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About dougclayton

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    Douglas Clayton
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  1. You are right that everyone is better off living in a free capitalist country, but it is not true that "improving society" is the altruist point of view. If that were the case, they would have adopted capitalism a long time ago. I know that's what they pay lip service to, but that isn't what they are actually after.
  2. Yes, that is what the stolen concept fallacy is. That is why Rand called it "assuming that which you are attempting to disprove." Also, I can't speak for Dave, but I believe that he means (my words inserted): In other words, in reductio ad absurdum, you start with the claim and show how it logically contradicts an independently known truth. In the stolen concept fallacy, you rely on concepts derived from the stolen concept as a means of denying it. There is no "assume that..." step, and no "but this contradicts what we already know" conclusion. To take the classic example of "prope
  3. That's funny, that was going to be my question. One warning: if you are planning to get statistical-grade results, and your features suggest you are, forget about Rnd (and pretty much any other standard VB functions). They're terrible.
  4. You know, I'd wager that Jennifer knows how to compute the percentage change in some variable. I don't think that's what she was asking.
  5. While I'm glad to see you do plan to develop one single feature at a time, it seems as if you have misunderstood parts of my post. I wasn't intending to offend. I was happy to reply, otherwise I wouldn't have, either. I like talking about things like this, particularly to someone as excited as you. I said critiquing your specific feature list would be a waste of time because 1) you won't get to most of those features for a long time if you are truly developing incrementally, so criticism would be premature, and 2) I'm not an author anyway, so my opinion on the relevance to writing a
  6. It would be a waste of our time and inappropriate for this forum for me to critique your feature list, so let me offer some general advice. (My qualification: I have been developing software for over 10 years.) Your feature list, not counting the plugins, would require at least 10 years's development for a single experienced developer. Since I don't think you want to wait that long before you have something useful, I'd like to suggest a different approach than laying out all the features you want: Incremental development Figure out what is the absolute bare minimum you need to develop
  7. It states an aspect of reality that is implicit in the nature of being conscious. Its utility is therefore in making this heretofore implicit truth explicit, so you can deliberately avoid contradicting it. And although it is implicit in every statement ever made by anyone, it nonetheless deserves an explicit formulation, which cannot be condemned because it is "obvious." In truth, I am not sure what your point is. You don't seem to be saying that nothing exists, so why are you so convinced that "something exists" is meaningless? You imply that the claim that "nothing exists" is wrong, so
  8. Could you explain to me what it means to base an argument on a definition that is circular and makes the argument unquestionable?
  9. I suspect you may not know what the term "blank slate" refers to. In trying to explicate to myself what was wrong with your conclusion, I came up with the following analogy. Consider the term "blank film" instead of "blank slate." In saying that we are born "blank film," we mean that the film is unexposed; it has no images or content on it. However, this does not mean that all film is alike. You can get very high quality film that will reproduce images with near-perfect fidelity (which you can use to take pictures of worthy scenes or random garbage, as you wish). You can also get cheap f
  10. (Caveat: I am not a professional philosophical historian. I don't even watch them on TV.) Executive summary: he said primarily that we cannot possibly know causation, but it follows pretty quickly for him and his followers that it doesn't exist. It has been over a decade since I read Hume, so I decided to check my claim. I don't have any primary sources by Hume handy, so I will have to do with a web search. From wikipedia, which I am quoting because 1) it tends to be most accurate when it summarizes a school of thought, rather than asserting whether that school is correct, and 2) the autho
  11. Well, I have to say, David, that your familiarity with formal logic is both appealing and distracting: it's good to see someone who is clearly knowledgeable enough not to throw out the baby (formal notation and rigor) with the bathwater (the philosophy behind modern formal logic). On the other hand, it can be hard to read to someone whose last use of this was in college a decade ago. So let me try to translate: Given that you talk about a universally quantified proposition, I would expect you to refer to deriving: for all x, P(x) is true Granted the upside-down A is hard to do in
  12. I believe that is his fundamental objection, yes: that in perceiving A do some action B, one only sees what could have been one way--one does not perceive any "necessity" about it anywhere. Thus, since things can be some way without necessarily being that way, one cannot say how they will be in the next instant. Thus he really attacked causality, like you say, and not induction per se.
  13. But "testing it for every single n" is exactly what a proof by induction does not do. That would mean, for the claim that 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n-1) = n^2, you would have to compute the sum of all odd integers from 1 to 2n-1 and see that the computation was equal to n^2, for every single n. In a proof by induction, you do this just once, for the base case. The equation is shown to be true for every n, but it is not tested for each n. I hate to contradict you again, but this is what science does when it uses induction--only it no more looks at "each bird" than a mathematician evaluates th
  14. Boy, there's nothing like posting something to a public forum for making you questions your assumptions. In particular, both my examples were the application of wider principles to a specific context (algebraic manipulation in one and Newtonian mechanics in the other). Thus I can see how they could be called deductive, rather than inductive. The truly inductive conclusions would be, say, the Newtonian mechanics in the first place. I still welcome feedback, but I will have to think more about this.
  15. You know, that's something I've been wondering about lately. I used to be bothered by the term "induction" used for the mathematical method of proof that consists of the following steps: 1. Show something is true for a base case (say, n = A). 2. Show that if something is true for n, then it is also true for n+1. 3. By extension, since it is true for A, A+1, A+1+1, etc, it is true for all n >= A. But the more I think about it, the more I think there is fair cause for calling that induction. Specifically, the essential aspect of the proof is step 2: showing that the truth for n+1 foll
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