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What is the DIM Hypothesis?

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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.

If I tell you that 3 plus 3 equals 9, you go out and independently check out the facts? Or do you know I've at least made an error, maybe I'm irrational if I was intentionally lying to get you to waste your time thinking about this issue?

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Of course you have to relate it to other facts.

Agreed, but I guess my question is how much? When do you stop? Are there times (see my AR quote) when you should not integrate?

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I'm not sure why you're throwing all these questions at me.

Because Dr. Peikoff isn't here and answering questions and you are. B)

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?

Actually, since you are LP's stand-in, I'd be interested in something that would be more representative of LP's case than a guess. If you don't know, for sure, what his position is or you are giving your own interpretation, that's OK too as long I you tell me that.

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If I tell you that 3 plus 3 equals 9, you go out and independently check out the facts?

The first time, yes. (That's what fingers are for.) After that, I refer to my memory of what happened when I checked it out in the past -- i.e., my existing context of knowledge.

Or do you know I've at least made an error, maybe I'm irrational if I was intentionally lying to get you to waste your time thinking about this issue?

Once I know that 3 + 3 = 6, I know you made an error. I also know, based on past experience, 4 or 5 ways that might have happened. To tell which of them is applicable in this case would take more information.

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Agreed, but I guess my question is how much? When do you stop? Are there times (see my AR quote) when you should not integrate?

Well, I don't think these questions address the DIM Hypothesis course. So I'll give you my answers. How much? As much as the context requires for you to act to achieve your goal or purpose. Stop integrating? Too many answers: sleeping, dying, day dreaming, watching football, etc. Seriously, one stops when the context determines it. I don't think I can answer specifically without a specific example. I think what Rand has said on these issues is sufficient to my general understanding.

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Because Dr. Peikoff isn't here and answering questions and you are. B)

Wow. Thanks for the vote of confidence, but mentioning me in the same sentence with him is quite an honor. I hope I can live up to your expectations!! B)

Actually, since you are LP's stand-in, I'd be interested in something that would be more representative of LP's case than a guess. If you don't know, for sure, what his position is or you are giving your own interpretation, that's OK too as long I you tell me that.

My new name is PC-LP. Unless I specifically say that this is something that was mentioned by Dr. Peikoff in the course, you can assume it's my opinion (possible source of error on my part though if I forget to give correct attribution).

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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?

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Dr. Peikoff formulates the DIM Hypothesis in the context of the trichotomies that have developed within the history of philosophy. So they certainly apply to ideas. As I understand the course material, I don't think they apply to concrete things.

I said "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)." The "it" that holds to two realities, one reality or no reality refers to the ideas that are being discussed.

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I've listened to the first six lectures of Dr. Peikoff's DIM theory, and it has been very enlightening. This is a brilliant lecture.

He actually ends up with five categories. He breaks the D into D1 and D2, and the M into M1 and M2. The 1s are the less extreme cases that have elements of I in them, while the 2s are the extreme cases with no I in them. He also refers to "mixed" cases, which are hodgepodge mixtures.

A schematic might look like this:

(the ONE only) M2<--M1<--(One &) I (&Many)-->D1-->D2 (the MANY only)

Plato<--Spinoza<--Ayn Rand/Aristotle-->Locke-->Kant

So far he's looked at three fields and broken them down according to the five categories. They are philosophy, literature, and physics. He makes some brilliant integrations by showing the parallels between the different disciplines that lie in the same categories. For instance, D1 in physics and D1 in literature have many key similarities.

The sense I've gotten so far from this lecture is that it's a very powerful way to understand the world.

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I guess I'm terribly slow. I've listened to Lecture 1 three times now. I did that because I cannot get past a problem I have with 2-1-0. I understand two realities and one reality. What I don't understand is how he gets to no reality via the skeptic's view that one cannot know reality. Does a skeptic say that there is no reality, or that one cannot know reality? Aren't those two different things? Isn't this an attempt to conflate epistemology with metaphysics? How does an epistemological attitude towards reality turn into a negation of reality (I'm not sure of this particular question. It doesn't say exactly what I want it to, but it is the best I can do right now.)?

I'm sorry if my statement of the question is obscure, but I'm having trouble making sense of it. I don't think I can move on into the rest of the lecture if I don't understand the metaphysical premise underlying the hypothesis.

I find the epistemological IOS helpful. It is time for philosophy to recognize Ayn Rand's contribution to the subject, and how it differs from the traditional positions, including Aristotle's. If I could reconcile the metaphysical premise, I'd probably find that useful as well. I can even see how the hypothesis could be useful in the philosophy of history. I definitely have a problem with attempting to use it to come to a conclusion about current affairs, however, when there are so many variables in play. That is just a notion right now, of course, since I haven't listened to the whole thing.

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I guess I'm terribly slow. I've listened to Lecture 1 three times now. I did that because I cannot get past a problem I have with 2-1-0. I understand two realities and one reality. What I don't understand is how he gets to no reality via the skeptic's view that one cannot know reality. Does a skeptic say that there is no reality, or that one cannot know reality? Aren't those two different things? Isn't this an attempt to conflate epistemology with metaphysics? How does an epistemological attitude towards reality turn into a negation of reality (I'm not sure of this particular question. It doesn't say exactly what I want it to, but it is the best I can do right now.)?

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I'll try my best to answer you based on my recollection of that lecture. I believe that the skeptic is saying one cannot know reality, therefore, there is no reality independent of human consciousness. The two issues go together. The skeptic is denying both metaphysics and epistemology. If one cannot know reality, the reason could be because there is no reality.

As I understand the context, religion was a primitive form of philosophy that led to a belief in two realities because early man could not distinguish between the actions of his consciousness and the actions of the external world: just as a man's actions have purpose, so nature's actions must have a purpose. This implies a consciousness acting in nature just as man has a consciousness that allows him to act. Thus, a two-world view is born. When the Greeks began formulating non-mystical ideas to explain the world, there were many who had problems, the least of which was consistently and properly explaining the differences between the various views. The skeptics came on the scene and looked at the apparent chaos, which was really just a lack of knowledge, and said that all of these attempts to explain the world are going nowhere. The attempts at grounding philosophy make no sense. The skeptics concluded that knowledge of the world was impossible. By denying that knowledge is possible, the implicit view was that there was no reality to know.

Remember, the distinction that Dr. Peikoff is making concerns the method by which people use their minds, not so much the explicit content.

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I would like to say a quick thank you to those who have contributed to this thread so far. I am going to study the DIM course, but this has giving me a decent idea of how Dr Peikoff is breaking down the different ways of (non)(mis)intergration.

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I'll try my best to answer you based on my recollection of that lecture. I believe that the skeptic is saying one cannot know reality, therefore, there is no reality independent of human consciousness. The two issues go together. The skeptic is denying both metaphysics and epistemology. If one cannot know reality, the reason could be because there is no reality.

As I understand the context, religion was a primitive form of philosophy that led to a belief in two realities because early man could not distinguish between the actions of his consciousness and the actions of the external world: just as a man's actions have purpose, so nature's actions must have a purpose. This implies a consciousness acting in nature just as man has a consciousness that allows him to act. Thus, a two-world view is born. When the Greeks began formulating non-mystical ideas to explain the world, there were many who had problems, the least of which was consistently and properly explaining the differences between the various views. The skeptics came on the scene and looked at the apparent chaos, which was really just a lack of knowledge, and said that all of these attempts to explain the world are going nowhere. The attempts at grounding philosophy make no sense. The skeptics concluded that knowledge of the world was impossible. By denying that knowledge is possible, the implicit view was that there was no reality to know.

Remember, the distinction that Dr. Peikoff is making concerns the method by which people use their minds, not so much the explicit content.

I am not a philosopher and have not studied the whole history of philosophy, so I admit my knowledge is necessarily limited here. From what I do know, however, no skeptic ever said that there was no reality to know. Even the arch-Skeptic, David Hume, lamented that he could not reconcile the way he lived his life with the philosophy he posited. He went daily to his club, he had congress with others, he ate prepared meals, and he generally lived as though cause and effect, for example, were true. And Gorgias, who quit talking, did so because he decided (after writing nine books to the effect) that reality was ineffable. While both said that they couldn't know reality, they didn't deny that it existed, only that man was unable to know its nature. For me, that doesn't negate reality, but leaves the question open. Even Gorgias continued to eat, etc., he just quit talking.

I'll leave this question in reserve. I've already listened to the second lecture. I have some questions about that lecture as well, but I'll have to think some more about it before I can pin-point where the questions are coming from and whether they are valid.

Thank you for responding. Your answer was helpful.

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I am not a philosopher and have not studied the whole history of philosophy, so I admit my knowledge is necessarily limited here. From what I do know, however, no skeptic ever said that there was no reality to know.

I doubt if any were ever that explicit.

Even the arch-Skeptic, David Hume, lamented that he could not reconcile the way he lived his life with the philosophy he posited. He went daily to his club, he had congress with others, he ate prepared meals, and he generally lived as though cause and effect, for example, were true. And Gorgias, who quit talking, did so because he decided (after writing nine books to the effect) that reality was ineffable. While both said that they couldn't know reality, they didn't deny that it existed, only that man was unable to know its nature. For me, that doesn't negate reality, but leaves the question open. Even Gorgias continued to eat, etc., he just quit talking.

Those examples just illustrate how disconnected their philosophies were from reality. I doubt if they really thought that philosophy was even supposed to be connected to the every day reality of normal life. Philosophy was just an intellectual game to those people.

---------------

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Could someone who knows tell me in which of the DIM lectures does Dr. Peikoff discuss environmentalism, multiculturalism, and Islam?

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Could someone who knows tell me in which of the DIM lectures does Dr. Peikoff discuss environmentalism, multiculturalism, and Islam?

I'm presently listening to these lectures for a second time and I just finished lecture 8 recently. He does discuss what he calls the "ecology movement" in lecture 8 which covers half of politics and law. Lecture 8 covers the D part of those two subjects (mostly), the M part is covered in lecture 9. Ecology is categorized as a D2. He also mentions something about the Islamic terrorists in the q&a of lecture 8. I think he had more to say on religion (both Islam and others) in lecture 9 since that falls under M. I don't remember him addressing multiculturalism directly so far.

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I guess I'm terribly slow. I've listened to Lecture 1 three times now. I did that because I cannot get past a problem I have with 2-1-0. I understand two realities and one reality. What I don't understand is how he gets to no reality via the skeptic's view that one cannot know reality. Does a skeptic say that there is no reality, or that one cannot know reality? Aren't those two different things? Isn't this an attempt to conflate epistemology with metaphysics?

Perhaps a light can be shed on this from a discussion I had with a friend of mine recently. He's an immigrant from China, a very intelligent guy and accomplished successfully. But his intellectual roots are firmly tied to his place of origin, and he is a very firm believer of the "socially constructed reality" principle. He's not a philosopher but he very firmly believes the philosophical principles that he's been taught by culture and parents. What is true, he says, is what people believe. What about actual reality, things that exist independently of our cognition? He cannot conceive of such a thing. Yes, he says, if everyone around us turns away, then he literally disappears from reality. But, as a caveat, he only becomes nonexistent... for them; for him he still exists. What if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it really fall? After an hour-long argument, a reluctant but powerful confession that yes it falls. But then, a retraction that my example is a loaded question, and I "assume" a tree falls while trying to prove it, e.g. I'm assuming what I intend to prove or something like that. On and on in circles we went, until I stopped.

So, to cut a long story short, is there a conflation of metaphysics and epistemology, in Dr. Peikoff's example? Yes, by the skeptic. They are incapable of drawing a distinction between those two. That's the conclusion I've arrived to after long discussions and reading from some of the more well-known exemplars of this approach.

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DIM and America

Since I’ve completed the 15 session course, I thought I’d provide more details on Peikoff’s position regarding president Bush. This is a brief overview of session 15, which covers American culture and politics. This posting is presented more like a sheet of notes and less like a coherent description, but since I'm still learning, I wanted to present the information raw so that I'm less likely to mislead anyone.

DIM refers to avowed spreaders of a philosophy. These are the people who influence culture. Those who are not avowed spreaders of philosophy are not part of DIM. They are referred to as cultural zeros. Most people are cultural zeros.

America started out as an I culture. The only other I culture in history were the Ancient Greeks, at the time of Aristotle.

Kant killed the Is in America after the Civil War and made possible an enduring D. Kant is the source of D. Before Kant there were just Is and Ms, which made the job of Is easier. Ds are a new phenomenon in history. The D2 injected into American culture made the population more concrete bound and less conceptual, thus less able and willing to defend freedom and individual rights. People became uninterested in ideas. The I culture was all but forgotten.

From about 1890 to 2000 philosophy was dominated by D2s and had a strong element of M2s for quite a while. M2 is now gone from the philosophers (intellectuals).

We've had a D1 culture and civilization since the early part of the 20th century.

Today there are lots of D1s and M2s in America, not many I's, D2s, or M1s. In a clash between D1s and M2s, the M2s will have much more influence. M2s are authoritarians. They are the people who make dictatorships possible. This is why Peikoff considers the M2s to be dangerous. D2s are enablers of M2s, but they aren’t leaders. D1s and M1s are transitional, or unstable by their nature.

Why will M2s be more influential than D1s? I think because they have an integrated view, and D1s are anti-integration. D2s are outright destroyers, and have nothing to offer anyone. M2s offer heaven and salvation (the religious ones).

Today, the Ds are out of it, and if the Is do not rise, the M2s have to win out.

Bush is an M2. The first president he knows of who is an M2. Bush has all of the essentials in place: God, faith, sacrifice and statism. He has a massive base. Through out Peikoff's life there have only been D1 presidents, until Bush, although he considers Reagan to be an M1, with substantial pro-freedom elements.

Some numbers:

He gives what he believes are the numbers of people in the U.S. who are in each category:

I - (Objectivists) perhaps thousands or tens of thousands

D1 about 15 million

D2 very tiny -- Less than Is

M1 very tiny -- Not very influential.

M2 about 60 million -- evangelists.

To drive home how big M2s have gotten in the culture, he presents several facts:

1> 60 million Americans went to see Mel Gibson’s movie on The Passion of Christ. It grossed a huge amount of money.

2> There is a 12 volume novel series on the second coming of Christ, each of the novels went to the top of the NYT best seller list. 42 million copies were sold in about 2 years.

3> There are also several other evangelical block buster novels.

4> Music: more religious records than jazz and classical combined have sold.

5> He says there are lots of Christian pop bands (rock, country, etc.).

6> Religious colleges have record numbers of students.

7> There are new popular magazines for teens called “Biblezines”, which sell kids on religion.

This is why he thinks we must defeat the M2s, and support the D1s over them.

Kerry is a D1. He has no ideas of his own, because D1s are avowedly non-ideological. He's terrible. He's awful, but he's not "apocalyptically" awful, as Bush is. Bush is to the religious state, what FDR was to the welfare state.

We must replace God and religion with Objectivism.

The good news, Objectivism is growing. We have mass communication to spread our ideas.

Establishing the objective base of knowledge (conceptual level) and objective basis of values is vital.

We have a great advantage over the Greeks, Objectivism, and we have the means to quickly spread the ideas.

Peikoff says if we have 100 years, he has no doubt that Objectivism will win out.

(I also think we have a much better method, which will give us a great advantage at coming up with more clever ways to spread the ideas. I think the biggest thing is to live the philosophy *and* be a proponent of it. Live your life as a successful example primarily, *then* avow it.)

I found after getting through the course that there is a great deal to chew on, and lots of things that I have still to work through, but his hypothesis is very compelling.

After getting through the course I understood better why he believes that people who voted for Bush don't understand philosophy, but only in the context of his DIM hypothesis did I understand this.

I hope this helps people. As I've said, I'm still chewing on his idea. He covers a great deal in those 15 sessions, lots of fields, and while listening I had lots of questions about conclusons he drew that I myself wasn't so sure about and I'm seeking answers too, e.g. that Bush is an M2.

P.S. if you want to listen to session 15, I think you can do it and understand it if you first listen to sessions 1 and 2 at a minimum. Although, session 13 would make things clearer still, since he covers history back to the Greeks and categorizes eras by DIM.

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Could someone who knows tell me in which of the DIM lectures does Dr. Peikoff discuss environmentalism, multiculturalism, and Islam?

In session 3 he covers, briefly, environmentalism (ecology) and multiculturalism. I believe he categorizes them as D1s. Environmentalism is just a bunch of non-integrated concretes (global warming, ozone, etc.). Multiculturalism (diversity) is just nominalism, i.e. arbitrary groupings of people by race, ethnicity, etc.

Peikoff doesn't believe these movements can have the influence on people that religion can, because of the lack of integration. Don't quote me on that, but I think it's right.

Islam he discusses here and there almost secondarily. He makes note of the war in session 15, basically criticizing Bush's handling of it.

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I just had this thought that fits in with DIM. I've been seeing lots of complaints about how muslims are taking over Europe, for example "America Alone: Europe is Finished Predicts Mark Steyn". I've made the argument in the past that postmodernism is paving the way for Islamacists, because Islamacists use postmodernist rhetoric to gain a foothold, e.g. accusing people of being "Islamophobics". They are acting as enablers.

I just realized that this fits DIM theory, in that the Europeans are D1s and the Islamacists are M2s. The M2s are winning out over the D1s in Europe, only it's not Christianity that is winning, it's Islamacism.

This may be an exemplar of what Peikoff is concerned with here in America with Christianity.

Believe me, I don’t enjoy explaining things like this.

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I just realized that this fits DIM theory, in that the Europeans are D1s and the Islamacists are M2s. The M2s are winning out over the D1s in Europe, only it's not Christianity that is winning, it's Islamacism.

But doesn't that mean the "D1" relativism is the bigger threat, sense it disarms them? Then it doesn't matter whether it is Christianity, Islam, or barbarian hordes that take over.

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I guess I'm terribly slow. I've listened to Lecture 1 three times now. I did that because I cannot get past a problem I have with 2-1-0.

[...]

I'm sorry if my statement of the question is obscure, but I'm having trouble making sense of it. I don't think I can move on into the rest of the lecture if I don't understand the metaphysical premise underlying the hypothesis.

I find the epistemological IOS helpful. It is time for philosophy to recognize Ayn Rand's contribution to the subject, and how it differs from the traditional positions, including Aristotle's.

I'm having similar problems. I can follow Ayn Rand's arguments with ease because she always starts with concrete examples, real or fictional, and always clearly defines her terms in the beginning. When she makes an assertion, she provides evidence and shows what, in the nature of the things she discusses, necessitates her conclusions. I seem to be missing that in Peikoff's first lecture so I can't get a handle on what he is talking about.

All I have are questions like:

What is the genus and differentia definition of each of Peikoff's categories?

Why are tricotomies significant? In philosophy, the most significant issues I know of are dicotomies such as existence or non-existence in metaphysics, true or false in epistemology, and life or death and free will or determinism in ethics.

Why is integration the most essential category of classification? I would think that correspondence to reality is the most important factor when it comes to analyzing ideas and their effect on the culture.

==

Until I have some sensible answers to questions like the above, what Peikoff is talking about are just floating abstractions that I can't tie to reality or integrate with my existing knowledge.

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I appreciate the answers others have attempted to give regarding my questions about the zero reality category, but in each case, there is an implicit reality involved, which is of necessity one based on the Prior Certainty of Consciousness. The 2-1-0 categories make for a nice symmetry, but I cannot validate the premise based on the information Dr. Peikoff gives.

Also, Dr. Peikoff puts Aristotle in Objectivist category, when Aristotle was an intrinsicist epistemologically. I suppose he does this because Aristotle wasn't an Idealist, and Dr. Peikoff identifies Intrinsicism with Idealism within the category.

As for integration being the most important issue: Firstly, I wonder why Miss Rand did not identify integration as the seminal issue in epistemology when she was writing OTOE. The way a person integrates the information presented by reality is certainly important, but isn't there something more fundamental that determines the way information is integrated? I think that Dr. Peikoff's point is just that, and he is saying, for instance, that religious views determine how one sees the world and will effect the way a person integrates information. Is this new knowledge? Or is it better defined as the difference between how one integrates information based on the Primacy of Consciousness vs. the Primacy of Existence.

For example, Objectivists and Materialists are both are Primacy of Existence, but each proposes a vastly different epistemology. Dr. Peikoff first puts Materialism under Skepticism, which is reasonable since most Materialists would say that we can't really know reality, only its effects on us; but this equates to a zero reality. Then, since Materialists definitely believe there is an objective reality out there, he changes his mind and puts Materialism within the 2 world group, which categorizes them as Idealist/Intrinsicist. While the Marxist brand of Deterministic Materialism are categorized as Idealists, do they believe in two realities?

I do agree with him when he says that it is difficult to know how to categorize particular viewpoints. I'm finding it downright impossible.

I haven't listened to Lecture 3 yet for reasons of health, but I'm better and I will listen to it today. I hope some of these points are cleared up.

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After getting through the course I understood better why he believes that people who voted for Bush don't understand philosophy, but only in the context of his DIM hypothesis did I understand this.

Do you mean

(i) you better understood why he believes; or

(ii) you better understood his belief?

Whichever the case, could you kindly explain what you understood and what about his course has improved this understanding?

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But doesn't that mean the "D1" relativism is the bigger threat, sense it disarms them? Then it doesn't matter whether it is Christianity, Islam, or barbarian hordes that take over.

Let me preface this by saying, I'm still working to understand Peikoff's theory.

Peikoff's view, I believe, is that in a D1 universe Objectivists can survive. We can work to turn civilization into an I, whereas in an M2 environment (totalitarian), it's all but lost, so we should not speed the process up by voting in M2s. At the end of the day we have to defeat them both.

Mercury

Do you mean

(i) you better understood why he believes; or

(ii) you better understood his belief?

What I understand is why he believes what he does, though I'm not so convinced myself that M2s are that far along yet.

Whichever the case, could you kindly explain what you understood and what about his course has improved this understanding?

Yes, I touched upon it in my outline of session 15 above. Peikoff believes that M2s have the power to attract a large following, whereas D types do not. D types are anti-conceptual and reject the idea of right and wrong. M2s uphold "morality" and offer "salvation." As I say above, we can survive in a D1 environment, but not in a M2 environment, so vote Democrat.

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Am I the only one that is unsettled by discussion on the most monumental currents and ideas in cultures being reduced to symbolic expressions? M2 > D1, D1 < I, etc. This comment is not to reflect on Dr. Peikoff's theory, by the way. It's just hard to see how to apply the theory without resorting to such bewildering symbolic expressions. Also, as it often happens, the differentia in this case matter almost as much as the genus. If a theory calls Bush M2, fine; if it calls Islamic crazies M2, fine. But wait a sec, M2=M2, right? And yet there is no way to equate Bush to even the most moderate Islamists in the Middle East. The most virulent evangelicals are flawless compared to what kind of people pass for religious men in the Middle East. And yet all of these distinctions would be completely swept under the rug if we reduce everything to symbols here, and operate with monumental forces as if they were mere variables.

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