Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Easy Truth

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Easy Truth last won the day on February 1

Easy Truth had the most liked content!

About Easy Truth

  • Rank

Recent Profile Visitors

445 profile views
  1. Unfortunately, it is not the first time. I think I could identify when a person makes an arbitrary statement, "they have no basis in what they are saying". But when I hear a "concept" within my mind, I can't imagine anything purposefully having no basis. That is as succinct as I can make it. We can let it go.
  2. How is that arbitrary? If you are saying that it is arbitrary because its existence is untrue, remember arbitrary is neither true nor false. It is arbitrary only AS LONG AS no evidence was intentionally forthcoming within a cycle. How can a concept neither be true or false? You will only be able to make the case that it is arbitrary as part of a communication cycle. A concept "was arbitrarily arrived at", is meaningful, an "arbitrary concept" is not. No concept has the history of how it was arrived at embedded in it, per definition. (inclusion of the history of its development is not a requirement for concept-ness) In our context, "arbitrary" is being used to denote the property of a claim, not a property of a concept. An arbitrary "statement" or "claim" is necessarily part of a sequence/cycle/process. A concept, on the other hand, is the result of the end of the sequence/cycle/process. The property (arbitrary) can appear and disappear depending on where in the communication you are. As more evidence comes in, it may change to true or false. The communication cycle is necessary for the changeability to exist. On the other hand, a "concept" is what it is, it is not moving toward validation like an arbitrary statement. There is also the less important semantic issue: Arbitrarily means not going by the rules. If one did not go by the rules, they produced something arbitrarily, not an arbitrary something. It would be like saying : An arbitrary shoe. An arbitrary cat. An arbitrary motorcycle. The context is not clear. Immediately the question is "in what sense".
  3. Yes, exactly. Invalid concept yes, but an arbitrary concept, no. Based on this discussion I don't think there is such a thing as an arbitrary concept. My understanding is that arbitrariness only applies to a statement. And as we have gone through this exploration, I believe in our context, it can be refined to applying only to "statements of fact". For instance, the rejection (ignore) recommended due to "arbitrariness" would probably not apply to "comical statements". Also, searching through your mind, you might be able to find an invalid concept, but you won't be able to find an arbitrary one. I don't think you or anyone purposefully inserts something with no connection to any of their knowledge. Although maybe "memorization" would fit that situation, not sure.
  4. Okay, I can see "imaginable" as not helping with identification of arbitrary. But would you agree that "unimaginable" would be a gradation of arbitrary? One thing that is clear now is that in fact "arbitrary" applies to statements (as in part of conversation, writing etc). I was trying to confirm that differentiation.
  5. I think I have some understanding, but not enough for me to identify it immediately. Here is some of my chewing going on: Easily identifiable Arbitrary (impossible due to contradiction) (to be permanently ignored) I used Hot Ice on my wound A tree won the marathon My dog is a communist agent Hamburgers cause global warming There is another "everything" that you don't know about The same exact thing can be different, even at the same time and in the same way Imaginable (to me) with no indication and unverifiable (to be permanently ignored) I saw an angel when I was 42 and it caused me to change my career I know someone who says I saw God many years ago Every time you blink, a new blade of grass is born Everything we know is simply a simulation ... (there is a variation below) There is a person behind you that only you could see, but if you look back, he disappears. If you look carefully in the mirror, you, and you alone, can see your spirit grow Every time you exhale, someone asks a question in the world. This category is the hardest - it seems tentatively arbitrary?- Imaginable with no indication but verifiable (to be true or false) (given time) Everything we know could simply be a simulation (the variation) Pegasus (flying horse) black swan 9-11 was caused by the United States The Iraq war due to weapons of mass destruction (arbitrary?) or (arbitrary in hindsight) There are 1,584,634 hairs on your body UFO sightings or contact
  6. Yes, and isn't that what makes the subjective version of "imaginable" applicable when identifying the "arbitrary" I currently agree with you that one should not always ignore arbitrary statements (with my current knowledge). But I do hold it possible that I don't understand "arbitrary" because Peikoff is clear about ignoring them. Let us say there is an arbitrary statement lodged, in my mind. I unleash the Objectivist Epistemological Antibodies to find and destroy them. If I understood and applied the principles and how to deal with "arbitrary statements", they will find none. (unless we are capable of making arbitrary statements to our selves) So once in a while, I did not "ignore" and one got in. Would you say an arbitrary statement, once incorporated as a thought, later turns into a "floating abstraction"? Is the antibody looking for floating abstractions?
  7. Agreed. And yet somehow, an arbitrary statement or thought should ultimately be judged as meaningless. Let us say square shapes go on a canvas, each one is below, above, left or right etc. of another. Each new square comes in with an instruction, above that one, or left of this one etc. Then someone asks, "put this new square with no relationship to the others". I don't think its volitional, it is not that I will refuse, I simply can't do it. That new square would be an example of arbitrary, defined as has no relationship to anything else. Now, as a conversational rule of hygiene, the rule can be, "such a square is arbitrary, simply ignore it". But that rule seems to be innate, it is in the nervous system. (you can sense that "it does not make sense, it can't fit") In this case, we are protected before an epistemological rule is developed consciously. If someone tells you to search in the canvas (mind), try to find such unrelatable squares, you can't even find them. I don't think one can access something in the mind that has no (none) relation to anything else. "Here is x, it has no cause and it has no effect, it is indistinguishable from anything" Try to find one of those in your mind. So arbitrary can't ONLY mean, no relationship at all to anything that you know. I agree that "arbitrary" is missing a certain type of relationship to what you know, but I am hoping to fine an easier way to identify it. Currently, too many hoops to jump and they are too confusing otherwise people would catch these things.
  8. Agreed, ultimately, "arbitrary" is going to be of the genus "nothing". Isn't that what it refers to? The concept "Arbitrary" since it has no metaphysical manifestation, for instance, is in fact "nothing". Some arbitrary statements are simple contradictions easily identifiable. They resolve to nothing/the null set. But similar to "nothing", "arbitrary" is also of the genus "concept". What kind of a concept? Would it fit in within the same classification as "infinity", "nothing", "imaginary number"? This is the class of concept where epistemologically, it is valid (so it exists epistemologically?) but metaphysically none existent. "Arbitrary" is a placeholder for nothing in particular (metaphysically). But the whole exercise of understanding it is to be able to become able to identify so I (we) do not allow trash, or worse (epistemological poison) to enter our minds. Like agonizing over if "everytime you sneeze a baby in another word dies". Years and years of that, because you let it in your mind!
  9. The ultimate purpose of identifying arbitrary is to have pristine valid OBJECTIVE knowledge. But all knowledge initially enters through subjective portals. I posit that the concept "arbitrary" in this context, is referring and relevant to that point (of entry) in the communication. In this context, subjective knowledge, in fact, is applicable. "Imaginable" to the receiver of the information (the subject). Granted, one would be able to imagine and another would not. It is all about seeing in the mind's eye. If it is unimaginable why would it be so? 1. The words are meaningless (subjectively - to the person) 2. The meaning of the words don't make any sense (contradiction) 3. Too complex to imagine (crow epistemology) Note that not in that list are: -Too heinous/ is, in fact, imaginable but rejected. -a reminder of awful things /same way imaginable but pushed away These are valid reasons to reject as neither true nor false/arbitrary ... to be ignored. The label arbitrary in this context can simply mean "not enough information for me to agree to consider/think about it". The concept "arbitrary" is part of an epistemological rule of hygiene, to prevent trash or disease or poison from entering past the knowledge filter/firewall. These epistemological rules are personal hygiene rules, personal as in subject/receiver based. One can object, "but simply going by these subjective rules will not allow unimaginable truths from entering your consciousness". The counter is that "this applies at the start of communication". You must ask for more information (proofs, simplifications, etc.) If none are offered, then ignoring (the information) is still the way to go.
  10. Then "arbitrariness" is not solely based on the statement (assuming it is not an outright contradiction). From what I am gathering, it is also based on where in the conversation it is. You demonstrated what was identified as an "arbitrary statement" at point 1 in the conversation. At point 2, you asked, "why?". At point 3, there was a "wacky response, but a shred of evidence" So at point 1 - the statement is arbitrary point 2 - the statement is arbitrary point 3 - the statement is possible First, that implies that arbitrary is within the context of a conversation/discussion/polemic etc. Second, it is after evidence was asked for, none was given, it is now considered arbitrary. Is that an element or am I seeing things that are irrelevant? I have more observations and questions to go through with you and SL but I did not want this to go by.
  11. Easy Truth

    Number of people in Atlantis

    What point are you trying to make?
  12. I see, then I would conclude that "arbitrary" is a subspecies of "imaginable" rather than "possible". "Possible" has to go through verification of cause and effect. The Jist of the argument is that "Just because you can imagine it", does not mean that it is possible. (and the proof would be the law of identity and of causality) That argument did have some effect last night, the idea that everything is NOT possible is understandable to people. I want to hold it in my mind, for me, I need a sentence like: Imaginable without any indication and unverifiable. I understand that I should ignore an arbitrary statement. But I am concerned about being too quick to judge something as arbitrary. There is a difference between refuting "anything is possible" vs. "there are things that don't make sense to me that are possible". There is past "evidence" of things that did not seem possible that ended up being possible. At a minimum: Arbitrary is a subspecies of "Imaginary" Or must a person not even imagine an arbitrary? There are categories of arbitrary: "A blirk will always swoobjat all kobutabees" Is arbitrary, meaningless. (I just made it up)` The meaning is inconceivable, let alone verifiable. "The bricks in my walls know what I am doing" Is arbitrary, has an imaginable meaning, but can't pass through the filter of the law of causality (when imagining it, one sees it happening (doesn't that imply some variety of possible?)) Is there two kinds of "possible", like possible in the mind vs. metaphysically possible? To determine if it is actually possible, doesn't one have to "assume" that it is possible to determine how it could be verified? If so, considering it arbitrary (and not allowing the possibility of "possible") does not allow that phase of analysis. Regarding:(evidence includes what you know to be possible) There is a problem in the area of incorporating new knowledge. If what I know to be possible is the arbiter of what can be included in my mind, then truths that I don't know or understand can never get in. I suppose you will emphasize that even a shred of evidence should give it a foothold to go through more validation. When cavemen saw birds fly and they imagined that they could fly, was the idea of "human flight" arbitrary at that point? (or was the fact that birds could fly a shred of evidence that it is possible for man to fly?)
  13. Easy Truth

    Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    Air on earth is too plentiful to own. But on a spaceship, going to mars, inhabitants of the ship can only be allotted air that is theirs (that they can use unmolested etc.). The same issue with ocean water exists. I believe it is the basis for the "tragedy of commons" problem, the inability to own (because it is too plentiful).
  14. Last night I was in a discussion on Objectivism's View on Atheism and the "Brain in the Vat" argument came up which got me interested in this thread (again). From what I see, the main argument against it is the fact that it is arbitrary which has always been difficult for me to hold mentally. From what I have gathered, arbitrary is a subspecies of possible. Possible is: Arbitrary is: Possible without any indication and unverifiable
  15. Easy Truth

    Correcting the nonaggression "principle"

    My understanding is that, to "own" something, it has to be rare enough to own. And in the case of looking at something, granted, there is no labor there, no justification for ownership. But a particular, bounded, identifiable piece of information is rare enough to own. Since as Objectivists, we don't respect the notion of a "collective brain", I just thought that subpoena power is an argument for the creation or enforcement of such an "anti-individual rights collective brain" which I would have thought Objectivism clearly opposes. After all, there is such a thing as "my" information vs. "your" information. It all seems to belong to "them". Meanwhile, there is the other argument regarding subpoena power that "if I were in their shoes, I would hope that people would come forth and give information that would help me." (more of a reciprocal ethics motivation which I find has some utility but seems to be strongly rejected as an ethical guide in other threads). As you said, it would depend on many other things too.