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Everything posted by Mindy

  1. I'd like to see a forum in which moderators or rules helped point out when germane questions or arguments are left unanswered; and where previous discussions on the forum are referenced or summarized, so as to shed light on the current discussion--with the exception, possibly of "newly" newbie's questions. I would like the formal rules to be up-to-date, and enforced, where possible, or modified. Perhaps a buddy system for newcomers who want it, someone who knows how to work everything on the site, and, also, who can discuss why the newbie is getting different responses than they anticipated. Explain fallacies, give help with expressing themselves so as to get their point across, that sort of thing. What about an overview of logical terms, fallacies, etc., as they are frequently seen here, though that would be a few pages of content, not a moderator function. Other than two closed threads, I've never seen a moderator do anything. If moderators' actions (or some of them) were public, their presence and the reality of the rules would be believable. Mindy
  2. I don't know what you are talking about. I did not say I was leaving, or contemplating leaving. Nothing of the sort. I can't imagine what you are talking about. Could you identify the incident, so chat records could be checked? No, I am not popular when I point out people's fallacies, etc. But that is a comment on them, not me. My posts are all extant. If you can't judge for yourself if I am knowledgeable and reasonable, it is a shame, but I stand by what I've written, and am willing to defend it. This sort of thing is revealing as to what people value. I am surprised you, CapSwine, defer to your friends' opinions on a matter you can judge for yourself perfectly well. Of course, you and I did have that argument on chat... If being a moderator is a matter of being popular, that's a different matter. Mindy
  3. Brian's quote clearly sets a context in which the ambiguity you point out is impossible. His meaning is perfectly clear, that scientific principles at large are what he refers to. Mindy
  4. This is question-begging. You prove that there are moral aspects beyond the legal by saying his action is immoral, though legal. But that is what the debate is about. You can't just claim returning the books, within the store's policy is immoral. Doing what he is doing is not harmful to his character (so to speak) if it is not immoral. Whether or not it is immoral is the question the thread poses. Mindy
  5. And would you then go outside the ship to try to perceive whether or not the law of identity held there? Or would you go out to collect data because you knew identity held, so that knowledge would be useful? Mindy
  6. Yes, we are considering deliberate acts. We would say they have mixed premises. The issue of character that you rely on here is interesting. Your friends' altruistic acts are, perhaps, reckless. Would you say therefore that their character is reckless? Perhaps this should be a new thread. Mindy
  7. If an M.D. has his license suspended, he cannot continue to practice medicine. Mindy
  8. In Philosophy, Who Needs It? Rand imagines a spaceship crashed onto an unknown planet. How will, and should the astronauts act? This, She says, is where philosophy is of vital importance. They know nothing about the world they have landed on. But, they know that whatever it is like, it has identity and that they can discover that identity, and make plans accordingly. Whatever exists has identity; This planet exists; This planet has identity. The nature of a thing can be discovered. This planet has a nature (identity;) We can discover the nature of this planet. Isn't that deduction from metaphysics, in a most practical situation? Mindy
  9. As I understand his story, he did pay for the book. Mindy
  10. I would direct your attention to the issue of abstraction. When we talk about something in a given respect, other facets are ignored. The fact that I am female is not relevant to whether I am logical. An argument that says, you can't be logical without being a rational animal, and you can't be a rational animal without being of one or the other sex, so your sexual nature is relevant to your being logical, is badly lacking in focus. Without being able to speak of aspects of a thing, all we could ever say would be, "It exists." There is no legal aspect to the promise to pick up a friend. You aren't allowed to add details to the scenario, and, on that basis, find a legal aspect. That means you can't suppose the promise was part of a contract, and thus picking up my friend was, indeed, legal or illegal as fulfilling or contravening that contract. All action by a human in society does not have legal aspects. The quality of a piece of music I write is not, per se, a legal matter. What sort of ice-cream I snack on has no legal ramifications. The fact that I purchased it is immaterial to my choice of snack. This is a difficult point to convey, I hope this gets it across. Further, the legal aspects of a thing and the (otherwise) moral aspects are not disjunct as you assume in your statements. Legality--proper legality, which is what we are assuming in this thread--is a subset of morality. What is legal is also moral, what is moral is not illegal. The point is whether the legal aspects of a given interaction exhaust the moral considerations. If all the moral issues embodied in a situation are also legal ones, the legal considerations settle the moral question. It is absolutely necessary to be able to respond to a question as it is framed. If one does not address it in the proper abstract way, you are not on subject at all. Mindy
  11. The OP, and some responses to him, seem to accept a thought-emotion disconnect that isn't natural to Objectivism. Objectivism does not tell you to repress your emotions, nor to ignore them, regard them with suspicion, etc. It says emotions do not provide cognitive guidance. Just because you feel scared, it doesn't follow that there is in fact anything to feel scared of. The problem emotions present is that they reveal the inconsistencies in our beliefs and knowledge. As the effects of past thinking, they can't be assessed, immediately, as being accurate or inaccurate evaluations. That is why the rule is to rely on your thinking when your emotions conflict with it. Assuming you are a consistent thinker and reasonable, your emotions will make sense to you, and seem right and valid. (What a good feeling that is.) So, in romantic situations, unleash your emotions, and be yourself entirely. There is no proper, useful, or effective way to suppress your emotions while you think, emergencies aside. Mindy
  12. I am in principle interested in being a moderator, but I don't know exactly what is involved. Mindy Newton
  13. If it is true that geometry has nothing to do with metaphysics and ontology, it is still not true that metaphysics and ontology have nothing to do with geometry. Philosophy covers everything. What "special knowledge" cannot do is contradict, replace, or make moot the rest of our knowledge. Mindy
  14. I think the connection between evil and malevolence is complex. Malevolence means ill-will. It means wanting someone or something to be damaged or destroyed. Malevolence is a psychological phenomenon, an attitude and motive. However, malevolence towards something that is evil can't itself be evil. On the other hand, if one develops a malevolent attitude towards life itself, he becomes evil. Evil aims to defeat the essence of good, the possibility of good. That is why Kant, who sacrificed reason to religion, may be called evil. Toohey was evil, because he attacked whomever and whatever proved man's life is feasible. He wanted life to be tragic, so he could offer solace. That made people dependent on him, made him "powerful." On the everyday scale, people who cheat and steal are criminal, immmoral, and despicable, but they may not be evil. Their aim is to acquire goods. They evade facts, and twist priorities. They violate fundamental rights, but they aren't trying to eliminate those rights. A teacher, on the other hand, who, told by a student that there's an error in the book, says, "Shut up," is evil. Her attack is on the mind itself, and thus man's viability. The significance of this is that while I would define evil as malevolence on a philosophically large scale, mundane actions are not ruled out as being evil. Mindy
  15. When one consults his own doctor, there is no conflict of interest in receiving good advice and treatment. (Though there are abuses of this.) But in an experimental trial, the interests of the institution running subjects is different from those of the individuals who might participate. It takes some inducement to get people to participate. It is the conflict of interest, occurring in a situation at the cutting edge of technical knowledge, that makes an outside agency necessary, for all but the rare individual. Mindy
  16. The crisis in education is not a matter of teacher pay or hiring and firing. The crisis in education is that the children do not get an education. They do not get an education because their teachers are for the most part very poorly educated, and do not bother to educate the children in their classes. Here we have all the moaning and groaning and desperation to find funding, and mobilize the "powers that be," and hit up the parents, etc. in order to do what? Save the Cantonese bi-lingual program? We are undergoing a situation that is so ugly and degraded that it cannot be acknowledged. A conscientious parent would not send their child to school Monday morning if they realized the truth, and how would the world go on in that case? I have nothing but scorn for teachers who ignore the schools' failure to educate, and indulge in complaining about funding. Monsters. Mindy
  17. Hey, watch whom you call nonsentient!
  18. It is to the experimenters' advantage that subjects sign up, so it would ultimately be they who foot the bill. Certainly, some subjects would have the education and specific knowledge to evaluate participation themselves. About one in a million. When there are unknowns involved, which is always the case in experimentation, there is an added layer of danger and of complication to the process of evaluating danger. Of course people would be legally allowed to participate even if "an" EC rejected the trial. My whole thought is about non-governmental evaluations and assurances. However, a wise organization wouldn't hold trials that reputable ECs had rejected. Just asking for law suits! Obviously, the potential for an EC to be in the hospital/research lab/pharmaceutical company's pocket looms large. But as long as the government stays out of it, and suitable penalties are in place for misrepresentation, there is no reason such an organization couldn't succeed at the task. I imagine a TV commercial soliciting people with A and B symptoms, bragging that their protocol had been approved by such-and-such Ethics Committee, like the Better Homes and Gardens Seal of Approval, on steroids. Mindy
  19. This seems to confuse ontology with epistemology. It is about measuring distances, not about extension itself. I don't see the logic of resorting to the term "infinite" because it is alone in its position. (If that is just a calculational convenience, I see its use, but in this discussion, I think it may be confusing.) Mindy
  20. Why must talk of the extent of the universe be limited to the observed universe? Mindy
  21. I don't believe "into what" is logically required to assert a thing (or collection of them) expands. Mindy
  22. The immortal robot is an example, not an argument. It is an illustration of the point. Of course it assumes the position it sets out to embody. That is not a fallacy. Your heroin user pursues the value of relief/feeling of well-being. He pursues a counterfeit of successful living. He evades the knowledge that what he gains will be short-lived and overall leave him worse off. It is an irrational choice, but it a choice aimed at life-values. Think of being unable to feel pleasure or pain, comfort/illness/hunger/boredom/etc. Unable to have sensory or bodily feelings at all, just knowledge-related ones. Would you act at all? Why? If you answer that you would act because you have the knowledge that you should do so, what, I would then ask, is the meaning of this "should?" If it is some authority, why do you heed them? If it is your own thought, I would ask, you believe you "should" so that what? You will see that it is the issue of life and death that answers that "so that what?" You speak of the robot's valuing knowledge for its own sake. What is that? What is the sake of having knowledge? In order to act successfully. And why does one wish to act successfully? To survive or flourish. What, otherwise, is the "sake" of having knowledge? If it "pleases" the robot, you are back to pleasure and pain, the programming man has by virtue of his being an animal, which the robot isn't, and can't experience. Choice implies a standard. If the alternative of living, feeling pleasure and satisfaction, versus dying, feeling pain and disease, etc. were not fundamental to your makeup, what standard could you craft, and why would you adhere to it if you did? Only living things prefer, only they value. Hope this helps. Mindy
  23. Social Work is necessary in the case of Child-Protective Services, and, I suppose, just her niche, some prisoners. I think you'll find that Rand's discrediting social workers relates to the idea that people are by nature overwhelmed by life, and require assistance of all sorts just to get by. It is social work as diminishing man that she wrote against. And, that has been the major attitude of social work as an academic subject, and a profession for many decades. The degree itself can't be immoral, but it might be light-weight for a psychotherapist. Your friend's status depends entirely, IMO, on how she answers the question of whether man is fit to live on earth, or whether he requires help, in principle. If she's essentially a clinician working with individuals who need therapy, that's great. Mindy
  24. The knowledge required for the average patient to make an informed decision to participate is way outside the educational norm. Someone informed, but uninterested in the commercial aspects of the project is needed. That is what the Ethics Committees you deal with represent, and it is wholly valid. However, it needn't be, and shouldn't be, connected with government, as you intimate. Perhaps the experimenters would have their experiment rated by a professional organization, who insured the participant against certain adverse effects. The professional rating company would be something like an accounting firm. Potential participants would rely on the rating the experiment gets, knowing what financial penalties were agreed to if their rating proved incorrect. One way or another, I think demand would soon be met with supply. The overall safety of the scheme depends just on our constitutionally-guaranteed rights, where fraud, reckless endangerment, etc., are grounds for criminal and civil penalties. Mindy
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