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Writings based on Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand's most popular novels are Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, which present her philosophy, Objectivism, in vivid characterizations.

  Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, esthetics, and  politics are the five main branches of philosophy that she identifies. Utilizing her methodology, one can be rational about all aspects of life. These essays present my understanding of Objectivism.

Older Essays

This is Your Mind

Independence Day Special 2005

Copyright Issues Statement

Independence Day Special 2011:

 Jesus or Ayn Rand?

Don't Blame Wall Street

Governments and Individual Rights

Anarcho-Capitalism rebuttal

Doctors and Individual Rights

Internet Freedom VS On-line Piracy

Laws Must be Specific to Preserve Freedom

To Students of Objectivism

Kant as Founder of Modern Art

Thinking in Terms of Principles

The Purpose of Art

On Objectivity -- The Method of Thought

Applications of Philosophy

Happiness by a Proper Standard

Morality and War

Induction and Anarchism

Immigration and Applied Egoism

Independence Day 2012:

  Losing the Battle

On Civil Society

Batman and Justice

Paul Ryan and Objectivism

Philosophy in the Workplace

Articulating Freedom

The Argument for Freedom

Psycho-epistemology

Black Friday Special, The Morality of Profit

Intellectual Property Rights

How The Internet Works

Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History

The Morality of Copyrights and Patents

Justice

Freedom of Speech -- a Sacred Right

Objective Value

Teleological Measurements

Induction

Causality

Cognition

Ayn Rand as a Moral Hero

Moral Integrity

On Dualism

Protest NSA Spying

The Objectivist Trilogy

The DIM Hypothesis

Tolerance and DIM

Individual Rights

How We Know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2002 
The Unbounded, Finite Universe
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

Regarding Alex's essay "The Unbounded, Finite Universe,"

www.geocities.com/rationalphysics/Unbounded_Finite.htm

I think there are flaws in Alex's arguments. Assuming he intends 
for the essay to stand alone, in the sense of not having the necessity of referring to another article for clarification of terms, it lacks a 
definition of "time" and "bounded" so the reader isn't sure what he is referring to by those terms. In other words, he is relying on floating abstractions -- ones that aren't concretized or reduced in any manner whatsoever -- and thus it comes across as rationalistic and circular.

For his discussion of "bounded" he refers not to an object one can readily hold in ones hands, say a ball, and therefore encompass it with something larger, our hands, but rather to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which can't even be viewed by us as a whole. He then asserts that the Milky Way has spatial boundaries, as if space instead of an entity is the fundamental unit for consideration. The concept "space" is a high level abstraction arrived at by observing entities and differentiating them from other entities, with the realization that one ends and another begins. But this can't occur with the universe as a whole, because by definition the universe is everything that exists, and therefore there is no other existing thing from which to form such an abstraction from; so the concept of "bounded" (by what?) doesn't apply to the universe as a whole. Alternatively, "bounded" means "here versus there," and since there is no not-in-the-universe thing, there is no "here versus there" possible with regard to the universe as a whole.

He makes a similar mistake with the concept of "time," treating time as a physical existent, rather than an abstraction arrived at by observing entities moving. When we observe one entity moving while another is at rest, say a ball rolling towards a wall, we observe that the ball doesn't suddenly wind up at the wall once it is released from our hands -- other events can occur before the ball gets there (we can clap our hands together) and the ball is still rolling; or once we release the ball, the pet cat pounces on it before it gets to the wall. So, after we roll the ball, other events can occur before the ball reaches the wall -- i.e. the concept "time" is based on observations of events with regard to "before and after." However, such an abstraction cannot apply to the universe as a 
whole, because there is no not-in-the-universe thing that can move towards the universe (nor the universe towards it). Therefore, the concept "time" cannot be applied to the universe as a whole.

For those who insist "time" is fundamentally a psychological concept, rather than a physical concept, a similar argument can be made. It is asserted that we are aware of the passage of time via some internal, psychological mechanism (which does exist) such that we can compare the inner workings of our clock mechanism to events we observe (internally or externally). However, for the psychological aspects of time to be applied to the universe as a whole it would be necessary for us to be outside the universe in order to observe it as a whole, which is impossible. Therefore even the psychological aspects of time are not applicable to the universe 
as a whole.

His discussion of "quantity" and "number" are a little better than his 
discussion of "bounded" and "time," though it lacks concretization and reduction to make his points more clear. To have a concept of the quantity of something, it is necessary to differentiate these entities from those entities -- i.e. the quantity (or number) of marbles in my bag versus those outside my bag. In other words, quantity is an abstraction requiring a specific type of differentiation of these versus those, whether or not they are physically separated out or mentally separated out. However, there can be no separation (differentiation) of these things in the universe versus those things outside the universe, since by definition there is no "outside the universe" from which to form the abstraction. Therefore the concept of "quantity" (or "number") of entities or existents in the universe cannot be applied to the universe as a whole.

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Proud to be an Objectivist -- one who follows Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: I've earned it.