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On August 15, 2016 at 8:49 PM, New Buddha said:

The term "Metaphysics" in Objectivism is rarely used, and it is use in an entirely different way than traditional philosophy.  And, in fact, traditional philosophy doesn't even use the term in a consistent way.  The Metaphysics of Plato are not those of Aristotle.  

 

There are 5 branches of philosophy. Metaphysics is the study of existence. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Ethics is the study of action. Politics is the study of force.  Esthetics is the study of art.  Of the 5 branches of philosophy, metaphysics is the trunk of the tree.

The whole purpose of Ayn Rand's West Point speech was to drive home the utter importance of metaphysics. Her spacecraft metaphor laid it out: Where am I? (metaphysics) How do I know it? (epistemology) What should I do? (ethics). You cannot answer the last 2 questions unless you know where you are (metaphysics).

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Oh, well, I meant to bring up Zeno earlier, but before I could write my post it was necessary to write half a post. But before I could do that, I had to write a quarter of a post, and before that an e

Assuming you are an adult, the distance between your eyes has changed since you were a child.  Generally speaking in most people it grows between 20 to 30% so for example 2 inches when you were a chil

All true. I believe that you've mistaken what "identity" means and entails. Allow me to elaborate. Regarding identity (from "Galt's Speech," FTNI): This is identity -- a thing is it

5 hours ago, DonAthos said:

 

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/infinity.html

Every unit of length, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, has some specific extension; every unit if time, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, has some specific duration. The idea of some INFINITELY SMALL amount of length or temporal duration has validity ONLY as a MATHEMATICAL DEVICE. By analogy: the average family has 2.2 children, but no actual family has 2.2 children; the "average family" exists only as a mathematical device.

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On 8/19/2016 at 0:49 PM, NameYourAxioms said:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/infinity.html

Every unit of length, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, has some specific extension; every unit if time, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, has some specific duration. The idea of some INFINITELY SMALL amount of length or temporal duration has validity ONLY as a MATHEMATICAL DEVICE. By analogy: the average family has 2.2 children, but no actual family has 2.2 children; the "average family" exists only as a mathematical device.

Though you've provided a link to your source (which is good), it is also probably appropriate to put quotes around this and attribute it to Harry Binswanger.

As to the content, I agree with him... it is hard to understand, however, how this is a reply to me, or what I've said in response to your various posts. I see that once again, you've used the quote function (which is good), but there's no actual quote of mine in it, which leaves me struggling to understand the context for your reply. What is it I've said that you believe you're taking issue with? How is this quote meant to comment on my claim (contra your own) that caterpillars become butterflies, or anything else we've discussed? Why aren't you responding at all to what I actually write? (Is this a form of concession?)

On 8/19/2016 at 1:06 PM, NameYourAxioms said:

[drops mic, leaves room]

I have the impression (please correct if wrong) that you're somewhat new to Objectivism, and possibly quite young. Regardless, should you choose to pursue it, this is an opportunity for personal growth. Whether you're right or wrong on any given topic, this kind of approach (complaining about receiving "too many questions," and failing to answer hardly any of them in the context of a philosophical discussion; implying that anyone who disagrees with your understanding of Objectivism must not have read Ayn Rand (which, obviously, we all have); now this boastful, intemperate storming off, which might be appropriate for some YouTube comment section, but certainly not here) is unlikely to change any minds, or result in positive experiences for anyone who chooses to engage you in conversation.

The truth of what you say matters (as well as the errors you make, and you should look to our earlier discussion on that score, because I believe I've highlighted a few errors that you have made). The manner in which you conduct yourself also matters, and this is poor conduct.

Edited by DonAthos
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Context dropping in science can be very misleading.  Instead of "infinity" consider "simultaneity"

In Newtonian Mechanics, simultaneity poses no problem.  But Einstein questioned what does such a thing mean?  If a stationary person see's two flashes of light, that occur at an equal distance from him, then he can measure them as occurring simultaneously.

But what if a person is standing in the middle of a moving train, and lightening strikes the front of the train and the back of the train "simultaneously"?  Since the person is moving towards the lightening strike, and light travels at a constant speed in all reference frames, the person on train will see the lightening strike in front of him before the one in back, while a person on a platform will see the events as simultaneous.  Information of the events will reach the person on the train at different times.  And someone on a moving space ship might see the flash in the back of the train as occuring before the one in front.  Who's right?

These pose very interesting philosophical questions, well worth discussing.  And Einstein was a very philosophically driven person.  And so were Newton, Leibniz, Heisenberg, etc.  Is Einstein a Logical Positivist?  Are statements only true if they are verifiable?  What does verifiable mean?  Verifiable to whom?  How do such questions play into Objectivist Epistemology?

StrictlyLogical points out that many Objectivist "reject" Quantum Mechanics because of "quantum leaps".  Einstein himself questioned QM because of it's Non-Locality (spooky action at a distance), which is in opposition to Relativity.  Is QM trying to create an Observer-less model of realty (in equations).  Does this follow Kant's noumena/phenomena split, and knowledge of a "thing in itself"?

Cutting and Pasting a quote by Rand or Peikoff that the Universe is "finite" as proof that it is (or that it must be) is context dropping. If you Google "Is the Universe Finite or Infinite?"  You'll see that the issue is addressed by Physicists in many different ways.

 

Edited by New Buddha
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On 8/18/2016 at 11:50 AM, DonAthos said:

It is the nature of a grape, when left in the sun, to become a raisin. Yet would you say of a raisin that its identity (as a grape) remains unchanged, that only its "appearance" has changed?

There's one more point that might be worth elaborating on.

 

When we talk about "grapes" or "tadpoles", we aren't discussing disembodied (or Platonic) forms that must conform to what we think about them. Ultimately, there are no "grapes" or "raisins" except for those entities they may or may not actually point to. And actual entities, in reality, change.

If what you mean by "identity" doesn't square with that fact then you're better off not using that concept, for the moment. That, at least, will prevent you from arriving at further errors (in a way quarantining that concept) until you have the time to revise it.

 

Incidentally - didn't this thread begin with Zeno's paradoxes?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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14 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Incidentally - didn't this thread begin with Zeno's paradoxes?

Oh, well, I meant to bring up Zeno earlier, but before I could write my post it was necessary to write half a post. But before I could do that, I had to write a quarter of a post, and before that an eighth of a post, and...

Well, let's just say that I didn't quite finish.

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On 8/19/2016 at 1:15 AM, NameYourAxioms said:

According to the Law of Causality, the actions of an entity are an expression of its identity. What an entity can do is determined by what it is.

Tadpoles do not "turn into" frogs and caterpillars do not "turn into" butterflies. The Law of Causality permits no miracles. A thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.

The larval stage of a frog is known as a tadpole. The larval stage of a toad is also known as a tadpole.  

A frog tadpole cannot "turn into" a toad and a toad tadpole cannot "turn into" frog. It was either a frog all along or a toad all along.

A butterfly caterpillar cannot "turn into" a moth and a moth caterpillar cannot "turn into" a butterfly. It was either a butterfly all along or a moth all along.

Acting according to its identity, a frog will progress from its egg stage to its larval stage (tadpole) to its adult stage. It was ALWAYS a frog.

We refer to humans at various ages as infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors because it serves an epistemological need. Metaphysically, an infant is a man and so are toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. The identity of man doesn't change. The infant was a man all along.

Don't believe me? Exactly when does an adolescent "turn into" an adult?

I agree with the essence of your argument. I think this fact leads to the hierarchical nature of knowledge.

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18 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Assuming you believe in evolution, at what point was a frog no longer the species from which it descended and became it's own species?

The classification of species depends on how distinguishable the different species are. Recently, giraffes have been claimed to be four species, not one.

Now if you're talking about time scales, the question of which species an animal belongs to has a discreet answer. So you may say that from 0-4999yrs you have species 1 and from 5000-10000yrs you have species 2, leaving out a year inbetween for distinguishability.

Of course, the real point is that species do not "turn into" another. This is merely an epistemological device used at the concrete level. At the level of molecules and mutations, entities retain their nature even when species "change" from one into the other.

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