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New Buddha

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  1. From p. 191 of ITOE: AR: What is the distinction between the practical and the theoretical? That's a distinction which I do not recognize. "Practical" means acting in this world, in reality. If what we do works, how is that possible if it does not correspond to reality? Truth is the identification of a fact of reality. How can something be true and not be a fact of reality? How can something be a fact of reality and not be true?
  2. What did you find wrong with Harriman's above quote?
  3. That's Richard Lindzen, a man who is fighting the good fight. Here is a link on Lubos' blog about a talk Lindzen gave in Prague which Klaus also attended. Richard Lindzen's talk in Prague I am still a bit overloaded (also because the new phone I bought yesterday had a defective charging/battery and speaker so I returned it). So let me post some material that deviates from the most typical genre. John Archer wanted some report about Lindzen's talk in Prague. Here you have a fast translation of an initial draft of a report in Czech that I have to write. Here's a link to some ARI's contributions to the issue.
  4. Smolin didn't approve of Harriman's book - I doubt he's even read it. As I understand the history of how The Logical Leap came to be, Peikoff hired (or ARI did) Harriman to co-author a book on induction in science -- but the project ended up becoming Harriman's in its entirety, with Peikoff's endorsement. Peikoff was instrumental in its development, but probably because of the complex, technical nature of the subject matter, Peikoff realized that it would be disingenuous for him to claim to be a co-author of such a book. (Someone please feel free to correct me if my take on the history of the book is wrong.) I have lots of problems with the book, but it's still worth reading. Wrt to String Theory, I knew who Smolin was many years before TLL was even written. And I was aware of the "String Wars" in science that Smolin's book The Trouble with Physics initiated. I've also followed the blog of a prominent string theorist for about 8 years too - Czech Physicist Lubos Motl, The Reference Frame - whom I have a great deal of respect for in part because of his opposition to Global Warming and his support of Vaclav Klaus and Free Market Economics. He has many articles critiquing both Smolin and Rovelli - in great technical detail - that you might be interested in. You had never even heard of Rovelli before I mentioned him, and I know that you haven't had time to review anything that he's published since yesterday - so it's wrong to claim that you don't "respect" him until you understand him. This is just the type of "attack" against people that I see as unproductive in this discussion. Rovelli's Relational Quantum Mechanics is technical, but it can be followed if you have some understanding of the topic. Here is a link to his 2008 paper that I suggest you read if you want to learn more. RQM .
  5. I do agree with this. It caught my eye too the first time I read it and, in marginal notes, I underlined it and wrote, "disagree". I have many disagreements with H.'s book, but I did read the entire thing and do agree with his take on ST.
  6. I'm getting tired of this type of ad hominem attack either directed at me or anyone you disagree with. In the previous post you questioned if I'm an Objectivist because I'm being "deceived" by Rovelli, and state that is something that Peikoff would never happen to him. When I show evidence to the contrary - since he approved Harriman's book - you then say that Peikoff and Harriman aren't qualified to understand current work in QM. You can't have it both ways.
  7. From David Harriman's The Logical Leap, P. 254. Regarding String Theory: If you think this theory [String Theory] sounds too good to be true, you are right. String theory is a magic trick. It does not make problems actually disappear; it merely hides them in a different place. It is a hiding place where very few people would look: the geometry of eleven-dimensional spacetime. According to string theorists, the complexity of the world does not arise from the nature of matter, but from the complexity of space considered as a thing in itself. The three-dimensional world we perceive is supplemented by seven additional spatial dimensions that are curled up into structures too small to perceive. Thus the unification supposedly achieved by the theory is an illusion. One physicist, Lee Smolin, puts the point this way: "The constants that denote the masses of the particles and the strengths of the forces are being traded for constants that denote the geometry of the extra six [now seven] dimensions..... Nothing was constrained or reduced. And because there were a huge number of choices for the geometry of the extra dimension, the number of free constants went up, not down." - end quote String theorists are lost in the world of geometrical ideas that they have invented, and they cannot find their way back to the real world. The arbitrary nature of their creation has led to the problem of "nonuniqueness": There is not one string theory, but a countless number, with no way to choose among them. None of these theories makes any predictions that have been confirmed by observation. And despite the extraordinary freedom with which these theories are created, they all contradict the observation data; for example, they predict nonexistent pairs of particles with equal mass and nonexistent long-range forces. As a result, string theory evokes a mixed reaction--one does not know whether to laugh at the absurdity or cry at the tragedy of it. I highlighted the name, Lee Smolin, because it just so happens that Rovelli and Smolin have worked closely together on Relational Quantum Mechanics and Loop Quantum Gravity. They are working within the constraints of observations already made in both QM and Relativity. They are not inventing hypothesis out of thin air. They understand the difference between mathematics and mechanics, unlike String theorists. While I don't want my quote from Harriman to be seen as a proof via an Argument from Authority, it's a non-sequitur that you would question my being and "Objectivists" because I happen to think that Rovelli and Smolin are on the right track and you don't.
  8. Rovelli is the author of several books of which the AEON article is an extract. Rovelli might agree with you. https://www.amazon.com/Anaximander-Carlo-Rovelli/dp/159416262X Rovelli is one of the founders of Loop Quantum Gravity (and Relational Quantum Mechanics). From the above link: Quantum Gravity is the problem of combining Einstein's general relativity with quantum mechanics. This is one of the major open problems in fundamental physics. The main activity of the Quantum Gravity group of the CPT is the development of the loop approach to quantum gravity, both in its canonical form and in the spinfoam formalism. A review article on loop quantum gravity has appeared on the electronic journal Living Reviews in Relativity. You can find the article on here. A review of the spinfoam formalism is here. Other activities of the group include quantum cosmology and foundations of quantum mechanics. Rovelli has worked out the mathematic/physics and made empirically testable predictions, unlike String Theory. Rovelli is not just a science journalist or arm chair philosopher - he's an honest-to-goodness, in-the-trenches physicists who is also well versed in history and philosophy. http://www.cpt.univ-mrs.fr/~rovelli/
  9. You are missing the key word in the sentence "forms". Rovelli is talking about the FORM|SUBSTANCE distinction which is present in Aristotle and Aquinas, but not Democritus. To Democritus (and by this I mean Atomists) FORM and SUBSTANCE are one. I think if you read Locke and Newton, you would better understand them and the relevance of the above points.
  10. Where do you source this idea?
  11. The point is to consider Atomism and its influence on 17th & 18th Century as you study science and philosophy. You can pretty much pick out of thin air any name of any scientist, mathematician, theologian, etc. from that period and Google their Name + Lucretius + Democritus + Epicurus + Atomism and find multiple hits - usually in the original words, writings and texts of the scientists themselves. But as you note, much of Democritus writings were lost (or destroyed by the Church?) whereas the documented connection to Lucretius is heavy and overwhelming. Atomism was the central idea in opposition to the lingering influence of the Neoplatonism and Aristotelianism of the Medieval Scholastics. Many such as Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Locke, Leibniz, etc. were wrestling with new concepts of form, substance, matter, force, gravity, motion etc. but they were still using the words and concepts of the Scholastics. They had one foot in the Medieval Religious world and one foot in the forthcoming Modern Scientific one. That's why it's so had to classify any one scientists as believing in such-and-such - they were in the process of creating the knowledge that we now take for granted. But Atomism was also universally equated with Atheism, so many scientists were circumspect when mentioning it in public. That's why info can often be found in private letters.
  12. The Atomism of Democritus was front-and-center among scientists in the 17th and 18th Centuries, but it was reintroduced through the writings of Lucretius (and Epicurus) specifically Lucretius' On the Nature of Things which was found in 1417 by Poggio. I visited your website through the above link and see no reference to Lucretius. Regarding Newton's corpuscular theory of light: In this paper, by William Jensen (Dept Chem, University of Cincinnati) on Newton & Lucretius, he details the introduction of Epicurean atomism into renaissance intellectual life: Though the manuscript of the epic poem, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius, was first printed in book form in 1473 and in many subsequent editions, it was not until the 17th century that it began to impact significantly on scientific thought...Sir Isaac Newton was a second-generation participant in this revival of atomism and so could build upon the earlier atomism of such 17th Century writers as Pierre Gassendi, Walter Charleton and, especially, that of his older British contemporary, Robert Boyle. Whether Newton was also directly exposed as a student to the famous poem of Lucretius is not known. However, by the 1680s, when he began seriously writing the Opticks, he had almost certainly read Lucretius in the original, since among the surviving books of his personal library is a 1686 Latin edition of De rerum natura, which one Newtonian scholar has described as “showing signs of concentrated study” (i.e. numbering of lines and dog-earing) [6][7]. Likewise, the Scottish mathematician, David Gregory, reported a conversation with Newton in May of 1694 in which Newton stated that he could demonstrate that [8]: "The philosophy of Epicurus and Lucretius is true and old, but was wrongly interpreted by the ancients as atheism." Regarding the influence of Lucretius on Kant see this paper, page 143: Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) was perturbed by Leibniz and heavily influenced by Newton. He openly acknowledged his debt to Lucretius in offering a nebular hypothesis concerning the formation of the planets and solar system.40 ‘I will not deny’, he admitted, that the theory of Lucretius, or his predecessors, Epicurus, Leucippus, and Democritus has much resemblance with mine. I assume, like these philosophers, that the first state of nature consisted in a universal diffusion of the primitive matter of all the bodies in space, or of the atoms of matter, as these philosophers have called them. Epicurus asserted a gravity or weight which forced these elementary particles to sink or fall; and this does not seem to differ much from Newton’s attraction, which I accept. (Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven, 1755) 41 Despite his favourable attitude towards Lucretian cosmology, Kant rejected ‘the mechanical mode of explanation’ which, he said, ‘has, under the name atomism or the corpuscular philosophy, always retained its authority and influence on the principles of natural science, with few changes from Democritus’ (Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, 1786). Kant argued in the finale of his critical writings, the ‘critique of teleological judgement’ (Part 2 of The Critique of Judgement, 1790), that science required, conceptually, a teleological framework for the explanation of life, regardless of the basically unknowable nature of things. But atomistic and anti-teleological ideas were attracting a favourable reading in the rapidly developing life sciences. David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (first published 1779) contained a paraphrase of Lucretius’ selection principle,42 arguing that currently existing species of animals are those which, unlike their counterparts, had apt combinations of organs and were thus able to survive and reproduce, and this notion was common amongst the philosophes. For additional info on Atomism, there is a good link to an article by the physicists Carlo Rovelli in the below post:
  13. I'm not sure what you mean by third-person ontology.
  14. The materialist notion of Epiphenomenalism is not so much that consciousness is acausal, but rather that consciousness (free will, reflection, deliberation, making choices, weighing options, etc.) would violate causality if it were capable of changing or redirecting physical behavior. Much of this can be attributed to an ideological bias among materialists which was fostered or seemingly supported by an early, scientific misunderstanding of how the nervous system (which includes the brain) works. From Wiki link above: Epiphenomenalism is a mind–body philosophy marked by the belief that basic physical events (sense organs, neural impulses, and muscle contractions) are causal with respect to mental events (thought, consciousness, and cognition). Mental events are viewed as completely dependent on physical functions and, as such, have no independent existence or causal efficacy; it is a mere appearance. Fear seems to make the heart beat faster; though, according to epiphenomenalism, the state of the nervous system causes the heart to beat faster.[1] Because mental events are a kind of overflow that cannot cause anything physical, yet have non-physical properties, epiphenomenalism is viewed as a form of property dualism. In 1907, William James reflected on the growth of Behaviorism in psychology. Many persons nowadays seem to think that any conclusion must be very scientific if the arguments in favor of it are derived from twitching of frogs’ legs—especially if the frogs are decapitated—and that—on the other hand—any doctrine chiefly vouched for by the feelings of human beings—with heads on their shoulders—must be benighted and superstitious.
  15. By "Kant the Physicists" I mean that Kant was a physicist first and turned to philosophy later in life. Many of his ideas regarding the Analytic Synthetic distinction were developed in the realm of physics prior to turning to philosophy. While I've spent years studying/reading about 17th Century science, I was only tangentially aware that Kant was also a physicist. Once I put one-and-two together, much about Kant fell into place.
  16. Kant made little sense to me until I quit thinking of "Kant the Philosopher" and started thinking of "Kank the Physicists". Here's a good link to a paper by Boydstun that you might like regarding just that. Newton and Locke were still wrestling with the Form|Substance distinction which was a holdover from the Scholastics. Locke's distinction between Primary and Secondary characteristics formed the basis of Berkeley's (who studied Optics) criticism of Locke, which in turn influenced Hume, which in turn influenced Kant. Kant's Analytic Synthetic distinction makes a sort of sense when you understand the dominant ideas of science at the time. And while this is only my opinion and one I can't fully support just yet, Kant's Categories can be seen as moving Aristotelian Metaphysical Realism's Catagories from "out there" into "mind." Also, science, philosophy, and religion were not as separated back then as they are now. It really helps to study all 3 fields to get the "big picture".
  17. Be wary of the DVD Cops!
  18. This from the Lexicon Pleasure and Pain. Now in what manner does a human being discover the concept of “value”? By what means does he first become aware of the issue of “good or evil” in its simplest form? By means of the physical sensations of pleasure or pain. Just as sensations are the first step of the development of a human consciousness in the realm of cognition, so they are its first step in the realm of evaluation. The capacity to experience pleasure or pain is innate in a man’s body; it is part of his nature, part of the kind of entity he is. He has no choice about it, and he has no choice about the standard that determines what will make him experience the physical sensation of pleasure or of pain. What is that standard?* His life*. From Emotions. Just as the pleasure-pain mechanism of man’s body is an automatic indicator of his body’s welfare or injury, a barometer of its basic alternative, life or death—so the emotional mechanism of man’s consciousness is geared to perform the same function, as a barometer that registers the same alternative by means of two basic emotions: joy or suffering. Emotions are the automatic results of man’s value judgments integrated by his subconscious; emotions are estimates of that which furthers man’s values or threatens them, that which is for him or against him—lightning calculators giving him the sum of his profit or loss. But while the standard of value operating the physical pleasure-pain mechanism of man’s body is automatic and innate, determined by the nature of his body—the standard of value operating his emotional mechanism, is not. Since man has no automatic knowledge, he can have no automatic values; since he has no innate ideas, he can have no innate value judgments. A large part of what is missing from your discussion is the role of developmental psychology - that is, an adult is very different from an infant. I'd also like to point out that (and I think I speak for Eiuol on this) both Eiuol and I DO have technical disagreements with much of Rand's position on Emotions (see the Why Babies Cry post for one example). However, we also disagree with each other too. But we both agree - along with Rand - that Emotions are efficacious and play an important role in cognition. This point needs to be understood against the backdrop of the current schools of thought that Rand was opposing in the 1960's (Behaviorism, Linguistic Analysis for examples). The link that I provided to the post by Boydstun explores how her thinking developed over the years (there are also a good many links embedded in the post). I don't really see a lot of evidence in your posts that you understand the nuances of Rand's position - irregardless of whether you think they are right or wrong. You seem to be putting up a lot of Straw Man arguments.
  19. Interesting question. It appears that movie DVD's and music CD have different rules wrt to making archival copies and Fair Use laws. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/10/its-still-illegal-to-rip-dvd-and-blu-ray-discs-for-personal-use/ Edit: I own only a few DVD's and have never tried to make an electronic copy. Are they encrypted in such a way to prevent that happening as the article suggests?
  20. Pinker, in his book, is critical of the Tabla Rasa view of Man's mind that led to Behaviorism in psychology and the cognitive sciences in the last Century. And while I don't agree with everything in his book, he's far closer to Objectivist epistemology/psychology than not (he even mentions Rand in passing, if I recall). From a largely non-favorable and critical review of his book: These [Pinker's books mentioned in the article] are both efforts to explain mind and behavior biologically, as products of natural selection and genetic endowment. Unless you are a creationist, there is nothing exceptionable about the approach. If opposable thumbs are the result of natural selection, there is no reason not to assume that the design of the brain is as well. And if we inherit our eye color and degree of hairiness from our ancestors we probably inherit our talents and temperaments from them, too. The question isn't whether there is a biological basis for human nature. We're organisms through and through; biology goes, as they say, all the way down. The question is how much biology explains about life out here on the twenty-first-century street. "Pinker's idea is that it explains much more than some people—he calls these people "intellectuals"—think it does, and that the failure, or refusal, to acknowledge this has led to many regrettable things, including the French Revolution, modern architecture, and the crimes of Josef Stalin. Intellectuals deny biology, according to Pinker, because it interferes with their pet theories of mind and behavior. These are the Blank Slate (the belief that the mind is wholly shaped by the environment), the Noble Savage (the notion that people are born good but are corrupted by society), and the Ghost in the Machine (the idea that there is a nonbiological agent in our heads with the power to change our nature at will). The "intellectuals" in Pinker's book are social scientists, progressive educators, radical feminists, academic Marxists, liberal columnists, avant-garde arts types, government planners, and postmodernist relativists. Rand was influenced by psychologists in the development of her ideas in epistemology. You might like to read the following post by a regular, Boydstun. It traces the influence of various psychologists (Piaget, James, etc.) on her thought. Her ideas have more depth to them than you might realize.
  21. Why don't you go thru the exercise of presenting the Objectivist case against public health care?
  22. My post was a critique of Seasteading. From their website: "Based on our research, we believe that many seasteading needs can be met with off-the-shelf technology." For a review of their engineering reports see this link: Engineering.
  23. From what I've reviewed of Seasteading's available information (and to their credit, there is a fair amount) there is no new technology to "push forward". Nothing they are proposing involves new technology - it's all "off-the-shelf" engineering. The hindrance wrt to Seasteading is that there is no tax incentive (or any monetary incentive that I can see) to offset the exorbitant costs of building a floating city if the taxes are the same. By their own proforma, the initial development and life-cycle costs of the development are ludicrously high, compared to building something similar on land. It's not rocket science. We build buildings on all types of crappy soils, in earthquake-prone zones, etc. The only question is, "Does Seasteading pencil". The answer is no. You have to understand too, that developments don't generate revenue via cash-flow. Developments are long-term investments and build equity over time (decades). This has to be balanced against maintenance and depreciation in order to be profitable. Building on a floating platform in a sea salt, moisture rich environment will offset any possible equity. And land values are driven by three things: 1) location 2) location 3) location. There is nothing remotely valuable about building a quasi-floating city.
  24. I couldn't agree more, and after having read some links to your other works over the last couple of days, I have a better idea of where you are coming from. I approach things from different "psychology/neurology" schools, however, and look forward to giving you some alternate ideas to ponder. I think you are taking some things as "givens" that aren't. My "divine joy" was in the 2nd semester of college taking Intro to Physics and Analytical Geometry as preparation for later Engineering courses. I was horrible at math up thru High School. I remember thinking, "Damn, why didn't they teach these first!"
  25. Since Ilya is here, I thought I would bump this and also thank Boydstun. He has a wonderful paper on Kant, with the link above. He greatly anticipated the direction I was taking this post.