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  1. 2 points
    Why do you limit my reactions, developers? Who is to say how many "lols" or "hearts" I may have in one day? And by what right?!
  2. 2 points

    Ayn Rand's Popcorn-tradiction.

    Holy hell, I did get something out following this thread.
  3. 2 points
    Ah, you want to communicate through music? Well, at this point I'm willing to try anything.
  4. 2 points
    Now that "Dishonest Jose" is gone, here is a little script with "Honest Joe"... Here, HonestJoe, although he made errors in the past, is intellectually honest and actually willing to think. SL: Suppose I say Rand is correct that in reality "contradictions are impossible" (1) AND Rand is incorrect that in reality "contradictions are impossible" (2). Is there anything wrong with that? HonestJoe: Well first, I understand what you have said, but it is nonsensical. That's what is wrong with it. You are saying one thing and then another thing which is its opposite. You cant say A and not-A. SL: Well I can say it, and I have. So what is wrong with what I did say? HonestJoe: The sentence opposes itself... therefore it doesn't mean anything. SL: The parts (1) and (2) in the sentence each refer to something in reality. If both CAN be true at the same then the sentence is NOT meaningless, it simultaneously identifies those two truths. It opposes itself... but it must in order to reflect reality... HonestJoe: Well, they CANT both be true in reality. They are exact opposites, either Rand was wrong or Rand was right about the issue.... not both. Those two parts of the sentence are not identifying two separate things about the universe they are saying the opposite about a single thing, Rand's correctness. SL: OK. Why can't a single thing be at once two opposites in reality? Why can't "Rand correctness" at once be two opposites at the same time and in the same respect? HonestJoe: But that would be nonsense... that would mean "Rand's correctness" in reality would be A and not-A at the same time and in the same respect. It's either A or not-A, not both. Both would be nonsense... Rand cannot in reality be correct and incorrect at the same time and in the same respect ... that would be a contradiction. SL: So, who says contradictions can't exist in reality? Who?....
  5. 2 points
    * * * * * Split off thread - Ayn Rand's Popcorn-tradiction * * * * *
  6. 1 point
    At the same time? Or at different times?
  7. 1 point

    In the news

    Found this at the Conservative HQ comparing the shift in some businesses to various business practices touched upon in Atlas Shrugged. Another Depressing Chapter Of Atlas Shrugged Comes Alive
  8. 1 point

    Objectivist Book Club

    Until your post, the last one was in 2006. It is a pinned topic, and depending on where it goes, sub-topics could be added with the warning that spoilers are likely to be encountered. Aside from personally re-reading Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and The Romantic Manifesto this year, there was Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead And Win and Creating Christ: How Roman Emperors Created Christianity.
  9. 1 point
    Hi William. I have a shelf of books on physics and philosophy of time in my personal library, but so far, the time has not been right for taking a deep plunge into their contents. Three seem most closely related to your interests in this post: McTaggart’s Paradox (2016) by R. D. Ingthorsson, a philosopher. NOW – The Physics of Time (2016) by R. A. Muller, a physicist. (clip) The Order of Time (2018) by Carlo Rovelli, a physicist. Rovelli thinks twentieth-century physics show that an objective global present does not exist. Presentism, the view that there is an objective global present, is false. He thinks that simply from special relativity, in which he rightly takes reference frames, relative velocities between them, clocks, and light beams to be objective things in terms of which SR is cast and tested. He moves from objective frame-relativity of simultaneity of distant events with local events to lack of any such thing as an objective global present without explanation for that move. Perhaps that move can be made smooth, perhaps not. His conclusion is that presentism is false and “the world should not be thought of as a succession of presents. / What alternatives do we have?” [Unger and Smolin pose an additional alternative “inclusive time” in their book The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time (2015), which seems unnecessarily extravagant to me, at least in all they try to hitch up to it.] “Philosophers call ‘eternalism’ the idea that flow and change are illusory: present, past, and future are all equally real and equally existent. Eternalism is the idea that the whole of spacetime, as outlined in the above [SR] diagrams, exists all together without anything changing. Nothing really flows.* –p. 108 ((* “In the terminology of a celebrated article by John McTaggart (1908), this is equivalent to denying the reality of the A-series (the organization of time into ‘past-present-future’) The meaning of temporal determinations would then be reduced to only the B-series (the organization of time into ‘before-it, after-it’). For McTaggart, this implies denying the reality of time. To my mind, McTaggart is too inflexible: the fact that my car works differently from how I’d imagined it and how I’d originally defined it in my head does not mean that my car is not real”.)) –pp. 221–22 “The distinction between past, present, and future is not an illusion. It is the temporal structure of the world. But the temporal structure of the world is not that of presentism. The temporal relations between events are more complex than we previously thought, but they do not cease to exist on account of this. The relations of filiations do not establish a global order [linear sequence of presents self-same across all material frames, i.e., for all bits of non-zero rest mass]), but this does not make them illusory. If we are not all in single file, it does not follow that there are no relations between us. Change, what happens—this is not an illusion. What we have discovered is that it does not follow a global order.” –p. 110 So Rovelli has it that even though A-series is shown false, as objective structure, by SR, the relation past-present-future remains objective temporal structure, just not the A-series one presumed before SR. William, I don't know how many physicists follow along Rovelli's lines in this area of philosophical wider view taking in SR spacetime and kinematics. However, I doubt that any of them who have thought about it so much as the authors I've mentioned in this post have needed or relied on any particular schools of philosophy in their quest for wider understanding.
  10. 1 point

    Showcase your art!

    Thanks Nick, I'm happy you like it.
  11. 1 point

    Showcase your art!

    Here is my latest painting, Woman Wrapped In Silk.
  12. 1 point

    18th & 19th Century Fiction

    Rand's recommendation of Hugo paid off handsomely. I struck out on Dostoyevsky and Conrad. The Secret Agent has some amusingly contemporary allusions, but otherwise both authors escaped me.
  13. 1 point

    My Music

    I'm not sure what level your formal musical training is at, but you have a distinctive sound which IMHO has a dark solitary quality. The kinds of key signatures used reminds me of that old song "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. I am no musical expert but your work has an interesting quality which I imagine would be suitable for a TV series like Westworld, or a western themed video game. Keep at it! Take it seriously. You have only one life.
  14. 1 point
    No, because the money to support these schools was taken from you and others by force. This is not your doing. See Rand's The Question of Scholarships.
  15. 1 point
    Well consciousness is identification. And a metaphysical contradiction could not be referred to in any sane way.
  16. 1 point

    From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Welcome to the site
  17. 1 point
    Give Harrison his emojis!
  18. 1 point

    Ayn Rand's Popcorn-tradiction.

    And in The Letters of Ayn Rand, in particular Letters to a Philosopher (Hospers) is where the foghorn is sounded about applying our own context or "guessing at his", which is, in essence 'applying our own context', and what is also considered as 'ascribing our own rationality to him' per the wording in the referenced document.
  19. 1 point
    Okay, so you're talking about something like a catfish. A catfish has a noncontradictory characteristic of a cat (whiskers), but it's a fish, not a cat too. I think your goatapple would be like an apple with horny protrusions and maybe some pointy, beard-like fibers.
  20. 1 point

    Ayn Rand's Popcorn-tradiction.

    I don't know, but crab apples are legit. 😊
  21. 1 point
    Not in a sufficiently concrete way. You said something like Goats are Apples... that is when I ask you to point at one. You either point at a Goat or an Apple (or maybe a GoatApple) but you can’t find anything that is what it is and what it is not at the time and in the same respect. Things which are counter intuitive for a macroscopic observer, one who gained a sense of things from a particular context, will come up again and again in the sciences of the very big and very small. Whatever you think of wave-particle duality, no existent including the electron is ever at any one time and in the same respect, measured as X and as non X. That measurement is impossible. If you interpret your measurement as X and non X you have made an error. Most likely you have really measured Y and your assumptions about X are simply wrong.
  22. 1 point
    Perhaps "falsifiability" is being used as a stolen concept. It depends on the impossibility of contradictions, yet it's being used to challenge that fact.
  23. 1 point

    Ayn Rand's Popcorn-tradiction.

    People seem to be very dense in this entire thread. I don't mean that as an insult to anyone, I mean that to say I think a lot of this is a waste of time. Jose has mediocre English, so that's a problem. I actually don't think it's anything else (it can make a difference for complicated grammar using complicated sentences, which especially applies to philosophy). Then it also gets into the point of the original thread. I don't think anyone pointed out the irony yet. That original thread was saying that arguing by formal logic is not going to do very good to support Rand.
  24. 1 point
    You know, the more I reread this comment The more I regret it. It was something I typed and posted in under 60 seconds, because it conveyed a certain feeling (which seems vaguely relevant even though it's yet-unidentified) in a cutesy way. And in retrospect it implies some stuff I would've dropped like a hot potato if I'd stopped to actually think about what I was saying. Yesterday I wrote this whole thing out about the honing of your philosophical detection skills and how laughter really does make you live longer and all the reasons why such "goofing off" is actually a good and healthy thing. All of which I do believe and none of which would need to be said if I hadn't just blurted that out little gem, there. I really wish I could delete that one. I think the way everybody else in this thread handled him was basically right. We were originally open, serious and as helpful as we could be, and we remained so until WELL after his dishonesty became obvious. Nobody was out to save his soul nor damn him (except for the implications of 1 or 2 of MY OWN statements) and we all stopped taking him seriously before he could get anyone too wound up. As long as Jose wants to be this way we should not give him anything more than "goofing off" for the SOLE the purpose of OUR OWN fun (because laughter is good for you). Never take him more seriously than he takes us and if you get bored with it just walk away until/unless you feel like returning. Seriously. You guys have all been on point so far.
  25. 1 point
    A conspiracy without leader, indeed.
  26. 1 point
    For these and other reasons, strong institutions are established where the individuals involved identify the interests and the aims of the institution as their own. Think, for instance, of a soldier who takes up a rifle in the hope of establishing the independence of his people after a long history of persecution. Such individuals do not need to be coerced to fight, or to be well compensated for their services. The fact that they are fighting for the benefit of their people is enough for them to be willing to throw their lives into the balance for the sake of a collective such as a tribe or a nation, stirring up an ardor in their breasts that moves them to acts of bravery and self-sacrifice that no intimidation or promise of pay could elicit. (p. 63) Human beings constantly desire and actively pursue the health and prosperity of the family, clan, tribe, or nation to which they are tied by bonds of mutual loyalty: We have an intense need to seek the material success of the collective. We work to strengthen its internal integrity by ensuring that its members are loyal to one another in adversity, honor their elders and leaders, and conduct the inevitable competitions among them peaceably. And we toil to hand down the cultural inheritance of the collective, its language and religion, its laws and traditions, its historical perspective, and the unique manner in which it understands the world, to a new generation. (p. 74). His extension of self is one where the collective (the nation) is more important than the individual. It is altruistic in the Randian sense. I agree that it is utopian, but not through and through dangerous and bad; some classical liberal theory is essential to Rand (in particular a lot of concern for individual rights). Let's make it more accurate: collectivism is essential to Hazony's theory, where the stability of the nation requires collectivism.
  27. 1 point
    No, because Objectivism recognizes context. It only applies when there are no contradictions. When a contradiction happens, Objectivism doesn't apply to that reality. Both statements are temporary. They are true only for as long as they accurately describe reality. Do you see now how Rand was right?
  28. 1 point
    I'm going to need more popcorn. And I should also add a note of thanks, Jose, for your help demonstrating just how well philosophy works.
  29. 1 point

    Math and reality

    I finished reading Knapp’s book, Mathematics is About the World. I rate it 5 stars, but with some room for improvement. Knapp barely mentions arithmetic and counting. More about arithmetic would strengthen his thesis that mathematics is about the world. The positive integers used for counting (and zero) form the foundation for the real numbers. Understanding addition and subtraction of fractions call upon the important concepts of unit and transformation, which he does use extensively for different topics – measuring and vector spaces. As an aside, as I have already indicated, mathematics is also about the way we think about the world. Mathematicians “extrapolate” concepts beyond perceptual reality. Examples are complex numbers and matrices with more than 3 dimensions.
  30. 1 point

    Math and reality

    I studied set theory in university. I studied group theory and quantum field theory for masters. I’ve studied chaos theory and fractal dimension in my spare time and I’ve read the Emperor’s New Mind, Metamagical Themas, Godel Escher Bach... why is it I have the deepest conviction that although most of these are interesting and useful they are no where nearly as profound and real an intellectual achievement as grasping Objectivism... many years later? I have great respect for so much of what iI learned in academia and I did quite well but I truly am of the belief, and sometimes it shocks me to think it... after a BSc, and an MSc, (and a professional degree which I will not divulge) ... after all of that... I still did not know how to truly think snd know until Rand and Peikoff. I hate to say it but when I hear of successor functions and when I browse a chapter entitled “Building the real numbers” ... from my old set theory text... I can’t help but think something is wrong... and wonder what mathematics could have become if based on Objective philosophy.
  31. 1 point
    The location of a recent, if not a currently existing Contradiction Dance, in Washington DC of all places. Could they be looking for an instructor with demonstrable experience?
  32. 1 point
    Rand was right, but she ain't right no more, because: 1. She's dead and 2. Contradictions only became possible after her death. Do I win a prize?
  33. 1 point

    Math and reality

    Mathematicians, and different mathematicians, mean different things depending on context. The context is either stated explicitly or reasonably gleaned per a given book or article. So, just to narrow down, let's look at just two of the different contexts. (They are different but they support each other anyway.) To avoid getting too complicated for the purposes of brief posting, I'll give only a sketch, leaving out a lot of details, and not explain every concept (such as 'free variable') and taking some liberties with the notation and concepts, and for ease of reading, I won't always include quote marks to distinguish mention as opposed to use. (So this is not as accurate as a more authoritative treatment). So two contexts: (1) General, informal (or informal mixed with formal) discussion in mathematics about natural numbers. (2) Formal first order Peano arithmetic [I'll just call it 'PA' here]. (1) In general mathematics, we might taken commutativity of addition to be obvious and thus a given. Or one might say: "Okay, I'm going to state some truths about natural numbers from which I can prove a whole bunch of other truths, even though they're obvious anyway. The truths about addition I want to mention are: 0 added to any number is just that number. In symbols: x+0 = 0. The sum of a number and the successor of another (or same) number is just the successor of the sum of the number and the other number. In symbols: x+Sy = S(x+y), or, put another way (where 'S' is defined as '+1'), x+(y+1) = (x+y)+1. The induction rule. Now, with those three truths, one of the many truths I can prove, without assuming anything about natural numbers or what they are, other than those three truths, is the commutativity of addition. In whatever way you conceive the natural numbers, as long that conception includes those three truths I just mentioned, then the commutativity of addition is proven true." Notice that we can't do this with the real numbers, because the induction rule does not work for the real numbers. So, for real numbers, we would take commutativity as an axiom (or in set theory, we would prove commutativity from the properties of the real numbers as they are set theoretically "constructed"). (2) PA, as a system, has a formal first order language, with the primitive logical symbols (including '=' as a logical symbol) and certain primitive non-logical symbols. The logical symbols are: Infinitely many variables: x, y, etc. -> (interpreted as the material conditional) ~ (interpreted as negation) and, from '->' and '~' we can define: & (interpreted as conjunction) v (interpreted as inclusive disjunction) A (so that, where P(x) is any formula with 'x' occurring free, AxP is always interpreted as "for all x, P(x)") and, from 'A' and '~' we can define: E (so that ExP(x) is always interpreted as "there is an x such that P(x)") The non-logical symbols are : 0 S + * We define S(0) =1 S(1) = 2 etc. When the language is interpreted: '0' is assigned to a particular member of the domain of the interpretation; 'S' is assigned to a 1-place function (operation) on the domain, '+' and '*' are each assigned to 2-place functions on the domain. With the "intended" ("standard") interpretation: the domain is the set of natural numbers, '0' is assigned to the number zero, 'S' is assigned to the successor operation, and '+' and '*' are assigned to the addition and multiplication operations respectively. And, since '=' is a logical primitive, we assign it to the identity (equality) relation on the domain. So for any interpretation (such that each variable, in its role as a free variable, is assigned to some member of the domain): x+y is assigned to the value of the '+' operation applied to the ordered pair: <the assigned value of x, the assigned value of y>. And x+y = y+x holds in the interpretation if and only if the value of x+y is identical with (is equal to) the value of y+x. So, to answer your question, in the syntax of the formal system itself, nothing is assumed as to what 'x' and 'y' stand for. But with a formal interpretation of the system, 'x', as a free variable stands for some member of the domain and 'y', as a free variable, stands for some member of the domain. And with the standard interpretation, the domain is the set of natural numbers. However, often we tacitly understand that when formulas such as x+y = y+x are asserted, we take that assertion to be the universal closure: AxAy x+y = y+x (abbreviated Axy x+y = y+x) And so, with the standard interpretation, that asserts that addition is commutative. And we prove it from the PA axioms (we only need the three I mentioned in a previous post, which correspond to the three truths I mentioned in this post).
  34. 1 point

    Rucka Rucka Ali

    Looking at Rucka's latest offering, "Flat Earth Song (Not Round)," this is one that contains the type of swearing that, at first blush, appeared gratuitous to me. It is a parody of "Better Now" by Post Malone. I don't follow Post Malone, so I was not familiar with his story or music before hearing the Rucka song. You can watch the music video here: The visual elements focus on Post Malone performing the song and hanging out. They have little or nothing to do with the lyrics, which relate his (or his character's) thoughts on a failed romantic relationship. The general idea, repeated in the chorus, is that both of them claim to be better after the breakup, but only because they aren't around each other anymore. However, Malone seems to be fooling himself, "because no matter how [his] life has changed, [he] keeps on looking back on better days." I suggest reading the full lyrics here. Now watch Rucka's parody. His character is a flat-earther who tells the story of how he rejected the round-earth model and became an ostracized street bum. Rucka appears to be drawing a parallel between Post Malone being dumped by his girlfriend and the flat-earther being dumped by society. The line "you dindu anything, they made up everything" is society sarcastically mocking the flat-earther's failure to take responsibility for his own social situation, which resembles Malone's seeming failure to take responsibility for losing the "love of his life." Malone repeatedly says, for example, that he "never meant to let [her] down." Oh, really? The closest he gets to the truth is when he says "everything came second to the Benzo," which apparently refers to Malone's admitted history with drugs for anxiety. But that subject is a mere one line in the first verse, and it's quickly forgotten and drowned out by the mantra-like chorus. Rucka's parody takes this lack of personal responsibility in one relationship and applies it to one person's relationship with the entire planet, represented by society rejecting the flat-earther. As for the instances where Rucka uses "shit" and "fuck" in the lyrics, it might be that he's imitating Malone, who also has a bit of a potty mouth, or it might be that his flat-earther must be vulgar to match the ideas and character, or maybe Rucka ran out of more meaningful words to use. I'm not sure, but he does appear to be mocking Malone's style in other ways. For example, he utilizes some slang and ungrammatical sentence construction. So I would guess that the cursing, in this case, is motivated by parodical imitation.
  35. 1 point

    Math and reality

    Some topics that have been mentioned: (1) MATHEMATICAL INDUCTION on NATURAL NUMBERS Induction [by 'induction' in such contexts, I mean mathematical induction] is ordinarily used in these contexts: * Proofs from the axioms of Peano arithmetic [by 'Peano arithmetic' I mean first order Peano arithmetic] in which induction is an axiom. Induction is needed because there are many things you can't prove about natural numbers from the Peano axioms without the induction axiom. * Proofs from the axioms of set theory in which there is the set of all and only the natural numbers and that set admits induction. Induction is used because it is the induction property of the natural numbers that permits many of the proofs about natural numbers. * Proofs historically before Peano arithmetic or set theory. (But such proofs can be put in Peano arithmetic or set theory retroactively.) * Proofs in general mathematics in instances where Peano arithmetic or set theory are not necessarily explicitly mentioned. (But said mathematics can be formulated in Peano arithmetic or set theory.) And none of this stems from any supposed need to avoid "derailment" from infinite cardinals or ordinal addition. (2) USE/MENTION There is a distinction between a) symbols, or sequences of symbols that are terms, to stand for objects or range as a variables over objects and b) the objects that are symbolized. Single quote marks indicate that a linguistic object - a symbol or sequence of symbols - is referred to. (Actually, more exactly, for sequences we would use a concatenation marker, but that is too pedantic for this discussion.) '2' is a symbol (a linguistic object), it is not a number. However, 2 is a number. But this has really nothing to do with stating the commutativity of addition. (3) IDENTITY x = y means x and y are the same object. So '=' stands for the identity (equality) relation. If T and S are terms, then T = S means that T and S both name the same object. Equivalence was mentioned. The identity relation is an equivalence relation, but there are equivalence relations other than identity. But there is nothing gained in this discussion by mentioning a warning against confusion with equivalence relations. There is no mistaking that '=' stands for identity. (4) An article titled 'Infinity plus one' was linked to. The title of that article is misleading. In regards to cardinals, we don't use 'infinity' as a noun, but rather 'is infinite' as an adjective. (This is different from such things as "points of infinity" in the extended reals system, as such points don't refer to cardinality but rather to ordering.) (5) This comment was posted: "It was posited that the equation (1+a=a+1) could not be verified, because we would need to check it against every possible number, which is impossible to do because infinity." Just to be clear, that is not necessarily my own view, but rather it was part of a brief explanation of Hilbert's views, and even in that regard, the statement needs important qualifications such as those I mentioned.
  36. 1 point
    It seems we agree... he has not avoided the "trap" of logic to make his case, "prove" his position, somehow... he has abdicated logic, and by doing so he has given up what makes proof possible.
  37. 1 point
    I've stated that the argument is unsound and that trying to prove the premises will get me caught in your trap. Trying to avoid the trap, Jose resorted to the old "there are no absolutes" line. But I'll enter your trap by answering directly. Being wrong means that your statement contradicts reality.
  38. 1 point

    Math and reality

    It isn’t necessary -- at least in your view -- but it is possible. Task: Prove (1 + a) = (a + 1) is true for all natural numbers. Method: mathematical induction Base case: a = 1. (1 + a) = (a + 1) is obviously true. Inductive step: Show that if P(k) holds, then also P(k + 1) holds. (1 + k) = (k + 1) (1 + k) + 1 = (k +1) + 1 (1 + (k + 1)) = ((k +1) + 1) QED. From the linked page: "Although its name may suggest otherwise, mathematical induction should not be misconstrued as a form of inductive reasoning as used in philosophy. ... Proofs by mathematical induction are, in fact, examples of deductive reasoning." In other words, mathematical induction relies on a chain of deductions.
  39. 1 point
    Why would Rand be wrong if there are contradictions?
  40. 1 point
    Rand thought the human animal to have no automatic, instinctual knowledge of what was good or evil for him. She held that man had a nature of rationality, and that this rationality is held as a value in the individual man only by choice (1957, 1013). Part of his rational nature would be the deliverances of the senses automatically giving information in general and pleasure/pain valence in particular. Those primitive elements for rationality, in Rand’s understanding, are not susceptible to human choice however much humans may try to rub out their validity and replace them with feelings (1037). She maintained, as mentioned earlier, that humans have a life-or-death need of self-esteem (also at 1057), that in truth this self-esteem is (and is at some level generally known to be) “reliance on one’s power to think,” that self-esteem is rightly attached to being morally right, and that a false morality—one valorizing not thinking, not thinking for oneself—can render one’s self-esteem incoherent, a mess (1030–31). Calling the name John Galt in that novel can be calling one’s own “betrayed self-esteem” (1060). In the 1961 essay “The Objectivist Ethics,” Rand wrote: “By what means does [man] first become aware of the issue of ‘good or evil’ in its simplest form? By means of the physical sensations of pleasure or pain. Just as sensations are the first step of the development of a human consciousness in the realm of cognition, so they are its first step in the realm of evaluation. “The capacity to experience pleasure or pain is innate in a man’s body; it is part of his nature, part of the kind of the kind of entity he is.” She described animals below man having automatic ways of living action enlisting only sensation or sensation together with the automatic integration of sensations into percepts, giving perceptual consciousness of entities in the world, though no freedom over the animal’s governing consciousness or over its range. She regarded man as having that much automatic correct, reality-given inputs to cognition and to evaluation. So his higher-order, volitional cognitive and evaluative powers do not take off from a blank or get no feedback from those lower-level processes. There are two levels to one’s “moral ideal, the image of Man.” There is what Rand would put into it for all men (not brain-damaged and so forth), and this is what she puts into the moral ideals of ethical theory. That is, that much she writes (explicitly) into basic values and virtues of her ethical theory. She personifies them in her fictional character John Galt. That much of John Galt is to be an ideal for everyone. But his love of particular areas of physics or of a particular woman are parts of him that are the realization of the general ethical ideal, but can vary from person to person still holding the same general ideal “image of Man.” Sorry so much of this is old hat, but I needed to recount it to reach the point that whether one is crafting a general frame in the “moral ideal, the image of Man” or whether one is persuaded that Rand’s general specification is right and one is only figuring out what to do with one’s own particular likes, aversions, and abilities in bringing about the ideal in one’s own case, one doesn’t need to ignore one’s feelings nor accept them without critically examining them as they are used as inputs for one’s craft of “values of character that make [one’s] life worth sustaining.” Before I read Rand’s 1943 and 1957, I was a devout altruist. The way in which she changed me was by subjecting different systems to rational criticism and by appeal to other values (feelings, a key manifestation of them) that we both already shared. And those two factors could also persuade one to some new virtues of character, significantly modifying the old ones. “The image of Man” is image of fundamental nature of man but also a norm in Rand’s presentation (for man must be Man by choice). It’s somewhat like “image of God” in man taking after God by possessing reason, although God can’t be a full normative model for man because of radical differences of nature between the two. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ET, an elderly woman dear to me would say to me, Why is God still keeping me here? I can’t do anything or be of any use to anyone anymore. I think I told her of how good it was for her younger loved ones to be able to enjoy her company. She was still able to talk, as she and I were doing on the phone, and we could stir up each other’s recollections of people and experiences we had shared decades ago. I am 70. I’m still doing my same creating most important to me. I still have an important work or two in progress. Even if their completion would complete my reach (really, no grasp could match my reach), I think I could still find continued, closing life meaningful. With enough health and memory, I hope to just keep looking back to my accomplishments, including loves attained, here where is the place and future of any value and meaning.
  41. 1 point

    Math and reality

    I would like to see a direct quote of Hilbert on that. Hilbert did discuss that, in one way, formal systems can be viewed separately from content or meaning. But that does not imply that in another way they cannot be viewed with regard to content or meaning. Indeed, Hilbert was very much concerned with the "contentual" aspect of mathematics. Granted, descriptions of Hilbert as viewing mathematics as merely "a pure game of symbols", "without meaning", et. al do occur in literature that simplifies discussion of Hilbert. But for years I have asked people making the claim (here moderated to "reliability") to provide a direct quote from Hilbert. And just looking at Hilbert briefly is enough to see that he was very much concerned with the contentual in mathematics. I'm simplifying somewhat, but Hilbert distinguished between (1) statements that can be checked by finitistic means and (2) statements that cannot be checked by finitistic means. Finitistic means are those that can be reduced to finite counting and combination operations - even reducing to finite manipulations of "tokens" (such as stroke marks on paper if we need to concretize). This is unassailable mathematics, even for finitists and constructivists. If one denies finitistic mathematics, then what other mathematics could one possible accept? On the other hand, mathematics also involves discussion of things such as infinite sequences (try to do even first year calculus without the notion of an infinite sequence). So Hilbert wanted to find a finitistic proof that our axiomatizations of non-finitistic mathematics are consistent. So, there would be unassailable finitistic mathematics (which has clear meaning - that of counting and finite combinatorics) and there would be axiomatized non-finitistic mathematics (of which people may disagree as to whether it has meaning and, if it does have meaning, what that meaning is) that would at least have a finitistic proof of its consistency. So, of course Hilbert regarded finitistic mathematics as having meaning and being completely reliable. And, I'm pretty sure you will find that Hilbert also understood the scientific application of non-finitistic mathematics (such as calcululs). But he understood that it cannot be checked like finitistic mathematics; so what he wanted was a finititistic (thus utterly reliable) proof that non-finitistic mathematics is at least consistent. However, Godel (finitistically) proved that Hilbert's hope for a finitistic consistency proof cannot be realized. Regarding looking at formal systems separately from content: Imagine you have a formal system such as a computer programming language. We usually regard it to have meaning, such as the actual commands it executes on physical computers or whatever. But also, we can view the mere syntax of it separately, without regard to meaning. One could ask, "Is this page of code in proper syntax? I don't need to know at this moment whether it works to do what I want it to do; I just need to know, for this moment, whether it passes the check for syntax." So formal symbol rules can viewed in separation from content, or they can also be viewed with regard to content. Hilbert emphasized, in certain context the separation from content, but in so doing, he did not claim that there is not also a relationship with content.
  42. 1 point

    Math and reality

    The system of equations: 2x + 3y = 16 x + 2y = 10 can be placed in matrix form and be pictured with 2-dimensional Cartesian coordinates. I wish I could show the matrix form, but I don't know how to do so here. I omit the picture (graph), too. Similarly, a system of 3 equations and 3 unknowns can be placed in matrix form and be pictured with 3-dimensional Cartesian coordinates. On the other hand, a system of higher order, 4 or more, cannot be pictured with spatial coordinates of any kind. Hence, I for one would not describe such a system as "about the world", but rather "about how we can think about the world." Surely, when we start talking about multiplying matrices, we are not talking "about the world", but rather "about how we can think about the world." Calculus, with its concepts of limits, infinite series, infinitely large and infinitely small, we are not talking "about the world", at least the external world, but rather "about how we can think about the world" and/or methodical thought that takes place in our internal, mental world.
  43. 1 point

    Life as a pattern

    The relationship between brain or DNA and “pattern” is not “is a”. A brain is an organ composed primarily of neurons and secondarily of glial cells, and it has the potential to do certain things, at least when attached to a living being. DNA is a molecule with a particular structure, just as sucrose is a molecule with a particular structure. DNA likewise has the potential to do certain things, and that potential is less tied to the organism being alive. In comparing your definitions to Rand’s, I notice that Rand’s are very focused and minimalist: they concisely say what the essential characteristics of “life” are. Your definitions say much more, which is a disadvantage. The purpose of a definition is to reduce the difference between two sets of referents to be distinguished, and befitting its cognitive function, it should be a minimal statement of what makes life distinct from anything else. A definition is not a catalogue of all or most knowledge about an existent. You expand Rand’s definition of life to include having “the ultimate purpose of flourishment”. Why should this be part of the definition? What, indeed, is flourishment? What necessitates this complication of the definition of life? We can still reach conclusions about rational goals and flurishing even if we don’t complicate the definition of life – see various works of Tara Smith on the topic, who adheres to the classical definition of life.
  44. 1 point

    Korzybski vs. Rand

    I suppose I should have said Representationalist (I think that's the term, it's been awhile). This differs from Idealism in that, supposedly, the objects of consciousness have some (unknowable) relationship to reality, whereas Idealism supposes that the objects of consciousness are, in essence, illusions or hallucinations, unconnected to reality. In my view, there is no real difference between "there is an unknowable connection to reality" and "there is no connection to reality", so Representationalism is a species of Idealism and I tend to use the latter to refer to both. The notion that the objects of perception are mere constructs of the brain is Representationalist, in that it does not allow one to know how these constructs derive from reality -- any such knowledge would be just one more construct. "Brain" is just a construct, and there is no reason for believing that there is "brain" or anything else. (Which illustrates that Representationalism really is Idealism.)
  45. 1 point
    As I understand Ayn Rand's approach to such questions, she makes a threefold distinction. (I am solely responsible for the wording used in this post.) This refers to the nature and status of abstractions, so it is an epistemological question rather than an ontological one. Intrinsicists hold that abstractions have an existence or status independent of the human mind. (E. g. Platonic forms, Aristotelian essences.) Subjectivists hold that abstractions are arbitrary creations of human consciousness, and can't be evaluated by any criterion having to do with validity or truth, but only by criteria such as convenience. Objectivists hold that abstractions are mental tools. They are created by the human mind for use in dealing with reality. Like any tools, they can be evaluated according to how well they serve their purpose (and how well they are made). Considerations of validity and truth are an essential part of such an evaluation. (Conceivably a person might be a lower-case objectivist in this sense but disagree with Ayn Rand enough in other respects not to be an upper-case Objectivist.) I have stated this in a general way. To make it more precise, we need to distinguish between the realm of epistemology and the realm of ethics. A separate issue that can be referred to using two of the same words is primacy of existence (objectivism) versus primacy of consciousness (subjectivism).
  46. 1 point
    I see "becoming" The idea that things are always becoming, shedding what they were to become what they can be. This is especially true of life and individuals if they are to grow. In order to recognize this and participate in this becoming one must recognize this potential, starting from but always looking to just outside of things as they are... toward what they will become. Somehow growth and life call on this sight and to direct one to strike out for that becoming. The end result is the expression and culmination of the potential... the bird. Accordingly, a fried egg would totally change what I would have seen here! edit: can't leave out element of self portrait... perhaps this is a useful way of showing that kind of recognition in action.. or a statement about art being about that kind of recognition or facilitating it for the artist.
  47. 1 point
    Ben: That must not be a recent pic in your profile. Clearly, you've had the word "SUCKER" tattooed across your forehead. You do not know what another person is feeling; you only know what they tell you. (Read that statement 40-100 times until you get it.) When a person demonstrates in action that they have no integrity — when they are willing to lie to and deceive people whom they claim to love — why would you believe them about anything? It can be a challenge to remain in objective control when your feelings are overwhelming you. If you heard the kinds of statements coming from this lady spoken by anyone else, would they make the slightest bit of sense? What would it would mean to remain in a romantic relationship out of a sense of "obligation"? I have a suspicion that this lady is a master of having her cake and eating it, too. Don't tell me about a person's positive qualities when they're a deceptive liar — particularly in the romantic realm. Integrity is fundamental; to the extent she has brains and is likable, that only makes her more dangerous. You're sexually gone over this woman and it's frying your intellect.
  48. 0 points

    Ayn Rand's Popcorn-tradiction.

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