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  1. Hello all I was reading ITOE recently, and encountered the section in which Rand describes no one trait as contingent. The example she used specifically was man as a rational animal. She said that, though it is true that the referent for the concept "man" includes rational animal, all of the traits of man are included in the concept man. We can agree that men, at least normal ones, have two arms and two legs. The question then follows: are men lacking arms and/or legs no longer men in the same way that something no longer capable of rational thought would be a man? Does having one'
  2. I'm always incredibly skeptical when any politician (Paul Ryan, Ronald Reagan (check page 282) Gary Johnson or any number of others) claims to support Objectivism or Ayn Rand. Typically (in fact, I can't think of a single time this has happened) they are not channeling her philosophy, but either a misunderstanding of it, have deep contradictions in their positions (being a devout Christian like Ted Cruz or anti-freedom in any number of ways), or are simply saying it as a "catchphrase" to attract people to their position. As far as I know, there are no major elected officials who are Object
  3. That definition of certainty (ie: in the absence of omnipotence) seems problematic to me. With that definition, one, in the past, could have been "certain" of things simply because the evidence available does not contradict it. How can this certainty be justified if it could later be proven incorrect?
  4. Oftentimes in philosophy, one is confronted with skeptics, who argue that truth isn't anything more than a belief one thinks is justified (be it by reason, faith, whim, or "evidence," [which, the skeptic believes, begs the question of reliability of evidence.]) These skeptics attempt to undermine truth, asserting that, because its basis is exclusively belief, real truth cannot be reached. But is this skepticism valid? To attack the claims of these skeptics, one must understand the epistemological roots of truth. First, however, there is something that must be cleared up. Existence is p
  5. Thank you all for your responses. I have read both what you have said on the topic and what Peikoff wrote in OPAR, and understand the Objectivist position on the arbitrary claim that Descartes makes. It is now more clear to me *why* I have no reason to believe this demon is possible at all, or to act on its conclusion. Zigs
  6. Hello all, I'm new to the forums, and relatively new to objectivism and philosophy as a whole (about a year of serious thinking.) The question I have is related to the infamous Cartesian demon. Descartes argues that it is impossible to truly know that the world around is is not some sort of illusion, perpetrated by some malicious demon or another. Moving beyond the mysticism of the demon, is there any way that one *can* be completely confident that the world is as we conceive it? Is it not possible that, even as our senses perceive something, there is an error of some sor
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