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Everything posted by KyaryPamyu

  1. To me, the choice to live is the choice to pursue pleasure and well-being, i.e. to act on your desire for happiness (which is the psychological concomitant of proper self-preservation). This in turn necessitates instructions on how to do it well, hence ethics becomes necessary. So the choice precedes ethics the same way that the choice to build a skyscraper (which you desire) precedes the need to design its blueprint. Acting on that blueprint is an analogy for ethical action. But you can, at any point, change your mind about the skyscraper, rendering the blueprint unusable. The point Rand wanted to make is that a desire, for a volitional being, does not deterministically entail that a man needs to act on that desire, i.e. he can choose to eat when he feels hunger pangs, or to starve himself and die. But preceding this choice is metaphysical fact: the nature of the organism, which can merely be accepted in the same way that you embrace any other metaphysicaly given fact (as opposed to man-made facts). This is why denying your desire to live would mean denying the realm of reality, not the realm of ethics. Only an intrinsicist or duty-based moral philosophy would say that because life exists, you must live (and excellently too), whether you want it or not. It means turning the metaphysicaly given into a god, the way Spinoza did, then giving moral significance to your obedience to the metaphysicaly given. "You exist, therefore: if you want to live, you're moral. If you don't, you're rotten." Even if somebody lives in a state of chronic low-focus, his bodily sensations, such as hunger, will still jolt him into at least a peripherial or implicit recognition of the alternative (pleasure/pain, life/death). Every choice to eat rests on an implicit choice to feel good and live, instead of to suffer and die. The standard of ethics is 'the good life', in the context of a healthy existence being possible. Suicide is calculated by the standard of 'painless death'. If the standard was life, then life would be the result of the moral action. Cannabis is calculated by the standard of 'a painless existence'. The result would be life, but not the life proper to man. Such a patient wouldn't be conscious (any degree of being sober would mean suffering and tragedy) and he wouldn't be able to pursue his passion, or romantic love, or any values for that matter. He would live not as a man, but like a brain in a vat being fed pleasure and a simulated reality, a reality where life is possible. Wanting to live is not a sufficient precondition of ethics, you also must be able to live. Is the standard of ethics 'survival of man qua man', or 'survival of man qua survival at any cost'? Or 'painless death qua painless death'? All three of those standards are life-related, but that doesn't make all of them ethical. A dying patient would not need some third party, or code of ethics, to tell him that he should seek a painless death, or a painless last month of life. Suppose you tell him: "it's very ethical what you're doing, to kill yourself painlessly. And it's good that you're using reason to discover the best suicide method." That would be unimaginable. Contrast this to the virtue of pride, explained to a healthy individual. "Never put your well-being in danger (unbreached rationality) and never settle for anything less than the best. This will shape your moral character, which will result in a sense of self-respect, which will further result in more passion for values and even the possibility of approaching romantic love in a healthy way. Your moral character will turn you into a machine of efficiency and ability, and this will make you confident in yourself, instead of living in perpetual anxiety for the future. Never create unearned guilt by expecting omniscience from yourself, and never accept guilt from people who preach an irrational morality based on self-sacrifice." Ethics is for the long run. Even if it was immoral for a man to kill himself painfully, he will neither go to hell for it, nor be around after the suicide to say "Drats, now I feel guilty. I know it was my very last moment of life, but did I have to experience that pain?".
  2. It doesn't matter if babies have some degree of volition or if they're truly deterministic robots. Even if we get conclusive proof that babies aren't entirely automatons, they still can't use ethics. It's not enough to have a desire to live, in whatever form a baby might have such a thing, you must also be capable of implementing and understanding a thing like ethics. I didn't expect my baby reference to blow into a detailed discussion. Healthy, happy teens and adults aren't more likely to choose against life than a baby is. Since virtually everybody wants the good life, ethics has a good target demographic. You might certainly need reason, but not ethics. I'm glad that we agree on many points, but we may never reach consensus on this one. Using reason to figure something out does not automatically make it a moral action. What about the other supreme and ruling values, purpose and self-esteem? Justice, integrity, pride, all of those things are for a certain context, namely long range well-being via principled, repeated action. Wanting to figure out the best way to go is completely understandable, but it's a practical issue of a wholly different nature. The same thing would apply to a terminally ill man who decides to remain alive till the end of it. What he needs is not ethics, but some form of pain relief. Nowadays they provide Cannabis to such patients in order to help them cope with their fate. I suspect more people would choose that instead of painless suicide.
  3. My quotation excludes a paragraph in which he says that under certain tragic circumstances, suicide is justified. I was only concerned with the status of the primary choice, so I excluded that side note. No. The choice is to follow the desire, instead of denying it. Adult humans have volition in this regard, animals and babies do not. This is why babies are entirely excluded from the field of ethics (not sure why we're bringing them up). The desire to live is metaphysicaly given, assuming a healthy organism. You can't judge an organism for being built in such a way as to cause the acting agent to desire life. This is the sense in which it is not moral. I did not say that every action presupposes an automatic, non-volitional choice. The point is that desire is intricately linked to choice, but not in a deterministic or behaviouristic fashion (and this can be said only about adult humans). There is no such thing as an 'unconscious choice', excluding sleepwalkers or people on LSD. The source of the whim may well be automatic - the emotional mechanism merely reacts to your stored conscious or subconscious premises - but people have the faculty of volition, i.e. of choosing whether to follow their whims or not. "Should I think about it, or should I just act on my impulse?" This is why we can hold criminals accountable for their actions. Don't conflate 'choosing to live' with 'choosing to survive'. Ethics is geared towards a flourishing life, not (just) keeping the agent alive. Every time you pursue a value, it's implied that you want the end goal of that value (more about this in a second). No matter how intricately connected a desire might be to the resulting choice, they are not to be seen as the same thing. All choices presupose that you want the object for some end, i.e. enjoyment, well-being, pleasure, happiness, safety. Metaphysicaly, enjoyment is an indicator of proper self-preservation, but psychologicaly you don't really care about that. Your concern is the enjoyment, the pleasure. Pursuing well-being is pursuing life, and this is how it works for all higher animals. The major difference is that we don't have automatic knowledge of good or bad. If we don't choose our pleasures properly we end up obese, or addicted to heroin, or struggling with an STD. So it's both, life and milk. You don't need values if you don't want the end-goal of those values. The end goal is life, and it's psychological concomitant is pleasure. If you want to die for no reason (like the creature in the example of the philosophy professors), or if something tragic happens that makes living unbearable to you, what do you need ethics for? To hang it on the wall? What about people who choose live, but only so that they can continue whipping themselves, drinking laundry water and starving themselves on purpose? That would be an example of pure immorality.
  4. 0:55: "Now, on the face of it that's paradoxical, because if it's primary it's the beginning, and yet if it's not groundless there must be grounds for it." It's from an advanced seminar on OPAR. He goes through the entire book and explains what he wrote in more detail. The members of the audience each have their own copy of the book with them, so they can follow Peikoff and ask specific questions. At 0:21 he announces that he'll comment on a topic from the bottom of page 324. He then dicusses it for the rest of the video. In the final version of OPAR, which went for publication, the page is 247 (according to the booklet). I am reproducing the portion here: "When they hear about the Objectivist ethics, philosophy professors from both groups [intrinsicists and subjectivists] ask, as though by reflex, the same question. "If the choice to live precedes morality,", they say, "what is the status of someone who chooses not to live? Isn't the choice of suicide as legitimate as any other, so long as one acts on it? And if so, doesn't it mean that for Rand, too, as for Hume and Nietzsche, ethics, being the consequence of an arbitrary decision, is itself arbitrary? [...] The professors I just quoted [...] seek to prove that values are arbitrary by citing a person who would commit suicide, not because of any tragic cause, but as a primary and end-in-itself. The answer to this one is: no. A primary choice [primary = preceding morality] does not mean and "arbitrary,", "whimsical,", or "groundless" choice. There are grounds for a (certain) primary choice, and those grounds are reality - all of it. The choice to live, as we have seen, is the choice to accept the realm of reality. The choice is not arbitrary, it is the precondition of criticizing the arbitrary; it is the base of reason. A man who would throw away his life without a cause, who would reject the universe on principle and embrace a zero for its own sake [...] would be disqualified as an object of intellectual debate. One cannot argue with or about a walking corpse, who has just consigned himself to the void. The void of the nonconscious, the nonethical, the non-anything. Ethics is conditional, i.e., values are not intrinsic." (square brackets and bolded text mine) A choice implies that you desire the end goal, either for its own sake, or as a means to another goal. The moment you act on a desire, you choose to act on that desire. Simple as that. Even people who act mindlessly, on random impulse, choose to follow that impulse instead of an alternative, e.g. thinking about the situation. If you restrict 'choice' to the conceptual level and forget that every action is a choice, whether it was triggered by whim or by logic, then I cannot convince you that every single action you do presupposes a choice. You can't conflate commitment with choice. Every choice made toward self-preservation implies a choice to live. Any protest against being harmed is an expression of that choice. At the root of your interest in learning and applying ethics, there is the implicit choice to follow your own desire for life. If that's not a choice, I don't know what a choice is. Morality is conditional. It's source is an if. I believed that no further explanation was required (the video text, as well as the video title are self-explanatory), but fair, I'll take heed of this advice next time and provide a summary of the contents. Leaving this point aside, I disagree that Peikoff is in any way unclear in the video.
  5. Not sure what you mean. It's related simply by tackling the topic of this thread. I'm sharing it in case somebody finds it of interest. Peikoff tackles the apparent paradox of a choice being justified, but not moraly justified. If a choice is both primary (preceding morality) and justified, on what grounds do you justify it? His answer is that the ground is reality itself, i.e. a fact of reality, the existence of life. How will that convince anybody to live? It won't. It merely points out that there is no other imaginable justification for a living being to exist, other than the fact that it exists, that it has a certain identity. All living beings are pre-programmed to want to live, and (excluding Homo Sapiens) they have the automatic knowledge to make it happen. When, in time and space, do people make the choice to live? They don't. Everybody wants to live, unless something turns out terribly wrong. If morality only pertains to the realm of volitional, conscious and deliberate choice, then the desire to live is not moral, but inherent in the nature of life.
  6. I love this parable, it's one of my favorite stories to tell. I would not (Galt forbid) compare somebody sentenced to death to somebody of old age, or to somebody who does not expect his own death. Unless the first man has incredible strenght, or is a practicing Buddhist, such a blow can render him immune to any kind of happiness whatsoever, no matter what methods or 'ethics' he tries. Ethics depends on certain conditions, such as the possibility of happiness and a body/mind that does not rapidly crumble with each passing day. This one was also posted (I think by Nerian). I think it's an exhaustive look at the issue discussed in this thread.
  7. OK. I personally agree with Peikoff that ethics is not for the dying. According to Rand, man requires ethics because he needs to survive and flourish, but doesn't have an innate, automatic knowledge of how to do it. What does that imply? That those who need ethics have a life ahead of them, and that they're free individuals. A dying man decides whether to kill himself or not, in the context of not having a life in front of him. His purpose and context are completely removed from what ethics is.
  8. If you're looking for a book that covers absolutely everything, read Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism, The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Or you can read those two summaries of the book: http://objectivisme.nl/?page_id=2 http://attitudeadjustment.tripod.com/Books/OPAR.htm
  9. It's an important distinction, because exceptions to a moral code do exist. I'm trying to draw a distinction between the moral code, per se, and justifiable deviations from it. This is not just about toning down the virtues of integrity and intellectual honesty if you live under a communist dictatorship, it's also about emergency situations where you have to throw morality out the window entirely. In regard to suicide: O-ist ethics can't claim that it's moral for a terminally ill man to kill himself and immoral for him to remain alive till the very end. Apart from the fact that such a man wouldn't care if his suicide is moraly justified or not, he would be looking for an entirely different type of guidance, not for a set of instructions on how to achieve eudaimonia. According to Peikoff, such a man is not subject to ethics anymore (link to a Peikoff podcast where he covers this) Yes (reminder: Rand did not believe in a self-preservation drive). This theory would mean that, since such a desire is amoral, an amoral fact of nature gives rise to the phenomenon of morality. Wanting to live can't be called a subjective desire, or a moral desire. It's merely the act of embracing reality, just like any other living being. The guy who sent Biddle the question was looking for a list of reasons to live, outside any context whatsoever. This question implies that people have a choice in the first place. Whether Biddle believes that a choice is possible or not, his answer was accurate. You can't give people reasons to live sans context. Morality itself is given birth by that choice, or fact of nature, or whatever you believe it is.
  10. I can no longer edit my previous post, but I want to clarify that a justified tweak to an otherwise fixed morality is still moral. I merely pointed out that since those tweaks are rare exceptions, they need to be distinguished from the parent moral code that is being tweaked.
  11. I believe that the choice is made for you, via an innate self-preservation drive. The same story applies to (mostly) every other living being on earth. But human beings have a distinct capacity to defy or skew that innate desire to live. So if the question is the moral value of suicide, it depends on the context. I don't think that 'moraly justified' is the same as 'moral'. If a Christian man kills a criminal that intends to bomb a school, then his action is generally seen as 'moraly justified' by the Christian community, but not necessarily moral, since he broke one of the Ten Commandments. If an Objectivist kills himself on understandable grounds, maybe he was moraly justified to do so, but not moral insofar as morality's purpose is to teach you how to live and flourish as long as life is both possible to you, and desired by you. An example of an immoral type of suicide would be the Heaven's Gate incident. Those people wanted to live, but they believed that in order to achieve their goal they must escape the 'recycling' of the Earth and enter the Kingdom of God. They let themselves be fooled by an extraordinarily ridiculous claim. If morality is a guide to fulfilling your life in the context of already wanting to live, what about the man who does not want to live? Say that a man is born with a rare condition that makes him impulsively suicidal. I don't know if such medical condition exists, but I've read about some very weird cases, and would not hasten to say that it's impossible. The doctors try in vain to cure him, but there is no hope is in sight. Would the man be immoral if he kills himself? Christian ethics would say: immoral, or not subject to moral judgement due to the nature of his motivation. But what would O-ist ethics say? ----- I would not conflate 'choice' with 'commitment'. A commitment is something you do at a specific moment in time, and then you try to stick to the commitment as honorably as you can. But a choice can be a one-off decision, like choosing a parking space at a comic book convention, or choosing what to eat at said convention. Deciding to go to a comic convention is a one-off choice, and you can say that every moment a man stays at the convention is a choice in favor of being there, as opposed to the choice of leaving that convention and doing something else. At some point in time, such a man can say 'Well, that's enough cosplay for today', and then choose to go home. Not so if you commit to going to every possible comic convention in your country or state, and to attendending all of them for a minimum of six hours. That's a decision you try to go through regardless of momentary emotions or inner protests to the contrary. I believe that most people have no choice in this matter - as I wrote previously, saying 'I choose to live' is, in most cases, a rationalization of a desire you have no control over. But for the purpose of defining what I see as a 'choice to live', I would say it falls into the first category: an ongoing type of choice that need not necessarily be conscious or explicit. If life is an ongoing choice, people don't endure hell because they are 'selflessly' commited to life, they do it because they see a light at the end of the tunnel and want to be alive to enjoy that bright future. But a man who 'commits' to living does so on an alleged moral ground (moral duty), and even if he faces a terminal illness, he either chooses to stick to his commitment no matter what, or he decides to 'break off' his commitment - he does not choose to die, mind you, he breaks off his commitment, the same way he would break off a marriage. If you see the choice to live the way I see it, then yes, it's a choice and it's pre-moral. I can justify wanting to live on non-moral grounds, such as 'a self-preservation instinct' or 'life's awesome', but not on moral grounds, i.e. "I have a moral obligation to live, and it's my duty to stay alive even if I don't want to".
  12. Rand did say that living is a choice throughout Galt's speech and in her essay "Causality Versus Duty" - a choice distinct from another type of choice, namely your choice of the goal that your moral action is meant to serve. To put it in context, Rand denied the existence of a self-preservation instinct in humans, instead calling it a 'desire to live', which she believed to not be automatic, and she mentiones that some people do not even have this desire, simply living because everybody else seems to do it. Rand was right that you don't need morality if you're dead. If you're alive but choose to die, then by definition you're a soon-to-be dead person. In that situation, you wouldn't need any morality anymore, you would need a suicide method. Wanting to be alive is the precondition of morality. So, is living a choice? You could say that any person that is alive right now expresses his choice to live by the very fact of being alive and intending to take future action toward self-preservation. Every moment in which a man is alive is a testimony to his choice. The choice is expressed the moment a baby cries in order to signal to his mother that he's hungry or in distress. But, can you make that choice consciously and volitionaly, and does the choice take place in a certain place and time? Not likely, unless you extend 'volitional choice' to mean: the volitional choice to obey or defy your natural self-preservation drive. In this sense, any conscious choice to live is simply a rationalization of a desire that people can't actually control (If they're sane). (But unlike plants and other animals, humans have a distinct 'capability' to volitionaly kill themselves to reach higher, immortal levels of existence, and cults such as Heaven's Gate are the scary testimony to this).
  13. Yeah, Hedonistic was the right word. No, just that it was the only post that I read before I replied. I just finished reading the whole thread and I have no complaints. I also disagree with Kelley on this matter, and wholeheartedly subscribe to your thoughts about cheesecake.
  14. I skipped your long post when I first posted here. I have read it now and it looks like we're on the same page, especially with: This being said, I personaly prefer thinking in terms of 'happiness' as the standard, since I already know that I'm not using it in the Epicurean sense. More explicitly, I hold happiness as the goal, while aknowledging that the only way to accomplish that goal is to choose values according to the standard of Life (physical and mental well-being). This helps avoid two misunderstandings. The first one is a simplistic view of survival, as you pointed out. The second one is forgetting that survival is only desirable if happiness is possible, unlike the example of being kept alive in a hospital bed by medical devices, or being condemned to toil day and night for scarce amounts of food.
  15. Thank you, New Buddha. English is my secondary language, but it's the one I use for thinking - a side effect of reading mostly English language material. Since the works of the German Idealists are very long (and incomprehensible, even for native German speakers), I just browse around for summaries. Here is an outstanding source for learning about philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/contents.html
  16. Upon closer reading, I'd also throw in nr. 2 into the mix, but only if we remove the "happiness as merely instrumental to life" part. Not everything that leads to pleasure (point 4) will necessarily lead to happiness, e.g. drug abuse. But on the other side of the coin, pursuing life does not always necessarily lead to the attainment of happines (points 1 and 2), e.g. toiling day and night for bare sustenance, or being kept alive exclusively by medical devices. Or here's a horror-story scenario: Imagine there is a peculiar device attached to your neck that monitors all of your activities. You are allowed to pursue your basic survival needs: food, water, shelter, clothes, walking. But pursuing any social relationships, hobbies, entertainment, love or work is denied to you. If you attempted to trangress this restriction, the device would instantly kill you. The device cannot be removed by any means. This is why I think that points 1, 2 and 4 must somehow all be present.
  17. For me it's a mixture of 1 and 4. Ayn Rand absolutely hated nr. 3. In her last public appearance she was asked to elaborate on life as the standard and happiness as the standard. If looks could kill... Edit: here's the link.
  18. Despite Rand's insistence that she made her point as clear as humanly possible in Galt's Speech, there are a lot of diverging views about what she really meant. One writer actualy lists five different camps: I have to say that I completely agree with everything DonAthos has written in the main post. It is my personal view, and I also believe it was Rand's. Plenty of examples come to my mind. When Francisco asks Dagny what she would say if he asked her to leave her railroad, she answers: "What would I say if you asked me to consider the idea of committing suicide?". The famous John Galt quote about killing himself over his top value (Dagny): "If they get the slightest suspicion of what we are to each other, they will have you on a torture rack — I mean, physical torture — before my eyes, in less than a week. I am not going to wait for that. At the first mention of a threat to you, I will kill myself and stop them right there." Work and Sex have almost deity-status for certain Objectivist thinkers. When Ayn Rand used the term 'highest values', she was literaly referring to those two. Leonard Peikoff goes as far as comparing them to your left eye and right eye. Notoriously, Peikoff also said that he would not condemn people for commiting suicide over, say, losing their ability to enjoy sex or even a career in ballet (can't find the ballet one, but if my memory is correct it was about suffering an accident that prevented you from pursuing your dream of being a ballet dancer). --------------- My own view is that the standard of value is indeed pleasure, but definitely not in the Epicurean sense. Rand's revolution in the field of ethics was her concept of rational self-interest. This means that, as Tara Smith puts it in a lecture available for free on the ARI Institute Campus, selfishness is not transparent. It requires a lot of thinking, including: choosing pleasures that do not kill you in the long run, finding ways to secure them over long spans of time, comparing different choices and so on. I also disagree with any pretense at moderation for its own sake when it comes to pleasure, and I would only justify any moderation if excess would lead to negative consequences. So I regard the 'happy life' as a standard of value, not merely 'Life'. Regarding Rand's view: If by 'Life as standard', Ayn Rand meant the happy/pleasurable life, then our reverence for romantic love, sex and even child rearing makes sense (she did not have children but a mother is present in Galt's Gulch, and she said many things about parenting). But if Rand regarded love, sex and children as stemming from the standard of survival/survival of consciousness, then she is wrong, but on scientific grounds not in her intention. Reproduction is a key source of pleasure in living beings. I'm always stunned to turn on the TV and see male Praying Mantises getting their heads eaten during mating, or female polar bears making extraordinary sacrifices for their offspring. Regarding the role of reproduction in ethics, Harry Binswanger covered this in a PhD thesis that has probably the most boring title ever, which is on my reading list for a long time. I'm curious about what he has to say about reproduction. Bottomline, if there wasn't any pain-pleasure mechanism built in humans, or if the things that helped us survive gave us pain rather than pleasure, I would echo Peikoff's spirit from a lecture in which he talked about whether staying in focus - the precondition of morality - requires 'excruciating effort'. His answer was something like: "if that were the case, then to hell with morality!" If life would be a painful or emotionless affair, the proper reaction to it would definitely be: to hell with it!
  19. If anybody is interested in other philosophers or movements apart from Objectivism and Aristotelian philosophy, you are welcome to share your experiences here. What attracts you to those ideas? Do they influence your own thinking or philosophical positions? For the sake of the topic, these presentations need not necessarily point out the similarities/divergences with Objectivism. My first encounter with philosophy was a long time ago in primary school. After scrambling in my aunt's book collection, I found a Romanian philosophy textbook from the communist era. It was full of pictures and it probably covered every major philosopher known at the time, from Thales to the moderns. Marx and Engels where the only ones that had full page photographs. At the time I didn't understand much of what I was reading, but being a philosopher seemed like a really prestigious thing. Upon reading that the history of philosophy can be described as a duel between materialist and idealist points of view (as it's commonly taught by marxists), I promptly declared myself a materialist, because idealism struck me as an extraordinarily bizarre point of view. Nobody I knew subscribed to the primacy of consciousness view. (Objectivism is the only philosophy I know of that is not monist or pluralistic in some way, although there might be many others). My first encounter with the world transcendental was on the page about Immanuel Kant, and I quickly used it afterwards in a test paper at school (it was not a philosophy test, obviously). I didn't realy know what it meant, apart from reading the dictionary definition and considering it to be one of the coolest words in my vocabulary. After the grades were announced, the teacher asked me what transcendental means and, after I blurted out the dictionary definition, she said that she just wanted to make sure that I'm not using words without knowing what they mean. Until about half an year ago, when I started to study Objectivism seriously and I read Atlas (I knew about Objectivism much earlier than that, and I read The Fountainhead three years ago), philosophy seemed to be no less pointless than religion. After all, with all the advances in science and psychology, what could philosophers possibly bring to the table? Objectivism provided interesting answers to this question, and I am sympathetic to a lot of Objectivist positions (most strongly in metaphysics). I also emphaticaly disagree with some points, from Rand's denial of human instincts all the way to her claim that Dali's paintings portray an 'evil metaphysics'. Lately, I remembered about that old gang of philosophers who called themselves the Idealists and decided to see exactly what line of reasoning brought them to their philosophical claims. I'm not really interested in Kant since his version of idealism is nowhere as weird as that that of his succesors (he still believed in a noumenal world), but I do have a strong interest in Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. Even without believing much, if any, of their speculations, it's still fascinating as hell to read about their philosophy as a classical musician. Romantic classical music composers were inevitably inspired by the contemporary trends in German philosophy; Wagner was notably a follower of Schopenhauer, although S. is a bit too Kantian (and Buddhist) to grab my interest. Speaking of Buddhism, my first encounter with detailed information about it (meditation always fascinated me) was also in a communist book of my aunt's, titled Questions and Answers Pertaining to the Atheist Education of the Youth. If I have to take something good out of German Idealism, it's definitely the enthusiastic, creative and imaginative spirit that was its trademark (and was also present in the arts). Apparently Fichte and Schelling were extremely charismatic teachers, managing the feat of being university teachers and superstars at the same time. Hegel was notorious for his classes, which people attended without understanding a single word of what he was saying. His system is absolutely gargantuan, and nobody since him attempted such a feat. His famous claim, 'The truth is the Whole' is quoted at the beginning of Leonard Prikoff's OPAR (systems were the big trend of German Idealism) As much as I like Rand, I have to say that the whole Romantic Realism thing never appealed to me as strongly as the movements and genres that feature a great deal of fantasy, myth, even the supernatural. And I'm an earthly guy. It seems to me that this type of art does something that Romantic Realism does not: it's a concretized presentation of some of the more 'metaphysicaly adventurous' parts of ourselves: myths, the dream world, imagination, altered states of consciousness. It also inspires me to study the broader nature of consciousness, apart from its perceptual and reasoning faculties. I leave you with this beautiful romantic painting, The Chancel and Crossing of Tintern Abbey, Looking Towards the East Window, by JMW Turner. Exploring the visual arts of the Romantic era is also on my current to do list.
  20. The axiom of consciousness implies perception, since you can't be conscious of anything outward or inward without it. All three axioms - existence, identity and consciousness - are derived from perception.
  21. I did not see this posted anywhere on the forum so I thought you guys might find it of use. It's a succint but thorough summary of Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. http://objectivisme.nl/?page_id=2
  22. At least we're back on topic... (barely). I guess trolling is part of universal Internet Psychology.
  23. Nicky, you posted that as a response to a very specific claim I made on sexual arousal. Hence, it appeared that you were refering to 'common psychology' in the context of sexual attraction. I put those brackets when I quoted you back, in case you might object to my understanding of your post. Since you didn't say anything I asumed that it was indeed what you meant. No hard feelings about your 'policy'.
  24. In proper context, the purpose of the link was to contradict your claim that sexual arousal is not part of the things studied by the field of Psychology, as quoted below: Since then, your views seem to have evolved from your original claim of sexual arousal being: ...to also calling it a psychological reaction. Although you were merely describing the contents of the link, so you might or not have agreed that sexual arousal is part of Psychology. Did I make claims about human nature? no. If you read through my posts, you'll see that I was always talking about Psychology. I think I made it clear that my definition of Psychology is the same as Eiuol's. I am quoting it from his post: I used the phrase 'human nature' only once, and only because this term is in the name of the popular debate that's going on right now about whether the mind has any innate cognitive structures, such as those that decode cues of female physical attractiveness (not to be confused with Kantianism). I have not claimed that valuing scarcity is "human nature". Here's the actual claim: And regarding the connection between sex and valuing scarcity, I will have to repost the contents of the previous post in which I adressed your claim: ------------------- Thanks for reminding me of that episode, softwareNerd. It's an absolutely brilliant take on the pursuit of happiness. MisterSwig, some insight on Microphone girl. Her name is Jennifer Lien and she played the alien Kes in Star Trek: The Voyager. Here is a picture of her during the Star Trek days, but I warn you... don't look at it if you believe in marriage: Don't you dare touch my woman
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