Roger Bissell

Biographical Notes on George H. Smith, various sources

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The following was posted on Peter Jaworski's web site:

George H. Smith

Since 1971, over 100 of his articles and book reviews have appeared in a wide range of publications, including
The New York Times
,
The Arizona Daily Star
,
Reason Magazine
,
Free Inquiry
,
The Humanist
,
Inquiry Magazine
,
Cato Policy Report
, I
nvictus
,
LD/Extemp Monthly
,
Liberty
,
The Voluntaryist
,
Book News
,
Journal of Libertarian Studies
,
Humane Studies Review
,
Independent Thinking Review
, etc.

During the 1980s, George worked for over six years as the General Editor of Knowledge Products, a Nashville-based company that produced educational tapes on philosophy, history, economics, and current affairs. During those years, in addition to his duties as editor, George was also the primary scriptwriter for "The Great Political Thinkers" series. Each of these tapes is approximately ninety minutes (around 42 manuscript pages) and discusses a classical text on a level that is appropriate for university students. George wrote several scripts, which were produced using professional narrators (including Walter Cronkite and George C. Scott) and actors. The tapes have been widely used in college classrooms.

1975-1982: Director and lecturer, Forum for Philosophical Studies, Los Angeles.

1977-1987: Lecturer on American History, Cato Institute summer seminars.

1977-1994: Senior Research Fellow and lecturer on political philosophy and intellectual history, Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University (Virginia). His primary job for IHS was teaching university students at seminars for three to six weeks every summer.

1983-1989: General editor and scriptwriter for Knowledge Products.

Currently, George is working on two books:
The Disciplines of Liberty
and
Happiness in a Godless World
(forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

The Wikipedia entry had the following information on George, some of which was linked to online essays:

George H. Smith (born 1949 in Spearsville, Louisiana) is a libertarian author. His published works often deal with such issues as capital punishment, anarchism, religious toleration, and atheism. He has written about William Wollaston, Herbert Spencer, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Ayn Rand, and other figures.

Bibliography

Atheism: The Case Against God
. 1974. ISBN 0-8402-1115-5 and ISBN 0-87975-124-X

"William Wollaston on Property Rights",
Journal of Libertarian Studies
, Vol. 2, no. 3, 1978, pp. 217-225.

"Justice Entrepreneurship in a Free Market",
Journal of Libertarian Studies
, Vol. 3, no. 4 (Winter 1979): pp. 405-26

"Justice Entrepreneurship Revisited",
Journal of Libertarian Studies
, Vol. 3, no. 4 (Winter 1979): pp. 453-69.

"Herbert Spencer's Theory of Causation",
Journal of Libertarian Studies
, Vol. 5 (Spring 1981), no. 2: pp. 113-152

Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies
. 1991. ISBN 0-87975-577-6

"A Killer’s Right to Life",
Liberty
, Vol. 10, no. 2 (November 1996): 46.

"Inalienable Rights?",
Liberty
, Vol. 10, no. 6 (July 1997): 51

Why Atheism?
2000. ISBN 1-57392-268-4

Reviews and commentary

David Gordon's review of Atheism: Ayn Rand and Other Heresies in
The Journal of Libertarian Studies
, Vol. 10, no. 2 (Fall 1992)

N. Stephan Kinsella's response to Smith regarding capital punishment

Steven Strasnick. "Justice Entrepreneurship in A Free Market": Comment

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Roger; Thanks for the notes on his life and the essays of George H. Smith. I had a tape of the memorial service for Roy Childs which I remember George as being one of the chief speakers. I sadly lost this tape in one of my many moves. I know George and Roy were friends. Joan Kennedy Taylor was one of the organizers of this sad event.

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Currently, George is working on two books: The Disciplines of Liberty and Happiness in a Godless World (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

I remember seeing this on some other website years ago. I've done some looking around on the internet for the latter book and this is what I could find.

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...?showtopic=2261

The following was posted on Peter Jaworski's web site:

Currently, George is working on two books: The Disciplines of Liberty and Happiness in a Godless World (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).

http://www.rationalists.org/resources/debates/smith.php

Chat with George Smith on atheism and objectivism, 2/18/2001

George Smith: Massimo, I've just signed another contract with Prometheus for a book titled "Happiness in a Godless World." A lot of it will deal with the history of secular vs. religious ethics.

Massimo: George, glad to hear about the book! Wonderful idea. Though it should be published by a major outlet such as Norton, instead of good 'ol Prometheus.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearc...isbn=1591020387

Paperback

ISBN: 1591020387

Pub. Date: January 1905

Product Details

ISBN: 1591020387

ISBN-13: 9781591020387

Format: Paperback, 250pp

Publisher: Prometheus Books

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Happiness-Godless-...h/dp/1591020387

Paperback: 250 pages

Publisher: Prometheus Books (20 Jan 2003)

Language English

ISBN-10: 1591020387

ISBN-13: 978-1591020387

http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/registry...id=AMM7RVBW1CFE

Happiness in a Godless World

This item is no longer available.

http://www.firstandsecond.com/store/books/...tSearch=2153220

Happiness in a Godless World

by Smith, George H.; (Author)

ISBN: 1591020387

Edition: Paperback, ENG

Dimensions: 250pp

Publisher: Prometheus Books (Published: 1/2003)

This book can not be found on the Prometheus Books website although I do recall seeing a book cover and a description of it a long time ago. So did it ever make it to print or not? I'm pretty sure that books show up on sites like amazon with isbn numbers long before you can actually purchase them. So I have to wonder if Smith scrapped that project for good, or just for a bit. What, if anything, has anyone heard about this book?

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Well I was going through my old philosophy books and I found my 3 George H. Smith books. ATCAG, WA, and AARAOH. I remembered he was supposed to publish Happiness in a Godless World. So I did some googling and found this old topic. I also found the posts from eager reader with a tektonics.org critique. Low and behold, in the margin of a page in ATCAG, I made a pencil note about that same website. So I concluded that it was me years ago and I just forgot what I did. Hence, my similar username.

Nobody responded years ago, and the last time anyone posted anything in the George H. Smith corner was last year. I sent a PM to George through this site. I hope he gets it.

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It is odd that the people / celebrities on OL are no longer posting. I like Ghs's books and I hope he publishes more . . . soon. 

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6 hours ago, Peter said:

It is odd that the people / celebrities on OL are no longer posting.

Peter,

It's my fault for coming out in favor of President Trump.

In the beginning, nobody wanted to support him for different reasons. Now lots of O-Land people are coming around, but nobody wants to get slimed by the anti-Trumpers. These last remind me of the PARC supporters back during the time Valliant was plodding along (but trying to rage) against the Brandens. They were few, but they were extremely active online. One of them would post for the equivalent of 100.

Have no fear, though. Over time, the good will TRiUMPh. 

:) 

Michael

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14 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Have no fear, though. Over time, the good will TRiUMPh. 

Little 'I" little "h". What's this guy talking about teacher?

"Just kinda blur your eyes children and you will see" Trump~

On an earlier post I saw the word "biographical" but my brain processed "biological."   

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Wow. Ghs is brilliant and erudite as he speaks of volition, free will, and soft determinism. Peter

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" <atlantis Subject: ATL: Aristotle on choice Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 11:09:06 -0600. As I have noted before, one of the best treatments of "choice" ever written appears in Book III of Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics.* The following sketch of his basic points is from the translation by W.D. Ross in *The Basic Works of Aristotle,* ed. Richard McKeon (Random House, 1941).

This summary is taken from Aristotle's introductory remarks on pp. 967-71, after which he explains and defends his views in more detail -- so please don't take this as a comprehensive statement. I encourage everyone to read Aristotle's discussion in its entirety, for two reasons. First, it exerted an enormous influence on subsequent advocates of "free will." Second, it is filled with insights, distinctions, and arguments that every volitionist (including Objectivists) will find of value, even if they take exception to some points.

Summary: Choice does not pertain to what is impossible. We can wish for something impossible (e.g., immortality), but we cannot choose it. An agent chooses "only the things that he thinks could be brought about by his own efforts." Wish relates the end of action, whereas choice relates to the means. For example, we can wish to be healthy but we cannot choose to be healthy per se, because this does not lie directly in our power. Instead, we choose *means,* or specific actions, that we think will make us healthy.

Choice "involves a rational principle and thought." This means that choice is preceded by deliberation. This distinguishes the realm of choice from the realm of the voluntary. All chosen actions are voluntary, but not all voluntary actions are chosen. Something is voluntary if "the moving principle is in the agent himself, he being aware of the particular circumstances of the action." Hence if we act spontaneously from a strong passion, this action is voluntary (i.e., it  was not compelled by an external agent) but not chosen per se, because it was not the result of deliberation.

The same is true of habitual actions. These are voluntary but not chosen, since to act from habit is to act without conscious reflection or deliberation. We can, however, choose means that we believe will alter our habits; and it is also the case that our habits are the result of earlier choices. This notion of indirect choice (which is my characterization, not Aristotle's) plays a crucial role in Aristotle's treatment of virtues and vices, which are essentially good and bad moral habits.

(Aristotle's distinction between the voluntary and the chosen – which he discusses in far more detail than indicated here -- is relevant to the topic of soft determinism. He would maintain that the soft determinist confuses voluntary actions with chosen actions. Suppose that all of our actions are necessitated by antecedent causes. Although these determined actions can be described a "voluntary" (because the source of action lies within the agent), they are not a matter of choice. This is because choice presupposes deliberation, and we deliberate only about *alternatives* that we regard as both possible and within our power to do or not to do. )

Aristotle asks: "Do we deliberate about everything, and is everything a possible subject of deliberation, or is deliberation impossible about some things?"

We do not deliberate about things that occur necessarily or by nature, nor about chance events. (These are other ways of saying that we do not deliberate about things that lie outside of our control.) For instance, we do not deliberate about solstices, droughts or rains, nor about the accidental finding of a treasure. Nor do we deliberate about every human action, but only about those things that "can be brought about by our own efforts."

In short, "we deliberate about things that are in our own power and can be done." This means that we do not deliberate about the conclusions of the exact sciences in which conclusions follow with logical necessity from evident premises. Nor do we deliberate about how the letters of the alphabet shall be written, for such matters have already been determined (by convention, in this case) and present no options. Deliberation is possible only when (1) alternatives are possible, and (2) these alternatives lie within our own power to do or not to do. "Deliberation is concerned with things that happen in a certain way for the most part, but in which the event is obscure, and with things in which it is indeterminate."

"We deliberate about ends but not about means." A doctor qua doctor does not deliberate about whether he shall heal, for this purpose is a defining characteristic of his profession. This end is assumed -- it is accepted as a given by the doctor qua doctor -- who deliberates only about the means appropriate to healing, when different options present themselves and a course of action is not absolutely dictated by logical necessity. (Aristotle obviously does not deny that one can deliberate about becoming a doctor, but in this case the profession is viewed as a *means* to some other end, e.g., a fulfilling way of life, a good living, or happiness.)

All deliberation is a type of investigation; to deliberate is to consider various means and to assess their relative desirability vis-à-vis a given end. And if, during the course of this investigation, we encounter an impossibility, we "give up the search" because we realize that something is not within our power. (E.g., "if we need money and this cannot be got; but if a thing appears possible we try to do   it.") Deliberation "is about the things to be done by the agent himself, and actions are for the sake of things other than themselves."

The object of deliberation in a particular case is the same as the object of choice, "except that the object of choice is already determinate, since it is that which has been decided upon as a result of deliberation that is the object of choice."  Again: "The object of choice being one of the things in our own power which is desired after deliberation, choice will be deliberate desire of things in our own power; for when we have decided as a result of deliberation, we desire in accordance with our deliberation."

(The term "deliberate desire" is very important. Aristotle denies that our choices are necessitated by our desires. True, we don't choose something unless we desire it in some sense, but can generate, and thereby control, our desires through deliberation, which is an intellectual process that a person has the power to initiate and direct. To put the same point in Randian terms, feelings are not a primary.) Ghs

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: Aristotle on choice Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 17:21:29 -0600 Regarding my summary of "Aristotle on choice," Peter Taylor wrote: "George, I know we are delving into the realm of psychology and psychologizing but what would Aristotle say about the consequences of thinking of oneself as a determined being?  I try to imagine myself in that bizarre position and I can only imagine acting in a nihilistic manner, coming to a crossroads, and going whichever way "seems" right for me. The alternative is paranoia and waiting for the decision to be made by antecedent causality."

Aristotle doesn't discuss the free-will/determinism controversy explicitly (at least not in his extant texts). He seems to consider the power to choose freely to be an obvious characteristic of rational and purposeful human beings, one that is clearly revealed through introspection. And I think he would further maintain that a consistent empiricist should take introspective evidence as seriously as he takes extrospective evidence, especially since knowledge based on the latter *depends* on the reliability of the former. In short, if we cannot trust our internal experiences, then we have no foundation on which to base objective knowledge of anything, including the external world. .

In his classic book, *Outlines of Greek Philosophy,*  Eduard Zeller writes: "Aristotle presupposes quite arbitrarily the freedom of the will and attempts to prove it by the fact that virtue is voluntary and that we are universally held accountable for our actions" (Dover, 1980). Although I wouldn't put it this way -- for one thing, I think "arbitrarily" is an inaccurate characterization-- it is certainly correct to say that Aristotle's stresses the inextricable relationship between free choice and moral phenomena. It is scarcely coincidental that Aristotle discusses "choice" in his work on ethics, where he repeatedly emphasizes that moral judgments apply *only* to actions that lie within our power to do or to forbear.

According to Aristotle, "where it is in our power to act, it is also in our power not to act, and vice versa." This power of choice originates in reason. Choice is the "efficient cause" of an action, but the cause of choice is "desire and reasoning with view to an end." This latter is deliberation, which is a function of practical (as opposed to theoretic, or speculative) reason. Depending on the context, Aristotle also describes this fusion of reason and desire as "desiderative reason" and "ratiocinative desire." Here is a summary from Mortimer J. Adler's magnum opus, *The Idea of Freedom* (vol. I, p 469):

"Beyond desiderative and practical reason, as the power by which man deliberates and chooses, there is no efficient cause of the choices he makes. When Aristotle, referring to desiderative reason, says that 'such an *origin* of action is a man,' he is attributing to a human being the power of *initiating* his own actions by virtue of his practical reason as a first or active moving principle. Just as in the speculative order (i.e., the sphere of knowing) Aristotle posits the *agent*-intellect which acts without being acted upon, so in the practical order (i.e., the sphere of doing or making) he treats practical reason as an *active* power and a *first* cause -- a first cause, that is, with respect to man's own acts, not with respect to the cosmos."

This is background information. I have yet directly to address Peter's question, viz: "what would Aristotle say about the consequences of thinking of oneself as a determined being?" I suspect he would maintain that determinism in any form flatly contradicts introspective evidence, and that it would make nonsense of our subjective experiences. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most obvious is our need for deliberation. We deliberate *only* because we believe that two or more alternatives are possible, and that it within our choice among these alternatives. For Aristotle (as I noted above) choice presupposes "the power to act" or "not to act" in regard to particular means. .

This raises the interesting question of how Aristotle would argue against determinism. I suspect his argument would resemble his argument (in the *Metaphysics*) against a person who claims to deny the Law of Non-Contradiction (e.g., a person who claims that the same proposition can be both true and false at the same time and in the same respect). Aristotle contends that not all knowledge is strictly demonstrable, because we will ultimately encounter premises and axioms that cannot themselves be proven. Nevertheless, there is a kind of argument – which he calls "dialectical" -- that can be used here.

Unlike a demonstrative argument, which begins with "first principles," a dialectical argument begins with the *opinions* that men hold about a certain subject. The purpose of a dialectical argument is to back one's adversary into an untenable corner by showing that his opinion carries implications that even he would be unwilling to accept. As Zeller indicates, Aristotle would claim that a consistent determinist would be logically required to expunge all normative terms from his language and way of thinking, which is clearly impossible.

It is also likely (though I am obviously speculating here) that Aristotle would argue against the determinist by pointing out that deliberation itself presupposes free choice. We do not deliberate about things which we believe to be impossible. Deliberation *begins* at the point where we believe that various means are possible* for us. Hence if we truly believed that only *one* action is possible, there would be nothing to deliberate *about.* We *stop* our investigation of means *precisely* at the point where we become convinced that something is *impossible.* Hence to deliberate between different means, X and Y, presupposes that we believe that we have the power to choose *either* X or Y.

Therefore, just as Aristotle claims that a person who denies the Law of Non-Contradiction reduces himself to the intellectual status of a vegetable, so he would probably maintain that the person who implicitly repudiates the function of deliberative reason, which chooses between *possible* means in pursuit of a goal, reduces himself to the status of a lower animal or automaton, in effect, by failing to understand the proper role of reason as an efficient cause (a fundamental explanatory principle) of human action. Ghs

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: Aristotle on choice Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 18:07:38 -0600 I wrote: "(Aristotle's distinction between the voluntary and the chosen – which he discusses in far more detail than indicated here -- is relevant to the topic of soft determinism. He would maintain that the soft determinist confuses voluntary actions with chosen actions."

Bill Dwyer replied: "On the contrary, the distinction that Aristotle makes between voluntary and chosen actions is perfectly compatible with soft determinism, for the soft determinist would say that our choice to deliberate is itself determined by our interest in deciding which alternative is most worth choosing."

The determinist might say this, but Aristotle would not. Aristotle would say that the choice to deliberate is caused by the *agent,* not his "interests." I sometimes wonder if any philosopher has ever written anything about this subject that Bill would not claim is somehow compatible with soft determinism. In any case, I was discussing *Aristotle's* distinction between voluntary actions and chosen actions, not Bill's. Aristotle makes it *very* clear that a "choice" entails the *metaphysical* power to do or not to do a particular action. If only one alternatives is possible (and the reason for this necessity, be it internal or external, is irrelevant to Aristotle argument), then deliberation is pointless and authentic choice is impossible.

We need to distinguish between our understanding of Aristotle and how a determinist might respond to his arguments. Bill's analysis clearly runs contrary to the central idea behind Aristotle's distinction. For Aristotle, deliberation involves matters that are contingent rather than necessary, and without deliberation there can be no choice. A deliberation that is somehow necessitated by antecedent causes makes no sense within Aristotle's framework, as he made clear on many occasions.

I wrote: "Suppose that all of our actions are necessitated by antecedent causes. Although these determined actions can be described as "voluntary" (because the source of action lies within the agent), they are not a matter of choice. This is because choice presupposes deliberation, and we deliberate only about *alternatives* that we regard as both possible and within our power to do or not to do.)"

Bill replied: "Yes, alternatives that we regard as possible and within our power to do IF we decide they are ~worth~ doing, and as possible and within our power ~not~ to do IF we decide they are ~not~ worth doing.  It is this kind of conditional possibility that is a pre-requisite for choice.  The action must be within our power to do ~if~ we decide that it's worth choosing.  But it does not have to be within our power to do, if we decide that it's NOT worth choosing."

Aristotle would claim that Bill doesn't understand the nature of deliberation. We deliberate in order to *decide* whether or not an action is worth doing, but before we can do this we must *first* believe that the action is *possible* for us to do. Hence if we didn't first believe that two or more alternatives are *possible* for us, we would not use deliberative reason in order to decide which is the most desirable.

For Aristotle, the *metaphysical* judgment of whether an action is *possible* precedes (and is presupposed by) the *normative* judgment of whether it is *desirable.* If we have already decided that an action is desirable, then there is no *need* for deliberation, for this means we have *already* decided on a course of action. We deliberate for the *purpose* of determining what is desirable and what is not. This is what Aristotle means in speaking of a "deliberate desire." This is a desire that follows from deliberation, and is caused by it.

I must say that Bill's arguments about what is supposedly in our power if we value or desire such and such don't make a lot of sense to me, especially when we take into account his argument from an earlier post, namely, that *all* of our choices, desires, actions, etc., were strictly determined billions of years ago (extending into infinity) by causal events which we are absolutely powerless to change. This thesis renders his circular arguments about hypothetical possibilities even more pointless. This is hard determinism that will not speak its mind. Bill raises some additional issues that I will try to discuss at a later time. Ghs

From: PinkCrash7 To: atlantis Subject: ATL: RE: Aristotle on choice Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 20:15:56 EST Bill Dwyer wrote: "To say that one's choice is the ~result~ of one's deliberation is simply another way of saying that one's deliberation is the ~cause~ of one's choice."

No, it's not.  To make a free choice as a result of deliberation does not mean that the process of deliberation necessitated that that choice be made. That is where you are making the big leap, Superman.  The reasons for making a particular decision are not internally experienced as causally sufficient conditions for that decision to be made.  The individual still retains power and control; the choice is his alone -- not "caused" by the process that is under his own volitional control.  Likewise, once a decision is made, that decision does not "cause" an intentional action; the individual still has freedom and control over what he does. Debbie

From: "George H. Smith" Reply-To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Aristotle on choice Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2003 01:35:45 -0600 [This is a continuation of an earlier post.]

Bill Dwyer wrote: "Question:  Does Aristotle believe that we choose to deliberate?"

We have no choice but to deliberate about *something* if we are to take any actions at all. This is necessary for survival. But, according to Aristotle, we can choose *what* to deliberate about and *how* we deliberate -- e.g., , which particular aspect of an goal or means we choose to focus on, how long we shall continue to deliberate, which standards of evaluation are appropriate to a given deliberation, etc., etc.

This general ability -- which Aquinas described as the power "to consider or not to consider" and which William James described as the power of "selective attention" -- is nicely summarized by Michael Maher in his Thomistic text, *Psychology: Empirical and Rational* (Longmans, 1925, p. 406):

"If I study by introspection any process of voluntary attention, such as that involved in recalling a forgotten incident, or in guessing a riddle, I observe that I *myself* deliberately *guide* the course of my thoughts. I am conscious that I do this by fostering the strength of some ideas, and starving others....I determine not only what representations, but what *aspect of those representations* shall occupy my consciousness. In such cases I am conscious of exerting *free volition.* Further, throughout this process I apprehend myself as *causing* my mental activity -- I am immediately conscious of my attention as the *exercise of free causal energy* put forth by me."

Bill continued: "Apparently not, if he holds that deliberation ~precedes~ choice."

Thinking is a much broader activity than deliberation, which is a type of practical thinking that focuses on a particular goal. Aristotle did not believe that we can literally choose to think from scratch, for to be conscious is already to be thinking to some degree. Indeed, as he indicates in "On Dreams," Aristotle believed that we continue to think to some extent even while dreaming. (It would take a while to explain all of this.)

Aristotle held that all actions are motivated by our "appetitive faculty," which may roughly be described as "desire." We are not motivated by pure, or "speculative," reason alone. Only when reason is blended with desire are we motivated to act. The ultimate goal of all action is "happiness" (which is the same thing as the "good" when viewed from an intellectual perspective) -- this is part of our nature that we cannot change.

But Aristotle also maintained that man is not born with an innate or automatic knowledge of the good. In pursuing the "apparent good" (i.e., that which he thinks is good), he can be mistaken. He therefore has a standing motive to deliberate about those possible courses of action that will realize his potential as a rational being and further his happiness. But this is merely an incentive, not a necessitating cause. The only necessity here is the necessity to act according to *some* judgment of the apparent good, if we are to act at all. Our *particular* deliberations, in contrast, are a matter of choice.

It would be a serious error to suppose that Aristotle equates motives with necessitating causes. Of course we have a motive to deliberate, namely, our *desire* to take actions that will make us happy. But since this motive alone does not necessitate any *specific* deliberation, neither does it necessitate any *particular* choice, which is merely the end result of the deliberative process. (Basically, when you *choose* to stop deliberating, you have made a de facto choice.)

Bill wrote: "His view would seem to conflict, then, with Objectivism's, in which we do choose to deliberate (i.e., to think)."

No, there is no conflict here at all. Even Rand didn't maintain that we "choose to think" in the sense of moving from a literal state of unconsciousness to a state of consciousness. Rather, she meant that we increase the level, or intensity, of our awareness.

You wish to push Aristotle into an infinite regress, but this doesn't hold. If, as Aristotle believed, thinking is a natural activity of the human mind, then we are already thinking on some level *before* we choose to deliberate about a particular subject. The volitional agent can control the intensity and direction of his thinking. This is all that is required.

There are other issues involved here. For example, Aristotle would maintain that reasoning, an acquired skill, eventually becomes habitual in the form of an "intellectual virtue." This means that we don't methodically deliberate about choosing to deliberate, and so on ad infinitum, in each and every case. Rather, we frequently focus our attention as a matter of habit, when a situation presents itself that we recognize, from past experience, as one that requires our undivided attention. Aristotle somewhere notes that deliberation can occur in flash, once the procedure has become automatic. (I recall that Rand makes a similar point as well.)

Moreover, deliberation does not differ in kind from other kinds of reasoning. It is merely practical reason applied to a particular goal. As I noted before, deliberation does not jump-start itself. It is set in motion by a desire, after which we choose to think about the desire from various angles in order to decide whether or not to act upon it – and if so, how. The determinist will understand none of this, so long as he views a motive as if it were the first domino in a long line of dominos, such that after the first one falls all others must fall after it. This was of thinking was totally alien to Aristotle's approach to human psychology.

Bill wrote: "Indeed, according to Objectivism, our only real choice ~is~ the choice to deliberate or not to deliberate -- to think or not to think.  Every other choice is consequent upon it and is, therefore, according to Objectivism, not itself a real choice (at least, not a ~free~ choice)."

First, I am not altogether convinced that this was Rand's view. Second, if it was Rand's position, then Aristotle would have disagreed with it -- and so do I. We have many, many "free" choices beyond the "choice to think." To say that this choice is fundamental is *not* to say that it is our *only* authentic choice. Ghs

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Just this one more. What? Was George the voice of Bullwinkle? He worked for an educational toy company?

From: "George H. Smith" To: "Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Bullwinkle gag (was Re: Everett's Corner) Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 12:42:56 -0600/ I wrote: "Why is it that, upon reading these grand pronouncements, the sights and sounds of Bullwinkle's Corner come to mind, in which Bullwinkle counts off each point on the fingers of one hand -- until he gets flustered upon reaching number six?"

Roger Bissell replied: "LOL, George! But there is another eerie echo with the universe of Jay Ward. One of the most frequent voices heard on Rocky, Bullwinkle, and other cartoons was Edward Everett Horton. He didn't do as many voices as Mel Blanc, but he was a very respectable Honorable Mention."

Horton, as I recall, was the narrator for "Fractured Fairy Tales," but I don't recall his other voices on "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle." I remember Horton best for his hilarious performance on a classic episode of "I Love Lucy," in which a pregnant (they couldn't say this word on television then) Lucy, apprehensive that Ricky's heavy Cuban accent would adversely influence their future baby, hired Horton as a speech therapist. Of course, by the end of the episode, the stuffy Horton -- who initially had Ricky saying things like "tiptoe through the tulips" -- had himself picked up much of Ricky's poor English.

For Bullwinkle fans who also like practical jokes, here is one of my better ones from the 1980s, during my six years as scriptwriter and general editor of Knowledge Products. After writing and editing scripts, I would frequently travel to Nashville to act as a technical advisor in the recording studio. Well, the fellow who owned the studio (Nick), made extra money doing local commercials in a perfect voice of Bullwinkle. You also need to know that a number of us, including CC (the owner of KP) would all receive "rough edits" of the audio tapes before they were sent out to be duplicated -- but this became a formality with CC, who would often approve a tape without listening to it first, so long as the producer and I gave it the green light.

Well, we typically recorded four tapes at a time, and on one trip one of these was a script by Wendy McElroy on Mary Wollstonecraft's *Vindication of the Rights of Women.* Midway through her script Wendy had included part of William Blake's poem "A Different Face," which had been written as a tribute to his friend Mary and which we had read by a male actor in the voice of Blake. The script ended with a touching scene in which Mary Shelley visits the grave of her mother (Wollstonecraft died shortly after giving birth), so I suggested to Wendy that she repeat four lines from Blake's poem at the very end, without comment, but this time to be read in Mary's own voice. She agreed.

Okay, so much for the setup. I had Nick read these final lines from "A Different Face" in Bullwinkle's voice and then include this "special version" in an edit that was given ONLY to CC. Thus, here is what CC heard by Bullwinkle at the very end of his tape (and please keep in mind that I am quoting from memory):

"Oh, why was I born with a different face?

Why was I born into this envious race?

Why did heaven adorn me with bountiful hand?

And then set me down in an envious land?"

Later, after I had returned to LA and the tape had been approved for many thousands of dups, I got a late-night call from a frantic CC. He said, "George, I just listened to the Wollstonecraft tape. There's something wrong with it. I mean, the last part -- my God, it sounds like Bullwinkle is reading "A Different Face." Who is that supposed to be? I don't understand. This isn't any good; we can't use it -- but the tape has already been sent out."

After I stopped laughing, I couldn't bear to see my boss endure any more agony, so I let him in on the joke. Fortunately for me, he took it well. 8- Ghs

From: "George H. Smith" Reply-To: *Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Correction -- Re: Bullwinkle gag (was Re: Everett's Corner) Date: Tue, 24 Dec 2002 13:02:58 -0600. Before poetry buffs jump all over me, I should correct something from my last post. I believe the title of Blake's poem is "Mary," not "A Different Face" -- though so many years have passed that I'm not even sure about this correction. Ghs

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