Subject and Object


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A. Rand "Subjectivism

In Metaphysics and Epistemology

Subjectivism is the belief that reality is not a firm absolute, but a fluid,plastic, indeterminate realm which can be altered, in whole or in part, by the consciousness of the perceiver — i.e., by his feelings, wishes or whims.

It is the doctrine which holds that man — an entity of a specific nature, dealing with a universe of a specific nature — can, somehow, live, act and

achieve his goals apart from and/or in contradiction to the facts of reality, i.e., apart from and/or in contradiction to his own nature and the nature of the universe. (This is the "mixed," moderate or middle-of-the-road version of subjectivism. Pure or "extreme" subjectivism does not recognize the concept of identity, i.e., the fact that man or the universe or anything possesses a specific nature.)"

Does anyone know of, or has ever heard of, any person who believes what Rand claims is believed by "subjectivists"?

"....indeterminate realm which can be altered, in whole or in part, by the consciousness of the perceiver— i.e., by his feelings, wishes or whims." (ibid)

It would have been interesting to see Rand quote an example.

Although I know of no one who consciously believes he/she can alter reality by feelings, the opposite happens quite often, with millions imagining their subjective feelings to be objective reality.

Edited by Xray
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  • 2 weeks later...

Atlas Shrugged, p. 498:

"You must learn to take philosopical attitude, said Dr. Simon Pritchett to a young girl who broke down into sudden, hysterical sobs in the middle of a lecture. She had just returned from a volunter relief expedition to a settlement on Lake Superior; she had seen a mother holding the body of a grown son who had died of hunger.

"There are no absolutes", said Dr. Pritchett. "Reality is only an illusion. How does that woman know that her son is dead? How does she now that he ever existed?" (end quote)

So these are the "subjectivsts" Ayn Rand sets up as the "enemies" in her fiction?

Did Ayn Rand seriously believe that such people actually exist who would argue like Dr. Pritchett?

Edited by Xray
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Atlas Shrugged, p. 498:

"You must learn to take philosopical attitude, said Dr. Simon Pritchett to a young girl who broke down into sudden, hysterical sobs in the middle of a lecture. She had just returned from a volunter relief expedition to a settlement on Lake Superior; she had seen a mother holding the body of a grown son who had died of hunger.

"There are no absolutes", said Dr. Pritchett. "Reality is only an illusion. How does that woman know that her son is dead? How does she now that he ever existed?" (end quote)

So these are the "subjectivsts" Ayn Rand sets up as the "enemies" in her fiction?

Did Ayn Rand seriously believe that such people actually exist who would argue like Dr. Pritchett?

It is the familiar straw man argument.

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GS:

So since you cannot "see" the bullet, can you extrapolate that it is on its way at any point?

Adam

We intuitively conclude that any material object that gets from There to Here is somewhere inbetween during the trip. Which is one reason why the Heisenberg Indeterminism Principle is counter intuitive. Subatomic particles do not posses momentum and position with equal precision. Bullets do (or almost do).

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Atlas Shrugged, p. 498:

"You must learn to take philosopical attitude, said Dr. Simon Pritchett to a young girl who broke down into sudden, hysterical sobs in the middle of a lecture. She had just returned from a volunter relief expedition to a settlement on Lake Superior; she had seen a mother holding the body of a grown son who had died of hunger.

"There are no absolutes", said Dr. Pritchett. "Reality is only an illusion. How does that woman know that her son is dead? How does she now that he ever existed?" (end quote)

So these are the "subjectivsts" Ayn Rand sets up as the "enemies" in her fiction?

Did Ayn Rand seriously believe that such people actually exist who would argue like Dr. Pritchett?

It is the familiar straw man argument.

Dragonfly:

Would you be able to agree that Ayn was deductively, reducing what she posited to be their underlying metaphysical assumptions to the absurd level, in a work of fiction, to establish that this would be the result of their philosophy in the real world?

Adam

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Some prominent people actually do argue like Dr. Simon Pritchett. They say all kinds of crazy things and people often swallow their gobbledygook whole.

For some very obvious examples of blatant nonsense, some folks believe they will go to a different realm and sleep with lots of virgins if they blow other folks up along with themselves.

I also remember a charismatic dude named Adolf Hitler who laid some real eggs in public and took a whole country of intelligent folks with him on a festival of destruction the likes of which was among mankind's worst, all the in the name of nonsense...

But who cares? These are just a couple so "strawmen" so to speak. Nothing of any significance.

There are important things to think about and do (like bashing Rand without being right)...

Michael

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Some prominent people actually do argue like Dr. Simon Pritchett. They say all kinds of crazy things and people often swallow their gobbledygook whole.

For some very obvious examples of blatant nonsense, some folks believe they will go to a different realm and sleep with lots of virgins if they blow other folks up along with themselves.

I also remember a charismatic dude named Adolf Hitler who laid some real eggs in public and took a whole country of intelligent folks with him on a festival of destruction the likes of which was among mankind's worst, all the in the name of nonsense...

These are examples of another fallacy: persons imagining their subjective feelings to be objective reality.

So there's two opposing fallacies, with the modification that the one presented by Rand (illustrated in the "subjectivist" Dr. Pritchett) is purely fictitious.

The dangerous fallacy is the one observed in reality of course, with Hitler and other violent crusaders for whatever belief being classic examples of those who have succumbed to it. In the history of mankind, the bloodbaths caused in the name of mere beliefs held to be objective reality are legion.

Edited by Xray
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Some prominent people actually do argue like Dr. Simon Pritchett. They say all kinds of crazy things and people often swallow their gobbledygook whole.

For some very obvious examples of blatant nonsense, some folks believe they will go to a different realm and sleep with lots of virgins if they blow other folks up along with themselves.

I also remember a charismatic dude named Adolf Hitler who laid some real eggs in public and took a whole country of intelligent folks with him on a festival of destruction the likes of which was among mankind's worst, all the in the name of nonsense...

These are examples of another fallacy: persons imagining their subjective feelings to be objective reality.

So there's two opposing fallacies, with the modification that the one presented by Rand (illustrated in the "subjectivist" Dr. Pritchett) is purely fictitious.

The dangerous fallacy is the one observed in reality of course, with Hitler and other violent crusaders for whatever belief being classic examples of those who have succumbed to it. In the history of mankind, the bloodbaths caused in the name of mere beliefs held to be objective reality are legion.

All art is fictitious, but that doesn't mean a lie. Au contraire.

--Brant

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GS:

So since you cannot "see" the bullet, can you extrapolate that it is on its way at any point?

Adam

We intuitively conclude that any material object that gets from There to Here is somewhere inbetween during the trip. Which is one reason why the Heisenberg Indeterminism Principle is counter intuitive. Subatomic particles do not posses momentum and position with equal precision. Bullets do (or almost do).

Ba'al Chatzaf

By using modern high speed cameras you can see the bullet moving from one frame to the next. This is equivalent to using differential calculus to calculate it's position at any given time.

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GS:

So with the proper optics we can "see" the bullet coming at out forehead...yes.

Adam

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GS:

So with the proper optics we can "see" the bullet coming at out forehead...yes.

Adam

No, one doesn't use expensive optical devices to view bullets coming at one's forehead.

Could it be done?

[and since I know that the photographer would not want to die, it would be from behind bulletproof glass ]

Adam

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GS:

So with the proper optics we can "see" the bullet coming at out forehead...yes.

Adam

No, one doesn't use expensive optical devices to view bullets coming at one's forehead.

Could it be done?

[and since I know that the photographer would not want to die, it would be from behind bulletproof glass ]

Adam

Yes. With a very high speed camera. Electronic shuttering and all that. A camera that can do about a million frames a second could easily photograph a flying bullet.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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On bullet extrapolations... have you ever seen Kevin Costner's Robin Hood?... with the camera-view of the arrows flight? Pretty cool.

I was just reading an article on man's vision, and apparently one theory that has some evidence is that man sees themes in the image rather than specific items. The theory was attempting to explain the considerable evidence of change blindness, our inability to detect changes of various scopes within a current image. Check the links out below, they basically make a single change in the image while you're looking at it... see how long it takes you to detect the change while it repeats:

http://people.cs.ubc.ca/~rensink/flicker/download/Airplane.mov

http://people.cs.ubc.ca/~rensink/flicker/download/Dinner.mov

http://people.cs.ubc.ca/~rensink/flicker/download/Chopper%26Truck.mov

(for a list of links, click here: http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~rensink/flicker/download/)

So, the theme evidence would say that our mind sees and extrapolates themes related to the "look" of the image (not the objective details of the image itself), which easily coincides with extrapolating expectations of specific action themes within the image playing themselves out (see bullet fired - expect bullet to travel).

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