bmacwilliam

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About bmacwilliam

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    Bob MacWilliam
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  1. Not at all. I simply object to the extension of the word "decision" into the realm of involuntary biology. A decision implies responsibility, so it's only a matter of time before the typical randian bait-and-switch happens. In fact I indeed reject the treatment of "decision" as useless. Bob
  2. This issue is a tangled mess of ethical issues and pragmatic implications. As immoral as you may take Ba'al's position to be, the alternative seems even worse. From a pragmatic standpoint, I'd have to agree with him. The woman has control, anything else is unacceptable. Bob
  3. Except you're wrong... "Right decisions result in birth, wrong ones miscarriage. " You have a very "interesting" definition of decision.... I do not deny the influence of self on one's character development, intelligence etc., nor do I deny the influence of the environment either. It is an objective and empirically answerable question how much influence each exerts. Best answer right now looks like about 3/4 genetics with variations depending on which trait you examine. Just facts... Bob Everything that happens to a living being is a result of the decisions the being makes in response to the environment it finds itself in whether the response of the a clump of cells in the womb or a man deciding whether to plant his ass on a couch eating doritos or get up and make a decent meal or go out and exercise. There are no forces aside from internal ones driving these decisions. To nature, the universe, you are no different than a pile of dust. To other living beings you are either a symbiote (trader) or a potential consumable source of energy. If not self made, then what? There is nothing else. If you can't see this you are a fool. A clump of cells makes a meaningful decision. I'm the fool? Fuck off.
  4. "She's wrong to be at the total far end of the spectrum" - well, I suppose that depends where one stands. If one starts in the middle, one stays there - I believe I've seen/experienced. Just drifting a little, one way, or other according to "the flow". Start at the end you think reality lies - and you can always adjust yourself to what life throws at you, but with firm ground to step back on. I don't know what this means. What I mean is that Rand is scientifically wrong to argue that man is tabula rasa and bears all responsibility in developing his own character. One can always improve in these areas within limits, but no matter how hard we try we all cannot be 6'6'' and 350 lbs of muscle just like we all cannot be her moral/character ideal either. We are powerfully genetically pre-programmed. From Galt's speech: "As man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul." No he's not. Only partially so, but 'partially' doesn't sound as good though does it? Truth nonetheless. The best way to predict a man's wealth is to look his parents, even if he was separated from them at birth. Bob
  5. Except you're wrong... "Right decisions result in birth, wrong ones miscarriage. " You have a very "interesting" definition of decision.... I do not deny the influence of self on one's character development, intelligence etc., nor do I deny the influence of the environment either. It is an objective and empirically answerable question how much influence each exerts. Best answer right now looks like about 3/4 genetics with variations depending on which trait you examine. Just facts... Bob
  6. Nothing I can do if you cannot see how the basic reasoning is viciously circular. But, be that as it may, your question is a good one. What I mean is the question, more or less : "Babies are born blank slates more or less, they have to choose to learn everything - knowledge, morals, everything. Even if this isn't exactly right, what's the big deal??" The problem is the extension of her argument here that places the responsibility of moral development entirely on the individual. Hey, I think we could use a great deal more of individual responsibility and accountability in just about every walk of life. However, she's wrong to be at the total far end of the spectrum. Personality, intelligence and morality are more inherited than they are self-directed and self-created. We need to understand this reality and deal with it, and not accept Rand's deceptive and erroneous utopia of the 100% self-made man. This is a fantasy, it ain't real. Bob
  7. So what? That doesn't make it fallacious. Premise: 3 > 2 Conclusion: 2 < 3 Fallacious? Um... yeah.... The fallacy stems from the idea that in order for an argument to have any dialectic/epistemological value, the argument must proceed from a point of agreement (premises) to a conclusion that must be something that was NOT known or agreed upon. By defining knowledge as Rand does, tabula rasa is implied in the definition. Therefore the statement "Man is born tabula rasa" has zero epistemological value. It is a viciously circular argument as you have shown. It is NOT wrong. It is worthless. There's a difference. Sometimes circular arguments have value. Not this one. Bob
  8. Bob, This is still wrong. You are so full of your conclusion you can't see the fact right before you when you look at it. I mean that literally. I do not mean you cannot deduct the fact from a proposition. I mean you cannot see the fact itself. Logic in Objectivism has fundamental axioms at the base. The entire philosophy does not. Logic is merely one part of the philosophy. I expect you to have the intelligence to understand that, but I do not expect you to have the willingness. Nope. And this is where I stop discussing with you. You are a conclusion in search of anything to back you up. But you are just a wrong as the stuff you want to debunk. Michael EDIT: I wonder why I let myself get sucked into these anti-intellectual exchanges. I don't really care if Bob Mac thinks Rand and her ideas are stupid. May he live long and prosperous and distant, and soon get tired of mouthing off to people he knows will not agree with him. Go ahead, quit. Fine. You wrote: "Logic in Objectivism has fundamental axioms at the base. The entire philosophy does not. Logic is merely one part of the philosophy." I don't disagree. This is the part that's broken. That's my point. I did not discuss, nor give a crap, about the other parts. I think we agree. Bob
  9. You sound like a broken record. Here, I'll include the next two sentences (I guess you didn't get that far) that explains precisely why... "Knowledge as Rand defines it can only be acquired through experience. Therefore, the assertion (or conclusion) is directly implied in the premise."
  10. Ok, let me do this in the simplest possible terms. Man is born tabula rasa. Assertion. Why? Because he has no knowledge at birth. Premise. Sounds simple, but it's fallacious. Knowledge as Rand defines it can only be acquired through experience. Therefore, the assertion (or conclusion) is directly implied in the premise. That's all there is to it. Bob Or to put it another way Man is born tabula rasa because Man is born tabula rasa, What is true is true because it is true. That is true, but it tells us nada. Ba'al Chatzaf The only difference is that the form of Rand's argument hides this somewhat. She of course takes the reasoning further but initially asks us to concede the point first by smuggling tabula rasa in via the definition of knowledge. You're right, but Rand is just sneakier. Bob
  11. Where? Ellen "`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.`" Is there any doubt whatsoever that she felt the system wasn't provable? C'mon now....
  12. Ok, let me do this in the simplest possible terms. Man is born tabula rasa. Assertion. Why? Because he has no knowledge at birth. Premise. Sounds simple, but it's fallacious. Knowledge as Rand defines it can only be acquired through experience. Therefore, the assertion (or conclusion) is directly implied in the premise. That's all there is to it. Bob
  13. Rand: `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.` 'total consistency' 'prove' That's deduction - in her own words. But I suppose 'total consistency', 'define', and 'prove' have context-specific meanings??
  14. Bob, You just showed that you really do not understand the fundamentals of Objectivism. The philosophy is built from induction, not deduction. So it is not "derived" from any principle. On the contrary, principles are abstracted (not even "derived") from observation at the base. Deduction comes only after that part, and it can always be superseded by reality. Deduction only comes after concept formation, for that matter. Objectivism starts with observation and experience, not deductive reasoning. Conceptual thought kicks in after the perceptual part, and after abstract integration. Crack open ITOE and you will see that axiomatic concepts are in Chapter 6, not Chapter 1. Hell, Chapter 1 (Cognition and Measurement) deals with the mathematical basis of concept-formation and that you need implicit (perceptual) knowledge before you can have explicit (conceptual) knowledge, and Chapter 2 (Concept-Formation) is based on developmental psychology. None of that is "derived" or deduced from fundamental axioms. I have several differences with Rand on her view of how the brain works (especially since I have started studying neuroscience, albeit neuroscience light so far), but I try to understand her correctly so I can agree or disagree correctly. I am loathe to discuss my disagreements with you, though. The impression I always get from you is that if a person bashes Rand for outright wrong reasons--like claiming she was a collectivist at root or something like that--I believe you would call that person a profound thinker, say you know exactly what the person is getting at, and crow some kind of imagined victory. I sense your negative judgement of Rand is far more important to you than accuracy. Something like a cognitive bias on steroids. Michael You know what? Perhaps "derived" was a poor choice of words - let me just say "based" on axioms. So you're arguing that Objectivism is only loosely connected to the foundations so there's logical "wiggle-room" with respect to truth or accuracy? The axioms do not serve as a base for a strictly deductive chain so problems (fallacies) at the base don't matter? That's you're argument? Seriously? Bob
  15. In the case of the quote above, yes. But that's hardly where she stops with tabula rasa is it? You damn well know that she extends this circular/fallacious/tautological nonsense much further than that simple sentence. The truth is that the basis of her extended arguments is a fallacy. Some Rand quotes: "Since men are born tabula rasa, both cognitively and morally, a rational man regards strangers as innocent until proved guilty, and grants them that initial good will in the name of their human potential." "He has no automatic course of action, no automatic set of values. His senses do not tell him automatically what is good for him or evil, what will benefit his life or endanger it, what goals he should pursue and what means will achieve them, what values his life depends on, what course of action it requires. His own consciousness has to discover the answers to all these questions—but his consciousness will not function automatically." "Since man has no automatic knowledge, he can have no automatic values; since he has no innate ideas, he can have no innate value judgments." All based on a fallacy. That's the point, not the single sentence - the larger idea of tabula rasa. Sheesh, thought that was rather obvious. Bob