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Everything posted by TruthSeeker946

  1. So you're saying punching a man in the face does not prevent the survival (qua man) of that man?
  2. It's one and the same. The initiation of physical force (between humans) can have a matter of fact dictionary definition or an Objectivist definition. The dictionary definition is along the lines of objects colliding between humans or any kind of physical resistance/force between humans, like a playful push or a vaccine injection, or boxing etc. The Objectivist definition appears to be 'the type of initiation of physical force which is unjust'. Which begs the question. Which types of dictionary definition physical force are just and which types are unjust?
  3. But of course it does. The government's duty is to protect individual rights. The initiation of physical force is a violation of individual rights and it is banned under the law. Therefore, the government has a duty to intervene. So if you cannot give away/surrender/trade away your right to life (partially or otherwise), then as long as it is considered a violation of your right to life, the gov would have a duty to intervene. Then the only question is determining whether it is or is not an initiation of physical force. It's still a violation of your right to life from the POV of the violator. They committed the act of force. Unless you mean the transmission of covid is not an initiation of force or a violation of anyone's rights as long as the person who transmitted it didn't know it? So it comes back to defining the initiation of force. I acknowledged this.
  4. It was in reference to the covid example. If the transmission of covid is considered an initiation of physical force then the entrant could enter the property at their own risk i.e giving up their right to claim damages against anyone inside the property who transmits the virus to them causing them harm. Of course, if it is not considered an initiation of physical force then the 'enter at your own risk' disclaimer isn't a rights based issue. But that leads me to the central issue of my post regarding the definition of the initiation of physical force.
  5. So what is the guiding principle for assessing assisted suicide? That is what I've been getting at. That is a situation where you are consenting to another person killing you. When I say 'trade', I didn't mean someone else gains possession of it. You 'surrender' some of your right to life in exchange for some values. So it is a personal trade in that sense. You're giving away your right to claim damages from someone who transmits covid to you and harms you as a result. Now if the above sentence cannot be described as trading, giving, surrendering etc part of your right to life, then how can it be described? And would it contradict Objectivism? The alternative seems to be that: "Because my right to life is derived from the facts of nature and is therefore unalterable, any initiation of physical force against myself, direct or indirect, is a violation of my right to life. Even if I sign a contract in which I give consent to the initiation of physical force against myself, such a contract would be void by default. If I consequently receive physical force, the government has a duty to intervene to protect my right to life, even if I insist that the government does not intervene." If this is true, it destroys the 'enter at your own risk' argument (which I was/am sympathetic to). So are not the ultimate questions here 'who decides what is and is not the (illegal/immoral) initiation of physical force?' and 'how exactly is it to be defined?'? Perhaps it is the crux of the issue though. I think it does need clarifying. "preventing" by what means? "unfettered" in what way? And according to who? A fist to the face is a collision of objects. That is physical force. Physical force that does not involve the collision of objects is known as indirect physical force i.e fraud. I understand the 'indirect' part to mean that the collision of objects would have or will take place if the victim tried to prevent the crime from taking place or in attempting to reclaim his property. How is boxing any different from a more extreme version of a similar game, on a sliding scale from smashing knee caps, acid wars etc all the way up to a hunger games fight to the death? What is the principle that separates boxing from the rest? i.e why is it not an initiation of physical force when it comes to boxing but it is with more extreme games? (And not just games. Anything that involves consenting to physical violence against oneself or initiating against a consenting person). Why shouldn't the government intervene the moment the first punch is thrown?
  6. Exactly right. What’s the logic here? Even for a deadly virus that would kill man at his best i.e fit and healthy? It seems to me your claim rests on divorcing the virus from the individual even though the latter carries the former. For covid, there is perhaps a case to be made. I’m not sure it can be considered a violation if the damage is primarily due to the ‘victim’s’ own poor health. Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting. Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines? Then what’s your definition of “initiation of force”? Punching someone in the face complies with the literal definition of those words. If the initiation of force (literal interpretation) is illegal only when it is involuntary receipt of the initiation of force, as Doug suggests Ayn Rand meant, then the individual can dispense of his right to life (and its derivatives) in any way he pleases meaning he can consent to the receipt of physical force (guaranteed or potential). As necrovore argues, man can “surrender” some of his rights in exchange for other values. In other words this is ultimately down to the discretion of the individual. If not, why? Since he owns his life, he has the right to incrementally trade it off (or incrementally risk trading it off) for other values. In the case of covid, when one enters a premise “at their own risk”, they weigh that risk against the values to be gained from entering. By entering they trade away some of their right to life (they’d be losing their right to be free of the initiation of physical force from covid, assuming one considers the transmission of covid an initiation of force). A more extreme example: a group of men dying from cancer agree to a televised fight to the death for big sums of cash which they can pass onto their family. One might object on the basis that the the “surrender” of rights for values, or the “weighing” of force and values must be rational (like receiving a vaccine) and so voluntarily fighting to the death for money is fundamentally anti-life and irrational. But we know from Objectivist literature that one has the right to live the life of a heroin addict which is also fundamentally anti-life and irrational. One has the right to sabotage oneself.
  7. As Eiuol pointed out, I’m essentially asking if one can consent to the initiation of physical force against oneself (actual or potential). Your response seems to be that yes you can, so long as there is something to be gained (potentially). That is the guiding principle? So, what about the hunger games? And my covid 19 example? If you or anyone could post that Rand passage on arbitrary contracts it would be very helpful. I own the book in audio form so it would take a long time tracking down the passage. Euthanasia? I suppose you wouldn’t be a slave if you consented. It would be voluntary work free of charge. But same question to you assuming you approve of the legality of boxing, what is the guiding principle? Do you oppose boxing then? If not why not, despite the fact that it involves the initiation of physical force?
  8. Can one give consent to the violation of their own rights, and in doing so provide legal protection to the violator who has received such consent? I see no reason why not. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t have the right to their own life. An individual can make it a condition upon entry to their private property that entrants agree to specific potential violations of their rights, like any harm from a covid 19 infection, which would provide legal protection to any entrants who transmit the virus. In these properties, this would remove the justification for government intervention in the name of protecting individual rights.
  9. Right but you agree that IQ is an example of genetics influencing human behaviour? Do you know of any Objectivist writings on evolutionary psychology? This is a burgeoning field and I think Objectivists are too dismissive of 'hard wired' biological biases in human behaviour. As we've agreed, it doesn't mean incompatibility with Objectivism. Reality is what it is. That is what an Objectivist seeks to know. It actually doesn't. The study found that 52% disagreed that homosexuality should be legal while only 18% agreed. But does it matter? 52% is huge compared to the population at large, which is 5%, the same study found. That is a massive disparity. And the population of British Muslims is rapidly growing in size. Plus, legality is the bare minimum, attitudes on the morality of homosexuality would be even worse, which has its own cultural influence. The study also found that 23% support the introduction of Sharia Law and 39% agreed that 'wives should always obey their husbands' compared to 5% of the pop at large. The list goes on and on. The bottom line is the rapid expansion of the Muslim population likely means the rapid expansion of these attitudes and the growth of a serious threat to western civlisation (as this is happening across the west). Yes I agree we could implement more detailed screening processes. Right now it is political suicide to speak of the drawbacks of the growth of the Muslim population and the need for discriminatory migration policies based on values. I agree it requires extreme caution but mostly what the government needs to do is simply protect our rights to allow critics to undermine Islam. Hate speech laws are doing just the opposite. But this must be combined with restricting immigration to be more effective, considering the Muslim population is already growing rapidly even without further immigration, due to their birth rates. Good idea. How long would you leave it? Haha I don't think so! Yes this is an important factor of course. Subsidising their breeding is literally a suicidal policy. Not as much 'taken root' as having been transplanted. You'll notice those British colonies where freedom 'took root' most successfully is actually mostly those colonies that were literal British offshoot societies, meaning the British people themselves physically settled in those colonies, bringing their culture with them. The US, Canada, Australia, NZ in particular. An actual transplantation process from one peoples to another is a much slower process, though I agree it is possible. The longer the process is attempted, the more successful it is going to be. Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years. The recent attempts to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East with only a few years of occupation was laughable. It didn't stand a chance. Adequately, no. In the nature vs nurture debate, few would claim it is all nature. But that doesn't mean it isn't significant. And there is a lot of evidence that it is significant. Any philosophy has to account for it: Lincoln said: "It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them. The question is, can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot" Is it not an aspect of human nature to some degree, originating perhaps in the evolution of power dynamics, that man tends to seek power and tear down those on top? (Again, not saying free will and rational thought cannot overcome this on an individual basis). So one justification for the American system of government is that it exists to constrain that tendency through the balance of powers, making it as difficult as possible for that tyrant to surface. That is a rational response to what may be an innate tendency of man. That is a political philosophy based on human beings as they tend to behave, as opposed to human beings as we would like them to behave. I agree we should, but we should also understand the limitations of that approach and subscribe to a philosophy that takes account of that reality. It's all very well for Objectivists to preach about how the world ought to be and how humans ought to behave (and it is a vital service) but someone has to get on with the business of dealing with the world as it is and how humans actually behave, which means confronting the reality of certain 'tendencies' which don't seem to be dissipating any time soon.
  10. Because they grow up under the influence of their parents and the surrounding community which is dominated by Islam, and in many cases this includes the Islamic schools they go to. So it isn't just the home, though the home alone is a significant influence. Their lives predominantly exist inside these communities, which revolves around the local mosque, which is a significant influence too, local muslim run businesses, restaurants, shisha bars etc which dominate the street and they do it surrounded by fellow Muslims, who also form their friendship groups. Have you ever visited one of these areas? I'd recommend it. It's like entering another world. The idea that they are 'only exposed to at home' the Islamic culture and that the world outside that home is western, as if these families are living like isolated islands in westernised streets is very far from the reality of actual migrant settlement. I can assure you 90% is accurate. It was home time so most of the children and their parents were gathered outside in the playground where the children are picked up. I didn't see single white kid/family. Everyone had brown skin and they were all wearing Islamic-style clothing and this was deep inside a Muslim dominated area as described above. Why it developed into a microcosm? Because that's just what people do. Maybe it's human nature, maybe it isn't. But the facts are the facts. Immigrants tend to concentrate in areas and set up their own communities, propagating their own culture. That's just what happens. The "local culture" is their own culture, because they create their own local communities. The same phenomenon happened with European migrants to the US, whether Italian or Irish. However, European migrants shared Judeo-Christian roots so the differences are not as pronounced as with Muslim immigrants. But there are strong cultural differences between different areas of the US even within that general Judeo-Christain background. That is the legacy of immigration. It isn't random. The cultural practices and attitudes of particular areas can be traced back directly to the immigrants who settled there, carrying their cultures with them. I'd recommend Sowell's culture trilogy for an indepth study of this. It is true that some cultures are more open to influence than others. The more dogmatic, the less open. Islamic culture is of the less open types (of course there are variations within Islamic culture itself), which isn't surprising for anyone who has studied Islam. As for the Chinese, they are still very different. I agree, the behaviour of the host country can be a significant factor but since we are advocating a free society here, the most a host country can do to change cultural behaviours is to protect freedom of speech and other rights, allowing the Muslim culture to be held under the spotlight in the media and criitcised for its barbaric attitudes and practices, and ensuring the rule of law reigns supreme. What do you mean by 'exert culture pressure'? I agree there are more authoritarian measures we could take, including regulating and/or banning mosques and Islamic schools, forcing Muslims to go to schools that aim to westernise them etc. But a free society cannot stop immigrants congregating the way they do, nor can you do much to make a culture more open or to stimulate fundamental change within that culture, at least not in the short term without violent conflict, especially when religion is involved. Those things can take hundreds of years. It took that long for Christianity to reform. The larger the Muslim population, the bigger this problem becomes and the harder it is to manage. To 'modernise' Islam comes at a great cost. We are essentially importing that problem to the west, the same problem we resolved at great pains, over a long period of time, with Christianity. Limiting Muslim immigration is a simple, effective and practical measure to restrict the rapid growth of Muslim communities and therefore the rapid growth of an alien, hostile culture.
  11. Thanks. Rand revised and expanded on Aristotle. I'm not saying it necessarily has to still be called Objectivism. It depends how big the changes are. I agree. The problem is very few people choose to think, to be rational, and even among those who attempt it, there is fierce disagreement. We know that it takes a deliberate, conscious effort to focus and think rationally, which can be a draining process, and most people simply 'go with the grain' so to speak, meaning to avoid the burden of thinking for oneself in large areas of their lives and having faith in established patterns of thought and action, passed down over generations, essentially allowing them to econmise on the time and effort that goes into thinking everything through rationally on their own. But also to 'go with the grain' in the sense of those biological processes we are referring to. Perhaps those processes themselves exert a 'bias' or incentive against thinking too much. An obvious example, which may be just the tip of the iceberg, is the painful sensation one feels when focusing over a prolonged period. Another is IQ. The higher the IQ, the easier it probably is to spend the same amount of time focusing and thinking rationally, so the lower the incentive to 'switch off'. I don't propose altering human nature, though in the future this may be possible with new technology, and may be the only way for humans to ever behave on a mass scale in the way Rand had advocated. I understood 'manage themselves' to include politics. It's not particularly mysterious why my rights are severely restricted. We live in a democratic system where people can vote away my rights/resources. I suppose we would need to be more specific about what we mean by assimilate and of course it varies depending on the immigrant group. In the UK, Muslims are extremely out of step with the average on attitudes toward women and gays. For example, a recent study found that half of all British Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal. I disagree that the average child of Muslim immigrants will assimilate to British culture just as well as the average child of indigenous Brits. The problem is that immigrants tend to concentrate in particular areas so that the area becomes a microcosm of their homeland to an extent. I was in one of those areas recently, which is dominated by Muslims. I walked past a school in the area and it was about 90% Muslim. Limitations based on values essentially. Discriminatory immigration policies. Perhaps a cap on Muslim immigration to stem the flow. The larger and faster particular immigrant groups grow, the more self-sustaining their culture is and the more resistant to outside influence. I fear you are right. I agree so where do we draw the line on this? Perhaps there is a rational case to impose discriminatory immigration policies based on values. You say institute Sharia law as soon as they arrive. What about simply being in favour of it? Of wanting to see it in the host country? Such a person is an enemy. There must be a rational case against immigrants who want to come here and violate our rights/don't recognise those rights, pledging allegiance to Allah, the Quran and sharia law etc. Yes it depends on the people. Ultimately, those who already share similar fundamental values will assimilate quicker than those who don't (but then is it really assimilation?). So those that drag their feet are the ones we ought to limit, if they are a threat to a free society. Exactly. This is the issue that the west is currently facing. The development of free societies grew out of a small corner of the world by a group of very particular peoples. It has never developed anywhere else. It is surely playing with fire to allow peoples from all over the world to pour in and risk crushing that precious development, on the belief that they will 'get it' and recognise and defend human rights. See my response to Doug above. I will add the question I asked Reidy earlier; what do you make of Peterson's point about human beings tending to form hierarchies and that there are deep biological causes of this which he shows is shared with other animals and therefore has deep evolutionary origins? Now I'm not necessarily saying that humans cannot use their freewill and reason to overcome any biological 'bias' toward forming hierarchies but do you think that bias exists, generally speaking? And that there are many other biases at play that 'push' or provide incentives for humans to behave in particular ways which helps explain particular behaviours and trends that we can observe throughout human history, common to all cultures and races? I also don't think Objectivism is necessarily incompatible with this stuff. Ultimately we have to take reality as it is. The issue I have is the reality of human nature is far from well understood due to these biological processes that we don't fully understand. And surely if we know, or think it is highly likely, that society will never be filled with mostly Objectivists on a mass scale, then the political philosophy of Objectivism is inadequate as a prescription for the world as it is, and more suitable for the world we would like to see, that is, a world where most people subscribe to Objectivism and respect human rights. I want that world but I don't see it happening perhaps ever.
  12. Agreed. There is more than enough evidence to conclude that culture can be transplanted from one people to another, including from one race to another. Thomas Sowell's example of black American ghetto culture originating with white southern rednecks who came from Scotland and Ireland is a good one. Another good example is the increase in the ethnic minority vote for Trump. On the other hand, we know the transplantation is a very slow process. The ethnic minority vote for Trump was still only a very small percentage of the total ethnic minority vote, despite the increase. So, if we know these things, is it possible to create an objective, if not Objectivist, case to limit immigration based on the likelihood that without that limit, our relatively free society will be destroyed?
  13. I appreciate the sentiment but letting others manage themselves means my rights being severely restricted. That is the current state of affairs. Please do share it. Yes, as a temporary step, do you support the 'infiltration' of the education system? If we cannot privatise it currently, the least we can do is wrestle it back off the leftists. Great advice. I'm all for self-improvement and I'm a big fan of motivational speakers.
  14. I assume this is sarcasm? Please could you be more specific about the point you are making? I am referring to the politics of entire countries, not a small group of Objectivists practicing Objectivist politics in a valley. I cannot do what I want here in the UK. My rights are severely restricted.
  15. You've touched on one of my ongoing issues with Objectivism here. I am concerned that the philosophy leaves insufficent room for the complicated nature of psychology and how the subconscious and/or genetics/biological processes affects decision making/human behaviour. You may have noticed I posted another question asking for any Objectivist writings on heuristics. If my concern is misplaced, please could you or anyone explain why? Sexual attraction is a good one. The Objectivist position on this has changed over time. Before, homosexuality was simply a case of holding the wrong premises. Now it is one's nature. Even if it is true that ultimately we have free will and we have the final say on our actions, it seems to me that certain biological processes exert a bias on human behaviour; the pain of hunger exerting an incentive to eat food, orgasms to have sex, endorphins influencing behaviour, all the biological processes resulting from evolution and natural selection etc. How does Objectivism approach these issues? For exmaple, what do you make of Jordan Peterson's point about the biological determinism, or at least bias, toward the creation of hierarchies?
  16. Because the political application of the philosophy depends on what the majority think. I agree. But what about the cultural impact. The anti-freedom mystics are already breeding at a much faster rate than even the consequentialist freedom lovers, let alone the rights based ones. Importing more anti-freedom mystics in their droves gives a free society little chance of survival does it not? Which complicated issues come to mind? Perhaps biology related ones?
  17. The politics will only be fixed though if the moral aspects are successfully implemented by a significant portion of the population. That’s the issue. How do we reach that stage? Please could you put forward your Objectivist case against open borders? I’d love to hear it. My biggest fear regarding open borders is not the welfare state related arguments but the cultural impact and potential instability resulting from a multiracial/cultural society. I do not see how a free society can survive the cultural onslaught that would come from Arab and Asian nations in particular.
  18. I am semi-convinced by the philosophy and I keep coming back to it because I support its fundamental premises regarding metaphysics and epistemology. Ultimately, all with have is our minds and our senses to know reality. I get that. However, what is an Objectivist to do when the vast majority of people refuse to think, refuse to exercise reason? So my problems are more with the applicability and practicality of Objectivism on the macro scale in the real world. Take mass immigration and/or open borders. It is obvious that open borders today would destroy western civilisation. Perhaps it is true Objectivism logically leads to the advocacy of open borders but it is also suicidal in the current circumstances. So please share your issues with the philosophy and what you think the solutions are? Clearly I am directing this more toward people who think the philosophy can be revised or at least expanded upon.
  19. I’m interested in learning how Objectivists approach the topic of heuristics, since it is used by critics of reason to downplay or invalidate reason.
  20. The Objectivist definition of a value is “that which one acts to gain and or keep”. However, one must first identify that which one would like to gain before one can act to gain it. If one wants to live, one must eat food. The food must be recognised as valuable before action is taken to gain it. But the Objectivist definition implies the food only becomes valuable during the action and not before. If this is the case, what motivates the initial action if the food is not perceived as valuable prior to action taken to gain it?
  21. My apologies, you’re right, it was unnecessarily confusing. I’m in agreement here, though I would say the psychological limitations are ultimately biological limitations and I want to stress that my concern here is the expression of these limitations as an average since these limitations will be different for different people. Yes ultimately the homosexual has to take action on the sexual desires himself so his decision has the final say. But the decision to act or not to act is affected by the biological factors in the sense that the homosexual desires are acting as a pressure toward the decision to act, even if he can overrule those pressures. By overrule I mean ignore them/suppress them. Or more broadly, we can apply this to everyone’s desire to have sex. In other words, as you say, “biological factors create a tendency toward certain actions”. And this is what I mean by a “biological bias”. Or another way of describing that is “temptations” Now you might say “yes we can use reason to not only ignore the desires/temptations and resist acting on them but ALSO to actually eliminate them or change them.” And this is clearly the case BUT to different degrees of ease for different people for different desires ranging from easy to impossible. With sexual desire for basically everyone it’s either extremely difficult or impossible. Which essentially means the human species has an innate tendency toward having sex. But with other things like the desire for nicotine/the act of smoking, it’s slightly easier. I did it myself from reading Allen Carrs brilliant book “the easy way to stop smoking” and I’m not just resisting the temptation, I’ve actually eliminated it. So what are the limits of reason in changing human behaviour? How effective could reason be in maintaining law and order if we removed punishments? As far as I’m aware there’s been tons of study regarding biological bias toward action. (And perhaps this is what I need to study in depth) Jordan Peterson famously compared lobsters to humans in arguing that humans are essentially hardwired to organise themselves into hierarchies. So perhaps you could pick out what you’d like to respond to and then expand on your conception of psychological limitations. And remember the wider context here is that our opinion on the existence or extent of existence of the biological bias toward a variety is human behaviours, or more extreme, hardwiring (determinism) of human nature, fundamentally shapes our philosophy and our politics, and it is a deep understanding of this area that I think Objectivism lacks, and consequently places too much emphasis on the power of reason leading to an overly optimistic view of man. And perhaps Rand knew this with the fatalism she expressed (as quoted earlier): It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man’s proper stature and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning and it is those few that I’ve always sought to address. The rest are of no concern of mine. It is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray, it is their own souls”
  22. Good point about technology and thank you - I’m glad someone else here appreciates this issue.
  23. Suit yourself. I’m not going to try to persuade you to engage with the arguments. I’ve put them forward and they stand on their own merit. If you change your mind, I’ll engage with your responses. Fair enough. What do you mean there is no difference? I’m searching for the limits of our nature. I agree these things ultimately manifest themselves psychologically. I don’t deny they manifest themselves psychologically. Ultimately one has to mentally process the action of lying, stealing, killing etc before they do it. The point is to what extent are there deterministic elements in man’s nature, or at least a biological bias toward, certain behaviours that then manifest themselves psychologically with the desire to lie, steal, be irrational, choose mysticism etc? And to what extent is reason alone an antidote to these tendencies? Yes the addict says “just a little more, I’ll be fine” and acts on that belief but is there a biological bias toward accepting that premise over other premises? A homosexual ultimately has to make the decision to take part in homosexual activity but there is a biological bias which manifests itself in a desire to take part in those acts. Also could you expand on your explanation about the limits of reason to deal with addicts?. And also to what extent, therefore, is reason alone an effective method for changing human behaviour? RealPolitik is definitely about compromise. But once you find there is common political ground, what ought you do to? I’ll have to see if I can find Rand’s response to this question. In the home of the enlightenment and capitalism, the western world, the 20th century experienced a staggering expansion in the size of government. The 80s enjoyed a brief resistance to that trend but it didn’t reverse it. We remain a highly statist world and the 19th century remains the high point for capitalism. Of course technology will keep progressing in a semi-free society but imagine where we’d be had we retained the small state of the 1800s. The idea we’re more capitalistic is absurd, certainly for the west. Also religion is growing worldwide and in the west. The more rational part of the human species is dying off, currently being outbred by the more irrational. Yes and there’s nothing wrong with the idea that conclusions derive from premises. But to what extent are we predisposed to favour certain premises? Why do we so often choose short term activities that are harmful in the long run, even though we know it’s harmful? Reason may account for some of this behaviour, but all of it? The passage is pointing out that our conception of the nature of man is fundamental to our conclusions. And I don’t think Objectivism has a strong enough understanding of the nature of man. This can be expressed in two ways: 1. It has the wrong premises 2. It has ignored crucial premises. Consider the following two premises: 1. Reason alone is an effective method for changing human behaviour. 2. Reason alone is not an effective method for changing human behaviour. These two premises lead to radically different conclusions about how society ought to be run and what philosophy one should advocate. So what’s your view? Why do people continually not choose reason, preferring to act on whim and emotion? Are temptations to some degree innate? How effective is reason in convincing them to change course? Is there a biological bias toward Nietsche’s will to power which manifests itself to different degrees in different people? Sowell also says: “It would be good to be able to say that we should dispense with visions entirely, and deal only with reality. But that may be the most utopian vision of all. Reality is far too complex to be comprehended by any given mind. Visions are like maps that guide us through a tangle of bewildering complexities. Like maps, visions have to leave out many concrete features in order to enable us to focus on a few key paths to our goals. Visions are indispensable—but dangerous, precisely to the extent that we confuse them with reality itself. What has been deliberately neglected may not in fact turn out to be negligible in its effect on the results. That has to be tested against evidence. A vision has been described as a “pre-analytic cognitive act.” It is what we sense or feel before we have constructed any systematic reasoning that could be called a theory, much less deduced any specific consequences as hypotheses to be tested against evidence. A vision is our sense of how the world works.” And: “No matter what vision we build on, it will never account for “every sparrow’s fall.” Social visions especially must leave many important phenomena unexplained, or explained only in ad hoc fashion, or by inconsistent assumptions that derive from more than one vision. The purest vision may not be the basis of the most impressive theories, much less the most valid ones. Yet purer visions may be more revealing as to unspoken premises than are the more complex theories.” And: “A vision, as the term is used here, is not a dream, a hope, a prophecy, or a moral imperative, though any of these things may ultimately derive from some particular vision. Here a vision is a sense of causation. It is more like a hunch or a “gut feeling” than it is like an exercise in logic or factual verification. These things come later, and feed on the raw material provided by the vision. If causation proceeds as our vision conceives it to, then certain other consequences follow, and theory is the working out of what those consequences are.”
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