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Everything posted by y_feldblum

  1. One must judge everything one sees and act consistently with his judgment. Every identification of "it is so" requires a moral evaluation of what one just identified: "it is so, therefore it affects me in the following essential ways, and so I judge it as inconsequential, or moderately or severely good or evil."
  2. I have trouble following the opinion that particular concrete inventions have the power to move history, while broad ideas pertaining to every aspect of man's life do not have that power.
  3. I specifically mentioned the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution as being the legacy of ancient Greece. In particular, these eras in history descend from the Aristotelian worldview, on the Aristotelian approach to understanding the world around us. The Enlightenment was, in principle, a pro-reality, pro-man, anti-religion worldview, very much consonant with Aristotle. The Industrial Revolution is the Enlightenment's influence in the field of practical application, business, and the betterment of human life.
  4. Thousands of years later, what are the legacies of ancient Greece and China? Ancient China's was just another empire which at one point enjoyed a golden age. Many empires did just that, including the Roman and Muslim empires. But these golden ages were ephemeral because although they were based implicitly on a few good ideas, the bad ideas which they explicitly adhered to won out every time. The good ideas were never named or systematized, and so they could not take hold. We, today, are the continuation of ancient Greece. We have taken the ideas of the ancient Greeks and put those ideas into practice, achieving the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and every comfort we take for granted today, including the plentiful nature of food, the fact that we no longer build our homes out of mud, and our ability to communicate instantaneously all the way around the world. The ancient Greeks named and systematized their ideas, and so their ideas could, and did, take hold. And we today are the result.
  5. What do you mean by Lorentzian Relativity? Lorentz observed that Maxwell's equations seemed odd: they were inconsistent with the transformation law of Galilean relativity and Newtonian mechanics. Galilean relativity, Newtonian mechanics, and Maxwellian electromagnetism were all correct and provably so, and yet they seemed to contradict one another. (Maxwell's equations are the equations governing all electromagnetic phenomena.) Lorentz figured out the transformation law with which Maxwell's equations are consistent. Einstein, observing this, applied the Lorentz transformation law to Galilean relativity and Newtonian mechanics, arriving at his Special Relativity. A transformation law is a set of equations describing how a phenomenon will be observed at one particular place and time and at one particular velocity and acceleration, once it has already been observed at another particular place and time and at another particular velocity and acceleration. In particular, it describes which of a certain set of observed and deduced geometrical properties of an object are properties inherent in that object, and which are a combination of the properties inherent in that object and the particular means by which we observe them. A transformation law is inherently geometry applied to physical phenomena. An example of a transformation law is the law transforming "3 miles due north by 4 miles due west" into "as the bird flies, 5 miles 53 degrees west of north" into "6 miles on the Interstate, getting off in 2 exits."
  6. There have been many, many competitors to Windows and Office throughout the years, all comparable to Microsoft software. OpenOffice and Linux are nothing new; their gimmick, if you will, is that they are distributed with no expectation of payment on the one side, and no expectation of support on the other. Microsoft is not at all in trouble, any more than any other company quick on its feet and constantly innovating and confident in itself and its own future, any more than it has been in the past.
  7. There is little difference in kind or in degree between government control of a corporate board by shareholder vote or government control of a corporate board by regulatory oversight.
  8. The simplest explanation is that religion asks us explicitly and approvingly to surrender our minds. It is irrational and proudly so. It is absolutely consistent, and it has no great internal contradiction to wrench it apart.
  9. I disagree with Betsy Speicher on the issue of two senses of the word certain. I only mentioned that I agree with her that there are two proper senses of the word possible, one in the field of metaphysics and one in the field of epistemology, but even there it seems we disagree on just what are those senses of the word.
  10. I would venture that the word in red is to be taken as epistemological possibility, not metaphysical possibility. (To say that it is possible for a seed to become a tree is an expression of certain knowledge about a metaphysical possibility. To say that some particular tree is an oak tree is an expression of epistemological possibility, or uncertain knowledge.)
  11. I would actually support the distinction, with the identification that the "metaphysically possible" is precisely the Aristotelian potential. The "epistemologically possible" is drawn from the potentials of things regarding which we do not yet have full knowledge. When one does have full knowledge of some particular fact, the epistemologically possible is the metaphysically possible. I would support the distinction because we do actually use "possible" in those two senses, equally validly.
  12. y_feldblum


    It is generally hard, with appeals to reason, to change the mind of one who rejects reason as something to be appealed to.
  13. I do not think there is any single legal change which would move the dominant trend in the ideas our culture holds. Abolishing taxation and abolishing public education are both impotent in comparison. Ideas lead the people, and the people lead the government.
  14. There would be an immediate push to government run schools again.
  15. I don't think there is any argument possible. Unless for such things as painful, terminal illness, it is not a rational conclusion, and consciously so. Often, a person contemplating suicide does so because he thinks of the world around him as, essentially, a mysterious, hostile, malevolent, unintelligible, unknowable place where he can never succeed, can never achieve, can never have, can never want, can never be happy; where what he has achieved, what he has, and what he wants are meaningless. It is the malevolent universe premise, ingrained into one's mind by years of acceptance, in its psychological manifestation. It is Peter Keating (the good? huh?) and it is the early Dominique Francon (the good doesn't fit into this mean little world). The cure? I'm no philosopher and no psychologist, but: to see with one's own eyes, to understand with one's own mind, and to want with one's own heart, the benevolent universe premise.
  16. I was not implying that either. In fact, I was merely using your words.
  17. Unaided sense-perception does not give us direct access to existence. It gives us direct access (one sense of direct access; there are two senses of the term) to some of existence. For the rest, we must use abstraction and we must devise tools. The same applies to others' minds, because others' minds are in existence.
  18. I'm not sure that I agree with, or even understand, softwareNerd's and John McVey's recent posts. It seems to me that there would ordinarily be some level of credit, backed with real assets; but when government requires lenders to expand credit or businesses to expand borrowing, backed not with assets but with force, inevitably many borrowers default - the borrowers whom government forced to borrow and to whom government forced the lenders to lend -, the lenders call in their other loans, their other borrowers fail, the lenders themselves fail, etc. I, not an economic scientist, wonder how reasonable this explanation is.
  19. We don't have direct access to anything. For all targets of cognition, we have the tools of unaided sense-perception, the ability to devise means of aiding our sense-perception, and abstraction.
  20. Answer this. Can a man alone, perhaps on a desert island or something, objectively be great? Or must there be an audience, and someone else competing with and losing to our subject, for our subject to be great?
  21. I'd prefer a government compatible with Capitalism. Such a government would not subsidize roads, nor would it tax the public to pay for roads. It would leave private developers free to build roads and to institute whichever age restrictions they deem appropriate.
  22. Good: worthy of one's approval. Great: worthy of one's admiration. Although these are not quite objective definitions, it seems to me that these are useful in identifying and distinguishing between the good and the great. Nothing in these suggest that the great is great only because other things are merely good.
  23. What is the essential property particular to volitional causation and not found in mechanistic causation which forever closes off to cognition all knowledge (all absolute and certain knowledge) of volitional causation?
  24. If I recall correctly, Reisman notes that accelerating inflation can encourage unrealistic economic activity, temporarily, if the acceleration is not publicly known or knowable. He also notes that, from political pressure, inflation tends to accelerate. When inflation is stopped, or at least stopped from accelerating, an economic crash will occur, the scale of which is proportional to the scale and duration of inflation preceding it. The economy is not being "brought back down to reality"; rather, since government expropriated vast quantities of wealth from individuals and business via inflation, and since the scale of the expropriation was not known: as people realize they can no longer pay back loans or continue in business because their assets are now worthless, the shock of the expropriation hits the economy and crashes it. A fiat expansion of credit can do the same thing. I read an article recently which mentioned that the current mortgage-backed-securities crash, for example, stems from government requiring companies to hold bonds and similar credit instruments far beyond what companies would normally hold and far beyond what the normal credit instruments could provide. It seems mortages are also heavily government-regulated and so holding mortages would be very risky. Mortage-backed-securities are, then, paper assets backed by Federal whim and cruelty.
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