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Bold Standard

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  1. Hi.

    http://philadelphia-89.deviantart.com/ though I am terrible about posting art regularly, I do get better at it. TOOL, Interpol, Amy Whinehouse, Marilyn Manson (before his last album), Slipknot, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, A Perfect Circle, Olivia Lufkin, Prodigy, Rammstein,...A lot of rock from the 90's and early 2000's. I find myself going back to older music.

    Hi, I like your stuff! My favorite is "foreshortening." Maybe you'd like my music-- www.myspace.com/epistemelody ::end plug:: hehe

  2. Critique: Objectivism attempts to create a philosophy around the nature of a rational being, but not man qua man.

    IE, man isn't just a rational being. Modern academia suggests that man:

    - needs to feel that he belongs in a community

    - needs to feel differentiated in some way within his community.

    Ayn Rand never claimed that man is "just" a rational being. She claimed that rationality is man's most essential attribute. See Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology for a more full study of the implications of this.

  3. I would buy it, but there's less of it in every bottle and it costs more than normal soda.

    It's worth it!

    Even their diet soda is pretty good. (And I *hate* diet anything.. I only know it's good cause I bought it on accident once lol).

    Also, water is cheaper than coke or pepsi and there's more of it in every bottle.. Even cheaper from the faucet. You get what you pay for, though. : P

  4. Sure fascists are bad. But the proffered alternative in this film is communism. No thank you. And the movie ends with the oh so typical altruist invocation to self-sacrifice.

    It's been a while since I've seen this, but I thought the alternative given was anarchism. (I know, that's not too much different from communism, but it's about as different from communism as either is from fascism, I'd say).

  5. Plato made ideas and mind primary. I never quite understood why Ayn Rand did not target Plato more than Kant.


    I think, for one thing, Plato's achievement of being the first systematic philosopher in history earned him at least a degree of admiration from Ayn Rand. This is my personal view on the subject.. Plato came onto the scene amidst, as far as we can tell today, mostly fragmented, factional bickering of sophists and skeptics and various cults. And he steered philosophy into the direction of a systematic approach. His system was tragically flawed, of course, but I think it's in this respect that he paved the road for Aristotle and the birth of science and philosophy as we know it. Kant, on the other hand, came onto the scene amidst the Enlightenment, at a time when religion was fading, and attempts were being made to understand the world according to reason. He saved religion, suspended reason to make room for faith, dealt a near fatal blow to the study of metaphysics as such, and basically steered philosophy *away* from the Enlightenment approach and away from the attempts to grasp reality by means of reason.

  6. In order to do that, he must be reality oriented, and Kant said we have no access to reality with either our sense or our mind, not even some kind of indirect access to real reality.

    Actually, Kant did claim that some knowledge of the noumenal realm could be deduced. He was heavily criticized for this, and it is quite inexplicable in the context of the rest of his philosophy. But there are three basic metaphysical concepts Kant derived from "real reality," as he saw it, and those were God, freedom (volition), and immortality (the indestructibility of the soul). As to how he derived those concepts and what they mean exactly in his philosophy, someone with a much better understanding of Kant than I would have to explain..

  7. Immanuel Kant argued a concept he labeled the Categorical Imperative. The maxim of this is that an action is morally impermissible if you can at the same time will (desire) that it become a universal law.

    You said it backwards. The maxim is that an action is morally permissible if and only if it can be willed to be a universal law. Also, your professor might have translated will to mean desire, and if so never mind this--but I would avoid equating will with desire in Kant. The connotations of desire seem too close to inclination, which is one type of motivator, but one that Kant tried to avoid (though not very well really).

    This basically means that if you do it, you must also want everyone else to behave in the same manner. For example, let’s imagine a man who desires the possessions of his neighbor, but lacks the motivation to acquire similar possessions for himself through honest means. If a person acted upon his desire to steal, he would therefore also have to accept that it would be morally permissible for everyone else to steal from him. If everyone were allowed to take whatever they wished from others without consent, there could be no concept of private property. Indeed, even one’s own home could be taken at whim whenever someone else chose to do so. In such a scenario, society itself would break down. It would become necessary for an “every man for himself” attitude whereby everyone would be on constant watch to protect his own possessions from his neighbors. If such a maxim were universal, mankind itself would descend into the stone ages and humans would be reduced to mere animals, defending territory and guarding possessions with deadly force against intruders. Social interaction would be nearly impossible out of fear of leaving one’s own territory unprotected. It also seems improbable that such a scenario could allow for foundations of trust between men. As such, the Categorical Imperative would not permit such actions as stealing your neighbor’s possessions.

    This argument is Kantianish, but again I think you have included a much greater focus on desire (inclination) than Kant would have allowed. The way Kant usually argued his categorical imperatives, it is not merely *undesirable* for a person to violate the maxim if it were a universal law, but rather *impossible*. I think that's what your teacher meant when he asked you to show how the violation would lead to a "contradiction." One example I've seen used is lying (I don't remember if this was an example Kant actually used or just someone explaining Kant).

    If lying were a universal law, then that would mean that everything that everybody says is a lie. But if that were so, it would actually be impossible, because it would mean simply that when someone says something, the opposite of their statement is the truth. So everything would be the truth, which is a contradiction to everything being a lie. It is therefore literally impossible, not merely undesirable, for lying to be willed a universal law. (I know that argument is somewhat problematic, but that's one that I've seen as an example before).

  8. You cant judge philosophers based on those who claim to have been inspired by them - this is the same logic that leads to the 'Nietzsche was a nazi' nonsense. Kant explicitly opposed the extension of his philosophy by later people such as Schelling/Fichte, and it was more their ideas which inspired Hegel than Kant's directly. Any comparasion of Kant and Hegel will show a vast number of fundamental differences in their beliefs, and Kant would have disagreed with Hegel on many things.

    I don't think that philosophers' claims of inspiration by Kant is the issue. The reason that Kant lead to Hegel and German Romanticism etc. is not because he somehow prophetically agreed with their philosophies before they were formulated. It's because some of Kant's unprecedented arguments served as key premises in their philosophies. I do think it's legitimate to judge a philosopher based on that criteria*. It's really not legitimate to say that Nietzsche led to Nazism, because there is very little in Nietzsche's philosophy that bears any resemblance to Nazism, and those ideas which are consonant with Nazism were not unique to Nietzsche's philosophy but were mostly derivative ideas that were already popular at the time. But it is legitimate to say, for instance, that Plato led to Christianity, because philosophically Christianity was in essence, as Nietzsche once put it, "Platonism for the masses." In particular, many of Plato's unprecedented arguments for the existence of a supernatural world of forms served as a key premise for Plotinus, who's arguments served as a model for many of the church fathers and therefore for the early philosophical development of Christianity.

    *[Edit: I think don't think it's legitimate to judge a philosopher based exclusively on the criteria of his influence on later philosophers. But I do think it's legitimate to judge philosophers based on that criteria in certain contexts, especially when studying the historical development of philosophy.]

    It doesn't matter if a philosopher claims to be influenced by another philosopher. It only matters if an essential aspect of a philosopher is derivative of some essential aspect of the other philosopher. It doesn't matter much that Kant claimed to be inspired by Aristotle, because in essence his view was more Platonic than Aristotelian.

    It's true that there are significant, essential differences between Kant and Hegel. But it's also true that Kant lead to Hegel, because once Kant provided his unprecedented argument of the minds inability to know the noumenal world, Hegel had a foundation he wouldn't have otherwise had to do away with the noumenal world and project his new brand of idealism, which was in turn highly influential on other philosophers who did not necessarily agree with the totality of his philosophy.

    I dont think the Romantic movement was overtly Kantian in nature: it tended to be based on very artistic/dubious interpretations of Kant's third critique which placed a large emphasis on aesthetic judgements, while ignoring his first one. But the third critique doesnt really cohere well with his first two anyway, and the Romantics tended to be against what they saw as the stifling hyper-rationality of the CPR (which is what he's most famous for now).

    If it's true that the third critique doesn't cohere with the first two, then how could a philosophical movement possibly derive itself from Kant without contradicting either the third or the first two?

    Again, I suppose it depends on whether you judge someone based on the effects they had, or on what they were actually committed to. If someone handpicks various ideas from Kant while ignoring/misinterpreting his fundamental points, I dont think you can really blame Kant for influencing them.
    I think what's in dispute are which of his points are more fundamental.
  9. But again I remember from TRM that she identifies some objective criterium, if only by empirical evidence, in order to judge music. The monotonal "tribal drumbeats" of "primitive cultures" in contrast to I believe she cites Tchaikovsky.

    No, she doesn't. She does contrast music as being periodic in nature as opposed to noise which is non-periodic, though.


    Bach wins...


    *harpsichord riff plays*

    Lol.. Personally, I hate Bach and love Rachmaninoff for the most part. But there are some pieces by Bach that I love and some by Rachmaninoff that I hate.

  10. So.. is there any sense in what I'm saying? Can music be described objectively? Is it useful to describe something subjectively?

    Is Rachmaninov superior to Bach?

    I don't believe that music can be described objectively in the context of our present understanding of music's effect on people. But I think it can potentially be described objectively one day. I do think that it is useful to describe subjective things subjectively, if by "subjective" one means a description of one's personal experience with something, the objective causes of which one is unable to determine at that time.

    Here is an excerpt from Ayn Rand's The Romantic Manifesto on the subject of music. (She writes more about it than this, but this is just one excerpt that I quoted on a different thread so I cut and pasted it here):

    "In listening to music, a man cannot tell clearly, neither to himself nor to others—and, therefore, cannot prove—which aspects of his experience are inherent in the music and which are contributed by his own consciousness. He experiences it as an indivisible whole, he feels as if the magnificent exaltation were there, in the music—and he is helplessly bewildered when he discovers that some men do experience it and some do not. In regard to the nature of music, mankind is still on the perceptual level of awareness.

    "Until a conceptual vocabulary is discovered and defined, no objectively valid criterion of esthetic judgment is possible in the field of music. (There are certain technical criteria, dealing mainly with the complexity of harmonic structures, but there are no criteria for identifying the content, i.e., the emotional meaning of a given piece of music and thus demonstrating the esthetic objectivity of a given response.)

    "At present, our understanding of music is confined to the gathering of material, i.e., to the level of descriptive observations. Until it is brought to the stage of conceptualization, we have to treat musical tastes or preferences as a subjective matter—not in the metaphysical, but in the epistemological sense; i.e., not in the sense that these preferences are, in fact, causeless and arbitrary, but in the sense that we do not know their cause. No one, therefore, can claim the objective superiority of his choices over the choices of others. Where no objective proof is available, it's every man for himself—and only for himself."

  11. I'm still having a difficult time rationalizing the merit of art. This is important to me because I consider myself an artist. I'm a skateboarder, a good one. I've spent the last decade of my life working on my skateboarding.

    You might be interested to read The Romantic Manifesto, in which Ayn Rand lays down her theory of the meaning and value of art. She discusses dance, and mentions her favorites are tap and ballet.

    They just opened up a big new skatepark here in Houston, right next to downtown. I went to the opening the other day. It was super crowded! But there was a demo, the first pro demo I'd seen irl. There does seem to be an element of dance in it, though I suppose there are sports elements too. Anyway, it looks like so much fun, I wish I was better at it. Hopefully that place won't always be so crowded so I can try it out. : )

  12. I am commonly confronted with this fallacy but I don't know what type it would be. the argument basically goes like this: If the government didn't tax people, who would take care of x (of what the government currently does).

    If someone must must take care of x, and if only the government can take care of x, and if the government must forcibly tax people in order to take care of x, then, if the government didn't forcibly tax people, nobody would take care of x which would be bad or impossible.

    Most likely the faulty premise is "only the government can take care of x", but it depends on what x is. If x is courts, military, or police, then the faulty premise is that the government must forcibly tax people in order to take care of x. Another possible faulty premise is someone must take care of x at all. Depends what it is.

  13. You might try using the search feature to find the many identical threads to this one.

    Why not Hume, who was a hard Empiricist which led him to Skepticism? Hume's questions are still considered profound ( Why I don't know ). The Is-Ought problem puzzles philosophers to this day, with Rand and a few others as an exception. Hume also attacked causality, and thus took a hammer to induction and science.

    Criticisms of Hume abound in Ayn Rands writings (notably in her essay For the New Intellectual and in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology). But she considered Kant the worst because he made much of Hume's skepticism academically acceptable and introduced "solutions" to his problems so weak that they quickly collapsed into the subsequent skepticism of German Romanticism etc. [edit: Oops, I should have read post#2 before I wrote this lol.]

    Rand considers Nietzsche an influence in some ways, but outside of his praise for the ego, Nietzsche was disgusting as a philosopher. I like his fiction, and I may be one of the few, but his philosophy is so contra-Objectivism.
    If you look up her comments on Nietzsche in the Ayn Rand Lexicon, you will see she expressed very similar opinions about Nietzsche. She hated him as a philosopher, and liked him primarily as a writer and poet.

    Kierkergard? ( Sp? ) Schopenhauer? These men had just as much wrong as Kant, and had an even heavier affect on Nazism and race-based collectivism. Hitler was often seen with works of Schopenhauer.

    If you are interested in Kant's influence on Nazism, there is much about it in Leonard Peikoff's The Ominous Parallels, which is a very interesting read. I'm curious in what way Kierkegaard was a direct influence on the Nazis? I'm not aware of a specific connection, but they did attempt to sell themselves as being consistent with every popular philosopher no matter how disparate, in order to give themselves credibility in the public eye. Kierkegaard was an individualist (somewhat) despite his hatred of reason and his religiosity.

    Kant is no saint. His philosophy was irrational and a terribly boring read. But no one considers themselves a Kantian anymore. Perhaps a Rationalist, and certainly most people consider Altruism something admirable but these things didn't originate with Kant.

    The term 'altruism' was coined by August Compte as a description of Kant's moral philosophy, so in that sense he was the origin of altruism as an ethical doctrine. Kant's Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals is a much easier, much shorter read than CPR, and in it he lays down most of his ethical philosophy. I'd recommend reading that, if you're more interested in his influence on moral philosophy.

    I haven't heard this before. Romanticism is a particular category of art; there is/was no 'Romantic philosophy' movement. However, my point is to say that the development of Romanticism, as a category of art, was completed by intellectuals from many different fields of thought who cited (as a basis for their art) philosophers such as Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, and the other "German Idealists", plus many many more (i.e. Spinoza, Schopenhauer, etc).

    German Romanticism [as a term in philosophy, as opposed to 'romanticism' in literature] is the name given to those German philosophers mostly in the 19th century who believed the mind was divorced from reality, and opposed "system building" in philosophy, ie, opposed any systematic approach to philosophy.

  14. There is a certain kind of mistake that people make when they put "a good time" or "having fun" as a primary. Certain situations, mental states, etc., are fun due to your own subconscious and the emotional reactions it has automated.

    Sure, some people make that mistake. I didn't, though. I never said it was a primary.

    This is why, for example, a (completely) rational person does not enjoy getting wasted and passing out. The sensation of being drunk (unable to think clearly, drastically decreased motor skills, etc,) are not pleasurable to them. Meanwhile, a completely irrational person, who has little if any self-confidence, who fears the responsibility of thinking, might think the sensation of being wasted as the best feeling he could have.

    Those are not the only effects of alcohol.. Yes, someone would have to be irrational to get drunk for those reasons.. But who gets drunk for those reasons? "Yeah bro, lets throw back some beers so we can have decreased motor skills!" No.

    Not making a direct comparison between you (or anyone who drinks or does drugs recreationally - there is such a thing as an honest mistake, after all) and the latter example. But the examples get to the heart of the issue.

    There is a legitimate issue there--it's irrational to do drugs for irrational reasons. Many people are irrational and enjoy drugs as a response to their irrationality. But I disagree that *only* irrationality can make drugs pleasurable, or that people only do drugs for irrational reasons. I know it's kind of futile, because I usually make similar posts in similar threads and always get the same response, but still it bothers me to let the alternative view go unchallenged as if it's the only possible rational position.

    Personally I know for sure I would find something that "made me laugh and laugh for hours" very much NOT fun at all.

    Well, don't go to a comedy club! Unless it's Carrot Top or something.

    The reason is because I like being clear headed, I like thinking, and I don't see any reason to voluntarily enter a lower mental state (where silly/common things seem funny enough to laugh over, for example.)

    I like being clear headed and thinking, too. But I also like to see things in a different way--that's why the common things seem funny, when you're tripping. You make connections you never made before. You realize things and attributes about the common things you never noticed before, to the point they don't seem common anymore. It's like when Ayn Rand describes Ralston Holcombe as looking like a lion, with his big mane-like hair, in The Fountainhead. It's such a vivid, hilarious description. I (being quite sober) laughed for five minutes when I read that, because I could just picture it, and it seemed so like his character to look like that. I noticed things like that when I was tripping.. Connections and analogies between things I would normally not really think about. But, it's probably different for different people.

    I like to explore my dreams. I'm fascinated by my subconscious mind. When I write songs, I'm often surprised by the things that come out of my own mind. I want to know what else is in there I don't know about. I know everything I've ever learned and everything I've ever experienced is in there somewhere. Sometimes all it takes is some subtle nudge to make a new connection that will end up having profound significance in my life and attitudes. I don't see anything irrational in that, at all. Drugs aren't the only way to do that, of course.. I try to do it all the time. But they do deliver different unexpected results sometimes. So once in a while I think they're okay.

    There is a rational approach to drugs. Except some drugs will destroy you no matter what, like cocaine. But, everyone probably already knows this

    Cocaine, destroy you no matter what? No, I don't think so even with that. Maybe, sniffing gas or glue or something like that would destroy a person no matter what. Lol.

    The only reason I drink is for fun and to help lighten up the social atmosphere. I'd never drink to solve my problems.
    But the social atmosphere not being light enough is a problem you're trying to solve, isn't it?

    Speaking of musical geniuses, we haven't seen you around much boldstandard.
    Thanks for the compliment. : ) Work has been busy, this year! June and July are the only slow months, and even in June I'm scheduled for about 13 days so far, which is still sort of busy for the summer time.
  15. Sounds right to me. I'd say that qualifies him... as an idiot though, not the genius they think he is.

    I wonder if any of the people who make claims like this have ever tried LSD, or any other psychedelics, lol. Tripping on LSD is no gateway to mystic insights, of course. But in my opinion, as someone who's tried it before (once, so far), I think it can be an entirely pleasant experience that can force a person temporarily out of the cage of his psychological defense mechanisms and see things from a fresh perspective--in a similar way one sees things differently in dreams, except, much easier to remember and integrate into his conscious perspective afterwards. And what's so bad about something that makes you laugh and laugh for hours.. It's fun. It doesn't necessarily "destroy your mind." Of course it does temporarily impair one's ability to reason--so does going to sleep. But it does have benefits (even, just, if it's a fun time) that could, i think, outway the negatives for some people in some contexts.

    Yeah I know, I said it was atrocious (didn't know if you caught that). I mean, PRINCE!? PRINCE?! A GENIUS!? #34?!
    Of course he is! You must have never heard Raspberry Beret.. Controversy.. Little Red Corvette... lol
  16. Hegel never ever used the terms thesis/anti-thesis/synthesis by the way, thats was earlier Kantians like Fichte/Schelling. Hegel did believe that history often evolved through negation, but it wasnt as simplistic as the "thesis and antithesis merge to form a synthesis" stuff that gets falsely attributed to him.

    Well, I have read some of Hegel's works, but I have read more from his followers, because I've found them to be much more clear, consistent, and explicit. This is not a subject in philosophy I've studied much in depth, so it's quite possible I've misunderstood something.

    If you believe the thesis/antithesis/synthesis description of the dialectic process to be an inaccurate portrayal of Hegel's philosophy, would you mind providing us with a better description of the meaning of negation, and the dialectic process? Was it really Hegel, or Hegel's followers that were primarily an influence on Marx and Engels?

  17. It's not my best performance, but what do you guys think of the song?

    Must be annoying to have all those school buses and students being dropped off and picked up in your bedroom, lol. j/k. I think the song needs a chorus or something, cause it's kind of repetitive sounding after a while (maybe just changing up the bassline a little would help). The singing is pretty good, though.

  18. Sadly, the mystery girl was a senior, she has graduated and moved on. Its weird, she changed our lives and yet we never knew her name. We refer to her as girl-with-cool-sweatshirt because she had a Readen Steel sweatshirt on all the time.

    Why don't you look her up in your school's yearbook? Just a suggestion, if you're really curious who she is.

  19. I'm just trying to understand the hatred and curious if there any of you involved in the same type of music scene and how you respond to people who so critically bash your philosophy.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to any response you might have.

    The punk scene has been intellectually dosed with communists, and other forms of statist radicals (such as anarchists) from the beginning. The Clash is a good, typical example (they were outspoken communists).

    But before that, the various countercultures emanating from the New Left since the 1960's shared a hatred for the individual and for capitalism. For Ayn Rand's analysis of some of the relevant cultural events of the 1960's with occasional insights into her views of the countercultures and the culture in general, I recommend her book: The New Left: The Anti-industrial Revolution.

    The punks in the 1970's rejected some elements of the hippie culture and accepted others. But, in my opinion, once the 80's came, and especially as the various scenes evolved around punk in America, one can't pin it down to any one particular, ideologically directed, countercultural movement. Not even in any one city, really. It's just fashion, at that point. It's too disparate.

    Still, some of the statist elements of the earlier punks (such as The Clash) continue to inspire those sheep-like scenesters who want to be "genuine" by mimicking the ideas of those who mimic the ideas of those who were mimicking someone's statist ideas at the time punk became a mass media phenomenon.

  20. For Hegel, the history of the world was a process of the development of the Absolute which consisted of thesis and antithesis becoming transcended into a new synthesis

    I forgot to mention that the synthesis of thesis and antithesis then becomes a new thesis which is then synthesized with its antithesis and so on.. That's the "dialectic process". Which inspires the question, what happens after communism is achieved? Which most communists will say can't be answered or even conceived of at the present time. Besides that it will mark the end of ideology and individuality etc lol.

  21. Marx explained that the "outstanding achievement" of the book was that it conceived "the self-creation of Man as a process... [and]... objectification as a loss of the object, as alienation and as transcendence of this alienation".(Phenomenology of the spirit, Hegel)

    *other quotes from Gareth Stedman Jones, lecturer

    Sometimes I honestly think this is some conspiracy to confuse me, wtf is the "objectification[of what?] as a loss of the object[what object? who's object?], as alienation[from what?] and as transcendence of this alienation[so alienation and non-alienation at the same time?]"...


    Yes, essential to understanding Marx is an acknowledgement of Hegel's explicit rejection of Aristotelian logic, specifically his rejection of the law of identity. Hegel believed not only that contradictions were possible, but that they are an essential element of existence, inherent in everything. For Hegel, the history of the world was a process of the development of the Absolute which consisted of thesis and antithesis becoming transcended into a new synthesis; in other words of A (which is/isn't both A and non-A) becoming synthesized into non-A (which is/isn't both non-A and A) in a process which both resolves and doesn't resolve the contradiction. Hegel described everything (the Absolute) as mind, a position known as idealism. Marx "stood Hegel on his head" by claiming that everything was in fact physical (materialism). Which is not much of a different position once you take into consideration the rejection of the law of identity. But that's how Marx gets to the reductionist position that "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." He literally means that the entire history of society so far has been class struggle and *only* class struggle. Philosophical ideas play no role in history, for Marx, because all philosophy is merely an ideological expression of the interests of the ruling class, and all ideology is socially determined--in other words, a mere bi-product of the class struggle. The embrace of blatant contradictions, blatantly false statements, and statements that obviously contradict facts and evidence as long as they support the cause of communism are thus a quite intentional element of the Marxist formula. Frustration will be saved if one accepts that fact early on when coming to grips with Marxists' often absurd and irrational statements and conclusions..

  22. I favor the Kauffman translation, he favors a more direct style. There are plenty of sections in Zarathustra that shouldn't be too hard to comprehend.

    I second this recommendation. Kauffman is my first choice for any Nietzsche translation. If you're interested in Nietzsche's ideas, Beyond Good and Evil is a little more straightforward than Zarathustra (at least in style of presentation).

    There are about as many good points in Nietzsche as there are terrible points, but I agree with the general sentiment that he was a much better writer than he was a philosopher.

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