Blogs

 

The Biological Function and Survival Value of Philosophy

It is rather surprising to hear a psychologist like Stephen Pinker say (How the Mind Works, 1997] that religion and philosophy are "fascinating but biologically functionless activities." Isn't it obvious that we need religion and/or philosophy? Even if the answers they provide are wrong, we need some kind of plausible answers to the "holistic," orientational questions about life. That is an unavoidable consequence of the fact that humans require not just perception but concepts for successful

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

Why is there so much infighting among Objectivists?

Maybe it's just laziness! Seriously, hostile commentary and personal attacks are a lot easier than rolling up one's sleeves and trying to fight productively for reason and freedom. If your internet posts help you to clarify your own thoughts, or to enjoy some fellowship, or to be playful, or as a brief diversion from your real work and relationships, that's great. But when I see how many posts are sent up each day by some people, I wonder if they have considered whether this is the most ratio

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

The Limits of Deduction: Garbage In, Garbage Out!

Consider these two valid deductive inferences: All cows are fish (false) All fish are flying creatures (false) So, all cows are flying creatures (false) All cows are fish (false) All fish are four-legged (false) So, all cows are four legged (true) Doesn't this show us that deduction carried out with false premises is just another case of garbage-in, garbage-out? The truths and falsities produced by inference from false premises are not necessary truths or falsities, but just accidental.

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

When is an axiom not an axiom? When it's a corollary!--L. Peikoff, 1991

Exercising undue caution against over-application of the Law of Contradiction, Leonard Peikoff, in Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, managed to mangle the application of the concepts of "axiom" and "corollary" to not just one, but two issues: volition and validity of the senses. In his discussion of causality (p. 15), Peikoff defines "corollary" as: "a self-evident implication of already established knowledge," and he clearly states that: "A corollary of an axiom is not itself an axiom."

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

When is an entity not an entity? When it's a pile of dirt!--A. Rand, c. 1969

As defined by Ayn Rand, the fallacy of the frozen abstraction is a fallacy "which consists of substituting some one particular concrete for the wider abstract class to which it belongs." ("Collectivized Ethics," The Virtue of Selfishness, New York: Signet, 1964, p. 81.) In other words, this fallacy entails the refusal to include certain members of a class in the wider class to which they belong, and instead limiting the class to one or a select few of its members. This fallacy is singularly wel

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

The ~Conditionally~ Benevolent Universe

Rand says in her aesthetics writings in The Romantic Manifesto that art concretizes metaphysics and performs the psychological and epistemological function of allowing us to directly grasp that metaphysics. What is the deepest significance, then, of the fact that Rand portrays in her novels a deeply chaotic and turbulent world? The explanation is found not in Rand's aesthetics, however, but in her metaphysics—-specifically, in her "metaphysical view of man's nature," a given view being defined

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

Dialectical Objectivism? Comments on Ayn Rand: the Russian Radical

Few works with the level of scholarship evidenced in historian and political theorist Chris Sciabarra's book about Ayn Rand's philosophy (Penn State Press, 1995) have generated such a visceral, polarized response: scathing hostility and scorn on the one extreme and glowing, enthusiastic praise on the other. What has set everyone on their ears--with either delight or outrage--is his claim that the methodology by which Rand developed her philosophy is the "dialectic." Dialectics, he says, is a me

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

An Explanation for the Paucity of Objectivist Intellectual Risk-Taking?

There seems to be a strong tendency among Objectivist thinkers not to take such intellectual risks—certainly not in print. Peikoff, in his 1996 lecture "Knowledge as a Unity," sheds some light on the reasoning behind this reticence: Peikoff seems to be saying not just that he’s not going to write on something that he hasn’t thought out properly (which is fine), but that he never will write on it (implying that he may never get around to thinking it out properly). In the meantime, people who wan

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

Toward a Revitalized Philosophy of Objectivism

It is undeniable that many important discoveries and advances in human history have been made by those who “stand on the shoulders of giants.” Progress, in other words, is often rooted in the past accumulated knowledge and technology of mankind, as freshly viewed or modified by innovative individuals. Ayn Rand, who acknowledged a considerable intellectual debt to Aristotle, the greatest thinker of Antiquity, was herself a visionary genius—and her philosophy, Objectivism, while true to any of Ar

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

Slurs on Egyptian 'clown' 'idiot' Ghonim

Michael mocks and misunderstands personalities and powers of the Egyptian revolution. I object to his several of his inaccurate observations. Five months after the fall of Mubarak, there he is on his bed in the cage, with his two sons, his first trial day behind him, now on the medical wing of the prison in Cairo, back to court on the 7th. <img src="http://images.smh.com.au/2011/02/02/2162804/mubarak-420x0.jpg" width="339px"><img src="http://msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Sl

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

I rant at Bobby Allen

I had to rant at Bobby Allen aka Aristocrates, as he comes three semesters late to the 499 hour Gawd Seminar (J Neil Schulman's "I Met God" thread). Bobby Allen, you ain't done your homework. My point of intersection with Objectivish thought is at the science/rationalist front, and you will find no post here at OL that skirts science in favour of dogma, and plenty posts here that defend science against intrusions of religious or loony twilight zone crap. I also resolutely critique science stu

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

WSS rants about Oslo

The horrifying terror killings by the anti-multiculturalism 'Justiciar Knight' dominate the news in Norway, of course, and top the headlines worldwide. The most gruesome comments I have heard are from zealots at Israeli news sites (commenters): among the addled are a few voices that say Norway got what it deserved. Are those voices explained in the Ellison book, I wonder? Of course, from my opinion, the writings that 'explain' the killer and his plots are his own. The milieu that grew him was

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Who is an Objectivist?

In his 2000 essay of this name, first published on the web site of The Daily Objectivist, and later republished on his own web site, Nathaniel Branden wrote: That says it very well. I certainly ~have~ challenged some of Rand's positions, but ~never~ on the basis of anything other than widely known facts and/or more basic views Rand herself firmly espoused. Some examples: 1. Rand claimed in the first chapter of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology that babies are incapable of perception.

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

What's an Independent Objectivist Intellectual to Do?

Even apart from its 2009 brouhaha with on-again/off-again renegade speaker Lindsay Perigo, The Atlas Society has had diminishing value for me in the past few years. While I certainly appreciate TAS's hard work for the 50th anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged) -- and while I fervently hope that the Atlas Shrugged Part 1 movie is as much of a blockbuster as it can and ought to be -- on the intellectual side, I think TAS is becoming irrelevant. Not that I’m even faintly considering

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

Hsieh, Civility & Humour

I will download, cut, insert, and visually doll up Hsieh here and maybe post to the list when I get a chance. I liked these two questions from her What I Say Goes podcast (Episode #63: Live Rationally Selfish Webcast) Forgiveness (18:07) <img src="http://www.vdoc.ca/images/teethingpain3.gif" width="44px" style="float:right">Is forgiveness necessary? Religious connotations aside, popular psychology often tells us that we must forgive those who have hurt us, even if they are no longer i

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Are Objectivists Evul?

I read Kelly Elmore's blog, Reepicheep's Coracle. She is a good writer and is both honest and sweet-hearted. If ever there was a warm and cuddly Objectivish mom (lashings of love while inculcating Objectivish virtues), this is she. Once in a while she gets handed the chore of selecting notable blog extrusions for Objectivist Roundup, and from her March 2 2011 list comes a post by Kate Yoak of Parenting is . . . Having also mentioned the bread issue at OL, I got a bit of a chill thinking that H

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

No New Objectivism? Ever??

Is it true that all Objectivism stopped being created as of Rand's death? In the preface of Objectivism, the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1991, henceforth OPAR), its author, Leonard Peikoff, wrote: We can only speculate about what OPAR would have been like, had Peikoff set aside "Ominous Parallels" and written OPAR while Rand was still alive and could guide and endorse it (as she did "Ominous Parallels"). But it still remains that, as Rand wrote in 1976 about Peikoff's lecture course on "The Philo

Roger Bissell

Roger Bissell

 

Wiigging out on the Muslim Boogeyhood

I will tweak and then post this to the list. There is plenty of time to grow familiar with the electoral landscape in Egypt. You no doubt are aware of the constitutional changes pending referendum, and no doubt are aware that a raft of electoral law will need to be rescinded once new assemblies form. That's why I thought it was a good idea to see the first Islamist party out of the gates. Al Wasat has been trying to register a party since their split from the MuslimBoogeyhood. Their platform i

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

"The Google People"

On the 'Boy did this one backfire!' thread, discussion has roamed over a few acres of various disputes, all tied to the Menace of Islam. At one point I wondered how Richard Wiig could be so confident about 'Sharia law in Canada.' That led to a schmozzle with Adam Selene, who forked up the first (incorrect) reference he could find . . . but eventually Wiig admitted he was wrong in his claim. But he didn't just say "I was wrong. Bite me." He added more material which led to more shmozzle in two ba

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

Chatter

This is a placeholder for an ongoing experiment to open up discussion on OL. I am itnigued to see if anyone can answer a call to chat if we schedule an Open Mike Night or something. Some of us may be too crabby and suspicious to be right live conversation via keyboard. <a name="chatnow">OL Chatter Experiment</a> <IFRAME WIDTH="100%" HEIGHT="430PX" SRC="http://www.vdoc.ca/chat/chatIndex.php" TITLE="Chat Test WSS"> <!-- Alternate content for non-supporting browsers -->

william.scherk

william.scherk

 

The Ick Factor (1)

When I first started posting at Online O-world forums, I used 'the ick factor' to signify an unquantifiable je ne sais quoi in certain Objectivish utterances, such as the initial ARI response to the Boxing Day Tsunami. Here's a sample of what gets chatted about from Ugh, Solopassion.com, with Lindsay at the helm. An openline show with your kookiepants grandpa. Rather revolting. This is the man with the red button. Blech. Ick ick ick. 04:46:57 Lindsay Perigo You're reading me? 04:47:34 Lindsay

william.scherk

william.scherk