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Boydstun

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  1. Tony, I wanted to make sure that you saw the second link in this quoted post. The US response to the 1957-58 outbreak, the stats, and the economic impact is interesting to compare with what is being done now here. Here is what one needs for self-defense against Covid 19. I'm pleased to see your exchange with E has come to the larger question, also, of evaluation of government policy in terms of the proper functions of government. I do think it is proper that government be engaged in tort actions, not only criminal and contract actions. That would mean engagement in protection of people against accidental harms from other people in the government's region of jurisdiction. So I'd start from there and then on to specific methods of providing this interpersonal protection by proper government in the current virus contagion.
  2. I’d like to record a link telling the remarkable life of my first philosophy professor Francis J. Kovach. I relayed in the course of my paper the way of Thomas Aquinas on the situation of transcendentals (such as unity, truth, goodness, and beauty) with being. At the time I wrote that (2013), I was not yet aware of a book by Jan A. Aertsen titled Medieval Philosophy as Transcendental Thought (2012). This book has since become a tremendous help to me in better understanding the history of medieval metaphysics (Arabic and Latin) in its developments from Aristotle and the relation of medieval thought to early modern philosophy, including the transcendental idealism of Kant.
  3. Doug, Those two definitions of sacrifice are the second and third definitions in my American Heritage Dictionary. That is to say, both are correct as far as usage of the term is concerned. So I’d suggest that when one is using the term addressing a general audience, it would be good to have crisp way of expressing which of those one means. Taking up the meaning (the second) in Galt’s speech and supposing it is what everyone else understands by the term is a mistake for getting the specific target one is shooting at in common view. The first definition of the term in my dictionary is: The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage; especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or person for this purpose. Abraham prepares to kill his son as a sacrificial offering to God because he holds God even more dear than his son. It is not only sacrifice of a higher value to a lower one that is irrational. That the well-being of the society should be valued by oneself over the well-being of oneself has to be shown to be irrational, and thereby come to be seen as a wrong priority. Then too, rationality as virtue in all things needs showing today as ever, as against virtue of its suspension..
  4. For Autocrats, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power Selam Gebrekidan in NYT 3/30/20 “Leaders around the world have passed emergency decrees and legislation expanding their reach during the pandemic. Will they ever relinquish them? “In Hungary, the prime minister can now rule by decree. In Britain, ministers have what a critic called ‘eye-watering’ power to detain people and close borders. Israel’s prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens. Chile has sent the military to public squares once occupied by protesters. Bolivia has postponed elections. . . . “Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha of Thailand has assumed the authority to impose curfews and censor the news media. Journalists there have been sued and intimidated for criticizing the government’s response to the outbreak. . . .
  5. This study estimates about 81,000 deaths in the US from Covid 19 over the next four months. Hopefully, we'll all be around to see how close the author got in this prediction. And hopefully not near so many. As of this morning, about 2,200 have died in the US.* http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/research_articles/2020/covid_paper_MEDRXIV-2020-043752v1-Murray.pdf
  6. One thing that has struck me about the social impact of this outbreak is how much the character of the social response is altered by the advance in communications technology. In 1957-58 there was the pandemic of the H2N2 virus. I was only nine and didn’t retain much memory of it. According to the CDC note linked below, it killed about 116,000 people in the USA. That is twice the number of Americans killed in Vietnam. The population of the US in 1957 was about 172 million, whereas today it’s about 330 million. So percentage-wise, it would today be as if about 200,000 Americans were killed. I attach also a study I found on the US response to that pandemic. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1957-1958-pandemic.html https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/bsp.2009.0729
  7. (Also Akhnaten's hymn to the sun in the opera by Glass.) One natural sequence would be to begin with a sunrise and end with a sunset. In my poem, I wanted to lay first the simple passage of time in inanimate matter, then end with the dwelling of time by living things, especially mind. So I begin with the setting of the sun and that simple inanimate passage of time. Second line, to the human world with the stilling of working hands and going to sleep in night. Third line, with those of us who rise and resume before sunrise to the birds singing to the coming of the sun. Fourth line, the working (intellectual lights in my case) day to day. Fifth line, sharing the suns (literal days or intellectual gains), in the human dwelling of time.
  8. South Korean Law v. American: control of contagious outbreaks.
  9. I don’t have a subscription to that division of NYT, but from that part of the review I can see, it looks like one of the most genuine and knowledgeable representation and reaction to Rand’s two major novels I’ve ever seen in a major magazine or newspaper. When he talks about not finding a logical flaw, that is just from the modern, too-narrow conception of logic. Atlas is of two minds about humanity (my take). At times it is benevolence, good will, and well-wishing for humanity in general. At other times, it divides humanity in the ways the review indicates, and the larger of the divisions are the defectives. The dark view is not in fact essential to the philosophy and is terribly off-putting to the new explorer of Rand’s literature and philosophy. The dark view is still being perpetuated in presentations of Rand’s philosophy to the general public by folks on Rand’s team, as in the division proclaimed by attachment of certain humanity-division claptrap to a real-life and wonderful story easily connectible in more durable ways to Rand’s philosophy. This was a presentation from the Atlas Society. I do appreciate the story, but I object to the puffing up of ourselves into 'greatness' for our competences, creativeness, persistence, and industriousness. The fictional characters Galt and Rearden are beyond those four things they have in common with us; they are great (were they actual, anyway). Einstein and Jobs were great. We are not flawed in moral character or worth or loveliness of actualized abilities because we are not great. Then too, it is not the case that the fundamental alternative is mediocrity. We needn't be either, nor some mere mix of the two. (And of course, contrary the insinuation of the script, laziness, envy, and mouching need not be character of those who are not great.) The terms 'greatness' and 'mediocrity' can be dropped without loss to what we really mean, which is a squarely decent thing and not so uncommon in our fellows reading our message.
  10. Grames, why couldn’t we rightly distinguish between a concrete and a particular along the lines set forth in the preceding post? Universals could apply to either. We could have “square roots of the positive real numbers” which would include the particular “square root of 17.” Why not say that such particulars are not concretes, but such particulars and all universals are real? That is, they are real things with pertinence to concrete existents, but not themselves concrete existents?
  11. ABEL PRIZE 2020 “Hillel Furstenberg and Gregory Margulis invented random walk techniques to investigate mathematical objects such as groups and graphs, and in so doing introduced probabilistic methods to solve many open problems in group theory, number theory, combinatorics and graph theory. A random walk is a path consisting of a succession of random steps, and the study of random walks is a central branch of probability theory. “‘Furstenberg and Margulis stunned the mathematical world by their ingenious use of probabilistic methods and random walks to solve deep problems in diverse areas of mathematics. This has opened up a wealth of new results, such as the existence of long arithmetic progressions of prime numbers, understanding the structure of lattices in Lie groups, and the construction of expander graphs with applications to communication technology and computer science, to mention a few’, says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel committee. “‘The works of Furstenberg and Margulis have demonstrated the effectiveness of crossing boundaries between separate mathematical disciplines and brought down the traditional wall between pure and applied mathematics,’ says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel committee.” Emphasis added for attention of folks with philosophic views on mathematics. See also Chapter 5 of Ian Hacking’s Why Is There Philosophy of Mathematics at All (2014).
  12. ET, if one is interested in that contemporary rarified controversy, I suggest study of the book The Law of Non-Contradiction (2004), edited by Priest, Beall, and Armour-Garb. The fourth Part of the book contains the papers countering Priest et al. One of those papers in defense of PNC, the one by Edward Zalta, is available online here. I do not personally expect to become competent in that controversy, as I’ve far more of greater interest to me than can be explored in the remainder of my life, even were I to keep cranking another twenty years (I’m seventy-one). I take PNC as universally correct in my meaning of the principle and take it correct for any philosophy I make. I do have an original dissection of PNC in terms of subject and object components, which is included in a paper to be published in several months, but that has no implications for those dialetheism controversies so far as I know.
  13. ERRATA Kant IV-a -- "A science is termed proper science by Kant if it is not treated only . . . ." Kant IV-b -- ". . . but only as regards what is formal in our use of them . . ." / "Hence such a logic has empirical principles . . . ."
  14. PNC Ground Shifts to the Side of the Subject – Kant IV-b Bernard Bolzano’s masterwork Theory of Science issued in 1837. In this work, we find him objecting to Kant’s definition of logic as conveyed by Jäsche: “The science of the necessary laws of understanding and reason in general, or of the mere form of thinking, is logic.” Bolzano named seven writers of logic texts since Kant who had followed Kant in that definition of logic as a science. Taking thinking in its usual wide sense, Bolzano objected to that definition. It is not a plausible characterization of logic to say logic is merely the law-governed use of reason and understanding. One could then be regarded as engaging logic when thinking fallaciously or with an aim to evasion or when thinking in a whimsical entertainment. Quite better, in Bolzano’s assessment, were several writers who had required that such laws be restricted to those serving the chosen purpose of recognizing truth (the purpose of identification, in Rand’s vocabulary and explication) to warrant the title logic. We have seen Kant’s view that “general logic . . . abstracts from all content of cognition, i.e., from all reference of cognition to its object” (KrV A55 B79). Bolzano’s own conception of logic was as the set of rules for dividing truths into perspicacious domains of specific sciences, for their cultivation, and for their perspicacious presentation. Logic so understood is itself a science as well. We use some of these rules before turning to isolate what they are. “Once these rules are known, every science, including the theory of science itself can be further elaborated and presented in writing. This amounts to no more than arranging certain known truths in an order and connection that they themselves prescribe” (§2). Bolzano thought the ultimate goal of logic the discovery of truth (§7). In that ambition, one is reminded of the expansion of logic envisioned in Francis Bacon’s New Organon (although Bolzano, contra Bacon, did not regard Aristotle’s syllogistic as useless). It seemed to Bolzano that “one of Kant’s literary sins was that he attempted to deprive us of a wholesome faith in the perfectibility of logic through an assertion very welcome to human indolence, namely, that logic is a science which has been complete and closed since the time of Aristotle” (§9). Bolzano 1837 looked forward to future developments of logic that would be a boon to all the sciences. It turned out that, after Bolzano, there were advances in deductive logic. However, these did nothing to advance or clarify knowledge in empirical science. They did illuminate mathematics and its connections to logic, and they illuminated and extended the Aristotelian (and Stoic) logic of old. Bolzano criticized the Germans such as Kant, Jakob (1791), Hoffbauer (1794), and Maimon (1794) for their slippage from the topic-neutrality of a syllogism form presented as “all A are B, all B are C, therefore all A are C” to taking the objects A, B, and C for indeterminate as to all their characteristics. That is, they erred in taking A, B, and C as empty of absolutely all content. “If we think of an object as altogether indeterminate, then we cannot claim anything about it” (§7). The signs A, B, and C need the determination that B can be rightly predicated of A, and so forth. Logical form in Bolzano’s view was not fundamentally about thoughts, but relations of truths. Bolzano correctly objected as well to contemporaries trying to make logic into some kind of empirical science of the mind. Today when we say science, we usually mean empirical science. The term science had been used more broadly until recent times, such that science encompassed also the organized disciplines of mathematics, ethics, and logic, especially when considered in their allegedly pure, necessary, nonempirical, and applications-suspended mode. I said in “Kant IV-a” that Kant proposed to get out of a bind—the bind of holding logical rules to be absolutely necessary rules of human mind given a priori by human mind, yet rules capable of being transgressed in operations of human mind—by a distinction of pure general logic from its application, a distinction between pure and applied logic, and by a dissection of the latter in terms of posited cognitive powers. I want to press on the soundness of Kant’s distinction of pure and applied logic (and whether problems for Kant in this area also bear against Hanna). I also want to press on Kant’s conception that necessity in empirical science is a function of application of mathematics and of basic (Kantian) metaphysics in the empirical science. Aristotle had noted the import of necessity by import of geometry into his account of the gross form of the rainbow.* Although, that sort of geometry application was a tidbit compared to the use of geometry by Descartes in theory of the rainbow, let alone the use of geometry by Newton in remaking the world. It was amid these modern roles for geometry that Kant did his thinking, of course. Kant knew of Aristotle’s general doctrines on science. And via Leibniz, Kant was still hankering after them and to some extent resisting the scheme for making science brought on by Newton. Aristotle had appealed to a mental faculty in describing how a logical principle, specifically PNC, is ascertained. That, as we have seen, was what in our time has been known as a power of intuitive induction or abstractive induction. That posit of faculty was quite opaque, and its (fallible) attachment to formal character in the world by the human mind’s proposed assimilation of said form—mind itself becoming external formalities—and Aristotle’s form-matter aspect of metaphysics were pretty roundly judged false in the modern era of philosophy (outside the preservation of Scholasticism by Catholic scholars). I’ll close this installment by getting before us Kant’s basic treatment of the pure/applied distinction in logic. “A logic that is general but also pure deals with nothing but a priori principles. Such a logic is a canon of understanding and of reason, but only as regards what is formal in our use of then—i.e., we disregard what the content may be (whether is is empirical or transcendental). A general logic is called applied, on the other hand, if it is concerned with the rules of the understanding as used under the subjective empirical conditions taught us by psychology. Hence such a logic empirical principles, although it is general insofar as it deals with our use of the understanding without distinguishing the understanding’s objects. . . . In general logic, therefore, the part that is to constitute the pure doctrine of reason must be separated entirely from the part that is to constitute applied (though still general) logic. Only the first of these parts is, properly speaking, a science . . . . In such pure general logic, therefore, the logicians must always have in mind two rules: As general logic, it abstracts from all content of the cognition of understanding and from the difference among the objects of that cognition, and deals with nothing but the mere form of thought. As pure logic, it has no empirical principles. Hence it does not (as people have sometimes come to be persuaded) take anything from psychology; and therefore psychology has no influence whatever on the canon of the understanding. Pure general logic is demonstrated doctrine, and everything in it must be certain completely a priori. “What I call applied logic is a presentation of the understanding and of the rules governing its necessary use in concreto, viz., its use under the contingent conditions attaching to the subject {the mind–SB}, conditions that can impede or promote this use and that are, one and all, given only empirically. . . . Pure general logic relates to applied general logic as pure morality relates to the doctrine proper of virtue. Pure morality contains merely the moral laws of a free will as such; the doctrine of virtue examines these laws as impeded by the feelings, inclinations, and passions to which human beings are more or less subject. The doctrine of virtue can never serve as true and demonstrated science; for, just like applied logic, it requires empirical and psychological principles.” (KrV A53–55 B77–79 – Werner Pluhar translation).
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