Peter

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  1. Is having a favorite villain ethical?

    I forget the movie with Gene Hackman, but the line his villain speaks went like this: “If you had to let a few people die to save thousands, wouldn’t you have to?”
  2. Remember the traveling salesman in “The Wizard of Oz” who later becomes Oz? He tried to con Dorothy with philosophical clap trap. Interesting old letter, though I think I recently plastered Ghs’s on OL. Peter From: PinkCrash7 To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Erring like an animal (was "thinking like an animal - Merlin) Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 20:34:32 EST What reason do you have to believe that a dog could mistake the identical twin of its owner for the owner himself? Dogs have certain perceptual abilities far superior to what humans possess -- particularly the senses of hearing and smell -- and also seem to be very attuned to the emotions and attitudes of human beings. I have a hard time believing that a dog would make such a mistake as what you suggest. (This has nothing to do with the argument one way or the other, but it bothers me when questionable examples are given in support of a particular argument. If the given example is not realistic, then it is of no worth in making a point.) Debbie From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: George failing to think Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 17:10:35 -0600 I wrote: "All we [he and Merlin] said was that ducks can perceive similarities. This is entirely consistent with Rand's epistemology." Ellen Moore replied: "No, it's not true, nor is it consistent with Rand's epistemology. Ducks cannot *perceive* 'similarities' because "similarity reduces to measurement omission.... Too bad George will not study and understand what Rand wrote." For those who wish to see what Rand actually had to say about this subject, see her remarks in the "Appendix" to ITOE, pp. 139 ff. Under the section titled" Similarity and Measurement Omission," Rand refers to the "metaphysical base of similarity *and* the fact that it is GRASPED PERCEPTUALLY." Rand goes on to say that "similarity is PERCEPTUALLY GIVEN, but the UNDERSTANDING of what similarity MEANS has to be arrived at philosophically." Lastly, Rand says that "similarity, WHEN ANALYZED, amounts to: measurements omitted." See the rest of this discussion as well, as when Rand replies "That's right" to Prof.. B's observation that a child "PERCEIVES similarities AND differences DIRECTLY." [All the above caps are mine] What part of phrases like "grasped perceptually," "perceptually given," and "when analyzed," does Ellen Moore not understand? I can't imagine how Rand could be any more clear than this. I should have known better than to involve myself in discussing yet another one of Ellen Moore's absurd Talmudic interpretations of Ayn Rand. I momentarily forgot that Ellen's problems go far beyond failing to distinguish concepts from their referents. Far more serious is the fact that this dope cannot understand simple English prose. Ghs
  3. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    I don't dislike "still life's" like a bouquet of roses but they must be boring to paint.
  4. R. I. P. Jerry Pournelle

    Three titles I remember are his collaborations with Larry Niven, “A Mote in God’s Eye,” “Inferno,” and “Lucifer’s Hammer” all written between 1975 and 1977. Great SF and at times, mind boggling. Peter
  5. IQ

    I do NY Times Sunday puzzles that come in a book of about a hundred and I read voraciously. Unfortunately, I have read the latest from my favorite authors and none of them are publishing anything until later in September or in October. Years ago I went back to take math at a technical college after a lifetime of avoiding it and I really liked it and got a B. Interesting advertisement below. I worry about older people who lose a spouse and become remote from friends and family. I think websites like Objectivist Living and Facebook help keep seniors and everyone else from being lonely. You mentioned incontinence issues and I know what you mean. After I sit to go to the bathroom and stand up, a stupid drop of urine exits my body, so I . . . . oops. not supposed to talk about getting old. My Mom lost my Dad and she was never the same. She went to live with my sister and her husband but they worked all day. Eventually she went into a nursing home and guess what? She connected with the residents and staff and her mental health improved. She became friends with an Indian American staff member named, Raj. She was much happier, also because she reconnected with her old high school sweetheart, who visited her. Personally, I don’t think I would want to leave my home for a nursing facility but who knows what life will bring? The last I heard my state of Maryland may be spared hurricane winds. Yippee! Peter From Newsmax. Solo Seniors at Risk for Death by Loneliness, top doctor warns. . . . According to longevity expert Dr. Gary Small, our need for intimacy and socialization is hardwired into our brain. This makes the quantity and quality of your social connections crucial to your ability to enjoy a long life . . . John Cacioppo is a leading psychologist specializing in the study of loneliness. He reports that loneliness not only speeds up death in sick people, but also makes healthy people sick by putting them into a stressful fight-or-flight mode. You might think that being lonely simply means you are depressed. To be clear, while loneliness can be a symptom of depression, they are not the same thing. So what does “loneliness” really mean? Well, experts in the field say loneliness is the state of being socially isolated and deprived of intimacy . . . . As you might imagine, loneliness is a huge problem for America’s older population. That’s because seniors so often lose connections with relatives, spouses, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. . . . . All these ominous facts and figures worry Dr. Gary Small. Gary Small, M.D., is the director of the UCLA Longevity Center, a medical researcher, and a professor of psychiatry. He lectures throughout the world as a noted brain expert and has written six books about memory and brain health. Over 40,000 readers subscribe to his popular monthly newsletter Mind Health Report. And while Dr. Small focuses on brain health factors such as eating right, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a strong memory, he now wants to bring attention to the shocking effects of loneliness and relationships on health and lifespan. That’s why he has written about this subject for Newsmax Health in a special report you can get at no charge with a special offer available only to readers of this letter. end quote
  6. How to respond to those who slander Objectivism

    Why would it be wrong for a government to print money?
  7. BB on Atlantis

    I was looking at my saved letters to the old Atlantis and found the following. Wow, was BB ever ticked off! Peter BBfromM Wed 8/23/2000, 2:48 AM to Atlantis. Here we go again! Ellen Moore wrote, The simple fact is that I do not believe that Barbara wanted to 'humanize' Ayn Rand. I do not believe that love and admiration was, or is, her purpose. I had a meaningful but brief association with Alan and Joan Blumenthal, with Barbara's sister-in-law, with MaryAnn Sures, with Leonard Peikoff, with Edith Packer and George Reisman, as well as with many other friends of Rand over the years. None of them treat Ayn Rand's personal characteristics with the maliciousness of the Brandens. There are still many left who can "tell the tale," and they knew the Brandens too. I know how to judge the difference between objectivity and subjectivity when the facts are retold by those from all sides of a conflict. Most of the people on Atlantis naively believe only the Brandens, so I judge them as being willing dupes of malicious intent." How nice of Moore to judge most of the Atlantis members as being "willing dupes." Is it just possible that such "dupes" recognize the truth when they see it, and are no one's "willing dupes?" No, love and admiration for Ayn Rand, although I feel them, were not my purpose in writing PASSION. My purpose was to tell the truth. Ellen's "meaningful but brief association" with the people she names need to be more meaningful and less brief. She will find that, particularly but not only in the case of the Blumenthals, their understanding of Ayn Rand is perfectly consistent with mine and in fact their judgments are more harsh than mine. Why don't you find out, Ellen Moore? That's a rhetorical question; I know perfectly well why you don't find out. Moore also wrote, "Remember that Rand withdrew from him {Nathaniel Branden} personally when he wrote her a repugnant letter in July '68. . . " Do you care to say what were the contents of that "repugnant letter," Ellen? Apparently not. The letter was a tortured effort to explain, as you well know, that the age-difference of twenty-five years, now that Ayn Rand was in her 60's and he still in his 30's, had become an insuperable barrier to a sexual relationship, despite his love and admiration for her. She had wondered if that were the reason for his emotional withdrawal, and he confirmed it. Surely most women would have accepted and understood the inevitable change in their relationship. Ayn Rand did not. Ellen Moore states that Ayn Rand "repudiated" me when she learned of my past lies and deceptions. Not so. She did not repudiate me when she learned that I had been covering for Nathaniel; she accepted that and made excuses for me that I would not have made for myself. It was only when I refused to attend a kangaroo court of her choosing that she repudiated me. It's a good idea to have your facts straight, Ellen, before you hurl accusations. But then, you might not be able to hurl them, and what would be the purpose of your life if that were taken away? Ellen wrote, "And even if Rand had been hurt by the truth that he loved Patrecia, that fact could have been resolved between them by some private agreement." You must be joking! It was precisely when Ayn Rand learned of Nathaniel's love for Patrecia that she turned on him and informed him that if he had an ounce of morality left he would be impotent for the next twenty years! Ellen wrote, "I have never understood, and I disagree with those who condemn the 'Affair.' I understand their agreement about having an affair, and I do not think that the affair destroyed their relationships." Oh, Ellen, there go the facts again! Of course the affair destroyed our relationships. How do you think Frank O'Connor felt, as only one example, when Nathaniel twice-weekly walked into the apartment Frank shared with his wife and he had to go out in order to allow them to experience love and sex? Despite Nathaniel's repeated suggestions, his pleas, Ayn Rand had refused to allow him to take an apartment--in the same building if she wished, since she was terrified of the affair being known--where they could have time together without putting Frank O'Connor through the hell Ayn Rand insisted on putting him through. Who, I wonder, has the greater allegiance to Ayn Rand and Objectivism--you, who insist on ignoring the facts and/or twist them out of all recognition, or I, who am concerned only with the facts? Although this letter is addressed to Ellen Moore, I know better than to think she is open to reason. It is intended, rather, for "the willing dupes" of Atlantis whom I respect and many of whom I admire, and who wish to separate facts from Moore's fantasies. Barbara
  8. Reason Papers (Summer 2017)

    Wow Roger Bissel knows Douglas. Peter From “On the Fine Art of Thawing out Frozen Abstractions: an Essay in Mental Economics,” by Roger E. Bissell: [1] This essay, first published in 1973 in Equitas (a publication connected with a 1970s Midwest organization called Equitarian Associates) is organized around identifications I made during March and April of 1971. The identifications concern Ayn Rand's concept of 'society', Tibor Machan's view of government, and Morris Tannehill's view of value--all of which I believed at the time to be based upon a common fallacy. The essential nature of this fallacy became clear to me when I discovered the paradigm instance of it: Plato's theory of the Forms. This discovery was a byproduct of discussions I had with Douglas Rasmussen while we were attending a course on Plato at the University of Iowa. I then discovered it was Ayn Rand who gave a name and definition to this fallacy. It is because of this, as well as her identification of the principle of unit-economy (of which this fallacy is in violation), that I dedicate this essay to Miss Rand. Despite the irony of her committing the fallacy at least twice herself, her identification of it is a significant milestone in the understanding of how to properly form normative concepts. end quote From: PaleoObjectivist To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Speaking of logic Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 00:33:27 EDT Andrew Taranto wrote: >Several years ago, I was checking out the HPO newsgroup, where I discovered a startling contention -- apparently an Objectivist one -- that formal logic makes for a useless discipline. Apparently Peikoff made some harangue or other about this: I recall it had to do specifically with him counseling graduate philosophy students to take whatever logic course(s) was(were) required and proceed to forget the subject. Is this true? Is there some objection to formal logic generally present in the Objectivist movement. I think that Peikoff was probably referring to modern, mathematical logic a la Russell et al. Kelley appears not to be adamantly opposed to modern logic, at least not nearly to the extent that Peikoff is. Personally (assuming I have characterized their views accurately), I tend to side with Peikoff on this. I think there is a lot of very nasty, obfuscatory -- if not outright destructive -- stuff going on in modern logic. I saw it firsthand in a recent debate on Analytic (one of the [now defunct?] Enlightenment website's discussion lists). Two excellent and ~very~ helpful books comparing traditional Aristotelian logic with modern, mathematical logic (there are other names for them, such as "term logic" vs. "predicate logic") are both written by the late, great neo-Aristotelian philosopher, Henry B. Veatch. The earlier book, written in the early 1950s and apparently cribbed from though not cited by Harry Binswanger in a QA piece in ~The Objectivist Forum~, is ~Intentional Logic~. The later book, written in the 1960s, is ~Two Logics~. Either one would teach you a great deal about what is wrong (and some of what is right) about modern logic, as well as teaching you a lot about concepts, propositions, and meaning from an enhanced Aristotelian viewpoint. I have yet to find anything blatantly un-Objectivist in them (though I have found one or two rather arcane errors in interpretation, about neither of which I have been able to convince my Veatch-sponsor, Douglas [not David!] Rasmussen). The drawback to these books is a practical one: they are currently out of print. Even from such excellent sources of used books as Advanced Book Exchange, there are seldom copies available -- and although there presently is a copy of each available, they are selling at astronomical prices, viz., between $200 and $300. Ouch. The only sensible alternative is to check them out of your friendly neighborhood university library or get them on Interlibrary Loan, drive to the nearest copy center, and make yourself a photocopy version. But sensible, though probably moral in this case, isn't necessarily legal, so let your conscience and prudence be your guide. All 4 now, Roger Bissell From: Achilles To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Of Blacks and Whites (was: Of Dogs and Men) Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 23:24:31 EST Ellen Stuttle wrote: >Possibly this example might help in clarifying the dispute between Barbara and Will: >Suppose I'm a restaurant owner and I'm prejudiced against blacks. Do I have a right not to serve blacks? Certainly. Am I acting in accordance with an objective value system which squares with the rational requirements of human life? Hell no. Ellen, that is not necessarily the case. If the restaurant owner came by his prejudice through evasion and maintained it by that means, then yes, he is acting against an objective value system &c., because the objective value system requires that he base his actions on his ~awareness~ of reality, not on the evasion of it. But this is the primary, not prejudice or absence of prejudice. The latter depends on ~context~. If he came by his prejudice through the culture and upbringing he experienced, and he had no good reason to challenge his prejudice or any of the rest of his values, then you simply cannot judge him for acting against his own rational self-interest. Unless you want to interpose ~your own~ judgment of what his rational self-interest ~would~ be, if he had good reason to challenge his existing values and prejudices. But I don't think that is legitimate and never have -- and I've gone several rounds over this with Bill Dwyer and others in past years. Also, "good reason" means ~his~ good reason, not yours. See, it's all a matter of context. There are errors of knowledge, after all, and acting according to them is not irrational -- though refusing to examine them when one has good reason to do so ~is~. And for us to sit up on our thrones and to pronounce what is or is not in someone else's rational self-interest, out of context of their values and lives and experience, is not legitimate. It is intrinsicism. Let's leave that to God and/or Ayn Rand... Subject: A little more on context (was Re: ATL: Of Blacks and Whites) Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 23:35:57 EST I wrote: > ...for us to sit up on our thrones and to pronounce what is or is not in someone else's rational self-interest, out of context of their values and lives and experience, is not legitimate. It is intrinsicism. Let's leave that to God and/or Ayn Rand... Let me concretize this a bit. If I have an infection and need an antibiotic, you could say -- out of context – that a dose of penicillin is in my rational self-interest. But if I have an allergy to penicillin, it most definitely is ~not~ in my rational self-interest! (I almost died a couple of times when idiot doctors wouldn't take my word for it that I was allergic.) One more example: who can argue with the claim that water is a survival need and thus in one's rational self-interest to have it? Well, again, context is all- important. I need to ~drink~ water, not have 50,000 gallons of it dumped on me. These examples are not subtle, whereas the racism example is more so. But I hope you all can see the need to refrain from making sweeping generalizations about what people ~should~ do or seek, out of context of their lives and experience. The good for individual human beings -- to paraphrase Rasmussen and Den Uyl -- is not something that can be read off of reality like the Minimum Daily Requirements can be read off a cereal box. That is why central planning doesn't work in a nation's economy -- and why god's-eye-view judgments aren't valid in ethics. Values are agent-relative not absolute. That is, they are objective in the sense of "to whom and for what", not in the sense of "to all human beings, regardless of context." Hope this helps. Roger Ari Armstrong's essay: _______________________________________________ MAN-QUA-MAN DEONTOLOGY So far, I have explained Rand's "correspondence" theory of ethics and I've tried to show why this theory prompted the development of three off-shoot, but distinct, theories that give progressively more important status to "happiness." The final theory (deontology) does not stem from the same theoretical tension (between life and happiness). Rather, it comes primarily from the tension some see between egoism and respecting "natural rights." Members of the "deontology school" include Chris Cathcart, Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen, and Eric Mack. A "deontological constraint" is a principle of ethics which defines a proper range of action which does not aim at any further goal, but is in some respect seen as good in itself. Thus, the deontological view is not wholly egoistic, whereas the other four theories are completely egoistic. "The Dougs" (R&D) argue that, just as Aristotle defines entities according to their purpose, so Rand defines human life according to its rational purpose. "[Rand] does seem to be committed to the idea that a good x is one that conforms to its nature or fulfills its natural function" (Den Uyl and Rasmussen '84, 68). So far, many can accept the case. However, R&D claim that the particular "rational" nature of human beings injects life (and ethics) with certain deontological constraints. For instance, according to R&D, we must respect rights merely because of the fact that we are rational, not, as Will Thomas argues, because it is rational to believe that respecting rights is in our egoistic interests. The Survivalists interpret "man qua man" (man qua rational organism) to mean that rationality is of great instrumental value to survival. I believe Rand can sensibly be interpreted to mean this, and this is what I take Leonard Peikoff to believe (219). To the extend that rationality "bleeds" into the "end" as well, it is only because it is first a means to life. R&D, however, take "man qua man" to mean that the very type of "life" which is the "standard of value" includes ethical prescriptions which are not of themselves useful for life. In their _Liberty and Nature_, they write: <Quote> Since we need to conceptualize principles for successful living (flourishing), it is important to understand the general nature of these principles, or at least the ones most properly associated with ethics. The principles we have designated as ends in themselves are also known as 'virtues.' These principles or virtues share a characteristic which transcends the usual consequentialist/ deontological way of considering rules: actions which instantiate the principles not only contribute to the achievement of our natural end (consequentialism), but the very performance of the action is itself what constitutes our natural end (deontologism). Aristotle was clear that eudaimonia was an *activity*. (59) <End Quote> The important part to note is that some *principles* are ends-in-themselves. This is not Rand's view, for within her original framework all principles must further the final end of life. R&D try to say that their deontological standards are a part of the "end" of life, but this is merely to arbitrarily inject life with something that doesn't assist life. (Rationality and volition, on the other hand, are demonstrably part of the human condition and obviously useful for furthering life.) Contrary to their assertions, then, R&D's deontology does not "transcend" the "consequentialist/ deontological" dichotomy. Rather, it merely attempts to define the proper "consequence" to be pursuing a deontological constraint. In the same way, Kant's deontological theory could be said to be "consequentialist," in that presumably Kant wants us to achieve the "consequence" of being people who act from deontological constraints. There is nothing *fundamentally* "consequentialist" about either view, as there is with Rand's egoistic ethics. The main problem with deontological standards is that they are hard to justify. Why say that "rationality" entails, automatically, without considering the egoistic benefit, respecting others' rights? This is just arbitrarily dubbing particular actions "rational" or "irrational." For the other four ethics, an action is "rational" if and only if it furthers the end of life (or happiness or whatever combination). There is *some* standard. R&D would have us judge actions "rational" absent any view to ends. But, then, what is wrong with the deontological standard, "blow your nose with blue napkins on Tuesdays?" I don't see any way to evaluate it, within R&D's framework. As I've noted, rationality, volition, and happiness can be argued to "bleed" into the end of life because they are first and fundamentally necessary conditions for the attainment of life (for humans). However, nothing about deontological constraints can be said to be fundamentally necessary for life, and thus deontology cannot "bleed" into the end as can the other qualities. To be sure, the deontology camp has tried to argue precisely the point that deontological constraints are a necessary part of (human) life. Lance Neustaeter offered an anology in a post to the Objectivism-L list on May 13, 1998: <Quote> Why does a bacteria metabolize? In order to live. But "to live" is partly *constituted* by "metabolizing." Metabolizing is not *merely* instrumental to achieving some state called "life"- it is a part of life itself...<End Quote> Douglas Rasmussen suggested another analogy May 18 to Objectivism-L: <Quote> Ackrill notes that there is a difference between buying golf clubs 'for the sake of' playing golf and putting 'for the sake' of playing golf. The latter has already the end of playing golf present in it. Life is like playing golf. It consists of activities that constitute or express it. It is not an end that is external to these activities. These activities are for their own sake, since life is done for its own sake. Life's status as an ultimate, inclusive end should not be reified. Further, since life is not denatured; it is also life of a certain kind or sort. The justification for what virtues constitute living the life the is proper to a human being is based on causality, but it is not simply efficient causality. It is formal and final--which for living things dovetail into the same thing. <End quote> However, these analogies fail to support deontological constraints as part of the "end" of life. Metabolizing really *is* part of the life-process of a bacteria; putting really *is* part of the process of golf. Are deontological activities such as respecting rights (for the sake of respecting rights) really a necessary part of human life? Reason is, volition is, even happiness arguably is. But is respecting rights? I think not, and I certainly haven't seen an argument to such effect. To get to rights, it seems to me that we have to follow Will Thomas's road, and justify them according to our egoistic interests. * * * Eric Mack comes right out and admits that his ethical theory is dualistic; he doesn't try to hide his deontology inside "man *qua* man." However, the nature of Mack's deontology is similar to R&D's. Mack writes: <Quote> [T]he second task of ethical theory, viz., the determination of the means by which value may be attained, is *not* directly governed by an identification of what is of ultimate value. This second task requires the identification of an independent (albeit not utterly detached) dimension of morality - a dimension that delineates moral constraints on the acceptable means for attaining the good. What we need is a theory of rights... that is independent of the theory of the good... (Machan and Rasmussen 44) <End quote> However, such an "independent" justification of rights is for Objectivists impossible. For the Survivalists, respecting rights must be shown to be in one's egoistic interests of life. For the Happiness camp, rights must be shown to be in one's egoistic interests of happiness. Mack suggests that rights theory is independent of the "theory of the good," and yet, if rights cannot be justified AS "good," what business have we in respecting them? In his language Mack tries to avoid the consequence that his theory posits dual foundations of value, but he cannot hope to succeed in this task. Remember that, for Objectivists, all actions carry moral weight. An action not taken to further one's egoistic interests is immoral, not just a-moral. Thus, any action taken to respect others' rights is immoral, UNLESS it can be justified to be in one's egoistic interests. I believe that such an egoistic justification of rights is possible and strong as a theory. Unfortunately, the deontological views point us away from the "facts of reality" that give rise to a robust theory of rights. * * * Judging from some of his comments at the '98 IOS conference, Mack believes that his theory of rights is consistent with Rand's position or at least a plausible interpretation of that position. (See Mack's "The Fundamental Moral Elements of Rand's Theory of Rights," Den Uyl and Rasmussen '84, 156-157.) Similarly, Den Uyl, Rasmussen, Cathcart and others seem to believe that their deontological constraints are compatible with Rand's theory. I'm not sure who first interpreted Rand's ethics in a deontological light, though the tendency seems to go back at least 20 years. In my view, any claim that Rand's ethics contains or permits deontological standards is a misinterpretation of her work. It seems that the most troublesome passage, the one in which some claim to see deontological leanings, is in "The Objectivist Ethics:" <Quote> The basic *social* principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others - and, therefore, that man must life for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. (Rand 27) <End quote> Various commentators have taken this to mean that the *reason* we are to respect the rights of others is fundamentally that they are ends in themselves. If this is Rand's meaning, then surely it is distinct from her egoistic theories. However, I do not think this interpretation is correct. Rand discusses the "social principle" directly after discussing the various virtues – of rationality, productiveness, and pride. She is going through a list of the various principles it takes to live a good life, and one of these principles, the social principle, is that nobody is supposed to be sacrificed to any other person. Rand is *not* attempting to *justify* the social principle in this passage, however, but merely to note its existence. Her justification of rights-respecting behavior comes later. Toward the end of the essay (31), Rand introduces the "Trader Principle" and explains that, within a civil (rights-respecting) society, people gain knowledge, material goods, and spiritual values from other people. This is, in brief, the grounding of rights-respecting behavior in egoistic ethical theory. In subsequent essays, Rand makes fairly clear her view that rights grow out of and become a part of the egoistic framework. In "Man's Rights," Rand says that the concept of rights "provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual's actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others" (92). In order for rights to be a "logical transition" from egoism for the lone person, they must describe egoism in a social context. In "Collectivized 'Rights'," Rand says of rights that a person "needs moral principles in order to organize a social system consonant with man's nature and with the requirements of his survival" (101). Thus, rights, as with all of Rand's moral principles, aim to further the actor's life. The deontologists can attempt to uphold their theories, but they can't properly claim support in Rand's works. SUMMARY. As I've suggested, I do not think that any of the dualist ethical theories are viable. Neither the "life-happiness" duality of value nor the "egoism-deontology" duality can withstand criticism, in my view. Dismissing such dualistic theories is, I believe, wholly consistent with Rand's tendency to reject dichotomies. That leaves us with Survivalism (for no one really buys into the "correspondence" theory) and Happiness. Both theories are purely egoistic, both seek to root value in one phenomenon. The point of disagreement, then, is whether life is the ultimate value and happiness is instrumental to life, or vice versa. I have made some beginning attempts to ground happiness as the ultimate value, and I look forward to considering the future arguments of the Survivalists which attempt to ground life as the ultimate value. I would urge the dualists to turn from their bifurcated ways and embrace the "Survivalist-Happiness" debate as the most promising key to a wholly true and more complete ethical theory. REFERENCES David B. King, _Guide to Objectivism_, Athens/Olympus/7695/. Tibor Machan and Douglas B. Rasmussen, Ed., _Liberty for the 21st Century_, Rowman & Littlefield 1995. Includes "Moral Individualism and Libertarian Theory" by Eric Mack. Ronald Merrill, _The Ideas of Ayn Rand_, Open Court 1991. Leonard Peikoff, _Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand_, Dutton 1991. Ayn Rand, _The Virtue of Selfishness_, Signet Books 1964.
  9. IQ

    I take cholesterol medicine, vitamin D and C, and a small aspirin a day. I walk two miles about three days a week, but I also spend too much time on the computer and in my Lazy Boy chair reading and watching television. Are there any proven ways to remain sharp in older age? I recently saw a news story that “some extra weight” did not affect mental acuity or living longer.
  10. jts wrote: Ayn Rand smoked. Ayn Rand was a moron. end quote Metaphorically speaking. Pooh had a small friend named Susie. The little cocker spaniel was asleep on the porch when she heard a noise. Susie jumped up and ran at a large bear going through a garbage pail. The bear scooped the brave little dog up and ate her. She was doing her job but she was also a moron. Bad Pooh. Pooh was very naughty. Ba’al wrote: And people who put philosophy before facts are in particular danger. end quote Well said, Bob. I remember seeing a list of things throughout the ages, that people said were true with absolute certainty. And they were wrong. I read the “Emperor’s New Clothes” when I was a kid and even though it goes beyond the what is believable, I was very much impressed with the story. Peter From “Top 10 Craziest Things Scientists Used to Believe.” Humorism is a theory which postulates that the human body is made up of four humors; black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood. When there is an imbalance, we become ill or suffer from disabilities if they are not treated with haste. Tobacco has long been used throughout history as a form of trade or to seal a deal through the smoking of a peace pipe. Although one would think that inhaling smoke was a not a good thing, this idea wasn’t accepted by mainstream public until the mid 60s, and it only gathered real steam almost two decades later. With the backing of famous adverts like “’more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!”, physicians would often prescribe the use of tobacco to cure a variety of ailments such as asthma and as aides in weight loss. Perhaps one of the most bizarre health claims of cigarettes was the advisement which claimed pregnant women should smoke as they would give birth to smaller babies. Whilst a smaller size may help in childbirth, in hindsight we now know the pain of a wide birth canal far outweighs the negative effects of smoking during pregnancy. Although it was known that cigarette smoking did cause some problems such as throat irritation, it was stated that this only affected some people, usually those of a sensitive disposition. Instead of not recommending smoking at all, doctors were instead advising to use a different version of cigarettes (such as Lucky Strikes) which were marketed as less irritating to tender throats. Add this together with tobacco enemas and tobacco toothpaste and you might just wonder what health professionals were really smoking back then. It’s hard to believe there was once a time when scientists believed radiation was actually good for you, yet this was true during the early 20th century. As a direct result of this misguided belief, there were many popular radioactive products that were actively marketed as being good for the health, even curing such ailments as arthritis and rheumatism. These ranged from ingesting radioactive water, brushing your teeth with radioactive toothpaste thought to make your teeth shine and sparkle, to even lying down in uranium rich sand to sooth those annoying aches and pains. This practice continued well into the 1950s, with perhaps the most famous case being the Radium Girls. These factory workers were challenged with the task of painting watch dials with radioactive paint to make them glow in the dark. They didn’t just stop there; they would often paint their nails and teeth for fun. As we would now expect, many died or suffered from anemia or necrosis of the jaw, commonly known as radium jaw. Despite being insanely toxic and requiring special handling, mercury was once used by scientists in a variety of very different ways. In the early 20th century mercury was often administered regularly as a laxative and dewormer for children as well as being used as an active ingredient in teething powders for young infants. Additionally, traditional medicine saw it being used for all conditions ranging from constipation and toothaches to depression and child-bearing. We all know the importance of washing our hands before preparing food, and we know that this simple task is also very important when it comes to performing surgery. This wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time the common belief amongst doctors and surgeons was that a gentleman’s hands were always clean, thus did not need to be washed. As you can probably guess, mortality rate was quite high.
  11. What is weird is the number of savants who were smoking deadly tobacco products. What did they know and what should these geniuses have been able to conjecture? They knew first hand, the loss of breathe, the coughs, the tobacco sacks under the eyes of smokers, and the fact that tobacco is addictive. Very addictive. They knew. So, along with thanking them for their contributions to humanity, I can also say, “What morons.” Peter
  12. Shepard Tone. An auditory illusion.

    If you were watching StarTrek Voyager as I was when I played it, I thought someone was being "beamed up."
  13. Life on Earth and elsewhere

    Methane, liquid water, the existence of a planet in a habitable orbit with similar planetary temperatures to earth, and nitrous oxide on an oxygen rich planet, could indicate life. Those features are indicative of chemical reactions other than simple geologic reactions. I gathered from the video, that as early as in 2018 or at least in our lifetimes we will know if we are alone in the universe. Wow!
  14. Trump humor

    I watched the second half of “Saving Private Ryan” yesterday and it is still a wonderful movie. Those effing Nazi’s came close to existing to this day, but I won’t go over those “what if scenarios.” Something I would say to one of those alt right types who are intrigued by the whole Nazi or “being a rebel” thesis is that every veteran in America, like myself, swore to uphold The Constitution. You can’t be a nostalgia buff for the Confederate States of America, Robert E. Lee, or Stonewall Jackson, when you put two and two together and understand that The South in 1860, was willing to destroy our Constitution. And also after thinking about it, I think statues of Confederates (or Benedict Arnold) should be exiled from town squares, though they “could still morally remain” near historical sites. “All men are created equal,” so it is understandable if you object to a statue of someone who was willing to kill American soldiers to keep some people as slaves. Peter
  15. Progressive Heaven

    Way to go Sheriff Joe and Most Exalted Leader DJT! I would be angry if I were pulled over simply because of how I looked but I also think cops “must” profile to do their jobs. So, unfortunately, a person can fit a profile and still be unjustly hassled. An example I have used before is of a licensed junk dealer I know who was pulled over in his junk laden truck three times in one day. He was black. He was driving just under the speed limit. He was going from job to job, and was noticed by several state troopers leaving residential areas. Aaargh! His solution was to get to know the troopers and put a better sign on his vehicle. I haven’t needed his services again so I don’t know if he is still being pulled over. As an aside, I have about fifty metal pipes sticking out of the ground that were used to support young apple, peach, and one pear tree . . . but now the trees support themselves. The pipes were pounded down with a sledge hammer by me standing on a ladder and they are difficult to pull up. The above mentioned junk dealer refused to pull them up for scrap because he “did not do physical labor.” I have pulled several up, but I had to use a jack to get one up so the rest remain next to the trees. I may write a book called, “How to get a back ache that lasts the summer.” Peter