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Boydstun last won the day on May 15

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  1. KyaryPamyu, I agree that there are contingent events and formations throughout nature. Aristotle and C.S. Peirce concur with us. Leibniz and Rand/Peikoff dissent. (The Metaphysics chapter in the Blackwell Companion to Ayn Rand tries, without notice, to alter what was the position of Rand/Peikoff in this). I agree that there is real chance in nature. However, I think that most fundamentally the reason nature in its full scenes is rife with contingency is because they consist of independent causal streams criss-crossing, thereby continually resetting "initial conditions" and "boundary conditions" of causal processes unfolding in accordance with deterministic partial differential equations. I have not yet completed my analysis from which the preceding installment on Morton White 1952 is an excerpt. My impression of Peikoff's analysis in his essay that was off the mark was his treatment of the concept of contingency vis-a-vis necessity. He portrays contingency as only something with a consciousness giving rise to it. Thereby, he does not take up what is really important in the contemporary (at his time of writing) attachment of contingency to physical factual statements: their necessity is physical. Is there a qualitative difference between physical necessities and logical or conceptual necessities? Did the Logical Empiricists such as Carnap and Ayer capture the distinction correctly? Is Quine's alternative continuum sufficiently definite and sensible to be taken up as the right alternative? It is fine to say with Rand and Peikoff that the breeze-motions of each leaf on each branch in the woods outside my window, and each of greens they are showing in the morning sunlight and shadow, are necessities of fact. But one should halt as they proceed to proclaim that from the law of identity, such a scene in nature has the character of a law of nature, a deterministic law of nature. Do not pass Go when they say that from the Law of Identity: In a given circumstance, a given thing of nature not under influence of human mind can do only one thing. That claim about potentials does not follow from the Law of Identity, and it is not implied by the fact that only one result, whichever it is, will be actualized in the situation.
  2. Tony, I see that the part you are quoting is from my subsequent elaboration of a point in my essay, and that is why it cannot be found by searching the original post. That elaboration was: Where I speak of "a biological function of rationality", I am only stating a fact of nature. These are traits of individual humans in a statistical way of that species. They can be occasioned partly automatically as in breathing or sleeping or digesting or in reproducing. They can be incidents of occasions of fulfillments of objectives in chosen actions. Someone's post of a video showing how to replace the chain on my chainsaw can be directed to a general anonymous audience. That has been a benefit to me in particular, of benefit to this one particular of the kind Rational Animal. That knowledge goes to various sorts of my utilities, such as design value in the grounds, protection of people and the house from fallen dead timber, and getting wood for the fireplaces for use next winter; and I, like Rand, contend that all of them are auxiliaries of the continuation of human life, including this example of my particular life. But what is this self that is me or the man who made the video or the selves composing the social enterprise who produced this chainsaw? Contra Rand, I deny that we are selves without a pronominal other as part of our most elementary conscious selves. We naturally care for that whole self we are; just as when Aristotle says "all men by nature desire to know." By instruction one can train to block out part of that constitution, and one can be trained to not acknowledge that in one's psyche one is not in presence of other selves or in presence of physical existence—that those are in oneself and part of what makes up oneself. Most any deliberate behavior concerning others that I would commend under caring for rational selves under Resonant Existence, I imagine could be also seen as virtuous in an artificial way under the model (distortion) of oneself most fundamentally alone with reality. (You and I have countered on which is most true and right in an earlier exchange.) Both Rand and Descartes take up that "lone-self-with-reality-beyond-self" picture in setting forth their fundamental metaphysics. (That failing in Descartes was noticed by my professor John Haugeland in one of his books; I should address explicitly sometime this failing in Rand that can arise specifically from writing large the picture in Anthem.) I deny such a picture contains all that is elementary to us. That incomplete picture at the ground floor lands one later in wrongly seeing some situations of choice as rightly decided by the criterion of self-alone utility or other-not in-elementary-self utility. There are indeed situations in which one has to consider what course is in one's self-interest, such as when one receives a summons to report for a physical for induction into the army. But that is not the usual (and better) social situation in which one is living. More regularly, self-interest is part of what is enacted in being an independent thinker and in thinking things through. It is the nature of mature effective rationality to be independent in this sense. Fidelity to that nature is good; it is caring for rational selves, which need not appeal to a self-alone-versus-other and selection of self (e.g. Anthem, Fountainhead, Atlas). That is, independence is good and without taking rational self-alone-interest as one's systematic criterion of what is good. Giving up basic justification of the prima facie goodness of truth-telling to others as being on account that one will otherwise end in not sticking to reality in one's own mind—giving that up—is freeing oneself from a scissored picture of what is one's most fundamental conscious nature. It is better integration, better life of mind, better life of self with other. (Tony, would it be alright with you if I share our exchange on Facebook? And alright that I mention your full name?)
  3. I had looked under III. Executive Immunity in this opinion earlier, but I could not find “Presidential immunity from prosecution for official acts does not exist at all”. Or did you mean that as an inference from other things in the opinion?
  4. Those two arguments are a false dichotomy, and it is false that in order to be justly entitled to property, one has to have earned it. Most property most of us have was earned by our own labor. But children inheriting property from wealthy parents are rightly entitled to it, even though they did nothing to deserve it. (And the fantasy that if the inheritor of wealth does not subsequently act in tending to it as though he or she would have been able to have earned it in the first place, they will lose their inherited wealth in the marketplace (a Rand assertion in her AS, as I recall), is just getting poetic justice mixed up with real-life free markets.) I'm not saying anything against inherited wealth (by will) here; people correctly have a right to give their property to underserving offspring. It is the idea that property is only just (as to having a right to it) if earned that should be dropped. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Rights, Games, and Self-Realization (1988) Introduction / Part 1 - Rights against Personal Injury for Two in Isolation / Part 2 - Imperfect Rights in Land / Part 3 - The Just State / Freedom ---Followup to the preceding 1988 on its method of government funding: here.
  5. What policies of Harris as President do you think more dangerous than Biden's?
  6. This would be an outrage on its own, but in the context of Democrat foot-dragging on the three legitimate reasons to prosecute Trump -- his role in the civil unrest of January 6, 2021; his attempt to interfere in Georgia's election; and his unlawful possession of national security information -- there should be no doubt that, like Trump, they are serious only about getting elected, and not about the good of this country. . . . -- CAV Link to Original The idea that one political party or the other is running the judiciary in this country, with citation of law as only a pretense, is baloney. I'd bet a Coke that when the US Supreme Court gives its decision on Presidential immunity (on crimes in office) after the President's term, it will NOT give blanket immunity, notwithstanding the majority of Justices being Republican and Trump being a Republican (at least officially a Republican). It was not Democratic Senators who failed to convict Trump in the impeachment over his role in January 6 and the lead-up to it, but Republican Senators. And it is mainly due to good defense attorneys that the other three cases against Trump have been delayed—AD should pat them on the back. Federal election felony in the New York case going to the jury next Tuesday is only one of three felonies in view, the other two are New York felonies, and a juror will be able to convict Trump provided he or she judges beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts match the elements of the crime in view of at least one of the three felonies. Turning to OUR upcoming decision, a vote for Trump is a vote for undermining in fact the US Constitution and the democratic republic it makes stand with public support. Hordes of authoritarian haters in fact of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights have flocked to the support of Trump for a second term. Don't be among that movement against equal protection under the law for all and government by the people. At least abstain. Oppose also any Republican candidate who is against legal abortions or contraceptives. I know the Democrats are especially terrible in their indifference to budgets in the red and in the cause of inflation, but for now even that is the lesser failing. I don't know if I'll vote for a presidential candidate, but I'm not voting for Trump, and I urge you also to not vote for him.
  7. Good one. The life expectancy in Castro's Cuba is high, but wealth is low. I'm pretty sure some would prefer Florida if they had a choice, but some would prefer to stay in Cuba and its programs of support for ordinary people. President John F. Kennedy, West Berlin, 26 June 1963:
  8. ET, from the context of that quotation, I don't think "wealth" was intended in the special economic sense of simply goods and resources having economic value. Rather, the more common meaning: riches, a great quantity of valuable material possessions or resources; affluence. I notice that although there are edibles from naturally growing trees (or coconuts on the island), getting the benefit is sometimes easy, but sometimes takes some steps. And so far as I know, humans will not be satisfied with only that much. They would like also a grilled fish, and that will take quite a lot of intelligent steps.
  9. A use of classical chaos (not quantum chaos or quantum regular) in brains, not for free will function (at least in this paper), but for accomplishing perception: How Brains Make Chaos in order to Make Sense of the World (1987) by Skarda and Freeman. Walter Freeman is also the author of How Brains Make Up Their Minds (2000).
  10. Let me elaborate that paragraph even further.
  11. @tadmjones There is something about dreaming I experience, and I was wondering if this is also evident to you in your dreams. It is as though there are two selves involved. One is behind the theater making up storylines, and the other is experiencing the story, being anxious, surprised, and so forth as the story (meandering stories and shifting identities of characters in the stories) unfolds. You mentioned dreams coming from our minds. I mentioned that some things from experience in the preceding waking period show up as material used by the dream maker. Dreams have a deliciousness about them, and when we come awake out of them, it is fun (and often amusing) to exchange dreams with a friend or lover. That much seems a constant with humans over thousands of years, but in old times, people did not seem to have our modern sense that the dream is coming from ourselves. Rather, the dream is a story being created and communicated by something beyond oneself. So I wonder if our first-person experience of dreams is colored by our waking, third-person understanding of dreams and their situation within the daily cycle of life experience. This reminds me of the way we think of our mental selves as being located in our heads, whereas, in old times, if I understand correctly, people thought of their mind-self as being in their heart or in their breath. Separately from all that, I suggest that in comparing one's experience in dreams with experience in waking experience, think about specific dreams you have had and not some widely used general conceptions of what it is like to be in a dream. By the way, I composed a poem that runs together scenes from my actual dreams and from waking life across my past (ending with a very early boyhood memory from waking life). That poem is "Dream to Sleep"* (where of course the sleep by the end and in the title is metaphor for death). My poems themselves have a dream-like quality to them if they are at all narrative. There is something common to our dreaming and some of our waking creative states.
  12. Tad, we are able to put our first-person awareness together with our third-person observation of brain conditions, at least with a little help from our friends. Neuropsychology It is only in the waking state that one has straight awareness of existence, which is sensibly taken as the focal sense of consciousness relative to which all other corners of consciousness are ancillary. Sleeping is necessary to remain sane in the waking state. What Freud call "day residue" is part of the material in our dreams, and one can learn to identify such material from the previous waking period put into a new twist in one's dreams for dreams one is able to remember upon waking. Dreams are in service of good waking awareness, which is directing actions. Possibility of action while asleep is unplugged (specific brain disconnection) normally during sleep for obvious safety advantage. The manifest content of our dreams, by the way, has been shown to be overwhelmingly about social relations. The functions of sleep and dreams continue to be uncovered by scientific research. Not where serious thought is today, though entertaining to the dreamier, lazier set for ages: Descartes. Worthwhile, I'd say: Brain and Psyche (1985) by J. Winson The Dreaming Brain (1988) by J. A. Hobson Dreaming (2015) by J. M. Windt When Animals Dream (2022) by D. M. Pēna-Gutzmán
  13. Where in that Peikoff article did he use Rand's analysis of concepts in terms of measurement-omission? That is, where does Peikoff maintain that the sharp divide of truths between analytic and synthetic is a false divide provided that with the suspension of which particular a particular is when subsumed under a concept is also (Rand's distinctive innovation) a suspension of particular measure value along a dimension(s) common to particulars subsumed under a concept? The following relation of Peikoff's article and Rand's ITOE does not invoke her account of concepts by measurement omission:
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