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Everything posted by MisterSwig

  1. Thanks. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page regarding heartbeat. I think we are. In order to choose life, I think one must first become self-aware and at least implicitly grasp the concept of life. Becoming self-aware might actually be the same thing as implicitly grasping and choosing life, since you are a living organism, and you are differentiating yourself from other things in that first instance of self-awareness. And as long as you continue choosing self-awareness, you're essentially choosing life--your life.
  2. Do you have a reference for the idea that we can control the heartbeat like we do breathing?
  3. If evil extorts values from the good, then punishing evil is rewarding the good. It is helping restore what rightfully belongs to the good. It is justice.
  4. It sounds like rationalistic, context-dropping nonsense to me. I'd like to know where Rand presents this so-called "principle of Objectivist ethics."
  5. Now isn't that explaining will in a deterministic light? I hope not. I don't like the term deterministic, because it implies materialism. By involuntarily I don't mean necessarily. It just means not voluntarily. I've never gained control over my heart beat, not what I would call voluntary control through the nervous system. So I can't say the two are related. However, like everyone else, I have limited control over my breathing. So the will is connected to that function, probably due to the development of speech which requires controlling air flow through the vocal chords. Also, while asleep, I managed to control a dream once during a lucid dreaming episode. This is an ability reported by many others. So I believe the will is involved with dreaming too, perhaps due to the development of reason which requires controlling one's thoughts. Breathing and dreaming are particularly interesting functions to study, given their unique relationships to the will. I've never sleepwalked or been hypnotized, but there's probably something to glean from those phenomena as well. It seems to me that the will is the power to control oneself, or aspects of oneself. But not every function can be directly affected by that power, and even the functions that can be affected cannot always be affected with total control or consciousness. The stage of development and state of awareness matters. Beyond that I struggle for answers and hesitate to speculate. Is an automatic action like the heart beat a function of an involuntary will? Perhaps, if you define the will as a kind of reflex. Then the will would be a typical reflex seen in lower animals and humans, and the free will would be a next-level reflex seen primarily in adult humans. Of course there is the problem that we don't seem to have the ability to control the heart beat using free will. But that's not an issue with breathing or dreaming.
  6. Tough question. I would call it freedom from impulsion, that irresistible feeling that impels me to focus or move a certain way. Once I achieve self-awareness, I become aware of this feeling and can fight its effect on me. But before self-awareness, it might be what stimulates my will to function involuntarily in a particular way.
  7. No, anything genetic follows them. This is a problem with the idea of "biological determinism." It conflates the biological with the genetic.
  8. Biological determinism only applies to living things that lack a mind and are entirely subject to laws of physical causality. Organisms that possess a mind are also subject to laws of mental causality.
  9. Comedian Ari Shaffir is currently on the chopping block for his dark joke about Kobe Bryant. He has a sort of ritual where instead of praising celebrities when they die, he instead immediately publishes the darkest, cruelest joke he can imagine. In the past, he lost friends over this habit. Now he's losing gigs. At first I wondered whether Shaffir is simply a nihilist. But after watching this video, I think it has more to do with pragmatism. Shaffir describes himself as a troll. He'll say whatever it takes to get a reaction from his audience. In this case, he's trying to make people laugh. And who's going to laugh at death? People who don't take death seriously. But there's more to it. Shaffir, and comedians like him, often talk about testing out jokes on audiences to see what works and what doesn't work. Their standard for a good joke is whatever makes people laugh. This sounds like the application of pragmatism to humor. Of course, if your audience is mostly made up of degenerates, then degenerate jokes will make them laugh. So the danger in not having an objective, moral standard for humor is the potential that you'll end up playing to an eviler and eviler crowd until good people decide that you're no longer fit for polite society.
  10. First you have to be a good observer of reality. Work on that, then worry about learning philosophy. Many farmers are better philosophers than university professors, because they have a better relationship to real things in the world.
  11. I'm glad to see Yang dropping out. Unfortunately this probably means more votes for Sanders. I guess Biden has decided to burn his campaign to the ground before calling it quits. Begging for black votes in South Carolina is not the way I'd choose to die.
  12. The saga continues. I hope we learn who actually orchestrated the attack.
  13. Once I'm done with one or two more articles on related theories, I can see about surveying philosophers who've discussed why this subject is so important. (I'm doing the reading for those articles now.) In a nutshell, I think it's important because understanding how something arises and functions allows you to better use it and fix it when there are problems. People who train dogs and other animals have more success when they understand how reflexes and feelings work. It's the same way when people are trying to train themselves to choose and act a certain way.
  14. No, does it offer a similar theory on free will? Since writing my first two articles, I've discovered Bernhard Hommel, whose theory on "human action control" contains some similarities.
  15. Thanks. I doubt that many honest people have this problem when reading Rand. It seems like the author projecting a personal, arbitrary concern onto others. (Note that he gave zero actual examples, not even a snapshot of the Google definition of "altruism," which would not have supported his assertion.) But, other than that, it's good to see a positive opinion about Rand.
  16. It's not clear whether anti-aging can be gained, because you haven't defined what you mean by such a term. Aging might refer to certain effects of gravity, for example, which might be avoided by creating anti-gravity machines. There are many possibilities for addressing different aspects of aging. We already reverse some of these problems through medical means, such as extending life via organ transplantation. Obviously we can't turn back the clock, but doctors can certainly turn back your body to a healthier state. So it matters what you mean by concepts like "aging."
  17. I'm not sure if anyone pointed this out, but the error is simple. The OP is reifying oblivion. Death, as used here, is not any sort of state of existence. It's the absence of life. It is nothing. The OP actually fears life, namely the final stage of life, which is the deterioration and dying process. Otherwise his fear of nothing is an irrational thanatophobia regarding being a lifeless corpse.
  18. Yes, and I'll add that the difference between a socialist revolution and a socialist reformation is that we should fear the latter more, because it indicates the widespread popularity of socialism, as when Germany voted in Hitler. And this means little or no hope for significant resistance.
  19. Are you taking Sanders for somebody who doesn't know what he's talking about? Or are you trying to argue that I don't know? Also, you sound like you disagree with Rand here.
  20. You have no idea what I'm thinking about. That much is clear.
  21. Is that because there's no basis in factual history to fear a socialist revolution?
  22. Voting for Sanders is plain wrong for a principled capitalist. It's not even worth debating. If Sanders wins, we are in big trouble. I don't see Republicans going quietly into that dark, socialist nightmare. And if Trump declares martial law and tries to put the boot to Democratic Socialists, who could blame him? Are we supposed to watch peacefully while socialists gain federal power in America?
  23. When has that ever happened? It's how most people operate.
  24. Of course the truth matters. And in cases where people don't know the truth firsthand, such as in this case with Warren and Sanders disputing what was said in a private conversation, people judge who's telling the truth based on their characters as individuals with histories of public statements and actions. And Sanders wins that battle of character, because he doesn't have a reputation of being a liar. So people vote for people in the end.
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