bmacwilliam

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About bmacwilliam

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    Bob MacWilliam
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  1. Not at all. I simply object to the extension of the word "decision" into the realm of involuntary biology. A decision implies responsibility, so it's only a matter of time before the typical randian bait-and-switch happens. In fact I indeed reject the treatment of "decision" as useless. Bob
  2. This issue is a tangled mess of ethical issues and pragmatic implications. As immoral as you may take Ba'al's position to be, the alternative seems even worse. From a pragmatic standpoint, I'd have to agree with him. The woman has control, anything else is unacceptable. Bob
  3. Except you're wrong... "Right decisions result in birth, wrong ones miscarriage. " You have a very "interesting" definition of decision.... I do not deny the influence of self on one's character development, intelligence etc., nor do I deny the influence of the environment either. It is an objective and empirically answerable question how much influence each exerts. Best answer right now looks like about 3/4 genetics with variations depending on which trait you examine. Just facts... Bob Everything that happens to a living being is a result of the decisions the being makes in response to t
  4. "She's wrong to be at the total far end of the spectrum" - well, I suppose that depends where one stands. If one starts in the middle, one stays there - I believe I've seen/experienced. Just drifting a little, one way, or other according to "the flow". Start at the end you think reality lies - and you can always adjust yourself to what life throws at you, but with firm ground to step back on. I don't know what this means. What I mean is that Rand is scientifically wrong to argue that man is tabula rasa and bears all responsibility in developing his own character. One can always improve in t
  5. Except you're wrong... "Right decisions result in birth, wrong ones miscarriage. " You have a very "interesting" definition of decision.... I do not deny the influence of self on one's character development, intelligence etc., nor do I deny the influence of the environment either. It is an objective and empirically answerable question how much influence each exerts. Best answer right now looks like about 3/4 genetics with variations depending on which trait you examine. Just facts... Bob
  6. Nothing I can do if you cannot see how the basic reasoning is viciously circular. But, be that as it may, your question is a good one. What I mean is the question, more or less : "Babies are born blank slates more or less, they have to choose to learn everything - knowledge, morals, everything. Even if this isn't exactly right, what's the big deal??" The problem is the extension of her argument here that places the responsibility of moral development entirely on the individual. Hey, I think we could use a great deal more of individual responsibility and accountability in just about every wa
  7. So what? That doesn't make it fallacious. Premise: 3 > 2 Conclusion: 2 < 3 Fallacious? Um... yeah.... The fallacy stems from the idea that in order for an argument to have any dialectic/epistemological value, the argument must proceed from a point of agreement (premises) to a conclusion that must be something that was NOT known or agreed upon. By defining knowledge as Rand does, tabula rasa is implied in the definition. Therefore the statement "Man is born tabula rasa" has zero epistemological value. It is a viciously circular argument as you have shown. It is NOT wrong. It is worth
  8. Bob, This is still wrong. You are so full of your conclusion you can't see the fact right before you when you look at it. I mean that literally. I do not mean you cannot deduct the fact from a proposition. I mean you cannot see the fact itself. Logic in Objectivism has fundamental axioms at the base. The entire philosophy does not. Logic is merely one part of the philosophy. I expect you to have the intelligence to understand that, but I do not expect you to have the willingness. Nope. And this is where I stop discussing with you. You are a conclusion in search of anything to back you up. But
  9. You sound like a broken record. Here, I'll include the next two sentences (I guess you didn't get that far) that explains precisely why... "Knowledge as Rand defines it can only be acquired through experience. Therefore, the assertion (or conclusion) is directly implied in the premise."
  10. Ok, let me do this in the simplest possible terms. Man is born tabula rasa. Assertion. Why? Because he has no knowledge at birth. Premise. Sounds simple, but it's fallacious. Knowledge as Rand defines it can only be acquired through experience. Therefore, the assertion (or conclusion) is directly implied in the premise. That's all there is to it. Bob Or to put it another way Man is born tabula rasa because Man is born tabula rasa, What is true is true because it is true. That is true, but it tells us nada. Ba'al Chatzaf The only difference is that the form of Rand's argument hides
  11. Where? Ellen "`If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought.`" Is there any doubt whatsoever that she felt the system wasn't provable? C'mon now....
  12. Ok, let me do this in the simplest possible terms. Man is born tabula rasa. Assertion. Why? Because he has no knowledge at birth. Premise. Sounds simple, but it's fallacious. Knowledge as Rand defines it can only be acquired through experience. Therefore, the assertion (or conclusion) is directly implied in the premise. That's all there is to it. Bob
  13. Rand: `If you held these concepts with total consistency, as the base of your convictions, you would have a full philosophical system to guide the course of your life. But to hold them with total consistency—to understand, to define, to prove and to apply them—requires volumes of thought.` 'total consistency' 'prove' That's deduction - in her own words. But I suppose 'total consistency', 'define', and 'prove' have context-specific meanings??
  14. Bob, You just showed that you really do not understand the fundamentals of Objectivism. The philosophy is built from induction, not deduction. So it is not "derived" from any principle. On the contrary, principles are abstracted (not even "derived") from observation at the base. Deduction comes only after that part, and it can always be superseded by reality. Deduction only comes after concept formation, for that matter. Objectivism starts with observation and experience, not deductive reasoning. Conceptual thought kicks in after the perceptual part, and after abstract integration. Crack open
  15. In the case of the quote above, yes. But that's hardly where she stops with tabula rasa is it? You damn well know that she extends this circular/fallacious/tautological nonsense much further than that simple sentence. The truth is that the basis of her extended arguments is a fallacy. Some Rand quotes: "Since men are born tabula rasa, both cognitively and morally, a rational man regards strangers as innocent until proved guilty, and grants them that initial good will in the name of their human potential." "He has no automatic course of action, no automatic set of values. His senses do not te