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DavidOdden

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  1. The point that I have been focusing on is the subtle difference between concept formation (so-named in Objectivism) and concept-acquisition (what I’m saying is not part of ITOE or OPAR, and I’m not sure about secondary writings on the topic – there is no such thing as “concept-acquisition” in Objectivism). There are two big questions: “What is the proper means of forming concepts?”, and “What are the actual methods that men use to learn existing concepts?”. In our discussion, I pointed to the difference between the abstract nature of logic and knowledge, versus the practical methods of gaining
  2. I’ve thought about this off and on for a couple of decade, after I discovered that there exist rifts. Let’s take a bigger rift for contrast: the division between Objectivists and outpoken militant Kantian nihilists, awoke progressives, or the religious right, especially strangers. I view them as an evil that I should work against for the sake of my own survival qua man (being only slightly hyperbolic). The reason is that the consequences of these philosophical errors are not trivial. The destruction wrought by the disintegrationists over the past 50 years is palpable, and over the past 10 year
  3. I think it is important to remember two contextual factors regarding concepts. First, every concept is a mental integration… which means, it’s in your head. Second, proper concepts in your head arise by applying logic to valid conclusions, given some premises, so to the extent that the facts out there are the same, we all learn the same concept “dog”. Concepts are objective, not subjective. The science of psychology is concerned with the nature of a concept in the brain, whereas philosophy is concerned with the abstract nature of concepts which anyone can grasp using reason. Epistemologically
  4. I dunno if this will be useful in your quest to better integrate Objectivism in your life, but I do have a perspective on language learning. I will start by saying that technique 1 doesn’t work for me, in fact it is logically impossible for any human, if taken seriously and literally. Technique 2 is somewhat defective because of the use of ‘then’, but that’s fixable. I am betting that you can’t learn the words ተኹላ, ጠለበዱ, ወዐግ, ድቢ, ምራኽ, ዳንጋ, ገመል, ድሙ, ጫቚት, ከልቢ, ኣድጊ, ሓርማዝ, ወኻርያ, ኣጋዚን, ጢል, ኡማሬ, ፈረስ, ገንሸር, ነብሪ, ኣንበሳ, ጋውና, ህበይ, በቕሊ, ብዕራይ, ቅንፍዝ, ማንቲለ, ደዕል, ኣንጭዋ, በጊዕ which are just the names of ma
  5. Merlin, Unfortunately, my computer died a week ago, so in the interim, the main thread has wandered down a number of other paths. I want to focus on the question of whether Bloomberg’s act is bad issues The causally-primary issue (though not necessarily the most important issue) in this thread is your mention of bribery. I objected to that implication on legal grounds, you responded that your comment is from a philosophical perspective, not a legal one. Here is the problem: “bribery” is a legal concept, and outside of that context it is a floating abstraction. People may use it metap
  6. A difference between paying a bribe and paying a fine is that a bribe is conditioned on the recipient performing an action, and charity is not. If I charitably pay your fine, you are free to thank me or not, to vote or not… The term “bribe” is a specific legal term, though it is metaphorically used to describe giving any incentive. Bribery, which is illegal, requires an offer to a public servant, where the offer is not authrized by law, and the intent is to influence an act in the official discretion of the public servant. None of this describes paying a fine for a felon. A more apt de
  7. Gentlemen, I’m all in favor of accuracy and precision, but I also favor focus, and things are a little unfocused here. The focus should be on the word standard. 99% of the discussion is beside the point. This is a simple epistemological question: what is a “standard”? Tony correctly caught that, but unfortunately didn’t focus on that issue. So someone please explain why the notion of “objective standard” has to be stated in terms of “man’s life” and not “one’s own life”. How do we not end up with the disasterous conclusion that every man should so value the life of every other man that…
  8. I take it this is a first draft, and you are looking for comments so that you can improve your argument. Here are my suggestions. First, simply asserting a contrary position is not making an argument, it just makes us aware of an alternative position. What more-perceptible facts support your claim over the contrary claim? My recommendation is to begin by clearly and accurately stating what the common premises are, and what the essential difference is between the two positions. The argument against anarchism then has to be based on that difference. The essential difference is that Anarchis
  9. I’d suggest starting by laying out what you mean by “better job”. I’ve never had a job that sucked intrinsically, it was always because of something bad about it. If you have an actual list, that may help you decide what job to pursue: maybe being a lion tamer, maybe a chartered accountant. Since you apparently haven’t lost your job, you can take a bit of time to do some long-term thinking. For example, what is your central purpose in life? How does your (current or dream) job relate to that purpose?
  10. I question the assertion that public skepticism about the role of scientific expertise has reached new levels. I grant that Bayer and Journo have some expertise on the beliefs of the masses. So how do we resolve this apparent paradox, w.r.t. my views? First, questioning an expert opinion is not an assault on expertise, it is a valid demand to see the evidence (as a prelude to evaluating the claim). I really do not have any idea what the evidence is that there has been an increase in skepticism about scientific claims. Are they referring to some opinion surveys asking “Do you believe in scienc
  11. You have to distinguish “leader” from other related political concepts such as “ruler”, “elected official”, “politician”, “dictator”, “influencer”, “follower” and so on. People usually equivocate over who our leaders are for this reason. Emmanuel Kant, the scum of the Earth in philosophy, was one of three great leaders in that domain. The plain meaning of “leader” is once who gets people to follow him. There are many ways that a person can get others to follow them, for example they can threaten your life if you don’t follow (using force), or they can appeal to your emotions (following by free
  12. I meant what I said. In the examples that I gave, his orders clearly violated well-established law, though perhaps you are not happy about with the law on these points. Your response is mostly part directed at a different question, namely whether it is reasonable to ignore the law. Given that the purpose of a president in our republican form of government is to implement the law, Trump is dysfunctional. This is a basic divide within the population of those calling themselves Objectivists: some consider law to be optional, others consider it to be fundamental to living in a civilized society. T
  13. I am not assuming that Trump has any principled foundation whatsoever. He's not a capitalist or a socialist, he's a random behavior generator. He's an unprincipled statistical machine that tries something, sees if it works, then tries something else. I don't assume that he will veto the left's press for socialism on principled grounds. I do assume that the alternative candidate tends to support socialist legislation. So the difference could come down to a slightly higher chance of veto with Trump as POTUS. The primary threat, IMO, comes not from what Biden will do, but what his successor
  14. Executive Order 13769, the Muslim travel ban, violated the McCarran–Walter Act, and the provision favoring immigration of members of minority religions in listed countries violated the First Amendment. Executive Order 13768, where the federal government illegally commanded local governments regarding enforcement of federal immigration policy, was in clear violation of 8 USC 1373 and well-established law regarding the 10th amendment. The matter of banning Acosta from press briefings, clearly contravened established First and Fifth amendment law. Termination of the DACA program violated the Admi
  15. Before the 2016 election (at OCON, as a pertinent unscheduled remark before class in response to someone’s objection that Clinton would raise taxes), Binswanger commented “What else is new?”, correctly directing attention to the central question: which candidate would introduce the best or worst new ideas into the political area? On those grounds, I was inclined to vote for Clinton. Since the Democrat always gets the electoral votes in Washington (if the electors vote as instructed, which they did not all do), this is a purely theoretical issue for me. With the benefit of hindsight, I con
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