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mightyTeuton

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  1. Infinity over infinity is not 1. It is indeterminate -- i.e. it could be anything, from 0 to infinite and anything in between (plus all negative numbers. Not sure how it works for comlex numbers, as there are probably two infinities, one for the real part and one for the imaginary, but I'm just guessing now). To illustrate: If you have (x^2+1)/(x+1) as x goes to infinite, then the limit is infinite (not one). (x^2+1)/(x^3+1) as x goes to infinite, will be zero. And (3x^2+1)/(x^2+1) has a limit of three as x goes to infinite.
  2. I misread what you had originally written. I thought that when you wrote about keeping criminals from doing a crime, you were talking about punishing them to deter others, not to keep the same one from doing it again. Who are you claiming are violent criminals? Murderers, rapists, terrorists? Who else? Do you advocate that any person who is a violent criminal should thus be put to death, since there is no hope of rehabilitation? Also, I don't think it is statistically true that no criminal who commits a violent crime can be rehabilitated, though I am sure that the number is quite low. For instance, a man who kills another man he just walked in on sleeping with his wife would probably realize the wrong he comitted instantly, and once he served his prison time (if he has the chance for parole), he would more than likely never do such a thing again. Social hedonism is one version of utilitarianism, but the most general case would be to do the most good -- however you formulate it -- for the most people. Some utilitarians say that what is good is pleasure, and are thus hedonistic. But you can hold as your standard of good to be human life, and thus to do the most for people's lives would also be utilitarian (note: I am not claiming here that the Objectivist ethics is in any way utilitarian, since the standard of good is MY life, not simply human life). If your purpose of punishing a criminal is retributive -- giving him what he deserves for his act -- then you are appealing to a notion of justice. If the purpose of punishing a criminal is to try to keep others who are considering comitting a crime from doing it, then you are appealing to a notion of deterrance. Deterring individuals from doing a crime promotes good for both the potential victims and criminals, and thus it can be said that your system is utilitarian. Thiefs often make the decision not to rob a place armed with guns, since the punishment associated with bringing a gun to the crime is much higher (in some jurisdictions, it used to be punishable by death, in fact). For many criminals, no cost-benefit analysis is ever made, and these will probably not be deterred by much. But some criminals do think about their crime a lot before comitting it, and a stiffer penalty may deter them. It is not ridiculous to talk about it.
  3. Is that a utilitarian theory of punishment? I think my views fall more in line with ideals of justice rather than deterrance, but I don't think deterrance should be completely left out of the mix, either. The protection of rights should not only include retribution for wrongs done, but prevention of the violation in the first place. Those in charge of determining our system of punishment. Since We, the people of the USA, have a decent chance of shaping actual policy, "we" could in fact be all of us. The same result could be obtained by locking them up for life without parole, right? One interesting thing to note is that the death penalty actually costs more than locking someone up for life, due to many, many appeals and other things like highering better experts and what not since someone's life is on the line. I do not understand entirely why the assets of these people are not seized since their crimes cost us so much to punish. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the criminal's family would be left with little, and they weren't the ones that committed the crime.
  4. Oh, I realize that. Thanks for the reply!
  5. I tried to locate this info but couldn't find it. What is the breakdown for the number of posts you have to make to achieve a given rank? For instance, I think around 10 or 15 posts I moved from "Newbie" to "Novice." What is the next rank, and how long will it be 'til I get there?
  6. Does anyone know of anything that Rand wrote on the subject of crime and punishment? A friend told me the only thing he knew was that she had mentioned that the death penalty was a marginal issue, but wasn't sure if she had written anything else. Also, how could the death penalty be a marginal issue? Shouldn't we put a lot of thought into whether we can take someone's life as opposed to just locking them up for the rest of it (since we have justified imprisonment, but maybe not the use of death)?
  7. Which I guess I'm trying to say is what Roark (corrected spelling ) did. I know that Rand is trying to say that all they had to do was look at each other and they knew what kind of person the other was, but that's a little far-fetched, and human fallibility can still come into play. And wasn't Dominique very confused afterwards? She was feeling pleasure, it's true, but she was also feeling negative emotions. If she had wanted Howard to take her (if she liked it "rough"), I think her emotional state in the aftermath would have been a little more positive than it was.
  8. Thanks, AisA. I did a search for a post of this subject assuming there had been one, and it came up empty. Thank you for pointing it to me. Betsy's suggestion that Roarke's spiel about marble was actually deeper than it seemed, I think, illuminates the fact that Roarke was telling Dominique that her seductiveness would have consequences. She wanted it, and he wanted it, it seems. But that still doesn't change the fact that she fought him hard when he came on to her. If I really like a girl, and I know by her behavior that she really likes me, and I try to sleep with her, and she struggles, I know that if I were to continue, I would be raping her. It just seems that there is really no other way to explain it than rape.
  9. Besides the fact that she struggles -- which, I admit, could just be the result of kinkiness (though I would like to know how many strangers have S&M relations on their first encounter...) -- at nearly the end of part 2, chapter 2, Rand writes: (Elipses are Rand's) So she says (or thinks, at least), that she was raped. It does not matter that she enjoyed it. From Roarke's point of view, he forced a woman to have sex with him, who struggled to the point of drawing blood. How could anyone know that someone fighting so fiercely actually wants it? And she didn't really know she wanted it herself until after he had committed the act.
  10. This may be unecessary on an Objectivist website, but... FOUNTAINHEAD SPOILER WARNING I am in the middle of The Fountainhead, and I just read about Howard's rape of Dominique. What in God's name is supposed to be heroic about that? I absolutely loved Atlas Shrugged, mostly because of how heroic all the characters were, but I am just not understanding Roarke that well, and after he raped a woman I have to find some answers. What was Rand trying to show? I understand that Dominique actually enjoyed it, and presumably it is the only way that Roarke could have had her or something, but I thought people were ends in themselves and not a means to an end... If anyone has any insight into how this rape is justifiable, please enlighten me.
  11. According to Bertrand Russel, Marx, as well as anyone else who ever talks about dialectic struggle, got the idea from Hegel. The form of materialism you speak of is from Marx, but the concept of applying dialectical logic to something comes from Hegel.
  12. I think by dialectics, Clausewitz is referring specifically to Hegel, not Kant. Though it is true that Hegel was influenced by Kant, Hegel is the one who was obsessed with the "dialectic," by which he essentially meant that everything was a synthesis of itself with its contradiction. Thus, the truth lies in determining this synthesis. An example (from Russel's History of Western Philosophy): The absolute is pure being -- it just is, without assigning qualities to it. But pure being without any qualities is nothing; therefore, the absolute is nothing. From this thesis and antithesis, ans also the claim that the union of being and not being is becoming, we can now state a more true fact of reality: absolute is becoming. From here you can keep whittling away the problems with your claim by melding it with its antithesis. He is most famous for using dialectical logic to explain history as a constant battle between nations, working toward perfection. Marx picked up on this concept and replaced nations with classes. Hegel was obsessed with the absolute, and therefore it makes sense that you see one of his followers using the term in his field. You can also see Kant's influence on Hegel in this idea of "suspending the effects of time and space." Only a dualist who believed that time and space were merely relationships existing in our mind only could think that the effects of time and space could be suspended, especially by the government! Of course, Hegel's philosophy is just mystical garbage, and so one has to examine the claims of anyone who was heavily influenced by him with an eagle's eye. His dialectical argument goes against the law of identity, and his beliefs in time and space place consciousness above existence.
  13. The concept of a priori knowledge, that we know some things without having to integrate them ourselves from perception, seems to be false. However, when we are discussing things in science, we distinguish between "a priori" and "empirical" formulae. The former is preferred over the latter, since it is derived deductively from a general principle instead of tweaking parameters (for mostly no good reason) until you get a match with reality. It also allows one to demonstrate the validity of that general concept. My question is, does a priori in the scientific sense represent a different concept than a priori in the epistemological sense? My thought is that it does, but I'm confused by the similar terminology.
  14. Primacy of existence is an axiom of existence. If there were no humans, or other conscious animals, existence would still exist, and therefore the primacy of existence comes before the primacy of consciousness. This is also against the primacy of existence and identity. Existence is existence, and as such, any existant is subject to the laws of existence (i.e. physics), such as gravity (if it has mass) and the speed of light. They are possibly not analogous. And I think we have shown that the "greater" gods are contradictory. Where does that leave the "lesser" ones?
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