Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Maarten

  1. Well, I think that at least part of the Objectivist epistemology depends on the fact that objective knowledge is gained through an active, reality based process (grasped by a human consciousness). If it were possible to transfer knowledge to someone else, then that would not constitute as an active process for the receiver, which would either invalidate the concept of objectivity or disqualify the "knowledge" in question as objective knowledge, on the grounds that you did not receive it through sensory-perceptual means. The last is basically the problem with this approach, even if it were possible. Because you didn't form the concepts you're now getting as input through your brain (or whatever method they use) that vastly increases the occurency of stolen concepts.
  2. A little while ago they were discussing privatizing the Energy companies, which are currently owned by the state. However, the fusion of two big companies in France right after they were privatized seemed to have scared our poor politicians, which led to the following remark by a member of our legislative branch, member of the PvdA (which literally translated would be the Worker's party) (probably comparable to someone in your House of representatives). (I have to paraphrase a little bit because I can't remember the exact quote) He was saying that it was a bad idea to privatize the companies in question, because then they would be very vulnerable for foreign take-overs (I don't see why this is necessarily a bad thing, but okay). When the journalist asked if forcing the companies to remain small (as they are now, compared to the Energy providers in other countries) would not harm their competitive power in other countries, the guy said something to the effect of: Well, they should focus on the dutch market, they can make plenty of profit here. This was just too much for me. By what right can someone ever justify the statement that "this person here is earning enough", and by what standard? It's probably just one more example of how statist most of our politicians are (at least over here), but it's very distressing that this is apparently regarded as a totally normal viewpoint. I mean, the guy was on the news (I think the economic news), although you would think that in a civilized country someone like this would get laughed off the air. Yet these types of people are given the sanction of having a reasonable viewpoint!
  3. They're saying on the news here (in the Netherlands) that some people think he's been poisoned. Apparently they found some sort of drug in his blood that counteracted the normal ones he took for his health. Not sure how much value this claim has, though.
  4. From my understanding in OPAR Peikoff says that our subconscious consists of those ideas that are not currently in our conscious attention, but were accepted at a certain point. I don't think there is a good basis for claiming that you somehow end up with all sorts of ideas in your subconscious that bypass your conscious mind altogether. If this were true, then you could also argue that it should be possible to directly transfer "knowledge" (not sure if it could still be called that, perhaps information is a better word) into someone's mind and thusly teach them things without them ever doing anything. This seems to contradict several things said about the way our mind functions...
  5. I was having a discussion about whether or not individuals should be able to own land or not. I don't see anything inherently different about natural resources that would exempt them from being property, although one could argue that you have to actually use the land (i.e. change it from the initial "wild" state it was in) to properly own it. The guy I was discussing this with said that to exist we need to occupy some space, and that if you cannot (because for example all land is privately owned and everyone refuses you access) you can't exercise your right to life. I think his example is quite absurd, but the correct principles should also cover situations like these. He said that if you can't actually occupy some space by right, and instead you have to trade for permission (so to speak), then your right to life (and the others) is not actually a right anymore, but is merely yours by permission. I am not quite sure how to answer this. I pointed out that a right is a right to action, not to something specific, and that therefore you don't have a claim to some piece of land just by virtue of existing. Furthermore, because only the initiation of force constitutes a violation of rights (at least I think only this does) then refusing to allow someone on your property is not violating their rights. It doesn't matter what other people do in that scenario, that doesn't change anything fundamental here. This leads me to the question; should all land be private property, or is it necessary to have some public property as well (to avoid this situation, or for other reasons). I hope someone can help me with any inconsistencies in my argumentation, or with something I may have missed.
  6. Ok then, that's clear now. However, to form even first level concepts is a huge jump from the perceptual level, and I think that if an animal would be able to do that, but not go further, it would still qualify as them having a conceptual faculty. I think the definition Rand uses comes down to the ability to integrate perceptual data into concepts, and I don't think there is a condition that says you need to be able to form higher-level concepts there... This would of course depend on the exact requirements you set upon the conceptual faculty, but if they are very strict (if you have to be able to both express ideas and pretty much function like a human here to qualify) then I think we would need to make another category for those things that do fall in between (or, in case there are no such beings at the present time, we would need to make one later on); or do you all think that perceptual level plus first level concepts would cover it adequately?
  7. Hmm, isn't integration an essential part in forming concepts? How can you call what a computer does conceptual "thinking" if they don't integrate their concepts?
  8. Ah, you answered my questions superbly Thank you. That was something that crossed my mind as well, that if some animals would manage to operate on the conceptual level, then that would require us to "update" some definitions and perhaps create a new class of concepts to describe that if they do not fit the current ones, but due to knowledge being contextual it wouldn't invalidate that part of her writings, for example. (Because I assume that when she wrote most of her work the current state of knowledge about how animal minds work was that they couldn't do conceptual thinking). You're right, of course. I didn't think of it like that. I know, and from my experience anyone arguing that therefore reason is not required for our survival is just doing it for the argument's sake, because I don't think anyone would actually want to live like that. When you properly define survival, however, (through the whole of the lifespan of a rational being) then as far as I can tell you can make a very strong case for our survival requiring reason. The reason why I don't discuss these topics much with people in my immediate vicinity is that because most people hold a philosophy radically different from Objectivism you need to very exactingly define everything you talk about. And still, I sometimes run into a brick wall, when someone merely shrugs and says something to the effect of: Well, if you don't like it here, you can always leave the country (in regard to politics, in this case), which I think is such a cheap argument. That's mostly how my friends defend our welfare state (in the Netherlands, where I live), when it comes down to it.
  9. First of all, hey everyone! I have mostly been studying Objectivism by myself, so far, and I agree with everything I have read so far. I've only been reading about it for 3 months or so, though, so I guess I am still a newbie here . I discuss some parts of it with others at times, but it's a rather tedious process at times. Especially when I talk about it with my cousin, because he (in my opinion at least) takes the few pages he's read from VoS out of context. For example, one of the things we've disagreed about is that man's means of survival is reason, because for some reason he refuses to accept that she's not talking about momentary, physical survival, but long term survival. Anyway, I was talking about the difference between the consciousness of animals and humans a couple of days ago, and the following issue came up. From my current understanding, the main difference between humans and every other kind of animal is that we can function on the conceptual level, and they cannot (and the fact that we have volition, but I think that is part of having being able to think in terms of concepts). However, he gave this example of someone teaching a gorilla (I think it was) sign language, and he said that the woman who was doing that eventually got the gorilla to start making new combinations from the "words" it knew. Does this ability not require a conceptual faculty? If it does, then that would mean that the difference between humans and other types of living creatures isn't as black and white as I thought earlier. It does not change anything about what is part of the human nature, of course, but still. Does anyone here have more knowledge about this they are willing to share? I could very well be overlooking something here, and I'd love to know if I am... Something else that I have not found the solution to is about the way animals learn. Because their consciousness is not able to function on a conceptual level, it means they learn things on the perceptual level (or lower, but I don't think that is possible?) But then, if animals can learn certain actions like that, why are humans unable to learn similar things without using their conceptual faculty, and use that to survive? Is this because we are volitional, and the actions an animal "knows" are necessitated by its nature? A second thing I wasn't sure about is that, just like humans can imitate their parents without thinking much (and survive in an agricultural society, for example) animals can as well. I think I read in one book on objectivism that for humans someone had to have thought of the method in the first place, which is a perfectly valid argument to sustain that we do need to think to survive, but how then did the first animal learn a certain task? How is this different from the way a human figures something out? Or does the nature of an animal automatically steer it towards certain types of behaviour without any conscious process of learning? This distinction between how animals and humans function and survive is important to validate the statement that reason is man's (sole) means of survival, because if you can't justify this distinction properly you couldn't contradict the claim that humans can survive the way animals do. To me it seems practically self-evident that humans need to use reason to survive, due to the enormous mountains of evidence, but I would prefer to be able to answer questions such as this. Thanks in advance for your time
  • Create New...