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  2. "NATO admits it’s been preparing for conflict with Russia since 2014" Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that increases in deployments and military spending were carried out with Moscow in mind NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday that increases in military spending and rising numbers of troop deployments in Eastern Europe since 2014 were carried out in anticipation of a conflict with Russia. Speaking after a meeting of NATO members and partner states in Madrid, Stoltenberg accused Moscow of “using force in the eastern Donbass since 2014,” despite the fact that Kiev’s forces have been shelling cities in the region ever since the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics declared independence from Ukraine that year. Nevertheless, Stoltenberg said that the US-led military bloc decided in 2014 to start beefing up its forces in Eastern Europe. “The reality is also that we have been preparing for this since 2014,” he stated. “That is the reason that we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance, why NATO allies have started to invest more in defense, and why we have increased [our] readiness.”[RT]
  3. Yes, there is plausibility of that, and whether such things are unknowable by others and in what senses of knowledge have been much debated in philosophy of mind, such as the famous articles on Mary with only black-and-white vision, but extensive knowledge of color vision and "What is it Like to Be a Bat?". When I see a deer limping, I may think I've some knowledge of what that is like because I have been in the limping condition myself. But that might include a big dose of anthropomorphism. And perhaps brain scientists would know ways in which a deer's experience of things must be enormously different than human experiences. But if I visit a friend and she is limping and using a cane, I'm more sure I know what her private experience is like, and can sort of share in it. On the other hand, if I see someone doing a good cartwheel, I really have little notion of what they are experiencing as I never learned to do that anywhere near success. There is some echolocation ability in humans, evidently, as here.
  4. Objectivists typically dismiss the 'thing-in-itself' when understood to mean 'thing as it really is'. Since there's no thing that isn't the way it is, the 'really' part is redundant. Mind and matter are types of things adding up to the totality (Existence). It's this totality that has primacy, not the specific kinds of things that comprise it. If you tweak either the biological tissue making up the sensory apparatus, or the objects it interacts with, you create a change in the result; hence, 'thing-as-perceived' refers to an existential event between the two elements. Dismissing the notion of 'reality as it really is' still allows for a lack of knowledge regarding certain things. We can know things about the bat's experience in a human conceptual form, but cannot ever directly experience what the bat experiences.
  5. ET, traditionally, it is correct that an omniscient mind would have no unknown, and therefore no unknowables. Leibniz thought that in God's understanding, the contingent occurrences in the world are knowable entirely in an analytical way, or anyway in the way in which we know pure mathematical truths. In medieval and early modern philosophy, when there was talk about limitations of human knowledge, it was mainly about knowledge of those contingent truths, past, future, and present. You are right to talk of omniscience in connection with the idea of God; that was the context of the deliberations. God was thought of as having mind and having life, but of sufficient difference with those things in us that we cannot really know much about their nature. Safe to say, God does not die or undertake actions to remain alive, and for we naturalistic heads in the shadow of Rand, that means that such a conception of God as living is fundamentally without basis (and we suggest that the gravitation to the notion of God as living is due to an underlying knowledge that life is the source and context of all goodness.) God was conceived as unchanging and to the point of having no internal processes. God and his knowledge were thought of as an "eternal instant." That puts any talk of God having analytic knowledge of all contingent realities into really an eternal-instant grasp of that analytic structure, and such, I should say, with Rand, is fundamentally not knowledge at all. I do not myself think there is any knowledge at hand at all in an "intelligence" that never makes errors or that just has knowledge without processes through time in which it acquires the knowledge. Leibniz's conception of God's knowledge was as an "intellectual intuition." Kant maintained that such an all-knowing faculty would have to be creating the things it knows; he took that as part of the notion of an intellectual intuition. (I think I once came across that angle in Leibniz also.) Kant maintained we humans have not a drop of intellectual intuitions, only sensory intuitions, and he questioned any physical, philosophical, or empirical-psychology knowledge we claim to have that does not go back to or project to sensory intuitions. On our mathematical knowledge, though not all-knowing of all mathematical truths, we have creation of the object and their inter-relations in a creative way, according to Kant, in all of it we do know; they are made by us (a sort of miniature of God knowing-plus-making all the world, I notice.) Human scientific knowledge and metaphysical knowledge has to be within those bounds of sensory intuitions, according to Kant. That is a good direction, but instead of saying that although we cannot know there is a God or an afterlife of rewards and punishments, these things are thinkable and things to rationally hope for, he should have confined right thinking and hoping to this natural world and life within it. And ruled out omniscience as a rational construct.
  6. In a very interesting column, Jonah Goldberg considers the meaning of the recent Dobbs decision in terms of the political coalition that he calls the "conservative movement." Recall that this "movement" was always at best a temporary alliance among portions of society being marginalized by the left:Cropped from image by Joseph Gonzalez, via Unsplash, license.It was Ronald Reagan who popularized the notion that the conservative movement rested on a fusionist "three-legged stool." In theory, the three legs were free market economics, national defense and social conservatism. In practice, free market economics meant low taxes and pro-business policies. National defense meant anti-Communism and, briefly, the war on terror. Social conservatism covered a lot of territory, but the enduring core was opposition to Roe and abortion.Note that each of these legs represents through an imperfect or corrupt proxy something truly valuable that Americans generally support, but are intellectually confused about: economic freedom, the nation's rational self-interest, and personal responsibility. The fact that each of these subsumes a "big tent" testifies to the confusion politicians have cynically exploited for so long. Goldberg notes the weakening of the national defense "leg" that has occurred since the fall of Communism and argues that Dobbs will have a similar effect on this coalition by weakening the anti-abortion "leg" that hijacks the desire to be good. (Neither "leg" comes from a full understanding of its issue and those who do understand such issues would know that there is no such thing as "mission accomplished." Defending our country from Communism is not all there is to national self-interest, and taking orders allegedly from an imaginary being is no way to discover how to lead one's life, much less organize a free society. Conversely, as you will see, the anti-abortionists have no plans to stop with banning abortion.) In his next paragraph, Goldberg claims that opposition to abortion was "a big tent all its own." I don't completely agree with this because the differences he lists within that camp (a) amount to disagreements on tactics and (b) are between fundamentally anti-individualist camps. (States don't have rights of their own any more than do parts of women's bodies.) That said, I do think Goldberg has identified a couple of medium-term consequences of the decision. First, under the cover of Roe and federalism, politicians who wanted anti-abortionist votes could stake out that position without having to worry about actually delivering results. This enabled them to keep getting religionist votes despite no progress, and yet also skate by with non-religionists because of that same lack of progress. Now, these same politicians will have to pick between being for or against further restricting abortion. So now, abortion no longer unifies this coalition in the way it used to. Second, we will start seeing politicians from this coalition showing their true colors when it comes to the issues they are less concerned with. Consider Marco Rubio, who I used to take to be in favor of economic freedom, however imperfectly:As for economics, most on the right still reject tax hikes, but the war on "woke capitalism" is the hot new thing and protectionism has lost its bad odor. Indeed, while traditional conservative opposition to a more generous welfare state has been eroding for some time, the Dobbs decision may hasten the process. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) hailed the court's decision. "But," he added, "we must not only continue to take steps to protect the unborn, we must also do more to support mothers and their babies." He promised to "soon introduce a bill to ensure we do everything we can to give every child the opportunity to fully access the promise of America." [bold added]This represents a danger to capitalism in at least the medium-term and an opportunity in the long-term. Conservatives, who Ayn Rand warned decades ago were never actually pro-capitalist, are becoming more obviously anti-capitalist at the same time that many of them are feeling quite free to be openly theocratic, like Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who recently stated, "The church is supposed to direct the government." Decades ago, in his lecture, "Religion vs. America," Leonard Peikoff asked:Politicians in America have characteristically given lip service to the platitudes of piety. But the New Right is different. These men seem to mean their religiosity, and they are dedicated to implementing their religious creeds politically; they seek to make these creeds the governing factor in the realm of our personal relations, our art and literature, our clinics and hospitals, and the education of our youth. Whatever else you say about him, Mr. Reagan has delivered handsomely on one of his campaign promises: he has given the adherents of religion a prominence in setting the national agenda that they have not had in this country for generations. This defines our subject for tonight. It is the new Republican inspiration and the deeper questions it raises. Is the New Right the answer to the New Left? What is the relation between the Judeo-Christian tradition and the principles of Americanism? Are Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, as their admirers declare, leading us to a new era of freedom and capitalism -- or to something else? [bold added]I am afraid we're getting our answer and that if advocates of capitalism want a chance, we will need to change minds among voters while also looking elsewhere for ad hoc political alliances. Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff were always against this alliance. It is quickly becoming impossible not to see why, in terms of its increasingly open antagonism towards liberty. -- CAVLink to Original
  7. Boydstun It does occur to me that there is a class of unknowables, in a particular sense of knowing, to any experiencing or knowing individual, and that is something along the lines of a “what it is like to be” of what one is not. A third person analysis of humanity and consciousness perhaps by a machine would never know what it is like to be human, although with its word strings and sophisticated pattern recognition it might come close to imitating the words a human might say. We cannot really every know or truly understand what it is like to be a bat. We could try to imagine it, but our not being bats is precisely why we never can know what it is like to be one. Is or can a first person experience, or any experience from a first person view .. ever be anything other than something in itself? I think this is a unique sort of thing.
  8. The whole post was fascinating but trying to get my head around this part. I was just wondering if there would be such a thing as an unknown to an omniscient mind. By definition, won't all knowing, know everything? Meaning there would be no unknowns. I've always thought that an omniscient mind would not have any unknowns. That is probably the God concept interfering. Or there are things unknowable to us (as in arbitrary) that an omniscient mind would know. And the unknowable is unknowable to us and an omniscient mind. I'm not comfortable asking these questions as they have nothing to do with the natural world but there seems to be a context where this issue becomes important enough.
  9. Yesterday
  10. Is that really all that would be overlapping? Hmmm... I'd have to think about that for a while... I think there is a big distinction on the timeframe and whether or not something LEGITIMATELY is beneficial to individual. Mainstream probably actually thinks being selfish is bad for the self.... i think...
  11. That is kinda like "compassionate" conservative... And you're right that it sends the wrong message. I think it is more about communicating as clearly as possible that selfishness is not the equivalent to the disregarding of rights. People tend to assume selfishness must include a victim. It does not. In future discussions, I'll try using something along the following lines when somebody uses an improper example of selfishness: "No, that's not a selfish person, that's a victimizer. I'm just as much anti-victimization as I am pro-selfishness." We'll see how that goes... 🧐
  12. In the case of consensual activity and knowing the consequence, you have somewhat of an argument. But would you see it differently in the case of rape, or teenagers who don't know what they are doing?
  13. It's the rights-angle at a practical level between the adults, namely the pregnant woman and adults who, by the law, want to have a say in the pregnancy. It is to those adults, with their metaphysics and moral ideals, that the pregnant woman can become enslaved, impressed into the service of their projects for her body, and indirectly her future, instead of her own projects and ambitions in life. This can happen only if she is a pregnant woman trying to procure an abortion in the term before the fetus/baby is capable of sustained life outside the womb, with or without artificial support. The judgment of that capability has been in the province of the attending physician, so it is a decision on the development at hand, although there tends to be a clustering of the become-capable ones around a certain time in the term, given the particular stage of medical technology at the time, that is, given the present capabilities to artificially sustain the life of the delivered little one outside the womb. You probably know that capability for sustained life outside the womb, with or without artificial support, is the definition of viability (Colletti v. Franklin 1978). It is not a definition of personhood or rights-bearing of the little one. The significance of the viability stage was that people not the mother could after that point carry out there project of continuing the development to infancy, childhood, and adulthood, without impressing the mother into the service of their project. When I talk of impressment for services, it means forced labor, which is slavery—like in military conscription, but for another sort of endeavor. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS – I'm sorry this repeats what I have said before in somewhat different layout of presentation. But it is very hard for people who have always thought of this issue in terms of rights of the potential human being in the uterus versus rights of the mother. Reorienting to the rights in play over this, realistically, as between adult citizens is apparently difficult, so much repetition is in order. Pushing the picture that what is at issue is whether the fetus (or earlier) has standing for rights to the house, the mother's uterus, versus the rights of the mother to her body, to her autonomy in devising her own life, reminds me of the way religious people push the picture that in every moral issue, say whether to commit adultery, they are only carrying out God's directions for proper living. So you get these parties to the issue, namely God or the potential human being, that are really a mask for the believer's own values, and a distraction.
  14. The inability to understand something is not necessarily a comment on the something.
  15. I never understood this "forced labor" angle.
  16. Not aware that "anyone said they fear Russia will invade Europe"? What! That's been floated by everyone, and has been the widespread European fear touted by the media, remarked on by the Telegraph writer above. Right, an "immoral" invasion succeeding an immoral 8 year assault on the Ukrainian breakaway citizens in Donbass coming just in time to forestall an "immoral" fresh assault by Kyiv's foreign-trained and well-equipped army, planned in March. As Poroshenko publicly crowed, he only agreed to the terms of Minsk 2 favoring the Donbass to buy time - immorally - for the training and strengthening of the government forces to overthrow the Donbass. In retrospect, nobody should have been amazed at the performance of the Ukrainian forces: "About 250,000 men, one of the largest armies in Europe", it has slowly come to light. To what end? Not just against the much inferior separatist militia, even "backed by Moscow". Quite obvious: Russia was expected to enter in defense of the Donbass and they were getting ready for them. None of the above was known to or premeditated by NATO, of course... But you'd be oblivious to any of that, from the mainstream narrative Ukraine has been squeaky clean.
  17. "Considerate Selfishness" may exclude the foul element of concern. I don't much care for it, however, because it is defensive right out the gate and not getting at what Rand was illustrating in The Fountainhead, which was various sorts of characters whose behaviors are commonly regarded as selfish, but are not, due to absence of definite self or are not because they are, furthermore, predatory, which is not self-sufficient. In contrast to those, she has a model selfishness of Howard Roark, which, for one having read the novel and not for other people, could sensibly be called "model selfishness" / "genuine selfishness" / "objective selfishness." These are what Nathaniel Branden was getting at in his writings "Counterfeit Individualism," in his answer to the question Isn't everybody selfish? and in his distinction between being selfish and being self-centered. And Rand's preference for "egoistic" over "egotistic" and her later essay "Selfishness without a Self."
  18. I thought I would create a venn diagram to describe the mainstream vs Objectivist view of selfishness. There is disagreement on what selfishness is and some agreement as well as disagreement on what is selfish. Of course a portion of the mainstream does support capitalism but does not define it correctly or support for the right reasons.
  19. "The best part of being a statistician is that you get to play in everybody else's backyard." -- John Tukey, as quoted by John D. Cook *** At SIAM News is a valuable and entertaining interview of statistican and mathematical consultant John D. Cook by Krešimir Josić. I have followed Cook's blog, originally titled The Endeavour, for years. A short excerpt from the interview will do double duty for showing why I follow Cook and why you might consider reading the whole interview:KJ: How do you determine which projects to accept? JC: I'd recommend taking almost any project that pays when you first start, then gradually becoming more selective. I'd also recommend increasing your minimum project size over time. All projects take up some amount of transaction cost and mental overhead, regardless of their size; as a result, smaller projects are less profitable. By initially casting a wide net, consultants can explore the types of available work. After a while, they may start to receive referrals in a certain area and begin to concentrate more in that particular subject. It pays to not be too set on one kind of work until you learn about existing demands in the field. Image by Eduardo Cano Photo Co., via Unsplash, license.Risk analyst Nassim Taleb advocates for a barbell portfolio investment strategy. One end of the barbell consists of reliable income without much downside potential, which probably also means not much upside potential. The other end can be speculative or stimulating. I try to follow this strategy by maintaining a mix of reliable projects and more interesting projects. "Interesting" often means "unpredictable," and consultants risk overloading themselves if they take on too many interesting projects at once. [link omitted, italics added]The above quote is good advice presented in easily-digestible form, using an analogy any reasonably intelligent adult will understand. And it comes across as someone who knows what he's doing and having fun doing it. I first came to Cook's blog because of the subject matter, but I have seen many examples of outstanding clarity in communication -- a subject of great interest to me -- over the years. And yes, Cook touches on that here and there in the interview. There is much more to learn about consulting -- or working generally -- from the interview. "Salaried workers effectively have one client; if they lose that client, they lose 100 percent of their income all at once," Cook notes. If you are the kind of person who enjoys learning about a wide variety of things, applying lessons from one area to others, or realizing a better mix of autonomy and income, this interview is a must-read. -- CAVLink to Original
  20. If there is an identifier, then there is identification. If there are no identifiers at all, ever, then it's a moot point. To say that it is certain that things exist when there is no way know it, is to utter an arbitrary statement. The position taken is that things do exist even if there is absolutely no way to be certain of it. The position taken is that there is a logical necessity that things exist "before" consciousness. Then there must be causal connection between the material universe and consciousness. Except that it is not deterministic. The only conclusion that is reasonable at this point is: "therefore our understanding of consciousness is inadequate".
  21. Last week
  22. KyaryPamyu, I think there are many enticing schemes for rhymes to occur and many more affecting rythyms than the conventionally established rhythm-patterns we learn in high school. And there is much fun to have with sounds and ways not usual of making meaning from words. Thank you for your observations on this topic you brought forth. And thank you for the links to the poems from Poetry Foundation. In Chicago, I worked for some years at a printing and mailing firm. One of our customers was Poetry magazine. It would come onto the dock as one great skid stacked about five feet high with the entirety wrapped together in a single cardboard surround covered with a strong plastic, as I recall. We mailed them out to the subscribers. The management at our firm would make sure to snatch a copy for me, because they knew I loved it. Some of my gems there were "The Giant Who Took the World for a Pill" by Patti-Ann Rogers and "Potpourri" by Gerald Stern. There was another—by poet I don't recall name just now—titled "Two Deer". I have the issues still, on a shelf in the basement. I may not remember always the name of the poet, but the feeling for the land the poet made can yet remain. I don't know if you have seen any of my poems here. They are not for everyone. I have learned, however, that at least here and there there is a poem of mine that grabs a reader and it is of terrible importance to them. Mine have quite a bit of difference between each other, and that is something I have enjoyed exploring. Yet, there is something elusive that is common to them, I don't know what, and that is about my only evidence that Rand might be right about a person having a sense of life, I mean for real, a real person. Topically, I can't imagine me ever writing a poem about public life, only the personal, for whatever reason that might be. Those are collected here to enjoy or not.
  23. I think you are on to something, ET. If we are thinking of things unknowable because they are things-in-themselves in Kant's strongest sense, then we can make a case that there are no such things. However there are other things, things that had plenty of identity, that we nor anyone can know. Those are certain particularities of the past that have left no traces in the present because nature with its second law of thermodynamics has rubbed out all the traces they left. We are unable to find any traces of them not due to some feebleness in our observational instruments and inferential abilities, but because of an inconsiderateness of the natural world. I've not found any such unknowable particularities of the past a great loss to intelligent life. I mean like where were the particular carbon molecules that are part of the composition of my body over the entire course of their history since those molecules were first formed? When it comes to fiction, there are things unknowable because there just is no there there in the matter. Did John Galt usually part his hair? Future particular facts in the real world seem rather like that one. Not only because we haven't the capability of projecting all the potentials of present actualities into the future, but because which of those potential will be actualized is not yet set. Not even whether next year will be so good for strawberries as this year. There are some unknowable things in mathematics, of course, because knowledge there is restricted to proofs, and some mathematical theses have been proven unprovable. We can live with that just fine.
  24. I gather there were 17 minutes in which the universe was everywhere undergoing nuclear fusion. From what we know of life and its cells and their chemical requirements and environments, and from what we know of any organization of nature we have been able construct as an instrumentation and control device, which seems necessary for being a possible acquirer of knowledge, I think it is safe to say that at that interval, the universe had nobody to know it. Good thing we came along latter and identified it.
  25. Yes, my mistake, I should have said some actions that altruists hold as "selfish."
  26. Yes. I was going to reference it with a link, and had I done so, would have realized the erroneous thought and not have committed the faux pas.
  27. In some cases a self destructive action might be called selfish but don't altruists actually agree with us on great variety of what's actually selfish while disagreeing with us on the morality? The profit motive comes to mind.
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