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  2. Abstraction from abstraction isn't relevant here because what I described is an abstraction from concretes. Not at all. My point was that what patterns someone can recognize in data is a function of the concepts they have and not simply perception.
  3. If it isn't quantitatively measurable then it does not exist. In non-trivial way what it means to exist is to be measurable. Qualities are epistemological artifacts, abstractions just as are universals and essentials.
  4. Today
  5. Given that Rand allowed for abstraction from abstractions and concepts of concepts, an abstract description and categorization based on common solution sets of an underlying set of differential equations is actually still a kind of measurement if that premise that there is 'describing' going on is true. Not only concretes are measurable. Now it appears you conflate what is not possible to the theory with what is not possible to a man without a particular set of concepts. Nothing about the physicist's integration of multiple and highly abstract concepts is uniquely impossible to Rand's theory. It will stretch that far, so I see no problem where you claim to find one. What I find most interesting about the Hierarchical Temporal Memory theory is the possible discovery of the mathematical mechanics of measurement omission buried in the sparse representation matrices.
  6. This is a contradiction. There is always some property that some thing has from which we can deduce that another thing has it too. Proof: Let g be "God" and let u be "universe". Let P be any property. First, suppose that "P(g) or not P(g)". Then, by the law of excluded middle we have, "P(u) or not P(u)". By implication introduction this gives, "if 'P(g) or not P(g)', then 'P(u) or not P(u)'". Now, let the property Q(x) be defined as "P(x) or not P(x)". We now derive, "if Q(g), then Q(u)". The proof of the converse is left as an exercise to the reader.
  7. I'm responding to your response to Merjet because his first response to you I agree with. 1. Perhaps we can still view the different types of books as commensurable (they are comparable in terms of content), but it still illustrates what is meant by qualitative. You brought up color to point out quantitative measurement omission resulting in a qualitative measurement, which is fine. But that doesn't address differentiating in terms of anything else. The difference between a shadow and a black piece of paper is not something measured quantitatively. It would be something to do with lack of physical extension; to comprehend physical extension as a measurement requires very complex thinking way after you already form the concept 'shadow'. In this way, quality is not necessarily less concrete than measurement. Spatial thinking is not space; you don't literally measure the space between perceptions that you remember. It might be better to call it relational thinking, yet I don't even experience it as quantitative. Even if you are right about how to describe spatial relationships represented within the mind, these spatial relationships aren't used for differentiation. They are used after you have already differentiated. I wouldn't describe placing "poodle" within "dog" as an act of measurement omission. With quantitative measurement omission, measurement is what you use to differentiate. Measurements like that can help differentiate concepts when you retrieve them in memory and they are organized in a spatial fashion, though. Besides, I think is really stretching it when you consider directions to be quantitative measurements. 2. Sure, there are many ways to initially form a concept. But many people can and do differentiate boats in terms of quality of locomotive power. It doesn't cause problems either. Whether a characteristic really is primary isn't important when forming a concept. If anything, what we initially think is primary is often not. 3. Yeah, entities are their attributes. All entities can be measured quantitatively, and attributes can't be removed from an entity. I don't see how this means that all attributes are quantitatively measurable. You could argue for intensity as an omitted quantitative measurement for colors, but that really breaks down if you differentiate a dog from a cat, or a hamburger from a meatloaf sandwich, or sweet from sour. This is why I think it's fair to say that color can be differentiated with measurement omission. But there are also different cells in your that eyes are sensitive to orientation, so it's not like everything your eyes do involves implicit quantitative measurement.
  8. I agree, but that's not all that they are for. To be fair, I misspoke here. The central component of Rand's theory is that you can extrapolate values of characteristics from the range of the "crow epistemology" (measurements whose values you can directly perceive) to the conceptual level (measurements you can't directly perceive, such as distances in the light years and such). Rand's theory allows you to do this. My problem with it is that, since it only allows for the total abstraction of one characteristic at a time, the resulting concepts cannot encode complicated interdependencies among characteristics. Rand did try to mitigate this issue to some extent by allowing for some unspecified functional relationship between a single characteristic (an independent variable) and all the rest (dependent variables) by using the notion of an "essential" characteristic. But this still wouldn't be enough, since actual phenomena may not have any essential characteristic in the Randian sense. This happens all the time when you have feedback loops. When this occurs, engineers and scientists are forced to describe the behavior of such systems by using differential equations and characterizing those systems by their solution sets. And these solution sets are abstract spaces! These spaces are then understood to be the essential defining features by which systems are classified. Note that in these cases, the systems are not classified by any one nor any combination of their measurements. Indeed, they cannot be. No, it has everything to do with Rand's theory of concepts, because it is precisely the concepts we have that make some data-sets easily recognizable. A layman and a physicist may have the exact same perceptual apparatus, but data that is meaningful to the physicist might seem completely random to the layman. The difference is in the physicist's far superior integration of lots and lots of physics and math concepts. Exactly. Which is precisely why Rand's theory of measurement omission cannot possibly be complete.
  9. I hope you may someday come realize that "merely classifying things" is precisely what concepts do and are for. Knowing in depth about what the concepts refer to is a different problem. That a string of numbers in one format seems meaningless but in another is easily recognizable has little to do with Rand's theory of concepts but is rather about the human body's means of perceiving. The implicit measurements of perception are actually easier to work with conceptually than the explicit measurements of an abstract set of numbers. That said, there is no reason why an artificial structure cannot be made to work as Rand describes directly with those numbers in the explicit form. You need to become more familiar with the capabilities of networks of neurons. They can recognize complex patterns not merely rectangular ranges. There is thread here that brought his theory of Hierarchical Temporal Memory to my attention. edit: searching youtube for "Jeff Hawkins" or "hierarchical temporal memory " brings up lots of hits to the present, he is continuing his work. Example
  10. 1. 'Book' is a first level concept that even an illiterate child or adult can have and use correctly. One can also understand that the words (content) are the essential characteristic of books that cause the other characteristics and that the book only exists at all for the sake of the words within, all while being unable to read them or read at all. Certainly one understands books better if one were literate but not a different set of objects. 2. This boat example is merely taking for granted the quality of the locomotive power, treating it as a primary when it is not. Oared boats differ in the number and placement along a spectrum from a one person dinghy to a competitive crew boat for racing to an ancient trireme. Paddle wheel boats differ in the size, placement midships or stern, and whether single or split port and starboard. Outboard motor boats differ in horsepower, size, weight, and fuel type and whether one or more motors are used. Each of these different kinds of locomotive power do form a qualitative difference between boats but each is also a conceptual category itself. 3. Rand's point with measurements is that they were always there in the form of the attributes of entities. Recall that Rand also teaches that entities are their attributes, not that entities have their attributes. Thus there is no underlying substratum, no place for an Aristotelian essence to be (nor a quality) and no role for a metaphysical essence (or a quality) in knowledge. The attributes are all that exists, they exist in definite specific form amenable to measurement, and even when not mathematically measured merely perceiving a thing creates a particular percept (perceptual form in Kelley) in the subject. The percept is a measure, caused by and corresponding to the thing perceived and the means of perceiving it (and by Kelley the environment in which it was perceived). "Implicit measurement" is a phrase Rand uses on page 13 of ITOE 2nd when writing about color. Perceiving similarity among percepts is also given directly by the perceptual faculty. One does not need to measure explicitly or know how to measure explicitly to perceive similarity between percepts or an entire range of percepts. The measurements involved are implicit and automated by the sensing and perceiving structures of the body. For example we know scientifically how color perception works, how the eye has structures named rods and cones and there is a set just for red light. Redness and similarity of redness means the neurons connected to the red-responding rods and cones being excited and then the same ones being excited again.
  11. It depends on your situation. If not understanding a section prevents you from understanding the next section and so forth, you're wasting your time until you grasp the first section. If there is no snowballing effect, and it's not a critical part, you could skip it and return later if necessary. Also, you might have to do more than repeatedly read a page to understand it. You should look up confusing words or ask an expert. Maybe you forgot something in a prior chapter and refreshing your memory will help.
  12. @Eiuol I agree with a lot of what you said. I also think qualitative distinctions are more fundamental than quantitative ones. @Grames @Easy Truth I will write out some rough thoughts I've been having and some research I've been doing on this subject. Hopefully it will make things clearer. Imagine that you have two entities where the measurements of the first entity with respect to some characteristics (that we care about) are (1.0,1.0,1.0) and the measurements of the second entity are (2.0,1.0,1.0). Now, at the end of the day, Objectivism allows you to form exactly one "big" concept from this data set: A = (x,1.0,1.0) where the use of the variable "x" means that the entities belonging to this concept must have some measurement value for the first characteristic, but may have any measurement value. But also, we can use differentia to get many more "small" concepts by specifying ranges that the variable is allowed to take. For example: B = ([1.0, 12.0], 1.0, 1.0) means that the value of the first characteristic can be anything between 1.0 and 12.0, but the values of the other two characteristics must be exactly 1.0 and 1.0, respectively. So B is a sub-concept of A. You can take concepts like these and make further restrictions to get sub-concepts of sub-concepts, for instance C = ([2.3, 4.6], 1.0, 1.0). And, I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to say that you can do disjunctive sums of intervals to get even more complex concepts such as: D = ([1.0, 12.0] + [26.5, 123.4], 1.0, 1.0) where the notation "+" means that the entity is allowed to have values either in the interval [1.0, 12.0] or in the interval [26.5, 123,4]. Furthermore, by using these two entities in combination with others, again, I don't think it would be an unreasonable interpretation of Objectivism to say that you can have concepts that look like this: E = ([1.0, 12.0] + [26.5, 123.4], y, [0.1, 2.6]) or even ones that allow for infinite collections of allowed intervals like this: F = ( [1,0, 2.0] + [4.0, 5.0] + [7.0, 8.0] + ..., y, z). If you spend some time graphing these examples, you will notice that all of the concepts formed by these methods look like rectangular prisms arranged in rectangular prisms arranged in rectangular prisms, etc., all of which have edges that are parallel to at least one of the axes. Furthermore, these are the only kinds of shapes that concepts in Objectivism are allowed to have. I hope that this will make clear what I meant when I said that Rand's theory of concepts is "merely classifying things". The problem with her theory is that there will always be real-world collections of entities that completely confound this sort of scheme. That is, when you plot the measurements of all the entities in the collection, they might form a shape which is very simple but which cannot be a combination of rectangular prisms. For instance, consider the collection of entities: {(0,2),(1,1),(2,0),(3,1.1)(4,2.1),(3.1,3),(2.1,4),(1.1,3)} Any combination of measurement omissions and restrictions to intervals will result in just two kinds of interpretations of the data. On the one hand, you will have very simple interpretations which underfit the data. And on the other hand, you will have very complicated and counter-intuitive interpretations which overfit the data. And in no case whatsoever will you obtain a system of concepts which notices the super-simple underlying pattern you would have gotten had you simply plotted some points and used your spatial intuition to play connect-the-dots. Even though none of the entities in the above example have any measurements in common, by using your spatial intuition, you can form a simple network of similarities: (0,2) ~ (1,1) ~ (2,0) ~ (3,1.1) ~ ... ~ (1.1,3) ~ (0,2) which your brain would immediately recognize as a one-dimensional loop. A one-dimensional loop is a notion that: 1) Is highly abstract, and can be applied to just about any data whatsoever to yield tons of non-trivial information about that data. 2) Is super easy to understand. It's almost concrete in how easy it is to understand. 3) Captures the essence of how the entities in the example are related in a very simple and accurate way, even though they are all different from each other. I say "accurate" in the above because saying that the data is described by a one-dimensional loop also implies a network of dissimilarities among the given entities. For instance, we can say that (0,2) is dissimilar to (2,0), because, on the one-dimensional loop, there is no shortcut from (0,2) to (2,0) which allows you to skip the entity (1,1). The process of fitting a manifold to a set of data-points is studied in the field of Persistent Homology: In my opinion, I think that Rand was trying to do something like this when she formulated her theory of concept formation. Rand's theory also suffers from another problem which I've been trying to address. Basically, it smuggles huge portions of mathematics (at the very least the non-zero rational numbers), which themselves have highly non-trivial spatial structure, into the notion of measurement. This, in addition to the above, is why I don't find Grames' account of how concepts of space can be derived from measurement omission at all convincing. I believe that this problem can be remedied by claiming that the human brain comes equipped with a very small number of simple spatial ideas and operations which can be used to form any mathematical concept including the concepts of logic. All this has lead me to investigating the theory of simplicial sets. These are very simple and very interesting mathematical gizmos that can encode combinatorial and topological information simultaneously. Furthermore, they constitute what is called a "topos" in category theory, which means that they are capable of serving as a foundation for all of mathematics. Additionally, every topos has its own internal logic, (and these logics are, in general, higher-order intuitionistic type theories). So there is a conception of logic out there somewhere which can be derived entirely from spatial concepts. The main problem is that the standard theory of simplicial sets allows for simplices of arbitrarily high finite dimension, and the human brain can handle only 3. However, as it turns out, it's very easy to prove that simplicial sets restricted to at most 3 dimensions also constitute a topos. I am currently trying to figure out the ins-and-outs of all of this stuff, but I think that Rand's dream of a mathematical epistemology is on the horizon.
  13. Over the weekend, I re-read Ayn Rand's 1965 essay, "The Cashing-In: The Student 'Rebellion.'" Paragraph by paragraph, two things kept leaping out at me: (1) It was astounding how many things about the culture Rand was able to essentialize, and (2) how similar our culture is now. (These things explain the trope of Ayn Rand as prophet, and pervade her writing. And yet the new connections one can find never cease to amaze.) After the polling in Nevada's caucuses over the weekend, I'll share just one example. Regarding the campus protesters of the time, Rand quotes from a survey in Newsweek: "If they are rebels," the survey continues, "they are rebels without an ideology, and without long-range revolutionary programs. They rally over issues, not philosophies, and seem unable to formulate or sustain a systematized political theory of society, either from the left or right." (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, p. 242) [bold added]And then, a bit later, Rand makes her point that the "rebels" aren't rebelling at all: Image by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia, license. The helpless bewilderment on the face of Harry Reasoner, the commentator, when he tried to sum up what he had presented, was an eloquent indication of why the press is unable properly to handle the student rebellion. "Now -- immediacy -- any situation must be solved now," he said incredulously, describing the rebels' attitude, neither praising nor blaming, in the faintly astonished, faintly helpless tone of a man unable to believe that he is seeing savages running loose on the campus of one of America's great universities. Such are the products of modern philosophy. They are the type of students who are too intelligent not to see the logical consequences of the theories they have been taught -- but not intelligent nor independent enough to see through the theories and reject them. So they scream their defiance against "The System," not realizing that they are its most consistently docile pupils, that theirs is a rebellion against the status quo by its archetypes, against the intellectual "Establishment" by its robots who have swallowed every shopworn premise of the "liberals" of the 1930's, including the catch-phrases of altruism, the dedication to "deprived people," to such a safely conventional cause as "the war on poverty." A rebellion that brandishes banners inscribed with bromides is not a very convincing nor very inspiring sight. (249) [bold added]These passages together remind me of the young crowds of self-proclaimed "democratic socialists" who rally most frequently around the manufactured "issue" of climate change. Specifically, the following passage from Socialism Sucks!, came to mind. The economist authors attended a socialist conference in the United States and had concluded that most of the youths there did not really understand what socialism really is, and: A significant number of socialist leaders at this conference, however, did support socialism as we understand the term and would socialize the means of production if given the chance. We fear that they are using social justice causes like abortion, the environment, and immigrant rights to bring more young people into the fold. (loc 1,673)The parallels continue, and culminate in another striking similarity: The panic of members of the establishment in the face of what they have spent so long bringing about: These "activists" are so fully, literally, loyally, devastatingly the products of modern philosophy that someone should cry to all the university administrations and faculties: "Brothers, you asked for it!" (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, p. 246)The Democratic party establishment and its lackeys in the conventional media don't explicitly operate at the highest levels of philosophical abstraction, but they have played their part, fighting for one anti-freedom cause after another, and lazily repeating whatever the most fashionable intellectual figures say at the moment for decades. The Democrats are finally getting the straight version of what they have worked for all these years. If that frightens them, perhaps they could spare a thought for the consequences we all will face if Bernie Sanders, their ideal, makes it into office and succeeds. And that thought experiment is where things really get chilling: All most of these people fear is the Democrats losing the election because what Sanders wants is too obvious for most people to evade. -- CAV Link to Original
  14. You might like my essay "Omissions And Measurement" in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Volume 7, No. 1 – Fall 2005, pp. 383-405. The entire essay can be read on jstor.org with a free membership.
  15. 1. Consider different contents of books. Some books are fiction and others are non-fiction. Types of fiction are mystery, romance, children’s stories, etc. Types of nonfiction are history, science, mathematics, music, food recipes, etc. These various contents are congruous but not commensurable. The differences between them that need to be omitted to form the concept book are qualitative, not measurable. 2. Consider different kinds of boats. There are rowboats, some with an outboard motor, some are steamboats, some have an inboard diesel engine, some have paddle wheels, some airboats/fanboats, and so forth. The different kinds of locomotive power are qualitative differences. That some aspect of the different kinds, e.g. horsepower, is measurable does not overturn the fact the some differences between the kinds are only qualitative. 3. A child capable of identifying different colors is not measuring anything. People who lived before it was known that colors reflect different light wave lengths/frequencies were not measuring anything. Also, a wave length is a length, not a color.
  16. Your post made me struggle with the differentiation of "knowledge" and "understanding". Isn't to know include to understand? You may say that the unfamiliar is the not-understood. But even then, you understand that it exists, very low level, but to know of its existence is to understand something about it. So it was a little confusing to see you say that you know but do not understand. Furthermore "to see it's structure" to me implies to examine how it fits in with everything, which inevitably will cause searches for types/category of things it could be. So I can't completely separate them. Classification as in memorizing the class/category that something belongs to is obviously a hollow understanding of something. Where does objectivist epistemology imply that understanding is primarily classification/categorization? (although it may indicate "some" understanding". In other words, what did Rand say that does not correspond to how you "know"? Understanding of something has continuum, from no knowledge to "full understanding" (however that is determined). Full understanding of something is not determinable unless one has an objective test to use. And of course that is based on different contexts. The main experience of "not understanding" is "it does not make sense" or hard to imagine. I am also curious to know how you would define, or know that you have fully understood something.
  17. Reading a book by proceeding a page at a time front to back until done is not the best technique. I would suggest something more like: Look at the front cover, look at the back cover. See how big it is by page count. Look at the table of contents, read the chapter titles. Flip through the book looking at the pictures. See if there is an index or a section of notes. Read the introduction. Skip ahead to the most interesting chapter and see if what is there depends upon what is covered in earlier chapters and if so go read those. After you've done all that, then you are prepared to commence a page by page intensive study, and even then you will probably still learn something new with a second page by page intensive study. Subjectively it can be difficult to judge when "you know everything on a page" so that could make for frustratingly slow progress.
  18. When you omit the measurements a quantitative measurement becomes qualitative. That is what a quality is: a certain range of measurements. The quality of red means (refers to) any of the various shades and intensities of color within the range of red, and it does so open-endedly (all reds near, far, past, future, known, unknown). Quality is itself a concept, not a concrete. The philosophical problem is relating concepts to concretes. Once a method of handling concretes conceptually is found, handling qualitative thinking is just more of the same. And I don't understand how any of this other grumbling by others about spatial thinking is at all well founded either. Space has measurements. Measurements of distance can be omitted to form concepts of directions, directions can be omitted to form the concepts of near and far, both types of measurements can be omitted to specify relationships such as "on top of" or "to the left of".
  19. Yesterday
  20. I don't think Rand ever claimed that knowing how to classify something is sufficient to understand it. Classification is necessary to begin with, and only then can understanding start. That isn't so different than Aristotle, the difference is how Rand explains the way classification works. What you're talking about is a theory of induction, which she did not develop, a problem that she was aware of. I think she successfully defended why classification schemes may begin as arbitrary (in the sense there is no rule to determine which measurements or attributes must be used for a classification). I agree though that Rand did not provide a theory or process that "fills" a concept with structure or relationships. It's one thing to form a concept, it's another to fill it with content. Rand was wrong to put so much focus on measurement omission. She only talks about quantitative measurements, nothing qualitative. Spatial measurements in your mind are more qualitative than anything, not to mention that spatial visualization is an important skill for cognition. That's why I really like what you mention about thinking of concept classifications in a spatial sense. This is what I do as well. And when I compare two things, I usually do it in strictly qualitative terms. I think the only time I make quantitative comparisons is when the concepts are literally concepts of measurement or quantitative concepts. But it isn't too hard to reformulate Rand's theory of classification or create a new one to allow for spatial relationships. Personally, I don't know how to think of concepts in any way besides spatially. For hundreds of years, people have known that spatial thinking vastly helps memory, and takes an important role when contemplating anything abstract. Roman philosophers wrote about it, Aristotle wrote about it. It's unfortunate that Rand was pretty ignorant about spatial thinking and memory, her theory of classification would be even better if she wasn't.
  21. @[email protected], @merjet Thanks. Pg. 240 on the research CD. My copy of ITOE doesn't include this.
  22. When the grandson was a toddler, we were at a restaurant, and I walked him around at one interval to a small Christmas tree with those old-fashioned colored lights. Pointing to a particular light, I asked him “What color is that?” He always answered correctly as I continued to point and cover the gamut on the tree. I’m pretty sure that the ability to identify individual colors in a grouped array is not originally the seeing those colors as individuals subsumed under the concept color. One has learned the proper relation of words blue and color in learning some language and sharing the world through it. (On cognitive developmental psychology of learning the various sorts of attributes of things, see 28-33 here.) I’d be pretty surprised if learning the distinction between entities and their attributes did not require learning subject-predicate relation in one’s native language. To be sure, with further cognitive development, on learns how to put any category in the subject spot, not just entity, but at first I’d bet a coke it’s only entity there. Learning concepts and language seems to be a hand-over-hand sort of deal. To reach our modern basic concept of force, basically Newtonian, took a lot adult thinking and controversy. Though push and pull are examples of it, earlier in intellectual history, for example, not only certain changes in state of motion required some sort of force, but keeping something moving (even in vacuum) was thought to require force. I imagine beginning to get the elementary concept of force (which happens to fall under the precised Newtonian one approximately) is already underway in learning first words. When a young child says ba (ball), turning it over in her hands, the object being isolated is known to have various ways it can be made to act by the child. Talk of “concept formation” (and “conceptualization process”) in epistemology did not begin with Rand. However, in epistemology, I think it’s better to stop using that phrase if one is not literally talking about cognitive development in time, and if one is talking about that, it must be informed by the relevant contemporary psychological research to have any serious traction. However, the epistemological business (a philosophical business) of offering ways of seeing how various sorts of concepts are organized in their relations to each other and to the things they are about is just fine, mighty fine. That is analysis, not mainly theory of the genesis of concepts, and we should stop calling it a theory of concept formation. The enduring fertile innovation of Ayn Rand in theory of concepts, I say, is an analysis: the proposal of a mathematical structure to concepts in their taxonomic relations.
  23. This suggests a metaphor. Classifying pertains to the skeleton. A fuller understanding adds flesh. Your use of circles suggests Venn diagrams, which are depicted spatially. My essay '"The Sim-Dif Model and Comparison" cited above uses Venn diagrams extensively. Interesting.
  24. This is an important question that I've been thinking about as well. The more I introspect, the more I realize that my brain just doesn't work the way that Rand describes. For me, if I merely know how to classify a thing, I don't feel like I understand it. But if I can see its structure and the structures it forms in relation to other things and how that structure might be changed and so on, only then do I feel like I truly understand it, and only then can one come up with truly non-arbitrary classification schemes. As an example from algebra, if you were to just tell me that a group is just a monoid where every element has an inverse, I wouldn't understand the concept of "group". But if you were to then show me a rotating triangle and how those rotations relate to the group operation, then I would easily understand the concept of a group. Even the concept of "concept" (the one that Rand describes) I currently understand primarily in terms of space. For instance, when thinking about the relationship of dogs to all other animals, I see a big circle in my mind labeled "animals", and within that circle, a smaller circle labeled "mammals", and within that circle, a smaller circle labeled "dogs". So I think that all of the concepts in my mind are spatial ones. Therefore, I strongly suspect that the process of concept formation is some kind of operation on spaces. At the very least, this is true in my case. other people's brains might work differently. Some people can't see anything in their mind's eye. Others don't hear an internal monologue. And some think only in terms of pictures of things they've actually seen. It's too simplistic to think that everyone's brain works just like yours does. EDIT: I should probably mention some of the research on this topic that I've been doing. I've been studying category theory, and I think the idea of adjunctions may hold the key to concept formaiton. By using adjunctions, one can "mechanically" derive significant mathematical concepts from totally trivial ones. I just need to find an interpretation of adjunctions that makes sense.
  25. Question is in the title. You are reading a textbook about accounting/singing technique, how is it best to learn and know what is in the book? The latter or the former? Your goal is to be able to talk without the information in front of you. I've heard of the spiral of knowledge but I'm not sure if that comes into play here.
  26. Last week
  27. All you showed is that god is not made of matter. The idea of creation (to a Christian) is that god created the physical universe, not that he created existence. Existence is eternal, it doesn't need to be created because it always existed. This is the Objectivist position. The difference is just the demand for a sentient being.
  28. So there are ways to do that without falling into the mindset of trying to disprove it at the metaphysical level. Point out internal problems with the logic, like asking who then created God? Typically you'll encounter a wall of faith, then you can move on to attacking faith. At least then you can expose their hostility to reason and be done with them. Good luck, because you're struggling with one of the most difficult problems there is in philosophy. The fact is that the debate falls on the meaning of the word create, because that's the action posited. If create includes arbitrary miracles, you're going to lose the argument. It will always go epistemological, and then you'll be confronted with the faith bomb.
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