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Everything posted by West

  1. I agree that he attempts to keep guests offbalance, but it makes for an interesting show. Some guests handle it better than others. Yaron Brook is unbelievably well-prepared for this type of show--his arguments are insightful and hit right on the money. No offense to Andrew Bernstein as I think he's a great lecturer, but he seems to have a little bit of trouble with this type of format; he seems unable to deal with the barrages that Hartmann puts out at times.
  2. This experiment is used to prove development of depth perception, not innate ideas. The infants used in that experiment would have all developed the (implicit) concept of depth-perception prior to the experiment at the age of 6-14 months (most likely). An experiment was done in the 60s by Dr. Richard Held (a psychology professor at MIT) and his colleague Dr. Hein, to isolate self-produced movement from movement produced otherwise (being on a moving cart, etc would be an example) to see if the same percepts result. An excerpt from their article “Movement-Produced Stimulation in the Development of Visually Guided Behavior” in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology: At night, the kittens were allowed to romp and play in pure darkness. They were allowed light only during the few hours in which they were placed in the apparatus. Thus, one kitten was never allowed self-produced movement in light and instead had to hunch in the apparatus, moved around by the actions of the other kitten. After 6 weeks of this experiment, the kittens who were able to propel themselves in the kitten-carousel apparatus in light were able to develop to the perceptual stage, in which depth perception is placed. The way they tested this was by two experiments, including the cliff test. The 'cliff drop-off' test was administered in the form of providing a board, with one end appearing to have a drop off of only two inches, and another with a drop-off of six feet (this end was covered with glass so the kittens wouldn't hurt themselves obviously). The kittens who were able to see their own actions in light preferred the shallow end, while the other kittens didn't care one way or the other. The second test involved the reflex kittens have, where they put out their paws when pushed near the edge of a surface in anticipation of climbing onto it. The kittens who weren't able to see the effects of their movements allowed themselves to be pushed right into the edge of the surface. A fact emerges from this: that percepts require certain conditions to develop. sNerd's example of his infant son almost crawling off the bed is an example of an infant that had not (at that point) developed the percept of depth. Length and temperature are another two examples. I remember seeing a friend's baby try to touch a hot candle on a birthday cake. These are percepts that need to be grasped (and they are grasped quite early, under the right conditions). The fact that they develop quite early is no indication of innate-ideas in humans. Harry Binswanger's lecture, 'The Metaphysics of Consciousness', is an invaluable resource that anyone with the opportunity should listen to, as it addresses a lot of the issues in here in great detail as well.
  3. Peikoff gives the caveat that if a military man is in a constant state of emergency (this is key here) that it is ok to be seeking short-term relationships in which to enjoy sex. Living in this perpetual state of emergency, one would not be looking for long-term relationships, and should pursue values in other people accordingly. One would lower one's standards slightly in order to engage in the act of enjoying the value of sex (and I don't take this to mean that it should be with a random prostitute, as Peikoff mentions). Peikoff makes the statement that if one is purely looking for a physicalistic pleasure, one should just masturbate. I agree with this and don't take it to mean that if one is in the military, that it's proper to drink and brawl and womanize. Just that one's range for the enjoyment of values becomes a bit shorter, and more, that one's standards are slightly lower (one has less time to wait for that person, devote as much time, etc.). Edit: made post slightly clearer.
  4. I'm late in replying, as much discussion has gone on since my last reply, but what I meant by not "reflecting" (I could have chosen a more specific term) Objectivism is that which is antithetical to Objectivism, and not an application of Objectivism to that which is outside of the realm of the philosophy. Yes, the forum should not be used as a platform to attack Objectivism and propound contrary ideas. With what has been said prior to this post, I don't think I really have much to add--I just want to be clear on the rules at this point.
  5. In my opinion, the chat feature is sufficient in this regard. The reason why I come to this forum as opposed to others is the specificity--it's too easy to find an open bar.
  6. I agree with what Inspector is driving at: I think it is antithetical to the purpose of this forum for members to be posting their take when it does not reflect Objectivism. At the very least, it confuses newcomers on the correct application of Objectivism, when ideas can be misconstrued (if they post a caveat that it does not reflect Objectivism and may be antithetical, that is fine, but I can't see that being a very common occurrence). If a poster hasn't really thought about the topic in question, or has half-baked ideas and are unsure whether their musings are congruent with Objectivism, they shouldn't be responding to a question whose sole function is to understand the philosophy and application of Objectivism.
  7. Architecture does not fit Rand's definition of 'art'. From page 16 of the Romantic Manifesto: Per page 46 of the Romantic Manifesto: Architecture is not an end in itself--it serves a purpose other than contemplation, and is therefore not art. Though it can be analyzed, it's primary purpose is function, not form--a building that was not to be inhabited or used for businesses or serve any purpose other than to be contemplated might be considered art, but then that would be in the realm of sculpture and not architecture.
  8. I agree with Chops' previous statements regarding "new". Something else that needs to be mentioned is the fact that architecture is not art--and even if it was, one can't replace one form of art with another in determining if a piece is "good" or "bad".
  9. My son wasn't supposed to be born for another 10 years at least!
  10. Yikes. Needless to say, some of the posts on this thread are unsettling to me. I've never taken the "feelings" of animals into consideration before I consume them. I'm having trouble with understanding a few positions expressed here. What does it mean to be "humane" towards animals? Also, why should one feel guilt for eating animals? Why do I feel like we're making the distinction between human feelings and animal feelings as well as the use of force a blur? When combines harvest wheat, lots of animals (bunnies, rats, etc.) are killed in the process from getting caught in the blades. Should one then avoid wheat products too?
  11. Athena and I are registered for the opening banquet, all general sessions, and the following optional courses: B2S1 Freedom of Speech in History - Eric Daniels C1S1 The Renaissance - John Lewis C3S2 Art of Introspection - Edwin A. Locke D1S2 Philosophic Issues in Economics - Binswanger
  12. I don't see how I misinterpreted what she said. The part about the government prohibiting what private individuals do is irrelevant, thus I didn't feel I needed to include that in context. She did in fact say that she found homosexuality to be immoral because "it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises, but there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality. Therefore I regard it as immoral." She ended her response to the question with saying that in her sincere opinion, she found it disgusting. In his lecture, Peikoff made a statement that contradicts what she said. He does not regard it as immoral, and in fact, considers it outside of the realm of morality. I would think this classifies as "going on the record, disagreeing with Rand's statement." Conclusion X cannot both be considered immoral AND outside of the realm of morality. Homosexuality qua homosexuality is not immoral. How are homosexuals qua homosexuals defying the "reality of their physical sexual identity"? From the link that you posted from Flibbertigibbet, I gathered that Flibber considered the sexual self to be an amalgamation of one's biological makeup in addition to the development of one's consciousness. Just because one is born with a penis, does not mean that it is immoral or even psychologically bizarre for him to insert it in places other than a woman's vagina.
  13. I'd be curious as to where you derived the 'Objectivist principle' that homosexuality is a denial of self. Ayn Rand made her statements against homosexuality in 1971, but later stated in an interview with Harry Binswanger in 1980 that "we didn't know enough about the development of homosexuality in a person's psychology to say that it would have to involve immorality." Nathaniel Branden considered her "absolutely and totally ignorant" about homosexuality, but I'll just go with Peikoff when, after Rand's death in 1982, he went on record disagreeing with Rand's statement in his 'Love, Sex, and Romance' lecture. He argued that homosexuality itself is not open to moral judgment. Edwin A. Locke wouldn't disagree either I would think, considering he specifically includes same-sex couples as among those who he wishes to lecture on successful relationships in his OCON 2006 course: http://www.objectivistconferences.com/ocon...nal.htm#romance Further, I don't think there's any question that people should be "allowed" to change what their genes determined. First, I do not recognize anyone else's right to "allow" me to do what I wish to my own person, and the extension of me consenting to another (a surgeon, doctor, etc) adult to perform it for me (other controversial things such as euthanasia included). Second, we change things that our genes determine for us all the time. Could it possibly be wrong to dye our hair, get breast implants, get porcelain veneers? This is why it's a question for psychology, not philosophy (without context, at least).
  14. I think this is more of a question for psychology, not philosophy.
  15. West

    God exists

    I'm curious what you mean by 'Objectivist' in this instance, as I don't see how Mill could be considered 'Objectivist', much for the same reason that I don't consider Ludwig von Mises to be an Objectivist (this is not to say that there aren't values to be gained from reading them). Both came to certain conclusions that are agreeable in many instances, but they differ in principle to Ayn Rand. To the extent that I have read and understood him, John Stuart Mill's ethics (and thus politics) derives from the principle of utility (though a much more watered down version of it, compared to his father's or Bentham's use of the term). Further, I'd call him more of a restrictive-hedonist in that he ascribes the good as the pleasurable, to the extent that one is not harming other individuals. The reason why he can fit into the camp of Libertarianism is because Libertarians accept individuals regardless of their philosophical basis for coming to the conclusion of liberty, which they consider to be a primary. As far as agreeing or disagreeing about war, Libertarians are a mixed bunch on this topic, precisely because they are unprincipled in their approach. Mill contends that the ideal 'utiliarian' states will provide the social, cultural and economic conditions under which citizens can live their lives according to their individual ideas of the good. There are superficial differences between libertarians, but most contend that people should just be left alone to do whatever it is they find pleasurable.
  16. West

    God exists

    Is it John Stuart Mill that said that? That's surprising. Occam's Razor, or the law of parsimony, makes a lot of sense in this case. By creating these superfluous "Gods", we take the focus off man, and what for? What is your hypothesis based upon?
  17. Athena is confirmed as well. Who else do we have coming? I'm excited!
  18. This is false. Hair growth has nothing to do with gender. It's a matter of genetics and diet.
  19. Depends on the context. My first response is that pain is a means of your body telling your brain that it is being threatened; there is an element of harm. If a person finds pleasure through this act of harm, it tells me that psychologically this person wishes to override the basic pleasure/pain responses that most animals depend on for survival. Man, being a rational being, could override this response, but then my question is when and why would an individual want to?
  20. I've read both and I don't see how either equates truth with pain. The point of Plato's Allegory of the Cave was not that it was painful, but the fact that it was blinding. The point was to illustrate that the truth would not be immediately comprehendable to the man who broke free of the chains. This is entirely besides the point, and your rhetorical question can be immediately disregarded as irrelevant. Before I go on, please tell me why pain is a value, and further, why truth is necessarily painful.
  21. My first response is that there's a fundamental distinction between what someone finds to be metaphysically important (as judged by what an artist selects to be included in his work) and what someone pursues as a value. A work of art is a statement about values, while an action is the pursuit of values. I take the concept of 'metaphysical value judgments' to be primarily applied in judging a particular artist and his creations. As KendallJ clarified in a recent discussion, in regards to the person that pursues art and sex in wanting to experience it firsthand (I'm drawing a distinction between the artist and the person appreciating the art here), the important question is not what judgments are inherent in masochism, but what values are being pursued and further, are they pro-life?
  22. It doesn't fall into the realm of metaphysics as it doesn't concern the nature of man per se, but instead falls in the realm of ethics because it deals with values [and one's intellectual and emotional response to said values]. If one extols pain as a proper means of achieving gratification, what kind of values do you think one holds?
  23. mas·och·ism [mas-uh-kiz-uhm, maz-] –noun 1. Psychiatry. the condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering, physical pain, and humiliation. 2. gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, esp. the tendency to seek this form of gratification. 3. the act of turning one's destructive tendencies inward or upon oneself. 4. the tendency to find pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc. I'll be the first to say that it's indicative that something is wrong when a person thinks sex consists of submission to pain and suffering. Sex is a celebration of one's highest values. I'd be wary of anyone who said they found gratification in harming oneself or others.
  24. Another favorite. Have you ever seen hair as finely painted as Pavonia's?
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