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Criticisms of Rand's Philosophy


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Showing 176-200 of 277 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 2:58:52 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:01:21 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:01:54 PM PST
Doog37 says:
Little story about optimists and "realists" (which is what pesimsits call themselves).
In a study classes of college student were asked to define themselves as optimists or realists and to predict their grades for the class they were taking. Well it turns out the realists were right they were better at predicting their grades. But a second finding that was not part of the original design was found... Optimists while not as good at predicting grades reliably earned better grades.
Being realistic in life will help to understand how things work and to predict the future, but it doesn't always lead to more success.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:04:29 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:05:41 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:07:15 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:08:23 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:10:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 2:40:37 AM PST
Maybe so MMX, but in the real, experiential world chicks are being watched too - so who watches the watches ? I believe that phermonic secretions are being manipulated from a giant computer formerly in Houston, but now outsourced to New Delhi.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:17:18 PM PST
Should we credit Rand for your specialization in false dichotimies ?
Who's to say that " planners" are always more concerned with collective welfare rather than just seiizing the mantle of power under the pretense of collective welfare { and we've obseved that haven't we ? } or even that non-planners are categorically only focused on " individual welfare " ?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:17:22 PM PST
QUESTER says:
MMX says:
Quester: "So, ... you believe that it's better to be pessimistic in life.

I doubt that the majority of people do ... "

MMX: Nor do I. But all "majority of people" arguments are "argument ad populum" - and I've never really cared what the majority of people think.
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However, ... you were basing some obscure theory on men signaling optimism to women, seemingly despite their seeming innate pessimism ... on this premise.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:29:54 PM PST
Harry Marks says:
Cilantron -

So far, so good.

" her writing style which IS atrocious, alienating, arrogant, and is hurting rather than helping her message."

Consider the possibility that she is trying to recruit people who consider themselves superior to the ordinary public already, and that her antagonistic approach is meant to pat them on the back for their sense of antagonism toward the ordinary morality around them. This is not "the rules do not apply to me" this is "most people do not understand the rules, but you and I do."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:37:54 PM PST
Harry Marks says:
David -
"Ultimately, free market was the first model used, because there was no other."

I am not sure I agree. If you are saying, there were markets before there were governments, you may be right. But I would not guess that there were impersonal markets before governments. That is, I think people organized violence before they organized long distance or third-party trade.

Historically, "free market" is a model of government policy (hands off, basically) that came after the "mercantilist" model of accumulating power for the crown, as exemplified by France in the century before Adam Smith. France was "dirigiste" even then - government organizing porcelain factories and other enterprise rather than encouraging whoever wanted to produce to do so.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:42:10 PM PST
Harry Marks says:
MMX -

You need to meet some new chicks.

all the ones I respect prefer men to have their own values - simulation to please them invalidates any possibility of pleasing them. Not that they dislike being pleased, but they have learned to live with the fact that real people have their own opinions and those are not always the ones they want.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:52:33 PM PST
Harry Marks says:
MMX -
"When the student loan crisis (which I've been casually awaiting for 5 years) hits the fan, you'll change your opinion of public education."
Oddly enough, it is enterprising for-profit education like the University of Phoenix that have created the student loan crisis. Once again, government interference, including largesse, needs oversight or regulation to avoid being turned into looting by those who see opportunity for fraud.

" Accepting that deception and pretense damage the intended positive effects is a call to either: (1) clean out the deception, or (2) do something else."

When you bother with nuance, you make it easier to tell what you have in mind. Observing that deception and pretense are damaging to the intended positive effects is not the same as asserting that the rationale was deception in the first place.

We all know that government programs lack the market disciplines that cut down on waste in the private sector, but it is not clear that government is more subject to deception than large corporations are.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 3:56:22 PM PST
Harry Marks says:
MMX
" Dreadful because you can explain why?"

Cilantron has put it on display. Disorganized, intentionally provocative while claiming to be rationalist, turgid, short on clear principles illustrated by reasonable examples, stuffed with tangential remarks whose main purpose seems to be to engage the combativeness of either supporters or opponents - in general, dreadful.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 5:31:08 PM PST
QUESTER says:
Harry Marks says:
Cilantron -

So far, so good.

" her writing style which IS atrocious, alienating, arrogant, and is hurting rather than helping her message."

Consider the possibility that she is trying to recruit people who consider themselves superior to the ordinary public already, and that her antagonistic approach is meant to pat them on the back for their sense of antagonism toward the ordinary morality around them. This is not "the rules do not apply to me" this is "most people do not understand the rules, but you and I do."
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Their ears are tickled ...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 11:25:09 PM PST
Lao Tzu says:
Doog, I am not being condescending by saying you post is not too bad.

"Capitalism in its purest form, free from any regulations".

Capitalism, free from regulations is impossible. It becomes that feudal system, and eventuallly, one bully wins.

Among the many regulations, I would keep the anti-trust laws. It is very difficult though, to "corner a market", there are always alternatives.

Also, I will admit one problem with capitalism in the future, a brand new problem. Competition gave rise to the middle class, but as automation has replaced not only phyical labor, but mental labor, it may be that the middle class will shrink for reasons other than giving jobs to those who will work for less. Imagine Amazon as a company where you click on a button, machines pack and fuflll your order, and even their tax forms are automated. No need for humans at all, only owners, and a few engineers to maintain the system.

We are not there yet, but some day in the future, this issue will need to be addressed. The answer will not be to fully destroy the idea of ownership.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 11:30:05 PM PST
Lao Tzu says:
Cilantron - speaking as an industrial psychologist who has done validation work on personality instruments, you are aware that after thousands of studies, they can't even show the Myer Briggs Type Indicator as having dimensions that are polar opposites? And it is not for lack of trying.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2012 11:48:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 11:51:52 PM PST
Lao Tzu says:
Cilantron says: "if one were a Christian, one would suspect (and rightly so) that he is being included in this "supernatural." So, right off the bat, if Ayn Rand is trying to convince Christians (who compose the majority of Americans, at least nominally so) to reject Christianity in favor of Objectivism, she is going about it in a poor fashion."

Lao says: Yes, Rand's style is not to coddle anyone. Her argument is bold. All her novels are also about people that don't accept the status quo, that don't compromise on truth for the sake of getting along.

She states the truth as she sees it. It is up to the reader to weigh the argument she makes - she need offer no apologies for it, it is HER argument. Isn't this refreshing compared to people that mask their agenda in conciliatory sounding statements?

"[She acknowledges she has created her own personal definition for "selfishness." And I do not have a problem with that.]"

Not only philosophers, but technicians, specialists of all kinds do this all the time, for good reason. They are using the word, any important word, in a specialized context. They state their definition, and their reasons for doing so - why they think their definition is more useful than the generic defintion on offer. For example, Freud has a certain use for the word "ego" which simply means "I" in latin. It is up to the reader to see if the specialized definition of a word, any word, is both true in the given context, and useful.

And Cilantron, I appreciate you getting through at least the first two pages of the book. Yes she goes on to defend the philosophy.

I happen to like her no-nonsense, tell it like she sees it style. If only we could all talk with such honesty in our society, and be rewarded for it. How many times with the people around us must we couch and sugar coat what we see as the truth? Largely because egos are so fragile in our culture, we've learned that stating the truth as we see it is a threat to others. This is a cultural problem, not a problem of reason. People who write scientific papers do not litter the paper with "I could be wrong but..." It is understood they could be wrong about their conclusions, and stating so adds no value to the research paper.

And, you began a journey in some of your comments to answer this intriguing question - what is the purpose of having a morality? Inquiring minds want to know.

What do you think the purpose of morality is for you? Aren't you a bit curious how Rand will go on to flesh out her position?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 12:11:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 12:12:44 AM PST
Lao Tzu says:
Cilnatron says: [So, in order to survive, if you can't think for yourself, think the way Ayn Rand wants you to think, and you'll be fine.]

Lao says: It fascinates me that you can take a Rand quote that says "you must think for yourself" and then say in essence, "you must think for your self... because Rand wants you to be her robot"... do you see a problem with your logic?

You also missed the point that either you think for yourself, or someone does your thinking for you, like a parent does for a child. One might think this is not a preferable state of affairs, if you are say, 38 years old.

[Is Rand saying that the individual can have no greater purpose than the preservation of his own life? Am I reading this correctly?]

Good question. A difficult question. The choice of principles is always personal. As long as your principles don't sacrifice OTHER people, you are allowed to have them. Would an objectivist risk their life to save the life of their son? Of course they would, if they held their son as a value. Note I say RISK. Would it be immoral for an objectivist to sustain a lazy son that was otherwise capable of sustaining themselves? Sacrifice their own well being, friends, pursuits? That would be immoral. In such a situation, what would be left to value in that son?

[So, meditation is bad?]

Meditation is an act of centeredness. But, to remain in a meditative state to the exclusion of productive work would be immoral. Meditation in some amounts probably adds to productivity.

Your last comment surprises me. No I don't expect you to offer a line by line understanding of what you read, but notice that her writing is PACKED with things that call for examination, analysis, understanding.

I don't need everyone to become objectivist, I DO want them to understand what they are agreeing or disagreeing with. I applaud your efforts to understand, it is complicated and counter to the pablum we are fed in this society.

As an examination example, when she says "Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man's life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values.", you now have a basis to know WHY she might say that. It is because she believes that the purpose of life is life, and the means to sustain it without harming others is therefore the basis of morality.

What a fascinating idea to give a view of morality that rational people would not wish to resist (mindless sacrifice - either of the self, or others)

And you did plenty of integration of the ideas.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 12:17:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2012 12:37:35 AM PST
Lao Tzu says:
The free market requires many, many laws in order to function. I am sure I will need to say this several dozen times, like when we explain to Horse why we are atheists on the Christian forum, and after our explanation he says "yes, but why are you on the forum?"

Wondering how many times people will say "laissez faire" and think this means no regulation. How many times will I have to repeat that laissze faire refers to the floating of wages and prices, not to selling people on a false prospectus.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 12:24:49 AM PST
Lao Tzu says:
MMX, if there were only men, and we would live forever if not killed, the rational men would still decide on rules of cooperation even if chicks were not watching.

PS - Your comments are interesting, I would like to correspond with you. Can you email me?

BobJohnson994@hotmail.com

My name is not bob johnson, this is a junk email account I use to sign up for things and avoid being on the mailing list. It may take a while for me to respond, because I check it rarely. Perhaps let me know if you did respond.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 12:32:39 AM PST
Lao Tzu says:
Ok, MMX, I want to offer this: 1) Short term planners are not ulitmately concerned with their own welfare. In the short term, it would make sense to drink a bottle of whisky for the buzz. In the longer term, this is irrational because it is destructive to my health.

2) Long term planners might see the welfare of others as a derived demand, rather than primary, and this would be good enough. Loosely like Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It may be rational for Bill Gates to give half his money to africa, because he derives egoistic satisfaction from it. It would be irrational for a man in the gutter to give his last $5 to the same cause.

I see your propensity to note what the bell curve of people do, rather than what they should or could do. Rand is a hopeful philosopher, who is trying to move society in a more rational direction.

I think your pointing to our genetic impulses is critically important, but you discount, or at least underestimate the role of reason? Perhaps?

Again, I don't offer as evidence the vast number of humans, but some act in a rational fashion, most of the time. Rand wants to make more of these.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 1:59:21 AM PST
'probabilist says:
> and a few engineers to maintain the system

Heh. More than just a few.

,.-)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 12:05:05 PM PST
John Donohue says:
>>MMX: (1) I never said ALL displays are looting. (2) Political solutions don't need to be 100% looting in order to be ineffective. (3) When the student loan crisis (which I've been casually awaiting for 5 years) hits the fan, you'll change your opinion of public education. :D

Public infrastructure is mostly fine, but it was way better in earlier times, with simpler supply chains. Now it's just a complicated mess. <<

You are continuing in the Objectivist tradition of evidence free assertion. What sort of data or study do you have to support that public infrastructure was "way better in earlier times"? Better in what way?

Rand starts off ranting against any tax-supported program that purports to help less advantaged people mostly because it offends her aesthetic and because she was bitter about the Bolsheviks. Then and only then do she and her followers pretend to find practical benefits to what is essentially a cultish dogma.

All public programs that dispense money need scrutiny and not every public program deserves support. But the idea that it is wrong for tax money to go to help poor people is worse than dogma ... again, I lived in a era where there was little or no welfare and I saw old, disabled men begging on the street. As to the good old days, read about them in Dickens -- in Victorian England children had to beg or work from an early age and the death rate among poor children was horrible.

Do you oppose public schools? If a family is lower middle class should their children go without education? Is that a good public policy to a Rand supporter?

Once more, why are the opinions of this uneducated, bitter, deranged woman pertinent to any discussion?
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Initial post:  Dec 5, 2012
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