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William O

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William O last won the day on February 8

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  1. If you're comfortable sharing your age here, that would help people give you advice. Some young people go through a "Howard Roark phase" upon first learning of Objectivism which can make them unpleasant to be around. (I know I did.) I don't see any specific reason to think that that's happening in your case, but I thought I should mention it. I have a couple of pieces of generic advice. First, if you want to talk to someone about a deeply held belief like socialism that they have a personal attachment to, it's good to approach it by asking them polite questions rather than by arguing against it directly. That way they are less likely to get defensive, and they can put the pieces together on their own after the conversation is over. Second, if you want to talk about ideas, I'd suggest seeking out a philosophy club or sitting in on a philosophy class (some professors will let you do this for free - email them and ask). People who study philosophy are sometimes more used to viewing their ideas as things that there are legitimate alternatives to, so you might get better discussions in that environment. Philosophy professors are basically paid to take ideas they disagree with seriously, particularly while teaching. Lastly, this forum isn't as active as it used to be, but it's a good place to talk to intelligent people who are sympathetic to Objectivism. You should stick around!
  2. Accounting and singing technique both involve learning skills which are best acquired by extensive practice. So, the best way to learn those particular subjects would presumably be to practice the relevant skills repeatedly rather than to (only) read about them. Edit: I can think of other subjects that I know for a fact are like this (I'm not that familiar with accounting or singing). Reading about how to program without actually doing any programming is almost a waste of time, for example.
  3. Your disproof reminds me of Parmenides. Respectfully, though, I think a more "Objectivist" approach would be to start by asking why you're trying to disprove something that there is no reason to believe in the first place.
  4. It would have been useful for you to know that most of the studies on religiosity and happiness have been done in the United States, which is a predominantly religious country where atheists are often discriminated against. That's the concrete-bound, empiricist rebuttal. I feel like there should be a more principled rebuttal here, but I can't see it. Maybe check out Branden's essay on religion and self esteem in The Virtue of Selfishness.
  5. I don't have much helpful advice to give you about how to accomplish that, except to study very hard for a long time. To do what you want to do, you need a firm grasp of history, politics, and philosophy, as well as the rhetorical skills to express yourself clearly and convincingly. There are probably other fields that you need to be adept at. A week and a half is almost certainly not enough time to prepare by several orders of magnitude - see the aforementioned ten years estimate. This is especially true if you're rusty on Objectivism, which is what I take from your saying that you "studied Objectivism a long time ago."
  6. I don't think compatibilism is a big issue for Objectivism. Compatibilism as a philosophical position usually comes up after determinism is already accepted, with the idea being "okay, we don't have libertarian free will, but can we nevertheless preserve some sense in which moral responsibility exists?" Objectivism's refutation of determinism just renders the whole debate moot. I would advise against classifying Objectivist positions under academic labels like compatibilism or libertarianism, though. I would certainly advise against any attempt to do so quickly. Academic labels often come with connotations that aren't consistent with the Objectivist position, so care is needed.
  7. The level of understanding of Objectivism required for one person will differ from that of another, depending on their other goals. A full understanding of Objectivism requires about ten years of serious study, according to what I've heard from Objectivist intellectuals. That likely won't be worth doing for most people who aren't professional philosophers. If you don't want to be a professional intellectual, I'd suggest aiming for whatever level of understanding will enable you to know what you are doing in life. Get a basic grasp of the principles, then return to philosophy when you sense that you're not clear about their application to something that you are doing. You write that the goal may be "to integrate from the axiom of existence exists to capitalism in such a way that is both local, abstract, clearly understood by other people, and entertaining enough for people to want to comprehend." That sounds like you're aiming at becoming a professional Objectivist intellectual or a popularizer of the philosophy. Is that correct?
  8. William O

    Youth as a value

    I would flat out deny the premise of the question. It's possible to pursue youth as a value by funding scientific research aimed at enabling us to live indefinitely in young bodies. If the research is successful within your lifespan, you could have the body of a 20 year old at the age of 200. (Obviously you'd still get "older" over time here in one sense, but that's a crude equivocation.)
  9. @itsjames, the Ayn Rand Institute has an audio lecture course you can buy called "Charles Babbage and Induction in Computer Science" by Martin F. Johansen. It is Johansen's work rather than Rand's, but Johansen is influenced by Objectivism, and the course is very relevant to your interest in the history of computers. Very cool thread!
  10. 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/
  11. To me, an "expert" on Objectivism would be an orthodox Objectivist with a PhD in philosophy or comparable knowledge. I can't immediately think of anyone on OO.com that I would consider an "expert" in that sense. Most of the regulars here are intelligent, reasonably well educated, much more interested in philosophy than the average person, and much more sympathetic to Objectivism than the average person. If that's who you want answers from, great, but keep in mind that you need to think carefully about what they are saying, myself included.
  12. Those Objectivists (whoever they are) should read Bradley Thompson's recent book America's Revolutionary Mind, then. It demonstrates in detail that the ideas driving the American Revolution were in essence highly similar to Ayn Rand's philosophy.
  13. 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 factually accurate the book is, but I'm enjoying it. Good thread!
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