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Everything posted by sjw

  1. I'm sorry you think that. I would like to see why you see a problem in anything I said because it strikes me as merely interesting, not controversial. Regarding what I said about matter, calling them matter is not presuming to know exactly what atoms are to the finest possible scale, it's not presuming that they are "solid" or some such. I am quite aware of particle physics.
  2. Contrary to your understanding of my understanding, I don't presume to know exactly what an atom is, only that it holds in some form all the elements from which the known universe is made. I assert that the whole known universe is made of either atoms or products of atoms. If you know of a single instance where I am wrong, then please, point it out, but don't presume to know exactly what I'm thinking. Most of my position I learned in basic chemistry. I don't see it as controversial, only as interesting. I mean: a sun can be made from simple hydrogen atoms, and can ultimately produce all the elements from which the earth is made. Photons are emitted by the burning hydrogen. Neutrinos are emitted by Supernovae. An atom, or perhaps even some smaller unit of matter, seems in an important sense to represent the entire universe. Not in every sense, but in an important one.
  3. So, then you agree that atoms have a gravitational pull? It's akin to the argument against mob rule. One individual has no more right than 10, 100, 10 billion to violate my rights. Likewise, if gravity isn't somehow in 1 atom, then it couldn't be in 10 trillion of them. Here's another way of putting it: The physical universe consists of a limited number of different kinds of things. Some are reducible to others. Keep reducing until you get down to the smallest unit(s), the one(s) that can give rise to all the rest, and apply what I said to that instead of "atom", it doesn't change the principle behind what I'm saying.
  4. Again--atoms can be smashed apart and recombined to make everything that exists. Add enough of the right kind up--and life emerges.
  5. I'm confused about why it's not clear that there are two senses of "works of Aristotle" being talked about here. The things that I called "silly" were in the sections "certainly or probably not written by Aristotle" whose "spuriousness has never been seriously contested" (anoter quote from the note). I don't regard them as works of Aristotle, even if they are in the collection often refered to as the "works of Aristotle". I don't remember what particular thing I found silly, but I trust my recollection that it was indeed silly. I of course realize that that's no evidence for you. All I offer on that count is the fact: Aristotle was a genius. The rest were not. It should not be hard to tell the difference if you've taken the time to read Aristotle.
  6. I stand by everything I said. I don't retract anything.
  7. It has been many years since I read the works in question and I didn't write down the ones that struck me as silly. But in the notes of "The Complete Works of Aristotle" (Revised Oxford) it says: "The traditional corpus aristotelium contains several works which were certainly or probably not written by Aristotle." So I think you are mistaken in your last sentence, that some things are included merely because they had been included at some point in the past, not because they have an actual relation to Aristotle. But--I am not a scholar. And I am not talking about Aristotle's mistakes here. Nothing I ever read from Aristotle was "silly", even if it was wrong. I am not talking about historic context here. I'm talking about the very real difference between authentic genius and imitation. Hume's writing here reminded me of the difference in quality I discerned between Aristotle and his imitators.
  8. I agree with everything PhilO said. I'd add: What you are talking about strikes me not as "unification" but as oversimplifying monism. It is true that, say, chemical reactions involve the interactions of valence electrons, but chemistry is a rich theoretical field requiring far more than "Electricity" to comprehend. To claim that Electricity is the cause is to brush over vast amounts of relevant information. The reaction potentials in chemistry which produce the energy are not merely about Electricity. You can't really see the cause of heat in a chemical reaction by boiling it all down to electricity. Electrical behavior is really just one of many aspects of how matter behaves. If you want monism though, a more interesting thought than boiling everything down to electricity is in my opinion boiling it down to matter: In a very profound and important sense, in a single atom, the entire universe is implied. From quantum behavior to gravity to relativity, everything that applies to the atom applies to the universe at large; indeed, the emergence of life itself is somehow implied by the physical laws governing the single atom.
  9. Ugh. I definitely appreciate why Rand said of philosophers that only Aristotle taught her anything of significance. This stuff from Hume reminds me of a quote in Atlas along the lines of: look at how small the enemy was who beat you.
  10. I may be speaking a little beyond my knowledge in the sense that the following might not be precise but I assume something along the lines is the case: microwaves move polar molecules due to the changing fields; chemical reactions causes molecules to stick together or separate and that increases their momentum; electrons moving through a wire slam into metal atoms, causing them to move. In other words, there is a common *action* here: all these are various ways of adding momentum to the molecules of the medium, which means: heating it up. But there's no relevant common quality or attribute to these various causes. So--I don't see how the longer analysis is making it better.
  11. One of Aristotle's impersonators? It's pretty bad reasoning. "and the same effect never arises but from the same cause" if believed would lead to some awful science. The same effects can come from radically different causes. For example, heat can be caused by various things, including chemical, electric, or electromagnetic interactions. One might respond: No, heat is caused from the vibration of molecules. But that's confused: heat IS the vibration of molecules. Something isn't caused by what it is.
  12. I would add one more thought: In case one's self-esteem is justifiably low (because you betrayed your values and know it), then one must still have self-esteem: one must regard oneself as worth and able to improve one's self-esteem, i.e., make better choices in the future. This should be held as a rational conviction not a feeling. It is authentic self-esteem, albeit a lower self-esteem than one could and should have. The only time this would not apply was if you had committed a grievous crime and deserved death, or were on your deathbed.
  13. First of all, I highly recommend Nathaniel Branden's writings in "The Objectivist". But to answer your question: I think you might be confusing feelings with conclusions. Self-esteem means that one regards oneself as both worthy and capable of achieving one's values. This is a conscious assessment, even though there are related emotions. I would say that fundamentally, acting based on reason is what one should do, and that even if feelings of self-doubt rear their ugly head, then one must remind oneself of the truth of the matter and proceed with one's own best judgment. This can be complicated, because sometimes self-doubt is justified, and the emotion is a valid reminder to revisit some premises. But if after revisiting you honestly can't see a valid reason for the self-doubt, then the proper thing to do is follow reason and persevere in your value-pursuit.
  14. It's been a long time since I heard the DIM lecture, but I do want to point out that Ayn Rand uses the word "integration" to refer to something more general than merely the integration of concepts/principles, as in for instance this excerpt from ITOE: "Since the definition of a concept is formulated in terms of other concepts, it enables man, not only to identify and retain a concept, but also to establish the relationships, the hierarchy, the integration of all his concepts and thus the integration of his knowledge." (p. 40 ITOE) By her last use of the word "integration", I take her to mean: putting together everything you know into a non-contradictory whole. That would include both integrations in the narrower sense as well as differentiations. It includes all knowledge, all identifications. She said something about never failing to correct a contradiction--I think that's the subject here. A differentiation is a subcategory--one can make a contradictory differentiation--and by so doing, cause a lack of integration of this item of knowledge with the rest. Also, I agree with Peikoff that some people seek to unify their knowledge into a non-contradictory whole, some are passively disintegrated (they bump into contradictions and do nothing) some people actively distintegrate (e.g., by claiming that contradictions exist in reality), some misintegrate by evading parts of reality that don't fit their theory while trying to make the theory self-consistent. On a general level and going by old memories of the course, I don't see a problem in reconciling it with Ayn Rand's epistemology.