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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. My Verses

  2. 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
  3. My Verses

  4. My Verses

    . Stream Only this racing stream insisting, existing its bed, course, and cargo, its downward and inward, its wide, wide tomorrow, its lastly vast salt sea and this bright smiling we.
  5. My Verses

    . Vast Holdings By with and is, shell had washed, time been ribbed to ends. From chain clasped fast, shore-trophy depends, emblems all world, stays we echoes.
  6. My Verses

    . Would Be Would be the rise to wonder, this click-shut night. To those trains’ risen rumbles, this silk tie tight. Would be to traction motor, copper, shellac. To axles’ bright ten-thousandths, castings in stack. Would be for tons two hundred, high cranes glide free. To locomotive thunder, we who would be.
  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. Tests of General Relativity

    . Pulsar and Companions Will Put GENERAL RELATIVITY to the Test - Clifford Will (1/6/14) Science News - 2/3/18 - “The complex orbital dance of the three former stars conforms to a rule known as the strong equivalence principle, researchers reported January 10. That agreement limits theories predicting Einstein’s general theory of relativity should fail at some level.” That is, this measurement puts a tighter constraint on theories unifying quantum field theory with general relativity by supposing the strong equivalence principle does not hold at sufficiently small scales. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Confrontation between GENERAL RELATIVITY and Experiment - Clifford Will (3/28/14)
  9. Objectivism in Academia

    . This book is to issue in April, and it may well be of interest to some readers here: The Inheritance of Wealth - Justice, Equality, and the Right to Bequeath Daniel Halliday (OUP)
  10. . The installments (in the other thread “Peikoff’s Dissertation”) of my representation of and commentary on Peikoff’s dissertation that I have completed and posted are: Plato – 3/17/17 Aristotle I – 5/14/17 Aristotle II – 11/2/17 Due to a stretch of writing my book, in some Aristotle areas, I’ve only just now resumed studies required for my next installment on Peikoff’s dissertation. In this continuation, I want to convey and assess Peikoff’s account of Kant’s contribution to the transition to conventionality in philosophy of PNC. I hope to touch on not only conventionalist theories to the time of Peikoff’s dissertation, but on those flourishing today and their historical setting. I plan to add a coda that is an inventory of the elements and the cited works in Peikoff’s dissertation that plainly contributed to things addressed in the early ’60’s in the Rand/Branden journals, points in Rand’s epistemology (1966–67), and points, with morphisms, in Peikoff’s own writings from his “Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy” (1967) to The DIM Hypothesis (2012). Here is the Table of Contents for Peikoff’s dissertation. The three installments I mentioned of my series concerned the first 4 chapters of the dissertation. I’ll include here the detail Contents for the remaining, final chapter. The Status of the Law of Contradiction in Classical Logical Ontologism Table of Contents I. Platonism: The Law’s Epistemological Status II. Platonism: The Law’s Ontological Status III. Aristotelianism: The Law’s Epistemological Status IV. Aristotelianism: The Law’s Ontological Status V. The Demise of Logical Ontologism —Some central features of non-ontologism in logic, whether Kantian or conventionalist. —Kantianism as intermediate between ontologism and conventionalism; some difficulties it has faced in the attempt to sustain such a position. —Some problems for the theory of the Law of Contradiction suggested by the later Platonist view of essences as Divine thoughts. —How the attempt to resolve such problems pointed toward a Kantian account of the Law; some signs of this in Cudworth. —Some difficulties in the Aristotelian Form-Matter ontology; the effects of Locke’s rejection of it on his ability to defend logical ontologism. —Suggestions of conventionalism in Locke; the relation between these and his rejection of realism in the theory of universals. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I’d like to indicate here the book with which I resume my studies for treatment of the issues in the remainder of Peikoff’s dissertation. The summary information here about this book is an addition to all my report on Kant’s ideas on logic in earlier posts in the present thread “Peikoff’s Dissertation – Prep.” Kant and Aristotle – Epistemology, Logic, and Method Marco Sgarbi (2016) From the back cover: “Kant and Aristotle reassesses the prevailing understanding of Kant as an anti-Aristotelian philosopher. Taking epistemology, logic, and methodology to be the key disciplines through which Kant’s transcendental philosophy stood as an independent form of philosophy, Marco Sgarbi shows that Kant drew important elements of his logic and metaphysical doctrines from Aristotelian ideas that were absent in other philosophical traditions, such as the distinction of matter and form of knowledge, the division of transcendental logic into analytic and dialectic, the theory of categories and schema, and the methodological issues of the architectonic. Drawing from unpublished documents including lectures, catalogues, academic programs, and the Aristotelian-Scholastic handbooks that were officially adopted at Königsberg University where Kant taught, Sgarbi further demonstrates the historical and philosophical importance of Aristotle and Aristotelianism to these disciplines from the late sixteenth century to the first half of the eighteenth century.” The chapters of this book are 1. FACULTATIVE LOGIC / 2. TRANSCENDENTAL LOGIC / 3. METHODOLOGY Here are excerpts from the author’s prospectus for 1 and 2: Chapter 1 – “I contextualize Kant’s facultative logic within the Aristotelian tradition. Kant denies that facultative logic can be based on the philosophical attempts of John Locke and Nicolas Malebranche, who were more concerned with psychology or metaphysics. . . . I examine facultative logic in Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition with particular reference to Zabarella and the rise of gnostology [science concerning the mental habit that has to do with the cognizable as cognizable, i.e, the mode of knowing the object in general] and noology [study of the mind’s operation of forming subject-predicate propositions and study of the principles and axioms issuing from such propositions]. . . . I show that Kant can be considered as a part of this philosophical Aristotelian tradition from the time of his early writings up to the Critique of Pure Reason. . . . I examine Kant’s relation to the so-called discipline of physiology, characterizing his Kantian categories as a habit of the mind characteristic of the Aristotelian tradition. . . . Characterize the origin of Kant’s notion of pure concepts of understanding as acquired concepts. I compare Kant’s ideas with those of Locke and Leibniz on the polemic against innatism . . . .” Chapter 2 – “Deals with two fundamental concepts of Kantian epistemology, namely the matter and form of knowledge, and outlines their Aristotelian origin. . . . Philosophical significance of this conception in Kant’s precritical philosophy and in the transcendental aesthetic and logic of his later years. . . . Kant’s appropriation of the Aristotelian syllogism and doctrine of categories. . . . I suggest that Kant’s reawakening from a dogmatic slumber is connected with his rediscovery of Aristotelian categories. Once having established the nature of the categories, I argue that Kant’s conception of categories and schema comes from the nominalistic interpretation of categories elaborated by Königsberg Aristotelianism, and in particular by Rabe [Paul Rabe, c.1700]. . . . I emphasize the epistemological value of analytic and dialectic for Aristotle. Then I suggest the hypothesis that, in the slipstream of the Königsberg Aristotelian tradition, the analytic of concepts corresponds to gnostology, while the analytic of principles corresponds to noology. More specifically, I demonstrate Rabe’s influence on Kant’s conception of analytic and dialectic in conceiving the former as the logic of concepts and principles and the latter as the logic of probability, or logic of illusion.” . . “In the conclusion, I show how the failure of the precritical logical and metaphysical projects prompted Kant to develop the Critique of Pure Reason. I then summarize briefly the result of my research, thereby providing justification for my thesis that Kant’s work must be included within the Aristotelian tradition.” –M. Sgarbi
  11. . 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.
  12. Objectivism in Academia

    . 23 February 2018, 7-10pm, APA Central, Palmer House, Chicago American Association for the Philosophic Study of Society Topic: Arguments For and Against Liberalism Chair: Shawn Klein (Arizona State University) Speaker: Stephen Hicks (Rockford University) Commentators: Jonathan Anomaly (University of Arizona) / Asborn Melkevik (Harvard University) / Kevin Vallier (Bowling Green State University) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Of related interest at the same APA Meeting: The Promise of Lockean Tacit Consent Theory Jeff Carroll (University of Virginia) ABSTRACT - John Locke is strongly committed to both voluntarism and a consent theory of political obligation. John Simmons has defended both Locke’s voluntarism and Locke’s consent theory of political obligation as being true. Obviously, there have been very few express consenters. This means that Locke’s concept of tacit consent has to do most of the heavy lifting in generating political obligation. Simmons argues that it is not sufficiently strong. The implication is philosophical anarchism. I believe that tacit consent has spent more time in the gym than Simmons. Though mere residence does not qualify as tacitly consenting, a not too distant scenario in which individuals are presented the choice to “emigrate or stay and consent” and they opt to stay, I believe, would. By responding to Simmons’s critique of “emigrate or stay and consent” choice situations, I provide a Lockean path out of philosophical anarchism. A Conventionalist Account of “Natural” Rights Tristan Rogers (University of Arizona) ABSTRACT - Hume observes in the Treatise that the “rules, by which properties, rights, and obligations are determin’d, have in them no marks of a natural origin, but many of artifice and contrivance” (p. 528). Consequently, when we talk of property as a natural right, it is difficult to do so without noticing things like easements, liabilities, zoning, licensing, etc. Call that the conventionalist challenge. Eric Mack, in a series of papers, attempts to mitigate the force of the conventionalist challenge in defending what he calls a natural right of property (Mack, “The Natural Right of Property,” 2010). This paper argues that Mack’s natural rights view does not successfully meet the conventionalist challenge, and further, that a suitably modified Humean conventionalist account can explain the conviction that we have rights without appealing to natural rights.
  13. My Verses

  14. A Complex Standard of Value

    . MiSw, one’s life required that one have parents and adults who nurtured one. It required that others became parents and nurtured in order for one now to have potential producers with whom to trade or to be friends or lovers. That an enormous population will be sustained without one’s participation in reproduction and raising children is a highly secure proposition. Some have thought, however, that just as we have a psychological need and rewards for making things, arising from our human way of survival, we have also a psychological need and rewards for participating in generating and nurturing children, arising also from our biological nature. By the time I finished high school, I knew that I did not want to have children. (I did not yet know I was gay or anyway that I had that potential.) I wanted to devote myself to my brain-children. And of course plenty of others were taking care of making and nurturing babies. However, I do have a concern and hope for the continuation of human kind beyond me and all my loved ones. Perhaps that is an outgrowth of biological constitution. It is a personal, individual concern, although clearly others share it, forming altogether a collective aim. Although, different people assess differently what are the threats to human continuation out beyond say the grandchildren-generation. So you find me stressing we do all we can against nuclear-weapons proliferation, but others would stress our actions for those future generations against other perceived threats. I did end up with a family after all, as in 1996 I met my present husband and became part of his family. He had two sons and soon a grandson. It has been a marvelous thing about our life together. A view contrasting yours and Rand’s concerning the nature of life and human life, with implications for right morality (from an old paper of mine): ~~~~ For Guyau the deepest laws of life are that it is nutritive and self-preservative and that it is fecundity (S 70, 75, 79, 209–10). Beyond nutrition and appropriation necessary for self-maintenance, there may accumulate superabundance capable of the expansion of life that is reproduction. This is a good for humans, as it is for all other life forms. Generation is an elevated intensity of life. Without sexual reproduction, the good that is man, with family and society, would not exist (82–83). “Individual life is expansive for others because it is fruitful, and it is fruitful by the very reason that it is life” (209–10). [S – A Sketch of Morality without Obligation or Sanction – Jean Guyau 1885] ~~~~ Guyau 1 Guyau 2 (Scroll down past References to the Appendix)
  15. A Complex Standard of Value

    . MisterSwig, isn’t it incomplete to think of the biological standard to be only health over sickness and not also reproduction of the species over its demise with the present generation? I’m serious on that. As far as basics of humans goes, isn’t reproduction (and nurturing children) part of them?
  16. My Verses

  17. My Verses

  18. The Law of Identity

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -- Process Philosophy --Johanna Seibt (2017) The Activity of Being --Aryeh Kosman (2013) / From the publisher: “For Aristotle, to ask “what something is” is to inquire into a specific mode of its being, something ordinarily regarded as its “substance.” But to understand substance, we need the concept of energeia―a Greek term usually translated as “actuality.” In a move of far-reaching consequence, Kosman explains that the correct translation of energeia is not “actuality” but “activity.” We have subtly misunderstood the Metaphysics on this crucial point, says Kosman. Aristotle conceives of substance as a kind of dynamic activity, not some inert quality. Substance is something actively being what it is.” / This book from Kosman is not an argument over what is true in the matter, only over what Aristotle thought true in the matter. As for true in the matter, I think Aristotle (under this interpretation of him) was wrong, although one doesn’t have to go back to Plato or Parmenides and pals to get things right. And I take Rand as by her philosophy to agree with me in all that. I’d like to add to the other thought in this thread that on the mere face of ‘A is A’ one can say ‘change is change’ even while ignoring ties of change to stasis or to other categories of existence, such as entity (in the Randian sense of that term). But one is then saying much less than one who is saying ‘change is change’ while keeping those ties in mind. At Metaphysics 1030a25–27, Aristotle allows ‘nonbeing is nonbeing’. But he takes such a statement to say far less than were one to say ‘substance is substance’. Those of us who, like Rand, take ‘A is A’ to be making an assertion about existence of A, take A to have ties to other things (counting its own parts as one type of other thing), to have a nature, to have identity (in Rand’s broader sense of the term). For us, saying ‘nonexistence is nonexistence’ is only a sameness of words, a metaphysical zero.
  19. Objectivism in Academia

    More recently: ASU - An Advanced Guide --Lester Hunt (2015)
  20. Aristotle and the science

    It has seemed to me that the sort of satisfaction in understanding that Aristotle found by casting natural phenomena and their causes in the form of a certain sort of syllogism is a faint relative of what now comes to us in some of our uses of mathematics in science today. We’ve satisfaction in deep understanding through mathematical structure instanced in physical phenomena. On thought about this modern satisfaction, I link to Michael Strevens’ paper The Mathematical Route to Causal Understanding. It will be a chapter in a book to appear summer of 2018 – Explanation beyond Causation (Oxford, Reutlinger and Saatsi, editors). I’ve a difference with Streven’s picture here in that I’d emphasize that the physically realized mathematics coincides with synthetic mathematical structure which always underlies analytic mathematical representation (as Euclid’s geometry underlies Descartes’ analytic geometry). Rand did not have this vocabulary for it, but she had this my idea in her conception of mathematical structure in our concepts and in the world which they represent. The issue of the nature of mathematical structure in modern scientific explanation has its related counterpart in (work yet to be accomplished on) mathematical structure in essential characteristics in concepts framed in Rand’s measurement-omission way.
  21. Aristotle and the science

    Favored. Theodoric's advance in theory of the rainbow was accomplished within an Aristotelian outlook on science and metaphysics: thus, thus. Also, prior to the Darwinian revolution, great advances were made in biology in the eighteenth and nineteenth century under the Aristotelian (even if with Kantian color) imputation of final causes to all biological nature. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS From the seven minutes of ground view of launch of Apollo 11: “That we had seen a demonstration of man at his best, no one could doubt—this was the cause of the event’s attraction and of the stunned, numbed state in which it left us. And no one could doubt that we had seen an achievement of man in his capacity as a rational being—an achievement of reason, of logic, of mathematics, of total dedication to the absolutism of reality.” –AR Aristotle contributed a tremendous boost on that logic part and this-world focus part. Another big boost from the ancients was the boost we received from Euclid in geometry. Both were tools of Newton and tools for our own scientific advances today.
  22. Aristotle and the science

    Giovanni, Of the friction points you list, I think the worst is under your fifth. The Aristotelian ideas that heavier things fall faster than lighter things and that it is fundamental to bodies of the sublunary region that they come to rest required seriously new thinking caps to overcome. Another barrier to overcome was the overextended role of final (and formal) causality Aristotle had conceived. Another was Aristotle’s (inconstant) nay-saying on the role of mathematics in natural science. Another was his method of science, although in that there was some continuity with early moderns, at least in the organization of disciplines deserving the name science, at least in the more snobbish restrictions of that term. On that last, there is a nice paper available here: The Classical Model of Science: A Millennia-Old Model of Scientific Rationality --De Jong and Betti 2010
  23. Sorry, but in that second one, I'd transcribed the first line incorrectly, so I deleted that post, and here it is corrected: This is my main home library. I shot the photo from the adjoining glassed-in terrace, which is why the photo also shows an overlay image of the outdoors I see from my desk.
  24. . Thanks for the topic and the example, William. Here are some related ruminations. Learning is defined in my 1976 AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY, as a noun, as “acquired wisdom, knowledge, or skill” and, as a verb, as “gaining knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of through experience or study.” In PRINCIPLES OF NEURAL SCIENCE (2013, 5th edition, Kandel et al., editors), we have, consistently with the dictionary, but going beyond it: “Learning refers to a change in behavior that results from acquiring knowledge about the world, and memory is the process by which that knowledge is encoded, stored, and later retrieved.” (1441) In this encyclopedic authoritative reference, the types of memory and what is known of their neural bases is presented. There is a section “Long-Term Memory Can Be Classified as Explicit or Implicit.” Implicit memory sections following that one often sound like stolen-concept talk. “Implicit memory stores forms of information acquired without conscious effort and which guide behavior unconsciously. Priming is a type of implicit memory . . . . Two types of priming have been proposed [conceptual priming and perceptual priming, with much evidence]” (1452) Implicit memory is detailed further throughout the next Chapter titled “Cellular Mechanisms of Implicit Memory Storage and the Biological Basis of Individuality.” On the face of it, there appears to be a stolen concept fallacy in that these tremendous advances are talked of as implicit memory when one is reporting physical and chemical changes in neurons in the nervous systems of animals not possessing consciousness. Memory would seem to be something that entails consciousness in our first conception of memory, yet today we talk of memory in such a thing as a snail. (Rand assumed that even insects have consciousness, but that is incorrect by our present lights, and I set it aside.) In the April 1968 issue of THE OBJECTIVIST the brain researcher Robert Efron wrote: “The concept ‘memory’ depends upon and presupposes the concept of consciousness, cannot be formed or grasped in the absence of this concept and represents, within wider or narrower limits, a specific type or state of conscious activity.” (This paper was reprinted, with adaptations, from one Dr. Efron had presented at a conference in philosophy of science the preceding year at Univ. of Pitt.) Efron argued that in the preceding 50 years, experimental psychologists had destroyed the concept of memory. Similarly for the concept of learning. Many of the instances of talk of memory at the time of his paper remain junk talk today, or rather, junk if taken literally. However, since that time, it looks to me that the extensions of the concept of memory down into the neural processes of even animals not featuring any consciousness is not really a stolen concept. The loop back to the concept with consciousness in it is very long, setting our conscious brain within its developmental story, evolutionary story, and dependencies of specific conscious processes on specific unconscious processes, all among the neuronal activities. It seems to me this best, fullest story can be told without slipping into eliminative reductionism, and is not a stolen-concept fallacy regarding memory or learning.