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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. Oops, I got the terms mixed up. Geroch's term was "appropriate," not "adequate." It's his meaning of his term I have in mind: everything in the mathematics has physical meaning and all of the physics one wishes to talk about is describable in terms of the mathematics. Such is an appropriate mathematics for the physics. Some of our mathematics used in physics, I say, hopefully uncontroversially, is clearly a matter of chosen tool, not the mathematical character of the physical reality. Such would be using base 10 in arithmetic calculations and using various coordinate systems. As fruitful as it was to realize that curves can be described by algebraic equations written with reference to a coordinate system, when it comes to geometric facts of curves in the Euclidean plane, which we may take for planes of the physical geometry around us, the method of Euclid we learn in high school for bisecting a line segment is perfect location and physical; no coordinates lain over things by us and used to describe the curves and their intersections add something physical, which we get directly by synthetic geometry (Euclid's way being an example of synthetic geometry, as distinct from analytic geometry).
  2. I sure did: more on the ways complex analysis is like and different from real analysis (including likeness and difference of R2 and C). I want to watch it again, and I hope to listen also to his part II and part III. The portion starting at about 9:00 was right on our mathematical issue, and I'd expect would be informative to you as it was to me; the part before that is good, but you probably already knew. Are you able to understand each word in that accent? Did you already know it all? (My favorite college mathematics professor was Indian (ordinary differential equations), and so was my favorite philosophy professor, who had done his advanced degree in Göttingen, then was professor in India, then migrated from the Ganges to the Red River in time to get me going on KrV. I love the accent and get every word, due to all that practice, I imagine.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Have you been exposed to the quaternionic formulation of quantum mechanics (Adler 1995)? I do not yet understand the work of Renou et al. well enough to know whether their result also renders any quaternionic formualation of QM short of adequate. By "adequate" I mean as the meaning of Geroch in Mathematical Physics:
  3. Rand on Discernment of That and What Nathaniel Branden: “Percepts constitute the actual starting-point of human knowledge, in the sense that percepts are man’s first fully aware cognitive contact with the world” (c.1968, 38). The term percept is from Peirce and his contemporaries (see Moore 1961, cited in Rand 1966–67, 2; further, Wilson 2016, 190–95, 204–5). Rand had written in the 1957 exposition of her philosophy: “The task of [man’s] senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.” She defined man’s reason as “the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses.” (Rand was still using that definition in her 1960.) She took human knowledge to run part-and-sum “from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end” (1016). “Sensations are . . . an automatic form of knowledge” (1961a, 18). A sensation is “a sensation of something, as distinguished from the nothing of the preceding and succeeding moments” (1966–67). Rand took knowledge broadly enough at times such that sensation, which informs perceivers only that something exists, not what exists, counts as some knowledge. Knowledge for humans would be, in full, “a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation” (1966–67, 45; further, 1970, 84–87). Rand had taken all consciousness fundamentally to be identification (1957, 1016). So all perception, even perception of a first ray of light in infancy, would be an identification. It is therefore not surprising that in her later articulation of Objectivism she would contract her definition of reason to simply: “the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses” (1961a, 20) in place of “perceives, identifies and integrates . . . .” Rand had it that “sensations are integrated into perceptions automatically by the brain of a man or of an animal” (1961b, 14). Those perceptions in humans are volitionally integrated into conceptual comprehension by reason. Sensations are transitory identifications, not identifying what, only that. Unless a sensation is itself focused upon—say, in neuropsychology—it is not, in Rand’s meaning of the concept sensation, retained in memory, which I cash to mean specifically not retained in working memory or in episodic or semantic memory (i.e., retained only in iconic memory). Conceptualization, conjecture, and inference come under the name reason for Rand by falling under the volitional identification and integration of material from the senses. In Rand’s view, as with Reid and Peirce, the conscious uptake from the senses for the makings of reason is sensory information already automatically integrated into percepts. (See further, Kelley 1986, 31, 44–51, 141–74.) “A percept is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain. It is in the form of percepts that man grasps the evidence of his senses and apprehends reality. . . . Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident” (1966–67, 5). Animals capable of percepts, perceive entities, in Rand’s categoreal sense of that term. Percepts and their objects are susceptible to retention in memory. Peirce had stressed that sense impressions are not first in our knowledge. We are not shut out from the external world, Once Rand had taken on percept and its position in cognition from sensation to reason, I think she really needed to do a little refinement on her 1957 statement that it is only by reason that we discern what an existent is. Animals capable of percepts have some of what a perceived thing is and what actions a thing affords right there. So do we. It remains, of course, that with reason we grasp more, much more, of what a perceived thing is. Additionally, by now it is overwhelming in the neurobiological evidence that into neural activity streams feeding into a percept is a good deal of what a thing is.* None of that formation is volitional, and all of it remains as the given, for conceptualization and reasoning on it. That is, such rich percepts, giving some what in addition to that, can remain first cognitive, aware, contact with the world and sound foundation for knowledge. When we have a percept, it includes places, motions, and some temporal relations in a scene. Are these part of the what a thing is? Or are they only part of the that a thing is? In Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, she articulated some additional metaphysics, and among these additions was the thesis that no existent is without relation to other things. A thing purported to stand in no such relations would be nothing (ITOE 39). That is, there are no concrete existents that do not stand in some external relations. That tunes well with Aristotle: Things “are not such that nothing that pertains to one kind is related to another, but there is some relation” (Metaphysics, 1075a16–17). External relations are there, ready for conscious recognition in percepts and concepts and predications. I suggest that in Rand’s metaphysics and her concept of percepts, her system needs a minor repair by acknowledgement that wheres and whens are within percepts, delivered as aspects of concrete existents, delivered both as that and what of existents *E.g. "Feedforward, Horizontal, and Feedback Processing in the Visual Cortex" by Lamme, Supèr, and Spekreise in Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 1998, 8:529–35. (I'll try to list the References in a later post.)
  4. Real and Complex Analysis (especially over at 9:00 forward)
  5. InfraBeat, Welcome to Objectivism Online! Thank you for the helpful informative post!
  6. Interesting. Newton maintained that numbers as in 7 feet are really ratios, which would be a relation. I've not had time to chase it down, but do you recall an imaginary term that falls out of a classical E-M radiation equation which turns out to correspond to quantity of the radiation absorbed in a medium?
  7. So mathematically, complex analysis is really equivalent to real analysis? A complex number consists of a real number plus an imaginary number, where the imaginary number has a real coefficient. But using the real number 3 as a coefficient in 3i does not turn 3i into a real number does it?
  8. "For years, it was generally accepted that real quantum theory was experimentally indistinguishable from complex quantum theory. In other words, in quantum theory, complex numbers would only be convenient, but not necessary, to make sense of quantum experiments. Next we prove this conclusion wrong." (12/15/21). In the April 2023 issue of Scientific American, there is an article by the researchers getting the result that the use of complex numbers in standard quantum theory is not really just a convenience, but that some results of standard quantum theory cannot be also obtained in any alternative formulation using only real numbers. In other words, if I'm getting this right, characterization of quantum mechanics using complex numbers (or hypercomplex numbers?), is the only correct mathematical characterization of the physics. That is, purely real-number characterization—however complicated—of quantum mechanics is inadequate as a characterization of the physics.
  9. KyaryPamyu Among people I’ve known who have read Rand’s novels and were critical of them, it was because on about every page, she brings on some ideological or philosophical point. And either they find that a defect in literature as literature or they are grabbed by the ideas, and if they don’t like them, they start ridiculing the characters and story as replacement for arguing out the ideas. For many years, people I met who responded positively to Rand’s novels and ideas were one or two standard deviations above average intelligence. Since the handy internet has come about, I’ve gotten to see the lower levels who respond positively and who are a little sad in their limited ability to stick with reasoning and to make or adopt a consistent and well-understood philosophy of life for themselves. I do not “get” talk about how to market the philosophy. What is the purpose? Trying to make the world a better place? I don’t think that is actually a sensible goal in life. Just making your own life and the lives of others as individuals better seems the sensible thing to me. But then one’s focus is on individuals one gets to know and interact with as individual persons, not their falling into statistical groups for what looks like political hopes, which is sensibly a second-thought concern in a well-lived life. I like the local focus of Henry Rearden. Make products. Find traders for it. His focus is on that work, for satisfaction and for making a lot of money. He attends also to persons who are not commercial traders such as the young government man Tony, whom Rearden inspires, and to the philosophical guy Francisco, who gives Rearden much psychological liberation, and of course, he attends to the with-benefits of that trader whose suit he gets into thinking about putting his hand under.
  10. One reason I think Rand in The Fountainhead wanted to emphasize the need for "I" in "I love you" is that at least in popular culture, it was ignored and should not be. In the arena of brotherly love, people will tell you they love you, even when they know nothing about you and don't have any interest in finding out anything about you or what you regard as important about you. I used to run into young evangelicals like that. Moreover, all they cared about you was that you were a sinner and needed to be saved. They often have erased in their conception of you that you are a definite self or that that is of any significance. In other words, they neither knew you nor respected you or your mind on matters of concern to them. It's a sort of desecration of the word and concept love. On the theological idea of agape, it is as you note, that that sort of love is routinely associated with the further idea of the Christ, come to be known as the Son of God, having to suffer and die, to somehow pay for moral failings of people undeserving of the sacrifice. (And perhaps, similarly, with Prometheus bringing fire because he loved man.) But I don't think that's the only way the idea is used within that tradition. God as creator is, I think, without addition, a creator from boundless overflowing love. On the human scale, in the secular arena, such a concept, without association of perverse sacrifice comes up in relation with human creators, as here. I'd say that Rand's neglect of the "you," such as I think true to romantic love, as in my second paragraph above, was an error, specifically, a not fully evicting yet the egocentric from the kingdom of self-esteem. A psychiatrist friend of Ayn Rand's has what seems to me a balanced, realistic view of love in friendship and in romance, at about 33:00–44:00 here.
  11. Monart, I take issue with some of the points in your stimulating reflection “Romantic Love vs Selfless Love.” In response to Rand’s “To say ‘I love you’, one must first know how to say ’I’” one should add “Also, one must first know how to say ‘you’”. That is, one must first be a definite self, and know what that is, and one must first also be able see another and care about seeing that other and want to boost the other and tune to the other and want to share seeing the world together and making a life together. I don’t recall any writer advocating selfless love when it comes to romantic love. If they say such love requires self-sacrifice to the other, I’ve not seen them ever mean anything but what I added in the preceding paragraph. And that is hardly self-sacrificial, neither in autonomy nor in selfish inclination (considering, for the latter, the selfish mutual enjoyment that is won). The place that selflessness and self-sacrifice and genuine altruism come up is in connection with brotherly love, including love for all human kind (leaving aside the great evil ones – NOKD). Those mistaken or misconceived virtues are not regularly a feature of the conception of agape as they are in conception of brotherly love. I love human kind, the individual mind, working alone or with others, and its creativity, in my lifetime and before I entered the scene. I love those things insofar as they may come after me. That seems a sort of agape love, and it does not require selflessness or self-sacrifice to have that, rather, it suggests, particularly in taking care for the "after me," a strong and overflowing self. On Kant I just want to mention (briefly, because I need to get back outside and work on a flagstone sidewalk I’m building) that love as an inclination could not be a source of any moral aspect of an activity (in his view). The inclinations-self gets trumped by the autonomy-of-will-self (one’s own will) as to any moral valence one might impute to an activity. To love your neighbor as yourself fails as a moral rule for Kant. He does seem to approve of a sort of intellectual love, which motivates behavior according with moral law which resides in one’s reason. He treats that reason and autonomy as ends in themselves, requiring no further ends to justify them. He never gets the realization that only life is an end in itself. And he looks for the wrong kind of necessity in moral norms, not realizing that life is the source of all value, meaning, or significance. Je suis Belle – Rodin
  12. Thanks! Wonderful skill!
  13. What a fine-spirit environment Objectivism Online has been for me (13 years) in communicating, in sharing life and the world!
  14. Tad, (source – Black's Law Dictionary) Incitement of resistance to lawful authority can rise to the level of sedition under American law, and it does not have to be insurrection to be sedition. Seditious Conspiracy Convictions Insurrection is a second sort of sedition. An insurgent is one who opposes the execution of law by force of arms, or who rises in revolt against the constituted authorities. Insurrection consists of any combined resistance in the lawful authority of the state, with intent to the denial thereof, when the same is manifested, or intended to be manifested, by acts of violence. "Rebel" is often taken as an insurgent who engages in extralegal resistance to the government in a cause unjust and untimely. So we would say that Confederates in the American Civil War were rebels, whereas the French Underground Resistance (e.g. Sartre) against the German occupation would be only insurrectionists. I'd say an insurrection that succeeds in halting a government becomes de jure if they are in position, capable of enforcement, to make the replacement laws, including one making their violent inception lawful.
  15. I'm nearly finished with Dipert~B, and I'll be posting it in "Books to Mind" soon. To the list in the first note of ~B shown above, I should now add also: Christopher Hill's Perceptual Experieince (2022). Ned Block's The Border between Seeing and Thinking (2023).
  16. Where did I say that anyone was engaged in insurrection in the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol?
  17. TJ, there is no King of the Law in America. There were no supporters of BLM or Antifa storming the Capitol, notwithstanding Fox putting about that lie on that day and others repeating it on social media, all of them desperately trying to disbelieve the plain before their eyes and to distract others from who were these factions in violent revolt (however delusional) against America and who was their inspiration. (So Pres. Trump tells these rioters who were allegedly secretly BLM or Antifa to stand down, and immediately they did stand down? Anyone who honestly believed that is an idiot or devoid of objectivity.) I recall one woman exiting the violent scene, saying "The police pepper-sprayed me. We were just patriots." What an obscenity.
  18. Jon and Tucker: The circumstance that many citizens assembled in DC on 6 January 2021 and behaved peacefully, not trespassing nor damaging property or persons does not affect one whit the circumstance that many citizens did commit such crimes there that day. President Trump called off the riot on that day by calling out to the rioters to stop. For hours he waited to do that. I hope his body in not permitted to lie in state under the Rotunda when he deceases and is no longer able to call for his American "brown shirts" to intimidate through violence and threat of violence to the ends of having him in power and de facto abolition of our processes of constitutional, republican representative democracy. I had realized many years ago that Mr. Trump was a con artist, but I'd not realized until he was President that he had become our subjectivist-in-chief and that he was a narcissist* loving his personal power ultimately more than our country. The other evening I watched Mr. Trump in his new Presidential bid proclaim "I am your justice." Instantly my fist shot up with my reply: "'God is my justice.' in case you forgot." (A lesson for real persons of the Christian faith he'd not likely care to remember from that Dumas novel.) I am not a theist, but that is the way any audience member who is authentically a Christian should respond. Evil men in power, such as Mr. Trump (and the misleading bootlicker Mr. Carlson), will come and go. I expect our system to continue, as Paine envisioned: the Law is King.
  19. My spirit does not "revolt against limitation, all limitation." Without limitations there is no such thing as freedom or a bed that has been made or a word that has been said or written. Without limitations of structure and dynamics, there is no such thing as life, from amoeba to us. Limitations and our creativity utilizing them is all our engineering and all loveliness made by us.
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