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Everything posted by dondigitalia

  1. Expanded content on ARI site

    Me too. Much of the material has been published elsewhere, so many of us are already familiar with the content of the recordings. Even so, the recording add the valuable context of being able to more accurately pinpoint Miss Rand's exact meaning through her tone of voice, verbal pauses, etc. It's one step closer to face-to-face interaction, which of course, is the best form of communication, even though in this case such interaction is no longer possible. The Q&A sessions are a real gem as well. Her answers there were unprepared, except for the odd definition or formulation repeated from her published works, so it is a great place to see her mind in action.
  2. A Question About Plato's Epistemology

    More specifically, I'll suggest Book 7 of The Republic. That's where he talks about the Philosopher-king.
  3. A Question About Plato's Epistemology

    I don't specifically recall where, but my best guess would be The Republic.
  4. I am currently taking Formal Logic in school, and in one of the first lectures, the professor and I had a mini-disagreement. I say "mini" not because the disagreement was small, but because the discussion was--I intend to make it larger with a visit to his office. I read the following passage in our textbook (The Logic Book, 4th Edition from McGraw Hill), in a pargraph describing Aristotle's formal system, which also smuggled in the authors' view on what the essential differentia of "deduction" is: Although not clear from the quote, the surrounding context, which is too much to retype, makes it clear that the authors view logic as being wholly concerned with making and evaluating arguments, rather than identifying reality. I suspect most of you are aware that this view is very common; so common that I've yet to encounter a professor who holds any other. I brought this up in class, because I wasn't at all satisfied with this distinction between induction and deduction. I asked how this definition serves at all to differentiate between the two, since the ultimate goal of all reasoning is truth. We don't induce with an aim at falsehood; if one's aim is falsehood, then one isn't inducing--he is just making stuff up. My professor responsed that there are two dominant views on the nature of the difference is between the induction and deduction. In one view, they are different classes of arguments, in the other, they are ways of evaluating arguments, and that any argument can be evaluated inductively (by means of statistics and probability functions) or deductively (by reference to a set of truth-preserving forms). He holds to the second, while the authors presuppose the first. I disagree with both views (and disagree with both distinctions between induction and deduction), which is unsurprising since I (and Objectivism) disagree with their view of what logic is. I think that this really encapsulates a key difference between the purpose of Objectivism and academic philosophy. Academic philosophy is almost entirely concerned with polemics. Outside of historically oriented survey courses, the student of philosophy (undergraduate anyway; I can't speak for what graduate study is like) can expect to concern himself primarily with knocking down the opposition, not with which ideas are in line with reality. Objectivism, on the other hand, is concerned with living in reality. This leads to the academic view of logic as the art of forming and evaluating arguments and Objectivism's view of logic as the art on non-contradictory identification. I didn't pursue the discussion any further in class, since I was probably the only person there who was really interested and it was off-topic for the course anyway. Since then, however, I've been thinking about the subject to prepare myself for when I went to speak with the professor about why I think both he and the authors are wrong. Although the authors of our textbook view "truth-preservation" as the characteristic which distinguishes deduction from other types of reasoning (translation: arguing), I don't think this is the dominant view. The dominant view I have heard is that deduction is reasoning from the general to the particular, while induction is the reverse. My professor disagreed with this view (as do I) and gave an example of deduction from particular to particular. The distinction I've come up with (so far) is that induction is the process of making abstractions from observation to arrive at generalizations, while deduction is the process of reasoning from that which one has induced to arrive at knowledge without the need of further observation. This places a clear hierarchy between the two, with induction being the fundamental process upon which deduction is dependent if the end product is to be knowledge.
  5. Strategy for Changing the Culture

    It's funny you say that. In an online game I play, you can enter in a comment that other players see when they examine you. Mine says exactly that: "Ayn Rand was Right."
  6. Strategy for Changing the Culture

    Just so my labels aren't completely undefined: "Leading a lifestyle" is acting in attempt to fit oneself to some mold. Where Objectivism is concerned, the basic premise would be: "I want to be a good Objectivist, and X is what a good Objectivist should want, so I'll try and get X (or at least look like I'm trying to get it)." "Living a life" is acting to pursue one's values, without regard to how that fits into any mold other than reality. The basic premise here is: "I want X, and Objectivism is a great set of guidlines to help me get X, so I'll follow Objectivism until and unless it impedes me from getting X." That last clause, of course, assumes X is a rational value. Perfect examples of each should be apparent to anyone with a working knowledge of the history of Objectivism, especially those who've read The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. The Brandens were "leading a lifestyle." Ayn Rand was "living a life."
  7. Strategy for Changing the Culture

    What are some of the pitfalls you've come across in the past? One big one that I see is something that goes along with any "subculture." I've been involved in enough "scenes," mostly through my interest in underground music, to know that Objectivism (especially an organized "Objectivist movement"), runs the danger of attracting the kind of people who do what I call "leading a lifestyle," rather than "living a life." And that's not what Objectivism needs to succeed.
  8. Liquid Mercury

    Physics is ossum. Thanks for the cool article.
  9. What is the DIM Hypothesis?

    I will be there as a working scholar. I will definitely be in attendance at Dr. P's lectures, but don't yet know if other duties will affect my ability to take detailed notes.
  10. Apple iBook G4 design flaw

    I've owned various Macs (starting with the original beige G3 desktop) for the past 11 years and have yet to have a single problem (or crash...) I take that back... the speakers in my old G3 iMac stopped working. But that was because I dropped it on the sidewalk when I was moving into a new place.
  11. Induction vs. Deduction

    One more note: Mathematical logic is exempted from my above statement. Mathematicians, in my experience, have a much healthier view of logic (as it applies to their field) than philosophers.
  12. Induction vs. Deduction

    I am currently a student of both Physics and Philosophy, and have occasionally seen that definition (or something very similar) used (mostly in older texts), but after having taken a number of courses on logic, it is my experience that the overarching emphasis is on forming and evaluating arguments, rather than inference. Both views are detached from empirical observation, but the former view has almost no concern for truth whatsoever.
  13. Induction vs. Deduction

    Theories about the existence of gravitons have been around at least a decade longer than TEW, probably much more. It'll probably be several years before I understand the physics behind it, but I do know that Stephen Hawking talked about them in his physics-for-the-layman book A Brief History of Time, published in 1986, 10 years before the publication of Little's original paper on TEW. Most physicists I've asked think they probably exist, and Hawking wrote about them in a way that implied certainty of their existence.
  14. Study says UK drugs policy is failing

    It's ok. You're from England; it's in your blood.
  15. I Am

    You should try reading it in limericks sometime. That's how I do it. Just kidding, welcome to THE FORUM. P.S. I can't believe you referenced Sister Act. It made me laugh out loud.
  16. Willful Blindness

    I have only the vaguest knowledge of DIM (I haven't listened to the lectures, and probably won't know anything about it until OCON), but I have an extremely hard time convincing myself that any abstract theory can tell you which groups are influential in a given culture at a given time. This skepticism holds especially true when the choice is between two groups which, in their essential approach, are identical (the two groups I'm talking about are religious fundamentalists and environmentalists--I agree that the old-school Marxist/FDR variety leftists are yesterdays news).
  17. Willful Blindness

    That depends on what you're taking it to be representative of. As far as religion is concerned, it's pretty typical to what I've seen in the other large cities I've spent a lot of time in--there just isn't much of it around. But for some other things... yeah, SF is about as abnormal as it gets. All large cities have their own unique characteristics/culture that make them highly atypical in certain contexts. That's one of the things that makes them more interesting than the suburbs!
  18. Willful Blindness

    My understanding is that evangelism is highly concentrated throughout the entire region including Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and the Dakotas. I really just mentioned Colorado Springs specifically because of the interesting trivium.
  19. Willful Blindness

    New Jersey, which as far as I know doesn't have a huge concentration of evangelicals. He goes to Rutger's.
  20. Study says UK drugs policy is failing

    What is your justification for banning advertising and regulating packaging?
  21. Willful Blindness

    Recently, I've begun wondering how much one's view on this issue has to do with the area one lives in. I do not see a strong religious influence at all. Granted, I tend to be pretty oblivious to "the world beyond my doorstep," so to speak, but over the past five years, I can count the number of Christians I've met on one hand. Here, I mean real Christians, that do more than give lip service to their religion, wearing it like an out-of-style accessory, and then act--in every area that counts--exactly as they would if they were atheists. But, I've lived in urban areas during that time, and that definitely makes a huge difference what kind of people I come into contact with. If I'd lived in Colorado where Diana Hsieh lives, I probably would have had a drastically different experience. (According to the movie Jesus Camp, Colorado Springs has the highest concentration of evangelical organizations in the country; I'd imagine the number and influence of evangelicals is pretty large throughout the state.) I wonder: if people who live in areas like that came to San Francisco for a year, would their view change at all? My own experience here has made me aware of environmentalism in a way that's left me feeling truly helpless for the first time in probably twenty years.
  22. Marx' View of Work and Alienation

    Objectivism directly addresses Marx's theory of alienation. See the article "Alienation," by Nathaniel Branden, in Capitalism: The Unkown Ideal.
  23. A Question About Plato's Epistemology

    He really didn't answer them. I certainly never saw anything close to an explanation of how the two worlds interact, and a number of papers (meaning not just a few) I've read criticize him for specifically that. I don't know if he was even aware of the contradictions. They seem obvious to us, but we have a much, much wider context than he did. If he wasn't aware of them, there wouldn't really be any reason for him to answer them. He wasn't really concerned with understanding the "how" behind everything the way we are today. Well, he was to an extent, but not nearly on the same level. At some point, you just have to throw your hands up and say Plato's philosophy is what it is, even where what it is doesn't make any sense.
  24. A Question About Plato's Epistemology

    Brian, you're right to be confused. There are a number of things about his theory of Forms that are irreconcilable and for which he gives no answer.
  25. The Boneless Girl

    A friend recently showed me this interactive shockwave animation. There really isn't any point to it. The girl will fall and slip and slide around all the bubbles until she gets stuck. You can also control her motion using your mouse. I find it really relaxing for some reason. P.S. My friend also made her do "dirty" things to some of the bubbles, which was pretty funny. I'll leave it up to you to figure out how.