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

    Derek Chauvin Trial

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

    Form v. Matter

    Interesting. Seems Aquinas was getting himself an additional layer of analogical thinking beyond Aristotle. Thanks for notice of Aquinas’ prime/functional distinction. I do not buy that potentiality can be a substratum of change. (And down from Galileo-Descartes and Newton [and Einstein’s version], I take inertial motion as brute, requiring no cause nor substrate, only matter [non-zero mass], actual matter, and spacetime.) Potentials belong to and are followers on actualities, and they are delimitations on alterations of actualities. The notion of form that I find useful from philosophy (
    1 point
  18. 2046

    Form v. Matter

    Oh okay. Yeah the more I think about it, the more I think it would have to be matter-form composites as a whole applying to both mass and energy. Energy would have to be a way of conceiving of part of an already-enformed piece of matter, in other words a whole substance, in order to be a real thing capable of physical description. But really I don't know much about it. I'll check out the Handbook. The Oderberg book, Real Essentialism is something I've been reading, and had been influencing a lot of my understanding. But that's precisely what the early moderns did believe. A
    1 point
  19. The third option: they achieved nirvana.
    1 point
  20. "You could be wrong" is a proposition, and without evidence it's an arbitrary proposition. Typically people will point to man's fallible nature as evidence that "you could be wrong" about anything. But the capacity to be wrong is not the same as the possibility of being wrong. To say something is possible requires evidence pointing directly to that possibility. Let's say you're certain that you're reading my post right now. Is it possible that you're not due to your fallible nature? No, because being fallible doesn't exclude certainty, it simply excludes infallibility.
    1 point
  21. The public relations issue with Ayn Rand will ultimately be handled when they meet us, when they meet a person that has ideas the enhance their lives, that protect them against some of the nonsense they are trapped in. They change their view. When you unshackle people from ideas that won't let them thrive, they are willing to dump their negative view. They are grateful. But it has to come from a partner or friend, not an adversary.
    1 point
  22. I guess my argument for objective morality would go like this: First, establish objective reality. If your audience doesn't accept that, then there is no reason to continue. Then, I'd do the "argument from the hamster": If you want to keep a hamster alive and thriving, you have to follow certain rules. The same thing is true if it's a human instead of a hamster, although the rules are more complex. (Humans don't thrive in cages.) The same thing is true if the human you are trying to keep alive and thriving is yourself. That argument should be sufficient to d
    1 point
  23. The case for an objective morality can be made much more easily than Objectivist Morality. For one thing, if you have to say this is from Ayn Rand, you will be seen as a mass murderer. But that aside, the summary of Objectivism does not do it justice and you can't ask them to read multiple books essays etc., because they want it in a nutshell. The summary of Objectivist Morality is not that easy to communicate, otherwise the population of Objectivists would be far higher. The case for morality is not going to be morality defined as the guidebook for life but morality as in
    1 point
  24. from page 24
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  25. Except when he is drowning.. [I agree btw]
    1 point
  26. First Objective does not mean Universal Second, without the choosing of life, there is no ought. Only with an aim can you ought do something “if” you want to bring about your aim. A human being, if he wants to flourish long range is bound by reality and his nature. Everything flows from that. Just recognition of facts of reality in the form of principles. Morality is not intrinsic.
    1 point
  27. Boydstun

    Form v. Matter

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

    Derek Chauvin Trial

    Here is an interview with one of the alternate jurors.
    1 point
  29. I firmly believe this is because Rand was frequently irrational about personal relationships, and her closest professional associates emulated this. The consequences were significant, not just a matter of personal dispute. Nathaniel Branden made significant contributions but he was essentially thrown to the curb and all his contributions ignored and denied. I'm sure there are many more examples.
    1 point
  30. You seem to not like the simplicity of your analogies while I value it very highly. I had initially put in this half baked question responding to your original post regarding "a field" and I took my question out, afraid of confusing the issue, but I was pleasantly surprised to see you are using the word "path" like I was drawn to it. I had written: "For now, I am wondering if the field guiding your actions is a "field" of paths. A field of "methods". A field of "ways" (as in ways of doing). A field of possible actions which can also be seen as a field." I included this because o
    1 point
  31. Although I believe I have addressed this already, since I had something to add I felt responding to this might be appropriate. Notice for "socialist" ethics (yes that is an anti-concept) or "communist morality", the field in question is akin to the realm of what WE ALL must (notice invocation of force rather than choice) DO, which as judged by individual members of the body politic will often conflict. This is in the sense of the ONE commune being forced to be of ONE mind, it cannot be split into myriad directions no matter how diverse its individuals. Social metaphysicians, who al
    1 point
  32. Thank you. [PS I've edited many times ... if you read this after an hour since posting it should be stable] The reason I bring up commensurability or field is because it narrows down our thinking to referents of concepts to which the idea of conflict is somehow possible. A "conflict of interest" in a person IS possible precisely because a person is of ONE mind, the one mind being the field for the two opposing interests, a single mind cannot be FOR and AGAINST the same thing and in the same respect, at the same time. The presence of a single field guarantees the "either or". I
    1 point
  33. Rand took up the challenge to show that with rational, objective interests for each individual they do not come into conflict between individuals in their rational interactions. One could take an approach in which one held up as an objective moral guideline that any sets of interests resulting in conflicts of interests between individuals shows that there are not-objective, wrong items among their interests. To get traction one would still need to look at the various sorts of purported conflicts of interest and show where they go wrong, that is, specifically where there is some defect in
    1 point
  34. One can't lose sight of the climate of intimidation outside the trial. The jurors are only human and as much as they likely wanted the verdict be truthful to the evidence could not have not known that their personal lives, families and associates were under very possible threat, and violent acts, egged on or covertly encouraged by pols and the rest would spread through the country at large. At very least they would suffer social and work ostracization from that point on. One has to feel sorry for them being placed in an invidious position, damned if they do .... The facts presented them didn't
    1 point
  35. As I find more material about the subject matter I include it. This is from Atlas Society: "This principle of the harmony of interests is key to the Objectivist view of ethics and politics. Objectivism’s ethics of rational selfishness is not an ethics of dog-eat-dog because of the harmony of interests. A political system based in individual rights to freedom—i.e., capitalism— does not pit the “haves” against the “have-nots” because of the harmony of interests." "The bottom line is that conflict is good for us, in context, when participating is to the benefit of everyone involved."
    1 point
  36. True. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rational Egoism – Function of Mind – Function of Ethics – Supported Choice to Live – Desire to Value – Altruism – Sacrifice – Value Out There – Visibility, Benevolence, and Egoism – a, b ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My earliest writings were in the 1980's -- Political and moral philosophy, all published in the magazine Nomos. The Moral Value of Liberty (1984) Review of The Evolution of Cooperation (1985) Rights, Games, and Self-Realization (1988) Introduction / Part 1 - Rights against Personal Injury for
    1 point
  37. It's helpful to concentrate on the positive and affirmative, which sets a measure for the NON-conflict of interests to be compared against. Where one has ascertained that the other is committed to rationality and places his reasoning above all, I think the rest follows. Medium and long term he is acting on reality and for his own self-interest - as you are. He must also be the beneficiary of his moral actions, which you'd not withhold from him identically as you'd not deny yourself and your own. There is recognition of your partner in rationality being of high value in himself, in his own righ
    1 point
  38. This also reminds me of the fact that even in the realm of tort law, rational people, be they juries or judges, may disagree as to the proper principles and/or their application to a specific case. All agree in the interests of justice. None have an overtly personal interest in the case. Can such disagreement be cast as conflict of rational interests? Should rational men be held to the same standard of Judges and Juries? Must rational men render judgement the same whether they find themselves on one side of the fact situation or the other? Edit: Do rational men seek anything other
    1 point
  39. Week two began with prosecutor Mr. Blackwell calling Dr. Bradford Langenfeld. Langenfeld treated Floyd at the hospital and pronounced him dead after resuscitation efforts failed. Blackwell asked if Langenfeld was told whether Floyd suffered a heart attack or overdose. The doctor answered no. They covered several medical concepts such as asystole (flatlining) and PEA (pulseless electrical activity). The prosecution once again noted that "cardiac arrest" doesn't necessarily mean that Floyd had a heart attack. It just means that the heart has stopped functioning. Langenfeld discussed various trea
    1 point
  40. The Stoics made a differentiation between what they called impressions and nature. The Sage (a hypothetical exemplar that is always perfectly rational and virtuous) never assents to impressions without using his intellect to assess the source of the impression. Giving assent to an impression without assessing it would open oneself up to living by misguided thoughts and appearances. Taking a wider point of view to nature is supposed to allow one to see how one is a part of the world and subject to cause and change, and living amongst other people, and thus not fall inadvertently into thinking t
    1 point
  41. This is a better way to say what I was thinking. I was basically trying to say that initially there may be an appearance of a conflict of interest (the belief that there is a conflict of interest) but upon further reflection, we would recognize there is no actual conflict of interest (in which case the dispute between interests disappears). No we don't agree. I admit that I had a hard time saying what I was thinking, but the above paragraph should make things clear. When I say long-term or short-term, I should instead distinguish between the initial appearance of things (beliefs about
    1 point
  42. Both or any rational people take reality as their final arbiter, and so it may be said that their specific purpose/goals - and "interest"- can't and won't clash, in the final analysis. Two individuals apply for the same position or contract; or suitors vie for the one woman - they'll understand that the acceptance of their rival was due to a rational judgment (the one's abilities/experience/etc. were more suitable to an employer, or the girl placed higher value/love in the other guy) and so no conflict and animus is possible to them. Neither, in rational justice, would want or could tolerate t
    1 point
  43. "Basically stating" is not demonstrating anything. We see that E1 and E2 have plans that conflict. Most people have ordinary experience of conflicting plans among people in life. So now you need to show how this is a "conflict of rational interests" in Rand's sense in the essay.
    1 point
  44. I guess you could say that, but the question isn't so much about figuring out which the best goal is. Conflicts of interest in this context are not about mere clashing situations. It's more about zero-sum games, or the idea that if one person benefits another person is left worse off. Contrary to that, including when we are mistaken, your rational self-interest does not conflict with my rational self-interest. If we have to decide on a plan, it doesn't go against my self-interest to go with your plan instead. That assumes we actually thought about it and discussed it. While there is a conflict
    1 point
  45. Because her point is when you are being rational, you take 100% of the context in mind. Context refers to, she wants to say, the fact that you aren't living in a solipsistic way. So her point isn't about a given percentage or amount of time that any understanding of one's interests don't conflict but that they need not ever, when rightly understood (ie., are "rational.")
    1 point
  46. Her philosophy was very much influenced by her exposure to Marxism, both in the Soviet Union and the U.S. It can be seen as primarily a refutation of it. Both are materialist in the sense that there is no appeal to the "supernatural", but a primary difference between the two has to do with epistemology (see Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology). Marx held an individual's ideas to be formed via a dialectic process between and individual and his class and it's relationship to the material means of production in any given age. Marx also saw history as unfolding to a finished st
    1 point
  47. Actually, I was comparing "100% certainty" (C1) to "certainty beyond a reasonable doubt" (C2). (C2 is "as good as it gets" when judging people. C1 is possible with other entities.) Sometimes. All conclusions that are beyond all doubt (C1) are also conclusive (C2), but not the other way around. Some conclusive (C2) conclusions are based on a standard of proof such as "beyond a reasonable doubt," that does not exclude all doubt. In the chain of reasoning that leads up to a such conclusive conclusion there may be unknowns such that the causal chain between perception and conclusion has
    1 point
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