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  1. I am not trying to provide an explanation of all his behavior, in every instance, but pointing out that having a hostile and prejudiced Press (from the very start) against one has to have something to do with his actions. It meant that not a single Executive decision would ever meet with approval or a fair debate. He took them on at their own game, and I don't believe this was always smart or principled. I don't fault his unconventional methods in foreign policies, keeping enemies guessing and showing they can voluntarily make good choices: a carrot or the stick. My position is the over all po
    3 points
  2. SL, Poetically said, I think the poetic manner is a singular way to condense and express this unbelievable totality of life and one's life's existence. There are wonders here, how this animal made of star-stuff could become consciously rational and aware of its consciousness which ~almost~ seem mythological or religious. "Lest we be mythologizing ourselves" - of the species and of the individual being, I don't know of how one cannot. Obviously, without the supernaturalism. That autonomous "I" unique to you was who could observe, will to think those things, question them and marvel. This recall
    3 points
  3. Adrian, I'm re-reading Atlas Shrugged for the third time, 10 years since my previous reading. I found that she repeats the same point a lot upon my first reading, and perhaps the second reading, but I don't find it anymore. The repeating is necessary, to make it more convincing and dramatic. To stress the importance of the point. You know, the principle that altruism is evil can be summarized in one sentence, but it's the role of fiction to put the principle in as many concrete terms as possible, making the reader to discover it for himself. It's the principle of "show, don't tell." By the wa
    3 points
  4. Returning to the initial question, I’m going to say “No, it would not be helpful”. It would be helpful to clearly articulate a real problem which in principle could be solved, but that has nothing to do with BLM. The problem is not that Richard Spencer has his ideas, and the propagation of his ideas cause some other problem. The problem that BLM is addressing is the “rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state” (their words). As they say, “Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act toge
    3 points
  5. Of related interest: "A Metaphysics for Freedom argues that agency itself-and not merely the special, distinctively human variety of it-is incompatible with determinism. For determinism is threatened just as surely by the existence of powers which can be unproblematically accorded to many sorts of animals, as by the distinctively human powers on which the free will debate has tended to focus. Helen Steward suggests that a tendency to approach the question of free will solely through the issue of moral responsibility has obscured the fact that there is a quite different route to incompati
    2 points
  6. I think this is the hold up because purpose is a subspecies of standard (in a certain context). Standard and Purpose, both give guidance. (but with Rand the primary difference seems to be that one is abstract, the other concrete) The difference between “standard” and “purpose” in this context is as follows: a “standard” is an abstract principle that serves as a measurement or gauge to guide a man’s choices in the achievement of a concrete, specific purpose. “That which is required for the survival of man qua man” is an abstract principle that applies to every individual man. The task of a
    2 points
  7. DavidOdden

    Observations on Politics

    You have to distinguish “leader” from other related political concepts such as “ruler”, “elected official”, “politician”, “dictator”, “influencer”, “follower” and so on. People usually equivocate over who our leaders are for this reason. Emmanuel Kant, the scum of the Earth in philosophy, was one of three great leaders in that domain. The plain meaning of “leader” is once who gets people to follow him. There are many ways that a person can get others to follow them, for example they can threaten your life if you don’t follow (using force), or they can appeal to your emotions (following by free
    2 points
  8. I have a feeling it was this: When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. https://www.cato.org/blog/ayn-rand-front-page-ecu
    2 points
  9. The views of capitalists and liberals historically developed out of opposition to things that came before them. Locke developed the natural rights doctrine and laid the foundation for liberalism, but was a bit of a mercantilist in economics. Late 17th and early 18th century thinkers like North, Cantillon, and Quesnay began to develop free trade movements out of opposition to mercantilism and utilized Lockean and generally Enlightenment-influenced arguments about "rights of man" and "laws of nature." The physiocracts and French liberals in the 18th century were among the first to mix laiss
    2 points
  10. "What about-ism" isn't a counterargument. It's a distraction. Communism and Maoism are more like Marxism+, that is, there are elements of Marxism. What would change about her argument if she mentioned them? She easily could condemn them on grounds of expropriation. An anticapitalist could say that every attack on Marxism should mention imperialism of the US, but you would rightly respond that the essay is about Marxism, not about the ways that capitalism has been corrupted in the US. The essay is about capitalism, so let's talk about capitalism. By the way, my basic response would be wha
    2 points
  11. I meant what I said. In the examples that I gave, his orders clearly violated well-established law, though perhaps you are not happy about with the law on these points. Your response is mostly part directed at a different question, namely whether it is reasonable to ignore the law. Given that the purpose of a president in our republican form of government is to implement the law, Trump is dysfunctional. This is a basic divide within the population of those calling themselves Objectivists: some consider law to be optional, others consider it to be fundamental to living in a civilized society. T
    2 points
  12. I wrote this and originally posted it online in 2010. Rand and the Greeks In the “The Objectivist Ethics” Rand stated: “Aristotle did not regard ethics as an exact science” (14). “He based his ethical system on observations of what the noble and wise men of his time chose to do, leaving unanswered the questions of: why they chose to do it and why he evaluated them as noble and wise” (OE 14). Insofar as Aristotle’s approach was indeed as described in the preceding quotation (see e.g. NE 1140a24–25), Rand stakes ethics in a dramatically different way. Rand aims to ground an ethics in s
    2 points
  13. A great teacher is not merely a subject-matter expert, but also a good mentor, as we learn from Richard Feynman's correspondence with a former student. Shaun Usher of Letters of Note sets up the context: Image from 1959 Cal Tech yearbook, via Wikimedia, public domain. In 1966, nine years after gaining his Ph.D. with a dissertation titled The Self-Energy of the Scalar Nucleon, physicist Koichi Mano wrote a congratulatory letter to Richard Feynman, the man who had originally taught him at the California Institute of Technology and, more recently, joint-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics
    2 points
  14. I'm not sure this was covered yet. I think of consciousness as specifically general awareness with mental states. A process, as was mentioned before. Self in this context would be the entire history of that conscious activity. Memories of your life, history of mental states, cognitive development, things like that. A self would be more complex, because it requires directed thinking. A relatively simple consciousness like a beetle can be vaguely aware of things like the presence of food, but it doesn't direct its thinking in terms of values or memories.
    2 points
  15. Warning: The following is to be taken as poetic rather than literal... Religio - re connect or re-linking back Identifying the self with the universe, or the planet... is in the direction of mythical or religious thinking... because although you are in and of these things, you are not identical with them... being unseparated from them and indeed embedded in them.. it is a natural direction in which mystical thinking points... we are star stuff... made from elements formed in supernovae... in a literal "tree of life" billions of years old... each a node on an unbroken b
    2 points
  16. Of course some Objectivists, choose to be activists for the philosophy, but that in no way means the philosophy itself IS activist, and people interested in the philosophy should not think that it is. In considering Objectivism as a whole, I am confronted with distractions... not in the form of ideas, but in the form of personalities, of movements, of factions... and yes, a little bit of activism. Rather than looking outward and inward to my center.. I find myself sliding my eyes sideways at metaphorical others... whose presences, in the realm of my engagement with ideas, are inap
    2 points
  17. SR, There are concrete things that can only be identified by abstract thought. An example would be an electron or the magnetic field it generates if the electron is moving. An attribute such as the electron’s electric charge or it ability to produce a magnetic field are attributes. I suggest that faculties are just functional attributes. Functional items arise only in a biological setting. The mental is only within the biological. Those are positions of Rand (me too). As you know, in the ITOE, Rand called out a category of primary existents which she titled entities. Here other
    2 points
  18. Might seem off topic, at first. I was reminded last night catching a glimpse of the film I'd seen before, The Pursuit of HappYness. I don't know how it slipped through the movie moguls' attention, but here's a rare movie that encapsulates America. I.e. A black man who is not a victim. In this fortuitous passage I watched, the character played by Will Smith, despondently muses to himself after a particularly trying day coping with his little boy (heroic, too) and two jobs: WHY did Thomas Jefferson come up with "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"? Did he know that it was only to be "a
    2 points
  19. "The famous image of Aunt Jemima was based on the real image of Nancy Green, who was known as a magnificent cook, an attractive woman of outgoing nature and friendly personality, an original painting of which sold for $9,030 at MastroNet. The painting was rendered by A. B. Frost, who is now well known as one of the great illustrators of the Golden Age of American Illustration.[13]" This quote is from the Wikipedia article covering the life of Nancy Green, the original celebrity personality representing the soon to be discontinued brand, known as, Aunt Jemima. I hope there is common
    2 points
  20. This is all part of the cleaning up of past history as if it never existed. A statue offends one or only a minority of individuals in one group, tear it down. An innocent image on a box by another, the same. This has a little to do with people not wanting to offend some others too delicate to handle reality, but mostly to do with mind control for political power. You can hardly blame a company's flip-flop marketing strategy, their profits are at the mercy of activists' mass action. On the broad front, all capitalist enterprise can end up 'owned' by the people. Marxism wins without a shot fired
    2 points
  21. I do not equate philosophy for living, and living one’s life with anything like political activism. Life requires knowledge and a philosophy, so having “skin in the game” is to take it seriously and to live by it. You only have one life and it’s yours to live. Some “activists” of a quite different political flavor from myself feel quite strongly that “real life” is lived in the political sphere... the body politic, society as a collective endeavour... and hence participating in life is measured by them by how loudly one shouts and how many likes one receives. These activists
    2 points
  22. In older days there'd be a lynch mob to take a (suspected) culprit out of custody before trial and string him up. The mentality hasn't changed much: "someone" must suffer for an injustice. Who else are easily accessible but shopkeepers and their properties? Added bonus, for many violent rioters the store is a symbol of capitalism. "Repressive Capitalism", that is, to those of Leftist conviction.
    2 points
  23. Boydstun

    Entity and Ousia

    Entity and Ousia Contrasting Roark with many other people, Mallory remarks to Dominique of those others: “At the end there’s nothing left, nothing unreversed or unbetrayed; as if there had never been any entity, only a succession of adjectives fading in and out on an unformed mass” (GW V, 485). Consider in Rand’s full metaphysics the finer structure in her conception of the law of identity: "Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute, or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green a
    2 points
  24. Disagree here. "Retaliatory force" is not sensibly distinguished from "force used in retaliation." There may be legitimate and illegitimate uses of retaliatory force, but "force used in retaliation" is, as grammar would seem to have it, "retaliatory force." And further, vigilantism may not be "legitimate" in the sense of legal, but it may yet be moral depending on context. Our sense of law and legal "legitimacy" comes from pre-legal/extra-legal understandings that retaliatory force may be morally proper, in a given situation. "Initiation of force masquerading as retaliation," is not,
    2 points
  25. I go to Ford to purchase a new car. I buy a car with all the latest features, but I get home and the car is missing some features. I go back to the Ford dealer and summoning my best Karen, I ask to speak to the manager. I bought the package with all these features, but my car doesn't have these features, I say. Ah, but you bought the car from StrictlyLogical and Merjet. They were your salesmen. And they're not here. They're gone. Sorry, you're out of luck. And they won't be in tomorrow, or the next day. In fact, they're saying home and we're shielding them. And you can't get reimbursed fr
    2 points
  26. Regarding "retaliation" Ayn Rand wrote: "Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use" (Lexicon). So violence against a Minneapolis police officer who was not on the scene of the George Floyd incident would not qualify as "retaliation" in her view.
    2 points
  27. A Guide to Effective Study, by Edwin A. Locke, sports the following contents. Part I. Study Methods 1. Introduction 2. What is Studying? 3. How To Do Abstract Reading 4. How To Do Abstract Integrative Reading 5. How To Identify and Designate What Is Important 6. How To Program Your Memory: The Nature of Memory 7. How To Program Your Memory: Specific Techniques 8. The Physical Context of Study 9. The Social Context of Study 10. How To Manage Time 11. How To Take Lecture Notes 12. How To Prepare For and Take Exams 13. Study Monitoring Part II. Stud
    2 points
  28. Lawrence Edward Richard, firstly, welcome. I wondered if you are related to the Lawrence Edward Richard who died in 2011, because a Facebook man of that name stopped posting there at that time and recently that page has started again having posts under that name. I wondered if perhaps you were his son or other relation. Anyway, welcome to Objectivism Online. I enjoy your posts, as so many others here. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I think Rand, as any person in a sensible moment, would squarely object to the statement of Feynman’s as stated, which William Hobba rightly disputed, at the root po
    2 points
  29. Repairman

    Hello

    Welcome to the forum, Giemel, Your experience seems similar to my own. Reading through the many posts, you will find that there are as many differing views contesting to be the most rational point of view. I wouldn't worry too much about trying to identify as Objectivist, as I would see it more as an aspiration, rather than an identity. Most people I've discussed ideas with have never heard of Ayn Rand, let alone any philosophical school of thought. Most people are religious and anti-intellectual. There's little you can do about it. In conversation, I usually identify as "rational egoist,
    2 points
  30. Atlas Shrugged was published on 10 October 1957. A brief interview with Rand by Lewis Nichols was published in the New York Times three days later. On the writing of Atlas Shrugged she remarked: “‘It goes back a long way. I was disappointed in the reaction to The Fountainhead. A good many of the reviewers missed the point. A friend called me to sympathize, and said I should write a non-fiction book about the idea back of The Fountainhead. ‘While I was talking, I thought, “I simply don’t want to do this. What if I went on strike?” My husband [Frank O’Connor] and I talked about that al
    2 points
  31. MisterSwig

    Feynman And Ayn Rand

    Definitions exist within a context of knowledge. If you don't know what "talking" means, then you're probably not worth talking to.
    2 points
  32. If one holds it that way, the only choice available will be to be separate from everyone, be a hermit. The key was that he knew what he wanted very clearly. Far more clearly than most of us do. He was not distracted because he was so grounded in his "knowing". If you make it primarily about "other people", you already lost the game. Your wants, your goals have to originate from you. Sometimes it is hard to identify "was that my idea (desire) or someone else's" and we admire Roark for not being confused about his priorities. I didn't care about how people felt about me most of my life
    2 points
  33. 50 years after the event, Dr. Harry Binswanger has decided to reveal the identities of all of the workshop participants named in the appendix to the second edition of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. This has been a mystery for quite some time! I'll quote the key section, and you can visit Dr. Binswanger's public blog to see the rest: https://www.hbletter.com/objectivist-workshop-participants-identified/
    2 points
  34. Well let's hope they don't "behave like Objectivists" because most people running calling themselves that are dumb as hell. But it's not really clear what the question is. There's like 5 or 6 different questions in there. One thing is, it doesn't really follow from "the world is nothing like X, and never has been" to "mankind can never achieve X." That's just bad reasoning. It's not really clear what we're supposed to be inferring here. It's also not really valid to use a premise about how many people are rational or irrational from the armchair. Unless you're just speaking anecdotally,
    2 points
  35. Delving a bit deeper into Objectivity in this 121st post, a definition which was requested and provided as the 41st post in this thread, a complimentary passage can be found in Who Is The Final Authority In Ethics. It is obvious that the root of such questions ["Is it intellectual plagiarism to accept and even to use philosophical principles and values discovered by someone else?"] is a certain kind of conceptual vacuum: the absence of the concept of objectivity in the questioner's mind. Objectivity is both a metaphysical and an epistemological concept. It pertains to the relationshi
    2 points
  36. This strikes me as a form of empathy. If your buddy gets beaned in the groin with a baseball, you might unthinkingly grimace and say, "Ouch!" Likewise, when he hits a home run, you cheer and share his pride in himself. It's not that you take on unearned pain or pleasure. It's that you express your shared grasp of reality. Getting hit in the privates hurts. Hitting a home run feels good. You're letting your buddy know that you two are alike and feel the same way about things.
    2 points
  37. Alternatively: "A Botanist and an Objectivist walk into a Bar" Imagine you are a brilliant botanist and geneticist and that you have created a hybrid apple orange tree ... and you created only one. Now suppose because of your brilliance you can, from its unique genetic makeup, and all your knowledge, predict and completely understand its requirements for life and flourishing, some requirements similar to apple trees others similar to orange trees, other requirements common to both, and yet other requirements new and dissimilar to those of both apple and orange trees.
    2 points
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly.
    2 points
  39. I think the title for this thread represents the dichotomy you've set here. I don't see a clear attempt to integrate anything. Frankly, I find your replies to be unfocused, evasive, and poorly written. I've made a real effort to contribute something, because you're investigating a very tough and fundamental question. But it doesn't seem like you're actually interested in criticism ("gripes"?!). It sounds like you want to rant. So I'll leave you to it.
    2 points
  40. Yes, that was a kind of typo. Peikoff's "inductive proof of causality" is the subject under discussion. Yes, and by the way proof is also a method of integration because what is proved is related to other knowledge. Yes, the fact that you can contemplate the axioms and relate them to each other is a form of integration even though Peikoff would deny there is proof or derivation or deduction happening. The order of Existence, Identity, and Consciousness has methodological (epistemological) significance in order to affirm Primacy of Existence and deny Primacy of Consciousness,
    2 points
  41. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was the last novel I read, and it was a couple of years ago now. I don't read a lot of novels. It is excellent, though. The most recent book I finished was Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Bullock, which was excellent. (I read the abridged version.) Right now I'm reading A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester, which is about how awful the Middle Ages were and how we got out of them. Manchester is good in terms of philosophy of history - he thinks every historical event leads to the next in a logical, comprehensible fashion. I don't know how factuall
    2 points
  42. How improbable is it for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams to be left out of this listing?
    2 points
  43. Nonsense. The value of discussion is to work out things... not to bandy about things one has already worked out. You belong here as you are. First, I only attributed rationalists with such a motive... there are many scientists who do not fall into that category... Second, I was mostly being colorful, in reality the mistake is an honest one, especially for rationalists, although being fooled by the fool who fools himself creates the same result only by a slightly different route. My point is that the sham evaporates when you see the simplicity and the mechanistic brute force o
    2 points
  44. As a preliminary what I find as interesting here is an accent on motivation rather than consequence. Which brings up a subtle issue.. are you more interested in asking whether the action of a person (while making a choice) is moral or not or in determining whether the choice presented is a moral one or not? There is the question of "being good" but also there is the question of "what IS the good". I think in terms of "traditional" subjective philosophies about morality, the motivation of a person, their subjective intent to be moral "as such", i.e. to do what they think is their dut
    1 point
  45. Not "stereotyping" others isn't any guarantee they won't and don't racially stereotype you. And usually will. (A few times I've heard "white privilege" thrown my way). There's the difficulty of being individualist in a especially collectivist time. The decent and considerate folk, the individualists and, yes, any Objectivists (joke) might see a person and perceive "person" who -also- happens to be black, brown, white, female, short, tall, fat - whatever. Racists and anti-racists and racialists perceive: Black or White person. Racialism is what most stokes up the differences of race groups - tr
    1 point
  46. I may be misunderstanding but “square roots (plural) of the positive real numbers” is defining a universal, it has many referents, it does not "only" referer to “square root of 17.”
    1 point
  47. StrictlyLogical

    Santa Claus

    I play a game with my son called real or imaginary... I say a word like “platypus” or “unicorn” or “skeleton” or “ghost” and he categorizes it by saying “real” or “imaginary”. He’s smart enough now that he says “extinct” for dinosaurs because they no longer exist. We have a lot of fun and superstitions like curses and ghosts are correctly identified as imaginary. I always am careful not to denigrate imaginary things as such, reminding him that pretending things and imagination are fun... but in the end some things are real and others simply are not.
    1 point
  48. There's a sense in which they are. Rand wanted her heroes to be perfect. So, it would not be enough to give Howard Roark his single-minded passion and rationality; she also had to have him be right in his choices. Rationality can lead to the "right" conclusion in the sense that it is the conclusion that all the available evidence, known to the decider at that point in time. points to that conclusion. Unfortunately, this is not how reality works: rationality does not lead to coming to the "retrospectively-right" conclusion 100% of the time. Rational people have to re-evaluate, correct
    1 point
  49. Horizontal integration should be performed with more than just one other concept. Ideally it would be done with every other concept one held. But who has time for that? So this is a task that is never fully completed, it can only be partially completed. Still, some of those pairwise selections H(A,B) would be better than others, better in being not trivial and potentially revealing obscured contradictions. Possibly some heuristic could be invented for selecting two different concepts (or given one, find another) that would have the most potentially fruitful result. I would think som
    1 point
  50. I propose that you find this theoretical faster-than-light object before you worry about what color it is.
    1 point
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