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Grames last won the day on February 27 2020

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  1. For a universal to be a universal by definition it cannot be a concrete. Reality is only the concretes which comprise it. Universals are therefore not real, they can only be derived from and justified by concretes. Universals are epistemological, not physical and certainly not metaphysical.
  2. Never fear, the Gods of the Copybook Headings always put things aright again.
  3. Sweet and sour are on the same range by virtue of being perceived by the same sense mode. Vision is the the same as taste in this respect. The body neither knows nor cares about the order of colors on a spectrum, it just has specialized cells for different colors.
  4. Excuse me but could you please clarify if you think length is a quality or a quantity? What are examples of qualitative thinking and quantitative thinking with respect to length? My answer to those questions is that metaphysically what exists is entities with quantities of extension, and length is an human concept which refers to those quantities abstracted from the entities. If attribute, characteristic, property, and quality are all taken as synonyms then the relationship between quality and quantity becomes clear. The summary case of why all qualitative things are epistemological artifacts is that they are hierarchically dependent upon pre-existing quantitative things, and derived from them by dropping the quantity (measurement omission). In chapter 2 of ITOE Rand goes through the gamut of the parts of speech describing how the measurement omission applies to entities/nouns, to materials, to motion, then adverbs, prepositions, adjectives, pronouns, conjunctions and ends with the flourish of claiming love can be measured. That was what she needed to do for validating the relationship of concepts to reality. If there is some aspect of thought, such as visualizing spatial manipulations, that is neglected by this theory that is because that is not part of the philosophical problem at hand. If you think it does touch on the problem, please elaborate. Taste works almost exactly the same way color perception works, specialized cells detect particular basic tastes just as specialized cells detect particular basic colors. The basics and their combinations produce the range of what is possible to perceive with that sense. Color and taste are both relationships.
  5. The quirk about orientation compared to regular attributes of an entity is that it is relative to some reference, either oneself as observing subject or some relevant thing in the environment. Orientation then is a relationship not an attribute. It still exists in the form of some angular rotation with respect to that reference and could be measured. Saying that something is "facing up" is dropping/omitting the measurement because it is within a certain range. So in conclusion orientation is no more qualitative than color, and describing a thing as "facing up" is similar to claiming it is "red". This is not just an analogy because "red" is also a relationship between subject and object not an intrinsic attribute of an entity. Qualities (in this context qualitative thinking as opposed to quantitative thinking) are epistemological artifacts because the only way to get rid of the quantitative character which constitutes all of existence is to omit it, omission being an epistemological operation. All that exists are concretes with their measurable attributes and relationships. Orientation is an existent and is measurable and in any particular manifestation is a concrete.
  6. "Common solution sets of differential equations" is an abstraction, and using that commonality among abstractions as a basis to perform a mental integration into a concept is abstraction from an abstraction. Its all well and good that there is some chain of validation for the differential equations reaching back to the concretes involved but the path to finally discriminate the commonality (Rand's CCD) was quite abstract. Your second point relates to what is called 'perceptual relativity'. Practice and knowledge makes improved discrimination possible, so two men can perceive the same thing in the same conditions but not reach the same identification. But my point was just that drawing a picture always makes data easier to understand when the data forms lines or curves or loops, and that includes easier for the kind of scientists and engineers that can read the data in tabular form. Again I cannot agree that there is any problem here for Rand's theory of concepts to overcome.
  7. If it isn't quantitatively measurable then it does not exist. In non-trivial way what it means to exist is to be measurable. Qualities are epistemological artifacts, abstractions just as are universals and essentials.
  8. Given that Rand allowed for abstraction from abstractions and concepts of concepts, an abstract description and categorization based on common solution sets of an underlying set of differential equations is actually still a kind of measurement if that premise that there is 'describing' going on is true. Not only concretes are measurable. Now it appears you conflate what is not possible to the theory with what is not possible to a man without a particular set of concepts. Nothing about the physicist's integration of multiple and highly abstract concepts is uniquely impossible to Rand's theory. It will stretch that far, so I see no problem where you claim to find one. What I find most interesting about the Hierarchical Temporal Memory theory is the possible discovery of the mathematical mechanics of measurement omission buried in the sparse representation matrices.
  9. I hope you may someday come realize that "merely classifying things" is precisely what concepts do and are for. Knowing in depth about what the concepts refer to is a different problem. That a string of numbers in one format seems meaningless but in another is easily recognizable has little to do with Rand's theory of concepts but is rather about the human body's means of perceiving. The implicit measurements of perception are actually easier to work with conceptually than the explicit measurements of an abstract set of numbers. That said, there is no reason why an artificial structure cannot be made to work as Rand describes directly with those numbers in the explicit form. You need to become more familiar with the capabilities of networks of neurons. They can recognize complex patterns not merely rectangular ranges. There is thread here that brought his theory of Hierarchical Temporal Memory to my attention. edit: searching youtube for "Jeff Hawkins" or "hierarchical temporal memory " brings up lots of hits to the present, he is continuing his work. Example
  10. 1. 'Book' is a first level concept that even an illiterate child or adult can have and use correctly. One can also understand that the words (content) are the essential characteristic of books that cause the other characteristics and that the book only exists at all for the sake of the words within, all while being unable to read them or read at all. Certainly one understands books better if one were literate but not a different set of objects. 2. This boat example is merely taking for granted the quality of the locomotive power, treating it as a primary when it is not. Oared boats differ in the number and placement along a spectrum from a one person dinghy to a competitive crew boat for racing to an ancient trireme. Paddle wheel boats differ in the size, placement midships or stern, and whether single or split port and starboard. Outboard motor boats differ in horsepower, size, weight, and fuel type and whether one or more motors are used. Each of these different kinds of locomotive power do form a qualitative difference between boats but each is also a conceptual category itself. 3. Rand's point with measurements is that they were always there in the form of the attributes of entities. Recall that Rand also teaches that entities are their attributes, not that entities have their attributes. Thus there is no underlying substratum, no place for an Aristotelian essence to be (nor a quality) and no role for a metaphysical essence (or a quality) in knowledge. The attributes are all that exists, they exist in definite specific form amenable to measurement, and even when not mathematically measured merely perceiving a thing creates a particular percept (perceptual form in Kelley) in the subject. The percept is a measure, caused by and corresponding to the thing perceived and the means of perceiving it (and by Kelley the environment in which it was perceived). "Implicit measurement" is a phrase Rand uses on page 13 of ITOE 2nd when writing about color. Perceiving similarity among percepts is also given directly by the perceptual faculty. One does not need to measure explicitly or know how to measure explicitly to perceive similarity between percepts or an entire range of percepts. The measurements involved are implicit and automated by the sensing and perceiving structures of the body. For example we know scientifically how color perception works, how the eye has structures named rods and cones and there is a set just for red light. Redness and similarity of redness means the neurons connected to the red-responding rods and cones being excited and then the same ones being excited again.
  11. Reading a book by proceeding a page at a time front to back until done is not the best technique. I would suggest something more like: Look at the front cover, look at the back cover. See how big it is by page count. Look at the table of contents, read the chapter titles. Flip through the book looking at the pictures. See if there is an index or a section of notes. Read the introduction. Skip ahead to the most interesting chapter and see if what is there depends upon what is covered in earlier chapters and if so go read those. After you've done all that, then you are prepared to commence a page by page intensive study, and even then you will probably still learn something new with a second page by page intensive study. Subjectively it can be difficult to judge when "you know everything on a page" so that could make for frustratingly slow progress.
  12. When you omit the measurements a quantitative measurement becomes qualitative. That is what a quality is: a certain range of measurements. The quality of red means (refers to) any of the various shades and intensities of color within the range of red, and it does so open-endedly (all reds near, far, past, future, known, unknown). Quality is itself a concept, not a concrete. The philosophical problem is relating concepts to concretes. Once a method of handling concretes conceptually is found, handling qualitative thinking is just more of the same. And I don't understand how any of this other grumbling by others about spatial thinking is at all well founded either. Space has measurements. Measurements of distance can be omitted to form concepts of directions, directions can be omitted to form the concepts of near and far, both types of measurements can be omitted to specify relationships such as "on top of" or "to the left of".
  13. If all that existed was an identical shade of red except for that one patch of blue (how weird) then the genus of the definition of blue would equally valid as "red" or "existence". If it were imagined as green instead of red it would make no difference as long as there was the phenomena of not-blue and blue. I agree with MisterSwig about attributes. We never actually encounter colors on their own but only things that have colors. So the colors as a category are distinguished from the other aspects of those things, their size and weight and roughness and softness and smell etc.
  14. There is no third unit, at least not regarded as a unit of the concept you are trying to make. The definition of a concept requires a genus and a differentia. You are having trouble identifying the genus of force. But it is a very elementary or fundamental thing which can only be identified as an existent, one of the things that exists. Force, mass, space, electric charge and a few other concepts refer to what existence is. Existence (as concept or as being) itself does not have a genus, a larger category or background from which it is abstracted. When dealing with such primary existents and the subjective experience of sensations resort to the ostensive definition.
  15. The "broken units" problem is an aspect of the "problem of two definitions" covered by Dr. Peikoff in lecture 3 of "Unity in Epistemology and Ethics". A 'broken unit' in the context of this thread is only possible when a concept has a two definitions, and the criteria of the second more normative or teleological definition is absent.
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