Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by ian

  1. Have you read any significant amount of Objectivism?

    ... little punk ...

    I started posting in humanities.philosophy.objectivism in 2001 and Robert J. Kolker was there. He is a veteran of Objectivist discussion and I think you need to work on your manners.

  2. That's why hopefully they will continue in the direction that they are heading towards right now -- toward greater freedom, in both thought and trade.

    That is my hope also. I don't want anything bad to happen to China. I'm just worried that they will try to have the technology without the freedom of expression. And Objectivist principles tell us that it will not work in the long run.

    I know the Chinese probably think we are being hypocritical, or have some evil plan in mind, when we lecture about human rights. But we're really just trying to stop a collapse which will in principle happen and will hurt us all, including the U.S.

  3. The idea that you need individual rights to have prosperity is correct, but it's a long term principle. You can have prosperity in the short term without it (for example by introducing new technologies), but it will all come crashing down.

    This is what worries me about China. Everything's great today because we're still in the short term. But *in principle* a bad time will come. And when the strict state no longer has economic progress to legitimize it, what do they do? Do they start being all nationalistic to keep the citizens happy?

  4. I suspect something much more wicked: the acceptance of the Marxist idea that humans have certain basic survival necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, while anything more is a luxury: survival is only physical and momentary, and man is a mindless brute.

    I think it might be monism. They hear us talking about man qua man, but they think man is just a lump of meat, so they can't understand how we "get to" man qua man from pure physical survival.

    But of course we don't "get to" it at all, we start at it, because we see man as an entity with many aspects in the first place. As JMeganSnow said, we don't separate existence from identity.

  5. ME: Why should I live man qua man as opposed to living for just survival?

    Because that would be arbitrary (living just for survival). It is all of you that faces the alternative of existence or non-existence. On what basis does one pick and choose? On what basis does one say "I will focus on my physical needs and the rest be damned?"

  6. If it is for reasons beyond "mere survival," then why?

    I think it's because we have physical and non-physical aspects to us, and we face the fundamental alternative as a whole. So it's not just physical survival - it's survival of *you* as a whole. Which means survival of your individuality in some sense - so you need self esteem and indepedence to enable that.

  7. Maybe you could also mention the distinction between premises and axioms, a premise being something true for a particular argument but an axiom being something that is always true for any argument.

    Also Ayn Rand identified some fallacies...

    "Stolen Concept"


    "Reification of the Zero"

    "Stepping into Limbo"

    "Non-differentiation between Existence and Consciousness"

  8. She wants to know why Fred thinks that b is true. Now, Fred could respond by giving some reason for thinking that b is true...

    If Fred was an Objectivist, at this stage of the argument he would just silently point at reality. I don't know if that makes him a foundationalist or not.

  9. To expand on JM Snow's first point, in Objectivism you must get all your concepts from reality. Within this framework, the concept of "value" - the idea that a thing could be "good or evil" instead of simply "is or is not" - can not be obtained as a primary - it can not be "just seen" outright like some concepts can - it requires a certain juxtaposition of entites.

    You need something that can act, facing an alternative. An alternative means: one of two different futures are possible to it depending on how it acts. You can see that you need at least this, since if no matter how it acted the future is exactly the same, how can there be any barometer of whether the action was good or not, since *everything* is the same?

    The only things in nature that satisfy this concept-derivation requirement are living entities. And the fundamental alternative they face: the alternative at the end of all the alternatives, is existence or non-existence. It is in the context of a fundamental alternative faced, that an ultimate value arises (if there are no more alternatives beyond there can be no more value scenarios beyond and therefore no higher value), and that ultimate value (corresponding to existence or non-existence) is life.

  10. Does your country have a sedition law? Please state your country as well as saying yes or no.

    Yes, my country (Australia) has an anti-sedition law. It defines Seditious Intent as:

    An intention to use force or violence to effect any of the following purposes:

    ( a ) to bring the Sovereign into hatred or contempt;

    ( b ) to urge disaffection against the following:

    (i) the Constitution;

    (ii) the Government of the Commonwealth;

    (iii) either House of the Parliament;

    ( c ) to urge another person to attempt, otherwise than by lawful means, to procure a change to any matter established by law in the Commonwealth;

    ( d ) to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different groups so as to threaten the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth.

    The laws have only been used a handful of times over the years, detailed here:


    They were renewed as part of the Anti-terrorism Act 2005, due to Islamists preaching the overthrow of the Commonwealth and establishment of an Islamic state.

  11. I'm still struggling to grasp fully the concept of primacy of existence, or that Existence exists outside of consciousness...

    That is where the Objectivist models differs, right where you said "outside of consciousness." Most people think that the things we see around us day to day are models of the real world constructed inside our consciousness, and therefore the next question they ask is: is there really something out there we're creating them from, or are we just making them up out of whole cloth?

    Objectivism throws all that away. What we see around us are things that exist, and consciousness is not them or the realm they are in, it is merely the fact that were are aware of them, and consciousness has no visible form of it's own.

    But just because we know automatically that everything we see is existence and not consciousness, doesn't mean we automatically know what things are purely product of brain, and which have a cause outside our bodies. That we must learn by experience. But it is merely a problem of classification, of inventing concepts like "physical" and "mental," there's no fundamental problem of the validity of consciousness, or the existence of existence.

  12. I watched the speech, desparately willing him to say something good. But every time he talked about how the Iraqis were going to do this, and the Iraqis were going to do that, he just lost all credibility in my eyes.

    The only plan that will work is one that will work even if the Iraqis do nothing, or are even actively working against it from within. Anything that relies for it's success on them doing their part is not very confidence inspiring, to say the least.

    Also I believe Kagan and Keane (the guys who came up with this plan) said that 30,000 would be the absolute minimum, and anything less would be worse than nothing.


  13. Friedman's error is to misunderstand Rand's argument, and then attack his misunderstanding of it. The argument is not (as he thinks) "animals act for their own survival therefore we should too." The argument is "Values are only possible in the face of an alternative. There is only one fundamental alternative: existence or non-existence. Therefore only life makes value possible."

  14. Furthermore, I think the traditional rule follows how English questions are differentiated in speech, as in by raising the tone at the end of the question

    Yes, that's what I first thought of when I saw the thread title. You are writing down sounds, and it's the end of sentence where your voice changes for a question. At the start it's the same.

  15. Interestingly one of the German nicknames for the Americans was "chewing gum soldiers" which refers to how the Germans saw the Americans as fat, sloppy soldiers always with gum in their mouths.

    That's interesting. They were being disparaging no doubt, but the message we were sending with the gum was "We have so much money, there's let over to buy gum, you can never beat us."

    I don't think gum would work these days, but some modern equivalent. It would have to be something that would be a conspicious luxury. An iPod maybe? I don't know. That's a crap idea because you don't want their hearing blocked, but something...

  16. We simply don't have enough soldiers at the moment. Not only do we have massive commitments all over the world (and in Afghanistan) already, but we are already having to use non-regular troops. If we want to really up our military strength in Iraq we will have to do some major reshuffling of troop strengths both in the US and all over the world. I don't think the political capital exists for that unfortunately.

    You may be right but I believe not all of Iraq is in upheaval. We would only need to massively occupy a few provinces. Imagine how the Germans felt in WW2, exhausted and starving, to see big well feed Americans in brand new uniforms coming off the boat by the thousands handing out cigarettes and gum. It would be psychologically devastating to the Iraqi insurgents if the same thing happened to them. All their fighting and all their effort and what do we do? Double our force. Their morale would go through the floor.

  17. I think the US should send in more troops. More troops, tanks, planes far more than we actually need. Blot out the sun with helicopters. Have guys on every street so the terrorists can't move without being seen. And (and this is important) buy them all brand new shiny uniforms.

    Show the Iraqi insurgents than we have so much money, so much equipment, endless, endless resources. And it will break their hearts and they'll give up. It has worked for the US in the past. The reason they keep fighting is the policy of minimal footprint makes them think they have a chance.

  18. We could have had this conflict finished in under a year, but instead decided to pussy-foot around for 3 years (and counting) while we try to bring republican government to people that don't want it and democracy to people who will use it to install an Islamic theocracy.

    I think that was probably Bush's policy more than Rumsfeld's. I liked Rummy because of (my perception of) his epistemology. Watching his press briefings on c-span, he was extremely logical and even explicitly philosophical at points. He was a very clear articulate speaker who took a long range view of things. And we wasn't one of the religious Republicans either (at least not obviously so).

  • Create New...