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altonhare

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About altonhare

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    United States
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    Maryland
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    The Johns Hopkins University
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    Chemistry
  1. In response to criticisms of my denial of "instantaneous velocity" or in general "instantaneous change", especially as it relates to calculus, this person has written well on the topic and reflects a lot of my own thought: http://milesmathis.com/are.html
  2. "Why" questions are leading questions. "Why" presupposes purpose, i.e. the result of a conscious act toward a goal. So the question "why do entities exist?" presupposes that a conscious entity had a reason to make entities exist. To avoid "what made the original conscious entity exist" question we might declare the original conscious entity to be "eternal". Then we are stuck asking why other entities need to be brought into existence whereas the original conscious entity does not. We realize that this is an arbitrary distinction, there is no reason to think that entities were suddenly brought
  3. Understood. Hopefully this discussion got us both to think a little harder and possibly even learn something, even if neither of us is any closer to agreement. I'll close by making a statement based on my limited reading and knowledge of Oism. Rand seems to have said, on a number of occasions, that an entity is that which is "bounded" or "finite" or many other such synonyms. This would rule out "groups", since each unit in a group is bounded. However I believe it is also true that she never formally laid this down as part of Oism. I would also point out that, in addition to Euclid, Arist
  4. What will you refer to, if not something that exists? How will you refer to it before you observe it? How will you communicate with the ET? An entity is an entity. There is no "strong sense". When we're being rigorous it's either an entity or not. If it has shape, it's an object. It may not exist because it lacks location. I am visualizing a unicorn. The unicorn I am visualizing has shape, it is an object, but it lacks location. I am visualizing a spot, it has shape, but it also lacks location. The lake you "see" at the desert has shape, it's an object, but it lacks location (ass
  5. None of what you said addresses the incident issue. What is the attribute which is intrinsic to all entities? Do all entities emit light? Do they all have inertial mass? When we strip away these attributes, what is left? What is the last attribute which, if we strip it away, we no longer have an entity?
  6. If you have never perceived Barack, then when you say "the current president of the United States", you are using a floating abstraction. You have no idea what you're referring to. On the other hand, if I perceive this keyboard on my desk, *then* talk about it, then I am dealing with *this* keyboard on my desk. It's the opposite of absurdity, to deny what you see right before you is absurd! There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that you are perceiving an object. If you see a shape, you are obviously perceiving that shape. Now, whether you conclude that there is an object *there* (at
  7. You're the one who is not understanding. The purpose is to step back and ask what the universe would be like if we were omniscient. Then we draw deductions about what humans will observe in such a universe. If what we observe is consistent, this is support for the universe as we imagined it. Replace the word "space" with any other word. If you claim X is "suffused" then I have a right to ask you what IS X? Then it is your responsibility to point to X. If unable to point to the actual X, you will at least have to show a picture or model. If you cannot fulfill this simple minimum condit
  8. I shouldn't have stated that the "friend" was moving at 0.5*c. What I said wasn't meant to be taken quantitatively but rather qualitatively. When you move faster relative to your friend you both calculate the same speed of light, although you both perceive different distances-traveled and different "times". So if you're moving toward the light source at .5*c and your friend is "stationary" s/he sees light going at a speed of 1/1. You see it going at 0.577/0.577 = 1. You will of course observe a doppler blue shift but a relativistic red shift. To know which way it goes you'll just have to ca
  9. You need to distinguish between the concept of a keyboard, something this long, this color, this shape, etc. and *this* keyboard on my desk. When you simply utter "the keyboard on altonhare's desk", unless you perceive it, you're not referring to *this* keyboard on my desk. You never verified its existence because you never identified it in the first place. You may have verified a claim i.e. there is something this long, this shape, etc. at this location. You verify whether this statement is true or not. Since 2 and 3 contradict 1, we must discard 1. It is not possible to doubt if a p
  10. Hey cmd, I appreciate you reiterating where the whole discussion came from to keep everything in the right context and to keep us on track. I was discussing this with another objectivist. I'll give some examples to illustrate the point. You tell me there is something round and hard in my front yard at home you call X. I'm at work. I come home and see a baseball in my front yard. Did I verify that it exists? Or did I verify that you were telling the truth? I contend that I verified if you were telling the truth or not. I observe the baseball, consistent with what you said, therefo
  11. Concepts can indeed refer to attributes. The problem we have here is that "collection of entities" refers to some attribute of entities such as proximity. Since attributes cannot perform actions we cannot logically use concepts such as groups/collections in a sentence as if they were entities. Often we do this anyway as a convenient shorthand and, if the terminology and the abstraction is familiar enough, no meaning is lost. On the other hand, the entity itself is what you see before you, something you take at face value. Your understanding of the entity (how it was made, how it was put
  12. Hey cmd, before I respond I want to say I appreciate your constructive criticism and commentary. You are not, in this case, talking about a particular thing. You conceptualizing based on particular things you have already observed. You're guessing that you may observe in the future something that is hard, round, etc. Can a thing be both hard like wood and round like a balloon? You're not talking about verifying the existence of a particular thing.Then you stumble across a baseball. Did you verify the baseball existed? No, you just observed it and it happens to share conceptual charact
  13. If atoms could move faster than light then yes, you could be hit in the head with one before seeing it with your eyes. The supersonic bullet is a good analogy. The reason you and your friend both calculate the same speed of light is very simple. Your friend, travling at 0.5*c relative to you, has a clock that physically ticks slower than yours. So you see the light beam traverse a meter in a single tick of your clock, your friend sees it traverse half a meter but also only sees half a tick of his clock. You both get c=1. This is a bit patronizing and heavy-handed. Frisky is trying t
  14. What can it even mean for a dimension to be "small"? An object can be small, but a concept? Brian Greene's analogies all fail. All the analogies in the world ultimately fail. In the "relativity of simultaneity" two observers come to contradictory conclusions. This is unacceptable. While observers in rel agree on if A is longer than B or if A has greater velocity than B, they disagree on the simultaneity of AB and CD. As we know there are no contradictions in reality. This indicates that time, at least as measured, is not fundamental to reality. But relativity is based on the idea th
  15. How is pi() a standalone, completed "number"? i.e. a finished result? Mathematically pi() represents, as you said, a series. Not just any series, but one for which we can always write an additional term. So pi() represents an operation, something that hasn't been done yet. Specifically what hasn't been done yet is adding in the nth term in the series. So we work with the symbol pi() until we're ready to get a finished result, at which point we finally calculate a number and replace pi() with it. You cannot manipulate that which is indefinite, undetermined, or neverending. Manipulation
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