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Iudicious last won the day on September 27 2014

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About Iudicious

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  1. So, here's my issue with what you linked - and it's the same issue that caused me to speak so rashly with regards to the place of philosophy in scientific issues: all of the quotes on that page discount the notion of something infinite existing in reality and speak of mathematical infinity and the meaning of infinity in the context of mathematics or science - but not a single one of the people quoted has any credentials, training, or education to back up what they're saying. They're talking out of their ass based on their personal experience and beliefs. I think Peikoff and Binswanger and Rand are/were all very intelligent people - but Einstein was a very intelligent person too, and I still wouldn't go to him for his opinions on psychology or ecology or 17th century paintings, because these were outside of his area of expertise. Objectively speaking, there's no solid reason as yet to believe that the universe is finite. There are theories positing a finite, discrete unit of existence, but these theories are not among the "settled" body of science - they are still very much in the works, and we're still working on empirical evidence or a more complete set of theories. We don't actually know if there's a finite amount of mass and energy in the universe. The universe could be infinite, expanding outward to an arbitrary distance and maintaining the same mass density thoughout. It could have a finite volume and a finite mass. It could have infinite volume and finite mass. There are theories that propose all of these things, and because there's no way to fully observe the universe, there's no way as of right now to be certain - we have no empirical evidence or strongly supported mathematical theory that would settle the question right now. Which means, as of right now, there is very real reason to believe that the universe may be infinitely differentiable (i.e. can be broken up into continuously smaller units, infinitely) and that it may contain infinite mass, energy, and/or space. And that besides, infinity isn't just some mathematically useful notion. In the realm of permutations, there really are infinitely many permutations in reality of any number of things. In the realm of scientific theory, infinity is mathematically useful but corresponds to physical realities: for example the notion of a Hilbert space is used extensively in quantum mechanics, and the theory would not be complete without it. It's used extensively in thermodynamics, as well as a number of other physical theories. As for the rest of your question, I'm not sure how to answer - what do you mean when you ask what could be used in place of the concept of infinity as a predicate of the universe? I'm not entirely sure what you're asking.
  2. Based on the discussion thus far, I would agree with your disagreement. I was, beyond any shadow of a doubt, being rather rash when I included that line. That rashness comes from a tendency that I've seen in some places to try to use a great deal of philosophizing to answer questions that require at least some science. There is certainly a great deal of philosophy underpinning science, and to rely on our mode of scientific inquiry to answer any question at all requires a significant philosophical underpinning, whether the scientists carrying out that process of scientific inquiry are aware of that philosophical foundation or not. What I should have said was this: Philosophy alone cannot provide us with an answer to this question - there is good reason to believe that the universe, on a macroscopic scale, may be infinite or finite, and significant evidence and mathematical theory supporting either conclusion, and, furthermore, there is significant evidence supporting the notion that there is a finite, discrete unit at which one cannot meaningfully get smaller (i.e. there are no more fundamental units than some specific set which has not yet been fully discovered). Philosophy, however, certainly plays a part here, and can offer guidance in our lines of inquiry in this question, and certainly there may be philosophical implications of whatever science may eventually ascertain to be the reality of our universe, whether finite or infinite.
  3. That makes sense. I wasn't sure if you asked the question as a criticism of the points I was making, or if it was just a clarifying question. If your set of logical rules is inherently limited to only what is physically possible, then my comment about the "logically possible" and the "physically possible" would not make sense. As it stands, we can conceive of a mathematically logical universe that is infinite and still possesses all or most of the currently observable properties of our universe and fits all or most current empirical evidence. However, by the same token, we can conceive of a mathematically logical universe that is finite and satisfies the same criteria. (Note, when I say "mathematically logical," I don't mean some special case of "logic" - there are multiple logical rulesets that could be laid out by obeying different sets of mathematical axioms, and as far as I understand it, the philosophical study of logic is no different. The two are inherently related.) If we constrain our logical ruleset to necessarily only coinciding with the physical reality of our world, such a ruleset would, as yet, have no answer to the OP's question, just as science does not - because we are limited in our ability to perceive certain things, whether due to the constraints of our instruments or the constraints of reality (e.g. due to the nature of light, there are parts of the universe which could exist without us currently, or ever, actually being able to observe them due to the light of those parts of the universe not having reached our corner of the cosmos). For the reasons behind this, I would point to StrictlyLogical's post above.
  4. If you were struck by the impression that my ideas on this topic are not fully formed, you would be entirely correct. The impression I've gotten from my reading and my discussion with other physicists is that there are theories with some basis that posit what might've existed before the big bang. I do not have a strong foundation of knowledge in higher level physics, so anything I say about the topic should be taken with literally the largest grain of salt you can find, lol. If there were empirical evidence and mathematical theory indicating that there is no way for a discrete unit, a fundamental particle, to exist below the planck length, how would you respond to that? I'm trying to come up with a more immediately intuitive way of looking at our disagreement - is there any way to frame this discussion where, rather than discussing a minimum length, we're discussing something more intuitive where it's easier to see our disagreement? Because I'm not entirely sure at what exact point we're in disagreement here.
  5. Explain what you mean by this? To back up my statement, there are plenty of logical rulesets that could lead to results that don't necessarily have a physical, reality-based interpretation. For example, in mathematics, one could meaningfully work with a spatial coordinate system extending out to 27 coordinates or dimensions - or infinitely many dimensions. That doesn't mean there's a physical interpretation of that based in reality. One could posit any number of logically sound ideas based off of reasonable axioms without having any meaning in reality. I disagree with you on this point. Science is about observations, in part, but it's also about theory and about logic. In fact, a very large portion of theoretical science is not based entirely on observation. Many particles that we're aware of now were predicted by mathematics long before they were ever observable (e.g. the higgs-boson), and some are still not observable. If we were to attain a sound "theory of everything" which fully explained all observations and stood up to all tests, and it predicted no more-fundamental particles than what were already discovered or known of, we would have no reason to expect there to be no more-fundamental particles than we had seen. That isn't to say one wouldn't continually test the theory. I don't think that philosophy is necessary to answer this question. This is a question very firmly based in mathematics and science, and even now we're working on theories that might postulate a finite minimum length (see my first post in this thread, which mentioned one theory/interpretation coming out of quantum mechanics that posits that the planck length is, at the least, within a factor of ten of the "minimum" size of a thing in our universe.) This isn't to say that philosophy doesn't have any place in it, or that philosophical logical can't perhaps offer some guidance. Just that I believe the absolute answer to this question comes down to science.
  6. Be careful what you mean by "logically possible." There are lots of things that are "logically possible" that are not physically possible. This is more of a scientific question than a philosophical question in mind (though, it seems that those who can't do, or don't like, the former often turn to the latter for their answers - just an observation). And as of right now, science doesn't have an absolute and complete answer. Of relevance, you might consider the planck length. It is a base unit of measure derived from the speed of light with an exact mathematical (not numerical) representation. However, the physical significance of it is not known. It is believed in some physical theories derived from quantum mechanics that the planck length is the shortest measurable length, or close to it - but as quantum mechanics is a thoroughly unsettled area of physics, it's not something that's in any way settled. Physics is still trying to settle the question of fundamental particles. I'm not a physicist - I'm somewhat educated in it due to working in a physical chemistry lab, but I don't know nearly enough to give you a full and comprehensive answer. But my understanding is that the prevailing belief in physics is that there is a fundamental set of particles, and presumably a complete "theory of everything" in physics would outline what these fundamental particles are. There's no evidence to indicate or reason to suspect that there isn't a fundamental set of particles, and seeing as everything we've encountered so far is made up of constituent particles up to a point, and the existence of such particles makes a lot of theoretical sense (i.e. the existence of such particles jives well with the mathematics and the empirical evidence so far as we've been able to deduce and measure), we have reason to believe that there is a fundamental set of particles. Similarly, at the macro level, we also do not know if there is a finite quantity of matter. This discussion on the physics stackexchange has some interesting information. My impression is that this is a question that we think it is likely we'll be able to answer at some point in the future, but it is not currently answerable. On a side note, I see no reason to think this question or the concepts involved are "incomprehensible." I'd reiterate that I don't think this is really a philosophical question - there are well defined lines of scientific inquiry which may provide some answers to this question, and the scientific community - as it appears to me - certainly has some ideas about how to study the question and come to a definitive answer. I'd also be very careful of your opening statement: What do you mean by "universe"? Scientifically, we have no absolute idea about what happened before the big bang. Some theories posit some notions of what might have come before the big bang based on various sets of empirical evidence or mathematical theory. There may indeed be something which is eternal and has always existed, but by no means is that necessarily our universe as we conventionally think of it (constituting all matter and energy).
  7. The best way to discover a passion, I've found, is to be open to new things. Try as many new things as possible, even things that sound strange to you or that you might not normally be inclined to try. When you find a few things you like, stick with those things, try harder, get good at them. Passions aren't found by introspection. They simply aren't. A passion is fundamentally an interaction between your values, your ego, and the outside world. The only way to discover a passion is by doing. And often times, it takes people a lot of time. I know many people who discovered their passion in high school. I did not. I only found mine once I was in college, and only then after being in college for a couple of years. I know people who've been in college as long as I have, and they still haven't found their passion. There's no harm in reading more about philosophy - and if it's something you enjoy, I'd definitely recommend that you explore the full breadth of the field, not just Rand's work, but all who came before and after her - but if you don't think that's your passion, there's no lecture, technique, or philosophy or self-help book that is going to get you closer to your passion than simply finding new things and trying them. Start simple. Take electives in school that sound interesting to you. Do things in your daily life that are different for you - e.g. cook for yourself, go exercising, visit a park, go to a show. Find books on topics you don't know anything about and read. If you have a topic in mind that seems particularly interesting to you, find a journal on it. Nature Magazine, a very well respected journal in the sciences, has a massive collection of different publications for different fields. If you find a field that is of particular interest to you, see if you can pick up some old issues or find some articles online from the publication that's in the field that interests you - read the articles, take note of things you don't understand or want to learn more about, and educate yourself. http://www.nature.com/siteindex/index.html Good luck.
  8. Which is fantastic, except my point was a bit more nuanced than that. My point was that, people have a limited amount of energy and willpower that they can exert in a day. Human beings are not limitless reservoirs of energy. So it would really suck to have to exclusively rely on entertainment that requires significant mental accompaniment. E.G. In my absolute downtime - the time I'm not spending at my schoolwork or my job or pursuing my hobbies - I'm going to watch Supernatural, not a lecture on quantum physics. Because I don't want to have to work hard to get my entertainment at that point. In fact, if I DID pursue entertainment that required a significant amount of exertion to enjoy (at that point in time, i.e. in lieu of enjoying a simple show like Supernatural or a talk show), I would have to then spend less time and energy on things that matter to me, like my job, my schoolwork, or my hobbies.
  9. You missed the point. More points, being missed. Maybe you should quote the posts, because I certainly don't remember painting that picture. Based on your previous sentence, you seem to think that I disagree. I don't. Perhaps I was a bit unclear with the way I explained myself. Free time isn't the only component here. My point was that the OP was disparaging the existence of easily accessible, high payoff entertainment - entertainment that doesn't require significant foreknowledge, and is usually humorous, short, or otherwise easily digestible. This type of entertainment exists because people don't always want to spend their time on the alternative. Say I spend a large part of my day working in some career that's relevant to me. Then I come home and I put some time into my hobbies - perhaps watching videos that do have a high cost of entry. Things like lectures on plant science, which would require foreknowledge of plants. Or appreciating art of a certain time period - which requires specific foreknowledge of art and history in order to appreciate fully and to derive a full payoff from, and so has a high cost of entry. I'm not going to finish doing all of that, and then want to watch even more entertainment that has a high cost of entry with the remainder of my free time. People have a limited amount of willpower and energy in a day, and if they use it on their jobs and their passions, they're naturally not going to want all of the rest of their entertainment to also have a high cost of entry. It makes no sense. If I spent my time doing the aforementioned things - watching science lectures or appreciating specific arts, both of which require foreknowledge - I'm certainly not going to want to spend the rest of my leisure time appreciating something else that requires gathering a significant amount of foreknowledge and putting a high quality of thought into in order to enjoy. Why would I? I've done plenty of that for the day - I want to just relax now. The situation I'm describing is the kind of situation a lot of people have. Everyone has interests, but everyone also has different interests. Content with a low barrier to entry, however, is almost universal - at some point, everyone wants a little bit of that kind of entertainment. As a result, that kind of content is going to necessarily have more viewers and more existing content. There's nothing ominous or psychological about it - it's simply that low-cost entertainment is something everyone wants a little of, while high-cost entertainment is something that everyone wants, but in great variety (e.g. various kinds of art, various kinds of sciences, et cetera) so there is no single kind of high-cost entertainment that's going to get a huge number of views or a huge amount of content by comparison to low cost entertainment. So to recap, the issue here isn't just free time. In fact, it's hardly free time. For most people, "instant accessibility" isn't the only criteria - it's simply that "instantly accessible" content is something that everyone wants at some point while the other kind of entertainment is a lot more varied, and so has, on an individual basis, fewer viewers and thus less content than the "instantly accessible" kind of content. It's also usually harder to produce, and therefore necessarily lower in supply. I never implied that only people who don't work hard can enjoy high brow entertainment - I'm fairly sure I implied the opposite actually: that most people enjoy high brow entertainment, but because it takes work to do so, most people also want to enjoy the occasional low brow, easily accessible entertainment.
  10. Do you think it's secondhanded or unoriginal to build off of the work of another? The fact is, throughout all of history, art, science, engineering, and everything in between has built off of what has come before. The fact that something references another work, or even that something samples from another work, does not mean it's unoriginal, secondhanded, or undeserving of praise. It is new content - and should be judged on its own merits. There are certain works that are entirely "derivative" - and those works should be called out as such, and often are. But if what you're creating is significantly different from what has come before it, it can and should stand and be judged on it's own merits - even knowing that it references or builds upon what has come before it. There really is no other way to do things. And again, keep in mind the cost barrier and payoff of various forms of entertainment. You're saying you'd like to see more things that actually leave an impact on you - well, there's tons of that out there. I have some VERY niche interests (modern Irish folk music, anyone?) and yet I still find wholly original work all the time. But the reason that "cheap" entertainment exists is because EVERYONE has interests like that - everyone has some passion or other that they pursue, and that it wouldn't be worthwhile for anyone else to pursue unless they themselves had a passion. Everyone has work that they do day in and day out. Everyone has things that they spend significant amounts of time and value on. So most people want some form of entertainment available to them that has a low barrier to entry and a high payoff, because that's the kind of entertainment that people can relax with when they're not involved in their various works or passions. Because most people want at least some of that low-cost, high-payoff entertainment, there's a lot more of it to go around. If you feel like there's not enough "juicy" content out there, then perhaps the issue isn't the content. Perhaps you haven't narrowed your own interests down enough, or you haven't looked hard enough.
  11. Alright. I would certainly agree with the above poster on his point. There are some sites, such as Buzzfeed, that really do just leech off of existing content for their existence. Content aggregators like that that simply exist to get ad revenue using other people's products (in almost all cases without their permission) are more or less gutter slime. The original poster did not mention that kind of "parasitism" however, so I did not respond to it. Thank you for bringing up that point, Dormin111
  12. Hey, good on you VECT for making that decision. In my opinion, you're making the right one - the first step to breeding a critical mind is teaching that mind to question. Reasoning is a skill that has to be learned, and it takes a long time and it requires a much more mature brain. But questioning is something even a kid can do, and encouraging her now is the best thing you can do for her.
  13. All of the quotes below are from the OP, CptnChan Consider a couple things here: 1. I'm not actually sure that you're correct that these are more prolific than people who create "new" content. 2. Critics, reviewers, and game-streamers are delivering an actual product/service. They are content creators. The fact that you don't like their content doesn't actually mean anything - they are delivering value to someone. Except you're wrong here. That streamer is delivering content. People watch his channel, as opposed to other channels, because they enjoy watching him play, they enjoy listening to him talk as he plays, they enjoy the content he has created. What he has created is separate from the game he is playing - and it is content that clearly a lot of people enjoy. Just because you don't like it, does not mean it is not content or that value has not been created. I personally enjoy watching game streams. I've done it a lot lately, in fact, because I don't have time to play a lot of video games, but it's quite fun to watch them being played while I do my work. When I was a kid, I used to watch my friends play games more than I played them myself - that was enjoyable for me. That's how it is for a lot of people. So these game streamers are creating content, both by doing what they're doing, and by adding value in the form of the commentary and such that they add to their streams and their videos. No, but judging by the rest of your post, you sure would like it to. These reaction videos get millions of views usually because they're funny or because the people involved have personalities that people enjoy listening to or watching. It's literally the same thing as morning talk shows. People tune in because the reactions are funny, the conversations are interesting, and the personalities are fun to listen to/watch. This type of entertainment is highly accessible. It doesn't require a lot of time - so there's a low barrier to entry, a low up front cost - and it's usually humorous, entertaining, enlightening, easily understandable, et cetera, so a high amount of value is obtained from it. The fact that you characterize this kind of entertainment as having nothing of interesting and contributing nothing doesn't make it so - it could very well be that you've seen a few videos and simply generalized. Keep in mind here - if value was not being gained by watching the videos, they would not be getting watched so much. People are mostly rational actors, if simplistic ones. Viewers tend to go for entertainment that has a low barrier of entry, and a high payoff. Which explains your next contention: Historically, art has a high barrier of entry. It takes a lot of work to get into it. This isn't a new phenomena - it's ages old. Did you ever learn about Shakespeare? One of the reasons we discuss Shakespeare still today is because he wrote plays that were easily accessible to the general public. Low barrier of entry, with a fair amount of very low brow wit - some of it was frankly even slapstick. So, low barrier of entry, high entertainment value. That is how it has always been. The most complex art historically has been reserved mostly for nobles, the rich, the clergy, and various other people who had the time and money to kill to appreciate it, while lower entertainment was preferred by the masses - because it had a low barrier of entry, and a high payoff. This doesn't mean that one is better than the other, nor does it indicate anything particular about people. The fact is, everyone has their passions and their interests - and outside of their passions and interests, they're not likely to invest a whole lot of time into something. Why would you expect a creative work of art to have millions of views? Of course it wouldn't. Because the ONLY people who gain something from it are people who are passionate about art in the first place - so people who are passionate about, say, plants or math (me!) would spend hours on plant videos, but they wouldn't spend hours on creative, artistic videos - rather, I'd be likely to watch a low brow video that has a high entertainment pay off and a low barrier to entry, or else spend my time on the things I actually care about. The reason most people don't care is because you're stating the blatantly obvious. What you've said amounts to this: People, in general, won't put in the time and energy to understand and appreciate things that they don't have any previously existing interest in, and would rather enjoy something that doesn't demand so much of them. This is obvious. Why would people - the majority of whom have working lives, passions, interests, and goals which they are already putting a significant amount of time into - spend extra time on something that isn't their interest? Just because you think something artistic on youtube is worthwhile doesn't mean others will. Yeah, a lot of work went into it - and that work pays off to the people who have an existing interest in it. But for everyone else, there's just a high barrier of entry and something that's demanding a lot more time from them than they have to be spending, for a minimal payoff. Nobody is living off of other people's content. You're creating an issue where none exists. Just because you don't like some content, doesn't mean that the people who made that content are parasites. Beyond ALL of that, consider this: https://www.youtube.com/user/1veritasium https://www.youtube.com/user/AsapSCIENCE https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=DIY https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCduKuJToxWPizJ7I2E6n1kA This is just a very small sampling of original content on youtube with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views. Your notion that people aren't paying attention to original content is patently wrong - they're just not paying attention to the content you care about. Which makes sense. You pay attention to that content because it's of value to you, so the barrier to entry isn't a big deal. But for people who have no interest in it? The barrier to entry IS a big deal, so they're naturally gonna pay attention to things that either A. are of interest to them or B. have a low barrier to entry (cat videos, reaction videos, et cetera)
  14. Is it cool with you to teach her philosophy if it's not your philosophy? The guy's been talking about teaching her his ideas of government. Would he be alright with someone else teaching her their ideas of government as if their ideas were the right ones? She's in sixth grade. It would be very easy to convince her of his ideas without her gaining any actual insight. He wouldn't be "teaching" her anything - because she wouldn't be learning, she'd just be implicitly accepting. Which, as I pointed out, is no better than implicitly accepting any other ideas. It would be far better for her to learn to think and question things than to just be taught his ideas of government and what not.
  15. My vote is to let her figure things out on her own. You try to spoon feed her your ideas now, and all you get is a child grown up to mimic your ideas, instead of someone else's. Provide incentive to question things and learn more about them on her own - don't look for ways to teach her your principles. Live a good life and raise her in a healthy environment, and encourage her to explore. Teach by setting a good example, not by spouting principles she'd hardly be able to understand. If you feed her your ideas now, you're just brainwashing her - it may seem preferable for her to implicitly accept your ideas over implicitly accepting someone else's, but having a daughter who thinks for herself and never implicitly accepts any ideas is preferable to either of those things.
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