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New Developments re Harriman Induction book


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#1 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 02:26 PM

Robert Campbell’s thread has drifted/devolved to such a point I think it’s time to start a fresh one to share this news. An ARI board member, John McCaskey, has posted an Amazon review of the Harriman book, and resigned from ARI within the last 24 hours.

http://www.amazon.co...#wasThisHelpful

http://www.johnmccas...esignation.html

Watch out for flying fur.
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#2 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 02:58 PM

I have a gut feeling that the resignation letter won’t be available in its present form for long, particularly the full text of the email from Peikoff to ARI’s attorney. So read it while you can.
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#3 Robert Campbell

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 03:05 PM

ND,

The original thread has indeed drifted.

I do intend to start a new one that quotes extensively from the Harriman book, but have been busy with other projects for a while now.

But my criticisms were going to focus on the epistemology and psychology in Harriman's treatment.

John McCaskey's criticisms are aimed at the history of science. If he is correct about Galileo and Newton, Harriman has been heavily involved in "rationally reconstructing" what Galileo and Newton actually did. In other words, he has been substituting the chain of events he thinks should have taken place for the chain of events that (so far as historians can discern) actually happened.

I didn't realize that the Anthem Foundation is now entirely run by ARI people. I did notice, a couple of years back, that ARI was describing AF as one its appendages.

McCaskey's departure, in and of itself, might not affect the Anthem Foundation all that much.

His disclosure of that email from Peikoff is a different story.

Robert Campbell

#4 Robert Campbell

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 03:09 PM

ND,

I just made a PDF of McCaskey's statement with the full text of the email.

Others who read this thread should do likewise.

Robert Campbell

#5 Brant Gaede

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 03:26 PM

Reminds me of Fidel Castro keeping Raul in line.

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#6 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 04:56 PM

John McCaskey's criticisms are aimed at the history of science. If he is correct about Galileo and Newton, Harriman has been heavily involved in "rationally reconstructing" what Galileo and Newton actually did. In other words, he has been substituting the chain of events he thinks should have taken place for the chain of events that (so far as historians can discern) actually happened.

Harriman's been involved in "rationally reconstructing" for a long while. There was a taped set of lectures from him in 1999 or before in which he was already doing that. (Larry gave a presentation at the IOS Summer Seminar in 1999 discussing some of the flaws.)

--

Meanwhile, on August 23, Harry Binswanger expressed the opinion to his list that Peikoff's theory solves the problem of induction, as I noted (post #36) on the "Concepts Vs Theories" thread. I have a copy of Harry's remarks, supplied by one of the people we know who subscribe to HBL. But of course it's against HBL's rules to post things from that list without permission. Those here who keep track of other O'ist venues might watch to see if Harry's post appears on some approved site.

Ellen

#7 Robert Campbell

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 05:30 PM

I found this paragraph in John McCaskey's amazon review particularly apt:

Generally, scholars who try to recreate the development of scientific concepts in the minds of great scientists are struck by how successful these scientists are in making propositional generalizations while still forming--and often themselves never fully forming--the concepts that constitute the generalizations. The narrative these scholars present (using Harriman's metaphor, not theirs) is not that a fully formed concept comes into the mind of the scientist who then uses it as a green light to an inductive propositional generalization, but that a partly formed concept serves as a flickering greenish light to a partial generalization, which acts as a less flickering, somewhat greener light to a better concept, which in turn improves the generalization, which then improves the concept, and so on, until well-defined concepts and associated propositional generalizations emerge fully formed together (at which point, the subjectivist says, "See, it's all just a matter of definitions.") Most scholars find the process of scientific progress less linear than Harriman indicates and much more iterative and spiral.


It reminds me of one of Jean Piaget's last articles, on the dialectical spiral of concepts, predicates, judgments, and inferences.

Robert Campbell

PS. Once Peikoff believed in something that he called "the spiral progression of knowledge." Seems like a very long time ago.

#8 Dennis Hardin

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 07:03 PM

McCaskey says:

I have rarely spoken with Dr. Peikoff and never about this book. He did not seek me out for a first-hand discussion; he indicates here he is not interested in having one. I presume he formed his judgments based on whichever emails Mr. Harriman forwarded to him and conversations with participants of the July study group.

I myself (I can’t speak for anyone else) find Dr. Peikoff’s weighing of my criticisms hardly objective, his remarks insultingly unjust—especially that part about Hell—and his ultimatum, as such, a threat to the Institute. I believe it would be damaging to the Institute if the Institute acted either way, either acceding to his demand or rejecting it.


I am shocked at Lenny’s behavior. :rolleyes:

Actually, I am shocked that McCaskey or anyone else at ARI would be the least bit surprised at Lenny's behavior.

Peikoff: “I hope you still know who I am and what my intellectual status is in Objectivism.”

ROFALMAO! Why would he feel the need to say that? Is he completely nuts?

#9 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 07:23 PM

Peikoff: “I hope you still know who I am and what my intellectual status is in Objectivism.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYabrQrXt4A
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#10 Neil Parille

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 08:07 PM

This strikes me as a fairly serious Objectischism.

Basically, McCaskey is saying that Peikoff should stick to what he knows (Objectivist philosophy) and leave the history and philosophy of science to people who know what they are talking about.

And the DIM book and the theory of induction were supposed to be Peikoff's big legacy.

Someone apparently enlisted Binswanger and Gotthelf to the Peikoff/Harriman cause as well. Doesn't look like they post many Amazon reviews but they each posted one in defense of Harriman around the same time.

-Neil Parille

Edited by Neil Parille, 04 September 2010 - 09:35 PM.


#11 Ellen Stuttle

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 08:53 PM

This strikes me as a fairly serious Objectischism.


Oh, yes. This is the big one, the real one -- the one where those who aren't willing to fix the problems in Objectivism will go one way and those who are will go the other. It's been coming a long while.

Ellen

#12 Philip Coates

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:13 PM

"When a great book sponsored by the Institute...is denounced by a member of the Board of the Institute...someone has to go."

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME !!!!?????

Jesus H. Christ!

Is he completely freakin' NUTS ?????????

Edited by Philip Coates, 04 September 2010 - 09:15 PM.


#13 Neil Parille

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:48 PM

Oh, yes. This is the big one, the real one --



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwM5KpoPPrg

#14 Ted Keer

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 09:52 PM

It has long been my suspicion that Ayn Rand's appointment of Leonard Peikoff as her heir was her revenge on the Objectivist movement.

If you have read I, Claudius, consider the parable of King Log and the meaning of Claudius' phrase, "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out."

Excerpt, Leonard Peikoff to Arlene Mann of the Ayn Rand Institute, as quoted by John P McCaskey, subject of the letter:

"When a great book sponsored by the Institute and championed by me--I hope you still know who I am and what my intellectual status is in Objectivism--is denounced by a memeber of the Board of the Institute, which I founded, someone has to go, and someone will go. It is your prerogative to decide whom."


This is morally repugnant. Peikoff equates considered civil intellectual criticism with attack. Rather than address the relevant arguments, he fires off a legal letter. He refers not to the truth of any argument but to his supposed "intellectual status," which we know from past claims to be that of "intellectual heir" to Ayn Rand. He makes threats. He speaks pontifically and in explicitly religious terms.


Peikoff serves as a sort of bizarre reverse Turing test. If, after reviewing the evidence, you accept that the man behind the curtain speaks with authority, you disprove your own understanding of Rand's philosophy.

Let this letter be the end of his papacy.





Edited by Ted Keer, 05 September 2010 - 08:47 AM.




Confession is always weakness. The grave soul keeps its own secrets, and takes its own punishment in silence.

#15 Dennis Hardin

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:29 AM


Peikoff: “I hope you still know who I am and what my intellectual status is in Objectivism.”

Godfather scene--Fredo to Michael Corleone: "I'm smart!"

Posted Image

Fredo's pathetic posturing before Michael captures the essence of Peikoff, except that, compared to Lenny, Fredo commanded a certain aura of respect.

#16 studiodekadent

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 02:44 AM

Peikoff: “I hope you still know who I am and what my intellectual status is in Objectivism.”


This quote left me speechless with horror.

I am now quite convinced that Peikoff is mentally imbalanced.
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#17 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 06:29 AM

Oh, yes. This is the big one, the real one

Let this letter be the end of his papacy.

I honestly thought Peikoff’s Mosque podcast would be a tipping point, so I’m going to be maintaining regular respiration as we observe how this one plays out.

Notice that McCaskey has been ousted for private comments, and that people informed on him. Peikoff: "I don't know where else he has voiced these conclusions, but size to me is irrelevant in this context." His offence looks to have been just this side of thoughtcrime. Clearly the culture of Aristrip One still fosters this. Is it so different from the Reisman split?

FWIW I suspect McCaskey will fit in well at TAS.

Edited by Ninth Doctor, 05 September 2010 - 06:49 AM.

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#18 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 08:48 AM

If you have read I, Claudius, consider the parable of King Log and the meaning of Claudius' phrase, "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out."

I’ve been accused once or twice on this board of being a nitpicker, and I don’t relish furthering this characterization, nevertheless the quote actually comes from the sequel novel, Claudius the God.

I think I’ve mentioned before another I, Claudius parallel: Aged Tiberius=Peikoff, Caligula=Hsieh (usually), Sejanus=Binswanger, Schwartz, probably Yaron Brook someday.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8db3kAhJPo&feature=related
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#19 Ted Keer

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 09:27 AM


If you have read I, Claudius, consider the parable of King Log and the meaning of Claudius' phrase, "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out."

I've been accused once or twice on this board of being a nitpicker, and I don't relish furthering this characterization, nevertheless the quote actually comes from the sequel novel, Claudius the God.

I think I've mentioned before another I, Claudius parallel: Aged Tiberius=Peikoff, Caligula=Hsieh (usually), Sejanus=Binswanger, Schwartz, probably Yaron Brook someday.


The two books together are routinely referred to as I, Claudius, not The Claudius Series or some such. Wikipedia follows this usage.

But specifying to readers in which book to find the specific theme is helpful, as is posting the video.



Confession is always weakness. The grave soul keeps its own secrets, and takes its own punishment in silence.

#20 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:03 AM

Here's a quote by Ronald Reagan that is apropos:

There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit.

On the other side, there are severe limits on what a man can do or where he can go if all he cares about is who gets the credit.

That goes for people who predominantly care about who gets the credit.

You should care, of course, but independent thinking and doing based on that thinking is really the prime part for people who have first-hand souls. Credit comes way down on the list of priorities.

Peikoff's whole career illustrates this issue well.

Michael

Know thyself...





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