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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. Boydstun

    Fred Miller

    Most recently, from Prof. Miller: Aristotle - On the Soul and Other Psychological Works Notre Dame Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Peek into Fred Miller's paper at Ayn Rand Society Meeting 2005 here. I expect this paper will be included in a planned volume on Aristotle and Rand in the series Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies.
  2. Boydstun

    Health & Evasion.

    . Akilah, The tale of Beauty and the Beast or Victor Hugo’s novel The Laughing Man or the play Cyrano de Bergerac dramatize in extreme form something pervasive in real life: It is inner life, one’s soul, and inner health with its inner beauty that is the realm of moral character. That character is displayed in real life in outer life behaviors, not in outer beauty. Don’t judge people such as the four real men you mentioned to be “seemingly” lacking in concern with or effort for their health because they appear not beautiful to you. That is not sound and would be a disastrous way to proceed with your life in the social world. If you have issues against Rand’s philosophy, go right to those, and state them directly. Don’t settle for glancing blows against the philosophy by attacking its exponents personally. That is junk. Attack the philosophy position-by-position head on. (Even if you agree with points in the philosophy, consider what arguments and evidence can be mustered against them and what you think about those counters specifically. This is philosophic understanding.) Think about the philosophy itself, and give your objections and counter-reasoning. That is the stuff worthy of smart heads. Some examples: Rand held that the only way of winning knowledge was by rational processes. True or false? What can be said against this view? Not against the person holding the view, but the view itself. Rand held that every individual and their life is an end in itself. True or false? . . . Rand held that the purpose of morality is simply to help one live and enjoy oneself. True or false? . . . Rand held that the justification of a national defense is the protection of individual rights. Really? . . .
  3. Boydstun

    Objectivism in Academia

    . “In the poem ‘Human’ (1903), Gorky says of the new man that he is lost ‘among the desserts of the universe . . . on the little piece of the earth’. Yet, ‘he is going bravely ahead! and higher! On the way to victories over all the secrets of the earth and sky’. . . . “‘There was a cold wind outside, and an empty stretch of land under an empty sky” (Rand 1957, 15). The train encapsulates all the problems of a society that is living---and dying---due to the principles of collectivism. . . . The desert is the symbol of a hostile world in the novel: it is made obvious in the scene depicting the crash of the train at the Arizona desert [1160-61]. . . . “. . . In ‘Human’, Gorky glorified the new type of human, who is a creator and whose major impulse is Thought. . . . . . . “But there is a great difference between Gorky’s Human and Rand’s ‘new human’. . . .” JARS 18(2):326-27) --From the paper in that Winter 2018 issue of JARS: “Ayn Rand’s ‘Integrated Man’ and Russian Nietzscheanism” by Anastasiya Vasilievna Grigorovskaya, who has a number of publications on Ayn Rand, in Russian, and who is working on the first doctoral thesis about Rand in Russia (Tyumen).
  4. Doug, I don’t think that the philosophy of Ayn Rand nor any other particular philosophy—whether rational, irrational, or mixed—will ever come to be the guiding philosophy for all autonomous humans. Were such a philosophic frame ever accepted universally, then just wait. In time diversity of frame would return. Not returned after 100 years? Wait. It would return. But more realistically, the course is never going to result in any one particular philosophy being universally accepted. I mean freely accepted, but that just means really accepted. There can be nuclear exchanges that do not result in total extinction. Wait. The finale one not happened after 500 years? Wait. It will come. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the neat book This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. In that story, there is massive secret coercion being committed on the world population by a central authority, making the people peaceful as well as completely determinate and coordinate in their productions and consumptions and life spans. But there will be leaks, sooner or later, of individuals slipping out of the system, returning to their own free mind and body, and they will join together with other leaked fellows and fight the world system. Stephen
  5. . Nuclear war is not an idle threat. It is a real threat. Multiple states having great nuclear weapons capability---USA, Russia, France and some others---together with the real potential for use in an escalating international crisis is how nuclear deterrence has been able to work so long as it has. There was no guarantee it would work this far, but on the other hand, our understanding of mutual unacceptable damage and our moves to secure it were our best move in the circumstances. All-out nuclear war will happen sooner or later. I suggest that internationalism on that issue, specifically nonproliferation meddling in the programs of other countries, is a way of pushing that finale of the human world, including all the peoples of all the nation states, to later rather than sooner. Silence on this reality will not make it go away. The human world changed with the Bomb. Even if mutual nuclear disarmament were someday attained, human nature will not change, and the technology and new production will come back to that ultimate, total human demise. Our best move is to push out that demise to the farther future, and pure nationalism, a nationalism that would include non-intervention on this issue of ever more countries attaining deliverable nuclear explosives, rather hastens that future extinction. I do not take the end of the race of men to diminish a whit the glory that our kind existed and was what it was. Our kind was an end in itself, just as each individual and mortal human life was an end in itself. I think a book today on nationalism that does not address effect on the nuclear end-date would be myopic.
  6. Boydstun

    Tests of General Relativity

    This note too is not on experimental tests, but this seems a fair place to put it. Since Stephen Hawking made the theoretical discovery of particle/anti-particle pair production at the event horizon of black holes, many couldn’t help but think he was touching some key to future profound unification of quantum mechanics and relativity. For Hawking had drawn that conclusion we know as Hawking Radiation by doing quantum field theory in the spacetime structure at the event horizon. This possible key seems to be taking further tantalizing shape by recent work on quantum chaos effects in black holes. Douglas Stanford
  7. Gravity Probe B A drag-free satellite equipped with exquisite monitoring of spin axis of superconducting gyroscopes brings confirmation of two effects of GR. More on final results of the experiment will be posted soon here at the Stanford site.
  8. Boydstun

    What is the relationship between Christianity and altruism?

    sN, Looking into the New Testament just now, I see that Jesus gave two overarching commandments. Firstly, to love God with all your heart and mind; secondly, to love your fellow humans as you love yourself (Luke 10). I gather he thought you should be loving yourself. This prophet was going around, as the story goes, performing miracles to good purposes for humans of earth. So there is a large reservoir of mystical power in the background of the moral perspective he declares. He says he is adding to and completing the old Commandments, and he gives some examples of how to go above and beyond their letter with an understanding of them grounded in love. Not only do not murder, but do not be angry with your fellow human nor call your fellow a fool nor look down on your fellow. Else be punished by God. Make peace with your fellow before coming to the altar to leave a gift for God. (And don’t be making a big show of your gifts to God or to your fellows.) In some cases, he reverses the old precepts. Down with “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Rather, do not resist evil. Turn the other cheek for the evildoer to hit as well. Down with loving only those who love you. “What credit is that to you? Even the tax-collectors do that!” Love your enemies as well. Then you are sharing in the perfections that are possessed by God (Matthew 5). His moral rationales are shot through with alleged reciprocities of benefit to one performing the good act. These are benefits, physical and social, coming back to one who sticks with God in letting go of benefits for now. The coming back will be from other humans or from God. In his model prayer, Jesus says to ask God for the bread one needs and to forgive one’s failures, as one is forgiving the failures of others (Luke 11). Some reciprocity here, and nothing against bread for oneself. Beyond keeping the religious law, Jesus tells one wealthy man who keeps the law, yet still feels incomplete, to reach perfection by giving all his possessions and money to the poor. He’ll have riches in heaven if he does that. Meanwhile, join Jesus in his crusade (Matthew 18). From the Sermon on the Mount: “How happy are those who know their need for God, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “How happy are those who know what sorrow means, for they will be given courage and comfort! “Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! “Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for true goodness, for they will be fully satisfied. “Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them! “Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God! “Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “And what happiness will be yours when people blame you and ill-treat you and say all kinds of slanderous things against you for my sake! Be glad then, yes, be tremendously glad—for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. . . . “You are the earth’s salt. . . . “You are the world’s light. . . . (Matthew 5) I rather think that building a case for altruism—or for socialism or for capitalism—based on the teachings of Jesus is far off the mark. Altruism is the doctrine that moral goodness is from sacrifice of self for the benefit of one’s fellow humans. Jesus-likeness without God at center of moral goodness should be laughed out of court. (The translations are by J. B. Phillips.)
  9. Boydstun

    What is the relationship between Christianity and altruism?

    . I've noticed the failure of Jesus to preach altruism in the Bible. "Love your neighbor as yourself," which was also trumpeted by Paul, hardly measures up to such dicta as "Service above Self" (Rotary Club).
  10. Boydstun

    Grieving the loss of God

    You might get a chance to know because you seemed to be dying and then it turned out you did not. That happened to me. I know. It was about the matter of fact of how far and not farther I'd gotten with my intellectual discovery and creation, and lastly just about me and the one I love, just a lighted disk of light with only the two of us in it and only dark and irrelevance and nothing all around that disk.
  11. Boydstun

    Grieving the loss of God

    SL, interesting question. Somewhat before I read Rand, I had turned in just a few quiet moments alone from being a life-long devout Christian to the realization there is no God. I was 18. There was a great cleanness that the fierce victory of truth brings to one against all prior evasion, such as in the realization of Cheryl about her husband in Atlas. I had a momentary feeling of loss along with the realization of how much I had loved God. It was like the end of a love affair, though with the difference that the object of that love had never existed. That feeling of loss did not carry on beyond that moment, unlike end of a love affair with a fellow human. There rushed in in those moments a vast feeling of benevolence for all mankind, I think because of the realization that no one was watching over them. That feeling is constant with me, though without an accompaniment by any sense of loss, only that I watch over them and love them. Nietzsche counted the "death of God" as a liberation, but also as a fearful event for all, such as an earthquake. He thought of it as a loss of anything to esteem, although he proposed we can set up new things to esteem at least for a long while, until we overturn those things too, and move on to new values. And all of this wrenching and aspiring he considered a nobleness of soul. It was elevation of a neurotic psyche, and of a man who lacked and derailed real science and regular commercial or familial labor and who lacked appreciation for the four-square limits of human being and accomplishments in the world as it is.
  12. . The Status of the Law of Contradiction in Classical Logical Ontologism Leonard Peikoff – Ph.D. Dissertation (NYU 1964) Leonard Peikoff first met Ayn Rand when he was seventeen. That was in 1951. His cousin Barbara Wiedman (later Branden) had become a friend of Rand’s in the preceding year. The young friends of Rand had read and been greatly moved by her novel The Fountainhead, and they were greatly impressed with Rand and her philosophical ideas as conveyed to them in conversation with her. In 1953 Peikoff moved to New York from his native Canada (where he had completed a pre-med program) and entered New York University to study philosophy, which was his passion. He was able to read Atlas Shrugged in manuscript form prior to its publication and to converse with its author. He continued at NYU for his Ph.D. in Philosophy, which he completed in 1964. That was the year Allan Gotthelf entered graduate school in Philosophy. Ayn Rand and her distinctive ideas on metaphysics and logic, as published in 1957 in Atlas Shrugged, do not appear in Peikoff’s dissertation. Except for one modest point, his treatment of his topic is consistent with Rand’s views on metaphysics and logic, as well as with her thought on universals (ITOE 1966–67) and her broad-brush arc of the history of philosophy. His dissertation is worthy of study, certainly by me, for what have been many of the positions and arguments concerning the ontological status and epistemological origin of the Principle of Noncontradiction (PNC) in Western philosophy from Plato to mid-twentieth century. It is valuable as well for a picture of what Peikoff could bring to the discussions with Rand and her close circle, as well as to their recorded lectures and published essays (including his own “Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy” published by Rand as an immediate follow-on to her ITOE) in the ten years or so after 1957. A speculative sidebar: Beyond Rand’s philosophy, I doubt that Leonard Peikoff ever had anything to learn from Nathaniel Branden in philosophy. The flow of learning in philosophy not Objectivism was likely entirely the other way. That goes for the flow of reliable information in that domain as well between Peikoff and Rand. By the late ‘60’s, Peikoff, and Rand too, could of course learn from the studies of Gotthelf in Greek philosophy. I’ll sketch and comment on the course of the intellectual adventure that is Peikoff’s dissertation in a separate thread in Books to Mind. I’ll do that shortly. In the present thread, I want to just state his broad thesis (i–viii, 239–49), then turn (i) to the Kant resources Peikoff had available and relied upon in his story and (ii) to setting out from my own available resources, these decades later, what were Kant’s views and teachings on logic, what was always available in German, and what now in English. Under the term classical in his title, Peikoff includes not only the ancient, but the medieval and early modern. By logical ontologism, he means the view that laws of logic and other necessary truths are expressive of facts, expressive of relationships existing in Being as such. Peikoff delineates the alternative ways in which that general view of PNC has been elaborated in various classical accounts of how one can come to know PNC as a necessary truth and what the various positions on that issue imply in an affirmation that PNC is a law issuing from reality. The alternative positions within the ontology-based logical tradition stand on alternative views on how we can come to know self-evident truths and on the relation of PNC to the empirical world, which latter implicates alternative views on the status of essences and universals. Opposed to the classical logical ontologists are contemporary conventionalist approaches to logical truth. Peikoff argues that infirmities in all the varieties of classical logical ontologism open the option of conventionalism. He mentions that his own sympathies are with logical ontologism. Alas, repair of its failures lies beyond the inquiry of his dissertation.
  13. . Here is some work related to Peikoff’s treatment of Locke on philosophy of logic in his 1964 dissertation. The Peikoff 1985 cited herein is a bit of his dissertation. I wrote this paper in 2012. Contradiction and Red/Green – Locke Recall Ayn Rand’s law of identity in application to attributes, such as color. “Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification. / Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be . . . all red and all green at the same time . . .”(1957, 1016). The logical character of the proposition that a particular surface cannot be all red and all green at the same time has been controversial. In Book 1 of his Essay concerning Human Understanding (EU), John Locke held “principles of demonstration ‘Whatever is, is’ and ‘It is impossible for the same thing to be and not be’” (EU 1.1.4) as unnecessary for the acquisition of all knowledge. “These maxims are not in the mind so early as the use of reason . . . . How many instances of the use of reason may we observe in children, a long time before they have any knowledge of this maxim, ‘That it is impossible for the same thing to be and not be’?” (EU 1.1.12). In Locke’s view of development, one first gets ideas of particular things through sense impressions, then general ideas by abstraction from the particular ideas. Before one has learned that it is impossible for the same thing to be and not be, indeed, before one has learned to speak, one has learned that bitter is not sweet, white is not black, and red is not blue. Upon that and upon coming to speech, one learns that wormwood and sugarplums are not the same thing, that a rod and a cherry are not the same thing, that a square is not a circle, and so forth. Upon the same grounds that one came to know those differences, one later comes to know that it is impossible for the same thing to be and not be (EU 1.1.15-20; 1.3.3–4; 2.1.6, 22–26; 4.7.9–10). Turning from development of knowledge to its structure, Locke goes on to say in Book 4 that in apprehending that white is not black or that a circle is not a triangle we do so directly. Knowledge that our ideas of these things are mutually exclusive is not known by demonstration, hence they require no principles of demonstration such as the principle of noncontradiction. We grasp the exclusivity of black and white in a self-evident perception, which Locke calls intuition. Like Plotinus, Anselm and many others before him, Locke thinks of all other knowledge as dependent on intuitive knowledge. The latter is the ultimate source of all certainty in knowledge. “A man cannot conceive himself capable of a greater certainty than to know that any idea in his mind is such as he perceives it to be; and that two ideas, wherein he perceives a difference, are different and not precisely the same” (EU 4.2.1; see also 3.8.1; 4.7.4, 19). Is the sum of the angles of a triangle the same or variable from one triangle to another? Seeing the sameness of that sum and the sameness of that sum to the angle of a half-circle for all triangles in the Euclidean plane is not self-evident, but requires demonstration (EU 4.2.2). Each step of a demonstration, in Locke’s view, requires intuitive knowledge (EU 4.2.6). The mind can perceive immediately the agreement or disagreement of each step in the demonstration just as the eye can immediately perceive that black and white are distinct and whether a white paper is entirely so or contains some black marks (EU 4.2.5). It is intuitive knowledge alone, in Locke’s sense of the concept, that is at the base of human knowledge, certain or probable (EU 4.2.8; 4.2.19). It enables the certain demonstrations in geometry, demonstrations with the ideas of “extension, figure, number, and their modes” (EU 4.2.9; a triangle is a relatively simple mode: 2.12.4; 2.31.3; 3.3.18; 3.9.19; 4.4.6; 4.7.9). We enjoy accuracy in making and discerning differences in our simple ideas of extension, figure, and number because they are quantitative. (On simple ideas, see EU 2.2.1; 2.3.1; 2.5; 2.7.7-9; 2.30.2; 2.31.2, 12; 2.32.9, 14–16; 3.4.11, 14; 3.8.2; 4.1–2; 4.3.1–21; 4.4.4.) Those ideas are of the primary qualities of things such as Rand’s leaf. Secondary qualities apparently of things, such qualities as colors, are ideas produced in us by the impingement of particles endowed with only primary qualities. In Locke’s day, there were no ways of measuring relations of sameness and difference in the degree of a secondary quality, though he ventures to suppose that greater intensities of primary qualities produce greater degrees of a secondary quality. There are presumably degrees of differences in whiteness that we cannot discern, degrees corresponding to fine degrees of differences in primary qualities that could produce them. All the same, there are degrees of difference in secondary qualities we do perceive, and such intuitions suffice to found inferential knowledge beyond subjects such as geometry or mechanics. Where the difference in discerned difference in a secondary quality “is so great as to produce in the mind clearly distinct ideas, whose differences can be perfectly retained, there these ideas or colors, as we see in different kinds, as blue and red, are as capable of demonstration as ideas of number and extension” (EU 4.2.13). Where Locke has written “as capable of demonstration,” I think he means “as capable of use in demonstration” (though he could mean additionally what he argues elsewhere in the treatise: there is equally zero capability of any of these different kinds being discerned by demonstration). Is a sheet of paper before Locke, a paper waiting for the first impression of his pen, all white? Even if it is everywhere white, is it anywhere also red (yet not pink) or black (yet not gray)? We have no direct verdict below our visual thresholds. How does Locke have us know for sure that if the sheet is all white, it is in no part also red or black? Leaving rather faint the issue of how we know secondary qualities are always produced by primary qualities (cf. Ayers 2011, 146–51), Locke sinks intuitive knowledge concerning imperceptible secondary qualities into the bedrock of intuitive knowledge of primary qualities (EU 4.2.11–12; 4.3.11–13, 15; cf. Descartes 1632, 3–6; 1647–48, 255–56; on Locke’s distinction of primary-secondary, see EU 2.8.9–23; 2.30.2). Locke maintains that for any particular object whatsoever, at a particular time, its extension will be a particular extension, excluding all other particular extensions; its figure will be a particular figure, excluding all others; its motion will be a particular motion, excluding all others. He maintains furthermore that particles of light reflected from a definite part of an object to a particular place of a viewer cannot appear both yellow and azure. “For it is as impossible that the very same particle of any body should at the same time differently modify or reflect the rays of light, as that it should have two different figures and textures at the same time” (EU 4.3.15; see also 2.32.14; unique awareness from unique physical inputs had been embraced also by Descartes, supra; Des Chene 2001, 139–40). Locke generalizes these various sorts of particular exclusion: an object cannot have two exclusive degrees of a given quality simultaneously. Locke realizes that the impossibility of a leaf being all red and all green is a case of the principle that it is impossible to be both A and non-A. After all, he takes the latter principle to be a generalization of such exclusions encountered in leaf color, fortified by underlying exclusivities in the characters of primary qualities (cf. EU 2.27.1, 4). To say the impossibility of a leaf being at once all red and all green is a case of the logical impossibility of being both A and non-A is not to say the impossibility of the former case derives from the impossibility of the latter general principle. That redness of entire leaf and greenness of entire same leaf are mutually exclusive is not shown by the general principle there are mutually exclusive attributes of entities in existence. Locke correctly recognizes that. “These particular instances, when well reflected on, are no less self-evident to the understanding than the general maxims [superfluously] brought to confirm them: and it was in those particular instances that the first discoverer found the truth, without the help of the general maxims: and so may any one else do, who with attention considers them” (EU 4.7.11[3]). One weakness in Locke’s sensualist tendency to inductively warrant the necessity of noncontradiction by necessity of exclusions one encounters in sensory qualities is noted by Leonard Peikoff. Leaving the necessity of the principle of noncontradiction as only a necessity encountered in sensory qualities “seems to invite an immediate Humian type of refutation” (Peikoff 1985, 199). Locke’s theory of abstraction is inadequate to the task of delivering from perceptual bases the principle of noncontradiction, noncontradiction in particular and specific identity, noncontradiction in natured entities, their actions, and their attributes. In Locke’s view, we do not attain certain knowledge of the essential natures of physical entities, unlike the situations of our knowledge of simple sensory qualities (primary and secondary) and of mathematical entities. Staying within his view, there is no possibility of arriving at Rand’s absolute principles of identity and noncontradiction through the objects of the senses (EU 2.1.3–9, 22–26; 2.8.7–8; 2.10.6; 2.11.1–9; 2.18.6–7; 2.22.4–5; 2.25.9; 3.3.6–20, 28–38, 49; 4.4.1–6; 4.6.4–16; 4.7.4, 9–10, 16–19; 4.8; 4.11.13–14). It is a defect of Locke’s view of color qualities that it is set on difference and sameness in sensed qualities as secondary and their tie to qualities as primary. According to Locke’s scheme, the former, such as the qualities red and green, are in us; they are modifications of our sense organs, thence appearing in our minds, wrought by impinging primary qualities. Rand is set, rather, on the leaf and its color nature. Yes, red and green are different things. Yes, part of the story of how we attain express understanding of the principle of noncontradiction is by prior learning of sameness, difference, and exclusivity encountered in experience. But the sense of noncontradiction Rand is deploying—the sense of identity and exclusion Rand is deploying—is of natured entities. One does not need to know anything about the travel of light to the eye, the physical nature of light, the physiology of the eye, or perceptual thresholds in order to know that it is of the nature, the identity, of leaves and our visual power that no leaf can be at once all red and all green (cf. EU 4.11.2). Thanks to a presentation of Paul Churchland’s, I have experienced afterimages that seem to be entirely of two distinct colors at once. That experience has now become available to me (more tenuously) in Churchland’s chapter on chimerical colors in Neurophilosophy at Work (2007). I follow the viewing procedure, and in figure 9.11, I get to see fading afterimage discs that are at once mauve and black or at once blue and black and so forth. The point of constructing this figure is for the experience of what Churchland calls “impossibly dark” afterimage colors (the scare quotes are his), not to show patches of afterimages that are two colors at once. I leave it for the reader to dig into this important book’s purposes and their fulfillment. Afterimages are always fading. What I am experiencing as mauve and black “at once” is occurs while mauve is turning to black. Whether this experience is rightly a case of seeing a portion of surface, screen or page, as two colors could be reasonably disputed. Suppose it qualifies as such a case. It can be taken under wing in Rand’s picture by saying that leaves have their color nature, afterimages have theirs. The same sort of assimilation could be taken were it the case in the future we learn (i) that canonical reflectance profiles of a surface (Churchland 2007, Ch. 10) can be made two canonicals at once by some treatment of the surface and (ii) our visual system can be made to discern them distinctly when artificially and appropriately altered by, say, an electronic apparatus. Were leaves susceptible to said treatment giving them two canonical reflectance profiles, then in Rand’s conception of noncontradiction in attributes, we should say untreated leaves have their color nature, treated leaves have theirs. In the experience of Rand or Locke, it was not only the surfaces of leaves that were not anywhere at once both red and green. The same was found of any physical surface whatever. It was found likewise for volumetric color. Locke, and Rand too, might recall a certain liquid which when poured into another produces two colors; but the orange and azure produced are regional in the volume, not both simultaneously throughout (EU 2.11.3). Locke, like all of us, would want to look into the particulars of the physiology that make afterimage “impossibly dark” colors possible. Understanding of this physiology indeed enabled prediction of this previously unknown effect (Churchland 2007, Ch. 9). Locke could be pleased to see that afterimage colors have their bases in some primary qualities. These colors, like all experienced colors so far as we know, are patterns of nervous activities transforming retinal patterns of activity. Afterimage effects are artifacts of a visual system adaptive in its evolution to color perception of the world. The exclusion character of different canonical surface-reflectance profiles is present in the exclusions of the pattern of nervous activities that are color. But the particulars of this transport of exclusivity shows that Locke’s reasoning from exclusions among primary qualities to exclusions among secondary qualities was spurious. Returning to Locke’s sensualist epistemology more generally, afterimage experience of two colors everywhere in a region and my futuristic technological scenario quake Locke’s claim that we know the essence of colors just by knowing red is not green and not blue and so forth. Our knowing distinct simple ideas of qualities, secondary or primary, and our putting distinct names on these distinct ideas is insufficient to capture their exclusionary character, their essential natures as attributes of entities. Let the quake shake off that pretension of closure. It remains for Locke and everyone that “red is green” is a contradiction of experience or a contradiction of correct labels. Experience supporting “red is not green” can still support a principle of noncontradiction that recognizes there are distinct items in the world and distinct names to keep them straight. These remains are, however, not distinctive of attributes. They fall short of recognizing the radical general dependence of attributes on their entities and recognizing the full structure of noncontradiction as it applies to attributes. There is more trouble for Locke. We have seen he held we grasp the exclusivity of red and green by self-evident perception, which he called intuition. Though we become ready to grasp the general exclusivity of A and non-A by such previous sensory experiences of exclusivity, the former is self-evident and self-evident in the same way as the latter (EU 4.7.9–10). If the intuition that nothing can be at once all red and all green were self-evident in the same way as red not being green is self-evident, then fallibility of self-evidence in the proposition that nothing is at once red and green all over shows fallibility of self-evidence for the principle that nothing is at once A and non-A. My afterimage experience and my futuristic, scientifically informed scenario indicate fallibility in the “self-evidence” of the proposition that nothing is at once red and green all over. Time to check premises, for the result that contradictions are not perfectly self-evidently false is patently false. We may have also some trouble for Rand, but as suggested already, it can be skirted without significant alteration of her metaphysics. In saying a leaf cannot be at once all red and all green, she may have been relying on an Aristotelian sort of dynamical contrariety among colors themselves. Then regardless of what surface or medium may sport colors, the colors dynamically exclude each other at a given place. Her language is pretty strongly against this interpretation, for she speaks of leaf color, though that could by slim chance indicate merely that the dynamical contrariety of colors holds for all surfaces, including leaf surface. Any such line of thought about attributes can be omitted from Rand’s metaphysics. There remain more than enough riches of identity to get beyond Locke. References Ayers, M. 2011. Primary and Secondary Qualities in Locke’s Essay. In Primary and Secondary Qualities. L. Nolan, editor. Oxford. Churchland, P. 2007. Neurophilosophy at Work. Cambridge. Descartes, R. 1632. Treatise on Light. In Gaukroger 1998. ——. 1647–48. Description of the Human Body. In Gaukroger 1998. De Chene, D. 2001. Spirits & Clocks – Machine & Organism in Descartes. Cornell. Gaukroger, S., editor, 1998. Descartes – The World and Other Writings. Cambridge. Locke, J. 1690. An Essay concerning Human Understanding. A. C. Fraser, editor. 1894. Dover. Peikoff, L. 1985. Aristotle’s “Intuitive Induction.” The New Scholasticism 59(2):185–99. Rand, A. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. Random House.
  14. . Grames, I imagine that earlier text I posted concerned my controversial picture in which not only do actualities that are concrete exist apart from thought, but potentialities of concretes are concrete existents existing apart from thought. Although I still maintain that view (and still distinguish potentials of concretes from possibilities, reserving the latter to the windings of thought), my earlier presentation of it and wider comprehension of it became obsolete because in it I had continued to accept another of the Objectivist exhaustive partitions of existence, the concrete/abstraction partition, which I later saw to be wrong in that right-hand member as the fundamental supplement to the concrete. The routing of that error and its correction has been revolutionary for my project. I’m sorry I can’t share that alteration with you now and indicate some of its ramifications downstream; I should wait for the book to reveal that. .
  15. . Perhaps compatible with that. I'll keep it in mind. Anyone who can read Galt's Speech or Rand's later non-fiction writing will be able to read my book with benefit and enjoy the gripping relentless intellectual roller coaster. Technical terms are always explained in notes, technical ramifications for modern logic and so forth are consigned to notes, and all special new philosophic terms or new constrained senses of old philosophic terms are explained along the way in the main-body text.
  16. SL, There is an excellent chapter “Potentiality in Physics” by Max Kistler in the HANDBOOK. He sorts out what is and is not an occasion of metaphysical potentiality in the various modern physics concepts, classical and modern, going under such names as potentials and capacities. He discusses Heisenberg’s potentia interpretation of QM and sets out his own realist interpretation of QM enlisting metaphysical potentiality. I expect that to result in an endnote in my book, but that area will not fit into my book. I would mention to you, however, that the contingencies of human brain processing and the freedom of higher volitional neuronal control systems from external stimuli and history requires from physics and chemistry only processes in the regular classical regimes. It may in fact also enlist chaotic classical processes, but it surely does not enlist any quantum indeterminacies for its contingent nature and indeterminism, for the time scales of quantum transitions are far too short for the transitions in neuronal processes, including whole-brain molar processing. I have discussed those things in earlier works and will not be taking them up in this book. Suffice to say, I’m closer to Peirce and to Aristotle on contingency/necessity in nature and in human nature than to Rand and Leibniz. The picture of a classical-physics deterministic causal stream writ large to the complex of independent causal streams of nature (inanimate or animate) is simply false, notwithstanding the grip it got in the head of Spinoza, of Laplace, and of many intellectuals to this day. I’ve written about those things in my OBJECTIVITY essays (1990-98) “Induction on Identity” and “Volitional Synapses” and in the “Reply to Eilon.” It is old stuff to me and is for some years now available online here. Virtually everything in my book has never been seen before among my writings.
  17. . “Being is variously divided.” –Aquinas In her metaphysics, Ayn Rand had four exhaustive ways of dividing Existence. Three of the partitions are altered and then put to work in my own metaphysics that will be lain out in my book in progress. So, putting it schematically, where Rand had Partition I as A/B, I have it as A/L; her Partition II as C/D/E/F, I have as C´/M/N/O/P; her Partition III as G/H, I have as G/Q. What those three exhaustive ways of partition were in Rand’s view I’ll leave to those who want to think-Rand on it for themselves, else find in by book when it is finished and is published. Rand’s fourth partition is between the actual and the potential. I do not alter this one in my own system, although I greatly elaborate on the actual/potential relation and their relations to the possible. And this fourth partition is integrated with my other three. Rand did not write or talk much about the actual/potential distinction. She talked about it in biological application in an essay about abortion. She discussed it head-on for general metaphysics with George Walsh, Leonard Peikoff, and Allan Gotthelf in an oral seminar-exchange around 1970. That discussion is transcribed in the Appendix of ITOE on pages 282–88. The actual/potential partition comes up in the Nathaniel Branden lectures “The Basic Principles of Objectivism” as transcribed on pages 72–79, 97 of THE VISION OF AYN RAND. It is addressed also in Peikoff’s OPAR on pages 163–71. See also endnote 57 of Jason Rheins’ “Objectivist Metaphysics” in the Blackwell COMPANION TO AYN RAND. One book I’ve found helpful in tracing the rise, the variations, and the fall of the actual/potential partition in the history of philosophy, as well as occurrences of the actual/potential distinction in contemporary science is HANDBOOK OF POTENTIALITY (Engeland and Quante, editors, 2018). Others I’m learning a great deal from (in addition to Aristotle and Aquinas) are: POTENTIALITY (Vetter 2015), MERE POSSIBILITIES (Stalnaker 2012), MODALITY & EXPLANATORY REASONING (Kment 2014), EPISTEMIC MODALITY (Egan and Weatherson, editors, 2011), MODAL LOGIC AS METAPHYSICS (Williamson 2013), ARISTOTLE’S MODAL SYLLOGISTIC (Malink 2013). .
  18. Boydstun

    Freedom of speech (books)

    Welcome to OBJECTIVISM ONLINE, Terry Lewis. In addition to what is in the links you provided, a very informative history of American law in this area is The Emergence of a Free Press by Leonard Levy. That concerns freedom of ordinary citizens to express ideas, particularly ones critical of the government or governmental officials. The restrictions abridging such political freedom, in the British and American history, of concern in this book are government force, such as torture and execution, law of libel, and shutdown of printing outfits. In business firms, the stick is of a different genre, such as being fired. My own impression with business firms is that speech or other expression that distracts or detracts from the ultimate product or service of the firm is suppressed best it can be. That makes sense. In closed doors, of course, policies and projects are debated by the appropriate managers of the firm. There is a nasty little thing in this area that can go on in firms. In large firms, there can be 'soft' training of employees that can include collections of employees guided in discussions that include any sort of criticism or suggestions. These can be scams in which the information the firm is really interested in is further insight into which employees are problematic. (I'm sorry to say, but one of the saddest things I encountered in business were employees that could care less that we were producing or what we were producing or how well. They took no joy in that or in the brotherhood of coworkers dedicated to the productive purposes.) The interests of the firm are pervasive in its operations, but, of course, there is always 'politics' there, with the small p, as individuals and groups jockey for personal advantage and for vision and character of the firm.
  19. Boydstun

    What are the basic emotions?

    I don't see how the emotion of surprise is a derivative of more fundamental emotions or is a class under some other emotion. Basic Emotions
  20. Boydstun

    My Verses

    . These Words These words we read from some desire . . that someone live . . the this entire. Read is our reach, . . our grasp, our be . . life that is know . . wings that are free. Copyright Stephen C. Boydstun 2016
  21. Boydstun

    My Verses

    (To see text of these poems most clearly, click on the photo.)
  22. Test of Stochastic Collapse-of-the-Wave-Function Models Probing the Quantum Interface with the Classical and How the Q-Regime yields the C-Regime Quantum Optomechanics with Photonic Crystals
  23. Boydstun

    New Quantum Experiments

    . Indefinite Causal Order in a Quantum Switch I hope to return to the paper linked in this post, as well as to those in the previous post to specify their relations to physical principles in the everyday, non-quantum regime of our experience. I conjecture for now that the paper of the present post is talking of causality in the secondary, diluted sense which it is talked of by Kant in the Second Analogy of Experience of Critique of Pure Reason. There he tried to defend a principle that "all changes occur according to the law of the connection of cause and effect." But the primary sense of causality is not that dilute one, and anyway his proposed principle is false even in classical regimes (which is what Kant was talking about because that was all that was known of at that time). That a body is moving with no net force applied to it, hence moving in a straight line and at a constant speed, which is a rule of its change of location, does not entail some underlying cause to explain the rule. My conjecture, without having dug into the paper yet, is that the causal order it speaks of is that thin sort that Kant was grappling with and not the stronger, primary sense of cause. The primary sense of cause is one thing making some change in another thing occur. It matters for me which sort of causality is being talked about in the paper because a metaphysics should be formulated to assimilate the entire firm scientific findings of one's era, as Kant tried for in his era and Aristotle tried for in his era.
  24. Boydstun

    Beauty - Francis Kovach

    . Beauty – Francis Kovach Part III It remains to set out Kovach’s essence of esthetic experience itself and its consequences. Within those districts are esthetic intuition and esthetic judgment. Let us call the cognitive component of the essence of esthetic experience itself esthetic cognition. Clearly, esthetic cognition in literature is partly suprasensory. The meanings of words and sentences are conceptual. Esthetic cognition in literature is at least partly intellectual. “The full beauty of the poetic work is knowable only by the intellect in cooperation with some external and some internal senses” (PB 305). Similarly it goes for songs that have words and librettos of operas. Intellect is engaged in the discernment of this beauty. What of the beauty of nature, city skyline, or nonliterary art? Is suprasensory intellect, such as the conceptual faculty, required to discern their beauty? The senses can reveal the multitude or variety of parts composing the beautiful object, natural or artificial. In the view of Kovach, the directly perceivable colors, shapes, movements, and tones are principles and terms of relations between their multitudes and varieties, but they are not such relations themselves. In particular they are not the unity of proportionate components in the beautiful object arising from the relations all those directly perceivable elements have to each other and to the whole. Material beauty is a unity that is sensorily incognoscible; it requires an act of suprasensory intellect to be recognized. In further support of that conclusion, consider that not only literary arts, but nonliterary ones have a theme, an artistic idea “manifested, expressed, or symbolized by the artwork in such a way that the entire arrangement of all its parts is made according to the idea as the exemplary cause of the artistic order” (PB 306). This consideration lends some support to Kovach’s conclusion that the unity that is material beauty of art requires suprasensory intellect for its recognition. But I think the strength of this consideration’s support is only about half what my Prof. Kovach gauged for it. To bring this consideration to bear, he uses the following premise: “To recognize an order or arrangement without recognizing the principle of that order is certainly impossible” (306). I reject that premise. One can find a literary passage beautiful, state some of the reasons for that, yet realize there are some other reason(s) it is beautiful that one has yet to formulate. Similarly, one child may have become able to arrange sticks of varying length parallel each other in strict order of increasing lengths, made plain by aligning one end of each stick flush along a base line. A somewhat younger child not yet able to do that might come along and take pleasure in the final arrangement, I’m pretty sure. She could recognize the arrangement, she could respond to the order, yet not recognize the principle of the arrangement or order and not yet be able to make such an arrangement herself. Rand thought, and I concur, that we can perceive some similarities without yet understanding the bases of those similarities. Surely that is so for some beauty as well. Notice that “visual harmony is a sensory experience and is determined primarily by physiological causes” (Rand 1971, 1044). I shall grant Kovach that whenever beauty is discerned some principle of unity made of proportionate parts has been registered. Sometimes that registration cannot obtain without intellect, even if only imagistic and schematic intellect. It seems unlikely intellect is required in other cases, as in cognition of a beautiful tone. In the case of artistic beauty, I shall grant Kovach that some intellectual cognition has occurred if one has glimpsed something of the artist’s idea. I’ll take visual art minimally to be a craft of illusion (or perhaps a relative of such craft) having an idea or theme, composed of parts integral to that theme and contrived to occasion contemplation of the work as an end in itself. Beauty has been the main way of winning that aim, and if one has glimpsed something of an artwork’s idea, experience of the work’s beauty has likely engaged intellect even if only schematically and nondiscursively. Watch Gimbologna’s Mercury as you walk around him. Ignorant of who was Mercury, the meaning of the iconography in the statue, and the circumstances of the artist, what Mercury does before you and in you is lift off the earth (and your mind has been touched by a mind like yours across 400 years). This is only one idea for a sense of human body lifting off earth. Mercury’s forms and configuration had to be tuned to this idea to realize the idea, its parts proportionate in making this unity and joy. So I shall not go along with Kovach on the proposition that all material beauty is sensorily incognoscible. Some unities of proportionate parts of a beautiful scene or object might be recognized with automatic imagination and connection to prototypes, short of any schematic intellection. However, Kovach’s proposition can pass with me for all cases of artistic beauty, whether in literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, or music. Art in the intended sense is a making of embodied meaning that will require intellect to discern. The beholder may find some of the meaning beyond his ken, but should expect it right alongside his anticipation of beauty. Let Kovach now guide us further into the nature of the intellect’s portion of the esthetic experience itself. In beholding the beautiful object, the distinctive cognition is not the formation of the concept of beautiful object in general. It is not the cognition that is abstractive induction, and our cognition distinctive of the esthetic experience itself is not a coming to know how to define beauty. Rather, “by coming to know and enjoy the beauty of this object, . . . we recognize the object in its intelligibility, i.e., as a concrete unity in the concrete multitude or, simply, as a concrete” (PB 307). At the end of Part I, I contracted the Kovach view that unity or oneness of being is enough to constitute wholeness adequate for beautiful being (which for most of its occasions, we do not apprehend). The unity must be the sort constituted by proportionate parts, and there is no such thing as the proportionate in a world not faced by the organizations that are living beings. Kovach’s point that esthetic cognition is intellectual, though not abstractive, stands fine all the same. That is, it stands fine for those cases of esthetic experience that require intellect come into play, which is another contraction of Kovach’s scope, for I do not accede to the point that intellect must come into play in all cases of esthetic experience. The esthetic cognition enlisting intellect is not abstractive, neither does it consist in application of a concept to the singular case beheld. Such esthetic cognition does not consist in “this beauty.” That concept has its place in the later stage, in the judgment “This is beautiful,” a consequence of the esthetic cognition. Recognition of beauty in the esthetic experience by intellect is neither abstractive of concepts nor applicative of them. It is not conceptual, yet intellectual. Then too, the intellectual esthetic cognition is not a judgment (PB 307). In beholding the beautiful object, one is turned to contemplation of the object. In this contemplation, one’s mind “notices or discovers in its own light the integral parts with their relations to each other and the whole; and this contemplation . . . does nothing with the blissful vision of the beautiful object in a discursive manner” (PB 309). In this cognition, we know beauty. It is not speculative or scientific knowledge. It is not the esthetic knowledge of the art critic or the philosopher of beauty. It is not the technical knowledge of the artist. It is not knowing by faith or mystic reception. It is only our natural knowing of the beauty of the object, not our consequent knowing that the contemplated object is beautiful (309). The esthetic cognition enlisting intellect is “an immediate, yet full grasp by the intellect of the beauty of the contemplated object,” not a conclusion of logical inference (PB 309). That is to say, such esthetic cognition is intuitive and nondiscursive. Esthetic cognition of a graphic or plastic artwork may envelope across time as one is seeing more and more of the object. Literature and music require substantial duration of apprehension. All through such spans of apprehension, it remains that the dawn of beauty is coming immediately and not as conclusion of reasoning. One’s difficulty in giving complete reasons for the experienced beauty is not merely difficulty in verbalizing one’s reasoning. One had never adduced reasons to deliver the beauty. I hesitate to agree with Kovach on that point in the case of literature. Conceptual meanings are factors in the beauty of a poem. Here is the first verse of my poem Lifehold. No council, no say. All earth turn, night trail day. Unceasing sea tease land away to watery deep stage lay, dark, for none. It is not reasoning that delivers beauty from the meaning component. It is delivery of meaning that makes that beauty. I’ll stay with Kovach on nondiscursivity in the case of a poem and in the case of a novel as well. The beauty of fit between plot and theme or the beauty in the conclusion of a story, given what had gone before, are beauties of fitness in conceptual meaning, but it is not reasoning that has made that fitness into beauty. Hesitation ended. The intuitiveness of esthetic cognition enlisting intellect is like the intuitiveness in the grasp of first principles of being and of thought. The difference lies in the categories of object in the two kinds of intuition. Materially beautiful objects are concretes perceived or imagined. First principles are suprasensory objects of apprehension. “Sensory perception is an intuition with a sensory subject and object, . . . the grasp of self-evident principles is an intuition with suprasensory subject and object, [and] aesthetic cognition is an intuition sensory in its object and suprasensory in its subject” (PB 311). In that usage, intuition means only a natural, immediate, and non-discursive apprehension. Paul Crowther mentions that the content of art is experienced mainly in psychologically intuitive terms, without us being explicitly aware of the factors making the experience. “By ‘intuitive’ here, I do not mean anything strange or mysterious. Most of our perceptual knowledge has this character. . . . / Intuitions are explicable in principle, even though they may turn out to involve issues of great complexity which do not allow a definitive analysis” (Crowther 2007, 8). I would add that analysis without sufficient scientific information on the process is greatly impaired analysis. Esthetic knowing is per se delightful. It is delightful in itself, not on account of some further manifest end imputing the delight that is esthetic delight. The per se delightfulness of esthetic knowing is “delightful at the sensory level in terms of its object, the beautiful, but delightful at the suprasensory level in terms of its subject, the rational will as it rests in the mental possession of the intuited beauty” (PB 311). Among the cognitive consequences of the esthetic cognition and delight, is the esthetic judgment “This is beautiful.” Kovach rates this as a necessary consequence. I think it is not necessary during early childhood. For adults, it seems to be necessary at least in this way: the knowing of anything necessarily entails ability to know the correctness of the proposition “Such is so” or, in Rand’s words, “It is.” Kovach lists numerous contingent effects of esthetic experience, particularly experience of fine art, that have been claimed, combining lists of D. W. Gotshalk and Monroe Beardsley. It is among these contingent and more remote effects that one will find external purposes served by fine art, overarching purposes cognitive, appetitive, social, or moral (PB 316–17). As for the necessary appetitive effect of the esthetic experience, focally the experience of beautiful fine art, it is a desire flowing directly from the esthetic judgment and its keep in knowledge and flowing indirectly from the esthetic intuition and delight. For the moment the beholder intuits the beauty of an object, an esthetic love is born, one assuming the specific character of esthetic joy or delight possessed in that moment of beholding. The object of this desire is not only or firstly the enjoyment of the previously beheld beauty. Rather, it is the desire to face that particular beauty again (PB 315–16). So I long to again walk around Mercury in Firenze and to again stand gazing a long while into On the Terrace in Chicago. Face to face. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ References Aquinas, T. c. 1265–73. Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. A. C. Pegis, editor. 1997 [1945]. Hackett. Aristotle . c. 348–322 B.C. The Complete Works of Aristotle. J. Barnes, editor. 1984. Princeton. Binswanger, H. 1986. The Ayn Rand Lexicon. NAL. Boydstun, S. 2004. Universals and Measurement. The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (JARS) 5(2):271–305. Crowther, P. 2007. Defining Art, Creating the Canon. Oxford. Di Dio, C., Macaluso, E., and G. Rizzolatti 2007. The Golden Beauty: Brain Response to Classical and Renaissance Sculptures. PLoS ONE 2(11):e1201. Enright, J. 2001. Art: What a Concept. JARS 2(2):341–59. Hospers, J. 2001. Rand’s Aesthetics: A Personal View. JARS 2(2):311–34. Kovach, F. J. 2012 (1974). Philosophy of Beauty. Oklahoma. Rand, A. 1943. The Fountainhead. Bobbs-Merrill. ——. 1957. Atlas Shrugged. Random House. ——. 1963. The Goal of My Writing I. The Objectivist Newsletter (ON) 2(10):37–40. ——. 1965. The Psycho-Epistemology of Art. ON 4(4):15–16, 18. ——. 1966. Art and Sense of Life. The Objectivist (O) 5(Mar):33–40. ——. 1966–67. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Expanded 2nd edition. 1990. Meridian. ——. 1971. Art and Cognition I. O 10(Apr):1009–17. Smith, A. M. 2001. Alhacen’s Theory of Vision. Two volumes. American Philosophical Society. Solso, R. L. 1994. Cognition and the Visual Arts. MIT. ——. 2003. The Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious Brain. MIT. Stein, B. E., and M. A. Meredith 1993. The Merging of the Senses. MIT. Torres, L., and M. M. Kamhi 1992. Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Art V. Aristos 5(4):1–8.