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Everything posted by y_feldblum

  1. It seems you are confusing knowledge of a fact without prior experience of that particular fact with knowledge of a fact without prior experience of any facts at all. We can deduce, from Euclid's axioms, that the sum of the angles of a triangle form 180 degrees. But we have knowledge of Euclid's axioms. And that knowledge of Euclid's axioms comes from experience. But we cannot somehow just know about triangles before opening our eyes for the very first time.
  2. I doubt the student had any idea of what the postulate actually means. It's like detailing how the theology of the Church leads to all sorts of practical results, such as loving one's neighbor and giving charity - and then throwing in as a comment that Ayn Rand thought charity was evil. No. First of all, you would have to go through the same motions with Objectivism, detailing how it goes from its metaphysics and epistemology all the way down to its practical results. Second, that Ayn Rand thought charity was evil is true - in a specific context: charity as a categorical moral imperative, as a moral duty to sacrifice for the sake of others, is evil; but charity can also result from egoism, and in that context it is not a moral duty nor is it a sacrifice, and in this case Ayn Rand would not think it evil. It appears to be a very similar situation with your classmate's quote from theoretical physics dumbed down to out-of-context nonsense.
  3. The most critical aspect of Objectivism is reason. Egoism follows from and is based on reason; reason is the cornerstone of the philosophy. Obviously, it is here that you break with Objectivism. At the cornerstone. The obvious retort to "we can't know anything for sure" is: "are you sure?" Your principal break with Objectivism falls flat on its face to a question with which, for hours on end, three-year-old children bug everyone they meet.
  4. Keynes is reprehensible, yes. But it is not the dominant economic ideas a society holds which determines its future course: it is the dominant epistemological and moral ideas.
  5. Liability, in the context of limited-vs-unlimited liability, is in particular the liability of the owners of a corporate entity for that entity's debts. In general, if a company incurs debts and cannot pay them out of its capital assets and revenues, then the owners of that company must liquidate the company and then must pay the difference out of their own pockets. The owners of a company by default take on full risk for the company defaulting on its debts. A company set up with limited liability writes into all its debt contracts that the the debt owners (the lenders) take on full risk for the company defaulting on its debts: the owners of that company must liquidate the company to pay as much as possible of the company's debts, but their risk in owning the company goes only that far, and it does not extend into their own pockets. Limited-liability companies are very popular for owning shares in because their shareholders do not risk losing everything they own, merely all of the value of the shares they purchased. Note that limited liability is perfectly legit: it is a stipulation on all debt contracts, and the debt owners are free to accept or reject this stipulation as they see fit.
  6. I would be pretty surprised if Lincoln told the boys, "I know you've been away from your own women for a while, so go get 'em southies and then have some fun." In any event, the Union army fought to break, utterly and completely, the will of the South in their rebellion against the Union. This naturally involved destroying Southern farmland, cities, etc. To do so was absolutely moral, absolutely just.
  7. Here's how to impart some methodological soundness into the question. Consider selecting a single person at random and asking what is the probability that he is (i) a billionaire? (ii) an Objectivist? (iii) a billionaire Objectivist? How does (iii) compare to (i) times (ii)? If there is a difference, what is the cause of the difference? E.g., rounding error, data anomaly, statistically predictable anomaly, causal relationship between being an Objectivist and being a billionaire? Of course, figuring the correlation between randomly selecting a billionaire and randomly selecting an Objectivist from the world population is a more scientific technique.
  8. As a note, both LaPlace and Lagrange were very great mathematicians. They both advanced mathematics heavily in many areas, and in particular in the study of calculus with many variables, where some of the advanced techniques bear their names.
  9. There is a big fat I right in the middle of spIne.
  10. y_feldblum

    Traffic Laws

    I would absolutely love a NASCAR For Everyone.
  11. Because the productivity of labor in such countries is far lower.
  12. y_feldblum

    Traffic Laws

    Use call options. I think game theory is silly, by the way.
  13. y_feldblum

    Traffic Laws

    In exactly the same manner as the very successful, very private, very extensive, and very profitable railroads of the old railroad age acquired said rights of way sans eminent domain. In exactly the same manner as is always the case. In exactly the same manner that Ayn Rand's observations and generalizations therefrom imply.
  14. y_feldblum

    Traffic Laws

    I recently noticed that the public road system is not by any means among all the wonders of modern technology. Public roads are one and all little better than 1900's era trash. Everything else we have today, when not highly controlled, has advanced leaps and bounds faster than the public roads. I am in favor of closing the public trash and permitting smart people to build a quality means of transportation.
  15. Of course, Ayn Rand also espoused the virtue of rationality.
  16. The Greeks may not have come up with every good idea, but they discovered what it means for an idea to be good. Until then, the primitives were mixing good ideas with bad, with no way to discern between them. Sometimes, the good ideas outweighed the bad, and cultures advanced. Other times, the bad outweighed the good, and cultures collapsed. The Greeks showed us how to survive and how to flourish both as individuals and as a society.
  17. Levi is biblically Israel's third son. The Levites, descendants of Levi, were supposed to be the tribe of religious teachers wandering throughout the nation of Israel. Moses is said to be of the tribe of Levi, and Aaron, Moses' brother, is said to be the paternal ancestor of the priestly class within Israel who tended to the temple in Jerusalem. The Levites today have a particular role within the Synagogue services. Levi figures very prominently early in the Bible; the name is therefore inextricably tied to Judaism as well as being quite popular among Jews today and throughout their history.
  18. Is Shea not derived from Hosea (biblical prophet)?
  19. Absolutely false. A regulation when imposed by force immediately loses whatever claim to a rational basis it once might have had.
  20. In all other industries open to the market, the worse teams can learn, write up a new business plan, and seek venture capital or some other form of outside investment. A forced revenue-sharing plan is one way among many to destroy an industry. An illustrated theoretical defense of this position can be found in Atlas Shrugged.
  21. Modus ponens as the sine qua non of logic? On the contrary, A is A is logic. Any religious person you meet assumes the law of identity only some of the time, and the rest of the time he's imagining FSMs and IPUs to be real.
  22. Any statement of knowledge depends on and implicitly presupposes the three axioms. The method of defending this position is to look at any item of knowledge one cares to consider and show that it assumes the three axioms. The method of responding to an objection to this position, after the objector has already seen the defense in action, is to apply the defense of this position to the objection at hand: to show how every statement of knowledge, including the objection itself, depends on and implicitly presupposes the three axioms. You see, then, that the primary defense of the Objectivist position in actually straightforward, and it is only after the position has actually been defended that retortion can be applied.
  23. A few notes: The universal institution of individual rights is the universal cure to the social ills of collectivism. The parallels of the so-called tragedy of the commons, in all their forms, arise from collectivist institutions. Figuring out how to institute individual rights, especially property rights, in particularly tricky cases requires a combination of moral theory, political theory, and law theory. Law theory is especially specialized, so such tricky cases are harder to answer on a forum devoted to the other two fields. Government is the protector and guarantor of individual rights. That is its only function. Government is absolutely not the representative of individuals. Absolutely not, and the very idea is horrendous. Government has absolutely no moral right to speak on my behalf, and the moment it attempts to speak on my behalf, it is worthy of being deposed and replaced. Government has no access to the contents of my mind, to my convictions and values. Its only access is to the gun which it uses to protect me from criminals and foreign enemies. The concept of "externality" is not a valid concept, and it is not a necessary concept. It represents the idea that the standard by which to judge individual action is the collective will. As such, it is an evil concept, inimical to individual human life. Bottled water has come about because the water is kept to high standards and tastes good and because the bottling of it is so convenient. Some people treat it as a new-age thing. I simply think keeping a case of bottled water in the car is very convenient; being able to buy a bottle of water at the concession stand is convenient; etc.
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