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necrovore

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Everything posted by necrovore

  1. You'd have to be able to defend it militarily, not only from full-on invasions but also from foreign countries abducting people, or robbing banks, or destabilizing your new country in other ways.
  2. Objectivism will eventually become dominant if two things hold: Free speech has to be maintained; otherwise Objectivism will be silenced. The government has to stop subsidizing false points of view so that Objectivism can compete on a level playing field. (Also the government has to do its job as far as not allowing people to initiate force in order to promote their viewpoints or suppress opposing viewpoints.) The latter I think is the hard one. Ultimately it would require a separation of state and economics.
  3. I see it mostly as a question of naming, not dogma -- and perhaps a question of fairness to Ayn Rand, in the sense of identifying whose thoughts are whose. As I have written in this forum before, Objectivism itself (as I understand it) requires that I use my own mind, and not treat Objectivism as dogma. If I want to correct a flaw in Objectivism or if I want to make an elaboration of some principle, I am completely free to do so, but that change is not Ayn Rand's, it is not part of Objectivism, it is my change, and I'm responsible for whatever correctness or incorrectness it has. That seems reasonable to me.
  4. Ayn Rand was concerned with people misrepresenting her ideas, accidentally or deliberately. It is a legitimate concern. It is difficult to defend one's own ideas when they get mixed up with those of others. It makes sense for people who come up with ideas based on Ayn Rand's philosophy to call them something else. David Kelley can have all the openness and flexibility he wants, but not "within Objectivism." Within philosophy, sure. The same thing would apply if you substituted another philosophy instead of Objectivism. The same kind of thing applies even outside of philosophy; for example, consider the names of open-source software projects. I seem to recall something about maintaining an active mind. The first one that comes to my mind is Christianity, which strictly speaking is not a philosophy, but deals with many of the same issues as philosophy.
  5. I don't think there's any harm in adopting Objectivism wholeheartedly -- assuming a couple of things. First you (meaning, the person adopting Objectivism) have to be sure you have adopted Objectivism itself and not some distortion of it. Second -- and this one is far more important -- you have to make sure that whatever you have adopted is consistent with reality and with the requirements of human life. Although I am pretty sure Objectivism meets these requirements (if properly understood), I am open to the possibility that some other philosophy might do a better job. (To be honest, though, I don't expect to see such a philosophy in my lifetime.) As far as I know, the most popular non-Objectivist philosophies frequently dispute reality rather than being consistent with it, and many of them also clash with the requirements of human life in various ways, including by undermining the human ability to establish truth by means of reason, which is one of those requirements of human life. Some philosophies merely have mistakes in them; others are quite deliberately deceptive. So, yeah, the path of philosophical growth is often winding.
  6. I tend to side with the Israelis because they at least have a secular, pro-laissez-faire element, whereas the Palestinians have no such thing and want to establish an Islamic dictatorship. The political Left commonly thinks that crime is "justice" and actual justice is a crime; they treat business owners in the cities the same way they treat Israel. The Left also favors policies that encourage the use of human shields.
  7. Are they really different "meanings" or are they just different aspects of the same thing? Consciousness has many characteristics and it's quite appropriate to use the ones that are relevant while temporarily setting aside the ones that are irrelevant. (Of course the irrelevant characteristics are still there and may be very relevant in other contexts.) It is quite possible to tell a man that some of his facts are wrong without disputing other facts such as that 2+2=4. If a dispute can be reduced to a factual dispute, then that's real progress, because it should be possible to settle it by looking at reality (possibly with the aid of instruments) and seeing what is actually the case. Of course a man might not listen to the idea that his facts or wrong, or might not investigate the matter, but that's his problem, not a problem with reality as such. (It is also possible for a man to be wrong but undisputed, and this is part of why it's necessary to validate claims against reality as opposed to accepting them uncritically.)
  8. The objects, collectively, are existence. There is no "cause" of existence. Existence exists. Our senses have a nature such that (some) objects affect the senses and cause us to perceive the objects. (Sometimes indirectly e.g. when light bounces off the objects and the light affects our eyes.) But the objects exist whether we perceive them or not.
  9. If you're talking about the expansion of the universe as in the redshift of distant galaxies and the Hubble constant and all that stuff, then no. Consciousness has no effect on any of that, just like it doesn't affect nuclear fusion in stars, or the orbits of planets. Especially with astrophysics, where the things we are observing are too far away for us to affect, we can only observe, and theorize about the causes of what we observe. Just because they are different doesn't mean that they don't "count" as existing. I'll just quote what Peikoff says in the first chapter of OPAR: And later he says: This is what I have been getting at.
  10. This sounds like a non-sequitur to me. All I'm saying is that consciousness exists. How could sense perception be valid if consciousness doesn't exist?
  11. I suppose I wasn't really getting into that question; I was only emphasizing that ideas and emotions and consciousnesses are existents and, like any other existents, have specific identities and natures of their own. This would include saying, for example, that anger can't exist unless there is some consciousness to be angry. That is part of the nature of anger; that is part of anger's identity. However, there is a sense in which ideas and emotions are distinct from the consciousness that has them. I can give you an idea (or possibly make you angry) but I cannot give you my consciousness. (You have your own.) It's pretty clear that there has to be some mechanism (or combination of mechanisms) that causes a brain, in a living body, to be conscious. But I suppose Objectivism considers the exact identification of those mechanisms to be a problem for the special sciences. This is not to say that the question isn't interesting.
  12. As far as I can tell, Objectivism is based on and grounded by non-contradictory identification of all of reality.
  13. It's supposed to be the "primacy of existence," not the primacy of physical existence. The primacy of existence is a corollary of the law of identity. Things are what they are. Consciousness can perceive what things are but, aside from physical action, cannot affect what they are. But "things" are not just physical things. The primacy of existence also applies when consciousness perceives an idea or an emotion or another consciousness or any other non-physical thing. An idea, or an emotion, or another consciousness, is what it is, and you can try to discover its nature, but you cannot change its nature by will alone. Nothing is different on account of non-physicality. Also, the primacy of existence is also derived not only from the fact that physical objects have identity, but from the fact that consciousness has identity. Consciousness is a means of perceiving or understanding, it is a means of choosing whether to act and what action to perform, but it cannot, apart from action, change anything. Once an action is taken, the results also come from reality, from the nature of the entities involved, and are not controlled or determined by consciousness. It even applies when one is perceiving one's own consciousness, through introspection -- and although, with effort, you can change your habits or your ideas, there are certain things about the nature of your consciousness, of any consciousness, that cannot be changed.
  14. Yes, it can. "Challenge reality's authority?" On the basis of what, exactly? It's only because of looking at reality (e.g., Copernicus and later Kepler looking at the motions of the planets) that people learned that the sun does not revolve around the Earth.
  15. Two problems with what you are saying here. First, you are blaming Ayn Rand for other people's misinterpretations of her writing, while simultaneously claiming that such misinterpretations are inevitable anyway. That is a contradiction: either she's responsible, or she's not. Second, you are ignoring the distinction between an accidental misinterpretation and a deliberate one. An accidental misinterpretation can usually be resolved by looking at other parts of Ayn Rand's work, because she often says the same thing multiple times in different ways. It can also be resolved by looking directly at what she was talking about (which is part of reality). In other words, it's possible to say "She said X, but maybe what she meant was X-prime," and to provide evidence, such as that she said X-prime in other parts of her work, or that X-prime is more consistent with what she would have seen and known at that time. A deliberate misinterpretation, on the other hand, is a similar fallacy to quoting someone out of context. It can be detected because it clashes with Rand's other work or because it clashes with what she would have actually known at that time. (Such misrepresentations prey on those who are not familiar with her work or with the situation she was writing about.)
  16. Harriman and/or Peikoff and/or ARI are not the authority. Reality is the authority. I have devices in my house that can only function because of parts of quantum mechanics being true. On the other hand, some of the more counter-intuitive phenomena described by quantum theory don't scale up, and I don't think scientists have a clear understanding of why. I don't think Harriman and Peikoff are trying to set themselves up as alternatives to reality, or as superior to reality. I do think they are trying to call attention to places where bad philosophy is leading scientists to make incorrect or nonsensical claims. Modern philosophy easily gets detached from reality (and likes to "fantasize alternatives to it"), and it can persist in this detachment more than would normally be possible, due to availability of government funds. It is also possible for science to get detached from reality, because it is influenced by philosophy. Philosophy (and politics) influences what questions scientists may ask. In the worst cases it can lead to Lysenkoism. Also, because science has succeeded well for a couple of centuries now, and greatly lifted the standard of living, it has credibility with a lot of people, and many philosophies and religions want to get themselves attached to it to boost their own credibility, for example, by claiming that they have "scientific proof." It even happens sometimes that Christians claim they have "scientific proof" that God exists and that evolution is impossible. Such claims actually rest on bad philosophy (especially on any lack of understanding of what "scientific proof" is or what it requires). Generally a scientific concept or a scientific discovery shouldn't contradict what we already know. But every now and then one sees a newspaper headline like "Scientists prove the universe doesn't exist" or some such nonsense. Is Harriman saying that "there is no valid concept of 'space'," or is he saying that a certain particular definition of the concept, perhaps the one claimed by certain scientists, is invalid? I would be surprised if he claimed the former, because "space" matters if for example you are renting an apartment, but the latter claim is much more plausible. I'm sure you are familiar with the way science got the concept of "heat" wrong before getting it right. Before the right concept was discovered, it would have been possible to point out that the concept they did have failed to explain certain things, even if one did not have the correct concept yet. (And, yes, it is even possible that Einstein got some things wrong. He got a lot right, but philosophical errors on his part may have caused him to hit dead ends in some of his investigations.)
  17. I think even OPAR says that existence isn't confined to physical existence. Things like consciousness, ideas, emotions, dreams, etc., exist, they are observable, they have specific natures, but they are non-physical, and so their nature is different from the nature of physical things. There is still much to be learned about consciousness, but anything we do learn shouldn't contradict what we already know, and we already know that consciousness doesn't have primacy over existence. (It doesn't even have primacy over its own existence.)
  18. I think I am in full focus almost all the time (when awake and not fatigued). I think full focus is easy. However, one of my common mistakes is focusing on the wrong thing. So being in full focus is not enough to confer super-humanity. Nothing easy would be.
  19. I think he was being sarcastic. "Rational altruism" is a movement that Sam Bankman-Fraud Fried was involved with.
  20. There is a flip side to this, namely, that some subjectivist-minded people think that strict adherence to reality is the same thing as adhering to dogma. So while they claim that they are rejecting the "dogma" of Objectivism, what they are actually rejecting is reality. They are rejecting the notion that A is A. Reality doesn't give any commandments; it is not a dogma; it simply is what it is. The requirements of man's life are what they are, too. You can't cheat reality, you can't fool it, and you can't get around it. Some people have problems with that. They want to be free to fantasize. They want to be free to reject facts they don't like. They can fantasize all they want, but it won't put food on the table. Even writing fiction requires dealing with reality in various ways. The main difference between reality and dogma is that, if an idea based on reality is mistaken, people can look at reality and see how it really works, so that they can correct the idea. That is not possible with dogma, because dogma isn't rooted in reality at all, so there's no way to tell if it's right or wrong, and nothing to appeal to except authority. It's just a question of which authority you believe, and there's no basis for any particular choice. That makes a reality-based philosophy fundamentally different from a dogma-based one, but it's a difference that some people don't want to deal with. They want to reject the idea of "absolutes" and have everything be negotiable. But without reality, they have nothing.
  21. "Hundreds of hours" is nothing. I discovered Peikoff's book OPAR in 1997. That was 27 years ago. I think you are making beginners' mistakes.
  22. I suppose I should skip to the end: the whole purpose of "proof" is to establish truths for the purpose of guiding people's decisions, which presupposes that people make them. So without free will there is no need of "proof."
  23. What does it mean to "establish" a fact or truth? As opposed to the fact or truth simply existing. Why does it matter whether a fact or a truth is "established" or not?
  24. Even though things like X-rays are out of the reach of our senses we can infer their existence from evidence. So what's the noumenal domain needed for? Sounds to me like it's nothing but a cover for bullshit.
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