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    Statistics, Cryptography, Philosophy, Axis and Allies, Computer Science, also software engineering, guitar playing, and reading.

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    Josh Jaffe
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    Welcome back; your last visit was: Jul 29 2005, 10:49 AM
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  1. Those who profess faith and aren't really faithful are inconsistent. This reflects a lack of integration. It can reflect a lack of integrity. (It can also be honest -- as in the case of someone who is looking for an alternative to skepticism but hasn't identified one.) But this is still a problem. If the person sees themselves as a person of faith, and if you don't value faith, then you really are asking them to change. You're either asking them to change the fact that they're a person of faith, or youre asking them to change the way they see themselves.
  2. I live in San Francisco. Please feel free to contact me via e-mail.
  3. Individualism, Capitalism, and the separation of church and state are important principles---in ethics and politics. Politics depends on ethcis, and both depends on epistemology and metaphysics. If you agree (for now) on your derivative values, but have not identified your fundamentals, you could be in for a surprise. At base, if you are committed to reason and to reality, you are at odds with Catholic dogma. There is only one reality. (Not two!) Reason is competent to know it. This commitment to reason and reality is more fundamental.
  4. An eloquent example of a Christian apatheist is the "churchgoer", Anne Lamott. (ref: Travelling Mercies, "Why I Make Sam Go to Church".) For her, being a churchgoer means attending church regardless of what she believes -- or even as a statement that belief is not what is important. Apatheists and skeptics need some ethical grounding. And church offers it.
  5. I suggest Logic as a good subject for a 14-year-old student. The Leonard Peikoff lecture series "Introduction to Logic" is very good, although it does assume some familiarity with Objectivism.
  6. ... or the name of the corporation that manufactured her typewriter.
  7. There may be many threads on this forum that discuss AI, but none of the others define what it is. Because the term is used in different ways, and there are significant philosophical implications in these differences, the specific purpose of this thread was to define it. Plato's post would have been better suited for one of the other threads.
  8. I'm interested in discussing the arguments in Dr. Harry Binswanger's lecture series the Metaphysics of Consciousness. I'll start by citing the six facts about the metaphysicis of consciousness that are presented in the first lecture. These are: These facts are brought together under general headings: (1 & 2) Consciousness' relation to reality. (3 & 4) The special nature of consciousness. (5 & 6) [Consciousness' power to act?] [i missed the heading for facts 5 & 6 if it was given on tape.] Dr. Binswanger adds many points that elaborate these facts and presents some arguments to support and clarify them. He also argues from these to arrive at some conclusions. One such conclusion is apparently a form of dualism. I find his conclusion surprising, so in a future post I plan to summarize his arguments in that direction. -- Josh
  9. The restaurants are becoming less of a draw now that I am a father. But proximity to the UCSF hospital has become more important, since my son needed open heart surgery two months after birth. It's nice being less than 10 minutes away. (The Stanford hospital would have been fine too; I'm glad we didn't have to fly to Children's hospital in Pittsburgh!) I left public transportation off my list, but I think it is one thing that differentiates the metropolis from the suburb. But parking tends to be so much better in the burbs that the balance might swing in that direction. Services: dry cleaning, dog walking, maid/housecleaning service, and nannies may well be available in the burbs. They're all easily available here too, and there are some economies of scale. It is nice not having a lawn to mow, so no need for yard service. When it comes to restaurants... I'm afraid I'm going to sound like a snob. But here goes. I have been to the burbs. No offense, but I have sworn off Chinese restaurants outside of the cities. Same goes for sushi (and there I need coastal big cities.) Pizza is ok just about anywhere (except in New York or Chicago where their distinctive styles are excellent). Mexican food can be great just about anywhere -- but in SF I like La Taqueria for tacos, Taqueria La Cumbre for anything with barbeque chicken (especially burritos), Cancun for tortas, and El Faro/Farolito for shredded pork burrito (although I usually get the nachos or taco salad for lunch these days). El Toro is good for burritos, but their specialty is seafood and I tend to avoid Mexican seafood. Indian food can be hit or miss just about anywhere, but in SF Indian Oven shines. Thai food is one of SF's specialties. I haven't mentioned most of my favorite restaurants; most don't fall into a category. But in my opinion, The Slanted Door is the best in town. (This may be more snobbery, but I think the desserts are better here too.) One of the cool things about working downtown is that at lunchtime there are 20+ restaurants within a block, and hundreds within a short walk.
  10. Plato, why do you want to learn to program? The best language to learn depends on what your goals are. Do you want to build websites? Are you a unix or DOS command-line junkie? Are you thinking about pursuing a career in software development? Scientific programming? I think that the best way to learn to program is to have a goal. Have a specific task that you want to do. Try to pick something easy relative to what you already know. I find that it is easiest to learn when I have a specific problem at hand, and am learning incrementally. Another tip: when possible, find some source code that already does something that is interesting to you. Take this source code and modify it to do more interesting things. Most of us learn to read before we learn to write.
  11. Blood can only be refrigerated for short periods of time (6 weeks). Most blood banks do not currently freeze blood. Blood could be kept frozen for up to 20 years using existing technologies. So would shortages go away if there better blood storage and blood management methods were used? Probably not. At least, shortages might go away, but scare tactics probably would not. Why? The current blood donation system is built on the morality of duty. If people thought "The hospitals probably have all the blood they need," would they still think "It is my duty to give blood today?"
  12. In addition to re-reading IOE I would definitely recommend listening to the lecture series Induction in Physics and Philosophy. It's great "cross training" on this issue -- examining similar issues from a slightly different perspective, and in a way that elaborates & enhances the material in IOE.
  13. (Edited to add: I mean here to elaborate the distinction between Objectist epistemology and conceptualist theories; I do not disagree with Doug's point.) The problem with conceptualist theories of universals is that they do not explicitly require concepts to conform to reality. At best they do not discuss the relationship between concepts and reality. Worse, they may admit arbitrary concepts with no basis in experience -- no referents, no inductive basis. At very worst, they may deny any There exists an objective fact in reality: for example, that there exists a set of entities that are objectively similar in a certain respect. If concept has been formed by amethod which adheres to the facts of reality (by induction), then I am justified in saying that my concept has identified a universal. Facts of reality are the metaphysical basis of universals. Concepts are universals when they correspond to the facts. (aside-- I agree with dougclayton that some who write on this topic present the false alternative: either some 'real' universals exist [what, as metaphysical entities? epistemological identifications?] OR no universals exist and we have only arbitrary names.)
  14. Then she summarizes 4 theories of universals from the history of Philosophy ("extreme realists", "moderate realists", "nominalists", and "conceptualists" -- and an "extreme nominalist" position). Thus to solve the problem of universals, you must: * define the nature and source of abstractions * determine the relationship of concepts to perceptual data and * prove the validity of scientific induction She presents the first two in ItOE. Dr. Peikoff discusses the third point in his lecture series Induction in Physics and Philosophy, which I also highly recommend.
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