Stephen Speicher

Rob Tracinski on "What Went Right?"

374 posts in this topic

I think that the assumption of anyone who objects to what Robert Tracinski has written, objects because they believe that he 1) is or 2) believes he is presenting a philosophical fundamental.

Why would anyone think that?

Yes, that is the question isn't it? Ayn Rand said, unequivocally, that philosophy is the fundamental cause of history, and I think that anyone who considers himself an Objectivist is obliged to decide whether or not Robert Tracinski's idea(s) contradict(s) that fundamental. Personally, I can’t tell. You clearly do not think so. But I believe that it is not a simple and self-evident fact that his ideas do not contradict this point. And I think that some Objectivist scholars are convinced that his ideas do contradict this point [and/or perhaps some other(s)], which I assume is why he is no longer associated with ARI.

It is not surprising to me that "some Objectivist scholars" disagree strongly with Tracinski; after all, in his essays Tracinski has told some of them that they "have generally not done a good job" in some realms. However, I do not think it appropriate to here publicly voice our speculations as to the reason why Tracinski is no longer a writer or a speaker for ARI. Until and unless ARI chooses to explain further, speculations on their reasons for including a note on his Op-Eds are just that, speculations, and they should not be a subject for discussion on THE FORUM.

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Just as soon as I see evidence for the existence, or possible existence, of a philosophical fundamental that is not an Objectivist fundamental, yet is compatible with Objectivism and with reality, (I cannot think of anything offhand) I'll believe that there is such a thing. Prior to that time, I have no evidence that such a thing exists. And assuming that a non-Objectivist philosophical fundamental can exist without having any evidence for it, would be for me, an arbitrary assumption. You may have evidence that such a thing exists, or can exist, but I do not.

I suspect we are talking past each other and need to define our terms.

What do you mean by "Non-Objectivist Philosophical Fundamental?" Do you mean a philosophical fundamental that (1) contradicts or conflicts with Objectivism or (2) a philosophical fundamental that was identified by someone other than Ayn Rand?

If you mean (1), then, obviously, it is incompatible with Objectivism. If you mean (2), that is not necessarily incompatible with Objectivism. Thinkers since Ayn Rand have come up with many new ideas compatible with Objectivism -- hopefully, fundamental ones. Which one do you mean?

I had hoped that my "solution to the Problem of Induction" example made it clear that I meant 2). Ayn Rand was working on a solution to the Problem of Induction, but she didn't live long enough to find it. Anyone who does will put induction, and all of human knowledge on a sounder philosophical base. You can't get more philosophically fundamental than that. In fact, several Objectivists, Dr. Peikoff among them, have been working on finding a solution and, when they do, it will not be an "Objectivist" fundamental because Ayn Rand did not identify it.

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I have known of Objectivism for only about six years or ~ 14% of my life. But the experience of my entire life has been more than enough evidence to convince me of the indispensable nature of philosophy. I agree that if an idea conforms to reality that it is very unlikely to conflict with Objectivism. And conversely, if an idea conflicts with Objectivism, I have always found it to conflict with reality.

I don't see any questioning of "the indispensable nature of philosophy", but rather a question about the order of ideas and actions. Does one have to have an explicit philosophy put forward by a dedicated philosopher, before action can take place incorporating those ideas? Is the sequence: Philosopher - ideas - actions in reality, or can it be actions - ideas - philosophy?

The point I agree with, is that man had to have some rationality in his choices, prior to explicit philosophies, or he wouldn't have survived. It is from observing these actions, that a philosophy can be formulated. Regardless, I am convinced that an explicit rational philosophy is the most effective way to progress for any society, and don't doubt (IMO) that is Mr Tracinski's view as well.

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What do you mean by "Non-Objectivist Philosophical Fundamental?" Do you mean a philosophical fundamental that (1) contradicts or conflicts with Objectivism or (2) a philosophical fundamental that was identified by someone other than Ayn Rand?

Sorry for the confusion. I meant sense (2).

If you mean (1), then, obviously, it is incompatible with Objectivism. If you mean (2), that is not necessarily incompatible with Objectivism. Thinkers since Ayn Rand have come up with many new ideas compatible with Objectivism -- hopefully, fundamental ones. Which one do you mean?

I don't mean any, because I can't think of any. Do you know of any? I know of new fundamental ideas compatible with Objectivism, but that is not what I was talking about. An example of new fundamental ideas compatible with Objectivism are the ideas in H.B.'s philosophy of biology book. But I'm not talking about fundamental ideas for the philosophy of fill-in-the-blank. I'm talking about general philosophy, i.e. philosophy per se. The only ideas I can think of that might qualify (now that I am writing this), might be Tara Smith's writings on ethics, except no -- because so far those are explications of Ayn Rand's ideas. (And her work in the philosophy of law is new, fundamental, and terrific.)

I had hoped that my "solution to the Problem of Induction" example made it clear that I meant 2). Ayn Rand was working on a solution to the Problem of Induction, but she didn't live long enough to find it. Anyone who does will put induction, and all of human knowledge on a sounder philosophical base. You can't get more philosophically fundamental than that. In fact, several Objectivists, Dr. Peikoff among them, have been working on finding a solution and, when they do, it will not be an "Objectivist" fundamental because Ayn Rand did not identify it.

What I'm saying is that I'm not convinced that if Ayn Rand had found a "solution to the Problem of Induction" that it would have been part of Objectivism, by which I mean part of philosophy as such. By the time she was working on that she had already formulated Objectivism, though as we know, she never wrote it up in any one formal publication.

I don't think that one can know that the "Problem of Induction" will be solved on the level of philosophy, because e.g., what if the question posed is not answerable as such, but only answerable in regard to specific instances of, or specific categories of induction? I think that the answers to the problem of induction will likely be multiple and specific to various sciences. In other words, I don't think that the answer(s) will necessarily be part of philosophy. If the answer(s) will be part of philosophy, it/they will be. But I'll believe that when I see it.

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However, I do not think it appropriate to here publicly voice our speculations as to the reason why Tracinski is no longer a writer or a speaker for ARI. Until and unless ARI chooses to explain further, speculations on their reasons for including a note on his Op-Eds are just that, speculations, and they should not be a subject for discussion on THE FORUM.

Rob Tracinski gave his explanation in a TIA daily(I believe it was last week). His explanation was consistant with Jack Wakeland's explanation that he provided on THE FORUM. I don't have the time right now to find the specific link but, personally, I accept both Rob's and Jack's explanation for why Rob is no longer associated with ARI.

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I’m confused . . . or, rather, I'm having the rather "creepy" sensation that there are some who, in their comments both here and in some other Objectivist venues, are arguing that Ayn Rand (or Dr. Peikoff, etc.) and, by extension, Objectivism is the standard of truth. I've certainly never had the impression from my reading of Miss Rand's body of work that she set herself up as such or that she would ever have wanted herself or her work to be seen as "articles of faith". Correct me, please, if I am wrong about this.

As an Objectivist myself, I've always thought that REALITY is the standard of truth and that to be an Objectivist is, first and foremost, to be committed to both reality and the faculty of reason. Have I been mistaken?

I'm prompted to ask these questions not out of flippancy or disrespect, but precisely because one of the issues Rob Tracinski raises in his "What Went Right" series is what he perceives to be a kind of Rationalism amongst Objectivists, a Rationalism that seems to inform those comments I find "creepy" in the first place.

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I don't see any questioning of "the indispensable nature of philosophy", but rather a question about the order of ideas and actions. Does one have to have an explicit philosophy put forward by a dedicated philosopher, before action can take place incorporating those ideas? Is the sequence: Philosopher - ideas - actions in reality, or can it be actions - ideas - philosophy?

The point I agree with, is that man had to have some rationality in his choices, prior to explicit philosophies, or he wouldn't have survived. It is from observing these actions, that a philosophy can be formulated. Regardless, I am convinced that an explicit rational philosophy is the most effective way to progress for any society, and don't doubt (IMO) that is Mr Tracinski's view as well.

I agree, Arnold.

In Anthem, when Prometheus says "I am, I think, I will" he is acknowledging that he is a motor(I am), a steering mechanism (I think----his mental actions of thinking and his conclusions), and a driver (I will---his choice and effort to follow, in outward action, a particular conclusion as it applies to reality and his life). He as yet has no philosophy and his life is going forward.

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I’m confused . . . or, rather, I'm having the rather "creepy" sensation that there are some who, in their comments both here and in some other Objectivist venues, are arguing that Ayn Rand (or Dr. Peikoff, etc.) and, by extension, Objectivism is the standard of truth.

A comment like this should be accompanied by example(s), else the comment can be taken as a wholesale smear of the opposition. (Please note that I am not saying that your intention was to smear, but, nevertheless, your words could be taken that way.)

As an Objectivist myself, I've always thought that REALITY is the standard of truth ...

Actually, the canonical statement on the "standard of truth" would be from Galt's speech:

Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man's only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.

Yet, in a later writing, a letter written in 1961, Miss Rand said:

"Facts" are the standard of truth or falsehood; it is by means of "facts" that we determine whether an idea of ours is true or false.

Perhaps the difference is whether one is focusing on the epistemological or the metaphysical component of truth.

But, in either case, as you say, Objectivism itself should not be used as the standard of truth. In order to reach truth, one needs to use one's own reason to grasp the facts of reality.

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What I'm saying is that I'm not convinced that if Ayn Rand had found a "solution to the Problem of Induction" that it would have been part of Objectivism, by which I mean part of philosophy as such.

That really surprises me. Throughout the history of philosophy, two of the most basic issues were the Problem of Universals and the Problem of Induction -- both requiring solution in order to explain and defend all of man's knowledge. Ayn Rand solved the first and was working on the second.

If you don't think a solution to the Problem of Induction would be part of philosophy as such, where would you put it instead?

By the time she was working on that she had already formulated Objectivism, though as we know, she never wrote it up in any one formal publication.

Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Thus, if an idea was philosophical and it was proposed or endorsed by Ayn Rand, then it is part of Objectivism. It would be a part of Objectivism regardless of when in her life she identified or endorsed the idea and whether or not she ever wrote it down. If you don't agree, how does you view differ from mine?

I don't think that one can know that the "Problem of Induction" will be solved on the level of philosophy, because e.g., what if the question posed is not answerable as such, but only answerable in regard to specific instances of, or specific categories of induction? I think that the answers to the problem of induction will likely be multiple and specific to various sciences. In other words, I don't think that the answer(s) will necessarily be part of philosophy. If the answer(s) will be part of philosophy, it/they will be. But I'll believe that when I see it.

In my view, the solution to the Problem of Induction is the same in all cases and it is this: A proposition is true with total certainty when you can identify the cause(s) that reduce the proposition to a tautology. It is true, however, that the process you go through in order to discover the cause(s) will vary a great deal, depending on what you are studying. How you discover truths in physics is very different from how you do it in psychology.

For more elaboration and explanation of my views on induction, see what I wrote on the Induction thread.

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A comment like this should be accompanied by example(s), else the comment can be taken as a wholesale smear of the opposition. (Please note that I am not saying that your intention was to smear, but, nevertheless, your words could be taken that way.)

Indeed, I do see your point and can assure anyone who might have perceived it that way that my admittedly vague observation was not correlative of either agreement with or opposition to anyone's position. I plan to continue focusing on the many fascinating ideas being discussed here.

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That really surprises me. Throughout the history of philosophy, two of the most basic issues were the Problem of Universals and the Problem of Induction -- both requiring solution in order to explain and defend all of man's knowledge. Ayn Rand solved the first and was working on the second.

Yes, but I was thinking that the fact that she was learning mathematics in order to answer the question put it outside the realm of philosophy, since that is a special science and therefore not necessary for answering a philosophical question.

If you don't think a solution to the Problem of Induction would be part of philosophy as such, where would you put it instead?

My answer was in the part of my post after you asked this question. I'll have to think about this question though: If your solution to the problem of induction is correct, would it be part of philosophy? It seems compatible with Objectivism. But if a philosophical principle requires special sciences to be proved, then is that general philosophy, or the philosophy of science? And in any case, I still don't know of an example of a new, true, fundamental, general philosophical principle that is not part of Objectivism.

Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Thus, if an idea was philosophical and it was proposed or endorsed by Ayn Rand, then it is part of Objectivism. It would be a part of Objectivism regardless of when in her life she identified or endorsed the idea and whether or not she ever wrote it down. If you don't agree, how does you view differ from mine?

I think I explained that above.

In my view, the solution to the Problem of Induction is the same in all cases and it is this: A proposition is true with total certainty when you can identify the cause(s) that reduce the proposition to a tautology. It is true, however, that the process you go through in order to discover the cause(s) will vary a great deal, depending on what you are studying. How you discover truths in physics is very different from how you do it in psychology.

For more elaboration and explanation of my views on induction, see what I wrote on the Induction thread.

Great idea. Is this original to you? If so, can I have your autograph? ;)

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Q&A on The Summit and The Foundation by Robert Tracinski ( Post 1)

In the series of essays "What Went Right?" Robert Tracinski lays out a philosophy of history. The Part V of the series, "The Summit and The Foundation", is the summit and the foundation of that series of essays--it integrates the arguments made in all the previous essays to make the widest integrations and provides the foundation for the last planned essay of the series.

This series of posts is an attempt the identify the questions raised by and answers given by Robert Tracinski in "The Summit and The Foundation" Both the questions and the answers are based on my own grasp of the essay and I invite those who have read (or written :-) ) the essay to comment, criticize, elaborate on or praise both the questions and the answers as they deem fit.

Q: In a nutshell, What is the role of philosophy in history?

A: The title of the essay itself is the most accurate and concise summary of the role of philosophy in history. Philosophy is "The Summit and The Foundation" of history. By integrating the key achievements in all the major fields of human endeavor into the widest and explicit philosophical ideas, philosophy builds the intellectual summit that serves as the foundation for human endeavors thereafter.

Q: Can you provide a direct quote from Tracinski supporting this interpretation?

Tracinski writes:

The best statement I can give of my view of the role of philosophy in history is a broad analogy between the intellectual progress of a civilization as a whole and the inductive process by which a single individual comes to grasp a high-level abstraction.

When an individual comes to grasp or originate an important new idea, he begins with observation of the world, from which he draws concrete, lower-level conclusions. This is analogous, in the progress of a civilization, to advances in the specialized fields. Then as a man makes more observations and takes actions that produce new results, this evidence leads him to further, more complex conclusions. As he begins to build on previous conclusions to grasp a vast new abstraction, a man often—usually, in my experience—grasps it first as a vague "sense" which he cannot yet define in words. This, I suggest, is the analogy to the role of art, which is the means by which a culture often expresses a new idea in images and metaphors, before its philosophers are able to capture them in words.

Finally, as the pinnacle of an individual's inductive development, there comes the moment when he can name his new concept or hypothesis in words. At this point, a whole series of previous observations and lower-level abstractions are integrated into a wider sum, and connections and implications that had been merely implicit before are now captured explicitly. This is the analogy to the role of philosophy...

If a philosopher fulfills this role (as Aristotle did for the Greeks), the whole sum of these achievements—the achievements of specialized fields, as integrated and interpreted by philosophy—can then serve as an even more powerful base for further achievements in those specialized fields, from physics to politics, which will then provide an inductive base for new philosophical conclusions, and so on, in a virtuous cycle of intellectual and material progress.

The role of the philosopher, historically, is not as the sole motor of all progress, but rather as the observer, defender, promoter, and intellectual amplifier of that progress.

Q: Does this view denigrate the value of philosophers or philosophy?

A: Quite the opposite! To call Aristotle as the intellectual summit of the magnificent accomplishments of the ancient Greek civilization and the foundation of the rebirth of civilization, or, to call Ayn Rand the intellectual summit of all of history till the 20th century and the foundation for the 21st century, is a reverent and profound tribute. Identifying the exact nature of the good increases reverence for it--as Richard Feynman used to say, the beauty of a rose is magnified, not diminished, when one understands what makes it so.

To be continued...

For those who have not read the essay, please read it at:

http://www.intellectualactivist.com/php-bi...cle.php?id=1097

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Q&A on The Summit and The Foundation by Robert Tracinski ( Post 1)

Q: In a nutshell, What is the role of philosophy in history?

A: The title of the essay itself is the most accurate and concise summary of the role of philosophy in history. Philosophy is "The Summit and The Foundation" of history. By integrating the key achievements in all the major fields of human endeavor into the widest and explicit philosophical ideas, philosophy builds the intellectual summit that serves as the foundation for human endeavors thereafter.

Alrighty then . . .

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Q&A on The Summit and The Foundation by Robert Tracinski ( Post 2)

http://www.intellectualactivist.com/php-bi...cle.php?id=1097

What is the role of art in history?

Tracinski writes:

The great Greek dramatists did not write their plays after reading Aristotle's Poetics; rather, Aristotle's Poetics was an attempt to explain the art of the great Greek dramatists. And the great sculptors of Athens did not create art that glorified man's potential because they were inspired by Aristotle's description of the "great-souled man." Rather, Aristotle's exalted conception of man was inspired by these artists, and by the real-life examples of the thinkers and statesmen he had studied and observed.

When I fully realized this progression, I was particularly struck by the role of art, which is the non-verbal companion to philosophy. The fact that the height of Greek art preceded that of Greek philosophy—and by nearly a century—I find to be highly significant. Greek artists were able to train themselves in the minute and accurate observation of the world, and to grasp man's heroic potential well before these things could be fully, explicitly defined by the philosophers.

What is the relationship between philosophy and other fields?

Tracinski writes:

I am suggesting a reciprocal relationship in which achievements in specialized fields provide the inductive basis for wider conclusions in philosophy—which then serves a crucial role in solidifying that knowledge, making explicit its deepest assumptions and widest implications.

What is the essence of bad philososphy?

Tracinski writes:

The essence of bad philosophy, and of the malignant impact of bad philosophical theories on history, is the attempt by philosophers and intellectuals, not to learn from achievements in other fields, but to explain them away. It is the attempt, not to amplify new knowledge, but to neutralize it.

The philosophy of Plato, for example, can be seen as an attempt to salvage a role for mystical intuition—turning away from this world and looking inward in order to "recollect" the realm of "pure forms"—in the face of the nascent scientific outlook of his era. Similarly, during the height of the Scientific Revolution in the West, Immanuel Kant declared that he "found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith."

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Q&A on The Summit and The Foundation by Robert Tracinski ( Post 3)

http://www.intellectualactivist.com/php-bi...cle.php?id=1097

Q: How is the formulation of philosophy and its impact analogous to the formation and use of concepts in an individual mind?

Tracinski writes:

In discussing the process of concept-formation in the mind of an individual man, Ayn Rand wrote that "the process of forming a concept is not complete until its constituent units have been integrated into a single mental unit by means of a specific word." This is what makes a concept objective and allows it to be retained and transmitted. Something similar applies to the role of philosophy in the intellectual development of a civilization. Aristotle, as the pinnacle of Greek philosophy, served the role of defining the essence of the Greek achievement—the discovery of reason—in explicit, objective terms, which allowed that achievement to be encapsulated and transmitted, even across many centuries. That is why Aristotle's ideas had such a profound influence when they were rediscovered and embraced at the end of the Middle Ages.

As I said earlier, I have previously emphasized the role of the specialized sciences as a source of knowledge, which may have seemed to downgrade the role of philosophy. A few readers have rather hastily interpreted this to mean that I am denying the importance of philosophy in history. Far from it. Instead, I am attempting to define more precisely what that role is. Philosophy is not the starting point of knowledge, but it is a kind of ending point: its job is to form the widest new conclusions that are made possible by knowledge in other fields—which then serves to integrate, protect, and explain that knowledge.

To return to my analogy to the formation of a concept, the explicit identification of a new philosophical idea makes it possible to understand and retain all of the knowledge on which that idea is based, and to use this knowledge as a foundation for the development of further conclusions and abstractions. Just as naming the concepts of "dog," "horse," "snake," "bird," and so on, enables a man to form the wider concept "animal" (or more specialized concepts like "amphibian"), so the scientific postulates that diseases have natural causes or that the planets are made of stone allow one to form the wider philosophical concept of "natural law."

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On Harry Binswanger's List, Robert Mayhew responded to the various critiques of his essay here on THE FORUM.

For those who have not read it on HBL, this was his response:

Unfortunately, I'm reluctant to discuss these issues further. My essay is being "discussed" on a dubious Objectivish internet forum, where dusting off a copy of W.T. Jones and doing a Google search on Thales are considered adequate substitutes for erudition (and where reading the essay under discussion is optional). I do not wish even to appear to be contributing to such a discussion (however indirectly), so for the time being, at least, I cannot answer any questions related to this subject (even good questions, like Michelle Cohen's).

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On Harry Binswanger's List, Robert Mayhew responded to the various critiques of his essay here on THE FORUM.

For those who have not read it on HBL, this was his response:

Ad hominem is apparently a legitimate principle now.

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QUOTE(Robert Mayhew @ HBL, 1/27/07)

Unfortunately, I'm reluctant to discuss these issues further. My essay is being "discussed" on a dubious Objectivish internet forum, where dusting off a copy of W.T. Jones and doing a Google search on Thales are considered adequate substitutes for erudition (and where reading the essay under discussion is optional). I do not wish even to appear to be contributing to such a discussion (however indirectly), so for the time being, at least, I cannot answer any questions related to this subject (even good questions, like Michelle Cohen's).

I happen to agree with Dr. Mayhew's criticism of the discussion of his article on this thread. This will be my last post to THE FORUM.

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On Harry Binswanger's List, Robert Mayhew responded to the various critiques of his essay here on THE FORUM.

For those who have not read it on HBL, this was his response:

Thank you for posting this. At least now I know not to bother going to Dr. Mayhew to inform my ignorance.

I am genuinely interested in this question and so I looked forward to the discussion. I wasn't aware that equal erudition--and agreement--was a precondition to discussion. Of course, if I owned the requisite erudition--and agreement--I wouldn't bother.

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So, all of a sudden the subject requires specialized knowledge -- of the sort only available to specialists in the field. Doesn't that tend to confirm Tracinski's thesis?

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On Harry Binswanger's List, Robert Mayhew responded to the various critiques of his essay here on THE FORUM.

For those who have not read it on HBL, this was his response:

I can understand a studied expert's frustration in dealing with the less informed at times. At the same time they have a duty to maintain a bridge to those they consider ignorant. That is, if they wish to impart their knowledge, and relate to the public via print, word or video.

As I have mentioned before, this sort of dispute is not good for anyone. I don't know what motivates much of it, but wonder at the lack of maturity in dealing with it. Experts can be wrong, and I suspect it hurts to admit to this, or deal with a challenge which may show one up.

Rigid interpretations are fertile grounds for clashes. This is not to criticize rigidity, so much as willingness to acknowledge that that one can be rigidly wrong just as easily as rigidly right.

Compare the attitude of Mr Tracinski to questioning a rigidly held truth, to the flat refusal to engage in discussion about it. Objectivism, by it's very nature is not flexible, but that shouldn't preclude questioning our interpretations of it.

In the end, this is another example of why ultimately, you have to be the one who decides, because the experts may not agree, so you have to choose anyway.

I think we would benefit by being a little less defencive when our ideas are challenged, especially when there is nothing disrespectful about such a challenge.

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Q&A on The Summit and The Foundation by Robert Tracinski ( Post 4)

http://www.intellectualactivist.com/php-bi...cle.php?id=1097

Some of the confusion in the internet debates regarding this essay is due to not distinguishing between implicit and explicit philosophy. Here are a few questions on that topic.

In the development of philosophy, what comes first--implicit or explicit?

New ideas are grasped in concrete contexts and in an implicit form first; they are made explicit later.

Why is it necessary to distinguish between implicit philosophy and explicit philosophy in a discussion on the philosophy of history?

In philosophy of history, one is trying to identify what comes before what. If implicit philosophy preceeds explicit philosophy then the two need to be distinguished to grasp the chronology. Further, the impacts of implicit philosophy and explicit philosophy on history are different. While individuals can and do function with implicit philosophies in their own lives, the transmission power of philosophy is boosted several orders of magnitude when it is made explicit. The feat of transmission of a civilization across many dark centuries requires explicit philosophy.

Is philosophy the motor of history?

Implicit philosophy grasped, held and used by individuals by their own efforts is the motor of history; explicit philosophy is a manual for building and operating such motors.

Can you elaborate on this?

Man needs philosophy to live. By his own efforts, or lack thereof, he builds or accumulates an implicit "working" philosophy which shapes all his actions. By implicit philosophy, I mean the actual philosophical principles on which a man's actions are based--regardless of whether he has identified them in explicit terms himself, claims to hold the opposite explicit principles, or has learned them in explicit or implicit form from others.

Explicit philosophy provides guidance to man on how to build his own "working" philosophy, like a "how-to" manual. But, the active element doing the work of building is man's own volition. Like a motor manual, an explicit philosophy can lie in the junkheaps for centuries, until a mind like Aquinas comes along who can put together a working motor again. The building and operation of the motor is not automatic--each individual who wants to use it needs to expend enormous amount of independent effort to do it--man is a being of self-made soul.

How does this apply to relationship between philosophy and other fields?

When Tracinski speaks of the special sciences breaking new ground whose full meaning is recognized and made explicit by philosophers later, he is saying that men in other fields grasp philosophical principles, in an implicit form and in their narrower contexts and philosophers turn them into explicit principles later.

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On Harry Binswanger's List, Robert Mayhew responded to the various critiques of his essay here on THE FORUM.

For those who have not read it on HBL, this was his response:

As was once said in the old country: Quod erat demonstrandum.

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Q&A on The Summit and The Foundation by Robert Tracinski ( Post 4)

http://www.intellectualactivist.com/php-bi...cle.php?id=1097

Some of the confusion in the internet debates regarding this essay is due to not distinguishing between implicit and explicit philosophy. Here are a few questions on that topic.

I am wondering if you would like to elaborate more on what you mean by 'implicit' and 'explicit'? I am particularly interested in what you mean by 'implicit'. If I have a better understanding of your meaning of 'implicit', I might better understand what you mean by 'implicit philosophy'.

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