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Everything posted by jacassidy2

  1. Libertarian-Socialism

    A post on a philosophy forum advocated this new philosophy that sounded like communities in the style of convents or other groups with a specific value system that is agreed on and is held above general human identity of individual striving for values. I tried to define these two concepts and discuss why they were incompatible, but somewhat similar in their lack of recognition of the reality of human identity. 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
  2. Apples are not apples.

    Yup, I see your point and it's the category of premise I thought I might get by asking the question here. Thank you.
  3. 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. Thanks for any time you spend on this. Jack
  4. I've studied Objectivism, off and on, for over 30 years. Today I was answering a question and realized something I can't believe I missed because of my myopic view of the re-affirmation by denial process and its place in the affirmation, not proof, of axioms. (Axioms needing no proof) Existence exists - any counter claim must use this premise to formulate a denial. Consciousness exists - denials must accept this axiom and the first to make the denial. Identity is existence - entities do not exist independent of their attributes. Identity exists because, to be, is to be something. Existence and identity live together, but aspects of identity can be studied independent of the entities that possess them. Color, shape, size, etc. can be studied. I've always treated consciousness as an entity with the identity of sense data, perception, and reason. It seems to be wrong. Consciousness is an identity of some organisms that comes from other of their identities like sense data, perception, and reason. This revelation seems like a big deal and I wonder why I never noticed it before?
  5. Potential Revelation

    If consciousness is an identity, not an entity - this supports all the Objectivist arguments against the dichotomies of brain/body, body/soul, and even primacy of existence/consciousness. Did I just miss this over so many years of self-study?
  6. Does anyone have a take on Chalmer's dichotomy of consciousness into areas we will be able to know scientifically and areas we will never know? Seems similar to the idea, addressed years ago by Peikoff, that you may be seeing green while I see yellow. There the answer is essentially, so what, the reality is the same, there may or may not be differences in sense organs and the neurology of perception, but that difference doesn't change objective reality. Bats don't perceive color with their sonar and humans don't perceive 3D shape with their noses. We evolve to take advantage of data in our environment in different ways, but humans have reason, and that changes the sensory ballgame. We can think and create and "see" quarks. With humans, it's more complex because we can think in abstracts, and so, form complex concepts. But how does that relate to understanding the summary of sense perception that is awareness? How can we compare awareness? I think we do every moment of every day,,,,,,,,,,,, but, metaphysically, what do we say to Chalmer.
  7. Nature of Time

    When Penrose, Hawking, and others talk about the beginning of something in a black hole or the big bang, they state that these theories include the idea of the beginning of time. My question is, what is the beginning of time? What is time, a function of human consciousness, a variable in equations involving the speed of light, an undiscovered constant, etc? When we talk of space-time, what could it mean objectively?
  8. Trying To Teach

    I retired so, I've spent the last year studying more - Objectivism and general western philosophy. I post in a general philosophy forum - answering original posts and starting new ones based on fundamental ideas, metaphysics and epistemology. It's odd how most participants just dismiss metaphysics, thinking its new definition is, "ideas that cannot be explained by physics"- sort of like a synonym for the paranormal. Gosh, how bad it has become. Connotation vs. denotation? This distinction should not exist in metaphysics. And so, I have decided for now, based on this experience, that the current enemy is pragmatism. I know that this way of thinking is not a primary (Kant and then Plato came before) but I think it is the underpinning of everything I see in the arguments I am trying to counter. I know that appeals against pure rationalism or pure empiricism are the meat of the counter-argument. Peikoff's latest book did a great job of integrating the ideas in philosophy into concepts that can be examined in the context of each other and of historical philosophy ideas. I'm guessing someone will take Peikoff's work and use it to integrate even beyond Peikoff's conclusions. The sign of a great work. Senses, integration into percepts, abstraction into concepts, integration/abstraction into higher concepts - it seems so obvious, especially when you reduce it to the adult/equivalent of the development of a human infant mind. And so, EVO, Betsy, and others I respect - what should we do? I need a reasonable direction.
  9. Why Does Health Care Cost So Much?

    This is a copy of a post I made in another philosophy forum. The thread was started by a man who asked about whether people who made bad choices that had influence on their health should be given access to health care. Yea, it was scary. I responded with a post about how, in a free market, insurers would most likely specialize in the categories of people who made different lifestyle choices and how that would be better than a government system that attempted to make social policy. The thread continued with lots of side comments about the cost of health care and the need to figure out a system of resource allocation, and all the other BS you would expect. No one asked why? Why the cost has gone up so much? So I responded and I reproduce it here - so if I made an error in my rush to post, one of you will catch it. Hey, I'm not an intellectual coward - I'm a student. ________________________________________________________________________________________ THE POST ________________________________________________________________________________________ It might be instructive to ask why health care has become so expensive? America chose not to go for a universal government-based system like Canada or Great Britain. Did America choose the free market? No, we chose a mixed system and that choice has consequences. The knowledge gained by analysis may help future generations make better choices. Increases in science and technology have certainly had a significant influence on cost, but decisions to implement new discoveries, to make them practice protocols, are made for reasons outside the sciences - and so, this category is as much effect as it is cause in the question of cost increases. That is, that this reason for cost increase has a more fundamental cause. Increases in malpractice suits are often blamed, but their direct effect is not mathematically significant. What is significant is the increases in medical costs based on medical professionals doing more work. In an effort to avoid malpractice, professionals order more tests, more procedures, more drugs, etc. But again, this fact is not a primary cause of increase costs because it is dependent on patient ability to pay. Like technology, there must be a more basic reason for cost increases that allowed the influence of this secondary cause. Remember that in a free market, the price for goods and services is based on the millions of decisions made by buyers and sellers - the average of these interactions becomes the "fair" price. The buyer thinks, "is it worth it in comparison to other values I might purchase with my limited resources," and the seller thinks, "should I sell it now or wait for a better price later," and so many other value judgments on each side of the transaction. Now, ask yourself what would happen to the price of a good or service if both the buyer and seller knew that payment would be made by a third-party not directly involved in the transaction? Two events in history have interrupted the natural pricing process described above. These events are directly responsible for the increases in health care costs and are the proximate cause of the influence of indirect cost increase sources like malpractice and technology. The first event was government wage and price controls during WWII and beyond. Employers having to compete for labor during government wage controls, offered lower and lower deductibles on medical plans when the law forbade wage increases. It also caused more employers to offer medical benefits at all. This policy created a trend and expectations in labor markets. The second event was the advent of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960's. Recall or note that the out-of-pocket costs for the recipients of these benefits is pretty small just like employer provided health insurance benefits. If you've ever seen a graph of medical cost acceleration over time, you will note that the late 1960's is the time when the slope of the curve increases dramatically. These two events separated the buyer and seller in health care. The cost, being absorbed by a third-party, was no longer a concern to the buyer or the seller. This is a clear historical example of the threat posed by a mixed economy. Managed-care, HMO's, peer-reviews, and Obama Care are only a few of the attempts to stop the runaway inflation that occurs when you take away the natural concerns of buyers and sellers. Almost all of the reasons given for the increases in health care costs can be logically linked to the two events described above. Some will say, "if you'd adopted a health care system like Canada or Great Britain, you'd have avoided the problems." But that's another thread, isn't it?" ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Thanks for taking the time to read this essay and thank you for any comments. Jack
  10. Tell me why it's a waste of my time. Tell me I am not the one to do it because others have Objectivist ideas more internalized than myself. Tell me to go get a real job. All true. After a toe in the water, I may agree. But, I have to try. I'm using public philosophy forums to introduce Objectivist ideas. Oh No! A fan of Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead espousing ethical ideas without an understanding of their metaphysical or epistemological basis. Yea I know, keep reading. My plan is to answer posts in general philosophy forums - choosing threads that are ripe for Objectivist Theory. I've been doing just that for about 6 months. My experience has been mostly terrible and tedious, but over this time I have also attracted a following of about eight individuals that are beginning to wonder, to re-examine their pragmatic or positivist ideas. People with knowledge of philosophy, who initially posted contrary views but who, over time, began to ask the right questions. I began to think, what would happen over a longer period? Is the web an important conduit? The purpose of this first essay is to invite ideas contrary to the proposed attempt. This is contact #1. I've got a couple of essays ready to copy as posts to this website when the original post lends itself to a basic Objectivist idea. Why post this on Betsy's website? Because I don't figure I know it all when it comes to Miss Rand's ideas. As you will discover, I have studied. But, I know, some of you have too. So, tear me up, so I can edit the ideas I plan to post in general forums. Give me your ideas and edit if you think the time you spend is worth it. Here is an example: The post below appeared as is in a philosophy forum.----------------------------- This opening post came from another thread. A poster asked me a question and I thought it would be best to answer it in a new thread. Thanks to Andrew and thanks to the several others in the old thread, those who spent time to think before they wrote - we had several. The question is as follows: Andrewk wrote, . . . let me identify another example of assertion without substantiation, and ask if you know of any way to substantiate it. Ayn Rand attempts to dismiss Hume's is/ought problem as follows: Ayn Rand wrote: “In answer to those philosophers who claim that no relation can be established between ultimate ends or values and the facts of reality, let me stress that the fact that living entities exist and function necessitates the existence of values and of an ultimate value which for any given living entity is its own life. Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do. So much for the issue of the relation between “is” and “ought.” This paragraph is a couple of disconnected assertions and observations, followed by an unsupported assertion, which I have highlighted. Are you able to discern anything in the speech that a logician would recognize as a valid argument, that supports that assertion? Hume's work on ethics is one of the most comprehensive of any historical period. Remember, you asked only about the is/ought distinction and a representative analysis within the framework of Objectivism. First, my disclosure that I am not a spokesman or representative of any person or group. To attempt the argument you ask for (Hume's is/ought distinction), I have to establish some ground rules – these are the logical presuppositions that so many of the people who comment in these threads say that Miss Rand never makes (she does, but many don't take the time to STUDY them). (I think you make the same distinction that I do between reading and studying). You also have to look at the philosophical history that motivated Hume's conclusions in order to distinguish from the several interpretations that philosophical commentators have offered because Hume's is/ought distinction is controversial and has lots of interpretations. A student of Objectivism is not going to give you the “logician . . .valid argument” you asked for because, I expect, you are asking for a formulation that Objectivism rejects. The Objectivist Theory of Concepts rejects all the forms of logical argument based on the historic dichotomy between analytic and synthetic truth, necessary and contingent truth, factual and empirical truth, or a priori and a posteriori truth. All of these distinctions in the history of western philosophy are based on the original Platonic idea of primary and secondary aspects of identity and the Aristotelian idea of potentiality and actuality, which brings the issue of “Cause and Effect” into this false distinction. It's all about the age old Problem of Universals. This Objectivist rejection is based on the recognition that all facts about entities, defining and not, are logically subsumed under any concept that integrates those entities (and under its auditory/visual symbol, a word) – WHY? Because in originating a concept you use all the characteristics of the entities (within the context of your present knowledge) to first differentiate, and then to integrate (abstract). This fact is true of a young child first learning or of an adult recognizing a new fact that requires either an adjective or adverb to be added to the word that represents the concept, a change to the meaning of the concept, or the creation of a new concept. The fact that you choose a subset of at least two facts (the genus and species) to arrive at a definition does not change the fact that each concept is induced from all facts true of the existent (known and unknown) and applies by deduction to all concrete entities that mean the concept (past, present, and future). If the propositions in this paragraph were not true, man would not be able to abstract beyond concepts that had only ostensive definitions. That is, concepts that are directly reducible to entities in existence. I wouldn't call this an axiom, but, maybe we need an idea in epistemology, similar to an axiom in metaphysics, to stand for this kind of process that is verifiable by the evidence of your senses (in this epistemological case, the evidence of consciousness' introspection). If you wonder about the explanation of the idea on context of knowledge, or the idea of identity, known and unknown, it takes its own essay to explain. And the posters in the prior Rand thread said her stuff is too simplistic. After studying these last two paragraphs, can you see how a serious thinker who believes Miss Rand has hit on the truth of how humans reason, correct or not, might - sigh - every time a person says Miss Rand's ideas are not real philosophy, or that there is no logic to her premises – especially when the comment is made by one who then goes on to explain that the truth of epistemology is contained in language convention or that ethics is based on what worked in the last similar concrete encounter you had? David Hume was, in some sense, a desperate culmination of concern that had been stewing since the Dark Ages (that ca. 500 year period from about 600 to 1100 AD), the period during which the Neo-Platonic ideas of Plotinus and Augustine had led the Church to a central role that erased the human gains (faults too, I'm speaking generally) that took place in ancient Greece and then Rome. I read in one of Hume's private letters that, when he got to the pub to play cards and have a drink in the real world, after working hard writing all day, he couldn't understand the sense of his own theoretical writing as it applied to human life. Under his formulations, even he, a great thinker, questioned the link between his ideas and the real world. While Hume rejected the metaphysical mysticism of Descartes and the Rationalist school, and the same premise expressed in the Empirical School (Locke, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Berkeley), he was not able to establish an alternative metaphysics and epistemology that could be a rational basis for ethics. And so philosophy had broken into two school, those who concentrate on reason and those that concentrate on sense perception, the Rationalists and the Empiricists. After Kant tried to tell us that, while there are no innate ideas, no innate conscious content; there is innate consciousness process – an epistemological substitute for his lack of biologic/neurological knowledge; the primacy of consciousness over existence, so prevalent in Hume, became entrenched in western philosophy and metaphysics was mostly abandoned. Without a consistent metaphysics, there can be no connection between the facts of existence (independent of consciousness) and any ethical system man might devise. So like many before and after Hume, consciousness must become a creator of facts. That is the “ought” in his system, while the “is” is reality, which is not knowable, because he rejects reason. He rejects it because he cannot find a link between his empiricism (knowledge based on sense perception) and Descartes rationalism (knowledge based on the unknown identity of reason). You still think Objectivism is founded on illogical and simplistic principles? Objectivism says man's consciousness is a faculty for coordinating the data from the senses (perception), and the unique ability to take that information, differentiate and integrate, abstract, and create and use concepts. The primaries are the evidence of the senses (the facts of reality) and the functions of perception and reason. Hume treated man's will like a new independent aspect of consciousness. He argued that man's will had a direct cause and effect relationship with his “motivating passions.” Today we say “emotions.” He went on to say, therefore, that reason alone “can never oppose passion in the control of the will.” In Hume's ethics, man's will has an existence of its own, separate from reason. He substituted his erroneous understanding of emotions for the aspect of man's awareness that he thought he had to defeat because he knew Descartes was wrong – reason. Using today's language Hume says this; you can't know what “is” (external reality) and you can't control your emotions (which control your actions), so morality requires that you concentrate on the “ought.” Not what you want to do based on your uncontrolled biological imperative, but what you “ought” to do because you know it's right. What does this distinction imply? How can a man determine the “ought” without using his reason? What is the relationship between sense perception and reason? So Hume digs a trench and then puts reality on one side and man's system of values on the other. He rejected the dichotomy between reality and man's needs offered by Christian mysticism, only to tell us that the divide is empirically true but based on secular truth, with the familiar aroma of science that came from Galileo, Tycho Brae, Kepler, etc. David Hume was an incredibly smart guy for his time – a great contributor to philosophy and historical literature. But, he was wrong, and like so many before and after him, in the realm of ethics, he failed because his metaphysics and epistemology had no basis in fact. In closing, Andrewk asked about the quote by Miss Rand that is repeated in the beginning of this OP. I hope I have given the facts required for you to answer it on your own. The world exists - it exists, each individual entity – my body, my life, my mind, all the other stuff out there. Each entity in unison with itself, as a unique whole, with its characteristics, its identity. All that stuff, you and the world around you, is there. Don't you think you should increase your knowledge of what's there and what you are? Shouldn't you use that knowledge to decide, “what is right and wrong, what should I do and not do, if I want to stay here for the most amount of time that the facts of my existence gives me?” Andrewk highlighted Miss Rand's quote, The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do It is not easy to think through the symbiotic relationship between metaphysics and epistemology for human beings. It's much easier to argue about language conventions than to study the process of concept-formation – introspection is difficult when you're looking for primary ideas. I gave an answer in this post. Did you catch the answer? Thanks, Jack
  11. Manifesto on Essays for the Masses in General Forums

    Wow, I wondered whether I had made an error answering Andrew and then reprinting my response here. I've realized I'm only an Objectivist student even though I've spent so much time studying over the years. I knew I was not the best to answer Andrew's objections, but I was there. I like Betsy's idea of refer to the master and that WI speech is one of the best. If a guy reads that and doesn't get it, what else can you do? But, these people are so invested in the pragmatism, logical positivism, and linguistic analysis that they learned in school, that, I think they are loath to cash it in for a new way of thikning. They don't see the argument because their prior emotional investment is in the way. What I'm getting in the general philosophy site is what "EWV" is describing - a request for a "logical analysis" which I think means only the linguistic format for many of them. EWV, are you saying that that request is a fallacy based in Rationalism? That a person promoting Objectivism can keep to the conversational style and hope the listeners understand the individual concepts used - enough to get the point? Or can I take the proper axioms (existence/identity and consciousness) and then construct an argument in the linguistic equivalent of the symbolic logic these people expect? I ask this because, if you read my response to Andrew, you will note I started from the basics, and still, no one accepted the argument based on format. Thanks, this is great. Jack
  12. Manifesto on Essays for the Masses in General Forums

    Thanks for the time you spent considering and answering my post. I didn't address his concern directly and then refer him to what I know is the best explanation out there. That course of action would have been better. I made another error too. I equated the analytic-synthetic dichotomy with the process of logical argument generally. I mixed up process with content. I think I allowed my desire to test my understanding of Mr. Peikoff's essay to interfere with my desire to answer Andrewk's question. I have a lot more work to do and you and several others from your site are providing effective comments. Thanks Again, Jack
  13. First, my thanks to forum member, “EWV,” for the suggestion of Mr. Peikoff's two lecture series' on the history of western philosophy. My modest awareness of the philosophers covered is much enhanced after studying these lectures. I also tried (again, because I had made unsuccessful attempts in my youth) to read a few of the more famous primary sources of Hume, Kant, Peirce, Russell and others. I was discouraged by the esoteric use of language in these writings and wanted to present my thoughts to see if there was any agreement with my conclusions among the people who read this forum. In retirement I have re-studied Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. I think it reads with a clear and precise use of language. I can't read it casually, but I think that anyone with even a modest education, and the right motivation, should be able to understand Miss Rand's analysis and arguments. I cannot compliment the other philosophers I listed above for the clarity of their work. I have lots of trouble reading the majority of original philosophical works. The process usually goes like this: I read a section and think, this seems important, but I'm not certain I understand what this guy is saying. So I fall back and read a commentary or two, study some more, (must have a dictionary too) and at some point the “light bulb” appears and usually I think two things. First, “he can't really mean that,” and then “I could have explained that same idea in plain language so that most people could understand it.” Forget for now the irony of the problem that, once you think you have figured out what the guy meant, now you wonder if you're still mistaken in your study because what you think he's saying is so bizarre. (This was my assessment of Kant's Phenomenal vs. Noumenal world. I had to keep studying because I figured he couldn't just be going back to Plato.) Why do these guys use language in such a way as to make it so difficult to understand? I'm not talking only about translational or historic-cultural differences, I'm talking about using the language badly – and in more modern, peer-reviewed works, the editors must not think the use of language is that bad, so what does that say. I raised this objection in a post on a more general philosophy forum. I ended the post with the opinion that if a reasonably motivated and modestly educated person couldn't understand what, say, C.S. Peirce had to say about epistemology, then what good was the truth or falsehood of his conclusions? I received many responses and every one was of the same type. They all questioned my intellectual capacity, education, or motivation. One guy responded with this metaphor (I paraphrase); it seems like you're complaining about the steepness of the mountain you want to climb. Using Miss Rand's analysis of the Metaphysical vs. the Man-Made - I responded that the mountain he was using in his metaphor was not a feature created by geological forces, but by men, and I wondered about their purpose in making the mountain harder to climb than seemed necessary to me - I got no further responses. In grad school, studying biology, we read style manuals and had classes in proper language form for peer-reviewed publication. Brevity and clarity were the goals. So my question to you. Am I just being lazy in my complaints about philosophy writing? Surely Miss Rand and Mr. Peikoff cannot be the only ones who prize common language skills? And what would you say to the idea that philosophers (given the nature of their subject) should be even more motivated than natural scientists, to make their ideas accessible to people outside their profession? Thanks, Jack
  14. Yeah, businessmen are heartless

    I don't get the purpose of this thread. Is it a materialistic celebration of Miss Rand's ethics? If I'm correct, then you don't get it. Am I out in left field, I don't get the motivation. What is the point of celebrating the truth, arn't you happy that it is true? I hope people answer this post cause I'm missing something.
  15. Free will--another axiom?

    If you have a consciousness, and you conceive it, it is true? If you have will, it must be free, by definition and the identity of awareness? Come on, we're talking about axioms, don't be so cryptic. I've read your posts and I'm interested in your exposed view as much as your attempt to post a teaching tool.
  16. On Ayn Rand on Racism

    When I read the OP I was a little shocked. I've read the entire thread now and thought about it over several days. I don't have some enlightened comment, but maybe a quick thought that occured to me based on Miss Rand's quote posted by Betsy - and, then a question or two. I think the idea presented in the next paragraph was inferred by other posters, I'll try to make it explicit. First, assume the referenced studies on intelligence vs. brain size or race vs, I.Q. are valid. Certainly, some are and perhaps some are not, but that doesn't have an affect on the point I'd like to throw into the mix. When we do these studies and if the sample size is appropriate, the results can be shown by the familiar bell-curve. The data has a mathematical mean, but the data spreads over a much wider range because we are dealing with a population with incredible individual variation in the genetic basis for the physical organs involved, and in the environmental effects on each tested individual. If you were then to super-impose the distribution curves of separately studied populations over each other, you would find a large area of overlap. That is, that the various correlations among brain size, I.Q., and race may be statistically significant, but that doesn't make them significant in the sense of an individual human's cognative ability. You could get similar results using brain size or I.Q. versus geographic location, altitude of the home habitat, rural vs. urban, differences in infant diet, etc. forever. My point is, that from a values perspective, what is the point of the original post (OP). CAVEAT - My examples above are very simplistic - a real scientist would be using some type of "multivarient" regressive statistical technique to include the potential effects of variables not in the hypothesis. That is, that in trying to investigate the correlation of variables you may have interest in, you need to also measure and analyze as many other potentially relevant variables as well. But this is not a science forum so I'll stop. I get the desire to put a stop to using words and, more critically, the concepts they represent, as tools of disintegration for some desire in politics or social engineering. Is that the motivation of the OP and all the subsequent responses? I'd like to know what motivated the original post. Is there some other epistemological or ethical principle involved here - something I have missed? A Summary - I'm not a racist for recognizing differences in populations based on genetics, I'm a racist for giving it any significance in the areas of values, virtues, or ethics.
  17. Language Use in Western Philosophy

    Yea, that was my first thought too. But do you really believe that all these guys knew a truth that had yet to be revealed and used inefficient language to hide this fact? I think there's something going on, but I'm not convinced that it's a conspiracy. I think it's more likely that it is a sub-cultural thing about the element in which these guys found themselves (or find themselves today). Miss Rand's adverbs and adjectives when composing sentences about people like Kant, indicated that she thought there was an evil motivation inherent in the work. I wonder.
  18. Objectivist Dropouts

    WONDERFUL, Not just Betsy's OP but what it sparked - More sense data for consideration. For me, I get the idea that young people latch on during the separation phase from their parents and then, the skeptics say, they smarten up. Truth, they don't smarten up, they fade off into nowhere, which may include graduate school in philosophy - mostly into pragmatism and existentialism. I know why I came across Objectivism in college but then, still cling at age 58 - it was the metaphysics and epistemology. The ethics got me as a kid and the met/ep got me forever. I was not a philosopher then, but I think I am now in retirement. I read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology at about age 22 in grad school while trying to figure out true knowledge and after reading all the Rand fiction and available non-fiction. (AT least I think so, does the timing work out right?) It was her analysis of concept fromation, abstraction, concepts of consciousness, and Peikoff's work on the A/S dichotomy that hooked me. RESTATE: not the authors, but the ideas. Txs for this opportunity to speak Betsy.
  19. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

    WONDERFUL, Just don't change the tune please.
  20. Judge my Answer

    http://forums.philosophyforums.com/threads/do-analytic-truths-as-traditionally-understood-make-any-sense-63250.html Ignore all formatting. I don't know the source, but everything I post to this message, interrupts the basic format - spaces, fonts, etc. I don't get it but want to convey this idea. The Beginning, Hey, A big request you may reasonably ignore because it will take a lot of time to answer with reason. I answered a bad post from a Philosophy Forum and wondered if I got it right. The copy from the other site is causing me all kinds of problems in transfer to our site, so I hope you will forgive the bad formatting and look to the link above as the origin of this post which I try to answer below. Look at my answer and tear it apart so I might learn. He asked a question about the primacy of analytic truths on a Philosophy Forum and I couldn't resist. He sounded like a new student, with a good mind, who was confused by the system at his University. The only benefit I could receive is to have people, more knowledgable than me about Objectivism, comment on my response. The original post is linked above and my response is below. Please tear me apart in the response. I need to confirm what I believe is my understanding of Aristotilian metaphysics; add Objectivist corrections too. I am a student, Thanks, Jack The original post asked how analytic truths had any validity if they were based on definitions. The old idea of, it only answers itself, if it involves only senses and not reason, and, therefore, doesn't reveal knowledge. ********************************************************************************************************** Below is my answer. The gaps are an attempt to give structure to the different fonts and spaces. This program seems to have a mind of it's own and I can't figure it out. &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& Above is the introduction and below is the answer I gave to the poster. I hope you can figure it all out. This is weird but may be worth it if you read my response. &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&& Yes, but how did the definition's originator figure it out? What is the human origin of any of the Analytic Truths you describe. The same way you did as a child. You made the abstraction (recognizing from your senses, the similarities and ignored the differences) involving - dog, cat, bat, beetle, and man - you decided, animal; you induced a concept. You added cattail, sponge, bacteria and induced the "living stuff "concept. You then took the "living stuff" concept you induced from several independent investigations and noticed thru your senses that they all die. You then Deduced man is mortal. You have reasoned thru induction and deduction the facts of reality and you have gone back and forth all your life. Aristotle liked to say, (this is a re-statement) I don't know all of the how or why it works the way it does, but it is a fact you know because you can think yourself doing it - Some axioms are purely empirical and others are purely reason-based. In either case, you know it is true from experience. (There may be an error in this statement.) You now have been taught to take the subset of characteristics that are defining to each entity you think about and call them "Analytic." Defining means charateristics that, in total and no more, combined, distinguish each entity. This almost always requires two terms, a genus and a species or differentia. That is a character that identifies the class and then a character that is specific to the entity being defined. It's important to not be too specific and not too general. Reason is an acquired skill. Can you see that you might pick a character that was not essential, but based on a more basic character - the more basic character may be more appropriate in the context of your definition. After you determine this definition, you note that it doesn't tell you all of the characteristcs of the entity and you list all the other things that are true of your subject. The characteristics that are not part of the definition are still true of the entity if you were careful, but they are not defining and are called "Synthetic." That's called the Analytic/Synthetic Dichotomy and now my post becomes what most would call opinion, because many thinkers disagree. They say that Analytic truths are true because of the evidence of your senses and Synthetic truths require reason - Aristotle says, so what. Then you get two groups of thinkers. Empiricists want to invalidate your reason in favor of you senses and Rationalists want to invalidate your senses in favor of your reason. This crap has been going on since before Christ, back to the ancient greeks. The amazing truth is that we're still debating it. The difference between these Analytic and Synthetic identities is, to me, a lack of recognition of the method of human reason. The characteristics of entities exist independent of our consciousness. Humans make sense of the world by sensing reality, but they are also able to recognize similarities among entities and to ignore the differences - and in doing so, the process of abstraction - they can think in concepts. At some point these concepts can be used to retrace, by deduction and additional sense data, the process you used to arrive at the meaning of the original concept. If you were inconsistent, you'll see it unless it requires a characteristic that is yet to be discovered - you then hold on to your knowledge and continue searching and thinking until you arrive at a logically provable conclusion. The best system that evolution has yet found; except, that this system, does not guarantee that humans can perceive it. And so, we've been arguing about it for about 2612 years. Concepts or particulars based on defining charateristics are called definitions and that is Analytic. Concepts or especially particulars true of entities, but not defining, are Synthetic. All are true if you don't screw it up and there is no epistemelogical reason to treat them differently, but many philosophers have used the fact that there is an inconsequential reason to treat them differently metaphysically. Now think for yourself. Good luck and remember, if you are a student, spit back the crap you hear to get an "A." When you're done, start your investigation of reality.
  21. Historic Perspective on Philosophy

    Hey EWV, Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me. Your most recent post was exactly what I was looking for and you've given me several areas to focus my study. I'm in an odd position. I had little philosophy experience during my education, but discovered Rand in about 1979. Over the years, I have read and watched everything I was aware of from Rand and Peikoff. Until now (in retirement), this study has been extensive, but fairly casual. Studying a complex area on your own, without the external discipline of an academic environment, has not brought me to expertise. I am now going back to study philosophy with more intensity and thank you for your suggestion of the Peikoff series. Until I have spent enough time studying, I must remember that the fact that I have read all Rand/Peikoff non-fiction more than once, doesn't mean I have internalized it. I'm learning that interest or curiosity is not the same as systematic study. I'm so glad you responded to my post. Thanks
  22. Hey Folks, First post. I studied physics and philosophy in college, and while they were an interesting avocation thru life, they were not how I made my living. They have been brought to the front burner in retirement. I am now re-reading Miss Rand's non-fiction while at the same time participating in free on-line philosophy courses. While re-reading Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology I found myself thinking, “Yes, makes sense,” while studying people like Descartes, Newton, Boyle, Berkeley, Locke, Hobbs, Hume, and Kant, I'm mostly thinking, “They don't see it,” or “hey, that was a good start, but then you went wrong.” I'm seeing what I think is a common, underlying theme in the metaphysics and epistemology ("met-ep") of these historic philosophers – and, this leads to a conclusion about their ethics and politics (for the ones who moved into those areas). These are summary conclusions about a trend that seems to exist throughout this historic period, not an agreement or disagreement with specific claims or inquiries. These guys were trying to figure out existence, identity, perception, and reason before they knew about atoms, electromagnetic waves, or neurons. They all seem confused - with a few, out-of-context, interesting ideas. It seems to me that these guys were trying to think about how to think and what stuff is at a time in which the science had not yet given them enough info to make real sense of the questions they where asking. I'm not feeling anger, I'm feeling pity. Human evolution has honed sense, perception, and reason to increase reproductive success - our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, and especially brain have been fine tuned over generations (mostly a long time ago, because cultural evolution has become more influential in modern times). But evolution cannot select for perception of things that are too large, too small, or too complex – that is, things beyond the sensory capacity of the involved organs. Once reason was selected for, the game changed. We can now create machines and other technology to sense and even perceive (can they reason, that is not being brought up here) way beyond our sensory capability, then we use the data and our reason to make conclusions about additional identities of known entities and even about new existents. So, now the reasons I posted this. If you are a student of Objectivism, you will understand why I had to preface so much. Pre-modern philosophers seem to have been trying to interpret pre-modern science to draw conclusions about met-ep and they didn't have enough knowledge about the universe. I believe they got it mostly wrong, as does Miss Rand. Are not current philosophers doing the same thing - Can't know the position and speed of an electron, in fact, it has no mass, it's not an entity; a mechanical wave is intuitive, but don't expect to understand an electromagnetic wave the same way; why is light speed the specific quantity we calculate; what is the reality and nature behind constants used in physics equations? I have no problem with the answer, “we don't know.” But the answer, “we can't know,” sounds like pre-modern philosophers talking about whether the identity of color is a real thing or something created in the mind, because they didn't know enough about light and waves. You might say, “Interesting, but what's the big deal, we know some things and not others and we'll figure it out eventually?” Well, I'll tell you. In each generation, from Plato to Kant to whomever today, the erroneous met-ep conclusions made, then lead other philosophers to base ethical ideas on these mistaken met-ep ideas. You should see the unintelligeble responses I receive when I start a thread like, “Arguments for Self-Agency,” in the most popular philosophy forums. The respondents have profiles and you expect they will be undergraduates; but, you see they are grad student or professors. “If you can't know where an electron is, how can you know what is right or wrong, dude.” And I think, “is this the year 1758?” Sorry about the diatribe. But what about the question? Is the confusion of pre-modern philosophers attributable to lack of science, and if so, are philosophers today making the same error? Or, if you know quantum physics, have we discovered ideas that because of their nature, are not identifiable? If so, please explain.
  23. Historic Perspective on Philosophy

    I should have said, " I believe they got it wrong, and Miss Rand would agree. Sorry.
  24. Historic Perspective on Philosophy

    Hey EWV, Lighten up. Read my statement again, the one to which you said : "Ayn Rand did not "get it mostly wrong" and "modern science" has nothing to do with it." You are mis-interpreting the sentence. "I believe they got it mostly wrong, as does Miss Rand." The word "does" in the independent clause, refers to the verb believe which means that I believe Miss Rand would agree with my assessment that pre-modern philosophers got it mostly wrong. I hope someone will respond to the questions I raise. Although I mention Miss Rand in my post, the central issue in my questions has nothing to do with her.
  25. Historic Perspective on Philosophy

    Enjoyed your post, but was it an answer to my questions? "Sure they have a lot of data, but data is not information, and information is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom. Too many philosophers today are happy with contradictions in their thinking." Let's have another beer, then a sleep, and then think, because I'm not happy yet.