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Everything posted by 2046

  1. Actual and potential are reflexive terms. Something is not absolutely actual or potential, but in regards to something else. Example: the acorn is actually an acorn, but potentially an oak tree. The oak tree is actually a tree but potentially a rotting log. In a similar way, a bullet just leaving the barrel could be potentially hitting its target, while at the same time an actual initiation of physical force. A threat could be potentially damaging your car, but an actual initiation of physical force. I know that's not a complete answer to your question but it's a start.
  2. That's not at all how the word risk or how statistical expectation values are used. If you take a Methods 100 level class, here is one way you'll learn to use the word risk: risk₁ - the statistical expectation value of an unwanted event which may or may not occur With this, you could use something like the average number of deaths from the last 10 years is the risk of some potential event. You see how you can't assign to a state that had already occurred an expectation value because you are no longer talking about something that may or may not occur. But just in general, ordinary language, the word "risk" means several different concepts. One is something like: risk₂ - an unwanted event which may or may not occur Example: “Lung cancer is one of the major risks that affect smokers.” Or something like: risk₃ - the cause of an unwanted event which may or may not occur Example: “Smoking is by far the most important health risk in industrialized countries.” Or probably the closest ordinary usage to the statistical usage: risk₄ - the probability of an unwanted event which may or may not occur Example: “The risk that a smoker’s life is shortened by a smoking-related disease is about 50%.” Problem: none of these tell me precisely what an initiation of physical force is, or what would qualify as an initiation of physical force. So if someone were to say something like "risk is physical force" or "identifiable increases in risk must be restrained with physical force" or something along those lines, you can safely disregard this person as a source of knowledge on the issue. This attempt at tying individual rights to risk, rather than initiation of physical force, will cast such a wide net that nearly all human activity would be restrained or prohibited. Almost everything a person does imposes some risks on others. Just by walking down the hallway at work for example, I impose the risk of spreading cold or flu. The prohibition or penalization of some risk would also itself impose other risks, and introduce a large amount of insecurity into human life, as Nozick pointed out, that having an indefeasible right not to be risk-exposed would be self defeating.
  3. Sounds like an actual Sounds like a potential On the first, it may be helpful to shift your focus from starting off already knowing what qualifies as an act vs potency (since that is the very question at hand) and the temporal element which is secondary to an existing actuality, to what you know about how it will imminently reach some state, and whether those factors are actual or not. Of course you cannot know that without individualized determination. In the case of the vaccine mandates, one does not only invade someone's body against their will before an actual initiation of force has occurred (rather only on a potential future possibility of some unwanted effect), but also without the knowledge of the attribution of any specific immanent harm from any specific individual. And they are quite often explicit about this and think it's a good thing (eg., calling it a collective action problem.)
  4. To confuse risk of physical force with initiation of physical force is to confuse a potential with an actual. The whole mandatory vaccination position depends on a Parmenidean worldview in which all that exists is fully actual, combined with disregarding the need to obtain sufficient information to blame any one person for anything. It is the same fallacy employed by advocates of anti-immigration, gun control, and environmentalism. Thank you for helping to make that connection.
  5. Hence having human civilization should be restrained, by this logic. The counter argument to this is simply: Life is inherently an identifiable increase in risk, so that is not the standard for restraint-application.
  6. You just made human civilization impossible. I don't think you can make this analogy work: the question is about what the law ought to be and why, not what it is.
  7. "I better not leave my house because some stranger unknown to me may not know if I'm a risk" is literally what they think and how they expect you to live your life. They are often enraged when encountering someone who doesn't. The proper response is telling them "I simply no longer care if I or anyone else gets covid."
  8. No I'm just saying a lot of your posts talking about like "ramblings of charlatans and lunatics" and so forth, who aren't fit to be reasoned with, is or was precisely a matter of debate between Hume and Reid with regard to what Reid called the principles of common sense. You can't debate with everyone all the time, nor is it to be considered of value unqualifiedly. So the matter of what is the validation or justification or a proof of something versus what can be argued brings in the different roles of argument and ridicule. Some things have a function such that argument befits it. Some things have a function such that ridicule is more useful.
  9. I've heard some people say, more than a few times, that the reason they don't believe in objectivity or that an external world exists is "because of quantum physics." But, as far as I can tell, this rests on some kind of confusion. This doesn't sound like anything I've seen about quantum physics. But I think you have to go back to when the quantum revolution first dropped. Everybody was committed to a kind of implicit or explicit materialism in which the word was composed of these microphysical particles in which everything is deterministic and it's all bottom-up causality and so forth. So the quantum revolution hit and people were like oh it's not really like that at all, these things are not deterministic, these little objects don't have determinate positions, like wow, I guess there's no reality there at all then. But you can see that that doesn't really follow, that is resulting from a sort of frustrated materialist ambition. A lot of the anti-realist stuff isn't even consistent or methodical anti-realist. Very few people think anything like that. But what it is is misplaced realistic goals with a sort of implicit anti-realist premises that results in people getting tripped up.
  10. I think maybe this is an issue with some of Rand's non-fiction, like speaking of the metaphysical versus the man-made as that which could not have been otherwise and so forth, without much elaboration on what sense of can/could is being used. But I haven't read that essay in a while.
  11. I think that's basically the whole thread. People often subconsciously think a thing having an identity is just mechanical causality. So they think you have things acting according to their identities, but you also have free will, so how to make that work. But they're making something that is all bottom-up causality, like an artifact in the Aristotelian sense. So they hear this Objectivist line about a new type of causality. Well there must be a new type of casualty, meaning a new mechanism. So they spend 6 pages looking around for a new mechanism, or seeing how they can change the wording just right. They don't ever get to just agent-cause vs event-cause.
  12. Not to mention I always love it when they, who are a them and definitely not a we, say how "we" should do anything
  13. If it's a substance not yet discovered, how could anyone possibly answer that? That's not so much a question for the position but a problem for the position. Moreover, why assume substance dualism in the first place? Generally, people like to see arguments or at least some motivating reasons for these positions.
  14. Well, from my understanding, a substance is a particular, and is a matter-form composite. So it's not what particulars are "made out of" (like, eg., the modern chemistry term.) And matter-sans-form wouldn't be a substance, it would be prime matter. Prime matter, while a real feature of the world, isn't concretely real, or isn't a concrete, in the sense that it isn't any thing unless made determinate by form. Or at least that's the A-T line of thought (Cf. the Oderberg book mentioned earlier.) Scotus and Suarez think that prime matter can exist by itself, related to their views on the aforementioned existence-essence distinction and composition. Yes, in natural substances, it is. Or at least if you're taking the A-T line of thought. All prime matter can do is be receptivity for a form, which is not to say it is acting in the sense of an entity. But existence is a separate act from the act of essence, at least in principle. (So like, I can think about the essence of a unicorn without thinking it has an act of existence.) Act in this sense means actualization of a potentiality, so "by means of the form" just means a potential that is actualized (enformed [or informed however you want to spell it.]
  15. I was thinking about this, and reading about a problem Aquinas had. Or really his Dominican brothers had and he set out to solve. It seemed like there was a problem with the concept of matter. We know God and the angels can't be material because of certain passages in the Bible. We know that the world of nature abounds with material things from common sense observation. We also know that matter provides the basis of potentialities and the substratum of change. Problem is, if both God and the angels are immaterial, how can the angels be different from God? God, as we know, is pure form, simple, changeless, perfect. But the angels are non-perfect. They do change, say by having this or that volition or thought. They are so individuals, say Gabriel, Michael, etc. And we know they come in different types, seraphim, cherubim and so on. But they're also supposedly pure form, or immaterial. So if matter is the principle of potentiality, complexity, limitation and so forth, how can the angels change, and be inferior to God? Now there's a whole argument Aquinas develops in the De Ente about the existence-essence distinction and composition, and that's a whole cottage industry in itself. I'm not sure I even understand it, so I'm not going to go into that, but there is an aspect of a tangential point I want to focus on. The view (called universal hylemorphism) that there is only one entity that is pure form (God himself) Aquinas attributes to Avicebron and attributes it resulting from a failure to distinguish between two types of matter: functional matter and prime matter. If the term “matter” is used in its proper and common sense [=as prime matter], it is impossible for there to be matter in spiritual substances…. But if the terms “matter” and “form” are used for any two things which are related as potentiality to actuality, then there can be no objection (unless it is a mere verbal dispute) to saying that spiritual substances have both matter and form (ODSC 1.300-302, 357-360) What Aquinas is saying here, is that there is a functional sense in which anything that serves as a subject (or substratum) for change or in which any properties can be said to inhere, can be said to be material, in a certain sense of matter. That also means that anything that is related to a form as potentiality to actuality is matter in that sense. So suppose you take the view that potentiality and actuality makes sense, we can take that from the worktable of Aristotle, so to speak. But we don't need to go full on hardcore Aristotelian and take all this hylemorphism stuff. Well, as Aquinas points out, any potentiality that is related to an actuality, that serves as a substratum, is going to be matter in at least a functional sense. And the reverse for the concept of form. Aquinas introduces the whole act-potency distinction in the first place to emphasize the functional role of matter-form. So if you take the one off the table, you implicitly take the other as well.
  16. Oh okay. Yeah the more I think about it, the more I think it would have to be matter-form composites as a whole applying to both mass and energy. Energy would have to be a way of conceiving of part of an already-enformed piece of matter, in other words a whole substance, in order to be a real thing capable of physical description. But really I don't know much about it. I'll check out the Handbook. The Oderberg book, Real Essentialism is something I've been reading, and had been influencing a lot of my understanding. But that's precisely what the early moderns did believe. And it's because if the atoms had any parts to them, they wouldn't be atoms. They serve to give substances their properties, so they can't themselves have properties or parts. They have to be simples to be the ultimate grounding for any other substances. Another consequence is that they couldn't have any potentialities, they have to be fully actual. Since this is now hard to maintain, you might get something like a neo-Humean view that there are just certain regularities in the phenomena. Or you might get some sort of instrumentalist view, or some sort of "brute fact" type view. My point is that, if you think these are problematic and that scientists are observing electrons acting like electrons for a reason, you very quickly get to the view that we come to know material things only because they fall into a consistent natural kind knowable because of their causal powers. In other words: through their real essences.
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