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About BurgessLau

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    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/04/1944

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    Burgess Laughlin
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    Portland, Oregon USA
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    I am an Objectivist, that is, I agree with every element of Ayn Rand's philosophy, as far as I have studied it, though not always with her views in the specialized sciences (such as the psychology of homosexuality) or in personal choices (such as favorite painters).<br /><br />My three highest personal values are:<br /><br />1. Central purpose in life: Writing success stories from the history of philosophy (www.aristotleadventure.com).<br /><br />2. Friendships with like-minded people -- e.g., through the Portland Area Objectivists, a network of about 15 people living in areas from Seattle to Portland. See: www.aristotleadventure.com/pao/<br /><br />3. Roving as leisure: mentally, by reading adventure stories (ranging from Westerns to murder mysteries); and physically by by walking and bicycling.

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  1. Dismuke, generally speaking, you have accurately portrayed the situation. You have done an excellent job of detection, working from that author's dishonest writing. I have read the Journals, as the subject of a six-month long study group that our local Objectivist Story Tellers conducted. The point to keep in mind is the purpose of the journals: to give Ayn Rand a place where she can put her thoughts -- mostly intended, once they were thoroughly examined, to appear in works of fiction -- down on paper, as an aid in her own development. Her journal entries make crystal clear that she th
  2. How can a phrase be a "non-sequitur"? Usually, isn't the Latin non sequitur used to name an idea applying to whole propositions -- as conclusions of illogical arguments -- rather than to terms? Perhaps rather than "non-sequitur" you mean "misnomer" -- which is the term/idea you use below. Generally speaking, in my experience, dictionaries don't offer philosophical definitions, that is, definitions (of fundamental concepts) suitable for everyone, everywhere, at all times. Instead, don't most dictionaries merely record common usages -- indeed, a very wide range of usages -- from contempora
  3. This is an intriguing topic (and a very well organized method for approaching it). I have a question for clarification: Are you looking only for economic/political essential characteristics or also for deeper philosophical ones too?
  4. What evidence would lead you to consider a "get rich quick" premise as an essential characteristic of the U. S. economy in the years 1929-1934? (You said "primary" characteristic but the topic question asks about essential characteristics. Are they synonymous, for you as an anti-Objectivist?)
  5. So, your original statement, taken in the usual meaning (you specified no other), was false. I also asked: What evidence and argument proves that "most murders in this country are ... due to ... trade restrictions"? You answered: "I am speaking about organized crime related to drug smuggling. While exact statistics are hard to come by, the trend is very clear. For example, see the statistics here: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/crime.htm." In the first place, I would question whether statistics -- "exact" or not -- prove anything in accounting for crime. They certainly can raise question
  6. Your comments raise a lot of questions, for me: If "secure" means protected from threats of aggression, how can the U. S. border be "too secure"? What evidence and argument proves that "most murders in this country are ... due to ... trade restrictions"? If border "walls," figurative or actual, don't stop terrorists from entering this country, what would?
  7. So was Nazism. Nazism was "original" in its particular, unique combination of elements, and it was "important" in that it caused mass destruction. In terms of fundamentals, in what way do you -- as an anti-Objectivist -- think Kant's philosophy was "original"? - In his ontology of two worlds? - In his epistemology of proleptic subjectivism? - In his ethics of altruism?
  8. I agree, if their only motive is to reduce the influence of the movie. The question that arises for me, though, is whether the organizers of the protests have other items on their agenda. For example, are the organizers practicing for something bigger? Are they building a mailing list? Are they soliciting donations and want to prove how tough -- and therefore deserving of financial support -- they are? Or are they using their protest as a platform for spreading broader ideas -- indeed, Christianity itself? Only a thorough inquiry into the particular individuals involved can answer these questi
  9. Here the words "tend to be" are weasel words. With those words dropped, your statement asserts that Peter Schwarz writes articles "filled with poor scholarship and outright lies." What is your evidence for this attack on a prominent Objectivist?
  10. "Cryptic" is a term that, in its primary usage, names an idea that means puzzling or obscure. I don't know why you think simply asking you for a definition of a key term/idea that you have used is cryptic. Perhaps you mean something else by "cryptic." I am asking what I asked: What do you mean by "objective"? In other words, what does the concept "objective" refer to in reality? The meaning of a concept is its referents, as known within a context. What is your definition of "objective" (or "objectivity," as a noun)? P. S. -- For anyone not familiar with Ayn Rand's theory of epistemolo
  11. For professional intellectuals and a few others, and in certain circumstances, your motivation makes a lot of sense to me. The only remaining question for me, if I were in that situation, would be whether I expected to gain enough from any particular "debate," to justify taking time away from my highest personal values (my work, my friends, and my favorite leisure activities). One of the defining characteristics of a debate (as distinct from a discussion, for example) is that one of the debaters will win a prize of some sort. I have found that asking myself what prize is at stake helps me
  12. ggdwill, what is justice? In your philosophy, what does that concept mean?
  13. What do you gain from such debates? In particular, do they help you achieve any of your highest personal values?
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