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Everything posted by adrock3215

  1. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    What do you mean by test? Do you mean that empirical observation is not conclusive enough?--because that is what I have been pointing to for the entirety of this conversation. I told you all the conditions necessary for free will to exist. Pressed further, I told you the reasons why animals do not have free will, on the basis that they do not use reason. I quoted Aquinas to demonstrate how one can come to this conclusion. Prosperity's quote is even better. Sign to an ape to bring you 10 green triangles, and see how far you get. You are trying to answer this question apriori, instead of thinking in actual empirical observation. People who try to address the question of free will (in man) deductively always bring other categories of being into question, such as apes, monkeys, sea otters, computers, calculators, etc. As I said earlier, there is no evidence to support the conclusion that animals (or computers) have any semblance of free will. This question about whether animals have rights can be addressed after we establish the fact that animals do not have free will. Only a being with free choice can have rights. This other "understanding rights" argument going on is inconsequential.
  2. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    What about my reply was unsatisfactory?
  3. Jeremy Siegel is one of the better finance professors that I know of. He's written some good books on investing. Unprincipled--probably.
  4. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    You can tell from the observation that animals of the same kind tend to do the same thing. Aquinas states that animals act from "natural judgement...evident from the fact that all brutes of the same species work in the same way, as all swallows build their nests alike." He continues: "It is also evident from the fact that they have judgement in regard to some definite action, but not in regard to all. Thus bees have skill at making nothing but honeycombs..." It is not clear from any observations of animals that they can, upon deliberating on a particularly destructive course of action, choose it knowingly, and therefore willingly act to destroy their own lives. There is no evidence that suggests that an intentional comparision in the reason can be done by animals; that is, the process by which an action is evaluated with respect to a given long-term end and categorized as "avoid" or "seek". It is clear that men can perform such an introspective process. Starting from the premise "I can certainly imagine an animal appearing to perform these feats", and then deductively arriving at the conclusion that animals could act rationally is not sound reasoning; it is an apriori argument. You can imagine whatever you want, but that doesn't mean that there is empirical evidence which can inductively lead to your conclusion. Not sure how sharp the divide is. Regardless, one does not need any sort of specialized knowledge to observe that animals, in general, do not act on the basis of reason, but that they do act on mostly immediate sensations.
  5. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    I don't think that there is an easy, formulaic test. My best answer to this question right now is that free will is contigent upon several conditions. Notably: 1. The being must be able to judge a given end; 2. The being must be able to evalaute a particular course of action and identify that it leads or does not lead to his or her chosen end; 3. The being must be able to contemplate the ramifications of performing said action, prior to its performance; 4. The being must be able to execute said action. Obviously this process must be done cognitively, and not instinctively; hence the reason why philosophers have identified rationality as a necessary condition for the existence of free will.
  6. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    I'm not sure I understand this test, nor Megan's post. With regard to the latter, rights are intimately connected with free will, so the two should not be segregated or discussed seperately. Indeed, a being without free will cannot have rights, as, by definition, it has no choice of action to begin with. Free will is at least a necessary condition for the existence of rights. The text I always refer to on questions of free will is Aquinas' Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate. In it, he maintains that free will is the result of rationality. Granted that reason is our means of survival, we have free will. Extend this conclusion into the social sphere, and one concludes that man, who is by definition a being with free choice, has rights. The relevant section is located here. (Whenever Aquinas writes "the Philosopher" he is talking about Aristotle.) Second page, lines 20-24: "Hence the whole root of freedom is reason. Consequently, a being is related to free choice in the same way as it is related to reason. Reason is found fully and perfectly only in man. Only in him, therefore, is free choice in its full sense found." With regard to your 'test': For Aquinas, it seems as if free will consists of the ability to judge one's own judgements (from the first page of the above article, lines 36-39): "Man, judging about his course of action by the power of reason, can also judge his own decision insomuch as he knows the meaning of an end and of a means to an end, and the relationship of one with reference to the other. Thus he is his own cause not only in moving but also in judging." Also check the second excerpt, lines 15-20. It seems to me that Aquinas has a better test than a simple demonstration of attentive focus. If a being is able to rationally judge its own action prior to acting, with respect to a particularly meaningful end which it understands fully, then it has free will. I have seen little evidence that animals are capable of this process.
  7. True. And since I have not read this book, I don't know all the contextual facts of this particular presentation of Marxism. It may be the case that other philosophies are presented in the same manner. Simply posting a few paragraphs of a book that quite accurately summarize their subject matter does not give me grounds to effectively judge the book, its author's worldview, or even its presentation of capitalism. Much less, the ability to judge the author as a "con artist." The desired effect of such a post seems to be: look at how THIS guy presented capitalism by explaining Marxism...now, what is your emotional response to it? The most I can conclude is that I take the point of this small excerpt to be *a presentation of Marx's ideas*, and that it quite effectively fulfills that role.
  8. Should the book accurately summarize Marx's ideas, or should it precede every sentence with the proclamation: "The following sentence is irrational and morally wrong: ..." ?
  9. I'd say. More so, it is a serious case of bad philosophy. Many people live a conflicted life, where the work they do is "just what they do to make money and earn a living", despite the fact that it conflicts with their own personal philosophical and moral convictions. One need not be a good economist to be a successful trader or investor. Look at Mr. Buffet. He is a follower of Keynes, yet he has made a fortune in his lifetime from his dealings in the market. Actually, look at Keynes himself. The guy lost and then made a fortune speculating in the foreign exchange market, as well as in commodities. Keynes was a great trader, and yet his economic theory was a conflicting manifestation of his deeply rooted belief that men are stupid and incapable of rational decision making. We don't live in a free market. Therefore, one need not totally understand the economics of free markets in order to succeed in today's financial industry. All that is required is an understanding of a mixed economy. Mr. Buffet quite obviously understands a mixed economy better than most, which gives him his edge.
  10. There is an interesting thread going on at a trading board I visit entitled Ayn Rand and trading... Seems as if Rand (specifically Atlas Shrugged) was a large influence on several of the guys posting there, while other posters did not like her. Many wrong comments posted and many right. So far the thread is 10 pages, but there are a few interesting comments from various posters, including comments on Alan Greenspan, Rand's other works, the current economic situation as predicted in Atlas Shrugged, etc. That's all. Thought that was a bit interesting to see her being discussed on another site I like to visit.
  11. I see nothing wrong with this. It is actually a pretty accurate summary of Marx's ideas.
  12. Wrong. All wealth is the result of labor, it doesn't just exist in nature, growing on trees. Thinking is labor; it is quite hard work too. Tell this idiot to try it sometime, and let that be the entirety of your rebuttal.
  13. Sorry David, I didn't mean it as an attack on all linguistic philosophy. It is a crucial area of study. Just that there has been much linguistic philosophy I have read that is, quite obviously, tailored towards an individual with specialized knowledge. Certainly a contrast with the ancient Greek philosophers, who tended to write on much wider topics (at least the few I have read). Tenure: I gotta run out for now, I'll be back later, or tomorrow in the New Year.
  14. I think that sort of resonates with Einstein: He goes on to conceive of the universe as unbounded yet finite, as you mentioned.
  15. In my experience, it isn't so much the quantity of material read, so much as the method by which one acquires knowledge; that is to say, the way in which one goes about integrating newly acquired knowledge into the totality of his already existing knowledge. I have found, for instance, that it is somewhat futile to attempt to memorize concretes. For instance, I could spend time memorizing the fact that the German mark was worth 2.38 US dollars in 1913, 7 cents in 1918, and 1/100 of a cent in 1922. Or I could just remember that the German financial authorities were reckless and irresponsible in the post-WWI years, allowing the money supply to expand while blaming Germany's problems on the Treaty of Versailles. I could spend time understanding Utilitarianism by breaking it down into the four different schools that argue what 'utility' is: Welfare Hedonistic Utilitarians, Non-Hedonistic Mental State Utilitarians, Preference Satisfaction Utilitarians, and Informed Preference Satisfaction Utilitarians; or I could just remember that Utilitarianism is essentially the altruistic doctrine that subordinates the individual to the collective. I have found that an organized, rational, and methodical approach to acquiring knowledge consists of the integration of abstraction with fact. When reading (anything, from fiction to non-fiction to newspapers) I first try to understand what is being said concretely, then I try to understand the principles behind the concretes. Only then do I feel like I have learned something useful. I'm sure everyone here has read some newspaper editorial and said something like, "Heh, this writer must be a pragmatic collectivist operating on altruistic principles" or something to that effect. Certainly there are obviously fields way beyond the scope of anybody except a specialist, such as how to construct a particle accelerator. But that doesn't mean I cannot understand, in principle, the purpose of the Large Hadron Collidor, and its function in theoretical physics. Perhaps the answer to your question lay in knowing when a particular piece of knowledge is specialized in nature, and when it is accessible in a more general form. Focusing on the latter in most areas of study is preferable. Lastly (not to drive a point home that I've made elsewhere): I think fiction has a really large role in this. Non-fiction tends to be specialized. For instance, I have been skimming Bernard Lewis' book What Went Wrong, which deals with many concretes. At the same time, I have been working through Hugo's Toilers of the Sea. The latter has taught me an inestimable amount more than the former, it is more complete knowledge, more fulfilling. Art tends to express universals, which are more helpful in the acquisition of new knowledge. For instance, go to an art museum and pick a painting that you like. Sit down in front of it with a notepad for a half-hour, and write all your observations about the painting. Afterwards you can compare to some art critics comments on the same work. Typically, artists have a reason for everything that they do. Deconstructing the technique, style, and iconography in a painting can be a rewarding experience (it feels great to figure out what was so great and innovative about the Mona Lisa). Philosophy performs a similar function, that's why I like to read philosophy texts also. By nature, such texts are not really specialized, they just require the capacity for thought (unless you're reading some garbage linguistic philosopher).
  16. http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...mp;hl=ocon+2008
  17. Last year, my wife and I went to Newport Beach and had a great time. This year, with the conference being in Boston, which is much closer to DC, we will probably attend as well. There are a few things to be worked out with scheduling conflicts, so it is tentative for now.
  18. Nope. Stop avoiding the question. Which form of transportation would you choose? I want to know how you propose to get to the voting booth without using anything at all related to government . (I haven't even gotten to the fact that most voting takes place in public buildings, such as schools, townhalls, etc.)
  19. Would you choose car, foot, bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, boat, airplane, helicopter, skateboard, rollerblades, ice skates, snowmobile, unicycle, Segway, or some other means of transportation?
  20. How would you get to the voting place?
  21. As illustrated above, by the same way you drive on government provided roads while calling for government to get out of your life. (I'm assuming that you don't live in Sealand.) Like what?
  22. There is a funny Monty Python video where the ancient Greek philosophers play soccer against the German philosophers. Video is here:
  23. In my opinion, people who say that it was wrong for BB&T to take the money don't understand Objectivism in the least. Objectivist ethics is highly contextual, it is not a set list of concrete Do's and Do Not's, it is not a secularized version of the 10 Commandments. BB&T did the morally correct thing in taking the bailout money. Similarly, I do the morally correct thing in driving on government provided roads every day, using government provided parks, taking advantage of government provided tax deductions on my mortgage interest, owning a mortgage that has been bought, packaged, and sold by Fannie Mae, opening a CD account paying government manipulated rates of interest, taking out subsidized student loans guaranteed by Sallie Mae, etc, etc. Government is involved in every single decision of our lives. If I was to go around rejecting any and all government funded projects, I would have to just roll over and die. Quite evidently, the standard in Objectivist ethics is life, not death.
  24. Has it been translated into Portuguese?
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