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Posts posted by Alexandros

  1. Didn't Ayn Rand herself say, "Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life."? I think that can pretty much sum up the idea of good looks as a rational value.
    It seems like you're thinking begins with the notion that "sexually attractive" refers solely to "looks", which is false. I'm sure now that this has been pointed out, you can understand why what you're implying doesn't make any sense.

    Edit: Maybe I should elaborate. Personality traits can also be sexually attractive. If I meet a man who introduces me to his wife, whom he says he loves more than almost anything else in life (and I assume he is being honest), there are all kinds of things that I can tell about him based on what I learn about her. If, by my standards, she is extraordinarily beautiful, the only thing I can conclude is that he has very great taste in women, but only insofar as looks are concerned. However, if in conversation I learn that she is a strong-spirited, rational, and intelligent woman, I've found something out about her, but, by extrapolation (maybe this isn't the right word), I've found something out about him as well. At the very least, I've learned that a few of his values are intelligence, rationality, and a strong spirit. So the more I learn of her, the more I learn of him.

  2. I am a bit confused on the objectivist position on this via the free speech thing among other things. Could someone point me to an explanation on the details of this from an Objectivist perspective? Not specifically this situation, but if corporations should be treated as human beings (i.e. citizens) with rights fleshed out appropriately and so forth.


  3. In my experiences, economics enthusiasts who spout Keynesian economic theory like it were the gospel truth do so because it's all they were taught in school. When they got old enough to understand how important economics really is and decided to expand their knowledge of the topic, they defaulted to expanding on what they were taught, instead of altogether questioning what knowledge they already had.

    Throw him some links to some Mises articles, tell him about Hayek's "Road to Serfdom", and tell him about von Mises "Human Action", which can be read for free here: http://mises.org/resources/3250 . If he balks at the opportunity to learn something from these two economists, then you know you're dealing with a jackass and that you're wasting your time.

  4. What? How can a computer compose music? It has no volition. It must be told what to do. I'm an electronic composer - the computer is not the composer, I am.

    Depending upon the musical processes implemented in an electronic piece, there could easily be computer-based interpretation. That's not up for argument whatsoever.

    What were you referring to, then?

    I think you should re-read what I posted.

    In your post that I originally replied to, you argued that:

    Rachmaninoff intended for the work to be interpreted, not played back with machine-like precision. At the moment, a computer cannot intelligently "interpret" music - it can only create the illusion that it is interpreting a score.

    And my reply amounted to "that has nothing to do with anything we are talking about." A computer doesn't need to interpret. If I am a composer, I only have to program my interpretation of the music that is to be played back by the computer.

  5. Catherine is a beautiful piece of artwork. She looks like rising smoke, very fragile but very beautiful. And, I'm a sucker for long, flowing hair, especially when it's blowing in the wind.

    I also like Purpleish Bunch for purely sexual reasons.

  6. If this man steals the cure, should the other guy with a dying wife (who found legal means to earn/save $4k) re-steal the cure?
    Stealing from a thief the things he has stolen with any other purpose in mind but returning them to their rightful owners or turning them over to the authorities is tantamount to buying things that you know to be 'hot' out the back of a van. However, if your aim is true (that is to say that you plan to do what is right once you 'steal' that which has already been stolen) then the only thing to consider is whether it is in your rational self-interest to take the risks. If your lover (possibly your highest value) will die, and this cure is the only thing that can save her, it's possible that it would be worth the risks. But if you succeed, you aren't suddenly authorized to use the cure. You must hand the cure over to its rightful owner with the hope that they are willing to give it up at a price you can afford. If not, tough. At the very least you know you did everything within ethical limitations that you could.
  7. Sweet looking ride, but I wouldn't want to ride it a 1000 miles at a stretch! :P
    Ahhh, a member of the IBA, I reckon? Man, I love riding, but I don't know if I'd be up for Saddlesore, and I'd never even consider Bunburner. But, maybe I just haven't been on the right bike. The biggest and most comfortable bike I've ridden is a '72 H-D Shovelhead (V-Twin 1200cc), which isn't exactly a touring bike.
  8. I get the impression that if you go fast enough, it'll leap through time!
    Sounds like a good idea for a movie: Guy invents time traveling motorcycle, goes back in time, crashes a sock-hop, accidentally gets his mom to fall in love with him, wails on a guitar, and then sets everything right again before coming back to the future.

    OMG, we're going to be millionaires.

  9. If Rachmaninoff composed his piano concertos on a computer, it would only indicate that he did that as opposed to writing it free-hand. If Rachmaninoff composed his piano concertos for a computer (which is what I think you meant to ask) then it would probably not only sound bad - the score wouldn't make any sense. What would a computer do with a sustain notation, for example? How would Rach 3 be performed if a computer's only tempo indication is Allegro ma non troppo?

    Rachmaninoff intended for the work to be interpreted, not played back with machine-like precision. At the moment, a computer cannot intelligently "interpret" music - it can only create the illusion that it is interpreting a score.

    Also, though computers are remarkably close to modeling a perfect-sounding Steinway piano, they aren't there quite yet. So why this would be the method for performing a Rachmaninoff work would be beyond me.

    If a piece of music is composed for the computer, interpretation by the computer isn't necessary. All that is necessary is interpretation of the composer. A song written for the computer can be related to a traditional live performance that is recorded and sold. It's an interpretation, but it's only one interpretation. And if you buy that recording and only that recording, it's the only interpretation. Your argument fits a situation where the computer is doing both the composing and the playing. In that case, I agree with you completely., but that isn't what I was referring to
  10. If Rachmaninoff composed his piano concertos on a computer, would they be any less enjoyable?

    I ask this question because modern technology allows for such amazing music to be composed without composers ever meeting a single musician.

  11. The "personhood" of corporations is a privilege extended by the State to a business firm to protect its principal members and asset holders from liabilities under the Common Law. What it means is that if a corporation goes belly up or loses a law suit, the Courts cannot come after the personal assets of the stockholders, as in the case with a partnership or a single proprietor firm.

    Without the State there would be no corporations.

    Bob Kolker

    If we start from the position that government's sole purpose is to protect individual rights, could you tell me what the government would be protecting individuals from by not allowing incorporation?

    In your post you imply that the limited liability feature is harmful. How so? Contracts are agreements. Agreements are a two-, three-, thousand-way road. To use Peikoff's scenario:

    An individual can say to a storekeeper, "I would like to have credit, but I put you on notice that if I can’t pay, you can’t attach my home—take it or leave it." The storekeeper is free to accept those terms, or not. A corporation is a cooperative productive endeavor which gives a similar warning explicitly.

    - Leonard Peikoff

    People and businesses who find themselves having to make the decision of whether or not to work with a corporation must take the risks into consideration before they sign any contracts or make any agreements. It is for the reason that if they weren't valuable, the free market would eventually weed corporations out of the system.

    And as for your comment about the State: what does it have to do with anything? Is the State forcing people to do business with limited liability organizations? If they are, would it make sense to regulate the businesses instead of taking action against the government?

  12. The first thing that comes to my mind is that you may have to ditch a class system altogether. In every RPG I've played, choosing a class only means that you have almost no choice at all in character development. Using your example, if I choose thief class, then my traits/attributes/skills will likely be balanced towards stealth and deception. I won't be powerful enough to beat people in battles, thereby securing their loot (weapons, gold). I'll have to steal. To me, this sounds like a pretty easy way to get through the game, especially if I can steal from shops owned by NPCs (non-player characters). So, in an effort to reach level 70 (thereby 'winning'), I just choose thief class for convenience. If we go back to the beginning, and I choose thief class because I am, in reality, a person of questionable ethics, I have no way to 'change my ways' when I realize stealing is bad after I've invested months into getting my character up to level 30.

    On the other hand, if I was playing a game where I was free to become a thief by making the necessary choices, well now it gets interesting. All things equal, I have to make the decision to steal some loot from another person who may have earned by investing hours and hours of their actual life in 'grinding'. Now, I'm really experimenting with another value system.

    It's a very interesting idea, Louie. I hope you keep developing it.

  13. Even if we set aside whether your characterization of Nietzsche is correct or not, there are several facts about Rand that we do know:

    1. She never adopted Nietzsche's view of morality. The only thing that comes close to that would be a statement that she liked Nietzsche before she figured him out. Then she realized that what he was saying was not something she agreed with. That's not a phase, just giving a great mind the benefit of the doubt.

    2. Hickman's crime did not ever take a backseat to his attitude, for Rand. She appreciated the attitude without appreciating the crime, or the person for that matter.

    This second point, by the way, you can find out just by reading this thread. It has direct quotes.

    I see. I was under the impression that as she was educating herself, she had adopted his morality to some degree and in her studies she realized he was wrong.

    With regards to your comment on the direct quotes, they just seemed to lack characteristics that I associate with her writing. Hickman was a murdering lunatic, and Rand is known for showing a lot of emotion when she condemns someone like that, so I expected more from her on the topic than a critique of societal response and calling him a "degenerate". But, what didn't register with me is that the quotes were from her journals (which I'll most likely wind up subscribing to on account of this embarassing situation), and it isn't likely that she wrote to herself like she was writing to the public.

  14. I forget where I read this, but I once saw this part of Ayn Rand's life called her "Nietzsche phase". If she gave any weight to the idea that morality is good for the unwashed mashes, but not good enough for extraordinary men (Ubermensch, anyone?), and that these men should follow their own, subjective "inner law" (chosen by the degree to which it allowed them to impose their will on others), I could see how Hickman's horrific crime could take a back seat to his attitude towards life.

  15. Here you go:

    What Ayn Rand Read

    The books listed below are ones that Ayn Rand is either known to have read or may have read, based on her published reviews, annotations she made in the books, comments or references made in her articles, letters and journals, and materials auctioned from her estate. (For the plays, it is possible that she saw them performed instead of reading them.)


  16. I got this virus, and fixing it was as simple as rolling back to a previous System Restore point.

    Seeing as how you say you're technologically impaired, it's not likely that you've turned system restore off (a lot of people do, especially gamers and performance junkies).

    Start > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore

    Go through the dialog. It's pretty self-explanatory. When you get to the calendar, choose to rollback to a system restore point that was made before you started having these problems (system restore points are the bold dates). You'll lose everything you've done since the system restore point (programs installed since then, changes made to OS settings, etc) but it's probably worth it because you likely haven't done much since then on account of the virus and all.

  17. Articles like these are particularly disgusting. That being said, I hope it encourages some people to do more than just roll their eyes and click the close button. As Objectivists, I don't think we are in a position to be content with the fact that we are right and they (whoever "they" may be) are wrong, and for that reason our ideas might win out. Indeed we are right, but we are also the minority, which means there is a majority out there who is predisposed to take ad hominem attacks against Ayn Rand and Objectivism for granted simply because they are made in the name of their own ideology.

    When I have the time, I reply to articles such as the one mentioned in the original post (some of them warrant only a short response, which will usually involve chastising the author for such poor journalism, or posting some applicable quote, others warrant responses that are practically essays). I do this because it is in my own rational self-interest to do it, as it is for every Objectivist.

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