1 pointNow that the meaning is sorted out, I have a question: what are the implications of the distinction? Is it possible that what is good -- in principle and always -- for each and every individual, is actually not good for me? If yes, could you provide an example. If not, are there additional things that are good for me, but not always good for each and every individual? I doubt this is possible as long as one expresses the latter abstractly enough, like "take the specific medicine related to your specific disease" , or even something more abstract like "take appropriate medicine when appropriate" For additional clarity, it might help to focus on some sub-set of human endeavor: say car maintenance. Is it possible that "good car maintenance" is at odds with "the maintenance that my particular car -- with all its idiosyncrasies -- needs"?
1 pointThat is the fundamental observation here, that Vladimir doesn't take into consideration. A statement of possibility is a positive assertion, because all statements of fact are positive assertions. And all positive assertions must have some fact or piece of evidence to tip the balance to their side (otherwise it couldn't be a positive assertion). An arbitrary statement is outside right or wrong statements; it simply is outside of reality altogether and has no basis on which to even be evaluated. That is the case with the "matrix" scenario -- it is not possible (if it is, show how), but is arbitrary (there is no basis for determining its truth or falsehood, and as such it must be thrown out together with all other infinitely many arbitrary statements). It should be stressed again, that the "matrix" scenario is not wrong, but arbitrary, which are two different things. There is basis on which to consider and evaluate wrong statements; there is none for arbitrary ones.
1 pointThis thread is in serious need of definitions for the words: "faith," and "arbitrary." "Faith" is a belief held without reason. To say that we accept the evidence of the senses "on faith" is a stolen concept. Faith would be accepting something without evidence. In the case of the evidence of the senses, well, did you happen to notice that word, "evidence" in there?!? "Arbitrary" is the category for claims that have no evidence for being true, but also cannot be proven false. Dr. Peikoff correctly argues that the arbitrary is not to be treated as possible, but to be utterly ignored. The arbitrary is that which could exist, but does not have a shred of evidence to suggest that it does exist. To accept, or even entertain, the arbitrary would be an act of faith, since it would be acting without evidence. Your friend has it completely backwards: he is the one operating on faith, not you. If you operate under the premise of giving thought to the arbitrary, I could think of a million billion arbirtary assertions and keep you eternally occupied. ("There is an invisible dragon on the far side of the moon." "Every time you belch, you give birth to a tiny, undetectable galaxy in an alternate universe.") Are you familiar with the "Flying Sphagetti Monster" argument?