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About Eiuol

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  • Experience with Objectivism Rand related: All major works. (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Virtue of Selfishness, Atlas Shrugged, etc)

    Peikoff related: OPAR and three lecture series (Objectivism Through Induction, Understanding Objectivism, Unity in Ethics and Epistemology)

    Tara Smith related: Most things, including Viable Values and Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics.

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  1. Epist, you literally said you don't understand what universal entities are - while also criticizing the idea. It's not at all reasonable to criticize it in any sense before you do. It's fine to ask questions about it, but you can't rationally take a definite stand. It's not dishonest to say there's no point in discussing it with you based on that. If you meant that -now- you realize you don't get quite get it, then I think it's a simple misunderstanding.
  2. First off, if the consequences of a theory are in some sense distasteful, the theory doesn't become false for that reason. If the standards, in order to work at all, require a means no one is capable of, then the end is impossible no matter how important the end is. So, saying "well, knowledge is important, therefore my standards need to be possible!" would be pointless. I don't think any Objetivist-minded scholar would put any weight on the "possibility" argument except to say that knowledge is epistemic so the only way to talk about knowledge and attaining it are through possible means. The stronger argument I see is that people really are connected to reality by virtue of their senses. There isn't anything about reality that one is not able to identify in principle. That is, an asymmetry does not exist unless we also have something in reality that is undetectable by any human means. We'd have to postulate that there's a supernatural world in a literal sense, a world in which we'll always be separate from. I doubt many detractors would buy into that, so they'd go on to say that our human means can at best create ideas and beliefs; these beliefs will not be objective thanks to [animal nature/impulse/cognitive biases/etc.] When we get down to it, impossibility is not the real issue, but what human capabilities are. People generally agree that knowledge is properly true, as far as I've seen. An "above man" standard is really just denying that perception is good enough for developing all kinds of knowledge. Or the other end, perception is all there is, abstractions are all myths.
  3. My description in that paragraph ( "I don't like the title at all, but it's not hard to see that the actions of all the characters in the end lead to living life better. No one was glued to their past in the end." ) was about Collateral Beauty. Personally, I found that the wording all flowed in Ninety-Three, but perhaps that was the translation. The "loose cannon" scene was brilliant in the book, and I can imagine that in French it's even better. As far as Romanticism, there are dark scenes, except there is great triumph when overcoming adversity. In this sense, a "darker side" is spot on. After all, good drama has some nasty obstacles. It's less about details than it is -why- the characters act, even if the events are "unrealistic". I agree somewhat that the 3 roles got too much weight as far as the plot. I blame that on weakness in some of the writing rather than a philosophical choice or theme. Through the ending though, we can say that the point overall was about rediscovering purpose. Keep in mind that by the end, Howard at last reacted, upon Madeleine's advice. He was finding values again that he never really lost. Early on, he was passively pulled along by death, love, and time. Same with the supporting business partners. At the end, everyone took responsibility.
  4. I saw this on your suggestion in this thread. I liked it. True, the theme of the movie is death of a loved one and resulting need to move on in life. I would not characterize this as focusing on the negative. Rather, the recurring idea is that the negative elements in life don't need to dominate anyone's thoughts - not even Howard's. If this were philosophically dark, Howard would not have gotten better, or perhaps he'd come to "love" death. That's not how the plot progressed. Although part of the idea is that there's beauty in death, but that's only the explicit philosophy. Consider how Rand, in her intro to Ninety-Three, said she stood against Hugo's explicit philosophy, yet his implicit philosophy as seen in his writing was deeply good and sought the best in man. I don't like the title at all, but it's not hard to see that the actions of all the characters in the end lead to living life better. No one was glued to their past in the end. It's a short and to-the-point movie. Worth watching.
  5. "As a side issue, (not to be a distraction), in many cases there are a very large number of "best" (based on rationality) "choices" ... which are on perfectly equal standing rationally speaking, a particular SUV might be the best choice based on rationality for your family but the color need not require any rational analysis..." I suspect that the reason you say that some choice can be equally rational is related to how a feeling can originate from a non-rational mental state, or did not involve interpretation. I agree with Grames that something like color preference can be the basis for a rational distinction due to their nature as information. Further, they aren't emotions anyway, so it's more like perception or near the level of perception - you can't like purple more than green by interpretation or evaluation. On the other hand, colors often have psychological connotations, but that's not too much different than getting scared when you see a spider. There's a difference between getting a "feeling" when you see a color, and what you think about when you see a color. That "feeling" leads to absolutely correct answers for yourself as related to what makes you physically and psychology different than another person. To make that clearer: while sometimes there is no answer to "what color SUV should I pick?" for people as a whole, that doesn't mean all answers are equally as rational. A. Anything the result of deliberate thought can be rational or irrational. Resulting thoughts that employ epistemic principles is rational. Anything else is non-rational. B. Only when/ if rational thought could not be used somewhere in the process we're referring to. D. I don't make a big deal about it personally, I just use epistemic principles. So, choices I make are all rational by that standard. But, of course, sometimes I learn a principle was not any good and I stop using it. An issue comes up if a person obsesses on a past error, when that action looks irrational only in retrospect.
  6. How does that follow? You explained a little bit, but would you flesh it out more?
  7. It's also partly that they have no need for quantities, so thinking about numbers is complex to them. But, there are clear difficulties in teaching math from this. The interesting thing is that while people may fail at tests that measure ability to remember, individuation is natural to all people. Also, there's a difference between holding individuals in mind (individuation) and recognizing quantities as a whole (ennumeration). 4 is about the normal amount an adult is able to individuate. The 5 plus or minus two is not that same mental process. Remembering 7 items of a list, like days of the week or colors of the rainbow, isn't so bad. If you tried to think about 7 balls with a different color each, you'd do poorly. You'd do poorly at thinking of the balls as individuals. It seems that the focusing is limited to 4 perceived items in working memory at a time. Maybe up to 6 with extensive and intense training (think professional gamers).
  8. Good, I only object to you using the word universal. William expressed better than me why your use of the word universal seems so problematic. Your point seems good, but seem to think Rand was a nominalist for not believing in some metaphysical -entity-. This is hard to express. I'll take it back and defer to William's post for what I mean. I thought you were proposing an entity. I don't think you are now. But it is grounded in something basic! Rand grounds it in an entity, and any entity having identity. We have a direct connection to entities via perception. Sure, Rand adds some pragmatic criteria to form concepts and their definitions. This doesn't at all contradict grounding in entities. After all, Rand says measurement is needed, where measurement is only with the givens of perception. This reminds me of how you claim consequentialism any time consequences are mentioned in arguments on ethics, as if one pragmatic element ruins objectivity.
  9. The more I read your posts on this subject, your main issue looks to be that you're criticizing Rand for not clearing up how -entities- have meaning. You could call identity a universal, or the identity of something is a universal, but this doesn't follow how people mean an -entity- when they say universal. I seriously doubt that people here would deny that there are metaphysical givens, and some entities share some intrinsic traits, and that such givens are how we create an epistemic "mental entity" (which is a term Rand used). See your other thread for more thoughts...
  10. It's simple for me, I do that sorta thing for a living. I'll make a hierarchy, then see if Jaskn can implement it.
  11. Isn't a bigger issue what allows for a universally united notion of some concept? I am not sure what metaphysically basic universals are supposed to be, or why they are needed. Why not a universal-making metaphysically basic fact of all that exists? The way you propose a universal makes it sound like it is either an actual entity (you deny this) or a mental entity like a visualization. Rand seems to say identity and existence are metaphysically basic facts, and that by virtue of having identity, a number of entities can share features. From there, one creates a mental entity - a concept - based on those features. As man-made, the concept is epistemic, but refers to some metaphysically basic truth (identity) and the metaphysically given features of an entity. You seem to begin with a universal as a mental entity, pre-formed, before explaining how one may sense such an entity. You haven't addressed how Rand thinks meaning comes from an entity.
  12. That's my point. There are elements of one's mind that one isn't aware of. Mental content simply refers to a mental operation using either a representation or a presentation. The operation need not be deliberation. No, this doesn't establish that there are thoughts without awareness. There is no entailment here except that thoughts require a physical realization. That's not a change in perception, i.e. the world as you see it. That's a change in conception: if an Incan figures a ship is a whale, this is only an error of identification. Thus, an Incan might choose to ignore it.
  13. It'd be wise. But not sure if there's a good means to do so given older threads. It should be easy, dunno how the software is about it.
  14. Forget "your" philosophy for one moment. I wasn't even presenting a substantial argument. I wanted to get the terms right. I was first giving a broad distinction as "what happens in the head mentally" and "what doesn't happen in the head mentally". This way thoughts one isn't aware of makes some sense, as long as we stop saying "thought" and note that mental content says nothing about how aware one is of a particular mental happening. From there, it is fine to differentiate emotion from deliberation. Notice how I didn't say "thought". Also, neither of those are unconscious. There is no such thing as an unconscious thought, emotion, or intuition. To be sure, there are non-conscious mental content or events (arguable which one as a scientific theory). What you are describing needs some name besides "thought", as the term gets confusing. "Not enough experience to detect them" suggests, along with the above, that they literally saw the ships in a vaguer way. There's no reason to suppose that their eyes had trouble focusing as if it were blurry. Concepts help in terms of what to focus on and why, thus aiding perceptual interaction with the world. By the way, some psychologists suppose that thinking -alters- perception, or tweaks it. Like wearing a heavy backpack makes a hill look steeper, that sort of idea. That might be arguable. But it goes too far to say that seeing a Galleon clearly is harder for an Incan.
  15. Why call it a thought? If you are not at all aware of a specific thought, it is not a "thinking thing" as implied by being the noun form of "think". A mental event, or mental content, makes more sense. Taking the above, the question becomes: what mental content is being integrated into a percept? Cognitive psychologists study exactly how and to what degree. There a number of studies, particularly in psycholinguistics. Your reasoning goes wrong here. Trial and error is needed to know how to focus well and why. The problem is to focus at all doesn't require experience. To focus purposefully, maybe. But the human body is innately attuned to certain stimuli, thus allowing for initial focus without innate concepts. As far as Objectivist epistemology here, this does not contradict Rand's notion of tabula rasa - the mind is only ever blank as far as knowledge and concepts. The scientific analysis shows how it is focus works in detail. This is true, but your example is bad. If you need to have the concept "ship" to detect ships..... no one would see ships nor would the concept exist. Whales would literally wander into boats, fish wouldn't nibble on hooks. You'd be fine as an Incan to see a huge Spanish Galleon. You'd see a floating thing, all its sails, but it'd be a little confusing. Drawing it from memory would not work well. In this way, your focus would be less efficient. Forming new concepts helps make narrower distinctions. Concepts do not alter how the world looks, but recognizing distinctions helps you decide what to look for.