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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. “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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. The following is from a presentation of the Rand/Branden model of free will, by Onkar Ghate in the Blackwell A Companion to Ayn Rand. “Rand rejects any theory of volition that roots free will in a choice between particular items of mental content: whether to walk or ride the bus to work (selection between envisioned physical actions); whether to order the vanilla cheesecake because one is hungry or the bowl of mixed berries because one is on a diet (selection between desires or motives that will govern one’s physical actions); whether to admire Mother Teresa or Bill Gates (selection of va
  10. Ascent to Volitional Consciousness - John Enright (1990) Critical Faculty
  11. SL, Aristotle was trying to supply an account of change that would apply to all cases of change. He was also trying to solve puzzles composed by earlier philosophers. Parmenides had had it, for example, that change is not possible because it would require being to come out of not-being (and, to boot, the later being could not come out of being because being already is). Aristotle was trying to give a more nuanced and sound-sense view of the world, and as well he was aiming for an all-encompassing view of things. Parmenides would have it that fire could not come out of air because air
  12. Interesting. Seems Aquinas was getting himself an additional layer of analogical thinking beyond Aristotle. Thanks for notice of Aquinas’ prime/functional distinction. I do not buy that potentiality can be a substratum of change. (And down from Galileo-Descartes and Newton [and Einstein’s version], I take inertial motion as brute, requiring no cause nor substrate, only matter [non-zero mass], actual matter, and spacetime.) Potentials belong to and are followers on actualities, and they are delimitations on alterations of actualities. The notion of form that I find useful from philosophy (
  13. Kistler deals with Heisenberg 1958. I can't get back to it just now. But I certainly intend to get back to it. On discussions of 'prime matter' as finding a home in modern physics, I'll yet be looking at Nicolescu's "Hylemorphism, Quantum Physics, and Levels of Reality" and Oderberg's Real Essentialism. No, I wasn't comparing energy to form. Only mass-energy (the whole bundle) to Aristotle's matter for his matter-form. 2046, I greatly enjoy your inputs. None of my physics professors (about a dozen) nor I thought of particles as having no nature. They have certain distinct nature
  14. Does matter in Aristotle’s matter-form metaphysical composite coincide with mass-energy in our contemporary physics? Aristotle’s metaphysical matter is not the same as the Greek elements earth/water/wind/fire nor the contraries such as heat and cold that can be possessed by some of those elements and their combinations. His metaphysical matter is substratum receptive of all coming to be or passing away and of all contrarieties. He thought potentials to be real and matter in his metaphysical sense to be potential that with form is become determinate actuality. We sensibly say today that an
  15. Biden's Plan Promises Permanent Decline That is the title of an article on 3 May 2021 in the New York Times by Bret Stephens. The few candidates who tried running for President in the 2020 race and who brought fiscal responsibility to the top priority in their platform—such were Independent Howard Schultz and Republicans Mark Sanford and Bill Weld—got no traction with the voters. The old Republican issue of balancing the budget was far from top priority in the Republican general election Presidential campaigns of 2016 and 2020. While the Republicans had the Presidency and both chamb
  16. Additional to the published paper: Descartes and Kant Kant argued against Descartes’ view that the existence of one’s mind is more immediately and more certainly known than the existence of one’s body.[1] Kant cast out Descartes’ view that the mind is a thinking substance.[2] Because Kant rejected also Descartes’ ontological proof for the existence of God,[3] Descartes’ first philosophy collapses. Metaphysical arguments to rational necessity of the existence of God or immortality of the soul are all cases of reason flapping its wings in a vacuum. The Critique of Pure Reason (KrV) con
  17. Measurement Standard for Mass —from comparison of artifacts to place of mass in E=mc2 and E=hν.
  18. Advancing Superconductivity
  19. LP: “There’s an enormous confusion throughout the Rationalist tradition between two things: a concept which has introspective referents as against an innate idea. And these philosophers constantly go from one to the other.” AR: “As interchangeable.” LP: “As interchangeable. As though if all you have to do is introspect to discover the referents of a concept, it follows that the idea of those referents is innate. Which is a complete non sequitur.” AR: “[T]hat’s exactly what I mean by dropping the context [if you’re thinking of consciousness (and self) as possible without some con
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