Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by themadkat

  1. This is possibly one of the least logical, and most insulting, criticism's of objectivism I have ever heard.

    I love how it conveniently leaves out any mention of Rand's strident opposition to any business, big or small, getting one dime of government money for any reason. Bailouts are not capitalist, they are corporatist.

  2. It's very common in war to come up with negative descriptions of your MORTAL enemy. When you see your friends dying all around you you're not in the mood for niceties. The Germans we not loved either. Some of these leftists really have no comprehension of what's important in life.

    I'm not sure it's that simple. Racism can definitely be a factor. My WWII vet grandpa hated the Japanese until the day he died despite the fact that he only ever fought in the European theater and the ones killing his boys were all Nazis. The war ended before Grandpa could be shipped to the Pacific. Why would he express such hatred of the Japanese but never the Germans, to the end of his life mind you?

  3. Responding to a previous post by themadkat, I don't think it is fair to call Singer a Utilitarian. Utilitarians believe in maximizing pleasure overall. Singer is more of an egalitarian, he does not really care how bad things are - just that everyone experiences them equally. He advocates redistribution of wealth to the point at which the giver is just as poor as the receiver. Utilitarians (as nutty as I believe they are) at least shoot for the "good" (maximizing hedons or pleasure units or something similar). Singer wants to diminish "the bad" he does not really care about "the good."

    Singer is a self-described utilitarian. There are many stripes and not all of them are trying to maximize good. In fact, not all of them seek to maximize. Mostly what the consequentialist philosophies have in common is a teleological view of the good, intrinsic value or worth (without reference to a valuer).

  4. Do you care to name what these "unjust things" are and which nation on earth would be justified in initiating or (if you think that we have already initiated force against them, then) retaliating against us?

    Any of the various countries that the CIA has meddled around in over the years. Central and South America come to mind most quickly. However, I would not say that any government currently in existence can rightfully declare war on the US - any that might have in the past no longer exist. And the truth of the matter is, I'm not certain what the legitimacy of those various governments would have been in the first place. But I would certainly never call the governments of the many dictators we supported and propped up over the years legitimate.

    For me this is not about governments. This is about particular people within locations we have attacked or meddled with whose rights have been violated. Those are the ones I think about showing up at my door. I guess the question for all of us is, how responsible can each of us, individually, be held for our government's actions? If you say not very much, then doesn't the same apply to those poor bastards overseas, or do they not get the benefit of the doubt in that way? And if you say we are all responsible for the actions of our government, then there are many, many folks out there who might in fact be justified coming to kick in my door. And then I would have to defend myself against them. Then we have a situation somewhat like Iraq.

    I've realized this discussion has strayed somewhat from the posted topic. My point is that in foreign affairs the US government, and the government of our allies, has committed downright evil actions over the years and violated rights in my name. I'm exploring the implications of that in my own mind (more or less how I described it above).

  5. If he kicked in your door, that would be beyond the realm of collateral damage; that's targeting you, specifically. Do you believe yourself to be the legitimate target of personal combat because you pay taxes or some such? (no need to confirm or deny.)

    Not necessarily. We've kicked in lots of people's doors over the course of various wars and operations. I wouldn't have had to do anything besides live "in the way", basically.

  6. I say that realizing one day, I might be that one innocent who ends up killed by an act of self defense. Who knows what the future holds for this country, after all.

    You know, I've had the same thought before, myself. But I don't even consider it a future question. This country has already done some unjust things and if one of the victims of that injustice came to my door and kicked it in, I'd do what I had to in order to defend myself and my house, but I couldn't exactly call the guy wrong.

  7. I had not seen this thread.

    I am nauseated by Robert Kolker's calls to genocide.

    I condemn it as an anti-man, anti-Objectivist view.

    I want to second this. Most emphatically Not Okay™.

    I am in favor of legitimate self-defense. But wiping the population from a swath of several countries goes far beyond that and could never be justified on the basis of self-defense or any other means. It is wrong, it is evil, and I won't condone it.

  8. Yes, and premise #1 is trying to overlook the idea that we cannot compare values like that: across two different people. It tries to set up a notion where I get (say) 1 unit of value from the $1 I'm going to spend on some gum, while someone in Africa will get 1000 units of value if I give him the money for a meal. It's trying to compare that which cannot be compared.

    Singer thinks he can. He is a utilitarian and so takes value outside the context of a particular valuer. He is attempting to assume the "view from nowhere" when he makes these kinds of arguments (which of course he cannot do). So to him all units of value are equivalent and can be mathematically parsed in such a way. This type of thinking is why utilitarianism continues to exist.

  9. You deliberately changed the wording.

    I did not state "untarnished enjoyment" that is a completely different thing than "reasonable enjoyment".

    Also, it is not unreasonable to assume it is a public space. If X happened to "come upon" Y torturing a dog in Ys own home then X is trespassing. If Y is torturing the dog in Xs's home then X has a right to use force because Y doesn't belong in X's home.

    To presume it isn't in a public space is actually kind of silly.

    If it's in a public space why presume it's the man's dog at all? For all you know he could be torturing someone else's dog that accidentally got under the fence.

  10. I just don't see the point, they are cheap, they are tacky and they are juvenile.

    I disagree. I have seen some truly beautiful tattoos. I don't currently have any of my own, but I can appreciate other peoples' when done well.

  11. Dude! We are in the same boat. I go to public high school in Texas and boy, does my sense of pride send people the wrong message sometimes. Having the word "EGO" on the back of my letter jacket does nothing to help the matter, but I know who my real friends are. Anyways I want to know what people are like in Australia. Here there's lots of Bible-thumping altruists and self-haters. How about down under, hmmm?

    Also, do they have letter jackets in Australia?

    Where in Texas? I'm a student at Texas A&M myself. My best friend is from a super-small public school in N. Tex.

  12. No, I don't think that your interpretations are less valid than mine. Nor do I think that your interpretations, or someone else's lack of interpretations, invalidates my or anyone else's responses to the paintings, or the meanings that we get from them.

    And I think that you're just as unlikely to get the same things out of any work of music that I do, or that Rand did.


    My point is, don't you think it says something about a piece when exactly opposite interpretations of that piece are both equally valid? I think, to me, this is the crux of the "non-objectivity" label when applied to art.

    I am not much for a visual art person, unless you count my expansive geeky love for all forms of comic media and animation. So I don't know too much about paintings as such and I don't spend a whole lot of time looking at them (in fact I spend far more time listening to music). But the point I suppose I'm trying to make is this: can't you think of some forms of art where exactly opposite interpretations are NOT equally valid? Take a book, which would fall into Rand's definition of art as literature. Let's take a well-known book like Catcher in the Rye. There are many interpretations we could make of this book, but there is absolutely no textual evidence to support the conclusion that Holden Caulfield is a happy, well-adjusted and functional kid who is getting along just fine in life. There is no textual evidence to support that it is all a fantasy in the mind of his dead brother Allie, who is not really dead at all and is picturing the pain his older brother would be in if he was to die. In other words, some interpretations are CLEARLY not supported by the actual work itself. I think you could even say this with music. Would anyone seriously argue that "Black" by Pearl Jam is a cheerful, lively tune? For anyone not familiar with "Black", let's just say it lays on the E minor chord pretty thick and here are some of the lyrics:

    I take a walk outside, I'm surrounded by some kids at play

    I can hear their laughter, so why do I sear

    And twisted thoughts they spin round my head, I'm spinning

    How quick the sun can drop away

    And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass

    Of what was everything?

    All the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything

    Can you say that there are any interpretations of these two abstract paintings which are clearly unsupported by those paintings, other than just silly things like saying that blue is actually yellow?

  13. Apes can utilize language on the same spectrum as humans can. The difference between the hermit crab and humans that utilize metallurgy etc. is one of positions on a spectrum, not of category.

    Not really. This reference might be of interest to you:

    Rivas, E. 2005. Recent use of signs by chimpanzees in interactions with humans. J Comp Psych 119: 404-417.

    This researcher finds that the chimpanzees trained and filmed by the research team founded by the Gardners (advocates for the ability of their chimps to use language) are using the signs to get what they want, but do not have any semblance of syntax or semantics in the way they use their signs. Instead, the longer the string of signs they make, the more they use repetition of a sign or what Terrace et al. dubbed "wild-card signs" (from his studies with his own animal, Nim Chimpsky) such as their own name sign or that/there/you (which is pointing), which the humans almost always interpret as appropriate given any context of conversation and so hasten to get the chimp what it wants. In other words, it seems the chimps have excellently trained the humans to fulfill their wishes by using these gestures, but they are not using the signs as a language per se. There is no evidence they attribute any symbolic meaning to the signs beyond the behaviors they provoke in their human caretakers. Thus, Rivas concludes that the use of "language" by these chimps is not the same pattern shown by, say, human infants as they acquire language.

  14. The first gives me the feeling of energy, determination and action. It's meaning is that mankind should be strong and bold, and pursue his passions. The specific angularity and proportions of the shapes is what conveys motion and rising to me, the dramatic contrasts and bold colors suggest passion, heat, pressure and struggle, and the bulk of the forms and the roughness of the textures give me the feeling of strength and rugged durability. I see it as a very physically masculine painting. It's extroverted, dominant, serious and aggressive. It's like Atlas pushing upward.

    The second image gives me the feeling of serenity. It's meaning is that peace and gentleness are important human qualities. The colors are subdued and calming. There is practically no drama or contrast -- the forms are delicate and faint, and they convey a soothing gentleness, playfulness and weightlessness. The image is like a visual whisper. I see it as a very physically feminine painting. It's withdrawn and introverted, and anything but aggressive. It's like a mother caressing a child.


    The first painting looks like a kitchen tile floor to me. Its splashy color palette and angular lines evoke a mental image to me of the "futuristic" design style employed in the 60s, and I associate it with a "modernized" house where technology is able to save time and energy for the housewife. The colors are playful and make me think of children. So what this painting evokes for me is 1960s on-the-go mothering.

    The second painting is very cold and sparse, and the wavy lines make me think of readings on an instrument panel of some kind. It's as if some scientists are in a lab measuring a phenomenon in their clean white lab coats and everything is very clinical. In keeping with the 60s-esque style I see in this painting of course all the scientists are going to be men with cropped hair and spectacles, and I feel like it could be used as the first panel of a "careers in science!" educational video.

    I'm not trying to be contrary here, but is my interpretation any less valid than yours? I'm not completely making this up. I really do get this from these paintings much more so than your interpretation. I never would have seen these pictures the same way you do in a million years (not that anything is wrong with that).

  15. Note that the claim / question was about tool creation. (Later you speak of tool use). So what are the details of ape tool creation, where an animal manufactures an object out of something, for some purpose.

    Usually it consists of taking a branch or stem and stripping off the leaves and/or shaping it (perhaps chewing on the end to create a brush) and then using it, generally to acquire food. In more experimental lab settings chimps and other apes have had to either construct or deconstruct a particular object in order to render it appropriate for getting food from whatever orifice the experimenters have constructed.

    There was an interesting report about a gorilla in the wild who pulled up a small tree and used it as a depth probe, then a bridge to cross a mucky area (laying it down and walking on it), but our class could not decide whether that counts as tool use. Where is the line between tool use and tool creation? What constitutes a tool? We discovered during our discussion that under a broad enough definition of tool use even nest-building behavior could count, which is of course widespread, but that sort of behavior is not what we normally consider "tool use".

  16. I don't see why tool creation (were it ever attested with animals) would be evidence of volition.

    It is attested with animals regularly, notably with the great apes but arguably with some birds as well. Of course then we started to argue among the class what really constitutes a tool (if you throw out the hammer and anvil chimps use to open nuts you pretty much have to throw out the Oldowan tool industry of early Homo as well). You are correct that tool use and volition are separate lines of discussion, however. The nitpicky biologist must be coming out in me today since I'm cramming five or six papers into my head today. Incidentally, they're on ape language, so they might interest you.

  17. Anyone got any advice as to how to get started riding? I'm interested in a crotch-rocket type sportbike but I know those are not what you really want to be starting out with...don't want to end up like Ben Roethlisberger. So far the only bike I ride is the pedaling kind.

  18. Yeah, why wouldn't they?

    If that is a "controversial" ad, then the pro-abortion folks need to get a clue and return to being pro-choice... Nothing in there struck me as controversial.

    It's hardly controversial. In fact, it's nearly devoid of any kind of content whatsoever. But that was not the ad that was originally slated to run, from what I understand.

  • Create New...