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Everything posted by jacassidy2

  1. Watching the news over the last several decades should prove something about the risk in giving government personnel tasks beyond the primary function of protecting citizens from people who initiate force and fraud. The examples I am familiar with in the US can be added to buy those in other mixed economy democracies, and is certainly supported by the Communist experiments in the 20th century. When a government gains too much power, it attracts bullies to politics. Some are bullies before their government service, and those who are not, learn to be bullies. The ethics of altruism masks the fact that these people are bullies - "we're just trying to help those who are at a disadvantage." But motivations to initiate force don't change the nature of the morality of the act. There are the many examples of criminal behavior in our government representatives. But worse, is the general acceptance of behavior that is clearly not consistent with representative government - lobbyist connections, questionable expense accounts, personal use of election funds, exemption from laws passed by the legislative body, wealth accumulation sourced solely on elected status, election funds from regulated entities, etc., etc. It's no different than the social environment present during the Middle Ages in Europe - the institutions are different, the motivations may be less clear, the result is the same. When a community decides to transfer the right to legally use force to a representative government, in an attempt to be civilized by not allowing individual violence, it is a positive. When that same community decides it would be easier to attain other shared goals (charity, safety, etc.) thru the same representative organization, they miss the error. When you give a community elected government the right to use force, you can't allow them any other function then the protection of citizens from those who use force. If you do, you will attract the bullies. You think not? Watch the news and study history.
  2. Where does the right come from? The right is defined as conditions of existence required to live according to human nature, so the answer is, under this definition, it comes from reality. Asking where does it come from suggests a consciousness as a cause and that is an error. Human right are not sourced in social interaction. Jefferson said they are unalienable and he based that in religious mysticism. Rand might say they are unalienable based on the Law of Identity.
  3. He's in the class of the most scary. Because of what he says, but more so, because of what he says in the context of what it can be reduced to in specific policy ideas - the things he doesn't say, but believes.
  4. If we're not accepting any givens - then the "start" is: ---each "thing is what it is," "consciousness is one of those things," "all things are what they are in their attributes and/or characteristics," and "the nature of entity attributes determines what actions they can cause or what actions can be caused in a way that effects them." The idea that life is a value to be maintained is based in the above. Only life can seek value because only life is conditional metaphysically. The idea of seeking value is one basis to the definition of "right" based on the definition explained in earlier posts.
  5. Do we really want to use the debate technique of using arbitrary assertions that are "cherry-picked" to fit the point of the person making the assertion? A thread discussion technique used on common philosophy forums - with the arguments falling into the specifics of one or more of the specific assertions made to prove or disprove a point - and the real philosophical issue (usually a concept) falling away altogether? Someone reiterate the OP premise at discussion, or the legitimate side issue that spurred this thread. What again, are we talking about here?
  6. Txs to the posters that came after my last post. They didn't, but they could have used the point they were making to point out to me that I was not drawing a clear enough distinction between "human rights" in the context of ethics vs. politics (I fall into the collective too). I should have added, in my last post, that a right to life should be a complete and accurate concept if the subject person were living alone in the wilderness. This would show the defining nature of the concept. (This is a great metaphor to show the truth of Ms. Rand's definition of "human rights") Alone in the wilderness, the bears and the natives become a metaphor for the criminals and the neighbor group. My point is that in Objectivism, "rights" are defined by reference to reality not to social convention. Sorry, I got confused.
  7. Yes, you're right. The measurement may by relational though. This one is bigger or this one is deeper in color as opposed to this one is "x" inches or this one is 450MHz. I think that Ms. Rand in ITOE, and Mr. Peikoff's further work, would point out that the measurement omission in concept formation may be measurement in several forms. Maybe that was assumed in your post and I should relax and read?
  8. Higher for the employee and the boss than the investor because they made the choices that led to the liability, not the investor. Remember, the investor is at risk for the amount of investment and the question in this thread was about the nature of that limit. That is, should an investor be liable for more than their investment - the question being asked in the context of liability protection of being incorporated.
  9. DonAthos - thanks for the reference and I liked your questioning of it. I meant "required" not by outside regulation, but that if the law changed to hold investors liable beyond their capital input, then investors "may" want to insure the risk. Your thoughts tickled another idea from me. Let's say I'm just a silent investor and John is a high level management employee in the company I'm invested in. John commits an act with a customer or supplier whose equivalent would be a crime for an individual. I maintain that corporate structure, while protecting investor liability to infused capital, should hold John to a higher standard based on his individual decision. John may claim if he didn't screw the third party, he would have lost his job because his decision was prompted by his bosses. I say do what you know to be ethical or quit and that, those kinds of decisions, in any case, are outside the context of a silent investor.
  10. A right is a condition of existence required by a human being to live according to their nature (almost a Rand quote). The concept "right" exists at the political (some could argue ethical) philosophy level, not the metaphysical or epistemological level. The confusion comes in the modern idea that a right is something awarded to a person by some other entity, person, or group. Under the common mis-definition of rights, it becomes necessary to define them in the context of your ability (personally or thru associations with others) to fight off the other humans who want to take your right to life or property. This mis-definition of rights is based on a malignant view of human beings (al la Kant, Schopenhauer, etc.). The answer in Objectivism, to the OP question of "justify the right to your life," is, you don't have to. You need to re-think the idea of "right to life" if you ask that question. The correct question in the context of Objectivism is "how do you defend (not justify) if necessary, your right to life?" The answer is the correct political philosophy.
  11. Interesting point and makes sense at first blush if you are talking about concepts based directly on material entities. When forming more complex concepts, particularly those of states in consciousness, the measurement may not be a matter of math, but of comparative intensity in the process of differentiation and integration - much like the concept of color for most people.
  12. Got it, agree with it, and thanks so much for the references. But, limiting the discussion only to the real mentally ill who are, or potentially are, violent - an assault now puts them in jail for 2 years then they get out and commit a worse assault for 5 years, etc. At what point is it reasonable for an Objectivist inspired government to house them?
  13. While my own, subjective, experience agrees with the OP, this thread has caused me to wonder. Perhaps there are an untold number of non-liberal (or, perhaps Jeffersonian liberal) people like myself, who just don't participate. Is there any data to support the original premise? Are more atheists liberal? The question I raised ignores the fact that the definitions of "atheist" and "liberal" are not as closely related to individual person's concrete ideas of themselves as you might think. If some data set proves the OP, that may just be a function of liberals and atheists don't think deeply about ideas.
  14. The citizens, through their government, must care for those imprisoned for initiating force or fraud. Ideally these people would work off the cost of their incarceration by creating some equal value. But what about the mentally ill who break the law and who we worry will do so again if released? Some individuals in our society might object to reasonable policing or national defense, but Objectivists would ignore them because the funding system would not be imposing a forced cost on these detractors and anarchy is not a reasonable alternative. So, based on solid Objectivist principles, would care of the mentally ill be a legit function of government, in line with local and national defense?
  15. This is actually a very complex issue that developed without any political influence. Owners of a business, whose ownership is based on an infusion of capital only (their ownership being the trade for the capital infusion) are not liable beyond their capital infusion, for any liability assumed or imposed on the subject company. This way of business is a fundamental necessity for the flow of capital. Otherwise, investors would be required to insure against unknown future activities of the businesses they invest in.
  16. I enjoyed the article and your critique. In reading the article I noted that the purpose of the author's desire to expand postgraduate science knowledge to include Ph. (something I support) was to accomplish goals founded in altruism and collectivism. Not to enhance the lives of all humans, but, specifically, to feed the malnourished and develop ideas to solve the problems humans have created in their folly. You cannot find a gold nugget while digging in a lead mine. I got a BA and an MS in biology without being required to take any course in philosophy or rhetoric - the two philosophy courses I took by choice in grad school were worthless. Requiring grad student to take the philosophy courses available in universities today would be only slightly better (or maybe worse) that taking nothing at all. I recall the link a forum member posted recently, from a philosophy prof who published a paper that introduced the premise that "reason" was a white-racist concept introduced to keep non-whites in their place. The author offered no argument, only statistics exposing current injustice - as if the apparent injustice supported his basic premise. There is a proposition in Objectivism that creates a basis in history for all these contradictions. Once you deny the primacy of existence, if you then accept the primacy of consciousness, then any imagination of consciousness gains a validity it does not possess. "Hey, if I can think it, it may not be true, but it might be." SO we must accept for study any silly idea, and that has become the foundation of philosophy education.
  17. A study of the history of philosophy quickly shows that an acceptance of the primacy of consciousness, as opposed to the primacy of existence, leads to arbitrary assertions in epistemology, ethics, and politics. This trend has some value for people who decide that the purpose of philosophy is the process of debate regarding any old set of premises, rather than exploration of ideas in existence, knowledge acquisition, ethics, and politics with a clear goal of improving human lives. Some who have been drawn to Objectivism at its political and ethical fringes, still seem to accept the primacy of consciousness unintentionally while enjoying debates about nothing in particular. Is this a valid observation or am I just being a pain in the ass?
  18. Thanks for your time and effort in the above essay. A great explanation of a basic, yet derived idea in Objectivism. If you accept the primacy of existence - of objects, of consciousness, of sense organs, and of the other factors like light/shade/humidity/etc. - you must recognize that the "reality" of many aspects of identity as experienced by humans, things like color/taste/feel/sound, are processes. The fact that the "reality" is a relationship between an object, the environment, and the sensing subject does not, by itself, imply subjectivity unless you accept the rationalist's or the empiricist's basic premise of the primacy of consciousness. Subjectivity and skepticism in investigating epistemology, stems from a basic error in metaphysics. The failure to accept the primacy of existence.
  19. Aside for DiscoveryJoy - the idea that you know entities only thru abstraction is a contradiction of Objectivism based in rationalism. Objectivism would say you understand entities (concretes) thru sense data and concepts thru abstraction. Rethink and explain (we all think too fast on forums and you may have the opportunity to answer a post of mine in this way some day) or prepare for debate. NewBudda points out that some of this is already the subject of scientific inquiry.
  20. Hey, I just read the topic title again and an interesting point occurred to me. "The Relationship Between Object and Percept." Recall that the "relationship" between object and conscious subject is part of Mr. Peikoff's argument for the validity of the senses. He uses it as part of his explanation for the fact that slight differences in sense organ materialism (like being color blind) does not invalidate human knowledge, or in an explanation of the actual identity "green," for example. As you read - think,,,,,, the thing being observed is what it is and my consciousness is what it is. "Green" is the product/result in consciousness that derives from the relationship between an object, the effect of light on the object, and the mechanics of the human eye. Green is the conclusion - the end product of the identity (expressed in cause and effect) of eyeball, copper object, and moderate oxidation, for example. Green is not an object, it is a characteristic (identity) subject to cause and effect - oxidation, and then the level, frequency, and intensity of light. (It's grey hue after the sun goes down does not change the truth of copper, oxidation, or eyeballs.) Can you sense a difference in the above argument - a difference from almost all other philosophical debate? It's an argument based on the primacy of existence, not the primacy of consciousness. Objectivist arguments are always based on what we can know from sense experience and induce (and later confirm in deduction) from reason. Objectivism uses math, language, and logic as cognitive tools to validate sense experience and the conclusions of reason - not as substitutes for connections of ideas to reality to be manipulated by the rules that apply to each of these disciplines as a means to discover knowledge beyond sense experience. Mr. Peikoff never said it to my knowledge, but I will - the truth of sense perception is not an easy definition like "God said so, it must be true." Instead, the reality is that the truth depends upon an understanding of the identity of the perceiver, the object, and any aspects of reality that can be shown to have an effect on the participant entities - because "green" is a product of these relationships. "Green" does not exist independent of the entity, the perceiver, or the facts of realities causes and effects. PS - The above is a great example of how Rand/Peikoff has taught me not to fall into the trap of so many philosophers in history - speculate in language and logic to fill in the gaps left by the sciences. Instead, stick to what you can logically show, understanding that the nature of human knowledge is hierarchical, and that a philosopher's job is not to fill in the gaps in science, but to direct scientists (thru epistemology and metaphysics} to the areas that might be worth scientific study as a means to answer a science question.
  21. aleph1 and posters - I find the video as uncomfortable emotionally- just like a lunch room video in a Perdue chicken processing plant, or a private party of funeral directors. But what is the underlying pertinent question that we use to inform our moral choices? What is life? No, a jellyfish qualifies there. What is conscious life? No, higher organisms qualify and fetuses do not. What is human life? There you are. I will not answer now, only point out that, that is the issue. To what if any form of human life do you owe the promise not to initiate force/fraud, and for what reason? PS - anyone else in favor of asking posters to stop bringing in side issues that are not directly related to the original premises? Ms. Rand's experience or not with reproduction has nothing to do with the philosophical issues here.
  22. Eiuol - by "intrinsic morality" you don't mean innate do you? You must mean something like not subjective, or maybe, focused on the underlying principle (justice or desire to not cause suffering) rather than the specifics of any concrete example? Or, what?
  23. Great post Harrison. I got a good chuckle. Your description shows the undeniable connection between existence and identity.
  24. Yes, but my toe is not on my foot and my hand at the same instant, and if it went from one to the other, it would have to transit the intervening space. Your comment addresses the essence of my point - what is an entity?
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