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Philosophical maundering

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Philosophical maundering

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right., er
So I did a bit of maundering on what bugs me about Objectivism, and I think that I can sum up my chief objection in one sentence: My hair was dark brown, and is now dark brown and gray. Yes, it's still hair, but it is not the hair that it was. If we consider the physical person as A, then A ceases to be what A was, as one grows older. If this was untrue, we all would still be small bald wrinkly persons wearing diapers, wouldn't we?
Alternately: Italy WAS the seat of the Roman Empire, but IS no longer. A ceased to be A, didn't it?

If you're someone who finds that Objectivism fits your worldview, please DO point out what you see as the logical fallacy here. I'm not seeing one, but that doesn't mean there isn't one.
  • (no subject) - grimjim
    • Actually, Objectivism isn't obsolete yet despite the best efforts of a lot of people; hell, Alan Greenspan is an Objectivist of some note, so one could certainly lay at the feet of objectivism the current economic meltdown.

      And yes, but if A is my hair, describing my hair as unremittingly dark-brown in 1988 (which was true) is irrelevant to the state of said A in 2009.
  • It's never the same river twice.
  • (no subject) -
    • Re: As Old Uncle Bill once said,

      I'm curious what you mean by this statement: it doesn't just jump up in my face and say 'OH HI HERE IS A SHORT YET PUNGENT ZEN-LIKE STATEMENT', so I fear I have to ask.
      • Re: As Old Uncle Bill once said,

        K'lihn-ton said this during the sex scandal inquisition. It made about as much sense in context as it does now. ;)
  • Do you mean metaphysical objectivism or Ayn Rand-ism?

    What bugs me about Ayn Rand's version: I am sympathetic to many-to-most of her conclusions. The way she gets to those conclusions is insane, evil and stupid.
    • I meant the latter. Metaphysical objectivism is a concept I am only passingly familiar with, I fear. If you have a good reference to throw me at, which is on the intertubes, I'd appreciate it.

      Ayn often gets to the right conclusion in very, very, VERY broken ways.
  • Ah, factor in time. As in, things change over time. Sometimes into other things. And so I suppose you have to look at its properties, and draw the line between "same" and "different" when things reach a statistical level of difference. And where that might be, I'm not sure. For many things, the name is what remains constant. San Francisco certainly has changed a lot since it was founded as a little settlement on a hilly shoreline, but it was and still is San Francisco, if simply by name, location, and convention.

    • If A is defined as 'the hair growing out of my head', then the definition of A has shifted over a fairly brief chunk of time. Heck, I have a goatee and two rather (to all reports) dashing slashes of white on the chin, at this point- I have it because working from home meant I could putz about without shaving for a few days, which led me to going '...hey, what the hell, where'd YOU two come from?' and growing them out to see how they looked as a goatee.

      I grew out a goatee about 4 years back, and those streaks weren't there. So... where does A become not-A?
  • The big thing that immediately sprang to mind was that you're confusing identity with causation.

    A is A is meant to be short-hand (and boy do we love philosophical short-hand! Makes everything SO FUCKING CLEAR DON'T IT?!) for, and I quote, "The art of non-contradictory identification." A thing is itself, regardless of the changes that thing goes through. Which ties into metaphysics and physics, in a way. Matter cannot be destroyed, but it can be changed. The changes it goes through does not invalidate the fact that it is still matter.

    Non-contradictory identification does not automatically preclude future changes. It is simply the process of stating that it is. (Define IS hurr hurr.)

    Causation is the process by which a chain of events is identified and broken down, which includes the changes that an identified thing may go through in the course of time.

    So the Turner of today, with his smokes and his bald spot, IS Turner. The process of causation identifies how Baby Turner became Today Turner. And it will also encompass the Turner of tomorrow, with his jet packs and cyborg brain implants and flying cars.
    • Thank you so much: the equation's always bugged me on non-subjective grounds. So 'A = A' always is in the present-tense. Which is reasonable!

      However, the old koan about the blind men and the elephant, who come away assuming the elephant's several different things (a tree, a rope, a snake, a boulder) depending on what they touched (a leg, the tail, the trunk, the belly) comes to mind- not as a literal fact but as a metaphor. If my perspective suggests something's A and yours suggests it's B, when it's actually both A and B despite our inability to perceive that fact... then what? We are both actually right: it's like A and B in both of these particular situations, though it's actually C.
      • Well, you also need to keep in mind that the process of identification is its own branch of logic and philosophy. A is A was originally Aristotle's, in answer to the other schools of philosophy which abounded in ancient Greece which were chock full of breaches of reason. A is A is an answer to the school of thought that propounded the notion that there was a "spirit world," wholly unknowable from this one, that defied identity.

        And that koan is the perfect example of why the words non-contradictory are in there. Identification is not reached by consensus, but the word-symbols for them are. So while you identify the parts of a thing, you don't identify the thing itself until all the parts are unified into a whole and the appropriate word is assigned. Which takes us into linguistic analysis and it's been 15 years since I read a book on that so I'm way rusty.
        • ...okay. I get the logic thoroughly now. Thank you so much!

          I appreciate, btw, having a friend who's an Objectivist and who can have a sense of humor about her perspective on matters philosophical. Very, very much.

          Really, you should talk with your fellows about how being able to have a laugh at one's own expense makes people think you actually HAVE a valid point.
          • Oh, don't even get me started, dude. An Objectivist with a sense of humor is FROWNED UPON. Mainly because Rand has gone on record many, many times as saying that since HUMOR WAS SUBJECTIVE IT WAS BAD.

            To which I say, bitch, this dick ain't gonna suck itself.
            • Eeeugh. See, I keep reading HER OWN stuff and going 'meh'- but Matt Ruff's lovely portrayal of her in 'Sewer, Gas, & Electric: the Public Works Trilogy' makes me kind of think '...okay, see, this is just what reality made her be. She's not a bad person for that'.
              I'm not sure there's anything wrong with me finding something funny while someone else doesn't. Smiling and laughing are two things that humans do and nothing else on the planet that lives does: I'm fairly sure that means we should do it emphatically and loudly and often!

              Also, holy crap that icon is frightening.
              • Read her biography by Barbara Brandon, called, oh yes, "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It makes a lot of what she said and did make a HELL of a lot more sense. There is something dreary about the Russian culture...

                And that icon is not my fault.
                • The Passion of Ayn Rand.

                  Does this mean that Mel BrooksGibson hires Angelina Jolie to portray her and films her getting nailed up? 'Cause I'm ALL ABOUT that shit.

                  Unrelatedly, well kinda relatedly, I imagine you were aware that they're currently working on an Atlas Shrugged film, w/ Ms. Jolie as Dagny Taggart?
                  • Hahahahahaha no.

                    And yes, I'm aware. Been aware since 2003 when the first rumblings started. It'll get made in this town slightly sooner than the Apocalypse, but not by much.
                    • I've been toying with playing around with a pic of the Hollywood sign and making it read 'HELLYWOOD', lately. However- would you mind if I snagged that icon for my 'I'm at work, whee' posts?

                      Oh, just as a bit of data you probably don't care TOO much about: office is moving about a half-mile westwards from where it was last we saw each other. Minus side, I'll probably be going most of a half-mile east to find food (there isn't JACK around the new office as far as food goes): plus side, it's a leeeetle bit more towards your neck of the woods if memory serves. ;)
  • Oh, since I am getting terrible about remembering dates and such, I wanted to wish you a happy belated b-day.
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