Thursday, 19 June 2008

The philosopher is in

Every week leading Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff answers questions at his website on everything from art to politics to sex.  This week's podcast includes questions on drug taking -- moral or immoral -- and on Mexican immigration into the US -- doesn't it irrevocably change the local culture?  Listen in here.

NB: Peikoff is not like your usual philosopher - he thinks in fundamentals, and always says what he thinks.  Here he is, for example, on global warming:

A: The global-warming movement is one offshoot of today’s mysticism and statism. As many have observed, it represents in essence the onetime pro-industrial Reds changing—with the same purpose, but to be achieved this time by different means—into the anti-industrial Greens. The global-warming call to statism will have harmful effects but, I think, the movement is going to be short-lived; too many people remember how recently we were terrorized by the prospect of an imminent, man-caused ice age, and before that by the doom of over-population, DDT, etc.
The danger to the West is not this kaleidoscope of absurd concrete-bound threats, but the philosophy which makes their common denominator stick. This is the very philosophy (unreason and self-sacrifice) which is the essence of religion
    The Greens offer no solution to the disasters they predict but sacrifice for worms and forests, a big and permanent cut in man’s standard of living, and a big increase in government...  The religionists, by contrast, offer as the solution to all problems a firm code of values, moral principles supposedly provided by God and proved through the ages...
    To compare ecology and religion in terms of the threat to our future is to fail to understand the power of abstract ideas. No political movement, however popular at the moment, can compete in the long run with a basic philosophy.   

See what I mean: firm and fully focused.  And he has a sense of humour:

Q:  Could competitive sports assist one’s education through the experience of executing concepts in action? For instance, my time as a wrestler, I believe, significantly assisted me in grasping concepts such as “integration,” “momentum,” “force,” and “accountability.”

A: Yes—but every form of action, if approached consciously and rationally, provides the same type of experience. Writing books, for example, helped me significantly to concretize concepts such as “organization,” “transition,” “drama,” “deadline,” and “misery,” to name just a few.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent speaker as well. Quite brilliant.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.