Objectivism Online Forum

# Hermes

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8

1. ## The Logical Leap by David Harriman

Normally, I would not care if someone misunderstands an obvious statement. I am not advocating any such theory. My point was a simple criticism of what I considered inexact language by David Harriman Other forces are inverse-square as well. So, that is necessary, but not sufficient. It is not the essential distinguishing characteristic. If you want to fill in what you think David Harriman must have meant by what Isaac Newton must have thought, that is your privilege. All I did was read the words written by the author.
2. ## The Logical Leap by David Harriman

Thanks for sending me to the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Grames. For the magnetic field due to a magnet, if the distance from the magnet is great compared to the length of bar, then, yes, field strength diminishes by the cube of the distance. I was referring to the Force between magnetic poles. F equals (mu subzero over 4pi) times ((M * m)/r^2) The point is that Harriman claims that the fact that the Apple and the Moon both obey an inverse-square law is proof that their motions have the same cause. It is not. Harriman himself a few sentences above talks about magnetism and static electical charge, both of which are forces that act according to an inverse square law and which, in fact, cause central force motion similar.
3. ## The Logical Leap by David Harriman

There are a few things that I do not understand. In Chapter 4 "Newton's Integration" in the subhead "The Discovery of Universal Gravitation" on page 136 (ppb), Harriman says that the radius of the Earth had been measured accurately and that Newton accepted 60 Earth radii as the distance to the Moon, which was pretty close. I understand that within the limits of the tools of the time that this was true and that this was close enough. But throughout, it is clear that close enough was not good enough for Newton. He was a meticulous experimenter. That actually squares better with other claims. First, Stephen Hawking's claim (in God Invented the Integers) that Newton was dissatisfied with his measurment of the Earth's radius. Also, Newton's quarrel with John Flamsteed was famous. Newton demanded the Royal Astronomer's data for the orbit of the Moon, and Flamsteed kept putting him off. Newton was, again, dissatisfied with the existing approximations and demanded better facts. Harriman tells a different story. On page 137 ppb Harriman talks about a magnet with a static electrical charge having two kinds attractions with different causes. But is it not true that both static charge and magnetism are inverse square forces? Kepler thought that perhaps the planets were magnetically attracted to the sun, for instance. Would not magnetic attraction, static charge, and gravity, all have the same inverse square property? Of course, among the differences would be the lack of "negative" gravity, and a different constant. Still all three follow the same form of F = k(B1 * B2) / r^2, where B1 and B2 are the measures of the Bodies (mass, static charge, magnetic charge) respectively. So, merely following an inverse square law does not prove that the apple and the moon move as a consequence of the same dynamic force. I am reading the book now, and I read the discussion here and on other Objectivist boards and in Amazon, and no one mentioned this, or a couple of other points I will address later.
4. ## Hiring Moderators

The "conceptual savage" talk is so amusing. "Context-dropping, whim-worshipping social metaphysical muscle mystic" has a nice ring to it, too. These absolutist cults follow the same formats -- which you may call the "error of equivalency" according to your snappy patter. Under Mao Zedong, Chinese governnmet propaganda was given to condemning the "lackeys and running dogs of monstrous U.S. imperialism." Ideological errors to the right of the Party line were "revisionism" and errors to the left were "deviationism." The paradigm was Lenin's essay "Left-wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder." Admin did not say that they were inundated with ads and spam and needed help across time zones because this maintnenance was draining resources. Yes, the original call was for more Forum Moderators, but the immediate response from the users was for Chat Moderators, which was acknowledged. Yes, Forum Moderators were part of the operations before this, but they were always in the background. Now, this comes to the front. So, yes, now we notice. I am not alone here in valuing my latitude, liberties and privileges. I have my own website, www.washtenawjustice.com and I am the webmaster for the Michigan State Numismatic Society at www.michigancoinclub.org. I know the work that goes into Objectivism Online and I appreciate it. I visited here once a year or so ago. David Veksler responded to a post of mine on "Money as a Crusoe Concept." I told him that if I publish this formally, the ideas he presented in his post will be cited formally, as his due. We were on good terms at that point. I intend to maintain that sense of benevolence.

Taxes on newspapers are a historic problem. It is ironic that this comes from Philadelphia. What would Benjamin Franklin say? Taxes on newspapers, magazines, and books have been weakly defended, at best and been generally unpopular for those very First Amendment reasons. Now we have new media. But the principles are constant. There was a time when "cold type" meant handset and "hot type" meant linotype. But in the last generation, those took on almost opposite meanings, as almost nothing is set by hand. (Artworks and such are the exception.) So, "hot type" was the old-fashioned method and "cold type" meant photographic typesetting (Quadrigraphic; Compugraphic; competing makers including Mergenthaler). Now, that has almost no meaning as so little is done with light on film everything in a newspaper up to the inking on the paper is the result of the same computering that we use here. So, it comes down to laserjet versus inkjet versus rollers and pans. When they can laserjet a newspaper, then what? And what about the fact that newspapers offer online content, some of them as their main line of delivery. Here in SE Michigan, local papers hit the sidewalk once or twice a week and change their websites several times a day -- which is how they used to have Bulldog Editions, Three- and Four-star Editions, and the Five Star Final in the evening. So, what is a website or a blog that a newspaper is not? (Apart from the wider problem of taxation, of course.)
6. ## Censorship in Cyberspace

Computer underground Digest Wed Feb 17, 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 17 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer ([email protected]) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Copy Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Seniur Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 20:17 EST From: "Michael E. Marotta" Subject: File 5--Censorship in Cyberspace Excerpts from "Censorship in Cyberspace" © 1993 by Michael E. Marotta the complete text (2000 words) appears in the (\$5) 1993 Retail Catalog of Loompanics, P. O. Box 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Founded in 1974, Loompanics, publishers of unusual books, features about 300 titles on privacy, underground income, self-defense, etc. +++++ As Ayn Rand noted, when people abandon money, their only alternative when dealing with each other is to use guns. Yet, the anti-capitalist mentality permeates cyberspace. Most public systems and networks actually forbid commercial messages. So, computer sysops and network moderators are reduced to cavalier enforcement of their personal quirks. When Tom Jennings created Fidonet, Omni magazine called him an "online anarchist." Since then, Fidonet has developed a governing council and lost Jennings. Over the last two years, I have been banished from these Fidonet echoes: * Stock Market for saying that Ivan Boesky is a political prisoner * Virus for saying that viruses could be useful * Communications for saying that telephone service should not be regulated by the government * International Chat for asking "How are you" in Hebrew and Japanese. Kennita Watson, whom I met on Libernet, told me this story: When I was at Pyramid, I came in one day and "fortune" had been disabled. I complained to Operations, and ended up in a personal meeting with the manager. He showed me a letter from the NAACP written to Pyramid threatening to sue if they didn't stop selling racist material on their machines. They cited a black woman who had found the "...there were those whose skins were black... and their portion was niggardly.... 'Let my people go to the front of the bus'..." fortune, and complained to the NAACP. I suspect that she (and the NAACP) were clueless as to the meaning of the term "niggardly". I (as a black woman) was embarrassed and outraged. Because of the stupidity of a bunch of paranoid people, I couldn't read my fortune when I logged out any more. " It is important to bear in mind that to the censor, censorship, like all evils, is always an unpleasant but necessary means to achieve a good result. Robert Warren is a sysop who replied to an article of mine on Computer Underground Digest. He said: "... People have a right to say what they want in public, but some don't care about the responsibility that comes with it. So you zap 'em." Now, there is no argument with his basic premise: Since he owns the equipment, he has the final say in its use. This is his right. Likewise, the administrators of publicly-funded university computers also engage in censorship under a mandate to serve the people who pay taxes. "All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely," the historian John E. E. Acton said. It is no surprise that this applies in cyberspace. Political and social freedom have little to do with constitutions or elections. Congress could choose a new prime minister every day or the people could elect the secretary of state to a three year term. The details are unimportant. Some places are free and some places are controlled because the people in those places need freedom or accept oppression. It always comes back to the individual. Albert Gore and George Bush agreed on the need for a "data superhighway." The Electronic Frontier Foundation has recommended that this national network be open to commercial enterprises. This is good. An open market is the best protection against power and corruption.
7. ## Hiring Moderators

I agree with the sentiments that Mindy expresses. I, too, am concerned with the advent of the Forum Moderators. I understand the Admin's position, completely. Admin has an absolute right to do whatever they want. But that is not the issue, certainly not for Objectivists. By analogy, you have a political right to purposely harm yourself, though, of course, it would be immoral to do so. Furthermore, no one questions the the utility of keeping ads for replica watches off this message board. More to the point, it is perfectly valid for an Objectivist to question tenets and beliefs, in the search for truth, order to gain a better understanding. On the other hand, the Usenet News Groups (Google Groups) for alt.philosophy.objectivism and humanities.­philosophy.­objectivism are loaded with useless junk and frequented by anti-Objectivist trolls. Rational discussion there is difficult to impossible. So, yes, the Administrator benefits us all by doing the hard work of property maintenance. In the Law subforum under Politics, I posted on "Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice." Before I could complete my inital posts, DavidOdden replied to the first that in my next post, I should say what my point is. Last week, that would have been an invitation. Now, it is a threat. What if I have no "point" or thesis but am only cataloging facts in order to understand them? Others could support or refute the empirical claims or assert their own conceptual explanations. And so on. But now, I read his reply as a hint that if I have no thesis, the posts will be deleted and, ultimately, I could be denied access entirely. Again, it is the right of the Admin and Admin's agents to do so, but that is not the issue that Mindy addresses. Last week, we were peers. This week some animals are more equal. I do not chat. I understand that Chat had problems with trolls. Thus, Moderators were "hired." However, at the outset, the need for Forum Moderators was never validated, but only arbitrarily asserted, as an extension of Chat Moderators.
8. ## Miscarriages of Justice

8. Junk Science. This includes both fraud and forgery by police laboratories and also the pseudo-sciences presented to juries. The fraudulent reports of forensic "scientists" Joyce Gilchrist of Oklahoma City and Fred Zain of the State of West Virginia would seem isolated, but for revelations about the same kinds of frauds from the Houston, San Francisco and other crime labs. Google "crime lab scandal" and follow the links. Fingerprints are junk science. (While it may be true, though unproved, that ten prints from a person are uniquely differentiable from ten prints from any and every other person, that is not how the system works.) Fingerprint fraud is also a crime lab scandal. Junk science includes extremes such as hypnotic regressions and psychic revelations but also accepted claims such as the "matching" of hair and fiber samples from crime scenes and victims with samples taken from those who are accused. 9. Interrogations, confessions, and plea bargains. It is common in plea bargaining for the judge to ask the defendant if any promises were made to him in return for his confession and for the defendant to swear that none were, though in fact, he is confessing specifically because such a promise was made. Few constrainsts short of direct torture limit police interrogations. They can lie. They do lie. In the infamous and on-going case of the Norfolk Four, the police convinced the accused individually that they did not remember the horrible crime because it was so horrible that they blocked it out of their memory, but that physical evidence placed them at the scene. Each confessed. The case of Michael Crowe made national television, but few are heard beyond the interrogation room. Claiming non-existent physical evidence, the strongest is argument is "Who is the jury going to believe?" The accused lowers his risks despite his innocence. These are not exceptions. They are how the criminal justice process works. We have accepted traditional accumulations and acretions of actions that cannot be rationally explained or logically justified. The problem needs to be re-thought from basic premises.
9. ## Miscarriages of Justice

These are not accidental, but are the logical and natural consequences of the criminal justice process. 1. Originally, the courts were not part of the government. In John Locke's Second Treatise, the branches of government were legislative, executive and diplomatic. Courts were community institutions to protect from government. Our present federal Constitution made the courts a branch of government. 2. Prosecutors, defense attorneys -- especially "public defenders" -- bailiffs, and other actors all work together daily. The victim and the accused are outsiders to the system. 3. Actors are not responsible for their decisions. Bad prosecutions, jury error, judicial error go unpunished, even if they are corrected on appeal. 4. We draw juries from the pool of licensed drivers -- formerly registered voters. Jurors are not professionals, vetted for their competence. 5. Eyewitness testimony is known to be notoriously flawed. A subset comes from the police "line up." Some are live. In others people are shown photographs. The police "drive up" is when the officers on patrol place the suspect in the back of the car, take them to the victim, and ask for verification. 6. Informants run a spectrum from the guilty seeking absolution, to jail and prison insiders who testify to anything asked in return for material reward. There is no clear, objective way to differentiate them. 7. Special interests perpetuate themselves. Politicians are elected for proposing tougher laws. Government departments of corrections become huge populations dependent on crimes and punishments for their livelihoods. To cut costs, states turn to private providers, generating a "prison-industrial complex." But the very study of criminology seeded an "academic-criminal complex" in which theories abounded and solutions were sparse. On the other hand, governments have quality control processes for the construction of bridges, but none for the construction of criminal law or its application and enforcement. Police and prosecutors gain power and authority for enforcements which incentivizes them to lie: the courts uphold their right to do so. (more to follow)

Down for maintenance, now, but Xtranormal lets you turn text into animation http://www.xtranormal.com/ I believe that in the near future, a thousand Atlases will bloom with your own favorite actors in the roles you choose for them.

A. Mash-up for Dagny and Hank http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TczYBULUvbI B. Mash-up for Hank http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qA7RcxPSG0

Mash-up Recommended on another topic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w151-e_Y_XE Original animation

High school actors, but not the drama club (Directing and camera promising) Different high school. Better actors. Sound is thin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGZowIOgZes
14. ## How do you know everyone's senses are the same?

H. G. Wells's "Country of the Blind" addressed this via a fictional presentation. The hero did eventually convince (some) people that he had a sense they did not -- though it was hard; some were never convinced -- but the only consequence was that they offered to remove the growths that were causing him so much unhappiness. He got out just in time. We say that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, but this story validated the claim that in the land of the blind, the sighted person is considered insane. We might wonder if we "sense" the validity of Objectivism and call that "logic" even though all the logical arguments in the world do not convince others who cannot "sense" what we do. Mike M.
15. ## Should justice be retributive or restorative?

If you goto my website http://www.washtenawjustice.com/ and click on Criminology: the Sociology of Crime, you will find an essay on restorative justice that I wrote for a graduate class in criminology. (It is a Word for Windows 2003 document.) The purpose of restorative justice is not only to restore the victim, but also the perpetrator. The theory is that anyone who harms another does so in reaction to having been harmed themselves. Fix the problem, not the blane. Studies have shown that it might cost \$100,000 in psychological counseling to normalize a perpetrator, but that is less than the cost of two years' incarceration and with a much better outcome. Traditional justice worked on this theory. Traditional justice also allowed that shooting the perpetrator in the back was also sometimes the only solution. Grand theories are nice, but as individuals are unique, outcomes must be tailored to the actors. The market works this way. We each might not get what we want (though we often do), but we each get what we deserve. The grand theory of the market is not "price theory" or "monetism" or even "the gold dollar." So, too, is much disussion on justice given to magnifying details beyond reason. "Bank robbers should be shot in the act." Considering that banks have nothing in them but worthless federal reserve notes that will be replaced free of charge, who cares if a bank gets robbed? Sure, 100 years ago, banks actually held the money of other people. But not today. Besides, I assure you that as a security professional, property is not worth killing or dying for. The right to property is more important; the ability to create it is most important. But the stuff itself is just trash. Even Galt's motor was abandoned as scrap. Would you die for scrap? You take that risk when you attempt to kill for it. The basic problem is that discussions about justice seldom begin with basic questions. You have to start somewhere, of course, and the middle is as good a place as any, but sooner or later, you have to ask some basic questions. What is justice? Do we need it or do we only want it? Can it be manufactured? Is is discovered or made? Can it be given or taken? Can it be measured? (And still other questions could be framed.) For instance, we have two words for these problems: justice and law. We treat them as synonyms, as intertwined and integral. In fact, they began as two different concepts and they continue today as two different kinds of interactions. Justice is like juice -- they come from the same root word: the essence. Justice is inherent in the situation and discovered by the actors. Law -- lex; rex -- is made. It is declared. A law can be unjust. We know that. So, if justice is disovered and not made, how can we get more of it? Restorative actions work better than retributive actions because restoration depends on the discovery of justice, whereas retribution only requires the manufacture of law.
16. ## Pre-Ancient Temples in Turkey

Thank you. That was interesting. It is a common fallacy that cities evolved from agricultural villages which evolved from pastoral encampments. Jane Jacobs theorized (and proved) in The Economy of Cities that cities grew out of hunting camps which became trade sites. Successful hunters brought their bounty. She named her construct "Obsidian" but here it seems that like the town in Michigan, this site should be named "Flint." The archaeologist (or perhaps Newsweek) was surprised that the site had no natural resources, that everything had to be imported. But with flint as their export, they drews to themselves what they needed. Others benefited in cross-trade. It lasted for 1000 years. Hard to top that. Also, as for what one man can do, see Wally Wallington on YouTube. and see his personal website here: http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/ To know whether this was "religion" or something else, we would ahve to see even more than is offered from a web search on Gobekli Tepe which would (of course) bring you to Wikipedia here, at the very least.
17. ## The Athens of the Middle Ages

(Excerpts here are from "Champagne: The Athens of the Middle Ages," which originally appeared in The Celator, Vol. 25. No. 11, November 2009.) Today, we measure gold and silver in “troy” ounces because the great fairs at Troyes in Champagne created a confluence of commerce, scholarship and fine art evidenced by new consumer goods, a thriving Jewish community, the invention of cathedral architecture, creation of the Arthurian romances and interventions in papal politics, including the launch of the Crusades with the subsequent enrichment of the Knights Templar and the Cistercian orders. One of the last counts of Champagne was a troubadour. The county of Champagne was to the Middle Ages what Athens had been to the classical age. With roots in the Roman Empire, Champagne’s first hint of new growth was the clearing the forests by pioneers to found new homesteads where they enjoyed new rights. Beginning about 1000 CE, gradual increases in population brought a need to find new lands for cultivation and settlement. What is today northwestern France was dotted with habitations founded by Romans. Small rivers – the Seine, Marne, Aube and Aisne – beginning in the southern highlands and flowing northward to the Channel, provided the rolling lands with sufficient irrigation. From those old Celto-Romanic castellanies, ordinary peasants forayed with some hesitation into the ancient forests. These commoners were mobile – either de facto or de jure. In addition to ordinary serfs and peasants a “hospite” was a man or woman who had left her natal village and moved into a new locale. Sometimes they were forcibly returned to their home lands. However, more often, after a year and a day, they were granted protection of their new lord and – more to the point – were responsible for payments to that lord. A decree from Champagne in the twelfth century (1171 CE) required that newcomers choose as lord either the count or the abbot. That a woman could pay her own tax – by the end of the century, in coin – meant that her obligation to her lord was her own. Such mobility was accepted as normal. When lands were first cleared, the fields belonged to the lord from whose manor the commoners had come. In time, however, holdings would be passed from one noble to another, or were granted to a church. Sometimes communes petitioned for a change. Some freemen were also “non-resident agents,” serving one lord while living in the domains of another: “servientes canonoricum de pane eorum viventes.” The fairs brought prosperity, of course. As towns grew, city life became more complicated. Stalls at the fairs – at first temporary places – became inheritable property. Houses near the fair became valuable while those farther away were prized specifically for their distance from hubbub. Traditionally, the law of mainmorte said that if there were no direct heirs to land, then the inheritance passed to the lord of the manor. That became a problem in Troyes and the other towns. Unlike an agricultural community, it was not certain that lawful heirs would stay close to home. At Troyes, in particular, the new legal custom was to look for the closest surviving relative, not necessarily the traditional inheritor. Furthermore, the heritability of office went back to Roman times. New applications of anachronistic traditions left legal documents of the twelfth century even citing a “mayoress.” The social status of those women is much debated today. There is no doubt that privileged women of that time could force divorces or annulments. It is also true that peasants were forbidden to marry outside their lord’s estate without his permission. Yet, the practical result of this was that lords agreed to reciprocity: one peasant woman’s choice to move out, brought in another. On the other hand, the Arthurian romances include rape as a narrative element. Those Arthurian romances – Lancelot, Gawain, Parsifal – were the invention of Chretien of Troyes who wrote for the court of Marie of Champagne. Marie’s mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her father was Eleanor’s first husband, Louis VII of France. Eleanor later married a rising duke, a decade her junior, who in two years became Henry II of England. Their sons became Count Geoffrey, Prince John and King Richard the Lionhearted. Marie of Champagne twice ruled as regent. (more)
18. ## I think I might have to leave objectivism

I am an Objectivist, except that: I think that it is proper that a woman can be President of the United States; I do not place a high value on operetta music (though I know many tunes); I accept other people's homosexuality as their choice and do not find it disgusting; I enjoy Mozart and Beethoven; I enjoy rock music, especially "new" music of the 80s and even punk. I respond well to Rodin's "The Thinker;" (See my review on RoR here.) I know that you can have law and justice without government. I once read one book by Mickey Spillane -- I, the Jury -- and that was more than enough; I tried "Charlie's Angels" and did not like it; I watched old "Man from UNCLE" shows on DVD a few months ago and liked what I saw. I believe that "ought" comes from "is" but that "is" might not lead to any "ought." And I am not sure that saying you oppose welfare gives you a right to accept it. But other than that... I am an Objectivist. And I agree with Ayn Rand that you might have a right to own a rifle, but you probably have no right to own a handgun. (When asked to sum up Objectivism standing on one foot, Ayn Rand defined politics in terms of capitalism, not government.) I see many clear distinctions among (1) objectivism as rational empiricism and (2) Objectivism and (3) the corpus of Ayn Rand's works.
19. ## Clarification on Intellectual Property Debate

The replies so far are clear and correct. As noted the Objectivist position is easy to identify from Ayn Rand's writings. The so-called "libertarian" position is more difficult to identify because libertarianism has no central archive. Moreover, I do not know of any revision of Ayn Rand's ideas on this subject from the Atlas Society, suggesting a consonance of understanding among Objectivists. Libertariansism lacks that. That much is fine. Ideally, rather than quoting authorities, each person would think this through for themself and to the extent that each person is correct, independent investigators will agree, albeit perhaps via different paths, and perhaps with different facts explained by different concepts. I ask: "What (if anything) makes "intellectual" property different from other kinds? It is true that kings granted royal patents, but they also granted other property titles, such as "The Duke of York" giving one person the right to certain lands in York. There may be "libertarians" who see that as a reason to deny all property rights, but reliable polls by Gallup, Harris and Pew reveal some fraction of people who think that they are "evangelical Christians" but who are not certain that God exists. So, you have to be specific about who is saying what. Some "libertarians" deny property rights and some "Christians" deny God. The problem is that of "monopoly." A thing cannot be in two places at once. Two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. However, you can copy these words --- which I own by the Berne Convention to which the USA is a subscriber nation -- and not deprive me of them, or of my access to my own copy. Apparently, these words have become public goods: non-exclusive and non-rival. What is exclusive and rival is authorship. You can take the words, but you cannot claim to have written them. The automobile is a good example of the tangled problems in "intellectual" property rights. The first self-propelled vehicle appeared in the 18th centiry (see here),and in the 19th century internal combustion was tried (here). In the early 20th century, American automobile makers attempted to sue each other over the steering wheel and other integral features, but the courts denied the claims. On the other hand, the Wright Brothers fought Curtiss over who invented "the" way to turn an airplane in flight. (read here) Again, the basic issue is not the thing itself, as many more can always be made. That makes "intellectual" property different from land. It also makes many other kinds of property different from land. When Ayn Rand wrote about the property status of the airwaves, she considered only frequency. However, even in her day, the earliest radio transmitters were capable of "chopping" which allowed a time-dependent sharing of the same frequency by different owners. In fact, Thomas Edison is credited with the invention of telegraphic multiplexing. Someone still owned the wires, of course, but the right to lease or rent or buy or sell services on them suddenly became different from what was contemplated by a law that only knew land. (And, today, we have timeshare condominums, actually two different innovations in property rights not contemplated by the medieval kings.) The point is not that these are unsolvable contradictions in property rights, but only that we are the inheritors of traditional (largely non-objective) property law based on land. Thus we have "intellectual" property rights, when, in fact, it might serve us better to begin with invention and authorship as the paradigms of property and from them derive rights to "unintellectual" property.
20. ## Why should intuition and ad hoc reasoning submit to logic?

As Hairnet pointed out, the problem is complicated by its premises. You have three problems in one question. 1. The relationship between "natural law" ethics and Objectivist ethics. 2. The challenge of validating logic 3. The challenge of validating logic within the context of ethics. Let's start with logic. This is DeMorgan's Theorem. A. NOT (P OR Q) = (NOT P) AND (NOT Q) B. NOT (P AND Q) = (NOT P) OR (NOT Q) You can put words in for P and Q and see the truth. A. "Neither Republicans nor Democrats are consistent." means "Republicans are not consistent; and Democrats are not consistent." B. You cannot have both laissez faire capitalism and state socialism. This is the same as saying that you can be not-laissez faire or you can be not-state socialist. Logic is non-contradictory thinking. (quote from Ayn Rand). It remains to be shown that any other mode of thinking must be internally contradictory. Maybe some other form can be non-contradictor. So far, in 2500 years, logic is the best form of thinking that we have discovered or invented. Other considerations might be interesting or even important, but they lead to contradictions. Contradictions are just that: they cannot be resolved. Do you have a solution for Northern Ireland or Palestine? Tough questions, hard to resolve without contradictions, i.e., someone gets screwed, maybe everyone, but no answer results in no one losing. That is the nature of a contradiction. If they all had been logical from the get-go, none of it would have happened.
21. ## Free exchange?

Suart Hayashi wrote an essay on "The Argument from Arbitrary Metaphysics." Basically, he shows why strawmen are not real and need not be considered. In the initial problem, the victim was judged mentally competent by her doctors, but incompetent by her plumber. There is a problem in that. I am 60; my wife is 55. We work with our minds and we are aging. She just went through a four-hour examination that provided a multidimensional profile of strengths and weaknesses, norms and variances. There is no such thing as "mentally competent" (except in a government court of law). I am sorry not to have the exact reference, but in Isaac Asimov's "Black Widowers" anthologies there is a story. The Black Widowers is a society of amateur sleuths who meet to unravel whatever mystery is brought to them once a month by a dinner guest. One month a man comes with an "unsolvable" problem. They hear him out and offer their insights. Each is deflected in turn with new information. Finally, the butler, Henry (as is always the case) offers the solution: He is lying. The guest was making up reasons not to accept the solution based on the facts given originally. So, too, here, is this a lie. Not that HobHouse22 is evil, but that the situation offered is unreal and each adjustment is required specifically because the inital problem was unreal. HobHouse22 was only asking a different (and interesting) question: What are the limits of commercial ethics? You do not need to make up little old ladies and plumbers. My professional hobby is numismatics, the art and science of the forms and uses of money, which most people call "coin collecting." I speak at conventions; I have been granted literary awards. I do this well. The hobby guys think that Home Shopping Network is deplorable, a scam, a ripoff. Many denounce Littleton Coin Company, also. The reason is that those entities charge "too much." To the hobbyist, it is obvious that no one should pay \$60 for a \$50 coin, when with four or five hours in a coin shop you can find one almost as nice without too many problems for \$40. These same guys rave to heaven about the "1804 Dollar" and the "1913 Nickel" which are multi-million dollar auction items whose pedigrees have names. I consider them junk. The genuine 1804 Dollars are only "novodels" a Russian word for special work for friends of the Mint. The 1913 Nickels are all fakes. But that is just my opinion, apparently, as the multi-million dollar price tags prove that the market is always right. These famous collectors are successful businessmen. Can you tell someone with a multi-mega-dollar Beverly Hills car dealership that he doesn't know value? So, if you want to discuss real cases, there are many. If you want to put a theoretical wrapper around these specifics, we can do that. What are the limits of commercial ethics? Can you cite cases? Those are real questions.
22. ## Should Ethics Committees in clinical research be mandatory?

The discussion here is fascinating and informative. As I told Hatu Matua privately, I just completed degrees in criminology and social science and my first and last courses for the bachelor's and master's were both in professional ethics. Beyond that, I read Atlas Shrugged in 1966 and then took the "Basic Principles of Objectivism" course in my town. Over the years, I have published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles, many of them profiles of innovative businesses and entrepreneurs. The point is, I have a lot background and nothing much to say that is better than I have read. We agree on the fundamental principles. The problem is to put that in writing so that it is enforceable, at least as contract, if not criminal law. Ultimately, as a result of appeals to higher courts, the only applicable standard is the "reasonable man." What would the average reasonable person expect? That is not much of a standard. It is like awarding Olympic medals to people who seem pretty darned good at sports. From the earliest days of professional medicine, the patient seldom understood what the doctor intended. I know from teaching robotics in factories that you can have a hardware crash that damages the workcell and when your boss asks you if you explained the procedure he knows full well that what you saw was six guys nodding their heads up and down and not understanding a word you said. Medicine is a lot like that for the patient. You get all the words, but you know there is some meaning you are missing. My last time in consultation, I asked the doctor for evidence and the doctor gave me 60 pages with 120 footnotes. I'm still working on it... In business, we say that the customer is always right. In real estate, they say, "Buyers are liars." So, the professional review boards serve a purpose intended by and requested by the doctors themselves. You cannot trust the patient. And such review boards exist in business, also, as for instance the local Board of Realtors. Whether or not these professional guidelines should have the force of law is not clear. The government has a duty to protect against fraud. We allow the police to proactively protect life and property. Do we not allow the government to proactively protect against fraud?
23. ## Learning Objectivism Online

In the topic "Why do A-Objectivists ..." (here) started by dreamweaver, the assumption was that a discussion forum is not a good place to learn Objectivism. Instead, it was recommended that anyone who does not undestand Objectivism should continue to re-read the books. In point of fact, this board and others (see below) provide excellent opportunities to delve into questions. First, most boards of all kinds have many more viewers than registered users and more users than posters. So, in fact, many people who are interested in the ideas of Ayn Rand come to Objectivism Online and other boards. They read much and post little, if at all. That is a reality. Second, Objectivism is fifty years old. We are beginning our third generation. Unlike other hobbies, this is one that specifically appeals to intellectuals. Therefore, many questions have been raised, many points debated. Anyone who has a question now can probably find a range of discussions across the boards over time. There was a time when Objectivism was defined by the writings of Ayn Rand and those to whom she gave official sanction by co-publishing. Obviously, the split with Nathaniel Branden created the opportunity for others to continue lines of thought on their own. Whether and to what extend this or that is "Objectivism" is for you to decide. These are the other discussion boards I know of. For Rand Fans - Betsy Speicher http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/ Noodlefood - Diana Hsieh http://blog.dianahsieh.com/ Objectivist Living - Michael Stuarrt Kelly http://www.objectivistliving.com Rebirth of Reason - Joseph Rowlands http://rebirthofreason.com Solo Passion - Lindsay Perigo http://www.solopassion.com/ It is not that any regular posters on any of them knows more about Objectivism, but only that collectively, they archive a full range of topics, issues, debates, discussions, reviews and reflections.
24. ## I invented my own sport, anybody interested?

Business is just one thing after another... but you clearly need to know what your rights actually are. In point of fact, the United States signed the Berne Convention in January 1989. Whatever you create is automatically your property until and unless you assign rights to someone else. Then, there are patents. As a writer, I know copyrights. I know nothing about patents.
25. ## Concerning the Rights/Status of Minors

It is a fact that children are not adults. They are not as large. That's obvious. In the last 100 years scientists have quantified other, more subtle differences. Gushing about a college baseball world series game I watched a few years ago, I opined that they were better players than the major leaguers. One guy replied that he agreed with the heartfelt sentiment but it is not true. "The college pitcher, when he's in the windup, if he catches the eye of a pretty girl in the stands, he'll forget the sign. You gotta outgrow that. There's no other way." That said, if you read, for example, Ragged Dick, one of the Horatio Alger stories, you will meet boys of 12 living on their own, renting apartments, and making do as best they can. Our society did allow more gray area in the gray area. We had a paperboy in our neighborhood who built his route, collected money, created and managed a business. The Ann Arbor News closed last year, but their paper routes were managed by the central office: the kids only delivered. When I was in high school, circ 1964, it was the last of the days when you could quit after the ninth grade, age 16, and, get a job to support yourself. Times change. In the commercial world, insurance companies do not give policies to people under 25, as a general rule. Like being 35 to be President, there are some limits even over 18 ... and with drinking it's 21. My daughter is bartender. She pointed out that this person is old enough to enlist in the Army, old enough to choose the President of the United States, old enough to be married, but not old enough to drink -- and it's her problem if she serves it. Seems unbalanced, to her. She, however, felt that children should be allowed to drive, and did so at 10, taking the car for a 100 mile ride at 13. Her companion in crime, also 13, learned to drive the year before. Do you have a right to sell yourself into slavery? Maybe you can argue that you do, but our society prohibits that as a basic principle. So, too, does the state have a compelling interest in the protection of children. All of which is to say, that there is a lot of gray area in the gray area.
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