Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Engage your brain

LP02B_220 If discussions of the philosophy of Objectivism here at NOT PC have piqued your interest, then you might like to engage your brain and get serious by joining the Objectivism Seminar -- an online weekly seminar hosted by Greg Perkins that is about to go through Leonard Peikoff's presentation of the entire philosophy in Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

Details here and here.  Visit www.ObjectivismSeminar.com to sign up.  Looks like you can download Skype and (if you're in New Zealand) book in for some serious weekly brainwork. 


  1. Serious brain work, or serious mental gymnastics?

    "It's finished, your whole act! I'll tear down your facade as I built it up! I'll denounce you publicly. I'll destroy you as I created you..You'll have nothing..you dared to reject me." --Ayn Rand.

    The virtue of selfishness works only until some-one is selfish towards you. There's more to life than thinking you are just an individual.

  2. Zen

    You actually ARE just an individual. Nothing more or less than a single, individual human being. There is no more to it than that.


  3. You are looking at the finished product, not the composition.

    A human being is not a mere individual, but a person. As such he his a synthesis of of individual uniqueness and communal participation. Man is a transcendent being. He is more than his individuality.

    When you are concerned with nothing more than yourself, this truth is hard to see.

  4. Zen

    A man is an individual entity. He may or may not act to participate in a community or society. Whether he does or not is a decision he makes. Whether he participates or not, he remains an individual entity. His decisions and actions are a product of his existence, not the casue of it.

    Put the cart behind the horse.


  5. His decisions and actions are a product of his existence, not the cause of it.

    His decisions and actions are not made in a vacuum. He doesn't exist in a vacuum.

    The cause of his existence is actually the product of two individuals coming together in union. They may have made a decision to come together, but they couldn't have achieved new life without coming together in union.

    He may be an individual in your narrow definition, but that implies that he would make decisions as if being an individual is all that is required.

    No matter what definition you come up with about being an individual, individuals don't exist alone.

    Why are you rejecting communal participation as a reality of the human state? In clinging to this idea that an individual can *chose* not to be part of society, you deny the reality that we are part of society, and we seek it out.

    Or to put it another way, we started out with Ayn Rand's virtue of selfishness failing the acid test in her real life. The other individual she wanted to link up with, so she dumped her husband, eventually dumped her. And then she didn't see him as an individual making self-centred decisions for his own good, but some piece of property that she would 'destroy as she had created'.

  6. LGM: Just to clarify, I don't entirely disagree with your point about being an individual. It's an important thing to recognise, but only one of many things. We don't necessarily need to stop there and say "all my thinking is now done".

    Out of curiosity, what is an individual to you? Do you accept all individuals are unique? When do individuals attain rights? Do they need to be human? Do they need to be self-aware? Do they need to be born? Do they need to have brain activity?

    Is it ever permissible for individuals to be the property of others?

  7. Zen

    The day that all a man's thinking is done, is the day he is dead.

    Individual men are unique in that each is different. Although they do share many attributes, some attributes differ between them.

    Individual Rights are a right to act. They are negative obligations or recognitions. For example, I recognise you think for yourself. I recognise you live your life according to decisions you make, according to what you think. You have a right to so do. I do not act to prevent this. I can try tp persuade you to do something different from that which you have decided. I can try to persuade you to alter your thinking but providing you do not attempt to force me to do as you may want I do nothing to force you to alter your cpourse. I can't initiate force against you. I am recognising I must not interfere with your right to liberty.

    Only humans have Individual Rights.

    To have such a right you must be self aware. A right is a right to act.

    You need to be born.

    You need to have brain activity.

    In general one man is not the property of others. He certainly should not be if he disagrees.



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