Stephen Speicher

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Everything posted by Stephen Speicher

  1. Life and Values

    Would it ever be morally proper to love a pet so much as to value its life over that of a human stranger? Given a scenario where both are drowning and you can only save one, and granted that you do not know and cannot discern anything significant about the stranger, can you value your pet over the stranger and choose to save the animal?
  2. Einstein and Kant

    Amen to that! These were two great men. And, in regard to the current discussion, if Daniel had simply asked: "What is Einstein's equivalence principle, how was it used, and what evidence was it based on," I would have bent over backwards attempting to explain it all, as I usually do. Instead, he criticized the proper rigor of Einstein's methodology, using an imprecise statement of the equivalence principle without understanding how it was developed and used. Imagine someone coming here and criticizing Ayn Rand for saying you should murder people who annoy you, without understanding her actual concept of selfishness and how it was developed and used. It's wrong for a fair and just person who values greatness, to do to Einstein what he would never do to Ayn Rand. It makes me angry that some Objectivists, especially some prominent ones, take pot shots at Einstein while being ignorant of his actual physics and methods. There is no need to denigrate Einstein in order to venerate Newton. Personally, I am fed up and disgusted with this.
  3. Happy Birthday to ADS

    Pretty impressive, Alex. You did your birthday honor! 2, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, and 22 are all correct. Twelve right answers, a total of 60 B-Day points for the birthday boy! That leaves 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 19, and 23 remaining.
  4. Justification

    Note the concluding remark: "would be moral on both parts." I suppose if you took the two "parts" to be after the emergency was over, then "recognizing the property right of the owner" and the "restitute whatever you have taken" could be the two parts. If so, then, of course, morality does pertain as the emergency is over. But the context makes it seem to me that the two "parts" which she refers to as moral are the "right to break in and eat the food that you need," and then the eventual restitution. If this interpretation is correct, then this would indicate that morality does pertain in part to the actions during the emergency, not just after it is over. Granted, these remarks were made extemporaneously, but, nevertheless, I'm curious as to how you (and others) read this.
  5. Gary Hull founding a college?

    That's exactly right. And note that there are current students right here on THE FORUM who echo Burgess' estimate of some professors at university. ADS, for instance, has written about this in a couple of posts, and communicated even more to me privately. Alex has encountered a handful of first-rate teachers in both his philosophy and history courses. These are professors who know their subject matter and communicate it well, clearly and objectively, without attempts to smuggle in their own personal philosophy. They relish the facts, not distort them, and motivate their students by demonstrating their own abilities and enthusiasm. I would suggest to Phil, and any others with a like perspective, to not only talk to Objectivist students now at college, but also to some of the recent and even older Objectivist intellectuals who have had firsthand experience with this. The fact that the humanities academia as a whole is deserving of harsh criticism, does not preclude the existence of first-rate professors able and capable of teaching philosophy, history, and other like subjects, in an objective manner. These teachers may in fact be atypical, but they do exist and their effects are felt. I see nothing wrong per se with a new college, one that establishes a high standard in regard to choice of curriculum, attempting to cull quality professors from both the old and new. It may be difficult for them to compete for such quality in teaching, but if they can attract such teachers then the benefit to students exposed to a first-rate curriculum taught well, could be enormous. All this regardless of whether or not the professors are Objectivists.
  6. Unusal time and date

    Then why stop there? February 24, 1710, 9:37:46 = 2345678.90123
  7. The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

    I think it was said to be 60 mph in the movie, but I could be wrong. Regardless, I think they did a marvelous job of illustrating the essence of the changes made to the bike. Remember, he is after top speed, not how quickly he gets there. What he needs is steady acceleration, and streamlining. The movie clearly showed how Hopkin's character, Burt Munro, cast and finished his own parts for the motor, presumably reducing friction and enhancing the output from his own design. And the care and attention to the aerodynamics was also clearly demonstrated, Munro being sensitive to every little detail. This is, after all, a movie and not an automotive clinic, and I think they provided a plausible and insightful scenario of technical achievement, integrate very well into the action. For more detail of Munro's accomplishment, there was a documentary made on him and his achievement, and there is much written in tribute. For me, the movie presented just the right amount of technical detail.
  8. The Psychology of Some of Ayn Rand's Characters

    I'll be happy to do it if you want, but members can set up their own polls. Just start a new thread in a forum approriate to the subject, and next to "Poll Options" is "Click here to manage this topic's poll." You can test out using the poll procedure first in the "TESTING, TESTING" forum.
  9. English as a second language

    This is The Montessorian's reply to the question posed by Daniel Wisehart.
  10. Montessori - Order of materials

    This is The Montessorian's reply to the question posed by Phil Oliver.
  11. Montessori - Order of materials

    This is The Montessorian's reply to the question posed by Stephen Speicher.
  12. What distinguishes Montessori schools?

    This is The Montessorian's reply to the question posed by Joss Delage.
  13. Teaching Philosophy

    I have a lot of thoughts on the matter, but limited experience. You might want to pose a question to The Montessorian on her "Ask the Experts" forum. She has an academic background in both philosophy and psychology, and although her teaching specialty has been primarily in the area of Montessori (up to eight grade), I am confident that many of the principles she had learned and employed apply equally well to higher level education. She has developed a very successful school over the past 13 or so years, with enrollment of about 300 students. p.s. If you read the marvelous answer that The Montessorian gave to the question I asked on her forum, that should be enough to motivate you to ask her.
  14. Ask the experts

    Those who have chosen to provide a biography have done so. As of right now, that includes Andrew Bernstein, Richard M. Salsman, Jonathan Rosman, Michael Paxton, The Montessorian, Gail Paquette, and RJM.
  15. On her "Ask the Experts" sub-forum, The Montessorian had this very interesting discussion which directly relates to second part of your question.
  16. Montessori - Order of materials

    What a marvelous answer you provided. Thank you.
  17. Montessori - Order of materials

    This is The Montessorian's reply to the question posed by Stephen Speicher.
  18. Montessori - Order of materials

    In ITOE, p. 32, Ayn Rand notes "concepts have a hierarchical structure, i.e., since the higher, more complex abstractions are derived from the simpler, basic ones (starting with the concepts of perceptually given concretes)..." This is the sense in which I referred to "hierarchy." And, I would say that "hard" and "brown" are more abstract, not more concrete, than "table." Table is a perceptual entity, a first-level concept, whereas "hard" and "brown" are attributes abstracted from entities. But, regardless, when I asked about "treating a hierarchy as if it were an out-of-context absolute," I had in mind the sort of rigidity that treats as bad a child's interest in an area outside of what is considered to be their ken. Which is why your physics examples particularly interested me, including Galileo. My question is, when you teach physics to the children in your Montessori school, do you mix modern ideas of physics along with the historical ideas that you present? Do you find that children need parts of today's world in order to properly grasp the physics world of long ago?
  19. Syndication

    There is some sort of SSI, XML, or RSS facilities that are available with the software. I took a quick look at it before but hadn't figured it out. It's on my list of things I would like to do, but I've been pretty swamped. If anyone knows anything about this and would like to help, feel free to let me know by PM or email.
  20. HTML-enabled posts

    You're welcome. It appears that embedded HTML is a major security issue. I do not know all the details, but I have been strongly advised to disallow it.
  21. HTML-enabled posts

    HTML in posts is an option, which I have disabled, for security reasons.
  22. Life and Values

    No, I would not put it as a rule like that. I might give up one job for a lesser one because of the potential of the new job. But, in doing so, it is my purpose in life that is guiding me; how that new job will actually serve my life, my happiness. Not as an abstract notion floating around in a diaphanous ether, but as an actual value that serves my happiness.
  23. Life and Values

    Your values serve the purpose of your own life, your happiness. How can sacrificing a high value for a stranger about whom you know nothing, serve the purpose of your life? Underline that: your values, your life.
  24. Life and Values

    Weighing the potential value of a stranger against the actual value of a pet is a judgment that you make according to the rational hierarchy of your values, and if you make that judgment rationally I do not see how you can be wrong in doing so. I was simply pointing out that the standard you used in your initial explanation was not one that was tied directly to your own values.
  25. Life and Values

    HaloNoble6, are our values determined by the abstract standard of being "life-loving" or are they determined by how well they serve our own life?