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Vox Rationis

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Vox Rationis last won the day on August 20 2011

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  1. If a man does not know the source of these virtues (and does not care to find it out), they are floating abstractions, no different from any religious dogma.
  2. And inflict them on another society? This is pure nationalism (your country is the only one that matters), not any form of justice.
  3. Speaking to Dairdo in particular: The idea that the military should only ever protect the rights of the citizens of that same country is ridiculous. It's no different from my saying, "Well, why should I pay to protect your rights? You live in the next city over, and you don't even pay taxes." It's a question of long-term self interest: it's better for me in the long run to have free people in Iran than to have enslaved ones. Furthermore, what about the right of Americans to move to Iran and open businesses free of restrictions while enjoying personal liberty? Now, there is a complex balance
  4. And if it doesn't, will we get a John Galt or a Hugo Chavez? (I suspect numero dos.) However, I think America can survive much more misrule without collapsing. We're still pretty high up, which means we've got a long way to fall.
  5. The reason your first statement is a denial of consciousness and free will is that if you say, "This person with this particular nature will make this particular choice at this particular time in this particular context," there's no choice about it: it's only a choice if he can do both, i.e. his nature is such that he can do both, but he chooses to do one. The man-made is not metaphysical. For example, if I (to use a racist argument) say, "Blacks steal. It's just in their nature," I am implying that blacks do not possess consciousness or free will, that they are a lesser form of life than myse
  6. No, they are all logical fallacies. There are three kinds of logical fallacies: formal fallacies (having to do only with the form, not the content of the argument), such as affirming the consequent; informal fallacies (fallacies in the method of going from premises to conclusion), such as equivocation; and ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant conclusion, really a subtype of informal fallacies), such as argumentum ad hominem. Although some academics only consider formal fallacies "real" fallacies, that would not be the "colloquial" sense of the term.
  7. Logical mistakes are mental mistakes. Logic is simply the study of the rules of the processes of reason. When someone commits a logical fallacy, he is using the forms of reason to make an arbitrary assertion and is thus abandoning rationality. The logical fallacies which Ayn Rand identified are all fallacies of concept formation. The reason she, rather than someone else, was able to identify these fallacies first is because she was the first to formulate a correct theory of concept formation. I have copied a list of these from the Objectivism Wiki below, all of which except for "Rewriting R
  8. Instead of leaving the ballot box blank, you could do what I saw in one news story: vote "Revolution". Between those two, there's not really a better option. A vote for Obama will be interpreted as an endorsement of anti-capitalism, and a vote for Romney will encourage the Republicans to keep nominating such candidates.
  9. One cannot engage in a rational argument with someone who will not agree to go by reason (and asserting non-rational methods of knowledge is certainly not going by reason). All one can do is state the three inescapable axioms of reality (existence, consciousness, and identity), point out that reasoning from the basis of sense perception is the only actual way that man can gain knowledge, demonstrate that all supposed non-sensory methods of consciousness are by nature impossible (for they imply perception by no specific means), show that all supposed "sixth sense" claims are arbitrary assertion
  10. Money is neither necessary nor sufficient as a sign of virtue. Money, in a capitalist society, is a measure of how useful others regard the products/services which you make/perform for a price. That's it. If large numbers of people are irrational in a capitalist society, there will be very wealthy people who do nothing which a rational person would find useful (e.g. Paris Hilton), and perhaps there will be a large number of poor people who are very useful to a rational person (e.g. Henry Cameron). However, according to the Objectivist ethics, such people are better off being poor while livi
  11. I think I understand your question now. First of all, we need to be clear about the nature of the person, the "you" which is responsible for making choices, i.e. the "self". According to Ayn Rand, "A man’s self is his mind—the faculty that perceives reality, forms judgments, chooses values." One's concept of self is formed by abstraction from all mental experiences, by the recognition that they share a common subject. Philosophically, there is no way to answer your question without denying free will (i.e. implicitly denying the axiom of consciousness) but to state, unequivocally and irreducibl
  12. I wouldn't say this thread is worthless. While the Iowa straw poll is certainly not the end-all, be-all of the election, I think this means that Paul has more of a chance than I had initially suspected. Although there are many, many things wrong with Paul, he is the best Republican in the field so far (apart, perhaps, from Gary Johnson, but he has seemingly even less chance of winning). Ayn Rand herself enthusiastically encouraged Objectivists to vote for Nixon in his second term as the much lesser of two evils (she called her movement the "Anti-Nixonites for Nixon"); Paul is a no-brainer b
  13. I did address this in my second post. Clearly, one does not to need to know the answer to every philosophical paradox or how to refute e.g. Kant in order to understand the basics of Objectivism. However, he does need to be able to grasp abstract ideas. I think we have established that someone of a truly, completely concrete-bound (which, in reflection is what I meant by "second-rate") mind could not live by Objectivism but that most people here think that such a state is not something men have from birth but rather something that is acquired through miseducation. Since that is a scientific que
  14. I think, with regard to the shyness example Eiuol gives, the OP has the relationship of one's personality to one's choices backwards. It is not that a man does not talk in public because he is shy; rather, we call him shy because he repeatedly chooses (for whatever reason) not to talk in public. No choice is ever determined by a man's nature. A determined choice (i.e. determined by something other than the consciousness of the chooser) is a contradiction in terms. Choice is simply a fundamental feature of consciousness, a phenomenon whose physical requirements we do not fully understand. Th
  15. The "somehow" would be: what sort of "resistance" (for lack of a better word) is being encountered in space which exerts a force on the processes inside the ship and causes them to slow down? If they are slowing down, something in reality must be responsible for slowing them down. Perhaps you are interpreting this in a more rational way than most proponents of this theory? Because the way I have typically heard it is that there is a time-for-one-twin and a time-for-the-other and that time itself slows down for the twin in the spaceship, causing the two times to come out of sync. That s
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