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Everything posted by danielshrugged

  1. I think there are good reasons why the owner of a road might specify any maximum blood alcohol level within the range of roughly 0.05% to 0.1%. Note that I did not say in my previous post what would be unreasonably high; I just said that 0.08% is not unreasonably low. In a capitalist country, the decision isn't mine to make. But which road would I prefer to drive on? Not one that allows people to drive after they've had three beers. Why not? Because someone's slow reaction time can end up killing me.
  2. Both the state governments and the federal government represent the taxpayers. Whatever the history of the law, the taxpayers have chosen to set those limits. (I don't think .08% is unreasonably low. I think it is possible for the average person to have two or in some cases three beers without exceeding that limit, and I don't think I want someone on the road even if he's only had two beers.)
  3. Should someone get jail time for talking on the cell phone while driving? Some people can handle a car more easily while legally intoxicated than they can while having a conversation on the phone. If a person is caught, while drunk, going 60 mph through a small neighborhood, I think the government could have a case for throwing him in jail for a short period of time. But if he was merely driving while intoxicated and did not do something specific with his car that put other people in immediate danger, then I don't think you can objectively prove that he did more than violate the rules. I would definitely revoke the license of a repeat offender permanently. Make him get a bike or use the bus.
  4. The owner of any road has the right to set the terms for the use of that road. For example, the owner(s) can specify speed limits and set a maximum blood alchohol level. Those who choose to use the road consent to abide by the rules. In our current mixed economy, the roads are owned by the taxpayers, who, via their representatives, have chosen to specify a particular maximum blood alchohol level. A drunk driver violates the rights of all the taxpayers who choose not to have such people driving on their roads. Given this explanation, I'm not sure prison would be an appropriate punishment. However, just as a private university has the right to expel a student for possession of drugs, I think it would make sense to suspend or revoke the driver's license of anyone who is caught driving drunk.
  5. You may start another thread if you like, but I don't think I have anything more to add myself.
  6. A good actor knows how to act such that "every spontaneous gesture, in his manner of moving, talking, smiling," and so on, fit the personality and sense of life of the character he is supposed to be portaying. I'm not saying Jolie is a good enough actress to be successful at this; I haven't studied her carefully enough to know. I suspect that she would not be ideal, but I think she would be satisfactory. I would never expect anything about this movie to be ideal, given the state of the culture. (And the casting and acting are the least of my concerns.) Every now and then, I get a very negative impression of someone. But as Ayn Rand says in the passages you have quoted, this is an emotional reaction and potentially very deceptive. You should be ready to examine that emotional reaction. In fact, I doubt it is possible for you to have enough evidence to judge Jolie's character. At most, you have a hypothesis. If she should be cast as Dagny, I hope you will be able to give her the benefit of the doubt. It would be a shame if you weren't able to enjoy the movie because it wasn't exactly as you would have chosen.
  7. You can tell what Jolie's sense of life is simply by looking at her? Besides, what does it matter what her sense of life is as a person, so long as she can project a different sense of life while acting?
  8. True enough, but this response ignores a larger issue. Suppose someone said: "The only absolute is that there are no absolutes."
  9. You have to wonder why corrupt American leaders never cause as much damage as corrupt communist leaders.
  10. First of all, this person talks about organizing a more efficient use of resources. Ask him not to speak in euphemisms. What exactly is he referring to? Kicking down the doors of the rich and demanding they provide rooms to people who are more liked? Usings the threat of a gun to take factories from people? His argument is premised on the idea that there is a fixed amount of resources and the only question is how to allocate them. Sound right to you? He should look a little at history, too. Russia, for instance, was all about organizing a more efficient use of resources.
  11. This I do NOT agree with. Indeed, I will point out that if you go down this road, then certainty is not possible even to readers of Ancient Greek, because, for one thing, most of us rely on other people to tell us the rules of Greek grammar and the meaning of Greek vocabulary...and I, at least, don't usually inquire into the lifetimes of difficult thought that went into decoding the Ancient Greek language. As I have already suggested, I think certainty is possible even to those who use secondary sources alone. You just have to remember what it is you have the epistemological right to be certain of (and what, on the other hand, is only probable or possible), and also remember Burgess's advice:
  12. Good point. And as someone who has translated portions of Aristotle in preparation for some of my college papers, I can tell you that I would have been misled several times by my translations if I did not check the Greek.
  13. I was not suggesting that at all. But I certainly would say, among other things, that studying philosophers with the mindset that you are looking for things to hate will DOOM your ability to approach that philosopher objectively. I would also say that learning why Kant or other philosophers are evil is among the least important reasons to study them.
  14. You can find out pretty easily how reputable the author of the book is. If he made wild assertions, it will probably have been pointed out somewhere. Also, WT Jones quotes at some serious length--for pages upon pages. I didn't say to "trust" the author, though, or to take him on faith. The key is to use a secondary source, in cases where you are ignorant about the subject, as a means to learning about the philosopher's influence or legacy, not as a second-hand means of interpreting the philosopher. Let me concretize. Suppose you read about Kant in the WT Jones history of philosophy, and someone starts to praise Kant in a conversation. You can say, in response, "Well, I've never read Kant directly, but I know his legacy and..." By the way, reading Aristotle directly would not necessarily ennable you to make any more of an objective interpretation. Aristotle wrote many works, and if you read one or two of them alone, you would, in a sense, not have the context for those two works, not having read all of Aristotle's other works. Secondary sources are actually useful in providing that context, since experts HAVE read all or most of Aristotle's extant works.
  15. Secondary sources have a proper and an improper use. As long as you are clear what you do and do know not after reading secondary sources, there is no problem. In particular, secondary sources are useful in describing the dominant interpretation of a philosopher, which can give you a good idea of their actual influence.
  16. I hope you're not saying that the purpose of reading philosophers is to learn why to hate them.
  17. I meant best TELEVISION plot writer, of course. I'm not yet ready to put him in the ranks of Hugo.
  18. I used to have favorites, but since I discovered Joss Whedon, his shows have just overshadowed them all. I love both Firefly and (what I have seen so far of) Buffy, and I will probably watch Angel some day soon as well. Joss Whedon is the best plot writer I know of and he executes very well, with ingenious, witty dialogue. His shows are always full of heroes, whether rebels on the run from a totalitarian Alliance in Firefly, or a vampire slayer and her friends. Whedon seems to be a master of creating convicing and realistic conflicts that are more than just "good guy vs bad guy." While he is not at all a philosopher, he is a thoughtful guy and anything he touches usually has philosophical themes (ones which are often implicitly, if not explicitly, pro-reason and pro-selfishness). Also, Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Buffy. She's beautiful as a vampire slayer.
  19. Just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day to bid on these items.
  20. First of all, the law of identity is not a mathematical equality (nor any kind of relationship or comparison) and should be written (for example): A is A, or a thing is what it is. Aristotle did not formulate the law of identity, but his formulation of the law of noncontradiction is most of the way there. I've forgotten the name of the Medieval scholastic who was the first to formulate the law of identity.
  21. Aristotle's most accessible work is the Nicomachean Ethics, and it certainly has many gems. I recommend the Joe Sachs translation in particular.
  22. I am selling the following items on Ebay. The Ayn Rand Bookstore sells the Peikoff lectures for $345 and $330 dollars respectively, and it sells the Ayn Rand lecture for $26.25. Go bid now! Founders of Western Philosophy: Thales to Hume by Leonard Peikoff Starting at $24.99 (Audiocassette; 24-tape set; 33 hrs. 15 min.) Modern Philosophy: Kant to the Present by Leonard Peikoff Starting at $24.99 (Audiocassette; 24-tape set; 31 hrs. 30 min.) Of Living Death by Ayn Rand (1968) Ayn Rand answers audience questions after the lecture Starting at $9.99 (Audio; 2-tape set; 120 min., with Q & A)
  23. Objectivists constantly debate how to apply the philosophy, but that is different than debating with someone who does not agree with the philosophy but still calls himself an Objectivist. Please note that neither ARI nor TOC were around during Ayn Rand's lifetime, so the dispute she was referring to in that passage was of a different nature.
  24. There's a difference between arguing based on objective aesthetic standards that something is or is not good art and in saying, "You must not enjoy such-and-such in any way." Who says you can't enjoy something that isn't good art? Who says you can't hang a piece of so-called modern art on your wall if you think it makes a good decoration? Not Ayn Rand, as long as you realize why you get value out of it.
  25. By their contexts of knowledge, among other things.
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