Angry at Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Victor Pross's picture
Submitted by Victor Pross on Sun, 2006-06-11 06:13

I had written an article on some other “general philosophy” site about Objectivism and Ayn Rand. One post wrote in a rather hostile tone—-no surprise---taking on some of my points. I want to share sections from that post with Solo members here for some feed-back and comments.

The poster begins: “I really don't understand you at times Mr. Pross; actually most of the times. I read your 'endearing' essay only to find it full of self contradictory statements. As a 'philosopher', I am duty bound to analyze your assumptions and beliefs..."

The poster quotes from my article: ‘The philosophy I advocate is a philosophy of freedom. It's a philosophy that says there is a reality, which you have a mind to grasp and with which to observe and reason about it –-and, most importantly, to act on your reason—-and that you should be free to act.’

Now the poster goes in for his kill: “Victor, I found that an interesting statement to make, particularly after you had just dismissed other philosophies as 'bad' (for wont of a better word). Shouldn't your 'philosophy of freedom' also encompass the freedom for others to create their own philosophies, whether 'good' or 'bad'?”

Yes, draw your own conclusions here. As if I would prohibit by law the right of others to speak or advoate whatever they wish. Or maybe he means that by simply speaking ill of other philosophies---I am in contradiction of my advocacy of freedom?
What do you think?

Now, in the article, I got on to explain that we—-human beings---have a philosophy of life---explicit or implicit.

The poster responded with: “Then great! But Victor, if we're all philosophers, then why should we subscribe to other philosophers such as Ayn Rand?”

The poster concludes with this: "I don't think you can say there's any right or wrong way to run your life, in fact the Greek tradition of philosophy fails because it solely deals with polar opposites, ie. black/white, good/bad, in/out. Life certainly isn't as clear cut as that, and the ancient Greeks had to deal with similar problems as we have today, philosophy did nothing to help that. What is Ayn Rand's philosophy going to do today?"

Comments and remarks?

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Mike, I’ll tell you, I

Victor Pross's picture

Mike, I’ll tell you, I have been thunderstruck time and time again, in my life, by the sheer brazenness of the very capacity for intellectual dishonesty. I don’t mean someone who has a solid and firm disagreement...or people who are still probing over these various deep issues—no, I mean smarmy, eye averting, lower lip twitching, palm rubbing INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY. One wonders if they are trying to pull an enormous fraud on you or themselves. It’s as if they feel that there word and mind contortions will miraculously alter the laws of the universe to meet their demands and wishes. It’s truly amazing, these creatures.

In regards to Penelope, I understand her point: she is saying that you have zero “direct value” arguing with irrationality because it is arbitrary. She is saying that they’ll have nothing to say of value, if they are truly dishonest and irrational, that is. But—as an adjunct, to hone your intellectual skills, by speaking out loud and wording what is all locked up in your head, it does “ground” your philosophy. That's all. Contextually speaking, debating can be of value.

But dealing with these people at all...ah! There is a price to pay. And even when I call these creatures on it--they do it again! It could be at that very same one setting or on some other occasion and topic and with some new variant of dishonesty, but it seems like “second nature” to these specimens. They are relentless. Its like, “excuse me, but do I have the word ‘stupid’ stapled on my forehead or something?” And now you see these assholes, not in pubs and chat-rooms, but infiltrating the world of science.

More crap masters? The living end for me was having to read the Branden books and arguing bitterly with other Objectivists (but I didn't regard it as intellectually dishonest here; many honest and good people were suckered in).

An article that Lindsay wrote, in connection to leftist intellectual dishonesty, in the realm of politics, was “Apologists for evil.” It’s a bulls-eye. Lindsay wrote what I had always thought on the theme of that article.

I am proud—proud I say—that I can smell dishonesty like dog shit on your boot when you’re standing next to me and you have no after-shave on. Good post on the movie review, by the way.

I've only been an

Mike_M's picture

I've only been an Objectivist for a little more than five years. I had the QM objection raised in a debate on Internet Infidels two years ago. A Marxist also quoted from an essay Trotsky wrote arguing that A is not A. (This pound of sand is not EXACTLY the same as that, therefore A (pound of sand) is not A.) The rejection of Aristotle's logic is one of the ideas Peikoff mentions in Understanding Objectivism as inherently dishonest. My experience debating the issue further confirmed this.

I think the QM objection is a way for liberals (I bet it is a leftist who raised the objection) to cover their asses and put on a show like they are pro-science. "I'm not against reality! I'm just pointing out that, according to science, we cannot know reality." A rationalization like that. People also tend to passively accept popular scientific "wisdom." So "Objectivism contradicts known science," will impact someone who is ignorant of both Objectivism and the different interpretations of QM. It's a sneak assault, really.

And there is something to be gained by debating this kind of issue, Penelope. I saw it as a test. Did I myself understand the issue well enough to see the errors? Having lots of fallacies thrown in your face gives you a little practice thinking on your feet as well. But as you point out, there reaches a point when the argument stops being worth time. (On a big forum it can also be a display of how well Objectivism stands up to scrutiny. Changing the mind of a few lurkers never hurts).

I also recall him writing a

Mike_M's picture

I also recall him writing a very interesting article on Einstein and QM for some site or magazine or something. Anyone?

Don Watkin's Axiomatic. Norsen's article is really good.

'I'll be interested in

Victor Pross's picture

'I'll be interested in seeing your response. I'm surprised you've never heard it before. I've gotten it often over the years.'

Hope you enjoy it.

Penelope

Victor Pross's picture

You are absolutely right, in all of your below points. You CAN'T reason with UN-reason for that's a contradiction in terms. That's why I have decided to make it a general post here at Solo. I don't want to waste my time and energy on this loser--and he is a loser. I have no problem calling an ace an ace, or in this case: an A an A. I'm thankful to him for only sparking the idea to deal with this subject. Enjoy my post.

Speaking of QM... An

Penelope's picture

Speaking of QM...

An Objectivist physicist, Travis Norsen, wrote an intersting article on QM:

http://www.aps.org/units/fps/n...

I also recall him writing a very interesting article on Einstein and QM for some site or magazine or something. Anyone?

"I'm going to finish the

Fred Weiss's picture

"I'm going to finish the debate off by answering this question of Quantum physics, as I'm well versed on it. Plus, I have never heard this line of attack before."

I'll be interested in seeing your response. I'm surprised you've never heard it before. I've gotten it often over the years.

Victor

Penelope's picture

Call it morbid, but I want to see how he answers my line of argument. I am curious: I have debated many different topics, but nobody has ever gone on to directly challenge an 'objective reality' or Aristotle's logic.

But that's my point. You don't learn anything from answering irrational people because you are dealing with the arbitrary. There is no limit to how they can respond to even the clearest, most rational, argument. Sure, if you want, you can, but why is it interesting to see what particular form that irrationality takes?

The only exception to the above is if you're answering a common confusion, so that, even if the person who raises it is dishonest or irrational, some of his irrationalities have taken in honest people. I don't think you can say that about the rejection of Aristotelian logic. Quoting from memory: "There can be no honest revolt against reason."

Penelope

Victor Pross's picture

Oh, believe me, I know that's true. I'm going to finish the debate off by answering this question of Quantum physics, as I'm well versed on it. Plus, I have never heard this line of attack before. Call it morbid, but I want to see how he answers my line of argument. I am curious: I have debated many different topics, but nobody has ever gone on to directly challenge an 'objective reality' or Aristotle's logic. Should be interesting.

Victor

Penelope's picture

Now you see why I think it's pointless to debate with irrational people.

The debate continues

Victor Pross's picture

Victor wrote:

'It was Aristotle--the Greek philosopher --who discovered the laws of logic. A is A--a thing is itself, contradictions can't exist. It's either/or. To be A and non-A at the same time and in the same respect ...is to be nothing. Contradictions can't exist.'

The poster goes into his argument:

Here we go, polar opposites, it either is or it isn't.

You're obviously not familiar with science are you Victor? If you were well read up on say, something like ummm, let me see... uh.. I know! - QUANTUM PHYSICS, you would know that it has already disproved Aristotle's A=A. In the Quantum reality, A can be both A AND not A, at the same time. Therefore, I stand by my statement, that Aristotle's philosophy fails.

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I'm still to respond [Victor]

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Thanks, Jason.

Victor Pross's picture

Alright, that does it. I will tear the guy to shreds. If he were an honest person, (I don't believe he is) I would take care to address his points and introduce him to Objectivism. But now...he is merely a sounding bourd for others to consider what I have to say...honest people who are truly interested.

Victor: Objectivist--writer--artist--nice guy

Victor

Jason Quintana's picture

Do me a favor and tear the guy to shreds. He is an intellectual ZERO and should be made aware of the fact. I don't think you need much help from us to acheive that end.

- Jason

Lance

Victor Pross's picture

Indeed, I was wondering when that contradiction was going to be called on--here at Solo. It's kinda too easy to rip into this person--so easy that it almost seems cruel do do so. And 'the dude' claims that it is *I* who contradicts myself.

All others--feel free: I will forward this to him. And I'll send back any remarks from him again...if there is an interest. Me? I love debates.

Victor: Objectivist--writer--artist--nice guy

The dude said:"I don't

Lanza Morio's picture

The dude said:

"I don't think you can say there's any right or wrong way to run your life, in fact the Greek tradition of philosophy fails because it solely deals with polar opposites, ie. black/white, good/bad, in/out. Life certainly isn't as clear cut as that, and the ancient Greeks had to deal with similar problems as we have today, philosophy did nothing to help that. What is Ayn Rand's philosophy going to do today?"

He certainly is clear-cut and black and white about all that.

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