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Jonathan Weissberg

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  1. I don't know about induction. I think with David's distinction of concept acquisition and concept formation, the key is in the way he uses "grasp." I think it means simply the observation of similarities and differences enough to make some distinctions, but then that making these distinctions does not guarantee that you've formed or acquired a concept, simply grasped some aspect of reality. So you could 'grasp' an 'invalid concept.' I'm not sure if we're splitting hairs with valid or invalid concept vs. just concept, but I assume that concept refers to something valid. And an attempt
  2. Ha ha ha, well I like to think of myself as educated, but in truth spent a while looking up polygons and shapes and getting my head around the order, but I've done it and attached a tree diagram as an image. I arranged these concepts into a hierarchy in order of abstraction, i.e., from their distance from the perceptual level observation. (It's a file structure and I've done it in reverse order, so the highest branches are the lowest level of abstraction.) So in order for me to reach polygons in the first place and have that definition make sense, I'd need to see some specific
  3. Here are some various quotes from your posts: OK, so I understand now. There's the observation of similarities and differences (which is taken as the given in philosophy). There's concept formation (how does someone form a new concept) which most of us do not do, but which philosophy provides a theoretical framework for doing. And then there's concept acquisition which is a practical question of science: how do we best teach someone to observe the similarities and differences enough to acquire this previously formed concept (which they can then use theories of concept formation to vali
  4. Here are some questions I had (no need to answer these as I will get to them myself soon, but they illustrate well the lack of clarity around validation & proof and where I'm at right now, etc.): (1) How does one know what qualifies as proof or evidence? (2) Is the act of identifying what qualifies as proof (or evidence) itself something that needs to be proven or validated? (3) When would you stake your life on some piece of knowledge given "contextual certainty", e.g., in chapter 5 of OPAR ("reason"), Peikoff gave an example of a compatible blood type (A-type to A-type) that was
  5. FYI, I've read up to Chapter 5 of OPAR and have started ITOE. To reduce a concept to the axiomatic (the building blocks of thought) means to reduce it to what I observe through the senses (touch, taste, sight, sound, smell, etc.). I'll give a few simplistic examples: (1) If I want to reduce the concept chair to the axiomatic then I just point at a chair. (2) If I want to reduce the concept 'work' to the axiomatic then I'd need to point to specific instances of someone producing something that is valuable, e.g., someone working at a construction site and be
  6. @DavidOdden, Thank you again for your reply. I enjoyed reading it again, and took a way a few things—although will now mostly reply to those that confused me! Your main points, I understand and agree with: (1) frequency of spoken words is not what's relevant; (2) distinguishing between concepts that can be formed using perception, e.g., "existence", & those requiring specialized observation, e.g, "quark." This is what you were capturing with this "epistemologically" vs. "metaphysically" primary distinction. I am focusing on the epistemologically primary. Some more minor
  7. @necrovore Good point on "learning new words for concepts that you already know" as being a "fundamentally different process from the one you would use to learn entirely new concepts." Actually question to both @necrovore and @DavidOdden: aren't the concepts that we "presuppose" (the building blocks/the implied fundamentals of any thought, e.g., existence) already "known" to us. If they are implicit then do we really need to go through an inductive process/"acquisition process"? There's something fundamentally different when learning about existence, identity, free will, cause &
  8. @Eiuol: My main take-away from your post: Learning by categories or 'lists' without context is learning detached from actual language (or subject) use and that context means "it's much easier to fold those words [ideas] into memory." My problem so far is that it's not like philosophic works are littered with real-world specific examples. There may be one or two, but the remainder is just abstract explanation. And then there's the added problem of the same words being used to refer to different concepts in different contexts (even within the same field). So th
  9. I'm wondering if we can port some of the methods of one particular language learning approach into philosophic integration and keen to get other's thoughts. Part of the motivation here is that I'm finding as I learn philosophy there's still so much that's very vague even if it 'makes sense.' I know that it's not 100% integrated or understood since I can't just necessarily rattle off real-world examples for each concept and I stumble a lot trying to articulate what the concept is or I start to articulate my understanding and then realize that actually maybe I don't understand it so well.
  10. For anyone following this and helping me grapple with some of my reading. I've just posted an outline of this entire essay here: I'm currently reading OPAR and realized that I'm better off approaching studying Rand's works while keeping more of the context in mind. This essay was just a brief outline of the ethics, so getting deep into related questions was not the most productive. Looking forward to further discussions.
  11. An outline of the essay from 'Virtue of Selfishness.' Morality or ethics is a code of values to guide man's choices and actions (these determine the purpose and course of his life). Ethics (as a science) deals with discovering and defining this code. Prerequisite: why does man need a code of values? History of Ethics Historically moralists have regarded ethics as the province of feeling: (1) the traditional mystic, religious morality where the "will of God" is the standard of value and validation
  12. Now that many countries are locked down there are numerous options of zoom-based meetups you can find on meetup.com Simply search for terms of interest using 'groups' and set 'within distance' to 'any.' There's some good London-based meetups and discussion often featuring guests & some study groups scattered throughout the US too.
  13. Sounds interesting but I'm not really following what this distinction captures. Do you mean intention to be good? OK I think I'm following now, so you are talking about the intention or motivation of someone to be good. And when you say that the motivation "cannot be absolutely paramount" I think you mean if we evaluate an act from the perspective of flourishing and put aside motivation? But I don't really follow what good is thinking that way - to split the act from the motivation? Is it simply to be sure that one can act well by studying morality? I followed what you're sayi
  14. This is pretty interesting. I understand what you're saying and it squares with what I'm trying to get my head around now re: free will. So the basic choice is to focus or not, but then there are countless choices one makes that are derivatives of that basic choice and this situation you're describing would be one, right? I think often one way this would be described by others (and myself previously) might be an "arbitrary choice", i.e., subjective and without basis other than random feeling. If both choices are essentially similar and one has to chose between two how would you desc
  15. Some more nice quotes to add on the topic of habit: "“He who cannot obey himself will be commanded. That is the nature of living creatures.” - Nietzsche "Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice." - William Channing
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