Objectivism Online Forum

# lex_aver

Regulars

203

1. ## Matter

One word - University.
2. ## Matter

Actually, disregard that. "If all A are B and all C are B then all A are C" is a classical example of invalid syllogism. Yes, it does. Although you can take only a part of the ring, it is still finite quantity of its consistuent parts. Reality is finite and quantinized. Yes, it does. Even if you take immaterial enitities like consciousness, you'll find that they pertain to material things like living being in this case. Nothing immaterial can exist by itself, e.g. there are no ghosts.
3. ## I Had Forgotten How Frustrating This Is

Wow Now that is comparison.
4. ## Matter

Movement with constant speed is inertial state, so photon's mass is zero. Their ability to "bang" electrons has nothing to do with Newtonian force F = ma. When photon is absorbed by electron, its energy E = hν is added to electron's, and electron is elevated to the higher subshell, if it is a part of atom. If it is not a part of atom, but is a part of beta-particles ray, for example, then its change of motion is due to addition of photon's momentum p = hν/c.
5. ## Matter

First of all, matter is not identical to entity. Pen probably consists of matter, but is not matter as such. Identifying matter with entity is a contradiction, because that means any entity is identical to any other entity, and that is pure defiance of axiom of identity itself, which leads to inability to identify matter with entity. It can be that matter is not homogenous and identity is manifestation of particular state of the matter, but then entity is not just matter, but is matter + identity. That would explain Primacy of Existence, by the way: no faculty can exist by itself, without matter. Secondly, photons have no mass in state of inertial motion, which is a proven fact at odds with school definition. Thank you, I'd love to read them if I will be able to afford the delivery. The copy I was trying to read is the most obscure of the works read by me up to the date.
6. ## Matter

I am struggling to grasp what matter is, but with no luck so far. In philosophic dictionary, I found the following definition: "Matter is the philosophic category for sensory, material world". It is an obvious tautology. Also, under this definition, a pen does not consist of matter, but matter consists of pens, as well as other objects. I have developed several possible hypothesa myself: 1) Matter is hypothetical substance from which all physical objects are made of. 2) Matter is ontologically erroneous. Material object is a concept for existents existing by themselves, not as faculties. Matter was merely a result of naive ontologizing by Ancient Greeks, just like Aristotle's forms were. Yet I am not completely satisfied with either: in the first case the matter is an anti-concept for all entities except elementary particles, and in the second case I find my self at odds with Ayn Rand, who frequently used it in Galt's Speech, for example, as well as all other philosophers I know. It is ok by itself, but makes me uneasy. Is there something I missed or misinterpreted?
7. ## The Consciousness of Being

Welcome to the forum! Identity of existence is not given in consciousness, only hinted. When you merely see a table, you aren't aware that what you see is actually a table, you are only aware that you see something. It is up to your reason to discover the nature of what you see based on your observations. I haven't read Satre, so can you expand on what he meant by positional consciousness, please? According to Objectivism, consciousness is a faculty, so it cannot leave the body it belongs to, in part or whole.
8. ## Beowulf

I disagree with Tenure. I haven't read the book, however, so maybe I just don't know better Beowulf. I like the story, it is a story about a hero, and it succeeds in showing that integrity is the source of heroism: hero falls seduced by evil, but finally manages to reclaim his heroic nature. "Pride is a curse" is a disturbing sign, though, especially after hearing Beowulf saying that "Chirstian god killed heroes".
9. ## Where does A is A come from?

Man forms concepts by measurement omission, by taking only what's in common in some concretes. For example, it is not important if a table is made from wood or plastic, it is still a table if it has flat surface that rests on supports. Concept formation, however, does not always involve differentiation. For example, the concept “existent” refers to anything that exists, and the concept “existence”, or “reality”, is everything that exists. Now, man has inborn ablity to form concepts. That ability does not require having concepts to function, but only being able to perceive reality. And at the beginning it is not an easy process — you won't find little baby dealing with abstract categories, only with basic concepts like “man”, “toy” or “food”.
10. ## Winnie the Pooh

Yep, I was a big Pooh fan too, and I still am. Marvellous stories, although with slightly bitter ending. Disney series are bad, I agree. But original Disney adaptaion was brilliant!
11. ## Switching to Mac

Long story short, I decided to quit gaming and concentrate on more productive endaevours. Because of that, I think that selling my PC and buying iMac will be benefatical (I'm really excited about iLife and in the whole, this OS's utitlites look a lot better than the ones I currently have). But I need advice from those who have or had Macs. The one special feature I need from any computer I buy is that it should not limit me in software developing. I can stand forfeiting MFC and stuff in favor of cross-platform framework, but I'm much more touchy about .NET and Visual Studio (AFAIK, only GCC-based IDE comes with iMac right away). The other thing I need advice on is what Mac to choose. Since I'm not going for gaming anymore, I don't want top performance, but watching HD-video and using iMovie and stuff is still a priority. I would also appreciate some general review of Mac and its comparison with Windows.
12. ## Black & White

Actually, I just understood that mistake as such cannot be morally judged. Morality is not a criterion for judging whether the action was benefetical or whether it had expected results. Moral code is a guide to life, a set of virtues that man has to posess if he wants to thrive consistently, not by accident. So what's judged by proper moral code is not correctness of a decision, but rather the way it was made: rational or irrational. If mistake was made involuntarily — it is called honest mistake — you cannot condemn man for making it, it was not his fault, he acted rationally. But if there was an act of evasion, choosing to mistake, it is worth condemning, because that was irrational, improper for man.
13. ## Black & White

Wow, the discussion has grown really big! Here you judge the wrong "man": a lion is non-volitional animal, it can't be moral or not; you are totally correct here. Who you should judge is the man who decided to hug a lion. They are — your action is moral if it advances your life, and vice versa. However, you can't just assume that act that turned out to be benefatical by accident is moral or that malevolent action was caused by honest mistake is immoral. Sure, any action is either good for man or bad for man, but in order to prosper, you can't act randomly hoping that your actions will somehow advance your life. You must identify what is the proper way for man to make a decision. Man does not act automatically, he must choose how to act volitionally. And because man's only valid tool of cognition is reason, his every action ought to be done after rational evaluation. But human must be judged by human standard, not a standard of some omniscient supreme being. You can't condemn a man for not being omniscient, because qua man he has no potential to be omniscient, his fallibility is not a result of his choice. You can't condemn a man for making honest mistakes. You are right in that reality is the ultimate arbiter. It will punish you for every mistake you make, yet you can't brand every mistake as immoral. You have a capacity to judge any moral system by its merit, and you have a capacity to learn from reality, not others. If it weren't so, a weel hadn't been created, let alone philosophy as such. Concepts, when formed properly, omit only qualities irrelevant in the context. You don't have to know what's ball's color to predict its trajectory. Conceptualizing is not the same as oversimplifying, if done properly. Here you fall in Kant's trap: you assert that man's understanding of reality is never correct and never complete, in any context. The thing is that such viewpoint is inherently contradictory — you basically say that it is wrong, just as anything you say. I would like to comment on "Black & White" analogy in general. It is flawed. The thing is that two people can be both good, yet one of them is better than the other. It is impossible with colors: if one grayscale tint is whiter than the other, at least one of them is gray. The same distinction applies to evil and black color.
14. ## User Profile Ratings: What are they rating?

Why not introduce special rights for rating others? Like, initially, only admins and moderators have the right to add or subtract to your karma, and when it gets high enough you get that right too. We could also have the sticky post explaining the criteria for rating. Those features combined would promote just ratings and allow only trusted members to rate.
15. ## Of asteroids and Earth

No, it wasn't. The panic was a result of an error of knowledge. Precluding your next move: but eventually the truth was discovered, no?
16. ## Does free will contradict Objectivist causality?

Yes, now I understand that if Liben was correct, man wouldn't be able to awake from comatosed state, which is untrue: man has full control on his level of focus, given that his brain is not sedated or otherwise harmed. Moreover, my comment on me not deciding to do something that turns out to be a murder was an error implicitly relying on the assumption that my decisions are not defined by my nature, but are random, which is also a mistake. So, nevermind Liben. Evasion is refusal to think based on the assumption that A is not A until you call it so. Ayn Rand describes evasion as "blanking out", suppressing your conceptual faculty, refusal to think. There is simply no other way of ignoring your knowledge.
17. ## Can we treat humans without a rational capacity as property?

Leonard Peikoff explained that in his latest podcast. In short, as rational being, man has rights. A retarded man is still a man, so he has rights too, as well as comatosed man or a newborn child. And because he has rights, no one can buy him - that would violate his right to life. Now about dogs, cruelty is evil. Period.
18. ## Ayn Rand Lexicon: Free on the Web

Wow, that's awesome! Now I have a great guide to my education - the one that won't let me to misinterpret very important concepts.
19. ## My composition

At my Eglish class, I was asked to write 200-words composition on what determines man's motivation and can its level be changed in adulthood or is it fixed at childhood. So, that's what I wrote: On Motivation Contrary to the popular belief, a difference between motivated and unmotivated individuals is not a result of deep character differences, but a consequence of one constant choice: whether to accept reality or to evade it. Choosing the first alternative makes one understand that nothing is ever gained without an effort and that happiness is to be achieved actively, by productive work. Realizing this leads to the increase of motivation. Choosing the second one, by contrast, makes one deceive oneself into thinking that happiness can be achieved automatically. That leads to idleness. Consider the following example: two individuals get bad quarter marks. They both know what these marks mean and how it is important for them to get better. One of them immediately doubles the effort, while the other doesn’t. “It used to happen before”, he thinks, “Things will sort out, somehow”. But they won’t. In reality there is no ‘somehow’, no effect without a cause, no product without a work. One’s success is defined by how often one champions reality in this crucial choice. That’s why Leonard Peikoff said, “To save the world is the simplest thing in the world. All one has to do is to think”. Any comments are welcomed.
20. ## Does free will contradict Objectivist causality?

Another thing. I'm excited to find exact workings of volition. If my memory does not decieve me, we had a thread about Libet earlier, but nevertheless... From Wikipedia: The last part is the most interesting. At first, I thought that volition consists in initiating action: you decide to act, and then your nature decides how However, this approach is unsound (I don't remember allowing me to do something which then turned out to be murder ) and Libet's theory is much more rational: you act according to your nature, but can volitionally refrain from acting. Now, as a collorary observation, how's vetoing a thought (a kind of action) called? Evasion. Another punch in multiculturalists abdomenen
21. ## Does free will contradict Objectivist causality?

Thank everyone for helping me to resolve my confusion. Now I finally got it right: every action is determined by the entity's nature, if it happens. Volition consists not of randomness, but of ability to initiate action or not. Man's actions are not determined by external forces, but by his own nature. Hope I got it right, no?
22. ## Incorporation and Limited Liability

Corporate person is an kind of collective person and as such it is exactly the same contradiction - collective pertains to a group of people and is not a person. So individual rights by definition cannot apply to a corporation as entity. How would you define a right of corporation to life, anyway? The right to property, however, can apply to a group of people as an instance of consistuent individuals' right to property: individuals agree to share some of their property on some objective conditions. Corporations, trusts, cartels, families are examples of such group. Other rights also apply to a group of people in the same fasion, e.g. catholics have a right to life and builders have a right to pursue of happiness. But in these cases, "right of a group" is simply a formalism acknowledging that man is still man, whatever group he's in: there is no way to share some of your life or some of your pursue of happiness with other in the same sense of the word 'share' as in case of right to property. Now speaking about the article, corporation's right to speech cannot pertain to the corporation as an entity, given that no corporation can't speak. What can such right mean to is that members of a group (and corporation, in particular) have a right to appoint a man to speak out for the whole group. Limiting such a right means limiting the group-members' right to life.
23. ## Are Violent Video Games Unethical?

Since no values are destroyed by the act of playing violent game, playing such games is as moral as playing any other games, and that really depends on the context.
24. ## Does free will contradict Objectivist causality?

Well, it is still unclear to me: 1) Is it in the nature of an elementary particle to act in only one way in any situation? 2) If so, how is it possible that man, who consists of such particles, can act in different ways in a situation? I think that if (1) is true, then (2) cannot be true. The fact that man is more than his particles does not mean that there are some properties of man that mystically appear whan he is assembled from the particles and cannot be explained in terms of these particles' interaction. Or, am I wrong here?
25. ## Does free will contradict Objectivist causality?

Alright. Here is how I understand Objectivist Metaphysics. Existence exists. What we experience are manifestations of real entities, even if we erroneously grasp their identity, or nature, which is a specific [blank space] that can viewed as a set of specific non-contradictory properties. Identity is what entity is and how it relates to other entities. This rule applies to change, or motion (or, if critic's quote is correct, action), as well. No entity can become just anything - it can only become what it has potential to become. Suppose, I throw a ball. What happens, metaphysically speaking? First, I choose to throw a ball. I know that it won't fly on my mere whim, so I must first interact with it. Then I act - wave my hand with the ball in such manner to give s certain momentum to it. Thus, I change the ball's state (I'm not sure whether I change its identity, but I think I do - after all, momentum is a property). According to its identity, ball now must move - and it does move. That's how I throw balls . To generalize, any causal chain, like a path in a graph, is like identity -> action -> identity -> action and so on. However, it cannot start with action, it must begin with some entity's identity. Let's take another example. Suppose there is a universe in which there are just two balls and nothing more. In a point of time that we'll accept as starting point, they are motionless. Initially, there is no relation between them. But in a moment the whole picture changes: it is in nature of both balls to obey laws of gravity, so they start moving towards each other. Thus, a causal chain begins. It's worth noting that, at least on the macro level, this chain is predetermined - knowing balls' identity one can calculate system's state in any future point of time. What I don't quite get is why man can choose how to act and balls don't. As I understand, volition is a property of a conscious being that in some state there is more than one way it can act. What I don't understand is how a man, who is in principle consists of a few zillions particles, just like a ball, is volitional, and ball isn't. It can be explained that particles are not deterministic, thus while ball has rather homogenous structure and variations in particles' behavior collapse, man's brain isn't. But having initial assumption that elementary particles have undefined momentum is a contradiction - every entity must have specific identity. But if we suppose that particle's momentum is definite, then man's brain is no different from the ball - it is just another particle system which is completely predictable. Thus, no free will. The above is what I'm confused with - either there is law of causality that determines all thing does and can possibly do, or there is free will. The third case I can think of is that man's mind is more than his brain's faculty - but that would suggest Objective Idealist explanation, like Aristotle's forms. But it is completely inappropriate - any idea or concept is a product of man's mind - but causality existed long before man. It may be that I misunderstand the concept of volition. Maybe volition is not randomness in action, but rather a property that in some cases being acts not automatically by simple laws or external "push", but after evaluating several alternatives in thought process. That would resolve a conflict, but it would mean that free will does not actually means that the man could have acted otherwise literally, but that he saw alternatives and acted after evaluating them, which just means that he's smart, yet completely predictable, given that predictor knows his nature. That hypothesis seems very plausible to me - I CAN predict how others will act in some degree, after all, and the better I know the person, the better I can predict how he'll act.
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