By the nature of the following refutation of determinism, it can also be considered a proof (1) of (libertarian-type) volition. It is a refutation of any theory that would deny the existence of non-necessitated events–in the form of fundamental, agent-controlled choices–located in a conceptual consciousness, including incompatibilist determinism and compatibilism.
Here is a short video (by someone else) explaining the general outlines of the argument:
(1) The argument shows that volition is a prerequisite of all knowledge and that the denial of volitional choice implies self-contradiction, thus establishing volitional choice as an axiom of epistemology. Strictly speaking, I think, by Leonard Peikoff’s definitions, this is not a proof, but an axiomatic validation. It establishes the axiom as absolutely and unquestionably true, but does not involve the specific process of logical proof of the positive proposition. The positive proposition is self-evident in each individual’s experience of existence.
A look at how our current crises are caused by too much government, and how Ayn Rand’s bold defense of free markets can help us change course.
The rise of the Tea Party and the 2010 election results revealed that tens of millions of Americans are alarmed by Big Government, but skeptical that anything can or will be done to stop the growth of the state. In Free Market Revolution, the keepers of Ayn Rand’s legacyargue that the answer lies in her pioneering philosophy of capitalism and self-interest -a philosophy that more and more people are turning to for answers. In the past few years, Rand’s works have surged to new peaks of popularity, as politicians like Paul Ryan, media figures like John Stossel, and businessmen like John Mackey routinely name her as one of their chief influences. Here, Brook and Watkins explain how her ideas can solve a host of political and economic ills, including the debt crisis, inflation, overregulation, and the swelling welfare state. And most important, they show how Rand’s philosophy can enable defenders of the free market to seize the moral high ground in the fight to limit government. This is a fresh and urgent look at the ideas of one of the most controversial figures in modern history – ideas that may prove the only hope for the future.
To anyone who is relatively unfamiliar with Ayn Rand’s ideas, but interested in solving our current economic and cultural problems, I encourage you to read this book. I encourage anyone who is very familiar with Rand’s ideas to tell friends about this book, loan your copy to them, or give it to them as a gift.
In light of the events in Libya and the recent anniversary of 9-11, today’s post is off the topic of Objectivism, so that I can alert people about the real nature of Islam and the Quran, (anyone who is still in the dark, anyway. “Quran” is also sometimes spelled “Qur’an” or “Koran.”)
To be quite frank, those Muslims who believe in Western freedom and who accept other religions/philosophies as political equals, are actually the ones who compromise and don’t take the Quran seriously. It is the violent totalitarian Islamists who are really living by the teachings of the Quran, as advocated in that book.
The following video discusses the violent passages in the Quran, and the common “context defense” employed by Western Islamic advocates. It is very logical, clear and well presented.
This is another excellent video discussing the stages of jihad:
It should be noted that I do not necessarily endorse anything else the makers of the above videos advocate. I regard all religion as false or arbitrary, and fundamentally as a force for human suffering. (The reason for this is a subject for another post.)
Here is another video that corroborates some of what was said in the first two videos.
At its core, Islam is a totalitarian, militant, expansionist ideology. It is engineered to achieve irreversible growth. Jihad (striving for the triumph of Islam in the world) is a religious duty of all Muslims. (Quran 66:9, 9:41, Tafsir Ibn Kathir 216, 217) The “holy strategy” of Jihad was modeled for all Muslims by Muhammad: it starts with taqiyya (deception of unbelievers) and culminates in wars of aggression by Muslims to conquer non-Muslims. The Islamic government then imposes “divine” Sharia law on everyone under its jurisdiction, ensuring a privileged place for Islam, and treating non-Muslims as second-class citizens. (It is illegal to publicly practice religions other than Islam in Saudi Arabia: churches and synagogues are banned.)
Under Sharia, the penalty for leaving Islam (apostasy) is death.
Again, Islam is engineered to expand. The radical Islamic terrorists of the world will not stop their war if the US pulls out of the Middle East completely. The radical Muslims of the world (of which there are many millions) will just be emboldened to take over larger and larger territories, with their terrorist wings looking for opportune times to attack Western countries. They will search for any excuse to become outraged and carry out “reprisals”: excuses like cartoons mocking Muhammad, or criticism of Islam, or failure of governments to uphold Sharia legal standards/punishments for Muslims or those they interact with. (For evidence, observe the behavior, statements, and self-imposed “victimhood” of the Palestinians and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza.)
The following article is not a general proof of the Objectivist principle that the initiation of physical force is destructive to human life; but it will show that taxation is equivalent to robbery and, when carried out for wealth redistribution, is actually more harmful to more people than the robberies committed by criminals in First-World countries. (A general proof of the destructiveness of initiated force does exist, and I may go through it at some point in the future.)
The Hypothetical Showing the Connection
If I have earned, say, $1,000 this week through my own labor, and another man comes up to me, points a gun at me, and tells me to give him the money, so he can pay his rent, is this robbery? Is it legal for him to do it? What if he tells me it’s for his friend’s rent? Is that robbery/legal? What if he gets 9 of his friends and they all tell me I need to give him my money? Is that robbery/legal? What if the 10 men write up a document that says I have to give him my money, and they include me in a vote to affirm or reject the “law” that says I should give him my money? They all vote “yes” on the “law” and I vote ”no.” “Now,” they tell me, “we as a society of 11 have drafted a law that says that you have an obligation to give us the money. We have taken a vote and you have been outvoted. As a part of our society, you now owe us this money. If you don’t give it to us, we will imprison you at gunpoint. If you don’t like what we are doing, you can leave our territory.” Is THIS robbery? Yes, the same forcible imposition of the wills of others upon me has been made. Is it legal? Yes, actually; it is now “legal,” because a law has been voted on and passed. It is legal robbery. So, the question is: How many people does it take before this practice ceases to be robbery? A hundred? A thousand? Ten million? Continue reading →
Dr. Peikoff’s last work of philosophy/historical analysis,The DIM Hypothesis was released today.
From the Amazon description:
With his groundbreaking and controversial DIM hypothesis, Dr. Leonard Peikoff casts a penetrating new light on the process of human thought, and thereby on Western culture and history.
In this far-reaching study, Peikoff identifies the three methods people use to integrate concrete data into a whole, as when connecting diverse experiments by a scientific theory, or separate laws into a Constitution, or single events into a story. The first method, in which data is integrated through rational means, he calls Integration. The second, which employs non-rational means, he calls Misintegration. The third is Disintegration—which is nihilism, the desire to tear things apart.
In The DIM Hypothesis Peikoff demonstrates the power of these three methods in shaping the West, by using the categories to examine the culturally representative fields of literature, physics, education, and politics. His analysis illustrates how the historical trends in each field have been dominated by one of these three categories, not only today but during the whole progression of Western culture from its beginning in Ancient Greece.
Extrapolating from the historical pattern he identifies, Peikoff concludes by explaining why the lights of the West are going out—and predicts the most likely future for the United States.
After a brief introduction to Atlas Shrugged, this essay provides a very good overview of the alternative between altruism and egoism. While not a work of technical philosophy, it is substantial: it quotes philosophers and textbooks that explain the meaning of altruism and clearly differentiates what rational egoism means for one’s life, versus what altruism means. It also generally outlines Ayn Rand’s argument for life as the standard of value and for rational egoism.