Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Gabriel_S

  1. If God can change any entity into any thing, then that means that entities don't have a determinate nature, i.e., don't have an identity. Just think about it a bit. That is the crucial point to grasp here, and I think that's precisely what you're missing. Get that point and all the nonsense about omnipotence just sounds like so much intellectual legerdemain.
  2. Well, Hume discusses this famously at length in his Enquiry. I'll supply a few telling quotes, which should give you a taste for his approach. This first is representative of his criticism of the concept of "necessity," which he considers entirely without foundation (and hence causality dissolves into mere association of one event following another with no independent necessary connection conjoining them): Hume couldn't "find" causality in the external world (stemming from a variety of presuppositions, such as his sensationalism), nor could he find it in the internal world. Hence, causality for Hume became mere association of sensations in succession, and facts were no longer necessary but contigent. As an aside, this is what motivated Kant to develop his [in]famous ground for necessity in the Critique. A few more quotes from Hume... and finally in his own words: Therefore, we may conclude, for Hume: necessity is a myth; causality is a myth. I imagine if you are familiar with Ayn Rand's conception of causality, that the above Humean model will stand in stark relief. If you would a more explicit comparison, please let me know. I hope this helps a bit.
  3. I would have thought that she did address it but obliquely. It was addressed in the sense that she combined (i) a proper conception of the law of causality (which Hume, by means of a long series of historical errors, arrived at an opposite conception) with (ii) a correct theory of concept formation and (iii) a contextual theory of knowledge acquisition. These elements (and other crucial insights) provide the basis for a valid theory of induction. Such a theory gets around the Humean criticism because it doesn't accept his underlying suppositions (such as his sensationalism) and general framework.
  4. You may want to explore Ernest Cassara's "The Enlightenment in America."
  5. These sort of questions: why is it irrational to...(rob a bank, kill an innocent person, etc.)...if you can (get away with it undetected, live with it, etc.), often contain an underlying presupposition (as one out of several disastrous errors in approaching ethics in this manner) that makes them "tick." That presupposition is an implicit rewriting of reality. To bring this hidden element to the surface (which is also to simultaneously refute it), consider this: why is it irrational to shoot yourself in the brain if it won't kill you? Well, sure it's not irrational if in your hypothetical you remove the effects of said action. In that manner we can refute every proposition in Objectivism. Let's see: -Why should we be productive if we invented little self-replicating, self-repairing nano-robots that produced every single tangible item we desired without limit? -Why is the alternative of life or death the basis of ethics since if a living person became magically immortal, wouldn't he still desire things like an ice cream sunday? -Why is it irrational to be dishonest if we possessed the ring of Gyges (i.e., if we could escape from every conceivable ill effect from our devilish and dishonest actions)? Etc.,etc. You can multiply this endlessly. There isn't literally a single proposition in Objectivism that can't be "refuted" by this sort of hypothetical counter-factual "reasoning."
  6. Wow, you certainly know a lot about me. That's amazing. Strange crop of psychics they're growing this year. I responded to you as I did because you don't merit any serious attention. Fact is you're about as crazy as a sh*t house rat. And that's a GD objective fact. Keep looking for that hole. Good day. ps, please keep wasting your time writing your screeds. I don't think anyone but you will be reading them.
  7. Umm, did you honestly read what this person posted? They just so happened to join the forum yesterday and appear to have a fetish for this issue...just a tad suspicious. Here's a few juicy quotes in case you missed them: "(Paragraph 2) So Rand and her minions..." "What a goddam joke." "would you, Ayn, and Lenny suggest..." "every human being (save babies or the mentally impaired) has been guilty of evasion (as defined by Objectivism) at one point or another." "Because this is so, our pursuit of happiness, by your standards is a complete exercise in futility: we can never achieve it. If this is so, by working toward a happiness which we don't deserve, are we not all subconsciously working toward our own destruction?" "The problem here is that, per a typical Randian..." "I can tell you right now that I am a very happy person AND I have lied before - what will you do about it? You can scream at me until you are blue in the face, "No! No goddamit it can't be! You're lying! You're evading! Ayn said it's not possible! You merely THINK you're happy because you're an evader who has created an inverted sense of virtue! If I discover a chink in her armor I will be forced to go out and draw my own conclusions! Say it ain't so! You're nothing but a whim-worshiper...yeah,yeah, that's it...a whim-worshiper and you know what else....you're a social metaphysician! You are NOT an Objectivist and you are here by excommunicated!"" "Typically trite Randian argument..." And you're concerned that my response isn't adequate and rational? To THIS screeching mess? Uh, yeah, I think my comment was quite warranted.
  8. Hmmm...so are you lying now too? After all, you are a self-admitted liar and seem to have no compunction about deceiving others nor any real motive to tell the truth except when it suits you. Why should we take anything you say seriously? I think it's time for you to move on to a suitable hole somewhere.
  9. First, I'd like to essentially echo what Mark has said above. But, I'd just like to add that there's nothing in the Objectivist metaethics nor in it's theory of virtue which claims that a person exposed to its arguments will be forced to accede to them. Now, I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but that seems to be the implication of your argument. I repeat: a true argument, no matter how persuasive and powerful, cannot compel a person to accept it. This fact can be seen quite readily in the case of those who explicitly reject the existence axiom. I mean if anything's a candidate to "compel" ascension, the existence axiom would be it. But, it can't. So, does it mean that because it's possible to reject what is true, that an alternative theory (or set of actions or behaviors) to the truth is somehow "just as valid." No. I don't see how that follows in the least. There are all sorts of "reasons" (read: rationalizations, evasions, etc.) why someone would reject a rational course of action in favor of something less stellar. Are you asking why a rational course of action is preferable to an irrational one, if one "chooses" the irrational one? Something like that seems to be what you are saying. Frankly, I think the choice of Mao as an example doesn't really help much. Somebody (and I use that term here very loosely) like that has so many problems that I don't buy for a minute that they're happy, contented, satisfied, or whatever other positive connotation you'd like to add (or that they themselves might claim). Perhaps, this book might be of some assistance on the issue: The Psychology of Dictatorship by G. M. Gilbert Again, that some choose a morality at variance to Objectivism doesn't necessarily demonstrate anything more than that they've made the choice to act irrationally (if that's what they are in fact doing; of course, it could also be a failure to understand the issues involved, which wouldn't be irrational, which wouldn't really apply to the case of psychotic dictators). I don't see how it follows that this leaves us with an is-ought gap. What does that even mean in this context? There's an is-ought gap because the "is" doesn't force action on a being that possesses volition? That implies that only an intrinsicist theory of value can bridge the is-ought gap.
  10. Have you read this? http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/store/pro...sp?number=AR93A
  11. http://www.intellectualactivist.com/php-bi...&product_id=283 "What is Objective Law?" by Harry Binswanger
  12. Okay, well then we might not be too far off from each other. Once an FSC is identified, then you know that the argument can't be correct. This can be helpful and important independent of the fact that there are deeper reasons why the individual was led to committing a hierarchy violation. Exploring and analyzing the deeper reasons for the error may be important but that really depends upon one's context. For instance, the average non-philosopher may be justified in simply dismissing an argument once a FSC is identified, while a professional philosopher may have the obligation and interest in pursuing and dissecting the underlying reasons for the error. I object to the hint (if there is one) that under every circumstance we all have some sort of duty to trace the deeper reasons for every error. Like I said, that may very well be warranted and illuminating, but not always. Here's an interesting stolen concept I was told was made by Albert Ellis in his 1968 debate with Nathaniel Branden. My recollection of the story is that in response to Branden's query whether Ellis would at least concede that "existence exists," Ellis responded that "existence probably exists." (It might have been "possibly exists.") Now, there can be all sorts of reasons why someone would utter this proposition. Identifying and examining those errors might be useful and interesting. However, in my mind, once the FSC has been identified and you can see that the proposition can't possibly be true, you've performed your epistemological due dilligence and can go on to more important things in life.
  13. I'm just saying that it's hard to come up with counter-evidence, if she did in fact never say anything (publicly) about it.
  14. You mean like a statement saying that she's not denying it?! What about just not saying anything at all?
  15. Uh, you're kidding right? THAT'S your evidence?! Testimony of God's malignancy from the Devil himself, no less...hehe. That's a good one. Next.
  16. Maybe that was your first mistake. I think that exposure to Ayn Rand's vision via Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged might be better than the path you describe. Again, shoulda started with the fiction. I imagine you'd have a substantially different reaction. I'm not sure who you're hanging out with but I didn't get that at all (and I know most of the "big wigs"). Again, shoulda started with the fiction (and meet some new Objectivists). That's funny, that's exactly what I got ("Live your life!"; "Be happy!"; etc.). Again, shoulda started with the fiction. That fiction thing again... Fact is, I can hardly fathom what you are saying. Objectivism is about the only thing out there advocating these positive life-affirming things (in a non-hokey, non-New Agey way). Yeah, it does. Not sure what you've been reading.
  17. "jrs" and some of the others are SO FAR OFF in their "understanding" of the FSC that they're really talking about something else entirely (their claims to the contrary notwithstanding). But that doesn't dissuade them a bit. They'll continue to critique their rendering of the FSC without skipping a beat. Obviously, as much of an investment as they've made in this, clear opposition to their interpretation is conveniently ignored or misconstrued. Also, I wouldn't take the non-existence (if such was the case) of a defense of the FSC on this board to be indicative at all that such a defense isn't possible or available. This is hardly a forum teeming with professional Objectivist intellectuals (most of the participants strike me as young and/or very new to the philosophy). The level of confusion being exhibited here would be best addressed (and would be easily addressed) by Leonard Peikoff, Harry Binswanger, Allan Gotthelf, among others. But, for crying out loud, if you're going to criticize something get the damn thing right! The bottom line is that I've yet to see a clear understanding of the FSC presented by jrs and the others. Until that is offered, this all just so much fluff and posturing.
  18. Really? Where would I find this denial?
  19. This fellow repeatedly constructs what he claims is the Objectivist position on the axioms (among other things) and then proceeds to "refute" the argument. However, it appears to me that he completely misunderstands the Objectivist position; it's certainly nothing like my understanding of it. His "refutation" amounts to a critique of a position of his own making - it's not the Objectivist position by a long-shot. But, despite our protestations to the contrary, he keeps right on stumbling along insisting that his construction represents Objectivism, which he goes on quickly to claim suffers from various flaws.
  20. Well, Allen, I'm glad you've finally agreed with us about the axioms. Now, let's move on to something more productive...
  21. I repeated myself because you keep insisting on issuing the same nonsense. You are using words without meaning. "Faith" denotes believing in something without evidence or in contradiction to evidence. The concept fully does not apply to rational philosophic axioms. However, it would apply to axioms that are not rationally justified, such as a host of religious axioms (and secular ones for that matter too, including your vaunted "principle"). Self-evidence is the most certain verification possible. The very concepts of "proof," "logic," and "evidence" depend upon the validity of these self-evident axioms. Concepts such as "faith" and "arbitrary" are meaningless without the prior acceptance of the axioms. So, to demand proof for the axioms, to label them illogical, to say they must be accepted on faith, that they are arbitrary, etc., is to use words without meaning. All such attacks ONLY have meaning within the context of the axioms being valid. Concepts that are at the root of ALL knowledge, the axioms, cannot be undermined in any manner whatsoever by knowledge that is built upon them. Your "principle," therefore, is wrong. The bottom line is that the Objectivist axioms are validated by establishing their self-evidency. And that, sir, has been done. For details, see OPAR and ITOE. One last note on this, and I do mean LAST note... One thing axioms can't do, however, is to force those who would deny them to accept their validity. Humans have freewill and can deny the existence of the nose on their face, if they choose. The best avenue in that case is to stop talking to the person because by his own admission he really doesn't even know if he exists. And I certainly wouldn't want to be caught talking to myself. So, with that said...Goodbye.
  22. And, once again, so must this "principle" be divorced from logic. Thus, your attack on the axioms is self-refuting because that "principle" is self-negating. Of course, you'll protest (at least to yourself) and try to weasel out of the blatant contradiction your position necessitates, but that's your problem not mine.
  23. That valid axioms cannot be proved does not mean that they do not have a rational explanation (that's your erroneous assumption). Therefore, it does not follow that their acceptance is based on faith. That would be a complete misuse of the concepts of "rational" and "faith." Wrong conceptions=wrong conclusions. GIGO. Untrue (at least as stated). However, I don't have time to comment on this at the moment. Rational proof? Oh, and what is that based upon? A more fundamental proposition. And what is that based upon? Etc. Ultimately, as you claim, something arbitrary, i.e., invalid. Therefore, the argument itself is self-refuting. QED. Doesn't it strike you as, how can I put this mildly, a little funny that you keep coming up with "reasoned" arguments to prove that reason is invalid? Once again, this is self-refuting. It would, according to this, be unreasonable (as it must) to believe this, since it must be based upon a groundless proposition (which is your basic premise).
  24. So, it seems to me you've accepted as your axiom that philosophical systems are adopted on faith. Of course, according to the logic of that axiom, that axiom itself is groundless (because it too must be accepted on faith). Is the self-contradiction in your idea apparent now? In other words, how do you know it's true? You don't. You only accept it on faith. It's a self-refuting position in the same manner that Pyrrhonian skepticism is self-refuting. "I know that I know nothing." For the same reason that you should recognize this claim to be self-refuting, your position on philosophic axioms is too (because ultimately your view reduces to this sort radical skepticism). Now that just clears out a wrong conception, but doesn't get us to the right view. You go on: These are issues dealt with in both OPAR and ITOE. You have a certain conception of proof and faith that is leading you to this conclusion (that axioms are necessarily "unprovable"; "potentially false"; etc.). It's a context that you'll have to examine closely. If you root out the underlying premises in your current view and reconceptualize the issue, you'll find your concerns will "dissolve" (to use contemporary philosophic parlance). But, this will require a good, honest look at some deep seated premises. These premises may be operating at an implicit level, and will not necessarily be easy to excise.
  25. Really? There isn't anything ethically wrong for a man to want to die? I don't see you've qualified your statement. Does that mean under any and all circumstances suicide is always moral?
  • Create New...