HBL (Harry Binswanger's List) - Question


Ellen Stuttle

Recommended Posts

In one of the threads on SOLOP Mike Mazza commented about Harry Binswanger's HBL list, indicating that said list doesn't require "orthodoxy" (or a similar description). I can't find the post, and I'm not sure what thread it's on. I recall that he in particular referred to debates between Harry and some others, one of those others Lee Pierson, who's had an ongoing debate with Harry for several years over issues of consciousness.

Possibly those from SOLOP following posts here (there are some, this is obvious) will notice if I post here correcting Mike Mazza's view of the LP/HB exchange:

Lee Pierson is someone who's been a friend of mine for more than 30 years (and indeed I've been a sounding board during those years in his working out his views re consciousness, views which I think are on an important right track). Lee never had any use for Nathaniel Branden, hasn't even read more than a little here and there of Branden's post-split work. He thinks that the original "self-esteem"-issues idea has merit -- but of course that was propounded while NB was still in AR's good graces. Although Lee says he "likes" David Kelley, he's by no means a personal friend of David's; and he's thought ever since the time of the parting of the ways between Leonard Peikoff and David Kelley that LP was correct in "Fact and Value." (Plus, he thinks that David gets details wrong in the latter's interpretation of Gibson in The Evidence of the Senses. Lee is very familiar with Gibson's work, and was Gibson's last doctoral student.)

I thus comment to contravene Mike Mazza's apparent belief that "orthodoxy" isn't required in participating on HBL. According to my understanding of Harry's list, there's an actual "loyalty oath" pledge required, an oath which disavows any support of (or contact with) those Harry considers "enemies of Objectivism." Am I wrong about this requirement?

Ellen

___

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ellen and L W,

Mike Mazza's post about Lee Pierson and Harry Binswanger purportedly mixing it up can be found here:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/893#comment-7989

I've met Lee Pierson once, and can't say that I know him. My vague impression--only a vague impression--was that he is inclined toward Objectivist orthodoxy.

I'd be interested in knowing how he thinks Kelley got Gibson wrong.

Robert

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps we'll find out shortly. Both Binswanger and Kelley are speaking about perception at their respective summer conferences. It appears that Kelley, at least (and maybe also Binswanger) is going to fold in to the Objectivist epistemology some of the recent advances in understanding of perception. This should be interesting. I'm sure one or more of us (Robert and I) will be reporting on this some time in July.

REB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be interested in knowing how [Lee Pierson] thinks Kelley got Gibson wrong.

The last time that subject came up when Lee was here, he didn't remember specific sections of the Kelley book off-hand (and we had too many other topics in process to get out the book). A general problem Lee has with Kelley's presentations is Kelley's way of using so many qualifiers, pinpointing just what Kelley is saying is non-trivial. Particular issues are those of primary/secondary qualities (is Kelley accepting the distinction or not?), and Kelley's seeming to accept Rand's idea of "sensations integrated into perceptions," an idea which Gibson would have considered flat wrong, since Gibson held that we abstract from a perceptual world rather than constructing percepts from "atoms," as it were, of sensation.

I, like Roger, am going to be curious to hear a comparison of what Binswanger and Kelley say this summer. Lee's had a number of exchanges with Harry on the issue -- but my impression is that Harry hasn't quite become a "Gibsonian."

Ellen

___

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ellen,

I'll have to review what David Kelley said about primary and secondary qualities--it's been too long since I read the book.

As for the alleged integration of sensations into percepts, I agree with Gibson on that score, and disagree with Rand, Peikoff, and Kelley. The entire notion of sensations is a holdover from 19th century thinking. Rand would have been better off without it.

Robert Campbell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Peikoff & his list: My opinion is that Peikoff isn't such a "cut and dry" person where he demands every drop of orthodoxy, despite his list requirements (that I've read) and despite his writings (some of which I have read). I'm skeptical of both, judge, and take what I think is appropriate to my own life. If he's snarky there, he's snarky, end of story. If he's got a great point somewhere else, he's got a great point.

Required loyalty oaths of any kind that require a certain way of thought are not my thing; professionally, time-limited contracts for research are fine. Ideological contracts are not, even with myself. By that I mean that I hold myself to the reality of change, dynamics, and the multitude of things I have yet to learn that may change my mind later on. In other words, I have no wish to shoot myself in the foot.

I've heard that in person Peikoff is nice and has a sense of humor, and more open-minded, than his writings seem to exhibit-- but that is a personal experience from someone I know who has interacted with him. So I'm not willing to write off personal experiences that I have not had yet (that would be jumping the gun, and I hold this to all people), although I do judge specific internet activities such as posts, essays, articles, work, etc. and realize my decisions based on that.

But again, I do make a large difference between the internet world and actual face-to-face interactions. People I know through the internet, no matter how long, can never be as close to me as people I've met face-to-face and developed a history with. The closest that people I've never met can be are acquaintances, and therefore, lack a large degree of the personal. This is why the interactions on forums and websites are to a large degree, impersonal to me. Cyberspace is not the whole of reality.

I mistakenly assumed that everyone else would not take an internet interaction personally; especially in light of reading many scientific debates in which whole chapters in published books (not just public articles) are written back and forth in order to critique a scientific opponent. In that arena it is almost a must that a critique is never taken as a personal attack and that the discussion is about theories, ideas, and the like without character assassination.

I think that the idea of personal boundaries need to be re-examined in light of all this. Maturation cannot happen without the understanding that there is a public realm and a private one, and while they interact, they are not equivalent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jenna:

1. There is no "Peikoff's list." The list discussed in this thread is the one controlled by Harry Binswanger. I agree with most (if not all) of what you say about Peikoff. I find him very congenial to my way of thinking, and his lectures are always clarifying and entertaining, even when I disagree with some point he makes.

2. The flap between Diana and Chris is not just an internet phenomenon. Like many people who interact through email and discussion list postings, they also had phone conversations. I have extensive email files of Chris and several other close friends, and I have also spent a great deal of time talking to them on the phone. Two of them I also have spent a good bit of time with in person. In this day and age, we grab whatever interaction we can, sometimes less personal, sometimes more. I think that the reason for Chris' and Diana's falling out has ~nothing~ to do with the internet, and everything to do with Diana's ambitions and shifting alliances and loyalties.

REB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oops, sorry-- I keep thinking there's some Peikoff list out there. Okay, nevermind what I wrote about the list in relation to Peikoff. I did confuse Peikoff with Binswanger.

I wasn't saying that the internet was the cause of the debate. It was more of a general statement of the difference between face-to-face interaction versus internet interaction. All in all, my post was about the nature of personal versus public/professional, and the public, professional life is different than personal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.