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jacassidy2 last won the day on September 4 2015

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About jacassidy2

  • Birthday 05/17/1955

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    Family, classical guitar, western philosophy, Objectivism.
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    Rural NE Georgia, USA
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    I have read all public material from Rand and Peikoff. I have also studied most of it.
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    Boston U. and Memphis U.
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  1. Hey Thinkers I hope the small handful of thinkers that remember my presence and posts about a year ago - people who seemed to appreciate my take on ideas in metaphysics and epistemology - ideas strongly influenced by Ms. Rand and Mr. Peikoff - will comment, and perhaps criticize the following ultra-basic observation that may have implications for the debate over the primacy of existence over consciousness. People like Boystan, Jankns, SoftwareNerd, Eiuol, Nicky and others (my memory of the spelling may be wrong). OR, I may have failed - this may just be a cute observation that is a play on words in the false name of concepts I have confused. This occurred to me while thinking about a more concrete issue while I was trying to fall asleep. I was thinking about the Aristotelian axioms in metaphysics as examined by Ms. Rand and Mr. Peikoff - existence, consciousness, and identity. I always struggle with whether the order should be existence, identity, and consciousness in the context of the historic underlying argument in western philosophy (often not identified explicitly by philosophers, but there none the less) between the primacy of existence vs. consciousness. If the last sentence was not familiar to you, be careful before you post in this thread because its subject is a most fundamental issue in Objectivism. Here is my most basic, Chardonnay inspired, thought. Isn't the entire study of epistemology a study of the identity (characteristics/attributes/functioning/cause and effect consequences) of consciousness - outside of that part of the identity of consciousness that is solely the realm of physics and medical neurology? I hope this last distinction keeps me from falling into the mind-body dichotomy pit, but am I falling into the common mind-body dichotomy by even asking this question? Falling for or recognizing he historical silliness of categorizing identity into levels of importance based on perception vs. reality - primary being things like extension/space and density/mass versus things only perceivable without historically current measurement like taste and color, making a false distinction in perception? If so, how does one Objectively recognize the difference between the underlying neuro-physicality (organs and their support) and the consequence of senses, perception, and reason that we recognize as human consciousness? Should epistemology be the study of that link or only its consequence in awareness and its consequence in reasoning? I feel like a freshman in asking this question, but I seem to have phrased it in a way that debate and tearing apart can help clear up some of languages shortcomings . I consider myself, in avocation at least, a Rand scholar after 38 years of off and on study. Please help me discover the obvious connections I've identified and, if necessary, point out the flaws I have noticed in these relationships of ideas. Thanks, Jack
  2. Hey Folks, The following is a post I wrote inside a FB thread about caring about people. I know it's an uphill battle to separate the reality of duty and selfish pursuits in a world that does not recognize the reason of self interest based on the accurate identity of human existence. Some of you will not understand the last statement. But I wanted to test my enclosed post - there are great thinkers on this sight and I can learn from them ripping my post apart. I hope my friends will cut me up. ***************************************************************************************************************************************** POSTED IN FACEBOOK IN ANSWER TO A POST ASKING ABOUT BAD NON-SELFISH IDEAS Where does all this bad thinking come from? Who said it is moral to deny what you see as valuable in favor of what you do not seek. STOP - if you are not a thinker, if you will not Google the ideas in this post to understand them, stop reading. St. Augustine established Christian duty above reason in about 610 AD, Immanuel Kant established secular duty as a basis for morality in the mid 1700's. What came from this duality of duty? The idea of ALTRUISM as a moral imperative and selfishness as a moral cancer. But no one questioned what is in your reasonable self interest, no one said bad people do bad things - it's like they couldn't recognize that man could be bad or good. They just assumed that man was bad. But man was in the process of evolving and part of that evolution included a new faculty of consciousness - reason. Reason tells us that self interest is not served by initiating force or fraud against anyone. Dozens of thinkers and writers have tried to figure this out in the last 100 to 200 years and have mostly got it wrong because of the mental prejudice they existed in. The answer is every person has a right (not in religious or other mysticism but in the reality of their existence) in the reality of existence as a living being (requiring a reality to continue alive) to their life. That human life is sustained by the use of a mental capacity called reason, and reason requires freedom and liberty to sustain the underlying organism. Humans have a right to life because life requires that right - it's like an axiom - it's a dual idea that answers itself. This post is a base to all the comic and political shared posts I have enjoyed or cringed at. You can't change the underlying focus of your world by re-posting or sharing a cute or comic post. You have to think, you have to spend the time to think, you have to read the stuff your entertainment icons use as primary resources. No, you have to dig further. Wanna make a difference? You gotta study - history and philosophy. Don't worry, it's fun.
  3. SL has, as usual, exposed the real issues, not the things that are just fun to debate. Metaphysics/existence is primary while ethics (and the epistemology upon which it is based) is secondary. Ignorance of this truth often causes thinkers to ask the wrong question or ask a valid question in a way that makes discussion difficult. I would suggest the original poster stop and think of a simple question he/she has an interest in, even if it requires a "concrete" thought experiment. Txs, Jack
  4. The link between the Aristotelian/Axiomatic certainty of the laws of existence, identity, and causality (certain because as basis of all it requires their use to disprove) and the basis of property rights in ethics/politics requires an ethical axiom - a self-sustaining human life has a right to exist. That's a strong statement I hope my peers will support or analyze. The fact that a thing exists is independent of the countless issues of human property rights.
  5. Hey Folks, You know I am a Rand Scholar with emphasis in Aristotelian metaphysics and Rand/Peikoff's epistemology . Many have emailed me to read Richard Dawkins and I have now done it. Thank you. Hey, it took me about 6 months. My personal advanced education was grad school at the time 1978-1986. I read so much and took notes in categorized volumnes. . I knew the accepted methods were flawed. Some scientist who has internalized the philosophy of Aristoltle/Rand/Peikoff, who can integrate Neo-Darwinism. Can some intellect combine the science knowledge of evolution with the cognative philosophy of Rand/Peikoff? Here is the cognative answer.
  6. Hey friends, First, I could and, perhaps, should have posted this in metaphysics because the unspoken core of this essay is the connection between science and philosophy, but here goes. I've been aware of Richard Dawkins for years, but having left the evolutionary biology area of academia in my 20's, before his fame, I assumed (incorrectly) he was just a modern, more scientific, atheist. I've always wondered why anyone would spend time arguing against the nonexistence of an entity without identity claimed by others. I just read his latest book, Brief Candle in the Dark . . . Most of it was a little boring because it's a biography of his later life, but the substance of his anecdotal stories near the end of the book had an effect similar to my first reading of Ms. Rand's Galt speech from Atlas Shrugged. (That speech was criticized by many, for me it was the essence of the book). The subject of this short essay is the reason for this feeling of connection and its significance in the crossover between science and philosophy. I first read Ms. Rand, fiction for entertainment and then nonfiction for knowledge, in grad school. I remember thinking; this way of thinking is relevant to my study of zoology and evolution. Today I'm thinking the same thing from Dawkins' writing, but in reverse, There is a common cognitive theme separated in time between my Rand reading in my 20's and my Dawkins reading (I'm waiting for all his other books to work thru my library's share program) at age 60. Both these thinkers look at common questions in which philosopher/scientists get stuck. They both (by different means) seem to say, if the answer appears to be attainable only by new and seemingly unreasonable ideas, go back and examine the nature of the question in the light of metaphysics and epistemology. That is, forget the answer to your question for a time - instead, study the premises you assume as true and that allow you to reasonably ask the question. For the simple, hey, maybe you're asking the wrong question. Ms. Rand did this with ethics and politics and eventually expressed, publically, an epistemology consistent with reality and Aristotelian metaphysics - Dawkins appears to be doing the same thing with his science interest area and it has drawn him into the area of criticizing mysticism. SUMMARY AND POINT OF THIS POST - Existence, identity, cause and effect, and their expression in the mechanistic-material world, as well as the same in the infant exploration of consciousness and cognition, is not so advanced that the specialists in any area that the scientist and the philosopher should not communicate. EXAMPLE - If the science says the electron is defined as a particle and can exist in two places at once (or transit the space between the two positions without the movement of cause and effect), are we asking the right question. EXAMPLE - Einstein's Bern clock exists with its identity and related cause and effect regardless of the speed of an observer moving away from it. --------- A current philosopher, thinking of Aristotle and ignoring Plato and his intellectual descendants, might ask, has our method of investigation (existence/identity) interfered with our ability to note aspects of existence/identity or caused us to characterize one or the other as its opposite? Human observation is full of the possible error of the Primacy of Consciousness as relates to scientific inquiry. We should all remember that consciousness and the amazing variety of sense organs that feed it with data, did not exist before the general idea of existence and is influenced by the nature of the environment in which natural selection functioned? Dawkins is so objective in his direct statement of fact (with explanation so the reader can examine his conclusions) he reminds me of Ms. Rand; the idea that one thing must be true for the following reason, and this other thing could be true but needs more thought. The similarity is respect for the reader by numerating reasons for conclusions, without giving status to the silly. CONCLUSION - The advance of knowledge and technology has caused philosophy and the sciences to exist in different worlds. It seems like a reasonable path given the shear amount of data. Do we need to establish a new academic concentration to filter science and philosophy? Who knows enough about history, philosophy, physics, chemistry, biology to recognize corrollaries, metaphors, analogies, analogues . . . . . PS - This was an essay written without editing to get a hard copy of an idea on paper - and it included a liter of merlot. So tell me where I got it right and where I got it wrong.
  7. I get your point, but I used the word "few" not the word "no." Also, I hold to the position that, a post-Kantian philosopher who seems to have an ethics/politics supported by nothing but a meaningless variation on Platonist metaphysics, has not created a comprehensive philosophical system. If we listed the post-Kantian German idealists and romanticists (rationalists), I wonder how many we would agree spent much effort on metaphysics or epistemology; and when they did it was based on the principle that consciousness is primary to existence (not by specific description, but as a consequence of their argument.). Thanks for trying to keep me honest.
  8. Ms. Rand became famous for her ideas in the philosophical branches of ethics and politics. Unlike most of her predecessors, Ms. Rand's ideas and conclusions in these derivative areas of philosophy are supported by her later work in epistemology and metaphysics. To me, what makes Objectivism, objective (and unique), is that its derivative conclusions are supported by ideas about existence, identity, cause/effect, the volitional nature of human consciousness, the primacy of existence over consciousness, the nature of abstraction and concept formation, and many others. Thomas Aquinas tried to use Aristotle's ideas in metaphysics to correlate the idea of theism with the idea of reason. He failed. Ms. Rand built on Aristotelian metaphysics, created a reality based epistemology, and then used these ideas to develop an ethics/politics based on the identity of human beings rather than on a mysticism created by human consciousness. Wow.
  9. I have found that reading historical fiction, if written by an author obsessed with research and primary source information, can add a unique understanding to the knowledge already gained thru nonfiction sources. It's time consuming, but enjoyable. To test this method, pick a specific historic period (US Civil War or revolution, Europe during the Reformation, Decline of Roman imperialism, etc.), study the history through nonfiction sources until you have really internalized it, and then read period fiction from one of the authors described above. For me it revealed an interesting relationship between historic periods and modern times. The players change, the technology advances, but except for the brief and flawed period during which real capitalism almost gained a foothold, very little has changed; the concretes are different, and so, hide the fact that the underlying principles (mysticism, bullying, failure to respect reason as the unique human evolutionary endowment, etc.) remain the same.
  10. *** Post copied from previous version of forum. - sN *** Two things of interest happened to me today. First, on another general philosophy forum, in a thread about issues with Objectivist Epistemology, I answered three posters whose objection to my summary of concept formation, was to complain about Ms. Rand's severe attitude and scathing adjectives and adverbs in commenting on the social consequences of mysticism and altruism. What a waste. Later, in the evening, I was assembling a new set of nice (but cheap) small dressers my wife and I bought on the Walmart website. While working I put on the TV - a rerun of Schindler's List. As I worked and watched I thought about other things. I thought about things like the movie Reds, and things like the treatment of women, homosexuals, or people with an unacceptable religious thought in so many countries today. I had to get the resulting integration off my chest. That abstract integration resulted in the following: ********************************************************************************************************************* I can see why Ms. Rand, closer in time and geography than me, to some of the historic consequences of bad philosophy in the 20th century (Hitler and Stalin), might have chosen descriptive words to an extreme that offends those without the same life experience. Ms. Rand didn't deny emotional impact, she only described its identity - part mechanistic biology and part cognitive memory from experience, but too determined to be a basis for reasoned decision. We all get pissed and so did she at times. Vicariously experiencing the plight of people in movies like Schindler's List and Reds, or in books like (there are too many to name...) makes me question whether Objectivism detractors have really studied western philosophy and history. Most detractors of Objectivism, are enraged by what they see as a lack of interest or care for the mass of common citizens. Historically, they don't connect other philosophical ideas with Nazis, Soviets, African tribal groups, or apartheid. Detractors don't understand that my caring is hierarchical based on my values. I look at an animal crushed in the road and I'm sad, I think of my dog and cat. I watch a crime-reality TV show in which victims die and I'm sadder, I think of people who have been the victims of crime. My neighbor's house burns down and I'm even sadder and take some of my excess wealth and give it to help. Another neighbor, who I know has a meth lab, skids her car into a ditch about two vacant, wooded lots down from my house here in the sticks, and I leave the window and go back to the book I was reading. These examples are true and personal. Altruism is not just caring, it's not just charity, it's not just helping - it's, negating your values in favor of the needs of others. This is what people don't get - the majority believes a stand against altruism is the death or erosion of caring and charity. The central difference between them and us is the difference between how we expect people will act when set free of altruisms hold. The largest incongruity I can think of in the debate over Objectivist ethics/politics is the fact in logical analysis and in history, that the common citizen is so much better off under political and economic systems based on Objectivism. Not criminals and not slackers, but all of us common folks just trying to make a living. We already help each other for our own reasons based on our own values. Make no mistake though - we cast aside and try to ignore those who initiate force/fraud or cast aside reason.
  11. WOW. So many leaders with not a clue about principles, but who talk only in principles. Contradiction you say? Their principles are almost all floating abstractions - they're principles, but they have no referents - they are using concepts as if they existed only in human minds, not specifically based in reality and learned by sense data. Trump is popular because he has been more concrete in a way that alleviates the anti-life, altruist-held guilt held by many people who know that we should get rid of bad people who are not citizens and compete economically with other countries that don't support free markets (though I wonder if Trump understands this). My biggest surprise was the words of Ben Carson. He said many good things, but not about liberty. This could end up like the Gerald Ford election - that voting for the republican might be better then abstaining. Carson can't get his Christian ideas passed anyway. Thoughts?
  12. I suspect the direct problem is not the movement of US debt from one holder to another - the debt load to the lender does not change. The real problem is (and if you know more than me about this, please jump in) no one will buy the new, current debt instruments that are used to pay off the old ones and fund the domestic programs. Logic tells you at any level of earning and spending, you cannot consume more than you produce forever. What will happen is the US will not be able to find buyers for new debt. Then, we must produce wealth to be taxed to pay off the prior debt that can no longer be financed with new debt instruments because there's no buyers. Then there are two bad options for the people in charge - default or inflate. Tell the borrowers to buzz off or pay them off with physical money that has no value in wealth creation. They'll pick #2 which will destroy the domestic economy because . . . you cannot consume what you have not produced. I thought this scenario would have happened by now, but the productivity of the American work force (60 hours a week and skip vacations) is postponing the inevitable. It could be 5 years, it could be 25 years. My kids are holding (like me) 10+% of their assets in junk (40-90% precious metals) coins. Waste of PV? Compared to what safe rate. Keep enjoying each day of your life. Happiness is the primary value, not knowledge of monetary disaster strategies.
  13. The currency creation process is not widely understood. The Treasury will print for two reasons. To supply dollars to the domestic market to cover value loaned by private institutions, or to create currency to support government debt in bonds and notes issued. Yes, the specifics are way more complex. But what Americans don't know, is that the amount of currency floating in the world economy is based on government and private debt because it is these factors that are the basis for printing over and above physical currency replacement. So, our currency is not based on wealth created or a precious metal substitute designed to curtail printing? No, it's based on debt and the amount of debt is manipulated by a pseudo-government agency of banking interests called the FED by setting the rate at which lenders can borrow money. Lower rates, my banker borrows more and tries to market to me to borrow from the bank. In 1913 the crony capitalists (not to be confused with producers) decided it would be better to base currency production on debt, rather than wealth creation because debt creation was easier to track and easier to control. The first interesting result of this change was called The Great Depression. More recently this method of national currency monitoring resulted in the Housing Boom. The FED forgot that the acquisition-desire for property assets was independent of the need to keep the rest of the economy on track with low interest rates - and then they blamed it on confusing derivatives and tranches. This scenario of government control was instituted to take out the wide swings and bank failures common before 1913. We now pay the cost in tax dollars to bail out the banks (bigger than ever) and some of us lose our retirement nest eggs in the process. Public service positions do not attract the same kind of person (especially at the higher management levels) as private sector positions in which the company is providing a clearly valuable product or service to a market that demands the supply. This is not rocket science.
  14. Folks love their currency and have no idea about the relationship between wealth creation and money, a relationship that we use to mimic by linking currency creation to precious metals as a brake against government. Only one solution - hold a percent of your assets in precious metals and don't ignore old junk coins of 40-90% silver.
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