|This is funny! Tom, I don't have a theory of propositions. However, I'm flattered that you consider me philosophically sophisticated enough to develop one and are interested enough to see it! I was just using that as an example. Don't read too much into it. :) However, David Kelley is working on such a theory. |
You wrote, "What I said was that the premise that 'Objectivism (and/or ARI) is a business looking for customers.' is a premise you need to check. They are not. Objectivism is a philosophy that is soliciting agreement. ARI is an advocacy organization promoting that philosophy." I was using "customers" in a broader sense. ARI is selling a philosophy, are they not? That's the sense in which I meant it.
You wrote, "You have to decide, therefore, whether you agree with that philosophy and you have to decide whether you agree that ARI is promoting it. And then you have to be a mensch -- a human being with a spine -- about it. That means, saying so and accepting the consequences."
Well, sure. I was not contesting that.
You continue, "Yeah, some people can be really annoying. That goes both ways. Some people jump to conclusions. That goes both ways. Some people can feel badly when they do, some people can't seem to muster the necessary words. That goes both ways. So, if I misunderstood your tone of 'benevolance', 'good will,' and 'understanding' for 'malevolance', 'bad feeling' and 'overwrought crushed hutspa' please accept my apology."
Apology accepted! ;-)
"But lumping all the behaviors you name with words like 'bizarre', 'ridiculous' and 'uptight' seems to indicate that the second set of descriptive words is more accurate."
Oops! Short apology, huh!
"Not only that, but your primary gripe about Diana's throwing you off her site, and of the behaviors you name, is that they display an intolerance of 'DISSENT' Now that means an attitude of debate and disagreement and, in a word, 'Dissent.' Not one of 'study', 'honest questioning with a desire to understand a position.' My guess is that your attitude of dissent and was as obvious on those occasions as it eventually became on Diana's blog."
My point was that it's absurd to expel someone from an Objectivist study or discussion group, simply because he or she happens to question a position or express disagreement with it. If the person honestly doesn't see it as valid, what's he supposed to do? Keep his mouth shut? I'm not saying, by the way, that it's always appropriate to voice your disagreement, but then neither is it never appropriate to so. One has to use a little common sense here, but that's true in any social situation. You seem to be saying that one can question, but not disagree. Well, how exactly are you supposed to examine a philosophy critically with the goal of understanding whether or not it is valid if you're never free to express disagreement? You would have to be walking on eggshells, lest you convey the impression that you don't think that one or another of its ideas makes sense.
"1. If you dissagree with a point in Objectivism you can find a place (like SOLO, or the Ayn Rand Society...
The Ayn Rand Society is reserved for professional philosophers.
"...or by publishing your own blog or your own magazine, or by publishing a book) to express it, and attempt to prove it and invite dessent if you want."
Of course! I'm not suggesting that Objectivist bloggers and study groups don't have a ~right~ to expel dissenters. What I'm saying is that it ~can~ be inappropriate to do so; nevertheless, people have a right to act inappropriately. Nor am I complaining about a lack of venues for expressing disagreement. I'm just saying that the Objectivists I've encountered have been a pretty strange bunch with a suspicious attitude and an inability to tolerate even civil and reasonable disagreement.
You continue, "Then it is apparent that you are not 'correcting' Objectivism, you are disagreeing with it on a platform that is designed for that." Sure, if we assume that Objectivism is a closed system that does not admit of any correction or change.
Then you ask, "But what is the point of bringing up such an issue at an obviously Objectivist event. Is it not to solicite agreement?" Not so much to solicit agreement as to solicit an explanation, correction or simple recognition that there's an issue that needs to be addressed. Objectivism is not a religion with a dogma that is based on faith and is therefore impervious to critical evaluation.
"And if it is, is that not an effort to correct Objectivism? [No, as I said] To embarrass the hosts with your 'proof' that what they are preaching is wrong?"
"Embarrass the hosts??" Come on!
"Would you get up in church and ask the preacher in front of his congregation if he really thinks that transubstantiation actually takes place at the Eucherist? (Man, I know what some of you guys will make of this example so please don't)."
No, I would not. But neither would I interrupt someone in the middle of a speech or debate, unlike Ayn Rand, who did exactly that in a debate between Nathaniel Branden and Albert Ellis. But if you were in a catechism class, for example, and the priest gave you the first-cause argument for the existence of God, as he did to me when I was 9 years old, then I think it's entirely appropriate to question it if it doesn't make sense.
You continue, "There seems to be some disagreement between you and various and sundry hosts about whether your or your friends behaviour meets THEIR criteria rather than yours."
That's not the disagreement. Obviously, their behavior did not meet our criteria, otherwise we wouldn't have disagreed with it. However, I would imagine that it met theirs; otherwise they would not have done it. Hello!
Then you say, "That you even object to their acting on their judgement is hubris enough for me."
I am not objecting to their ~acting on their judgment~; I am objecting to their ~actions~. Are you seriously suggesting that I cannot properly criticize someone's actions if the person acts on his or her judgment? By that criterion, you couldn't criticize even the most outrageous behavior, if the behavior proceeded from the person's judgment.
You continue, "3. 'Dissagreement' is not an attempt to understand. It assumes that you do understand and, well, dissagree! Disagreement implies debate. Find a platform and debate. NOBODY IS STOPPING YOU."
Look, if you're trying to understand an idea and it doesn't make sense to you, then you'll necessarily disagree with it. The disagreement ~may~ be due to your failure to understand what's being said, or it may be due to the idea's simply being incorrect. You'll never know, if you don't voice your disagreement and elicit some kind of response from the idea's proponents. Understanding is an active, critical process, not a passive reception of whatever is being presented. For further details, see Rand's essay "Philosophical Detection" in _Philosophy: Who Needs It_.