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  1. @dream_weaver Page 132 of ITOE. She doesn't say this herself but she does respond "That's right" after the person she is having a discussion with states "For instance, in the case of concrete versus entity, the units are the same, but the concept entity distinguishes entities from attributes, while the concept concrete distinguishes entities from abstractions." To this statement, Rand responded "That's right. @merjet Yes it is possible to form higher-level concepts before you form lower-level ones and Rand does discuss the possibility of a child doing this at some point in ITOE. I think she also mentions that this is possible only up to a certain level in the conceptual hierarchy. I think she says the determining factor regarding the level that you start at when you form concepts is going to be "what is available to your observation." But again, I think she said, there is a limit at how high of a level you can start at.
  2. @Grames In that quote in your response I called it an existent. But I do see earlier in my post I called it a "unit" and this was a mistake on my part. I thought calling it an existent was a better choice of words because I didn't know what other word to refer to it by. What would you call the "redness" when you are using redness to differentiate two shades of blue from in the process of forming a concept of blue? I think of it as "what you are using to differentiate blue from." And it doesn't have to be red it could be green right? Rand said you need something COMMENSURABLE that you can look at and use to differentiate the units of your concept from. So I'm wondering what did we use to differentiate the units of various concepts from? What did we differentiate red and blue from when we formed the concept "color?" What did we differentiate a thud and a ring from when we formed the concept sound? I'm wondering if I'm being unclear in my questions or if I misunderstood Rand or Peikoff about concept formation. When you're dealing with ostensive units it seems to be easy to identify "what you are using to differentiate the units of your concept from." Like when you form the concept "cat" by observing two cats and a dog and omitting parricular measurements and differentiating the cats from the dog. But "color" and "sound" are more abstract. So I'm wondering what did we use to differentiate various colors such as "red" and "blue" from that is commensurable with red and blue in order to be able to form the concept "color" in the first place? I can't think of it. Also isn't a force primarily a push or a pull? You can't form the concept force unless you form the concept of push and pull first right? It would be like forming the concept furniture before forming the concept chair and table, right? I agree it's very primary. Force is directly perceptible and that's why I was saying you experience two different particular pushes and a pull and after omitting measurements you differentiate the pushes from the pull and integrate them into the concept "push" and vice versa for the concept "pull." Then after that you're ready to form the concept force, which is on a level that is higher from "push" and "pull." That's my understanding.
  3. @merjet I'll check out that document. But I wanted to respond first to what you mentioned: How do you know that the x's and non-x's satisfy "a more abstract, wider, less specific, category" if that category corresponds to a higher-level concept which you have not formed yet? In your example, you're trying to form the concept of X, but you're using the higher-level concept that subsumes the X's and Non-X's to guide you in forming the concept X. And you're using that higher-level concept when you impose the requirements that the x's and non-x's "should satisfy a more abstract, wider, less specific category." It seems like you're stealing the higher-level concept to form the lower level one... And by the way, since you mentioned color, can you tell me what existent did you differentiate red, blue, and green FROM to form the concept "color?"
  4. I had a question about the way in which we form concepts. The definition of a concept is “a mental integration of TWO OR MORE units possessing the same distinguishing characteristics, with their particular measurements omitted.” However, when I listen to Peikoff’s lectures about how to form concepts, his examples always involve something more than just the two units. It involves something else to differentiate the units from. For example, he explains how to form the concept blue by observing two particular instances of blue, one shade of blue and a slightly different shade of blue and omitting their particular shades while retaining the characteristic “BLUE” and distinguishing them from red. This third unit serves as what you use to differentiate the former two units from and there are rules that have to be followed regarding this unit. He mentions seeing “two blue objects AS OPPOSED TO RED.” So there’s always something more included in the conceptualization process than just the two or more units. The rule that stands out the most to me is that the characteristic that you are using to differentiate the former two units from the third has to be “commensurable” with the former two units. I am trying to see how the concepts I have measure up against Rand’s theory of concept formation but I am having difficulties doing this with many of the concepts I have. My biggest problem so far is I don’t understand what commensurable existents I am differentiating the units of my concepts from. How did I form the concept “color?” At first I thought I saw a red object and I saw a blue object and I omitted the particular colors in question and integrated them into the concept “color.” But I’m missing a key piece in the process of concept formation (which by the way is not mentioned in the definition of the concept, as a I stated above). I am missing the COMMENSURABLE existent that I need to differentiate the two units FROM. I am trying to figure out what that existent is. I was thinking maybe it could be a *ring of a phone or a particular instance of “sound.” So I observed blue and red and I heard a *ring and I realized that blue and red were far more similar to each other than they both are to a *ring, so I integrate them into the concept “color” and I differentiate them from a *ring of a phone. But am I wrong about this because a *ring is not COMMENSURABLE with red or blue? And this is just one example. I don’t understand how I formed the concept “sound” for the same reasons. I was thinking I heard two different sounds, like a *ring and a *thud, but I dont know what existent I differentiated them from? The other day I read that Rand formed the concept “entity” by observing two separate entities and DISTINGUISHING THEM FROM THEIR ATTRIBUTES. How does she know that their attributes are the commensurable existents that she is supposed to use to differentiate them? I mean now that I think about it, I can maybe understand that an entity is commensurable with its attributes because it could be thought of as a collection or more precisely an integration of its attributes, but I’m still struggling with this. For pretty much every concept I have, I can’t identify what existent I distinguished the units from and this is making me wonder “If I can’t do this, does this mean that I haven’t actually formed the concepts that I thought I formed?” And if I haven’t formed the concepts that I thought I formed, how am I able to even think about the referents that I am thinking about? This seems to me to be a dumb question but I’m seriously wondering about this. I think I’ve succeeded with a couple concepts, the concept of “pushes” and “pulls.” You observe pushes and pulls, you observe Push1 and Push2 and omit the particular magnitudes of the pushes while distinguishing them from a pull to form the concept “push.” You do the same thing vice versa for the concept “push.” But that’s as far I can go. I can’t even form the concept “force” in a physical context because I can observe a “push” and then a “pull” but again I don’t know what commensurable existent to differentiate them FROM to form the concept force? I was hoping somebody could help me solve these problems? And also, could someone tell me, why isn’t that third existent that you are using to differentiate the “two or more units” from included in the definition of a concept? It seems to be an essential piece of the conceptualization process and therefore shouldn't it be included in the concept's definition?
  5. @Grames I think I get what you're saying I just want to affirm a couple things. I noticed you stated "proof of induction." I think you might have made a typo here. What I was referring to was Peikoff's "inductive proof of causality." My understanding is (or was) that Peikoff was not "proving induction," he was using induction to induce (prove) causality. This was my previous understanding of what was happening. And now from you I'm understanding that it was not a proof of causality but a nifty horizontal integration of "identity" and "causality." Is this an accurate understanding of what you are saying? And one more thing, you mentioned "not applicable to axioms and first level concepts." So that's exactly what I was wondering about horizontally integrating "identity" with "causality." If the way that you horizontally integrate concepts is by vertically integrating to something in common, I was just saying you can't do that with "identity" and "causality" because you can't get beneath them. So I was thinking that there is no way to horizontally integrate "causality" and "identity" but again you're saying that in that older lecture I referred to about induction, peikoff presents another way to horizontally integrate "causality" and "identity," that doesnt involve vertical integration to something in common, right?
  6. @Grames If they are horizontally related through some other concepts that are hierarchically prior to both, how can causality and identity be horizontally relatable? What concept is there that is "hierarchically prior" to identity? I thought identity was the most fundamental concept anyone can form. There shouldn't be anything hierarchically prior to "identity" right?
  7. @Grames I was not aware that Peikoff changed his mind about this. This is causing me to have a few questions that I was hoping to get some answers to. Is Peikoff basically saying that his inductive proof of causality that he goes over in a course called "An Inductive Approach to Philosophy" is wrong? He mentions in the lecture that it essentially involves 3 concepts: entities, identity, and action i.e. entities with identities acting in a particular kind of way in accordance with their identities. What is wrong with this understanding? What is improper about this understanding of causality? Did Peikoff ever mention what his reason was for later rejecting the proof that he himself gave? And lastly, I suspect my understanding of "horizontal integration" is not up to par so could you explain what "horizontal integration" is? Maybe give an example of it and how it differs from "vertical integration?"
  8. And I already mentioned the ability to create new life does not imply that you can indefinitely extend a given life. The idea that you can "apply" that ability to indefinitely extend a given life is flawed.
  9. You missed the part where I told you about the arrow-of-time, non-equilibrium nature of living beings. Replacement of anything cannot happen instantaneously, whether its living or non-living. At every single instantaneous moment of your existence, your internal energy states are being taken from an ordered non-equilibrium state to a disorded equilibrium state until an equilibrium configuration is reached. As soon as a moment passes, your fundamental life generating/life sustaining processes are already busy bringing you closer to equilibrium in your next moment of existence. This is where the nature of all non-equilbrium processes comes in effect and it differentiates you at one moment from you at every other moment of your existence. This fundamentally disallows a certain amount of any kind of repair/replacement. Remember I mentioned your example with the muscles and food. The food doesnt just become waste, the muscles themselves change during every moment of your existence in accordance with the irreversible, non-equilbirum processes they have to undergo.
  10. Nothing that I have argued is refuted by the ability of life to create NEW INDIVIDUAL SYSTEMS. Entropy based on internal energy state configuration and the necessary life-sustaining irreversible processes that continuously cause it to rise over time are defined ONLY FOR AN INDIVIDUAL ENTITY/SYSTEM. During the creation process of a NEW INDIVIDUAL, those continuous, irreversible processes have not yet been set in motion inside the new individual. It is a new, separate system with it's own, different identity which is getting all of its initial energy states built up and constructed during its creation process as all of its atoms/molecules get assembled. It doesnt detract from anything I've argued. A living individual with a mind can be conceptually identified as a quasi-stable non-equilibrium open thermodynamic system which needs to undergo continuous irreversible processes to continue to exist. Those irreversible processes by their very nature eventually doom an individual living entity to death by aging or cancer, like Masel said. In order to stay alive, the living entity's internal energy states have to continue to get closer and closer to an equilibrium configuration (increasing the number of equivalent microstates that correspond to an individual organism's momentary macrostate) over time, per the irreversible processes that cause that. At the individual entity level, that continuous approach to an equilibrium energy state configuration eventually manifests itself as aging damage or cancer, per the irreversible processes that cause that. Self-generating/self-sustaining the life of a given individual entity and creating a new, separate individual entity are two different processes which should not be conflated. The ability to create new individual entities does not serve as evidence for the possibility of a given individual's indefinite life. It is an impossibility.
  11. @StrictlyLogical Instead of “entropic” I should have been more precise and used the word “irreversible.” The irreversible processes that have to occur in living entities in order for living entities to continue to exist do result in an internal energy state configuration change from non-equilibrium to equilibrium that manifests as decay/damage/deterioration. It isn’t like the ideal engines we learned about in school, the ones with no internal rireversibilities. We made simplifying assumptions in school that allowed us to show that something like a diamond engine can be thermally and mechanically loaded and then it can be allowed to cool and then afterward its entropy can maybe be equal to what it was before it was loaded, only the environment is different. In real life it isn’t like that. In reality, that thermal and mechanical loading is irreversibly transferred throughout that engine and that process is producing internal energy state configuration changes in that engine. The bonds between all of its atoms are weakening over time as the engine’s internal energy disperses. Eventually, after enough loading, that engine would suffer what is called “widespread fatigue damage” and break down. Widespread fatigue damage/decay/deterioration is a manifestation of an entity’s entropy increase from irreversible changes in its internal energy state configuration. It is a result of irreversible processes occurring in the entity. It’s not wrong to classify damage/decay/deterioration as a source of entropy. In an atomic/molecular context, entropy unsurprisingly is defined differently from how it’s defined macroscopically. At the atomic level, entropy is quantified by the number of equivalent energy microstates that characterize an entity’s macrostate. Basically, this means the number of ways that energy can be distributed throughout a system in a particular macroscopic state. A damaged/decayed/deteriorated entity which is closer to an equilibrium energy state configuration has a lot more ways that its internal energy can be distributed than an undamaged/undecayed/undeteriorated entity, i.e. a higher entropy. So strictly speaking, entropy itself may not necessitate damage, decay, or deterioration, but the irreversible processes that result in damage, decay, or deterioration (which are a source of entropy) do necessitate it. And in living entities, those irreversible processes have to continuously happen in order for you to exist from one moment to the next and all throughout your life. In your example about muscles, it’s not just the food that becomes waste, the muscles themselves are changing over time in accordance with the irreversible processes they continuously have to undergo. Even cell division is an example of an irreversible process that disperses a living entity’s energy. Uncontrollable cell division, like cancer, is a little different from damage/decay/deterioration, but it also irreversibly changes a living entity’s energy state from non-equilibrium to equilibrium. I came across an article that quoted an evolutionary biology professor named Joanna Masel. She said this about aging and cancer: So even a renewed cell is not necessarily a good thing. And Nasif Nahle strongly emphasizes that living systems are not isolated systems. He conceptualizes them as quasi-stable non-equilibrium open thermodynamic systems and he conceptualizes death as equilibrium. And I’m not sure about this being a philosophical or technical issue but the philosophical significance I would attribute to it is this: It is in the identity of the continuous irreversible processes that living beings have to undergo to change their energy state configuration from a non-equilibrium energy state configuration to an equilibrium energy state configuration over time.
  12. It may have repaired an injury or something like that but the fact remains that a living being is still older than it was after it healed than it was before it healed. In order to sustain its life, it went through irreversible, entropic processes that drove its healing but still resulted in an overall energy state configuration closer to equilibrium.
  13. You cannot apply the same argument to a messy room because a room does not need to go through continuous entropic processes in order to continue to exist. It is not an oversimplification. And even during the process of creating a new human being, that human being does not exist yet during that creation process, so that concept would not apply. It's only after the human's continuous, entropic, and self-sustaining processes start that that concept would apply. I don't know if this is something that is "in principle" like you said. There is a biologist whose name is Nasif Nahle and he explains this alot better than I could. He applies inductive first followed by deductive scientific methods in his work. He discusses the conception of man (and all other living beings) as quasi-stable non-equilibrium systems. These are systems that continuously increase their entropy up to a maximum value in order to stay in existence.
  14. @StrictlyLogical I agree with what you said about life being a natural process and I do agree what you said about repairs not being possible if no energy is available. But what I'm saying is "deterioration" itself can be conceptualized as a bodily high entropy state and a "repair" can be conceptualized as a lowering of that entropy. And what i'm saying is because a living human body's basic function essentially and continuously increases entropy (to make you change over time in the first place, i.e. arrow of time), a certain amount of that entropy cannot be lowered (repaired) even if you had energy available. You can repair excessive/unnecessary high entropy such as an injury or hunger. What you can't repair (even if you had available energy) is the entropy associated with how long you've been in existence. What I think is interesting is that overall bodily entropy (which continuously increases over time) can serve as an objective indicator of how long a particular living individual with a mind has been in existence.
  15. @StrictlyLogical Well I agree. Although, I would be a little bit careful about the way you think about eating or breathing. The actions of eating and breathing are actions that are under your higher-level conscious control, more or less. Also, neither of those are necessary for a living being to exist from moment to moment. You can stop breathing for minutes and you can still exist throughout that entire temporal duration. I think the longest record someone held their breath was 22 minutes but that's beside the point. And eating you can stop for weeks and continue to exist. So there some differences in the nature of these actions and the actions that your living body continuously does from moment to moment and all throughout your entire life without your conscious control. It's these lower-level bodily metabolic and neural actions that drive your ability to choose to eat or breathe in the first place and it's these actions that are continuously operating and piling on more and more entropy (bringing the body from a non-equilibrium to an equilibrium state) and they can't be interfered with.
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