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Everything posted by piz

  1. You may want to direct this query to Paul's Here, as he saw the TV blurb. I was just having a little fun projecting the "current computing power = one brain" thing into the future. My own answer would have to be that it must be a comparison solely of computing power, and has nothing to do with consciousness. Certainly the combined information technology of the entire world at present is not equal to one human consciousness. (Although I personally know some people who might make me question that in the case of their particular consciousnesses. )
  2. Too ... much ... ??? You're babbling, man! You're not making any sense!
  3. Assuming Moore's Law applies here and assuming that world population growth continues at the current estimated pace (both possibly invalid assumptions), that would make the date when computing power equals the number of brains on the planet probably some time in 2056. I'll be 95 years old (assuming ObamaCare or continued political kowtowing to Islam doesn't kill me before then).
  4. It's not that you should be able to judge for yourself, it's that you have no choice about it. Whether you observe reality and decide based on that whether any given philosophy agrees with it, or you accept a philosophy without determining whether or not it agrees with reality, or youu deny reality altogether and accept a philosophy that explicitly rejects it, or you never deliberately choose a philosophy (thus making your philosophy whatever you accept at random over time), it's a fact that it is you and you alone - your individual mind, your individual use of your own faculty of volition - that made the choice to proceed that way and to arrive at whatever your conclusions are. No one can make you think, and there's no such thing as a collective mind - if you accept a philosophy, you accept that philosophy. You judge for yourself whether you notice it or not, because there's no other way to judge.
  5. Definition of value

    You are incorrect, sir, as has been demonstrated over and over again. I haven't contributed any more than I already have to this discussion because it became clear all too quickly that to do so would accomplish nothing. I only post this to relieve my frustration at your dogged insistence on continuing to post on a subject of which you clearly have at best a misunderstanding. I will continue to read this thread solely for its amusement value (to me, for laughs).
  6. Immunizations

    Again, I want to note that I haven't expressed an opinion at all, just posed the questions. Honestly, this is a question I've never considered before, so to this point I don't even have an opinion.
  7. Immunizations

    I just want to point out that I haven't yet stated what my approach (or opinion) is. I just asked some questions. When answering them, no one should read any specific "side" of the debate into them.
  8. Immunizations

    Do the diseases in question present an objective threat? Should they be "prohibited" via immunization on the same sort of grounds as drunk driving is prohibited?
  9. I have quite a lot of those. The battery life is incredible, but once your collection gets bigger than, say, 3 books you tend to have a problem with portability.
  10. I think eReaders are the 8-track players of this generation. They will be replaced in relatively short order by apps for tablets and smartphones. At the very least we'll see eReaders simply merge into the tablet market. Granted, the apps available at present (at least on Andriod) only range from fair to terrible, but that will change.
  11. Epistemology is my favorite branch of philosophy. Something in the "Do Concepts Change?" topic triggered a question that occurred to me some time ago, so I thought I'd post it here and see if it generates any discussion, if not an answer. It may seem trivial, but it's the kind of thing I sometimes fall asleep at night thinking about. It bugs me. (I was going to include a bunch of relavent quotes from Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (ITOE), but then the word processor I was using on my phone to write this post because I don't trust the web browser I use on my phone (my only internet connection for the time being) not to crash crashed. [Yes, that sentence parses correctly. ] I don't feel like doing all that thumb typing over again, so I'll use the quotes as they become relevant in discussion. All quotes I use will be from the Objectivism Research CDROM version of ITOE.) So, here's the question: Is the word which denotes a concept an attribute of the concept itself, or is it something separate which merely refers to (points to? names? enables the automatized lookup of?) the concept? Go.
  12. I'm well aware of this, hence my wariness. Being at heart a programmer myself, though, I often find programming analogies useful as an aid when they do apply. I would never turn things around and use them as proof or even as a guide, just as illustration.
  13. Excellent, and I will apply this to the ideas I've already had on the subject to see what, if anything, I have an issue with. But not now, as my sleep meds will put me out for the night before I can do enough thinking about it. I just wanted to acknowledge the post since I did manage to get off a quick reply to Phil.
  14. My own opinion on this point is no, there are not multiple copies of the concept. If the word identifying the concept is not an attribute of the concept, then each word from a different language, or even each synonym in one language, is a separate "pointer" (to borrow a programming term) to the same mental entity which is the concept. If the word identifying the concept is an attribute of tbe concept, then there would be (again to borrow from programming) some sort of "table" in the concept holding all the words that identify the concept. Just as the concept "ant" has six values for the attribute "leg" (left front, left mid, left rear, right front, right mid, right rear), the concept would have any number of values for the attribute "name" or "word" or whatever it might be called. I am of course wary of carrying the programming analogy too far, but here (and particularly for Phil ) it illustrates my thoughts.
  15. Do concepts change?

    I agree. I'm sure you noticed that my followup to my own post included some ideas similar to some of what you wrote here. Thanks for addressing my question.
  16. Do concepts change?

    After a good night's sleep, with my subconscious apparently working on this for me, let me make a first attempt at answering my own question: Computer-printed figures that we know as instances of "character" were also referents of that concept at the time in history that the concept was first created because, were we able to show them to him (and after dispelling his confusion and possible shock over what paper is ), that ancient man would easily recognize those figures as characters. In other words, once his observation and thinking were complete, he would conclude that the figures are instances of "character." He may want to identify them as a specialized sub-type of "character" and create a new concept for them (which would end in his creating a new word for the new concept), but most likely he would just qualify them with a phrase ("characters inked on paper," perhaps) just as we do ("computer-printed characters"). Another example: You and I are Spanish explorers, in Florida for the first time. Here we have a never-before-encountered existent. (A particular sort of dark yellowish growth on a tree.) What is it? Is there an existing concept that "covers" it? (Fruit, perhaps?) If so, based on the new knowledge acquired by the examination of the existent, is it necessary to modify the definition of that concept to account for that new knowledge? (No, there's nothing about it that alters our general knowledge of fruit to warrant that.) Or would it be more appropriate to create a new concept that is a more general concept that subsumes both "fruit" and the new existent as immediate sub-types? (No, we already have something that subsumes fruit - "a structure of a plant"* - and this clearly fits within that.) What about a specialization or sub-type of the existing concept? (Yes, because it is not the same as any other fruit we've ever encountered.) Since the best choice is the latter, we will derive a definition for the concept. (A fruit [genus] which insert specific characteristics here [differentia].) We will then name the concept with a word. (Naranja - remember, we're Spanish .) In neither example does any concept change. In the first case "character" is unaltered, a new instance of "character" is merely recognized as such. In the second, "fruit" is unaltered, and a new instance of "fruit" is not only recognized as such but is given its own, new concept, a sub-type of "fruit." _____ *As far as I looked into it for this post this has no word thus is not a concept, though it may have a word I did not find. In any case that changes nothing about my point.
  17. Do concepts change?

    I would still like to see Tom's answer to my question posed earlier, but I'm going to press on. Returning to the above quote from Tom's earlier post, I'd like to call "definition by non-essentials" on it. In addition to characters, "marks made by a sharpened stake" could refer to drawings in the dirt, scratches on skin, a line on the ground made by dragging the stake while walking, etc. On the other hand, a character (in the sense being used in this discussion, other definitions notwithstanding) is a very specific kind of mark, intended for visual communication of language (I'll leave a more precise definition for others to formulate - I think my meaning here is clear). That purpose clearly includes a letter printed on paper as a referent and, because "[a concept] includes all [instances that exist] at present, [that] have ever [existed] or will ever [exist]," such printed letters were in fact referents of the concept when it was first created, despite being unknown at the time. Thus the concept has not changed since its creation, though its definition surely has. The difficulty, I think, lies in wrestling with questions such as, "How is it possible that the concept 'character,' in the mind of an ancient man who, for example, knows only Cuneiform produced by a stylus on clay tablets, refers to something that does not exist in his world, that he cannot conceive of, that will not exist for thousands of years in his future, and which may never exist?" (By "may never exist" I mean that, at that time, it was possible that printers would never be conceived of by anyone, ever.) I don't have an answer to that question that I can express in a form worthy of presentation here, so if anyone else does I would appreciate seeing it.
  18. Do concepts change?

    Purely for my own edification (at this point, anyway), I would like to see Tom's and ewv's answer to this question: Did the concept "character," when originally formed, encompass as referents letters produced on paper by a computer printer?
  19. Definition of value

    There may be some context-switching (if that's the right term) going on here. True, no one acts to gain or keep the sun itself - that's not possible. It's there and it does what it does regardless of anything we do. However, the entity, the sun, exerts specific metaphysical effects on the earth and the entities upon it. It is these effects that may or may not be of value to human and other life. Rocket scientists do not act to gain and/or keep the sun. But they do make enormous efforts to gain (in the sense of being prepared for the occurrence of) a launch date where the effects of the sun (and other, weather-related factors) occur in just the right combination to contribue to a successful launch. Those conditions are of tremendous value to whom?, those scirentists, for what? launching their rocket. Meanwhile, on a nearby beach, sits a scientist who wants to measure the difference in surface sand temperature between sunny and cloudy days on Eastern Florida beaches. He got plenty of readings yesterday when there wasn't a cloud in the sky (though the launch couldn't go forward because of technical problems with the rocket). Today he had hoped to get cloudy readings,. But conditions favored the rocket launch, and so were not a value to him because they failed the for what? part of his requirement. So, the sun itself is not necessarily directly a value, but its effects can be, to scientists for their purpose. When deliberating on whether or not any given thing is a value or potential value, be sure you've identified the correct thing to deliberate upon.
  20. If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that such a thing could never, ever, hap-&%4€€#...*8=+&!( [NO SIGNAL]
  21. Definition of value

    At first glance, "metaphysically given values" as used here sounds like it means "intrinsic values." There is no such things as an intrinsic value, i.e. that which is a value in all contexts. "Value" presupposes that the question that Betsy posed, "Of value to whom and for what?" is answered. One might also (somewhat redundantly) expand the "for what?" part of that question into "for what, in what circumstances?" As Ray's examples show, there are situations (i.e. contexts) where sunlight is not a value. Tara Smith's book, Viable Values, does an excellent job of explaining exactly why the notion of intrinsic values does not hold up.
  22. To all who I know and who know me, hope you've been well. To all who are new since I've been around, glad you're here. 2010 was the toughest year of my life. I'm not going to get into all the details - suffice to say that five hospitalizations over the course of the year did the trick. There was more, a lot more, but that much will do to go on with. On the plus side, there's this: And this: And this: That is, of course, my granddaughter, Kira, who is now 13 months and still the love of my life. Here is Kira doing Heath Ledger as the Joker: And I think this one is my favorite (you may want to step back a bit): Another plus: I've been doing a lot of singing, which I may love more than any other activity I've ever done. For the past eight months or so I've been singing live at a local bar on their weekly open jam night, mostly blues, with whoever shows up to play. It's an absolute blast. I've even begun writing blues songs. See the Poetry and Short Stories - Members Only section for one I wrote about Kira. You'll understand the theme of the song from this picture posted with it. Anyway, I hope to be here more often from now on - we'll see how things go.
  23. Updating Life

    More like Muddy Waters. A friend once told me, after I did my best Junior Wells impression on the old Bill Withers song "Use Me," "You have way too much soul for a white man."