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  1. >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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. "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
  5. 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
  6. A virus is an element of nature and an inherent risk of life on Earth, not a weapon that an infected person goes around assaulting people with. If you don’t have symptoms, haven’t tested positive, or knowingly been exposed to an infected person, it’s rational to assume you’re not infected and go about your business. You can’t live if you have to assume you are infected with a deadly virus. Each individual’s health and safety is his own responsibility. The onus to stay home and/or get vaccinated is on those who are at risk. Every medical treatment has benefits and risks. If you fear the risks of vaccination more than you fear the virus, you have an absolute right not to get vaccinated. No one has a duty to sacrifice himself by accepting potential bodily harm for the sake of protecting others. The ardent anti-vaxxer’s assessment of the risks might be incorrect, but it’s his judgment, and he has a right to act on it, even if others disagree.
    3 points
  7. In The Prince, Machiavelli speaks of how a ruler who needs to do something unpopular can simply get one of his subordinates to do it for him, and then, if worst comes to worst, he can not only deny responsibility, but make a public spectacle of punishing the subordinate. A government can not only use that to wield "unpopular" powers, but also powers that it is not supposed to have in the first place. In the United States, censorship is one of these powers -- and the subordinate in this case is the "privately owned" corporations, who "volunteer" to be subordinates because they have to, because the government wields various carrots and sticks. The government has figured out a way to get the practical effects of censorship while not doing it itself, thus having plausible deniability. This depends on allowing a few big corporations to have their hands in almost all speech -- and then the government "delegates" the power of censorship to them. I think it's actually is proper to call this "censorship," because, when it comes down to it, it is the ruling regime doing it -- indirectly. The corporations aren't really doing it of their own free will. If somebody puts a gun to your head and makes demands, then whether you agree with the demands or not doesn't really make any difference -- although the gunman might tell you that things will go better for you if it seems that you do agree. But it's a little different when the gunman is the government: people who really do agree might not mind the gun at their heads, because they figure, "the bullets in that gun are for other people, people who disagree... but I agree, I co-operate, so I don't have to worry about it." When the corporations become unpopular, the government can make a big spectacle of "trust-busting," and the showmanship on this has actually already begun -- but you'll find in the end that, even if the government theatrically breaks these companies up, it won't make any practical difference. A few new rules will be announced, nobody will go to jail, and if you end up with two or three Facebooks or whatever, they will all toe the same line. In a free market, companies would compete for people's business, and a company that started banning people for their political views would simply drive those people into the arms of the competition. A company in a free market wouldn't ban people for political reasons, because it's suicidal.** So why are companies doing it? Because they're confident that there is no competition for those people to go to. Why are they so confident? Because the government is guaranteeing it. We don't have a free market. Trump has failed to grasp the nature of this problem and thus is proposing incorrect solutions. However, once again we see some people claiming that there isn't really a problem at all, and that if people are being kicked out of the public sphere for their political views, it's just "the free market at work." That isn't true either. (Some Republicans are doing one other thing wrong -- when they see the power being wielded, they don't want to eliminate that power, they want to take it over for their own use. That's not right, either: some powers cannot be used for good, at least, if good is defined as "promoting human survival.") Over the decades, there have been a lot of people complaining, rightly, about smaller "public-private partnerships" than these, and how such partnerships somehow manage to wield government powers while simultaneously not being subject to any constitutional restrictions because "they aren't part of the government, they're privately owned." Well, now we're coming to the culmination of the trend: companies and government are, for all practical purposes, just aspects of the same thing. To save the free market we need to separate these things: the only ultimate solution to this censorship problem is a separation of state and economics, which would include the elimination of all of these powerful regulatory agencies, so that the regime has no way of compelling compliance with its censorship desires. ** This sentence isn't correct as worded. A magazine publisher, for example, is not "suicidal" if he only accepts certain kinds of articles for his magazine. A phone company, on the other hand, would be "suicidal" if it tapped in on people's calls and cancelled their service over their views.
    3 points
  8. *** 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.
    2 points
  9. No Tad, you're completely wrong, and making the exact same mistakes in your evaluation that most of the world made before the invasion when they thought Putin was just being "clever" but was too "smart" to actually do it. I predicted with near certainty that he would for many many reasons and that it would only be his first stop. He has his sights set on at least the majority of Eastern Europe and WILL use ALL means at his disposal to achieve that goal or destroy the entire world trying to achieve it. Putin is Hitler with the largest nuclear arsenal in existence.
    2 points
  10. This one's from RT, definitely has to be "Putin's propaganda" ... (as opposed to overwhelming western, war mongering propaganda) https://www.rt.com/news/555356-hatred-russia-mcdonalds-us/
    2 points
  11. Not at all, Putin's propaganda. A prescient speech delivered in 2015.
    2 points
  12. 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
  13. >it's only FOX News That's a mistake. FOX (as well as its conservative competitor, Newsmax) is controlled opposition: it's permitted by its sponsors to criticize certain things, but not to criticize -- or even mention -- other things. Examples: a year ago, Newt Gingrich was a guest being interviewed by commentator Harris Faulkner. When Newt started to mention the funding by George Soros of local Attorneys General who were radical lefties, Faulkner cut him off and told him that "we're not going to talk about Soros..." At first Newt laughed, thinking this was some sort of joke, but then he realized that FOX was simply censoring his statements: he was not permitted to mention the name "George Soros". More recently, Catherine Engelbrecht, a founding member of True-the-Vote (investigating the fraud of the 2020 presidential election) was on Tucker Carlson's show. She was told by Carlson before the show not to mention Dinesh D'Souza's recent documentary on the fraud, titled "2000 Mules", which used cell-phone tracking data to track thousands of ballot-harvesters ("mules") who went back and forth to ballot drop-boxes in many states, and then picked up more ballots (with names of dead people on them, or names of out-of-state people), to drop them into the ballot drop boxes. The documentary also tracks them going to various NGO headquarters where they picked up the ballots and were paid per ballot. FOX and Newsmax have stated publicly that they will not air the documentary or even mention it. As stated earlier, both FOX and Newsmax receive millions of dollars in sponsorship from Big Pharma (mainly Pfizer, it appears) and thus will not honestly criticize the so-called "vaccines." In that sense, FOX and Newsmax are no different from CNN and MSNBC. The only way to watch these venues "objectively" is to start from the assumption that they are presenting propaganda promoting someone's interests that are most likely not your interests. Wake up.
    2 points
  14. What point are you trying to make? Why are you spending time on stupid and uninformed people? I just find it curious when people opt for self-mutilation rather than something interesting and productive even in their own eyes.
    2 points
  15. 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
  16. EF, as a student of aesthetics, my research regularly leads me to thinkers like Schelling and Whitehead, which see nature as a living organism or super-subject, contra the so-called mechanistic or lifeless view. Since I'm using the base of Objectivism to ground my thinking about subjects such as art, beauty and personal freedom, I always find myself thinking about how those who hold the view of nature-as-living would react to arguments about the primacy of existence, the derivation of concepts from percepts, and so on. I can't pinpoint your overall worldview yet, but so far there seem to be some themes. You do seem to believe there is a world out there, albeit you claim that the sensations which reach you are integrated by an act of thinking, which was the fashionable view in Kantianism, but not much in line with the current science. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant claims that the manifold of mental contents must be seen as belonging to one single subject (my consciousness), that this necessitates distinguishing between what is subjective and what is objective in experience, and that this in turn depends on representing what is objective (from out there) according to rules which belong to the objects and not to your will: causality etc. You also mention the double-slit experiement, which allegedly shows that consciousness affects the world in some way, and in another thread on this forum you mention a disagreement with a purely 'undirected' emergence of life. This would be more in line with a consciousness-first view, such as the one in the OP. I am asking out of curiosity if you can describe your view in some essentials, especially: if the universe emerges out of a consciousness; or if a Nature-as-intelligence gives rise to all particles, chemistry, life and consciousness as it gropes (consciously or unconsciously) for some end goal, like self-consciousness. It could also be that, for you, nature is an objective absolute, but it simply can't be known through perception, and for instance, the double-slit experiment is merely true for how things apppear to your mind and not indicative of some fact about nature. In your opinion, does your view solve some inadequacies or 'evil' implications of materialism, biological evolution or Aristotelianism? If there are some books on your worldview (it could be that it's actually an original view of yours), they might be of interest to future readers of this thread. It is a monumentally important topic, since all forms of departing from the existence-as-absolute view depend on showing that some ideas are innate or created by the mind, independent of perception.
    2 points
  17. No, you never understood or answered my question. What are your grounds for saying the "Azov Regiment" or "Azov Battalion" runs the government there? What are your grounds for saying President Zelensky is a puppet?
    2 points
  18. What are your grounds for this accusation?
    2 points
  19. LB, Rand's point is that whatever out-of-context desire, drive or motive the subconscious spits out, it will always get overwriten during the process of raising one's awareness of the situation at hand, and noticing that the 'drive' will prevent you from getting something you want. It's in this sense that mystic impulses and subconscious drives are basically the same principle. Rand was a pretty good psychologist, going by the testimony of close associates that were helped by her. 'The Romantic Manifesto' is chock full of examples of how one's childhood events, way of thinking and other factors influence one's psychology. Except, she thought that one can identify the source of one's mental disposition through meticulous introspection.
    2 points
  20. I mean if we're going by Rand's honesty, that isn't even what she says honesty is. The pivotal feature of Rand's egoistic honesty versus the conventional account is one's relationship to facts, not to the beliefs of others. Independence can be contrasted with dependency, but the moral 'pull' of independence comes from the responsibility one has to oneself. Justice, in common parlance we often speak of resiliency in terms of not being unfair to too harsh or unjust to oneself. Rationality is often a cooperative enterprise and is inherently connected with language use, productivity without others to trade with is impossible, and pride often deals with commitment to one's moral conduct in the face of criticism or disapproval from others, as well as giving and receiving honor from others. Integrity deals with congruence with one's words and behavior, which far from being a redundancy with "be virtuous" is a sharpening of the focus on something that comes up almost every day in life. There are a lot more aspects to the virtues from different angles than are accounted for here. It's not easy to just put ones "founded in ethics" over in this basket, or "requiring others" in that basket. If by ethics we mean anything pertaining to our character, then they are all for that. If living well requires others, then they are all for that as well. Rather it seems they all interpenetrate in both individualizing and social ways (as one would expect who knows what logikon and politikon point towards.) We are left asking again, "what was the need for this distinction?" "What problem is it solving?" We may as well divide the virtues into those with even amount of letters and those with odd, or those over six letters long and those under.
    2 points
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. ~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
  26. 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
  27. 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).
    2 points
  28. 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.
    2 points
  29. 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.
    2 points
  30. 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.
    2 points
  31. I want to reference the beginning of an article called "Lisp as the Maxwell's Equations of Software," where the professor of a class on electromagnetism (quoted by the author of the article) presents Maxwell's Equations, and then says: The article then quotes Alan Kay, saying that John McCarthy's Lisp interpreter, itself written in Lisp, is like "Maxwell's Equations of Software." Sometimes I've wondered if it's possible to create the "Maxwell's Equations of Objectivism," which would sum up everything about Objectivism in a very small space, like on an index card. I'm not sure it's possible. Even if it is possible to sum things up that way, the resulting situation is probably just like the one the electromagnetism professor described for electromagnetism: understanding the summary might be easy, but understanding all the consequences of the summary would be another matter. — Sometimes I think this one would be sufficient: "Existence is Identity; Consciousness is Identification." This statement sums up the proper relationship between existence and consciousness, and I suspect that if Objectivism were lost, this statement alone might be enough to enable it to be rediscovered. (Or maybe more is needed.) The consequences that need to be understood, however, are not merely the consequences of that statement alone, but also of all the facts in existence.
    2 points
  32. To The Laws of Biology and Monart, While I admire your attempt to reduce the concepts of Ayn Rand and Objectivism to as few words as possible, whether poetry, psalm, or song, I have to agree with the others, that is, Objectivism requires much mental gestation. Monart, you mentioned in your other post that you didn't exactly grasp Ayn Rand from the very beginning of your reading of Anthem. You understood more as you studied more. The crisis of our time may be reduced to the fact that people are not as introspective as you or I. Our society endures a deluge of information, evidenced by the continual assault from mass media, be it mainstream or social media. The message of most of the media is not helpful to mental health in a free society. For a society addicted to cell phones, it may be challenging enough to encourage people (especially young people) to set aside enough time to think of philosophic questions. Though some individuals may start their journey into Objecitivist enlightenment through your online posts, I believe the overwhelming majority will find their path as you did: friends sharing conversation, leading to the recommendation of a book or an author. Nonetheless, I wish for your success, as America and Western Civilization desperately need to be informed of Objectivism in a positive light.
    2 points
  33. Philosophical Detection The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. III, No. 10 February 11, 1974 Philosophical Detection--Part II I will list these essentials for your future reference. But do not attempt the shortcut of accepting them on faith (or as semi-grasped approximations and floating abstractions). That would be a fundamental contradiction and it would not work.1 The essentials are: in metaphysics, the Law of Identity—in epistemology, the supremacy of reason—in ethics, rational egoism—in politics, individual rights (i.e., capitalism)—in esthetics, metaphysical values.2 1. This paragraph essentially rhymes what Mr. Boydston articulated at the beginning of his generous reply. ([T]he idea that Objectivists need a Creed is an insult to them.) 2. I would suggest that the difference between the two listings comes from an extemporaneous delivery on behalf of the citation from the Ayn Rand Column and the edited for print version initially provided in The Ayn Rand Letter and later reprinted under the title of Philosophy: Who Needs It?
    2 points
  34. Boydstun

    Facebook

    I joined Facebook originally in order to get access to particulars of certain Objectivist gigs that, some years back, were being announced outside of Facebook, but to get the particulars you had to be able to get into the link to Facebook, which in those days required FB membership. I had not intended to do any socializing there. I had used my real name, and after a few months of being on there, a long-time real-life friend found me and made Friend request to me, which I accepted. Next thing you know, I got Friendy with other real-life friends. Then a deluge, becoming Friend to people I've known only online. It is a distraction from other projects, but I've so enjoyed it these last seven years or so. I make the rounds to the Page of each of my Friends and see what they've been up to or have had to say. The variety of purposes to which people use their Page is interesting. Many have much interest in politics. Also cats or dogs. My Friends consist of family, philosophy/libertarian types, high school classmates, and gay friends known from when we lived in Chicago. Sometimes I get a Friend request that I accept, but then it becomes evident over a few months, that they were just gathering audience for doing their political spiels, never responding to what I post on my own page, and I unFriend them. Another neat thing about FB that enables one to have the sort of social experience one wants there, is that you can Block a person (whether Friend or not) such that you and they no longer see each others posts, even when you are both posting at the page of a mutual Friend. That's effective: if someone is saying nasty things to you, usually over political differences, just block them, and continue to participate in peace thereafter. We retired to Lynchburg, VA in 2009, and ever-better internet communications have made it possible to continue or begin anew being with friendly acquaintances of all sorts from across a lifetime. At my own Page, I don't write about politics, culture wars, etc.---plenty of opportunity to discuss those things at other people's Page. The most wonderful thing I use at my Page is the area they have provided under Photos called Albums. I have created several Albums, friends and family really appreciate them. Me too, and if later on in life, I can no longer remember on my own who I was or my loved ones or what had been my life, I hope there will be someone who will lead me to my Albums.
    2 points
  35. The interviewer in the preceding is Eiuol.
    2 points
  36. Dealing with radiation: Optimal Radiation Shielding of Astronauts on a Mission to Mars
    2 points
  37. I would suggest that instead of a brief, concentrated rite of passage, we need an ongoing process of pointing children in the right direction by precept and example. Bad ideas do a lot to hold people back from the conceptual level. As better ideas spread, we will get better results. To the extent that we also write and talk, we will help the process along.
    2 points
  38. As if saying it enough times will make it so, Dennis Prager has written yet another column asserting that a secular society is -- somehow -- also therefore a less free one. Somehow? you might ask. Well, you tell me:Image by Alex Shu, via Unsplash, license.Here is something any honest person must acknowledge: As America has become more secular, it has become less free. Individuals can differ as to whether these two facts are correlated, but no honest person can deny they are facts. It seems to me indisputable that they are correlated. To deny this, one would have to argue that it is merely coincidental that free speech, the greatest of all freedoms, is more seriously threatened than at any time in American history while a smaller-than-ever percentage of Americans believe in [God] or regularly attend church. [bold added]Does this not seem like an odd way to open an argument about secularity ... Gosh! what is that word? -- necessitating? ... the decline of freedom in our great republic? In case your'e having a hard time putting a finger on why it does, let's consider an uncontroversial phrase that I would have thought was also familiar to almost any educated adult and certainly should be to any intellectual:Correlation does not imply causation.Prager frequently equates the left with what he calls "secularism." I personally think the left looks more and more religious by the day, and "nature" is a strong candidate for one of its gods. Be that as it may, let's run with Prager's assumption for a moment that religion necessarily implies belief in a god of the Judaeo-Christian sort. If so, then I completely agree with him on both counts: America is both less religious (in that sense) and less free, and those facts about our culture are likely correlated. But so, too are US spending on science, space, and technology -- and US suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation, from 1999 to 2009 -- according to the web site, Spurious Correlations. Those numbers are facts and so is the correlation. But I don't think even Dennis Prager would seriously argue that one of these causes the other. Prager's article says not a peep about causation, but that's something we really ought to consider. America has become less free and less observant of traditional Western religions over the past century. Anyone who values freedom would do well to ask that question. Prager, oddly, just assumes -- or seems to want the reader to assume -- that less religion somehow causes less freedom. At least one thinker I am pretty sure Prager has heard of, Ayn Rand, would beg to differ, as her greatest student, Leonard Peikoff, once outlined in some detail in his essay, "Religion vs. America." Within, Peikoff argues in part:Point for point, the Founding Fathers' argument for liberty was the exact counterpart of the Puritans' argument for dictatorship -- but in reverse, moving from the opposite starting point to the opposite conclusion. Man, the Founding Fathers said in essence (with a large assist from Locke and others), is the rational being; no authority, human or otherwise, can demand blind obedience from such a being -- not in the realm of thought or, therefore, in the realm of action, either. By his very nature, they said, man must be left free to exercise his reason and then to act accordingly, i.e., by the guidance of his best rational judgment. Because this world is of vital importance, they added, the motive of man's action should be the pursuit of happiness. Because the individual, not a supernatural power, is the creator of wealth, a man should have the right to private property, the right to keep and use or trade his own product. And because man is basically good, they held, there is no need to leash him; there is nothing to fear in setting free a rational animal. [bold added]If the case for liberty is actually secular, then something other than an some woozily-implied causation of less freedom by an absence of Christianity might be causing the two cultural trends Prager brings up, but doesn't seem very serious about understanding. To wit: His "opposition to slavery was based entirely on the Bible," even if true, does not imply that without religion, we would all advocate slavery. As witness the oath of Ayn Rand's most famous character, "I swear by my life ... and my love of it ... that I will never live for the sake of another man ... nor ask another man ... to live ... for mine." As for what might be causing the two trends, my note about the left becoming more quasi-religious should offer a clue, but a more full explanation would come from Rand's and Peikoff's extensive analyses of the baleful influence of Immanual Kant -- whose mission was to save Christian altruism from the Enlightenment -- on our culture over time. In short, our society continued moving away from Christianity, but also, thanks to Kant, began moving towards a duty-based ethos and its anti-freedom political correlate of statism. -- CAVLink to Original
    2 points
  39. To confuse risk of physical force with initiation of physical force is to confuse a potential with an actual. The whole mandatory vaccination position depends on a Parmenidean worldview in which all that exists is fully actual, combined with disregarding the need to obtain sufficient information to blame any one person for anything. It is the same fallacy employed by advocates of anti-immigration, gun control, and environmentalism. Thank you for helping to make that connection.
    2 points
  40. The experience of your own reaction is your payment for your understanding or misunderstanding of the world. Rationality/Justice counsel proportionality, not only for those others whom your sentiments are about, but for your own "experience" of other people, which you put yourself through. Hatred is the most vile and extreme sort of emotion which takes a toll on the experiencer which has to be paid for by the benefits of the extreme action it urges one toward... be it elimination of a mortal enemy, or complete disassociation with a thoroughly toxic and irredeemable person in whom no value whatsoever may be found... but make no mistake it does not leave one unscathed, whether any action, appropriate or not, is taken in response. Upon reflection, you may find disappointment, sadness, regret, lowering of esteem are more rational for you to subject yourself to as an experience and more Just and proportional a response to others. Be rational in your assessment of the whole person, be it your brother or your father. Also, final responsibility for an adult person of sufficient intelligence lies with that person alone... fault the father a lack of fatherhood as a factor but you cannot negate the son's final responsibility in making his own soul.
    2 points
  41. I also recently heard some more arguments: 1. There are other societies that had even more slavery like Haiti or Brazil that did not do as well as the United States in their economy. 2. To say there was zero labor cost is false. The "owners" had to give a minimum standard of living to have viable workers. That included lodging, food and southern government had to spend a lot to maintain the system i.e. catch runaways. This expense was constant 24 hours a day even when there was no "work" to be done. 3. The fact that the slave could not go looking for job meant the areas of the economy that needed the most labor could never attract the labor, therefore never achieving maximal efficiency. 4. Slavery in general serviced the wishes of the owner, as in the pyramids which were built by slaves, and pyramids don't do much for an economy.
    2 points
  42. Similar history here. I heard the story as gossip and found it too weird to believe, so I didn't until BB's book came out years later. The two published In Reply to Ayn Rand a and sent it to the Objectivist subscriber list. He said that what finally, irrevocably broke them up was his telling her that the age difference was "an insurmountable barrier to a romantic relationship". We took it to mean that she wanted to start it, not revive it. The text used to be at his website and perhaps in one of his books.
    2 points
  43. This is a question of terminology. I'm trying to distinguish words and ideas from reality itself. If you hold that a "fact is a type of claim" then you lose (or at least muddy) that distinction. What is a fact a claim of? What do you call the thing out there in reality? (A statement is a complete sentence, not just a noun. So if a statement is "factual," i.e., true, the underlying fact, out there in reality, must be more than just a "thing" like a rock or whatever, it has to be a thing doing (or being) something, even if only existing.) As evidence that my distinction here is not mine alone, I offer this: if I say something, and someone replies, "Is that a fact?" they're asking about the state of things "out there" in reality; they aren't asking for a mere categorization of my utterance (which could be determined entirely from the utterance itself, and from a knowledge of how to categorize utterances, as opposed to looking at whatever I'm talking about). If a fact were a type of statement then asking, "Is that [statement] a fact?" would be the same sort of thing as asking, "Is that statement using an intransitive verb?" Another thing to consider is context. All statements are made in a context. The context can be used to resolve ambiguities and to specify meanings. If I say, "That book is on the shelf over there," it would have to be the context that would make it clear which book and which shelf. Some contexts are broader than others. The broadest context available is the context of "all human knowledge," but smaller contexts are frequently useful and necessary, so you can have your own personal context, e.g., concerning whatever is in your immediate vicinity, and distinguish that from other contexts. A statement has to be put into a context in order to be judged as true, false, or arbitrary (or "possible," "probable," etc.). Further, the same statement can be true in one context, false in another, and arbitrary in yet another, although this might hinge on certain words that have different meanings in different contexts. (I should also point out that in the case of a "word salad" which isn't even grammatical, there's no use trying to put it in a context, because context doesn't make any difference...) I did make a distinction between a statement which is "arbitrary in a particular context" and one which "would be arbitrary in any context." The latter, I think, is what most people here mean when they state that something is "arbitrary." The examples of arbitrary statements given by Peikoff seem to be of that latter type; they seem to be those where the claimant is deliberately trying to insulate a claim from evidence. I think such a statement, "detached from the realm of evidence" as Peikoff describes it, is very different from a claim that merely lacks evidence. A claim that lacks evidence is merely useless; a claim that's impervious to evidence is another sort of beast -- and the statements Peikoff makes about the arbitrary being "an affront to reason and to the science of epistemology" would make more sense applying to the latter.
    2 points
  44. Boydstun

    Existence, We

    My paper Existence, We which I worked on from 2014 to 2019 is now published.
    2 points
  45. Boydstun

    Brainworks

    On Human Perception of a Starry Sky "For millennia, humans have looked to the night sky and chosen star groups to name. But why does Centaurus comprise that specific set of stars rather than some other? We hypothesize that the perception of star groups (constellations) can be explained by a simple model of eye movements taking a random walk along a network of star-to-star transition probabilities. The walk is biased by angular distances between stars, preferred angular distances of human eye movements (also known as saccades), and stars’ apparent magnitudes. To derive predicted constellations from the random walk, we employ a free energy model of mental calculations that maximizes the accuracy of perception while minimizing computational complexity. The model transforms the true transition probability matrix among stars into a perceived matrix, in which star clusters are evident. We show that the statistics of the perceived star clusters naturally align with the boundaries between true constellations. Our findings offer a simple explanation for the identities of the 88 standard constellations."
    2 points
  46. In July 1986, I was with my first life-partner Jerry (d. 1990) sitting in the bleachers that had been set up in Manhattan along the Hudson. We were watching the Tall Ships sailing by. In the evening, the President would throw a switch, sending a laser beam across the river to activate the illumination of Liberty, which was reopening after a long refurbishment. The night sky would be filling with glorious fireworks on and on as if an umbrella over Manhattan. That afternoon was sunny, as the ships sailed by. There were smiles and friendliness all around. Behind us a woman wore a classy T-shirt with a stylized line drawing of the Statue of Liberty, with only the word Forever. A day or two before, the US Supreme Court had handed down their decision affirming the constitutionality of States criminalizing same-sex sex acts. Oklahoma, for example. That was one of the reasons we had moved from our native Oklahoma to Illinois (where Jerry became an attorney), where we were legal. That sunny day with the ships was so sad to me. The photo below is from 2002 (photo by native New Yorker, my husband Walter). In another year, the Supreme Court would reverse, and thereby make same-sex love-making legal throughout the land. I always remember that I learned of the 2003 decision while I was at Logan in Boston, learned from a newspaper headline. And I always remember my first thought was of Jerry and me that day with the Tall Ships. Tomorrow belonged to me, these todays, each a “smiling day to be free to kiss in the sunlight and say to the sky ‘behold and believe what you see, behold how my lover loves me.’”
    2 points
  47. "Fictional problem", in the sense that a "paradox" must involve some disconnect with reality. Reality has no problems, the problems are thus fictional. No hypothetical shape, event, situation, process, system, etc. which is obvious and behaves exactly as "expected" or "intuited" was ever called a "paradox". Neither was anything which was judged too new or too complex to understand. Differential geometry is not a paradox to a musician, it's just something he/she does not have training in and does not understand, but he has no reason to suspect "paradox". A paradox requires an experience that something is amiss... but there are no contradictions in reality (no matter how many opposing forces, collisions or disagreements) there is only existence and existence is identity. So the "problem" is fictional, in the same way an illusion introduces a fiction... reality is what it is, but something about what we see, and should understand, is off kilter, and we know it. At least for those who experience the particular paradox... the feeling of paradox requires a certain thinking process to get a person in the wrong place to sense that disconnect, and in truth, different people are often led in different directions... I think in a sense the more something appears or seems opposite of what one assumes it obviously should appear or seem like, the more paradoxical it is. Since reality is NOT at fault, our sense and assumptions of what things obviously should appear or seem like, IS.
    2 points
  48. Thank you Boydstun & StrictlyLogical for clarifying this. Here is my summarized understanding after having read both your replies. The assumed context here is that man survives by a particular method of thought and action.You cannot evaluate an object when it is obtained by irrational action because it is moral principle that sets the context (a commensurable standard) for evaluating that object in relation to your other values. You can evaluate the method as good or bad, i.e., this is for my life or against my life, but not the object. Similarly, in epistemology, a proposition accepted on faith cannot in some sense be evaluated on its own, but in terms of method. An example with StrictlyLogical's breakfast: If I obtained the breakfast by cheating a shop keeper and he later hits me with a rock does it make sense to say the breakfast was good because I enjoyed it while it lasted? Or what about if I suffered no immediately perceivable consequences but began obtaining more things in the future through fraud? In either case I can't really make sense of the situation by looking just at the breakfast (evaluating the object in terms of my other values) but only by looking at how I obtained it (against moral principle, bad when evaluated in terms of action or method).
    2 points
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