Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Fred Weiss

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Fred Weiss

  1. I think you're doing just fine and I would encourage you to oontinue in the direction you are going, approaching the various questions you are raising in a first-handed way which you appear to be doing anyway. As to "meditation" or various other relaxation technigues, if they are helpful in getting in touch with repressed emotions or even just merely to unwind if you are under great stress, I don't know why they would necessarily be invalid if used rationally, i.e. not as some kind of mystical program. Fred Weiss
  2. I had never thought of this issue at all and thought your explanation was extremely insightful. Did you just come up with this ad hoc or had you previously thought about it? But now you've got me thinking about another issue. Let's see how you do with this one: Why do the heroines have fathers while the heroes have no parents at all (except perhaps for Rearden - I vaguely recall his mother figuring somehow among his whiny relatives). And why, other than the one possibility of Rearden (and my memory could be faulty on that one) no mothers. The only other mother of any note is Keating's and she is cast in an extremely negative light. (Ayn Rand, from reports, was not fond of her mother but apparently adored her father. For what that's worth.) Fred Weiss
  3. What is curious in all of this is you have no difficulty morally condemning "abusive dismissals" but regard upholding predation as merely an error of knowledge. But if one needed to have additional confirmation of your distance from the Objectivist ethics - which is no doubt why you are attracted to Kelley - your Dresden essay reveals it. We were not only fully justified in firebombing Dresden - as we were A-bombing Japan - but we would have been justified in firebombing every German city if it would have hastened the end of the war and saved allied lives. Only a sacrificial, altruist ethics would argue otherwise. To what extent Dresden or any other military action was justified from a military perspective and in regard to that purpose can be endlessly argued - which is easy to do from our comfortable armchairs today. We're not on the frontlines having to face the last savage, even suicidal, attempts by the enemy to fight to the last man. For what it is worth - and I do not want to argue the military issues surrounding Dresden - a book was published a few years ago and reviewed in the NY Times (a review which I read, but I can't recall the title) which strongly argued that Dresden in fact drained enormous German military resources from the fronts - resources that now needed to be put against defending their cities against similar attacks, as well dealing with the carnage that followed. So what exactly was the point of having us read your essay? Fred Weiss
  4. Err....hello, but that is a basic tenet of Objectivism. We didn't need Kelley to make any "great arguments" about it. That was not the issue with Kelley which is simply one more indicator of your utter ignorance. Oh, gee, you mean you don't think we're merely in error? Fred Weiss
  5. If it is blatantly contradictory to advocate predation while claiming to uphold reason, then it is an inherently dishonest position and his claim of upholding reason is a patent subterfuge. Then all you can ask about it is why someone would hold such a position. You might as well say that Hitler and Stalin were just confused and simply made an honest error in thinking that it was ok to slaughter millions of people. Fred Weiss
  6. I cannot prove that the initiation of force obviously and blatantly necessitates the rejection of reason - and the fundamental basis of a rational society, namely mutual trade based on persuasion? Did you actually say that you have been an Objectivist for 40 years? As an aside to those who are following this discussion, how difficult is it to grasp that a Roman general, or any Roman for that matter, living in a time when the concept of individual rights was not yet grasped (it was an achievement of The Enlightenment - even Aristotle didn't grasp it) would have a different set of values than we do today? What does that have to do with where we are today, especially when anyone with a modicum of knowledge of history should be able to grasp what happened in the 20th Cent. when the concept of rights was abandoned and millions were slaughtered? How could such slaughter be to anyone's interest, unless one reduces "interest" to pathological whim worship and a vicious loathing of mankind? Fred Weiss
  7. Yeah, most especially the initiation of force against you, which is precisely why that "taboo" is considered the bedrock of any civilized society. I might also add that by embracing force as a possible virtue in your dealings with others you are at the same time rejecting reason in those dealings, so for all your pseudo-protestations of upholding reason you are in fact doing the exact opposite. I would encourage the Objectivists in the group not to waste any more energy on this guy. There are some issues about which one cannot be honestly confused and this is one of them. He is apparently seeking to justify his own neurotic predatory impulses and in some twisted way he seems to think that Objectivism can rationalize it for him. The last thing in the world we want is for creatures such as this to be claiming any influence of Ayn Rand. Fred Weiss
  8. Perhaps you should add this one to your list: http://www.dianahsieh.com/toc/statement.html Fred Weiss
  9. How, except by reference to reality, do you determine which is the best suited to the purpose? And how do you decide the purpose - and whether it is a valid or useful one, again, except by reference to reality? I don't know what you mean by "derivation" or its significance. A logical system of thought should be...well...logical, which means it should make sense, which means it should have some connection to reality. Otherwise what's the point? Fred Weiss
  10. That's exactly right - and very well put. But the even more fundamental problem with the position is that it is devoid of meaning. It's advocates, if they were consistent, would realize that the words coming out of their mouths are mere utterances, nothing more than the squawks of parrots over which they have no control. I often say to them, "Aw, you're just saying that because you have to." Or if they ask a question or demand an answer, ask them if you have a choice (which of course they are implicitly assuming you do otherwise there would be no point to the question). Since free will is axiomatic every aspect of determinism is self-contractory and its advocates therefore cannot deny it without implicitly assuming it and affirming it. So of course as soon as they start making moral judgments they are contradicting themselves. My own favorite of these self-contradictions is when they pronounce with great confidence that determinism some day will be proven conclusively (assuming they think it hasn't already), apparently not realizing that the concept of "proof" presupposes free will. Fred Weiss
  11. Not if you grasp the full context of the Objectivist ethics, which you don't do by lifting sentences out of that fuller context. You could say precisely the same about a concentration camp commandant. Or a Mafia boss. Or any thug or brute. Tell me what such men produce - except death and destruction. Follow that to its logical conclusion, assuming such men ever think about that, and what do you end up with when you have laid waste to everything in your path and there is nothing left to plunder? Such is the difference between production...and destruction. And such is the difference between the wealth and science and literature and art which is created in societies based on production vs. those which are not. And that's why it is to your interest to promote the principles upon which such societies are based, which includes respecting the rights of others - the rights they need so that they, too, can produce - from which production you benefit in mutual trade just as they benefit from yours. When you have the example of the cultural impact of the ideas of The Enlightenment on Western civilization and what it achieved - and when you have the counter example of the attempt to destroy it by Naziism and Communism - why are you still confused? What difference does it make that some people thought it was to their interest to promote Naziism and Communism? They were wrong. The evidence is right in front of you. The one produced vast wealth and an ever rising standard of living for everyone, including the doubling of average life expectancy, the other resulted in mass death, destruction, and impoverishment. And who needs whom? Do the producers need the destroyers? Or do the destroyers need the producers? If there were no producers upon whom would the destroyers prey? I suggest you read Atlas Shrugged. Maybe then you'll get the point. In the meantime, I for one don't have much interest in descending into the sewer in which you are dragging this discussion. Fred Weiss
  12. Yes, history is full of examples of both individuals and societies which did not (and still do not) recognize individual rights. The recognition of individual rights and the capitalist system which arose as a consequence of it demonstrated that the process of creating wealth not only did not have to occur at the expense of others but benefited everyone, i.e. it is a system in which wealth is created by trade not acquired by looting. In order to achieve wealth in such a system therefore one must create goods or services which are of value to people and for which they are therefore willing to trade. The result has been an explosion of wealth and of technological and scientific achievement which is unparalled in history. To compare this morally to "bloody predators" or to primitive tribal rivalries and savagery which never accomplished anything except death and destruction and either the impoverishment or stagnation of culture indicates about as much understanding of history as your "rat" example is supposed to indicate about morality. The bloody predators, for example, who destroyed the Roman Empire and contributed to sending civilization into 1,000 years of Dark Ages accomplished what therefore which you are upholding as a possibly rational alternative to living a productive life? Or what did the Naziis or Communists accomplish except mass destruction and the impoverishment of millions of people? Most of your "predators" I might add are also hardly examples of men of self-esteem. Their lives in fact are typically characterized by uncontrollable rage, chronic fear, delusions of grandeur, and paranoia - Hitler and Stalin being notable examples, but hardly the only ones. Saddam Hussein is a recent one. (In his last years he never slept in the same place for more than a night or two). In short they are psychopaths. Fred Weiss
  13. I assume you meant to say "Objectivism says YES". Although I would add that this is clearly a hopeless situation and he should really be devoting his energies to either trying to overthrow the regime or escape. As for the example of "deceiving the rat" which was brought up by the original questioner, all you can do with something like that is laugh at it. It's so incredibly stupid, I have to wonder if he's being serious. Fred Weiss
  14. How do you determine what proves useful...except by reference to reality? Fred Weiss
  15. Eddie, you'll have to tell me where specifically, if anywhere, we might still be in disagreement and/or if you have any further questions. I could quibble with some of the wording of your most recent reply but largely I agree with it. So, the ball's in your court at this point. Fred Weiss
  16. Exactly. But then nothing validly follows it from! But this doesn't seem to be the position you are maintaining. If... Yes, If But they are not. You realize what you are saying is, "If anything I might dream up in my wildest imaginings is true, then anything follows from it" That entirely divorces logic from reality. <snip a confused example> No, I don't agree with this. You didn't validly infer anything. You just guessed and happened to be right, accidentally. Fred Weiss
  17. The reason is very simple: the truth cannot be deduced from the false. What is the case cannot validly be inferred from what is not the case. Unless perhaps you have discovered some new law of nature? One can assume, purely as a mental exercise, that some premise is true. And then assuming it, without necessarily acknowledging it is true, see where it leads you. So, if you say, IF such and such is the case, then.... That is hardly the same thing as saying that one can derive true conclusions from false premises. Not the difference between: If (i.e. hypothetically) all cats are dogs (which really should be put as: "if all cats were dogs") vs. All (i.e. assertively and false) cats are dogs. Given that what do you say about: All cats are dogs (false) This is a cat (true) This cat is a dog (true?) Fred Weiss
  18. The reason is very simple: the truth cannot be deduced from the false. What is the case cannot validly be inferred from what is not the case. Unless perhaps you have discovered some new law of nature? One can assume, purely as a mental exercise, that some premise is true. And then assuming it, without necessarily acknowledging it is true, see where it leads you. So, if you say, IF such and such is the case, then.... That is hardly the same thing as saying that one can derive true conclusions from false premises. Not the difference between: If (i.e. hypothetically) all cats are dogs (which really should be put as: "if all cats were dogs") vs. All (i.e. assertively and false) cats are dogs. Given that what do you say about: All cats are dogs (false) This is a cat (true) This cat is a dog (true?) Fred Weiss
  19. Since you are here acknowledging that you are not guided by reason and that what you are and ever will be is compelled by forces outside of your control, it is clear that arguing with you any further on this subject is pointless. I'll just point out that your considering it necessary nonetheless to continue to justify your position and protest your treatment by us - as if, according to you, any of us had any control over the positions we uphold - once again reveals the self-contradiction in your position - a self-contradiction which is so obvious and that even a dunce should be able to grasp it. I'll leave you to ponder that, assuming you are able, of which at this point one has to wonder if you are capable. Fred Weiss
  20. You are merely repeating your previous position, namely, questioning whether we can know at all - which as I said is invalid and self-contradictory. That we are limited in what we can know, that we can err, and that people may have conflicting opinions does not invalidate knowledge. It merely underscores the necessity of a proper methodology for acquiring knowledge. (If we were omniscient we wouldn't need such a methodology). We can know, can we not - and with absolute certainty I might add - that the earth orbits the sun? Such knowledge does not presuppose nor require that we know the orbit of every planet around every star in the entire universe. Nor does it mean that prior to the evidence of the earth's orbit which was first provided by Copernicus and then verified by Galileo and then made certain by additional observations by later scientists, that the first men - absent that conclusive evidence - might have been mistaken had they believed it. Nor is it any less certain should there be people who still think that the earth is the center of the universe. Nor is it any less certain even if they are absolutely certain of it, since obviously their certainty is not based on reason. This is the same invalid assumption. You cannot ask whether the senses are valid, since any question about their validity assumes it. And you provide the evidence of that in your own example. How do you know that in bad weather it is difficult to land a plane except that your senses provide you with that information? And you know it is difficult because you also know - via your senses- how much relatively easier it is to land a plane in good weather. And you don't use Objectivism to land a plane. You use your knowledge of flying...which knowledge you acquired, guess what, through your senses. Planes take off and land without incident by the 1,000's every day all over the world. It must be a miracle. Fred Weiss
  21. Why would that be bad when you look at the reality of "non-profit over people". Fred Weiss
  22. Not really. These companies are running these seminars as legal protection against discrimination law suits which can run into the 10's of millions. You want to end these stupid seminars, which the companies themselves probably realize are stupid, abolish the stupid discrimination laws! Fred Weiss
  23. It is not my understanding that unions are particularly adept at grasping this issue - not judging from the history. But it is interesting to note that the number of strikes has dropped dramatically in recent decades as unions have become increasingly aware of their vulnerabilities. Though you wonder if some of them have their heads on straight - such as the airline unions which were striking right up to 9/11 with many of the airlines just barely able to stay in business under the best of circumstances. The risk of the company shutting down this week may be very little, but what resources will the company have during the next economic downturn? Successful non-unionized companies are notable for having huge cash reserves which can be applied to expansion (providing additional employment opportunities for their workers) or for weathering bad patches in their business climate (which can keep workers employed in such periods rather than laid-off).
  24. What you are asking for here is really a worked out theory of the philosophy of science. I can't provide you that I'm afraid. (Stephen might want to make some comments). But I will say that successful prediction, even a long run of it, may not be enough. Depending on the complexity of the theory - certainly something like Newton's or Einstein's - would require I think successful prediction from a suitable variety of perspectives and under a wide variety of conditions. And there also needs to be no contrary evidence. But, yes, evidence needs to be substantial. That certainty was never justified in the first place. We can never know with certainty what will apply to anything and everything, now or in the future, under any and all conditions known or unknown. Such certainty would presuppose omniscience. I always gringe when I watch scientific programs on TV and they talk about some phenomenon or another challenging Einstein's theories. The latest example was an interesting program I saw regarding some of the initial puzzlement about gamma ray emissions from very distant starts. Eventually, I gather, with additional observations and some brilliant analysis, they figured out how it could be consistent with Einstein. But in my view, even if it had caused some questions, so what? As I said previously it won't make GPS satellites fall out of the sky if some new theory is required to explain some odd new phenomena, anymore than the other planets started doing pirouettes around Jupiter when it was discovered that Mercury's orbit wasn't consistent with Newton. Or, so Columbus didn't discover the westward route to "the Indies" afterall. He "merely" discovered the Americas! Fred Weiss
  25. Funny. Socialist always do seem to have excuses for every failure. Still, I think religion has the added attraction of being inherently immune to reason. Marx didn't consider it the "opiate of the masses" for nothing. Fred Weiss
  • Create New...