Betsy Speicher

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Posts posted by Betsy Speicher

  1. I now learn that this combination has been used as a title for a relatively recent trend that seems to stem from basic anarchism desire. I'm starting to study it and would like comments from others who know of it but also know Objectivism. It is clearly a politico/ethical concept without a metaphysical/epistemological foundation from what I've read so far, but is there any academic material linking what seems to be a wish for human identity to a solid basis in metaphysics or epistemology? It seems curious. Thanks, Jack

    What you're describing sounds like Communitarianism.

    Communitarianism is a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. Although the community might be a family unit, communitarianism usually is understood, in the wider, philosophical sense, as a collection of interactions, among a community of people in a given place (geographical location), or among a community who share an interest or who share a history.[1] Communitarian philosophy is based upon the belief that a person's social identity and personality are largely molded by community relationships : with a smaller degree of development being placed on individualism. (See more here.)

  2. I was asked to comment on this statement, and used it as an excuse to educate:

    Apples are not apples.

    Then asked to answer true, false, neither, or both.

    I wanted my answer to be judged by Objectivists.

    Assuming you are not physically indicating an item when you make the statement, that the statement stands alone - apple is a word that stands for a concept that is represented by the word. The concept includes all the characteristics of the existents it subsumes, that is, all apples in existence and all the apples in the past, present, and future. The concept exists in human cognition and its reality exists in every apple you discover.

    A valid concept is a cognitive and contextual step in the hierarchy of human knowledge. A valid definition of apple tries to summarize apple attributes into two groups - the idea that links all apples as a class and the idea that differentiates that class from all other similar things in existence in the context of current knowledge and no further by human speculation.

    When we get the total characterization and the definition correct, the discovery of a new apple as new knowledge, still fits the definition and the word - showing the hierarchical nature of human knowledge.

    Based on the above and in the context of the original question, you are asking to judge the statement "A is non-A." It's plural and there is a logic trick in the sense of the statement using the "not." But it's still the same, "a thing is not itself." So the answer is the statement is false.

    That is a pretty good theoretical answer to what you assumed was being asked, but I would approach the statement differently.

    The statement strikes me as odd and the first thing I would do would ask the person who said it "Whatever do you mean? What are you referring to? Why did you bring this up?"

  3. Perhaps you missed it because, depending on the cognitive context, consciousness can be regarded as an entity with attributes. For instance, you could compare the consciousness of a cat with that of a human being and note that human consciousness has the attribute of being conceptual and feline consciousness does not.

    In other contexts, consciousness can be regarded as an attribute (or action) of a living entity. A clue as to what the cognitive context may be is how you are using the word "consciousness" in a sentence. If you're using it as a noun -- "Existence is primary and is the object of consciousness." -- it is probably as an entity. If you are using it as an adjective -- "Animals are conscious living entities." -- it is probably as an attribute.

  4. Since this forum is almost dead and most of the others aren't ran and/or populated by true Objectivists who would like to create a new forum with me? I hope Betsy doesn't take this thread as being disrespectful because that is not my intent and I don't wish it to appear that way.

    I'll check in regularly and we can discuss the details here or elsewhere.



    Hi Eric,

    Most of the action is over on Facebook these days, but if you're looking for a high-quality Objectivist forum, Harry Binswanger has changed his list and it now operates more like THE FORUM. It costs $$, but you can try it free for two weeks.

    Go to

  5. January 10, 2005 was a Monday...a Monday when I realized that I value my own life, and I was not willing to surrender it to the evasive mandates of mysticism, the sacrificial altar of altruism, nor the obedient commands of collectivism. That day, I stood in a bookstore and discovered a philosophy that mirrored how I perceive and think about the world in which I live...a philosophy of freedom...a philosophy that stands on - and for - reason. That philosophy is Objectivism.

    Today I celebrate the last 10 years of integrating my observations, experiences and knowledge into principles to live by. And I look forward to continuing my journey of loving life - MY LIFE.



  6. You have to watch this. FLASHLIGHT ON SMART PHONES

    Snopes says (link):

    On 1 October 2014, cybersecurity company SnoopWall released a "threat assessment report" discussing flashlight apps for Android devices and security threats they may pose. According to SnoopWall (who recommends using their flashlight instead of competitors' apps) the list of permissions required by most flashlight apps is proof that the apps' makers are harvesting data and sending it abroad to cybercriminals.

    It is true that one flashlight app developer settled a complaint with the FTC over data collection policies in 2013. But the current anxiety over flashlight apps appears to have been prompted by the publicity surrounding the release of SnoopWalls' self-promotional report rather than any specific breach of data security: the SnoopWall "threat assessment report" merely stated that some flashlight apps "appear specifically designed to collect and expose your personal information to cybercriminals or other nation states"; it offered no evidence that flashlight apps were actually being used for such purposes.

    It is the case that a number of flashlight apps can potentially request or access data on users' cell phones that seemingly has nothing to do with the ordinary functioning of the app. As Wired noted, however, that statement is also true of many other types of apps, and the fact that a given app has access to data doesn't necessarily mean the app is actually using that data:

    The Flashlight app on my phone is built by a company called iHandy. [A] mobile phone security operation called Appthority did an analysis of the data that Flashlight can potentially request, and it's pretty scary.

    According to Appthority's president, Domingo Guerra, Flashlight is designed to do location tracking, read my calendar, use my camera, gain access to unique numbers that identify my phone, and then share data with a number of ad networks, including Google’s AdMob, iAd, and JumpTap. It may not actually be doing all of these things — Appthority's analysis only shows what the software is capable of, not necessarily what it's actually up to — but the fact that there's such an arsenal of dubious uses should raise eyebrows.

    On my phone, several apps want access to information they probably shouldn't, and odds are, that's the case with your phone, too. The lesson here is that when it comes to mobile software, there’s really no such thing as a free app.

    All in all, as the Guardian noted, "developers are often asking for far greater power over a user's device, in order to collect data and sell it on to marketers and ad networks. It's the latest reminder that if you're not paying for an app, its business model may well involve selling your data." But in this regard it doesn't appear that flashlight apps are a particularly greater security risk than any other form of app — users take similar risks whenever they download any type of free app, not just flashlights. And so far we've seen no reports documenting that any flashlight app is secretly funneling personal data to cybercriminals in foreign countries.

    Last updated: 21 October 2014

  7. But... how does that explain the psychopath who has no need to worry?

    There's no such person.

    What is distinctive about psychopaths is that they don't feel guilt, but they do feel fear -- a fear that's constant and unbearable. That's because they are at war with reality and with people who want to stop and punish them and a psychopath can never know if, when, or how they might be caught.

    Did they leave clues at the scene of the crime? Will the people they defrauded press charges? It could happen at any time and the psychopath lives in constant fear that it could happen.

    This is not a straw man argument - at least I hope it's not - but there's seems to be people, however few, that to get away with a great amount of evil and they live well until the end of their days.

    Do they? Observe the way psychopaths abuse drugs and alcohol or engage in compulsive activities in a vain attempt to diminish the pain of the constant fear or distract themselves from thinking about it. Bernie Madoff reports that while he was "getting away with it" he didn't have a moment's peace or happiness and when he was caught, it was a relief.

    Some of these people are the most well-connected and powerful in the political sphere, and they are basically untouchable. They figured seemed to really figure out how to avoid the negative consequences of reality.

    Maybe they have avoided the external consequences of what they did, but there's no way of avoiding the horrible psychological consequences.

  8. What of the material of which one is introspectively aware? Should this be included in the definition of reason?

    Sure. Introspective awareness is "material provided by man's senses" too, but in the form of sensations -- pleasure, pain, hunger, thirst, etc and the somatic manifestations of emotions -- rather than the extrospective "five senses" -- sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

  9. I'm no expert here, but that looks like a definition to me because of what it excludes. It can only be read one way. For example, "Faith" cannot integrate the material of the senses, and is thus excluded from substitution. At the same time "identifies" and "integrates" are isolated differentia that form the definition of reason. That is my understanding anyway.

    I agree that it is a definition and an accurate one at that.

  10. I take it then there is a significant distinction between saying "I have a right to this lamp, as I have purchased it" and "This lamp is my property". Rights concern one's relation to other men, and freedom of action in that regard within the context of rational law. It is different then to say "It is mine" and "I have a right to it," though the latter is implied in the former. Is that right?

    "I Love Rand" was arguing that ownership and having a property right are not the same thing and I was trying to point out that they are the same because both refer to what actions you may take with regard to a physical thing.

    He was arguing that if you buy a copy of Atlas Shrugged and cannot legally make copies and sell them because the Estate of Ayn Rand owns the copyright, then you don't really own that book.

  11. To answer your question, I claim to love Rand because I love my life. I just do not see how anyone on this forum needs to inform me why or why not my thinking on this issue is true or false.

    We absolutely have to because you are so wrong about what Rand's philosophy has to say about the topic you raised.

    Could we please stay on topic....I wait for a reply to my question that I modified based on comments this a proper role of government, what is the argument from Objectivist philosophy ?

    You've been getting replies answering your question and challenging you assertions and you haven't addressed them.

    1. The government in the context of environmental issues has a right to property ownership if such right is delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose, a delegation process specifically allowed by Rand.

    That's wrong for the reason's we've already given you. Repeating this assertion adds nothing.

    At this point, I don't know whether you are

    1) A troll who actually hates Rand

    2) Someone who is out to promote the idea of government ownership of natural resources to fans of Rand by googling for and pulling random quotes out of context and misinterpreting them to support his position, unaware that his interpretation is dead wrong and at odds with Ayn Rand's fundamental principles.

    3) Someone who is honest and heard a thing or two about Ayn Rand that he likes, but has little or no first-hand experience with Ayn Rand's own writings other than a quote or essay here and there. That's OK because we all start with ignorance, yet what concerns me is how you speak with authority and certainty while making claims about Rand that just ain't so and how unwilling you have been so far to answer our objections or correct your own mistaken views.

    I'll assume the best, that it is the third possibility. Even so, at this point, I will not continue this discussion until you first answer a question I asked a few posts ago: What do you know about Ayn Rand and what is the source of your knowledge? Ayn Rand or what certain people have said about her? What books and articles by Rand have you actually read?

  12. Betsy, my goal here is not to upset anyone but to express my opinion of my understanding of what I have read that Rand wrote.

    We're trying to explain why you are misunderstanding what Rand wrote. The opinions you have expressed are wrong. You need more knowledge of what her actual position on these issues actually is, but to get it, you have to be open to the idea that you're reading Rand wrong.

    The topic of this thread is what would be a proper environmental ethics in a proper Objectivist society. Concerning what I find attractive related to this topic, please let me know if you agree with the following:

    1. The government in the context of environmental issues has a right to property ownership if such right is delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose.

    Actually, I was asking why you love Rand, as indicated by your screen name. If you love Rand because you think she supports ideas which she, in fact, rejected, maybe you don't love her as much as you think you do.

  13. You're begging the question here, in the sense that you're assuming that the People have the right to delegate ownership rights as part of an answer to the question, "How do the People come to own these resources?"

    It is not an assumption, Rand made it clear that the People hold such a right ...

    This is wrong. Rand holds that rights apply only to individuals and not to collectives like "the People."

    to delegate via a Constituional document.

    Wrong. According to Rand, rights are inalienable and rights, with only two exceptions, cannot be delegated. Those exceptions are the right to use force in self-defense and the use of retaliatory force. Nothing else can or should be delegated to government,

    In her essay on government in the 'Virtue of Selfishness', Rand explains how the People can come to own a natural resource such as a river, ...

    No, she doesn't. She discusses how individuals come to own natural resources.

    Rand explained the process this way (1) the source of government authority is the consent of the governed..

    No, it's not. According to Rand, the source of a government's authority is that it has a legal monopoly on the use of physical force. The source of a proper government's authority is the need to to put the use of retaliatory force under objective control.

    (2) the People grant the government a right to act as a custodian of ownerless resources,

    Ayn Rand never said any such thing. Individuals may have a government act as the custodian of unowned property.

    (3) for such resources the government has a right

    Governments don't have rights.

    to define objectively impartial rules by which potential owners (the People) may acquire ownership

    Not according to Rand. She said the government can define objectively impartial rules by which potential owners -- individuals only -- may acquire ownership.

    (4) potential owners of natural resources are not limited to individuals but also include associations, non profit organizations, etc.

    which are collections of some individuals and not others.

    plus the government itself

    Wrong. According to Rand, the government may own only such property necessary for its only proper purpose -- protection of individual rights from the initiation of force. That means the police, the military, and the courts -- and that's all.

    (5) as legal custodians of natural resources the government has a right to create rules that allow the government to own natural resources with the specific purpose to protect individual property rights of the People.

    Nope. According to Rand, that's not a proper function of government and "the People" don't have rights.

    Thus are the logical steps by which the People come to own natural resources, via objectively impartial rules defined by the government and codified into laws and rules for all to understand and follow.

    "Logical" arguments from false premises prove nothing.

  14. What I am trying to say is that a proper understanding of Objectivist ethics recognizes that the terms ownership rights and property rights ARE NOT THE SAME CONCEPT. They are two separate concepts given the different meanings of the two words ownership and property.

    You are seriously mistaken about what constitutes "a proper understanding of Objectivist ethics." It shows in most of what you have written so far. You misunderstand or seem unfamiliar with basic concepts like individual rights, the nature and proper role of government, the necessity of defining terms and of supporting conclusions with something more than just a quote from Ayn Rand, etc. This is Objectivism 101 stuff.

    Since you say you love Rand, maybe we can help. Give us an idea about what you've read or heard about Ayn Rand and what you find most interesting and attractive in that. Then we could give you leads for further study that will fill in the gaps of your knowledge.

    Once you get a better grounding in Objectivist principles, the rest of us might be better able to help you apply them to specific cases. Many of us here on THE FORUM have studied Objectivism for decades. I myself have read all of Rand's books and have attended lectures on Objectivism for more than fifty years -- including with Ayn Rand herself in the 1960's and 1970's -- but it's hard for me to communicate with someone who presumes to tell me what "a proper understanding of Objectivist ethics" is while not knowing many of Ayn Rand's most fundamental ideas.

  15. In an Objectivist society the only entity that the People can grant ownership rights to metaphysical natural resource objects such as the Mississippi River is the government

    As I wrote before, "The People" cannot grant ownership rights that they don't have, but let's assume you simply mean all the individuals who have acquired property rights by using the river. Any one of them can sell or give their property rights to the government, but that's not binding on the other people who have an ownership right to the same entity. If I fish in the river, I have no right to sell or give away the rights of someone who swims in the river.

    Also, it is untrue that the government is the only entity that individuals can sell or give their rights to natural resources to. They can also sell or give them to another individual, a corporation, a non-profit organization, or to their grandchildren.

  16. But, very important, this does mean that such objects [as rivers] do not have potential to be owned by some entity ...

    Potential to be owned or used confers absolutely no ownership or rights. Only actual creation or use does.

    iff such ownership right is delegated to some entity by the People.

    Only individuals have rights. "The People" is a collective and does not have rights. How can an entity like "The People" which does not have property rights delegate them to another entity? If I don't own your car, I can't "delegate" it's use to somebody else.

  17. In an Objectivist society, metaphysical objects that are not created as a product of a human mind, such as the Mississippi River, are not owned by any individual human, this is a metaphysical fact of reality.

    This is not true and it is not the Objectivist position. While physical things that are not created by man and are not used by individuals are unowned, those things, if used by individuals, are owned by those individuals who acquire ownership by such use.