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Everything posted by Invictus2017

  1. Rand's argument, with which I agree, concludes that man has no--and can have no--innate conceptual knowledge. (In some sense, that's a redundancy, but given that "knowledge" means many different things in different contexts, it's good to emphasize what one is talking about.) The corollary is that man can have no built-in characteristics that are dependent on conceptual knowledge. So, for example, man has no built-in knowledge of male or female, even though some parts of his brain might be wired to respond to correlates of male and female and thus allow an infant to respond differently to male and female long before he has any sort of concept of them (And such wiring could even help in the formation of those concepts.)
  2. This is incomplete. The correct definition is "survives by means of the use of the faculty of reason". A creature that possessed the faculty of reason but which didn't need it for survival would not be human. (Cf primates that can be taught rudimentary language and reasoning but which don't make use of these capacities in the wild. This is not surprising, quite the contrary. Man's capacity to reason almost certainly didn't come into existence fully functional. It presumably had evolutionary precursors that weren't good enough to be adopted as a species' fundamental mode of survival.) Note, for example, that rationality being essential to survival, not merely the *possession* of rationality, is at the root of the Objectivist ethics.
  3. Heh. I'm only skimming these days, as Real Life (TM) is taking up so much time that I don't have time to do more than that. So I wouldn't be surprised that I missed a joke.
  4. (putting on grammar nerd hat) As relevant here: "Guys", plural, is synonymous with "people" and has no gender implication, as contrasted with "guy", singular, which is synonymous with "male person". So his "Hi guys!" was no more than a friendly greeting to whoever might read his post.
  5. I suppose I should have said Representationalist (I think that's the term, it's been awhile). This differs from Idealism in that, supposedly, the objects of consciousness have some (unknowable) relationship to reality, whereas Idealism supposes that the objects of consciousness are, in essence, illusions or hallucinations, unconnected to reality. In my view, there is no real difference between "there is an unknowable connection to reality" and "there is no connection to reality", so Representationalism is a species of Idealism and I tend to use the latter to refer to both. The notion that the objects of perception are mere constructs of the brain is Representationalist, in that it does not allow one to know how these constructs derive from reality -- any such knowledge would be just one more construct. "Brain" is just a construct, and there is no reason for believing that there is "brain" or anything else. (Which illustrates that Representationalism really is Idealism.)
  6. Kant and Korzybski are Idealists; Rand is a Realist. You might want to check the meanings of those terms. Idealism is not inconsistent with Materialism; the quoted passage illustrates that Korzybski held both ideas.
  7. Korzybski is old news to people of a certain age. Basically, the guy is an Idealist, who supposed on the one hand that we can have no real knowledge of reality and that we actually have the knowledge to prove it. Not worth any further analysis, as far as I'm concerned. For fun, you might want to read some A. E. Van Vogt, who incorporated some of Korzybski's ideas into his science fiction.
  8. Assuming the facts are as recounted, I too applaud Lewinsky for her action. We all need to set boundaries and to remove from our lives anyone who does not respect them.
  9. The questions you suggest are wildly inappropriate. A better idea: Presumably, you know something of the activities she likes. Research those activities to find one that you and she can do as a couple. Suggest an outing. (My ex was way into arts and crafts. Our first "date" was at a crafts fair. She had a blast; I merely tolerated it. But it showed, in action, my interest in her as a person.) Failing that, there's the old standby: "Would you like to do lunch (or dinner)?" It's as simple as that. How she responds will tell you all that you need to know.
  10. It's immoral to pointlessly prolong your own suffering. How she feels and who she is seeing is her business, not yours. You really have just two choices here, assuming you respect yourself and you respect her: Either you talk to her and explain your prior stupidity or you absolutely abandon any possibility of a relationship beyond friendship. Anything else is a self-destructive compromise. If you can do neither, you have doomed yourself (and maybe her, depending on how screwed up you let yourself become) to wholly unnecessary misery. If you do the former, the worst that'll happen, beyond the embarrassment of admitting your own foolishness, is that she'll tell you that you had your chance and blew it. But even then, you'll at least know where you stand. If you do the latter, you can then begin self-policing the part of you that insists on the impossible and thereby hasten your psychological recovery from your mistake. I'd recommend, in this case, staying away from her until you've managed that recovery, but I wouldn't say that it is essential to do so.
  11. She expressed interest. You played hard to get and then acted disinterested. Anyone would likely have dropped you under those circumstances. She then went looking for someone who was interested and not playing games. (Yes, I know that's not how you see it. But it is likely how she saw it.) What else would you expect? If you want her, stop playing games with yourself about being "not in her league" and get your ass onto the playing field. Otherwise, get out of the situation and stop making yourself miserable. Remember: You and you alone are responsible for your choices. And if you want a consequence, you and you alone are responsible for enacting the cause of your desired consequence.
  12. 1) The index page has no links like that. 2) That person has no apparent reason to be on this site. 3) The bulk of the message is an ad for staysafe.org. 4) That person claims the link is relevant to this site, when anyone reading it would know better. 5) The two similar messages were sent almost two months apart. In short, this is pure spam. It's an old variety: "We're not really spamming, we're providing a public service, notifying of broken links!" (Or some other excuse.)
  13. You are equivocating. Rand meant by this that one should not read into things that which is not there, that one should use the actual meanings of the words, not some approximation. That's a proper use of "literal". But you're looking for the "one true meaning" of a statement, which you want to exist independently of the context of the statement. That's not "literal", that's "arbitrary". Come back when you've learned the difference. For now, you're in my ignore list.
  14. In my case, the issue is simple: Money. Or, rather, the lack of it.....
  15. The literal interpretation you're asking for does not exist. Such could only exist if each word and each syntactic structure had exactly one meaning. Language does not work that way. Understanding any statement requires interpreting it within its context, rather than as an isolated statement. The operative principle is that of benevolence. One assumes, unless it is proven otherwise, that a writer (or speaker) has something meaningful to say. This requires, not literal interpretation, but contextual interpretation. The question is not, "what meaning is assigned to this statement by the dictionary and rules of grammar?" (a question that essentially never has a determinate answer) but "what meaning, among the possible legitimate meanings, will make this statement part of a coherent whole?". As a general rule, the demand for a literal interpretation (or the insistence on a particular interpretation as "the" literal interpretation) is an attempt to inject the arbitrary into a discussion. It should be rejected with whatever degree of firmness is necessary to preserve the integrity of the discussion forum.
  16. If a government says, "OK, now we let you do X", that does not in any way indicate a respect for the right to do X. And it says nothing about whether it will change its mind later. If a government does not respect rights in principle, nothing it does should be regarded as "respecting" rights, and to read current events as evidencing a growth in that nonexistent respect is to profoundly misunderstand those events and their likely consequences. (The same critique applies to hurrahs when America's government announces that it will no longer violate this or that right.)
  17. This is an age of moral panics, stirred up by government employees and agents, politicians, and other sociopaths who want attention and control. Almost all of this is based on willful deception by those who stand to gain from the panics; the evils they speak of either do not exist or are trivial in comparison to actual dangers -- dangers that get neglected because of the focus on the unreal.
  18. If I was in a hurry, I'd tell such people to go fuck themselves. If not, I'd call the park police and complain about harassment. Such people do not deserve the courtesy of an etiquette citation, especially since they're likely to take any such response as "proof" of their righteousness. Someday, I might write a post on the virtue of incivility.
  19. This remains true. I'm out of this discussion, since I can see no benefit to myself from further participation.
  20. Evasion is knowing that 2+2=4 and then refusing to accept one's own conclusion. I see a man who I admire take something from a store, actively concealing it from the store clerk. Because I admire the person, I refuse to see that he is a thief. I see a politician advocate for something completely antithetical to his stated principles. Because he is of my party, I invent wildly implausible excuses for his behavior, instead of accepting that he is hypocritical or worse. I see all the instances where socialism has failed and, because I believe wholly in socialism, repeat loudly to myself that those things were not "real" socialism, so socialism has never actually been tried, much less failed. See the pattern? A fact enters my consciousness. I don't want the fact to be true. So I do something to deny the fact. This something might actually prevent me from having full conscious awareness of the fact or it might be some form of rationalization. But either way I take active measure, to deny what some part of me knows is true or, having reason to think something might be true, to refuse to investigate what I know so as to avoid the possibility of knowing the truth.
  21. Of course it is always possible to put things on a scale -- if you're willing to adopt an arbitrary scale. So what? The arbitrary is not of value. The mere fact that you can compare characteristics does not mean that the resulting ranking is meaningful. That you can rank values based on some feature of values in no way proves that there is a meaningful way to rank one person's values against those of another. I say that you can't do it at all, because the relevant scale for each person's values is his own life. You have yet to provide a reason for me to think otherwise.
  22. You assert this. But there is no reason to accept it as true. Rand's epistemology makes no such claim. Indeed she did -- a single person's values, ranked against his own values. But again, a single person's values. Note also that her "hierarchy" was not of degree of value, but of logical interrelation and fundamentality. Added: I note that with ethic's values, the hierarchy is the same for each person because the reasoning validating these values is the same for each person -- because they are the same kind of entity. So with these -- abstract -- values, one could have a common ranking based on the common hierarchy. But this isn't useful here, if for no other reason than that one exchanges concretes, not abstracts.
  23. You benefit no one with gratuitous insults. You also pretend to knowledge you do not have. You have therefore earned a place in my ignore list. Bye.
  24. It's a tricky topic, but for present purposes it suffices to say that existents are commensurable if they can be meaningfully ordered by some property. E.g., rocks are commensurable in that they can be meaningfully ordered by hardness. But you can't say that rocks are commensurable in that they can be classified by type; there is no non-arbitrary ordering of the types of rocks (as far as I know). Similarly, colors are commensurable because they can be meaningfully ordered by how they appear in a rainbow.
  25. We agree on these. The discussion at hand comes from the notion that person A can get more from a voluntary exchange than person B. For example, in one exchange, I get 10 dollars, you get a book. To me, the 10 dollars is worth equal to or more than the book. To you the book is worth equal to or more than the 10 dollars. But what standard are we going to apply to say that I got more value getting 10 dollars and losing the book than you did getting the book and losing the 10 dollars? What scale are we going to rank the value differences on so that such comparisons can be sensibly made? (For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to assume that we get value differences by measuring values on some scale and taking the difference. Dealing directly with value differences is more complex, but leads to the same conclusion.) My claim of incommensurability is that no such scale exists, outside of two useless (in this context) exceptions. The first exception is the arbitrary scale, like assigning random numbers to things so that they can be "measured" that way. The second involves scales that deal with something in addition to value. Suppose, for example, that we used a scale of "survival importance", where we'd rank each value by an estimate of how long the person to whom it is a value could survive without it. This wouldn't be very helpful with the example I just gave, because the durations of our lives are unlikely to be affected by whether or not we make the exchange. OTOH, were I destitute and needed that 10 dollars to get a life-saving medicine, we could say that I got the better of that deal by this particular standard. What makes this standard special? Nothing. Actually, because most exchanges don't have any determinate life-duration consequences, this is a particularly useless standard. But we could have other standards; one for each way of measuring values. We might assign to each value the time needed to acquire it, the money needed to acquire it, the degree of subjective satisfaction the value gives to the possessor, and so on. The mere fact that there are more many such standards makes it clear that none of them can serve to address the problem at hand. Any claim that I got more than you would net the immediate response of 'by which standard?" the answer to which could then be met by "oh yeah, well we're going to use this other standard instead". There'd be no resolving this because, ultimately, there can be no answer to the question of which extrinsic consideration is the "right" one when addressing this problem. What we need, instead, is some way of comparing values as such, without bringing in extrinsic considerations. It is this that I am saying doesn't exist, when I say that values are incommensurable There is no way to order your value qua value against my value qua value because the there are two different standards involved -- your life and my life. You can measure your value against your life and I can measure my value against my life, but the one measurement has no relationship to the other. Measuring units by their commensurable characteristics may or may not be arbitrary, depending on the purpose of measuring That certainly applies here, where there is no particular reason to consider one attribute of values as being "the" attribute for comparison purposes.
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