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    • Michael Stuart Kelly

      Major Update to OL (please click to open)   02/09/2016

      Sorry for the inconvenience, but we had to update OL and there have been some serious changes made by IPB. The real bad news is that they had to merge User Names and Display Names. This meant that I had to choose between bad and bad. I opted to keep the log-on information the same, so you can get on OL like you always did, but now your User Name is displayed. If your User Name and Display Name were the same, you will not feel the change. If they were different, you are probably irritated right now. I will figure out how you can change this so you can revert to the Display Name you used before if you like, however this may entail a change in how you log-on. The good news is that OL is now searchable from the very beginning. This means all the old posts from the A-Team in Objectivism (and everybody else) will finally show up when you search for something. I will keep changing this announcement as we adapt to these new changes. It's a pain, I know, but after looking around the backend for a bit, I believe the benefits will far, far outweigh the current irritation. They changed things in a hamhanded way and I don't like that, but I can't do anything about it. Benefit-wise, they actually did a good job, so please bear with us. In addition to this change, many good things are coming over time. You are the reason OL exists and I am sorry you have to go through this. Think of it like birth pangs... (All right, all right, that's forcing it.  ) Michael

Guyau

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    Stephen Boydstun

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  • Full Name Stephen Boydstun
  • Description The most important thing in the world is love. The most important thing about the world is mathematics. The most important thing upon the world is the human mind.
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  • Website URL http://wklingler.blogspot.com/
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  • Gender Male
  • Location Virginia
  • Interests Metaphysics; Theory of Concepts and Predication; Philosophy of Science and Mathematics; Philosophy of Mind; Foundations of Ethics; Physics; Mathematics; Biology; Cognitive Science
  1. We have a new "GW"!

    Robert Wald,* writing in General Relativity (1984)* "What a piece of work is man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty."
  2. We have a new "GW"!

    Pittsburg Post-Gazette – 11 February 2016* This discovery “will stand out among the major achievements of 21st Century science.” – Abhay Ashtekar Scientific American Gravitational Waves Discovered The Detection of Gravitational Waves Is a Triumph for Physics Not All Gravitational Waves Are Created Equal ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SB – 12/23/13* As I recall, we are to start by setting T to zero:
  3. My Cato Essays

    . Thanks, George, for bringing the McGovern book to attention. John Dewey also famously linked Kant to Nazism at that time.* Related: “Eichmann’s Kant”* (Distorted Kantianism / The Unselfish Evil: Banal, Radical, or Demonic? / Kant with Sade / Duty) C. B. Laustsen and R. Ugilt – JSP 2007 In addition to the apparently square paper of David Gordon on the Objectivist representations of Kant, the following papers have also contributed, back and forth, to the topic: “Ayn Rand and the Metaphysics of Kant” George Walsh – JARS Fall 2000 “Rethinking Rand and Kant” R. Kevin Hill – JARS Fall 2001 “Between Metaphysics and Science – Kant and Rand”* S. Boydstun – OL “Mysticism – Kant and Rand”* S. Boydstun – OO “Perception and Truth – Kant and Rand”* S. Boydstun – OL “Kant’s Wrestle with Happiness and Life”* S. Boydstun – OL Fred Seddon devotes two chapters to Objectivist renderings of Kant in Ayn Rand, Objectivists, and the History of Philosophy.
  4. Did Barbara Branden discuss the reification fallacy (treating an abstraction as a concrete) in her lectures? I think Rand appealed to that on occasion. In the first edition of David Kelley’s The Art of Reasoning, he treated the informal fallacies in Chapter 6. 6.1 Subjectivist Fallacies 6.2 Credibility 6.3 Fallacies of Logical Structure In the fourth edition, David treats the informal fallacies in Chapter 5. 5.1 Subjectivist Fallacies 5.2 Fallacies Involving Credibility 5.3 Fallacies of Context 5.4 Fallacies of Logical Structure The additional section 5.3 collects some of the fallacies formerly put under 6.3 (false alternative, post hoc, hasty generalization, and accident) and adds two not included in the first edition (slippery slope, composition/division). Rand’s fallacy of Context Dropping might be cashable in a number of more specific fallacies generally set forth in the textbooks. Her fallacy of Frozen Abstraction may coincide with False Alternative. Her fallacy of Package-Dealing seems akin to the form of Non Sequitur that David calls Diversion. I wonder if Rand’s fallacy of the Stolen Concept is touched on under the name Complex Question in our standard lists. The question “Why is there anything at all, rather than nothing?” could be said to steal the concept of adducing a reason, having put in question the concept of existence, which adducing anything at all presupposes. Then too, the proposition could be said to commit the fallacy of Complex Question, a prior question not attended to being “Is there possibility beyond all existence?” which should be answered No.
  5. Choosing Life, by David Kelley

    In Reason Papers V37N1 (Spring 2015): Happiness or Life, or Both: Reply to Ole Martin Moen David Kelley
  6. Nietzsche v. Rand

    In Reason Papers V37N2 (Fall 2015): Portraits of Egoism in Classic Cinema III: Nietzschean Portrayals Gary James Jason ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My Nietzsche Work: Nietzsche v. Rand – Your Moral Ideal – Claiming Nobility – Parallels and Influence "Truth of Will and Value" Part 1 – Before Zarathustra Part 2 – Zarathustra and Beyond ––––––– Rand 1929–38 A, B, C ––––––– Rand 1938–46 A, B, C, D, E ––––––– Rand in Full
  7. Introducing the Stephen Boydstun Corner

    . Thank you all, each one.
  8. Introducing the Stephen Boydstun Corner

    Walter Klingler and I were married yesterday 19 January 2016, the twentieth anniversary of our partnership. Here is a poem I wrote for us for this day, which begins with our first meeting those twenty years ago: WE OF LOVE Stand in deep winter my night to glassed light, . . his spring to door, his smile, his bright, . . his bring inside to our words and eyes . . into our worlds and ways, and to our yes. Unfold the bloom night to day, room by room, . . on the floors, in falls or joys, . . on our shores, wave by wave, . . year on year, we of we of love.
  9. Jackpot! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hi John, Welcome to Objectivist Living! Your question is a serious one. Rand attempted to portray virtuous rich people as having earned their wealth from scratch or having earned the maintenance of a fortune they inherited (which fortune she liked to portray as something that would be lost for sure unless they personally did some earning of its preservation; a poetic-justice pinching of how things work). Winning money from gambling is not earning. Her philosophy concurs with our system in which money gotten by that means should be legally protected, just as charitable transactions should be legally protected. Rand ran not accepting the unearned into her morality. Until about fifty years of age, I would not gamble. That was not simply from the irrationality of some gambles, nor also from my relative aversion to risk. It was because it seemed disrespectful to money, and any money won would be unearned. I did not think of this as a moral stance, but more like an esthetic one. Similarly, when I was a young man and discovered Rand’s ethical theory, I gave up hunting (mostly quail) for sport. That stance too, I don’t think should be passed off as a matter of morality, not even the moral keeping of one’s self. Rather it is one way, though not a uniquely correct way rightly applying to every psyche, of being an integrated self. Eventually I changed my mind about gambling, at least with some very limited amount put into it and for simply the fun of it. That is, my esthetic sense about it changed a tad. So I often bet folks here a Coke that such and such is the case or will come to pass (no physical Cokes have changed hands). Many years ago (I’m now sixty-seven), my partner* and I wanted to see the Grand Canyon and other things in northern Arizona. So we flew from Chicago to Vegas, where we stayed in a big casino hotel for merely $29. I had decided to allot $20 on the slots, then stop. In a while, three sevens came up, and lights were flashing, and I told Walter next to me “hey, I think maybe I won something.” A man came over and explained “Now this is very easy; you hold out your hand, and I put money into it” (over $500). Then I tried to use up the rest of my chips from the original $20, but kept getting more chips back than I put in, and eventually, we just cashed out and had a cocktail. But I figure I shouldn’t do any further gambling in Vegas, because then the house might get ahead of me, whereas as it is . . . . Stephen * Well, my husband by end of this day, our partnership having succeeded twenty years as of today. Pretty safe leap to legal marriage. I'll put photos on Facebook.
  10. Periodic Table finally completed

    . William, the recent product I had in mind is called Q-carbon. Jagdish Narayan and Anagh Bhaumik at North Carolina State University created it. I know that after buckyballs (carbon-60) were created in the lab, it was later found they are also in nature, in interstellar space. It is thought that Q-carbon could be found in nature also, in the core of some planets. On the Syrian refugees arriving in Canada, the story of family of the famous-photo boy drowned on the shore of the Mediterranean was reported last evening on the PBS News Hour here. Meanwhile, what we hear from so many Republican voices is only “That boy was killed by Obama!” Obscene dishonest shouts piled on and on to distract from the moral depravity of their refusal of refugees to America. Ayn Rand (and really millions of Americans) would smile to Canada and the others like it in saving these people.
  11. Periodic Table finally completed

    . Greg, wake up. Where is your education in Christianity? Any Christian should know that what you are passing off as “creation” requires the qualification “ex nihilo creation.” It’s boringly plain by now you’ve come here to preach to the Objectivists. For goodness sake, have some exactitude. Follow Dylan in "I'll know my song well before I start singin." Rand conceived creation—human creation, the type of creation that actually exists—as a rearrangement of existents already available in some form. That was not original with her, but it was a needed articulation to stress, just to be sure, made up-front explicit in her elementary writings on esthetics. It is what we mean by “creation” here in this subculture you like to preach to and in the entire English-speaking world. “Creation ex nihilo” is our way and the standard way of referring to the (chimera of) creation of the world from nothing. Robin, there are infinite possible arrangements of matter and energy, notwithstanding restriction to the finite amount of mass-energy in the universe and notwithstanding the confused remarks on infinity from Ayn Rand and her disciples by way of quashing religious and philosophically mystical metaphysics (such as in Hegel). I see that yet another molecular arrangement of purely carbon atoms was recently accomplished and announced last week. Rand was right to say, even in a finite world with a finite number of natural laws, man’s is a step that travels unlimited roads. By the way, Rand thought, like many before her, that existence as a whole could not come into or go out of existence. To her that probably meant that the universe necessarily existed an infinite time in the past and will exist an infinite time into the future. I have pointed out years past repeatedly on these posting sites that really the thesis in the first sentence of this paragraph entails only that there can be no times at which existence did not exist (e.g. if there was no time before the Big Bang, there would be no times in which the universe did not exist), and Harry Binswanger has joined me in that point in his tome How We Know. Every day there is a different fire in my fireplace. Even if the universe were such that it were possible to build a new fire every 24 hours an infinite number of times into the future, it would remain that no two fires were ever the same. That is because the infinity of possible fires (all the details of ways a fire is lain up and burns down to ashes) is a higher order of infinity (Cantor) than that denumerable infinity of 24-hour intervals of future time. So too, I think it is sensible to recognize the reality of infinite possibilities for man (though the number of possible inventions is at most only a denumerable infinity), even though the species will not last forever. (Like the individual man or woman, life of the species will have been an end in itself along all the days it lasts.)
  12. Ayn Rand Society

    . The two papers delivered last Thursday at ARS in DC were excellent. Jason Hill’s topic was “Biological Collectivism and the Politics of Racial Identity.” Greg Salimeri wrote a stimulating Comment. I expect both papers will be included in the forthcoming ARS volume on Rand’s political philosophy. The ensuing discussion was also very fine. James Lennox was our moderator. The audience was only eight people. They ranged in age from about twenty to seventy. Attendance at the APA Meetings, at least our Eastern Division ones, seems to be falling. The prices of the hotels and the conference registration are rising, but there is likely some other factor(s) unknown to me that have led to this reduction. Most of the sessions I attended were about the size of the ARS one. At one session there were only three of us in the audience. The quality of papers at the APA meetings remains superb, and I learn so much. Three sessions for me were absolutely stellar and were well attended, drawing twenty to thirty people for each: (1) Sartre on Mind and Body (2) Formal Unity in Early Modern Aristotelianism (3) Author Meets Critics: The Activity of Being – An Essay on Aristotle’s Ontology (Aryeh Kosman) At the book booths, the number of books being display by the massive presses Cambridge and Oxford were significantly reduced. Fear not. Scattered across the venders, I bought eleven books and had to resist so many others.
  13. Periodic Table finally completed

    . Bob, from the news releases on the completion of the seventh row, I gather we don’t know yet whether any element will be found in a possible eighth row. To count as a chemical element, they are requiring the nuclei have a half-life of at least ten to the minus fourteen seconds, which is the time needed for an electron cloud to form. The story contrasts in this respect, at least for now, with the closure in 1989 of the number of families of matter.* Peter, even if the number of physical laws in the universe is finite and even if the number of kinds of chemical elements is limited, there is no limit in principle to the number of things men can invent using them. There is no limit to what men can create with Carbon, for example. But for the circumstance that the species man will cease.* Still, for man: “So many days have not yet broken.” –Rig Veda
  14. . Yes, good catch, Joe. Whoa, forget need for voice of Paine, there's a another voice today, one more rightly focused for our situation, behind this senator. I gather that Sen. Cruz is now most likely to become their nominee for Pres.
  15. JARS V14 N1 - Summer 2014

    . Tony, I don’t think innocent selfishness is reducible to innocent self-interest. Personal liberation requires recognition of the former. That root is not the end of the transformation, of course, just as it is not the whole of the journeys Rand scribes for readers of Fountainhead or Atlas (those readers with at least some of “the loyalty to life of a bird or a flower”). I expect in the future, as in the past, that the greater social benefit of Rand’s philosophy will be its role in personal liberation,* not political impact. But for the latter, sure, self-interest talk from Rand or others, with selfishness talk never mentioned with favor, may be in the persuasion toolkit (together with economics) sufficient to the purpose.