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Tracinski: What Went Right

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An excellent critique of Part V of Tracinski's "What Went Right?" series has been published here. It is by Objectivist philosophy professor Robert Mayhew. I found Tracinski's description of the historical relationship between human achievements and philosophy to be quite interesting. Unfortunately, it also appears to be wrong. Mayhew's piece addresses his area of expertise, ancient Greece. It is that portion of Tracinski's essay that he is addressing. I highly recommend this essay.

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Thanks GB. I'm waiting for part 6 of WWR before I put out my critique. I'm no historian, but even if Tracinski was right about ancient Greece, I still don't think that it leads to the conclusions he makes. It's good to see he may be wrong even about his most basic support for his position. I'll check out the article.

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I doubt I'll get to these articles for a while, so I'd really be interested in reading a short summary of what Tracinski's saying. From the buzz at various sites, it appears that Tracinski is saying: ideas and principles do not guide people in their actions, rather people discover their abstract ideas and principles by acting and by induction.

No, I'm not saying that he is saying that; just that that's the short summary that I'm gleaning from a cursory reading of his first article and from brief comments by others. I assume that my summary above is inaccurate, since it presents an obvious chicken-and-egg dichotomy where neither side would be right. So, I'm hoping that KendallJ or GalileoBlogs will post an accurate version of Tracinski's thesis, at a "few-sentences" level of summary.

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I doubt I'll get to these articles for a while, so I'd really be interested in reading a short summary of what Tracinski's saying. From the buzz at various sites, it appears that Tracinski is saying: ideas and principles do not guide people in their actions, rather people discover their abstract ideas and principles by acting and by induction.

No, I'm not saying that he is saying that; just that that's the short summary that I'm gleaning from a cursory reading of his first article and from brief comments by others. I assume that my summary above is inaccurate, since it presents an obvious chicken-and-egg dichotomy where neither side would be right. So, I'm hoping that KendallJ or GalileoBlogs will post an accurate version of Tracinski's thesis, at a "few-sentences" level of summary.

You really ought not depend upon -- nor even ask for -- summaries of RT's views or the criticisms thereof. The sum total of articles isn't long: it could be easily read in less than an hour. If you don't have time for that, then you surely don't have time to even think seriously about these issues. (And yes, these issues deserve and require serious thought.) In fairness to both RT and his critics, any kind of judgment (even a preliminary one) should wait until you've read what he's actually written, as opposed to what others say he's written.

And, I should say, I think it's very dangerous to read criticisms of some article (or thesis or whatnot) before reading the article itself. It can not only lead to major misunderstandings and skewed presumptions, but also wrongly color your view of the original material when you do read it. Undoubtedly, your gleaning from "the buzz at various sites" has not yielded an accurate picture of the debate.

So please, go read the articles. Or set aside this issue until you have time to do so.

Edited by dianahsieh
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Sorry SN, I'd have to agree with Diana. Tracinski's issues are with his integrations, and I'm not sure it's obvious from a high level summary what his issues are. He's got some of it right and some of it wrong, and the devil is in sorting out his details.

"What Went Right?" is pretty accessible and you can get the basic gist pretty quickly. I think all of his other errors ultimately follow from this.

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"What Went Right?" is pretty accessible and you can get the basic gist pretty quickly.
The TIA site currently has three sections "What Went Right?", "Pajama Epistemology" and "The Summit and the Foundation". Are these all that's available at present? I just read these three and find that my summary above was pretty accurate, except that Tracinski claims Objectivist intellectuals take one side of the false dichotomy, while he claims not to take the other side, without (yet) putting forward a more integrated explanation. Edited by softwareNerd
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  • 2 weeks later...

For those interested in this topic, I am writing an analysis and posting it on my blog. I believe that Tracinski's essay is not consistent with Objectivism on several grounds and would like feedback, comments on the first draft of the first part: Ignoring the Hierarchy.

Thanks,

Tom Rowland

PLEASE READ TRACINSKI'S ESSAY BEFORE YOU READ MINE

IF YOU LEAVE A COMMENT OR DISAGREEMENT OR OTHER FEEDBACK IT SHOULD REFLECT YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF HIS ESSAY

Edited by TomR61
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