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Jonathan Weissberg

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Everything posted by Jonathan Weissberg

  1. Hah hah, yes, true, although I was questioning specifically scenarios where something is already metaphysically possible, e.g., a plane crashing or "dying tomorrow", and not something that is metaphysically impossible, e.g., the existence of the non-identity of consciousness. In the plane example, you could've checked all the conditions required for a safe flight and said to yourself it's impossible (epistemologically) for this flight to crash. You don't consider or think about metaphysical possibility when deciding whether or not to fly. So you fly because it's impossible for the pl
  2. @Easy Truth, @MisterSwig, @StrictlyLogical Sorry, I see there were some typos and inaccuracies in my original post. Eiuol filled in the blanks and was correct. There's more context I could've originally provided so I'll do it now. The rest will take me some more time to think through before replying. Keep in mind the majority of what I'm about to write was in the context of a discussion about asking the question of "will this flight that I'm about to catch crash?" and how to think about such a statement. Yes, I meant to say man is non-omniscient and fallible. LP said fallibility
  3. After listening to Peikoff's 'Art of Thinking' Lecture, I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of hypotheticals and specifically the kind of hypotheticals one asks and how that affects the quality of one's actions and decisions. I have some questions from this lecture which I'm going to number. Feel free to answer only one or whatever interests. (1) Why does ‘metaphysical’ possibility not imply ‘epistemological’ possibility in any given case? Paraphrasing LP: ‘Context does not eliminate the possibility of error. No philosophy is going to make you infallible. You can foll
  4. Does it take courage to act on one's own judgement? If yes, what would be the reason for it? Is it only the uncertainty of an outcome which demands courage? To take a concrete example we can refer to, I'm specifically thinking of the first run of the John Galt line which Dagny & Rearden both participate in. Later, Francisco tells Dagny that every act of saying 'it is' and acting on one's own judgement (I assume especially when you are the first on a new path) requires courage. I define courage as an act of integrity. It's acting with integrity when confronted by fear in pursuit of a
  5. What is the relationship between good philosophy (specifically, a highly integrated, habituated correct epistemology) and excelling in other fields? In my current context of knowledge, the fundamental methods of thinking are: (1) Purpose: this provides a standard by which to judge the value & relevance of all other thoughts and questions. (2) Logic: this includes reduction back to the perceptual level or ‘fundamentals’ (similar to Elon Musk’s need to reduce everything to ‘first principles’ and ‘back to physics’) and it also includes contextual integration as an additional way t
  6. I understood David to be saying that it doesn't make sense to speak of moral actions in terms of statistical frequencies, e.g., Borris is good 80% of the time, but bad 20%. The thought that came to mind is murder: he can be good most of the time, 99%, but then the 1% is what should be weighted more significantly when judging if to interact with him. I think this is what you're referring to when you say "likelihood or probability of harm"? Although, I find making the jump form 'this is bad' to 'there's a high probability of harm' difficult, even in the example of a murderer. I can more easily s
  7. Ok, a multi-instance hypothetical open to anyone still reading now: let's say your co-worker Alex (whom you deal with only remotely) is known to (1) talk behind people's backs, (2) share information that is private & confidential in an attempt to trade it for other information, (3) has stolen before in his past, (4) is often evasive and dishonest when confronted over a conflict and does not admit fault or recognize guilt. Judged against independence, integrity, honesty, justice we can say he is definitely not virtuous. But is he evil? Let's say he has one thing in his favor: he works hard
  8. Would you say if personality & temperament are expressions of sense of life then it doesn't make sense to try and categorize either personality or temperament since sense of life is unique? And if it does make sense to classify personality types and temperaments, then what might that say about sense of life? (Maybe we can take this to another thread, if you'd like to answer?)
  9. Since this is unrelated, but still an interest: where can I find more arguments made and concretizations on this principle of 'evil' winning out and what this means? I assume evil means an irrational principle. Now more related: when you say 'frame of mind' is that referring to the operating principle, whether implicit or explicit, that caused the decision, and if yes, is there anything else?
  10. When you turned to write this was it 'spontaneity' in the sense of not having planned to take a break by browsing a forum or spontaneity in the sense of having planned to take a break and then chosen from a set of possible pre-deliberated-upon options for what you will do when you take breaks? So then if I understood this correctly then one should be cognizant of action-impulses, i.e., one should use reason to validate the life-affirming nature of an impulse (when appropriate). If one didn't, and if one acted on some unplanned impulse. Would I be right then to say that would be
  11. Thank you for this added clarification. When you put it this way I agree that reason cannot be the "source" of all knowledge as it is just one faculty among many others including perception, memory and emotion. If I rethink this as I've been prompted to do now, I'm not sure I'd be asking this same question in the way I did. A more precise way to think about this would simply be: reason is the only tool for validating conceptual knowledge. Yes, my original concern was for not for something as obvious and perceptual as this, but very small unanalyzed decisions which may have much more lo
  12. OK, I'm following now: so the assistance is in provoking you think about an abstraction from a potentially new perspective. E.g., you see independence essentialized and concretized in Roark and you start reconsidering what is and isn't essential about it. Non-essentials: wearing a suit (doesn't mean dependent), dressing unconventionally (doesn't mean independent). Now with this in mind you go out into the world and start attempting to observe instances of independence and reorganizing the concept in your mind by reweighting the considerations that characterize it (essentials vs. non-essentials
  13. Let's take a person who agrees broadly that reason is our only source of knowledge. Even just someone who knows that thoughts precede emotions and thoughts have or should have a basis in the 'world out there' (on the perceptual level). If that person then proceeds to make a decision based on an impulse whose source he does not know, no matter how tiny, would that qualify as dishonesty in the Objectivist conception of it (the refusal to fake reality)? For example, let us say this person has decided he wants to sit down and read a book and proceeds to do so, but while he is reading he feels an i
  14. I enjoyed reading this a lot & look forward to having some of these experiences while viewing art. So the gain, in this concept-formation sense, is only a gain to the extent that you manage to form a concept on the basis of the fictional work? Is this something you do from having reflected on fictional events and integrated them as you might do from events in daily life? Or would you describe this process of forming concepts from fiction as more like a redirection of focus in reality that you then use to collect future material or observations which you previously didn't notice but no
  15. Would you be open to expanding more on what it means to "explore or sink to the depths of my own darker moods?" Do you mean as a tool for introspecting? or as a kind of soothing balm to help you stay with your feeling rather than escape it?
  16. Great post, whYNOT. Stronger in what sense? more certain of what? What do you mean when you say this? Do you mean conceptualize better the different kinds of literature and identifying their elements elsewhere? Or do you mean to say literally reading a good author helps one in better forming all kinds of concepts? I've heard reading good literature more 'perceptive'. The idea is certainly motivating, but I don't think I've experienced that (much). Do you think this means simply relating things you see in actual people to characters in good novels? Jack London's Mar
  17. Not that exactly. I think it's what I just said to Eiuol. I wasn't thinking properly about context, e.g., to call someone a "good cook" has completely different meanings in different real world contexts because in real world conversation we always omit so much context that's assumed and given. I came into this without a good, detailed real-world example. The thought process could've been improved with that. Bonus questions only if you want to answer: What's the difference between sense of life and personality? Personality I've understood to be much broader and includes temperament
  18. Reading this I think I realized just now where I'm getting stuck. There is a "precise point", but it is determined by context. That's part of it. Every proposition is contextual and means different things. "He's a great cook" analyzed acontextually doesn't work. I think my error here in this thread is not kicking this whole discussion off with a detailed real-world example. What's implicit in the evaluation of the statement "he's a great cook" is: (1) my own standards for cooking (the standards can vary depending on the purpose & context, e.g., the standards in a cooking competition will b
  19. Re-reading this, I can see you're talking about a framework for decision making under time constraints and uncertainty (which I'll certainly post more about soon). That's where I'm stuck, what motivated the post: what does it mean to sum up a person's actions? to integrate everything I know about a person means to sum up their actions and everything else I know about them to form some final "judgement"? how does one chose how to weight different qualities and actions, whether positive or negative?
  20. OK. I'm revisiting this after a long re-read. What weight do you give words then? If someone espouses "good idea/ideology" do you also conclude the person "may" be good? On a related note, how should you classify people's words? If someone gives you some psychological explanation for what they did, e.g., "I avoided confronting her because I don't like letting people down", you won't really ever know what their motivation was: did he not confront her because he doesn't like letting people down? or was he afraid of the consequences? or was he afraid of a confrontation? or was there
  21. The answer to (1) is here: https://youtu.be/iQAbla-z6mg?t=3228 To summarize the answer and what I've understood so far: when she refers to art being an end in itself and not serving a utilitarian purpose, she means that art is not useful in some immediate, concrete way, i.e., art does not help you pay for a flight to Bulgaria or open a can of kidney beans. But art does still have a purpose, one that is much broader than immediate utility: it concretizes complex abstractions for you. Concretization of complex abstractions can include the creation of fictional worlds that operate by certain
  22. I've always taken a fairly passive approach to reading and art in general, but that's because I always viewed it simply as a form of entertainment. But now that I've read 'the psycho-epistemology of art' and thought much more about it, I am starting to see that it may in some instances play an important role in the functioning of our minds. If this is the case, then it's no longer only a form of entertainment, but perhaps something I need to also spend some time working on. I'm wondering what that might look like and wanted to throw out some ideas and get some thoughts from others. Does a
  23. Thought I'd tack this on as it's something relevant I recently highlighted from the chapter on Objectivity. So here it seems he is saying to concern yourself first with the concepts individually and with those that are "fundamental" (which I'm still working at trying to identify). Also another thing: I wonder if I can look to Kant for some clues as to what's fundamental to thinking? From OPAR: I looked the terms up and they're not at all familiar to me, e.g., "inherence and subsistence" as a category of relation - but it may be that the words are used differently and
  24. @epistemologue This is a really interesting question. There is this quote from 'the psycho-epistemology of art' which I was trying to understand and I think it might be relevant: "When we come to normative abstractions — to the task of defining moral principles and projecting what man ought to be — the psycho-epistemological process required is still harder. The task demands years of study — and the results are almost impossible to communicate without the assistance of art. An exhaustive philosophical treatise defining moral values, with a long list of virtues to be practiced,
  25. If those were her subconscious views, does that mean they were formed non-volitionally? I have wondered after reading the 'sense of life' essay how much of our philosophy is actually just formed in childhood by chance.
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