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TheWorldOfParmenides Reddit Conversation

TheWorldOfParmenides is a reddit user who liked and posted some of my material. His name is a Karl Popper book title. He was talking with people hostile to Popper. I talked with him briefly, suggesting he might like to discuss on the Fallible Ideas (FI) forum and expose his ideas to criticism. Two weeks later he got back to me about the FI forum. Here is the conversation:

TheWorldOfParmenides: I saw the email discussion group. Decided against participating. Looks like what is discussed is not of interest to me at this time. I appreciate the invitation but grammar, Rand, Apple and image analysis are not interesting to me.

Your email group is not what I am looking for at this time. Good luck to you.

curi: You can start topics.

TheWorldOfParmenides: Looks like you also violate people's privacy and post their emails publicly if they ever leave your little group.

You also attacked David Deutsch in defense of a shoddy Philosopher like Rand.

Lot of downsides, no real upsides. Thanks again but no thanks.

curi: Well, let me know if you develop any counter-arguments to anything I said, or to Objectivism, instead of just ad hominems.

Also I didn't violate anyone's privacy. When you email to a public email group, your email is publicly available to anyone. There are archives of all the emails, whether someone left or not, which include the email addresses that sent every email. People can use an email address that isn't attached to your real name (many people do).

TheWorldOfParmenides: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

You should read what an ad-hominem is before you talk about things you don't understand.

Better yet, spend 2 years as intellectual historian and read actual philosophers and realize that Objectivism stole from some of the best and Rand added her own poorly thought out ideas.

There is a reason that Rand is not taken seriously by professional Philosophers.

The fact that you thought what I said was ad-hom. Typically, (don't feel too bad this is very common) Randians have a very hard time separating ideas from people. If you do embark in an intellectual journey you'll quickly realize this.

Good luck!


I posted this to document what people are like. I want to be able to refer to it as an example later. This kind of stuff is pretty typical. It's a major problem with the world. It's hard to find any halfway rational thinkers. Also I suggest that people try analyzing the discussion in comments.


Update: He messaged me again after I posted this:

You immediately proved my point by you posting a private conversation on your website.

You Randians are so predictable. I say jump and you ask how high.

I don't know why he thinks messaging strangers on Reddit is private conversation. It's not.


Elliot Temple on September 13, 2019

Comments (36)

Attempt at analysis of above discussion (TheWorldOfParmenides parts).

> TheWorldOfParmenides: I saw the email discussion group. Decided against participating. Looks like what is discussed is not of interest to me at this time. I appreciate the invitation but grammar, Rand, Apple and image analysis are not interesting to me.

TheWorldOfParmenides chose some topics that do not interest him and used that as rationalization to not post to FI. There are plenty of threads that discuss ideas of Popper and DD, if that is what interests TheWorldOfParmenides.

> curi: You can start topics.

Curi also criticizes TheWorldOfParmenides's argument for not wanting to participate to FI.

TheWorldOfParmenides drops the "no interesting topics on FI" argument.

> TheWorldOfParmenides: Looks like you also violate people's privacy and post their emails publicly if they ever leave your little group.

TheWorldOfParmenides changes from arguing for "no interesting topics on FI" to a misinformed argument of privacy violation, which Curi explains (FI is an *public email group*).

"Looks like you also violate people's privacy" is referring to Curi's intentions (according to TheWorldOfParmenides). It implies that Curi has bad intentions. This is ad homimen (from TheWorldOfParmenides's link, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem):

"... argumentum ad hominem, typically *refers to a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character*, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself."

> [TheWorldOfParmenides] You also attacked David Deutsch in defense of a shoddy Philosopher like Rand.

TheWorldOfParmenides calls Rand "a shoddy Philosopher" and gives no arguments for why he considers Rand "a shoddy Philosopher". This is ad hominem.

> [TheWorldOfParmenides] Lot of downsides, no real upsides. Thanks again but no thanks.

Not sure what downsides TheWorldOfParmenides is referring to as Curi told him about availability to start own topics and addressed the privacy issue. (See below or OP.)

> curi: Well, let me know if you develop any counter-arguments to anything I said, or to Objectivism, instead of just ad hominems.

> [curi] Also I didn't violate anyone's privacy. When you email to a public email group, your email is publicly available to anyone. There are archives of all the emails, whether someone left or not, which include the email addresses that sent every email. People can use an email address that isn't attached to your real name (many people do).

> TheWorldOfParmenides: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

> [TheWorldOfParmenides] You should read what an ad-hominem is before you talk about things you don't understand.

Calling Rand "a shoddy Philosopher" and leaving out an argument as to why he consider her to be this, is ad hominem, as far as I can tell.

Appeal to Curi's intentions (posting e-mail address), is ad hominem.

If I am wrong on these two, please explain why.

TheWorldOfParmenides does not explain what was wrong with any of these two issues.

> [TheWorldOfParmenides] Better yet, spend 2 years as intellectual historian and read actual philosophers and realize that Objectivism stole from some of the best and Rand added her own poorly thought out ideas.

TheWorldOfParmenides gives no arguments.

Appeals to authority ("read actual philosophers") yet gives no information to who he considers a "real philosopher" or why.

"... realize that Objectivism stole from some of the best ..."

What did it (Oism) steal, and who are "the best"?

Philosophers build on previous ideas. Is TheWorldOfParmenides saying that this is stealing? Is it only stealing if Rand does it?

"... Rand added her own poorly thought out ideas."

What "poorly thought out ideas"? TheWorldOfParmenides gives no examples, so how can we know?

> [TheWorldOfParmenides] There is a reason that Rand is not taken seriously by professional Philosophers.

What is that reason? TheWorldOfParmenides does not say.

> [TheWorldOfParmenides] The fact that you thought what I said was ad-hom. Typically, (don't feel too bad this is very common) Randians have a very hard time separating ideas from people. If you do embark in an intellectual journey you'll quickly realize this.

Not one single example was given of the many stated statements throughout TheWorldOfParmenides communication.

TheWorldOfParmenides leaves with yet another ad homimen: "Randians have a very hard time separating ideas from people. If you do embark in an intellectual journey you'll quickly realize this."

Not a single argument against Oism or Rand where presented by TheWorldOfParmenides.

> [TheWorldOfParmenides] Good luck!

This is dishonest. Based on what TheWorldOfParmenides has written above, he is not wishing Curi good luck.


N at 1:21 AM on September 14, 2019 | #13511 | reply | quote

#13511 Yeah, I think you mostly understood it. Regarding this:

>> Looks like you also violate people's privacy and post their emails publicly if they ever leave your little group.

and

> "Looks like you also violate people's privacy" is referring to Curi's intentions (according to TheWorldOfParmenides). It implies that Curi has bad intentions.

I don't think whether or not I violate people's privacy is about my intentions. I think that's about the facts of my actions.

However, he's suggesting I do it for *revenge* to *punish* people who leave my group. That's about my bad intentions. It's also factually inaccurate (not that he brought up facts).

And he's calling me a privacy violator, which is a typical ad hominem like calling someone a bastard or rapist. It's something that could be considered in a truth-seeking manner (just like one can genuinely seek the truth about someone's parentage or what crimes they've committed), but he isn't doing it that way, he's dealing with it like it's an insult/flame.


curi at 10:00 AM on September 14, 2019 | #13516 | reply | quote

I've updated the post with a followup comment from TheWorldOfParmenides. In it he calls me predictable. Ironically, I checked reddit for the specific purpose of checking for a new message of that nature from him, which makes him predictable.


curi at 10:04 AM on September 14, 2019 | #13517 | reply | quote

> I don't think whether or not I violate people's privacy is about my intentions. I think that's about the facts of my actions.

I agree. I made an error skipping this step in my thought process, jumping to the below step directly.

> However, he's suggesting I do it for *revenge* to *punish* people who leave my group. That's about my bad intentions. It's also factually inaccurate (not that he brought up facts).


N at 3:59 AM on September 15, 2019 | #13519 | reply | quote

>TheWorldOfParmenides: I saw the email discussion group. Decided against participating. Looks like what is discussed is not of interest to me at this time. I appreciate the invitation but grammar, Rand, Apple and image analysis are not interesting to me.

>curi: You can start topics.

so curi refuted his "Looks like what is discussed is not of interest to me" point, and then he never responded to that refutation.

>TheWorldOfParmenides: Looks like you also violate people's privacy and post their emails publicly if they ever leave **your little group**.

so hes dissing FI cuz of the popularity of it.

>You also attacked David Deutsch...

criticism as violence.

>spend 2 years as intellectual historian and read actual philosophers and realize that **Objectivism** stole from some of the best...

>**Randians** have a very hard time separating ideas from people.

>You **Randians** are so predictable.

so he says "Objectivism" instead of "Randism", but he calls its followers "Randians" instead of "Objectivists", i wonder why.

>Better yet, spend 2 years as intellectual historian and read actual philosophers and realize that **Objectivism stole from some of the best** and Rand added her own poorly thought out ideas.

this sentence is hard for me to reply to for some reason so im gonna move along, i was trying to reply specifically to the bolded part.

>Typically, (don't feel too bad this is very common) Randians have a very hard time separating ideas from people.

why is he mentioning specifically "Randians" having "a very hard time separating ideas from people.", when he said that it is very common? i think its to make it seem like a criticism of a specific group, when its actually a criticism that applies to most groups, but hes just trying to target that specific group.

>You should read what an ad-hominem is before you talk about things you don't understand.

>Better yet, **spend 2 years as intellectual historian** and read actual philosophers and realize that Objectivism stole from some of the best and Rand added her own poorly thought out ideas.

>The fact that you thought what I said was ad-hom. Typically, (don't feel too bad this is very common) Randians have a very hard time separating ideas from people. If you do embark in an intellectual journey **you'll quickly realize this.**

so it will take *2 years* as an intellectual historian to realize that Objectivism "stole from some of the best", but if you embark in an intellectual journey you will *quickly* realize that "Randians" have a very hard time separating ideas from people. whats with the time differential?


Anonymous at 12:55 AM on September 17, 2019 | #13525 | reply | quote

> TheWorldOfParmenides: I saw the email discussion group. Decided against participating. Looks like what is discussed is not of interest to me at this time. I appreciate the invitation but grammar, Rand, Apple and image analysis are not interesting to me.

> Your email group is not what I am looking for at this time. Good luck to you.

BTW, throughout the conversation (even here at the beginning) TheWorldOfParmenides (WOP) includes social signals indicating that he wants the conversation to be wrapped up, e.g. “Good luck” and “Thanks again but no thanks”.

He’s not approaching the conversation with an attitude of trying to figure out if he should post to FI. He's not trying to do error correction on that question. Instead, the problem he’s trying to solve is more like “How can I end this conversation in a way where I can act on my desire to not post to FI while still convincing myself that I’m rational and smart?”.

> curi: You can start topics.

WOP didn’t address this refutation by curi of WOP’s concern. Maybe because WOP’s idea that the current FI topics are uninteresting to him was only an excuse he made up to rationalize his desire to not post. This concern about uninteresting topics wasn’t the *actual* issue keeping him from posting. So, when curi addressed this (fake) concern, it didn’t matter. It was only an excuse he made up, a decoy. And when that excuse didn’t work, WOP moved onto other excuses. Such as:

> TheWorldOfParmenides: Looks like you also violate people's privacy and post their emails publicly if they ever leave your little group.

“your little group” is mean; it indicates hostility.

> You also attacked David Deutsch in defense of a shoddy Philosopher like Rand.

Here WOP engages in name-calling instead of giving any arguments against Rand. Also, the tone here is people-orientation. WOP is saying you attacked person A while defending shoddy person B. What about focusing on ideas? WOP tries to come off as wanting to focus on ideas (he attacks Oists for judging people). Ok, so then why isn’t he doing it?

(Now, perhaps WOP does have written arguments to back up what he wrote here. But then why not link them?)

> Lot of downsides, no real upsides. Thanks again but no thanks.

> curi: Well, let me know if you develop any counter-arguments to anything I said, or to Objectivism, instead of just ad hominems.

> Also I didn't violate anyone's privacy. When you email to a public email group, your email is publicly available to anyone. There are archives of all the emails, whether someone left or not, which include the email addresses that sent every email. People can use an email address that isn't attached to your real name (many people do).

WOP doesn’t address curi’s explanation regarding privacy. Again, one reason could be that WOP’s privacy concern was a rationalization he made up so that he could act on his desire to not post.

> TheWorldOfParmenides: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

> You should read what an ad-hominem is before you talk about things you don't understand.

Does anyone know where he’s coming from here? Isn’t calling someone “shoddy” in place of giving arguments ad hominem?

> Better yet, spend 2 years as intellectual historian and read actual philosophers and realize that Objectivism stole from some of the best and Rand added her own poorly thought out ideas.

BTW, my understanding is that Rand gives Aristotle tons of credit.

Also, what WOP is doing here seems like ad hominem. Instead of criticizing the content of curi’s ideas with arguments, he’s trying to discredit curi’s character by implying that he has not read enough intellectual history. He’s trying to attack the characteristics of the source instead of criticizing the content of ideas.

If curi actually does need to read more intellectual history, then there will be flaws in curi’s ideas. These flaws can be criticized. There’s no good reason to try to discredit the source as WOP is trying to do. Instead, WOP can focus on criticizing ideas, which he doesn’t do.

> There is a reason that Rand is not taken seriously by professional Philosophers.

Of course, there’s a reason she isn’t taken seriously. No one is saying there is no reason and the situation has happened arbitrarily.

However, you aren’t supposed to read his statement literally in this way. You are supposed to read it through a social lens. When you do that, you see that WOP again is flaming Rand by implying that the reason she isn’t taken seriously is because she’s bad. But, as usual for WOP, there are no arguments, no criticisms of ideas. Instead, we just get attacks on people.

> The fact that you thought what I said was ad-hom.

This is a sentence fragment.

> Typically, (don't feel too bad this is very common) Randians have a very hard time separating ideas from people. If you do embark in an intellectual journey you'll quickly realize this.

More condescending flame of curi.

Notice that throughout all of this, WOP doesn’t tell us *why* what he said wasn’t ad hominem. Instead of giving actual explanations (note: if he had them, why wouldn’t he share them?), he wants to convey that he’s right and the problem is that Oists are too people-oriented and wrong to see it for themselves.

This reminds me of the Argument from Intimidation. VoS:

> The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion, under threat of being considered morally unworthy. The pattern is always: “Only those who are evil (dishonest, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, etc.) can hold such an idea.”

WOP wants the reader to think that only those who are dumb Oists can’t see that what WOP said wasn’t ad hominem. Instead of just giving an explanation as to why it wasn't ad hominem, he's trying to psychologically pressure the reader into agreeing with him.

Ppl rely on these tactics when they *lack* arguments. WOP is admitting his own intellectual bankruptcy.

> Good luck!

This seems dishonest considering this guy is hostile.


Kate at 10:13 AM on September 17, 2019 | #13528 | reply | quote

#13525 #13528 Some good analysis IMO.

> >Better yet, spend 2 years as intellectual historian and read actual philosophers and realize that **Objectivism stole from some of the best** and Rand added her own poorly thought out ideas.

> this sentence is hard for me to reply to for some reason so im gonna move along, i was trying to reply specifically to the bolded part.

For this, I think the main thing to say is he did not argue or explain his claim. He didn't give examples, details or evidence. He just *asserted* a *conclusion* (stole ideas) with no reasoning. He did the same thing with the conclusion that Rand's ideas were poorly thought out.


curi at 10:32 AM on September 17, 2019 | #13530 | reply | quote

TheWorldOfParmenides is now attempting to publicly harm my reputation and dishonestly defaming me. I think it's an attempt to seek revenge because I made a fool of him by quoting exactly what he said without significant commentary or analysis.

https://www.reddit.com/r/IntellectualDarkWeb/comments/cq0ex8/scholarly_criticism_jordan_petersons_sloppy_cite/f0m0yd8/?context=3


curi at 1:20 PM on September 17, 2019 | #13533 | reply | quote

It's a weird complaint, btw. Mises was a big Rand fan. DD used to be a pretty big Rand fan and still agrees with her about most stuff.

Also, TheWorldOfParmenides won't give any anti-Rand arguments...

Also, I take it he found my blog posts criticizing Sowell and Hayek. That's where that's coming from, I think. Those posts give reasons and arguments. But TheWorldOfParmenides doesn't engage in debate about the issues.


curi at 1:22 PM on September 17, 2019 | #13534 | reply | quote

>> There is a reason that Rand is not taken seriously by professional Philosophers.

>Of course, there’s a reason she isn’t taken seriously. No one is saying there is no reason and the situation has happened arbitrarily.

i read that thru a social lens and didnt even realize what the actual meaning of those words together is, until i read your response. i only thought of it as being a diss.


Anonymous at 5:07 PM on September 17, 2019 | #13536 | reply | quote

>> There is a reason that Rand is not taken seriously by professional Philosophers.

> Of course, there’s a reason she isn’t taken seriously. No one is saying there is no reason and the situation has happened arbitrarily.

I think the comma after the word "course" should be omitted.

https://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-punctuate-introductory-phrases/

> Emphasis: “Of course, she’ll be there, too.”

> (An exception can be made for this particular phrase: There’s a subtle but distinct difference between “Of course, you’ll want to do it your way” and “Of course you’ll want to do it your way.” In the first sentence, your is stressed; in the second, course, perhaps accompanied by a sneer, is emphasized, with a secondary stress on your — and likely an exclamation point to signal emotion.)

In my sentence above, the word "course" is what I'm stressing.

Here's more discussion on this point: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/348666/comma-usage-with-of-course

> Using 'of course' without commas can imply a refutation of prior skepticism. In these cases, the speaker emphasizes 'course.'

When read literally, WOP's statement conveys skepticism or the idea that he's answering some sort of controversial question as to whether there is a reason that Rand is not taken seriously by professional philosophers.

My statement implies a refutation of this prior skepticism. So, I think omitting the comma is better. I'm emphasizing the word "course", and there would be no pause in speech.


Kate at 8:02 PM on September 17, 2019 | #13540 | reply | quote

#13534

Is there a way to search on a particular persons posts on Reddit? I tried to look for any criticism of Rand by TheWorldOfParmenides on Reddit but I couldn't find any.

After that I tried to ask him in the very thread that Curi links to what his (TheWorldOfParmenides) criticism of Rand is, but my post got deleted because I only have 1 karma on Reddit. To post in that thread one needs at least 10 karma apparently. That stopped me from trying harder.

If anyone does find out what TheWorldOfParmenides's criticism of Rand is, please post the link and / or the reasons here.


Anonymous at 6:24 AM on September 18, 2019 | #13545 | reply | quote

https://www.reddit.com/r/IntellectualDarkWeb/comments/cq0ex8/scholarly_criticism_jordan_petersons_sloppy_cite/f16sk6h/?context=3

In the Reddit thread I asked TheWorldOfParmenides (TWOP) what his criticism of Rand is.

TWOP answered:

> By reading actual Philosophers and realizing that Rand is a pretender. Perhaps parochially useful. Her pro human stance is admirable, and the case she makes for capitalism being morally superior to socialism is admirable. Her misleading use of selfishness and altruism is completely unnecessary, and her inability to separate people from ideas is pathological. A trait picked up by her screeching followers and amplified. Name a "philosopher" with a more cult like following than her? Marx perhaps, Foucault?

> You can get more from reading Burke, Smith, Mises, Sowell and Hayek.

> She's an inductivist and doesn't embrace fallibility.

> You can learn why that's bad from Popper, and Deutsch.

> If you do happen to read anyone I listed make sure you read from the source and not from secondary sources.

My reply on Reddit (it might not be visible as I got this message from Reddit: "Your comment in /r/IntellectualDarkWeb was automatically removed because your account's total comment karma is less than 10."):

>> By reading actual Philosophers and realizing that Rand is a pretender.

> That's a harsh statement. Could you elaborate on your reasoning?

>As it is now it is just an ad hominem.

>> Her pro human stance is admirable, and the case she makes for capitalism being morally superior to socialism is admirable.

>I agree.

>> Her misleading use of selfishness and altruism is completely unnecessary ...

>How is her use of selfishness misleading and why is it unnecessary? You do not explain.

>Rand, on the other hand, explains what she means and why it is important in good detail. See e.g. "The Virtue of Selfishness" to read about her views.

>If you have already read VoS, what is your criticism of it?

>> ... her inability to separate people from ideas is pathological.

> I do not know what you are referring to. You do not explain.

>> A trait picked up by her screeching followers and amplified. Name a "philosopher" with a more cult like following than her? Marx perhaps, Foucault?

>How is this a criticism of Rand's ideas?

> You have not criticized any of Rand's ideas, only her person ("Rand is a pretender", "her [Rand's] inability to separate people from ideas is pathological"). Are you not doing what you blame Rand for: "... inability to separate people from ideas is pathological."?

> You have given credit to some of her ideas / positions though (pro human, morality of capitalism).

> As a Popperian and a proponent of critical discussion you know the importance of substantive criticism. Criticism should point out errors. What you have said of Rand so far is not of that character. For the most part you have expressed unexplained conclusions. How you arrived at them is not presented - no reasoning nor quotes are given. Insults (e.g. "pretender") are not arguments.

> Do you have any substantive criticism of Rand's *ideas*?

> Please use quotes when you present the criticism in that case.

>> She's an inductivist ...

> Rand didn't write too much on induction and recognized it had problems. I do not think induction is central to objectivism. Check Elliot Temple's podcast and other content here https://curi.us/podcast/popper-and-rand for more on this.

> If you disagree with any of this you can post your criticism. Elliot has engaged in this thread previously so he will likely respond to any substantive criticism of what he says and writes on these issues.

>> ... and doesn't embrace fallibility.

> I do not agree with your statement. Here are some quotes from Rand that are not consistent with your claim:

> Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (78-79):

>> Man is neither infallible nor omniscient; if he were, a discipline such as epistemology—the theory of knowledge—would not be necessary nor possible: his knowledge would be automatic, unquestionable and total. But such is not man’s nature.

> From Galt's speech, Atlas Shrugged:

>> Accept the fact that you are not omniscient, but playing a zombie will not give you omniscience-that your mind is fallible, but becoming mindless will not make you infallible-that an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error.

> See more here:

http://fallibleliving.com/essays/epistemology/135-rand-and-fallibilism

> More criticism of your statement, "[Rand] doesn't embrace fallibility", is covered in the above linked podcast ("Popper and Rand") and related links by Elliot Temple.

>> You can learn why that's bad from Popper, and Deutsch.

> Thank you. I have read Deutch and agree with the criticism.

>> If you do happen to read anyone I listed make sure you read from the source and not from secondary sources.

> Thank you. This is good advice. I try to read the original sources as far as possible.


N at 12:19 AM on September 23, 2019 | #13582 | reply | quote

>>her inability to separate people from ideas is pathological

Here's a link to share when ppl start on the usual, borrowed lines about Rand not separating people from ideas. I suspect that one thing going on is that ppl dislike the idea of judging others. (One reason is because *they* don't want to be judged -- see VoS "How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?".)

As for the link I mentioned:

http://www.peikoff.com/essays_and_articles/fact-and-value/

These ideas won't convince haters, but there may be better ppl who are reading and who may take pause and want to actually read for themselves *why* Rand thinks justice is good. I don't think any of the people (such as TWOP) who spout this stuff have tried to understand where Rand is coming from. If they understood Rand's position, they'd actually criticize her *ideas* on the topic. But they don't do that. Instead, they call her names. It's pathetic. (And, yes, I just judged them negatively, but *I also gave an explanation with reasons for my judgment*. That's what they don't do when it comes to Rand.)

Here are some quotes and some of my notes from Peikoff's essay:

Every "is", every cognition, every identification implies an "ought". This is because the whole point of identifying takes place within the context of man striving for self-preservation and for values with life as his standard. Of course, you must evaluate! **Don't you care about your life!** Cognition without evaluation is pointless.

Peikoff writes:

> Whoever understands the *Critiques*, yet urges “toleration” of Kant (or his ilk), or tells us to practice cognition on his ideas but not moral evaluation, has rejected self-preservation as a goal. He has rejected the principle of justice and the entire realm of moral value. He has said that man’s life or death should not be a ruling concern in anyone’s mind.

and

> FOR DECADES, onetime advocates of Objectivism who have turned into champions of “tolerance” (or “kindness” or “compassion”) have leveled a specific accusation against Ayn Rand and against anyone else who pronounces moral judgment. (Kelley a few years ago accused Ayn Rand and me of it to my face, and I broke off all relations with him.) The accusation is that we are “dogmatic moralizers” or “angry emotionalists.” Up to now, I could explain these attacks only psychologically, in terms of the attackers’ cowardice or psychopathology. But now I understand the basic cause; I see the attacks’ philosophic meaning. In the minds of the “tolerance”-people, there are only two possibilities in regard to moral judgment: moralizing or emotionalism, dogma or whim, i.e., intrinsicism or subjectivism.

> Such people literally have no concept of “objectivity” in regard to values. Their accusations, therefore, are expressions of their own actual philosophy and inner state.

and

> The intellectual corruption involved here goes deeper. The good, as I have been stressing, derives from facts; i.e., “objective value” is a logical consequence of “objective truth.” The man whose ideas are tied to reality, I have said, cannot avoid grasping at least their obvious value-implications. The man who can (or wants to) avoid it does so only through one means: his ideas are cut off from reality. In regard to theoretical issues, his very process of cognition is corrupted: it is rationalistic, floating, detached from fact.


Kate at 8:21 AM on September 23, 2019 | #13585 | reply | quote

#13585 Thank you, Kate.

I have pointed TWOP to your post.

TWOP's reply below and my reply to him. He dropped Rand and started to attack Elliot instead.

https://www.reddit.com/r/IntellectualDarkWeb/comments/cq0ex8/scholarly_criticism_jordan_petersons_sloppy_cite/f0oiygv/

>> (TWOP) It has been a while since I've read Rand so I could consider a more careful revisit.

>> (TWOP) However, note that the behavior that I mention is present in Temple's writing. For example, X person said this and I disagree thus X person is bad. He seems incapable of separating having a bad idea vs being a bad person. People are not their ideas, people have ideas.

>> (TWOP) Many, if not most, of his posts are X person is bad or in similar nature. This comes from things like Rand calling people who have ideas she disagreed with by things like poison, eg. caling Hayek Poison.

>> (TWOP) As you well know from reading Deutsch that there are people who claim to not be inductivists but are crypto inductivists. I consider Rand, and her followers to be crypto-fallibilists.

>> (TWOP) The cult accusations have some merit to them.

> (N) Rereading Rand and trying to _understand_ her would be a god thing. Context matters.

You could, e.g., discuss Rand with other people who have put more effort in trying to understand her.

> (N) Kate has posted some good information regarding Rand and *moral judgement* here:

[http://curi.us/2217-theworldofparmenides-reddit-conversation#c13585]

> (N) Note that it was _you_ who brought up and started to flame Rand. Then, when asked to present your reasoning for this, you chose to drop the subject (Rand) / evade any substantive arguments.


Anonymous at 11:50 PM on September 23, 2019 | #13586 | reply | quote

> You could, e.g., discuss Rand with other people who have put more effort in trying to understand her.

The above was part of the response quote. Unfortunately I wasn't careful enough and got it separated in the #12586 post above.


N at 11:54 PM on September 23, 2019 | #13587 | reply | quote

#13586

>>> (TWOP) However, note that the behavior that I mention is present in Temple's writing. For example, X person said this and I disagree thus X person is bad. He seems incapable of separating having a bad idea vs being a bad person. People are not their ideas, people have ideas.

Do you think TWOP is distinguishing between bad idea and false idea in his mind? I wonder if he (or others like him) are ok with saying “X person has lots of bad, evil, anti-life ideas.” Or does he think ideas should only be considered (tentatively) true or false/mistaken?

Also, he has said what ppl are *not* (“their ideas”), but he didn’t say what they are. And whatever they are, why does he place them outside of the realm of moral judgment? Where does he think morality and concepts such as good and bad even come from?

I think they arise out of the context of life — things that further my life are judged to be good and things that hinder my life are judged to be bad or evil. And other ppl *can* do this: they can further my life or hinder my life. Therefore, I judge them as good or bad from the perspective of life and self-preservation. (btw, is using the concepts of “good” and “bad” outside of the context of life an example of the stolen concept fallacy?)

VoS:

> Is the concept of value, of “good or evil” an arbitrary human invention, unrelated to, underived from and unsupported by any facts of reality—or is it based on a metaphysical fact, on an unalterable condition of man’s existence? (I use the word “metaphysical” to mean: that which pertains to reality, to the nature of things, to existence.) Does an arbitrary human convention, a mere custom, decree that man must guide his actions by a set of principles—or is there a fact of reality that demands it? Is ethics the province of whims: of personal emotions, social edicts and mystic revelations—or is it the province of reason? Is ethics a subjective luxury—or an objective necessity?

[...]

> It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.

end quote

>>> (TWOP) Many, if not most, of his posts are X person is bad or in similar nature. This comes from things like Rand calling people who have ideas she disagreed with by things like poison, eg. caling Hayek Poison.

Peikoff addresses this sort of thing in his essay. I hope TWOP reads the essay with an honest attitude. The issue is not a matter of "If I disagree, then they are bad." That's a mischaracterization of the Oist position.

Peikoff on how to judge ideas:

> THE SAME FACTORS apply in regard to the other main branch of moral judgment: judging a man’s conscious convictions or ideas. In judging an idea morally, one must (as in the action case) determine, through the use of evidence, whether the idea is true or false, in correspondence with reality or in contradiction to it. Then, in exact parallel to the case of action, there are two crucial aspects to be identified: the mental process which led to the idea, and the existential results to which the idea itself leads (which means in its case: the kind of action that flows from it). In judging an idea morally, it is not relevant whether its results are enacted by the idea’s originator or by his later followers. The existential issue here is: what kind of effects — pro-life or anti-life — will this idea have by its very nature, if and when men start to act on it?

The context here is people who are in love with values, including their top value — their life. They want to strive for the best life possible, which includes living in the best world possible. This is what Oist morality is about. One problem could be that many people don't get this. But if you really care about values and you understand that ideas have consequences, then you are going to evaluate ideas and their holders as good (pro-life) or bad (anti-life) and not just true or false.

Peikoff:

> The most eloquent badge of the authentic Objectivist, who does understand Ayn Rand’s philosophy, is his attitude toward values (which follows from his acceptance of reason). An Objectivist is not primarily an academician or a political activist (though he may well devote his professional life to either or both pursuits). In his soul, he is essentially a moralist — or, in broader terms, what Ayn Rand herself called “a valuer.”

Also, note that the judgment of falsehood does not necessarily imply vice. Peikoff writes:

> Now we must note that falsehood does not necessarily imply vice; honest errors of knowledge are possible. But such errors are not nearly so common as some people wish to think, especially in the field of philosophy. In our century, there have been countless mass movements dedicated to inherently dishonest ideas — e.g., Nazism, Communism, non-objective art, non-Aristotelian logic, egalitarianism, nihilism, the pragmatist cult of compromise, the Shirley MacLaine types, who “channel” with ghosts and recount their previous lives; etc. In all such cases, the ideas are not merely false; in one form or another, they represent an explicit rebellion against reason and reality (and, therefore, against man and values). If the conscientious attempt to perceive reality by the use of one’s mind is the essence of honesty, no such rebellion can qualify as “honest.”


Kate at 7:26 AM on September 24, 2019 | #13588 | reply | quote

I should have linked Peikoff's essay again. The last 3 Peikoff quotes in my message #13588 are from here: http://www.peikoff.com/essays_and_articles/fact-and-value/


Kate at 7:29 AM on September 24, 2019 | #13589 | reply | quote

#13586 TWOP was a *fan* of me. What changed? What does he think changed? Was it just that he was only a fan before he found out I like Rand (which I advertise all over the place), or is something else going on?


curi at 10:56 AM on September 24, 2019 | #13591 | reply | quote

#13588 The whole anti-meta-discussion viewpoint, in part, means *divorcing the discussion from life*. Have the discussion out of context of the people in the discussion.

But things like the interests of the people in the discussion, and the alternatives they could spend time on, and the dishonesty of the people involved, are relevant and important parts of life!

Life does affect discussions no matter how hard you try to separate discussion and reality. People have limited time and they get frustrated, bored, etc. They stop discussing for life-related reasons that they won't discuss because they only discuss abstract ideas. This prevents discussion from helping with their life problems, it prevents reason from improving their life.


curi at 11:00 AM on September 24, 2019 | #13592 | reply | quote

Discussion methodology and life methodology don't cleanly separate (and the anti-meta ppl are hostile even to abstract discussion methodology concepts, jfc). An example overlapping point is how much time to spend on what. Another is what emotions to have about what.


curi at 11:19 AM on September 24, 2019 | #13593 | reply | quote

> The whole anti-meta-discussion viewpoint, in part, means *divorcing the discussion from life*. Have the discussion out of context of the people in the discussion.

And if you are divorcing something from life and morality, then you're missing the whole point of thinking and doing stuff. Intellectual discussion is just a game to you.

http://www.peikoff.com/essays_and_articles/fact-and-value/

Peikoff:

> To such a person, intellectual discussion is a game; ideas are constructs in some academic or Platonic dimension, unrelated to this earth — which is why, to him, they are unrelated to life or to morality. Inside this sort of mind, there is not only no concept of “objective value”; there is no objective truth, either — not in regard to intellectual issues. What this sort knows is only the floating notions he happens to find congenial, out of context, at and for the moment. Ideas severed from evaluation, in short, are ideas severed from (objective) cognition; i.e., from reason and reality. (Those who know formal logic will recognize that the last sentence is merely the contrapositive of my main point in this article: if cognition implies evaluation, then non-evaluation implies non-cognition.)


Kate at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2019 | #13594 | reply | quote

> (btw, is using the concepts of “good” and “bad” outside of the context of life an example of the stolen concept fallacy?)

Do you know the definition of the stolen concept fallacy? Did you recall it to mind, in words, when trying to analyze this?


Anonymous at 2:32 PM on September 24, 2019 | #13597 | reply | quote

> Do you know the definition of the stolen concept fallacy? Did you recall it to mind, in words, when trying to analyze this?

I don't remember putting specific words to my understanding of the stolen concept fallacy. I think I had a gist in mind. I do remember briefly searching my VoS notes for thoughts on my question, though. I was looking for notes along the lines of ppl using the concepts of "value", "good", "bad", "ethics", or "morality" while denying the context that those concepts came from and are dependent on. (This was my gist.)

I didn't spend a lot of time looking.

Checking OPAR now, I see this:

> “Without an ultimate goal or end,” she continues, there can be no lesser goals or means.... Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life.” To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is worse than a contradiction in terms [it would be a stolen concept].


Kate at 8:32 PM on September 24, 2019 | #13599 | reply | quote

#13599 It seems bad that you study Objectivism so much but don't think to use the lexicon.

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/stolen_concept,_fallacy_of.html

If you consider the first quote from that page, you may be able to answer your own question. This question:

> (btw, is using the concepts of “good” and “bad” outside of the context of life an example of the stolen concept fallacy?)


Anonymous at 8:37 PM on September 24, 2019 | #13600 | reply | quote

I think that TWOP is being unreasonable in the discussion on Reddit.

TWOP's latest response and my final reply to TWOP on this subject follows below.

Thanks, Kate, for good contributions.

https://www.reddit.com/r/IntellectualDarkWeb/comments/cq0ex8/scholarly_criticism_jordan_petersons_sloppy_cite/f0oiygv/

>> (TWOP) I never dropped Rand. You seem confused. I told you already, Rand is a crypto-infallibilist as are her followers. No matter how many quotes you give me of Rand saying she's a fallibilist will it be otherwise. Think about it, I could say 1000 times that I am not a socialist. But if through my actions I support and push socialist agendas, I am a crypto-socialist.

> (N) Again: you present your conclusions without explanations and quotes. This (presenting conclusions without explanations) is flawed discussion methodology. Why should anyone accept your unexplained conclusions?

> (N) "Rand is a pretender", you say. Why? No answer.

> (N) "Rand is a crypto-infallibilist", you say. Why? No answer.

> (N) By answer I mean substantive arguments; not by an appeal to authority (e.g. "I say so", "X philosopher says so").

>> (TWOP) What do you think my example of one her followers was supposed to signify?

> (N) I wonder why you evade using Rand as an example. It was, after all, Rand that you were flaming, for no apparent reason.

>> (TWOP) Why do you think the behavior - X person has a bad idea thus X person is bad is important to point out?

>> (TWOP) What do you think the implication there is? What does it mean to be a bad if you have a bad idea? What does being good here mean then? A good person has no bad ideas? I ask again, why is this important to point out?

> (N) You wrote that you "could consider a more careful revisit [of Rand]". That was a good idea. You are dropping context. You are trying to argue Rand's concept of moral judgement without understanding it. As I was once told: one needs to understand the concepts before arguing them.

> (N) Useful links to start with:

> (N) http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/evil.html

> (N) http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/moral_judgment.html

> (N) http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/justice.html

> (N) As for Rand's view on Hayek, and more on moral judgement, here is a link with quotes from Rand's letters regarding Hayek:

http://clubtroppo.com.au/2006/12/30/hayek-shrugged/

>> (TWOP) Let me give you a hint, it is the epitome of anti-fallibalism.

>> (TWOP) If you can't keep up with this simple exchange I see no further reason to continue it.

> (N) You seem confused on Rand and unwilling to learn. Hence, I agree with your conclusion, there is no reason to continue.


N at 11:28 PM on September 24, 2019 | #13602 | reply | quote

#13600 I agree that it was bad to not think of using the lexicon. Not thinking of using the lexicon was a symptom of not wanting to put much thought into the stolen concept question myself at the time.

It felt like a side question that popped up, and I had other stuff I wanted to think about. Ok, if that's the case, I shouldn't have asked it of others. I could have posted my message without that question. And then later when I had more mental energy available, I could have looked into it properly if I wanted to.


Kate at 5:25 AM on September 25, 2019 | #13603 | reply | quote

TWOP's last and final response to me on Reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/IntellectualDarkWeb/comments/cq0ex8/scholarly_criticism_jordan_petersons_sloppy_cite/f0oiygv/

> (TWOP) probably too indoctrinated in the cult of Rand to see how bizarre your responses are.

> (TWOP) You keep saying I present conclusions without explanations yet every one of my posts had explanations and examples. Focusing on your cult leader Temple and how he behaves exactly as Rand did, and how her philosophy would dictate he should. (and as you're behaving now - assuming infallibility)

> (TWOP) You keep linking me garbage about Rand trying to Gish Gallop and have not countered a single one of my claims.

> (TWOP) You're irrational, as was your grand leader Rand, and is your current cult leader Temple.

> (TWOP) You could test your reality. Find something you disagree with your dear leader and bring it up to him, assuming you even dare, it won't be a productive exchange.


N at 10:12 AM on September 25, 2019 | #13605 | reply | quote

#13603 I brought up the definition of stolen concept because Harry Binswanger advocated memorizing the definitions of key Objectivist terms in his lecture on how to study Rand's writings. I thought it was a good example of where his advice was relevant and would have helped. I still suggest you try considering the matter with the definition in mind and see if it helps.


Anonymous at 11:08 AM on September 25, 2019 | #13606 | reply | quote

#13606 I think the answer to my question ("is using the concepts of 'good' and 'bad' outside of the context of life an example of the stolen concept fallacy?") is "yes".

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/stolen_concept,_fallacy_of.html

> The “stolen concept” fallacy, first identified by Ayn Rand, is the fallacy of using a concept while denying the validity of its genetic roots, i.e., of an earlier concept(s) on which it logically depends.

The concept of "life" is what gave rise to the need for concepts such as "good", "bad", and "value". Without living things existing, there'd be no need for these other concepts to exist. There'd be no need for morality.

So, using these other concepts outside of the context of life or while dropping the context of life is an example of using a concept while denying the validity of an earlier concept ("life" in this case) on which it logically depends. You are stealing the concept.

For example, altruism has stolen the concepts of "good" and "bad". Altruism uses those concepts while denying the earlier concept of "life" that those concepts depend on.

Consider: To be good means to act in service of one thing and one thing only: one’s life. Any deviation from this is, **by definition**, not good.

Someone wrote something like this on HBL. I like it. I added the emphasis.


Kate at 9:38 AM on September 26, 2019 | #13613 | reply | quote

#13613 You have given no argument that life (the earlier concept) is denied. You just asserted that it is. You appear to be arbitrarily equating using something outside the context of X with denying X, like you can't tell the difference between those two things.

It's like the difference between forgetting to take something into account vs. saying that thing is false.


Anonymous at 10:14 AM on September 26, 2019 | #13615 | reply | quote

If u try to use a checkers strategy in a monopoly game (out of context), that is not a denial of checkers.


Anonymous at 10:17 AM on September 26, 2019 | #13616 | reply | quote

#13615

> You have given no argument that life (the earlier concept) is denied.

To see how life (the earlier concept) is denied, consider an example, e.g. altruism.

First, maybe consider this, though. VoS:

> Let me stress this. The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is: Does man need values at all—and why? Is the concept of value, of “good or evil” an arbitrary human invention, unrelated to, underived from and unsupported by any facts of reality—or is it based on a metaphysical fact, on an unalterable condition of man’s existence?

My understanding is that Oism holds that the concept of value, of “good or evil” is not an arbitrary human invention. It is based on a metaphysical fact. We aren’t in a situation where ppl or moral codes can just drop the context (which includes the concept of “life”) and declare that something is a value to them or good for them and have it be so.

But altruism tries to do this. Altruism says that it's good to self-sacrifice. How can altruism call self-sacrifice a “value” or "something good” when these concepts are only possible because the concept of “life” made them possible? (As for how the concept of “life” made them possible, see “The Objectivist Ethics”.)

VoS:

> It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.”

I’m in the process of understanding this better, but the way I see it is that altruism is *stealing* the concepts of “value” and “good” and is applying them to something (i.e. self-sacrifice) that involves sacrificing values and diminishing your life(!). So, altruism is “using a concept while denying the validity of its genetic roots, i.e., of an earlier concept(s) on which it logically depends.” ( http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/stolen_concept,_fallacy_of.html )

> You appear to be arbitrarily equating using something outside the context of X with denying X, like you can't tell the difference between those two things.

I’m unclear on your comment. I don’t know if this clarifies anything, but as for “outside of the context of X”, I had in mind something like dropping the context of X. And the context of X shouldn’t be dropped because the context includes a concept (life) which these other concepts (W, Y, and Z; good, bad, and value) are logically dependent on.

And when you drop the context in the way that altruism does by calling self-sacrifice “something good” or “a value”, you *do deny* the role of the earlier concept “life” that “good” and “value” are logically dependent on.

Again, claiming A and B are good for you doesn’t make it so. Things are good for you *if they actually advance your life*. If you drop this context (which takes life into account), then you *are* denying the role of the concept of life.


Kate at 9:50 AM on September 27, 2019 | #13626 | reply | quote

#13626 You're making it complicated. You should keep it simple.


Anonymous at 11:06 AM on September 27, 2019 | #13628 | reply | quote

#13628 What point(s) could be made simpler and how?


Kate at 4:52 AM on September 28, 2019 | #13631 | reply | quote

#13631 That's the wrong method. Start simpler in the first place instead of making a complicated mess then trying to fix it.


Anonymous at 10:42 AM on September 28, 2019 | #13632 | reply | quote

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