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  1. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from splitprimary in The Tactics and Threat of the Alt-Right   
    More needs to be said of the political philosophy of the so-called alt-right*. 
    This is one of the most revealing things I've ever seen:
    What are the logical consequences of a philosophy that takes a "negative view of human nature" (a malevolent people premise)? The first thing to go will be individual rights. A negative view of human nature implies that there's no real basis for holding the non-aggression principle: that one ought to deal with others on the basis of consent. 
    Here is a great article by Andrea Castillo discussing the alt-right neoreactionaries:
    Remind you of someone?
    The political philosophy of the alt-right is monarchist. If that seems weird or obscure to you, think of it in these terms: what they desire is an authoritarian strong-man to oppose the Establishment Left. That should not be an obscure idea at all, at this point.
    What's interesting is the origin of this political philosophy; quoting from Mencius Moldbug, the father of neoreactionary political philosophy:
    This is not an oddball political movement that's come out of nowhere - the predecessor of this political philosophy is none other than the quintessentially D2 anarchocapitalism of Rothbardian libertarianism. 
    Think about it - what is the next logical step down the path of D2 politics? It's the disintegration of the non-aggression principle itself on the basis of a malevolent view of human nature.
    Continuing from Castillo's article:
    The "Cathedral" that Moldbug discusses in his writing is the new secular "religion" that inhabits the media, Hollywood, academia, big government leftists, etc., that propound postmodernism, feminism, egalitarianism, democracy, etc.
    Note how this fits with the narrative of how the election is "rigged" against Trump, "a public-private partnership" which includes at its forefront "the media".
    Neoreactionaries see themselves as explicitly "enlightened", and "beyond libertarianism":
    One last thing I'll point out from this article, quoting from the "Dark Enlightenment" writer Nick Land:
    Well what we see right now is reactionary political philosophy becoming a popular movement in the Trump campaign. The threat is real, and we've been warned: its few slender threads of civility will not hold back the beast for long.
    Dismissing these people as "trolls" and attempting to silence them is extremely foolish; you are cutting yourselves off from the very people you need to be persuading.
    As Peikoff identified in DIM, we've been on a "distintegrating" (D-type) trend in our society for quite some time, and this is the next logical evolution of D-type political philosophy. I think in light of the apparent size and popularity of this mass movement as we see in the Trump campaign, we need to be re-evaluating what was already a very dubious prediction at the end of his book, that society will devolve into the previous, unmixed "stable state" of the M2-type. On the contrary, what we are seeing right now is the progression of the D-type trend into the unmixed "stable state" of the D2-type. That is a much more credible prediction of where society is going now, and we need to be ready for it.
    * the article quoted above identifies the original meaning of the term "alt-right"; it's an umbrella term that included the "manosphere", "neoreactionaries", HBD (human bio-diversity), the "orthosphere", the "Dark Enlightenment", etc.
  2. Like
    epistemologue reacted to MisterSwig in The Law of Identity   
    In a reply to epistemologue, I agreed with his approach of looking at form and function to differentiate the sexes, but I thought he started from non-essential traits. So I begin with the view that a male's sexual function as the inseminator of females logically follows from his sexual organs, a penis and testicles. But that is only a man's sexual form, which I believe identifies him as a male. He has many other aspects to his form, which identify him as other things too: a living entity, a conscious organism, a rational animal. He can be mentally parsed and classified in many different ways because he is a complex, natural system, a product of ages of evolution. Thus, there has been, and always will be, this fundamental problem of classification.
    The problem of classification becomes unsolvable when you attempt to classify male by a man's man-made traits rather than his metaphysical ones. Man invents much of himself, and he does it in various, creative, unpredictable ways. But he doesn't invent his sex. That is a metaphysical condition.
    Trying to classify a male by his chosen values, purposes, rituals, roles is simply asking for frustration. It's like trying to classify a philosopher by his hair color, penis size, and leg length. Unless this contradictory approach is reversed, it will necessarily lead to countless micro-classifications, one for every unique male individual. Since this approach no doubt grows tiresome, the irrational classifier must call it quits at some point, and will simply lump all the micro-classifications of male into a catch-all category called "the male gender." If, however, he micro-classifies beyond the point of no return, he ends up with yet another catch-all category--"non-binary"--for the people who reject both of the binary "gender" categories. I suppose if someone came along claiming to be all three at the same time, he'd then have to conceive of a "tri-gender" category for that one oddball.
    The absurdity of classifying sex by man-made traits has thus led to the wacky realm of "gender theory." It is a fragile realm, whose existence depends upon rational people playing along with the fantasy and treating weirdos like royalty.
  3. Like
    epistemologue reacted to MisterSwig in The Law of Identity   
    I suppose that's possible, but I think it is the most generous, positive assumption of the motive involved. Would you call it the intrinsic view of transitioning?
    I don't mean they are literally destroying their life. But they often do destroy their sex organs and other physical characteristics. My deeper point is that this is what transitioning means for them: destroying the man, and becoming a woman, or vice versa. Bruce is dead, long live Caitlyn! It's like some kind of crucifixion and resurrection. It's less about "identification" or "confirmation", and more about self-annihilation and rebirth. They hate the person they are and want to be someone else--only the someone else is the opposite sex. And so they rationalize the transition and claim that a man can become a woman, rather than admit that they are mentally ill.
    Mentally ill people rarely diagnose themselves. It's up to the mentally healthy to recognize the problem and help these people. Instead, we are allowing them to dictate laws.
  4. Like
    epistemologue reacted to MisterSwig in The Law of Identity   
    I'd say that's exactly what they are. Though we'll probably squabble over the adjective imaginary. Here is the popular definition at Google:

    And here is the more serious definition at Oxford:

    Notice the genera: an idea, notion, invention, artifice, concept, perception. And the differentia: created by or based on a society, collective, social group; but does not exist naturally and might not represent reality.
    Sounds very much like a product of imagination to me.
    You'll have to give me an example. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that trans people don't identify with a biological or physiological trait, but instead with a social or cultural value. For example, let's say a biological male identifies with the cultural values of beauty and seduction traditionally associated with females. If he already identifies with those values, then why does he need to chop off his penis, get breast implants, and take hormones to change his appearance?
    The point is that he doesn't identify with those values. Identification is the recognition of reality. If he identified with beauty and seduction, he wouldn't need to transition into something beautiful and seductive. He'd already be it. Trans people want to transition precisely because they are not what they imagine themselves to be. It's not about identifying who they are. It's about destroying who they are and becoming something else.
  5. Like
    epistemologue reacted to Craig24 in The Law of Identity   
    Ok but there are allegedly conscious states about the following: God, near death experience, astral projection, reincarnation.  That's just off the top of my head.  Isn't it special pleading to make sex transitioning an exception?   You're an Objectivist for crying out loud.  Act like one.   
  6. Like
    epistemologue reacted to MisterSwig in The Law of Identity   
    Transitioning is the belief that you can change the sex or race with which you were born. This is not merely the idea that you can make yourself look very much like a different sex or a different race, which is certainly true. Rather, it is the full-blown delusion that the fake sex or race is the real sex or race, that the artificial one is the natural one, that the man-made thing is the metaphysical thing. 
    Many transition advocates are hard subjectivists who believe that reality is determined by their thoughts, i.e., wishing makes it so. In this view, if a white man believes that he is a black woman, then in truth he is an actual black woman, despite what anyone else says. Despite even what his own eyes tell him! He could look into a mirror and see a white man, yet still validly believe that he is a black woman, because, you know, he feels like a black woman, and he has always felt that way since childhood.
    Still, there is always that pesky image in the mirror. And to resolve the clear conflict between body and mind, one of those things must be altered for the sake of personal integrity. This is where the man's subjectivism motivates him to change his body to reflect his mind, rather than change his mind to reflect his body. After all, it's much easier to let a doctor work on your flesh and bones than it is to question your own belief system. And so this mixed-up white man undergoes surgeries and hormone treatments to look like a black woman.
    Other transition advocates present a soft subjectivist position. They begin by saying that sex and race should be understood as spectrum conditions. There is a range of non-binary sexes, they say, just like there is a range of non-binary races. At first this sounds somewhat rational and objective, because, of course, mixed sexes (hermaphrodites) and mixed races (mulattos) have been identified by scientists long before the transition advocates came along. But then something weird happens. These advocates evade or simply reject established biological knowledge, when they claim that sex and race are determined partly by psychological factors, i.e., how the mind develops. And since only the subject knows his own mind, we must accept whatever sex or race he claims to be as the truth of reality.
    Both the soft and hard subjectivists make sex and race a quality of the mind, rather than of the body. And this is why you cannot argue rationally with them about the finer points of biology and chromosomes and matter and consciousness. They simply don't care about objective reality. To them, the mind is primary. Sex and race are out. Gender and ethnicity are in. And that's that.
  7. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in The Audit   
    here you agreed with my characterization of you as a "positive utilitarian", despite having just said I don't anymore think that position is correct
  8. Like
    epistemologue reacted to Harrison Danneskjold in Metaphysics of Death   
    Yes. And you're right; death isn't inherently good or bad - when considered in complete isolation.
    However, as far as alternatives go, death is always worse than the continuation of life.
  9. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from Easy Truth in The Humanitarian with the Trolley   
    The reason I'm stressing outcomes and consequentialism is because that's exactly what you're suppporting. Look at the things you're saying and tell me this is not an outcome-based, consequentialist ethics:
    "If a moral principle (not stealing) leads to you dying...the principle doesn't apply"
    "If an action causes you to die, it's immoral."
    "If an action causes you to live and flourish, it's moral."
    "we want to bring about flourishing, We're able to measure flourishing by the effects it has on one's life concretely"
    "the value of habits and virtues is from their consequences"
    "outcomes are how to measure if something is part of [morality]"
    You can recognize virtue by the values it produces in reality. Everything of value produced by man depended on his acting virtuously. But the issue of having virtue is distinct from the fruits of virtue. You can have virtue and act virtuously while losing everything.
    Roark cared more about his integrity than he did about any concrete value. He didn't measure his integrity by the concrete results, he measured it according to the standards of rational, moral principle. Refusing the commission because he wouldn't compromise his standards was an act of integrity without any concrete results. He wasn't just trying to produce the "best" concrete results that he could, he was trying to produce results that were good, according to his standards. The value he cared about wasn't in the buildings (the concrete results), it was in buildings done his way, in the integrity of their design, and in his integrity as a designer.
    Quotes from Atlas:
    To answer your last point,
    I no longer support utilitarianism as a moral philosophy*. It is inconsistent with Objectivism. Intentionally killing an innocent person is morally unjustifiable - i.e. murder - regardless of the circumstances.
    * See my post in the metaphysics of death thread for some discussion of that:
  10. Thanks
    epistemologue got a reaction from Easy Truth in The Humanitarian with the Trolley   
    Tracinski states,
    This is not what Ayn Rand says in her essay "The Ethics of Emergencies".
    The essay begins with her asking us to consider the implications of someone who begins their approach to the subject of ethics with lifeboat scenarios - which she regards as a disintegrated, malevolent, and basically altruistic approach to the subject, that cannot ultimately yield a rational system of ethics.
    She did not say that lifeboat scenarios are "irrelevant", that they are the 0.01 of cases that morality is "not intended for", she says exactly the opposite:
    And she absolutely did not say that moral principles are "intended for the 99.9% of existence":
    She does not say to act in accordance with your hierarchy of values 99.9% of the time, she says always. Sacrificing a greater value to a lesser one is not okay 0.01% of the time, it's never okay. She did not say that moral principles apply to 99.9% of one's choices - she says they apply to all choices.
    She then goes to take those principles of ethics that apply in the 99.9% of existence in which one is not in an emergency, and proceeds to apply those very same principles to emergency situations:
    As we can see in this example, the virtue of integrity, which applies in the 99.9% of existence in which one is not in an emergency, also prescribes what one ought to do in the 0.01% of life in which one is in an emergency, too.
    I started a separate thread answering what one ought to do in the trolley problem here:
  11. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from CartsBeforeHorses in Determinism and free will   
    Someone asked: "is determinism (or causation, I may be mixing the two up if they're different) not the way all logic and science works when talking about anything? ... studies that seem to indicate that free will may be more of an illusion"
    The reductionist materialism of the "scientific worldview", does embrace determinism and the idea that free will is an illusion.
    Logic does not dictate this, though, actually the reductionist worldview is incoherent. Without free will, morality or ethics would be a meaningless science, people will act strictly according to prior causes, and can't change their behavior based on a morality. So there would be no "good" or "bad", no right or wrong, no justice, nothing. These terms would be essentially meaningless. If behavior is determined, then what people do, just *is* what they do, there's no alternative to compare it against, it wasn't right or wrong, or better or worse, it just *happened*.
    Worse than that, if reductionism is true, then all that exists in a metaphysically basic sense are millions of identical particles, behaving according to simple mathematical rules, a la Conway's game of life. There is no real line you can draw around one group of particles and think of it as a person, that would be a purely subjective choice that doesn't actually mean anything in reality. The things that you think you see around you aren't real. There are no men or women, there isn't even a self. Furthermore, statements or propositions you make don't have any meaning in the sense of true or false either since the concepts that make them up don't mean anything, and therefore neither does logic hold.
    So in this materialist worldview there is no justice, no morality, no truth or reason or logic, or even self. These concepts are all contradicted by the nature of reality. They are essentially meaningless and impossible.
    Yet despite all of this, they will still continue to speak as if these were true. They will talk about what you ought to do for your well-being, how you should be rational, use reason, seek truth, be logical, and speak as if people are real, that things around them are real, that they matter, and that there is meaning in life.
    All of this is contradicted by their own philosophy, and so they are being incoherent, and engaging wholesale in the fallacy of the stolen concept.
  12. Like
    epistemologue reacted to Nerian in Meaning of the newborn cry   
    Because it's a drive, an inclination, an instinct. Man has a nature. Man has innate drives. Values are not chosen. 
    Don't be afraid to throw out tabula rasa.
  13. Like
    epistemologue reacted to Nerian in Does death give life meaning? Does happiness require struggling to survive?   
    Yep. It's absurd. Throw it out.
    What makes life worth living has nothing to do with conditional state of existence. The idea that an immortal human would have no reason to act totally ignores the reality of human psychology. If I'm immortal, I can still enjoy the same things, so why wouldn't I? I don't enjoy myself to survive, I enjoy myself to enjoy myself.
  14. Like
    epistemologue reacted to bluecherry in IPS Chat Discontinued   
    "It has never been especially popular at OO.com"
    Hey now, that's not true. D: It was really popular early on in my time here. There were times so many of us were in there at once that we crashed the program. I hope the chat gets restored somehow. I haven't used it much lately mostly because there just wasn't much of anybody else around.
  15. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from Eiuol in IPS Chat Discontinued   
    ah I see. I'll look for another option.
  16. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from splitprimary in Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality   
    From the article: "It’s not that you must presume uniformity in order to classify. It’s that you classify to find uniformities."
    The whole problem with this is that you haven't "found" any more uniformity than you had to begin with! You're still in *exactly* the same position as he agreed with earlier in the article: "The Scholastics lamented (rightly) that unless you had surveyed all magnets or all animals, the inference was not certain"
    "If you have good guidelines and follow them, you can be certain that someone absolutely cannot contract cholera unless exposed to the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, certain that all men are mortal, certain that the angles of all planar triangles sum to 180°, and certain that 2+3=5. And you don’t need any unjustifiable uniformity principle to do so."
    No, you cannot be certain of any of those things without some kind of "uniformity principle". The author hasn't justified this at all, and it's contradictory on its face the way it's presented in this article.
    "But soon the child learns the difference between truth and make-believe—and the difference between staying the same and changing... The child learns that you can’t rely on some global uniformity principle." - without relying on the existence of some uniformity principle, the child hasn't *learned* anything! Those "things that stay the same" are believed to *stay the same* on the basis of there being such a thing *as* uniformity, that is the very meaning of having such a "uniformity principle" in the first place! "The realization that some things stay the same and some don’t is what, he thought, makes induction possible and necessary" - how can any thing stay the same, by the nature of the thing - i.e. in *principle* - if there is no such thing as a principle of uniformity? That's just blatantly contradictory. He wants to find principles of uniformity while denying there are any principles of uniformity. Come on!
  17. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from splitprimary in Subjectivity and Pragmatism in Objectivist Epistemology   
    "Metaphysical" does not mean "material". Gravity exists metaphysically, but it's not "just another concrete". So you've got a fundamental problem here.
  18. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from Eiuol in IPS Chat Discontinued   
    I'll look into this over the next few days. 
  19. Like
  20. Like
  21. Like
    epistemologue reacted to dream_weaver in Joseph Campbell's Monomyth   
    "Observe the persistence, in mankind's mythologies, of the legend about a paradise that men had once possessed, the city of Atlantis or the Garden of Eden or some kingdom of perfection, always behind us. The root of that legend exists, not in the past of the race, but in the past of every man. You still retain a sense—not as firm as a memory, but diffused like the pain of hopeless longing—that somewhere in the starting years of your childhood, before you had learned to submit, to absorb the terror of unreason and to doubt the value of your mind, you had known a radiant state of existence, you had known the independence of a rational consciousness facing an open universe. That is the paradise which you have lost, which you seek—which is yours for the taking.
    — For The New Intellectual, page 177
    Joseph Campbell has done extensive work in collecting mythology from all around the world, offering one of the most secular explanations from his analysis of the similarity and differences between them.
    In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand decried the absence of rationality in the field of esthetics and provided her keen insights into the nature of art in her most controversial work.
    There are a few here, that have expressed interest in Joseph Campbell's works. His book The Hero With A Thousand Faces was to him what The Fountainhead was to Ayn Rand, setting each, in their respective areas, a notoriety they had not had prior to their respective publications.
  22. Like
    epistemologue reacted to dream_weaver in The Twilight Zone: Syria—2017©(pending?)   
    This strikes me as belonging to a malevolent universe premise.
  23. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from Repairman in Is geneology a rational pursuit?   
    Or maybe run this theory by his parents, I bet they would have some input
  24. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in Is geneology a rational pursuit?   
    This is a good point (though perhaps not applicable to the OP)... it's really pathological to question whether something is rational *just because you are interested in it*. If you like something, that is positive evidence that it *is* rational, all other things being equal. Pleasure is not the result of sin, it is a result of virtue. It's not a cost, it's an end in itself. If you like something, that is not a signal that you should stop and carefully think about it. The natural inclinations and innate desires in human nature are not rigged against your rational self-interest. There is no original sin in Objectivism.
    If you have some reason to question whether something is rational or right, then by all means stop and be careful. But *just being interested in something*, just *liking* something, is *not* a reason to question whether it's rational or right.
  25. Like
    epistemologue got a reaction from DonAthos in Is geneology a rational pursuit?   
    This is a good point (though perhaps not applicable to the OP)... it's really pathological to question whether something is rational *just because you are interested in it*. If you like something, that is positive evidence that it *is* rational, all other things being equal. Pleasure is not the result of sin, it is a result of virtue. It's not a cost, it's an end in itself. If you like something, that is not a signal that you should stop and carefully think about it. The natural inclinations and innate desires in human nature are not rigged against your rational self-interest. There is no original sin in Objectivism.
    If you have some reason to question whether something is rational or right, then by all means stop and be careful. But *just being interested in something*, just *liking* something, is *not* a reason to question whether it's rational or right.
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