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About Guyau

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    Stephen Boydstun

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    Metaphysics; Theory of Concepts and Predication; Philosophy of Science and Mathematics; Philosophy of Mind; Foundations of Ethics; Physics; Mathematics; Biology; Cognitive Science

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    Stephen Boydstun
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    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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  1. Guyau

    Gary Johnson for President

    . Not to worry, Michael. I am going to send you the annual financial contribution I make for this site, though this year I better delay it from Aug. 1 to after the election. I don't want you sending the money straightaway to this guy you're selling, the product (Mr. Trump) you're so everywhere pushing on us, so bolstering in your own look at all information on the election, so distorting everything anyone not for your candidate says on anything about affairs of the world, so slipping from what they said to you to some imaginary saying they plainly did not, a product I'll not be buying. Rest assured, I will come through with the annual contribution. But no more posts until after the election.
  2. Guyau

    Gary Johnson for President

    . Bob, your question about boots on the ground (our sons' and daughters' boots on the ground) is the excellent question. Excellent, that is, when posed as a rhetorical question. Lindsay Graham is the one who has been honest about this. I'm not interested in your "nuke 'em all" alternative. We (Bill Clinton and NATO) have won exactly one little war without our boots on the ground. That's not usually the feasible situation. When I hear Americans (over the last fifty years of my adult life) say "lets fight a war, but just from the air" I think one word: chicken. To say nothing of la-la land. We have boots on the ground right now in the campaign to take Mosel from ISIS. That is what is necessary, and the President (any President) will send more if necessary, and if, as I think, the toppling of their "state" hold on regions is a rational defense of the region that is the USA, they are right to do so. The entry question is what is the objective level of threat to the US and what is the objective estimate of loss of our life and limb and treasure to us to go over and destroy them and what would be the successor threats resulting from that victory. After the congressional vote of Declaration of War on that entry assessment, then the President and his Generals decide the methods for success in the mission. The President today is making such an execution, as was the President before him, without the Constitutional Declaration of War, due to that same one word, applied to the Congress: chicken.
  3. Guyau

    Gary Johnson for President

    . We don’t have the full transcript of the Daily Caller interview with Johnson. We know the "out-of-blue" Michael mentioned of Johnson in their “report” of the interview, but nothing concerning context in the interview itself. (Rather like Rand’s essay “From the Horse’s Mouth,” but then it’s not the horse’s mouth, Kant’s text, but a scholar’s reporting what the horse said, that she invokes.) Sorry if this sort of sensitivity to accuracy-in-context vs. spin is boring. Different pleasures for different folks. We do have the full transcript of a couple of other interviews of Johnson at that same period of time and touching on that same issue. Here is one by Glenn Thrush. Thrush: So back to the foreign policy thing. You hear both Hillary and Trump talk about the threat that ISIS poses— Johnson: No question. Thrush: --an existential threat. How do you do that, cutting 20 percent of the federal defense budget, and how would you go after ISIS? Would you go after ISIS? Johnson: Well, first of all, involve Congress. We’ve got treaties with 69 countries in the world, would defend their borders, that were congressionally authorized treaties. . . . Our decisions with regard to the military are executive and they’re the military [decisions]. Involve Congress. Let’s get an open debate and discussion and declaration of war, if that’s the way that we want to treat ISIS. But how about [having] a skeptic at the table? Skeptics—Bill Weld and myself—we’re planning to do this as a partnership. . . . Thrush: . . . But I interrupted you. You were talking about sort of skeptics at the table. Would you— Johnson: With skeptics at the table, [about] boots on the ground, dropping bombs. Thrush: Would you order--; Johnson: Flying drones. Thrush: --would you, for instance, if you had reasonable intel—would you have done the bin Laden raid? Johnson: Yes. That was our goal. That was our goal from day one. Get bin Laden. . . . You attack the United States, we’re going to attack back, . . . Thrush: . . . and you do believe ISIS is an existential threat to the country [USA]? Johnson: Right, but how is it best—how is it best dealt with? . . . .
  4. Guyau

    Gary Johnson for President

    . Michael, I was aware that you use scream-font for headlines in your posts regularly. It is screaming, whatever the post. The word "screaming" for it was taught to us back in the 90's at our place by Tim Shell, a longtime associate of Jimmy Wales. Walter and I had gotten a computer, and Tim was showing us the internet and how the text communications looked in those days. We didn't have font-size choices in those days, as I recall, but he cautioned us on how exclamation points and all-caps come off in the electronic-screen text presentation then current. He told us they were seen as bad etiquette. He told us it was called "screaming." We laughed; it did look like screaming. We avoid it, although I do have a rare use for it just now. I'm having the first piece from a peach pie I made yesterday from scratch, and it is SO GOOD. PS - I do not care for Gary Johnson, for the clown-element noted by Steve the other day. Like Romney, I wish the pair on the Libertarian ticket were reversed. But it remains a happy season due to the many citizens learning of the ideas of libertarianism for the first time (including our friends who are from here and who support Trump). They had never heard of or anyway didn't recall the name Libertarian. Visiting us in our home, they asked who I was voting for, then what is Libertarian (sincerely, not by way of dismissing because not winning---they aren't that sort of people) and we got the simple first-brush ideas before them. These folks are pretty much Democratic voting for Trump this one shot. We don't try to change each others political views or choices. We just enjoy getting to know each other better, learning more about each other, and what's out there.
  5. Guyau

    Gary Johnson for President

    . But if that headline (must you scream-font?) is bad for for the Libertarian vote, then that's good for your candidate, Michael. Rejoice. Well, actually, no. The polls of Clinton v. Trump v. Johnson when compared with polls for Clinton v. Trump are showing very consistently that the differential in Clinton v. Trump remains the same when the Libertarian is added to the options. He pulls them both down equally. So, at least not to worry for your interest. Although, you might be also interested in whether the perceived threat of radical Islam to America is overblown (blowing levels in this context being about perceived level of threat) in comparison to the blowing level on other threats. Well, you know what I think is the greatest threat, and it's boring to most voters, so it's way underblown. And any threat blown higher than that one---deficit spending and the national debt---is overblown. (Don't worry, I'm not so unsubtle as to seriously think this is an "also interested" in your post.)
  6. Guyau

    France Mowed Down

    . Hi Jon, I did not give or aim to give any consolation on methods of atrocities, only to address the technical worry about atomic from these characters. The means to be prepared for are other than that, and Bob's picture that something along those lines is somehow more horrific than what was done on 9/11 is false; that I did mean to mention, but forgot. I did not insinuate any consolation that attacks will not be by ISIS inspiration, but by Al Qaeda, or by non-Islamic mass murderers (Dallas). I did not imply or insinuate any such consolation. I did not insinuate that it is better to do nothing than what we and the French are doing and what we will do from what we learn of the enemy in this long struggle. I did not insinuate that it is better to support Clinton over your candidate or insinuate anything about candidates at all. (I expect to vote Libertarian this time around, as I've said before, but my post did not have the election in its scope. Don't attack the moral character or sanity of your posting associates these several years just because they are opposed to your candidate, I'd say.) --S
  7. Guyau

    ARI vs USA election 2016

    . Jerry, Members of the socialist faction (left socialism) in the US a century ago would find what today in America is the status quo delightfully socialistic. Clintrump is well homogenized in both socialism and pragmatism. There have apparently been a couple of impacts of ARI the last three decades on American individual lives and on American politics. In the last decade especially, ARI has facilitated some Objectivist scholarship in the academy and in academic publications. That impact may also reach to the general educated public. Be that as it may, the other impact of ARI has been the level of sales of Ayn Rand's novels they have boosted through their high school essay competitions which they have sponsored across these decades. I'm unsure whether the boost their project has given those sales is as large as they think. But the sales have been good, and I think that is a major reason there are so many voters today (running around 10% lately) who prefer the Libertarian ticket to Clintrump. Bye the way, the impact of Objectivism on individual lives and on people's political ideals has been mainly, overwhelmingly, through books. That's what done it, and that impact may endure a while. Individuals amenable to philosophy, such as Objectivism, make their own judgments on political election choices. The philosophy they have taken for their own does not determine one same choice by all those individual minds. I'm pretty sure that Rand's philosophy has influenced her followers in their voting decisions, but that her say-so, or Leonard's, or Harry's, . . . on whom to vote for has not mattered a whit. I believe it was a recent PEW survey that reported that among millennials Johnson is tied with Trump. However, their support for Clinton equals Johnson and Trump combined. There is a 400-pound gorilla in the room, I would suggest, and his name is altruism. Discussing and debating only political issues is not going to move him.
  8. Guyau

    France Mowed Down

    Bob. Set off the first small nuke in Manhatten? In 1946 the first important book on nuclear strategy appeared. It was called The Absolute Weapon. In that book, one writer envisioned a suitcase atomic bomb that could be set off in cities. To this day, no one has invented such a thing (atomic or thermonuclear), and were it ever invented, it surely will have been invented by the government of a technologically advanced country. As for a radioactive “dirty bomb” by terrorists, I know that has been imagined and much mentioned in the US. But a high school classmate of mine in Oklahoma City, who was a military man and was associated with the OKC Bombing memorial there, was interviewed on CNN on 9/11 or 9/12, and I’ve never forgotten what he said: No. Rather, he thought: They will use the incendiary modes such as bombs or gas explosion and crashes such as had just happened. He has proven right over all these years later. Bombs stationary, bombs in moving rail (Spain), blowing up airliners, firearms, and now the truck weapon. They don’t need to put time into exotic things like radioactive material, though they have dreamed on it. I think the Islamic State is going to be defeated in that that state, such as it is a state, is going to be defeated. They will be toppled in their territory holdings in Syria and Iraq, and elsewhere if they get some territory elsewhere. The truck atrocity in Nice, like the shooting atrocity in Orlando, . . . could as well be with allegiance to an Al Qaeda type organization, which is what ISIS will be­—same old thing—when their territories are retaken. I see it is reported by a neighbor of the mass murderer in Nice that the killer was not observant of the Muslim faith. He did not go to Mosque, and he smoked. But perhaps his accomplices, if any, were devout and more of the kill-for-Allah bent, rather than the simple kill-because-I’m-a-failure-and-hate-well-whomever-and-I-now-see-how-to-fake-and-escape-the-zero-I-am sort of mass murder.
  9. Guyau

    Theory of Truth

    Previously ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ His Own Truth In all of Rand’s novels, a natural human wholeness is prescribed, a way of human life that had been broken up by overblown conceptions of human social nature. Rand was not denying there is an important social goodness naturally in the life of an individual. That affirmation is an understatement, in my own view, which will be set out in my book in progress. Nonetheless Rand was right to contest the overly social conceptions of human being wrecking lives around the world. In this note, I’ll pull together some bits from my writings, which pertain to Rand’s binding of truth to individual agent and binding of beneficiary egoism to agency egoism.* Comrade Sonia says to Andrei Taganov: “I know—we know—what you think. But what I’d like you to answer is why you happen to think that you are entitled to your own thoughts? Against those of the majority of your Collective? Or is the majority’s will sufficient for you, Comrade Taganov? Or is Comrade Taganov turning individualistic?” (1936, 378). Early in the story, when he is courting Kira, the future love of his life, we are given the following picture of Andrei’s seamless character. Kira leads: “I thought that Communists never did anything except what they had to do . . . .” “That’s strange,” he smiled, “I must be a very poor Communist. I’ve always done only what I wanted to do.” “Your revolutionary duty?” “There is no such thing as duty. If you know a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don’t want to do it—it isn’t right. If it’s right and you don’t want to do it—you don’t know what right is—and you’re not a man.” “Haven’t you ever wanted a thing for no reason of right or wrong, for no reason at all, save one: that you wanted it?” “Certainly. That’s always been my only reason. I’ve never wanted things unless they could help my cause. For, you see, it is my cause.” “And your cause is to deny yourself for the sake of millions?” “No. To bring the millions up to where I want them—for my sake.” (92) Late in the novel, Andrei envisions (what is in the author’s view) an even greater seamlessness of character by setting his newly reached beneficiary egoism squarely in his life-long agency egoism. Addressing his Comrades: “You see, there are things in men, in the best of us, which are above all states and all collectives, things too precious, too sacred, things which no outside hand should dare touch. Look into yourself, honestly and fearlessly. Look and don’t tell me, don’t tell anyone, just tell yourself: what are you living for? Aren’t you living for yourself and only for yourself? For a higher truth which is your own? Call it your aim, your love, your cause—isn’t it still your cause? Give your life, die for your ideal—isn’t it still your ideal? Every honest man lives for himself. Every man worth calling a man lives for himself. The one who doesn’t—doesn’t live at all. You cannot change it. You cannot change it because that’s the way man is born, alone, complete, an end in himself.” (501) [1] Rand’s Prometheus declares, “I shall live my own truth” (1938, 140). Rand gives him also these lines: “All things come to my judgment, and I weigh all things, and I seal upon them my ‘Yes’ or my ‘No’. Thus is truth born. Such is the root of all Truth and the leaf, such is the fount of all Truth and the ocean, such is the base of all Truth and the summit. I am the beginning of all Truth. I am its end” (128). There is echo here of the alpha and omega said of God in Revelations. However, Rand’s beginning and end of all truth in Anthem is no maker of all truth and value, as in the extreme voluntarist traditions of theology wherein God freely thinks and what he thinks becomes fact, there being no eternal truths, or any truths, independent of God’s choice. For Rand’s Prometheus, there is all the existence of the earth independent of his verdicts, and his is to find the earth and how to cultivate it. There is fact independent of mind, though there is no truth independent of mind. Rand is also affirming in that Anthem passage that all judgment of truth is individual and that all truth we render from the world is for our own final value. Those lines are preceded by these: “It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world” (A 128). Something is seen, and with the subject, it is rendered beautiful. Something is heard, and with the subject, it is rendered song of existence. Something is given, and with its recognition, it is rendered truth. Howard Roark says that a building’s integrity—its esthetic integrity, integral with its site, function, and physical integrity—“is to follow its own truth” (F PK I, 18). The architect Cameron, is said to have, through a succession of works, at last given shape “to the truth he had sought” (PK III, 41). In Fountainhead Rand works with an analogy between character of a building and character of a soul. A right building design has an individual truth and integrity; a right person has an individual truth and integrity. Furthermore, truth of the creator enters into truth of the creation, and responders to the latter truth hold it in ways unique to the unique constitution of their own souls. The concept Rand is forging with her building/soul analogy is integrity. One broad thesis of Fountainhead is that there is a type of egoistic individualism that is good and just; altruistic collectivism is evil and unjust. The argument focuses not so much on what is just as on what is good, purely of humans, purely of earth. Such are independence, reliance on reason (one’s own), honesty, creative achievement, love of one’s work, and courage. A concept of justice will make human life and happiness impossible if the concept ignores the uniqueness of individuals and the unity and self-sufficiency required by the preceding virtues. Integrity is the overarching virtue pronouncing this unity and self-sufficiency. Rand joins one’s integrity to one’s truth. “A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose” (F PK I, 18). One’s truth in Fountainhead is the constitution of one’s self in the living and making of one’s self. In a creation, the creator had a truth for which he struggled. “His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way” (HR XVIII, 737). His creation was from and, in a fundamental sense, for his self. He lived for himself, for his own truth, for his own work. In Atlas Rand again connects integrity to truth, and both to agency egoism. Integrity entails unity “between body and mind, between acting and thought, between his life and his convictions” (1957, 1019). Integrity entails courage “of being true to existence, of being true to truth,” whatever public opinion and pressure might be. Integrity entails confidence “of being true to one’s consciousness.” Talk of one’s own truth is dropped. Devotion to existence and rationality and end-in-itself life, available alike to all, is the salvation of individual and society. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [1] Rand’s contention that commitment to agency egoism—thinking for oneself—commits one, by some sort of consistency, to ethical beneficiary egoism continues through all her writings. This early attempt, in 1936, in which agency egoism together with psychological beneficiary egoism and the accepted virtues of honesty and courage yields ethical beneficiary egoism, is replaced by 1957 with denial of psychological beneficiary egoism, but with a constitution of human life set within an alleged basic character of any life, and from this situation Rand tries to pull a norm of ethical beneficiary egoism seamless with the life-goodness of agency egoism.