Roger Bissell

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About Roger Bissell

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  • Birthday 06/27/1948

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    Roger Bissell
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    I am a musician and a writer, a husband, father, and grandfather, a native of Iowa and a once and future resident of the Volunteer State. I am a muse-seeker, first-last-and-always. I am an Objectivist, but only until and unless a better philosophy comes alone (even if I have to be the one to create it).
  • Articles
    Up from Despair--Becky and Me An Epiphany Libertarianism, Objectivism, and Rage (Rpt on BB's talk) Dialectics: Guardian of Logic Mistaken Identity: Long’s Conflation of Dialectics and Organicism Comments on ch. 13 of Ayn Rand: the Russian Radical (1996) Ayn Rand: Dialectical Objectivist WHAT IS "DIALECTICS"? Dialectical Objectivism? A review of Chris M. Sciabarra's Ayn Rand: the Russian Radical The Virtue of For the New Intellectual Brother- and Sisterhood Objective Self-Awareness as the Root of Wisdom Who Qualifies as being an Objectivist How to Improve Objectivism Comments on Rand's "The Age of Envy" in re the Frozen Abstraction fallacy Why Union Scale is Killing Our Work AESTHETICS " give us Ayn Rand faithfully..." a critical note on the Boeckmann transcript Art as Microcosm: The Real Meaning of the Objectivist Concept of Art Objectivism and gender-neutral language Religious Addiction A Higher Power for Atheists and Agnostics (1989) Conditional Morality and Rational (?) Enablement The Intelligent Design Controversy in the Libertarian-Objectivist Media
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    Married and loving it!
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    Antioch, Tennessee
  • Interests
    philosophy, psychology, genealogy, fiction
  1. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    Only a computer science geek could confuse relative nothingness (the absence of something in particular) with absolute Nothingness. Otherwise, why talk about adding zero, as though zero were some actual quantity, rather than the absence of a quantity? REB
  2. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    This video is great fun, Ba'al. Thanks for sharing it! I confess that I did not go through any complicated logic in order to discover my method for generating Pythagorean triples. I just made a table showing various values that worked, and eventually I saw some suspicious looking patterns. I generalized from those patterns, tried some more variations, generalized a bit further, then realized I had a method that seemed always to work. Then I realized that I could solve the Pythagorean equation for x (though with difficulty, since it required completing a rather messy, unwieldy square), and then I found that I could plug any rational number less than -1 or greater than 0 into my solution for x and generate a Pythagorean triple. It's all in the book, for anyone who wants to see both the inductive jungle I hacked my way through, or the rather straightforward, though difficult deductive mountain I scaled in order to validate the inductive result. (The Einstein/Martians essay was supposed to have illustrated in a briefer, more enjoyable way the two paths to knowledge that my Pythagorean triple essay rather long-windedly illustrated, but I'm not sure that the message has gotten through.) REB
  3. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    This is a false alternative. Zero is not absolute nothingness. But that doesn't mean it is something. It is the absence of something. Not the absence of anything whatsoever (that would be absolute nothingness), but the absence of something in particular. The phrase "zero apples" does not mean that there is some number of apples, and that number is zero. It means that there are not any apples, that any attempt to count the apples does not produce any results, and by convention, we say that we have "counted zero apples," when in fact we have not counted any apples. All of the so-called "algebraic properties" of zero are actually just the results of attempting to perform calculations in the absence of any quantity that one would normally be able to perform such calculations. Some say this is "a difference without a difference." By the same token, quantum mechanical equations produce the same results regardless of whether one adopts the Copenhagen interpretation or a more realistic interpretation. And perhaps there are not now any reasons for preferring one interpretation of the metaphysics of quantum mechanics or the metaphysics of zero over another. But I'm confident that there are reasons for preferring a realistic interpretation over one that reifies non-existence, even the relative or particular non-existence captured in how we use the concept of "zero" in mathematics. Even now, we have recently seen some Danish students who have found a method of measuring the position and momentum of subatomic particles, and who have thus proved that Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is ONLY the claim of a methodological limitation on simultaneous measurement of position and momentum of particles, and not a metaphysical law that such particles do not simultaneously possess position and measurement. For decades, the anti-Identity modern philosophers were pushing the former interpretation. But Aristotle has had the last laugh. And I'm chuckling along with him.
  4. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    Not only is the Roman numeral system clunky for doing math, it's lame for even making a numbered list. I was labeling some files in a folder recently, and I made the mistake of using Roman numerals, and I kept wondering where the 5th file was. Finally, I saw it way at the bottom of the folder's list, underneath files whose name started with S and T and U. Yikes. Then I realized the first four were only together because the computer interpreted I, II, III, and IV as starting with the *letter* I. Double yikes. Well, all I can say is: thank God and Bill Gates that MS Word's indexing function doesn't work that way when using Roman numerals! REB
  5. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    This is not just a special malady afflicting posters to Objectivist Living, but people posting to Objectivist fora in general, and in regard to any book they think they will disagree with. They will mock and criticize when they see certain cue words and phrases, and they will close their eyes and ears and shout "lalalalalala," and not bother to read and understand the arguments. I call it the "James Taggart don't-bother-me Virus." There is no known cure. REB
  6. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    No, it is more like a bat. If used improperly, it will *produce* foul balls. REB
  7. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    Fourth and final? 04/03/05, 08/06/10, 12/05/13, 9/12/15, and 12/9/15 also were, and 12/16/20 is yet to come. Those were the dates on the mug. I'm gonna ask for a refund! REB
  8. How the Martians Discovered Algebra

    You Rational Empiricists are all alike - a quick 7 or 8 theorems and you're off with the boys! I just received in the mail today Eli Maor's 2007 book The Pythagorean Theorem: A 4,000 Year History (Princeton University Press). It's a very nice looking book, and I can't wait for bedtime to read it! Last week, I received a mug and tee-shirt celebrating what appears to be the fourth and final Pythagorean Theory Day in the 21st century. It's coming right up on August 15. (08/15/17, which is a Pythagorean triple) (The other three were (03/04/05, 06/08/10, and 05/12/13.) REB P.S. - It's fascinating to me that Leonard Peikoff, 45 years ago, claimed that before the ancient Greeks, there was only "primitive knowledge" in areas like mathematics and astronomy. Our beloved Pythagorean theorem actually comes from not the Greeks, but the Babylonians about 1000 years prior to Euclid et al. (Some speculate the ancient Egyptians knew of it, too, but I haven't seen any conclusive evidence for the claim.)
  9. Thanks for alerting me to the typo. It must have been one of our underlings who did it. I'll make the correction in the master file, and it will at least get corrected in the Kindle. I'll see what options CreateSpace gives us for future printings. My favorite Objectivist typo, which is in its 50th year of existence now, is on line 9, page 54 of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. It is very informative to learn that concepts are "produced by man's consciousuess." REB P.S. - Please pass along any further typo's you find. Thanks!
  10. Thanks, Michael! REB
  11. Certainly gratifying to know that the Estate is being cared for so lovingly. Reminds me of Cousin Leonard's selfless devotion. My understanding is that the royalties are going to be devoted to distributing free copies, such as to libraries. Nobody is getting rich off this, that's for sure! So, yes, lovingly - as in, labor of love. REB
  12. Amazon says I can have it by Thursday. I hate to ask, but is there an index? And was it proofed against the pagination? I, for one, really appreciate that you (and whoever else was involved) have made this available. Nathaniel's Vision of Ayn Rand too. Hey man - I hate to tell you, but there is no index, sorry. However, the good news is that there's no pagination either! (Just joking.) And I'm glad that Amazon seems to have stepped up their game - if you mean they said you could get it by *this* Thursday (i.e., the day after tomorrow). The main people working to make this happen were Chris Sciabarra (foreword), myself (transcription, introduction, bibliography), and a trustee of Barbara's estate, who shall remain anonymous. REB
  13. The print version of POET is now available! You can order from CreateSpace (link below) or from Amazon, but the Estate gets a better royalty (same list price of $14.99) from CreateSpace, so please order from there, if you would. Thanks! Oh, and by the way, the print version of POET will not be available from for 3-5 business days - but is available NOW from the CreateSpace e-store (the above link). Enjoy, y'all! :-) REB
  14. The Opposite of Nothing Is/Isn't Everything

    Three comments - take your pick over which to distort or misrepresent: 1. Aristotle and Plato held up the development of real physical science between 1000 and 2000 years. Isn't that an awfully wide range of values? Is Heisenberg screwing with us again? 2. Aristotle and Plato defined the laws of logic, including the law of identity, which some claim to not be able to find in Aristotle or Plato. This held up the development of science? This sounds more like a Sophist argument. 3. Only 1/4 of Aristotle's works survived to the Renaissance and the Modern Era. Would "real physical science" be better off or worse off today if ALL of Aristotle's works had survived? If NONE of them had survived? Do you have candidates for "wish they hadn't survived"? REB P.S. - I suppose you have a point. I see a similar problem with how Rand herself held up the development of Objectivism, perhaps by 50 years or more by various of her practices and policies. (And I'm not talking about Closed Objectivism.)