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Everything posted by MinorityOfOne

  1. Ehh... They're abbreviated. I don't think they imply determinism, just causality, which is proper. The future is the result of changes in the states of existents, i.e. actions of existents; remember, even volitional action is caused by the organism which undertakes it, and the existence of that organism depends on a series of causal interactions extending indefinitely into the past. You can't work too much into a definition or it becomes unwieldy. All definitions depend on a certain cognitive context. Given that you understand how causality works, that you don't equate it with determinism, those definitions are fine for you. (Unless you think there is something so essential that it *needs* to be made explicit?) If you were trying to explain it to somebody who wasn't familiar with the Objectivist metaphysics, it would require more elaboration.
  2. Hmm, I had a really good definition of time a while ago and I don't recall exactly how I phrased it. Off the top of my head, "Time is the measurement of (non-simultaneous) action using a single, regularly repeating occurance as the standard." (Of course, as with any standard, once it is fixed it does not depend on the continuance of the original reoccurring event. If humans colonize the galaxy and live past the destruction of this solar system, they could still use the revolution of the Earth around the Sun as a unit of time.) The concept of time is formed after observing that some events reoccur in predictible durations, and after the realization that such an event can be used as a unit by which to measure other actions. So for example: imagine you were locked in a dark box and alternately given stimulants and tranqualizers. (The first to remove the day-night cycle, the latter to remove the regularity of sleep.) You are fed at irregular intervals, etc. You would be able to observe one action following another, and another, but you would be unable to form the concept of time -- or if you had already formed it, you would be unable to use it in the absence of a standard of measurement. (Incidentally, such sensory deprivation has been tried in experiments, and even if sleep is not disrupted, one's sense of time IS set completely askew.) I can't see any real problems with Tom's definitions.
  3. Yes, the proper term is "existent"; "entity" is a term pertaining to an existent as perceived, and it could be entirely inaccurate to bring that into the definition. I still don't think it's a good idea to remove some reference to the states of the existents and their causal connections to the present. If you were to remove the Objectivese from your definition, it'd be: "those existents which will exist." (There's no need to specify the omitted measurements in a final definition, since they're omitted.) This definition implies that you're talking about *different* existents than those in the present. But existents don't pop up out of nothing. The future is the same existents as the present, just in different states, doing different things. In fact, it might be better to *add* something to the definition: "The future is those states, actions, and relationships of existents which follow causally from the present." I think that's fairly comprehensive, and it avoids any confusion about the fact that existents exist, they are neither created nor destroyed -- they merely change.
  4. AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! My internet just froze and killed the long post I just wrote. I'll try to rewrite it, but I don't have the patience right now to make it as detailed as the first time through. I haven't encountered much of it: most of the classes are fairly standard analytic fare. Justification, foundationalism/coherentism, nitpicking over definitions, etc. But I think if you work with the right people, you'd be able to work on concepts, at least after you'd finished up some initial grad work. You don't have to worry about spending all your time dealing with symbolic logic. Outside certain classes (notably Phil/Lang), it rarely pops up, and you're certainly not required to use it in your papers if you can be more clear writing in English. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about this. I don't even know who teaches these classes. (I'd bet Sider does sometimes, but beyond that, I'm clueless.) Other than that... I don't know much about the grad program, really. For what it's worth, the grad students I've talked to seem satisfied, except for the problems with the administration that you'll find at any school. If you ask me questions about specific professors I might be able to help you out. I've had classes with Seymour Feldman, Ruth Chang, Brian Loar, Doug Husak, Robert Matthews, and Martha Bolton. Brian Loar does epistemology/philosophy of mind stuff: he's a nice guy and a pretty good teacher, even if he does accept some pretty bad ideas. Robert Matthews taught my Phil/Lang class, which annoyed me so much that I can't even give him an objective evaluation. The other people are probably not going to be doing much that's closely related to your interests. (But take a class on ethics with Ruth Chang if you get a chance. Not only is she really smart and the best professor I've had here, but she's very nice to look at as well.)
  5. I've had this discussion before and it wasn't incredibly productive. Off the top of my head, I'd say the future is those actions and states of entities which will follow from those at present. The last discussion I had about this got caught up in whether this is circular, insofar as it depends on knowledge of one thing following another. I don't think it is. Even at a perceptual level, we can observe one thing happening after another: motion, causality, etc., are all perceptually evident -- they fall within the category of the "given". The above definition could be refined to make more clear the idea that it is really a sort of perspective on causality, and that it is defining the future in terms of the present. (As, I think, it has to, since the future does not yet exist.) But it's a good working definition so far as I can see. As for your last question, the only thing I can think of is "facts." I don't think it's quite what you're getting at, since you want a term that is limited only to what one knows about. But in practice, I think "fact" usually works this way: while it's true that there are things we are not aware of, it would be nonsense to say "x is a fact and I am not aware of it". But I'm open to better suggestions.
  6. It's not as good as listening in live, but it's not bad. I had to do it for a while, may have to again this semester... (still waiting for the schedule.)
  7. I'm an undergrad, Matt, but maybe I can still answer your questions.
  8. It is an error of knowledge, not an issue of emotionalism. Notice some of the contrasts in the initial scenes in the Gulch. When Galt cooks breakfast for Dagny, she says that it is the most expensive breakfast she will ever eat, considering the value of the time of the cook and those who created the ingredients. He responds that she is right in one sense, but entirely wrong in another: none of the values they have created in cooking the meal will go to their own destruction. (You'll find this theme repeated in other parts of this section as well.) This is what she does not fully grasp, and is what leads her to go back to the outside world. She does not grasp the sanction of the victim. She believes that in fighting for Taggart Transcontinental, she is fighting against the looters; in fact, she is working for them. It is only when she comes to realize the precise meanings of her actions, and of the actions of the strikers, that she joins the strike.
  9. Hey there bub. :-) Daniel, hey there! And he tracked me down on another list -- thanks for referring him to me. Always a pleasure to be in touch with other students of Objectivism in the area.
  10. Oh yes, and about my musical tastes.. I'm pretty eclectic. My last purchase was the 2-disc Rachmaninoff Plays Rachmaninoff set with Concertos 1-4 and Rhapsody/Paganini. I just got it yesterday and haven't yet had a chance to listen to it, but I've had good luck with the other two Rach plays Rach CDs I own. (The Solo Works & Transcriptions CD is generally full of bad recordings though, so be warned.) Other than that, my disc changer in my car currently has... let's see what I can remember off the top of my head. Rachmaninoff, Guns'n'Roses, Sly & The Family Stone, Rev. Horton Heat, Nightwish, After Forever, Parliament, a compilation of old punk songs, Mozart's Requiem, uhhh... that's all I can recall off the top of my head. There's another one, but dunno what it is. Random other CDs I've had in there recently: Danzig, Mario Lanza, Beethoven, Smashing Pumpkins, Snoop Dogg, The Queers, Tchaikovsky, Bad Religion, Scott Joplin... I change them too frequently to keep listing, I'd go on forever. :-) And yes, I'll side with those who like John Williams. I have a bunch of CDs of his scores, he's very good... but don't bother looking into his non-Hollywood works. He's only got a few of them, and those I was able to track down seemed like he was selling out in a sense -- trying to make "modern" music to make a point or something. Kinda atonal, not very much fun. - Matt
  11. Lots of things would have to be cut out, even if they did a full 6-hour miniseries as was being discussed a while back. I wouldn't worry about removing these particular parts: there's plenty enough other elements of suspense that nobody would lose out, particularly considering how compressed the entire plot would have to be.
  12. My apologies, didn't mean to post it twice. It froze the first time, and I can't figure out how to delete the extraneous copy. Oh well. At least I'm making my presence known, I suppose. ;-)
  13. Wow, after having seen practically no posts on this website for a while after it was first announced, I gave up on it. Popped in last night, and what a nice surprise to see that it has come to life. I'm Matt. I study philosophy at Rutgers U., take classes at OAC, etc, etc. And I'm not a fan of writing big introductions, so I'll leave it at that. Hi to anybody who knows me on here, by the way... I see a few familiar names. :-) One technical question: any way to get automatic updates (pref. by email) of new posts on the forums here? I tend to neglect web-based discussion lists, and this one looks like it'll be worth keeping up on. - Matt
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