are emotionally and introspectively inept has become a cliché. It was a pleasant surprise to find that in Ayn Rand Explained that cliché is challenged. This work counters that image, specifically with respect to Branden’s contentions about emotions and repression as portrayed in Atlas (pp. 120–25 in Explained; 79–84 in Ideas).
    2 points
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