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Everything posted by sjw

  1. A new perspective on mathematics

    PhilO: Yes I'm aware of Peikoff's qualification in the preface. Is your point that it's OK to title a work as to imply that it's about Objectivism in some respect, so long as we add something to the preface along the lines of "I wrote this, not Ayn Rand, she might not have agreed with me."?
  2. A new perspective on mathematics

    Well of course that's the full title. My point was that the title implies that it's about Objectivism--even though Ayn Rand didn't approve of the work and thus according to my understanding of Betsy's position, should have included a qualifier on the order of "Leonard Peikoff's opinions about what Rand thought about Objectivism". What was your point?
  3. A new perspective on mathematics

    If someone wants to learn about Ayn Rand's philosophy, they should learn it from her books. If after reading them they can't tell that Rodney's works are his own then I think there's no hope for them! But I wasn't speaking to the specific point of him calling it an appendix to IOE--I agree that's inappropriate if only on the grounds that it's clearly untrue. I am not arguing that untrue statements should be OK. I'm saying that if Leonard Peikoff calls his book "Objectivism", then that's OK, even though Ayn Rand didn't write it.
  4. A new perspective on mathematics

    But the distinction is already clear from the name of the author. It's obvious that, say, OPAR was written by Leonard Peikoff and not Ayn Rand, and that any reader should take that into account. Or if Rodney says his work is "Objectivist", it's obvious that it's his work not Ayn Rand's. I don't see the point of making what is already a clear distinction more clear; on the contrary, it seems to me that going out of one's way to point out something that is already patently obvious implies that something else is really what's at issue, i.e., it brings in an element of obscurity not clarity.
  5. A new perspective on mathematics

    If it is wrong to label a work "Objectivist" because in the author's own opinion it is consistent with the philosophy, then why is it not also wrong to label oneself an "Objectivist" because in the person's opinion their life is lived consistently with the philosophy? Both a book and a life are applications of the philosophy in their author's opinion, Ayn Rand isn't going to be able to approve either, and it's obvious to any "consumer" of these "works" that that is so, so I don't see any fraud.
  6. OpenSource Software

    I think the issue is that you don't understand the essential nature of "Open Source", nor what the capitalist-friendly alternatives might be. I have personally looked into creating a "Capitalist Open Source" system, an Objectivist answer to Stallman's vision, but got hung up on legal issues. I.e., one of the barriers to a proper system that should replace "Open Source" is that people do not understand what the ideal should be, but another real barrier is legal in that our government does not permit adults to freely enter into contracts, but rather straightjackets you into contracts for your own "protection" from yourself.
  7. OpenSource Software

    I'm talking about UNIX. Linux is a UNIX clone. The heart of which is the C language. See For the most part, the Open Source community does nothing except copy and tweak things that commercial companies invented and made successful. Sure, coding up clones is hard work. Just as moving blocks for a pyramid is hard work. But that's not the most conceptual, valuable part of the development process. Surely Objectivists should give the most credit to the Creators of the original systems that were laboriously cloned. One exception here has been mentioned already: Emacs. But that's the exception not the rule.
  8. OpenSource Software

    Linux is a great OS. But the really hard and unique part was done by a commercial company. Linux just copied the ideas and reimplemented them. I love Ubuntu, but that doesn't mean I love the way it was created. And I never mentioned any conspiracy.
  9. OpenSource Software

    That is what "Open" Sourcers want you to think. That it's merely about being able to see or change what's under the hood. But that point is a red herring. Read the licenses at You'll see that no commercial company can let users see and modify the code and still call it "open source". There is no license there that covers that. All of them have the central communist idea at root: the author gives up his creation to the community.
  10. OpenSource Software

    "Open Source" is a misnomer. It should really be called "Communal Source". To "open" your source is not merely to make it open to the public under some sort of mutually beneficial terms. Nor is it merely to make it available free of charge. It is nothing less than to give up ownership of it to the "community". It is not a good thing--in the same sense that "public" transportation is not a good thing. Yes it's good to be transported, but no it's not good to use taxes to pay for it (open source is partly funded by taxes, partly by altruism).
  11. Stephen's Health

    Stephen and I sparred a little some years back, but when I joined The Forum recently he welcomed me with kindness and respect. I'm sorry I was not able to interact with him more. My condolences Betsy.
  12. And that's the scenario I've been saying is a contradiction. If a traumatic event were merely that plus its remembrances, it wouldn't be a traumatic event.
  13. On the contrary, I said: "this would wipe out most of your life up to the point where you took the pill". When you said "Therefore the 'waves' to be deleted would cover just those periods of time", it strikes me that you're repeating what I said while presuming I said the opposite. You claim the time frame wasn't specified--fine. But you evidently agree that it would wipe out most of your life from the time of the trauma up until you took the pill. Is the word "selective" that you used in the title apt here? I think not. It's about as selective as removing an arm in order to "selectively" remove a mole.
  14. You're presuming a contradiction.
  15. This notion of selectively erasing memories is a contradiction. An event important enough to erase would have caused substantial other memories related to it that, in order for the erasure to be successful, would have to be eradicated too (so it wouldn't really be selective). This would wipe out most of your life up to the point where you took the pill--and then you'd have the new trauma of wondering why there are so many blanks about what you'd been doing the past few years. Supposing these consequent memories didn't get wiped out--the shadow of the earlier memory would be cast across all of them, and you'd be able to fill in the blanks about what happened, i.e., it wouldn't really have erased the memory, not in effect.
  16. Worth waiting for the quad-core systems?

    True--but there are engineering tradeoffs. Putting 4 CPU's on a single chip is more complicated than two; it could very well be that for the money you'll get a slower system for your needs if you get the quad core. Two things I'd look at: clock speed and L1/2 cache. If you can get higher clock speed/cache for your money with the dual core, then your machine would probably be zippier. (I'm not up on all the specs so can't give you specific advice).
  17. Worth waiting for the quad-core systems?

    Any slowness switching between those kinds of apps is more likely due to not enough RAM or perhaps a quirk of the application than not enough CPU. For what you are doing, IMO money would be better spent getting a dual core with a higher clock speed, faster hard drive, more/faster RAM, and a better video card. It's true that 4 apps would likely bind to 4 different CPU's, but if 2 apps are idle (as in an editor), a quad core won't make any important difference. The real limiter is context-switching, which is more a function of RAM. I would only get a quad core at this point if I had some particular app(s) in mind that would exploit it.
  18. Road corrugations.

    Never thought about it before. Here's my hypothesis: it's road resonance. Take a bell, or glass, or piece of metal, strike it however you want, and it will sound somewhat different depending on the strike, but virtually always, the characteristic vibration comes through. And it's louder with more energy in the strike. A car going around a curve, or accelerating or decelerating, puts more energy into the road, making it "ring louder" (i.e., more intense corrugations). The difference between the road and the bell is that the sound waves take months to shape the dirt, whereas we hear the bell instantly. To test my hypothesis, pound the dirt, put sensors all around, and measure the peak of the frequency response. If when taking into account the speed of sound through the dirt it corresponds to the peaks of the corrugations, it's proved.
  19. There are a lot of corrupt but smart and persistent people. And this is a very mixed economy. Wealth doesn't follow virtue as it should. In a mixed economy, I think it makes some sense that the people who do well will generally be mixed too, that it can be more difficult for a principled intelligent man than a pragmatic intelligent man. It is certainly more emotionally draining for a principled man to bump into corrupt laws while trying to do business than for the pragmatist. Also, a college education can be a solid mark against you, depending on how many humanities courses you had. I have more hope in the typical hard-working plumber than I do a typical college grad. So I wonder if your expectations here are in any way biased toward things as they ought to be, rather than toward things as they actually are. Or maybe you'll think I'm cynical. I wish I were being so, but I don't think I am.
  20. Why would they be any more difficult marks than anyone else in the culture at large?
  21. Protectionism retaliation?

    I want to add to this as the problem is deeper. To even attempt to make the case that tariffs are "economically better" in the face of knowing that they are morally evil is to steal the concept "benefit": There is no such thing as a "benefit" of any kind that does not somehow derive from the ethical concept of "the good", not in engineering, not in economics, not in art, not in any human endeavor.
  22. Protectionism retaliation?

    Even if you could make a case that it was somehow "economically better" for us to have retaliatory tariffs, it would be completely irrelevant to the question of whether we should have them. Ethics determines what man ought to do, not economics. Ethically, tariffs mean: The government initiating force against its citizens, meddling with transactions it has no right to meddle with. They are therefore evil and should not be instituted. End of argument. There may be situations where the government might rightfully *ban* the import of products from hostile countries, but that is a completely different issue; a tariff has no role in this sort of scenario. Given the recognition of the primacy of ethics, it would not be wrong to explore how tariffs ultimately harm the economy, which since the moral is the practical, I am confident they do. Even if only indirectly: the kind of government that would institute tariffs would also institute many other rights-violating measures that would destroy parts of the economy; the kind of citizenry who would tolerate tariffs wouldn't be as productive as the kind that understood the primacy of ethics and the virtues of a rational epistemology.
  23. OK, so on this level we agree. I'm unsure at this point where exactly we are disagreeing. I'll just say that merely observing percepts is not the distinctively human level. For something new on the conceptual level to count as knowledge, it must integrate without contradiction to the rest of your knowledge. This is not automatic, it requires thinking. In Atlas, Rand occasionally highlights those who do not integrate... I can't recall a specific example at the moment--but it's the cases where people say stupid things that are stupid precisely because of the contradiction they don't notice because they fail to integrate. Integration on this level is central to the proper function of a human consciousness, and it includes both integrations (in the other sense) and differentiations. It is precisely because our knowledge is not automatically right that we must *integrate* new knowledge; we can't merely toss it in there and hope it's all OK.
  24. Perceptual knowledge is knowledge, but it's not anything more than perceptual knowledge: all you know is that you perceived certain objects (and you must be careful about distinguishing what you actually saw with what you assumed about what you saw--you might think you perceived the object "thief"--when really what you saw was "a person picking up an apple"). It *is* integrated without contradiction--you know what you saw, the fact that you perceived something certainly integrates with the rest of your knowledge. But it's a minor integration: it's consistent with what you know that you can rely on your sense experience, what you see, you see. However, a percept is not a conceptual integration. If I see a spoon in water that appears disjointed--then that's what I perceived--a disjointed spoon. It fits with the rest of my knowledge on a perceptual level in the sense that I saw what I saw, I can rely on what I see. It does not however integrate conceptually unless I have seen something like it before, unless I understand that water does something to light. I *can't* rely on any non-integrated conclusions I might jump to based on what I see. What you seem to be arguing for is that I can take things at face value now and worry about contradictions later. So in the case of the spoon in water, you seem to argue that I could assume what appears to be the case: water bent the spoon. The later I take it out of water and see that it's not bent, or put my hand in and feel that it's not. So "in my context of knowledge, I was right to think that the spoon was bent, but later I learned it wasn't." But the fact is, we all know enough about water by the age of 2 to know that it doesn't bend things. And so it actually didn't integrate--but you had to think to see that. Going by face value--not actively integrating--is what it means to jump to conclusions.
  25. I agree that man is not required to integrate, that there should be a good reason to, since I'd also agree that no man is required to know everything. But if you don't integrate some item, if you did not fit it in with the rest of your knowledge, then it's not knowledge. We are touching on a very fundamental issue here, one that has actually troubled me for some time in observing some Objectivists. They seem to act as if *some* evidence for a conclusion is sufficient for them to conclude with certainty, and then when they are inevitably proven wrong, they claim "it was true in my context of knowledge" and go on about their business with the same sloppy method. This is not how I understood Objectivist epistemology. It is not how I understood the virtue of pride as it applies to one's thinking methods. On my view, if you make a mistake, then that is proof that you need to visit the reasons why you made the mistake, and try to discover if it was in principle preventable (for the vast majority of cases, it was), and then proceed to revise your thinking on that epistemological/psycho-epistemological level. It is true that this is not a duty, but it is just as true that if the subject that you made a mistake with is important to you, then you should be concerned with being right about it, not just in this one instance, but in the future instances, which is why it is crucial to identify the improvements one might make to prevent more errors.