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Everything posted by DavidOdden

  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
  16. The problem arises when your claim to naturally occuring things necessary to sustaining life, like rocks, water, and wild plants and animals, interferes with my right to naturally occuring or man-made things necessary to sustaining life. In its natural, primitive state, people living along the unmodified Nile could trot down to the river to get a drink, but this doesn’t sustain the 30 million people living in the 6.6 K square miles making up Cairo. Part of life is recognizing that very many people – like, all people – have a reasonable interest in those natually-occurring resources. Thus, the
  17. Many natural resources are necessary for sustaining life, so of course you should have the right to access many natural resources. In this particular case, the issue is not whether the Ethiopia dam deprives Egyptians (and Sudanese) of their right to mother nature’s bounty, it is whether Ethiopia can take an action which impinges somewhat on the right of Egyptians, viewed collectively, to access water in a fashion that the Egyptian government sees fit. Egypt itself dams the Nile river for five primary purposes: drinking water, agricultural water, water to bathe with, flood control and hydroelec
  18. I only have troubles with short-term plans and goals, like getting my research projects re-started (which may have to wait for the cure), or a trip to Sardinia, again awaiting a cure (and permission to enter the zone). The three long-term issues are death, collapse of civilization, and Great Depression style collapse of the economy. I always do everything I can to avoid death, I doubt that we’re headed for a stone-age retreat, and that just leaves economic collapse. I have thought of some doomsday prepping like buying gold, rifles, and a backhoe (to hollow out the hill to stash my mountain of
  19. For context, Ethiopia is building a hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, one of the main tributaries of the Nile river. Egypt wants to control the entire Nile (I have no idea how Sudan feels about this), and recently they decided to up the political ante via an appeal for UN intervention. From the Objectivist perspective, the question of who owns the Nile River is misguided in many ways. It is similar to questions about riparian rights under US law (and other legal systems). The problem is the complete lack of rational and rights-respecting theory of property rights. Who own th
  20. It may be that the political rhetoric in Austria is more overtly based on the appeal “we must sacrifice ourselves for that group”, but that is not the rhetoric used in the US. Appeal to “the greatest common good” underlies the government’s response, but “sacrifice” in US political rhetoric refers to “something necessary for an end, but not an immediately desirable end itself”. When soldiers, police and firemen die in the line of duty, or doctors work long hours at personal risk to save lives, it is termed a “sacrifice”, because the immediate outcome is certainly not desirable (taking a risk, w
  21. IMO your principle that you may not “intrude into a person’s life” is wrong, and has significant consequences. First, praising or criticising a person for their actions constitutes an intrusion into the person’s life. Second, speaking to or seeing a person is an intrusion into their life. Indeed, based on your naked scientist example, she apparently can go for a walk in the nude down the street, safe in the knowledge that all must avert their eyes lest they intrude into her life. Third, a wrong-doer can evade detection whereby a detective finds him and repossesses the property (e.g. a car bein
  22. It seems you posted your follow-up after I started my response, so I missed your elaboration which brings the issues into sharper focus. I also commend Peter Schwartz’s Free minds and free markets and his discussion of force and rights. Since you grant that items 6-8 are clearly not within the scope of proper governmental restriction, I’d like to see arguments that 3-5 are examples of proper governmental restriction. I mean real logical arguments, not arbitrary assertions like “in doing X you agree to Y” when in fact you did not agree to any such thing (you will see this argument mooted i
  23. I’m unsatisfied with this answer: it’s either too little or too much (I would say too little, so urge a fuller analysis of the question). There is no “right to privacy” any more than there is a “right to a job” or a “right to be not offended”. One could write an entire dissertation on the “right to privacy” (if one is Amy Peikoff, one has done so). Is there really any controversy over the nature of rights and privacy? The problem that I have with the OP is that it is too wide-ranging, and each one of the 8 sub-questions is a thread in its own right (probably already answered here). At the
  24. The obvious alternative is HBL, and yet it is not obvious to me that that is a sufficiently satisfactory alternative (I’ll just say that it was not the panacea that I was hoping it would be). My conclusion about HBL is that it is “too big”, but I also understand the perspective that OO is “too small”. Even smaller, to the point of current non-existence, are alt.philosophy.objectivism and humanities.philosophy.objectivism. I find it to be a fundamental error to think that an online forum will provide a guaranteed open-ended ever-improving platform for intellectual discovery, and it is wrong to
  25. I prefer not to associate with people who don’t agree with me. I am willing to do so when those people have some superior value for me. I prefer to not deal with any form of irrational behavior, but I don’t live by myself in an isolated cabin in the woods. What value system tells you how much time you have for friends (as opposed to anything else), and what specific value do you apply in sorting your acquaintances into a friend / non-friend grouping. E.g. is it “any form of irrationality”, “violent communism”, “communism”, “violent”? And why would it be rational to shun a person who you know h
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