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Everything posted by West

  1. OCON is in Vegas in 2010, so perhaps one can hope Aside from that, I have to disagree with the above. Penn made numerous concessions that he shouldn't have, and his supposed "argument" for individualism was vague and unsupported. "I don't really like the collective making decisions, I like individuals" was a weak statement. He could have been much more effective and direct; I've seen much better from Penn.
  2. West

    Peikoff on POWs

    When did he say that a machine gun was a WMD?
  3. I'm not implying you are dishonest at all. Perhaps mistaken, and Rationalistic in this example since you are connecting concepts in superficial ways, but let me explain where I'm coming from a bit. First, that's not the purpose of art according to Rand. To quote from the Romantic Manifesto (page 21 in The Psycho-Epistemology of Art): Yes, we experience art through our emotions, but that's not the end of the line. Since we are discussing literature, we're dealing with substantively conceptual material; if we were discussing music, I'd make no quibble over your argument about sense of life. I take Rand's position on art as far as it's purpose is concerned to be the concretization of a specific kind. It does serve the purpose of emotional fuel, but that's not it's primary or fundamental purpose. As to why I think that reading Atlas Shrugged is essential to call oneself an Objectivist, I want to refer to another quote that sums it up for me: I can't remember where I heard it first, but I believe Peikoff once said something in a lecture about AS and the Fountainhead being absolutely essential for the concretization of Objectivism, and specifically Objectivism. If you did not have either of those works, you would not have the idea of what Rand means by "the ideal man" or what a consummate exemplar of her philosophy would be like. They are indispensable for the concretization and understanding of Objectivism specifically. To be clear, I think that one can still agree with the Objectivist principles outlined in the various non-fiction Rand has written and consider oneself in agreement with Objectivism, just as not having read Objectivist works (whether fiction or non-fiction) doesn't make you any less pro-reason or pro-life, but in my opinion, the fiction is the necessary (but not sufficient) condition to be a dyed-in-the-wool Objectivist.
  4. If aesthetics is a necessary branch of not only philosophy (and more to the point, if art is an important value to man), but Objectivism in particular, then I think that reading Atlas Shrugged is a necessary but not sufficient condition of honestly considering oneself to be an Objectivist.
  5. I fail to see how depictions of beauty, sensuality, femininity, etc. are not universal themes. This is off-topic, but in perhaps another thread I would be interested in seeing the kind of art that the critics of this particular artist find to be consummate examples of "universality in theme," "talent," "imagination," and "artistic worthiness."
  6. I completely agree with your assessment. The last paragraph particularly; this happened with AIG. There were parts of AIG that were healthy, and parts that weren't. If AIG had the ability to move its assets freely between different divisions, they could have averted a lot of problems. They were also prevented from selling parts of itself off altogether as well. They ended up "accepting" bail-out money, and arguably, had to as it was the last move available to remain in existence. Call them pragmatic, but government pretty much eliminated a lot of the actions that would be rational for them to take in order to fix some of their problems.
  7. I find your approach rather ridiculous. Is your contention that Peikoff is not productive and therefore does not deserve the proceeds from his inherited wealth?
  8. I meant for a semester--you are paying for every time Peikoff had to show up to deliver the next lecture as well. Course it's recorded, but as far as covering the cost of an instructor, the comparative cost for a recorded lecture of the same length and quality by any other preeminent intellectual would probably be even more. It's also true that you can buy books on the cheap, and if you know of any that can possibly be considered a substitute to this lecture, I'd be eager to know about it. Another way to offset the cost of the lecture is to attend the OAC (and have the benefit of being graded and such by Onkar Ghate).
  9. I understand if people don't have the money laying around, but I'm wondering if the people who think "it's too much money" in general have ever gone to college. Even state-subsidized courses at a junior college is far more than these lectures. Think about it.
  10. (1) Among those listed, Understanding Objectivism was the most helpful to me, as it takes special consideration for accounting for methods of thinking that we may or may not be aware of, but that can and do affect how we integrate Objectivism as such. Objectivism Through Induction follows as a close second. (4) I listen to lectures while biking to school or the library (as well as while I'm at the library), which means I listen to them in short, 15 minute to 30 minute bursts. I basically complete one lecture a day, as I take about two trips (two times back and forth) a day. This gives me adequate time to think about each new idea presented in the lecture, connecting the ideas both to (a) what I've already listened to as well as (which is really just a part of) (b ) what is already part of my personal context. For those lectures that contained homework (like Objectivism Through Induction), I'd either have a mental idea already of how I would complete the tasks, or I would complete the section at the library if it was more complex. (5) I think they are crucial to fully understand Objectivism. Reading the novels and the non-fiction can only take you so far--not everyone can make every connection or identify every principle (not only is it not an automatic or obvious process, it takes a lot of time!). Some will excel at a faster pace than others, but those who have the benefit of the lectures will avoid the numerous pitfalls that are actually very common among any discipline or study. If your validation for Capitalism is something like "Man lives by his rational faculty, the initiation of force negates the rational faculty, therefore man needs a system that restricts the initiation of force and protects individual rights, which is Capitalism," then you still have a ways to go. The lectures are probably the best source for straightening out this kind of Rationalistic deduction. I've noticed that a lot of people knock the lectures not just for their price, but because it's easier to read a book. In my opinion, and I believe Peikoff makes this point in one of the lectures, if you merely transcribed the lectures, there would be diminishment. They would have to be specially written and edited for a book/pamphlet/what have you, which actually might be a good suggestion. Also, for those that need more of a 'visual' element while they are studying these lectures, the handouts that were given at the past conferences for the various lectures can be found here: http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/supplements.asp For those that find the prices restrictive, your best bet is to find the nearest college campus club, as they can borrow these lectures from the ARI (not too long ago they were getting rid of their stock of lectures on tape, and I know many of the campus clubs out there received many of these as well, so your nearest campus club might already have copies).
  11. Box office bomb beats Catwoman
  12. Lisa was hired by a few notable individuals to homeschool their kids, and among them was Peter LePort, a cosmetic surgeon who lived in Newport Beach (you can ask why Mr. LePort lived in California, but it would be kind of silly). So SoCal became the place for the action so to speak.
  13. At the time, I believe that's where the individuals involved were living at the time. As far as why the ARI is in Irvine now, it was a stipulation for Yaron Brook to take the head job for the ARI to move. Yaron wanted to stay in SoCal so his kids could be taught by Lisa VanDamme. edit: correction.
  14. The Beatles had more #1 albums than David Bowie:
  15. UK (and its scientists) patenting time travel, banning Geert Wilders from time travelling:
  16. He should have stuck with Methadone:
  17. Makes me think of Clint Mansell's compositions for the film 'The Fountain'.
  18. Laszlo's right. This is just the "spending allocation" model of determining GDP.
  19. Aw, shucks. Didn't realize that the great clip of Louis CK had already been posted. Please delete this post!
  20. It's unfortunate that his speaking time was so brief. The fact that the show ended on the faith note ("I've seen dozens and dozens of survivors and the essential characteristic each have in common is a faith in God, in family, and in friends..") made it an overall unpleasant experience.
  21. It's from page 61. It's where Dagny is talking to the guy at the newsstand.
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