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  1. 2 points
    In general, we know patterns of inference as codifications of regularly successful mental policies. In particular, we know logically valid inference patterns as means to certain conclusions, the denial of which results in contradiction. But seeing as conceptual knowledge and method are indivisible, valid forms of inference are less what we may know than that by which we know (conceptually). The knowing of logic and of basic inference patterns are in large part the faculty of knowledge turning back in on itself, and stating the implicit causal relations by which one knows as explicit propositional forms or rules for one to know. Modus ponens is an explicit statement of the indivisibility of cause and effect, a principle implicit in every mental consequence as caused by the apprehension of some object of consciousness. "p therefore q" underscores the premise behind all valuation and recognition, for it is in recognizing the necessary connection between q and its cause that motivation may find real purchase.
  2. 2 points
    This book provides transcripts of many of Peikoff's podcasts. I've bought the Kindle version and I'd say it's pretty good. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P5TWX4J/ref=nav_ya_signin?#reader_B07P5TWX4J
  3. 2 points
    “If p, then q” is taken in logic texts to be identically equivalent to “Not (p and not-q).” “Not (there is a naturally evolved bird with talons, and it is not a bird of prey)” is identically equivalent to “If there is a naturally evolved bird with talons, then it is a bird of prey.” It seems that we know up front that this “identically equivalent” relation holds however much our knowledge of birds increases; it cannot be found false. Whether there are presently unknown conditions under which this particular “If p, then q” can be found false is open, though until specific prima facie plausible conditions of that sort are proposed (at least in a sketchy way), that open possibility is a vacuous possibility, a degenerate, impotent sort of possibility, whether the if-then concerns nature or mathematics. The nature of birds is a matter of identity, but it seems a wider sort of identity than that in the “identically equivalent” relation. And the latter would seem to be something one learns about later than the former, although maybe the latter is already present in a precursor way in prelinguistic action schemata (eg. there’s more than one way to get attention, more than one form under the schema get attention). In his book How We Know, Harry Binswanger takes syllogistic inference to be a case in which what is already implicit in the premises is drawn out and made explicit in the conclusion. That is a common perspective on deductive inference. The syllogism is a form of “If p, then q” in which p is a conjunction of two propositions: “If r and s, then q.” For r and s to be true and to bear implicit truths, of course, r and s both have to express awareness of facts (254–55). This viewpoint is smooth with the views of Rand that logic is a form of identification and that existence is identity. In his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff remarked: “The method of logic . . . does reflect the nature and needs of consciousness. It also reflects the other factor essential to a proper method: the facts of external reality. The principle which logic provides to guide man’s mental steps is the fundamental law of reality” (120–21). There are no contradictory facts in reality, I should add, to be thought in conjunction if thought is aimed at fact. To put forth without evidence or design for evidence the thesis that there are naturally evolved birds with talons that are not birds of prey contradicts evident facts without resolving the purported contradiction with other (not-adduced) evident facts. I suggest that denials of modus ponens should be understood as that sort of denial under the basic conception of logic in Objectivism. Logical validities are never independent of all facts of reality. Some excerpts from Nathaniel Branden’s lectures The Basic Principles of Objectivism: “Logic is the tool of reason. Logic is based on facts, on the fact that that which is, is; but it is not a science of facts. It is a science of method (75).” “One proves a proposition by demonstrating that it is logically necessitated, that its denial would contradict facts already known to exist. . . . . “Until one has grasped that A is A, and that contradictions cannot exist, there can be neither proof nor the concept of ‘proof’. . . . “The Law of Identity is a genetic root of the concept of ‘proof’. . . . (73, transcription in The Vision of Ayn Rand)
  4. 1 point
    StrictlyLogical

    Of The "Best" Language.

    I think every language of sufficient complexity could be used to express ideas which are beyond everyday complexity and use of a language... but if a language included, as part of everyday usage, words which automatically express, clarify, or distinguish that extra complexity, then slightly more complex ideas are more straightforwardly communicable, and understandable. Assuming all languages can express any idea with sufficient number of words and sentences, then the economy of words and sentences with which a language can convey complex meaning is likely a good standard to judge languages, one against another. That said, some conceptual conflations may be avoided if the language has inherently built in checks to avoid them. I do not have any real world examples (I am no linguist) but I would assume if a language included modifiers to attach to nouns and such for everything previously experienced in reality, versus other modifiers to label nouns and such in connection with imagination or fiction or invention then that might be useful in orienting a mind toward distinguishing reality from fancy. A language without the word form of "wish" (as a verb), as in mentally wishing something... while doing nothing... might be equivalent to our lack of a common everyday single term designating something like: "casting a spell to do the impossible" or "using the force to move things" or "invoking a supernatural agency to effect some cause" (although "curse" or "bless" comes close to this last... two words I would also strike from the language if I could) ... The term "wish" then might commonly be replaced with more sensible phrases (whose use causes some reflection regarding the validity of the sentiment): "if that were to happen it would make me happy", or "if I had the ability to somehow cause that to happen, I would act to do so", or "I really would prefer it if you would stop talking". or "I would be much happier if it were the case that reality was different from the way it actually is" Again I have no real world examples, but since culture causes the evolution of language, a culture's philosophy and thinking inform and shape the commonly used words and phrases... so I would conjecture, a culture of rational thinkers would produce a better language.
  5. 1 point
    DavidOdden

    Of The "Best" Language.

    The question of “best language” has plagued (pestered) linguists for decades, the question being a plague because there are so many different purposes that could be used as the standard for evaluating. Admirably, you specify a particular function – converting concepts into concretes (not e.g. “physical efficiency”, “popularity” and so on). I think it would be advisable to say what it means to evaluate a language as a means of concretizing concepts. However, I have to disagree with Rand’s statement that the function of language is expressing concepts: it is expressing concepts and propositions. We don’t just utter words – “horse”, “eat” – we utter propositions – “I need to borrow your horse so I can get something to eat at the store”. What would it mean for a language to be good for this purpose, or bad? If it were completely impossible in some language to express certain propositions (including contradictions), that would be a “bad language”. But every human language has that capacity. Differences between languages are not in terms of what can be somehow expressed, but in terms of computational efficiency. As an example, in North Saami, there is a word gabba which in a single word refers to “an all-white reindeer”. That language has a concept that is lacking in English: we can express the same thing, but it requires a more complex propositional arrangement (not just white, not entirely white; that color is then attributed to “reindeer”). So where Saami has more vocabulary in a certain domain, we can call on the resources of language rules (and can express “all-white pig; all-white house; all-white horse” and so on in an analogous fashion, where Saami does not have specific words for these other all-white things). Of course they can use the same rule-based mechanism as we do for expressing thoughts about all-white horses; they just have some additional concepts, befitting their particular circumstances. Languages do differ substantially in their systems of rules in a way that might seem to relate to “goodness”. In some languages, the rules for putting words together are very transparent, general and simple (Turkish is usually the example brought out to illustrate that point), and in other languages, the rules are very complex and item-specific – English is on that end of the spectrum of complexity. For example, you know what “up” means, but it doesn’t mean that in collocations like “look up”, “take up”, “mess up”, “give up”. While English is more chaotic in this respect, we still can convey all possible concepts and propositions using the resources of English. It’s just that we have to call on a larger set of more specific rules to do that. There is no real cognitive downside to having more rules that are more specific compared to some other language, as long as there are, in fact, rules in the language. If every proposition required its own rules, that would be a bad language, because you can express an unlimited number of propositions, but you can’t learn an unlimited set of rules. Back to my question: what does it mean for a language to be good or bad for the purpose of expressing propositions?
  6. 1 point
    The linked page has a Libraries button. When I clicked it, the title wasn't auto-fed to the new page. However, entering the title and clicking Find a Library gives search results as a list of titles. Clicking on a title there may help in locating a copy of the book in a library not too far away. A good review of the book is here.
  7. 1 point
    Well put. I only observe that the existence of some kinds of existents is mostly independent of other existents while the existence of other kinds of existents depends upon the existence of others. This kind of consideration distinguishes entities. A relationship such as spacetime is an existent wholly dependent on every other entity (possessing mass / energy... by the way how many entities other than spacetime wholly lack mass and energy?) and is more of a property of a system of entities than an entity itself. IMHO
  8. 1 point
    People who say this are usually people who didn't get past undergrad (or have animosity towards people who do get up to the PhD or graduate level). It's a kind of anti-intellectualism. Have you taken graduate courses in philosophy? Have you taken time to understand really complex philosophy, even if you didn't agree? I'm not trying to demean you here - I'm asking that you check your premises that you can and should badmouth people who dare to say something formally in philosophy as would be expected of people in universities who do philosophy of math or logic. What SK is saying isn't really so scary in all. Oist epistemology is not simple or easy. Sometimes people think it might be, but this is because Rand only wrote an introduction. Adding some formalism doesn't destroy anything. If Oist epistemology can't survive some formal treatment, then it would be a trash epistemology. But the cool thing is that it can. Type theory is probably the absolute best avenue to follow to improve or fairly criticize Oist epistemology from a formal perspective. If you don't like philosophy from a very formal perspective (which this thread is about), that's fine. If you want to participate with it though, you should take the time to understand before criticizing. Rand was generally informal about her philosophy. That doesn't mean it can't get a fair formal treatment.
  9. 1 point
    For a thorough answer here we need to begin by explaining how we form the concepts "if" and "then".
  10. 1 point
    softwareNerd

    Late Term Abortion

    The fact that things have changed and made it safer makes it even more likely that Ran would agree with full-term abortions. Also, the simple fact that she said -- albeit off the cuff -- that the line is drawn at birth. I'm always a little wary of arguments that go "this is what Rand would have thought"... because its basically speculation and -- much more importantly -- it does not matter a great deal to whether the conclusion is right or wrong. So, it almost always becomes two sides contesting what is ultimately an appeal to authority. So, both sides end up arguing that they themselves are the ones who are committing that particular logial fallacy. Your point about more freedom necessitating more responsibility. I see it as an arbitrary statement, unsupported by any facts or reasoning.
  11. 1 point
    DonAthos

    Late Term Abortion

    "Basically" the Court expressed an interest in "viability," as well, and drawing distinctions between the trimesters. Just as Rand did, when she spoke about the essential issue concerning only the first three months, and that one may argue about the later stages. Since those thoughts seem to mirror the Court's decision in those aspects as well, maybe her agreement runs that far? I don't know. I don't know Rand's thinking on the subject beyond what she's written, which is confused to say the least, but I do know that it is not some endorsement of "full-term abortion." Because as I've said, if she had wanted to make such a claim, it would have been easy to do so unambiguously. But "one may argue about the later stages" implies the very opposite, that there is something about the entity -- "embryo," fetus, child, or by any other name -- that changes over the course of the pregnancy and (at least) invites the very argument that this changing and developing entity may be subject to rights, at some point before birth. Look, if I wanted to take up the side some people wish to impart to Rand, it's easy enough to do so in a straightforward manner. Watch: "The unborn have no rights until birth. A mother may terminate her pregnancy at any time without exception. Roe v. Wade was a good start, but it does not go far enough. There is no debate to be had about the 'later stages' of pregnancy, and it does not matter whether an 'embryo' at eight months is alive medically or not," and so forth. If Rand wished to say these things, she could have done at least as well as I have managed, and then I could say, "Well, I agree with Rand about most things... but I don't agree completely with her position on abortion." Yet as it stands, I agree with Rand that the issue essentially concerns the early stage of a pregnancy -- and that abortion there is fine (let alone birth control) -- and that one may argue about the later stages (which I do). Thus, I am not "anti-abortion," as you have put it elsewhere (I am as pro-abortion as Rand and Roe v. Wade), but anti-infanticide. Certainly. And that entity, at full-term, is growing and moving, with internal and external actions consistent with the newborn to which we would ascribe rights (and the parents, parental obligation); only its relationship with its surroundings (and significantly, the mother) changes at birth. Yet the entity is not defined by those relationships. I mean, you could also make an argument that the newborn is fundamentally a different entity when in the bathtub or bassinet -- nothing stops you, outside of reason -- but it would be just as wrong. One of my attractions to Rand, generally speaking, is that she is an inordinately precise writer and speaker. I thus find her sometimes misuse of "embryo" both striking and suggestive, and what it suggests to me is that, perhaps, part of the confusion is that Rand continued to deal with the subject as she saw it "essentially": meaning that she sometimes misused the word "embryo" because when she thought about abortion, she thought of it primarily in terms of pregnancy to three months (like she indicated elsewhere), where the word "embryo" is (at least mostly) appropriate. You'd quoted her, after all, also speaking about "birth control" and thus (as I imagine it), contra the argument that sperm or a fertilized egg are also human life, and subject to protection, etc., which is ridiculous, but an argument that some people make. Rand rejected the idea that such an entity -- a "piece of protoplasm" -- could be considered "human life" in the full sense, with which I agree. But she also seemed to allow (without committing one way or the other) that later stages of pregnancy might be different, with which I further agree. And beyond that, did she give "full-term abortion" much thought? I doubt it. I also don't know how much thought Rand gave to parenthood/parental obligation, generally, which is an under-explored topic that might shed some light on the present debate. I know you consider it "put to bed," but I believe that it's meaningful as an antidote to the rhetoric you'd introduced, regarding "the right not to be regarded as the means to any end." So where does that "right" go, given the obligations of parenthood? Instead of coming up with yet more angles, why not play out one or two of the several already introduced? A woman has the right not to be regarded as the means of any end, we agree, and yet we do both also ascribe a mother obligations to her newborn. How do we reconcile that? And if a mother could have an obligation to her newborn+1 day, why could she not have an obligation to her newborn-1 day? Because that entity is magically transformed at birth, from an unperson to a human being? That sounds not alone like rationalism, but shamanism. I do claim that an unborn child, at thirty nine weeks, say, is a human being, yes. If I claim that it has a right to life, that's because I believe that human beings have a right to life, generally. I think that the "argument" (for which you claim to give "philosophical and biological evidence" where I find nothing but mere assertion) that a child one minute prior to delivery is not a human being, is preposterous. Earlier you'd related this to "connection" -- and maybe that's the "evidence" you're referring to -- but such a thing is utterly irrelevant. I'd proposed a (only somewhat) futuristic test tube baby example to demonstrate this irrelevancy, but I'm not certain you've weighed in on it. So what do you say? Given an (actual) embryo, a true "piece of protoplasm," being brought to term via test tube, do we agree that initially it is not a human being, and subject to termination, but at some point thereafter, it is a human being and cannot be terminated/aborted, and must instead be cared for? 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.'...) " And so, I would go "one minute before," not till conception, but until that point where the entity in question possesses the faculty of reason -- which I think is ultimately a question to be settled by science.
  12. 1 point
    whYNOT

    Late Term Abortion

    I'm with you on the last, I also don't believe Rand would "have embraced "full term abortion""(on rationally-moral grounds). I think it's useful to approach the 'Objectivist-conservative-ally' area since it arises in almost every topic, nowadays. On this one, clearly, Rand launched her moral attack against the conservatives who held much more sway at the time, in particular on abortion. "Pro-life"? Huh! A blatant self-contradiction, and anti-life (in a short summary of her). Those conservatives were and are mystic -intrinsicists, who on this subject held that life begins at conception, the embryo contains an immortal soul, and all that. From there, their notion of divine value they fight tooth and nail for. However, the philosophical and political landscape has shifted. As things have progressed in the last decades, there is another front that Objectivists need to be concerned about: the body of thought that's become much more prevalent and powerful - secularist (subjective) skepticism. They who visibly promote: "Whatever" ... anything goes - and, who knows? - and, it is good, if you feel it is - etc. (and mankind is composed only of meaty stuff, anyhow). I think, too, skepticism and the skeptical/subjective theory of 'value' is as lethal as the intrinsicist theory, and growing stronger. Also, that the pro-choicers have made somewhat of a mockery of the concept of "choice', being mostly deterministic. I notice that my stance here may appear "conservative", in that I espouse a general value in life which may mistakenly be taken to be intrinsicist. But then I can never view a full term infant as meaty stuff, with no objective value to anyone. And I can't speak for other O'ists who might ~seem~ to lean skeptical or intrinsicist. Because both are false theories, we know, and finding the route through to objective value isn't always easy.
  13. 1 point
    whYNOT

    Late Term Abortion

    It's worth belaboring a point already made from this quote. AR: "You may argue that medically an embryo is alive at six to eight months. I don't know. No woman in her right mind would have an abortion that late. It's very dangerous for her. So nature is consistent with the interests of both". Things have changed dramatically. Medical science knows far more about the fetus than then, and has achieved great strides in an infant's ex-utero life support - and - safe, 'full-term abortion'. Nature has been "commanded" by science, nature is no longer the arbiter of safe abortion - so her "nature is consistent with the interests of both" - seems rather quaint today. (From a comfortable "presentist" position) These 'man-made' breakthroughs afford women greater freedom, which the truism has it, comes with greater (moral) responsibility. Given today's predominant unreason and moralities, I'm dubious many are sufficiently "in their right minds" to do so.
  14. 1 point
    A possible world makes sense if and only if it refers to a future state of the one real world. Other ways I've seen it used are gibberish.
  15. 1 point
    Leibniz claimed that this is the best of all possible worlds. I wonder whether it is the only logically possible world or whether it is possible to have a different universe in the first place. Both Leibniz' claim and my subsequent inquiry most likely can't be proven, but it's an interesting thought experiment, even without the invocation of God. It makes one wonder what sort of leeway something like a law of a universe could have and what does it mean for something to be possible. My reasoning for why the universe would be the only logically possible world is based primarily on the fact that the universe is logical. This should leave it to be something of an immense logical system with potentially innumerable number of interlocking and non-contradicting components and systems (Although, an infinite universe may put to question whether the universe could be described as a "system," since it would never be "closed," which may significantly effect this line of thought/argument). As such, I would presume that this logical interlocking where laws and entities must act non-contradictory, harmoniously, and simultaneously would necessarily disqualify certain "potential" laws and false ways of existence, leaving this universe and its orientation as the only ones that could ever exist.
  16. 1 point
    In my opinion, the problem of living a rational existence in an irrational social context is the most challenging ethical problem that an Objectivist will face. There is no question that you should not steal another person’s property. Should you receive stolen property? Is it okay if you associate with a thug who breaks into houses and distributes stolen goods to you, if you yourself don’t go into the house? Are you morally cleansed if you denounce (but still accept) the proceeds of such theft? Clearly not. And suppose you really need that stolen stuff to survive (for example, you have no job skills and there are no unskilled job opening in the town), does that make it okay to accept stolen goods? I gave you two options here: gain job skills, or move elsewhere. There is always a choice, and you should always frame your decisions in terms of alternative actions and their consequences. One option would be for you to refuse to do the assignment, which b.t.w. would be the worst choice given the alternatives. Assuming that you need a copy of the blueprint to do the assignment, why would you not instead acquire a legal copy? Possible answer: it costs money. Say it costs $1, is that an impossible burden for you to bear? Or $1,000 (and any point in between)? This is a way of quantifying your ethical values. Why should you be concerned with the losses suffered by another, when you are not directly the thief: isn’t that just self-sacrifice? What harm are you doing yourself by silently accepting stolen goods. Again, what else could you do? Privately compensate the rights-holder? Incidentally, I don’t entirely accept your claim that the material is being illegally distributed, though for rhetorical purposes here I do. How do you know that the material is being illegally distributed? Is this based on the instructor’s confession? I’m just saying, check your assumptions.
  17. 1 point
    softwareNerd

    Late Term Abortion

    One most definitely cannot extrapolate that Rand would be against full-term abortions, when ... the quote above has no such implication; and, she clearly said otherwise Not that it matters that much, but just want to set that record straight
  18. 1 point
    In that case, apart from reporting it to the copyright holder, I would also report it to the university authorities. Every university that I know of aggressively swats instructors who violate copyright law, because otherwise the institution also becomes liable for an infringement suit, and such a suit is much more likely compared to a case against an infringing instructor (deeper pockets).
  19. 1 point
    DonAthos

    Late Term Abortion

    As Objectivists, we sometimes enjoy having context -- as an aid for understanding. For instance, here is that quote you've pulled from Rand with a touch more of it (bold added; italics in original): "A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . " I agree fully. A piece of protoplasm has no rights -- and no life in the human sense of the term. But a "full-term fetus" has life in the human sense of the term. It has as much life as a baby, post delivery. It is no longer a mere "piece of protoplasm" or (as Rand elsewhere describes, speaking on this subject), "a few human cells," or an "embryo" -- but it is a baby, a human being. Not "potentially" so, but actually so. If equating a potential with an actual is vicious, treating an actual as some mere potential is more so, and with far less reason.
  20. 1 point
    DonAthos

    Late Term Abortion

    No, it isn't a particularly good question. A human being is what it is: we don't define it in or out of being. The entity that is a human being one minute post-delivery is also a human being one minute beforehand; to say that it is not yet "a human life" because it fails to satisfy some ad hoc, contrived definition (in this case, because it is "connected") is a classic example of rationalism. There's no need to resort to such outlandish scenarios. Actual existence provides sufficient material. Conjoined twins are "connected"; according the definitions and reasoning you've supplied, neither twin is a "human life" or has rights? But no. It is an admitted complication for "individual rights" that neither twin is individuated, but our resolution is not that either twin has the "right" to murder its twin (because the victimized twin somehow fails to meet our definition of entity (!), or human being). Conjoined twins still have rights, because they are entities possessed of rights by their nature. In real life, a mother carries a child for some time before birth. It is a human child. The point at which that is true is not conception (where that "potential human child" is but a collection of cells, and fully the mother's to do with what she wishes), but it is true at some point thereafter. The proper way to reason about this has nothing to do with the umbilical cord, which is meaningless. Suppose a full "test tube" process, where there is no umbilical cord at all, no "connection." At conception, the potential child in the test tube would be a clump of cells, property, and wholly the mother's to dispose of. At some point thereafter, this would no longer be true. The cells in the test tube will have developed into a human being, and no longer be the mother's property (though the parental relationship is still special, and this special relationship persists for some time). At this point, the human child has rights and cannot be aborted. The difference is not according to placenta or umbilical cord or birth, but based on the nature of the entity itself.
  21. 1 point
    Yes

    Late Term Abortion

    What appears to be missing from these woe-begotten arguments about abortion is the right of the woman to her body. Government has no right, moral or otherwise, to legislate what a woman should do with her body. The decision to give birth or abort is hers and hers alone. So debate as you may about this issue, but never forget that government trying to restrict abortion is, at the very least, government laying yet another layer of regulation on individuals, and yet another wanton, illicit restriction on our lives.
  22. 1 point
    Grames

    Eco-fascist attack in New Zealand

    The central bank is the central pillar of fascism. America has had its central bank for over 100 years now and a lot of toxic shit has spawned in its shadow. We have the black shirts and political correctness, we have the degenerate popular culture of Wiemar. We have the race vs. sex. vs religion identity group struggle over control of local and national government. Mass news media and academia is entirely given over to moralizing propaganda of the fascist perspective. Fascism is here. It isn't fully manifested yet and isn't fully in control but it is definitely here. Its going to get worse.
  23. 1 point
    Boydstun

    Peikoff's Dissertation

    2046, I’ll hold off remarking on pragmatism until we get to Dewey and Lewis. Concerning the classical ontologists, “they regarded the laws of logic as themselves matters of fact (i.e. ontological in character, not ‘mere’ matters of fact)” (Peikoff 1964, 13). The classical philosophers basing logic in ontology (such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Leibniz) would want to have PNC both as an ontological fact of the world and as a norm, a consciously followed constraint, for ascertaining any fact, whether itself or other facts, whether facts empirical or mathematical. With the variations in ontology between various theories basing logic in ontology are variations in what is ontological form. I think it is always what philosophers say about the ontology of form that is key to their ontology of PNC and their account of how PNC is also a norm. Below is Peikoff’s representation of Aristotle’s ontology at work in a syllogistic inference. I should like to mention that this text is my personal favorite in Peikoff’s dissertation. Also, I’d like to mention that, as Jonathan Lear showed from Prior Analytics, the certitude of the validity of the syllogism below, and the other first-figure ones, is the base certitude of validity by which Aristotle, using some self-evident logical conversions, certified validity of the syllogisms of the other figures. Lastly, in their lectures and writings concerted with Rand; Branden and Peikoff point to contradictions that occur if one denies the conclusion of this syllogism below while affirming its premises. It is a good assignment for the future to work out the moments of Aristotelian form in rendering those contradictions. Under Aristotle’s account, we learn the truth of PNC by observing instances of it and performing an intuitive induction to it (also called an abstractive induction). PNC has to be a law prior to the operation of thought in order to be discovered by such observation and abstraction. The normativity of PNC in Aristotle’s account is from the purpose of thought, which is the comprehension of existence. To serve as guide to that purpose in the way PNC serves, PNC must, in Aristotle’s view, be a first principle in existence. We must not think a thing has and has not a certain character at the same time because, as Joseph puts it, “we see that a thing cannot have and not have at once the same character; and the so-called necessity of thought is really the apprehension of a necessity in the being of things’” (Peikoff 1964, 162). I’ll be looking at Dewey’s expansive notion of logic in turn when we come to it in this series. Looking also at Lewis and at Peikoff’s extractions from both of them. I don’t expect to take up Wittgenstein, and Peikoff also did not. But I thought I’d mention just now a book from Penelope Maddy The Logical Must – Wittgenstein on Logic (2014).
  24. 1 point
    WE know that your statement is not true because it is an explicit contradiction. However, those purporting to BE Objectivists and who accept fascist/tribal ideas, might not understand how that statement is in fact self-contradictory. Do not be disheartened.
  25. 1 point
    Boydstun

    Peikoff's Dissertation

    PNC Ground Shifts to the Side of the Subject – Conventionalism I Peikoff addressed logical conventionalism in a sense broad enough to include the various approaches to logical truth within what he took to be the most influential movements of Anglo-American philosophy in the twentieth century to the time of his dissertation (1964, 165n). Those would be pragmatism, logical empiricism, and the analytic movement. For exemplification of philosophies upholding conventionalism in fundamental character of logical truths, Peikoff delves into Dewey’s Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938); C. I. Lewis’ Mind and the World Order (1929) and An Analysis of Knowledge and Evaluation (1946); A. J. Ayer’s Language, Truth, and Logic (1946 [1936]); and E. Nagel’s Logic without Metaphysics (1956). There had been an analogue of conventionalism in logical and mathematical principles within a minority of earlier thinkers who, wanting to guard doctrine of the omnipotence of God and taking the truth and necessity of formal principles to emanate from divine selection of them, endowed formal principles with an ultimate arbitrariness. Those principles would be perfectly unchanging, however, as far as human thought is concerned. Anyway, such an ultimate situation was from a brew of theology with an extra-heavy dose of vacuum imagination. The conventionalisms Peikoff addressed took shape and took hold in part and in some sense due to inadequacies of the various forms of logical ontologism that had been on offer (186–87, 210–11, 235–36, 239). The rejection of those logical ontologisms was reasonable, as Peikoff illustrated, even if we consider them only from within the discipline of classical philosophy from Plato to Kant. The conventionalist replacements for logical ontologism were presaged by (i) nominalist strands in epistemology,* and (ii) substantial additions to logic itself and to geometry in the latter part of the nineteenth century. To those two in the vista of Peikoff 1964, I should add (iii) the spectacular empirical success—from Maxwell to Einstein (GR) and Schrodinger (wave QM) / Heisenberg (matrix QM)—won by casting physical relations in terms of portions of modern analytic mathematics. In my own assessment, it is (ii) and (iii), against the background of (i) and inadequacy of old-time logical ontologism that are the main and sufficient preparations for the crop of conventionalist characterizations of logical truth by logical empiricists to mid-twentieth century. “My concern has not, of course, been to maintain a primarily causal thesis; it has not been my intention to argue, for instance, that Cudworth’s difficulties with God or Locke’s problems with Aristotle’s forms were the causal factors centrally responsible for the dominance in our century of the conventionalist approach to logical truth. Such a thesis would hardly be tenable; the creation of non-Euclidean geometries, to cite just one example, was undoubtedly more influential in this connection than the sort of difficulties I have discussed. . . . My concern has been rather, by considering a few aspects of the question, to suggest that, as a matter of fact, the seeds of conventionalism were implicitly present in the formulations of the classical logical ontologists, and that there was a logic to this presence.” (Peikoff 1964, 240) Peikoff took Kant to be “the philosopher most responsible for the demise of logical ontologism in the history of philosophy” (165). In a roundabout way, I concur. The demise of ontological essences, Platonic forms, and Aristotelian forms and formal causes had transpired before Kant, as far as the modern stream of philosophy was concerned. In that fall was also the fall of logical ontologism. Kant’s weight on the demise was through his own imposing, positive system of theoretical philosophy replacing Aristotle’s (and replacing modern systems such as the system of Leibniz). Kant weight on that demise and Kant shadows on the future saliently include: His success in bringing to much attention a philosophical division of sense and understanding and of the synthetic and the analytic (not what we mean by synthetic/analytic in geometry); his subject-rooted theory of how geometry is possible; his replacement of Aristotle’s categories as in the world with categories as belonging to human understanding in its approach to sensory experience of the world; lastly and most profoundly, in my estimation, his particular replacement of Aristotelian ontological form with subject-side form.** “Although many—but not all—classic philosophers subscribed to the necessary-contingent or rational-empirical dichotomies in their classification of propositions, this was not for them the equivalent of the logical-factual dichotomy; to this latter the vast majority did not subscribe, nor could they have, since they regarded the laws of logic as themselves matters of fact (i.e., ontological in character, not ‘mere’ matters of fact).” (13) The philosophers Peikoff examines in their conventionality of logical principles do not regard these salutary principles as arbitrarily selected, although, as with Kant, their basis is not some fact(s) holding independently of human existence and consciousness. Peikoff quotes logical empiricist Ayer denying that analytic propositions “provide any information about any matter of fact. In other words, they are entirely devoid of factual content” (Ayer 79; Peikoff 170). Ayer does not follow Kant’s proposal that analytic patterns are from invariant organization of the human mind. Rather, granted various linguistic conventions, “the laws of logic which flow from them are necessary and incontestable truths” (Peikoff 174).*** From what we have seen of Kant in previous segments of this essay, he would take conditioning truth and necessity of logical principles such as PNC on any conventional structure of language as inadequate to deliver the necessity logical truths possess. Any indebtedness of logic to structure of language cannot be indebtedness to anything conventional in language, because conventionality is contingency, not absolute necessity, not the necessity Kant attached to the a priori. Ayer and Kant agree that logical truths are a priori and analytic. An example of an analytic statement from Ayer is: “Either some ants are parasitic or none are” (79). “Either some are or none are” is so no matter what facts of the world it is being applied to. And no observation in experience could refute this logical truth. On that much Kant and Ayer could agree. Kant famously did not think that analytic truths are the only sort of a priori truths. The other sort of a priori truths, he called synthetic. He took the analytic and the synthetic to exhaust the sorts of a priori truth. The exemplar of synthetic a priori truths was geometry of Euclidean space, the only structure of physical space known until Einstein’s general relativity (1916). That space (spatial slices of the four-dimensional [semi-] Riemannian spacetime manifold of variable curvature) is not intuitive in the ready-to-hand way that Euclidean space is intuitive (in carpentry or, differently, in Euclid), thus not congenial to Kant’s conception of space as pure form of outer, sensory intuition (in Kant’s technical sense of intuition). Logical empiricism arose in an intellectual scene in which Kant’s exemplar of synthetic a priori truth lay in shambles. Moreover, by that time, David Hilbert had staked pure geometry as purely abstract and independent of any physical application or sensory experience. Hans Reichenbach in 1920 correctly observed that Kant had held a priori truth to be not only necessary and unrevisable, but constitutive of the concept of the object as object of knowledge. That last character of the a priori was not toppled by Einstein’s revolution. At least it was not toppled in the obvious way that universality and unrevisability were toppled with respect to physical Euclidean geometry. At first Reichenbach thought such constitutive principles were at hand in modern application of mathematics to physics, but he soon became persuaded that those principles of application were neither true nor false. They were simplicity- and tractability-based conventions. By the 1920’s, the last toeholds of Kant’s intuitive, synthetic a priori in geometry and in geometry’s physical exemplification had been dissolved by Reichenbach, Schlick, and Carnap.**** (To be continued.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ * In the installment “Aristotle II”, I conveyed Peikoff 1964 on inadequacies of nominalism in provisioning a theory of logic. See also Paul Forster’s Peirce and the Threat of Nominalism (2011, 24–28, 38). ** On transformation of Aristotle’s matter-form distinction from Leibniz to Kant, see Marco Sgarbi’s Kant and Aristotle – Epistemology, Logic, and Method (2016, 79–94). *** Cf. Herder c.1767 and 1772 in Michael Forster’s Johann Gottfried von Herder – Philosophical Writings (2002, 48, 100). **** Michael Friedman’s “The Evolution of the A Priori in Logical Empiricism” in The Cambridge Companion to Logical Empiricism, Richardson and Uebel, editors (2007, 95–108).
  26. 1 point
    StrictlyLogical

    How To Solve Racial Problems

    Crackpots, irrationals, villainous, stupid, backwater people lacking in virtue and rationality and indeed every other kind of person would be free to associate with each other (it's called freedom of association) in a free country. Of course it is illegal for ANY group of people to conspire to commit any sort of crime, but that is obvious. As for Bigot Town, USA, THAT implies at least local government and possibly local enforcement of state and fed. law, including various branches of it under a local property taxing regime, administering and delivering services both proper and improper (mayor's office, police, enforced garbage collection, local schools, fire department, etc.). Since the only proper role of government is to protect rights, and since they are the only ones with a monopoly on the legal use of force, having anyone in government who is a crackpot, irrational, villainous, stupid, or a backwater person lacking in virtue and rationality, let alone having the entire local government being made up of people like that, represents a grave risk to the violation of individual rights and very likely would constitute an improper government which constantly violates individual rights. A proper and free society does not condone improper government or the violation of individual rights. Objectivism does not accept a system of anarchy, or competing governments, (Anarcho-capitalism is right out), and also rejects Libertarianism as a foundation for politics. Government must act properly and individual rights are absolute. To the extent any person or persons pretends to act as government but exceed its proper role and violate individual rights, by purported law and/or action, those people are acting outside of their proper government role, and it would be moral for others (State or Fed of a free country), acting properly as THE government to step in and ensure protection of individual rights by removing those guilty of violating rights and setting up a proper government.
  27. 1 point
    It is difficult for me to say if it was a lie. But it's not transparent, when transparency is important to any kind of relationship. Friends or otherwise. On the other hand, being transparent doesn't have to mean telling everything immediately. When it comes to a huge conflict that would shake up your life, you might hesitate telling someone else so you can take the time to figure out what to say. Not to say that the girl in this case acted entirely well. I'm saying that these are redeemable moral errors. Sometimes people come along where your prior commitments should be given up. Unfortunately, this is where people go wrong. It's difficult to navigate. You might fear that she could "easily" do it again. But sometimes when a person does something wrong, they are less likely to repeat it. That is, if they acknowledge what they did wrong. The key factor I think is, how much room will you give people for mistakes? The girl wanting to kiss Ben, or developing a crush him, was not the mistake; the mistake was simply not telling her current boyfriend (for some people, kissing is a very ambiguous line). Our information is limited, maybe the brief period of time is a sign of impulsivity. But it also might be a willingness to make the hard decisions, even if the method of following through the decision wasn't the best. But I agree that boundaries are important. Expectations starting now, and making them clear, without changing them later. This sounds like a good way to find the type of person they want to be, and can succeed at being. That's how you can prevent cases where someone turns out to be a liar, an abuser, a drug addict, a lazy bum, or goes back on their promises. It's how you can maintain relationships with people who have made mistakes, without worrying that every single instance of a moral error is increasing probability that they will do the wrong thing. When it comes to people I've known a few weeks, I give them some leeway, even more so if I'm extra fond of them and in a short time learned a lot about them.
  28. 1 point
    Eiuol

    Eco-fascist attack in New Zealand

    I've always thought that Rand made wayyyyyy too strong of a claim here. I agree that it was a violation of property rights, but I think the overall violation of property rights against black people especially was reduced. The worst breach? Hardly. Besides, I don't think similar laws have become more oppressive. Perhaps more petty, but not more oppressive. And anyway, I don't think it reflects an erosion of property rights. Rather, even though it doesn't reflect an improvement of property rights, I think it pushes people to think about property rights more. But it doesn't change the dynamics of anything. It's a confused notion of property rights (that the public should have a say with any property that interacts with the rest of the public), but it's nothing like actual erosion of property rights. I don't know what you mean that white racists have been victimized the most. The most I guess because they are the only ones being racist? I don't know what you mean that antidiscrimination laws have disproportionately affected white people. With affirmative action, sure, but that's not what you're talking about. Part of my thinking is that this is a symptom of fear that laws will necessarily get worse. Fear that the laws will get worse because of foreigners distorting the national culture. Except, it's not property rights they are reacting to. They are reacting to an implementation of public property rights that they don't like, but they would approve laws that violate the property rights of others. After all, people like this are anti-capitalists. Property rights aren't even on their mind. In a way, actions like this, murdering people, is a far greater erosion of property rights. I think property rights have gradually improved since the Civil Rights Act. So I don't think the erosion of property rights explanation works here. I think it's more about identity politics, which is the primary thing that will erode property rights. You would be right though as far as laws that are created because of identity politics. But not all antidiscrimination laws are created for that reason.
  29. 1 point
    dream_weaver

    Eco-fascist attack in New Zealand

    What is disturbing is a world that looks at this staged event as something that can be understood on its own merits. If it is reason and rationality that are to be embraced, then ignorance and irrationality are the default conditions that represent the state of an unachieved human stature. Even in a world where the embrace of reason and rationality are the norm, there will be aberrations from that norm. At the age of 29, Ayn Rand stated in her journal As to psychology—learn whether the base of all psychology is really logic, and psychology as a science is really pathology, the science of how these psychological processes depart from reason. This departure is the disease. What caused it? Isn't it faulty thinking, thinking not based on logic[?] By the age of 55, she had set up three essential categorizations for man dealing with the conceptual level of consciousness. The producer achieved this human stature. The stature she described of the other two categorizations in For The New Intellectual dealt with thinking, not as a means of perceiving reality, but as a means of justifying their escape from the necessity of rational perception. The Churchchrist shooter's manifesto is hardly a man writing the Constitution of the United States as protection against the actions of the irrational that may violate the rights of those living peaceably. In medicine, diseases are identified as a means of organizing, conceptually, the various ones that exist, and further identifying which are treatable by what means. When a malignancy such as Brenton Tarrant develops in the "body of humanity", until a cure or a method of preventing such a malady from occurring in the first place exists, the approach need be one to excise or isolate the anomaly in such a way as to protect the "body of humanity" from the ravages of such a disease.
  30. 1 point
    Reidy

    Background to Hugo

    This article, about the anti-revolutionary civil war in the Vendée region of France, might interest a Randian audience, because it was the historical background of Hugo's Ninety-Three, for which she wrote an introduction.
  31. 1 point
    Eiuol

    Universe as Object

    I wrote this paper for my own purposes to explain and think more about what makes an object an object. I don't think my idea is incompatible with Objectivism, and it offers new and interesting ideas. Feel free to nit-pick, I edited it to get the exact words I want. Might the universe be an object? I look at something in front of me. I recognize it as a table: four legs, flat surface, wooden. Other things are placed on its surface, like a pencil and a camera. I am comfortable with these identifications. After all, I can touch them, see them, even hear them if I move them in a certain way. Furthermore, I can see edges where one thing ends and the other begins. In other words, these things are entities: things which are bounded and distinct[1]. Through their behavior, they exhibit an identity. Even more, the identity of these entities is independent of my seeing or recognizing them. The entire world in front of me is this way, filled with entities. My perception allows me to see this. Consider that a table is made of parts which are not accessible in a perceptual way. Certainly, I can chop off the legs of the table and then have individual legs, but this is no problem because the legs still remain directly accessible to unaided perception. The parts that I am talking about are not accessible to unaided perception, that is, what the table is decomposable into and is therefore constituted of. The table is constituted of molecules, which cannot be detected just by looking. With a microscope molecules can be detected, and they would have the same distinctness I recognize when I looked at the table without any help. In order to make the distinction between things which I can see without assistance of the things I can't see without assistance, I will consider objects to be both of these, while I will consider entities to be those things that I can see without assistance. Such a distinction is important because I cannot recognize the aspects of a molecule in the same way I can recognize the aspects of a table. A different method is required in order to comprehend a molecule, that is, reliance on tools. A related consideration for the ontology I am sketching out is the objects on the table. To put it simply, the objects share no causal identity to the extent they are distinct and unconnected. The only aspect they all have in common in relation to each other is a spatial characteristic. The camera is on the table, which is as far as the relationship between table and camera extends. I could refer to them as “objects on the table”, and treat them as a set in order to talk about statements like “I knocked over the table, so everything fell off” or “the table is full, I can't put another object on it”. However, there is nothing causal about one object to another in the set of objects on the table. They do not form a system whose constituents operate together. So far, this ontology is nothing radical, and even common sense. Is this all there is to consider though? If I stop here, I may as well say it was sufficient for the Greeks to consider what was immediately and directly available to their perception. As soon as I recognize concrete constituents of an object, and recognize that these constituents are also objects, I need to think about the relation these constituents stand towards other constituents which are not available to unaided perception. Is the relationship only spatial? Or are they directly and causally related, despite my inability to see this possible relationship without a microscope? Intuitively, my answer is that they are causally related exactly because any further distinction I have made is based on having recognized an entity with which I could use a microscope on. The set of objects on the table on the other hand are not reduced from my having seen a larger entity. I did not see an entity and then break it down further. In this way, I have determined that the universe cannot be object. The above view I call perceptual ontology, i.e. ontology bounded and set by perceptual capacities. Important to keep in mind is that objecthood doesn’t depend upon perceptual capacities. Rather, the class of existents (e.g. ideas, concretes, actions) that qualify as objects are specified by what is perceptually detectable without aid and its decomposition. As characterized, perceptual ontology is immediately vulnerable to subjectivity in metaphysics. Indeed, in terms of epistemology, perceptual capacities need not imply a subjectivist epistemology -- there could still be definitive and objective rules to recognizing or knowing that an object is in fact an object. Even more, entities can be considered primary or fundamental to comprehending metaphysics. However, since what qualifies as an object is a direct consequence of a physical reduction from the entity level, I begin to wonder about creatures smaller than humans and what they can see as entities [2]. A microscopic bacteria could detect molecules unaided, that is, molecules would be entities to a microscopic bacteria. Anything too much larger may as well be like the set of objects on the table -- perhaps connected but not complete and entirely contained. Going the other direction, in principle, a massive creature could detect groups of planets like a person detects a dog. The group of planets could plausibly be an entity specifically to that creature. By this reasoning, to a human the group of planets is a set of planets yet not an object because they were not a reduction from the entity level, while the massive creature sees the group of planets on the entity level so the group would qualify as an object. If the very category of existents that qualify as objects in the first place vary based on perceptual differences, the resulting metaphysics would be a direct consequence of the given subject and not a direct consequence of reality. The schema of this problem is easily illustrated: 1. a = {c1, c2, c…, cn}; the constituents of Cx are united as a single abstraction a 2. e = {c1, c2, c…, cn} = {o1, o2, o…, on}; the constituents of Cx are united as entity e. Any element of Cx or unification within Cx is an object. 3. Per(Cx) = e; the function, i.e. the faculty of perception, which recognizes some aspect of the world as bounded and distinct as opposed to an abstraction. The perception of set Cx is sufficient and necessary for set Cx to be an entity and all its elements to be objects. 1 is equivalent to the earlier “objects on the table”. Each constituent is an element of the abstraction. 2 is equivalent to a table constituted by molecules and follows a pattern similar to 1. All constituents of entities are objects. 3 means that what qualifies as an entity will be different for any variation of perceptual faculties. 4. The whole set C being an object or not therefore depends on the perceptual capacities of the creature in question. The unity is an object if and only if the constituents are already a division of an entity. Otherwise, it is an abstraction or mental object, which is by definition neither physical nor independent of one’s awareness. One solution to the problem is that efforts to define objects are inherently subjective, that there is in fact no way to objectively state what is or is not an object in any circumstance. More specifically, there is not a multiplicity of objects in reality. Thus, the word “object” ceases to have meaning - there is either exactly one object, or no objects. With Hindu philosophy, there is singular “object” called Brahman, the underlying nature of reality[3]. Any further distinction is considered “maya”, illusion[4]. At worst, maya is human conceit attempting to satisfy a constant desire to label and categorize, a cause of suffering. At best, it is the world of appearances that the subject acknowledges, which need not determine how the world really is. Brahman is in fact a singularity of all, the only “object” which really counts. So on it goes, towards the denial of one's own ego, towards passive acceptance of existence. Such a consequence is hardly worthwhile. Argument by consequence, however, is not reason to reject a metaphysical claim. If existence is exactly one object, then that’s how it is, for better or worse. The consequence only alters my response to the fact; it may impact the epistemology I develop, or my ethical theories, but disliking the consequences is not a counterargument. The idea of a singularity is wrong because it is parasitic upon more fundamental premises: to speak of a singularity requires having already defined or conceptualized a variety of objects. Denying a multiplicity of objects would just as well deny the means to conceptualize or witness Brahman – denying perception. Ultimately, then, the “solution” is to wipe away a perceiver, such that perceptual faculties are ignored. While metaphysics does not take into account a perceiver for a claim to be valid, coming to understand metaphysical claims takes addressing how one is conscious of reality. It seems that rather than reality being a singularity, there is a threshold on the number of objects one is able to grasp[5]. So, perception’s limits leave me unable to determine which things qualify as objects - besides what I see as an entity, and its constituents. Accepting that there is a threshold on the number of qualifiable objects due to one’s perceptual faculties is no solution, either. This would be taking a stance in favor of maya instead of a singularity. I’d be saying there are an unknown and ungraspable set of objects in reality[6]. If the set of all objects in reality include these “invisible” objects, then all the criteria for an object to fit into the set of all objects are unknown. By this point, it would not be determinable if the known objects really qualify as objects. I would not be able to say if they should be disqualified as objects – for I would be admitting no one will ever find out all the necessary criteria of objecthood. Some currently-known objects may turn out to be non-objects. Unfortunately, no one would ever be able to find out. As a result, no objects in reality are graspable. Imagine the set of all known fruits, then also yet-to-be-discovered fruits. Both sets are graspable, the criteria for qualifying as a fruit can be understood differently in the future, perhaps leading me to recategorize. But if there are a set of extra-dimensional fruits that are unknowable and ungraspable because of the limits to perception, then the set of all fruits would lack any definable criteria. Apples qualify, as do bananas, but I would never know about gooblegorks. If I will never know of gooblegorks, nor why they qualify as fruits, likewise, I won’t know why apples or bananas qualify. So, the entire category of fruit becomes arbitrary or merely nominal - maya. There would be no basis to say what fruits are or are not besides a subjective impression. The same form of reasoning would apply to “invisible” objects. Of course, the above paragraph is a discussion of epistemology. At the same time, any solution to a problem can only be reached by referring to the thinking required. The greater point is to emphasize that all solutions so far are parasitic upon defining objecthood already by means of my awareness and consciousness. A solution requires keeping the idea that entities are distinct and bounded - explaining objecthood any other way is parasitic. The solution I see is to say that objects are also the things entities supercompose into. Just as a table decomposes into molecules, certain entities may supercompose[7] into greater objects. In this way, all things that are objects depend on composability. Entities help with a starting point for qualifying objects; composability as a principle makes use of entities; entities are not a threshold for objecthood. Thus I avoid parasitism issues. I am maintaining premises 1 and 2, the premises pertaining to entities as a basis to qualifying an ontology. Explicitly, I am denying that function 3 expressed as perception (and the tools to extend perception) and decomposability expressed as 2 are sufficient to determine objecthood. Rather, I am proposing that composability is needed – decomposition only works because of composition. Stated generally for any object: 5. Comp(c1 + c2 + c… + cn) = o; the function, i.e. the composing, of a set of constituents. The composibility of set Cx is sufficient and necessary for set Cx to be an object and all its elements to be objects. Stated for any object greater than an entity: 6. SuperComp(e1 + e2 + e… + en) = o; the function, i.e. the supercomposing, of a set of entities. The supercomposibility of set Ex is sufficient and necessary for set Ex to be an object and all its elements to be objects. Why not instead suppose that composition extends infinitely? Because a supercomposition is a combination of entities. If the cardinality of E is 30, then the possible number of supercompositions is 30c30. Each round of compositions will be fewer, and so on until the resulting combination in a single object. A number of the proceeding arguments are why compositions end at a single object as opposed to two or more. If tables decompose into molecules, then molecules compose into tables. In principle, there is no reason to say nothing composes from entities like tables into “supertable”. There is no necessity to stop composition at the level of entity. All that can be said is that determining composition is difficult. Certainly, “supertable” is not an object, because a group of tables have no causal relation, only a spatial relation like objects on a table. Yet if a group of entities have a causal relation, the group is just as much an object as a table composed of molecules. Not just any causal relation will work, though. Two balls bouncing off each other is a direct causal relation, but they still are not singular. They need to be a bounded and distinct unity to be a singular “ballcluster” object as well as two balls. Similarly as an example, two molecules passing through one another doesn’t alone render them into a table. Three necessary conditions are robust enough for a group of objects to be a composition. Among the group’s elements, there would need to be causal relation strong enough to be called an object as opposed to an abstraction. Systematic The elements in a group of objects operate together simultaneously and affect one another. A loss of one constituent will affect how the group behaves. Taking flour out of a cake recipe will radically alter all aspects of a cake, including texture, shape, baking time, and more. Flour itself will not alter the nature of eggs, but the unity of flour and eggs along with the rest of the ingredients make a specific cake. The nature of the group is different if any element is taken out. Relational A function exists which binds the elements in a group of objects. Being relational makes explicit that the elements are connected. “Next to” is a relation, as is “X > Y” and “the moon orbited the earth”. Emergence The resulting group possesses one or more attributes which none of the individual elements possess. For example, people are volitional, but their constituents are not volitional – a single neuron is not volitional. Likewise, the process of life and the resulting attribute of being alive don’t make all of a creature’s constituent elements alive. The fact that properly arranging constituents in just the right way (the right mix of carbon molecules, the right external conditions like temperature, etc.) results in a living creature suggests that the constituents form a causal unity with each other. There are no good examples of a supercomposition aside from science fiction. However, one particular candidate may qualify as a supercomposition: the universe, the unification of all objects that exist. If true, there would be interesting clarifications and ideas regarding identity. First, I need to determine if the universe is an object. The universe is systematic. All objects that exist make up the nature of the universe. The actions of a planet orbiting a star impacts other stars and other stars’ planets. It is possible to focus on planets as singulars, but the idea is planets and impacted stars, and so on, operate as a system. The more alterations within a system, the more each element will be altered. Taking into account all objects at once is only an expansion of this. Moreover, given that causality never ceases at some ultimate point in time[8], the effects of one object will necessarily continue eternally within the system to the degree the system is complete and bounded. In terms of the universe, it is bounded by all that exists. The universe is the most complete system there is, and its bounds are definite. There is nothing to remove from the universe, and there is nothing to add. Otherwise, the system is incomplete, meaning that it is something different than the universe as defined. The universe is all related. At minimum, by virtue of being physical, there is a spatial relation between all objects. Two asteroids, or two atoms, placed at opposite ends of the universe bear a spatial relation. The spatial relation makes it possible in principle for any two objects to effect a causal relation. There is always a chronological relation as well, as any group of objects will be acting in some manner. The universe has emergent attributes. Exactly the emergent properties of the universe are for cosmologists to discover through science. Cosmology, however, is not the only way to figure out in general attributes unique to the universe. As a complete whole, time holds between all objects at once, which requires a unique time standard. A universal time standard cannot be identical to time standards of more narrow systems. If it were identical, it would be part of an identical system – identical standards would mean using a standard not defined by the context of all objects. So, a time attribute of the universe is emergent, assuming the universe’s systematicity is true. This leads to saying all objects operate together; the actions of one object affect the rest because time applies equally. This is why knowledge of one fact affects how all knowledge is structured. Many more examples of all three are possible. The main idea is that causality spreads in a systematically related way across a system with emergent attributes, or for all constituents of a given object. Applied to the whole universe, causality is eternal and will not cease as long as the universe exists. Eternal causality entails a systematically related universe with at least one emergent attribute. Thus, the universe is an object. A similar idea is that the universe is plenum[9], a continuous substance that connects all things that exist. To be clear, a theory of compositionality is not compatible with universe-as-plenum. Plenum would be a theory that the universe is an object because all objects are directly related spatially - the universe is a Jell-O slab with pieces of fruit suspended inside. But as I argued before, a spatial relation is insufficient for a group of objects to be an object. The added “closeness” of plenum does not help. Instead, compositionality is a theory that the universe is perpetuum[10], a total expanse of all that exists linked by causality. I call it perpetual ontology. <<>> [1] This sense of the word entity is intended to be the same as Rand: "The first concepts man forms are concepts of entities—since entities are the only primary existents. (Attributes cannot exist by themselves, they are merely the characteristics of entities; motions are motions of entities; relationships are relationships among entities.)" -ITOE, page 15. [2] I'm reminded of Peikoff's thought experiment on meta-energy puffs. OPAR, pages 45-47. [3] The Brahman is not apprehendable by human means. A yogi may feel being one with the Brahman, but not through their perceptual faculties to see or grasp it. C.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman [4] Maya is not just perceptual illusion, but all ways of conceiving of the world whether through perception or cognition. C.f. http://www.davar.net/EXTRACTS/FICTION/INDIAN.HTM [5] To grasp is used here as a term to cover any form of grasping from mere perceptual awareness to conceptualization. Knowledge is a grasp, as well as perception. Witnessing Brahman would be a grasp, but something distinct from knowledge and perception. [6] Unknown objects are not necessarily ungraspable, just as atoms were not always known. Atoms were always possibly graspable. The issue is proposing that a theoretical, yet-to-be-demonstrated object that cannot ever be grasped. [7]The prefix super- is used to convey that the composition is a composition at or above the level of entity. A supercomposition is not a special form of composition with unique attributes. [8] Time is itself a relation between two actions, so a time which lacks a coinciding action is no time at all. Furthermore, a causal-free point in time implies regions of reality which lack causality. In both ways, the absolute end to any causal chain would be an absolute end to the universe, or at least the universe would be in a frozen state. I’d argue that a frozen state is identical to nothingness, i.e. is nonexistence. [9] Latin - (with genitive, or ablative in later Latin) full (of), filled, plump; https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/plenus#Latin [10] Latin - perpetual, continuous, uninterrupted; https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/perpetuus#Latin
  32. 1 point
    Sonic & Knuckles, You're covering a lot of topics; you might consider breaking it down a little, or searching for threads related to each of these areas of discussion. Nonetheless, I'll take a few of your questions and try to answer briefly. work is generally being replaced by machines. Yes, labor intense work is often replaced by machines. Machines increase productivity. Increased productivity results in greater output at a lower cost. Net result: More people will be able to afford the goods and services that, at present, only the higher income market can afford. Services made more efficient through high-speed communications are another improvement. So many jobs are going to be gone in the next decade. I think this is going to make the distortions and socio-economic gaps we already have in society much worse. What you are describing has been a concern since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, especially in mass manufacturing. The blacksmiths and candlestick makers were taking a terrible beating back then, but it certainly wasn't the end of the world. You are right to be concerned about being "left behind." I think every young person, (and for that matter, middle-aged people stuck in jobs of the aging industries) ought to seriously plan for the reality of mechanization in the Digital-Age. Objectivist ethics requires one to face the facts, and to deal with them accordingly. As for society getting worse, I think the worst will affect those at the economic bottom, as it always has. The changing ways of doing business like watching a movie or shopping, and the effects of business like concentration of ownership of media with newspapers and (formerly) locally-managed TV/radio stations is creating a scenario in the private market that can be analogous to centralization or Communism in many ways. If the media outlets are privately owned, it certainly wouldn't qualify as Communism, which means that the media are a monopoly owned and operated by the government; so long as the internet stays relatively unregulated, centralization of information is unlikely. I would say the greater problem is the reaction of the general public to hysteria inflamed by the media. As long as there is a market for entertainment and information products, be they physical or digital on-demand, those products will be produced. Ask anyone with a vinyl record collection. As for your neurological condition, I have no comments. I hope the best for your improvement, and by all means, spend some time reading some of the works of Ayn Rand.
  33. 1 point
    Through several threads, and the replies I've gotten to sharing certain personal experiences, I've come to realize that my experiences may be atypical. But I've generally had pleasant romantic relationships... And my experience is this: that women must be dealt with as individuals. I've never not complimented a woman (or complimented her, for that matter) according to some strategy, or because some supposed pick-up artist thinks that women are reducible to a pattern. I've treated women in this respect the way I treat anyone or anything, and have paid compliments freely when they are warranted, and refrain from them when they are not. Honesty has been my one "strategy," and it has worked out fine in my best estimation. Could I have had more sex over the course of my life (with certain kinds of women), had I immersed myself in strategies and such designed to seduce those kinds of women? Perhaps. Would that pursuit have made my life better? I sincerely doubt it, and doubted it at the time (which accounts in large part for why I knowingly avoided that path). I'm not sure that it would have left me as the man I am today, a man who is capable of loving and being loved by my wife in the manner that we have achieved. And that's a sad thought. And today I am extraordinarily happy with my wife, and I'll report that I pay her compliments regularly. It's rare that I see her and am not moved to pay such a compliment, so really my usual "strategic" consideration is just not to bore her by repeating myself constantly. But if I'm looking at the most beautiful, most wonderful woman I've ever known -- and if I'm struck by that fact constantly, over years and years and years -- what am I supposed to do about it? For her part, she's reported that she loves the compliments I pay her. But then, she's not very well-versed in seduction literature, so perhaps she just doesn't yet understand her feminine self yet?
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