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Everything posted by BurgessLau

  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?
  14. First, please remember I offered this bonding-out idea only as an example of what might be done. I don't want to debate its propriety. How would the qualified convict be prevented from committing more crimes? One way is simply very close supervision by the supporters. (A lot of money is at stake.) That level of supervision tends to discourage certain types of criminals, doesn't it? Active community policing, down to the level of active ticketing for minor infractions, certainly seems to have that sort of effect -- judging from local news accounts. Another way is by ad hoc physical restr
  15. You are a pacifist? On what philosophy are you basing your position?
  16. Good point. Two objections: 1) The same potential for corruption would apply at least as much to governmentally run prisons. A bureaucrat who runs a bigger prison has more power (a bigger budget and more people reporting to him) and can expect more pay. 2) One way to deal with problems of corruption arising from concentrations of power in or as a result of governmental actions is to design a system of checks and balances. An example of a balance would be to require by law that the prison (company or bureaucracy) set aside some percentage of the "wages" of prisoners and put that money in
  17. BurgessLau


    Dark Unicorn (Jon), thank you for your assessment. Based only on ECHU, and speaking generally, I tend to agree with your description of his ethics. By implication, at least, he was an egoist, but one who accepted a principle of obligation in certain circumstances -- and that obligation came through his faith, I would suggest (for further study). Perhaps my question about his epistemology wasn't clear. Did he see a role for faith? Working only from a little study of ECHU, I would say the same situation applies here as it did in ethics. He supports the use of reason, but there are some circum
  18. There was an earlier topic-thread called: "Is it possible to measure freedom?"
  19. Hunterrose, to help set a context, I asked whether you are an Objectivist. You responded: Perhaps you misunderstood the question. I asked whether you are an Objectivist. I didn't ask whether you "like" it. I will try again. Do you or do you not agree with every element of Ayn Rand's philosophy as far as you have studied it? Also, what do you mean by "true believer"? Are you deliberately using it in an offensive manner, echoing the title of Eric Hoffer's book, The True Believer -- which is about individuals who abandon independent judgment in order to qualify for membership in a mov
  20. In addition to the insights already offered, I would suggest an additional option: "bonding out." This might apply to some prisoners. A fictional example would be Mallory in The Fountainhead. His attempt to kill Toohey was not the act of a career criminal. Bonding out means that the prisoner or his supporters would put up money for a bond (if that is the right word) as a sign of their commitment to making sure the prisoner will not commit another crime once he is let loose. To avoid losing that money, the prisoner's supporters will need to watch him very closely. The amount, I hold, shou
  21. What do you mean by "simply in the eye of the beholder?" In Objectivism, "objective" has two meanings: - Metaphysical meaning: Existing in reality independent of consciousness. - Epistemological meaning: An idea in the mind drawn logically from facts of reality. The distinction I offered is objective in both senses -- that is, in its referent and in its derivation. For anyone new to Objectivism, see Ayn Rand, "Objectivity," The Ayn Rand Lexicon, p. 345, an excerpt from her article, "Who is the Final Authority in Ethics?" in the Feb. 1965 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter. (Hu
  22. I don't understand your argument. Who is "we"? Do you mean every citizen of the U. S. (for example)? Do you mean the U. S. government? The issue basically is self-interest. If a semi-corrupt policeman can help me destroy a fundamentally corrupt murderer, I am morally right to ask him to do so and to support him qua defender of my right to life.
  23. If my memory still serves me, Harry Binswanger, a friend of Ayn Rand at the time of her death, said she died of a heart attack. A nurse was with her at the time. 1) Harry Binswanger, Ayn Rand's Life: Highlights and Sidelights. My copy is audiotape, but I am sure it is on CD now. Check the Ayn Rand Bookstore site. 2) Jeff Britting, Ayn Rand, 2004. This little book is packed with information about her life, plus lots of photos of her and the places where she lived. There are photos from her youth too, including (on p. 39) a stunning photo used on her immigrant "green card." The advantage o
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