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Branden

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  1. (I'm from Iowa) I was watching a historical show about China a few weeks ago, and they talked about how the Yellow and Yangtze rivers flooded constantly throughout the history of China. Because of this flooding, the narrator continued, China didn't have the luxury of "individualism" and instead had to focus on "collective education" and "sacrificing for the community." He claimed this was necessary because they had constant problems with flooding. This brought to my mind a similar comparison as you were talking about. In 1993, Iowa had horrible flooding that did a ton of damage. Parts o
  2. That was a really insightful movie. I particularly liked his discussion of correlation vs causation and appeals to political views to trump science. I wonder how much the speaker applies those principles consistently, though, to things like global warming. Thanks for posting it
  3. That can be a compelling reason to vote Republican, when Obama is the alternative
  4. My school has a partial ban on cell phones because, according to the administration, they could be used for terrorist activities.
  5. That is a difficulty in defending capitalism, I suppose. But like you said, the more capitalist a country is, the better off it is, so its only logical that a completely capitalist country would be even better. Besides, you can defend pure capitalism from a moral standpoint without having an empirical example of that pure capitalism. In my view, the German alliance was a greater threat than any others. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree here, as arguing this point would require specific research of the relative powers of the countries. Bailing out the British economy mig
  6. America in the 1800s was a mixed economy, but it was the closer to capitalism than most, if not all, other economies throughout history. So capitalism has never truly existed in the United States, but we got close. First of all, drafts aren't appropriate, as were other Wilsonian tactics. Second, my justification for America entering WWI would be to protect Americans from Germany warring us in the future, as they would likely have done if they beat France. The Americans being protected in the future would be the same Americans that engaged in war. I don't mean incredibly long-term
  7. "It must be remembered that the political systems of the nineteenth century were not pure capitalism, but mixed economies." (Rand, Capitalism, pg 38) When did I say that? Of course I'm not certain that they would've won, but it would've been very bad if they did. I think that they might've had a good chance of winning, since their economic power surpassed Britain and France by that time, their population size was second only to Russia in Europe, and they had very well-trained officers in the military. Plus, Russia was leaving the war, which would've allowed Germany to redirect
  8. I hadn't really thought of it that way. At first though, I guess I wouldn't really know how to classify it. I will think it over though. All of that was exactly what I was looking for, David. Thank you very much. I think I understand the answer to my question.
  9. You were right: I was asking about the knowledge and theories about emotions. I agree with the rest of your statement. However, given that all of what you said is true, is it thus valid to make a philosophical statement about the theories and knowledge of emotions independent of biology and psychology? As an example, Rand's statement that "An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises." That to me seems to be a philosophical approach to emotions instead of a biological or psychological approach, which is where I become confused. And if knowledge regarding emo
  10. I think I have a pretty decent grasp of Objectivism (I've read most of Rand's and Peikoff's works, and am starting on Tara Smith's) but there is one major thing I still don't understand: According to Objectivism, what is the brightline between science and philosophy? Rand defining philosophy: "Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man’s relationship to existence." (Ayn Rand Lexicon, "Philosophy") Peikoff defining science: "Science is systematic knowledge gained by the use of reason based on observation." (OPAR, pg 35) At first glance, I think these
  11. I think you're right in that they would still have free will; however, I think that after a certain amount of indoctrination and a complete lack of exposure to any vaguely rationalist principles, most of their choices would err against civilization. I also think the point regarding Native Americans is correct. I would also point out that they might be just as likely to view you as a demon/threat than as a god. The uncontacted tribe that was spotted in Brazil in the news report that started this thread attempted to attack the helicopter that spotted them, if I recall correctly. Regardles
  12. In my understanding, the categorical imperative is more a method for implementing and evaluating ethical actions (in the case of Kant, it would be altruism) than it is an explanation of what a value is to be derived from. Its possible for subjectivist egoism to advocate a categorical imperative as well, although I don't specifically know of anyone who does. It probably wouldn't work in the case of moral agnosticism. So, although Kant might be in the altruist camp, the categorical imperative is to some degree separate from that.
  13. I think that Greece is undoubtedly the greatest ancient civilization. Of course, other empires had greater areas of land, existed earlier, existed longer, and so forth, but I don't think those factors are a primary determinate in identifying the "greatest" ancient civilization. Horvay summed it up well: Of course, other civilizations developed philosophy, math, logic, etc as well as Greece. However, Greece was unique in this regard. Not only did Aristotle make it explicit, as horvay again pointed out, but him and the other Greek thinkers were able to lay the foundations for modern West
  14. Rand critiqued ethical utilitarianism and ethical deontology as well. Combine those two with moral agnosticism (brought up by West), categorical imperative, and death-worship (both brought up by John McVey), and it becomes pretty obvious that Rand assumed much more than just egoism and altruism. Rand on middle grounds:
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