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DavidOdden

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  1. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Boydstun in Title IX (&VII) and the Back and Forth over Discrimination Protections for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgendered   
    I would assume that was not in the forefront of the original political motivation for the law. Then again Scalia has provided quite cogent arguments against appeal to assumed original intentions or purposes of lawmakers. Indeed, the idea that the 535 individuals who enacted this law shared some common mental state is a dubious assumption. To quote Scalia who approvingly quotes Frankfurter quoting Holmes, “Only a day or two ago-when counsel talked of the intention of a legislature, I was indiscreet enough to say I don’t care what their intention was. I only want to know what the words mean”.
    There is nothing in the meaning of “sex” that allows two interpretations of whether the concept “homosexual” refers to the concept “sex”. There is nothing in the law that is ambiguous. I allow that perhaps the proponents of the amendment either failed to understand a consequence of their wording, or (more likely) they saw it and decided to not make an issue of it. In a democratic society, when we discover that a previously-written law fails to express that “original intent”, we can remedy it by changing the wording of the law to more clearly match that intention. The majority opinion identified the meaning of the words in the law, the dissent identified a plausible claim that this was an unforeseen consequence of the words, so if Congress is not happy with that outcome, it can write an amendment to the law.


     
  2. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from necrovore in Reblogged:The Impotence of 'Owning' Trump   
    Of course not. I am addressing the fact that fascists of both types generally base their entire "argument" on emotion, on declarations that "we don't want X" without any rational basis for opposing X. An immediate personal emotional reaction in response to a murder is to be expected, and it tells you if you didn't already know that that there is something wrong. The problem is when the emotions are the argument there is no accompanying reasons. There are a few fascists who also proffer arguments. his upcoming election season, it will be interesting to observe the actual rational arguments set forth in support of or opposition to either of the two fascists running for POTUS. At that political peak, we would expect to observe the highest standards of rationality and fact-based discourse respected, unlike for example the miserable level of discourse that you observe with city councilmen and county sheriffs. We should come back to that question in a few months once the knives are fully out.
  3. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Reblogged:The Impotence of 'Owning' Trump   
    Of course not. I am addressing the fact that fascists of both types generally base their entire "argument" on emotion, on declarations that "we don't want X" without any rational basis for opposing X. An immediate personal emotional reaction in response to a murder is to be expected, and it tells you if you didn't already know that that there is something wrong. The problem is when the emotions are the argument there is no accompanying reasons. There are a few fascists who also proffer arguments. his upcoming election season, it will be interesting to observe the actual rational arguments set forth in support of or opposition to either of the two fascists running for POTUS. At that political peak, we would expect to observe the highest standards of rationality and fact-based discourse respected, unlike for example the miserable level of discourse that you observe with city councilmen and county sheriffs. We should come back to that question in a few months once the knives are fully out.
  4. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Reblogged:The Impotence of 'Owning' Trump   
    Although I was just addressing the supposed test for double standard, I’m willing to consider a modification of the proposal, implicitly assuming as you suggest that the subjects which would be tested this way are only government agents (current government agents). Under point 6, the proposal explicitly includes leftist activists as targets for this purity test, and the aforementioned “Mr. Trump” is a mere private citizen seeking public office. Furthermore, I would suppose that you want the test to be applied to government agents acting as government agents (i.e. you don’t propose a gag rule on citizens working for the government). Even then – or should I say especially then – it is essential that the government agent operate on the basis of the relevant facts, where the law defines what are the relevant facts. They must do this regardless of whether they agree with the law or find the law to be offensive to their ideology. The problem is that the collection of extant laws are so wide-ranging and incoherent that non-contradictory identification is impossible.
    I do entirely agree that emotion has replaced reason in political discourse, and that this disease is ubiquitous. It is an unavoidable consequence of a system that places highest value on “democracy” (mob rule, with the mob being somewhat controlled by an elite council). So while it is correct that a private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden and a government official may do nothing except that which is legally permitted, no law explicitly allows a government official to eat breakfast, and yet they do so. The reason for this “exception” is that the official eating breakfast is acting not as a government agent, he is exercising his individual right to exist. It is also painfully true and clear that the majority of people want the government to control others in a manner that is totally inconsistent with the concept of “rights”.
    The gist of your response (since we are engaged in gist-detection) is that moral censure does not apply to individuals, but that is plainly false. Right-wing fascists and left-wing fascists of all walks of life deserve moral censure. And why? Because they advocate the abandonment of reason, to be replaced with emotion.
    The proposed name-substitution test contradicts Rand’s answer to the question “How, then, is he to arrive at the right judgment? By basing it exclusively on the factual evidence and by considering all the relevant evidence available”. By setting aside “all of the relevant evidence available” and substituting “replace one name with another”, the concept of objective judgment is corrupted.
    The remedy that I propose to the problem that does exist is to boldly adhere to and exemplify reason, a central component of which is non-contradictory identification. There are two parts to that: identification, and non-contradiction. Judgment without any actual identifications is not reason, it is simply unreasonably accepting arbitrary propositions because you “want” it.
  5. Thanks
    DavidOdden reacted to EC in Economic Libertarian President at Work in Argentina   
    Government taxation is theft and theft is a moral issue and is evil. Governments can only obtain funds via voluntary donation or fees for specific services. 
  6. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Economic Libertarian President at Work in Argentina   
    One of the less-appreciated benefits of the Clinton administration was his recognition that deficit spending was not a good thing, which is fairly shocking and revolutionary given that he was a Democrat. In his reign, we actually had a short period of non-deficit government spending. One positive sign w.r.t. Milei’s administration is that in his first three months there was a consecutive monthly surplus for the first time in a dozen years. The step of devaluing the currency by fiat is a highly-improper choice – this is basically a matter for the market to determine. However, reduction of government spending is a good thing, though spending is not per se the greater evil, taxation is, and there doesn’t seem to be any mention of a “reduction in force” in that realm. Although taxation is fundamental evil, spending is the fundamental problem.
    There was a similar event in Kenya, which they elected a seemingly more business-oriented president. An independent problem there was that they have a huge international debt, and because of highly-reasonable fears that they would default on a payment (on a government bond) which comes due this summer, so the currency lost value massively on the currency markets. This guy Ruto negotiated a huge bond to cover the upcoming payment, and suddenly the currency recovered – investors now believe he will pay the debt. The magic recovery was not just due to kicking the can down the road, it was substantially due to an obscure detail, that the bond that they issued is very valuable. The big 10-year bond had a return of over 18%. Comparable-length US government bonds are in the neighborhood of 4.5%, Pakistan is in the area of 14%, Kenya is promising a bit less than a few countries (Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Zambia), the almost-highest being Turkey at 28%, however Argentina wins the prize for highest return at 40% for a 1-year bond. These are obviously ludicrous rates – debts that can never be paid. Kenya, Nigeria and Argentina are doomed, they have contracted an uncurable terminal disease.
    The cause of this terminal disease is not understanding the proper role of government. It is not “taking care of the people”, such thinking is utterly deleterious to the welfare of the people.
  7. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from William Scott Scherk in Reblogged:The Impotence of 'Owning' Trump   
    A TEST TO DETECT POORLY REASONED TESTS

    I propose a thought experiment to detect a poorly reasoned test of anything:
    Take any proposed proposition that could in principle be predicated of two entities simply replace the name of one entity for whom the proposition is true with the name of an entity for whom it is yet undetermined whether the proposition is true.
    For example, we can safely say that wood catches on fire, or Joe Biden is president of the US. Then what would be the judgment as to the truth of the propositions “”Harry Binswanger is president of the US” or “Water catches on fire”?
    I have reached the conclusion that name-substitution is not a valid operation for testing truth. The reason is that names change the identities of referents, and what is true of wood is not necessarily true of water. As applied to moral judgment, it is nutso for the experimenter to decide “Well, the leftist would say X in this case but Y in that case”, for this to be any kind of “test”, you have to actually interrogate the same individual, the one being accused of a double standard, at one time (since people can change opinions, after all, Trump was originally a Democrat).
  8. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Upon what legal basis did Ayn Rand become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.?   
    The Ayn Rand bio actually gives you the answer. As it says there, she had relatives in Chicago meaning that she was a non-quota immigrant (refer to the previous response for the law at that time).
    There is no reason to believe that “in order to enter the U.S. (1926), and in order to become a lawful permanent resident (1929), and finally in order to become a U.S. citizen (1931), she would have had to write or type answers to questions such as: ‘What is the purpose of your entry into the U.S.?’ and ‘What is your occupation?’”. Any such questions on contemporary immigration forms cannot be assumed to also have existed when the visa system was first instituted – feel free to find evidence that there were such questions required for non-quota immigrants. There is an unsupported accusation that she falsely stated an intent to return to her supposed fiance in Russia, however as the more official and supported bio indicates, that statement was given to the Soviet rulers in order to allow her to leave her captivity (I think no discussion is needed regarding the propriety of that move). The only source cited in that article which incidentally has been re-cited recently (you know how internet lies spread like wildfire), the book by Mimi Gladstein makes no such accusation. Shoshana Milgram in her biographical article on Rand in A companion to Ayn Rand indicates that she traveled to the US via Riga, Berlin and Paris, increasing the number of possible embassy contact points.
    The burning desire to know if fine, but fabrication and knowledge are not the same thing. In light of the available (gossamer-thin) evidence, the answer is “we do not know, we can only conjecture”.

     
  9. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from The Laws of Biology in Upon what legal basis did Ayn Rand become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.?   
    The Ayn Rand bio actually gives you the answer. As it says there, she had relatives in Chicago meaning that she was a non-quota immigrant (refer to the previous response for the law at that time).
    There is no reason to believe that “in order to enter the U.S. (1926), and in order to become a lawful permanent resident (1929), and finally in order to become a U.S. citizen (1931), she would have had to write or type answers to questions such as: ‘What is the purpose of your entry into the U.S.?’ and ‘What is your occupation?’”. Any such questions on contemporary immigration forms cannot be assumed to also have existed when the visa system was first instituted – feel free to find evidence that there were such questions required for non-quota immigrants. There is an unsupported accusation that she falsely stated an intent to return to her supposed fiance in Russia, however as the more official and supported bio indicates, that statement was given to the Soviet rulers in order to allow her to leave her captivity (I think no discussion is needed regarding the propriety of that move). The only source cited in that article which incidentally has been re-cited recently (you know how internet lies spread like wildfire), the book by Mimi Gladstein makes no such accusation. Shoshana Milgram in her biographical article on Rand in A companion to Ayn Rand indicates that she traveled to the US via Riga, Berlin and Paris, increasing the number of possible embassy contact points.
    The burning desire to know if fine, but fabrication and knowledge are not the same thing. In light of the available (gossamer-thin) evidence, the answer is “we do not know, we can only conjecture”.

     
  10. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Reblogged:The Impotence of 'Owning' Trump   
    A TEST TO DETECT POORLY REASONED TESTS

    I propose a thought experiment to detect a poorly reasoned test of anything:
    Take any proposed proposition that could in principle be predicated of two entities simply replace the name of one entity for whom the proposition is true with the name of an entity for whom it is yet undetermined whether the proposition is true.
    For example, we can safely say that wood catches on fire, or Joe Biden is president of the US. Then what would be the judgment as to the truth of the propositions “”Harry Binswanger is president of the US” or “Water catches on fire”?
    I have reached the conclusion that name-substitution is not a valid operation for testing truth. The reason is that names change the identities of referents, and what is true of wood is not necessarily true of water. As applied to moral judgment, it is nutso for the experimenter to decide “Well, the leftist would say X in this case but Y in that case”, for this to be any kind of “test”, you have to actually interrogate the same individual, the one being accused of a double standard, at one time (since people can change opinions, after all, Trump was originally a Democrat).
  11. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Prescriptions for a Rationalist   
    There is no necessary, automatic feeling of conviction or disbelief resulting from any intellectual process. Although happiness is, theoretically, that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values, this is a psychological ideal and not an unavoidable physical reaction. It is possible to feel convinced without the logical preconditions for certainty, just as one can feel doubtful in the face of overwhelming evidence pointing to certainty. I do understand that a person can be presented with solid evidence for a proposition and yet not feel that the proposition is true. I think the reason is that the person has yet to resolve actual reasonable doubts which they are not aware of. Subconscious reasoning is a real thing and can be a hindrance, if you cannot elevate it to the level of an explicit logical dialogue.
    Rand addresses this problem in “Philosophical detection”, but she does not offer a concrete therapy allowing you to rewrite you code for feelings. My opinion is that the best primary step is to identify the objective facts, and to see that reason should tell you that some thing is true. People who treat emotional reaction as their primary source of knowledge about the world have no means of overcoming the feeling that maybe they do not know, after all, there are two contradictory credos that govern society: the credo of ignorance (you can never know anything) and the credo of faith (you just have to accept, without reason, that certain things are true). Objectivism rejects those two premises, which should enable you to logically detect reliance on one of these false doctrines.
    If you generally act on the basis that ordinary perception is valid and you only have doubts when you focus reductively on abstractions like “can one actually see?”, then I would say that this is a type of rationalism where you are granting epistemological nihilism a place that it has not earned. My only suggestion by way of remedy is to look for such feelings as they arise and concretely analyze the false premise. A common one is the difference between actual direct perception, versus inference based on direct perception. This distinction is discussed in a lot of Objectivist and related Direct Realist treatments of knowledge; it is also fodder for epistemologies that deny the possibility of true knowledge, because one can misidentify something that is perceived. Although the sense organs “do what they do” and do not fail (though they may not work the way you would like them to), inferences about things that you have sensed are always cognitive inferences subject to errors in reasoning.
  12. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Prescriptions for a Rationalist   
    It sounds to me like your problem centers around the relationship between evidence and truth, which is itself a bit of an abstraction. I expect that you don’t have totally crazy ideas, but let’s test that. With your eyes open, put your right hand in front of your face and determine whether the following proposition is true: “I see my right hand”. I assume you feel that the proposition is true, and that you find this very strongly to be true. Next, watch a moving car approaching an intersection and, 100 ft before the intersection decide whether the following proposition is true: “That car will turn right”. Notice that I set this up so that different circumstances could lead you to different evaluations. I expect that your will not feel very strongly that the proposition is true (or false).
    Your feeling of certainty about your hand versus uncertainty about the car is about alternative propositions. To be concrete, let’s say that the car is in the right-hand lane, they signal for a right turn, and they start to slow down. This is good evidence that the proposition is true, but it doesn’t require much mulling-over to see that there are still possibilities for stopping and not turning, going straight through, and even turning left. Another “possibility” is that a black hole will develop into which the car will vanish. That is a crazy alternative, in contrast to the reasonable alternatives which I’ve given. I am directing your attention to Peikoff’s evidentiary continuum and the difference between claims that are possible, probable versus certain (plus, arbitrary which is totally of the scale). Reasonable people do not entertain unreasonable propositions, which is to say propositions that enjoy no factual support an serve merely as conjectures designed to defeat knowledge. If you do seriously consider the possibility that you don’t see your hand, you have a very serious problem.
    I have spoken of feelings here because that is not people usually talk, but Objectivism is about what is, and not what you feel. When you read OPAR “Reason”, notice what thing is “certain” – the proposition, not the person. A true proposition is one that correctly states an aspect of reality (a fact), and truth is not determined by the quality of the evidence for it – which is why propositions are either true or false, and not undecided. The evidentiary scale is a tool for making a judgment as to truth. I find that many people do not properly distinguish between truth and evidence, which leads to theories of “truth” whereby a well-supported false claim is “true”. No being has direct infallible access to truth, we always approach truth via knowledge judgments.
    My suggestion is to take a few moments to scrutinize real things that you know, and to more explicitly say what your basis is for “knowing” this, and for dismissing alternatives. Cases like the hand in front of the face, and then things that are slightly less self evident. The central question should be, what is the evidence for and against the proposition, and what are the alternatives and their (counter)evidence. Omniscience is not required, what is required is that in making these judgments, you integrate everything that you know – you don’t have to take into consideration everything that I know. You can and should, of course, ask about things that I know if you suspect that there is a specific fact that I know and that would be relevant to your judgment.
  13. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Reblogged:The Impotence of 'Owning' Trump   
    I am a bit puzzled over this focus on federal power. “Power” is about potential action, and superficially it might seem like a good idea for the federal government to not have the potential to do things. Power is wielded by many levels of government – city, county, state, not to mention special-purpose districts like fire and school districts. Since you led with your opposition to federal power and did not lead with an opposition to governmental violation of rights, I take it that you consider it to be more of a threat to human existence for the federal government to have this potential, than it is for states to have it. I just don’t understand why you would want 50 or more disparate governments wielding that power in different ways, rather than to have a single unified power-wielder over the same area. This smacks of classical Luddite anti-capitalist thinking that bigger is necessarily evil, the kind of thinking that underlies anti-trust laws which are some of the most evil laws in the world.
    If we take seriously the idea that a single set of laws created and enforced by a national government is bad, then we ought to question the existence of the United States as a political entity, and we should dissolve the union in favor of a cluster of 50 or so states. In fact, Washington state should probably split into two, Western Washington and Eastern Washington, similar splits in Illinois (upstate and downstate) would be motivated.
    As far as I can see, the real problem is not who has the power, it is what the various governments are actually able to do. The states are not exactly famous for protecting individual rights. The primary difference between states rests in which rights are most at risk, such as the right to be gay, to have an abortion, to purchase a firearm, move around, or the right to run a profitable business. Since federal law is supreme, a federal determination to violate or protect rights precludes the state option to do the opposite, the position that states should wield power rather than the feds would have to be based on the premise that states are more protective of individual rights – and I just do not see any reason to think that is the case.
  14. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from AlexL in Israelo-Palestinian Conflict: 2023 Edition   
    That’s what’s known as context-dropping. The context of the discussion is the video that you didn’t watch, where a number of essential factual observations were made a propos Israel’s defense of its existence (and the anti-Israeli propaganda war). The cat predictably responded (since the posting of the video was directed against her and her ilk as partisans in this propaganda war), but didn’t respond at all productively, instead just making false counter-claims – purporting to disprove major factual claims of the original video, but really just pointing to a huge propaganda document and declaring “The truth is there, you just have to believe!”. I then requested even one concrete instantiation of a case from the document where the law of Israel treats Jews and Arabs differently.
    That is the context that defines what is relevant. Your quote, which also lacks substantiation (or source) has no bearing on the question of whether the law of Israel treats Jews and Arabs differently (which, again, it does not). Your quote, if it were true, might be relevant to a different question, for example “Is it the case that all existing government have acted immorally?”. We can stipulate that all governments have failed to implement the ideal of rights-protection as the proper function of government, that much has never need in doubt. Because that fact is so self-evident, it needs not be discussed, except as an instantiation of the concept “self-evident”. Taxes and trade restrictions, I rest my case.
    Palestine is not yet a nation, because it is unwilling to do what is required for existence as a nation. The primary difference between Palestine and Nazi Germany or contemporary Russia is that the latter two have better-organized armies and are better able to carry out wars of aggression against their neighbors. The Palestinians are much more overt in their declaration of an intent to drive the Jews into the sea, compared to Russia versus former and current colonies that they are trying to retake.
  15. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Israelo-Palestinian Conflict: 2023 Edition   
    One thing you can say is, what is one single real example of a law of Israel that discriminates between Arabs and Jews? 280 pages of unsubstantiated generalized propaganda proves nothing, but surely you can point to a page and copy in come actual text. Give it your best shot.
  16. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in HOW CAN OBJECTIVISM BECOME A DOMINANT IDEOLOGY?   
    You may have gotten the “digestion” impression from HPO, if you ever looked there: there were people who peddled that view, but it isn’t actual Objectivism. It is not so important whether you call that thing the rational faculty or the faculty of reason, what is important is understanding that “reason” is not just Fregean logical formalisms (and what in the world would “non-contradictory identification mean is purely Fregean terms?).
    The tendency in question is the tendency for certain concepts to always be formed, that is, the same units are subsumed under a label though the label differs across languages. Concepts derive from reality and the functional (cognitive) need to make certain grouping because of the nature of man’s existence on Earth. In all societies, the necessity of eating, sleeping, breathing and drinking are known which is why these concepts are universal, “water” is the perceptible universal entity associated with one of those actions (“beer” has a more restricted distribution).
    I don’t know what it even means for a concept to be richer than a word. Maybe you are referring to the fact that a concept is open ended so that there could be trillions of specific instances of “dog” but only two word in English, “dog” and “dogs”. I also don’t have any idea what you mean by apprehending a concept. My guess is that you mean that when you learn a new concept, you usually experience the word the you fill in the definition by asking “what does that mean?”. Though sometimes people “form the concept” from experience then ask “What the heck is that called?”. But then you don’t experience a concept subjectively – concepts are not experienced, they are learned or created and used, and always by an individual consciousness.
    In other words, I don’t get the distinction that you are making.
  17. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in HOW CAN OBJECTIVISM BECOME A DOMINANT IDEOLOGY?   
    As a side note, she speaks of the “faculty of reason” exactly once, in FTNI. Instead she speaks of the “rational faculty”. The nature of that faculty is not specified by her, it was left to Peikoff in The ominous parallels to clarify that

    The senses, concepts, logic: these are the elements of man's rational faculty—its start, its form, its method. In essence, "follow reason" means: base knowledge on observation; form concepts according to the actual (measurable) relationships among concretes; use concepts according to the rules of logic (ultimately, the Law of Identity). Since each of these elements is based on the facts of reality, the conclusions reached by a process of reason are objective.

    I would say that you simply hadn’t appreciated the difference is between logic and reason / the rational faculty. Logic is simply the art of non-contradictory identification. Spock’s error is that he claims to live by logic alone, which is a Cartesian fallacy.
  18. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in HOW CAN OBJECTIVISM BECOME A DOMINANT IDEOLOGY?   
    As I suggested before, the primary focus should be on individual psychology rather than mass / social psychology. You can’t change society if you can’t change an individual. I recommend re-reading ‘What can one do?’ in PWNI. As Rand argues, one needs to get personally clear on what the proper questions and answers are, so that you can persuade your neighbor. My proposal that we need to collectively concentrate on the relationship between language and reason is – hopefully obviously – tongue in cheek. That is obviously appropriate for me, personally, that is the essence of what I do professionally. But not for John Allison, whose specialization is business and economics.
    The answer to the question “what can one do?” is “‘SPEAK’ (provided you know what you are saying”, the next question is, who should you speak to? You should speak to those who are apparently open to reason, you should not pointlessly try to change the minds of the assembled mass of radical “Death to Israel!” protesters on campus. Do not bother to try to mass-convert an assembly of MAGA-extremists, do have a reasoned discussion with a MAGAite to bring out the core agreements and disagreements. It is not generally difficult to determine that a particular individual is a committed idealogue and that discussion is completely pointless. It may require a few iterations of the discussion to determine that you are just banging your head against the wall and your target has an uncurable mis-understanding of reality.
  19. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in HOW CAN OBJECTIVISM BECOME A DOMINANT IDEOLOGY?   
    Perhaps, but first each of us must decide if that is their central purpose in life. Personally, I am not interesting in creating input, I seek to create knowledge. I have virtually no interest in collaborative efforts, although I may work with others in order to create knowledge that I am striving to create – this implies a protracted investigation rather than a few quick sound bites. I have no idea what it means to “leverage” (a noun, not a verb), and I claim that there is no such thing as “collective knowledge”, there is individual knowledge which can be possessed by more than one person (e.g. “the world is round”). I am even less clear on what it would mean to leverage an experience. Timothy McVey and Adolph Hitler had a significant impact, forceful disruption is not a virtue.
    The primary purpose of OO is to be a forum for individuals to gain increased knowledge of Objectivism. I suspect that most (honest – there are occasional trolls) participants have a secondary goal of disseminating aspects of Objectivism to others. The idea of Objectivism as a “movement” is a rather recent one (one sanctioned by ARI), which depends on a foundation of Objectivism as a philosophy. Becoming the dominant movement is a variant of a long-standing tradition of conjecturing about what life would be in Objectopia, and those discussions can be useful. Hypothetical thinking is crucial to creating knowledge, it is the application of the transition from possibility to certainty (eliminating conceptual evidence for alternatives).
    Brainstorms are like thunderstorms and hailstorms, they are disruptive to their environment. Organizing people and controlling their actions by subconscious propaganda methods (a presumed common goal of leveraging, as judged by some central dictator / mullah) is a common technique especially in the progressive movement. But okay, since by assumption we are in agreement about the philosophical foundations and what needs to be done next is slowly mobilizing the masses, creating an Objectivist Hirjah. We must organize around a single doctrine, the proper relationship between consciousness and existence which is the faculty of reason. Man only communicates effectively by language, the heart of reason is language, therefore we must promulgate reason by proper use of language. Since we are now accept this point, obviously we must each focus efforts on eliminating words like “leverage; input; collaborative; impact; organize”.
    I assume there is no disagreement on these points.
  20. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Boydstun in Reblogged:Dershowitz on the Hush Money Trial   
    I meant that as a quote, contained here. The summary statement is supported here in the district court opinion which says “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution”; see the counter-arguments here, for example from Marbury v. Madison a President’s official acts “can never be examinable by the courts”.
  21. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Boydstun in 2024 US Election   
    “Policies” are emergent, they emerge after the candidate takes office and has to execute the duties of the office. At the campaigning stage, we mostly have slogans like “Make America Great Again”, “Hope. Change”, “Bye, Don”, “Believe in America”. Since Harris is not running for president, she has not declared any policies, that is up to Biden. When it comes to the VPOTUS package deal, all we have to go on is ideological probabilities. The two central questions w.r.t. Harris are (1) is she more progressive than Biden or less – my judgment is “more” – and (2) does she have the political strength to resist the demands of the substantially more progressive Democratic machine – my judgment is “not much”. Of course, we saw the disasterous results of a president who was totally willing to ignore the advice of his betters.
  22. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Boydstun in Microtubules, Quantum and Indeterminism   
    I don’t think the study does show that. In order to show how the brain uses anything, you have to have a functioning brain, whereas that study simply performed physical tests on a protein extracted from the brains of one or more dead pigs. They studied absorption and emission spectra, extracting numbers about “fluorescence quantum yield”, and they make no suggestions about “consciousness”. There is a substantial quantum leap from this physical study to speculations about consciousness and an even further leap to get to free will. Microtubules are ubiquitous in living things, only one type of which exhibits free will and only a few of which are conscious. This is a thing that I hate about popular science, that ordinary low-level scientific process is inflated (in the popular press) to a status not supported by the actual experiment. The article does contribute something useful, by way of better explaining how the brain can rapidly “compute”.
  23. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from Easy Truth in Land/Real Property Ownership in regards to Nations   
    It is fairly simple. Within a nation, it is determined by the laws of the nation (allowing for jurisdictional subdivisions, for example in the US, ownership of land is mainly governed by state law). A Dutch guy can own property in North Dakota or Peru, and any limits on what he can do with the land are determined by what entity has jurisdiction over the land. The US does not “own” the US (nor does Turkey “own” Turkey), those governments have jurisdicion over their territory. However, the US (government) does own certain pieces of land in the US, just as individuals can own land. In addition, the feds “hold in trust” a larger chunk of land, for example most of Washington state (bastards!).
    On occasion, there are disputes between nations, for example the NW corner of Kenya known as Ilemi being the border with South Sudan is indeterminate. There is a rock between New Brunswick and Maine which is disputed. Jammu and Kashmir is a famous example. Again, these are not ownership disputes, they are jurisdiction disputes. Hatay province of Turkey is technically in dispute (Syria claims jurisdiction), but it is in fact in Turkey and not Syria, and there are very many people who own property there – under Turkish law. Syria’s claim is more window dressing and they have not pursued the matter in court (the usual way to solve these problems). The other way is to go to war, as in the Indo-Pakistani war, the Ogaden war, and the Russia-Ukraine war.
    Again, these are not questions of real estate ownership, they are disputes of national jurisdiction. Land ownership remains stable under changing jurisdiction (modulo change in property laws following a change in jurisdiction).
  24. Like
    DavidOdden got a reaction from tadmjones in How is existence meaningful as an axiom?   
    That’s an interesting question. A rational being holds that knowledge derives exclusively from reason, but Rand’s concept of reason include sense perception, as well as conceptualization and logic.
    Perception is non-volitional. A person may be for example physically incapable of hearing a sound above 12Khz in which case there is no question of “choosing to hear”. Or, you may hear but disregard, which is a volitional act. Reason acts on two things, the chosen and the un-chosen, the latter being direct sense perception. Reason is a human faculty, an ability that is part of the mind residing in the brain. Dogs and worms don’t have it, they have something else, even though they have sense perception.
    Concept formation is 100% volitional. I take that to be so self-evident that it needs no further discussion, but if you disagree, we can pursue that topic. Although logic is vastly more compact than concept formation, I would not claim that it is hard-wired into the human brain, I would claim that it is learned and volitional. Certainly one must choose to apply logic to sensations in deriving knowledge. As you presumably see, 2/3 of reason is volitional, therefore volitionality is a concomitant of rationality.
    I am satisfied with this as an answer to the question about man on Earth, but it would also be reasonable to ask about imaginary science fiction beings, such as Vulcans. Would we actually integrate other kinds of consciousness into the concept “rational”, if the content of their “faculty of reason” were hard-wired and non-volitional, and if all processing of sense data is automatic (not just bare sensation, but also concept formation and all other aspects of cognition). After all, we historically generalized the concepts “speech”, “arms” and “the press” to accommodate new existents.  ChatBot very weakly directs our attention to other imaginable kinds of consciousness, ones where logic is built in and obligatory. Could any living being have a fixed and automatic conceptual faculty? I say no, that by definition, a cognitive system with a fixed and automatic set of concepts is not a conceptual system, it is in fact a fancy form of dog cognition, a closed list of mental groupings.
  25. Thanks
    DavidOdden got a reaction from EC in Debating: Who Can Be Considered A Scientist?   
    First a small correction, this is not a debate, it is a position statement.

     
    I am not satisfied with the definition of science as being the nature of a subject for a couple of reasons. First, it is based on what turns out to be a problematic concept, namely “a subject”. Second, the bar is set too low, at “study the nature of…”. There is one subject, and the possibility of selective focus thereunder – the universe. The action of studying is not what defines science, science is defined in terms of a goal, which is to gain conceptual knowledge of the subject. “Studying” is one way of talking about the actions that are part of science, but however you define science, it should be in terms of the ultimate goal, and not the means of reaching the goal.
    I also disagree with the statement that truth is impervious to denunciations or false praise. Why? Because truth is the grasping of the relationship between a proposition and reality, and a consciousness must choose to grasp that relation. Denunciations impede truth, i.e. the grasping of reality. Now, reality is not affected by denunciations and ignorance, and does not depend on there being any consciousness.
    One view of science is the social majority view: “scientist” is defined according to the criteria set by the majority of scientists. I won’t bother to discuss this since it is patently circular. The second is via analogy and ostensive definition, classically by pointing to chemists and physicists, and saying “and those who are similar”. The third, and I would say best approach, is via integration and differentiation – what specific actions do you want too include, and what do you want to exclude? Some classic problem cases are: mathematics, history, psychology, engineering.
    Social Justice Warriors and literary critics purport to be seeking the truth, but I would not call them scientists. A very large proportion (probably a majority) of actual scientists do not purport to be seeking the truth, thay are ___ (some other expression, for example “developing a model”, “contributing to knowledge”).
    In fact, I do not find it useful to focus on criteria for applying the label “scientist”, instead, I would focus on two things. First, the truth of a particular claim. Second, the reasons for accepting the claim. A scientist worth his salt should be not just able to discover a true proposition, they should be able to show that it is true, and superior to alternative propositions.
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