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Nate T.

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Everything posted by Nate T.

  1. Right. Even invalid concepts and anticoncepts exist, even though they at best tell us nothing about reality and at worst attempt to integrate contradictions and destroy valid concepts. In fact, I'd say that the fundamental example here is the concept of "contradiction." Contradictions do not exist in reality in the sense that the Law of Identity holds in all contexts: sonething cannot be something and something else at the same time and in the same respect. However, one can make an error and contradict onesself in the process of thinking, and it is that mental state which we call a "contradiction." The concept of "god," which I take to be along the lines of the traditional Judeo-Christian god, is an invalid concept, since it has no referents (you can find a proof of this in Objectivist literature if you haven't seen it already). The best that one can come to trying to define "god" here is "An omnipotent, omniscient being." At first glance, this might seem to be an attempt to describe this existent in terms of things you already know about, like limits of knowledge and limits of power. Of course, this isn't satisfactory, since it attempts to postulate the existence of an existent without identity. Nonetheless, even this faulty definition bears the hallmark of trying to describe something in terms of the negation of what one knows (in this case, limits of power and knowledge) However, one can "believe in the concept" as you put it, or talk intelligently about the concept "god" if one defines it as follows: "An imaginary being which is omnipotent and omniscient." This way, one can refer to people's beliefs in gods without simultaneously admitting that such a being exists by using the concept. In other words, one need not try to imagine something unimaginable in order to name the object of other people's attempts to do the same.
  2. Concepts, emotions, and memories are all existents which are observable through introspection. It's pretty clear that we can do this, since if we can't, how do we form concepts like "happiness", "yesterday" and "logic", which refer to mental referents? There is an important sense in which a concept can be considered "real," which is that it can, through the hierarchy of knowledge, be reduced to material existents observable through sense perception. For the example of gravity, gravity is a certain kind of force, and forces are relationships between changes of velocities of material existents. As for concepts which refer to imaginary referents, one cannot imagine anything other than a combination of that which you already know. For example, even though there are no unicorns, the concept of "unicorn" is real since it refers to an imaginary creature which is some combination of parts of animals for which you do have sense perception.
  3. jrs, Strictly speaking, t=1, -1 are not points of the range of this new set. Therefore, it's an abuse to say that t=1 is the "beginning" and t = -1 is the "end" since they are not properly in the set you're describing.
  4. Not to mention, it may be very costly to transport and maintain a large military force from Earth in order to enforce any authoritarian law in an off-world colony. I suspect this is one of the reasons that the original American Revolution was successful-- England found itself fighting a gurella war a quarter of a world away, and couldn't adapt to changing circumstances as well as the colonists.
  5. Well, on the one hand, the Jedi are clear-cut altruists, and there are lines in Episode III that explicitly reinforce this: the selflessness, the demonization of self-interest, the Buddhist-like renunciation of values as good, etc. However, I found one of the exchanges between Anakin and Palpatine interesting. In it, Palpatine claimed that in order for Anakin to be truly powerful, he needed to understand both the light and dark sides of the Force and use them both. I found that resonant with the Objectivist stance on moral compromise, since Anakin does, of course, end up turning evil. This aside, I can't respect the moral philosophy of a movie that has quotes like: "Only a Sith deals in absolutes."
  6. I wasn't responding to anyone in particular. Just my thoughts on the poll.
  7. This particular poll might have more to do with who participates on internet forums rather than who Objectivists are. I suspect any older Objectivists would be less likely to use an online forum just by virtue of not being as familiar with computers.
  8. Nate T.


    That's true-- and I'm sure those people would find it in their interests to jump ship, especially if a draft or other equally oppresive economic measure were instituted here. Not to mention, many of these people simply don't know about Objectivism (or have only heard silly straw-men of it) and would easily adopt Objectivist principles explicitly if given the chance. However, actually going to some island nation and converting it into a functioning Objectivist nation would take quite a bit of construction, not to mention agricultural development, in order to get the economy moving. So at the very least, we'd have to be willing to work more physical labor-oriented jobs at the beginning in order to get the infrastructure built. Quite a few of us would probably be working farms or ranches too, since the first market demands would be food and water. However, given the work ethic of Objectivists, we'd be beyond this stage in no time, rapidly outshining the rest of the world as they look on in wonder. Speaking of which, we'll need weapons, too.
  9. Nate T.


    Ah, well I wasn't really concerned about acting immorally; I was mostly just embarassed for taking the bill so seriously, since it was largely introduced as a symbolic anti-war gesture. Nonetheless, it can't hurt to let the politicians know where I stand-- at least that way I have a record to point to if I ever want to conscientiously object, so I won't have to be in the line of fire if I don't want to. If I'm going to be slave, I might as well try to be a slave at home. But on the brighter side, I've heard that they (in the usual collectivist manner) consider a single letter written to them to indicate that several thousand members of the population share the same opinions, so maybe it isn't so futile. In any case, thanks for the moral support! Yeah, I find it an amusing (if not somewhat disturbing) spectacle to see the Vietnam-War-protesting 60's hippies in support of the draft when it favors their views. Ah well, this is what we get when we live in an age when principles are out of style. It'd definitely be a sad day if America decided to reinstitute the draft. It was bad enough that we ever had it to begin with-- here, of all places! Although, with all bad laws, sometimes the best thing is to enforce it consistently so people will realise that it's a bad law. I'm not sure about an Objectivist island nation, awesome as that would be. First, I think you're right in thinking that this place can be saved from the theocrats and the socialists yet. However, even if it were to fall, we would need to export quite a few Objectivists to get a working economy. However, if our numbers are great enough to form an entire new country, we'd might as well attempt grassroots action here first, since we already have a goodly amount of infrastructure built here.
  10. Nate T.


    Some democrats introduced a pair of bills (HR163/S89) last summer to reinstitute the draft. What's more, the bills would institute a universal draft, with no deferments for studying, and would draft women as well. The democrats who sponsored these bills reasoned that the country would be less likely to go into unnesseasry wars if the "rich kids" were drafted along with the "poor kids". Thus, the party that fancies themselves to be protectors of "Human Rights" abrogates genuine individual rights in order to further their political agendas. I was (perhaps naively) scared by these bills, and wrote my representatives to stop it. This action was probably unnessesary, since the bills were defeated soundly in committee. I've heard that the Bush Administration is firmly against the draft, but we all know how much the word of a politician is worth.
  11. Yes, but only so long as you can keep them in their proper place. Just like a government.
  12. Wow. Talk about a clear-cut case of blaming the victim. Indeed, and it's a battle that they never should have had to fight, in two ways. First, they have to bear the loss of their skyscrapers, and then the loss of any decent building being built in the future in order to appease "victim's families," and whatever other government controls were imposed in this whole ordeal.
  13. I found some choice words from the creator of this monstrosity: "Each year on September 11th between the hours of 8:46 a.m., when the first airplane hit and 10:28 a.m., when the second tower collapsed, the sun will shine without shadow, in perpetual tribute to altruism and courage." Great.
  14. That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen! There's no comparison between that and some of the sketches on the "Half mile Skyscraper" thread. You say that this thing is going to be built on the WTC site?
  15. I think she's just transitioning to the subject of creating more liberty from the previous subject of the lack of liberty. I don't she's trying to make an argument that because liberty is lost gradually, liberty must therefore be restored gradually. She's just saying that just as the loss of liberty was gradual, so the reclaiming of liberty would be gradual.
  16. They are pretty interesting quotes-- I've been highlighting the text to read the long ones.
  17. Hi, First, I really like the addition of the famous quotes to the heading of each page. However, I thought I'd bring it to the webmaster's attention that the longer quotes overflow onto the link bar directly below it.
  18. Just because something exists doesn't mean it has to be composed of matter. Consciousness, for instance, or concepts. I jumped on your statement about black holes because it seemed to imply that black holes had some kind of chemical structure ("what compound"). If that isn't what you meant, I have no qualms with your statement.
  19. Not to mention, they need not be made of any materials.
  20. This is the distinction between the logical order of concepts and the chronological order of concepts. One can both specialize concepts by subdividing them into narrower categories, and integrate concepts under a new concept. For example, one can form the concept "apple" first, and then later subdivide to "Macintosh" and after that form the wider concept "fruit." However, the logical order (Macintosh is an apple is a fruit) does not necessarily have anything to do with the order in which you formed these concepts-- it depends on the amount of knowledge you have avaliable to you and the objective need of forming the concept.
  21. In short, no. Ask yourself the same question about the Laws of Physics: is there a preexisting source which contains every Law of Physics that reveals these Laws to humans? If not, does that mean that the Laws of Physics are arbitrary conventions agreed upon by humans? I claim that rights have the same epistemological status as the Laws of Physics. No, what one needs to discover about man is how he survives when on his own. Then, you design your rights so he can still do that in the context of a society. Since man has no automatic knowledge about the world, he has to use his mind and effort to use things in the world to suit his purposes. This includes being able to think and act freely, without his actions being forced to work against him. Because of this, one must preserve this freedom of thought and action in the context of a society of the society is to be a moral one. This fredom of thought and action is called a right.
  22. Well, if you mean that there's no evidence of intrinsic rights in the sense that there is some ultimate metaphyscial source of man's rights which exists without necessity of validation, then that's correct. None of man's conceptual knowledge is gained in this way. We must observe reality in order to learn the truth, it is not handed to us from above, nor can it be mystically intuited. However, just because there isn't a magical book containing man's rights somewhere, that doesn't mean that man's rights are subjective-- just being whatever people decide that they are on a whim. People's rights are what they are to serve a crucial purpose-- to delineate how men are to interact in a society so that society is to be a benefit to each of its members, that is, if it is to be a moral society. In order to do this, we must use reason to discover the nature of man (which is objective) and determine what these moral principles are. At its root, your question may be epistemological.
  23. To answer your question of where rights come from: forming a society gives inestimable benefits to the members of that society, but only under the assumption that life is better for each and every one of the members of that society with the society than without it. This is why we have rights and government. Rights are moral principles dictating and sanctioning a man's action in a social context. Governments exist to enforce these rights. Now how do we know what the rights of people are, that is, what determines these rights? The answer is the nature of human beings. Because humans have no automatic knowledge about the world, they have to use their minds to produce that which they need to survive. This entails an individual's freedom to observe the world and use it for his purposes, as well as keeping the fruits of his mind and effort, as well as that which was secured through voluntary trade. If you allow in a positive right to life (that is, a "right" to be alive), you are in essence declaring that everyone is entitled to food, water, shelter, and goodness knows what else. The problem is that these things aren't in general freely available to everyone-- someone must produce them. These producers then in effect become slaves to others by virture of their "right to be alive" However, these producers are in a society for a reason: to benefit themselves by (1) learning from others who are willing to teach them, and (2) collaborating wth others to mutual benefit. The second society turns one of its members into a slave, it is a society that has inverted its original purpose, and now acts as an agent of slavery, not of benefit.
  24. I remember that C.S. Lewis was converted to Christiantiy by G.K. Chesterton, who was essentially a Thomist, so their philosophies are probably similar. I've read some of Lewis' Mere Christianity-- from a logical standpoint, it was disappointing.
  25. Not to mention, logical connectives join propositions, not numbers. If you were to try an approach like this, it would generalize logical connectives to numbers.
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