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Criticisms of Rand's Philosophy


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Showing 51-75 of 277 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:17:07 PM PST
'probabilist says:
,.-)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:19:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 3:20:05 PM PST
'probabilist says:
MMX wrote:

----------------------------------------------------
prob: "Termites?"

MMX: If I ever meet Richard Alexander, who wrote The Biology Of Moral Systems, I'll have to ask him what he knows about termite-cooperation.

My four-minute skimming of wikipedia indicates that they're not clones. But they use chemical signals to make each other cooperate.
----------------------------------------------------

Interesting. I wonder if that would make them a closer insect analog for humans than ant, bee or wasp colonies?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:19:57 PM PST
D. Thomas says:
"Sexual selection of ideas"? Well, I confess: I didn't know that was an "evolutionary biology concept." Got references on that?

I've known civil servants, ak teachers, aka bureaucrats, all my life. None of them were in it to make themselves look good. They were in it for the decent salaries, the good benefits, and often because they (selfishly, of course) enjoyed teaching or helping people.

Whenever someone does something heroic or especially kind and decent, we must always make Ayn Rand proud by pointing out that they are doing it for their own cynical reasons.

I've noticed that most Ayn Rand enthusiasts are young, credulous and have done zilch reading in the social sciences. They are at the "Yeah! That sure makes sense!" stage, even though it wouldn't, had they read a single other book in the social sciences. Evokes thoughts of Hitler Youth in the '20s.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:21:00 PM PST
D. Thomas says:
Yes.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:21:01 PM PST
'probabilist says:
> Evokes thoughts of ...

Probably didn't need that last sentence.

,.-)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:22:04 PM PST
D. Thomas says:
Idiotic.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:23:25 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:23:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 3:24:27 PM PST
D. Thomas says:
Probably not. But patience is wearing thin. And it truly does.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:25:44 PM PST
'probabilist says:
I see quite a bit more than just Ayn Rand in MMX's posts, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:35:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 3:47:06 PM PST
John Donohue says:
Harry Marks >>But never assume that an economist has special gifts just because she or he got one or two big questions right. There is no substitute for listening to the arguments being presented and allowing for the biases of the speaker.<<

Several of the points in your post were cogent imo --- but the problem with "listening" to some free market types is that they are masters of larding their economic predictions with many unspoken and untested assumptions. I bought a couple of monetarist econ books and I read Friedman and Hayek in their most famous books (cannot remember the titles). The heavy weight of moralizing and "science by story" got to me even before I ran across guys like Krugman. In fact, it doesn't seem that free marketers have added anything to Adam Smith whose "Wealth of Nations" is still a good read.

One problem (probably among others) with free marketers is that they try to reduce human society to profit motives. This is clearly a pre-evolution-theory and pre-cognitive-science view of human motivations. It is a best a half valid approach and at its worst it is a nightmare.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:45:16 PM PST
John Donohue says:
MMX >>The problem, though, is that AS a natural instinct, people just believe this without thought. (And become highly defensive when it is pointed out that this belief is held thoughtlessly. AND post nothing-but-one-sided, and easily refuted arguments, in a feeble attempt to defend their belief.)

In short, this instinct is strong evidence that, despite our many technological advances and our 50,000 years of shared history, people are still cavemen.<<

Your reply does not in any way contradict my point: free marketers base their entire opus on the idea that "this is how markets work." But markets are made up of people and people don't act the way free marketers think that they should.

Let's take an example near to me: a profitable company is bought out by a bigger company and seeks to increase profits by reducing the wages and benefits of the workers. The free market solution is for those workers to pick up and move to a different city where wages are higher. But, golly gee, some of them are over 50 and if they leave they will have to leave behind the retirement they contributed to for 25 years and try to compete with 25 year olds in a city where they have no roots and no contacts.

This is all perfectly OK in the free market world where workers are just part of the production machinery and interchangeable. In fact, the new owners may find out in a year or 5 years that their approach is bad and losing the experience and loyalty of senior employees is a bad thing; problem is, the damage has been done to that 50 year old guy who has (maybe) lost his house and is working part time to try to keep his kids in a good school district.

See, this doesn't set well with people. And one thing that free marketers assume is that the political landscape that they are working in will remain constant. But when people get desperate, they don't care about keeping the free market economic rules in place -- heck, they might even cut off their noses to spite their faces.

James Boswell is a model free marketer who felt that the efforts to limit the slave trade interfered with a man's right to sell himself into bondage. Modern free marketers often show the same obtuse lack of insight.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 3:45:57 PM PST
John Donohue says:
>>MMX: No. A looter is someone who preaches altruism, while secretly trying to acquire more resources for himself. A looter tells everyone to be unselfish, because he wants to secretly be selfish while everyone is unselfish. <<

Who are these looters?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:02:53 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 25, 2014 12:30:53 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:08:27 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 4:11:52 PM PST
MMX says : " One ultimately annoying thing about philosophy is that it hasn't really been influenced by evolutionary biology. "

I'd say you're a way off here in both directions and the examples where philosophy { especially political, economic and moral philosophy} has really been influenced by the current version of EB are numerous.

" Lucretius and the Greeks, in observing universal mutation and the vanity of life, conceived behind appearance a great intelligible process, an evolution in nature. The reality became interesting, as well as the illusion. Physics became scientific, which had previously been merely spectacular.
Here was a much richer theme for the poet and philosopher, who was launched upon the discovery of the ground and secret causes of this gay or melancholy flux. The understanding that enabled him to discover these causes did for the European what no Indian mystic, what no despiser of understanding anywhere, suffers himself to do; namely, to dominate, foretell, and transform this changing show with a virile, practical intelligence. The man who discovers the secret springs of appearances opens to contemplation a second positive world, the workshop and busy depths of nature, where a prodigious mechanism is continually supporting our life, and making ready for it from afar by the most exquisite adjustments. The march of this mechanism, while it produces life and often fosters it, yet as often makes it difficult and condemns it to extinction. This truth, which the conception of natural substance first makes intelligible, justifies the elegies which the poets of illusion and disillusion have always written upon human things. It is a truth with a melancholy side; but being a truth, it satisfies and exalts the rational mind, that craves truth as truth, whether it be sad or comforting, and wishes to pursue a possible, not an impossible, happiness."

Santayana

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:11:50 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:12:52 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:15:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 4:17:07 PM PST
'probabilist says:
MMX wrote:

-----------------------------
The sad part is that, in theory, you could make an "arms race of costly displays" out of donating to the poor. One wealthy individual loudly donates $1,000,000 to charity. But a second wealthy individual spitefully and competitively donates $2,000,000. Who inspires yet another spiteful rich dude to donate $3,000,000. And so on.
-----------------------------

If I recall correctly from what I've read, a similar competitive process, focused on endowing monasteries and convents in the middle ages, eventually led to the monasteries being very large landowners in Britain by the time of Henry VIII.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:18:12 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Hi, MMX -

In your opinion, what is missing from Ayn Rand's philosophy?

Thanks,

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:18:25 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:22:31 PM PST
'probabilist says:
MMX wrote:

> My first interest is evolutionary biology.

That's the impression I've gotten from your posts.

Thanks,

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:26:24 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Hi, D. Thomas -

> book in the social sciences

Could you recommend a couple of books in the social sciences?

Thanks,

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:29:22 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:31:24 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:33:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012 4:35:12 PM PST
'probabilist says:
Hi, MMX -

Returning to the passage in Matthew 6:1-4, how would you analyze the motives of someone who did donate anonymously to help the poor, and actually went out of his way to ensure that he could not be connected with this act in any way (and succeeded)?

In other words, what are the motives of a person who really does "let not the left hand know what the right hand is doing" when he helps others who need his help? One who quietly lends a hand, then quickly melts back into the crowd and leaves?

Thanks,

'prob

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 4:36:22 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Dec 10, 2012 5:46:52 PM PST]
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  26
Total posts:  277
Initial post:  Dec 5, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 8, 2013

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