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Everything posted by Dentist85

  1. It's not that the edge has never been seen; it's that there is no edge. It is pointless to talk of the the universe (or, in other words, "EVERYTHING") as having an edge or boundary because that concept is meant to separate two entities and there is only one universe. I might not be sure what you mean by "finite" and "infinite". I use the term "boundless" in regards to the universe because I thought the term infinite has something to do with TIME. The very definition of "the universe" implies that it is finite. For example, if you could counted/grabbed/whatever EVERYTHING there was, you would have an exact amount of stuff. That finite amount of stuff is the universe. I think a lot of confusion comes from the way in which scientists and philosophers use the term 'universe'. Such as "the universe is expanding".
  2. I recently discussed this with a friend of mine at U of IL. This was his insight, so I can't take credit. To grasp the universe being BOTH finite and boundless is tricky. The universe cannot have boundaries since the concept "boundaries" is used to show where one thing stops and another starts. A great analogy to this is eyesight. Look out your window right now and determine the boundaries of you eyesight. You can't. The reason that you cannot see definite boundaries of your eyesight is because you cannot SEE where you cannot see. Make sense?
  3. As I think more on this topic, I feel it is no longer about finding a yardstick to gauge life, but is becoming a question of that "false" dichotomy you mentioned. It seems that there are situations when this presents itself. A high stress job, for example, can be hazardous to one's health. I am currently attending UIUC and studying in pre-dental. Dentists (and male physicians in general) are known to have an abnormaly high rate of suicide. This reflects the high amount of stress involved with the occupation which, while I know would never lead me to suicide, can have other harmful physiological ramifications. The image that comes to mind is Ayn Rand's own characters. Their fervor for their work is so passionate and inspiring, and at the same time doesn't portray the ideal of eating right or getting one's eight hours of sleep. I feel that these character's zeal is their greatest virtue, but it gives the impression of a conflict with the requirements of mere physical survival.
  4. I'll rephrase it as "how should I measure my life?" I'm not sure if I can make the purpose much clearer... Take another look at the example I provided. That situation presents the essential context, though not exclusive.
  5. I am planning on writing an essay on how one measures life and would appreciate some input. Is a man's life measured simply by the days spent in existence, or is it the substance that is sqeezed into these moments on earth? Is there sometimes a contradiction between what can gratify one's mental well-being and what prolongs life?For example, f someone uses stimulants (coffee, amphetamines), which may be harmful to health, to acomplish more in a day and as a result has a more fulfilled, flourishing life at the expence of a slightly shorter one, has he made a mistake?
  6. Here is the question simplified: Is Rand saying that 'what is proper is the proper life' without first proving the definition of proper? Also, I own much of Rand's non-fiction and also Peikoff's TPOAR if someone can point me to a spot in these. Thanks
  7. In an article "Shrugging Off Ayn Rand" by Michael Prescott, it is said that Rand "begs the question" in the development of her ethics. "Among other things, she equivocates on the key term "life," first using it to mean “that which is required for the organism’s survival,” but later, when human life enters the discussion, using it to mean “the life proper to a rational being.” These two meanings are in no sense equivalent, and the leap from biological survival to rational propriety is in no way justified, leaving the argument fatally undermined. Besides, any talk of “the life proper to a rational being” constitutes question begging, inasmuch as the term “proper” implies a system of moral values – a system for which Rand, at this point in her argument, is still laying the groundwork. To say that morality is founded on what is "proper" is to beg the question, or to argue in a circle.[1] In this essay, as in most of her philosophical writings, Rand reveals herself as something of a dilettante, whose grasp of the points under dispute was too sketchy to allow for the rigorous logical proofs she intended." I was wondering what everyone thought of this and if there is any refutations out there that I could read. I will also consult my logic and reasoning professor. P.S. Being a freshman at the University of Illinois, I am trying to join the Objectivist campus club, which might close this year due to lack of members (in a school of 40,000!).
  8. Dentist85

    What Is Evil?

    I suggest that you read the rest of my quote. The point is that Objectivist morality is standard-based (ie: It is a set of, not rules or commandments, but guidelines to attain a value). This is unlike religious morality which is a set of arbitrary and mostly counter-productive rules to be OBEYED, PERIOD. Objectivist morality is standards to follow IF you want a certain outcome. An example is say I have a high-performance car that requires Premium fuel. If at the gas station I decide that I will use Regular fuel because it is cheaper, I dont think that being told my choice is "EVIL" would convey the same message as if I were told "Hey, it may be cheaper in the short term, but that choice will hurt you in the long-run. It is not a practical standard." Using "EVIL" seems to say dont do this or you will be evil. The reason I dont want to use Regular fuel is not because I dont want to be an evil person, it is because I dont want to ruin my car. means to an end. My point is that by using a guilt-weighted term such as "EVIL", we are making morality an end in itself. It is not. Morality is a means to an end.
  9. Dentist85

    What Is Evil?

    I agree. Why do some objectivists insist upon using the term "evil"? When someone does something like lying or stealing, an objectivist might say something along the lines of, "that is immoral or evil." This terminology is used to convey guilt the same way that "sin" does in christianity. A much more accurate and honest critique is to say that "it is impractical or will hurt you in the long run." So I think that instread of asking what is "evil", you should ask what is impractical or unreasonable. Then the answer becomes more clear, outside the context of weighted terminology.
  10. I agree with fred on this point. I think that (if supply and demand of workers is what determines the wages and if employers hire as many workers as they can afford) unions coaxing the wage higher will only increase the wages of the those with jobs, but an equal amount of unemployment will occur. Take this example: A company can afford a payroll of $100/hr TOTAL. if workers are working for $10/hr, that's 10 jobs. But if a union demands a raise to $20, doesnt that mean that the company can only support now 5 workers? Am I going about this right? The actual situation is more complex, though. Recently (if i have my facts straight) the concrete finisher's union recieved a HUGE raise of $8/ hour. Most of this ($6?) goes into their benifits (which they DO NOT RECIEVE more than 1/2 the time due to inadequate hours/month) . So they really see only $2 more, BUT just as an increase in apple price lowers consumption of apples, this should initiate an unemployment comparitive to the $8 raise, right? I believe that much confusion exists on this subject due to the special name "wage" for the "price of labor"
  11. I'm not sure how strong the labor unions are outside the suburban-Chicago-area where I live, but they are extremely strong here in the building trades. About eight years ago, my parents, owners of a construction and concrete company, were forced into the union. I witnessed thugs slicing truck tires, smashing in windows, and fist-fighting with my dad's workers. All while the businesses that supplied us with materials like concrete were, again, forced to stop dealing with us. We soon gave in and are now union. My question is: How can a union really raise wages without force? ( I know that some might say that they can't because of supply and demand in regards to wages and workers, but I feel that to be over-simplified and untrue in regard to local areas.) I feel like I need a better answer. And also, what are, if any, the benefits of a union (what value can a union actually provide), of course without initiating physical force?
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