ewv

Members
  • Content count

    4,534
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by ewv


  1. Multitasking Damages Your Brain And Career, New Studies Suggest

    You’ve likely heard that multitasking is problematic, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain.

    Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

    Full article


  2. Everything would be at your disposal no matter to what degree you worked to make it. You would know you made it, which is different from using something you find, but that wouldn't distinguish it from your using anything at all that exists for your own purpose whether or not you made it. Ownership does not mean "I made it". There would be no moral difference, as a matter of ownership, between eating corn you planted and picking berries from a field you happened to wander into.

    The closed you could come is something like a raccoon eating the corn you planted, and you not liking that after all the effort you put into it. But morality and rights don't apply to animals, who do what they are born to do and make no conceptual or moral choices. The animal kingdom does not give rise to the concept of rights, or property rights and ownership in particular.

    You would still know the concept of ownership if you already held it and everyone else suddenly disappeared, but the point of the abstraction projecting no one else around you, ever, is what facts are available to motivate and form the concept? Ownership distinguishes what is yours from what is not, either unowned, or controlled right by others. With no others, the concept of ownership does not arise.

    Concepts classify things together that are similar against things that are commensurably different, like two shades of red against a blue, to group the two red shades under the concept "red". Without difference there is no similarity. With no social context there is no reason to group together the things that you "own", as opposed to grouping together the things you made against those you didn't. In a context of no other people around, you are morally right to use anything on earth and the concept of rights or ownership do not arise.


  3. No, if there were no one else around you would have a concept of self but not of 'mine' in the sense of ownership because there would be nothing to distinguish it from. There is you versus everything else, and there is a distinction between what you have made or used or seen versus everything else, but no facts giving rise to the concept of ownership.


  4. 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".

    The first specifies why in that particular case it is your property.

    Rights concern one's relation to other men, and freedom of action in that regard within the context of rational law.

    A right is a moral principle sanctioning the freedom of action in the context of other men. A legal right is the recognition of the right in 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?

    If you were all alone and there were no context of other men in society than what would it mean to say "it is mine" -- as distinguished from what?


  5. Ownership of a particular property is your right of use and disposal for that property. See the discussion of property rights in "The Property Status Of Airwaves" in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.

    Ownership doesn't mean you can do anything you want with the property in the name of "ownership". If you own a gun you can't go out and shoot people with it just because you own it. If you own a book, you own that particular copy of the book, not the copyright allowing you to make and disseminate more copies of it. All rights are contextual.


  6. Burgess's legacy does not need protection from us, but you are not helping it by appealing to him as an authority in avoiding defending a false statement, and then insisting in the name of personal values that explanations rejecting it it are to be ignored as "disrespect" presumably not worth answering. Ayn Rand's philosophy cannot be recreated from her theory of universals. One part of that philosophy is rejection of obsequious appeals to authority.

    When the statement of authority is used as the "ultimate argument" to defend one's own argument, this reasoning commits the fallacy of "appeal to authority". But this should not be confused with the process of citing the experts of subject in the argument.

    So if you go through my post, you will find that the reference to Burgess is followed by reasoning that applies his ideas.

    http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?showtopic=14183#entry122057

    Stating that someone engaged in a "long study of evolution of ideas of Aristotle" in "organizing" facts and refusing to address all the arguments made against it under claims of "disrespect" does not answer what I wrote, and you still haven't answered it. Citing someone you claim to be an "expert" in irrelevant reference to Aristotle and without explanation, then refusing in the name of "respect", is in fact an argument from authority.

    You cannot "recreate Objectivism" from Ayn Rand's theory of universals. She didn't do it that way herself and never presented it that way either. You can't do it.


  7. While your posts on some aspects of software engineering "Objectivism applied to software engineering" didn't say how or why it was trying to be an application of Ayn Rand's philosophy, experience trying to understand and organize any kind of science or engineering is enough to motivate anyone who is at all intellectual and philosophically minded into broader questions of epistemology, not just systematic thinking.

    The gravity of the decline of our culture you refer to, due in part to rationalism and lack of ability to think in abstractions (i.e., abstractions connected to reality), can be seen almost everywhere.

    The problem becomes more acute in higher level abstractions beyond the first level, i.e., beyond integrations of perceptual concretes, leading, especially among intellectuals, to all kinds of rationalism in the form of what Ayn Rand identified as the fallacies of floating abstractions, frozen abstractions, and stolen concepts among the sea of invalid concepts in general. Ayn Rand emphasizes the failure to employ higher level abstractions in "Consciousness and Identity", chapter 8 of IOE.

    Above the first-level abstractions of perceptual concretes, most people hold concepts as loose approximations, without firm definitions, clear meanings or specific referents; and the greater a concept's distance from the perceptual level, the vaguer its content. Starting from the mental habit of learning words without grasping their meanings, people find it impossible to grasp higher abstractions, and their conceptual development consists of condensing fog into fog into thicker fog—until the hierarchical structure of concepts breaks down in their minds, losing all ties to reality; and, as they lose the capacity to understand, their education becomes a process of memorizing and imitating. This process is encouraged and, at times, demanded by many modern teachers who purvey snatches of random, out-of-context information in undefined, unintelligible, contradictory terms.

    The result is a mentality that treats the first-level abstractions, the concepts of physical existents, as if they were percepts, and is unable to rise much further, unable to integrate new knowledge or to identify its own experience—a mentality that has not discovered the process of conceptualization in conscious terms, has not learned to adopt it as an active, continuous, self-initiated policy, and is left arrested on a concrete-bound level, dealing only with the given, with the concerns of the immediate moment, day or year, anxiously sensing an abyss of the unknowable on all sides.

    To such mentalities, higher concepts are indeterminate splinters flickering in the abyss...


    She related this to the decline to modern philosophy especially since Kant's attack on the identity of consciousness and the relation between consciousness and the world of which it is conscious. Discovering our proper method of thinking depends on both the nature of reality and the identity -- the specific nature -- of our consciousness. Ayn Rand concluded in the summary of chapter 8:

    The motive of all the attacks on man's rational faculty, is a single basic premise: the desire to exempt consciousness from the law of identity. The implicit, but unadmitted premise of modern philosophy is the notion that "true" knowledge must be acquired without any means of cognition, and that identity is the disqualifying element of consciousness. This is the essence of Kant's doctrine, which represents the negation of any consciousness, of consciousness as such. Objectivity begins with the realization that man (including his consciousness) is an entity of a specific nature who must act accordingly; that there is no escape from the law of identity; that there is no room for the arbitrary in any activity of man, least of all in his method of cognition—and that he must be guided by objective criteria in forming his tools of cognition: his concepts. Just as man's physical existence was liberated when he grasped that "nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed," so his consciousness will be liberated when he grasps that nature, to be apprehended, must be obeyed—that the rules of cognition must be derived from the nature of existence and the nature, the identity, of his cognitive faculty.


    Rorty is only one example of the attack, promoting his acknowledged undermining of epistemology, and attack on the mind as aware of the world, in the name of philosophy. But to call Rorty a "mystic" and reacting against him with a horror in isolation misses the historical point. Rorty is only one example of a long line, especially in this country, of Pragmatists who have dominated intellectuals in America for well over a century. Their affect is everywhere and it has come right out of and is part of the Kantian tradition Ayn Rand identified.

    If you want to see hoards of Rorty horrors and their direct descendency from Kant, borrowing the skepticism of Hume 'empiricists' along the way, look at the Pragmatist movement in America. Read the history of its origins in Kuklick, The Rise of American Philosophy: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1860-1930, and of its widespread influence in Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America, both discussed in the thread on the Forum Living in two 160 sq ft shipping containers extolled as viro utopia. But be sure to review and listen first to Leonard Peikoff's excellent lecture series from the 1970s on the history of western philosophy, particularly in this context, the lecture on Pragmatism. It is now very inexpensive to download the whole original recorded series if you don't already have it

    Founders of Western Philosophy: Thales to Hume

    Modern Philosophy: Kant to the Present

    and there is now a free course version in progress at the ARI campus series History of Philosophy.


  8. Today I posted "Answers to Questions from Introduction by Dr. Peokioff to THE LOGICAL LEAP - INDUCTION IN PHYSICS"

    Sharing sample answer for wider audience.

    Q4. What relationship is established here between concept formation and induction?

    Ans: From TLL

    A theory of generalizations presupposes a theory of concepts. One must grasp how the constituent concepts of a generalization are related to reality before one can grasp how the generalization itself is related to reality.

    ...[For inductive generalization] although she[Ayn Rand] did not provide the solution, she did provide the key to it. Mr. Harriman shows that valid concepts, in her definition of concepts, not only make possible but also guide our search for true generalizations.... Every major aspect of the Objectivist view of concepts - including the role of similarities and differences, of integration, of hierarchy, of context - has a counterpart in the theory of generalizations. Indeed, generalization, Mr. Harriman explains, "is nothing more(or less) than an essential form of the method of concept formation."

    [italics in above TLL text are mine]

    Again, it's important that the 'general audience' realize that at the epistemology workshops Ayn Rand explicitly denied that the process of these generalizations is the same as the method of generalization in concept formation, which she regarded as a different form of induction. She did of course agree that understanding concept formation is a prerequisite


  9. Here is an important quote on this text by Burgess Laughlin from prior study group... The main point here is that concepts are objective, that is, they are drawn logically from sense-perceptible facts of reality. This is the core concept in Objectivism, and it is the concept that gives the philosophy its name. With this discovery, one could-- given genius and time -- recreate Objectivism even if all of Ayn Rand's other writings were lost."

    Ayn Rand's philosophy is not rationalistically derived from a theory of universals and the philosophy cannot be recreated from it. All of her philosophy requires the facts within the particular relevant subject matter. Most of her philosophy was presented long before IOE, and the observations and explanations she provided in her essays were not expressed in terms of it.

    The significance of her theory of concepts was specifically as a theory of concepts for epistemology, and as a validation of reason, on which her whole philosophy is based as a method and a requirement for man's survival.

    The terminology "objective", as opposed to the intrinsic and subjective, has specific meaning within all the branches of her philosophy. "Objective ethics", "objective art", etc. does not mean objective universals, and that in turn, does not by itself give the philosophy its name. See, for example, OPAR and the lectures on Objectivism at the end of the history of western philosophy series for the meaning and significance of "objective" in Ayn Rand's philosophy.

    Also, Ayn Rand's epistemology cannot be formulated in terms reduced to the language of computer programming and sets, which she rejected. She admired the precision of mathematics but rejected modern philosophy of mathematics as abysmal. This has been discussed on the Forum previously.

    The above statement is based on long study by Burgess of evolution of ideas of Aristotle. How various discoveries in science and politics in Enlightenment were the result of epistemological ideas of Organon becoming dominant in culture in various forms during enlightenment.

    While each subject has its own scope of facts, real challenge lies in organizing these facts to form terms and principles of the subject. And as is shown in DIM hypothesis, its epistemology that governs this organization. So while "Objective Ethics" and "Objective Arts" have different content, method of organizing them is "essentially same". For e.g. facts available to writers of American Constitution, Magna Carta, and Communist Manifesto were same. Its how they interpreted and organized these facts that made the difference.

    Burgess can study Aristotle until the cows come home (which he apparently has), but knowing Ayn Rand's theory of universals won't recreate the rest of her philosophy. That isn't the way she did it and is not the way she presented it for others to understand.

    An emphasis on the importance of her epistemology of concept formation is good, but it concerns method, not the content of the rest of her principles and philosophy. The statement that with Ayn Rand's theory of universals as objective concepts "one could-- given genius and time -- recreate Objectivism even if all of Ayn Rand's other writings were lost" is not true and is no better than trying to "recreate" her philosophy from "A is A" or any other principle. It would take a lot more than that. Claiming otherwise is very misleading in implying a rationalist approach.

    I think anybody who reads through both the posts can infer who is being objective, and who is being rationalist.

    I strongly condemn the disrespect to Burgess in previous posts. He has taken big strides in highlighting the heroic elements in intellectuals of present and past. And his contributions can go a long way in creating a cultural atmosphere where rational ideas flourish.

    Burgess' statement, repeated by RohinGupta, claimed that with Ayn Rand's theory of universals as objective concepts "one could -- given genius and time -- recreate Objectivism even if all of Ayn Rand's other writings were lost". It is not true for the reasons explained, and has nothing to do with respect for Burgess' studies of Aristotle, which is not the topic. It makes no more sense than claiming that Ayn Rand's philosophy could be "recreated" from "A is A", or that all of physics could be "recreated" from any one principle of logic. Trying to personalize this with a deflection into "condemnation" of alleged "disrespect" doesn't change that.

    This was the statement made in post #23 "Burgess can study Aristotle until the cows come home (which he apparently has), but knowing Ayn Rand's theory of universals won't recreate the rest of her philosophy."

    Apparently this is not your first language and you do not understand ordinary idiomatic English. The statement does not disrespect either Burgess or cows. It means that it doesn't matter how long Burgess studied Aristotle as a defense of the false claim that Ayn Rand's philosophy can be recreated from her theory of universals.

    But this is worse than emotional reaction to an idiom invoking slow-moving cows. You began by deflecting the subject into a personalization by claiming to justify the falsehood as "based on long study by Burgess of evolution of ideas of Aristotle". The statement remains false and you have not addressed the responses to it. The length of time Burgess personally studied Aristotle's Organom[/i is not relevant. We are talking about Ayn Rand's philosophy and Objectivist justification of epistemological claims.

    This response is sufficient for main thread.

    "

    I think anybody who reads through both the posts can infer who is being objective, and who is being rationalist."

    Yes, they can.

    The response to disrespect was my attempt to protect legacy of people I value highly.

    Burgess's legacy does not need protection from us, but you are not helping it by appealing to him as an authority in avoiding defending a false statement, and then insisting in the name of personal values that explanations rejecting it it are to be ignored as "disrespect" presumably not worth answering. Ayn Rand's philosophy cannot be recreated from her theory of universals. One part of that philosophy is rejection of obsequious appeals to authority.


  10. Can't wait to read this.

    Those interested in this topic from the perspective of Objectivist epistemology will find a lot of good discussions right here on the Forum, including answers to many commonly asked questions about such topics as the meaning of number versus Russell, the meaning of geometrical concepts, the "crisis" in mathematics, the mathematical infinite, irrational numbers, complex numbers, sets, mathematical axioms, the number systems, limits, the countable versus uncountable and Cantor's cardinals, the meaning of precision in physics and inductive generalizations, etc. These topics and Objectivist conceptions contrasted with conventional or popular views have been discussed and formulated at least since the 1960s.


  11. Washington Examiner

    If it's wet, EPA wants to regulate it

    By Ron Arnold | August 12, 2014

    Few outrages perpetrated by President Obamas Environmental Protection Agency can match its proposed rule titled Definition of Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act. It would remove navigable from American water law and take federal command of all waters of the United States, or WOTUS.

    It redefines waters as nearly everything that could get wet, including most of the land in America.

    Under WOTUS, every seasonal stream bed, puddle and ditch in the nation would be ruled by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers armed enforcers, bypassing Congress and sidestepping the U.S. Supreme Court in the process. Congress is helpless to stop it EPA-loving Democrats have a death grip on Senate bills and there arent the votes to override Obamas certain veto. The Supreme Court has twice struck down major pieces of the proposed rule, which the EPA blithely ignored and merely changed the words, hired scientific shills to patch over the flaws, and created this new

    EPA has been buying support from Big Green groups on water issues since at least 1994, which came to light in an inspector general report of three cooperative agreements to the Natural Resources Defense Council totaling $3,260,467 for storm water education and market transformation of energy efficient products from 1994 to 2005.

    The IG reported, We questioned $1,419,548 of reported outlays because [NRDC] did not maintain the necessary documentation to fully support the reported costs, as required by Federal regulations.

    Big Green foundations have been lusting after WOTUS power since the late 1990s. Foundation Search shows 74 Clean Water Act grants totaling $5,261,449 since 2002, Barack Obamas last year on the Joyce Foundation board (1994-2002). Joyce gave $220,000 in CWA-related grants, $100,000 of it to NRDC in 2002. NRDC received $705,000 in 13 CWA-related grants from four foundations.

    But dumbfounding as WOTUS is, thats not what makes this horror extraordinary. The fury ignited by WOTUS an entry in the Federal Register that could easily be ignored as just another technical bureaucratic maneuver is whats remarkable: Where the rule says water, a substantial public correctly hears land. They get it. They really get it.

    WOTUS strikes many as the most vicious land grab since Lenin returned to St. Petersburg. The EPAs intent, unlike its usual smokescreen of lies, is transparent. And that annoys people. It annoys them very, very much. Heres why I say that:

    In June, when Bob Stallman testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, it was no surprise that he told them, The bottom line is that the expansion of the waters regulated under the Clean Water Act has enormous implications for small business entities that the agencies have not considered, much less explained. EPA is deliberately misleading the regulated community.

    He was politely saying he was perfectly aware that WOTUS would give federal regulators unlimited power to dictate how farmers farm, and he didnt trust EPAs promise to exempt farmers irrigation ditches. Farmers can smell EPA land-grab lies even under a heap of WOTUS manure.

    Stallman told me at the time, Ive been farming for decades and I can tell you that ditches are meant to carry water. Ditches will be regulated under this rule!

    I discovered that the American Farm Bureau was taking steps to protect its 6 million member families in an astonishingly well-designed website called Ditch the Rule. Its a Farm Bureau effort with all the social media clickables, hashtags and tweet buttons, including Ditches & puddles are not navigable.#DitchTheRule and Congress, not federal agencies, makes the laws.#WOTUS, among others. (Full disclosure: I tweeted them all and got a lot of retweets.)

    The Farm Bureau is a trade association obligated to guard farmer interests, so the real surprise came in an email from an unrelated nonprofit that jumped in with a Ditch the Rule campaign of its own just because it was the right thing to do: the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, which usually deals with climate change, energy and poverty issues.

    I asked CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker about it. We almost didnt pick it up because it seemed off-target for our supporters, but with farmers taking on this huge WOTUS problem to save themselves, we just couldnt stand by and do nothing.

    Astonishingly, we only started our Ditch the Rule campaign two weeks ago and last week our Facebook page got over a million hits. Our supporters get it. WOTUS has hit a nerve in America, a really big nerve.

    I asked Mace Thornton, the Farm Bureaus communications executive director, whether he was aware that CFACT had joined the fray. He wasnt, but welcomed the help. Weve been encouraging our members to share their individual stories through social media and theyve responded overwhelmingly. Its good to know our reach is extending far beyond our organization. We know our work has only begun.

    The EPA is sweating. Theres a page on the EPA website trying lamely to discredit Farm Bureau facts. EPA should sweat. I sense an incipient mass movement targeting WOTUS. It is not inconceivable that fed-up citizens could appear on farms across the nation in peaceful protests to face down EPA enforcers and say, Ditch the Rule.

    RON ARNOLD, a Washington Examiner columnist, is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.


  12. I've been wondering why I haven't had a HDD crash in so many years. It appears that the manufacturer's have figured out a way to statistically separate out the drives headed for the consumer market from those headed for the government market. Apparently, all the ones with a greater likelihood of failure were sent to government bureaucrats.

    They keep the privately used ones running because you are storing data for NSA. Once NSA has its new storage facility in place that may no longer be necessary, but there will be a transition period during which they check that they have everything before letting your disk crash.


  13. Are you saying that if farmer Jones had started to use the stream flowing on his property to water his cows after AJ company had long been discharging the toxic waste water that Jones would have no legal recourse under an Objectivist ethics ?

    That's correct. In law, it is called the Doctrine of Coming to the Nuisance (link).

    Why would any court rule again AJ company if they had prior stream water use rights to legally discharge the wastes products derived from activities that resulted in productive actions, products to sell, jobs, etc ?

    The court shouldn't rule against the AJ Company.

    AJ company only has the right to pollute his own property, not his neighbours cows. Once the pollution moves off AJ's property, he should be held accountable for damages done by it. Unless one grants the government the right to allow some to do harm to others.

    Not so simple. If you build a house next to an airport, you can't then complain there's too much noise. If you build your house next to a garbage dump, don't complain about the smell.

    An example of this is people moving into a rural or semi-rural area where they like the scenic farms, then lobbying to stop the farmers from using fertilizer because they don't like the smell.

    Another one is the case of the timber companies with a prior use of rivers through the Maine woods to float the logs down to the ports where the logs were then transported by sea. The viros lobbied to change the laws to make it impossible for the timber companies to continue using the rivers -- which led to a network of roads for trucks which the viros also don't like -- they hate trucks, use of machinery in general, and the natural resources industry, especially in the forests these nature worshippers regard as their church under viro ethics. So they are trying to eliminate logging. Their constant clamor for collectivization of natural resources is intended for political control over everything. When they can control our water and other natural resources they have a stranglehold on everything.


  14. Even today there are private property rights in water, such as private wells relying on a supply of water from an aquifer, or use of the water in a stream flowing through private land, or rights to the water in a river for irrigation or cattle grazing (even on what is otherwise "public land" used under a Federal permit). There are also many examples of these rights being abrogated, especially by government refusal to acknowledge them through laws annihilating the rights or outright bureaucratic decrees.

    The recent Hage case in the Supreme Court, for example, reaffirmed water rights used for cattle where BLM bureaucrats had denied them and had literally harassed and persecuted the owner through incredible abuse over a period of many years. The water rights were re-established. Nothing could be done to compensate for the loss or the extreme violation of rights through personal abuse of the owners.

    The viros have been responsible for the abuse as they try to collectivize all natural resources, including land, water and minerals.

    The most recent threat is the Obama EPA, which is run by viros, attempting to exploit control over water in the name of preventing "pollution" to establish Federal land use controls everywhere. For decades they have been extending the meaning of the Clean Water Act, which pertains to "navigable waters of the United States", to control land near any stream, pond, mud puddle and "wetland" (which are often perfectly dry). The Supreme Court beat them back a few years ago, Congress refused to give them what they want, and the EPA is now in the process of making new "rules" to do it anyway under the imperial presidency of Obama and his "pen" as he legislates what he wants.


  15. Ayn Rand held that in a free society all property is privately owned. A right is moral principle sanctioning freedom of action in a social context. A property right in particular is the right of use and disposal.

    In a free society a proper government must be limited in its functions. The citizens are free to act in accordance with their rights and are limited only in what they cannot do -- because of laws protecting the rights of all individuals. The government -- as an institution that operates by force -- is limited to doing only what it can and must do. It does not act by freedom and has no "rights". A government that acts through "freedom"of government officials in the name of "rights" to do what they want is tyranny.

    Limited government functions require that government have control over limited amounts of property such as some buildings and the land they are on. It can only use that property in accordance with its required, proper functions, for example as an office, jail or fort. It does not act by "right" and has no freedom of action do whatever it wants with the property. It may hold the deed to legally establish its control over a particular property, but it has no property rights. Again, in a proper society all property is privately owned. That is the only form of ownership rights permitted.

    The notion of government "owning" property on behalf of "the people" is collectivism antithetical to Ayn Rand's principles of ethics and political philosophy. Collective "ownership" or government "ownership" is not owning property at all; it is a lack of ownership. When the government "owns" something, no one owns it. Government control over resources in the name of "ownership" is the opposite of property rights.

    It may make sense for a number of specific people, for example along a stream or road, to share ownership in some form, such as the right of passage, through joint ownership. There may be a legal partnership or corporation responsible for maintenance. That is an application of property rights and is distinct from government control in the name of collective ownership by "the people".


  16. Burgess' statement, repeated by RohinGupta, claimed that with Ayn Rand's theory of universals as objective concepts "one could -- given genius and time -- recreate Objectivism even if all of Ayn Rand's other writings were lost". It is not true for the reasons explained, and has nothing to do with respect for Burgess' studies of Aristotle, which is not the topic. It makes no more sense than claiming that Ayn Rand's philosophy could be "recreated" from "A is A", or that all of physics could be "recreated" from any one principle of logic. Trying to personalize this with a deflection into "condemnation" of alleged "disrespect" doesn't change that.


  17. Here is an important quote on this text by Burgess Laughlin from prior study group.

    "Ch. 2 is perhaps one of the most important sections of all of Ayn Rand's writings. Here she introduces the reader to her solution to the problem of universals.

    The main point here is that concepts are objective, that is, they are drawn logically from sense-perceptible facts of reality. This is the core concept in Objectivism, and it is the concept that gives the philosophy its name. With this discovery, one could-- given genius and time -- recreate Objectivism even if all of Ayn Rand's other writings were lost."

    Ayn Rand's philosophy is not rationalistically derived from a theory of universals and the philosophy cannot be recreated from it. All of her philosophy requires the facts within the particular relevant subject matter. Most of her philosophy was presented long before IOE, and the observations and explanations she provided in her essays were not expressed in terms of it.

    The significance of her theory of concepts was specifically as a theory of concepts for epistemology, and as a validation of reason, on which her whole philosophy is based as a method and a requirement for man's survival.

    The terminology "objective", as opposed to the intrinsic and subjective, has specific meaning within all the branches of her philosophy. "Objective ethics", "objective art", etc. does not mean objective universals, and that in turn, does not by itself give the philosophy its name. See, for example, OPAR and the lectures on Objectivism at the end of the history of western philosophy series for the meaning and significance of "objective" in Ayn Rand's philosophy.

    The above statement is based on long study by Burgess of evolution of ideas of Aristotle. How various discoveries in science and politics in Enlightenment were the result of epistemological ideas of Organon becoming dominant in culture in various forms during enlightenment.

    While each subject has its own scope of facts, real challenge lies in organizing these facts to form terms and principles of the subject. And as is shown in DIM hypothesis, its epistemology that governs this organization. So while "Objective Ethics" and "Objective Arts" have different content, method of organizing them is "essentially same". For e.g. facts available to writers of American Constitution, Magna Carta, and Communist Manifesto were same. Its how they interpreted and organized these facts that made the difference.

    Burgess can study Aristotle until the cows come home (which he apparently has), but knowing Ayn Rand's theory of universals won't recreate the rest of her philosophy. That isn't the way she did it and is not the way she presented it for others to understand.

    An emphasis on the importance of her epistemology of concept formation is good, but it concerns method, not the content of the rest of her principles and philosophy. The statement that with Ayn Rand's theory of universals as objective concepts "one could-- given genius and time -- recreate Objectivism even if all of Ayn Rand's other writings were lost" is not true and is no better than trying to "recreate" her philosophy from "A is A" or any other principle. It would take a lot more than that. Claiming otherwise is very misleading in implying a rationalist approach.


  18. Here is an important quote on this text by Burgess Laughlin from prior study group... The main point here is that concepts are objective, that is, they are drawn logically from sense-perceptible facts of reality. This is the core concept in Objectivism, and it is the concept that gives the philosophy its name. With this discovery, one could-- given genius and time -- recreate Objectivism even if all of Ayn Rand's other writings were lost."

    Ayn Rand's philosophy is not rationalistically derived from a theory of universals and the philosophy cannot be recreated from it. All of her philosophy requires the facts within the particular relevant subject matter. Most of her philosophy was presented long before IOE, and the observations and explanations she provided in her essays were not expressed in terms of it.

    The significance of her theory of concepts was specifically as a theory of concepts for epistemology, and as a validation of reason, on which her whole philosophy is based as a method and a requirement for man's survival.

    The terminology "objective", as opposed to the intrinsic and subjective, has specific meaning within all the branches of her philosophy. "Objective ethics", "objective art", etc. does not mean objective universals, and that in turn, does not by itself give the philosophy its name. See, for example, OPAR and the lectures on Objectivism at the end of the history of western philosophy series for the meaning and significance of "objective" in Ayn Rand's philosophy.

    Also, Ayn Rand's epistemology cannot be formulated in terms reduced to the language of computer programming and sets, which she rejected. She admired the precision of mathematics but rejected modern philosophy of mathematics as abysmal. This has been discussed on the Forum previously.


  19. More in the pattern of lawless government hiding incriminating evidence:

    All The President’s Missing Hard Drives
    July 23, 2014 Matt Wolking

    It’s not just one careless agency. It’s not just a couple isolated incidents:

    • A Federal Election Commission (FEC) attorney who engaged in partisan political activities while on the job admitted to violating the Hatch Act and agreed to resign. But when “the FEC's Office of Inspector General began the process of filing criminal charges … it found that the agency had destroyed her computer's hard drive before it could be seized.” (Daily Mail)
    • Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) "Administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed to the House Oversight Committee … that her staff is unable to provide lawmakers all of the documents they have requested … because of a 2010 computer crash.” (The Hill)
    • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims to have lost emails belonging to former official Lois Lerner after her hard drive crashed, as well as “six other IRS employees whose hard drives had also crashed. One of those six employees was particularly important: Nikole Flax, who had worked as chief of staff to the former head of the IRS. Flax was known to be involved in discussions about the tea party targeting.” (CNN)
    • IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane testified last week that “less than 20” additional IRS officials “have had computer problems over the course of the period covered by the investigations and the chairman’s subpoena.” (Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)

    Full article and links


  20. Lawsuit Seeks Damages From EPA, ‘A Toxic Waste Dump of Lawlessness’

    July 25, 2014 - 10:36 AM

    (CNSNews.com) – A conservative legal group is asking a federal judge to punish the Environmental Protection Agency for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages requested in August 2012 under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The Landmark Legal Foundation believes the requested -- but never delivered -- messages to outside groups would have revealed EPA attempts to influence the 2012 presidential election.

    "The EPA is a toxic waste dump for lawlessness and disdain for the Constitution,” said Landmark Legal President Mark Levin.

    His legal group wants the federal court to fine the EPA “in an amount sufficient to deter future wrongdoing.”

    Landmark Legal also is asking the judge to appoint an independent monitor to ensure that EPA is properly preserving and searching for all records that fall under Landmark’s original FOIA request...

    “When any federal agency receives a FOIA request, the statute says it must preserve every significant repository of records, both paper and electronic, that may contain materials that could be responsive to that request,” Levin said. “When an agency gets sued it must also notify everyone who might be involved in the suit to preserve everything in their possession that could be discoverable in the litigation.

    "But the people at the EPA, from the Administrator on down, think they’re above the law, that no one has the right to question what or how they do their jobs. Well, they’re wrong. The laws apply to everyone, even federal bureaucrats.”...

    "EPA didn’t and doesn’t care, an attitude that it has carried into every aspect of its dealings with Landmark," the lawsuit says. "EPA has treated Landmark as an adversary from the receipt of its FOIA request, not as a rightful participant in a FOIA regime as enforcing principles of open government subject to oversight by its citizens."

    This is the second time Landmark Legal has sought sanctions against the EPA in FOIA litigation.

    In 2003, the Agency was held in contempt by a federal judge for destroying email backup tapes in a similar suit over “midnight” regulations hurried into law in the final days of the Clinton Administration. In that case, the EPA was fined nearly $300,000...

    Full article