Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Vik

  1. Or Heraclitus. But whether one ingests "Dike eris" or "Aufhebung", expect paralysis.
  2. What is it that I do when I focus on a metaphysical fundamental? How do I isolate an implicit fact?
  3. What do you mean by "intrinsic properties" in this context? Are you referring to the fact that causation is entity-based?
  4. Sounds like that would include anything passed first-level generalization, but you aren't pushing any particularly high level of abstraction. That's a slightly wider scope of "principle" than I've seen. Thank you for the clarification.
  5. Yes, but how? Where would we begin to look? How do we identify something that is implicit? Does some type of approach lead us there? What enables us to focus on one aspect rather than another? Such as emphasizing identity rather than existence?
  6. They're all the same in that there's a selective focus, integration, and something similar to measurement-omission. What's special is we're dealing with metaphysical fundamentals. This isn't a simple matter of pointing at distinguishing characteristics. It's not like we can point at some "non-existence" and make a distinction. We cannot differentiate existence from a void. We have to integrate all existents.
  7. It is my understanding that axiomatic concepts are formed through a different process than what I would use to form a concept of some particular existent. Rather than differentiating one group of existents from others, I'm supposed to integrate ALL existents and arrive at something basic. What is it that I do when I underscore a primary fact? Could there be other axiomatic concepts besides "existence", "identity", "consciousness"? Or are they all corollaries, like how "causality" is? I understand that in order to form any axiomatic concept, I need a sufficient body of knowledge and a developed ability to introspect.
  8. A word on axiomatic concepts. I was reading chapter 7 again in my quest for a clearer understanding of "characteristic" when I recognized this: "Since axiomatic concepts are not formed by differentiating one group of existent from others, but represent an integration of all existents, they have no Conceptual Common Denominator with anything else" What role do characteristics play in this process--if any? If none, what do we reference to integrate the units?
  9. Hm... "Things fall downward" can be used to explain why letting go of a pen--or any other object--will result in its fall to the ground. Galileo's law of fall will explain fall times but it won't explain the fall. Newton's theory WILL explain the fall. The first is not considered a law but the second two are. Where is the boundary of the concept? If it is explanation, why is the identification of an invariance a law?
  10. Astronomical observations lead to the idea that there is a definite beginning to the observable portion. However, you cannot have something from nothing. And infinite regress doesn't make any sense. There must be something that causes without being caused by anything, a prior "stuff" that eventually led to the observable portion of the universe. Maybe the universe is on a cycle that cannot be described by thermodynamics. Or maybe we're following an asymptote that never quite reaches zero. Or maybe everything just stops. Whatever's going on, SOMETHING is doing it and there is nothing beyond that something and its effects. Time is a measurement of change of relationship between (or among) existents within the totality of what exists. It has no meaning outside of those relationships. What we know about the universe implies that there must be something that is of such nature that the concept of time is not applicable. I suppose you could say there is a sort of "eternity" in that sense, but you should distinguish that sort of eternity from the idea of infinite time. Those are very different ideas.
  11. Would you consider identifications of invariance to be such principles? that something remains the same despite variation in something else? An entity has compositional invariance when constituents remain the same despite structural transformations. An entity has structural invariance when its structure remains the same despite a particular component being replaced by another particular component that is compatible with the previous component's niche. A system has functional invariance when its function remains the same despite changes in the composition or structure of the system. Those sorts of thing?
  12. I do not view them as guiding behavior, so "law" must be an inappropriate qualifier. Hm... what would be a better way of putting it.... I'm trying to talk about an actual physical relationship that we've described by means of combining concepts in a certain way. As opposed to a proposition that does not fit the facts or does not apply the concepts correctly. I'm trying to talk about a true scientific generalization based on empirical observations of physical behavior. I'd say "scientific principle", but a lot of people associate "principle" with top-level abstractions. Hm...
  13. I dislike using the term "universe" to refer to the sum of everything. "Universe" has a very specific meaning in physics that's too narrow for us to objectively claim as everything. I think "totality" would be far less confusing. I have a few things to say about "totality" but not all of it directly relates to your topic so I will start a new thread. Entities exist. By extension, we have everything else. Existence is not something on top of entities.
  14. Is the Schrodinger equation a law of nature? Or does it merely describes appearances? If the latter, then we have a sharp distinction between descriptive generalizations and explanatory ones.
  15. Yes, it's indirect in the sense that the entities are implied but their interactions are left unspecified on the principle that some laws of nature are concerned with a consequence of interactions rather than the interactions per se. It's about as redundant as "facts of reality", but it serves to underscore the difference between a law of nature and a proposition supposedly about a law of nature. OTOH, there are similarities between that issue and the problem of universals. It's a bit like asking if relationships are "out there". (I understand them as a subcategory of existents that do not exist apart from entities) Just a grammar error. I finished finals yesterday.
  16. I think of causation in terms of entity interaction. Strictly speaking, attributes and relationships do not exist apart from entities. Things interact giving rise to everything else. If a law of nature involves two existents where neither is an entity, it seems more descriptive to me than explanatory. What is not actual can only be imagined. When we have the knowledge and adequate concepts, we can express a law as a single proposition. I'm trying to collect basic facts about laws of nature because I am having trouble distinguishing laws of nature from other types of relationships. Is there anything more to causal relationships than laws of nature? Is there some type of causal relationship that's NOT a law of nature? How should laws of nature be expressed so we don't run into the problem we had with Mill's rules of reasoning? Namely that we cannot know all the conditions necessary for a consequence. Do we simply tack on "ceteris paribus"? Or can Objectivism enable us to do more?
  17. I have three wires. Let's call them A, B, and C. I connect them together so that you can say that current "flows out" from A & B and "flows into" C. So A + B = C This equation is a specific instance of one of Kirchoff's laws: "At any node in an electrical circuit, i.e. where the wires meet, the sum of currents flowing into that node is equal to the sum of currents flowing out of that node." It presumes knowledge of wires and electric current. It describes a quantitative relationship, but it doesn't explain much. I'm not trying to sell it short. It can certainly be used to explain quantitative change. It can certainly be used to predict whether the addition of a fourth wire will cause a reduction in the current in C. However, it says NOTHING of action beyond that. And it gives little insight about the entities involved. In order to apply this law to the real world, somebody must use a measuring device, such as an ammeter.
  18. Checking differentia of "certain"... "Certain" represents an assessment of the evidence for a conclusion. What other types of assessments are there? "probable", "possible", "impossible", "arbitrary", etc. "Probable" means that there is statistical evidence for generalizing from a sample of data. this is very abstract so it's dependent on the certainty of definitions. "Possible" means that although definitions allow it, and it doesn't contradict anything we know, we don't know enough to "fully affirm" it. "Impossible" means that it implies a contradiction to something we already know. I would say that definition is *incidental*, not essential. This is a good example of how definitions can be used to rule out certain types of errors. The application of definitions to the assessment of particular conclusions is a deductive process. I'm not sure how this is related to induction or causal inference though. It is my understanding that mathematical induction is actually a type of deduction. Could you provide more background on what you're trying to say? Would you say that there is no mathematics apart from attributes abstracted from reality?
  19. Here is what I have so far. Additions and clarifications are highly welcomed. A law of nature is an actual relationship that can be described by a single proposition. True propositions identify actual relationships among the units subsumed by appropriate concepts. They capture some of the laws of nature. Laws of nature cannot be described or explained without an appropriate conceptual framework. First you form concepts. Then you apply them to specific situations by means of propositions Concepts can be applied to particulars to yield universal affirmatives. For example, the concept of an elliptical can be used to reconstruct Kepler's laws when applied to astronomical data.
  20. Electrons do not split in two before reaching the slit. That idea is just a convenient fiction. Also, I take issue with "the very act of measuring or observing which slit...". Physicists try to determine which slit it "passed through" by throwing something at it or interacting it with by some less direct means. Since the same type of interaction happens with each electron that's sighted, they land in the same spot. Nothing mysterious here. What's mysterious is that, left to themselves, they form an interference pattern. Feynman did a great deal to clarify the nature of this "shakiness". Here is a nice intro to the issue:
  21. We're on the verge of a new concept as revolutionary as Faraday's concept of "field" was.
  22. Part of that will involve integrating a wide variety of facts.
  23. Well said! Feynman was talking about nano-wheels, not enormous paddles.
  24. I thought random meant "without pattern", as in APPARENT disorder? e.g. when I can't *deterministically* predict the outcome based on limited available information? (I'm talking about statistical contexts where the relative probability of the occurrence of each outcome can be approximated or calculated because of the finite cardinality of the set of possible outcomes)
  25. Different interpretations say different things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics#Comparison I believe there is not sufficient information at present for a meaningful answer. You can have a state of knowledge such that you know a particle could end up in a handful of locations but you don't know enough to say which. So you draw up a waveform. When you know enough, you can calculate a determinate state and dispense with the waveform. But before you're tempted to call the waveform a mathematical artifact, you should consider something. If you fire electrons, one after another, through a double slit, you will get an interference pattern--a wavelike pattern alternating bands of high concentrations of electrons separated by "bands" where there are no electrons. If you want to know which slit the electron passed through, you could shine a light on it to find out. However, this interaction changes the behavior of the electrons so that they all pile up in one place. So we have reason for thinking there WOULD HAVE BEEN a wavelike pattern if we hadn't violated the condition(s) that made it possible. Why is there a wavelike pattern in the first place? Do electrons interfere with themselves? Maybe. But if they do, why should the interference pattern disappear when photons interact with electrons? Obviously the interaction caused it. But WHY? What if electrons normally interact with virtual particles? What if shining a light overwhelms the electrons so they all go one way? There are several problems with this conjecture. First, I don't know any way for testing it. Second, Feynman diagrams, which employ virtual particles, were originally intended to aid memory for the purpose of calculation. It's a bit like saying "Ok I don't know enough about the particle to know what it's been interacting with. But I know enough to say that there is a certain probability that there will be an interaction with A. But there is also a certain probability for interacting with B. And there is another probability for interacting with C, but only if D does X. Given all these probabilities and a list of many others, here is what I predict the measurement will be". What's interesting about this approach is that the more possibilities you consider, the closer your prediction will be to reality. Thus Feynman's Path Integral is a tool for summing over all possible histories to arrive at the probability for a particular event. It is a very reliable tool in that it enables you to calculate the probabilities to an arbitrary accuracy. (By "possible histories" I mean that we don't know enough to say which one happened.) Feynman's approach sidesteps the observer problem, but it doesn't say why the interference pattern goes away. Furthermore, the Feynman diagrams are horrifically messy in QCD. This suggests severe limitations on using the diagrams to get a feel for what's really going on. The QCD messiness reminds me of the era of astronomy between heliocentric-ism and Kepler, when astronomers used a complicated system of circles to approximate planetary orbit because they didn't think of an ellipse. There is a crucial difference though. In the case of astronomy, it was eventually found that you could NOT approximate the orbit with circles. No such problem exists with the Feynman path integral. That device remains shockingly useful. AFAIK, no serious physicist believes that consciousness causes collapse.
  • Create New...