Roger Bissell

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About Roger Bissell

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  • Birthday 06/27/1948

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  • Full Name
    Roger Bissell
  • Description
    I am a musician and a writer, a husband, father, and grandfather, a native of Iowa and a once and future resident of the Volunteer State. I am a muse-seeker, first-last-and-always. I am an Objectivist, but only until and unless a better philosophy comes alone (even if I have to be the one to create it).
  • Articles
    Up from Despair--Becky and Me An Epiphany Libertarianism, Objectivism, and Rage (Rpt on BB's talk) Dialectics: Guardian of Logic Mistaken Identity: Long’s Conflation of Dialectics and Organicism Comments on ch. 13 of Ayn Rand: the Russian Radical (1996) Ayn Rand: Dialectical Objectivist WHAT IS "DIALECTICS"? Dialectical Objectivism? A review of Chris M. Sciabarra's Ayn Rand: the Russian Radical The Virtue of For the New Intellectual Brother- and Sisterhood Objective Self-Awareness as the Root of Wisdom Who Qualifies as being an Objectivist How to Improve Objectivism Comments on Rand's "The Age of Envy" in re the Frozen Abstraction fallacy Why Union Scale is Killing Our Work AESTHETICS "...to give us Ayn Rand faithfully..." a critical note on the Boeckmann transcript Art as Microcosm: The Real Meaning of the Objectivist Concept of Art Objectivism and gender-neutral language Religious Addiction A Higher Power for Atheists and Agnostics (1989) Conditional Morality and Rational (?) Enablement The Intelligent Design Controversy in the Libertarian-Objectivist Media
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    Married and loving it!
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    http://www.rogerbissell.com/
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  • Location
    Antioch, Tennessee
  • Interests
    philosophy, psychology, genealogy, fiction
  1. Hey, folks, Barbara Branden’s legendary lecture series, Principles of Efficient Thinking, is now available for purchase as a Kindle e-book! Here are details and ordering information. https://www.amazon.com/Think-Your-Life-Depends-Principles-ebook/dp/B072N1YF3J/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1497921550&sr=1-1&keywords=think+as+of+your+life+depends+on+it We are hard at work, preparing the print version of the book for publication on Amazon’s “CreateSpace,” and we anticipate it will be available by late June or early July. If you wait for the print version, you can add on the Kindle for an extra $2.99. (I couldn’t wait!  )
  2. I know nothing about this process, sorry. Send them an email.
  3. http://www.psupress.org/Journals/jnls_JARS.html $22 per individual issue $35 per year (two issues) - print or online $46 per year (two issues) - print & online
  4. JARS: New July 2017 Issue Arrives! After The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies published its blockbuster 2016 double issue, "Nathaniel Branden: His Work and Legacy" (getting a few reviews along the way), JARS returns to its biannual format with a brand new issue. The print version of the July 2017 issue will be on its way to subscribers in the coming weeks, and will be published electronically by JSTOR and Project Muse as well. It features essays from a wide variety of perspectives, along with reviews of books on timely topics and continuing discussions of key issues in Rand studies. Readers should go to our 2017 index and click into the drop-down menu for Volume 17, Number 1 - July 2017 (Issue #33). Under the "Table of Contents," readers will find abstracts for each of the essays listed below; under "Contributor Biographies," readers will learn more about the writers featured in our newest issue. Table of Contents ARTICLES Russian Egoism Goes to America? A Case for a Connection between Ayn Rand and the Shestidesiatniki- Aaron Weinacht Just Who Is John Galt, Anyway? A Carnivalesque Approach to Atlas Shrugged - Charles Duncan The Beneficiary Statement and Beyond - Merlin Jetton Ultimate Value: Self-Contradictory - Robert Hartford Six Years Outside the Archives: The Chronicle of a Misadventure, in Three Acts - Robert L. Campbell REVIEWS Debunking Neosocialism (a review of Christopher Snowdon's book, Selfishness, Greed, and Capitalism: Debunking Myths about the Free Market) - Reviewed by Gary James Jason Debunking Ecofundamentalism (a review of Rögnvaldur Hannesson's book Ecofundamentalism: A Critique of Extreme Environmentalism) - Reviewed by Hannes H. Gissurarson After the Avant-Gardes (a review of After the Avant-Gardes: Reflections on the Future of the Fine Arts, edited by Elizabeth Millán) - Reviewed by Troy Camplin DISCUSSION Reply to Roger E. Bissell: Thinking Volition - Merlin Jetton Rejoinder to Merlin Jetton: Conditions of Volition - Roger E. Bissell Reply to Marsha Familaro Enright: Remembering the "Self" in "Self-ish-ness" - Robert White Rejoinder to Robert White: The Problem with "Selfishness" is Still Problematic - Marsha Familaro Enright JARS is published by Pennsylvania State University Press, but is distributed by the Johns Hopkins University Press Fulfillment Services. Folks wanting to obtain a subscription should inquire here. Enjoy! Posted by chris on June 6, 2017 07:33 PM | Permalink | Posted to Periodicals | Politics (Theory, History, Now) |Rand Studies
  5. The July 2017 issue of Journal of Ayn Rand Studies is now available! https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002284.html
  6. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have good reason to believe that POET will be published by this summer or fall. Stay tuned! REB P.S. - I would love for LP's logic course to be published, but I have absolutely no information about future publications from that corner of the movement.
  7. Well, it mattered IN THE CONTEXT OF THE 2010 QUOTE YOU OMITTED, because someone was suggesting that Tara might have been having an extramarital affair with Harry Binswanger, and I was offering second-hand information that would tend to rule out that suggestion. I have no comment one way or the other about how Tara's (unverified) sexual orientation qua "abberation" might affect her credibility or qualifications as a lecturer on psychology. In general, though, I don't see why it should. Do you? REB
  8. Nothing very ominous or subtle. It doesn't mean I have spies or informants or researchers providing me with "reports." It was just a manner of speaking. All I meant was that I *heard* unofficially that Tara Smith was a lesbian (as opposed to having authoritative, validated information), and thus that it seemed unlikely that she and Harry Binswanger were engaging in some sort of extra-marital heterosexual affair, as someone else in the discussion playfully suggested. I don't like the way you quoted me out of context, but perhaps you were just being careless or didn't think it mattered to show what the quote was referring to. If anyone else sees anything inappropriate about the fragmentary quote above, I invite them to go back and read the original post from February 10, 2010. REB
  9. What was this "pitfall"? See the above-highlighted sentence.
  10. Place your fingers on a chunk of ice or a hot stove. Is your awareness of the ice or stove "brain/mind generated" or "brain/mind transmitted"? Neither, strictly speaking. It certainly can't be *transmitted* by the brain/mind. Transmitted *to what*?? And while the brain/mind is involved in the *generation* of the awareness of existence, so is existence (i.e., whatever exists that is the *object* of awareness). It is the *interaction* of the brain/mind with energy coming in from something else in the world that generates *awareness of* that something else *by* the brain/mind. It is the ice or stove "in interaction with* the brain/mind that generates the brain/mind's awareness of it, and that awareness is different in each case because the nature of what is interacting with the brain/mind is different, while the nature of the brain/mind is (relatively) constant. (In introspection, when the brain/mind is aware of itself, because the energy coming to it is from another part of itself, then *one* part of the brain/mind is interacting with *another* part of the brain/mind. But the pattern and principle involved are the same, because the brain/mind is at once *that which* is aware of something, and the *something* which is the object of awareness.) In one of his history of philosophy lectures back in the previous century, Peikoff likened perception to a collision. The nature of the collision is determined by the nature of the two objects that interact (collide). It's not just Car A's nature or Car B's nature alone that determines the nature of the collision, but both of them in interaction. The collision is neither Car A-generated nor Car B-generated, but Car-A-Car-B-interaction generated. I think that seeing the nature of consciousness in light of this analogy is very clarifying, and that this is one of Peikoff's best contributions to epistemology and philosophy of mind. REB
  11. She held consciousness to be awareness of something that exists independently of one's awareness - not the creation of something of which one is then aware. Existence is independent of consciousness - not dependent upon consciousness. Rand advocated the former, and she said Kant advocated the latter: Primacy of Existence vs. Primacy of Consciousness. The way I read Kant, however, is that *both* consciousness/mind and existence/reality are unknowable things-in-themselves, lurking in the "noumenal realm," and that whatever nature they have, they interact in such a way that the *product* of that interaction is the world as we experience it, the world of appearance, the "phenomenal realm." He believed in identity and cause-and-effect, but he also said we can't go beyond sense experience and whatever we can build from that. (He was a very accomplished physical scientist and theorist prior to becoming a philosopher.) So, he shied away from ascribing specific qualities to mind and reality, apart from what we *observe* through perceptual observation and introspection. This interactive process *is* how we know the world, and the world "as we know it" - and ourselves "as we know ourselves" - really *are* built up or "constructed" from such interactions. However, it's not that either reality or our mental faculties are constructs. They are real. The *product of their interaction* - things and selves as we know them - is the form in which we are aware of those things and selves. So, it is *experience* that is the construct, the *form* of our awareness of the world. Kant got it half right, and his Copernican Revolution really just latched onto the other side of a false dichotomy: the mind determines/constructs out of reality the world we experience vs. reality determines what our minds experience. Instead, together, they *both* determine/construct the world and the self we experience. The world and the self are the forms in which we are aware, through their interaction, of reality and the mind. (And by "mind," I mean merely a conscious living organism's brain and nervous system.) I don't think this qualifies as "negating consciousness as such." But if the realist elements of Kant's philosophy are rejected (identity and causality), leaving just the idealist Primacy of Consciousness, "construction of reality," then sure, Kant was fundamentally mistaken. And I think that is the Orthodox Objectivist interpretation of him. So, take your pick. REB
  12. No, I don't think so. He had numerous friends approximately his own age or older. Quite a few of them are no longer living. As for the age differences between NB and his wives, (1) NB was 34 and his second wife Patrecia was 24 (a 10-year gap) when they began their relationship, (2) there was only a three-year gap between NB and his third wife, Devers, and (3) there was an approximately 25-year gap between NB and his fourth wife, Leigh. REB
  13. I agree. And when we look at Kant's explicitly stated purpose and goal, we find something quite different from the "all-destroyer" fountainhead of statist totalitarianism that the Randians allege him to be. Throughout his Critical Philosophy, Kant was working from what he took to be an inescapable premise—Hume’s notion of the cognitively unbridgeable gap between knowledge and true reality—but he was not a nihilist-skeptic destroyer. Instead, Kant attempted a major pushback against the deadly effects of Hume’s extreme skepticism, in order to save what for him were two crucial values of Western culture: science and ethics. Kant was thus actually a conservative, moderating development in the face of Hume’s disintegrative skepticism. In contrast to the Disintegrative stance of Hume, Kant affirmed causality and lawful connections in nature and the ability of the human mind to know them, as well as the ability of the mind to build up systematic bodies of knowledge in science and philosophy from a base in experience. As Sciabarra notes, “Kant recognized that human knowledge constitutes a coherent interconnected whole” (2000, 55). Kant also emphatically insisted that cognition, including logic and system-building—and therefore, all the sciences, including mathematics, metaphysics, and physics—are limited to, or based on, facts in the realm of experience. In terms of substantive philosophy, Kant was the beleaguered defender of mainstream Enlightenment values, while “Hume’s views were revolutionary, far more revolutionary than he himself realized” (Jones 1969b, 12). As Jones further clarifies, "Hume regarded reason as merely an instrument for detecting relations among ideas; reason can tell us nothing . . . about the real world. . . .There is no rationale in nature to which the rational mind of man conforms. Hume in effect was driving a wedge between reason and nature. . . . Among Hume’s contemporaries Kant was almost alone in recognizing the destructive force of this attack on reason. . . . Kant was deeply committed to the Enlightenment ideal. Hence he was deeply disturbed by Hume’s argument." (12–13) In other words, Kant was a reactionary rather than a radical - or, rather, a thinker using methodologically "radical" means to argue for "reactionary" or status quo social-cultural values. Ironically, Kant, in trying to undo Hume’s baleful influence, stumbled into the same pitfall as the conservatives in their fight against left-liberalism and socialism. What Rand wrote about Kant was thus actually more appropriately directed at Hume, and what she said about Kant’s opponents was at least as applicable to him, since Hume won with Kant’s help. Kant conceded Hume’s basic premise, and gave away the ballgame, just as the conservatives have more recently in relation to the liberals, progressives, and socialists. Like Rand, Kant similarly railed against the ineffectual or harmful attempts of his predecessors to protect major values—in his case, the mainstream Enlightenment values of reason, science, and religious morality—even while advocating an unconventional intellectual framework. Kant set forth his Critical Philosophy in an attempt to provide a solid basis for those values—values which very few people at the time regarded as controversial, but which were being thrown into skeptical doubt by the intellectual gridlock between the rationalists and the empiricists. Unlike Rand, however, Kant did not have the protective shield of a consistent, reality-based set of premises to carry into battle. Instead, he conjured up a witch’s brew of Humean irrationalism and Platonic-Leibnizian rationalism that did more harm than good. As Jones (1969b) notes, “[Kant] realized that to answer Hume some compromise was necessary and in this compromise he proposed to save as much as he could. Ultimately, however, Kant made many more concessions to anti-rationalism than he realized. . . . Kant’s philosophy thus constitutes one of the fundamental turning points in the history of Western thought” (13). Ironically, then, Kant fell short in much the same way in attempting to stem the tide of Humean irrationalism as did the twentieth-century political conservatives in their efforts to hold back the advances of left-liberal statism. It’s intriguing to speculate that, had Rand been Kant’s colleague in the late 1700s, she might well have blasted him in the same way she did the American right in the mid-1900s, and for the same reasons. His flawed arguments failed to “conserve”—not just preserve, but rationally validate and defend—reason, science, and morality, just as those of the political conservatives failed to “conserve” (validate and defend) political freedom, capitalism, and rugged individualism. With friends like Kant and the conservatives, who needs enemies! Had Rand and her colleagues expressed their justifiable disdain for Kant’s shortcomings in a manner similar to the way they raked political conservatives over the coals, that would have sufficed to make the point, without needing to engage in histrionics and hyperbole. (Full stop.) Instead, however, we have been subjected to over fifty years of trumped-up charges against Kant, some of which conflict with one another, some of which are context-dropping distortions, and many of which are simply not correct. I discuss some of these in my 2013 JARS review of Peikoff's DIM Hypothesis. (The preceding comments were adapted from that review essay.) REB
  14. Weaknews has absolutely no credibility with me - least of all, because of their "reporters." Someone who makes unfounded ranting smears about Trump's mental health, and gives hosannas to CIA officers who have led us into the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion, the totally unfounded WMD basis for invading Iraq, and the viciously lying story about Benghazi, needs to check into that institution he accused Trump of attending. Most recently, we have unnamed CIA officials making unsubstantiated allegations that the Wikileaks documents about the DNC and Hillary's campaign were obtained and/or controlled personally by Vladimir Putin. This is the worst, most transparent kind of demagogical manipulation of which the Dem's, liberals, and progressives are angrily accusing Trump. Why, it's almost as if they were engaging in psychological projection...?
  15. You're welcome, guys. Merry Christmas! REB