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  1. Today
  2. Depends on if the memories are recoverable. The idea about the entire history of conscious activity is that that entire history is connected. If you literally had no memory whatsoever of your past (knowing English, remembering how to ride a bike, knowing the fact Ayn Rand is from Russia, remembering your favorite book when you were five years old, how to read, etc.) and none of these things were recoverable (as could happen from a stroke that destroys part of your brain), you would not be yourself anymore. On the other hand, if those memories are recoverable (because the brain damage is not severe enough), you would still be yourself. I agree that there would still be a self after the irrecoverable and traumatic amnesia, but I will add that it is not the same self. It would be separate and distinct. A new history would begin once you woke up from whatever caused the memory loss. Same continuous history of conscious activity, so still the same self. Focusing on the history of a particular consciousness avoids the issues of having to ask if a new mental state is a completely new self. You don't ask if the Nile River is still the same Nile River as one hour ago, and in the same way, you don't ask if your stream of consciousness now is still the same stream of consciousness as one hour ago. Notice that you are talking about essentialism, or perhaps something like a substance. Is there a permanent "I"ness underlying your memories and your values? If we say that consciousness and self are activities, rather than an entity or a substance, then we have to say that there is no permanent "I"ness.
  3. Yesterday
  4. Huh, epidemiologists have 'models' like gypsies gaze into crystal balls. Half a million deaths in the UK, alone, they projected. Something over half a mill in the entire world, as it stands today. Good news, +/- 7.7 billion of the world pop. won't die of coronavirus. Bad news, this year like last year +/- 62 millions w.w. will die of other causes.
  5. Four Things 1. In October, Boom will be unveiling a scaled prototype of its planned "Overture" fifty-seat, supersonic jetliner:Boom Supersonic is the only private supersonic company funded all the way through to flight test says chief executive Blake Scholl. Mr. Scholl told AirlineRatings in an exclusive interview at last year's Paris Air Show that there would be many thousands of test-flight hours for the XB-1. The prototype is a proof of concept before production of a full scale 50-seat supersonic airliner, to be called the "Overture". The timeline for the planned entry into airline service has now also slipped from the previously envisaged 2023-24 to between 2025 and 2027. [format edits]Japan Airlines is Boom's first major airline partner, and has an option for twenty of the jetliners. 2. Pinboard, my favorite bookmarking service -- which is also a one-man show -- is now eleven. On the occasion, its proprietor informs us of some behind-the-scenes maintenance and improvements in his usual entertaining style:Doing this on a live system is like performing kidney transplants on a playing mariachi band. The best case is that no one notices a change in the music; you chloroform the players one at a time and try to keep a steady hand while the band plays on. The worst case scenario is that the music stops and there is no way to unfix what you broke...Maciej Cegłowski notes that he will be adding a few new features soon. Fortunately, this is coming from someone who did not like what the once-simple Delicious became after its "upgrades." So this reads to me more like the promise of new functionality than the threat of bloat and broken workflows that the u-word so often means these days. 3. Speaking of bookmarks, here's a site I've tagged for later on when my kids are old enough: Progress Studies for Aspiring Young Scholars. The landing page for the guided self-study program reads in part:This program will explore: what problems, challenges and hardships in life and work were faced by people in earlier generations and centuries? And how did we solve those problems through science, technology, and invention? Learn about manufacturing from blacksmiths to assembly lines; about power from water wheels to combustion to electricity; about food from famine to industrial agriculture and genetically modified crops; about disease from basic sanitation to scientific medicine -- and the struggles and circumstances of the men and women who worked to bend the arc of humanity upward. Your learning will be supported by instructors who will help you develop your reasoning and research skills. You'll also have the chance to engage ideas with a community of like-minded peers.Most of our education system completely neglects instruction about the history entire idea of industrial and technological progress, so learning about this program is welcome news indeed. The current paid program, which is relatively inexpensive and has a manageable time commitment, is geared towards high-school students, but there are plans to develop a college-level version. In addition, content will be made available for free self-study later this summer. 4. When government limits and freedom from regulation collide, you get a physician who makes more from his side-hustle than from his profession: Image by Kyle Glenn, via Unsplash, license. He's just posted a video on how he uses Notion to organize his YouTube activities. That doesn't sound too exciting until you discover that he makes more from his Youtube videos than he does as a doctor. Although he describes his YouTube and other activities as a "side hustle," a case could be made that medicine is the real side hustle and that he's primarily a YouTuber. He's currently aiming at posting 3 videos a week and has a support team to edit the videos and perform other vaguely administrative chores. [links omitted]This interesting tidbit comes from a blog I check occasionally for productivity advice. In this case, the blogger's take-home, though, sounds quite a bit like something I already do. -- CAVLink to Original
  6. Looking back at my previous post, the opening "quote" should have had a question mark after it. Dr. John Lee's article is a mixture, as is wont to be. "To be classified as science, a prediction or theory needs to be able to be tested, and potentially falsified." Instead of identifying the evidence that supports a prediction or hypothesis and how to move it toward the status of theory, the success experienced in other areas of life have developed a sense of "instant gratification" that has fed back into science. Theory now, and place the burden of proof on falsification. In turn, the lock-downs are feeding erroneous data back into the loop. The failure to contain the initial outbreak has resulted in a world wide spread of this virus. The implication is if the virus had been locked-down at the get go, an epidemic/pandemic would not be the reality we are dealing with. Now that the horses are out of the barn, let's close and bar the doors. "In medical science there is a well-known classification of data quality known as ‘the hierarchy of evidence’. " This section resonate more closely with the process of cultivating certainty (as opposed to always being in the precarious state of potentially being falsified.) Instead of embracing the science which discovered and validated the efficacy of the mind, a seven step program is being offered in its stead. "Mistakes were inevitable at the start of this. But we can’t learn without recognising them." Mistakes are inevitable. In the process of dealing with the unknown, yes. In the process of learning, yes. The ability to recognize a mistake relies on knowing what its converse is. In addition to "A Pro-Freedom Approach to Infectious Disease", I found "Shaming Recipients of PPP Money" and segueing into "The Comprachicos" a stark contrast to the monstrous reaction we see unfolding on the world stage.
  7. Last week
  8. dream_weaver, I don't have the capability on the virus side of things (and make no apologies) enough to question the epedimelogical- based policies - as this writer does https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-strong-was-the-scientific-advice-behind-lockdown ... ...but in total human terms - in terms of 'man's life' - one must question 1. how much 'loss' is due to the pandemic 2. how much to the lock down. And balance them by values gained and values lost: which is greater - and - how short and long term destructive/beneficial are the effects, together, in tandem? They, Covid-19 and the subsequent lock downs, have been accepted by populaces as mutually inclusive, cause and effect, as we see, but the one isn't necessarily contingent on the first. In the White Paper, Journo raises that a free nation and a first world nation should act in a certain way. Okay, and I argue that especially a free nation should have had no lock down. None, not ever. No matter how limited. Everything the government should focus on is to strongly advise and inform (and the obligations to look after people in state care, the homeless, etc.). The rest must be individual and voluntary. One's life should not be lived for non-specified others nor the others' for you. And spreading the responsibility of your life (by that morbid device of transmissibility) to others, the majority of whom are mostly healthy and/or young, and/or willing to take some reasonable chance with surviving the virus - so curtailing their lives, incomes, energetic outlets, aspirations, etc.etc., is the unquestioned and unquestionable sacrificial ethics at work here. As I view businesses failing and hear of 'small' personal tragedies unfolding every day -caused only by lock down measures, not the virus - I am sad and angry that others who could be fully living their 'lifes' and keeping business, commerce and industry continuously running are being surrendered for the sake, presumably, of those like myself who are older. I merely ask that no one lives for me. Absolute voluntarism is the only recourse. What we can see and will be with us for several decades is the financial and psychological and social fall-out and knock-on inflicting the many millions who presently fear for their health, AND fear of infecting others AND fear for their own futures. Those older or at higher risk, comorbidity, etc. need to take the full precautions and self-isolate, not everyone else. This virus while a new mutation belongs to a known family of viruses and it is/was always dubious of how can any virus "'be defeated". The costs have been enormous, beyond imagining, in that undertaking. The 'lock -down' is a blanket coverage solution that disavows individual lives, freedom and choices. In fact, is it not only the scientists who could come up with such a Grand Plan and only governments who could enforce it?
  9. PNC Ground Shifts to the Side of the Subject – Kant IV-e -5- Peikoff writes: “For the Platonic essentialism, the Law of Contradiction is primarily and irreducibly a Law of Divine Thought; in consequence of this, it is a law in a number of further senses: Because God’s Intellect regulates the structure of the created world, it is a Law of Existence (and thus, in the descriptive sense, a Law of Human Thought as one of those created existents); and because God, by an act of direct illumination, communicates His knowledge of the Law to finite minds, it is therefore known by human minds, and thus acquires its status as a regulative or prescriptive Law of Human Thought.” (1964, 163) In the Platonic line, as in others, the descriptive sense in which PNC is a law for the human mind is not the sense in which it is a norm for the human mind. The descriptive sense is afoot upon saying such things as “geometrical proofs are one thing, and dialectic is another” or “proof of the irrationality of the length of a diagonal of a square to its side is one thing, and the Pythagorean theorem is another” or “twelve is one thing, and five plus seven is the same thing.” How is PNC given to the human mind as a norm, in the Platonic line? It is not a norm in God’s mind; that mind cannot violate the law or make any other sort of error. How does conferring PNC as descriptive law on all existence, including the human mind, confer PNC as a norm for the human mind? Enduring distinctness of what is and is not included in a class of things is taken to be a good thing by Platonists. Constant, distinct ideas are desired over ideas Platonists think could arise based only on the mutable realm of sensory experience. As Peikoff observes, Plato’s dialogues are explicit only about the human innateness and normative aspect of universal Forms. Later Platonists would add the innateness and normative aspect of subject-predicate relations between essences or classes (1964, 5n10, 30n80, 50). Platonists have it that PNC is clearly the way of things we cognize only in the intellectual realm of Forms and their relations; in the mixed, human realm of matter, sense, and intellect, PNC becomes a standard of inquiry, an aspiration.[1] For the Platonist, that standard can be available to us only by being innate with us. “How . . . can sense-perceptions suggest standards to which they do not themselves conform unless, as I should maintain Plato himself argues, a knowledge of those standards is innately within the mind? In virtue of what can a mind recognize the deficiency of the objects of its perceptions and transcend them, if it has no knowledge—even in unconscious form—prior to or apart from its perceptions?” (33n82). Platonists such as Leibniz and Cudsworth maintained that PNC must be operational in us to some degree in order for us to be thinking at all (10–12, 207–8). This does not land them, I say, in the predicament of Kant of having principles such as PNC necessary for thought proceeding at all, yet violation of the principle possible in our thought. The pre-Kantian Platonists have a hard-and-fast division of (i) the realm of eternal essences and eternal truths and (ii) the material, mutable world, in which we must bumble along consciously trying to adhere to the principles such as PNC in our thinking. By contrast, Kant has only his anemic Platonic gesture to a division of pure general logic and applied general logic joined with his untenable assertion that the latter with its empirical factors in thought is the sole place and factor of any logical errors. (To be continued.) Notes [1] Peikoff 1964, 43–45, 50–59, 138, 146–47, 154, 163, 188–211; 1967, 95; 1982, 17–18, 110; 1991, 29, 145–46, 158; 2012, 23–24, 27. References Peikoff, L. 1964. The Status of the Law of Contradiction in Classical Logical Ontologism. Ph.D. dissertation. New York University. ——. 1967. The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. In Rand 1990. ——. 1982. The Ominous Parallels. New York: Stein and Day. ——. 1991. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. New York: Dutton. ——. 2012. The DIM Hypothesis. New York: New American Library. Rand, A. 1990 [1966–67]. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Expanded 2nd edition. New York: Meridian.
  10. Amidst media hysteria over sharp rises in confirmed corona cases in Texas and Florida comes commentary by Matt Strauss. The Canadian physician and medical professor speaks of the deafening silence about Georgia -- which also dared defy respectable blue state opinion by reopening for business. Strauss's City Journal piece reads in part: Image by Victor Diaz Lamich, via Wikimedia Commons, license. On April 21, the Washington Post called Georgia "America's No. 1 Death Destination." On April 29, The Atlantic declared the state's early reopening an "Experiment in Human Sacrifice." On April 30, The New York Times was a bit stodgier, saying merely that Georgia had "Screwed Up." After two months, though, Georgia remains open, and its Covid death rate stands at 27.2 per 100,000 -- well below the U.S. average of 39.7 per 100,000, and eight times lower than the state of New Jersey. ... ... Absent an effective vaccine or transformative treatment, and given the economic devastation of long-term lockdowns, why not focus public-health efforts going forward on the vulnerable, and allow young healthy people to resume life, taking certain precautions? This is what Georgia has done. Governor Brian Kemp lifted the statewide lockdown on April 30 but ordered persons over 65 and the "medically fragile" to continue sheltering in place. This policy continued until June 11, when healthy elders were let out. Indeed, cases of Covid-19 have been increasing in Georgia since about June 11, with a rapid upward inflection of the curve coincident with ongoing Black Lives Matter street protests and increased testing capacity. If these new cases are found predominantly in young healthy people, or are a function of increased testing rates, we may hope that they will not yield an increase in daily Covid-19 deaths -- and bring the state closer to herd immunity. [links in original, bold added]As best as I can tell, Florida's governor has pursued similar policies to that of Georgia, and Florida's new cases are occurring primarily among a less at-risk age cohort. As I noted yesterday, time will tell whether Florida will look more like Georgia or New York, but my money is on the former, and I fully expect to hear absolutely nothing about it from our negligent-at-best news media. -- CAVLink to Original
  11. A Pro-Freedom Approach to Infectious Disease is a good start, but not radical enough. This universal gist of the anger expressed certainly does concretize many effects expressed by an empty floor of an office building, and the frustration of a government that while's its hours away discussing 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin' (heavily paraphrased). Rather than being radical, Vusi Thembekwayo was being 'rantical' (almost his own words.) In both cases, the respective media reach their targeted audiences, and probably a little beyond. Which offers more immunity to the constant barrage aimed at the destruction of reason?
  12. I will challenge you on that (mainly in regards to one's own perspective or experience of self because the above statement my apply to others experience of you(as a self)). Let us say, one day you wake up and you have lost memory of a lot of your past. Do you not have a self? Are you not yourself? Did you lose part of yourself or all (as in you are a completely different self) Or, you simply lost your memory, you are fully intact, an "I". I think you would agree, that you still have an "I" that decides, observed, etc. Does the law of identity not apply to "I", as in you lost a bunch of your memory, yet you still have an "I"? The same "I" as before. The other question would be: If there are small "I" and a large "I". That "I" that never changes in me through all the memories, vs. At 10 am I am NOT hungry At 12 I am hungry Same I, but a different experience of the world. But, after the huge meal, some will say, that was a different me that ate the food because I am so full right now, I could puke. Don't tell me about hungry. I don't even know what that is. And Finally, there is the self that you never see that other see. They see your twitch on your face while you don't notice. They see you slight frown of surprise while you were trying prevent them from knowing. And they know how loud your snoring is but not you.
  13. I'm not sure this was covered yet. I think of consciousness as specifically general awareness with mental states. A process, as was mentioned before. Self in this context would be the entire history of that conscious activity. Memories of your life, history of mental states, cognitive development, things like that. A self would be more complex, because it requires directed thinking. A relatively simple consciousness like a beetle can be vaguely aware of things like the presence of food, but it doesn't direct its thinking in terms of values or memories.
  14. The American news consumer could be forgiven for thinking the guy who couldn't see the forest for the trees was in an enviable position. (Image by Zbysiu Rodak, via Unsplash, license.) In an age when it seems that every major media outlet, left or right, politicizes everything, it can be helpful to follow the odd contrarian -- in addition to hearing both "sides" and paying attention to experts, of course. Regarding the corona pandemic, which is neither the left's Armageddon nor the right's hoax, my favorite contrarian has been Michael Fumento, and he recently put out three new columns focusing on various aspects of media coverage of the epidemic. Of these, my personal favorite is the one linked above at three, which appeared a few days ago in Townhall Finance. It discusses the recent upsurge in cases, as well as some of the lurid coverage of complications alleged to be due to the new disease:We also saw lots of attention given to, as a Washington Post headline put it, "Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19 ... dying of strokes." Turns out it was essentially based on a study comprising five (5) people. A later wider analysis concluded (translated from Spanish) "Stroke does not appear to be a major manifestation of Covid-19... As testing has expanded from the clearly sick to persons with no symptoms, we're getting more headlines like: "Coronavirus is infecting more young people in their 20s and 30s... " Right. That's the way it works. And the game continues. Now the Florida Sun-Sentinel breathlessly informs us that two people who tested positive for COVID-19 have appendicitis. With "only" 250,000 Americans getting that disease annually and 2.3 million positive for coronavirus, it cannot possibly be sheer overlap. [links in original, format edits]Regarding that five-person study: Three of those had comorbidities that put them at risk of stroke. Fumento notes another couple of egregious cases of the media incorrectly attributing the deaths of young people to the disease. These are all helpful reminders of the poor quality of American journalism overall. That said, Fumento isn't flawless or completely objective. I've already dinged him for pooh-poohing models as such -- which FiveThirtyEight has since started making available for perusal. And regarding this last batch of articles, my main reservation is that his discussion of how lockdowns may or may not be effective is flawed in a similar way to his discussion of models. From the piece linked at column above, we have:And inevitably the media ignore rising testing in favor of the explanation they presumed from the start, as with "Alarming Rise in Coronavirus Cases as States Roll Back Lockdowns." It's merely synchronous. They were convinced through confirmation bias or whatever that lifting lockdowns would lead to increased cases and their bias has been seemingly confirmed. [link omitted, bold added]I oppose lockdowns (and agree with this editorial), but strongly suspect that they probably overall reduced transmission rates. One could more effectively critique coverage of the increased number of cases by conceding this point and noting that case number increases should lag the end of the lockdowns -- and note that the increased number of cases is, in many places, among a younger (and less at-risk) population and would likely have been missed altogether without the better testing availability we have now. And speaking of lagging indicators, hospitalizations and deaths from the localized outbreaks will be the proof in the pudding. I wouldn't feel entirely comfortable calling the "second wave" a "scam" (as Fumento does at column above) -- although I wouldn't call it a "second wave," either. I have reasons enough based on my age and family background to be concerned about this virus, and will be especially interested in seeing how the outbreak in my home state of Florida plays out. Whatever his faults, I am grateful to Michael Fumento for exposing some of the more ridiculous claims about this disease I keep hearing. In the meantime, I'll continue adding my own grains of salt to whatever I hear from him, the media, and even the experts -- many of whom really undermined their own credibility by changing their tune about social distancing the moment there came a left-wing cause masquerading as a call for racial equality. -- CAVLink to Original
  15. The true meaning of "locking down", from a South African and of the contemptible SA govt. , but the gist is universal: https://www.facebook.com/VusiThembekwayoPage/videos/772639926813919/?fref=mentions&__xts__[0]=68.ARCQmnGyj7CowWO4x8SMStgZi5W3irDtcy7wPQniBaeRM53mqp7xK3VbVfQAr0tZpfsF4CdDYsFEk8up2epq9oF-R31JeMkOHSQ8xBY5cWAiOth8Fgiu5WWL0RbLur3zZykmduBbiQUES0c7sDiUzi5mgeGCOhDyfdTauwtPLiquK-45upocA54scZ61S9PAKjx_v78HJYcbx_mIZoAMIhX2ut_G1tDTjUoMWlQffZBvxcmb8aFm-jGNydB0a8DV69cyeefmil6RNHr2UFhToc5h0TxxRUMYzYPsHrcSg4q9746Zoc1QaGg83AonvNfmlnEiGfRobAcmhZnkqdyAwNa8JmGBMw&__tn__=K-R
  16. Image by The National Cancer Institute, via Unsplash, license. Over three months ago, government officials across the country started locking things down in a panicked response to the beginning of the corona epidemic. These lockdowns were sold to the public as a temporary measure to keep from overwhelming hospitals. But we all know where that went, as someone from Illinois quipped on Twitter: "Day 110 of 15 days to 'flatten the curve.'" This is bad enough, and I am glad that the good folks at the Ayn Rand Institute have argued in editorials and at length that a major part of preparing for the next pandemic will be defining the role of the government ahead of time. But the problem is much bigger than that: Our government has played the role of central planner for so long that nobody bats an eye anymore -- much less offers an alternative. Our educational system is a case in point and the epidemic has just given us a stark example. Ever since the early stages of the epidemic, the schools have been closed. Locally closing schools for a short time is a common method of dealing with disease outbreaks. But children do not appear to be as susceptible to this disease or as prone to spreading it as adults. Keeping the schools closed -- indefinitely and everywhere -- makes no sense as a policy: The government shouldn't continue such school closures as a means of controlling the epidemic. This question is complicated by the fact that our education sector is mostly socialized. Even with a proper policy regarding the epidemic, we have the government improperly running the schools, and so we have news stories like, "Florida Department of Education Orders Schools to Reopen to Students 5 Days a Week in August," and what a top-down, one-size-fits-all solution it is:Those requirements include ensuring services that are legally required for all students, such as low-income services, English language learning and accommodations for students with disabilities are all maintained next school year, the order states. That means that the only option for schools to not be physically open in August is if local Department of Health officials say schools cannot open, according to the emergency order. The order also means that school districts cannot schedule certain students to spend part of their time in school and part of their time at home, as educational leaders in several First Coast counties have indicated they are considering. Every student must have the option of being in school five days a week. [bold added]This might sound relatively harmless, and even flexible, in the sense that the order isn't forcing all the students -- say children whose parents are high risk or not convinced that children don't spread the disease -- to physically attend school. But it does override some slightly more flexible plans at the county level, such as the one my county has proposed that incorporates students being in classes part-time during periods of increased spread of the virus. The state plan removes that from the table, which would probably result in pressure on the county health department to close the schools completely during those times. So we have an order that sounds like it forces every public school student to attend class in a building in the fall, but doesn't -- and that sounds like it will keep schools in session, but probably won't. So, on top of the many crimes of a government-run education system, we now see what little creative thinking and flexibility there still was being quashed by top-down planning. Probably the strangest part of this "emergency order" is the following:The emergency order comes the same day President Donald Trump posted a tweet emphatically stating "SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!"The government shouldn't be running schools at all, nor should it be operating anything by decree. Interestingly, even though Trump's general sentiment happens to be right here, the wrongness of rule by force is on full display: This loyalty-signaling decree actually will make it more likely that schools will end up closed altogether in some parts of Florida, if the epidemic becomes unmanageable there. This is but icing on the cake. The real crime is that so many parents have been lured by price or forced by taxation into these schools, which were (and will) always be insulated from market forces and subject to the whim of bureaucrats. The fact that these same parents will be made less able to plan their time is a direct result of this centralized control and the lack of options caused by the existence of government schools in the first place. (It's hard to compete with "free.") Forcing all schools to open is not fundamentally different than forcing them all to close. The real solution is to free the schools to operate as best as the needs and judgement of the parents and students at each particular school indicate, along with the freedom enjoyed by paying customers in any other free industry to seek alternatives when they are not satisfied. -- CAV P.S. This reminds me of how conservative states deal with the question of labor unions. Rather than leave companies and employees free to unionize or not, they interfere with freedom of contract in the opposite direction, in the form of "right to work" laws. Link to Original
  17. SL, Poetically said, I think the poetic manner is a singular way to condense and express this unbelievable totality of life and one's life's existence. There are wonders here, how this animal made of star-stuff could become consciously rational and aware of its consciousness which ~almost~ seem mythological or religious. "Lest we be mythologizing ourselves" - of the species and of the individual being, I don't know of how one cannot. Obviously, without the supernaturalism. That autonomous "I" unique to you was who could observe, will to think those things, question them and marvel. This recalls, I like that old "You are a child of the universe: no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here". We are "right" to be here and right for "here", without any intention of the Universe. And another, from that song: "I sing the Body Electric ... I toast to my own reunion, when I become one with the Sun".
  18. Warning: The following is to be taken as poetic rather than literal... Religio - re connect or re-linking back Identifying the self with the universe, or the planet... is in the direction of mythical or religious thinking... because although you are in and of these things, you are not identical with them... being unseparated from them and indeed embedded in them.. it is a natural direction in which mystical thinking points... we are star stuff... made from elements formed in supernovae... in a literal "tree of life" billions of years old... each a node on an unbroken branch of ancestry and direct physical, chemical, biological causality ... the eyes, ears and minds of the Earth, the solar system... this is religion and myth... and so perhaps such is going too far. So too perhaps, identifying the self, the "I" with the whole person, an undivided individual, is mythical thinking. Those far flung parts of our physical bodies not under voluntary control even indirectly: secreting, pumping, and processing, just as the stars whirl, the planet spins, and the continents drift. So too, identifying the "I" and "self" with the body is going too far into myth and religion. So too even with identifying "I" with the whole of the brain and its doing, in identifying with the whole of its processes... where so much occurs autonomously, in the background, subconsciously, or in the depths of sleep. So much is unbidden and out of our conscious control that we should treat them as foreign as all the rest... lest we be mythologizing ourselves... and such would be going too far. Perhaps finally then we might hold onto the "I" as only that tiny portion of all that which is the first-person view of willed conscious experience... whose range of will is a feeble and fleeting "focus or not"... perhaps a rejection of anything mythical or anything religious is to identify only with that one little spark and its feeble range of direct causative power... And yet there is room for something more akin to mythologizing the self... perhaps... for that tiny spark can be the root cause of whole civilizations, and one day, cause continents or even planets to move ... and perhaps there also is room for a re-linking to those things with which any "I" participates and is enmeshed: in a complex relationship as literally as old as time and as wide as the universe... identifying the "I" and the "self" with the Objective experience of the nigh infinite whirling whole through but one of many of its utterly unique center points about which it all goes round and round and round.
  19. "We'll probably all get Covid - 19 and keep getting it". https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/26/the-lockdown-is-causing-so-many-deaths/
  20. This question rears its head once again... and perhaps its root cause lies in what we intuitively conceive knowledge as consisting of... but again there seems to be a desire by many laypersons and contemplative persons, to have "philosophy" refer to more than the study or science of enlightenment or Cartesian knowledge, but to refer something wider, including ... for lack of better wording... all "knowledges" and "awarenesses" of all things which touch upon human experience. This thing, is the thing they think "philosophy" is or should be directed at... I tend to think philosophy is narrower... and although I vacillate from time to time... are those other "knowledges" and "awarenesses" touching upon our experience, properly specialized pursuits, or is philosophy more than the science of knowledge? IS the study of the nature of man more specialized... i.e. ARE ethics, and politics, although historically "branches" of philosophy properly specialized studies based on Sophia but not as such included in the ambit of the study of Her? I vacillate yet again...
  21. Those who study the works of Ayn Rand will sooner or later become familiar with the idea of unit-economy, that is, of concepts enabling man's mind to increase its awareness of the world far beyond what it would be able to juggle at the perceptual level. Regarding the latter, Rand spoke of the "crow epistemology," a limitation in our ability to function at the perceptual level. Her student, Leonard Peikoff, puts it this way: Image by Jesse van Vliet, via Unsplash, license. This experiment illustrates a principle applicable to man's mind as well. Man too can deal with only a limited number of units. On the perceptual level, human beings are better than crows; we can distinguish and retain six or eight objects at a time, say -- speaking perceptually, i.e., assuming we see or hear the objects but do not count them. But there is a limit for us, too. After a certain figure -- when the objects approach a dozen, to say nothing of hundreds or thousands -- we too are unable to keep track and collapse into the crow's indeterminate "many." Our mental screen, so to speak, is limited; it can contain at any one time only so many data. Consciousness, any consciousness, is finite. A is A. Only a limited number of units can be discriminated from one another and held in the focus of awareness at a given time. Beyond this number, the content becomes an unretainable, indeterminate blur or spread, like this: ///////////////////////// For a consciousness to extend its grasp beyond a mere handful of concretes, therefore -- for it to be able to deal with an enormous totality, like all tables, or all men, or the universe as a whole -- one capacity is indispensable. It must have the capacity to compress its content, i.e., to economize the units required to convey that content. This is the basic function of concepts. Their function, in Ayn Rand's words, is "to reduce a vast amount of information to a minimal number of units ...." [bold added] (Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, by Leonard Peikoff, p. 106)The above is easy enough to grasp with low-level concepts, such as table or chair or human being, but we can (and do) also abstract further from concepts (correctly formed or not):You have no choice about the necessity to integrate your observations, your experiences, your knowledge into abstract ideas, i.e., into principles. Your only choice is whether these principles are true or false, whether they represent your conscious, rational convictions -- or a grab-bag of notions snatched at random, whose sources, validity, context and consequences you do not know, notions which, more often than not, you would drop like a hot potato if you knew... You might say, as many people do, that it is not easy always to act on abstract principles. No, it is not easy. But how much harder is it, to have to act on them without knowing what they are? [bold added]Having briefly thought about how we form and why we need abstract ideas, it is a worthwhile exercise to consider the ideas of government in general (and police in particular) in light of recent events. Let's start with Ayn Rand's pithy, principled summary of what we saw in Seattle, which she foresaw decades ago:Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: ... a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare. But the possibility of human immorality is not the only objection to anarchy: even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government.[bold added]And now, let's hear an update on the very predictable results of our most recent experiment with anarchy, as told by a couple of journalists:[O]nce they created a police-free zone, they immediately had to deal with all those issues and more -- with only the donated time and supplies of fellow protesters, who still had day jobs. With police absent from the 6-square-block area, the experiment spun out of control, with accusations that it ended up causing exactly what it had aimed to stop: more violence against Black people. [bold added]If anarchism -- like socialism -- fails every time it is tried, why do people keep trying it? Because neither their proponents nor, frequently their would-be opponents -- who should have an advantage in any debate -- really know what government is or what it is for. And that is because they have failed to form valid principles for understanding how a society must be organized to be successful. (In addition, opponents who are absolutely correct may fail at persuasion for a variety of reasons.) It is worthwhile to consider this in light of something else Rand said about concepts:The formation of a concept provides man with the means of identifying, not only the concretes he has observed, but all the concretes of that kind which he may encounter in the future. Thus, when he has formed or grasped the concept "man," he does not have to regard every man he meets thereafter as a new phenomenon to be studied from scratch: he identifies him as "man" and applies to him the knowledge he has acquired about man (which leaves him free to study the particular, individual characteristics of the newcomer, i.e., the individual measurements within the categories established by the concept "man"). [italics in original, bold added](Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, by Ayn Rand, pp. 27-28)It is the same with concepts like society and government: Many people do not have these things properly conceptualized, and so do "study" such phenomena from scratch, essentially by trial-and-error. And so, where concepts would save an individual's mental capacity, they could also save an individual or a whole society time. (And, in this case, unnecessary bloodshed.) Rather than go straight to "tear down the system" (or "defund the police," whatever that's supposed to mean), a proper approach would be to consider what "the system" actually is, what part(s) of it we need and why, and how to reach what we need. Even in a case where a system needs tearing down, doing so is worthless without already having a positive alternative in mind. "History repeats itself," need not be a pronouncement of doom. It is only a description of what happens when, out of ignorance or poor thinking, individuals attempt to solve universal problems without recourse to universals. Our society needn't reinvent or rediscover the police or government. The knowledge is already there and there is a correct and productive way to think about the problems it addresses. And, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, there are people out there who would be selfishly and gratefully receptive to learning more about both. -- CAVLink to Original
  22. Just to confirm, isn't "I" self? If so, I is a power, or "the power". Based on that definition. "I", implies "the power". (in me (but that may be redundant)) It has interesting psychological effects. Also, to be selfless is to be powerless. I was just entertained by it, not making any assertions here.
  23. This was pretty comprehensive and well done. A Pro-Freedom Approach to Infectious Disease https://newideal.aynrand.org/pandemic-response/?utm_source=ARI+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=759db4061d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_02_09_01_03_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3753df5893-759db4061d-289411181
  24. Sorry for the errors: The third sentence should have omitted "An attribute such as" and "it" should be "its". The second sentence in the third sentence should begin with "Her" not "Here". The last sentence should begin with "They" not "The".
  25. Ayn Rand argued it was a mistake to appeal to the irrational, that it was not possible to do so. As events unfold around the world, elements of the good and the bad can be found by those who look for them. While listening to Galt's Speech, the part where the world without mind was the product of the 'virtues' of those who had brought it about comes to mind. Causality had two attributes distinguished, one a subset of the other. Inanimate matter acts in accordance with its nature. Living organisms in accordance with theirs. The elegance of her dividing it as such set the organism's life as the standard, and the values to pursue a function of the entity's identity. She wrote as she described Galt's addressing of a mind, not a group. She used language as she described Dagny consideration of it as a tool of honor to be used as if one were under an oath of allegiance to reality. In this way, she was a flame-spotter, not in the sense that Galt did with Wyatt, Danagger, and Daniels—rather in the sense expounded on in The Romantic Manifesto: by how the reader responds to it. Recently @Boris Rarden wrote an assessment that captures an essence of this element. After the San Sebastian mines were nationalized by the Peoples Republic of Mexico, Francisco had "hid in plain sight" his part in the strike to Dagny. The ray-screen, later, provided a mirage akin to what was described in Galt's speech. Galt, in his speech, purportedly tells the reader what he told his fellow strikers. This further underscores what Rand puts forth, that Atlas Shrugged is/was written, per Miss Rand's esteem, to show what could and ought be. I think she may just have been onto something there.
  26. Coronavirus - sloppy, biased NY Times Coronavirus - Trump on testing
  27. SR, There are concrete things that can only be identified by abstract thought. An example would be an electron or the magnetic field it generates if the electron is moving. An attribute such as the electron’s electric charge or it ability to produce a magnetic field are attributes. I suggest that faculties are just functional attributes. Functional items arise only in a biological setting. The mental is only within the biological. Those are positions of Rand (me too). As you know, in the ITOE, Rand called out a category of primary existents which she titled entities. Here other basic ontological categories called out there were actions, attributes, and relationships. In your quotation, she is saying that consciousness is an attribute, not an entity. By “certain sort of entity” she would mean certain animals. The attribute consciousness is a functional attribute, and such would seem reasonable to call faculties, continuous of a philosophic tradition of speaking of mental faculties. Faculties are powers, I’d say. If we spoke of the faculty of walking, we would not mean anything but the ability or power to walk. I imagine it’s just traditions of talking to typically say ability to walk or faculty of thought. It would be natural within Rand’s metaphysics, I’d say, to take primacy of existence to consciousness to be statement about a relationship. All of Rand’s fundamental categories—entity, action, attribute, and relationship—are existents. The latter three, as you know, are dependent on the first one, the primary form of existent. Rand took the solar system to be an entity. The biological consciousness-system could be an entity, and this is natural to call mind. It can be an entity set within a larger entity, just as the solar system. But mind is a functional system set within a larger array of functions of the animal. A self is that mind. Consciousness is sometimes not awareness of an awareness. It is just awareness of things not itself sometimes and most fundamentally. Some animals could have consciousness-selves without awareness of their consciousness-selves, I think. The question of how one identifies what constitutes one’s mind is something I’ll have to leave. For the answer, I’d look both to modern developmental cognitive psychology and to history of philosophy on the constitution of the mind: the Greeks, Arabs/Scholastics, early Moderns, right on through philosophers to now. Big project, that one! I think it is right to see consciousness as action, as attribute, or as to relationships. These fundamental categories do not have the exclusivity had by Aristotle’s categories. The can all be true characterizations of a thing, appropriate in different contexts of consideration.
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