The value of honest debate

NickOtani's picture
Submitted by NickOtani on Sun, 2007-12-16 05:51

I agree with some things David Kelley said about the value of debate:

Competition is as healthy for the production and exchange of ideas as it is for the production and exchange of material goods….

Rational knowledge is acquired by integrating the facts, by sifting and weighing the evidence, and a vital part of this process is open discussion and debate. We should encourage this process.

I agree with this and disagree with Peikoff and the ARI and with some of the so-called Objectivists, like Michael Stuart Kelly and Joseph Rollins, who kicked me off their boards. I thought I might find a place for myself here and on boards like the Atlas Forums.

I have criticized Objectivism, and I still have more to criticize about it. I think there is a problem with freedom, with certainty from induction, with the dualism, and with the way it uses logic and perception. However, I agree with Kelley that if Objectivism is a philosophy worth its salt, it should be able to deal with a little criticism, and adherents of this philosophy should not need to shun people like me, to avoid all contact with us simply because we don’t agree with them entirely.

The philosopher William Clifford, when discussing dogmatic theists, once said:

If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call in question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it--the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.

I agree with this and have determined not to make my own life such a sin.

Bis bald,

Nick


( categories: )

It's true

NickOtani's picture

You don't debate. You just drop cheap shots. Let me return the favor:

I've seen you make idotic statements but did not feel inclined to point them out to you. I decided it would be like talking to several others on this board, a waste of time.

Have a nice Christmas.

Nick

  I have had largely a

Mark Hubbard's picture

 

I have had largely a crappy Christmas, right down to the Great Dane's diarrhea in the lounge. It's Boxing Day, and even though I should be back to work proper, I am sitting here composing a letter to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue (NZ) about a policy decision announced by the IRD on the Friday before Christmas that is a treacherous betrayal of a position formerly held by the Department ... but finally, I get the relief of one belly laugh. And at the hands of the Humean. 

Arguing on the internet

Richard Goode's picture

One last time

Landon Erp's picture

My statement was that I DON'T DEBATE YOU. I'm not trying to do so now. My point was that I had seen arguements that would have convinced me go past you, I make no claim this is due to dishonesty. I'm saying that in those cases I don't have the desire to develop a better arguement than the ones already presented.

I also don't have a desire to go searching through this site and pick out every single example of what I was talking about.

What part of "Too time consuming to be worthwhile" don't you understand?

On that note, you win. Everything you say is perfect there are absolutely no flaws in anything you say, and I'm going to eat Xmas dinner.

---Landon

The price of liberty is eternal VIGILANCE.

http://www.myspace.com/wickedlakes

Looking for an honest man

NickOtani's picture

The truth is I've seen other people give good arguements on a number of topics that just flew right past you. And to be completly honest, if those didn't convince you it's not important enough to me that I take time to develop an arguement that will convince you.

You have to name one of those topics. Being unspecific as you are is not a fair debate tactic. I can't defend myself against unspecified attacks.

I think there are a lot more of my points which go past other people, and nobody on this board is honest enough to point this out. Someone here should research the threads Leonid refers to and report that he has lied about what he claims I said. Those who see evil and allow it to go by, do not take a stand, are just as bad as those who perpetrate the evil.

Diogenes of Sinope was once observed carrying a lantern at mid-day. When asked what he was doing, he answered that he was looking for an honest man. I'm looking for an honest man, or woman, on this board.

bis bald,

Nick

Nick

Landon Erp's picture

I post here sporadically at best. I usually limit it to either if something registers as really wrong and either

a) I have a proper resonse that might convince somebody
b) I don't have anything that would convince anyone but want my opinion to be registered.

My last post was the later.

(I don't usually post when I agree with something because if I agree with it I never have much to add other than "Agreed!", "Good point!" or the like)

The truth is I've seen other people give good arguements on a number of topics that just flew right past you. And to be completly honest, if those didn't convince you it's not important enough to me that I take time to develop an arguement that will convince you.

I started a new comic project a couple of months ago and it's really getting going now. So, getting in long drawn out internet discussions using time that could be put to better use by doing character sketches and/or bios, or scriptwriting is on par with suicide to me. I'd be giving up part of my life that I don't want to give up for something that wouldn't be very satisfying.

---Landon

The price of liberty is eternal VIGILANCE.

http://www.myspace.com/wickedlakes

Landon

NickOtani's picture

In general you represent why I don't like to be known as someone who studies mainstream philosophy. Your approach seems to be to think yourself in circles until every single piece of data you've ever encountered is utterly confusing, and then completely ignore all of your own conclusions and live your life by whatever you happen to feel like doing at any given moment.

That's certainly not the way I see myself. There are a lot of things in philosophy that are ultimately confusing, but there is enough certainty on which to base a life philosophy. There is freedom within parameters. I do not live my life by whatever I happen to feel like doing at any given moment, regardless of what Leonid says.

If you want to nail me down, present a first affirmative case. Introduce a proposition, a simple declarative value statement in positive form; i.e. "Women ought to be allowed in combat," or "Marijuana ought to be legalized," or "Alice and her friends in Objectivist Land ought to be found guilty." Then, support it with two or three contentions supported by evidence and reasoning. Make it a prima facie case and force me to respond to it, to take the negative and show where your weaknesses are. Finally, we can both take turns with rebuttals and then leave it up to the audience to decide which of us won.

Or, you can come up with a valid, deductive argument, a syllogism with two premises and a conclusion, and challenge me to disprove it, to show that one of the premises is lacking or that there is a fallacy in the over-all argument. This is the only way to beat a deductive argument. I can't be evasive and talk in circles if you set things up right.

If you want, you can take one of my affirmative cases and argue against it. I would have the burden of proof, and all you need to do is poke a hole in my reasoning, show where I am not proving my case. You can pick one of my propositions which I have not yet built into a case and challenge me to do so.

I did post an article in the writer's forum on how to debate formally. We can follow those rules. Honest debate need not devolve into character attacks and false and unsupported accusations. This is what people do who don't know how to debate. (Dare I mention any names?)

bis bald,

Nick

Nick

Landon Erp's picture

In general you represent why I don't like to be known as someone who studies mainstream philosophy. Your approach seems to be to think yourself in circles until every single piece of data you've ever encountered is utterly confusing, and then completely ignore all of your own conclusions and live your life by whatever you happen to feel like doing at any given moment.

You're not the only one who seems to apporach philosophy this way, and that's what bothers me. And that's why I don't bother debating you.

---Landon

The price of liberty is eternal VIGILANCE.

http://www.myspace.com/wickedlakes

William,you treat lost case of extreme relativism

Leonid's picture

Leonid
Hi,William
You said:
"I appreciate the comment, Gregster(!) and agree about the enigmatic spectacle."
I don't think there is much of enigma.The philosophical root of Nick's psychological predicament is clearly explained by Nick himself.
He said "Some people lean on a god. Others subjugate themselves to society or other people. Some people follow a doctrine or dogma, and some people use logic, not as a tool but as a guide rail. This is not really being independent."
The simple meaning of this statement is that Nick rejects principles.Not just wrong or irrational principles but principles as such.He exibits extreme case of relativism.For him to be independent means to be independent from reality.His reality has no identity, and no knowledge is possible to him,only probabilities. So reason and logic become equal to religion ( see his thread "Is logic new God"),Roosvelt is equal to Hitler since both,according to Nick, used excessive force during WW2,Iranian islamofascists are reasonable guys and can be persuaded but objectivists are dogmatic fanatic blood-thirsty ayatollas.(see his thread on Islam).He never generated one single idea of his own and his ecclectic mixture which he's keeping to present is ridden with endless contradictions.As long as he's holding his premises, no amount of psychological treatment will help him.In his last post he rejected the help which you generously and sincerely offered to him.He said "I was right about you from the beginning, that you didn’t really have my interests at heart, that you were trying to make me look bad, to destroy me as a person." And the reason for this rejection is obvious: as psychologist you know that nobody can talk delusional person out of his delusion.

This is not an outrage

NickOtani's picture

Now, William, I was not outraged. I merely acknowledged that I was right about you from the beginning, that you didn’t really have my interests at heart, that you were trying to make me look bad, to destroy me as a person. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have emphasized my misspelled word that one time. You claim to have read so many of my posts and threads, yet you focus on those which criticize me, and those that criticize me are mostly from people like Mawdsley, who was trying to blame me for his failings. That doesn’t impress me with your qualifications as a great psychologist. You should have noticed this. Also, when you saw that I was obviously being attacked as invalid by people who couldn’t define “validity,” as I was on the Genius Forums, you should have intervened and been my ally. Those who are able to prevent evil but choose not to are, themselves, malevolent.

I was not able to reach the material you linked to in your earlier post because I am banned from Objectivist Living. I’d have to sign in to reach that material, and I am not allowed to do so. I can, however, reach some material, like where Kat said that I am such a victim and think everybody else is a bigot. That freed me from any guilt feelings about calling her a Bimbo. I said nothing about Barbara Branden, and I once respected her a lot, but she apparently doesn’t approve of me now. She complimented Mawdsley on his attempt to shirk responsibility for his own failings by pushing them off on me. I once felt honored when she spoke with me, this person from the history of Objectivism who has written books I own and have studied, but she also speaks with people who don’t know much about her at all and are not really very bright. Apparently, she respects them as much or more than she does me. That sort of detracts from the honor I felt.

Let me reiterate, I did not delete any material from OL. MSK deleted The Bigot at the Bar, and he told me why in email. He thought it was too antagonistic, and he and Kat didn’t want that on their board. I think it probably hit too close to home.

I have looked over your posts about Lincoln and Linz’s challenge to Ed Hudgins. It is kind’a like my challenge to Linz. I can see how some people think you are a wise-ass. It is your personality. You put personality into your posts, and some people are intimidated by it. Some people are intimidated by Don Rickles or David Letterman. I am just a bit wary. I don’t have that kind of personality, as I said long ago. You would win any contest of humor. I know it.

If we know each other and respect each other, a little good natured kidding is great. However, I don’t think you respect me yet. You still believe folks like Mawdsley and MSK and others who complain about me. You don’t come to my assistance when I am being treated unjustly. You join with my detractors. You mock me, like others do when they can’t defeat me with arguments and reasoning. I’m not sure that is yet good natured ribbing.

Bis bald,

Nick

Have you tried Facebook, Nick?

William Scott Scherk's picture

Hi Nick, happy holy days to you. I admit the last post contained lancing humour. One fault you admit is a bit of a lack there.

This little symbol Evil is called 'evil" in the roster of 'smileys' in the reply form. I thought, "Nick might not know I am kidding, so I will add a 'smiley,' even though I HATE SMILEYS." I thought you might pause at a symbol that never appears in my post, and . . . never mind.

Sad

Hey, not all Bimbos are blond women. I think you put yourself in that category too.

Hey, I was once blonde. I've worn dresses and make-up. I've been called a bitch and a whore and a fag and whatnot. Lay your category on, brother. Here's a pic from those days:
La Sherkette in 1983-ish

You went for the cheap joke.

Not cheap. It was while searching for an image for Bimbo Bread that I can across the Kranky package. I was wrong about Kranky, too. It is a product of Bimbo. I thought you might like the light humour: 'Cranky' Otani. . . get it?

if this was a most read post, you had a chance to say something really important

It's not my last post, brother.

I'm sorry for you that you didn't get the reaction for which you hoped.

?? -- do you mean I hope you might take my post in the spirit of humour -- with a lance of sense included? Do you mean you think I hoped you would . . . well, what do you think I hoped you would do?

If I would have taken you seriously, I would have really looked silly now.

Not at all. If you had taken me seriously, you would have followed the links and seen what I was up to.

You wanted to deliver a punch line.

I always want to deliver a punch line, Nick. And I usually do. Sometimes like this one here, sometimes like this one here, sometimes like this one here. Sometimes . . . well, you get the picture. Other times, the irony is less apparent, as found here.

You didn't want to say something sincere.

Yeah. So the only reason I referred to Barbara Branden supporting you in your reaction to the Tsunami Joke was because, um . . . insincerity. The reason I twitted you for calling Kat a 'Bimbo' was because Kat also supported you. In fact, if you had followed the link provided you would have seen the evidence for yourself. All your Obectivist Living posts except for the ones you deleted can still be found with diligent effort. 140 posts. Three people care enough about honest debate to check the evidence and admit they were wrong. As in "I was wrong, Nick. I wasn't diligent."

You didn't call Paul Mawdsley "hysterical little girl." You called somebody "a super-sensitive, hysterical little baby." I don't know if it was Jenna Wong or Paul Mawdsley you were referring to. If you don't look at the evidence in context, neither will you. I am sorry you don't find me 'authentic' enough to take me at my word. I am sorry you don't understand my humour. Only four people here do, I am told.

My humour is not unlike a tinny little hysterical toy piano. I am stuck with it, just as you are stuck with yours. The only apparent thing we have in common is we appreciate the sound of our own instrument.

You were going for this all along, weren't you WSS?

Yes, indeed.

Whatever 'this' means. Unlike you, on evidence, I know the difference between strategy and tactics.

Nick, once you are through typing out your next outrage, you might read this. Then understand that I am here on sufferance. When I hound the Emperor, I do it to his face, backstage, in private email. He rules. Not me, not you. How's that for a social dynamic?

WSS

Good one

NickOtani's picture

You were going for this all along, weren't you WSS? You didn't want to say something sincere. You wanted to deliver a punch line. If I would have taken you seriously, I would have really looked silly now. I'm sorry for you that you didn't get the reaction for which you hoped.

On the other hand, if this was a most read post, you had a chance to say something really important. Instead, you went for the cheap joke.

Hey, not all Bimbos are blond women. I think you put yourself in that category too.

bis bald,

Nick

NO's Greatest Hits? Bimbos for Reason

William Scott Scherk's picture

David Kelley: Rational knowledge is acquired by integrating the facts, by sifting and weighing the evidence, and a vital part of this process is open discussion and debate. We should encourage this process.

Nick Otani: BTW, I don't think I went against MSK's posting rules, except where he subjectively determined my post about the Bigot at the Bar was inappropriate for his forum. [ . . . ] He doesn't want to face truth and think. He wants to have a pleasant forum full of Bimbos like Maudsley and Kat.

Okay, William Scott Scherk. We all have our projects in life. I hope you have as much success with yours as I will have with mine.

I’ve read all the posts by PM, MSK, and you. Instead of trying to change me, if you were a person who likes the same things I do and wants to see high levels of discussion and debate on these boards, you should stand up for me.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I was wrong, Nick. I wasn not diligent in finding all your posts at the other place. All I initially found were your remaining topics. You actually still have a profile and and a five page index of your remaining posts. According to one of my team of investigators, this is where we can find the initial exchanges that led you to call one 'Bimbo' an "hysterical little girl."

You found support for your take on race-inflected humour from several people, including she whom Emperigo used to call Majesty but now calls Witch, and from whom you call 'Bimbo' Kat**.


Bimbo bread is often found on Mexican supermarket shelves alongside the popular brand of yoghurt-flavoured flakes, Kranky Otani.

You actually do have a vast corpus of internet postings -- among them are real gems. I will later post links for your benefit and the benefit of your fan base at OL and here at SOLO. Oddly, this is one of the most-read threads here this week.

WSS

** 'Bimbo' is usually meant as a term of disapprobation, applying to an attractive but stupid woman. Besides this derogatory connotation, Bimbo also refers to a range of bakery products, among which is a wildly popular brand of white bread (in Hispanoamerica, especially Mexico, but also in Québec).

Evil

When to placate and when not to

NickOtani's picture

You chose to subjugate yourself to the social field of the armed forces while you were in it. You never once denounced your superior officers to their faces. You placated whom you felt you had to placate. You placated Paul Mawdsley intially because you feared banishment (only later did you move against the social field, the posting rules of MSK's forum, only later did you change your behaviour -- and you were no longer able to denounce him in his social field, because you had dealt yourself off the field entirely by your own actions). You placated Lindsay. You placated your son. You placated your wife. You placated and continue to placate your employer.

There's the story about how Diogenes of Sinope, the cynic, stood outside a theater in Athens and observed groups of people entering to see a play. First there were these well-dressed and well-groomed people entering. Diogenes shouted, "Affectation!" Then, a bunch of unkempt people wearing rags and messed-up hair came in. Diogenes shouted, "Also affectation!" The point is that both groups were phony, inauthentic, pretending to be something they weren't. I don't go against the norm just to be different, to show I'm not subjugated to it. That would be giving it too much power. It would still be subjugating myself to it because I would have to recognize it as the establishment to purposely be anti-establishment. No, I agree with Confucius. Convention is important. It allows for a certain order, and people have problems if they ignore it or act against it. However, there does come a time when one must decide if it is better, more authentic, to go on abiding by convention or making a stand. I have stood up against conventions. I have told supervisors to shove it. There were consequences, and I endured them. Perhaps I would be in a better job by now if I would have acted differently, but I don't think I would be as qualitatively happy as I am now. BTW, I don't think I went against MSK's posting rules, except where he subjectively determined my post about the Bigot at the Bar was inappropriate for his forum. That made me think anything meaningful and provocative would be censored at his forum, and I think I am right. He doesn't want to face truth and think. He wants to have a pleasant forum full of Bimbos like Maudsley and Kat.

BTW, I am still looking for common ground. I'm not sitting outside the fence in bitter recriminations. I'm standing outside some tents and pissing into them.

On this forum, I've criticized Objectivism with my Alice series and with a few other threads. If these Objectivists don't want to defend their philosophy, okay. I'll get by. I'll just keep posting my arguments without opposition.

bis bald,

Nick

'They kick me off their boards and then say critical things"

William Scott Scherk's picture

And, I agree that we cannot impact everything with just our attitudes.

Good. I don't think we impact much beyond our mood with our attitudes. Sure, a consistently negative, whining, bitchy, 'victim-of-other-people' attitude won't get you too far with many folks . . . but I see your point. It's like the demented TMers who believe they change the course of war and peace by, well, meditating on it.

We cannot be responsible for everything that happens to us.

Of course. We can be responsible for the things in our control, and use our efforts to influence others. We can use many elements of our behavioural tool-kits as are appropriate to a given situation. Which is why I hammer Idiot Kevin, rather than spread him with fudge. Actually, the Idiot is so thoroughly indoctrinated with Chirch of Kookology, that neither fudge nor hammers will work to change his behaviour. Which is why I pull the ridicule sponge from my tool-kit: it is fun for me, and he is oblivious and unconcerned.

Try to tell a tsunami victim that he or she is responsible for being swept out to sea.

Change perspective: Observe, as the little British gal did, that the sea is rushing out far beyond shore. Integrate that observation with your knowledge of tsunami behaviour (this outrush is part of the wave action; within minutes there will be a deadly inrush). Alert the folks in earshot that they must run to higher ground or be swept away . . . then those who did not heed the rational warning and run . . . are they responsible?

Try to tell Martin Luther King Jr. that blacks who were persecuted in the old south could change the effect of the discrimination against them by changing the way they act on the social field.

Well, not be contrary, but what the segregated blacks did was start by changing their behaviour. They changed the way they dealt with the social field. The social field reacted. They refused to submit. In the end, segregation was legally overturned.

He would agree but not in the way the subjectivists mean.

He's dead. I can tell him, but have no idea how he might answer. In any case, who are "the subjectivists"?

There is a way of changing the way we act on a social field.

No. there are many ways.

It is to stop trying to be polite to it; stop trying to placate it. Denounce it for what it is and stand for what one believes in.

Right. Like the brave Rosa Parks and all whom she inspired to social action. Yet this is only one way, and I certainly don't believe you equate yourself with Rosa, Martin, or assorted tsunami victims.

I don't subjugate myself to a social field.

You most certainly do -- depending on the field and its rules.

You actually subjugate yourself to social mores whenever it serves your long-term interests, in most matters.

You chose to subjugate yourself to the social field of the armed forces while you were in it. You never once denounced your superior officers to their faces. You placated whom you felt you had to placate. You placated Paul Mawdsley intially because you feared banishment (only later did you move against the social field, the posting rules of MSK's forum, only later did you change your behaviour -- and you were no longer able to denounce him in his social field, because you had dealt yourself off the field entirely by your own actions). You placated Lindsay. You placated your son. You placated your wife. You placated and continue to placate your employer.

In some cases, yes, you altered your behaviour, yet, I would mark some of the changes as lurches, from cringing to overturning the table. From playing a fearful game ("I was afraid I would be banned!") to playing a vengeful game ("I told him he was a fool, uneducated, an idiot, beneath me, stupid, a pig, worse than a pig, etc."). Deleting posts, rejecting counsel, battling with list managers, overturning your own rules of conduct, beseeching allies whom you had spurned and disdained, racing to other venues to vent your outrage and finding . . . no support.

The social field can learn to get along with me or keep on as it is. I will keep on as I am.

Well, by your rules and mores, of course. The thing is, if one of your goals was to find a field in which you could participate fully, teach, correct, inform, play, coach, inspire, direct, lead, encourage, even learn . . . you have diminishing returns. By your own count you have been banned, moderated, mistreated, abused, ridiculed, dismissed and ignored on 37 lists.

Anyhow, those are the facts. How you arrange them on the chessboard of your morality, on the mental scoreboard of your struggle to achieve your goals . . . well, how have you done? You have managed to stay true to yourself, and you seem satisfied that there is nothing you would have done differently. Your pattern is unbroken. Your self-satisfaction is retained. In your eyes, you have done nothing wrong, only the other guy is responsible for your position. You are satisfied with your authentictiy, without friends, with zero social life outside the internet, without family, without things that previously brought you simple human pleasures.

I will make two predictions, both predicated on your behaviour.

1) You continue with exactly the same patterns of behaviour on this list, this social field. In so doing, you alienate not only the list owner and his allies, but the vast majority of readers. As with OL, the Genius List, and every other single place you have appeared, you end up thwarted.

2) You alter your behaviour in a small but significant way (and not by lobotomy), the change in behaviour resulting from either a calculated risk assessment or a non-logical leap into the future. You get closer to your goals. You make an ally or two. You find you are happier and more fulfilled -- more authentic.

See, Nick, the value of honest debate. The values of weighing, sifting, listening and considering. Finding common ground and building on it. Taking part in the game, rather than sitting outside the fence in bitter recrimination.

As an aside, I have been banned once and have been moderated; the list owner and his close supporters consider me "mad as a snake," a lunatic, a verbose blight on their social field, a jerk and worse -- a pomowanker! For you to consider me a placator is a source of rich amusement to me.

WSS

Perhaps the social field has problems

NickOtani's picture

I diligently searched for exchanges between you and Paul on OL. There is only one remaining. Whether you succeeded in deleting your posts or whether MSK removed the threads containing your interactions with Paul, the evidence is not apparent, so there is nothing to weigh and sift.

I never deleted anything on the OL. I wouldn’t have the ability to delete another person’s post. It is highly probable MSK deleted stuff, although he accuses me of doing so. Anyhow, if you did find the posts to which I refer, I suspect you would side with Mr. Maudsley and agree that I insulted him and that he was justified in going over the top, being hysterical with me. This seems to be your pattern.

I accept, then, that Mawdsley, in your opinion was a hysterical girl in an earlier exchange, and that this earlier exchange fixed your attitude to anything he might later say to you. No problem.

You frame me as someone who lets his attitude about someone’s character impact his perception of anything that person says to me later. If PM’s statement would have been objective and right, I would have accepted it, regardless of my opinion of him as a person. It was not. It was inauthentic and tied to his problems from our earlier exchanges, as I explained.

With regard to your statement "We can be responsible for what happens to us," let us take this as another point of agreement.

And, I also explained that I agreed to this only to a certain extent. I gave some examples of where this doesn’t work. You don’t seem to be focusing on those.

If you don't mind, I'll make a couple of points and ask a few questions. I hope you answer, but if not, I will understand. You have written, Nick: "Someone who alienates people routinely will generally have more problems getting what he or she wants from those people."

Remember the context in which I make these statements. This is a point someone like Confucius might make, and yes, it is true. Convention is important to him. However, a Taoist may emphasize authenticity over order and getting along with people. If I have to be phony to not alienate someone, I have a judgment call to make. I have to wonder if it is worth it. Sometimes, it’s better to alienate someone than to sell out.

Now, I think you will agree that some people do tend to alienate others, for various reasons. You will also agree that some of these people will generally have problems getting what they want from others.
Let us put you out of the argument, then, and talk about somebody else. Let's call this fellow Idiot Kevin. Idiot Kevin wants a few things out of others, but is having some troubles, now and again, in getting those things. You and I both know a few Kevins, I am sure.
If you know a Kevin, who had these kinds of troubles, what kind of information would you seek from him? Meaning, what would you want to know about Kevin in order that he would have a better chance of getting what he wanted. I am thinking that I would ask Kevin to tell us what kinds of goals/things he wanted in his interactions with us. Is that sort of what you would do?

I’m really tiring of your attempt to lecture me. I am a teacher and know about alienating audiences and such. I’ve taken several psychology courses at the college level. I’ve been a successful teacher in adult education for twenty years, dealing with thousands of people on an individual level. I don’t think I need this lesson in how to play nice with others.

If Kevin wanted me as a friend, I’d say he would have to earn my respect, not just demand it from me or try to bargain for it. Or try to convince me it is my problem for not being more likeable. I have known people who seemed desperate for companionship and alienated people because of that, then they became more lonely and desperate, and it was a vicious circle. I’m not looking for friends, though. I’m looking for people who can understand and challenge my views and force greater production from me. I don’t have to be likeable or have social skills to write logical arguments, and someone doesn’t have to like me as a person to find possible flaws in those arguments. Normally, when two people debate at a high level, they may never see eye to eye but still have some respect for each other. This doesn’t happen, though, with my debates. My debates usually turn ugly. I think it is because I have not found someone yet who is my equal. We challenge each other until flaws become exposed, and then egos get in the way. I will usually get bored if I have to explain things over and over to someone who refuses to get it, someone who seems willfully ignorant. Or, if that person becomes disrespectable to me and uses insult rather than argument to win points. You can try to tell me this is somehow my fault, but I don’t agree. I think I would respect someone who respects me and continues to debate me at my level.

Re: "You, WSS, stand for compromise, for not antagonizing the bigots" -- How do you know this about me?

I don’t believe you authentically have my interests at heart. Your intention is to make me look bad, to destroy me as a person. Otherwise, you would not have emphasized my misspelled word in your last post.

You take the side of people like PM and MSK and all those who criticize me. You say they don’t hate me, but the effect is the same. They kick me off their boards and then say critical things about me which I cannot defend against, after having been banned. They comment only to ridicule, to say mean things to me. Or, they shun me. If this is not hatred, it amounts to the same thing. It is how the bigot treats the bartender.

Now, I don’t care. I don’t need your friendship or even respect. However, you haven’t really earned my respect. You claim to have read all my output on several boards, yet you only focus on these critical things people say about me as a person. There is much more out there which is more valuable than this. There were also critical things said about Socrates, Martin Luther King Jr., and every President of the United States. Just because people said them, it didn’t make them true. When people are significant, they make enemies. If I don’t make some people upset, I don’t really do my job of being provocative. You haven't included all the good things said about me in letters of recommendation I've posted on my board. You haven’t really shown me you are a competent psychoanalyst. As I said earlier, you take the path of least resistance. Rather than backing the lone black man in a red neck bar, you join with the red necks. You don’t take stands I can respect. It’s just, if someone pisses people off, it must be that person’s fault, not the fault of the social field. As far as I can see, you are not a Socrates or a Martin Luther King Jr. or a Howard Roark. You would join with their detractors and say they have social skills problems.

Bis bald,

Nick

The social field can learn to get along with me.

William Scott Scherk's picture

Here is where we agree, Mr NO:

Competition is as healthy for the production and exchange of ideas as it is for the production and exchange of material goods….

Rational knowledge is acquired by integrating the facts, by sifting and weighing the evidence, and a vital part of this process is open discussion and debate.

Competition, production, exchange, integrating facts, weighing evidence is a good process in discussion. Can't disagree at all.

So, I approach your 'impressions' of me with a spirit informed by our agreement. Using the principles we both agree with, we can come closer to mutual comprehension and if not agreement, a reasoned disagreement.

You reject my psychological opinions. No problem. We move on.

I asked how you got the impression that Paul Mawdsley was a hysterical girl. You replied: You didn’t include the exchange when I first encountered Paul Maudsley. I made some point which I thought was mildly ironic about what he was saying and he went off on me. He was insulted. He told me to back off. He was hysterical.

I diligently searched for exchanges between you and Paul on OL. There is only one remaining. Whether you succeeded in deleting your posts or whether MSK removed the threads containing your interactions with Paul, the evidence is not apparent, so there is nothing to weigh and sift.

I accept, then, that Mawdsley, in your opinion was a hysterical girl in an earlier exchange, and that this earlier exchange fixed your attitude to anything he might later say to you. No problem.

With regard to your statement "We can be responsible for what happens to us," let us take this as another point of agreement.

If you don't mind, I'll make a couple of points and ask a few questions. I hope you answer, but if not, I will understand. You have written, Nick: "Someone who alienates people routinely will generally have more problems getting what he or she wants from those people."

Now, I think you will agree that some people do tend to alienate others, for various reasons. You will also agree that some of these people will generally have problems getting what they want from others.

Let us put you out of the argument, then, and talk about somebody else. Let's call this fellow Idiot Kevin. Idiot Kevin wants a few things out of others, but is having some troubles, now and again, in getting those things. You and I both know a few Kevins, I am sure.

If you know a Kevin, who had these kinds of troubles, what kind of information would you seek from him? Meaning, what would you want to know about Kevin in order that he would have a better chance of getting what he wanted. I am thinking that I would ask Kevin to tell us what kinds of goals/things he wanted in his interactions with us. Is that sort of what you would do?

Maybe you wouldn't bother with Kevin; let me know before I go any further. Thanks.

Re: "You, WSS, stand for compromise, for not antagonizing the bigots" -- How do you know this about me?

WSS

Where I got my impression

NickOtani's picture

I don't understand this. Maudsley spoke of social dynamics: "We can change the effect of the social field on ourselves by changing how we act on the social field."
Where do you get the impression of an 'hysterical little girl' from?

You didn’t include the exchange when I first encountered Paul Maudsley. I made some point which I thought was mildly ironic about what he was saying and he went off on me. He was insulted. He told me to back off. He was hysterical.

I really didn’t know what the problem was, and I backed off as diplomatically as I could. Had I blown up back at him, as he was yelling at me, I’m sure I would have been kicked off the board. Still, he kept posting about how messed up I was, and several of his buddies on this board came by to support him. Some of this was ridiculous, but I tried my best to avoid confrontation. I was still new to the board and feared being immediately removed.

Later, however, he made a big point of being gracious and made an overture toward me, but I told him, then, I thought he threw a hissy fit at our first meeting. I told him I had no interest in being friendly with him but that I would be objective. I would treat him as an adult, as I would expect others to treat me. He wasn’t satisfied with that and made some argument about how he is not interested in talking with people who are not friendly. This is what prompted the statement you posted, that I am responsible for the way other people respond to me.

Now, I did read a few other posts by Paul Maudsley, he kept posting in my threads but talking with other people. He kept trying to impress people by talking about quantum mechanics and technical stuff, like he did in the statement you posted. He is referring to the theory that the researcher, the observer of quantum data, forms a relationship with that data and has an impact on the results of his or her observations. Then, he is applying this to the social field, that “We can change the effect of the social field on ourselves by changing how we act on the social field.” Gee, this sounds so intellectual and impressive and true, but anyone who really knows something about these theories can see how phony this guy is. He is not authentic. He is trying to impress.

As to the statement itself, I agree with it to an extent. It is consistent with Existentialism that we can create reality, make our situation what it is. We can be responsible for what happens to us. We can impact our experiences with our attitudes. People who expect good things to happen often bring about those good things, and those who expect bad things often find them. However, there is some problem with this trivial truth and Objectivism. A strict interpretation of Objectivism denies that we can create reality, impact it with our wishes and whims. Reality is independent of us and not in our control. We discover it, and it is what it is. A is A.

And, I agree that we cannot impact everything with just our attitudes. We cannot be responsible for everything that happens to us. Try to tell a tsunami victim that he or she is responsible for being swept out to sea. Try to tell a Holocaust victim that he or she could change the effect of what happened to him or her just by being less rigid toward the Nazies. Try to tell Martin Luther King Jr. that blacks who were persecuted in the old south could change the effect of the discrimination against them by changing the way they act on the social field. He would agree but not in the way the subjectivists mean.

There is a way of changing the way we act on a social field. It is to stop trying to be polite to it; stop trying to placate it. Denounce it for what it is and stand for what one believes in. You, WSS, stand for compromise, for not antagonizing the bigots. Just try to get along. Sorry, that’s not me. I don't subjugate myself to a social field. The social field can learn to get along with me or keep on as it is. I will keep on as I am.

Bis bald,

Nick

Mr NO and the Fallous arguments

William Scott Scherk's picture

Mr NO: I have no respect for Paul Maudsley. I think he was a hysterical little girl.

I don't understand this. Maudsley spoke of social dynamics: "We can change the effect of the social field on ourselves by changing how we act on the social field."

Where do you get the impression of an 'hysterical little girl' from?

You should tell creeps like Paul Maudsley and MSK that [ . . . ] their hatred toward me is not warranted.

I won't do that, Nick. They don't hate you, and neither do I.

I do feel a bit thwarted and disappointed. I guess it is a flaw. Still, I'm not sure how to deal with it.

As I wrote already, I think you need to accept that some of the psychological criticism you have been subject to is apt and correct. You have social skills deficits. Lots of folks do. They can try to do something about it, and so can you.

WSS

I'm all for open minds

NickOtani's picture

Yet we do have to make judgments.

We also have to prove our points. Personallydisin.., you have accused me of fallacious reasoning. To prove that point, you need to repeat the argument to which you refer and point out the fallacy. Otherwise, it is an unsupported accusation.

bis bald,

Nick

The value of honest debate

personallydisinterested's picture

Debate is only valuable when it is honest of intention and undertaken with open minds. 

 

Mr N O

gregster's picture

You displayed humour there Nick! I mean it, that was amusing to me, I hope you were intending mirth. You've worn me down you bugger. For that I will dig out your Alice series and comment (probably privately and you can post if you like).

The Blind Man

NickOtani's picture

Yes, gregster, you and WSS and Linz all remind me of the blind man in part one of my Alice series who examines the tail of an elephant and declares it is a rope.

bis bald,

Nick

Well, I quess I'm a pretty sick puppy, huh?

NickOtani's picture

The fact remains that your refutations (for example of missing interpersonal skills, by hiring personnel) did not work on the people involved.

That’s because they never heard my refutations. My refutations were given to my site audience but not the people who rejected me giving typical reasons. I gave them a resumes and letters of recommendations which didn’t work, but I didn’t explain my long list of answers to their so-called reasons. They wouldn’t have been interested anyhow. They were merely going through motions prescribed by law for hiring and covering their asses after hiring someone, probably someone younger than I.

It is my opinion, on the evidence you provide, that your manner is one of your obstacles. Your manner, your psychological stance, your social behaviour. I believe you have needlessly isolated yourself. It strikes me as sad, since you have such an urge to master a topic and take part in a rich and rewarding intellectual life.

Well, I reject your opinion. I don’t accept that my life is unrewarding. I told you I was qualitatively happy, even if I am not exuding happiness, like someone who parties constantly but never thinks about serious things. Yes, I am disappointed at times, but it is because my goals are high and my standards are high. I need the stress to make me stronger.

Nick, what I am trying to get across to you is that your problems in communication and achieving your goals are not insoluble. I think you need to accept that some of the psychological criticism you have been subject to is apt and correct, and that you have been avoiding the import of the best attempts to correct you. I post below some excellent commentary from Paul Maudsley from OL -- and your response. I hope you can see the wisdom in Paul's view.

Of course it is my fault that I get kicked off these meassageboards. I could get along much better with everybody if I lowered my standards and perhaps got a lobotomy, removing most of my knowledge. If I could be satisfied partying around with willfully ignorant people, like Paul Maudsley, I’d be much more quantitatively happy. I wouldn’t, though, be qualitatively happy, as I am now. I have no respect for Paul Maudsley. I think he was a hysterical little girl. I was very polite to him fearing I would be banned sooner than I was. Had I shouted back at him as he shouted at me, I would have been immediately banned. No way! I do not see wisdom in Paul Maudsley’s view. I see a lack of it.

Below that, I give links to posts that give context to Paul's remarks, and that give an example of the unfortunate pattern you repeat in most of your attempts to 'find a home' on the internet.

I don’t have to find a home on the internet. I can make several for myself. I am constantly in the process of doing that. I will not be satisfied, however, with roommates and guests like Paul Maudsley.

I’ve read all the posts by PM, MSK, and you. Instead of trying to change me, if you were a person who likes the same things I do and wants to see high levels of discussion and debate on these boards, you should stand up for me. You should tell creeps like Paul Maudsley and MSK that I am not such a bad person, that I have lots to offer and their hatred toward me is not warranted. However, you join them, like joining the architects who criticized Howard Roark. It’s a path of less resistance.

Okay, William Scott Scherk. We all have our projects in life. I hope you have as much success with yours as I will have with mine.

Bis bald,

Nick

Dearths and humour

William Scott Scherk's picture

I appreciate the comment, Gregster(!) and agree about the enigmatic spectacle. Nick has been of psychological interest to me for a while. I wish I could wave an O-wand to help him confront things to his profit.

It saddens me whenever people of great potential are thwarted, especially when their own behaviour contributes largely. In my work, I aim to help people identify their conscious goals and bring to light their unconscious strategies of achievement -- in hopes they will identify for themselves any failed strategies, and devise less rigid behaviour.

It is very difficult for anyone to break stereotyped behaviour. Habits are sometimes conforting in their regulariity, although they may themselves be obstacles to the ostensible goal.

I am impressed with Lindsay and the leadership here who let Nick be. It shows benevolence (or at least the kind of disinterest or indifference that amounts to the same thing).

WSS

Great post WSS

gregster's picture

I strongly concur. Also the lack of humour in Otani is saddening. Nick obviously puts in many hours musing philosophically and that tends to indicate a dearth of social interation. Some threads his argument resembles a dog chasing it's tail. But I admit he's becoming an enigmatic spectacle. I even checked his website today. Neo-objectivism! Alongside Rand does he stand? I'm trying to go easy on the man. But it's tiring to get his endless quotes of others. I mean Nick we could all rattle off quotes from any imaginable perspective but this does not lend credence to a position.

Behaviour, mirror neurons, grace and empathy

William Scott Scherk's picture

WSS: I have also read your personal site, wherein you let readers know a bit more about your personal struggles.

NO: Yes, you've spoken to me before about my material on other sites, but I noticed you focused on the critical parts I put there to refute while ignoring my refutations.

I bring another perspective to bear on your struggles (see below**). The fact remains that your refutations (for example of missing interpersonal skills, by hiring personnel) did not work on the people involved. You didn't achieve your goal. You may indeed have made an effort to refute the claims of others, but you cannot honestly say that your refutation 'took' where it counted. You didn't get the job, because the hiring process spit you out as not 'likable.'

I have empathy for your situation. My main interest in Objectivism is psychological, and my subsidiary interests are in the Objectivist theories of emotion (and by extension, human nature).

I have never met you in real-life, so the only means to understand your psychology is by means of your output on the internet. If I "focus on the critical parts" of your recent life history, it is not to cut you down or cause you more distress, it is to try to understand what has thwarted you, and how you may achieve your goals.

It is my opinion, on the evidence you provide, that your manner is one of your obstacles. Your manner, your psychological stance, your social behaviour. I believe you have needlessly isolated yourself. It strikes me as sad, since you have such an urge to master a topic and take part in a rich and rewarding intellectual life.

I don't think it does you any good to thrust away analyses and critiques as you do. I think you don't spend enough time thinking about yourself . . . in thinking about why your 'mastery' of some topics hasn't led to 'mastery' in life. If Objectivism and Existentialism can be tools to leading a happy, fullfilled and productive existence, has your tool use been optimal?

It is sad that you haven't approached your goals on any of the dozens of sites/forums you have joined. In my opinion, you make the same psychological mistakes, show a stereotyped behaviour each time, leading to frustration and emotional isolation.

I wonder if your behavioural repertoire can be expanded, and if you can understand that it is only your own behaviour that can be altered -- not those of other people.

Look at it this way:

-- I, Nick Otani, in good faith, join a forum. I introduce myself and begin discussions.

-- I am subject to criticism, that later evolves into insults and dismissal.

-- I post "Bigot at the Bar" and make this a litmus test for my interlocutor's good faith.

-- I encounter resistance to my style of argumentation.

-- I am ignored, 'controlled.' relegated to Dissent, moderated or banned, or I leave, feeling 'forced out' -- or I remain, dissatisfied with the tone, direction, depth or seriousness of discussion.

-- I seek a new forum, and find myself subject to the same.

-- [Repeat]

Nick, what I am trying to get across to you is that your problems in communication and achieving your goals are not insoluble. I think you need to accept that some of the psychological criticism you have been subject to is apt and correct, and that you have been avoiding the import of the best attempts to correct you. I post below some excellent commentary from Paul Maudsley from OL -- and your response. I hope you can see the wisdom in Paul's view.

Below that, I give links to posts that give context to Paul's remarks, and that give an example of the unfortunate pattern you repeat in most of your attempts to 'find a home' on the internet.

With regard to one 'refutation,' you misremember your earlier statements (emphases added):

I've been told I was rejected because "other candidates
demonstrated characteristics more suitable to the goals of
the program in areas of team building, effective
communication and interpersonal skills
."

[ . . . ]

In the area of interpersonal
relations, I worked as a teaching assistant and as a
teacher with assistants, and I worked with office
personnel, managers, and administrators in several
locations and bureaus of the college, the military
educational complex, and the German prison system. I don't
think many people in the selection committee were as
qualified as I in the areas of team building, effective
communication, and interpersonal skills.

WSS

Further quotes from the pen of Mr NO (emphases added):

"You know that I am not a team player either."

"Someone who alienates people routinely will generally have more problems getting what he or she wants from those people."

"And, most of us chronically unhappy intellectuals are
actually happy. We wallow in our misery."

___________

'She said that I had impressive credentials but that they
found someone who was well liked for the job.

I said, “Oh, you don’t hire on the basis of credentials
but on how well someone is liked?”

She said, “No, we hire on the basis of credentials, but
there are lots of people with awesome credentials.”

I said, “Well, since you have so many people with such
awesome credentials, you probably don’t need me on your
substitute list. Please remove my name from it.”

She started to say, “I’m sorry you feel that way,”
but I hung up on her
.'

[from OL]

NO: "I'd still need to have my internet connection to
communicate with other people once in awhile, even if it
is to be criticised and abused by jerks and faced again
and again with disappointment."

PM: "I don't think you will ever see the role you play in
determining how people treat you and in determining how
you interpret their intentions. The locus of control
for our social dynamics is very much inside ourselves
whether we see it, and choose to use it, or not
. I
don't know what you know about quantum field dynamics but
the causation is the same for social dynamics. The nature
and actions of the particle affects the field as a whole
and, in reciprocation, the field as a whole affects the
nature and actions of the particle. You tend to have a
negative effect on the social field
. The social field
tends to reciprocate by having a negative effect on you.
Just an observation and a hypothesis. We can change
the effect of the social field on ourselves by changing
how we act on the social field
. We do not have to
resign ourselves to social inefficacy as in your above
statement."

NO, in response: "Whatever."

MSK: "Part of [Nick's] game is to challenge authority
wherever he goes, try to set the policies of the site
owners and indirectly—or sometimes directly—accuse them
(and other members) of being bigots or worse. He formally
objected to the posting policies of OL and became upset
when I told him, by email, to stop violating them (I even
deleted a post or two). He insisted on making more
infringing posts and I started deleting them and parts of
them that were in violation as he made them, sending the
texts back to him with explanation.

Then he went on a search and destroy mission to delete
all of his OL posts going backwards in chronological
order in an attempt to make hash out of the discussions
he participated in.

[I]n order to stop Otani, I simply interrupted his
posting privileges in mid mission.

He immediately went to RoR and went on a crusade against
the unfairness of it all on OL, and me in particular [ .
. . ] for a couple of instances among several others), so
I kinda let the suspension stay in place rather than
restore posting capacity after the technical solution was
found. I never formally banned him."

___________________________

[NO on RoR]: "There is a post I posted on this forum as
well as on several others around the internet. It is
called "The Bigot at the Bar." It has received some
reaction in some places. It really didn't get much
attention here. However, it was deleted on the
Objectivist Living forum.

[ . . . ]

I delete material on my board also. There is no other way
to control obnoxious posters who can post any kind of
garbage and be abusive and childish. However, I don't
think my deleted post was that bad. What do you all
think? Will you sympathize with me here as others
are sypathizing with Dragonfly on the OL?"

**[WSS, in response:] "Yes, I sympathize with you, Nick. I
empathize with what I take to be your lack of understanding:
why is my post gone? But I don't sympathize with Dragonfly
in the same way. In the view of the owner and leaders of
this site, he is a dissenter (or has shown a pattern of
behaviour that the owner and leader consider antithetical to
their community) and can not be allowed to infest the better
threads . . . you, of course, are not yet viewed as an Anti
here.

Two further comments, each of which is only tangentially
related to the notion of 'Troublesome posters.'

>First, in an attempt to understand you, I have been reading
your output on a variety of forums. My empathy for you
increased by so doing: I feel bad for you, Nick. You don't
seem to have a lot of supporters out there -- you seem to
have spent an awful lot of time arguing pointlessly with
people you have scant respect for (and in turn, you seem to
have engendered little respect or affection for yourself).

In your present circumstances I imagine you feel
marginalized. You can't yet find a position as an instructor
that reflects your level of education, experience and
expertise. You are short of money. You are unhappily
divorced. You don't have a lot of communication with your
son, and you don't seem to have a circle of friends with
which to take joy in the pleasures of life. Perhaps this
colours the rest of your engagements with people, be they
stupid human resources bureaucrats or nasty pseudointellects
on the internet.

Second, your postings don't show much grace or empathy
towards other people -- people with whom you seem to
disagree, or with whom you feel unable to dialogue with.
Case in point the unpleasant aside to Jenna Wong.

Have you ever given some time to think over the various
reactions you have and you seem to engender? Have you ever
reasoned out why people don't find you -- as the French put
it -- sympathique?"

cause and volition

Leonid's picture

Leonid

Personallydisin:"However, I wouldn't be angry if you told me that I have no volition because there is a cause for everything that happens in this universe"
I disagree.First not everything has a cause. Existence for example has no cause.Something which can cause to existence exist should exist prior to existence-and this is contradiction in terms.(Sorry for awkward jargon)
Second not every cause is antecedent cause.In living beings all processes are self-initiated.Even in unanimated matter some processes are self-initiated like radioactive decay. Self-initiated processes cannot be predicted in 100%.Human volition is one of them.

Honest debate?!

Leonid's picture

Leonid
Now I think everybody can understand what does exactly Nick mean when he's talking about value of honest debate. He means that he can parrot few senseless phrases like " I make baseless decisions, which are really the free choices." without even to have a clue of understanding of their contradictory nature, and then insult any person who dares to disagree with him. I became used to Nick's tantrums,though I'm no longer amused by them.I understand that he has pathological need for public masturbation,but I'd prefer he could do it somewhere else. The guy obviously needs help.

Real volition

NickOtani's picture

In real world it always would be some difference. I'm certainly not a representative of existentialism but even so I clearly understand that baseless choice is contradiction in terms and not an expression of real volition.

Some people lean on a god. Others subjugate themselves to society or other people. Some people follow a doctrine or dogma, and some people use logic, not as a tool but as a guide rail. This is not really being independent.

Leonid keeps looking for something to lean on. He doesn't want to take responsibility for his own choices. If something bad happens to him, he'll blame it on whatever crutch he leaned on. He'll be a victim. He won't say he chose it himself and can blame nobody or anything else but him for what happens to him.

It's easy to avoid situations where logic doesn't reach. One can stay in bed all day. People can play it really safe and not do anything until they know everything about it and calculate the most logical action to take. Of course, one may die of old age before the most logical action can be calculated. A house may burn down before one knows the best way to fight the fire. No, sometimes, we have to take risks. Life is more exciting that way. And, we are in charge, not some impersonal logic that isn't even human.

bis bald,

Nick

sniping and snarking

NickOtani's picture

Nick, I have read your output on RoR, on the Atlas Society forum, on OL, and on two other sites where you no longer post, by choice or by removal.

I have also read your personal site, wherein you let readers know a bit more about your personal struggles.

Yes, you've spoken to me before about my material on other sites, but I noticed you focused on the critical parts I put there to refute while ignoring my refutations. For example, you pointed out that some personnel people claimed I did not have experience in team building, yet you ignored my descriptions of all the teambuilding in which I had been involved. You seem only to be looking for certain things which will support your ideas and ignoring those things you don't want to know.

Earlier in this thread I asked if there had been any positive, creditable outside criticisms you accepted. I don't think I found out if there had been any you took to heart. I sense, however, a frustration. Your 'sense of life' appears to be emotionally dark, thwarted, and without much joy.

I spoke about Mill's quote below in this thread, that he'd rather be a Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. Yes, some people seem much happier than I. However, I'd rather not trade places with them. I'd rather be my disturbed and contemplative self than someone who is happier but not as serious, perhaps not as deep and introspective. (Yes, I know some people will feel insulted by this, that I'm saying they are not deep or something. It's a risk I have to take.)

I would not be surprised if you lived alone, had little social life away from the internet, work at jobs far below your qualifications, have difficulties in forming alliances, in understanding other peoples' motives and reactions.

I do live alone and have no social life away from the internet. I have had jobs far below my qualifications, but I work now as a substitute teacher. I am not paid as well as regular teachers, and the duties are sometimes beneath my qualification. However, I do get to use my knowledge sometimes. It is not completely lost. I did work for twenty years as an adult educator, and I think I was working to my capacity then and doing something meaningful. You would know that if you read my site.

In sum, you show signs of distress and alienation.

Is that all you get out of all you've read? If so, you've been reading selectively. I do feel like an outsider in society, but so was Holden Caufield, Einstein, Ayn Rand, Edgar Allen Poe, Nietzsche and many others. I am a loner. I've had some bad experiences in my life. However, I am getting by. I'm not as bad off as some people who have never been anywhere all their lives and don't have the knowledge and wisdom I have. I would not trade places with these college students on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader who don't know that "to" is not an article.

I think my last questions to you here will be: which have been your best venues for discussion? Is there a place for you where you will not be thwarted, misunderstood and rejected?

The internet is the best hope for indebth discussion, unless I am trapped in a car with someone on a long road trip. With gas prices these days, this is a thing of the past. I have been in the Army and lived close to roommates and bunker partners with whom I've smoked marajuana and had great philosophical conversations. I think I've been trying to replicate these and been disappointed. I do have my own board which is very slow, but it does have a few regulars who have stayed with me over many years. And, it does get about 100 hits each day, even when nobody posts. Someone is reading my words.

bis bald,

Nick

Do real equal situations realy exist?

Leonid's picture

Leonid
Personallydisin
"You can't say that you would never, ever come across a decision that seems equal to another. Or am I assuming"
Genuine equal situations don't require choice( like in the case of Buridan's donkey),but they occur mostly in the realm of mathematical abstractions. In real world it always would be some difference. I'm certainly not a representative of existentialism but even so I clearly understand that baseless choice is contradiction in terms and not an expression of real volition.

Amazing!

NickOtani's picture

Yes, I think it is amazing when someone accuses me of insulting them when I say my material may not be meaningful to them if they don't have certain prerequisites in Objectivism and philosophy. When college courses require prerequisites, students usually don't feel insulted. They understand.

Of course, claiming to be insulted is a way of manipulating someone. Nietzsche wrote about it. It's one of the reasons he hated religions and the slave mentality which makes victims superior to their betters, the supermen.

People actually try to insult me. And, I do get tired of it sometimes. I'm not a superman.

I do think some of the criticism of me is defensiveness from people who lack self-esteem. Someone who is very self-confident and secure will not need to insult or put others down, but others may feel put down by him or her, because of their insecurity.

I do feel this kind of hatred from some highschool students I teach. Their egos are threatened by me because I know more than they. I probably felt this way too toward some teachers when I was a student. It is a prejudice I have to deal with.

I do look for people who are my equals in philosophy and Objectivism, and I do feel a bit thwarted and disappointed. I guess it is a flaw. Still, I'm not sure how to deal with it.

bis bald,

Nick

The value of honest sniping and snarking

William Scott Scherk's picture

Nick, I have read your output on RoR, on the Atlas Society forum, on OL, and on two other sites where you no longer post, by choice or by removal.

I have also read your personal site, wherein you let readers know a bit more about your personal struggles.

Earlier in this thread I asked if there had been any positive, creditable outside criticisms you accepted. I don't think I found out if there had been any you took to heart. I sense, however, a frustration. Your 'sense of life' appears to be emotionally dark, thwarted, and without much joy.

I would not be surprised if you lived alone, had little social life away from the internet, work at jobs far below your qualifications, have difficulties in forming alliances, in understanding other peoples' motives and reactions.

In sum, you show signs of distress and alienation.

I think my last questions to you here will be: which have been your best venues for discussion? Is there a place for you where you will not be thwarted, misunderstood and rejected?

WSS

Amazing!

atlascott's picture

"I have not tried to insult you."

Yet, Scott, miraculously, he has been able to, without even trying! Amazing!

"...yet you seem to think I should not antagonize Objectivists for dismissing me because of perceived reasons which are actually false and unsupported."

All anyone has to do is read NickOtani on any thread carefully, and it becomes crystal clear why he is dismissed, unless it is to ridicule him. (Hint: rhymes with "crass mole.")

"Do you think their treatment of me is inappropriate?"

Perfectly fitting, I'd say. Not that anyone was asking me.

Scott DeSalvo

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

Leonid knocks over strawmen

NickOtani's picture

Would you flip a coin? That what existentialist most probably will do. For him the choice,free will is random process,its origin in everlasting flux of becoming of nothing in particular

Leonid is not a credible spokesman for Existentialism, nor for NickOtani'sNeo-Objectivism. He doesn't get it. He ascribes ridiculous positions to it which it doesn't hold and refutes it with even more ridiculous reasoning.

I've tried to straighten him out on this, but he thinks he knows better. This is why I don't like talking to people who don't have much knowledge about philosophy and are not really interested in being enlightened.

bis bald,

Nick

personallydisin...

NickOtani's picture

I have not tried to insult you. I've been perfectly honest with you.

You have not pointed out any flaws or fallacies with my arguments. I doubt you even read many of them. Cite one and show me the flaw.

You claim it is inappropriate to dismiss you because of my perception of your age or education, yet you seem to think I should not antagonize Objectivists for dismissing me because of perceived reasons which are actually false and unsupported. Do you think their treatment of me is inappropriate?

bis bald,

Nick

Leonid

personallydisinterested's picture

Excellent.

1.  I don't want to argue with you because I certainly live my life as if I have volition.  I believe it with every cell of my body.  In fact, every choice I make is with this understanding.  Nothing in this discussion will change the way I live my life because you can't live believing you have no volition.  However, I wouldn't be angry if you told me that I have no volition because there is a cause for everything that happens in this universe and if you were to study everything you would predict the future without error.  I'm sure I would file the idea away in the back of my head as useless ideas category.  I would certainly be angry if someone wanted me to live as though I didn't have volition.  

2.  You are right.  I walked right into it.  But, Nick's point was that he is constantly in that situation and mine was that I would make every attempt to avoid that type of situation.  Additionally, that he does also.  Split second situations might lead to perceived equal outcome, these are learning opportunities.  You can't say that you would never, ever come across a decision that seems equal to another.  Or am I assuming?

Nick

personallydisinterested's picture

You've attempted to insult me a couple of times.  It wont work.  Perhaps before you attempt to iron out the flaws (or point them out) of Objectivism, you should attempt to remove the fallacies from your arguments.  I don't mind flawed reasoning, but dismissing someone's arguments due to your perception of their age, education, or philosophy is simply inappropriate. 

free " free will"

Leonid's picture

Leonid
Personallydisin
1.You said " Perhaps freewill is an illusion, but it is a permanent illusion."
Perhaps,you right. But then how did you arrive to this conclusion? Have you been born with this knowledge? Is it result of some complicated biochemical reaction inside of your brain? Is it written in your DNA code? Have you been brainwashed to believe it? Hardly so. Must probably you'd angry reject such an assumption.You'd insist that you are intelligent being,you thoroughly examined the topic,compared different views and concluded by your own choice and by volitional use of your own mind that free will is a permanent illusion.Since concept of volition is axiomatic by its nature you will need it even to refute it.To say "there is no volition" is like to say "I don't think that is such a thing as consciousness exists."
2."Flip a coin, but I rarely find myself in such situations"
Imagine you lost your way in the thick forest.You have no means to orientate yourself.The road you walk on forks in two-left and right.You have no idea to which direction to go.What you'd do? Your survival depends on your decision. Would you flip a coin? That what existentialist most probably will do. For him the choice,free will is random process,its origin in everlasting flux of becoming of nothing in particular.Determinist with integrity should do nothing.Since everything is predetermined he can just sit down and wait to face his fate.Both of them clearly doomed to perish.Objectivist by volitional use of mind and logic would understand that his choice to go right or left is the false one.He doesn't have enough data to make the choice.However he wouldn't rely on chance,intuition or whim.He wouldn't trust his fate.Instead he'll make attemts to orientate himself-for example he may climb on the top of the tree to see where he is or start fire to draw attention and so on. He has fairly "chance" to survive.

personallydisin

NickOtani's picture

1. I've taken two courses in logic. Now I understand the problem. You think that logic is a matter of sitting down with a chalkboard and analysing the validity of different arguments while avoiding fallacies. You use logic, whether you intend to or not, when you are agonizing over your decisions. But hey, semantics.

Nope, I use logic when I consider the consequences of my actions and weigh options, making utilitarian type decisions. I can’t use logic when I don’t know enough about those consequences and have no options to measure or when consequences are the same. I make baseless decisions, which are really the free choices. There is nothing there to guide them.

2. A. Actually, man is superior because of the degree to which he can reason. He is not god. If another creature develops the same abilities he is no longer superior. Morality is needed for the exact reason that it is reasonable.

No, man is not merely different from a tree in degree. He is different in type. Trees do not have free-will. Thus, they don’t need morality. Trees do what they do automatically. Their actions are descriptive, not prescriptive. We don’t say they “ought” to do things. They have no choice.

B. People have wants and needs, they rationally wish to fulfill these wants and needs. Perhaps you and I can sit back and judge what would be best for someone 20 years from now, but that doesn't mean they are irrational for enjoying the present. What is not credible is the idea that reason is one of many choices by which to live your life. Do you believe people should be forced to behave rationally?

No, people should not be forced to do anything but respect the rights of others to do what they want. They need to honor natural rights. That’s all. This may mean, however, that they should be forced to carpool and recycle and not smoke in public buildings or around me. Some of these things ultimately impact my rights to flourish.

C. That certainly wasnt' my point. So the better you are financially the more reasonable you are? No. I agree that morality is reasonable and will help lead to life long success. Do you measure success solely through monetary means?

I was just asking. You are the one who said being reasonable helps one survive. Well, sometimes criminals survive better, it seems, than moral people who suffer and die, without flourishing. No, money doesn’t solve all problems, and I would argue that being moral is ultimately in one’s rational self-interest. It is more authentic than criminal activity, which is faking reality. However, it is the case that sometimes people argue that being moral is not always reasonable. And it often appears, in real life, that immoral people survive better than moral people.

D. A mystic still eats breakfast and pays the bills even-though they might believe the world doesn't exist. Who knows why they attempt to escape reality in their free time, but I'm sure there is a why/reason. The only way we learn is through reason. If babies aren't born with the ability to reason, how can they learn anything?

You seem to be rambling now. Yes, babies are born with the ability to develop reasoning, and they do so with experience. However, they don’t stop and consider every action before they move. They act on emotion and learn to pursue pleasure while avoiding pain. It’s trial and error.

Do you have children? A baby comes into the world shocked and grasping to understand what has just happened which is beyond their grasp. This new world is bright and cold yet they feel the warmth of a parent's embrace and they are comforted. They understand, they reason that the embrace is protective. I assume if one were to cause a child pain from the moment he is born he would reasonably believe that he is in danger and cry out in fear.

Yes, I have one child. And, I have studied child development. I like Piaget’s approach, that we develop cognitively in stages and levels. Emotion is the first motivating agent, not reason. Reason is developed as the child experiences pleasure and pain.

3. Objectivists do not have a monopoly on objectivity. You came to discuss a series of issues of which Objectivists refuse to debate. Why, to antagonize them? Are you frustrated that you brought the wrong playbook? Perhaps you see me as stunted and convoluted. Please, continue to enlighten me.

I’m really not interested in your views. Everybody has opinions. Some people believe in freedom, and some think of it as an illusion. Objectivists try to maintain that freedom can co-exist with fixed natures and unbroken cause and effect. I’m trying to get them to explain that. I and most other philosophers see that as incoherent. The Existentialists do a better job of explaining freedom, but they do so by talking about unfixed natures of man and processes of becoming and lots of things I’ve already invested lots of time and effort on this board talking about. If you really want to be enlightened, you’ll read those other posts. However, I don’t think they’ll mean much to you if you don’t have some prerequisites in Objectivism and philosophy. It’s easier just to have your opinions.

Bis bald,

Nick

Greatest Hits

atlascott's picture

"Those who are involved in life, often find themselves in situations where no amount of logic will help. Logic is a tool, not a crutch. People should learn to stand on their own two feet."

Awesome.

Scott DeSalvo

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

Objectivists

personallydisinterested's picture

1. I've taken two courses in logic.  Now I understand the problem.  You think that logic is a matter of sitting down with a chalkboard and analysing the validity of different arguments while avoiding fallacies.  You use logic, whether you intend to or not, when you are agonizing over your decisions.  But hey, semantics. 

2.

A. Actually, man is superior because of the degree to which he can reason.  He is not god. If another creature develops the same abilities he is no longer superior.  Morality is needed for the exact reason that it is reasonable. 

B. People have wants and needs, they rationally wish to fulfill these wants and needs.  Perhaps you and I can sit back and judge what would be best for someone 20 years from now, but that doesn't mean they are irrational for enjoying the present.  What is not credible is the idea that reason is one of many choices by which to live your life.  Do you believe people should be forced to behave rationally?

C.  That certainly wasnt' my point.  So the better you are financially the more reasonable you are?  No.  I agree that morality is reasonable and will help lead to life long success.  Do you measure success solely through monetary means?

D. A mystic still eats breakfast and pays the bills even-though they might believe the world doesn't exist.  Who knows why they attempt to escape reality in their free time, but I'm sure there is a why/reason.  The only way we learn is through reason.  If babies aren't born with the ability to reason, how can they learn anything?  Do you have children?  A baby comes into the world shocked and grasping to understand what has just happened which is beyond their grasp.  This new world is bright and cold yet they feel the warmth of a parent's embrace and they are comforted.  They understand, they reason that the embrace is protective.  I assume if one were to cause a child pain from the moment he is born he would reasonably believe that he is in danger and cry out in fear. 

3.  Objectivists do not have a monopoly on objectivity.  You came to discuss a series of issues of which Objectivists refuse to debate.  Why, to antagonize them?  Are you frustrated that you brought the wrong playbook?  Perhaps you see me as stunted and convoluted.  Please, continue to enlighten me. 

Logic

NickOtani's picture

1.Again, I think you have a very serious misunderstanding of logic.

Is that right? How many logic courses have you taken? Do you know how to define “validity,” without looking it up? I’ve often been criticized about logic and my validity by people who didn’t know what it was. Are you one of those people?

How does not using logic have anything to do with standing on your own two feet.

As I said, logic is not a crutch. It is a tool which can be used. Sometimes, it can’t be used. People who are self-sufficient have to fend without it.

Perhaps my age is relevant. I disagree. Perhaps you allow yourself to "flip the coin" more often than you really need to.

I don’t flip coins. I agonize over my decisions. I sometimes make baseless choices and then commit to them. I forge my own paths where pre-existing paths don’t exist. Sometimes I take risks. Life is exciting that way. It’s better than just going through some motions, following a pre-existing path.

2. A. That was my point.

If your point is that people are like trees, automatically doing what is in their rational self-interest, then you are not in line with Objectivism or any philosophy which distinguishes humans from other living things. Humans do not automatically do what is in their rational self-interest. If they did, there would be no need for morality.

B. It's why people do anything.

You didn’t answer my question. I am aware of the view that all actions are done in self-interest, but people do know smoking is not good for them but still do it. They also know recycling and carpooling is ultimately in their rational self-interest, but they don’t do it. So, your view that people always do what is right for themselves is not credible.

C. Where are you going with the crimebosses thing?

You said we would not survive if we are not reasonable. Crime bosses often survive well. Are they more reasonable than more moral people who suffer and die?

D. Actually, I believe people must make the choice to be irrational, I think we start off rational, just like any other living being. People have such a highly developed brain that it can actually make the choice to be antiself. People who have made the choice to be irrational must make the choice to become rational again. These people actually believe that being irrational will help them more than being rational, thus it is a rational decision.

You are being incoherent. If people believe being irrational will help them, it doesn’t make them rational. And, most rational people do not think new born babies are rational. They have to learn to be rational. They don’t start off rational and then choose to be irrational.

3. Your point being?

My point is that you are not an Objectivist. Your views would be condemned by Objectivists. I came here to debate primarily with Objectivists. You are sidetracking me.

Bis bald,

Nick

Nick

personallydisinterested's picture

1.Again, I think you have a very serious misunderstanding of logic.  How does not using logic have anything to do with standing on your own two feet.  Perhaps my age is relevant.  I disagree.  Perhaps you allow yourself to "flip the coin" more often than you really need to. 

2. 

A. That was my point.

B. It's why people do anything.

C.  Where are you going with the crimebosses thing?

D.  Actually, I believe people must make the choice to be irrational, I think we start off rational, just like any other living being.  People have such a highly developed brain that it can actually make the choice to be antiself.  People who have made the choice to be irrational must make the choice to become rational again.  These people actually believe that being irrational will help them more than being rational, thus it is a rational decision.

3. Your point being?

 

 

1. Flip a coin, but I rarely

NickOtani's picture

1. Flip a coin, but I rarely find myself in such situations. If the outcome is equal, it doesn't matter what you do. The point of logic is to reduce the coin flipping to as minimal a level as possible. If you don't use logic you have to constantly "flip coins" which is a stupid way to live your life.

You seem young. Perhaps you have not been in many situations yet in life. Those who are involved in life, often find themselves in situations where no amount of logic will help. Logic is a tool, not a crutch. People should learn to stand on their own two feet.

2. The only people that behave irrationally are people that are afflicted with a brain disease or are under the influence.

If that's true, then they really aren't choosing to be rational. They are rational by their nature, as trees rationally do what they do to survive and flourish. Only diseased trees behave irrationally.

People always believe they are doing the right thing for themselves.

Is that why they sometimes smoke and fail to recycle cans and plastic and don't carpool when they can?

We don't survive unless we are reasonable.

Are slum lords and crime bosses who live well, better than more moral people, more reasonable. Is it reasonable to be a predator?

As for higher level reasoning, people must make the choice to use reason beyond basic survival. I believe this was Rand's "meaning". The initial choice to use higher level reasoning? Personal betterment.

You are adding your own interpretation to what Rand said. She did not distinguish between higher and lower level reasoning. She said man must be rational by choice. What guides that initial choice, since it can't be reason?

3. Freedom an illusion? Good question. My point was that you can't live that way. If nothing matters, then I can just sit here and die. If you sit there to die, you probably will. The fact is: you will never be able to predict the future 100% of the time by studying the present and the past. Perhaps freewill is an illusion, but it is a permanent illusion.

No Objectivist will maintain that freedom is an illusion. They condemn such views. They hate people such as B.F. Skinner. Ask Linz. Ask Leonid.

bis bald,

Nick

Good-bye

NickOtani's picture

Leonid
Don't worry. I never dreamed to start discussion with you.I'm no longer amused by your senseless contradictions and by your behavior of spoiled irritatable teenager.

A pot shot upon leaving. Very mature! Let's see if you can be more a man of your word than was Jameson.

bis bald,

Nick

Give me knowledge, or give me death

NickOtani's picture

But what if you study philosophy... and come to the conclusion that there is no logical proof and no material evidence to support the proposition that you have freewill?

Would you apply Ockham's razor and adopt the premise that you have no freewill... and perish? Or would you adopt the premise that you do have freewill... as an article of faith... and prosper?

I have studied philosophy and come to the conclusion that Existentialism offers the best explanation and framework for free-will. It may not be conclusive proof, but it is prima facie. So, the burden of proof transfers to those who say it doesn't exist.

BTW, the Objectivists don't bother trying to proove it does exist. They accept it as self-evident upon introspection.

I don't like accepting things entirely on faith, even though I can't know everything with certainty and do have to take leaps of faith several times throughout the day. It is a leap of faith that the floor will not collapse under me with the next step I take. However, faith alone does not have the safeguards in it that tools such as inductive reason has. Complete faith can fool me into thinking the brakes on my car are fine when inductive reasoning tells me the chances are good that they may soon fail. Complete faith can get me killed or cause an accident.

Also, faith just to make one's life flourish is bad faith. It is living a lie. It is not authentic. It is what William Clifford, in my initial post in this thread, would call a sin against mankind.

I would rather know the truth even if it makes me feel bad. There is a qualitative pleasure in being wise which outweighs the quantitative pleasures of being unaware. Few of us, if we are wise, would trade places with the fool, even if the fool seems happier. Mill made this point. He would rather be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.

If the fool is of a different opinion, it is because his perspective is limited. He can't imagine what it is like to be wise. The wise man, however, has the freedom to be a fool if he wishes, yet few wise men choose that.

bis bald,

Nick

Richard

personallydisinterested's picture

I prosper.  I don't see any way around the fact that everything could be predetermined if we had all the information and enough computing power.  However, I don't think that will ever be possible, so for all intents and purposes we have freewill. 

What do you think?

You are having fun

personallydisinterested's picture

1. Flip a coin, but I rarely find myself in such situations.  If the outcome is equal, it doesn't matter what you do.  The point of logic is to reduce the coin flipping to as minimal a level as possible.  If you don't use logic you have to constantly "flip coins" which is a stupid way to live your life. 

2.  The only people that behave irrationally are people that are afflicted with a brain disease or are under the influence.  People always believe they are doing the right thing for themselves.  We don't survive unless we are reasonable.  As for higher level reasoning, people must make the choice to use reason beyond basic survival.  I believe this was Rand's "meaning".  The initial choice to use higher level reasoning?  Personal betterment. 

3.  Freedom an illusion?  Good question.  My point was that you can't live that way.  If nothing matters, then I can just sit here and die.  If you sit there to die, you probably will.  The fact is: you will never be able to predict the future 100% of the time by studying the present and the past.  Perhaps freewill is an illusion, but it is a permanent illusion.

Don't you worry ,Nick

Leonid's picture

Leonid
Don't worry. I never dreamed to start discussion with you.I'm no longer amused by your senseless contradictions and by your behavior of spoiled irritatable teenager.

Yes

Richard Goode's picture

If you attempt to live your life upon the premise that you have no freewill you will perish.

But what if you study philosophy... and come to the conclusion that there is no logical proof and no material evidence to support the proposition that you have freewill?

Would you apply Ockham's razor and adopt the premise that you have no freewill... and perish? Or would you adopt the premise that you do have freewill... as an article of faith... and prosper?

You chapters and verses add nothing and even support me

NickOtani's picture

Leonid, I don't want to talk to you. You left the conversations with me on this forum, and I left, in disgust, our debate on the General Discussion forum. When we go back and forth with each other, everybody else leaves. Nobody cares. And nothing productive gets accomplished. I feel like I waste my time with you.

Your first quote actually supports my view and the view I ascribe to Aristotle, that logic is just a tool. The second merely explains the law of non-contradiction as a form of the law of identity. It doesn't support the Objectivist position that the law of identity is man's only means of identifying reality.

You've added nothing new to the discussion. You have not refuted me in any way.

Leonid, we don't like each other. We don't learn anything from each other. Let's just stay away from each other.

bis bald,

Nick

Logic

NickOtani's picture

If you deny the effectiveness of logic in all situations, you simply don't understand the meaning. Everything is reasonable because everything has a reason, cause and effect, action and reaction. If I use logic to come to a false conclusion, it is not logic nor reason that are at fault. I am at fault because I used logic poorly or misunderstood reality.

Have you ever been in a situation where you did not know enough about the possible consequences of your next action to weigh your options? How does logic help in that situation? Or, suspose two or more options will have equal consequences. How do you decide?

Also, Rand said man must be rational by choice. This means he is not rational until he chooses to be so. What guides that initial choice to be rational, since it can't be reason?

Finally, if all actions have reasons, for every effect there is a cause, how do you explain free-will? Is freedom an illusion?

bis bald,

Nick

chapter and verse

Leonid's picture

Leonid
" But the proposition from which we strayed was that Objectivists place too much emphasis on logic and reasoning, treating them as a substitute god. Existence exists is basically A is A, the law of identity. It is a very important axiomatic concept for Objectivists. For Aristotle, however, it was only a procedural rule for communication and thinking, not the only means of identifying reality. Are you going to say I am wrong about that too, Linz? Are you willing to cite chapter and verse? "

"

I am.
"To the question,then:How does Aristotle conceive of logic as something that provides the way and the means to knowledge such as he understood it to be-that is,to physical knowledge and to metaphysical knowledge,and even to practical and productive knowledge in an Aristotelian sense? Answering in a single sentence,one might say that Aristotle thought of logic as beign just the tool through which we come to know and understand things for what they are and why they are.In short,it is the natures of things and the causes of things that are the key to our understanding of things and it is the purpose of logic to mediate such a knowledge of the what's and the why's of things." "Aristotle" A contemporary Appreciation. By Henry B.Veatch 1974 pg 165.

"Of general propositions(of Aristotelian logic) there is but a single principle,the principle of contradiction which is set forth as an unprovable major premise,or highest principle for all proofs...in metaphysical form that a thing cannot be the same and not be the same (A is A)"
A history of philosophy.W. Windelband 2001 pg 138

Richard

NickOtani's picture

Paul Davies is a physicist who believes in God. He uses his knowledge of physics to support this view. This makes me suspicious of his theories.

Einstein appreciated the laws of nature and perhaps believed in a Spinoza type of God, not the personal type which Davies supports.

There are models which look at the future as simply the past in reverse. Adaptations of Hegel's theory are like that. They are so systematized that it can be hypothesized that if we fully understand the past, we can predict the future. This also explains certain new agey theories about deja vu and pre-cognition etc.

I don't buy all this yet. I think people are building systems and forcing pieces to fit. Freedom can be explained best with the view that the future may have some predictability but is not yet fixed. We can have high degrees of certainty, high enough to save lives in the hospital and build computers and such. However, we still have to strive for goals and choose our projects. There may be some knowledge ahead which we can discover, and there may be some which we can put there with creativity and resourcefulness, some which is not there now.

bis bald,

Nick

Logic

personallydisinterested's picture

If you deny the effectiveness of logic in all situations, you simply don't understand the meaning.  Everything is reasonable because everything has a reason, cause and effect, action and reaction.  If I use logic to come to a false conclusion, it is not logic nor reason that are at fault.  I am at fault because I used logic poorly or misunderstood reality.   

Physics

personallydisinterested's picture

Chaos theory, string theory, and quantum dynamics don't provide very much useful information for philosophy.  If you attempt to live your life upon the premise that you have no freewill you will perish. 

Jameson

NickOtani's picture

"Philosophy is not for everybody. It's only for those who love to wonder. It's wasted on those who think they know it all already."

No. Here, philosophy is for those who love to know. It's only when you deny A=A that you get stuck in Wonderland, Alice.

I explained the apparent paradox in Sartre's statement, and I brought up Rand's use of Bacon's statement, which is also apparently paradoxical. You ignore all that and try to put me down with a witty insult which misses the mark. I don't deny A=A as a procedural rule in logic for communication and thinking. I don't necessarily think it is God, the only means of identfying reality. You really aren't interested in understanding that, though, are you? Just attack anyone who disagrees with you or who says things you don't understand. Did you really read The Bigot at the Bar?

bis bald,

Nick

What Objectivism is

NickOtani's picture

(Linz)First, Nick, you ascribe to Objectivism ridiculous positions that it doesn't hold, then you "refute" these positions with something even more ridiculous. And in bold, which gives me epilepsy.
I can't be doing with any of it.

(Nick)Once again, Linz, you are being arrogant and dismissive, disrespectable to me. You are making an unsupported accusation. In the last post, you asked me to cite something, and I did. You are not responding to it. You are merely repeating your accusation that I don’t get it. Repetition of an unsupported claim does not make it true. And, if you would read more of my posts, you’d probably see how foolish you are by making such a claim. I do know about Objectivism, and I do not ascribe positions to it that it doesn’t hold.

BTW, I only use the bold type to distinguish my new posts from my old. Do you have the option of using different colors on this board?

Let’s try this again:

You said, “First, "an essence prior to existence" is not the same as "an independent reality which pre-exists man." The first is not Objectivism at all, the second is sloppily expressed.”

To exist, according to Rand, is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes “…Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.” This, according to any existentialist, is essence prior to existence, and it is also describing an independent reality which pre-exists man and is discovered by him, not created by him.

Allow me to cite chapter and verse:

John Galt says, in Atlas Shrugged, “Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.”

In The Objectivist Newsletter “Who Is the Final Authority in Ethics?” Feb. 1965, 7. “…Metaphysically, it (Objectivism) is the recognition of the fact that reality exists independent of any perceiver’s consciousness.”

In The Objectivist Newsletter “Introducing Objectivism,” Aug. 1962, 35. “Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.”

Tell me again, Linz, that I don’t know what Objectivism is, that I ascribe ridiculous positions to Objectivism that it doesn’t hold.

But the proposition from which we strayed was that Objectivists place too much emphasis on logic and reasoning, treating them as a substitute god. Existence exists is basically A is A, the law of identity. It is a very important axiomatic concept for Objectivists. For Aristotle, however, it was only a procedural rule for communication and thinking, not the only means of identifying reality. Are you going to say I am wrong about that too, Linz? Are you willing to cite chapter and verse?

Bis bald,

Nick

I must be a real dumbski...

Jameson's picture

That which has yet to happen has already happened? Wow... so... before I even typed w.o.w., that wow - the first one - already existed?

Dear Galt!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The future has already happened. In other words, the future is as real as the present and the past. This view, that the future and the past are as real as the present, is the general consensus in modern physics.

Then modern physics is indeed fucked.

If you think this view is "crap" and a "loada fucking bollocks" then you are at odds with modern physics.

Oh, how terrible.

Somehow I think I'll survive.

But note—I shall retrieve the Libz from this sort of evil bullshit. Treat that as part of the future that has already happened, you hideous mystic twerp!

The future has already happened

Richard Goode's picture

In other words, the future is as real as the present and the past.

This view, that the future and the past are as real as the present, is the general consensus in modern physics.

If you think this view is "crap" and a "loada fucking bollocks" then you are at odds with modern physics. In much the same way, in fact, as a creationist is at odds with modern biology.

It's textbook stuff.

Nick...

Jameson's picture

"Philosophy is not for everybody. It's only for those who love to wonder. It's wasted on those who think they know it all already."

No. Here, philosophy is for those who love to know. It's only when you deny A=A that you get stuck in Wonderland, Alice.

Oh dear!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

First, Nick, you ascribe to Objectivism ridiculous positions that it doesn't hold, then you "refute" these positions with something even more ridiculous. And in bold, which gives me epilepsy.

I can't be doing with any of it.

Linz

But both points are not yet proved

NickOtani's picture

”Sartre, on-the-other-hand, would say man is a being who is what he is not and is not what he is.”

I wish he’d just said what he meant, and meant what he said. You and Rick must have attended the same Myopic School of Noodling. The problem with you guys is you float around in the vagaries, never allowing yourselves to be pinned down by something as ‘loose’ as logic. The only way you can exist in Otaniworld is to deny the concrete.

Rand also used Bacon's paradoxical quote, "Nature, to be commanded must be obeyed." It's only initially paradoxical. When we know what it means, the paradox disappears. When one understands that Sartre is talking about man being in a process of becoming, his quote makes sense. It isn't vague.

However, there are some things which strict logic cannot grasp. It is a tool, not a prison or a god.

That makes you a pain in the arse to debate. And that’s why people ‘abandon’ you. Well, that and the fact you’re the consummate “Bore at the Bar,” slack-mouth drunk on pints of his homemade verbiage.

I understand how I can be boring to some people. Even the bartender at the bar is boring to the bigot. Philosophy is not for everybody. It's only for those who love to wonder. It's wasted on those who think they know it all already.

bis bald,

Nick

So, in your own words please ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

.... how the future has already happened?

Loada fucking bollocks.

Not my own words

Richard Goode's picture

This is how Paul Davies, in "That Mysterious Flow" (might be a good book for you to read) describes your view (the "Conventional" view) and my view (the "Block Universe" view).

1) The Conventional view
In daily life we divide time into three parts: past, present, and future. The grammatical structure of language revolves around this fundamental distinction. Reality is associated with the present moment. The past we think of having slipped out of existence, whereas the future is even more shadowy, its details still unformed. In this simple picture, the "now" of our conscious awareness glides steadily onward, transforming events that were once in the unformed future into the concrete but fleeting reality of the present, and thence relegating them to the fixed past.

2) The Block Universe view
Physicists prefer to think of time as laid out in its entirety - a timescape, analogous to a landscape - with all past and future events located there together ... Completely absent from this description of nature is anything that singles out a privileged special moment as the present or any process that would systematically turn future events into the present, then past, events. In short, the time of the physicist does not pass or flow.

Because, as Davies says, "the grammatical structure of language revolves around this fundamental [fundamental to the Conventional view, that is] distinction," it is actually quite difficult to express the Block Universe view unambiguously. I gave it my best shot.

I could expand on this, but I won't, for the usual mundane reasons... but you got that... already.

Lindsay

NickOtani's picture

(Nick)Objectivism does hold that essence is prior to existence, that there is a nature of man, a rational animal, into which he must grow.

(Linz)Nick, Objectivism holds no such thing. Please cite chapter and verse if you insist that it does.

(Nick)ITOE, 58, “Man’s distinctive characteristic is his type of consciousness—a consciousness able to abstract, to form concepts, to apprehend reality by a process of reason…[The] valid definition of man, within the context of his knowledge and of all of mankind’s knowledge to-date [is]: “A rational animal.”

(Linz) Objectivism does not echo Aristotle in saying that "essence" is metaphysical. Metaphysically, all characteristics of an entity just are. We determine "essential" epistemologically, identifying that characteristic that sets a given entity apart from all the others (in man's case, rationality) for purposes of classification.

(Nick)Determining “essence” epistemologically is still dealing with it as a characteristic of an entity identified by man, not a human construct projected onto phenomena. Objectivism is not subjectivism. Existentialism is. NickOtani’sNeo-Objectivism is subjectivism within objective parameters.

(Nick)In pure Objectivism, there is no becoming. A is A, not A in the process of becoming. Natures are fixed and cause and effect is unbroken. This does not leave room for freedom.

(Linz)That's not Objectivism either. The "becoming" is part of "A." It's the nature of an acorn to become an oak. Deterministically. In man's case, volition is a determining agent. There is indeed freedom—only not the freedom to become a chair.

(Nick)I have a few problems with this. To begin, it seems like a kind of compatibilism, that freedom means “not confined”, yet there is a path on which one ought to stay. Religious people also say man is free, but if he strays from the path of righteousness, he will go to Hell. No, sometimes there is just no path. It may be an open field where one must forge one’s own path or stand still. Reason does not reach everywhere. Those who are involved in life often find that no amount of logic and reason will help them make a decision. They just have to choose, and not choosing is also a choice. As Sartre said, “One is forced into freedom.” This is not A is A.

Rand also said man must be rational by choice, yet the choice to be rational cannot itself be rational. It must be a baseless choice like that of Existentialism, yet Rand said Existentialism is a philosophy for barefoot savages. Peikoff also says terrible things about it. I covered all this in my Alice series, which nobody wants to refute.

Bis bald,

Nick

I would not ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... presume to make such a broad generalisation, not being a physicist.

But please justify, in your own words, the proposition that the future has already happened.

Yeah right

Richard Goode's picture

Modern physics is crap?

Well ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... it's crap, of course. I hadn't realised things were quite this bad.

Um ... no!

Richard Goode's picture

I wrote this.

I could expand on this, but I won't, for the usual mundane reasons.

I did once write a children's story which explains the solution to Einstein's Twin Paradox. Perhaps I'll post it one day. Eye

Oh-oh, Lindsay's in the Otani web! :-)

Jameson's picture

”Sartre, on-the-other-hand, would say man is a being who is what he is not and is not what he is.”

I wish he’d just said what he meant, and meant what he said. You and Rick must have attended the same Myopic School of Noodling. The problem with you guys is you float around in the vagaries, never allowing yourselves to be pinned down by something as ‘loose’ as logic. The only way you can exist in Otaniworld is to deny the concrete.

That makes you a pain in the arse to debate. And that’s why people ‘abandon’ you. Well, that and the fact you’re the consummate “Bore at the Bar,” slack-mouth drunk on pints of his homemade verbiage.

Nick, I doubt you would have made this concession: ”I could argue that there is a difference between similies and synonyms, but I'll concede this point to you,” had I not pulled you up on your inability to accept defeat. Had you taken your usual stand of refuting me on the difference between a simile and synonym, you would have proved both my points.

Um ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The future is already written

Richard Goode's picture

I think we posted relatively simultaneously.

Those were my own words...

Follow the links.

Richard

Lindsay Perigo's picture

In your own words, s'il vous plait, and without the ad hominems: the future is already written?

The block universe

Richard Goode's picture

Nick

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Objectivism does hold that essence is prior to existence, that there is a nature of man, a rational animal, into which he must grow.

Nick, Objectivism holds no such thing. Please cite chapter and verse if you insist that it does. Objectivism does not echo Aristotle in saying that "essence" is metaphysical. Metaphysically, all characteristics of an entity just are. We determine "essential" epistemologically, identifying that characteristic that sets a given entity apart from all the others (in man's case, rationality) for purposes of classification.

In pure Objectivism, there is no becoming. A is A, not A in the process of becoming. Natures are fixed and cause and effect are unbroken. This does not leave room for freedom.

That's not Objectivism either. The "becoming" is part of "A." It's the nature of an acorn to become an oak. Deterministically. In man's case, volition is a determining agent. There is indeed freedom—only not the freedom to become a chair.

Linz

I do my best

NickOtani's picture

I agree with Linz below: of course an objective reality is always there, into which we as individuals are then born to apply our minds to it. This does not mean there was any 'essence' of me before I came to be - that is not what Objectivism, or certainly not what I, hold to.

I try to be polite and respectful to Linz, but he seems arrogant and dismissive of me, very disrespectful. You also are quick to accuse me of being evasive and hollow etc. Honest debate does not mean being mean to opponents, trying to destroy them as people. It is trying to understand them and communicate and test their ideas if they need to be tested. It is okay to agree with them if one honestly agrees, or to withhold judgment.

Objectivism does hold that essence is prior to existence, that there is a nature of man, a rational animal, into which he must grow. It is the oak tree within the acorn. Yes, man has freedom to fight this nature, according to Objectivists, but they would be immoral to do so. They would be denying reality, trying to live as something other than man qua man. Existentialism holds that existence is prior to essence, which means that man exists first, does not have any pre-existing path to follow, and must choose or forge his or her own path. That is the real freedom.

I was trying to convey to Linz that this goes too far. It says that there is not even a pre-existing human nature. People are what they make themselves to be. I think there is some human nature, some essence prior to existence, but it is not complete. There is room for Existential freedom, and this is not something Rand or Peikoff would allow. It is not pure Objectivism. It is NickOtani'sNeo-Objectivism.

I covered all this in my Alice series, but Linz hasn't read it. Still, he is confident that I don't get Objectivism, based on the little that he has read of a few of my posts.

In pure Objectivism, there is no becoming. A is A, not A in the process of becoming. Natures are fixed and cause and effect is unbroken. This does not leave room for freedom.

bis bald,

Nick

Richard - The future has

reed's picture

Richard -
The future has already been written. The future and the past are as real as the present. You cannot change the future any more than you can change the past. Einstein said so.

Can you provide a link to Einstein's reference to this concept.

Cheers,

Reed.

Incidentally ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Any fuckwit who throws the board spastic by not closing his formatting will be deleted. Someone just threw this whole thread into italics. Gone! Poof!

Richard

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The future has already been written. The future and the past are as real as the present. You cannot change the future any more than you can change the past. Einstein said so.

Please tell me this is a joke?

Freedom

Richard Goode's picture

All is not given. The future has not yet been written. We become. We create ourselves with our decisions. I say we have freedom within parameters.

The future has already been written. The future and the past are as real as the present. You cannot change the future any more than you can change the past. Einstein said so.

Objectivists and Neo-Objectivists ought to verify that their notions of freedom cohere with an Einsteinian world-view, don't you think?

  Thank you for (sort

Mark Hubbard's picture

 

Thank you for (sort of) answering my question Nick, although I find your AliceNeo-Objectivist to be confused, and to be confusing.

I agree with Linz below: of course an objective reality is always there, into which we as individuals are then born to apply our minds to it. This does not mean there was any 'essence' of me before I came to be - that is not what Objectivism, or certainly not what I, hold to.

It is freedom co-existing with cause and effect and fixed natures. This doesn't work.

I don't see why your reason would lead you to conclude that at all: your Alice isn't thinking straight. There is no contradiction in holding to the 'facts of reality', and yet having freedom within parameters (the non initiation of force for a start) in this reality to act, and with my nature changing as my mind grapples with the facts of reality, per my systems approach schema of the previous post. You are implying that to hold to the object, the subject must be abandoned under Objectivism, and that is not my reading of it at all. I am the subject, I exist, thinking my way through the facts of reality, wrestling for a state of freedom (acknowledging the parameters) against those forces that would enslave me. Indeed, for me, without the subject, the object, while unchanging as to its existence, has no relevance.

Yes, I have read the metaphysical vs the man-made.

NickOtani's picture

Yes, I saw my spelling mistake and fixed it.

Essence prior to existence is the phrase Existentialists and respected scholars use to describe independent existence prior to man, objective reality discovered, not created, by man. It is not the same as the Objectivists' primacy of existence phrasing, which I think is sloppily expressed.

The Objectivist view of freedom is incoherent. It is freedom co-existing with cause and effect and fixed natures. This doesn't work.

It's easy to maintain I don't get Objectivism and then walk away. Supporting a view with reasoning and evidence is something different.

bis bald,

Nick

You see Nick

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Here's a clue as to why folk don't bother debating you. At least, as to why *I* don't:

First, "an essence prior to existence" is not the same as "an independent reality which pre-exists man."

The first is not Objectivism at all, the second is sloppily expressed.

Second, anyone who writes about "ballence" instantly disqualifies himself as someone I can take seriously.

Third: I say we have freedom within parameters. Who the hell in Objectivism says we have freedom without parameters? Haven't you read Rand on the metaphysical vs the man-made?

See Nick, if you want to be a credible foil for Objectivism, you must first demonstrate that you get Objectivism. And learn to spell.

Linz

Yes, but my view is different still.

NickOtani's picture

Do you agree with Hazel Barnes? That Objectivism "believes in an essence prior to existence"?

Yes, Lindsay, I agree that Objectivists believe in an independent reality which pre-exists man. Man comes into it and discovers it, does not create it. The Existentialist creates it. I, on the other hand, try to ballance both views, that there is some pre-existing reality which we discover, a humanness which does not change from location to location and time to time and laws of nature which are universal and discovered, but there is also room for freedom to participate in the creation of our natures. All is not given. The future has not yet been written. We become. We create ourselves with our decisions. I say we have freedom within parameters.

bis bald,

Nick

If you would have been clear from the beginning, ....

NickOtani's picture

I find I am talking to the ultimate hollow man, who quotes others only, and will not tie himself down and define how he - that's you - acquire knowledge of the world in which you live, and therefore equip yourself for living in it.

I’m just trying to understand your poorly written question. In your first post, I didn’t know if you even knew what I was claiming. I wanted to make sure you knew I was claiming that Objectivists were treating reason and logic as something to bow down to. Then, when you asked me how I knew, I thought you were asking me to support my contention. I did. Still, you ask me more generally how one comes to have knowledge. This is something different.

ITOE has four paths to knowledge in the first chapter. I disagree with them somewhat and have my own, and I addressed this is my Alice series:

Plato, of course, had his theory of the forms, as presented in the Allegory of the Cave. It was that the forms, perfect lines and triangles and essences of man exist up in the parapet above our heads, where we can’t really see, and the light of reason shines on them casting their reflections on a wall in front of us. Those shadows are the reality we experience on a day to day basis, but sometimes, as when a teacher like Socrates asks us the right questions, we remember things from when we were also in that world of the forms. Learning, for Plato, was a process of remembering. Teachers bring something out of us, like mid-wives, rather than treating us like empty vessels into which knowledge is poured or pieces of clay to be molded and shaped by others, as if we are objects.

Aristotle thought Plato was a bit too mystical with this mental realm being primary, and so do Rand and the Objectivists, even though they agree that that reality is independent of man and discovered by him. Aristotle thought substance, matter, was the real essence and more important than the forms. Still, he did, like Plato, believe in these two worlds, the one of matter and the one of ideas. And, he believed we learn about the metaphysical essences through a process of intuition. Rand agreed with her interpretation of Aristotle to a large degree, but she insisted that essences are epistemological, not metaphysical. She thought we determine the facts of reality by concept formation, generalizing from perception, and this is the task of epistemology, not metaphysics. The important thing Aristotle did was put reality outside man and formulate the laws of logic which we use to identify this external reality.

There is also the religious view that we are objects shaped by God. That the knowledge we need is revealed to us by Him. We must just be subservient and obey His will, and all will be okay. Anything which challenges such a view is evil and must be ignored. Rand rejects this view outright.

Then, there is the view of the relativists, the pragmatists, the subjectivists, the Kantians and existentialists that we can never really know reality. We deal with appearances and project images onto phenomena. We don’t discover what is out there but create it. Nominalists, according to Rand, merely assign names to entities which have vague resemblances with each other, but those names are human constructs, not facts of reality independent of humans.

Alice wonders if Rand and company went too far with Aristotle’s law of identity. Rather than simply using it as a procedural tool for communication and thinking, they try to use it to identify reality. If A is A, they say, it means something exists and is what it is, that it has a specific nature. Well, thinks Alice, President Clinton may have been right when he said it depends on what “is” is. This little word, and the concept of being or existence, can be very complicated. Heidegger and Sartre wrote thousands of words about it. Sometimes ‘is’ seems too static to really capture its subject or object. Perhaps ‘A’ is in the process of becoming. Perhaps reality is really always changing, like Heraclites said. We just use the law of identity and other rules of inference to think and talk about it. Certainly we can’t make much sense if our variables keep changing identity in the middle of an argument. We would never be able to reach a conclusion. If we say “If A, then B. A. Therefore B”, ‘B’ would not follow if ‘A’ changed its identity the second time it is used. So, the law of identity preserves consistency and coherency in communication and thinking, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality, which does continue to move and change identity.

This whole thing about entities having a specific nature, could just be our creation. We exist first, as subjects, and then construct a reality according to our wishes and whims. Sure, there are some things we can’t control; we can’t jump off cliffs and fly just because we want to, but this isn’t a limitation for us if we it isn’t what we wish to do. Perhaps it’s our choice of goals which determines our obstacles and limitations. We aren’t just objects waiting for an objective reality and immutable laws of logic to push us around. We aren’t victims of our environment. We are subjects who make our world what it is. We are free.

Objectivists also believe that we are free, but they don’t seem to explain it well. They reject the supernatural, but they also reject the super mechanical. They support cause and effect, but they don’t want to go as far as people like B.F. Skinner and those who reduce our world to a mechanistic model where consciousness and freedom are illusions. The Objectivists declare that consciousness and freedom are self-evident, and they really don’t care if this doesn’t make sense within the context of the rest of their philosophy, that everything is bound by a specific nature and unbroken cause and effect.

Sartre believes we are still in a process of becoming. This allows for freedom, at least for the being for itself, the subject. His or her nature is incomplete. He or she works on it with every decision he or she makes. What Alice is doing right now is making what Alice is. This is not Objectivism or essentialism, where she has a pre-existing nature or essence into which she must grow. She makes herself. She makes her own nature as she goes.

Still, Alice thinks there is something she has in common with all other humans. There is a humanness which ties her to her great ancestors and other humans around the world. She has empathy for them. She knows that if she were to be tortured and killed, she wouldn’t like it, and she knows that neither would they. So, there is a pre-existing nature or essence that she has in common with other humans, but there is also her freedom to create her own nature or essence. There is paradox and contradiction, something orthodox Objectivists hate. In some ways, she is what she is. She has a universal nature. However, within those parameters, she is what she is and is not what she is. She is in the process of becoming. She is a subject, not an object. She is a NickOtani’sNeo-Objectivist.

Now, I think you are accepting "the facts of reality" as some sort of given which can never be in doubt. You won't admit that you accept this on faith, but you do. You deceive yourself that you don't.

bis bald,

Nick

Nick

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You wrote:

Here is part of my summary of what Hazel Barnes said about Existentialism and Objectivism:

Rand is a systematic philosopher in the tradition of Plato and Aristotle. She believes in an essence prior to existence, that existence is identity. The existentialist, however, opposes system-building and believes existence preceeds essence. Rand does say that man becomes, but his task is to become rational. His essence is Reason. Sartre, on-the-other-hand, would say man is a being who is what he is not and is not what he is. His essence is freedom itself to become what he will. He makes the definition, itself, of what he will have been.

Do you agree with Hazel Barnes? That Objectivism "believes in an essence prior to existence"?

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