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  1. 1 point
    Grames

    Questions About Concepts

    When you omit the measurements a quantitative measurement becomes qualitative. That is what a quality is: a certain range of measurements. The quality of red means (refers to) any of the various shades and intensities of color within the range of red, and it does so open-endedly (all reds near, far, past, future, known, unknown). Quality is itself a concept, not a concrete. The philosophical problem is relating concepts to concretes. Once a method of handling concretes conceptually is found, handling qualitative thinking is just more of the same. And I don't understand how any of this other grumbling by others about spatial thinking is at all well founded either. Space has measurements. Measurements of distance can be omitted to form concepts of directions, directions can be omitted to form the concepts of near and far, both types of measurements can be omitted to specify relationships such as "on top of" or "to the left of".
  2. 1 point
    Boydstun

    Questions About Concepts

    When the grandson was a toddler, we were at a restaurant, and I walked him around at one interval to a small Christmas tree with those old-fashioned colored lights. Pointing to a particular light, I asked him “What color is that?” He always answered correctly as I continued to point and cover the gamut on the tree. I’m pretty sure that the ability to identify individual colors in a grouped array is not originally the seeing those colors as individuals subsumed under the concept color. One has learned the proper relation of words blue and color in learning some language and sharing the world through it. (On cognitive developmental psychology of learning the various sorts of attributes of things, see 28-33 here.) I’d be pretty surprised if learning the distinction between entities and their attributes did not require learning subject-predicate relation in one’s native language. To be sure, with further cognitive development, on learns how to put any category in the subject spot, not just entity, but at first I’d bet a coke it’s only entity there. Learning concepts and language seems to be a hand-over-hand sort of deal. To reach our modern basic concept of force, basically Newtonian, took a lot adult thinking and controversy. Though push and pull are examples of it, earlier in intellectual history, for example, not only certain changes in state of motion required some sort of force, but keeping something moving (even in vacuum) was thought to require force. I imagine beginning to get the elementary concept of force (which happens to fall under the precised Newtonian one approximately) is already underway in learning first words. When a young child says ba (ball), turning it over in her hands, the object being isolated is known to have various ways it can be made to act by the child. Talk of “concept formation” (and “conceptualization process”) in epistemology did not begin with Rand. However, in epistemology, I think it’s better to stop using that phrase if one is not literally talking about cognitive development in time, and if one is talking about that, it must be informed by the relevant contemporary psychological research to have any serious traction. However, the epistemological business (a philosophical business) of offering ways of seeing how various sorts of concepts are organized in their relations to each other and to the things they are about is just fine, mighty fine. That is analysis, not mainly theory of the genesis of concepts, and we should stop calling it a theory of concept formation. The enduring fertile innovation of Ayn Rand in theory of concepts, I say, is an analysis: the proposal of a mathematical structure to concepts in their taxonomic relations.
  3. 1 point
    So when exactly did God not create the universe? A long time ago when there was no life or consciousness? Or a couple days ago when you were thinking up this topic? Maybe he created everything five seconds ago and our memories of yesterday are artificial implants. How constrained to logic and scientific fact is your concept of god? Because you don't need a dozen sentences to say that you can't create something ex nihilo. I'm just stressing the fact that the arbitrary is not true or false, so you can't prove it true or false. Some dork can always come along and throw arbitrary objections at you, like the universe could have been created yesterday with people and pets and politicians even. Also, you begin your formulation like this: You're dealing with "classifications"? In other words, abstractions. Your premise already assumes the existence of something that can form concepts. Furthermore, "classifications" don't exist outside the mind, so they have nothing to do with how a material universe was or wasn't created. You aren't starting with anything objective, not the real or alleged referrents of these "classifications," but the "classifications" themselves. Then you do switch to referrents, but treat them as if they were your earlier abstractions. And finally, if "God" is a "classification," what does it classify? That which did not create the universe? Well, lots of things didn't create the universe.
  4. 1 point
    So matter created God? Is God an Emergent property? I have never been able to prove the "absence" of god in this universe, because there has to be a God that is absent. And if there is no God, no "absent god" can be demonstrated/shown/proved. But it is easy to prove the nonexistence of omicience or omnipotence which I assume you have already been introduced to. But there are definitions of God that don't incorporate those traits as in the first mover. The only solid indication of the non existence of god is that the idea that god created this or that, started this and that, is an unnecessary complication in addition to being arbitrary. Existence exists is complete, demonstrable, already proven out of the box. But it seems that the attraction to the God concept is that the universe having no purpose, is an uncomfortable thought for some. In fact it can be a very disturbing experience. The idea of a God has a purpose that is unknowable to us cures that issue. The existence of God is an emotional requirement not a metaphysical entity observed. (there also are other psychological motivations to want God to exist).
  5. 1 point
    ARI Web event Sunday, February 23 Next Sunday, February 23, at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, Betsy Speicher—a longtime student of Objectivism who has been active in community groups and activism for many years—will share her wisdom on the subject of “How to Talk to Friends and Family about Objectivism.” This live Zoom call is part of a series of presentations and discussions being facilitated by ARI for those interested in spreading Objectivism through community group organization and activism. All are welcome to attend and participate in the discussion. Have you tried to discuss Objectivism with friends, family members, and co-workers? What happened? Did you or anyone else get angry, defensive, or frustrated? With the right approach, this can be prevented. Betsy Speicher, who’s been successfully promoting Objectivism for 58 years, will show you how by sharing some ideas and techniques from her book: The WHYS Way to Success and Happiness. The main idea of the book is that the secret of success is understanding the WHYS—that is, the reasons WHY things are what they are and do what they do. Betsy’s book shows how to figure out the WHYS. Then it has chapters on using the WHYS to find answers, be confident, improve your memory, master your emotions, reach your goals, solve your problems, be creative, raise terrific children, AND persuade people. The chapter on persuasion tells how to get people who disagree with you to change their minds. As one Amazon reviewer wrote: “I put Speicher’s technique to the test at a recent family gathering, during a heated argument about American foreign policy, and it worked. With a few pointed questions, I managed to get my stubborn brother to look at the subject in a whole new way.” Betsy is going to show you how YOU can confidently and successfully communicate YOUR controversial ideas. Join via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/9498782574 Or join by phone: 1 (408) 638-0968 Meeting ID: 9498782574
  6. 1 point
    MisterSwig

    Weird online TOS article

    If evil extorts values from the good, then punishing evil is rewarding the good. It is helping restore what rightfully belongs to the good. It is justice.
  7. 1 point
    The "broken units" problem is an aspect of the "problem of two definitions". I will make that link in the broken units thread (sorry for the epic necro). The problem of two definitions is covered by Peikoff in lecture 3 of "Unity in Ethics and Epistemology".
  8. 1 point
    dream_weaver

    Ayn Rand's official public notice

    This is a transcription of Miss Rand from her initial Columbia University radio broadcast from 11:00 to 16:35 minutes into the program. I am addressing myself to those who are genuinely interested in ideas, and who therefore, have an authentic desire to understand Objectivism. Those who are making an effort to fail to understand me are not a concern of mine. Please take the following as an official public notice: The only authentic sources of information about Objectivism are: my own works, the Objectivist Newsletter, a monthly journal dealing with the application of Objectivism to current cultural and political problems. The above public notice is necessitated by the fact that most of such comments on Objectivism that I have seen in print consist of outright misrepresentations and smears. Some of the misrepresentations may be unintentional, some people find it difficult to grasp new ideas, let alone to summarize them correctly. But most of the misrepresentations are deliberate, since an attempt to ascribe to a writer the exact opposite of her ideas can hardly be attributed to an innocent error. There are many such attempts. Those who created them, deserve them. If you do wish to understand Objectivism, the one helpful suggestion I can give you is this. Remember that the basic premises from which I speak are not the ones most people take uncritically for granted. It is precisely the basic premises of today’s culture that I challenge. Therefore, do not leap to conclusions and equate my viewpoint with somebody else’s, by assuming automatically that you have heard it before. You haven’t. For instance, do not equate my views with Nietzsche, or Herbert Spencer or Senator Goldwater. My views are not theirs and vice versa. So whether you choose to agree with me or disagree, do not set up a straw-woman. It is a futile procedure, which does not fool anyone except that man who attempts it. If you wish to disagree with me, you have to start by identifying my basic premises, and then refuting them—if you can. You have to take me up on the issues. None of my antagonists have done it so far, and, I venture to say, none ever will. I say it because the whole case of the mystic-altruist-collectivist axis rests on the evasion of basic issues, on never identifying their own base. Objectivism holds that: A.) Men must be guided exclusively by reason. B.) That man has a right to exist for his own sake. And C.) That no-one has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. In order to refute this you would have to admit and maintain that: A.) Man ought to be irrational. B.) That man is a sacrificial animal. And C.) That you seek to impose your own ideas or wishes on others by means of physical force. This is what you would have to admit, and then attempt to prove that you have a right to. You see all three of these premises dominating our culture and being practiced all over the world today, but you do not hear anyone admitting it openly. Instead, you hear such things as: A.) Rationality consists of recognizing that reason is impotent, or, an intellectual is one who denies the existence of the intellect. B.) To enslave men is to act for their own good, or, to slaughter men by the millions is the proof of one’s love for humanity. And C.) Freedom consists of obedience to the edicts of the government, or, to compel men to obey by means of physical force and violence constitutes a defense of liberty and entitles one to be called a liberal. Ladies and gentlemen, I could almost rest the entire case for Objectivism on this kind of pronouncements by my antagonists. The fact that they find it necessary to evade in such manner is one of the clearest [and?] least attractive evidences of the fact that the truth is on the side of Objectivism.
  9. 1 point
    I crossed my fingers that Mark Twain would return in 1985. Alas, it seems not to have happened. He hasn't appeared in 34+ years. 🙂
  10. 1 point
    Between Ben Domenech of the New York Post and psychologist Michael Hurd, who blogs at the Daily Dose of Reason, we have some bad news about our culture in snapshot form. First, Domenech contends that Joe Biden -- queue jokes about him taking his old boss's "lead from behind" literally -- has fallen victim to a process he helped create. Domenech starts with the irony that Biden bragged in the last Democratic debate about "almost single-handedly" keeping Robert Bork off the Supreme Court: Bork's defeat in the Senate at the hands of Mr. Biden and his colleagues was a turning point in many ways. One of the most significant ways was that it upended the standards for desirability in a judicial nominee. Pre-Bork, the most desirable thing was to have lots of experience so that senators would be convinced that the nominee was qualified for the job. Post-Bork, the most desirable thing became to have as short a paper trail as possible, so as to minimize the chances that a nominee's writing could be distorted or seized upon in a way that could ultimately derail the nomination. People haven't focused on it quite yet, but what we are and have been witnessing is a similar transformation in presidential politics. In presidential candidates, as with post-Bork judicial nominees, lengthy government experience has become a liability rather than a strength. [bold added]Domenech is absolutely right about this, and he elaborates a bit later: Image by Tarun Deep Girdher and Rana Swarajsinh, via Wikipedia, license. There is something, though, about the Democratic swoon for Messrs. Obama and Buttigieg that is particularly emblematic. It goes beyond the mere mechanics of campaigning or of opposition research. The short-on-experience candidates are the personification of judging on intentions rather than on results. They are the perfect representations -- Bernie Sanders, in a way, too -- of a party that prioritizes virtue-signaling over actually getting things done. [bold added]My only complaint with the above observations is that they don't go far enough. The Republicans went with a political novice in the last election, and their primary process, which Hot Air's Allahpundit observes "allowed Trump to pile up an insurmountable lead" isn't exactly built on the premise of thoroughly vetting anyone or carefully weighing alternatives, either. (The Democratic "debates" accomplish this in a different way: by everyone having (or pretending to have) views so indistinguishable we end up with things like all the candidates raising their hands as being in favor of medical care for indigent immigrants at taxpayer expense.) To begin to understand the significance of this bipartisan quest for a living, breathing embodiment of "none-of-the-above," we turn to Michael Hurd, who recently said: I think I finally figured out why Pete Buttigieg holds any appeal at all to Democratic primary voters. It's not because of who he is; it's because of who he isn't. [links omitted, bold added]And later: ... If you follow some of the things he has been saying over the last year, you end up pretty confident that he will, in the end, come out for things like the Green New Deal, nationalization of medicine, free college, economy-crushing tax rates and all the rest. And he did claim, at one point, that Thomas Jefferson references should be removed or renamed. If none of these things matter to Democrats, then they should have no problem voting for the socialist schoolmarm or the outright Communist, just as easily as Buttigieg. Maybe Mayor Pete's bland vagueness is a way for them to close their eyes to the destruction of their party and, quite possibly, the country. [links omitted, bold added]Our country has been sleepwalking from freedom to chains for generations, now, and the records of our uniformly lousy politicians are proof. And yet most people are too comfortable with our unstable mixed economy or too averse to thinking deeply about politics (which the mixed economy keeps making intrude our daily lives more and more each day) to think deeply about making a different choice than they have their entire lives. Voters sense something is wrong, but do not know or care to ask why. They evade the fact that all the unlikable people with bad records they reject were once young spouters of good intentions themselves -- and end up repeating the very same mistake. News flash: If everyone who runs on the same set of platitudes ends up with a bad record, consider the idea that it is the platitudes which are bad, having been put into practice and failing so many times. Until this changes, we will ironically have politics, which nobody wants to discuss seriously, taking up more and more of our daily lives because we keep electing people who tell us that they will take care of everything, and that they mean well. To propose to take even partial control of the lives of other adults is to propose to do exactly the opposite of what a government official should be doing. And it is not a good intention, no matter how nice the person making the proposal might seem. -- CAV Link to Original
  11. 1 point
    Went to the planetarium to listen to a talk on Betelgeuse. Afterward, in some small talk, the fact that Samuel Langhorn Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain (1835-1910), was born and passed away during years that Halley's comet had been visible from earth had come up. The internet is a marvelous resource in one regard, and can also provide plenty of distraction as well. A quick search for when Halley's comet has appeared in the visible skies of earth provide a history spanning from prior to 1066 until its anticipated return 2134. Utilizing the appearances provided searches can be created using any span indicated on the 75-76 year cyclical span. Combine this with the knowledge that historical figures are often listed with the year they were born and the year they passed away, keying in two consecutive appearances of Halley's Comet will provide the following. 1759-1835 1835-1910 1910-1986 The first batch provides a return that includes a print artist, Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759-1835). An illustration of his work can be found by clicking on the provided link. A second search provided "In memoriam Ernest Bueding (1910-1986). - NCBI", somewhat of a dead end usually for me, and "Customer reviews: Joe Owen, Seagrove N.C. ... - Amazon.com" linking to a book that perhaps has more appeal to folk that are related. Last, Samuel Clemens dates were punched in, and provided with two further potential follow through leads, Sydney Ringer (1835-1910) and Nelidov Alexandr (1835-1910), Russian diplomat, should that be an area of further interest. Speaking of distraction, this post was compiled with the recent blog and forum postings brought to the forefront by merjet kept in mind. Stand Out Of Our Light: #1, #2 & #3, as well as the sidebar dealing with the related reference to Diogenes, a funny philosopher, being duly noted here. A question that could be put forth on basis of what this started with is: What (other than the fact that they have all passed away) do Karl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759-1835), Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), Ernest Beuding (1910-1986), and Joe Owen (1910, 1986) have in common? Alex Trebek, I'll take Halley's Comet for $1000.
  12. 1 point
    merjet

    Diogenes, a funny philosopher

    https://medium.com/@ricosutioso/diogenes-the-beggar-philosopher-fdd71946f641
  13. 1 point
    The author of the op-ed, Garry Galles, wrote, "The main problem with understanding Ayn Rand’s position on this today is that modern usage of the term has eroded his meaning of altruism to little more than a synonym for generosity, so Rand’s rejection of the original meaning — the requirement of total selflessness — is erroneously taken as rejecting generosity. Portraying the modern usage as "little more than a synonym for generosity" is a stretch. A parent, human or another animal, caring for its young is often not mere "generosity."
  14. 1 point
    William O

    Ayn Rand and Computers

    @itsjames, the Ayn Rand Institute has an audio lecture course you can buy called "Charles Babbage and Induction in Computer Science" by Martin F. Johansen. It is Johansen's work rather than Rand's, but Johansen is influenced by Objectivism, and the course is very relevant to your interest in the history of computers. Very cool thread!
  15. 1 point
    Is "... liberty, Rand’s focus in politics” acceptable?
  16. 1 point
    merjet

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    The Knowledge Illusion #7
  17. 1 point
    merjet

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    The Knowledge Illusion #5 The Knowledge Illusion #6
  18. 1 point
    merjet

    Correspondence and Coherence blog

    The Knowledge Illusion #3 The Knowledge Illusion #4
  19. 1 point
    Thanks for the information, William, and the link. There is a bit more here from the wife of Laurence Gould.
  20. 1 point
    2046

    I am a bit confused...

    In Socratic fashion, in order to know how to normatively apply a concept, we have to know what your definition and meaning of those terms are. Socrates, being accused of impiety, asks Euthyphro "What is piety?" To which he responds (summarizing here), "That which pleases the gods," Socrates responds, "The gods disagree..." To which Euthyphro responds "That which pleases all the gods..." Socrates then says well that doesn't tell us what it is, and then gets some basic definition to work from. Rand has this idea of hierarchy and context, that you start off with a paradigmatic case and then develop a meaning based off that, then you obserbve other problematic cases or integrate it with your other beliefs, then you go backwards and refine it as needed. Again, summarizing here. So what facts of reality gives rise to the need for these concepts, what knowledge is already presumed by the time you get "honor," "pride," "traditions," and "cultural identity," and what context are you attending to when you apply it in the propositions like "I'm proud of my cultural identity." So we can start off with some initial meaning and then refine it from there. My initial thoughts are that honor and pride are proper virtues when applied to individualistic human flourishing, and not the nation-state as a whole. I think one can be proud of, or take pride in one's cultural identity insofar as that identity promotes the proper values that one has formed, in the general sense of "I'm glad we're doing this right," or "our polis (so to speak) is right for living in reality and functioning properly. This is good that it exists, and I am in it, as opposed to a different city." The honorable man then, is one that defends his city, but only insofar as it is right and promotes human flourishing. To the extent it doesn't, I would be inclined to say the honorable man is the critic, the reformer, the protestor. In the same way, I think there's invalid uses of this concept. If you're on a baseball team and the other members of the team make skilled plays that facilitate winning, you'd be "proud of them" in some sense. But you're not going to say something like "we have the same color jersey on, therefore I get credit for his good plays." It doesn't make sense to claim "pride for x" when you didn't contribute to or aren't a part of x, or on the basis of some nonessential, like "he is virtuous, he is tall, I am tall, therefore I am virtuous." Likewise, just simply being born in one human community versus another isn't a source of honor or pride, since they'd have to be achieved by your own character development and discipline.
  21. 1 point
    I've heard some proclaim that the basis of this was egoism, that as a creator she wanted spiritual recognition and ownership. Of course full on altruists and mixed or sloppy thinkers have a field day with this... twisting it into some kind of childish need for approval or akin to a rotter's lust for fame. A kind of grasping Greed in a realm of academia which should remain pure and untrammelled by it. In the beginning, unquestioning of the very basic premises Rand refers to, I remained confused... this doesn't sound like Rand. That because it isn't Rand. I think it is because of the very possible misrepresentations that she decided in order to both preserve the core philosophy and to defend what she actually thought that giving it a name was necessary and the most effective way to defend the ideas and her connection to them , and only them.
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