Modernist Radicalists and its Aftermath (1991)
At the end of the nineteenth century social theories such as
Marxism and Durkheimian sociology could lay claim to a critical
role in public affairs. They promised a unique knowledge of
modern society which would fulfil the radical potential of
modernity. A century later these claims are no longer credible and
the prospects for radical social theory are uncertain. Modernist
Radicalism and its Aftermath investigates the ways in which
Marx, Durkheim, Althusser and Habermas were all caught up in a
paradoxical and fatal quest for foundational guarantees of
Stephen Crook proposes a framework for the analysis of
foundationalism in social theory and suggests a way forward from
the impasse of postmodernism. He identifies important themes in
the work of Simmel, Weber and Adorno, and in some postmodernist
theory, but points out that these are at constant risk of
regression into metaphysics or nihilism. The book concludes with
a plea for an alternative ‘post foundational’ radicalism which can
maintain the accountability of enquiry while facing up to the
contingency of value.
Modernist Radicalism and its Aftermath is both an interpretation
of classical social theory and an important contribution to
contemporary debates on modernity and postmodernity. It will be of
special interest to students of sociology, philosophy and other
disciplines concerned with social theory.
Stephen Crook is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of
Mysticism and Skepticism as Denials of Reason
Ayn Rand defines "knowledge" as "a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation." This definition, which the discussion so far has validated, can serve as summary of the Objectivist epistemology. It also indicates our rejection of two widespread viewpoints. Contrary to skepticism, the definition affirms that man can "grasp reality" contrary to mysticism. It affirms that such grasp is achieved only by observation and/or reason.
Mysticism is the theory that man has a means of knowledge other than sense perception or reason, such as revelation, faith, intuition and the like. As we have seen, this theory reduces to emotionalism. It amounts to the view that men should rely for cognitive guidance not on the volitional faculty or thought but on an automatic mental function. Philosophically mysticism is an expression of intrinsicism; it is the only way to implement the latter. Intrinsicism defines no method of acquiring conceptual knowledge. Such knowledge, it holds, is gained automatically, by passive exposure to revelations of some sort a process that results in one’s "just knowing."‘ This last is the mystical idea of cognition. In fact, however, since there are no revelations to absorb, the advocate of passivity ends up relying on the nonvolitional functions his consciousness does provide That is, he becomes an emotionalist, coasting on his past conclusions and the automatic reactions. They generate while describing these latter as the voice of God.
In practice, the mystic’s injunction to mankind amounts the following. "It is not necessary to question or validate your idea. Instead, take the content of your consciousness however acquired, as a given, which qualifies as cognition simply because it is there." This is an appropriate and unavoidable policy for the lower animals. Because their form ofknowledge is perceptual. But it ignores completely the nature and requirements of the rational animal. The mystic characteristically exalts the spiritual and deprecates the physical. Yet he upholds, as the cognitive model for man to emulate, the unthinking automatism of a mindless brute.
Reason is man’s spiritual endowment. When one rejects it, animality, or less, is all that remains.
Skepticism is an example of the "‘less." Skepticism is the theory that knowledge of reality is impossible in man by any means. This amounts to brushing reason aside as impotent— and more: it is a rejection of axiom of consciousness. The skeptic upholds as the model for man to emulate not even an animal, but (as Aristotle was the first to remark) a vegetable.
Just as mysticism is allied with intrinsicism, so skepticism is allied with subjectivism. If oneholds that mental activity consists in the creation not the grasp, of an object, he will have to conclude that independent reality (assuming he accepts the concept at all) is unknowable.
If mysticism advocates the promiscuous acceptance of ideas, skepticism advocates their promiscuous doubt. The mystic "just knows" whatever he want to believe; the skeptic "just doesn’t know" whatever he wants not to believe.
The operative term and guiding force here is "wants," i.e., feeling. Both viewpoints reduce to emotionalism; both represent the reliance on feeling as a cognitive guide. Both represent a denial of man’s need of logic and an enshrinement of the arbitrary.
Both the mystic and the skeptic are exponents of faith in the technical sense of the term. "Faith" means acceptance on the basis of feeling rather than of evidence. The mystic has faith that there is a certainty which eludes the mind; the skeptic has faith that the mind’s certainties are no certainty at all. And each clings to his faith with the tenacity of a religious zealot. Nor does either have any alternative in this regard. Both doctrines, if upheld al all must be matters of faith: a proof of either would be fatal to it.
A process of proof commits a man to its presuppositions and implications. It thus commits him to an entire philosophic approach—to the validity of sense perception, the validity of reason, the need of objectivity the method of logic, the processes of conceptual knowledge, the law of identity, the absolutism of reality. This approach is incompatible with the ideas of mystics and skeptics alike .
A God susceptible of proof would wither and starve the spirit of mysticism. Such an entity would be finite and limited; it would be one thing among others within the universe, a thing bound by identity and causality, capable of being integrated without contradiction into man’s cognitive context, incompatible with miracles, revelations and the other paraphernalia of unreason. Such an entity would not be an ineffable mystery transcending nature and science. It would be a part of nature to he studied by science, and it would be of no use whatever to a mystic. When Pascal cried: "Not the God of the philosophers, but the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" he knew whereof he spoke.
The same applies to the skeptic’s doubt. A doubt susceptible of objective validation would also have to be finite, contextual, and bound by the rules of evidence. Such a doubt would be one assessment among others within the universe of rational knowledge, not a supernatural anathema transcending that universe and annihilating it from without. A "scientific" doubt is of no more use to a skeptic’ than a "scientific" God is to a mystic. In both cases, the "science" contradicts the essence and purpose of the theory.
That essence and purpose is escape from reason—or, more exactly, escape from the absolutism of reason.
No one seeks to reject reason completely. What many men do seek, however, is not to be (in their words) ‘‘straitjacketed" by reason all the time, in every issue, twenty-four hours a day. It is to these men that mystics and skeptics alike offer a sanction and a loophole. "We all have the right," they say in effect, "to our own approach, our own subjective beliefs or doubts, as an occasional supplement to reason or breather from it. The rest of the time we will be perfectly rational." This means "We want a deal, a middle of the road. We want to take some feelings as tools of cognition. We want a compromise between reason and emotionalism."
In reason, there can be no such compromise.
If one attempts to combine reason and emotionalism, the principle of reason cannot be his guide, the element that defines the terms of the compromise, because reason does not permit subjective feeling to have any voice in cognitive issues. Subjective feeling, therefore, which permits anyone anything he wants, must set the terms; it must be the element that decides the role and limits of reason. Thus the ruling principle of the epistemological middle-of-the-road’er is: "I will consult facts and obey the rules of evidence sometimes—when I feel like it."
This policy goes far beyond an occasional assertion of the arbitrary. It makes the use of logic itself a matter of caprice and thus elevates the arbitrary to the position of ruler of cognition. Such a policy is not a "compromise"; it cannot he described as "partial" emotionalism. It is the full-fledged unadulterated variety. No emotionalist, however extreme, shuns every logical connection; none bypasses data acceptable to his feelings. What makes a man an emotionalist is the criterion by which he accepts an idea; to him, it is not the idea’s logical support that counts, but its emotional congeniality. This is precisely the criterion that governs the so-called middle-of-the-road’er. Such a man may very well invoke the recital of evidence; but when he does, it is not an expression of the principle of objectivity. It is a sham, a social ritual without cognitive significance.
In regard to such a mentality, the skeptic claims are true: the emotionalist is cognitively impotent and cannot fully trust even his better ideas. He has no way to know which conclusions are better or worse, because he has jettisoned the human means of knowledge.
To deny the absolutism of reason is not a harmless indulgence, like having chocolates on a diet. It is more like taking arsenic three times a day as the essence of one’s nutrition.
Mystics often say that, by enabling men to escape from the "prosaic" world of nature, they make life exciting. Skeptics often say that, by undermining all strong convictions, they make life safe The facts belie these promises. In actuality, since both groups work to undercut man’s mind, both lead to a single kind of result and always have done so. They lead to helplessness, terror, dictatorship, and starvation.
Whenever a man promises to lead you to a value, remind yourself of the fact that remaining in contact with reality is a requirement of achieving values. This will help you to resist the philosophic hustlers. It will tell you that the precondition of values is the use and absolutism of reason.
There are many epistemological topics that I have not had space to cover in the foregoing discussions. Among the most important is the validation of scientific induction. 0n the polemical side, I have hardly touched on the dichotomy between rationalism and empiricism, with the many false alternatives it spreads, such as "logic vs. experience", "deduction vs.induction," analytic truth vs. synthetic truth," "concepts vs. percepts," and so forth. I plan to treat all this material in a more advanced work on Objectivist epistemology.
Happily, we do not need to know everything in order to know what we do know. And now we do know, in essential terms, the nature of reality and of our means of knowledge. That is, we know what is necessary in order to move from metaphysics and epistemology as such to the next topic in the philosophic hierarchy.
We have studied in detail a single attribute, the faculty of cognition. Now we must study the entity that possesses it: man.
pp. 182-186 Objectivism; The Philosophy Of Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff
Overtuigingen zijn gevaarlijker vijanden der waarheid dan leugens.
zeer enge tijden voor de mensheid inderdaad :
de mensheid moet toekomstig "wetenschappelijk" machtsfilosofieen vrezen & die tegen gaan , alleen de combinatie geloof+wetenschap kan deze verdwaald mensheid redden ... niks anders, het juist religieus geloof tenminste combineren met de wetenschap... !
Vorm van het argument:<O</O
- theorie T is in overeenstemming met waarnemingen <Oook T' is hiermee in overeenstemming<O</O
- dus: er is geen reden om in T te geloven en niet in T'<O
Copernicus vs. Ptolemaios
Einstein vs. Lorentz
<Ogekunstelde theorieën; bijv. TN(v)<O</O
`curve fitting problem'<O</O
Sterkere vormen van onderdeterminatie:<O</O
Mogelijke antwoorden op onderdeterminatie:<O</O
- T en T' empirisch equivalent voor alle mogelijke (i.t.t. feitelijke) waarnemingen<O</O
- alle theorieën hebben empirisch equivalente rivalen <O</O
(eenvoud, verklarende kracht, voorspellende kracht, elegantie,...)<O</O
- het argument is incoherent, omdat de empirische inhoud van een theorie niet afgebakend kan worden <O</O
- niet-gekunstelde rivalen zijn er niet altijd; gekunstelde rivalen zijn niet relevant<O</O
- hef de onderdeterminatie op met niet-empirische eigenschappen<O</O
- aanvaard dat theoriekeuze onderbepaald is<O
Pyrrhoonse skepticus (Pyrrho van Ellis, 360 - 275 vC): twijfel aan alles; schort oordeel op<O
Academische skepticus: zekerheid is onmogelijk; aanvaard de meest waarschijnlijke proposities<O</O
Rol van de skepticus:
- ontkent dat we (kunnen) weten <O
- daagt uit tot onderbouwing van kennisclaims<O</O
Argumenten van de skepticus:<O</O
- droom <O
- kwade geest / "brein in een vat"<O</O
Skepticisme ten aanzien van:<O</O
- fouten, illusies, dromen <O
Antwoorden op de skepticus:<O</O
- externe wereld <O</O
- verleden, toekomst <O</O
- (bewustzijn van) andere personen <O</O
- inductie <O</O
- onwaarneembare entiteiten<O</O
- weerleggen <O
- skepticus is incoherent/onbegrijpelijk <O
En Geld zag, dat het god was.
Het belangrijkste economische inzicht in onze tijd is dat een kapitalistische economie geen vrije markteconomie is.
Kapitalisme is economisch inefficiënt, onrechtvaardig, verwoestend en terroristisch.
THE DUEL BETWEEN PLATO AND ARISTOTLE
The following is an application of Objectivism to a specialized field, history. I am offering this conclusion as a further indication of the power of ideas in man’s life. The material touched on below is discussed in the title essay of Ayn Rand’s For the New Intellectual. A detailed treatment is presented in my book The Ominous Parallels.
Ayn Rand’s theory of man leads to a distinctive interpretation of history. By identifying the cause of human action, her theory enables us to discover the factor that shapes men’s past— and future.
If man is the conceptual being philosophy is the prime mover of history.
A conceptual being is moved by the content of his mind— ultimately, by his broadest integrations. Man’s actions depend on his values. His values depend on his metaphysics. His conclusions in every field depend on his method of using his consciousness, his epistemology. In the life of such a being, fundamental ideas, explicit or implicit, are the ruling power.
By their nature, fundamental ideas spread throughout a society, influencing every subgroup, transcending differences in occupation, schooling, class. The men who are being influenced retain the faculty or volition. But most are innocent of explicit philosophy and do not exercise their power to judge ideas. Unwittingly, they take whatever they are given.
Philosophy first shapes a small subgroup: those whose occupation is concerned with a view of man, of knowledge, of values. In modern terms, these are the intellectuals, who move philosophy out of the ivory tower. The intellectuals count on and use philosophy to create its first concrete expression, a society’s culture, including its art, its manners, its science (if any), and its approach to education The spirit of a culture, in turn, is the source of the trends in politics. Politics is the source of economics.
Objectivism does not deny that "man's factors" are involved in historical causation. Economic, psychological, military, and other forces play a role. Ayn Rand does not, however, regard all these forces as primaries.
There is no dichotomy between philosophy and the specialized factors. Philosophy is not the only cause of the course of the centuries. It is the ultimate cause, the cause of all the other causes. If there is to be an explanation of so vast a sum as human history, which involves all men in all fields, only the science dealing with the widest abstractions can provide it. The reason is that only the widest abstractions can integrate all those fields.
The books of philosophers are the beginning. Step by step, the books turn into motives, passions, statues, politicians, and headlines.
Philosophy determines essentials, not details. If men act on certain principles (and choose not to rethink them), the actors will reach the end result logically inherent in those principles. Philosophy does not, however, determine all the concrete forms a principle can take, or the oscillations within a progression, or the time intervals among its steps. Philosophy determines only the basic direction—and outcome.
In order to grasp the role of philosophy in history, one must beable to think philosophically, i.e., see the forest. Whoever sees it knows that history is not the domain of accident.
For two millennia, Western history has been the expression of a philosophic-duel. The duelists are Plato and Aristotle.
Plato is the first thinker to systematize other-worldliness. His metaphysics, identified in Objectivist terms, upholds the primacy of consciousness; his epistemology, intrinsicism and its corollary, mysticism; his ethics, the code of sacrifice. Aristotle, Plato’s devoted student for twenty sears, is the first thinker to systematize worldliness. His metaphysics upholds the primacy of existence; his epistemology, the validity of reason; his critics, the ideal of personal happiness.
The above requires qualifications, Plato himself, thanks to the influence of paganism, was more worldly than his followers in Christendom—or in Königsberg. Aristotle thanks tothe influence of Plato, never became completely Aristotelian; although his discoveries made possible all future intellectual progress, his system in every branch retained a sizable remnant of intrinsicism. Plato’s followers included philosophers of genius, who finally stripped from his ideas every form of inconsistency and cover-up Aristotle’s followers—aside from Thomas Aquinas, who wrote as a faithful son of the Church— were lesser men, unable to purify or even fully to grasp the master’s legacy.
The first battle in the historical duel was won decisively by Plato, through the work of such disciples as Plotinus and Augustine.
The Dark Ages were dark of principle. As the barbarians were sacking the body of Rome, the Church was struggling to annul the last vestiges of its spirit, wrenching the West away from nature, astronomy, philosophy, nudity, pleasure,instilling in men’s souls the adoration of Eternity, with all its temporal consequences.
"The early Christian fathers," writes one historian,
delighted in such simple self-tortures as hairshirts, and failing to wash. Others proceeded to more desperate extremes, such as Ammonius who tortured hisbody with ared-hot iron until it was coveredwith burns. . . It would not be necessary to dwell on these depressing details if it were not for the fact that the Church erected these appalling practices into a virtue, often canonizing those who practiced them. . . .[St. Margaret Marie Alacoque] sought out rotten fruit and dusty bread to eat. Like many mystics she suffered from a lifelong thirst, but decided to allow herself no drink from Thursday to Sunday, and when she did drink, preferred water in which laundry had been washed. . .She cut the name of Jesus on her chest with a knife, and because the scars did not last long enough, burnt them in with a candle. . . .She was canonized in 1920. . . . St Rose ate nothing but a mixture of sheep’s gall, bitter herbs and ashes. The Pazzi, like the Alacoque, vowed herself to chastity at an incredibly early age (four, it is said).
Neither serf nor lord emulated these eloquent expressions of the medieval soul. But both admired them from afar—as pious, profound, moral. No amount of "practical" considerations can explain this admiration. Nothing can explain it, or the culture, politics, and starvation to which it led, except a single fact: men took religion seriously. This is a state of mind most moderns can no longer imagine, even when they see it on the rise again
For centuries,Aristotle’s works were lost to the West. Then Thomas Aquinas turned Aristotle loose in that desert of crosses and gallows. Reason, Aquinas taught, is not a handmaiden of faith, but an autonomous faculty, which men must use and obey; the physical world is not an insubstantial emanation, but solid, knowable, real; life is not to be cursed, but to be lived. Within a century, the West was on the threshold of the Renaissance.
The period from Aquinas through Locke and Newton was a transition, at gingerly and accelerating. The rediscovery of pagan civilization, the outpouring of explorations and inventions, the rise of man-glorifying art and of earthly philosophy, the alternation of mans individual rights, the integration of earlier leads into the first system of modern science—all of it represents a prodigious effort to throw of the medieval shackles and reorient the Western mind. It was the prologue to a climax, the first unabashedly secular culture since antiquity: the Enlightenment. Once again, thinkers accepted reason as uncontroversial.
The God of the Scriptures became the passive observer mentioned by deism; the miracle-mongers could not compete any longer with the spokesmen of nature who were sweeping the world with their discovery of causality, in the form of temporal laws that are ‘‘eternal and immutable." Revelation became an embarrassment; the educated had discovered "the only oracle of man": observation and the unaided intellect. Salvation as men’s goal gave way to the pursuit of happiness on earth. Humility gave way to an all-but-forgotten emotion, pride: men’spride in the unlimited knowledge they expected to achieve and the unlimited virtue (human "perfectibility," this last was called)
In regard to every philosophic essential. The ruling spirit was the Opposite of intrinsicism—and of subjectivism. The spirit was worldliness without skepticism. This means that, despite the period’s many contradictions, the spirit was Aristotle’s.
Faith and force, as Ayn Rand observed, entail each other, a fact exemplified in the feudalism of the medieval centuries. But reason and freedom entail each other, too. The purest example of this fact was the emergence of a new nation in the New World. It was the first time a nation had ever been founded consciously on a philosophic theory. The theory was the principle of rights.
Man, America’s Founding Fathers said in essence, is the rational animal. Therefore the individual, not the state, is sovereign; man must be left free to think, and to act accordingly. Unlike Plato, whose political ideas followed from his basic premises, Aristotle’s political ideas were mixed, they were a blend of individualistic and Platonic elements (the concept of "rights" had not yet been formulated). In the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that implements it, we see at last the full expression, in political terms, of the Aristotelian fundamentals.
Despite the claims, then and since, about its Judeo Christian roots, the United States with its unique system of government could not have been founded in any philosophically different period. The new nation would have been inconceivable in the seventeenth century, under the Puritans, to say nothing of the twelfth—just as, the power of tradition apart, its selfish, absolutist individualism would never survive a vote today (which is why a second Constitutional convention would he a calamity). America required what the Enlightenment alone offered, enlightenment.
The combination of reason and freedom is potent. In the nineteenth century, it led to the Industrial Revolution, to romantic art, and to an authentic good will among men; it led to an unprecedented burst of wealth, beauty, happiness. Wherever they looked, people saw a smiling present and a radiant future. The idea of continuous improvement came to be taken for granted, as though it were an axiom. Progress, people though, is now automatic and inevitable.
The last thing the nineteenth century imagined was that the next step in the human express would be Sarajevo and the metaphysics of nausea.
The whole magnificent development—including science America, and industrialization—was an anomaly. The ideas on which the development rested were on their way out even as they were giving birth to all these epochal achievements.
Since the Renaissance, the anti-Aristotelian forces had been regrouping In the seventeenth century, Descartes planted Platonism once again at the base of philosophy. Thanks to their intrinsicist element, the Aristotelians had always been vulnerable to attack; above all, they were vulnerable in two crucial areas; the theory of concepts and the validation of ethics (Ethics, Aristotle had taught, is not a field susceptible to objective demonstration.) These were the historic openings, the double invitation that the better intellectuals unknowingly handed to the Cartesian trend. In the penultimate decade of the eighteenth century, just when America was being born, that trend, unopposed, bore its fruit.
The fruit was the end of the West’s philosophical commitment to reason, the conscious changeover in the ivory tower from the remnants of Aristotle to his antithesis. The thinker who ended the Enlightenment and laid the foundation for the twentieth century was Kant.
In order to solve the problem of concepts, Kant held, a new metaphysics and epistemology are required. The metaphysics, identified in Objectivist terms, is the primacy of consciousness in its social variant; the epistemology is social subjectivism and its corollary, skepticism. This approach left Kant free to declare as beyond challenge the essence of the intrinscisist's ethics: duty, i.e., imperatives issued by (noumenal) reality itself. When Kant’s new approach took over Western philosophy fully, as it did within decades, duty to the noumenal world became duty to the group or the state.
Kant’s Copernican Revolution reaffirmed the fundamental ideas of Plato. This time, however, the ideas were not undiluted by any pagan influence. They were undiluted and thus incomparably more virulent.
Plato and the medievals denied Existence in the name of a fantasy. a glowing super-reality with which, they believed, they were in direct, inspiring contact. This mystic realm, they said (or at last its lower levels) can be approached by the use of the mind, even though the latter is tainted by its union with the body. Man, they said should sacrifice his desires, but he should do it to gain a reward. His proper goal, even the saints agreed, is happiness, his own happiness, to be attained in the next life.
Kant is a different case. He denies Existence not in the name of a fantasy, but of nothing; he denies in in the name of a dimension that is, by his own insistent statement, unknowable to man and inconceivable. The mind, he says, is cut off not merely from some aspects of " things in themselves," but from everything real; any cognitive faculty is cut off because it has a nature, any nature. Man’s proper goal, says Kant, is not happiness, whether in this life or the next. The "radically evil" creature (Kant’s words) should sacrifice his desires from duty, as an end in itself.
Occasional fig leaves aside, Kant offers humanity no alternative to the realm of that which is, and no reward for renouncing it. He is the first philosopher in history to reject reality, thought, and values, not for the sake of some "higher" version of them, but for the sake of the rejection. The power in behalf of which his genius speaks is not "pure reason," but pure destruction.
The result of Plato’s approach was a form of adoration. The result of Kant, in Ayn Rand’s words, was "hatred of the good for being the good." The hatred took shape in the culture of nihilism.
Modernist intellectuals are comparable to a psychopath who murders for kicks. They seek the thrill of the new; and the new, to them, is the negative. The new is obliteration, obliteration of the essential in every field; they have no interest in anything to take its place. Thus the uniqueness of the century behind us; philosophy gleefully rid of system-building, education based on the theory that cognition is harmful, science boastful of its inability to understand, art which expelled beauty, literature which flaunted antiheroes, language "liberated"’ from syntax, verse "free" of meter, nonrepresentational painting, atonal music, unconscious psychology, deconstruction in literary criticism, indeterminacy as the new depth in physics, incompleteness as the revelation in mathematics—a void everywhere that was acclaimed by the avant-garde with a metaphysical chuckle. It was the sound of triumph, the triumph of the new anti-ideal: of the unknowable, the unreachable, the unendurable.
In a Kantian reality, nothing else was possible.
Kant, surrounded by the Enlightenment, did not develop the political implications of his philosophy. His followers, however, had no trouble in seeing the point: from the premises he supplied. Fichte, Hegel, Marx (and Bismarck) drew the conclusion. Thus the two must passionately anti-freedom movements in history, Communism and Fascism, along with all their lesser, welfare-statist antecedents and kin.
Modern statism emanated, as it had to, from the "land of poets and philosophers." The reason is not the "innate depravity" of the Germans, but the nature of their premier philosopher.
Statism cannot sustain an industrial civilization Nihilism cannot abide it. Hence, in due course, another manifestation the growing attacks on technology, i.e., the anti-Industrial Revolution. It was the vow of poverty over again, not as a gateway to Heaven this time, but as a means to the welfare of water, trees, and "endangered species." The latter could be any species—except the human.
So much has been lost so fast. In no time at all, the West moved from "perpetual peace" to perpetual war from the rapture of Victor Hugo to the tongue in the asshole of Molly Bloom; front progress taken for granted to Auschwitz taken for granted.
Ayn Rand is to Aristotle what Kant is to Plato. Both sides of the perennial duel, in their pure form, have finally been made explicit Kant’s philosophy is Platonism without paganism. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is Aristotelianism without Platonism.
At this moment in history, the West is mutating again. The reason is that Kant as a cultural power is dead.
Kant is dead in academic philosophy; the subject has effectively expired under his tutelage. He is dead among the intellectuals, whose world view is disillusionment (they call it the "end of ideology"). He is dead in the realm of art, where nihilism, with little left to defy, is turning into its inevitable product: nihil (this is now being called "mininimalism" and "postmodernism").
Kant is dead even in Berlin and Moscow. As of this writing, although is tooearly to know, communism seems us to be disintegrating.
The collapse of a negative, however, is not a positive. The atrophy of a vicious version of unreason is not the adoption of reason. If men fail to discover living ideas, they will keep moving by the guidance of dead ones; they will keep following, by inertia, the principles they have already institutionalized. For the nations of East and West alike today, no matter what their faddish lipservice to a "free market," the culmination of these principles is some variant of dictatorship, new or revised—if not communist, then fascist and/in religious and/or tribal. Force and fate on such a scale would mean the fate of the ancients over again.
The only man who can stave off another Dark Ages is the Father of the Enlightenment.
It is true that Aristotle has flaws, which always gave his enemies an opening. But now the opening has been closed.
The solution to the crisis of our age is love, as everyone says. But the love we need is not love of God or the neighbor. It is love of the good for being the good. The good, in this context, includes reality, man the hero, and man’s tool of survival.
Some remnant of such love still survives in the West. Above all, it survives in the people of America—which, despite its decline, is still the leader and beacon of the world. This is the grounds for hope. A nation, however, is shaped ultimately not by its people, but by its intellectuals. This is the grounds for fear, unless some "new intellectuals," as Ayn Rand called them, can be created.
A philosophy by its nature speaks to all of humanity not to a particular time or place. A certain kind of philosophy, however, cries out tobe heard by a certain place first.
Objectivism is preeminently an American viewpoint, even though must people, here and abroad, know nothing about it. It Is American because it identifies the implicit base of the United States, as the country was originally conceived.
Ayn Rand’s ideas would resolve the contradiction that has been tearing apart the land of the free, the contradiction between its ethics and its politics. The result would be not America as it is or even as it once was, but the grandeur of a Romantic pinnacle America "as it might be and ought to be."
It one judges only by historical precedent, this kind of projection is the merest fantasy; we are arguably past the point of no return. America, however, is a country without precedent, and man has the faculty of volition
To the end of her life, Ayn Rand upheld her distinctive "benevolent-universe" premise. The good, she maintained, can be achieved; "it is real, it is possible, it’s yours." So long as there is no censorship, she taught, there is a chance for persuasion to succeed.
If no definite prediction can be made, she taught, then in reason only one action is proper: to go on fighting for reason.
"All things excellent." said Spinoza, "are as difficult as they are rare." Since human values are not automatic, his statement is undeniable.
In another respect, however—and this Is Ayn Rand’s unique perspective—the task ahead is not difficult.
To save the world is the simplest thing in the world.
All one has to do is think.
New York City—South Laguna, CA
pp. 451-460 Objectivism; The Philosophy Of Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff
Utility. In a broader sense, these are but part of the three eternal entities: Truth, Love and
Beauty. Truth--to the traditions of our Art, Love--for our fellow men whom we are to serve,
Beauty--ah, Beauty is a compelling goddess to all artists, be it in the shape of a lovely woman
or a building....Hm....Yes....In conclusion, I should like to say to you, who are about to embark
upon your careers in architecture, that you are now the custodians of a sacred
heritage....Hm....Yes....So, go forth into the world, armed with the three eternal entities--armed
with courage and vision, loyal to the standards this great school has represented for many
years. May you all serve faithfully, neither as slaves to the past nor as those parvenus
who preach originality for its own sake, which attitude is only ignorant vanity. May you all
have many rich, active years before you and leave, as you depart from this world, your mark on the
sands of time!"
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead: http://www.speedyshare.com/779805833.html
Meer specifiek: een, op atheïsme gebaseerde, variant van de Scientology Kerk.Hogepriesteres van de 'objectivism' sekte, een soort scientology voor beter gesitueerden.
Te vergelijken met jullie sekte op dit forum.
Inderdaad is het zo dat teksten van Ayn Rand zware kost zijn, maar de teksten van de eerder in deze draad opgemelde Stephen Crook zijn nog zwaardere kost.Ik zou me daar niet mee bezighouden als ik jou was, het leven is al zwaar genoeg.
De verstrengeling van onderdeterminatie (Durkheim-Quine!) en skepticisme eindigt wederom in het categoriseren van cultuurrelativisme als ideologie.
Het lanceerplatform om te onstnappen aan deze zoveelste gedwongen act in Circus Plato, is het pyrrhonisme met dien verstande dat ook de inmenging van "ware filosofie' in de "ware' sociologie (en de gevolgen daarvan zoals beschreven door Stephen Crook) uiteindelijk gekanaliseerd worden in het concept 'Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics' van R.W. Sharples geschreven in 1996.
Voorgaande driedeling (Sharples) is natuurlijk wel een 'proto-reflectie' vanuit het Hellenisme op de grosso modo driedeling van gereformeerden (Stoics), katholieken (Epicureans) en hervormden (Sceptics)in het heden.
R.W. Sharples, Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics: http://www.speedyshare.com/831536872.html