Sexual Ethics


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Rush is pushing John Bolton for a cabinet post.

Tony wrote: Objectivists will survive and come roaring back to objectivity from episodes of rationalism . . . end quote

I remember what Saint Ayn wrote. The phrase should be, “I am, therefor I think,” not, “I think, therefor I am.”

Peter

Notes. From: Jason Pappas To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Our new fight Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 14:13:34 -0800 (PST): For some years now I have endured the barrage of Conservative cultural commentary proclaiming that God saved us from the totalitarianism that has devastated much of the Old World, that man’s reliance on reason has lead him down the path of playing God on earth, and that secularism has produced a barren valueless existence. “We Conservatives”, they prattle, “had the faith and values that withstood the ravages of 20th century Godless-relativism and Godless-Communism.” We’ve heard about fatal conceits, hubris of man, man’s faith in reason, etc. Often this stale tirade if overt but more often it is a single side-swipe about our Judeo-Christian civilization. Consider the latest example: One of the more intelligent and articulate Conservative/Libertarians is Charles Murray. This past Sunday, Charles Murray wrote an article in the “Week in Review” section in which he discussed “unintended consequences of great art and science”

For Murray, Aristotle’s discovery of logic lead to the destruction of empirical science. “So the possibility arises that Aristotle, the same man who did so much to bring science to that edge, also supplied the tool that distracted his successors ...” Wait, the genius of the scientific revolution doesn’t fare any better. “Isaac Newton's discovery of the laws of motion and of universal gravity is another candidate for a supremely wonderful achievement with consequences run amok.” How? “Man could remake the world from scratch by designing new human institutions through the application of scientific reason. ... Reason was the new faith. Its first political offspring was the grotesque Jacobin republic set up after the French Revolution.” Wait, he’s not done! “... with their Leninist and Stalinist applications to follow”

Let me take a deep breath. ... OK, here we have it. It’s not Descartes’ perversion of rationalism that takes the hit. It’s not reason “hijacked” by dogmatic intolerant “fanatics”. That’s right – any failure of religion is seen as a distortion or perversion of a true faith that can only be good. But, reason gets the full blame for the failures of its nominal adherents.

This is just the latest example of Reason-bashing from our Conservative friends. However, something interesting is happening. Just as the Conservatives were heralding the arrival of the God-inspired millennium, we come face to face with an even greater God-inspired movement – one that takes faith seriously, one that takes the afterlife as the real life, one that truly despises the achievement of flourishing secular civilization. That movement is Islam . . . . end quote 

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Okay, you forced my hand. Sex has nothing to do with children or evolution. I've created a lot of fictional characters over the years, many of whom I liked and respected. A few were modeled on pe

Ba’al wrote: I am a stickler for exactitude.  If I am becoming senile, I have forgotten more then you ever knew in your young life.  I know more than you and I am more intelligent than you are. end quote

You say things with absolute surety, and “exactitude” and then claim science is never settled. So, what place is there in your thought processes for “contextualism” "discovery" and "creativity"?

Peter

George H. Smith, page 77 of "WHY ATHEISM: We might say that these and other scientific theories (Aristotelian physics, Neo-Platonic metaphysics, or Ptolemaic astronomy) - which have not been merely revised, but completely *discarded* - were justified beliefs for medieval thinkers, given the apparent evidence in their favor and their overall coherence with the medieval worldview. But they were false nonetheless, absolutely and unequivocably, however justified they may have been at one time. They were not somehow "contextually" true, much less "immutably" so . . . . Thus when confronted with the historical transition to modern science, the Randian contextualist might argue that the medieval cosmology does not qualify as even contextually true, because it is not based on logical cognition and authentic evidence. Modern Science, therefore, was not a revision of medieval science, because the latter was not legitimate science at all.

This or any similar reply will not solve the incipient relativism of Randian contextualism, even if we accept the preceding characterization of the medieval cosmology at face value (which we should not). The Randian contextualist cannot pick and choose his contextual and immutable truths, depending on whether they approximate modern beliefs, for this would unfairly subject medieval thinkers to the same standards of infallibility and omniscience against which the Randians so vigorously (and rightfully) protest.

A contextual theory of knowledge, in my judgment, must strike a delicate balance between relativism and absolutism. And this is precisely why we should retain the traditional view that knowledge is justified *and* true belief. Justification is relative, whereas truth is absolute. That is to say, what counts as adequate justification for a belief may be relative to the available evidence and ones context of knowledge, whereas the truth of a belief is absolute. A proposition either corresponds to a fact or it does not, and this matter has nothing to do with the relative justification for a belief . . . . end quote 

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Those oldies but goodies. I wonder if David Kelly still smokes? Where do you stand and where does modern Objectivism stand on the following subjects?

Peter

From: "William Dwyer" To: <Atlantis Subject: ATL: RE: Parts of Objectivism Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 23:42:14 -0800. Dan, the man, wrote: Since Ellen continues to evade my questions, I ask the rest of you on this list:  Are Ayn Rand's stances on any of the following part of the philosophy of Objectivism: 1. Homosexuality 2. women as Presidents (or political leaders in general) 3. air pollution 4. cigarette smoking 5. Beethoven's sense of life.

"Can any of you tell me why they are or aren't part of Objectivism?"

I'll take a stab at it.  But before I do, let me say that what Rand considered to be a part of her philosophy appears to differ from what ARI and TOC considers to be a part of it.  Let's look at each of these issues in turn:

1.  homosexuality. During a Q&A session following a lecture in 1971, a questioner said to Rand that she "read somewhere that you [Rand] consider all forms of homosexuality immoral."  The questioner then asked, "If this is so, why?"

Rand answered: "Because it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises, but there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality.  Therefore I regard it as immoral.  But I do not believe that the government has the right to prohibit it.  It is the privilege of any individual to use his sex life in whichever way he wants it.  That's his legal right, provided he is not forcing it on anyone.  And therefore the idea that it's proper among consenting adults is the proper formulation legally.  Morally it is immoral, and more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion, it is disgusting."

Since Rand labeled homosexuality "immoral" - and since ethics is a branch of Objectivism - I think it is reasonable to infer that her views on that subject _are_ a part of her philosophy, although the current position of both ARI and TOC is that Objectivism does NOT regard homosexuality as immoral.

2.  women as Presidents (or political leaders in general) In the January 1968 issue of _McCall's_ magazine, Rand wrote, "A woman cannot reasonably want to be a commander-in-chief."  A year later in January 1969, Rand wrote an article entitled "About a Woman President" for _The Objectivist_ (which appeared in the December 1968 issue and was later reprinted in her anthology, _The Voice of Reason_ (1988).  In that article, she again stated, "I do not think that a rational woman can want to be president." [_The Voice of Reason_, p. 267] She also stated that being president "for a rational woman would be an unbearable situation," adding, "And if she is not rational, she is unfit for the presidency or for any important position, anyway." [Ibid., p. 269]

I think that Rand's views on this issue also qualify as a part of her philosophy, since what she regards as "rational" and "not rational" are a part of it.  Again, however, it is the position of ARI that Rand's views on a woman president are NOT part of her philosophy.

Because Rand's views on homosexuality and on a female president are so out of step with contemporary enlightened thinking, Objectivist organizations are in denial about them.  Rather than admit that she was wrong, they prefer to deny that her views on these subjects are part of her philosophy, thereby conveying the impression that Objectivism is a cult of personality in which the founder's philosophy must be seen as infallible.

3.  air pollution. In her article, "The Left: Old and New" in _The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution_, Rand wrote" As far as the issue of actual pollution is concerned, it is primarily a scientific, not a political, problem.  In regard to the political principle involved: if a man creates a physical danger or harm to others, which extends beyond the line of his own property, such as unsanitary conditions or even loud noise, and if this is _proved_, the law can and does hold him responsible.  If the condition is collective, such as in an overcrowded city, appropriate and _objective_ laws can be defined, protecting the rights of all those involved -- as was done in the case of oil rights, air-space rights, etc." [p. 89]

Based on this statement, I would say that air pollution is addressed by her philosophy only insofar as pollution can be seen as infringing on individual rights.

4.  cigarette smoking. I would say that whether or not Objectivism considers it rational to smoke depends on the context of a person's life and on the degree to which he or she engages in the practice, and that smoking cannot be condemned out of hand.  All action involves risk from driving a car to taking an elevator.  Interestingly, David Kelley smokes, but as far as I am aware, he does it rather sparingly.

5.  Beethoven's sense of life, Rand is on record as stating that, unlike the visual arts, an objective esthetics of music has yet to be rationally demonstrated.

Dan wrote, "As a follow up, what general method would you use to decide the positions Objectivism would take on any issue?"

I would look first at Rand's stated views; if she had not discussed the particular issue, I would then consult the philosophy's basic principles and see if and to what extent they might apply.

-- Bill

From: "William Dwyer" To: <Atlantis Subject: ATL: Deciding what is part of Objectivism Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 10:07:51 -0800: In determining how to decide what is and is not part of Rand's philosophy, I wrote, "I would look first at Rand's stated views; if she had not discussed the particular issue, I would then consult the philosophy's basic principles and see if and to what extent they might apply."

What I meant by this is simply that in deciding what is and is not part of Rand's philosophy, one must have some criteria.  Rand's explicit statements would themselves qualify, but if one doesn't have her on record as commenting on the issue, then the only other criteria would be her explicit philosophical principles.

I did not mean to suggest that if Rand's philosophical statements on a particular issue such as a female president, contradicted or seemed to contradicted one of her more basic philosophical principles, we should accept her position on the issue as being a part of her philosophy _rather than_ the more basic principle that it contradicted.  That would, of course, be absurd.  If such a contradiction were apparent, then the proper conclusion to draw is that Rand's philosophy is inconsistent, not that her position on the particular issue is not part of her philosophy.

Now, mind you, I am not saying that everything Rand said should be taken as a reflection of her philosophy; however, if she stated that a particular action is immoral or unethical, such as homosexuality, or a particular belief irrational, such as the propriety of a female president, then I think we are justified in concluding that her views on these issues are philosophical and therefore a part of her philosophy.

They may indeed contradict her other, more basic philosophical principles, correctly applied, but all that means is that her philosophy is inconsistent.  Philosophies can be inconsistent and often are. Objectivism is no exception.

For example, suppose it could be shown, a la Childs, that a constitutional government can only be maintained by initiating force, and that anarchism is the only political system consistent with individual freedom.  Would it follow that a constitutional government contradicts the Objectivist principles of freedom and justice?  Yes.

Would anarchism, therefore, be part of Rand's philosophy?  No, because she is on record as denouncing anarchism and endorsing constitutional government.  All that would follow in that case is that her philosophy is inconsistent - that her belief in constitutional government contradicts her belief in individual freedom.

I think it is a grave mistake to take Rand's basic principles, draw conclusions from them at variance with her stated philosophical views and then claim that the result is "Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand."  Objectivism is not a synonym for "the true and correct philosophy."  It does not qualify as a general discipline, like physics. The parallel to physics is philosophy _as such_, not a _particular_ philosophy, like Objectivism, Existentialism or Logical Positivism.  If Rand's philosophy is found to be mistaken, it simply won't do to correct the mistakes and call the result "Objectivism."  Objectivism is _Ayn Rand's_ philosophy, warts and all.

-- Bill

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7 hours ago, anthony said:

Does it seem to you that mankind has a desire to establish we are each "normal"? (yup, it's ... normal). More often when young, when 'fitting in' ('being better'?) matters. That's what I believe I see in the exaggerated importance attached to such "studies".

Well, we can get to rubbishing such studies and the exaggerated importance accorded them. I mean, dig up a few studies, then chew them to pieces.

Does humankind have a desire, seemingly?  A general species average?  Maybe. But I would call it a physiological impulse to flourish. Does it seem to me that sub-routines of a generalized desire are to be normal, to be above the norm, to approach the norm, or be seen as part of a norm?  Sure.  Especially in the sense of health and wellness. We don't want to be lame and halt, myopic, deaf or colour-blind, feeble, left behind.

Even more generally I think folks are self-curious. Pop psychology teases us with means to gain insight. A 'desire to be self-knowing' can be exploited and parasitized as it is partly satisfied. "Self Help."  I am cynical and skeptical about easy explanations, but must acknowledge we are all of us amateur psychologists, from our first months. 

From a developmental perspective, a departure from a healthy middle course is sign for concern.  Whether a mental or physical handicap feared or a behaviour unexplained, parents and guardians seek reliable knowledge. Thus my question about the child file with "Ted Bundy" flagged.

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If one is 'off the scale' on the matter of (e.g.)"social emotional intelligence" I'd tend to guess one knows it and would instinctively avoid being tested. For the large majority there'll be anxiety in the slightest of deviation from - um - the norm. So, all in all, those who'd benefit - maybe - won't go there; those who would go there, won't find anything but more cause for unnecessary worry.

For the large majority will likely be the bulge in the bell curve and not worry about being above or below average, at least by some metrics. But that is why I made the distinctions and examples above. Some excursions from the norm are painful or debilitating, and emotional 'disorders' as such reflect problems in living.  An Objectivish project is a natural ally to science-based 'mental medicine' then in at least one aspect:  understanding emotion/increasing intelligence, in service of flourishing.

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Who the hell is "normal" anyway? Vive les differences. I know your emphasis re: emotions  is largely directed to one's recognition of emotion in others. I don't know your experiences but I must say that I've learned the hard way, it's only individuals I know very well whose feelings I can read - and anticipate - only fairly well. Because I have good knowledge of their values, as well as extended experience with them as individuals.

Who the hell has 'normal' emotional health, or 'normal' psycho-epistemology?  I rooted my evidence-based criteria for "social/emotional intelligence" scales and measures in physiology.  So the 'norm' here is standard-issue anatomy, no lesions, no deformities, no absences. 

Bob could usefully describe how  he came to gain 'social-emotional' intelligence about the world, surmounting a deficit in his native atypical circuitry.

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In extremis, yes pain and anger show up truthfully. But most people are all over the place and unpredictable; many times a person who's devoid of expression is feeling deep emotions; some times there are faked, over the top displays of emotions for others' consumption; or else, when 'I think' one 'should' feel 'x' in a given situation, he proves (or at least appears) to be feeling 'y'. So there is much subjective guesswork. This validates even more that they are unreliable (some times, unfair and gratuitous) tools of cognition, for one's understanding and assessing of others - worse by far for employing one's own emotions to one's own cognition/evaluation.

My notes on basic or universal emotions are meant to underline that in general people develop the same toolkit of expression and detection (outliers such as sociopathy, abulia, amygdala damage, autism, etc aside). One can have a 'knack' for observation and emulation and be a natural actor. One can train to be an actor. One can become a trained 'lie detector' (if one believes the hype about micro-expressions). One can almost always improve upon the basics, become informed of human nature, become educated in mores and conventions.

That there are outlier syndromes making improvements more difficult doesn't take away the ability of any intelligent person to become more self-aware and more objective, deepening the utility of the toolkit of general and specialized human intelligence.

If I find a half-way valid measure for Emotional Intelligence, I want to test it on you.  You should score far above my measly 58.

I recall an Ayn Rand declamation that diligent work in Objectivism could raise a person's IQ. I declaim in support that an emotional intelligence quotient should also rise after such diligence.

-- as an aside, and an antidote to 'studies,' there are  engineering projects underway with artificial intelligence that attempt to train 'the machine' to recognize a wide range of human expressions. So far, the machine mind is still emotionally retarded, which maybe answers the question will artificial intelligence include emotional intelligence, rubbery term and all?

Or, should Artificial Intelligence be made capable of sexual intelligence, sexuality, gender?  Can we teach an Objectivist theory of sexual object valuation to I Horny Robot and have it stick?

Which swings us back to the topic of  Sexual Ethics and the management of Rut:

 

Edited by william.scherk
replaced weak with feeble, genuinely genuinely, I Horny Robot
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Some things, on the face of it, seem unproven or even irrational yet people act simply upon a perception of reality as their evidence. Sometimes the human action is within a split second of the “noticed” evidence. Does anyone *believe* in omens, hunches, and “signs”? And can you feel something without touching it?

Peter

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On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 9:51 AM, anthony said:

I am of a mind with this Greg. Apart from our obvious fundamental difference. What's missing from capitalists right now, and past, is *conviction* - in Capitalism. Put it another way, I can't see a rebirth of laissez-faire  ~only~ by means of the intellectual arguments from secular intellectuals and Objectivists. Independence from governments insisted upon by individualists and small businessmen, who are convinced of its rightness will have to be the major driver to achieve that end. While I consider Capitalism, in the Rand mode, as the consequence of a rational morality and individual freedom (not a derivative morality in itself) it is going to need many numbers like yourself, who understand with the conviction from experience, that people do best and are at their best when trading values. From "our" side, supporters of LFC in theory ought to do more to tap into them and combine intellectual forces, 'on the ground' - so to say.

There can be no business transaction without shared ethical values, so my conviction for Capitalism is what puts me in touch with others like myself and we create wealth together. I have never found the lack of Capitalists to be an impediment... because it doesn't exist. We always find each other.

I also discovered this moral principle: The more I govern myself... the more the government leaves me alone to govern myself. So there's no need to wait around for the birth of laissez-faire when I already enjoy it right now.

The solution can never be found in a collective... but only in sovereign independent individuals who share the same ethical values.

Greg

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An emotion is an automatic response, an automatic effect of man’s value premises. An effect, not a cause. There is no necessary clash, no dichotomy between man’s reason and his emotions—provided he observes their proper relationship. A rational man knows—or makes it a point to discover—the source of his emotions, the basic premises from which they come; if his premises are wrong, he corrects them. He never acts on emotions for which he cannot account, the meaning of which he does not understand. In appraising a situation, he knows why he reacts as he does and whether he is right. He has no inner conflicts, his mind and his emotions are integrated, his consciousness is in perfect harmony. His emotions are not his enemies, they are his means of enjoying life. But they are not his guide; the guide is his mind. This relationship cannot be reversed, however. If a man takes his emotions as the cause and his mind as their passive effect, if he is guided by his emotions and uses his mind only to rationalize or justify them somehow—then he is acting immorally, he is condemning himself to misery, failure, defeat, and he will achieve nothing but destruction—his own and that of others.

Playboy Interview: Ayn Rand
Playboy, March 1964

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It is interesting how superior thinkers could get something as relatively simple as emotions so wrong. To Hume they were quasi-mystical "original instances" in our minds, with Reason their servant. Kant didn't do much better: following a line of Sublimists, he also treated emotions as primary cause, except having it that reason should subsequently prevail over an emotion. They weren't identity-and identification-based philosophers. It stands to reason and common sense that one can't feel an emotion until one perceives and knows what 'some thing' - in reality - IS. I.e., has first identified and placed value (/disvalue) in an existent (or memory, thought) that arouses some emotion.  Further and less self-evident, is that the type of emotion one experiences depends ultimately upon one's premises, which may be one's own (and rational, or not so much) or absorbed from other people. It's quite straightforward ... when the explanation has been articulated by an objective thinker. The errors of the other philosophers might be simply explained. It looks like they confused the metaphysically given and the man-made. They just didn't express it in those terms. For Rand emotionality - as with consciousness - is sure enough metaphysically given, as a *faculty*. However - for each and every person, the emotions themselves are individually 'man-made', variously dependent on, and the consequence of one's own thoughts and deliberated values. Which is observably true when we see the range of emotions a gathering of people can show to exactly the same existent.

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18 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I recall an Ayn Rand declamation that diligent work in Objectivism could raise a person's IQ. I declaim in support that an emotional intelligence quotient should also rise after such diligence.

 

 

"I declaim in support that an emotional intelligence quotient should also rise after such diligence".

One of the plums that have come from this thread, imo. Quite right I'm sure, William, you see the causal connection: The more one perceives, the more one thinks, the more one knows, the more one values, the more one cares and feels. You might have seen that Rand said on some occasion that she only let her emotions go down so far (or similar). Strange, at first glance. However, let's consider that she had a conceptual reach, breadth and depth which few will come close to comprehending. ("The ideal as a thinker is to keep the universe with you at all times". Well, OK, yeah. Easier for you, AR.)

With that context, of the extent of what she knew, could instantly grasp, and could accurately forsee the consequences of --the expanse and intensity of her actual/potential resultant emotions which would arise in her for her every thought, has to be truly mind-boggling. For one to allow that expanse of emotions full sway, must be overpowering, I can only surmise.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The defining difference doesn't exist in either thinking or feeling... but only in doing.

I don't hesitate to act contrary to my thoughts and emotions when I see that it's right to do so. In this way I am able to set into motion chains of causality which are outside the realm of transient thought and irrational emotion.

 

Greg

 

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4 hours ago, moralist said:

I don't hesitate to act contrary to my thoughts and emotions when I see that it's right to do so.

If your action is not based on thought and not based on emotion, then what is it based on?

Faith in God and Bible?

 

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2 hours ago, jts said:

If your action is not based on thought and not based on emotion, then what is it based on?

Faith in God and Bible?

 

No.

Faith doesn't even enter into the picture as far as I'm concerned. I have zero faith in God. For I already know by my own personal experience that He exists... as does the objective reality of His immutable moral law.

So I act on what I see is right to do in the moment... which may or may not agree with whatever thoughts or emotions I might have concerning it. In my experience I found thought and emotion to be highly unreliable indicators by which to guide my actions.

 

Greg

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40 minutes ago, moralist said:

No.

Faith doesn't even enter into the picture as far as I'm concerned. I have zero faith in God. For I already know by my own personal experience that He exists... as does the objective reality of His immutable moral law.

So I act on what I see is right to do in the moment... which may or may not agree with whatever thoughts or emotions I might have concerning it. In my experience I found thought and emotion to be highly unreliable indicators by which to guide my actions.

 

Greg

What happened to reason is our only means of knowledge and our only guide to action?

Are you talking about mysticism?

 

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2 hours ago, jts said:

What happened to reason is our only means of knowledge and our only guide to action?

Are you talking about mysticism?

 

It's quite the opposite of mysticism. I described my approach which is not to trust thought or emotion and instead to go by what I actually see in the moment is right to do. From my own personal experience, I found this approach yields the best results for me, so that's what I do. Since there's no need for me to try to convince you or anyone else, you're of course completely free to do whatever you want.

 

Greg

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30 minutes ago, moralist said:

It's quite the opposite of mysticism. I described my approach which is not to trust thought or emotion and instead to go by what I actually see in the moment is right to do. From my own personal experience, I found this approach yields the best results for me, so that's what I do. Since there's no need for me to try to convince you or anyone else, you're of course completely free to do whatever you want.

 

Greg

It's not reason and not emotion and not mysticism. You don't give a concrete example. The only way I can even try to understand what you are talking about is what Kasparov calls 'intuition' in his book 'How Life Imitates Chess'. He devoted a whole chapter to intuition. (Kasparov was world chess champion 1985 to 2000 and probably the best chess player in history until Magnus Carlsen.)

I have often wondered what Ayn Rand would say about intuition as Kasparov and others describe it. Is it a kind of reason? Is it mysticism? Peikoff dismisses intuition as mysticism but I suspect that he is mistaken. I tried to get a discussion going in OL about intuition but it seems nobody has much to say about it. I asked Peikoff a question about intuition when he was answering questions but no response.

So far as I know, every world class chess player believes in intuition, at least in chess. Intuition is often mentioned in chess literature. There is even a book or 2 about intuition in chess.

Capablanca, wc 1921-1927, said I know the best move, you figure it out, I know it.

Alekhine, wc 1927-??, claimed he could smell combinations, speaking metaphorically of course, meaning he could intuit them.

Tal, wc 1860-1961, known for his great tactical skill, said he was not a particularly calculating player, meaning he relied heavily on intuition.

Petrosian, wc 1963-1969, said: I know that I am not in form when the first move I see is not the best move.

Karpov, wc 1975-1985, asked what he has that a computer chess program doesn't have, said: intuition.

Vishy Anand, the guy who Carlsen beat for the world title, when he was young and in his prime, could consistently make grandmaster quality moves instantly apparently without thinking. "the first move I see"

Kasparov on Magnus Carlsen:

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Carlsen has a knack for sensing the potential energy in each move, even if its ultimate effect is too far away for anyone — even a computer — to calculate. In the grand-master commentary room, where chess’s clerisy gather to analyze play, the experts did not even consider several of Carlsen’s moves during his game with Kramnik until they saw them and realized they were perfect. “It’s hard to explain,” Carlsen says. “Sometimes a move just feels right.”

We see the theme of intuition again and again among world chess champions. I would like to see an explanation of this in terms of Objectivist epistemology. Peikoff's denial is not acceptable.

Kasparov's main points in his chapter on intuition as I remember are:

-->  You can't explain it and you can't ignore it.

-->  Intuition is where everything else comes together. It is the highest level of skill.

-->  Intuition is based on experience. A beginner in chess can't have intuition in chess.

    -->  Experience is not merely what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

    -->  To develop as a chess player or as anything else, you should seek opportunities to gain experience.

    -->  Intuition based on experience that does not apply can be misleading. (The atom bomb will not work and I speak as an expert on explosives.)

-->  The things we think of as advantages, more time to think and more information, can easily short circuit what is more important -- intuition.

-->  Intuition works better under pressure, at least for some people.

-->  Intuition can be developed by using it, like a muscle.

As Kasparov says, intuition applies to more than just chess. An experienced doctor has an intuition about a health problem. An experienced judge (Judge Judy) has an intuition about whether a person is lying. An experienced employer has an intuition about a job applicant (Edison vs Tesla). An experienced police detective has an intuition about a crime pattern. An experienced business man has an intuition about a business opportunity. An experienced scientist has an intuition that leads to a theory.

I think maybe Ayn Rand forgot to include a chapter about intuition in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology".

 

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2 hours ago, jts said:

 

As Kasparov says, intuition applies to more than just chess. An experienced doctor has an intuition about a health problem. An experienced judge (Judge Judy) has an intuition about whether a person is lying. An experienced employer has an intuition about a job applicant (Edison vs Tesla). An experienced police detective has an intuition about a crime pattern. An experienced business man has an intuition about a business opportunity. An experienced scientist has an intuition that leads to a theory.

I think maybe Ayn Rand forgot to include a chapter about intuition in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology".

 

Chess and Go  playing computer algorithms now can beat human champions.  Intuition,  needed by humans,  but not required by algorithms.

Tricky word, "intuition"  it refers to a type of thinking that cannot be readily expressed in a formal, linear logical way.  One form of "intuition" is the ability a human has to plot a slow enough ballistic  object as it flies through the air in a free fall trajectory without setting up a differential equation of motion.  A ten year old kid can shag a fly ball without knowing a line of mathematics.  We have built in brain processes that can simulate or approximate a ballistic  orbit.  This is one of the gifts of our three pound brain.   If we had 300 pound brains we might be able to  do solutions to the Navier Stokes equation by "intuition".  Since  we have only three pound brains we need a zillion dollar super-computer properly programmed to come up with a crude approximate solution. 

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2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Chess and Go  playing computer algorithms now can beat human champions.  Intuition,  needed by humans,  but not required by algorithms.

Tricky word, "intuition"  it refers to a type of thinking that cannot be readily expressed in a formal, linear logical way.  One form of "intuition" is the ability a human has to plot a slow enough ballistic  object as it flies through the air in a free fall trajectory without setting up a differential equation of motion.  A ten year old kid can shag a fly ball without knowing a line of mathematics.  We have built in brain processes that can simulate or approximate a ballistic  orbit.  This is one of the gifts of our three pound brain.   If we had 300 pound brains we might be able to  do solutions to the Navier Stokes equation by "intuition".  Since  we have only three pound brains we need a zillion dollar super-computer properly programmed to come up with a crude approximate solution. 

The human brain evolved as a means of survival, not necessarily as a logic machine or a calculating machine. The human brain can function as a calculating machine poorly like a wrench can be used as a substitute for a hammer to drive a nail. But it is remarkable that the best human chess players can play chess as well as they do. For example click on game one of the TCEC season 9 superfinal.

Start with black's 11th move because the previous moves are book. Observe the speed in kilonodes per second and the size of the search tree. Like 67 million nodes per second  and a search tree of 30 billion nodes for Houdini's 11th move. Stockfish responds with 51 million nodes per second and a search tree of 22 billion nodes for move 12. Scroll down a bit and you will see graphs: evaluation, time usage, depth, speed, tablebase hits. A contest between a human and a chess engine is a contest between intelligence and speed. The human mind thinks ideas; the chess engines 'thinks' moves.

 

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9 hours ago, jts said:

It's not reason and not emotion and not mysticism. You don't give a concrete example.opportunity.

Doing what's right even though thought and emotion tell you to do what's wrong is an act of Conscience. The choice to act contrary to your thoughts and emotions is an ability that many people are not even aware of. They compulsively act on every thought and emotion as if they had no choice... when in reality they always have a choice.

A concrete example:

Say someone cuts me off driving, I experience anger and thoughts of taking actions that are wrong. But I choose to act contrary to  my angry emotions and thoughts to do what's wrong, and instead I simply choose to continue driving safely as if it did not happen. This is an example of how Conscience overrides thought and emotion.

 

Greg

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Ba’al wrote: One form of "intuition" is the ability a human has to plot a slow enough ballistic object as it flies through the air in a free fall trajectory without setting up a differential equation of motion.  A ten year old kid can shag a fly ball without knowing a line of mathematics. end quote  

Trajectories. Graphs. Calculations. As I have described before, to me that brought back memories of Army artillery school, or at least the peripheral, common sense part of it that I studied. As a spec 4 rookie I stood there at the bottom of a hill watching shells being lobbed over my head so slowly that they only went a couple of hundred yards before they went boom. They had fake charges in them like a giant fire cracker and were used to practice destroying the North Koreans if they were just on the other side of the hill. New guys had to stand there watching the shells fly over until their brains told them to vacate the premises against orders. When I took off, along with two other guys, the artillery men laughed their heads off. And I did not get latrine duty.  

To paraphrase Ba’al’s assertion: “How can a physical reaction like shagging a ball be like intuition?”

But used as a simile you are quite right. A human mind does the same as a computer program. A computer program (willingly, gladly, unknowingly) could shoot a cannon at itself quite accurately but a human cannot *move* so that the baseball will strike him in the head. Well, not without money on the line or too much “show off juice” in his brain. But the results of both computations are remarkably similar. We may be more emotional but we are a lot smarter than a mindless computer.

Star Trek’s android character Data, did not fear for his life but he had learned to value his life. He did not wish to cease functioning. And once he learned the proper usage of the word “wish” he almost seemed human.

Peter   

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The Supreme Court nominee was recently saying his rulings will upset half the people all the time. That is false, though I get his point. Intuition should tell him that it is possible that a majority of Americans want to keep the Constitution intact.

Moralist wrote: Doing what's right even though thought and emotion tell you to do what's wrong is an act of Conscience. The choice to act contrary to your thoughts and emotions is an ability that many people are not even aware of. They compulsively act on every thought and emotion as if they had no choice... when in reality they always have a choice. end quote  

Thanks for reading Atlas Shrugged. You seem more intelligent now. Yet, I can’t agree with what you said. Objectivism would say your emotions should be in sync with your thoughts, if those thoughts exhibit reasoning.

If you act contrary to your reasoning thoughts to fulfill some “contrary to reason task,” like not keeping your store open on a Friday because the gods say rest, then you are being irrational and contrary to the laws of self-preservation and contrary to the laws of the universe. If you decide to shut down on Fridays because you are tired that is reasonable. If you shut down on Fridays because the invisible guy on Mount Olympus says you should shut down on Fridays then you are being irrational.

You can claim that your reasons are derived from experience and what is best for you but that is abject subjectivism if you are postulating laws of existence. Going along with cultish companions is also irrational. "Is it right or wrong" is contrary to "I must do as He said." Trying to reconcile the two is subjectivism. 

Peter   

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6 hours ago, jts said:

The human brain evolved as a means of survival, not necessarily as a logic machine or a calculating machine. The human brain can function as a calculating machine poorly like a wrench can be used as a substitute for a hammer to drive a nail. But it is remarkable that the best human chess players can play chess as well as they do. For example click on game one of the TCEC season 9 superfinal.

Start with black's 11th move because the previous moves are book. Observe the speed in kilonodes per second and the size of the search tree. Like 67 million nodes per second  and a search tree of 30 billion nodes for Houdini's 11th move. Stockfish responds with 51 million nodes per second and a search tree of 22 billion nodes for move 12. Scroll down a bit and you will see graphs: evaluation, time usage, depth, speed, tablebase hits. A contest between a human and a chess engine is a contest between intelligence and speed. The human mind thinks ideas; the chess engines 'thinks' moves.

 

I seriously doubt that humans do thorough tree searches.  The game tree of chess is so thick that even allowing for thousands of parallel search  at brain-neuron speed  would take for to long.  Tree searches is what computers are programmed to do.   How humans manage to pick out the good strategies is wll beyond my pay grade to figure out.  

22 billion nodes a second.  Even with 1000 parallel searches  the Human Brain would need to do 2.2 million sub tree scans a second.  There is no way the neurons work that fast.  There must be something else going on....

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2 hours ago, moralist said:

Doing what's right even though thought and emotion tell you to do what's wrong is an act of Conscience. The choice to act contrary to your thoughts and emotions is an ability that many people are not even aware of. They compulsively act on every thought and emotion as if they had no choice... when in reality they always have a choice.

 

What is conscience?  Is it a thing given by God or nature? Is it a product of education? In the latter case, people with different religious or philosophical education will have different conscience. Maybe conscience is merely habit.

 

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13 hours ago, jts said:

It's not reason and not emotion and not mysticism. You don't give a concrete example. The only way I can even try to understand what you are talking about is what Kasparov calls 'intuition' in his book 'How Life Imitates Chess'. He devoted a whole chapter to intuition. (Kasparov was world chess champion 1985 to 2000 and probably the best chess player in history until Magnus Carlsen.)

I have often wondered what Ayn Rand would say about intuition as Kasparov and others describe it. Is it a kind of reason? Is it mysticism? Peikoff dismisses intuition as mysticism but I suspect that he is mistaken. I tried to get a discussion going in OL about intuition but it seems nobody has much to say about it. I asked Peikoff a question about intuition when he was answering questions but no response.

So far as I know, every world class chess player believes in intuition, at least in chess. Intuition is often mentioned in chess literature. There is even a book or 2 about intuition in chess.

Capablanca, wc 1921-1927, said I know the best move, you figure it out, I know it.

Alekhine, wc 1927-??, claimed he could smell combinations, speaking metaphorically of course, meaning he could intuit them.

Tal, wc 1860-1961, known for his great tactical skill, said he was not a particularly calculating player, meaning he relied heavily on intuition.

Petrosian, wc 1963-1969, said: I know that I am not in form when the first move I see is not the best move.

Karpov, wc 1975-1985, asked what he has that a computer chess program doesn't have, said: intuition.

Vishy Anand, the guy who Carlsen beat for the world title, when he was young and in his prime, could consistently make grandmaster quality moves instantly apparently without thinking. "the first move I see"

Kasparov on Magnus Carlsen:

We see the theme of intuition again and again among world chess champions. I would like to see an explanation of this in terms of Objectivist epistemology. Peikoff's denial is not acceptable.

Kasparov's main points in his chapter on intuition as I remember are:

-->  You can't explain it and you can't ignore it.

-->  Intuition is where everything else comes together. It is the highest level of skill.

-->  Intuition is based on experience. A beginner in chess can't have intuition in chess.

    -->  Experience is not merely what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

    -->  To develop as a chess player or as anything else, you should seek opportunities to gain experience.

    -->  Intuition based on experience that does not apply can be misleading. (The atom bomb will not work and I speak as an expert on explosives.)

-->  The things we think of as advantages, more time to think and more information, can easily short circuit what is more important -- intuition.

-->  Intuition works better under pressure, at least for some people.

-->  Intuition can be developed by using it, like a muscle.

As Kasparov says, intuition applies to more than just chess. An experienced doctor has an intuition about a health problem. An experienced judge (Judge Judy) has an intuition about whether a person is lying. An experienced employer has an intuition about a job applicant (Edison vs Tesla). An experienced police detective has an intuition about a crime pattern. An experienced business man has an intuition about a business opportunity. An experienced scientist has an intuition that leads to a theory.

I think maybe Ayn Rand forgot to include a chapter about intuition in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology".

 

The explanation commonly and fondly accepted, IS mystical (or arbitrary). "Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired". (Wikipedia)

I think the objective explanation could be that not "understanding how the knowledge was acquired" - does not mean it wasn't "acquired", or the process can't be understood just because one doesn't understand it in the instant..

Psychology Today comes closest, objectively: "We think of intuition as a magical phenomenon--but hunches are formed out of our past experiences and knowledge".

Simply, to 'know' something you had to know something previously. Peikoff wrote that everything in our consciousness came about by conscious means, which I think is self-evidently true. Intuition is no mystical or instinctive insight, nor 'a second sight', I think it is a rough aggregate of one's sense perceptions, inductive experiences, subconscious memory and the result of much prior mulling over of past experiences. The answer apparently 'Comes in a flash'. It may not be reliable, though. To be specific to the limited realm of game play and with great dependability, the good chess player does not have to have been in a given position before, to quickly perceive a "pattern recognition" of the play and know how to proceed.

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56 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

I seriously doubt that humans do thorough tree searches.  The game tree of chess is so thick that even allowing for thousands of parallel search  at brain-neuron speed  would take for to long.  Tree searches is what computers are programmed to do.   How humans manage to pick out the good strategies is wll beyond my pay grade to figure out.  

22 billion nodes a second.  Even with 1000 parallel searches  the Human Brain would need to do 2.2 million sub tree scans a second.  There is no way the neurons work that fast.  There must be something else going on....

That's 22 billion nodes for the move, 51 million per second. Still lots. They play hundreds of Elo rating points above the human world champion. But yes, there is something else going on. An MRI of Susan Polgar's brain while she was thinking chess showed that the part of the brain she used to play chess was the part that recognizes faces. Pattern recognition.

 

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