Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by ZSorenson

  1. It's sex. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120202093836.htm (Men do good deeds when women are watching) I have long believed that most irrational human behavior exists in the social realm, and is primarily driven by women. If the above study is accurate, it raises two questions. 1) Is a liberal sexual attitude really more conducive to rational behavior than the alternative, or does it in fact encourage non-rational motives, creating an environment driven by irrational rules? 2) Does the fact that women are more consistent in their 'altruism' than men, who apparently
  2. I have been somewhat recently enamored of the Rothbardian perspective. I would like some clarification, and will also offer an argument which I hope to see discussed. It seems to me that Objectivist literature offers somewhat little explanation for the 'why' of a person's or nation's base epistemology. Jared Diamond, or Karl Marx, at least had this materialistic world view in which natural conditions provoke ideological responses from the people affected by them. It often seems that Objectivists assume that a person's philosophy is a given; perhaps some evolution of thought in their ed
  3. I don't think there is such a thing as conflicting rights. However, there can be conflicting enforcement of rights. Law is created and enforced to protect rights, but while rights are absolute and objective, the law must adapt to the situation. Public property, as a concept, is a big grey area for rights. Rights are individually held, and public property is collectively held. So, whose rights get protected and whose don't? Really, public property is merely 'state-owned' property which the state may use to benefit whichever factions it needs to. The question of conflicting rights is
  4. Imagine if you and your 50-odd farm animal neighbors decided to engage in a common goal that will be mutually beneficial. Let's imagine this would be the construction of a windmill that will increase the final yield on all crops (harvested individually). Given that everyone wants this and will contribute to it, what determines how much each animal should individually contribute to the construction of the mill? Ignoring the compulsory labor argument (there will be none), and assuming that all gains will be equal by proportion to the input (individual harvest), the only remaining moral ques
  5. Oh, fyi, the other endings kind of stink. But that speaks to what I like about the game. There is no required moral outlook. You just sort of act according to what you feel is the moral way to progress, without reward or punishment. Even the endings are volitional. You choose at the last minute, based on how you reacted to the game. It's not like choices earlier on force you to accept one ending or another. A neat way to handle narrative I think. Let the game speak to you, and then you can freely speak back. No pipelined consequences.
  6. The Deus Ex series has always tried to be philosophical, and has had a particular focus on politics. The newest entry has really put the concept of transhumanism, and how it relates to political philosophy, at the forefront. Although the game's story features absurd (haha, I hope) conspiracies, these function fairly well as metaphors for the distribution of power in society. I have started this thread not to make a specific point, but rather to start a conversation about this game and how it relates to Objectivism. ASSUME SPOILERS This game, like the others in the series, have multi
  7. Atlas Shrugged appeals to all of us not because it gives the impression of finally explaining the world, but because it does explain the world. This is why I can't stand progressivism. It is so transparently adolescent in its irrational idealism, the narcissism of its gurus, and in the fact that each new generation of progressives believes that it is the first to have ever discovered it. Here's the pressing question: will Obama pass Directive 10-289 before or after the election. If he gets desperate, he may do so beforehand. Then, if republicans win, there's a chance the plan could be
  8. The Answer is unfortunately out of political reach I fear. Our economic problems are deeply structural. That said, there are many regulations which, if repealed, would make room for significant economic growth. Many of these are deeply entrenched in the political economy. For one, we must repeal the Wagner Act and probably the minimum wage. We need cheap factory jobs in America. People talk of slapping tariffs on Chinese imports - as if. We also need to roll back entitlements to near nothing compared to what they are. This would free real capital. Speaking of that... We need to s
  9. Thinking about this topic some time, I have come to agree that 'narcissistic' is the appropriate word or concept here. There is a definition for narcissism which is self-love in the physical, almost sexual, sense. That's part of healthy self-esteem, but to be fair this is referred to as 'healthy narcissism'. There is another definition which refers to a different concept. This would be 'unhealthy narcissism'. That is the concept I will be discussing. From answers.com, secondary definition: "A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious
  10. Having read some of the arguments in this thread against Tabula Rasa, I'm reminded of something I used to try and discuss here. I don't think I had conceptualized what I wanted to say very well at the time, and I'm hoping that someone might be able to help me out now that I have a better grasp of it. The formation of concepts is commonly understood to involve an integration of the evidence of the five senses. What I had at one time tried to argue was that there were additional, innate, senses that ought to be included in the understanding of concept formation. I should say that I thoug
  11. Babies, despite not being rational, are humans. Humans, despite having stages of growth, are always human, and when they do work for their own survival, rational. It is logical to grant rights to humans, because of their nature. Criminals who act irrationally are punished accordingly. Humans in vegetative states are, in fact, euthanized if it can be reasonably proved that they are not, nor will ever again, possess consciousness (reason). Babies, then, by their nature, are rational beings in a state of incubation. On the one hand, there are the rights of their grown selves. On the ot
  12. I like this coin a lot actually. I'm not big on the whole Canadian/Political Correctness use nature instead of history approach to coinage. However, the owl in this case is not meant in any natural sense, but in a symbolic sense. And yet, it is natural, and therefore representative of life and also reality. The front (nature) represents a foundation (reality), the back (symbol) represents the temple if you will. The philsophy, by the light of man's mind, constructs upon reality a ... Well, that's the purpose of money. It exists to facilitate whatever comes next... As for the
  13. Really really advanced economists have demonstrated how even drug addicts act incredibly rationally. Granted, common sense tells us that's absurd, but in fact, understanding why it is absurd is a great feat! If you think about it, there are plenty of reasons why apparent 'irrationality' is completely rational. In drug use, the dopamine reward function is 'optimized' or 'maximized' according to highly rational decisions made by the drug user. Likewise, a lot of what we'd call irrational is quite rational. Economists like explaining the 2000's and the 2008 crisis by blaming 'systemic risk
  14. Yes, this is the idea, more or less. In reality, the mind is certainly not impotent. One reason, especially today, why people claim that it must be, is so that they can be granted permission to tinker. Tinkerers. And tinkerers like to tinker, because they are in fact on some metaphysical quest to defeat reality. This is why they both tinker, and are so quick to claim the mind is impotent. They hate a world that requires reason to gain prosperity. It means reality is real. They can't stand this. My speculative theory about one motive is that I think some people can't feel lik
  15. I've read the paper you have posted for good measure. The ultimate problem is a classic one for modern whim-worshippers. Causation vs. Correlation. What is the definition of ought? I would say: "To select the object of choice for an entity capable of choice". Does the rational entity choose the ought, or does the ought constrain the rational process of that entity? There are a thousand ways to do this, but: man's capacity to reason depends on his life, therefore its existence depends on it selecting those choices that sustain its own life. Therefore, a continuous rational process
  16. I'd like to start by explicitly stating that what follows is my personal opinion based on personal speculation. I don't think that Ayn Rand did in fact solve the problem of universals completely. Thus, it is easy to criticize her efforts as being incomplete. If you consider her axioms, you'll understand that she did offer rock-solid reasoning concerning why the problem isn't a problem the way it's traditionally framed. Existence exists. This is most certainly factual, self-evident, empirically sound, falsifiable, and also axiomatic. If I were to imagine all the world's philosophers
  17. You assume people adopt principles on faith without any correlation to reason. In highly oppressive and theocratic societies, and in religions that frame faith as a social construct, then, yes, faith is that. For the same reason that societies and governments that reject individual rights also must reject reason. Despite many intellectual short-stops, most people in America who are people of faith are committed to their faith because they reason that there is a tangible benefit to doing so. Not just in the hereafter, but that their faith produces a commitment to principles that result in
  18. That's because atheists generally take a positivistic approach to spirituality. 'life meaning' shouldn't be embraced unless it's precepts are empirically rigorous. Thus, a la Kant, individual sense of life is completely invalid. They resort to an almost gnostic or manichaen 'transcending' of reason (morality as idealism as oblivion). Otherwise it's a dull live and let live, which always translates to: thou must capitulate to agitators, thou must not agitate. These are morally pathetic people who deserve less respect than the run-of-the mill theist - for at least the concept of heave
  19. I've just about come over all the way to the Peter Schiff TSWHTF school of economics. As such, I've had to reevaluate a lot of what I thought I understood about economics. If I'm right, and TSHTF, then a whole lot of everyone else will too. I'm terrified, really, that the most common reaction will be similar to this: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jim-taylor/economists-are-irrational_b_352421.html">People are Irrational</a> The trend has been to blame the current crisis on the failure of markets and market actors to be rational. It's not even self-interest
  20. In another thread I have explained why I think that forced taxation can be moral under the right circumstances, and is therefore not 'immoral'. Likewise, the F.D.A., a favorite punching-bag for those who favor extremely limited government, is something I will defend as not inherently immoral. I don't think the Food and Drug Administration is an entierely helpful agency, and wouldn't mind its repeal necessarily, but the existence of such an agency does not contradict the central moral purpose of government. Fraud is a crime. Knowingly selling a product meant for human consumption, whe
  21. There are other ways besides taxation. They are fine ways, perhaps preferred. I am only attempting to argue that forced taxation can be moral in some circumstances, and thereby "taxation is moral", because it is not inherently immoral. My argument has been mistaken because I have tried to simplify it. I do not think that a consensus by itself justifies taxation. I'm arguing that forced taxation against a non-consenting individual would have to be within the framework of some consensus. Otherwise, it's one man or men, and their judgment, ruling over another. The participatory nature
  22. This is what has been behind my thinking here. But I'm focusing on the context of self-definition. I think people often do spend a great deal of focus on self-identification, but in this process they err in conflating themselves with some external, esoteric, other. In other words: you exist because you exist. You are your own justification for being. You either will live, or get hit by a car randomly on the highway today. Anything you do to improve your chances of living a happy long life, which can be properly be considered very good, is because you decide that that is what you wi
  23. No, a "mass" cannot consent. Only an individual can consent. What do you do to the individual who disagrees [that his right to swing his arm does not end at your face]? Force him to [obey the law]? Then your government is criminal! /irony To not consent to pay for the enforcement of a law is to not consent to that law. Either there are laws, which are upheld, or there are not. If a government can make laws, but not enforce them, then what point is there of government? Means of enforcement is enforcement is the law. There has to be a decision-making process about how law will be enf
  24. I have not read the Foutainhead, but have read ITOE. Kudos then to Ayn Rand for consistent philosophy. I am inspired to finally pick up the copy and read about Mr. Roark. Self is a concept, so finite but also open-ended. That is the magic formula for purposeful life.
  • Create New...