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    Ian Campbell
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  1. Roark is an egoist - that is the key thing to understand. Me, me, me. My work, my standards, my life, my buildings, my blueprints. This is an egoist in the Randian sense, not the monster that society presents. For example the egoist as presented by society would kill someone for $5, but a Randian egoist would not because he is such an egoist it is only acceptable to live off his own work. Anyway this is what I think drives him, this me me me, this desire to be himself in every way.
  2. IDC

    alien life

    I think there is evidence of (primitive) alien life. Remember the Mars meteroite back in '96? http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/snc/nasa1.html Edit: Clinton even did a press conference about it.
  3. Thanks for the link, I can hardly believe it. You hear about that kind of superstition/conspiracy theory stuff on the Arab street, but one would expect the Russian president to be better briefed.
  4. I actually think it's quite endearing. Thor? Sure, I know him. Good chap. Lives up there. Where? You see the tip of that mountain? It is far friendlier that the mental corruption a modern person would spew forth.
  5. OMG, that is horrible. I want to cry for the poor kid. I would agree that these things can happen in a free system too, but in that case they are usually in spite of people following the correct principles. That is, principles just tell you what will happen in the long run, not for any particular incident. Whereas in the socialist system it follows from the principles that these kind of things will happen, which is totally unacceptable. Edit: spelling
  6. Wouldn't it be great if there were massive protests in the streets by ordinary people, and the mayor was impeached for exceeding his mandate? *sigh*
  7. I don't think that argument follows. If you ask 3 people how many fingers you're holding up and they all give different answers, does that mean there is no correct answer?
  8. In the post I'm not arguing that the appearances are primaries, just that they exist and are what they are. I fully accept that they may be effects of earlier causes. I guess I'm just saying that that doesn't make them any less real. The unicorn is a mental existent and the cat is a physical existent. In asking what the metaphysical difference is, I fear you may be interpreting my post as saying they are both ultimately the same stuff - existence - but it is not saying that. Existence is just an abstraction. Since the cat and unicorn both are what they are, the universe is the many and varied, and there is no one stuff. That's not to say "existence" isn't a valid abstraction of course, since they are in fact both not nothing, but it is just an abstraction.
  9. Great poem. I especially like this line: "And I come to the true and know what to do"
  10. No. The perception tells us that it is self-evidently true, not that it is an axiom. You seem to be defining axiom as any piece of knowledge that is not dependant on antecedent knowledge for it's validity. That is not what "axiom" means in Objectivism. What it means is that a fact is presupposed by all subsequent knowledge. If you invalidate the axiom you invalidate everything. So a perception of a table is self-evidently true, but not an axiom: everything else you know does not depend on what you know about that table. But everything you know does presuppose the facts of existence, identity and consciousness. If you invalidate one of them you know nothing. So they are both self-evident and axiomatic. I have not been arguing that free will is an axiom, merely that it is self-evidently true. Though in fact it is a philosophic axiom (something presupposed by many philosophical concepts), that is a side issue to the fact of it's truth. Yes. Now you're getting it. It is different. Galileo was offering a different explanation for the movements of the Sun, he was not saying there is no Sun. You are thinking there is an appearance of choice but you have a different explanation for it. There's two things here: first, the appearance exists, therefore like everything else that exists it is what it is. That perception of choice, is choice. Second, explanations just explain things, they don't cancel them out. So any explanation you come up with would have to end "and therefore we have free will."
  11. OK, I should have included direct perception as an instance of validation. But as it is just looking I didn't really consider it a process. I think you may be misinterpreting this quote though. It seems to me you are saying: right, I have this perception of myself with free will, but how do I know I really have it? How do I know this perception is not an illusion? I need to eliminate all other possible causes of it except real free will. So what you are working from is a model where there is real free will (or maybe not) in reality out there, and then your perception of it, and then you have to insert reason in between the perception and the real reality to validate it (the perception). So when Peikoff says "establishing the relationship to reality" you think this is what he is talking about. It is not, allow me to explain. In the Objectivist model there is no separate/real reality out there against which perceptions are verified (through reason or any other method). The perceptions are reality. (see my short essay posted in the Epistemology section a few days ago for how to see this.) The process of establishing a link to reality that Peikoff speaks of means taking some reasoning of yours and reducing it to the perceptions, not to some other separate reality. Everything is always reduced to perception and no further. This is because epistemologically, perception is the base. You might say that in the physical world there are earlier causes to the perception, and this is true. But epistemologically, that perception is a starting point of knowledge and can not be invalidated by anything less fundamental, such as a physical theory of atoms. Yes an axiom must be certain. Yes an idea can not be certain once there is an non-arbitrary alternative, but this only applies to abstract conclusions, not the directly perceived. How can reality be uncertain? The concept doesn't apply. No, you have not shown illusory volition to be non arbitrary. You have argued that based on our experience with other physical entities, the action of the brain is likely determined, but the brain is not consciousness. The brain is grey matter and neural nodes and electrical signals. Consciousness is awareness of existence. One may depend on the other for its existence, but they are not the same (just look at the descriptions). What the exact relationship between the brain and consciousness is is a question for scientists, there's no way to answer through philosophy alone. But many Objectivists believe consciousness to be a non-physical emergent property of the brain, whose attributes are learned through introspection.
  12. The only knowledge we need to validate is that which comes at the end of a process of reasoning that could have been flawed. The directly perceived does not need validation, and in fact is the standard for knowledge that does. Therefore I see no difference between the two statements 'we observe ourselves choosing' and 'we choose'. I don't consider the second an inference. And even if there was an inference to validate, I don't think your method would do it. What you are doing is coming up with the best list of explanations you can and then eliminating them one by one. But how do you know you thought up an exhaustive list in the first place?
  13. Also note that one thing about the universe is emergent properties. One example of this is water. Water consists of H and O atoms. Now neither of these has the property of "wetness" so would you say water can not possibly be wet? After all, the water is the H and O. No - the answer is that in this universe it seems to be possible for wholes to have properties not possessed by any of their parts. Likewise with the brain - it does not automatically follow that because the individual atoms don't have a certain property that the whole can't. It may be true, but it doesn't automatically follow.
  14. I think you may be reversing the hierarchy of knowledge here. We directly observe ourselves choosing, this is directly percieved, it is right at the base of knowledge. Our knowledge that there is a physical world, and that it consists of atoms, and that they behave with billiard ball deterministic causation is much later knowledge. It is an abstract physical theory. Now the nature of validation is proving your abstract ideas by comparison to the directly given. When an idea contradicts the given it is false. And yet what you seem to be doing here is reversing that: your abstract theory contradicts with the perceptually given, so you keep the theory and throw away the given.
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