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DavidOdden

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  1. I don't understand the meaning or relevance of "physical aggression" in your distinction between germs and ideas. What is aggression (what is physical aggression and what other types are there)? I don't see how to apply that concept to germs versus ideas.
  2. My objection to the extensional view of meaning is that people who speak a language know the meaning of words in the language, but they do not know the extension of a concept, or even what an extension is. They have the capacity to compute the extension (once you tell them what an extension is). But as we know, there are enough competing theories of “meaning” that you have to start with a more important question “What do you mean by ‘mean’?”. We have to exclude unrelated senses such as “arithmetic mean”, “cruel” (where, in fact, the word “meaning” is not applicable, only “mean” is). Being focu
  3. At your leisure (and in a separate thread), I'd like to see what leads you to this conclusion: not that there is a difference, but the conclusion that it is worse.
  4. When getting mired in the overly-rich inventory of fallacies with Latin names, I recommend the Stanford entry on fallacies, §13. The third version of the ad hominem fallacy is the tu quoque. It involves not accepting a view or a recommendation because the espouser him- or herself does not follow it. Thus, if our neighbor advises us to exercise regularly and we reject her advice on the basis that she does not exercise regularly, we commit the tu quoque fallacy: the value of advice is not wholly dependent on the integrity of the advisor. You might imagine Pelosi expressing the view
  5. The one error I have to point out in your comment is that anarchism does not ignore the concept of government, it misunderstands the concept. The anarchist position denies the validity of government, but has not resolved the problem of thieves under anarchy. One view is that anarchy is a utopian ideal, which can exist only when no person would ever use force – it’s a Platonic form towards which we might strive, but it is excruciatingly unlikely that it will ever exist. A closely related next-most surreal form of anarchism, sour grapes anarchism, declares that anyone using force has ipso facto
  6. You should start with a correct understanding of the Objectivist view of government, as summarized in the identification that “A government is an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area”. Please read the entire entry.
  7. The goal is to reach a conclusion about a person (then use it in future dealings: just as you reach a conclusion about a particular adhesive and use that conclusion in deciding what to use on future projects). You should focus on facts about the person that are relevant, for example hair color and skin color are irrelevant for a moral evaluation, but they could be relevant if you are casting an acting role. Since human actions are chosen, you must focus on what causes a person to person to act the way they do. You may consider the possibility that a person is self-destructive, or you may think
  8. One of the bizarrest forms of ovine behavior that I've seen is people driving all by themselves, wearing the diaper. I wonder if they are afraid of infecting themselves.
  9. This is an application of the concept “proof” or “certain”, so more generally the question is “When do I conclude that…”. As you know (OPAR Ch. 5), X is certain when all of the evidence points to conclusion X, and there is no surviving evidence to the effect that alternative Y is viable. However, actions are often necessary based on incomplete knowledge. As a scientist, I can delay making a final decision on a theory pending the outcome of some experiment, but when I’m hanging from a cliff, I have to make a choice of actions now. What urgency contributes is that the conceptual possibility of a
  10. Hypocrisy is where an individual advocates one position but consciously and without justification acts contrary to that position, that is, it is an individual embracing a contradiction. It is not a “social” phenomenon where a group decision overrides the judgment of an individual. Biden has been elected president: it is not hypocritical for me to criticize his actions as president, regardless of whether I voted for him or against him. The fact that Congress and the president approved a certain massive welfare law does not mean that I also personally endorsed that law. FYI I condemn looting.
  11. I’m not up on terminological arcana, so while I’ve vaguely heard of a “transcendental argument”, I wouldn’t know one if it bit me on the ass. However, the particular logical form that you identify is, IMO, one of the greatest contributions of Objectivism to my own philosophically-based work. It is particularly important in saying what “hierarchical knowledge” is, in rationally structuring knowledge, and I believe that a failure to identify the presuppositions of a concept are a significant source of logical error. There is a recent bit of related discussion here.
  12. I believe that that is distinctly not the actual case, although it is the way that certain philosophers of science purport that science works. Actually, they do not start with hunches, they start with prior observational knowledge and causal theories that explain the knowledge, plus some observations that cannot be integrated with the theories. “Hunch” is a slovenly expression referring to a process of reasoning that corresponds with Rand’s “check your premises”: you re-inspect the logic behind the original construction of the theory and discover viable alternatives. Some practitioners may do
  13. From the perspective of the Objectivist epistemology, this is where I find problems with the ___ (claim, idea, argument…) in Durden’s post. The main problem is that we don’t have a clearly identified proposition that can be evaluated. Here are some propositions: Many people specifically hated/loved the Republican presidential candidate to the point that they voted only on one issue Many people were bored by other issues so that they failed to vote on those other issues Many people voted for the libertarian presidential candidate, but there was no lower-office libertarian ca
  14. The probability of the facts being the way they are due to “chance” is zero. But without a model of what causes voting results, everything is effectively “by chance”. He proposes (based on a suggestion by Pew) that people tend to vote party-line (adtually, people tend to claim that they will vote party line), so one would want to investigate that claim (how strong or true is that effect??). The apparent anomaly is that in Michigan, Biden is doing proportionally much better than Trump, compared to the Senatorial race. That’s a miserable standard of comparison: what about Democrat vs. Republican
  15. I think you can answer the question by answering a related question: is it moral to sell your house without putting together a list of every bad thing that you can imagine about your house, as a warning intended to dissuade buyers? If you happen to say “yes”, I suppose that you should ask yourself related questions about any business that you might deal with, for example is it moral for an insurance company to ever deny a claim? Of course it is, you can read the policy to see what is covered and what is not covered. If the policy says that “denial of service due to officially-declared epidemic
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