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Everything posted by RayVernagus

  1. Well, yes. Measurement-omission is the means by which we attain "timeless" knowledge. The passage that I quoted is one of "two links between the conceptual and the mathematical fields." (ITOE, p. 16) The other link is measurement-omission so your subconscious is right to trigger this connection. If you are finding this lead helpful, perhaps the following analogy will help. Miss Rand compares the relationship between concepts and their referents as the same relationship that exists between algebraic symbols and particular numbers. Now, you wouldn't say that 2a = a + a is true when a = 1 and we know this because we plugged 1 into the equation and derived 2 for both sides but we cannot say for certain that 2a = a + a is true when a = 100 because we have not yet done that math would you? I think the statement that I argue against in my previous post is in essence saying this very thing. But it's wrongheaded because inductive knowledge stands in exactly the same relationship to the concretes that it subsumes as do algebraic equations to particular numbers. 2a = a + a is not just true now, it will always be true. The objection that every concrete subsumed by a generalization must be observed in order for that generalization to be universal is the same pattern, namely that you cannot be certain that your inductive conclusions apply tomorrow because a new concrete may come along that blasts the conclusion apart. But 2a = a + a will always be true and we don't need to plug every concrete number through the equation to know this. The point here is that validly formed concepts serve the same role in cognition as algebraic symbols do in equations like 2a = a + a. And we know this thanks to those two revolutionary identifications by Miss Rand concerning the nature of concept-formation: open-endedness and measurement-omission.
  2. Artificial Intelligence

    I was first going to criticize artificial intelligence (AI) as I usually do for disregarding the facts that Miss Rand identifies in her essay, "The Objectivist Ethics." In that essay she identifies the inextricable link between consciousness and life. Only living things can be conscious. Remarkably (to me), I have found that proponents of AI are utterly unconvinced by this point. They see no need to tie life to consciousness and it has seemed impossible to convince any of them otherwise. The reason for this has to do with what AI supporters hold the nature of consciousness to be—for AI, consciousness is information processing. This is a massive stolen concept. "Information" is a concept of consciousness; there is no information “out there” apart from the mind of a living organism. AI has produced some wonderful technology and the technical aspects of the field can be regarded as valid. But its philosophical base—from its inception—has been false. If you are interested in learning more about the Objectivist position on artificial intelligence, see Dr. Binwanger's brilliant lecture, The Metaphysics of Consciousness.
  3. Happy Birthday to RayVernagus

    Thank you, Betsy! Thanks also to the rest! I really appreciate it. Sorry I haven't been around but raising a toddler has been kicking my you-know-what. And there's another due any day now! Life is good albeit very busy...
  4. Thinking about reductionism

    Both of the characteristics that you give in your answer to (1) (explanation and deduction) are epistemological in nature. What is reductionism's fundamental statement about the nature of living things? And a question for anyone interested: how does one reconcile a statement of metaphysical reduction (if it can be reconciled) with the point that "in reality, facts are simultaneous" (OPAR p. 131)? Do you think that this implies that metaphysical reductionism is false?
  5. Stephen's Health

    The world seems less interesting now.
  6. Happy Birthday to RayVernagus and lykaiosapollo

    Thanks, gang!! Sorry I'm not around much these days. I'm still here regularly as a lurker, just been too busy to post. I had a great birthday and coming home to find your kind words made a great end to a great day! Cheers!
  7. Seeking Assistance

    David Allen wrote a gem of a book called Getting Things Done and in this book he often talks about "the very next physical action required to move the situation forward." I have found this book and its principles to be extremely clarifying in situations like the one Fidgit describes above. When you have this big looming cloud "get a new job" hanging over your head 24/7, you can't do anything but suffer mental paralysis. In the Getting Things Done methodology, these sorts of "projects" break down into discrete, actionable steps. A step is some physical action that takes about a minute or two to accomplish. So instead of these clouds of uncertainty, we maintain lists of steps that need to be done: "visit the job board at 37signals.com," "send résumé to fred@potentialemployer.com," and "call job lead at Cool Place to Work." I have found David's system to be a powerful tool and I think that it would be worth checking out if you have the time. If not, then I hope that the concept of "actionable steps" can help you find some clarity in life.
  8. any Rubyists out there?

    Yep! I've been a Rubyist ever since I first laid my hands on it! I'm a regular user of several languages but every time I work with Ruby it's like coming home after a long, grueling trip. I'm sure you know what I mean.
  9. Alex and Sarah get married!

    Outstanding news! Congratulations to the newlyweds!
  10. Happy Birthday to ADS

    Dream Theater says, "Happy birthday, Alex! Rock on!" Fun game, Stephen!! I just have one guess, #13 = Leibniz??
  11. Happy Birthday to SCS

    Happy birthday, Sarah! And HUGE congratulations on your engagement, you two! How exciting!
  12. Defending Induction

    That's an ambitious project! I don't really have any comments on the content of your strategy but rather on its method. Seven pages is really quite short so you might consider really keeping it to just three points. A large part of what your professor should be grading you on is your ability to focus on a point and to develop that point to its fruition. This is especially important in a short paper on a very long topic. So you might forgo the bit about emotions and perhaps even leave out hasty generalizations. Make it relevant to Bacon and resist the temptation to "Objectivize" your paper. Good writing!
  13. happy valentines!

    Here's hoping there's love in all of your lives!
  14. The Tyranny of Eminent Domain

    Larry Salzman and Alex Epstein have a commentary up on CNSNews covering the topic of eminent domain which is government appropriation of private property for public use. Their commentary dicusses the contradictions between America's fundamental founding principles and the alleged justification of eminent domain. The context for the article is based around a current case facing the Supreme Court, Kelo vs. New London. Click here to read "The Tyranny of Eminent Domain" by Larry Salzman and Alex Epstein.
  15. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year To All

    Great card! Happy holidays everyone!! Next year I'll try to have an enjoyable Christmas card to share too.
  16. Happy Birthday to Free Capitalist

    That's hillarious! Happy belated birthday, FreeCap!
  17. Happy Birthday...

    BIG Happy Birthday to you, Stephen!!
  18. Happy Birthday to Bill Bucko and katdaddy

    Happy birthday, Bill!!
  19. Betsy, me, and THE FORUM

    More hopes for a speedy recovery! You're both in my thoughts.
  20. An Ageless Universe

    Alex is correct but I want to point out that David is also wrong with respect to what Miss Rand did or didn't say. In the Appendix to ITOE she explicitly states that philosophy does not ascribe extension to the universe as a whole:
  21. Object-oriented programming

    The book on design patterns is the Gang of Four's, Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software. If there's a "right book", that would have to be it. But there are plenty of other very worthy titles to be sure.
  22. Object-oriented programming

    First of all, we aren't being technically correct in calling programming languages object-oriented. OOP is a method of development that is either supported or not supported by a specified language. You can get at all kinds of gory details in C# when necessary just as well as you can just call the Socket class in the .NET Framework. Object-oriented languages in-and-of-themselves don't preclude you from doing things like this. When it comes to efficacy, however, I think it's pretty clear why OOP is the choice of anyone not dealing exclusively with machine code or pointers. Efficacy in programming deals with how much can be accomplished by a given number of lines of code. Clearly, OOP is more efficacious in this sense. One line of object-oriented code might be mySocket.Open() whereas in C you might write ten lines of code. I don't even want to think of the equivalent in (God help me!) assembly. Both chunks of code do the exact same thing it's just that with an OOP implementation we're doing with one line of code what we would otherwise have to do in ten. Sure, an OOP framework is going to hide all kinds of behind-the-scenes details but that's exactly why the technique is so powerful. I see your point but I think we're just talking about different senses of efficacy.
  23. Object-oriented programming

    I'd be interested in learning more about this theory. The two guys that are generally listed as the inventors of OOP (see Yahoo and WikiPedia) did so in the early 1960's. To the best of my knowledge, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology wasn't first published until 1966.
  24. Object-oriented programming

    Microsoft's .NET Framework is an entirely OOP/Class-based framework. They have represented everything in their framework in terms of classes including concepts like sockets. This is a wonderful thing because it allows programmers to work with a nice, tidy abstraction without having to worry about all of the gory details involved in raw socket programming. That's the power of OOP.
  25. Object-oriented programming

    I think one could make a great case for how understanding Objectivist Epistemology can make you a better OOP programmer. The understanding gained from studying the nature of concept-formation makes you a better abstractor and this, in turn, makes you a better OOP programmer. If you think about how you approach a problem domain using OOP, you are essentially using concept-formation. For example, if you are creating an e-mail program you will ask yourself the question, what do all e-mails have in common? You answer this question by looking at all of the concrete instances of e-mail: text, HTML, etc. Then you abstract away from the differences and create a common object that suits all of these cases. Ahhh! All e-mails must have a Send() method. A proper epistemology is essential to object-oriented programming. Bad abstractions lead to bad programs. I see the manifestations of bad epistemology all over the place in the software that I deal with and it ain't pretty!