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Jeff Younger

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    I am a mathematics grad student interested in Objectivism

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  1. More dishonest rhetoric. The technique now is to use the false premise --- "So are you saying..." "If you think that..." --- to falsely insinuate I've made claims, when in fact I have'nt. It's really a spectacularly dishonest bit of sophistry. I'm quite aware that you "don't see how would not also be totally puzzled at how so many people repeatedly get confused over what, exactly, 'Objectivism' refers to." I have an explanation, grounded in facts, and established by huge amounts of evidence, and by a perspicuous logic. You don't. That's why you are confused, and I'm not. I'm very aware that you don't know the explanation. I'm also very aware that others have had no trouble grasping it.
  2. Well, you're establishing a pattern of dishonest rhetoric. The pattern is to misstate what I've said, ignore requests to provide evidence for the misstatements, and then to draw outlandish conclusions from your fantastic claims. Cogito easily explained my meaning. David's misstatement: Your suggestion seems to be that because some philosophies are chaotic and therefore the set of ideas referred to by those philosophies are inconsistent, therefore all philosophies must be defined contradictorily. Jeff's challenge: Provide evidence that I made such a claim. Jeff's prediction: David will fail to do so. There's no need to respond your non sequitur. Give us evidence that I have made such claims. Well you are unimaginative then. The reason I used examples --- like 'Kantian Dualism,' 'Cartesian philosophy,' and 'Humean philosophy' --- is to establish conventional patterns of usage. Examples of conventional usage are excellent for establishing the existence of patterns of usage. This is very obvious. That's all. It is quite a simple point, David. Again, Cogito easily recounted it. I have made no claims of ill-definedness. You're just making this up. David's misstatement: Jeff changed the issue to ill-definedness of other philosophies. Jeff's challenge: Provide evidence that I made such a claim. Jeff's prediction: David will fail to do so. It is you who have brought up the issue of ill-definedness. I've made no claims whatsoever on the issue. I'm simply establishing conventional patterns of usage. Hence, my examples of conventional usage are perfectly relevant. Unfortunately, your fanciful claims are purely straw men. Others on the forum have accurately stated my point. I can't be responsible if you can't. David's misstatement: not to mention the plainly false claim that "Objectivism" refers to the "main idea" of a philosophy Jeff's challenge: Provide evidence that I made such a claim. Jeff's prediction: David will fail to do so. I only pointed out conventional usage. I've claimed that many people, quite naturally, think that 'Objectivism' refer to the "main idea." People get that idea from the conventional usage of the word 'Objectivism.' I've never claimed that usage as correct. I have claimed that conventional usage is not the usage on the forum. That's saying something not nothing. Again, Cogito grasps this quite easily. For some reason, you can't. Odd. True. The OED is not an authoritative source for "explaining the nature of philosophical schools;" however, it authoritative --- indeed the most authoritative --- on lexicography, even in philosophy. The usage of the term 'Objectivism' and 'Objectivist' have been consistently and conventionally used in philosophy, in the same way since the mid-1800's. Well, again we see a rhetorical dishonesty at work in your writings. Edershiem's work is evidence of the term 'objectivistic' not of 'Objectivism' and 'Objectivist.' My writings clearly specified only 'Objectivism' and 'Objectivist.' For you to be unaware of the consistent usage of 'Objectivist' and 'Objectivism' in Western philosophy, you must be purposefully ignorant. You must never have attempted to look for evidence. In short, you must not be an honest commentator, achieving the status of the skeptic who chooses to ignore facts. Examine these search results at Stanford for conventional usages of the term 'Objectivism' http://plato.stanford.edu/search/searcher....m%20objectivist My "Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy" has many examples. Honestly, you'd have to have be pretty untutored in Western philosophy to deny the conventional usage.
  3. Yes. That's it exacty. This isn't unique to Objectivism. In mathematics we use the non-exclusive or, and we have to explain that to people all the time because in conventional usage 'or' can refer to the non-exclusive or the exclusive or operation. These kinds of rhetorical problems are not unusual, and so it's rather indecorous to write Really, there is no reason to be baffled.
  4. Ok. Sorry if I was hasty there. Now you're sounding like a mathematician. ;-) But tt really is a slippery slope. How do we distinguish between unobserved entities that must exist and unobserved entities the need not exist? If strings present a modeling alternative to forces, then how do we decide which to use? Remember, they are unobserved so all we have to go by is the mathematical model But the whole purpose of mathematical models to present the stucture alone. That's why we use undefined terms. Question: In geometry, what's a point? Answer: Whatever makes the axioms true. The meaning of the undefined terms is not necessary to develop the system. In fact, the only reason formal systems work is because they have undefined terms.
  5. Quantum Mechanics is the most rigorously tested scientific theory in human history. You confuse a model of thing with the thing itself. This mistake is analogous to mistaking the sign for the signified, or a word for it's meaning. Constructs in formal systems aren't necessarily "real." They are simply useful for modeling stuff. In the case of physical science, they are useful for predicitng phenomena. For example, imaginary numbers were invented by mathematicians only for closure of the number system under the field of surds. Imaginary numbers were criticized with the same arguemnts you offer here. Fortunately, less dogmatic thinkers discovered that imaginary numbers model certain electrical phenomena very well --- and we got electronics. Consider that forces have never been observed. A force is only a mathematical relation between moving bodies. In reality, only the bodies have ever been observed. Forces are unobserved entities that are very useful for predicting phenomena. It's not unusual to discover several mathematical systems that can model the same phenomena. The choice which system to use is based purley on usefulness. When you start complaining about forces and imaginary numbers, I'll take your criticism of strings and quantum mechanics seriously. Until then, you're just being inconsistent.
  6. Uh...so conceptual systems can't be modeled? Concepts are physical? I'm trying to be charitable. What do you mean?
  7. Sure, for physical models. What about other kinds of models?
  8. Thanks for the invitation. The OED reports the meaning of the word 'Objectivism' thusly: They give two references to popular and academic use that pre-date Ms. Rand's birth. I'm not sure what it is, but from your invitation I am now entitled to some sort of concession from you. What will your concession be, I wonder?
  9. Very true, indeed. As I wrote before, I have to do this all the time in mathematics. I feel your pain.
  10. I agree, why would you think I wouldn't. No you aren't. Simply read any popular or academic philosophy text and you will find scores of examples. I gave many in my post. I agree, under your definition the term 'Objectivism' has a clear and known (but not well-known) referent. But so does the word 'Objectivism' construed under the conventional usage. Which is not to say that the meanings are the same, or even that the conventional usage is more correct. Oh no. The only mistake here is your's. You've made untrue claims about my claims, and you've incorrectly determined that I'm disputing your definition of 'Objectivism.' Your reply is essentially a long non sequiter. I'm simply explaining why people confuse the meaning of 'Objectivism' and why it will continue to happen.
  11. I take the definition of 'Objectivism' as stipulative, so I need not dispute over it. Nevertheless, let me explain the confusion over this "simple fundamental point." In conventional usage, you find philosophies referred to in three ways. One way is to refer the the founder, as in 'Cartesian philosophy.' Another is to refer to the main idea of the philosophy, as in 'Dualism.' Another is to speciate one of the previous terms, as in 'Cartesian mathematical philosophy' or 'Kantian Dualism.' When the founder of the philosophy is referenced, say 'Humean philosophy,' we conventionally understand that to be Hume's philosophy. So that we could refute a claim about Humean philosophy only by pointing to what Hume said. So, terms used this way conventionally indicate an historical understanding of Hume's philosophy. When the main idea of the philosophy is referenced, say "Methodological Skepticism," we conventionally understand that term to include all philosophies that also include that main idea. For example, Hume and Descartes are both methodological skeptics. However, Humean philosophy is not equivalent to Cartesian philosophy. Referencing the main idea as a term emphasizes the role of the ideas, not the historical creator of the idea. On this conventional usage, we conceive of philosophy logically, and much less historically. Then one can create a later philosophy that is Dualist, irrespective of the original historical founder of Dualism. Speciating the previous terms allows for more accurately locating the point. For example, 'Kantian Dualism' indicates that we will consider the historical philosophy of Kant in light of the ahistorical concept of dualism. Since the term 'Objectivism' refers to the main idea of a philosophy, conventional usage would indicate that we are referring to an ahistorical collection of concepts. On the conventional view, just as there are many forms of Christianity, Dualism, Skepticism, Epiphenominalism, etc., then there can be variegated forms of Objectivism. Objectivists do not use these conventions. Objectivists use the term 'Objectivism' is a non-conventional way, which use is perfectly acceptable. Just don't be surprised that people tend to apply conventional categories. Best to explain how your usage differs, and resign yourself to the fact that you will be doing it often fro people outside the field. That's the price you pay for non-conventional usage. I've had to explain many non-standard usages from mathematics. I feel your pain.
  12. I completely agree. Mathematicians concern themselves with this, too. Model Theory is the branch of metalogic that characterizes how axiomatic systems can be descriptive of phenomena and other axiomatic systems. Howver let's not be too hard on pure mathematicians. They have given us many useful tools, for example Number Theory and Topology, even if it took hundreds of years to find a use for them.
  13. You simply do no know what you are talking about. Most of the errors on this thread so far arise from ignorance of the Soundness and Completeness Theorems. No offense to anyone: if you do not understand these theorems, and you hold strident onions in metalogic, then you literally do not know what you are talking about. This is an objective fact. Soundness Theorem: If T ├ P, then T ╞ P. Completeness Theorem: If T ╞ P, then T ├ P. SC: T ├ P <=> T ╞ P. The Soundness Theorem tells us that our deductions (which are purely syntactical) lead only to "correct" conclusions (considered semantically, i.e. from the aspect of truth). The Completeness Theorem tells us that every valid inference (which is semantic) has a deduction (considered syntactically). In other words, in formal logic the truth values of syntactic deduction and semantic inference are the same (SC). Formal systems, such as formal logic, rank as one of the highest achievements of the human mind because they construct languages in which semantics are equivalent to syntax. In formal systems, a valid syntactical deduction will produce a true semantic inference. For example, if we start with a true algebraic sentence, and we apply the proper grammar rules of algebra, then we are guaranteed to get a result that will be true under any consistent interpretation of the algebraic symbols. Then if 'x + y = 12' is true, we are guaranteed that 'x = 12 - y' (a purely syntactical transformation) is true under ANY consistent interpretation. We could interpret 'number' to be a quantity, a length, a matrix, an English sentence (under an appropriate interpretation of the algebraic operators), or even a floating abstraction. It doesn't matter the interpretation, so long as it makes the field axioms of algebra true; syntactical deductions are guaranteed to produce equivalent semantic conclusions. I grant that logic as a method derives from observations about the world. I deny that logic can only be applied to observation-concepts and derivatives of observation-concepts. Logic can be applied to any concept whatsoever. Indeed, that's the only way we could possibly know that the chain from observation to concept has been broken! We would have to apply logic to the floating abstraction. This is false and demonstrably so. Pick up any book on mathematical logic. Turn to any page for a refutation. You have no idea what you are talking about. In simple propositional logic under modus ponens, "(p => q) <=> (~q => ~p)' is true no matter what you put in place of p and q (under the usual rules for naming consistency). Floating abstractions and all. There is no 'content' as you use the term, and it is useful in the real world for PRECISELY that reason. It doesn't matter what proposition you put in place of p and q, the tautology holds. The chemist doesn't need to check all the logical theorems. The engineer doesn't either. Neither does the local dog groomer. Logic works for every interpretation, subject to the usual constraints of consistency. Can we assign a truth value to '(p => q)' without 'content'? No. Can we assign a truth value to '(~q => ~p)' without 'content'? No. But we can make a very important statement about the structure: the two sentence will definitely have the SAME truth value, no matter what. That's why we can progress to important knowledge, knowledge of logical structure, without 'content.' Again, this is an objective fact of logic. The calculus method is to develop an estimation procedure and then take an infinite limit on it. The concept of infinity are unobserved. So, parts of calculus are taken from observation, but the important bits are not. But that's ok. Logic comes to the rescue. It doesn't matter the 'content,' even unobserved, uncountable infinities. The theorems of logic work, and correct syntactical transformations of algebra are guaranteed to deliver correct conclusions under any consistent interpretation. Newton's interpretation was consistent. Wrong again. By the SC Theorem computers are doing mathematics, and the semantic results of their correct syntactical computations are guaranteed to be correct. Under your theory, the computations of a computer cannot be guaranteed to produce correct result even under correct operation. The computer at no time has knowledge of "the facts of reality" and so the chain of observation-concepts is broken. We would give up a lot under your theory. Fortunately, much more informed minds proved the SC Theorem. We can trust computers. Logic works because of the SC Theorem.
  14. Please specify the false dichotomy. Is the following correct, on your view? Since, Objectivism "is what it is" and "cannot change" then it cannot progress; however, a new philosophy can arise distinct from Objectivism but compatible with it.
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