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DannyBoyPoker's Achievements


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  1. Actually, I think that Rand and I have a great deal in common. The thing that brings me to this thread is that I'm turned off by her intolerance for disagreement, and by her lack of serious effort to engage with opposing points of view. I still think these criticisms of Rand are largely accurate. I'm tempted to add some kind of crack about one important point that I underrated -- that her followers are worse! Well, I can try to be an example. And, happily, I can agree with Rand when she saw herself as a pathbreaking original thinker who had discovered important philosophical and political truths that had previous been ignored or at least underemphasized. But, on the other hand, I said something about Rand being dogmatic and was informed that this is me being condescending. The thing is, I'm not sure we all agree that it would be a bad mistake, to hold Objectivist ideas in a dogmatic manner. Dan
  2. I'm not interested in what you suppose Danny boy to prefer, so much as I am in what you prefer. If Rand's approach is not socially conscious, then I wonder what is the point. You need her permission to be a jerk? I suspect that putting the question that way is unlikely to receive a direct answer, so I'll rephrase. We're committed to being rational here, aren't we? Good. Well, at least I am. This is what I prefer. Also, I haven't claimed to dislike anything of Rand's philosophy, that I can recall, though I've had the opportunity.
  3. I'm right here. And I'm here, to discuss 'big ideas'. And, I'm not picky. Anytime! I didn't anticipate that anybody was likely to gather the impression that I was trying to impress them with my vocabulary..this is not, actually, technically, beyond the 12th grade reading level, is it? 'Saying "maybe I do blow hot air just to hear the sound of it" is just not cool, no matter how you twist up the sentence structure.' Noted, though I didn't say that. I have, however, stressed that ludicrous paraphrasing is not cool, imho.
  4. I don't want to just, at this moment, be diligent at 'marking work'. I don't want to be 'expert at my subject', at this moment. I mean, I may or may not be..but..it doesn't make me cool. I look back, at my posts here, and I wonder about what is 'canny', about me attempting a 'chalk and talk'. This sort of thing can often be dull. It's relatively cheap and easy to provide. But, is there a right way, a right time? Is it 'well done'? It is easy to do badly, is what it is. Hard to do well. People talk about teaching being “relevant”, as this is a good starting point. that is, motivation is a good starting point, prior to the delivery, we might say. But it is not, actually, also a good 'outcome', when the idea is to move you beyond your outlook (reveal possibilities, raise expectations..)
  5. okay, what is the justification for Kant, why is he the central figure in modern philosophy. He supposedly set the terms for much of nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, and supposedly continues to exercise a significant influence today in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and other fields. It ought to be possible to say what is the 'fundamental idea'. Well, Kant argues that the human understanding is the source of the general laws of nature that structure all our experience. And, a related point, he also argues that human reason gives itself the moral law, so-called. Kant popularized a notion that scientific knowledge, morality, and religious belief are mutually consistent and secure because they all rest on the same foundation. This might be sounding pretty reasonable, if you aren't too exercised to distinguish Kant from Rand, here. I'm interested in the the historical and intellectual contex in which the Critique of Pure Reason was written, but I'm also the guy who mentioned that 'life is short'. There is no cure for cancer to be found, in Kant, heh. It's true that the Enlightenment was then in a state of crisis. The 'cultural balance' shifted decisively away from the Enlightenment. What I want to particularly emphasize about what *I* mean by 'Enlightenment', is that this is a reaction to the rise and successes of modern science in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Kant says this: Our age is the age of criticism, to which everything must submit. Religion through its holiness and legislation through its majesty commonly seek to exempt themselves from it. But in this way they excite a just suspicion against themselves, and cannot lay claim to that unfeigned respect that reason grants only to that which has been able to withstand its free and public examination here again, I think if you're not too impatient to distinguish Kant from Rand, you might be able to admire this quote. Kant wrote an essay, about how Enlightenment is about thinking for oneself rather than letting others think for you. A culture of enlightenment is “almost inevitable” if only there is “freedom to make public use of one's reason in all matters”. He has a touching faith in the inevitability of progress, that a few indepedendent thinkers will gradually inspire a broader cultural movement, which ultimately will lead to greater freedom of action and governmental reform. I patronizingly call this faith 'touching', but actually I *am* touched. The Critique of Pure Reason is Kant's response to the main intellectual crisis of the Enlightenment. Its main topic is metaphysics because, for Kant, metaphysics is the domain of reason – it is “the inventory of all we possess through pure reason, ordered systematically”. The authority of reason was in question. Kant's main goal is to show that a critique of reason by reason itself, free rational inquiry, adequately supports, -- well, supports, establishes a secure and consistent basis for, *all of these essential human interests*, shall we say. And, shows them to be mutually consistent. So reason deserves the sovereignty attributed to it by the Enlightenment. But this doesn't get me very far in describing how to see how Kant attempts to achieve this goal. Rather than get into that, I'll just say that what *I* like best about Kant, is clearly evident whenever he makes comments about how philosophers should go about the process of judging the views of other philosophers. And, Kant's tendency to consider a matter from various perspectives characterizes virtually all his writing, though as a rule, the later the work, the greater and more explicit is the use he makes of this principle... Dan
  6. 'Explain your view of how Kant should not be labeled an indirect realist, please don't dance around by talking about Hume or say Kant didn't call himself one.' I'd appreciate it if you accept my efforts in good faith. If these issues had been easy to clear up, they'd have been cleared up before now and I don't mean the pitiable results of this 10+ year thread. Upon reflection, I realize that I'm testy about some other threads entirely, but nevertheless I am testy. Dan
  7. *Disco? <-- this means, 'are we happy? Is it, hopefully, Miller Time?' If we are, indeed, happy, then the occasion might be compered by a disc jockey and feature special lighting effects.. *You ask about A. D. Smith's book. I recognize the title, I've flipped through it. I could mention, I suppose, that Kant figures ambiguously in the debate that is hotly debated *within* the camp of direct perceptual realists themselves, between conceptualists and non-conceptualists, being claimed as an illustrious predecessor by both sides. And, I think there are interesting relations between Kant’s position and some aspects of contemporary debates, but..well, making sense of Kant’s position interests me more than requiring that Kant be committed to any specific contemporary positions, and I don't consider it urgent that we enter into the broad and multiform debate on the merits or weaknesses of direct perceptual realism. we can let this be a 'Rand's understanding of Kant' thread. Dan
  8. This is going to get rough, so let me start by tossing a bone: I think that Ayn Rand's ethics is the best legitimate heir to Aristotle's on the contemporary field. Just like her politics is the best legitimate heir to that of "lightweights" Locke, Jefferson and Spencer. And, I'm willing to suppose that Rand was *fundamentally* right there in the philosophical mainstream -- or, at least, just what the mainstream has been yearning for, for who-knows-how-long now. So far, I've honed in on Rand's polemical style, which does leave something to be desired, from a certain point of view. Namely, if one focuses on Rand's polemical style, it does become a convenient way to dismiss her as a thinker. Actually, that would be a pretty lame basis for dismissing a philosopher's views. Okay..here's a real *issue*. And it's still a Kantian matter: The failure to recognize that logic is man’s method of cognition, has produced a brood of artificial splits and dichotomies which represent restatements of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy from various aspects. Three in particular are prevalent today: logical truth vs. factual truth; the logically possible vs. the empirically possible; and the a priori vs. the a posteriori. Leonard Peikoff, “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,” Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, This is actually the final section of IOE. And, I have an issue here. First, there is the matter of what might be the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, according to its advocates. Well.. A standard example of an analytic truth would be: Ice is a solid. An example of a synthetic truth would be: Ice floats on water. Now, advocates of the dichotomy hold that the definition of a concept specifies its meaning in its entirety. So, in order to complete these examples, let me supply a definition of 'ice', courtesy of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary ice. the solid form of water. And now, , as I expect objectivists to understand, it is advisable, when assessing a theory, to consult a presentation by its advocates. Detractors, no matter how well-intentioned, may find it difficult to give a convincing, objective presentation of the theory. After all, they think it's wrong. Before we begin, let me try to clarify the point of disagreement. The crucial point on which Objectivists, and many other Aristotelians, differ from advocates of the dichotomy is the question of what constitutes the meaning of a concept. It turns out, then, that views on the validity of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy reflect views on the larger question of just what logic is. It appears to me, that advocacy of the dichotomy implies a view of logic as *restricted*. --claims such as that the sinking of ice in water is 'logically possible' although it is, in fact, impossible, imply that there is some cognitive mechanism other than logic through which we become aware of the actual impossibility of ice sinking-- This is contrary to the Objectivist, and more generally the Aristotelian view of what logic is. According to Ayn Rand, logic is, I think, as an art, the skill of acquiring knowledge of reality. This skill involves, not just some limited techniques, e.g. deductive inference, but the full range of rational endeavor, including things like concept formation, definition construction, inductive generalization, integration of ideas, and reduction of ideas to perceptual data. So, -- time is limited. I just want to point out, to devotees of such arguments and distinctions, that I've read Peikoff and Rand and I think I understand their arguments quite clearly. And I think I know what happens if the analytic-synthetic distinction goes. That means all the pretense surrounding Immanuel Kant crumbles. There is much to say on the topic of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy, I have said very little of it. I can say more..
  9. Some points: *I've hinted that by the time Kant was developing his own account, the notion that the mind related to the world indirectly, through a ‘veil of ideas’ (if at all), and the particular conception of ideas as images, held considerable ground in both rationalist and empiricist quarters – not only in Britain but also in Germany. *Also, direct realism is usually understood – under the name of ‘naïve realism’ – as a purely empirical, even commonsensical view. I'm not touting so-called naïve realism, not as an interpretation of Kant, or if it comes to it of Rand. Then, there is no naïve realist here. *I'm not interested in a an ordinary idealism in new clothes, nor in such a Kant who might be suspected of being this. *we've not really gotten into any methodological/justificatory principles, here, so we're not maybe getting anywhere fast. I'm fine with that, if we at least avoid quick equivocations and misinterpretations borrowed from wherever..
  10. I didn't tarry to quibble w/you here, but I could. I'm unhappy with the phrase 'there are such realities', here. Also, 'is one form of idealism'. I'm fine if we don't care, actually, so much about Kant. Suppose that I simply take credit for my own views, here, and nevermind whether they coincide with Kant's views. One thing is for certain, I didn't get my views on Kant from Rand. Disco? So what. Kant doesn't matter he's dead and in the ground. But I liked that you mentioned 'empirical realism', something that I've already copy/pasted/endorsed in your summary on Kant. I fear that the term 'empirical' requires a bit of 'touching base'. If I accuse Rand and Kant both, of being empirical realists, and having something in common..I dunno..it'll *matter* what this *means*. Say, then, that most of the knowledge we gain through ordinary experience, is empirical. 'This table is brown' might be offered as a typical empirical statement. Also, most of the knowledge we gain through science is empirical. 'Reality' is also, bear with me, a technical term. One of those abstractions that people throw around informally, but equivocation is rampant. Notice, then, that when we say 'reality', we might be refering to the ordinary world of nature. Now, this is 'reality', if regarded from the empirical perspective. I do not say that *Kant was a direct realist*. Nor do I say that direct realism is viable (I don't know what this jargon means -- yes I can look up a wiki link, but then I have my doubts as to whether Rand would approve and probably also I wouldn't approve). I do say, that Rand was an empirical realist (no more than I, no more than Kant). It may well be, that the poshumous 'party line' in Irvine about Rand, these days, is that she was a 'direct realist'. However, I'm gonna just byob to that party..
  11. '(as long as you don't say he's a direct realist)' bub, this hardly matters what is a 'direct realist'? Did Rand describe herself in these terms?
  12. suppose that I came on here to assert that 'Reality is NOT an objective absolute. There's no way to tell whether reality is objective or not because it can only be perceived subjectively!! (& Howard Roark was a lousy architect!!)' well, I didn't.
  13. 'What is wrong with the Oist view of presentationalism? Is it just that its not presented in the more constructivist-multiculturalist, PC type of postmodernist "coexist" demeanor?' Maybe I do reduce this style of utterance to an intriguing form at the expense of content. For me, agreeing or not with Rand's positions does not slake the weird interest her work engenders. It's, shall we say, a little exciting to be hectored. -- rather than seduced, sobered, flattered. I'm not sure that I can honor these verbal idioms, at least not in moral arrogance. Though I approve, of provoking questions and impressions. My comment is that Rand enlists *this many* balls-out strategies. And, I admit that I am, at times, actually unsure as to whether, with Rand, of whom I am a fan, --whether her positions are perhaps as much *about* their vociferousness as about the stances involved. The 'usual protocols' that I have in mind, that we'll need to bend to accomodate her form of expression (at times), will of course be irrelevant if we agree to regard Rand as being like virtually every dogmatist known to man. Which, she is, I suppose, and it's a rather obvious point, but I don't expect to carry it *that* easily, *here*. I can't simply call The Fountainhead didactic and pretentious, and expect no reply. And by that I don't mean that I expect somebody to say that they admire her gumption at painting in such thick, heavy-brush strokes. 'What is wrong with the Oist view of presentationalism?' I'm ambivalent about dubbing it 'presentationalism', and I don't think this is Rand's jargon (I'm not sure that she would approve). Note, that I apparently can't resist policing exegesis, now we're arguing not about what is supposedly Kant's position, but about what is supposedly Rand's position. 'Eiuol, Kant certainly held the phenomenal world is real. It is a real realm, and it is the realm of our experience, science, and mathematics. He described his position as empirical realism,..' splendid thank you, things are looking up!
  14. I am not trying to be cryptic, in reference to what might be Kant's views -- I objected to the 'indirect realist' label. I also don't mean to keep people guessing as to whether I'm informed about Rand's epistemology, etc. I'm interested in Rand. I'll offer this quote: "It seems also evident, that, when men follow this blind and powerful instinct of nature, they always suppose the very images, presented by the senses, to be the external objects, and never entertain any suspicion, that the one are nothing but representations of the other. This very table, which we see white, and which we feel hard, is believed to exist, independent of our perception, and to be something external to our mind, which perceives it. Our presence bestows not being on it: our absence does not annihilate it. It preserves its existence uniform and entire, independent of the situation of intelligent beings, who perceive or contemplate it. But this universal and primary opinion of all men is soon destroyed by the slightest philosophy, which teaches us, that nothing can ever be present to the mind but an image or perception, and that the senses are only the inlets, through which these images are conveyed, without being able to produce any immediate intercourse between the mind and the object. The table, which we see, seems to diminish, as we remove farther from it: but the real table, which exists independent of us, suffers no alteration: it was, therefore, nothing but its image, which was present to the mind. These are the obvious dictates of reason; and no man, who reflects, ever doubted, that the existences, which we consider, when we say, this house and that tree, are nothing but perceptions in the mind, and fleeting copies or representations of other existences, which remain uniform and independent." I offer this, as something that I think Rand would label 'colossally mistaken'. Also, this is, I think, indirect realism. That is, here we see the claim being *rejected*, that we are perceptually acquainted with external physical objects. Whether this is colossally mistaken or not (we probably agree that it *is*, --objectivists agree, Rand agrees, I agree), it is also colossally influential. But this quote is not Kant, but actually Hume! There's a risk, here, of getting to bogged down for our purposes, in thrashing out arguments about the nature of the external world, on the one hand, and about our relationship to it when perceiving it, on the other. I'm not posting to even disagree with Rand on these issues, let alone try to settle them. I'll just add that this sort of thing is not a odd historical curiosity, but a position that is widely accepted. And I'm not against attacking it (I welcome Rand's attacks on this position).. There are *many similar* arguments, which all prove (proport to prove) that in perception we are not aware of the things we naively suppose ourselves to be aware of. The people and whatever, sunrises, tables, chickens. What we are supposedly actually aware of is said to be mental objects of some sort. There are jargon terms, here, such as 'sense-data', 'representations'. 'Intentional objects'. There is also talk of hallucination, double-vision, illusion. Such arguments, have their failings, in my view, even if this might be called the dominant picture of perception (among, shall we say, educated people in the society at large, esp. those who lean towards science). I think we may find common ground, as far as my own attitude goes towards superficial and confused pronouncements like that all we see is light, or that solid objects are not *really* solid, etc. Perception has been at the heart of modern philosophy. Now, my quote is from Hume. Let me conclude by adding that I'm okay with criticizing Hume, but I would hope to appreciate that it is ..--stupid(? is there a better term?) to point and laugh at the great thinkers of the distant past. I mean, there is a kind of stupidity and anachronism that is my target, here, so I *almost* want to do more justice to indirect realism. Maybe I'll just suggest that demolition is easier than construction. Is it accurate to talk about 'objects of perception?' Well, I won't insist on the last word..(and what is an object anyway). I'm interested in the matter of how realist can our realism be, and I gather that the task of addressing these questions has been very difficult for many, but I am here only to question the rumors about what is the Kantian route .. perhaps I would have been better to try 'to be cryptic'
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