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Everything posted by Boydstun

  1. SL, I may have a general idea for a device I'll work on inventing that merely takes heat from the devices' surrounding environment such as air and generates electricity flowing out from wires from the device. That is possibility. It may be something lying within the potentials of materials and their configurations or not, so far as I know as I continue to try particular ways of making the device. Then one day I notice that such a device would be a "perfect refrigerator" that we learn about in thermodynamics, which is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Then I know that the possibi
  2. SL, I'd cease thinking of what exists as only what is actual, and I'd distinguish between existents that are actual and existents that are potential. So that even potentials that were attached to the actuals of yesterday and did not become actual would nonetheless be part of the totality of existence yesterday. And since I think of past existence as part of the totality of existence, I'd count unactualized potentials of yesterday as part of existence. So it was a potential in the total situation yesterday that I would yesterday water the one indoor plant we have. But midnight passed, and I nev
  3. 1. Is the relation between an existent and nonexistence nothing? That is, is there no such relationship outside of cognitive operations? 2. Is the relation between an actual situation and a possible (potential) situation the same as the relation between an existent and nonexistence? If we say Yes to the first question and No to the second, it seems we have not precluded that empty space—the void—is an existent, a kind of existent. If we say Yes to the first question and Yes to the second, then the void would seem to be nothing, and there is no distance between the walls of Greg’
  4. By the time of Descartes, many thinkers had come round to conjecturing matter to be composed of atoms with empty space between them. And they often thought there to be empty space in the farther reaches, beyond the material Creation. In his mature thought, Descartes came to think the idea of vacuum space to be incoherent. From his view that the essence of body is extension, he moved to the conclusion that extension (space) cannot be empty of matter. Then too, from the fact that extension must be extension of something—not of nothing, which has no properties—he moved to the conclusion that spac
  5. This second question from MS is rightly suited to discussion with Galilean and Newtonian physics and Euclidean geometry. We have taken it on in a new thread Physical Space dedicated to this question. There I mentioned a book Geometric Possibility by Gordon Belot, and here I'd like to draw attention to the reviews by Jill North, by Chris Smeenk, and by Syman Stevens, accessible through Prof. Belot's website that register concerns of setting the book's attainments alongside our Einstein-stage relativity physics and the dance of that physics with its attending geometries.
  6. MS & SL, I like the idea of space as a potential for occupancy. Potentials of nature are real things in my book and so are potential things that might be invented and gotten a patent on. Potential are distinct from mere possibilities in my usage. Possibilities are things in the mind that is engaged in thinking. Potentials are already out there as it were, and together with actualities, they compose existence. Potentials, hence space of the world is real. Space, even unoccupied space, is real, is an existent. However, potential for material or field occupancy is not the only potential
  7. MS, So do you think that space is a real thing, though not a physical thing? Do you think Leibniz got it right when he wrote the following? “Space is something, . . . [it’s] a general order of things. Space is the order of co-existents . . . .[It’s among] true things, but ideal, like numbers.”
  8. What we call a grandfather clock is a type of pendulum clock. Kant had a grandfather clock in his house. I notice that this device has principles and failure modes that can serve for an analogy with the principles and fallacies of logic. This analogy would be like Kant's analogy to walking, the analogy he was making in his logic lectures in his Precritical period, which as we have seen is not a type of analogue suited for his conception of logic in the Critical period. The advantage of the analogy with a grandfather clock over the analogy with walking, for logic as I see it and as Precritical
  9. For there to be physical space, it does not need to have effects and natures such as those of a fluid, a plasma, or any other state of matter. It need not have any power to resist motion of bodies to be physical. When the engineers say that the 2020 Corvette* engine has a displacement of 6.2 liters, they are talking about a certain volume of physical space---the summed volume of the cylinder chambers---and not about the mixture of air and gasoline that fills and refills that volume or about the steel of pistons moving back and forth in the cylinder volumes. Right? There are not reasons fo
  10. The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece I know little about history of Rome. Perhaps others know some good scholarship on it in the league with the preceding book on Ancient Greece.
  11. MS, I think they do. I’ll say what I see they say, but I’m pretty sure they imply even more than I am aware of so far, and I’m pretty sure that experts in relativity and quantum mechanics (including quantum field theory) could draw out those further implications. And I imagine that beyond all implications about the nature of space that can be drawn from all of modern physics taken together, there remains further physics as yet undiscovered that will, taken with present physics, have further implications for the nature of space. I want to address your question, William, with respect to gen
  12. A recent test dropping atoms (wave packets) of two different masses (two isotopes of rubidium) in vacuum confirms sameness of their gravitational accelerations to an accuracy of one part in a trillion. The sameness of free-fall acceleration in vacuum for all bodies whatever their mass is a famous proposition championed by Galileo. Its correctness is a requirement for the correctness of general relativity and other geometric theories of gravity. In the current experiment, during the fall of the atoms, physicists put them into a quantum state of superposition in which an atom had superposed loca
  13. I've decided to not remark further on Dennis Hardin's review of Vision. I appreciate all his effort that must have gone into this review. I highly recommend the review, if one can access it, if one is interested in the history of the Rand/Branden highway of Objectivist thought and the Objectivist movement. Hardin is a clinical psychologist, and I appreciate learning his vantage on all that and his sharing his own arc in it from the time of the Rand-Branden split, when the young Hardin (age 16) was inspired by the philosophy and by Nathaniel Branden at the podium to today. I did myself pur
  14. Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand's Political Philosophy has been reviewed by Professor Roderick T. Long in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (V20N2) under the title "From Defiant Egoist to Submissive Citizen." From the Abstract for the review by Long, who finds the book "to be a rich and provocative anthology. However, [Long] is unpersuaded by the arguments, from a number of the contributors, for separating the prohibition on initiatory force as an ethical principle, from individual rights as a political principle---a principle that, on the ethical side, unduly disca
  15. The root power of the Jesus story for spawning a major religion was not that he gave a poetic and touching sermon and himself perfectly lived the ideal proposed therein. Nor is the root of the personal idolization of him by millions through the centuries the mere assertion that he was the Son of God and fulfillment of an old prophecy and suffered crucifixion. No. The essential power was the power to perform miracles such as raising the dead, which dovetails with claims to divinity or closeness to divinity, especially when reinforced with the construct that he himself was raised from the dead.
  16. Those audio links are kaput, so here are some replacements, probably more durable: We of Love The Song Placement
  17. "For more than two years, Saudi Arabia has locked up women’s rights activists who fought for – and won – women’s right to drive. . . .
  18. Opps! It should be this link: Epistemology of Geometry by Jeremy Gray (2017)
  19. I once had a conversation with a young evangelist on the L-train in Chicago. He was telling me about the Bible being entirely true, stating up front there were no contradictions in the Bible (just in case I might be thinking up cases in which the Bible contradicts itself and therefore couldn't be entirely true). I asked him how he knew the Bible existed. Then we got right down to the particulars of that, right on down deeper than "everybody knows it exists". And of course he had a Bible in his own very hands. I pressed the point that if anything said in the Bible contradicted any of the method
  20. People cannot be tricked into freedom; it cannot be won by mere slogans and name-calling. That is sand, cannot stand. I stand by understanding, including importantly understanding of Capitalism the Unknown Ideal. Self-Sacrifice and Not Self-Sacrifice should always be decried as primary political values. The fundamental political value should be protection of individual rights. Here is what the two major Parties have to say on that value. There is still some appreciation of it in these documents. Happily, there is much more—and more fully genuine—appreciation of it in the judiciary and le
  21. Entropy and Boltzmann Chance Thermodynamic Entropy If a system is not exchanging work or heat with other parts of the universe for a sufficiently long time, it ceases to change in any of the causal ways of change in classical mechanics. The mass of such a system will have become unchanging, if it were previously changing, for it will no longer exchange mass with its environment. The angular momentum of such a system will have become unchanging, if it were previously changing, for it will no longer receive torque from its environment. Such a system will no longer become more liquid an
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