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Posts posted by eficazpensador

  1. Hume (and this author) are only focused on deduction. You can't get from an 'is' to an 'ought' deductively, Hume's right. Actually you can't get anything into a deductive conclusion without it appearing in a premise. For example, how does one get knowledge about apples? You can't get a conclusion about apples from premises not containing the word apple. In reality, we don't get knowledge of apples from deductive syllogisms. We gain knowledge via induction. Rand crosses the is/ought gap via induction as well. As for why criminality is anti-life, you should search the boards. It's been discussed many many times.

  2. I guess one can begin by asking the question, 'What facts of reality give rise to the concept of investment?' Rand answers this in the OP's quote (in the lexicon): "nature requires time paid in advance..." That is, production is a linear process where value is continuously added from start to finish. In order to create a high value, one must spend the entire time required to produce it. Or, as Rand puts it: "This means that he is relying on a continuous process of production—which requires an uninterrupted flow of goods saved to fuel further and further production."

    In order to start producing a value, man must either start from scratch, or if he already has existing value stored in money (gold), he can use the stored value as a starting point in production and start much further ahead. Thus, an investment is the name given to the act of using stored value to create more value. It's the initial "flow" of value that is required in the act of producing a higher value. This is why 'emerging markets' need investment to grow quickly. Notice how the American economy has reached a high level of production compared to other areas of the world, but the so called 'emerging markets' are catching up extremely quickly. This is because they have the advantage of using the capital of the more mature markets- capital that America had to create itself.

    I hope that makes the concept of 'investment' clearer. It's the use of existing value as a starting point in order to create more value. How this applies to real estate investments is along the lines of what the OP thought in the beginning. The purchase of a house in order to live in it is NOT an investment. It's the consumption of capital because it's not a cash producing asset. At the very best it's a store of value (although I'm not even sure of that). On the other hand, purchasing real estate as a rental property IS an investment. You're committing your capital into a property with the expectation of using that property to receive cash from a renter. Another example is gold. Gold isn't an investment because it's not producing. It's just storing.

    don't buy Graham's differentiation between investment and speculation. Any investment involves risk, and the interest earned (for instance) has to justify the amount of risk anticipated. Purchasing AAA bonds from company X is not more or less an investment than purchasing ABB bonds from company Y.

    I now agree with you. Graham's reasoning is wrong, but I still believe that there is a valid differentiation and that the concept of speculation, as opposed to investment, is useful. Since investment is the process of committing stored value to gain a head start in the production of greater value, this rules out certain financial actions from being labeled 'investments.' For instance, buying a stock based on technical analysis is not an investment because it's contributing capital with the hope that, for reasons unrelated to production, the value of the purchased asset will rise.

    is purchasing stock in a company on an exchange, when that purchase in no way puts new resources directly into that company (but may provide an incremental increase to the means by which it can raise money later) really an investment? Or is it merely speculation (the purchase of a good on the expectation that its price will rise)?

    Yes, it's still an investment because you're contributing your capital to the company by proxy. The amount of capital owned by the company hasn't changed, the ownership of it has. Now, instead of the seller's capital, it's your capital that is invested.

    Problem is, once you go down the road of abstracting future production as the defining characteristic of investment, could you then say that buying a loaf of bread is investment, since the energy you gain from it will go into your own future productivity?

    Once you think about investing the way Rand describes, you can see that buying bread isn't investing. Consider a man opening a business to produce shoes. Buying bread is necessary for his life, so in that sense it's necessary for production. However, once the bread has been purchased, the man is no better off in the creation of the business. The bread has not contributed anything to the flow of value (or 'flow of goods') that Rand describes. If however, the money for bread was used to help purchase the company headquarters, you could say that it was used such that the man was closer to opening the business. That would be an investment.

    And just a final point on distinguishing investment from saving: Saving is accumulating value. Investing is contributing or arranging the accumulated value such that a higher level of production is possible.

  3. I am a bit confused over what Objectivism holds to be intrinsically good. I have seen two answers, "life" and "one's own self interest"

    I don't know what you're reading but Objectivism absolutely rejects intrinsic values.

  4. I've always been fond of Benjamin Graham's definition of investing:

    "An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative."

    Of course, this definition's purpose is just to differentiate between investing and speculation. I think 'investing' is the allocation of capital such that it aids the production of more capital. In this fashion, owner-occupied real estate is not an investment. Similarly, as Khaight suggested, government bonds are not 'investments.'

    Another epistemological investment question I've been grappling with is about the nature of what a 'stock' really is. A stock is commonly known as "fractional ownership of a business." But, the basis or fundamental quality of 'ownership' is 'ability to control.' Yet, owning a stock doesn't mean you can control a fraction of the equity. All you can do is vote. So can it really be called "fractional ownership?" This might seem unimportant, but fractional ownership is a fundamental axiom of value investing.

  5. You should private message the user 'Gags.' He was the president of the Objectivist club that hosted the debate. Actually, I'm pretty sure we have a copy of it on video at home (I'm his son), but it's from C-SPAN so I don't know about the legality of releasing it/giving it away. Plus my dad had a John Stossel-esque mustache when he was in college which makes the debate so much more fun to watch.

  6. The extent of injury, nothing. The absence of injury, everything.

    Are you seriously suggesting that hitting someone is not physical force?

    Now, if you seriously insult someone, the insulted party might want to communicate to you that your insult has been successful (so to speak), and he might find that the most appropriate way to communicate this is to slap you on the face. Again, he does not intend to cause any injury, he just wants to tell you that he disapproves of your conduct; he is using the slap on your face as a form of communication. By offering you an insult of a serious kind, the person has implicitly consented to what he knows is often the response to insults of that kind.

    A slap in the face is a way of communicating? This whole thread deserves one big 'LOL.' You guys need to think about the principles involved in what you're saying! Is physical pain a proper way of communication? Of course not. My wish to communicate my disapproval of something doesn't entitle me to smacking someone in the face! Hitting is physical force. End of discussion. I can't believe this crap exists on an Objectivist forum.

  7. Asking for it is exactly right. If your words or actions are designed to make someone angry, then you should expect negative consequences from that anger towards you.

    Do you understand what principles you're advocating?

    If you say something that makes someone angry, you ought to expect physical force in retaliation to your words. Are you an Objectivist?

  8. It does do things I disagree with, but overall it's been the most effective (and influential) charitable organization of certainly the 80's and 90's, as far as I know.

    Why would you like a charity that is influential and effective at doing things you disagree with?

  9. Yaron Brook will be giving his lecture entitled 'Capitalism Without Guilt: The Moral Case for Freedom' on Oct. 6th at 7:00pm. It will be in room 1640 of the Chemistry building.

    Here is a map for those unfamiliar with the campus: http://www.umich.edu/news/Maps/ccamp.html

    The Chem building is on North University st. across from the Michigan League.

    Please invite any friends or family interested in Objectivism/free markets, we are looking to pack the place!

  10. Again, "property" on this topic is being defined in the same way as when you "own" a Car or some object, and because of the nature of what the internet is that conception of property doesn't apply. Property and Intellectual Property are not the same and cannot be treated the same Morally.

    Intellectual property is the product of your mind. It is still property.

    I couldn't reproduce a song and claim I was the original artist.

    This has NOTHING to do with who gets the credit for being the artist. This has to do with ownership over the product of somebodies thinking. Did you write the song? NO. Is it your song? NO. To take it without the creators permission is THEFT.

    If I design a new motor and you steal the plans, this is STEALING! It doesn't matter that you don't claim to be the original inventor. The fact stands that you stole the product of someone else's mind.

    I'll say again that the prerequisite for participation on the internet (because of the nature of what the internet is) is to conceed that what you upload will be copied and shared endlessly (instantly), and that a preview from Amazon is no different than a preview from Isohunt.

    No that is not a prerequisite to using the internet. This is tantamount to saying that since I have cash in my wallet, I concede that others will steal it from me.

  11. Well, for the same reason if man has choices. With morality (namely, a code of rational values that furthers his own life) then his life is benefited, and without it he will have a higher likelihood of pain and suffering. That's the only argument there can be for morality. It isn't effected by determinism, because you can say "Man is a certain way, A is A, so man must behave rationally in order to survive." That statement is true. Want to live? Then behave rationally. Don't? Well then I won't be seeing you around for very long, will I?

    If I'm determined, I can't choose life as my ultimate value. I was either going to do it or not do it anyway. I'm not going to bother studying morality if I can't choose to accept or reject it. Is this not reason enough to never look at the subject of ethics again?

    Except when I'm trying to build my doorframe, add 2 and 3 feet together, get 4, then when I put it all up I end up being a foot too short. The point is that reality is noncontradictory, so if I make a mistake, I will run into it eventually, as I must. If I hit a problem, then I have to go try to look again.

    Your position amounts to man being infallible. Have you ever seen someone do something irrational? Not everyone looks again after they hit a contradiction. Both you and Anton's response to the issue can be restated this way: "But a man will automatically notice his mistake and correct it." We have several thousand years worth of evidence to dispute that.

    Well, what if? Then they'll die pretty quickly, and it'd be their fault. After all, they were the ones who kept missing the error.

    People who do something irrational don't just die. There are plenty of irrational people who live very long lives. Hell, look in a church.

    And if you continually hold wrong ideas, reality will kick you in the face sooner or later.

    Once again, you are trying to claim that if a man makes a mistake he will automatically correct it because reality "kicks him in the face." This just isn't true. Why haven't old people automatically corrected their belief in god?

    Alright, let's say Billy kills Jean. Should Billy get locked up? Well, he initiated force against Jean, which means that he violated her ability to survive (killing her actually), and so rejects morality and his right to his own life as a logical consequence. People who reject morality and adopt death as their goal have no rights, and so, since no moral person would want them around, we can lock them up in order to keep everyone else safe. So, yes, of course you can, even if they couldn't help it.

    How do you attribute responsibility to someone for a crime they couldn't help but commit? Billy had no more choice about it than Jean did. It would make as much sense to attribute responsibility to Jean. Neither could control anything in the situation and thus neither were responsible for the crime. If your going to go around and blame people for crimes who aren't responsible for them, it's just as logical to blame you for the crime.

    Justice is about serving my own life by rewarding or punishing moral and immoral behavior. Assuming my above argument about morality not depending on volition is accepted as true

    Furthermore, what do you think you're going to accomplish by rewarding or punishing immoral behavior? If people act automatically, a reward or punishment is not going to have any effect on their decisions.

  12. I never said we don't make choices, we do but I was wondering whether those choices are volitional in their ultimate sense.

    How can a choice not be volitional?

    In the case where we don't experience anything contrary to the idea that 2 + 3 = 4 then we will have no choice but to believe it.

    So you've never seen a man believe something illogical?

    I'm not saying we don't choose, just whether the root of our choices is really volition

    I think you need to define your terms.

    I'll try to put my earlier statement in a different way. Free will is axiomatic. Determinism is self defeating and here's why: Man is fallible (notice in your above statement, you assume that man will automatically believe the logical ie. 2+2=4) Assuming determinism, man can't choose the ideas in his brain. They are merely a product of his environment/society. When you act irrationally or evade information -you HAVE to do it. It's automatic and you had no choice. If such a thing were true, you couldn't use your own judgment. How could you know whether your ideas were logical, or whether you simply HAD to believe them? Knowledge would be impossible to you. Including, of course, the knowledge that you are deterministic.

    If determinism leads to a faulty concept of justice then let's just forget about determinism because it shakes our view on justice.

    I don't agree with this because just because it does create problems it doesn't necessarilty mean it is false.

    I'm not interested in the possible negative ramifications if it is true, rather if it actually is true.

    After that, then yes I will have to commit to untangling and reworking my view on justice.

    Jane is my best friend, I don't want to see her in jail.

    Some the evidence points to Jane but Jane in jail is a bad thing therefore Jane is innocent.

    I clarified the intent of my statement several posts before this one.

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