The author discusses how Rand’s largely underdeveloped concept of the “dual-aspect objective,” first introduced in the 1960s, is vital for understanding how knowledge is grounded in reality. He defines it, then applies it to perception and introspection, and to concepts, propositions, and syllogisms. The author also defines content of awareness, carefully distinguishing it from both object and form of awareness, and applies those distinctions throughout. In addition, he discusses how truth is both dual-aspect and contextual, and he extends his discussion (...) in Part 1 of Rand’s “unit-perspective,” showing how units, too, have a dual-aspect, even on the level of syllogisms. (shrink)
The author contends that the Objectivist epistemology has lacked a viable model of propositional knowledge for nearly fifty years, due to neglect of Rand's unit-perspective view of concepts. This pioneering insight, he says, not only is an essential building block of her concept theory, but also welds together the three levels of logical theory and provides the clearest X-ray picture of our multilayered conceptual knowledge. Using the unit-perspective to expand Rand's theory of concepts, the author then devises a theory of (...) the proposition, giving considerable attention to axioms and statements about nonexistent subjects. (shrink)
The author examines the canonical Objectivist model of free will and finds it wanting, amounting to a form of Agency—Indeterminism. Employing an Aristotelian Four Cause analysis, he explores the complementary roles of determinism and free will, as well as the conditional nature of necessity and contingency, in understanding how causality operates in the human realm. He proposes an integration of what he calls “value-determinism” and “conditional free will,” arguing that it amounts to a basic axiom of human choice and action, (...) and urges its acceptance in place of the Orthodox Objectivist view of free will. (shrink)
In this third installment of his series on key, underappreciated ideas in Ayn Rand's epistemology, the author discusses the nature of differentiation and integration as the functional essence of consciousness and applies that insight to various cognitive and noncognitive processes of awareness, with a special emphasis on logic and illogic. He offers an extended analysis of the fallacies of “Frozen Abstraction” and “False Alternative,” as well as critiques of a long-standing Objectivist conflation of falsity and contradiction and a relatively more (...) recent Objectivist error, the fallacy of “genuine awareness.”. (shrink)
The author provides another metaphysical argument to bolster his thesis of the logical harmony of determinism and volition. He shows how the typical mainstream and Objectivist doctrine of “libertarian” free will commits the same logical error as the Sophist attacks on the Law of Non-Contradiction—namely, an out-of-context interpretation of, respectively, the Law of Causality and the Law of Identity as being unconditional absolutes, which they are not and cannot be.
In two studies, we explored the frequency and phenomenology of musical imagery. Study 1 used retrospective reports of musical imagery to assess the contribution of individual differences to imagery characteristics. Study 2 used an experience sampling design to assess the phenomenology of musical imagery over the course of one week in a sample of musicians and non-musicians. Both studies found episodes of musical imagery to be common and positive: people rarely wanted such experiences to end and often heard music that (...) was personally meaningful. Several variables predicted musical imagery, including personality, musical preferences, and positive mood. Musicians tended to hear musical imagery more often, but they reported less frequent episodes of deliberately-generated imagery. Taken together, the present research provides new insights into individual differences in musical imagery, and it supports the emerging view that such experiences are common, positive, and more voluntary than previously recognized. (shrink)
The author assures readers that Chris Matthew Sciabarra has met all Aristotelian requirements in full, providing not one but two definitions of “dialectics,” which, as the art of context-keeping, is indeed an essential part of Ayn Rand's philosophical method. He shows how Sciabarra's definitional process compares quite favorably in terms of timeliness, transparency, and benevolence to that of Rand and other Objectivists, and notes that Sciabarra's overriding concern, notwithstanding his obvious great respect for Rand's substantive philosophical achievements, has been to (...) identify and clarify the methods she and other thinkers have used to profound benefit. (shrink)
The author explains that his previous philosophical arguments for compatibilism provide a robust basis for ethical and legal responsibility. He defends entity causation, arguing that no coherent model of the universe, including human action, can be formulated that rejects entities as the nexus of identity and causality. Finally, he contends, ontological compatibilism and ethical compatibilism are both best supported by a more fundamental methodological compatibilism of philosophical and scientific approaches to seeking truth.
The author argues that Rand’s ethical theory is much closer in essence to the eudaimonist, self-perfectionist perspectives of Aristotle and the neo-Aristotelians, Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen, than to the “selfish,” egoistic ethics many assume to be her basic position. He discusses Rand’s anti-hedonist and pro-rational selfishness positions as corollaries of man’s life as the standard of moral value, as well as Rand’s point that treating either happiness or personal benefit as the standard of moral value is a reversal (...) of cause and effect. He also identifies the oppressive negativism in Rand’s discussion of the seven canonical Objectivist virtues. (shrink)
The author explains how Rand was absolutely correct in saying that Aristotle “stated the formula” of the Law of Identity. He corrects long-standing faulty Thomist criticisms on this issue and gives due credit to thinkers such as Antonius Andreas, Leibniz, and William Hamilton. The author further contends that the gradual shift in Objectivist usage of the Law of Identity tacitly ratifies these erroneous criticisms and has actually contributed to the failure of Objectivist thinkers to develop Rand's concept theory into a (...) valid model of propositions and syllogisms. (shrink)
Clear-eyed and foundational, Roger Olson's The Essentials of Christian Thought outlines the most basic, necessary principles of a Christian outlook on the world---principles without which no thinking can properly be viewed as Christian.
This paper pursues two tasks: first, to criticize a number of prominent contemporary interpretations of the Pyrrhonism of Sextus Empiricus, especially Jonathan Barnes’s; and second, to outline an alternative interpretation of Sextus that (a) reconciles the opposing sides of the long-standing dispute over the scope of Pyrrhonian suspension of judgment, and (b) suggests a sympathetic alternative to some of the most influential accounts of the Pyrrhonian way of life.
I argue in this paper that, like the Pyrrhonism of Sextus Empiricus, Wittgenstein’s response to negative–dogmatic skepticism in On Certainty turns on the attempt to free us from the demands of traditional philosophy and is therefore not a philosophical position, strictly speaking. Rather, it is a therapeutic metaphilosophy designed to bring into view the relationship between our everyday epistemic practices and those of philosophy such that we simultaneously come to recognize what I call the pragmatic–transcendental self–standingness of the everyday and (...) its philosophical–rational groundlessness. The Pyrrhonian illumination of the everyday is therapeutic in that it aims to purify our metadoxastic attitudes of dogmatism. (shrink)