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  1. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from jacassidy2 in THERE IS and I AM   

    I concur. Awareness of existence precedes self-awareness and " I am" precedes " I think"
    Consciousness is corollary of existence, more precisely-it is an attribute of life.

    (Rand 1963, 19).
    Life is a process of self-initiated and goal-orientated action. The emergence of self-consciousness turned this process from the automatic to volitional, allowed choice of goals and conceptual thinking. Therefore man's consciousness qua man starts with self-awareness.
    The exact mechanism of self-awareness is not known. Roger E. Bissell maintains that introspection is as valid and self-evident as perception.

    He wrote :
    (Mind and Will as Objective Phenomena The Ontological Status of Introspective Data)
    Regardless what the mechanism of self-awareness may be, it is obvious that awareness " I am " is a foundation of human consciousness. When sundry collectivists deny "I" they in fact deny volition and mind and bring human consciousness to the perceptual level of an animal. When reductionists deny axiomatic nature of self-awareness they do the same.
  2. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Inevitability of death   
    The poor child is asking for eternity. Nobody explained him that there is no such a thing.
  3. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in Animal rights   
    If you live on deserted island alone, the question of rights doesn't even exist. This is a need of protection of your life and property from initiation of force against you brings up the whole concept of rights. But animals live by force. Therefore the whole concept is inapplicable to them. In regard to the treatment of animals one should talk not about rights but  compassion.
  4. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in Animal rights   
    Free Will is an ability to choose on the conceptual level of self-awareness. To paraphrase Ayn Rand in order to say " I want" one should be able first to say " I". Animals don't consciously form societies, this is an instinctive trait. Rights is a freedom of action in the social context which animals evidently don't have. Does lion respect right to live of his prey? The question of animal rights doesn't exist in the animal kingdom. It's only pertain to humans. As for infants, they are humans, in spite their rights are very limited. 
  5. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from theestevearnold in Animal rights   
    Rights is freedom of action in social context. It presupposes existence of free will and conceptual mind. Advocates of animal rights see no difference between animals and people. Since they cannot bring up animals to the level of people, they effectively degrade people to the level of animals. The notion of animal rights is another assault on mind.
  6. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Onyx Shoham in Life itself   
    Homo liber nulla de re minus quam de morte cogitat; et ejus sapientia non mortis sed vitae meditatio est. SPINOZA'S Ethics, Pt IV, Prop. 67
    (There is nothing over which a free man ponders less than death; his wisdom is, to meditate not on death but on life.)
    Reductionism and its corollary, Determinism are deeply enrooted in the fabric of the modern mainstream philosophy. There are leftovers of the Cartesian mind-body dichotomy. Instead to reject this notion altogether Reductionists simply choose the other, bodily side of this loaded coin. Now they reached a blind alley in their attempts to explain life in terms of lifelessness. As Hans Jonas observed:
    “Vitalistic monism is replaced by mechanistic monism, in whose rules of evidence the standard of life is exchanged for that of death.” (The Phenomenon of Life, pg 11).
    Since Mind and Free Will are biological phenomena which cannot be explained in terms of non-life, Reductionists are necessary Determinists. Hard Determinists reject the notion of Free Will (and therefore Mind) completely; soft Determinists and Compatibalists are still trying to find explanation of Free Will in the indeterminate realm of Quantum mechanics, in stochastic rules of Chaos theory or in the mystical realm of Tao. I maintain that Free Will is a manifestation on the conceptual level of the very essential property of life itself which is biological self causation.
    “Freedom must denote an objectively discernible mode of being, i.e., a manner of executing existence, distinctive of the organic per se” (Ibid pg 3).
    Law of Causality is law of Identity applied to action (Ayn Rand). Since biological action is self-generated goal orientated action (SIGA) , such an action cannot be predetermined by any antecedent cause. On the contrary, any antecedent or proximate action could be only detrimental to the healthy living process.
    As Rosen put it:
    “it is perfectly respectable to talk about a category of final causation and to a component as the effect of its final cause…In this sense, then, a component is entailed by its function… a material system is an organism if and only if , it is closed to efficient causation.” (Life Itself, pg 135).
    In other words the process of biological causation is a process in which a final cause (a goal), becomes its efficient cause.  Traditionally, the notion of the final cause associated with Aristotle’s primary mover, some divine, supernatural source.  However, this is not a case of mysticism, far from it.
    Life emerged as result of self-organization of abiotic elements.
      Camazine et al. (2001: 8) define self-organization:
    ‘‘as a process in which pattern at the global level of a system emerges solely from numerous interactions among the lower level components of the system.
    The system has properties that are emergent, if they are not intrinsically found within any of the parts, and exist only at a higher level of description....’’
    From this definition follows that 1. A process of self-organization doesn't have an antecedent cause. 2. Emergent properties of such a system are different from the properties of its components and therefore cannot be explained by means of reductionism. In other words properties of such a system are not defined by antecedent cause. Life is self-organizing, self-regulated material structure which is able to produce self-generated goal orientated action when the goal is preservation and betterment of itself. This new emergent identity which applied to biotic action defines new type of causation-self causation.
    Harry Binswanger observed “All levels of living action, from a cell’s protein-synthesis to a scientist’s investigations, are goal-directed. In vegetative action, past instances of the “final cause” act as “efficient cause.”(1992).
    This is the mechanism of self-causation. Now is clear why any action imposed on the organism and driven by antecedent cause could be only detrimental-it inevitable would interfere with self-generated action of the organism. Each and every organism is its own primary mover. In the low organisms the degree of freedom of action is limited by their genetic set up. However even low organisms like fungi for example able to overcome this genetic determinism.
    “During a critical period, variability is generated by the fact that, a system becomes conditioned by all the factors influencing the spontaneous emergence of symmetry-breaking event.
    In such a context variability does not reflect an environmental perturbation in expression of a pre-existing (genetic) program of development…It is expression of a process of individuation.” (Trewavas, 1999)
    SIGA is limited by organism’s perceptual ability and capacity to process the sensory input. The process of evolution is a process of development of these qualities, since organism’s survival depends on them. More freedom of action means better chances of survival. The end product of such a process is Free Will and self-awareness, that is-human mind. Free Will therefore is an expression of self-causation on the level of self-awareness
    The human abilities to choose goals consciously and to act rationally in order to achieve them turn biology to ethics .But the origin of these abilities lie in the very fundamental property of any living being. This property is self-generated goal orientated action driven by self causation. Any attempt to reduce this property to the set of biochemical reactions or to undetermined behavior of subatomic particles is doomed to fail. Ayn Rand profoundly summarized the meaning of life in “We, The Living”. “I know what I want, and to know HOW TO WANT-isn’t it life itself?”
  7. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from theestevearnold in Richard Halley - musician to equate?   
    I think that prototype of Richard Halley was Rachmaninov
  8. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Ben Archer in Nelson Mandela   
    The evidence that capitalism brings prosperity and communism only misery and poverty is all around us and well recorded in the history of 20th century. If reality cannot persuade them, nothing will. The problem is that they are not after prosperity but after equality, and to achieve this they would turn everybody to dispossessed. As for the question of social responsibility, it has to be confronted on the moral ground of rational egoism. They have to be explained once and for all why nobody owns them their life, that they have no claim on the life of other people and if they want help they may have it as a charity, not as a right and only those who deserve it.
  9. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in Is it immoral to have incest or animal sex?   
    With animals-it's not immoral, just disgusting. It's like to ask is it immoral to eat vomit? As for family members-no, it's not immoral. But a person who sleeps with his mother obviously has deep psychological problems.
  10. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Devil's Advocate in the question of why should I choose life   
    I also don't think that choice to die is always immoral. For example if man accepts life as his standard of values and his life becomes its opposite, that is-an agony, then his choice to die would be a moral choice, a suicide will become an act of  affirmation of life as a moral standard. Such a man knows what life is and refuses to accept an agony as its substitute. 
  11. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from secondhander in the question of why should I choose life   
    There is no such a thing as pre-ethical decision. All decisions are choices and all choices are ethical. There is also no such a thing as a choice to live. Living is a precondition of all choices. Man can only choose to die and according to circumstances it could be moral or immoral choice. But in any case such a choice is within the realm of morality.
  12. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Kate87 in Syria Intervention   
    The difference between chemical and conventional weapons is that chemical weapons are WMD, they are not created in order to destroy a certain target like a bullet, missile or bomb, but everything living in the vicinity of its action. One cannot specifically aim chemical weapon, it completely eliminate difference between combatants and civil population. All damage it creates is collateral. I know that cynics would say that Tomahawk missile is not much different, but this is a question of degree. A missile aimed to the military target, collateral damage is not its main goal, it's accidental and regrettable and could be minimized. Chemical weapon is aimed to kill en mass, and therefore deeply immoral.
  13. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Nicky in Is Israel an apartheid state? Why Zionism = Apartheid   
    In Israel one of the Supreme court judges is an Arab, 4 Arab political parties represented in the parliament and Arab is a vice prime minister. Israeli Arabs have exactly the same rights as Jews, including right to vote, and less obligations. For example they don't have to do military service. Apartheid is a word in Afrikaans, originated from South Africa and means separation, or what they used to call a separate development. Israeli Arab citizens are not separated from the Jewish population in any way. The only law which gives to the Jews a preferential treatment is the law of return. But this law which grants to any non-Israeli Jew an instant citizenship discriminates not only Arabs, but any non-Jew. Since Israel had been created as a shelter to the persecuted Jewish nation, such a law makes a lot of sense. That doesn't mean that non-Jew cannot get an Israeli citizenship. He simply has to go through the process of naturalization as in any other country. Israel is a secular state, in spite that religion plays a major role in Israeli society, exactly like Christianity in America. But religious laws as a rule are not enforced by the state ( few such a laws like prohibition of TV broadcast and public transportation on Saturday existed in the past). In short, if Israel is an apartheid state, then USA is apartheid state as well. To call Israel an apartheid state is an insult to all black and white South Africans who fought against apartheid. For example Reverend Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, an outspoken member of the South Africa Parliament, wrote in "San Francisco Examiner" : "As a black South African who lived under apartheid, ...in my view, Israel cannot be compared to apartheid in South Africa.Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is...in my numerous visits to Israel, I did not see any of the above...Black, brown and white Jews and the Arab minority mingle freely in all public places, universities, restaurants, voting stations and public transportation. All people have the right to vote. The Arab minority has political parties, serves in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) and holds positions in government ministries, the police force and the security services. In hospitals, Palestinian patients lie in beds next to Israeli Jews, and doctors and nurses are as likely to be Israeli Arabs as Jews. ...None of the above was legally permissible in apartheid South Africa!" The description of Israel as apartheid state in his opinion is "slanderous and deceptive" to make such accusations against Israel as doing so "trivializes the word apartheid, minimizing and belittling the magnitude of the racism and suffering endured by South Africans of color."
    Or consider the statement of Aatef Karinaoui, a 42-year-old Bedouin Muslim resident of the city of Rahat, who is running for the Knesset this year:
    . I’m a proud Arab and a proud Israeli too. I’m not a Palestinian. Look at Syria, look at Egypt, look at Libya, look at Tunisia and look at Bahrain; the problem is not Israel, it’s the Arabs.” He continued, “I have no problem with the Star of David on the flag or with the national anthem –- no problem at all. Israel is a democracy, and I respect every country that is a democracy. 
    About 44% of Israeli Arabs are proud to be Israeli citizens, consider Israel as a democratic state and less then half agree that there is a discrimination against them. Majority trust in Isreali institutions and only 18% are bothered by Palestinian-Israeli conflict and 38% consider themselves as Israeli patriots.
    If one wants to claim that there is still a lot of animosity and problems between Jews and Arabs in Israel, I'd agree. But if words have any meaning ,designate any concepts and aren't just parroted labels, Israel is NOT an apartheid state.
  14. Like
    Leonid reacted to Ninth Doctor in Contemporaries of Kant   
    Let me guess: he was a Rand fan? I'm more likely to get worked up over Augustine, Hegel, or Marx. At least Kant's politics were good.
    Here's a quote you'll like, from just a few decades after Kant's death:

    “What a strange contrast did this man's outward life present to his destructive, world-annihilating thoughts! In sooth, had the citizens of Königsberg had the least presentiment of the full significance of his ideas, they would have felt far more awful dread at the presence of this man than at the sight of an executioner, who can but kill the body. But the worthy folk saw in him nothing more than a Professor of Philosophy, and as he passed at his customary hour, they greeted him in a friendly manner and set their watches by him.”

    Heinrich Heine
  15. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Nicky in Jesus Tax   
    At least part of the gasoline price is not market related. It is money which has been arbitrary added to the price and which supposed to be used for the roads' maintenance . Even if it's true, it's still a robbery. You intention is to buy gasoline only, not to pay for roads. This payment is extracted from you by force, by the power of state which arbitrary connected these two payments in one package deal. Therefore it's not voluntary payment. It's similar to VAT ( value added tax) which you pay when you make any purchase. Nobody calls VAT voluntary payment on the ground that people have a choice not to engage in any economical activity.
  16. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from thenelli01 in Jesus Tax   
    At least part of the gasoline price is not market related. It is money which has been arbitrary added to the price and which supposed to be used for the roads' maintenance . Even if it's true, it's still a robbery. You intention is to buy gasoline only, not to pay for roads. This payment is extracted from you by force, by the power of state which arbitrary connected these two payments in one package deal. Therefore it's not voluntary payment. It's similar to VAT ( value added tax) which you pay when you make any purchase. Nobody calls VAT voluntary payment on the ground that people have a choice not to engage in any economical activity.
  17. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from tadmjones in AL QAEDA DISBANDS   
    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The international terror group known as Al Qaeda announced its dissolution today, saying that “our mission of destroying the American economy is now in the capable hands of the U.S. Congress.”
    In an official statement published on the group’s website, the current leader of Al Qaeda said that Congress’s conduct during the so-called “fiscal-cliff” showdown convinced the terrorists that they had been outdone.

    “We’ve been working overtime trying to come up with ways to terrorize the American people and wreck their economy,” said the statement from Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. “But even we couldn’t come up with something like this.”
    Mr. al-Zawhiri said that the idea of holding the entire nation hostage with a clock ticking down to the end of the year “is completely insane and worthy of a Bond villain.”
    “As terrorists, every now and then you have to step back and admire when someone else has beaten you at your own game,” he said. “This is one of those times.”
    The Al Qaeda leader was fulsome in his praise for congressional leaders, saying, “We have made many scary videos in our time but none of them were as terrifying as Mitch McConnell.”
    As for the future of Al Qaeda, the statement said that it would no longer be a terror network but would become “more of a social network,” offering reviews of new music, movies and video games.
    In its first movie review, Al Qaeda gave the film “Zero Dark Thirty” two thumbs down.

    The New Yorker

  18. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from softwareNerd in You didn't build it   
  19. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from aequalsa in You didn't build it   
  20. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Modern Athena in Any Objectivists in the middle east?   

    Fascinating! If only more Muslims and Israelis were exposed to Objectivism it would be everlasting peace in the Middle East.
  21. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from Kjetil in Jokes   
    Q: " Is socialism an ideology or science?"
    A. " Obviously it's an ideology. If it were a science, they would first try it on mice."
  22. Like
    Leonid reacted to Grames in Shooting someone...   
    Omniscience and omnipotence are not prerequisites for one being responsible and accountable for one's actions, including erroneous actions.

    Your example fails because the shooter is responsible for the decision to draw a weapon within a crowd where it is obviously possible to be jostled by other people. This kind of excuse making is like the drunk driver pleading not guilty to the collision he caused because he was not in control of his faculties or the vehicle because he was drunk.
  23. Like
    Leonid reacted to Grames in Shooting someone...   
    And the term 'accident' is a device used to evade personal responsibility for one's action. There is no justification whatsoever to not hold someone responsible for aiming and pulling the trigger on a firearm. To hold someone responsible can mean praising a hero who saves the say or it can mean condemnation and arrest of an idiot whose wild gunplay made things worse by injuring bystanders.
  24. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from CICEROSC in Objectivist view on Animal Abuse Laws   
    Animal is a living being -that is a self-sustained entity which is able to generate a goal-orientated action when the goal is its own life and wellbeing. In this regard animals and men share common values. Any action which undermines this ability in fact undermines the standard of value which is life itself. This is true that there is a hierarchy of values and man's life takes a preference over the life of animal. However it is difficult to see how the mindless brutality against animals could promote man's interests and goals. If anything-it does the exactly opposite.
  25. Like
    Leonid got a reaction from CICEROSC in Objectivist view on Animal Abuse Laws   
    Dragon lady: "So is a cockroach. Anyone want to state that someone who kills a beloved cockroach ought to be faced with a jail sentence? No?"

    No. Cockroach is not conscious. So are plants and sea urchins and other low forms of life. As for the legal question-I think that any case of severe unusual cruelty to the animals should be punished. Such a cruelty is a hallmark of psychopath who doesn't give a damn about any living thing-animal or human. What you'd do to a creature who put a kitten into the microwave oven and fried it alive? ( a real case)? Would you just give him a warning and let him be? In my view he is a danger to society and should be incarcerated if not in jail, then in psychiatric institution. Such a person in fact could be hardly called a human.
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