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Quantum Mechanic

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  • Real Name
    Ryan Hamilton
  • School or University
    University of Calgary
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    Student of Mathematics and Philosophy

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  1. For those that may have noticed, the spread between 2 lines is simply the square of the sine of the angle between them. So as y_feldblum states, classical trig is using rational trig implicitly. Oh and Franklin, your response is one of the most unscientific and intellectually dishonest things I've ever read. Read the first chapter before making such jaw-dropping [ingly inccorect] comments.
  2. John Conway, a brilliant mathematician based out of Princeton, has forwarded a theory that free will is a consequence of quantum uncertainty. Doesn't make it a correct theory mind you, but interesting and topical nonetheless.
  3. According to Wildberger, one doesn't need more than high school math to understand the rest of his book. But keep in mind mathematicians have a terrible habit of thinking they are clearer at explaining things than they actually are. I recommend strong algebraic skills, and at least a basic understanding in mathematical logic and proof writing. Along with a little faith (ie, accepting a proof as true when you don't really understand it), you should be able to get through no problem. And some chapters are quite unrelated to others (for instance, there's a chapter on calculating things like volumes in complex physical systems, and another devoted to projective goemetry), so one is able to skip over much of the material the first time through. Well worth the rather pricey $80. Regards QM
  4. No, it's quite a bit deeper than that. These concepts of spread and quadrance aren't terribly interesting in normal Euclidean space. But when you apply them to completely arbitrary fields and vector spaces, some very powerful results follow. This generalization is called "universal geometry" and is the main subject of Wildberger's book. The first chapter is merely an introduction to rational trig, and is not to be understood as the point of the book.
  5. Hello all. It's been a while since I've posted here, but I just came across this thread. I'm currently presenting a 4-part introduction to Rational Trig for my senior level Seminar Course in pure mathematicis. For those even a little interested in this stuff, let me tell you it has the potential to completely revolutionize the way we think about geometry. For those that have dabbled in the higher level maths (in particular geometry), they have no doubt come into the grandiose question of axiomatics, initially proposed by Hilbert. Wildberger makes some very controversial claims about these axiomatics, but it is my belief that he has potentially developed the framework to settle this debate once and for all. Specifically, I am interested in the application of this so-called 'Universal' geometry to projective geometry and field theory. It really is a pleasure to learn about, and I highly recommend it! I'm even thinking of a Master's thesis proposal related to the subject. Best regards, QM
  6. Perhaps a Canadian's perspective would be good. People in Canada are pragmatic. In general they don't view universal healthcare as an absolutely essential pillar of the Canadian lifestyle. Only the politicians accept such dogma, and most people in Canada are too cynical to pay attention to politicians. What Canadians do observe is the American healthcare system. Rest assured, the common view is that the American system is mostly private. People read about HMOs in the news and get the idea (correctly) that the American system is bad. Since they view the American system as private, they name private as the cause of the badness. This is, of course, silly, but hardly the fault of the average Canadian. The quasi-socialist politicians take advantage of this common view and proclaim such things as "under the Conservative platform, you either get rich, or don't get sick" etc... This scares the average Canadian, and they conclude that private medicine is a bad idea that should be ignored. So listen up Americans! Make a private system that works so I don't have to continuously argue with my silly Canadian kin.
  7. He's obviously smitten with his new love interest. That's fine. I don't care. What DOES bother me is his public denounciation of psychiatry. The effects of certain chemical imbalances on the brain and the corresponding medical treatments have been shown in medical science time and time again. Maybe once he completes half a decade of med school I could take his opinions on the matter seriously.
  8. I saw the two episodes of House a few weeks ago (back to back episodes). The first "Housism" he quipped rendered me a House addict. This show is outstanding. Never have I seen a show where the role of reason is so prominent. The acting and writing is superb and the dialogue is some of the cheeckiest stuff I've ever come across. The combines the best elements of a comedy and a drama and in my opinion is the best show I've seen on television in half a decade. Highly recommended! Fortunately I don't need Rand's approval to enjoy sarcasm!
  9. I agree with Source. I found the movie atrocious and I'm a sci fi fanatic. It was the first film in a long while I actually felt like walking out of. Everytime dialogue took place between Padme and Anakin, or Anakin and Palpatine, I felt like chomping down on the popcorn kernels in my lap. The action and CGI were top notch as always, but I just wish for once that Lucas would hire a real script writer.
  10. If someone is caught with drugs, it does not follow that representatives of the law are morally justified in destroying his property.
  11. Interesting movie review! But I gotta go with Occams Razor here. Do you think the writers and producers of this movie had these themes in mind, or do you think they attempted to milk a mediocre franchise from the 70s and the very mediocre acting talents of Rock? I found the movie dull, uninspired, absurdist, and downright silly (ie the scene where the local baddes shoot up the local Sherrif station). And what was with the Rock's character completely destroying that guy's truck because he suspected criminal activity? If I want to see the indestructability of the Good, I'll watch LoTR. Cheers
  12. Thanks for the replies. I will start sorting through the critiques of the critique and reread all the Objecticanon on ethics.
  13. Here is a relatively famous article critiquing Rand's ethical theory: http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/rand5.htm Has anyone here read it? When I first starting learning about Oism a few years back, an associate told me to take a look at it. Back then, I wasn't really into philosophy and consequently couldn't understand it very well. But now that I've gone back a lot of the article seems pretty damning. The author strictly uses extractions from the essay "The Objectivist Ethics." Here is his interpretation fo Rand's argument: 1. Rand's Argument: Rand's argument seems to be as follows. I enclose in parentheses required implicit premises that I have introduced. The right-most column gives page and paragraph citations for where Rand says these things (15,6=page 15, 6th paragraph from the top).(1) Major conclusions are marked by asterisks. 1. Value is agent-relative; things can only be valuable for particular entities. premise 15,6 2. Something is valuable to an entity, only if the entity faces alternatives. premise 15,6 3. No non-living things face any alternatives. premise 15,7 4. Therefore, values exist only for living things. from 1,2,3 16,1; 16,3 5. Anything an entity acts to gain or keep is a value for that entity. premise 15,6 6. Every living thing acts to maintain its life, for its own sake. premise 16,3 (7. There is no other thing that they act to gain or keep for its own sake.) implicit premise 8. Therefore, its own life, and nothing else, is valuable for its own sake, for any living thing. from 5,6,7 17,1; 17,2 9. Therefore, life and nothing else is valuable for its own sake. from 4,8 17,3 (10. Everyone should always do whatever promotes what is valuable for himself.) implicit premise *11. Therefore, everyone should always do whatever promotes his own life. from 8,10 passim, 17,4; 22,3; 25,2; 25,4(2) 12. A person can live only if he is rational. premise 23,4; 19-23 passim *13. Therefore, everyone should be 100% rational. from 11,12 23,4; 25,7; 25-26 The next section of the article first critiques this argument alone. Here are the strong objections from that section: Objection (vii): This is probably the most egregious error. Premise 10 begs the question. Rand claimed to have an argument, a proof even, for ethical egoism. Yet 10 is one of the required premises of that 'proof'--and 10 essentially just is ethical egoism! Some will dispute that this is really one of her premises. The reason I say it is is that without 10, the subsequent steps 11 and 13 do not follow. All Rand established up to that point, even if we ignore all the above objections, was that there is one and only one thing that is good for you, and that is your life. But obviously it does not follow that you should only serve your life unless we assume that you should only serve what is good for you. So, if 10 is not included as a premise, then Rand simply has a non sequitur. Obviously, someone who held a non-egoistic theory--an altruist, say--would respond to the news of 8 and 9 (assuming Rand had demonstrated them) by saying: "Ah, so therefore, we should promote all life" or, "I see, so that means I should serve everyone's life. Thank you, Miss Rand; I previously thought I should serve other people's pleasure or desires (or whatever), because I thought that was what was good for them. But now that you've convinced me that life is the sole intrinsic value, I see that it was their life that I should have been serving all along." What argument has Rand given against the altruist, then? None. Objection (viii): Either 12 is false, or the inference to 13 rests on equivocation. Rand explains that reason is our basic tool of survival. If her thesis is that any person who is not 100% rational, all the time, will die, then she certainly needs to provide argument for that. There seem to be lots of counter-examples, many of them pointed out by Rand herself. If her thesis is something weaker, such as that any person who is not by and large rational will probably die, then 12 is plausible. But 13 does not follow. All that would follow would be, e.g., that one should be by and large rational. Here is another intersection on 'Man Qua Man' 5. Man qua man and fudge words Some time after getting to step 9 in her argument (as described in section 1 above), Rand introduces the idea of "the life of man qua man" (hereafter, MQM). She informs the reader that when she says a person should promote his own life, she means life MQM, which means the sort of life proper to a rational being. She tries to use this to explain why, despite the truth of egoism, you still shouldn't live off of the productive work of others by stealing--that's not the sort of life proper to a rational human being. Let's distinguish, then, between life qua existence (hereafter, LQE) and MQM. LQE means simply one's continued literal survival--i.e., life in the sense of not being dead (what everyone else means by "life"). MQM is something more than that--the kind of life proper to a rational being. The first problem is that Rand's shift in the argument from LQE to MQM is illegitimate. It is an equivocation: If "life" in the argument means LQE, then Rand cannot switch over to MQM as her standard of value and claim that she gave an argument for it; she only gave an argument for LQE. On the other hand, if we assume "life" means MQM throughout the argument, then the premises preceding step 11 that mention life or living are all false: 3 will be false, because many entities that do not possess life MQM face alternatives. 4 is false similarly. 6 is false, because most living things do not have MQM life. Moreover, it is clear that Rand meant LQE, since she starts off the argument by saying the only fundamental alternative is that of existence or non-existence. The second problem is that Rand has given no criterion for what counts as 'proper to a rational being.' I consider three possibilities: (a) Suppose that we try to use something other than life as our criterion for what is rational. In that case, we would have to abandon her claims 8 and 9. Furthermore, she has in fact provided no such criterion. ( Suppose we try to use LQE as our criterion. Then MQM collapses into LQE, and it cannot be used in the way Rand wants, to explain why some forms of physical survival are undesirable. © Suppose we try to use MQM as our criterion. Then we have a circular criterion, because Rand hasn't told us what "MQM" means, except that it means the sort of life proper to a rational being. Rand makes a number of claims about what is or isn't rational, but they are simply arbitrary declarations in the absence of a criterion of the rational, and an explanation of how that criterion follows from her initial argument discussed in section 1. In many cases, her claims about what is 'rational' are intuitively plausible, but in no case do they follow from that argument. The upshot is that Rand can and does use "man qua man" and "rational" as fudge words: words that can be interpreted to mean whatever it is convenient for them to mean at a particular time. Words that can be used to insulate her thesis from testing and to enable her to claim that her theory supports, or doesn't support, anything; since there is no precise and unambiguous definition of these terms. I'll stop posting excerpts here. The article is a LOT longer and I invite any of you to read more than just what I posted. Overall it seems to be a decent critique. Aside from some of the more common attacks on ethical egoism in general (claiming that EE allows individuals to murder and torture and whatnot), there seems to be some good arguments. Honestly I'm not confident enough in my knowledge of Objectivism to take on some of these arguments. What are your thoughts?
  14. Less people killed than in KB. But the ways they were killed were MUCH more disturbing.
  15. I went to see it with no delusions about its philosophy (though I was fairly impressed with Bruce Willis' character). Consequently, I loved it. The cinematagraphy was spot-on. The characters were entertaining and well-developed. The story was enthralling. It was perfect plot-driven storytelling, IMHO. But definitely NOT for the faint of heart. It was by far the goriest and most disturbing film I've ever seen. I don't know if I liked it in spite of or because of this quality.
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