Showing posts from August, 2023

The Case Against Randian Objectivism

This is a very brief debunking of Randian objectivism , as defined by Wikipedia. I fully recognize that this brief Wikipedia excerpt is not the totality of Randian objectivism. However, it is a decent summary. Rand described Objectivism as “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute”.[1] Objectivism’s main tenets are: that reality exists independently of consciousness; direct realism, that human beings have direct and inerrant cognitive contact with reality through sense perception; that one can attain objective conceptual knowledge based on perception by using the process of concept formation and inductive logic; rational egoism, that the moral purpose of one’s life is the achievement of one’s own happiness through productive work; that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embo

Theories of Knowledge

What is knowledge? How can an idea in a mind/brain represent something outside that mind/brain? How do images on a retina create the idea of a tree? When I see a tree, how do I recognize it as a “tree”? What is the abstract concept “tree”? How does this abstract concept relate to actual trees, and to my ideas of specific trees? Those are all questions that a theory of knowledge should answer. In this essay, I will consider various theories of knowledge, and whether they can answer those questions. In ordinary life, people take knowledge for granted. When they see a tree, they do not ponder how they know that the tree exists, or what the concept “tree” is. They just walk around the tree, or duck under its branches, and carry on with their lives. They leave those questions “to the philosophers” (and to the psychologists). But if we want to understand ourselves, then we cannot take those questions for granted. What is Knowledge? Knowledge is stored information that can be

Long Island Serial Killers

Image source On July 13, 2023, Rex Heuermann was arrested and charged with the murders of three women, whose bodies were found in 2010 on Gilgo Beach. Those murders are part of a larger cluster involving bodies dumped near beaches on Long Island, NY. Long Island is appropriately named. It is 118 miles long, and roughly 20 miles wide for most of its length. From southwest to northeast, it contains Brooklyn and Queens (boroughs of New York City), Nassau county and Suffolk county. Brooklyn and Queens are highly urban, Nassau county is suburban, and Suffolk county is rural/exurban. As a whole, the island contains over 8 million people, with the majority living in the southwest. Long Island has barrier islands on its Atlantic side, which are long thin islands of sand created by waves and tidal currents. Two are important for this story: Jones Beach Island and Fire Island. Gilgo Beach is on Jones Beach Island. Despite being close to New York city, parts of these barrier islands are very