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Everything posted by dondigitalia

  1. Response To Charges Against THE FORUM

    Betsy, without every having met you in person, I have always interpreted your optimistic attitude as demonstration of a true, wholehearted orientation towards values. If this is what is "driving other Objectivists nuts," then let 'em go nuts. It doesn't drive me nuts; it makes me want to thank you for having the kind of sense-of-life that shines even over the internet.
  2. The study of ancient languages

    I also agree that learning a foreign language is not a necessary part of a basic education. If it were not required, I wouldn't be taking any foreign language at all. Since it is required, though, I chose the one that is most in line with my interests, which happens to be a dead language. My own experience with Greek has deepened my knowledge of certain aspects of English grammar, but I wouldn't consider that deepening particularly useful. All it's done is explicitly identified things I was already doing automatically, just from being a native speaker. Most of us only need a "working knowledge" of grammar (which is still more than a lot of people have), and we can leave all the intricacies to professional grammarians and editors. As long as your kids can communicate intelligently, I wouldn't bore and confuse them with a dead language, unless they express interest in something that would make it worthwhile. As a subject for your own study, I would strongly advise against trying to learn if there are other things that are going to divert your attention from it periodically. I speak from my own experience with Greek, and although my classmates who are also learning Latin say it is much easier, I think trying to study it with "vacations" of a sort thrown into the middle would dramatically increase the difficulty of learning either language. With Greek, you are talking about a language that can have 15 different forms of a single noun, and over 500 forms of a verb with very subtle differences in meaning that can be extremely difficult to grasp for the native English speaker. (Latin doesn't have quite that many forms, but it is still highly inflected and is a rather daunting task). Automatizing what one has learned is the key, and that just isn't possible without daily practice; I'm an extremely fast learner and with 2 hours of homework in Greek every single day, I still have difficulties automatizing it simply because it is so dramatically different from anything we do in English. If there is significant interest in doing things that can only be accomplished with knowledge of a dead language, then it can be very rewarding (I'm not sorry in the least I chose Greek). The list of reasons you gave sound more like the reasons Classics departments give to students in an attempt to convince them they should be interested, rather than a list of real, personal interests. Unless you have the latter, I would warn you that studying a dead language will probably be not only a miserable experience, but one that won't hold your attention well enough to make any real progress possible. If you do have strong personal interests, though, go for it, just know it's a lot of work.
  3. Cryptographic Quotes

    I'm there at least once a year. I'm from DC, so that's where I always go to visit during breaks. I have to say, though, even after living there for 12 years, I never once visited one of the monuments or any museum other than the Aerospace Museum. I know I probably missed out... touristy stuff never really interests me too much.

    I'm not a big TV watcher generally. In fact, I moved into my house in 6/05 and didn't realize until 11/05 that my TV had broken in the move, and I still haven't replaced it. But through DVDs and recommendations from friends, I've gotten totally sucked into ABC's Lost. ABC has made it very easy for me to get my Lost fix every week by posting up every episode of all of their prime-time shows on their website for free viewing with only two commercials. That's not two full commercial breaks, but only two roughly 30-second-long commercials. I think it's fantastic that ABC has enabled viewers who don't even own a TV to keep up on the shows they like, at their own convenience, almost like having a DVR. 3 cheers for ABC!

    If other broadcasters are doing the same, then they are equally deserving of recognition. I tend to be completely oblivious to the things that don't interest me, so since I don't watch their shows, I had no idea other networks were doing this too. 3 cheers for network TV!
  6. Cryptographic Quotes

    ME TOO. One of my fond childhood memories is doing cryptograms with my great-aunt Jo when I was visiting my family in Kentucky during the summer.
  7. I wonder what differentiates Ayn Rand art deco from other art deco... Perhaps the restaurant's color scheme is similar to the covers of her books, or maybe it's similar in content. One funny thing in the article: In the phrase "ration your appetite well," the word ration links to the wikipedia entry for the Donnor Party.
  8. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    Wow, you know how to use my library better than I do. I always have to go in and ask them for what I want, lol.
  9. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    Double interesting: My Basic Works of Aristotle is a more recent edition of the same one Ayn Rand used. It really makes me want to try to locate the 1941 edition to see if perhaps that passage has been changed since then.
  10. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    I just checked my translation of Poetics, which was done by Ingram Bywater, Basic Works of Aristotle, pub. The Modern Library Classics, which is really just selections from The Oxford University Press' Complete Works of Aristotle, and he doesn't translate it as "ought" either. He translates it as "might" only.
  11. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    Time permitting, I will try to locate a decent copy of Poetics in the Greek in the library of my school's Classics department sometime over the next week or so, so a comparison might be made.
  12. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    I don't mean to say Ayn Rand misunderstood what she read. I don't know what her translation said, and knowing what I know of her tenacity for understanding things, I would consider it extremely likely that any mistaken attributions to Aristotle were due to a fault in translation. I also definitely do not deny that the verb can be used (and might have been used elsewhere by Aristotle) to convey a meaning of "ought." It's just not there in that particular sentence, with the Greek you provided.
  13. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    A meaning of "should happen" would require the use of the subjunctive mood, or the use of the optative without the particle αν. Since the particle is present, the only meaning it carries is "might happen." A better translation is: "But the difference is that one tells us what happening (on a particular occasion), and the other tells us what might possibly happen (on a particular occasion)." Attic Greek and English are so completely different from one another that a literal translation of just about anything is near impossible, excepting very, very simple sentences. This, in my amateur opinion, is a proper translation given the Greek you provided, however.
  14. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    This is really interesting, the verb used wasn't "eimi," which means "be," but a participle form of the verb "gignomai," which means "happen." The participle is the accusative (direct) object of the verb "legei," which means he/she/it tells. The he/she/it in this context is the poet. I can't tell much more than this without a better dictionary, but I find it puzzling since neither the subjunctive nor optative moods can be used in participles, so it is impossible for its meaning to carry an implication of "might" "could" or "ought," unless something else is adding to it. There are a few words I'm not familiar with.
  15. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    It would also be interesting to see if the verb was used in the present tense or the aorist tense, since they have subtly different, although significant in this context, meanings. I think I might have just found a project for myself.
  16. "Things as they could be and ought to be"

    I have additional insight to add to this, since I am currently studying Attic Greek. There are two moods of the verb "eimi" which can convey those meanings--the subjunctive and the optative. I would be interested to see which was used in the Greek. The subjunctive would usually mean "might be," but somewhat less frequently, it could also be translated as "could be," depending on context and any license taken by the translator. The optative mood could be translated in all three of the above meanings, if the meaning is "might," it would be accompanied by the particle "av," but meanings of the optative mood standing without a particle and in reference to another clause could carry meanings of "could" or "ought."
  17. The Times They Are a-Changin'

    I am an avid non-driver, but this idea sounds like a lot of fun.
  18. Starship Troopers

    Just as a teaser for others who haven't read Time Enough for Love: " is the story of a man so in love with Life that he refused to stop living it..." And Heinlein tells that story beautifully; not as inspiring and life-changing as Ayn Rand (but what is!), but still a great sense-of-life book nonetheless.
  19. Starship Troopers

    It was Time Enough for Love, which, incidentally is "the capstone and crowning achievement of [his] famous Future History," mentioned by Betsy (quote is from the description on the back of the book). It is my second-favorite of his books, next to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
  20. I think it's more accurate to say that analysis is a certain kind of differentation. A lot of analytic philosophy, though, differentiates at the expense of integration (that is, it breaks issues down into their constituent parts and then never puts them back together into any sort of coherent principle), which is, I suspect, the reason why Peikoff had some harsh things to say about it.
  21. Equality sign - different meanings in mathematics

    That is exactly the point I was trying to make, albeit somewhat unclearly.
  22. Equality sign - different meanings in mathematics

    Yeah, you're right, and I didn't mean to imply that ostensively defined concepts were non-conceptual. That just wouldn't make any sense. It was an imprecision on my part. The ostensive definition does do "this is a rabbit," but I don't think that's the same thing as explicitly saying or thinking "this is a rabbit," which is a higher-level process, since it involves integrating multiple concepts into a proposition.
  23. Equality sign - different meanings in mathematics

    An ostensive definition isn't actually saying "this is a rabbit." It's just looking at the rabbit and thinking, in some form, without actually conceptualizing the statement, "I mean these things here which are similar." You know "these things here which are similar" is a true definition because it is directly perceivable. There is no possibility of perception being in error. You can't communicate an ostensive definition using words, except in a loose, metaphorical sense. Once you use words to make a statement, you are moving beyond what can really be grasped by perception alone. As far as whether or not something is a rabbit before you have the concept of "rabbit," it depends on in what sense you are talking about. The word "rabbit" is gibberish until it is used to stand for a concept, but rabbits are still rabbits, whether anyone has identified them as such or not. The English word "rabbit" is a convention, and the use of that particular sound to stand for the concept integrating those concretes is somewhat arbitrary. Do not equate the word with the concept, though. The concept "rabbit" exists no matter what language one is speaking, just as actual rabbits exist whether or not one has identified and integrated them. The concept of "rabbit" is your identification of the fact that these existents are this type of thing. It is not a creation of a new category of existents called rabbits. They were what they were before you identified them, and they would have been that whether or not you ever identified them. When pointing to some rabbits and saying "these things are rabbits," one is really saying "these things are these things," which is just a statement of identity.
  24. An interesting quote -- Can you guess who?

    I have read Aristotle--not all of his works, but a pretty large chunk. That's why I was asking for an example. If you don't remember, though, you don't remember. No biggie.
  25. An interesting quote -- Can you guess who?

    Then I'm confused... You said: Unless, by "from Aristotle" you didn't mean "from the works of Aristotle," which are phrases I usually take to be synonomous.