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Everything posted by chuff

  1. The metaphysical basis of Objectivism, as I interpret it, is that reality is not subject to consciousness -- any consciousness. Not subject to consciousness = not subjective = Objective. If we tacitly accept this god hypothesis (for which there is no need, once we recognize that reality has always been and will always be), we must also accept that any semblance of stability or coherence in reality is because this god's consciousness hasn't altered it yet. Which means he is making it look like reality has immutable laws, when under this worldview it doesn't, and he's only made it out to look that way, which is intentionally (you could say volitionally) deceptive. Implicit in this hypothesis is that if this god wanted to make rocks fall up tomorrow, he could. It is the primacy of consciousness, just not a human consciousness. If this is not implicit in the god hypothesis, then what use does he serve? (I echo someone earlier in this thread, Of what use is this entity?) If an entity that has always been is not inconceivable for you, why then cannot the sum of them have always been? Whence comes the need to push the process back one step further as the Branden essay says? Causation doesn't "originate" from anywhere or from anyone. It is inherent in the nature of reality, and of entities and actions as such (see OPAR chapter 1 for review on this topic). "Where did the universe (or its laws, aka governing entites and actions, ie causation) come from?" is not a valid question to start with. When the proposition of god is accepted, I don't see where or why any respect for non-contradiction should come into play. The primacy of (God's) consciousness entails that he can create a contradiction if he wants. After all, in this paradigm, out of "nothing" he created the apparent need to be non-contradictory in order to exist. edited to add: In other words, since you already understand that existence (the universe) exists, what is there for this god to need to have created?
  2. I'm not sure what the reason for thinking it's a continuum is. However I do find it helpful to make sure any moral evaluation of another person is contextual.
  3. We would need to start with a standard of good or bad performance. I still don't know at what point you could call a player a "bad" player.
  4. Feel free to add to any of this or correct it if need be. To help summarize what I've learned for anyone who finds the thread in the future: Answer: Every action you take can be traced back (directly or indirectly) to advancement or detriment to your values, and therefore your life. Answer: I was implicitly looking for an intrinsic/"categorical imperative"-type explanation for the value of a given fact (i.e., I was dropping the context in each evaluation). In the context of my life, I evaluate facts in their relation to my life (as a rational being). Answer: See the Answer to B. In short, directions are meaningless without a destination. (The notion of value carries with it: "of value to whom and for what?") I'm still unsure at what point calling a person evil is warranted, rather than just labeling his actions as evil. Answer: Clearly, what we can know about a man's consciousness is only that which is available to our senses. We can judge a man by the ideas he claims to hold or that he follows with action even if he does not claim to hold them. His honesty in this matter, as borne out by facts, can be evaluated as well, in retrospect. Answer: The discussion is related to the context of men that do have an effect on your life. Answer: "Irrationality is not the same as failing at knowing, it is about evading the facts, lowering your level of awareness, working on not understanding, not connecting." -knast Answer: What he makes evident is (definitionally) all that can be evident to anyone else; for that reason it's an improper question (a la "How can we access the inaccessible?") Answer: Accepting a contradiction is a morally evaluable choice. Answer: Immoral = Evil = Irrational. For his action of arguing for irrational ideas, Kant is morally to blame. "The difference between the philosopher who argues for ideas that implicitly means mass murder and the guy who explicitly thinks about killing somebody but never acts upon it, is that the [former] does ACT to make sure his idea becomes reality by the mere fact that he is arguing for it in public, while the latter made sure that what he was thinking never became reality." -knast Any further elaboration on the pieces for which I provided no answer would be appreciated, as your help thus far is.
  5. For me the issue is about the intention of your post. My position on this issue is this: The nature of the idea of "God" renders it arbitrary; if not then the idea becomes something-other-than-God. This is why I insist on a definition of God. Any definition of God that makes God "God," includes at least one contradictory element. (I hope that came across sensibly.) When all contradictory or arbitrary elements are removed, one is left with something non-God (as well as metaphysically true), such as "the universe" or "consciousness."
  6. 1. Here's an argument for the existence of a God. 2. I accept it. 3. I'm presenting it in hopes that you will, or I think that you should accept it over Objectivism. I'd say that's pretty direct.
  7. Warning: This thread is long. If that will upset you, please move on and do not criticize me for its length. I have tried to split it into reasonable sections for those not interested in a huge amount of reading. If any of my questions have been answered before, I welcome links. My apologies for the vastness of my questions and the number of issues problematic for me. I originally planned to make a thread about all the essays relating to the issues (Schwartz's, Kelley's, and Peikoff's), so I hope relative to that prospect it is not that long. I hope none of this counts as overuse of quoting nor abuse of copyright. Let me know about the first, and as for the second, the essay is available online. I bring quotes here for ease of comparison. Quotes can be checked against the actual essay, available here: "Fact and Value" Copyright © 1989 Leonard Peikoff. He states in ¶6 in the sense of either/or, that "a given object [does he mean entity or goal?] or action [either] advances man's life (it is good): or it threatens man's life (it is bad or an evil)." Are there truly not actions that neither act in advancement of man's life nor in threat of it? Examples: Hanging my dress pants up on a hanger, sitting down in a chair. (In ¶16 Peikoff makes his position on this question clear: "An action without effects on man’s life (there are none such) would be outside the realm of evaluation—there would be no standard of value by which to assess it.") In ¶7 we find the following: "In the objective approach, since every fact bears on the choice to live, every truth necessarily entails a value-judgment, and every value-judgment necessarily presupposes a truth. [emphasis added]" Are there truly no facts that in no way bear on my choice to live? That Christian Wulff was elected President of Germany in June 2010 is a fact, yet has no bearing whatsoever on my choice to live (I believe I read somewhere an example using the height of grass in a faraway field as completely unrelated to one's choice to live). I struggle also to see how a value-judgment is entailed about a fact I do not know about and/or that does not influence me. We find in ¶8: "The reason is that every fact of reality which we discover has, directly or indirectly, an implication for man’s self-preservation and thus for his proper course of action." Not intending to be tiresome, I ask again, are there truly no facts which do not have an implication on my life or the choices that objectively advance it? What effect does the viscosity of paint have on my life? Again in ¶8, the author seemingly equivocates on "bad" and "evil." Does he mean to imply that leaping from a plane wearing no parachute is evil? Generally, how can it be called for to judge a man according to contents of his consciousness, when all parties aside from the individual in question have no access to it whatsoever? "All we have to go on" so to speak are actions or expressed beliefs. In ¶11 it is stated: "The virtue of justice is necessary, at root, for the same reason that evaluation in relation to any fact is necessary: the character and behavior of other men are facts, which have effects on one’s own well-being." The character and behavior of a man in Tanzania who lives and dies with no contact whatsoever with me has no effect on my well-being. His life, however, is full of facts that are not metaphysically given. Concerning ¶12*: if irrationality and evil are the same thing, then am I not evil when I err? I may make an irrational choice from lack of focus or from tiredness, etc. My failures make me evil? Peikoff answers this question in ¶21. I left it here but struck-through in case someone wants to elaborate. In ¶14 we find: "How does one reach a moral evaluation of a person? “A man’s moral character,” Miss Rand writes in “The Psychology of Psychologizing,” “must be judged on the basis of his actions, his statements and his conscious convictions...” (The word “statements” here denotes a broad, somewhat overlapping category. All morally revealing statements imply the speaker’s premises or ideas, even if they do not explicitly assert them; but some statements do assert them—just as some statements are themselves actions: e.g., a declaration of war.)" But what access to we have objectively to any other man's conscious convictions? I have no perceptual connection with another individual's consciousness, and therefore no objective basis to claim that I or anyone can judge him based on it. It seems plausible that certain statements or actions can betray characteristics of a consciousness, for example: "I trust Allah." ¶18, which follows this comment, seems to ignore the fact that individuals hold ideas that do not lead to the harmful consequences I may induce that they would. For example, there are religious believers who advocate a limited government and the use of reason (clearly in other areas than religion). ¶18: "Just as every “is” implies an “ought,” so every identification of an idea’s truth or falsehood implies a moral evaluation of the idea and of its advocates. The evaluation, to repeat, comes from the answer to two related questions: what kind of volitional cause led people to this idea? and, to what kind of consequences will this idea lead in practice?" ¶33 in its entirety is at the bottom of the thread** I find myself in disagreement with this evaluation. Kant's writing did not "make" any of the evaluations of his writing by those who read him "possible." Kant simply wrote. Those who enacted his bad ideas (via genocide) seem to me much more at fault. If they are equally culpable or if Kant is moreso, then what reason do we have to respect the rights of a person who advocates Kantian ethics? Is he not "making possible," aka starting a causal chain that will lead to murder? If we would have had grounds to lock up Stalin, would we not have grounds to lock up Kant, who is more evil? Kant's writing of Critiques is not the central agent involved in the evil perpetrated by the killers Peikoff mentions. The evil was perpetrated by the killers. In addition, the sentence "given that climate, none could have been averted" and the similar propositions Mr. Peikoff makes here that "evil ideas inevitably cause evil actions" smack of deterministic thinking, in the sense that it was "bound to happen." ¶34*** simply confuses me. A man who holds an unreasonable idea is indeed blameless when he does not act on it. That makes perfect sense but in the light of the surrounding essay it does not. The example he describes at the start of this paragraph sounds like the same mind-body split he complained about earlier. He held an idea in his mind but did something else in action, and is to be lauded for it? In all of this I seek to understand. I do not make these statements from a position I hold deeply in contrast to Mr. Peikoff's, nor do I claim to know the answers and am simply teasing you into making an argument I am set on attacking. Should you choose to help me understand these ideas A-K, I will be grateful. * ¶12: ** ¶33: *** ¶34: PostScript: This paragraph, ¶46, decisively changed my mind in regard to the status of "Objectivism" as a system and where I stood. It follows, for those interested:
  8. (I realize there is at least one other thread called "Fact and Value" specifically about this essay of Leonard Peikoff's; however, I hope you'll find it doesn't address the same issues the following thread does.) The idea of how objectively to judge fellow individuals and the idea of tolerance of others' philosophies considering the contexts of their current knowledge both interest me. For this reason I took up reading a little about the Kelley-Peikoff split (which as I understand it also has to do with Kelley's association with a somewhat inflammatory biography of Miss Rand written by Barbara Branden, as well as his speaking publicly at a libertarian dinner party). However, this essay seems to be central to the controversy and representative of ARI's and particularly Mr. Peikoff's reasoning behind castigating David Kelley. Note: I do not side with Kelley or Peikoff here, as I made this thread to get feedback from people knowledgeable about the whole thing as well as about the ideas in this essay and to use the new knowledge to eventually reach a conclusion. Also note that something is going on with the search function that only gives a few pages of posts with the search criteria in them, so not all are displayed. My comments on "Fact and Value" will come in the next post.
  9. Sounds fair to me. If you'll agree to move on with me away from this mess we've both contributed to making, I'd gladly participate in a different thread about a specific claim or position of Swinburne's (provided we note the caveats from before). I must remind you if something similar happens in our hypothetical new thread you won't be seeing me. Besides, if I'm going to be a stickler on the rules, I'm pretty sure I nested quotes in this thread. edited to add: Your link is to an index page with multiple links on it.
  10. An avatar of L. You have won many imaginary points from me for that!

  11. My apologies for not paying closer attention to the time of the postings. And I admit that psychologizing you to the extent that I did was unwarranted. The trends I noted, however, are visible in the thread we're posting in right now. I combined characteristics of your posts (1-4 years old though they were) that I noticed with those that I noticed here. You must understand that while I hastily made a judgment of you, I was also quite frustrated at having wasted my time. Others have expressed similar frustrations that I would not have known about had I not been curious as to your other threads. That being said, in your posts in this thread you seem to be pitting figures of authority for one side against the other's ("you can't disprove this academic writing with your side's literature," it's like Bible-verse fights). Keep in mind also that I am treating this thread as I would one started by anyone foreign to the ideas. For hasty, unwarranted generalizations I made about you, ctrl y, I apologize. In your thread about Atlas, for example, you demonstrated an admirable desire to understand. Now, in response to your accusations against me: Though I realize you are fed up with being psychologized over and over again, I did not say you were mentally unstable. And I don't need a framed degree on the wall or whatever other qualifications you think I need in order to spot a trend in your posts and link it with other posts you have made. Especially after the last 5 pages of this, which I've attended to closely. I sincerely hope you'll excuse me for the fatal mistake of being my age.
  12. I knew I recognized you. The OP seems to favor determinism (see this thread and this thread) (in spite of the fact that it dooms Christianity's central tenet of man's culpability for sin, since it makes man incapable of volition). The OP also seems to need an "authority's" opinion on something in order to believe it (this thread betrays such thinking, as well as a fear of the Good). So in the case of this thread, it's so-and-so Christian philosopher's word against ours (which he wants to make us read). Nothing to do with the OP's mind or judgment. This case is precisely why we ought to reserve the right to say, "You know what? No. I'm not wasting my time." I don't think it a dangerous prospect to ignore any further threads created by the OP, considering the incomprehensibility of this one combined with the severe lack of basic understanding and inexplicable accompanying stubbornness that are evident in this one. My advice: Read the literature and understand for yourself. Questions, debate, reasoning, about a topic all go here.
  13. OP stands for Original Poster. Yes, I understand how full and vast the influence of religious thought is. My impatience toward ctrl y did not arise from his religious beliefs, but from his refusal to stay on one subject long enough to come to a conclusion on it without bringing up something else, as well as the "Read this book, read this paper, read this essay" attitude, which we resolved earlier. (A satisfactory conclusion for me does not necessitate a "I'm wrong, you guys win" position. I hope that is clear. I would accept as a conclusion something like: "Well, I understand the side I am coming from and the side you are coming from, understand the arguments against it and the formulation of them, and still disagree about X, and am not wavering." Then the thread would be over.) edit: typo
  14. Probably not, from how you describe it. I wouldn't participate because it would not follow these forum rules: You may find it extremely difficult to start a thread about "Why ctrl y Thinks Christianity Is Better Than Objectivism" without ignoring one or both of these rules. edited to add: @ctrl y, Don't get me wrong. Each of the topics this thread was almost about would make good threads (and most of them probably already have).
  15. My patience with the OP of this thread has worn thin. Until ctrl y decides what to make this thread about, and stop dragging every responder all over the place, I refuse to continue participating. Here's a short summation of some of the things he has made this thread about: 1. A "kind" sharing of a religious critique of Objectivism. 2. Basically spouting a long list of recent news in the apologetics world, and telling us Objectivism systematically fails because Objectivists don't respond to every little claim mystics make. 3. Pdf-dropping, the first time for some fine-tuning argument. Then backing off of this entirely by diplomatically stating that the fine tuning argument isn't related to theism (doesn't necessitate an agent setting them, but just that they fall in a range). 4. Admitting you don't know what Primacy of Existence and Primacy of Consciousness even mean (this one should be first choice for you if you think you ever understood Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology...) 5. Proposing that there are no foundations to knowledge.**** 6. Proposing a "if it seems true, it's true" epistemology... Which makes all religions and all other truth claims true, even if they directly contradict, as long as it seems true to the person proposing it. It renders logic useless because contradiction doesn't matter anymore. In short, nonsense. 7. Claiming that "he's not here to convert people away from Objectivism,"* even offering for the thread to be closed if it looks that way, then admitting to taking on the task of "shaking our confidence" in Objectivist epistemology**. 8. Purporting that the universe is "impossible" without a God existing, too. 9. Dismissing us to go read Swinburne while refusing to bring any of the arguments to us. 10. Making your only mission for the thread out to be pointing out that it's academically respectable (why would that be conclusive in any way to an Objectivist?) to believe in God and that there's "lots of literature." ...Okay? 11. Demonstrating a general ignorance of fundamental Objectivist stances toward religion, God and mysticism, then claiming to have the perfect refutation of them. Cases in point: #4 above, the whole definition of "Arbitrary" boondoggle, that examination of any definition of God by means of reason is fruitless*** 12. Complaining about the writing style in ITOE and calling out the entire Objectivist theory of concepts as lacking 13. Whining that: "People here apparently believe that they have a method of reaching the truth, "reducing concepts to reality," which all knowledge must conform to." Yeah, we claim to an epistemology. 14. Arbitrarily deciding that he doesn't have to define God, and choosing dictatorially that we are talking about epistemology only. 15. Claiming the foundation of science is Christianity, and elsewhere that "science depends on a worldview like Christianity." (...) 16. Telling Dante to clarify a position he took in a thread about something else. ***** This nonsense about weak foundationalism should have been over when the OP stated that "under weak foundationalism, you would be justified in believing weak foundationalism is false." The fact that no problem could be seen there betrays a fundamental ignorance or a willful misuse (much more probable) of the process of logic. Sorry, buddy, it does. Pick one of these. When you meet a fundamental disagreement, don't just keep telling us you disagree again and again. Leave. If you choose to stay, make an actual case for your position. And for the love of whatever God you think seems real today, stay on topic. Someone needs to lead you through a series of the question "Why?" over and over, and hopefully when it leads you to a shrug of your shoulders, you'll realize how weak your foundation is. Think of it this way: in the case of the Swinburne book. If you: a ) brought the arguments to us, b ) heard our responses, and c ) saw that you fundamentally disagree with us somewhere, don't make the thread go on for 89 pages by insisting on saying "nuh uh" and "well we disagree then" to every post we make. Create a new thread about the fundamental, and discuss that there. Stop wasting everyone's time, including your own. Again, I may be speaking for myself only, but in my opinion, you're being extremely rude by doing all of this. * http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276563 ** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276635 *** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276592 **** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276660 , http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276672 ***** http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21941&view=findpost&p=276680 tl;dr The OP needs to pick something to talk about to warrant my participation. Otherwise this will turn into another one of those "But what about? But what about? But what about?" threads again. I don't believe that the OP is willing to be reasoned with on these topics, nor that he actually wants our opinions or our feedback.
  16. What epistemology did you use to determine that what you "justifiably" believe in is not true? Whether an idea is true is verified outside your own mind. You don't just get to decide what you think is true or not and that belief suddenly be what is true. That would be the absence of an epistemology. If you apply this "if it seems true, it is" nonsense to every claim, I think you'll find it works against you in attempting to "prove" something you believe or "argue a case" for something you believe. Under your epistemology, whatever seems true to me, is. It's pure subjectivism: as you said before, two different people can believe contradictory things and both be right. Don't try to call it something else.
  17. Again I am writing quickly during a class, so I apologize for any seemingly abrupt statements. The root of our disagreement is that you are proposing a means of knowledge apart from the senses and/or reason, which is how Rand defined mysticism. Displacing our confidence onto an epistemic system of mysticism will be challenging indeed. In addition, the current complaint is not that God cannot be observed with the senses, it is that definitions of God or proposals of any supernatural entity definitionally "rest on a false metaphysical premise;" (Leonard Peikoff, “The Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture series (1976), Lecture 2.). In other words, the arbitrariness of propositions of a God, meaning they are proposed with neither perceptual nor conceptual evidence (Paraphrase of Leonard Peikoff, “The Philosophy of Objectivism,” lecture series (1976), Lecture 6.) I hate to quote-bomb you, but you seem to still misunderstand what is meant by "claims for God are arbitrary." This new claim of yours may be grounds for a new thread. I'll leave that to you as OP and moderators. Something to ponder in regard to it regardless: Why must claims about potential existents in question be reduced to the self-evident data of sense? The existence of the entity in question in physical reality needs a definition (which hasn't appeared), and needs sense data to support it before becoming tenable. When one declares that sense data is impossible in regard to that entity, it is this declaration that renders his proposition arbitrary. "This seems true to me; therefore, my acceptance of its truth is rational" is indeed a shockingly weak formulation in terms of its rationality... Again, the claim that an entity called "God" exists must have a non-contradictory (i.e., logical) definition of God. That God seems to exist to you does not justify theism. Talk about weak foundations!
  18. I'm sorry that it seems absurd to you. For a person to say these many people are wrong and I am right is not per se absurd. Consider what would make it absurd, namely, if the many were correct. And how do we determine truth? Very important stuff here in your approach. The Creationists are absurd because they hold to arbitrary assertions and claim that the findings of science are beneath them. I don't know how much of Objectivism's reasons for atheism you have read, but this idea of reasonable examination made fruitless from the start was clear to me when I first read it. (pp 30-33 in OPAR are helpful, as well as I believe "Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World," which can be found in Philosophy: Who Needs It?.) The point 2046 is making is that Objectivism does not have a "hole" or a "problem" simply because it doesn't answer to every arbitrary assertion about a deity or about some supernatural something-or-other. The philosophy of Objectivism is not about taking an authority's word for it. Your approach is where you are at fault. You want some *one* to convince you that an arbitrary assertion is not true. Knowing what you know about the burden of proof, you ought to bring the specific argument to this forum and ask us to analyze the formulation.
  19. I know you know this, but to remind you: (1) Rigor is not truth. and (2) The question of whether the existence of a god is arbitrary is not determined by how many academics support or recognize the proposition. Neither is controversy the standard of the coherence or arbitrariness of a claim. The claim as I understand it does not need to be examined, because it presupposes that examination by reason will be fruitless. This is what makes the claim arbitrary. It is set up in such a way to make it so. This, I think, is where people are coming from here. In addition, the point made earlier by 2046 is key here: [edited to add]
  20. That is pretty rude. Bring the discussion and the arguments here, don't make us chase you around.
  21. To me, this smacks of "I will not even consider the possibility that my current position is incorrect." This is backwards. Reason must be given to think it is coherent. And since theistic definitions always exclude outright any rational coherence, it is an arbitrary proposition.
  22. The way that I respond to this is, no matter how long you are told you have remaining to live, that still is time alive, i.e., there will still be some amount of time left to live. Since man, to live, needs values, and must act rationally to pursue them, ethics is still just as applicable then (assuming freedom of choice etc) as it is when you are alive and don't suspect imminent death. I hope my thoughts here came across clearly, I'm writing them very quickly.
  23. I'm going have a go at your question. First of all, the very important and serious purpose behind activities you enjoy (aside from your own happiness, which is integral) is productive work. It's the very purpose of man's life, and happiness is the "successful state of life," which you gain from the attainment of values. The attainment of those values is virtue, which comes from the use of your mind. Far from considering things that might not be considered a "job" as non-productive simply because they aren't career-oriented with tangible results (like an iron bar), I suggest you think more of them in terms of what they do for you, in particular your mental state. Others have mentioned sport and other such things as beneficial for your body, for your ability to cope and relate with others, and just as a recreation to appreciate the things you have done. This is what is so important about treating yourself. There seems to be a strong parallel between getting a reward you don't deserve and a resulting negative emotional state. The thing about having sex with "girls" is that sex is not supposed to be meaningless. It is supposed to represent your values and your recognition of those values in another person (cf. love). The feelings of physical pleasure that are gained from the mere act of sex can be recreated without another human being, given the right tools. The experience of sex involves more than just nice feelings. An extremely important quote on sex is the following one: -Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual Most of my response I gleaned from the Ayn Rand Lexicon, which it would be good for you to read, in particular the following entries: Productiveness Loneliness Sex Love I'll end with a great quote from Rand in the "Loneliness" entry that I think is relevant:
  24. Xbox Live gamertag: Iron Chuff I play on Live basically three or four nights a week. Halo: Reach Halo 3 Modern Warfare 2 Black Ops (occasionally)
  25. Ms. Clara told me to email them to her as they become available. I have emailed her the first available episode, Episode 6
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