While I often disagree with Bryan, if clarity of thought is a necessary ingredient, AR can't hold a candle to Bryan. Arrogance? Who cares?

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I don't mind Aquinas, but Aristotle is by far the most overrated philosopher of all time. It is difficult to find anything in his writings that it is not false or trivial. I have always thought that the true scientific revolution only took place when people were confident enough to abandon the nonsensical theories of Aristotle.

Regarding Ayn Rand, she was a libertarian, which is good, but she took herself too much seriously.

PS: And, yeah, maybe Rawls is another example of a highly overrated thinker.

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Aristotle was a huge step up from the otherworldly Plato. Aristotle set out the core laws of logic, he was empirical, and he set forth a virtue approach to ethics that I find to still be the most reasonable. Obviously, there was plenty wrong in Aristotle's work, but for his time he was a standout.

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May 24, 2023·edited May 24, 2023

¨Just as there are objective, natural laws in science, so there are objective, natural laws in ethics; and man is capable of discovering such laws and of acting in accordance with them¨

We should call this Peikoff´s edict.

Objectivists proclaim themselves the champions of reason, and yet deny Darwinian evolution:


In her own words;

¨Man is born with an emotional mechanism, just as he is born with a cognitive mechanism; but, at birth, both are “tabula rasa.” It is man’s cognitive faculty, his mind, that determines the content of both.¨

¨No one is born with any kind of talent¨

"After all, the theory of evolution is only a hypothesis."

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The egregious error in the Randian take on the Renaissance is summed up by the statement: "The Renaissance represented a rebirth of the Aristotelian spirit."

No it didn't. In reality, Aristotle's metaphysics, featuring transcendent divine intelligences being the ultimate source of all causation, was very much in tune with the Medieval mindset, and was the basis for the Scholastic philosophy that dominated the period preceding the Renaissance. Adapting Aristotle to Christian theism was a relatively simple matter of identifying Aristotle's "Unmoved Mover" and efficient first cause of everything as being equivalent to the divine essence shared by the three persons of the trinity. In trying to emphasize the contrast between Plato and Aristotle, Rand blundered in failing to recognize the transcendent, other-worldly mysticism that is at the root of both philosophies and at the root of Scholasticism.

Philosophically-speaking, the Renaissance was a revolt against the Scholasticism of Aquinas and against Aristotle. It was largely inspired by the rediscovery of classical Greco-Roman texts of philosophers other than Plato and Aristotle, particularly philosophers from the Hellenistic era--Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics. It was the influence of these philosophers that led to the overthrow of Medieval mysticism and inspired a revival of empiricism and the natural sciences after over a millennia of intellectual darkness where at first Plato and then Aristotle reigned supreme. While the differences among the Hellenistic schools are by no means trivial, with some displaying their own serious deviations from a pro-reason/pro-individualist perspective, there is no denying that their revived influence was what enabled Western intellectuals to progress far beyond what the rediscovery of Aristotle had managed to inspire several centuries earlier.

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No one had figured out a plausible or satisfying answer to the question "where did everything come from" and Aristotle's answer was better than most. At least he didn't build into the unmoved mover a bunch of characteristics. I think it's wrong to portray his philosophy as mysticism just because of this one idea which was shared by so many.

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The Unmoved Mover plays an important role in Aristotle's metaphysics, functioning as a transcendent first cause. Admittedly this is not as bad as Plato's transcendent Demiurge being involved in all causation (not just the first cause), and the rediscovery of Aristotle's deductive logic was an enormous intellectual advance over what had prevailed previously.

However, the rediscovery of Aristotle in the West in the 11th century just wasn't enough of an improvement to spark a revival of the natural sciences or to provoke any serious questioning of the prevailing supernaturalist world-view. Moreover, not all of the credit for being the source of even this first wave of intellectual rediscovery belongs to Aristotle. The works of classical intellectuals like Euclid, Cicero, Quintilian, etc. that were studied alongside Aristotle in the early liberal arts curriculum, and the legal works commissioned by Justinian, where arguably just as important if not more so in the first phase of the West rising out of the pit of the Dark Ages.

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Man is good? That is incorrect as Calvin, Aquinas, Augustine all agreed. *Systems* can be good as they can staunch the evil tendencies of man who require self-control to ward off inherent evil. Our current systems are degrading.

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I've never thought you were that arrogant, you're a bit of a character though haha. Not the worst thing. I might just have a high tolerance for it though.

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Thank you for reviving these lectures! You are right, George Walsh's lectures were all gems. I listened to them all back in the day. I hope you can resurrect them all. I'll definitely take them all in again. After all these years, it will be like a new experience.

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