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At what point are we able to be rational?

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1. Is there some fact about human evolution that you think indicates that language developed after artistic scratches were first produced?

2. Humans don't have a particularly good facility for mimicking nature, and I don't see any evidence that mimicking nature is at all important for human language and conceptualization. What evidence were you thinking of?

1. To clarify, I think it is reasonable to assume that language started before there was any art (e.g., cave drawings). But I also think art served as an indispensable tool in the advancement and development of language.

In my view, pre-artistic language must have been very simple, due to the limits of human memory. I imagine that, initially, many infrequently used concepts were easily forgotten or confused with each other. The only concepts that people could retain were basic ones for which they had a daily use. Then, those who had more brainpower and could retain more concepts survived and drove evolution.

Then, at one point, a genius came along and invented art, which had the effect of visually concretizing concepts, and this led to better essentialization, retention and communication of ideas.

2. The conceptual faculty is a mimicking machine. It enables us, through all sorts of artistic mediums, to recreate reality like nothing else known to man.

But, I think early man started by simply mimicking sounds in nature with his voice. A sound that a particular animal made might have become the word that early man called it, because he was associating the sound with the animal while mimicking it. Today, such words are called onomatopoeias.

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But, I think early man started by simply mimicking sounds in nature with his voice. A sound that a particular animal made might have become the word that early man called it, because he was associating the sound with the animal while mimicking it. Today, such words are called onomatopoeias.

Let me just point out that this is unlikely from an evolutionary perspective, since mammals in general and primates especially do not mimic the calls of other animals. Birds yes, but I can't think of any mammal that mimics the sounds of other animals.

There's no question that art did lead to an important expansion in language, a fact that the Egyptians, Sumerians and Chinese exploited to good advantage in their eventual creation of writing. I'm skeptical about any claims for an evolutionary difference (especially in the brain) over such a short period of time, but since it isn't a testable question I don't see much benefit to pursuing that. More likely, these changes were purely cultural. For instance, the development of a minor modicum of science is necessary to differentiate cheetah and leopard; concepts like "knowledge", "freedom", "truth", "justice" had to await the invention of civilization and speculative thinking, which I imagine your garden variety caveman did not have a lot of free time for. So if there is a chronological correlation, I would suspect that art and conceptual expansion follow from the same cause (the 110 hour work week).

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Let me just point out that this is unlikely from an evolutionary perspective, since mammals in general and primates especially do not mimic the calls of other animals. Birds yes, but I can't think of any mammal that mimics the sounds of other animals.

Other mammals are physically different from us and do not possess our vocal chords. Our vocal ability was a recent (approx. 200,000 years) evolutionary development.

There is precedence, however, for other mammals physically mimicking each other. The young of nearly every species learn non-instinctual behaviors by imitating their parents' actions. And, even in cases where two different species are put together, you will often see one mimic the behavior of another, if they are physically able.

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Other mammals are physically different from us and do not possess our vocal chords. Our vocal ability was a recent (approx. 200,000 years) evolutionary development.

Surely you're not arguing that other animals do not possess human vocal folds just because they are other animals (chimps, dog etc.) and they are not us so they can't have our vocal folds, they have their own. You are probably correct that there is some measurable difference between the physiology of human vocal folds and those of chimps, dogs or gorillas, but why would that fact matter? For example, there are clear differences between adult males, adult females, and children, in laryngeal anatomy, but none of this prevents humans from having language. Why? Because the vocal folds are not essential to language -- the mind is essential, the squawk-box isn't.

There is precedence, however, for other mammals physically mimicking each other. The young of nearly every species learn non-instinctual behaviors by imitating their parents' actions.

That may be, but this does not extend to mimicry across species (as you earlier suggested), nor does it extend to mimicry of sounds at all.

And, even in cases where two different species are put together, you will often see one mimic the behavior of another, if they are physically able.

Not in the case of sounds (among mammals), as I noted. For non-acoustic behavior, what specific example are you thinking of where some mammal mimics the behavior of another? Inquiring minds want to know the details.

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1. You are probably correct that there is some measurable difference between the physiology of human vocal folds and those of chimps, dogs or gorillas, but why would that fact matter?

2. For non-acoustic behavior, what specific example are you thinking of where some mammal mimics the behavior of another? Inquiring minds want to know the details.

1. It matters because the range of sounds you are capable of producing has to do with the structure of your vocal system, and your vocal ability has to do with how complex your vocal language can be. The sophistication of such a language depends upon the amount of phonemes you are capable of producing and arranging into patterns for communicating different things.

I understand this is not the only factor in vocal language. I've seen a study that suggests there is a gene which determines whether an animal can learn new sounds. Certain animals (humans, songbirds, parrots, whales, dolphins) are "vocal learners", most are not. However, even if you possess this gene, the sounds you can make are limited by your vocal system.

I place emphasis on vocal language, because it would seem that evolution favored vocal communication over physical/manual communication (gestures). I think vocal communication is the key to how we developed and retained concepts.

My guess is that, once pre-man became a vocal learner, he evolved with bigger/better brains that could learn and retain more and more vocal sounds and patterns, enabling him to communicate better, and thus survive. (I suspect he picked up different phonemes from various animal calls or the more clever members of his species.)

At some point, maybe due to another gene mutation, his growing brain became a conceptual machine, allowing for even more storage of information. Basically, it allowed him to recall information quicker and more efficiently, by arranging all this information into related categories. This would, again, be good for survival. And perhaps, at this point, he started to become self-aware and develop a language.

Take a little leap and you then come to art. Man invents art, thus concretizing his concepts in reality and enabling a seemingly infinite storage of information. No longer is he solely dependent upon his memory. If he forgets something, he has a drawing or a symbol to help him remember it.

Another leap and you come to written languages and definitions. Now, if you forget what a word means, you can look at the definition, which gives you other words to help you remember.

And so on.

Really, I think it all boils down to evolution being the advancement of organisms who have more actual knowledge about reality, because this knowledge is what enables them to better survive. It may not be the case that the most knowledgeable will always survive, because some things are beyond their control. But, in the long run, I think this is what happens.

Having a better vocal system allows you to communicate and gain more knowledge of reality, thus it is evolutionarily beneficial.

2. One method by which humans train other animals is imitation. Demonstration has proven to be very successful with primates, in particular. In fact, we get the word "aping" from the fact that apes are pretty good at mimicking human behaviors.

I used to have a cat. And it discovered that we would let it inside the house (where the food was) if it started scratching the screen door. Later, we got a puppy. The puppy and cat got along very well. Then, I noticed that the puppy started to paw at the screen door, just like the cat. She didn't bark or anything. She just pawed at the door, with the right paw, exactly like the cat. It wasn't long before I noticed how the young dog was imitating other behaviors of the cat. Now the cat is gone, but the dog still acts like the cat, in several ways.

If you need more examples, I'll look for some. But, really, it's not a sticking point of mine. I just wanted to show that animals do mimic at least their own species, in order to learn important behaviors that aid in their survival. Thus, the ability to mimic others, in general, is very important in survival.

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In my discussions with varied people I find that all of them claim to be rational, in other words that they are both logical and in harmony with the facts of reality (that their logic is 100% attached to reality). Out of the more extreme cases, I've seen Marxists calling themselves 'rational', Christians doing it too and many weirder ones.

What would be a good word to describe Objectivism's view on rationality? And to keep this concept on a metaphysical/epistemological level? I mean, I could make refference to capitalism, and so forth, but what I'm looking for is a word that means 'rationality, as objectivism sees it'.

Being a non-objectivist myself, and dealing 99.99% of the time with non-objectivists, I'd like to have a way of easily referencing the objectivist concept of rationality.

So, can you think of a word or phrase?

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When faced with that sort of claim, Ayn Rand simply said (paraphrasing) "Don't ask me what they mean by 'rational'; ask Immanuel Kant."

The description that I use that seems to get the message across the fastest, is to describe the Objectivist view of reason as "unlimited". We do not grant that there is anything outside the reach of reason, and we use the exact same process to consider and evaluate ALL issues, including moral and spiritual ones. There is ONE all-encompassing form of reason. You will find that all those other "rational" types accept the division between reason and morality at some level, and vary only by what they do with it -- some toss morality and are amoral (the ones questioning the existence of good and evil), some cling to morality and ignore reality (religionists and like-minded Leftists) and many just arbitrarily switch between them on a case-by-case basis.

That being said, however, I question the utility of coining a new term. What you are dealing with here is the same sort of semantical BS born of common terms that have been conceptually corrupted by the Left; you need to realize that the Leftish terms of thought are fundamentally different from ours, and you have to bear in mind that when they use the same *words* we do, they often don't *mean* the same thing. The term "selfish" is another good example.

This has the effect of making communication really difficult, because it's like you aren't speaking the same language; to get any ideas into their heads you have to re-educate them to repair all the wrecked concepts upon which your idea depends -- and that's just to get them to understand, let alone accept, the idea. So, there is no point to coining a term for Objectivist versus non-objectivist rationality, simply because their terms of thought render the former completely inconceivable -- you can't get here from there. The "limited" view of reason is universal, yet is normally held at the subconscious level, so anything that operates from the basis of unlimited reason will be incomprehensible to them *until* that issue is brought to the fore.

That's the entire goal and effect of Leftist philosophy, by the way -- to erase the Enlightenment from the culture by inoculating people against its concepts, making them utterly incomprehensible and unreachable to those trapped in their box. Observe, for example, the complete erasure of the idea of natural rights from the mainstream outside of America; non-Americans are baffled by our insistence on clinging to this notion, most notably that over the Second Amendment and firearms.

It is not ordinary disagreement that is the big issue facing us; it is this crippling of the mainstream mind that gets in our way. Your new term would require the same sort of re-education as the process of redefining rationality would, so you aren't saving any work -- and after you're done, they will usually just re-construe your new term in *their* corrupt terms of thought and then blame your idea for the contradictions that result.

So, I stick to my guns; I do not concede that they are "rational". Their conception of "rational" is corrupt. I then take the *epistemological* discussion from there, for those who stick around to find out what I mean. The rest are simply not worth your time.

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I'd like to have a way of easily referencing the objectivist concept of rationality.

So, can you think of a word or phrase?

You have claimed to be familiar with the Objectivist ethics, so what did you find wrong with "the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action?" (Ayn Rand, The Objectivist Ethics)

If that is too long for you, and you need a short phrase as a reminder, how about just characterizing rationality as the acceptance of reason.

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What would be a good word to describe Objectivism's view on rationality? And to keep this concept on a metaphysical/epistemological level?

How about "fact-centered."

This distinguishes the Objectivist view of rationality from the logic-without-facts view of the Rationalists and the rationality-as-collective-subjectivity of the Kantians.

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The title Rational has to be earned. A man can claim to be rational all he wants, but declaring it won't make it so.

If rationality is the adherence to reason and the senses as one's only source of knowledge - then by reason a rational man will not be able to stay a Christian or a Marxist for long, if at all.

If they claim to be rational but avoid facing a rational argument - they are not just irrational, but liers too.

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In my discussions with varied people I find that all of them claim to be rational, in other words that they are both logical and in harmony with the facts of reality (that their logic is 100% attached to reality). Out of the more extreme cases, I've seen Marxists calling themselves 'rational', Christians doing it too and many weirder ones.

What would be a good word to describe Objectivism's view on rationality? And to keep this concept on a metaphysical/epistemological level? I mean, I could make refference to capitalism, and so forth, but what I'm looking for is a word that means 'rationality, as objectivism sees it'.

Being a non-objectivist myself, and dealing 99.99% of the time with non-objectivists, I'd like to have a way of easily referencing the objectivist concept of rationality.

So, can you think of a word or phrase?

As erandror said, don't treat this as if it has any basis in reality. It's just like Marxists and their claim that they advocate "freedom" i.e. they don't at all - it's mere lip-service.

Someone gave an example on a newsgroup sometime ago : If a parrot says "A is A", he is not saying "I have come to the rational conclusion that reality is non-contradictory, or to put it in the form of an equation : A is A", instead, he is merely counterfieting rational thought. He is not saying something knowingly meaningful, the parrot is simply making noises. Exactly the same applies when Marxists and others claim to be rational.

You might benefit from reading the "missing link" article in PWNI.

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You would never convince them of anything by coining a new word. There is a strong strain of nominalism that runs through Marxist philosophy. Since they are collectivists, the meaning of a word depends on how the collective uses it. It is entirely subjective and has absolutely nothing to do with the facts of reality. This is how they can make such claims as freedom is slavery, etc. It is at the core of their "reason." It is irrational and you will never make their ilk understand, in reason, why they are wrong.

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