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  1. 3 points
    softwareNerd

    National Borders

    Do you take any of those points seriously? People who make those points are either rationalizing or using them to try win an argument. Their real argument is that they don't want more than a certain number of immigrants each year, because it dilutes existing culture and brings competition for jobs.
  2. 2 points
    Yes, and it was magnificent. Indeed. I don't know how else to square your responses in this thread. Do I really need to recap them? (Technically you should be able to read them over again for yourself, but I don't know that I can trust you to do that honestly, either.) You argued that people should not be allowed to advocate for socialism; I questioned whether that was consistent with Objectivism (or at least with Rand's views), and I provided quotes to demonstrate that Rand supported free speech, specifically including that for communists/socialists. In direct response, you claimed consistency with Rand and that you were not arguing against free speech. The implicit dishonesty involved in such a thing is just staggering. I don't know whether "Orwellian" or "Trumpian" would be more damning, but they both apply -- it is doublethink, pure and simple, on par with 1+1=3. A month on, fresh off of a vacation, and I'm still blown away by it. So I'll put it this way: perhaps it goes too far to say that you have zero respect for reason (how could I possibly know such a thing to such a degree?)... but if you do have any respect for it, that respect will drive you to understand your incredible error, and the disregard for reason and reality it conveys, make amends for it, and try to root it out from all future conversation -- because it is the kind of error that renders all such conversation worse than worthless (to say nothing of what it portends for your thinking).
  3. 1 point
    Unexpected and Gruesome Battle of 1250 BC Involved 4,000 Men from Across Northern Europe As it is, no one knows who these people were who fought on the banks of the Tollense River in northern Germany near the Baltic Sea because there are no written records from the time. But analysis of the remains of the 130 men, most between ages 20 and 30, found so far shows some may have been from hundreds of kilometers away—Poland, Holland, Scandinavia and Southern Europe. What is fascinating to me, is an amateur archeologist stumbles across a find. As he, soon joined by others, continues to examine the surrounding area, it turns out to be an historic unrecorded battle. Add to that input from various fields of specialization, and we are able to determine the approximate era, ages, geographic locations . . . all of this well after the fact.
  4. 1 point
    RomanticRealism

    Showcase your art!

    Here is my latest painting, Woman Wrapped In Silk.
  5. 1 point
    No one got slandered. Indeed, people might overgeneralize (two guys who wear a MAGA hat therefore mean all people who like Trump would do the same thing), but that isn't slander. That's people being obsessed with identity politics. He didn't target anyone, he didn't lie about someone in particular, he didn't make a false accusation. I'm sure he developed the scenario specifically to get as much attention as possible, but probably the only people who fell for it were those who already have an aneurysm as soon as they hear MAGA. Tucker Carlson loves identity politics just as much as a liberal. Only if you believe in collective victimhood, can you construe this as someone being victimized.
  6. 1 point
    Eiuol

    The Trolley Problem

    New trolley problem: The trolley is speeding towards a stack of dynamite that would explode and kill you if you crash into it. If you hit the switch, you will change tracks and be safe. But, you don't own the trolley! Either you get involved the workings of their property, or you die. What do you do?
  7. 1 point
    Come on man, troll a bit better than this! I think it would've been more fun to connect Obama to this.
  8. 1 point
    Eiuol

    The Trolley Problem

    With real blood, real pain, and real bodies?
  9. 1 point
    dreadrocksean

    The Trolley Problem

    You action caused the death of an innocent person. Regardless of the reason. You intent was also to kill the innocent, so you cannot claim ignorance or accident.
  10. 1 point
    Eiuol

    Universe as Object

    I wrote this paper for my own purposes to explain and think more about what makes an object an object. I don't think my idea is incompatible with Objectivism, and it offers new and interesting ideas. Feel free to nit-pick, I edited it to get the exact words I want. Might the universe be an object? I look at something in front of me. I recognize it as a table: four legs, flat surface, wooden. Other things are placed on its surface, like a pencil and a camera. I am comfortable with these identifications. After all, I can touch them, see them, even hear them if I move them in a certain way. Furthermore, I can see edges where one thing ends and the other begins. In other words, these things are entities: things which are bounded and distinct[1]. Through their behavior, they exhibit an identity. Even more, the identity of these entities is independent of my seeing or recognizing them. The entire world in front of me is this way, filled with entities. My perception allows me to see this. Consider that a table is made of parts which are not accessible in a perceptual way. Certainly, I can chop off the legs of the table and then have individual legs, but this is no problem because the legs still remain directly accessible to unaided perception. The parts that I am talking about are not accessible to unaided perception, that is, what the table is decomposable into and is therefore constituted of. The table is constituted of molecules, which cannot be detected just by looking. With a microscope molecules can be detected, and they would have the same distinctness I recognize when I looked at the table without any help. In order to make the distinction between things which I can see without assistance of the things I can't see without assistance, I will consider objects to be both of these, while I will consider entities to be those things that I can see without assistance. Such a distinction is important because I cannot recognize the aspects of a molecule in the same way I can recognize the aspects of a table. A different method is required in order to comprehend a molecule, that is, reliance on tools. A related consideration for the ontology I am sketching out is the objects on the table. To put it simply, the objects share no causal identity to the extent they are distinct and unconnected. The only aspect they all have in common in relation to each other is a spatial characteristic. The camera is on the table, which is as far as the relationship between table and camera extends. I could refer to them as “objects on the table”, and treat them as a set in order to talk about statements like “I knocked over the table, so everything fell off” or “the table is full, I can't put another object on it”. However, there is nothing causal about one object to another in the set of objects on the table. They do not form a system whose constituents operate together. So far, this ontology is nothing radical, and even common sense. Is this all there is to consider though? If I stop here, I may as well say it was sufficient for the Greeks to consider what was immediately and directly available to their perception. As soon as I recognize concrete constituents of an object, and recognize that these constituents are also objects, I need to think about the relation these constituents stand towards other constituents which are not available to unaided perception. Is the relationship only spatial? Or are they directly and causally related, despite my inability to see this possible relationship without a microscope? Intuitively, my answer is that they are causally related exactly because any further distinction I have made is based on having recognized an entity with which I could use a microscope on. The set of objects on the table on the other hand are not reduced from my having seen a larger entity. I did not see an entity and then break it down further. In this way, I have determined that the universe cannot be object. The above view I call perceptual ontology, i.e. ontology bounded and set by perceptual capacities. Important to keep in mind is that objecthood doesn’t depend upon perceptual capacities. Rather, the class of existents (e.g. ideas, concretes, actions) that qualify as objects are specified by what is perceptually detectable without aid and its decomposition. As characterized, perceptual ontology is immediately vulnerable to subjectivity in metaphysics. Indeed, in terms of epistemology, perceptual capacities need not imply a subjectivist epistemology -- there could still be definitive and objective rules to recognizing or knowing that an object is in fact an object. Even more, entities can be considered primary or fundamental to comprehending metaphysics. However, since what qualifies as an object is a direct consequence of a physical reduction from the entity level, I begin to wonder about creatures smaller than humans and what they can see as entities [2]. A microscopic bacteria could detect molecules unaided, that is, molecules would be entities to a microscopic bacteria. Anything too much larger may as well be like the set of objects on the table -- perhaps connected but not complete and entirely contained. Going the other direction, in principle, a massive creature could detect groups of planets like a person detects a dog. The group of planets could plausibly be an entity specifically to that creature. By this reasoning, to a human the group of planets is a set of planets yet not an object because they were not a reduction from the entity level, while the massive creature sees the group of planets on the entity level so the group would qualify as an object. If the very category of existents that qualify as objects in the first place vary based on perceptual differences, the resulting metaphysics would be a direct consequence of the given subject and not a direct consequence of reality. The schema of this problem is easily illustrated: 1. a = {c1, c2, c…, cn}; the constituents of Cx are united as a single abstraction a 2. e = {c1, c2, c…, cn} = {o1, o2, o…, on}; the constituents of Cx are united as entity e. Any element of Cx or unification within Cx is an object. 3. Per(Cx) = e; the function, i.e. the faculty of perception, which recognizes some aspect of the world as bounded and distinct as opposed to an abstraction. The perception of set Cx is sufficient and necessary for set Cx to be an entity and all its elements to be objects. 1 is equivalent to the earlier “objects on the table”. Each constituent is an element of the abstraction. 2 is equivalent to a table constituted by molecules and follows a pattern similar to 1. All constituents of entities are objects. 3 means that what qualifies as an entity will be different for any variation of perceptual faculties. 4. The whole set C being an object or not therefore depends on the perceptual capacities of the creature in question. The unity is an object if and only if the constituents are already a division of an entity. Otherwise, it is an abstraction or mental object, which is by definition neither physical nor independent of one’s awareness. One solution to the problem is that efforts to define objects are inherently subjective, that there is in fact no way to objectively state what is or is not an object in any circumstance. More specifically, there is not a multiplicity of objects in reality. Thus, the word “object” ceases to have meaning - there is either exactly one object, or no objects. With Hindu philosophy, there is singular “object” called Brahman, the underlying nature of reality[3]. Any further distinction is considered “maya”, illusion[4]. At worst, maya is human conceit attempting to satisfy a constant desire to label and categorize, a cause of suffering. At best, it is the world of appearances that the subject acknowledges, which need not determine how the world really is. Brahman is in fact a singularity of all, the only “object” which really counts. So on it goes, towards the denial of one's own ego, towards passive acceptance of existence. Such a consequence is hardly worthwhile. Argument by consequence, however, is not reason to reject a metaphysical claim. If existence is exactly one object, then that’s how it is, for better or worse. The consequence only alters my response to the fact; it may impact the epistemology I develop, or my ethical theories, but disliking the consequences is not a counterargument. The idea of a singularity is wrong because it is parasitic upon more fundamental premises: to speak of a singularity requires having already defined or conceptualized a variety of objects. Denying a multiplicity of objects would just as well deny the means to conceptualize or witness Brahman – denying perception. Ultimately, then, the “solution” is to wipe away a perceiver, such that perceptual faculties are ignored. While metaphysics does not take into account a perceiver for a claim to be valid, coming to understand metaphysical claims takes addressing how one is conscious of reality. It seems that rather than reality being a singularity, there is a threshold on the number of objects one is able to grasp[5]. So, perception’s limits leave me unable to determine which things qualify as objects - besides what I see as an entity, and its constituents. Accepting that there is a threshold on the number of qualifiable objects due to one’s perceptual faculties is no solution, either. This would be taking a stance in favor of maya instead of a singularity. I’d be saying there are an unknown and ungraspable set of objects in reality[6]. If the set of all objects in reality include these “invisible” objects, then all the criteria for an object to fit into the set of all objects are unknown. By this point, it would not be determinable if the known objects really qualify as objects. I would not be able to say if they should be disqualified as objects – for I would be admitting no one will ever find out all the necessary criteria of objecthood. Some currently-known objects may turn out to be non-objects. Unfortunately, no one would ever be able to find out. As a result, no objects in reality are graspable. Imagine the set of all known fruits, then also yet-to-be-discovered fruits. Both sets are graspable, the criteria for qualifying as a fruit can be understood differently in the future, perhaps leading me to recategorize. But if there are a set of extra-dimensional fruits that are unknowable and ungraspable because of the limits to perception, then the set of all fruits would lack any definable criteria. Apples qualify, as do bananas, but I would never know about gooblegorks. If I will never know of gooblegorks, nor why they qualify as fruits, likewise, I won’t know why apples or bananas qualify. So, the entire category of fruit becomes arbitrary or merely nominal - maya. There would be no basis to say what fruits are or are not besides a subjective impression. The same form of reasoning would apply to “invisible” objects. Of course, the above paragraph is a discussion of epistemology. At the same time, any solution to a problem can only be reached by referring to the thinking required. The greater point is to emphasize that all solutions so far are parasitic upon defining objecthood already by means of my awareness and consciousness. A solution requires keeping the idea that entities are distinct and bounded - explaining objecthood any other way is parasitic. The solution I see is to say that objects are also the things entities supercompose into. Just as a table decomposes into molecules, certain entities may supercompose[7] into greater objects. In this way, all things that are objects depend on composability. Entities help with a starting point for qualifying objects; composability as a principle makes use of entities; entities are not a threshold for objecthood. Thus I avoid parasitism issues. I am maintaining premises 1 and 2, the premises pertaining to entities as a basis to qualifying an ontology. Explicitly, I am denying that function 3 expressed as perception (and the tools to extend perception) and decomposability expressed as 2 are sufficient to determine objecthood. Rather, I am proposing that composability is needed – decomposition only works because of composition. Stated generally for any object: 5. Comp(c1 + c2 + c… + cn) = o; the function, i.e. the composing, of a set of constituents. The composibility of set Cx is sufficient and necessary for set Cx to be an object and all its elements to be objects. Stated for any object greater than an entity: 6. SuperComp(e1 + e2 + e… + en) = o; the function, i.e. the supercomposing, of a set of entities. The supercomposibility of set Ex is sufficient and necessary for set Ex to be an object and all its elements to be objects. Why not instead suppose that composition extends infinitely? Because a supercomposition is a combination of entities. If the cardinality of E is 30, then the possible number of supercompositions is 30c30. Each round of compositions will be fewer, and so on until the resulting combination in a single object. A number of the proceeding arguments are why compositions end at a single object as opposed to two or more. If tables decompose into molecules, then molecules compose into tables. In principle, there is no reason to say nothing composes from entities like tables into “supertable”. There is no necessity to stop composition at the level of entity. All that can be said is that determining composition is difficult. Certainly, “supertable” is not an object, because a group of tables have no causal relation, only a spatial relation like objects on a table. Yet if a group of entities have a causal relation, the group is just as much an object as a table composed of molecules. Not just any causal relation will work, though. Two balls bouncing off each other is a direct causal relation, but they still are not singular. They need to be a bounded and distinct unity to be a singular “ballcluster” object as well as two balls. Similarly as an example, two molecules passing through one another doesn’t alone render them into a table. Three necessary conditions are robust enough for a group of objects to be a composition. Among the group’s elements, there would need to be causal relation strong enough to be called an object as opposed to an abstraction. Systematic The elements in a group of objects operate together simultaneously and affect one another. A loss of one constituent will affect how the group behaves. Taking flour out of a cake recipe will radically alter all aspects of a cake, including texture, shape, baking time, and more. Flour itself will not alter the nature of eggs, but the unity of flour and eggs along with the rest of the ingredients make a specific cake. The nature of the group is different if any element is taken out. Relational A function exists which binds the elements in a group of objects. Being relational makes explicit that the elements are connected. “Next to” is a relation, as is “X > Y” and “the moon orbited the earth”. Emergence The resulting group possesses one or more attributes which none of the individual elements possess. For example, people are volitional, but their constituents are not volitional – a single neuron is not volitional. Likewise, the process of life and the resulting attribute of being alive don’t make all of a creature’s constituent elements alive. The fact that properly arranging constituents in just the right way (the right mix of carbon molecules, the right external conditions like temperature, etc.) results in a living creature suggests that the constituents form a causal unity with each other. There are no good examples of a supercomposition aside from science fiction. However, one particular candidate may qualify as a supercomposition: the universe, the unification of all objects that exist. If true, there would be interesting clarifications and ideas regarding identity. First, I need to determine if the universe is an object. The universe is systematic. All objects that exist make up the nature of the universe. The actions of a planet orbiting a star impacts other stars and other stars’ planets. It is possible to focus on planets as singulars, but the idea is planets and impacted stars, and so on, operate as a system. The more alterations within a system, the more each element will be altered. Taking into account all objects at once is only an expansion of this. Moreover, given that causality never ceases at some ultimate point in time[8], the effects of one object will necessarily continue eternally within the system to the degree the system is complete and bounded. In terms of the universe, it is bounded by all that exists. The universe is the most complete system there is, and its bounds are definite. There is nothing to remove from the universe, and there is nothing to add. Otherwise, the system is incomplete, meaning that it is something different than the universe as defined. The universe is all related. At minimum, by virtue of being physical, there is a spatial relation between all objects. Two asteroids, or two atoms, placed at opposite ends of the universe bear a spatial relation. The spatial relation makes it possible in principle for any two objects to effect a causal relation. There is always a chronological relation as well, as any group of objects will be acting in some manner. The universe has emergent attributes. Exactly the emergent properties of the universe are for cosmologists to discover through science. Cosmology, however, is not the only way to figure out in general attributes unique to the universe. As a complete whole, time holds between all objects at once, which requires a unique time standard. A universal time standard cannot be identical to time standards of more narrow systems. If it were identical, it would be part of an identical system – identical standards would mean using a standard not defined by the context of all objects. So, a time attribute of the universe is emergent, assuming the universe’s systematicity is true. This leads to saying all objects operate together; the actions of one object affect the rest because time applies equally. This is why knowledge of one fact affects how all knowledge is structured. Many more examples of all three are possible. The main idea is that causality spreads in a systematically related way across a system with emergent attributes, or for all constituents of a given object. Applied to the whole universe, causality is eternal and will not cease as long as the universe exists. Eternal causality entails a systematically related universe with at least one emergent attribute. Thus, the universe is an object. A similar idea is that the universe is plenum[9], a continuous substance that connects all things that exist. To be clear, a theory of compositionality is not compatible with universe-as-plenum. Plenum would be a theory that the universe is an object because all objects are directly related spatially - the universe is a Jell-O slab with pieces of fruit suspended inside. But as I argued before, a spatial relation is insufficient for a group of objects to be an object. The added “closeness” of plenum does not help. Instead, compositionality is a theory that the universe is perpetuum[10], a total expanse of all that exists linked by causality. I call it perpetual ontology. <<>> [1] This sense of the word entity is intended to be the same as Rand: "The first concepts man forms are concepts of entities—since entities are the only primary existents. (Attributes cannot exist by themselves, they are merely the characteristics of entities; motions are motions of entities; relationships are relationships among entities.)" -ITOE, page 15. [2] I'm reminded of Peikoff's thought experiment on meta-energy puffs. OPAR, pages 45-47. [3] The Brahman is not apprehendable by human means. A yogi may feel being one with the Brahman, but not through their perceptual faculties to see or grasp it. C.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman [4] Maya is not just perceptual illusion, but all ways of conceiving of the world whether through perception or cognition. C.f. http://www.davar.net/EXTRACTS/FICTION/INDIAN.HTM [5] To grasp is used here as a term to cover any form of grasping from mere perceptual awareness to conceptualization. Knowledge is a grasp, as well as perception. Witnessing Brahman would be a grasp, but something distinct from knowledge and perception. [6] Unknown objects are not necessarily ungraspable, just as atoms were not always known. Atoms were always possibly graspable. The issue is proposing that a theoretical, yet-to-be-demonstrated object that cannot ever be grasped. [7]The prefix super- is used to convey that the composition is a composition at or above the level of entity. A supercomposition is not a special form of composition with unique attributes. [8] Time is itself a relation between two actions, so a time which lacks a coinciding action is no time at all. Furthermore, a causal-free point in time implies regions of reality which lack causality. In both ways, the absolute end to any causal chain would be an absolute end to the universe, or at least the universe would be in a frozen state. I’d argue that a frozen state is identical to nothingness, i.e. is nonexistence. [9] Latin - (with genitive, or ablative in later Latin) full (of), filled, plump; https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/plenus#Latin [10] Latin - perpetual, continuous, uninterrupted; https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/perpetuus#Latin
  11. 1 point
    MisterSwig

    National Borders

    This is backwards. First you need philosophical clarity regarding national borders, then you can apply that knowledge to practical problems related to the war on drugs or the welfare state. I agree in principle, and, look, we didn't even have to solve the drug war first. Though we might disagree on what qualifies as "a very real threat to individual rights." For example, you don't mention anti-individual rights ideologies, like socialism. Binswanger has argued against controlling for political ideology at the border. I disagree and have debated the point at length on the "Immigration Restrictions" thread. http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/31452-immigration-restrictions/
  12. 1 point
    Boydstun

    My Verses

    I took this evening photo a little after writing this poem, written lying on the living room floor beneath her. -2/4/19The 'he' is Jerry (d. 1990).
  13. 1 point
    Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Causal connection. Physical, material causality through direct and indirect contact or through fields or whatever else physics may discover. Then that thing would be unknowable, and it would be arbitrary to speculate about its existence.
  14. 1 point
    Yeah, no I don't think I have ever thought that when meeting someone. If I think about the truth I always have a sense that I have something to learn from each person I talk to. They might be dumb as a box of rocks and funny as hell.
  15. 1 point
    Nicky

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Jordan Peterson (who I think is a brilliant thinker and public speaker) makes a very interesting point about social statistics: the real issue isn't the 60/40 split between the masses. The real issue is between the outliers: when there's a 60/40 split between two large groups of people, the spit between the extremes (the people who out-perform the group, meaning the over-performers) is far greater (95/5 to 99/1). For instance, in NYC (or NYS, I'm citing this out of memory, so I'm not entirely sure which), an overwhelming majority of genius level IQ tested high-school students are ethnic Ashkenazi Jews. A crazy amount, something like 49 out of 50 "genius" IQ students in NY are Jewish. That's a natural consequence of Ashkenazi Jews being, on average, about ten points above the average population, in IQ. Which is not that much. But small statistical differences result in overwhelming differences when it comes to outliers (in this case, geniuses). Another good example of this, often cited by Jordan Peterson, is the radical split in prison population, by sex...pretty sure it is above 9 to 1 in "favor" of men...despite the fact that, on average, personality traits that favor criminality, between men and women, tend to be around 60/40 percent...which, on the surface, doesn't seem that significant until you look at the results in outliers. And, of course, outliers determine the future of a society. It's hard to argue with that. Albert Enstein (a person who can be objectively judged to have had superior intellect, without an IQ test) was more important than 5 billion people, all added together, who lived since. Clearly. If high IQ really does equal superior intellect, then no one else really matters in the NYC school system on a societal level, except Ashkenazi Jews. And no one really matters on the African continent, period. So, if you buy into IQ (like Jordan unfortunately does...but with a caveat: he does not claim any kind of omniscience, he is open to counter-arguments, and I think he would be blown away by someone challenging his definitions, I don't think he ever met someone able to do that), you can't really dispute these types of conclusions. The only possible avenue of attack against that position is attacking IQ (and social sciences in general, because Jordan is correct: IQ is one of the better parts of social sciences). Jordan, as far as I know, only makes one decent argument for IQ: there's a strong corelleration between IQ and financial success in the West. Which is somewhat of a non-sequitur.
  16. 1 point
    What are you going to do with this assumptions? Do you seriously thinking 40% 60% etc. while talking to people? If you are actually having a conversation, It does not take much to start forming an opinion of another person... at which point class probabilities are rendered pretty useless. And, if you start to assume that before hand, you will hinder your own ability to be objective, and will therefore miss spotting reality.
  17. 1 point
    Tenderlysharp

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    Have you ever had a personal sentimental item, attached to the memory of a person who is gone, stolen from you? I have. No amount of shouting in the street about what is fair is going to stop human malevolence and ignorance. If I want to approach fair human interactions, I've got to build my own foundation, inspire the cretins to educate themselves, and not waste time bloviating to a choir of one. I come here to find real, unique, interesting intelligent human beings, who happen to adore Ayn Rand for reasons she might have appreciated. I am not here to run around in circles with puppets who spout ideologies with no thought of what any of it means to them personally, individually here and now in the real world.
  18. 1 point
    Grames

    Which Eternity?

    No. The concept of Universe works just as well whether what exists is finite or infinite. Concepts are by definition and in practical usage open ended. Furthermore, paraphrasing Aristotle and his principle of identity, everything that exists has particular definite form. A 'sum' or 'whole' used in reference to the diversity of all that exists then is not something that has a primary sense of existence but rather it is merely an epistemological device. A good definition will specify a genus and differentia; but the definition of Universe can have no differentia. Universe then is a special and problematic epistemological contrivance. Is it a problem that needs solving? Can it be avoided? I say no and no.
  19. 1 point
    MisterSwig

    Movie: First Man

    I rented First Man and thought it was very good. Its story is told from the perspective of Neil Armstrong and the personal challenges he faced in order to become the first human being on the moon. The style tries to blend both the emotional and rational aspects to his journey. It does a good job at that and really puts you into the boots of this amazing character as he struggles with his daughter's death, the fear of dying, and all the technical things he must figure out in the spaceships he controls. The tone is serious and deliberate, backdropped by the potential for chaos and catastrophe. The film looks great. The effects seem like they belong in every scene and don't distract from the suspension of disbelief. Nothing really popped out at me to criticize, except a minor impatience with some slow parts. The movie really takes Armstrong's famous words to heart. It's about one man representing mankind's desire to reach the moon. It's an epic, hero's journey. But a real hero's journey. This is another film from director Damien Chazelle, who also did Whiplash, one of Peikoff's favorite movies, which I thought was excellent as well. Chazelle is apparently working on a TV series now. I hope it's as good as his movies so far.
  20. 1 point
    Grames

    Which Eternity?

    No, there can be no boundary. Whenever you think you might be able to imagine something outside or beyond the Universe, it expands to include it. It is the intent of the concept Universe to encompass everything by definition. All concepts are like that, having open-ended referents.
  21. 1 point
    DonAthos

    Immigration restrictions

    I have nowhere advocated "allowing socialists to take over the government." Yes, no one here likes socialism. Neither do I like the idea that someone may be subject to force on the basis of their "belief." Rather, I believe in retaliatory force. But belief (even belief in socialism) is not the initiation of the use of force. Because socialists are human beings with individual rights. As an Objectivist, I believe in liberty, which here means that I only respond with force when force has been initiated by another. A socialist who has not initiated force against me has every right to live his life. I'm not "using the libertarian NAP"; I am referring to foundational Objectivist principles and quoting Ayn Rand to demonstrate that fact. Also, immigration, or crossing a border generally, is not the same thing at all as "citizenship" (whatever that is held to entail). It is not the same as suffrage or being eligible to run for President or participation in governance, generally. It is possible to have different requirements for immigration versus "citizenship" (and in fact, the US does have different requirements currently). This serves to highlight one of my central contentions: that immigration is a red herring. If advocating for socialism today is the initiation of force, then it doesn't matter whether we're discussing Mexico, the United States, or the border between them; if it is the initiation of the use of force, then it ought to be illegal and it ought to be met with retaliatory force, everywhere. Further -- as sincere philosophical thought often requires drawing careful distinctions -- it must be noted that there is yet a difference between "believing in socialism" (or "being a socialist," generally) and advocating for it, in whatever form that advocacy might take. But no, I cannot agree that advocating for socialism in the present-day United States (e.g. via conducting an essay contest on The Communist Manifesto, as a means of spreading those ideas) constitutes the initiation of physical force. Someone currently advocating for socialism must be dealt with by means of reason and persuasion, not violence. I don't know whether it was particularly "easy" for Rand (I suspect not, actually), but I do believe that's more-or-less precisely what she said (again, from "The Nature of Government"): It is, you're right. It's an abstract idea, a principle -- one of those principles that constitutes Objectivism, and fundamentally so, I would argue. This isn't true only in a democracy, it's true in all forms of government (and also beyond; irrationality is a threat, generally, and if people are ruled by irrational philosophy, they are potentially a grave danger -- so should we consider all forms of irrationality, or their advocacy, to be the initiation of the use of force?). This is why we mean to combat other peoples' bad ideas with our good ideas. But part of that is acting in a manner consistent with our good idea that one may never initiate the use of force. The moment we start making exceptions, we have lost a lot more than whatever it is you believe we have gained.
  22. 1 point
    Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Potential is identity viewed from epistemological perspective, a mind with memory and imagination. All that exists are particulars, doing particular definite things in accordance with their identities. It takes imagination or memory to divert the mind's attention away from what the object of the mind's attention is doing right this moment. 'Potential energy' is a concept taught in elementary physics classes. Pendulum motion is described using the principle of conservation of energy such that the sum of the pendulums kinetic energy of motion and its potential energy of position must remain constant (neglecting friction for the moment). Here the so-called potential energy is real and actual because the pendulum is a real and actual existent with a real and actual position within a gravity field at every instant. One can avoid the potential confusion of thinking of potentials as real because it appears in an equation describing the pendulum's motion by using the term 'energy of position' instead. This kind of statement "a sea battle either will happen tomorrow or not happen tomorrow" is formally true because the alternatives are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive, but it does not constitute knowledge and cannot be categorized as a fact because it does not predicate anything. (It predicates two perfect contradictories which cancel to net zero predication.) The grammar of the statement is correct, the logic of the posited alternatives is flawless, yet it remains entirely an exercise in method. It is an unfalsifiable statement of the kind Popper scorned. The statement employs the useful and valid concept of "tomorrow", but that does not transform the referent of "tomorrow" from an epistemological construct (a 'concept of method' in Objectivist jargon) into an existential fact. Tree rings exist in the present as an effect with a cause in the past. The cause existed, then the effect existed. The present existence of the effect does not require the present existence of the cause. Going back to your argument: No beginning and no end can still be literally true if a finite Universe had some kind of strange asymptotic boundary conditions governing time. For example, space and time are related such that a very high mass density implies a very high space time curvature such that time slows to a crawl relative to a lesser curvature. The Big Bang would have played out very slowly, and extrapolating backward in time beyond the Big Bang requires crossing an inflection point where time would not pass at all. A remote future in which all matter had entered black holes and then been re-radiated as Hawking radiation until all the black holes were gone would be a perfectly static universe in which time had no meaning.
  23. 1 point
    DonAthos

    Immigration restrictions

    You would absolutely stop that migration. Your life depends on it. But this is not primarily an immigration issue. Earlier, when introducing this line of discussion, Nicky, you had drawn some distinction between immigrants and natural-born citizens -- asking whether we should have a "double standard." But we should not. If Nazism at some point (and that point would need to be determined appropriately; I'm probably not the person to assess it, and this probably isn't the forum) constitutes a danger such that they would overthrow some (relatively more rights-respecting) government, then it doesn't matter if their rise comes from immigration or from domestic activities by citizens. Either people do or do not have a right to those activities, inside or outside of the US, immigrant, visitor or born-n-bred Yankee. The crossing of borders is a meaningless detail, except that it probably informs our method of retaliatory force. But that is the central point: we respond to force, with force. Nazism rising to the level you're describing itself constitutes a threat (and you recognize the nature of that threat when you write, "you would be executed within a year"); that's the same threat if that rise of Nazism is domestic, and it should be responded to, with force. So my position with respect to immigration -- and I think it is the only immigration position consistent with the principles of Objectivism (which is to say, with reason and reality) -- is: you may rightly stop people at the border for the same reasons (and only these) that you would rightly detain/fine/imprison, or generally respond with force, domestically. That is, when someone has themselves initiated the use of force (inclusive of threats, which I ought not otherwise need make explicit here, but will do so for clarity's sake).
  24. 1 point
    Grames

    Which Eternity?

    Is not the view actually put in the positive sense, that it is claimed time is only inside the universe? Time is an attribute of what exists. Outside of the whole of existence there is nothing. Nothing can have no attributes. Nothing can be claimed about what is not-existence. All of that is merely laying out foundations of straight thinking in metaphysics to rule out some mysticism. I would not read Rand as making wild claims about the ultimate fate of the universe, whether it exists endlessly or not or in what form.
  25. 1 point
    Eiuol

    Immigration restrictions

    I can see it now. Welcome to California, the Gulag of the US!
  26. 1 point
    2046

    Immigration restrictions

    Polygraphy is widely criticized.[15][16][17] Despite claims of 90% validity by polygraph advocates, the National Research Council has found no evidence of effectiveness.[16][18] The utility among sex offenders is also poor, with insufficient evidence to support accuracy or improved outcomes in this population.[19][20] But let us suppose your test is perfect and infallible. Suppose I go to your house and ask you "Are you going to leave me alone?" You respond that you're not going to answer me and tell me to begone. I then go to your workplace and again pester you "Sir, are you or are you not going to leave me alone?!" Again you dismiss me. I go to your church, your kid's school, your wife while she's shopping. "If you don't answer me, I'll arrest you and deport you! Now are you or are you not going to leave me alone?!" There's something odd about this behavior I'm exibiting. I'm subjecting you to harassment in the name of making sure there's no harassment. You don't owe me an answer, you don't owe me anything, under a negative rights conception. You only owe me not to interfere with my life and property, which you are not, even when you are not answering my repeated questions. If I am to force you to answer me, I am thrusting a positive obligation onto you. This is not compatible with basic negative individual rights. I refuse your test and your request for positive action on my behalf for your ends. What now? If your answer is to subject me to government force, then your demand has some problems. And it is a "demand" not an argument. "I think this is moral and proper" is an assertion, not an argument.
  27. 1 point
    2046

    Immigration restrictions

    The fact that there is a law about X says nothing about why there ought to be a law about X. I'm not trying to be snarky, by the way, but my comments are designed to show you that your arguments are greatly underdeveloped. You haven't really done anything other than state your opinion that those with "anti-American beliefs" (whatever that means) ought to be banned. An argument is something with a major and minor premise connected by necessity to a conclusion. You've given us a raw statement. Suppose I gave the following argument: In my view an objective impoliteness is not an intrinsic impoliteness. So it would have to be identified in whatever context applied to your particular situation. In our current situation, I think we should screen immigrants moving from Brooklyn to Queens for objective impoliteness, to be determined if their are holding rude-beliefs. I abstract away from your notions of "threat" and "distress" and "anti-American" to help you focus on the structure of the above argument. Notice how the premises are not supported at any point by argument? Notice too how the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises? Adding "contextual" and "objective" in front of certain words doesn't help either, it doesn't actually add or modify any content. Moreover it has many additional problems. It endorses prior restraint theory. Now before I can take an action, I have to prove to the government that I don't hold certain beliefs. This breaks the principle that the government has to prove that I acted wrongly before subjecting me to state action. Additionally who is the one to decide what beliefs count as anti-American? You and your gang? How are they to provide this "screening?" A standardized test? Can't the subject just answer "I love America" even if they held anti-American beliefs? What could your test accomplish? Would you then ban groups based on perceived identity? Again, then eugenics and propaganda, or childbirth must be controlled too, on those grounds. It's great that you recognize essentially "I want to ban people that hold beliefs that I don't like" but your viewpoint has a lot to answer for. And adding "they are objective threats" or "they cause me objective distress" doesn't to the reason-giving work you seem to think that it does.
  28. 1 point
    Here's the thing: an objective threat is not an intrinsic threat. So it would have to be identified in whatever context applied to your particular situation. In our current situation, I think we should screen immigrants for at least contagious diseases, criminal history, and anti-American beliefs. Given our conflict with Islamic terrorists, it might also be proper to keep out Muslims from certain nations, or investigate them more closely than non-Muslims. As for Mexicans, I don't see a reason for special scrutiny, except maybe checking for ties with violent drug cartels.
  29. 1 point
    Objection #1: Long range philosophies cause people to get stuck in the future while forgetting to enjoy the present moment. Answer to objection #1: Long range planning and productive work are activites that one does for his present-moment happiness, not solely for future benefits. Not planning for the future compromises your immediate enjoyment of life by causing anxiety and worry; planning for the future elevates your mood in anticipation of the good things that will come; finally, if you are able to enjoy the present moment, it's probably because you've done something right in the past, and you are reaping the results right now. There is no real dichotomy between enjoying the present and planning for the future. They are both the integral parts of your moment-to-moment enjoyment of life, since life only happens in the present moment. _________________________________________________________ Objection #2: Objectivism fails to justify the pursuit of happiness. Clause one: if life appeared by cosmic chance and not by some pre-determined universal goal, life has no justification at all. Answer to clause one: the labels 'justified' and 'not justified' are value judgements, and value judgements presuppose the goal of life. Clause one is therefore unintelligible, basically amounting to saying that living is not a good strategy if your goal is to live. Secondly, the way something got here does not invalidate its present, factual existence. Even if life appeared without some pre-determined universal teleology, it still exists and its existence is the starting point of discussion; only the unreal is not a subject of debate. Clause two: In Objectivism, there is no justification for the choice to live. Variation one: you cannot justify choosing to live, because the choice is a primary (it is not necessitated by some previous, higher goal). Answer to variation one: 'justify' is used here as a stolen concept, dropping its root in the concept of life. You are trying to justify why choosing to live would help your goal of living life. Variation two: choosing to live is a whim, because it is a primary (it is not necessitated by some previous, higher goal). Answer to variation two: a whim is a goal for which there is no actual necessity to engage in, relative to a preceding goal which is consonant with the root of values (life). Saying that choosing to live is a whim steals the concept and amounts to claiming that if you want to live, choosing to do so is a whim. Variation three: In Objectivism, the choice to live is defined as an acceptance of reality, of your existence. Therefore, you are merely dutifuly being nature's servant. Answer to variation three: accepting one's own desire to live is not an act of submission to nature, any more than an inanimate object being itself is an act of submission to its identity. The desire to live is a metaphysically-given aspect of living organisms. In accepting this desire, people are not submitting to a natural edict, they are simply observing what is already true, i.e. their nature. Variation four: Choosing to live is a moral choice. Answer to variation four: a moral choice is a choice that furthers man's goal of living a good life (it already presuposes that goal). _________________________________________________________ Objection #3: Objectivism tells people to grow and actualize their full potential. But why should you grow if the path is infinite, there being no particular point at which you can retire and be satisfied? Answer to objection #3. This boils down to metaphysics. The concept of infinity cannot be actualized in practice. No matter how long a counting streak is, its actual lenght is dictated by where you stop counting. If growth was a limited endeavor, it would actually hurt happiness by physically limiting the amount of things you can enjoy. The only way to ensure long-term happiness is by never reaching a dead-end in your possibilities. Asking why you should grow is akin to asking: how will making myself happier make me happier? _________________________________________________________ Objection #4: If existence, not consciousness, is a primary, then the universe is my direct antagonist. It is not aware that I exist. It is not somehow linked to me in a common ground between consciousness and matter. Nothing happens for a predestined purpose or teleological program towards complete self-consciousness/merging with god. It has no ability to protect me. It can't hear my prayers. It has no will to decide against randomly sending a tsunami onto my house. I am to be held responsible for absolutely everything in my life. Answer to objection #4: Man alone has a real, genuine capacity to use the metaphysically-given to further his own personal goals. This is in direct contrast to the universe itself, which is not alive and does not have goals. A universe that is 'separate from man' is implied to be a universe outside his reach, rendering him incapable to use it for his goals. But the universe is here for the picking. In fact, only the universe is here for the picking, being the only reality that exists, and both the source of life and life's value-warehouse. Given that values are a type of fact, choosing the correct values is not an instance of being a slave to the metaphysically-given, but the act of identifing the goodness which is already there for the picking as long as you earn it or work to create it. Saying that the universe limits your options is unintelligible insofar as 'values' becomes a stolen concept - different values are only made possible by a specific context of facts and cannot exist in a vacuum. The enjoyment and meaning of values would be robbed from man if values were arbitrary (not objective, firm, absolute) or if the universe was alive and played favorites (personal achievement plays a big role in the ability to enjoy a value). Luckily, the universe is a given and not the product of the Absolute's fully free (i.e. arbitrary) desire to reach full self-consciousness.
  30. 1 point
    I’m in the Cayman Islands now, where I just had my second Regenexx-C procedure with culture-expanded stem cells. I saved for it for two years. We treated almost every joint in my body. The first procedure 20 months ago probably saved my life, and I’m stoked to get even more improvement from this one.
  31. 1 point
    It's pretty sad that the world prefers to go from evil one horn of the dichotomy to the other, instead of looking for the (abstract) solution that philosophers have long advised: go through the horns of the dichotomy.
  32. 1 point
    Nicky

    The Case for Open Objectivism

    That is in no way, shape or form true. Ayn Rand is not Jesus Christ the Savior, she was just a person, like the rest of us. Also, she's been dead for 37 years now. Stone cold dead. Not resurrected, not sitting on the right hand side of God, but buried in some dirt, and well on her way to decomposing. There's no Objectivist, in any faction, who would think that we all got done coming up with useful philosophy 37 years ago. Ayn Rand herself wouldn't have thought that humanity is all done coming up with useful philosophy, after she died. That's not what closed Objectivism means. Closed Objectivism simply tries to preserve her work for posterity, uncorrupted by people who claim to speak for her. She deserves that much. If you wish to come up with new philosophy, go right ahead. I'll read it if it's interesting. And if you think your philosophy has been influenced by Objectivism (the philosophy of Ayn Rand), go ahead and cite her as an influence. But that's all the level of familiarity you're allowed, as far as "closed Objectivists" like myself are concerned. You're not allowed to claim any kind of deeper connection than that, because, guess what: you don't have it. Objectivism is HER philosophy, and hers alone. Anyone who contributed only did so with HER direct approval. Anyone else, who claims to be adding to HER philosophy without her approval, is an interloper. The book on Objectivism closed when Ayn Rand died. The book on rational philosophy is wide open, you just have to earn your paragraph, page or chapter in it on your own, as a philosopher, without claiming any kind of magical connection to Ayn Rand.
  33. 1 point
    Invictus2017

    Korzybski vs. Rand

    I suppose I should have said Representationalist (I think that's the term, it's been awhile). This differs from Idealism in that, supposedly, the objects of consciousness have some (unknowable) relationship to reality, whereas Idealism supposes that the objects of consciousness are, in essence, illusions or hallucinations, unconnected to reality. In my view, there is no real difference between "there is an unknowable connection to reality" and "there is no connection to reality", so Representationalism is a species of Idealism and I tend to use the latter to refer to both. The notion that the objects of perception are mere constructs of the brain is Representationalist, in that it does not allow one to know how these constructs derive from reality -- any such knowledge would be just one more construct. "Brain" is just a construct, and there is no reason for believing that there is "brain" or anything else. (Which illustrates that Representationalism really is Idealism.)
  34. 1 point
    Just stop it with these dramatics already. From your descriptions, you come across as a spoiled brat, and she's mostly tolerating your crap.
  35. 1 point
    Sorry, but this whole thing stopped making sense to me. On the one hand, you are describing a situation where a friend of yours, who you have a crush on, and who's shown interest in you herself, is either having a quick fling with someone else, or is in the early stages of a relationship with someone else. Either way, not a relationship that's guaranteed, or even likely, to last. On the other hand, you're talking about a girl who is "unattainable", "out of your league", and regret and missed opportunity, all suggesting that there's no chance you could ever date her. Those two stories can't both be true. It's one or the other. Which is it?
  36. 1 point
    I think you have a problem, but it's not what you think. Your problem isn't inexperience or shyness. Women don't mind that. What they mind is jealousy and insecurity. You are NOT in a relationship with anyone. You shouldn't act like you are, and while we're at it, you should also try not to feel like you are. Your jealousy is out of place. You're not in pain because of any kind of lost love (she's clearly not lost to you), you're in pain because of misplaced jealousy. Here are some things you shouldn't do: 1. Do not tell her about your jealousy or any kind of pain she is causing you. It's not her problem, not her responsibility to "not hurt you", etc. Don't even entertain the thought that it's her fault in any way, no matter how many texts she sends, and what's in them. It's her right to share her life with her friends, and it is not your right to blame her for it. It's also her right to test you, if that's what she was doing (though I doubt it), and see if you can handle the idea that she doesn't belong to you. If you ask her out, be casual about it, don't pressure her or become emotional. 2. Do not act on this pain in any way. Don't try to distract yourself with alcohol or any other high, substance induced or emotional, either. That's a way to validate it, too. You're in pain, just accept the fact and do nothing else, because it shouldn't be your goal to live a pailess life. 3. Do not for a second think that jealousy is an unavoidable part of love. It's not. It's a symptom of a sick culture that misrepresents love, not a natural consequence of human nature. If you never give an unwanted emotion any validation, and take full personal responsibility for having it (never blame anyone else for causing it), that is the way to fight it, and make it subside and eventually go away. And, in general, don't act like you're in a monogamous relationship, in any way. She clearly hasn't rejected you romantically (the way you, kinda annoyingly I must say, claimed in the OP), and there's no reason to give up on her, but you're not in any kind of relationship with her. So do what she does: keep your options open, go on dates with whoever will go out with you, be open about it with your friends, accept their support if offered, etc. Prove to yourself, and to everyone else, that you are able to keep your emotions grounded in reality: she's not the center of your existence in reality, therefor she shouldn't be the center of your emotional life, either. That groundedness will take you further with attractive, confident women (who have to deal with obsessive, possessive "admirers" on a regular basis) than anything else you can do.
  37. 1 point
    One of the greatest regrets of my early life is cutting off ties with a girl I loved, and several of our common friends, because I couldn't have her. Yes, staying friends would've been painful...and, back then, I thought pain was a hindrance to any kind of accomplishment or success, and therefor to be avoided at all cost...but, as I found out later: pain is a part of life. A necessary, and therefor GOOD part of life. It would've TAUGHT me a lot, about both myself and the nature of the human experience in general. So just take the pain. Don't betray your values, by removing a good person from your life, because you're scared of a little pain. If you take the pain of a short term, probably illusory heartbreak, you will be rewarded for it with a learning experience you can't access in any other way... and possibly a lifetime of friendship as well. P.S. You DO want to stay away from any kind of an exploitative relationship. My post assumes that your relationship with her is a straight forward friendship (like mine was), and she is not taking advantage of your feelings in any way.
  38. 1 point
    As I understand Ayn Rand's approach to such questions, she makes a threefold distinction. (I am solely responsible for the wording used in this post.) This refers to the nature and status of abstractions, so it is an epistemological question rather than an ontological one. Intrinsicists hold that abstractions have an existence or status independent of the human mind. (E. g. Platonic forms, Aristotelian essences.) Subjectivists hold that abstractions are arbitrary creations of human consciousness, and can't be evaluated by any criterion having to do with validity or truth, but only by criteria such as convenience. Objectivists hold that abstractions are mental tools. They are created by the human mind for use in dealing with reality. Like any tools, they can be evaluated according to how well they serve their purpose (and how well they are made). Considerations of validity and truth are an essential part of such an evaluation. (Conceivably a person might be a lower-case objectivist in this sense but disagree with Ayn Rand enough in other respects not to be an upper-case Objectivist.) I have stated this in a general way. To make it more precise, we need to distinguish between the realm of epistemology and the realm of ethics. A separate issue that can be referred to using two of the same words is primacy of existence (objectivism) versus primacy of consciousness (subjectivism).
  39. 1 point
    Sonic & Knuckles, You're covering a lot of topics; you might consider breaking it down a little, or searching for threads related to each of these areas of discussion. Nonetheless, I'll take a few of your questions and try to answer briefly. work is generally being replaced by machines. Yes, labor intense work is often replaced by machines. Machines increase productivity. Increased productivity results in greater output at a lower cost. Net result: More people will be able to afford the goods and services that, at present, only the higher income market can afford. Services made more efficient through high-speed communications are another improvement. So many jobs are going to be gone in the next decade. I think this is going to make the distortions and socio-economic gaps we already have in society much worse. What you are describing has been a concern since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, especially in mass manufacturing. The blacksmiths and candlestick makers were taking a terrible beating back then, but it certainly wasn't the end of the world. You are right to be concerned about being "left behind." I think every young person, (and for that matter, middle-aged people stuck in jobs of the aging industries) ought to seriously plan for the reality of mechanization in the Digital-Age. Objectivist ethics requires one to face the facts, and to deal with them accordingly. As for society getting worse, I think the worst will affect those at the economic bottom, as it always has. The changing ways of doing business like watching a movie or shopping, and the effects of business like concentration of ownership of media with newspapers and (formerly) locally-managed TV/radio stations is creating a scenario in the private market that can be analogous to centralization or Communism in many ways. If the media outlets are privately owned, it certainly wouldn't qualify as Communism, which means that the media are a monopoly owned and operated by the government; so long as the internet stays relatively unregulated, centralization of information is unlikely. I would say the greater problem is the reaction of the general public to hysteria inflamed by the media. As long as there is a market for entertainment and information products, be they physical or digital on-demand, those products will be produced. Ask anyone with a vinyl record collection. As for your neurological condition, I have no comments. I hope the best for your improvement, and by all means, spend some time reading some of the works of Ayn Rand.
  40. 1 point
    One theme in the advice I'd give to a younger me is the idea of "acceptance vs. ambition". The theme is eloquently summed up in the "Serenity Prayer". While this makes total sense, it is that last line that's the problem: sometimes it can be really hard to tell the difference. Apart from some personal examples, I've heard countless examples from others of situations where there seemed to be no good answers, or where plans seemed to have been wrecked for good, where the only way out seemed to be: graceful acceptance. Yet, sometimes the "impossible effort" works at last. Innovators challenge accepted assumptions. Even when it seems obvious to him that the earth is flat, or that he cannot outrun his prey, or that humans cannot fly, he's not quite convinced. He might be the buffoon, jumping off a castle wall, to his death; or, he could push the idea until he finds another way to achieve his underlying goal. This is the theme I see in the following points you listed: I agree completely. There was a point in my life where I had not learned the value of acceptance, and of moving on. Learning that was a big deal. Yet, I'm always wary of this, because I have no rule about where to draw the line between "don't give up" and "give up and move on". I suppose one could try to formalize some factors that should go into the decision, but I think the most important thing is the awareness of this conundrum. I would advise the younger me to be aware of this alternative, and to not give up, to try again, and again, because one can do anything if one really tries; and, also to remember that repeating the same thing usually enacts the same outcome; and, that at some point he should cut his losses, learn the lessons, and move on.
  41. 1 point
    I think the following two paragraphs from the link are insightful: Perhaps the best example of Trump’s provoke and win strategy was his approach to immigration. Any proposal for restricting immigration, no matter how modest, will invariably meet charges of nativism and racism. So why fight it? Trump opted to meet the challenge by initially proposing something truly appalling: the deportation of tens of millions of people. When the predictable outrage machine kicked into high gear, he didn’t go into damage control as expected. Rather, he dismissed the accusations and let it ride. After Trump brushed off his hyperventilating critics who were frantically calling him a racist, fascist, and everything in between, their rage gradually abated because it didn’t have the desired effect. Now, all of Trump’s clarifications on the issue are on the table for consideration, seem reasonable by comparison, and any subsequent PC outburst against them will ring hollow. Like so, Trump tamed and harnessed the outrage machine over and over again: the Muslim ban, killing terrorists’ families, insulting John McCain for being a POW, all until it won him the Republican nomination. Reagan was the Teflon President - nothing ever stuck to him. Trump is like my well seasoned cast iron skillet that I never wash - so much stuff has stuck to it in the past, that there's no room left for anything new to stick. We live in interesting times.
  42. 1 point
    I see "becoming" The idea that things are always becoming, shedding what they were to become what they can be. This is especially true of life and individuals if they are to grow. In order to recognize this and participate in this becoming one must recognize this potential, starting from but always looking to just outside of things as they are... toward what they will become. Somehow growth and life call on this sight and to direct one to strike out for that becoming. The end result is the expression and culmination of the potential... the bird. Accordingly, a fried egg would totally change what I would have seen here! edit: can't leave out element of self portrait... perhaps this is a useful way of showing that kind of recognition in action.. or a statement about art being about that kind of recognition or facilitating it for the artist.
  43. 1 point
    (1) Those passages don't quote Hilbert or cite any reference to his texts. (2) The passages are from what I think might be a popularizing book [Godel: A Life In Logic] on the subject. Often such popularizations misleadingly oversimplify the subject. Without having read the book, I won't claim that it does misleadingly oversimplify, but I would caution to look out for possible oversimplifications. That set of passages onto itself might be okay yet it could stand some explanation. (3) Anyway the passages don't say or even imply that Hilbert took mathematics as entirely a meaningless game of symbols. (4) And not only do those passages not say or imply that Hilbert took mathematics as entirely a meaningless game of symbols, but the passages say the OPPOSITE. / I am not an authority on this subject; I have read only some of Hilbert's translated writings and none of his writings in German that remain untranslated to English. So my own comments may be too simple or require qualification or sharpening. For a first reference on the Internet, I would suggest: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hilbert-program/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/formalism-mathematics/ Moreover, a few years ago, one of the contributors to the Foundations Of Mathematics Forum asked whether anyone knows of any attribution to the writings of Hilbert in which he said that mathematics is only a game of symbols. As I recall, at that time, no one did. (Posters on The Foundations Of Mathematics Forum are almost entirely scholars in the field of mathematical logic and the philosophy of mathematics.) That said, here are some general points: (1) Hilbert recognized the role of mathematics in the sciences. He would not regard mathematics as merely a symbol game. (2) Hilbert may regard formal systems as subject to being taken, in certain respects, as without meaning. However, I know of no attribution in which Hilbert claimed that mathematics is merely formal systems. Moreover, Hilbert recognized that, while in one aspect formal systems are to be regarded as without meaning, in other aspects, formal systems are to receive interpretation and in interpretation we evaluate meaning. The rough idea is that syntax onto itself is without meaning but with semantics we do evaluate meaning. The syntax includes the formation rules for formulas and the rules for proof steps. Syntax is regarded onto itself as without meaning so that no "subjective", vague, or inexact considerations are allowed in checking whether a symbol string does obey the formation rules for formulas or whether a purported formal proof does indeed use only allowed inference rules. For example, regarding formation rules, when you run a syntax check on lines of computer program code, the syntax checker doesn't care about the "meaning" of your code (say, for example, what it will accomplish for the user of the application or whether the user will like the results, etc.) but only whether the code follows the exact rules of the syntax of the programming language. The semantics include the interpretation of the symbols and of the formulas made from the symbols. This is meaning. The interpretation itself can be done either in formal or informal mathematics. For example: Ax x+0 = x This is formal string of symbols that in itself has no meaning. But with a semantics that specifies the domain of natural numbers and interprets 'A' as 'all', 'x' as a "pronoun", '+' as the operation of addition, '0' as the natural number zero, and '=' as identity, we have the interpretation: zero added to any number is that number Of course, that example is so simple as to make the method seem silly; with more complicated formulations we see the advantage of the method. (3) Also, Hilbert distinguished between the contentual and the ideal in mathematics. Most basicially, the contentual is the the finitary mathematics of "algorithmic" operations on natural numbers. This was later articulated as the formal system PRA (primitive recursive arithmetic), though Hilbert's own earlier work was in a different but akin system. Such operations on natural numbers can be mutually understood as operations on finite strings of symbols. The ideal are the infinitary notions of set theory that is used to axiomatize real (number) analysis, as with analysis we regard infinite sequences, etc. Hilbertian formalism ("Hilbert's program") is: The finitary is "safe" and unimpeachable. But, while the ideal may itself be without contentual meaning, it is used as a formal framework for deriving formal theorems (that are later interpreted as generalizations regarding natural numbers and also for real analysis). Then, we wish to know whether the finitary mathematics can prove that the infinitary mathematics is consistent (without formal self-contradiction). It is Hilbert's hope and expectation of such a finitary proof of the consistentency that was proven by Godel to be unattainable. With regard to Hilbert's program, Godel's second incompleteness theorem reveals that there is no finitary proof of the consistency of the theory of natural numbers (generalizing beyond Godel's particular object theory, say, for example, first order Peano arithmetic) let alone of real analysis. / Now let's look at some of the passages from that book: (1) "getting at the mathematical truth " Truth pertains to meaning. If Hilbert was concerned with "getting at the mathematical truth", then he could not have regarded mathematics as merely meaningless symbol manipulating. (2) "the statements (symbol strings) should be paradox-free. In particular, there should be no undecidable propositions " I don't know all that's intended there, but (un)decidability is a separate (though in certain ways, related) question from consistency (consistency being a formal counterpart to "paradox-free"). (3) "how to interpret the meaningful mathematical objects in terms of meaningful formal ones" I might say that what are meaningful or not are not objects but instead formulas (or even notions). In any case, again, we see that Hilbert is indeed concerned with meaning. Notions about ideal objects may not be meaningful, but notions about contentual objects are meaningful. PRA has an immediate and "concrete" meaningful interpretation. Then other systems give rise to abstract infinitary notions that don't have such concrete meaning but are "residue" of said formal system that provides theorems regarding generalizations with finitary mathematics and real analysis (which is the theory of the real number calculus used as the basic mathematics of the sciences). Hilbert hoped further that finitary mathematics would prove the consistency of infinitary mathematics - but that's the part proven by Godel not to be possible. (4) "Hilbert didn't believe that any Russell-type paradoxes [Set Paradox, Barber Paradox, etc.] lurked in the world of mathematical truths, even though they might exist in the far fuzzier realm of natural language" Hilbert would have easily known that the Russell paradox can occur even in a formal system (most saliently, Frege's system). Formalization itself does not ensure consistency. (5) "And the way he thought we could prevent them from crossing the border separating ordinary language from mathematics was to formalize the entire universe of mathematical truth. What Godel showed was that Hilbert was dead wrong." Hilbert hoped for (indeed, expected) a consistent and complete formal axiomatization of the arithmetic of natural numbers and of analysis. By 'consistent' we mean that there is no formal sentence of this system such that both the sentence and its negation can be proven in the system. By 'complete' we mean that for every formal sentence of this system, either the sentence or its negation can be proven in the system, thus that the sentence is decidable, i.e. that there is an algorithm to decide whether there exists a proof in the system of the sentence (for example, we could keep running proofs until we reach one that either proves the sentence or proves its negation). Godel proved that that expectation was wrong. But this does not entail that formal axiomatizations are not still of great value and interest, as indeed the vast amount of "ordinary" analysis is formalized in any of various formal systems.
  44. 1 point
    New Buddha

    The Trolley Problem

    The flaw in your argument is that you have assigned the arbitration of morality to a third party. And a disembodied third-party at that. Who is this "you" that you are referring to? Society? Me? Your next door neighbor? God? I decide what is moral and immoral. The buck stops here, with me. I don't put the morality of my actions up to a vote. To quote the Holy Trinity: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
  45. 1 point
    Nicky

    The Trolley Problem

    The enemy is volitional in OP's example as well. Those people didn't get tied to the tracks by the wind. The difference between the two scenarios is this: in mine, you are allowed to know about the people involved, and you can therefor JUDGE them. That's what makes the decision possible. You can recognize evil, and act to defeat it. In OP's scenario, you're supposed to make a decision without knowing anything about the person who set this up, why he's doing what he's doing, or about the people tied to the track for that matter. You're supposed to make your decisions without JUDGING the people involved. You're supposed to decide that diverting the train is right or wrong irrespective of who the people involved are, what they have done, why they're in this situation, etc. That's what's fundamentally wrong about it: it divorces ethics from context, and expects people to have a moral code that doesn't require them to make value judgements about people, or do any kind of thinking, before they can apply it indiscriminately.
  46. 1 point
    Not Lawliet

    Purpose of Punishment

    It makes sense that when a criminal commits an evil act, like an evasion, alone they would suffer as a direct consequence. But in a society, evil can survive, or even flourish, as second-handedness. By merely ignoring evil and choosing to be neutral, you act as a sanction and allow that form of evil sustain itself on the efforts of society, of other people. So, an act of justice in the form of punishment is ensuring that an evil person faces the consequences of their actions that occur naturally in isolation, and can be sustained indirectly by feeding on society.
  47. 1 point
    That post assumes that winning popularity contests is what makes or breaks a belief system. I disagree. I think Objectivism has a bright future no matter what the idiots following either Liberal or Christian pseudo-journalistic publications believe about it. So Slate or HuffPo can make up all the lies they want. It doesn't matter, because the people who rely on those publications for their information don't matter. And I think we can all agree that what Christian fundies believe doesn't matter.
  48. 1 point
    jacassidy2

    Objectivism in Academia

    This is some very good news for a thinker like me who is outside the academic area. Before I found this website, I was temporarily active on another general philosophy forum. I was so shocked at the posts of university students on this other website. It seemed like they got to the study of Hume, or Ayers, or Wittgenstein, etc. and could not get out of a hole created by an idea that was new to the student and seemed interesting on its face. All of them seemed to be unaware of Ms. Rand beyond her fiction and were emotionally bitter or angry about the ethics they learned in that fiction. The few who claimed to be familiar with Aristotelian metaphysics and Objectivist epistemology, couldn't see it thru their post-modern lens of logic and language having metaphysical standing instead of origin in human cognition. Chomsky's, Neo-Kantian view of innate cognitive content - purely grammatical in Chomsky's view, not extending to Kant's categories - was a very popular idea. It seemed like many people found comfort in ideas in philosophy that allowed, forgave, or created an excuse for a lack of focus or clarity in cognition.
  49. 1 point
    No, P -> ~P does not just mean "some true proposition entails another true proposition that's not the same as the first proposition." Rather, it means, "If P is true then P is false". And it is not a contradiction. Rather, it boils down to saying "P is false". It does NOT say that there is a statement P such that P is both true and false. '->' is NOT the same as '&'. It says that P implies its own negation, so P itself implies a contradiction since P implies itself (of course) but also it implies its own negation. So P is false since P implies a contradiction. Again, P -> ~P is not a contradiction. What is a contradiction is to assert both P and P -> ~P. Please, I wish all the people in this thread who are opining about this subject without FIRST learning the basics from a textbook, would indeed first read the chapters of a texbook and then come back to discuss it.
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