Machan's Musings - Saddam Hussein Learned from Richard Rorty

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Tue, 2005-12-06 20:33

Machan's Musings - Saddam Hussein Learned from Richard Rorty

Tibor R. Machan

In his very instructive book Natural Right and History the justly famous classical political scientist Leo Strauss—sometimes credited with (or blamed for) neo-conservatism—makes the point that without firm standards of right versus wrong, all that can count in the determination of right and wrong is who is being earnest—whose is “a resolute or deadly serious decision.” Here is how he put the point:

If there is no standard higher than the ideal of our society, we are utterly unable to take a critical distance from that idea. But the mere fact that we can raise the question of the worth of the idea of our society shows that there is something in man that is not altogether in slavery to his society, and therefore that we are able, and hence obliged, to look for a standard with reference to which we can judge the ideals of our own as well as of any other society. That standard cannot be found in the needs of the various societies, for the societies and their parts have many needs that conflict with one another; the problem if priorities arises. This problem cannot be solved in a rational manner if we do not have a standard with reference to which we can distinguish between genuine needs and fancied needs and discern the hierarchy of the various types of genuine needs. The problem posed by the conflicting needs of society cannot be solved if we do not possess knowledge of natural right.

Recent Comments:
I think Shadia Drury got it — by removed on Fri, 2005-12-09 14:27
More on Strauss — by Pete L on Fri, 2005-12-09 04:00
Leo Strauss and neoconservatives — by Mark Humphrey on Wed, 2005-12-07 18:44

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New Site Features

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Sun, 2005-12-04 23:57

Hi fellow SOLOists,

I hope the first half a week or so of the new face of SOLO has been enjoyable. Smiling We have been tweaking things as we go, incorporating some good suggestions.

Recent Comments:
Stars — by Rick Giles on Tue, 2006-03-28 12:18
Bells, Whistles...Stars? — by Prima Donna on Tue, 2006-03-28 03:19
Sorry ... — by Christy L on Tue, 2005-12-06 21:12

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This and That

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Sun, 2005-12-04 21:40

[Listen to this announcement]

A few reflections after the first few days of SOLO's new incarnation here at SOLOPassion.com:

There was some debate prior to the rebirth as to the legitimacy of "entertainment" as a value on a site like this. For me there is no debate. If SOLOPassion is not entertaining, it is falling down on part of its job—to educate and inform in an entertaining way. There is no entertainment/education dichotomy here. "Entertaining" doesn't necessarily mean "creating a laugh a minute," though humour is decidedly a value here also—it does mean educating and informing in a way that is stimulating and arresting, rather than in a cold monotone more suited to academia or people who have no sense of life-and-death urgency about the material they are purveying. The writers we have assembled here are all skilled in telling their story in a captivating way because they are passionate about it, and that's the way it'll stay. So yes, this is, unashamedly, an entertainment site—but of course, it's not just an entertainment site. Sassy, saucy, sizzling ... and salutary. That's SOLO.

Recent Comments:
Full set of dags accounted for — by Marcus on Wed, 2005-12-07 21:58
Whoever he is?! — by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2005-12-06 20:46
Bravo, who ever you are! — by Ciro D Agostino on Tue, 2005-12-06 16:08

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Machan's Musings - Why Teaching Intelligent Design is Such a Problem

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Sun, 2005-12-04 19:35

Whenever a controversy arises in government funded and administered educational(?) institutions, no one in the mainstream media mentions the real source of the problem. Whether it is making the study of sex, environment, or, currently, intelligent design mandatory, the real issue is systematically avoided. This is whether there ought to be government education in a free society at all.

It is widely recognized that there should not be a government newspaper to which everyone must subscribe and which must be read by all. For good reason. The press must be free from entanglement with the government, with an agency that has as its sole job in a free country to protect individual rights. The tools and methods required for this job are entirely out of order when it comes to producing newspapers. Newspapers report on what the publishers and editors deem to be vital issues within the various layers of community of readers are members. We have local, state, national and international coverage, all important to some readers, but none of these is government’s job to accomplish. So in a free society there is likely to be a wide variety of approaches to news coverage, not to mention to editorializing. Government must adhere to the rule of law, which is supposed to be the same for all. It is naturally a one-size-fits-all undertaking.

Recent Comments:
Tibor, — by Tenyamc on Tue, 2005-12-06 06:44
public schools — by Christy L on Mon, 2005-12-05 20:04
As you say the curricula are — by Ali Hassan Massoud on Mon, 2005-12-05 15:48

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Machan’s Musings – A Heretical Essay on Wittgenstein

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Sat, 2005-12-03 10:01

The twentieth century has seen many philosophers pay a great deal of attention to the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. It is especially his philosophy of language—i.e., his concern with the fundamental features and functions of our forms of awareness and communication—that has inspired much discussion. It is by way of an examination of language that Wittgenstein developed his theory of knowledge (although, granted, the idea that Wittgenstein had a theory of knowledge is itself controversial).

Yet Wittgenstein's approach is not to be confused with the content of his thinking. After all, hardly any philosopher could avoid an examination of language in the process of offering an account of human knowledge. Language would appear to be the only tangible and thus easily accessible feature of knowledge, though surely not its only feature. And the content of Wittgenstein's thinking, in the Philosophical Investigations [1] and On Certainty [2] testifies to the fact that he was not a crude behaviorist of the sort we might call someone whose epistemology focuses exclusively on language.

Recent Comments:
Logical Positivism — by Jeff Perren on Sun, 2005-12-04 04:19
The days of the Vienna — by Ali Hassan Massoud on Sun, 2005-12-04 02:39

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The Silence of Ayn Rand’s Critics

Casey's picture
Submitted by Casey on Sat, 2005-12-03 07:17

EXCLUSIVE to SOLO and The Free Radical. (Subscribe to the print edition and receive a whole lot more.)


"It is clear to me that Ayn Rand was a woman of remarkable integrity, who largely embodied the virtues she espoused. But it is also clear that she had certain other traits often found in great minds who have waged a lonely battle for their ideas: a tendency to surround herself with acolytes from whom she demanded declarations of agreement and loyalty; a growing sense of bitter isolation from the world; a quickness to anger at criticism; a tendency to judge people harshly and in haste. These faults did not outweigh her virtues; I consider them of minor significance in themselves. But they were real, and I thought [Barbara] Branden's book, whatever its other shortcomings, gave a reasonably fair and perceptive account of them.

"All of this is arguable, of course. But it should have been argued, and it wasn't. When the book appeared, I was shocked by the refusal of many prominent Objectivists to discuss the issues it raised, and their tendency to condemn anyone who did."

--David Kelley, PhD, Truth and Toleration (1990, I.O.S.), p. 75

Fifteen years have passed since David Kelley wrote this fateful passage about Barbara Branden’s book, The Passion of Ayn Rand, in an infamous paper that would, after Ayn Rand’s official intellectual heir Leonard Peikoff responded with his paper “Fact and Value,” open a rancorous schism in Objectivist scholarship. Kelley and the Ayn Rand Institute would part ways over this divisive issue and its philosophical implications, with Kelley going on to create The Objectivist Center. The TOC side argued that the biographical portrait of Ayn Rand written by Barbara Branden (eventually extending to the memoir about Rand written by Nathaniel Branden) should be regarded as an objective source of information, while the other side rejected the Brandens’ testimony outright as arbitrary assertions made without regard for the truth.

Recent Comments:
PARC — by Wayne Simmons on Thu, 2006-02-16 06:10
And — by eg on Tue, 2006-02-07 03:40
Well — by eg on Tue, 2006-02-07 03:29

Staff

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Fri, 2005-12-02 05:20

Lindsay Perigo Lindsay Perigo - Founder & Principal (King of KASS)


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FAQ

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Thu, 2005-12-01 21:31

Here are the questions most frequently asked of the site administrators. If you have a suggestion for a new entry please post a comment & we'll look into it.


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Today's Reprise—A poem for the New SOLO

Casey's picture
Submitted by Casey on Thu, 2005-12-01 21:07

The Mirror

O, this world that turns and ages with us,
Sprouting green and stretching tall.
We see its seeds elongate and divide:
Unrepeatable things,
That come to flower and fruition,
And go to seed and pass away,

Recent Comments:
Casey, just so you know I — by Lanza Morio on Mon, 2005-12-05 15:48
Carlos, my little cookie — by Ashley on Mon, 2005-12-05 13:18
Damn! I wish you guys — by Ross Elliot on Mon, 2005-12-05 06:49

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State of the Union

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Thu, 2005-12-01 07:57

[This post is brought to you today by Julian Pistorius and Duncan Bayne, the SOLOPassion webmasters]

Greetings, and welcome to the new home of SOLO - Sense of Life Objectivists!

The first thing you'll need to do is sign up for a new account so you can log in to the site.

Once you've done that, you'll see that SOLOPassion already provides much of the functionality of the old site, but with 25% fewer calories (noticeable if you're trying to fit into that slinky summer dialup pipe). You can create yourself an account, submit stories, post comments, chew the fat in the Forums, and vote on (and create) polls. For those with a technological bent, there is an RSS feed available, so you can keep up to date with the very latest on the site.


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Woman in Blue (Michael Newberry, 1981)

Newberry's picture
Submitted by Newberry on Wed, 2005-11-30 11:35
Woman in Blue (Michael Newberry, 1981)
Recent Comments:
Thanks Olivia! Yes, I was — by Newberry on Fri, 2008-10-24 00:14
Mark: "I remain suspicious — by Newberry on Thu, 2008-10-23 23:33
Michael... — by Olivia on Thu, 2008-10-23 22:49

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Objectivism

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2005-11-30 10:47

What is Objectivism?

Let its founder speak first. Asked to specify Objectivism's essentials standing on one foot, Ayn Rand, standing on one foot, said:

Recent Comments:
I would have — by Brant Gaede on Thu, 2010-02-04 17:25
Ah well Brant... — by Olivia on Thu, 2010-02-04 08:28
Solved! — by Brant Gaede on Thu, 2010-02-04 02:32

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Free Radical Issue 69 - Table of Contents

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Wed, 2005-11-30 08:57

This is the complete table of contents for the 69th Free Radical. Some of the content will be made available online, but to read most of it you'll have to subscribe to the print edition.

Recent Comments:
It's here! — by Derek McGovern on Wed, 2005-12-21 11:56

Once More with Feeling!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Fri, 2005-11-18 07:50

“He who fights for the future lives in it today.”

—Ayn Rand

[Listen to this announcement] When I founded SOLO™ it was with a view to finding kindred spirits who had eluded me thus far in the Objectivist world.

Recent Comments:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! — by Ed Hudgins on Sat, 2005-12-31 18:07
Congratulations — by nevin on Sun, 2005-12-11 18:28
Congratulations Linz! — by Marcus on Fri, 2005-12-09 20:40

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SOLO Pilot Podcast #4

SOLO Podcasts's picture
Submitted by SOLO Podcasts on Tue, 2007-09-18 20:01
Recent Comments:
Update is that the civic — by Rick Giles on Tue, 2007-11-06 23:00
Hilarious — by Lance on Wed, 2007-09-19 22:46
Many thanks. Callum and I — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2007-09-19 14:26

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