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Everything posted by nimble

  1. Lions Gate pictures is known for making small indie films that turn out kind of big and they are also known for staying out of the directors way and not pushing for the high profile kind of stuff. This being said, I can't see how they will get more than one big Hollywood star, so I think it might be better to discuss which role should be played by a big actor/actress and who. Then come up with all no-name actors and actresses for the rest of the roles. My vote is Clive Owen, I never thought of him until now, and he seems like a good choice. My favorite actor though is Johnny Depp, if there were a weird enough role he would probably play that. Are there any characters that have scissors for hands or make candy in Atlas Shrugged that I forgot?
  2. I'm not sure what the Objectivist stance on this is, but I don't care. Actual infinites are impossible only when speaking of physical objects or existants. When talking of non-physical objects or concepts, the possibilities can be infinite, and I believe ideas would fall in the intangible category. There is no scarcity of ideas, and if you believe otherwise please elaborate on what constrains the total number of possible ideas as to make it finite. That aside, if you read my post you would notice I said seemingly infinite to avoid people like you nit-picking semantics. And it isn't skepticism to say that you know very little in comparison of all that there is to know. I believe that is exactly what could be implied by Socrates's quote, and I believe it is a smart thing to say. If you doubt this, I challenge you to see if the number of things you know is more than the number of things you don't know.
  3. Socrates said that at his trial if I am not mistaken. It was a method of defense, because they were accusing him of heresy. He was saying that he didn't know whether the gods existed or not, and doesn't claim to know anything. He was only teaching the children of Athens to think about the gods before believing, not that they didn't exist. And if you have ever read any of Plato's dialogues you would know that Socrates always plays the fool until he corners someone who holds two contradictory beliefs. Anyway, I think this statement if taken solely on its own without context is contradictory. However, using the context you can see why he said it. Secondly, in other contexts it is useful too. Humans can know things, but as we all know they are not omniscient. Since new things can always be created, knowledge is seemingly infinite. So at any given point of time, your knowledge compared to what knowledge you could potentiallly have is always an infinitely small fraction. So you can figuratively say 'you know nothing.'
  4. POSSIBLE SPOILER Having read the comic and I know a little background on the author. The comic book was definitely an anarchist piece, it is explicitly so too. However, I don't think the movie was anything like the comic. The comic critiqued Thatcher's England, while the movie was placed in the future. V died with one bullet in the comic from the Detective, while he obviously didn't die that way in the movie. Also, the full blown state of anarchy was never actualized in the movie. The book was also very individualistic, however, I do think it is a proponent of anarcho-syndicalism. Basically, I think it was a good movie either way. Movies do hold ideas that can be evaluated, but for the most part they are fun. People go to be entertained, and it was an entertaining movie that carried ideas about freedom. Regardless of the implicit anarchy theme, it was still a good movie. I mean, I liked the Grapes of Wrath movie, although it held a pro-collectivist government idea because the movie had good acting and was entertaining.
  5. Thank you for your responses so far. This is a bit off topic but now that we are speaking of volition, you might already know that I think the terms determinism and volition don't describe what humans have and I think it is just a philosophical squabble over whether life has meaning or not. However, now that you mention that Peikoff MIGHT have said disposition is unanalysable it got me thinking. Objectivists believe that all knowledge is gained from experience of reality (environment), and that all that exists is material including your mind, and that you act based on your knowledge. In a sense aren't your genetics and your environment the only inputs to the output of action? For instance you can't raise your arm (using volition) if you either lack the knowledge of what an arm is and how to raise it or you lack the genetics that code for an arm. There is no real point there is suppose, but I am just curious if you have any ideas about whether those statements are true or not.
  6. I am arguing that all things are physical. Humans physical make up is determined primarily by genetics. These genes we share in common are what makes us human. Thus to make an accurate model of human nature, you would need to include all that which makes us human, meaning all commonly shared genes. I am saying that you are probably leaving out a few genes and urges when you simplify all of human nature down to we act in order to survive, and we must do so by using our minds. Now the system of morality that you draw from that, I believe is correct, however, by oversimplifying human nature and leaving things out, you have artificially changed what we call human nature. This makes the concept less natural. So I am arguing that really Objectivists should believe something similar to how Objectivists form laws. That there is a good, but it must be created by humans. So I am saying that Objectivism morality is a man-made ideal, and a good ideal. But not the natural order of things. I suppose I am dismissing it on philosophical grounds and not scientific. I believe it was DavidOdden who argued that determinism can't be a scientific hypothesis because it is not falsiable. It actually has to rest on axioms, that once you assume are true, you can't prove them false. (Fixed typo-sNerd)
  7. Okay, I can agree with that then. Let's use the term urge. Genetics dictates certain urges in certain people, which can be recognized by the person and translated into action, or denied and suppressed.
  8. Okay, well then wouldn't you and I be arguing the same thing. That there is a human nature of self-preservation, but the man-made human ideal of self-interest is what must actually be the basis of morality? Thus it isn't a natural morality, but a man-made one.
  9. Sorry to post twice in a row, but I feel as if you are being defensive because you think I am attacking the basis of morality. I want to assure I have no intention to do that, I believe that life ought to be the standard of morality and that the mind ought to be the means to acheive life. I am just saying that I have never liked the term human nature, because it implies that: 1. That there is a human nature and 2. We know everything about humans that we can say we specific detail what is their nature. Lastly, using human nature to lay out morality implies that what is natural is inherently good, and I do not believe in inherent goodness, and I don't think Objectivism does either. So you are arguing that the words disposition and influence mean nothing in reality? That no action can be constrained or influenced?
  10. Okay, I think I see what you are saying, but I am coming at this from an objective perspective. I don't want to make claims about what is actually going on in someone else's mind, so I use the term disposition to describe that those with gene X tend to perform the corresponding act X more often. To actually define disposition I would have to make claims about consciousness that I don't think anyone could confirm. My only evidence toward disposition is introspection. I constantly think about buying a cheap Macintosh computer, therefore I check the Apple site a few time a day hoping to see a cheap refurbished one there. So the more I think about Macs the higher my disposition will be to check the site. When I didn't think about Macs when my PC was working fine, I never checked the Apple site to find a cheap Mac. If this doesn't help, then I'm just not understanding what you want me to define, and I welcome you to make an assumption of what I mean, and change the word to something you can understand.
  11. I am not arguing volition. I completely agree that you could act differently than your genetics might dictate. However, I am arguing that the urge to survive and to think is a genetic trait, so why do we emphasize that while, denying all other genetic traits into the definition of human nature. My point is that if you artificially manufacture and alter what is and is not human nature, then it is no longer a nature, and instead a man-made ideal. So maybe I am arguing that the term human nature ought to be changed to man-made ideal.
  12. I mean that it affects the probability that you might do it. For example, let's use one that doesn't deal with genes but still gets the point across: alcoholism. Once you are addicted, your subconscious mind and probably your conscious mind work to fill the need. Once you are addicted your probability to want to drink will go up.
  13. I don't know about anyone else, but the whole gas hype has been irking me. I can't stand the two political parties or the big huff they make about gas prices. For one, with all the commotion about global warming, it would seem that the world would embrace the thought of higher gas prices, because it will mean less consumption of gas (although not by a large factor since the demand for gas is very inelastic). Secondly, it is just normal economics, if demand exceeds supply, then prices rise. I am sure consumers have noticed this in every other sphere of the economy, so why the outrage over this. Lastly, who cares how much the CEOs of oil companies retire with? As for the political parties, republicans are wanting to take measures to bring oil prices down. I swore republicans used to believe in staying out of markets. As for democrats, they used to support green taxes and reducing oil usage, yet they too are proposing to limit corporate profits, roll back gas taxes and add subsidies. This will only work in opposition to their goal of reducing oil consumption. I hate that they are willing to betray that which is most precious to them to win a vote. The last thing I wanted to mention in this rant is that I watch The Daily Show, and I usually like it. However, John Stewart was complaining about the subsidies that these rich oil companies receive even though they already are rolling in the dough. Now I realize that this is just a semi-comedic left-leaning response to the issue, but any research into the subject would show that oil companies have been receiving federal subsidies for decades. This isn't a Bush Administration idea. So, why choose to complain about it now? Thanks PS-Why do Objectivists vote republican? I can see why they did it 40 years ago, but I have no idea why they still do. I know why they won't vote libertarian, but why not start another 3rd party or something?
  14. I am very familiar with Objectivism, at least I think. I am aware that the basis of morality is human nature. That humans have certain requirements for life, and that it is moral to act in those interests. Now I know that is vague, but I am sure all of you know the rest of the details. Now, I also remember a long time ago getting a phamplet from ARI stating that Objectivism rejects all types of determinism, which included the term genetics in the list. I am almost positive that they don't actually reject the notion of genetics, but the idea that they have absolute control over the human body. Getting to my point, genetics do dictate some traits and determine dispositions to do certain actions. If someone wants to argue that point, I can cite more than a few case studies. Now acknowledging that they do influence some actions, should that not be incorporated into morality as being a part of that human's nature? When we talk about human nature we talk about how they act to survive and how they use their minds to do so, but really that "nature" is only a disposition to do so. All people don't act to survive, such as suicidals, and not all people use their minds to do so, such as mooches and vegetables. So if we are to include the disposition to survive and use one's mind as part of the definition of human nature, then why not individual genes, as we discover them in the field of science?
  15. I am sure everyone has already stated the point that there is nothing "before" the universe since time is a property of the universe. To quote Hawking, its like asking "What's north of the North Pole"? However, one point that probably isn't mentioned here is that you are kind of making the assumption that nothing actually existed at one point, which it can't. Second, supposing our definition based arguments fail in reality because of bad definitions, and that there was some "nothing" that preceded the universe, even then you wouldn't know the properties of "nothing," because no human has ever had any interaction with nothing. You have never experienced "nothing"--you know, not just darkness, but a complete lack of space-time. I think to make the statement that something can't come from nothing is an arbitrary statement since there is not a single documented case of someone experiencing nothingness. I hate the term multiverse, but to seriously address your question, it is thought by a few theorists that our universe spawned off of another dying universe. This is not really testible as far as anyone knows, so you may just have to settle for going crazy.
  16. I'm not a science buff, but from what I understand about general relativity all objects in the universe have no objective position, their position is merely relative to other objects around them? Is that it? If so how do we know the universe is expanding (I know this is probably a dumb question)? Since it would seem like maybe the objects are just moving away from us, and not actually all moving away from some local center? For instance, let's say an ant can measure how far the sun is. He does it once, and gets a measurement, then does it again throughout his life and concludes that the sun is moving away from us, and he also notices that so is mars and venus, so he concludes the solar system is expanding. Then the ant dies. If he would have lived longer he would have noticed that really those objects move away from us, but they come back eventually too. And thus the solar system doesn't really expand, just objects move about within it. If we tie that analogy to us and the universe, I don't see how you could absolutely conclude the universe is expanding, unless more evidence falls onto xray and microwave detections which I would know nothing about.
  17. Yea, my question was just more of a theoretical one, than any positioned stance against air property. Thanks for addressing it.
  18. This is just a side question to you, and more of a legal one or practical one than a political one--how would you go about dividing air, mineral, etc? Air might be kind of easy, but the question is, how high do you go and how does that effect cost? Like would I own my house and the air above it all the way to the stratosphere? Could I charge planes for coming through my property? Could I sell just the land, and maintain my rights to the air? Conversely, how far down do you go? To the core? Does your plot get smaller as you go further down to account for the fact that the Earth is spherical and that eventually the core is a single point? Not trying to antagonize, I am just really curious about the "propertization" of air and underground.
  19. Actually, I think saying that only would raise more questions. Would Wal-Stor be able to build a canopy that covered up H' s land? Would anyone be able to do that, just build a canopy like structure that covered over other people's property, blocking out sun etc? That would be problematic for farming, and probably just anyone in general.
  20. I define a choice as a decision made in the face of alternatives. Isn't this what humans do? What else can you expect from free will? First, all are actions work from the inside out, meaning that we aren't like pool balls, that the only way they act is when they are hit by an outside force. We are conscious. We have the type of consciousness that allows us to abstract enough to actually start to grasp the nature of nature, so that we can somewhat understand what the consequences of our actions are, and then make the decisions based on that. So, unlike other animals we have one more step in the causal chain before we take actions. For most animals, it is simple stimulus and response. But for man there is that extra abstraction step that allows us to see the potential outcomes of actions since we are more conceptually able. Thus we notice that have stimulus, (abstraction) thought/ponderence, then action. The middle step is the recognition of alternative courses of action. This completely satisfies the best rational definition of free will one could have. You have stimulus, you recognize choices, and then you act. But don't let this issue get to you, if this post doesn't help. I argue that this whole issue is completely irrelevant and not worthy of any real intellectual study. It should be something you might think about now and then for kicks.
  21. I think that is his point, to the best of my knowledge. Sorry if I mislead you. I'm posting as I read more, so I may get to later parts in the book that I have questions about, and then he corrects them later. Basically, he asks seemingly important questions, and then you have to guess where he is going with it.
  22. Actually this experiment can be reproduced by holding an all red folder and all green folder right next to each other about 1 foot in front of you. If you try to "look through" them, then you will notice that the two patches of red and green seem to be in one another, yet you can tell that they are distinct. This has something to do with the way your eyes interpret things distinctly then try to make one picture of it in your head. One eye sees green, the other one red, and when its put together in your head, they seem to be inside of one another, or appear as one. Even though the actual existence of such a patch is logically impossible, you can experience it. The point is that most people will theorize about what they can and can't experience without actually using introspection to find out. And I think you helped prove his point. His point seems not to be that you are incapable of introspection, but that most people circumvent that and just make things up based on what they've learned through outrospection/perceptions.
  23. I'm still going to stand by my position that this is a free-will debate, and that it is pointless. I think that this thread ought to be placed elsewhere because this is not a debate, it seems to be a squabble over premises. And it isn't going anywhere, since no one here seems to understand anyone else. This is kind of what most linguists think of philosophy--they think it is pointless, because humans aren't really capable of understanding one-another, since everyone means something different, when using the same word. Stop giving them ammo, ha! Thanks Oh and Inspector, I think DrBaltar was refering to the 'if,then' statement you made and how that is a cause-effect-like statement, and how that was somehow deterministic. I think that is a bit of a stretch on DrBaltar's behalf, but I just thought I'd clarify for him.
  24. I know my stance on Free-Will isn't very popular here, but I think this debate is only evidence toward my conclusion. I have argued for a long while that neither free-will or determinism are scientifically testible and are thus a purely philosophical thing. If free-will is an axiom, then it is not falsiable by definition. Also, I think Dr Baltar's inability to come up with an alternative hypothesis that would disprove determinism, shows that it is outside the realm science/falsifiabilty. In fact you have to assume it as an axiom in order to accept determinism. So now we have two diametrically opposed stances that are both axioms in some people's opinions. Both have some evidence to verify that the axiom is true, since that's all you can do with axioms is look to reality and verify. Determinists have causality and physical laws, and free-willists have introspection and epistemology. I think both stances create some confusion if you play out the logical implications of either stance. So, I have suggested that this debate is irrelevant, and non-sense. Axioms cannot be proven only verified and both sides seem to think reality is on their side. First, this debate means nothing no matter which side wins; you will go on living your life the same way. If you are on the free-will side, then you will still go on making your choices freely, and if determinism happens to be true, then you really can't change the way you act now can you?
  25. Thanks, Hal. So you are familiar with Dennett and his methodology? If so, I would be curious to know more about what you think, so that I have something to think about as I read this book.
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