Mark

Who is Carl Barney?

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syrakusos    0

I am always impressed by ARIWatch.  They appear to be consistently dispassionate and factual. My only sense of dismay is all the time and effort that goes into it, when the world holds so many other more interesting and profitable pursuits.  But to each his own, and, with my thanks for the hard work.

 

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Mark    0

I don’t know if syrakusos intended it or just made a poor choice of words but that’s a rather backhanded compliment.  Is a clinician wasting his time by studying a disease?  I once attended a lecture in which the professor more or less said “Leprosy is a beautiful disease. [Pause, realizing that what he’d just said sounded strange.] Clinically speaking.”

Here is something that took a lot of time, that has nothing to do with ARI but which syrakusos might think a waste, see
The Willcutts Report
on the Death of James Forrestal.

My focus right now is on Who is Carl Barney?  so leave the Willcutts Report for another day.
 

 

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On 3/23/2017 at 10:40 PM, Mark said:

Carl Barney has been on the board of directors of ARI since 1995 and is ARI’s largest donor.  He also has a past – and a present.  New on ARI Watch:

Who is Carl Barney?

Mark,

My God!

That is one of the most damning articles on ARI that I have ever read. For people who are not familiar with the universe of facts and events you cover, it might seem like a walk in the weeds, but for those who do understand, this not only explains a lot of cognitive dissonance about ARI's postures, attitudes and happenings over the years, it also points to the fact that, business-wise (meaning monkey-business-wise :) ), ARI is founded on--and practices--a different set of principles than Rand's. 

Here are a few random observations.

1. The first is your first intriguing footnote:

Quote

1  “Ayn Rand” appears with the registered trademark symbol after it in the copyright notice at the bottom of each webpage of the Ayn Rand Institute. However, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ( website  www.uspto.gov ) has no record of a registration.  Possibly it is registered in another country.

If this is what it looks like it is and not hidden by some arcane bureaucratic regulation or similar, this means anyone can use the name Ayn Rand commercially (except for copyright restrictions). The implications of this are huge if there is no US trademark of her name.

2. I haven't read all the articles you linked to yet, but in short, it looks like Carl Barney was initially funded by running Scientology franchises in the early days before he was drummed out of Scientology as a heretic (suppressive person). And he ran a dressed up loan sharking business on the side. After that, his main source of income came from schools--paid for mostly from the government's student loan racket that artificially inflates college costs. So the money he has donated (and still donates) to ARI--and he is one of its top donors--came from cult fees, outrageous personal loan schemes and a government-backed student loan racket. Why doesn't Mr. Barney sound like a prime mover inventor/producer capitalist to me? :) 

3. I have a Scientology quibble. I have studied this cult as a hobby for years. So when you quoted Hollywood, Satanism, Scientology, and Suicide by Jerry Staton, that kept ringing a bell in my mind, but I had never heard of Jerry Staton. I went to the Amazon listing and lookee lookee what I found in the reader reviews (a one-star bash from one "B. Hensel," who, incidentally is not a pro-Scientology troll):

Quote

In spending some time online tonight, reading up on Scientology, I came across Steven Fishman's website (last update 1997). If you don't know, Fishman is pretty much the reason all the OT levels are online these days. Anyway, Fishman's website contains his unpublished book titled (are you ready for this..?) "Hollywood, Scientology, Satanism and Suicide." It's designated as public domain and distribution is encouraged. The clown that claims to have "written" the book being reviewed has copied 99% of it and put his name on it. How sad.

If you ever get a chance to look into Steven Fishman, do so. He's a hoot. A kook and a con. In court, he's seen on video enthusiastically claiming how he would get dizzy in skyscrapers from being able to see through the floors under his feet (which he learned how to do as an upper level OT in Scientology, of course :) ) and a lot of things like that. He even did TV commercials after all that exploiting his kook personality. Anyway, here's his public domain book online for free that Staton published as if he wrote it:

Hollywood, Satanism, Scientology and Suicide: "The Fable"

There is one caveat. Staton could be a pen name for Fishman in which case there is no problem. But just in case this is not the case, I suggest you add a footnote. Also, I wonder if Barney ever met Fishman. Now that would be another hoot. :) 

 

I will probably have more comments after I dig some more, but congratulations on a fine piece of investigative journalism.

No matter how one looks at it, if all one is doing is looking at the facts, this is a major crack in the integrity of ARI. Anything the Brandens were accused of is chump change compared to this. ARI has to clean this up or eventually lose relevance. 

I'm a little fishy in the big bad O-Land sea, so what I say doesn't mean much. But if I see what I see, owing to you showing what you just showed, others can't help but see it, too.

It might take some time before this story takes on a popular gossip form (only then will it spread like wildfire), but for those who wish to dig and study this stuff (trademarks, Scientology, student loans, etc.), it gets worse the more one learns. 

Michael

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Mark    0

The book, and Amazon and Barnes & Noble, give the author as Jerry Staton.  Fishman’s website contains the text of the book, stripped of the cover and title page, and doesn’t say who the author is anywhere else. 

It looks like Staton got his information from the original FACTNet website (since taken over by other people), which like Operation Clambake was devoted to criticizing Co$.  The website collected reports from former Scientologists.  Here is the earliest page (1998) – courtesy the Wayback Machine  (archive.org) – listing Barney (the same entry on Barney occurs through 2011, after which the old website disappeared):

https://web-beta.archive.org/web/19980111073933/http://www.factnet.org/Scientology/suicide1.htm

Here’s the entry on Barney.  (The ????? means that the event is undated.)

Quote

????? Bamey, Carl psychosis
Carl Barney went psychotic on the Apollo and was guarded by three other people on the ship. Carl Barney had been made to sit for months doing “blinkless TRs.” One of the periodic extremes Hubbard took no responsibility for. I heard that at one point he was strapped to his chair.

I’ll replace the book with FACTNet since it seems to be the primary source.

 

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Mark    0

Yours is a forthright summary of the main points in “Who is Carl Barney?”  I had to be more circumspect in my language for obvious reasons.

One correction.  You write “he was drummed out of Scientology as a heretic ...”  He was never a heretic.  Quite the contrary, it looks like he was drummed out because he was too successful.  This is a key point.  

A small clarification.  You write  “After that, his main source of income came from schools – paid for mostly from the government's student loan racket that artificially inflates college costs.”  Yes, and to tweeze that apart, government interference in the market gave him two advantages:  (1) The very existence of the students, most of whom were not creditworthy and absent government grants and loans wouldn’t be able to attend his colleges, (2) the inflated price his colleges could command due to those loans.

 

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15 hours ago, Mark said:

... the original FACTNet website (since taken over by other people)...

Mark,

That's not accurate.

FACTNet was set up and run by Lawrence Wollersheim (see here), one of the few people ever to win a lawsuit against Scientology back in the day (his case was in the mid 1980's). That's an interesting story in itself. And he still helps run FACTNet (apparently in addition to being a elderly snowflake doing social justice and climate change). From the Wikipedia link on him:

Quote

Wollersheim helped co-found Factnet.org in 1993 to help other victims of cult abuse. Currently he is still a director of Factnet.

But you can check it here, too. FACTNet.org is now part of FACTNet Global, which has several organizations under it. I could not find the list of directors, but go to any of those links (or secondary links) and type Wollersheim in the search field. You will see a ton of articles by him running from the past all the way up to now.

13 hours ago, Mark said:

One correction.  You write “he was drummed out of Scientology as a heretic ...”  He was never a heretic.  Quite the contrary, it looks like he was drummed out because he was too successful.  This is a key point.

LOL...

You don't have to be a heretic to be excommunicated as one. :) In religious terms (don't forget that Scientology is formally a religion), a Suppressive Person is their version of heretic. In political terms, the SP list is like an "enemies list."

(You wouldn't believe what SPs are capable of doing according to the religion. Your mission to enlightenment and immortality as an Operating Thetan is to get invisible cooties--bad thetan spirit thingies that are stuck to you like ticks--off of you. There are gobs of 'em all over your body and nobody can see 'em. Not even Scientologists until they reach upper OT levels. A Suppressive Person is supposed to interfere with you setting the cooties loose. Seriously. That's just one nasty thing SPs do and that's just in this lifetime. You ought to see the other lifetimes. :) Well... Scientologists don't call the bad thetans "cooties." I was using a term coined by a very disgruntled former Scientologist, Arnie Lerma.)

The tragedy of SPs is that they are shunned by all Scientologists. No practicing Scientologist will talk to a person who has been declared an SP because that would risk his "immortal soul" in addition to the church. This shunning includes shunning by the SP's family, friends, business acquaintances, etc. (if they are Scientologists), no matter how many years they have been together.

You are right that Barney was victim of a purge and the issue was money.

This was right after a group of Scientology folks (including Hubbard's wife, Sue) were indicted for infiltrating and spying on the IRS and a bunch of other government agencies (Operation Snow White), so I imagine Hubbard was scared with Barney's murky monkeyshines at Nationwide more than envious. Hubbard was being busted big time by the US government right then. (Well, he did stage the largest known infiltration of the US government in US history, too, so there's that. :) ) As a side note, Hubbard must have made good money from taking over Barney's franchises (with a little strategic maneuvering) because that was in 1979 and in 1982 there was a widescale systemic purge of independent Scientology mission owners. With that purge and takeover of their missions, all the money, not just some of it, started flowing upstream to the top.

I've read a hell of a lot of books about this cult, starting with The Scandal of Scientology by Paulette Cooper (the cover on that link is the kind I bought), which I picked up in an airport bookstore back in the 1970's when I was going to Brazil (or coming, I no longer remember). It caught my eye, so I bought it and read it, then promptly forgot all about Scientology for years. btw - Tony Ortega recently wrote a wonderful bio of Paulette called The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper. Her story is amazing if you like spy novels. :) 

I won't bore you with all the titles, but I have read about 40 or 50 books on this cult, if not more (mostly by people who left it). And I have watched so many hours of video by these folks that I finally realized this was a hobby of mine. :) Also, I have read and heard some of the original Scientology stuff. In fact, you can get a huge amount of digital copies of the older original material at Wikileaks (here). Apropos, wanna see Hubbard himself lecture on video circa 1958-1960? You can here.

I think I am fascinated with Scientology because L Ron Hubbard, in my opinion, came up with the mother of all mindfucks. It's even more fascinating to me that one of the most important financial arms of ARI came from there. As I was going through the links you provided, I noticed in the NYT article that Barney imitates Hubbard's habit of naming a lot of things in his business with acronyms. I bet he imitates many of Hubbard's personal habits. :) 

Michael

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Mark    0

Thanks for the correction about FACTNet or whatever it calls itself these days.  Something happened in 2012.  There is a gap in archive.org’s timeline of about a year and half after which the look of the site changed completely and instead of being devoted to Scientology, Scientology became one of several facets.

Factnetglobal.org  describes  factnet.org as  “online education on global warming & social justice issues since 1993.”  However if you go to the factnet.org website itself there’s a section on cults and a (large) subsection on Scientology.  

Good point about Hubbard probably wanting to appear as clean as possible after being indicted.  Were it not for that Barney might not have been purged.

Interesting discovery:  While Barney was head of the Los Angeles missions (and one in San Diego – if the people I quote can be believed), David Miscavige was head of the San Francisco missions.  Miscavige was Hubbard’s second in command and now runs Co$

 

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Mark    0

With the help of a former Scientologist we now have definitive proof that the “Co$ Barney” and the “ARI Barney” are one and the same.  I’ve beefed up the Barney article with the new information.  

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read it again, the coup de grâce is the photographic evidence at the end of the last footnote. (Later I may move it from the footnote to the main text.  I sort of shoehorned in the new material to update the article quickly.)

Who is Carl Barney?
 

 

 

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BaalChatzaf    0

An English born Crackpot and now funding an organization that assumes the reputation of a self-willed warrior of Reason, Ayn Rand.   

Only in America!  I have reached a point in my life (somewhere close to its end)  when nothing strikes me as weird or strange.  Weird is the New Normal. 

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Mark,

It's good to have the photos, but Barney already admitted to being part of Scientology at the relevant time frame. To me that was already definitive. 

But the photos are nice and they nail one more nail in the board.

:)

Michael

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Mark    0

Yes, the ARI Barney admitted to “dabbling” in Co$ at the time of that photo.  But without the photo he could claim that there are two Barneys, one of which ran the Missions and the other, him, who just dabbled in 1969.  The photo proves that that Barney is in fact the future Barney of the Co$ Missions.

It’s a delicate logical point.  I thought as you did at first, except I didn’t think the earlier evidence was quite sufficient.

The photo surfaced on Virginia McClaughry’s blog after I asked on the “Ex Scientology Message Board” if anyone could provide Co$ photos of Barney.  This photo is dynamite.  One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the Brooks & Wride vs. Barney lawsuit, Brandon J. Mark, seems to realize its importance.  He didn’t return my email when I told him about the earlier version of my article but after the photo surfaced he posted to McClaughry’s blog asking her to contact him.  I gather that for five or six years he’s been trying to prove that the Barney of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education – what I call the ARI Barney – is the Co$ Barney.

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Mark,

You know you are on a good one here, don't you?

:)

I say, ride it for all it's worth. This thing is creeping up into higher nooks and crannies all over the damn place.

Be careful, though.

Barney was trained by a master and he has hundreds of millions lying around to play with. As I mentioned to a friend offline, "He learned plenty of dirty tricks from Hubbard about taking enemies down--dirty tricks that would appall even ARI folks. And he learned all about stealth and secrecy and not letting your own side in on everything."

He's old now, so his energy and possible vindictiveness are not going to be what they used to be.

Still, biting animals bite. That's what they do. They can't not bite.

Michael

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Peter    0

Interesting. I had no idea ARI got so much in contributions. I will continue to donate to The Atlas Society, or is that the "At Last Society?"

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Mark    0

The Atlas Society (TAS) and the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) differ in size and stridency but otherwise they’re pretty much the same.  They both promoted the Iraq invasion, they both opposed Trump when he was running for President, they’re both for open borders. 

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1 hour ago, Mark said:

The Atlas Society (TAS) and the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) differ in size and stridency but otherwise they’re pretty much the same.  They both promoted the Iraq invasion, they both opposed Trump when he was running for President, they’re both for open borders. 

Mark,

You left out that they are both nonprofits supported by donations, not sales or ads, as they preach free market and the glories of the profit system.

:)

Deanna once poked me in the ribs about this because OL is not a commercial enterprise and some members donate at times, but there's a big difference. This forum is privately owned (by Kat and me) as a hobby. I mostly pay for it out of my own pocket (but with a lot of gratitude for those who donate--they help, believe me :) ).

Our purpose is discussion among a small group of people who like to work out Rand-related ideas and accumulating an archive for those interested to peruse, not to be a government-registered nonprofit entity that is spearheading a movement to save the world from its depravity and impending doom. :) 

Besides, later OL will turn into a commercial enterprise with a lot of stuff still free as legacy from the past and attraction for the future. Rather than use Objectivism to tell others how to live and make moral condemnations as a community magnet, I want to encourage the individual self-help aspect of Rand's works similar to the way top entrepreneurs use her ideas. 

I got sidetracked doing Trump, but the opportunity arose because, to me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a political difference for the better and for real. So I dove in head first and many members (vocal and nonvocal) dove in with me. We convinced quite a few. Others got pissed, but that's the nature of politics when big changes happen. As President Trump gets more and more accepted, I expect to get back to my vision, though.

Michael

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On April 22, 2017 at 10:58 PM, Mark said:

Response to Barney Revelations

- new on ARIwatch.com

Mark,

Regarding this part of your replies:

Quote

Respondent E writes (ellipsis his):


“There is a chance Mr. Blarney was and is a con artist who can play the part necessary to defraud others of their money while blinded by the optimism and evasions that go with faith or a zealous dream.


“He could have, after his experience with Scientology, latched onto Objectivism, thinking incorrectly that it is also a kind of cult with a niche market ripe for his predation.


“He could have embarked on a mission to bilk the naiveté [sic] of the Objectivist masses, studied in earnest all Rand wrote and said, and while internally unmoved, clothed himself in the raiment of a man of rational self-interest, with the ideas and virtues of a true Objectivist.


“He could have ...


“He also could have, as [Respondent A] points out, actually become an Objectivist, and is not (or even perhaps never was) a con artist.


“All we can go on for now is perception and evidence. It is not likely anything outside of a full investigation would be able to decide this. However, a potential school attendee or Objectivist organization might still want to better assess the ‘risk’ that they are dealing with a fraud.”

[It isn’t clear what faith or zealous dream Barney might have, or ever had. In my reply I will disagree with (paraphrasing) “it is possible Barney never was a con man.”  I’ll also point out that Respondent E’s first “he could have” is so farfetched it makes Respondent A look reasonable.]

[....]


To  Respondent E,

Your first suggested explanation of Barney’s behavior is rather farfetched. It might as well be a straw man, easily knocked down in order to make Respondent A’s explanation seem reasonable.

Consider an alternate explanation. Some readers of Rand’s novels confuse her idea of selfishness with a justification for lording it over other people.  Barney might be such a lord of the manor person. He might think Rand’s selfishness means he can with moral impunity walk over anyone. He is innocent, perpetually innocent. All businessmen are good no matter what they do. All businessmen are victims.

If true then he isn’t pulling a fast one so much as using Rand to excuse himself. He is attracted to a feeling of victimhood.  Instead of conscious deception of others his is an unconscious deception of Carl Barney; he must be an honest man, honest by Objectvist standards.

I think that the "faith or a zealous dream" Respondent E was referring to in the first paragraph is that of the persons who are being defrauded, i.e., that what's meant is:

"There is a chance Mr. Blarney [sic] was and is a con artist who can play the part necessary to defraud others of their money while [those others are] blinded by the optimism and evasions that go with faith or a zealous dream."

I'm not understanding your objection to Respondent E's first suggestion:

"He could have, after his experience with Scientology, latched onto Objectivism, thinking incorrectly that it is also a kind of cult with a niche market ripe for his predation."

That sounds to me, from the evidence you presented, like it describes just what Barney did, if you substitute the organization ARI for the name of the philosophy as such - i.e., Barney recognized and proceeded to take advantage of a new "niche market ripe for his predation."

Ellen

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Peter    0

I remember a few years ago Diana Hsieh wanted to align herself with ARI.

Peter

 

From: Ram Tobolski To: OWL Subject: OWL: Re: Mind in Objectivism Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 19:30:51 +0200 [This is a reply to Diana Mertz Hsieh's post from 1/13. I sent it to Diana off-list a few days ago]

 

Hi Diana, Following your post at OWL, I've read your essay, and I was much impressed by the scholarly work that you did. This is truly a model example for an "objectivist scholarship". Here are some various comments, related to difficulties that I had with understanding. I hope some of them may be helpful:

 

1. The term "Humean" causation which you have used several times is strange for me. For example, you wrote: "Efron also warns that adopting a Humean view of causality with respect to the mind (such that "the cause of any event is the occurrence of a preceding physical event")". Hume, as much as I know him, did not hold that view. Such a view could be related to Descartes or to Newton, but Hume's position was that causes (in the sense of "efficient" causes, where one thing has an influence on another thing) do not exist at all. That there are only regularities (which are, more of less, Aristotelian "formal" causes).

 

2. I did not understand how consciousness can be regarded as an _action_. What could be the related concept of action, the definition of action?

 

3. A stylistic preference of mine: I feel uneasy with the term 'argues', as in "He argues that the entity-action relationship is different when applied to consciousness than to the physical world". When I encounter the term 'argues' I automatically expect an _argument_; but in fact, what we often get is merely an assertion, without an argument, or only some bits of an argument.

 

4. Regarding "self-evidence", you wrote: "[Binswanger's] basic approach to the subject, in which fundamental, self-evident facts about consciousness are used to ground an ontology of mind, is a fruitful one". Now I agree that it could be fruitful, heuristically, but I wouldn't want to see any reliance on "self-evidence" in a finished philosophy. In a fundamental philosophy, as I take objectivism to be, nothing is self-evident, in the sense that it doesn't require proof.

 

5. I didn't really understand your opposition to Binswanger's kind of dualism, as in "Binswanger's advocacy of dualism is strange and startling not just because it stands in opposition to all other Objectivist commentary on philosophy of mind, but also because it destroys the foundation of the mind-body integration so central to the Objectivist epistemology, ethics, and politics". What is that mind-body integration that you take to be central to objectivism, and which is excluded by Binswanger's kind of dualism? Do you think, for example, that consciousness is not a mystery? To me it seems a great, great mystery. I don't understand how anyone can "return to Aristotle" in such a way as if modern science did not happen. How can anyone naively accept Aristotle account on the relation between mind and matter, when his theory of matter was so thoroughly refuted, in a way that made him a symbol of what the scientific revolution was against?

 

I hope I am not read as rude, or offensive, or reproaching, because that is not my intention.  Best, Ram

 

From: Rafael Eilon To: OWL <objectivism Subject: Re: OWL: Mind in Objectivism Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 04:05:55 -0800 (PST)

Hi all, I congratulate Diana M. Hsieh on her survey of Objectivist writings on the philosophy of mind, which is generally well-written, and faithfully represents (with mostly well-based criticism) the views of the various sources. However, I think the picture conveyed by this survey is incomplete: one important position, which is held, so I believe, by many Objectivists, is not well-represented. I mean the position which I would call "physicalist/compatibilist/analytic" (in short: "p/c/a").

 

One of the sources which Hsieh cites does represent this p/c/a position: Roger E. Bissell's essay, "A Dual-Aspect Approach to the Mind-Body Problem". I admire Bissell very much for coming up with such an advanced theory as early as 1974 (!). Unfortunately, Bissell's essay is the only source that Hsieh seriously misunderstands and misrepresents. The main point of Bissell's position is that mental processes are actually brain processes that can be perceived introspectively, which is the _aspect_ from which they are perceived as mental. Hsieh's misunderstanding consists mainly in thinking that Bissell uses the concept of introspection to define awareness; actually, he only uses it to observe how we become aware of awareness. In other words, Bissell does not say that consciousness _is_ introspection, only that it is _perceived by means_ of introspection; and thus he certainly does not mean that brain processes are the object of consciousness, but simply that certain brain processes _are_ consciousness (and, as such, they are the object of introspection). Misunderstanding this, Hsieh's charges that Bissell's position is circular, and claims that it "inverts the hierarchy of concepts"; but her misunderstanding makes her criticism completely beside the point.

 

(Note: I have written the above before I became aware of Bissell's earlier (1/17) response to Hsieh's survey. I have now read Bissell's response, but I find nothing essential that I want to change.)

 

I am here referencing Bissell's essay only with regard to this one important part of the p/c/a position: the relation between the mental and the physical. I haven't yet studied Bissell's application of the Dual-Aspect approach to the free will issue, and I think I have taken a different line from his in defending physicalism against the charge that it is a form of reductionism. I am also concerned whether the mental is sufficiently defined by calling it an "aspect"; if we ask what makes a certain brain process mental, is it just the fact that, for some unspecified reason, it is viewed (or can be viewed) introspectively as mental, or is it something about the process itself that makes it viewable from such an aspect (and then its being mental is not _just_ an aspect). But, anyhow, I find Bissell's central point at least an approximately valid formulation of one essential part of the p/c/a position, namely, that mental processes _are_ physical processes.

 

I have argued before for the p/c/a position on this forum around 1998, in a discussion with Michael Hardy (unfortunately, this data has been lost, at least to me). I shall now attempt a very concise outline of all three aspects of the p/c/a position, as a candidate for a comprehensive position on the philosophy of mind.

 

1) Standard materialism, or a mechanistic view, is not the same as the modern _physicalism_. The former position argues that only matter (including mechanical systems) exists, and thus the mind is an illusion (i.e., it is "eliminative"). Physicalism, on the other hand, argues that, ontologically, everything that exists (or happens) is physical, i.e., involves _only_ matter and energy; and that this description applies also to mental states and actions. In other words, in contrast to all those creeds that (explicitly or implicitly) regard the mind as either _non-physical_ or _non-existent_, physicalism regards the mind as _both_ physical _and_ existent. It thus explicitly regards any belief in non-physical entities as superstition, and states unambiguously that, ontologically, _nothing_ is non-physical. (This means, for example, that a brain state or process and the associated mental phenomenon are one and the same thing, ontologically; with the subjective quality of the mental only reflecting _the point of view_ of personal experience; Bissell's point). In the OWL discussion I mentioned above, I used a clarifying formulation and an illustration to make this point, as follows: all the actions of a physical system are physical; for example, if someone said that an automobile is a physical system but its motion down the road is non-physical, no one would take it seriously. Similarly, if we recognize that a human being is a physical system, then we must recognize that _all_ his/her actions--including mental actions--are physical. (At a risk of stating the obvious: here "physical" does not mean "of the muscles" but "of matter and energy").

 

2) The above does not negate free will; free will is _compatible_ with physicalism, _because_ many of the _physical_ causes of, say, a decision, are actually mental causes. However, since this is not a non-physical account of free will, such a concept of free will does _not_ involve an axiom of uncaused action; it is _compatible_ with overall physical determinism, as also discussed before on this forum (see, for example, my 26 Oct. 2001 post under the title "Questions for Hard Determinists (Spinoza)", which is outside the current archive, but was also posted on Starship Forum under the title "Freewill vs Determinism":

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Starship_Forum/message/192    )

 

3) This is not reductionism. Saying something like "this chair is composed of nothing but atoms" is not the same as the reductionist claim, which goes something like: "This chair is only atoms, therefore there really is no chair, only atoms." The latter is evidently false. But the former represents the _analytic_ position, which holds that the chair is not _reducible_ to atoms (unless exploded or something), and yet it is _analyzable into_ atomic structures, and _also_ exists and has identity as a whole object; and that this identity derives not only from the atoms themselves but also from their inter-relations and overall structure, but does not imply that anything other than atoms and their combinations must exist to account for the existence of the chair. Similarly, a human being is made of _nothing but_ matter and energy, but has all those characteristics and capabilities that are typical of a human being by virtue of his/her overall structure as a complex system; _not_ because _anything but_ matter and energy goes "into the making" of a human being.

 

I think the p/c/a position on the philosophy of mind should have been adopted by Objectivism, explicitly, long ago. As it is, the Objectivist position is surrounded by a thick layer of mental fog. OK, mind and body are not separable, but how exactly are they "connected"? As Hsieh's survey shows, views aren't always clear, and differ widely. Most of Hsieh's sources hold that the mind is natural, but not physical; how is that possible? They don't explain, at least not satisfactorily. Hsieh's sources unanimously agree that the mind exists in nature, and that nature is causal; but with the exception of Bissell they all maintain that the mind is somehow capable of uncaused action. How? They don't explain.

 

These are the questions that Objectivism leaves essentially unanswered. They are questions that only a resolute physicalist position can answer. And they must be answered, if we are to achieve clarity. And clarity must be achieved, if Objectivism is to get anywhere.

 

I don't believe that polls are a way to establish truth; but I do believe that the fact that a number of people have independently, each by his/her honest effort, reached the same conclusion, carries a great deal of weight. I therefore encourage readers of this forum who agree with the p/c/a position on the philosophy of mind to state their agreement here.

 

Needless to say, criticism is also welcome. Thank you for your attention, Rafael Eilon

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Mark    0

Ellen,

Thank you for reading my article.

I think you’re right that Respondent E’s “blinded by the optimism and evasions that go with faith or a zealous dream” applies to “others” – ARI and followers – rather than “Barney.”  I guess it didn’t occur to me that it applied to them because Respondent E appeared to be pro ARI (like just about everyone at ObjectivismOnline) and “blinded” etc. are negative words.  

Just so people here understand, the substitution of Blarney for Barney was in Respondent E’s original post, a joke probably intended to accentuate the idea (in that particular suggestion) that Barney was a con artist.

About Barney’s motivation Respondent E wrote:

He could have, after his experience with Scientology, latched onto Objectivism, thinking incorrectly that it is also a kind of cult with a niche market ripe for his predation.

Based on the evidence I give you’re sympathetic to that idea, :

... it describes just what Barney did, if you substitute the organization ARI for the name of the philosophy as such – i.e., Barney recognized and proceeded to take advantage of a new “niche market ripe for his predation.”

I understood “predation” in the material sense, that Barney expected – eventually – to somehow extract money from ARI, that is, out of its followers.  His donating millions to ARI over the last ten years or so was, priming the pump – giving a little to get a lot.  That’s what I found to be far-fetched.  It’s hard for me to imagine how it – recouping 20 million dollars and then getting more – would work.

However if “predation” is understood more generally to include sapping and perverting a psychological idea, yes Barney does get something out of – his crazy understanding of – Objectivism.  At some level he knows he is a con man and he doesn’t want to face it.  Consider some quotes from the “Revelations” article (see it for citations), keeping in mind that Barney’s colleges are in large part diploma mills that cheat students and taxpayers out of their money.

Regarding dropouts and debtors at his schools Barney says:

I’m really sad about that, but I’m not guilty. We do everything to help them graduate.

(Yes, like faking attendance records and exam scores – to keep the federal money rolling in, over 90% of his revenue.)

When Barney wrote an editorial for Career Education Review claiming that private career colleges are superior to community colleges, he titled it “Moral Certainty vs. Guilt.”

Quoting Patricia Cohen, NYT, after interviewing Barney:

What Mr. Barney said he refused to accept was guilt that was not deserved. In the Rand worldview, that would be ‘unearned guilt’ and akin to a sin. A rich man should not feel guilt for hard-earned wealth, he said ...

Problem is, Barney didn’t earn his wealth honestly and he very much earned his guilt.  What the guilty Barney gets out of Objectivism is a sense of innocence, bogus though it be.  Associating with ARI is his way of both reinforcing this innocence and making it public.

As I wrote in the article:

Iago, rubbing his hands with glee at his own iniquity, is strictly a work of Shakespeare’s imagination.  In real life evil is always self-righteous.  You cannot tell the heroes from the villains by the emotional noises they make.

Mark

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Wolf DeVoon    0
9 hours ago, Mark said:

In real life evil is always self-righteous. You cannot tell the heroes from the villains by the emotional noises they make.

One of the shrewdest observations I've seen in a very long time.

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BaalChatzaf    0
16 hours ago, Mark said:

 

As I wrote in the article:

Iago, rubbing his hands with glee at his own iniquity, is strictly a work of Shakespeare’s imagination.  In real life evil is always self-righteous.  You cannot tell the heroes from the villains by the emotional noises they make.

Mark

Even the Devil  quotes Scripture......

Think of how the Serpent  bamboozled  Havah  in the Garden of Eden.  The Serpent sounded so reasonable....

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