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  1. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to dream_weaver in Free Will and the Choice to Focus   
    If philosophy, the variant that is often taken under consideration on this forum, were to be consulted, The Objectivist Ethics, pg. 22 offers a starting point for chewing on:
    When man unfocuses his mind, he may be said to be conscious in a subhuman sense of the word, since he experiences sensations and perceptions. But in the sense of the word applicable to man—in the sense of a consciousness which is aware of reality and able to deal with it, a consciousness able to direct the actions and provide for the survival of a human being—an unfocused mind is not conscious.
    Psychologically, the choice "to think or not" is the choice "to focus or not." Existentially, the choice "to focus or not" is the choice "to be conscious or not." Metaphysically, the choice "to be conscious or not" is the choice of life or death.
    On page 56 of OPAR,
    Volition subsumes different kinds of choices. The primary choice, according to Objectivism, the one that makes conceptual activity possible, is the choice to focus one's consciousness.
    Jumping to page 72, consider the following:
    By identifying the locus of man's will as his conceptual faculty, Ayn Rand aborts such mysticism at the root. Will, in her view, is not something opposed or even added to reason. The faculty of reason is the faculty of volition. This theory makes it possible for the first time to validate the principle of volition objectively. It removes the principle once and for all from the clutches of religion.
    While this was not referenced directly in OPAR, a similar vein can be found in The Objectivist, May 1969, What Is Romanticism? with regard to the primacy of values in human life:
    The still deeper issue, the fact that the faculty of reason is the faculty of volition, was not known at the time, and the various theories of free will were for the most part of an anti-rational character, thus reinforcing the association of volition with mysticism.
    Ponder a cat focused on a bird, it's undivided attention hell-bent on stalking it. This has a considerably different tenor than that of a man focused on the cat's ability to focus, while identifying the similarities and differences between his own focused conceptual grasp of "focus" and that of the cat's. I would submit there is a teleological difference. While both may carry existential and metaphysical benefits, only one has demonstrated the ability to conceptualize any epistemological ramifications.
  2. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in The right to one's life: where does it come from?   
    "You have a right to do what's right"

    But you also have a right to choose many immoral actions! That is what makes this a difficult discussion. Clearly the OP is asking if it is moral to commit suicide even if it may be secured as a right by any given government.
  3. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to softwareNerd in The right to one's life: where does it come from?   
    In some languages, there are two different words for the two different concepts that are both labelled "right" in English.

    Understood correctly, and with the elaboration that follows, people have a right to do what is wrong.
    They have a right to do anything that is wrong as long as it does not wrong someone else (in other words until it infringes on someone else's rights).
  4. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to Devil's Advocate in Is it moral to end one`s life to prevent certain suffering?   
    "A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.  There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life."  ~ Life, Right to - ARL
    Note this statement equates right (quoted) as a moral principal; not the political reflection of a moral principal, but moral itself.  Whether or not a man is free to act in a social context, it is correct and proper (right) to his nature to have the freedom of action to own his life.  I think we agree that morality precedes politics, but disagree on the literal meaning of this right as a moral principle.  So I will ask, if the right to life is only a political entitlement, why refer to it as being inalienable, as in the following taken from ARL, Individual Rights:
    "It is not society, nor any social right, that forbids you to kill—but the inalienable individual right of another man to live."
    So we have by your logic delimited to a social context, a right that isn't a social right, and glaring contradiction in the way Objectivism presents the right to life as a moral principle.  Or we have a fundamental right that precedes politics.  I choose the latter.   
  5. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from happiness in Why are so many athiests "liberal?"   
    Hehe, sounds familiar!....
  6. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to StrictlyLogical in Should Labor Unions be banned ?   
    No prob.
    It's just the OP raises the specter of "conventional rightwing ideas masquerading as superficial Objectivism" in the form of unprincipled nonintegrated and arbitrary opposition to unions, and your comment about "unions being moot" could be interpreted by those types, as a similar "blindly anti-union" sentiment.  Essentially, reading into it: 1.unions are "bad" as such, but 2. Without the power of government behind them we don't have to worry.
    Its not that noninterference of government will save us from immoral unions... but that interference (outside the proper role of government) simply IS wrong.
  7. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from Severinian in Some people welcome oblivion   
    In other words, you are wanting to restrict your question to the psychology of those capable of value and increasing value but still wanting oblivion?
  8. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to William O in Some people welcome oblivion   
    Okay, I must have missed the fact that the OP was about life extension. Apologies.
  9. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to dream_weaver in Logic And Self-Defense   
    Dr. Peikoff’s Introduction to Logic course mentions that Aristotle made the analogy of learning fighting skills as a physical ability in defending oneself to the role logic can serve as a form of mental self-defense.
    Training in the martial arts is arduous. Single techniques when first learned, will be repeated over and over. Later, basic blocks are used with basic counter strikes to automate effective combinations. To become accomplished, thousands of repetitions are required.
    In logic, most introductory courses begin with covering fallacies. Reasoning is not automatic. Identifying sound reasoning also requires the ability to distinguish faulty reasoning when it is encountered.
    In physical self-defense, a block executed properly can be distinguished from one poorly executed by perceptual means. If a punch or a kick is not blocked, it feels different than a strike effectively parried. Retaliatory force used in self-defense against an aggressor also provides perceptual feedback. When the opponent stops attacking, or has run off into the night, the fight is over.
    Reasoning is subtler. The study of formal logic is not a part of most modern curriculum. Recognizing a logical fallacy is a learned skill. At the perceptual level, it is pretty easy to recognize that what is identified as a cat is a cat and that it is not a dog. Understanding how selfishness is a good thing is far more complex. As Miss Rand indicates in For The New Intellectual:
    The process of identifying, judging, accepting and upholding a new philosophy of life is a long, complicated process, which requires thought, proof, full understanding and conviction.
    Objectivism’s theory of concepts unearthed at least three logical fallacies that are not taught in most introductory logic courses. The fallacy of the stolen concept, the frozen abstraction, the package deals. The ability to detect fallacies is not automatic. It is a volitional process which has to be learned and honed as a skill.
    Unlike the realm of physical self-defense where the parties know the outcome perceptually, in the realm of intellectual self-defense the results may not be mutually obvious. For it to be so, the parties have to have learned how to allow reality to be the final arbiter. Only then can they profit.
  10. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to StrictlyLogical in Corporate Personhood   
    Your position seems sensible although I did raise an eyebrow at "commit the business"... however I may be overly sensitive to language at this point in the discussion.
    "You and I" can be said to constitute a group but that group cannot be, have, or do anything independently of each of you and me.  As such it has no independent existence, rights, responsibilities, and simply cannot perform any independent action.... you and me are two things not three things (you, me, and some mystical "us" which is somehow independent of each of us).  
    "You" and "me" make "we" not "three".  
    There is no "us" beyond "you" and "me".
    You and "me" makes "two", it's true, 
    there is nothing else for a government to do.
  11. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Why it's so hard to talk to white people about racism   
    Aleph said:

    My nephew, who I ave been the main male role model for, is bi-racial. I have always stressed to him that racism is pride in the unearned. At about 17 his ex convict father tried to come around with a sad and ironic message of "racial pride". My nephew responded to him, "Pride is the result of productive achievement. How can I be "proud" of something I didn't earn?"
    I have an intimate awareness of the effects of multiculturalist garbage because since that time of rational triumph, my Nephew has entered college and is now infected with a bizarre anger and contempt for certain "cultures" that are serving as easy excuses-scapegoats for bad decisions. I can only endeavor to continue to respond to him with the light of reason while he wades through all this fog.
  12. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Why it's so hard to talk to white people about racism   
    What happened? I was preparing responses to 2046 and Louie's support for his claims, but now they are gone.
    Other than 2046's foul language why delete the exchanges between he SL and Louie? Have they been moved to another thread?

    I want any person who buys into the "we ought to do something beyond egoism"- social responsibility- "social justice" bit to layout anything that Rand said that can be said to be an instance of doing more than promoting individualism and egoism as the "antidote" for all forms of collectivism-tribalism. That is, site anything you think is an example of Ms. Rand using awareness of "privelige" as a means of dispensing justice, "dismantling" racism etc. What does pointing out that the private, irrational actions of other people can confer upon one advantages that one didnt seek out, add to the advocacy of individualism, rational egoism and the dispensement of justice?

    On a light hearted note...

    "Warning provocative rhetorical device ahead"

    A man once told me when I mentioned some disadvantage a certain kid had in high school "Slick, we all got problems, your bicepts hurt and my d*%ks too big"..... My point being, would spending time researching-thinking about the fact that most men had a "disadvantage" to him in the shorts department make him a better person? Is justice being shirked if the disadvantaged majority of the less than 10 class don't mobilize and write an article or protest about undoing the oppressive institutions of shallow toilets? Sounds pretty rediculous, huh? Thats about how useful it is to spend time talking about "privilege" rather than persuing your own values, including if you happen to value intellectual activism regarding a moral political enviornment. "Privilege" adds nothing to the discussion, especially if justice is your concern and you dont intend to use it the way leftist collectivist do as a moral imperative to "social responsibility"
  13. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from jacassidy2 in Constructivist Prof. says reason is a "white male construct"   
    Jack said:

    I offered this to heighten awareness of this cultural poison.


    I don't understand this post. Satire?
  14. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to Reidy in Is it moral to sell an identical but more expensive product?   
    The original question mixes two quite different issues.  If your potential customer is incompetent - psychiatrically impaired (your example), underage, brain-damaged - then taking his money in a deal he isn't qualified to make is reprehensible whether or not you're matching the best available price.  Such a deal is unlikely to stand up legally, and this customer's parent or custodian should have been paying attention.
    Without this special circumstance, your customer was free to shop around.  Instead he outsourced the job to you.  Economics calls this practice (charging different prices in different circumstances) with the concept of elasticity of demand.  The shopper who spends hours a day searching newspapers, junk mail and the web looking for bargains will probably spend less money than the shopper who decides he has better things to do with his time.  A flight from one airport to another is the "same" product if you buy it a month in advance to fly in February as if you buy it two days in advance to fly in the week before Christmas, but you pay much more for the latter.  A restaurant may sell a given meal at any hour, but it's more expensive at night than at lunchtime.  And so on.  Value is a relational term.  It's value to a particular buyer in a particular set of circumstances, not an intrinsic property of the good or service.
  15. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from William O in Defense of the Axiom of Existence by an Academic Philosopher   
    This book has been on my list for a while. Searle reviewed it a while back.
  16. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to Dante in It's unfair to some children to read bedtime stories to yours.   
    I think this discussion has missed what I see to be the money quote from that Swift interview, and it's not the one where he says that parents should think about how they're disadvantaging others by reading to their kids.  He's describing the fundamental task of the philosophical work under discussion, and he describes it like this:
    He assumes that the moral default is perfect equality, and that any deviation from this outcome has to be justified on some independent moral grounds.  He does indeed think that many parenting activities (such as bedtime reading) can be justified on independent grounds such as 'familial relationship goods,' but it's not the specifics of what he wants to allow or forbid that I find most troublesome.  It's his overall approach, in which the default choice is to forbid any activities that produce inequality of outcomes, unless we have some independent reason for keeping them.  In effect, he accepts Plato's framework of total state power over the family, but argues that it should refrain in some cases from using it (it always decides what to 'allow' or not, but it should allow certain independently justifiable activities).
    It reminds me a lot of Rawl's approach to distributional justice, where the default seems to be perfect equality of resources, and deviations from that standard have to be justified on the basis of making the poorest better off.  If I recall correctly, Rawls was trying to defend some elements of liberalism from the assault by egalitarianism (much like Swift seems to want to defend certain familial goods against total equality of opportunity), but his basic approach was to assume egalitarianism as the moral default and carve out exceptions to it.  Needless to say, I find this approach to be immensely flawed.
    Whether or not Swift would personally advocate for banning private school or not seems to me to be beside the point.  Under his framework, all family activity is guilty until proven innocent.  That is what is wrong with his approach, far more than the specifics of what activities he thinks are innocent or guilty.
  17. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to Spiral Architect in It's unfair to some children to read bedtime stories to yours.   
    With all respect, and I mean that since I don't think I've ever disagreed with you, but I think you're missing the big picture.  
    The author could have written the article about anything and anyway he wanted.  This is the argument and approach he chose. 
    In this case the article frames and discusses the issue in a way of ultimately sanctioning the fundamentals of egalitarianism.  The title does this alone.  The altruistic premise throughout the peace is left unquestioned.  
    The "family unit" is not some member of the non-entity "society" that is a viable discussion of ethical purpose, "goods", or political outputs.  As far as ethics, goods, and politics the family or society do not exist.  Individuals do and individual choices are not subject to collective group debate or worse - justification.  Yes, he disagrees with some conclusions but the author intentionally put them in there in the first place to discuss then white washes the issue with compromised agreement on the collectivist ethical concern but not the concrete solution he held up.
    The ethical duty that an individual should be concerned with the welfare of others is not questioned and all the article does is say at best: this will not produce the right results.  From here the compromise is between and one step closer.  The author endorsed the ethics, put out policy ideas that are extreme egalitarianism, then backed off the extreme in but left the middle ground for us to lurch towards while handing them the rhetoric high ground.
    This is how we have slid from Capitalism to a mixed economy to the Welfare State and it is how we will continue to the endgame.  
    My reaction was knee jerk enough my man! 
  18. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to softwareNerd in It's unfair to some children to read bedtime stories to yours.   
    I'm afraid, you're missing the principles for the concretes. 
  19. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to dream_weaver in It's unfair to some children to read bedtime stories to yours.   
    Both columnist leave it hanging, quietly implying that there needs to be an egalitarian measure to "fix" it.
    Again, if Swift was more explicit in recommending a solution elsewhere, neither columnist teased it out. Where does this leave the less savvy reader? How does this differ from Jim Taggert "balancing himself between word and intonation to hit the right degree of semi-clarity" allowing the recipient to import a sense of guilt proportional to the degree that he holds an altruistic premise?
  20. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to JASKN in It's unfair to some children to read bedtime stories to yours.   
    Back at you. From the ABC article:

    "Swift in particular has been conflicted for some time over the curious situation that arises when a parent wants to do the best for her child but in the process makes the playing field for others even more lopsided.
    I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally."
  21. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to Boydstun in What logical systems categorize A->~A as a contradiction.?   
    “Philosophy, including Logic, is not primarily about language, but about the real world. … Formalism, i.e. the theory that Logic is just about symbols and not things, is false. Nevertheless, it is important to ‘formalise’ as much as we can, i.e. to state truths about things in a rigorous language with a known and explicit structure.”
    –Arthur N. Prior*
  22. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to dream_weaver in Why it's so hard to talk to white people about racism   
    This describes the basest form. If someone's attitude is "who cares" about their genetics, or where they are from, they look black, therefore they shun them or worse.
    If they use a perceptual distinction as the basis for making some psychological distinction about a person's actions or beliefs, this is just the reason they may give you for shunning, etc.
    There are better attributes to categorize individuals than the color of their skin, an accent, or a particular mode of dress, yes. But if you are not seeking to judge the individual based on rationality, or other virtues, how precise a concept do you need to lump someone into a vague category?
  23. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from JASKN in Introductory Books to Health   
    I will add to James' recommendation of Taubes' work about kinds of calories the book Fat Chance by Dr. Lustig.
    He argues that what both the China study by Dr. Campbell and Atkins share in common, is that they both avoid fructose. Both are highly unconventional and you will have a lot of argumentation on both sides of the calorie continuum to wade through. Lustig has a video on YouTube called Sugar The Bitter Truth along with others.

    Fair warning, Lustig does try to use this idea for paternalistic legislation....

    As a long time personal trainer, the easiest thing I would tell you to do is to never consume sugar without fiber and cut out 80-90 percent of refined carbohydrates. Just doing that will effect most peoples body composition enough to get them motivated to continue their efforts.
  24. Like
    Plasmatic got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in Why it's so hard to talk to white people about racism   
    The relation of "privilege" to rights is essential. The collectivist are always arguing that one mans "privilege" is a warrant for another mans "right" to something as a result. The Lee Hunsacker mentality of entitlement to the unearned is the AS concretization of this. His anger at Midas Mulligan is the result of this mentality. In the "Brothers Keeper" section of AS James Taggart expresses the sentiment "the privilege of strength" in another gives him the "right of weakness".

    The pride in the unearned of racism is usually coupled to the message of unearned guilt of "privilege" (social or otherwise) by collectivist.

    2046 said:

    This is the latest in a long string of strawmen. (Despite your false attribution of same to others)Who here has denied racism? Concretize the "oppressive" "structure of society" and "white privilege" in a way that is consistent with Oist tenets and relevant to anything that someone here has made claims against. Specifically what are you arguing FOR as a consequence of these "structures" and "privileges"? What are the "privileged to do about these unearned possessions?
    Your spouting of arbitrary generalizations like "Rush Limbaugh libertarians" does nothing to elucidate what in particular anyone here has actually said. Who here has sought to "employ individualist rhetoric in the service of racism,"? Don't make a strawman rephrasing to something no one is saying (as your entire # 22 post). Give specific instances.

    The article can be summed up as collectivist rhetoric that complains that white people have the irritating habit of responding to unearned guilt trips by pointing out that "groups" are not super entities that act in a way that individuals do and they as individuals are not responsible for the actions of others.That is not a denial of racism. Given that no one here has denied racism exist, what is the point of your rant? Your whole point seems to be that people are uncomfortable discussing racism because they deny it exist and that is NOT the case here or in the article.

    The article specifically states:

    Here she uses "our history" as a means of criticizing the individual who rejects the blame for the action of other individuals. (What a "group" actually is ) She specifically ties it to wealth. Inheritance is the perfect example here. One cannot control what they inherit. Especially when it is skin color....
    Just want to add this:

    Aleph said:

    And 2046 responded:
    Aleph did not say "putting additional stress on the idea of racism is an attempt to claim value by group association". Your beating straw men.
    "Why its so difficult to talk to context droppers who spout strawmen" could be a response to the claims made about the article.
  25. Like
    Plasmatic reacted to William O in Rand's understanding of Kant   
    I wouldn't say Kant got anything right, so in that sense he didn't contribute anything of value. However, Kant's work has had a profound influence on every area of philosophy for centuries, so it is harder to understand the history of philosophy if you haven't studied Kant.
    For example, Marx was heavily influenced by Hegel, who took the inspiration for a lot of his philosophy from Kant. None of these are good guys, to be sure, but they are part of the history of philosophy, and their ideas continue to influence our culture.
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