Building a Foundation for Resurrecting America Part II

Philosophy CursiveSo we started down the philosophy trail last night with an introduction to why philosophy is important. I have to be honest and say that I was a bit surprised by some of the reaction to the comments once I was able to jump in and take a look at what people were saying. Some folks took umbrage with the thoughts from Ayn Rand. I hadn’t realized that her thoughts alone would stir a bit of controversy. There were not a lot of comments overall, which was not surprising to JAC, BF, or Myself. We anticipated the first article would be that way. There really wasn’t a lot to discuss there. It really was about presenting a case for why it is important to understand and embrace philosophy.
 

What encouraged me the most was that there were several people who were ready and willing to go down the path towards self enlightenment and follow the series throughout. And that, to me, is what makes the group of people on this site different. We are all opinionated and, despite what those on the left say, there are many things that we don’t agree on. But we are all here in the spirit of making this country a better one. And if that means that we need to look inside first, the folks seem to be cool with that. We have to make sure that we are straight with our principles before we go trying to determine the right path forward. I certainly hope that we will gain the participation of everyone reading the site over the next week or two. This discussion is not about left or right, democrat or republican. It is about consistency and principles for everyone. 

A couple of things before we continue. First I want to tell you how this is working early on. The main title above will always stay the same except for the progressive numbering. The entire series is Building a Better Foundation. However, within the series there are a few sub-series. Last night was a stand alone section. However tonight is the first of a two part subsection. So you will see that the subsection numbers may not match with the main article numbering. I don’t know why I felt that I needed to explain that to readers as smart as mine. The current release schedule for the first three articles in the series looks like this:

Sunday pm/Monday am: Building a better Foundation Part I – Philosophy, Who Needs It? (Last night)
Monday pm/Tuesday am: Building a better Foundation Part II – Philosophical Detection Part 1
Wednesday pm/Thursday am: Building a better Foundation Part III – Philosophical Detection Part 2

There are several other articles in the series after these first three. Approximately 3 or 4 more. We are going to keep the timing of those fluid to see how the discussion goes. 

You will notice that we skip Tuesday night in presenting the first three parts of the series. I will wait until I see tomorrow’s discussion of this section before I determine how tomorrow night will be handled. If I feel like there is a lot of discussion happening around this article, I will not dilute the discussion with another random topic tomorrow night. If not, I will fill the open night with an article. I have plenty of ideas for what I could write about. I will only skip writing tomorrow night if we feel that it would get in the way of the discussion around the first three pieces of this puzzle.

A final note to everyone involved. I appreciate the amount of courage it takes to comment on topics like this one, especially when you are writing about you. I promise to protect everyone from personal attacks on this site and have hopefully done so well enough so far to gain your trust in that area. To that end, please participate. If you have a question, ask it. No one is going to make fun of you or think less of you. It is important that everyone gets this. A lot of time and thought have gone into this series, especially on JAC’s part, so let’s make sure that it was not in vain. Let’s really commit to discussing and learning this stuff over the course of the series. Let’s commit to hashing out different trains of thought and areas of confusion.

But one request from me: Don’t take anything personal. Myself, JAC, and BF are going to challenge people in these discussions. We are going to question your thought processes and make vague statements to try to get all the light bulbs coming on without just giving answers. But hopefully you have read enough from us to know we are not doing so flippantly or maliciously. We really are trying to help or clarify or discuss. With that said, I am excited to offer up the next article in the series, again written by Just A Citizen:

PHILOSOPHICAL DETECTION (Part 1) by Just A Citizen

The last article was the first step in building a philosophical foundation for resurrecting our nation from the growing ash heap of modern history. Hopefully, most of you now have at least some idea of why I think philosophy is so important to this effort. The next step is to learn how to study philosophy, at least in a very basic way. After all, you can’t find the treasure without some basic skills in map reading, compass use and deductive reasoning.

For this next step I have again leaned heavily upon Ayn Rand. The title “Philosophical Detection”, and her quotes in this and the next part, are borrowed from a two part series she wrote in 1974 for the Ayn Rand Letter. I felt the title was appropriate to the lesson at hand because it is not just philosophy itself we must study. We must also learn how to detect when a particular philosophy is at work, especially a bad one. I will also present the information in two parts. Once we have covered both parts you will be able to join me as an amateur philosopher, in good standing. As my Pappy used to say, you’ll know just enough to be dangerous.

In this article (part one) we will explore the need to find fundamental principles and the basic art of reduction, which is used to find them. We will look at some examples of how Ms. Rand uses this skill to identify the underlying philosophy in several popular catch phrases. But before we start lets review some definitions used in the discussion of philosophy. Words have meaning and unless we understand and accept those definitions we are unable to communicate in a rational manner. Of course that is the goal of some philosophers.

DEFINITIONS

Metaphysics: That branch of philosophy that deals with first principles and seeks to explain the nature of being or reality and of the origin and structure of the universe. In short: Seeking the truth of the universe and the primary principles consistent with that truth.

Epistemology: That branch of philosophy that deals with the study or theory of the nature, sources and limits of knowledge, or the nature of knowledge.

Reason: The ability to think, form judgments, draw conclusions, etc… To think coherently and logically; draw inferences or conclusion from facts known or assumed.

Logic: The art or skill of non-contradictory identification, or the science of correct reasoning, science which describes relationships among propositions in terms of implication, contradiction, contrariety, conversions, etc…

Rational: Example; a rational opinion is one based on or derived from reasoning. Rational argument is one showing reasons, not silly or foolish, in other words sensible.

Ethics: That branch of philosophy dealing with the study of standards of conduct and moral judgment, moral philosophy. A system of moral standards.

Ethical: Conforming to the moral standards or standards of conduct of a given group.

Moral: Relating to, dealing with, or capable of making the distinction between right and wrong.

Politics: That branch of philosophy that deals with the study or theory of the art and science of government. It defines the principles of a proper social system and the government that supports it.

Esthetics: That branch of philosophy that deals with the study of art and its impact on human consciousness.


DETECTIVE TRAINING 101

Ayn Rand suggested that the best way to study philosophy was to approach it like a detective story. This is not only good advice but it can make the job more fun. Your goal is to detect the truth or falsehood of an abstract system in order to determine if you are dealing with a great idea or “an intellectual crime”.

The ability to judge any philosophical system requires that you first and above all else look at its fundamentals. Remember my statements that we need to keep checking our assumptions and look for the root or one principle or fact that is no longer dependent on another. I call this reduction and it is the process of separating the fundamental of any concept from its derivatives.

If a concept is derived from other concepts it is a derivative. If it can not be reduced further, if there are no other derivatives supporting it, then it is a primary or fundamental. As a well trained detective, there are two key questions you must ask of any apparent conclusion or tenet: These are why and how? If a tenet seems true then ask why and then how is it being presented or “put over”? As Ms. Rand stated this will help you “acquire an invaluable characteristic: the ability to think in terms of essentials.” For example:

“The layman’s error, in regard to philosophy, is the tendency to accept consequences while ignoring their causes – to take the end result of a long sequence of thought as the given and to regard it as “self-evident” or as an irreducible primary, while negating its preconditions. Examples can be seen all around us, particularly in politics. There are liberals who want to preserve individual freedom while denying its source: individual rights. There are religious conservatives who claim to advocate capitalism while attacking its root: reason. There are sundry “libertarians” who plagiarize the Objectivist theory of politics, while rejecting the metaphysics, epistemology and ethics on which it rests. That attitude, of course, is not confined to philosophy: its simplest example is the people who scream that they need more gas and that the oil industry should be taxed out of existence.”

As you know Black Flag and I often question the fundamental position behind a statement, especially each others. Contradictions are the biggest clue to problems with either the fundamental or the derivative concept. Per Ms. Rand, “If the foundation does not hold, neither will anything else”.

“As a philosophical detective, you must remember that nothing is self-evident except the material of sensory perception – and that an irreducible primary is a fact which cannot be analyzed (i.e., broken into components) or derived from antecedent facts. You must examine your own convictions and any idea or theory you study, by asking: Is this an irreducible primary – and, if not, what does it depend on? You must ask the same question about any answer you obtain, until you do come to an irreducible primary: if a given idea contradicts a primary, the idea is false. This process will lead you to the field of metaphysics and epistemology – and you will discover in what way every aspect of man’s knowledge depends on that field and stands or falls with it.”

Now let’s shift gears a bit and look at the fundamentals or essentials of two distinct philosophies. I want you to note that the key word in Ms. Rand’s statement is “fact”. She requires the irreducible primary to be a “fact” that can not be derived from “antecedent facts”. This reliance on factual information comes from her metaphysics, which she summarized as “objective reality”. A fact is of course something that most of us know to be “true”, in other words it conforms to “reality”. And of course the faculty that allows us to determine what is reality is called “reason”.

At this point most who participate on this site might be thinking “well duh”! What you may not know is that the dominant philosophy supporting our culture and socio/political/economic system today does not put such weight on “facts” and “reason” as we think we understand them. It is based on the concept that knowledge pre-exists in our minds and is not based on the synthesis of our senses and cognitive abilities.

Now think back to arguments you’ve had where you thought the other person didn’t make any sense yet they were claiming to use reason and logic. You see they are operating with a set of definitions provided by their mentor Kant. If you have doubt then lets have the man speak for himself (from The Critique of Pure Reason):

“Experience is by no means the only field to which our understanding can be confined. Experience tells us what is, but not that it must be necessarily what it is and not otherwise. It therefore never gives us any really general truths; and our reason, which is particularly anxious for that class of knowledge, is roused by it rather than satisfied. General truths, which at the same time bear the character of an inward necessity, must be independent of experience, – clear and certain in themselves.”

So you see, according to Kant, reason is not only overrated but isn’t required. But he then assigns the same name (reason) to the very system that despises its use. So in the future when you see me accuse someone of “word games” or “black magic” you will know what I mean, and why I find it evil. It is a condemnation of Immanuel Kant, his predecessor Plato, and all their spawn.

As an aside, author Will Durant notes, in his book The Story of Philosophy, that in his “Critique” “Kant flings down a challenge to Locke and the English school: “knowledge is not all derived from the senses”. You will see in later articles how Kant’s philosophy and its later derivatives have worked to undermine the principles on which the Founders stood when inventing our Republican form of government. But now for the opposing view, let’s jump back to Rand.

If an intelligent and honest layman were to translate his implicit, common-sense rationality (which he takes for granted) into explicit philosophical premises., he would hold that the world he perceives is real (existence exists), that the things are what they are (the Law of Identity), that reason is the only means of gaining knowledge and logic is the method of using reason.

Note that Ms. Rand has used the “intelligent and honest laymen” here to put forth her metaphysics and epistemology, namely objective reality and reason.

Now for those examples I promised. Again I defer to Ms. Rand, who uses some popular catch phrases to show how to use reduction to identify the fundamental philosophical principles behind a concept.

“Assuming this base, let me give you an example of what a philosophical detective would do with some of the catch phrases I cited in my preceding Letters.”

“It may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” What is the meaning of the concept “truth”? Truth is the recognition of reality. (This is known as the correspondence theory of truth.) The same thing cannot be true and untrue at the same time and in the same respect. That catch phrase, therefore, means: a. that the Law of Identity is invalid; b. that there is not objectively perceivable reality, only some indeterminate flux which is nothing in particular, i.e., that there is no reality (in which case, there can be no such thing as truth); or c. that the two debaters perceive two different universes (in which case, no debate is possible). (The purpose of the catch phrase is the destruction of objectivity).” JAC-So let me ask, does option c look familiar to anyone? Let’s continue.

“This may be good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.” What is a theory? It is a set of abstract principles purporting to be either a correct description of reality or a set of guidelines for man’s actions. Correspondence to reality is the standard of value by which one estimates a theory. If a theory is inapplicable to reality, by what standard can it be estimated as “good”? If one were to accept that notion, it would mean: a. that the activity of man’s mind is unrelated to reality; b. that the purpose of thinking is neither to acquire knowledge nor to guide man’s actions. (The purpose of that catch phrase is to invalidate man’s conceptual faculty.)

“It’s logical, but logic has nothing to do with reality.” Logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification. Logic has a single law, the Law of Identity, and its various corollaries. If logic has nothing to do with reality, it means that the Law of Identity is inapplicable to reality. If so, then: a. things are not what they are; b. things can be and not be at the same time, in the same respect, i.e., reality is made up of contradictions. If so, by what means did anyone discover it? By illogical means. (This last is for sure.) The purpose of that notion is crudely obvious. Its actual meaning is not: “Logic has nothing to do with reality,” but: “I, the speaker, have nothing to do with logic (or with reality).” When people use that catch phrase, they mean either: “It’s logical, but I don’t choose to be logical” or: “It’s logical, but people are not logical, they don’t think – and I intend to pander to their irrationality.”

Now let’s look at one of my favorites. It will show you why we need to be able to detect the real philosophical principle behind a phrase, not just what we are conditioned to accept as the meaning.

“It may have been true yesterday, but it’s not true today”. We can all identify simple examples that make this a true statement (i.e., men fought duals yesterday but not today.). But, now let’s see Ms. Rand’s explanation of what happens when we blindly accept what appears to be an otherwise innocent statement.

“The proponents of that catch phrase are seldom innocent, and the examples they give are usually of the above kind. So their victims – who have never discovered the difference between the metaphysical and the man-made – find themselves, in helpless bewilderment, unable to refute such conclusions as: “Freedom was a value yesterday, but not today” or; “Work was a human necessity yesterday, but not today” or: “Reason was valid yesterday, but not today.”

Let me add another example: “The Constitution may have worked yesterday but it doesn’t apply today”. Got your attention now don’t I? Remember hearing that somewhere before? Now you know what claims to support it as well as how to refute it.

Or how about this contemporary and recent example of the same principle: “I live in the present not in the past.” Are you starting to get the idea?

Note how Ms. Rand analyzes these phrases by attaching clear, specific meaning to the words. This is a requirement of critical judgment and thinking of any kind. As she said:

“All philosophical con games count on your using words as vague approximations. You must not take a catch phrase – or any abstract statement – as if it were approximate. Take it literally. Don’t translate it, don’t glamorize it, don’t make the mistake of thinking, as many people do: “Oh, nobody could possibly mean this!” and then proceed to endow it with some whitewashed meaning of your own. Take it straight, for what it does say and mean.”

In closing and until Part 2 of our “detective training”, I want to leave you with this thought. When ever you are evaluating a catch phrase, statement or concept, don’t just take it literally but also ask yourself what would happen to your life if you accepted it as true. You see abstract thinking is in fact a very personal affair. Reality is not your enemy; truth and knowledge are of “crucial, personal, selfish importance to you and your own life”.

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Comments

  1. By all means feel free to correct me if I am wrong (I have a very tertiary background in philosophy), but largely are you advocating the use of Occam’s razor? I do not know if Ayn Rand ever addressed Occam specifically, but it appears that she, in effort at irreducibility, might be aiming at the simplicity that Occam proposed. If so ( and maybe I am jumping the gun in this series) where do we stand on the issue of nominalism versus realism? I have often been most persuaded by the conceptualist stand that universals exist in the mind but may not have any external reality.

    Isn’t it problematic that our senses appear to be fallible? Perhaps this is a bad example but my definition of “red” differs dramatically from that of my father as he is red/green color blind. I admit I struggle to fully comprehend Kant, but wasn’t he trying to transcend this seemingly difficult contradiction?

    • Lemminkaenen says:

      I do not believe that Ockham’s Razor is necessarily the tool which Rand was moving towards. Rand’s philosophy seems to be dedicated more towards seeking the underlying connections within a language system. She seeks to cut through what people are saying to find the basic elements about what a person means. Ockham’s Razor, at least to my knowledge, deals more closely with the process of seeking truth most specifically in science (he was something of a quantum thinker). The process of coming to truth is one of testing each postulate of a theory in order to eliminate those postulates which are unnecessary or incorrect. Essentially I have been trying to draw a distinction between Rand, who attempts to evaluate the possible reasons for why something is said or done, and Ockham, who attempted to approach objective truth through constant elimination of erroneous or extraneous ideas.

      Also, I do not believe that Kant was attempting to correct for the incapability of the senses. You do have a point in the fact that people perceive the world differently through their senses. People without eyes have a different outlook on the world and on life in general, just as an example. Kant was advocating, and I on a certain level agree with him, that experience may not be the only way to know things about the world. Some items can be known a priori, and their must be some mechanism to explain for that. For instance, children know that it is dangerous to fall a long distance without being told and without falling that distance. Some people will have inexplicable feelings about a person or about faith or whatever without knowing why and not having any experience off of which to base those reactions. Sometimes people who for all intents and purposes are rational act irrationally. Kant hoped to reconcile these coexistent behaviors by proposing that certain knowledge can be known without experiencing related events.

      • Lem:

        Welcome. It looks like we have had a Journeyman Philosopher watching us for awhile.

        The examples of Rand searching for meaning in this article do deal with the hidden messages of others. That is not her overall purpose or methodology. She was trying to show why one needs to look and how to go about it. The “Detection” letters were written immediately after and as followup to her speech to West Point. She was in basic teaching mode, if you will.

        Now for your comment: “Essentially I have been trying to draw a distinction between Rand, who attempts to evaluate the possible reasons for why something is said or done, and Ockham, who attempted to approach objective truth through constant elimination of erroneous or extraneous ideas.” There is no distinction. The method you describe is exactly what Ms. Rand does in all the works I have read. The reduction of concepts, one step and a time, proving or disproving their truth. Once she finds the underlying concept she then rebuilds to validate once again the subsequent or derivative concepts, to make sure they are still true. As I said above, her examples in this articel were for a specific purpose of introducing investigative methods to we amateurs.

        By the way, I think you captured Kant quite well. Welcome to the discussion and I hope you will add much as we go along.

        JAC

    • DdK:

      I grabbed this from Wiki just so others here would know what your discussing.

      “Occam’s razor, also Ockham’s razor,[1] is a principle apocryphally attributed to 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar, William of Ockham. The principle states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the explanatory hypothesis or theory. The principle is often expressed in Latin as the lex parsimoniae (“law of parsimony”, “law of economy”, or “law of succinctness”): entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem, roughly translated as “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.” An alternative version Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate translates “plurality should not be posited without necessity.”[2]

      When multiple competing hypotheses are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selecting the hypothesis that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities. It is in this sense that Occam’s razor is usually understood.

      To straightforwardly summarize the principle as it is most commonly understood, “The simplest explanation for a phenomenon is most likely the correct explanation.”

      Originally a tenet of the reductionist philosophy of nominalism, it is more often taken today as a heuristic maxim (rule of thumb) that advises economy, parsimony, or simplicity, often or especially in scientific theories. Here the same caveat applies to confounding topicality with mere simplicity. (A superficially simple phenomenon may have a complex mechanism behind it. A simple explanation would be simplistic if it failed to capture all the essential and relevant parts.)”

      I will comment on one of the statements included here: ““The simplest explanation for a phenomenon is most likely the correct explanation.” This is actually in contradiction to the premise of Occam’s Razor. Concluding that an “hypothesis” with fewer “assumptions” is probably better is not the same as concluding that the “simplest” explanation is “the correct explanation”. And with that little difference someone has changed the meaning and thus the use of the term in arguments. Creating confusion.

    • DdK:

      Comments on your post. First, I am guessing you have a better handle on philosophy than I do. As I said above, I am a member of the “amateur” club.

      “but largely are you advocating the use of Occam’s razor?” NO! Reducing a problem one step at a time to get to the root is not the same as reducing the number of “assumptions”. I think the concept of Occam’s Razor is overused and often misstated. See my comment above on the Wiki definition.

      Ayn Rand never addressed Occam specifically, that I am aware of. She is a proponent of the art of reduction along the lines of Aristotle, whom she embraced as the god father of the reasoning that created the United States of America. She rejected Plato.

      I do think she made a special effort to simplify her conclusions because she was aware that her growing audience were not the intellectuals of the day, but the potential future. I have always appreciated her simple statements at the end. As with her novels, sometimes the trip getting there was very hard.

      “If so ( and maybe I am jumping the gun in this series) where do we stand on the issue of nominalism versus realism?” WE do not have a stand. This series is to give everyone some basic skills and push them to think in ways that they may reach a conclusion. Ms. Rand was a realist in the school of Aristotle, as I mentioned. I am a realist.

      “I have often been most persuaded by the conceptualist stand that universals exist in the mind but may not have any external reality.” While we are not supposed to tell others what to conclude I will say that by the time we get to the end, I hope you have changed your position on this one thing. I will present evidence of how this leads to all kinds of bad things. But don’t take my word for it. I could be wrong.

      Isn’t it problematic that our senses appear to be fallible? I don’t think so. Color blindness as with all other malfunctions of our senses doesn’t change reality. It changes our perception. But those with such conditions use other sensory and cognitive abilities to compensate. They can tell you that that particular shade of gray is Red. They know it is red beause they have been told what the color is. How did others know it? From observations, synthesis, forming concepts and using reason. All of which lead to our unique human characteristic of “categorization”. Then we assign language to convey it to others.

      If the color red was only a perception in my mind, then why can an artist draw a picture of a red object that accurately displays the same form and color that I see?

      “I admit I struggle to fully comprehend Kant, but wasn’t he trying to transcend this seemingly difficult contradiction?” I think Lem addressed this pretty well, as to Kant’s conclusion.

      I hope this is useful
      And Best Wishes today
      JAC

      • Black Flag says:

        Perception:

        This is a great example of what JAC is talking about.

        We all “see” color differently – that is ‘red’ to you is perceived differently than to me.

        This explains why I may dislike this color, but you like that color.

        The hypothesis is that we both like the same “color” in our mind – that is, the color called “I like this color” color. We both hate the same “I don’t like this color” color.

        But our eyes “see” color differently. So where what appears to me as “purple” is really the “I don’t like” color in my brain, and maybe what you see as “red” is the “I don’t like” color in your brain. Our brains see the same “I don’t like this color” color, but our eyes are interpreting the frequency different for each of our brains.

        So what do we do, if we each perceive our universe differently? How can we both claim we see red?

        …..

        We shift away from merely perception and move into reality.

        We measure the frequency and we agree that any frequency of light between ~ 700–630 nm we will call “red” and any light between ~ 490–450 nm we will call “blue”.

        Now, our world is immune to our mere perception.

  2. Birdman says:

    Another good article. I do not understand all that I read. I’ll probably have to read it a 2nd time.

    I found your last quote of Ayn Rand very interesting where she talked about philosophical con games. Ayn wanted us to, “Take it straight, for what it does say and mean.” This will require further research on your part but in one of your future articles could you list some of Obama’s statements (or any current politician). I think many pundits try to translate what a politician states. We, your readers, would have to take the statement straight for what it does say and mean, and a series of such political statements may paint a picture.

    • Birdman, When Obama told Joe about redistribution of wealth when answering his question about taxes small business would qualify. I just have to find the quote as it was said.

      G!

    • Birdman:

      I am sure we will start seeing many examples. But we have to be careful and not misinterpret Rand herself. When she says take the words at their meaning she is discussing the skill of breaking down statements and phrases to find their underlying philosophical meaning or effect on our lives. She is not saying to assume the statement to be true. So I would add to take the words literally but then check their meaning against reality. Otherwise we become victims of propoganda.

      Just for fun thought how about Patriot Act or Economic Recovery Act or Fairness Doctrine. Virtually every act of congress has a name attached that has a different meaning than the results of the act itself. Or remember my discussion of how “preservationists” became “environmentalists” which became “conservationists”. What we find is the true meaning of word, as represented by actions, doesn’t match reality.

      And when we get there Bird M, in all fairness I see no reason to just list Mr. Obama’s rhetoric. We will start finding examples everywhere.

      Best Wishes
      JAC

      • Birdman says:

        I understand your point in breaking down statements and arguments to understand their philosophical meaning or effect on our lives. It’s not easy for me to do that yet but I’ll get there.

        As you know, I just read Atlas Shrugged and I see our current politics as a mixture of Atlas Shrugged and 1984. The Freedom of Choice Act is the opposite of what it really is (double speak). The Fairness Doctrine is the same. That’s right out of 1984.

        • I’ll spare you the list but eventually the trail goes all the way back much farther than when 1984 was published. The new communist country of Russia was a master. Rand escaped there as a young girl. Orwell was quite familiar with it.

      • I think a perfect example of this is what Fox said Obama was doing just the other day. His Advisors and him are going over phrases and words that they have been using to see how that they can change them to make them more palatable to the public. He is doing this in response to some of his plans that are not very popular.

        He is going to change, Not the plan, but the name of the plan, or just it differently so that it sounds different.

        The bad part of this is that most of the public will swallow it whole.

        And BTW, Good mornin’ Ya’ll!

        • Karl

          What you are seeing is propoganda at work. Discovering their true intent, or plan, is not the same as finding the corrupt philosophy that allows it to happen.

          What is their view of the world (methaphysics) and how we use our mind (epistemology) that allows them to act in this way?

          Or as an alternative, just explain what the true meaning is of the term “we need to spread the wealth around”. Try to describe the ethics involved and then work backward.

          Please, take a stab at it! I’m going to be gone for a few hours but will return and help you along, and anyone else that wants, if you like.

          Good Hunting
          JAC

          • JayDickB says:

            Is it possible that, with the Obama folks, they have no metaphysics or epistemology, they just want to gain and expand their power? Or, does the lust for power qualify?

            • That is a very appropriate question. Rather than tell you to ask how and why again let me offer my opinion as a starting point. They have them, whether they accepted them by hard study or absorbed them by default i.e., NOT THINKING.

              They may not be aware of what they are but they support an ethic that allows them to use the coersive force of government to accomplish what they perceive as appropriate social goals.

              I would say that an ethic that allows word twisting for power is supported by an epistemology of whim not reason and a metaphysics based on pragmatism or mysticism, but certainly not reality.

              To support this claim we have to think about the characteristics of humans that are part of their nature. This is the meaning of man qua man. Man is man, man is everything that man entails.

              Keep going. Your doing great.
              JAC

          • OK, I’m biting….

            “we need to spread the wealth around” means to take from those that have (in particular money) and give to those that don’t have (as much)

            Ethics: those that are wealthy did not gain it without help, ie, they had customers (perhaps from this poorer group?); they might have used tax breaks/incentives (“gifts” from the govt); they might have merely inherited it (and thus previous generations attained it in ways mentioned above).

            Working backwards: If we are all to be treated equally, then we should all have a piece of this wealth pie.

            • Black Flag says:

              Needing “help”….

              Does my helping Sam give you the right to take Sam’s money?

            • BF, are you talking to me?

              No, I don’t believe I have the right to take Sam’s money.

              Since Obama was the one to make this statement, I was trying to view it from how he might think it ethical.

              • Black Flag says:

                From Obama’s POV?

                There is a belief that violence is needed to enforce social justice.

                For example, one dominate belief in South America is that anyone who has money must have stolen it.

                This belief comes from a strong historical perspective as the Spanish raped and pillaged the region for – literally – centuries. The lesson taught: to get rich, you need to pillage and steal.

                It has been well learned.

                So, we see the consequences of such teaching.

                The “banana republics” with one group or another stealing from others, over and over again, under the disguise of ‘social justice’.

                Those who have money (even if the earn it) become ruthless upon the poor – they only see a group that wants to steal.

                The poor, seeing such ruthlessness, only confirms their belief.

                Add politics, stir, and stand back …

                …and watch an entire continent – indigenously the wealthiest continent on Earth – rip itself to shreds.

                As JAC said, without a revelation to re-examine age old belief systems – based on a articulate moral standard, all that happens is a perpetual repeat of the same sadness.

            • Kathy

              While they want you to believe is that it is an ethic of equality or justice. But how can you have this if one group is treated differently than the other?

              Obviously you can’t. So the real ethic is “I have the right to take from you as I see fit to provide justice to others as I determine appropriate.”

              It is an ethic of “Coersion upon the innocent”.

              Now it is your turn again. Does equality in treatment create equality of economomic and social results, or does it create inequality?

              Keep Biting, there is nothing that will hurt
              Promise
              JAC

            • USWeapon says:

              Kathy,

              That is good, and a recognition of what a statement may mean. However, take that statement a little further. Take away the literary sematics and understand the mentality behind the statement. Spreading the wealth is more than income distribution, it is an evening out of economic outcomes for everyone acros the board. The is a more accurate statement about the Obama belief system. Income redistribution is just a small part of that big puzzle of “spreading the wealth”

              Now, knowing that, read his statement again and what does it tell you about his philosophy and how does that underlying philosophy impact his agenda and proposed solutions?

            • OK, so you guys have a sucker here….

              First JAC:
              “Does equality in treatment create equality of economomic and social results, or does it create inequality?”

              I am going to say equality in treatment does NOT create equality of economic and social results because that will depend upon the individual. Why does one sibling become very successful and the next one a bum when they were raised equal? Each person’s own view, drive, goals came into play.

              Now USW: I believe Obama wants to redistribute more than just money; through a nationalized health care plan we will all have equal health care; through his plans to pay for education from birth-college we will all be equally educated; through his mortgage help programs he wants equal home ownership.

              What I struggle with is his philosophy – why in the world would you want a “classless” society?

              I’m not running away, just need to head out to my son’s baseball game. First pitch is in five minutes…..will be back later!

              • We’ll explore some reasons later but for now my biggest hope is that you and other here recognize that these behaviors reflect their ETHICS and their programs or polices represent their Political philosophy which is based on their Ethics.

                Remember, ethics stand upon the other two Metaphsysics and Epistemology or
                Is the Universe Real or imagined
                and
                Do we acquire knowledge with reason or does it somehow magically appear in our head.

              • JAC, see my comments on The Obamatons ethics at #8.

        • Jim McElfish says:

          So, what you are saying is that in this case, Obama said the first what he meant to say. When he found out that wasn’t a popular thing to say, then he put a spin on it to make it sound better. In this case, it doesn’t matter to him that you have worked your butt off getting what you have, your neighbor deserves the same and you have to give some to him so that he can enjoy the same things you do without having to sweat in order to get it. If you give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day. Tomorrow he will be back for another fish.

          • USWeapon says:

            Jim,

            See my reply to Kathy above. There is far more to that statement when you analyze it than initially seems. This does go off the topic a bit but understanding the philosophy behind his statement is the first step in analyzing that underlying principle he espouses and determining whether it is valid or flawed.

          • Jim; see my last comment to Kathy regarding the “ethic” involved.

    • Alan F. says:

      Problem with that is your “politician” is himself/herself the product of his/her experiences of which his/her answers to any questions from what to do about war X to best restaurant in town is colored by. I’ve always laughed at assumption based upon “the simplest answer” when regarding the actions or possible actions of a real live human being.

  3. “Reality” is different for every individual. Your “reality” is much different from my own. Like fingerprints, no two “realities” are, or can be the same. Your reality is based on what you know, what you perceive with your five senses, what colors you see with your eyes, what colors you don’t see with your eyes, what sound waves you can or cannot hear, etc.

    For example, my wife has much better hearing that I. She hears a mouse in the wall, but I don’t. In her “reality” that mouse exists in the wall. In mine, does it? I can’t hear it or see it. I can’t touch it or feel it. So does it exist to me? If yes, that means that I am basing my conclusion on my wife’s statement that the mouse exists and is in the wall. So, IMO the mouse doesn’t exist until I perceive it in my own reality.

    My point is that we all try to figure each other out. We try to interpret what each other says. We try to “read between the lines” when our political leaders make statements and figure out “just what makes them tick”.

    The problem here is that we cannot ever perceive what is “real” to someone else including politicians and Barak Hussein Obama. Until Mr. Obama has worked on a cattle ranch, has watched a Wyoming sunset, has breathed the mountain air, he will never get a taste of my reality. To him, and to others, my reality doesn’t even exist.

    That is why BF is ultimately correct. The moment you set one person above you in an authorative position, you have traded freedom for tyranny no matter how good you think the system is.

    • Roper:

      Others may not share our experiences and thus they have not formed the same views or opinions. Those fall in the world of ethics, politics and esthetics. They do not change REALITY. The real world is not dependent on my being there to see it or my ability to hear it. We must not confuse reality with these other fields. If we do it creates a relative world that allows all kinds of evil to seep in.

      As for the experiences I would like to offer this to our audience, because I know you and I share this. Those of us who grew up in the wild open spaces of the west have an inherent sense of what freedom is that those who were raised in the cities or urban areas do not have. That is a mental concept developed from living free and knowing that your survival on any given day is completely dependent on your knowledge, skills and abilities. We are more attuned to it and more quickly recognize attacks on it.

      Now my caveaut: After being on this site for the past few months it appears the same feelings about liberty occur in most who are raised in the “country” or who had life experiences that are similar in nature. It is not unique to westerners. But it is very deep and very strong in those of us who are.

      So does this mean freedom does not exist to the city folk? No. It simply means that their concept may be more abstract where as mine in more concrete and deeply internalized. I feel like a caged animal in the city. That is a feeling based on senses and it does not change the reality that my open spaces exist at home or the city exists where I am standing.

      Haven’t heard from you in a while. I hope all is well.
      JAC

      • I agree that folks out west or folks in the country feel freedom more than those in Urban areas JAC.

        I believe the reasons for this are many. For one, in the open spaces, you are more dependent on yourself. You don’t HAVE a neighbor right next door to help if you have a problem.

        Another would be the close proximity to conveniences. For some in the city or suburbs, stores or other places are just down the street or down the block. For us, these things are not “conveniences” at all. Personally, a trip to the store for me is at least an hour long round trip just to go to a Gas Station.

        Finally, and for me most important, we (Me and You) can look up and see the night sky full of stars and constellations. They can’t. To me, not being able to see the stars gives the same feeling that you said you get in the city. A “trapped animal” feeling.

        Maybe reasons such as this JAC are why we feel freedom more acutely than cityslickers. (LOL)

        What do you think? 😉

        • Esom:

          I think that and some others. I hate to get my own article off track but this will all come back in a few days. So I will share one other notion that I developed from my trip back east last year.

          People who live in big cities are dependent on govt for maintaining order in their lives.

          This dependency has existed in the east much longer than the west. Remember we out here are less than 200 years old, you all got us beat by 300 years or so.

          Cogitate on that for a few days and remind me when we get to politics and solutions.

          JAC

          • Black Flag says:

            Yes, that reminds me of the Serbian Parable (I’ve posted before) about the woman crying at her son’s grave.

            “So, why not live in the city where the walls can protect you from the wild beasts?”

            “Because, here, we are free.”

          • That dependency has existed much longer in the East EXCEPT for places such as Appalachia and other Mountain communities like where I live.

            We hillbillies have a long history of independence ever since my ancestors came to kick the Brit’s asses at King’s Mtn. and Cowpens. The “Overmountain Men”, as they were called, when threatened by the British, destroyed them for trying to take their freedom.

            Since then we hillbillies have maintained our independence from Government interference, first by being simple but proud hillfolk, and then later because we made ‘shine and didn’t want the Government around. Then it was MaryJane.

            The west has ALWAYS had that sense of independence since the days of the wild west when there was no Government to interfere there. Ya’ll raised such folk as The Mountain Men and the Cowboys, who were independent to say the least.

            • Esom,

              I recently had to spend a week in California. Woohoo!!! Don’t think I will return. Met some nice people, but they have a different philosophy. Around LA, the call themselves the “Inner Empire”.
              A guy & his wife talked to me a bit, their economy is poor, shocked that mine was doing fine, not a blip from these troubles.
              I asked how much housing costs. 200 K if you life way out for a piece of crap
              house. Laughing, I told them that would buy a VERY nice home where I live. They mumbled some excuses when I suggested moving. Somehow, they cannot imagine living elsewhere, but cannot be happy where and how they must live.

              He was jealous also, mine was bigger.
              He was drinking a miller light, I had my Fosters “oil can”. Felt kinda sorry for the little fella.

              • And the Obamanation is considering bailing their worthless asses out? I don’t think so!!

                I just feel sorry for the few, vastly outnumbered conservatives out there.

                No power or a voice. Just screwed along with the Pelosi wannabes.

        • Jim McElfish says:

          Let me throw something out here about living in the wide open spaces. There was a reality show on PBS awhile back about three city families who volunteered to live out in the wilderness for a period of time and all they could have was the food that a settler would have had in the 1880s. They would have to build their own houses, cut their own wood, tend their own crops, etc. Now, they all became independent and did all of this themselves. It got them nowhere. If they had really been pioneer settlers, they would have helped their neighbors build all the necessary buildings, share what they had, etc. That is one of the realities of life today. No one has time for anyone but themselves. That is why we do not band together and stand up for our rights when politicians are taking away our rights little by little.

      • We could argue that a tree falling in a forest is or is not real depending upon if you and/or I see or hear it fall. Change out “reality” in my post to “perception of reality” and we’re talking about the same thing.

        My main point is that everyone else’s perception of reality is entirely different my own. Why then would I want to give someone else power over my reality? That’s what FREEDOM means to me. I, and I alone, will determine my perception of my reality without the aid of anyone else.

        Totally agree with you regarding “rural” vs “urban” living. You have to rely more on government in an urban setting as everything is centralized (sewer, water, food, etc.) for efficiency and effectiveness. It’s becoming more that way in rural areas with rural electric, rural water, etc. but we tend to maintain a much “freer” lifestyle.

        I get severe claustrophobic episodes around skyscrapers 🙂

        Been busy lately building my barn. But I’ve been reading the posts, just haven’t taken the time to respond.

        • Black Flag says:

          We could argue that a tree falling in a forest is or is not real depending upon if you and/or I see or hear it fall.

          We could argue, true.

          However, you’ve picked a perfect example for me to highlight.

          Arguing about the tree-fall-noise is irrational.

          Whether you are ‘right’ or ‘not right’ makes no difference to you or me because it makes no difference to you or me.

          In other words, the debate is nonsense, that is, it makes no sense to waste our time since it makes 0.0% impact on our life or our reality, since neither of us are there to validate the truth or not.

          It like debating about the ‘time’ before the beginning of the universe. There is no way for us to validate either opinion – so other than imagination exercise – it is a nonsensical debate.

          My main point is that everyone else’s perception of reality is entirely different my own. Why then would I want to give someone else power over my reality? That’s what FREEDOM means to me. I, and I alone, will determine my perception of my reality without the aid of anyone else.

          That’s fine, as long as the perception you hold is consistent with the universe.

          That is the ultimate test of ‘perception’.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      This is the type of post that essentially demands a response from me.

      There are essentially two main camps on “reality”. One camp states that reality describes all that is real, and, in being real, it is immutable. Being immutable, what is real must be real for everyone. The only thing that is different is that one man’s PERCEPTION of reality may be different than another man’s PERCEPTION of reality. If one man’s perception of reality is fundamentally flawed, he will be incapable of reason (i.e. “crazy” to use a very colloquial term).

      Camp two argues that because one man’s perception of reality can be profoundly different than another man’s perception of reality, this is actually an indicator that “reality” is mutable, and what is “real” for you may not in fact be “real” for me.

      Camp two is basically the camp of Kant. If reality hasn’t been good to you, simply deny that it exists, or claim it to be different for different people.

      Adam Savage of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel is famous for saying, “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” This would SEEM to indicate that Adam Savage is a fan of Kant; however, the ironic thing is that he spends the entire show trying to prove or disprove the reality of movie stunts, urban myths, etc. So, in spite of his slogan, he actually is spending his time attempting to “bust myths” and get down to some reality. Kinda funny that he chose that catch-phrase then, no?

      In order to make what I would consider to be honest progress forward with ANYTHING, I believe that we have to agree that REALITY IS, and that PERCEPTION IS NOT REALITY.

      If we cannot at root agree on that, progress forward will indeed be difficult.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Please note to anyone that I just managed to confuse, do not confuse my statement that reality is immutable to mean that nothing ever changes. That is NOT what I am saying.

        There… now some of you are REALLY confused 🙂

      • Awesome!! I understood your explanation!!! I’m not as blonde as I was beginning to think I was!

      • Peter B:

        I am glad you confirmed my belief that you would get this point, and more.

        I think you should get a gold star for your description.

        I’m smilin a big smile
        JAC

  4. Does logic not have limits though? Two different people can begin with identical premises and reach widely differing conclusions.

    Are the people flawed? or is logic itself flawed?

    I’m not saying logic has no use, on the contrary, but there is some point at which we all make a “leap of faith” is there not?

    • Black Flag says:

      You cannot reach different conclusions logically by starting with the same premises, and applying fact (or as JAC says, reality) in your processes.

      What you may be referring to is that as we proceed in our dialogue, one of us chooses a different assumption that for that person they hold to be true.

      If this assumption is unproven, it may not be true.

      At the point we have this divergence, we are required to stop and delve deeply into that assumption to prove its truth. It is either true or it is not.

      If it is truth, then the contrary assumption so held must not be true, and we are required by reason to discard any assumption in favor of truth.

      • Black Flag says:

        A personal example of this:

        At a pub, a magician challenged the customers to a Mensa test to win a jug of beer.

        The last question resolved down to this statement:

        “Who is your grandmother’s son?”

        The answer is clearly your father

        ….. or

        your uncle.

        The test answer only had “father”.

        Since this was Mensa, he held an assumption that they are never wrong.

        This contradicted the logic that faced him.

        In this case, he overwhelmed his logic and held to his assumption as truth.

        As the crowd slowly started to whisper “Hey, that guy is right! It could be the uncle”, he became embarrassed and blurted out “YOU’RE TRICKING ME!”.

        And in a rare moment of my wit, I responded “But I thought you were the magician!”

        He stormed out of the pub.

        I didn’t get my beer 😉

      • I understand what you are saying here BF, that as long as the dialogue continues along the factual path, you are speaking the same language. But even facts are hard to determine sometimes.

        I guess I don’t see reality and facts as always being the same – to me reality becomes more personal in that my reality (of circumstances, experiences,) is mine, but it may not match up with you and yours. Perhaps that’s just how I use these words.

        Also, my first answer to the quiz below was son or uncle!!!! YEAH! I’m not a total dweeb!

        • Black Flag says:

          “Facts” change – because they weren’t ‘facts’ to begin with – they were assumptions.

          Again, point to Newton. The “FACT” of the universe ‘changed’. ….. no, it didn’t.

          The Universe is.

          If we perceive some change in our fact about the universe, it is not the universe that changed, but that we had incomplete information about the universe.

          How we may, individually, re-interpret the universe into our own minds is wholly our own to hold.

          However, we must always keep this in our mind too – the universe doesn’t care about our perception about it.

          No matter how much someone may twist and warp the reality as they hold in their minds, the Universe always wins.

          It, therefore, becomes incumbent upon us to align ourselves ever closer to reality, because the Universe is not budging one little quanta toward our perception of it.

    • Black Flag says:

      Or, the other case is incomplete information.

      Newtonian Physics represented the “truth” of our universe for 400 years.

      But it was based on incomplete information about the universe that simply was not available for those 400 years.

      When the more complete information is discovered, we rearrange our understanding – we do not hold stubbornly to incomplete answers.

      Does this make Newton wrong? No. This is the process of the universe – peeling the onion – to find deeper and more profound truths of our existance.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      People may perhaps be flawed. Logic is by definition not flawed (if it is flawed it is referred to as faulty logic).

      One of the main flaws of being human is getting to the point where even using logic the answer that you come up with is “I do not know.”

      One person cannot know everything, so, on occasion, “I do not know” might well happen.

      The FLAW that most humans have when they reach the point of “I do not know”, they stop LOOKING further for the answers and simply substitute THE WAY THEY WOULD LIKE THINGS TO BE.

      The way you would like things to be may or may not correspond with reality, and is therefore not inherently logical.

    • Michelle: Also, don’t confuse logic with reason. Recheck the definitions. Logic is the art and skill of “non-contradictory” identification.

      That means identfying those concepts that do not contradict. So as BF indicated if you start with the same set of facts and/or assumptions you should get the same answers. If you don’t get the answer you expected or if they are different then facts could be wrong, assumptions could be wrong or the method used to predict the outcome could be wrong.

      Here is the easiest way to thing of logic:

      If A=B, and B=C, therefore C=A

      And remember Rand’s view (epistemology) is that logic is the mechanism or method by which rational human beings use reason to acquire knowledge. Of course we know this doesn’t apply to everyone. That is when we must determine what there epistemology is

  5. Hi Ya’ll,

    As I have tried my best to comprehend what the heck this discussion is all about, I realized that I unknowingly engaged in the techniques Ms. Rand wrote about over the last few years. I’ll have to explain more on that later, I keep getting interrupted with work LOL.

    Esom, sorry I didn’t reply yesterday afternoon, my truck wasn’t doing what it was designed to do (like start).

    G!

  6. Black Flag says:

    Reposted from above:

    Perception:

    This is a great example of what JAC is talking about.

    We all “see” color differently – that is ‘red’ to you is perceived differently than to me.

    This explains why I may dislike this color, but you like that color.

    The hypothesis is that we both like the same “color” in our mind – that is, the color called “I like this color” color. We both hate the same “I don’t like this color” color.

    But our eyes “see” color differently. So where what appears to me as “purple” is really the “I don’t like” color in my brain, and maybe what you see as “red” is the “I don’t like” color in your brain. Our brains see the same “I don’t like this color” color, but our eyes are interpreting the frequency different for each of our brains.

    So what do we do, if we each perceive our universe differently? How can we both claim we see red?

    …..

    We shift away from merely perception and move into reality.

    We measure the frequency and we agree that any frequency of light between ~ 700–630 nm we will call “red” and any light between ~ 490–450 nm we will call “blue”.

    Now, our world is immune to our mere perception.

    • I do not think that a frequency scale necessarily insures immunity from faulty perception. In the end, our mind still has to perceive of the scale and, while we may be able to come to some agreement on a number representing a color, this concept still remains a perception in the mind.

      You keep insisting that there is a real universe in which universal concepts exist outside perception, but how can you truly verify such an assertion. The only way the universe is known is through perception. All that you experience comes through your mind. I will not go as far as Bishop Berkeley to say that commonality of perception and experience is attributed to a higher mind (i.e. God), but arguably without your mind to perceive it wouldn’t the universe cease to exist?

      • No. Absolutely not.

        Only recently we discovered sections of the universe filled with galaxies. If I accept your hypothesis then these galaxies did not exist until the day we say them. Yet we khow the light travels over time and thus we can determine how far away they are and how long ago.

        JAC

      • D: Sorry, I posted last response before finishing.

        I go once again to the artist example. If something does not exist until we percieve it then how can an author or artist provide me with a concise description or picture of a concept, hundreds of years later. It obviously existed for him and it exists for me. Are you going to argue that perception occurs spontaneously across the space time continuum? That would be an interesting discussion though. I think we would have to invite Uncle Jack to participate in that one.

        Of course if our perception is required for existence then we have no way to accumulate knowledge over time as only those things that “we” percieve actually exist.

        Can our perceptions of reality be wrong? Absolutely. But it does not change reality. Only our knowledge of reality.

        It has been an interesting day. I look forward to your further participation.

        Best Wishes
        JAC

        • In your artist example, I would argue it did not actually exist for the artist, it only existed for you in your mind through sense perception. So no, I would not contend that perception happens spontaneously through the space time continuum, but only happens in the moment that you perceive it.

      • Black Flag says:

        If the universe is merely a construct in your mind, then, just as easily you can predict the future flawlessly. Hmm, nope.

        I may not be able to discern your perception of reality – this is may be true – however, that does not alter the reality that exists.

        The Universe cares nothing for your perception of it. You can pretend it doesn’t exist – you can even believe if you close your eyes, it all disappears. It takes no insult, nor grant of your blessing.

        Contradict the Universe however, and it will correct you with life long (or life ending) lessons.

      • CWO2USNRet says:

        We are all in the Matrix!

  7. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I am probably jumping the gun by about a week’s worth of posts here, but I thought this worth mentioning:

    It seems to me that there are two major competing political philosophies which are at least nominally built upon the same premise. I am going to state these in overly simplistic terms as follows:

    Everyone is created equal; therefore, everyone has the equal opportunity to succeed or fail based upon their own effort, their own choices, and their own decisions, which they make freely of their own will.

    Everyone is created equal; therefore, everyone is entitled to an equal share regardless of their own effort, their own choices, and their own decisions.

    I personally describe the first of these as “equality of opportunity” and the second of these as “equality of outcome”.

    As I said, I am probably jumping the gun here and this will be something that comes up in a later post in the series. I just wanted to bring this up in order to sort of kick people’s brains into gear a bit, because eventually these are the sort of political ideas we are going to be trying to pick apart.

    I caution people not to attempt to pick them apart yet, since I am most likely jumping WAY ahead here 🙂

    • Peter,
      You have a gift for phrasing some complex thoughts in easily understood terms. I am “lurking” here a little as well, waiting for the later articles.

    • USWeapon says:

      Peter,

      One faulty flaw here though…. Both of the two camps you described above are incorrect and should be noted for doing so. You have jumped ahead a little bit, but this is the perfect example of the drilling down and finding the reality. What premise from both of them is faulty?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        In my view, what I think you are getting at is the flaw in “Everyone is created equal” or “All men are created equal”. This is an idealization (is that a word?) One person could of course be born “with a silver spoon in his mouth” and another man could be born covered in coal-dust from the first time his daddy held him. So, at least socio-economically speaking, these 2 men did not come into the world on an equal footing. That was the first thing that popped into my head as far as the obvious fault.

        Was that it, or was it something more fundamental?

        • USWeapon says:

          You got it. The premise that all men are created equal is incorrect. We know that is not true. Some have higher intelligence, others unique creative ability, others tremendous physical gifts. Everyone is NOT created equal. Everyone was created with equal RIGHTS, but not equal ability, and therefore the premise of both statements was incorrect.

      • I don’t believe everyone does have equal opportunity. We touched on this recently in other posts. This would be a flaw in Peter’s first example.

        I just don’t believe his second situation should be true – that word “entitled” sticks right out at me.

        • Kathy:

          I am sure most of us here agree the second one shouldn’t be true but it is the truth we see today.

          Peter is summarizing TWO competing views that dominate todays arguments on ETHICS and POLITICS. He is not proposing one.

          Note USW’s comment on false argument of equality. It is the RIGHTS that are equal and thus we are to have an equal chance at the “pursuit of happiness”. The chance is equal because the rights are equal. The other thing that makes this valid is that happiness is different for each of us. Thus the phrase does not require equal status nor equal outcomes. Only the equal right to pursue.

          Sometimes I am just amazed at how smart those Founder fellas were.
          JAC

    • Another Rush Site? says:

      Come on man. – Everyone is created equal; therefore, everyone is entitled to an equal share regardless of their own effort, their own choices, and their own decisions. – I too have been lurking and this is where you show your true “philosophy”. (Is Rush running this site too!)Everyone believes in the first comment – Everyone is created equal; therefore, everyone has the equal opportunity to succeed or fail based upon their own effort, their own choices, and their own decisions, which they make freely of their own will.- Just that some realize people have been kept down and continue to be kept down by Corps and Gov’t. I could give so many examples of this in our history it’s not even funny. It’s like me saying the right really doesn’t believe all men are equal, just those that are white, male, and go to church. I enjoy reading this blog because it usually represents an intelligent point of view opposite to my own, however can’t let you get away with this one without throwing the BS flag up.

      • USWeapon says:

        Another Rush Site?

        First off, as the guy running this site, I take a bit of offense being compared to Rush.

        Second, I don’t pretend that all men are created equal, there is your flaw. They aren’t. I was born with different abilities and realities than others. I am capable, therefore, of accomplishing certain things. And I am OK with that. I don’t get upset because I wasn’t born 6’9″ with the ability to earn $15 million a year playing basketball. Nor do I find it unfair that someone else was born that way.

        What I won’t stand by and allow is the victim mentality to be played as though it is a stark reality. For every example you provide of someone “kept down”, I can provide an example of someone similar rising above that obstacle. What I won’t allow is for someone to make the accusation that whatever I have in life I didn’t 100% earn. I was the one who fought through poverty, got educated, worked harder, etc. And every time that someone claims that I am only here because I am a white male who doesn’t face the same obstacles, it is insulting. The poor, the minorities, the downtrodden, can continue to make excuses for why they won’t or can’t succeed, but that is not going to make them succeed. And the belief that we can legislate equality won’t succeed either.

        Victims will always remain victims. So long as the victim mentality remains, there will always be a need for people like Obama to save them.

        • US Weapons,
          I agree there is a ‘victim mentality’ out there.

          But your comments got me thinking. When I brought up ‘victim mentality’ on the previous post, I was using ‘victim mentality’ in a simplier version. The feeling I was getting from many of the comments was “the Democrats are in power and there’s nothing we can do”. I didn’t feel or mean to imply in my comments that the commentors felt entitled to anything because of that.

          Does that make sense? Or am I just splitting hairs? I’m not trying to restart that conversation, I just saw a difference in how we were using ‘victim mentality’.

      • ARS, Your post is interesting, and in some cases very correct, in others not so correct. First, not all men are created equal, as we are individuals, with individual skills and desires. If we, as a human race were equal, then there would be no diversity. Hence, we would all be carpenters or whatever skill you choose. The belief that all men are created equal, is impossible in nature. Those that you claim as kept down, contradicts your previous statement about equal opportunity. It is either freedom, or tyranny, because it can’t be both. Those that fail or succeed are free, those kept down live that way by choice, and live in tyranny, BY CHOICE. Your personnal choice, dictates your lifestyle. Freedom is not free, it’s sacrifice, in many forms. Try to open your mind and understand what sacrifice for freedom really means, and what your willing to give to achieve freedom!

        Peace to you!

        G!

        • Black Flag says:

          What does ‘equal’ mean to you, ARS?

          If it means ‘the same’, by straight observation, the first statement cannot be true.

          So, if we hold the first statement to be true, then the definition of equal must be incomplete or misapplied in some manner.

          So, now its up to you to chose.

          • Another Rush Site? says:

            Misapplied/Incomplete. We don’t know the answer to equal because the system has never been designed allow for it. Menatlly, physically what’s better. Depends on the job. But if you only allow one of the options we know for sure not all people will succeed because you have taken away a choice. Key to equal. Ah, nature – some strong some smart, some both (lucky bastards) and most near center. Always at work. Way off topic here but at some time when talking philosophy (especially a constitutional discussion) nature does have to come into play. I know jumping all over the place, but have to go to work. Sorry to insult in my opening statement. Just trying to read and learn here without the “left” insults. IMO, the point why you started this site. I’ll get back to reading now. Oh, btw why do I always have to have a dictionary here. Can’t you simplify just a little. You know, us dumb Libtards.

            • ARS
              Let me sum up what I see in your response.

              Me: Hi class, today we are going to study parrots.
              You: Are you calling me a Jackass?
              No, I said we are studying parrots.
              You called me a jackass.
              No, I did not. Now look at this beautiful parrot in the cage.
              First you call me a jackass now you want to put me in prison.
              No, I do not and I am not talking about jackasses or any other member of the horse family.
              So now I’m a horses ass, is that it?
              I give up. If you want to talk about jackasses then fine, lets talk about them.
              Are you calling me a parrot?

              Now before you really go off the deep end I would like to point out that I see the same argument from both political extremes today. But regardless of who puts it out there, it is all nonsense.

              Don’t jump to a bunch of assumptions about the “vieled intent” of things and then go off half cocked.

      • If what you say is true then the answer to your conundrum is quite simple.

        Eliminate government. The Corps ability to keep people down will evaporate in the wind created by the vacuum when govt is destroyed.

        See piece of cake. Assuming of course that your position is true.
        JAC

  8. JAC. I brought this down so that I could answer without having to go up and down. In your response to me (wherein I used my real name somehow), you said:

    “What you are seeing is propoganda at work. Discovering their true intent, or plan, is not the same as finding the corrupt philosophy that allows it to happen.”

    I realize that this is their propaganda. I find it interesting though that, when they see that it is unpopular, they will just change the name or phrase to describe it. This looks to me as if their intent/plan is to deceive the public and that their philosophy is indeed corrupt in that the Obamanation is simply in the process of a complete power grab. Actually “helping” the public is not even in the thought process. This is nothing short of an attempt to subvert the will of the people for their own selfish aims.

    “What is their view of the world (methaphysics) and how we use our mind (epistemology) that allows them to act in this way?”

    These are not easy questions as I can’t read minds. I can however answer them as I see them being acted out. First, their view of the world: Some think that they (generic term for The Obamanation) simply see the world through “rose colored glasses”. That they aren’t bad people, but just have a view that everyone is good and that we all need to just come together in a Utopian world where all work together to make the world a better place. I personaaly think their aims are more sinister than that. I think that these people, in conjunction with the UN and the European Union, want to turn this Nation into their Ideal of the perfect Socialist State. I also think that if they accomplish this feat, which is not as far fetched as some may think, they will NEVER willingly relinquish the power they will gain.
    Secondly: How are the people using their minds to allow them to do this? My answer to you JAC is that the greater part of the people are NOT using their minds at all. The people have become apathetic to their fate or don’t think that there is any way to stop it. Critical Thinkers are swiftly becoming an endangered species in the US. I think this way because it is obvious to me what Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Franks and others are doing. Destroying us economically and Socially.

    “Or as an alternative, just explain what the true meaning is of the term “we need to spread the wealth around”. Try to describe the ethics involved and then work backward.”

    I’m going to give this a shot. I don’t truly understand all this “philosophy” stuff. Seems way above my brain level. “Spread the Wealth” means in Obamaspeak that we are going to tax the crap out of those more fortunate than you poor, misbegotten souls. We’re going to greatly expand all our current Social Programs and not only that, we’re going to make brand new ones such as “Universal Health Care” and then, when you are all dependent on the Government, we’ll all be one big happy Socialist World where we all live in flowers and sunshine. The plain definition of this is: We’ll all be poor except for the Superrich and Powerful. And you’re rights. What rights?
    The ethics are…… What ethics?

    I don’t know if this makes sence JAC and BF or if I just sound like a jackass. I did say though that I am just a poor hillbilly and that philosophy is above my brain capacity. 😉

    • JayDickB says:

      Esom

      Don’t feel inadequate. I graduated from a Jesuit college with 24 hours of philosophy (although the college was in WV, if that matters), and I still can’t follow it all. I actually had courses titled “metaphysics” and “epistemology”, but I don’t remember much about them now (it was almost 50 years ago).

      Just hang in there. There’s nothing wrong with good old hillbilly common sense.

      • Hey, as long as us hillbillies live in the East. There’s always going to be SOME independent folks over here anyway.

      • I only had the basic Philosophy class in college and I think there must have been a good Happy Hour or something right after the class because I remember just about nothing from it……….

        I’m putting my faith in JAC, USW and BF to teach me something (and pay no college tuition for it)!

    • Godzilla says:

      Esom, I was doing fine till today, I’m all discombobulated now. I majored in neurological psychology so most of my backround is in sensation and perception issues, like where does perception really happen? I never took a philosophy class, so I’m playing catchup as well here.

    • Jim McElfish says:

      Let’s take an example from this nation’s history, the relocation of Native Americans. In Michigan (probably as elsewhere), the territorial government could not just take the land and send the Native Americans off to live out West. First, they had to make treaties with the Native Americans to get the land in exchange for money and the promise that they would get other land in Michigan. The government did the same for all the tribes living there, making treaties for permanent residence for the Native Americans. Then, once they got them all living on the same reservations or area of land, it was really easy to get them all evicted to land out West. In the same vein, once the government takes away all our land (our rights) in the name of equality, etc., then and only then can it get what it is really after, absolute power. Make it look like they are getting something free, they will bite and just like a fish, the government will have them.

    • Philosophy is absolutely not beyond your brain capacity. As evidence I put forth the following facts:

      You can read southern, specifically West Virigian.
      You have raised a family and survive in the country.
      You have survived others trying to kill you.
      And perhaps most importantly;
      You watch your son play baseball and recognize the poetry of his abilities.

      You my friend are a philosopher and don’t even know it.
      Happy Evening to You
      JAC

  9. Kristian says:

    I have read both articles in this discussion and I have to tell you that I am lost. Maybe I’m too simple to be able to understand all of it, but that is ok. I feel like Esom here, this is above my brain capacity. And maybe this is shortsighted of me, but I don’t understand how this is going to help us prepare for what our goevernment has in store for us. Maybe you guys can help me better understand, just do me a favor and keep it simple, please.

    • Kristian, Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger here. I don’t know What in the heck they’re saying half the time.

      I was going to read Atlas Shrugged before this. Now I don’t see the point. I wouldn’t understand what I was reading.

      I used to think because I am a voracious reader and can find my ass with both hands without an instruction manual, that I was a fairly smart feller. But man I look like a flippin’ moron beside some of these cats.

      But That is supposed to be the whole point. To Edjicate us Political morons. 🙂

      • Kristian says:

        I know what you mean. I have never considered myself a stupid person by any stretch of the imagination, this is just waaaaay over my head. I too am a voracious reader, hell I read at a college level when I was in the second grade, but this just stumps me. I can’t wrap my brain around it. I gave some consideration to reading Atlas Shrugged as well and where it my be an interesting read I probably wouldn’t understand half, who am I kidding, a quarter of what I read. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how this is going to help us in the long run. Have you figured it out yet?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          WHOA THERE FOLKS!

          The point is not to turn anyone here into a philosophy major. Nor is the point to make anyone feel like an idiot. Some of this stuff SOUNDS like it is way over your head perhaps, but it is NOT! Understanding a bit about philosophy is really all you need… you don’t need to BE a philosopher.

          The point of this is really to demonstrate to you that good ol’ common sense and a well-grounded Bulldookey Detector (TM) are required if you want to lay a strong foundation for where we want to go.

          For example, if I were to tell you that if a tree falls in a remote forest and no one is there to hear it, it still makes a noise when it falls; your common sense would tell you that that is correct and your Bulldookey Detector (TM) would remain silent.

          If I were to tell you that if a tree falls in a remote forest and no one is there to hear it, it is possible that the tree makes a noise when it falls, but we can never be certain, as no one was there to hear it; your common sense would tell you that that is probably wrong, and your Bulldookey Detector (TM) would be making large buzzing noises in your head.

          So, basically, just consider this advanced training for Bulldookey Detection.

          • Kristian says:

            Now see, that makes sense to me. Thanks Peter!

          • Oh Peter. If that’s all it takes then I got that covered.

            Common sense and a Bulldookey Detector i’ve had for years.

            Musta bin awl em thare faency wurds I dint unnerstan.

          • Godzilla says:

            In regards to a tree falling in the forest analogy, take a look at the Schrodinger’s Cat paradox. I found this on it from Windows to the Universe site: Schrodinger’s Cat (in his own words)
            “One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following diabolical device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of one hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The first atomic decay would have poisoned it. The Psi function for the entire system would express this by having in it the living and the dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts. It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a “blurred model” for representing reality. In itself it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.” — Erwin Schrodinger
            Translation by John D. Trimmer

            Basically what Schrodinger is saying is that because of the way the experiment is set up, the cat has a 50% chance of being alive, and a 50% chance of being dead. It is just as likely that the cat is alive as that it is dead, so Schrodinger said that until the box is opened, the cat is both alive and dead. This is obviously false, the cat cannot be both alive and dead at the same time. This problem is meant to illustrate a theory of quantum mechanics called “indeterminacy.” Indeterminacy says that there can be more than one correct answer to a problem which physically can only have one answer. Schrodinger came up with this illustration to demonstrate that there was a problem with this theory of quantum mechanics.

            • Black Flag says:

              Exactly.

              The Universe already determined the fate of the cat – we just cannot predict what that fate is until we look at it.

              Many people mis-interpret this idea that the cat’s fate is determined by our observation – but it is not. The Universe has already done that job.

              We simply are unaware of that fate until we see it.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              I ❤ Shroedinger's Cat 🙂

        • Jim:
          Just an aside for the moment:
          In the part of the country where I was raised the nearest neighbor might be 30 to 60 miles away. Your help came from family and any hired hands you might have.

          Not all of the pioneers were settlers as in folks who bunched together to form settlements.

        • Kristian:

          Lets try this as to the why we need this and how its going to help.

          How could a nation founded on the principle of individual liberty reach a state where our liberties are taken from us everyday?

          How could a nation founded on the principle of self-defense and mind our own business become one of the most dominant political and military forces in the world and that uses that power to dictate to others.

          This journey will show you how that happened and what is needed to fix it. You may choose another path but at least you will know why.

          And don’t belittle yourself. You get more of this than you know. You wouldn’t feel confused if you didn’t get it at a subconscious level already.

          And as BF said. If you have questions or get confused just ask.
          Best Wishes to you and yours
          JAC

          • Kristian says:

            Thanks JAC, it helps to have it laid out like that. You can bet I’ll be asking lots of questions. LOL

      • Don’t sweat it Esom. It’s just using big fancy words to describe something us rural folk already know:

        1) Freedom ain’t free.
        2) Don’t ask for handouts.
        3) Work hard, love your family, and try to do what’s right.

        • The answer to this assumption is that us country folks have been doing this all our lives and now look at the pickle we are in.

          So this ethic did not prevent the outcome then something else is at play.

          Maybe we should try to figure it out.

          And of course What is right? And how do you know it?

          JAC

      • Jim McElfish says:

        At the risk of sounding stupid, I don’t think that the goal here is to get us ready for what the government has in store for us, but to make us better equipped to able to stand up to these changes and take back the government that we were promised in our constitution.

        • You betcha!!!

        • USWeapon says:

          Exactly. I think people feel like they need to understand this so well that they would be able to debate the world’s greatest minds. That is not the case. There are fundamental flaws and mistakes to thinking. We want to avoid those. Therefore, we are going to try to get everyone to a level where the basic skills exist to eliminate contradiction and understand the core behind our actions.

      • Esom, as I said in the article the first time I ready Atlas Shrugged I skipped the heavy philosophical speeches. They go on for page after page. It’s still a great novel and without the speeches you still get some of the points.

        Of course if you wait until this series is over you might not skip the speeches.

        JAC

    • Black Flag says:

      JAC, USWep and I are here to help.

      We know this is ‘deep’, but all of this background is simply to provide a valid reason for people to think with reason and logic.

      When we start demand government action, we better have the clarity and deep understanding of:

      1) What are we really demanding.
      2) What are the consequences of such a demand.
      3) Will that demand actually solve the problem.

      We can only truly answer those questions if we hold an articulated ethical position that is consistent.

      All of this background is to give some supporting ideas on how to achieve that position.

      • Black Flag says:

        Oh yes, I would like to offer an open invitation to Chris to help out with simplifying many of these concepts.

      • OK, I think you need to give us real life examples and make us think through them.

        I really, really do appreciate what you are trying to do and the time you are taking to help us all. I also think I understand (a little bit), how this will help us move forward. We need to know where we are coming from before we can know where we are going.

        So could you (anyone) throw some situations out there….

        • Black Flag says:

          Stay tuned for the continuation of this series.

          Our plan is to have JAC and I to publish one of our conversations that will expand on our personal search for the ‘bed rock’ of our belief systems (we touched on that in a post awhile back).

          Our goal is not to throw everyone into the deep end and hope you can stay afloat…. we are slowly wading through the wading pool first… aiming for the deep end 😉 !

  10. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by most of what I’ve read in the last 2 days myself. I did find if I read it a couple of times I can comprehend it better…or so I think anyway. Sign me up for that Political Moron class Esom.

  11. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    a = b

    a^2 = ab

    a^2 – b^2 = ab – b^2

    (a + b)(a – b) = b(a -b)

    a + b = b

    therefore, 2 = 1

    This is the famous “Proof” by Srinivassa Ramanujan that 2 = 1.

    It is (of course) fatally flawed. It is fine, up until the point where both sides of the equation are divided by (a – b). Since a = b, a – b = 0, so dividing by (a – b) means you divided by zero, which is an invalid operation.

    Basically all we are trying to do here is to weed out the philosophies that are based upon dividing by zero from the philosophies which are not based on a demonstrably invalid operation.

    Once we discard philosophies which are based on bulldookey (thanks again Esom), we can evaluate the remainder of philosophies as a starting point for where to go from here.

    If you cannot recognize “philosophical garbage” you might treat it as treasured wisdom rather than taking it to the curb to be hauled off to the dump.

    That is what I see us as trying to do here. Building a good foundation requires solid ground and good materials, so we want to make sure we have those before the foundation goes in.

  12. I’m with most of you here about understanding alot of this, but, a lightbulb turned on in my head today, and I’ve actually used this stuff in the business world that I exist in. Could I explain it? Heck NO! But I think as we move along with this it will come together, we’re building a puzzle, and it’s a doozey!

    G!

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      If you are in the business world, you subconsciously use logic, reason, ethics and politics on a daily basis. You probably have a very advanced “bulldookey detector” as well. You just didn’t realize until now that you were making practical applications of philosophy 🙂

    • USWeapon says:

      Bravo G! There is nothing that brings a concept home like applying it in real life. I am a logic based person by nature. I gained that perspective early from a few folks who took me under their wing. I find now that I apply logic and reasoning in all aspects of my life. That is not to say I am not wrong as much as I am right, lol. But I do apply the concepts as best I can.

  13. From yesterday, humor, fox has figured out Ayn was talking about Democrats

    The only trouble seems to be that they are not very active, not very confident,
    NOT VERY HAPPY
    – and they experience, at times, a causeless fear and an undefined guilt, which they cannot explain or get rid of.

    Happiness Is … Being Old, Male and Republican

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009
    By Robert Roy Britt

    Americans grow happier as they age, surveys find. And a new Pew Research Center survey shows the tendency is holding up as the economy tanks.

    Happiness is a complex thing. Past studies have found that happiness is partly inherited, that Republicans are happier than Democrats and that old men tend to be happier than old women.

    And even before the economy got nasty, seniors were found to be generally happier than Baby Boomers. Some of that owes to the American Dream being lived by past generations, while Boomers work two jobs and watch the dream wither.

    • Funny in deed.

      You see Ms. Rand condemed both parties as being of the same moral and thus political position. Namely they all supported statism. She expressed great hope in Reagan, then he formed the coalition with the religious right (left) and she condemed him for that. She expressed even greater hope for America when we rejected McGovern and the far left in a resounding fashion. But she warned they would be back if we didn’t address the philosophical destruction of our chilrden in the public school system and especially in the Universities.

      We didn’t and her nightmare has become ours. Is it only me or has Fox lost their fair and balanced edge a bit? I don’t have TV so I don’t watch them anymore, except at friends, when traveling or in the gym. Seems to me they have taken a hard “right turn” from where they were. More than they were before. Just my observation.

      JAC

      • I’ve seen that too JAC, especially since the elctions. Not good. It leaves them open to MORE, and, dare I say justified, criticism from the left. It’s like they’re sinking to the level of those they criticize. Not good for overall credibility.

        • It’s nice to hear these comments about Fox News taking a sharp ‘right’ turn. They do everyone, including themselves, a disservice when they distort issues.

          Is this all this philosophy stuff and critical thinking having an effect? 🙂

          And before anyone jumps on me – MSNBC is the same on the left!

          • Todd It is starting to resemble the school yard fight.

            Fox comes along and stakes out a center-right editorial but pretty good news.

            The left go nuts and MSNBC desides to stake out the left, but they adopt the vitriol of the far left radio talk shows and interest groups.

            Now the mud is flying so Fox seems to be responding by moving farther right.

            Maybe the MSM will eventualy be back in the middle, because the other two will have moved the outer limits of the scale. Now wouldn’t that be ironic?

            JAC

  14. The philosophical talk here at the top confuses some of us just like Lawyerease does on a contract. And Political Speeches where they talk for an hour without saying anything useful. Or Politicians answering questions at a news conference without actually GIVING any answers.

    • Black Flag says:

      Then ask a question about something that confuses you.

      There is a lot of people who can rephrase anything!

      • BF, My point is that the article at the top from Ms. Rand is confusing to some of us because of all the academic terminology. Once it was explained by folks such as JAC, you and Peter, it starts to make sense.

        At comment #8, I took what JAC asked me and tried to answer it to the best of my ability, considering having to come in and out as I worked at the same time. Don’t know whether or not I could have done better anyway as I understood it.

        But as far as my common sense and bulldookey detector goes, I’m pretty sure I know when someone in the ObamaNation is lying and trying to manipulate us.

        My philosophical outlook is simple.
        I want the best for my family that I can earn with my own hands. No more. No less.
        I want the Government to stay the hell out of my life. State and Federal.
        I want to go to work and come home to my family without having to be concerned with what my Government has screwed me with while I was there.
        I want MINIMAL Government.
        I want an honest Government. I don’t expect perfection. But I do expect them to admit when they screw up.
        I want a Government of the people, by the people, and for the damn people.

        Doesn’t that sound simple? I could do better with more time but this is a start. How much of this is philosophy and how much just wishful thinking?

        I’m pretty sure that I ain’t NEVER had this kind of Government.

        • Black Flag says:

          You’ve articulated your moral conclusions … family, honesty, hard work.

          The question:

          Where did you get those conclusions?

        • Black Flag says:

          Oh, I’m not asking for your answer yet!

          Just contemplate the question for now… there is more coming from JAC that will help with a few tools to articulate this…

  15. Black Flag says:

    To all:

    If there is something confusing – just point to the part and someone will rephrase or explain….

    …don’t worry, the only test will be the rest of your life 😉

  16. OK Everyone. It is past dinnner time, even out here. Some have expressed confusion and others frustration. Others have helped and even others, unheard before have stepped in with some very profound stuff.

    BUTS LET’S FOCUS!!

    You are two parts through a three part series designed to give you a basic understanding of philosophy by providing you with:

    1) Terminology
    2) The hierarchy of philosophy
    3) How to use reduction to think in terms of fundamentals. How to find which level of the hierarchy you are dealing with and to make sure the foundation supports the parts above it.
    4) How to identify general principles in catch phrases or other rhetoric.
    5) How to use reduction and identify principles that affect your emotions.
    6) How to evaluate various types of rationalizations.

    Now, here is what I hoped you would all get out of the first three parts.

    Part 1:

    1) A recognition that philosophy is important because it is what drives the world, especially the politics.

    2) There is a hierarchy that consists of the following:

    Esthetics Politics
    Ethics
    Epistemology
    Metaphysics

    Note that esthetics and politics are separate branches of ethics. Politics, our primary concern here, rests upon Ethics which rests upon Epistemology which rests upon Metaphysics.

    Part 2:

    1) Definitions so you will know what others are talking about when you try to defend your belief in individual liberty. And so you have a basic language skill to communicate with other detectives.

    2) Basic detection skills, the art of reduction. An understanding that you must reduce all pirnciples and concepts to find the essential or foundation. The principle or concept that can not be recuded.

    3) An introduction to two of the major camps which are fighting for control of your mind. Realists (Aristotle, Locke, Smith, Rand, etc) and those who think reality is a state of mind (Kant, Hegel, Marx, etc). A third is mysticism (Aquinas, the Catholic Church, etc).

    4) How to use reduction to identify fundamental, or essential, components hidden in catch phrases. A tool that I hope you can use on other positions and statements.

    Part III: Coming Soon

    1) How to identify how philosophical principles affect your feelings.

    2) Understand why people rationalize things and use reduction to find the hidden philosophical principles.

    Future Parts: One or more parts to include a dialogue between BF and I and others designed to show you how to dig for your essentials and hopefully help you reaffirm them or dump them for new ones. I am sure we will get into examples here.

    One part with the title How our Founders Went Wrong. Figured that will generate alot of discussion. But we need our basic skills first. It will also provide the lead in for the conclusion.

    The Wrap Up: We will start to construct a philosophical system that will support the resurrecton of America. The politics will come to play in a big way here.

    YOU CAN NOT CHEAT AND SKIP TO THE END AND HOPE TO SUCCEED. YOU MUST MAKE THE JOURNEY WITH US FROM START TO FINISH. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL AGREE WITH THE CONCLUSION. BUT YOU WILL KNOW WHY YOU DON’T AND HOW YOUR CONCLUSIONS WILL AFFECT YOUR GOALS, THE COUNTRY YOU WANT. AND YOU WILL KNOW WHY SOME OF US HAVE CHOSEN A DIFFERENT PATH.

    Don’t let all the fancy terms intimidate you. Their meanings are pretty straight forward. You don’t have to use them just know what they mean. If you do you will be amazed at how you start to reclassify the world.

    You will know that much of what we talk about here is either Politics or Ethics. You will know that Politics must be consistent with the Ethics. As contradictions mean one or both are false. You will know that ethics and morality are essentially the same. You will know that logic is a problem solving method or way of thinking that eliminates contradictions. Reason without logic is an oxymoron, in my opinion.

    You will know that when someone tells you that freedom is critical in our democracy and it is only logical that we tax the rich to help the poor that they have created a contradiction in ethics and therefore, by definition they are not logical.

    The goal of the first three articles is to give you just enough information to be dangerous, to those who will attack your desire to restore our constitution and resurrect our country. We can not send you into battle without at least a few of the weapons needed to fight this foe.

    Last thoughts to keep you sane:
    DON’T LET OTHERS COMMENTS OR THOUGHTS GET YOU OFF TRACK. SOME OF US HERE WILL CHASE SOME VERY BIG FUZZY RABBITS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO ALONG. STAY FOCUSED ON THE BASIC OBJECTIVES I JUST OUTLINED ABOVE AND YOU WILL BE FINE.

    ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. DID YOU ALL NOTICE BF IS TRYING TO BE VERY HELPFUL SO PLEASE TAKE HIM UP ON IT. IT’S GOING TO GET UGLY WHEN WE GET TO POLITICS SO ENJOY HIM WHILE YOU CAN!!!!!!

    Now a little humor for those who feel overwhelmed. It wasn’t all that long ago that I thought epistemelogy was something you got penicillun shots for in order to get rid of it.

    • Chris Devine says:

      I am a philosopher (B.A. Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley). Before you tune out after seeing the ‘B-word’ you must realize that the university I graduated from is not a school for anarchists. It is a world class school and I studied under philosophers widely regarded as preeminent experts in the field. The city of Berkeley is a different story…

      I’ll make no attempts to hide the fact that I consider myself liberal. VERY liberal. However, when it comes to philosophy and logic my political agenda does not play a part in assessing the validity of any particular stance. Even though my politics are a result of my studies they are certainly not the inevitable result (I stuck with what made sense to me and tossed out things that seemed far-fetched). I had to study philosophers from the Pre-Socratic Greeks all the way through to people still duking it out in the lecture halls and journals today.

      However, I am no expert. At best I am a professional amateur. Nonetheless my experience has shown me that there are far better philosophers to rely upon to provide an introduction to the field. Relying upon Ayn Rand to give you a fair understanding is not a good idea. Check the syllabus of an introductory philosophy course at any university of your choosing (go to their bookstore website). See what text they require. My suspicion is that you won’t find Ayn Rand anywhere. There’s a good reason for that: she was a writer of fiction and essays, not a philosopher.

      You will do yourselves a disservice to rely on the biased introduction Ayn Rand will give you. I’m not saying to disregard what she says (especially when she talks about her own views). However, relying on her to explain other philosophers and philosophy in general is going to give you a tilted foundation (to the far right) from which to build your understanding upon.

      My two cents.

      • Chris Devine says:
      • Chris,

        I am not a philosopher, and hold no degree. So far, I have understood the articles and discussion, and pointed out a few area’s where Ayn and I differed. I do not understand you contention that she will inject a bias to this discussion. Could you explain? If we examine the base principles for our reasoning, how is that going to result in a right tilt? And would that tilt not be identified by our examining the reasons for our premise?

        • Chris Devine says:

          For starters offering a few glib remarks about Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is giving that work awfully short shrift. I had a whole semester on that book alone and the professor admitted she never got the whole way through in all her years of teaching the course. It is not an easy topic and I doubt there are many who would agree with her interpretation. As far as uncovering her bias by using the tools she provides, I think that it would be unlikely given the way she frames the debate.

          I guess I just find it extremely odd that someone would choose her to provide an introduction to the concepts of philosophy. There are much better and more accessible authors and texts out there. The only people who really take her seriously are ultra-conservative.

      • Chris:

        I hope you noticed that I tried to point out where Rand was interjecting her beliefs or viewpoints into her comments. As I stated above the intent here is to provide a basis for understanding why it is important and some very basic tools for exploring our prinicples to find our core values.

        Now I would like to address this: “There’s a good reason for that: she was a writer of fiction and essays, not a philosopher.”

        This seems like typical academic arrogance. Especially as it relates to a field that doesn’t require a license to assure minimum practicle skills, such as medicine. Who are you or anyone else to declare that she, or I or anyone is not a philospher. Given the very nature of the field how can anyone place boundaries on another who is exploring the universe and life within it?

        Another example of a field suffering from academic arrogance is archeology. The moderns declare that many of the great discoveries were made by amateurs, not real archeologists. Yet they were the ones who created the entire field of study.

        So what is the criteria that must be met to get the title? Is it a degree?

        Your thoughts?
        JAC

        • Chris:

          If and when you respond could you move to the current post. I am having a hard time going back and forth between articles.

          And by the way, it is good to hear from you again.
          JAC

  17. Amazed1 says:

    Oh my JAC….I can not elieve you have me studing Philosophy 101 again…..even tho I did fairly well in the subject I hated it!!! Good work…….you are getting the masses to think!

    • We all hated it when we are young because we aren’t ready for it yet. About the only thing I agreed with Plato on was that philosophy was for the elders of the tribe.

      I’m glad your enjoying this trip, hopefully it will be more rewarding.
      See you tomorrow
      JAC

  18. JAC,
    I have one small issue with one sentence in this post:

    “It is a condemnation of Immanuel Kant, his predecessor Plato, and all their spawn.”

    I’m knit-picking, but the last three words – “all their spawn” – do a disservice to the fine writing in the rest of the post. It gives someone who might disagree with you an excuse to trivialize or ignore the entire post.

    Reading the last two posts and your comments, I know you can express your disagreement with Kant better. 🙂

    My knit-picking aside, I’ve really enjoyed the posts on philosophy. Well thought out and written. I’m still digesting them – haven’t had a lot of time. I’ve also enjoyed all the comments, and the positive attitude of everyone!

    • USWeapon says:

      Todd,

      Good point on the last three words of that sentence. Kant, whether agreed with or not, is an established philosopher with a point of view that many agreed with. It would do a disservice to limit the study of any philosopher or philosophy. The point of these posts is to get people thinking. I would not want anyone to ignore the post for such a reason. I will try to notice those things and correct them in the future.

      • Sfc Dick says:

        Man, I gotta get back to this site. I feel I’ve missed 2 semesters of course work, good thing I’m a genious.

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