About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 18Page 8


Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 360

Friday, October 28, 2005 - 5:21pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Mr. Dwyer,

I reread Prof. Matson's essay and got a different impression from it.  Actually, he seems to understand Rand well.  What you point out are differences between Rand and Matson.  Prof. Matson explain why he differs from Rand and his discussion of why Rand's view of concepts has the potential to lead to subjectivism or solipsism struck me as quite interesting.  He does in fact say why he rejects the notion of concepts. 

One thing that appears to bother Prof. Matson is that Rand's critique of "modern philosophy" is rather one-sided.  In any event, Prof. Matson tries to understand Rand better than she tried to understand other philosophers.  Maybe the reason Rand is ignored is that her acolytes will immediately attack intelligent critiques of her as "dishonest," "rationalistic" or whatever.

Incidentally, Prof. Matson says that he is a libertarian and sympathetic to many of Rand's ideas, so I think we simply have an honest disagreement here. 




Sanction: 14, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 14, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 14, No Sanction: 0
Post 361

Friday, October 28, 2005 - 8:27pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Neil, you wrote,

"I reread Prof. Matson's essay and got a different impression from it. Actually, he seems to understand Rand well. What you point out are differences between Rand and Matson. Prof. Matson explain why he differs from Rand and his discussion of why Rand's view of concepts has the potential to lead to subjectivism or solipsism struck me as quite interesting. He does in fact say why he rejects the notion of concepts."

Perhaps, I was being a bit too flippant and unfair to Matson, for he does give a plausible rendering of Rand's views in the initial part of his essay, wherein he acknowledges a meaningful distinction between the referents of words and concepts, but he nevertheless winds up dismissing that distinction and accepting the use of "word" as an apparent substitute for "concept," evidently on the grounds that words and concepts have the same referents.

When Rand says that it is not words but concepts that man defines, I think that what she may have in mind is that one can (at least initially) employ a word to symbolize whatever concept one chooses. In that respect, the definition of a word cannot be true or false, because it constitutes an arbitrary designation. But the definition of a concept can be true or false, because it must conform to certain epistemological criteria. It must specify the concept's genus and differentia.

- Bill



Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 362

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 7:25amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Bill,

Byan Register has an article about Rand's view of concepts in Vol. 1, No. 2 issues of JARS.  He reaches some similar conclusions to Matson's.  The relationship between words and concepts in Rand's thought is rather unclear.




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 363

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 8:31pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
> The relationship between words and concepts in Rand's thought is rather unclear. [Neil P]

The relationship between words and concepts in Rand's thought is crystal clear.



Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 364

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 8:33pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Perhaps that's the problem, Phil - they can't see the water for the clarity...



Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Post 365

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 9:01pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Neil,

Why on earth would Matson eliminate the word "concept" from Rand's statements about concepts and substitute for it the the word "word," when words and concepts are two distinctly different things? The term "word" is not a substitute for the term "concept." Many different words can represent the same concept (e.g., "man" in English, "homme" in French, "hombre" in Spanish, etc.). A word that happens to designate the concept 'man' is not synonymous with the concept itself. It symbolizes the concept, but it is not equivalent to the concept. I would have thought this to be fairly obvious.

- Bill



Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 366

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10:07pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
William,
It's been several years since I read the essay, but I believe the answer to your question is that Matson wrote as a materialist who thought that using words like 'concept' led to ineradicable fuzziness and that substituting something concrete and perceptual was less fuzzy.  I could be wrong, but that's the impression and interpretation I had at the time.

Before, then, and since, I disagreed with him entirely and I could be misinterpreting him.  But I doubt it.

Jeff




Sanction: 9, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 9, No Sanction: 0
Post 367

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - 5:15amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Mr. Engle,

What you say in post 357 also squares with my own experience.

The people I've known who rejected Rand's philosophy did so because on reasoned consideration they rejected some of its leading ideas, or they were not bright enough to comprehend and retain integrated philosophic thought, or they did not want to let go of their treasured religious beliefs.

Perhaps it would not be too meandering to mention here a remarkable difference of attitude I've noticed among people who reject, on reasoned consideration, some of the leading ideas in Rand's philosophy. I mean a difference among such people who say or write anything about Rand's philosophic thought. Some will be concerned to say emphatically that they are not an Objectivist and rat-a-tat-tat all the errors they notice in Rand's thought. Others will tell you the reasons they should not be classified as an Objectivist, but they also observe and remark upon ideas of Rand's they think on the right track and worth trying to develop or promulgate.

I don't think the difference between these two sorts of people who should not be classed as Objectivist comes from a difference in what they see wrong in Rand's thought. It's surely something of an emotional difference.




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 368

Monday, October 31, 2005 - 10:48amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Stephen:

I don't think the difference between these two sorts of people who should not be classed as Objectivist comes from a difference in what they see wrong in Rand's thought. It's surely something of an emotional difference.

I know for sure you are spot on with this, but it is a difficult discussion to manage.

I acknowledge that The Break had a significant impact on the dissemination/growth of the philsophy, the movement, just as similar breaks in any organizational structure do. What I do not buy into is that the books by the Brandens created a significant impediment (as in, on the population as a whole). There are other reasons, and some of them have been touched on here. I think that anything that requires a high level of personal accountability is a hard sell. Anything that requires a great deal of work is a hard sell. The question is: Why is the experience we all talk about when we read Atlas Shrugged not as pervasive as it looks like it ought to be? We can blame that on the outside, or we can look at it from the inside. Personally, I think the problem starts at the top, at the "ownership" level, and you all know who I'm talking about.

I think the standard explanations given for the backlash to modernism (note the explosive return to the scary, high-tech evangelical churches) are not entirely honest nor complete. It needs to be looked into, and it needs to be looked into differently- something involving solutions would be good.




Post 369

Friday, October 5 - 6:57pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Read this for yourself. The 360 posts in 30 days are disturbing, revealing, and disappointing.



Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 370

Tuesday, October 9 - 5:28amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Perhaps it is my monumental lack of social skills or interest, but I am missing the tools necessary to find interest in this pissant crapfight. I started to read this thread, and then soon regretted it, wanting only to recover those lost minutes of my life.

It reads like Jr. High meets The Tower of Babel.

Affairs? Lies? Naked Sweaty Ape intrigues?

Why not 'The Toe Fungus of Ayn Rand?' Even has a catchy acronym: TFAR









Post 371

Tuesday, October 9 - 8:21amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Sorry, Fred, perhaps some editorial comment from me would have saved those precious moments for you. I hesitated to inject myself into this. This point is only that this thread was one of three that ultimately led to the demise of Sense of Life Objectivists as a partnership between Lindsay Perigo and Joseph Rowlands.

As for the topic itself, I had the same opinion you do when MSK carried this over to his own discussion board by boosting to his homepage the Passion of the Critics of the Critics of the Passion (or whatever it is called) for several months. I said that it was silly. He told me not to read it. Fair enough.

The he-said-she-said of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden is just not relevant. More interesting, for instance, is the problem of Wittgenstein's Poker.




Post 372

Tuesday, October 9 - 6:02pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
On another note, Linz has published a book in kindle format through amazon.com titled "The Total Passion for the Total Height".
Love him or hate him it is a really good read, with some greatttt insights.
Whether you are a laid back arm chair philosopher such as myself, a layperson who has never even heard of Ayn Rand, or a deep thinker, it is well worth the price.

I only mention it here as this particular thread was started by him years ago, and thought some may be interested in seeing what he has been up to since he MSK and Joe parted ways.



Post 373

Tuesday, October 9 - 6:17pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I wasn't aware that Joe and Lindsay parted. I only thought Lindsay, Barbara, MSK, and a few others severed relationships.



Post 374

Monday, October 15 - 6:10amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael:

I came here late, like 2007. I totally don't understand the dynamics of that old crapfight, the reasons, the who said what when and why. It is bewildering to me that folks who fundamentally agree on the big issues find it impossible to simply converse.

OTOH, it is just another day ending in 'y' on the in-ter-net, and so, is not much of a surprise.

It is some part medium, and some part the nature of we folks with these fringe beliefs; we are fundamentally not joiners, and rail at forming collectives. It is partly our DNA.

The 'fringe' isn't a lament; it is an observation of fact. What is bewildering to me is that the medium is not sufficient arms length of a buffer to inhibit such friction. Nobody demands that we sign up for a timeshares simply by exchanging ideas at places like this...

.. so how does it turn into a death match pudding fight so readily?

I'm not really asking; it is an easy question to ponder and a hard one to answer.

I mean, look at the history of this place and places like it; it is curious. I post sometimes here, sometimes at SOLO, sometimes at OL. I've never felt like I was 'voting' by doing so; I was just writing for pleasure.

regards,
Fred




Post 375

Monday, October 15 - 8:16amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
It is no surprise that several people had deep emotional investments in Objectivism and Ayn Rand, first among them, Rand herself.

As in The Fountainhed Rand's success was a long painful process. The intellectual impact of The Fountainhead was understood and appreciated by many business leaders. I have an article somewhere in the shelves here from Fortune about 1951 or 52, reviewing novels about business, and it's a paltry lot... but... Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead, is said to be working on a novel about business and it promises to be worth reading...

The dismal reception for Atlas Shrugged especially among the mainstream of business leaders was devastating. But, again, like Howard Roark, Rand found a devoted following in the public, largely among college students, but others as well. The NBI and the Newsletter were launched and the rest is history. And here we are today.

The animosities are multifaceted. I have heard that in junior high school, kids (girls) make maps of who "likes" whom and whom they "hate." But in middle school, no one actually believes that the fate of civilization hangs in the balance, and here, they do.

Myself, I have worked with some very large organizations; and all that matters to me is the local office and the person I report to.
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 10/15, 8:47am)




Post 376

Tuesday, October 16 - 4:45amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael:

It is no surprise that several people had deep emotional investments in Objectivism and Ayn Rand, first among them, Rand herself.

I often wonder at her 1959 Mike Wallace interview. That is another reason that I use the 50 year/JFK's America as a yardstick. At one end of that 50 years is Rand in that interview with Mike Wallace, fresh from publishing her opus magnum wave-off. At the other end of that 50 years is America today.

It has been said that Rand is one of the 'most read' and influential authors of the 20th century; that might be true, but not in academia, nor the machinery of state. Everywhere but. And there is a reason for that.

Paul Ryan? The current RealPolitik demands that even he disavow her. See below.

Both academia and our machinery of state are far too influenced by a tiny handful of inbred clubs, the Ivies, out of all proportion to their size. They are tiny, like a handful of large high schools. Easily targeted, easily over-run. And they were, deliberately and with intent, by the Soviets, who understood their choke-point nature. And from those choke-points, mandrels of left wing thinking, were cookie-cuttered out legions of left wing aparatchiks, freshly instructed, to deeply infect out body politic. You don't find a lot of love for Rand in the Ivies except for anecdotal pockets of folks who aren't blowing over in the local wind. You mostly find folks snarling and laughing and making it perfectly clear that any sympathy towards Rand's ideas brands you a mouth breather and Pariah, and young minds, eager to please, sit up and bark back the proper giggles.

And so, Rand is wildly popular ... everywhere else except in the inbred breeding grounds for the machinery of state and even other college academic staff.

50 years from Rand's Wallace interview and wave-off, not exactly a rout, but nearly a rout.

regards,
Fred




Post 377

Tuesday, October 16 - 1:08pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Fred, I've learned a lot from your posts and I thank you for that.

Here is one way to view America today that I come back to again and again.

The invasion of the universities and the flood of hostile intellectuals began in the late 1800's. There had always been differing positions on philosophical and political issues, but this was the point in history where one side laid down plans to invade and capture the universities and to create an army of secret sympathizers who would become our journalists and intellectuals.

A strong push-back against this Fabian Socialism/Progressivism wouldn't arise for a period of time. By the nature of conflict, the initiator gets the first advantage, and effective pushback still hasn't fully formed, but the level of the energy and effectiveness have increased. Pushback is reactive in nature so the stronger the progressiveness, the stronger the pushback that is generated. It took the extreme of Obama's success to get portions of the American populace to organize as they have - and it takes organization to achieve lasting effectiveness.

There are lots of fronts on which this war must be fought and that isn't happening yet. Very few people recognize that the enemy conspired to take over universities and so that battle isn't being fought.

Only recently in our history has the recognition that intellectuals and journalists have been coming out of these universities and marching to the progressive drumbeat - another battle only recently enjoined and still not effectively.

The core concepts of honesty in debate hasn't fully arisen yet and this has given the progressives an enormous advantage because they specifically choose to lie under the premise that the ends justify the means, and they specifically chose, as a corollaries, the use of ridicule, cliches, generalities, and appeals to emotion in place of logic or facts.

And there is the big one - they have long known that the strongest arguments are moral and they are logically placed better to argue moral claims from altruism - the predominate morality - while the opposition cripples itself by trying to say "Me too, I'm altruistic."

I think, sadly, that it is a longer battle than even Rand thought. But we have the capacity to choose better in an instant which is part of what makes politics unpredictable, and the truth is on our side so there is hope.



Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 18Page 8
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.