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William O

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Everything posted by William O

  1. 50 years after the event, Dr. Harry Binswanger has decided to reveal the identities of all of the workshop participants named in the appendix to the second edition of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. This has been a mystery for quite some time! I'll quote the key section, and you can visit Dr. Binswanger's public blog to see the rest: https://www.hbletter.com/objectivist-workshop-participants-identified/
  2. To me, an "expert" on Objectivism would be an orthodox Objectivist with a PhD in philosophy or comparable knowledge. I can't immediately think of anyone on OO.com that I would consider an "expert" in that sense. Most of the regulars here are intelligent, reasonably well educated, much more interested in philosophy than the average person, and much more sympathetic to Objectivism than the average person. If that's who you want answers from, great, but keep in mind that you need to think carefully about what they are saying, myself included.
  3. Those Objectivists (whoever they are) should read Bradley Thompson's recent book America's Revolutionary Mind, then. It demonstrates in detail that the ideas driving the American Revolution were in essence highly similar to Ayn Rand's philosophy.
  4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was the last novel I read, and it was a couple of years ago now. I don't read a lot of novels. It is excellent, though. The most recent book I finished was Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Bullock, which was excellent. (I read the abridged version.) Right now I'm reading A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester, which is about how awful the Middle Ages were and how we got out of them. Manchester is good in terms of philosophy of history - he thinks every historical event leads to the next in a logical, comprehensible fashion. I don't know how factually accurate the book is, but I'm enjoying it. Good thread!
  5. To start off, I'm not arguing that change isn't objectively real. I think it is. I'm asking how Objectivist intellectuals explain the sociological fact that most physicists are confused on a particular philosophical point. From what I understand, most physicists accept the B-theory of time, which denies the objective reality of change, on the grounds that it is supposedly implied by Einstein's theory of relativity. (I don't have a source for that other than anecdotes, so if I'm wrong then by all means let me know, but this is what I've consistently heard.) I'm curious whether any Objectivist intellectual has given an explanation of the fact that most physicists accept the B-theory of time. The type of explanation I'm looking for is the same type of explanation given of a-causal interpretations of quantum mechanics by Harriman in The Logical Leap, where he points out that the physicists who accept these interpretations of quantum mechanics are logical positivists. I found that satisfying, and I'm curious whether anyone has provided a similar explanation of the widespread acceptance of the B-theory of time among physicists. Thanks in advance.
  6. This is also my answer. I'd be surprised if there were one specific book you ought to read next. Edit: For reference, the first book I read about Objectivism was OPAR, which is supposedly an awful place to start learning the philosophy. So the order you read in is really not a big deal.
  7. He will be making a "quasi-book" out of his HBL posts on philosophy of mathematics since 1998, with an overview essay. He wrote a post announcing the book on HBL a couple of weeks ago. The theme will be that Plato and Kant need to be expelled from philosophy of mathematics.
  8. It looks like Harry Binswanger has a new book on philosophy of mathematics in the works. That should be interesting.
  9. Maybe some of the non-Aristotelian "logics" that have been developed. Some of them allow true contradictions and three or four truth values. Or you could look at Euclidean geometry vs. infinitely many non-Euclidean alternatives. It's hard to see how they could all have a connection to reality. This isn't something I've thought a lot about, I'm just tossing out some possible examples.
  10. The only reason proof by counterexample is valid is that it is a contradiction for a claim to both be universally true and have counterexamples. If the law of non-contradiction is false, the scientists cannot know that spooky action at a distance exists. The experiments proving spooky action at a distance and the non-existence of spooky action at a distance could just be a true contradiction.
  11. She wasn't "unfaithful," though, since her husband was fully aware of what was going on. Her actions were perfectly consistent with the trader principle. I know what you meant, of course, but you could have been more accurate with your phrasing. This is important on a public forum which is frequented by novices who may not have a firsthand understanding of the situation. Why was it wrong to keep it a secret? It was nobody else's business. Moreover, both Peikoff and Rand surely knew it would serve as the basis of personal attacks against Rand and Objectivism once it became public.
  12. I removed a post containing an unnecessary personal attack above under the "no personal attacks" Forum Guideline. http://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/guidelines/
  13. I'd expect an Objectivist to be attacked for advocating Objectivism on any philosophy forum that isn't run by Objectivists. The reason for this is that most philosophy enthusiasts are influenced by academic philosophy, which rejects, or at best ignores, Objectivism. It occurs to me that this is one reason why it would be useful to have a solid explanation for the academic rejection of Objectivism that would be acceptable to a typical philosophy enthusiast. Most explanations of this rejection by layman Objectivists seem to amount to "well, academics are dumb," which isn't going to be compelling to most philosophy enthusiasts. To address the topic, Reddit has a lot of philosophy discussion subreddits (which are basically forums). r/philosophy is one example.
  14. If we're being precise, scientismists do stand for something: science.
  15. I haven't seen anyone bring up the contrast to religion in this thread. Tyson's comment that the universe doesn't care about you could reasonably be taken as a rejection of religion, which says that the universe does care about you - or, at least, is controlled by a magical omnipotent God that does.
  16. You might find this blog post useful for figuring out a purpose for your life: http://aristotleadventure.blogspot.com/2008/05/what-is-central-purpose-in-life.html
  17. Where are you getting the idea that Binswanger is a substance dualist?
  18. @Veritas, in case you weren't aware, Dr. Binswanger responds to emails from laymen, and he has a paid online forum (HBL) that you can subscribe to for free for two weeks. So it's entirely possible to ask Dr. Binswanger himself these questions if you're so inclined. If you do this, I'd appreciate it if you posted the results here.
  19. I'm asking how modus ponens is justified. I am not (knowingly) asking about child psychology or the history of logic. It is fair to ask of any item of knowledge "how do we know X?" The reason for this is that there is no such thing as innate knowledge or divine revelation, which means that all knowledge must be traceable by some series of steps back to observation (the given). So for example, "how do we know the earth is round?" and "how do we know concepts are formed by measurement omission?" are fair questions. I'm just substituting modus ponens for X in this formula. Yes, I made a mistake in the OP. What I tried to do if you look back is to stipulate that "the Objectivist answer" means either the answer given by Rand or the answer given by an Objectivist intellectual. This was a bad idea on my part and it has contributed to considerable confusion since it directly contradicts the correct definition of Objectivism as the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Overwhelmingly, philosophers have maintained that logic and mathematics are not justified by observation and induction. That is what I meant, although naturally logic itself is much less controversial than philosophy of logic.
  20. I don't see how modus ponens is justified here, since you haven't mentioned modus ponens at all. If you're saying that Aristotle's work contains a justification of modus ponens, my understanding is that he thought the categorical syllogism (e.g. Barbara: "All As are B, and all Bs are Cs, therefore all As are Cs") was the only form of logical inference. So I'd be very surprised to find out that he justified modus ponens. Before I started this thread, I was very unclear about the epistemology of logic. That is, I was not sure how we arrive at the knowledge that the forms of inference are true using only observation and induction. Presumably this isn't just stupidity on my part, since virtually nobody outside of Objectivism would say it's possible to get logic from observation and induction. This has been partially ameliorated by MisterSwig's short derivation of modus ponens from the law of identity. I am still not happy with the particular way he defends the law of identity, but that's a different topic really, and there can be no doubt of the law of identity itself.
  21. I paid $7 for it, so it would be an expensive preview. At any rate, there is definitely a new Kindle book over a hundred pages long sitting on my computer right now.
  22. ...huh. You're right. And the link I posted in the OP is no longer working. Well, since I've personally read the Kindle version, which I assure you cannot be 512 pages of normal size, all I can say is that it used to be available as I described it. I don't know what's up with that.
  23. Thanks for responding. I attempted to explain what I meant by "how we come to know modus ponens" in an earlier post: "Objectivism holds that all knowledge originates from perception, meaning that our knowledge of modus ponens has to arise from perception. In other words, there has to be some series of observations and inferences leading to the conclusion that modus ponens is valid. So I'm asking for a detailed description of that series of observations and inferences." Another way of putting it is that I'm asking for a reduction of modus ponens to observation. I think the derivation from the law of identity that MisterSwig gave earlier was pretty good, though.
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