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Mossoff on Intellectual Property Rights

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6 hours ago, New Buddha said:

From the AR Lexicon:  Logical Positivism

Logical Positivism declares that “reality,” “identity,” “existence,” “mind” are meaningless terms, that man can be certain of nothing but the sensory perceptions of the immediate moment . . . it declares that the meaning of the proposition: “Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo” is your walk to the library where you read it in a book.

Add "innovative" and "obvious" to Rand's list above.

Are "innovative" and "obvious" also a meaningless terms?  The anti-IP argument is that because "innovation" and "obvious" are not always perceptually "apples and oranges" they can only ever be Subjective, and not Objective.  Men, in politics and law, are incapable of reaching an Objective (i.e. non concrete-bound/non perceptual-bound) definition of "innovative" or "obvious".

Conceptual level thought is non-objective, per the anti-IP position.  Thus: Logical Positivism and Verificationism.

Nope!

The post you're "responding" to -- the quote you've pulled from it -- are my quibble that I am not certain that the concept of "innovation" (apart from whatever application we might derive from this concept for IP law) has any requirement that something must be judged "non-obvious" in order to be "innovative." For instance, Dictionary.com has "innovate" as "to introduce something new; make changes in anything established." That seems more in-line with my own thoughts re: "innovative," yet it makes no mention of "obviousness."

I am, of course, not saying that "reality," "identity," "existence," "mind" (nor "innovative," nor even "obvious") are meaningless terms, nor that man can be certain of nothing but the sensory perceptions of the immediate moment. I am not saying that "conceptual level thought is non-objective," and so forth. It is almost a truism at this point that whatever you believe me to be saying (insofar as you actually "believe" any of the things you write) is not at all what I'm saying; one would nearly be able to learn my thoughts on this subject by listening to you try to describe them, and then taking the opposite as true.

But yes, I have found that what seems "obvious" to one man may not be so to another. For instance, you make many errors over many posts which strike me as "obvious" -- errors I would not expect of any thinking, rational, honest man -- but I note that you continue to struggle with them. You continue to misunderstand "the anti-IP position" so much that it is obvious that you do not know what you're talking about. Obviously, you don't understand any part of this debate, including the Objectivist "pro-IP position." Obviously you do not care to understand these things.

Well, these things are obvious to me, at least.

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17 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

You might start by trying to imagine that you are the cheese sandwich?

 

That's not an answer.

 

You indicated in that post that you were trying to identify exactly where our disconnect lies. Your comments about the non-perceptual nature of certain initiations of force (such as fraud or embezzlement) seem to imply that you think that might be what this comes down to. I see a certain plausibility to that line of reasoning; maybe this is about the way we conceive of "force". I'd like to find out.

 

What is an initiation of force?

 

14 hours ago, New Buddha said:

 

From the AR Lexicon:  Logical Positivism

Logical Positivism declares that “reality,” “identity,” “existence,” “mind” are meaningless terms, that man can be certain of nothing but the sensory perceptions of the immediate moment . . . it declares that the meaning of the proposition: “Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo” is your walk to the library where you read it in a book.

Add "innovative" and "obvious" to Rand's list above.

Are "innovative" and "obvious" also a meaningless terms?  The anti-IP argument is that because "innovation" and "obvious" are not always perceptually "apples and oranges" they can only ever be Subjective, and not Objective.  Men, in politics and law, are incapable of reaching an Objective (i.e. non concrete-bound/non perceptual-bound) definition of "innovative" or "obvious".

Conceptual level thought is non-objective, per the anti-IP position.  Thus: Logical Positivism and Verificationism.

 

Yes; that would describe part of my own reasoning against IP. I think the terms themselves are inherently subjective.

Not all terms (which would be logical positivism) but "innovative" and "obvious", certainly.

 

However, if you know some objective criteria by which to distinguish these from each other (to the same standards of objectivity that we require for the prosecution of murder or theft) then I'm all ears.

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6 hours ago, DonAthos said:

But yes, I have found that what seems "obvious" to one man may not be so to another. For instance, you make many errors over many posts which strike me as "obvious" -- errors I would not expect of any thinking, rational, honest man -- but I note that you continue to struggle with them.

Actually, I found his dissection rather innovative. B)

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"Obvious" or "Innovative" tend to be imprecise. Self-evident works for obvious (in the way existence is), surprising works for innovative. I like to talk about invention in this way: New (by what standard?), valuable (to whom?), and surprising (in what sense?). Those 3 questions are how to establish objective criteria to invention, the sort of thing DW seems to be thinking about.

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Just now, Eiuol said:

New (by what standard?), valuable (to whom?), and surprising (in what sense?). Those 3 questions are how to establish objective criteria to invention, the sort of thing DW seems to be thinking about.

OK. New, valuable and surprising.

 

When MS DOS first came out, was it new?

In one sense, yes (there hadn't been any "MS DOS" before). In another, every single computer is "new" when it first comes off the assembly line. In another sense, no; there had been computers before (going all the way back to Alan Turing's machine).

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Harrison, yes, those are exactly the answers to consider, and the ones to start with if we want to evaluate invention. I'm mostly observing here, but what is the right answer? Forget IP for a moment - think of something like listening to Dark Side of the Moon. Was Pink Floyd doing something new within music, or something directly based on prior musicians or prior ideas? A third option is to say neither, it's subjective. Or a fourth is to say no one is able to be wholly new anyway (DW, perhaps you'll find AS quotes addressing the fourth one?).

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The different senses in which MS DOS was and wasn't "new" when it came out depend on how you conceptualize it (computers-in-general, instance of a computer, type of computer, etc).

 

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Forget IP for a moment - think of something like listening to Dark Side of the Moon. Was Pink Floyd doing something new within music, or something directly based on prior musicians or prior ideas?

Both. He took some very old ideas about music (things like rythms, harmonies, keys, etc) and found a new way to combine them. 

 

That's the overarching pattern, right? 

The act of physical production is the act of taking the given elements of nature and rearranging them into something useful. Analogously, doesn't the act of invention consist of rearranging old ideas in more useful ways?

 

I know that was what I used to do, when I wanted to think of a story to write; I'd immerse myself in stories for days on end (movies, TV, books, anything) and ask myself what I liked about them and what I didn't; how I would've changed them, if I were the author, and how they compared/contrasted with every other story in my head. By the time I was done, all of the different ideas I'd been absorbing would end up rearranged in some completely unrecognizable way.

 

Right now I'm chewing on how I'm going to make a checkers-playing AI.

When I reached the appropriate point for it, I didn't cry "aha!" and pluck its design out of thin air (as cool as that would've been); I researched expert systems until I had a rough idea of what they entailed, and then I tried to build my own (once again, rearranging old ideas into something that's useful to me).

It doesn't work. I got it to calculate all the various possibilities that could result from any given move and rank them in order of their value, but apparently there are a lot of different ways you could play a game of checkers (enough for my program to get labeled as "unresponsive" and killed, while sorting them all out). So I've been researching minimax and markov models (again, drawing on other people's insights in order to solve my own problem).

 

So I don't think any idea is completely new or completely old; all of them have elements of both.

 

PS:

On Pink Floyd using "ideas like rythm and harmony" to compose new music:

 

Have you ever wondered what makes Asian music sound asian?

They don't organize it into octaves. They use some other system of steps and half-steps (and, I believe, third-steps?) which results in a completely different set of sounds to work with.

 

So, yes, Pink Floyd used other people's ideas about rythm and melody in order to write his music; so did Pritam when they wrote Dil Bole Haddippa.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Preemptive rebuttal

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5 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

That's not an answer.

I'm sorry, Harrison. The response was more of a tongue in cheek reply to "initiation of force" relative to "eating a cheese sandwich."

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Or a fourth is to say no one is able to be wholly new anyway (DW, perhaps you'll find AS quotes addressing the fourth one?).

Reminiscent of the biblical verse "There's nothing new under the sun."  I can't think of anything specific in AS regarding it, but it strikes me as a way of downplaying the role of the mind, as Rearden's mother does in this snippet:

"But Henry thinks that just because he's made a new kind of tin, why, it's got to be more precious than diamonds to everybody, just because it's he that's made it."

I think this has the tendency to minimize ideas in and of themselves as not being worth fighting for and/or protecting.

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Nature, in order to be commanded, must be obeyed.—Francis Bacon

As elucidated upon earlier here and here, a discovery (of something which already exists) is not grounds for invention.

What makes an invention so special?

They stood at the window, watching silently, intently. She did not speak, until another load of green-blue metal came moving across the sky. Then the first words she said were not about rail, track or an order completed on time. She said, as if greeting a new phenomenon of nature:
"Rearden Metal …"

To the charge "Nothing is wholly new", a claim may be levied that "How do we know that Rearden Metal doesn't already exist somewhere in the universe already?"—the answer to which is what is the evidence? The onus of proof falls on the assertion that Rearden Metal (might) already exist(s) in the universe.

—the days when the young scientists of the small staff he had chosen to assist him waited for instructions like soldiers ready for a hopeless battle, having exhausted their ingenuity, still willing, but silent, with the unspoken sentence hanging in the air: "Mr. Rearden, it can't be done—"

Nature, in order to be commanded, must be obeyed.—Francis Bacon
"By our understanding of nature, Mr. Rearden," the young scientists/soldiers said, "there is no way to command nature to obey an outcome that will result in Rearden Metal." (Highly paraphrased.)

Nature, to be commanded. This amounts to: Nature—do something different than what can be discovered as already existing.

Edited by dream_weaver

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17 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Both. He took some very old ideas about music (things like rythms, harmonies, keys, etc) and found a new way to combine them. 

 

That's the overarching pattern, right?

Sure, but it isn't just rearrangement, or else we would need to say all possible creations are all possible right now, it just takes the right set of monkeys to stumble upon a mix. As long as you have the old ideas, you're all set.

The fact is, when talking about new things, we are talking about things that are not possible for anyone else except the creator, because other people completely lack some concepts or ideas to combine in the first place. Concepts need to be formed, which is more like going beyond rearrangement by nature of making integrations. What I am getting at is that your pattern is incomplete, because you have not explained the new part. Rearrangement is similar to rearranging the furniture in your room. It's new in the concrete sense, but there is nothing even unexpected about it. While it would take design skill to set up a functional and appealing interior design, it is not as though anyone has come up with a new methodology for interior design. You did not come up with a new idea per se, you still have what you started with.

To be sure, existing ideas help you to form new concepts. After all, I do not think Pink Floyd would have come up with the song like Money in the context of 17th century society and music. The 70s had the right sort of social and musical context for some of the ideas that were integrated. Those parts were rearranged, but how was it that the album wasn't just another iteration of classic rock? Perhaps it really was rather uncreative, but these are the questions to ask. I would say some new ideas are added in that no one before added in, resulting in a completely new sound, beyond and past old ideas.

Just to add in, a topic which Don briefly spoke of earlier , while learning language is in part replicating sets of patterns, it is also a creative act. A child needs to construct a method of thought in order to organize those patterns. Indeed, the child is not creating a language; they are creating a structure of thought which no adult has explained to them. From that, they become effective communicators. The interesting thing is, language is dynamic, it changes between generations.

Harrison, if you do figure out the checkers design, you would have done something like a child learning language. You would have taken the evidence of the world around you, validated ideas of other people, then developed a new structure of thought; that new structure is not a rearrangement.

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What is an invention? A google search on "invention vs. innovation" provides:

In its purest sense, “invention“ can be defined as the creation of a product or introduction of a process for the first time. “Innovation,” on the other hand, occurs if someone improves on or makes a significant contribution to an existing product, process or service.

The Wright brothers built a plane. Thomas Edison built the electric light. Henry Ford implemented the assembly line, while Eli Whitney introduced interchangeable parts. The idiom "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This is ambiguous in the sense that: what is the difference between someone improving on (for the first time) and introducing something (for the first time). Be it a computer program for Chinese Checkers, or perhaps years spent studying music theory to write classical musical scores to serve as back-round accompaniment to the latest Hollywood theatrical release?

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9 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Harrison, if you do figure out the checkers design, you would have done something like a child learning language. You would have taken the evidence of the world around you, validated ideas of other people, then developed a new structure of thought; that new structure is not a rearrangement.

But isn't the process of "taking the evidence of the world around you" and using it to develop "a new structure of thought" a rearrangement?

There seems to be some sort of weird divide suggested here, where such "rearrangement" is found to be different than, or apart from (and inferior to) "creation." But I believe that creation is rearrangement. Or as Ayn Rand put it:

Quote

The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses. It is an enormous and glorious power—and it is the only meaning of the concept “creative.” “Creation” does not (and metaphysically cannot) mean the power to bring something into existence out of nothing. “Creation” means the power to bring into existence an arrangement (or combination or integration) of natural elements that had not existed before. (This is true of any human product, scientific or esthetic: man’s imagination is nothing more than the ability to rearrange the things he has observed in reality.)

Eiuol, when you speak admiringly of the active role a child takes in learning language, I wholeheartedly agree. (As I do when Rand describes this process -- man's creative power -- as "enormous and glorious.") Regardless of what adults may or may not do to try to spark thought in the child -- regardless of the examples provided (though as adults we strive to provide helpful examples to the best of our ability) -- the child must take action, internal and self-motivated action, which cannot be forced, to achieve, to learn, to think.

Every success in this fashion is thus wholly earned.

And this is "rearrangement." And this is "replication." And this is "copying." And this is "creation." When my daughter says some "new" word, it is not new to the world, but it is new to her.

Edited by DonAthos

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19 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The fact is, when talking about new things, we are talking about things that are not possible for anyone else except the creator, because other people completely lack some concepts or ideas to combine in the first place.

Why?

History is full of examples of multiple people independently coming up with the same innovations, which would suggest the exact opposite to me.

 

Which isn't to say that any innovation itself is worthless, or somehow no better than its constituent ideas; on the contrary, it's only because of such rearrangements (from Alan Turing to Bill Gates to the Great and Powerful Google) that we're able to have this conversation, at all.

Nor do I think it conflicts with the idea that an innovator deserves to be rewarded for their efforts (which I agree with, by the way, just not in the form of patents and copyrights).

 

20 hours ago, Eiuol said:

What I am getting at is that your pattern is incomplete, because you have not explained the new part. Rearrangement is similar to rearranging the furniture in your room. It's new in the concrete sense, but there is nothing even unexpected about it.

That's fair.

 

Suppose I built a warp drive, tomorrow. Would everybody here agree that it would qualify as a bona fide brand-new invention?

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We know that Warp Drives are theoretically possible because of Einstein's theory of Relativity. The same theory which dictates the impossibility of travelling faster than the speed of light also allows for travel at any arbitrary speed, if you can do so by bending spacetime around yourself. Since gravity is that very curvature of space and time, a warp drive would essentially be a very sophisticated kind of gravity drive. So the question becomes: how do you manipulate gravity, itself?

Several years ago a team of researchers confirmed the existence of the Higgs Boson, which is basically the graviton (the force-carrier for gavity in the same way that photons convey electromagnetism). So the question becomes: how do you manipulate the Higgs Boson?

The answer to that question will probably require a lot of trial and error (analogous to the thousands of materials Edison experimented with in order to discover that passing an electrical current through Tungsten caused it to glow). However, suppose I stumbled across something tomorrow (let's call it "Material X") which, when electrocuted, generated a gravitational field. At that point I could start to devise a certain configuration of material-X-based components which would function as a warp drive.

 

The thing to notice is that, whether we call it a " rearrangement" or not, my ability to invent a warp drive would be a direct consequence of my knowledge of Einstein's theory of Relativity, the Higgs Boson and Material X (just as Einstein's ability to invent the light bulb ultimately came down to his knowledge of electricity and Tungsten). If I would deserve to be rewarded for my accomplishment then what about Einstein and the researchers who confirmed the existence of the Higgs Boson?

 

I know that Rand made it clear that nobody can own scientific knowledge, but Rand also made it clear that all knowledge is interrelated and interdependent. How can we claim that the inventor of the warp drive would own it, in its entirety, when we know that such an invention must necessarily stand on Einstein's shoulders?

 

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Rearrangement (defined as new and valuable) is different than creation (defined as new, surprising, and valuable). That surprising part is the main difference I am claiming. As I explained in my analogy to interior design, rearranging the furniture on its own does not provide a sense of surprising, because the possibilities have not changed.

I am simplifying here, but consider the ways you can arrange four pieces of furniture in a line. There are 4 elements. These elements can be arranged in 4! (which means 4 * 3 *2 * 1) ways. Picking one from the 24 possibilities would be the result of rearrangement. There would be no sense of surprise here, because you've not introduced any new elements, nor has there been a different way to arrange those pieces of furniture. In other words, with rearrangement, there are a preset number of possibilities. When I talk about creation, I talk about expanding those possibilities. Can we expand those four elements into five? This would increase the possibilities, and add surprises. But then we'd ask where the fifth element came from.

That Rand quote is extremely relevant. However, I think the point is that no one creates in the sense like god created the universe. It's not as though we go beyond reality itself, or use some absolutely unconstrained free will that lacks identity. Concretely speaking, yes, all we can do is rearrange the elements before us. But notice how Rand throws in integration as well. This suggests Rand has an incomplete theory of creation. Throughout her epistemology, she speaks of concept formation, which in a mental realm isn't just a rearrangement, it's actually expanding existing possibilities. This happens by introducing a new structure to thinking - the neurons are rearranged perhaps, but the mental content has something added. Additionally, there are limits to imagination, which given Rand's views perception, only amounts to beginning with reality. Altogether, despite the emphasis on rearrangement, Rand is not addressing the cognitive aspects of creation, and it is too bad she did not develop a theory connecting concept formation and creation.

When it comes to language, learning a language requires expanding the already existing cognitive equipment. I don't mean brain growth, or neuron growth, or anything that happens regardless of choice. A child needs to do more than rearrange a set of observed words. In fact, they need to create the cognitive structure in which to manipulate and arrange observed words and word orders. The observed words are rearranged, but grammar rules are created by the child. The fascinating thing is that children will at first say "ate" the right way, but then when they try to create the rules, they say "eated". And then later they figure out that "eat" is irregular and construct a new grammar rule to account for it. The grammar rules aren't replicated, if you ever tried to just teach a child grammar rules for their first language, you would not succeed in boosting their learning speed. Forget the scientific details, the philosophical point is that replication is not enough.

Harrison, I should have said things "that are not possible prior to forming a particular conceptual structure". See my furniture arrangement example.

Einstein in the literal sense rearranged some concepts, but creating the theory of relativity took considerable imagination (a fifth piece of furniture!) and a new way for physics to arrange concepts in the first place.

Edited by Eiuol

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Since man lives by reshaping his physical background to serve his purpose, since he must first define and then create his values—a rational man needs a concretized projection of these values, an image in whose likeness he will re-shape the world and himself. Art gives him that image; it gives him the experience of seeing the full, immediate, concrete reality of his distant goals.

The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements is the only creative power man possesses.

22 hours ago, DonAthos said:

When my daughter says some "new" word, it is not new to the world, but it is new to her.

New to the world. Hmm. Could this worthy of having a concept of it's own? (Or is there truly "nothing new under the sun"?)

The power to rearrange the combinations of natural elements.

Create. Produce. Production. Build. Innovate. Invent. Steal. Destroy. Fraud. Embezzlement.

All of these can be re-constructed to simply "rearrange the combinations of natural elements.". But then why have such a variety of concepts which in a superficial way have all the same omitted measurement.

If a mailbox is struck with a baseball bat, it rearranged the natural elements.

If a building is struck with a wrecking ball, it rearranged the natural elements.

If a thief breaks in and takes things, it rearranged the natural elements.

If a bookkeeper juggles the book to embezzle money, it rearranged the natural elements.

Somehow, to me, this fails to come up with anything new. It rearranges the explanation to fit a desired outcome (granted, the embezzlement charge would take much more to make fit.)

In the world of art, there are many selective re-"rearrangements" of reality according to the artist's metaphysical-epistemological value judgements. Within this domain, there are reproductions of artwork that permit folk to hang one in their home. What seems to be frowned upon in this domain, is the use of paint, canvass, and brushstroke to try and pass off as "the original". Why does the original "Mona Lisa" command the price it does, if a replica, which is nearly indistinguishable from the original is relegated to the category of a copy; or worse, in an attempt to pass it off as the real McCoy, invite charges of forgery?

Like the discovery of a new specie of bird, or one of the naturally occurring elements, where the discoverer is given relatively undisputed credit—a work of art is venerated as an original work, and great care or pains are taken to ensure that the original continue to be recognized as the original—not for a limited span of time, but for as long as the requisite knowledge can be retained.

 

Edited by dream_weaver

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21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Rearrangement (defined as new and valuable) is different than creation (defined as new, surprising, and valuable). That surprising part is the main difference I am claiming.

I find "surprising" to be synonymous with "unobvious," and subject to the same critique: surprising to whom?

What surprises me may not surprise you, and vice-versa.

Beyond this, I don't know that because some "creation" is surprising that it fails to be a "rearrangement."

Quote

That Rand quote is extremely relevant. However, I think the point is that no one creates in the sense like god created the universe. It's not as though we go beyond reality itself, or use some absolutely unconstrained free will that lacks identity. Concretely speaking, yes, all we can do is rearrange the elements before us. But notice how Rand throws in integration as well. This suggests Rand has an incomplete theory of creation.

I don't believe that her theory is incomplete here... "integration" is not thrown in, but is meaningful and purposeful.

Consider a cake. I would say that a cake is, in some understandable sense, an "integration" of its ingredients. This integration -- this relationship and interaction between ingredients -- serves to "create" a new whole, a new existent, which is the cake. (And those who are expert in such matters, such as Plasmatic, will hopefully either forgive or correct my doubtlessly incorrect phrasing of such things.) The cake has properties which did not belong to any of its ingredients (but was always potential/"possible" in those ingredients, in this combination; such was part of their nature, as if it were not, the cake could not be created as we know it); we can say that these properties (like the cake's sponginess, or its deliciousness, or whatever we associate with the "cake," as such) "emerged."

I would say that the cake is "more than the sum of its ingredients," in that it displays these emergent properties. Perhaps the cake even surprises you. But isn't it also true that the cake is yet a "rearrangement" of its ingredients?

Quote

Throughout her epistemology, she speaks of concept formation, which in a mental realm isn't just a rearrangement, it's actually expanding existing possibilities. This happens by introducing a new structure to thinking - the neurons are rearranged perhaps, but the mental content has something added. Additionally, there are limits to imagination, which given Rand's views perception, only amounts to beginning with reality. Altogether, despite the emphasis on rearrangement, Rand is not addressing the cognitive aspects of creation, and it is too bad she did not develop a theory connecting concept formation and creation.

But she does refer, specifically, to imagination.

Quote

When it comes to language, learning a language requires expanding the already existing cognitive equipment. I don't mean brain growth, or neuron growth, or anything that happens regardless of choice. A child needs to do more than rearrange a set of observed words. In fact, they need to create the cognitive structure in which to manipulate and arrange observed words and word orders.

Yes I agree.

Quote

The observed words are rearranged, but grammar rules are created by the child. The fascinating thing is that children will at first say "ate" the right way, but then when they try to create the rules, they say "eated". And then later they figure out that "eat" is irregular and construct a new grammar rule to account for it. The grammar rules aren't replicated, if you ever tried to just teach a child grammar rules for their first language, you would not succeed in boosting their learning speed. Forget the scientific details, the philosophical point is that replication is not enough.

Oh but this is certainly a form of "replication" -- for the child, in coming to understand these grammar rules, is trying to achieve what it sees in the world, and reproduce it. And were I trying to build a plow I had seen in my neighbor's field, I might well have to engage in an analogous "trial-and-error" process to achieve a proper facsimile.

If this doesn't measure up to the kind of "replication" you have in your mind when you dismiss it (for the purpose of the IP conversation), I would suggest that this is because that supposed "replication" is not actually what is being discussed by those arguing against IP, and it might not be a valid conceptualization at all.

When the child is trying to reproduce the words and the language and the grammar of the world around it -- though this involves effort (mental effort and physical effort), and though it involves "creation" (which is also a form of "rearrangement," and also integration) -- it is exactly what I have in mind with "replication" and "copying," and why I am so vehement in my defense of it.

This is learning.

 

Edited to add:

Often in discussion, and especially the IP discussion, I am struck that it is analogous to other kinds of discussions I've had in the past. In comprising this reply, and following this thread, I have been struck by another: it is like those critics of evolution who acknowledge the existence of so-called "microevolution" but dismiss "macroevolution." They agree that yes, moths may evolve -- changing color, or what-not, but not that "one species can become another."

Because they are struck with the large differences between the species (which they perhaps find "surprising"), they cannot believe that the process of evolution -- the small changes we can, and have, observed -- can be responsible for it; there must be another agent at work.

Yet it is those small changes which, over time and in accumulation, account for the differences in species... and only that.

Edited by DonAthos

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53 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Oh but this is certainly a form of "replication" -- for the child, in coming to understand these grammar rules, is trying to achieve what it sees in the world, and reproduce it. And were I trying to build a plow I had seen in my neighbor's field, I might well have to engage in an analogous "trial-and-error" process to achieve a proper facsimile.

What is rearranged when a child formulates their theories about grammar? To be sure, what a child ends up with is the same language you know as English. Or to use terms of your cake analogy, what makes the cake more than the sum of its parts? If you put all the ingredients together, no amount of rearranging will produce a cake. You need to bake it. You need a means of integration.

If the cake isn't an analogy, I agree that all that happens is the atoms of the ingredients are rearranged. That's why I think the Rand quote is about assembling tangible things, not abstract non-tangible ideas. I do not know what she'd say about forming concepts. I suspect she'd say an act of abstraction, that is, forming concepts, is more than rearrangement of lower-order concepts. When you form the concept 'furniture', are you -only- rearranging concepts, like 'chair' or 'bed'? To take it down further, when you form the concept 'chair', is that a rearrangement of percepts? Rand's use of integration is a way to go to higher levels of abstraction that are not possible with only rearrangement.

I'm not claiming that creation does not -involve- replications or rearrangements. I'm claiming that there is replication and more.

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From ITOE:  brackets [ ] denote my added comments

A special sub-category of concepts pertaining to the products of consciousness, is reserved for concepts of method.  Concepts of method designate systematic courses of action devised by men for the purpose of achieving certain goals.

The concepts of method are the link to a vast and complex category of concepts that represent integration of existential concepts with concepts of consciousness, a category that includes most of the concepts pertaining to man's actions.  Concepts of this category have no direct referents on the perceptual level of awareness (though they include perceptual components) and can neither be formed nor grasped without a long antecedent chain of concepts.

The concept "property" denotes the relationship of a man to an object (or an idea) [Intellectual Property]: his right to use it and to dispose of it [not contingent on societal consent] -- and involves a long chain of moral-legal concepts, including the procedure by which the object was acquired.  The mere observation of a man in the act of using an object will not convey the concept "property".

 

Per Objectivism, Property (and Ownership) is a relationship, not solely an object.  This is true for Real, Chattel and Intellectual Property.  And this "relationship" is what is rejected by Marxist Materialists, Logical Positivists and certain Libertarians of the Austrian School as being Subjective (i.e. a posteriori and/or synthetic propositions) and therefore nothing more than a social convention.

Edited by New Buddha

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Good point... especially astute of you to mention Marx... I have head murmurings of his ghost in the words of some on this very site...

 

The Labor party has done a number on UK culture... I hope they recover.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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9 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Per Objectivism, Property (and Ownership) is a relationship, not solely an object.  This is true for Real, Chattel and Intellectual Property.  And this "relationship" is what is rejected by Marxist Materialists, Logical Positivists and certain Libertarians of the Austrian School as being Subjective (i.e. a posteriori and/or synthetic propositions) and therefore nothing more than a social convention.

Perhaps "Marxist Materialists, Logical Positivists and certain Libertarians of the Austrian School" reject property (as a relationship) on the grounds of being "Subjective (i.e. a posteriori and/or synthetic propositions)," but no one participating in this thread does.

What is rejected is that this relationship is appropriate to ideas or "intellectual property." What is rejected is that "intellectual property" is property, or a right, or moral.

But please continue to torch your straw men. You have no arguments to make against any of the positions actually defended in this thread, after all. You do not even understand them.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Good point... especially astute of you to mention Marx... I have head murmurings of his ghost in the words of some on this very site...

Is that the caveman talking? You should tell him that ghosts do not exist.

Edited by DonAthos

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4 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Perhaps "Marxist Materialists, Logical Positivists and certain Libertarians of the Austrian School" reject property (as a relationship) on the grounds of being "Subjective (i.e. a posteriori and/or synthetic propositions)," but no one participating in this thread does.

It's not a straw man, you just disagree that it is relevant (you're not the only anti-IP person, nor is your anti-IP position even the only one, even though it is the implication of anti-IP). I find it useful as a way to add to DW's thinking.

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12 hours ago, New Buddha said:

From ITOE:  brackets [ ] denote my added comments

I've been searching on "Intellectual Property", "Invention", "Innovation" and missed this one.

13 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Per Objectivism, Property (and Ownership) is a relationship, not solely an object.  This is true for Real, Chattel and Intellectual Property.  And this "relationship" is what is rejected by Marxist Materialists, Logical Positivists and certain Libertarians of the Austrian School as being Subjective (i.e. a posteriori and/or synthetic propositions) and therefore nothing more than a social convention.

The merit in this is that helps to understand what is omitted in the methodology of the Marxists, Logical Positivists, and others. However, the quotation stopped short of this:

Composite concepts of this kind are formed by isolating the appropriate existents, relationships and actions, then retaining their distinguishing characteristics and omitting the type of measurements appropriate to the various categories of concepts involved.

This amounts to identifying the links that create "the long chain of moral-legal concepts." Which existents, which relationships, which actions provide the moral foundation and subsequently the moral argument that establishes Intellectual Property as something which its owner can lay legal claim to. The fact that Miss Rand inserted (or an idea) into this passage indicated she did consider it so. How and why need be induced from the relative facts that give rise to it.

In logical syllogism this would be worked out in pattern:

Premise one:

Premise two:

Conclusion: Man has a right to the property of his intellectual labor.

Premise three:

Premise four:

Conclusion: Premise one.

Premise five and six lead to conclusion two.

and so on, until the premises are ultimately derived from the self-evident. In this way, it becomes a matter of identifying the principles involved.

 

Yes, she said it. That, alone, amounts to argumentum ad verecundiam, that is the appeal to authority.

 

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On 3/14/2016 at 11:43 AM, Harrison Danneskjold said:

... Einstein's ability to invent the light bulb ultimately came down to his knowledge of electricity and Tungsten. 

I don't know if anyone else caught this but I meant Edison; not Einstein. Sorry.

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On 3/14/2016 at 1:27 PM, Eiuol said:

In other words, with rearrangement, there are a preset number of possibilities. When I talk about creation, I talk about expanding those possibilities.

... Except that the possibilities were all there, to begin with.

 

Electricity and Tungsten are both much older than mankind. Their natures haven't changed; since the very first homo sapiens were born, electrified Tungsten has glowed. When Edison used this knowledge to create the light bulb, he didn't change any metaphysical possibilities about anything; he simply discovered them.

 

In any instance of innovation, the possibilities themselves never change; they were there all along, but we didn't see them (like Yersinia Pestis); the thing changed by any innovation is ourselves.

 

It's less like adding a fifth piece of furniture to the room and more like realizing that the fifth one had been there, all along.

Again - this isn't to belittle the value of such discoveries; it's such discoveries that have taken us from the Savannah to New York City; but they are discoveries.

 

On 3/15/2016 at 10:05 PM, dream_weaver said:

Why does the original "Mona Lisa" command the price it does, if a replica, which is nearly indistinguishable from the original is relegated to the category of a copy; or worse, in an attempt to pass it off as the real McCoy, invite charges of forgery?

I really don't know. I've been asking myself that question ever since I was little; I've come to chalk it up to "stupid things that other humans do" (since fifth or sixth grade).

If you know the answer to that question then please explain it to me.

 

On 3/14/2016 at 1:27 PM, Eiuol said:

Forget the scientific details, the philosophical point is that replication is not enough.

Rearrangement is not replication.

 

On 3/15/2016 at 10:05 PM, dream_weaver said:

Create. Produce. Production. Build. Innovate. Invent. Steal. Destroy. Fraud. Embezzlement.

All of these can be re-constructed to simply "rearrange the combinations of natural elements.". But then why have such a variety of concepts which in a superficial way have all the same omitted measurement.

I'm sorry - did I imply that any rearrangement is equivalent to and interchangeable with any other?

 

---

 

Come on, people. If I have to give a full dissertation on the meaning of the word "rearrange" it'll be demeaning for everybody involved.

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