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patrik 7-2321

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  1. Will the debate be available online somehow? I can't find any traces of that.
  2. I take it that your question is primarily: Can a person suffer psychological damage in early years, or later, that is irreversible? My first thought when I read this is that this is not so much a question for philosophy, but of psychology. Because answering this will require knowledge of some psychological principles. And not only that, but in judging a persons psychology, you have to take into account certain aspects unique to the individual himsel, i.e the choices he has made and what his physiological condition is etc. For what it's worth, I know Nathaniel Branden thinks it is possible for a child to suffer irreversible psychological damage. In extreme cases. I think it's in "Honoring the Self". I've heard other, regular, psychologists say that aswell. In later years I don't know. My guess from reading some psychology is that if you've had a childhood that was good enough to make you able to accomplish some good things later in life, then it's really up to you and your choices to pull yourself through hard times (excluding extremes like torture etc. for wich I guess recovery might be impossible). So, I certainly agree that it might be possible. But it should be, as a self-diagnosis, an absolute last resort in my opinion.
  3. No. Good question because it reveals where the ambiguity lies for me. I don´t know how you would determine what the actions of an organism are directed towards, i.e. what the goal is, or what the result of those actions are. My method has been to look and see what living things (other than humans) are directed towards, with the laymans biology I know, and determined that their goal is to have offspring. And then to determine the result of their actions I assumed you simply could look at the actual result; what the outcome to the organism is, and there´s the result Ayn Rand was talking about in quote 9. But evidently there is some other method at work here. Given my method I would have to say yes to your question, because the goal is life and the result is death. I should mention also that what I mean by saying animals spend alot of time reproducing, is that reproduction usually involves raising the offspring, with all that entails. I know it´s true for many large animals but I´m not a biologist so don´t take my word for it.
  4. I am personally not completely finished with the above yet so consider this a bump on the last topics discussed and a continuation with what I consider the other "problematic" quotes from the essay, and you can just comment on whatever you understand. 9. (Pg. 16-17) What about the fact that all animals put their lives in danger, or in some cases even die, to reproduce? Need I point out that almost all animals use much (if not all) of their best effort and time do this, and the result of this kind of action is anything but the preservation of the organism´s life? How do you resolve this; is it a false observation on Rand´s part, or am I misunderstanding her? The reason I don´t like this passage is because it contradicts what I´ve been taught by biologists, and biology teachers. They always like to claim that the "goal" of the actions of any animal is the reproduction of it´s genes, either through directly producing offspring itself, or helping close relatives with almost the same genes (or alleles) to reproduce. Indeed they almost speak of reproduction as the standard of value. The entire analysis of living organisms in biology seems to depend upon this premise, and here it is ignored. You´ve all heard of animals who fight to the death over females to mate with, or the one type of insect where the female eats the male after copulation. In these cases the result on itself of the "automatic" actions of the organism is death or grave danger and certainly not the preservation of it´s life. This forum is full of good questions on this issue, and I have searched, but there are no good answers. 10. (Pg. 18) How does she know this? How does she know the standard by which the body gives sensations of pleasure or pain, caused by stimulus, is the organisms life and not the reproduction of the organism´s genes? What experiments has she done to verify this? 11. This is actually not from the essay but from the introduction to The Virtue of Selfishness: What reason is she talking about that makes her use the word "selfish", and also makes those who ask her "why" afraid of it?
  5. I have another theory. The ethics is what makes Objectivism controversial (perhaps not in a philosophy department as they are more concerned with metaphysics and epistemology, one would suppose, and dismiss Objectivism on those grounds as pointed out here.) But the reason Objectivism does not become more popular (And thus gain even more interest in academia) I think is because of the lack of works on ethics. I think more explanatory work on ethics is required for more people to really grasp it. More books such as "Loving Life" by craig biddle for example; which I think is an absolutely perfect book in every regard except in the most important part where he says he proves egoism. More and better books on ethics → More people truly understand it and propagate (correctly) for it → More popularity → More Objectivism in academia → Problem solved.
  6. I´ll respond one by one and then expand on the questions some more. @SNerd Unfortunately the paraphrasing centers around the one part I do understand. In order to judge something we have to know what it´s for, got it. @CS I´ve read all I regard as most important. VoS, OPAR, Viable Values, Romantic Manifesto, and more. @Eiuol On #1 I´m asking how she knows any of that. Clarification below. On #6 Certainly "alternative" does not mean volition in this context. Because that would mean Ayn says only humans can have values, which she does not. Alternative here refers to "life or death"/"existence or nonexistence". On #5 "Value" in the positive sense is mentioned in Viable Values to be a legitimate concept, and is used frequently by Ayn Rand and Peikoff without implying intrincisism. Did you not know this or did I perhaps misunderstand you? More specifically: 1 ,4. When she says one has to know why man needs values at all; she means at all? i.e. for anything, not in order to accomplish something specific she has in mind? Why is it neseccary to know why man needs a code of values in order to even define or to accept a given system of ethics? 2 ,3. If a group of individuals accept the standard of the good as the good of their society; they must inevitably start slaughtering each other? But slaughtering each other is not good for them, so assuming they were to implement their goal - that does not seem like what they would do. Now you will point to history and current politics and I agree in large part of course. But given simply this reasoning; that they want to achieve the best society (living together) as possible they must start destroying themselves; that I do not think follows. I am missing the inclusion of something here. 6 ,7. Let´s see if I have understood the part about the immortal robot correctly. When Ayn says the robot cannot have any goals, she means it cannot have any goals of it´s own. A thing cannot act to gain and/or keep anything unless it is alive and can die. Because if it cannot die and it can still move and act (as in the robot example), it can only value whatever it´s creator (whoever built the robot) has set it to value. It cannot self-generate action, so whatever it values (In the non-positive sense of that which one acts to gain and/or keep, whatever it is) it is an effect of something other than itself; therefore it cannot be said to have any goals of it´s own. I guess it´s correct to say it is not the primary cause of why it pursues the particular goals it might pursue if it is for example a programmed robot, and that is also why it cannot value. It´s interesting how much "value" revolves around the "self-generated" action.
  7. In certain parts of the essay The Objectivist Ethics I do not understand what is meant, or how Ayn could possibly have known her claims to be true. These parts are (more to come): 1. How does she know this? 2. (My emphasis) Why does it mean all those things? 3. (My emphasis) Why does it mean that, and how does she know? 4. This one is very much like the first but slightly different: Why? And how does she know you cannot start somewhere else? 5. What is meant by "value" here? Is it "value" as she just defined it, or in the positive sense of moral value as "that which should be pursued"? Why is value not a primary and what does that mean? How does she know the concept value presupposes an answer to that specific question? Why does she phrase "the question" in terms of a personality ("whom")? (when really she is trying to trace the roots of the more general concept "value" which is not only applicable to humans?) 6. Why? How does she know? 7. About the robot... (My emphasis) Why not? It can move and act, can it then not enact some specific cause in order to make something specific happen, i.e act towards a goal? (My apologies if the quotations are not 100% correct. The ones to which these questions are directed know which passages I am referring to.)
  8. As always Grames´s responses are very illuminating. I never thought of logic as having an ethical "Ought" implicit like that. On another thing: Grames said: Why is there only one possible instrumental answer? And this: How can there be such a thing as a justification not in the form of an argument?
  9. Can a person implicitly take on obligations by engaging in certain actions or deals with others for instance?
  10. Anyone interested should check this out here: Right now there is a series of about 14 of these available. Here's his own website: http://jasonjcampbell.org/home.php Thoughts on his presentation of Objectivist epistemology?
  11. I don´t get it why Jennifer gets all piseed off in this thread. Dimension doesn´t have to mean a spatial dimension in physics, it can mean any type of quantity that changes in some context. In a math course called Linear Algebra any engineer learns this. You can deal with all sorts of dimensions in systems of equations, but that does´not have to mean that all those dimensions are dimensions of space.
  12. I agree with you Kelly, I hate that movie aswell. A google search for "quantum physics" will immediatly link you to clips from "What the bleep do we know" which, for ****s sake, was created by some small cult started by a woman who claims to be "channeling" an ancient warrior god. I thought it was about physics, but it's just an expensive (and surprisingly well done) brainwashing film.
  13. I have read some Tolle. The pecuilar thing about him is that he sometimes says (paraphrasing): "Of course we should not revert back to the conciousness and lifestyle of animals and plants, reacting to whatever is in front of us, that´s not the destiny for humans, humans should try to achieve a higher state of conciousness." He´s not using Ayn Rand´s words here, but this could be taken to mean something like what Objectivism regards as "full focus", which is the precondition of the primary virtue of rationality. (If I remember correctly). And he sometimes esteems rationality and logic. But then again so did other irrational philosophers. Eckhart is so full of crap that I cannot be a total supporter of him. I think he just speaks to depressed neurotics looking for solutions who, often times, will swallow whatever they hear if it makes them feel good. That is, in fact, the preamble to most of his works; they are supposed to make people feel good and not have any intellectual value, he says so. With that said I still think some aspects of his works are interesting and might have some psychological value, theurapeutic or whatever. Might have. And that would be his talk about the importance of what you focus on, not spending braincalories on things that get you nowwhere, and not being stressed, etc.
  14. If you want to understand the Objectivist ethics I recommend "Viable Values" by Tara Smith. When I read that book it finally "clicked".
  15. My take on it: What is a value? It is that which a living being acts to gain and/or keep. What is life? It is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. A living being is an entity which possesses the essential distinguishing attribute of life. An immortal robot does not have that attribute and so what it acts towards cannot be values. And also, the reason why it couldn´t enjoy anything is becase a being so constructed would have nothing built into it´s physicality to enable it experience anything good, since that would require that there first of all be anything good FOR IT out there in reality. But the robot already has everything, nothing can add to it´s existence, in the way a value can add to a life, so how could it ever experience the sensation of such a thing? My suggestion is that you just keep reading and most importantly keep defining the words you encounter in Objectivism since that´s very important to understanding it. There is one section in OPAR (Chapter 4 somewhere) which explains and "reduces" the concept value I think you will find that part to help you. Don´t hesitate to read the chapters on epistemology (If you haven´t already) they are the best part of the book IMO.
  16. Mindy just stick to the damn title or get out. Listen to what Grames said. It just pisses me off to read your attempts at judging the book or other people´s understanding of it without even having read it NOR without ANY inclination towards wanting to actually discuss IT. Stop being a troll and start making serious attempts at thinking and reating your discussions to the title at hand otherwise you´re just being a complete idiot.
  17. So what's the conclusion of this...? This is what I think: Any identification made by the use of concepts or concept-formation, is induction. Any process of applying previously induced knowledge to an existent that you´ve identified as being an instance of a conecpt's referent, is deduction. Also, regarding my quotation earlier, I think now that concepts make induction necessary as a means to achieve them, and concepts also make induction possible on higher levels of abstraction. Please comment.
  18. I know, but. Why did Ayn use those words following each other as in when she said somethig like "attributes and characteristics"? It has slightly different "meaning" although you can't really call it that, different perspectives I should say. I know that concepts with the same referents are differentiated differently when formed. The point of this thread was to differentiate them from one another because I hadn't done that.
  19. Concluding this thread: characteristic is the most fundamental term for naming anything about an entity. On par in terms of being fundamental must be the term "aspect", since that means essentially "A way in which something can be viewed by the mind". I take characteristic to mean any aspect, or any unit, of an identity. And attribute, in contrast, must simply mean "distinguishing characteristic", a characteristic that makes the thing stand out. I get that from this ITOE quote: There.
  20. Mindy your concern is written about on page 22. All the variants of "I rolled the ball by pushing it" given in the book are logically equivalent because the statements identify the same fact (the same causation) from different perspectives. "I rolled the ball by pushing it" "My pushing it made the ball roll" "I caused the ball to roll by pushing it." -The same causation is referred to. How many ways one can identify the same causation I don´t know but I think as long as you identify it in some way with concepts you are inducing. I THINK what has to be included in the identification is at least three concepts: the concepts of the interacting entities and the concept of the act itself. If a generalization is a conceptualization of a causal connection (as the book also says), and a causal connection is "The action of one entity upon anoter"; then I think it follows that you need these three: the one entity, the action, and the other entity. As long as you have that you can state it however you want.
  21. One instance of the book that can add to this confusion is from page 74: "Concepts are what make induction possible and necessary." So how do you get the first concept - by deducing it from Plato's ass?
  22. I read it and it is essentially full of mystic philosophy. But it´s not worthless. This book has some very wierd things to say about conciousness and the author tries to integrate physics and thermodynamics with emotions and happiness. I think he does a terrible job at it. "Entropy increases in the brain" - therefore people get sad, right. However there are some interesting parts of the book and I´d say it´s generally good written so it´s not a waste to buy it - if you can sort out the facts, and the generally worthwhile parts, from the new-age package that they´re in. I´d say the good thing about the book is that it gets you thinking and he talks about some people who manage to always stay happy and how he tried to figure out the cause of it. And then he explains the feeling of being in "flow" ie. when you´re focused and attaining your values etc. He says that people he surveyed experienced it as if their "ego disappeared" and time stopped or something ike that, they were less self-concious when they were in "flow". Not very good and full of crap but not worthless either because of the concrete facts he throws in. You could of course, as an Objectivist, look at it like this: He says Entropy causes unhappiness (I think it was something like that, I read it some time ago). But entropy is only another word for Disorder. Having a dis-orderly mind might be taken to mean a dis-integrated mind. Then what he says is somewhat more concistent with Objectivism since being disintegrated puts you in conflict with reality and causes you to be unhappy.
  23. I just have to correct myself on the definition of attribute. (What I said in post #4) ITOE p. 276: "If the question is: "What is the CCD for the concept ‘attribute’?" the answer is: "entity." " ITOE p. 41: "The distinguishing characteristic(s) of the units becomes the differentia of the concept's definition; the existents possessing a "Conceptual Common Deoniminator" become the genus." That means the genus of "attribute" is "entity". But the differentia can vary in different passages: ITOE p. 15: "Attributes cannot exist by themselves, they are merely the characteristics of entities; ..." ITOE pg. 266: "When you form concepts of attributes, all you have done, if you are precise about it, is to have mentally stated, "By ’length’ I mean a certain aspect of an existing entity,[...]" My brackets. So attribute can be defined either as "A characteristic of an entity" or "An aspect of an entity". Adding further: It is a metaphysical concept as is evident from the discussion "Attributes as Metaphysical" ITOE pg. 277. (i.e. an attribute is not something epistemological, only to do with the way in which we know)
  24. Perhaps you could enlighten me on this self-evident definition instead of hijacking the thread? Btw. I´m not interested in "society´s definition" as I already pointed out, I´m interested in Ayn Rand´s (or the Objectivist) definition.
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