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Grames

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  1. In this case if the competition attempts to lower manufacturing costs as well by the same means, that means the entire industry leaving the country. Once there is once again an approximate parity on end-product price competition resumes. But, the entire industry is moved to the detriment of my neighbors and myself. Decades of emptying America's industrial heartland of industry after industry for the utilitarian collectivist ethos of "greatest good for the greatest number" has only brought into sharp focus the fact that I should care more about the welfare of the people in my country for my own selfish reasons than people in other distant countries.
  2. Prices are set by supply and demand to wring the best price for the seller that the market will bear. Lower manufacturing costs increase the profits of the manufacturer, and do not lower prices for the end purchaser.
  3. Explain Rand's usage of the peculiar term "mental entities" referring to concepts, if it isn't this extended sense of entity. Strictly, concepts are attributes of the man holding them. That's where I get it, trying to make sense of Rand. I have a high degree of certainty that I've got this one right, at least. Also, Kelley gives the examples of shadows and smoke for the extended sense of entity in chapter 2 of Evidence of the Senses. Peikoff's given examples are poor because they all rely on abstraction to even create the context in which they could be called entities, but Kelley's examples are self-evident.
  4. That three-crop rotation worked is/was knowledge, justified by perception of the results of the practice. Why it worked is a different item knowledge. It is not necessary to know why it is in order to know that it is when dealing with perceptual evidence and first level concepts.
  5. Yes but, the extended sense of entity stresses the 'perceptual given' quality of entities, such that things which are strictly not entities are promoted to such status anyway because they are given to us that way by our perception of them as seeming wholes, as things-in-their-own-right. You are correct about the central importance of the perceptual scale for both the primary and extended senses, and I had not denied it. Boydstun in the chapter he presented here is doing an ontology informed by state of the art human scientific knowledge, not laying down an a priori metaphysics (I would be surprised to be wrong here). Rand's usage "mental entity" seems odd to bring up in that context, so I contributed what I hoped was relevant context. I think you (Plasmatic) are shadow-boxing because I see no point of disagreement between us.
  6. It is a broadest possible lesson of the industrial revolution, which Ayn Rand pointed out and I'm sure others as well because its such a basic point, is that philosophy is a practical tool for living not merely a distraction for the rich to show off their high class and social status, or merely an exercise in rhetoric for political gain, or to be a consolation or distraction from life. The real distinction is between mere opinion and knowledge, which is the distinction that Plato made in the excerpt from the Meno Spooky used above. Opinion and knowledge can both be useful, but knowledge is superior because it is opinion that is caused by perception and logic. Better perception and better logic is always welcome, but what was at one time opinion with cause ( knowledge ) does not retroactively become demoted to baseless opinion without cause when better perception and better logic appears.
  7. Now there's a question that could only be asked by a Rationalist. Knowledge is really only ever about "making stuff". That's what keeps you fed, dry, gets you to and fro the places you need to be. It is the ultimate justification of all knowledge because it enables living, and in the modern era of the 2000's it is living in pretty high style compared to all that went before.
  8. The context here is ontology, an aspect of metaphysics. What exists does not need to be easily comprehensible in order to exist, that would be letting primacy-of-consciousness premise sneak into our tent. Spacetime is unconditional not merely in the strong sense that it is found everywhere we look, but rather spacetime is the everywhere. Furthermore spacetime has attributes such a electric permittivity and magnetic permeability, and the ratio of those quantities sets the speed of light in a vacuum, a vacuum being a defined as the absence of everything but the space itself. (edit: It is entities that have attributes.) Relativity considers a rotating mass to impart a sheer energy to the space around it. Spacetime participates in a relationship with inertial mass (the so-called curvature) and relationships are primarily between entities. Spacetime as entity is consistent with the full-plenum ontology, the claim that the universe cannot have gaps or holes in it much less huge stretches of true nothingness between particles. There exists a strong case for spacetime as entity in local volumes. Your question does raise the issue of what is the appropriate level of knowledge context for setting out an ontology. The pre-Socratic and pre-scientific "first philosopher" Thales asserted an ontology with his "everything is water". So long as we do not engage in circularity in making our fundamentals of philosophy dependent on a sophisticated idea like spacetime there is no reason to restrict our understanding of what exists to a pre-scientific level, or some intermediate scientific understanding preferred because it is easier to understand.
  9. Thank you for posting this here, Mr. Boydstun. The idea that "To qualify as an entity, I say and think Rand could have been brought around to say, an entity has to do more than be able to stand as the subject of predication (or as the argument of a propositional function)" is relevant to a recent topic here, and I intend to link this thread in there. Concerning material as entity I don't think "attributes are causal" is enough of a justification. Without a specific extent the material would not exist to participate in any causal relations at all and so casting away extent as nonessential is not workable. On the other hand, I am welcoming a move to regard spacetime as an entity because the objection that the existence of a sample of wood is conditional upon its having an identity including a particular extent, the existence of spacetime is unconditional and so that objection cannot apply. Rand addresses a question in the ITOE appendix that touches on this issue where she regards a square-inch of ground as a valid entity, but that according to her is an epistemological move not a metaphysical or ontological claim. Also, there is a usage of entity "in an extended sense" in both the Peikoff's and Kelley's works. The extended sense of entity stresses the 'perceptual given' quality of entities, and refers to smoke, wind, shadows, or anything given to us by our senses that that appears to us to stand out from its background. This is another way to justify the peculiar usage "mental entities" as particular thoughts do seem (subjectively) discrete enough to be objects of introspective attention.
  10. Citation please, I have no idea of your level of knowledge on this subject. Furthermore, I claim that relativity cannot even be derived without using Newton's laws. For example the equivalence principle that states that a mass in a gravity field and mass under a constant acceleration are indistinguishable presumes Newton's Third Law is valid to set up the equality m1aq=m2a2. Claiming Relativity proves Newtons Laws invalid is like claiming there exists a logical proof that the Law of Noncontradiction is invalid. Ummm ... yes? Because of the principle of mass-energy equivalence Relativity takes into account all of the energies present aw well as the inertial mass, but that mass component is still there, still subject to inverse square attenuation with distance and still proportional to a gravitational constant.
  11. But correspondence can often be a matter of degree. How much correspondence is enough? According to Rand perception is essentially measurement, and measurements are always and only to within a certain range of precision. So then even our automatic and infallible perceptions do not correspond perfectly with reality. In Objectivist epistemology concepts omit measurements completely, so the remaining correspondence of a concept to reality takes an entire book to explain. Yet knowledge is still possible to finite and fallible human consciousness because the degree of correspondence required is not perfect correspondence but the lesser standard of usefulness. There is a useful and justifying degree of correspondence when our knowledge can explain without contradiction, can predict reliably, and ultimately serves the practical end-in-itself of living.
  12. Plato's standard of justification is usefulness. How about that.
  13. Newtonian physics is comprised of Newton's three Laws of Motion and the Law of Gravitation. The Law of Gravitation is method to come up with a particular magnitude and direction for the force of gravity caused by a body having mass so that the figure can be employed in mathematical relations based on the 3 laws of motion. Newton's Laws of Motion continue to be the basis of all subsequent physics without contradiction, and the Law of Gravity is still the only way to calculate the attraction caused by a mass. Absolute simultaneity is not a claim about the universe that is entailed by any of Newton's Laws. If Einstein wants to postulate a cause of gravity in curved space-time, what has that got to do with Newton who famously offered no hypothesis as to why gravity exists?
  14. I was just addressing Spooky Kitty on a level he might be able to understand, that of counting propositions. Don't read anything more into it please.
  15. Newtonian physics is a perfect example for this discussion. Newtonian physics was and continues to be true whenever relativistic or quantum considerations don't apply or are negligible. Newtonian physics is not now and never was nor will ever be falsified, it was merely "special cased" into a broader theory. It was an expansion of knowledge to learn cases that Newtonian physics did not predict correctly, not a loss of knowledge. For example, Einstein predicting correctly the amount of precession in the orbit of Mercury was an important test and justification for accepting the General Theory of Relativity as true. See Wikipedia Tests of General Relativity for more context. Out of 574 arcseconds per century of measured precession it is Newtonian physics that accounts for 531 of them and Relativity is not a substitute theory that provides another way to get those 531, it merely explains 43 of the difference between 574 and 531 which was previously a mystery.