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What is the DIM Hypothesis?

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Can anyone explain, in brief or in detail, what they know of Dr. Peikoff's DIM Hypothesis? Is it a normative or a descriptive set of ideas?

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Can anyone explain, in brief or in detail, what they know of Dr. Peikoff's DIM Hypothesis? Is it a normative or a descriptive set of ideas?

The course can be listened to for free, for a limited time, at the ARI website. It is for registered users, but registration is free.

From the description:

Course description:

This 15-session course—part lecture, part discussion—was presented live to a worldwide audience by phone and on the Internet. It is based on Dr. Peikoff's "The DIM Hypothesis" (book-in-progress), in which he looks at the role of integration in the culture and in practical life.

This course explains and explores Dr. Peikoff's new DIM hypothesis, applying it to ten different cultural areas, as listed in the course outline. The hypothesis identifies and distinguishes three types of mind: the mind characterized by I (Integration); by D (Disintegration); or by M (Misintegration). In the sessions Dr. Peikoff points out how all of the influential movements in the areas included reflect—and could only have been created by—one or another of these three mind sets. If enhancing your understanding of today's world and of where we are heading is an important concern of yours, Dr. Peikoff believes that you will find a DIM perspective on events to be of significant value.

As Dr. Peikoff recently explained: "[M]y thesis is that the dominant trends in every key area can be defined by their leaders' policy toward integration: they are against it (Disintegration, D); they are for it, if it conforms to reality (Integration, I); they are for it, if it conforms to a superior reality (Misintegration, M)."

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I'm listening to the first lecture right now. But short of spending 15 hours listening to the whole thing, I'd like to know if the theory can be discussed here.

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I'm listening to the first lecture right now. But short of spending 15 hours listening to the whole thing, I'd like to know if the theory can be discussed here.

Sure. It can be discussed by anyone who is interested in doing so.

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Sure. It can be discussed by anyone who is interested in doing so.

I hope there is. It seems to be the philosophic basis for Dr. Peikoff's advocacy of supporting Democrats.

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Maybe the first word in 'D' IM is Democrat?

Hehe, pardon the pun!

15 hours is long, thanks for letting me know they changed their site Stephen, I'm going to watch the new videos on foreign policy/religion before listening to the DIM.

I need to save more money, the Ayn Rand bookstore awaits my next buying spree, I have to pay import costs into Australia so may as well go big.

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Maybe the first word in 'D' IM is Democrat?

Hehe, pardon the pun!

15 hours is long, thanks for letting me know they changed their site Stephen, I'm going to watch the new videos on foreign policy/religion before listening to the DIM.

I need to save more money, the Ayn Rand bookstore awaits my next buying spree, I have to pay import costs into Australia so may as well go big.

Ironically, I think he does regard the Democrats as "D's," but the D stands for Disintegration. The Republicans, I believe, are "M's," which stands for Mis-integration. And then, the Objectivist position is "I," Integration. I haven't listened to this course yet, but there was another brief lecture he had on the DIM hypothesis a couple of years ago (so that's where I'm getting that from).

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I have listened to the first couple of lectures thus far. Basically his claim is that there is this trichotomy that originated in the ancient world, particularly in philosophy. The religionists were the main power for much of human existence, then the Greeks came along with the pre-Socratics who tried to explain things rationally, but since they did a poor job of it the sophists jumped in claiming that knowledge was impossible. The first is an example of misintegration, the second of integration (or attempted integration), and the latter is an example of disintegration. In other words: skepticism (D), reason (I), and mysticism(M). He gives numerous other examples of this same trichotomy (DIM) in other fields. In "D" integration isn't even attempted, in "M" it is done without reference to this reality, and in "I" it is done rationally. I hope this brief summary helps.

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To expand on the Disintegration, Integration and Misintegration, a key point he made was to classify Kerry as a D1 and Bush as an M2 (where _2 would be a higher degree than _1), and that an M2 is much more dangerous than a D1.

How he arrived at the conclusions...I'm not sure, I've only listened to the 18 minute segment, but I have listened several times.

What puzzles me though is that from the DIM Hyp. speech I heard, I don't remember him ever literally expressing concerns over a Theocracy, but rather he seemed to be more worried about things like free-speech. Yet now it seems the focus is on this looming Theocracy that is coming in 50 years.

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Since I started this thread with a question, I have yet to receive an in-depth explanation of what the DIM Hypothesis is and how it relates to the question of relating the Christian religious movement in this country to the creation of a theocracy in significantly less time that 50 years.

So far I've listened to the first two sessions (each with two audio parts). In the first session, Dr. Peikoff puts forth some very interesting ideas on why there have been so many trichotomies throughout philosophy (for example: instricism, subjectivism, objective reality; rationalism, empiricism, objective knowledge; mysticism, materialism; reason). Respectively, these are grouped into Misintegration, Disintegration, Integration. In the second session, he makes it clear that it is not at all easy to classify things into the trichotomy categories. He corrects what he said in first session: materialism was classified under Disintegration; he now holds that it should be classified under Misintegration.

He states that it is possible to believe in religion and be classified under Integration. The content of one's consciousness does not determine your classification: it is the method that one's consciousness uses that determines the classification. He brings up an interesting side issue: he notes that all of epistemology is based on a theory of integration and how to do it properly. There is no epistemological theory for differentiation and how to do it. For example, when looking at two chairs and a table, one does not need a theory to learn how to differentiate the chair from the table, but one needs a theory in order to properly integrate the two existents into the concept "chair."

My initial evaluation and summary so far: the DIM Hypothesis is really a working hypothesis that Dr. Peikoff is developing. He seems to be using the public presentation as a way to work out some of the issues that he's not fully developed. Based upon the response to questions and audience participation, I have not grasped that the audience has a good understanding of what he is saying. I am very curious as to how this theory will be developed in more detail and how he will flush out the issues to such an extent that he is able to make specific political predications from an epistemological hypothesis. Dr. Peikoff's analysis of the trichotomies was fascinating and brilliant. I'm looking forward to see how this can be applied in additional areas.

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I have listened to the first four files (two sessions). Like Paul's Here, the historical documentation of trichotomies also drew my attention. But, when listening to Dr. Peikoff discuss them, it suddenly occurred to me that this analysis was actually invented by Aristotle (e.g. in Nicomachean Ethics); what I was listening to could be abstractly summed up as "too much", "just right", "too little". For instance:

- two realities (mystical), one reality (objective), and no realities (skeptical) trichotomy is a very clear example of this.

- the intrinsic, objective, and subjective trichotomy in morality is similar -- too much "authority" for moral judgments in the first, just right amount of authority in second, and not enough in the third alternative.

The same could be said going down the list for every item Dr. Peikoff mentioned.

I know Aristotle has been frequently criticized for the Golden Mean principle, but it seems Dr. Peikoff reinvented it two thousand years later. And it's a worthy principle, if considered as how Aristotle originally worded it. The trichotomies are discussed in part 2 of lesson I, if anyone would like to take a listen and consider for themselves (though you'd have to have read the Ethics also, and Aristotle applies it only to narrow ethical issues).

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For example, when looking at two chairs and a table, one does not need a theory to learn how to differentiate the chair from the table, but one needs a theory in order to properly integrate the two existents into the concept "chair."

Differentiate in what context? (1) Qua visual perception and first level concepts, one can differentiate a chair from a table. (2) Qua the concept furniture, they are differentiated as being two separate examples of the same units. Doesn't understanding the distinction between #1 and #2 rest on the Objectivist theory of concepts? Seems so to me. (In other words, the specific type of differentiation in case 1 is different than the differentiation in case 2; depending on your context of comparison.)

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I have only heard part of DIM, so I don't have anything substantive to add to this discussion, but I do have quite a few questions.

In the first session, Dr. Peikoff puts forth some very interesting ideas on why there have been so many trichotomies throughout philosophy (for example: instricism, subjectivism, objective reality; rationalism, empiricism, objective knowledge; mysticism, materialism; reason). Respectively, these are grouped into Misintegration, Disintegration, Integration. In the second session, he makes it clear that it is not at all easy to classify things into the trichotomy categories. He corrects what he said in first session: materialism was classified under Disintegration; he now holds that it should be classified under Misintegration.

You say that he corrected a classification he made earler and that classification isn't easy. What standard should a person use to determine whether a given thing is a D or I or M? What should he look for in the thing being classified?

He states that it is possible to believe in religion and be classified under Integration. The content of one's consciousness does not determine your classification: it is the method that one's consciousness uses that determines the classification.

How would a person who is not a mind-reader actually determine that when assessing another person?

He brings up an interesting side issue: he notes that all of epistemology is based on a theory of integration and how to do it properly.

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and knowledge is the awareness of reality. A proper epistemology specifies the method for identifying the facts of reality in a way that results in truth -- i.e., the correspondence of one's ideas with reality. How does this relate to integration?

There is no epistemological theory for differentiation and how to do it. For example, when looking at two chairs and a table, one does not need a theory to learn how to differentiate the chair from the table, but one needs a theory in order to properly integrate the two existents into the concept "chair."

Some integration happens automatically such as the integration of sensations into percepts and the integration of one's value premises into emotional responses. Are these related in some way to the kind of integration Peikoff discusses or does he mean something else?

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I'm a little familiar with the DIM hypothesis, but haven't heard the whole 15-lecture course. Two questions I have:

Firstly, what is so special about the issue of integration that justifies giving the associated trichotomy (i.e., a rational integration, an improper integration, and a lack of integration) such a special status? Why not one of the other trichotomies, or something else?

Secondly, what is the "cash value" of the DIM theory? What does it give someone that they couldn't get with Objectivism by itself?

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I have listened to the first four files (two sessions). Like Paul's Here, the historical documentation of trichotomies also drew my attention. But, when listening to Dr. Peikoff discuss them, it suddenly occurred to me that this analysis was actually invented by Aristotle (e.g. in Nicomachean Ethics); what I was listening to could be abstractly summed up as "too much", "just right", "too little".

I appreciate and share the respect you have for Aristotle, but I think the DIM trichotomy isn't the same thing Aristotle had in mind.

In my view, many questions can be given a correct or an incorrect answer, and a third possible answer is to rise above the question and reject a premise behind the question. For instance: "How does one know reality?" could be answered "through reason and the senses" or "through the revealed word of God," giving us a clear dichotomy between a rational and a mystical method. But a third option is to reply "One can't know reality," which technically doesn't answer the question and thus warrants a separate category. The assumption behind the question is that it is possible to know reality, and the third option is to contradict that.

Notice that the three options are: right answer, wrong answer, no answer; it isn't: too much, too little, just right.

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I'm a little familiar with the DIM hypothesis, but haven't heard the whole 15-lecture course. Two questions I have:

Firstly, what is so special about the issue of integration that justifies giving the associated trichotomy (i.e., a rational integration, an improper integration, and a lack of integration) such a special status? Why not one of the other trichotomies, or something else?

All the other trichotomies, as I understand his presentation, are a result of DIM, which may be summarized as the trichotomy that explains all the others (that's my understanding).

Secondly, what is the "cash value" of the DIM theory? What does it give someone that they couldn't get with Objectivism by itself?

I haven't gotten to that point yet, or perhaps I didn't get that point yet. But DIM explains why there are so many trichotomies in the history of philosophy. I'm not sure if that's the "cash value."

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I have only heard part of DIM, so I don't have anything substantive to add to this discussion, but I do have quite a few questions.

You say that he corrected a classification he made earler and that classification isn't easy. What standard should a person use to determine whether a given thing is a D or I or M? What should he look for in the thing being classified?

The standard is whether it fits into the 2/1/0 view of reality. That is, does it hold to two realities (misintegration), one reality (integration), or no realities (disintegration). Correspondingly: Mysticism, Objectivism (or I think he might have used the term, Realism), Skepticism.

How would a person who is not a mind-reader actually determine that when assessing another person?

I would assume that sufficient information would have to be available such as a persons statements or writings. How do you assess whether a preson is in error or irrational?

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and knowledge is the awareness of reality. A proper epistemology specifies the method for identifying the facts of reality in a way that results in truth -- i.e., the correspondence of one's ideas with reality. How does this relate to integration?

The facts of reality have to be related to other facts; all truth has to be related to other truths. This requires integration. Facts and truths do not stand isolated in reality.

Some integration happens automatically such as the integration of sensations into percepts and the integration of one's value premises into emotional responses. Are these related in some way to the kind of integration Peikoff discusses or does he mean something else?

Yes. That is what he is talking about. However, integration of senations to percepts happens automatically, so a theory is not needed to explain it. He mentions that there is no epistemological theory of how to analyze something (break it down; differentiation). All epistemological theories are focused on how to integrate things, entities, concepts, ideas, principles to each other.

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Correction: the middle quote attribution was not done correctly. This is the way it should be.

--------

How would a person who is not a mind-reader actually determine that when assessing another person?

I would assume that sufficient information would have to be available such as a persons statements or writings. How do you assess whether a preson is in error or irrational?

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and knowledge is the awareness of reality. A proper epistemology specifies the method for identifying the facts of reality in a way that results in truth -- i.e., the correspondence of one's ideas with reality. How does this relate to integration?

---------

The facts of reality have to be related to other facts; all truth has to be related to other truths. This requires integration. Facts and truths do not stand isolated in reality.

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Differentiate in what context? (1) Qua visual perception and first level concepts, one can differentiate a chair from a table. (2) Qua the concept furniture, they are differentiated as being two separate examples of the same units. Doesn't understanding the distinction between #1 and #2 rest on the Objectivist theory of concepts? Seems so to me. (In other words, the specific type of differentiation in case 1 is different than the differentiation in case 2; depending on your context of comparison.)

Yes, but, as I understand Dr. Peikoff, historically there is no theory that is used to explain how to perform that differentiation. One simply does the differentiation by focusing (or thinking) about what makes things different. There is no theory that is used to validate your differentiation. One does not form a concept just by looking at similarities. One needs a theory to explain how integration (whether it be concept formation, induction, deduction) works.

Again, this was a side issue he brought up and he does not go into great detail. He just makes note of his observation.

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Notice that the three options are: right answer, wrong answer, no answer; it isn't: too much, too little, just right.

Why not?

Too much: One can know reality, but only through focusing so much on the abstract that you detach yourself from the concretes (faith, mysticism).

Too little: In no way can one understand reality, because abstracts mean nothing and life is a giant whirlpool of concretes (nihilism, existentialism)

Just right: One can know reality, by deriving the abstracts from the concretes (Objectivism, Aristotleanism).

Excess in Abstracts: Platonism

Excess in Concretes: Empiricism, Nihilism, Existentialism

Golden Mean: Aristotleanism or Objectivism.

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Ed, I don't think it's worthwhile to pursue the Dr. Peikoff/Aristotle angle for too long, as clearly people can have different views on the issue. Let me just give my last views on your post, as I thought what I'd heard in the lecture was a curious and worthwhile observation, and I'll put my side of the debate to rest.

In my view, many questions can be given a correct or an incorrect answer, and a third possible answer is to rise above the question and reject a premise behind the question.

Well, Dr. Peikoff doesn't put it this way. In the first lesson, he says that while logic teaches us that there are only two valid options: right and wrong, there are actually frequently three options, with there being two different kinds of wrongs. This is a poignant observation on his part, and clearly matching Aristotle's.

Also, it is a curious fact that when discussing the trichotomies and placing their respective answers in a 3-column table, Dr. Peikoff put the right answer in the middle column; this surprised me at first, because I'd have expected the right answer to go in the front, or the wrong answers to go in the front. But placing the right answer in the middle, between the wrongs, clearly indicates a kind of continuity here.

Anyhow, like I said, it just seemed a very curious observation, that's all. Dr. Peikoff presents the trichotomies not as "right answer, wrong answer, no answer", but as "wrong answer, right answer, wrong answer".

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From what I'd heard in the lectures so far, I have an objection to the use of discreet categories in the DIM hypothesis, at least in how they're used in the beginning of the course. Bringing back Aristotle for a second, his three categories are continuous, with virtue being on a continuous sliding scale between two continuously defined wrongs. That way, although there are fundamental differences between all three, there's not always a clear boundary between them (as there is no clear boundary between night and day, but there is a clear difference between night and day). How this is useful will be seen in a second. The other thing Aristotle says is that just because there are two wrongs on either side of virtue, that does not necessarily mean they're equidistant, since one of the wrongs is frequently closer to virtue than the other. That is a very powerful observation, as will be seen shortly.

In Dr. Peikoff's DIM hypothesis, as I understand the beginning part of it, the three categories are not continuous but discreet: you're either a Disintegrated man, an Integrated man, or a Misintegrated man, i.e. already either a full Nihilist, a full Roark, or a full Mystic. This discreet nature limits for me the "cash value" of his theory, as it seems far less useful in describing people in the real world, and it also lends itself too easily to abstract categorizing; by contrast, it is impossible to engage in detached categorizing using Aristotle's categories. The other thing that I have so far found missing from Dr. Peikoff's theory is the admission that one of the wrongs can be closer to the right than the other. In one of the recent threads, a person posted a neatly abstracted summary of the world today: nihilists on the left, Objectivists, and mystics on the right, so that we have to make a choice between two evils. This kind of neatly abstract categorizing is not only useless, but wrong, as it omits all of the measurements that in this case provide all of the basis for judgment; it simply posits three abstract categories floating in the sky, and pigeonholes people into them. Now I am not saying Dr. Peikoff is employing this methodology, or that this is how he is approaching his political judgments, since I am only beginning the course. What I'm saying is that what I have heard lends itself to this kind of categorizing, and that I hope it won't be used in the course, nor was used in the recently revealed political judgments. I, of course, give Dr. Peikoff the full benefit of the doubt.

These two points -- continuous vs. discreet categories, and non-equidistant wrongs based on observing reality vs. equidistant wrongs that are neatly abstract -- will be very important points to for me to consider and keep in mind throughout the remainder of the course.

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What standard should a person use to determine whether a given thing is a D or I or M? What should he look for in the thing being classified?
The standard is whether it fits into the 2/1/0 view of reality. That is, does it hold to two realities (misintegration), one reality (integration), or no realities (disintegration). Correspondingly: Mysticism, Objectivism (or I think he might have used the term, Realism), Skepticism.

Does WHAT hold 2, 1, or 0 realities? What does DIM apply to? Does DIM apply to people, ideas, concrete things, or ...? What about all the things we think about abstractly this does not apply to?

The facts of reality have to be related to other facts; all truth has to be related to other truths.

Is this true? When you discover a fact -- let's say where you left your car keys -- do you stop and integrate that fact with everything else you know or do you just go out and get in the car?

He mentions that there is no epistemological theory of how to analyze something (break it down; differentiation).

What about Ayn Rand's views on definition -- particularly how to select a differentia by essentials?

All epistemological theories are focused on how to integrate things, entities, concepts, ideas, principles to each other.

Isn't the focus of Ayn Rand's epistemology on how to identify things, entities, concepts, ideas, principles, etc. without contradiction? She did describe how concepts are integrated into wider concepts, but she also dealt with the right way to form narrower concepts. In addition, she said sometimes concepts should not be integrated:

The requirements of cognition determine the objective criteria of conceptualization. They can be summed up best in the form of an epistemological "razor": concepts are not to be multiplied beyond necessity—the corollary of which is: nor are they to be integrated in disregard of necessity.

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How would a person who is not a mind-reader actually determine that when assessing another person?
I would assume that sufficient information would have to be available such as a persons statements or writings. How do you assess whether a person is in error or irrational?

I determine whether someone is in error by independently checking out the facts of the matter. As for evaluating someone's else's rationality, that's usually much harder and may be impossible to ascertain.

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---------

Is this true? When you discover a fact -- let's say where you left your car keys -- do you stop and integrate that fact with everything else you know or do you just go out and get in the car?

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Of course you have to relate it to other facts. First you have to relate it to your memory of whether the keys you found look like your keys or maybe they're someone else's. It has to be related to whether you want to pick up the keys: were you just looking for them or do you want to drive the car somewhere. You relate it to all your values: when/where/why do you want to go somewhere with the car as opposed to an alternative method of transportation.

I'm not sure why you find this so controversial. It is pretty obvious to me.

I'm not sure why you're throwing all these questions at me. Like I said, he presented issue of differentiation as a side issue. I've only listened to 4 lectures, so please wait till I get more into it. Many of your questions are my answers. I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for, or do you want me to guess how Dr. Peikoff would answer them?

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