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NameYourAxioms

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    United States
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    Texas
  • Experience with Objectivism
    I've read 7 non-fiction books written by Ayn Rand (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, The Romantic Manifesto, Philosophy: Who Needs It?, For The New Intellectual,but Return of the Primitive), plus several books written by Objectivists like Leonard Peikoff (The Ominous Parallels, the DIM Hypothesis, Teaching Johnny to Think, Objective Communication, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand), Robert Knapp (Mathematics is About The World), David Harriman (The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics), Harry Binswanger (How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation), Craig Biddle (Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and The Facts That Support It), John Allison (The Financial Crisis and The Free Market Cure) and Yaron Brook (Free Market Revolution, Equal is Unfair).
  • School or University
    Syracuse University

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  1. If anyone needs proof that modern theoretical science has been completely corrupted by bad philosophy, I encourage you to watch, at least, the first 15 minutes of this show. This show is a good example of how bad philosophy can lead to complete skepticism regarding the validity of all scientific knowledge. Hawking starts with his assertion that "a black hole contains a lot of information" then makes an embarrassing chain of deductions that he should be ashamed of. Notice how rationalists are more concerned with connecting ideas to other ideas rather than connecting their ideas to reality. Check out this chain of deductions: a black hole contains a lot of information - it appears that information about what fell in a black is lost - the particles that come out of black holes seems to be completely random & bear no relation to what fell in - it can spit out anything: a piano, a trombone - that means that the basic nature of the universe is random - THERE AREN'T REALLY PHYSICAL LAWS WHICH GOVERN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE - if the predictability of the universe breaks up with black holes it can break down in other situations - if information is lost, we can't be sure of our past history either - the history books & our memories could just be illusions. Just because we have no way of knowing the exact quantity of stars, planets, asteroids, gases, etc. that have been consumed by a particular black hole he jumps to the preposterous conclusion that the laws of physics are invalid in every context & that our own childhood memories might even be illusions. You don't need to be scientist to know that just because we have no record of prehistoric times doesn't mean that there's no way for us to know whether F=MA or the inverse square law is valid in the context of space flight to the moon or Mars. People actually listen to this nonsense and take him seriously because he's a celebrity scientist. A black hole pulverizes anything that enters it yet matter is indestructible. Matter changes forms, but it cannot cease to exist. The idea that a black hole might randomly reconfigure that matter into a piano or trombone is beyond stupid.
  2. The "pluriverse" is an arbitrarily-constructed invalid concept. The rational response to an arbitrary assertion is to dismiss it, recognize it as fantasy, and turn one's attention to reality. The arbitrary is not logically entitled to a refutation.
  3. The original post in this thread made the following point in the conclusion: One must choose a side. Either there are universals which actually hold in reality, or else there is no such thing. As an intrinsicist, he holds that essences are what we currently happen to consider the fundamental essential characteristics of a concrete actually exist in concretes themselves independent of the human mind. That is Intrincism (Aristotle himself made this mistake) which was refuted by Ayn Rand, and replaced by Objectivism. What we observe in concretes is real (metaphysical) but the characteristics that we choose to designate as essential or fundamental is a judgment call based our knowledge at any particular time. Since man is not omniscient, our knowledge about metaphysical concretes can be wrong or lacking context. We rely on logic to keep our mental concepts (universals) about metaphysical concretes aligned with reality as best we can. Rand held that our mental concepts of concretes have essences but the metaphysical concretes that the concepts refer to do not. As I stated earlier, the essence of a concept is determined contextually and may be altered with the growth of man's knowledge. If essences existed in concretes they would be set in stone forever and unchangeable. At one point it was observed that water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Later on, it was discovered that water boils at a higher temperature at higher altitudes. Water didn't change. Our knowledge about water changed. Essences are epistemological. They pertain to our knowledge about metaphysical concretes. Our concepts are mental file folders & definitions are the labels we put on those mental file folders. Our concepts (universals) can change & our definitions of concepts can change while the metaphysical concretes they refer to remain changeless. .
  4. One’s mental file folders (concepts) are not for storing a concept’s units. Concepts are folders for storing KNOWLEDGE about the units. Intrinsicists believed that essences are metaphysical, meaning that they believed that metaphysical entities themselves have essences (they don’t). Intrinsicism concludes that all cognition is like sense perception (where everything is metaphysically given). It means automatic illumination on conceptual issues. It relies on intuition and revelation. Famous intrinsicist expression: “To those who understand, no explanation is necessary. To those who don’t, none is possible”. In either case, they don’t explain. All mystics are implicit intrinsicists. if everything were self-evident, we wouldn’t need logic.
  5. What does it mean to regard concepts as epistemological? That means that the essence of a concept is determined contextually and may be altered with the growth of man's knowledge. All definitions are contextual and a primitive definition does not contradict a more advanced one. The latter merely expands the former. When new evidence confronts him metaphysically (a black swan), he has to expand his definitions. Realist theories take the generality that exists only in man's mind and make it a universal existing in the external world. As a legal preamble, every definition begins with the implicit proposition: On the basis of the available knowledge, i.e., within the context of the factors so far discovered, the following is the proper conclusion to draw. Since man is not omniscient, a definition cannot be a changelessly absolute and a definition is worthless if it is not contextually absolute. All definitions are contextual and a primitive definition does not contradict a more advanced one. The latter merely expands the former. When new evidence confronts him (black swan), he has to expand his definitions. Knowledge at one stage is not contradicted by later discoveries. Discoveries expand his understanding; he learns more about the conditions in which his conclusions depend. Newton’s laws are not contradicted by Einstein’s discovery of relativity theory. On the contrary, Newton’s discovery remains absolute within Newton’s context (just as Euclid’s discoveries remain absolute within the context of 2-dimensional planes). Kepler correctly identified the sun as the cause of the planetary orbits. Later, Newton discovered that mass gives rise to gravitational attraction. These causal identifications do not contradict one another. Kepler’s statement is correct but it says less than Newton’s. And Newton’s statement is correct but Einstein discovered more about gravitation. Newton’s law of gravity was never extended to super-huge masses or submicroscopic distances of separation that Einstein’s theory embraces.
  6. Wealth is stuff: homes, cars, food, fuel. Money is nothing but a claim on wealth. Gold makes good money because it is scarce; i.e., it limits how much a government can inflate the money supply or multiply claims on existing wealth. Waiter: Would you like your pizza cut into 6 slices or 8? Fed chairman: Make it 8. I’m extra hungry today. The pizza represents wealth. Subdividing it into a million slices won’t make the pizza grow. People used to be able to redeem dollars for gold. The threat of redemption kept the Fed honest. Domestic convertibility ended in the 30s and international convertibility ended in the 70s. Now a dollar is worth 4 cents and shrinking. If your house appreciated 100% your wealth didn’t increase. You still own the same house (wealth is stuff, not money). That just means it takes twice as much money to buy the same thing.
  7. What else are you going to follow? Is there a better, more reliable, alternative to thinking? Obeying authority? Instinct? If it feels good, do it? Psychics, horoscopes, Ouija boards, Magic 8-balls, fortune cookies, numerology. Wish-fulfillment fantasy?
  8. Quoted from Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: "Since everything possesses identity, the universe possesses identity. Since EVERYTHING is FINITE, the UNIVERSE is FINITE. [drops mic, leaves room]
  9. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/infinity.html Every unit of length, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, has some specific extension; every unit if time, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, has some specific duration. The idea of some INFINITELY SMALL amount of length or temporal duration has validity ONLY as a MATHEMATICAL DEVICE. By analogy: the average family has 2.2 children, but no actual family has 2.2 children; the "average family" exists only as a mathematical device.
  10. There are 5 branches of philosophy. Metaphysics is the study of existence. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Ethics is the study of action. Politics is the study of force. Esthetics is the study of art. Of the 5 branches of philosophy, metaphysics is the trunk of the tree. The whole purpose of Ayn Rand's West Point speech was to drive home the utter importance of metaphysics. Her spacecraft metaphor laid it out: Where am I? (metaphysics) How do I know it? (epistemology) What should I do? (ethics). You cannot answer the last 2 questions unless you know where you are (metaphysics).
  11. Wrong. Aristotle rejected Plato's metaphysics and completely denied Plato's World of Forms. Aristotle maintained that there is only 1 reality, the world of concrete entities that we perceive.
  12. There are 5 branches of philosophy. Metaphysics is the study of existence. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Ethics is the study of action. Politics is the study of force. Esthetics is the study of art. Of the 5 branches of philosophy, metaphysics is the trunk of the tree. The whole purpose of Ayn Rand's West Point speech was to drive home the utter importance of metaphysics. Her spacecraft metaphor laid it out: Where am I? (metaphysics) How do I know it? (epistemology) What should I do? (ethics). You cannot answer the last 2 questions unless you know where you are (metaphysics).
  13. How do you account for "Objectivists regard essences as epistemological" in Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology?
  14. How do you account for this quote from Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology? Aristotle regarded essences as metaphysical; Objectivists regard essences as epistemological.
  15. Of course, tadpoles become frogs? How do you explain the tadpoles that become toads? Of course, caterpillars become butterflies? How do you explain the caterpillars that become moths?
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