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Whereas pragmatist might try to figure out how to solve public policy issues of their time and situation using evidence and reason, philosophy espouses the idea that "packages" of ideas such as "The Non-Aggression Principle" or "Dialectal Materialism" are always correct and can solve any issue regardless of time or place. Instead of trying to solve a problem using reason and logic, ideology urges us to come up with a universal answer and try to prove it later (reminds me of religion). Examples...

Objectivism: Non-Aggression Principle (belief) ---> Government shouldn't fight climate change (policy)

Marxism: Dialectical Materialism (belief) ---> Workers of the world unite (policy)

Christianity: God exist (belief) ---> world is 6000 years old (policy)

Pragmatism: Climate change is an issue (problem) ---> research solutions (evidence) ---> that work for 2014 (policy)

To me the idea of philosophy guiding us with ideas conjured up in our brains rather than evidence and reason is a silly and unreasonable way to go about life because we make these grand assumptions about reality (capitalism always works) that simply aren't true or based on rigorous research.

asked May 30 '14 at 20:31

TheBucket's gravatar image


edited May 31 '14 at 11:33

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

This is one of the most ignorant posts I've ever read. And that's saying a lot. Philosophy can be disconnected from reality, like Plato's nonsense. But a proper Philosophy will strive to say connected to reality.

The notion that Philosophy is of no practice use, is so ignorant, it boggles the mind. How ignorant? The statement that philosophy is of no practical use in reality, is itself a philosophy.

Where in the world did you get the notion that the nonaggression principle means government shouldn't fight climate change policy? That indicates you have no idea what the NAP is.

(May 31 '14 at 01:01) KineticPhilosophy KineticPhilosophy's gravatar image

And a special mention has to be made to the utter blockheaded nature of someone deriding and insulting philosophy, yet espousing reason and logic, when both reason and logic are subsumed within philosophy.

Easily one of the dumbest posts I've ever read. And again, that is saying a lot.

(May 31 '14 at 01:03) KineticPhilosophy KineticPhilosophy's gravatar image

Uhh...thank you for your comment? I was merely criticizing the idea that one can develop "a proper Philosophy will strive to say connected to reality" (KineticPhilosophy May 31, 2014) in the first place. You can't possibly hope to develop a central universal idea which can possibly work all the time in every context. Various policies work in various locations at various points in time rather than a neat little "proper" philosophical code.

(May 31 '14 at 01:35) TheBucket TheBucket's gravatar image
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...pragmatist[sic] might try to figure out how to solve public policy issues of their time and situation using evidence and reason...

Pragmatism actually means rejecting reason and evidence and trying to rely instead on expediency of the moment. The question misstates what pragmatism is. Refer to the topic of "Pragmatism" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon for further explanation.

...philosophy espouses the idea that "packages" of ideas ... are always correct and can solve any issue regardless of time or place.

This may be true of other philosophies, but it is not an accurate description of Objectivism. "Packages" here seems to refer to integration; but Leonard Peikoff's book, The DIM Hypothesis, teaches that the "integration" offered by most non-Objectivist philosophies (and religions) is actually misintegration -- integration based on a priori ideas that have no connection to reality and probably don't recognize the concept of reality as an objective, absolute existence. Objectivism, in contrast, is an 'I' system -- true integration, harmonious integration with reality and reason. (Pragmatism, incidentally, denies that such a thing as objective 'I' is possible, and opposes misintegration in favor of disintegration.)

Instead of trying to solve a problem using reason and logic, ideology urges us to come up with a universal answer and try to prove it later....

This is a good description of misintegration again. Objectivism, however, is integration ('I', not 'M'). Objectivism strongly and consistently advocates the use of reason and evidence to define accurately what is or is not a "problem" and why, and to identify effective solutions (if the situation is objectively classifiable as a "problem" for man in the first place).

Regarding "climate change," an objective assessment points out that it is a misnomer for the true meaning intended by those who propose governmental policies limiting or reversing technological civilization; that the actual evidence shows that the long term temperature trends on earth have little or nothing to do with industrialization by man; and that the trend actually has been a gradual cooling trend on average, not a warming trend, if one considers a long enough timespan. This subject has been discussed before at length on this website. It's also an issue of evidence and reason, not a priori rationalism.

The actual meaning and immense value of laissez-faire capitalism is likewise an issue of evidence and reason, not a priori rationalism. There is intense controversy over what the evidence actually is and what it means, controversy provoked and stoked precisely by a priori adherents of philosophies of mysticism-altruism-collectivism-statism. It is not evidence and reason that concern and motivate the worst enemmies of capitalism.

In the original, unedited headline statement of this question, the questioner wrote:

Philosophy is abstract, disconnected from reality and of no practical use in reality. Change my view.

If the mind of a detractor of reason-egoism-individualism-capitalism is made up and not open to reason, Objectivism advises that it is worse than useless to try to change such a mind. Man is a being of volitional consciousness. If one choses to remain steadfastly committed to irrationalism, it's his choice and no one else can ever change such a mind if it doesn't want to consider being changed through evidence and reason. What one should do instead is target one's persuasive efforts toward the larger audience who may still be open to evidence and reason.

On the other hand, if it is really true that this particular questioner is still open to evidence and reason, then he thereby will have already taken the first step in the requirements identified by Objectivism as essential for man's life on earth. But that choice rests with the questioner (and with everyone else as well) -- and one does not demonstrate evidence of openness to reason by refusing to recognize Objectivism and laissez-faire capitalism for what they are, and instead refusing to consider the extensive evidence available from history, economics and related fields in support of reason-egoism-individualism-capitalism.

Again, Objectivism is a philosophy for living on earth, and thus proceeds from recognition of existence, identity, and consciousness (objective cognition) in defining practical principles for living a productive and happy life in this world, to the end of one's days.

Reality does not allow man to accomplish that through pragmatism. Man's basic means of cognition and survival is reason, which pragmatism rejects.

Update: Dogmatism

From a comment by the questioner:

You can't just say objectivist[sic] use reason and evidence to back up their ideas while actually being proven wrong with evidence on many issues (such as the efficiency of the market, global warming etc).

... [B]ecause you have accepted this "package" of ideas you cannot deviate from them at all (like a religious person).

The charge that Objectivists are dogmatists is nothing new in the history of Objectivism. As I noted, the 'D' outlook (disintegration) regards all integration as 'M' (misintegration) and opposes it in favor of 'D'. Objectivism, however, is an 'I' philosophy, but the 'D' outlook tends to blind its adherents to such a possibility. Meanwhile, in upholding reality, evidence, and reason, Objectivism provides a built-in antidote to anyone who tries to make Objectivism (or any science) into a dogma. Over time, dogmatists tend to drop Objectivism as the clash becomes increasingly visible and unbearable.

Those who are interested in the actual evidence concerning free markets and global temperature trends will find detailed discussions of both topics in other threads on this website.

Update: Complexity and Risk

In the comments, the questioner asks about "the chance of picking the right policy," whether it be pragmatism or a more consistent philosophy, with hypothetical, arbitrarily asserted "odds" of 2% for philosophy and 52% for pragmatism.

The questioner's comment depends on the expressions "correct philosophy," "right policy," and "more prudent." Man has no means to define what those terms mean without having an antecedent philosophy or religion of some kind to serve as a guide. Man is not equipped to approach every new situation in life as a brand new "blank slate" having no connection to anything else in existence.

The comment mentions that "the world is extremely complex." Yet the function of man's conceptual faculty (properly used) is precisely to reduce complexity to essentials. ("Properly used" here means appropriate to the nature of man and of existence, and of man's life in existence.)

If one starts with a foundation of existence, identity, and consciousness, and adheres to reason (man's basic means of cognition) at all times, why would one have only a 2% chance of being correct in one's identifications? And how else would one even be able to identify what is correct or not? Philosophical presuppositions are everywhere and always, wherever man exists, whether he understands it or not. Man's only choice is whether his cognitive methodology is consonant with the facts of reality and the requirements of man's life, or not.

Also, the questioner's reference to "risky utopia" sounds like a contradiction in terms. How can it be utopia if it's "risky"? And even "normalcy" (as in "boring normalcy," which the questioner evidently prefers) is highly elusive in turbulent times, too. One needs the integrations of a rational philosophy to identify where major trends are likely to lead and why, and how best to bring about a different outcome more conducive to the needs of man's life. Man survives by reason and logic founded on observation, not by guessing (or praying).

The reason-based approach has thoroughly proven its astounding effectiveness in the physical sciences and technology, underlying the whole Industrial Revolution. It has also shown its power in economics (Austrian and Classical schools at their best), although the conclusions of a rational approach to economics have yet to be applied fully in governmental economic policies. And Ayn Rand has shown how to apply the power of reason to ethics and political theory, as well. There is abundant, overwhelming evidence that a rational approach works when followed, and that the millennia-old traditions of mysticism, altruism, collectivism, and statism do not promote man's life on earth.

answered May 31 '14 at 02:07

Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Ideas for Life ♦

edited Jun 02 '14 at 21:49

But...advocates of objectivism are not using logic and reason guided by evidence on the issue of many things. You can't just say objectivist use reason and evidence to back up their ideas while actually being proven wrong with evidence on many issues (such as the efficiency of the market, global warming etc).

The fact is that many part of this philosophy are wrong and because you have accepted this "package" of ideas you cannot deviate from them at all (like a religious person).

(May 31 '14 at 02:21) TheBucket TheBucket's gravatar image

What parts of Objectivism are wrong?

(May 31 '14 at 02:54) KineticPhilosophy KineticPhilosophy's gravatar image

I'd say the theories on fighting climate change are clearly incorrect. Also the healthcare and education debate isn't clearly in objectivist favor. But even basic ideas such as externalities and monopolies, which most economist can agree on the basics, fly in the face of what an objectivist would do with those issues.

(May 31 '14 at 10:40) TheBucket TheBucket's gravatar image

There is an old saying, frequently cited as folly: Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong. Pragmatists, however, believe it.

(May 31 '14 at 17:22) Ideas for Life ♦ Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

Say you have the choice of adopting an ideology (philosophy) which is applied consistently throughout politics (objectivism, Marxism, whatever). But say you can also adopt pragmatist views based on how to solve current issues. Because the world is extremely complex (here's the important bit) the chance of picking the correct philosophy is say...2%... but the chance of picking the right policy for the given situation is say...52%...assuming this to be true wouldn't it be more prudent to choose the later? You have the choice between risky utopia (correct ideology) and boring normalcy...

(Jun 01 '14 at 22:18) TheBucket TheBucket's gravatar image
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Asked: May 30 '14 at 20:31

Seen: 2,171 times

Last updated: Jun 02 '14 at 21:49