Objectivism Online Forum

# Boydstun

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1. ## Peikoff’s Dissertation – Prep

I wrote this several years ago, and I want to post it here in the Prep thread in order to refer to it in the Dissertation thread, where I'll be assimilating the work of Lu-Adler mentioned in the post before last after all). Normativity of Logic – Robert Hanna Robert Hanna does not accept Kant’s idealism. His account of the normativity of logic in Rationality and Logic (RL) is nonetheless sensibly characterized as a quasi-Kantian account. Professor Hanna proposes that we have a faculty of logic in which dwells a protologic—a set of schematic logical structures—upon which any formal logic, classical or nonclassical, is constructed. This protologic Hanna argues to be presupposed, constructively and epistemologically, by any formal logical system. Standard modern logic, which is an enlargement (and some correction) of logic beyond its development by Aristotle, is called classical to distinguish it from its further extensions and from its rivals. Logics that only extend classical logic will have modified some of “the classical logical constants, interpretation rules, axioms, or inference rules such that all the tautologies, theorems, valid inferences and laws of elementary logic still hold, along with some additional ones” (RL 40–41). Such are modern modal logics (Garson 2006; Priest 2001). The rivals of classical logic make modifications to “logical operators [constants], interpretation rules, axioms, or inference rules such that not all the tautologies, theorems, valid inferences, and laws of classical or elementary logic still hold” (RL 41). Such is relevance logic (Mares 2004; Priest 2001) or paraconsistent logic (Priest 2006). The logics in rivalry with classical logic are contestants on the field of specifying which inferences, among our inferences in the vernacular, are valid. One inference certified in classical logic that many students find repugnant is the taking as valid any inference from false premises to a true conclusion. Paraconsistent logics and relevance logics are systematic formulations of logic in which such inferences come out as invalid. I should mention, too, that various informal fallacies of classical logic come to be formal fallacies within various nonclassical logics (RL 218). All systems of logic are systematic formulations of “the necessary relation of consequence” (RL 43). Examples from classical logic would be “if p and q, then p” and “if both (i) if p then q and (ii) p, then q” and “if both (i) if p then q and (ii) not-q, then not-p.” Hanna is proposing that behind all logical systems, whether classical or not, there must be a single set of schematic logical structures which determine what will count as a possible logical system; there is a single protologic epistemologically presupposed by every logical system. This protologic is used in justifying assertions about any classical or nonclassical logic; the protologic is constructively presupposed by every logical system (RL 44). In justifying claims about logic, we are invoking conscious logical beliefs about protologic. Having such a role, there is no way the protologic set of schematic structures could be revised. Moreover, they must be a priori. Kant took a priori to mean necessarily so (B3–4, B119–24, A87–92); true independently of all experience, not having its source in experience (B2, B117–19 A84–87, B163); but true of the experienced world and needed for any empirical cognition (B5–6, B121–27 A89–94, B163–65, B196–97 A157–58). (Further, see Robinson 1969 and Tait 1992.) For his own concept a priori, Hanna defines its cognitive facet as cognition not entirely determined by “inner, proprioceptive or outer sensory experiences even though it is always actually accompanied by such sensory experiences” (RL 273n25). He defines the semantic facet of the a priori as sentence meaning wherein the truth conditions of the sentence are not entirely determined by its verification conditions. He defines the epistemic facet of the a priori as belief wherein its justification is not entirely determined by sensory evidence. No system of logic rejects all of classical logic. Hanna conjectures that the metalogical principles in the protologic might consist of weak versions of four basic principles in classical logic. One would be that “an argument is valid if it is impossible for all of its premises to be true and its conclusion false” (RL 45). Another would be that “not every sentence is both true and false” (RL 45). Cognitive psychology can contribute to the further specification of principles such as these, principles a priori and not revisable, in our repertoire. Our faculty of language epistemologically presupposes our faculty of protologic. The protologic faculty of logic is sensitive to external experiential stimuli, but not entirely determined by such stimuli. It is an essential aspect of the mind of a rational animal, and it is an a priori aspect of such a mind. “It is not modally controlled by the empirical world, although it inevitably tracks the empirical world” (RL 83). “The logic faculty is a central and informationally promiscuous faculty of the human mind (and apparently the only one), whose role it is to mediate between the peripheral faculties and the central processes of theory-formation, judgment, belief, desire, and volition” (RL 109). That we have innate logical powers does not entail that we have any innate ideas (RL 135). Hanna is a realist about logic and logical necessity. Any explanation and justification of logic must presuppose logic. No explanatory reduction of logic to other things is possible. The thesis that we are endowed with a logical faculty offers not an explanatory reduction, but a connection for logic of a nonreductive, yet realist nature: “(i) logic is cognitively constructed by rational animals, and (ii) logic is objectively real via language, and consequently logical necessity is an objectively real property or fact in a world that objectively and really contains linguistic structures” (RL 158; also 80–81). Hanna argues that the innate logical faculty includes a capability for logical intuition. This is an act in which we grasp logical rules, and grasp them as justified and necessary, in a noninferential, a priori, yet fallible way (RL 167–82). To say that formal logic is normative is to say “humans ought to reason soundly or validly (more generally, cogently). Otherwise put, the normativity of logic consists in the fact . . . that the justification of human beliefs or intentional actions depends on our ability to reason cogently” (RL 203). Hanna maintains that logic is categorically normative, not hypothetically normative. Logic enjoins one to hold a certain belief or take a certain action under all circumstances and primarily because of logic alone. A view of logic as hypothetically normative would say that logic enjoins one to hold a certain belief or take a certain action because of logic, but only in certain circumstances and primarily because of something extralogical (RL 203). Mill held that logic is intrinsically normative (necessarily normative) and that logic is explanatorily reducible to empirical psychology. This implies that logic is intrinsically but hypothetically normative, not categorically normative. Then conditions from particular human interests or conditions from natural facts could constrain the scope of the applicability of logical obligation. Hanna maintains to the contrary that logical norms apply in all possible contexts. Hanna constructs a logical argument, which leans on elements of modal logic, to refute the thesis that logic is reducible to empirical psychology (RL 20–21, 27). That is not to say that there is no essential connection between the logical and the psychological. Hanna argues for such an essential connection: logic is cognitively constructed by rational animals who are essentially logical animals (RL 25). The logical in the phrase “essentially logical animals” is to be understood as primarily normative (RL 215–16). Although we obey the protologic perfectly whenever we reason, we shall adhere only imperfectly to normative mental principles that we construct from the protologic, and only imperfectly to formal logical norms we construct from the protologic (RL 149–53). Hanna elects the path of Kant, Boole, and Frege. “Logic is the universal, topic-neutral, a priori science of the necessary laws of truth, and also a pure normative science based directly on rationality itself” (RL 204). He calls this the moral science conception of logic. Logic is a moral science (RL 205). It is “an integral part of human morality, namely the part that consists in justifying moral judgments and decisions, including direct moral arguments and reflective equilibrium” (RL 206). Hanna rejects the idea, put forth by Otto Weininger of virtually identifying logic with ethics (RL 205–6). To the contrary, “moral wrongdoing is not necessarily or even usually connected with wrong logical reasoning; and on the other hand, wrong logical reasoning is not necessarily or even usually sinful” (RL 217). Weininger’s idea was that “logic and ethics are fundamentally the same, they are no more than duty to oneself” (1903). Hanna rejects the idea that morality is entirely a system of hypothetical imperatives. Kant’s categorical imperative of ethics is not “an all-purpose practical decision procedure or algorithm. . . . Negatively described, the categorical imperative is a filter for screening out bad maxims; positively described, it is a constructive protocol for correctly generating maxims, given the multifarious array of concrete input-materials to practical reasoning . . .” (RL 212). In parallel with the role of an ethical categorical imperative, Hanna alleges a logical categorical imperative. Specifically, that imperative would be: “Think only according to those processes of reasoning that satisfy the protologic” (RL 213). From this perspective, Hanna would have us see through the errors of radically conventionalist theories of logic (RL 210–11) and skeptical, even nihilistic, attacks on the objectivity of the norms of logic (RL 206, 223–30). Good for Robert Hanna. To Hanna’s logical imperative, I should add this prior one: think. And we should supplement Hanna’s theory with the circumstance that the choice to think is the choice to live, that the categorical demands of logic are vested by the categorical structure of existence and the hypothetical standing of human life.* *See also the review by Gila Sher, especially her criticisms 2 and 5. References Garson, J. W. 2006. Modal Logic for Philosophers. Cambridge. Hanna, R. 2006. Rationality and Logic. MIT. Kant, I. 1996 [1787]. Critique of Pure Reason. W. S. Pluhar, translator. Hackett. Mares, E. D. 2004. Relevant Logic: A Philosophic Interpretation. Oxford. Priest, G. 2001. An Introduction to Non-Classical Logic. Cambridge. ——. 2006. Doubt Truth to Be a Liar. Oxford. Robinson, R. 1969 [1958]. Necessary Propositions. In The First Critique. T. Penelhum and J. J. MacIntosh, editors. Wadsworth. Tait, W. W. 1992. Reflections on the Concept of A Priori Truth and Its Corruption by Kant. In Proof and Knowledge in Mathematics. Routledge.
2. ## Ayn Rand’s misunderstood position on altruism

Thanks for the notice, Merlin. “Comte’s conception of altruism is also inconsistent with liberty, Rand’s focus.” No. That is not her focus. That is the focus of the author. Within his focus, is his focus on Comte, and absence of any attention to the likes of Augustine, who had it that a turning to God is a turning away from self. Rand’s focus is on the rightness, power, and glory of rational individual mind and life. Freedom or absence of force is a necessary condition, not the prize, and anyone who reads Rand without trying to sweep beyond their blinders-field what Rand writes against religious faith can see that plain as day. I rather doubt that motivation for the beneficent projects of the Rotary Club are only motivated by the kind of non-sacrificial generosity of a Howard Roark. The motto of the Club is “Service above Self”. And I rather think the influence on adoption of that motto was not Comte, but religious ethics bannering self-sacrifice. Scratch a socialist (e.g. Norman Thomas), and you’ll likely find a religionist, at least one transferring their youthful religious values to their adult political values. Rand was not writing at a time in which Comte’s ideas were live fires in people. The virtue of self-sacrifice (highest virtue, even only virtue, the very essence of virtue) in the special Randian referent for that term must be widely defeated, both virtue of self-sacrifice for other persons and self-sacrifice for God, for security of the prize. Rand was writing not only against total selflessness, as with Comte, but any degree of selflessness. No poison at all, not any. And health of mind directing a life is not only freedom from force. From American Heritage Dictionary (American usage): Altruism — Concern for the welfare of others, as opposed to egoism; selflessness. Selfless — Without concern for oneself; unselfish. One can look as well at common-usage meanings for selfish, self-interest, etc. However, at least since Socrates, philosophers answer a calling of stirring the head from these meanings to deeper conceptions underlying them and deepening meanings of words and their interrelations. Philosophers can give special, theoretical meanings to words already in use and having some overlap with the rather loose common meanings in order to bring out what is (or could become) in the depths of thought and action under thought. The special, more philosophical meanings, can be wrong if the system to which they belong is wrong. Still, they often get through to real insight. In my assessment, Rand’s may get some of the depths wrong—some definitions, essences, propositions; things omitted or other things not where they should be—but definitely she’s on to important original insights among those stirrings, including ones on values, altruism, and selfishness. (Merlin, I’ve been out of commission a week due to death of a sister. I’ll be back to serious work in a couple more days, and back to feedback on your work in progress.)
3. ## Harry Binswanger Reveals the Identities of the ITOE Workshop Participants

Thanks for the information, William, and the link. There is a bit more here from the wife of Laurence Gould.

5. ## Rand and the Greeks

2/16/08 Rand observes that “the choice of the beneficiary of moral values . . . . has to be derived and validated by the fundamental premises of a moral system” (VoS x). Rand offers arguments and a conception of morality in support of the conclusion that “the actor must [should] always be the beneficiary of his action” (VoS x). “Ethics is an objective, metaphysical necessity of man’s survival,” and this is the case “by the grace of reality and the nature of life” (VoS 23). “By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man—every man—is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose” (AS 1017). Rand argues that “man’s actions and survival require the guidance of conceptual values derived from conceptual knowledge” (VoS 20); that conceptual thought is an activity of individual minds (AS 1017); that “thinking requires a state of full, focused awareness” (VoS 20); that “the act of focusing one’s consciousness is volitional” (20–21); that “the men who choose to think and to produce . . . . are pursuing a course of action proper to man” (23); “that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself . . . and, therefore, that [each] man must [should] live for his own sake” (27). The individual’s own life “is the source, not only of all his values, but of his capacity to value. Therefore, the value he grants to others is only a consequence, an extension, a secondary projection of the primary value which is himself” (VoS 47). Furthermore: “Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate, and contradict the fact of its own existence . . .” (AS 1014 [hb], boldface added). As noted earlier in this thread, Robert Hartford contributed a paper last spring to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 8(2):291–303. The title of his paper is “Objectivity and the Proof of Egoism.” In this paper, he argues that “the foundation of an objectively verifiable ethical system is the [voluntary] acceptance and use of the principle of holding one’s own life as the motive and goal of one’s action” (302). Robert argues that if one rejects Rand’s principle of holding one’s own life as the motive and goal of one’s action, then one is contradicting a fact about the very mind rejecting the principle. That fact is the biological role that the mind has in human life. “The mind has unsurpassed power to select action that results in pursuit and achievement of values, pursuit and achievement of that which benefits one’s life” (300). If one selects an action that is known—known consciously or subconsciously—to be harmful to one’s life, then some aspect of one’s mind is implicitly acting in a way at odds with the fundamental role of the mind in human life. The mind is then in a contradictory state. It strives to achieve what benefits the life of the person whose mind it is while at the same time, in the particular choice, it strives to harm that person. Therefore, one should always select one’s action with one’s own life as the motive and goal of the action. I would say that the biological role of the mind is not only to enable the survival of the individual whose mind it is, but to enable the survival of other members of the human species. So I don’t think Robert’s proof works. The faulty premise in Robert’s argument is appealed to in the complex weave of Rand’s argument as well. How wide are the ramifications of this flaw in her argument? I wonder.
6. ## Rand and the Greeks

ET, In the statement of Rand's I quoted and you again quoted, she is contrasting life to all things not living. Only living things can be ends in themselves and have value kinds of actions. (And I don't think it would matter whether the life was manmade in the lab or naturally occurring life.) I agree. “According to Objectivism . . . a philosophic view of man is not exhausted by metaphysics and epistemology, nor does it at every point follow deductively from them; fresh observations are required. . . . “If a fundamental difference is one which has enormous, pervasive manifestations, then the most fundamental difference among the entities we perceive is that between the animate and the inanimate. The starting point in the present enquiry, therefore, is the fact that man is a certain kind of living organism. What is an organism? More specifically, what is its essential, distinctive mode of action?” (pages 188-189 of Peikoff’s 1991 Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand). On your question of the point at which egoism comes into the picture in the account of the good, I'll post below two posts of mine from some years back. I encourage you to study, if you've not done so already, Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness and Peikoff' OPAR.
7. ## Rand and the Greeks

Thanks for the correction, Dennis, and thanks for the question. In a few days, I shall have been working on the book material each morning for six years. Along the way, I’ve extended my target on up to ten years (I’d be seventy-five). However, to accomplish even that required that I leave off theory of value altogether. And the extended detailed comparisons of Rand’s philosophy and mine with major classical philosophies needed to be discontinued. Because I had completed the comparison on foundations between Descartes and Rand, which was no longer going to be appropriate for the way the book was developing, I submitted that to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, and they published it last summer. By last fall, the metaphysics I had developed had become so sweeping, deep, and original, and had finally stabilized, that I had a big worry. The problem was that it would take another four years before all the ramifications of it could be worked out for epistemological areas, and I became worried it was all too possible that none of what I had already created would ever be seen by anyone else (none of it has been posted on the internet or will be) should I have a stroke or otherwise be incapable of completing the whole book (for which I’d still need to find a publisher at the end—I’m not for self-publishing on this). I thought of seeing if this sort of material would be appropriate for JARS as a series of major papers over time. I sent them the initial one that lays out the basics of the new metaphysics; they think it an appropriate kind of thing for their venue; it is under review; and if all goes well with that on both sides, it might appear about a year from now. This new metaphysics is more indebted to the metaphysics of Ayn Rand than to any other. Mine is a transfiguration of hers at the deepest level. The differences and commonalities with Rand’s fundamentals are explicated and argued. Her fundamentals and mine are set in their relations to others ancient to modern. Down the anticipated series of papers, ramifications of this new metaphysics for philosophy of logic, mathematics, and science will be drawn. So I’m doing the same work, only not for a book, and one will need to be a subscriber to JARS or have university access through JSTOR to see this, my highest creation.

9. ## The Moral Value of Liberty

Rand took it that we can and do recognize that others are ends in themselves. The fact that they are ends in themselves entails certain ways one should not treat them. Adhering to those ways—respecting their rights against force or fraud in their person and their property—is morally right, is what one ought to do. Moreover, in Rand’s view, it is what one would normally, naturally want to do. Furthermore, in Rand’s view, respecting rights of others—making the fact that they are ends in themselves operative in one’s set of values—is in one’s best interest in a social context (and is irrelevant in a non-social context). Nice related work: “Selfish Regard for the Rights of Others” by Gregory Salmieri, in Foundations of a Free Society (Pittsburgh 2019). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS - to SL: You will find the term "intrinsic" used in the chapter just cited, and not in Rand's special sense for it when thinking about the ontology of value. That is because Salmieri is (i) engaging with criticisms of Rand's ethical egoism and her theory of rights coming from contemporary philosophers from other schools of thought and (ii) the term is common in talking about constitutive values and their interplay with instrumental values.
10. ## The Moral Value of Liberty

SL, I don't think Rand took "end in himself" to mean anything but "end in itself" applied to a person. However, by the special way SHE was using "intrinsic" (introduced in the essay "What is Capitalism?"), we wouldn't rightly say that intrinsic value means end-in-itself in the way SHE meant the latter term. I agree with how she used the latter term; my use of it means what she meant: only a character of living things (focally, individual organisms) and only an overall character composed of subsidiary instrumental, functional value-actions). So when Nozick turns to "organic unity" as more generic (and to be found not only in living things, but art or inanimate natural organizations), I'd say that those organic unities not life are just semblances (fainter to fainter) of life. In using the term "intrinsic" we apparently best say which way we mean it: in its more usual way that Nozick was using it (which had SOME overlap with Rand's specially carved meaning) or in Rand's special, theoretical definition and usage. (My American Heritage Dictionary has for "intrinsic" the following: Pertaining to the essential nature of a thing; inherent.) "It is only an ultimate goal, an end in itself, that makes the existence of values possible. Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action" (OE 17).
11. ## The Moral Value of Liberty

ET, What would you say about someone who has attempted suicide, is unconscious, and you happen upon them? Wouldn’t you think they still have the quality of intrinsic value (= [inherent value] = [potential and actual end-in-itself value]) and so go ahead and call 911? Wouldn’t you be not indifferent to their possibility of coming round to choosing life, being productive, and pursuing happiness? Choosing to live comes up directly in the Hamlet question (in various sorts of situation), but also implicitly every day for humans with the normal capacity to end their life or to stop doing the things necessary to live. And every initiative of thought and work is implicitly a choice to live and be a human being. Do you agree? Rand thought one should treat others and oneself as ends-in-themselves. Her reason was because they are ends-in-themselves, and one ought to treat things as the kinds of things they are. I agree. “Do you ask what moral obligation I owe to my fellow men? None—except the obligation I owe to myself, to material objects and to all of existence: rationality. I deal with men as my nature and theirs demands: by means of reason” (1957, 1022). “Every act of man’s life has to be willed; the mere act of obtaining or eating his food implies that the person he preserves is worthy of being preserved” (1056). “By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man—every man—is an end in himself” (1014).
12. ## The Moral Value of Liberty

PS A note about Rand’s development on this in her writings: In We the Living, she has value and authentic aliveness as requiring human awareness of and embrace of one’s wants and joys. Value as the valuable for its own sake (and as distinct from the mere ‘satisfaction’ had by her later character Toohey) does in WL not exist until the human awareness and embrace of it. The valuable-in-itself does not exist prior to the higher humans bringing it into the world, and it is something that most likely could not exist in beings not having distinctively human capabilities. As you know, that layout is revised and the revised account greatly elaborated in her 1957.
13. ## The Moral Value of Liberty

SL and ET and Tony, I doubt I’ve changed in the view I’d come to in this essay of 1984. The way in which Nozick was using ‘intrinsic’ was as I stated therein. This is a different meaning of the term in Rand’s use of that same term, in which it means value existing without there being some valuer of the value (and all value being in fact rooted in life, there being value independently of any purposive agent). Still, when I talk of becoming value, as did Nozick 1981, it can seem as becoming value that exists without the existence of any valuer of it. I meant only that in making life-values squarely operational in oneself, which one can do through explicit conceptual awareness, one can strengthen and magnify the life-value that is oneself and one’s life. I don’t know if Nozick would have been open to the way I latched his intrinsic value necessarily to life. He might have gone on to say of his intrinsic value that not only does it have a sense not talked about by Rand, but additionally the sense she squarely opposed. That is, additionally, his intrinsic value (not mine) might be a realm floating on its own whether or not living things (or God) exist and connect with it. He took there to be an objective basis of intrinsic value. That basis is not life, but organic unity, which includes life but is something more general. Because there are degrees of organic unity, he has a way to roughly rank various intrinsic values in relation to each other. So, for example, a human life could be ranked higher than a redwood or a painting due to the greater organic unity of a human being and its life (its making a life, as Nozick would say). One of my favorite closing passages among novels I got to read in high school is the one recited in the clip I link below. It speaks great truth, though from my perspective, the element of saying memory is not necessary for love is incorrect and the idea that love continues even were everyone to die is incorrect. Thank you all for your thoughts on issues in this essay.

15. ## Peikoff’s Dissertation – Prep

Quine’s “Two Dogmas” It was Quine's essay "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (TD), published in 1951, that brought his debate with Carnap over the analytic-synthetic distinction to widespread attention among philosophers. In this essay, Quine argues against the validity of the distinction. Carnap wanted to maintain a sharp distinction between analytic statements depending entirely on the meanings being used and synthetic statements making assertions about the empirical world. Quine's alternative view had it that all statements face the world as part of a corporate body of statements. On this view, experience bears the same kind of evidential relation to the theoretical parts of natural science as it does to mathematics and logic (see also Quine 1954). One of Quine’s aims in “Two Dogmas” is to argue that no sharp distinction can be drawn between analytic statements and synthetic statements. Analytic statements are ones alleged to be “true by virtue of meaning and independently of fact” (TD 21). Truths grounded in fact are known as synthetic truths; statements of such truths are called synthetic statements. Quine reminds the reader that meaning “is not to be identified with naming” (TD 21). My height and my stature (under one of its definitions) name the same thing and mean the same thing. Likewise for three and drei. In general, however, concepts with different meanings can name the same thing, as my right hand and my writing hand. Quine writes of terms, but these are terms working in a certain way, terms employed in statements admitting of truth or falsity. Quine’s “terms in statements” would seem not far from “concepts in propositions” which is the technical vocabulary adopted by Rand. Turning to general terms like right hand, Quine observes that we must distinguish between the meaning of the term and the extension (the referents) of the term. Think of the essence of right hands. Instead of thinking of the essence in the Aristotelian way—as inhering in those hands (actual and possible)—let it inhere in the term. That thought is the meaning of a general term, and, like Aristotelian essence, it is not one and the same as the thing signified (TD 21–22). I better hit the gavel for Rand at this point. We speak of the meanings of words, but words are only markers for concepts, “and the meaning of a concept consists of its units.” We define concepts “by specifying their referents.” Concepts and definitions are certain ways of specifying referents (ITOE 44). I look up the word derelict in my dictionary and find one of its meanings: abandoned property; especially, a ship abandoned at sea. Knowing how to apply the latter term (grammatically, a phrase), I might now use this sense of the word derelict. The word being defined and its definition have the same meaning. They are cognitively synonymous. Quine thought that the useful conceptions of meanings come down to (i) giving synonyms or (ii) making significant utterances (1948, 11). Rand held that when we make significant utterances that engage concepts, or general terms, those concepts have definitions specifying their referents. (Prior to being able to state propositions in which concepts figure, a concept like ball is [marked by a word and] nested in image and action schemata [ITOE 13, 20, 43]. Presumably, this rudimentary mentation, alternative to explicit propositions and definitions, informs them.) Quine notices that there are definitions of a sort that are not simply the giving of synonyms, and he calls these sorts of definitions explications. “In explication the purpose is not merely to paraphrase the definiendum [the term being defined] into an outright synonym, but actually to improve upon the definiendum by refining or supplementing its meaning. But even explication, though not merely reporting a preexisting synonymy between definiendum and definiens [the definition], does rest nevertheless on other preexisting synonymies. . . . Any word worth explicating has some contexts which, as wholes, are clear and precise enough to be useful; and the purpose of explication is to preserve the usage of these favored contexts while sharpening the usage of other contexts. In order that a given definition be suitable for purposes of explication, therefore, what is required is not that the definiendum in its antecedent usage be synonymous with the definiens, but just that each of these favored contexts of the definiendum, taken as a whole in its antecedent usage, be synonymous with the corresponding context of the definiens. “Two alternative definientia may be equally appropriate for the purposes of a given task of explication and yet not be synonymous with each other; for they may serve interchangeably within the favored contexts but diverge elsewhere. By cleaving to one of these definientia rather than the other, a definition of explicative kind generates, by fiat, a relation of synonymy between definiendum and definiens which did not hold before. But such a definition still owes its explicative function, as seen, to preexisting synonymies.” (TD 25) When philosophers lay out theories of good definition, they are theories of an explicative kind of definition (see Kelley 1988, chapter 3). Consider Rand’s definition of reason as the faculty that identifies and integrates the evidence of the senses. In my dictionary, I find reason defined as the capacity for rational thought, rational inference, or rational discrimination. The terms rational and thought go to already familiar synonymies with reason. The differentia within the rational, in this dictionary definition, are the discriminatory and the inferential. Rand’s definition stays close to the common usage reflected by the dictionary, but it replaces discrimination and inference by their kin identification and integration, it eliminates the non-explicative rational, and it adds a base for the activities of reason, specifically, deliverances of the senses. Rand’s definition is explanatory of the common usage found in the dictionary, and it is tailored to tie neatly to a particular wider philosophical view. Quine could say this is a fine explicative type of definition. Rand has given the term reason a new synonymy. The various contexts in which reason under the dictionary definition is properly used remain contexts in which reason under the new, explicative definition is properly used. The new definition covers the processes of drawing distinctions and making inferences. The new definition also applies to the wider processes of identification and integration of sensory evidence, processes in which the narrower processes are embedded. Quine would stress that, nonetheless, “such a definition still owes its explicative function . . . to preexisting synonymies” (TD 25). Quine is being too short here. Quine’s argument against the idea that there are clearly statements true purely by virtue of meanings, and true independently of fact, hangs on his conception of meaning. We have joined Quine in saying that meaning is distinct from reference. We have not allowed that meaning can be independent of reference. The meanings of my right hand and my writing hand differ, but both meanings are specifications of a referent. Similarly, the meanings of right hand and writing hand differ, but both are specifications of the extensions (the referents) under those concepts. Quine’s conception of meaning is shriveled into “synonymy of linguistic forms” (TD 22). He allows that a logical truth such as “Every tall man is a man” has a guarantee of truth that rests on more than one’s experiences of facts about men. He realizes that logical truths are sometimes called analytic, but his target is other statements taken for analytic: statements reducible to logical truths by synonymies, statements reducible to logical truths by meaning. Quine shares with defenders of analyticities the conviction that logical truths are true, and true regardless of particular facts to which they are applied. If there are statements reducible to logical truths by virtue of meaning and independently of fact, then their truth would be guaranteed by virtue of meaning and independently of fact. A candidate analytic statement from Kant would be “Bodies have location.” (A contrasting synthetic statement would be “Orbiting bodies are weightless.”) One who has the concept body knows that having location is part of the meaning of the concept. Substituting “Things having location (and . . .)” for body yields the logical truth “Things having location (and . . .) have location.” Now, we know “Necessarily, things having location (and . . .) have location.” Does only that sense of necessity attach when we claim “Necessarily, bodies have location”? Quine disputes the idea that purported analyticity of a statement can be adequately explained by cognitive synonymies and logical truth (TD 29–31). Analyticity cannot be explained by a sensible conception of meaning joined with logical truth. An adequate way of distinguishing analytic from synthetic statements has not been produced. Quine uncovered a narrow, but serious, problem for the analytic-synthetic distinction. It would seem that there are wider problems for the distinction that he passes over because of his cramped conceptions of meaning, definition, and essential characteristics. References Kelley, D. 1988. The Art of Reasoning. W. W. Norton. Rand, A. 1990 [1966–67]. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Expanded 2nd edition. Meridian. Quine, W. V. O. 1948. On What There Is. In Quine 1953. ——. 1951. Two Dogmas of Empiricism. In Quine 1953. ——. 1953. From a Logical Point of View. Harvard. ——. 1954. Carnap and Logical Truth. In The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays. 2nd edition. 1976. Harvard.

~Revised Titles~ Ayn Rand and Aristotle: Axioms and Their Validation James G. Lennox January 10, 2020, Ayn Rand Society APA Eastern Division Meeting, Philadelphia Commentator: Michail Peramatzis, Oxford University Aristotle and Rand on the Standard of Value Greg Salmieri February 27, 2020, Ayn Rand Society APA Central Division Meeting, Chicago Commentator: Joseph Karbowski, Ludwig Maximilian University ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I plan to attend both sessions. These papers will be among those appearing in the coming fourth book in the series of the Ayn Rand Society (University of Pittsburgh Press). The books published in the series so far are: Metaethics, Egoism, and Virtue (2011) Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge (2013) Foundations of a Free Society (2019)
17. ## Peikoff’s Dissertation – Prep

I learned only today of a book out in 2018 on Kant's thinking about logic. It is titled Kant and the Science of Logic: A Historical and Philosophical Reconstruction. The author is Huaping Lu-Adler, and the press is Oxford. I've ordered this book for myself, I don't expect to say more about it online. I want however to share a very good window into the book at the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews here.
18. ## Do Objectivists truly believe Objectivism will ever be more than a philosophy of the few?

946, Isn't it easy and an everyday thing for people to choose reason to a great degree? Surely one was choosing reason and learning what it is, even without the later concept of it, by one's desire and efforts to acquire language in early childhood. People seem enmeshed in their reason, and that applies to my religious friends too, even the ones stuck in the more ignorant, feeling-dominated sects. Of those last, I notice we have fine economic commerce with each other, and we enjoy each other in our practical, rational activities. I wanted to add to your accumulation, in an earlier post, of Rand's dark-future-outlooks and highly deterministic personal developments: Rand 1957 was projecting a future. It was pretty dark, and I think not only for the purpose of making the light lighter. Outside the USA, there were to be only Peoples States, it seems. In the USA were to be great economic regulation and growing political tyranny. Happily, since 1957, though Peoples States are still around, such as in Venezuela and Cuba, such States are far from gripping the whole world outside the USA. Inside the USA, nothing getting close to the controls in The Moratorium on Brains happened. Brash interventions such as Nixon's wage-and-price controls have become just eyeball-rollers today. During the big contraction and financial crisis of 2008, some banks and other companies were bailed out by the government (by us), but the Obama administration didn't nationalize the banks, which in earlier times would have been a serious option on the table, and for the fictional Pres. Thompson would have been a no-brainer. As Rearden is carrying the young government man Tony in his arms, where Tony dies, Rearden thinks of this young man as having been made by schooling and the wider culture. It's not entirely deterministic, of course, because Tony's time with the productive enterprise had brought him round to reach for fresh right and to protect the mills. Rand later expanded greatly on what she had given to Rearden's thoughts there. That was in her essay called "The Comprachicos" which is included in the book The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution. It is a very dark and heavily deterministic picture she paints there of the US educational system. The picture is entirely foreign to any of my experience with the system here, public grade and high and State university (for first degree) at that very era she was writing about. But the relevant point here is how rare and hard she thought it was for a student to become an independent and rational individual given such type of formal education.

20. ## Impeachment

Calling President Trump, calling Mr. Trump: Suspend the 500 million dollars in annual aid to Zambia until the prisoners are freed. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50901537
21. ## Do Objectivists truly believe Objectivism will ever be more than a philosophy of the few?

946, America and the world are not going to ever adopt full freedom according with Rand's theory of individual rights and proper, limited function of government; or full freedom as drafted under any other libertarian, limited government theory. It will not matter how far people become rational (apparently, in the last 500 years in the West, they have become more rational on average) or how much they are manipulated by freedom lovers by irrational appeals. Such an understanding and care for freedom that Objectivists have will not be happening. In America we are going to have a mixed economy, Social Security, and Medicare even through the lives of our grandchildren. I discourage young people from becoming consumed with political or other social causes. The present American situation is no excuse for not successfully making a good life for yourself. Just shed the grip of public affairs, and get on with making a pile of money, seeing the world, or accumulating and reading a private library with the size and heft of mine. No social excuses. Rand has helped many to their personal liberation, and how many others can be helped to that liberation of reason is secondary even when focus is simply on the other's own personal well-being. When the focus is on influencing politics or culture, the proper attitude is suspicion that one is losing one's focus on what should matter most.