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Everything posted by DoxaPar

  1. Thanks for the links, 2046. It was a helpful conversation.
  2. 2046, I completely agree with what you wrote, and am glad we're starting to connect on each other's points. Whether you know it or not (or even agree with me) I think we agree more than you think. What I am trying to do (which you actually did so well for me) is destroy the forms of arguments I see here so often that neglect this circle-of-reason-and-values, for the lack of a better term. If I'm not mistaken, Rand regarded existence as the primary "value". However, if this presupposition is not shared then it seems possible to me that perfectly rational people could disagree about any number of subsequent things and all maintain reason.
  3. This gets to my original point and what I was trying to zero-in on originally. The "conclusion" in this case is a response to a goal or objective of government / society that is based on certain values. There is plenty of evidence that communism doesn't work. Yet, people still support it as a system of economics because they value equality over liberty (or something similar to that). Is it not possible that socialism is the right "conclusion" if one does not value liberty but values altruism, for example? My point is, and always has been, is that rationalism is upheld here (at least in my experience) as the basis of ethics, government, etc. I'm just arguing that I don't think that is really true. What I'm arguing is that values supply the goals for which we build rational systems of thought and ethics and then rational or reasoned though and objectivity is used to support, enable, build and live out those value-judgements. This is why, I think, that "it isn't rational" is a terrible argument when evaluation value-statements like "I prefer socialism". It is this that I was responding to. I don't disagree with the epistemology of Objectivity, but I do disagree with how it is fleshed out and practiced when discussing these issues, as if, man was void of emotion, value-judgements, etc.
  4. Thank you 2046. That is helpful, clarifying and also provokes more questions. In light of paragraph four, why is socialism or communism automatically "irrational" then? Or, to put it another way, if a person values socialism and works towards those ends why is it regarded as "irrational"?
  5. I apologize if my remarks came off like that. It wasn't the intent (or sentiments) of my comment. Please, correct my conception then because I'm not unwilling to hear your explanation.
  6. First, let me back up a bit and try to draw out the specific reason I presented the question and one of the main issues I have with the presuppositions that support a lot of the arguments on these forums. That is, the belief or expectation that man should be or can be or is expected to be perfectly rational. And that, man's failure to act rationally is the basis for disagreement (and a slew of other issues). If our expectation is that man act rationally then, I believe, this is an expectation that man act against his nature and insist that "A should not be A". In other words, it insists on a reality that is not reality. It insists that man act contrary to his nature. This underlining presupposition, ironically, impairs our (the commentators here) ability to act (and argue) rationally. If we believe that man act rationally, or is capable of consistently perfect rational thought then every argument ends as you ended this one "your value is irrational". Rational thought deals with reality and works with the facts of reality. If we consider and expect man to act according to his nature, according to reality, then it is a denial of reality to imply that man's decisions are based on (people disagree) reason, and never value statements.
  7. And what measure would you use to determine what is rational? If you value liberty then capitalism is certainly rational. But, if you value self-sacrifice than communism is "rational". EDIT: Actually, better yet. Go ahead and let's pretend that I am a socialist and explain, without using any value statements to make your case, why I'm not acting rationally.
  8. Not really. I meant what I said. I'm curious what factors influenced her. It's the same question that a fan may ask a musician, "What artists influenced your song-writing?".
  9. My wife drove a Hyundai Santa Fe for 3-4 years and loved it. A close friend just bought the Kia minivan (sorry, can't recall the name) and while it's not a Toyota or Honda it's a good value (decent car at a fair price).
  10. Friends, I would like to propose a debate and the subject of abortion. While I recognize this is a "touchy" subject, the source of a lot of pain, frustration, political disagreement and strife, I feel that it is, if done properly, an important issue to Objectivism and western society. I'm seeking someone who shares these views but is pro-choice (I will be arguing from the pro-life perspective so this is kinda a requirement as the debate wouldn't be very helpful if we agreed) and willing to defend their position in a structured, rule-based debate. If you're interested, feel you have a good argument to make, can exhibit "strength without hatred", and are willing to debate the issue, please feel free to PM me and we can work through the structure and rules of the debate format. Sincerely and with much regard, DoxaPar
  11. Blah! Now I deleted my thread. My question was on the status of the Debate forum and whether it was closed down or I merely have not been approved to post there. I attempted to edit the post noting that this topic was mistakenly posted under the more general topic of "Culture". I accidentally deleted my original post when attempting to make that edit.
  12. Well, softwareNerd, what is the verdict? Can personal experience and historical context affect a person's belief?
  13. @ Eiuol, I completely agree with what you wrote, including the distinction you offered.
  14. SoftwareNerd, I'm glad that we're now saying what we mean and meaning what we say. :-) If you disagree with me that our personal and historical context impacts our beliefs feel free to say so and offer an argument why. I'm not opposed (in fact, I favor it) to being told I may be mistaken. I started the thread not realizing that there would be people who disagreed with the idea that I believed were pretty much common knowledge - that no one is exempt from cognitive biases (or insight) formed from personal and historical context that may impact their beliefs. I was obviously foolish in believing that this was a common belief. As a result, I didn't expect to invest two pages of threads into defending that proposition. My question was not on a specific topic of her beliefs but a specific topic about her beliefs. The specificity of the question was about the nature, formation, influencing factors, etc of her beliefs. This is not an uncommon or unspecific question. It is merely the question "why". I think you've failed to see the specificity of what I asked. My original question was simply, "How has Ayn Rand's historic and personal context affected her beliefs". I did not expect to hear "they didn't" as an answer to that question.
  15. Sure. What in particular would you like to know? Moreover, do you have anything to offer on the subject of the thread?
  16. Absolutely. Hope I didn't imply otherwise. I think this is completely accurate and the crux of what I'm trying to propose (esp. my emphasis). I don't think it is altogether wise to assume that anyone is completely free of cognitive biases. Thus, as readers we have a responsibility of reason to understand those biases. ** Side note That is one of her conclusions, for sure. But not the only one. One of Rand's arguments for for abortion was that children are an incredible burden on parents and results in sacrifice that may be involuntary. I said this was a poor justification for abortion because it implies only one option, not an alternative (the excluded middle, if you will). Such as.. 1. Involuntary sacrifice is bad. 2. Unwanted children cause involuntary sacrifice. 3. Therefore, abortion should be legal. When I said "alternatives" I mentioned adoption as the alternative to abortion. I apologize if that wasn't clear. So.. how does all of this relate my original question? In this example, we can imagine that one of the main way that Rand argues for abortion is founded on at least two premises that do not necessarily support the conclusion. If those premises are upheld by personal experience (her recognition of her mother's sacrifice for her children and verbal expression of that to Rand) then we can have a stronger awareness of cognitive biases. TL;DR: We have have cognitive biases that we're both aware of an unaware of. To say otherwise is probably the greatest cognitive bias you can hold.
  17. Oh, and more importantly, it is also the name I use for any online multiplayer computer game. This is serious business.
  18. Close! doxa is a Greek term for "glory", "fame", "honor" while par is Latin in origin and implies "average", "usual" or "normal". Thus, the combination of the two terms becomes not only paradoxical in meaning but also in letter composition.
  19. Not precisely. But I'll try to explain below. It matters because there are two ways to evaluate an argument. The first way is to evaluate the conclusion. This is most often what people do and what most people tend to care about. If you and I agree on the conclusion to an argument than that is really all that matters. We feel comfy with each other and all is right in the world. The other way to evaluate an argument is to evaluate the premises that support that argument. This, in fact, is the most important way to evaluate an argument. Two brilliant (or stupid) people may reach the same conclusions for utterly different reasons. Let me provide an example. Person 1 says: Premise 1: Bricks are made of concrete. Premise 2: Concrete is hard. Conclusion: All bricks are hard. Person 2 says: Premise 1: I hit my head on a brick. Premise 2: My head was injured. Conclusion: All bricks are hard. In this instance, both person 1 and person 2 reach the same conclusion for entirely different reasons. One of those people reached their conclusion entirely from experience. An evaluation of a philosopher's personal and historical context is helpful in evaluating their premises. I believe that is important in evaluating the validity of their conclusions.
  20. whYNOT, Tough to say, I think. My experience with Rand has not included a study of her ideas in their chronological development. However, citing a later quote as an argument for a hypothesis regarding an earlier action is bit anachronistic and may be a confirmation bias. These things tend to be impossible to determine. But a lot of fun to speculate on.
  21. Maybe not whether what I say is true or not but why I say what I say or how loud or how often I say it? :-)
  22. softwareNerd is right in saying that "one's experience does not determine one's conclusions" with one nuance, I think. I would just add "one's experience does not necessarily determine one's conclusions". Ninth Dr gives a good example of Dostoyevsky. My question surrounds the issue of how much Rand's experience determined her conclusions. See below for an perfect example of why this issue (of personal and historical context) is so important: In my "Two Questions" thread in this same forum I said that I have always been pro-life on Objectivist values. Yet, Rand is not. What here accounts for the discrepancy? A few possibilities exist: 1) I am wrong, 2) she is wrong, 3) we are both wrong or 4) our values or experiences have influenced our thinking on the subject (i.e. our personal experiences have affected our positions). In Rand's defense of abortion there is a very interesting quote: This argument seems to be her premiere argument (in quantity) in favor of abortion rights. You'd be hard pressed to tell me her mother's complaining of the duties of caring for children has no influence on her position (interesting as well that she disregards alternatives, such as adoption). Now, I'm not (at least here) debating the issue of abortion. I'm merely citing this as an example of just how utterly important understanding the historical and personal context of a person is in the evaluation of their ideals. Clearly, Rand's experience with her mother impacted her (at least offer up one argument) on abortion rights. Hope that makes sense! :-)
  23. softwareNerd, I think that is accurate. I'm not asking that anyone completely separate themselves from their experiences, nor am I expecting that it is possible (or even always good). However, I also think it valuable to consider carefully the context of our philosophers so that we might be better able to understand them, their strengths and their weaknesses, and understand particular emphasizes in their ideologies (e.g. why did Rand write more on capitalism than issues of family?). This is a pretty basic practice in the reading of philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, etc and provides helpful insight and understanding.
  24. I'm curious dollardoctrinaire, what evidence do you see for your belief that she wasn't affected much by her experience in Russia? There seems to be ample evidence to the contrary.
  25. I was thinking particularly her early encounters with communism and how that may have impacted her values, particularly in economics and government. Almost all of her early work (at least to my knowledge) revolved around these issues. Thus, I often wonder frequently that the larger portions of her philosophy grew out of these experiences and informed them.
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