David Kelley's meeting with Yarron Brook


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Actually, I think Objectivism was infiltrated by Cointelpro (counterintelligence program of FBI) a long time ago (Peter Schwartz has the perfect attitude of an asset.) They recognized Objectivism as a

A point worth noting in connection with both #19 and #26 is that in the original Objectivist hands-off pronouncement, in The Objectivist Newsletter some time in the spring of 1965, Branden said that reserving the term "Objectivist" to Rand and himself and the people around them was only temporary. In the future, anyone working to apply and extend the theory would correctly describe himself that way. Not for the first time, the current ARI policy is one that Rand discovered only once she was dead.

(If somebody has access to the texts, could you find the passage and quote it to us?)

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Mr. Campbell says that Peikoff distrusts Darwinism. Is that a joke? Peikoff doesn't believe in evolution? I can't think of anything on this planet for which there is more evidence than evolution. What gives?? I thought the only ones who questioned evolution were serious Baptists and a few nutcases in Kansas. What category does Peikoff fall into?

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Mr. Campbell says that Peikoff distrusts Darwinism. Is that a joke? Peikoff doesn't believe in evolution? I can't think of anything on this planet for which there is more evidence than evolution. What gives?? I thought the only ones who questioned evolution were serious Baptists and a few nutcases in Kansas. What category does Peikoff fall into?

Possible there is more evidence that the earth moves around the sun and rotates on its axis.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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ginny,

As far as I know, Leonard Peikoff personally believes that some kind of evolutionary theory is true. But as the self-appointed hierophant, he is stuck with Ayn Rand's own published views, which were strongly skeptical of Darwin. Hence the palpable ambivalence about evolution on display in his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

As I try to point out in my article on the doctrine of the arbitrary assertion, Leonard Peikoff is logically required, according to his own standards for judgments of possibility, probability, and certainty, and his condemnation of agnosticism, to brand Ms. Rand's view of evolution as irrational. As you might expect, he shrinks from doing that.

Robert Campbell

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Thanks. Got it. But it's so stupid. I keep coming back to the Randoids' problem with admitting a mistake. How is anyone going to learn with that attitude? I mean, Aristotle was a brilliant man. But he probably believed, along with everyone else, that the earth was flat. Wouldn't he have been the first to say, "Hey, let's rethink this?" if he'd discovered new evidence?

Oh, sorry. Peikoff is no Aristotle.

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Aristotle and his peers knew that the earth is round, but they thought (until the time of Copernicus and Kepler) that it was at the center of the universe, with everything else moving in circles around it.

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Of course he would. You know, in any dispute/argument, I'm usually delighted to be proven wrong. It means I've just learned something new. Guess my brain is open, not closed.

Ginny

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ginny,

Aristotle believed that the brain was an elaborate device for cooling the blood.

I expect he would have been amenable to correction on that score...

He probably observed one of your ancestors.

--Brant

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If Objectivism is not limited to only the work that Ayn Rand endorsed or wrote herself, then it is a living (open to reason and reality) philosophy. Generally, Objectivist philosophers take credit for and differentiate their integrations, discoveries and contributions when they sign their work. I am convinced that the open system approach is consistent with the fundamental principles of Objectivism. A closed (to reason and reality) approach is dogmatic and rationalistic, which means the philosophy becomes divorced from reality. A Neo-Objectivist approach is subjectivism, where anything can be Objectivism, reality is whatever one wishes. The Objectivist approach rejects both dogma and subjectivism and requires that the philosophy be tied to reality. If there is a philosophical error in the work of Miss Rand or in the work of any of her followers, Objectivism must ultimately yield to reality, for reality will not bend to any set of disconnected rules, dogmas, demands or commandments. In fact, I think even the strongest ARI loyalists cannot avoid calling themselves Objectivists while at the same time they often disagree with at least something Miss. Rand or Peikoff has said or written.

As for being concerned about possible public confusion in understanding what Objectivism is and is not, I find this to be a rather social metaphysical concern. Ayn Rand wrote: "The title of this book may evoke the kind of question that I hear once in a while: "Why do you use the word 'selfishness' to denote virtuous qualities of character, when that word antagonizes so many people to whom it does not mean the things you mean?" -The Virtue of Selfishness p. vii (Introduction)

Her answer was: "To those who ask it, my answer is: For the reason that makes you afraid of it."

This is not the type of answer that denotes a concern with whatever confusions a person may have or not about Objectivism.

But this does not deal directly with the concern that most ARI minded Objectivists have, i.e., what will happen if people who are not actually Objectivists act as self-appointed experts or representatives of Objectivism? In reference to the world today, I would have to acknowledge that Objectivism has many critics and many enemies who do not understand Objectivism or who are severely threatened by the ideas. In many respects, it is appropriate to voice disagreement, disapproval and even moral condemnation when we see individuals masquerade as Objectivists and espouse ideas which are totally false and incompatible with reality. This then brings us to another point of division between ARI and TAS, i.e., moral judgment. Before issuing condemnations, should we consider a person's context? Should we consider their intentions? Should we consider the degree of their error or evil? In my understanding Kelley would say yes to all of these questions, and Peikoff would say no. Peikoff would say: all you need to know is the idea itself because some ideas are "inherently dishonest." In Peikoff's view, from the ideas alone, you can deem a person as honest or dishonest. In effect, you can know a person's reasoning and or context based on their conclusions.

Ironically in the dispute between Peikoff and Kelley the concrete of an academic marxist is used, where Peikoff writes: "As one of his examples of an intellectually honest man, to whom others should show “tolerance” and “benevolence,” David Kelley offers not a groping teenager, but “an academic Marxist,” i.e., an adult who devotes his life to the job of teaching

unreason, self-sacrifice and slavery to generations of young minds. " - Fact and Value.

Now consider this quote from Miss Rand: "I would deal with a marxist, with much greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding and much greater respect." - 28:18 (The Moratorium on Brains (Q&A))

Edited by Donovan A.
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Donavon A:

Hmmm, I am not familiar with that quote. Might you have the context that surrounded it handy to post?

"Now consider this quote from Miss Rand: 'I would deal with a marxist, with much greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding and much greater respect.'" - 28:18 (The Moratorium on Brains (Q&A))

Adam

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The Objectivist approach rejects both dogma and subjectivism and requires that the philosophy be tied to reality. If there is a philosophical error in the work of Miss Rand or in the work of any of her followers, Objectivism must ultimately yield to reality, for reality will not bend to any set of disconnected rules, dogmas, demands or commandments.

You know, your description of Objectivism sounds an awful lot like what I would call science. The thing is, philosophy has never really been "tied to reality" in the sense that science has been, mainly because science uses experiments and the principle of falsification to maintain this connection, whereas philosophy has depended on exclusively verbal arguments to put forth one view over another and so there is no mechanism to select one over another.

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Hmmm, I am not familiar with that quote. Might you have the context that surrounded it handy to post?

"Now consider this quote from Miss Rand: 'I would deal with a marxist, with much greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding and much greater respect.'" - 28:18 (The Moratorium on Brains (Q&A))

Adam

Adam,

You can find an edited version of this quote in the book: Ayn Rand Answers p.72.

The question to her was: What do you think of the Libertarian Movement?

Her answer was aggressively opposed to Libertarianism, in particular she called anarchists "scum."

Aside from all of this, I'd like to comment that Miss Rand probably voiced the loudest and most hostile emotions over Libertarians. But, philosophically I would say she was against every American political party. For a time, it seemed that Miss Rand was willing to endorse some Republican candidates as the lesser of the evils, implying that whichever candidate one votes for, it should be with the purpose of attempting to slow our march toward dictatorship.

Edited by Donovan A.
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You know, your description of Objectivism sounds an awful lot like what I would call science. The thing is, philosophy has never really been "tied to reality" in the sense that science has been, mainly because science uses experiments and the principle of falsification to maintain this connection, whereas philosophy has depended on exclusively verbal arguments to put forth one view over another and so there is no mechanism to select one over another.

In general, this is partially true. Philosophers must use arguments to support their postulates. But, I don't think that reason vs. mysticism is just a matter of argument, nor that either camp should just be considered as "one view or another."

Philosophy, in particular metaphysical reality and a correct epistemology is the only mechanism which will validate a person's arguments and theories. Science depends on philosophy to establish the correct principles of epistemology. Philosophy deals with fundamental questions such as: What is truth? What is proof? Science depends on the answers to those questions.

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Science depends on philosophy to establish the correct principles of epistemology. Philosophy deals with fundamental questions such as: What is truth? What is proof? Science depends on the answers to those questions.

I don't think so. Scientists have their own methods for dealing with "truth" and "proof" and they do not need philosophers for this. Can you give me an example where science has turned to philosophy in order to help solve some epistemological problem? Epistemology is about what it means to know something and scientists are very aware of this.

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Epistemology is about what it means to know something and scientists are very aware of this.

How do they become aware? Just as a conceptual level of consciousness gives rise to philosophy, philosophy gives rise to the scientific method. Reason is not automatic, one must discover the correct principles of knowledge before one can theorize about science. To conclude that epistemology and philosophy is irrelevant to science is no different than to call science witchcraft.

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How do they become aware? Just as a conceptual level of consciousness gives rise to philosophy, philosophy gives rise to the scientific method. Reason is not automatic, one must discover the correct principles of knowledge before one can theorize about science. To conclude that epistemology and philosophy is irrelevant to science is no different than to call science witchcraft.

Philosophy gave (past tense) rise to the scientific method, not gives. What you call 'reason' is implicit in the scientific method so when one learns how to be scientific one necessarily learns to reason. Witchcraft?? I don't know how to respond to that statement, I find it bewildering.

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Donovan A:

Thank you for the direction.

I sure do remember her "scum" comment as many of my orthodox objectivist [what an oxymoron*] friends, I think they wore the gold halo suspended over the bronze yarmulke with the crescent of illumination orbiting their locked down brains, attempted to condemn me for my anarcho capitalist ties.

I have to admit, I had better and more open conversations with marxist anarchist at Columbia than "orthodox objectivists" in Brooklyn!

Adam

*"O brawling love! O loving hate! . . .

O heavy lightness! serious vanity!

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this."

Ahh Willie, we hardly knew ya!

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Philosophy gave (past tense) rise to the scientific method, not gives. What you call 'reason' is implicit in the scientific method so when one learns how to be scientific one necessarily learns to reason. Witchcraft?? I don't know how to respond to that statement, I find it bewildering.

Which philosophy produces a correct scientific method? How about a philosophy that states that there are no absolutes? Will that give rise to a proper scientific method? Will teaching children to be skeptical of the axioms help them if they wish to become serious scientists? I am not writing historically, I am writing in terms of human chronological and conceptual development. One needs to understand basic addition before one can proceed to understand or discover calculus. I do not mean to offend, but I think your definition of science is a frozen abstraction. If you disconnect philosophy from reality, you implicitly disconnect science from reality. Without reason, science would not be possible. Epistemology precedes even logic.

"Science was born as a result and consequence of philosophy; it cannot survive without a philosophical (particularly epistemological) base. If philosophy perishes, science will be next to go." For the New Intellectual

"It is not the special sciences that teach man to think; it is philosophy that lays down the epistemological criteria of all special sciences." - Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/science.html

Confusing science with philosophy as one and the same will not work in terms of arguing for an open-system approach to Objectivism. Objectivism is a philosophy, it is not a hard science. Since Objectivism is concerned with reality, since it is a reality oriented philosophy in essence, the foundation cannot be false. The derivatives, the extensions of Objectivism which depend on building abstractions from abstractions allows room for many errors unlike Piekoff's position that "errors are not nearly so common as some people wish to think, especially in the field of philosophy." - Fact and Value

Edited by Donovan A.
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*Roger Bissell and MSK – Thanks for your thumbs up and, MSK, for the link!

*Robert Campbell – I might add that the last Lamarckian was Stalin’s science flack Lysenko who argued that by creating institutions that forced people to act in self-sacrificial ways, the Communists could change human nature and create New Soviet Man. (Turns out they couldn’t so Stalin had to kill millions to cull the herd.)

I’ll have to dig up your “arbitrary assertion” piece from JARS. My quick thoughts, without rereading the material on this, are:

1) To avoid wasting our limited time, we must make judgments about whether an assertion sounds so arbitrary that it’s not even worth responding to. Most religious assertions are in this category.

2) The burden of proof is generally on an individual who makes a positive asserting. So someone making an assertion needs to offer something to indicate there’s a reason for further inquiry.

3) But an assertion might be part of a thought experiment to explain/predict concerning some matter, for example, why the speed of light is always measured the same or why light seems to act like both a particle and a wave. Here you might need a bit of patience to see where a line of inquiry leads.

4) I guess this comes down to how one defines “arbitrary assertion.”

I hope my answer doesn’t seem arbitrary!

I once asked Nathaniel Branden about Rand’s view on evolution. If I’m remembering correctly, he reported that she “was not prepared to say” that Darwin was correct, and that it “was still only a theory.” When he asked where she thought we came from, she mused “Maybe we were always here.” He didn’t think she was really advocating that (that would be an arbitrary assertion!) or advocating creationism but there was something about evolution that might have bothered her. Perhaps it was thinking about man the heroic and human beings as a species who somehow were formed by natural forces and who might still have animal aspects in us. I don’t find these facts inconsistent or bothersome.

*Jerry Biggers – No secret what the ARI folks thought about my understanding and David Kelley’s about the nature of Objectivism. They disagreed and want to teach Objectivism “as Rand understood it.”

More to come …

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