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About Pinnacle

  • Birthday 10/13/1988

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    English language and literature are my current areas of study, and I'm trying to weasel my way into Madison's education program so that I can perhaps teach young people a thing or two about thought. Beyond those, I enjoy philosophy, film, music, art, (lots of) reading, video games, etc.

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    I'm always interested in meeting Objectivists.
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    Marshall Behringer
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    University of Wisconsin
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    Writing, Education

Pinnacle's Achievements


Novice (2/7)



  1. Mastering a discipline, breaking its conceptual hierarchy down and explaining it, step by step, in a way appropriate to the ability levels present in a classroom, while all the time ensuring that students are not only developing content knowledge but also reasoning skills, are all elements of teaching. Perhaps this doesn't take much more than a piece of paper: no real mental rigor or discipline, no experience, no developed comfort with interactions with children or adolescents, no strength in communication, no constant battle to evaluate fairly and objectively, no weight on your shoulders of having the minds of tomorrow placed in your hands. As a future teacher, I'll ask you not to equate the ignorant thug-priests who do naught more than grunt at children about global warming and the evils of businessmen all day with those few of us who actually do give a damn.
  2. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/23/my-take-why-my-church-rebelled-against-the-american-dream/?hpt=C2 I'm honestly too disgusted to comment beyond: They're being consistent and honest about what their god calls for.
  3. The books that have been most helpful to me in my study of English grammar (including parts of speech, sentence structure, style, etc), and the ones I intend to use in my classrooms, are Rex Barks by Phyllis Davenport, and Writing and Thinking by Norman Foerster and John Steadman. The former was first published in 1976 and is a very simple, effective guide to diagramming sentences. The latter was first published during the early 1900s and covers everything from basic grammar to development of style to essay-writing. Both books have AR intellectual endorsement (Lisa VanDamme uses both in her school, and I believe Peikoff uses Writing and Thinking as a source for his Principles of Grammar course). Peikoff's course explores grammar from an epistemological perspective, which may be very different from the middle-school grammar we all know and love. (I cannot vouch for the course--I have yet to work through it.) Hope this helps! -Marshall
  4. In case anyone was interested, here's some actual footage. Perhaps these people *should* win--I'd love to see an emergency broadcast down the road interrupted with: "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Obama will not speak to you tonight. His time is up. I have taken it over. You were to hear a report on the world crisis. That is what you are going to hear." On second thought, let's do our best to avoid that road.
  5. Obama in Madison Speech Fires up Potential Democratic Voters President Obama visited my campus (UW-Madison) today to pander to my peers (and, as I watch the Facebook updates, they have unfortunately proven to be as much a cult of personality as I thought). I managed to avoid getting caught in this generally, but I listened to a few minutes of the speech at work--basically "Republicans this" and "Republicans that." He made sure to emphasize just how much is riding on the coming elections, going so far as to say that anybody from "the other side" (being... Republicans? Tea Partiers? Free Marketeers?) who wins an election will do as much as they can to reverse the Dems' "accomplishments" and pursue the policies that "ruined the economy." So much for a commitment to bipartisanship and bringing our country together. Past his arrogant bravado, past the faces gleaming with faith in Dear Leader, I see fear, anger, hatred. So, to him and his supporters-- "Them's fightin' words." Incidentally, my campus Oist group has brought in speakers the last two semesters (Epstein and Biddle), and both times the lectures were filled with people (200+).
  6. That's a good point. I hadn't thought about removing that step, and I can see how it weakens the argument.
  7. My initial thoughts: Her response traps her in a contradiction. She is advocating the idea that your ideas, your character, are not open to choice, but are determined by race, orientation, class, and (oddly enough) education. She's denying volitional consciousness. Therefore, simply respond by turning it on her: "Spoken like a true , [orientation], [class], marxist [this last is optional] female." If she tries to say something about why her position is valid and your reply isn't, ask her why; as soon as she gives a reason, you've forced her to accept on principle that consciousness is volitional and not simply determined by the aforementioned.
  8. I really like that piece! Thanks for sharing it.
  9. I believe the quote to which you're referring is in Ayn Rand Answers. If I recall correctly, Rudyard Kipling's If was read at her funeral because she liked it, so though she didn't develop an Objectivist Poetics, we may have some insight into her "sense of life" regarding poetry. I understand that Peikoff has a lecture on the poetry he likes, though that wouldn't necessarily tell us anything about Rand's personal views.
  10. That's a good metaphor, I think. So many of the people I deal with on a daily basis hold that philosophy is of no importance to their lives--and they never stop to wonder, "Now how did I come to believe that? Is it valid? How do I know?"
  11. Objectivism does not advocate hedonism (read: irrational pursuit of "whatever brings him pleasure"). The rational pursuit of your values, the achievement of which will bring you happiness, is what Objectivism holds to be the moral purpose of your life. Anything done out of unreason is necessarily destructive, because reason is based on reality. Unless I'm hitting way off mark here, the "Objectivist" idea you put forth as quoted above is not even Objectivist. And to clarify: no, one cannot pick up an idea from Philosophy X, another from Objectivism, say reason isn't necessary, and then declare the two compatible. Reason is held as absolute in Objectivism--and anything less is not Objectivism.
  12. A wandering answer as overdone as his was shows that even he doesn't have his ideas in order. Perhaps a better question for him would have been, "Using as many irrelevant anecdotes as possible, can you explain, in no concrete terms, something in general?" At least he would have answered that.
  13. I agree and have a similar story, except that I was not introduced to Rand until college (but for one very brief foray with "Anthem"... too bad I was a Christian at the time). I'm working toward a career in education, and this is an issue I wrestle with almost every day: what can I do to help turn things around--to teach kids to use reason in a world that tells them to rely on faith--especially when the educational establishment is so geared against that goal? So far, I've decided that teaching "Fountainhead" is going to be necessary; and perhaps I'll teach logic in a writing course, disguised as "Writing and Thinking" (using that textbook, of course ). Incidentally, Lisa VanDamme has done a lot of work in this area, and her k-8 school in California is, hopefully, just the beginning.
  14. The video is disgusting; the narrator's haughty, self-righteous tone made me nauseous. Anyways, nice lampooning, 2046!
  15. I'm in more or less the same situation: book smart, but can't carry that intelligence over into other areas of my life. It's becoming very frustrating for me, realizing just how little I know (which in turn leads me to question just efficacious I am--which in turn does quite a number on my self-esteem). I'm still unsure as to the best way of integrating everything, being fully aware, staying in focus. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong--but I'm getting tired of feeling so absent-minded about everything. Could you go into a little more detail about how you're building awareness?
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