Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

Diskusjon om psykologi, epistemologi og metafysikk (fri vilje, begrepsdannelse, o.l.).

Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

Innlegg Cuneax 09 Apr 2013, 19:34

Jeg snublet over en bok ved navn «Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality» av Scott Ryan (e-bok tilgjengelig her).

Det eneste som er skrevet om denne boken på forumet, er at forfatteren (blant et par andre) «er helt på jordet, de har ingen innsikt i hva Objektivismen egentlig sier.»

Kan noen som har lest denne boken raskt summere opp hvorfor den er på jordet? Jeg har dessverre ikke tid til å lese den (jeg prioriterer heller å lese bøker som presenterer Objektivismen i første omgang).
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Cuneax
 
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Re: Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

Innlegg Vegard Martinsen 10 Apr 2013, 10:56

Cuneax skrev: ...Kan noen som har lest denne boken raskt summere opp hvorfor den er på jordet?


Det tror jeg er umulig. Den er alt for "convoluted" til å kunne bli presentert i noe kort sammendrag.

Men Ryan skriver om seg selv i boken (s 390):

First of all, I am a theist (specifically a panentheist), and as far as tra-
ditional religion is concerned my primary loyalties are to Judaism. I do
not believe that the existence of God can be “proven” by argument if
this means arguing one’s way up to God by strict deduction without
assuming God’s existence in any way to start with. Nor do I think it is
strictly possible to show (as is sometimes argued) that the existence of
God is an absolute presupposition of all rational thought. However, I
do think it is possible to show that all rational thought depends on
absolute presuppositions which, if true, are best explained by theism
(and in particular by the theism of the Torah, at least on my own theo-
logical-philosophical understanding thereof, and all religions which
incorporate or presuppose it).




Men den som vil bryne seg på den "beste" Objektivisme-kritikken som finnes bør lese den.

Jeg har dessverre ikke tid til å lese den (jeg prioriterer heller å lese bøker som presenterer Objektivismen i første omgang).


Klokt.
Vegard Martinsen
 
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Re: Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

Innlegg Cuneax 11 Apr 2013, 06:30

Takk for svar. Har noen objektivister skrevet akademiske tilsvar til denne boka?
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Cuneax
 
Innlegg: 67
Registrert: 05 Apr 2011, 11:19

Re: Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

Innlegg Vegard Martinsen 11 Apr 2013, 06:57

Cuneax skrev:Takk for svar. Har noen objektivister skrevet akademiske tilsvar til denne boka?


Før Ryan publiserte boken diskuterte han sine poenger på forumet http://www.wetheliving.com (dette forumet finnes ikke lenger). Der var det spesielt en som forsvarte Objektivismen på en etter mitt syn overbevisende måte mot Ryans angrep, men det gjorde intet inntrykk på Ryan.

Han var meget akademisk og saklig, men jeg kommer i farten ikke på hans navn. (Jeg kan ikke se at Ryan nevner ham i boken.)

Jeg tror han var involvert med de folkene som drev tidsskriftet Objectivity: http://www.objectivity-archive.com/

Jeg vet ikke om noen vanlige anmeldelser av boken fra Objektivister.
Vegard Martinsen
 
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Registrert: 07 Sep 2003, 12:07

Re: Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality

Innlegg Vegard Martinsen 13 Des 2013, 10:03

Merlin Jetton (som kjenner Objektivismen) kritiserer boken slik (dette er hans anmeldelse på amazon.com):


1.0 out of 5 stars Epitome of ungracious, February 17, 2009
By merjet "merjet"

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality: A Critique of Ayn Rand's Epistemology (Paperback)
Mr. Ryan says he admires Brand Blanshard. In an online article he chides Ayn Rand fans to learn about graciousness from Blanshard. He does not emulate Blanshard with this book. He is the opposite of gracious to Ayn Rand. The book is full of derisive remarks like "Rand failed to consider ... ", "she carelessly thought ...", "she wasn't entitled to think ...", and all her ideas simply stem from a "fear of religion." He regularly and ungraciously misrepresents her, e.g. having her perceive an abstraction (p. 48). Witness the title. It's not 'Objectivism and Rationality'.

Much of the book is about the theory (or problem) of universals. Ryan raises the topic repeatedly, beyond annoyance. He claims it is an ontological, not an epistemological problem. Wrong, it's both. He asserts Rand is a nominalist in ontology but a moderate realist in epistemology. How can that be if the theory of universals is, as he says, only ontological? I offer two reasons. First he confuses the two aspects. Second, he portrays her that way to try to make her look ridiculous. He calls Ayn Rand's solution an "optical illusion."

He claims Rand didn't understand the problem. Given what Ryan writes about it, she understood it better than he does. He says he agrees with Blanshard on universals. However, Blanshard's position is far from Ryan's own confused one he calls "realist", and Ryan's use of "generic universals" and "specific universals" does not match Blanshard's. I think Ryan fails to understand Blanshard's theory.

Blanshard rejected the Platonic theory and the Aristotelian theory, both realist. He rejected "generic universals" (Reason and Analysis, IX, 28, 29, 34) and non-specific, qualitative universals for lack of sameness (RA, IX, 14). Ryan does not. Blanshard endorsed specific, qualitative universals, based on identity (sameness). Blanshard: "By a generic universal, I mean one whose instances are individual things or persons, for example, man, horse, or stone. By a qualitative universal I mean one whose instances are qualities or characters of one kind, for example, colour, sound, or shape. By a specific universal I mean a quality or character that is incapable of sub-division into kinds, for example, this shade of red or this degree of loudness in a sound" (RA, IX, 14). Note that Blanshard's distinction rests on different instances -- entities and generic attributes (like color or number, but not red or three) versus specific attributes (like red or three, but not color or number). Ryan's does not.

Blanshard largely agreed with John Locke about generic and nonspecific qualitative universals, based on resemblance (RA, IX, 34). Locke's theory is usually regarded as a conceptualist, resemblance one. It is anti-realist (contra Plato and Aristotle and Ryan). Indeed, it is much like Rand's. Strongly related to universals in nearly all accounts except Ryan's is essence, which he barely mentions.

Chapter 8 is about two views of reason. He starts with some quotes from Rand. Included are two versions:
1. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses.
2. Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses.

Ryan exploits this difference. I believe Rand was a bit sloppy including "perceives" in the first one. Her perceptual/conceptual division and other common ones like senses/intellect and sensation/reflection justify its exclusion.

He describes Blanshard's view of reason and judges it far better. He says somebody may judge the two views have a lot in common, but Ryan insists such a judgment is far amiss. His arguments are flimsy. One is that Blanshard wrote more than 200 pages on perception and Rand very little! The key element in Blanshard's view is to grasp necessary connections. Ryan sees hardly anything in common between Blanshard's "grasp necessary connections" and Rand's "identify and integrate". Indeed, Ryan's book barely recognizes Rand's frequent use of "integrate" (and its cognates) and the great importance she gave to integration.

Ryan devotes Chapter 11 to "primacy of existence" versus "primacy of consciousness." Throughout he treats it as only an ontological question -- the existence of God, idealism versus materialism, and the mind-reality connection. But Rand also presented it as a choice regarding a person's mental functioning, as a person's epistemological orientation. Ryan even extensively quotes Rand to that effect on p. 267. Even more can be found in Rand's writing to support said orientation that Ryan does not include. Ryan's commentary evades all of them. Contra the evidence that Rand's position on primacy of existence is far more than atheism versus theism, Ryan claims it is simply "fear of religion." I suggest the reader consider the opposite -- Ryan's philosophical motivation is simply "fear of atheism."

One more awful attribute of this book is it lacks an index. This is compounded by Ryan often referring to what he writes elsewhere without saying where or even indicating what he allegedly said.

I reluctantly say I did agree with Ryan infrequently, e.g. on measurement omission and some on the analytic-synthetic dichotomy. Most of the latter is based on an essay by Leonard Peikoff, not Rand herself, but I guess they pretty much agreed.
Vegard Martinsen
 
Innlegg: 7865
Registrert: 07 Sep 2003, 12:07


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