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Everything posted by LovesLife

  1. That's not what an empiricist is, and that's a misstatment of what Rand argued. Empiricists disdain concepts, thought and the operation of the mind. They focus on the outer, and dispense with standards, principles and conceptualization. They believe concepts are subjective, arbitrary or social, without any basis in reality. They think that deduction is useless, and they reject induction. They reject the mind and rely only on the senses. They claim there is no moral knowledge and no absolute truths or certainty (they are fundamentally skeptics). While Objectivism does argue that the sense
  2. LovesLife

    Ew, pragmatism

    Yes, I disagree. This is the same line of thinking that all pragmatists use: "MY laws will be employed for genuinely good purposes." This post demonstrates why it's useful to act on principle when you're unsure; it's exactly WHY we have principles. The ends don't justify the means. The solution to an invasive government is not to "temporarily" make the government more invasive. In this particular case, if the government forcibly diverts taxpayer funds into providing Internet access, that money has to come from somewhere. Someone who is providing a product or service that's actually wanted w
  3. A few ideas to get you started: Don't blindly accept what people tell you about what they've seen, or the conclusions they've made. Ask "why?" and "how?" Always keep in mind that emotions are not tools of cognition. How you feel about something tells you nothing about whether it's true. Remember to anchor ideas in concretes, in reality. Dangling "stake in the ground" assumptions are rampant in the world, and are a central tool of rationalism. Make sure you understand what it really means to be "arbitrary," and for something to be "possible"
  4. I agree with what others have said about Capitalism being about freedom of choice, not product quality or value. In addition, keep in mind that when people buy certain products -- and cosmetics are definitely in this category -- they are buying much more than just the product itself. They are also buying a complex set of emotions; the purchase helps them feel a certain way, and they are willing to pay for that. The big cosmetics companies got to be that way because they recognized this crucial fact. The truth is that people can get along without costmetics entirely (such as the "no-poo"
  5. Consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists. To be conscious means to be conscious of something. The world around us exists separately from our consciousness.
  6. One way to justify your senses is by the fact that you're alive -- an infinite regress is not required. If you could not rely on your own senses, staying alive would be impossible. Having valid senses is also a requirement for consciousness; to be conscious is to be conscious of something.
  7. I didn't mean "mentally hurt the child" in that way. I meant abuse, not discomfort. Children have rights. Slaves do not. Children have parents / guardians. Slaves have owners. The relationship between parents and their childen is not one of bondage; it's one of dependency. Children are not capable of surviving on their own, without help.
  8. If you're trying to make a point, I'm not getting it.
  9. I didn't mean penalties for witnesses, plaintiffs or defendants. I meant penalties for judges and other officers of the court. On the witness side, although the penalties are high for perjury (up to 5 yrs imprisonment), it's a myth that there is a significant risk of actually being penalized. Very few people are prosectuted for perjury, yet in pretty every criminal or civil case, the eventual verdict amounts to a legal finding that one or more people were lying.
  10. The most powerful incentives are good morals and sound judgment. Fear of losing their job, being humiliated or going to prison are secondary, much weaker incentives. A judge who compares the amount of the bribe to their salary before deciding to accept or refuse is a judge who has poor morals and poor judgment. The State should be able to go broke. There should be a clear separation between the State and economics. A judge should go to prison if they accept a bribe, and be forbidden from ever working in the legal profession again. The one offering the bribe should also go to pris
  11. First, what is a slave? Humans treated as property that can be bought, sold and disposed of at the will of the owner. Slaves have no rights; they don't own their lives or anything else. A child can't legally consent, but their parents are morally and legally empowered to consent on their behalf. For example, a child can't sign a release for surgery; only their parents can. Parents act as guardians, making decisions on behalf of their children that they think are in the children's best interest. However, parents are not empowered to violate their children's rights or to treat them as propert
  12. If you want to help people discover something new, I'm a big beliver in "show, don't tell." I think we're at a point now where quite a few people have heard of Objectivism, but they have dismissed it for one reason or another. From the people I've spoken to, one big reason for that is they can't imagine how an Objectivist society would really work. Even if they're mostly supportive of the ideas, they imagine that it would be impractical. Another important issue here is that we're fighting a serious headwind. Movies, books, TV, radio, news, schools and churches are filled with a steady fl
  13. So the message is that we should be willing to give up everything of value to us, as long as it's for the sake of Christ's name? Or we're supposed to value an "eternal life," without proof that such a thing exists? That statement sounds to me like it goes against man's life on Earth -- and is therefore evil. Plus, who decides if something is being done for the sake of Christ's name? Sounds like a tool of tyrants. Or, as I heard Penn Jillette say recently (paraphrased): "If you heard God tell you to kill your child, would you do it? If not, are you really Christian? And if you would, please
  14. That was never mentioned in the parable. The lesson was that in order for giving to be moral, it requires sacrifice. I suspect that the main reason people who consider themselves to be altruistic can be happy is because they are evading the real meaning of altruism, and conflating it with charity. The info below is from: http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Rowlands/Is_Altruism_Really_About_Self-Sacrifice.shtml In the conventional view of morality, which we refer to as altruism, helping other people is the goal. But to call a particular action 'moral' requires more than just helping pe
  15. No. A verbal contract is still a contract. If I was Mr. A, I would never risk hiring you, for fear that you would flake out on me again. Also, unfortunately, word of this type of behavior tends to spread.
  16. You could start with the parable of the Widow's Mite from the Bible. Then there's Kant and those who followed him, such as Hegel. And Schopenhauer: A man must not desire "any reward for his works," whether it be "direct or indirect, near or remote," even if what he desires is "to work out his own perfections" -- because morality excludes "self-interest in the widest sense of the term ... The absence of all egoistic motivation is, therefore, the criterion of an action of moral worth."
  17. The key to that definition is the meaning of the word "unselfish." It's clear from the writings of the supporters of altruism that unselfish means that you can derive no benefit at all from your actions, not even feeling good about them. In other words, the reason some people might feel happy about their supposed altruism is because they aren't really being unselfish, and therefore aren't really being altruistic.
  18. Onar -- Looks like a very interesting and ambitious project. I sincerely hope that it works out well. Good luck!
  19. Yes, there's a difference between "true" happiness and "transient" happiness -- with the former being long-term and the latter more short-lived. In modern society, true happiness appears to most people to be unrealistic and therefore unachievable (which it probably is, given their philosophy). So, transient happiness becomes the goal instead, since it's achievable by anyone -- hence the power and prevalence of irrational activities such drug and alcohol abuse, whim-worship, junk food, overspending, etc. If you ask people when they are engaged in those activities if they are happy (something
  20. It's not zero; I moved out of the US in late 2006 when I saw the political writing on the wall -- and I know another expat who lives near me who left the US explicitly because of Bush 2.
  21. Not just that it can, it has. If you don't like the shadowstats.com numbers, there's also the billion prices project, which also shows inflation is here. Plus, of course, the actual money supply figures. It's a big leap from enough inflation to offset debt deflation, to hyperinflation. I'm not suggesting that, nor was the author of the article I linked to.
  22. You do not need to know the source of virtues to be able to experience for yourself that they are valid. They are not floating abstractions, because they are tied to concrete experiences in your life. In fact, this is one of the main differences between Objectivism and religion. Because Objectivism is anchored in reality, it is something that everyone can experience (with consistency), unlike revelation or the mystic "consequences" of dogma.
  23. Perhaps. However, it's also possible that cutting government disability programs will save lives -- for example, if someone who is being taxed needs those funds to pay for their own disability or illness, then not being taxed would mean they would have more funds available to meet those needs. No one deserves to die (except perhaps certain extreme criminals) -- but that doesn't mean that it's my responsibility to pay for their care. If you take money from someone in the form of taxes, so they can't afford the care they need, and they die as a result, did they deserve to die? Are you w
  24. I disagree that you need to know the essentials of the entire philosophy before you can live by it. Understanding and living by the Objectivist virtues of rationality, productiveness, pride, independence, integrity, honesty and justice -- and understanding the values of reason (and that emotions are not a means of cognition), purpose and self-esteem is probably enough for most people. Everyone already has a philosophy; even those with "second-rate minds" (a faulty concept, BTW) can't avoid it. Humans learn in bits and pieces; by experience; by trial and error. There's no need to memoriz
  25. Not exactly. It is possible to be irrational and happy. You could be happy as you drink a bottle of poison, for example. Humans can't survive for long by being irrational. Believing in altruism isn't enough. To counter the idea, you would need to find someone who is happy after consistently practicing altruism. It's more a matter of understanding what altruism really is: sacrifice; giving up higher values for lesser ones. A true altruist would have to say that if they are happy, they have not sacrificed enough. In fact, some philosophers who argue for altruism (such as Kant) make t
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