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Everything posted by Walker

  1. I still don't understand the argument for never drinking an alcoholic beverage. These are the grounds I've seen so far: 1. Drinking is harmful to your physical health. a. It attacks your liver. b. It can cause you to be overweight 2. Drinking is harmful to your ability to focus, in any quantity: a. One drink has a noticeable effect on the ability to focus of all people. b. Since man must keep his mind focused on reality at his 100% potential, drinking, which acts as a detriment to his ability to focus, is immoral. My thoughts: Certainly #1 is an issue. First, let's put aside the fact that there is a large body of evidence that drinking small amounts of certain types of alcoholic drinks can have beneficial effects on one's health. Now, I think we can all agree that people who drink in excess expose themselves to the health risks in a. and b. However, I'm going to need to see significant evidence before I buy into the proposal that drinking in small amounts (what we are talking about here) can pose serious health risks. Now, #2. In the Ayn Rand Lexicon, it states "'Focus' designates a quality of one's mental state, a quality of active alertness." It then goes into depth explaining that being focused is not synonomous with thinking or concentrating. Being focused is a prerequisite to thinking/concentrating. If it was true that drinking one drink destroyed your ability to focus, that would mean that after one drink, people would not simply be finding it hard to think, they'd be unresponsive to reality (which of course would make drinking immoral). But, I simply have never observed this. I can drink a beer or two (spaced out appropriately) and be 100% fully aware of reality - reality at that time usually being my dining experience or the good conversation that I am having with a buddy of mine. Since I disagree that any quantity of alcohol lowers one's ability to focus fully, i.e. to remain fully aware of the facts relevant to the context that person is in, I do not agree w/ the "drinking alochol is immoral" argument #2. Also, given that alcohol does provide value to people (as a tasty beverage, etc.), I find it perfectly moral to drink for the proper purposes. On a side note, if one could smoke marijuana in small amounts without it acting as a detriment to their ability to focus, and if smoking marijuana wasn't as physically unhealthy as it has proven to be, I'd say that smoking it wasn't immoral. However, I doubt that marijuana can actually be smoked without producing a high (except for stoners, who have built up a tolerance).
  2. Carla, Thanks for the heads up on the website! That will be changed ASAP. In regards to having attendees RSVP, that is a security policy at NYU that we unfortunately cannot change.
  3. Well, since it's an ethical dillema, all you have to do is take a look at the values that are being sought after by those consuming an alcoholic drink. Here's some examples: Ex. 1: Is the person drinking to the point of intoxication as a way of crippling their consciousness and escaping from reality? Ex. 2: Do they enjoy the taste of different alcoholic beverages with different foods or just by themsleves? Ex. 3: Are they spending time with some friends after a hard day at work, sharing some drinks, and relaxing? Obviously, their is no real value being obtained in ex. 1; and since the drinker is sacrificing their mind, I think it's clear that this is an immoral act. In ex. 2 the person achieves a value (that specific combination of drink and food that appeals to them) and sacrifices nothing. While I'm sure their is an effect on the body of drinking 1 to 2 glasses of wine/beer, the effect on someone's awareness and ability to focus is negligible (unless they are <100 lb's or something). Thus, this is moral. In ex. 3, the person gains the value of physical relaxation (in addition to the value of their preferred drink), which is certainly appropriate during time spent recreationally, i.e. hanging out and conversing with friends. So long as he does not sacrifice his ability to focus, he has sacrificed nothing, and therefore the act is wholly moral. As for me, I love beer (especially with good food). It reminds me of coffee in that it seems to have an acquired taste. At first I hated beer, but as I tried different types, I began to realize that I enjoyed it much more than the sugary sodas I had drinken before. As for wine, when I have enough money, I'll start to try it out. Cheers!
  4. (Check last few posts for more recent events / newly scheduled events) The following are upcoming events that have been organized by the Objectivist Club @ New York University: "Ayn Rand's Theory of Free Will" By Dr. Harry Binswanger Tuesday April 12, 2005 7-10pm (doors open at 6:30PM) Kimmel Center -- 10th floor, Room Rosenthal Pavilion 60 Washington Square South New York, NY 10012 Admission: FREE ** "Antitrust is Immoral" By Dr. Gary Hull Thursday April 21, 2005 7-10pm (doors open at 6:30PM) Tisch Hall -- 2nd Floor, Room T200 40 W. 4th Street New York, NY 10012 Admission: FREE ** For more information, check out our website: www.nyu.edu/clubs/objectivist ** All attendees must RSVP to Kara at [email protected] in order to be put on the guest list**
  5. Before removing her life support, the following has to be determined: 1. That she clearly expressed a full intention of not wanting to continue living in a vegatative state. This would require clear proof. Without written proof or some type of hard evidence (a recording, for example), I do not see how this could be determined. 2. That she actually is in the vegatative state that she indicated she would not want to live in. Is there any hope for recovery? If so, then she probably would not want to be cut off from life support. If sufficient proof exists for #1, and doctors confirm #2, then her life should be ended. If there is any doubt on either, removing her from life support would be wrong. While trying to figure this out, her own resources should be used to keep her alive (of course, in accordance with her will). An interesting question on this would be if someone goes into a vegatative state, do they retain their rights, and therefore ownership of their assets? Are they still humans with individual rights or are they demoted to the status of an animal? If the later, and if they do not stipulate in a will that they want their resources to keep themselves alive if they enter a vegatative state (or if they don't even have a will), should it be assumed that they'd want the money to go to that purpose, or should the money be passed along to the spouse/family members?
  6. I purchased the book about a month ago, and when I opened it up I was surprised as well. I agree with NIJamesHughes that the cover of the book is confusing. It states: "Why Businessmen Need Philosophy By Ayn Rand with additional essay by .... (list of six other Objectivist writers)." What's confusing is the fact that the title of the book is also the title of one of the essays in the book - which is by Leonard Peikoff. It's not really a big deal, but I'm also curious if anyone knows why ARI decided to say the book was by Ayn Rand, when the book contains only two of her essays and the title essay is in fact by Leonard Peikoff.
  7. npeters, First, here is one definition from www.dictionary.com of plagiarism: Since the ideas you are presenting are not yours, to not cite them would imply to the reader that you created the ideas. Although this is not your intent, this is still what the lack of citation implies. Therefore, I think it would be an example of plagiarism. However, I completely understand the dilemma you face. I've stood in your shoes before when I wanted to use Ayn Rand as a source but had a professor who was hostile to her and her ideas. Here are a couple of recommendations: 1. Talk to your professor. Ask him if his bias against Ayn Rand will be held against the paper, or if he will judge the paper for its own merit. While I've encountered anti-Objectivist professors, each time I've done this my professors have been intellectually honest enough not to just give me a bad grade because they didn't like my sources. 2. There are other published Objectivists you could use to communicate the same ideas. You can use these so that your professor won't be initially biased against your sources. But again, I recommend not plagairizing. It is both immoral (dishonest) and impractical (you will most likely get caught and, as I'm sure you know, Universities take plagiarism very seriously). Hope that helps!
  8. The following is the attendance policy in my "Organizational Communication" class (a class dealing with all forms of communication in business settings): [First, note that each student is in a team of four that works on projects throughout the semester]. Attendance Policy: Each student is allowed 1 excused absence throughout the semester. Each subsequent absence will result in 2 points off their final grade AND 1 point off each of the grades of their team-members. At first I thought that this was extremely unfair. However, due to the amount of in class practice this type of class requires, attendance is a necessity (which requires such a policy). Also, it presents the challenge to individual team members of creating and maintaining a committment by all of the team members. Still, a whole 1 point off of the the final grade is tough. But, you better believe that I'll be dragging my teammates into class if I have to.
  9. This Thursday's WSJ had a lot of coverage on this. From what I read, the Compaq deal and the failed vision of a technological one-stop-shop are the main reasons that Fiorina was canned. In fact, there is talk about HP spinning of some of their individual businesses. Also, although I think she technically resigned, the article made it very clear that she was forced out of her position. One article was good in that it recognized the fact that her dismissal had absolutely nothing to do with her being a woman. In fact, some of her fiercest opponents were women themselves. This is to be expected in business, where someone's ability to generate profits is to be judged, not their sex.
  10. I don't really understand the riddle. From what you've written, I don't understand what role the money making machine plays. All I see is that a man offers to give you two different pay outs each time period. One payout equals $8 and one equals $1. Since it's written as a perpetuity (an annuity that gives pay outs forever), you'd take the present value of each perpetuity ( = PMT/(going interest rate). But, the one that pays $8 will obviously have a greater present value than the $1. But again, I think I'm misunderstanding the problem. What is the deal with 't' - what is the defined period? What is the deal with the serial numbers?
  11. Thanks for the links with the lists and the other suggestions. I think I'm going to begin with Salsman's book, and then I'll head to Bobst and start figuring out where to go from there. Unfortunately, the Undergrad Stern finance dept. doesn't offer a course specifically dedicated to financial history. Now that I'm getting into my finance classes, I've decided that I'd like to develop my understanding of financial history in order to put the ideas I'm learning now into context. Thanks again.
  12. Does anyone here know of any good books that detail the financial history of the U.S.? By financial history, I mean details on how investments performed, for what reasons, how investments have evolved over the time span, major financial events, etc. I've read A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel, which, although a great book, only highlighted major investment events over the past 100 years in the U.S. (since financial history was not the primary subject of the book). Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  13. Inspector: While I agree that a romantic relationship that ends due to conflicting values is a failure, I still fail to see how, given the appropriate context in which the decision was made, the choice of the individual who enters into a relationship that is doomed to fail can be called a mistake (however, I think I may have resolved this issue, as seen further below). In regards to your statement: If, for example, I had entered a failed relationship, when looking back - and considering the context I made my decision in - I would say "Yes, that was the right decision. Put in the same scenario, with the same uncertainty, I would make the same decision." However, my thoughts have somewhat changed after reading the definition of "mistake" in Dictionary.com. Here it is: (Bold emphasis mine). Given this definition, one could call a failed relationship a mistake because the people entering the relationship are not completely certain about the other person (although they should have some degree of certainty, as has already been discussed). The fact they do not have complete certainty, the fact that they are not omniscient and cannot predict the future (such as if the person they currently love will change for the worse in the future), implies that they are using"deficient knowledge" in the decision they are making. So, if for example, I had found someone who I was very certain that I could spend the rest of my life with, and I have a romantic relationship with that person and eventually marry her, I would look back at my failed romantic relationships and think: "Yes, looking back, they were mistakes. If I had known they would fail, I would not have entered them. But, given the knowledge I had, I made the right decisions." I'll continue to think about the above and your statements on the relationship between the moral development of an individual and their romantic relationships; but, unfortunately, due to time contraints, I may not be able to reply with extended posts. Thanks for your valuable insights (for the record, I do not think that you sound like a Christian at all).
  14. Here's a solution: If you have an essay that you'd like others to read, but want to retain control of it by not posting it in a public forum, create a link to it and post the link. I don't think this violates forum rules, and you could always take the essay down, thus disabling the link.
  15. Inspector: I agree entirely with the fact that it is an immoral choice for someone to engage in a romantic relationship with another person who holds values antithetical to their own. Also, in regards to this comment: I agree. By the time a relationship becomes a sexual/romantic relationship, it is proper that the two people know each other well enough that they both know that their values are compatible with the others', and that they could potentially spend the rest of their life with the other person. However, where I disagree with you is here: Sure, one can enter a relationship, thinking that the other person is compatible, and then realize that they made an error in judgement. Example: Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden. I don't think we need to discuss the fact that judging the character of other people can be an incredibly hard thing to do. In this case, the person misjudged the character of the other person. However, one can also enter into a relationship and, while in that relationship, fall in love with another person, who is superior in some regard to the previous individual. The person is compatible with both the first and second lover, just more so with the second. By leaving the first and entering into the second relationship, the person falling in love should not look back and think that the first relationship was a mistake. Given the knowledge available to that person - i.e. considering the context in which their decision to enter into the first relationship was made - their decision was not a mistake. This is because they judged the person correctly, became in love, saw the possibility for a life-long relationship, and acted accordingly. To call the first relationship a mistake is to put on the Monday morning quarterback helmet, i.e. future knowledge, which could not have been foreseen, cannot be used in judging whether the action was a mistake. It is for the reasons above that I do not think one should look back on past relationships with regret, viewing them as mistakes that should not have happened While someone may have been wrong in thinking that their past lover(s) would eventually be their life-long romantic partner, their decisions to enter into those relationships in the given context were fully moral and justified. P.S. One tangential thing: 1. Does anyone know where in OPAR Dr. Peikoff addresses the claim from skeptics that science is arbitrary since later theories disprove past theories that were assumed true? EDIT: Bah! I wrote and posted this while FC was telling us to take the argument elsewhere. Sorry about that! Please feel free to move this post if you feel it is necessary.
  16. In trying to get some more insight on the current argument between Inspector and JMeaganSnow, I pulled the old Ayn Rand Lexicon off of the shelf and looked up "Sex." One quote that I found was from Ayn Rand's interview with Playboy, and I think it is especially relevant to the main argument in this thread. Ayn Rand says: (Bold emphasis mine). A person may find someone that, given their context, they fall in love with. In that context, it makes complete sense and is 100% moral for them to have a sexual relationship with their partner. This decision is not a "mistake," i.e. an error in decision; to call it one would be to ignore the context in which the decision was made. Based on the facts available at the time, the only decision that would not make sense and that would be immoral would be for the person to suppress their love and desire for the other person because they beleive that someone else out there in the world who might not even exist may be of more value to them. Edit: Corrected typing mistake
  17. I also had neglected my signature for a long time (although I don't have many posts, I read this forum quite a bit). I've decided to try to participate more in this forum, and, while uploading my avatar, I also decided to include my name as my signature.
  18. By saying the inhabitants of the valley "had a higher morality" I'm assuming you mean that they were people who believed in and acted upon the Objectivist ethics. Even so, if this was in real life, this would not be reason enough for Galt to leave his generator - the power source of the entire valley - open to the inhabitants. Judging the character of others is a very difficult thing to do. Even a John Galt could mistakenly let someone into the valley, who could later sabotage the mission of creating a free society. A real example of this is Ayn Rand's mistake in her initial judgements of the Branden's. What about Dagny? She found the valley by accident. The valley was hidden, but not completely inaccessible. Thus, it would make sense to keep the generator under lock to protect it from outsiders. However, since Galt's generator was kept locked up and protected in a novel, I think it is most important to ask why Ayn Rand choose to emphasize the fact that the generator was protected (remember, not only was the generator locked up, but it was also protected by a self-destruct mechanism that Galt had created). My initial thought (without having reread the section) is that Ayn Rand was stressing the importance of property rights. Galt's generator was created by him, and thus it was (as it should be) completely controlled by him. The fact that the generator was locked and that it would destroy itself if the lock was breached showed Galt's unwillingness to submit his mind and its creations to those who deal with others by means of coercion.
  19. I second this question. My girlfriend attends the Fashion Institute of Technology and is studying to become a fashion designer (childrenswear) - she also loves to read Ayn Rand and takes Objectivist ideas seriously. The fact that many famous fashion designers are absurd (which is reflected in the "clothing" they create) does not imply that the profession itself is for loonies or philosophically inept people.
  20. This isn't the first time perpetual motion and comedy have been successfully added. In an episode of The Simpsons the teachers at the children's school go on strike, leaving the Simpon's kids with nothing to do. Lisa, the 2nd grade genius, having little to do and freaking out from not being in school starts making up her own assignments and projects and working on them obsessively. There's this scene where Homer and Marge (his wife) are discussing how they're concerned with the negative effect the lack of school is having on their children. Homer pulls out this hand sized machine with gears and levers that are accelerating and states in a concerned voice: "Look at this prepetual motion machine that Lisa built. It just keeps getting faster and faster..." Then he shouts in a scolding manner: " Lisa! [Lisa enters] In this house we obey the law of thermodynamics! [in increasing volume]" I thought that one was hilarious - both the fact that Homer references the law of thermodynamics, and the fact that he's scolding Lisa for her machine.
  21. Sorry, I've been reading the thread, but I missed this. Minor: ... Kind of confused here. You still love rock/pop? If you love it, I'm assuming you value and listen to it on occasion. And since I'm sure you consider yourself someone who "values ability," I see direct contradictions in your two statements. Can you please clarify? Overall I think your second statement by itself is in harmony ( ) with what I said earlier. I agree that the emotional response I get from listening to classical is far greater and more valuable than what I get when I listen to rock/pop. But again, this only occurs when I actively listen by sitting down and concentrating for a prolonged period of time (this may be different for listening to jazz music, which I don't listen to, yet). When I don't have time for this, short simple songs are pleasant to listen to. Their simplicity and catchiness are actually what I value. Oh yea, and this comment: Is this self descriptive of your own weekend activities that you engage in while listening to the rock/pop music that you love, or is this what you suspect what the people you are conversing with do on their weekends? If the former, I think you should keep such disgusting things to yourself. If the latter, I think it is a bogus and offensive assumption that should be apologized for.
  22. I'd like to add one more thing. None of the bands listed on this thread are "Objectivist Bands." In fact, I'd say a a lot of them have lyrics that are antithetical to Objectivism. I grew up listening to rock/punk rock/emo/alternative and playing it in my bands in highschool (I'm a guitarist). It was always so disappointing to listen to a song that at first listen seemed great and then to hear the lyrics which were so horrible. I'm not saying this music is valueless. But, since the thread is titled "Objectivist bands," I figured it should be clarified (perhaps the thread name can be changed?). The closest to an Objectivist band I guess would be Rush. All of the others though...not even close.
  23. Here are some observations I've made on how I listen to music and some other thoughts: When I listen to classical music (using the term loosely here to describe all genres such as Classical, Romantic, etc.), I cannot do anything else. Listening to the music is an activity in itself that requires concentration and focus. I like to listen to a whole piece, from beginning to end, in one sitting. When the music is good, I'm rewarded by an intense emotional response. When I listen to rock music, I usually do it while I'm walking around, checking email, driving, excersizing, etc. The music is simple enough that I can enjoy it while doing many other things simulataneously. As an analogy to eating, I'd say classical piece is a full blown meal, while a pop/rock song is a quick snack. The work, talent, and skill that must go into preparing a classical piece is far greater than what has to go into preparing a pop/rock piece. However, because of the differing purposes of the different music types , this is completely appropriate. Minor, you ended your post with this: I don't listen to pop/rock music solely because I value the musician's ability (which in many cases is quite high), I listen to it because I value the simple melody that keeps me tapping my foot and whistling as I walk, i.e. the easily digestable esthetic sustenance. On the same note (), I don't listen to Classical music solely because I value the amount of work and dedication that went into making the piece. I listen to it because it accurately inspires some positive emotion in me to an extreme degree. Of course, a composer's piece couldn't do this unless he had high ability. But, ability and technical expertise does not imply that the piece will be of any value to me. An example would be many of Mozart's pieces that are so robotic and repetitive, although highly sophisticated, that are utterly uninspiring to me. Because the two types of music serve two different purposes, there is nothing wrong with enjoying both types.
  24. Welcome aboard! I too am primarily a reader of this forum, and I'll be the first to tell you that you've come across a gold mine. My sister went to ASU (Appalachian State University, right?). My family would drive up from Cary (around Raleigh, where I'm from) during October and visit her. I remember the mountains being beautiful at that time of the year (all of the leaves changing color). Are you originally from NC, or are you from out of state?
  25. Elle, I agreed with your post except for the following section: In a free country, people are guranteed "the benefits of freedom, capitalism, justice, etc." regardless of what beliefs they subscribe to. Even people who have beliefs antithetical to those that make individual rights possible are guranteed protection of their individual rights. These rights are only revoked when an individual initiates force against another individual. While I'm all for actively monitoring U.S. citizens who practice Islam, I believe it would be an injustice to force them to leave the country because of their beliefs. But, let me know if I misinterpreted what you were saying. --------------------- FC, I heard the speech a couple of weeks ago and have not had the chance to read it or relisten to it. However, I don't remember Brook stating that it was morally imperative in all wars to bomb civilians. What he did say was morally imperative was implementing the most effective and efficient methods to achieve victory. In the examples he gave, bombing civilians was one of the most effective ways of destroying the enemy without risking American soldiers lives. Thus, in these cases, it was morally imperative to follow this course of action, since anything else would needlessly and altruistically sacrifice American lives.
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