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Everything posted by Bowzer

  1. Seems it wasn't just a grammatical mistake on your part but actually a much deeper issue of misunderstanding. ToC does not advance Objectivism any more than Libertarians advance liberty. This BBS is for studying capital "O" Objectivism.
  2. Welcome! Given how hard it is to establish and run a community like this, I think you'll be happy with what you see here. Most of us are committed Objectivists who share a reverence for the philosophy of Ayn Rand--part of this is understanding that philosophy is not a parlor game but a tool for living on earth.
  3. There is a fundamental difference between a government that respects individual rights and a dictatorship. To apply Miss Rand's comments to a dictatorship is a monstrous dropping of context.
  4. That is the exact opposite of what Miss Rand was pointing out in "The Objectivist Ethics": This point is further elucidated in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in the section, "'Life' as the Essential Root of 'Value'," found in Chapter 7.
  5. Some of you may want to read the following on The Ayn Rand Institute site: "Innocents in War?" by Dr. Onkar Ghate "War, Nuclear Weapons and 'Innocents'" by Dr. Onkar Ghate Q & A with Ayn Rand "Stop Apologizing for Civilian Casualties" by Peter Schwartz
  6. I would like a scientific illustration of this line from OPAR: In science, there are very large scale or abstract units of measurement like lightyears. Following the principle that Dr. Peikoff writes about above, there must be a perceptual-level primary unit to which a lightyear can be reduced (since we can't directly perceive a lightyear). I was wondering if someone could reduce a more abstract unit of measurement (perhaps ohms or something not as obvious as length).
  7. Thanks for the replies! Can anyone tackle a more complex example? Something that isn't as obvious as length?
  8. Well, the word "lightyear" is certainly with man's perceptual range but that's not the answer that I was seeking. A unit is itself an instance of the attribute being measured, in this case length. A word is not a unit in this sense. Dr. Peikoff writes in OPAR: What is the primary unit of length used by scientists to grasp the distance of a lightyear? If astronomists ultimately reduce lightyears to feet, I can live with that. I was just wondering if there was a readout on some instrument or some other observable phenomenon that gave us an easily perceivable unit of measurement in this case.
  9. I think this is an issue more for psychology than for philosophy, but Miss Rand did have some words on the subject: You might also look up the topic "Humor" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon as it contains an excerpt from one of Miss Rand's Q & A periods on the subject of humor.
  10. You really should read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. The entire book is an argument against design.
  11. In the section, "Concept-Formation as a Mathematical Process," (found in Chapter 3 of OPAR) Dr. Peikoff discusses the purpose of measurement, what Miss Rand identified as "a process of integrating an unlimited scale of knowledge to man's limited perceptual experience—a process of making the universe knowable by bringing it within the range of man's consciousness, by establishing its relationship to man." (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 8) This means that every unit of measurement must, ultimately, be brought down to the level of man's perception. Would someone illustrate this principle with an example or two of scientific units of measurement? How does a "light-year" get reduced to something easily perceivable?
  12. Well worth the price of admission: The Harry Binswanger List
  13. You're under a huge misunderstanding...I take her meaning in the first paragraph that you quoted above as just a physiological point: a certain part of a man's anatomy is physiologically tied to his arousal, a part of his body that is necessary for sex. Woman has no counterpart to this. Need I go further?
  14. This thread should probably have been moved to this forum. My fault. Done. - GC
  15. You're welcome! It's not so much a warning about being led astray (although it could definitely confuse your thinking) as it is an admonition about wasting time. I can't really express in just a few words how bad contemporary philosophy of mind is but it's BAD. You could embark on a study of historical views of consciousness by studying pre-Kantian thinkers. I would recommend the history of optics since it is a topic closely tied to consciousness with a rich and long history.
  16. I can sympathize with your situation since I have been in a similar spot myself. I'm not the most talkative person so I did develop some techniques to aid me in keeping a phone line alive. Keep note of interesting things that have happened to you since the last time you talked. These little details help to make your presence real to your girlfriend, that is, they give her insight into your daily life. This is just as important as discussing the important things in life. My then-girlfriend (now-wife ) would sometimes spend an hour telling me about what the cats had done that day. It doesn't seem like much at the time but after the phone conversation, it helped me to picture what was going on in her life so far away from me. Jot these tidbits down on a notepad if you have trouble thinking of things to say. Give yourself material for conversation so that should silence arise, you have a way to end it. Pay special attention to what she values most and think of ways to make a conversation out of them. Even if you care deeply about someone, it's not hard for conversations to become routine. But a person's deepest values are almost always interesting conversation subjects. Think of personal history types of questions: where did you go to school? What was your high school experience like? Were you a nerd, a burnout, a prep? What actors did you have a crush on as you were growing up? They don't have to be deep questions. You can often enter a value-oriented conversation through silly questions. Most of all, be a good listener and express your interest! If she feels like she is talking to herself, she will surely stop talking. Phone conversations can be a great medium through which to get to know someone. It's your voice and her voice with nothing in between. Used properly, you can create deep roots for a future relationship. I hope that helps and best wishes to you!
  17. There are many other Objectivist sources to study other than OPAR and ITOE. I would also emphatically recommend as many of Dr. Binswanger's audio courses as you can get your hands on. You might also want to check out Dr. Gotthelf's book, On Ayn Rand, as it has excellent sections on epistemology. Ayn Rand's Marginalia contains crucial insights into some of Miss Rand's private thoughts on epistemology (so do her Journals and Letters for that matter). To the best of my knowledge--and I have surveyed most of the field of cognitive psychology--the process of concept-formation (properly understood) is, at this point, unknown to psychology. As for philosophy of mind outside of Objectivism I would recommend staying away from it at least until you have fully chewed the Objectivist principles.
  18. Actually, that worked out perfectly since I figured that you would provide links that I didn't know about being the TEW newbie that I am. You can represent a hyperlink with any text that you want. I often embed hyperlinks in my messages as regular text. It takes a bit more work to type your posts but it's easier on the reader's eyes and your test isn't interrupted by a nasty, long URL.
  19. Objectivists are prolific and they have indeed covered a vast amount of intellectual territory: from epistemology to law to financing to history to romance...you name it! But this is a testament rather than a blockade to the amount of work that can still be done in philosophy, all of it original and exciting. The formal philosophy of Objectivism is composed of Miss Rand's writings and those of which she approved during her lifetime. There is, of course, nothing more that can be added to philosophy in this sense since she is gone (God bless her). But we are still in the inductive stage in our development of a philosophy of reason. Look at Dr. Peikoff's recent lectures on induction or Dr. Binswanger's recent lectures on consciousness. Both of these are groundbreaking lectures. It is an exciting time to be an Objectivist!
  20. The most important passage from the Objectivist literature is this excerpt from Galt's Speech (also found in "The Objectivist Ethics" and in OPAR): If you want a brilliantly essentialized but more lengthy discussion of the nature of life, see Harry Binswanger's pamphlet, Life-Based Teleology and the Foundations of Ethics.
  21. You're dissatisfied with Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff's definition? See "Living Organisms As Goal-Directed And Conditional" in OPAR, Chapter 6 not to mention dozens of other places where life is defined and discussed.
  22. Thanks for the heads-up! I knew it was coming sometime in the future but I had no idea it was this close. I'm definitely with you!
  23. I am just using common English meanings: intuition--The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition. Perhaps it appears that posters on this forum are "reading more into your words than are there" because your thoughts are not very clear in your own mind? That's fine, let's not call it "mystical" but, more precisely, "non-rational." I still disagree with you for the exact same reasons; there are no non-rational means of knowledge.
  24. Einstein may have thought that he derived knowledge from something called "intuition" but that does not mean that he believed that he possessed some mystical faculty of revelation. As Stephen pointed out , Einstein spent many years meticulously studying mathematics and physics. I would also be curious to know whether those quotes were originally written in German as it may just be an issue of translation. Regardless, the phenomenon of "inuition" is well documented in cognitive psychology as simply the result of hard mental work. Ayn Rand gave the rational explanation for what is going on here and she called this process automatization. One of the principles of Objectivism is that reason is man's only means of knowledge. This excludes revelation, ESP, drug-induced stupor, "silent reflection," and intuition. See Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand Chapter 5, specifically pages 159-163.
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