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  1. The following is from a presentation of the Rand/Branden model of free will, by Onkar Ghate in the Blackwell A Companion to Ayn Rand. “Rand rejects any theory of volition that roots free will in a choice between particular items of mental content: whether to walk or ride the bus to work (selection between envisioned physical actions); whether to order the vanilla cheesecake because one is hungry or the bowl of mixed berries because one is on a diet (selection between desires or motives that will govern one’s physical actions); whether to admire Mother Teresa or Bill Gates (selection of va
    3 points
  2. MisterSwig

    Derek Chauvin Trial

    This trial was televised. I watched every second of it. I have a better claim than the jury. One, the jury had to remember testimony, they weren't given transcripts, whereas I could watch the testimony repeatedly on YouTube and also pause it to facilitate copious note taking. And two, statistically I'm probably more intelligent than most of those jurors, though I don't put much weight in statistics, so mostly my objective advantage comes from point one.
    2 points
  3. William and Scott: A contribution to get the ball rolling. Harking back to earlier days, and how much has changed and hasn't. One could start at the 25min mark if time-constrained.
    2 points
  4. I, too, am disappointed in the guilty verdict. Providing the epistemic justification requires being able identify and guide others through judicial landscape presented. Thanks for providing the summation. It was nice having it in one place, unfolding as you presented it.
    2 points
  5. I mentioned this upstream, but thought I'd show more of it here, hoping to encourage more of the scholarly-inclined to get this book and make it one of our tributaries to discussions here. (I personally cannot imagine why or even how I would think and talk philosophy questions---at Rand's level of address or beyond---without places for written exchanges such as here and without finding out what other hard-study and hard-thinking minds have come to on the issue and its surrounding issues throughout the history of philosophy and the contemporary scene of professional philosophers. It's just that
    2 points
  6. This is very insightful. I agree. It might be that after eons of observation and study of brains (ours, animals, and possibly artificial ones), once unimaginable technological innovations which allow us to see the brain at work in real time in all its complexity have been achieved, we might be able to see or confirm the riddle of free free will from a third person perspective, only by determining and distilling (controlling and isolating) those aspect of some pattern in ourselves when we are actually engaged in the use of our "free will"... by hook or crook will require the teachings of
    1 point
  7. ET, concerning your original question of this thread, I notice that if one is looking at various objects and their actions or behaviors or if one is interacting linguistically (as here or as in the Turing Test setup), one knows by one's thinking sort of looking that one has some freedom in directing that inquiry. Then too, one's bodily movements, the ones the medical folk would call voluntary, seem to straddle the external and the internal. One might know little about how one is directing from the brain to one's finger movements on the keyboard, but one has at once direct access to both (the i
    1 point
  8. 1 point
  9. Of course. You are asking a specific question, to be answered in ways that have already been done. And I know the difficulty of the question. You have the basic idea of what free will is, but if you want the deeper understanding, there is no reason not to go straight to the people who have already thought about this. I'm not even saying read hundreds of pages - if you look at the distinction about nutritive, vegetative, and intellectual, that should help a lot. Just keep in mind that unmoved mover doesn't mean the origin of mechanical action in an entity. The unmoved mover is the idea
    1 point
  10. The fentanyl was at a possibly lethal level, but the meth was at a low level. One problem is that Floyd might have developed a high tolerance for fentanyl. Also, he was not found at home. There were other known factors. The fentanyl intoxication, however, is substantial grounds for reasonable doubt.
    1 point
  11. Volition is associated with free will, rather than mere "purposefulness". Free will is a crucial concept not because it deals with "will", but because it posits that that will is "free". What does "free" mean? Free from what? Certainly not entirely "free" from "reality". That is impossible. Certainly not entirely "free" from the "identity" of the entity exhibiting it. Impossible. Certainly not entirely "free" from the context surrounding the entity exhibiting it. A non interacting thing unaware of its surroundings is "oblivious", not "free" in the in
    1 point
  12. Are you wondering how you can tell that something else is volitional? My best suggestion for now is to read De Anima by Aristotle, or part of it, or watch/read something about what he says.
    1 point
  13. http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Jetton/Scope_of_Volition.shtml
    1 point
  14. Ascent to Volitional Consciousness - John Enright (1990) Critical Faculty
    1 point
  15. It should be said that the rioting started up anew towards the tail end of this trial, prompting a whole new round of curfews across Minnesota. In conjunction with the severed pig's head at the residence of one of the witnesses (etc) it seems fairly obvious what happened here. Chauvin was attempting to deal with an unreasonable and uncooperative individual, who was already in the process of dying (please remember that his drug dealer feared legal liability for this). He used less force than would've been permissible under the circumstances and called an ambulance in the attempt to
    1 point
  16. Boydstun

    Form v. Matter

    Interesting. Seems Aquinas was getting himself an additional layer of analogical thinking beyond Aristotle. Thanks for notice of Aquinas’ prime/functional distinction. I do not buy that potentiality can be a substratum of change. (And down from Galileo-Descartes and Newton [and Einstein’s version], I take inertial motion as brute, requiring no cause nor substrate, only matter [non-zero mass], actual matter, and spacetime.) Potentials belong to and are followers on actualities, and they are delimitations on alterations of actualities. The notion of form that I find useful from philosophy (
    1 point
  17. 2046

    Form v. Matter

    Oh okay. Yeah the more I think about it, the more I think it would have to be matter-form composites as a whole applying to both mass and energy. Energy would have to be a way of conceiving of part of an already-enformed piece of matter, in other words a whole substance, in order to be a real thing capable of physical description. But really I don't know much about it. I'll check out the Handbook. The Oderberg book, Real Essentialism is something I've been reading, and had been influencing a lot of my understanding. But that's precisely what the early moderns did believe. A
    1 point
  18. The third option: they achieved nirvana.
    1 point
  19. "You could be wrong" is a proposition, and without evidence it's an arbitrary proposition. Typically people will point to man's fallible nature as evidence that "you could be wrong" about anything. But the capacity to be wrong is not the same as the possibility of being wrong. To say something is possible requires evidence pointing directly to that possibility. Let's say you're certain that you're reading my post right now. Is it possible that you're not due to your fallible nature? No, because being fallible doesn't exclude certainty, it simply excludes infallibility.
    1 point
  20. The public relations issue with Ayn Rand will ultimately be handled when they meet us, when they meet a person that has ideas the enhance their lives, that protect them against some of the nonsense they are trapped in. They change their view. When you unshackle people from ideas that won't let them thrive, they are willing to dump their negative view. They are grateful. But it has to come from a partner or friend, not an adversary.
    1 point
  21. I guess my argument for objective morality would go like this: First, establish objective reality. If your audience doesn't accept that, then there is no reason to continue. Then, I'd do the "argument from the hamster": If you want to keep a hamster alive and thriving, you have to follow certain rules. The same thing is true if it's a human instead of a hamster, although the rules are more complex. (Humans don't thrive in cages.) The same thing is true if the human you are trying to keep alive and thriving is yourself. That argument should be sufficient to d
    1 point
  22. The case for an objective morality can be made much more easily than Objectivist Morality. For one thing, if you have to say this is from Ayn Rand, you will be seen as a mass murderer. But that aside, the summary of Objectivism does not do it justice and you can't ask them to read multiple books essays etc., because they want it in a nutshell. The summary of Objectivist Morality is not that easy to communicate, otherwise the population of Objectivists would be far higher. The case for morality is not going to be morality defined as the guidebook for life but morality as in
    1 point
  23. That doesn't make sense to me. "Arguing specifically for Objectivist morality" is like proving that 31 is prime, whereas "arguing the more general, abstract point of whether an objective morality can exist" is like proving that there is such a thing as a prime number. Not only should the latter be easier, but it is a prerequisite for the former.
    1 point
  24. from page 24
    1 point
  25. "Good" is not perceptually given, it has to be conceptually grasped. The question might be used as in invitation to explore what objective means as posited in that context.
    1 point
  26. Boydstun

    Form v. Matter

    Related materials, recently acquired: The Unity of the Concept of Matter in Aristotle by Ryan Miller (2018) Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation edited by Jansen and Sandstad (2021)
    1 point
  27. MisterSwig

    Derek Chauvin Trial

    Here is an interview with one of the alternate jurors.
    1 point
  28. I disagree with this: Objectivism is closed and nobody can add to it. Keeping it closed protects it from people who would misrepresent it. It means that if somebody wants to know about Objectivism there is only one place for them to go: Ayn Rand, because she wrote it. This doesn't mean reality is fake or should be ignored or anything like that: I can, and must, still add to my knowledge, and this may include adding to my own philosophical ideas, if appropriate. After all, Objectivism says to base your ideas on reality -- not merely on Objectivism itself, and not on Ayn Rand.
    1 point
  29. I firmly believe this is because Rand was frequently irrational about personal relationships, and her closest professional associates emulated this. The consequences were significant, not just a matter of personal dispute. Nathaniel Branden made significant contributions but he was essentially thrown to the curb and all his contributions ignored and denied. I'm sure there are many more examples.
    1 point
  30. You seem to not like the simplicity of your analogies while I value it very highly. I had initially put in this half baked question responding to your original post regarding "a field" and I took my question out, afraid of confusing the issue, but I was pleasantly surprised to see you are using the word "path" like I was drawn to it. I had written: "For now, I am wondering if the field guiding your actions is a "field" of paths. A field of "methods". A field of "ways" (as in ways of doing). A field of possible actions which can also be seen as a field." I included this because o
    1 point
  31. Although I believe I have addressed this already, since I had something to add I felt responding to this might be appropriate. Notice for "socialist" ethics (yes that is an anti-concept) or "communist morality", the field in question is akin to the realm of what WE ALL must (notice invocation of force rather than choice) DO, which as judged by individual members of the body politic will often conflict. This is in the sense of the ONE commune being forced to be of ONE mind, it cannot be split into myriad directions no matter how diverse its individuals. Social metaphysicians, who al
    1 point
  32. I'm not going to speculate on the motivations of the jury members. I do know, however, that if I had been on the jury, I would have feared for my life, and I would have been deeply concerned by my vote's potential impact on the mob. Still, I like to think that I would have voted not guilty, because that's what I believe after closely watching the entire trial. If Chauvin didn't cause Floyd's death, then he's not guilty, plain and simple. And I don't think Chauvin caused the death. At least, I don't think the state proved that he did. I'm not a pathologist, so to a large degree I must
    1 point
  33. Rand took up the challenge to show that with rational, objective interests for each individual they do not come into conflict between individuals in their rational interactions. One could take an approach in which one held up as an objective moral guideline that any sets of interests resulting in conflicts of interests between individuals shows that there are not-objective, wrong items among their interests. To get traction one would still need to look at the various sorts of purported conflicts of interest and show where they go wrong, that is, specifically where there is some defect in
    1 point
  34. As I find more material about the subject matter I include it. This is from Atlas Society: "This principle of the harmony of interests is key to the Objectivist view of ethics and politics. Objectivism’s ethics of rational selfishness is not an ethics of dog-eat-dog because of the harmony of interests. A political system based in individual rights to freedom—i.e., capitalism— does not pit the “haves” against the “have-nots” because of the harmony of interests." "The bottom line is that conflict is good for us, in context, when participating is to the benefit of everyone involved."
    1 point
  35. Stephen, quoting from your post in RoR: "In 1984 I wrote an essay titled "The Moral Value of Liberty" which was published in Nomos. I need to quote something I wrote therein: Just as the self cannot be the subject it is without having been subject to external objects, so the self cannot be the value it is without external objects of value to it. And just as the self cannot be the subject it is without also being the self-reflective object it is, so the self cannot be the value it is without being of that value to itself. (V2N1 20) This is an expression of what I think of a
    1 point
  36. True. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rational Egoism – Function of Mind – Function of Ethics – Supported Choice to Live – Desire to Value – Altruism – Sacrifice – Value Out There – Visibility, Benevolence, and Egoism – a, b ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My earliest writings were in the 1980's -- Political and moral philosophy, all published in the magazine Nomos. The Moral Value of Liberty (1984) Review of The Evolution of Cooperation (1985) Rights, Games, and Self-Realization (1988) Introduction / Part 1 - Rights against Personal Injury for
    1 point
  37. It's helpful to concentrate on the positive and affirmative, which sets a measure for the NON-conflict of interests to be compared against. Where one has ascertained that the other is committed to rationality and places his reasoning above all, I think the rest follows. Medium and long term he is acting on reality and for his own self-interest - as you are. He must also be the beneficiary of his moral actions, which you'd not withhold from him identically as you'd not deny yourself and your own. There is recognition of your partner in rationality being of high value in himself, in his own righ
    1 point
  38. This also reminds me of the fact that even in the realm of tort law, rational people, be they juries or judges, may disagree as to the proper principles and/or their application to a specific case. All agree in the interests of justice. None have an overtly personal interest in the case. Can such disagreement be cast as conflict of rational interests? Should rational men be held to the same standard of Judges and Juries? Must rational men render judgement the same whether they find themselves on one side of the fact situation or the other? Edit: Do rational men seek anything other
    1 point
  39. It's not the most egregious loaded question I have ever seen, and they can even serve a purpose for the person asking besides trickery. But the prosecution didn't need to worry much about it because it was successfully addressed and didn't continue as an issue. Driving him to jail still wouldn't be the only possibility, another would be that he would die of a drug overdose anyway. Better to answer in a neutral way to avoid a bias of any sort: "well, I do know that if this didn't happen, he wouldn't have died in this way". There are hidden premises in the question as phrased. If you ask m
    1 point
  40. Week two began with prosecutor Mr. Blackwell calling Dr. Bradford Langenfeld. Langenfeld treated Floyd at the hospital and pronounced him dead after resuscitation efforts failed. Blackwell asked if Langenfeld was told whether Floyd suffered a heart attack or overdose. The doctor answered no. They covered several medical concepts such as asystole (flatlining) and PEA (pulseless electrical activity). The prosecution once again noted that "cardiac arrest" doesn't necessarily mean that Floyd had a heart attack. It just means that the heart has stopped functioning. Langenfeld discussed various trea
    1 point
  41. This is a better way to say what I was thinking. I was basically trying to say that initially there may be an appearance of a conflict of interest (the belief that there is a conflict of interest) but upon further reflection, we would recognize there is no actual conflict of interest (in which case the dispute between interests disappears). No we don't agree. I admit that I had a hard time saying what I was thinking, but the above paragraph should make things clear. When I say long-term or short-term, I should instead distinguish between the initial appearance of things (beliefs about
    1 point
  42. In evaluating a philosopher's conclusion or doctrine on something, you generally want to know what they mean when they say things. Otherwise it's a fallacy of equivocation. So if Merlin wants to say "well maybe on Rand's premises there aren't, but on my premises there are!" that is either completely uninteresting contribution to the discussion on Rand's philosophy, or it's a fallacy of equivocation. If Merlin is only playing around with his own premises, then he can do that without my participation. If he's making logical fallacies then he is unworthy of discourse. The question for everyone el
    1 point
  43. Both or any rational people take reality as their final arbiter, and so it may be said that their specific purpose/goals - and "interest"- can't and won't clash, in the final analysis. Two individuals apply for the same position or contract; or suitors vie for the one woman - they'll understand that the acceptance of their rival was due to a rational judgment (the one's abilities/experience/etc. were more suitable to an employer, or the girl placed higher value/love in the other guy) and so no conflict and animus is possible to them. Neither, in rational justice, would want or could tolerate t
    1 point
  44. "Basically stating" is not demonstrating anything. We see that E1 and E2 have plans that conflict. Most people have ordinary experience of conflicting plans among people in life. So now you need to show how this is a "conflict of rational interests" in Rand's sense in the essay.
    1 point
  45. I guess you could say that, but the question isn't so much about figuring out which the best goal is. Conflicts of interest in this context are not about mere clashing situations. It's more about zero-sum games, or the idea that if one person benefits another person is left worse off. Contrary to that, including when we are mistaken, your rational self-interest does not conflict with my rational self-interest. If we have to decide on a plan, it doesn't go against my self-interest to go with your plan instead. That assumes we actually thought about it and discussed it. While there is a conflict
    1 point
  46. Her philosophy was very much influenced by her exposure to Marxism, both in the Soviet Union and the U.S. It can be seen as primarily a refutation of it. Both are materialist in the sense that there is no appeal to the "supernatural", but a primary difference between the two has to do with epistemology (see Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology). Marx held an individual's ideas to be formed via a dialectic process between and individual and his class and it's relationship to the material means of production in any given age. Marx also saw history as unfolding to a finished st
    1 point
  47. Actually, I was comparing "100% certainty" (C1) to "certainty beyond a reasonable doubt" (C2). (C2 is "as good as it gets" when judging people. C1 is possible with other entities.) Sometimes. All conclusions that are beyond all doubt (C1) are also conclusive (C2), but not the other way around. Some conclusive (C2) conclusions are based on a standard of proof such as "beyond a reasonable doubt," that does not exclude all doubt. In the chain of reasoning that leads up to a such conclusive conclusion there may be unknowns such that the causal chain between perception and conclusion has
    1 point
  48. Betsy

    Judging Other People

    I think it is necessary to distinguish between two different concepts both denoted by the word "certainty." C1 is what is called 100% certainty, absolute certainty, or something that could not be otherwise without contradiction. C2 refers conclusions that may or may not be C1, but have such a high degree of probability that they are considered conclusive because they have met the epistemological standard of proof for the particular class of entities that are the subject of the conclusion. This is what I think you mean by conclusions having "full evidentiary support." My view is that
    1 point
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