Subject: Re: Philosophy of Lisp programmers
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 02:00:16 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Bruce Hoult
| I'll freely admit to owning copies of three novels (and a play) by Rand, 
| and quite a number of non fiction books as well.  Plus works by Peikoff 
| (who I find boring, didactic, and frequently mistaken) and Kelley (who I 
| think makes a lot of sense).

  I would less freely admit to this, but since you do :), I own everything she
  ever published.  (I am like that -- like one work of an author, place an
  order for the rest of that author's production.)  The single biggest reason I
  have come to think of the whole Rand/Peikoff/Kelley thing as a waste of time
  is not that what they write is wrong, it is that the very useful means of
  deciding what is important from what is not, which is what a real philosophy
  should be about, is insufficient to determine whether what they write is
  right or wrong really is -- in other words: if the philosophy is right, I am
  quite certain I would arrive at a different philosophy if I applied it fully,
  except, probably, from some fairly sizable core that would be inapplicable as
  such and not very interesting to talk about except with other philosphers,
  but they refuse to deal with all the ludicrous nonsense that Rand and Peikoff
  claim follow from the premises and principles, so there is little point in
  that.  (A very good friend of mine _is_ a philosopher and she and I have
  these amazingly deep discussions that scare people in restaurants, but from
  which we usually remember nothing in particular.)  Furthermore, what Rand
  writes is wrong and bad, is often right according to the very same principles
  she explicitly favors, only starting from other values that do not appear to
  be contradicting anything she says, so either she was not very good at
  applying these principles, or they are somehow broken.  I did not have the
  time to sort out how these things worked because it appeared that the crucial
  element of a philosophy -- that it be time-saving -- was absent, to put it
  diplomatically.  Peikoff is clearly an unstable nutcase.  I do not consider
  Kelley an objectivist at all (Peikoff is right about that), _because_ what he
  writes and argues makes so much sense -- except for the part where he wants
  to be an objectivist, the purpose of which I completely fail to grasp.  If I
  were in his shoes, I would just have replied "OK, be that way" to Peikoff and
  went on to establish a name for myself, which is unfortunately much harder
  since he insists on his attachment to Rand.  I have met with him and talked
  with him for a while, and he is at least smarter than I am, which is a good
  starting point for a philosopher, but Peikoff is not.  And (almost) all the
  objectivists I have ever known or heard of have shown that her philosophy and
  general outlook on things has a curiously stable "mental half-life" of about
  10 years -- the point at which you realize that less than half of what you
  believed to be true still is part of what you as basis for your decisions.
  Guide to non-spammers: If you want to send me a business proposal, please be
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  urgent, do not use the word "urgent".  If you need an immediate answer, give
  me a reason, do not shout "for your immediate attention".  Thank you.