Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

All Activity

This stream auto-updates     

  1. Past hour
  2. That's exactly what I said in my discussion. I told that people who are influenced by advertising, somehow choose to be influenced: they don't care, or they accept it in a way. But this has not been heard or understood either. I was told it was not a choice, people did not have the capabilities.
  3. Yesterday
  4. There is little doubt about the Russians meddling in American affairs, especially the 2016 election. However, there were many other factors that contributed to Trump's win. His bromides about immigration and how immigrants took jobs away from those in Middle America, his pledge to deport undocumented immigrants, his diatribes about law and order, and even his slogan "Make America Great Again"- these had broad appeal to those outside the Northeast and West Coast. I'm not so sure about the dangers that the Russians pose as much as the Trump government with its staunch defense of weapon rights, it's racist policies, etc. His real slogan should have been "Make America Toxic."
  5. Neuromarketing and choice

    To be fair, it takes a very active mind to be always on guard against various advertising persuasion techniques and to deliberately disregard them after identifying them. Some are hard to resist even after identifying them. As most people aren't that mentally active and no one is on guard at all times then advertising can have some dependable level of success with a large number of exposures. My point is that it is possible for people to have free will and choose to not exercise it at all times.
  6. Once again we are reminded how terrible it is when foreigners posing as citizens do jobs only Americans should be doing.
  7. You haven't felt a need to click your own link again? The NYT put a correction on the bottom of the article.
  8. After learning the latest on Barnes and Noble, one might imagine that the accountant I mentioned in last week's blog post had somehow taken over the struggling chain: Fortunately for me, I'm more of an Amazon or Half Price Books guy... (Image via Pixabay.)... Following the "how to slit your own business throat in one easy lesson" plan, it is laying off head cashiers, digital leads and others in their stores who are 1) full-time employees and 2) have the experience and knowledge that helps a store run smoothly. The company says it will save them tens of millions of dollars a year. Which it might, on a protected profit and loss sheet. What those projections don't show are the number of customers and individual transactions that will be lost because customers can't get help when needed, can't get their questions answered and can't find the books they want because they haven't been unloaded from their boxes yet.Oh, and that's not all. Employee morale and training opportunities, a valuable part of any business, apparently didn't factor in to the decision making, either: ... The remaining employees have just seen a huge round of layoffs and wonder if they're going to be next. Moreover, they don't have the experience to do the jobs of those let go. Is it any wonder they are feeling worried and depressed about their work situation?The only rational explanation I can come up with for this is that those in charge see a very short time horizon. I suppose I could be wrong since I am not a businessman. Nevertheless it looks to me like if they had a chance to return to viability before, they just blew it. -- CAV Link to Original
  9. I am pretty sure that my opponents did think that neuromarketing (or the use of cognitive science in advertising) actually prevents people from reasoning. And if I would have said that they haven't studied enough philosophy, obviously they would had laugh: they don't care about philosophy, they disregard it here, for them it's just a matter of science, a field which is certain and proved, as opposed to philosophy. Thus, the hardest task is to try to explain, to make it clear that this is not a scientific issue, but a philosophical issue. The whole problem lies there. I don't know exactly how to do that.
  10. Last week
  11. The article further demonstrates how evil Vladimir Putin, the person you are defending, is.
  12. There are no editing errors in the version I linked to. Is this not clear to you, or are you just trolling?
  13. Correction by NY Times: Correction: February 13, 2018 Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly described an account by a Syrian military officer. He said that about 100 Syrian — not Russian — soldiers died in fighting on Feb. 7 and 8. But isn't this off topic here? That has nothing to do with Mueller's impending show trial of Russian Twitter trolls who are safely in Russia and will never face "justice".
  14. Neuromarketing and choice

    The fundamental problem these people have is that they have rejected philosophy, so they really have no idea of what free will is. They are as ignorant of the nature of free will as you are (supposedly) ignorant of neuromarketing research. Free will, as applied to mental action, is an axiomatic concept; the capacity to choose is a precondition of and is entailed by the capacity to reason. The proposition that neuromarketing (or anything else) destroys free will entails the proposition that it also destroys the capacity to reason. Experiments that merely show a probabilistic effect on behavior simply miss the point -- they demonstrate no more than the obvious proposition that peoples' choices are influenced by their environment. Aside from the supposed utility of quantifying that influence, such experiments deserve no more than a "duh, and now you'll prove that the sun will rise tomorrow?" in response. Similarly, even if there are observed physical effects on a person's brain from advertising, it's irrelevant to the question of free will, unless those effects are shown to prevent a person from reasoning. Now, if the neuromarketing advocates proved that advertising prevents people from reasoning about what is being advertised, that would be a different matter entirely. But that is not what they have proved, nor is it what they are trying to prove. And, unless things have changed radically since I paid attention, it is something their experiments can't prove -- those experiments are designed to eliminate the role of reason in choice. So, next time they give you this nonsense and you want to confront it, tell them that the science does not prove that advertising destroys a person's capacity to reason and, so long as they have that capacity, they have free will. If they try to argue against you, tell them that they haven't studied enough philosophy to have an opinion worth paying attention to. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, after all. But if they want references, you can direct them to Rand, rather than just blowing them off.
  15. Up to 200 members of a private Russian military force killed in a battle engaging US backed rebels and US special forces: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/world/europe/russia-syria-dead.html It's unclear how close to Putin the person who ordered them into battle against the United States military is. But the ultimate responsibility clearly rests with the man in charge. He's the one playing with fire, by sending poorly trained, poorly organized mercenaries into the highest stakes war zone in the world, because there's an election coming up and he's trying to hide the casualties from the Russian people.
  16. In a recent column at Inc. is a proof by counterexample that several rationalizations for public education are wrong: Photo by Nicola Tolin on Unsplash.When I worked there, the chairman (Robert Wegman, who died in 2006) funded several private Catholic elementary schools in Rochester, New York, where the company is headquartered. I had the privilege of meeting with him, one on one, to report on the success of these schools. I asked why he did this, and he said that he saw failing public schools that weren't capable of producing the kind of people he needed to make his stores successful, so he decided to do something, and that was funding the private schools. There was no requirement that the scholarship students one day work for Wegmans, but I'm sure many of them did. [bold added]Just off the top of my head, this blasts to flinders the following excuses for government schools: (1) businessmen are too "blinded" by the almighty dollar to spend money on improving their communities, (2) education is "too important" to leave to private parties, and (3) if the government didn't guarantee this vital resource (as if government schools provide a decent education), nobody would because they are "too selfish". Feel free to add any others you can think of in the comments. Most people -- the secularized Christians of the left especially included -- are oblivious to the dangers of religion, so I'll give the late Robert Wegman a pass for supporting parochial schools rather than, say, secular Montessori schools. In addition, there could be other good reasons for his choice, including no other viable alternatives at the time. The point is, the short paragraph above should give pause to anyone who values education and imagines that we need or even want the government to be involved. We see the results of the latter all the time, and have a solid reason here to consider the free market alternative. -- CAV Link to Original
  17. This is not incompatible. You can have an idea that contradicts the results of science because you ignore the results of science. That's exactly what they thought I did. In fact, the discussion seemed to show, curiously, that they genuinely believe in free will. But that neuromarketing destroys free will. You see what I mean? All this makes things much more hard to argue with. I'm not sure it's very convincing for them. Actually, in our discussion, neuromarketing was an obvious example. But more generally, it was the use of cognitive science by advertising was supposed to be proof that advertising could impose things we did not want. And it will be complicated to argue that cognitive sciences are not science.
  18. Neuromarketing and choice

    Three terms here need to be closely scrutinized. The most egregious is “impose”. It retreats from the clearly false claim of “force”, while retaining the negative connotations of “force”. Here is a usage that gets to the core of imposing: “I don’t want to impose, but would you be able to drive me to the airport?”. The requester has a goal, the requestee probably does not share that goal, and the requester’s plan of action is to get the other to accept his goal. Imposing and persuading differ in the extent to which the requestee opposes accepting that goal. If he is neutral or only mildly opposed, we say that you persuade him to accept the goal. When force is not involved, imposing is just a way of negatively characterizing persuasion (the self-deprecating use of “impose” in the example manipulates the other party into denying that he opposes the goal, a denial manifested as a ride to the airport). In the context of the advertising discussion, it is redundant rhetoric, conveying nothing not already contained in “what people want”. “Want” is a basic emotional relation to a thing. The ideology that you are arguing against has an implicit premise that people’s actions should be caused by their emotions, so you should engage in trade only if you have a particular emotional connection to the thing in question. And furthermore, since advertising is stipulated to be bad, that emotional state must exist before exposure to the advertising (since advertising is held to improperly influence one’s emotional state). So, does exposure to advertising create the requisite emotional state (directly or indirectly)? It certainly can. My initial emotional state was that I wanted (indeed, needed) a new cell phone. By exposure to advertising, my emotional state was changed, indirectly, to the point that I wanted a specific cell phone so much that I bought it. That emotional state was the byproduct of a rational change of state: I became aware of the properties of that phone, in comparison to others, and I concluded that it was the proper choice, given my requirements. The important thing is that initially, I did not want that phone. There was a lack of emotion: no attraction or repulsion, because I was unaware that the phone existed. Advertising expanded my knowledge, and secondarily created a desire. I didn’t want it initially, I came to want it. “Advertising” is a tricky concept. Obviously, when a company provides information about its goods and services, that is advertising. The same goes for information provided by third parties; and it need not just be goods and services – political advertising abounds. Not just electoral advertising, but ideological advertising (you will see full page ideological ads in the New York Times every so often: you see ideological advertising on people’s front laws, car bumpers, lapels, and email signatures). When a person takes out an ad in the paper, intending to influence people’s beliefs, that is a kind of advertising. Giving a speech in public can have the same effect: is that really different from advertising? The essence of advertising is “communicating something, in the hopes of achieving an end”. I surmise from they way you present your opponents, that there are claiming that “neuromarketing” methods have been scientifically proven to override rational decision-making (and this is evil, though maybe they are claiming that this is good). I would respond by challenging the premise that “neuromarketing” has a scientific foundation. My reading of Fisher, Chin & Klitzman “Defining Neuromarketing: Practices and Professional Challenges” is that the practice verges on junk science (it is a popular medium phenomenon, not a systematic body of peer-reviewed experimental results). They surely must be familiar with this article, if they know the literature. (That's "if" number 1). In a few cases where there is some supposed support for some vaguely related idea, for example McClure, Li, Tomlin, Cypert, Montague & Montague “Neural Correlates of Behavioral Preference for Culturally Familiar Drinks”, the results are pretty simple and unsurprising. Subjects may prefer Coke, or they may prefer Pepsi, and that preference can be observed in the brain using fMRI. Subjects are also able to visually identify Coke vs. Pepsi cans; and you might be able to trick people into thinking that they got Coke if they get Pepsi but see a picture of a Coke can. These results can reasonably be interpreted to mean that existing “wishes” may have physical correlates in the brain. Correlation is distinct from causation: the fact that an existing mental state can be physically quantified does not mean that we can directly manipulate the brain to bring about that mental state. I haven't touched the glaring statistical problem. You will notice in the Coke paper that there is zero discussion of subject demographics. This is not surprising for medical research, but it is fairly shocking for behavioral research like this (with a thin veneer of medical slapped over it). What is the "population" that these subjects were drawn from? Assuredly, not "humans" – it's a very restricted subset of humans. I've seen these ads, where an experimenter recruits subjects for e.g. a taste test that takes an hour (or whatever) and there is some reward. People who respond to these ads are not a random sample of humans – they live in Houston, have free time and an inclination, and do not self-filter, thinking "What kind of craziness is this?". Whatever those 67 people did, there isn't a lot of reason to infer anything about humans in general from that study. Arming yourself with this kind of background is useful in case you plan to interact with these people again on this topic. Unfortunately, the world is full of cranks who will randomly assert falsehoods, pretending that there is underlying science. The response "I'm not your teacher; look it up yourself" is a clear give-away that they don't control the technical literature.
  19. Neuromarketing and choice

    Statistics will generally only say that there is a reliable difference between two or more groups such that they are probably part of different populations. We could infer that the particular population would follow a pattern without saying why or how they follow the pattern. Inferential statistics (which is the main way to analyze data in psychology) cannot say that 70% of a population will do the predictable results, the whole point of inferential stats is to compare, not to predict. DavidOdden gave an excellent post, so mainly I'm adding that this guy in question probably doesn't understand how psychological science works even if he has citations.
  20. Neuromarketing and choice

    No, in their minds you were not challenging the science -- you could not have been, because you avowedly didn't know the science. Your challenge was to the philosophy -- that is, their dogma -- that they used to justify their belief that the science proved that people can be controlled by external forces. Yes, they disregard philosophy, as too many people do. But that doesn't mean that they avoided philosophy. All it means is that they relied on an unexamined philosophy, one that tells them that people's behavior is determined by external forces. Because, to them, determinism is an article of faith. It's dogma, not to be thought about, and certainly not to be challenged by those who don't accept the faith. This is mere sophistry, the sort of "reasoning" that the dogmatic use when they are confronted by unanswerable arguments. That said, yes, advertising doesn't need 100%. But the argument that people can be forced to act in a particular way by advertising does. Without 100%, either in actuality or in theory, the argument is simply false. (I think you need to beware of the trick of changing the goal-post. That's where a person you're arguing with changes the topic when you get too close to showing them to be wrong. So, once you pointed out the flaw -- that there are never 100% experiments -- they change the topic from the truth of determinism to the utility of advertising.) Agreed. Except that I'd say "evil", not merely "jerk". The arguments were not merely those of a disagreeable person but were also designed to subvert their opponents' reason. They were arguments from authority -- an unspecified authority, but an authority nonetheless -- and attempts at intimidation and at creating a sense of inferiority.
  21. Neuromarketing and choice

    Honestly, it just sounds like you were arguing with a jerk. I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
  22. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/special-counsel-indicts-13-russian-nationals-russia-investigation/story?id=53147082 Indictments were announced today against 13 Russians who meddled in the US elections. Many of them operated on US soil. Link to the actual indictment: http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/internet-research-agency-grand-jury-indictment-180216.pdf
  23. I try to argue against the idea that advertising can impose to people stuff they don't want. As I said in my first post, that is exactly what I did. I asked for any scientific reference he regards as probative. And the only answer was that if I didn't see what he was talking about, it showed that I didn't know anything about the topic (I dont have "the level"), that I was lazy because I didn't want to do the research on my own, that I wanted him to did the work for me, so I didn't have the required level ... "I'm not your teacher" he answered, "go search by yourself, you're not a kid any more", etc. (this kind...)
  24. I'm totally agree with what you said except the fact that, in their mind, I was actually challenging the science, because there is a confusion in their mind that I tried (but failed) to explain between philosophical and scientific perspective. In their mind, they used no philosophical point this is only science. I don't know how to explain this was not the case. They disregard philosophy.... as having no value against science....you see? But, about the 100%...actually, that's an argument I used. Exactly how you said it: "I will see no need (or possibility) of getting a 100% response; free will means that there's always the possibility of people doing something other than the expected." But they didn't care about this. Why? Because, he said, there is actually an invariability. And this invariability is something like: "70% of people will do this" In other word, in 100% of the results, you have 70% of people doing the predictable result. And this is enough, he said, for his point. And enough for advertising, which rely on this fact.
  25. Notable Commentary "... I am ... deeply disturbed by any prospect of psychiatric diagnoses being used (or misused) for political purposes." -- Paul Hsieh, in "You Might Not Like the President, but That Doesn't Mean He's Crazy " at Forbes. "If [Susan Stamper] Brown sincerely wants conditions in Haiti to improve she should speak against their government." -- Bob Stubblefield, in "Letter: Haiti, America Should Have More Respect for Rights" at The Aiken Standard. "In the quest to protect misguided notions of freedom, ... it is freedom that will suffer." -- Tara Smith, in "The Free Speech Vernacular: Conceptual Confusions in the Way We Speak About Speech" at The Texas Review of Law and Politics, vol. 22, no.1, pp. 57-92. (2018, PDF, blogged here). "The advocates of the restrictions frame every new way to speak about politics as a 'loophole' that must be sealed up." -- Talbot Manvel, in "We Don't Need More Campaign Finance Laws" at The Capitol Gazette. "If one values romantic love, the idea of multiple sexual partners is repugnant, as it is and should be, for the civilized man -- the man who values himself as an individual." -- Charlotte Cushman, in "Monogamy is Moral, Promiscuity is Not" at The American Thinker. From the Blogs The latest post at You Can and Did Build It, about the beginning of the philosophical discussion of free will, closes with an interesting observation: Image via Wikipedia,Aristotle's view that man's character is shaped by the man himself, and therefore he is responsible for it (and its consequences), is the most important part of his discussion. If men learned nothing from Aristotle's view of free will but this conclusion, much of the current debate (certainly in ethics, politics and law) would end. No one who accepted Aristotle's view would argue that a criminal should be excused because he "felt," in the moment, that he wanted to slaughter a whole family, or because he was too drunk to know what he was doing when he tee-boned another car. Maybe all that is true -- maybe he didn't, in the moment, know what he was doing. But according to reason, and to Aristotle, that is beside the point. The criminal brought himself to this moment by his own choices, and could have done otherwise. That is why we do, and should continue to, "punish a man for his very ignorance, if he is ... responsible for the ignorance." [bold added]Incidentally, you may be interested to learn of The Internet Classics Archive, which has brought "the wisdom of the classics to the Internet since 1994." I had either forgotten about or did not know of this resource until I followed a link from that post to the Nichomachean Ethics. -- CAV Link to Original
  26. Avoiding the pitfalls in learning philosophy

    Reading all of the material for a broad understanding of philosophy certainly takes time, not only for reading, but "chewing" on it. I have For the New Intellectual on audio book. You could say I've "read" it many times as I have a long commute.
  27. Avoiding the pitfalls in learning philosophy

    Thanks for the recommendations StrictlyLogical and Repairman. It has been recommended to me a few times now to go through Peikoff's History of Philosophy. I've heard nothing, but good things. Repairman, that books sounds like a really good one for me. A good overview of all that is out there. I don't need (or expect) to be an expert in everything, but I think it's valuable for me to have a decent understanding of what is out there. I also hear you with regards to physical books, especially when I was moving (they're heavy), it's one of the reasons I purchased a Kindle. I'll add the book to my on going list. 'For the New Intellectual' and 'The Voice of Reason' are both on the list still. Plus I want to go through Peikoff's OPAR. This is the problem with only 24 hours in a day, I can't consume them all. Thanks again.
  28. Neuromarketing and choice

    Be careful using the word "force". The government frequently forces me to do things that I don't want to do. Arguments of this type often weasel in the word "force" when they mean "get", like "I forced him to see that his argument was silly, by reducing it to an absurdity" – meaning, I got him to do so, though he was reluctant. Advertising most certainly can influence our choices, and many people are indeed suckered in by the implications of slick advertising – they focus on the pretty face and hip music, ignoring all of the important technical questions that they ought to ask about the product. I presume that you do not believe that all people are swayed only by rational product-info facts. So then what exactly are you trying to argue against? Next time, I would concentrate on where the word "force" is first used. Stop the conversation when someone says "They don't have any choice" – where exactly is the science that shows that people are incapable of making a choice when... under what conditions? Scrutinize the science critically. The best response to the "go look it up" challenge is "give me a citation". I always demand a legitimate vetted scientific publication. Not a blog post, a propaganda website, but a real scientific journal. This is mildly risky, because often the claim proffered in a publication can't be evaluated without knowing the jargon of the field (especially in the behavioral sciences), and it does mean yo need to be able to access journals typically behind a paywall. "Give me a citation", i.e. "put your money where your mouth is", often generates an outraged response like "Everybody knows this", so at least you will know whether you're dealing with ideologues or scientists with bad ideology.
  1. Load more activity
×