Objectivism Online Forum

# patrik 7-2321

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1. ## Basic Concepts in Physics

Yes! Well put. So how do we do that? I looked in the Principia Mathematica itself and here is Newtons definition of a force: "An impressed force is an action exerted upon a body, in order to change it's state, either of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line." I was thinking that forces can't really be said to exist because they aren't things. But I suppose it is better to regard them as actions. This is what OPAR has to say about actions: And this can be found on the first page of the first chapter in ITOE: (I found a good thread discussing the concept 'Action' here: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...&hl=action) I also asked around on physics chat-rooms and they said that they identify a force whenever something is accelerated, much like I said above. I then asked how they know there is a force acting on a rock lying on the ground since the rock isn't accelerating and I didn't get much of an answer. They also said this, which might be of interest: Which can be taken to mean that the only forces that do exist, are net forces. the rest are theoretical constructs. Take or leave. I have yet to form a worthwhile conclusion on all of this. Grames would you like to elaborate a little more on your definition of force and in what way a force exists?
2. ## Basic Concepts in Physics

I was under the impression that only things can cause. When one billiard-ball strikes another, the reason for the movement of the second one is the first one. (That's Objectivist causation). So how can an abstraction (Force) cause movement? Using Objectivist epistemology, I can come up with this. A concept means it's units - and wherever those units are observed the concept applies to reality. The unit of Force is Newton (N), which in turn means kgm/(s^2). So a force is whenever something with mass accelerates. That is the time when you can properly say you observe in reality the phenomenon which is Force. Have I understood it correctly if I put it like that? I think so. Now if this criterion applies and I observe a force somewhere, how can it be proper to say that I now know the cause of the acceleration? I have merely identified the units of newton, I do not know why the thing accelerated. I just know that it accelerated. I don't know if someone can see my dilemma here. I meant that there is a difference between saying for example how fast or in what direction something is accelerating, and for what reason something is accelerating. Good point. Could someone also comment on the idea that Mass is a measurement of an objects "amount of matter", while it is in fact a measurement of intertia?. My physics textbook jumps between these as if they were the same thing.
3. ## Basic Concepts in Physics

Hi! I'm about to go nuts trying to understand the basic concepts which highschool physics is founded upon. What are these things, exactly? Mass Force Energy Charge Field I'm not looking for the cause or explanation for these phenomena, I just want to understand what books and teachers are saying. Mass as I understand it is a measure of an objects inertia, or resistance to being accelerated. Feel free to correct as you like. The one I have biggest problem with atm. (and perhaps the reason for my confusion on the rest of them) is the concept Force (F). It is said that force is the cause of movement. a "push" or "pull". But if i push a glass on the table next to me (applying OPAR reasoning here) isn't the cause of the glass moving my hand, and not some mysterious force? Second example: If I throw a ball it will fall to the ground. My teacher says the ball falls because of the force of gravity. But isn't force just a way of explaining motion? If that is true then saying that it falls because of the force of gravity is like saying that it falls because it falls. Can a force really be the cause of movement..isn't it just a way of describing movement (or acceleration)? I don't understand how to apply this concept. Could someone help me understand these concepts, and relate them to Objectivist epistemology? That would be great. I bet there are lots of confused students in need of this discussion. I've carefully read OPAR and ITOE so I have some basic understanding of Objectivism.
4. ## Can Objectivism explain sexual attraction?

It is more of a scientific question and I don't think Objectivism should explain it like that. But it seems we can at least limit the answer to conciously chosen ideas being the cause. That's what I was getting at, because that's what it would have to be if the Objectivist theory of emotions is true. And that's interesting because it runs very contrary to common belief. But why would the preferences end up being so equal among people? A biologist would tell you that if a woman is young, looks healthy and happy, has wide hips and big breasts, men would be attracted because she's ready to have kids. The same goes for men. If a man is strong, proud, happy, dominating, has some muscle, then girls will tend to be attracted because those are signs of survival capability. Obviously that's not what happens at a concious level, we just say "Oh, I like him/her because of the way they make me feel." Haha, yeah let's try that. It's bound to hit the news. When I said "Natural Drive" I wasn't talking about something that takes over your rational faculty but just an inclination people have, in the same way most people enjoy fat and sugar for example. Doesn't mean they must eat it uncontrollably. In the virtue of selfishness it says that an animal cannot choose to act for it's own destruction (pg. 20), it can only do whatever it's automatic values are guiding it to. If a certain species of animal commits suicide by reproducing and does so regularly, then it would seem like Ayn Rand is wrong on the role of the automatic pain/pleasure mechanism. Maybe it plays a certain role, in sexuality, that she didn't consider. I'd like to think of sexual attraction as being partly because of our physical pain/pleasure mechanism which we can't control (limiting what we can find attractive), and the direct cause being our chosen value judgements based off of that. Doesn't that make sense? I mean how else would you explain the commonalities in what people like?
5. ## Can Objectivism explain sexual attraction?

Hello all! This is my first post on the forum which I have started to like alot. Without any prior education in philosophy I've done alot of reading ever since the idea of selfishness struck a chord with me. Now I have a comprehensive view of the philosophy. There is one thing I don't understand however, and that is how Objectivism would be able to explain the experience of sexual attraction. The idea is that judgements made by our rational faculty is the cause of emotions, correct? Well growing up I never concluded that a certain type of appearance among girls would be good or bad for me, and then became attracted - with all that goes along with that e.g. the body's almost mechanical reaction and the emotional rollercoaster and what have you. I'm pretty convinced it all started as soon as the girls my age were starting to grow up, and it didn't take a rational evaluation of them. Nowadays there is alot going through my mind whenever I'm with a gorgeous woman such as some nervousness and all that but that's not what I'm talking about. I mean the almost mechanical, automatic respone to attractive women's appearance (and whatever the other senses pick up as well) that gets your heart beating faster, sweat, and basically gets your body ready for sex. That response is caused by something, the only question is what? The only explanation I can come up with is that we, because of evolution, have a natural drive to start procreating as quickly and effectively as possible so as to ensure the genes survival. We are born hard-wired to want certain characteristics in other humans (The opposite sex, usually). But that would mean humans have automatic physiological responses not tied to themselves as the standard but to the genes as the standard of the good, which noone here belives exists. All automatic physiological responses are for the continued survival of the individual animal, you say. Objectivism makes alot of sense on every topic except this one. I can simplify this with one question: Why am I attracted? Thanks for any comments.
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