Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Natural Capitalism; Determinism, Compatibalism, Free Will; Wm.Penn

Naturalism and Capitalism are Like a Hand-in-Glove
In the Export of Individual Liberty
"Ever since [Bush speechwriter Michael] Gerson wrote for Bush the words “There is another destructive mindset: the idea that if government would only get out of the way, all our problems would be solved. An approach with no higher goal, no nobler purpose than ‘Leave us alone,’” the Republican party has been eagerly embracing openhanded government." http://us.mc590.mail.yahoo.com/mc/showMessage;_ylt=Am9Gzb3X1ZB_SKxLI.suGENjk70X?mid=1_4359_AP5kxEIAAMyJSMFMLAlD4WQJs48&fid=Inbox&sort=date&order=down&startMid=0&.rand=1553591601&da=0

Naturalism in economics requires capitalism. "Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights..." wrote Ayn Rand. "The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force." from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Now, coming from Rand, there are people who will automatically discount this idea of equating "freedom" with "capitalism," especially those who don't see the connection Rand or not. But, the initiation of force, as opposed to its use in self-defence, can never be justified, and thus is never moral. Man lives by reason alone, or he has no justification for anything, objectively speaking.

Then, too, there are those who claim that morals are relative, whatever that means. Actually, it means whatever its proponent wants it to mean; whereas objective morals are based in the nature of Man as the "rational animal," with the objective standards for his existence being those of "qua Man." http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/qua

"Capitalism and Freedom is a book by Milton Friedman originally published in 1962 which discusses the role of economic capitalism in liberal society. [ ] Friedman makes the case for economic freedom as a precondition for political freedom. He defines liberal in European Enlightenment terms, contrasting with an American usage that he believes has been corrupted since the Great Depression. " [italics added] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism_and_Freedom

"[Adam] Smith's great revelation was that political freedom would most likely emerge and persist under conditions of economic freedom, what we now call capitalism. Our democratic system as defined in our Constitution incorporated respect for this economic system.

"More than the export of democracy, it is the export of entrepreneurial
capitalism that can produce a new birth of peace and freedom around our globe.
Entrepreneurial capitalism is based on individual invention, and because wealth
comes from one's own initiative, it advances human dignity.

"And here is the good news. Virtually every country, whatever its political system, wants to embrace it. They have seen the success of the American economy.

"It has been said that when goods cross borders, armies don't. Today, China and India are the world's two largest countries racing toward entrepreneurial capitalism. They are the example and test of that thesis. Several decades ago, their armies clashed. Now no one talks of war, only of their economic emergence. Capitalism has promoted peace and, in China, better — though still inadequate — respect for rights." Carl J. Schramm; USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-06-27-capitalism_x.htm

"Capitalism is defined as, 1: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decisions, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in the free market." Mike Wasdin http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/wasdin/wasdin28.html

In the Academy of MN's blog's description of The Nature of Human Nature,
http://freeassemblage.blogspot.com/2008/08/nature-of-human-nature.html , it is made clear that "man's ethical values, compulsions, activities, and restraints can be justified on natural grounds," and that "his highest good [is] pursued and attained under natural conditions." "Qua Man" includes anything that was known true of man qua man when Aristotle coined the phrase, to what rational, ontological, metaphysical naturalism (or Objectivism, which are not the same) determine it to be. Why? Because those two philosophies do not degrade Man, they raise him up from the mud that other philosophies squash him into.

Anything less than capitalism, whereby economic goals are neither restricted nor determined by the coercive forces of government, is not an economy of freedom.

Semantics; Determinism and Free Will as Necessary Concomitants
At the top of this blog page, in what is called the "site description" right underneath the site "title" which are both in the orange areas, the "description" is this: "Ontological rationality in secular Naturalism. "Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification." Ayn Rand"

This was not the first description I used, and I can't now remember what it was. It doesn't matter; it was lame. It was lame because the more I came to know about Naturalism, the more I realized how divided it was, how semantic could be the users of the terms. I change that description to be more denotational according my concept of it; but concepts of this nature are not easy to integrate without contradiction.

Some Naturalists claim ontology is not compatible with Naturalism; but the world "compatibalism" has nothing to do with that, yet "compatibalism" is one of those semantic divisions within the field. Compatibalism concerns the issue of "free will."

An "ontological object" is defined in this context as, "The real or existing object of an act of knowledge as distinguished from the epistemological object." Dict. of Phil; Runes; http://www.ditext.com/runes/o.html And so what I mean by placing that statement in the description of the purpose of the Academy of MN, is to say that not only metaphysics but naturalism are objects of an act of knowledge, not acts of brain physiology acting in accord with genetics, environment, and the laws of nature.

When the semantics become overwhelming (see the AofMN blog 9.5.08 "Variations on a Theme of Naturalism) they destroy the nature of knowledge by splitting it into incompatible and almost irreconcilable fragments, over which men argue and refuse to find compromise (where that compromise is not compromise of principles, of course.)

Hopefully, by pointing out how "compatibalism" on the subject of free will, and free will in context of "determinism" can explain free will and compatibalism at the same time as necessary concomitants, is a compromise the two sides can accept.
"The problem of free choice can stand at the same place, it is changing. There were proposed two main conceptions which have the powers to produce some kind of solution the problem. So, there are the conception of determinism and the conception of compatibalism. Let’s see the essence of these two conceptions. But before we start the descriptive talking it is very important to be sure that we have a certain question concerning a free choice. The notion of a free choice and just a choice can be regarded as synonyms. The meaning of choice is rather general; it means the decision that could be done by the person. So, such under the necessary interpretation of choice we see action of the person and it turned to be a kind of guide line for us. Well, the problem of free choice lies on the next statement: whether we are able to choose or not. If we remember that choice is a kind of decision, we should redo the question and ask whether we are able to make a decision at a certain period of time without using different alternative prepositions which could be limited." ANDREW SCHWARTZ http://www.amazines.com/Art_and_Culture/article_detail.cfm/327934?articleid=327934 [Note: It would seem English is not Mr. Schwartz's first language. All grammatical errors are his. This quote is a literal cut/paste.]

"The compatibalistic point of view has some similarities with the deterministic point of view; they also suppose that the idea of free choice is not real as all our decisions are determined by the causes. But the fact is that compatibalists think that it is possible to connect the notion of free choice and the notion of caused choice. According to their name they try to prove that free choice and determination could be compatible, in other word they have the opportunity to co-operate in one field." Andrew Schwartz http://www.amazines.com/Art_and_Culture/article_detail.cfm/327973?articleid=327973

But this next author equates it with God being in control.

"I cannot count the number of times that I have heard or read the phrase.."God is in control..." This phrase can be recited in connection with everything from death and disease to happiness and health and everything else in between. Do we really believe, as Christians, that God IS in control..or is it just "lip service"? Is it just religious lingo or is it a firmly held and scripturally understood belief? Compatibalism attempts to explain how it is that "God IS in control AND that human responsibility and accountability is also in full effect. We see this supposed dichotomy in full view in the following scripture: (Jesus) "..being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken , and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Dave Van http://areformedlaymansperspective.blogspot.com/2008/06/compatibalism.html

Ok, so most of the semantics discern "compatibalism" against "determinism." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) says, "Causal determinism is, roughly speaking, the idea that every event is necessitated by antecedent events and conditions together with the laws of nature." http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/

Roughly speaking this means that we are not free to make choices of free will, because every choice open to us is "determined" by the events of the world around us.

Well, that is absolutely true--the part about what our choices are. We can't decide to order a T-bone steak at McDonald's; we can't decide to take aspirin for depression; we can't decide to refuse to pay child support when the court ordered its payment unless we are willing to go to jail. And if we are willing to go to jail for it, we are not free in our will to avoid jail; the choices are laid out by the circumstances around us.

In spite of these "deterministic" machinations of the universe upon our desire to be free of them, it is precisely the world around us that give us choices in the first place! No world; no choices. No choices; no consciousness. Consciousness itself consists of choices that are put before us at birth, namely to start identifying the objects of cognition (which are technically called cognoscenti); which means that in the semantics of "determinism" we have no "free choice" because the choices are the cognoscenti placed before us. A newborn cannot decide to identify a basketball because its not his choice.

"Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification."

On the other hand, "When it comes to applying his knowledge, man decides what he chooses to do, according to what he has learned, remembering that the basic principle of rational action in all aspects of human existence, is: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” This means that man does not create reality and can achieve his values only by making his decisions consonant with the facts of reality." [italics added]
Ayn Rand; “Who Is the Final Authority in Ethics?”; The Objectivist Newsletter

The facts of reality are those placed before us by the existence of existents, be it a thing, an attribute or an action; i.e., by those things in life which cause men the need to make choices in the first place. If you were the only existent in existence, you would have no choices. But you are not. Everything in your environment is an existent, and as concepts so are the things in your mind upon which you may make choices.

Free will is the freedom to think or not to think, Rand said.

Another word with semantic distinctions is "selfish." OMG! What exactly does "selfish" mean? The Tibetans are said to have two words for it, whereas in English we have two complicated definitions, not two words with their own simple definition. The Tibetans have these:

1. Selfishness is taking advantage of others and not caring, (or something to that effect. Feel free to put it in your own vocabulary, because everyone knows precisely their own opinion about this subject.

2. Rational self-interest.

Rational self-interest as a definition of selfishness; who these days would have thought, had it already not been thought of and much discussed over the many decades, if not longer. Such self-interest is "the promotion of one’s own interests [as] always in accordance with reason." http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/egoism.htm But "in accordance" itself has implications as a semantic division.

"Epistemologically, [objectivity] is the recognition of the fact that a perceiver’s (man’s) consciousness must acquire knowledge of reality by certain means (reason) in accordance with certain rules (logic)." [italics added] Ayn Rand; “Who Is the Final Authority in Ethics?”; The Objectivist Newsletter

Yet, in another place Rand wrote, "[The] valid definition of man, within the context of his knowledge and of all of mankind’s knowledge to-date [is]: 'A rational animal.'
(Rational,” in this context, does not mean 'acting invariably in accordance with reason'; it means 'possessing the faculty of reason.'
[italics added] Rand Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology These distinctions are vitally important to understanding the place of reason in the life of man, and how it is to be applied, and in what contexts.

"The idea of determinism is ancient, but first became subject to clarification and mathematical analysis in the eighteenth century. Determinism is deeply connected with our understanding of the physical sciences and their explanatory ambitions, on the one hand, and with our views about human free action on the other. In both of these general areas there is no agreement over whether determinism is true (or even whether it can be known true or false), and what the import for human agency would be in either case." [SEP ibid]

No, there can be no agreement so long as the two sides argue over semantics. It was my attempt to dispel the dichotomy when I said, above, "it is precisely the world around us that give us choices in the first place! No world; no choices. No choices; no consciousness." A consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms, Rand famously said. (Aside from "Who is John Galt?" it might be the second most famous thing she ever said.)

Determinism is true only in the sense that we have no choices but those given us by the circumstances of existence itself; and equally true that without such choices arbitrarily given to us by life, without any bias on its part, we would not exist.

It is the amoeba and other simple forms of life, forms that have no "conscious" sense of choices, that are ruled by determinism. Man must accept that his choices are determined, but at the same time, he has the choice to think or not to think.

William Penn* on Learning
5. The first Thing obvious to Children is what is sensible; and that we make no Part of their rudiments.
6. We press their Memory too soon, and puzzle, strain, and load them with Words and Rules; to know Grammer and Rhetorick, and a strange Tongue or two, that it is ten to one may never be useful to them; Leaving their natural Genius to Mechanical and Physical, or natural Knowledge uncultivated and neglected; which would be of exceeding Use and Pleasure to them through the whole Course of their Life.
7. To be sure, Languages are not to be despised or neglected. But Things are still to be preferred. 9. It were Happy if we studied Nature more in natural Things; and acted according to Nature; whose rules are few, plain and most reasonable.
10. Let us begin where she begins, go her Pace, and close always where she ends, and we cannot miss of being good Naturalists.

15. It is pity therefore that Books have not been composed for Youth, by some curious and careful Naturalists, and also Mechanicks, in the Latin Tongue, to be used in Schools, that they might learn Things with Words: Things obvious and familiar to them, and which would make the Tongue easier to be obtained by them.
16. Many able Gardiners and Husbandmen are yet Ignorant of the Reason of their Calling as most Artificers are of the Reason of their own Rules that govern their excellent Workmanship. But a Naturalist and Mechanick of this sort is Master of the Reason of both, and might be of the Practice too, if his Industry kept pace with his Speculation; which were very commendable; and without which he cannot be said to be a complete Naturalist or Mechanick.
17. Finally, if Man be the Index or Epitomy of the World, as Philosophers tell us, we have only to read our selves well to be learned in it.
* William Penn (October 14, 1644July 30, 1718) was founder and "Absolute Proprietor" of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future U.S. state of Pennsylvania. He was known as an early champion of democracy and religious freedom and famous for his good relations and his treaties with the Lenape Indians. Under his direction, Philadelphia was planned and developed.
As one of the earlier supporters of colonial unification, Penn wrote and urged for a Union of all the
English colonies in what was to become the United States of America. The democratic principles that he set forth in the Pennsylvania Frame(s) of Government served as an inspiration for the United States Constitution. As a pacifist Quaker, Penn considered the problems of war and peace deeply, and included a plan for a United States of Europe, "European Dyet, Parliament or Estates," in his voluminous writings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Penn

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