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Railroad Man

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  1. Your smarminess would not be welcome in person; I'm a blue collar Objectivist, and where I come from, men are still held *directly* responsible for the way they speak to one another. I'm the perpetual stranger in a strange land, surrounded by mostly unphilosophical men on the RR and, from what I've seen of other Objectivists thus far, too many smarmy, effeminately sarcastic, limp-wristed, scholastic sissyboys on this side. But this is the internet, so I am fortunate to be in no physical danger lol. If I did make an error, maybe it was in assuming that people on an Objectivist website would not require the history of philosophy, and Hume's crucial impact upon it, to be broken down Barney-style; my post was largely colloquial, an informal way of looking at someone who was hugely influential on Kant and the rest of the empiricist tradition (and not for the better). In my estimation, Hume did not deserve to be, both by his own premises regarding his own philosophy (i.e., by the fact that Hume ends his philosophy by saying, in effect, "Nevermind") and by the epistemic belligerence of his philosophy, which should be generally understood in a community of Objectivists. I characterize Hume as "throwing a turd in the punchbowl of Western philosophy" because he's belligerently obtuse and irrational (and he openly admits it); I characterize Hume as "an epic troll in the history of philosophy" because he admits that his philosophy is complete bs, then publishes it anyway. The real point was to establish a conversation as to whether Hume was trolling us; I can't take seriously anyone who ends his philosophy with "whatever, nevermind", and I have trouble understanding why so many philosophers *did* take him as gospel.
  2. Hume went out of his way to be ridiculously skeptical, but he did a good job of making it sound feasible; after all, he did fool philosophers for centuries, and he took skepticism to the big time. But throughout his work, he's making noises like "This seems nonsensical", etc. At the end of his work, he says, "Nevermind, there is no way anyone could live according to my philosophy." My question is, why didn't he throw it in the trash? If he knows his philosophy is bs before he has even finished his book, and he puts that in the book as well, did he just say "**** it" and publish it anyway? Seems like a hard conclusion not to reach, and its tragic because he was obviously hugely influential on the course of philosophy; after Hume, the holy grail of philosophy was to answer him, and we would not have had Kant without him. But Hume openly admitted his philosophy was bunk, so I think Hume might have just been an epic troll who threw a big turd in the punchbowl of Western philosophy, and led to centuries of irrationalism which culminated in the totalitarian bloodbath of the 20th century, and today's cultural collapse. How about a big middle finger for Hume? **** that guy.
  3. The prospect of someone telling you he is a universal liar is an obvious contradiction. The statement cannot be true; as soon as he says it, even if everything else he said was a lie, his lying is no longer universal. Likewise, the prospect of trying to be a universal liar is also a contradiction. If I make an honest effort to be a universal liar, I am beating a dead horse (not to mention destroying my mind). But hell, let's ignore the contradiction and have some fun with this, like David Hume would have done. So we have established that a person cannot make an honest effort to be a universal liar without compromising his mission; though a sociopath will lie to others and try to cheat them all day long, his actions remain honestly committed to chosen goals, no matter how dishonest or dubious those goals might be. So how could a man lie literally all the time? Imagine a man developed a mental malfunction in which he could not think or act according to the evidence of his senses, which remained completely intact, and he could not do anything else but the opposite of the verdict of his conceptual judgment; he wouldn't live very long. No matter how much his stomach wrenches, he will not eat; no matter how thirsty he became, he would not drink; would he even be able to breathe? All he could do was lay there and wait to die, unless his senses told him it was time to lie down, in which case he would go for a drive in his car, but when his senses told him to stop at the RR tracks because a train was coming, he would drive right in front of the train. But in order for the universal liar to drive a car, this presents torturous complexity; I think this is where I pull a Hume and say, "Nevermind". So the moral of the story is, don't be like Hume and don't play on the RR tracks.
  4. And here's captain hairsplitter to the rescue. If you honestly believe I was stating that rationalists shave their faces or drive a truck with their emotions, that's not my problem. And if I know a theory is built upon an epistemological foundation which explicitly rejects the primacy of existence and the necessity of reference to sensory experience in concept formation (and which entails a stultifying overreliance on deduction)--yes, I absolutely can reject that theory without exploring its nooks and crannies, for the same reason that if I see a switch lined against me, my train is going into the siding regardless of what I want it to do. A is A.
  5. And where do these Austrians get away with claiming Bastiat to be a "pre-Austrian"? Bastiat is pretty good, he's more rhetoric than theory but it's usually good rhetoric; his theory of wealth, for instance, is transparently rationalistic, and unfortunately he also makes the ubiquitous error of tying political freedom to religious mysticism. *sigh* I just have to remind myself that it is *still* "much earlier than you think."
  6. Oh no, he threw the emotion card at me; what am I to do? I don't know if you're an Objectivist, or a whim-worshipping pseudo-Objectivist who wants to make happy with a gang of Kantian rationalist-subjectivists while pretending that the two are not insuperably antithetical, or a general libertarian jellyfish who wants to be kinda this and somewhat that too, maybe a little of the other thing. Here's the bricks: I do not need to go through and pick out every rotten vegetable in a dumpster before I know that they are not palatable. Meaning, if I know a system of economics is built upon an epistemological foundation which says that reality and truth are a phenomenon dependent upon consciousness, I don't need to go through it and nitpick everything that is stated, for the fact that I already know that the theory is not allegiant to reality and a primacy of existence orientation, but to whatever deductive process a rationalist decided would best fit the theoretical end he had already chosen. Both Austrianism and Marxism are products of rationalism; if you can only derive truth by pointing to the content of your own mind, who is to say which is good or bad? And do you need to read Das Kapital and present a nuanced deconstruction of the Law of Increasing Misery of the Proletariat before you can understand that Marxism is a shabby emotionalistic fantasy built to cash-in on envy? "Anarcho-Capitalism" is a particularly crass example of this rationalization at work. Rothbard hates the state, so he rationalizes a chain of deductive logic which alleges to prove that political power is actually best when it is openly sold on an economic market. Emotionalism and rationalization is the definitive guide of mystics and rationalists (its the same epistemology); starting out with a presumption that reality is actually a derivative of your consciousness, you end with your emotions as your only tie to the real world.
  7. Yes. I found Hazlitt's book to be great, except for a passage or two where he gets close to morality and starts babbling (but this is true of all free market economists, thus far); Hazlitt seems to be something of a common-sense classicist. I've heard several of Stockman's speeches, and his book is on my list; I'm not particularly strong on Stockman because though he is certainly better than the mainstream, he seems to be agnostic on the subject of money (i.e. "the Fed would be great if it was run my way"), which is better but no cigar. I have derived most of my original economic thinking from the Objectivist philosophy; the more I read of economics, the more I keep running into false and arbitrary ideas, which is unavoidable since the economic science is overrun with rationalism and subjectivism.
  8. I do not owe the sanction of serious consideration to mystics who believe in god and irrationalists who tell me that anarchy is freedom; in both cases, they are rationalizing reality to fit their whims, and it is only in light of the abysmal state of modern inquiry that people like this expect to be taken seriously or to deserve a rational answer. And NO, you cannot reconcile rationalism with objectivism. If you stop calling it a priorism, you are still using concepts, language, and logic detached from any reference to percepts and sense experience; that is the problem with rationalism, you use logic detached from reality and claim your theory is valid because it all fits together and sounds good. Reisman was a shabby epistemologist to begin with, and over the years he has become more and more rationalistic; as for Kinsella or whats his face, why don't you tell me what these epistemological giants had to say about the analytic-synthetic dichotomy lol.
  9. ...I'm convinced there is almost no rationality under the sun. Studying the Austrians is giving me a case of the malevolent universe, so to speak. Before beginning my studies, I knew the Austrians were generally a priorist, so I had my trepidations. And from what I have read of Rothbard online, he appears to be a common quack; his market anarchy theory is so grossly irrational, rationalistic, unfounded and arbitrary that I cannot fathom how anyone takes it seriously. In old videos of him speaking, he constantly refers to the men who built this country as "cartelizers" and he seems to have a rabidly anti-capitalist streak in his allegedly capitalist thought. And as a dyed-in-the-wool Kantian rationalist, I have no idea how this guy gets away with calling himself an Aristotelian (or why Objectivists have let him get away with it); Aristotle gave us deductive logic, he most certainly did not give us rationalism. But the influence of Plato on Aristotle's thought might be the back door through which someone like Rothbard can sneak in. I doubt I will read anything more from him, perhaps with the exception of his history of the Great Depression, which might be less irrational than his formal theories. But in order to obtain a more fundamental understanding of formal Austrianism, I recently picked up Hoppe's "Economic Science and the Austrian Method" and "Human Action" by Mises. I haven't cracked Human Action yet, and I haven't been able to get very far with Hoppe; he's so bad that I can hardly compel myself to keep reading. Hoppe reads like an amalgamation of every essential description of rationalists that was ever made by Peikoff, Harriman, or other Objectivists. In the course of explaining the Austrian method, he spends half his time arguing with himself over the proper structure of propositions, then he arbitrarily declares his propositional method to be axiomatic and irrefutable (by reference to the content of his consciousness? wtf). He's all over the place; here he's going over the nuances of propositional phrases, then he mentions the beauty of logic, then he talks shit about some guy who talked shit about the Austrians, then he mentions the geometric integrity of a triangle, then he reminds you that all of this is irrefutable. If Hoppe existed in an Ayn Rand novel, rationalists would howl that Rand was beating up a straw man; in reality, this guy is a *bad* living caricature of rationalism, made so much worse by the fact that I know he's being serious. We know that the rationalist epistemology is irresistably tempting to those who want to believe in god while pretending to be scientists, but irrationality begets more irrationality. Among Austrians in-general, the mysticism and the quackery are inseperable; Thomas Woods seems to be a mostly rational economist (and I don't know if he's into this anarchy crap), but he's also a raving mystic and an intellectual bedfellow of Lew Rockwell (lol). I'm saying that the more I see of the Austrian camp, the more it appears to be a gang of quacks. At the beginning of his book, Hoppe explains that Mises actually discovered a (one?) flaw in Kant's epistemology, and that he solved it by positing the law of causality as a "category of action" (which is still dependent upon consciousness, I see). This was Mises attempting to escape the obvious Platonism of Kant's epistemology, no matter how many mountains of scholastic jargon Kant heaped on top of it. After all this, I don't know what to expect from Mises--or if I care to find it.
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