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  1. StrictlyLogical

    Honesty

    It think it tends to encourage a false dichotomy to claim that honestly (in the context of communication and not introspection) is something you either do for yourself or for the sake of others. This has been a sort of cultural and social undercurrent when pondering truth telling to others. It's very similar to the false dichotomy introduced in economics which asserts every transaction has a winner and a loser... that commerce is predation. We already know this is an incorrect assessment of commerce, and that wealth can be created (for both) according to a trader principle. Applying a transactional trader principle view to honesty in communicative contexts, helps to dissolve the false dichotomy. Mutual benefit can be built on voluntary intercourse. No one has to lose, and in fact you can choose when to transact and with whom.
    3 points
  2. I suggest that a machine—say, a learning machine such as an artificial neural network one—has not educed a human concept even if it has been designed to learn dimensions of similarity among a group of items and even if its groupings according to degrees of similarity along those dimensions are registered by measure values and even if a label for each of those comparatively similar-member collections were to be given by the machine, these distinguished collections would not be like human concepts, and for three reasons: (1) Human perceptual comparative-similarity groupings are made against a background of possible actions upon them and uses for them by the agent who is on his way to forming a concept. This is contemporary Ecological Psychology continuing its research down from James and Eleanor Gibson, who acknowledged that their leading idea of "affordances" in perception had been a gift from William James and John Dewey. Rand, Peikoff, and Kelley did not put enough emphasis on this aspect of perception. Rand did set out that while the human is learning what things are, he has a parallel assessment going on as to whether the item might be to be avoided or might be desirable. Rand once mentioned, correctly, that most concepts are amenable to definition. In my 1990 paper "Capturing Concepts" I proposed than prior to learning to make sentences, the toddler (all of us) embed our single-word utterances and concepts into action-schemata. To get nearer to human concepts, even the most elementary concepts, a machine probably would need to be a robot, an agent, given a set of values and their interrelations by human designers and given ability to register and assess affordances. Perhaps the lab at MIT has been working on this. (2) Human perceptual learning is as part of a process of development towards acquisition of discursive thought and communication. Single-word stage of human conceptual consciousness and the predicative multi-word stage are motivated very much from urge to more and more precise communication with other humans. With this motivation not attending machine learning, and coloring its concepts and their interconnections, I think machine concepts would be but a stick-man of ours. Indeed, getting outputs from the learning machine we desire does make the machine operations in some community with humans, though not directly with other learning machines. This condition and its profundity in human conceptualizing was silently passed over by Rand, but it should not be neglected in a fully realistic picture of human conceptual operations. (3) A machine able to learn comparative similarity groupings among items would be doing something that humans can do, though perhaps without the affordances and background sociality of human cognition concerning the items. Other analyses of similarity computations besides the measurement ones given by Rand have been set out in the psychological literature. One could program a machine to detect particular similarities using these various computational schemes, but unless the results have different advantages, I don't see how one could determine whether Rand's measurement-analysis of similarity was receiving some confirmation that it is the better. And in the case of learning machines, I'm unsure if it can be determined which of the computational schemes is doing the work in learning to sort. Further, to show such sorting capability does not show conceptual ability. If a test for conceptual ability could be shown—say, passing a Turing test—and it were shown that machines using Rand's measurement-omission scheme for forming concepts from similarity groupings were the most successful in the machine, then we might say Rand's distinctive idea concerning the nature of concepts has received some recommendation from trials in machines. But that is a big IF, and unless we take passing a Turing test as showing understanding (and using sets in knowing concepts and numbers!), we'd not want to conclude that the machine has human-like concepts at all. And between you and me and the fence post, I don't think understanding at all is possible without the agent being conscious and, therefore, alive.
    2 points
  3. I said appeal to, as in, request help or make others aware. Which is fine, but "saving the Ukrainians" isn't "doing what's best for Russia". Well yeah, authoritarian and autocratic regimes are not respected. This is a good thing. We already went over how it doesn't matter how many people consent, autocratic and authoritarian regimes are still not legitimate.
    2 points
  4. https://courses.aynrand.org/works/patents-and-copyrights/ Would you care to walk us through the article and point out where you imagine she digresses from the process of reason, step by step?
    2 points
  5. It is for Ukraine to chose - freely - what orientation to prefer, be it Russia, or the West, or something else.
    2 points
  6. Since when is Ukraine a western interest? Never. It is only a relatively western place from the perspective of Russia. Only the imperial conceptual framework that undergirds the American Empire can possibly construe Ukraine as a western interest. The point of being an empire is that expansion to the maximum possible limit is necessary to keep the currency flowing, and what defines the maximum possible limit is repeated failures when attempting further expansion. The American government has no business being as deeply involved in Ukraine as it is. The personal finances of American government officials are tied to Ukrainian finance schemes, so they make Ukraine into government business. It is corrupt. "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it". Mark Twain
    2 points
  7. Boydstun

    Honesty

    In his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785). Immanuel Kant maintained that “thou shalt not lie” is an absolute commandment. It is a moral law, not simply a practical rule, however universally applicable a practical rule might be. Its absoluteness is not due to it being handed down to and for humans by God, in Kant’s more Enlightenment sort of standpoint. Then too, It is not a moral law based at all on the life-nature of human beings and their circumstances in the world. Moral law is not empirically sourced, in Kant’s mature view, but is sourced in concepts of pure reason. Moral law, like Kant’s conception of laws of “pure physics,” is a priori. Moral law is a law for any rational beings, and when we human rational beings apply it, it is sharpened by judgments informed by experience, by relations of ends and the means to them in the world, and informed by cognizance of the many inclinations of human beings (4:389–90). “The metaphysics of morals has to examine the idea and the principles of a possible pure will and not the actions and conditions of human volition generally {principles of practical reason –SB} which for the most part are drawn from psychology” (4:390–91). His ensuing discussion of lying framed within principles of a possible pure will seems to have in view only lies told to presumptively innocent people. He considers specifically the lie that is told in making a promise that one does not intend to keep (think of borrowing money one does not intend to repay). Leaving the question to decision by practical reason, Kant observes, requires all the calculations of whether the gains from telling the lie outweigh the uncertain future troubles of reputation that may be consequent on the lie. Sticking to the practical maxim of not lying and making that a habit may be safer for oneself than to lie. Yet the practical, prudential maxim leaves uncensured, in Kant’s estimate, an occasional deviation from the maxim. Whereas, if acting purely from moral principle, purely, deliberately in dutiful conformance to reason concerned only with goodness of one’s will, one’s policy with respect to lying would be able to pass a certain test: an act can be truly moral only if one would allow that the act should become a universal law, meaning a law everyone follows, not only a law one follows oneself. This gives Kant’s notion of moral law a patina of objectivity. If one is truthful only from fear of being found out in a lie, one’s policy is not a distinctively moral one, only a prudential one, according to Kant. It looks to me, however, that Kant’s test certifying, or anyway indicating moral character in one’s honesty is shaky on three counts. Firstly, its is a test by existential life considerations, and Kant has told us that for principles of a good will there must be no such considerations, else the absoluteness is lost, he thought. Such considerations are only allowed to enter into applications of the a priori principles according to his announced program. Secondly, one who has reached a policy of uniform honesty for merely strategic reasons, calculating expected consequences of dishonesty, could pass the universal-law test just fine, and it’s hard to see how that success alters at all the status of the policy as wholly strategic, that is, how passage of the test converts the policy from strategic to moral in Kant’s sense. It looks like Kant really assumes one could not come to such perfect uniformity for a policy. Rather, from mere considerations of expected social consequences of lying, one would come to the conclusion, he might allege, that although one could hope it were a general law that people were uniformly honest, the best arrangement resting on such grounds would be that everyone else is constantly honest, but that secretly, oneself is not. Such a person could not sensibly hope that that policy were a universal law (see also Critique of Practical Reason 5:27–28, 44). True, but I say that that argument would be prejudging the eligibility of strategic, consequentialist policy for being moral. Were Kant thinking along that line, his universal-law sorting mechanism is stacked and provides no traction for sorting the prudent from the moral in the sense Kant aims to have the distinctively moral. I think Kant’s system in which honesty is to be a virtue and dishonesty a vice without consideration of how dishonesty (say, making a loan you don’t intend to repay) affects others or affects yourself (beyond effects on goodness of one’s will) is absurd and stays outside the arena from which moral principles can seriously be drawn. Kant’s idea that the purpose of morality is to make a good will is wrong-headed and without a good supporting argument. Knowing what is a good will is in truth dependent on experience of good behaviors (contrast with 4:441). (Similarly, knowing what makes one worthy of happiness, a job of morality in Kant’s view, e.g., at 6:482, is in truth dependent on empirical experience in specific causal relations.) Moreover, his replacement of God as the source of the absoluteness of the virtue of honesty by human reason is a joke. He fails to show that a good human will and the nature of human reason are the source of any such virtue of honesty. He assumes they are, and he can’t keep from again and again presuming what needs to be shown throughout his rumination on moral theory in his mature period. Kant fails in the enterprise of identifying what it is that is the arena of distinctively moral qualities, though he hovers around the correct arena. I was and remain persuaded by Nozick 1981 that that arena is value-seeking selves and responsiveness thereto, which comes to a portion of what Rand took for the arena: choices and actions determining the purpose and course of a human life (1962 – “The Objectivist Ethics”). I hold, with Nozick (and uncontroversially), that value-seeking selves are the fountainheads of the lives they are making. Unlike Nozick 1981, PHILOSOPHICAL EXPLANATIONS, I do not take organic unity as a free-floating basic of reality on which value lies. Rather, organic unity, in making a life or a work of art is a simulacrum of the character of life. Kant was hovering in the vicinity of the arena sourcing moral aspect in the world in his idea that persons—which is to say rational beings—and persons alone, are ends in themselves. They are ends in themselves, in Kant’s picture, because they are able to pursue ends given to themselves purely by their reason independently of their inclinations tugging them this way and that.Though given to themselves from themselves, principles of objective moral conduct are received as obdurate, given law. Such principles are valid and necessary for all rational beings and for every volition. They are absolute, not conditional, necessities, and they arise from the one thing with absolute worth, and that is: that which is an end in itself. “I say that the human being and in general every rational being exists as an end in itself, not merely as a means to be used by this or that will at its discretion; instead he must in all his actions, whether directed to himself or also to other rational beings, always be regarded at the same time as an end” (4:428). “Who has it in mind to make a false promise to others . . . wants to make use of another human being merely as a means, without the other at the same containing in himself the end. For, he whom I want to use for my purposes by such a promise cannot possibly agree to my way of behaving toward him, and so himself contain the end of this action” (4:429–30). Excellent point. And it has nothing a priori about it, contrary Kant’s refrain to that effect. The absoluteness is from the circumstance that facts are the ultimate source of all necessities, the fact that selves, lives, and their functioning union are an end in itself (the only one), from the absoluteness of life and death, and from the fact that necessities for purposes are subsidiaries of the absolute necessities of facts. Rand put it this way: “By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man—every man—is an end in himself” (AS ). Further, in rationality one should treat things according to the kind of thing they are; for things human being, that is justice. And the human kind is originative and far-sighted end-in-itself kind of being. Of course in her mature system Objectivism, the end-in-itself character in the world belongs (unlike with Kant) not only to rational beings, but to any organismic life, with the caveat that in rational being, life reaches the highest autonomy. I’ll not delve into it, but Kant had a notion of lying to oneself, which he analyzed within his moral framework in The Metaphysics of Morals (6:429–30) under the heading “The Human Being’s Duty to Himself Merely as a Moral Being.” In my next post in this thread, I hope to examine the book Honesty – The Philosophy and Psychology of a Neglected Virtue (2021) by Christian B. Miller.
    2 points
  8. That is an unjust smearing, and par for the course with you. Grames wished ill to "the present American government and those who support its policies," and he stated he wanted to see "The American empire" defeated. That is not the same as standing against legitimate interests and not the same as desiring harm to America, just the opposite, in fact.
    2 points
  9. Ice Age cave art at Lascaux and Altamira contains calendar useful to hunter-gathers who drew them.
    2 points
  10. Reidy

    AR's Country House

    Somebody has done a 3-D rendering of the house Wright designed for Rand. It's only a couple of still pictures, not a full walkthrough such as digital reconstructors have done with many of Wright's demolished or never-built designs. Such a treatment for the Rand design may be impossible, since the project never got to the detail stage. In the meantime, the most beautiful of the full realizations is a tour of the Imperial Hotel, which stood for almost 50 years in Tokyo.
    2 points
  11. Wrong philosophy of science will create junk science but I will not go on that tangent for now. The issue of visiblility or the pleasure of visisiblity is for "you to see who I am". The invisible are alone. Lying all their life. Never being seen. And in some sense never seeing. Certainly not being able to see what could have been. The pleasure or maybe the necessity of "being loved" is "who I really am" being accepted and appreciated, rather the made up person or projection that others see. In this case, honesty is the only path to ultimate fulfillment. It is also a great risk because "some" will see who you a really and reject or try to harm you. In many situations being an Objectivist is seen as being evil. But that is who I am. (By Objectivist I mean Rand's over all ideas are the closest to what I see as true) A major pleasure in life is in fact "playing" with others, i.e. having fun interacting. Add to it productive work emanating from that activity, and it becomes very fulfilling activity.
    2 points
  12. I'm unsure if you're familiar with Rand's position on intellectual property rights but disagree with it or if you're not aware that she actually did have a stance on the issue. She was strongly in favor of both patent and copyright law as a means of protecting "the mind’s contribution in its purest form: the origination of an idea". (Rand 1964, Patents & Copyrights) Objectivists have argued that it does not, in fact, make any sense to draw a dividing line between intellectual property and other forms of property since it was ultimately man's mind which brought it all about. When I want the government to protect my factory, it is the preservation of my mind to act freely that I seek since this will enable my survival as a rational being. Now, in regards to the scenario you provided, it is highly problematic because you've seemingly plucked it out of thin air. To begin with, if a spear is being used for the purposes of defense or hunting then this would imply a primitive society, in which case the subject of individual rights is moot anyway. But, secondly, you simply can't own the idea of a spear (although you can own the specific type of spear which your company manufactures), so in a free society the government could not confiscate it from you, nor could a company claim sole monopoly on its production in a court of law. Intellectual discoveries, however, cannot be reasonably patented. To quote Rand once again: "It is important to note, in this connection, that a discovery cannot be patented, only an invention. A scientific or philosophical discovery, which identifies a law of nature, a principle or a fact of reality not previously known, cannot be the exclusive property of the discoverer because: (a) he did not create it, and (b) if he cares to make his discovery public, claiming it to be true, he cannot demand that men continue to pursue or practice falsehoods except by his permission. He can copyright the book in which he presents his discovery and he can demand that his authorship of the discovery be acknowledged, that no other man appropriate or plagiarize the credit for it – but he cannot copyright theoretical knowledge."
    2 points
  13. The idea of an animal with volition is preposterous until you concede that humans are animals.
    1 point
  14. The U.S. has always been an empire, both legally and culturally. Ever encounter the principle of "Manifest Destiny" in American history? What is new is the degenerate corruption, arrogance and recklessness of the de facto ruling class. It is a consequence of the ending of the long Cold War with the Soviets, who by simply existing at least kept the American leaders somewhat in check. It is now a unipolar political world, a world organized around only one great power, America. There is no one and nothing to dispel the illusions and self-deceptions of the American leaders, except the eventual disasters that bad policy creates, and not even then as long as some other country does the suffering.
    1 point
  15. Over the past decade or so it has become much more acceptable to "punish" people because of their opinions -- because they expressed them, or just because they have them. It has been pointed out that there is a big difference between the government carrying out this "punishment," such as by throwing people in prison, and private individuals (or groups) carrying it out, such as by denying service at a bar or a bank. In the latter case, property owners are merely exercising their right to their own property, and their right to choose who they associate with, and if somebody were to force them to serve people they don't want to, even if this force is only forcing them to do what is in their actual best interest anyway, then, as Leonard Peikoff puts it, the act of forcing it on them makes it wrong. However, in some cases the motivation behind using your own personal property to do something, and using the government to do it, can be the same, and in the case of "punishing" opinions, the motivation is wrong in both cases, even though initiating force is the only thing that should properly be illegal. It is proper to address the motivation and expose its incorrectness even if it is not (yet) infringing anyone's rights. By doing so, it may be possible to talk people out of acting on it. One can say that, for example, nihilism ought to be legal if you don't infringe anyone's rights, but one can also say that it is still wrong. My point is: the motivation for punishing people's opinions contradicts the motivation for having free speech, which means, a person can't consistently support both. When you see more and more people "punishing" opinions, and supporting the punishment of opinions, you can know that the days are numbered for free speech, even if the government itself has not yet begun to act against it. The motivation for free speech is confidence in reason (and reality). We can afford to allow people to state falsehoods because we have confidence that reason will expose the falsehoods as such. Free speech also ensures that it's possible for people to speak the truth even when it's controversial, so that the truth can also be exposed. This confidence is what allows a store owner to let people he disagrees with walk into his store and buy stuff. He knows that their opinion, even if wrong, is not a threat to him; he knows that reality and reason will prevail in time; he can count on the police to be on his side if they initiate force, so he can just smile and sell them their goods. When people have abandoned reason, when they believe they are the exclusive owners of truths that cannot be reached by means of reason (or "reason alone"), when they decide that "unbridled" reason is a threat to their point of view, when they find that reason (and ultimately reality itself) can be "misleading," they do not feel that confidence, and they seek to suppress contrary opinions. If they cannot do it through the government, then they can do it through their own private property, but if they don't see the problem doing it with their own property, they will not see the problem with using the government to do it. So, in that sense, saying "it isn't really censorship if they're using their own private property" is true, but it's not addressing the root of the problem. The real problem is that people have abandoned reason -- and without reason, the distinction between merely using their own property and using government force to go beyond it will be abandoned, too. It's only a matter of time. (Actually it has already been abandoned. The separation between usage of private property [i.e., economics] and government powers [i.e., state] has never been formally recognized and has been on the way out for decades; however, it cannot be upheld unless reason itself is upheld.) The notion that "free speech is dangerous," that "free speech corrupts people" and so forth, is coming from both political parties. Because of its widespread popularity, even if you do not see it affecting government policy now, it is going to affect government policy sooner or later, unless it can be exposed as the mistake that it is. Exposing the mistake -- and defending free speech as such -- requires a defense of reason.
    1 point
  16. I think the problem is with 'sufficiently advanced' and what that would mean re 'independent' consciousness. It seems that app is an image 'analyzer' and pixel map 'interrogator'. Applying concepts like concretes and induction to the operations of an app like that is 'still' anthropomorphizing. An image or picture is a human artifact, a product of human technology, a static representation of a non-noncontinuous visual field. It would be interesting if an AI could 'look' at a picture of a collage of cat photos alongside a picture of a room that contains as a group: a photo of a cat(or multiple cat photos) , a stuffed animal cat, and a live cat interacting with a person or object and have it answer how many living cats are represented. And yet another thing to 'plunk down' a robot 'inhabited' with an AI in a room with all those same things and have it make the same 'judgement'. A philosophizing robot AI would be one that said "I'll get back to you on that capitalism thing, after I finish the sudoku ( or ALL the sudokus, lol), btw correct in what context?" ps Boydsun cross posted and cited and pretty much articulated much betterly the ideas contained here
    1 point
  17. These will be brand new tanks built from scratch [...] I predict they will never arrive in Ukraine. This is possible. However, the announcement itself played another, a much bigger role: it allowed Germany to accept to send its own tanks, Leopard 2, to Ukraine. And also to agree that other countries, having these tanks, to send them to Ukraine. PS: The links in your signature do not work.
    1 point
  18. The nihilists are the ones lamenting the cessation of death and destruction and not able to truly appreciate a proper victory. Lol
    1 point
  19. KyaryPamyu, So far as I recall, Kant did not write of his categories of the understanding as a universal grammar. He did write of general logic being analogous to a universal grammar. From the Jäsche Logic: “[We] set aside all knowledge that we can only borrow from objects, and reflect simply on the exercise of the understanding in general, [and] then we discover those rules which are absolutelay necessary, and independently of any particular objects of thought, because without them we cannot think at all. These rules, accordingly, can be discerned a priori, that is, independently of all experience, because they contain merely the conditions of the use of the understanding in general, whether pure or empirical, without distinction of its objects. . . . The science, therefore, which contains these universal and necessary laws is simply a science of the form of thought.” (Cf. KrV A52–55 B76–79) “Hence, also, it follows that the universal and necessary laws of thought can only be concerned with its form, not in anywise with its matter. The science, therefore, which contains these universal and necessary laws is simply a science of the form of thought. And we can form a conception of the possibility of such a science, just as a universal grammar which contains nothing beyond the mere form of language, without words, which belong to the matter of language.” That last sentence gives us some idea of what Kant means by saying that reflection on the exercise of the understanding enables us to discern absolutely necessary rules of our thought such as the constraint against contradictions. This reflection, then, is Kant’s replacement for Aristotle’s ‘intuitive induction’. Before school age, we follow elementary grammar in speaking our native language. We conform to that language’s grammar a good deal, and it has become habitual. We learn expressly what grammatical forms we are following and should be following from grammar school (after we have learned to write). Some earlier humans had to have reflected on the language, such as Latin or German, to have discovered its grammar. Kant’s analogy on the use, express statement, and normativity of grammar with the use, express statement, and normativity of logic that Jäsche and Abbott here publicize is corroborated as standard in Kant’s lectures on logic by student notes, the Bloomberg (early 1770’s), the Dohna-Wundlacken (1792), and the Vienna. The D-W notes indicate that because logic must contain a priori principles, “logic is a science and grammar is not, because its rules are contingent” (page 432 in Young 1992). I should mention that in Kant’s various remarks on logic, talk of the necessary v. the contingent is shorthand for (what is earlier stated as) the absolutely necessary v. the contingently necessary. Kant’s own logic lecture notes compiled by Jäsche were always available to German readers from 1800. Kant therein, in his Introduction to the discipline of logic, made an analogy between logic and grammar. (I see now that Capozzi and Roncaglia have also drawn attention to this analogy in the third chapter, p. 143, of The Development of Modern Logic [2009, L. Haaparanta, editor].) Logic is the form of thought, with contents of thought its matter; as grammar is the form of language, with particular words its matter. A book of Kant’s in 1798 includes his view on the relation between thought and language. That book is Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, which was always available in German, but did not come into English translations (two) until the 1970’s. From the Anthropology in a third translation, the Cambridge translation (2007) by Robert Louden: “All language is a signification of thought and, on the other hand, the best way of signifying thought is through language, the greatest instrument for understanding ourselves and others. Thinking is speaking with oneself . . . consequently it is also listening to oneself inwardly (by means of the reproductive power of the imagination). . . . Those who can speak and hear do not always understand themselves or others, and it is due to the lack of the faculty of signification, or its faculty use (when signs are taken for things, and vice versa), that, especially in matters of reason, human beings who are united in language are as distant as heaven from earth in concepts.” (300) Kants drew an analogy also between how logic is discovered and how grammar is discovered. This analogy is mentioned Jäsche Logic. The parallel of grammar-logic discovery is set in further parallel, in Kant’s Prolegomena, to how fundamental categories of the understanding (necessary factors in making percepts [“appearances”] in experience into that experience) are discovered. Kants proffers a notion of the reflective act by which one could (mainly Aristotle, who did) originally discover the rules of logic together with their character of absolute necessity and normativity. We are able to violate logical rules. Can Kant account for that under his conception of the nature of logic? One cannot succeed in holding onto the absolutism of logical rules while saying also that we can violate them and that they are due only to the constitution of the mind. One kind of error Kant mentioned in the Anthropology was the error of mistaking linguistic signs for things they signify and vice versa. Such signs, Kant calls artificial, in contrast to natural indicators such as smoke for fire. Kant observed that people having common language can yet signify in their vocabulary concepts quite different one person to the next. He implies that this variance is due to infirmities in the faculty of signification, which rather suggests that if we were all working correctly in our linguistic significations, we should have no variance among persons in concepts signified by a word. I seriously doubt that, given the variance in individual backgrounds of experience and education and given the creativity in thought, especially in more abstract thought. Were Kant’s rigid connection between vocabulary and right concept correct, infirmity of word-concept powers would yet not explain how errors of logic or grammar are possible. The same goes under my denial of the word-concept complete rigidity of right signification, for then there is utter incommensurability between the would-be explanation and the thing to be explained, since the rules of logic and grammar are fixed, in Kant’s view, in all the heads talking and thinking to themselves and with others. Error of signification and its source (source pretty vague in Kant) does not help to explain error in logic or grammar. The Objectivist conception of logic is contrary that of Kant. Rand’s conception of logic was as a tool of identification. All existents possess identity. That is a full-bodied identity, including both (i) which among existents is this particular one and (ii) what sort of thing is this existent. The identities of existents are what they are in the world whether or not a mind discerns them. What are the proper ways of forming concepts, forming their definitions, and making inferences are ways tuned to identities in the world and getting and holding fast to those identities. Rand rests logic on an axiom “existence exists.” Logical maneuvers are maneuvers of consciousness, and consciousness is identification of existents, all of which have identities. Rand’s axioms are not established as true because they cannot be denied without falling into contradiction. No, that is a necessary condition for adopting a truth as an axiom, but the truth has to be established by observation and dealings with empirical reality. The wrongness of contradiction also has to be established in that empirical way. Not by enumerative induction in the case of PNC. Not by abstractive induction in the case of PNC. Rather, I say, in the way one picks up necessary form from empirical engagements. I’m thinking of necessary forms in the world, which forms can be grasped as necessary when they are grasped. Such would be apprehension that anything shaped like my left hand will have one less space between its appendages than there are appendages. Or that turning a left-hand glove inside-out makes a right-hand glove. Or that any object having the shape of an apple can be quartered with only three cuts of the knife. One knows those truths by experience, and one knows they are necessarily so of the world, so that empirically testing them for possible falsification would be stupid. I call such formalities in the world waiting to be discerned belonging-formalities of my metaphysical category situation. Rand did not take note of such forms in the world, and doing so might make one nervous of regression to Aristotle’s ideas on form. There is no such regression to Aristotle in this idea of forms in the world belonging to concretes. And the idea can boost Rand’s idea that identities in the natural world are not put there by the mind and that necessities in the formalities for right logical thought get their ultimate necessity from the world and get their normativity from aiming to identify correctly. (My working conjecture so far is that the belonging-formalities of the world underlying the tooling-formalities of logic are simple likenesses, differences, sameness, and repetitions in the world.) On the Objectivist view of logic, errors in logic are simply because one can run afoul of rules for success in the purpose of logic. The necessity of logic is not the incapability to think otherwise than logically, but the necessity of following the rules to get the prize insofar as that aim is facilitated by logical rules. In another sense of necessity, logic has its necessities from some of the belonging-formalities in the world (in my metaphysical categories passage and character, I expect). Objectivism agrees with your 2 in that sensations are not constructed by or made into percepts by activity of mind such as conscious or unconscious inference (see Kelley 1986, 61–62, 75–78, for example), but need not deny the established science showing receptors to be active sensors, nervous tissue, which is living (an activity) and excitable. Under your 4, Objectivism holding that essences are epistemological rather than metaphysical means only that what truths of the world should be taken for essentials in one’s definitions of things depends on one’s present context of knowledge of the world and in particular one’s present context of knowledge of what depends on what in the world among classes of things in the world. That is in contrast to the Ancient and Medieval essences, which were not a function of one’s context of knowledge at all, and which possessed causal powers (formal causes) in the world. In your 7, I think offhand it would be better to say "applied to the schematized categories" and to say "sensory experience" or "sensible intuitions" rather than "sense data." Rand thought of cognition in terms of measurements both in perception (e.g. perceptual similarities) and in conception. But she thought of measurements as mind discerning magnitude relations actually in the world. Because magnitude relations (she called "quantity") are in the world, discernment of them is useful to us (and the other high animals) for successful life and exactitude of fit of the human mind to the world.
    1 point
  20. Invoking religious people repeatedly and exclusively as though this issue spontaneously arose from that corner's general desire to control what people get to read, as though there is no other relevant background, nothing that came before and that explains and lead to this, is also a fallacy.
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  21. Respectfully I disagree. Necrove made an assertion that something was "bad" news. In all contexts the "good" must be carefully considered, and especially in the complexities of the context of a quasi-enforced State regime. Where everyone involved is enslaved to an institution it's already bad, when changes are made to that system it can get better or worse (still bad). To whom in the context is some change in a thing "good" or "bad"? I submit it depends on how one's individual rights are affected. Properly: No one has a right to education, or a proper education. No one has a right to anyone else and certainly not complete strangers, having an education, or a proper education. No one has a right to teach a captive audience in a State run context whatever you want, in fact no one has a right to teach whatever you want in any privately run context (unless you own the institution yourself)... your boss (if it is not you) will quickly let you know that. Parents and their children, however, have a right not to be harmed, not to be subjected to indoctrination, or sexualization (at an inappropriate age), not to be misled with extremely dangerous concepts beyond their ability to truly grasp, not to be turned into little Marxists, not to undergo permanent life altering surgery until they have the conceptual capacity and responsibility to make that decision which only comes in adulthood... etc. Now, parents and children are effectively forced to play in a State regime of education, but they are the one's whose rights are potentially and in some cases actually violated. Unfortunately, sometimes people who are not in the position to experience the violation of those rights do not fully understand the situation. This you no doubt have experienced throughout your life as well. My question "Are you a parent" is precisely on point. Particularly given the complexity of the issue and the sheer under-reporting by mainstream media of just how bad schools and teachers colleges have become ... they are rife with Marxist and socialist ideology. Parents experience these trends on their children first hand. As for "Circumstantial ad hominem", in some contexts I can see how that would apply, I am certainly not saying that any non-parent's reasons are incorrect because they are non-parents, AND I am not stating non-parents could not form logical positions had they the full information parents do, I am of the belief that in many cases, non-parents do not have the information that many parents do. The technicalities of the law may be awkward, and possibly could be disproportionate, but I think the current reports by progressive media are overstated, and/or some school boards are over-reacting. Overall, as a first step this is good news. Children CANNOT be subject to the whim of every possible kind of teacher, who more and more might include radically Marxist or sexual-activist views... we can only hope in an invalid mixed enforced State system, semi-sane guidelines are provided within that system to educate (not indoctrinate) children appropriately.
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  22. I mean, yeah, autocracy is always inferior to democracy/constitutional republics. This isn't controversial. We already went over objective criteria. The criteria that Rand provided. To some extent, yes, it would be better for everyone if the Russian government adopted generally Western standards of democracy. This is a good thing.
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  23. I agree. If it were about you, you would be a parent with a child in school. Individuals acting as agents of the state are not free agents able to do whatever their fancy tells them.. nor in the presence of naive impressionable children should they be allowed to. Dereliction of their duty which causes harm violates your rights as a parent and your child's rights.
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  24. " Docudramas" are not usually for me, but the film looks to my slight experience an authentic taste (to you warhawks present) of the micro realities in battle. Features the "Yellows" versus "Whites", neither shown in particular moral preference; while propagandist certainly for the infamous private Wagner Group. If war is hell, so you don't enter it lightly--but when you do, all bets are off. I aim that, of course, at the Western alliance, who initiated and made the conditions for war unavoidable, and who tellingly shunned any diplomatic steps to stop it. The hypocrites who pretty it up and glamorize their Ukraine "heroes" (to their detriment) to justify prolonging and dangerously expanding the conflict for foul purposes. "200's" are killed, "300's" the wounded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4ZxWaRHhnQ
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  25. I don't support keeping ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE locked under house arrest for any reason. The point I am trying to make about peanut butter is that it is irrelevant as an example because people know it contains peanuts and can avoid it.
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  26. I mean, I think I'm in general agreement with the gist of what you've written here. Money, as such, is not a proper standard by which you can gage the quality of a man (this is especially true in unfree societies). I don't think a man's wealth is necessarily irrelevant, but context matters. Ability exists on a spectrum. Not everyone will want to look for a John Galt or a Dagny Taggart, nor is that necessary for a happy relationship. The virtue of a potential partner is what's most important, as well as how you gel together in terms of temperament. That being said, however, I do think there's something to the idea that femininity involves looking up to man. Thing is, your average Joe can be just as moral as an intellectual giant since ability and status are non-essentials when evaluating the moral character of a person. Eddie Willers and John Galt were moral equals, but unequal in ability.
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  27. Right, and the very fact that there were widespread revolutions throughout North and South America against both the Spanish and the British - and not just by natives - is evidence that there was something very wrong with the way that colonialism was done in this time. The philosophical motivations were essentially bad. The mistake on Rand's part and others like her is that colonialism of that sort is part of Enlightenment philosophy. I mean, I can understand the mistake, but the more you read about it, the easier you can see a philosophical split. We can say the pro-liberty position is that of America, while the anti-liberty position is that of Britain. And why is that? We could theorize, and historians would do a better job than me, but I can at least say that America didn't have colonies and the philosophy that goes with it. There are of course conflicts about America's expansion, it's just a different topic than what happened under British and Spanish colonialism. I want to point out that the notion of business ownership and free enterprise was completely unknown and didn't exist at the time. Guilds were still in charge of things, and the government always had absolute control. The most advanced economic thinking was mercantilism. I would not call it an expression of enlightenment thinking. Adam Smith is probably the first and best example of economic thinking which was based on enlightenment thinking, which is pretty much opposed to mercantilism. I've gotten some of these ideas from the book "religion and the rise of capitalism". I'm trying to integrate those ideas with my other knowledge about colonial North America, without going on any anticapitalist route to condemn British and Spanish colonialism. The best I can say is that there were silver linings. But this is in a time when people knew better, and far less excusable when it comes to 20th century colonialism by Britain with India.
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  28. Obviously it is possible to overdo concern with safety. It would be ridiculous to equip buses with lifeboats in case they get caught in a flood. The question is where and how to draw the line.
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  29. Maybe this is the root of the problem, in these discussions. Because copyright and patent infringement is widely talked about in social media as “theft” or “piracy”, people quite reasonably identify an important difference between theft and infringement – deprivation. A common retort is “but you are depriving them of their livelihood!”. I think instead the attention should be in what the fundamental claim of patent and copyright law is, it is a claim that a particular expression can be property. When a person trespasses on my tangible property, there is no theft (permanent deprivation). The discussion should look at the similarity between trespass to land or chattels, and trespass of intellectual property. I think the parallelism (identified by Rand) between claiming and maintaining a claim to lands and goods qua property that were not previously owned because the person recognizes their value applies equally to the concrete expression of an idea, and that’s where the discussion should be focused. The automatic output of a computer program is not protected by copyright law, only the creative – non-mechanical – creation of a human is protected by copyright. That’s a legal point, not a philosophical – I’d say that the law has it right. You don’t even need an AI, you just need to know what the vocabulary of music is (♯, ♪, A etc) and the most elementary system of rules about meaningful sequences of those letters, and you can easily generate all possible “pieces of music”, up to length n (the set is unbounded).
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  30. heh didn't even read this yet but .. https://www.barrons.com/news/getty-images-targets-ai-firm-for-copying-photos-01673961609
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  31. StrictlyLogical

    Honesty

    One reason why I am concerned with proper scope of a maxim, or formulation of a principle, or definition of a virtue, is because it is so easy to undermine the propriety of the maxim, principle, or virtue when so called exceptions are required. Better to have it more properly defined, than defined overbroadly so as to exceed its proper scope. Such comes up in a conceptually similar manner in the realm of Free Speech... how it is to be defined and conceived of... and Tara Smith does an excellent job arguing for Free Speech being absolute and with no exceptions when conceived of in its proper "domain". I would say then "Free Speech" is just label for something which has as an essential of its definition a prescription of that proper domain, in which it is absolute and for which there are no exceptions. The problem with the idea of "exceptions" is that it implies or allows erosion of the boundary of the proper domain, and works to subvert the absolute into the subjective. So similarly, with virtues, maxims, or principles... if one overly inflates the definition of applicability, misdefines their proper domain, they become open to the attack (quite valid ones) of "exceptions", when in fact, when properly defined, they would be much more stronger as virtues, maxims, or principles.
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  32. The American foreign policy seems ruled by pragmatism. My enemy's enemy is my friend. (No, not necessarily). In that way, it has supported and enlisted some dubious political, ideological types in surrogate conflicts against other dubious types. For now it's utilizing Ukraine to damage/weaken/change regimes/etc. in Russia (with an eye on China). It should have left both alone, now it is clear. Some like me maintain that very few of those foreign "entanglements" (Thomas Paine?) have been in the US rational self-interest. And given those many more detractors an "imperialist US" reputation.
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  33. Boydstun

    Honesty

    SL, By the time of Atlas Shrugged, Rand had for the structure of her ethics that there was the overarching virtue of rationality (recognition that existence exists and that perception and thinking are our only access to existence) and the overarching correct value for each person their own life as human being. There are no contexts of concrete decision or action to which that virtue and that value do not apply. I’d say that their generality in applicability does not make them any more abstract in their relations to concretes than the normative divisions of rationality: independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and pride. Only one’s own mind can perform the responsibility (the rationality) of judgment and therewith live one’s life. Recognition of that is Independence. Only action as integral with own’s own consciousness (one’s own rational convictions), which can entail courage and confidence, is rational action. Recognition of that is Integrity. Only under absence of delusions is the attainment of real values possible. Recognition of that is Honesty. Only under objective judgment of the character of others, followed with treatment of them according with that character, is one’s mind and action rationally aligned with the Morality of Life. Recognition of that is Justice. Reshaping the earth is the human way of survival. Recognition of that is embrace of Productive Work. Self-made character tuned to ideal Human is crucial to all achievement, happiness, and worthiness of happiness. That is the virtue of Pride. These virtues have outstanding unity among them. They are based on a particular conception of human nature and human successful life. They are all facets of rationality in the Morality of Life. If we start with the arena of a particular virtue, with a situation in which the virtue is salient we see why it is the right way to go by the setting of the virtue within the general ethics and by recognizing that the setting at hand is one for which that virtue’s realm is at hand. In Kant’s outlook, all issues of morality arise where there is a stake over goodness of one’s will in one’s choices. They only arise there, but that arena is pervasive. The goodness of one’s will is the only moral aspect of each choice situation. Esteem for and conscious motivation by keeping a good will is the thing of human moral goodness. That would be one’s own will that he is talking about, no one else’s. His doctrine includes that one cannot make another human being moral. That is a task possible only for each individual for himself. (Schopenhauer criticized Kant’s ethics as egoism, and that has some sense to it, however much at odds with the egoism of Hobbes, Spinoza, or Rand is the goodness-of-one’s-will ethics of Kant.) Kant gives plenty of examples eventually for applications of his ethics, but the moral criterion for any situation, which would be human situations, from solitary life (issue of suicide) to social life (treatment of others, including issues of rights). The biblical Commandment against bearing false witness may well have had its origins in tribal proceedings adjudicating conflicts within the tribe, but it gets generalized greatly over time by the moral elucidators such as the contemporary summary here. For all his effort at secularizing the rationale for truthfulness, Kant never deviates, I gather, from treating bone fide moral principles as completely general commands eliciting action from a sense of duty and respect. Where there is not duty, there is no morality at work. Emerson: “When duty whispers low ‘thou must’, the youth replies ‘I will’.” (That was English grammar as I still learned it in elementary school: simple future for first-person singular would be “I shall” whereas to express a promise, it is “I will”. [Likewise for first-person plural “we”]) (That line is from a poem written in 1863, in connection with the Civil War; that late period of Emerson’s life is called his Hegelian phase, but it fits as well with his earlier Kantian phase.) Duty was not a concept invented by Kant and it was not only he who stressed it. Cicero stressed it. If you visit St. Paul’s in London and go downstairs there is a monument to Admiral Nelson. On its base is inscribed: “England expects that every man will do his duty” which were the last words he had signaled from his ship to the British fleet as they were about to engage the French-Spanish Armada at Trafalgar. That had transpired in 1805, a year after Kant’s death; I doubt the salience of duty for Nelson or his sailors was from Kant. At Collegium Fredericianum, Kant had excelled in Latin. Among the Latin works he read there was Cicero’s On Duties (De Officiis). Cicero saw virtue in terms of duty. It is no controversy to say, as anyone should, that moral virtue is a performance of or disposition towards what one ought to do. But when a philosopher such as Cicero or Kant undertakes to cast all occasions of doing the morally right thing as performances of duties, he is giving a systematic and controversial slant to the entire moral plane. Duties are various things owed, usually in various social relationships. In all things, Cicero is on the lookout for bearings on duties. “No part of life, neither public affairs nor private, neither in the forum nor at home, neither when acting on your own nor in dealings with another, can be free from duty. Everything that is honorable in a life depends upon its cultivation, and everything dishonorable upon its neglect” (O 1.4). Frankly, he’d have landed squarely on the truth if in that quotation the word “duty” were replaced by “responsibility.” Duties are things owed. I think that to reduce the idea of what ought to be done to what is owed is an impoverishment of the idea of what should be done. A truer way of moral life is to perceive and nurture value. Let value and valuation bring forth virtues and things owed. Kant’s ethics, like Cicero’s, is an ethics of duty. For Cicero the source of duties is honorableness, which is in contrast to personal advantage. “There are some teachings that undermine all duty by the ends of good and evil things that they propound. The man who defines the highest good in such a way that it has no connection with virtue, measuring it by his own advantages rather than by honorableness, cannot . . . cultivate either friendship or justice or liberality. There can certainly be no brave man who judges that pain is the greatest evil, nor a man of restraint who defines pleasure as the highest good” (O 1.5). As the source of duties, Kant will replace honorableness with the nature of pure reason and a good will. That replacement understood, the following formula of Cicero will agree with Kant. Ethical systems in which the highest good is personal advantage “say nothing about duty; nor can any advice on duty that is steady, stable, and joined to nature be handed down except by those who believe that what is sought for its own sake is honorableness alone . . .” (O 1.6). Ayn Rand, writing in Atlas Shrugged and later in an essay “Causality versus Duty” rejected the whole idea of tilting morality in the direction of commands and duties, whether they are from God or from the sources of Cicero or Kant. In her vista, the point of morality is help one live and be happy. That is the proper aim. I see in my American Heritage Dictionary that HONEST is from the Latin HONŌS, i.e., HONOR. One could nearly identify honesty with virtue tout court, and in older usage of the term honest, that was one of its meanings. As we use the term today, the scope of honesty is still pretty wide. Miller 2021 lists as central types of dishonesty: Lying, Misleading, Stealing, Cheating, and Promise-Breaking. Kant eventually addresses all of those areas, applying his general principles to them. I’d like to mention a Misleading communication of Kant’s that suggests he regarded making a misleading promise as all right if it concerns an improper demand made of one. “Kant pledged to King Friedrich Wilhelm II to ‘declare solemnly, as Your Majesty’s most loyal subject, that I shall hereafter refrain altogether from discoursing publicly, in lectures or writings, on religion’. Later Kant admitted that his [equivocal] words were chosen very carefully to apply truthfully only during the King’s lifetime (which was quickly coming to an end).” (Sissela Bok, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life [1978]). By the way, I’d like to mention that Ayn Rand lied about why she was breaking off her business and intellectual connection to Nathaniel Branden in 1968. That is, she did not tell the whole truth. In 1976 in Leonard Peikoff’s lecture series The Philosophy of Objectivism, he mentioned that deception to protect one’s own values was consistent with not gaining values by deception. In a follow-on Q&A, he remarked that not volunteering the entire truth is not a lie. If someone asks “How do you like my suit?” one need not reply “It’s ugly” even if that is one’s perception. Rand interjected that in a situation where one agrees to discuss something fully, but then does not tell the whole truth, it is vicious. I think it is a deviation from usual meaning of “lie” for Peikoff to say that a deception to protect one’s own values is not a lie. (Such as telling a bank robber that the safe cannot be opened until some future hour, when really it can be opened right now.) Rather, we should say it is not a wrongful lie. The scope and context for the general maxims for Kant are any and all decision points in which humans need to figure out what to do and in a moral way. The order of presentation of a philosophical theory would not generally reflect the order in which its elements were discovered. Kant’s presentations can be said to reveal the logical conceptual dependencies in his theory, but in his overall presentation, he starts with a reflection on what is the character of ethical precepts per se, and how they could have that character in purely secular terms. For Kant those are terms purely a priori and purely formal (he wishes!). He then takes on discussing such areas as truthfulness in various particular settings, and the general principles of ethics he already has in hand are used to sort what is distinctively the moral way to go in each case. He arrived at his mature system of ethics, we do know, from long reflection on ethical theory prior to his Critical period. I have written about his early thought in the area and the challenge he inclined to undertake, which he attempted to fulfill in the Critical-period system for which he is famous in ethical theory.* ("To 1781")
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  34. Russell hits some marks https://youtu.be/CLF7P4T2AC8
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  35. It is true that all of the copyrights for Sherlock Holmes have expired, therefore those works are 'in the public domain'. It is not the case that the estate cannot garner further revenue – that depends on the terms of the license granted to a publisher. If e.g. Random House obtained a license to publish some work of Doyle’s in exchange for some per-copy royalty, that obligation still exists unless there is an explicit clause terminating the obligation to pay. You’d really have to read the agreement to see what it says. I read my agreements, and there is no clause to the effect that “We don’t have to pay for sales once copyright expires”. “Entering the public domain” is, pretty much defined as “copyright has expired”. People may declare that a work is “in the public domain”, but US copyright law does not define the concept “public domain”, and it’s just a common way of talking about expired copyright.
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  36. "A force for good in world history" needs to be taken on to "more a force for good than evil in world history." The Five Civilized Tribes were called civilized because they quickly adopted ways of the European settlers while the tribes were in their earlier areas in southeastern North America. They did not have writing, firearms, or the wheel until exposed to these by the Europeans. They had not reached the Iron Age. An early European visitor to the Choctaw tribe, before European settlement and the Indian Removal, recorded of them that there was no art and no religion. They had the usual human trinity of language and ability to draw and make music, of course. He recorded that they laughed and danced a lot, and he ended his travel log saying "The Choctaw are a happy people." Their sense of property was sharpened by exposure to the European settlers (mostly, English, Scotch, and Irish in this region). That included the ownership of slaves imported from Africa. Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee owned slaves and brought them along to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears (1830's). These tribes were instructed by Christian missionaries of course. An enslaved man who belonged to a Choctaw created the song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" as he looked over to the Red River in the area of the Choctaw Nation within Indian Territory. I have visited the stately Council House of that tribe. They had a written constitution for their government; the tribe had a government there within Indian Territory. (That immediate jump means such peoples don't have to go through the usual bloody transition from tribes to chiefdoms before transition to states.) Ownership of land in Choctaw Nation before late in the nineteenth century was entirely tribal, as I understand it so far. The Choctaw Nation had allied with the Confederacy. Some of the interviews of formerly enslaved persons, interviews conducted in the 1930's under WPA, which are available online from the Library of Congress, are of former slaves to Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee in Indian Territory. One distinction of the slavery there was that the owners did not separate enslaved families, which seems a little more civilized than European owners in SE America. I think our conception of a force for good in a peoples or in the entire world is a valid concept from a scanning sort of look at things. When we think that way, we are leaving aside all the people who died on account of the progress. I recall that John Hospers once gave an estimation of the population of North America when the Europeans found it and remarked that though so many natives died from the ensuing engagement (mostly lack of immunity I think), the native population of North America was today greater than back then. My half-Choctaw life-partner was quick to notice some moral obscenity in such a remark. But going with usual talk such as "force for good in the world" I'd estimate Yes, on net Yes. By the way, I'd not exaggerate the debt to ancient Greece for the advantages of our living in the present America. The flourishing of science and technology was won as much by the revolt of Galileo and Newton against Aristotle, jettisoning much of him, as by their embrace of parts of him. There are other ancient civilizations to whom the advantages of living in America today are owed. Greek geometry was for our good. Aristotle's discovery of logic was for our good. His shrinkage of the mystical was for our good. His ideas about what we call mechanics or optics and scientific method were impediments to our good. Thankfully overcome.
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  37. It doesn't mean supporting Russia, but it can. Grames literally said he supports Russia. I stated my preferences as well. Not "I think Russia is right here" but "Russia is in the superior moral position on a global stage regarding just about any issue".
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  38. ?? Why must I be the one tasked with an opinion? An aside (may be relevant): "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it". Mark Twain IF, as I believe, NATO is inextricably tied to "American and Western interests" I am of the opinion the USA should prepare to leave NATO. (After this is over). Not that I can see it happening soon. But the binding "encumbrances" elsewhere are not in American - rational - interests. The big picture I hear from geopoliticians is nearing the close of "a unipolar world" and the "rules -based order". Dominated and led by the USA during this post-Cold War period, for which I and most in the world would be thankful. But it has served its critical purpose - all good things must end. I think their analysis is true, and the war was a catalyst for this change, for better or worse. (They enthuse about the emerging multi-polarity of neutral, non-aligned, non-western countries, which would not support and/or condemn the West/Ukraine or Russia on issues of sanctions etc. . I have doubts).
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  39. I don’t think it is rational to consider politics in making a choice about your health and possible medical interventions.
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  40. I certainly don't want the statement to be false, and I'm in no way arguing against it. I'm much more comfortable with Rand's position than the idealist lunacy alternatives. However, I'm not clear on why it would be impossible for a consciousness to be aware only of itself. And I don't want to just acdept her position out of desire to be comfortable. I want to accept it because it is unavoidably true. Could people please clarify?
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  41. Kate, Would you say that plagiarism is dishonest and should not be done even if it is not against the law? When you say "preventing man from doing as he wishes with his property," isn't that begging the question at issue by your use of the term property, rather than possession?
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  42. This is true, unfortunately. Many Ucrainians consider S. Bandera and other of his associates as heroes. Yes, in the 1930s Bandera was militating indeed for an independent Ukraine (independent from USSR, at that time). But: it was with terrorist methods (assassinations), by associations with the Nazi Germany (which ignored his independence claims and finally jailed him as a nuisance), he advocated for an independent Ukraine where the ethnic Ukrainians should be the masters, and all the others either deported, expelled or killed; a Nazi-like, Fascist state, in other words. It is also possible that, in the search of cohesion against the invader, the authorities avoid alienating some categories useful on the frontlines. This is bad and shortsighted, because the problem is: what kind of Ukraine will develop after the war? One where there are different categories of citizens, hierarchically ordered by ethnicity, or one which is a fatherland for all ? Fortunately, given the strive for Ukraine to associate with the EU, the first version has absolutely no chance to be accepted. EU exercises already pressure un Kiev to revise the provision of the too restrictive National language law (2019) This illustrates again a fact I stressed previously, that important is not only against what one struggles, but also, and even more importantly, for what kind of society one struggles. But the events described in the the @whYNOTlink (BTW, the tweet was promptly removed from the Parliament page) do not mean that Ukraine is some kind of a Nazi/Fascist state: there are zero representatives of an extreme-right party in the government or in the Parliament. All of the above, however serious it may be for the future of Ukraine, does not justify the intervention of Putin's Russia, because what happens there is not their f..g business, but also because Putin's Russia will not bring to Ukraine freedom, respect of individual rights, an independent justice and so on, but will suppress the rest of liberties they have (more freedom of speech, freer elections) and bring Putin's style of corruption. For Ukrainians this would be a much worse alternative.
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  43. You can own the idea of spear, if you were the truly the first to conceive of it, but only temporarily. Property rights in real estate and other material things do not have time limits. As Rand explained above discoveries cannot be property at all. Between those two ends of the spectrum there is the invention, which is created by the inventor and so is eligible to be property but there is also the problem of demanding that men continue to pursue or practice falsehoods except by his permission. (where by falsehood there are the inefficient old ways the new invention renders obsolete). No man should be able to demand such a thing forever. An inventor deserves some recognition and property interest in an invention, but a time-unlimited property right would be unjust. Patent rights are time-limited to attempt to balance the rights of all concerned. Whether the duration of patent rights should 17 or 20 years is optional, much like making age 18 be the legal threshold of adulthood instead of 16, 17 or 21. Patents, being themselves property, can be sold and usually are. So the Tesla example violates the right of the patent holder but just for the aspects of the car that are patented. The idea of a car and of electricity and even an electric car are long known and no longer patented or patentable, only specific enabling new features and technologies.
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  44. Harrison Danneskjold

    Honesty

    I don't believe it is a false dichotomy. Lying is obviously bad for both the liar and their victim, and both aspects are likely to factor into the reasons why it's usually bad. The question of which reason is primary, though, is important; there are derivative implications which will differ between the different possible answers. Can you elaborate on why you think otherwise? Sometimes. Egoism certainly does because it claims that there is a necessary relation between morality and human flourishing, which in turn would depend on human nature. There are, however, other ethical systems (deontological ones come to mind) which really have nothing to do with human nature at all. Whether human beings are good or bad at following a list of concrete rules, or how this affects their mental health; none of that really enters into it. But I'm pretty sure both of our moral codes depend on human nature, at least, so that's fair enough. That's true. And in those times where I believed it genuinely served my own self-interest to lie (since I was talking to an evil person) I didn't feel any guilt over it. It took me a long time to puzzle out that my own sincerity was being used to hurt me and that I was in a situation where that was no longer a virtue. On a gut level it still seemed wrong to lie, even though I conceptually knew that I'd be punished for telling the truth. But once I arrived at the conclusion that under those conditions it was morally right for me to lie I didn't feel any guilt for it - although even then I was irritated and a little bit resentful about the necessity of having to do so. Well, I'm not a Chimpanzee expert. I do think they engage in highly coordinated behaviors, such as wars and hunting. If a group of Chimpanzees track down an individual from another troop and several of them hold them down while another one rips his genitals off, I'm not sure what it'd mean to say that they didn't share any goals; did some of them have the burning personal desire to do nothing more than hold him down while the other wanted nothing more than to rip his balls off, and they just happened to accomplish these separate and individual goals simultaneously? Anyway. I'm not a Chimpanzee expert, but as a dad I'm really not sure how well that tracks with child development, either. Doesn't the most infamously antisocial period of a child's development (the Great and Terrible Two's) occur roughly just after they learn how to properly communicate?
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  45. That old mantra. Russia's "imperial ambitions". "They" did it once (or twice) they *can* do it again: they *want* to do it again. Historical determinism. 1. They (Putin, in fact) are doing it right now. 2. About the imperial ambitions (w/o the scare quotes) I posted here a short presentation. Putin detailed in public his imperial ambitions for Russia in an article and several speeches. They are readily available, also in English, on the Kremlin site. Exact references: on request. PS: don't forget my challenge about your Putin/Lavrov claim about Russia fully abiding by the UN Charter in Ukraine events.
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  46. Earlobes connected to cheek: Hanging earlobes not connected to cheek:
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  47. Is this just another way of formulating the idea that most Ukrainians actually prefer caving to Putin's demands by giving up the Donbas and that it is only us outsiders who seek a decisive victory for Ukraine? Also, your usage of the term "fanatical" is interesting. Do you not think that foreign policy should be subordinated to moral law? A fanatical (read: principled) idea, indeed... Look, whether you like it or not, the fact is that this war would never have had to happen in the first place if the Russian government had simply left Ukraine to its own devices back in 2014. To do this, the Russian state-machinery needs to drop the imperial big-brother complex, and face the fact that it has no right to demand that Ukraine exist as a puppet-state or that it remain geo-politically neutral. So long as it refuses to do this, any free country should recognize Russia for the threat she is, and act accordingly. Your whole Putinist/Eurasianist framing of the conflict as ultimately revolving around a fundamental threat to Russia is frankly not consistent with the facts of reality. It is Russia who is busy flattening Ukrainian cities and villages, not the other way around. Now, sure, if you think that Ukrainians should submit to their Russian overlords for all eternity, then I can see why allowing for Ukraine to develop independently can be interpreted as a threat to Russia. Yeah? What does the UN say about summary executions of civilians or bombing civilian infrastructure?
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  48. Boydstun

    Objectivism in Academia

    In the present post, I want to draw attention to and to dispute a recent attack on Rand’s idea that consciousness stands as a philosophical axiom. The criticism of this idea comes from Prof. Fred Seddon (Philosophy) in his recent review of a book titled EXPLORING “ATLAS SHRUGGED”: AYN RAND’S MAGNUM OPUS (2021). That book is a collection of essays by Prof. Edward Younkins (Business). Seddon’s review is in the December 2022 issue of THE JOURNAL OF AYN RAND STUDIES, to which my page citations refer in the following. Seddon’s springboard to this issue is a statement by Younkins that an axiom “cannot be reduced to other facts or broken down into component parts.” Seddon responds: “Yet consciousness depends on other facts, like the brain or body. Consciousness is an attribute, not a thing, and attributes depend on the entity of which they are attributes.”(p. 237) Furthermore, secondly, “unlike existence and identity, consciousness did not always exist. For billions of years there was no consciousness.” Thirdly, “there is no proof by denial for consciousness. It makes perfectly good sense to say there was no consciousness, whereas it makes no sense to say there was a time when there was no existence or identity.” Concerning Seddon’s third criticism, I say: proof by contradiction in denial of an axiom is indeed a traditional necessary condition that Rand accepted for having the status of a philosophical axiom, as she indicated in Galt’s speech and in ITOE. The fact that consciousness has not always existed does not change the circumstance that to affirm existence or any facts of existence implicitly affirms the fact of consciousness at work in mustering the assertion. To say that consciousness is identification of existence is to define the fundamental nature of consciousness from which all other episodes that are ordinarily spoken of as consciousness are causal and conceptual derivatives (such as dreams or hallucinations). Consciousness as identification of existence is an axiom for an epistemology, specifically a stand on the relation of mind to world informing and constraining all right additional epistemology. “Whatever the degree of your knowledge, these two—existence and consciousness—are axioms you cannot escape, these two are the irreducible primaries implied in any action you undertake, in any part of your knowledge and in its sum, from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end. Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that IT exists and that you KNOW it.” (AS, pp. 1015–16) In my own modulation of Rand’s metaphysics, as set out in my fundamental paper “Existence, We”, the axiomatic concept consciousness is continued as fundamentally consciousness of existence, but the fundamental division of existing things into existence and consciousness (the existent that is consciousness) is kicked upstairs a bit by the division: existence and of-existence, where the latter includes any living existent, including the living existent that is consciousness. Nevertheless, what Rand said about the way in which consciousness is an axiom still holds. The circumstance that consciousness and life did not always exist, Seddon’s third rub, is irrelevant to the point of having a set of axioms needing to be put to work, according to Rand, for the human level of consciousness. My reply to Seddon’s third criticism also replies to his second criticism. To Seddon’s first criticism, I say: To say, as Seddon does, that consciousness is an attribute, not a thing, and therefore consciousness is fundamentally dependent (on things, on entities), is to hold Rand’s division of identity into categories (entity, action, attribute, relation) to an exclusivity standard, which was held for Aristotle’s categories, that she did not accept. In Galt’s Speech, Rand refers to the solar system as a thing, as an entity. Yet it can be allowed also, considering further aspects of the solar system, to be a thing composed of component things and their motions. Rand did not take up the picture in which if something belongs to one metaphysical category, it can in no wise ever belong to another category. Indeed any action (one of Rand’s categories) when considered in its systematic situation can also be an entity. The system that is the instrumentation and master control system of an animal can also be a combine of entities as well as a combine of activities. Where that system amounts to consciousness of existents as entities, we rightly say all of these: Mind is a system, which is to say, an entity; mind is an activity, which is to say an action; mind is an attribute of certain animals, which is to say that mind is an attribute. It is invalid to think, as Seddon reasons, that because consciousness is an attribute of certain things, it is, tout court, dependent on other things and therefore cannot qualify as an axiom. To say, in Rand’s meaning, as Younkins reported, that the axioms of existence, identity, and consciousness “cannot be reduced to other facts or broken down into component parts” is not to say that consciousness cannot become explained by facts of life and brain operations, but that one will not come such explanation or explanations of anything else without consciousness of existence and apprehension that one is conscious of existence, and those things are first-apprehensions in the order of knowledge. If one does not already have those in hand, one can be told nothing of anything nor understand anything.
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  49. You were "not as clueless" as I was. You kept yourself "in the light" - Was all you have proferred about the Maidan and Donbas events. I have finally figured btw, your demands for "evidence" is a cover for evasion. Not clueless, you must have overlooked or were not allowed to know of a few minor details that don't put many Ukrainians in a good light: Graphic content.
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  50. 1924 -- while a museum tour guide in Leningrad.
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