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Grames last won the day on February 4

Grames had the most liked content!

About Grames

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  1. You can hear it from me right now. Rights are a cultural construct. Ethics and epistemology are also cultural constructs. There are cultures which aspire to replace wholesale the ethical and epistemological underpinnings of Western civilization with alternative principles, and discard the concept of rights. They do not plan to do so by winning debates but by moving into Western countries, reproducing and outvoting the prior population. In the ongoing ideological civil war within the Western culture between the radical left and those who would defend reason, importing anti-western immigrants is seen as a tactic that will finally lead to politically outnumbering those resistant to socialism. The immigration tactic is why the American state of California is wholly in the grip of a Democratic political machine now, and why the southern border of Texas is majority Democratic party registration. But not all immigrants are equal, or equally dangerous. The radical left's inherent nihilism will destroy us all by drowning us under a tide of Islamic bodies for the sake of temporary political power. Temporary, because the muslims will not be tolerating their LGBTQ bullshit or bullying feminism or Marxist atheism.
  2. Just reminding everyone here that Islam is a religion not a race. All comments about race in this thread are absurdly off topic.
  3. My top reaction on becoming aware of this story was to wonder why it is that in a city called "Christchurch" there are multiple mosques. What exactly is the malignancy here?
  4. There is no reason anyone not involved should care. Some people expect philosophers to uphold a standard of conduct similar to Jesus Christ or the Buddha or Aristotle or Socrates. Ayn Rand disappoints them in that regard. That has nothing to do with arguments and theories which she advocated.
  5. So can I. I just described birth as a discrete event and compared to the rest of life it is but it still can take hours. When during that process is the legal line to be drawn? "...once the water breaks and labor begins" is as good as any.
  6. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Causal connection. Physical, material causality through direct and indirect contact or through fields or whatever else physics may discover. Then that thing would be unknowable, and it would be arbitrary to speculate about its existence.
  7. Stop right there. What is metaphysically significant about birth is that first the baby is surviving independently with its own breath and heartbeat and second that the baby is at last removed from the sensory deprivation chamber of the womb and can experience the world. In the gradual growth of the fetus through birth and beyond infancy, birth is the only change in status which is discrete, objective and not also arbitrary (as in setting age 18 for rights and privileges of adulthood can be somewhat arbitrary, it could be 17 or 16). Ethically and legally personhood should be understood to begin at birth.
  8. Bringing two things together involves applying additional energy or removing energy, and manipulating their entropy. So emergence is caused by that, it isn't causeless. The real ontology is that there is mass and energy, and via Einstein mass and energy are equivalent in a deep sense and can be transformed one into the other. But there is at least one other thing which is not mass or energy. The thing is information in the physical, causal Claude Shannon sense. Mass/energy cannot exist without embodying information and no information exists without being in the form of some mass/energy. That's not the same thing as what you want to call a 'mental' aspect of existence but it is in the direction you are seeking. (A mental aspect of existence is incoherent as Eiuol well described above, you need better framing for that thought.)
  9. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Well. We were discussing the boundary between the Universe and the nothing. Since Universe is synonymous with Existence in my mind it seems circular to differentiate what exists (Existence) from what doesn't exist by the fact of its existence. But then, that is why "Existence exists" is axiomatic in Rand's metaphysics. Now consider this angle. People come to assert or believe things some of which are true and some are false. What makes something true or false is the correspondence between the concepts and what is predicated of them and their referents out there in Existence. Some of the concepts people have are valid because they are reducible to percepts, some are not valid because they are not reducible. In the statement "everything that exists" what goes on in people's heads is given serious consideration as possibly metaphysically equal to what goes on outside of people's heads. In this attempted definition of Universe we have to be careful to separate out what exists from what some people erroneously think exists. But I think this is a major error if we are still doing metaphysics. What happens in people's heads—consciousness— is entirely derivative of what exists outside their heads. Whether the contents of consciousness are true or false they are a derivative and are a second order form of existence, a shadow of it. It is information (information in the physical Claude Shannon sense) only and is held/exists in whatever physical forms by which short and long term memory functions. It is actually a subjective premise known in Objectivism as the Primacy of Consciousness to hold that the contents of consciousness—true or false—have a metaphysical status. Sorting out what is epistemological from what is metaphysical is an act of epistemology because it requires a self-awareness of the issue of epistemology: truth and falsehood and correspondence and overall the non-automatic and fallible nature of our ideas. A (human) mentality not aware of epistemology is difficult to imagine (for me) but it might take the form of accepting its conceptual integrations uncritically (perhaps as "revelations from God") and so be unmotivated to keep them sorted from percepts and concepts of percepts. "Everything" used as a genus that includes both metaphysical existents and epistemological artifacts is invalid metaphysics but could be valid epistemology. Universe is a genus without a differentia because there is no physical or metaphysical differentia and the other things which come to mind are epistemological and so should not be permitted as a differentia.
  10. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    No. The concept of Universe works just as well whether what exists is finite or infinite. Concepts are by definition and in practical usage open ended. Furthermore, paraphrasing Aristotle and his principle of identity, everything that exists has particular definite form. A 'sum' or 'whole' used in reference to the diversity of all that exists then is not something that has a primary sense of existence but rather it is merely an epistemological device. A good definition will specify a genus and differentia; but the definition of Universe can have no differentia. Universe then is a special and problematic epistemological contrivance. Is it a problem that needs solving? Can it be avoided? I say no and no.
  11. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    No, there can be no boundary. Whenever you think you might be able to imagine something outside or beyond the Universe, it expands to include it. It is the intent of the concept Universe to encompass everything by definition. All concepts are like that, having open-ended referents.
  12. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    I've pursued the reference to Handbook of Potentiality (Engeland and Quante, editors, 2018) and the chapter “Potentiality in Physics” by Max Kistler. At the risk of seeming argumentative in a petty way by responding so quickly, I will make this response because the material is fresh in my mind and the various browser tabs are still open. Kistler makes reference to the Aharonov–Bohm effect, which is described as "an electrically charged particle is affected by an electromagnetic potential (V, A), despite being confined to a region in which both the magnetic field B and electric field E are zero." This is purported to prove potentials are real and more fundamental than the fields. Kistler breezes beyond the reference, taking no notice of any possible controversy and assuming the science is settled. It is not. Aharonov-Bohm effect is quantum mechanical, and quantum mechanical systems exhibit non-locality. We've had Travis Norsen here explaining the EPR Paradox and the Bell Inequality and the Aspect Experiment and follow-ons and linking to papers by Bell which I have actually taken the time to read. I accept non-locality. It is entirely reasonable to accept that an electrically charged particle can be affected by remote electromagnetic fields in the context of a suitably designed quantum physics experiment. By accepting non-locality there is no need to accept the reality of the potentials. Kistler goes on about quantum mechanics, but the state of the art in quantum physics is quantum field theory where the fields are taken to be the real existents. I am overall dissatisfied with Kistler's treatment of the topic. (The Vetter reference will have to wait, it's a book length treatment.)
  13. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Oh please just one more response on this. If the potential of a human fetus to become an actual human person were to be regarded as existential, wouldn't all of us Objectivists have to change our opinion about abortion? It would be improper thinking to let an unwanted conclusion force us away from full rationality. I would be prepared to give up on abortion rights if potentials were proven to be existents.
  14. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Potential is identity viewed from epistemological perspective, a mind with memory and imagination. All that exists are particulars, doing particular definite things in accordance with their identities. It takes imagination or memory to divert the mind's attention away from what the object of the mind's attention is doing right this moment. 'Potential energy' is a concept taught in elementary physics classes. Pendulum motion is described using the principle of conservation of energy such that the sum of the pendulums kinetic energy of motion and its potential energy of position must remain constant (neglecting friction for the moment). Here the so-called potential energy is real and actual because the pendulum is a real and actual existent with a real and actual position within a gravity field at every instant. One can avoid the potential confusion of thinking of potentials as real because it appears in an equation describing the pendulum's motion by using the term 'energy of position' instead. This kind of statement "a sea battle either will happen tomorrow or not happen tomorrow" is formally true because the alternatives are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive, but it does not constitute knowledge and cannot be categorized as a fact because it does not predicate anything. (It predicates two perfect contradictories which cancel to net zero predication.) The grammar of the statement is correct, the logic of the posited alternatives is flawless, yet it remains entirely an exercise in method. It is an unfalsifiable statement of the kind Popper scorned. The statement employs the useful and valid concept of "tomorrow", but that does not transform the referent of "tomorrow" from an epistemological construct (a 'concept of method' in Objectivist jargon) into an existential fact. Tree rings exist in the present as an effect with a cause in the past. The cause existed, then the effect existed. The present existence of the effect does not require the present existence of the cause. Going back to your argument: No beginning and no end can still be literally true if a finite Universe had some kind of strange asymptotic boundary conditions governing time. For example, space and time are related such that a very high mass density implies a very high space time curvature such that time slows to a crawl relative to a lesser curvature. The Big Bang would have played out very slowly, and extrapolating backward in time beyond the Big Bang requires crossing an inflection point where time would not pass at all. A remote future in which all matter had entered black holes and then been re-radiated as Hawking radiation until all the black holes were gone would be a perfectly static universe in which time had no meaning.
  15. Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Speaking for myself, I do not regard the past or the future as part of Existence. All that ever exists anywhere and everywhere is the present. (Local space-time curvature differs from place to place so it is not the same present everywhere, and vast distances create additional obstacles to measuring the relative timing of distant events.) Thus even if the day of one's future death could be computed it would not be real nor counted as part of Existence until it happened. Then that day and the deceased would pass out of Existence together as both then belong to the past. Another way to express my thought is that neither the past nor the future is a location in space-time. In summary, neither future determinates nor future indeterminates are a part of Existence. Did Rand claim future determinates were part of Existence and if so can you point out where? And what were Peirce and Aristotle up to when considering this aspect of ontology? Aristotle was against determinism but if the future in any sense already exists this would seem to contradict that stance by implication?
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