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  2. Now isn't that explaining will in a deterministic light? I hope not. I don't like the term deterministic, because it implies materialism. By involuntarily I don't mean necessarily. It just means not voluntarily. I've never gained control over my heart beat, not what I would call voluntary control through the nervous system. So I can't say the two are related. However, like everyone else, I have limited control over my breathing. So the will is connected to that function, probably due to the development of speech which requires controlling air flow through the vocal chords. Also, while asleep, I managed to control a dream once during a lucid dreaming episode. This is an ability reported by many others. So I believe the will is involved with dreaming too, perhaps due to the development of reason which requires controlling one's thoughts. Breathing and dreaming are particularly interesting functions to study, given their unique relationships to the will. I've never sleepwalked or been hypnotized, but there's probably something to glean from those phenomena as well. It seems to me that the will is the power to control oneself, or aspects of oneself. But not every function can be directly affected by that power, and even the functions that can be affected cannot always be affected with total control or consciousness. The stage of development and state of awareness matters. Beyond that I struggle for answers and hesitate to speculate. Is an automatic action like the heart beat a function of an involuntary will? Perhaps, if you define the will as a kind of reflex. Then the will would be a typical reflex seen in lower animals and humans, and the free will would be a next-level reflex seen primarily in adult humans. Of course there is the problem that we don't seem to have the ability to control the heart beat using free will. But that's not an issue with breathing or dreaming.
  3. The "broken units" problem is an aspect of the "problem of two definitions" covered by Dr. Peikoff in lecture 3 of "Unity in Epistemology and Ethics". A 'broken unit' in the context of this thread is only possible when a concept has a two definitions, and the criteria of the second more normative or teleological definition is absent.
  4. The "broken units" problem is an aspect of the "problem of two definitions". I will make that link in the broken units thread (sorry for the epic necro). The problem of two definitions is covered by Peikoff in lecture 3 of "Unity in Ethics and Epistemology".
  5. Yesterday
  6. All (biological) organisms have genes. Genetic determinism and biological determinism are synonymous. Biologic actions (like digestion) are genetically determined. However, behaviors are not genetically determined. They are genetically influenced, but not determined. There are many more factors that determine what a behavior will be in addition to genes. Strictly speaking, you can say that reflexes are behaviors, but as for anything else, genes do not determine behavior. It's not that the biological is conflated with the genetic, but that some people have a really hard time understanding how people can be biologically determined in some ways, and have free will at the same time. Either they deny that people have free will, or they deny that people operate under the same rules as other animals. Or they just accept the contradiction. Do you have the source? I'm very curious to read this claim in context.
  7. On that note, it appears I dropped the context of this part of the thread. Here is a link to the results on 'broken units' that may be more relevant.
  8. Granted, there are differing context regarding free, but to understand free will, even indicated by "choosing to think or not", one must understand the "obstacle" that some encounter. In other words, some can't choose to think? Well, why and when? Now isn't that explaining will in a deterministic light? Also, a "a will to function involuntarily" may be the key phrase to analyse. Is functioning involuntarily in fact "willing" something? Is one's heart beat a function of "will"? What is automatic and is that a willed action?
  9. It is a different context of free. The freedom to chose to think, or not. Free Will, Ayn Rand Lexicon.
  10. Tough question. I would call it freedom from impulsion, that irresistible feeling that impels me to focus or move a certain way. Once I achieve self-awareness, I become aware of this feeling and can fight its effect on me. But before self-awareness, it might be what stimulates my will to function involuntarily in a particular way.
  11. Can anyone tell me who did the covers for the centennial versions??
  12. Free will by some perspectives seems redundant in that having a "will", implies a freedom to will things, i.e. to choose. So the implication is that a "will" can also be unfree. Again by some perspectives, an unfree will, is in fact no will at all. Free to choose, implies a free will. But free from "what"? The possible oppression or obstacle is what clarifies the nature of the "freedom". So when there is free will, one is free from what? Rand may not have mentioned mental illness and its relationship to free will but I believe Branden did. As far as I can remember he did say that some childhood trauma, in fact can remove free will from a person. In the case of severe addiction to something, at some points there is no free will. For an alcoholic, after the first drink, something else takes over (at least that is the experience). This oppressor, or obstacle to sanity, makes certain choices disappear. In this case, the oppressor is a metaphor, as if there is one. But the experience and the behavior are as if an oppressor exist.
  13. No, anything genetic follows them. This is a problem with the idea of "biological determinism." It conflates the biological with the genetic.
  14. I probably spoke too soon. I can think of some examples now.
  15. Last week
  16. To the extent that laws of biological determinism are real, anything biological follows them. To the extent that laws of biological determinism are false, nothing at all follows them. But I don't think biological determinism is defensible anyway. It's the idea that genes have causal power in a direct way. I don't think anyone seriously believes that genes literally carry behavioral content. That's true of insects, that's true of humans.
  17. Biological determinism only applies to living things that lack a mind and are entirely subject to laws of physical causality. Organisms that possess a mind are also subject to laws of mental causality.
  18. The description of the binary punch card machine reminded me of the Jacquard machine, which I had looked up shortly after watching the movie Wanted (2008). The Jacquard machine, per the Wikipedia link provided, had inspired Charles Babbage as one of the precursors to computer science.
  19. Four Things News you may or may not be able to use... 1. Bacteria living in parasitic worms produce a chemical that holds promise as a new antibiotic: In lab experiments, the new antibiotic was able to cure mice of dangerous Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae infections, without any toxic side effects. Getting darobactin ready for humans will undoubtedly take a long time, but this is a promising start. Researchers identified the nematode as a possible host for an effective antibiotic because of the way these worms feed on insects, targeting their larvae and releasing bacteria that then have to fight pathogens similar to those inside the human gut. [italics in original, links dropped]For the more scientifically inclined, the Nature paper is here. 2. Some time back, I encountered a reference to a flow chart version of when medieval Christians permitted sex. The flow chart, first compiled by historian James Brundage, appears in all its glory in The Atlantic: Penitentials were handbooks carried by some priests in the Middle Ages that delineated various sins for private confession and their penances. They were full of strict limitations as to what constituted pious behavior. They went on and on. To digest it all, James A Brundage, a scholar of the Crusades, aggregated the complex rules about sex into this excellent flowchart. [links omitted]Go there to view the flow chart. After having to look up Whitsun, I wondered if anyone had worked out how often, best-case scenario, people had the green light. The answer would appear to be no. Perhaps it's in Brundage's textbook, but if it is, I haven't seen it cited. In any event, the chart reminds me a little of the "consent" checklists that modern Puritans of the left want people to fill out in colleges. (I wasn't expecting to find an actual example!) And I am sure it gets used about as often as folks in the Middle Ages performed the mental gymnastics that actually following such rules would require: That's not to say that Medieval folks actually lived according to the flowchart rules, of course. There's always a huge gap between proscription and reality. People did it then like we do it now: whenever they could. But it is a fascinating glimpse into the both prurient and ascetic world of Medieval confessor literature, and what kind of standards Medieval people might have measured themselves against.When your standards have nothing to do with living... 3. Changing gears... If you've ever wondered why a 2 x 4 is neither, head on over to The Spruce Crafts, where you can knock yourself out on the subject of "Nominal vs. Actual Lumber Dimensions." The piece includes a useful chart. 4. At Slate is a fascinating article on the "Lines of Code that Changed Everything" and it starts out with a bang: Bouchon's Automated Loom. (Image by Dogcow, via Wikipedia, license.) Binary Punch Cards Date: 1725 The first code Binary programming long predates what we think of as computers. Basile Bouchon is believed to be the first person to punch holes into paper and use it to control a machine: In 1725, he invented a loom that wove its patterns based on the instructions provided in the perforated paper it was fed. A punched hole is the "one," and the absence of a punched hole is the "zero." As much as things have changed since then, the essential building block of code has not. -- Elena Botella, Slate [link in original, format edits]I was aware that punch cards came first, but the date came to me as a surprise. -- CAV Link to Original
  20. His reliance on the term “absolute” when speaking of something’s existence (anything’s existence) is in fact redundant. The metaphysical existence of anything which exists IS absolute. The implication that some things can exist in some non-absolute manner contradicts what “exists” means. At any particular time something either exhibits volition or it does not... if it is present it exists in the something ... if it is not present it does not exist in the something... damaged brains run the entire spectrum as a function of the damage... it might even function volitionally at times and non volitionally at other times.
  21. The Objectivist—June 1968 A Statement Of Policy Part I—By Ayn Rand My role in regard to Objectivism is that of a theoretician. Since Objectivism is not a loose body of ideas, but a philosophical system originated by me and publicly associated with my name, it is my right and my responsibility to protect its intellectual integrity. I want, therefore, formally to state that the only authentic sources of information on Objectivism are: my own works (books, articles, lectures), the articles appearing in and the pamphlets reprinted by this magazine (The Objectivist, as well as The Objectivist Newsletter), books by other authors which will be endorsed in this magazine as specifically Objectivist literature, and such individual lectures or lecture courses as may be so endorsed. (This list includes also the book Who Is Ayn Rand? by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden, as well as the articles by these two authors which have appeared in this magazine in the past, but does not include their future works. ) I shall not establish or endorse any type of school or organization purporting to represent or be a spokesman for Objectivism. I shall repudiate and take appropriate action against any attempt to use my name or my philosophy, explicitly or implicitly, in connection with any project of that kind or any organization not authorized by me. If students, supporters or friends of Objectivism wish to form local groups of their own—for such purposes as the study, discussion and dissemination of Objectivist ideas—they are welcome to do so. They can be of great value and help to the spread of Objectivism . . . The Columbia Radio broadcasts are cited by one source as: January 01, 1962-Dec 31, 1965 ARI's redaction on the transcript are in line with the quotation and the respective time-frames. This dovetails well with another excerpt from: The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. III, No. 10 February 11, 1974 Philosophical Detection--Part II I will list these essentials for your future reference. But do not attempt the shortcut of accepting them on faith (or as semi-grasped approximations and floating abstractions). That would be a fundamental contradiction and it would not work. As I spiral back, yet again, it is done with a more profound realization that epistemic justification serves as the geometric equivalent of the given being served up in perception, while an analysis of the role of the senses and volition serve to identify steps required prior to even reaching the concept of proof.
  22. Free will may very well absolutely not exist at all in the context of a serious biologically caused impairment of the mental faculties. Biological damage to the head caused by iron bars or bullets are also well known to impair free will. I don't think your position is fundamentally defensible. I wonder what your understanding of the term "absolute" is and what your intention is in conjoining it with volition. Life itself is not absolute, so how could volition be absolute?
  23. Personally, I like the direction you opted to investigate. Best know for the identification of the comet granted his namesake. BBC has an web review that credits Harlow Shapely and Herber Curtis with an early stab at it in 1920. How might their method at arriving at their numbers compared to what Edmond Halley had in mind with a transit of Venus across the sun? Mine was prompted by the thought of "what an odd fact", and would there be any fruit parsing such a vine? Too many facts to parse and not enough lifetime to parse them all in. Facts need little green and red flags on them to differentiate the essential from the inessential. (No offense, David Hume, or maybe it was Herr Hegel.)
  24. I don't have much helpful advice to give you about how to accomplish that, except to study very hard for a long time. To do what you want to do, you need a firm grasp of history, politics, and philosophy, as well as the rhetorical skills to express yourself clearly and convincingly. There are probably other fields that you need to be adept at. A week and a half is almost certainly not enough time to prepare by several orders of magnitude - see the aforementioned ten years estimate. This is especially true if you're rusty on Objectivism, which is what I take from your saying that you "studied Objectivism a long time ago."
  25. Before you can even begin the attempt at coming to a conclusion regarding free will, i.e. to even ask if “free will” exists you need to clearly define what you mean. Otherwise you cannot assess evidence, as there would be nothing to assess the evidence against. So yes, you do have to get into just what you mean exactly by “determinism” and “entirely volitional”. If a thing acted outside the range of possibilities according to its nature it would violate causation. The question is what are the possibilities? and how is the eventual act deemed “free” rather than random on the one hand and determined on the other i.e. so that it is both a free choice and also accords with the identity of the actor. If you can’t come up with a workable definition of what exactly you mean by free will you can’t make any meaningful statement about whether humans possess it or not.
  26. Why You Shouldn’t Be A Socialist #2
  27. Kerry Jackson of the Pacific Research Institute offers an update (PDF, via Issues and Insights) on California's new law that essentially bans gig work (and threatens other industries, as well as the franchise business model). After briefly noting the disastrous impacts this law has had in barely over a month, Jackson speculates on whether this power grab by the Democrats and the labor unions might backfire: Image by Victor Xok, ">via Unsplash, license. Like so many other laws passed in California during the Blue State Era, AB5 was a solution in search of a problem that has introduced some nasty consequences. It might well be the worst law on what has become a long list of injurious policies. Its effects are so baleful and widespread that it's tempting to wonder if Democrats made a mistake with AB5 that will break their stranglehold on state politics. And it might break their dominance in states such as New Jersey and New York, which are pursuing their own efforts at "cracking down hard on the gig economy." California Democrats will try to mollify some of the anger with more exemptions. But will that be enough? We're seeing a restlessness in California that hasn't been present in some time. We might look back at 2020 being a political turning point in the state, with Assembly Bill 5 the force that changed the direction. I don't expect the Democrats to change, and I'm not sanguine about the possibility that the people who have kept them in power for so long will, either. (The state has long been recognized as a "judicial hellhole" for businesses.) But we can hope. Jackson does note that some Californians are openly questioning their party affiliation. Having said that, I think that the best outcome we have a realistic chance of seeing is a repeal of AB-5 by referendum. Sadly, this is not what Uber and Lyft are working on, which I think is both a tactical and strategic mistake. AB-5 should be repealed completely. Full stop. -- CAV Link to Original
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