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Everything posted by jacassidy2

  1. Modern folks who decide there is no value in mysticism, have only pragmatism and altruism as substitutes. While these ideas are not limited to supporting concrete ideas on the left, while the concretes on the right are just different expressions of the same basic ethics, the left is more consistent in the application of these ideas in ethics and law. If you are looking for a consistent philosophy without studying philosophy, the answer lies in the policies of the left. The right is a mess of conflicting ideas without a clear fundamental purpose.
  2. The question asked was what should America do about ISIS? I prefer not to be negative, but it's required here. If you are old enough, you may remember an idea. It was held in the free world, in the decades before the break up of the Soviet Bloc, by a limited number of people who understood the philosophical foundation beneath the political ideas of freedom and liberty. This idea expressed a concern that citizens of totalitarian countries would cease to be inspired to desire change because countries like America were steadily losing their image as the beacon of liberty and opportunity by slowly adopting policies in line with the fascist and socialist tendencies at the economic base of their totalitarian homelands. I'm wondering, especially with the availability of information on the internet, whether this idea is even more true today as relates to things like ISIS? Let's say you're a normal young person living in a Muslim community almost anywhere. Your parents are just trying to make a living, support their kids, and enjoy their lives (the world is populated primarily by these people, not by Bin Ladens, the Saudi royals, or the political elites in America or elsewhere). You're maybe between age 16 and 25 and you've been raised with few ideas outside of your religious life, even if they are the mainstream, non-violent, ideas. You believe there's got to be more to life and you search the web about liberty and freedom in America and about the struggle of disenfranchised people, loosely of Arab and Islamic heritage. You are looking for meaning in life. Today, for the average person, what would be so different about America if you didn't know or understand the founding principles, basing your view on the speeches of current newsmakers, political or otherwise - or basing your judgment on the interpreted history of Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller, etc. and the modern history of decisions, personal and public, of leaders like Bill Clinton and George Bush? In the wider conceptual sense, ISIS is the current result of the skepticism that develops among average citizens after a period of new philosophical development that has failed to provide opportunity for those willing, able, and interested in living life by seeking happiness through supporting their own values. Other examples of this in history are the rise of Roman Catholicism after ca. 500AD, the Reformation ca.1500AD, and the American experiment based on ideas ca. 1700AD. The current crisis is related to the failure of communism and socialism, with a background of America no longer providing a clear alternative. (This is not an academic paper, it was not edited, and these observations are not meant to represent the total of historical cause and effect, they are examples of one overlooked influence used here to make a point). Yes, we have to protect our concrete and current interests as relate to the activities of ISIS and the activities of recent past, and future movements. But these challenges will never stop as long as America bases its policies, domestic and international, on principles inconsistent with those upon which the country was based. The philosophical foundation of those principles in ethics and law do not need to be internalized by all citizens, but they do by people like those attracted to this site. Those principles are based in the metaphysics of Aristotle as extended by Ms. Rand and others now and in future, and by epistemological principles developed by Ms. Rand and others now and in future. We don't all have to know about and agree on the axioms in meta/ep, but some of us must be able to reduce the concepts of liberty and freedom epistemologically to metaphysical axioms when the debate requires foundation. The founding fathers did some great things, but the previous part of this paragraph is the basis of their failure and the legacy we deal with today. Thanks, Jack
  3. Plasmatic - as to Diana Hsieh, you may be noticing my knowledge of the most current literature is almost non-existent. Filling these knowledge holes is one of my goals in exposure to this forum. However, I really like your ideas concerning the epistemological common ground between the discipline of philosophy and the ?discoveries? of the special sciences. If I was starting my career path over, I would be thinking and writing about the overlap of philosophy and the special sciences - the history, importance, and implications for the hierarchical basis for knowledge. You hit the nail on the head with this observation.
  4. Yes to StrictlyLogical. Emotionally, the sentiment in the video is pleasing as it promotes ideas in Romantic Art and denigrates ideas in Naturalistic Art. I would rather look at Vermeer then Picasso. But, like philosophy, art evolution is not a single line of works based on chronology - romanticism vs. naturalism is not equivalent to photographic realism vs. whatever else. By dismissing Impressionism as just a less disturbing and early fall from the grace in the prior paintings that mimic photographs, the speaker reduces his value judgment to the criteria of more than Romanticism in art, he reduces painting to manual copy of a realist image. The Objectivist idea in art, derived from more fundamental ideas in metaphysics and epistemology, is not so much about the technique of presentation as it is about the subject/object we choose to admire in the presentation. The objection is not that Picasso painted a women using a certain method and technique, it's that his representation (idea) of the woman, has so little value in saying anything at all. Consider the possible implications of moving body part to unnatural positions - moving the breasts to the knees versus the eyes for example. Assuming the painting was pleasant to look at in size, color, and proportion; what would Ms. Rand think of a woman with the unrealistic physiology described above? She wouldn't purchase either. But she might find a small value in the social suggestion of breasts for eyes if presented in a background context that fit the idea. Although, she might have said, it's interesting, but not art. So, why is modern art so bad? Define modern. There's lots of moderns in South Carolina doing incredible things with the treatment of light, for example. Maybe the concept categories in the field of art are unknown to me and I've just exposed my lack of knowledge? I hope people who know more than me about this subject will comment. ADDENDUM - This is my opinion, not a statement of fact. I wrote it primarily because I'm interested in the comments of others who have knowledge of art generally and Objectivist art ideas specifically. Txs.
  5. Txs for those thoughts. I have struggled with those same ideas. My answer is to live on a small nest egg in an area of America that still economically allows me to live cheaply and off most of the grid. It sounds like a John Galt type removal from society, but it's not - it's, maybe, what a person like Ed Willers might have chosen if he had values beyond his attachment to the RR and Dagny - enjoy what I care about and ignore the rest of the world. For me, it's my kids and grandkids, exploring nature, and playing veggie gardener. The internet and its recent influence on resources available thru cable or satellite TV make this choice possible. The study of philosophy generally and Objectivism specifically, and the spreading of the basis of these ideas, that is the ideas of Aristotelian metaphysics and Objectivist epistemology, is part of this seclusion that is possible because of this digital technology and the communication revolution that resulted. Your OP asks, why bother studying, thinking, and promoting. My answer is, because it's true, because widespread knowledge of this truth is a benefit to me maybe, and a benefit to my grandkids and other reasonable people, more likely. I'd be interested in hearing the motivations of others in this defined area.
  6. A POST SCRIPT TO POST #57, AFTER READING POST #58. Answering a philosophical challenge or posing a philosophical idea, only has to be as confusing and convoluted as your responses if you accept the argued premise and then try to dispute the argument. The Objectivist answer is to examine the premises the conclusions in dispute are based on and challenge the premises - often you have to say, "I cannot dispute your argument until you show that you understand the idea of "X"" "X" represents the basis in meta/ep that the debate is based upon. The basis of the debate can vary, but it is most often based on an error over the question of the primacy of existence vs. consciousness. This is because this is the most basic debate based on the axioms of Aristotle as better expressed by Ms. Rand - Existence exists, consciousness exists, identity is existence. Almost all philosophical debate is the attempt to justify a position or its counter without reference to these axioms. You may enjoy the process of the debate, most living professional philosophers do, but any debate is a waste of time without reference to these axioms and their implications in the debate about the primacy of existence vs. consciousness. So you think Ayn Rand is only about selfishness and capitalism?
  7. I'm enjoying and learning from this thread. But, I'm beginning to smell something I recall from studying philosophy - I may be off base, but you should all look, think, and comment. We can move this to a new thread if it becomes too much of an offshoot and posters say so. It's the trend in philosophy for an idea based on bad premises to be disputed by another thinker, but the disputation accepts the bad premises and goes on to apply them in a better way. It's really a function of not getting to the basic issues in meta/ep (metaphysics/epistemology). You want to argue the point advanced - but I've learned from Ms. Rand and Mr. Peikoff, that you need to quell that desire - you must move your friend to the basics that really separate you. I suspect many posters, like me in college and grad school, are studying a science with limited access to philosophical thought. (I became competent? in philosophy, only in my 50's after a great and expensive science education). Here's a basis for the idea I'm trying to express: Look at the history of western philosophy. You could pick different points, I'll choose Descartes because most see him as the beginning of real thought (in the trend of Plato and Aristotle) after the silly influence of Plotinus and Augustine (yes you could argue about the interpretation I used here as an introduction, but as you'll see, it's not my point). Descartes rationalist-style answer to Hobbs' empiricist-style thoughts began a trend in philosophy that some in this thread seem to be imitating - it's a trend outside the content of argument and is really about method based on ignorance of the basics. (Refer to the above idea about arguing the original premise introducted rather than the fundamentals upon which the argument is based.) Confused? Descartes looked at the Scholastics, the science being discovered around him, and the Sensualism of Hobbs and wanted to find a better way. After all, Hobbs' meta/ep leads to an ethics of duty pledged to an absolute ruler. Descartes' (hell, even Hobbs') preliminary arguments were enticing, but the logical consequence of his conclusions reveals the same errors as Hobbs - no link between consciousness (senses or reason) and an observed, external reality. Their error - consciousness is a primary (sense or reason), existence/identity (one does not exist without the other) has no observable reality. AND THEN??? AND THEN - the entire modern history of philosophy becomes a series of failed attempts to use cognitive tools like math, language, or logic (as if they were irreducible primaries rather than products of reason) to support the incorrect idea that consciousness is primary to general reality by mysticism or by some unproven idea of innate cognitive content. (If you think this only applies to old timers like Russell or Ayers, read some Chomsky). What's my point? If you want to "Objectively," debate "Object vs. Percept," you better first establish a foundation in the relationship of existence in general to consciousness in general. If you reject mysticism, you must be able to consider the existence/consciousness relationship as it exists in humans and earlier evolved animals because, although reason is recent; senses and hormones are ancient. UNRELATED COMMENT - Going to university today? If you want to study anything, you should study philosophy. If you want to major in philosophy, you should also study human history and human biology. Otherwise, your picture is incomplete. MODERATOR - Feel free to move this if it went too far in a fundamental direction unrelated to the OP.
  8. BOYDSTUN - Txs for your time and knowledge. I've considered that the answer to my query is that the definition of electron needs to be re-examined. It seems like the truth of existence at the QM level is not as specific as we perceive at our level of evolved senses - object and energy and wave movement don't seem to act in the ways we have evolved to sense.
  9. Plasmatic Txs for the link to the article about David Kelly. I have a lot of thinking to do, of course, I'll need to read it over and over. I'm not sure how it relates to this thread, but I like it. On just a first reading, I am left with a "feeling" that the authors and the people whose thoughts are being examined, are ignoring Ms. Rand's work in basic epistemology and Aristotelian based metaphysics. Gosh, if she could have lived longer and written more about metaphysics. So I turn to Peikoff and find a clearer (less-angry) voice (that's an opinion). Anyway, txs for this new avenue, for me, of investigation.
  10. Wow, txs to plasmatics and donathos. So much to think about. I have no idea what "kellyist" means - so I will need to research. BUT, is my original investigation, about thinkers treating cognitive tools (math, language, and logic) as if they have existence outside of human cognition, a "floating abstraction?" Or are you agreeing that using these tools independent of the subjects they investigate is a "floating abstraction?" Thanks for the new references.
  11. Seems like every poster in this thread has their own personal issue - a specific issue they have an interest in. They wonder whether Rand Paul will support that issue. Ms. Rand would ask why you are looking to a political candidate to satisfy your values. We want to support candidates who support the idea that the government should not support derivative values, that is ideas that are not contained in the founding documents, the ideas we all agree too. I don't want a government that supports my ideas - I want a government that supports ideas all people agree with and ignores derivative ideas like the ones I might hold. (There's some contradictions in the language of this post - I left them to spur discussion).
  12. Yes, it is understandable to confuse epistemological method with metaphysical (or epistemological) subjects. You get so tied up in the method you work so closely with, that you can confuse it with the study content. I have come to think that is what many philosophers are doing with language and logic - and many physicists are doing with calculus. These tools are not the subject or the proof of ideas - they are a cognitive tool used to arrive at a truth. When a physicist tells me the math shows that the electron (?an object?) exists in multiple locations at the same instant, I say the math may be correct, but the answer you trust doesn't say what you think - ask yourself if the object (an electron) is, in fact, an existent, or is it an identity or even a process subject to the laws of cause and effect. The corollary idea in the philosophy of language or logic is even easier. No philosopher who accepts some primacy in language or logic, and then goes on to base principles on these cognitive tools, has any knowledge of the epistemology of concept formation. This entire field of philosophy is based on a lack of knowledge concerning human cognition and the facts of abstraction and concept formation. The most amazing thing to me about Ms. Rand is not the virtue of selfishness, though I get that. It is the truths she discovered in human cognition - the nature of abstraction in its ability in mathematical units and concept formation. This stuff is a big deal. And almost no one noticed. It's like Rene Descartes, who? Ms. Rand described the process of concept formation in epistemology and the culture wants to argue about selfishness or atheism.
  13. So many interesting takes on the issue. The ones I like the best are those that recognize that this decision places a restriction on governments in the name of people who just want to live in happiness. The process may be flawed, it may set a dangerous derived precedent, I get that, but the result is a blow . . . for individual liberty. Gosh, it came from the left.
  14. The interesting debate that occurs in the last 4 or 5 posts is settled in the study and understanding of the first 3 chapters of Ms. Rand's IOE. My years of posting on philosophy websites has caused me to conclude that participation should require a test - all posters should be able to prove that they understand (not agree with) the nature of concept formation in epistemology as described by Ms. Rand in the IOE. There is very little we can debate with any value for anyone, unless the participants understand abstraction - and the mathematical metaphor for the basis of concept formation developed by Ms. Rand in IOE.
  15. I note that several posters remark based on the nature of the politics of the high court. But no one comments on the issue being debated. Should local government agencies treat marriage contracts without reference to the sex of the applicants. I say yes, even though I don't get it.
  16. So many good ways of looking at it. And the discovery of the disability issue being separate from the overall question. I agree with several posters that Reidy got it right. What many of you may not know is how instructive, civil, and interested in discovering truth the members of this site are, compared to the other sites I have worked with in the last several years. I think it says something, that the general philosophy websites, whose posters get so angry if you introduce an idea from Ms. Rand can often, not have a civil discussion - while the website dedicated to their nemesis is such a friendly place.
  17. New Budda - I'm so glad I found this website. I've been asking these questions for years in other sites, without receiving idea worth considering. Your post seems to me, to be something to study and consider. Txs
  18. THIS IS A POST I MADE IN A PHYSICS THREAD. IT WAS OFF TOPIC SO I MOVED IT HERE AS A NEW OP. MOVING IT WILL, HOPEFULLY MAKE IT AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE WITH INTEREST IN THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL ISSUES IT EXAMINES. THE ORIGINAL THREAD QUESTIONED THE CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN ARISTOTELIAN METAPHYSICS AND CURRENT IDEAS IN QUANTUM MECHANICS. I like this recognition that human reason has created technology that extends our sense capability - electron microscopes, colliders, etc. It seems, though, that many physicists treat mathematics as if it had its own, independent, existence, something other than a measurement tool created by human cognition. Confirmation of an idea in physics, by the calculus, seems to be treated as proof and conclusion, rather than data to confirm indirect observation.??? It's like these scientists are treating mathematics like analyst philosophy descendants of Russell, people like Chomsky, treat language, or the logical analysis philosophy branch treats logic. Sorry this is off topic (that I started). If moderators want to move this post to a separate thread, I agree. Too many scientists and philosophers seem to treat mathematics, language, and logic as aspects of metaphysics, rather than the products of human cognition in the category of epistemology. The food of skeptics is scientists who speculate conclusions based on incomplete data and philosophers who speculate based on lack of scientific conclusions. One of the great intelligent ideas in Objectivism is the idea of hierarchy of knowledge in concept formation carried over to the areas of scientific and philosophical investigation. Define your knowledge on what you know so that your concepts will always be true given the extent of your current knowledge. Then, as new knowledge becomes available, your concepts are not negated, but expanded - the old conclusions are still true, and the new knowledge is an addition that does not contradict the old. Cognitive discovery is not omniscient, nor infallible, it is hierarchical.
  19. I don't understand the desire of a human to bind their life to a same sex relationship. But my understanding is irrelevant in this case. The issue is liberty versus the initiation of force/fraud thru a representative government. People who see their lives as happier in these relationships, some my friends, do not impose anything on me but a concept I cannot relate to. I can't understand why a person would want to be a politician either.
  20. Discovery-Joy - I'll read the rest of your posts and think them through. But in post #51, in the 2nd paragraph, you drew a distinction between the independent reality, the living senses that perceive it, and the consciousness that thinks of it, when you said "independent of consciousness" but questioned whether it was independent of senses, I stopped. I suspect you are trying to make a complex point I would agree with, but the distinction of the primary existence of reality being independent on consciousness, but somehow different than its reality in sense perception, I reined in. Maybe nothing, I'll read on.
  21. Txs to each poster for your time and knowledge. I posed this question, over the last several years, on several general philosophy and physics website. This time I was given information that motivates me to study this issue. I will go to the forum archives and read the threads from the past that you referred to. Txs.
  22. Enjoyed your comments, dream-weaver, Txs. Here's my, unrelated, take. The important issue is not the conflicting truths about feelings connected to the battle flag of the militia of N. Virginia. The important issue is a democratically elected government of a republic (state or federal) promoting any derivative idea - that is, any idea that is not commonly held by the reasonable citizens (who surely disagree on many derivative issues) as expressed in its founding constitutional document. When a government entity goes beyond the limits placed on it by its founding constitution, it must, logically, be acting in a manner that favors one citizen segment over another. The founders in the American experiment understood this and wrote a founding document whose clear, primary purpose was the limitation of government power, which should include expression of derivative ideas in the name of the entire community. Fly the flag for your own personal reasons on private property. Fly a symbol that counters your interpretation of this icon on private property. Objectivist politics says get it off property paid for by taxes because it represents a derivative concept not shared by all citizens. The counter argument that laws against the initiation of force or fraud are also derivative to the basic republican principle contained in originating documents, misses the point. A claim to a right to violate the right of others is not equivalent to the disagreement over whether a government should hold a derived symbol as representing just one idea. The American flag represents us all without derived ideology - this is not true of the N. Virginia battle flag.
  23. I studied physics in college 40 years ago. I would like to read comments, by people familiar with Objectivism and quantum mechanics, concerning the more obvious contradictions between Aristotelian metaphysics and several aspects of quantum theory. Things like an electron (?an object?) can exist in multiple locations at the same time - or, can move from one location to another without transiting the intervening space? My uneducated guess is, if the data shows these statements to be true, and discounting a flaw in the experimental method, that the definition of an electron as a particle (object) must be re-examined. Txs for your attention.
  24. As my comment started this sub-debate, I thought I might interject. First, all our experiences are "data" to be processed by reason; to claim otherwise flies in the face of any objective epistemology; and, I find no reason to think this only applies to what is "most apparent." Second, the reasons for my recommendations to Tao, that fostered my comment about Ms. Rand vs. Mr. Peikoff, were based on the following and motivated by the fact that Tao has read so little Rand philosophy. Atlas Shrugged is a self-contained explanation of Objectivist ethics and politics including the metaphysical and epistemological basis for the conclusions in ethics and politics - summarized in Galt's famous address. Many readers get it right away because their prior experience may predispose them to the ideas. But the average person, with no knowledge of western philosophy and a polluted "sense of life" due to our present culture, is not gonna catch it. The chronology of Ms. Rand's published works went from fiction, to writing essays for Objectivist and other periodicals, to compilation of these individual essays into specific broadly titled subject paperbacks. Finally, the incredible analysis of human cognition and the process of concept formation in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. (A nonfiction work as brilliant as her best fiction) The fiction (by it's nature in the development of characters) and the early non-fiction essays (because of Ms. Rand's intellectual passion) are full of what appear to be emotional outbursts to those not broadly acquainted with her work. Your average altruistic, religious person, who reads Ms. Rand's fiction or early essays, is gonna walk away thinking she's mad at some guy named Immanuel Kant and the Christian God. People introduced to Objectivism in this manner, never get to the truth in the basic foundations because they stop studying. So I've come to recommend Peikoff's audio lectures that introduce Objectivist principles in a context of western history and philosophy. In this way a newcomer can see the origin of what they have come to believe and then an argument for another viewpoint. This method comes after about 30 years of recommending Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness; only to be told by the people I referred, that these books are about greed and atheism, and seem to be written by an angry person. Think about this - your knowledge and certainty about Objectivist principles, may not have, and SHOULD NOT HAVE, any influence on what the person you are talking to about it thinks. The ideas stand on their own for the person who does the same.
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