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DarkReaver13

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  1. Aha! I've actually just written an essay which touched upon some of these ideas - the "associative network model" of cognition, which talks about "priming" neural pathways and the strengthening and/or weakening of links between particular ideas. Perhaps there is an optimal arrangement or strength of any given connection, however would this not still ultimately lead to an increase in processing speed / power / efficiency? Is there an end result beyond that?
  2. Good point, however we're talking quite specifically about the benefits of conceptual knowledge. How does conceptual knowledge make one more likely to survive? Well, I'd argue that one of the main reasons (if not, the reason) is that it reduces a vast amount of perceptual data into a small amount of conceptual data, thus making cognitive processes much easier and more efficient. Surely a reduction of energy consumption would lead to an increase in processing speed? Of course, there may be numerous other factors at work that I haven't considered yet.
  3. I've been thinking about how one might describe a strictly neurological basis for proper concept formation. Assuming that concept formation is a tool used to increase one's cognitive potency, you could argue that proper concepts reduce the amount of energy that needs to be used by one's brain in the long-term (initially extra effort is required in actually integrating and isolating the concept, however once this is done it makes subsequent processing much more efficient). For example, an improper concept (anti-concept) -- for example subsuming communists, members of the Red Cross and players of Liverpool F.C. into an abstraction based upon their use of the colour red -- would actually be superfluous and rationally unusable. Thus, more energy would be required by the brain in an attempt to make use of such an abstraction than would be simply using the constituent parts by themselves. Conversely, a properly formed concept -- which eliminates the extra work required to retain all of its constituent parts -- would reduce mental enegry requirements. Obviously there is no way of proving this at this time, but I thought it was an interesting (and different) way of looking at the issue. If the above is at all accurate, it provides a way of explaining the objective nature of concepts in that there is a definitive method of forming concepts properly (i.e. that which most efficiently organises knowledge in terms of the amount of energy required to do so).
  4. Apologies, I forgot all about this thread. I basically haven't found time to create any artwork for the past couple of years. I've been more focused on both consolidating my philosophy in terms of ethics and politics - which I now believe I have, and working on career related things (I'm a web-designer / digital media developer / computer programmer). I suppose my aesthetic tastes have been chanelled into my design work, and I have indeed seen large changes. For example look at my own website now ( http://www.darkreavers.co.uk ) compared to what it was just over a year ago ( http://www.darkreavers.co.uk/portfolio_item.php?id=3 ). There is also the intermediate stage between the two: ( http://www.darkreavers.co.uk/portfolio_item.php?id=123 ). The broken concrete style has been completely discarded. Thinking about it now, if I were to create an artwork now, it would likely be much more "clean" in style, and would not be so indecipherable as the paintings which are linked in my original post. Still, I am still interested in depicting powerful emotions like anger and terror, but perhaps with more of a context and meaning to them. For example anger at irrationality and coercion, and the terror of those who attempt to escape reality when they realise that it is impossible.
  5. I wonder if anyone can clarify something for me. Take the concept of "man" (as in a human being). Ayn Rand says the definition is "rational animal", and the concept then includes all the characteristics which are common to human beings. What about mentally disabled people who cannot think rationally? Since "rational" is supposed to be part of the defining qualities of the concept, how can a non-rational animal (which has all the other less essential characteristics of a human being) still be classified as a human being? Also, one might say having two legs is part of the concept of a human being, but is this merely a generalisation? People can have one leg or no legs after all. The same goes for pretty much every characteristic you can think of. Although I agree with the general ideas of Objectivist epistemology, I can't help but think concepts are imprecise - since there may in fact be relatively few human beings which have all the characteristics associated with human beings. The problem seems to be fairly specific to biological concepts such as various species. The similarities of a particular species occur within various ranges; e.g. human beings might be between 1 and 9 feet tall (or thereabouts). Some characteristics may simply be non-present however. For example, some people may not have any hands.
  6. Thanks Inspector that was helpful. The Romantic Manifesto remains one of the books I haven't read by Rand, I should certainly do that before really thinking about this much more. I am waiting on my Objectivist research CD-ROM that I asked you about, so I'll probably be able to read it from that. I haven't created any art for nearly three years now so it hasn't really been at the forefront of my mind. The images that are the subject of this thread are really some of the last pieces I created - around the time of the Starting from Scratch thread was going on; late 2004 to early 2005. Since my ideas have changed so radically since then, if I put my mind to making art now it would likely be very different. Even my design tastes seem to have shifted, for example my old websites were always very dark and featured lots of decaying or distorted textures, whereas now it's got more of an ordered and clean look to it. I do think the ability to reflect on what is evil and destructive in a concrete form is valuable, however you're probably right that it shouldn't be totally detached from that which is good, or from the fact that evil is self-defeating.
  7. Thanks for all the comments. I'm not sure I would agree that because the images in question represent communism and the Soviet Union, they are therefore not representative of rational values. This is because the images aren't representing the good of communism or the U.S.S.R, but the evil of these things. Of course it is valuable to accept the rational, but surely this also implies it is valuable to denounce the irrational - as represented in these artworks. Is it not important to concretize the failure of "the villain", or the destruction that the villain causes, in comparison to concretizing "the hero" succeeding, or the good that the hero causes? Concentrating on the good may make one lose sight of that which is evil, so art which reinforces the nature of the latter may be of value, in my opinion.
  8. I understand the Objectivist view of art is romanticism, that is life, the world and human beings as they ought to be represented in a concrete form. However, is there an Objectivist view of dystopian art? For example, before I was an Objectivst I made a series of artworks which depicted a destroyed city in a fairly abstract but recognizable way. For example: http://www.darkreavers.co.uk/portfolio_item.php?id=36 / http://www.darkreavers.co.uk/portfolio_item.php?id=32 This is clearly not romanticism, and perhaps not an Objectivist example of art. However does this mean it is "bad"? These pieces are a representation of Soviet Russia and Communism, so it is the intention that it portrays these things as ruinous and chaotic. This obviously fits with reality and with Objectivism, however does it constitute art? I would suggest that it is a visual form of satire, in the way that it examplifies the irrationality/evil etc. of Communism. I still very much like these images, and I think that is the reason why. Any thoughts?
  9. I ran a CS: Source clan for a couple of years, but we are moving over to Fortress Forever / Team Fortress 2 when they are released. We also play Guild Wars and played WoW for a while. http://www.darkreavers.co.uk/dkr
  10. Has anyone read "Race and Culture" by Thomas Sowell? The chapter titled "Race and Intelligence" is rather relevant, and he points out many examples where "racial differences" in IQ are matched by cultural/social differences, thereby invalidating the assertion that the "racial differences" are necessarily caused by genetics at all.
  11. Until the group "blacks" has some characteristics (i.e. it is defined), then there are no people in it.
  12. Isn't volition simply the ability to select the subject and degree of focus? We then make choices based on knowledge and understanding (or feeling - if one is an emotionalist) rather than a direct action --> reaction (instinct or reflex) as with other organisms. I believe Peikoff said that the choice to focus or not focus is irreducible (that might be what Hal was referring to).
  13. Woo thanks David that's a big help. I shall post if I get stuck again.
  14. Okay that helps. So is there anything that strikes anyone as wrong in how I've explained concept formation? Anything that needs adding / removing? Keeping in mind that it's meant to be an overview rather than an in depth write-up.
  15. I've been trying to write my own version of the basics of concept formation for my website, but I'm having a hard time finding the right words. Looking for some help with it. So far this is what I've got. Would a twenty foot tall helmet actually be a helmet at all? Can the measurements of a concept be potentially infinite, as long as the relationships between the measurements of the attributes chosen as similar in the first place remain the same?
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