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Everything posted by jacassidy2

  1. Thomas, it's Jack. I hope I led you to a place that improves your life. My advice is that if you have any or no background in western philosophy, that you ignore Rand's fiction for now. Go to the Ayn Rand Institute website and purchase the two audio courses of Leonard Peikoff on western philosophy - the best $40 I ever spent. Then read Peikoff's works specifically on Objectivism including the newer extended version of Rand's Objectivist Epistemology. Ms. Rand originated the ideas, but Mr. Peikoff has the benefit of Ms. Rand's knowledge without the emotional legacy of early childhood in the Russian Revolution as a motivation. This stuff is great, but it's not like reading a great Rand novel, it's work. Rand's ideas in ethics and politics are better understood if you first spend some time studying her ideas in epistemology and interpretation of Aristotelian metaphysics - otherwise, your basis of interpretation of the ethics and politics may be too influenced by the culture we grew up in. Also, I disagree with the earlier post that recommended the chat feature on this site. I have not found that these chat participants know much about Objectivism or Ayn Rand. Gosh, keep me in the know regarding your study. Jack
  2. I was lazy and unclear in post #47 answering EIUOL. Here's a better try, I hope it's more on point for answering skeptics. I tend to want to answer a skeptic with the things I know in my study of philosophy that don't support the CONCLUSIONS of a skeptic. I want to use the challenge as an opportunity to flex my philosophy muscles. I've learned, over time, to stop myself, and instead use an Objectivist inspired method that ignores the CONCLUSIONS of the skeptic because they are based in a METHOD skeptics use that is outside the truth of Aristotelian metaphysics and Objectivist epistemology. The skeptic is asking you to validate your senses and reason without the use of your senses and reason. The skeptic is also asking you to prove a negative, to show the truth of a proposition (not hallucinating, etc.) without the benefit of any sense data or reason. You can't do it and the question, as stated, is invalid. No matter what you say in answer to the skeptic, his answer can be the same original question. The proposer of a premise (how do you know your not hallucinating) is the one who has the burden of using his senses and reason to show the proposition has merit. The appropriate answer is, "what facts do you have to support asking the question?" How would you answer, "how do you know there are no pink elephants living under the sea?" Any other course with a skeptic, requires you to accept his Platonic metaphysics as a basis for the debate.
  3. Spiral - you have made an attempt to define these concepts after (as you pointed out) their definitions have been tainted in modern history by people with no respect for, or understanding of concept formation. I learned many years ago that capitalism and socialism were economic systems, while democracy, fascism, and communism were political systems. BUT, at this time, after the destruction of these concepts, I believe your definitions above reflect the observed historical truth of these ideas in action. I also like your tag line about determinism. Txs. Added: So which definition applies most closely to the US of America today?
  4. I think an argument about whether to call it terrorism or something else, would piss-off Ms. Rand. She would likely say that's not the issue. Ms. Rand realized in the latter half of her life that the fundamental support for her ideas in ethics and politics was based in ideas in epistemology and metaphysics. What's right and wrong has nothing to do with what happened to and by people who are now dead (exception might be a clear direct link to value gained by force/fraud and passed on) . Your goal is happiness - you cannot find it in a negative judgment of a bad circumstance in history before your birth that consumes your ability to live and be happy in YOUR LIFE NOW. So much violence today is based on an earlier generation's bad experience. We should never deny bad behavior, or unreasonable attitudes, in the recent or distant past. But we should also not absorb them into our current culture. The fundamental basis of this view is rooted in the idea that each person alive right now (not their ancestors) is responsible for the choices that they make. No newborn human being owes anything to anyone because their life is a new unit unaffiliated with previous humans. That's the nature of the biology and the ethics - and the silly racist sociology that has been imposed on this truth in the past, is a yoke on all of us, black and white. The erasure of this terrible and non-reasonable way of thinking has been held up by the liberal government idea that the descendants of historically privileged people alive today owe something to the descendants of historically screwed people. The answer is - stop it now. Love the people who share your values and get on with happiness - you'll be dead soon.
  5. I don't follow it either, Happiness. I only know that politics is a derivative set of ideas that have a basis, known by some, not by most, in ethics. Then ethics is based on a knowledge of epistemology and metaphysics. And so, the value of Rand Paul's conclusions in politics will not sway a population that knows so little about ethics (outside of religious mysticism). So his only chance is to align with the religious right and he will probably not do that.
  6. Here's just another take - added to several good posts in this thread. Libertarians are more likely to be people who have considered the basis of what they believe on a much deeper level than people who align themselves with the major parties. (Beware, they might just be anarchists without a cogent thought about epistemology or metaphysics too). And so, you are debating someone who has spent time thinking. If they come to a different conclusion than you, you are unlikely to sway them because of the cognitive investment. The bottom line??? To get a correct feel for capitalism, self-interest, no force/fraud in ethics, takes an education in history, and a knowledge of Aristotelian metaphysics and Objectivist epistemology. I mean an internalized knowledge that's immediately available in cognition. I have found there are two or more (intermediate) types of otherwise reasonable people that you encounter. The thinkers who have arrived at contrary conclusions can only be moved to your position if they are willing to spend the time required to study basic philosophy with emphasis on Aristotle, Rand, and Peikoff. The philosophically uninitiated can be swayed with the right strategy, but that success is going to last only as long as another intelligent, verbal person shows up with a contrary idea.
  7. Would the job you do reasonably exist in a totally free economy? Part of the problem is that government has become THE MONOPOLY in replacement of what people called monopolies in history. You want to teach, build roads, explore space - it's hard to do so without connection to government. But that's different then if you work for the IRS, EPA, HUD, etc. The standard Objectivist view is that it's morally OK to pursue your values in any productive effort that would exist in a free world even if it funded by force thru government. But, if your chosen developed skill is management (as an example), you should not exercise your skills in an agency like the IRS that would not exist in a legitimate government. Go work for the defense department.
  8. Hey, Txs for the update, just gave the site a few bucks and the pay site was easy, good choices for web access. Txs for your work so the rest of us can express our ?opinions - yes, some opinions, but hopefully ideas in ethics and politics, that can be clearly supported in epistemology and metaphysics. Hopefully all posters in all topics will have to refer to metaphysics and epistemology because posters will base their arguments in basic philosophy. We'll see.
  9. Devil's Advocate - Yes, I am a body in motion, and how does that truth in the physics of cosmology relate to my reality in this place and at this time on this earth during my limited lifetime? If I'm interested in physics, it's a big deal. If I enjoy baking bread and making babies not so much. Objectivist detractors complain about the fact that they believe selfishness will lead to the exclusion of the values held by less developed minds. But that's only true if you accept a malevolent identity as the basis of human reason. "Bodies in motion," therefore, don't die? What the hell does that mean? I pause to consider my existence and happiness without reference to cosmology because I'm not a physicist.
  10. Hey, txs for the info and all the best for you.
  11. No Eiuol, we don't need an academic reference. I just want to understand what point you are making. You ask what is unclear and where I take issue. The answer is, I don't know. Refer back to my questions in #45 and define your premises. I may agree or not, but only after I understand the point you are trying to make - I do not.
  12. "a percept corresponds (what do you mean by corresponds) to an object," and "a normal (what is a normal percept) percept does not correspond (relate in what way) to a non-object", and, "all percepts are part of awareness." What do you mean by these statements? It's not clear and you have many unsupported, ghost concepts in your premises. "Hallucinations can and do happen, so they're not arbitrary." OK, but what is there nature and importance in human identity? To what extent should we include this fact in our analysis of human ethics?
  13. Yes dream, that is a correct interpretation so far. The mountain to climb is the understanding of metaphysics and epistemology that makes that conclusion a basis for ethics. Once understood, you have to put up with the history of western philosophy that ignored the basis of Aristotle and chose Plato instead - St, Augustine, DesCarte, Hume, Kant, (Peirce, James, and Dewey), Kierkegaard, Russell, Comte, Whjitehead, Ayers, Wittgenstien, Heideggar, Satre, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida. So many great individual thoughts out of context and so little contextual knowledge. Modern philosophy has become the analysis of the most recent thought in logic, language, or mathematics. Modern philosophy academics treat these derivative subjects, these products of human cognition, as if they had reality in metaphysics, as if their identity was axiomatic. Human derivative concepts are not axiomatic. To prove the value of the ideas of egoism and selfishness contained in Ayn Rand's fiction, you must study the Aristotelian metaphysics and the Objectivist Epistemology that supports those ideas. Otherwise, you are reduced to answering all the unsupported premises of the western philosophy thinkers numbered in the first paragraph of this post.
  14. Leave it be. It's a bad situation necessary to the story. Go seek values and happiness.
  15. He's just an innocent, kindly, non-rational, voice on the edge. Forget him.
  16. I'm not certain about what you did, but I sense it was for the benefit of myself and local people who want to share ideas about Objectivism. So, thanks a bunch. If you think it would help me communicate, you might want to educate me about what you decided to do, that resulted in you posting in this thread.
  17. Brain is material and we are continuing to get closer to an understanding. But mind, I don't know. So I take the philosophical view of treating it temporarily by the basic axiom truth I do know and not speculating beyond common knowledge. What else can you do but take the limited knowledge you have as the given? If you don't know the entire fundamental truth, you have to accept the limited part you have discovered. This method is a reflection of the truth that knowledge is hierarchical.
  18. This Atlanta, Objectivism, sub-site was active in the past, but faded away My name is Jack, I am retired in NE Georgia and I have spent a lifetime, not only reading, but studying Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff. If there are still locals who want to investigate and study in the geographic area north of Atlanta, I'm here as a resource. My email address is [email protected]
  19. Ok Eiuol, I understand your desire to find an answer to the skeptics. Study the arguments of the first skeptics, Pyrrho and his ancient Greek students. Throughout history, thinkers tying to answer skeptics, jumped outside of philosophy to speculation in the sciences. Could you be looking for an answer in science, rather than philosophy? The science answer might be something in the area of understanding the relationship between object and sense organ in biological evolution because the alternative in hallucination brings in a mystical quality to the search for truth. I know personally, this desire to teach the truth to others - and philosophers must bring in ideas from science. The trick is to bring the science idea into the realm of philosophy, only after it has become a paradigm, not while it's a theory. Galileo's orbits, Bohr's mechanics - I'll wait for Keplar and whomever figures out that electrons (if they are objects in reality) cannot exist in multiple locations or move without transiting intervening space. Sticking strictly to philosophy, I ask again, what could be the cause of the skeptic to imagine, out of nothing, the view to hallucination? Until science learns more, the philosopher cannot provide a better answer. Great thread, thanks to the posters.
  20. And to Dream-weaver - you're right on point. Because Ms. Rand had internalized the ideas she proposed (I compare this internalizing phenomena to my experience in teaching certain ideas - after a while the ideas are not something you choose to access in cognition - they become an integrated part of the way you view things and cognitive access become almost automatic). When this process becomes the nature of your cognition, you include thematic, narrative, and dramatic content that you only become aware of in the editing of your work - some of it was subconscious in the original creation. And so, there are many recognizable integrations in Atlas Shrugged that have yet to be discovered. These likely occur in secondary characters like Eddie Willers, Paul Larkin, and Jim Taggart's last wife, ?was her name Cheryl?
  21. For those of you who have studied the process of concept formation in Objectivist Epistemology, there is a real interesting epistemological curiosity in the human ability to understand metaphor or its more blatant cousin, simile. In concept formation humans differentiate similar characteristics in different existents and use the abstracted characteristic as a base for the integration of characteristics to form a new organizational idea. In literature, authors use a familiar set of characteristics from one area of experience, and use the common theme to elucidate the identity of a proposed idea. These identity links are also common in the study of the sciences - like the similarity in the orbit of subatomic particles with orbits in cosmology. These links in epistemology, literature, and science are all examples of the process of abstraction. It's really quite amazing.
  22. Dream-weaver, txs for the memory of that great scene with Dagny. How about this, if your nature (as a living human being) is not motivated first by your own life and happiness, and if you do not act on that idea, you will either become a parasite on your community or you will probably not live long.
  23. In the absence of evidence to support hallucination as an alternative interpretation of the normal working biology of your senses in studying an external reality, why do you bring it up? What motivates one to ignore the evidence of sense data and propose, without evidence, the possibility of hallucination? Maybe your entire existence exists in a gas bubble inside the stomach of a whale - does that seem silly? Yes, it's an absurd metaphor for the wondering of any conclusion, founded in whim, that questions the validity of sense data.
  24. You cannot have the concept "choose" without the concept "I." This is a great forum.
  25. I read the first 10 or so posts and stopped. What is all this distinction between "object" and "entity" - and then some discussion of how one is true in the absence of consciousness and the other is more closely linked to consciousness? Is this the Bertrand Russel forum? Are we gonna have a debate about the primacy of existence over consciousness? Hey, define your concepts correctly because the truth of the "entity/object" exists independent of this thread. Your job is not to debate the interpretation of reality - your job is to help each other recognize the reality that exists beyond your debate. Don't fall into the quagmire of language and logic as metaphysics, created in modern universities, as a substitute for real inquiry into metaphysics and epistemology. Wow, my first negative post.
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