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William O

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  1. I've heard that it goes down to about three under stress. The military organizes their soldiers into sets of three so that each level of commander only has to deal with three units (three soldiers, three squads, three battalions, etc.).
  2. I think this thread is really about truth, although no one has put it that way. If there are real universals, then, whatever the defects of this metaphysics, that seems to give a clear meaning to the concept of truth. If your proposition corresponds to an appropriate connection between universals, then it's true; otherwise, it's false. Plato originally put forward the idea of the universal to combat the Sophists, who said that there was no objective truth, and that every perspective is as good as every other. That's not a stupid or dishonest thing to be concerned about at all. But I think Rand dealt with the issue better, because she managed to come up with a definition of truth that doesn't posit the existence of metaphysical entities that we have no real evidence for.
  3. epistemologue, I have a challenge for you. Can you present a specific example of an intrinsic metaphysical universal? That is, a distinction which exists intrinsically in reality, and which has no borderline cases because there is an "entity" which is exactly the same in each instance. When you do this, I would also like you to present the intrinsic definition of this universal, i.e., a definition that will never be revised or updated in light of new knowledge. Maybe you have done this, but I have not seen it. If you cannot, then I think that undermines your position.
  4. It implies that when you say that abstractions require universals to be valid, you're saying that there is a kind of metaphysical entity that abstractions have to correspond to. If that's what you're saying, then it's open to the anti-realist to maintain that our concepts correspond to similarities, which are not entities. Likewise, when you say that induction requires universals, what you are saying is that there is a kind of entity that the generalization has to correspond to, as opposed to simply corresponding to the causal connection involved, which is not an entity.
  5. Well, you seemed pretty committed to denying that universals are entities when we spoke in the chatroom and in the post I responded to. I think it clarifies the discussion to have a more substantial characterization of the universals you are defending.
  6. epistemologue, your source holds that universals are entities: "The phenomenon of similarity or attribute agreement gives rise to the debate between realists and nominalists. Realists claim that where objects are similar or agree in attribute, there is some one thing that they share or have in common; nominalists deny this. Realists call these shared entities universals; they say that universals are entities that can be simultaneously exemplified by several different objects; and they claim that universals encompass the properties things possess, the relations into which they enter, and the kinds to which they belong." Underlining mine. That's from near the beginning of Chapter 1 in Objectivism and the Corruption of Rationality. Will you grant the point now? If you are a realist, you are defending the existence of a kind of entity.
  7. Traditionally, realists about universals assert that they are entities. "Universals are a class of mind-independent entities, usually contrasted with individuals (or so-called "particulars"), postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals." http://www.iep.utm.edu/universa/ As far as I can tell, you have not given a definition of "universals," which is a prerequisite for your position.
  8. epistemologue, what is it that attracts you to this position? From what you've said, it seems like your issue is that you don't see how concepts formed according to Rand's theory of measurement omission could have something to correspond to unless there were metaphysically real universals. Is that the only issue, or are there others?
  9. Thanks for posting this. I can't "like" your post for some reason.
  10. Your criticism of Rand's theory of concepts is that it is "subjectivist," but the concept of subjectivism you're using isn't the same as Rand's - on your view, it's basically just a pejorative way of saying she isn't an intrinsicist. But what we need is some reason to think that intrinsicism is true, which, as the previous respondent points out, you haven't provided.
  11. You yourself may or may not be confused on this point, but the way you have phrased it would certainly be confusing to someone learning about the philosophy. The logical structure of Objectivism does not consist of a series of deductions from the law of identity. You cannot deduce anything from the law of identity, as you can see just by looking at it. Objectivism's logical structure is inductive, for the most part.
  12. You think Nietzsche was more Aristotelian than not? That needs defending, I think. I agree that Stoicism is useful, although of course you have to approach it critically.
  13. I haven't studied On Certainty that carefully, but this was not the impression I got from it at all. From what I understood, Wittgenstein was basically advocating a form of skepticism where you have a "world picture" that you arrive at uncritically and do not have evidence for, but which is so fundamental that you cannot coherently doubt it. That might sound vaguely like the Objectivist concept of contextual certainty, but it is actually a completely different approach.
  14. I note that this fits well with Rand's view that a philosophy is a record of the philosopher's psycho-epistemology. Can you give some examples of Campbell's insights?
  15. I've been interested in Hume for a long time. He writes clearly, and he has a knack for finding strong, clear arguments for his positions, whether you agree with him or not. His system is also remarkably well integrated, and on many specific points he is correct (for example, his work on the epistemology of testimony).