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11/21/03 11:34 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 21-Nov-03
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I think that there is confusion lurking in the choice of words. Try this. Isn't Rand's position... "Every individual has the right to try to do what he believes is in his own interest". She doesn't think, for instance, that it's a violation of someone's rights if that person doesn't own a TV because he is too lazy to work (even if a TV would make him happier). He doesn't have the right to the thing, but he the right to TRY to get the thing, although he might fail. She wants to say that it follows from the "right to try" that a person can not be hindered by another person. But it simply does not follow! Just like in sports, it is no contradiction if one person fails his attempt because he has been hindered by another person. Everyone can have the "right to try to be happy", and one man can enslaves another and makes him fail in his attempt, and there is NO controdiction. Might Makes Right!
11/22/03 9:27 AM
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McCandayass
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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"Would you be so kind as to cut and paste what you think is the argument for her morality in that link?" Her source material would of course be the most comprehensive frame of reference. I honestly don't know of any full lengths essays of hers that are available in entirety online. Here is a brief essay she did write on her philosophy, along with a more suggestive reading list. I hope that is somewhat helpful: www.aynrand.org/objectivism/io.html ""Socrates, using your example, if EVERY man has the right to make his life as best as possible, then wouldn't it be a contradiction for any one man to inhibit this right in others?"" "No. That's simply false reasoning." Socrates could you be so kind as to walk me through how this is false reasoning? ""If the principle is universal that "every man" has a right to make his life as best as possible, , then wouldn't it would imply the necessity of an absence of the enslaving, raping & killing of other men?"" "See above." Again please. Could you expand on this? "To illustrate my point, please answer this question. In a game of soccer, every player has the right to score as many points as he can. Does that mean that a player doesn't have the right to steal the ball from other players?" Well if every player has a right to score as many points as possible, the right is universal. Infringing on such a right in others would yield a contradiction. In any attempt to apply the rule, limits on the scope of action would be necessary. In other words, you would establish rules of engagement. The specifics would have to accommodate the principle, but would not necessarily make the principle untenable. "I think that there is confusion lurking in the choice of words. Try this. Isn't Rand's position... Here's a direct quote: “The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that no man has the right to seek values from others by means of physical force — i.e., no man or group has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. Men have the right to use force only in self-defense and only against those who initiate its use. "She doesn't think, for instance, that it's a violation of someone's rights if that person doesn't own a TV because he is too lazy to work (even if a TV would make him happier). He doesn't have the right to the thing, but he the right to TRY to get the thing, although he might fail." She'd argue that a person has a right to act in ways that will enable him to earn money & then purchase a TV. He doesn't have any inherent right to a TV in & of itself, until the moment it becomes his property. "She wants to say that it follows from the "right to try" that a person can not be hindered by another person. But it simply does not follow! Her theory goes deeper than a right to try. It subsumes the universal right of each individual to live as a free rational being. It goes to her views on what it means to be human, and the right to both experience & fulfill human potentialities. "Just like in sports, it is no contradiction if one person fails his attempt because he has been hindered by another person. Everyone can have the "right to try to be happy", and one man can enslaves another and makes him fail in his attempt, and there is NO contradiction." If everyone has a right to try to be successful in a sport, rules of engagement can be established that both accommodate & limit actions universally. In your example, the principle of "everyone" attempting their best implies establishing negative liberties. The essence of being able to play the game remains, with-in the limits of what rules the game demands. Under the sanctioned conditions of enslavement, rape & murder, the ability of all people to live as a free rational beings would be negated. Your proposition contradicts her principle of what it means to be free to live the life of a rational being. There-in lies the contradiction.
11/22/03 2:09 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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I have spoken poorly, and I believe that you have misuderstood me as a result. Let me try to clarify. If I look to the animal kingdom, I see that every individual animal pursues his own interest. If a lion wants a food or a female, he takes it. If another lion has wants the same food, or better yet, already possesses it, the first lion must take it from him. The stronger animal prevails and gets the food and women. This was the sort of "right" to pursue individual interest that I was reffering to. Might Makes Right. This is NOT a right to pursue unmolested by others. Perhaps you could say that there are no rights at all in this situaion. Fair enough. It become semantics at that point. I assume that it is clear that there is no contradiction when a lion kills another lion in the animal kingdom. IF men are like animals with respect to rights, men could kill, rape, and steal with no contradiction. Is this clear? Now then, Rand says: "“The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that no man has the right to seek values from others by means of physical force 쳌Ei.e., no man or group has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. Men have the right to use force only in self-defense and only against those who initiate its use." This would make man different than a lion. Might DOES NOT make right. Man can pursue his own interests, but unlike a lion he is restricted in his pursuit by the "human rights" of others. Right? ***HERE'S THE QUESTION: what is her proof that men have "human rights"? What is her argument? I believe that she doesn't have one. She merely asserts the existence of "human rights". If I am mistaken, please summerize her argument and prove me wrong. "Her theory goes deeper than a right to try. It subsumes the universal right of each individual to live as a free rational being. It goes to her views on what it means to be human, and the right to both experience & fulfill human potentialities." Again, I would just say that a human is no different than a lion. Human has the same right to fullfil human potentialities as a lion has to fulfill lion potentialities. There is no contradiction in killing. Rand has to prove that "human rights" exist. Empty assertions make for a very shallow philosophy or, I should say, no philosophy at all.
11/22/03 5:02 PM
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McCandayass
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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"I assume that it is clear that there is no contradiction when a lion kills another lion in the animal kingdom. IF men are like animals with respect to rights, men could kill, rape, and steal with no contradiction. Is this clear?" I don't accept your premise that men are like animals. I see humans and lions as fundamentally different from one another in a myriad of ways. In particular, on a conceptual level, and the products that result their-of. Perhaps you can show me the errors of my ways... "***HERE'S THE QUESTION: what is her proof that men have "human rights"? What is her argument? If you want to know her arguments in detailed form, the best source would be to read her works. Yet here's a quote regarding the issue: "An organism's life depends on two factors: the material or fuel which it needs from the outside,... and the action of its own body, the action of using that fuel properly. What standard determines proper in this context? The standard is the organism's life.... "Life can be kept in existence only by a constant process of self-sustaining action. The goal of that action, the ultimate value ... is the organism's life. "Now in what manner does a human being discover the concept of 'value'? ... By means of the physical sensations of pleasure and pain... Man has no choice about the standard that determines what will make him experience... pleasure and pain. What is that standard? HIS LIFE." Chapter 1 The Virtue of Selfishness Her view as I see it, is the fact that an individual exists, gives him the "right" to act in a ways that maintain his life. The source of human rights is the state of being alive. I'd suggest reading the book for a more detailed explanation. "I believe that she doesn't have one. She merely asserts the existence of "human rights". If I am mistaken, please summarize her argument and prove me wrong." Socrates, if you want to learn about her theories & arguments, you should read her source material. As you know, I've already provided a link to suggested reading list of both her work, & that of her contemporaries. "Again, I would just say that a human is no different than a lion." That quite an assertion. Could you please elaborate? "Human has the same right to fulfill human potentialities as a lion has to fulfill lion potentialities. There is no contradiction in killing." How do you support this assertion? I see you divide human potentialities & lion potentialities as opposed to grouping them under one heading. Would you care to define the essentials that make humans & lion potentialities exactly the same without contradiction? "Rand has to prove that "human rights" exist. Empty assertions make for a very shallow philosophy or, I should say, no philosophy at all." Again, I'd suggest the best method to evaluate her arguments would be to read her source materials. BTW, you can also find an audience who could perhaps aid in the discussion at the newsgroup: humanities.philosophy.objectivism I hope that helps!
11/22/03 5:50 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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"Socrates, if you want to learn about her theories & arguments, you should read her source material." The reason I am asking you for her argument is that I have read her sourse material, and I do not think she has an argument. I think she merely asserts things, albeit repeatedly and in different ways so that it looks like there might be an argument. You seem to disagree, saying she does have an argument. So, it makes sense for me to ask YOU what the argument is. So then, if you can't give it to me, then I think I'm further justified in my belief that she has no argument. None of the quotes you provided are arguments, and moreover they all apply to other animals. "Her view as I see it, is the fact that an individual exists, gives him the "right" to act in a ways that maintain his life. The source of human rights is the state of being alive." Yes, I agree that this is her view. But, again, this is NOT an argument. "I see you divide human potentialities & lion potentialities as opposed to grouping them under one heading. Would you care to define the essentials that make humans & lion potentialities exactly the same without contradiction?" It has nothing to do with the spefic potentialities. A lion and a hawk have different potentialites, and there is no contradiction in either of them killing. I am arguing that there is no such thing as Rand's "universal right". It exists no where in the animal kingdom, not with lions or pumas or bunny rabbits. "But Wait, you say, Humans are different!" All I am asking is what makes them different such that they have these mystical "universal rights"?
11/22/03 5:55 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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I should add that I don't actually believe much of what I'm saying. I am only maintaining this position to show how shallow Objectivism is. It doesn't have an argument for its claims, and cannot even defend itself against the simple counter assertion that might makes right.
11/22/03 6:57 PM
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McCandayass
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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"I think she merely asserts things, albeit repeatedly and in different ways so that it looks like there might be an argument." Since you've read the source materials, can you please provide some examples of her assertions masquerading as arguments? I'd also appreciate you explaining why you draw these conclusions.
11/22/03 7:41 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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Here is an example: A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action--which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a ration being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) The concept of a 'right' pertains only to action--specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive--of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights. From: Man's Rights, Virtue of Selfishness, by Ayn Rand, C. 1964 Can you find the argument? I can't. First she defines "right" in a particular way, so that it has the meaning she later uses. Then she ASSERTS that the right to life exists. Look, she speaks in a way that makes it seems as though she's drawing conclusions, but there is simply no argument here. There is no reason to believe this. There is nothing that makes this assertion more likely to be true than the counter assertion that might makes right. Now then, the fact that you did not give the argument in favor of Rand's position (instead you tried to turn the tables on me!) makes me think that you do not know the argument in favor of Rand's position (although you said you believed it). If this is true, please do not get defensive. This is an opportunity to greatly improve your life by dropping the anti-philosophy of Objectivism. It is nothing more than simpleminded assertions and assumptions; the opposite of philosophy Read instead Plato, Aristotle, and Nietzsche. Rand is not a philsopher; not even close.
11/22/03 7:50 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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BTW, I apologize for being rude. I am ill right now, and I do not have the energy for proper manners. Also, Rand upsets me. I really believe she gives philosophy a bad name. Actual philosophy is wonderful. It can be beautiful and uplifting, and also be dangerous and painful. The philosopher is like a god. The hear people call Rand a philsopher makes me sick. It's a complete injustice, and thus I become somewhat angry. My apologies.
11/22/03 8:15 PM
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McCandayass
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Edited: 22-Nov-03
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"Now then, the fact that you did not give the argument in favor of Rand's position (instead you tried to turn the tables on me!) makes me think that you do not know the argument in favor of Rand's position (although you said you believed it)." LOL. Socrates I've stated repeatedly that there are gaps in the philosophy of Objectivism. In my experience, there are gaps in ALL the philosophies & religions I've encountered. I also said that I see morality as a social construction. Arguing for the necessitation of her theory is not high on my priority list. This is especially so since I do not have direct access to the information needed to make her arguments. Sadly enough, the links are the best I can do. That's why I suggested reading of the source materials. "If this is true, please do not get defensive." It's a discussion on a message board. I see nothing to get defensive about. Dialog is always good, even with one named Socrates. "This is an opportunity to greatly improve your life by dropping the anti-philosophy of Objectivism. It is nothing more than simpleminded assertions and assumptions; the opposite of philosophy" Wow LOL. I define philosophy as the provision of a comprehensive view of life. I see Ayn Rand as a philosopher in that sense of the word. I am NOT an Objectivism. I'm a thinking person who is exposed & interested in all types of ideas & information. "Read instead Plato, Aristotle, and Nietzsche. Rand is not a philosopher; not even close." I've read the works of Plato, Aristotle & Nietzsche before. I enjoy each in different ways & for different reasons. No doubt I will read them & many others in the future. I'll respectfully disagree with your views on Rand not being a philosopher. BTW Socrates, I posted your question in several Objectivist discussion groups. I imagine that the people there will be better prepared to answer it. I'll provide a link when a sizable number of responses warrant it.
11/23/03 12:07 AM
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Socrates
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Edited: 23-Nov-03
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"LOL. Socrates I've stated repeatedly that there are gaps in the philosophy of Objectivism." Fair enough, but this strikes me as BIG gap. It's a gap at the very beginning of her system of morality, which seems to undermine view on how one should live. "This is especially so since I do not have direct access to the information needed to make her arguments." I do not need her quotations. If you understand the her argument, I would be happy for you to summerize it. But I thought from your previous statement that you were admitting that this is a gap in her system, and that there is no argument. Do you mean to say that, as far as you can tell, there is a gap in her argument for human rights, or that there's not? "It's a discussion on a message board. I see nothing to get defensive about." If I feel like someone is showning me to be mistaken, I become defensive. Even if it's over a message board. Maybe that's just me. "I define philosophy as the provision of a comprehensive view of life." Doesn't philo-sophy have anything to do with loving wisdom anymore? This is what upsets me. "Philosophy" has been cheapened. But at least we found the root of this disagreement. I disagree with your definition of philosophy. It saddens me. Anyway, thanks for posting my question on Objectivist groups. It is appreciated.
11/23/03 6:07 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 23-Nov-03
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" Yet I see Objectivism as an open system, with a solid base, & I think it has much that is good & practical to offer." How can a system that is based on the view that everything can logically be derived from a few "self-evident" first principles be open? "This is logic. A is A is the law of identity. What problem do you have with this?" That it doesn´t allow you to prove things like "B=B" and it certainly doesn´t allow you to prove that what things are is independent of what people think. It mean absolutely nothing without some substitution axiom. "It establishes that in her view of metaphysics, reality exists as a primary, as an objective absolute." Can you show me how to derive that from "A=A". "I don't see her as "confused" about anything here. Her theory of ethics flows from her metaphysics & epistemology. It's entirely consistent with the axioms of her system." Every statement that doesn´t say (A=nonA) is consistent in her axioms, which doesn´t mean they make any sense or have any relation to the world we live in. "Rand first established in her axioms that people are: 1. capable of experiencing an objective reality (Existence exists) 2. Can use reason to deal with reality (A is A)" This is a classical example of what I mean. Since Existence is an undefined concept, "existence exists" is almost void and only says "Something exist", a rather week statement. It surely doesn´t allow one to say that people are capable of experiencing reality. It doesn´t follow, the logical chain is wrong. And neither does the ability to deal with reason follow from "A=A". The sentence doesn´t even contain "A". "It doesn't breakdown at all if you use the words & terms within the context she herself defines them. Ayn Rand made the mistake of misinterpreting conflicting theories, just as her critics misinterpret her today." If her system really would be as logical and axiomatic as she said it is, there could be no confusion and misinterpretation. In axiomatic set theory, a real axiomatic theory, there is no doubt wether a argument is correct or not, even computers can check this. The point of axiomatics is not to worry about interpretation. So the very foundation of Objectivism is flawed.
11/23/03 9:43 AM
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McCandayass
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Edited: 23-Nov-03
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"How can a system that is based on the view that everything can logically be derived from a few "self-evident" first principles be open?" I'm speaking for myself here. I view Objectivism as a school of thought who's theories are open to interpretation. There will be different views of what in what it means & implies. In some cases there will be revisions. There will even be disagreements as to what is or isn't fundamental to it. This is the sense in which I see it as an open system. Although Objectivists themselves would most likely state the system is closed & immutable. "That it doesn´t allow you to prove things like "B=B" and it certainly doesn´t allow you to prove that what things are is independent of what people think. It mean absolutely nothing without some substitution axiom." If I have an apple in front of me, is there any thought, wish or emotion that can change the fact that it is an apple? In what way does identifying "A is A" prevent the identification of "B is B"? What substitution axiom do you propose? "This is a classical example of what I mean. Since Existence is an undefined concept, "existence exists" is almost void and only says "Something exist", a rather week statement. It surely doesn´t allow one to say that people are capable of experiencing reality. It doesn´t follow, the logical chain is wrong." I'm curious Dogbert, do you view being alive as self evident? If you do, how would you know this to be true? "If her system really would be as logical and axiomatic as she said it is, there could be no confusion and misinterpretation." Is there any philosophy that does not suffer from these conditions? "In axiomatic set theory, a real axiomatic theory, there is no doubt whether a argument is correct or not, even computers can check this. The point of axiomatics is not to worry about interpretation. So the very foundation of Objectivism is flawed." I agree with the Objectivist premise that I exist, & do so in a world that is independent of me. My senses & perceptions tell me this is true. If the foundation of Objectivism is flawed on this level, what alternate theory do you suggest?
11/23/03 9:57 AM
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McCandayass
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Edited: 23-Nov-03
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"Do you mean to say that, as far as you can tell, there is a gap in her argument for human rights, or that there's not?" Her basis is biological, meaning the right to live as a rational being. Metaphysically there is no such right. It's a social construction. "Doesn't philo-sophy have anything to do with loving wisdom anymore?" It does to me! "This is what upsets me. "Philosophy" has been cheapened. But at least we found the root of this disagreement. I disagree with your definition of philosophy. It saddens me." Now Socrates, how do you know that Ayn Rand did not love wisdom? Perhaps her view of what is wise was merely different than yours?
11/23/03 9:59 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 23-Nov-03
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"If I have an apple in front of me, is there any thought, wish or emotion that can change the fact that it is an apple?" You waking up? Apart from that, how do you define existence? And things still don´t follow from "A=A". "In what way does identifying "A is A" prevent the identification of "B is B"? What substitution axiom do you propose?" It doesn´t prevent B from being equal to itself, it just doesn´t follow as an implication. A simple substitution rule in, say, ordinary statement calculus would be that you can subsitute for the A´s all formulas being true under the same assignments of truth values. But this can of course only be done in a purely formal system, this doesn´t tell you anything about the world "ouside". "I'm curious Dogbert, do you view being alive as self evident? If you do, how would you know this to be true?" Well, I think it is a empirically testable fact that I´m alive and not a ghost. "'If her system really would be as logical and axiomatic as she said it is, there could be no confusion and misinterpretation.'Is there any philosophy that does not suffer from these conditions?" Yes, all philosophies that don´t pretend that you can derive knowledge about the "external world" from formal axiomatics. "I agree with the Objectivist premise that I exist, & do so in a world that is independent of me. My senses & perceptions tell me this is true. If the foundation of Objectivism is flawed on this level, what alternate theory do you suggest?" Well, I for one think it is meaningless to sy the world is independent of me, since I cannot check wether this is true by definition. Also the reason people like me are opposed to objectivism instead of just ignoring it, is that objectivist use their faulty arguments to justify certain ethical and political practices. None of them follow from the metaphysical believe that the world is independent of all observers and that people exist. So I view it as a form of dangerous propaganda for inhumane views.
11/29/03 2:07 PM
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RoninGear
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Edited: 29-Nov-03
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wow...look at my thread go....got to read a bunch and catch up...
12/1/03 10:42 AM
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RoninGear
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Edited: 01-Dec-03
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Well if everybody doesn't exist, why would inhumane views matter? Or any views?
12/5/03 10:11 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 05-Dec-03
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"Well if everybody doesn't exist, why would inhumane views matter? Or any views?" Why would they matter if anyone exists?
12/7/03 12:09 PM
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McCandayass
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Edited: 07-Dec-03
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Not to be argumentative Dogbert, but could you expand on the idea that the world doesn't exist "independent" of you. For example, I view reality as existing before, and most likely after my life ends. In other words it is independent of me. How does your view differ? "Well, I for one think it is meaningless to say the world is independent of me, since I cannot check whether this is true by definition." Wouldn't this problem be solved if you accept existence as axiomatic through your senses? "Also the reason people like me are opposed to objectivism instead of just ignoring it, is that objectivist use their faulty arguments to justify certain ethical and political practices. None of them follow from the metaphysical believe that the world is independent of all observers and that people exist. So I view it as a form of dangerous propaganda for inhumane views." I agree that the ethical and political theories don't by necessity follow. I think this can be said of all political and ethical theories. As for the "inhumane" part, that's in the eye of the beholder.
12/7/03 2:50 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 07-Dec-03
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"For example, I view reality as existing before, and most likely after my life ends. In other words it is independent of me. How does your view differ?" It doesn´t make sense to talk about a "real world behind things" and there is no need to do so. "Wouldn't this problem be solved if you accept existence as axiomatic through your senses?" Sure, you can define existence as observability, like the great Berkeley did. But this isn´t going to help you derive any political and ethical views. "I agree that the ethical and political theories don't by necessity follow. I think this can be said of all political and ethical theories." Sure, but most ethical theories don´t pretend to be derived from knowledge about the true nature of the world and similar nonsense. And objectivism is first and foremost a ethical and political theory. Has there ever been anyone who said "I agree with objectivism and have accepted it as my personal epistemology, but I completely disagree with the ethical and political views of Ayn Rand." "As for the "inhumane" part, that's in the eye of the beholder." I was talking about my eyes, which happen to agree with the views of most of western civilization on this.
12/18/03 5:31 PM
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Majic Sam
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Edited: 18-Dec-03
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I recall that Robert Anton Wilson was summoned to appear before her back in the 70's.He found her to be an overly hostile,paranoid biatch.
12/18/03 8:57 PM
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RoninGear
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Edited: 18-Dec-03
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Thread title is "Objectivism" not Ayn Rand....Everybody has critics... Dogbert and McCandyass went way over my head. The basics of Objectivism still seem like a good fundamental philosophy. Splitting hairs with philosophy soon becomes mental masterbation....
12/24/03 9:52 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 24-Dec-03
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"The basics of Objectivism still seem like a good fundamental philosophy." On what grounds? "Splitting hairs with philosophy soon becomes mental masterbation.... " If a philosopher claims all her views, including ones that look strange to the mainstream, can be derived from self-evident first principles, one should take a pedantic look at these principles and how they are used IMHO.

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