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Doug Morris

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  1. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from DonAthos in Depth Perception or Depth Conceptualization?   
    The light hitting your eyes gives you an image that looks like a 3D object.  That is on the level of perception and is true.  Whether it really is a 3D object is on the level of interpretation, and there it is possible to make errors.  This is not really different from other cases that have been used to attack the senses, such as a stick partially in water looking bent.
  2. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from Boydstun in What is the relationship between Christianity and altruism?   
    I took a peek at the Wikipedia article on the Sermon on the Mount, and one thing that struck me was "Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction; ".  So not relying on force would be a point in common between this sermon and Objectivism.  Of course the alternative presented is omitting reason and trade, and in that respect is severely lacking.  
    If we want to analyze the relationship between Christianity and altruism in depth, we probably need to distinguish among what's actually in the Bible, what interpretations have been added to it, and what altruism from other sources has been passed down.
  3. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from DonAthos in The family cannot survive without duty.   
    Jason Hunter,
    Reason, fully applied to the issue, tells us why stealing , killing, and lying are wrong, leads us to that conclusion, and leads us to act accordingly.  It is all we need to guide ourselves.  But reasoning with someone who is stealing, killing, and/or lying will only work to the extent that they are rational, which depends on their choice, and even then may take time.  This is why we need deterrents and other countermeasures.  These countermeasures should not include appeals to irrational concepts such as God or duty; such appeals are immoral and do more harm than good.
    This does not mean that there are limits to reason; it means that some people fail to practice it enough.
    It is a physical aggression to cut off people's access to or from their property.  If I acquire land enclosing someone else's property, they have a right to an easement through my property that will allow them such access.
    People who say open borders would be societal suicide tend to overlook private property rights and/or to take for granted wrongful government actions that cause problems.
    I think you are neglecting a couple of points:
    It is possible for people to build relationships with each other over time.  Such a relationship is itself a value and makes the people more valuable to each other.
    When people find themselves together in a household, workplace, or other environment, it is in their interests to cooperate without necessarily calculating costs and benefits for each individual act of cooperation.  This is true even if they have little else in common.
  4. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from Boydstun in Should this quote about your first glance at someone really be in the sidebar?   
    Copied from the Ayn Rand lexicon, here is a relevant quote from Ayn RAnd.
    A given person’s sense of life is hard to identify conceptually, because it is hard to isolate: it is involved in everything about that person, in his every thought, emotion, action, in his every response, in his every choice and value, in his every spontaneous gesture, in his manner of moving, talking, smiling, in the total of his personality. It is that which makes him a “personality.”
    Introspectively, one’s own sense of life is experienced as an absolute and an irreducible primary—as that which one never questions, because the thought of questioning it never arises. Extrospectively, the sense of life of another person strikes one as an immediate, yet undefinable, impression—on very short acquaintance—an impression which often feels like certainty, yet is exasperatingly elusive, if one attempts to verify it.
    This leads many people to regard a sense of life as the province of some sort of special intuition, as a matter perceivable only by some special, non-rational insight. The exact opposite is true: a sense of life is not an irreducible primary, but a very complex sum; it can be felt, but it cannot be understood, by an automatic reaction; to be understood, it has to be analyzed, identified and verified conceptually. That automatic impression—of oneself or of others—is only a lead; left untranslated, it can be a very deceptive lead. But if and when that intangible impression is supported by and unites with the conscious judgment of one’s mind, the result is the most exultant form of certainty one can ever experience: it is the integration of mind and values.
    There are two aspects of man’s existence which are the special province and expression of his sense of life: love and art.

    “Philosophy and Sense of Life,”
    The Romantic Manifesto, 31
  5. Haha
    Doug Morris reacted to DavidOdden in Just Shut Up and Think   
    One reasonable response to this is to dismiss the request, and my justification for doing that would be “this isn’t a serious information question”, “you’re just playing mind games”, or something like that. The first thing that needs justifying is responding at all. That means, I have to find some benefit to myself in giving this a moment’s thought.
    For me, the justification could reside an effect on the OP, or on “the rest of the world”, or some combination of the two. I know what I would want to say to the rest of the world, and it is not crucial to me whether the OP cares about / accepts my answer. A response by me would be justified, for me, just in case there is a reasonable chance that I could lay bare some fundamental epistemological and moral issues (you can see that I’m already onto that latter topic). I conclude that this is a teachable moment, which is sufficient moral justification.
    I don’t actually have any strong conclusions about the OPs agenda, and my response isn’t about understanding that agenda, in fact it is explicitly about rejecting probably assumptions by the OP (not because the assumptions are evil, but because in rejecting them, we can see their consequences). My tentative conclusion is that the purpose of the question is to reveal something about epistemological methods. This is not an information question about a naturally occurring phenomenon. I conjecture that the OP has in mind some set of “best answers” (I admit, I looked to see that there is supposedly a correct answer, which will not be revealed), and the issue of interest is, how do people judge the goodness of a response? There is no absolute standard of “goodness of an answer”. That question has to be answered relative to a goal. If we do not share goals and assumptions, we will obviously disagree on the evaluation of answers.
    My first answer is 14, 97, 32, 21. The assumed function maps from the integers {1…13} to {0,1,3,7,15,31,63,127,14,97,32,21,74}. There are uncountably many similar solutions. My second answer is 0,-1,-3,-7,-15. I assume the initial state is 8-bit binary 10000000, the operation is a version of shift-left where the low end bit is set to the opposite of the high end bit (in the input to shift). The result is interpreted as one’s complement (conventionally, +0 and -0 are not distinguished).
    The request to justify my reasoning is a red herring, and a nice distractor. Both answers are extensionally correct (as are some other possibilities such as 2n-1), and “justification” doesn’t enter into the computation of correctness. However, I might want to justify chosing one solution over the other. You can only do that if you have a purpose in mind: therefore, I have to articulate a purpose (as should the OP). Now I can reveal an assumption that I entertained (did not firmly commit to, but decided was more likely true than not), namely that the OP wanted there to be some general rule which yields these number sequences. My purpose behind the first answer was to reject that assumption (which I suspect was made by the OP). Answer 1 creates an opportunity to remind the rest of the world to check their assumptions and not buy a pig in a poke. If you specifically want a rule-based answer, that needs to be part of the question (request).
    Answer 2 accepts the assumption that there should be a rule. My guess (and here I am not even going to say “more likely than not”) is that this was not the OPs intended answer. So does that make answer 2 better, or worse? Better than what, answer 1? A justification for chosing answer 2 is that it illustrates the point that there can be rules whose outputs are the same in some cases but different in others, and you can’t “drop context” in rushing to an answer. Considering only my purely internal interests, I can’t decide between answer 1 and answer 2. I might prefer answer 2 over 1 on up-voting grounds, that is social media are more likely to approve of clever answer 2 over dumbass answer 1. Since in fact I don’t care about up-votes, it doesn’t matter. Answers 1 and 2 both have the merit of being assumption-denying responses. Because this is a man-made problem and it is contextually obvious that there is some hidden agenda (these are not literal information questions), assumption-denying is a good thing, if you want to use the full power of your rational mind.
  6. Thanks
    Doug Morris got a reaction from William Scott Scherk in Why do skeptics love ideas that say everyone is irrational?   
    As I recall, Ayn Rand once said that she "learned to expect nothing from reviewers because of the so-called 'favorable" reviews, not the illiterate smears".  Perhaps we should be cautious about judging Michael Shermer based on reviews.
  7. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from Boydstun in "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton   
    It might be worth distinguishing between the cost to oneself and the benefit to another.
    I'm reminded of Rearden's thought in some cases when dealing with businessmen he respects, but who are not on his level.  "it's so much for him, and so little for me."
  8. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from jonathanconway in Classical music   
    It might also help if we could clarify just which modern music Rand was referring to.
  9. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from William O in "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton   
    If you love a person, doing something that benefits that person also benefits you, and the action is moral as long as the benefits are not outweighed by some harmful side effect.  This is true even if the benefit to the one you love is greater than the benefit to you.
    If you are running a business, it can be good business to go an extra mile to help customers.  If you are trying to succeed and advance in a job, it can be good strategy to go an extra mile in doing the job.  Both are true regardless of how much or how little benefit accrues directly to you from a particular instance of extra-miling.
  10. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from StrictlyLogical in "Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton   
    I was trying to make the point that it doesn't matter whether the other party gains more or not.
    If you're getting the pleasure of playing chess, how is it against your interests if the other person is getting more?
    Now if you're saying that one should look for a way to tweak the relationship or your reaction to it, acceptable to both parties, that increases your benefit, that might be appropriate.  But if you don't see any such way of tweaking, how is the relationship against your interests?
    If, at very little risk to yourself, you save the life of a child who is a stranger to you or a casual acquaintance, that child gains its whole life, and its parents gain greatly too.  You probably don't gain that much.  Does this mean you shouldn't save the child's life?
  11. Thanks
    Doug Morris got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in Veganism under Objectivism   
    Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses.  It works by abstracting from individual concretes to concepts, such as "finger: and "necklace", and then using those concepts.  Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification.
    Memory, association, choice, and feelings do not qualify as reason or logic.
    Apes like Koko are engaging in reason and therefore have rights.  But this does not apply to your other examples.
  12. Like
    Doug Morris got a reaction from splitprimary in Intentionally Changing Sexual Orientation to Straight?   
    You phrase your question generally.  The answer might vary with the individual, especially if there are variations in the reasons why people are homosexual.
    An Objectivist psychiatrist I saw long ago told me about introspecting, looking inside yourself, to see what's going on and why.  If you want to make changes, you have to get all the way down to the mental processes that led to the subconscious (automatized) premises that are governing your emotions.  (A logical error?  An overgeneralization?)
    He also said that attempting to reason out what's going on is incompatible with introspecting, so one must avoid the former to succeed at the latter.  I eventually came up with my own example, which I did not share with him, that may help clarify this.  Suppose you are seated at a table with a place mat in front of you, and the question comes up whether there is something under the place mat, and if so, what.  You can try to reason it out, or you can lift up the place mat and look.  The latter will work better.
    Sometimes introspecting can be a lot harder than lifting up a place mat, especially if there are defense mechanisms in the way.  He compared it to trying to remember something, which is sometimes hard.  It might come to you at a time when you aren't consciously trying.
    One thing you would need to get at in your introspecting is whether it is partially or wholly, and if the former, what else there is.
    I wish you well.
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