Robert_Bumbalough

How to respond to those who slander Objectivism

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On 7/15/2017 at 7:42 PM, BaalChatzaf said:

Objectivism as  a philosophical discipline does not need to be slandered.  Its own internal contradictions and limitations  do the job just fine. I am no socialist or collectivist  but I deconstructed the notion of "objective value"  Values require valuers.  And humans  who value something are using their judgement and intuition which is not entirely objective.  That is why two perfectly reasonable people can disagree over the value of something.  If value were the exclusively the property of an object,  then two people correctly identifying what the object is could not possibly disagree on its value.  But people disagree quite frequently.  How do you account for that?   Is there only one way of identifying an object?

Which raises yet another question.  When we perceive something  are we perceiving what we perceive exactly as it is (out there in reality) or as it appears to us.  We look at a rose  in the sunlight and say it is red.  A bee looks at the same rose  and thinks it is ultraviolet.  Who is right?  We both are.  We see what our eyes are structured to see as does the bee. Different nerves, different structures, different views. 

Leonard Peikoff has done more to discredit Objectivism than any left wing collectivist nay-sayer. 

On 7/15/2017 at 7:42 PM, BaalChatzaf said:

 

Hi there BC. Thanks for taking time to post your remark.  I apologize for the whiny tone. I suppose I'm just not used to being insulted and threatened by "progressive" politics fans for defending capitalism and individualism and seem to have needed to vent a bit.  I've long respected your opinions on matters of science and have enjoyed reading many of your comments.  I've no intention of attacking you by noting why the points you mentioned get no traction in my thinking. People deserve respect, but ideas have to earn respect.

BC //  Its own internal contradictions and limitations // I've not noticed any internal contradictions in Rands fiction or non fiction essays; could you provide an example other than the point about objective value you mentioned?  Limitations? Please explain.

 

BC //  I deconstructed the notion of "objective value"  Values require valuers.  And humans  who value something are using their judgement and intuition which is not entirely objective. // That values subsume the concepts of whom is to be the benficiary of value and for what purpose was specifically listed by AR in her Objectivist Ethics essay, and you listed the terms in backward sequence. Valuers require values to live.  Values are ideas, and the ideas do not think the thinker, but thinkers do think ideas.  She also specified that objectivity in reasoning is a choice that those who desire to live a rational existence make. That others are subjective in thier thinking doesn't discredit o-ism.

 

BC // If value were the exclusively the property of an object,  then two people correctly identifying what the object is could not possibly disagree on its value.   //  Objects, concretes or concepts, do not have value. They have worth with regards to one's wealth in varrying degree for differing persons. Values are concepts and are the subject of the processs of valuing performed by the valuers. The degree of worth valued by an individual can easily and objectivly differ from that of some other due the difference of their ciucumstances.  (Note this would be  a good place for me to talk about the worth of keeping a razor blade in one's mouth all the time, but I'm going to resist that temptation.)

 

BC // But people disagree quite frequently.  //  Yes people do disagree, but rational persons have no conflict of interest because they understand and grasp that they can grant a full suite of rights to each other because they're better off benefitting from division of labor economy and trading with each other within the context of laissez faire capitalism.   

 

BC // How do you account for that?    //  What do you mean by "account for"?  Religious charlatans often use that question as a polemic in attemp to stump an atheist commenter on blogs. If you meant 'Why do people disagree?' the answer is easy; many people are subjective , irrational, illogical, and attempt to use emotions as cognitive tools. If they were rational they'd agree becasue existence exists and has primacy over consciousness and A=A. 

 

BC // Is there only one way of identifying an object?  // AR said logic is the non contradictory means of identification, so I think any tool that can be used in the non contradictory way of logic can be appropriate.  How would this discredit rational philosophy?

 

BC // When we perceive something  are we perceiving what we perceive exactly as it is (out there in reality) or as it appears to us.  We look at a rose  in the sunlight and say it is red.  A bee looks at the same rose  and thinks it is ultraviolet.  Who is right?  We both are.  We see what our eyes are structured to see as does the bee. Different nerves, different structures, different views.  // LP wrote a longish description of o-ism's explanation of why differing forms of perception don't invalidate the senses in OPAR chapter two.  Your objection was anticipated and answered not only by LP but by Kelly as well in "Evidence of the Senses".  

 

BC // Leonard Peikoff has done more to discredit Objectivism than any left wing collectivist nay-sayer.  //  Have you read Linsey Perigo's piece at Solopassion on Yaron Brook and the ARI gang going over to the collectivist/socialists?  LP isn't speaking against that, so those guys have betrayed Objectivism but not discredited o-ist epistemology.   solopassion.com/node/10396 

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On 7/15/2017 at 9:20 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Here's how I respond to those who "slander" Objectivism (whatever the hell that means).

I make a forum.

It's called producing.

:)

In other words, I don't care about winning arguments with propagandists. Gotchas never swayed mankind and they never will.

Building good things and promoting good ideas do influence people. But not because you think for them. It's because you show them something good and let them think for themselves.

And the propagandists? If you have to say something, realize you will be saying it for the audience, not them. Propagandists are paid, either in money or status or power. So even if they agree with you, they will never say so.

With that in mind, if you have to say something, merely say you disagree, 100% if necessary, and go back to producing. The audience will see you. And some will seek to be with you or later show they agree with you. And that will grow if you keep doing it and keep producing good stuff.

Michael

Thanks, good advice. 

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On 7/16/2017 at 10:26 AM, anthony said:

I am most excited someone has at last "deconstructed the notion of objective value".

Oh no, it's Beaver Bob, again.

The assumption that "objective value" means that any and all of the objective persuasion must select values by impartial means, and which are accurate, perfect, and most of all, identical carbon-copies of each other - shows profound ignorance of what "objective" means and what "value" means. Read some Objectivism before bloviating, Bob.

And of what interest apart from academic, is it that a bee sees light differently? Are you concerned with a philosophy for bees? Casting doubt on the senses is so boringly skeptical. Read Kelley on that.

So you found out lately from Objectivists that a value presupposes a valuer. But - two people each see values differently (Duh). One loves Jane, the other Sue. Can you not see that "romantic love" is the common value!? Take that to any value you like: recreation, career, friends, art...and so on. Of Objective value are first, the general abstractions, then, the specific 'things'/ people. The conceptual hierarchy needs to be grasped, or you can't get it. And although true that "people" - vaguely - in general do disagree, when it comes to value (the concept) you will never see Objectivists disagree here. 

If it is not a "perfect" or an empirically-tested 'value' it fails, in your book. But Empirical is not Objective. Perfect is a Platonic ideal. Skepticism is only the other side of the coin from mystical intrinsicism. You regularly flip from one to the other at whim. 

Do some construction before trying deconstruction.

 

Well said. Thanks. :)

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On 7/15/2017 at 8:36 PM, BaalChatzaf said:

the difference between analytical statements and synthetic statements.  The first kind are true by definition and for the second  the truth must be determined by observation. 

I think BC incorrect and disagree. Definitions can't make a statement true. If a definition is an instance of the pure self reference fallacy, then it can't have truth content or infer truth. An example would be the statement "God exists." There is no evidence of God so nothing can function as a fact from which a valid concept of God can be integrated, but the statement is claimed by religious charlatans to be true by definition.   Valid concepts integrated from actual states of affairs properly related by correct syntax form true statements.  Other analytic statements involving valid concepts are themselves higher order concepts and thus open ended so that new previously unknown data can be integrated. And synthetic statements are also concepts that are also open ended awaiting integration of newly discovered data. Since both A & S statements can be modelled as open ended concepts awaiting integration of new data, there is no dichotomny except in regards to degrees of probablity of certainty.

The communists and socialists, our enemies, wish us to ignore this so they can claim Marx's and Engles' statements are true because they say the definitions of the terms used make labor theory of value and exploitation theory "ture", so they can motivate their followers to seize your money and means of production.

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On 7/16/2017 at 5:26 PM, anthony said:

One loves Jane, the other Sue. Can you not see that "romantic love" is the common value!? Take that to any value you like: recreation, career, friends, art...and so on. Of Objective value are first, the general abstractions, then, the specific 

 

1

I don't want to leave the impression that the "abstract" categories of values alone are objective - while the "concrete" choice is non- objective. Certainly not. If one, the "subject", refuses - in a nutshell - to fake reality (and as much, fake his own reality, his nature) his chosen, specific values HAVE to be objective also. "Jane" then is *not* a 'subjective', changeable nor arbitrary choice (subsumed under objective "romantic love") by him, but his conscious choice in response to the sum of her (no doubt) admirable qualities, by non-contradictory and integrated mind-emotions - and is exceedingly objective.

'Subjective' - would be e.g. taking up golf as recreation although you can't stand the game, in order to stay in with your boss. That's faking it!

All the way down to the lowest order of one's objective value hierarchy, I see no reason why pleasures which help in making one's day (e.g. raspberry vs. vanilla, as comes up often) aren't objective. While I'd rather call the simple, sensual pleasures "objective preferences". (And if your preferred flavor isn't available, you' might select, say- pineapple - and a new taste. The  beauty of the free market and wide options available).  

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"People deserve respect,  but ideas have to earn respect". Very good, Robert. You encapsulate what I've wanted to say. It's important for me to put across that - here - the ideas rule above personalities. I am not picking, and (mostly) don't pick, on anyone personally. I hope Bob for one understands this. It is hard to separate sometimes, is all.

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11 hours ago, Robert_Bumbalough said:

I think BC incorrect and disagree. Definitions can't make a statement true. If a definition is an instance of the pure self reference fallacy, then it can't have truth content or infer truth. An example would be the statement "God exists." There is no evidence of God so nothing can function as a fact from which a valid concept of God can be integrated, but the statement is claimed by religious charlatans to be true by definition.   Valid concepts integrated from actual states of affairs properly related by correct syntax form true statements.  Other analytic statements involving valid concepts are themselves higher order concepts and thus open ended so that new previously unknown data can be integrated. And synthetic statements are also concepts that are also open ended awaiting integration of newly discovered data. Since both A & S statements can be modelled as open ended concepts awaiting integration of new data, there is no dichotomny except in regards to degrees of probablity of certainty.

The communists and socialists, our enemies, wish us to ignore this so they can claim Marx's and Engles' statements are true because they say the definitions of the terms used make labor theory of value and exploitation theory "ture", so they can motivate their followers to seize your money and means of production.

Definitions give meaning to the words in a sentence except at the lowest semantic level when to define a word one needs to point to something in the world.  Definitions are meaning indicators.  Once we know what a sentence (proposition) says we can determine if it is true or false or indeterminate.   At the lowest semantic level words are labels for things or actions that we can perceive.

Example:  a bachelor (by definition) is a male of marriageable age who has never been married.   That is a definition.    The sentence "Jack is a bachelor"  is a proposition whose truth or falsity is determined by what we find out about Jack.   To do that we have to look.   We cannot infer the truth or falsity by a priori means. 

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On 7/16/2017 at 11:26 AM, anthony said:

that.So you found out lately from Objectivists that a value presupposes a valuer

 

I knew that when I was five.   World War II  had not started yet when I knew that. 

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On 7/22/2017 at 9:21 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

Definitions give meaning to the words in a sentence except at the lowest semantic level when to define a word one needs to point to something in the world.  Definitions are meaning indicators.  Once we know what a sentence (proposition) says we can determine if it is true or false or indeterminate.   At the lowest semantic level words are labels for things or actions that we can perceive.

Example:  a bachelor (by definition) is a male of marriageable age who has never been married.   That is a definition.    The sentence "Jack is a bachelor"  is a proposition whose truth or falsity is determined by what we find out about Jack.   To do that we have to look.   We cannot infer the truth or falsity by a priori means. 

Hello BC; Thank you for replying to my message and allowing me to interact with your comments.  Doing so is produtive for me in that it enables me to review Piekoff's ASD essay published in ITOE.  It's been at least ten years since I last read it.  The point made by BC fails to validate the ASD when the ASD is restated in what I think could be a contra-positive formulation as did LP in his essay, and which I'm quoting.

 

Quote

Another restatement of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy is the view that opposes the “logically” possible and the “empirically” possible.

If the proposition that a given phenomenon exists is not self-contradictory, then that phenomenon, it is claimed, is “logically” possible; if the proposition is self-contradictory, then the phenomenon is “logically” impossible. Certain phenomena, however, although logically possible, are contrary to the “contingent” laws of nature that men discover by experience; these phenomena are “empirically” —but not “logically”—impossible. Thus, a married bachelor is “logically” impossible; but a bachelor who can fly to the moon by means of flapping his arms is merely “empirically” impossible (i.e., the proposition that such a bachelor exists is not self-contradictory, but such a bachelor is not in accordance with the laws that happen to govern the universe).

The metaphysical basis of this dichotomy is the premise that a violation of the laws of nature would not involve a contradiction. But as we have seen, the laws of nature are inherent in the identities of the entities that exist. A violation of the laws of nature would require that an entity act in contradiction to its identity; i.e., it would require the existence of a contradiction. To project such a violation is to endorse the “miraculous” view of the universe, as already discussed.

The epistemological basis of this dichotomy is the view that a concept consists only of its definition. According to the dichotomy, it is logically impermissible to contradict the definition of a concept; what one asserts by this means is “logically” impossible. But to contradict any of the nondefining characteristics of a concept’s referents, is regarded as logically permissible; what one asserts in such a case is merely “empirically” impossible. Thus, a “married bachelor” contradicts the definition of “bachelor” and hence is regarded as “logically” impossible. But a “bachelor who can fly to the moon by means of flapping his arms” is regarded as “logically” possible, because the definition of “bachelor” (“an unmarried man”) does not specify his means of locomotion. What is ignored here is the fact that the concept “bachelor” is a  subcategory of the concept “man,” that as such it includes all the characteristics of the entity “man,” and that these exclude the ability to fly by flapping his arms. Only by reducing a concept to its definition and by evading all the other characteristics of its referents can one claim that such projections do not involve a self-contradiction. 

By reformulating the ASD into its logically possible vs empirically possible form and then applying it to the bachelor example, the reducto ad absurdum is revealed.

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Rand wrote an interesting piece in ITOE about definitions. I thought these two passages particularly thought provoking in context of the big picture of saving the United States and Capitalism from the horde of young brain washed would be socialists who are hoping to pillage corporate America. For that reason those who grasp rational philosophy is the alternative to rule of the primatives by brute force have an interest in knowing how to argue against one of the main tools of the socialists, the analytic synthetic dichotomny.

Rand in ITOE 44 & 47

 

Quote

A definition is not a description; it implies, but does not mention all the characteristics of a concept’s units. If a definition were to list all the characteristics, it would defeat its own purpose: it would provide an indiscriminate, undifferentiated and, in effect, pre-conceptual conglomeration of characteristics which would not serve to distinguish the units from all other existents, nor the concept from all other concepts. A definition must identify the nature of the units, i.e., the essential characteristics without which the units would not be the kind of existents they are. But it is important to remember that a definition implies all the characteristics of the units, since it identifies their essential, not their exhaustive, characteristics; since it designates existents, not their isolated aspects; and since it is a condensation of, not a substitute for, a wider knowledge of the existents involved.
......
Now observe, on the above example, the process of determining an essential characteristic: the rule of fundamentality. When a given group of existents has more than one characteristic distinguishing it from other existents, man must observe the relationships among these various characteristics and discover the one on which all the others (or the greatest number of others) depend, i.e., the fundamental characteristic without which the others would not be possible. This fundamental characteristic is the essential distinguishing characteristic of the existents involved, and the proper defining characteristic of the concept.

Metaphysically, a fundamental characteristic is that distinctive characteristic which makes the greatest number of others possible; epistemologically, it is the one that explains the greatest number of others.  

 

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Robert, Thanks for a reminder of this pertinent passage. 

"A definition is not a description..."[...]" a fundamental characteristic...is the one that explains the greatest number of others". That's fitting to those occasional debates about Rand and "her" selfishness - which usually don't go anywhere.  Dictionaries will be perused but nobody finds conclusive evidence. Where, some will ask, "Does any dictionary state - as Rand claims [perhaps falsely or idiosyncratically] - that selfish is ""a concern with oneself!"" 

So obviously she self-contradicts or deceives, some might decide. ;)

The A-S Dichotomy is raised in another thread (on science) too. And how often is the AS (false) dichotomy at the bottom of many disagreements, innocently or deliberate .

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On 7/15/2017 at 8:14 PM, Robert_Bumbalough said:

Greetings OL readers, yet I live still, and am troubled by the vast horde of self identified socialists who slander Objectivism, Capitalism, Rand, Peikoff, Kelly, Branden, and the other Objectivist philosophers. How does one succinctly respond to broad sweeping claims that O-ism is nonsense or the realist philosophers are or were kooks without getting pedantic or waxing into pedagogy? 

Thank you for suggestions.

 

(Could someone point me to a tutorial for replying?  I'd have edited down the quote, but I saw no obvious way to do it.)

Back in the 90's, I was very active on the Usenet, and one of my time-wasters was arguing for Objectivism.  After enough experience, I concluded that my motivation for doing so was not healthy.  I had got it into my head that if I just said the right words, my opponents would "get it".  Of course, they almost never did, and never if they were truly committed to their opposing view.  This, I decided, was codependence, and I basically just walked away from such activity.

On later thought, I decided that I needed to decide who my intended audience was if I was going to talk about Objectivism in a public forum.  I would not foolishly try to change the minds of those who were committed to their views.  However, there could be people who I might want to speak to, as prompted by whatever drivel had caught my attention.  If I had something useful to say to them I might do so by means of replying to some idiot.

So, for example, if someone were to write "Objectivism is nonsense", I'd first ask: Is there likely to be anyone out there who would be influenced by such a statement?  If not, I'd ignore the statement.  If, however, I was in a place where there were many people of various degrees of knowledge and open-mindedness, I might reply.

My next question would be: What do I want to convey to those people?  Do I just want to let them know that there is an opposing opinion? Do I want to show them that Objectivism is not nonsense?  Am I just in a bad mood and want to let off some steam? :) In most places, I'd merely want to point out that there is an opposing opinion, and I'd probably just say something to the effect that I didn't see it as nonsense.

That, most likely, would elicit one of the many canards about Objectivism.  I'd probably just reply with something to the effect that whatever it is they said was not an accurate representation of Objectivism.  If appropriate, I'd then include a link to something that is reasonably accurate.

The bottom line, I think, is that one cannot win an argument that begins with sweeping generalizations that degenerate into absurdity.  Trying makes one look foolish and consumes energies probably better spent elsewhere.  So don't even try.  Write, if you must, to whatever rational minds might be present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ba’al wrote: That is why two perfectly reasonable people can disagree over the value of something. end quote

I hear that pawn shop show playing on the TV in the other room. It sounds silly and now I am infected. Hypothetical government meddling scenario, with pawnshops switching to antiques.

It is 1910 and I am a gold miner, and gold’s price is set by the American government, at $32 an ounce. It takes me $33 to dig and refine the gold ore so I stop digging it. Gold becomes scarce. The Government official thinks he is perfectly reasonable and so do I.

Then, the American government official who set gold’s price at $32 an ounce switches from the gold standard to the silver standard. I start digging and refining silver. I charge the U.S. Mint $4 an ounce for my refined silver. The Government sets the silver price at $3 an ounce, so I stop digging silver.   

The gov’mint switches to an amalgamation of cheap medals for its coins and I stop digging all together. To “rub it in” the government switches to paper currency only and phases out coins above 25 cents. Have you gotten a fifty cent piece in change, lately? Was Ben Franklin’s image on some of them? what happened to the $2 bill?

I can’t figure out where I am going with this. Oh yeah. I am closing my pawn shop and the term “perfectly reasonable people” needs to be defined. And then you need to show me a few people who are fooling you by pretending they are perfectly reasonable, when they are really only partially reasonable. Why do they still make candlesticks?

Silly Sam

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3 hours ago, Peter said:

Ba’al wrote: That is why two perfectly reasonable people can disagree over the value of something. end quote

I hear that pawn shop show playing on the TV in the other room. It sounds silly and now I am infected. Hypothetical government meddling scenario, with pawnshops switching to antiques.

It is 1910 and I am a gold miner, and gold’s price is set by the American government, at $32 an ounce. It takes me $33 to dig and refine the gold ore so I stop digging it. Gold becomes scarce. The Government official thinks he is perfectly reasonable and so do I.

Then, the American government official who set gold’s price at $32 an ounce switches from the gold standard to the silver standard. I start digging and refining silver. I charge the U.S. Mint $4 an ounce for my refined silver. The Government sets the silver price at $3 an ounce, so I stop digging silver.   

The gov’mint switches to an amalgamation of cheap medals for its coins and I stop digging all together. To “rub it in” the government switches to paper currency only and phases out coins above 25 cents. Have you gotten a fifty cent piece in change, lately? Was Ben Franklin’s image on some of them? what happened to the $2 bill?

I can’t figure out where I am going with this. Oh yeah. I am closing my pawn shop and the term “perfectly reasonable people” needs to be defined. And then you need to show me a few people who are fooling you by pretending they are perfectly reasonable, when they are really only partially reasonable. Why do they still make candlesticks?

Silly Sam

An Objectivist government would not be in the business of setting prices. And not in the business of printing money.

 

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On ‎7‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 6:25 PM, jts said:

An Objectivist government would not be in the business of setting prices. And not in the business of printing money.

 

Why would it be wrong for a government to print money?

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

Why would it be wrong for a government to print money?

According to Objectivism, the one and only proper function of government is to protect individual rights. What does printing money have to do with protecting individual rights?

 

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5 hours ago, jts said:

According to Objectivism, the one and only proper function of government is to protect individual rights. What does printing money have to do with protecting individual rights?

 

In the U.S. the only legal tender is government certificates of debt.  Our money is now government IOUs. 

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