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Everything posted by nanite1018

  1. I rather think we should have two words for "open-system" and "closed-system". The closed-system people advocate that Objectivists are people who agree with every philosophical position of Ayn Rand. What the "open-system" people advocate for, I think, is to view Objectivism not as the "philosophy of Ayn Rand"--meaning the philosophy in her head (or perhaps less restrictively the set of philosophical positions and arguments she wrote down/made public)-- and instead view it as "the school of philosophy inspired by Ayn Rand". I've often found it weird that people use "Objectivist" in the first place. No one is a Transcendental Idealist. I doubt any person in history has ever identified as such, yet that was (to my understanding) the name given by Kant to his epistemological/ontological/metaphysical philosophy. Not only do people rarely use the names philosopher's themselves ascribe to their philosophies, they rarely if ever name their philosophy. When people refer to "Aristotelianism" or refer to something as "Aristotelian", I do not think they mean to refer to the philosophy expressed in the works of Aristotle, or something or someone as in full agreement with the philosophy of Aristotle. The same goes for "Kantian", "Spinozan", "Lockean", "Humean", "Neitzschean", "Platonist", etc. When people refer to "the philosophy of Kant" or something like that they refer to it most often by using precisely those words (or make it explicit from context that when they say "Kantian philosophy" they mean the philosophy in the mind of and/or expounded by Kant). I view being a "Randian" as far more important than being an Objectivist-proper or not. My use of "Randian" is in direct analogy to how we discuss all other philosophers. Open-system advocates think we should simply use "Objectivism" to refer to the school, and "Objectivist" to refer to those whose philosophies are based on Rand's. I think that is rather silly, as we do this with no other philosopher. "Randian philosophy" or "Randism" or "Randianism" refer to the school, "Randian" to members of it. Objectivism can/should be left to refer to only the actual philosophical positions and arguments expounded by Ayn Rand. So I suppose you could say that in that sense I am a closed-system advocate. At the same time though, I don't put very much weight at all on whether someone or something is "Objectivist" as opposed to "Randian" as I don't view it as important. I think it is clear that all the true things in philosophy will belong in the school of "Randianism" (i.e. they will all be in the school of philosophy inspired by and closely tied to the views of Ayn Rand). The animosity of the closed and open system people is really a debate about names. I think the open-system people should drop "Objectivism" and adopt "Randianism", and the closed-system people should stop worrying so much about whether something is "Objectivist" and instead focus on what is true in philosophy regardless of whether it is in full agreement with every philosophical position of Rand. The open-system people would change the name and the closed-system people would consider themselves Randians first and foremost (with "Objectivist" being largely irrelevant), then this whole debate would go away (or at least be rendered unimportant) and we could all go on advocating rational ideas in the culture unhindered by fractious schisms and infighting (which people then use against all Randians to paint us something as absurd as "cultists"--like people who make independence a virtue can be cultists).
  2. Well, what you actually are wishing for, in that case, is to be a very wealthy individual in a prior age (for example the 1920s or 30s). The vast majority of lives in history have had essentially no glamour and prestige. Technological advance, for example the advent of the Internet, does not produce a culture dominated by stupidity or crudeness. Rather, the culture of the age may in part be shaped by these technologies, but it is always the people themselves who create this culture. If you have a society dominated by rational people, you will have a rational culture regardless of the technological state of the world. While there may be no connection between technology and culture per se, this does not preclude the possibility that one might enjoy a previous era's culture more than that of today. One may even have been happier if one had lived in those times (though I don't see why one should spend much time on such thoughts). I think it is important not to confuse an admiration for the better parts of a previous era (for example, in my own case, I wish a jacket and tie was more standard dress for men rather than the "stained t-shirt and holey blue jeans" standard for younger people today--I love wearing a sport coat and a bow tie when it is a reasonable temperature outside), and a desire to go back to that era in all ways. Yes, I would love to have people dress more like they did in the early and mid-Twentieth Century. But that doesn't mean I want to give up the conveniences of modern life to do so. Rather, what I really want is to change modern culture to better emulate the specific features of the previous era that I enjoy. Now, if you really wish your milk was delivered by a man with a truck, that you could never look up any information online, that diseases like smallpox, measles, and polio ravaged people's lives on a regular basis, then that probably would[i/] be un-Objectivist (it would be trading small values--better customer service, styles of dress, etc. for greater values--knowledge, health). We can admire parts of the culture of the past and wish to recreate those elements in the modern day, but it doesn't require turning back the march of progress to do it.
  3. Well that gets me thinking. I currently agree with Childs' argument; it seemed plain that it was correct. Similarly, I thought the quote of Rothbard's in that thread was reasonable as well. My understanding of "objective" has always been the relationship between an individuals mind and reality--you are objective/meeting the requirements of objectivity if you are focused and rigorously applying reason and logic to all the data you get about reality from your senses. If you obey the proper rules of deduction and induction, you're objective. If not, you're not. My understanding was always that other people are wholly irrelevant except if I am trying to communicate an idea to them (though still, all that is needed is for me to refer to the appropriate facts of reality and for them to be likewise objective, then we will understand each other and there should be no issue). I'm still not convinced that one needs to take into account other people in objectivity, per se. Whether an action was retaliatory or not is a fact of reality that can be discovered. Whether I invented something independently or not is a fact that can be discovered. It seems to me that, in the case of IP, making independent invention an affirmative defense is enough to meet the standard of objectivity--you must prove to others you are indeed an independent inventor, or else they must consider you not to be. Similarly with force--you must prove to others your use of force was retaliatory, or else they must consider it not to be. However I am intrigued by the fact that you draw a connection between the two areas where I disagree with Objectivism (i.e. independent inventors and the need for monopoly in government, they are the only two locations I know of where I have decided it is incorrect in its positions), and trace them back to a common origin in a misunderstanding or ignorance of the demands of objectivity in a social context. It's possible I am mistaken here. My view, on both counts, is that provided we take such instances (retaliation or independent invention) to be affirmative defenses, the requirements of objectivity are met (as they are considered to be in violation until they prove themselves not to be). I'm not sure I understand why you think this is not the case. Do you have more resources that go into detail about the requirements of objectivity in social context? I don't remember anything other than a handful of brief comments by Rand in a few essays. The statements about the need for a monopoly government, for example, have always come across as mere assertions that don't address arguments like Childs'. I've never seen anyone draw the argument(s) back to a discussion of the nature of objectivity and how it is applied socially, and I definitely would like to investigate it further.
  4. There is no such thing as an impersonal context of knowledge. All knowledge is held personally, as only individuals have minds and all knowledge ultimately lies in the minds of individuals. By making independent invention an affirmative defense, and having some well defined standard of proof for independent invention, one retains objectivity in the law (and a reasonable standard of proof would make any uncertainty introduced relatively small, since a simply patent search on Google Scholar will in all likelihood inform someone whether or not their idea has already been done, making truly independent invention unlikely after a patent has been filed). There is no such thing as an impersonal context of knowledge, even as an abstraction (it would be a contradiction in terms), and so has no place in a legal system. I think this is probably the root of the disagreement--precisely because all knowledge is in a personal context this fact of reality must be taken into account in a legal system. To insist on imposing an "impersonal" context of knowledge in the legal system, one makes it impossible to know whether one is infringing on someone's rights or not. With rights to material things it is generally quite easy to tell whether one might be infringing on someone's rights (land is fenced in, radio frequencies are being broadcast on, objects are man-made, and if I didn't fence it, broadcast on it, or make it, or buy the things, then they aren't mine). Given the fairly straight-forward ability in the vast majority of cases to know, purely from personal context, that one may be violating someone's rights to physical property, an "impersonal" context of knowledge in the sense you use it will have virtually no effect (as personal contexts and the impersonal context will lead to similar answers). However, with intellectual property, in which one would need to know everything that has ever been made publicly available on Earth, which is clearly impossible, one may never know whether one is violating an intellectual property right, or whether one's patent will be stripped from him at a later date. That is what introduces real uncertainty. By acknowledging that the only context of knowledge is a personal one and making independent invention an affirmative defense in a patent infringement case (and issuing a shared patent, or a second patent, however one wants to put it, in the event of independent invention being proven), one makes it very easy for one to know (at least for themselves) whether or not they are infringing on anyone's rights, and also ensures that one need not concern oneself really at all with the possibility that someone invented it first and may strip you of your patent rights. This allows one to plan one's own actions and ensure that one never violates anyone's rights based on one's own knowledge, rather than demanding that, in order to avoid violating a person's rights, one must be omniscient. I don't see why this would be an absurd situation. One would have to prove that the person got the idea from you or your patent, rather than from the prior art. Since that is highly unlikely, even impossible, one would not be able to successfully defeat someone in a patent infringement case if the invention was in the "prior art" (if the prior art was a patent, and one was unable to demonstrate from which of the inventors the person got the idea, then the damages would be split between the inventors). This doesn't invalidate the system of patents, it is quite self-consistent. It is the notion of an impersonal context of knowledge which is inconsistent. People aren't omniscient, and to demand that they be to ensure one does not violate the rights of others is no more absurd than to demand it in order to one has knowledge.
  5. Well there's a few things. One is that given a total separation of economy and state, the economy would grow faster and be more stable than it is today--governments wouldn't constantly be mucking up the works with regulations and taxes, nor changing conditions arbitrarily with new regulations, taxes, or manipulation of interest rates for political purposes. As a result, the amount of wealth in the society would be increasing faster than today, making more resources available for less immediately productive purposes. The more capital there is to invest, the longer range can be the investment goals and the more risk that can be reasonably taken on. And with a stable legal environment, investors would be able to plan longer range as they would not have to concern themselves with shifting legal conditions that could harm very long term (20+ year) investments. So a totally free market would be significantly better able to take on risky, very long-term, and/or low-return projects than it is today. With that in mind, people would invest in basic science research because it is profitable in the long-run. Basic research doesn't cost much, generally (except perhaps for physicists and their big toys like the LHC), and so supporting it would be quite within the realm of possibility for large corporations. Bell Labs comes to mind as an example, and there were other private research labs before WWII, when the government took over the funding of scientific research from private industry almost entirely. As for space exploration or undersea investigation, there could be any number of reasons. It could be good press, something like "Virgin Galactic-- Forging a Bright Future for Mankind" or something like that, with backgrounds of their moon and Mars colonies, or asteroid mining facilities. Ad revenue could be one way to subsidize the cost of space travel ("Coke--the official drink of Mars"). And of course there is the possibility for turning a profit in the very long range. Or simply the "Awesome" motive--"Google is launching a mission to Mars because it would be really really cool."
  6. I never denied the validity of intellectual property, nor did I deny the applicability of objectivity in defining inventions or ideas. I am disputing the claim that the origin of an invention, idea, or value has absolutely no relation to who should have a right to it. It is obvious that there are really independent inventors in the real world, yes? I think we can agree that there has indeed been at least one instance of truly independent invention in history. Clearly, then, at least some of the value from the invention is no longer the responsibility of the original inventor (at some point in time at least some people would only know about the invention from the second, independent inventor). We can, I think, agree on this point as well. My view of your position is that this is irrelevant. I do not see how this can be consistent with the position that one should have a right to the value(s) one creates, because this is a clear instance of denying that principle (the second inventor did indeed create some new value(s)--some people only know about his act of invention, not the first, and so the value the invention gives them is solely the responsibility and creation of the second inventor). A patent is on a general design, an open-ended concept, as you said. Suppose I bring an infringement suit against a man (I am the original inventor). He admits that his invention meets the terms of the patent, but denies that he is infringing on my rights because he is an independent inventor. By doing so, the burden of proof should shift to him. As you said, if it were the other way around, where the plaintiff had to prove dependent invention, it would be impossible and the patent system would fall apart. We have systems like this today. It is called an affirmative defense, the most familiar example is self-defense. Let us say you are charged with murder. You then claim that you did in fact kill someone, but that you do not meet the conditions of murder because it was self-defense. The burden of proof now shifts to you to prove it was self-defense. Now often in affirmative defenses one does not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but often only to a preponderance of the evidence (or lower). And sometimes it merely must be asserted. But clearly, it is reasonable to suggest that one could place "independent invention" in the category of an affirmative defense in a patent infringement case, and have the burden of proof shift to the defendant. By doing this, one eliminates you objections of the "patent troll" and others, and if the burden of proof is quite high, effectively neutralizes your objections about dozens of inventors and the rest. This procedure seems like a bad one. One should have to give more evidence than simply a description that one actually did invent the thing. In any case I'm not sure it is very relevant to what we are discussing here. If you can show first invention, then of course you get the patent (and then it would be on the original inventor to show that they invented it independently). The key that we are looking at here is the event of independent invention, which I think is adequately addressed above. With the notion of an "affirmative defense", I think we can place the burden of proof on the person claiming to be an independent inventor, thereby dealing with most of your complaints. The only variable left is just how high the burden of proof should be. The preponderance of evidence (at least), though I tend to think somewhat higher (perhaps "beyond a reasonable doubt"). If it was "beyond a reasonable doubt", very few would be able to demonstrate it indeed, and making this change would have negligible negative impact while better achieving the goal of a just system of property rights.
  7. Just wanted to say that this is really good. If you haven't, I would check out the Paleo or Primal diet (just google it). I started out about where you were in February, 260 lbs, and without exercising really at all lost 40 pounds in ~4 months, and am now at about 205-210 (with a bit of exercise incorporated). I always thought I was going to be fat forever, but you don't have to. And it doesn't have to be a super-hard struggle either (I had no problem dropping the first 30 pounds or so, and while its gotten harder to keep losing weight, it isn't too bad). The most important point about all of the stuff you talk about is to always keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing-- you're waking up early and going to the gym to be healthy and be able to do all sorts of stuff (as well as mood benefits that come along for the ride); you're talking to teachers and asking for help when you need it so you can learn and get a job as a computer programmer, etc. It is a lot easier to follow through with one's goals and plans if you know why you're doing what you're doing, and don't treat it as a duty or to try to make yourself do it through sheer force of will. That way always leads to failure (no one's will is that strong!). Good luck on your endeavors.
  8. I would like Obama to think about William Lloyd Garrison or Frederick Douglass. They're viewed as heroes today. Patrick Henry, another uncompromising hero. Heck, all our Founding Fathers were fairly radical. Hell, even the Roosevelts were uncompromising in their ideology (even if it was wrong), and both are considered heroes today. The compromisers are hardly ever remembered, or revered. Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, is now seen as a disgraced man, someone who helped to continue the existence of an evil institution in the name of peace and compromise.
  9. Each inventor has a monopoly on their idea, i.e. what they created. It just so happens that there are other people who have similar "products". This seems very similar to me as easily substituted products like butter and margarine, or different brands of paint or milk or salt. There isn't really much of a difference between them, which makes it difficult for any one business interest in the market to gain a significant share or affect the market as a whole in a major way (the old "perfect competition" case in neo-classical and Keynesian economics). Each person always has a right to charge whatever they like for what they produce, but they won't make any money if they aren't competitive with the other producers. This does not mean that the "causation theory" of property is self-contradictory because late-comers cannot even in principle have the same effects from their act of invention as the original inventor. It produces the same legal consequences, it is just that there are other very very easily substituted "products" out there with which the inventors would need to compete (again, no different in principle than producers of salt or the like). And you are correct that once the original expires the later inventors won't be able to compete any longer as everyone will be able to use the first inventor's idea without need for permission (and so no infringement case brought by any of them could result in a conviction). I don't see how this is a bad deal for the later inventors, however. At least they were able to get some value from their invention in the interim period. And your concern that there will be dozens of inventors is unrealistic. You yourself had claimed that the burden of proof would be virtually impossible to achieve anyway, or at least very stringent, so before the expiration of the first patent (which would render any subsequent patents ineffective due to the high substitutability of the inventions/designs), the number of inventors would likely be quite low in virtually all cases (usually only one or two I would imagine). This is a demand for certainty where none exists. No one can know, for example, what amount of oil there is beneath a piece of land before buying it, or what future demand for oil will be, etc. The value of the property changes drastically with time, with the ups and downs of the market. There is necessarily uncertainty in all business decisions, and so to say "but this would increase uncertainty" is not an argument for excluding independent inventors. Yes, property rights do secure the capacity to engage in trade and to not have your life destroyed by depriving you of all values you create. But property rights do not guarantee that you will be able to engage in a trade at all (i.e. that you will find willing partners) or that it will be at terms you would prefer. Allowing provably independent inventors to acquire patents is, again, akin to allowing competitors in the production of virtually identical products (like salt companies). Someone new might appear at any time, which introduces uncertainty in your decisions, but it does not deprive you from being able to engage in trades, or from offering your invention for people to use at competitive terms. And again, the uncertainty here would be relatively small as proving independent creation would be very difficult (and I believe you think patents should be ~20 years or so if I remember right, and a legal battle proving independent invention could last easily half that time). If I understand you correctly, you are arguing that because there are more inventors who will have to compete with each other on price, more people would be willing to infringe because there is a larger chance they will be "forgiven" by one of the inventors? If so, one must also recognize that there are more people who could bring suit, so that would at least partially offset the loss. Regardless, I don't know why the possibility of a rise in infringement or theft should be an argument against a certain system of property rights. And again, due to the time limit on patents and the high bar to prove independent creation, there would almost certainly never be more than a few inventors in total, which mitigates this. Well, if it can't be proven to whatever standard is believed necessary, then it is a non-issue. It would be up to the supposed independent inventor to prove that they are indeed an independent inventor. Your objection here is mostly dealt with by that fact: the burden of proof would necessarily be on the man claiming to have invented independently, so the person with the patent in the foreign country would have to prove they invented it independently in order to be able to sell in the US. If they can, they are no different than a US inventor. If they can't, they aren't allowed to sell and would be considered guilty of patent infringement if they tried to sell in the US. As I pointed out above, since the burden of proof is on the man claiming to have invented independently, foreign inventors pose no problem whatsoever for such a system. And for the same reason (since it would be fairly difficult to prove independence combined with time limits on patents) the number of inventors would be fairly small, oftentimes only one or perhaps a few. This mitigates most of your other objections. I always understood the Objectivist defense of private property rights to be a causal one--the individual created the value and deserves to reap the rewards. In fact, it is only in intellectual property where anyone would propose a non-causal basis. In physical property, you have to have actually used the property to lay claim to it, you can't do it by decree. But in patents you propose that you should be able to file a patent even if you didn't invent something, and then force the actual inventor to go through a lengthy trial process to prove that he is the one who actually created the thing. This is like saying I get to get a land title by fiat decree, and then the man who is actually tilling the land can dispute my claim in court. That would be a nonsensical way of going about things. You need to prove you've used a piece of property before you can lay claim to it, and so too should you have to prove you invented something to be able to get a patent on it. A causal connection between the property owner and the property is necessary for all property, including intellectual property. And since the basis of all property is a causal connection between the creator of values and the values created, then independent inventors (who caused the creation of an idea and are in part responsible for some of the value people are then getting from the idea) should be able to have their work respected with the granting of a patent. I have saved the article in my Google Docs to review later, looks interesting but I don't have time right now.
  10. I agree. There is absolutely no justification for circumcision. It is a holdover from ancient times when it (might have) served some purpose. Now it's only justification is religious belief, which cannot possibly be accepted as a legitimate reason to mutilate a child's body, regardless of whether or not they can go on to lead a happy life afterwards, or whether "everybody's doing it".
  11. I understand it is intellectual property, my point is that if my idea didn't come from you in any way, then I can't be infringing on any conception of property (I can't take anything from you or infringe on anything you have unless I have some sort of connection to you). An idea originates in someone's mind. If I have an idea for an invention, and I didn't get it from someone else (or the creation of someone else, say a book or tv show or journal, what have you), then my idea is my own and I should have a right to the value that comes as a result of my idea. If someone else comes up with something similar, and again didn't get their idea from anyone else or anything created by anyone else, then they too should have the right to the value that comes as a result of their idea. It is their idea, it originated in their mind, not mine, and so I don't have any say over and they can't possibly be said to be stealing my idea. We in the US have (or is it had? has the reform gone through?) a first to invent system. So we admit that it is possible to invent something independently before someone else and prove that one had done so, the proof even being offered after the granting of the patent. So we do have some acknowledgement of the possibility of independent inventors already. But what I want to consider is the principle at the heart of this: Does a truly independent inventor deserve a property right in his invention? I don't care if the standard of proof for this is that he has to be on timestamped video camera wit sound 24 hours a day from before the publication of the patent until whenever he invented the thing (including, perhaps, a camera strapped to his head to ensure that we can see everything he is looking up on his computer, etc.). Even if it is ridiculously high, so high that perhaps no one has ever met it before in history, that is not the point. The point is that at least in principle there would be such a standard of proof so we could know beyond a reasonable doubt that the man invented the creation independently (I think my video-camera all day, every day should come close, right?). And so, provided that one can reach this possibly virtually impossibly high standard of proof, should the independent inventor be able to get a patent on his invention? This is really the only question. You can say that no one would be able to meet the necessary standard of proof, or that certainly no one ever has. That doesn't matter. If someone ever did (say in the future, with an implant in their eyes which records everything they ever see, and everything they ever hear, and sends it off to a remote server), should they be able to get a patent? My disagreement with the standard (or official? Not sure) Objectivist position on IP is just this point: a provably independent inventor should be able to get a patent, whereas the standard Objectivist position is that they should not (note the "provably" in that statement, again the hurdly required for proof could be absurdly high, I don't care about that). That is the only question I would like answered, and we can turn to the question of just how high the bar should be after we've settled the question of principle--if one can prove they are an independent inventor, should one be able to get a patent on their invention? (Sorry if that was repetitive, but I wanted to make it absolutely clear what I'm talking about, and what I would like to see an answer to, so we can move the discussion forward).
  12. How is it relevant how easy it is to know, or what one "should" know? The question here is one of principle: Does one deserve to reap the rewards of one's work if one invents something independently of anyone else? Has such a person violated the rights of anyone else, and if so, how? You haven't addressed my argument that the original inventor no longer can claim to be the creator of all the value from the idea, as the independent inventor must now be held to be at least in part responsible for some of the value others get from the idea (after all, if the first inventor hadn't invented it, the independent inventor would have, and people would be getting value from the invention). Therefore, justice would demand that he have a right to some of the value that people get from the idea (though not all). Hence, both should have a claim to intellectual property in the invention. Where is the flaw in this argument? Both are responsible for some of the value of the invention, so why shouldn't both have a property right? Note that this still prevents people from copying a book or invention, as the value from the copies ultimately is a consequence of the creator(s) of the original(s). How can one infringe on property that one has never interacted with in any way? You said earlier (forgive me, it was many pages ago) that ideas are physical, and so if one accepts physical property one must accept property in ideas as well. Well, how can I be infringing on your property in an idea if there is no connection between you and I? I can't steal something unless I've interacted with it in some way, and an independent creator has never interacted with the piece of intellectual property from the first creator, so the independent creator cannot be said to be stealing anything at all (he's never "touched" it, metaphorically or literally).
  13. It was way back in post 41 by 2046 and responded to in post 42 by Grames. They used "relational value" (I browsed the whole thread before posting, just to at least attempt to make sure I wasn't repeating something someone else had already said). Basically, it was a question about what "create value" meant--creating a thing, an entity, or creating market value. Basically, it was a confusion over what was meant by "value", because it usually is used to mean exchange/relational value by most non-Objectivists in discussions of property. I knew it had already been addressed, so I put it in there as an aside just because it was on my mind.
  14. If you can have "first to invent", this means that you can prove you invented it before the other person. Why can't you use the same standards of proof, but not for "first to invent" but "independent inventor"? And my point is not that the burden of proof would be easy to achieve, but that in principle there is one and that there might be a case where we can conclude that someone did in fact invent something independently. And scientists have to keep meticulous records to be able to prove they did the research independently (as well as had priority), and do so on a regular basis (or they keep their work very secret so no one can scoop them). No reason why an inventor can't do the same. You can exclude anyone who cannot prove that they invented it independently (that's why I'm not against patents per se, but rather the exclusion of provably independent inventors). You have the right to exclude someone from seeing your invention and then building one of his own using your design. In my view, you do not have the right to exclude people from independently using their minds and applying them to a problem and then implementing the solution they find just because it matches what you came up with (assuming, again, they could demonstrate to a sufficient degree that they came up with the idea independently of you). Property rights are a result, ultimately, of justice. You deserve the fruits of your labor. But if someone came up with an idea independently of you, then clearly the value people are getting from the invention is no longer a result solely of the first inventors work-- it is also a result of the second inventor (for if the first person hadn't invented it, the second person would have, and people would be deriving value from this today). So on the same foundation that the first inventor should get a patent, so should the second (provably independent) inventor. I don't see how this is the case. The law is about the violation of people's rights, so ignorance, I agree, is not a defense. However, I don't see how this is the same as patents. If I can prove I didn't know about your patent/invention (through meticulous records of my efforts, or something like that--doesn't really matter how, in principle I might video tape every second of my life and so it is in principle possible to prove I had no knowledge of the invention, we can debate what the standard of proof would need to be, but I'm not concerned with that), then my whole point is that I am not stealing your idea. I am not violating your rights because I did not interact with your idea. If I beat you, I violated your rights, regardless of whether or not I knew beating people was against the law. If I trespass on your property, I actually crossed the barrier into your property (I interacted with it), regardless of whether or not I knew it was owned or that you were the owner. If I invent something which would be covered by your patent but did so totally independently, then I did not interact with you or your property in any way (and so cannot be said to be infringing on a right of yours, or stealing a value from you, etc.).
  15. Let's say I have a carrot. It's worth 1 dollar at present, if I were to sell it at the going market price (this is the carrot's exchange value). Now let's say some reputable medical association comes out tomorrow and declares that carrots are poisonous and bad for your health, and that no one should consume carrots anymore. A few hours later, the market price for my carrot is now a penny. No one has used force, but the exchange value of my carrot has dropped by 99% in a day. More realistically, I own a stock and its price plummets on a bad earnings report. I have lost a lot of wealth (the exchange value of my possession has decreased dramatically) even though no force was used nor has the actual item itself changed in any way. The only thing that has changed is others evaluations of the value of my possession to their lives. If I were to have a right to the exchange value of my property, than I would have been aggressed against when the stock price dropped or my carrot dropped in value. A property right to the "value" of a possession, that is the price it fetches on a market (the exchange value), would require me to somehow have a right to the personal evaluations of others. Before doing anything with anything, I'd have to make sure this wouldn't change anyone's evaluations of the relative value of any goods, because if it did I would be aggressing against the owner of the good affected. Such a system would kill everyone in a few days (since no one could take any action at all and we'd all die of thirst in about 72 hours). On the other hand, having a right to the entity itself is perfectly fine, as I can always know if I am aggressing against your property or not ("Is this my property? No? Well, best not touch it then"). Banning the use of force (that is, the violation of the boundaries of your property--whether a piece of land, a car, or a patent) does not guarantee one to the exchange value of the property, unless you simply mean that you have a right to exchange it with someone else under mutually agreeable terms, irrespective of what those terms might be.
  16. My point is what does it matter if they were first? That was the whole matter I was addressing in my post. If someone discovers/invents it independently, then (as in science) they should get equal credit for having done so. They did the work, which is still the creation of a value. That's what I'm saying here. If the standard is "all independent inventors" that is perfectly objective as well (no less objective than "first to invent", certainly, because in such a system it is admitted that one can independently invent something after someone else has done the same and demonstrate that they did it independently, though after, the person with the patent). Why should an independent inventor be barred from getting the rewards for his efforts? He didn't take anything from the original inventor; by definition he has never heard of his invention, and didn't know it existed (can't steal something if someone is totally unaware of its existence). He engaged in an act of creation just like any other inventor, so he should have the rights to sell his creation to people (and not have anyone else take his idea from him). You assert that first possession creates a property claim in patents just like material objects, but that is exactly the claim I was disputing. I cannot acquire possession of a physical entity without taking it from the original owner ("taking" meaning "interacting with in some fashion", not that it is no longer usable by the original owner--this is to distinguish myself from those who claim that you can't own an mp3 file of a song because I can make unlimited copies and it doesn't take the song from your possession). I can acquire an idea without ever having interacted or known about in any way, shape, or form the "first possessor" (however one wants to define him, first to file or invent). This is the crucial difference between an invention and a material object. No one can come into the possession of a physical entity (even a duplicate of, say, a piece of artwork or a digital record album) without interacting in some manner with an "original" (or at least another duplicate of the original). People can come up with inventions truly independently, without ever knowing about each other, possibly for years or even decades after they each invented it. I don't see how one can ever be said to be violating the property of another if there is no connection between the owner and the supposed aggressor (i.e. the aggressor has never interacted with the owner, at least in the relevant arena, even indirectly, for example by interacting with the property of the owner, which of course the owner himself has some connection to through some chain of interactions). Basically, my design isn't your design because I had never heard of your design and I came up with mine myself. Since my design isn't your design (there is no connection between us) I too should get a patent, to prevent anyone else from using my design without my permission (of course they could use yours, so if our designs are "identical" in the sense relevant to a patent, then they'd need permission from one of us).
  17. My only question doubt about IP is the barring of independent inventors/creators. People have a right to the values they create (i.e. entities themselves, not the exchange "value" of those entities--a system where one has rights to exchange values is impossible), and so of course if I build something I should own it, and even be able to get a patent on the design if I choose to (and I actually invented it). But what if someone else had already invented something, and I didn't know? Why shouldn't I be able to get a patent on it as well? After all, I can't be "stealing" from the other person, because the value of the thing I created is a result of my creating it (regardless of whether or not someone created something similar--or even indistinguishable). If I invented something, I created a value to which I should have a property right. It is irrelevant if someone else has a patent on a similar/identical design, as they were not the ones who produced the particular design in question (the one which I created, is on my computer, or on which my prototype is based). One might object that land or any other material value would, under this case, be also able to be taken by a late-comer. But this is simply not the case. A physical object is a particular thing, to which only one person can have control at a time. Part of the identity of a thing is its history, and using someone else's property does not change the fact that it was originally their property. Ideas, including designs for an invention, can pass from person to person, or be created wholly out of a person's mind independently of all others. If I read a design for an invention and then go build it, I got my idea from someone else (from the other person's design), which would be akin to me using someone else's land or car. If I come up with a design myself, then it is like I tilled a new, previously unowned piece of land (as my idea originates from none other than my own mind). If someone else had the "same" idea, created the "same" design, then it would be analogous to my finding a piece of land that was remarkably similar to someone else's plot of land (to the point where we might not even be able to tell the difference, except geographic location). This isn't to say that it would be easy to ever actually prove independent discovery. It took centuries before scholars finally decided that Newton and Leibniz both discovered calculus independently of one another. However, if one can achieve whatever burden of proof is reasonable for independent discovery/creation, then I do not see any moral case for why one should be barred from getting a claim to one's creation. They didn't steal anyone's idea (they're an independent discoverer--they never came into contact with the other person's idea until after they already made their own), and they performed mental labor to create a value, so they should justly acquire a property right to their invention/creation. This would also apply, in principle, to copyrights, though I imagine that is far less of a concern than a patent, as copyrights are over things like books which are significantly longer and the odds of a truly independent creator of the same book is highly unlikely (far less so than one coming up with the same idea to solve a problem in industry, say). It's also interesting to me that the case of independent discoverers is the only one which cannot be covered (it seems to me) by the selective sale of rights to physical entities--that is one in which one (broadly speaking) stipulates that one cannot reproduce the item in question nor sell it without stipulating the same (kind of like a Creative Commons license but restricting reproduction rather than allowing it).
  18. Is the use of physical violence against another person a valid argumentative strategy? Are you making any truth claims while doing so? Exchanging propositions? No to all of the above. You are simply ignoring the other person's mind, and basically treating them as if they were an animal or a machine for you to command at your own will. To use force against another rational being is to reject the use of reason in one's dealings with them. If we are having a debate, and I say "All right, I know how we'll settle our disagreement: if you don't agree with me, I'm gonna shoot you with this Colt 45," I think any reasonable person will agree that the debate is now over (not because you agree, but because we are no longer engaging in argumentation, but rather the exchange of blows). If you agree with me, then you agree that force is the negation of mind, that is to say that to use force against another rational being is to reject reason as one's method of interaction. If one does this, then others are perfectly within their "rights" to use force against you--after all, you don't want to deal with men by reason, so they will honor your wish and deal with you by force.
  19. This problem has been addressed before in a few places on this forum, though not in the form of this free will theorem. The reason their principle does not apply to Bohmian mechanics (which is the realist, deterministic version of quantum mechanics) is that Bohmian mechanics is nonlocal. Their proof depends on the assumption of locality--that there is some, however high, maximum rate at which information can travel, i.e. that an event at point A can only effect events happening at point B after some finite but nonzero amount of time. Bohmian mechanics rejects this, instead positing fundamental nonlocality--conditions at some point in the universe can effect happenings at any other point in the universe instantaneously. Locality is a tough thing for physicists to give up, as it has been fairly foundational for the discipline pretty much since its inception in modern form with Newton. But its that or give up the notion of an objective reality. I, for one (and I plan to be a physics, entering last year of undergrad now), choose to give up locality. It is that fundamental nonlocality which makes a nondeterministic and deterministic world observably indistinguishable (Bohmian quantum mechanics yields all the same results as standard non-deterministic QM), and why, then one can escape this so-called proof.
  20. I think you misinterpreted the statement that juror made. She was saying that she believes that Casey Anthony is guilty, but that there wasn't enough evidence to be able to render a guilty verdict. And apparently, that is the case for everyone on the jury. They all think she is guilty. So does basically everyone in the country. There is no reasonable explanation for her behavior except that she killed her daughter. That may not be enough evidence to convict her of murder, but that certainly is enough for me and most other people to view her as a murderer and want nothing whatsoever to do with her. It's hard for me to understand the view that "well, she was found 'not guilty' so she didn't do it" or whatever, which I've seen around the 'Net. I really think the US needs to adopt the Scottish verdict- not proven, colloquially known as "not guilty, and don't do it again." Legally, there is no difference between "not guilty" and "not proven", however the social stigma that would come along with "not proven" ("We're pretty sure you did it, we just can't quite prove it") would be quite effective.
  21. Actually, I don't know if I like this notion of "apodicticity" as opposed to analytic. I think, actually, apodictic is worse, in its connotations. Apodictic, it seems from my researches, is meant to be a statement about the certainty of the statement, and in particular whether it is "necessary" or "contingent". My revised notion, as described above, of "apodicticity" and "assertoricity" seem more in line with "analytic" and "synthetic". In this sense, an analytic statement would be a statement which deals solely with the specified measurements of a concept, and a synthetic statement would deal with at least one of the omitted measurements of the concepts in the statement. Clearly, this new notion of the analytic/synthetic would not have any connection to the necessary/contingent dichotomy (as all entities are what they are, all things are necessarily the way they are). And of course the fact that we can only form concepts by dealing with the world would make all knowledge a posteriori in usual usage of the term. Not sure what "apodictic" and "assertoric" would then refer to, specifically, but I suppose they would be about our knowledge of the truth/falsity of the statement. Perhaps they would really just be synonyms to "analytic" and "synthetic", perhaps simply being used in different cases (perhaps referring to our knowledge of the truth/falsity of the statement, rather than referring to the nature of the statement itself?) In any case, the notion I outlined above seems to be a meaningful distinction to make, even if it has no metaphysical significance like the Kantian/logical-empiricist analytic/synthetic dichotomy did. Whether one wants to use apodictic/assertoric or analytic/synthetic, I don't think it is particularly important.
  22. I have hit upon the solution to my earlier question. When I say "this field is extended in space", this is apodictic not because the particular in question (this field) is extended in space, but rather because the concept of which I am declaring it a unit (this field, which is a unit of the concept "field") has as one of its characteristics that it is extended in space. The statement "this field has more apples than oranges" is assertoric not because I do not yet know whether the statement is true or false, but because the concept of which this particular is a unit ("field") says nothing whatsoever about the relative number of apples and oranges (or even if there are apples and oranges in the field at all). So rather than apodicticity or assertoricity being a quality which is dependent on knowledge of particulars, it is only dependent on the concept of which I, by my statement, am declaring the particular to be a unit. If I said "the red bucket is red", it is apodictic because I classified the object to which I am referring as a "red bucket" to be a red bucket. It doesn't matter if the bucket is actually blue, or if the object is red but is actually a fire truck. My statement is still apodictic, but I am guilty of misclassifying the particular entity. Apodictic statements are statements which, in order for them to be false in reference to a given particular, I would have to be guilty of classifying the particular as a unit of a concept of which it is not, in fact, a unit. Assertoric statements are statements which do not have this property (for example, if I misclassified a dump truck as a "field", the "field" a.k.a. dump truck may still have more apples than oranges in it).
  23. 2046, I think you've hit on something there. It has always seemed obvious to me that there is something to the notion of analytic/synthetic statements (and, for that matter, "a priori"/"a posteriori"). If I understand your proposal correctly, it goes something like this: We form concepts through measurement omission. Using the characteristics of the concept which are not omitted in the formation of a concept, we can make certain statements immediately. For example, "bachelor" specifies "unmarried" and "man", but doesn't talk about favorite color or height, etc. And so one can, immediately, say "all bachelors are unmarried", without having to examine anything further about any of the referents of "bachelor". One the other hand, one cannot say "most bachelors favor green to red". Now, I do want to inquire as to what you would say after I have integrated a new piece of information. For example, if I count and find that there are indeed more apples than oranges in the field, does the statement "there are more apples than oranges in the field" change from assertoric to apodictic? I would not say so, because I would limit "apodictic" to that which comes from the empirical information that is necessarily part of the concept (i.e. that the concept cannot be formed without that information), rather than any and all empirical information that I happen to know applies to the referents of the concept. By the way, your notion of "analytic a posteriori" applies to all statements in Objectivism, not just apodictic statements (at least if you use them in the same sense that Kant used them).
  24. I'll chime in, since I'm reading a number of his books right now. While he uses Kantian terminology, he generally seems to believe that his a priori categories are both a structure of the human mind and a feature of the world. Our categories reflect the nature of reality. He gives an evolutionary explanation for this, basically saying that entities whose minds did not conform to the structure of reality died out, and we are the entities who succeeded by having categories that match reality. Mises wasn't an impositionist Kantian along the lines of the German Idealists. He (and Hans-Hermann Hoppe) are realist Kantians who interpret Kant almost (but not quite) as a sort of Aristotelian. And regardless, Rothbard was an Aristotelian who viewed the axioms of praxeology as empirical in the broadest sense of the term -- that our minds come to know them through experience, but they are present in all experience of human beings as actors (and we act continuously). Rothbard still used the terminology of "a priori" because he thought these "a priori" axioms and concepts and statements were so broadly empirical as to still be effectively a priori. Rothbard basically used "a priori" to mean something almost identical to the use of the term "axiom" in Objectivism -- it is a statement/concept which is implicit in all experience and which any argument against it will necessarily be self-contradictory. One can't reject "humans act" because to argue against it is to be a human that is acting. Personally, I find Rothbard's usage totally unobjectionable, and have actually started using "a priori" in a similar fashion myself. As for whether or not praxeology can be falsified, it depends on what one means. If you can demonstrate there is a problem in one of the arguments, then yes. But the primary assumptions are certain -- they are obvious to everyone and at least some of them are literally irrefutable.
  25. I almost think that what standard one should have for sex might need to be figured out "on the fly" so to speak -- as one has romantic relationships and gains some experience. I have very little experience with romance and sex. I'm a virgin, and haven't been on a date in nearly 3 years -- I'm 20 years old and entering my fourth and final year of college this fall (before grad school that is). When I try to think about how well I would need to know someone in order to be comfortable having sex, how long I would need to know them, how "good" or high a value they need to be, etc. I feel like I am (at best) trying to come up with standards rationalistically, without any experience to base my thinking on. I'm not saying that you have to have sex with a bunch of people to figure out when it is appropriate, but that maybe you really need experience with romance in order to decide. A rule like "need at least 6 months of dating" or "on the 3rd date", without any basis in experience with dating and relationships, seems arbitrary. Even in the context of a given relationship, any rule based on time seems arbitrary at best. Can you come up with a standard with such limited experience with relationships? And what sort of inductive evidence might be needed? I've been trying to work out if it is even worth my time to date in my last year of college, because any resultant relationship probably wouldn't last past the end of next summer. Would the (quite probable) "expiration date" for a relationship make it immoral to have sex (since I know I won't be spending my life with them, that they won't be an irreplaceable value at any point in the future, and so on)? I would really like to here what the standard is for it being permissible to have sex with someone, which, I presume, is also the same standard for promiscuity? If you have sex with someone who doesn't meet the standard for sex to be permissible/good (or when you don't know whether or not they meet the standard), does that automatically count as promiscuity, or does promiscuity have other elements as well (like number of partners, or a certain degree of low standards)? I tend to think that even madkat's example of a man who has only three sexual encounters but all of them drunk one-night-stands is promiscuous (even though that is a relatively limited number of partners). To me, promiscuity denotes not having an appropriate standard for who is worthy of sex. And the real question is what that standard actually is.
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