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BrassDragon last won the day on May 18 2014

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  1. I'm not advocating throwing out all the rules. It's just that sometimes the speed limit is not what it should be. Also, it is necessary for each driver to determine how to drive safely; there's a lot more to driving safely than just following the speed limit, and much of it is highly dependent on context. If a person isn't able or willing to determine what is safe, they shouldn't be driving (and they won't survive long on the road, anyway). I also drive very defensively. But there are many situations where it's safe to go pretty fast. For example, the time when I mistakenly thought I was in a 70 zone but it was 55, I was driving on a perfectly straight road with no other cars on it that went through empty fields for miles; I could see EVERYTHING.
  2. I think people are coming down too hard on the OP. Oftentimes, you can go significantly over the speed limit without putting anyone in any extra danger. (Especially if you are going the speed of other traffic.) And as long as you're driving safely, I don't think you have a MORAL obligation to follow the speed limit. The speed limit is an arbitrary dictate of the government; the roads are not private property. Summary: If you can get away with going over the limit, do it. If you get unlucky, pay the fine. If you get unlucky and get ticketed, but you can get out of it, do it. If you don't want to run the risk of ever getting a ticket, don't ever speed. In my area of North Carolina, the de facto speed limit is about 10 MPH greater than the speed limit, which is arbitrarily way too low; everybody drives over it all the time. Once I was going way over the speed limit (thought it was a 70 zone but it was 55; anyway, I was driving safely, given the road conditions), and by asking nicely at the courthouse, I got the ticket changed to "improper equipment" (even though that wasn't the case at all). This is pretty much standard practice. If the government would set speed limits that were actually appropriate (not arbitrarily too low) and actually enforce the limit strictly, I would not have the attitude I do. I'd much rather that it were that way. But it's not. The applicability of my policy general suggestions re: speeding depends on where you live; your mileage may vary.
  3. Thanks - I agree with all that you've said. Indeed, I was looking for the lowest-level principle that subsumes the conclusion. To answer your question about cats, my thinking is: although it is immoral to initiate force against cats, it does not follow that it should be legally prohibited to initiate force against cats. (In fact, such a prohibition would be a violation of rights.) Legal prohibitions against initiating force only apply to men interacting with men, since this is a prerequisite to living successfully in society. Is that precisely correct?
  4. Well, I have several points to make in response. (1) Reason doesn't have to "evolve". It seems to me that when the witch doctor claims a magical dance or drawing on the wall of a cave will yeild a desired result, an early human with a rational faculty can just as easily say "I don't believe that" as "I do believe that." Clearly, there would be contradictory claims: one witch doctor says one thing works, and another witch doctor says another works. So it is implicitly obvious that knowledge is not automatic, even to a cave man. (2) Knowledge is contextual. For example, if a cave man says "the land is flat," because he lives in the middle of a large plane and can't observe anything different - that doesn't invalidate the knowledge. The knowledge is valid within the context of his life. I'm not sure if this is directly relevant to this discussion, but I imagine it could be relevant somehow. (3) You are misusing "package-deal". It is correct to group magic and religion under the concept "irrational systems of thought," beause in both cases, that is a fundamental distinction. See http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/package-...fallacy_of.html
  5. You give gifts to your children because you love them. They don't have to earn it. Same for your spouse. If your spouse has not earned your love, you need to get a divorce. Why not consider Christmas a celebration of the "benevolent universe premise" and the fact that you live in a society that is happy enough to have a holiday like Christmas -- and so productive that gifts can be given? Christmas should also be a "celebration" of those you love. There have been a number of essays by Objectivist scholars in this vein. Perhaps one of the other posters can point you to one of them (I don't have any handy, but imagine they're online somewhere, or at least available.) By the way, a child who asks for candy at Halloween is not "demanding the unearned." They're participating in a harmless, but fun, cultural tradition. If you're not participating, you're just missing out on the fun and being a humbug.
  6. I do understand biological evolution. Why do you state that collectivism allowed population size to increase? Collectivism is not necessary for population size to increase. This is why I said you don't understand individualism. Religion is not a correct abstraction from magic. Both are wrong; they are conceptually disconnected from reality. Neither Ayn Rand nor Aristotle relied upon religion or magic. Monkeys are not individualistic or collectivist. Those concepts are only conceptually valid when one is referring to humans. You might say that monkeys "cooperate" and live in groups. It is also necessary for humans to cooperate and live in groups, to flourish; it always has been since the dawn of our species. Cooeration does not equate to collectivism. In fact, cooperation is most profitable, and most possible, in a system of individualism. Monkeys are "individualistic" in the sense that they "selfishly" pursue what is best for their own individual lives (which often means cooperating). The reason I put these terms in quotes is because monkeys act on instinct, not using a conceptual faculty. There is no reason primitive humans could not accept a rudiamentary form of philosophy, rather than religion.
  7. If you believe this, you do not understand individualism. Care to try to defend this? No - Objectivism was the product of Ayn Rand, who relied almost exclusively upon Aristotle. I believe (can anyone cite this?) that AR wrote that Objectivism would not be complete, in its current form, without the Industrial Revolution, but I certainly do not think there is a reason to think a society would need to go through stages of "superstition," then "magic", etc, as you state.
  8. Let me clarify my position (which has evolved very slightly). As I said (and as Ayn Rand said), rights are a political instantantiation of morality. A baby gains rights the instant it is born, because at that instant (and not before), it becomes immoral for an adult human to initiate force against it. This is the immediate reason -- and not because a fetus suddenly becomes a "man" or a "rational animal" (whether that is the case is ambiguous, anyway) that a baby has rights, and a fetus doesn't. Furthermore, it has nothing to do directly with the baby's potential to grow into a man, potential for rationality, etc. Those facts may contribute to why it is immoral to initiate force against the baby, though. I would invite feedback on this. I'm not certain that this is totally in agreement with what Ayn Rand wrote, and would appreciate someone pointing out any discrepancies or other mistakes.
  9. Rights are a political instantiation of morality--specifically, the moral code that applies to man qua man. Under this moral code, it is ethical for the mother to pursue her own life, her own happiness, and her own well-being; and it would be immoral for someone else to force her to make a particular choice re: the birth or abortion of the fetus. Given this, I think the answer to the question of "when the line is crossed" is kind of irrelevant. And that's a good thing, I think, because really, the line between a "man" and whatever comes before that (a "fetus" or "baby" or "young child" or some such variant describing the early stages of our species' youth) is a nebulous area, not a line :-) At least, that's how I interpret it and what I believe to be correct. Ayn Rand's moral code for man qua man is for for adults (and to some degree for adolescents or children), but isn't applicable to humans that are more or less 0 years old, like fetii or newborns.
  10. BrassDragon


    What is the purpose of such a group? Does it have a valid, rational purpose?
  11. I don't think so. This seems akin to the case where a stick going into water appears to be bent, but is not. Senses convey perceptual information, not knowledge of reality. Do you mean, an integral part of your experience of life? I don't see how synesthesia would relate to sense of life as the term was used by Ayn Rand. Perhaps you can elaborate. This is confusing. What do you mean? As far as I understand, you associate textures with sounds, which does not equate to this sentence; I'm not sure what perceptions you're referring to here.
  12. Ayn Rand worked her way up to become the head of the costume department at RKO Pictures, so I would imagine she had quite a sense of style. I believe she also used to wear a cape, which was considered very fashionable at the time - but I can't substantiate that, I just read it somewhere.
  13. But most of their 'customers' are thieves! I mean, I don't know if it's normal for 50% or more (i.e. most) installations of a piece of software to be pirated, but it wouldn't surprise me, and I'm sure that happens in many cases.
  14. cmdownes, Thanks for your response and for pointing me back on the right track, which is to do some reading on my own in OPAR. :-) Ultimately, what Peikoff says (and presumably Rand said) is that you just have to choose life or not - and there can be no reason, because this goal is the basis of all values. For example, it's what gives happiness meaning in the first place--and thus you can't say, "I choose to live because I know I can be happy and achieve values." I'd encourage people to look at the pg. on p. 211-212 of OPAR. Here is an excerpt (the final sentence): "In regard to the sum of reality as such, however, there is nothing to do but grasp: it is--and then, if the fundamental alternative confronts one, bow one's head in a silent 'amen', amount to the words: 'This is where I shall fight to stay.'"
  15. Those are all excellent choices of places to go to study CS. I can tell you've done your research. I go to UNC. The CS department has built up several peaks of excellence; the professors are really wonderful; and there aren't very many undergrads doing CS, so you get a lot of attention and there's sort of a "small town" atmosphere. I love it. So I'd recommend UNC for CS to anyone considering it, but not over UIUC, Carnegie Melon, MIT or Stanford.
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