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Bold Standard

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  1. Yes, the one near Daisetta. Very exciting town.. ::sarcasm::
  2. I'm staying in Tomball right now, but I'm about to move, either to the Galleria area or Downtown. I grew up in a little town called Liberty, halfway between Houston and Beaumont.
  3. You can put a link to the Houston Objectivism Society page in your "Clubs" section. There's not a discussion board there though, just info about meetings, etc.
  4. I don't dispute that Objectivism, or any philosophical system which respects the Onus of Proof principle is much simpler than any philosophy which fails to do so. And certainly the Christians and religionists/Platonists are the worst about neglecting the (ironically, Christian) philosopher William of Ockham's razor, "Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity." But I'm still a little uneasy about your exact wording, "Once you go beyond 'Existence exists,' and everything that implies, you enter the realm of fantasy..." This could be true depending on what you mean by "go beyond," but it omits the fact that axioms are meaningless in the absence of sense perception. Many Western philosophers, including Hegel, thought that everything that can be known can be deduced from axioms-- and there is a famous story in which one of Hegel's critics held up a fountain-pen and challenged Hegel to deduce his specific pen from axioms, and Hegel simply muttered some response to the effect that he was too profound and famous a philosopher to waste time bothering with pens. But Objectivism holds that there is no a priori knowledge, and no innate ideas. It is an empiricist philosophy in that sense, like Aristotelianism was (empiricism, in the proper sense of the word, isn't limited to sensualism and representationalism, as many people assume). The point I'm trying to make is that, although consciousness is certainly an aspect of existence, there is nothing in the concept of existence existing alone which directly implies consciousness, or any specific metaphysical observations-- omitting the fact that in order for there to be a "concept" of "existence exists" there must be some consciousness possessing the concept; because it would be possible for existence to exist even if there were no conscious beings. That follows from the "primacy of existence" principle. Even if the axiom of consciousness could be derived from the axiom of existence, it still wouldn't prove any specific observation that a person might make about the nature of reality. Nothing in the axioms can demonstrate that water freezes at zero degrees Celsius, or that hot air is lighter than cold air-- only that, if these facts are observed, and the proper procedures for induction and deduction are followed, they can be known with certainty to be true and necessary in a specific context. But that latter statement, which is a metaphysical statement that Objectivism does dare to make, can't be underestimated in its profundity, or in its pregnancy as compared to most other prevalent systems today. So in one sense, Objectivism might say less than other philosophies which make all sorts of groundless cosmological or metaphysical assertions arbitrarily. But in another sense, it says much more about metaphysics than they do (in the sense of actually saying something). That makes sense. One of the attractive things about Ayn Rand's approach, I think, is that she never divorces her metaphysics from her epistemology. She never makes a claim about "the nature of the universe" without at least some brief explanation of how you can know that it's true. So the Objectivist metaphysics is prior to the epistemology in the sense that existence must exist before a person can know anything about it, but the epistemology is prior to the metaphysics in the sense that you need some grounds for establishing truth before you can proceed to grasp and discuss reality. I agree it's difficult to distinguish one from the other, sometimes. [i know I'm hairsplitting a little here, but only because I think it's important, not because I'm trying to take what you said out of context. ]
  5. Ha, yeah, that's almost exactly the same way I feel about it. The "Mirror, father, mirror" Dada scene and the "Blues Hammer" bar scene are my favorite gags, too. The implication that-- not only record collectors, but every concievable type of person is ultimately an isolated, clueless, misfit is useless, boring, and typical of these types of films. That's why I said, "I'm not recommending that you see it, but, just in case you happen to see it on, that's what it is." It's not a good film, but it does make just a couple of rare observations. Lol, oh, that's what I thought. : D That's funny-- my dad works at Frito-Lay, too. They sold a lot of chips that weekend.
  6. It's my understanding that representationalism or sensualism was actually Hobbes' theory of knowledge, and that Descartes devised his epistemology primarily to avoid Hobbes' conclusions-- although they both end up being trapped in conciousness. But Descartes maintained that ideas are derived primarily from innate ideas, rather than any kind of origin in experience, as Hobbes put forth. Representationalism was developed further by Locke, and rejected by Berkeley and Hume. By the time Kant came along, sensations really weren't considered a representation of reality anymore. The pretense of the two resembling each other had been dropped, for the most part, and would continue to be denied with greater consistency by subsequent moderns.
  7. Lol, I like how you tossed that in, there. But "everything that implies" is a vast amount of information! Especially if you include the law of identity, and everything that implies. Actually, if I'm not mistaken, every axiom has metaphysical as well as epistemological implications-- yes, no?
  8. I'm somewhat surprised to hear all the accusations that "Objectivism ignores metaphysics" etc. It seems to me that the majority of the non-fiction Objectivist works have been focused around precisely questions like the ones in this thread-- even more so than politics, or sex, or similar topics that get more attention on these message boards, because they're more provocative and accessible, or for some other reason. I'd say it's probably true that Ayn Rand spent more time on epistemology than metaphysics, but that's only because a rational metaphysics cannot be formulated until a full system of epistemology has been defined. That Binswanger lecture sounds like a good bet, and I'd like to hear it, too. Just recently, I borrowed a Peikoff lecture called "The Founders of Western Philosophy from Thales to Hume," and he spent a lot of time with some of the topics on this thread. He goes through lengthy discussions of sensation and perception in Objectivism as contrasted to various views throughout the centuries of philosophy prior to Kant. There's a second lecture course from Kant to the present, but I haven't checked that one out yet. He devotes a lot of time to the issue of perception as objective, rather than intrinsic or subjective. It's a false alternative to suggest you must be either a dualist or a materialist. Objectivism is neither-- it really is a new epistemology and a new metaphysics as compared to every other philosophical approach in history. You can describe Objectivism as Aristotelianism minus Plato, if you want, but that will only give you a rough approximation. There are countless additions and innovations made by Ayn Rand, and also by countless other philsophers influenced by Aristotle which Ayn Rand took into consideration when formulating her philosophy. Some people want to think that there is nothing new under the sun, but Objectivism really is something new.
  9. I like giving detailed explanations to people so that I can better understand something, too. So I'll give you a little critique. Well, I haven't read the whole website your friend linked to, but I read the quotes and I've read dozens of sites and even books like that, so hopefully that's enough. As to not being perfect, of course, I don't know you-- but don't sell yourself short! You don't have to be omniscient or omnipotent to be perfect. As long as you're honest, rational, independent, and always seeking to improve yourself, IMO you're perfect. Personally, in the context of the quotes here, I would have told your friend to blast off for this cowardly remark. This totally comes off as a patronizing insult. Bad form on your friend's part, I say. The funny thing is this whole paragraph is a paraphrase from the back of the movie, "The Passion of Ayn Rand," based on Barbara Branden's book. How lame. Not that NB is a reliable source, but that's not even what he said. He said that she told him evolution was "only a theory." Which he thought was bizarre, but he also thought it was inexplicable that she didn't consider telepathy and telekenesis as possible. At any rate, that was in the 1960's. A lot of evidence has surfaced in favor of evolution since then (I would venture to go so far as to say "proving" it.) But I think AR's point was that it's not a philosophically essential point. It's just a scientific fact, if evolution were or weren't true, it wouldn't make a difference to philosophy. You can find the evolution remark at NB's website, I'm sure. I think there is a "search" option. I've seen that article on there before. Not that it's very important.. What is all of this supposed to imply? It's not even a paradox superficially. Ha- respected! Yes, it's noble, when discussing an issue, to give your opponent every benefit of the doubt, assume his best intentions, and be generous in interpreting his arguments, etc; but this might be crossing a line. Who respects this heckler, Cathy Young? I've never heard of her. But anyway.. Well, yeah, but don't fret. A few is all it takes. That was a good one. Maybe Young doesn't quite grasp this point. Or maybe she just doesn't want you to grasp it. Hard to speculate about what exactly motivates people to write things like this. This is the most problematic part of your response, I think. First, it's true that values and morals are different. But morals are not innate. All humans do not follow and agree on the same morals. Most people don't even follow and agree with their own morals! But everyone who does not practice a rational code of morality is, to that extent, "evil." A person is not necissarily "all good," or "all evil" --most people are the most precarious mixture of the two. A code of morality has to be arived at through deep, consistent, philosophical thought. It's not something "written in your heart" that you just have to accept-- it's something each individual's gotta earn. And in a sense, you must have some virtue in order to live, so that right there disproves the possibility of someone thoroughly evil. Everyone is virtuous to the extent that they live a life proper to a rational being, but only to that extent. The reason AR didn't hold public debates, as I underderstand it, is that she recognized philosophical discussions don't opperate in a vacuum. A full answer to any one philosophical question would require a presentation of a full philosophical system. It's impracticable and impossible to do that in the context of a formal, timed debate. But in her private life, AR certainly did debate her views. She was a brilliant polemicist in her writings, and her letters are filled with impassioned, lengthy discussions of her views with people she respected, who didn't always agree with her-- at least, not until she persuaded them. I think what you mean is that Objectivism doesn't preach dogmas. But the ethical principles of Objectivism are as solid as the law of gravity. But that's in a different sense of the word. It's not a "thou shalt" or a "thou shalt not," it's more of a "If A, then B." You might want to study the difference between individualism and moral subjectivism a little better. You could be on the right track here, but it's a little confusing what you mean. Good luck finding any in the whole field of philosophy. That's how it was with me, too. It's not even the surface of Objectivism she's writing about. It's total hand-me-down oppinions of what someone pretended to think about Objectivism. Good job, I'd say. You mentioned most of the essential points. I also agree with what Diana said.
  10. Guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers, drum machines, vocals, effects units, amplifiers, and harmonica. And a little Ukulele, but I'm not very good at that yet. Well, it's kind of a dumb movie, but have you seen the film "Ghost World"? It's mostly one of those coming of age teen/young adult films. But in particular it's about a girl who just finished high school and who meets a middle aged vintage record collector (Steve Buscemi). The girl's friends all think he's a dork, but she decides she doesn't care, because she likes the music too, and she likes him. Not a horrible plot, and the jokes are really silly and maybe sophomoric, but there are some parts that I think are pretty funny satire and sometimes accurate. Anyway, a lot of young kids might have gotten into 20th century music through that. I know I heard some stuff on there I hadn't heard before that I later looked into. I'm not recommending that you see it, but, just in case you happen to see it on, that's what it is. Aw, that sounds like fun. I glad it wasn't blown away, too. Although the troublesome evacuation I went through was then for nothing-- almost a kind of disappointment in that! Couldn't it at least have decimated a school or a church by my house or something?
  11. [edit: Hm. My quote htmls don't seem to be working. Dunno why..] Thank you for the music. I wouldn't say today's music is utterly devoid of melody-- by then it would have ceased being music. It's just that the melodies aren't as smart, and are much more willing to be repetitive and to be subordinate to the rhythm, which is usually also monotonous, for the entirety of a song (as opposed to the old days, when, say Buddy Rich might have a fabulous drum solo, but then the band would kick back in with gusto and he'd lay back and ride it like a wave.. ::sigh:: ). But I'd say harmony and timbre suffer just as much these days. Think about how well mixed and balanced all the voices were in those old recordings-- you can hear everything (gasp-- even the mid-range!). Now we have the ability to mike, mix, and re-mix every different instrument from a dozen different angles, and it usually sounds like a jumbled mess, or like one horrible buzzing tone sounding out for several minutes and then stopping, with a faint distortion surfacing within it sometimes which is the actual song. But even rhythm is worse now, if you ask me. Compare any signature hip-hop "groove" with the death-defying syncopation of Roger Wolfe Khan's Orchestra, or the mind blowing rhythms which could be sustained effortlessly by one instrument alone, or with a whole band playing as tightly as a single player, in any decent ragtime recording of the early 20th century era. Even compare Rush drummer Neil Peart with any average Pop hit that has tap dancing. Shirley Temple had better rhythms than him, and he was a pretty good drummer for rock music! New music's got loud rhythms, yeah.. but it just ain't got that "swing." And I don't just mean triplets, or 3/4 time signatures. It's a certain type of harmonic arrangement, too, that drives those rhythms. But it gets so complicated. Maybe anyone who's interested in my methods for classifying genres should just PM me. The pre-WWII jazz music continued to inspire popular tunes all the way through the 40's. It's just that it, and the popular music inspired by it, were increasingly denounced as being "too commercial" sounding. Whatever that means.. No doubt. But, gee.. I mean, we could come out of the Civil War with music just getting started, and pretty soon we were right up there with the best in the world. And my great grandfather was a piano tuner in the great depression, and he did phenomenally well. From stories he used to tell, music was seen as a real outlet then. People couldn't afford dinner for their families, but by God, they'd scrape together enough to get their piano tuned and hear some music. After all, they had to live. What's life without music? I agree that the things you mentioned didn't help. But I think there was an underlying philosophical shift that was more responsible. (Those who want more details on this hypothesis would probably be better of PMing me.) Fascinating! I'd never heard of that, but it does make sense. But there was music that people called rock and roll in the '40s and 50's, which I mentioned before, and that music was upbeat, and IMO usually better than 60's rock. Now I'd probably call it boogie woogie, or doo-wop, or Country, or something else to avoid confusion, but it was the early rock and roll. So in that frame of reference, I'd say rock got much worse just a few years prior to the "British Invasion." The Kinks etc are when I start loosing interest. That approach can be problematic. Often I hear someone say of a band, "I don't like them, but they're good for the kind of music they play." Well, if you don't like them, (I say to these people) by what standard is it "good"-- are you trying to imply that you have bad taste? And then they might answer, "But I can respect that they're talented musicians, even though I don't like the music that they play." Talented musicians? Does that mean that the sounds they make with their instruments are pleasant to hear? No? Then by what standard are they "talented"? Because they can make an awful racket using more inexplicably complicated techniques? To me, that's like saying someone is a talented hunter because he tries to bounce his bullets off a tin can instead of shooting an animal directly-- only he never ends up hitting any animals! The point of playing an instrument is to be able to make music with it that sounds good. If you can't do that, by a certain standard, you're not a good musician! (For more details on my standards for music and how I arrive at them, PM me.) LOL, yes. Except, I'd say more concerned about what they think is technical virtuosity. Because there is a lot more to playing an instrument than just "playing notes." You've got to make sounds, you've got to keep the thing in tune, you've got to make sure it's never too trebley, never too bassy, never loud when it needs to be quiet, never quiet when it needs to be loud, and on and on, but just those things are plenty to keep a good, professional player's mind occupied as they "stick to the score" --which usually, by the way, was extensively customized by their particular band leader especially for that performance, by that band, in that venue. It didn't just come off of some assembly line. It was much more tech than most modern musicians and "music experts" usually admit. Not to mention the musicians would often do choreographed dances while they played! That's a whole other subject. I really don't think it's a mere difference in opinion. I think, on some conscious or subconscious level, those mentalities or the mentalities influencing them are aware that today's music can't stand next to those old, "commercial" masterpieces. Either it's too painful for them to admit how crappy today's music is in comparison to yesterdays, or they're intentionally covering over that fact, because whatever mediocrities they're trying to sell to people could never adapt to that style if it became popular again (for evidence of that, see the atrocious 1920's style swing/obnoxious rock groups that got briefly popular in America in the '90s.) Or maybe they just really do have that bad of taste. It's probably some equivalent of standing in a Howard Roark building and saying, "it just isn't homey!" They listen to that music and say, "it's just too happy, catchy, commercial, superficial, melodic, contrived" or whatever adjective they've decided should be understood as derogatory. Ah, I didn't mean to imply you aren't. Usually, when I listen to your station, I'll listen to it for a while, then go to another 1920's oriented station, and skip around to get some variety. But even your selection has quite a variety of styles, which are interesting for varying reasons; and some things are better than others. See, I just can't grasp how a style can have its own intrinsic standards for quality. Do you mean that you purposefully select some music which is not to your taste? How do you choose which songs that you don't like, to play; and which one's to skip? Other people's opinions? Or some method of personal judgment which is somehow separate from your taste? I think a lot of this illustrates what I was trying to express about how dynamic and creative groups were back then. They started with a piece of sheet music with just the bare essentials of a chord progression, melody, and basic rhythms. And then they'd individually have to transform it to whatever style and instrument and venue they were performing in. Many if not most professional musicians could play any given tune in a wide variety of different styles. That was probably true of session and touring musicians straight through the sixties, and to some extent in the 70's. Then it became politically incorrect for a musician to play a song he didn't write himself. People would say, "Ah, he's lame, he doesn't even write his own stuff. 'The record company' does it for him." Then music got a little better in the 80's, and then it became politically incorrect for a musician to use machines that weren't being controlled in "real time." People would say, "Ah, he's lame. He just programs everything on 'a keyboard.'" Then you had "grunge." And all the magazines hailed Kurt Cobain as "the last innovator of guitar." Yeah, right! I digress.. Sure, not to the extent that Schoenberg etc. maintained, but that's a part of it, certainly. Yes, that all follows from the exposure premise. Very true. I've won over many converts to certain things I like, but they almost always hate it the first time they hear it! My past experience is the same. When I started listening to a lot of early 20th century music, a lot of it sounded like Mickey Mouse songs to me. But there was some stuff I always liked. Then, as my palate became accustomed, I could distinguish easily between cartoon-y type music and quality popular tunes. Likewise, since I've heard it all so much, I can easily distinguish stylistically between Eric Johnson, Jimmy Hendrix, Metalica, Nickelback or whatever. And I can pick out whatever elements I like from these guys and what I wish they'd done differently. Yet no matter how exposed I am to it, I never come to the point of completely liking it, as a whole piece (I listed those in a somewhat descending order according to my tastes). I think the essential elements combining these that prevent me from liking them are stylistic. (More detail on that will probably be best through PM.) Well, knowledge and morality are contextual. When I find out someone loves heavy metal music, I feel about the same way about them I would feel if I found out they easily loose their temper, or if their favorite artworks are posters and statues of dragons and wizards, or if their favorite movies are the one that all have the same plot, with explosions and a car chase, and a villain that comes back to life at least four times. It's just like.. well, whatever. I still like what I like for reasons, and if you like what you like for reasons, you'll be able to see I don't mean it as a personal attack if I criticize what you like. That's how I look at it. (Using "you" as a general term.) Of course, I've learned the hard way, that's not always the best type of discussion to bring up on a first date.. Well, a person can be rational over-all and still hold some irrational positions on particular issues. It's true, Germany had some good music. In Ominous Parallels, Peikoff mentions them playing songs from "Merry Widow" to the prisoners in concentration camps as they were marching them, unbeknownst to the captives, into the death chambers. In the visual arts, too, some of the Nazi propaganda pictures were in an attractive realist style. But I also have reason to believe that, just as the Nazi's helped launch Dadaism in graphic art, they also helped to push and popularize the incoherent "avant-garde" noise/music which later had so much influence on jazz, and the abandonment of melody, rhythm, harmony, timbre, and any semblance of what's generally recognized as form in music. Yeah. Sad. Yes. Poor little sheep. Oh well, some people just aren't really even interested in music. I know there are some good mathematicians and bad ones, some good physicists and bad ones, and some good biologists and bad ones, but other than in the most obvious cases, I'd have trouble distinguishing them, because it's not one of my primary interests. I don't disapprove of or regret that people settle for Brittany Spears and Lincoln Park any more than I disapprove or regret that I've settled for my high school math text, or popular press articles on scientific discoveries. I think the choice of whether music, science, math texts, and popular opinion in general is quality or not is ultimately up to a few assertive, creative individuals who know, rather than the ignorant masses at large. At least, in a relatively free society, anyway. So, in short, I'm optimistic about the internet and the future, too. Well, you know.. It's really hard to get a point across concisely if it's an unusual viewpoint! You can't just rely on people to get the gist of what you're saying, especially in such an elusive subject as the aesthetic relativity of musical genres-- as it represents/causes/is caused by the moral decline of a society. I think we each deserve a pat on the back for being as brief as we were. Even if we're the only ones who read our posts.
  12. Oh, I see, you're arguing against deduction divorced from induction. In other words, against the "floating abstraction" rationalist approach. I didn't think of the fact that if induction is present at the base of your knowledge, it's in a sense married to every act of deduction you perform from it. I was taking for granted that there must be induction for deduction to take place; but there could be, instead, a junk heap of unwarranted beliefs, prejudices, non-sequiters, and, as I mentioned, floating abstractions. I'll have to set that Smith project as a long term goal. But I'll let you know if I'm able to do it! One last point on Aquinas' angels. I don't think I made this point clear enough, but the essential characteristic of their means of acquiring knowledge is that they gain knowledge in one act of abstracting from a universal, not that they get it from God. The reason that they have to get it from God, according to Aquinas, is that being creatures of pure form, they have no sense organs-- no eyes, ears, mouth, etc., which exist as physical means of perceiving reality. So in order to interact with people as they sometimes do in the JudeoXian mythologies-- for instance, in the legend of Balaam, the angel would simply contemplate "valley," "donkey," and "man," and he'd know where to stand and when to speak, because he would have grasped every particular which could possibly be subsumed under those universal concepts. (At least, that's how I understand the issue as it was explained to me.) I think it's fascinating as a contrast to human perception, and a little crazy that Aquinas put so much thought into defining to the last detail these completely imaginary beings..
  13. Hm. Well, I value spelling and grammar, too. But I'll be the first to admit I'm the worst speller. Didn't this site used to have a built in spell checker, like the one on the Speicher's site? What happened to that? I keep having to import my whole post to Word and editing it there, since I'm usually at the library. Such a pain!.. Half the time I skip it whether I look like an idiot or not. PS Actually, Spell Checks do help me on my spelling, because they tell me when I spell a word wrong. Otherwise, I'd just keep spelling it wrong! You should have seen my report cards in elementary school-- A, Reading; A, math; A, Social Studies; A, PE; C-, Spelling; C-, Penmanship. Those were too much monotonous writing. I always just wanted to start drawing instead.
  14. Bold Standard

    Billy Corgan

    Elsewhere on this board, I've engaged in polemics against rock music in general, and heavy metal music in particular; but I have to say Smashing Pumpkins/Billy Corgan is one of the only rock groups that I really like, along with Led Zeppelin-- even though Corgan said his plan from the beginning was to mix the sound of My Bloody Valentine with heavy metal rhythms, and Led Zeppelin was by most accounts the first band to be called heavy metal (although LZ referred to their style "rift rock"). The reason I feel justified in this position is that there are no two other groups in music history which sound quite like either of those bands, with the vast majority of rock bands sounding exactly like their contemporaries, much different from SP and LZ, and each band worse than its countless predecessors. With SP, I find many rich/lush harmonies, creative melodies and often a benevolent and uplifted mood, despite occasional adolescent fits of gratuitous nihilism. Also, Billy Corgan liked a lot of the same European 80's/90's dream-pop bands I do, like MBV, Cocteau Twins, and Lush; and I can spot those influences really obviously in some places, so I like it on those grounds (I wouldn't like it if it wasn't an original interpretation, which is why I hate bands like Slowdive, btw). Also, I like their videos-- they always tried to go for a kind of early 20th century look, although slightly more "gothic," but nonetheless stylish. I like the way a lot of their videos are shot, too. As far as what I don't like? They, like the Beatles, let their interpersonal politics and personal impatience and cynicism obstruct the beauty of the art they really seemed to want to make, when they were at their peaks. Also like the Beatles, their lyrics are often senselessly negativistic and defeatist-- but luckily, the Pumpkins decided to stay out of politics for the most part; and when Corgan did make political statements, it was usually things like denouncing Eddie Veddar and Pearl Jam for making so much noise about "evil, capitalist, overpriced Ticketmaster," then starting their own ticket agency and realizing they couldn't even approach Ticketmaster's low price and subsequently becoming the most expensive rock band of their generation to try and see. [Edit: It was Pearl Jam that complained/started the ticket company, not SP. I wansn't sure if I was clear enough about that.] I thought that was funny and true. Corgan had an image of being more intellectual than other rock stars, but he was too mopey/grungey for his own good. All I've heard off his new solo album is the hit single; "I want your soul," I think is the lyric. I like it! Nice video. And I never got to see them live either. They were still around for a few years after I was into them, but they always sold out!
  15. No, I didn't mean to imply that you believe in God or that Aquinas' angels actually exist. I just meant to illustrate the point that induction via perception of reality, while it certainly does provide knowledge, and is the ultimate source for all knowledge, does not by itself provide man with all the knowledge which can only be acquired by deducing from this knowledge. The example of Aquinas' angels is, in the spirit of the thread, just an analogy. But it's a helpful one for illustrating that which a human consciousness is not. No, because (and only because) I don't consider that point to be inane, but instead that it is new knowledge, not explicitly contained in the premises. This is important-- I would never elevate deduction over induction, because induction is prior, and is the necessary foundation upon which deduction must be based if it is to be of any practical significance. But that doesn't mean that deduction is completely arbitrary or that induction alone can provide man with sufficient knowledge upon which to sustain his life. Yes, you can. Many professional philosophers could not-- including David Hume and his followers. He says, just because the sun rose this morning, we have not one iota of a reason to suppose that it will rise tomorrow. Of course, he's wrong. And his flaw was in defaulting on induction, not deduction. But giving up on deduction, if done consistently, would eventually put a person in a similar epistemological predicament. That's because the Greeks believed in deduction, and that it resulted in new knowledge. If you can imagine a creature who was capable of induction, but whose cognitive abilities stopped there, it would be very much surprised by this phenomenon. It would only be able to grasp general principles, but could not apply them to the concretes with which it came into contact. What good would that be? It would literally be an absent minded professor, who's life could only be sustained by trading information with some other creature who was capable of deducing concrete instances from its broader abstractions. My only point is that such a creature would not be a human being, we need both induction and deduction to grasp reality. It's possible to arrive at such premesis as "all men are mortal" and "Socrates is a man" without ever being specifically aware that "Socrates is mortal." It would be easier to elude a deductive conclusion when dealing with more sophisticated premises. You needn't focus on something in perpetuity in order to say that you know it. But you can hardly claim to know something if you've never even been aware of it-- even if it does follow from your premises. Can one deduce Ayn Rand's epistemology, the necessity of Laisse Faire Capitalism for eudaimonia in the widest sense, and, say, Tara Smith's meticulous approach to ethics from general principles all contained in the ancient works of Aristotle? I'd say, yes, with surprisingly few and minor clarifications and at most one or two new inductive principles. But that doesn't mean that Aristotle would have had the faintest notion of any of those things. If he had seen them, it's likely he would have said, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?" The reason is that he didn't engage in extensive enough analysis and deduction to come to all of those conclusions. But you can hardly blame Aristotle for some of the wrong conclusions he came to. You can't say, "Stupid Aristotle! How could he have allowed those statist premises from Plato to remain in his politics? Didn't he know A is A?!" That's unfair, true as it might be, because Aristotle was not Aquinas' angel. Who knows what new and vital ideas will be deduced from Objectivism in the future? We're not Aquinas' angels. All we know for sure is that it will not contradict what we already know..
  16. I appreciate you reading my whole thread, and taking the time to digest and answer it. I know it was a little longwinded. No, all of the impact isn't sad. Did you mean an increase in freedom from force? I'm not sure how to draw a direct connection between that and modern art, but maybe there is one. But, as an irony I'm not sure how to explain, it seems that some of the most oppressed people in the past made some of the best art, and their liberated descendents are now making some of the worst. I know, that's a general statement, you can disagree if you want.. Lol, no, not family values. But traditional American values aren't far off from what I'm saying. I wouldn't say that family is the essential uniting those values. I do mean my values, and you can end the discussion there if you want. But my values are not completely subjective-- I'm not a whim worshipper. Specifically, I'm talking about-- in literature, the destruction of values such as a portrayal of man the hero, the hippy generation celebrated the anti-hero; in painting, the destruction of values such as portrayals of the universe as it appears to human beings, that generation celebrated incoherent smears of color and pasted in objects that weren't even the artist's own creation; in music, the destruction of values which amounted to a new emphasis on tribalist type rhythms, distorted, sometimes incoherent shrieks from the instruments, and painful sounding, literal screams from the vocalists. That's just a general trend; of course there are exceptions, and some individuals in each genre who almost made it work sometimes. It's the over-all trend I find disturbing. I can't, sorry. Yeah, the lack of truly objective criteria for judging music makes this tough. But there are objective criteria for judging other types of art, as Ayn Rand explains in The Romantic Manifesto. It seems logical to assume that since other art stemming from the same philosophy is flawed, the music of that era is likely be similarly flawed. But I know that's a pretty weak argument. Maybe I was the one who misunderstood you. If your statement was an attempt to establish that each generation is bound, by some eternal principle, to produce music that is going to be decried by the previous generation as destructive to art, only to decry the next generation for the same thing, with each generation's music being no more destructive to art than the previous one's-- that's what I was disagreeing with. But maybe that's not what you meant. I wasn't sure, so that's why I offered a refutation of that principle, rather than what you specifically said. Yes, I know, but.. Onus of proof. I don't think the principle as I stated it, admittedly less vague than yours, is even possible. I don't intend to claim that refutes what you stated, because if I misconstrued your intentions, it would be a straw man. Oh. Amusingly, some philosophers actually have maintained the latter position. Neitche thought so.. and I think Hegel, but I'm not positive about him. All of the above. Love the Dismuke! I'd say it's about as complete as listening to the music of today. Who could achieve comprehensive absorption of every piece of music in any era? True, I listen to music of yesteryear more than music of today, because there is less junk to shift through. But I find, as I go back further, the music that was good was more likely to be a hit at the time, and the music that was junk was more likely to be considered junk, to greater and greater degrees the further back you go. But there was scarcely ever a time when the best was necessarily a hit-- people always usually liked the junk better. IMO. Good to hear. I'm 24 and sometimes feel old! But I know I'm still a kid. Yeah, there are some advantages to new music- recording technology is better, for example. Not your whole argument. Just the part that maybe it seems like music from the past is better only because it's less familiar. At least, inasmuch as it applies to me. Lol, yes, good point. I didn't mean that I listen to it indiscriminately (although that's what I said), I meant that I select which songs to listen to indiscriminately. So that I'll listen to my favorite songs and my least favorite all together. That way I can discriminate between what I like and don't like, and compare it with music of other eras. Not offended. It can be done well, I'm just making normative generalizations. Here I'd suggest reviewing Miss Rand's description of music in RM. Something as specific as "glory of God" is too specific for a piece of music. The closest music can come is "the emotion evoked by contemplating glory in an abstract form." And, depending on one's philosophy, that could represent a very uplifted sense of life. Modern CCM seems to take "glory of God" to mean "weakness of man" (some old church tunes were like that, but a lot weren't-- some new CCM is not too.) Library is closing, gotta go.
  17. I don't think you're a nutcase, but you seem to be making the mistake of assuming that man acquires knowledge in the same fashion as angels do, in the theory of Thomas Aquinas. Being creatures of pure form, angels, say Aquinas, come to grasp a universal directly from God; and in one act, they simultaneously gain complete awareness of every concrete and abstract implication from the universal. But human beings don't acquire knowledge in this fashion. Knowledge of the implications of a given universal requires a separate cognitive act for every deduction. Knowing that all men are mortal, and that Socrates is a man, does imply that Socrates is mortal, but it does not guarantee that I, as a human being, will grasp that Socrates is mortal, unless I perform the distinct act of deducing it from my premises. As far as whether this new knowledge is "significant," well that would depend on context. If I (assuming I were living in ancient Greece) decide to miss a lecture by Socrates, because I think I can see him in twenty years, when I have a better grasp of philosophy-- not realizing that he's mortal and will probably be dead by then.. then it would have been significant. No easy solution, I'll grant. But that doesn't mean no solution. Surely there are valid reasons to carry on arguments besides attempts to persuade your audience. What about attempts to learn, and to work out possible contradictions in your own conceptions? What about simply trying to understand the position of your audience, so that you may know how to persuade them in the future? I can think of a thousand other examples. Unless these fall under some "meta-persuasion" it seems "pure logic" is still important, since I want to be logical. What's the use of persuading an audience with an argument that's not even logical, so that they will be persuaded half an hour later with another argument, or with the practical requirements of reality, like Hume when he left his books and tried to play backgammon?
  18. David, Aristotle's definition for analogy really helped me understand, thanks for that. I'm really surprised to see you espouse this view. This seems similar to the case Francis Bacon made against deduction, in favor of his revised induction. I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that deductive inference cannot create new knowledge, besides through deduction from a syllogism. And then, have you said something new, or not? Doesn't this approach prevent one from abstracting beyond perceptual level concepts? It's my understanding that this is an expression of the philosophical tradition known as nominalism. It can be traced back to the medieval philosopher Roscelin, who claimed that universals did not exist, but were instead mere flatus vocis: "puffs of air." This approach was called nominalism from the Greek word meaning "name." His approach was criticized by Anselm and Abelard, and the first attempts to secure a theory of universals, in this period, were called "moderate realism," to contrast it from nominalism and Platonic realism. But it wasn't until Thomas Aquinas that Aristotle's theory of universals was fully rediscovered and integrated into Western thought, thus ending the Medieval period and establishing the foundations for the Renaissance. Nominalism lingered to various degrees in the doctrines of the empiricists, such as Bacon, Hobbes (who I think Wittgenstein is paraphrasing in the above quote), and Locke, but it wasn't until David Hume that a consistent and extreme nominalism would come to dominate all of Western philosophic thought, and since then almost every major philosopher has adopted it, especially Kant's formation of it known as "the analytic synthetic dichotomy." The Objectivist answer to this, and an attempt to establish a new theory of universals is contained in AR's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, just to plug that once more. One simply can't present a meaningful philosophical response to centuries old, entrenched notions of epistemology and the origin of concepts on an internet message board.
  19. lol, OK-- possibly Diana was being slightly over general, depending on how one interprets, "refuses to read," but in the case of the specific people she referred to in her post, I'm afraid she was quite justified. A lot of intelligent people were duped by the Brandens at first, and then caught on as the Brandens continued to say things that didn't add up. Now we have conclusive evidence that will settle the whole thing once and for all, and Bidinotto, who is by all the evidence I've seen an exceptionally intelligent man, says he isn't interested. To me, especially considering his name is on Barbara Branden's book, that doesn't add up. Of course the Brandens' characters are philosophically irrelevant. But that doesn't mean they're irrelevant altogether. They're relevant, for one thing, to explain why they spent so much time attacking Ayn Rand's character and philosophy, on such implausible grounds, when they were once evidently so close to her. Their respective philosophies (which, I might add, have not developed much since they stopped communicating with Miss Rand) are a totally separate issue. I still haven't gotten to read the book yet, either-- I was about to glance through a friend's copy when I saw she'd also gotten Ayn Rand Answers, and I forgot about the other one. But I've seen quotes from both the Brandens that are literally that bad. And I could never understand why, because Ayn Rand seemed like such a sweet lady all the times I've seen her on videos, not to mention the character which must have been required to write like she did. Needless to say, I'm anxious to read her side of the story from her own private journals. But my friend's opinion is that the corruption of the Brandens comes across as a side issue in comparison to the unspeakable integrity and virtue of Ayn Rand revealed in the book, and that its an extraordinarily inspiring and intimate story that can bring you to tears. I'll have to see for myself!.. I missed that, in the original post. What was said about To Lorne Dieterling? I don't see it mentioned.. (I've always hoped, in the back of my mind, that AR secretly wrote that, and that one day her estate would publish it, when the state of society improves. I know it's crazy-- just a fun fantasy because I want a new Ayn Rand novel to read. )
  20. When the threat amounts to engaging in an action that the selfsame judge officially sanctioned, and was in part responsible for legalizing. However misguided Clements' efforts and reasoning might be, the part I quoted not a legitimate criticism. Seizing a house from a judge who upheld eminent domain by means of eminent domain is just. It would not amount to an initiation of force by Clements, if it succeeds, either, but by the State of New Hampshire.
  21. Now, are you trying to say that axioms are insufficiently firm, or that they're insufficient because they are firm? (And do you mean, and/or are you aware of the Objectivist meaning for "axioms?") And when you say analogy is more effective because of admitting it's an approximation-- to what end, and in what respect, exactly?
  22. Of course, that is precisely the grounds on which Hume and his descendents rejected precisely those types of concepts as "meaningless." [edit: oh, I thought you said "soul." I think "sour" is okay because supposedly with Hume you can have a perceptual image that's not visual. But I'm not sure about that..] But Rand refutes those guys too. Also, Dr. Leonard Peikoff's essay on the analytic synthetic dichotomy which is appended to the end of ITOE refutes all those type of arguments from top to bottom. One meaningfull statement I've heard Objectivists make related to the neorological basis for concepts is that sensory perception is automatic-- in other words, causally determined, prior to the point at which volition enters into cognition. But it's not considered an essentially important issue. But I'm still wondering what's the distinction between an analogy and a regular sylogism? Is an analogy generally intended to imply more approximation?
  23. The most important distinction I would make here between your position so far and the Objectivist one is that words stand for concepts, rather than images. It could be a concept of an image, but Objectivism ascribes a deeper meaning to concepts than merely the fading images of particular sensations. That's just a hint though, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology is the best source for the explenation of this and other fascinating aspects of the Ayn Rand's unique solution to the "problem of universals."
  24. Well, any fact is obvious in its proper context. Some evidence could be anywhere from a sentence to a volume, but I'll try to be as clear and brief as I can, and if you want me to elaborate more, I'll do some research and try to present a more complete and solid case (because it's a topic that interests me). It's really quite an accusation to state, as I have, that a group of people-- the hippies-- perpetrated an across the board destruction of values in all forms of art. I couldn't defend that position by just giving a concrete example from each art form. It's an end product of a long, sad story of philosophical and cultural deterioration, and it must be understood in that context, so that it's clear that a specific general approach to art will always follow from the premises of the group I'm describing. So I'll try to be more specific about exactly who I mean when I say, "the hippies." I don't mean "anyone who was unlucky enough to be a kid in the 60's." I mean a specific, fringe group of the New Left in the 60's, who were mostly middle/upper-class kids brought up in progressive schools, with some low class thugs thrown in with whom those kids liked to associate/become. The leaders of this "subculture" were mostly corrupt adults, such as Timothy Leary and some who were involved in the beatnik culture a generation or so earlier, some anarchists, some communists, and a lot of people who wanted to make a buck selling drugs to young kids, and maybe get laid in the process, etc. As for the philosophical foundations of the cultural phenomenon I'm describing, it's basically the New Left in Ayn Rand's The Anti-industrial Revolution. But I'm not trying to imply that Ayn Rand made or even came close to suggesting a case against rock and roll-- that's my own position and it depends upon an evaluation of cultural trends that were several layers of fad removed and diluted from what I assert to be their philosophical antecedents. I hope that I'm coming a little closer now to expressing who I mean by the hippies-- they were the ones who were scoffing at all the standards of their day, including some corrupt and stagnant ones, but also capitalism, (what is now considered) old fashioned romantic love, their own careers, any standards of their own personal happiness, etc. And pretty much anything lude or offensive that can be imagined in art-- assuming that it had a folksy, disintegrated flavor, is something they embraced with jaded enthusiasm. I don't mean the general sentiment derived from all of American culture at the time or simply confined to a specific age group or economic class, but rather a specific philosophically oriented cultural movement within and distinct from the rest of American pop-culture. Only philosophy can produce new art forms, and the philosophies embraced by the hippies were... not my favorite ones. Now if that's too vague, I'd be happy to research it and give concrete examples in every art form and explain how and why they came to be from the philosophical premises I'm ascribing to "the hippies." Luckily, I wasn't personally alive during this period, and I've ignored many of the specific details of the 60's and of it's art and philosophy-- that which I have seen is more than enough and always the same. But sooner or later, maybe it'll do me some good to plunge in to my "cultural heritage," and find out all the sordid details.. I have more I can say on this, but tell me if I'm being clear enough before I go on. Of course I understand that the existence of bad art doesn't automatically negate standards-- every family with young children has plenty of it plastered on their refrigerator doors that is standard affirming in fundamentally important respects. But the widespread acceptance of bad art by the cultural establishment of its day, and the out-of-hand dismissal of any good art, when great art was the standard only a couple of decades earlier, is a monumentally different proposition. No, I'm afraid that's a dangerous assumption still. I haven't even begun to describe my criteria for judging whether a given composition fits into a specific genre, and how rigidly that can be defined, and what rock and roll means specifically. But leaving aside the loosest generalizations which would include a wealth of material that predates the hippies by several decades and would be synonymous with the honky-tonk, blues, ragtime, and country music of the early 20th century, and lots of great tunes that I have no problem with whatsoever, there is music even from the darkest depths of the 1960's and '70s and even later that I would classify unequivocally as rock and roll (or "rock music" which some people use as a different term, but I don't) and which I nonetheless consider to have many reasonable qualities-- though it does not meet my boldest standards, which not even my most favorite music meets consistently, without reservations. I am, myself, a musician-- and not even my own music meets these standards completely yet. I was attempting to present an essentialised example of rock's enduring influence, but if you prefer narrow, I'm willing to concede some ground there. Nu Metal is by no means the only thing influenced by rock music. Some music influenced by rock is even good. Some of it I might even say is relatively good in specifically those elements which it's taken from the legacy of the 60's hippy rock music. That music came at a period in time when a lot of good musical ideas were still lingering, and several outstanding, talented musicians were willing to express themselves in the rock format, perhaps in order to be successful, and were successful; just like Hitchcock made some successful, amusing, even compelling movies in the naturalist style after romanticism was no longer marketable in films. Some of the old pop musicians became rock musicians and did some interesting things with it. But that's not what you see when you zoom out and look at the totality of the enduring work of the period. It's not what's considered most influential or "relevant" to-day. It's not the cannon the highbrow critics use by which to judge new works; it's not even in their vocabulary. Not that that's a surprise, or anything. But take the worst, lamest, mass produced atrocities of the 1920's or earlier, and I'll trade it for all but, perhaps, the very best music of today. This is a small point, but I think it's worth stating that just because a piece of music employs some element or device from a previous genre (which actually means some specific previous piece/arrangement or other), doesn't mean the new piece is dependent on the former piece for its existence. It would be especially hard to prove that a piece is necessarily thus dependent on its predecessors for those distinctive qualities which make it a great work of art. I just thought I'd throw that in, in case it's not obvious to anyone. I hate Baroque too, btw. I use techniques I learned from Baroque, and altered, and adapted, in my music; but when I do it, it's not Baroque. The same principle can be applied to a lot of things. Some people are of the opinion that social trends follow an indeterrable, eternal repetition from generation to generation. I don't know if that's what you're getting at-- I'd really be surprised if you were actually to endorse such a view, and I don't mean to insult you by implying that you do, but since your arguments are following some of the patterns typical of that viewpoint, I want to state explicitly that that's not true. I think there is just as much about each successive generation that is unprecedented as there are things that are traditional, or innate to any civilized structure, or whatever else might cause similarities from one generation to the next. I frankly can't comprehend how you might believe that the scandal caused by Elvis' pelvic thrusts, for example, and let's say the scandal caused by indiscriminate legions of rappers glorifying stupidity, every kind of chauvinism and brutishness, and describing how jolly and proper it is to go around murdering police officers (as a "social commentary"), etc, with music that is completely monotonous and simple and often actually the actual music from another rap song, off a record or sampler, or standard beat box. (I shouldn't have to say this, since this is an Objectivist forum, but of course the type of "solution" to this kind of thing proposed by Tipper Gore some years ago is a hundred million times worse than the worst which could ever possibly be achieved by any rapper or musician. I'm only talking about good art vs. bad art, not anybody vs. initiation of force!) Hmm.. yeah, I'm not trying to make anyone feel old here, but for me 60's music is the music of yesteryear every bit as much as music from the 1940's or 1910's. I was born in 1982. I almost never listen to 60's music, and when I can stand it, it is usually the best the decade had to offer, as far as I've been able to discover. By contrast, I listen to music of earlier periods all the time, I have for years, and often I will listen to it indiscriminately, just because I like sound of the period. So that aspect of your argument doesn't have much plausibility, I don't think. I still like the '40s better (and earlier music of the 20th century even better than that-- I do think there is a discernable decline in the quality of music over the century, which this century has yet to even begin to correct.) Of course there was sub-standard music before the 60's, just as there has been and will be in every age-- but it was a higher standard. Most every popular composer and artist from approximately the mid-late 1800's to the 1940's was at least enough of a genius to be able to grasp, master, and adapt the ideas and techniques of the real geniuses who originated and first popularized those ideas and techniques. Not every one of them was necessarily breaking new ground, but it doesn't matter because the ideas themselves were good and the sense of life was benevolent. And the types of arrangements and instrumentations which were popular then, in conjunction with the ideas upon which popular tunes of that era were based, naturally led to new innovations and almost necessitated ingenious new ways (which were often times overlooked, forgotten, miracles of musical genius in their own right) of adapting certain songs to the multiplicity of varying timbres, occasions, etc, which were simply the conditions demanded of a typical working band at the time. The reasons for the decline, as I conceive it, are more than I could name here and I'm gaining new insights into the phenomenon every day. But as one last note, as all of this pertains to your typical musician, I just want to say that there was not this blithe, cynical, arrogant attitude which is so ubiquitous today. I mean the mentality of those who worship mediocrity-- who proudly, violently, and obnoxiously assert what they imply is their right to complete and utter incompetence in the craft they've chosen as their profession. A mentality so corrupt that its victims often go through painstaking, arduous struggles to learn the most obtuse, inexplicably demanding theories of modality, scales, and various musical theories, just to use it for five seconds at the beginning of a song before launching into a train wreck of sounds that very well could sound like a train wreck.. if there were such a thing as stale, typical, institutionalized formulaic train wrecks. This is to prove that they could write in a pleasant style, you see, but they want to portray their own self consciously vulgar nihilism as superior, more honest, more realistic. That mentality was there with the hippies. But it was really the so called detractors of the "peace and love generation," namely: Punk Rock, that was to exalt that mentality to its most sickening heights. I'll leave heavy metal out of all this, because I've said what I think of that in other threads. And, I've probably said enough about all of this for now.
  25. I would like to express the voice of an overwhelming minority here and suggest that people were somewhat right in this assesment of rock and roll. Need I point out the hippy culture and the across the board destruction of standards in all forms of art that it perpetrated? After rock and roll came on the scene, I would say there is a perfectly clear and distinct decline in the quality of popular music, and in the talent and general comprehension of the art of music required to produce hits. But, of course, since objective standards for music haven't been completely defined, I will have to maintain that is merely my personal oppinion. Looking at other art forms embraced by the hippies, however-- such as literature and graphic art, for example, I wouldn't think it would be a huge surprize that their music was a degredation as well. In this spirit, I think it is absolutely appropriate to compare rap to rock and roll. I think it is one more step into the abyss. Of course, I don't think the mere existence of rap is an endictment of our culture, but I think our culture's embrace of it is. Especially if you note the lyrical content. The fact that rock and roll has matured now into Nu Metal and Robert Johnson into Aerosmith doesn't bode well for the future of rap, in my oppinion. JMeganSnow, on the importance and moral acheivements of Rome, I would suggest that you read The God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson. That's an important book for an Objectivist to read anyway, and it really enlightened me on Rome's importance and acheivement, in a historical context. She refutes some of your arguments, such as that an empire such as Rome could have acheived what it did by military strength alone.
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