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Why are intellectuals so Grecophilic?

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Robert J. Kolker
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With all due respect, Inspector, I agree with an aspect of Moebius' argument. There are cultural characteristics that are non-philosophical and can be enjoyed by a person, such as food, music, clothing, many customs, etc.

With all due respect, I said I don't care how you spice your food.

Also, I object to your incorrect pejorative language. China is not a "rights-trampling hole." Yes, they are still heavily statist, but rights are beginning to be protected there. Hopefully the trend continues.

Oh, please. Have appearances fooled you as well? I know they're trying oh-so-hard with the Olympics to paint a happy face on their brutal regime. To say rights are beginning to be protected there is like saying they gave the dude in the dungeon a little throw pillow.

Yes, it is definitely the result of the adoption of Western values of individualism and capitalism, and to the degree those values have been adopted, the Asian countries are successful.

...and the abolishment of their backwards, non-western, cultures.

Let's be objective in evaluating Asia.

Asia? Tell me, where did I use the word "Asia?" Don't switch the argument, Galileo. And don't feed Moebius' pathology. He needs to reject this insane idea of his.

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Then dislike it, but do me the courtesy off recognizing that I am serious and I gave evidence for my statements.

I'm already doing you more courtesy then I would prefer by keeping my language civil. Your statement is so completely, (from an Objectivist perspective) self-evidently wrong that I can barely believe you said it.

Have you read any significant amount of Objectivism?

If so, then shame on you.

If not, then shame on you for being a little punk. There are respectful ways to phrase anti-Objectivist statements and there are disrespectful ones. I believe that SoftwareNerd once posted up on that subject; perhaps you can ask him for a link.

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Andrew West,

Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comment on China. Certain qualities you mention appear to be true for Asians generally, certainly for Japanese and Koreans. In particular, I am referring to the strong sense of duty toward family and the second-handedness. As you said, both characteristics hold them back.

The pragmatism you point to in China probably does explain the lack of respect for Western business standards, such as the rampant piracy in China, and the willingness to export unsafe products such as dangerous toothpaste and pet food.

Another comment of yours is interesting, the this-worldliness of Asian religious belief. When I traveled to Japan, I found it astonishing that at a temple I went to, all of the Japanese were praying for money, a good marriage, etc. I did not detect the Christian adoration of the hereafter. That is one thing I like about Asian culture, the fact that it is generally non-Christian. In that sense, Asian culture reminds me of Jewish culture.

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Not a troll. I gave a half dozen instances showing that liberty is not a requirement for social survival. You don't like my view? Then dislike it, but do me the courtesy off recognizing that I am serious and I gave evidence for my statements.

Mankind has survived over 100,000 years most of which were spent in tyranny and slavery. Liberty was invented somewhere between the time of Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence. That is no more than 778 years.

Not really. Any society has to have some freedom in it for it to work, because men must be able to use their minds and plan-long range if they are to survive. The degree of security in the person and property of the citizenry determines how well they will do. What you're talking about is freedom de jure, but all lasting societies have some freedom de facto. The brilliance of Lockean rights theory is that it set out why and where men require freedom on principle.

I would think that there would have to be a real malicious force for a society to eliminate all freedom from society. Communists and Nazis took a stab at it, but more primitive cultures, I don't believe, were so malicious. They were just very ignorant, and often did their best to survive, which would have meant recognizing some freedom in some concrete form.

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Don't switch the argument, Galileo. And don't feed Moebius' pathology. He needs to reject this insane idea of his.

I don't need to do anything. It's obvious that there can not be a civil, intellectual conversation with you. You use subjective, emotional languages without ever offering any shred of evidence or even reasoning to back up your point. Mostly your points consists of "Such and such is an evil, awful hell-hole because I say so". Don't bother addressing any of your posts to me, and don't expect a response. I really am not interested in what you have to say.

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Have you read any significant amount of Objectivism?

... little punk ...

I started posting in humanities.philosophy.objectivism in 2001 and Robert J. Kolker was there. He is a veteran of Objectivist discussion and I think you need to work on your manners.

Edited by ian
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I started posting in humanities.philosophy.objectivism in 2001 and Robert J. Kolker was there. He is a veteran of Objectivist discussion and I think you need to work on your manners.
Leaving aside the manners issue, I started posting there at around the same time. The fact of being in the presence of other Objectivists and observing some examples of Objectivist argumentation is not equivalent to actually grasping the philosophy. I have to concur with Fred and Bugged on the matter of KAL's non-responsiveness to Objectivism. BTW, your selecting editing of Inspector's quote is misleading -- you make it seem as though he called Robert a little punk.

Now then, PEOPLE, this thread is getting a bit over-heated. Chill.

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I started posting in humanities.philosophy.objectivism in 2001 and Robert J. Kolker was there. He is a veteran of Objectivist discussion and I think you need to work on your manners.

He may be a veteran of talking about Objectivism, but he's obviously not done a whole lot of understanding it, because his statements are flatly a rejection of Objectivism and an embrace of Pragmatism. Literally, Objectivism defines rights as requirements of man's survival in a social context. Not "personal preferences."

And what's up with my manners? What part of what I said don't you agree with? If he does know Objectivism, then his statement is senseless. If he doesn't, then it is rude.

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And what's up with my manners? What part of what I said don't you agree with?

Your 2 questions are irrelevant to each other. If someone isn't able to distinguish between being right and being polite, that might be a good indication that his manners could use some work. I always love it when people accuse the ignorant of rudeness, giving the learned the justifcation to lash back. If he doesn't know Objectivism, then there are many ways that you could respond with the truth. The fact that you have the truth, doesn't, in and of itself, make all of those ways appropriate.

Edited by KendallJ
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As I said, if he doesn't know it, then his question is phrased in a presumptive and rude manner. If calling a rude person rude is rude, then I guess I'm rude.

I'm sure you'll show us Bob's presumptiveness. Frankly I have yet to find a question in any of his 2 posts in this thread, but please do be so kind.

Bob's wrong a lot of the time, he can be a bit annoying. I have no idea why he continues to post here, but he's not an Objectivist, doesn't speak for Objectivism, and he has said as much in several posts on this board. His statement to you was that he offered an argument, and if you're going to disagree with it, at least be so kind as to offer one back. Several people including myself, nipped him in the bud. You simply answered with increduluous invective.

I'm already doing you more courtesy then I would prefer by keeping my language civil. Your statement is so completely, (from an Objectivist perspective) self-evidently wrong that I can barely believe you said it.

Have you read any significant amount of Objectivism?

If so, then shame on you.

If not, then shame on you for being a little punk. There are respectful ways to phrase anti-Objectivist statements and there are disrespectful ones. I believe that SoftwareNerd once posted up on that subject; perhaps you can ask him for a link.

Maybe you can find me that link as well. Because I don't see his rudeness. But I certainly see yours.

When people begin vacuous posts by self-righteously announcing that they are giving more courtesy than is warranted, then proceed with this sort of non-argumentation and non-courtesy, well, in my book, that is the start of the rudeness.

I'm not sure exactly when you appointed yourself Defender of the Faith, but why don't we let the mods determin which are the rude "anti-Objectivist" statements and what's not.

By the way Mods, the person who quoted Inspector didn't do it out of context. Seems to me, Inspector did call Bob a little punk, and he stands by that statement pretty forcefully.

Edited by KendallJ
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This thread has really got too heated, and I agree with Kendall that calling an opponent a "punk" is rude. I'm going to close it just for a few hours.

When it re-opens, I suggest that we not just be polite, but be specific about the issue being discussed. Also, from this point on, all posters please assume that when the term "culture" is used in this thread, it is limited to intellectual/philosophical aspects of a culture. For food, start a separate thread.

Also, BTW, the term "Western Civilisation" was the subject of an earlier thread. Anyone posting there, please stay on that topic (which is different from this one).

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Kendall,

I'm surprise you would rebuke Inspector so strongly. "Defender of the Faith"?

Frankly I found Robert Kolker's post to which I responded (the same one Inspector is so livid about), extremely offensive. He espouses slavery as just as good as any other system and freedom as non essential to survival. A completely disgusting proposition, one not backed-up by anything he said.

I was a little rude with him myself. I think he got what he deserved.

Also, we all get to decide what is a rude anti-Objectivist statement. If the Mods disagree with us then we are each free to go somewhere else.

Respectfully,

Marc

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Hi Mark,

[As an aside, if this gets to more than 2 posts, could Moderators please split it off as separate thread]

Let me clarify why I think this is a different issue.

I found his post also infuriating and I also responded to it in such a manner. But it was NOT rude. That is, it was intellectually infuriating because I understand Objectivism, I understand the contradiction involved, I see his errors, and I understand the full implication of what he said. But on the face of it there is nothing that is rude, or which violates any sort of general ettiquette. The general population would not see this as a "rude" comment. He made a point, offered some evidence (albeit weakly put together, and poorly integrated). The proper response is to decimate his arguement with reason and a little incredulity perhaps, but not to simply call names, and let our emotions get the best of us. I think we only do ourselves a diservice when we respond to intellectually infuriating posts with only emotion, and to the rest of the folks it appears that we're the one flying off the handle.

Now that brings up a separate point of policy. Bob is not an Objectivist, and doesn't claim to be one. I don't know that there is a policy that says that someone who is not an Objectivitst can't simply throw his ideas into a discussion, so long as he doesn't represent them as Objectivist in nature. There is policy covering a specific attack on Objectivist ideas, and certianly the board's purpose is to discuss things with respect to Objectivism. If he wants to attack Objectivism he needs to go to the debate forum, but I didn't see him do that either.

Thirdly, most people who choose to not adhere to Objectivist thought leave after a while. Bob hasn't left and in fact has been floating around in Objectivist circles for a long time. Which makes one quesiton his motives exactly. For the life of me I don't know why someone who disagrees so precipitously with Objectivism woudl want to hang aroudn us, and that is a valid question. But if someone has evidence of mischeivous motives, I'd like to see it. It may be there, but detecting it is a long term proposition, one that really should by handled by the mods. Do we all get to police the board? sure, but that doesn't mean we can violate our own rules to police someone else's behavior. It is really poor form.

Hope that helps at least explain my position a bit.

Edited by KendallJ
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Kendall and I had a quick chat, but one thing I should answer publicly is this: Why is what Robert is doing rude?

Here is the link to SoftwareNerd's post.

I think it boils down to several things combined:

1) Robert knows Objectivism enough to know that what he is saying is blatantly against it.

2) Robert knows this is a forum for discussing Objectivism, not attacking it.

3) Robert knows we have a debate forum, if he wants to debate

4) Yet, he posted here anyway - with the form of "I have shown [individual rights] is a personal preference and not a requirement for long-term survival." (bold mine)

5) Since he knows well and good that "rights are a requirement for man's survival" is the position of Objectivism, his statement amounts to saying that he has "shown" that Objectivism is wrong. This is an attack on Objectivism.

5) And furthermore, like we all agree, he posted something very intellectually offensive

6) Which I believe he either knows or at the least has a responsibility to know that we would find offensive

Posting offensive things with the purpose of offending people is called trolling.

And that is rude.

[edited for wording of first line]

Edited by Inspector
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He espouses slavery as just as good as any other system and freedom as non essential to survival.

I think you should go back and read his post again. This accurately describes the thrust of that post.

There is policy covering a specific attack on Objectivist ideas, and certianly the board's purpose is to discuss things with respect to Objectivism. If he wants to attack Objectivism he needs to go to the debate forum, but I didn't see him do that either.

I found Robert Kolker's relativistic equivocation of freedom and slavery to be a specific attack on Objectivist ideas.

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  • 1 year later...
I've always favored the Chinese over other civilizations; not only because of Marco Polo's recordings, but I favored China mainly because of its culture and history.

LOL SInce I actually took the time to read this entire thread, I find this to be very amusing because it seems absurd (in the context of this thread) and tantamounts to sarcasm.

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tantamounts

You may not know it, but you've just coined a verb! :P But I agree, War's post is pretty amusing after what's been written on this thread.

I have a question too: Why is it that all non-Grecophiles are so Sinophilic? Out of all the possible alternatives to Greece, why do they only focus on China? I find it strange that none of them has mentioned the great Hawaiian civilization!

Edited by Capitalism Forever
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Also, (before I discontinued my cable) I used to watch a show on The History Channel (gosh I can't remember the name) but they would show ancient technologies that were (compared to today) centuries ahead of their time. And they often focused on the ancient persian culture too and how there was one guy who came up with all sorts of intricate timekeeping technologies and such.

But after reading this thread, I really wish someone would have given DaveOdden an answer to his question of:

What aspects of Chinese logic, metaphysics, epistemology or ethics play a role in modern society? Exactly what credit are we cheating the Chinese out of?

I was really interested in hearing an answer to that. :P

Edited by KevinDW78
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Well if you are talking about an invention that other civilizations didn't make later on ( let's say up to 1,000 years) and only the Chinese did, you can name a few: The first earthquake detector ( which has been used until the seismograph was invented by John Milne), practice of acupuncture ( modern science can still not explain how it really works ) , blast furnace (during the Han Dynasty, one of China's strongest times), and who can forget the lovely dim-sums. Of course there are more, but I really don't want to spend my day listing them.

Edited by War
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... practice of acupuncture ( modern science can still not explain how it really works )...

That's probably because it doesn't, at least not in the mystical way it is supposed to do. I've read that pricking non-acupuncture points accomplishes the same pain relief in people with back pain, which leads one to believe it is simply a placebo effect. Even if the pin pricks block other pain by causing localized copmeting pain impulses, studies seem to show it has nothing to do with special acupuncture points on the body.

I'm surprised you didn't mention gun powder. That's what usually comes to mind when someone mentions Chinese inventions.

Anyway, as Kevin implied, I think the essence of the thread was about cultural and/or political achievements, not individual technical inventions.

What aspects of Chinese logic, metaphysics, epistemology or ethics play a role in modern society? Exactly what credit are we cheating the Chinese out of?

One could argue many government economic policies are based on Confucian divination. :smartass:

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I'm surprised you didn't mention gun powder. That's what usually comes to mind when someone mentions Chinese inventions.

The Chinese never did much with gunpowder beyond fireworks. It took the West to invent guns and grain powder.

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practice of acupuncture ( modern science can still not explain how it really works )

This is one of the most idiotic statement I have EVER seen on this forum. As Jake pointed out - science CAN explain that it DOESN'T work. It's placebo garbage. If you seriously are an Objectivist and not a troll, then in the interest of your own rationality, you need to go to http://Randi.org and view the wealth of scientific information showing there is not one shred of evidence that this nonsense does anything.

Show me ONE (Just ONE) reputable, proper, double-blind scientific study that showed results for anything more than placebo effect. You can't - because it doesn't exist. (And James Randi will even hand over $1million to anybody who can - after more than two decades, nobody has)

I think it would also be in your best interest to watch http://herebedragonsmovie.com/ because you clearly are in need of some instruction on critical thinking.

Of course there are more, but I really don't want to spend my day listing them.

Ok how about spending 20 seconds then of your busy day giving me just one GOOD one? I have never in my entire life benefited from the use of an earthquake detector so I fail to see how that is some great contribution.

Edited by KevinDW78
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