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  1. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from William O in Objective Reality   
    He is attacking a strawman. An Objectivist would not answer "yes" to the second set of questions.

    It's not that it is "impossible" to prove an objective reality - it is that it is *nonsensical* to even consider such a feat, let alone to believe it to be a necessary requirement for truth and certainty. The idea of "proof" assumes an objective reality that can be known and understood.

    His argument against objective reality consists of words. Those words refer to concepts, which have as their ultimate referents objects in reality. Any statement claiming to refute objective reality must necessarily utilize and assume objective reality.

    The moment he opens his mouth and utters a word, or types a word on a keyboard, in order to communicate a meaningful statement to you, he assumes an objective reality that can be known and understood.
  2. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from softwareNerd in Help me with my investment strategy   
    But if instead you pay a guy to chop down a tree, pay another guy to turn it into currency, pay another guy to build a bank, and pay another guy to stand guard over it, then it's called savings. The reality is money is a necessary placeholder. Now which are you going to use as your source of savings - something that can be easily produced, and which today can even be created entirely out of thin air on the whims of a stranger to rapidly dilute the market and completely devalue your savings - essentially placing your values and goals in the hands of another person -, or something that is impossible to produce, and must be found in order to dilute the market?
  3. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from Qqx Adrian in A different look at Bioshock   
    I think what made Rapture fall was the lack of a military/police force capable of dealing with any rights violations coming from the use of plasmids. I remember a recording in which Ryan says, "the government won't stop the use of plasmids - let the free market decide." It seems that whoever wanted to characterize Rand's philosophy, failed to do so accurately; they assumed Objectivists are in favor of anarchy.
  4. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from splitprimary in Where would a present-day Galt's Gulch be?   
    Clearly, at the bottom of the ocean!
  5. Like
    brian0918 reacted to JASKN in Ayn Rand Wikipedia Article Locked - "Amateur" Philosopher   
    Resenting criticism doesn't imply a lack of coolheadedness. "Hero-worship" doesn't imply a lack of objective evaluation, nor does "aesthetic exuberance" or (reasoned) loyalty.
    Why is Rand the one who is to blame for not fitting into what is essentially nothing more than a culture of university professors? Why not the other way around? Rand's whole thing was that philosophy needs to be accessible to people, not just as a series of floating ideas. Professors' and Rand's approach to philosophy do not jive, and I think Rand's is superior.
  6. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from Darrell Cody in What did you think of the first Presidential debate?   
    Romney's incompetence at promoting the free market is dwarfed by Obama's competence at eradicating it.
  7. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from Spiral Architect in What did you think of the first Presidential debate?   
    Romney's incompetence at promoting the free market is dwarfed by Obama's competence at eradicating it.
  8. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from softwareNerd in What did you think of the first Presidential debate?   
    Romney's incompetence at promoting the free market is dwarfed by Obama's competence at eradicating it.
  9. Like
    brian0918 reacted to epistemologue in Win $10,000 in guns and gear - AR-15, Glock 17, etc   
    Not depressing. We americans love our guns
  10. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Nicky in Win $10,000 in guns and gear - AR-15, Glock 17, etc   
    What's the point of having a 300 hp engine, with the speed limit at 60? It's fun, that's the point. We live comfortable lives, with lots of free time on our hands, and we like to spend it playing. We play with cars, we play with computers, and we play with guns. Problem?

    And, as an added bonus, the guns will also come in handy if an armed insurrection were to ever be in order. We don't all have blind faith in the government. Some of us have studied history, and know that governments often turn bad.
  11. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Grames in The axiomatic nature of consciousness   
    An axiomatic concept is not reducible within epistemology. That means it does not have any other propositions or concepts which are necessary to understanding the axiomatic concept. An axiomatic concept is therefore also one of the first level concepts, whose meaning is established by its reference to an existent (as opposed to another abstraction).

    For everything that exists, including consciousness, it is always valid to inquire into how it works and what it is composed of. That kind of physical , scientific reduction does not and cannot logically result in denying the reality of the thing reduced. For example accepting the atomic theory of matter does not logically imply that one must accept that life does not exist or is in some way illusory because no atom is alive.

    The logical fallacies of division and composition are relevant to this topic. From the fallacy of division entry at Wikipedia:

  12. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Ninth Doctor in Library of Congress on Atlas Shrugged, redux   
    IMO the 1991 poll of Book of the Month Club members, where Atlas Shrugged came in a distant second to the Bible, has long been an overused, and misused talking point among Objectivist talking heads. Also there is the Modern Library poll, where the critics’ choices don’t line up very well with the public vote, Ulysses at number one, and no Rand anywhere in the top 100, then AS at number one while Ulysses is at number eleven. That’s fine, but L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth is number three, I mean who wants to be in that company?

    So, to get to the point, the Library of Congress has, in effect, another poll going now, so here’s your chance to vote for your favorites. This time it’s “Books That Shaped America”, the choices are a combination of fiction and non-fiction, and you get to pick three.


    I’m thinking I’ll vote for Thomas Paine, Margaret Mitchell, and you know who. If I had five votes I’d sure like to add in Twain and Heller.
  13. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Nicky in "Bad" monopolies in a Laissez-faire system?   
    Sure, as soon as you articulate what your standard is, in response to this sentence. (so that I can find it more easily - I haven't read the whole thread).

    Sure, but only after you've come up with a rational and objective standard for what is a good and bad outcome.

    Wanting a positive outcome for every player, irrespective of that player's behavior, is irrational. If that is your standard of good (everyone wins, no matter how they "play"), then that's a terrible standard. There is no economic system that rewards both rationality/productivity, and irrationality/destruction. Irrationality and destruction can only be rewarded at the expense of a producer.

    Objectivism does have a standard by which to judge an economic system: its standard of a good economic system is one that rewards rationality and productivity. Objectivism argues that the use of force to obtain material values or benefits is irrational and destructive, not produtive.
  14. Like
    brian0918 reacted to ToyoHabu in "Bad" monopolies in a Laissez-faire system?   
    The question as posed seems to have the implicit assumption that we have a right to whatever product we would like to have. No matter how awesome the product is, that someone has invented, we have no right to it. They have no duty nor responsibility to sell it to us and have the right to charge any price they want, that awesome product the make is theirs to do with as they please(insert normal cant kill me with it clause here).

    There has never been a monopoly not based on government force that has ever acted in the manner you describe that has not resulted in its own destruction.

    We have nothing to fear from monopolies in a laissez faire economy
  15. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Jake in The Aurora Massacre   
    "Defining and sanctioning" does not mean "limiting." Rights don't limit freedoms. The right to liberty utterly sanctions freedom of action. What limits my moral and legal freedom of action is not my rights, but others' rights. Rights don't limit my action, they tell other people what I am free to do - they limit what others can do to me. You don't have the right to pee on others' property because of their right to property.
  16. Like
    brian0918 reacted to softwareNerd in Anarchy and Objectivism   
    Other have answered the particulars, so I just wanted to comment on the faulty epistemological approach of this quote:
    It is true that politics must be consistent with metaphysics, ethics, etc. However, the implicit and faulty assumption introduced in the quote is this: if there is an inconsistency, the more "basic" positions win the day. This is wrong. What the quote refers to as "basic" are not more basic than other knowledge in terms of truth or experience. They are more general, they are broader, they are more abstract. Only in those senses are they more "basic".

    Consider this proposition: liquids always acts in way XYZ. That is more "basic" than the proposition: water always acts in way XYZ. However, if we find that water does not act in way XYZ, then we do not continue to believe that it does...just because the more "basic" principle says it does. Instead, we question the more "basic" principle. In fact, as this example shows, the more abstract is derived from the more specific. That derivation -- induction -- is the crucial part of knowledge-acquisition.

    Of course, either way, the more abstract must be consistent with the more concrete.
  17. Like
    brian0918 reacted to FeatherFall in The Aurora Massacre   
    Kate, I am aware that some police units in the UK do not carry guns. I'm skeptical that it's a good decision, but as long as they remain effective at their jobs I don't object. This, however, is irrelevant to the morality of preventing me from using self-defense tools.

    I believe the first sentence of your last post to be the most important part if it, because it represents a contradiction in your thinking about rights ethics:

    The Objectivist view of rights is that conflicts of rights are impossible. It would be one thing to claim that I have no right to tools of self-defense. It would be another to claim that my right is trumped by someone else's rights. Rights are inalienable; Any view of morality that entertains a conflicts of rights views rights not as inalienable, but rather as inconsequential. Rights become, under such a view, merely words that represent how strongly you feel about something.

    I encourage you to review the Objectivist idea of rights. This community is a good resource, so is the Ayn Rand Lexicon. In a nutshell, rights are moral principles governing freedom of action in a social context. They protect your ability to act on the product of your thought. Such a view is inconsistent with the idea that you could have a right to not be near people with certain abilities. It is also inconsistent with the global police state you described in your last post.
  18. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Nicky in The Aurora Massacre   
    Could you? So why aren't you? Why do you instead just keep repeating how obvious it is that you're right and everyone else is wrong?

    It doesn't. Look at the murder rates by US states. In states all along the Canadian border (North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, etc) crime rates are all the same or even a little lower than the Canadian average.

    And yet, guns are just as available there as they are in other states. Often more so. Montana hardly has any firearm restriction for instance.

    The only way you are going to find a correlation between guns and violence if you insist on keeping your blinders on, and only looking at the unusually high rate of the US compared to other western countries. That is one cherry picked example. It is deeply illogical to generalize from one example.

    As soon as you decide to try and test your hypothesis on other samples (such as comparing areas in the US and areas in other countries that are demographically similar), it no longer applies. If your hypothesis were true, and gun availability is the source of violence, then those states I listed should have higher murder rates than Canada.
  19. Like
    brian0918 reacted to softwareNerd in "Slavery" in a capitalist society?   
    What do you mean when you think of a government enforcing "voluntary slavery"? For instance, consider some other -- very routine -- type of contract. Suppose I pay someone $100 to mend my car and he does not. No court will force that person to actually, mend my car. At most, they will ask him to pay for it to be mended. Depending on the circumstances, I might just be able to get my $100 back. So, when one asks if a court will enforce a "voluntary slavery" one is really asking this: if someone agrees to be another person's slave and then refuses, would a capitalist court make the would-be slave compensate the other party? No more, no less.
    A second point about context. Yes, it is true that there was a time when people would take a loan and then virtually indenture themselves for life. However, under today's law they could simply declare bankruptcy.

    I'm not saying a capitalist court would enforce a slavery contract. However, putting the above two things together, imagine what would happen if they did. Some desperately poor guy "sells" himself into slavery, then he changes his mind. The court says he owes compensation. He pays what he can, and then declares bankruptcy.

    I realize this does not answer the question, but I hope the context-setting helps.
  20. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Grames in Where does Free Will begin?   
    Here is a Daniel Dennet video where he takes an hour to belabor the point that any theory of consciousness that has a little witness or decider inside of it fails, because the theory of consciousness is supposed to explain that witness or decider. To put it another way, there can be no subject inside the subject because that leads to infinite regress. This relates to the question posed by Oscar Munoz by implying there is no magic neuron cluster that corresponds to free will because then that magic neuron cluster would need to be explained.


  21. Like
    brian0918 reacted to softwareNerd in Why is it immoral to limit an individuals freedom?   
    It also has the advantage of not offering a "canned answer" and the advantage of being a conversation, rather than lecture. If the other person is a friend, then I would want to understand where exactly they're coming from. Understanding the other person's context is the only way to give them an answer that clicks for them.
  22. Like
    brian0918 reacted to JMeganSnow in Objectivist Insight Needed for Achilles vs. Tortoise   
    I was going to say, the entire nature of Zeno's paradox means you're treating mathematics as if they inform physics and not the other way around. Just because it's possible to do something mathematically doesn't mean it's possible to do it physically.
  23. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from softwareNerd in Another Lovely Article about Ayn Rand   
    Reading the comments section reminds me why fans of Rand try to avoid the Objectivist movement.
  24. Like
    brian0918 got a reaction from JASKN in Another Lovely Article about Ayn Rand   
    Reading the comments section reminds me why fans of Rand try to avoid the Objectivist movement.
  25. Like
    brian0918 reacted to Spiral Architect in Natural Monopoly Question   
    I got this question when I took a night class on Econ years ago and I got a laugh out of the whole class with this:

    "So what you are telling me is that the free market can place satellites in geosynchronous orbit, do microscopic surgery with lasers, or even allow me to pay anyone anywhere in the world instantly from my bank account with plastic, but it cannot run a wire into my house? Really?”

    Also this is not a natural monopoly. Natural monopolies occur without the Government forcing them. Utilities are regulated and restricted by Government fiat so are coercive monopolies. This is simply an excuse to let the Government restrict access to privileged members (people who pay for bridges to well connected groups).

    Challenge the professor, or the people in class, as to how they would do it if they owned a Utility and had to run it on the moral principle of free association. What if they had to actually think about solving the problem to get people’s business? Ingenuity is a wonderful thing and certainly a better fuel for advancement then “I don’t know so the government should pick the most connected business to do it.”

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