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Philosphy really is only about what is.

I accept your excellent summary of Objectivism (Post #74) except for the above sentence, which I would amend as follows:

Philosophy is traditionally divided into three main branches:

Metaphysics (answers the question: What Is)

Epistemology (answers the question: How Do I Know)

Ethics (answers the question: How Should I Behave)

If philosophy has a purpose, it is to correctly answer that third question.

Edited by howardofski
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I thought free market economy was the conclusion objectivism would lead/encourage/sanction. Isn't it the exact opposite of the idea of coercive monopoly?

Indeed. That is the heart of my political disagreement with AR and many of her admirers: A truly free market is incompatible with Intellectual Property law and with an elite holding a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force, both examples of coercive monopoly.

This should be a separate topic. It is my fault for combining them in my original post.

Edited by howardofski
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Several things.

Firstly, the very act of debate necessitates some theorization about the mental contents of other participants.

It's just like that time in sixth grade, with miss Macntire; you know?

See the point there?

Secondly, there's a distinction required between proper and improper diagnoses.

SOME Objectivists, some TIMES, are prone to using psychoanalysis as an excuse to avoid valid criticism. Even occasionally on this forum.

But sometimes a psychological analysis is the only recourse available.

When someone declares that certain parts of reality cannot be measured or understood, and that their rationalizations are just as valid as your logic, there is nothing else to analyze except their psycho epistemology.

---

NOW, whether or not it's really proper to tell them what you think is wrong with them, is debatable. It certainly isn't polite.

But where people opposed to thought are concerned, I personally don't particularly care how they feel about it.

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Could you help me with this:

 

But sometimes a psychological analysis is the only recourse available.
When someone declares that certain parts of reality cannot be measured or understood, and that their rationalizations are just as valid as your logic, there is nothing else to analyze except their psycho epistemology.

 

What I understand is:

 

  1. A declares that certain parts of reality cannot be measured or understood to B.
  2. A's explanations are just as valid as B's logic.
  3. B should now analyze A's psycho epistemology.

 

Isn't there a contradiction between 1 & 2?

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Just checking, but maybe you misread the post slightly?

"When someone declares  . . . that their rationalizations are just as valid as your logic, . . ."

A's explanations aren't just as valid as B's logic, A just claims that they are. That isn't H.D. saying that he himself believes A has just as valid of support for claims as B.

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I'm continually amazed the people assume free market = Somalia.  If an elite group can force itself on you it by definition it stops being a free market.  It's being forced on you which is Fascism, actually.  If it is a monopoly because the person has earned it through free association then it is free and you are obviously not coerced in any way. 

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But sometimes a psychological analysis is the only recourse available.

When someone declares that certain parts of reality cannot be measured or understood, and that their rationalizations are just as valid as your logic, there is nothing else to analyze except their psycho epistemology.

Not valid since you cannot read minds and you cannot know whether such people are thinking poorly, being dishonest, or whether it is you that is thinking poorly. So talking about the contents of their mind is irrelevant to any and all debate. If they won't agree with you and you have run out of arguments, quit. Proceeding to your "diagnosis" of them is not valid.

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. . . A's explanations aren't just as valid as B's logic, A just claims that they are. . .

That's precisely what I meant.  Thank you for the inference about my mental contents.  :thumbsup:

 

Not valid since you cannot read minds and you cannot know whether such people are thinking poorly, being dishonest, or whether it is you that is thinking poorly. So talking about the contents of their mind is irrelevant to any and all debate. If they won't agree with you and you have run out of arguments, quit. Proceeding to your "diagnosis" of them is not valid.

You misunderstand me.

When I said that "sometimes a psychological analysis is the only recourse available" what I actually meant was "I must remember to get a virgin for the ritual next Tuesday".

 

On what basis did you form the silly conclusion that I meant anything else?  Did you perhaps draw some sort of conclusion about the content of my mind, based on the images on your computer screen?

But isn't that invalid?  I could ask about it on Tuesday, if you'd like (by which I mean that I'm rather thirsty).

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Why don't we attempt to infer what I mean by the statement "I am thirsty" without forming any conclusions about the content of my mind.

Well, understand that howardofski's arguments are largely skepticism. So you will be "probably" thirsty, but you might be lying.

 

Arguments of "probably X, but maybe Y" combined with a generalization "you'll never know for sure" has no counterargument. Separately, they are okay, I'll never know what it's like to be bat, but as soon as I say "but it probably feels like swimming in a pool, or unlikely dancing, I just don't know", that means it would be knowable if only we had the right perceptual organs.

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That's precisely what I meant.  Thank you for the inference about my mental contents.  :thumbsup:

 

You misunderstand me.

When I said that "sometimes a psychological analysis is the only recourse available" what I actually meant was "I must remember to get a virgin for the ritual next Tuesday".

 

On what basis did you form the silly conclusion that I meant anything else?  Did you perhaps draw some sort of conclusion about the content of my mind, based on the images on your computer screen?

But isn't that invalid?  I could ask about it on Tuesday, if you'd like (by which I mean that I'm rather thirsty).

Your words telling the meaning of your other words do not reveal your psychology. Nothing does.

Edited by howardofski
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Not valid since you cannot read minds and you cannot know whether such people are thinking poorly, being dishonest, or whether it is you that is thinking poorly.

I would like to explain to you what this statement means to me.

 

When I was a child I was diagnosed with Aspberger's Syndrome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome

I said and did the most inappropriate things, I had absolutely no grasp of social cues and contexts; I won't list off the faults I had but suffice it to say they were noticeable.

I was essentially incapable (nearly) of making inferences about other people's minds. 

 

So please don't read any hostility into this (because there truly isn't any) but to be honest, I do not believe that you know what you are saying when you declare that 'you cannot know what other people think'.

And if you care to respond to that assertion, I would greatly appreciate it if your response included some reference to the action which makes any sort of 'debate' possible at all.

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Well, understand that howardofski's arguments are largely skepticism. So you will be "probably" thirsty, but you might be lying.

Yes, but he's missing the point; the very concept of a "lie" is derived from the very thing he's attacking.  If we attempted to take his demand to its logical conclusion there could be no communication of any sort (by which to make any demands). . .

If his argument were given its own name it would be a stolen concept.

 

Your words telling the meaning of your other words do not reveal your psychology. Nothing does.

 

What exactly do you mean by the word "words"?

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...I do not believe that you know what you are saying when you declare that 'you cannot know what other people think'.

I do and I can't. That we debate proves that we have minds, it does not reveal the contents of those minds. Debate is a comparison of (written or spoken) statements, not beliefs. We can't know the beliefs of others. If you disagree with that, perhaps you would offer some evidence or argument that you know what others believe. So far, you haven't...

Edited by howardofski
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...the very concept of a "lie" is derived from the very thing he's attacking....it would be a stolen concept.

I am not attacking the idea that we can know that others have minds or that they can tell the truth or lie. I am saying that you can't know which since you cannot read the contents of those minds.

At this point responding to you means repeating what I have already said several times in previous posts. Your arguments misrepresent my arguments. No fun.

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I mean what the dictionary means.

Intriguing.

 

That we debate proves that we have minds, it does not reveal the contents of those minds.

Essentially a mind without content; also intriguing.

 

 We can't know the beliefs of others.

Then what were you referring to by "I do and can't"?  Where do words come from?

 

I am not attacking the idea that we can know that others have minds or that they can tell the truth or lie. I am saying that you can't know which since you cannot read the contents of those minds.

There are people on Earth who are actually incapable of distinguishing between the two; who can speak but fundamentally have no concept of a "lie".

This is a line of reasoning I would not continue down with such a cavalier attitude.

 

Your arguments misrepresent my arguments. No fun.

The most revealing lie you've told thus far.

 

We can't know the beliefs of others. If you disagree with that, perhaps you would offer some evidence or argument that you know what others believe. So far, you haven't...

I have given you such evidence already, if you stop to examine it seriously.

If not then I can provide something more blatant. . .

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Aspberger's Syndrome is on the milder end of the autistic spectrum.  If you don't grasp what I mean yet then before you reply, look up autism briefly. 

 

There are people who spend their entire lives incapable of realizing that other minds exist; they are the living practitioners of your ideal.

Take a moment to investigate what their lives are like.

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"There are people who spend their entire lives incapable of realizing that other minds exist;"

He has said minds exist, his claim is just about what the content of those minds is.

 

Anyway, this "they could be lying" thing is a logical fallacy, shifting the burden of proof. One needs to present evidence for such things on a case by case basis, evidence that one is correct about a person's beliefs being different from their statements in any particular instance.

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I am not attacking the idea that we can know that others have minds or that they can tell the truth or lie. I am saying that you can't know which since you cannot read the contents of those minds.

At this point responding to you means repeating what I have already said several times in previous posts. Your arguments misrepresent my arguments. No fun.

Would you clarify what you mean by "contents of the mind"?

 

There are two senses that are usually meant by "contents of the mind". One is to actually know what the content feels like in the same way as someone else while also knowing that content in the same way as someone else. In this sense, I agree with you.

 

But another sense is to know *something* about the contents. For instance, I know to write your sentences, you need to make linguistic representations of some sort. Perhaps I can go further by the grammar you used, and what a mind does for representing grammar in a specific way. I won't know your beliefs intimately, but I know a little bit about your contents. To explain this better, at a bare minimum, you know I have beliefs, just not what they are exactly - you know I'm not a zombie that has no mental content. 

Edited by Eiuol
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At this point responding to you means repeating what I have already said several times in previous posts. Your arguments misrepresent my arguments. No fun.

Is the argument you are making only that nobody can observe in real time the thoughts transpiring in another's mind? Or is there more to it?

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No, it doesn't. I can debate with statements written by Ayn Rand. She no longer has mental contents. Her words stand alone to be agreed with or refuted.

 

You can agree or refute AR's words. But isn't debate a form of dialogue?

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