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Boydstun

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  1. Wheat threshers can be humans or machines. To reach a measurement-omission analysis of the concept wheat thresher, we would start with a definition of wheat thresher—say, mechanism capable of parting wheat grains from their straw—then look for physical dimensions, such as tensile or torsional strengths of the bindings to be broken, and the relevant strengths of the grains to be preserved. That would be enough for an amply analyzed concept of wheat thresher. In the case of the concept natural language (which I suppose is the focal concept of language from which various other things called
  2. I agree that Rand switched back and forth between the substitution-unit aspect of concepts and the measure-value aspects of the various magnitude dimensions shared by members (substitution units) of a collection spanned by a concept. A concept, on the Rand-Boydstun conjecture is a dimensioned set (excepting concepts such logical constants and others I excepted above). Merlin’s example of Rand shifting from analysis in terms of measurements of items brought under a concept to simply denumerability of members falling under the concept—and then calling both sorts of features occasions for measure
  3. Boydstun

    Shastakovich

    1957 - Symphony No. 11 "The Year 1905" Portion of 2nd Movement 4th Movement Finale
  4. Boydstun

    Shastakovich

    1941 - March from 1st movement of Seventh Symphony “Leningrad”
  5. Boydstun

    Shastakovich

    1957 - Second movement of 2nd piano concerto
  6. Boydstun

    Shastakovich

    1937 - Fifth Symphony (4th movement)
  7. SL, Pages 107-12 of Onkar Ghate’s chapter “A Being of Self-Made Soul” sets out really well the Objectivist concept of free will, if you should ever like to get hold of the Blackwell book A Companion to Ayn Rand (2016) containing this contribution. The Objectivists take free will to be “the power to select among alternatives, with no particular selection necessitated by antecedent factors. Rand’s theory of free will, therefore, is a version of self-determination.” The geological earth is not a self-determining system. A forest fire or candle flame are not self-determining systems. Life and
  8. A worthwhile set of schematics to think with, I’d say, SL, at least to get started. I notice that internally, there are random processes that affect a human life in a deterministic way, such as the appearance of a cell mutation (truly random at first cell alteration) we call cancer. It could deterministically become, say, non-Hodgkins lymphoma. In the particular case of person having it, though in advance of therapies, we might say it’s a matter of chance whether the therapy will be effective in this case; that is just our ignorance, and when the particular outcome eventuates—say death from th
  9. My paper “Universals and Measurement” (U&M) was published in the spring of 2004 in JARS. In December of that year, there was a paper read and discussed at the session of the Ayn Rand Society, and that was the paper “Rand and Aquinas on the Problem of Universals” by Douglas Rasmussen.* The commentator on that paper was Robert Pasnau.* Prof. Pasnau stated that he had not studied Rand’s theory of concepts directly, so he was only working from what Prof. Rasmussen had related concerning Rand’s theory. Rasmussen’s paper was hefty, and you could get a good deal of Rand’s thought in the area from
  10. ET, concerning your original question of this thread, I notice that if one is looking at various objects and their actions or behaviors or if one is interacting linguistically (as here or as in the Turing Test setup), one knows by one's thinking sort of looking that one has some freedom in directing that inquiry. Then too, one's bodily movements, the ones the medical folk would call voluntary, seem to straddle the external and the internal. One might know little about how one is directing from the brain to one's finger movements on the keyboard, but one has at once direct access to both (the i
  11. ET, to learn something, it's better to read than to listen to podcasts.* The better we learn, the better we can explain in the organic weave of a conversation. I am one who prefers to communicate and exchange views in written text (such as this, or in print). With text, we can go deeper, notice our contradictions better, find gaps in our reasoning better, and make links to further drill-down literature. The written published work I mentioned in the ancestral thread to this one, the portion of he chapter by Ghate, with all its excerpts from and citations of earlier Objectivist writings on
  12. “To Walter, my wonderful. I thank David L. Potts for comments on an earlier draft of this work.” Some words of friends quoted in the paper: “The activity of mind is life.” —Aristotle “The necessary points to the assuredness of existence.” —Avicenna “Being is variously divided.” —Aquinas “No occasion can be both in the past and in the future of a duration.” —Whitehead “Logic rests on the axiom that existence exists.” —Rand Outside the paper, as ever: “Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were t
  13. SL, yes. However, in Rand's 1957 paragraph shown in the preceding post, she was presenting things in chronological order of human development. The sentence "The day when he grasps that matter has no volition is the day when he realizes that he has---and this is the day of his birth as a human being" is at an early stage of development. It is not about mere exercise, but realization, recognition. And it is not plausibly, in context, about volition as free will. It is about a more primitive sort of volition and recognition of it, as when I recognize that my live puppy has volition and my teddy b
  14. That line from Galt’s Speech is within a paragraph sketching human cognitive development from infancy. “The birth of [a baby’s] mind is the day when he grasps that the streak that keeps flickering past him is his mother and the whirl beyond her is the curtain, that the two are solid entities and neither can turn into the other, that they are what they are, that they exist. The day when he grasps that matter has no volition is the day when he grasps that he has—and this is his birth as a human being. . . . The [later] day when he grasps . . . [that] his mind must discover the nature, the c
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