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About cmdownes

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  1. I think you stated most clearly what some other posters were driving at. Can you expand a bit on the distinction between internal causation and external causation? That is, how do we distinguish empirically between the two, identify processes as products of one or the other? The reason I'm interested in this is that given the way Peikoff articulates the nature of value in OPAR, these questions about life appear epistemically prior to ethical reasoning. Rand's ethics is grounded on some level in a philosophy of biology, in a series of propositions about the nature of life its relationship to ag
  2. This is an area of confusion regarding Objectivist metaethics that has vexed me for some time. I'm going to refer a bit to OPAR to unpack it a little. Let me preface this by saying that I'm posting this in M&E because I think it is properly a question of metaethics or perhaps the epistemology of value, not a normative ethical question per se. My issue is that I don't have a clear understanding of what Rand/Peikoff mean by goal-directed action. The working definition given in the text is "Action toward an object" (209). But on its face, this isn't terribly illuminating. Falling objects s
  3. I certainly don't disagree with the point that the Kantian duty to see to one's happiness is mediated by one's obligation to do their duty as such. But Nicko was saying that a Kantian isn't permitted to do anything that benefits themselves. This isn't what the text bears out. But Kant doesn't think that if you are suffering, then you are doing your duty. He's making the epistemic point that we can't determine the moral worth of actions that comport with duty and with our inclinations. This is not a normative obligation to make oneself suffer. I have a lot of respect for you if
  4. Nicko0301 "I don't see the distinction." Really? BogG's reading ("You receive no benefit at all from doing your duty. This includes even a feeling of satisfaction or fulfillment. You will feel nothing.") entails that no action of a moral agent which is required by duty can be beneficial to that agent. But Kant isn't saying that doing your duty can't benefit you. In fact, in the Groundwork he explicitly mentions a case where one could act in a way that benefits oneself and be moral: a shopkeeper who offers inexperienced customers the same prices as experienced customers has two possible mot
  5. I'd suggest using a text somewhat closer to the philosophical mainstream as an introduction to the history of philosophy. You cite the right text to go to, but you grossly misread it. Kant doesn't thnk that "you receive no benefit at all from doing your duty" but rather that actions that you perform motivated by your own benefit don't express a good will or moral worth.
  6. I'm not going to argue that Kant was right, but you're being overly hasty in assuming that Kant assigns an ontological status to things in themselves. It's not like he's pointing to some set of purportedly noumenal entities and then telling us a fantastic story about them. Kant's point is that our perceptions and lived experience are pre-structured by a priori intuitions. To say that we never perceive a thing in itself is merely to say that we can't perceive things except in relation to our intuitions about space and time etc, the pre-structure of our consciousness. It's an entirely plausible
  7. Well, good. Now that we've divided the field into ersatz materialists and straw man "true materialists" who actually resemble your description, I think we're in agreement.
  8. That's two separate claims. Eliminative materialists might agree with #1, but are a distinct minority of materialists. Materialists broadly taken will agree with #2, but I don't understand how believing that consciousness is the product of material processes makes one "anti-consciousness". A sentence like: "This awareness, while made possible by our means of awareness (which are material) is not itself something that is material. Consciousness is not a thing but rather more like an ability -- the ability to be aware," is something a lot of materialists could get behind - note that you haven't
  9. And I submit that your claim is unsubstantiated eurocentric nonsense. Want to trade more warrantless claims?
  10. Even if certain indigenous groups didn't have strong conceptions of land ownership, they definitely had an idea of joint, tribal ownership of hunting, fishing and rights in particular areas. Certain tribes even distributed these kinds of rights internally, so a certain family group would own exclusive rights to particular hunting grounds. Land itself may not have been carved up and owned privately by indigenous North American groups, but other kinds of rights to natural resources definitely were. And those rights were substantially infringed upon by the appearance of white settlers and their g
  11. I'll give you the last word with regards to our discussion. I'm wary of making positive claims about the nature of objects, on account of them probably not comporting with Objectivism. The mods get unhappy with that.
  12. I think I'm quite finished here. These eight absurd implications of your view: 1. Proper nouns and definite descriptions never refer to actual entities unless those entities are objects of perception at the time of utterance. 2. The dots left on my eyes by staring at the sun are entities in a metaphysically strong sense. 3. There does not exist an entity such that it has parts. 4. Objects are incapable of changing shape. 5. Things don't have color, duration, mass, motion or texture when we look away from them. But they have shapes. 6. Shape is an objective property. All other propertie
  13. Stunning. So when I say "The current president of the United States", it doesn't actually refer to Barack Obama unless I'm in his physical presence. You can add this to the list of objections to your epistemology - it totally disconnects the referents of concepts from reality. Thank you for the substantive answer. One man's modus ponens is another man's modus tollens, I guess. The question is which set of premises we should give up. You can refer to the discussion of illusions I had with Grames (and if you're reading this, I promise I'll return to our discussion after this business wit
  14. Trust me, I get it. I understand your claim. But you aren't responding to my counter-argument, that there is a class of unique, particular objects - those identified via definite descriptions like "the keyboard on altonhare's desk" - which can't be captured by your account. If I go to your desk and see your keyboard, I've verified the existence of "the keyboard on altonhare's desk". Usually your answer is, no, you just had some set of properties that you threw together and found an object that resembles them, you didn't identify some particular object. But this object's particularity IS one of
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