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Posts posted by miseleigh

  1. ... I'd rush straight at you and hold you in a clinch. How are you going to punch me now when you have no movement ability? ...He'll push you up against the corner of the wall or take you down immediately and put his weight on you. THEN he'll punch you, if he wants to knock you out.

    I wouldn't be able to punch anything from a clinch, but I could stomp on his toes, knee him in the groin, bash the back of my head hard against his nose, bite, kick, scream, claw, etc. Hopefully, if I saw you coming, I'd get a punch in before you got the clinch.

    If she were thinking of competeing in UFC or pride fighting against men, or even walking down dark alleys in bad neighborhoods looking for fights, I would be right there with you trying to talk her out of it. In fact I would go a step further and tell her she's out of her mind. But she's only talking about how hard she would try to escape when put into a circumstance she can't avoid, and helping to make the point that with effort, resolve, and training, she(and ostensibly, any woman) would at least have some chance of being able to stun the attacker and get away. From the sounds of her, she might even bring an ear out of it as a trophy. :(

    I'd definately be out of my mind.

    I'm not sure about the ear as a trophy, but it'd be good evidence against whoever attacked me. Don't think I'd want to keep it, though. :(

    It's true that I don't carry mace or pepper spray. Most of my life I've lived in a fairly quiet suburban town and had no need for it. Worcester, at least the area I was in, wasn't quite that bad either, and I kept out of the areas that were worse. I do intend to get something (probably one of those pepper-spray rings) before I get to Boston. It's nothing about how 'badass' I am- I'm not. It's just that I haven't needed/wanted/bought it yet.

    Edit: Apparently I need a Firearms ID card in MA to carry pepper spray, and it's illegal to buy it online...

  2. a. is the animal able to port a "concept" to a new situation, a context it was not taught, and that cannot be linked to any sort of immediate behavioral learning methods or biochemical explanations for its development?

    b. Can the animal teach the concept?

    c. Does the concept sustain itself in the animals natural social setting (i.e. not require man's continual intervention to teach and maintain it)?

    d. Does the animal use metaphor (complex example of a.)

    a. If 'inside' is a concept (it seems similar to 'between' to me) then Kanzi apparently did that. He put pine needles inside the refrigerator in one of the videos shown, something he'd never been told to do before. No doubt he's been told to put apples or something in the refrigerator, but there were a few other actions in that video that I thought also demonstrated this.

    b. They can certainly teach sign language. I don't know about teaching a particular concept, though.

    c. No clue :(

    d. If referring to a man who misbehaves as a 'monster' is a metaphor, yes... I'm not sure that counts, though.

    No, but they don't spew random unrelated words during dialogue. Your 5 year old wont say "Mommy me lamp want a candy slipper".

    Do the apes do this?

    I took interest in ape language after a discussion on artificial intelligence that went off that tangent. I studied the history of the research, the critics of it. My conclusions fit the data: chimps are remarkable animals, their trainers are deluded.

    Then I apologize. Would you explain to me why the paper I linked to earlier isn't right? Since I haven't studied the subject in-depth, I don't see where any problems would be, and there's a lot in there that seems like good evidence towards rationality in apes.

  3. Massachusetts state laws actually say that that sex with someone under a certain age is illegal, with punishments changing depending on if the person is under 14, 16, or 18, and depending on if the person has had sex previously or not. The law at the 18 year boundary says that "whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse" is subject to such and such punishment. The use of 'unlawful' in there seems odd to me, and this one says nothing about whether or not the person can consent. The 16 year boundary also contains the term 'unlawful sexual intercourse' without saying whether or not the 15 year old can give consent, though the implication for both of these is that they cannot. The 14 year boundary is clear in saying that anyone under 14 cannot give consent. No references are made to age of the perpetrator in relation to age of the victim; it also appears that if both people are under 18 then they are both guilty.

    So, in MA, if you're 18 and the person you're dating is 17, it's statutory rape (if the 17 year old was a virgin- it's kind of funny that they put that in). Even if there's only a one week difference.

  4. I think at this age they are still mainly on the perceptual level, and the children are only just starting to learn how to think properly, so to speak.

    ...Seeing how human children go through the sensational and perceptual phases before learning to use concepts makes it clear to me that comparing adult animals to children and then saying they should also have rights extremely silly.

    My comparison to a 5 year old was intended to point out that there doesn't seem to be much difference in the way apes and children learn language. If they learn in similar ways, perhaps an ape could reach that conceptual level with proper teaching.

    Are 'yesterday', 'today' and 'tomorrow' concepts? What is the definition of a concept?

    As long as it remains unclear that animals have a conceptual faculty that functions similar to the one humans do, and we are sure they can understand all the underlying concepts involved in having rights we should not give them rights. Lack of knowledge is not a good reason to base decisions on, and the burden of proof should be on those trying to prove that animals have rights, not on those who think they do not.

    I haven't said that we should give apes rights because we don't know yet. I meant to say that we don't know yet, and therefore we shouldn't make assumptions and then give up trying to find out. I agree that apes shouldn't have rights until we actually know they deserve them, and of course the burden of proof is on the positive. I think I'm just confused about the line between conceptual and non-conceptual, and how we would tell the difference between understanding and repetition. If the paper and videos I linked to earlier are to be believed, the bonobos know when they want something, know how to ask for it, remember if the promise was broken, get upset about that promise being broken, understand the ideas of past vs. future, and can accept consequences of their actions.

    Edit: clarity

  5. That works both ways, though... I doubt she is using every trick in the book to maim her friends, either. Of course, this will probably work out slightly in the advantage of the guy, because they might be holding back a lot more, relatively speaking.

    No, I'm not trying to maim my friends... but I keep my fingernails strong, and if I'm walking alone at night I generally take my keyring and turn it into a faux brass knuckle set (put one key between each finger with the ring in your fist); it looks quite painful, and fairly easy to use without hurting yourself. The guys may be holding back more in terms of pure strength, but I think I have a few more tricks that they haven't thought of, just because they've never felt that they needed them.

    One thing that I couldn't do in that kind of situation is give up. Especially if 'giving up' means 'getting raped'... no thank you. "Never give up, never surrender!"

    Edit: wording

  6. As much as we all appreciate the well-reasoned thoughts involving bananas, I see no reason why a sentence such as 'banana you me banana' automatically implies a lack of intelligence. It is clear that apes can understand the differences between 'you' 'me' and 'banana', due to the various ways they use each word, even if they don't understand grammar. I have been unable to find the article you mentioned, DavidOdden, but Wikipedia contains an article on an experimental attempt to replicate the results gotten by Washoe (a chimpanzee). The results were not replicated, and the article suggests that the main problem was the inability for Nim Chimpski (also a chimpanzee) to grasp grammar. The results of that study are apparently contested, and seems to offer no evidence either way. The whole idea of language in apes seems to have the form of 'I want to believe it, so I will; I don't want to believe it, so I won't' without evidence clearly leading either way.

    We probably don't know enough right now to be able to judge whether apes can be rational creatures. The scientific community seems to be split on this issue. I am somewhat more interested in what would happen if they are found to be rational. Would we grant them rights? I don't recall the Objectivist position on other forms of intelligent, rational life.


    From what little I know of how human children learn to speak, they start by creating meaningless sounds. At some point they'll start to repeat words that they've heard their parents say often, like 'Dada' in an effort to repeat 'Daddy'. Is it clear at that stage that the child knows 'Daddy' is that man over there? Or does it get associated because the child is handed to Daddy immediately after saying the word? Maybe it was associated before the child learned to repeat the word, because it would get repeated whenever Daddy was holding the kid. Language in a toddler rarely includes the grammar we use later in life. The cognizant level of these apes has been equated to a 5 year old. Do 5 year old children always get word order right?

    Mrocktor, you apparently either didn't read the paper, or have dismissed it out-of-hand as non-credible without knowing if it is actually credible or not and consequently ignored everything stated within it. One section of the paper (mentioned earlier) discusses a recorded half-hour argument between one of the bonobos and one of the researchers. This video probably isn't available online, but the fact that they'll even say it exists is significant- if it doesn't exist, their paper will be absolutely worthless when their peers discover that, and if it does exist, it will provide clear evidence that the bonobo knows what she's saying and understands the researcher.

    Some videos of the bonobos

  7. Be sure to keep in mind that an attack is not a wrestling match. It probably will not resemble any sport, including UFC and Pride-fighting, with the possible exception of elbows to fragile parts of the face.

    Well, that's somewhat obvious. However, the main way an attacker would come at a person from behind would probably put him in a position to be thrown (which I can do if he isn't more than 200 lbs or so), and from the front I have a good chance of breaking his nose. If I couldn't throw the guy (due to surprise or weight) then bring on the elbows.

    Yes, precisely. From what I can tell, Miseleigh, your attitude looks like overconfidence. Have you ever been punched by a guy the size of your friends? I don't mean a sparring punch, but a real one. (actually, that would be awful if you had and I certainly don't mean to pry, but what I mean to say is: are you sure you know what a fellow of that size is capable of?)

    Maybe it is overconfidence, because I haven't been punched yet, and so don't know what it feels like. I have seen what they can do, though- they like to hit the punching bag, and convinced me to go with them a couple times. I'm not trying to say I could beat any guy who tried to attack me, but I have a major advantage of surprise on my side if that type of situation arose, just because I could and would fight back if needed. Generally an attacker is expecting easier prey than I'd be. I'm fairly sure I could hold my own at least long enough to get away, and that's what counts. If the guy's trying to knock me out and I don't see him coming, yeah, I'd be in trouble, but that would be true no matter what I was carrying with me or how good a fighter I was. If I see him coming, well, I'm not that bad at ducking out of the way, either.

    I'm assuming a certain level of reality here, too- that the guy isn't a judo master either, and that if he's mugging me he'll probably ask me for my purse before trying to punch my lights out, and if he's trying to rape me he'd probably drag me away somewhere before knocking me out. I think most situations would give me a chance to fight back, and I'm not going to waste it just because I'm part of 'the weaker sex'. If he's got a knife or gun I've got a problem, and there are some situations that I wouldn't be able to get away from. I'll just have to hope they don't happen, because there isn't much else I could do.

    Edit: Thanks for the advice about knives. I'll stay away from them.

  8. I don't think this is anything suprising. It's well known that animals can conduct learned behavior, but can they actually think? The results are certainly impressive, but they don't mention how many repititions it took to get them to "learn" something. Animals have memory, but they do not have the capacity for rationality.

    How many repetitions does it take for a human child to learn a word and it's meaning? When does that 'learned behavior' change to 'thinking' or 'rationality'? Is there a way to tell the difference?

    Fields says it was during a visit by a Swedish scientist named Par Segerdahl. Kanzi knew that Segerdahl was bringing bread. But Kanzi's keyboard had no symbol for Segerdahl the scientist. So he got the attention of Savage-Rumbaugh's sister, Liz, and began pointing to the symbols for "bread" and "pear," the fruit.

    "Liz got it immediately," Fields says. "She says, 'What do you mean Kanzi? Are you talking about Par or pears to eat?' And he pointed over to Par."

    Kanzi knew that the symbol for 'pear' meant the fruit, and yet used it to represent a similar sound, also connecting it with something else he associated with that sound, in a way he hadn't been taught. This seems to imply some level of abstract thought, not just a learned behavior. Why dismiss a rational capacity in animals out-of-hand without at least exploring the possibility further?

    But linguists were skeptical. They said the sentence, "Throw the river in the Coke," might have produced the same response. They also said Kanzi might have been reacting to her body language, not her words.

    Savage-Rumbaugh was determined to prove that Kanzi really did understand sentences. So she asked him to take a series of scientific language tests.

    In one of the tests, which was videotaped, Savage-Rumbaugh wears a welder's mask so Kanzi can't see her face, and she makes no gestures. She asks Kanzi to perform dozens of unlikely tasks, like putting pine needles in the refrigerator. He understands nearly every request.

    Mrocktor, I am wondering how you believe humans learn to speak, if it isn't by repeating memorized sounds that elicit favorable responses from their parents?

    This is a paper with far more detail than the article, including some examples of the ape learning something after only a few repititions and then extended what (s)he had learned. The sections 'Beliefs about Good and Bad' (p12) and 'A Pan/Homo Debate: Sue and Panbanisha Disagree' (p13) are particularly interesting.

  9. Some points in that article seem particularly relevant to the ability of morality in these apes. This one sentence struck me: "Panbanisha once used the symbol for "monster" when referring to a visitor who misbehaved." The article uses this as an example for the her creative use of language and symbols, but it also shows that Panbanisha understands what misbehaving means and that it's wrong at some level. Another point that I found interesting was Kanzi's apparent ability to empathize, a trait that I've always thought was uniquely human.

    "I'm missing this finger," Fields says, holding up one of his hands. "One time when Kanzi was grooming my hand, when he got to where the missing finger is, he pretended like it was there. And then he used the keyboard, he uttered, 'Hurt?,' as though to say, 'Does it still hurt?' "

    Whether Kanzi was asking if it still hurt, or if it did hurt at one point, he's showing that he understands that things can be painful to other creatures that aren't painful to him, and in this case it shows that he understands where that pain might have come from. Empathy is, I think, a key component of any moral code. Without any ability to empathize, would Rand's rationality behind the initiation of force be valid? As I understand it, her main point is that any person willing to initiate force against another is giving up his own rights by willingly violating another's, almost in an associative manner. If we did not have the ability to 'walk a mile in his shoes' and, instead, could only sympathize, would this associative property of morality work the same way? Perhaps I've just got everything muddled, but it's an interesting line of thought. :dough:

    Part of this is also related to when/how we attribute rights to children. If the cognitive development of these bonobos is at the level of the average 5 year old human, shouldn't they have the same rights? Those may not be much, but it's something.

  10. I've thought about a WWDD bracelet (Dagny), and although the question itself is somewhat second-handed, there are many things that Dagny would probably do that I would not (and vice versa), so the bracelet would never be a final answer to the question 'What am I going to do?'. Instead, it would be a reminder of my own ideals, and a reminder that I have a right to follow them. Also, it would be something to make me :D when I'm :dough: .

  11. I think that most women have a severe disadvantage in any sort of hand to hand combat that cannot be overcome even with training. The size and strength simply aren't there. Holding up the example of the 10th level master woman who can kick butt is simply unrealistic. What percentage of women have the potential to become that? And for the other 99.999%, isn't talking about that just filling their heads with unrealistic overconfidence?

    Currently, without any training except informal wrestling matches (and a two-hour wrist-grip-breaking technique class), I can consistently take down one of my male friends and at least put up a good fight for a few others. I haven't been able to take down those others because one is a 350 lb football player, and another is a 200 lb 5'7" 'ball of meanness' with the determination to start to pass out before tapping out, and we follow rules in these matches like no striking, scratching, ball-twisting, eye-poking, or anything else that I would use if necessary. Yet another sparring partner is probably 225 or so, and it takes him a good 5 or 6 minutes of hard work to pin me. He'd certainly be in no shape to rape me after finally managing to pin me, and I'm often less tired than he is at that point. This is without doing any kind of working out or even being in shape, whereas most of the guys work out a few times a week. I am also fairly average (5'8" 140lbs). I highly resent the (repeated) insinuations that I should be unable to do things that I already can do just because I'm an average woman. Granted, the men I spar with don't intend to actually hurt me, but with some working out and some actual training, I'm fairly confident that I would be able to do a good deal of damage to any men matching my friends' physiques if I needed to (except a 350lb guy, there's just no way to put a dent in him, but I could certainly outrun him). I also have another female friend who I am sure would beat me in a sparring match fairly quickly. My younger sister also has some nasty little tricks up her sleeve (like extreme flexibility to get out of any kind of hold, and quite a bit more upper-body strength than I have) due to her gymnast past. None of us are 10th-level masters at anything, but I do not fear for my sister's life when she walks alone at night, nor do I fear for my friend's or mine. (Another friend of mine is quite handy with her pepper spray, and very adept at climbing to tree branches that wouldn't hold an average male, or even an average female. She might not be very strong, but I don't need to worry about her either.)

    I've lived in Worcester, MA for two years, and haven't had a problem with men trying to harm me. Perhaps it's because I avoid walking alone at night; perhaps it's because I do have an air of confidence about me; perhaps it's because when the rare occasion happens that I am forced to walk alone at night and a sketchy guy hits on me, I smile at him and apologize for the fact that I can't stay because [insert somebody useful- parents, brother] is expecting me and I'm already late. It's certainly not because of a lack of danger in that particular city, even on campus. However, since I'll be transferring to a school in Boston in the fall, and probably living in a more dangerous area, I intend to get some formal martial arts training ASAP, and will certainly be in better (sprinting & fighting) shape before I get there.

    The only things I worry about are guns, knives, and drugs. Oh, and those rare guys who are both a good deal larger & stronger than I am and yet also able to run faster. They could be a problem. However, there's not much anybody can do about those situations - male or female - aside from carrying the bigger weapon, which I hesitate to try from the fear that anyone would have an easier time using my knife against me than taking me down otherwise, and knife against knife would probably have me with the smaller (legal!) blade. I like the idea of carrying a gun around even less, and if the other guy's got one too I probably wouldn't be able to get mine out anyways.

    Any thoughts on carrying a knife? I'm not sure if my reasoning on that is sound; maybe it would be better to have one, especially with some courses on how to use it properly.

  12. Inspector, what do you mean by 'trauma' and 'traumatic'? If the victim moves past the psychological damage and gets on with her life (as she should) then I see little reason to call it an ongoing trauma simply because the memory is still there. Now, I've never been raped, but I do have other bad memories that surface once in a while that no longer cause me pain- I would have called them traumatic at the time, but they are not traumatic now. And what if she was drugged beforehand? The memory of the actual rape wouldn't be there, or it would at least be muted. Still a traumatic memory?

  13. The problem I have with posting solely things like 'the essence of femininity' is that it says very little about what people actually prefer, so I've added a couple more links to show that (and explanations why.)  I'm not entirely sure where this experiment is supposed to be going, but a little extra data can't hurt, right?

    Essence of femininity

    Who I'd rather be (except the ears)

    Reason for preference: I'd prefer to be seen as strong.

    Essence of masculinity

    The guy I'd prefer

    Reason for preference: I've never considered sensitivity or understanding 'masculine' traits. I'd prefer to date a guy with both. Both pictures are of the same person, so hopefully that makes the difference in characteristics more visible.

    Essence of my idea of romance

  14. Honestly, I see very little point in trying to define masculinity and femininity- at least, little point pertaining to my own goal in this thread, which was to determine Rand's views on these and whether or not her views were right. But since that seems to be at a standstill anyway, here goes:

    Feminine: having traits a culture associates with being female

    Masculine: having traits a culture associates with being male

    Before anybody jumps on me for these definitions (especially for the lack of objectivity), think about them. Dresses can be termed 'feminine', and often are. Grilling is often said to be a masculine thing to do. These definitions (as far as I can tell) are the only ones that take the common uses of both words fully into account.

    Examples of feminine characteristics would include being slender, enjoying pretty things (jewelry or flowers), pale skin, vulnerability (both physical and emotional), a wish to protected by a man, small feet, long eyelashes, a soft voice, etc. Masuline characteristics could include things like physical strength, the ability to grunt (watch Home Improvement if confused), liking physical sports, liking fast cars, wanting to protect a woman, bold, confident, strong, encouraging, supportive, helpful, etc. (Some of those were from a male friend of mine; hopefully nobody gets upset over anything I've listed here.)

    No, they're not objective definitions. However, a woman whom one person says is feminine may not consider herself so, and may not be considered so by others- makes finding an objective definition somewhat difficult. Not only that, but not all feminine characteristics are required for a woman to be considered feminine.

    Of course, if we don't want to try to use the popular definitions of the words, I have no problem going with 'hero-worship' as the definition of femininity, as long as I don't have to be feminine. :glare:

    I've gotten out of this thread what I wanted to find out, hero-worship is not a requirement for being feminine so a woman need have no fear being president.

    Where did you get that from this thread? I don't think anyone here has concluded that, not even Misleigh.

    That's almost what I was hoping we would conclude- either that hero-worship is not a requirement for femininity, or femininity is not a requirement for a rational woman qua woman (that's not an exclusive or ;)). If we didn't actually reach one or both of those conclusions, we got pretty close, and either one would invalidate Rand's arguments against a female President. Unless somebody still wants to argue for Rand's viewpoints here (without simply rehashing them, please!) then I have also gotten what I was hoping to get- not necessarily that Rand was conclusively wrong, but that she wasn't conclusively right without some serious experimentation to validate her premises.

  15. I think Rand's statements in her essay partially stem from her (apparent) thought that it was rational to both know and follow one's innate nature, and irrational to do otherwise. I'll agree that it's rational to know your nature, but since we do have volition, I don't see why you are automatically irrational for not following it, especially when you understand it.

    I still don't think hero-worship is innate for women, but if it is, could it be an evolutionary trait? Women who sought out men who could protect them may have been better able to care for children, since that would leave physical protection to the metaphysically dominant male while the female could focus on the child, and men who preferred to protect women would have had that same advantage. However, if it is an evolutionary trait, I think it's a vestigial one, like the tailbone and pinky toe and wisdom teeth are believed to be. Our society has very little physical danger that men would need to protect against, or physical labor that men would need to do instead of women, and perhaps the 'hero-worship' trait is no longer useful. If that's the case, accepting it as part of my nature would be no more required for my rationality than wisdom teeth.

    I do see 'hero-worship' in more women than not, and I also see the 'protection' thing in more men than not- but then, I also see more (natural) brunettes than others, and that doesn't tell me that being brunette is an innate trait of human beings. What is the difference between mere correlation and an inductive conclusion? Unfortunately, the forum experiment thread Kendall set up has been crashing my browser (I thought Firefox always worked!) and so I have been unable to add my own ideas to the actual artwork part, and since I haven't done so I feel somewhat odd discussing the results.

    I agree that Rand was not certain about her conclusions, hence her use of 'I think' in various places rather than 'I know', much like I'm doing now.

  16. What's new? Pi over Lambda. (Physics humor - hilarious to nerds :P )

    Oooh, physics jokes! (And yes, that one is hilarious :) )

    Here's a few I like.

    A hydrogen atom lost its electron and went to the police station to file a missing electron report. He was questioned by the police: "Haven't you just misplaced it somewhere? Are you sure that your electron is really lost?"

    "I'm positive," replied the atom.

    Heisenberg was driving down the Autobahn whereupon he was pulled over by a policeman. The policeman asked, "Do you know how fast you were going back there?" Heisenberg replied, "No, but I know where I am."

    Note: This message was written entirely with recycled electrons.

  17. I also enjoyed Dan Brown's books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Both books are completely absurd and contain numerous historical errors, which he tries to pass off as factual...but the stories are, nevertheless, engaging.

    He's also a very good author, and he definately knows how to tell a good story.

    I didn't notice any attempts to pass those historical errors off as factual though. I thought it was obvious that his books were meant to be novels, not historical accounts, and as such he was free to make up whatever he liked to help his plots and characters flesh out a little. :)

    Acceptance of some irrational things in movies and books is key for imagination and creativity. What kind of art do you get if you only watch, and therefore draw, rational things? Forget Picasso. There might have been lots of things that never got invented if some people hadn't thought of things that everyone else considered irrational and then found the way to make them work. Airplanes, for example. Granted, some things are more irrational than others, but they still fire the imagination and get you wondering 'what if...?'

  18. The following puzzle I got out of Doug West's "Fundamentals of Mathematics" book.

    This book doesn't seem to exist.... Do you have the title and author right? I've been trying to find the original question, and I can't- it doesn't appear that Doug West wrote a book called 'Fundamentals of Mathematics.'

  19. "The issue is primarily psychological. It involves a woman's fundamental view of life, of herself and of her basic values. For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero worship— the desire to look up to man. "To look up" does not mean dependence, obedience, or anything implying inferiority. It means an intense kind of admiration; and admiration is an emotion that can be experienced only by a person of strong character and independent value judgments. A "clinging vine" type of woman is not an admirer, but an exploiter of men. Hero worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack."

    Here she states that she believes the essence of femininity is hero-worship, without using political power to figure that out. In fact, she says nothing about how she decided this is so. I would like to know her reasoning. She also explains what hero-worship is - an intense kind of admiration for masculinity in men she respects. She doesn't explain masculinity in this essay, but we do know that it is a property that men have and women don't- specifying it further will make little difference to the definition of hero-worship, nor will it make a difference to her view that all rational women feel hero-worship.

    The only times she mentions the presidency or political power before the above paragraph in the essay are single sentences, seperate from other points.

    I do not think that a rational woman can want to be president. Observe that I did not say she would be unable to do the job; I said that she could not want it. It is not a matter of her ability, but of her values.


    But when it comes to the post of president, do not look at the issue primarily from a somewhat altruistic or social viewpoint— i.e., do not ask: "Could she do the job and would it be good for the country?" Conceivably, she could and it would—but what would it do to her?

    Lathanar, are you still unclear about hero-worship? Rand's idea of it does not put men over women politically- it does so psychologically, and has no dependence upon the Presidency question. Her premise is that the essence of femininity is hero-worship, and she uses that to explain why a rational woman cannot want to be President. The essay is trying to explain Rand's view that a rational woman cannot want to be President; she is not trying to use that to define femininity. She defines femininity and hero-worship first.

  20. If they are each the basis for the other, we have a circular argument that cannot be resolved, and instead must be taken on faith. I doubt Rand would have used such an argument, and it is clear that woman's nature (femininity=hero-worship) was the basis of her arguments against a female President. Therefore, her reasoning behind hero-worship probably has nothing to do with political power, and that is the question I have been asking.

    Edit: We could, theoretically, come to a decision about the validity of the hero-worship idea by deciding that it is rational for a woman to want to be President, but that would only be true if Rand's logic in her essay was acceptable, and many here seem to think it is not.

  21. I'm not saying that Rand didn't think that "rationality in women qua women required hero-worship;" I'm saying that since the article is incomplete, you don't know why this is so... and therefore you also don't know when it would be not so, if ever.

    If we do not know why it is so, then how do we know that it is so? I keep hearing on this forum that people agree with Rand, and yet I still don't know why. The 'why' has been my most important question, mostly because I don't agree with her conclusions.

    That's not how I interpret it. By "all the men she deals with," I think she means that this is a problem not because she must hero-worship all men she deals with, but that since all men she deals with were subordinates, then she would be unable to find a romantic partner, since she cannot engage in a romance with a subordinate. (or indeed, anyone to relate to romantically on any level)

    As I said, presumably, if she already had a romantic partner, that was not a part of the chain of command, then I can't see what would stop her from wanting to be president.

    Neither can I! However...

    "Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity as such—which she experiences fully and concretely only for the man she loves, but which colors her attitude toward all men. This does not mean that there is a romantic or sexual intention in her attitude toward all men; quite the contrary: the higher her view of masculinity, the more severely demanding her standards. It means that she never loses the awareness of her owl sexual identity and theirs. It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother—or leader. "

    This does refer to all men, not just her romantic partner. Even if she feels hero-worship much more strongly for her partner, Rand makes it clear that she thinks hero-worship does indeed affect a woman's view of all men, and therefore she should not want to lead all the men around her, lovers or not. "he does not treat men as if...", not 'she does not treat her lover as if...'.

    Fine, fine.These are not equivalent statements, any more than the following are:
    • I don't think it's raining in California right now.
    • I think any place where it's raining right now is not in California.

    Do you see the difference?

    Set 'a rational woman' = X, and 'want to be President' = Y. So, (Rand thinks) X -> ~Y. The inverse of that would be (Rand thinks) Y -> ~X. (It's called modus tollens, if you want to look up the rule.) That says Rand thought wanting to be President implies the woman is irrational.

    By the way, if you take the first of your example statements to be true, the other does actually follow. If you don't think it's raining in California, you should also think that any place it is raining is not in California.

    If the fundamental disagreement is whether there are separate objective standards of how females should act, shouldn't that be the focus instead of female president derivatives? Rand's Razor, or something.

    There is a fundamental disagreement on what rational women should be (not how they should act)- hero-worshippers, or not necessarily?

    To everybody here: All I would like to know, from the people who agree with Rand's view that all rational women should hero-worship, is the logic behind this view. Rand does not give any. It seems to me that we've agreed the Presidency is not at stake, because Rand had an idealistic view of the President's power, and there may be mitigating circumstances. Since most of the quotes from Rand used here are from her essay about the Presidency, it will probably continue to be mentioned, but I don't think it should be the focus.

    Edited for clarity

  22. I think so. What I mean is that hero-worship is not the total definition of femininity; it is the essence of femininity. It is the most important or crucial element; rather than being the sole element.

    The 'essence' of something is also it's essential element- in other words, without it's essence, the thing would not be what it is. With that in mind, although 'hero-worship' may not be the only part of Rand's definition, a woman without it cannot be feminine.

    I don't think you can safely draw that conclusion. As she does not say anything about what conditions must be met for this to apply, the only thing that can be assumed from the context given is that she thought that it would apply to at least many women. We simply don't have enough information to say more than that. Remember that this article was written for a womens fasion magazine, not a philosophical text, so she did not outline a full philosophical view.

    I drew that conclusion from several statements she made in that article. Even though it does not outline a full philosophical view, she should still have written what she meant, and meant what she wrote. I have posted those statements already, and my conclusions from them, but I will try to make my conclusions clearer here.

    "I do not think that a rational woman can want to be president. Observe that I did not say she would be unable to do the job; I said that she could not want it. It is not a matter of her ability, but of her values."

    This says that Rand thinks any woman who wants to be president is irrational.

    "The issue is primarily psychological. It involves a woman's fundamental view of life, of herself and of her basic values. For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero worship— the desire to look up to man. ... Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack."
    Here, she explains that the reasons behind the irrationality are psychological, and have to do with hero-worship.

    "It means that a properly feminine woman does not treat men as if she were their pal, sister, mother—or leader. Now consider the meaning of the presidency: in all his professional relationships, within the entire sphere of his work, the president is the highest authority; he is the "chief executive," the "commander-in-chief." Even in a fully free country, with an unbreached constitutional division of powers, a president is the final authority who sets the terms, the goals, the policies of every job in the executive branch of the government. In the performance of his duties, a president does not deal with equals, but only with inferiors (not inferiors as persons, but in respect to the hierarchy of their positions, their work, and their responsibilities)."

    A rational woman's sense of hero-worship prevents her from wanting to lead men - any rational men. Note that Rand does not specify whether the man is the woman's romantic interest or not. Hero-worship appears to have little to do with the man's actual relationship to the woman, as long as they are (as said above) moral and intellectual equals.

    "This, for a rational woman, would be an unbearable situation. (And if she is not rational, she is unfit for the presidency or for any important position, anyway.) To act as the superior, the leader, virtually the ruler of all the men she deals with, would be an excruciating psychological torture. It would require a total depersonalization, an utter selflessness, and an incommunicable loneliness; she would have to suppress (or repress) every personal aspect of her own character and attitude; she could not be herself, i.e., a woman; she would have to function only as a mind, not as a person, i.e., as a thinker devoid of personal values—a dangerously artificial dichotomy which no one could sustain for long. By the nature of her duties and daily activities, she would become the most unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate, and rationally revolting figure of all: a matriarch."

    Leading men who are otherwise her moral and intellectual equals would be unbearable for the rational woman because it denies her sense of self as a rational woman - because she would be unable to hero-worship. Note again it says 'all the men she deals with' - this essay is not intended to deal with romantic situations only.

    In other words, this essay says that a rational woman cannot lead all the men around her because she would be unable to hero-worship, and would lose her rationality as a woman due to it. The other side of this says that a rational woman who does not hero-worship is, in fact, not rational. I found this fairly clear- if I've missed anything, or someone does not agree with it, please let me know, but it appears to me that Rand thought rationality in women qua women required hero-worship, whether this essay was meant as a complete philosophical thought or not.

  23. That seems kinda dicey to me. As far as I can recall (could be wrong,) the only concrete example in which Rand implied acting "unfeminine" is irrational for a woman is the president thing. But there's considerable disagreement on that (president) issue, even before this thread revived these type of questions. Excluding this one (highly questionable) example, and there's not a lot to Objectively peg down as being "unfeminine" anyway. Particularly with that in mind, it might be a considerable leap to say that Rand considered it irrational for a woman to do any (or even most) unfeminine actions.

    You're right, it would be a big leap- but I haven't said it. She considered it irrational for a woman to not hero-worship, whether by choice or by circumstance. The 'president' thing is probably the only circumstance where being 'feminine' (hero-worshipping) is not possible. She shows that she thought a non-hero-worshipping woman was irrational in this essay fairly clearly - I have explained my reasoning here, if you'd like to read it.

    Really? All romance requires is a person admirable in a platonic sense and physical attraction? Everything else being equal, do you prefer a man who
    • asks you out, remembers anniversaries and Valentines, who pays when you two go out on the town, or
    • goes out when asked, doesn't consider "gift days" all that important, asks you if you wish to pay half of the ticket everytime you two go out?

    The difference between the two doesn't particularly lie in skills or physical attraction (right?) I think there has to be a third option for any such preferences, and, for anyone with a preference in these regards, that such would be a person's agreement with a differentiation of masculinity/femininity.

    How about a man who does both? The last thing I want is a man who puts no effort into the relationship, but I also don't want him to sulk because I asked him out on a date, nor do I want him to say no. And I actually do prefer to pay for myself, so I'll try to offer before he asks- he can accept or decline as he pleases. Sometimes (gasp!) I even prefer to pay for him- especially if I've asked him out.

    The first question about such an important issue as femininity/masculinity is whether this is about disagreement with Rand's particular definitions, or whether you disagree with all definitions. If you disagree with all, the subject need not be limited to Rand's definitions. If you yourself however hold some definitions of masculinity/femininity, then the question becomes whether any of them are objectively correct or have moral status.

    I disagree with Rand's definition of femininity. My definition of feminine is 'having qualities or characteristics that a culture associates with being female' - things such as having a slim figure, being demure, soft-spoken, etc. I do not consider myself feminine in this sense, but that is my definition for it. My definition of masculine would be the counterpart of my definition for feminine- including things like a strong body, proficiency at grilling, etc. With these definitions, one particular woman is not necessarily going to be feminine, one particular man is not necessarily going to be masculine, and two feminine women could have completely different sets of traits to earn them that adjective. Rand's definition of femininity says nothing about the woman's characteristics- it merely says that she 'hero-worships'.

    Am I wrong in thinking that Rand implied all rational women must be feminine (hero-worshippers)? There haven't been many arguments trying to support this view, and this is my main question. If nobody actually agrees with her here, then I will go on my merry way and let it lie, but if somebody does, and can give me a reason for it, I would be very appreciative if her logic behind her definition of femininity could be outlined, and why it must apply to all rational women.

  24. I fully agree in terms of romantic relationships. I do have a desire to look up to my romantic partner; to admire both his ability and his masculinity; I do not want to be his pal, his sister, his mother, or a leader. I want to be conquered and in order to submit I have to admire him.


    The hero worship becomes visible when I am starting to be interested in a man – romantically It is one of the requirements for progression from the platonic to the romantic.

    This is the argument that I keep hearing, and it proves very little. Sophia, it is a requirement for you- Ayn Rand claims it is a requirement for all women in order to be rational. I do not feel this need. For me, the progression from platonic to romantic needs all the things I look for in a very close friend, plus a physical, sexual attraction. It is this last that might be considered hero-worship, except that I don't want to be conquered, I don't want someone to protect me, and I don't think I deeply admire his masculinity- which Rand never defined as far as I've seen. All of this tells me that either her logic is flawed or I cannot possibly aspire to be rational. If all men are moral and intellectual equals, they should all -including me- be able to be rational. If her logic is not flawed, I would like to know what it actually is; if it is based primarily on her own introspection and generalities, it cannot logically be applied as a requirement for all.

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