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patrik 7-2321

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  1. Thanks for your comments. This is mainly in response to the comment by William O. After some reflection I must say that I actually find the notion that reduction is (or can be) induction or "Inductive" almost absurd. Mostly due to the fact that my understanding is that induction is hierarchical and must be performed bottom-up from the senses to the abstract, and reduction goes in the reverse order. When I reduce a proposition I conclude what must be established before what, in hierarchical order, for the proposition to be true. If it turns out that no reduction is possible, then there is some illogic in the proposition rendering it false (or possible arbitrary?). If a reduction is possible and logical, then the product I get is a series of concepts and/or propositions which I know in theory would have to be conceptually grasped or induced in ascending order, in order to finally induce the proposition I started with, thus deriving it from my own experience. When the final induction and/or stepwise concept-formation is completed, and when I have also integrated it logically with the rest of my knowledge, then I should have "completely" or "fully" validated and understood the proposition I started with - according to my understanding of Oist epistemology. This process necessitates that reduction is distinct from induction. Reduction is establishing the structure of a potential future induction that would in theory have to be made in order to reach the objective understanding that (and how) the starting proposition corresponds to reality. Before you do the induction, however, you haven't yet formed the concepts or induced the preliminary propositions which the original proposition depends on, and you do not have an objective understanding of its truth. All you have is a list of inductions and integrations that you know you would in theory have to be able to logically make in order for the starting proposition to be true - which you don't know yet. If that is indeed a correct picture of reduction and its relationship to induction, I do not see how reduction could be "a kind of induction", or "inductive" or similar. (I don't think the the genus or CCD of "reduction" is "induction".) If you "induce while reducing," and thereby try to grasp the truth and meaning of a proposition, aren't you thereby trying to gain knowledge in reverse hierarchical order, top-down? As I understand the hierarchy of knowledge, you have to grasp the "lower" elements (closer to the senses) before you can grasp the "higher" (more abstract), but reduction moves from the higher to the lower, so if you try to "induce while reducing" then aren't you inducing in the order opposite to the required one? If induction could be done from top to bottom, while reducing, why does Peikoff NOT do that in OTI, but instead reduces top-down, then reverses direction and induces bottom-up? His approach respects hierarchy as one would have to, it seems to me. Thoughts?
  2. Grames, Thanks for reminding me to think about "certainty" in this context, and for recommending lecture 6 of The Art of Thinking. My understanding of certainty thus far has been that it refers to the degree to which one can legitimately be confident that an idea corresponds to reality. One is fully certain that something is true when one knows it to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, on the basis of all available evidence. As I have understood it, full certainty of an idea requires a bottom-up induction. Take "capitalism is the only moral social system": one can reduce it all the way down to metaethics and conclude that it is logically consistent with one's knowledge, but in order to REALLY understand it and claim certainty of its truth from a position of good understanding, I think this requires grasping the proposition by induction in hierarchical order, by forming its constituent concepts in their necessary order of abstraction starting from the senses, inducing the prerequisite generalizations in their hierarchical order, from observation all the way up to the proposition. (And somehow comparing the morality of capitalism to other social systems in order to justify the inclusion of "only"). Is there something amiss with this view do you think? [As a sidenote: I would personally not brush off Binswanger as "unreliable" in any general sense. I have learned and still keep learning plenty from him. I have thought about this potential "dualism" of his but I don't know what to make of it. If he indeed is a "dualist" then at least he is not consistent with it, as he for example explicitly argues against it in HWK. Perhaps worthy of its own thread.]
  3. A very accurate summation I would say! You can also tack on that I am, as perhaps more of a side-issue, confused by Peikoff's occasional usage of the term "inductive proof" in the course OTI [1]. I am also confused by the lack of reference to the importance of induction in the written materials, when it is lauded as so crucially important in the OTI course. Refs: [1] just google "ayn rand campus peikoff "inductive poof" " and you should be able to immediately see some relevant transcripts from Peikoff's course on the ARI campus page.
  4. In Objectivism, a "proof" of an idea is reduction. One thereby goes backwards "down" through the steps necessary to reach the abstract idea, which can be a proposition or a concept, through the necessarily prior ideas, until one reaches the most basic kinds of observations on which the idea depends. The prime example of this would be the Objectivist proof of the principle of egoism. It is normally proved by reducing the concept "value" down to its necessary prerequisites, which are entities acting to achieve goals in face of the fundamental alternative of life or death. However, according to Objectivism as I understand it, this kind of reduction-based proof is not enough for a person to be justified in claiming certain knowledge that an idea is true. It is for instance said in How We Know that "full validation" of an idea, as it is called, requires at first reduction but then also non-contradictory integration into one's total knowledge (I think OPAR says this too, for instance at the bottom of page 138 and in other places where proof is discussed, but perhaps not as explicitly). So, one aquires certain knowledge of an idea after a "full validation" has been performed, which necessarily involves reduction and integration with the rest of one's knowledge. But where does induction fit into this picture? Peikoff's course Objectivism Through Induction (OTI) makes a really big deal out of the idea that real understanding and validation of an idea is based on induction. He repeatedly uses the term "inductive proof" (which btw. seems to run contrary to the definition of proof given in OPAR as essentially "reduction". What would "inductive reduction" be?). "Inductive proof" or derivation is the only way to fully validate an idea he basically says - this presupposing a reduction to begin with. What I end up with is that "full validation" of an idea requires reduction and integration, the integration being based on induction - when I combine the works of OPAR, HWK, and OTI (and more). However why isn't this explicitly stated in either OPAR or HWK, that induction has this crucial role in the integration-part of "full validation" of an idea, if indeed this is the case? Why does this role of induction only show up kind of obscurely in OTI if it is so crucially important as it is claimed in that course? "Mere" integration of an idea "into the sum of one's knowledge" to me implies a sort of inward-looking, assuming that the content of one's mind is the test of an idea rather than the content of reality, and for that reason the focus on "induction" as in the OTI course appeals to me, because there one is taught to integrate data from direct observation. It sounds more objective to me. But I'm confused. What is "full validation"? What essential steps do you have to go through to reach certain knowledge of a given proposition?
  5. I'm responding to you separately. MisterSwig, I would like to basically summarize your comment as: "These concepts can give rise to legal irrationality - such as granting political rights to computer systems, or depriving humans of rights." I absolutely agree with this. The legal system and our laws surrounding technology would most definitely suffer from these bad concepts. CartsBeforeHorses, You are essentially saying that these concepts, as they are normally applied to AI, are valid, and do not cause any problems. It is just that the technology itself may be used to violate rights that is cause for concern. I must admit to having to resist a snarky reference to your name. I think you are commenting quite extensively before having done enough reading on related subjects, notably Objectivism. Also, you disagree with me about whether "perception" and "conscious" is normally applied to AI. Here I would refer you to the Wikipedia article on artificial intelligence so you can see it for yourself. As to Objectivism's application to this, "consciousness" including concepts of consciousness such as "knowledge" and "memory" (and all the rest I mentioned), do only logically apply in their strict meaning to consciousness, and nothing else. Binswanger has an excellent discussion of this in chapter 1 of his book How We Know, where he discusses the issue of applying these terms to computers, saying that it is wrong because it relies on materialist (stolen) concepts of consciousness. You are however touching on a relevant fact here, which is that these words CAN be appropriately used to describe computers and how they work, but only colloquially or not entirely exactly. Quoting Binswanger: I made this topic to discuss more the actual (or future) bad consequences which result from not adhering to this, and applying concepts of consciousness to computers carelessly. I think the legal aspect is a very valid and good point. But are there more problems? I'm particularly interested in problems surrounding the technology itself, such as if many people are trying to build something which cannot really exist, effectively wasting money and good efforts, or if they will eventually seriously misinterpret the technology that results, etc.
  6. Intro: I think it is undisputed that the development of technologies normally classified as AI hold a great value for us. It is at root simply a kind of human-like computer automation, with applications to almost all technologies we use, and even to science as when AI-software has been used to help solve scientific problems. However I sometimes wonder what to make intellectually of the hype surrounding it, what is valid and invalid, and what is good and bad about it. The first thing I am confronted with in this task is the bad terminology used. Hence my question: What are the actual practical problems with labeling certain (AI-)computers as "conscious" and "intelligent", able to "perceive", and able to perform advanced "computations" on "information", and store enormous amounts of "knowledge" in its "memory"? Many Objectivists rightly object to the common usage of these terms when applied to computers, as they imply a certain materialist view of consciousness. Given that we agree on this however, are the actual problems that result strictly philosophical, in that it creates philosophical confusions over time, or is it that it can cause real practical limitations to technological success? (That would seem to run contrary to the fact that this technology is successfully developing so quickly, wouldn't it?) Maybe the problem is only that it permits certain irrationality in the future projections of how AI will impact human life? Or is it all of the above - if so, why? What do you think about this? What's so bad about how people use these words? Should we care about it? (Posted under epistemology because I see this as a good example of the practical application and value of Objectivist epistemology.)
  7. See if you find something at ARI campus that you like, to start you off (awesome site): https://campus.aynrand.org/campus-courses For reading I'd say start by reading these essays by Rand (lots of choices here but these are good): "Philosophy: who needs it": https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1974/03/01/philosophy-who-needs-it/page1 "Faith and force: the destroyers of the modern world": https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1961/01/01/faith-and-force-the-destroyers-of-the-modern-world "The Objectivist Ethics": https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1961/01/01/the-objectivist-ethics/page1 "Causality versus duty": https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1970/01/01/causality-versus-duty "The 'Conflicts' of Men's Interests": https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1966/01/01/the-conflicts-of-mens-interests I also highly suggest reading these books (after Rand's essays leave you wanting more elaboration and proof): (OPAR was already suggested) How We Know, by Harry Binswanger: http://www.how-we-know.com/ Viable Values, by Tara Smith: http://a.co/cErz41u Moral Rights and Political Freedom, also Tara Smith: http://a.co/8bMPTJQ
  8. So there was a guy in academic epistemology who allegedly turned the whole field upside down in the 1900's, by proving that having Justified True Belief in an idea is insufficient for having knowledge of said idea. Read up if you want: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettier_problem https://books.google.se/books?hl=sv&lr=&id=Gp9Umi2VEh8C&oi=fnd&pg=PA175&dq=Is+Justified+True+Belief+Knowledge%3F&ots=OGD1Xq6SY1&sig=qfXz6_nL9-_008Z6WmjehU7cKFU&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Is Justified True Belief Knowledge%3F&f=false How I would sum it up: Gettier provided some examples where an individual S deduces an idea Q which happens to be True, but the reasoning is based on a false premise P, which nonetheless is rationally Justified. Thus the individual does not know that the idea Q is true, and does not have knowledge of Q, but still Believes the idea. Thus it is claimed that S has Justified True Belief in something which is not knowledge, and JTB is an insufficient condition for knowledge. The whole thing bothers me and I'm trying to figure out why. Is this an attempt at proving that knowledge is impossible, or can it actually make rational sense within objectivist epistemology? What to make of it all?
  9. patrik 7-2321

    Reason and moral code

    Mike you seem to have the wrong concept of "reality". Ayn Rand once said something like "There is only one reality. Not two, nor four, nor ten".
  10. patrik 7-2321

    Objectivism Textbook?

    I think the closest you will come is the book Understanding Objectivism, by Peikoff and Michael Berliner. Here you will be shown how to validate 4 principles of Objectivism, the purpose of which is to teach you the method of validating the whole philosophy for yourself. That's one half of the book, later there is one chapter explaining the hierarchy of Objectivism, followed by a few chapters on epistemology, and then emotions and moral judgement. The whole style of writing and argumentation is also different from OPAR.
  11. I decided to buy this book as an introduction to economics, mainly because John Lewis from ARI recommended it. Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...35291780&sr=1-1 Book webpage: http://objectiveeconomics.net/ Being new to economics I like the book so far, but then I saw this review by the Objective standard: http://www.theobject...up-buechner.asp And then there were some controversy online over this quote from page 1, (the preface): "To the best of my knowledge, this book represents the first attempt to rewrite economics in the light of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism." - Which is claimed by some to be a dishonest statement and an insult to a "George Reisman" (whom I know nothing about) who has previosly written a book on economics with an Objectivist theme. What to make of it? Should this criticism cast doubt on the value of the content of this book? I'd like to hear what you economically literate think about it.
  12. patrik 7-2321

    What is, and is not, an Objectivist?

    I don't think this comes off as troll-ish at all. Here's Peikoff's answer: Podcast from June 30th, 2008
  13. patrik 7-2321

    The best resources for studying logic

    I'm happy with my logic book, which is Logc: An Introduction, by Lionel Ruby. Prior to reading (half of) it I had no previous expreience with logic as a subject, and this one has been good for me. You can find Harry Binswangers endorsment of this book via google. Basically he recommends that Objectivists buy it but ignore some select parts.
  14. patrik 7-2321

    Questioning the beneficiary of value

    I think he meant "the morality which he enacts", rather than "morality as such".
  15. patrik 7-2321

    Questioning the beneficiary of value

    Seems like this question comes up because you don't know the validation of the standard of the good. You are in effect asking why your self-interest is what Objectivism says, and not more dependant on other people's well being. In OTI (Objectivism through induction) the validation of the Objectivist concept of self-interest is outlined like this: You choose values. You achieve values. The commong denominator among basic values recognized by common sense as "good" for a person defines self interest. In contrast: altruism is not in your self interest because it contradicts the nature of values (it says you can't value) and it contradicts itself (it says you should pursue values for others). In this context the question of this thread has an almost self-evident answer: "Just look at what values are and what is really good for a person". What I personally find interesting about this is that the formation of the mere concept "self-interest", quickly followed by "egoism" (as the practice of acting for one's self interest), actually holds the proof of the basics of the Objectivist ethics.
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