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Everything posted by Vik

  1. (Nice outline for inducing "method" btw) I think it was obvious to Joseph that "truth" distinguishes better methods from worse ones, though Joseph never quite seems to tell us what he thinks it is. But I think that "truth" is worth further discussing because it has bearing on norms related to logic. A popular view of "truth" was "correspondence", but this leads to problems that should have been obvious to any polymath of the 19th century. 1) Not all sciences afford calculations and predictions. Some things are known to be true through other means. Biological classification is about conceptual hierarchy. Anatomy and physiology are about the structure and function of living systems and their components. They do not afford corresponds tests in the way that physics does. But their propositions are true nonetheless. How? The context of the discoveries. 2) Furthermore if one doesn't keep context, the demand for "correspondence" becomes a demand for omniscience. Does Galileo's law of fall "correspond" to all falls? What about a steel ball bearing subject to powerful magnets? So in addition to traditional standards such as logical validity and coherence, we need the epistemic norm of context-keeping. A class of norms pops right out of this discussion. What sorts of norms are coherence and context-keeping? What do we need them for? We need them to help distinguish between a proper integration and a misintegration. They're norms of integration.
  2. which is why he suggests (in the introduction) that we study the best examples of reasoning
  3. H.W.B. Joseph notes that the sciences provide material for figuring out how to reason properly because they are the products of our clearest, most correct reasoning by intellects most involved with the relevant facts and therefore most likely to produce correct conclusions. In order for reasoning to be "proper", it must follow rules like the law of non-contradiction and employ methods But in order to know anything about non-contradiction you have to know something about propositions and arguments. I mention this because Joseph focuses on "general principles" in his definition, which obviously includes the laws of logic. And in order to have any idea of "proper reasoning", one must know that there is an element of choice in reasoning and that is possible to err. I do not think Peikoff's principle of two definitions applies to logic. Joseph's definition is not an A1 definition. A1 is supposed to be a permanent, objective demarcation. However part of objectivity involves following certain rules of method, such as can be found by studying logic. Joseph's definition is most certainly prescriptive. Joseph vs Rand: Joseph's definition addresses the study of how to reason properly. Rand's definition addresses the act of reasoning properly itself. Both are normative. Joseph's is normative in that it prescribes studying how to reason properly. Rand's is normative in that it prescribes non-contradiction, which has been a guiding first principle in logic since the ancients.
  4. Are there any philosophical differences that are simply a consequence of acquiring more experience and living life? What philosophical ideas are a mark of emotional maturity, if any?
  5. A "brute force" method for reduction and unfreezing: 1) Premises that are further from the perceptual level than the conclusion are explicitly identified and set aside for later discussion. Otherwise you have to fight two fronts simultaneously, which can lead to a lot of tangential issues instead of systematic discussion. 2) The levels of abstraction between the conclusion and the perceptual level cannot be addressed simultaneously. We must start with the level just below and immediately, proximately, required by the conclusion. I think it is unwise to do a complete reduction for them all at once. Rather, one should focus on one level at a time. 3) Apparent disagreement needs to be distinguished from real disagreement. Statements by other should be restated in your own words to distinguish between real and apparent disagreement. Otherwise, parties will be unsure whether they are understood. 4) For each point of agreement, explicitly identify it as such with the caveat that you might agree for different reasons 5) For each point of disagreement, explicitly state there is a disagreement and have them focus on the level of abstraction just below the item of disagreement. Have them list reasons from THAT level ONLY. Else you run into problem mentioned in 2 where the parties wander all over the hierarchy and forget the point of discussing some detail.
  6. Differentiation means distinguishing units from other things/aspects. Those units aren't necessarily entities. When you form wider concepts, you treat previously formed concepts as units. Integration means doing something with units so the result is a new mental thing to be used as a single unit of thought. Similarities are certainly involved when you integrate concepts into wider ones. But similarity is also necessary for making finer differentiations. When you subdivide a concept into subcategories, the distinguishing characteristic of the original concept is taken as a common denominator. The act of subdivision simply involves specifying measurements or adding on a category of measurements. "Fountain-pen" specifies how the ink is transferred to the tip. But "pen" leaves THAT aspect of the writing implement unspecified.
  7. Reference to an example might clarify some ideas. There was a time when I didn't know what graphite or ink was. I knew that if I gripped a pencil and pressed the black end down on paper it would leave a gray/black mark that I could erase. So the similarity between the two pencils was perceptual and distinguished them from other things with entirely different uses such as paper, desk, and so on. Later I noticed some differences between pencils. Some pencils were shorter than others, some pencils were hexagonal while others were round, some marks were darker than others. The pencils I had observed possessed the same characteristics (length, color, shape, etc.) but in different degrees. I didn't have a word for length, but I was preparing my mind for abstracting "length". Likewise for "color", "shape", etc. Then I learned about pens. I knew that pens left (relatively) permanent marks. So I differentiated pens from pencils on the basis of the permanence of the mark. The permanence of the mark was a common denominator. It served as a sort of "axis" along which I could distinguish pens and pencils from each other. At the same time I distinguished the marking substance of the pen from the marking substance of the pencil. I learned of two types of materials: graphite vs ink. I learned that regardless of whether the particular ink involved was blue or black or red, ink was more permanent than graphite. I abstracted "graphite" and "ink" as such by mentally separating (isolating) certain attributes from all things possessing those attributes. So first I grasped a similarity among pencils. That similarity enabled me to mentally isolate pencils from the situations in which they appeared. Retention of the similarity helped me differentiate pens and pencils from each other. Then I abstracted "writing", "graphite", "ink". Similarity is a relationship between two or more existents possessing the same characteristics but in different degree. Differentiation is the mental process of distinguishing two or more existents from all other existents. Abstraction is the mental separation of a certain aspect of reality from the existents it is an aspect of.
  8. You can dissolve carbon in metal alloy solutions, but that doesn't distinguish carbon from other elements. I think it would be better to say that what salt does is *within* its nature while ionic bonds, composition et al *constitute* the identity of salt.
  9. Would you say that one camp focuses on action-potentials while ignoring the nature of the entities while the other focuses on constituent properties at the expense of circumstances and context? Would you say that an "event" is simply an entity doing an action? Are we talking about how action-potentials arise from constituent properties? e.g.: Since salt is made of chemically bonded ions, salt has the potential for being dissolved because of the interaction between the water molecules and the ions Since a rubber ball is made out of a highly elastic material, it will bounce when it collides with a sufficiently rigid body at sufficient velocity etc etc.
  10. "The change in the children's ability to integrate touch and vision happens too fast to be explained by major rewiring in the brain, Pascual-Leone says" According to which model? The "innate" people could make a lot out of this, while a Lockean would respond that the association between touch and vision is acquired after experience and therefore "no innate ideas" survives.
  11. Generalization involves ascribing a characteristic to every member of an open-ended set. Given that open-endedness, I am not sure how you can avoid *something* conceptual. In some cases we separate and unite previous identifications, arriving at new concepts which demand new definitions of old concepts. I indicated how this might work in the previous post. Sometimes we see that an old concept actually applies somewhere we didn't and THAT leads to rethinking a subject. But I'm not sure whether such a process should be considered *inductive* so much as a *logical refinement*.
  12. It describes what a motor will do given a closed-loop current. If I knew nothing of motors but what happened when I strung components together, I might regard your formulation as a working definition for "motor-current". It would be fine for *that* stage of knowledge, but new discoveries would prompt new concepts and new definitions. After I discovered that current can exist without a motor, I'd arrive at "electric current" as such. I might define it in terms of continuity of an effect given variation in certain measurable quantities. But once I had the concept of "voltage-gradient", my definition of electric current would become something like "charged particles with a net direction of motion due to a potential gradient". If I wanted a mathematically rigorous definition, I'd talk about the time derivative of charge. Whatever is appropriate for the level of knowledge involved. Not that you need a concept for the sentence. Just a concept of the *relationship* being asserted about the subject. Then you apply your concepts to narrow the units of the main concept in the subject and specify the relationship those units are in. You can regard the specific entity described in any true proposition as a unit of a certain kind. After all, you aren't advocating that we form a concepts as narrow as blue-eyed girls shorter than 5' 4" walking through the grocery aisle. You're just asking whether we can regard something that narrowly defined as a unit. And we can. It sounds like you're trying to get a better understanding of what exactly propositions do with concepts.
  13. And if you want to determine whether the sequences are instances of universals, you look at P units, not the sequences per se. You examine specific instances of P, hoping to find a unit that teaches you about the entities and constitutive properties responsible for P. e.g.: Instances of biological development in a chicken egg indicate stages in a process. Instances of color have nothing in common but color, meaning that color depends on arrangement of parts rather than chemical components or other aspects. Instances of fields tell us that we have found an attribute dependent on nothing but the entities themselves. Instances of thresholds, such as phase transition of water into vapor, tells you that two things thought to be different have a common quantitative basis in entity-interaction independent of entity-composition.
  14. You also need the right kinds of measurements. Consider the history of the concept of burning. The idea of phlogiston raced ahead of measurement and claimed burning was a type of separation. A simple closed chamber and careful measurements would have informed them that ash was more massive than the original substance burned and that therefore burning involved *combination*, not separation. And propositions "work" by taking open-ended classifications based on measurement omission, specifying some of the measurements, and predicating a fact about it. e.g.: "My floor is hard" The phrase "my floor" specifies a smaller set of units than "carpeted floors". The phrase "is hard" identifies a connection between some observable quality abstracted from the background and a physical entity that is capable of being hard.
  15. I do not understand what you mean by calling "metal" first-level. There are metallic objects, but there is no such thing as "metal" as such independent of the objects. A child would first learn that certain objects are called "toys". Later the child would compare and contrast his toys with other kinds of objects like "table" and "car" and "fork" to isolate their respective materials. First you distinguish objects from the background. Then you isolate their attributes.
  16. It sounds like you want a series of deductive arguments conjoined with examples. If you convert OPAR or any work by Ayn Rand into a series of deductive arguments, you will lose out on a lot of the meaning. There is no substitute for context. There is no gain in forfeiting the mental workout of rising up from particular concrete examples to principles through successive levels of induction. If you or they try to apply the philosophy deductively, without reducing the principles down a ladder of abstractions to reality, reality will be lost in fuzziness. PowerPoint removes the context and encourages mental laziness on the part of your audience. People end up feeling like they understand something when all they've done is memorized a deduction. PowerPoint limits the number of levels of abstraction you can view at any given time. There is no way you can present processes such as reduction. It lets listeners get away with the method of a "continental rationalist", someone who deduces conclusions from unquestioned premises. But a large part of objectivity involves keeping abstractions grounded. PowerPoint is inferior to plain written communication. It is also inferior to other software in several respects. If I want to identify key facts about a specific subject before addressing a concrete problem, I use TiddlyWiki. I can organize concepts and knowledge without missing context or discouraging the use of of reduction and integration. It is objectively better than PowerPoint, but there are limitations. It cannot show logic trees or successive levels of integration. If I want to map out the *essence* of arguments, I use CMapTools. That program has enabled me to keep track of reductions and integrations for all kinds of subjects. I have a map of electromagnetism that traces a ladder of successive generalizations from observations and measurements all the way up to Maxwell's equations. PowerPoint couldn't possibly do that. But, like TiddlyWiki or PowerPoint, there are limitations. While useful as a memory tool, the usefulness of CMaptools for presentation isn't much better than giving a basic picture of how I integrate facts with concepts, how I organize concepts into propositions, and how I form successive generalizations. I can show how I view a subject. And I can even show a logic tree outlining my plan for addressing a specific topic. But it is no substitute for argument. And no medium of communication can be "best" overall. Something is "best" at *something*. Something is good *for* something. Something is a means towards a purpose.
  17. The funny thing is that some people try to say that science can "break things down" but "can't build them back up". It is as if they think that ignorance of when and where components produce an assemblage somehow invalidates the proposition that they DO produce the assemblage. I think an understanding of measurement-omission would clear that up.
  18. To put it another way, all interactions are caused by the constitutive properties of the entities, by their structure, etc.
  19. If you separated a water molecule into atomic hydrogen and atomic oxygen, it would no longer be a water molecule. A chemical bond is the sum of the interactions between the atoms keeping them together in a certain way. Bonding arises out of entity-interaction. "Emergent properties" merely reflect how an assemblage behaves because it's an *assemblage* of *entities* subjected to such and such conditions. Composition is not a license to sever action potentials from constituent entities. So anyone who says that the properties of a water molecule are not caused by the properties of hydrogen and oxygen are denying causality.
  20. What's mysterious is that there's interference to begin with. What sort of a thing interferes in transit yet is quantized? And why does this work for giant molecules such as bucky balls? Obviously we're dealing with entities and actions of a different nature than all our old subcategories of entities and actions. Abstraction from abstractions is desperately needed here.
  21. Would you say the programmer is mocking us by reusing inappropriate text-rendering code?
  22. A scientific law expresses a generalization concerning a relationship that is invariant with respect to certain conditions. This distinguishes scientific law from the actual physical relationship. I was thinking that the relationship itself could be called a "law of nature", but it seems that the phrasing is unclear. Perhaps it would be enough to emphasize the following distinctions: 1) existents, such as relationships 2) concepts 3) propositions about particulars 4) generalizations, such as scientific laws
  23. Time does not exist apart from the entities and changes used to measure it. But doesn't it exists AS a measurement of change? We are measuring something, namely a type of change in relationship among entities. If orbits are not existents, then they cannot be relationships. But they are no mere mental constructions. So I'll accept that orbits are abstractions insofar as time has no existence apart from relationships.
  24. I mean they have no existence apart from consciousness. Yes. Yes. If distance and velocity relationships exist, so does the relationship among the planets and the sun constituting an orbit. An orbit is the gravitationally curved path of an object around a reference point. If that path exists by virtue of the entities involved, then orbits exist as much as any other relationship. That's why I never said "ellipses".
  25. Propositions do not exist any more than concepts do. But planets travel in elliptical orbits around the sun. THAT is existent by virtue of the entities involved. Does that distinguish the objective position from an intrinsicist's position?
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