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Limelight

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About Limelight

  • Birthday 05/09/1986

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    music, philosophy, politics, psycho-pharmacology, reading, writing, outdoor activities (skiing, hiking, fishing, rock climbing), myself

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  1. I just have a strong feeling that the AS movie(s) will probably be a major flop, poorly depicting the story as well as Rand and her philosophy through numerous misinterpretations and compromised revisions to attract the "movie-goer" demographic. Plus, once the movie is released and Objectivism is under the public spotlight, I can easily imagine a large-scale convergence of attacks against the philosophy- or at least libertarianism/right-wing economics- from all the ill-informed critics, pundits, academia, etc. out there, thus resulting in further rejection and ostracism of Rand's ideas.
  2. It's refreshing to read such strong and virtuous convictions.
  3. For those who care to shed more light on this subject, the argument continues: "Well, it seems to me that in this context, capacity is the more meaningful term. Saying that somebody has the freedom to do something which they do not have the capacity to do is hollow. A person living in poverty does not have the freedom to buy a yacht in any meaningful way. Were they to go and try to buy the yacht, they would be prevented from doing so by the market. So perhaps freedom, in the terms in which it's usually used, is not on its own a sufficient normative foundation for society If you read back over what I've written, you'll see that I haven't actually proposed any definition of freedom at all. I don't claim to have a definitive idea of what freedom is. I don't think anybody does. All I have done so far is critique a purely negative concept of freedom by pointing out that the 'free' market in fact creates inequalities. I am also arguing is that there are contradictions in your own position: You think that negative freedom "freedom from..." is sufficient as a normative foundation for society. You also think that this legitimises market based inequalities. I am arguing that market based inequalities make certain people (those born into poverty) less free, since poverty operates as a real impediment to many forms of action. This means that negative freedom is not sufficient as a normative foundation for society since it does not legitimise market based inequalities (unless you think poor people deserve to be poor, something which you have not argued so far). Leaving aside the problematic nature of the idea that ethics comes from individuals, your argument in itself is contradictory. You say that "in ethics, social means or situations that contradict ones role as an individual in pursuit of value, will only impede their pursuit"...and yet, it is precisely the social circumstances of the market that prevent people who live in poverty from pursuing their own individual values. The way the market operates is in fact the reason why freedom can not be a purely negative conception. "Different individuals fulfill roles of differing value within a division of labor"...sounds to me like a society there. Suspiciously like a collective in fact! Different people, brought together to fulfill certain social roles according to a system which allocates them a place in the process of production. Sounds like a society to me. It's too general a definition to define individualist societies from collectivist ones, but it certainly seems to cover both quite well. I haven't proposed a philosophy, and I think the idea that if I don't accept a negative conception of freedom then I am either a Stalinist or a hypocrite is ridiculous. I also haven't recognised the supremacy of a free market (I don't even know what that statement means, so at this point I have no opinion on it). I haven't argued for any compromise (since I don't know what I am supposed to want to compromise on or between). I also haven't at any point in this discussion called you an extremist. All I have done is point out that a purely negative conception of freedom doesn't work, because it doesn't recognise the existence of systematic inequalities, and also contradicts itself on its own terms by failing to understand the real nature of the market as a system of material power relations. You seem to think this makes me a Stalinist, which I find confusing to say the least. I don't think I've proposed total government control over production, government censorship and control over the media, or killing dissident intellectuals. So you should probably drop the Stalin rhetoric if you want to be taken seriously. I don't see how socio-economic outcomes of capitalism could be irrelevant. I don't see how telling someone who lives in poverty that they have the freedom to get rich whenever they like could possibly be the outcome of a real normative foundation for social relations, or a meaningful ethics. To me it sounds like a hollow justification for the continued existence of inequalities, a meaningless gloss over the reality of life in a society which distributes material goods through a market. That is, unless you think it is okay to use a distinction between freedom and capacity to legitimise a society which systematically impoverishes certain people, which I think is the ultimate effect of your kind of politics."
  4. I appreciate the feedback. I responded back to him and addressed many of the points you guys have posted. I also brought up the fact that absolute equality, if mandated by the state through regulations, is both impractical and infringes upon freedom. I discussed fairly basic facts regarding the tragic outcomes of leftist nations that have attempted to resolve the issue of socio-economic inequality through economic regulation. I even brought up a hypothetical scenario in which the government were to regulate the economy to the point where everyone would have a fair share of wealth--an equal share. I asked whether the government would then dictate what we can eat, drink, and purchase to the point where we all live alike. Or if we were allowed to choose how much and where we spend and live as "individuals", the state would still have to see to it that everyone is reimbursed with a periodic "allowance" where anything extra is deducted and dispersed to the people; anything less would fall short of a truly "equal" society. Surely the country would need a continuous flow of currency to continue this path, but how? More and more freedom will be taken from us. What kind of society would we be looking at? Forced labor camps? What would be the point of living if everything is completely prescribed and determined for us? And furthermore, what would be the point of equality if all other rights are denied to actually reap the benefits? He later replied with this unflattering response: First of all, your points contradict one another. In the first paragraph you say that in capitalism (by which I assume you mean in a market) people have more power by virtue of their having money, and that 'there really is nothing wrong with this' because the alternative (equality as a normative foundation for society) would be bad because it infringes on freedom. Then you contradict yourself by saying that actually, money only provides power under a 'pseudo-capitalistic' society, and that in a 'truly capitalistic society' (by which I assume you mean a society in which the government did not regulate the market) this would not happen. First you assume that the relationship between money and power is a bad thing, and in the first you say that not only is an admitted feature of the market, but that it is also okay, you are contradicting yourself here and you need to work this contradiction out if you want your argument to be meaningful. Nevertheless, the propositions of each paragraph can be rebutted separately. Firstly, you are proposing that the only alternative to a completely unregulated market is a society which strives for total equality. This is obviously not the case as it is not "absolute equality" I'm promoting, just regulations to ensure the gap isn't as wide and as corrupting as it currently is. Two more unsubstantiated claims you also make: that absolute equality is impractical, and that it impinges on freedom. The first is a political claim and by no means obvious, and the second is only the case if you hold to your totally negative conception of freedom ('freedom from'...). The gap between the rich and the poor, in countries such as America, Australia, and the United Kingdom has increased over the past thirty years. This has been accompanied by the progressive liberalisation of market regulation during the same period of time in all three of those countries. Secondly, your examples do not get anywhere near the heart of the issue of the way that inequalities are reproduced. Class remains an extremely important determinant of outcomes in all aspects of society. Class is an important determinant of educational attainment, labour market success, and mental and physical health. This is not really disputed by anyone outside of meaningless political rhetoric. All of the research shows that this continues to be the case. So you're examples of "the departed companies within the DOW-30 index" are not relevant. Go and look at some research about the relationship between class and educational attainment. The results are clear. Class matters, and it matters now as much as it ever has. With your whole "look what happened in Russia" argument, you again seem to think that the only political alternatives are libertarianism, and Stalinism. This is obviously not the case, as the diversity across the global political spectrum shows. You also seem to think that intervening in an economy in order to redistribute wealth equates to the government controlling 'what we can eat, drink, and purchase to the point where we all live alike,' and then you go on to equate government intervention in the economy with a 'slippery slope to forced labour!' This is ridiculous. I mean, Australia has universal socialised health care and a stronger welfare system than the US, and I can assure you that when I was living there we did not pay for them with forced labour. Remember that we are discussing the philosophy of freedom. Which means that it's about competing definitions of freedom. I argued that the you and the overall classical liberal position has a purely negative conception of freedom, which was problematic because the operation of purely market forces can be seen to make many people less free, since poverty reduces their autonomy and agency. If you want to justify your negative conception of freedom and overall libertarian position, then you need to argue that these people deserve to be poor, because their failure to increase in wealth reflects their own inadequacies or irresponsibility. Essentially, the standard libertarian line here is that poverty is, in a sense, the normal and inevitable outcome of a free society. Now you can go ahead and do that, but that's a whole other discussion. You are clearly a young man of great intellect and remarkable philosophical insight who stands out above the average student which is truly refreshing for me. However, I fear that many of your beliefs are inhibiting you from reaching your full academic potential and by keeping you close-minded and unwilling to explore many avenues of thought. In my sincere opinion, you are following a very dark, dehumanizing, and narrow path by jumping on the whole 'Randian bandwagon'; a very typical thing I've seen within the college youth usually as an act of rebellion and of which many later regret. My oldest son, for instance, went through a similar phase after reading Atlas Shrugged in which he alienated and criticized practically everything. I'm at the point in which I feel like keeping my younger son from being exposed to any of her literature. Unless you can fully defend your positions, it is best to be pluralistic."
  5. We just started covering the "ethics of rights" in my ethics class, and we began to discuss what role the market plays on the philosophy of liberty and equality. To no surprise, my instructor is anti-capitalist, making such claims as freedom is actually increased by gov't intervention (i.e. socialized medicine), and how market transactions in a perfectly 'free' economy decreases freedom by creating inequality, as a reflection of power relationships. Here's the last thing he wrote to me in this little argument we've been having outside of class (I'd appreciate any feedback): "If a perfectly free market would have inequality independent of any factors extrinsic to the market, then it follows that markets create inequality. Now, you are arguing that a totally free market means that the individual is not interfered with. This is not the case, because the market produces structural inequalities. These structural inequalities prevent individuals from acting freely, because people born into different structural positions, having access to different levels of resources, are able to exercise different levels power in a marketplace on the basis of these resources. More resources means more power and opportunities. The chances of somebody born poor becoming rich are much lower than the chances of someone rich staying rich. The market is not just a bunch of freely interacting individuals. The market is a system of structural power relationships which are the outcome of people's position within the market. Resources provide power, which allows one to exercise one's will more freely and with more rewards. This is why your negative conception of freedom, if it becomes the normative foundation of a society, creates more inequalities. "Freedom from..." does not equal "freedom to..." If actually existing market relationships are given free reign, inequalities increase because the power relations which currently constitute the market are unchecked. This is nothing to do with the 'natural order' of things. Society did not always function like this, and may not in the future (although it is impossible to say). Rather, this is an outcome of actually existing economic relationships, the way that access to resources constitutes these relationships, and patterns of resource distribution that 'market' activity in this context creates."
  6. Do people, for instance a priest, have the right to neglect taking any legal action towards a known crime? For example, the priest, to whom Robert Hanssen, an FBI agent who was selling information from US intelligence to the Soviets, was confessing to- was he unethical for not saying anything?... Is the law actually obligated to protect the so called "sanctity" of a priest and his confessor?.. I know the Federal gov't has protected it in the past, but is it an actual violation of the constitution to do so?... Also regarding Hanssen: was it ethically contradictory and hypocritical for the Feds to punish him for treason when in order to catch him they paid off a Soviet spy to verify that Hanssen was selling secrets? Was it unethical to pay off the Soviet spy?
  7. The soul is simply a metaphysical concept to explain being and consciousness. It is our conscious selves, atomically formed as the brain/nervous system, thus corporeal. Like every atomic compound it slowly fades into dissolution and disperses. Given that it cannot survive death, once the body dies, there isn't anything to keep the soul together. That is what I basically believe. But can it be scientifically proven that the soul in this constraint cannot survive?
  8. But it is impossible to offer any "proof" that "The soul has a specific nature, and is causally-dependent on a functioning brain." Or to disprove it. There is no scientifically accepted definition of the soul, merely different schools of thought. That is the realm of Philosphy. I could simply choose another constraint. For example, a man's wife died 9 years ago. Her "atomic being" is gone. So according to these constraints her soul is gone. However, let's say this past Christmas the man goes to the cemetery and puts flowers on his wife's grave. From a physical point of view, thermodynamic work was done. He could say the cause was simple: "he was moved to do this by his wife's soul." We could argue that this is all merely a manifestation of his brain. He could argue that in the absence of knowledge of who his wife was, this thermodynamic work would never have occurred. So is science incapable of proving either assumptions as correct or incorrect? And therefore equally incapable of disproving the man's assumption in favor of ours? We could argue the definition of the Universe. But if you use the definition of the Universe as being "everything that exists", wouldn't you then have to also accept that by expanding the definition, you must also accept that "science and it's laws apply to everything that exists" is no longer valid in anything other than abstract terms as well? The science in this Universe has an empirical basis. We have certain constants that are defined only within our time-energy-matter space continuum. If you expand your definition beyond that, there is no requirement that other physical bodies in the total multiverse exhibit the same physical behavior. We could argue that "the laws of science still apply" but the framework of science has now become so abstract, that you might as well include infinite possibilities, and so why not "the soul" as well. The problem is not that I refuse to recognize any absolutes. The speed of light, atomic masses etc., these are all quantities which are known with absolute certainty in our physical existence. The problem is that it seems we are trying to expand science to explain things that are simply outside the realm of scientific explanation, as it exists in our Universe. So we really cannot have both. In this case there appears to be a logical constraint on science. Science is the science of our physical sphere of existence - our time space matter energy continuum - that is the only science we have. And there are questions and concepts that our science simply cannot address. We could "define" a Mozart symphony in terms of a specific set of notes in a specific arrangement. Science cannot adequately explain what motivated Mozart to create this, or what might inspire other musicians to be inspired to play it an infinite number of different ways. Inspiration, like "soul" is an abstract entity. Would anyone deny the empirical evidence that humans are capable of an abstract level of creation we try to define by this word "inspiration"? Or that this "inspiration" can perpetuate itself far beyond the grave? Why would we view the soul any differently?
  9. Okay... So the soul, our conscious selves, is atomically constituted as the brain and nervous system, thus corporeal. Like every atomic compound it slowly fades into dissolution and disperses. Given that our conscious selves cannot survive death, once the body dies, there isn't anything to keep the soul together. Has science, and can science, actually disprove the existence of the soul, post-corporeal (aka. the afterlife)? On that note, how can science ever possibly prove or disprove that anything does or does not exist beyond the physical world? Is it that the physical world is proof in itself, where if something exists, it is comprised of physical elements and laws, and vice-versa? Or is it that the physical world is proof of absolutely nothing other than the existence of the physical world?.. Where in fact there are many theories about multiverse rather than universe. Science and it's laws can only be applied to our universe. We can reasonably assume that our universe is expanding into a vacuum. That is not by any means the same as saying our universe is expanding into "absolute nothingness" and what lies beyond our universe is outside the realm of any sort of scientific determination one way or another.
  10. Limelight

    Justice

    Well I'm saying in the scenario we know it's a fact he did not commit the actual crime he's being charged with but did do something of the same calibre (worthy of the same punishment he is already receiving) of which he was never caught.
  11. Limelight

    Justice

    This has probably been asked thousands of times.... In a hypothetical situation, is it just or ethical if a man were to be punished for a crime he did not commit, but has committed practically a replica of the crime he's been charged for, or a crime "equally" wrong in the eyes of the law, without being caught or charged?
  12. I think if I were to lose the ability of effectiveness, however possible it its- where I would have no interaction with the world besides being suspended as a mere observer- I would contemplate whether I should live. Also, my brain- if my neurological setup was somehow deprived and incapable of producing specific receptors and neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin thus unable to feel pleasure or joy, my life would seem rather meaningless.
  13. Thanks. Very interesting. I can personally relate to the detrimental effects of which stagnation and evasive behaviors produce. I have clinical depression and anxiety due to PTSD, and through experience a prolonged avoidance of everyday life (i.e. sleeping in bed all day) only exacerbates my symptoms with such catastrophic analyzation, revulsion and rationalization of a cynical existentialist, breaking my true spirit and system of values.
  14. While I believe self reverence through self-affirmation and reflection is essential, shouldn't it be something that one practices automatically, where one is constantly self-aware yet mobile in a sense? Is it possible that man can achieve the same benefits of taking x amount of time in self-affirming meditation while remaining cognizant and engaged with the external world being the most possibly productive? Or does resting one's body and mind of the physical world, stopping and thinking, yield a more rejuvinating process of inner-reflection?
  15. What do you believe or foresee will eventually happen to religion and/or spirituality? Do you think it is likely that religion will one day cease and humanity will live through the virtue of reason? Or is the reverence and self-sacrifice towards a mystical element just an inevitable attribute within men's psyche? Is the most we can expect in terms of change just the further growth and development within the whole established new-age/neo-mysticism cult following, taking upon the position that spiritualism and science are compatible?
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