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Hello. I am twenty-two years old and I am an undergraduate pursuing a degree in philosophy. I'm not unsympathetic to many elements of objectivism, though I tend to view it with distaste when it is held dogmatically (an affliction all too common in my experience). I'm a Kantian, or something approaching it, in both epistemology and ethics.

That's really all you need to know.

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A Kantian in ethics and epistemology accusing objectivists of dogmatism?

I think, ladies and gentleman, that we have someone here who is going to eat Bilbo Baggins and all the Dwarves and who will turn to stone if the sun catches them.

I am, quite frankly, insulted and disgusted at the tone of that post. I came here to debate intelligently, and I can only hope that your sentiment is anomalous. You didn't even give me a chance.

Will my treatment by others be any better, or ought I just to leave now?

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I agree with Invictus. There is no need to be rude here, people. Being that Vernunft hardly said anything, judging and insulting in such a way is totally uncalled for. Vernunft, if you ask questions in a polite way, I will answer with an equal level of politeness. I hope that most of the other Objectivists here will, too.

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theDude: Judging was completely called for, insulting... probably not.

Vernunft: Firstly, I don't think anyone here is interested in your "sympathy." Perhaps what you meant to say was, "I agree with some aspects of Objectivism." If so, I am interested to hear which and how you manage to reconcile that with a Kantian ethics/epistemology. You should also be aware that this is a place where you should say what you mean; you do not have to hide agreement as “sympathy” here.

And BlackSabbath: You should be aware that, sometimes, people are honestly mistaken, and are interested in learning. This may or may not be the case in this particular instance, but it is worth looking at anyone who posts here without hostility.

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All he said was "I am sort of a Kantian." Vernunft gave no reasons why, no arguments, just a statement. From this you cannot infer whether or not he is mistaken or evading, honest or dishonest. Negative judgment was not called for, being that we have nothing to judge from. What we do know is that, unlike other people who have posted here and disagreed with Objectivism, he didn't come here with an attitude. He openly admitted that he disagreed, and promised to discuss Objectivism in a polite and intelligent way. So far I see no reason to negatively judge him or insult him. I didn't mean to say that we shouldn't judge, just that a conclusive judgment could not be made in this case, as there is nearly zero evidence to go on.

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theDude:  Judging was completely called for, insulting... probably not.

Vernunft:  Firstly, I don't think anyone here is interested in your "sympathy."  Perhaps what you meant to say was, "I agree with some aspects of Objectivism."  If so, I am interested to hear which and how you manage to reconcile that with a Kantian ethics/epistemology.  You should also be aware that this is a place where you should say what you mean; you do not have to hide agreement as “sympathy” here.

And BlackSabbath:  You should be aware that, sometimes, people are honestly mistaken, and are interested in learning.  This may or may not be the case in this particular instance, but it is worth looking at anyone who posts here without hostility.

Judging is perhaps called for, but prejudging? I hardly said anything and I was instantly branded a likely troll; not to mention I am a dogmatist (news to me). Perhaps I ought to have said that I agree with much of what Kant says - I certainly did not mean that I am a dogmatic Kantian. Why would I decry dogmatism if I were guilty of it?

If you believe me to be at fault, I can understand. You hardly know anything about me. However, I always considered it civil to give a man the benefit of the doubt; you may have no reason to believe I am particularly enlightened, but you also lack any substantial evidence that I'm a mouth-breathing troll. I've been careful not to presume too much myself, so I'd appreciate the favor's being returned.

You miscontrued the meanings of the words "sympathizer" and "(un)sympathetic." I meant not that I pity objectivists but that I hold with many of your beliefs, or, perhaps more accurately, that many objectivist positions are agreeable to me. I support the ideas of freedom, whether it be freedom of the mind, free markets, free speech (especially on campus and in the face of the feel-good fascism of academia), and so on. I believe strongly in personal responsibility. If this sounds like common sense, well then perhaps that is why these objectivist points appeal to me so much. If only common sense were truly common...

I've made it a point thus far to say exactly what I mean. I do not intend to insult anyone, but I also do not intend to back down in the least.

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Negative judgment was certainly premature/unfounded at this point.

Vernunft: You should be aware that Objectivism is diametrically opposed to Kant's philosophy and, as such, you are liable to receive some skepticism regarding your intellectual honesty here (seeing as you claim to support aspects of both). I am not making any accusations at this point, but you are going to be scrutinized.

However, it sounds as though you have an honest interest in--and little understanding of--Objectivism. It seems that your interest is primarily in Objectivist politics. How you get from Kantian "duties" to Objectivist freedoms is beyond me... but I am interested to hear you argument, and to tell you why you are wrong.

It should also be noted that I guessed what you meant, but still found it beneficial to correct what you said (that you sympathize). You should know that words are taken to have meanings here, and you should use that to your benefit when communicating.

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At the age of 22, one is allowed their mistakes. It takes time and experience to work these things out. I trust someone who explores and seeks knowledge over someone who takes their philosophy unquestioningly.

I'll add that someone who is working for a degree in philosophy ought to be cut even more slack. I say this because a kind of numbed confusion can overcome someone who is reading philosophy for the first time. Many philosophers say things that sound right at first hearing, and the teachers one has make a difference to one's understanding. It is often more difficult to persuade a philosophy major because the training is so intense while one is in school; when you aren't grounded in valid premises, it takes more time to figure out just what is wrong with a particular philosophy. Post-modern methods also inhibit understanding since it obfuscates with an avalanche of minutia.

So, welcome to the site. I hope we'll have many interesting discussions. No one here knows so much that they can't learn more.

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Who is going to eat Bilbo Baggins and all the Dwarves and who will turn to stone if the sun catches them?

Umm ... ogre? Nah, that's not right....

Ayn Rand has a quote where she implies that the only way to advocate capitalism is to advocate ethical egoism, and the only way to do that is to advocate primacy of existence and objective epistemology. As before, I'm too lazy to search much for it (though I did try a bit this time).

My point is, we all here consider that Objectivist politics and ethics are based solidly on Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology - and that such is the only thing to base them on. Obviously, you dissent. If you don't mind, consider starting a thread specifically explaining how you base Objectivist ethics / politics on Kantian (Subjectivist) metaphysics / epistemology - and expect lots of party-line undogmatic "questions" :lol: .

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Umm ... ogre? Nah, that's not right....

It is a troll. :lol:

Rand quote:

"Ideas cannot be fought except by means of better ideas. The battle consists not of opposing, but of exposing; not of denouncing but of disproving; not of evading but of boldly proclaiming a full, consistent and radical alternative".-- Ayn Rand

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"I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows. This- the supremacy of reason- was, is and will be the primary concern of my work, and the essence of Objectivism."-- Ayn Rand

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Negative judgment was certainly premature/unfounded at this point. 

Vernunft:  You should be aware that Objectivism is diametrically opposed to Kant's philosophy and, as such, you are liable to receive some skepticism regarding your intellectual honesty here (seeing as you claim to support aspects of both).  I am not making any accusations at this point, but you are going to be scrutinized.

However, it sounds as though you have an honest interest in--and little understanding of--Objectivism.  It seems that your interest is primarily in Objectivist politics.  How you get from Kantian "duties" to Objectivist freedoms is beyond me... but I am interested to hear you argument, and to tell you why you are wrong.

It should also be noted that I guessed what you meant, but still found it beneficial to correct what you said (that you sympathize).  You should know that words are taken to have meanings here, and you should use that to your benefit when communicating.

I have never seen a clear statement of why objectivism and Kantianism are so diametrically opposed. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

To hear you say it, it sounds like you're an advocate of Sartre. If the absolute freedom of the transcendental self is insufficient to establish the kind of freedom you believe in; if the moral law itself is too binding; then perhaps you believe that the human is free to choose whatever laws he will? I think Kant's conception of the human will as legislating for itself, while still bound by an objective moral law, is at least not diametrically opposed to objectivism, and can perhaps be reconciled with it.

I'm also disappointed to see that dogmatism showing through. It's assumed at the outset that I am wrong and that objectivism is right. You assume that I am wrong and that you will simply show me how. Perhaps you might want to consider that someone other than you may know the truth, or some part of it at least (however small), better than you do. You may learn something.

Actually, what I said is that I am a "sympathizer" and I am "not unsympathetic" to objectivism. The most common way the word "sympathizer" is used is to denote someone who agrees with or supports a certain movement, person, ideology, etc. The sense in which I used it springs immediately to mind, and I am unsure why you feel the need to "correct" my perfectly sound use of the language, incidentally consistent with common usage.

At the age of 22, one is allowed their mistakes. It takes time and experience to work these things out. I trust someone who explores and seeks knowledge over someone who takes their philosophy unquestioningly.

I'll add that someone who is working for a degree in philosophy ought to be cut even more slack. I say this because a kind of numbed confusion can overcome someone who is reading philosophy for the first time. Many philosophers say things that sound right at first hearing, and the teachers one has make a difference to one's understanding. It is often more difficult to persuade a philosophy major because the training is so intense while one is in school; when you aren't grounded in valid premises, it takes more time to figure out just what is wrong with a particular philosophy. Post-modern methods also inhibit understanding since it obfuscates with an avalanche of minutia.

So, welcome to the site. I hope we'll have many interesting discussions. No one here knows so much that they can't learn more.

I grant that I am just starting philosophy, but I have actually read and understood Kant. From what I hear from objectivists, most of them have not. Kant may claim that reality is only known through the subject, thus "subjectively" and not objectively, but he also believes that all minds are constructed with precisely the same innate categories and forms of intuition for organizing experience. The experience that is thus created by these forms of thought is still universal. Since this is what the value of objective knowledge is in the first place (universality), it seems quite irrelevant on this point that Kant believes experience to exist only in the minds of subjects.

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Yes! That's the quote I wanted!

V, the opinion of Ayn Rand (based on reality, of couse), was that, beginning with Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology, all the other branches of her philosophy automatically follow. I would be hard pressed to find a Marxist who held objectivity as the base of existence and all his knowledge. But you are doing exactly that, only the opposite way around.

When I hear, "my epistemology is Kantian," I hear "all my knowledge is subjective." If my audio-reception faculties are working right, then you can't claim your theory is true, because you're claiming that no one can claim that theories are true. Tue, meaning, based only on the facts of reality and in accordance with them.

The dogmatism you detect is, in fact, the pride and the confidence of each in himself - and that's a Good Thing.

Objectivistically objective knowledge is decidedly not universal (ie, intrinsic). It is objective. Meaning, the way you described Kant's position on concepts is diametrically opposed to Objectivism's.

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It's assumed at the outset that I am wrong and that objectivism is right. You assume that I am wrong and that you will simply show me how.
What makes you suppose that I am assuming... I did not say that Objectivism was right (though I do believe it to be) I said that I was interested to hear your method of making Kant compatible with Objectivism... and to show you why it doesn’t work. I have studied Objectivism long enough and in-depth enough to know that Objectivist metaphysics are incompatible with Kant's. And unless I am much mistaken, both philosophies claim to be consistent with their metaphysics.

I am consistently amazed at how quickly people jump to accuse Objectivists of dogmatism. We have taken quite a jump, from me claiming to know that Objectivism is incompatible with Kant, to me claiming that my judgment is infallible. Vernunft, perhaps it is unclear… throughout this conversation I will constantly make judgments about the truth/falsehood of all statements, and reconsider old judgments… then I will defend those judgments until I no longer see them as true. I certainly do not claim to be beyond making mistakes, but I don’t fall into the trap of assuming all my judgments are mistakes either. I think that the same is true of most Objectivists accused of being dogmatic.

Actually, what I said is that I am a "sympathizer" and I am "not unsympathetic" to objectivism.

What is it that a "sympathizer" does, if not sympathize? In my experience, the term "sympathy," with regard for ideas, is used in two ways:

1. To show disagreement to an idea without the trouble of defending your position; by indicating a partial agreement--and avoiding stating the implied disagreement--all the while alluding to the idea's need for "sympathy."

2. As a way to state an opinion while avoiding actually saying anything at all, thus avoiding the ridicule that comes with having opinions.

I corrected you, in case you were in the habit of using the second, so that you may realize that, here, you are expected to have opinions, to make judgments, and to defend them.

I think you may be unaware of the fact that Objectivism is a complete philosophic system. As a result, it cannot be reconciled with anything that is not included in it. Some pieces of it may be compatible with other philosophies, but those philosophies are not compatible with Objectivism.

You should definitely start a thread--or a number of them--explaining what parts of Objectivism you agree with, what parts you disagree with and why.

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Well, I'm an Objectivist and I have read and understand Kant. In fact, it was precisely Kant that I was refering to when I said that what many philosophers espouse may sound right at first. And I'm sorry to have to say this to you, but no one who first reads philosophy understands all the implications of any particular philosophy, not even Objectivists. And further, at your stage of life and experience, to say that you understand Kant is to display your ignorance. Ignorance isn't a bad thing, of course. We are all ignorant of many things. But just saying that you think that Objectivist philospohy could in any way be in sync with Kantian philosophy exposes the lack of a fundamental understanding of the axiomatic differences between the two, differences which lead to diametrically opposed conclusions. To conflate the two in any manner is to engage in a contradiction.

As an aside, it isn't wise to think that you are being personally attacked (unless it's an obviously ad hominem attack) when someone challenges your argument. This is something you need especially to think about if you are going to argue philosophy. Having said that, it is my experience that some Objectivists have a bad habit of dismissing people out of hand who do not agree with them. I think that in some cases, though not all, it comes from being dismissed out of hand themselves, especially in an academic setting. One of my philosophy professors told me that he'd seen many kids walk into his classroom "spouting" Objectivism, and that he quickly disabused them of this "silliness." I wasn't a kid when I went back to school to study philosophy. I was already well read in the field and wasn't intimidated by this pompous jackass. Once he realized this fact, he ignored me and cut me off whenever I tried to participate in the discussions. He consistently gave me bad grades, even when I did nothing more than regurgitate whatever he said. The problems with other professors were not as severe, but in three years of classes, I only had one teacher who respected me enough (or respected himself enough) to listen and try to answer my arguments. This kind of thing tends to make one wary -- and weary.

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Kant may claim that reality is only known through the subject, thus "subjectively" and not objectively, but he also believes that all minds are constructed with precisely the same innate categories and forms of intuition for organizing experience. The experience that is thus created by these forms of thought is still universal. Since this is what the value of objective knowledge is in the first place (universality), it seems quite irrelevant on this point that Kant believes experience to exist only in the minds of subjects.

This is one of the major grounds on which Objectivism attacks Kant: his replacement of the concept of objectivity with universality. I do not think that Objectivists misunderstand this point, therefore. If everyone is deluded in exactly the same way, the fact remains that we are deluded. Objectivism opposes this.

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You will receive better treatment from me.

The harshness of BlackSabbath's post was unnecessary and will do nothing in attracting followers to our cause.

Harsh?

Kant is the antithesis both of Objectivism and reality.

His philosophy is irrationalist, dogmatist, altruist and nihilist. On your own head be it to all those who debate with a kantian.

Good luck!

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I mean, if a person comes to an Objectivist forum claiming to be a Kantian, he shouldn't be surprised if he is poked fun at.

When Socialists/Marxists come to the Capitalism Forum, I start to smell Trolls.

Why should anyone be surprised when an advocate of a nihilist philosophy comes here and is regarded with the same suspicion?

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I trust someone who explores and seeks knowledge over someone who takes their philosophy unquestioningly. 

I'll add that someone who is working for a degree in philosophy ought to be cut even more slack.  I say this because a kind of numbed confusion can overcome someone who is reading philosophy for the first time.

So, welcome to the site.  I hope we'll have many interesting discussions.  No one here knows so much that they can't learn more.

Well put. I've come to recognize the importance of philosophy rather late in life and have only been reading for a few years. I feel as though I have journeyed "through" philosophy several times, emerging each time from that fog of "numbed confusion" in order to clear my mind lest I give up completely out of pure frustration. I give credit to ANYONE out there who even bothers to approach the subject with a sincere desire to seek truth.

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Prejudging?...You hardly know anything about me. However, I always considered it civil to give a man the benefit of the doubt

First of all, when you declare your Kantianism in the second sentence of an introduction, you let everyone on a philosophical forum know the most important things about you. Especially an Objectivist forum, where the members tend to be even more aware of the importance of philosophy than any other philosophical mind might be. Hence, we are not "prejudging" you, which implies a "judgement" based on nothing but impression rather than reason and fact: we are perfectly justified in judging you, and judging you on the most important aspect of your person: your ideas. You offered a character analysis of yourself when you proclaimed your "Kantianism" as well as your distaste for "Dogmatic Objectivists," in other words people who hold reason as their means of understanding and don't sometimes use emotion and whim so that they seem *friendlier* or more approachable (i.e. compromising and therefore principleless).

Second of all, no one deserves the benefit of the doubt. You prove yourself or you don't, and until such time as you traverse either course you don't warrant any consideration whatsoever. In other words, until you prove yourself worthy of taking up someone elses precious mental space, why should you be granted it? By virtue of the fact that you are breathing? Or by virtue of the fact that it is "uncivilized" to do otherwise?

I understand the draw to Kantianism, when taken in translation through professors or other students. He seems to like reason, and punishing people who do bad things, and individualism. But someone who is actually personally acquainted with his ideas, someone who understands that subjectivity is at the basis of all his arguments, has no excuse to agree with him, and should be ashamed to admit, let alone to proclaim with such pride as you did in your introduction, that they continue to hold him as a respectable philosopher and not as the filth that he is.

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Capitalism Forever, true - but, conversely, you shouldn't be surprised if he takes insult to people poking fun at him.

BlackSabbath, because he hasn't said anything but hi yet. Like Voltaire, I do not defend his philosophy, but I defend his right to hold it. Unless and until he starts trolling, he is not a troll (but merely an ogre).

Regarding Bearster's comment in Ban Communists?, tolerating people saying hi is not tolerating evil.

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