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Everything posted by MisterSwig

  1. Robert Bidinotto stopped by our podcast to discuss his history in journalism and the organized Objectivist movement, which he left several years ago. Those subjects occupy the first part of the episode, then at 52:00 we delve into his career as a thriller novelist, his Dylan Hunter vigilante stories, and his thoughts on justice and the death penalty. Check it out!
  2. This is my favorite non-interview episode so far because it deals with an important difference between Objectivists. Objectivism, Open or Closed? Scott and I have a small debate over the issue of open versus closed Objectivism. Everyone seems to agree that "open" and "closed" are metaphors which need literal explanations. I propose that "open" refers to Objectivism as a common noun, i.e., a class of Objectivist philosophies; while "closed" refers to Objectivism as a proper noun, i.e., the specific philosophy of Ayn Rand. Take a listen!
  3. We have a new interview of Richard Salsman, discussing his long history in the Objectivist movement, working with ARI, TOS, and now TAS, and his views on the various schisms involving these groups. We also talk about his new book, Where Have All the Capitalists Gone? Check it out!
  4. In our new episode Scott and I take a critical look at Yaron Brook's debate performances and Craig Biddle's dialogue with Dennis Prager. We discuss their different styles and approaches to outreach and debating. Thanks in advance for listening. Enjoy!
  5. Thanks, Michael. I like jigsaw puzzles and do them occasionally with my girlfriend. Recently I took up chess and play online at Chess.com. I also play Words With Friends (Scrabble) via Facebook. Someone wants me to learn Backgammon but there's only so much time I can spend playing games.
  6. Those were some thoughtful friends who gave him a female doll. By the end of the voyage I'm sure it was his wife and she had ten children already.
  7. We had a nice chat with David Kelley about his history in the Objectivist movement, creating TAS, ARI trying to buy him out, his view of open Objectivism, and some other things. Check it out!
  8. We have another interview up, this time we spoke to Mark Pellegrino about his acting in Hollywood (Lost, Supernatural) and dealing with the woke left. He agrees that the left is a bigger threat than the right but we couldn't convince him to side with the right. Check it out! Thanks.
  9. I hope you list them or PM me about them eventually, especially if they relate to something I said. One reason I post on forums is to hear the disagreements, and sometimes a critic has evidence that changes my mind.
  10. Hi Aldo, I read the book as prep for the recent interview. I'd be happy to discuss it. Where do you think the analysis falls short? Keep in mind that it was written some time ago. Do you have the expanded edition?
  11. We talked with Ibis and Kudwy from the Aporia Institute on Tiktok and YouTube. They are part of a group of young capitalists who debate online and experiment with methods of spreading Rand's ideas. Check it out!
  12. Once we achieve volition, the individual sets his own goals, though often under social pressure from family or society. There is the context of being part of a species, so that should guide the goal-setting and seeking. For example, I could try to reproduce by ejaculating into a pot of soil and watering it each day, but of course that's not going to work. I need to align my goal with the nature of my species and find a fertile woman. So, if I understand your question, I'd say an adult individual is primary in terms of goal-setting, because the species is not actually a thing that sets goals, not like a political group that votes on goals for the group. Prior to gaining volition, a baby pursues goals automatically or involuntarily. So we could say that nature sets the goal of living for a new, living organism. But really that's simply the nature of a living organism. And once we develop volition, we are then confronted with the choice of continuing to be a living organism or dying.
  13. So, the way I'm using them, "universal" and "objective" are not dichotomous. A universal value (for example, air) is also an objective value. It's universal because it's of value to every single human being (indeed every single living organism that needs air to function). And it's objective because the value has a beneficial relationship to the object which is a particular human being. "Universal" describes the value's relation to a whole class of valuers. "Objective" describes the value's relation to a particular valuer. So while all universal values must also be objective, not all objective values are universal. Let's say you're allergic to peanuts but I'm not. Peanuts are an objective value to me, but an objective disvalue to you, thus they can't be of universal value to the human species. As for "species" and "individual," these are nouns that refer to the same things from different perspectives. In our case they refer to human beings. Each human is an individual because he's "not divisible." He can't be separated into multiple humans. And a human is also part of a species, because he's the offspring of an interbreeding pair of individuals, thus he is born into a biological group of individuals capable of interbreeding with each other. I suppose the "species-individual" problem is dichotomous in the sense that a single individual isn't also a group of individuals. So an individual is not literally a species. But to have a species requires having individuals that interbreed. And since "species" refers to these interbreeding individuals as a group, I don't see an actual species-individual dichotomy. "Species" identifies a real similarity among particular individuals: their capacity to interbreed when sexually mature and fertile.
  14. They might be related, in that something beneficial which you gain will be something that you benefited from in the past or continue benefiting from throughout your life. But this doesn't necessarily mean that something you benefited from in the past is still beneficial to you now, because things and contexts change over time.
  15. That got me thinking about the Tom Hank's movie "Castaway" when he begins to take stock of his situation. I watched Cast Away last night. I think the "taking stock" portion actually begins before the crash. As the situation becomes more desperate on the plane, he leaves his seat to recover his watch with the picture in it. This act is clearly motivated by the mental aspect of his standard of values. The object is important to his happiness. Then on the beach he addresses other aspects of his life. Purely physical concerns include shelter from the elements and shoes for his feet. As a biological organism he must also sustain his life, so he creates things like the spear to hunt for food and fire to signal for help. His volleyball doll is a little silly, but I suppose it falls into the mental aspect, particularly the value of having someone to talk to. It keeps him mentally active, emotionally invested, and distracted from his solitude. Though if I were stranded on an uninhabited island for four years, I wouldn't create a male doll.
  16. First, that isn't my formulation. Mine would sound like this: if a value is not POSSIBLE (or not BENEFICIAL) to EACH member of the human race, then it is not a universal value for the human race. My formulation is not about chosen values, it's about objective values. Reproduction is not an objective value to each member of the human race. Consider that an individual goes through stages of life from infancy to old age. His identity, and thus some of his objective values, change over the course of his life. It is only after physical maturity that reproduction becomes possible to fertile adults. And then it becomes impossible again for elderly, post-menopausal women. Thus, a significant portion of the human race cannot reproduce. Reproduction could be a value for the fertile portion of humanity. But even then there are other factors to consider in particular circumstances, such as whether it would positively or negatively affect the parents, the nation or the species. Each human has an identity, and for many of them their identity does not include reproduction. That's an objective fact. Children can't produce sperm or eggs. They can't reproduce. Elderly women are no longer fertile, they can't reproduce. If "human nature" meant the nature of mature, fertile humans, I could see the foundation for your position. But that's not what it means. It includes non-fertile humans too. Children and old women are not exceptions to humanity. Childhood and old age are normal stages of being a human. Now it's true that children normally develop into fertile adults, and most elderly women were fertile in their youth, but that doesn't change their current nature. And when you're identifying something, you must identify it as it currently exists, otherwise what are you identifying? The human species consists of human individuals at all stages of life, both reproductive and not.
  17. I still haven't seen that movie. Which is unusual since I like survival movies.
  18. Technically I wouldn't blank it out, I would line it out after consideration. A universal code of values must apply to all particular humans who want to live, and reproduction does not do that. A species is a group of individuals, a collective, and so reproduction is a collective or group value, not a universal one. To some individuals within the group (probably a minority), reproduction might be impossible or even detrimental to their lives. Thus their purpose within the group cannot or should not include reproduction.
  19. Right, because I said I didn't understand your position and then went into question mode. It's not an emergency, it's rather the last man's new normal. He's not going to escape from the situation of there being nobody else in the world. Biology includes survival of the living organism, not just reproduction of it. The last man must still use his own life to figure out what is valuable to it. He wouldn't be duty-bound to survive, but if he chose to live he'd have to use his own life as a standard for survival, in addition to his abstract standard. But I agree that the "last man" scenario is fiction, and thus we shouldn't use it to formulate our standard. I used it to inform my question: If the answer is yes, wouldn't that imply that birth control is evil? Taking the pill or wearing a condemn is bad for reproduction.
  20. Thanks, I think. We can switch gears, if you like. The latest episode is an interview with Andrew Bernstein on his campaign against the left and his book on heroes.
  21. I'm not sure what you mean by making a biological standard for the species. If there were only one man left in the world, he would need a standard of value based on his biology, but that standard could not include reproduction because there would be no women with whom to reproduce. Are you saying that since there are women and men in existence, their biological standard must include reproduction? My general take is that a man's standard is a complex of physical, biological and mental factors. This includes physical pleasure, biological health, and rational knowledge. I took a stab at formulating the idea a few years ago on the OO forum. It's probably evolved a bit since then. Regarding biology, having a normal set of humans (species group) to observe must be necessary to formulate the abstract standard for humans. But reproduction couldn't be part of that abstract standard, since reproduction is objectively impossible (or even fatal) for some women. It's not a value to all humans. And the "species" is not an actual individual to whom a standard could apply. Reproduction is a value to those for whom it's objectively good or beneficial, because it satisfies (or leads to the satisfaction of) the need for pleasure or health or knowledge, or some combo of such universal values.
  22. I agree, I don't think it's a hoax. Lev and I discuss this evidence on our podcast. Thought you'd be interested. We'll probably do a part 2, so I'm curious what people think are the most important factors or issues concerning these UFOs.
  23. I'd pay good money to watch Brook and Barney fight in the Octagon. I pretty much stopped listening to the left, unless they have a sense of humor. I can't stand the humorless left that's only interested in destroying things, including jokes.