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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. Group Theory and Physics

    . Neutrino-nuclei scattering now observed after theoretical prediction 43 years ago. Small Detector, Big Result Experiment Paper The 1974 Prediction
  2. . Neutral Xi-sub-b baryon has been found. About that red triangle: ∆ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Standard Model SU3 Symmetry ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Group Theory and Physics Shlomo Sternberg (Cambridge 1994) Related at Objectivism Online
  3. Easy Truth, welcome to Objectivism Online. I liked Aristotle’s bit about truth being in one way hard and in another way easy, “like the proverbial door one cannot avoid bumping into.” Your insight that if existing were itself an action, it would imply that all entities act is right, provided we keep constant the sort of action we are talking about throughout that if-then statement. That kind of action would be something more inert than when, in science or in everyday experience, we say that such-and-such thing acted in such-and-such way. Nevertheless, for those who love not only easy truth, but hard truth, the question of whether existing is itself an action, or activity, is a good one. Aristotle, Leibniz, and Lotze affirmed. Russell denied, arguing against Lotze. The case that Aristotle is an affirmer on this question is made out by Aryeh Kosman in his book The Activity of Being (2013). I’m a denier on the conception of existing as necessarily being a sort of acting. I affirm that all concrete existence is temporal, but for that, it suffices that some concrete part in the whole of concrete existence is acting in our ordinary and scientific types of acting. To be clear, I’m talking about any sort of acting that has been connected in a necessary way with existence per se in the history of philosophic reflection or is thusly connected by us in our philosophic reflection today. What we know from science (e.g. that mass is convertible to energy, that mass-energy has some dynamical relations with spacetime, and that the vacuum has energy) concerns other sorts of activity than the one that has been claimed by philosophers for existence per se, and these activities we learn in the physical sciences were conceived and discovered by means necessarily beyond philosophic reflection.
  4. My Verses

  5. 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
  6. My Verses

    . Placement Lush, sheenuous pluming-greens slip peeks of the milk-limpid moon to him, and delirious lofty fan-flares wreck quakes of tensile steel-lance cries to him. A stone stardop soft-sprays a whiff-frail light, flushing his chest. He sweeps touchless drift-shades, and flash-streaks a glancing crester, sailing breath-brimmed space, splitting, splash-sparkling on a wind-spilled pool of silver rock. Fan-flares fly to open sky. Swirl-leaves flow, flicker and toss, and whispers cease on fluffs of moss. (c. 1968) Placement rev1.mov
  7. . Who Is Ayn Rand? Ayn Rand in Her Own Words
  8. Brainworks

    . The Code for Facial Identity in the Primate Brain Doris Tsao and Le Chang --- Cell (June 2017)
  9. Brainworks

    Neural Representations of Physics Concepts "Considerable advances have been made in developing brain-based theories of semantic knowledge, such as knowledge of concrete objects or emotions. Brain-imaging research has uncovered sets of brain systems that collectively contain the neural representations of such concepts, including information about the way the human body interacts with them (in the case of objects) or their intensity (in the case of emotions; Just, Cherkassky, Aryal, & Mitchell, 2010; Kassam, Markey, Cherkassky, Loewenstein, & Just, 2013). What has not yet been investigated with this approach is the neural representation of specialized abstract knowledge acquired through academic study, such as science learning. The current article addresses this issue in the area of physics knowledge. . . ."
  10. My Verses

    . Lifehold No council, no say. All earth turn, night trail day. Unceasing sea tease land away to watery deep stage lay, dark for none. Bit ties bit, string twists string, winding time into spring. Like by like, life-clock sets, tracing past for future nets. Lights slip, waters slip slight chambers live-green for green, for green. Green-thrive, alive, earth stake, break, take; place in own pace, own bound, own round. Light-full green-sleep, keep in watchless waves of green live, green gone, dreamless. (Aug. 2001, 2016) Audio Recording - Lifehold.mov
  11. Ayn Rand: Her Life, Her Philosophy

    . When Rand first began working on We the Living in 1929, its title was to be Airtight: A Novel of Red Russia. Clearly, one of the objectives of her novel was to exhibit the moral, economic, and technological inferiority of communist Russia in comparison to America and Europe. The main writing and rewriting of the novel was in 1933–35. By 1933 America was at the depth of its greatest economic depression. There was much clamoring from business and labor leaders for “economic democracy,” for the cartelization and socialization of major industries, and for central planning of production and consumption. The picture of communist Russia that Rand was exposing in We the Living was as in the early 20’s. By the 30’s Russia was not Russia in the immediate aftermath of revolution and civil war. There were large construction projects underway over there, which were being touted by Stalin’s government to show the superiority of communism. A scene in Rand’s novel retained through her first couple of drafts to May 1934 was one in which Kira’s lover Leo mentions to her that in New York there are six million inhabitants and that they have subways. “It must be delightful—a subway” Leo remarks to Kira who adores such things (Milgram 2004, 13). That was cut from the novel by November 1935. There are additional reasons for removing the passage, but I think one was that Stalin’s Russia had completed its first underground metro, in Moscow, in May 1935. Rand’s use of the lack of subways in cities of communist Russia as illustration of its technical stagnation would not have been effective by 1935. Canal
  12. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    We should not erect statues of Andrew Jackson all along the Trail of Tears to ensure that his Indian Removal of the Five Civilized Tribes is not repeated. "Preserving history and not ignoring history" is the chant, but not the heart of the chanters and their forebears defending these public statues to leaders as leaders of the Confederacy---clinging to the old white supremacy is the core.
  13. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    At a monument at a museum downtown here at Lynchburg where we live. And then, if you actually go into the museum, you can actually learn something.
  14. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    James M, yes. It's my understanding that most of these statues across the South were built near the end of the nineteenth century, when surviving soldiers of the Confederacy were naturally dying. Support for those memorial projects then as now was in large measure continuing support for the fist of white supremacy.
  15. Psychological Visibility

    * “Because we are not accustomed to see any of the things within and do not know them, . . . [we] do not know it is that within which moves us: as if someone looking at his image and not knowing where it came from should pursue it. . . . It is truly a greater beauty . . . when you see moral sense in someone and delight in it, not looking at his face—which might be ugly—but putting aside all shape and pursuing his inner beauty. But if it does not move you yet, so that you call someone like this beautiful, you will not when you look inward at yourself be pleased with your beauty. . . . This is why discussions about these sorts of things are not for everybody; but if you have seen yourself beautiful, remember them.” Plotinus, Enneads V.8.2 – A. H. Armstrong, translator
  16. White Supremacist Protest Violence

    . I lived in Chicago during this one: http://www.jta.org/2013/06/20/news-opinion/the-telegraph/nazis-marching-through-skokie When I was a young man, I demonstrated quite a bit, particularly against taxes (April 15 at the main post office each year) and against reinstatement of the draft registration. A friend recalls I joined the counter-demonstration against the Nazis linked above. I don't actually recall that particular counter-march, but I do recall that on all such occasions all sorts of other political factions will try to join in and get mileage for their own political cause(s). In my era of demonstrations ('70s and '80s), I witnessed no violence from the pro- or counter-side. The most important thing about the events in Charlottesville this past weekend was that a young man (of a fascist, racist political persuasion) drove his car into a bunch of our citizens who were opposed to his views. And the American President stated no specific condemnation of that mayhem and murder, which was a heinous act an order of magnitude more wicked than any other violence there. The public statues of this sort ARE going to come down when all the legal process has been completed. They are today and since they were erected principally monuments proclaiming white supremacy. I live in Lynchburg, about an hour south of Charlottesville. Around here I encourage people to go over to the Museum of the Confederacy just down the road, over at Appomattox. It was completed pretty recently, it is truly informative, and is accessible to folks of all sorts of educational levels or age. The old statues, such as this one of Lee, are unnecessary for historical education and awareness. .
  17. Peikoff's Dissertation

    . Peikoff's Dissertation Prep Plato Aristotle I To be continued. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Further Observation on Rand’s Definition of Logic vis-à-vis Aristotle’s Metaphysics I had remarked in “Aristotle 1” that in her differentia (PNC) for definition of logic, Rand may have been led astray by Aristotle’s “‘all who are carrying out a demonstration refer it to this [PNC] as an ultimate belief; for this is naturally the starting-point even for all the other axioms’, which is only a few lines of Aristotle beyond the lines she quotes in the closing scene of 1957.” Her Atlas quotation spans 1005a23–b20, and she uses the Ross translation. The lines of Aristotle just now I quoted are 1005b32–34, also using Ross. Joe Sach’s 1999 translation of Metaphysics has the latter lines as: “Everyone who demonstrates traces things back to this as an ultimate opinion [PNC], since this is by nature a source even of all the other axioms.” The shift from “the starting-point” to “a source” contains a little loosening by shift from the definite article the to the indefinite article a. Had Rand been looking at the latter translation she might not have gone with PNC as the basic element of identification delimiting the aspect of identification of special focus in logic. She and her early expositors might not have attempted to portray first-figure syllogistic inference as under the auspice of PNC. Christopher Kirwan’s 1992 translation of this book (gamma) of Metaphysics goes with the definite article. Reeve’s 2016 translation of Metaphysics goes with the definite article. In a note (390), Reeve works out an example of a mathematical axiom (that proportionals alternate) that can be defended by showing its denial leads to contradiction. But again, back in logic itself, that the valid inference ‘Socrates is mortal’ from ‘All men are mortal, and Socrates is a man’ can be shown to entail contradiction if denied is no showing that PNC is more fundamental, nor equally fundamental, than the logical principle we use straightaway in that inference: identity.
  18. . The Status of the Law of Contradiction in Classical Logical Ontologism Leonard Peikoff – Ph.D. Dissertation (NYU 1964) There are no true contradictions, and there cannot be any. That is the law of contradiction, or principle of noncontradition (PNC) as I shall call it. There is nothing and can be nothing that is both A and not-A at the same time and in the same respect. The last three decades, Graham Priest and others have argued specific exceptions to the law. These exceptions seem to be such that from them no possibility of observable, concrete true contradictions can be licensed. The debate over these circumscribed candidates for true contradictions continues. I shall in this study fence them off, without disposition, from our still very wide purview of PNC. There are reasons advanced in favor of these specific alleged exceptions to PNC, I should stress. It is not argued that we should just say true or false as we please of the contradiction reached in these cases. These are not situations for conventions such as the side of the road on which to regularly drive. (See Priest, Beall, and Armour-Garb 2004.) 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 purportedly conventionalist approaches to logical truth in the first half of the twentieth century. Peikoff argues that infirmities in all the varieties of classical logical ontologism open the option of such conventionalism. Firstly, Peikoff examines the views of Plato (427­–347 B.C.E.) in their import for an explanation of our knowledge of PNC and its self-evident character and for the bases of PNC in reality. Peikoff then examines these imports in the views of Aristotle as well as in the views of the intellectual descendents of Plato and Aristotle to the time of Kant. Peikoff cites a number of passages in which Plato invokes varieties of PNC as a general principle of the character of things that must always be acknowledged in reasoning. “The same thing will not be willing to do or undergo opposites in the same part of itself, in relation to the same thing, at the same time” (Republic 436b). “Do you suppose it possible for any existing thing not to be what it is? / Heavens no, not I” (Euthydemus 293b). To citations given by Peikoff, I add Republic 534d where Plato speaks of some persons “as irrational as incommensurable lines.” The incommensurability of the length of the diagonal of a square to the length of its side had been discovered by the time of Plato, and its proof is by showing that on assumption of commensurability of those lines there follows the contradiction that whatever number of integral units composing the diagonal, the number is both even and odd. Peikoff rightly stresses that for Plato the perfect Forms are radically different from their empirical namesakes. Under the latter acquaintance, our knowing the Forms, so far as we do, is from memory of our full knowing of them in our existence before this life of perception, according to Plato: “Consider, he said, whether this is the case: we say that there is something that is equal. I do not mean a stick equal to a stick or a stone to a stone, or anything of that kind, but something else beyond all these, the Equal itself. Shall we say that exists or not? / . . . Most definitely / . . . / Whence have we acquired the knowledge of it? . . . Do not equal stones and sticks sometimes, while remaining the same, appear to one to be equal and to another to be unequal – Certainly they do. / But what of the equals themselves? Have they ever appeared unequal to you, or Equality to be Inequality? / Never, Socrates / . . . / Whenever someone, on seeing something, realizes that that which he now sees wants to be like some other reality but falls short and cannot be like that other since it is inferior, do we agree that the one who thinks this must have prior knowledge of that to which he says it is like, but differently so? / Definitely. / . . . / We must then possess knowledge of the Equal before that time when we first saw the equal objects and realized that all these objects strive to be like the Equal but are deficient in this” (Phaedra 74). Perceptibly equal things are deficient in that they can appear unequal in some occasions of perception. The Form Equal by contrast is always just that. Perceptibles “no more are than are not what we call them” (Rep. 479b). Plato does not clearly isolate PNC, but he was getting onto an ontological basis for it, so far as he did grasp PNC, by his characterizing what I should call his faux contradictions of empirical objects—faux because he fails to give square reality to situational and temporal determinates of objects and to our contexts of thought and speech about objects—as both being and not being, which is to say, deficient in being. It is fair enough to say, as Peikoff concludes, that for Plato PNC has the same standing in ontology and in our knowledge as such Forms as Being, Same, Other, Equal, and Inequal. Additional support, I notice, for that standing of PNC in Plato would obtain had Plato called out Identity as a Form, where Identity means what was said above at Euthd. 393b: an existing thing must be what it is. As later thinkers would observe, Identity in that sense entails PNC. Peikoff places Plato at the head of a sequence of philosophers who held PNC to be not learned from scratch by our experience in this world. They hold the principle to be in some sense innate and to be based on realities independent of the world we experience by the senses. In the innate-PNC sequence, Peikoff places later Stoicism (see Crivelli 2009, 393–94), Neoplatonism, early Christianity, Cambridge Platonism, and Continental Rationalism. Nearly all of these, I should note, are in a very different intellectual situation than Plato’s in that they have, directly or indirectly, Aristotle’s development of logic. The latter two certainly had as well his Posterior Analytics and Metaphysics. They had thereby Aristotle’s various formulations and accounts of PNC. They stand on the shoulders of both Plato (and Neoplatonism) and Aristotle, with innate-PNC being one of their leanings toward Plato along a line of difference with Aristotle. They had as well, unlike Plato or Aristotle, Euclid’s Elements, further mathematics beyond Euclid, and further developments in logic. By the time of Republic, Plato had evidently abandoned his view that we recognize Forms in our present life because we knew them well in a previous life free of the perceptual and variation spoilers of being (Tait 2005, 179). The recollection from a previous life is no longer mentioned. It remains for Plato that the Forms, such as are engaged in geometry, are accessed only by intellect, and not to be found in sensory experience nor abstracted from sensory experience. Peikoff was aware that some scholars had begun to question whether Plato had held on to his early express view that the realm of Forms was a world in which we had lived in a previous life and from which we now have some recollection of our previous knowing. Peikoff took Plato’s view as uniform on the recollection doctrine we saw in Phaedra. I’m persuaded to the contrary view. Peikoff rightly points out that through much of the history of philosophy the recollection view and the other-world-of-Forms view had been taken for Plato’s view, and Plato’s influence, pro or con, was under that picture. I think, however, that the separateness of a purely intelligible realm of Forms, a realm not also a prior world of life, Forms separate from empirical classes participating in them, is enough for saying Plato heads a line in which knowledge of necessary truths such as in geometry or in the rules of right reasoning (importantly PNC), even if their elicitation is by sensory experience, must be innate. That much, given Peikoff’s analysis of the significant senses of innate, is enough for sharp contrast with Aristotle and his line, and the dominance of the Good over all other Forms suffices, in a foggy way, for their normativity in the empirical world (Rep. 504d–11e, 533b-d; Philebus 20b–22e, 55d–60c, 64c–67a; Denyer 2007, 306–8). I mentioned the great difference, in Plato’s view, between the perfect Forms and their empirical namesakes. The bed one sleeps in is physically dependent on its materials and construction, but the bed constructed depends on the Idea or Form Bed, and the particular constructed bed is ontologically deficient in being when compared to the invariant full-being Bed, the Form on which the particular constructed bed’s being and name depends (Rep. 596–97). It is the rational, best part of the soul that measures and calculates, helping to rectify illusions in perceptual experience and to bring us nearer truth of being (Rep. 602c–603a). In geometry we employ diagrams, but our arguments and concern are for the Forms of these figures, not the particular constructed, material figures (Rep. 510b–511a; on the “mathematical intermediates” controversy, see Denyer 2007, 304–5; Tait 2002, 183–85). Even higher than our rational capability for geometry is our rational capability for proceeding from Forms to Form-Form relations to the first principle of all Being—and the necessary ultimate spring and harmony of all knowing—which for Plato is a Form, the Good. This purportedly highest process of knowing is called dialectic, a notch above thought even in geometry (Rep. 510b–511e; further, Denyer 2007, 306–8). Reviel Netz concludes “Greek mathematical form emerged in the period roughly corresponding to Plato’s lifetime” (1999, 311). He reports Hippocrates of Chios (not to be confused with the father of Greek medicine) as “first to leave writings on Euclidean subject matter,” say, around 440 B.C.E. (275). Hippocrates is credited with introducing the indirect method of proof into mathematics, which relies expressly on PNC. Netz concludes that “much of Greek mathematics was articulated in the Euclidean style” by around 360 B.C.E. (ibid.). Euclid’s Elements itself did not appear until about 300 B.C.E. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) was attentive to this mature Greek mathematics, and he put it to some use in inference to and justification of the first principle that is PNC. Plato in his discussions of magnitudes and quantity (counts) stays rather distant from the systematization and rigor being given to mathematics in his day. Plato does make Form-hay from the circumstance that the idealized determinateness and exactitude supposed in geometry makes way for such knowledge as the relationships established in the Pythagorean Theorem (Meno 85–86), relationships that cannot be established so definitively by simply measuring sides of sensible triangles and squares, but require, rather, the operation of intellect on its own. Peikoff’s Platonic line of logical ontologists hold PNC to be innate knowledge, not learned from scratch from experience of the sensible world. Peikoff conceives this line to also consist in holding that essences provide what regularity there is in sensible nature. In Phaedo Plato has Socrates say: “I am speaking of all things such as Size, Health, Strength and, in a word, the reality of all other things, that which each of them essentially is” (65d). In this dialogue, Plato invokes a notion of the contrary, within which can be read the contradictory, when he has Socrates invoke the principles (i) what one is explaining cannot have explanations giving the thing to be explained contrary qualities and (ii) an explanation must not itself consist in incompatible kinds of things (97a–b, 101a–b). Here Plato argues that the only adequate explanations are explanations by the regulative essences of things (e.g. the fineness of fine things), or we might also say, by the regulative Forms (e.g. the Fine) in which sensible and mathematical things participate, directly or indirectly (95e–102b; see Politus 2010.) I notice the implication in these parts of Phaedo that PNC, as within the prohibition of incompatibilities in explanations or in things explained, is a principle whose ultimate ground must lie in the realm of essence, or Form, not in the realm of the sensible world, lest explanation fall into the swamp of the sensible. Peikoff observes that in Plato’s view the eternal, necessary essences, or Forms, do not require mind for their existence, but for the Neoplatonists and from Augustine to Cudworth and Leibniz, these essences and all necessary truths, such as PNC, do require mind for their existence (cf. Peikoff 2012, 24–25). In the line of logical ontologism extending from Plato, necessary truths exist in the eternal mind of God, they are prescriptive for the created empirical world, and they hold in the nature of that world. Their ultimate source and residence is the divine mind. Peikoff draws out four arguments advanced in the Platonic line for why PNC cannot be learned from sensory experience. One of them is that PNC is a necessary truth. The principle states not only that there are no true contradictions, but that there cannot possibly be any true contradictions. In the Platonic line, let me add, such a necessity could no more be known merely from empirical induction than could be known in that way the necessary truth that any triangle in the Euclidean plane must have angles summing to exactly two right angles. These philosophers and theologians take such necessity to flow from the divine eternal mind, the permanent residence of such eternal, necessary truths. I observe, however, that their view that physical existence per se and in the whole of it is contingent because there are contingent things within this our world is an invalid inference. I say that ‘existence exists’ can be a necessity at least partly the ultimate base and reference of the truth and necessity of any necessary truths. On this corrective, Peikoff had things to say in his essay “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy” in The Objectivist three years after completion of his dissertation (also Peikoff 2012, 12; further, Franklin 2014, 67–81). I should add that for Plato, the necessity of necessary truths does not descend from a divine mind, lord of existence, mathematical and empirical, but from the Good, lord of all Forms and their traces in our reasoning on the mathematical and physical world. The Good is the Form dependent on no others. It is self-sufficient and is self-evident in a general way to human reason. It is the necessity that is source of all orderly necessity (Rep. 505c, 508d–509a, 511b–d; Philebus 20d, 60c, 64b–65a; further, Demos 1939, 35, 106, 307, 335). In my view, from Rand, all good is set in the highly contingent organization that is life. Then, I add, since the good does not have the ontological standing given it in Plato’s view, it cannot of itself (only a necessary-for) be the base of the sort of necessity had in necessary truths, truths such as the principle that, necessarily, there are no true contradictions. To be continued. References Charles, D., editor, 2010. Definition in Greek Philosophy. Oxford. Crivelli, P. 2010. The Stoics on Definition. In Charles 2010. Demos, R. 1939. The Philosophy of Plato. Scribners. Denyer, N. 2007. Sun and Line: The Role of the Good. In The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic. G. R. F. Ferrari, editor. Cambridge. Franklin, J. 2014. An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics. Palgrave Macmillan. Netz, R. 1999. The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics. Cambridge. Peikoff, L. 1967. The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. In Ayn Rand: Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Expanded 2nd edition. 1990. Meridian. ——. 2012. The DIM Hypothesis. New American Library. Plato [d. 347 B.C.E.] 1997. Plato – Complete Works. J. M. Cooper, editor. Hackett. Politus, Y. 2010. Explanation and Essence in Plato’s Phaedo. In Charles 2010. Priest, G., Beall, J. C., and B. Armour-Garb, editors, 2004. The Law of Non-Contradiction. Oxford. Tait, W. 1986. Plato’s Second-Best Method. In Tait 2005. ——. 2002. Noēsis: Plato on Exact Science. In Tait 2005. ——. 2005. The Provenance of Reason. Oxford. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My remarks in this post concerned issues undertaken by Peikoff 1964 (the first two of his five chapters) on Platonist perspectives on the epistemological and the ontological standing of PNC. My next post will concern Peikoff’s third and fourth chapters, on Aristotelian perspectives on those standings. In a third post, I’ll address Peikoff’s fifth chapter, on the demise of classical logical ontologism and some alternatives to it that were adopted.
  19. . Budd, I’m pretty sure Rand would have been fine with that 1888 text on deduction by Stock I linked, and that is formal logic. Peirce reviewed that text shortly after its appearance, and complained it made errors on logic of relations, and complained it did not introduce the modern developments of Venn and of what Peirce termed Symbolic Logic. Self-evidence arises in the older, more limited vista of Stock, but as well in the more modern developments. Peirce would not have wanted to call it self-evidence, which he took in close proximity to intuition, which he detested. The self-evident things in logic, Peirce would have simple called facts, necessary facts. A rose by any other name. . . . Whether Rand ever got into learning the contemporary logic, such as was presented in Irving Copi’s text Symbolic Logic (1954) or Quine’s Methods of Logic (1950), I don’t know, but I’d be surprised if she did. She’d have been familiar with material covered in the first-course texts, such as Copi’s Introduction to Logic, of course. She listened to what Leonard Peikoff had learned and concluded on modern logic, to be sure. In my notes to his 1976 lecture course The Philosophy of Objectivism, in the Q&A of Lecture 4, I jotted a reply evidently to some sort of question about modern logic: “Rand’s math/concepts antithesis of Russell <--severs both from reality // Symbolic logic rejected out of hand---arbitrary assumptions, etc.” <--For whatever indication my cryptic notes might contain. (Rand or Peikoff aside, logical relations between Rand’s conceptions of logic and Aristotle’s or Kant’s or contemporary conceptions of logic is topic for any informed intelligence, not only for the reflections of Rand or of Peikoff on those relations.) After the root post linked below, the follow-on posts are in reverse-chron. http://www.solopassion.com/node/6043 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS - I notice now in this link that Fred Seddon's question to me eight years ago included not only the name Peikoff, but the name Veatch. Henry Veatch's book Intentional Logic was a text Peikoff relied on in his Ph.D. dissertation (1964). So Veatch's outlook there might be of a feather with Peikoff those decades ago concerning "symbolic logic." .
  20. . William, this logic text by Stock in 1888 uses self-evident for the principle discussed at this linked page. It nicely mentions Aristotle’s first-figure syllogisms as those known as perfect, the self-evident ones upon which (with some other self-evident logical principles) Aristotle had argued the validity of the syllogisms of the other figures. Stock was an Oxford teacher of logic. At the beginning of the book, Stock had described the three laws of thought also as self-evident. His conception of the identity law among those three is very slender, though rightly conceived as necessary and universal. Were one to enrich the identity law along the lines of Rand’s enrichment, I think it would still pass for self-evident and indeed already encompass the principle known as nota notae discussed at the page of this link. All the same, I don’t think nota notae would be inheriting its self-evidence from that more Randian law of identity. Self-evidence stands on each of its occasions without having had self-evidence transmitted to it from some other occasion of self-evidence. I don’t care for Audi’s grandparents-example in his point 4. There are things we prove are necessarily so, such as Lowenheim’s Theorem in logic or the Pythagorean Theorem in geometry, and that does not necessarily make those propositions self-evident, at least not in an unstrained sense of the self-evident. That is not to say that no propositions that are conclusions of a proof are not also self-evident. Some are and some are not. I can construct a proof to the conclusion “Nothing comes from nothing,” although that proposition were already self-evidently true to anyone who soundly grasped its statement. Discussion of self-evidence of principles in logic, by Frege and by our contemporaries Tyler Burge or Penelope Maddy stays close to logic, recognizing that logic will apply to the actual world. But these proceed without (making explicit) the broad background thesis of Rand’s that “logic rests on the axiom that existence exists,” that two-word proposition being a report of a standing manifest fact, a truth known self-evidently by perception. .
  21. . William, I’m not sure Audi sticks to that list of conditions in all his works, and anyway, the list circumscribes a more narrow concept than the usual. In his The Architecture of Reason, he allows that certain moral principles could be self-evident or at least, more weakly, a priori. Right principles present to us in this way would seem to be at least about the perceptual level and, frankly, in the thick of it. That goes as counter only to his item 2 on the list. The usual definition of the self-evident is the manifestly true requiring no proof. This is still a good place for philosophers to start and not forget. I doubt one would be laughed out of the academy if one did not confine one’s philosophic uses of the term to the constraints Audi was formulating for it. “Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident” (ITOE 5; similarly, early Heidegger). A paragraph from my book in progress: Sextus, Peirce, and Moritz Schlick argued against self-evidence of our cognitive bases.* They erred in supposing self-evidence in cognition is spoiled by any obscure or fallible aspect and by connection of any purported self-evident cognition to other cognition. To the contrary: In one’s present perception is this text. That one perceives those marks in this read, perceptually knowing their existence and character, is self-evident. They are not only perceived as present, but as having the particular character they have. Additionally, they are not only perceived as present, but can then be reflected as self-evident. Their status as self-evident does not require they have no obscure or fallible aspect and have no connections with other cognitions, preceding, overlapping, or subsequent. *Sextus c.200b, I, 151; Peirce 1868b, 19; Schlick 1925, §19; see also Maddy 2011, 118–37; cf. Binswanger 2014, 382. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS Rand rightly held that it is incorrect to try to prove the existence of the external, perceived world.* The world’s existence is self-evident in perception. The existence of character and spatiality and action is self-evident in perception. *Rand 1961b, 28; cf. Gilson 1937, 146–47, 152–55; Heidegger 1953, 202–7/194–200. (1961b is For the New Intellectual, paperback.)
  22. . Of related interest: The Voices Within -- The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves Charles Fernyhough
  23. October 2013 Identity, Inner Life and Psychological Change Allan Blumenthal, MD -S
  24. Ayn Rand: Her Life, Her Philosophy

    . The transcription of Rand’s epistemology seminars (1969–71) included in the second edition of ITOE, contain some deep exchanges between Rand and Gotthelf (Prof. B ) and Peikoff (Prof. E). Outside those, the most sustained dialogues (in the transcription) are the penetrating exchanges between Rand and John O. Nelson (Prof. D).* Prof. Nelson had contributed an article on matters political to Rand’s The Objectivist in 1969. A note listing therewith some glimpse of Nelson’s academic stature included: “Professor Nelson agrees with the basic principles of Objectivism in ethics and politics.” That expresses perhaps too much concord even in those areas, but anyway, that statement rightly indicated that Nelson was of another perspective in areas of theoretical philosophy. Jeff Broome, an acquaintance of John O. Nelson (1917–2005), writes in the Preface to a couple of Nelson studies on Hume: “It wasn’t just Wittgenstein who was impressed by John’s penetrating philosophical mind. Ayn Rand would also become friends with John and Edna, inviting them to her Manhatten apartment for weekend exchanges of philosophical ideas. John was impressed with the depth of Ayn’s intellect, especially her ability to talk in depth about nearly countless topics and ideas. John proved her equal in conversations, a rarity among Rand’s inner circle of close friends.” (2010)
  25. Objectivism in Academia

    . The Political Economy of Public Debt - Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence Richard M. Salsman (2017)