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ashleyisachild

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About ashleyisachild

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    Ashley
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    University of Chicago
  1. Can you please add a group for Chicago? (I was a little surprised to see that there wasn't one already; I think there's a fair number of us out here.) Thanks!
  2. Thanks for all your answers/input. They're very constructive. I have a few questions on stuff you said, though. I meant being attracted to someone because of their looks, or because they're good in bed, or because other people love them, etc. What do you mean? My question now indeed is "how do you tell when you love someone enough...enough to get sexually involved with them?" This is what I'm not sure about. I know; I was using both in a metaphorical sense. I know that's bad. My question was how to conduct an in-depth romantic relationship with someone without becoming dependent or reliant on the other person for various things. Many people lose self-control and independence when they're heavily involved in a relationship, and I have done this in the past, and I'm trying to figure out how to avoid that. Ah, this is indeed helpful. My next question would be, what if my partner's flaws affect me too much? Or, how should I decide whether or not it's worth it to suck it up and deal with flaws or just break up with them? I'm not sure I understand. What sort of flaw do you mean? Good point.
  3. Having unwanted thoughts that pop into my head is something I've always identified with my attentional problems. My thoughts just start to wander while my eyes keep scanning across a page, "reading" the words, but my consciousness is no longer processing it, so I have to catch myself and reorient myself back to what I was doing. I'm pretty sure it's one of the typical symptoms of ADHD, ie. it's possible that you could have it treated with amphetamine or methylphenidate, if you have other symptoms as well. Another thing I recommend is meditation. I think someone above mentioned this. Most forms of meditation work. The main thing you have to do in your meditation is to try to push unwanted thoughts out of your consciousness while focusing on one specific simple thought/thing, such as counting your breaths as you control your breathing. It also helps (I've noticed) to do this in combination with some physical task, like stretching or holding a specific pose or doing a specific movement. This is what meditations like Falun Gong and Yoga attempt. It's essentially a workout for your consciousness, strengthening your ability to choose what thoughts you think about and what thoughts you don't think about. If you do think you have attentional problems, and if you see a psychologist or psychiatrist or therapist, they might prescribe you with amphetamine or methylphenidate. If you don't want to take drugs for it, though, there are meditation-like therapies (EEG biofeedback) that therapists are starting to use to treat ADHD. I think it would work pretty well, and I've heard a lot of positive things about it. Of course, since unwanted thoughts popping into your head isn't necessarily caused by ADHD, you should certainly still try to motivate your mind to do it by other means, e.g. remembering the real value of your object of concentration.
  4. I'm currently attempting to come up with a definition of love. My main questions that I'm trying to answer and would like to hear others' input on are: 1. What is love? 2. How do you tell whether you're in love vs. when you're attracted to someone for less moral reasons? What is the point of a romantic relationship? 3. Do romantic relationships necessarily involve codependence or symbiosis? 4. How does one go about having an in-depth romantic relationship without becoming codependent or symbiotic? 5. Since there's no such thing as "soulmates" or a "perfect match" or "missing piece", how does one deal with the flaws of their romantic partner while appreciating the partner's characteristics that they admire? 6. Would it be self-sacrifice to accept a partner that has such flaws? 7. If one decides on their personal values, and finds no one who matches/reflects those values, but one is still searching for a romantic partner, is it immoral to choose a partner who does not reflect all of those values? 8. Is it immoral to be afraid of never having another romantic relationship in one's life? 9. Can one decide to have romantic feelings towards someone they don't already have romantic feelings for? 10. If so, what should one base such a decision on? 11. Rand's idea of love is based on having shared values with a person. How does one identify such values in another person, aside from asking outright? (One may share many values with a potential partner, but the two have different definitions and speak slightly different languages, simply asking won't help one understand the other's values.) I'm reluctant to accept (or maybe I just don't understand) Rand's definition of love as being a state in which one sees himself reflected in another person. I highly doubt that anyone exists in whom I will see myself completely reflected, and I highly doubt that any two intellectual, independent people exist who see themselves reflected in each other. So the problem arises of how to choose which of your values (or which aspects of yourself) must be shared by a romantic partner, and which of your chosen values can be lacking in a romantic partner. Also, I disagree with Rand's view that love involves a need for another person. In the Playboy interview, she said "It is for your own happiness that you need the person you love". I don't believe that need is a part of love. It's true that engaging in a relationship with the proper person will improve your life, but you can still be happy without a relationship with that person. Does this need for the romantic partner have other implications for Rand's view of love and romance? I'd love to hear any thoughts at all on these matters from anyone.
  5. So, does that mean that most mathematicians who consider the axiom a contradiction are expecting it to "well-order" the reals or something? Also, you seem to be saying that there's nothing wrong with the theory itself, just its metaphysical interpretation. If that were true, how could it lead to a proof of the Banach-Tarski paradox? I'm obviously not expecting a pea to be rearranged to fill volumes larger than the sun, but isn't there some clear-cut error in proof if something implies that it theoretically could? Wow, yeah, my friend mentioned that too, and I decided not to mention it in this thread but it's funny that you did instead. I think that if objectivism sets out basic metaphysical and epistemological principles, it should provide means to support those principles and refute assertions to the contrary. If objectivism (or objectivists) find it important to find the errors of other apparent contradictory assertions, then this one is just as important. What is the standard ordering? Do mathematicians not take the standard ordering's lack of well-orderedness into account when pointing out the contradictions of AC's lack of ability to well-order the reals? (Sorry if I'm misusing some words and sounding dumb... I'm not too knowledgeable with abstract math terminology.) How does it do that? And but doesn't all of math do that?
  6. I was recently talking about the existence of contradictions with a friend who's studying math. He was citing that an exception to the rule of noncontradiction was the mathematical "axiom of choice". It essentially asserts that something very obviously true is true, but the proof of it necessarily ends in something that contradicts the nature of the real numbers. I'm no mathematician, so I didn't know how to address this, and I'm pretty sure my friend wasn't mistaken or lying. Does anyone know the solution to this dilemma?
  7. OOH! Yes, I know of a book that very clearly and easily explains complex economics. It's called Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan. A very fun book to read, and very useful.
  8. I have lately been trying to understand how the universe (or, I guess I should say, all of existence) could exist forever. It seems clear that all the matter of the universe didn't suddenly appear with the big bang 10 billion years ago. But I thought I saw several people on these forums stating that infinity does not exist in physical reality. How, then, could the universe NOT have a magical moment of materialization? Firstly, if it did have such a moment, what caused that materialization to occur? Such an event violates (I think) the first law of thermodynamics, and moreover, fuels theists to say, "well, there must have been some force to have caused the big bang and the creation of all of existence, so God must be that force." Secondarily, if it didn't have such a moment, and if the universe has always existed, is it not a contradiction for all the matter in the universe to have existed forever and not had some cause? I know that the law of causality says that only actions, and not entities, have causes, but it seems to make so little sense for any amount of matter to have always existed. Thirdly, even if it's not metaphysically impossible for the universe to have existed forever, wouldn't the second law of thermodynamics tell us that the matter and energy contained in the universe would have "petered out"/reached equilibrium by now? If all this matter and energy has been here since infinity ago, how can it still have the energy left to be burning hydrogen with all these planets and stars swimming around and whatnot? Fourthly, by the law of causality, isn't it impossible to have an endless causal chain? That's what an infinite universe would imply. Even after accepting that the matter itself needs no cause, how can the events of the eternal universe have a proper chain of causality if there was no specific "first action"?
  9. Ack, more posts were posted while I was writing mine.... Andrew Sternberg: In that case, the parrot's "proposition" certainly was true. I can see that 2+2=4, based on the data my senses give me; so it meets part 1's requirement. And there's no contradiction in the statement, so part 2 is met, too. My question wasn't that of how to distinguish whether or not an assertion is true, it was more of whether or not the parrot's declaration should even be viewed as a "proposition", and on the difference between "truth" and "fact". Stephen Speicher: Okay, I can understand that. My main confusion was in that I didn't know (even implicitly) of any difference between "fact" and "truth" before reading this. One implication of this definition of "truth" as separate from "fact" is that we don't "find" or "discover" truth, but that we "achieve" truth through discovering facts. I don't think that that's how "truth" is generally used in the English language, if at all (I think almost any native english-speaking person you ask will tell you that truth is discovered rather than achieved), so it seems kind of strange to start using this new definition for it. Although I understand its cognitive usefulness. The parrot uttered a fact, although it didn't use any conceptual faculty to do so. To the parrot, the sounds are meaningless. The parrot did not speak truth. But since we are hearing the parrot speak, we can evaluate these arbitrary sounds, and acknowledge that the parrot uttered a fact, and in our recognition of this fact, hasn't the utterance become "truth", and can't we then say, "It is true that 2+2=4"?
  10. Well, I had a disclaimer in the title that my post is mainly just a question of semantics. Spearmint: I think it's easier to think about the parrot problem before considering the computer/robot problem, since a parrot has more obviously said those words only out randomnes. A computer is generally programmed to follow a set of steps based on inputs, ie. to use some systematical method to organize the information from its "senses". Well, now you're getting into what constitutes a conceptual faculty or not. My question is that, given the arbitrariness of a "statement" or set of sounds, we can still say that the "statement" was true or false. A robot's declaration might not be arbitrary, so that's a matter for another discussion. Similarly, a conceptually-capable man can arbitrarily declare "this coin will land heads up next time I drop it", on the basis that he simply feels it, and regardless of how the coin lands, the man was not speaking truth, but his utterance can be judged as true or not.
  11. Okay, this makes sense so far. I know that. Perhaps my wording was wrong. I guess I should have said "utterance" or something. And it sounds like you're saying that the parrot didn't make the proposition that 2+2=4. Does that mean that we shouldn't even try to evaluate it, since no one actually proposed anything? I don't think it's bad to say that the parrot's vocalization is true or false just because the parrot spoke in arbitrariness. Hmm. I know that the parrot itself was not speaking truth, but the thing that it said was still true as a statement. Peikoff's other example was the wind haphazardly blowing the sand in the desert to spell out the sentence "A is A". Obviously the wind and sand were not "speaking the truth", but A is A. 2+2 DOES equal 4. I was saying that not only is truth in concordance with facts, but truth IS facts. This not only implies that truthful knowledge is in concordance with facts, but that an accidental statement (like sand blown into a sentence of english words) can still be true even if it's not formed by a mind or thing that knows its truth. I think the reason why they think "monstrosities" like "the truth is out there" is because they acknowledge that existence exists independent of whether or not someone is perceiving it. "Truth" and "fact" are generally used interchangeably in our language. The parrot hasn't used any knowledge to randomly pronounce a true statement, but two plus two does equal four regardless of how the parrot managed to pronounce those words. The primacy of existence over consciousness is why I have trouble with this "it's only true if you acknowledge it to be so" definition. I know that I'm allowed to use whatever definitions I please. In fact, I could make up new words altogether to describe the concepts I use, but my point is that most people use a different definition for "truth" than Peikoff and Rand seem to be using. And I generally like to use words that help me communicate better, too.
  12. That's true. But doesn't that mean that parent(s) shouldn't necessarily be permitted by law to be in charge of their children solidly until the age of 18? Shouldn't it be something more along the lines of "until the parent/guardian deems the child self-sustaining"? Because, otherwise, it seems like the law might be allowing a gaurdian to inflict unjust rules on a "child" simply because of the guardian's poor judgment about the child/teenager's independence. I don't think it's a bizarre situation for a woman to either not have the financial means to get an abortion (although then she probably wouldn't be able to raise it either and then would be justified in giving the baby up for adoption), or if the woman initially thinks she wants to raise the child and then decides against it only after it's too late to get an abortion. But either way, it's not as if bizarre scenarios should be exempt from ethical analysis. My question to you was why that should be the answer. Why is a woman or a couple not justified in giving a baby up for adoption if their reason is "merely" that they don't want to give up all the time and effort and money? I'd also been wondering the same things as Evangelical Capitalist, but Betsy cleared them up. The one question I have remaining from reading EC's and Betsy's exchange, is that how do you determine whether or not someone does indeed have a "rational potential"? Are there humans (members of the species homo sapiens) who don't have such a faculty, such as severely mentally handicapped people (who might so handicapped as to not have the ability to use or fully understand language)? If you define "rational faculty" as the ability to form abstract concepts, etc., then such people might not have rights in your (Betsy's) definitions.
  13. After going to a meeting for an OPAR discussion group, it seemed that most of us were confused (or at least disagreeing) over Rand's definition of the word "truth". She says (given on page 165 of OPAR) that truth is "the recognition of reality". Some of us at our meeting thought that truth is simply an attribute of a proposition, whether or not the speaker or listeners recognize it to be so or arbitrarily asserted it to be so. To use Peikoff's example, a parrot can arbitrarily declare that 2+2=4, but the parrot wasn't right or wrong, since it didn't know what it was talking about. However, I think it's still correct to say that the assertion which the parrot spoke was true, even though it was arbitrary for the parrot to have said it. Truths are still true regardless of why they were asserted (although the parrot's "knowledge" is not valid since it's not based in reality and is merely arbitrary, so it's no indicator of the parrot's ability to use logic or anything). This may be a matter of what the more common use is, but since many people speak of things like "absolute truth" as independent of human knowledge/cognition, and since most dictionaries include, as a definition of "true" or "truth" the idea of simply being in concordance with reality, I think it's possible to classify the parrot's random mumblings as true or false, and not some uncategorizable middle ground (and this uncategorizable middle ground seems to be what Peikoff is asserting the parrot's statement was).
  14. Stephen: That makes sense, that the child no longer requires assistance/guardianship, but when does the parent no longer have the right to impose rules? A parent might forbid his child from, say, engaging in time-consuming activities that hinder the child's education when the child is too young to know how to organize his time and whatnot, but what if a parent a parent misjudge's the child's ability to make decisions, and continues this when the child is rather old, say 16 or 17, and forbids the teenager from holding a job, or travelling, or something? Does the parent still have the right to impose such restrictions, due to his status of guardianship? Francisco D'anconia held his first job when he was 12, and I believe that that was against the knowledge of his guardians. I'm sorry for being misleading. I didn't think that those abusive parents were only wrong "due to the fact that they physically restrained her in one place"; I thought that that was the only reason that they were arrested. And I certainly don't feel that it's "okay to do the same" if they only removed the physical restraints. I was partially playing devil's advocate by posing that question. As I said before, I feel that treating children in such a way is wrong, but I hadn't been able to figure out the justification for such a feeling. Besides, I think I understand your argument now.
  15. Like I said, it doesn't seem sufficient to justify the parents' responsibility by simply saying that they gave life to the child. What chain of reasoning does one follow to arrive at that conclusion? Also, how are you defining when a child has become an adult? How do you know when a child goes from inability to make decisions to a decision-making adult? Many adults seem to not know how to make decisions, or even how to think freely, but as far as I know, that doesn't justify allowing their parents to continue to physically control them. And just as many children seem totally capable of making their own rational decisions. Where is the line drawn? It seems right to me that a parent should have to take care of their children, but thats a feeling I can't justify as of yet. And I plan on someday having children, and treating them well and helping them become intelligent, but perhaps I'm a hypocrite for not being able to logically justify my urge to do so. And that's also why I've started this discussion.
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