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Found 9 results

  1. Greg, This doesn’t go to the interpretation of Rand aspect, but at first glance it seems right that discovering causal connections, whether by the developing young child or by the scientific researcher, makes more specific the causal character (agent and patient) of a thing and thereby makes definition of a thing—answering to “what is it?”—fuller in capturing the identity of a thing. An example might be precising the notion of “strength of column materials” by defining the various kinds of stresses to which a material thing such as a column can be subjected and therewith defining those various kinds of resistance capabilities of different materials. Observational discovery of failure modes (just what they look like) of columns may have contributed historically in getting to formulating those various kinds of stresses and resistance strengths correlative to those stresses. Early naturalists identified sponges as plants, but then . . . Perhaps good examples would be in: Duane Emerson Roller’s The Development of the Concept of Electric Charge (1954) / Max Jammer’s Concepts of Mass in Classical and Modern Physics (1961) / Theodore Arabatzis’ Representing Electrons (2006) / Hasok Chang’s Inventing Temperature - Measurement and Scientific Progress (2007) But I’m a little surprised how poorly I’m doing at coming up with easy examples that fit the mold you suggested of precising definition (better capturing identity of something) through discovering causal relations that are part of a thing’s identity. And although examples for the more highly educated might be helpful to testing out this way of getting more precise (less ill-defined) concepts and communicating the pattern to our more educated friends (or using it on them or on oneself to better the defined identities), easier examples would be helpful all round. Looking to the notions Don Watkins took up, it would be interesting to see any worked-out cases or dialogues by pointing to causal connections. This reminds me of Rand's reduction of the concept justice in ITOE. I notice, by the way, cases contrasting with the scientific and engineering ones above, in which causal discoveries do not seem to contribute to improving definition. I mean people could identify and teach and learn what a rainbow is before Descartes discovered how sunlight and water droplets end up forming a rainbow. Then again we can have the Moon Illusion pointed out to us and even have pointed out to us that if we take a photo of that marvelously big moon near the horizon its size in the photo shrinks to nothing to write home about, i.e., the same size it has in our viewing of it at zenith. Discovery of what in our brain results in us having the Moon Illusion will increase our store of what it is that is the Moon Illusion, but it still seems that we know what the Moon Illusion is, and very stably, even without having yet found the underlying neurological reason for it. (Leonard Peikoff has an example like these also, probably in OPAR.) However frequent the relation you mentioned between defined identity and causal discovery, I should say the latter is not the only route by which defined identities are improved. The methods of discovery by which mathematicians added to the defined identity of complex numbers beyond their definition when they were originally introduced would not be discovery of causal relations.
  2. "We are the cause of all the values that you covet, we who perform the process of thinking, which is the process of defining identity and discovering causal connections." "We are the cause of all the values that you covet. Note, 'cause' is italicized. "We who perform the process of thinking" combines this 'cause' with the actor and sets up the identification of what thought consists of in this context. Thus, thinking "is the process of defining identity and discovering causal connections." In a matter of disagreement, a search to discover a causal connection should lead to a lack of precision with some ill-defined identity. Is this an accurate assessment?
  3. In another thread, a selection of critters is offered to observe free will. The concept of rolling can certainly be formed from observing a ball, tire, a stone or even a log roll along a stretch of surface. In the case of animals, hunger develops, the quest for food ensues (in the case of humans, this presumes he has learned to identify hunger by some unspecified means.) "Choosing" to look for food does not strike me as what Rand is referring to when she penned: that which you call 'free will' is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character. Is this the same freedom found in jellyfish, honeybees, alligators, elephants, as is found in man? It seems to fall short in the realm of "the process of defining identity and discovering causal connections." Digressing to positing an explanation of determinism, why wouldn't there be agreement on all matters, were mechanistic determinism a valid (pesky free-will laden) choice to select from? After all, are not all residing in the context of existence? To paraphrase another writer, Steven Covey, is the effort here to understand, or simply to be understood?
  4. I like this. It articulates the "burrowing down" aspect in conjunction with the recursive relationship that identity and causality share. This might be related to a machinist handbook where various formulas are offered to evaluate different aspects of consideration regarding material selection in conjunction with various shapes in addition to various failure modes. A rectangular beam, a cylindrical beam - constant cross section, tapered cross section - steel, wood - torsional load, compression load. An nice example of subsequent data augmenting and ultimately superseding a previous conclusion. Given my age, pay grade, and familiarity - I'm going to have to pass on this one at this time. This is a sub-forum to test an aspect of the forum software. Instead of being dialog intensive, an O.P. can set forth a question to which subsequent answers can be ranked. The question I asked was based on a snippet from Atlas Shrugged that had recently elevated in my mind. A search for "discovering causal connections" did not expose the earlier posting I had done on OO that might have tied into this post. This example would be exemplary of an answer that should rise to the top where it submitted to the most objective of evaluators. I had discounted Rene Descartes, and was not aware of this contribution of his to rainbows, attributing it to Issac Newton instead. I consider Newton's contribution to the field quite strong, and am unaware if he had used Descartes' consideration(s) as a basis for his considerations, though it would not be entirely surprising at this point. Mathematics is but another man-made contribution of knowledge to me. Between ARI contributors of Corvini and Knapp, it is clear that the metaphysical roots of the subject are not without some controversy. My own investigations into Fermat's, and to a lessor degree, Collatz's conjectures have tainted what I thought to be one of the nobler of the sciences. Thank-you, Stephen.
  5. II.A Empirical Realism – Kant Rand’s conception of logic is thick, not thin. “Logic rests on the axiom that existence exists,” and “existence is identity” (AS 1016). Logic is not only the art of not affirming A and not-A, including avoidance of inferences that could allow A and not-A. Logic is that, in Rand’s view, but it has that character by its role in the enterprise of identifying existents and their natures. Logic as noncontradictory identification includes not affirming A and not-A, but also not affirming A while denying essentials of A or other conditions necessary or sufficient for A (further, Branden c. 1968, 63–76; Piekoff 1991, 118–21, 125–26, 137–39). Similarly, Rand’s conception of thinking is thick, not thin. Thinking is the conceptual, integrative process of “defining identity and discovering causal connections” (AS 1038). Kant sometimes used think (denken) in a thin way, which is a common way. There it meant only entertainment of something noncontradictory in the thin sense. Kant engaged the thick, the cognitive, beyond thin thought, and this engagement was his springboard to transcendental idealism (KrV B xxvi, n103). Transcendental idealism comports with an empirical realism. Both begin in Kant’s expositions of the concepts of space and time. We think of things being in ourselves as minds or outside ourselves as minds. Kant maintained that if we think of anything outside our minds, we must think of it as in space. We can think of the space as empty of objects, but we cannot remove the space and yet be thinking of the outside-ourselves-as-minds. If we are thinking of the way of things outside ourselves as minds, we are thinking of the spatial. In Kant’s view, this is only a condition of our own human cognition, for all we know, but it is a necessity for us (A24 B38–39, A26–28 B42–44, A59 B42; Falkenstein 1995, 186–216). Kant reasons further that because space is necessary to any outer experience we can have, we cannot get our grasp of space through outer experience, and space must be character of our mind’s form of experiencing the physical world. Spatial relations will necessarily be part of the determinate character of physical things as experienced by us, but that character is from us as minds. Space is not a property of any things in themselves nor relations among things in themselves (A26 B42; see also Boydstun 1997, 11–17; Shabel 2010, 93–117; Parsons 2012, 5–41). Kant calls intuition our direct knowing of something whole, direct knowing of a singular thing whole (A25 B39–40, B236n, A320 B377). That, as opposed to knowing discursively, judgmentally, inferentially, knowing by generalization of instances or by accumulation of parts. “Intuition that refers to the object through sensation is called empirical intuition. The . . . object of an empirical intuition is called appearance. Whatever in an appearance corresponds to sensation I call its matter; but whatever in an appearance brings about the fact that the manifold of the appearance can be ordered in certain relations I call the form of appearance. Now, that in which alone sensations can be ordered and put into a certain form cannot itself be sensation again. Therefore, although the matter of all appearance is given to us only a posteriori, the form of all appearance must altogether lie ready for the sensations a priori in the mind; and hence that form must be capable of being examined apart from all sensation.” (A20 B34) No. Some order of sensations could be received with the sensory activations, and this order could be a factor in determining the structure of sensory organs in development and in evolution such that certain order in sensory sensations and in their further processing is discerned when presented (cf. Sellars 1967, 6–8, 28–30, 53–57; Pippin 1982, 47–52, 70–71, 115–23, 188–89, 226–28; Parsons 2012, 18, 30–41). The magnolia is seen by me presently as left of the willow oak, and the boxwoods are seen as between me and those trees. That can be because those are the spatial relations among the two trees, the shrubs, and my body as they are in themselves at this time. Kant thought that only if our abstract consideration of spatial relations in Euclidean geometry (taken in Kant’s day to be in all its structure the geometry of the physical world) were of structures brought to the world by our minds, only then, could the effectiveness of the method of geometry—posits, constructions, theorems—be explained (A24, A46–49 B63–66). That is a mistake. If spatial relations are in our every outer experience because they are always in the world we experience as outside ourselves as minds, then too, the relations could come to be in our minds for our treatment as in geometry (cf. Pistorius 1786, 94–99; 1787, 179–82; 1789, 255–56). What the method of Euclid’s geometry shows is that empirical methods of observation and experimentation are not the only methods effective in discerning something true of physical possibilities and impossibilities (further planes: Stalnaker 2012; Burgess 2008; Belot 2011, 86–90, 117–49; Correia and Schnieder 2012; Williamson 2013). Conditions of physical possibilities are indeed conditions of the possibility of our experience. Space can be a condition for the possibility of all experience of things outside ourselves as minds, and that, precisely because space is a condition of the physically possible (cf. Westphal 2004, 77–78, 84; Allison 2004, 128–32). Kant has gotten a good insight into Euclid’s method and into the fundamental standing of space in empirical experience. But he overlooks the sort of realist assimilation of those insights I have just proposed (B167–68; Boydstun 1997, 17; further, Carey 2009, 70–72, 96, 449–50; Piaget and Inhelder 1948). In speaking of appearance and the form of appearance, Kant does not mean illusion. He stresses the characters in appearance are actually given as in their relations to us as minds. Because such characters, such as spatiality, are not in objects apart from our apprehension of those objects, he calls the objects as given to us appearances (Bxxv–xxviii, A29–30 B45, A44–46 B61–63, B69–71, A155–58 B194–97, A257–58 B313–14, A293–98 B349–55, A490–97 B518–25, A506–7 B534–35, A538–41 B566–69; Prolegomena 4:287–93, 4:375; further, Allison 2004, 50–73; Grier 2001, 86–93; Westphal 2004, 38–41, 50–66; Parsons 2012, 33–41). The grand epistemological illusions, in Kant’s estimation, are: treating things as they are in sensory perception as though they were those things as they are in themselves; the prior certainty of inner appearances over outer ones; and the reification of abstractions into things in themselves. (See further, Bird 2006, 10–13, 23–24, 33–34, 40–44, 100, 110–15, 122–26, 173–85, 207–13, 409–15, 462–67, 505–21, 530–39, 558–76, 683–88; Grier 2001; Abela 2002; Westphal 2004.) Our exposition teaches that space is real (i.e., objectively valid) in regard to everything that we can encounter externally as object, but teaches at the same time that space is ideal in regard to things when reason considers them in themselves, i.e., without taking into account the character of our sensibility. Hence we assert space is empirically real (as regards all possible outer experience), despite asserting that space is transcendentally ideal, i.e., that it is nothing as soon as we omit [that space is] the condition of the possibility of all experience and suppose space to be something underlying things in themselves. (A28 B44; also A369–77, B274–77) Kant’s metaphysical and transcendental expositions of the concept of space argue that our most fundamental grasp of space is not a concept of space, but is an intuition of space. It is an intuition on which our concept space rests once we bring limitations to all-encompassing space (A25 B39). Our concepts belong to the faculty of understanding, not an intuitive faculty. Concepts unify intuitions and contact objects in appearance only through subsumed intuitions, through their shared characteristics (A320 B377). Concepts without intuitions are empty (A51 B75). On the other hand, sensory intuitions (the only kind we have) without concepts are blind. Appearances become experience only by their conceptual rendition. Human experience is itself impossible unless shot through with rationality, contrary the presumption of Hume. An intuition without concepts is only a particular set of the mind to an object in appearance; it is not a cognition (A50 B74). Experience, by join of intuition and concepts, is cognitive. In Rand’s terms, that is a claim by Kant that only experience engaging recognition under concepts is experience as identification. That might sail provided one enlarged the sense of concept to include elementary image and action schemata of the prelinguistic child (which, by the way, are retained in the adult). Even then, I should not let the ship sail because it may be that although all concrete existents have both (i) particular identity and (ii) specific identity (answering to (a) that, which, when, and where, and (b) what), one’s identifications might sometimes be perceptions of only particular identity, and that may be without operation of concepts or schemata. Yet, beyond the span of working memory, no experience of purely particular identity lasts. For experience wider than that, the ship can sail, with the schemata-proviso. I should pause over an apparent contradiction in Rand. I reported her 1961 view, against the Empiricists, that our knowledge of the world is not “by direct perception of immediate facts, with no recourse to concepts.” In 1966 Rand defined knowledge as “a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation” (ITOE 35). This definition suggests that a perceptual observation could be knowledge, and this is in some tension with the 1961 dicta. I think Rand’s conception of perceptual observation as knowledge is not meant to be a cognition free of all assimilation under concepts. The conception of knowledge is as our long-term awareness of continuous existence, the world’s and our own (ITOE 57). There are some concepts, indeed, that “are implicit in every state of awareness, from the first sensation to the first percept to the sum of all concepts” (ITOE 55). This implicitness is not only analytic, but genetic. The concepts of existence, consciousness, and identity are, in Rand’s view, working implicitly and are available for adult conscious acknowledgment (see also Taylor 2002, 110–15; Haugeland 2013, 91–98). These concepts and their close kin, and their more primitive schematic forms, hold knowledge together, even if implicitly, and this includes knowledge not reasoned on observation, but simply by observation (cf. Kelley 1986, 150, 154–74; Burge 2010, 244, 248–51, 396–436). I notice this does not preclude yet other, less general concepts or schemata reflecting broad structure of an observation being also implicitly at work in a particular observation that is knowledge. Adult experience is touched by concepts, both in our practical negotiations of the world and in scientific observation and controlled experimentation. On that much, Kant and Rand are in agreement. Just as Kant required a priori intuitions of the form of appearance in which objects are given to us, so he required a priori concepts through which any object given in appearance can be thought by us. Those formal a priori intuitions, space and time, together with a priori concepts of objects in appearance, make human experience possible. Jointly, these intuitions and concepts are necessary conditions for the possibility of experience itself (A92–94 B125–27). By way of important contrast in Rand’s metaphysics, the very general concepts and principles necessary for every experience apply not only to objects as in those knowledge-making experiences, but to objects and relations among them. They apply necessarily to rate of heat flow, for example, not only to rates of heat flow as sensed into or out from our skin. They apply to things as they are connected and not connected to other things, including to ourselves as minds (cf. Pistorius 1788, 178–79; 1789, 257–60). Such necessary concepts would be existence, identity, and causality, whose axiomatic or corollary standing has been argued by Rand and by scholars of her metaphysics. To those conditions, I should add time and space expressly, and some geometry as well, to Rand’s metaphysics as necessary conditions, if not axiomatic ones, for objects and our experience of them. Kant’s appearance should be dropped—spatiality is a character of objects, not only a character of our apprehension of them—though there remains grain to be gathered from Kant and planted in new soil. (To be continued.) References Abela, P. 2002. Kant’s Empirical Realism. Oxford. Allison, H. E. 2004 [1983]. Kant’s Transcendental Idealism: An Interpretation and Defense. 2nd ed. Yale. Belot, G. 2011. Geometric Possibility. Oxford. Bird, G. 2006. The Revolutionary Kant. Open Court. Boydstun, S. 1997. Space, Rotation, Relativity – Kant. Objectivity 2(5):1–31. Branden, N. c. 1968. The Basic Principles of Objectivism. Lectures transcribed in The Vision of Ayn Rand. 2009. Cobden. Burge, T. 2010. Origins of Objectivity. Oxford. Burgess, J. R. 2008. Mathematics, Models, and Modality. Cambridge. Carey, S. 2009. The Origins of Concepts. Oxford. Corrreia, F., and B. Schnieder, editors, 2012. Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge. Falkenstein, L. 1995. Kant’s Intuitionism. Toronto. Grier, M. 2001. Kant’s Doctrine of Transcendental Illusion. Cambridge. Haugeland, J. 2013. Dasein Disclosed. Harvard. Kant, I. 1781, 1787. Critique of Pure Reason. W. S. Pluhar, translator. 1996. Hackett. ——. 1783. Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics that Will Be Able to Come Forward as Science. G. Hatfield, translator. In Immanuel Kant – Theoretical Philosophy after 1781. Cambridge. Kelley, D. 1986. The Evidence of the Senses. Louisiana State. Parsons, C. 2008. Mathematical Thought and Its Objects. Cambridge. ——. 2012. The Transcendental Aesthetic. In From Kant to Husserl. Harvard. Peikoff, L. 1991. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Dutton. Piaget, J., and B. Inhelder. 1948. The Child’s Conception of Space. F. J. Langdon and J. L. Lunzer, translators. 1956. Norton. Pippin, R. B. 1982. Kant’s Theory of Form. Yale. Pistorius, H. A. 1786. On Johann Schultze’s Elucidations. In Sassen 2000 (S). ——. 1788. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant. (S) ——. 1789. Kant’s Purism and Selle’s Empiricism. (S) Rand, A. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. Random House. ——. 1966–67. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. 2nd ed. Meridian. Sassen, B., translator, 2000. Kant’s Early Critics – The Empiricist Critique of the Theoretical Philosophy. Cambridge. Sellars, W. 1967. Science and Metaphysics – Variations on Kantian Themes. Ridgeview. Shabel, L. 2010. The Transcendental Aesthetic. In The Cambridge Companion to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Cambridge. Stalnaker, R. 2012. Mere Possibilities – Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Semantics. Princeton. Taylor, C. 2002. Foundationalism and the Inner-Outer Distinction. In Reading McDowell on Mind and World. N. H. Smith, editor. Routeledge. Westphal, K. R. 2004. Kant’s Transcendental Proof of Realism. Cambridge. Williamson, T. 2013. Modal Logic as Metaphysics. Oxford.
  6. Hi, in the Ayn Rand lexicon, it says about thinking: "the process of thinking is defining identity and discovering causal connections." It goes on to say in another entry that thinking is the process of identification (like the first entry) and integration (this I don't know if it's like the first entry). So, my question is, what is thinking aside from defining identity? I don't understand discovering causal connections or integration. Any help is welcome. Thanks
  7. Your Love of Existence In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle says “existence is to all men a thing to be chosen and loved” (NE 1168a6; further, 1170a20–b10). In Atlas Shrugged, Rand writes: “All life is a purposeful struggle, and your only choice is the choice of a goal. . . . Such is the choice before you. Let your mind and your love of existence decide” (AS 1068). Those Atlas lines are near the end of Galt’s speech, which was the first extended statement of Rand’s philosophy. Woven all together therein were metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology (broadly), ethics, and politics. In the present essay, I want to reflect on this text of Rand’s in connection with her fundamental metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and metaethics. The first sense of existence in the Rand quotation is one’s own personal living existence. I suggest two further senses of love of existence that are cohorts of that first sense. One of these further senses is love of human existence of which one’s own is a case. The other is love of existence-with-identity in general, against nothing. In On the Soul, Aristotle says: “That too which involves no action, i.e. that which is true or false, is in the same province with what is good or bad: yet they differ in this that the one is absolute and the other relative to someone” (DA 431b10–12). We should hesitate over the conception of cognition involving no action, for at least there is the aim and movement towards truth. Aristotle will concede that, and we should concede to Aristotle that good and bad are relative to an agent, whereas truth and falsehood are independent of the identifier. American Pragmatists take thoroughgoing issue with Aristotle’s conception that cognition is sometimes untied from possible action in the world. They could warm, however, to Aristotle’s thought that true and false are in the same province as good and bad. Rand was warm to that idea as well. She set forth a way, different from Pragmatist ways, for tying true and false to good and bad. Hers is a tie more intimate than would be suggested by Aristotle in my isolated quote from him in DA 431. Rand articulates an absolute character of agent-relative good and bad by taking them in view under identities of existents, their traits, relationships, and kinds. She stresses particularly the kind to which the individual human belongs, the kind one is. Rand once remarked that if she were to place a preamble over the total of her fiction writing it would be: “To the glory of Man” (1963, 172). Her fiction and her Objectivist philosophy are shot through with love of the existence of man. “Man, not men [as a collective]” (1946, XII). Man the individual, independent, productive, rational animal; not man the irrational animal, the all-sharing animal, the suicidal animal (AS 1013). Man worthy of honor and love is man as maker of the means for human life. Man in this goodness is the broad ideal that should be held dear to every individual.* Man in this goodness is concretely in oneself and in others. For such men, there is possible the joy that is happiness and there is for each “the joy he receives from the virtues of another” (1034, also 1059–60).[1] Rand’s character John Galt is an artistic concretization of ideal man in general. By Galt she has ideal man speak to each reader, at least to each retaining “a remnant of the dignity and will to love one’s life” (AS 1052). Ideal man says to the listener: “Whatever living moments you have known, were lived by the values of my code” (1060), the code of reason, purpose, and self-esteem (1018). “If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man—for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life” (1014). “Let your mind and your love of existence decide.” Love of one’s existence includes love of man the ideal, rational being. Aristotle held in the Metaphysics: The side of the list of opposites to which Aristotle fundamentally fastens thought and desire is the side of being and its categories, in opposition to their negations. The primary type of being, on which all others depend, is substance. There is not only substance that is essence of sensible, material things; there is substance that is essence of pure intelligibility, pure in that it is entirely free of sensible matter. Substance of pure intelligibility is most actual and is logically prior in being to substance of material things. According to Aristotle, the intelligibility of the world and our fundamental desire to understand the world spring ultimately from the expression in the world and in ourselves of immaterial maximal being. It is ultimately towards this being that all life, perception, and human intelligence strive. Aristotle identifies ultimate being that draws our thought with the unmoved mover of the heavens and of the world of nature below. It moves the world by its allure. God is this being. God the first mover is good and most worthy of human desire and intellectual reach. “And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God’s essential actuality is life most good and eternal” (Met. 1072b26–28). God’s permanent state is ours in the moments our thought is in active possession of its objects. That is our own divinity, the best within us.[2] There are great differences between Rand and Aristotle in this area, but much in common as well. Recall this passage of Rand’s: The existence in “love for existence” in the preceding quoted passage is at once existence of the individual human and existence of the world, of existence per se. One’s living self-existence together with existence of the world is here spoken of as a lover to which one may be worthy. This mild personification of one’s biological nature as well as of existence in general is employed elsewhere in Galt’s speech. Rand speaks of human virtue as loyalty to life, akin to the loyalty of “a bird or flower reaching for the sun” (AS 1059). One’s biological nature calls for rationality and calls one to rationality (1012–14, 1021–22). Then too, Rand speaks of the world as being a place “so eagerly worth seeing” (AS 701). It was as if Galt’s eyes imparted that value to the world, as if his sight lit the seeing-value of the world. In the world is worth for those worthy by sight. Galt is a moral avenger. In her mild personification, Rand speaks of existence and its law of identity also as a moral avenger (AS 1062). Subversion of mind affronts reality (1013); all the same, “reality is not to be cheated” (1037). There is something one owes to all of existence, as well as to oneself: rationality (1022). One may drop rationality. That is an attempt “to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists: reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. . . . / . . . Reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it” (1018). “By refusing to say ‘It is’, you are refusing to say ‘I am’” (AS 1018). Then truly and fully loving “I am” is loving “It is.” “Whoever rejects reality rejects existence [of self]” (AS 1046). Then whoever loves their existence loves reality in its affordance of human comprehension and human life. Rand against Aristotle (and Plato): It is earthly life alone, not God, that is the undergirding and ultimate reason we seek understanding. The value of thinking arises purely from the value of life, earthly life (a, b, c). Joined to love of existence as object of thought is love of thinking of existence. As with contemplation in Aristotle’s God, thought in man is itself a mode of life (I say, harmoniously with Rand who does not say this[4]). Thinking itself—the process of grasping that two and two make four—thinking itself—“the process of defining identity and discovering causal connections” (AS 1038)—thinking itself bears the goodness of life, the foundational end in itself. One’s thinking self is an end in itself because its organized activity is an occasion of life itself and because it is the integral, necessary, and proper leader of a human life. Rand with Aristotle (and Plato): Aristotle, as I said, fastens thought and desire fundamentally to being and its categories, in opposition to their negations. Rand upholds life, not death, as the premise proper to man (AS 1050). “Your fear of death is not a love for life and will not give you the knowledge needed to keep it” (1013). Furthermore, Rand with Aristotle: Notes 1. Cf. NE 1155b17–20, 1156a14–19, 1156b7–24, 1157b25–1158a1, 1167a18–20, 1169b31–1170b10. 2. See further, Lear 1988, 134–41, 265–306, and Richardson Lear 2004, 188–207. 3. The idea that man is a completion and height of nature, in which man is at home and to which he says Yes is an idea in her earlier novels that Rand developed and brought forward to Atlas. In his self-transformation from Equality 7-2521 to a Prometheus, Rand’s protagonist of Anthem says “all things come to my judgment, . . . and I seal upon them my ‘Yes’ or my ‘No’” (1938; quoted in Mayhew 2005a, 39; see also Milgram 2005, 17–18). He discovers that it is he, his body and spirit, that is the meaning of the earth (XII). For architect Howard Roark of Fountainhead, his work is consecrated to a human joy, “a joy that justifies the existence of the earth” (PK VI 80).* 4. Well, in the original edition (1937) of We the Living, Rand has Kira say to Andrei “What do you think is living in me? Why do you think I’m alive? Because I have a stomach and eat and digest food? Because I breathe and work and produce more food to digest? Or because I know what I want and that something that knows how to want—isn’t that life itself?” (quoted in Wright 2005, 203). References Aristotle c. 348–322 B.C. The Complete Works of Aristotle. J. Barnes, editor. 1984. Princeton. Lear, J. 1988. Aristotle – The Desire to Understand. Cambridge. Mayhew, R. 2005a. Anthem ’38 & ’46. In Mayhew 2005b. ——., editor. 2005b. Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem. Lexington. Milgram, S. 2005. Anthem in Manuscript: Finding the Words. In Mayhew 2005b. Rand, A. 1943. The Fountainhead. Bobbs-Merrill. ——. 1946 (1938). Anthem. Issue 3(1) of The Freeman. ——. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. Random House. ——. 1963. The Goal of My Writing. In The Romantic Manifesto. 1971. Signet. Richardson Lear, G. 2004. Happy Lives and the Highest Good. Princeton. Wright, D. 2005. Needs of the Psyche in Ayn Rand’s Early Ethical Thought. In Mayhew 2005b.
  8. I'M OFFERING MY ENTIRE OBJECTIVIST LIBRARY FOR SALE ON EBAY WITH AN OPENING BID OF $400. THAT'S LESS THAT THE COST OF A SINGLE COURSE. THE EBAY LINK IS HERE AND THE COURSES OFFERED ARE BELOW: THE ART OF THINKING: This is a course on what to do with your mind during the act of thought, when to do it and how to do it. Dr. Peikoff teaches you how to make the principles of Objectivist epistemology the guide of your own daily thought processes. These lectures are part new theory and part exercises. 1. Volition as a means of Clarity
The problem of clashing contexts; why some students are unable to fully accept what they know to be the truth. The perpetual "clarity-seeker." Why the only solution in such cases is will (not more arguments).
 2. Hierarchy
Thought as integration. Hierarchy as an indispensable form of integration. Reducing advanced ideas to perceptual data.
 3. Thinking in Essentials
Thinking in essentials as a form of unit-reduction. How to decide what is essential in a particular case, such as a movie, book or person. Translating commonplace remarks in terms of essentials.
 4. Question & Answer Session (1hr.)
 5. Thinking in Principles
Principles as fundamental integrations reached by induction. Principles and essentials. Are principles inescapable or not?
 6. Certainty
Can one be certain about the future? Can one base predictions on statistics? If knowledge is contextual, must one say: "The senses are valid, or Atlas Shrugged is a great novel, in the present context of knowledge"? Can one properly specify one's context, yet still be guilty of an error?
 7. Thinking versus Writing
Pre-writing versus writing problems. Understanding a point versus knowing how to present it—and what is required for each. The grave error of trying to understand through writing for others.
 8. Question & Answer Session (2 hrs.)
Dealing with immoral people. Why academic philosophers reject Objectivism. The difference between truth and certainty. The epistemological status of statistics. 
(Audio 14 hrs., 31 min.)
 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY by Leonard Peikoff 1. The First Problem: Are There Any Absolutes? The father of philosophy: Thales. The philosophy of flux: Heraclitus—"You cannot step into the same river twice"—change as the only absolute. The mind-body opposition begins: the mathematical mysticism of the Pythagoreans. 2. The Triumph of the Metaphysics of Two Worlds. The birth of determinism: the materialism of Democritus. The birth of "It seems to me": the skepticism of the Sophists— "Might makes right." Socrates. The first complete philosophy: Plato. Plato's metaphysical dualism. 3. The Results in This World. Plato's epistemology—the myth of the cave. Plato's ethics/politics: reason vs. emotion—Platonic love—the Philosopher-King—communism as the political ideal. 4-5. A Revolution: The Birth of Reason. Aristotle. Epistemology: sensory evidence as the base of knowledge—the laws of logic—the nature of truth. Ethics/politics: happiness as the moral goal—reason and the good life—the Great-Souled Man—the ideal society. 6. Philosophy Loses Confidence. The philosophy of pleasure: the hedonism of Epicurus. The philosophy of duty: Stoicism. The new Skepticism: Pyrrho of Elis. Neo-Platonism: Plotinus. 7-8. Philosophy Becomes Religious—and Recovers. The rejection of reason and happiness: Christianity. The first major Christian philosopher: Augustine—faith as the basis of reason—the ethics of self-sacrificial love—man as a corrupt creature. The Dark Ages. The rediscovery of Aristotle. Thomas Aquinas: the union of Aristotelianism and Christianity—the absolutism of reason and the new role of faith. The aftermath: the Renaissance. 9. The New Breach Between the Mind and Reality. Materialism and determinism in the name of science, dictatorship in the name of harmony: Thomas Hobbes. The father of modern philosophy and the first famous Continental Rationalist: René Descartes— the method of universal doubt—"I think, therefore I am"—the theory of innate ideas. 10. The Breach Deepens . . . The second famous Rationalist: Spinoza—pantheism—determinism. The third famous Rationalist: Leibnitz—the unreality of matter—the "windowless monads." British empiricism: John Locke. 11. . . . and the Attempt Collapses. Empiricism becomes subjectivist: Bishop Berkeley—"To be is to be perceived." Empiricism becomes bankrupt: the skepticism of David Hume—the attack on the external world and on causality—the breach between logic and fact. 12. Conclusion. The Objectivist answer to key problems posed by Ancient and Modern Philosophy. Detailed Description INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC by Leonard Peikoff This course (with exercises) covers the standard topics taught in introductory courses in Aristotelian logic. It defines the principles of valid reasoning, and discusses prevalent logical fallacies. It formalizes the steps by which one derives conclusions from premises, and it provides a methodology by which to evaluate one's own thinking processes. (Each lecture includes a question period.) 1. Basic Logical Theory
The cognitive role of logic. The laws of logic and their validation. Logic vs. mysticism and subjectivism. Logic and reality.
 2-3. Informal Fallacies
Twenty-two common fallacies, including: the appeal to authority, ad hominem, ad populum, ad ignorantiam, begging the question, equivocation, composition, division, misuse of the mean and false alternative.
 4. Introduction to Deductive Reasoning
The nature of deductive argument. Validity and truth. Mixed and pure hypothetical arguments. Alternative arguments.
 5.-6. The Aristotelian Syllogism
Categorical propositions. Immediate inference. Rules of syllogistic validity. Analyzing arguments in ordinary language.
 7-8. Definition
The cognitive role of definitions. Genus and differentia. The method of formulating valid definitions: five Aristotelian rules of definition. Definitional fallacies.
 9-10. Inductive Generalization
Induction vs. deduction. Induction by simple enumeration. Experimental induction: Mill's methods of discovering causal connections. Major inductive fallacies, including: hasty generalization, oversimplified generalization, post hoc. The justification of induction. The argument from analogy.
(Audio 27 hrs., 1 min.) OBJECTIVE COMMUNICATION by Leonard Peikoff This course teaches you how to present ideas effectively. It identifies certain principles of intellectual communication, and applies them to three areas: writing, speaking and arguing. It is concerned, not with style, but with substance, i.e., with the basic methods necessary to achieve a clear, absorbing presentation of your viewpoint. Dr. Peikoff draws on principles from such diverse fields as epistemology, drama, education and polemics. If you want to be able to convey your thoughts objectively whether you are preparing a report for work, a paper for school or a book for a publisher this course will dramatically enhance your skills. Throughout the sessions, volunteers were given an opportunity to make brief presentations. Since the subjects of these exercises (included as a booklet with the taped course) are limited to aspects of Objectivism, the exercises may also expand or refresh your knowledge of this philosophy. The ten sessions, which are themselves masterful examples of objective communication, consist of the following: Basic Principles and Methods (opening lecture)
The nature and problems of intellectual communication. The role of epistemology: the "crow epistemology" and the Law of Identity; knowledge as contextual. Motivating the audience. Delimiting the subject. Logical organization of material. Balancing abstractions and concretes. Writing (4 lectures)
Written presentation. Similarities and differences between writing and speaking. Making a piece of writing self-contained. How to judge a formulation's objectivity. Exercises in editing philosophic statements to achieve precision of thought. Analysis of samples of student writing. Speaking (3 lectures)
Oral presentation. The nature and problems of extemporaneous delivery. The problem of overloading the listener's mind. Transitions, pace and emphasis. Monitoring the audience's response. How not to bore the listener. Analysis of short talks by students. Arguing (2 lectures)
When and when not to argue. The art of philosophical detection. Selecting the essential points to answer in a discussion. The major pitfall of polemics: conceding the opponent's premises. Arguing politics, and how to deal with spurious "facts." Training oneself in philosophic argumentation. Analysis of mock arguments, with students (or the instructor) serving as "devil's advocate." Ayn Rand answers questions from the audience at the end of Lecture 1, ranging from esthetics to politics. Of particular value is her discussion of the fiction writers whose works best illustrate the craft of writing. (Audio 25 hrs.) WRITING: A MINI COURSE by Leonard Peikoff Learning to write, Dr. Peikoff explains, requires not only an understanding of the proper principles, but also the ability to apply those principles to one's actual writing. These lectures feature exercises on six different aspects of good writing. The topics are:
1. Selectivity: How to determine what is essential.
2. Structure: How to organize your material hierarchically.
3. Emotional vs. Factual Tone: How the same idea can be conveyed in dry, factual terms—or in colorful, emotionally evocative language.
4. Context: How to compose an introductory sentence that sets the context and makes a complex subject fully intelligible.
5. Motivation: How to prepare a brief, motivational opening for a talk.
6. Condensation: How to write in concise English. (Audio 3 hrs., 45 min.) ARISTOTLE AND THE RENAISSANCE by Robert Mayhew Ayn Rand wrote: "The Aristotelian revival in the thirteenth century brought men to the Renaissance." These lectures—which cover 500 years, from the rediscovery of Aristotle, to the end of the Renaissance—demonstrate the truth of this statement. Questions to be answered include: How could Aristotle's ideas take hold in a hostile culture? Did they take hold fully? What was Aquinas' contribution? What effect did Aristotle's ideas have on Renaissance philosophy? Who were the major Renaissance Aristotelians? Dr. Mayhew concludes with a consideration of the lessons Aristotle's influence on the Renaissance has for modern Aristotelians fighting, in a hostile culture, for Objectivism. (Audio; 3 hrs.) FREE WILL by Harry Binswanger Ayn Rand is the first philosopher to recognize that the free will is at the root of not only ethics but also epistemology. By identifying that "Man is a being of volitional consciousness," that one's choice to think or not is an act of free will, she revolutionized our understanding of the relationship of consciousness to existence. In these lectures, given at 1999 Lyceum Conference, Dr. Binswanger presents and validates the Objectivist theory of free will, with emphasis on the relationship between volition and the reality-orientation. Topics include: mental focus: what exactly is "focus"? how do we know focus is volitional? focus vs concentration; drift, evasion, "meta-evasion" and self-monitoring"; the error in asking "what makes one man focus and another not?"; free will as the base of objectivity, and determinism as the premise of mysticism. (Audio 3 hrs.) SELECTED TOPICS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE by Harry Binswanger Speaking as both professional philosopher and amateur scientist, Dr. Binswanger presents original and challenging solutions to a number of problems that have fascinated, tantalized and perplexed students of philosophy and science. 1. Mathematics
Geometry: Euclidean vs. non-Euclidean geometry; reconceiving the hierarchical order of the basic concepts of geometry; a proper definition of "straight line"; a proper definition of "parallel lines" and its role. Numbers: reducing the concept of "number" to perceptual reality—or, "where is fiveness?"; negative numbers, irrational numbers and imaginary numbers; infinity and "ultrafinitism." 2. Physics and Biology
Physics: the finite universe; "place" vs. "space" in conceptualizing the universe; why there can be no real voids. Biology: mechanism vs. vitalism; the theory of natural selection and its epistemological status; the goal-directedness of living action. (Audio; 3 hrs.) RELIGION VS MAN by John Ridpath
Dr. Ridpath examines religion as the most significant example of the destructiveness of false philosophic ideas. In these two lectures he presents a detailed history of religion, including its origins in primitive myths. He uncovers the metaphysical, epistemological and ethical doctrines of the world's major religious systems: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Dr. Ridpath demonstrates why the essence of religion stands in fundamental opposition to the requirements of human life. The talks include a moral comparison between Eastern and Western religions, and conclude with a warning on the present-day dangers posed by religion. (Audio; 3 hrs.) THE GREATNES OF THE 18TH-CENTURY ENLIGHTENMENT by John Ridpath The 18th-century Enlightenment is one of history's most vivid demonstrations, on a vast scale, of human potential. It reveals the heroic ability of man to command the world. It gives us factual proof that men can live in freedom, prosperity, benevolence and happiness. These two lectures present the context for appreciating the greatness of the 18th century, by contrasting it with the mysticism and the misery that came before. Dr. Ridpath examines the Enlightenment in detail—both its intellectual essence and its existential accomplishments. He also identifies the ambiguities and even contradictions present within the Enlightenment—thus allowing us to assess fully the nature of this heroic epoch in human history. These lectures are a demonstration of the enormous power of reason and freedom in human life. (Audio; 3 hrs.) SETTING GOALS TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE AND HAPPINESS by Edwin A. Locke Part 1 is one 90 min. lecture (search item IL02C) This course is a major expansion of a talk by the same title given in 1985, focusing in depth on the topics of work and love. The work section discusses such issues as discovering what career you would like; healthy and unhealthy ambition; self-marketing; work vs. family; and money. The section of love contrasts the Objectivist view of love as egoistic to altruism and narcissism, and then presents numerous examples of what it would mean specifically to love someone egoistically, including the important role of the conscious mind in sustaining a romantic relationship. (Audio; 4 hrs) THE PHILOSOPHIC CORRUPTION OF PHYSICS by David Harriman 1. Newton to Kant:
Newton's physics and his philosophic legacy. The attack on the rational foundations of physics by 18th century philosophy. Hume's rejection of entities, identity and causality. Kant's "anti-Copernican" revolution. The primacy of consciousness. Kant's view of space and time. 2. Kant's Physics & the Early 19th Century:
Kant deduces the principles of physics from his "categories." The primacy of action over entities. The acausal idea of "action—at—a—distance." Kant's influence on English physics. Faraday's view of force and matter. 3. The Death of Classical Physics:
The transition to Kantian empiricism. Physics as the "mathematical description of appearances." Mach's positivism and its later influence. The rejection of atoms—after their existence was proven. Boltzman's tragic fight for classical physics. 4. Relativity: The Physics of Appearances
Einstein's subjectivism and rationalism. The rejection of induction. The constant speed of light and two possible approaches toward an objective theory. Einstein's "length contraction," "time dilation" and "relativistic mass." "The curvature of space." 5. Quantum Theory: The Physics of Nihilism
Kantian nihilism takes over in Germany. Physicists are "emancipated" from the constraints of identity, causality and logic. The development of quantum theory. Schrodinger's cat paradox. Prospects for the future. "Mr. Harriman's understanding of the integration of physics and philosophy is unique and his presentation is clear, logical, well-illustrated and even emotionally powerful...It is a brilliant case study of the role of philosophy in perverting a science across centuries—and at the same time a revolutionary indication of how to untangle and reconstruct this science within a rational (Objectivist) framework." Dr. Leonard Peikoff (Audio; 6 hrs. 30 min.) PSYCHOLOGICAL SELF DEFENSE by Dr. Ellen Kenner Whether dealing with a deviously critical mother, a deliberately incomprehensible professor or an envious co-worker, how do you resist the tendency to "keep the peace," to forgive and make excuses for them—to apologize for the good within you? How do you remain morally true to yourself? How do you avoid granting them the "sanction of the victim"? In this course Dr. Kenner provides how-to advice on detecting and counteracting intentionally manipulative people. With an abundance of examples—drawn from both real life and fiction—she explains the subtle methods by which manipulative people gain psychological footholds. Rather than being formal lectures, these six sessions include frequent questions from the students as well as staged confrontations in which Dr. Kenner plays the role of a manipulator. Though she sketches out some of the psychological principles involved, her central purpose is to teach practical skills that can help you maintain your integrity, pursue your happiness and navigate safely through the traps of would-be manipulators. [Audio; 6 hrs.] JUDGING, FEELING, AND NOT BEING MORALISTIC by Leonard Peikoff These lectures offer an intensive analysis of the process of evaluative judgement. They apply the enormously abstract subject of morality to difficult cases. These lectures are invaluable guidelines for making moral decisions. (Audio 3 hrs., 59 min.)
  9. Integration has several usages. It is noticing similarities, and then uniting them as in forming concepts from implicit concepts It is preserving unity and consistency by rejecting contradictions It is accumulation of parts (or memories etc.) over time which forms a sum, or a whole which is more than the sum. It is inducing abstractions (such as causation) from observations "The process of thinking . . . is the process of defining identity and discovering causal connections." is an essentialized version. There are lots of other things that are thinking but those two are the cause of, or a result of, or equivalent to other processes of thought.
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