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Rand doesn't follow the conventional standards of logic.
Table of contents
- About the Objectivism Reference Center
- Book Info: Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature
- Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature
- ARCHN's Reasoning
Posted June 30, Posted July 1, That was a fantastically devastating critique! Create an account or sign in to comment You need to be a member in order to leave a comment Create an account Sign up for a new account in our community. Register a new account. Sign in Already have an account? What is "Appreciations" relationship to "Value". Correspondence and Coherence blog. On Tesla and Direct Sales.
About the Objectivism Reference Center
Necessary Unitariness, Necessary Independence. Jordan Peterson , Yaron Brook. The event will be live-streamed on The Rubin Report: Posted by gregnyquist at 7: Thursday, June 07, Objectivism: The great, glaring gap in just about all ethical systems of which I have knowledge, even when many of the particular values and virtues they advocate may be laudable, is the absence of a technology to assist people in getting there, an effective means for acquiring these values and virtues, a realistic path people can follow. That is the great missing step in most religions and philosophies.
You can tell people that it's a virtue to be rational, productive, or just, but, if they have not already arrived at that stage of awareness and development on their own, objectivism does not tell them how to get there. It does tell you you're rotten if you fail to get there. Rand's failure to provide a "technology" for attaining Objectivist moral values is not her only failure in this regard. She provided very little in terms of achieving any of the things she regarded as desirable, whether it was rationality, persuasion, or laissez-faire capitalism. Hence the ironic spectacle of Rand followers who don't know how to be rational, Objectivists who don't know how to solve moral conflicts with other Objectivists, and the lack of a strong, vibrant Objectivist artistic movement.
Posted by gregnyquist at 9: Friday, January 05, Objectivism: An Autopsy, Part 3. In some respects, Rand's ideology of Objectivism can be seen as an over-reaction to the Marxist left. Rand lived through the Russian Revolution and experienced communism first hand. She despised the Marxian creed with every fiber of her being, and in her philosophy of Objectivism she sought to fashion a doctrine diametrically opposed to the collectivist and anti-capitalist dogmas of Soviet communism.
Thus Rand wound up advocating a pure some might say "extreme" form of individualism and capitalism as a way to oppose the murderous collectivism of Marxist-Leninism. Rand began formulating these doctrines more than seventy years ago. The ideological landscape has undergone significant changes during this time. It assumes that what hasn't happened in the past is impossible.
It does not explain why good ideas cannot spread and change the world; it just pretends Objectivists never thought about it. Actually it focusses on Rand's non-fiction and Peikoff and Binswanger get a lot of attention — too much for the book title to say "Ayn Rand" rather than "Objectivism".
Book Info: Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature
The Fountainhead is not in the bibliography, even though it's Ayn Rand's second most important book. We The Living and Anthem are also missing. Atlas Shrugged never gets adequate attention. If you wanted a different style than her non-fiction, she provided it! It's a major contribution of Objectivism that many Objectivists value. GN doesn't understand Ayn Rand's sense of life and largely ignores the topic. He only talks about it in relation to aesthetics.
But I don't just mean the term "sense of life".
Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature
Rather than understand Objectivism as a whole and discuss it, GN evades significant parts of Objectivism. By refusing to discuss morality, GN is hiding both his ignorance of Objectivism's morality and the evil of his own moral views. ARCHN makes frequent mistakes. There are both misunderstandings of Objectivist positions as well as incorrect arguments. Let's look at a couple examples more examples can be found in other sections. GN doesn't understand what measurement is. Giving birth is empirically measurable.
You can count measure things like how many children come out of a woman. Also GN is wrong that giving birth is the criterion of motherhood. Stillbirths don't make you a mother. Economics makes no such assumption. For example, it could be a cultural predisposition rather than an innate one. Economics has nothing to say about that. The possibility of cultural tendencies never seems to occur to GN who attributes everything to immutable genetic human nature. Examples include induction, contextual certainty and measurement omission. I thought of the issues myself while studying Objectivism.
To go over these topics briefly, with regard to induction I think Karl Popper is correct. For contextual certainty, it isn't really certainty since it's fallible. With regard to measurement omission, the inductive premises are mistaken and it's specific details that get omitted, not necessarily measurements nor quantifiable. Just because GN and Branden don't understand what reason is does not mean Objectivism has no answer. The way I understand it and I'm not claiming this is official Objectivism , people already knew what reason was before Objectivism.
Objectivism did not invent the concept. What you should do is take the pre-existing understanding of reason and then modify it when Objectivism adds something, clarifies something, changes something, etc In that way you will arrive at a better, more Objectivist understanding of reason. Objectivism didn't have to give reason a new meaning from scratch. Further, I think I have an even better answer, which is more Popperian than Objectivist, but which I think is compatible with Objectivism. The point is you can take your best understanding of what reason is and read Rand and improve it a bit and everything works fine.
There's no big problem here. And you can even innovate on the topic, come up with a new refined understanding of reason, read Rand, and it still works fine. Though if your new ideas about reason are bad, then it won't work anymore. Reason has to do with error correction. Rational processes or approaches, or methods, etc are ones which are capable of correcting errors the better at it, the more rational. Irrational processes prevent or disallow error correction. Errors are inevitable, so being able to correct them is really important.
Like me, Atlas Shrugged also talks about fallibility and the importance of the means to correct errors:. So, OK, I get it: Objectivism thinks morality is practical. ARCHN thinks immorality is practical, effective and powerful. Objectivism argues its case on this matter extensively. ARCHN asserts a contrary position and appeals to the authority of its own interpretation of historical facts and their implications. But why would any of this change my mind? Where are the criticisms of Objectivism that could persuade someone who doesn't already dislike Objectivism?
This stuff just ignores what Objectivism has to say about the issue. Not only does it fail to understand or refute Objectivism's position, it's already been refuted by Objectivist argument before it was written. It's not so much that GN disagrees that morality is practical, but more that the concept is so foreign to him he didn't realize what Rand was saying. He's not aware that Objectivism thinks immoral behavior has no advantages to offer, nor why. Skill with wits and skill with force are not independent. GN ignorantly assumes they are in his argument.
He could have learned otherwise by studying Objectivism better. ARCHN takes pleasure in claiming that everyone is bad. This quote also illustrates the theme of ARCHN considering evidence an authority and typically argues from authority. And it illustrates the theme of not understanding the Objectivist position on a topic and arguing about that topic anyway.
GN does not address or refute the Objectivist view on why it is actually bad business to seek government favors; he seems unaware of it. GN claims to agree with Popper's epistemology. He has not understood Popper and actually disagrees with Popper. This position is incompatible with both Objectivism and Popper. What epistemology is it compatible with?
Popper says we learn from conjectures and refutations, not experience. This inductivist approach is incompatible with the claim that GN accepts Popper's rejection of induction. It's also incompatible with Objectivism.
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Why does GN believe this? He said he was a Popperian but he's not. No, Popper's epistemology rejects certainty. GN is ignorant and incompetent not only about Objectivism but also about Popper. As Popper explains in LScD and elsewhere, refuting evidence is itself fallible. Further, Popper's theory of knowledge is not "based" on anything: ARCHN makes a big deal out of the innate ideas topic. It is a major point of disagreement. Give up, compromise, sacrifice, give in, bend, break. This dismal view of life is not a criticism of Objectivism. Ayn Rand didn't fail to take GN's position on this matter by mistake.
She rejected his sort of thinking on purpose, and said why. Also he's wrong about Socrates' position. Socrates actually agrees with me, Rand and Popper here. Because they don't know how, and people like GN trick them with bad ideas. Or maybe they are dishonest and evade. Or maybe they think immorality is practical, like GN thinks.
There are many, many ways to be mistaken. Anyway, what GN doesn't understand here is the difference between choosing what to do at each step and choosing where you end up. You don't get to just choose your conclusion directly. Note the method of demanding "evidence", not researching what evidence agrees with Objectivism, and then making an appeal to authority as his own "evidence".
GN does not provide any arguments for his position here. Rather, he provides a quote of a supposed authority asserting the conclusion GN wants. He continues with quotes of others. He cherry picks arguments from supposed authorities which are on his side, never quotes anything that disagrees with him, and pretends he's won.
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I'll give one example:. And how was the influence of environment factored in? I've read a number of studies along these lines, and the answer is it never really is.
GN doesn't worry about whether the people he's quoting are correct. He doesn't learn about the issue and give persuasive arguments. He just quotes whatever he likes as an appeal to authority. I can cite authorities too, by the way. Why hasn't he read and answered Genetics and Reductionism by Sahotra Sarkar? I didn't just google these now.
I read them years ago. I think they are important. But we won't get anywhere if we just throw authorities at each other. We'll have to think through the topic to learn much. Another appeal to authority.
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GN asserts that all authorities in the field disagree with Rand, and he thinks that is impressive. All it really shows is that he's irrational; he doesn't think for himself. It says they are bad arguments. ARCHN unaware of the argument that a fetus has no mind. ARCHN attacks what sounds to me like a brief philosopher's history, because GN expected a detailed literal history like a historian would write. This is GN's fault for not understanding what type of thing he was reading.
What is a philosopher's history? I mean this like a physicist's history. Richard Feynman wrote in QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter:. This is a good thing.