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Posts posted by ian

  1. Is the evangelical movement made more popular by the fact that people see it as a way to beat terrorists, on a moral front, because if so it would help them greatly to realize that the opposite of radical Islam is not radical Christianity, but reason.

    It's probably more of a response to modern culture than Islamists. At the start of the trailer she says "It's a sick old world." Modern society doesn't have much to offer in the way of values, and people need values.

    In one sense it is a response to Islam, in that they see their Christian culture being destroyed by wave after wave of immigration. But it is not leaving a vacuum when it is destroyed, it is being replaced by worse: Islam.

  2. Well, I can speak of a clock or refer to a clock without there being a clock anywhere near me or without conjuring up a picture of one, and yet I would not be speaking of something unreal. The crucial thing is that you can mentally picture a gnome or a unicorn so there is a referent, even if at a particular moment when you talk about them you aren't actually picturing them. Whereas, it is not possible to mentally picture nonexistence (and of course you also can't point to it as you can with a clock).

    I think we are taking two slightly different perspectives on the same fact. I am talking reality vs. unreality, so words such as "Titanian" (an inhabitant of Saturn's moon Titan) is an example of unreality. Whereas you are talking existence vs non-existence, so pure 0 is the only thing you will consider. But I would say that the Titanian, until you picture him, is in fact both unreality and non-existence. If you think he is not non-existence, because he can potentially be imagined, I would say that is confusing the potential with the actual.

  3. (Also, w.r.t. Ian's point, gnomes and unicorns are part of reality: however, they are purely mental existents, and don't correspond to tangible mass-bearing objects).

    But if you just *refer* to something without picturing it, then it remains non-existent, non-real. In this way we can differentiate reality from nothingness. Language gives us that ability, which is why rationalism is so dangerous.

  4. You're right, there are no nothings to differentiate from, if there were, they would be somethings. But using language we can *refer* to things that are non-reality, we can speak of unicorns, gnomes, pure nothingness etc. And that gives us something to differentiate from. I guess the only way to see axiomatic concepts (which are omnipresent) is to imagine an alternative.

  5. No, I disagree. Dreams are definitely a part of a consciousness.

    Electrical signals are physical properties, so they are not.

    But the experience created by those random signals is a part of consciousness.

    Yup, ok. I understand your definition, but the Objectivist definition does not include experience as part of consciousness, it is only the fact that you know about the experience.

    I was just arguing that a consciousness conscious only of itself will not contradict "existence exist" since I was using a definition that allows "consciousness" to be a part of existence as well. But if the only thing that is claimed to exists is not physical then that would be a contradiction in terms. But I think this leads to a discussion about the nature of existence (physical existents versus. existence of concepts).

    Ok. I would just say that consciousness (as defined in the Objectivist way above) is still part of existence. It may be invisible (or inaudible, whatever) but the fact that you are aware is still a fact.

  6. the signals inside the brain are part of existence, and are detectable for the brain. So in this sense, you have a consciousness that is only conscious of itself (I think).

    It still wouldn't be consciousness conscious of itself, it would be consciousness conscious of "activity of brain."

    Not only are the signals in the brain part of existence (as you say), but so are any images (or whatever) that result from them. Dreams are not consciousness, random patterns from electrical signals are not consciousness, all are existence. What is consciousness then? You never see it. You ignore whatever you're aware of, and merely isolate that *fact* that you're aware of it.

    In *that* moment you have consciousness aware of itself, but it is awareness of "awareness of existence." So there has to be existence first. Couldn't the existence in "awareness of existence" be consciousness? Only if you step back and say "Hey, I'm aware of myself, being aware of myself, being aware." But at the lowest level, existence must come first. Because what is implied at the end of the sentence is "I'm aware of myself, being aware of myself, being aware (of something)." And the last "something" in such a chain can never be consciousness, which can be at best second-to-last.

  7. Not analogous. The man has no vote. The woman is the ONLY one who has a vote to carry out the pregnancy, she's not simply the tiebreaker, at that point she's the only bank robber and the guy is a hostage.

    And the man didn't "get her pregnant". It's been acknowledged by all sides up to this point that they BOTH got her pregnant.

    He’s not a hostage, he had a vote earlier on. Maybe it was not a vote about breaking in to the bank, but it was a vote to drive there with a car load of guns.

    Because sex is not just "some pleasurable thing" that your body can do, like eating cake. It is the reproductive act foiled at the last minute by technology. If we look past the words "sex" and "reproduction" and at the similarity of the concretes of each, we see that whatever we call it, we are in fact driving to the bank. So we can't claim total innocence when she decides to break in.

  8. If it is her choice and only her choice, why is it not her responsibility and only her responsiblility?

    That's like saying there are 5 people deciding to rob a bank. 2 vote yes and 2 vote no. The tiebreaker votes yes, so they take the full blame because it wouldn't have happened without them, and the other 4 are morally innocent.

    The fact that the woman chooses second is just a biological fact (you can't choose whether to gestate life until there is some), it doesn't change the fact that before that the man got her pregnant.

  9. I think the "created life" statement is in reference to conception(ironic considering it's an objectivist board). The actual creation of the rights posessing human being that you are concerned with is the one created by the mother over the following 9 months. At that point, an obligation is created.

    I would say life is created at conception, but it's not yet human life. It is the man's choice whether to create life or not and the women's choice whether to gestate it. If she so decides, then it gradually becomes human life, and both parents have an obligation to raise it.

    Though if the man truly objects, the women should take this in to account, because it wouldn't be much fun for a kid to have their dad resent them, but even so it is her choice.

  10. It does not follow that if you create life, you are responsible for maintainign it. That is the part you have to prove.

    I disagree. Man's means of survival is reason, but an infant can't reason. Therefore it's right to life (which it gets from being part of society with rest of us) imposes an obligation on the parent to look after it until it can.

    In the case of an adult, right to life implies only right to be left alone to reason. But in the case of infant, right to life implies right to be left alone to reason, implies right to live long enough to develop reason.

  11. The Epistemological Uncertainty Harms: (ian and mrocktor)

    This harm fails to satisfy the uniqueness requirement. There are lots of risky business ventures in which I lack perfect knowledge – many of them are riskier than stealing a CD. So if imperfect knowledge is enough make stealing immoral, then it’s enough to make entrepreneurial risk taking immoral.

    It's not that imperfect knowledge makes stealing immoral (it doesn't), it's that it makes principles like MP2 impossible to reach. How would you arrive at "You should not steal, unless you can get away with it," when a human being can never know beforehand whether they will get away with it? You must derive principles from reality, and to derive MP2, you would need instances of omniscient human beings to derive it from.

  12. And I’m asking why you should favor (MP1) over (MP2).

    The answer is epistemological. On the perceptual level, we only see the present, we do not see the exact future presented concretely in front of us. The only way we know the future is through concepts, i.e. in principle. Since you have to act upon what you know, and not what you guess, you have to use MP1.

    MP2 is in fact impossible in reality because of the above. I know you're only trying to eliminate extranious factors in order to get to the heart of the issue, but you have eliminated too much. In your six conditions, you have eliminated the fact of our imperfect knowledge, which is where the answer comes from.

  13. I don't think there's any great risk from Germany or Japan. They are both part of the civilized world now, which means they have been brought in to the global monoculture of tolerance, multicultalism etc. This teaches them that values are all relative, and thus reduces their strength of feeling about things and makes them less likely to start wars.

  14. The description you give of how DJs create their music (by taking bits of other tracks and mixing them) is I think analagous to the process of creativity in general. People take existing ideas and tweak them and hack around with them a bit until they come up with something new.

    This is where lawmakers have to be careful. They put IP laws in place to ensure a reward for the creator and thus encourage creativity. But if they make them too strict, the laws make it too hard to hack around with existing ideas, and thus discourage creativity.

    There needs to be a balance: one that identifies when someone has truly made something new. For example someone who makes something called the "ePod" which is just like an iPod except the wheel is on the top and the screen is on the bottom must be prosecuted. But a DJ who takes existing tracks and mixes them in such a way to make something sufficiently different from the starting product, needs to be able to do that.

    I think once in the context of scientific discovery, someone asked Ayn Rand whether we can truly claim individual acheivement, when all our inventions are built on the work of the past. She said (paraphasing) that we can, because just because we don't start from zero, doesn't mean that the advances we do make are not real. I think if your DJ track is enough of step beyond what the starting tracks were, you can legitimately claim it is your individual achievement and property, even though you started with copyrighted stuff.

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