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Trebor

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  1. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Judeo-Christian legal tradition   
    "The Ten Commandments vs. America" by Harry Binswanger
  2. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from Rockefeller in Induction through deduction?   
    I've recently listened to Dr. Peikoff's course, "Objectivism Through Induction," and took some notes with respect to what he said concerning concept formation and induction.


    Disc 10, Track 4, 01:00

    Question: "I don't understand the difference between concept formation and induction."

    Peikoff: "Well now those are radically different. I mean, not opposites, but a concept, think of as a single word, like "table," "chair," "man," "star,"run," "hit," "red," "green," etc. Concept is like a file-folder which you designate a certain category, all the things which have this shape, for instance, table, or this structure, man, and then you put in that file-folder every piece of information you gather by studying a few men, and you say, 'since it belongs to this category, what I have learned about the few men, that they are mortal, for instance, applies to all the rest in this category.' So induction is, let's say, is the cash value of concept formation. Concept formation, you form the single word which is the file-folder. Induction, you formulate a proposition, a sentence, a statement, all so-n-so is so-n-so, which consists of applying to every member in the category the things that you learned by studying some of them."

    And: '"Man" is a concept. "All men are mortal" is four concepts united into a proposition which is reached by induction.'

    Question: "Is induction used in concept formation?"

    Peikoff: "No. That's a great question. Induction is not used in the forming of a concept. The forming of a concept just...for instance, here's one table and another table and another, and I'm going to set these aside as against "chair," and I'm going to use this as a category from now on, and call it "table." There's no generalization in that. There's simply the setting aside of some concretes and opening a file. But now, the first time you start studying tables and you find, for instance, they're made of wood, assuming that was true, and you do that by studying ten of them and then you say, 'okay, that goes into the file now, all tables are wooden.' That is an induction."

    Edit: I'm uncertain as to what's proper, with respect to copyrights, when quoting such material. If posting such a quote is inappropriate, please let me know and delete this post. I could simply post a statement, in my own words, of the gist of Dr. Peikoff's response, but I thought the quote, if appropriate, given that it's brief, would be clear and helpful.
  3. Like
    Trebor reacted to Marc K. in Peikoff on date rape   
    What a joke this thread is and now it has turned farcical!!! Now we are talking about civility!?!?

    And the person who recognizes when another has “crossed the line into incivility” is the person whose signature is "Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo" - Gaius Valerius Catullus, which translates to “I will sodomize you and face-fuck you”!!!

    If the irony wasn’t so sad, disgusting and irrational it might be funny.

    Imagine getting a letter from someone whose signature wasn’t “Sincerely” or “Cordially” or even “Honestly” or “Angrily” but instead they signed “I will sodomize you and face-fuck you”!!! Would you ever speak to them again? And what would it say about you if you did?

    Of course this person cowers and hides behind a dead language, which further demonstrates his character.

    And if you think that maybe he is just being cute or literarily astute and doesn’t actually comport himself that way, you are wrong. This is how he converses with those whom he disagrees. He has used the same invective in this thread:

    Can you read how personal and insulting his attacks are? Yes, he is an authority and if it is only in word and not deed, that is bad enough.

    This is the person who finds LP’s words “horrifying”??? I doubt this person could be horrified by anything.

    Maybe he was just having a bad day?:

    Maybe not.


    This person doesn’t like Leonard Peikoff, is dedicated to his persecution and, as far as I can tell, his only contribution to this site is just that. He admits that this is his motive and has vowed to continue attacking him:


    The gall of a person who attacks Peikoff’s character and intellect using the words of a known liar and pretender, whom Ayn Rand herself disavowed, is almost immeasurable. The only people who “perpetuate the public image of a Randroid loony cult” are the ones this person sanctions: the Brandens and David Kelley.

    If you think he reserves himself to only an intellectual attack you are wrong:


    He has compared LP to Hitler:


    He has alluded to LP as a King:


    He admits to comparing LP to a psychotic:



    To think that you can have a rational conversation with this person about LP is like thinking you can have a rational conversation with the Pope about ethics …

    And now the crème de la crème. He and another pontiff want those who defended Peikoff originally to recant. Presumably this would show some level of integrity. Where is their integrity when they were both sneering and prognosticating about how Peikoff would defend his statements? When Peikoff does what neither said he would, when he completely reverses himself, they supposedly still find room to denounce him. They can’t admit they were wrong but they somehow find fault in other’s comparable action? Integrity indeed.


    But maybe he has an intellectually honest point. Maybe, somehow, his character hasn’t polluted his intellect. Not true, here are his questions about what Peikoff said the second time:




    He is saying that Peikoff’s “position is not clear,” but he has mischaracterized and misrepresented what Peikoff’s position is.

    Here is what Peikoff actually said:

    “The woman has a right to say no, a moral right”.

    Even in the middle of sex, if, for instance (among other things) “something in his desires sexually, in the style of sex he wanted, which turned her off completely”

    “They all have the right to refuse, and when they do the man has no right to assert himself forcibly”

    Peikoff’s position is perfectly clear.


    … But this person hasn’t come here for rational discussion. How can you expect to have a rational discussion with someone who answers you by saying “I will sodomize you and face-fuck you”. He disrespects you just by having a conversation with you. If he disagrees with you but maybe you make some good points, he greets your argument by saying “I will sodomize you and face-fuck you”. If he agrees with you, he still doesn’t respect you. Like a child he says from his hiding place “I will sodomize you and face-fuck you”.


    Please don’t sanction his behavior any further.
  4. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from Amaroq in Peikoff on date rape   
    Grow up!
  5. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from hernan in Is it moral to lie to an enemy?   
    I don't understand why you think that they are different, in the relevant sense. Sure, pay your taxes ("the taxman can be bought off at the demanded ransom") or comply with the extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer (the extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer can be bought off at their demanded price).

    What's the relevant difference? Why not "dump the taxman and a extortionist/kidnapper/blackmailer into the same bucket"?

    An enemy is someone who is actively out to destroy one's life or values, including one's pursuit of one's values.
  6. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from knast in A is A?   
    Nonsense.
  7. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from knast in A question for the Rand experts. Rand’s atheism   
    That's an important point. There's a flip side to this issue as well. Ultimately, Objectivism, as a whole, stands or falls as a totality.


    From Dr. Peikoff's 1985 lecture, "Philosophy of Education," during the last (sixth) lecture, a Q&A session:


    Q: In your disclaimer at the beginning of your first lecture you said that Ayn Rand has not reviewed all of what you would present, and also reminded us of your fallibility. Do you mean to imply that she was infallible?

    A: No. But some people think so, so I was putting them on notice, that if they think she is, they surely don't think I am. No, she was not infallible. Nobody is infallible.

    Q: Did I mean to imply that Objectivism is, as she defined it, right or wrong?

    A: What do you think about that question? Is Objectivism as she defined it right or wrong?

    Absolutely!

    Objectivism is the name of her philosophy, so if you think it's right or wrong, it's exactly what she said it was. If you have a different philosophy, you call it "gloopism" or whatever you want, and then that's your philosophy, right or wrong.

    Now the thing that this questioner fails to grasp is that a philosophy is not an eclectic congerie of ideas. It is not like four ideas on reality and six ideas on knowledge and three on ethics and eight or nine on politics, and, you know, you could be right on A3 but not B4 and C7. That is not a philosophy.

    From what we've already said just about integration, you should know that a proper philosophy is one totality, and it's an issue of basic principles and their consequences. So it's either all right or it's all wrong, if it's an integrated system. And therefore, depending one your viewpoint, either Objectivism is all right or it's all wrong, but either way it is what she defined it as, one consistent whole.

    Q: I view you and others as having the duty (let's say you don't mean that in the strong sense) of adding to and if necessary correcting the existing ideas of Objectivism. Do you agree?

    A; Well, I agree that anybody interested in it who is a professional philosopher and so on - that's his field - should, if he can - it would be nice to come up with something more than just reiterating what was already stated. Sure. But nobody has the duty to discover something new. You can't have a duty to discover the new. It's the same reason why you can't teach how to discover the new. You either do it or you don't.

    Now, what about, do we have a duty in correcting the existing ideas?

    If anything is wrong anywhere, anybody who is interested in the truth should correct it. Does that mean that I concede that maybe there is an essential principle of Objectivism that is wrong? No, because by my understanding for the reason I just told you, it's one totality. So if any one principle is wrong, the whole thing is collapsed. In which case it doesn't make any sense to correct it. You then should start with Hegel or Marx or whoever you can find and do what you can within that framework.

    Q: Can you say anything...

    A: The problem is, you see, that people that ask these questions don't distinguish a principle from a concrete application and invariably have in mind, "If I disagree about a woman president, shouldn't I correct Objectivism?" That is not Objectivist.

    Someday we'll have to have a whole course on "What is a principle?," and that will clarify these questions, cause there is really some things that are important, but it doesn't mean they are principles.

    ----

    It's true, Objectivism is not to be accepted on faith, but it stands or falls as a whole.

    And of course, the same applies to religions.

    As to a course on what a principle is, Dr. Peikoff did give a speech on the subject, "Why Should One Act on Principle?," which, for any who do not know about it, can be listened to on one's "Registered User Page" at the Ayn Rand Institute's web site. (Registration is free.)

    The lecture is about one hour long, and there's a second audio, about 30 minutes long, of the Q&A session following that lecture.

    (If you're already registered, the link, "Registered User Page" is on the upper left of the ARI home page. If you're not already registered, once you do register, you'll automatically be taken to your "Registered User Page.")


    *** Mod's note: Some discussion regarding Objectivism standing or falling as a whole has been split into a separate topic. - sN ***
  8. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from softwareNerd in On the Decay of the Art of Lying   
    Sometimes honesty requires that one lie.
  9. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from EC in How does one justify the rape of Dominique in FH?   
    Well done, bluecherry.

    If one can understand what bluecherry has explained, then one will understand why the micro-focus on details, losing sight of the whole, will never help to understand the "rape."

    Dominique vs Roark, a clash of metaphysical value-judgements, one side held in error and not truly, fully or consistently embraced.
  10. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from DonAthos in Capitalism and the Proper Role of Government   
    Not presuming to speak for Mr. Miovas, but he said that one cannot rely on "men's rationality, or good-will, or good intentions to secure legal objectivity" (as you put it). Instead we need a government of objectively defined laws protecting rights, objectively identified, a government delimited to its proper function.


    [my bold]
    What market? You're implying that there's a market prior to the existence of government. Is there? (And what makes you think that at least some anarcho-capitalists "wouldn't necessarily disagree with this desired goal"? What is their desired goal?)

    "Anarchism vs. Objectivism" by Harry Binswanger


    The most twisted evasion of the "libertarian" anarchists in this context is their view that disputes concerning rights could be settled by "competition" among private force-wielders on the "free market." This claim represents a staggering stolen concept: there is no free market until after force has been excluded. Their approach cannot be applied even to a baseball game, where it would mean that the rules of the game will be defined by whoever wins it. This has not prevented the "libertarian" anarchists from speaking of "the market for liberty" (i.e., the market for the market).

    [my bold]
    Again, what market?

    Why are there warring gangs now, such as with drug dealers or cartels? Why were there the turf wars in Chicago, for instance, during prohibition? Because the government does not or would not recognize the legitimacy of competing governments?



    True.

    "It's the Spending, Stupid" by Dr. Hurd:


    In the end, politicians are evading what Americans by and large don’t want to face. It’s easy to blame and condemn politicians. But the politicians who know it’s career suicide to address spending are right. This wouldn’t be true if the majority of Americans were willing to face the truth.
    The government we have is a reflection of the philosophy dominating our culture. A government cannot stand in opposition to the dominant philosophy of the culture. There is no way to design one that can do so. This is the fundamental flaw of Libertarianism, of taking Rand's non-initiation of force principle as some self-evident axiom (i.e., "most [even if not all] people agree that initiating force is wrong") as the only basis required for a proper government, denying the need of moral philosophy (which rests on metaphysics and epistemology) in order to have a proper government and society. (See Peter Schwartz's "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty")
  11. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from mdegges in Objectivism: "Closed" system   
    Hopefully this will be helpful to this discussion.

    I've done a search on Dr. Peikoff's site, for his podcasts, on the issue of a "closed philosophical system" and thought I'd post the result:


    First result - Dr. Peikoff's site:

    'Is Ayn Rand’s philosophy a “closed system”?'

    Date: May 3rd, 2010
    Duration: 02:57

    [Actual question - Unofficial Index, Episode 110: "'What exactly does it mean for a philosophy to be a closed system?'"]

    Here's his response, as transcribed by me:

    "A closed system is a philosophy which is an interconnected system of principles which are immutable, which cannot tolerate any contradiction, otherwise the whole system is collapsed. That would be a closed system. If it is just a collection of different ideas that can stand or fall on their own, then it's "open," meaning it's not a system.

    Now, what is "open," if you want to call it that, is the application of that philosophy to concrete cases because many are not deducible from the philosophy even though they presuppose the philosophy, and we've seen that in these podcasts over and over. There are many options in how to treat love and hobbies and careers and how you assess the current scene and your predictions of the future, etc. Philosophies are open only in the sense that they admit, within limits, of a variety of applications and even disagreements if we can't show....

    Now, but what these people mean, who say that it is bad for a philosophy to be a closed system - and they even use the word "system," you see, which means "all interconnected," what they want is that everything be optional about the philosophy, not just, for instance, whether you should go into law or medicine, but whether you should have a career, whether you should do anything long-ranged. It's all subjective; it's whatever you want. So, in other words, it's philosophy as a bunch of fortune cookies thrown together, open to any new one. That's the end of philosophy, the so-called "open philosophy."

    Have you ever talked to someone who prides himself on what he calls an "open mind"? An "open mind" means an empty mind. It means that no matter what you tell him, he'll say, "Yeah, that's interesting, but so-and-so is interesting and so-and-so is interesting." This guy prides himself on never closing a question, and that is just what it is. The absurd thing is that there are people who believe that Ayn Rand is right, but object to the fact that she is interpreted by me and others as a "closed system." But, you know, I refrain from further personal comment."



    Second result - Dr. Peikoff's site:

    "In an earlier podcast you describe a closed system as, among other things, a whole which cannot tolerate any contradiction. Does this mean that Objectivism is the only closed philosophical system, because all other philosophies I know of contain many contradictions?"

    Date: April 11th, 2011
    Duration: 02:03

    [Actual question - Unofficial Index, Episode 159: "'In an earlier podcast you described a closed system as, among other things, a whole which cannot tolerate any contradiction. Does this mean that Objectivism is the only closed philosophical system and/or the only one worthy of the name, because all other philosophies I know of contain many contradictions?'"]

    Here's his response as transcribed by me:

    "No. There are other closed philosophical systems too. Indeed, in my DIM Hypothesis, "M" stands for a closed, integrated philosophical system which is not based on reality. The consistency in such a case, what makes the integration possible, is an internal consistency. You take the scholastics, who developed a system where some of their axioms were issues of faith, but then there was step-by-step logical deduction; the conclusions, the whole set-up was closed, there were no internal contradictions. Now, of course, if you say, well revelation contradicts observations and God contradicts Nature, then there were contradictions. But within their fundamentals, they were true, the fundamentals were consistent with each other, and the consequences of those fundamentals were consistently drawn. So, those are closed, real philosophic systems. The greatest examples being Plato and Hegel.

    Now, you can contrast that with, take Nietzsche for instance, take Zarathustra, where it's a bunch of aphorisms, some brilliant and some awful, but more or less related like one fortune cookie after another. That is not a system. Or Pragmatism, where truth is what works — what works today won't work tomorrow — so that is not a system.

    For more about that you read my analysis of "D," which is disintegration, with "M," which is mis-integration."
  12. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from JASKN in Can anyone list some of the major contradictions in the Bible?   
    The self-contradictions of the Bible from Freespace (Timothy Sandefur's blog):

    "A cool poster. I remember my Greek professor in college telling me, rightly, that the only people who believe every word of the Bible are people who haven't read it."

    Following the "cool poster" link, there are links to two printable versions of the poster (PDF): 22” x 33” or 33” x 44”
  13. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from brian0918 in Peter Schiff's Testimony on Obama Jobs Bill - 9/13/11   
    Peter Shiff's recent, 9/13/11, testimony before Congress on the Obama Jobs Bill:



  14. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from Ben Archer in Peter Schiff's Testimony on Obama Jobs Bill - 9/13/11   
    Peter Shiff's recent, 9/13/11, testimony before Congress on the Obama Jobs Bill:



  15. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from RationalBiker in Argument for the existence of God   
    If I were to say, as you quoted Aquinas as having said, that all of our knowledge originates from the sense, however..., my "however" implies some exception.

    Or, to put it symbolically, if I were to say, "All X is Y, however...," again, that "however" implies an exception, a contradiction to that "All."

    So when you stated, 'To use Thomas Aquinas again: ""Now it is natural to man to attain to intellectual truths through sensible objects, because all of our knowledge originates from the sense." However, we possess a natural ability to abstract ideas," your "However" implies some exception.

    That's why I asked. The implication is obvious with your use of "However." So, I asked my questions to understand whether or not you do agree with Aquinas' statement, or if you hold that our "natural ability to abstract ideas" is an exception.

    Given your reply, I am still not certain, as I do not think that you addressed the point of my question, your use of that "however" as you did and the implication (whether you meant that there is some exception or if you merely stated your meaning incorrectly).

    All that is to your comment: "An "exception"? I don't see that at all."

    As to your example of footprints in the sand:

    Certainly, if you notice some evidence of the existence of some animal (footprints in the sand), it is logical to conclude that they were caused by some animal. But even then, to have concluded that what you have seen are footprints brings other, previously acquired knowledge to bear on the evidence. By identifying the observed markings as footprints, you've already drawn some conclusions, correctly or not on the markings, relating the new evidence to what you have already learned. And, if the footprints are familiar, you may correctly conclude what kind of animal made them.

    If you are not yet certain what animal made the footprints, then if, on gathering more information, say by following the footprints to locate the animal that created them, you actually see the animal that created the footprints, then you, having new evidence of the sense, can then confirm your hypothesis as to what animal made the footprints or actually identify the animal even if you had no hypothesis.

    Regardless, your conclusion, on the basis of observing the footprints, that something caused the footprints, is but the application of your understanding of causality, that for there to be footprints, some animal had to have caused them.

    But if you are trying to use the footprints in the sand as an analogy, claiming that just as the footprints are evidence for the animal that caused them, so too is all of existence evidence for a being (a God which exists prior to existence) which caused (created) all of existence (out of non-existence), then you are using the concept of causality invalidly, outside of its context of meaning. The concept of causality presupposes existence; or, causality exists within the universe; the universe does not exist within causality.

    To identify some effect that exists (footprints) as having been caused by some entity that exists (the animal that caused the footprints) is not analogous to claiming that all of existence is evidence for some cause of existence. On the face of it, that is a contradiction.

    The question, "what caused existence?," is invalid. The question assumes that existence as such requires some causal explanation. What caused that which has no cause? Existence has no cause. It just is. That is what it means to grasp that "Existence exists."
  16. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from Grames in Objectivism: "Closed" system   
    I do not know either where the idea of Objectivism upholding taxation came from this time (I've still not read the entire thread through), but it is not an uncommon question for people to ask whether or not Objectivism supports taxation, or to suggest and argue that it does and even requires taxation.

    I had quoted Dr. Peikoff: "A closed system is a philosophy which is an interconnected system of principles which are immutable, which cannot tolerate any contradiction, otherwise the whole system is collapsed. That would be a closed system. If it is just a collection of different ideas that can stand or fall on their own, then it's "open," meaning it's not a system."

    Ninth Doctor asked: "Just what does “collapse the system” mean, anyway? Reason and Egoism are toast if it turns out that Government can’t be financed by voluntary means?"

    I replied: "f government cannot be financed voluntarily, if some initiation of the use of force by the government is required for its existence, then yes, Reason and Egoism are toast and Objectivism fails as a philosophy, as a system of system of interconnected, immutable, non-contradictory principles."

    You then said: "For instance, I read earlier a poster say that if there could be found no moral way for a limited gonernment to tax its citizens , then Objectivism as a complete entity will have failed!
    An obvious fallacy - taxation is simply a peripheral matter that hinges on core principles, but does not affect them in return. A one-way street."

    I then said: "I'm the poster who stated that "if there could be found no moral way for a limited gonernment to tax its citizens , then Objectivism as a complete entity will have failed!" although I didn't put it in those terms. I stand by what I said. A philosophy is a system of integrated (non-contradictory) principles, and, as Dr. Peikoff said, it "cannot tolerate any contradiction, otherwise the whole system is collapsed."

    Here's how I put it and what you're remembering: "And yes, if government cannot be financed voluntarily, if some initiation of the use of force by the government is required for its existence, then yes, Reason and Egoism are toast and Objectivism fails as a philosophy, as a system of system of interconnected, immutable, non-contradictory principles."

    To which you said: "However is the financing of a government actually an integrated principle of Objectivism?

    I agree that the principle of individual rights in society would depend on it, but if the finance is not forthcoming, it is the government that fails - not the philosophy. Surely?
    That is why I view it as peripheral - a practical problem with solutions."

    To which I replied: "In principle, yes, I would say that the financing of government is actually an integrated principle of Objectivism in as much as all philosophy has to say [on financing the government], or Objectivism at least, is that government is properly financed only by voluntarily means. If the finance is not forthcoming, voluntarily, then yes the government would fail, not the philosophy. My point was that if Objectivism were to hold that taxation is a or the proper means of financing the government, Objectivism would contain an egregious contradiction, collapsing it as an integrated system, as a philosophy.

    I do not see it, taxation, as a peripheral issue philosophically, but only as a practical issue in transitioning from a mixed economy to a free society. Given where we are, it is going to be one of the last problems to resolve - there's no way to support our government as it is without taxation. But our government as it is, is corrupt."

    And lastly, you've replied: "You are missing my point - in a non-taxed society, the rational citizens would voluntarily support minimal g'ment , for the value of having Law, policing, and national defence.
    Willingly, by the principle of mutual trade.
    If you don't accept Objectivism as being hierarchical, then I can understand how lesser, peripheral, practical issues would trouble you."

    My turn again:

    But I do in fact accept, and understand, that Objectivism is hierarchical. There are fundamental ideas and there are less fundamental, derivative, ideas in a structure of non-contradictory dependence and interdependence, the fundamentals requiring that the ideas that depend upon them be consistent with them.

    Slavery in America was not consistent with the fundamental idea of individual rights (of the U.S. Constitution). Individual rights is the fundamental. Slavery, although it would be compatible with certain fundamental ideas, is not compatible with individual rights. Something had to give in the face of such a contradiction. Either slavery had to be rejected, or the idea of individual rights had to be rejected. The two ideas are contradictory.

    So too are the ideas of taxation and individual rights contradictory. A philosophy that embraced individual rights as well as taxation holds a contradiction. Either individual rights must be rejected or taxation has to be rejected.

    Typically, fundamental ideas are the last to be challenged or rejected. Regardless, as long as there's a contradiction, one or the other has to go. If taxation is embraced as a proper means of supporting the government, then the principle of individual rights has been rejected entirely, if not explicitly, then implicitly, and the arguments become not on whether taxation is proper, but on how much taxation there should be. Regardless, individual rights has been rejected completely. What's left from individual rights is the influence it had had previously, but given its rejection, slowly but surely, until and unless it is embraced again, not only will taxation grow, but so too will other attacks on individual rights. There's no principle to stand in the way.

    The fact that a derivative depends upon a fundamental idea does not mean that one can embrace ideas that contradict fundamental ideas with impunity.

    This applies to a government, and it applies to Objectivism or any other philosophy.

    If Objectivism embraced taxation as moral, it has rejected, implicitly, its fundamental ideas. It would be a contradiction. Either the contradiction is resolved, or either the fundamentals are rejected and taxation supported, or the fundamentals are re-embraced and taxation is rejected.

    So, I disagree with you, it's not a one-way street where although derivatives (as you put it: "taxation is simply a peripheral matter that hinges on core principles, but does not affect them in return. A one-way street.") depend upon fundamentals, they have no impact on fundamentals. They do. It is a two-way street.
  17. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from DonAthos in Objectivism: "Closed" system   
    I do not know either where the idea of Objectivism upholding taxation came from this time (I've still not read the entire thread through), but it is not an uncommon question for people to ask whether or not Objectivism supports taxation, or to suggest and argue that it does and even requires taxation.

    I had quoted Dr. Peikoff: "A closed system is a philosophy which is an interconnected system of principles which are immutable, which cannot tolerate any contradiction, otherwise the whole system is collapsed. That would be a closed system. If it is just a collection of different ideas that can stand or fall on their own, then it's "open," meaning it's not a system."

    Ninth Doctor asked: "Just what does “collapse the system” mean, anyway? Reason and Egoism are toast if it turns out that Government can’t be financed by voluntary means?"

    I replied: "f government cannot be financed voluntarily, if some initiation of the use of force by the government is required for its existence, then yes, Reason and Egoism are toast and Objectivism fails as a philosophy, as a system of system of interconnected, immutable, non-contradictory principles."

    You then said: "For instance, I read earlier a poster say that if there could be found no moral way for a limited gonernment to tax its citizens , then Objectivism as a complete entity will have failed!
    An obvious fallacy - taxation is simply a peripheral matter that hinges on core principles, but does not affect them in return. A one-way street."

    I then said: "I'm the poster who stated that "if there could be found no moral way for a limited gonernment to tax its citizens , then Objectivism as a complete entity will have failed!" although I didn't put it in those terms. I stand by what I said. A philosophy is a system of integrated (non-contradictory) principles, and, as Dr. Peikoff said, it "cannot tolerate any contradiction, otherwise the whole system is collapsed."

    Here's how I put it and what you're remembering: "And yes, if government cannot be financed voluntarily, if some initiation of the use of force by the government is required for its existence, then yes, Reason and Egoism are toast and Objectivism fails as a philosophy, as a system of system of interconnected, immutable, non-contradictory principles."

    To which you said: "However is the financing of a government actually an integrated principle of Objectivism?

    I agree that the principle of individual rights in society would depend on it, but if the finance is not forthcoming, it is the government that fails - not the philosophy. Surely?
    That is why I view it as peripheral - a practical problem with solutions."

    To which I replied: "In principle, yes, I would say that the financing of government is actually an integrated principle of Objectivism in as much as all philosophy has to say [on financing the government], or Objectivism at least, is that government is properly financed only by voluntarily means. If the finance is not forthcoming, voluntarily, then yes the government would fail, not the philosophy. My point was that if Objectivism were to hold that taxation is a or the proper means of financing the government, Objectivism would contain an egregious contradiction, collapsing it as an integrated system, as a philosophy.

    I do not see it, taxation, as a peripheral issue philosophically, but only as a practical issue in transitioning from a mixed economy to a free society. Given where we are, it is going to be one of the last problems to resolve - there's no way to support our government as it is without taxation. But our government as it is, is corrupt."

    And lastly, you've replied: "You are missing my point - in a non-taxed society, the rational citizens would voluntarily support minimal g'ment , for the value of having Law, policing, and national defence.
    Willingly, by the principle of mutual trade.
    If you don't accept Objectivism as being hierarchical, then I can understand how lesser, peripheral, practical issues would trouble you."

    My turn again:

    But I do in fact accept, and understand, that Objectivism is hierarchical. There are fundamental ideas and there are less fundamental, derivative, ideas in a structure of non-contradictory dependence and interdependence, the fundamentals requiring that the ideas that depend upon them be consistent with them.

    Slavery in America was not consistent with the fundamental idea of individual rights (of the U.S. Constitution). Individual rights is the fundamental. Slavery, although it would be compatible with certain fundamental ideas, is not compatible with individual rights. Something had to give in the face of such a contradiction. Either slavery had to be rejected, or the idea of individual rights had to be rejected. The two ideas are contradictory.

    So too are the ideas of taxation and individual rights contradictory. A philosophy that embraced individual rights as well as taxation holds a contradiction. Either individual rights must be rejected or taxation has to be rejected.

    Typically, fundamental ideas are the last to be challenged or rejected. Regardless, as long as there's a contradiction, one or the other has to go. If taxation is embraced as a proper means of supporting the government, then the principle of individual rights has been rejected entirely, if not explicitly, then implicitly, and the arguments become not on whether taxation is proper, but on how much taxation there should be. Regardless, individual rights has been rejected completely. What's left from individual rights is the influence it had had previously, but given its rejection, slowly but surely, until and unless it is embraced again, not only will taxation grow, but so too will other attacks on individual rights. There's no principle to stand in the way.

    The fact that a derivative depends upon a fundamental idea does not mean that one can embrace ideas that contradict fundamental ideas with impunity.

    This applies to a government, and it applies to Objectivism or any other philosophy.

    If Objectivism embraced taxation as moral, it has rejected, implicitly, its fundamental ideas. It would be a contradiction. Either the contradiction is resolved, or either the fundamentals are rejected and taxation supported, or the fundamentals are re-embraced and taxation is rejected.

    So, I disagree with you, it's not a one-way street where although derivatives (as you put it: "taxation is simply a peripheral matter that hinges on core principles, but does not affect them in return. A one-way street.") depend upon fundamentals, they have no impact on fundamentals. They do. It is a two-way street.
  18. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from JASKN in Objectivism: "Closed" system   
    I agree with what you said.

    I guess that what I am still confused about is just what it is that we disagree about.

    [surely, we can find something to disagree about.]
  19. Downvote
    Trebor got a reaction from Entropy in Objectivism: "Closed" system   
    Perhaps that's part of the problem, two different usages or meanings of "open" and "closed." I'm not yet certain.
    One usage of "closed" seems to be that Objectivism is closed due to the fact that Miss Rand is the author and can no longer update Objectivism. It's her philosophy and everything she wrote is the philosophy, at least if what she wrote relates to it, identifying the essential principles, arguing that they are valid, etc. The other usage seems to be that Objectivism is closed because it is a complete, integrated system. In both senses, I consider Objectivism to be closed.

    Deciding to drop "open" vs "closed" and instead opt for "contained" vs "open-ended," at least for now, for me, just brings in more confusion.

    I'm the poster who stated that "if there could be found no moral way for a limited gonernment to tax its citizens , then Objectivism as a complete entity will have failed!" although I didn't put it in those terms. I stand by what I said. A philosophy is a system of integrated (non-contradictory) principles, and, as Dr. Peikoff said, it "cannot tolerate any contradiction, otherwise the whole system is collapsed."

    Here's how I put it and what you're remembering:



    Holding that individual's have rights and yet advocating or tolerating taxation is a contradiction. If Objectivism held that contradiction, it would collapse. As a system it would fail.

    If theft is immoral on principle, then that principle is thrown out completely if theft is permitted, by law, say, on Tuesday evenings between 6 pm and 7:30 (I add 30 minutes to the hour for the convenience of those who are engaged in stealing, to give them a bit more time to get the things they want, you see.)

    Why Tuesday evenings and only Tuesday evenings?
  20. Like
    Trebor reacted to softwareNerd in Rational Selfishness, Personal Experience and Questions   
    I did... see post #3. You did not respond to that. Probably, it's because a whole lot of people are replying to you. My advice is: slow down, there's no hurry here. Wait for some replies, focus on essentials, and then respond to the essentials.

    Also, I explained why I asked the question about your reading because you started by arguing against the concept of selfishness, but then you were questioning if Rand may have used the term differently from the common usage. If you had read Rand, you would have know the answer to the second question. There's no need to get upset... personally, I respond to philosophical discussion on the assumption that minds will be made up over months, not days, and definitely not hours. Just slow down!
  21. Like
    Trebor reacted to Marc K. in Objectivism: "Closed" system   
    Hi DonAthos:

    This is not the question that the open/closed debate turns on. The debate turns on the definition of what "Objectivism" is. Once defined as "the philosophy of Ayn Rand", which is proper, then once Ayn Rand is done then Objectivism cannot be added to or subtracted from. My earlier analogy to Newtonian Mechanics is quite apt. Newtonian Mechanics is one thing and it is one thing in particular, it would be changed if someone decided to add a few pages from Einstein to the Principia, it wouldn't be Newtonian Mechanics.

    Many books and articles have been written which I would call elaborations or applications of Objectivism and that is good. But it is up to each of us to decide which of these actually comport with Objectivism and which don't. But even if they do comport with it they still wouldn't be part of The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

    The funny thing is that in my estimation, the ones who promote the closed system principle (ARI) are the ones who produce the best books that do comport with Objectivism while the ones who promote the open system are the sycophants, posers and detractors of Ayn Rand who wish to change Objectivism while they ride Ayn Rand's coat tails and whose work and lives do not comport with Objectivism. Makes sense right: the ones who wish to change Objectivism are the ones who don't agree with it.

    If you don't believe these people exist, they do. And if you want to see the real life consequences of holding this view, then go visit OL which Ninth Doctor has linked to several times in this thread and whose web address is in his signature. If you are a fair and rational person, it won't take very long before you start to feel dirty over there, it is like trying to have a conversation in a sewer, where nobody has any manners.

    As for the person you posit above, Ayn Rand identified what she called "philosophy for Rearden", which is just the basics of Objectivism for the person who is productive and not really interested in the scholarly study of philosophy, he doesn't have time. This is what you describe above since the things you mention barely scratch the surface of Objectivism.

    If you want to posit a person who is interested in technical philosophy, while not impossible, I would find it highly unlikely that he could arrive at all of the philosophical innovations that Ayn Rand did, after all, she was a genius the likes of which only three or four (in the field of philosophy) have been seen in all of human history. But if he did he would be well advised to give credit to Miss Rand for discovering it first, much as she did with Aristotle.
  22. Like
    Trebor reacted to 2046 in The Answer   
    Since taxation involves the direct use of aggression against the rights of property, it is per se incompatible with Objectivist ethics, and thus by its nature illegitimate and criminal. Supporters of individual rights have to favor any decrease in the initiation of force. Thus, if we can keep someone's money in their pocket, we should favor it. There can be no such thing as "excessive" tax cuts.

    You state that taxes don't reduce the size of government, but this is wrong. It reduces the amount of aggression the government commits, so it does reduce government reach and influence, and advance individual liberty.

    It doesn't necessarily reduce the spending of government, true enough. But it does reduce the amount of money the government has available to spend. Now certainly, the problem is that the government borrows and inflates on top of the amount it takes in direct taxation. If the government is intent on spending all its tax revenue and borrowing and inflating on top of that, it won't matter how high direct taxes are. It will take in $n in taxes, and spend more than $n anyway, so not wanting inflation and debt is not a valid reason to maintain any level of taxation.

    The objection that cutting taxes means we have to pay for something later, as you mention, but you jump from the fact that we are currently forced to pay, because we accept taxation, to the value-judgment that it is better that we should pay (sooner over later.) But the whole point is that we should not have to pay for this public waste, period. The government will have to default and be liquidated to remain consistent with Objectivist ethics.

    Edit: And also, this kind of confusion is actually poisonous because is adds to the idea that tax cuts are bad because they "add to the deficit." But tax cuts only "add to the deficit" if you implicitly consider all the income of the citizens as the property of the government, and thus cutting taxes constitutes increases spending. But who is the owner of the funds paid in taxes? Once it is established that the citizens, not the government, are the owners of the funds in question, revenue and expenditure are essentially the same things then, and any amount of taxation can never be justified. Tax cuts aren't spending increases, and tax increases aren't spending cuts.
  23. Downvote
    Trebor reacted to WilliamColton in ExxonMobil Sues Obama Administration   
    Did you plan on commenting, or just rehashing the news cycle?
  24. Like
    Trebor reacted to Marc K. in Objectivism: "Closed" system   
    Were that true it would be very unfortunate since Burns herself is guilty of much worse.

    Please read "Comments on Jennifer Burns’s Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right" by Edwin A. Locke. Located here . Below is an excerpt:



    You can't take Jennifer Burns' understanding of Ayn Rand as any understanding at all. Whereas the people who published those works you cite have shown themselves to be actual Ayn Rand scholars. So whose word do you want us to believe again?

    I mean seriously, citing Jennifer Burns as a credible source of scholarship of Ayn Rand is like trying to denigrate the works of Leonard Peikoff using the musings of an anarcho-libertarian (oops) -- it doesn't pass the laugh test.

    But really this just reaffirms the original point I was making. Let Burns and Britting and Harriman write what they want, it isn't part of the Philosophy of Objectivism. I mean some of these writings might be useful but we have all the material we need to understand Objectivism in the published works of Ayn Rand.



    I'm not sure to whom you are referring but there is no hypocrisy by the closed system advocates. Their stance is that anything not written or specifically sanctioned by Ayn Rand is not part of her philosophy, which is Objectivism.



    You don't think much of the debate and yet here you are taking a stand, though a kind of agnostic stand. Are you saying that the philosophy of Ayn Rand is not a philosophy? I disagree, I consider Objectivism to be a philosophy and I consider it closed. Furthermore, I like museums and I would consider any museum that threw a few pages from Einstein into the Principia and called it Newtonian mechanics to be not a museum at all, but a total fraud.



    If by "insularity" you mean "insulated" from the works of Branden and Kelly and the Libertarians, then I would take that to be a compliment. However, after reading some of your other comments bashing Leonard Peikoff and anyone else associated with ARI, I suspect this is meant as an insult (and shows that your aren't as agnostic as you pretend to be). Please read the rules, this behavior is unacceptable here. If you want have an uninformed, logically inconsistent, anarcho, America-blaming discussion, go to the cesspool that is OL, they'll be glad to have you there.



    Do you think it is a good thing to ally yourself with Ellsworth Toohey?
  25. Like
    Trebor got a reaction from brianleepainter in "Iran jails U.S. "hikers" as spies for 8 years"   
    Well, I do feel bad for them.

    By what standard of justice do they deserve ten years in prison, or even the two years they've already served?

    Perhaps they were stupid and naive, but that doesn't mean that they deserve what a theocratic, totalitarian government has done to them. Faulting them, suggesting that they have gotten what they deserve, is like faulting a young woman who gets raped because she was in the wrong area at the wrong time.
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