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    Maarten got a reaction from Harrison Danneskjold in The Crow Epistemology   
    There can probably be some variation here depending on the person. Some people's minds are much better able to grasp different concepts at the same time. I think the main point she made there was that there is a clear limit and that it is not much. Some people may be able to hold 6 at once, but never a hundred or a thousand. That is what she derives her argument from, I think.
  2. Like
    Maarten got a reaction from mdegges in On Ron Paul and Awlaki   
    I'm definitely not a fan of Ron Paul, but the general principle at work here is somewhat worrisome. It is, as far as I know, the first time an American citizen has been deliberately killed by its own government without a prior trial, and it does set a precedent. I'm sure Awlaki deserved to die given what he did, but that is not the most important issue at stake here. The fact of the matter is that in our legal system precedents matter, and the fact that the government killed one of its own citizens through a completely intransparant procedure with no regards to due process is a bad precedent. Yes, right now we are using it on terrorists abroad, but there is no clear constitutional differentiation between a US citizen's rights in the US and abroad when it comes to these situations. Yes, our current administration may only use it to hunt down heinous terrorists who deserve to die, but establishing this method of killing as an acceptable way of doing business could very well mean that at some time in the future it will be used against US citizens who are "suspected terrorists" on our own soil.

    Given that DHS is already looking closely at people who have anti-government leanings, it is not completely outside my imagination that a different government at some point in the future could designate someone completely innocent of any wrongdoing besides being opposed to the then current administration as a threat that can be eliminated in the same manner.

    I would certainly hope that this event is followed by a series of safeguards put in place to ensure that it does not one day happen to an undeserving person. I certainly do not trust all senior government officials enough to simply expect ALL of them to never abuse a power like this.
  3. Like
    Maarten got a reaction from 2046 in Sunk costs and opportunity costs   
    I was just thinking about this the other day, and thought I'd start a topic on the subject as these concepts are often forgotten in their normal usage, and I thought it would be interesting to explore whether they apply to human interaction as well.

    I would argue that both types of costs do play a role in interpersonal relationships (of any kind), but are probably not thought of in this way and frequently overlooked. I'll start with sunk costs as those tend to be often forgotten in economics

    Just to make sure we're all on the same page, with sunk costs I mean costs which have already been incurred. I use "cost" very figuratively here, as any investment of time or energy. Economically speaking, the way sunk costs are relevant is that it is a reminder that what matters at the end of the day is what something is worth today, and not what you originally paid for it (i.e. the sunk cost that has already been paid). The money has already been spent and you can't get it back, so it is absolutely pointless to make decisions on the basis of what something was originally worth, rather than what it is worth now. In other words, it concerns the proper way to recognize losses.

    Now, although it's not entirely analogous to a relationship, I think there is enough overlap here that it can be helpful to also apply it to interpersonal relationships. Let's say we have a friend X. Basically, what sunk costs refers to is that it doesn't really matter how much you originally (or over time) invested in the friendship; what matters is how valuable it is today in terms of how much it furthers your Life. I think that is something worth stressing because I know from personal experience that it is very easy to get caught up in how much you used to value something or someone, and lose sight of the fact that today it's not worth the same as it used to be.
    The main way in which sunk costs are different for relationships is that shared experiences and invested time and energy is not worthless in the same way it is for some purely economic investment, and definitely can contribute towards the total value a relationship brings you, because you should be integrating the full extent of the relationship rather than the immediate present. However, I do think that the longer ago something happened, the less valuable it generally is (its value is discounted), as more recent events are more indicative of future ones, so I would argue that the more recent value is probably dominant and most of the old investment only matters at the margins (i.e. a shared past won't rescue a really bad relationship, but can definitely add value if things are otherwise good).

    Opportunity costs are probably a little less controversial, in that they merely refer to the recognition that we have alternatives, and that the true cost of any action should include whatever else we could have achieved with the same time/energy investment. I think that is a very important point to stress, though. Considering Life is of limited duration, it is essential to always be mindful of whether you are most optimally spending your scarce time and energy. I think that is probably the greatest argument to be made against, say, slacking off. It's not directly harmful to you, but you are still losing out on all the things you could have achieved if you had worked harder.
    In the context of relationships it mostly comes into play when people spend a lot of energy pursuing a lesser value (over a greater one) and then try to tell themselves that they didn't lose out on anything because they still got some value. Opportunity costs are the recognition of the fact that you do lose out in a very real way by doing this, because you lose the alternative you could have chosen.
  4. Like
    Maarten got a reaction from milked in copyrights   
    Why should anything be someone's property? Think about that for a little bit. I assume you believe that property rights exist, am I correct? (If not, we should probably address that first).

    If you accept property rights as right in other cases, then why do you think writing a novel should not be covered under property? If you created something with your mind, it is yours just the same as if you create it from raw materials with your hands. Rights cover more than just the physical, you own your own mind just as much as you own your body. And in an extension to that, because human beings need to pursue and gain values in order to live, the products of your body (labor I mean here) are yours by right as well.

    I think possibly you're thinking of property too literally? What do you think is fundamentally different about intellectual property (like copyright) that makes it unownable?

    I think once you accept that you do own the products of your mind, this dilemma vanishes. It doesn't make sense for more than one person to own a piece of intellectual property (you can have joint ownership, but I mean in the sense of two competing claims), any more than multiple people can properly lay claims on a house.
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