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Everything posted by ian

  1. ian

    The Golden Rule

    I don't think the Golden Rule is altruism. It doesn't tell you to put others before yourself, it just asks you to put yourself in their shoes. I think it is a good enough rule for kids until such time as they are old enough to understand proper philosophy.
  2. ian

    Values and Goals

    I think anything that takes effort to attain can be a goal. Values are the subset of goals that are consistent with attaining some end in itself.
  3. I'm sure it's possible to train yourself to get up at 5am, but only an uncivilized brute would actually attempt it
  4. Cool... I didn't realize he was writing a DIM book. I purchased the lecture series and it was very insightful. Good to see that website finally be updated.
  5. I used to debate a lot in the beginning, but now I am content to mostly let people believe whatever they want. Sometimes its hard to resist getting in to the debate though. I have never understood it, but a lot of people are afraid of new ideas. And Objectivism challenges nearly every fundamental premise of modern society, so you can't expect people to be happy to hear it.
  6. Angelina Jolie is not how I imagine Dagny at all, like I have said elsewhere, someone like Angie Harmon would be better. Also I think Leonard Peikoff should be the philosophical consultant. Didn't he promise AR he would have Atlas made in to a movie before he died? His involvement would give the movie a lot more meaning for that reason, and also his depth of knowledge on Objectivism is probably the greatest of any individual.
  7. You see a contradiction because you are coming from a different model of consciousness than I am. In your model, consciousness is like a mirror that reflects reality. When it does so accurately, it is objective; when the image is tainted by the observer, it is subjective. This is the mainstream view. In Objectivism, we hold that there is no mirror. The job of consciousness is to grasp reality, not reflect it. What it grasps is reality as processed by your individual brain and nervous system, but that does not make it a subjective reality. It is all the one reality (everything that exists), you are just seeing a different part of it. The terms "subjective" and "objective" therefore only apply to conceptual thought processes (when you are trying to work something out), where you can choose to stick to the facts or not. So, back to the ethics, as others have been saying the same fact can be evaluated differently by a different entity, or even by the same entity at a different time.
  8. IMHO one of the great advantages of mastering Objectivist epistemology is the freedom of imagination it gives you. You have such strongs tools for telling true from false, that you can safely imagine things without ever worrying that you will confuse it with reality. Whereas someone with a less disciplined epistemology, there may be a danger.
  9. Objective is not the same as absolute. A thing can be objectively good from one entity's perspective and objectively bad from anothers at the same time. Objective means you start with the facts of reality and proceed logically.
  10. Not only that, but until the encroachment of the external stimulus, your consciousness would not even exist, it would only be a potential. The external stimulus would not only allow your consciousness to see itself, it would bring it in to existence in the first place.
  11. Maybe move somewhere safer? I'm not sure men are as intimated by dogs as women might assume, so don't make that your only thing.
  12. That's not the argument, you need to read Ayn Rand's essay "The Objectivist Ethics." She says (p.16, VOS): "The concept 'value' is not a primary, it presupposes ... an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative." She is referring here to her theory of concepts. In the Objectivist epistemology, a concept is only valid if it can be reduced back to the perceptual level. For example in a universe where there were no animals with legs, "running" as we know it would not be a valid concept. With respect to "value," she is listing the things that a universe must have for that concept to be valid. "Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible." One of the things required is an alternative. There must exist things, where it is not inevitable that you attain them. Gravity for example, is not an alternative. "There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence - and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms." Life is a potential value since it is an alternative, but it also corresponds to the choice between existence and non-existence. Epistemologically, that makes it a fundamental. i.e. it is the point where you can't reason any further, and must simply accept what is. In the same way existence is the standard of proof for non-normative statements, the choice of existence or non-existence is the standard for normative statements.
  13. I hated that bit as well. I also thought Lex's plan was a bit stupid. What was it something to do with real estate? Who would want to live in that horrible place. He should have had a better evil scheme. Overall though, I really liked it. Will be going to see it again on Sunday.
  14. There is the "Free State Project" which is the idea that if enough freedom loving people move to one state, they can vote out the statists. But I don't know how wholesome it is, i.e. could just be a bunch of libertarians and anarchists. The best idea is to try to spread Objectivism in the intellectual realm (universities and thinktanks) and thereby make the whole country more Objectivist, but it is a long term strategy.
  15. Yes, you do have to make the choice. But what Objectivism also shows is that this choice must be the top one in your hierarchy, that any other choice of highest value is irrational. So you can't for example choose God or others, etc (rationally). It has to be life or nothing.
  16. Did anyone mention Angie Harmon for Dagny yet? I just saw her in the movie "End Game" and I think she'd be perfect.
  17. Objectivists think that induction, as against deduction, is the main means of knowledge. i.e. They will not start with "self interest" and give an iron clad deductive argument, if that is what you are looking for. Rather they will look at reality, at the successful and unsuccessful people, and induce the principle that crime does not pay that way.
  18. I don't think there's any taking for granted that there are things outside the mind. You take it for granted that if there is consciousness, there is something that exists. But the thing might be internal (a feeling of hunger, an imagined face) or external (a table). Figuring out what is internal and external is something that is not simple. I think there is an example in the appendix of ITOE talking about how ancient philosophers thought their breath was not physical (or something like that). The point is, our mindset where it seems obvious what is in here and out there was painstakingly created over many centuries.
  19. ian

    Municipal Water

    That's right. Who owns the water meter I wonder? I believe the US mail owns your letter box. If it is their meter they can't blame you that it broke.
  20. It's a totally artificial situation, there's no way one person can make a choice that everyone else is to be happy ever after. And even if they could, how do you know those are the only two alternatives? What about a state of permanent indifference? And how can one refute the other options without already knowing the objective standard? And if everyone is permanently "happy" does the word even have any meaning any more? In general, I'm not sure artifical constructs like that are a way to prove things, its better to look out at the world and go from there.
  21. I'm not sure it's possible to be permanently happy. Your emotions change with the situation you're in.
  22. I think different kinds of programs are written in C++ vs managed languages. If you are interested in writing mathematical, bio-tech type software, definitely brush up on C++. However if you think you will be writing business/web software, or that's what interests you, the maybe focus on C# or Java.
  23. I hope the whole prospect of an Atlas movie hasn't come up because "V for Vendetta" made some money, and so they want to turn Galt in to a "V" style character fighting an oppressive government. That pompous twit "V" - I can't think of anyone less like Galt. Hopefully if it does happen, and has big stars, at the very least it will be lots of publicity for AR and Objectivism.
  24. I would just like to add that it's the 4D model that is wrong. The identity of a thing is not just what it is in a given moment, and then you need something else to tie the moments together. The thing is given, and one aspect of it's identity is its color, weight etc, another aspect is the way it acts. There is no 4th dimension which the other three move through. There are things, which act a certain way, and then by relating the actions of one to another, for example the running of feet to the hands on a clock, we come up with the concept of time. "Time is in the universe, the universe is not in time." (The idea that there are things on the one hand, and then laws that guide them separately is actually religious in origin, it comes from the story that the universe was chaotic and then god imposed the causality from on high.)
  25. Hi Dionysus That's not an entirely correct understanding. The starting point is this: Ayn Rand's epistemology says that you can't just think up abstract ideas and have them be valid, just because you have imagined them. For example you can't just come up with this idea of "value" and have it be valid, you have to show where in reality you got it from. Ayn Rand maintains that the only way to see value when looking at nature is when you see: 1. an entity that can act 2. acting after something 3. in the face of an alternative What this means is that there has to be two possible outcomes: the entity gets the thing gives outcome 1, or it doesn't get it gives outcome 2. (e.g. a sea bird dives from the sky to spear a fish with it's beak. Outcome 1: it gets it and feeds, outcome 2: it misses and goes hungry) If getting it or not both result in the same outcome, then there is no way to judge whether the thing was good or bad - it simply made no difference. So given that we have to get our ideas from reality, it is only alternatives (two possible outcomes) that make values possible. Now there are many alternatives that any given entity that can act faces. Why should I go to school? Because knowledge is important. Why is knowledge important? Because it lets you deal with the world. Why is dealing with the world important? Because it helps you prosper. Why is prospering important? and so on... For any act you can take, there is an endless chain of "why bother?" questions. There are no grounds for choosing one of the options over the other - unless - you ultimately face the fundamental alternative. There is only one alternative that can terminate this chain: the fundamental alternative. When outcome 1 is life and outcome 2 is death. Why is this so important? Because from the entity's perspective the it is the alternative of "existence or non-existence." But there is no non-existence. It's not another type of reality - some kind of black void with rules of it's own, it is nothing, it isn't. There is nothing to compare and contrast. There is only what is - and the fact you just simply have to accept it. This is rationality: accepting the fact of reality. There are two aspects to this commitment. One aspect is in epistemology where you accept data from reality as the ultimate proof of any argument. Another aspect of this acceptance is in ethics, where you accept reality as such as the end of your ethical chain. So the fact that entities act for their own survival, or for reproduction is not too important. The important thing is that their actions allow us to form the concept "value" from reality, and to notice that it is alternatives that make it possible.
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