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New Buddha

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Everything posted by New Buddha

  1. Most of the points you raise center around regulations and standards with regards to how businesses operate. Many people (if not most) don't understand that the majority of standards followed by businesses (and recognized by the courts) are established by the industries themselves. This would still be true even under the most laissez-faire society that Objectivists could hope for. As an architect, I follow many standards established by such non-governmental, industry-created organizations such as ASCE, ICBO, UL, ASTM, ANSI, AWI, etc. These standards would still exist in a laissez-faire economy because the legal concepts of standard of care and implied warranty would also still exist. Insurance companies who protect companies, and the banks who finance them, require some assurance that a company will not act with negligence and will perform the necessary level of due diligence required by law. This would not disappear in a laissez-faire society. Your understanding of what a laissez-faire economy would be like sounds like that of a Bernie Sanders supporter.
  2. Gee. I wonder why?
  3. I agree with this, and believe that it forms a part of HM's misunderstanding of the issues being discussed. To the extent that Rand considered animal (non-human) intelligence at all, she was largely incorrect.
  4. Axioms are not "outside the purview of proof". Axioms are nothing more than very broad generalizations -- arrived at via induction from empirically acquired evidence. Axioms are not a priori truths. We arrive at the concept of "consciousness" (via induction) by observing things that are not conscious (trees, rocks, sodium, stars, etc.). We also know that organisms that are conscious are not always conscious (i.e. sometimes sleeping, comatose, or having impaired consciousness due to mental retardation, autism, alcohol etc.). What does it mean "life being mechanistic in nature"? As opposed to what?
  5. How could you have possibly concluded that I'm advocating any form of "pure reason"? How did that creep into the discussion? Lol. My argument (unlike yours) is that animals (including humans) are volitional agents -- and that inherited/instinctive knowledge plays a minuscule role in animals (including humans) who's survival in challenging environmental niches requires the learning of complex behaviors. Knowledge of how to survive in these types of niches is not mindlessly/automatically/instinctively "inherited" as you claim. It is handed down generationally and acquired through nurturing/observation/learning. And it can also be lost. My position is the exact opposite of any form of "pure reason" or "instinct" that YOU are advocating. What young children (and animals) are NOT capable of doing is "abstracting from abstractions". The ability to "abstract from abstractions" is what separates mature, adult humans from the other animals and is the line of demarcation between childhood/adolescence/adulthood. A wolf (through experience/learning) forms first-level abstractions for bears, rabbits, elk, etc., but what a wolf cannot do is form the concept "animal". This is true too for very young children. Every rabbit that a wolf encounters is not a unique percept -- it is a generalized abstraction (i.e. a concept).
  6. Certainly young children do. Children don't really begin to engage in the unique form of human abstract reasoning until 6 - 8 years of age, and yet they do learn a great deal before then, if properly nurtured. The human brain continues to grow into the late teens and maybe even in the early 20's.
  7. I wouldn't mind participating in this post, but I'm hesitant to do so because of the type of statement above. The biggest problem with your approach to the subject is that you are using terms in a way that are not commonly accepted. Terms such as volition, inheritance, evolution, and instinct are a few examples. The term "instinct" would, in my vocabulary, be limited to say, in human infants, such things as suckling, clinging (closing their fist when an object is placing in it), not falling off of a ledge, etc. A beaver does not "instinctively" build a dam- this is a learned behavior due to observation and learning and is passed down generationally. A beaver raised in captivity, released in the wild, would not "instinctively" build a dam. However, a horse or a gazelle will "instinctively" begin to walk almost immediately after it is born -but for dogs, cats, humans, and many other animals, walking must be learned - often with encouragement by parents, etc. Being a good mother is not an "instinct" among chimps. A young chimp raised in isolation, who gives birth, will not be a good mother. Mothering for many animals is a learned behavior. Another area where I disagree with you is your narrow definition of the the term "volition". There is a difference between a dog acting volitionally and a human's volitional capacity for reflection and imagination and "abstracting from abstractions", however, ALL animals possess some capacity for volition. I posted this link to a paper by an Objectivist Psychologist that you might find interesting. Volition is not to be equated with thinking about long term investing in a 401k. All animals act volitionally thousands of times a day. Every step you take, every sofa you avoid while walking, every thing you pick up, involves volition. Volition is not unique to human beings. From the Abstract: What is Consciousness for? Abstract: The answer to the title question is, in a word, volition. Our hypothesis is that the ultimate adaptive function of consciousness is to make volitional movement possible. All conscious processes exist to subserve that ultimate function. Thus, we believe that all conscious organisms possess at least some volitional capability. Consciousness makes volitional attention possible; volitional attention, in turn, makes volitional movement possible. There is, as far as we know, no valid theoretical argument that consciousness is needed for any function other than volitional movement and no convincing empirical evidence that consciousness performs any other ultimate function. Consciousness, via volitional action, increases the likelihood that an organism will direct its attention, and ultimately its movements, to whatever is most important for its survival and reproduction.
  8. Non-human animals are not automata nor are survival or adaptive strategies "heritable". All animals possess a degree of volition, and many also have a capacity to learn. Higher animals who engage in complex behaviors in order to exploit a particular environmental niche are not just simple organisms reacting to stimulus-bond triggers in their environment. At some point in the past evolution moved away from "instinct" and developed within certain animals (including Man) the capacity to hand-down generationally information about how to survive. A lion must learn to hunt by observing and participating in the complex, coordinated hunting strategies of their pride. If a lion (or a wolf) is raised in captivity it will not automatically or "instinctively" see other animals as prey - even those animals which are their traditional food source. Similarly, birds do not just migrate by "instinct" - migration is a learned behavior (think semi- or fully-domesticated domesticated ducks that don't migrate where food is provided by humans -- even though their wild brethren do migrate in the same region).
  9. Welcome to the forum. Which "article" are you referring to?
  10. Where did Eioul ever state in his post the things that you are accusing him of? All he stated was that family/parental nurturing is not the single greatest determinate in the development of an individual's temperament, personality, interests, social skills, etc. At least this is how I took what he said. I know that he is interested in psychology (as am I) and has probably come across (as I have) studies that say much the same thing. This seems a pretty rational post to me.
  11. Terms such as theorems, proofs, conjectures, etc. are fairly well defined in mathematics. I happen to believe that much of how modern mathematics is practiced is either Rationalism gone wild or mathematical Platonism. My use/training in mathematics (Mechanics) is something entirely different from mathematics as practiced by your typical mathematician. If you ask ten mathematicians about mathematical foundationalism, you'll get 12 answers. That being said, if you approach something like Collatz Conjecture, then you need to either play by the rules of the game, or reinvent the rules. The following is a fairly well accepted definition of Proof. Mathematical Proof In mathematics, a proof is a deductive argument for a mathematical statement. In the argument, other previously established statements, such as theorems, can be used. In principle, a proof can be traced back to self-evident or assumed statements, known as axioms,[2][3][4] along with accepted rules of inference. Axioms may be treated as conditions that must be met before the statement applies. Proofs are examples of deductive reasoning and are distinguished from inductive or empirical arguments; a proof must demonstrate that a statement is always true (occasionally by listing all possible cases and showing that it holds in each), rather than enumerate many confirmatory cases. An unproved proposition that is believed to be true is known as a conjecture.
  12. I have to agree with SK. I spent about an hour looking at the various spreadsheets and didn't see anything that really resembles a "proof" as it is commonly defined in mathematics.
  13. A great deal of learning requires Automatization. The specific mechanics of how we "automate" knowledge is not, primarily, an issue that falls under the scope of philosophy. It falls more truly under such disciplines as developmental psychology and the neurosciences. Rand does, correctly, touch on the importance of automatization in ITOE - mainly in opposition to such epistemic positions as Divine Revelation, Aristotelian Metaphysical Realism, Skepticism, Kantian Categories, Nominalism, etc. The capacity to draw on long-term, stored memories regarding a complex topic (such as Private Property) does require "chewing" or a degree of repetition and rote memorization. So too does learning such complex ideas such as mathematics, physics, engineering, etc. Think of how you first learn addition and subtraction, then the multiplication tables, geometry, algebra, trig, analytical geometry, physics, mechanics, etc. This typically takes 20 + years of study. There are no short-cuts to learning. It takes effort.
  14. In the video, around the 1 minute mark, you introduce n' = (4n+1). I see that it matches the increments of 8, but I don't follow why this needs to be done. It seems arbitrary? Is it something that you noticed could be done, or was there a reason behind it?
  15. Is the Fibonacci Sequence the "exponent reducer" in column E of the Recursive spreadsheet?
  16. Per this video, he suggests that the solution to the Collatz Conjecture might be tied to the Halting Problem. It seems that an effective solution would be one that involves an algorithm that could tell the number of steps it will take for any number to reach 1. How were you approaching the problem? Can it be easily summarized?
  17. I couldn't resist.
  18. Are you thinking along the following quote from ITOE, p. 48. Truth is the the product of the recognition (i.e. identification) of the facts of reality. Man identifies and integrates the facts of reality by means of concepts. He retains concepts in his mind by definitions. He organizes concepts into propositions.... .... Every concept stands for a number of propositions. A concepts identifying perceptual concretes stands for some implicit propositions; but on higher levels of abstractions, a concept stands for chains of paragraphs and pages of explicit propositions referring to complex factual data." Also, the role of propositions is further discussed in a way that may pertain to your post on page 183. It relates to the economy of thought due to "crow" limits. Without re-typing it in full: Prof. B: Isn't this question really about the theory of propositions, not of concepts? There are twenty-one concepts [words in a sentence] but the first five of them, say, are integrated into one clause, and the various clauses are integrated into one proposition, and that's how we hold it. AR: Yes. Prof. E: If you just strung out twenty-one words at random from the dictionary, you couldn't hold them all. AR: Yes. Prof. A: So there's something going on, when you read the sentence forward, that enables you to grasp it. Prof. E: The proposition, in effect, becomes a unit itself. AR: Yes.
  19. It appears that you are asking what is the relationship between epistemology on the one-hand and and psychology/neurosciences on the other - and how to demarcate between the two?
  20. The issue is, should our actions be guided by abstract principles or not? Don says no. Our continual improvement and refinement of our concrete, written laws and legislation at the City, County, State and Federal levels is directed by principles (what Don incorrectly calls the "ideal"). We take the "given" (i.e. the government into which we were all born into in the U.S.) and seek to improve it by means persuasion, debate, elections, etc., guided by abstract principles. I can only take this to mean that Don thinks making incremental changes is the wrong way of improving our government.
  21. This is completely back-asswards.
  22. Isn't the easiest way to address the issue of involuntary taxation is to readily acknowledge that it is wrong, BUT that the way to address the problem is through education and legislative reform -- via various think-tanks such as the Mises Institute, Cato Institute, Heartland, CEI, ARI, etc.? That is, by proposing concrete workable free market legislative solutions reforming how various levels of government currently work (City, County, State, Federal) we can demonstrate the efficacy and morality of the free market. Rand only really gave Capitalism an objective ethical foundation some 65 years ago. It shouldn't surprise anyone that we aren't living in a laissez-faire society yet. Regarding the OP's suggestion of a social contract, I don't think this is viable. Because it presupposes that there is an entity that exists that an individual can enter into a contract with. Edit: Our current form of government is not horrible. It can be improved, but it's not all bad. I think Rand had a great deal of respect for how our Founding Fathers were able to actually give concrete (i.e. constitutional) form to abstract ideas.
  23. The only other advice I can think to give is to make sure that you are protected. Don't rely too heavily on friendship. If there is a business plan and a contract, it would be worth it to spend a few dollars and have a lawyer review anything you sign. Going into business with friends has both pluses and minuses.
  24. My own experience (I'm nearing 50 years old) is that who you work with is extremely important. Very few jobs are non-stop kittens and rainbows. I spent 13 years at a firm working on projects that were not particularly exciting or glamorous, but the team of people I worked with more than compensated for the grind that the work entailed. Plus I met many clients and made extended contacts that resulted in job opportunities that would not otherwise have materialized. Do you like the people that you would be working with?