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StrictlyLogical last won the day on June 22

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  1. I noted the dualism on my reading. I found it arbitrary at worst and a complete violation of Rand's Razor at best.
  2. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    Heh your conclusory remarks remind me of a physicist - lawyer friend who cannot (actually will not) give up the idea that "anything is possible". He does not have a good grasp on the arbitrary and takes almost anything stated as "possible"... he is unaware that he really means "who am I to know?" Generally the ideas of "possible" "probable" "certain" as well as "evidence" and "knowledge" and "claiming a positive" are widely misconstrued... Personally I blame the tendendancy toward Rationalism (ideas over reality) for these and most errors in philosophy.
  3. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    Back to concretes, do you think seriously religious people have a concept of an omniscient omnipotent God? You can call it an invalid concept but you cannot deny the concept altogether. As for the "arbitrariness" of a statement or a concept, it means that it has no basis in evidence. That a statement IS arbitrary does mean it's letters and words and syntax are random shifting or chaotic , it has identity as a statement. It was formed absent any evidence and an arbitrary concept is an invalid concept formed without an evidentiary basis ... evasion helps...
  4. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    I'm not sure what to make of any of that... my specific questions were completely ignored and I have no idea why. and the rambling "answer" seems ... i just can't make any sense of it... I thought we were making progress and reaching a sort of common understanding then ... ish de triddle de gloop gloop... we are no longer having the same conversation.
  5. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    What of the concept of an omnipotent omniscient God? Is it not as arbitrary as a statement referring to the same? In what sense could a statement be more arbitrary than the very concept to which it refers?
  6. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    One can form an invalid and arbitrary concept based on an arbitrary statement... that invalid concept itself is not a statement but is still arbitrary. Your goal is to avoid making the mistake of forming such an arbitrary and invalid concept on the basis of an arbitrary statement by recognizing the statement and the purported concept it represents are arbitrary.
  7. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    No Pegasus has ever been documented, either alive or dead or in fossilized form. No mammal has feathers. It is not in the nature of a mammal to have them. No birds have hair or teeth. It is not in the nature of birds to have either of these (although they do have wings). No living land vertebrate, including mammals, reptiles, and birds, has more than 4 limbs. It is the nature of mammals AND birds to have only 4 limbs. A Pegasus is "imaginable" is it? If so HOW and why not a tree winning a marathon?
  8. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    On average there are 850 grass plants per square foot of grassland. There are 52.5 million square kilometers of grassland in the world. OR 4.8x10^17 grass plants assuming out of 365 days of the year that grass (at each place on the planet having different seasons) is going to seed for only 1 day (gross underestimate), there are 1.3x10^15 plants going to seed today (or after having gone to seed a requisite number of days ago the seed is now ready to germinate). Assuming only one seed per plant, and only 1 plant per hundred goes to seed, an average of 1.3x10^13 seeds will germinate in a day (at 100% germination rate)). Assuming also only 1 seed per 100 germinates, there is an average germination rate of 1.3x10^11 seeds per day or 1.5x10^6 seeds germinating every second. The average time for a human to blink is about 300 to 400 ms. ON average, in that time 527,000 seeds will germinate. If you have ever planted grass you will know that more than one plant per 100 goes to seed, more than one seed per 100 germinates, and grass goes to seed more than 1 day out of 365 in almost any climate grass grows. Why was the statement "every time you blink a new blade of grass is born" arbitrary? There IS an awful a lot of grass in the world, no?
  9. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    There is a distinction to be made between a floating abstraction and the arbitrary. You can arrive at a floating abstraction in your mind, without accepting any arbitrary statements, by accepting statements without judgment, or holding concepts before you have tied them to reality. E.g. Someone first introduces you to "justice" before you have the conceptual framework or experience for you to fit it into your hierarchy of concepts. As a word, a part of the language, you keep a tenuous hold on it in the framework of semantics, without really understanding (before validly forming) a concept of justice. So you speak with other people using the word "justice"... perhaps accept what other say about "justice" and what it means and how it relates to other concepts, but until you go through the exercise of thinking, and until your concept finally has some attachment to a part of your (valid) knowledge, it remains "floating". Holding a concept as floating temporarily is not necessarily a vice... sometimes it is a necessary stage, prior to your integration of it. Rationally you "should" (according to prioritization of time, effort, and your value hierarchy etc.) decide how important the concept is to your life, and if it is important, to undergo the process of thinking required to anchor it to knowledge. Observe the statement about "justice" might not have been arbitrary, indeed it could have been true. Suppose, having never really thought of politics or even ethics, you heard it directly from, say Leonard Peikoff, and your closest family and trusted friends, all of whom told you they thought very long and hard about it, and even provided you with an explanation tied to reality, which, unfortunately you could not fully understand... yet. You can see some basis but cannot form all the connections. You also have independently judged the quality of thought of these people based on other claims they have made. Here there is at least some evidence for the statement, i.e. that it is not arbitrary, and sweeping it from your mind would be a mistake. [[If you insist on personally re-investigating the sum of human knowledge in every minute detail ALL THE TIME, and expecting omniscience for validating knowledge, you would never take any medication, step on any plane, or do anything which involved ANY INFINITESIMAL LEVEL of dependence or trust on others knowledge of reality. Rational trust in something someone says is not blind faith in a statement which is arbitrary, but an assessment of everything you know about, reality, the person, and what they have said]] Here, the concept "justice" could be a floating abstraction for a time, but with the kinds of non-arbitrary statements of Peikoff, you could start thinking about it, chewing and building the ladder of abstractions connecting justice to reality until the concept is no longer floating. In the final equation the hierarchy of knowledge is yours, thinking is something you do by yourself, and the knowledge you build must be built by your own mind. In a sense, a floating abstraction is not (yet?) a validly formed concept (contextually for you), but there is enough evidence not to dismiss it altogether...i.e. that although you have not yet gone through the process of conceptualization and integration, there is some indication or evidence that it is a valid concept capable of integration. Of course you might conclude after enough thought and weighing of evidence that a floating abstraction is actually an invalid and arbitrary concept. The arbitrary is not so much a floating abstraction as an invalid concept, a concept for which no evidence exists, i.e. which was reached entirely arbitrarily. This bespeaks Rand's genius in her naming of it.
  10. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    I sense you still having some difficulty with the concept of "the arbitrary". ... and my last post did not seem to help. I think it might help to do some concretization in your process of "chewing" (which process is explained by Leonard Peikoff in Understanding Objectivism... which is incredibly important work IMHO as it is one of the few works which explicitly lays out the important dangers posed by rationalism in thinking ).. as it seems you are stuck in the realm of abstraction (or leaning towards that end). Can you think of and hold in your mind a number of concretes (examples of statements you might hear or read) which fall within the concept of arbitrary, and make them real? Imagine hearing the statement, imagine your process of judging the statement based on all evidence and knowledge, and determining it to have no basis whatever, and then throwing it out. Can you think of a number of concrete statements which you may hear or read but which are not arbitrary, i.e. when you judge them you can determine there is some (even tenuous) non-zero evidence, a shred perhaps, connected with your validly formed knowledge of reality. Imagine then understanding your serious doubts, your skepticism, your understanding that although extremely unlikely, the statement is not arbitrary, and remains in your mind with very little weight (which by the way could easily turn into something arbitrary ... by the elimination of that "shred" upon which it depends)? With your understanding of these concretes, does this help in your conceptualization of what makes a statement or the idea it represents arbitrary? What more do you need? http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/arbitrary.html
  11. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    I like where you going with your thoughts on this. If you are searching for a wider principle in which the arbitrary fits, I think it is an instance of judging purported knowledge or statements purporting to refer to reality based on thinking carefully about all the evidence available to you and according to that judgment giving that statement and its purported referent appropriate weight in your knowledge structure. In the case there is no evidence you label it arbitrary and sweep it from your mind ... but you should still probably remember that it was stated and by whom.
  12. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    Plenty of interesting thoughts. Concrete examples would likely be very informative. I'm not sure your definition is workable. "Imaginable" according to what standard? Is there anything you cannot imagine? If so, is the dividing line between what is impossible to imagine and what is imaginable subjective? Does something have to incorporate some aspects of reality (like a centaur) to be imaginable? or can it defy all knowledge, logic, and rules of conceptualization etc.? Is "An inanimate clear glass that blocks sunlight and brings your paper to you in the morning." imaginable or due to its contradictions meaningless? Well that raises the issue of whether contradictions can exist ... or have meaning... which implies the standard for "imaginable" depends upon who you are... an Objectivist imagination or a Hegelian one?... "Imaginable" is too vague and subjective a term. IMHO By pursuing the idea of identifying a genus, I think you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Why presume "arbitrary" is a species of anything else? If it were a kind of thing which exists, then there is a ladder of abstractions and concepts in which it fits, but the arbitrary is precisely OUTSIDE of all valid concepts (formed from the evidence of the senses). The statement IS the only existent, it has no referent in reality (none that can be identified according to evidence). So an arbitrary statement is a species of statements.. it is simply a statement for which the speaker has no evidence whatever (note humans are not omniscient nor infallible and the standard for making the statement is contextual... Objectivists are not Rationalists) I think there is a strong distinction between the arbitrary and the meaningless. An arbitrary statement is syntactically correct enough such that it is capable of meaning and being valid if evidence were found... whereas a meaningless statement can never be capable of meaning and being valid. What you know to be possible is not a limiting arbiter, it is supporting ladder to further knowledge. Your bird flying is an example of how seeing what is real informs one of what is possible which informs one of evidence pointing to something for which some evidence exists. The cave man, seeing a bird fly has been provided with evidence that living things do not automatically die when at altitude. They presumably can still breathe, the feathers seem to flutter indicating the presence of air and wind. The motions of the bird and its interaction indicate an effect that can be observed in leaves and trees swaying, or carried off in the wind and man can feel the wind, there is some pushing and light things can be pushed enough... living stuff can fly under the right conditions, man could fly if he could figure out what conditions are necessary to get enough of that "air" force sufficient to lift him up the way it does a bird, a leaf or a tree. Evidence is more than mere specific instances, evidence is also in the form of principles and wide integrations and concepts, all of one's knowledge constitutes all of the possible evidence... for believing something is possible.
  13. StrictlyLogical

    "How do I know I'm not in the matrix?"

    I would disagree with the final statement. How do you know that the "arbitrary" is possible? By definition the arbitrary is something for which no evidence has been provided. None whatever. If there were any tiny shred of evidence for something, i.e. pointing to something, then it is not arbitrary. Think about what this means and your definition of "possible". In the realm of an arbitrary existent being claimed you have no reason whatever to accept or even to rationally entertain the existence of the thing. No evidence whatever points to it at all. Now think about what you normally must include as evidence. Evidence includes what you KNOW to be possible. For example, lego can be stacked in certain ways, so the claim that a certain combination of pieces has occurred or will occur or exists now, is not an arbitrary assertion because it relies on what YOU KNOW possible, from your KNOWLEDGE of lego blocks. When someone declares the existence of the supernatural, there is literally NOTHING from which you could base any possibility of such a thing... by definition the supernatural is arbitrary because it would need to rely on what you pretend imagine NOT TO KNOW instead of WHAT YOU KNOW. The fact that you can imagine something (the Walt Disney principle) is NOT a definition of what is actually "possible". As such, a claim to the arbitrary as being "possible" is ITSELF an "arbitrary" claim. After all, on what integration of knowledge of arbitrary things could you conclude through observation that they indeed are possible, so that you could base the claim that THIS arbitrary thing, therefore, also is possible? Arbitrary things do not form any percepts and cannot form any knowledge or concepts thereof... there is no nothing. Think about the fallacy, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE" and what it is based on... it is based on one thing only, IGNORANCE. But nothing in knowledge can be based, literally based, on the lack of knowledge. The arbitrary, to be truly arbitrary cannot be "possible", in the sense that its possibility is measured by reference to knowledge of reality. An arbitrary statement has no evidentiary weight whatever supporting it, and therefore has no evidentiary weight itself... quite simply it is a worthless, groundless, maybe, not deserving of any consideration.
  14. StrictlyLogical

    Heirs to dictatorships

    In a proper accounting (Rand skewers the claim that a productive person's taking benefits from government is wrong) you must include some measure of how much government has held you back, through regulations, reduced choices in education, as well as the direct financial takings through income taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, education taxes, alcohol taxes, erosion of value through inflation and fiat currency, any and all forms of involuntary wealth "re"distribution in every part of the system affecting you as an individual (both to poor private individuals and to incompetent overpaid government workers in a bloated wasteful system), and all of the same affecting your parents, what they could have done for you or left for you, and your parents parents... IF the amount you take back exceeds the value which has truly been taken away from you, by all means refuse it, but if you and your family are productive members of society, it is almost without a doubt that objectively you would have to spend multitude of lifetimes being the non-productive parasite in the system to get back anywhere close to what was taken from you.
  15. StrictlyLogical

    Private Property-Who Does It Belong to Anyway?

    Well others have said it better... and what I said although necessary is not sufficient. What one wants needs to be objective in order to ground the principle objectively. A subjective want does not do the trick. Objective morality really requires Rand's analysis of life and the objective theory of value... i.e. the choice to live.