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About Dufresne

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  • Birthday 09/13/1977

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Germany
  1. I don't know because I don't know this reaction...I mean situations in which all members of a class of entities have a specific property but not because of an aspect of their identities but because of the process in which they came into existence (e.g. through a process of production or evolution). The above-mentioned red piece of wine gum does not look like a strawberry because it is red or because it tastes sweet or because it weighs less than a kilogram. The property (i.e. the piece being red) is the result of the actions of another class of entities (i.e. the producer who made the wine gum). If I understand Betsy's view of the process of induction correctly then in such situations one can't induce the general statement "All red pieces look like strawberries" because the property's cause "lies outside" of the entity (i.e. exists apart from the entity; is not part of the entity's identity). If Betsy claims, however, that she can use her process of induction in such situations then my view of her process is flawed and then the next step for me would be to find out why.
  2. Strictly speaking, this is false. Eyes develop during pregnancy and this is caused by the embryo's DNA. But then one could ask why human beings have a DNA which causes two eyes to develop during pregnancy? This would have to be explained in evolutionary terms.
  3. My question is whether your view of induction covers scenarios like the ones I have talked about in which more than one class of entities (e.g. the producers of wine gum and pieces of wine gum) is involved. One could certainly ask (and answer) the question: “Why do they produce red pieces that look like strawberries?” But one would have to look at both pieces of wine gum and the producers (multiple classes of entities) to explain the correlation (if one doesn’t just generalize without attempting to identify causes).
  4. I do not see "why we engage in the process in the first place" (emphasis mine). Different people can perform the same action for different reasons. I think it makes sense to explicitly distinguish between a process of consciousness and the product of such a process. In this context I would distinguish between the process of generalization ("generalization" being another word for "induction") and the generalization (i.e. a general statement such as "All men are mortal" or "2+2=4"). Are you claiming that one should perform each generalization for the purpose of identifying causes? What about a general statement like "2+2=4"?
  5. And to take it one step further: How do you induce the law of causality? How do you prove that every entity acts in accordance with its identity?
  6. But doesn't finding a causal mechanism itself require an induction? For example: If we want to reach the generalization "all men are mortal" then how do we solve this problem by seeking to reach the generalization "all men consist of biological cells"? The latter generalization would have to be reached by induction, too. Don't get me wrong, discovering a causal mechanism is great and it's a lot better than attempting to induce by enumeration. But in my opinion this approach shifts the problem to another place without solving it.
  7. Couple Wants Deaf Child

    Yeah, I know such children.
  8. SkySails

    It may appear like a step backwards at first but why shouldn't we use two energy sources instead of one if that results in higher profits?
  9. SkySails

    I have been following the progress of SkySails over the last couple of months. SkySails is a company that is developing a "towing kite wind propulsion system". It can be used to reduce energy costs for ships like cargo vessels and superyachts. Their website can be found here.
  10. Factors influencing happiness

    I recently read two newspaper articles and did something else (I don't remember what) between reading the two articles. I estimate that I started reading the second article a couple of minutes after finishing the first article. I merely skimmed through both articles. I believe it was shortly after finishing the second article or maybe even before when my mind created a connection between the two articles. At this point I did not know what exactly the similarity was. I just "saw" some similarity. I chose to identify the similarity (the common denominator) but I could have chosen not to identify it.I also made the following experiment: I went to my kitchen and tried to find out whether or not my mind could automatically integrate my visual perceptions of the things in my kitchen with my concepts of those things. You can try that out yourself. Just quickly look at a number of things and try to invent a story around those things. I'm not aware of giving my subconscious mind an order to recognize instances of concepts. I just look at a thing and the word associated with the concept automatically pops up. I did not notice any conscious processing going on.
  11. Google just as bad as Microsoft...

    A true cut-throat competition.
  12. Factors influencing happiness

    Although I still think that the integration would weaken over time, I now think this is a more long-term effect. The short-term effect of a lack of new achievements will simply be that the components of the integration (i.e. the mental contents) will be activated less frequently and therefore the joy previously experienced as a response to those activated components will be experienced less frequently. This alone would explain the experience of declining happiness.
  13. Factors influencing happiness

    (Bold in the last paragraph mine.) The three bold fundamental value-judgments that you mentioned sound a lot like self-esteem. Would you say that in your experience that happiness is the emotional form in which a person experiences high self-esteem (and depression analogously the emotional form in which a person experiences low self-esteem)? Or would you say that other evaluations are also relevant to happiness? I am asking because Scott mentioned (in another thread) a so-called "cognitive triad" consisting of views about oneself, the world and one's future. As I understood it, those views underly three fundamental value-judgments that determine whether or not a person will be depressed. Would you say that happiness is the fundamental emotion resulting from the opposite, positive conclusions in these three areas of value-judgment? So that a person will be most happy when he concludes: "I am good, the world is good and my future is bright!" And that he will be most depressed when he concludes: "I am bad, the world is bad and my future is hopeless!"
  14. Factors influencing happiness

    Taking into account what I have learned about happiness thus far I have created a new theory about the psychological dynamics of happiness that explains all of my personal observations. Here it is: The human mind can automatically integrate mental content. It automatically integrates sensations into perceptions. It can automatically integrate perceptions with existing concepts (i.e. recognizing instances of existing concepts). It can automatically integrate observations into generalizations (i.e. inductive reasoning). It can automatically integrate observations with existing generalizations (i.e. deductive reasoning). A person with a paranoid personality, for example, has a concept “man”. In his childhood he has had countless experiences of human beings hurting him. His subconscious mind automatically integrates the concrete observations of individual human beings into the generalization “Mankind consists of people with bad intentions.” The paranoid person may not even be aware of this subconscious, automatic form of (erroneous) inductive reasoning. But he will become aware of it in the form of his emotional and behavioral responses to the people he encounters in his daily life. When he meets a new person, his mind automatically identifies the person as an instance of the concept “man”, and automatically integrates his paranoid generalization about man (i.e. the basic paranoid premise underlying his personality) with his concrete observation. The result is the subconscious thought: “This person has bad intentions.” He will respond to this automatic thought with fear (maybe even anger) and react to that person with caution, defensiveness, guarding his privacy, etc. My theory is that the same fundamental mechanism of consciousness (i.e. the mind automatically integrating content) not only explains personalities like the paranoid personality but also what Betsy calls “metaphysical” and what Scott calls “fundamental” emotions such as happiness, depression and the shorter-term moods. When a person, for example, starts playing a complex game he has never played before and has a small success during the game then he will recognize it as a small success (e.g. “I am good at aspect A of the game.”). The next time he has a small success (e.g. “I am good at aspect B of the game.”) he will also respond with joy but additionally, his subconscious mind will slowly start to form a new, in the beginning very weak, integration (e.g. “I am good at this game!”). Each additional success strengthens this integration. But I believe that in addition to this strengthening, a new success also activates – to some extent – the other mental content that is part of the integration, triggering the emotional responses to that mental content. So in effect when a person has a strong sense of “I am good at this game!” a new success will not only result in joy but also activate, to some extent, the individual components of the integration and he will respond with an additional, different form of joy (i.e. a fundamental, less intense but more broad, emotion). Now what is possible in a game can also be possible in regard to one’s entire life. The “metaphysical” or “fundamental” value-judgments that Betsy wrote about (“I’m the kind of person who can achieve things.”, “I am a capable person.” and “I am a good person.”) are the results of strong integrations of countless experiences of success. Now each time a person with a strong sense of self-value experiences a success, his mind will automatically integrate his experience of the concrete success with his experiences of his past successes, activating – to some extent – the mental contents that gave rise to past joys and thus result in additional joy. And the person experiencing the small success will not only experience the joy in response to the new success but also a less intense but more broad form of joy. And that’s what we call “happiness”. This theory of fundamental emotions (e.g. happiness, depression and moods) explains why happiness takes some time to develop and takes some time to disappear. It also explains why I entered my last happy period and why I left it. As Betsy wrote “You can only coast so far on past accomplishments […]”. If less new evidence of personal value is accumulated, the integration underlying the fundamental self-evaluation probably weakens like a muscle that atrophies by lack of use. And this will be experienced in the form of declining happiness. Now please feel free to tear my theory (which is actually just a more verbatim version of what was already written) apart.
  15. Factors influencing happiness

    Multiple standards of value can coexist in a person's mind. A person can have a standard of value for romantic partners, a standard of value for works of art, a standard of value for jobs, etc. If an individual evaluates facts based on his standards, chooses his values accordingly and achieves those values then he experiences joy, right? A person can have an unrealistic standard of value for his own life but realistic standards of value for other facts such as romantic partners, works of art, jobs, etc. So if happiness was produced by a series of joys - rather than a person's evaluation of himself according to his standard of value for his own life - then happiness would be possible to a person with an unrealistic standard of value for his own life. If, however, happiness was an emotion caused by positive self-evaluations based on a separate standard of value then happiness would not be possible to that person because of his unrealistic standard of value and despite the countless joys he experiences.I am basically asking all these questions because I don't know what's wrong with me. In September 2007 I started work on an interesting, challenging and financially very rewarding project for a new customer. I remember the day when I got the contract. I remember leaving my customer's office filled with joy. I was excited but I was not happy that day. Happiness slowly built up during the weeks that followed. Work on the project was exhausting and I had to overcome a number of difficult challenges and was under constant pressure to get the project done on time. At the end of 2007 I completed the project successfully. But since then my happiness slowly vanished. I'm not depressed but I'm not as happy as I was then. I want that happiness back but I don't know how I got it in the first place. Was it because I experienced an unusually high amount of joy during the work on the project? That was my first thought. Therefore I started working harder on my other work after the project was done. But the happiness didn't come back. Why not? Did I not work hard enough? If I knew the mechanism by which happiness can be produced then I would know how to make better choices. Now a number of people in this thread suggested that happiness is in fact an emotional reaction to self-evaluation. But if that were the case then why did my happiness vanish? Am I a worse person now than I was during my work on the project and thus feel less happy? I'm not aware of any changes in my character. That's why I am skeptical about the claim that happiness is an emotion based on self-evaluation.