Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Free Thinker

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Free Thinker

  1. Expounding on your sun example: Suppose we found the cause of the sun rising (S) to be A. In other words, we observe S, and so by definiton, a cause MUST exist, which we find to be A. In other words, regardless of our knowledge of the specifics of A, we know that A MUST exist (otherwise S wouldn't exist/occur). Let's say tommorow, the sun doesn't rise. That means that we have an unprecedented event (an event which was not based on any known causes); an event which we didn't know would occur (I'll call it S2). Why did we not know of S2 (why could we not account for it?) Because we didn't know the existence of the causes for S2. If we can't account for ALL possible instances of the sun not rising, then how can we make a universal? We can because we say, "given our CONTEXT of knowledge [about the sun], the sun will always rise". Our context of knowledge is always expanding; meaning our knowledge of the sun's properties is always growing. Meaning, our universal statements about the sun may or may not change, BUT THEY CAN. If event S2 occured, and we discovered the reason (A2 - some ether or alien or something), we would say, "the sun always rises, except when A2 is effects it". In other words, the word universal is almost a misnomer - because it can change.
  2. It helps (so thanks ), but I am not entirely convinced. Before I say anything else, I think it is important that I read through the suggested links. Here is what I understand from your post: 1. The answer to "the problem" is still being worked on, but it has to do with the jump from "some" to "all". I realize that I conceded the case that we can never know it a (for instance) raven will be black tommorow, or the sun will rise, etc. That is any important question though. How DO we know that tommorow some wave of energy will come from nowhere and blot out the sun for a day; or make ravens white, or something. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that all things have identity, so those existents both can't contradict their nature, and for something (a wave, for instance) to come out of no where doesn't mean that it transcends reailty. I am just uncomfortable with trying to predict the future, which is what I interpret you as doing. 2. Perhaps anti-inductionists devolve into contradictions, but I can only be sure of that until I know what induction means. 3. I feel really embarassed. I sounded like such an idiot.
  3. "Unfortunately, if you limit your statements to what you've already observed, it isn't induction. Neither "all the ravens I've ever seen are black" nor "the sun has risen every day of my adult life" are examples of induction. The "problem of induction" doesn't come in until you generalize to predicting unknown situations (i.e., the next raven or the sun's action tomorrow). " Could you elaborate? You raise two points I don't understand: 1. Why you don't consider my raven's example to be an example of induction? 2. Is "the problem of induction" really a problem? "Furthermore, concluding "all ravens are black" from "all ravens I have seen are black" is not induction, because 1) there is no known cause-and-effect relationship between the species of raven and the color of their feathers, and 2) it's an unwarranted generalization because most animals show color variation. Remember that a conclusion cannot contradict any existing knowledge. On the other hand, the earth going around the sun is a cause-and-effect relationship, and thus a true instance of induction." Okay. So the only true form of induction involves a "cause and effect" relationship? I used the raven example because that is an example by prof used to attack induction.
  4. Firstly, I was not thinking clearly. You were right to attack my attacks on deduction. I apoligize. Secondly, let us begin again. Here is a better summation of my thoughts (again expressed in an email to my prof): "Lets see is I got this right. Induction produces [high -good/low-bad] levels of certainty because of the nature of the logic itself. Deduction is setup such that it is impossible for both the premises to be true and the conclusion false (if a connection exists between them); thus includes an inherent truth/falsity preserver. Induction, however, does not guarantee such a property. It is conceivable, although perhaps very unlikely in some cases (ie. gravity), for the premises to be true, and the conclusion false. This doesn't apply in every case, but the possibility is there. If that is true, then I would disagree and agree. I say that an inductive conclusion only speaks to its premises, not the future. I grant you that the link you are looking for [between inductive premises and it's conclusions] doesn't exist qua existing, but in a sense it does. I see how one might think there is an inherent uncertainty involved in induction, but I think that as long as one says "I am 100% sure about THESE ravens being black ("these ravens" being all the ravens I have observed), one should be fine. In other words, as long as one sets one's frame of reference. Ammanuel" I am going to try and keep my emotions out of my arguments from now on. (The same thing happened between Felipe and I on the "Batman Begins" thread) Thirdly, I don't have the time to read through all of your posts as there are now, so please try and keep your arguments as concise as possible ( I will try and do the same).
  5. OH MY GOD!!! You are all missing the POINT!!! FORGET about the first part, if it really bothers you. I achieved something in my defense of Induction that you ALL are missing. I may have been wrong about deduction, but that is because you don't understand the frustration I was going through in learning how it works. What you are all doing is semantics! Please, please, please just re-read the second part and understand what I have made.
  6. I don't have time to answer all of your arguments individually, but here are a few of my observations: 1. I am NOT saying deduction can be thrown out. When I said it is "bogus", it was a result of my frustration. Did anyone read the title of this thread? It you take out "at best" (which was supposed to be funny), I say "Deduction is the Handmaiden of Induction". Thus, Deduction is necessary, but it can NEVER produce new knowledge. All it does is create new relationships. 2. I understand the nature of "context", and perhaps I was misusing the concept. I retract that. Of course there will never be a bit of knowledge which proves A actually = B. The fundamentals are immutable.
  7. Here is an email I wrote to my philosophy prof. Please leave your thoughts. (Keep in mind it is still under construction; and the specific formating I did in Word didn't transfer over). Deduction (at best) is the Handmaiden of Induction Case against Deduction Deduction is bogus. Why? The reason (psycho-epistemologically speaking) why deduction continued to bother me is that it has no referent in reality! It is like a flashlight that has to be continuously recharged; without which is just a stick of plastic and glass. It is a pointless science. The reason why deduction says "is the premises are true, the conclusion MUST be true" is an aribitrary choice. The converse could have been chosen as the standard, and the rest of the rules would logically follow from that. To illustrate this, take the following argument (I may have already used it, but it is a good one): Argument I- P1 - All dogs are fish. P2 - All Fish live on land. C- Therefore, all dogs live on land. This argument is valid, in the same respect that this is valid: Argument II - P1 - All dogs are animals. P2 - All animals need food. C - All dogs need food. There is NO difference in validity between the I and II. NONE! We only accept I because we know its P1 and 2 are true. Truth is simply another plaything in Deduction. It, at best, is the handmaiden of induction. Case for Induction The main charge against Induction is, “At best, Induction creates probabilities, or a likelihood”. This is completely and unequivocally false. Why? We as humans can only base our conclusions on what we know. What does that mean? It means that we as humans operate on our context of knowledge – the sum total of all the knowledge that is possible to us. The word all is important – it means we cannot know of something, until we know of it. To illustrate this, take the often used example of “the world is flat”. Suppose we created a time machine that could take us back to the Middle Ages (ie. when the theory of “world flatism” was in prominence). The catch is, however, that in doing so, we would lose all of the knowledge that mankind has accumulated from then up until now. We (reluctantly) agree to do so, and we enter the machine. A few seconds later we appear in the Middle Ages. We find ourselves in a church, where there are some people talking about the latest ideas of the day. The most popular idea, the idea that everyone agrees on (except a few radicals, but they are probably a bunch of hedonist atheists anyway) that the world is flat. What evidence are they resting on? In other words, what evidence are they using? Perhaps they say that ships who dare try sailing past “the edge of the world” have not be able to (have died trying); for the simple fact that no one has tried and/or tried and returned. “Okay”, you say, “that seems to make sense”. After all, you are tabula rasa, and until you hear evidence which contradicts that, that principle is true. (Assume you have never heard of the contrary arguments which did in fact exist at that time). The next day you wake up and go and try and explore some more. This time, however, you hear some arguments which seem to refute “world-flatism”. Perhaps you hear the argument about the moon’s cycles, or of ships disappearing, then reappearing on the horizon, etc. This all seems to make sense, but as you are trying to digest all of this a boy runs into the church screaming, “Magellan has just returned from his voyage across the world, and boy were we wrong!”. This, to you, seems like undeniable proof that the world is round. If the world was flat, then Magellan, in order to complete his voyage, would have to stop at “the edge”, turn around, and come back. Clearly that wasn’t the case. Now that your context of knowledge has expanded, your conclusions may or may not change. You don’t start with a theory (out of now where) and try to validate it. It was just the opposite. What is the nature of the fallacy that opponents of induction claim? They say that because a conclusion may change, we must somehow account for it. How? We can never say, they reason, that we know 100% about anything. We can only say 99%, or even 99.99999999%. But never 100%. This is wrong, wrong , wrong. Let us follow this thinking. Suppose we wanted to account for the chance we are wrong. Basic probability says that the total possible outcomes of an event and each of their likelihoods must equal the total, or 1. In other words: Event of A - A% Event of non-A – non-A% Total possibility (or possibility of something happening) – A% + non-A% (ie. the probability of A + the probability of any non A event) which must equal 100% (something must happen). The problem? There is no way of applying that law to knowledge. Why? There is no knowledge of non-A’s existence (until we know of it – at which point there can be no legitimate distinction between A and non A. A would = non A (which is A))! Ergo, there is no way of calculating the probability of non-A’s occurrence!
  8. When I saw this thread a while ago, I went out and got what I thought was the BG you were referring to. It turned out to be the earlier series. I thought philosophically it was pretty good (lots of rhetoric on freedom), but the special effects were just so cheesy - they are laughable! All in all though, an enjoyable show; I haven't finished it yet.
  9. Hi All. I haven't read all the posts up until now, but regardless I want to post my thoughts. I know exactly what you are going through Moose, and I completely sympathize with you. In fact, I wrote a script for a movie I was going to make with my friends last summer about an instance similar to yours. If anyone wants, PM me and I will send it to you. It is pretty short. Be warned though, it is VERY painful - because everything is true. I don't want to give any advice or lecture you, I'm sure JMeganSnow is doing a great job. Just know that this is the struggle for values that you hear about so often - you are in its valley. Don't ever give up, as trite as that may sound. You are a Hero; think of it as a choice of whether you want to win or not. You are an END. I hope that makes sense. BTY - "miedra", I concur with all the statements put against you so far. Not only were you completely wrong AND irrational, you sound like an ignorant Objectivist newbie. Did you just finish AS yesterday?
  10. Let us define our terms: Do you see the difference? TEW may need revision, but not necessarily abandonment.
  11. How did the cannon cause the ship to land? I didn't understand what happened.
  12. My initial post was more of a joke than trying to find which exact distribution matched the data. Take it easy.
  13. Whoa, check this out: http://www.objectivescience.com/articles/dh_tew.htm Apparently David Harriman, who writes for ARI, this TEW doesn't work!! I might have to read what he says and consider revising my position. Can anyone tell me what they think, in non-technical terms, is wrong with TEW? BTY, here is a question. Where does Little provide evidence for the existence of Elementary Waves? I suppose I just took it for granted.
  14. I haven't read it, but it is a book. I read the summary and I was impressed. Sorry I can't answer your question better .
  15. Ok. Yes and No. I mean that either you you could be wrong (in general), but it has to do with the fact you are dealing with a theory, not a law. From my intial reading of Speicher's summary, it seeming to make sense. I speak only from my limited knowledge of the subject.
  16. I am not a physicist, so I can not address your points coherently. Stephen Speicher, on the FORUM for Ayn Rand Fans, is who you should be talking to. If you go to the website, send him a PM, and see if you can get in touch with Dr. Lewis as well. In general, I would have to say that it is a Theory, and as such certain kinks are inevitable.
  17. Welcome! The feeling is mutual, but I live in the US.
  18. Good question. I always though of him as one. Could you cite evidence to the contrary? Good point.
  19. Lately I have been attracted to Existentialist literature (novels). Works such as Kafka's "The Trial", when a man is arrested for no reason and sentenced seem to appeal to me. I think it has to do with the alienation and isolation these characters are feeling. I feel as if I am alone against a world hostile and vicious to my ideas, even though I know I am right! Any thoughts?
  20. How about The Infidel Guy? He offers a rational basis for atheism. Also available as Podcasting.
  21. Dr. Lewis Little created of the "Theory of Elementary Waves". It answers both the Uncertainty Principle and the Schrodinger's cat paradox. The original paper can be found here. Stephen Speicher, co-founder of the FORUMS for Ayn Rand Fans (here), is also a physicist. He wrote a summary of the theory for a non-technical audience, found here. PRODOS, a radio host, has a website which facilitates discussion of the TEW, as well as links to other websites as well. That can be found here. A radio interview between PRODOS and Dr. Lewis can be found here.
  22. Oh. I would like to talk on this thread much more than the other .
  23. How do we know what the "content of their character" is, aside from the roles they chose to act?
  24. I would say something that is extremely personal; something that describes or portrays something of enormous (or, for that matter, any) significance between the woman and the man. It really depends on the particular situation. In general, however, perhaps something that adds to a man's hobbies (or collections), something that is symbolic of something, etc.
  • Create New...