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 Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

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ScoutsHonor

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PostSubject: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Sun 01 Nov 2009, 3:04 pm

Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

An Objectivist wrote:
"Ayn Rand's book Atlas Shrugged is is what got me
interested in philosophy in the first place. I've read a lot of
different books on philosophy since then, but Ayn Rand's
philosophy still makes more sense to me than any of the others
(though I definitely don't agree with her on everything). For
those who aren't familiar with Objectivism, or for those who think
they are but aren't, here is the most concise overview she ever wrote:"



"At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of
Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could
present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did
as follows:

1. Metaphysics, Objective Reality.
2. Epistemology, Reason.
3. Ethics, Self-interest.
4. Politics, Capitalism.

If you want this translated into simple language, it would read: 1.
“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed” or “Wishing won’t make it
so.” 2. “You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.” 3. “Man is an end
in himself.” 4. “Give me liberty or give me death.”

If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your
convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the
course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to
understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of
thought. Which is why philosophy cannot be discussed while standing on
one foot—nor while standing on two feet on both sides of every fence.
This last is the predominant philosophical position today, particularly
in the field of politics.

My philosophy, Objectivism, holds that:

1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

2. Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material
provided by man’s senses) is man’s only means of perceiving reality,
his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic
means of survival.

3. Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of
others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to
others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own
rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral
purpose of his life.

4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It
is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and
executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free,
voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may
obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no
man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The
government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses
physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate
its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full
capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a
complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the
same reasons as the separation of state and church."

--Ayn Rand
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Sun 01 Nov 2009, 11:26 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:

Objectivism, holds that:

1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It
is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and
executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free,
voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may
obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no
man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The
government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses
physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate
its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full
capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a
complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the
same reasons as the separation of state and church."

Oh boy, I would have loved to see Baudrillard & Rand debate reality and Marx's system of production. Now, that would have been some fireworks.

Just a word of caution, Baudrillard is going to be a mind blowing experience for those who have followed Rand. We'll get into it over time here, and people will have ample info to make up their own minds Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Wed 04 Nov 2009, 8:53 am

IP wrote:
ScoutsHonor wrote:

Objectivism, holds that:

1. Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

4. The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism. It
is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and
executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free,
voluntary exchange to mutual benefit. It is a system where no man may
obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force, and no

man may initiate the use of physical force against others. The
government acts only as a policeman that protects man’s rights; it uses
physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate
its use, such as criminals or foreign invaders. In a system of full
capitalism, there should be (but, historically, has not yet been) a
complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the
same reasons as the separation of state and church."

Oh boy, I would have loved to see Baudrillard & Rand debate reality and Marx's system of production. Now, that would have been some fireworks.


Ditto! These people were giants. At this point, I'm almost completely unfamiliar with what Baudrillard stands for, so I'm really looking forward to learning more about his ideas.

Quote :
Just a word of caution, Baudrillard is going to be a mind blowing experience for those who have followed Rand. We'll get into it over time here, and people will have ample info to make up their own minds Smile

I have every confidence in Rand's ability to MORE than maintain her own.

I noticed, in the bolded print above, something I hadn't noticed before. That that is the libertarian non-aggression principle (NAP), the very foundation of libertarian ethics. Interesting, that Rand said it first, but ALSO goes on to expand and elaborate on the proper scope of the ethics of this issue. I maintain that she was far and away the master in her comprehension of this area of inquiry.


Last edited by IP on Wed 04 Nov 2009, 10:43 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Just fixing quote, a format change only.)
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Wed 04 Nov 2009, 10:41 am

ScoutsHonor wrote:

Quote :
Just a word of caution, Baudrillard is going to be a mind blowing experience for those who have followed Rand. We'll get into it over time here, and people will have ample info to make up their own minds Smile

I have every confidence in Rand's ability to MORE than maintain her own.

Let's just say that Baudrillard would not agree with "Reality exists as an objective absolute." If one buy into that, then one buys into the Simulacrum. I don't see how these two concepts are anything other than mutually exclusive (ie incompatible).

ScoutsHonor wrote:
I noticed, in the bolded print above, something I hadn't noticed before. That that is the libertarian non-aggression principle (NAP), the very foundation of libertarian ethics. Interesting, that Rand said it first, but ALSO goes on to expand and elaborate on the proper scope of the ethics of this issue. I maintain that she was far and away the master in her comprehension of this area of inquiry.
Why would one have any need for force when you have sociologists like Adorno developing techniques that manipulate the population through mass produced culture.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 11:38 am

IP wrote:
ScoutsHonor wrote:

Quote :
Just a word of caution, Baudrillard is going to be a mind blowing experience for those who have followed Rand. We'll get into it over time here, and people will have ample info to make up their own minds Smile

I have every confidence in Rand's ability to MORE than maintain her own.

Let's just say that Baudrillard would not agree with "Reality exists as an objective absolute." If one buy into that, then one buys into the Simulacrum. I don't see how these two concepts are anything other than mutually exclusive (ie incompatible).

Wow. Now I see why you said there would be "fireworks." They are so diametrically opposed I wonder if they would be able to agree on "Hello"--

ScoutsHonor wrote:
I noticed, in the bolded print above, something I hadn't noticed before. That that is the libertarian non-aggression principle (NAP), the very foundation of libertarian ethics. Interesting, that Rand said it first, but ALSO goes on to expand and elaborate on the proper scope of the ethics of this issue. I maintain that she was far and away the master in her comprehension of this area of inquiry.
Quote :
Why would one have any need for force when you have sociologists like Adorno developing techniques that manipulate the population through mass produced culture.

Great point. *sigh* We're in deep trouble, here in the 2lst century....
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 12:02 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:

Great point. *sigh* We're in deep trouble, here in the 2lst century....
We're here to figure out what's inside the Simulacrum, and how we've been fooled and its impact. The onion seems to have endless layers. Quite honestly, when I look at the Rand material now, from Baudrillard's point of view, I see it as a technique for maintaining our compliance inside the Simulacrum and our buy-in to "laissez-faire capitalism" as "the ideal political-economic system." I now view this as a trap, and her role was to help set it.

But let's get into it more. I'm certainly no expert in Rand and this requires further inspection. I'll shortly post a lengthy article that summarizes much of Baudrillard's thinking. His points of view regarding the capitalist system are quite interesting, and I think will help she light on the issues for those much better versed in Rand than I.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 2:12 pm

IP wrote:
ScoutsHonor wrote:

Great point. *sigh* We're in deep trouble, here in the 2lst century....
We're here to figure out what's inside the Simulacrum, and how we've been fooled and its impact. The onion seems to have endless layers. Quite honestly, when I look at the Rand material now, from Baudrillard's point of view, I see it as a technique for maintaining our compliance inside the Simulacrum and our buy-in to "laissez-faire capitalism" as "the ideal political-economic system." I now view this as a trap, and her role was to help set it.

But let's get into it more. I'm certainly no expert in Rand and this requires further inspection. I'll shortly post a lengthy article that summarizes much of Baudrillard's thinking. His points of view regarding the capitalist system are quite interesting, and I think will help she light on the issues for those much better versed in Rand than I.

Sorry, I can't agree with you on this. Surely it's possible that she honestly believed that a constitutional republic was the best political system available, just as did our Founding Fathers, who, in most cases I believe, were acting in what they believed to be our best interests.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 6:45 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:
IP wrote:
ScoutsHonor wrote:

Great point. *sigh* We're in deep trouble, here in the 2lst century....
We're here to figure out what's inside the Simulacrum, and how we've been fooled and its impact. The onion seems to have endless layers. Quite honestly, when I look at the Rand material now, from Baudrillard's point of view, I see it as a technique for maintaining our compliance inside the Simulacrum and our buy-in to "laissez-faire capitalism" as "the ideal political-economic system." I now view this as a trap, and her role was to help set it.

But let's get into it more. I'm certainly no expert in Rand and this requires further inspection. I'll shortly post a lengthy article that summarizes much of Baudrillard's thinking. His points of view regarding the capitalist system are quite interesting, and I think will help she light on the issues for those much better versed in Rand than I.

Sorry, I can't agree with you on this. Surely it's possible that she honestly believed that a constitutional republic was the best political system available, just as did our Founding Fathers, who, in most cases I believe, were acting in what they believed to be our best interests.

I posted an article on Baudrillard's work here. I think Rand's work contributes, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to the Perfect Crime, as explained by Baudrillard...

Quote :
Baudrillard sees the perfect crime as our doomed attempt to render the world (which is fundamentally a world of illusion) knowable in computer models and information, by the “cloning of reality” and the “extermination of the real [the original illusion] by its double.” Here is a good deal of Baudrillard’s entire strategic development over twenty years rendered into one sentence: “On the further slope looms the perfect crime: the destruction of all illusion, saturated by absolute reality.”

In summary, I view "laissez-faire capitalism" as a technique for pushing society away from "seduction" and "reversibility," while I see the founders efforts enabling us to move closer to "seduction."
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 7:13 pm

Quote :
I posted an article on Baudrillard's work here. I think Rand's work contributes, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to the Perfect Crime, as explained by Baudrillard...

Quote :
Baudrillard sees the perfect crime as our doomed attempt to render the world (which is fundamentally a world of illusion) knowable in computer models and information, by the “cloning of reality” and the “extermination of the real [the original illusion] by its double.” Here is a good deal of Baudrillard’s entire strategic development over twenty years rendered into one sentence: “On the further slope looms the perfect crime: the destruction of all illusion, saturated by absolute reality.”

In summary, I view "laissez-faire capitalism" as a technique for pushing society away from "seduction" and "reversibility," while I see the founders efforts enabling us to move closer to "seduction."

I'm going to print this out, IP, together with the Baudrillard piece you wrote, and read them in more comfort, on my sofa.

Talk to you later.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 9:02 pm

Quote :
In summary, I view "laissez-faire capitalism" as a technique for pushing society away from "seduction" and "reversibility," while I see the founders efforts enabling us to move closer to "seduction."


With regard to one aspect of our discuss, there is the above statement, which I don't understand; are you saying that the founders' system ("enabling us to move closer to seduction") was different from "laissez-faire capitalism"? I have always thought our system was, from the beginning, "laissez-faire capitalism"? ---but maybe not. Could you clarify this? Thanks.


Last edited by IP on Thu 05 Nov 2009, 9:18 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : just fixing the formatting on the quote)
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 9:28 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:
Quote :
In summary, I view "laissez-faire capitalism" as a technique for pushing society away from "seduction" and "reversibility," while I see the founders efforts enabling us to move closer to "seduction."


With regard to one aspect of our discuss, there is the above statement, which I don't understand; are you saying that the founders' system ("enabling us to move closer to seduction") was different from "laissez-faire capitalism"? I have always thought our system was, from the beginning, "laissez-faire capitalism"? ---but maybe not. Could you clarify this? Thanks.

Yes.

The founder's basically said that the individual was a King ("sovereign") and that the individual is free to do whatever they want as long as they do not trample on anyone elses inalienable (God given) rights to do whatever they want.

After digesting Baudrillard, I'm so far concluding that "laissez-faire capitalism" is a technique for establishing a monolithic society where production, consumption, and destruction are the primary meanings... those thing that are valued most.

The founder's system didn't have to go this way, it could have developed in any direction.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 9:56 pm

I'm struggling to understand Baudrillard; it isn't easy.
I have several questions, but they're not formulated well enough yet to present.

I think I need to do some research on several areas I'm unsure about..(like what was the political-economic system in the 1700's, i.e. our founders system.) This is only ONE of my questions; there are all my other questions, about "absolute reality" "reversibility" and others...Looks like my work is cut out for me!

Thank you, btw, for answering my first question.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Thu 05 Nov 2009, 10:22 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:
I'm struggling to understand Baudrillard; it isn't easy.
I have several questions, but they're not formulated well enough yet to present.

I think I need to do some research on several areas I'm unsure about..(like what was the political-economic system in the 1700's, i.e. our founders system.) This is only ONE of my questions; there are all my other questions, about "absolute reality" "reversibility" and others...Looks like my work is cut out for me!

Thank you, btw, for answering my first question.

Well, there is certainly no rush to get through this extremely dense material. If it takes you 1-year, then you will be moving much faster than I did Smile

Also, there is absolutely no reason to agree with me. But I will be curious to hear your comments as you compare and contrast the two sets of philosophies.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Sun 08 Nov 2009, 3:05 pm

IP wrote:
After digesting Baudrillard, I'm so far concluding that "laissez-faire capitalism" is a technique for establishing a monolithic society where production, consumption, and destruction are the primary meanings... those thing that are valued most.

Well, we also have the Muslim society, which is based on the spiritual, and condemns the capitalist value system that is based on production and consumption. Is it better?
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Mon 09 Apr 2012, 7:22 am

"Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict 'It is evil'”. Ayn Rand
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Wed 11 Apr 2012, 12:14 am

mike lewis wrote:
"Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict 'It is evil'”. Ayn Rand
That quote is a keeper. Thanks for posting.

In today's world:

- regurgitation of carefully crafted narratives, for target audiences, is considered thinking;
- reciting system authorized data from approved institutions is labelled being smart
- being adept at operating or programming technology is highly rewarded
- meaningless and mindless activities (sport, entertainment, computer gaming) is being highly skilled or "special"

There are no rewards any longer for "thinking", or for digesting material outside of approved channels. Real thinking is no longer defined, let alone rewarded.

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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Mon 16 Apr 2012, 2:26 am

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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Mon 28 May 2012, 8:26 pm

C1 wrote:

In today's world:

- regurgitation of carefully crafted narratives, for target audiences, is considered thinking;
- reciting system authorized data from approved institutions is labelled being smart
- being adept at operating or programming technology is highly rewarded
- meaningless and mindless activities (sport, entertainment, computer gaming) is being highly skilled or "special"


Excellent summation.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Mon 09 Jul 2012, 10:10 pm

Quote :
Rand on Causation and Free Will

Ayn Rand's views on causation contradict her views on free will. The reason is very simple: her views on causation are those of a determinist; her views on free will, however, make her a libertarian (as we will see below). And those two positions are, by definition, incompatible. But there is another serious mistake in Rand's theory of causation, one that is even worse because it is more fundamental.

Before proceeding, it might be a good idea to define the terms "determinism" and "libertarianism". Determinism is the view that the future is closed to all but one possibility, or, as Rand might have put it, that "everything in the future is already pre-set and inevitable" (The Ayn Rand Lexicon, 122). Libertarianism is the view that we have free will and that, since free will is incompatible with determinism, determinism is false. This is the standard meaning of libertarianism (see, e.g., Free Will, ed. Robert Kane, 17).

Rand is, in a sense, a determinist because of what she says regarding the relationship between causation and the laws of logic. Rand has the unusual view that the law of causation is a corollary of the law of identity. Thus, for her, it is necessarily true that everything has a cause. Leonard Peikoff explains the point as follows: "Every entity has a nature; ... it has certain attributes and no others. Such an entity must act in accordance with its nature. The only alternatives would be for an entity to act apart from its nature or against it; both of those are impossible. ... In any given set of circumstances, therefore, there is only one action possible to an entity, the action expressive of its identity. This is the action it will take, the action that is caused and necessitated by its nature." (Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, 14.)

Now, some Objectivists believe that Peikoff sometimes misrepresents Rand's views in this book (which was written after Rand's death), but they cannot reasonably claim such a thing regarding the above, for Peikoff made essentially the same point in "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy", an article that was personally approved by Rand:

"As far as metaphysical reality is concerned (omitting human actions from consideration, for the moment), there are no 'facts which happen to be but could have been otherwise'... Since things are what they are, since everything that exists possesses a specific identity, nothing in reality can occur causelessly or by chance. The nature of an entity determines what it can do and, in any given set of circumstances, dictates what it will do." (The Ayn Rand Lexicon, 333.)

The only important difference between the two passages is that in the latter Peikoff specifically points out that this does not apply to human actions. We will return to this below. Apart from human actions, however, Rand believed that every event was determined in the sense that, at any given moment, only one outcome was possible — nothing that happens could have happened otherwise. Peikoff uses the example of a helium-filled balloon to clarify the issue: if, under the same set of circumstances, it were possible for a balloon to act in more than one way — if it could rise or fall — then the law of identity would be violated. "Such incompatible outcomes would have to derive from incompatible (contradictory) aspects of the entity's nature. But there are no contradictory aspects. A is A." (Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, 14-15.) Objectivists often make this point in arguing against the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, which states that there are truly random events in the physical world.

According to Rand, then, the law of identity implies that everything has a cause, and this in turn implies that, at any given moment, there is only one way that anything can act — only one outcome that is possible. This is causal determinism. A rather bizarre type of causal determinism, since it is based on nothing more than the law of identity, but causal determinism nonetheless.

But Rand also believes in freedom of the will, and believes that it is incompatible with determinism. In other words, she is a libertarian. Again, in Peikoff's Rand-approved words: "Because man has free will, no human choice — and no phenomenon which is a product of human choice — is metaphysically necessary. In regard to any man-made fact, it is valid to claim that man has chosen thus, but it was not inherent in the nature of existence for him to have done so: he could have done otherwise." (The Ayn Rand Lexicon, 180.) So when it comes to any man-made fact, it might not have been. Something else might have been instead. But this obviously contradicts what Peikoff said above regarding there being "in any given set of circumstances... only one action possible to an entity".

Now, as already pointed out, in "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy", Peikoff explicitly leaves human action out of this determinist picture. It might therefore seem that there is no contradiction: the deterministic view applies only to non-human reality. But this will not do — unless Peikoff means that the law of identity does not apply to human beings. Remember that the whole point is that determinism (that is, that only one outcome is possible at any given time) is supposed to be entailed by that law of logic. On Rand's view, then, if a human being is free to either do A or not do A in a given situation, then the human being must not have a specific nature.

Of course, we all know that Rand did not really believe such a thing. She obviously believed that the law of identity applied to human beings as much as to anything else. But that's not my point. My point is that, if we accept what she says about the relationship between identity and causality, and also what she says about human volition, then we should conclude that human beings are exempt from the law of identity. And that is obviously ridiculous.

Objectivism attempts to avoid this contradiction by claiming that, in the case of human beings, acting in accordance with one's nature does not imply that there is only one action possible at each moment. It is part of human nature, according to Rand, to have the ability to choose from among more than one course of action. "The attribute of volition", she says, "does not contradict the fact of identity... [Man] is able to initiate and direct his mental action only in accordance with the nature (the identity) of his consciousness." (Ibid.) Or in Peikoff's words: "The law of identity... tells us only that whatever entities there are, they act in accordance with their nature... The law of causality by itself, therefore, does not affirm or deny the reality of an irreducible choice. It says only this much: if such a choice does exist, then it, too, as a form of action, is performed and necessitated by an entity of a specific nature." (Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, 68-69.)

But this changes things. Now it no longer is the case that "acting in accordance with a specific nature" implies that there is only one possible way of acting. According to Rand, human beings act in accordance with their nature, and thus in accordance with the law of identity, and yet they are able to choose from among more than one possible course of action. So the law of identity does not, in fact, mean that only one outcome is possible for an entity at any given time.

And in fact, that is exactly right: the original claim was simply wrong. Determinism (whether of human or non-human entities) simply does not follow from the law of identity. To suppose that it does, whether for human beings or for any other entity, is an obvious confusion. But now Rand's view of causation can be seen for what it really is: it means absolutely nothing. All Rand's "law of causation" tells us is that entities act in accordance with their nature. But that tells us nothing about how any given entity must act. It merely says that they act the way that they act.

John Hospers apparently pointed this out to Rand, saying that her claim that an entity must act in accordance with its nature "is guaranteed by the meaning attached to the word 'nature'." (Letters of Ayn Rand, 528.) Judging from her reply, she seems to not have understood the complaint. His point, I take it, was that because her statement is true by definition, it is no more than an empty truism. That every entity always acts in accordance with its nature tells us nothing about how it will in fact act, including whether or not there is more than one possible way for it to act. It does not, for instance, rule out the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics: all one needs to say is that it is in an electron's nature (for example) to behave unpredictably. Nor would it be contradicted by a helium-filled balloon that fell. If a balloon ever acted this way, then that would merely show that such behavior is part of its nature. Or, in other words, no matter how anything acts, it is by definition acting in accordance with its nature.

To sum up: Rand's view that the law of identity implies determinism contradicts her view that human beings have free will. Furthermore, it is simply false that determinism follows from the law of identity.
©2003, 2008 Franz Kiekeben
http://www.kiekeben.com/home.html
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mike lewis



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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Tue 10 Jul 2012, 12:26 am

Quote :
But what is so terribly wrong with Rand's notion of "rational self interest?" To begin, the notion is inherently irrational. It claims that in my seeking of my own selfish best interests, I need to (unselfishly!) allow other to do the same. Hence, to be "rationally selfish" I need to be unselfish. That, gentle reader, is nothing more and nothing less than a contradiction.

Quote :
What is so terribly wrong with Objectivism? To begin, it's so-called "axiom of existence" which says that existence exists is outright false. That's right: "existence" doesn't exist anymore than "life" lives. You live, I live, the birds in the trees all live, but life doesn't. Why doesn't it? for the simple reason that Life is a creation of the human mind, and exists only in the human mind. An abstraction, in other words? Not even that. It is, to be precise, what Aristotle called a topic (the Greek word having been topos, which literally means place). Thus in the sense meant here, a topos or a topic is a place in which we humans might put things we wish to categorize as "living." Therefore, the particular things, (birds, trees, rabbits, virus, and so on) which we put into the topos or place we call "life" are all living, that place itself, in which we put them, is not. That is to say, again, living things live, but life does not.
The same can be said about existence. Living things, and inanimate things now as well, exist. We prove this by pointing to them, and describing their properties (e.g., John is tall). But we can do no such thing with existence because existence has no properties. It has no properties because it has no existence of its own, save as a topic or topos or place in human discourse. That is to say, existence most definitely does not exist. What is more, Aristotle never said it did--- for the simple reason that he was too intelligent to ever say anything so ridiculous. Why is it ridiculous? Because if you think about it, you'll realize it's flat out wrong. That is to say, you exist, I exist, the universe exists--- but existence doesn't exist. This is because as even Rand herself admits elsewhere in her writings, only concretes exist. And existence is clearly not a concrete, because you cannot ascribe any specific properties to it. As I've already indicated, it's merely a kind of floating abstraction--- more precisely, a topos or topic or place) that outside of a specific context, quite literally means nothing. Thus, since "existence" out of context means nothing, to say out of any specific context that "existence exists" is to efectively say that nothing exists--- a most extreme form of a view generally known as nihilism.



http://www.aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/
"This wonderful blog chronicles exactly why and to what extent Ayn Rand was horribly incorrect on a number of issues. This is for the fence-sitting and fanatic but otherwise intelligent Objectivist alike. If the latter even exists. Highly recommended, but come prepared with your Rand collection..." -
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Tue 10 Jul 2012, 6:08 pm

Ayn Rand on the American Indian:

"They didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using . . . . What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent."- Address to West Point, 1974

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mike lewis



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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Fri 13 Jul 2012, 12:28 am

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An Inconsistent Triad

There are three propositions that many Objectivists believe -- and that Rand herself almost certainly believed -- that form an inconsistent triad. That is, they form a set that has the property that any two are consistent, but the addition of the third makes the set contradictory.

The first rarely gets stated, because it is taken for granted by almost everybody. It may well be that it is so thoroughly taken for granted, that it is not even recognized as a belief to which there might be some alternative. Objectivists take it for granted, but are hardly ever pushed to defend it, because the people they engage in discussion also take it for granted.

It is the assumption that time is non-cyclical. There is a definite future and past, so it is not the case that, say, a future event is the very same event as some past event. In fact, if time were cyclical, every event would be in both the future and past of every other (and even in its own future and past). There could be, say, three events, A, B and C, with A preceding B, B preceding C and C preceding A. (This is not to say that the cycle would repeat. Rather, the very same event, occurring only once, would both precede and follow itself.)

The second proposition is that every event has causal conditions. What that means is that for every event, there are some prior conditions such that, had they not occurred or been present, then the event in question either would not have occurred or else would have been different.1 Now, that's a weaker claim than that every event has a cause, in the sense of sufficient conditions for its occurrence, but nonetheless, if the latter is true (as I think some Objectivists have unwisely maintained), it entails the former, that there are causal conditions for every event.

The third proposition is that there are no actual infinities. This means that there are no sets or groups or collections with infinitely many actual or existing members and also that there are no properties of anything that actually exists that are present to an infinite degree. Infinity is, according to Objectivists, a concept of method, very useful for certain purposes, but nowhere actually instantiated. There may be potential infinities, such as finite sets that admit the addition of indefinitely many further members or indefinitely divisible magnitudes, but what is concretely real is always finite. (At a given time, a finite number of members has been added or a finite number of divisions has been performed.)

These three propositions, though they are all believed by many Objectivists, form an inconsistent triad. There is no way that all three can be true. Demonstrating this is simple. Take any two of them as premises and you can prove that the third is false.

If time is non-cyclical and every event has some causal condition, then there must be an infinite series of events extending into the past. That is, for every event, there will be at least one before it to be or to be part of its causal condition. And, since time is being assumed to be non-cyclical, the earlier event will itself require another as a causal condition which has not already been accounted for. To put it the other way around, if you suppose time to be non-cyclical and every event to require a causal condition, you can prove that any particular finite number suggested cannot be equal to the total number of events; there will have to be at least one more than any finite number to provide a causal condition for the earliest member or members of the set of events. Since that argument works for each finite number, the total number of events must not be finite.2

If the non-cyclicity of time and the non-existence of actual infinities are both true, then there must be finitely many events in the past. But if there are finitely many events in the past, then at least one, the first (or more than one tied for first), must have occurred without causal conditions. (The existence of a first -- or a tie for first -- is guaranteed by the non-cyclicity of time.)

If the causal conditioning of every event and the non-existence of actual infinities are both true, then time must be cyclical, so that every event can have a causal condition without there being an infinite set of causal conditions.
http://www.oocities.org/athens/olympus/2178/triad.html
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Fri 13 Jul 2012, 4:23 am

mike lewis wrote:
An Inconsistent Triad

There are three propositions that many Objectivists believe -- and that Rand herself almost certainly believed -- that form an inconsistent triad. That is, they form a set that has the property that any two are consistent, but the addition of the third makes the set contradictory....

~snip~

You are far far off the mark here, way out in left field and heading for the Moon and points North with this issue - Objectivists NEVER discuss anything of the kind, are not concerned with this as you claim, and if they considered it at all would consider it totally an irrelevant, obscure and frivolous tangent qua the issues that really matter. Which is: how should men live their lives on earth. Objectivists are practical people. One might sum it up by saying they "couldn't care less how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." or whether Time is non-cyclical! (HA). It is a totally different psychology and mind-set, Mike.

It is obvious you know *zilch* about Objectivists and Objectivism...it is an alien world for someone of your intellectual bent, and I mean this with no intent to insult at all. But I suggest this being the case that you discard your attempts to 'explain' Objectivism, as you will never come anywhere close. Definitely *Apples* and *Oranges.*

We might discuss something else interesting , such as the theme of Atlas Shrugged, Galt's Gulch, men of the mind on strike, and other exciting stuff like that...it could be fun. I would certainly enjoy it. Let me know. :-)
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mike lewis



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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Fri 13 Jul 2012, 5:09 am

ScoutsHonor wrote:


You are far far off the mark here, way out in left field and heading for the Moon and points North with this issue - Objectivists NEVER discuss anything of the kind, are not concerned with this as you claim, and if they considered it at all would consider it totally an irrelevant, obscure and frivolous tangent qua the issues that really matter. Which is: how should men live their lives on earth. Objectivists are practical people. One might sum it up by saying they "couldn't care less how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." or whether Time is non-cyclical! (HA).


Okay, so we agree that Objectivism is deeply flawed as a system of formal thought and we can dispense with seriously considering it as a coherent comprehensive philosophy.


Now, for our purposes, Objectivism has been reduced from a philosophy to a simple subjective ideology which does not require a lengthy and involved refutation.

I will address the political and economic merits of this ideology at length in future posts.
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PostSubject: Re: Objectivism - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand   Sun 15 Jul 2012, 8:14 pm

Destruction of Objectivism: Ayn Rand is Dead


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is_ought

Quote :
Failing to Bridge the Is-Ought Gap
That "is" defines "ought," or "The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do," is clearly circular. Rand confuses this situation with her theory of moral choice which leaves the "ought" to choice and not to "is." This is the problem of pre-moral choice which has stymied Objectivist ethics for decades now.

If an ought is defined by an is, then how is this up to pre-moral choice? How can any choices be pre-moral? "Choosing life as your standard of value is a pre-moral choice. It cannot be judged as right or wrong; but once chosen, it is the role of morality to help man to live the best life possible." http://importanceofphilosophy.com/Ethics_LifeAsMoralStandard.html

So it appears that Objectivism has not bridged the is-ought gap as long as there is at least one a-moral choice ("it cannot be judged as right or wrong"), the so-called "pre-moral choice."

"You have no choice about the necessity to integrate your observations, your experiences, your knowledge into abstract ideas, i.e., into principles." OPAR, 1. However true that may be, Objectivism has not bridged the gap enabling them to integrate facts of reality into moral prescriptions. We may have no choice than to integrate them, but the "how" of this is left up in the air. Objectivism therefore leaves man with no philosophical guidance to make the correct pre-moral choice, only highly romantic novels to convince his mind through escapist literature.
http://objectivism-criticism.blogspot.com/2009/06/failing-to-bridge-is-ought-gap.html
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