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Everything posted by TomL

  1. Gold star The standard for morality is not whether or not you harm other people, it is your OWN life. If an action benefits your life it is moral; if it detracts from it it is immoral. By the nature of acting in a social context, when you harm other people you can and will harm yourself -- the responsibility for the use of retaliatory force lies with the initiator of force, not the one retaliating. The question of degree ($1 vs $1 billion) is irrelevant and doesn't change anything. Even long time Objectivists have a hard time giving up the idea that the standard of morality is what you do to others. It isn't. What you do to others is the standard used in politics, not in ethics. Ethical questions do not concern other people, they concern you and you alone. Simply stating "because its a principle" is something one would hear in church. :/ It is unfortunate to hear it here.
  2. Almost all romantic relationships that end, do so in similar way. There must have been _some_ shared values, or you wouldn't have been together in the first place. But as you learned more about her, you realized that there was more to her character than the traits you were initially attracted to. It's easy not to think of someone as the target of your sexual desire if you don't drop the context of what it is you discovered later. I have also found, in my own recent experiences, that you really don't know someone completely until you see how they handle a crisis, especially if they caused the crisis themselves. Also, some things are much harder to see and detect than others. Some things take years of context to be able to figure out, especially if the other person is evading it as hard as they can.
  3. I appreciate that. I tried my best to get those right, its a very important topic to me. At the time I wrote it, no one else had really approached the subject but I believe Dr. Locke is doing that now.
  4. What I meant by "philosophic error," is the error a true first-hander makes in not having something integrated, as opposed to truly believing that something is right and choosing to do the wrong thing anyway (evasion). Surely evasion is a philosophic error as well, but I didn't mean to include it.
  5. Hello all. It has been a long time since I have been here. First I need to start off with an apology to Felipe, GreedyCapitalist, and anyone else I have offended in the past. I was making some errors while trying to figure things out, and I realize now that I was projecting a lot of things. I thought I was trying to identify principles, but in many cases what I did was look for and assume moral corruptness, rather than the correct approach which is to assume philosophic error first, and then wait for the individual to admit they knew what they were doing was wrong and did it anyway. I hope that those of you whom I've offended can forgive me and will give me a chance to show that I've changed. If anyone wishes to discuss any of those old specific topics and see how my positions have changed, please feel free. Otherwise, I hope to have a fresh start and get to know you all over again. With the best intentions, Tom Lahti
  6. Split from another thread. (2) This forum will not tolerate posts which contain personal insults or are otherwise devoid of intellectual content. Examples of personal insults include: (a) sarcastic comments directed at a particular person's character, and ( accusations of irrationality or immorality. I guess the rules don't apply anymore? Or just not to Diana? Seems that the moderators and admins have tolerated this particular instance for a great deal longer than they should have. I shouldn't even have to bring it up.
  7. Mince words all you like, and try to speak for Burgess all you like, but there is no other context in which the existence OO.net and the current discussion could exist. As for misrepsenting, how about deleting posts containing facts related to events on the site, rather than posting replies and attempting to refute them? I'll assume because you know it can't be done, because you know I'm right, and the only way you and the site can come out looking clean is by pretending the whole thing isn't happening and hope no one finds out about it. If you're all so sure you're right, why are you afraid that people here will find out?
  8. For myself, I whole-mindedly agree with everything Burgess has said about how an Objectivist forum should be run.
  9. You need to reconsider what the concept "friend" means, and stop using it to refer to this individual. He isn't your friend.
  10. An attempt at "prayer" or "talking to god(s)" is really an attempt at introspection. The only one who can answer their questions in their minds is themselves. Bold Standard had this one right. The answers they get come from their own subconscious mind, which usually means their emotions. Unfortunately, its a poor substitute for real introspection, because it implicitly assumes that the contents of one's subconscious is correct, and that the appropriate emotion will result from asking the question (of oneself). The "answer" one gets is merely how one feels about the question, assuming all of one's automatized premises. Unless you know epistemology, you won't know where this "answer" came from, and you might think it was something "out there" (although I personally never went that far). How do I know this so assuredly? I've done it, when I was a wee little pup, long before I found the path of Objectivism. This identification is first-hand, through my own introspection of myself -- it is what I did when I was "praying" (except that I never thought the answer came from somewhere other than myself -- I knew that I didn't know the source).
  11. Let me add my resounding "Me too!" A lot of the confusion in this issue comes from the fact that the word "life" has many definitions, which leads to ambiguity in questions about its value. When someone asks something like "If life is of value, then isn't X of value?" its ambiguous. If whose life is of value? Of value to whom? "Life" can mean: animation; functioning biologically (as applied to a biological organism); the process of living as man; someone else's life; your past life; someone else's past life; etc; etc. And for each definition of "life", the answer to the question will most likely change. Once again, accuracy is needed to convey meaning since the word can mean many different things. It is up to the author (i.e. the original thread question writer) to ensure that the intending meaning is clear. Typically, when Objectivists speak of "life" in a philosophic context we mean the process of living as man; or man qua man, and being egoists we generally refer to the value that one holds for one's own life. It is possible that a person can value life as man qua man (as such, as a process, for its aesthetic properties) and not value the continuation of one's own existence. This is the idea someone has when they say (either explicitly or through their actions) "Man is great; he has the potential to and has achieved many great things and happiness -- but I am ready to die." Now, that all I said: there is a causal relationship between unfitness (i.e. fat people) and a decrease in longevity, by way of cardiac muscle damage. One could say that these people enjoy their lifestyle such that reducing caloric intake/exercise would take all the fun out of living for them. These people must perform a cost/benefit analysis and decide which they prefer, because obesity does increase the liklihood of an early demise. Sure, there are plenty of old, fat people -- I'm generalizing. But since one cannot know in advance whether one will be a "lucky" fat person or not (and live to a ripe old age anyway), then one can't count on it (i.e. use that fact) in their thinking about what to do. If one wanted to choose being an old, fat person -- that option is not open to their choice. The only choices are: exercise, or take your chances, and despite my respect of the volition for those who choose to take their chances, I reserve the right to judge unfavorably anyone who uses dice in decisions about their life plan, where the dice are optional.
  12. And nowhere have I disagreed with that. They are of value only to those individuals who require it in order to obtain some other value. In other words -- they are a means to an end, on an individual basis. In the case where a person requires exercise in order to continue living due to some medical/physical condition, and they value being alive, then nothing is rightfully a higher value or priority. They cannot have any other values without being alive. If they require the exercise and they no longer value being alive -- for whatever reason -- then couch-potato on! No one still living (its unfortunate that emphasis is equired here) will care. We aren't talking about about someone who values life as such, apart from their own lives. If that's what you meant, then I have no idea why you brought it up in the first place. It isn't relevant. If you're talking about people who value the memory of living and refer to their past lives, then they should say that. Accuracy is everything, and woefully absent everywhere I look. If they say they value continuing their own lives but do nothing to continue it, then they are liars. End of story.
  13. I love red Why PT Cruiser? I have two big dogs and the back seats come out (Not just fold up, they come out) and its got more cargo space than my old Toyota 4Runner, and with better gas mileage, parkability in the city, and creature comforts like the heated seats. I can still tow the CBR1100XX behind it if I need to (and have, to OCON 2002). My license plate frame on the Cruiser: "Thought first, emotions second". On the CBR: "Head first, heart second".
  14. You've got to keep the whole of your life in mind with any decision you make that can alter it, and evaluate its effects. You are in college. You are not yet in a career, you don't yet know what sort of person you will be as an adult. You think you do, but you don't. What sort of career will make you wake up in the morning and say "Hot damn, I get to go to work today!" What sort of house do you want? Do you want kids? Where in the world do you want to live? Will you still answer the same way when you're 30? How do you know? Until you know what your life is going to be like, its impossible for you to guarantee any sort of romantic stability to any relationship. There is value in dating and learning, and thinking about relationships that you can take forward with you when you will be ready for a permanent one. But introspect on it and you will know that any relationship you start now will only be permanent by coincidence or evasion, and then start focusing the majority of your energy on what you're in college for: getting your career picked out and on track. Date if you like, but don't spend so much effort on it that it will have long-term affects on your education and your career. Self-identify what you are honestly, and act accordingly. If you do that, relationship bliss will come, but it won't be soon.
  15. So, be prepared next time. Planning is a good thing, but it doesn't always help if you don't plan for the worst case scenario. When people show up in big groups, don't panic. Just deal with them one at a time. There is no rush -- remember, they are asking something of you, and you can deal it out on whatever terms you wish. Take your time and enjoy the costumes.
  16. Volition is the source of rights, and animals have no volition, and therefore no rights. Force is the negation of volition. Since animals have no volition, there is no such thing as "force" in dealing with animals. What we use in dealing with animals is not properly called force. It is simply another means of man shaping and using nature in order to suit his needs, like digging up ore to make steel. Perhaps a better term for it would be "processing". Ore needs the process of being dug up in order to further man's life. Animals need the process of being raised and harvested in order to further man's life.
  17. This is true. However, while some people require exercise to maintain sufficient physical fitness to stay alive, others do not. Still others may no longer value living because their is no happiness possible to them, and for them failing to obtain sufficient exercise (if needed) would not be immoral. However, just because someone in a nursing home says they value life doesn't mean they actually value life. People lie to themselves all the time, which results in them lying to other people, even while thinking themselves they are being totally sincere. If someone is of a physical condition that requires exercise in order to continue living, and they don't do it -- I don't care what declarations come out of their mouth. They either do not value living or know subconsciously that happiness is not possible to them.
  18. I just had an encounter in my IRC channel that pertains to this, so I had the idea of posting a log of the discussion. Enjoy. [12:46] <woolcut> I'm a PhD candidate in mathematics [12:46] <@TomL> I see [12:46] <woolcut> I saw the post about .99999... = 1 and I was incited to respond [12:46] <@TomL> I haven't read that one myself [12:46] <@TomL> it seems rather obvious to me [12:46] <woolcut> They say it contradicts the law of identity [12:46] <@TomL> .99999... does NOT equal 1 [12:47] <woolcut> But it does equal one [12:47] <@TomL> it approaches 1 [12:47] <@TomL> not the same thing [12:47] <woolcut> Hrmm... [12:48] <@TomL> without grasping that, you can't understand differential calculus [12:48] <woolcut> No, you see a real number is often defined to be an infinite decimal expansion [12:48] <@TomL> same thing: dividing by 2 over and over again approaches 0, but even done infinitely you cannot ever EQUAL zero [12:48] <@TomL> that would be peachy if it were true [12:49] <woolcut> But thats not what an infinite decimal is [12:49] <@TomL> in reality, an integer does not represent the concept of an infinitely repeating expansion [12:50] <woolcut> why not 3 = 3.000.... [12:50] <woolcut> ? [12:50] <woolcut> Why is that not an infinite decimal expansion? [12:51] <@TomL> 3.0000... carries a different meaning than just 3 [12:51] <woolcut> The problem here is a conflict of terms [12:51] <@TomL> the problem is equivocation [12:51] <woolcut> You don't believe that "infinite decimals" represent anythiing but a process [12:51] <@TomL> in a strictly arithmetic context, 3 = 3.00000.... [12:51] <woolcut> But they can be used fruitfully under the appropriate equivalence relation [12:52] <@TomL> but outside of arithmetic, 3 does not equal 3.000... [12:52] <@TomL> they ahve different meanings [12:53] <woolcut> I understand, but they can be equated by an injective homomorphism that preserves order [12:53] <@TomL> I have no idea what you just said [12:53] <@TomL> blah blah blah [12:53] <@TomL> there is a philosophic basis upon which the idea of "3" exists [12:53] <woolcut> i.e. there is not more structure to 3.000... than there is to 3 [12:53] <woolcut> or vice versi [12:54] <@TomL> yes there is [12:54] <woolcut> Prove me wrong [12:54] <@TomL> 3.000... tells you more than 3 [12:54] <woolcut> How so [12:54] <@TomL> integers represent the law of identity: this thing as existing apart from that thing [12:54] <@TomL> so I might say I have 3 apples [12:55] <@TomL> as opposed to your 3 oranges [12:55] <@TomL> it would make no sense whatsoever to say I have 3.00000 apples [12:55] <@TomL> 1 apple is not necessarily the same as another [12:55] <@TomL> so 1 does not equal 1 if we're talking about apples [12:55] <woolcut> Okay [12:56] <woolcut> If you wish to make a philisophic difference between the two [12:56] <woolcut> But as I pointed out before, there really is no difference [12:56] <woolcut> (structurally) [12:56] <@TomL> there really is [12:56] <woolcut> However, the point of the argument then is that [12:57] <@TomL> you cannot use philosophy to form a concept and then throw the basis for the concepts existence out the window so you can focus on one aspect of its existence [12:57] <woolcut> .99999.... = 1.00000... [12:57] <@TomL> in this case, the arithmetic aspect [12:57] <@TomL> there is a reason and purpose for numbers [12:57] <@TomL> which exists apart from the numbers themselves [12:57] <@TomL> numbers do not exist apart from philosophic premises [12:58] <@TomL> just as 3.0000.... apples makes no sense, so does an accleration due to gravity of 3 for a given object make no sense [12:59] <@TomL> acceleration due to gravity is not a collection of like things [12:59] <woolcut> Okay, you're making a distinction between 3 and 3.0.. [12:59] <@TomL> of course [12:59] <woolcut> i.e. the distinction between an natural number and a real number [12:59] <@TomL> there's a reason there's a difference [12:59] <woolcut> And these are different entities of a sort [13:00] <woolcut> No one disagrees [13:00] <woolcut> The point then is that people disagree that: .999... = 1.000... [13:00] <woolcut> As _real_ numbers [13:00] <@TomL> if .9999... is arithemtically equivalent to 1.000.... fine.. I'm no math expert. But 1.000... is not the same concept as "1", which is what represents the law of identity [13:01] <woolcut> fine [13:01] <@TomL> if that is the claim, then they are equivocating arithmetic with philosophy [13:01] <woolcut> But that clearly is not the point of dispute [13:01] <@TomL> I don't know what the point of dispute is, I haven't read the thread [13:01] <woolcut> Well then you made a false assumption [13:02] <woolcut> Bad mojo for an objectivist [13:02] <@TomL> huh? [13:02] <@TomL> I have assumed nothing [13:02] <@TomL> I clearly prefaced my statement with "if" [13:02] <woolcut> [13:02] <woolcut> fair enough [13:03] <woolcut> but anything following an "if" is an assumption [13:03] <woolcut> So the starting point wasn't the one that I intended [13:04] <woolcut> And I lack the ability to scroll back up in this conversation because its in this weird java window [13:04] <woolcut> o_O [13:04] <@TomL> bummer [13:05] <woolcut> I'm actually very happy people make the distinction between real and natural numbers [13:05] <@TomL> I do, as I've demonstrated [13:05] <woolcut> But it really burns me when people disagree that .999... = 1.000.. [13:06] <woolcut> But you see, no one writes 1.000... [13:06] <woolcut> they just write 1 [13:06] <@TomL> which is wrong [13:06] <woolcut> Well, its a matter of context [13:07] <@TomL> .999... = 1.0000... (maybe, I don't know), but .999... != 1 [13:07] <@TomL> heck, even 1.000... != 1 [13:07] <woolcut> If you really wanted to acurately represent a real number you would need 4 lines on a page to do it [13:07] <@TomL> depends on how accurately, I suppose [13:07] <woolcut> Because 1.0000 and 3.1415926535... have no meanings besides a sequence of integers [13:08] <@TomL> well, they do [13:08] <woolcut> No, you see people have developed the real numbers from the natural numbers [13:08] <woolcut> And proven that starting from that base, we can successfully model all of the relevant properties they have [13:08] <@TomL> I certainly know what you mean by 3.14159265358... when you write it [13:09] <@TomL> even if all the digits aren't there (and can't possibly be) [13:09] <woolcut> But its a matter of technical representation [13:09] <woolcut> Technicaly a real number is just a function from the set of natural numbrs to the set {0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9} [13:09] <@TomL> uh [13:09] <woolcut> Or if you like binary the set {0, 1} [13:10] <@TomL> yes, i suppose so [13:10] <woolcut> Its really a matter of representation [13:10] <woolcut> And then we _equate_ particular representations [13:10] <woolcut> (Which is done in some artifical, but not arbitrary manner) [13:11] <@TomL> which is only valid in a particular context [13:11] <@TomL> jsut like concept formation [13:11] <woolcut> I suppose [13:11] <@TomL> like I was saying, 1.000... might equal 1 arithmetically, but not in any other context [13:12] <@TomL> it is an error to equate them in one context validly, and then switch contexts while maintaining the equation [13:12] <@TomL> when it was the context that made the equation valid in the first place [13:12] <woolcut> Sure, but for the purpose of analysis the only significant structure IS its arithmetic properties [13:12] <@TomL> no [13:13] <@TomL> for the purpose of arithmetic analysis [13:13] <@TomL> for the purpose of philosophical analysis, one considers more than arithmetic [13:13] <woolcut> granted [13:13] <@TomL> [13:14] <@TomL> thus, it is erronous to state an arithmetic truism and then conclude that some philosophic premise is in conflict [13:14] <woolcut> Well, thats the point! [13:14] <woolcut> [13:14] <@TomL> good, as long as we're straight on that [13:15] <woolcut> The topic started (stuff we've been discussing) then ("doesn't this break the law of identity?") [13:15] <@TomL> it doesn't even bring the law of identity into questeion [13:15] <@TomL> ridiculous [13:15] <@TomL> here's another ironic part [13:16] <@TomL> if real numbers are a function of natural numbers {0, 1} , you could also say: [13:16] <@TomL> that real numbers are a function of the law of identity [13:16] <woolcut> And I was totally floored [13:16] <woolcut> So thats why I'm so desperate to clear things up [13:16] <woolcut> However, I admit that I've come to objectivism by way of mathematics [13:16] <woolcut> (and philosophy in general) [13:16] <woolcut> So when I say "analysis" I really mean "real analysis" [13:16] <woolcut> Just because thats the lingo of my trade [13:16] <@TomL> ugh, lag [13:16] <woolcut> s'all right [13:16] <woolcut> Thats interesting [13:16] <@TomL> would you agree that real numbers are a function of the law of identity? [13:17] <@TomL> "1" is a mental concept representing it almost directly [13:17] <woolcut> If you are interested, I could send you a reference to the way we build the real numbers out of the natural numbers [13:17] <@TomL> and thus in turn, all math is a function of the law of identity [13:17] <woolcut> But I have to go to class in a couple minutes [13:17] <@TomL> so then to say that math somehow shows the law of identity to be false means that all math is false [13:18] <@TomL> and thus the math that proves the law of identity is also false [13:18] <@TomL> rather hilarious [13:18] <woolcut> [13:18] <woolcut> agreed [13:18] <woolcut> Would you like a reference to the construction? [13:18] <@TomL> not particularly, but thanks for the offer [13:18] <woolcut> Fair enough [13:19] <woolcut> It is interesting though, that we can construct the real number line from only a few definitions and 5 axioms [13:19] <woolcut> (Mathematical axioms) [13:20] <woolcut> But maybe only interesting to me, the mathematician [13:20] <woolcut> So, off I go to my (real) analysis class [13:20] <woolcut> best regards
  19. Right... and why? Because those conclusions were not reached based on valid induction. It was presumptuous for Aristotle to conclude "something that is moving needs a force applied to keep it moving". That statements implies "anywhere", which he obviously did not have any evidence of objects moving in absence of friction (with the air). There is no way he should have made such an assumption, and no scientist today should repeat that mistake. If the laws of induction are properly followed such incidents do not occur. Following those laws, Aristotle could only have concluded that "something that is moving through the air needs additional force applied to keep it moving". Aristotle would have benefitted from Dr. Peikoff's philosophical explanation of the validity of induction and the errors of induction: in this case, over-inducing (over-generalizing). Dream on. Philosophical claims reached through invalid induction only can and will be thrown out the window. Science is nothing more than induction applied to the physical realm through math (which itself presumes a vast philosophic basis). If the law of identity itself is false, you will have to show how the induction "all existents have identity" is an erroneous induction -- how it violated the laws of proper induction. And since there is no science necessary to make the induction in the first place, no science can be needed or even used to show otherwise. The best it could do is illustrate the false induction (if it be it false). Not comprehensive. Philosophy guides the choice, method, and means and defines the purpose of science. There simply ain't no such thing as "science" without a plethora of philosophic premises underneath it. That, at least, we agree on.
  20. Favorite operating system for what purpose? My answer depends upon the purpose of the system. Generally, for desktops I will answer Windows. For servers, Linux. Thus, I cannot participate in your poll.
  21. Actually, I was asking for a specific example so I could show you how it was NOT actually proven, only erroneously claimed to be proven.
  22. That depends on what we need help with. If we think we need "help" from science to keep our philosophy intact, we're smoking crack. Philosophy enables quantum physics (and all sciences) to be studied in the first place. That is: there's no such thing as "pure science". All we actually need help with is to understand quantum physics and how it is consistent with the law of identity to see what inventions may come. Such as? You must be referring to conclusions drawn from invalid induction only, because valid induction never yields an incorrect conclusion.
  23. Proof positive: don't be afraid of detractors spreading falsehoods about Ayn Rand. It will just drive them to us that much faster
  24. First off, electrons are not apples. Second: electron A is in reality electron A, whether you can detect it or its properties or not is irrelevant. There is conclusive evidence that electrons do exist -- look at a periodic table. There it is, in the nature of that table. Nothing further need be grasped in order to prove their existence. The fact that you cannot fully describe all aspects of the electron means nothing. As another example, look at the same apple three hundred years ago. Would the observer have known it had electrons in it? Would that have meant they did not know what an apple was? Would the description they would have given differ substantially from yours? Were the electrons actually there three hundred years ago? Was the apple somehow not an apple because they didn't know there were electrons in it? Now: apply the same logic to the electron itself. Three hundred years from now, the electron is that apple. In the end, it will all be consistent.
  25. Not a damn thing. The center of a very small particle is not the whole particle. Solid objects are still solid. While more about particle structure may yet be discovered, none of it will change what we already know about the universe. It must be consistent with already established knowledge -- the knowledge used to discover the information in the first place. See my essay The Relationship between Philosophy and Science.
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