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Everything posted by Tom

  1. In Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Ayn Rand writes (32-33) Measurement is an identification of a quantitive relationships. Does this mean that of relationships that can be measured, they are always quantitative? Are there relationships that cannot be measured?
  2. Force is a political subject, but I am thinking about it in a more moral context (if that is possible.) I understand that humans must use reason to pursue and achieve and keep values, and that force is the opposite of reason. Force is permissible in situations of self-defense when force has been initiated against oneself. And ideally, the state will handle retaliatory use of force. However, are there situations when initiation of force is possible? If we take, as a hypothetical, a situation in which two people are poisoned and locked into a room with an antidote dose large enough for only one person, and both people wish to continue existing, is it moral to initiate force to obtain the antidote? I have been thinking of this situation, among others, and considered a few things: These kinds of hypotheticals are vacuous or impossible in some way, but how? What role does conscience play in moral decisions? Surely most people might feel guilt enough to ruin quality of life after, but if conscience is not a major factor, does this mean it would be moral to initiate force to attain a value? I'm usually able to think through these, but I got stuck on this one and can't quite see what premises I'm depending on here.
  3. Thanks! That's what I thought she meant. And no, I cannot think of any non-measurable relationship.
  4. How would I think about my choices? Are emergencies not amoral situations?
  5. So, as this is an emergency situation which I've brought up, normal ethics do not apply?
  6. The hypothetical does seem vacuous. I am thinking of the movie Saw, for example. Let's say they are in this situation because of a sociopath and it is a senseless crime against two people who are locked in a room and poisoned with one antidote available. Can you expand on how death is not an alternative? The alternative is die from the poison (die), die from the other person (die), make no attempts at all (die), try to persuade the other person (maybe live), or kill the other person (live). I suppose in all situations it leads to death, is this what you mean? Can you explain that more? What if it is the other person who dies and oneself lives, is that still a death-only set of alternatives? How so?
  7. Yes, this does make sense. I am curious though, in that there does appear to be an alternative available: Kill or die or try to persuade the other person. As an emergency, with hours to make a decision, and with alternatives available, how does this fail to be a moral situation?
  8. Business Ethics

    I did consider that essay, but I'm not sure what to make of the types of businessmen and politicians who qualify as "pull peddlers." Is there a line one should cross to be parasitic?
  9. This may be a neurotic question, or a fairly simple question to solve, but it is something that has been on my mind. My business sells services to other businesses--business-to-business. When I started my business, I tried to compete with local competitors trying to win local clients. One of the things I noticed was that my competitors who were most successful tended to have a few things in common: They were not experts (at least not anymore, they still knew more than clients) in the services they sold, but were very skilled at networking and building relationships. I was able to have conversations with them, in which they described how to established themselves in local markets--which amounted to targeting a niche and networking within it to gather sales. Still early in my business, I looked into various industries-as-niches; and typically found that each niche already had an embedded competitor. Further, just due to geography and political-economic circumstances, the biggest industries (there are about 5 major ones in my area: health care, energy, agriculture, construction/building, and real estate [each has a majorly profitable competitor dominating the industry]) happen to be highly government subsidized or guaranteed in some way. For example, one of my competitors has a huge office and many employees and makes more than half of his income from a clean energy company which itself makes few actual sales and instead relies on several millions of dollars in Department of Energy grants each year. I likened these major competitors, some of which were aware, as being derived "pull peddlers"--though they and their employees lacked proficiency and expertise, they were either related to politicians or old friends with major leaders in the industry they worked in and simply had the social influence to get the business. I was able to secure plenty of work to do outside of local niches and hook into a more global desire for service quality (because we are good, not because I am somebody's nephew)--this shift in strategy was simply out of necessity. Over the years, some local competitors and competitor employees started to spend time around me; I had a sense of moral superiority. Is that appropriate? I haven't really questioned it. However, I have started a partnership on another project in which one key partner has connections to one of these niches (daughter to an industry leader) and will use them to secure customers; I am not likely to give up on the project, because it has an uncommon challenge to confront and other customers really do need the service, and it represents an actual value and improvement over competitors, but I am very much aware of this distraction of niche customers flowing in. Is this a valid ethical dilemma?
  10. I've been running my business for about 2 and 1/2 years. For the first 2 years, it has been difficult to maintain steady sales. I am in a service industry that is half marketing consulting--so it was tough to get clients. However, after putting in the effort I was able to generate enough impressive real world results, the last 1/2 has been chaotic. I have not made any effort for advertising or marketing of any kind--and I get emails and calls nearly daily with willing potential clients. Which is great, especially after the last two years of getting turned down and responding to RFPs all the time. However, I'm starting to disappoint potential clients with my limited productive capacities (I can only handle about 4 projects at a time before I hit physical and mental limits) and thus some clients are on a wait list or simply turned down. Since my knowledge and abilities are on sale, that's what I'd like to concentrate on. Time spent on bookkeeping, project management, tasks secondary in importance (drafting copywriting, agreement writing, and so on), etc--are inflicting damage. Not to mention that the last two years didn't help me any with developing the skills necessary to efficiently plan multiple large projects or the number of invoices I have to send out and other management tasks. I don't have the time, either, to develop and execute my own marketing strategy--I haven't updated my portfolio...which is ok for now, it would only attract more buyers. So, while I'm working on stabilizing this workload and on my management skills, I also need to learn about how to manage growth. If I had a second employee to help me with primary and secondary tasks, a project manager, and an accountant--so much more could be accomplished. The financial aspect of getting a full time staff is feasible, either from my own sales or from external investors, but I just don't know how to go about manging growth in general. Would anyone here happen to have any advice, guidance, or literature recommendations? I would appreciate it
  11. Business Growth

    Thanks all! ewv thanks for your insight. Pricing change, for the reasons you listed, is not a safe choice at this time--I don't think I'm under priced given how little time (compared to competitors) I've been in the market, in another year a moderate increase would be fine. As for delegation, outsourcing accounting work isn't quite necessary, since I spend less than 10% of my time on it--it fluctuates a lot, but generally just enough to be a pain but not enough to cause me problems. Project planning and management, however, is a much more taxing and takes a lot of time away from the most important tasks...that task isn't something that can be feasibly (as far as I know) done by an outside source. I could concentrate on that, as it isn't a full-time job, if perhaps I had an employee working on secondary tasks like writing. It might be a higher priority, as far as outsourcing/staffing goes, to have somebody handling those tasks--it would be easy enough, since they don't require as much skill and an entry-level person can handle those things. Could be a good first step. And I know nothing of human resources or employment laws, so that will be a fun summer project, I'm sure.
  12. I have been steadily progressing in friendship with a woman I've been attracted to. She is not an intellectual, but I have observed over time (a year or so), the basic philosophical ideals by which she lives--I am compatible with her most basic ideas--as well as a benevolent sense of life, an ability to take herself and her life seriously, and the idea that morality is an objective field. She takes romantic relationships to be profound and serious--including personal intimacy, which she would only share with the understanding of how important and profound those relationships are. However, recently I asked her details about her past, particularly as a young adult and minor. I learned things that disturbed me. These weren't crimes (a couple were, in a self-destructive way) and they are not nearly as bad as I've come to learn about many other women I've become interested in. The one issue I became fixated on was her number of previous partners--it was not ridiculously high. But higher than I could ever have (I've believed sex to be highly profound from a young age; thus I never engaged in sex outside of a relationship based on deep values.) I cannot, in my own world, understand why that many partners could happen. Her explanation for that, which she regrets having experienced (she appeared disturbed when recalling these things), and for other self-destructive behaviors were some psychological struggles she was able to overcome by the time she was 21 and was able to gain discretion in her choices. Particularly depression disorder, which she learned to cope with long ago. She understands the causes for those behaviors and rectified them many, many years ago. Since then, and continuing today, she has done nothing (or very little) that has been selfless or immoral, to my knowledge--including her choice in initiating romantic relationships, which she has now gone years without committing to intimacy because she didn't find a match. I do love her and care for her friendship--which has slowly been progressing toward a romantic relationship--however, I continue to be fixated on her past and it continues to cause me distress. Enough to halt my desire to become closer to her when my thoughts turn that way. My perception of her has changed, but during the times I interact with her I go back to feeling the same as before. I would hate to lose her friendship and my interest in her (she is wonderful) because of this fixation on her past. What might be some basic steps to begin rationally evaluating what is going on in my mind? And is there any insight you can offer me? Thank you for reading! Tom
  13. Red, I am grateful for your insight. It helped me make some things click in my mind when I read some of your points. Honestly, there is a conflict between my fixation on her past, and my admiration for her as she is today. And you are correct, I believe she had the virtue young in life (the events that set off her depression and poor judgment was actually due to something she did that was good) and these were exceptional events compared with the rest of her life. I think I have the connections made in my mind I can look at this more objectively to see what good can come from a relationship with her. Thanks!
  14. These failed relationships occurred over a significant span of time, other than her teenage years--and the circumstances for the failures of her greatest attempts to date were, and I am being completely honest, far beyond her control. You are right, I need to be more clear on her standards in a partner and understand what it is she sees possible. From what I've gathered, however, is that she wants a positive and fully loving relationship--nothing that is less is what she wants in sharing her life with another person. She does have high standards for who she loves, but she has a few mistakes in (explicit) thinking that I've noticed--but it might be due to just fuzzy thinking on her part and not reflective of her underlying personal philosophy. But I will need to investigate that more closely. It would seem that I am completely comfortable and love who she is right is just the nightmares of her past that keep returning to my mind and distressing me. I am unsure how to break that fixation on the past once I know I'm sure she is who I think she is in the present.
  15. That is possible, I have gathered an estimation about women I become attracted to given some basic concrete facts about them (number of previous partners) and built from the disappointments a view that is not entirely accurate. I don't ask for more details about her past other than the number--the quality of those relationships doesn't matter to me. It is the number I am fixated on. How I managed to build this up over the years I do not understand--and I don't want it to be detrimental to my attempts at a relationship with a woman who has been nearly a perfect fit, other than her past I cannot fully overcome.
  16. rtg24, I don't really know any objective third parties to evaluate this woman and give me their evaluation of her character. The closest I would have, to eliminate the possibility of this type of projection, is what I have already done--I've looked at her friends and mutual friends we both have. She spends time with people who, before I knew her through friends, are rational and do have a good sense of life and have maintained friendships with individuals of similar philosophy. Perhaps it is possible to figure out something from that. It was a fear that I didn't really know her that prompted me to want to learn more about her history--it is still a fear I have, though it isn't as strong as it was before I asked more about her past (since I know a lot about who she is in the present.) Otherwise, what clues might I have in an overly optimistic appraisal of her? (I am reminded of Dagny Taggart's over-optimism in the ability of humanity to change for the better--how could she have been able to tell she was doing this without having to be shown how it played out in reality?) And for the actions and behaviors I've witnessed in the year I've known her, and of her own telling of her history, there has been a change for the better, and it has been consistent for her entire adult life after about age 21. She had a higher than average number of partners for a few years while she was a teenager, all were attempts at starting romantic, loving relationships which she thought sex would lead to. That, of course, wasn't the case and she realized it and decided it wasn't the way to get love. She then became engaged for a few years and left that relationship as it was not progressing how she wanted and then married another. She was married for a long time and then her spouse changed (for the worse) and the relationship ended. She was single for a few years, started another relationship, but it failed due to personal circumstances beyond her control. It has been half a decade since that had ended and we became close--she had told me of some men she had been attracted to and had only carefully pursued before she realized they weren't right for her and she moved on before it became a relationship. Either she has had terrible luck (things beyond her control) or bad premises. She started with bad premises and fixed them and then went through terrible luck thereafter. That's what I think it has been. My trouble is that, after such bad luck and bad premises and indiscretions is it possible that an intimate romantic relationship can never be as valuable?
  17. Hey rtg24, thanks for the reply. These are some perspectives I've also wondered about. 1. Based on her behavior--which is quantifiable in favor of her changing how she used sex to cope with self-esteem/depression--it would seem she has changed. She understands what caused the bad things to happen and then implemented a fix that she has sustained for decades. 2. I was wondering if it were some sort of thing like that, because when I've researched this issue, it is primarily men who have this problem with their partners. She does have children, but this does not bother me. 3. Yes, this would account for continuing to feel uncomfortable about the present in light of the past. However, it just seems, given how she presented her past and its causes, that it cannot logically reoccur. I have encountered enough beautiful women with flawed characters that they failed to be attractive after I learned of their faults (e.g., drug use, risky sex) that I feel I am able to see through beauty to learn about the person before allowing my emotions to affect my thought. It's been a long series of disappointments. Which is unfortunate...but just a mechanism I developed over time, I can appreciate female beauty, but I don't attribute much else to it until I learn more about the person.
  18. So her basic character as a person was there all along, and despite the bad experiences, she was able to become psychologically and philosophically healthy? I can see that. And other than these experiences, she was very good and even lived by principles from a young age at the detriment of her social life (which lead to self-esteem issues and then bad behaviors as a teen, which according to her was a result of not being able to cope with the results of her acting on principle and its social effects.) I do admire her for a lot of these kinds of things. It is sometimes like I am blinking between this fixation on her past and moments of clarity where I have everything in its right place and it doesn't bother me (other than feeling sad in general about her her past, but I don't stay on that long when I'm having a clear moment.) I have thought some about your questions and these are the answers I can come up with: 1. Then, why does her past matter so much to you? I consider it to be a part of who a person is--and obviously to a greater degree than it might ever need to be. 2. Does it make her different and if so, how? It feels that it does only when I'm not around her, not in her physical presence. Before I learned about her past, it just seemed like she had held these ideals forever because of the strength she believed in them. According to her, she had them when younger as well, she was just not good at coping with social pressures and psychological problems at the same time while in her youth. It makes her seem different to me because I never had that problem and cannot understand that sort of experience. It is hard to talk with her now because unintentional things will remind me of her past and I will distance myself as a result. 3. Does it change the nature and value of your relationship and if so, how? Because I have some underlying belief that this part of her past will forever devalue any intimate or romantic relationship she has. It is a numbers thing--can a person be intimate with that many people and still have a romantic future?
  19. Your Habits

    I have a simple question for the writers of both fiction and non-fiction: What conditions do you require when you begin to write a project (of any size, poetry to novel, essay to book) so that you can write without break or interruption?
  20. Has anyone here listened to "Selected Topics in the Philosophy of Science" by Dr. Binswanger and can offer a review of it? I am considering some purchases from the bookstore and am curious on people's opinions on this CD set.
  21. Electron Motion Filmed The video can be seen on youtube. What significance does this have?
  22. The Women of IDF

    Gorgeous women. I'm sure most of them could be (and probably would be) spending their time without dog tags chained to their necks.
  23. Henna body art

    I admire the intricacy of those drawings--how long does it take you to do these?
  24. "Judgment Call"

    You're welcome. Hope you're able to work this one out and post more.
  25. Advice to Fiction Writers

    Up until tonight I found the best way to summarize what I've observed from fiction writers who admire Ayn Rand in Bill's #35 post. Those didactic monstrosities are, simply, rationalistic presentations that mimic art. I almost didn't think anyone else noticed this.