BetweenTheLines

STRONGEST Anti-Objectivist Arguments

Recommended Posts

Okay, I read atlas ~5mo ago for the 1st time, and am currently halfway through my 3rd read. I've read virtue of selfishness and half of we the living, and have read anthem 2 or 3 times.

I'm not asking, not necessarily anyways, to debate or argue, I'm just interested in some of the stronger anti-objectivist arguments, as I find it difficult- no, impossible -to play devil's advocate against the philosophy.

Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, typically most people argue against Rand's meta-ethics, or the "Life to Value" argument. For more on this, see Robert Nozick's "On The Randian Argument"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just interested in some of the stronger anti-objectivist arguments, as I find it difficult- no, impossible -to play devil's advocate against the philosophy.

You ought to narrow things down, maybe specify a branch of philosophy you want to discuss.

Here’s a recent offering of mine, though it pretty much reflects a pro-Objectivist point of view:

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11303&view=findpost&p=144808

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, typically most people argue against Rand's meta-ethics, or the "Life to Value" argument. For more on this, see Robert Nozick's "On The Randian Argument"

670492k5e61d031v.jpg

Got a link?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, typically most people argue against Rand's meta-ethics, or the "Life to Value" argument. For more on this, see Robert Nozick's "On The Randian Argument"

Or just this:

Man's life is the standard of value.

What kind of life? Why, the life of a good Objectivist of course!

All the Objectivist reading I've ever done on this topic says the same thing. IMHO, Objectivism is interesting and rationally/logically very strong, yet founded upon very weak (or just flat out obviously wrong) foundations.

This is not the only foundational problem, but in and of itself is enough to kill it before it even starts.

Describe a philosophy that includes partial altruism as a "good" thing, and you'll have one that truly reflects reality. Ignore this, and it's all just a giant intellectual fantasy - a floating abstraction.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rational Anarchists like George H. Smith like all of Objectivism except putting the retaliatory use of force exclusively into the hands of government unless in an emergency, and compulsory taxation. But, look at this! Those dad gum waiters and neighborhood handymen have created a hybrid system of pure laissez-faire capitalism and anarchy.

Peter

TIA Daily • November 8, 2011

Commentary by Robert Tracinski

3. "System D"

Capitalism thrives best where it is protected by the rule of law. But capitalism is how human being live and function, so even where it has to work against and outside of the law, it still finds some kind of foothold.

That's why I was fascinated by a long and important article in Foreign Policy about how the global black market has grown into a $10 trillion "shadow superpower," or what this author calls the "alternative economic universe of System D."

System D is a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them débrouillards. To say a man is a débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social and economic reality. They say that inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes, are part of "l'economie de la débrouillardise." Or, sweetened for street use, "Systeme D." This essentially translates as the ingenuity economy, the economy of improvisation and self-reliance, the do-it-yourself, or DIY, economy.

"System D." I'm going to have to remember that. It's a brilliant condensation of a whole mindset and approach to life. The next time you throw something together with no resources and on an impossible deadline by bending all of the usual rules, and someone marvels at how you did it, tell them: "I used System D."

Note, by the way, that this is a French phrase developed in Africa—proof that the only problem Europe and Africa really have is their refusal to liberate their débrouillards.

Note that this global black market is one of world's largest employers: "half the workers of the world—close to 1.8 billion people—[are] working in System D: off the books, in jobs that were neither registered nor regulated, getting paid in cash, and, most often, avoiding income taxes." Which means that half of the world is working under an economic system that is a kind of hybrid of pure laissez-faire capitalism and anarchy.

There is a lot to get out of this long article, so I recommend that you read the whole thing. I definitely agree with the author's overall conclusion: "Given its size, it makes no sense to talk of development, growth, sustainability, or globalization without reckoning with System D."

Keep all of this in mind, by the way, when you see the economic news from Europe and China. "State capitalism" and the welfare state may be collapsing, but System D is expanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Godric,

Welcome to OL.

You want anti-Objectivist arguments?

If you are at the point your are, with the reading you have done in such a short time, I suspect you are still under the blinding impact of what you have recently discovered. My advice is to slow down now. There's plenty to learn and think through, and plenty of time to do it.

But I am enormously pleased to see a mind that wants to think independently--to examine the other side--in that situation.

Here are a couple of sources for you.

The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Nathaniel Branden

When I first read this essay years ago, I didn't get it like I did when I reread it recently. There are some excellent observations in that article.

The following is a place where you can drown in information overload. It is called The Objectivism Reference Center. I am giving you the link to the criticism page, but the entire site bears revisiting a lot.

Criticisms of Objectivism at The Objectivism Reference Center

I do have one piece of advice for you at this stage. There is a strong call in Rand's writing for you--the reader--to bash the same things she does with the same intensity.

There is danger in succumbing to this call (and she makes it tempting as all hell). Outside of making you disagreeable to many people who could bring great value into your life, it can delay your intellectual development for years. (I speak from experience.) You will refuse to look at certain things except to bash and that's never good.

But it's OK to bash.

The trick is to only allow yourself to bash as hard as she does after you have thought through the particular issue of the moment to your own satisfaction--after you have honestly tried to look at the doubts you may have about it in the shadows of your mind. Not before. Until that moment, there are plenty of ways to tell someone you disagree, but need to read more or whatever, without being obnoxious to that person.

Anyway, hang in there. You are in for one hell of a ride, if not already on it.

Here is something you will not hear many people say, but it's true.

Objectivism is fun.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rational Anarchists like George H. Smith like all of Objectivism except putting the retaliatory use of force exclusively into the hands of government unless in an emergency, and compulsory taxation.

No, Peter, I don't like "all of Objectivism" except Rand's position on government. I have other disagreements.

Also, are you not aware that Rand opposed "compulsory taxation"? I agree with her opposition, obviously.

Ghs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter, to expand on this great point of Tracinski's:

"The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them débrouillards. To say a man is a débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. ...inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes, are part of "l'economie de la débrouillardise." Or, sweetened for street use, "Systeme D." This essentially translates as the ingenuity economy, the economy of improvisation and self-reliance, the do-it-yourself, or DIY, economy."

I speak and read French. The root word "brouille" means quarrel or discord. Derived from this "debrouille" means resourcefulness. From "de" meaning out of or away from (same meaning in French as in English when we say 'demystify', 'defrost', etc.---the prefix comes from Latin). Putting root and prefix together, we get the concept of getting out of or extricating oneself from discord or problems -- which is where the above usage comes from.

A common French statement of admiration (wider than politics or economics): "Il est debrouilard", meaning "He can look after himself."

> this is a French phrase developed in Africa [Tracinski}

The application to the black market may come from Africa, but the root is from the ordinary French language as spoken in France.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> Note that this global black market is one of world's largest employers: "half the workers of the world—close to 1.8 billion people—[are] working in System D: off the books, in jobs that were neither registered nor regulated, getting paid in cash, and, most often, avoiding income taxes." Which means that half of the world is working under an economic system that is a kind of hybrid of pure laissez-faire capitalism and anarchy. [Tracinski]

This is not as successful or productive or dynamic as it might sound, except on the level of "street corner enterprise".

Black market operators don't have the rule of law, are vulnerable to thieves, piracy, broken contracts. When an operation gets to a certain size, this sort of thing matters.

Hernando De Soto ("The Other Path") traced the greatly destructive consequences on the poor, underground sector in Latin America who don't have clear -- and enforced by law and government -- title to their lands and property. And thus the can't mortgage or sell them or use them as collateral or to raise capital.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adam,

I don't have a link. However, I believe the article is included in "Anarchy, State and Utopia." That said, his argument was that Rand only proved that man's life is a necessary condition of morality, not that it was the standard of value.

MSK,

I should point out that "The Benefits and Hazards" by Branden points out flaws not in Objectivism the philosophy itself but rather problems with the Objectivist movement he founded and the intellectual culture that still partly surrounds the philosophy. That said, I agree with Branden's criticisms of that culture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I should point out that "The Benefits and Hazards" by Branden points out flaws not in Objectivism the philosophy itself but rather problems with the Objectivist movement he founded and the intellectual culture that still partly surrounds the philosophy. That said, I agree with Branden's criticisms of that culture.

Andrew,

I agree, but only partially. There are some points dealing with the philosophy itself--that is, depending on how you define the philosophy.

I'll write about this tomorrow.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

George H. Smith wrote:

No, Peter, I don't like "all of Objectivism" except Rand's position on government. I have other disagreements . . . Also, are you not aware that Rand opposed "compulsory taxation"? I agree with her opposition, obviously.

end quote

Changes in Objectivism will come from an “outsider” like George who is beyond the thrall of The Ayn Rand Institute. His criticism of Leonard Peikoff’s version of Rand’s *Contexualism* is brilliant . . . and true.

George, what proof is required to turn an Objectivist into an anarchist? It happens, but rarely.

If and when voluntary, competing defense agencies are instituted in lieu of a Constitutional government guaranteeing individual rights, then the most popular and “strongest” defense agency will become the law of a specific territory. It’s human nature. It always happens that way. Assuming continued Rationality and respect for individual rights from all defense agencies then they would duplicate a constitutional government but in a messier fashion. Penny wars would be fought for supremacy, just as in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” So why do it?

Rand’s Atlantis / Galt’s Gulch sidesteps this issue by making Midas Mulligan the property owner and therefore his rules are mandatory and are substituted for the authority of the US Constitution in that specific territory.

Are you on to something? The history of non-accidental anarchy is sparse if not non-existent. There has never been a planned anarchy. Your treatise on Rational Anarchy is full of grievances for Government but is unconvincing as a blueprint for living life on earth.

Nathaniel Branden wrote:

That a rational code of ethics is possible and is derivable from an appropriate assessment of the nature of human beings as well as the nature of reality . . . . That the organizing principle of a moral society is respect for individual rights and that the sole appropriate function of government is to act as guardian and protector of individual rights.

end quote

Humans “always” band together and try to institute a government within a new free-ranging, non-governed territory, George. Always. That is a rational assessment of human nature.

Peter

Notes

Nathaniel Branden wrote:

Objectivism teaches:

That reality is what it is, that things are what they are, independent of anyone's beliefs, feelings, judgments or opinions — that existence exists, that A is A;

That reason, the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by the various senses, is fully competent, in principle, to understand the facts of reality;

That any form of irrationalism, supernaturalism, or mysticism, any claim to a nonsensory, nonrational form of knowledge, is to be rejected;

That a rational code of ethics is possible and is derivable from an appropriate assessment of the nature of human beings as well as the nature of reality;

That the standard of the good is not God or the alleged needs of society but rather "Man's life," that which is objectively required for man's or woman's life, survival, and well-being;

That a human being is an end in him- or herself, that each one of us has the right to exist for our own sake, neither sacrificing others to self nor self to others;

That the principles of justice and respect for individuality autonomy, and personal rights must replace the principle of sacrifice in human relationships;

That no individual — and no group — has the moral right to initiate the use of force against others;

That force is permissible only in retaliation and only against those who have initiated its use;

That the organizing principle of a moral society is respect for individual rights and that the sole appropriate function of government is to act as guardian and protector of individual rights.

So, Rand was a champion and advocate of reason, self-interest individual rights, and political and economic freedom. She advocated a total separation of state and economics, just as — and for the same reason as — we now have the separation of state and church. She took the position, and it is a position I certainly share, that just as the government has no proper voice in the religious beliefs or practices of people, provided no one else's rights are violated, so there should be freedom or production and trade between and among consenting adults.

end quote

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Phil Coates wrote about the alternative economic universe of System D or working outside of governmental supervision:

This is not as successful or productive or dynamic as it might sound, except on the level of "street corner enterprise" . . . Black market operators don't have the rule of law, are vulnerable to thieves, piracy, broken contracts. When an operation gets to a certain size, this sort of thing matters.

end quote

I agree, though Michael E. Marotta, on an other thread, has also shown that unsupervised laissez-faire capitalism goes on at the millions of dollars, corporate level in neutral territory, countries like Switzerland, off-shore tax havens or on the internet. In case of disagreements, non-governmental arbitration is agreed upon before any money changes hands.

I bet Michael could throw together a mercenary army to take over Somalia if he so chose. For a fee, of course.

The street level, System D entrepreneur would most likely pay bribes to local officials and if they still continued to prosper they might challenge the local government as the cartels do now in Mexico or Columbia.

Is it moral to have unsupervised, untaxed capitalism? Heretically, I say no IF government services like streets, lights, physical protection, etc., are being used, though bribes might substitute for taxed police protection.

So are under-taxed waiters, street vendors, and those who work only for cash “manipulating” the system? Sure. I even like the idea of government turning a blind eye to untaxed enterprises but only up to a point, and then payment for governmental services should be paid. I will admit, I do occasionally say, “Is there a discount for a no receipt cash payment?”

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert follows up on yesterday’s article about System D with a point many of us intuitively knew: The connection between the rule of law and capitalism. Wealth cannot become capital without a system that recognizes and enforces property rights. Capitalism requires a government, not the lack of government – but one that protects freedom.

Peter

Commentary by Robert Tracinski

1. The Forward Strategy of Capitalism

I linked yesterday to an interesting piece on the global black market—known in Franco-African slang as "System D"—as an example of how capitalism is so necessary to life that people will try to carve out a space for it even in the most unpromising circumstances.

But System D is at best a primitive form of capitalism, and a very important article in the Financial Times explains the cost that corrupt and statist countries pay for forcing private economic activity to go underground.

The brilliant Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto explains that the economic discontent that has fed the Arab Spring is directly attributable to the lack of legal protections for property rights, which prevents the System D entrepreneurs from using their homes or businesses as a basis to borrow or expand.

A few weeks ago I met Salem, the younger brother of the brave Tunisian fruit vendor whose self-immolation triggered the Arab uprising. When I asked him what his brother in heaven would say if we asked what he hoped his sacrifice would bring to the Arab World, Salem did not hesitate: "That the poor also have the right to buy and sell."...

According to his mother and his sister, his goal was to accumulate capital to grow his business. But this was impossible as we discovered when we investigated the records and the laws he had to comply with.

To get credit to buy the truck he so needed, he needed to demonstrate he had some kind of legally recognized collateral. The only legal collateral he had access to was the family house in SidiBouzid. However, he had never been able to record a deed in the property registry, an indispensable requirement for using the house as a guarantee. Compliance requires 499 days of red tape at a cost of $2,976.

To create a legal enterprise he would have had to establish a small sole proprietorship. This would require taking 55 administrative steps during 142 days and spending some $3,233 (12 times Bouazizi's monthly net income, not including maintenance and exit costs). Even if he had found the money and the time to create a sole proprietorship firm the law did not enable him to pool resources by bringing in new partners, limit liability to protect his family's assets, and eventually, issue shares and stocks to capture new investment.

The theme of de Soto's work is this connection between the rule of law and capitalism: the fact that wealth cannot become capital without a system that recognizes and enforces property rights. In much of the world, such as Tunisia, such a system exists in theory, but as de Soto has demonstrated again and again, the process of legally registering property or a business is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. This leaves the vast majority of the population outside the protection of the law.

Fundamental free-market economic reform is precisely what the Arab countries need right now (as Jay Hallen also argues in regard to Libya). This ought to be an important goal of our foreign policy, as it was under George W. Bush, when I called it the Forward Strategy of Capitalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad he elaborates at such length on the Hernado de Soto point I alluded to.

And points out that it applies globally - not just to the poor in Latin America but to the current day Arab world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Philip Coates wrote:

I'm glad he elaborates at such length on the Hernado de Soto point I alluded to.

And points out that it applies globally - not just to the poor in Latin America but to the current day Arab world.

end quote

You were ahead of Robert Tracinski on tha, Phil, and I noticed. When the poor get richer, governments will start issuing "letters of mark' and have the coast or home guard blast their hotdog carts.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I read atlas ~5mo ago for the 1st time, and am currently halfway through my 3rd read. I've read virtue of selfishness and half of we the living, and have read anthem 2 or 3 times.

I'm not asking, not necessarily anyways, to debate or argue, I'm just interested in some of the stronger anti-objectivist arguments, as I find it difficult- no, impossible -to play devil's advocate against the philosophy.

Thanks in advance.

It depends on what you mean by Objectivism. Peter's summary above in 14 seems to have come from a Basic Principles lecture. How Ayn Rand summarized her philosophy while standing on one foot has been variously recreated. Apparently what she said at the moment was "Metaphysics: Objective reality. Epistemology: Reason. Ethics: self-interest. Politics: capitalism." The Ayn Rand Institute here presents an expansion of that, apparently from her newspaper column. (I believe that was for the Los Angeles Times, and was then syndicated.) The founding and dissolution of the Nathaniel Branden Institute both changed Ayn Rand and her philosophy.

She maintained later, as the ARI does now, that the Objectivism is a seamless robe, that Objectivism has no inner contradictions; and by "Objectivism" she meant and they mean the sum total of Ayn Rand's published works. Whether that includes her marginalia is a debatable point. (Not surprisingly, Rand was a voracious and critical reader. Her estate included the notes she made in the books she read.)

Even as a teenager, I noticed a point here or there, none of them important alone, but each a reminder.

Here on Objectivist Living is a short discussion of Rodin's The Thinker, which was condemned in The Objectivist by Mary Ann Sures ("Metaphysics in Marble"). (Note that there are 237 Replies in this larger topic. See page 3 for the The Thinker. My comments from Rebirth of Reason were quoted by MSK in that thread here.) The point here is that aesthetics is at the end of a long course of inquiry in philosophy. The further you go from basic principles, the more disagreements there will be.

On the other hand, for that same reason, you can reject easily half if not 90% of Objectivism and still like Anthem. Maybe you see an oppressive conformity in corporate capitalism. Romanticism rejected the rationalism of Classical art and embraced emotion. A romantic rebel could still be motivated to rediscover electricity. I have known several crazed artists with far more technical insight than I ever demonstrated. Given a spark of self-awareness, the rest follows. The philosophers of the Ayn Rand Institute would disagree with that on each point.

So, you have to decide what you mean by Objectivism. In the works cited - Atlas Shrugged, Virtue of Selfishness, etc - there is not much to disagree with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Man's life is the standard of value. What kind of life? Why, the life of a good Objectivist of course! All the Objectivist reading I've ever done on this topic says the same thing. IMHO, Objectivism is interesting and rationally/logically very strong, yet founded upon very weak (or just flat out obviously wrong) foundations. This is not the only foundational problem, but in and of itself is enough to kill it before it even starts. Describe a philosophy that includes partial altruism as a "good" thing, and you'll have one that truly reflects reality. Ignore this, and it's all just a giant intellectual fantasy - a floating abstraction. Bob

That is an example of critical thinking as too much of a good thing.

What separates philosophical Objectivism from political libertarianism is the understanding that while you have a political right to be foolish, thoughtless, and careless with your own life and property, being so is not in your best interest. Again, as above, you have to define what you mean by Objectivism, but within the framework of the Basic Principles, is it clear that a rational lifestyle promotes your happiness.

No system of thought can be rationally very strong while derived from weak foundations. Tossing out the phrase "floating abstraction" does not validate any of the claims, but itself is an example of just that.

Arguing what altruism "really" means is old hat. Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene said that he would give his life to save eight cousins. (Actually, nine would be the tipping point. Eight is just quid pro quo.) But it is also very clear within Objectivism what altruism means. And, I must insist, having actually read Auguste Comte, the Objectivist meaning is the original meaning.

Collectivists argue among themselves, certainly. I have mentioned here perhaps too often, that just finished five years of college and university (2005-2010), from an associate's and bachelor's in criminal justice through a master's in social science. Post modernists take issue with Comte's positivism, as they deny the validity of logic and experience, but they never argue against altruism. Ayn Rand was cogent, insightful, and correct: altruism does not mean being nice to other people. Altruism means self-sacrifice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Logic is a deterministic system. If you accept a certain hypothetical proposition (or premise,) then, by the laws of non-contradiction, you must agree that the conclusion is true (or true, that it is false)

Michael Marotta finds a problem with logical absolutism. Michael insightfully wrote:

She maintained later, as the ARI does now, that the Objectivism is a seamless robe, that Objectivism has no inner contradictions; and by "Objectivism" she meant . . . (the) . . . sum total of Ayn Rand's published works. “Abstraction from Abstractions,”

end quote

I see similarities between Michael’s seamless robe which I call, “Infallible Objectivism” and soft determinism. By “Infallible Objectivism” I mean logical and syllogistic structures that are internally true but lack contextualism, scientific verification, and possess an eventual inability to break or *reduce* the string of logic down to its perceptual roots.

I would certainly like to read something new on the debate. Any other thoughts Michael, or anyone else?

Peter

Notes

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 28

The process of forming and applying concepts contains the essential pattern of two fundamental methods of cognition: induction and deduction. The process of observing the facts of reality and of integrating them into concepts is, in essence, a process of induction. The process of subsuming new instances under a known concept is, in essence, a process of deduction.

end quote

Roger Bissell in his “Problems with Putnam's Externalism” originally written in 1996 for David Kelley's cyberseminar in Objectivist epistemology wrote:

“. . . Rather than claiming that our minds are in the world rather than "in our heads," it seems more reasonable to me to say that our mind (as a capacity) is our "head's" (brain's) ability to cognitively grasp the world and (as an action) its act of cognitively grasping the world . . . Before we speculate about where the mind ~might~ be, it would help to clarify what category of existent the mind belongs to. Unless Putnam et al are advocating some form of substance dualism, the mind can't be an entity, other than the human organism or one of its parts (viz., the brain and nervous system). Granted, we (as organisms) -- who are the entities doing the knowing, after all -- are "in the world," but WE ARE ~WHERE~ WE ARE, not out somewhere else, where the thing is that we are knowing. And if mind is an attribute or an action, it has no location other than our organism that has the attribute or carries out the action. And if mind is a relation between our organism and the world, it must be located (if it can be said to have a location) where the causal/cognitive interaction between our organism and the world takes place. E.g., for perception, that would be in the sensory systems and the portions of the brain that integrate sensory data, which are certainly "in the head" (allowing that tactile perception is "in the body," also).”

end quote

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Logic is a deterministic system. If you accept a certain hypothetical proposition (or premise,) then, by the laws of non-contradiction, you must agree that the conclusion is true (or true, that it is false) Michael Marotta finds a problem with logical absolutism. ...

Well, yes, because Objectivism is not Absolutism. Certainly, absolutes exist. Similarly, reason is our primary means of integrating the information provided by our senses, but neither rationalism nor empiricism alone is sufficient. Objectivism (capital-o) departs from the philosophies of (strict) rationalism and (strict) empiricism in requiring that both be active in any explanation of facts or pursuit of theory. Objectivism (small-o) is rational-empiricism and capital-O Objectivism is a school of philosophical objectivism. While a formalist school, it is not Formalism. Concerned with final outcomes, it is not Consequentialism. Considering context, it is not Situationism.

On the other matter:

1. All elephants are mammals. Peter Taylor is an elephant. Therefore Peter Taylor is a mammal.

2. All elephants are green. Michael Marotta is an elephant. Therefore Michael Marotta is green.

Those crude errors are based on the misuse of the grammar of logic.

A = B; C=A; C=B. Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.

It is true that

4+7 = 11; 17 - 6 = 11; 4+7 = 17 - 6.

But it is a fallacy that

4+7 = 12; 9^2 = 12; 4+7 = 9 ^2.

I cannot find an arithmetic statement similar to 1 above, where the minor premise is false, but the conclusion is true. The grammar of arithmetic is less forgiving.

The problem was resolved here several years ago in a brilliant essay by Stuart K. Hayashi, "The Argument from Arbitrary Metaphysics." (see in its entirety here).

I will quote Ronald E. Merrill's paraphrasing of Dr. Friedman's argument in The Ideas of Ayn Rand, since I find Dr. Merrill's paraphrasing more amusing and to-the-point:

* The earth is going to be destroyed tomorrow in an asteroid strike (!)

* This can be prevented by use of a piece of equipment costing $100 (!!)

* Of which there happens to be only one unit in existence (!!!)

* And the owner refuses to let go of it because he'd just as soon he and the rest of the human race were killed (!!!!)

So: should one or should one not steal it?

With this hypothetical scenario, Dr. Friedman thinks that he has gotten the natural-rights-believer in a corner. He assumes that an honest person would have to answer yes.

As Peter Taylor says, "If you accept a certain hypothetical proposition (or premise,)..." But that skips a step. Why do you accept a hypothetical proposition without evidence? A hypothetical proposition is based on some evidence. We can observe four cases.

Musical families like the Bachs, Mozarts, and the Mendelsohns.

Completely Non-musical families.

Musicians from non-musical families

Non-musicians from musical families.

Is there a hereditary component? Perhaps the gene(s) is/are recessive? Perhaps some intermediary trigger or suppressant is required? It has been studied in twins separated at birth and it seems that musical talent is not inherited. But the hypothetical proposition rests on some evidence. Hypothetical does not mean metaphysically arbitrary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post and link Michael. And I agree. One would need to find and demonstrate that a basic tenet of Objectivism is fundamentally wrong. Then the results must be duplicated by other reasoning people who re-prove it wrong. Then that understood error would require the acknowledgement that Objectivism is NOT a seamless robe that has no inner contradictions. And it would need to be fixed to remain contextually true.

I have been swayed by arguments that her outer shell – her esthetics and psychology - have flaws, but not its core. And to further agree with one of your past arguments I think her outer shell concept of Government needs some tinkering though I think planned, Rational Anarchism is a bad, unproven hypothesis. The unplanned kind has a distinct odor. A *leap of faith* is required that transcends this self-evident truth: rational people *require* a rights protecting government to prosper.

Michael Marotta wrote:

1. All elephants are mammals. Peter Taylor is an elephant. Therefore Peter Taylor is a mammal.

2. All elephants are green. Michael Marotta is an elephant. Therefore Michael Marotta is green.

3. All elephants are rabbits. MSK is an elephant. Therefore MSK is a rabbit.

end quote

Peter, MSK, Michael are all green, mammalian, hopping, elephants: Viridian Lepus Elephantulus. What an imagination you have, but it is incomplete.

4. Dumbo is an elephant who can fly.

At what point do you think or even intuit that errors in Objectivism occur? My point has always been that omniscience, authority, and perfection are demanded by big O, ARI Objectivism. Obedience and recitation are required, much like a catechism. Objectivism says it IS but it IS NOT contextual. Rand got everything right. A *leap of faith* is required that transcends the evidence of outer shell errors. Thou shalt ignore thy misgivings on all points.

Go to an orthodox Objectivist site and challenge the readership with a wrong thing in Objectivism, such as the notion that babies are tabula rasa at birth. They will shoot back by saying that is what they call, “the post analytic ad hokum lack of understanding fallacy” or some such nonsense. “Rand, or Peikoff said it. Therefore it is true.”

Independent Objectivist

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go to an orthodox Objectivist site and challenge the readership with a wrong thing in Objectivism, such as the notion that babies are tabula rasa at birth. They will shoot back by saying that is what they call, “the post analytic ad hokum lack of understanding fallacy” or some such nonsense. “Rand, or Peikoff said it. Therefore it is true.”

I believe that.

I laid out my case in a

. (EDIT: the video is old, I didn't make it for this response)

In a nutshell, I think most people confuse the *rational faculty* having a blank memory of conceptual information (no *conceptual* information is innate) with instincts (components of the brain peripheral to the rational faculty, such as those responsible for a response to sexual imagery, the physical pain mechanism, etc.).

I have no reason to believe otherwise (I don't know of any innate concepts), so Occam's razor demands to assume it.

I don't know what Peikoff thinks about this, these are my own thoughts about the matter.

I hope I'm not falling prey to the the post analytic ad hokum lack of understanding fallacy here, although I do admit that to be a rather cool name for a fallacy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...