• Maw
    978
    If you've actually ever taken an IQ test, you'd probably be aware that they are an exceptionally selective, insufficient measurement of "intelligence", and as such, determines very little outside the tautology of how you performed on an IQ test. As a matter of fact, those with higher education tend to lean more liberal. Personally, I would say, libertarianism is one of the dumbest contemporary political philosophies out there.
  • MindForged
    428
    Sure there are alternative logics, but the question of interest is which form of logic does the world happen to behave in accordance with? At the level of the middle-sized furniture of the world, at least, it seems to be good old-fashioned binary logic.gurugeorge

    Presumably the way the world "behaves" matters at all levels and in all disciplines as opposed to just being restricted to the everyday world. I mean, I assume this sight has SQL as it's database language and that uses a non-classical logic. Or take quantum mechanics, where quantum logic might be needed (seems like an open question, unclear to me). Or where we surely need logic, mathematics, where constructive mathematics (e.g. intuitionistic logic) is very well liked (it's computationally useful too). That's to say nothing of issues in semantics and ontology.

    But really, my point there wasn't about logic specifically. Just that even at nearly the most fundamental level, the approach you mentioned isn't viable in some terminating way. We just know too much about the possible ways to articulate these different views that making the assumption that it's impossible to do otherwise that some specific base assumptions isn't true.

    And that's something philosophers can do, but the question is whether it's worth doing - or whether philosophers doing that has been simply an artifact of the academic system.gurugeorge

    Well if we want to do things that will make us informed on those issues the yes, it's worth it. I've mentioned some examples as to why it needs to be done this way (specialization basically, just as in other fields). It's not simply an artifact of academia, trying a systematic approach just isn't going to yield new developments in specific areas. At best you'll get an attempt at unifying other people's work. Which... is fine but everyone can't be doing that otherwise the entire discipline stagnates.

    I doubt the average taxpayer actually cares about what exactly philosophers are doing. We accept the government funds things we might not specifically want or care about. I mean, I've never cared about the issue on that level at least.
  • gurugeorge
    517
    And I take it the clear answer is that the majority of this community does not hold her work in very high esteem.John Doe

    Sure, that's always been obvious. But there are many possible reasons for that other than "She's a moron and her philosophy is shit."
  • gurugeorge
    517
    Presumably the way the world "behaves" matters at all levels and in all disciplines as opposed to just being restricted to the everyday world.MindForged

    But how the ordinary world behaves is of concern to the vast majority of people in their everyday lives, and part of philosophy's job is (or Rand and I would say ought to be) to give ordinary people in their everyday lives some sense of the big picture - otherwise, in lieu of a rational big picture, they'll accept an irrational big picture, or flounder around in a state of permanent anxiety.

    At best you'll get an attempt at unifying other people's work. Which... is fine but everyone can't be doing that otherwise the entire discipline stagnates.MindForged

    I don't say every philosopher should work on big picture stuff, or that philosophers should stop specializing. Surely it's possible for philosophers to walk and chew gum. All I'm saying is that the discipline is skewed too much to specialization, has been for a hundred years or so, and that it's just an artifact of an academic system that brings with it politics, turf wars, status seeking, etc.

    There has to be specialization, but as people like Dennett demonstrate, the most interesting things often go in in interdisciplinary studies. (And that's another thing philosophers can do as part of their big picture job - help specialists co-ordinate and work together.)
  • John Doe
    157
    Sure, that's always been obvious. But there are many possible reasons for that other than "She's a moron and her philosophy is shit."gurugeorge

    Egg on my face for holding that position you randomly made up. :rofl:

    Anyway, glad we agree it's "obvious" Rand is not a philosopher in any practical sense of the word. The second-order concern -- "should this be the case?" -- is surely up to everyone to judge for herself.
  • MindForged
    428
    But how the ordinary world behaves is of concern to the vast majority of people in their everyday lives, and part of philosophy's job is (or Rand and I would say ought to be) to give ordinary people in their everyday lives some sense of the big picture - otherwise, in lieu of a rational big picture, they'll accept an irrational big picture, or flounder around in a state of permanent anxiety.gurugeorge

    Number of points here. In the first point, if that's the role of logic, well, I don't see what binary logics will be doing here. People don't inherently think everything is either true or false. They're apt to treat some things more fuzzily.

    On the second point, I'm afraid I just don't see it. Ordinary people in their ordinary lives don't care about the big picture that philosophers paint. Outside of what they get from religious activities and social networking, ontology, logic and the rest are mostly regarded as boring and unnecessary by most people. And those have been staple of philosophy for forever.

    And as it happens, even coherent big pictures can leave one anxious. Most people, even the non-anxious ones, probably have an inconsistent big picture and they get along fairly well despite it. We just don't hardly ever need to think about that wide range of things at once in ordinary life.

    All I'm saying is that the discipline is skewed too much to specialization,gurugeorge
    That's true of basically every field though. I'm not going to hit up any random physicist for, say, particle physics questions. This seems like an issue with it any real resolution. If we want to curb specializiation we will have to stop drilling down on the very debates that drive the numerous parts of philosophy. And that seems unlikely to produce novel developments in those areas. Interdisciplinary work is all well and good.
  • gurugeorge
    517
    They're apt to treat some things more fuzzily.MindForged

    Some yes, but mostly it's binary. Planes either fly or they don't, etc.

    Outside of what they get from religious activities and social networking,MindForged

    That's my point - what they get from those things isn't very good, it would be better if they got things from clever people who had actually spent a lot of time thinking about them. It's really just division of labour - somebody has to think about the big picture, otherwise there's a gaping hole in our everyday understanding of the world (which can be filled with any old haphazard rubbish). Social networking, yes, but informed social networking is better than uninformed.

    We just don't hardly ever need to think about that wide range of things at once in ordinary life.MindForged

    That's begging the question - we may not, but do we need to? Maybe we need to. Maybe a consistent, structured picture is better than an inconsistent, haphazard one. A topic for big picture philosophy! :) Also, I think you underestimate people's curiosity and interest in the world, especially when they're younger.

    I'm not going to hit up any random physicist for, say, particle physics questions.MindForged

    Why not? Who would be a better person to ask so that you, as a philosopher, could be more informed about the topic and be able to incorporate it into your big picture?
  • MindForged
    428
    Some yes, but mostly it's binary. Planes either fly or they don't, etc.gurugeorge

    But "mostly" is by definition not exclusive. So sometimes we do reason differently and don't usually see the fuss in it.

    That's my point - what they get from those things isn't very good, it would be better if they got things from clever people who had actually spent a lot of time thinking about them.

    Well we can think that but what I'm saying is they don't care and in general aren't interested in being "better" at it., they're perfectly content to stay with their folk understandings of these things And for what it's worth, like most philosophers (Rand included) they would in all likelihood simply gravitate towards whatever was closest to their prior views anyway.

    That's begging the question - we may not, but do we need to? Maybe we need to. Maybe a consistent, structured picture is better than an inconsistent, haphazard one.gurugeorge

    It's not question begging, I'm saying that to get through the vast majority (if not all) of the things we need to get done most days, these issues just aren't relevant.

    Why not? Who would be a better person to ask so that you, as a philosopher, could be more informed about the topic and be able to incorporate it into your big picture?

    You've misunderstood me (my fault). I was saying that specialization is necessary. The point there was that for, say, particle physics questions you should got to the particle physicist, not just any physicist, because the former has the best and truest grasp of the topics in that part of the discipline.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434
    I imagine that Rand would enjoy this thread very much. The criticism of her is mostly of the Ellsworth Touhey variety.... It has even been stated on this thread without any apparent shame that she wasn't 'officially' a philosopher.

    I Wonder what Nietzsche would make of being an official philosopher?

    There is nothing to dislike about Rand, she did nothing wrong.

    People generally people of the official variety like to make themselves feel important with criticism, and the criticism itself has less substance than whatever its object is supposed to. Rand was a good philosopher with a great idea. She was a writer first and was no less a philosopher than Kafka.

    If you have some criticism then back it up... Rather than the usual self serving 'criticism'

    What was she wrong about and why?
  • S
    6k
    There is nothing to dislike about Rand, she did nothing wrong.Marcus de Brun

    Sure, if you stick your head in the sand. If you genuinely believe that, then I seriously doubt whether you can be reasoned with. I wouldn't even say that about those philosophers I regard most highly, let alone Ayn Rand. There's no shortage of criticism out there from intelligent, knowledgeable people.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    My point exactly ..... You offer nothing concrete just whinning for the joy of whinning

    Something to say about Rand? Then say it?

    M
  • S
    6k
    But that's just it, you're not getting it: I don't need to say anything about Rand, specifically, to dismiss your ludicrous claim. You can swap Ayn Rand for any other name in philosophy and your claim would remain ludicrous.

    Nietzsche did nothing wrong? Ludicrous. Nothing to dislike about Plato? Ludicrous. Wittgenstein? Kierkegaard? Russell? Hume? Spinoza? Ludicrous.

    Your judgement on this matter is clearly compromised. If you want people to listen to what you have to say, you should rein it in a bit. Accept that Ayn Rand has her flaws, just like the others. It's just a question of what they are.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    Bizarre, the thread is about Rand but you'd rather have an irrelevant rant instead...???

    Rand would be heartily amused I'm sure.
  • S
    6k
    Bizarre, the thread is about Rand but you'd rather have an irrelevant rant instead...???Marcus de Brun

    Yes, how bizarre! I quoted what you yourself claimed and then I disputed it with a reasonable argument. Unheard of! I don't know what I was thinking.

    Of course, you could climb down from that high horse upon which you sit and concede the point, or, you know, actually respond to it instead of deflecting. But I suppose that that's asking too much?

    Rand would be heartily amused I'm sure.Marcus de Brun

    Heartily amused, turning in her grave, jumping up and down with joy, pulling her hair out, dancing to the birdie song, smoking crack... I don't really care, to be honest. It has no bearing on anything.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    "I quoted what you yourself claimed and then I disputed it with a reasonable argument. Unheard of! I don't know what I was thinking.

    "Nietzsche did nothing wrong? Ludicrous. Nothing to dislike about Plato? Ludicrous. Wittgenstein? Kierkegaard? Russell? Hume? Spinoza? Ludicrous"

    Are you really asserting that you are arguing whether or not 'Rand did something wrong', the reference to 'wrong doing' is little more than a figure of speech. On balance, given her enormous contribution to both literature and to Philosophy... Rand did nothing wrong (like Nietzsche et al). I have little doubt that she told a lie, farted at the dinner table or lost her temper like any human being. That occasionally she was misunderstood and occasionally deemed 'wrong'.. and in this sense... she may have done wrong. But this is a rather infantile basis to construct a philosophical criticism upon.

    As yet you offer no criticism of Rand... just a rant at me (which is fine)

    When you've chilled a bit (smoke a joint maybe.. it works for some) Do please have a go at formulating a Rand criticism that extends a little further than the average inappropriate flatlulism.

    I'm a big fan of hers and would love to be educated on her 'wrongs'.

    So please share

    M
  • John Doe
    157
    This is all posturing, there's no way to prove a negative. The critique of Rand isn't this or that position she holds but that she is ignored by most because the vast majority of people interested in philosophy fail to see any value or sophistication in her attempts at philosophy. If the majority is wrong, the onus is on Rand and her supporters to demonstrate and convincingly argue for the power of her ideas. This is the basic premise of all dialectic and philosophical discourse between people who see each other as equals.
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    The philosophical conflict between Hoard Roark's ideology and that of Keating and Ellsworth Touhey, is a profound personal and social philosophy, one that is as relevant and real today as it was when The Fountainhead was first published.

    Kafka's 'K'
    Joyces 'Bloom'
    Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.. are all as richly philosophical as Rand's Howard Roark.

    These authors may not have been "official" Philosophers. however Greek Philosophy owes much of its depth to Greek Tragedy.

    M



    M
  • S
    6k
    Ah, so then presumably you accept that there's nothing uniquely praiseworthy, special or exceptional about Ayn Rand in this regard in comparison to all of those other names within philosophy? You may as well have said that there's nothing to dislike about any of them, and none of them did wrong?

    Yeah, that paints an accurate picture.

    You know, it's not too late to simply retract your remarks as hyperbolic and ill considered, spoken like a disciple, rather than an impartial commentator. Let's be realistic, not only does she have flaws, as do the others (and no, I mean real flaws, in the relevant sense, not flatulence and the like or perceived shortcomings which are actually just misunderstandings of her writing), it is widely accepted that she doesn't even come close to the likes of Nietzsche and others.
  • MindForged
    428
    Dude this is hilarious to watch. I am truly stunned. You are a fucking saint.
  • S
    6k
    All in a days work. :grin:
  • Andrew4Handel
    604
    I find Ayn Rand's views childish and incoherent.

    She advocates selfishness as a virtue and then ignores and dismisses what most people actually desire.

    If someone really wants to pay a high rate of tax and have a national health service etc that is them asserting their own desires and fulfilling themselves.

    She dismisses this evidence and assumes with no reason that anyone that doesn't act under her definition of selfishness and desires things like social justice and redistribution of wealth has wrong motives or is brainwashed etc.

    As I said near the beginning, cooperation helps personal well being being.

    She only wants her viewpoint to triumph but that contradicts her own values because why should anyone else sacrifice their viewpoint and values for her if they are entitled to be self centered?

    So when people judge her views to be psychopathic and unworkable they can happily reject them for selfish reasons of self preservation in the presence of her dark dystopian sphere.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0n_9CaImJk
  • Marcus de Brun
    434


    "She dismisses this evidence and assumes with no reason that anyone that doesn't act under her definition of selfishness and desires things like social justice and redistribution of wealth has wrong motives or is brainwashed etc."

    What evidence have you for this egregious interpretation of Rand?

    Interesting that there has yet to be a single quote here from Rand. merely a collection of; we the angry nobodies throwing stones at someone who is unquestionably guilty of being a somebody. The process is not philosophical it is simply intellectual onanism. The bane of discourse on this forum.

    “The crowd would have forgiven anything, except a man [or woman] who could remain normal under the vibrations of its enormous collective sneer.”
    The Fountainhead.

    I see little here but sneering and in this sense the sneering is at the self rather than Rand herself.

    As yet still not one actual evidence based criticism of Rand's ideas.

    Very entertaining at least.

    M
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    I think that Rand's philosophy is largely ignored for the same reason that L. Ron Hubbard's philosophy is ignored: both wrote a bunch of novels and expressed a bunch of philosophical musings, both did so in a way that convinced a few folks that they're super geniuses with the keys to life answers, but ultimately there's nothing valuable, profound, or interesting to itJohn Doe

    [ My highlighting. ] I would agree, but what about Pirsig, a novelist and philosopher, who had some worthwhile things to say? Not everyone agrees with his approach, of course, but that's par for the course, for just about everyone, including philosophers. :wink:
  • Andrew4Handel
    604
    What evidence have you for this egregious interpretation of Rand?Marcus de Brun

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ooKsv_SX4Y&t=1087s

    Ayn Rand: The way everybody feels, except more consciously. I feel that it is terrible, that you see destruction all around you, and that you are moving toward disaster until, and unless, all those welfare state conceptions have been reversed and rejected. It is precisely these trends which are bringing the world to disaster, because we are now moving towards complete collectivism, or socialism. A system under which everybody is enslaved to everybody, and we are moving that way only because of our altruist morality.

    Mike Wallace: Ah...Yes, but you say everybody is enslaved to everybody, yet this came about democratically, Ayn. A free people in a free country voted for this kind of government, wanted this kind of legislation. Do you object to the democratic process?

    Ayn Rand: I object to the idea that the people have the right to vote on everything.
    ........
    So essentially if people volitionally do not vote how Ayn wants them to vote they should not be allowed you vote on that issue. This indicates also the only type of selfishness she endorses which does not include a welfare state.
  • Baden
    6.6k


    That's an interesting analogy. Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" introduced me as a teenager to philosophy and of all the books I've read, has probably been the most formative. So, I'm a big fan of his. But if someone were to complain he wasn't a very good philosopher, I don't know how I'd go about defending (or even want to defend) the idea he was. Considering he hasn't been recognized as such, it would be a fairly pointless uphill battle. I'd only want to say, his ideas resonated with me especially at that time in my life, and have had a lasting influence. And if he's not to the taste of the mainstream, fine. He was never a typical academic philosopher. Anyway, picking through a philosophy you're a fan of from a supposed objective point of view and trying to convince others of its merits on that basis seems a bit of a fool's errand.
  • Pattern-chaser
    375
    My main feeling when I read the original comment was that many (most?) of the philosophers I admire aren't generally accepted or known as philosophers at all. Pirsig is just one of them, although I was thinking more of Lila and MoQ than Zen..., but there we go. :smile: To me, anyone that offers anything useful about thinking, learning or understanding is a philosopher. Maybe I'm too cuddly and inclusive? :yikes: :blush:
  • Baden
    6.6k


    Read Lila too and liked it. He did present his own philosophy more comprehensively there. Preferred the story and rhythm of the original book though. But yes, I got something positive philisophically out of him and I don't feel the need to make any great claims beyond that on his behalf to those who don't consider him worthy. And I'd be suspicious of anyone wanting to do that for anyone recognized or not they admire.
  • Andrew4Handel
    604
    I find Ayn Rand makes a lot of false claims in her work or claims she does not support or that are easily questioned.

    For example in "The Virtue Ethics" she says:

    "The physical sensation of pleasure is a signal indicating that the organism is pursuing the right course of action"

    For a start this, is causally implausible it is unlikely that what is good for us and what is pleasurable would be the same thing because that would be bizarre coincidence.
    We know this isn't the case, because of cases of addiction and obesity and excess leading to ill health which are pleasure seeking activities.

    There are lots of actions that are good for us that are not pleasurable.It is rather displeasure that causes us to improve our condition pleasure can lead to complacency and sloth or obesity. Painful physical exertion or surgeries can lead to improved health.

    People who don't experience any pain are in more physical danger than people who don't experience pleasure as is recorded in cases of people with congenital pain defect. So it is pain avoidance rather than pleasure seeking that aids survival and flourishing.

    "CIP is an extremely dangerous condition.[1] It is common for people with the condition to die in childhood due to injuries or illnesses going unnoticed"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_insensitivity_to_pain

    Then there are Depressive Realism findings where depressed people on average make more realistic judgements than happy people.
  • gurugeorge
    517
    they're perfectly content to stay with their folk understandings of these thingsMindForged

    We just disagree on this. My experience of people is that they are generally very interested in philosophical topics and engage with them with enthusiasm - if they're presented to them.

    The point there was that for, say, particle physics questions you should got to the particle physicist, not just any physicist, because the former has the best and truest grasp of the topics in that part of the discipline.MindForged

    As I said, I'm not arguing against specialization, but for more of a balance of specialization and general thinking among philosophers.
  • John Doe
    157
    I'd only want to say, his ideas resonated with me especially at that time in my life, and have had a lasting influence.Baden

    That's great! If I had a nephew who was an undergraduate and he came to me and said that he wanted to explore philosophy because of Pirsig I would think that's fantastic. If, later in life, he told me that he had aspired to become a philosopher because of Pirsig's influence - an influence which marked his whole way of looking at the world - also great. Or if he told me that he eschewed worrying too much about philosophy because he felt like he had got all that he needed from Pirsig - that reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle liberated him to live the life he wanted - also, I think, perfectly reasonable.

    I would be pretty concerned, however, if he were suddenly in charge of the Fed and felt inspired to make decisions about monetary policy based on his exclusive dedication to Pirsig's philosophy.

    For the same reason, if he told me that he wanted to get a PhD in philosophy writing a dissertation on Pirsig, I would almost certainly advise that this would be a really bad idea. The problems are: (a) dedicating three years of your life exclusively to studying Pirsig likely doesn't offer enough, on his own, to merit significant rewards; (b) society -- both at large and within the micro-society of academia -- won't recognize the topic as contributing much to the conversation of mankind.

    It's worth noting the difference here with other non-philosophers like Tolstoy or Gandhi. Someone might reasonably earn a PhD in political philosophy from a great university with a dissertation that focused on, for example, Gandhi's views on nonviolence or Tolstoy's asceticism. And it would not be nearly as troubling for the Speaker of the House to live a life dedicated to the philosophy of Gandhi or Tolstoy.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.