Christopher

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Everything posted by Christopher

  1. Although it's off-topic: generally what you say here is what happens, yes. Situations give rise to different motivated perspectives. That's why you'll be focused on work in your office one minute, then your wife surprises you by showing up and you change to a different perspective in the next minute. The issue is when you bring the wrong motive to a situation: for example, your wife calls you and you're still in "work mode," so you act what seems cold and she gets upset. Back to on-topic, modeling aggression just helps solidify a child's perspective that interpersonal experience is associated to power motivation rather than intimacy, and so you get aggressive or dominating children when you model aggression in relationships with them.
  2. ... and your chicks for free. (couldn't help it with that title)
  3. That's interesting because I see some competitive situations where envy seems to be a or the driving motive -- in other words where the adversaries more want to see their opponent lose than for either to do his best. I may not have spoken clearly. Within the domain of implicit/emotional motivation, "achievement" has a set of specific meanings in Psychology. By definition the achievement motive is a focus on excellence and challenge versus defeating someone per se. The motivation for seeing an opponent lose or taken down could be called the "power" motive. Both motives can occur in competition, but the victory has different meanings to different motivations. Aggression may ultimately be a form of power motivation (i.e. forceful actions which inherently have impact on other people). Therefore, teaching or modeling aggression may ultimately model the power motive and teach children to value having impact on other people.
  4. Thanks for the link. Hardly conclusive evidence, isn't it though. Were Greenspan's comments said in jest, in response to questions, or do they represent his actual and deepest motivations? So many economists (and lay economists) today believe that consumerism and spending lead to economic recovery. I do not share this opinion, but an increase in money through mortgages is one way to get the money flowing for those who do prefer such a path. Off the topic of money and directly addressing the crisis, it is clear that the issue involves derivatives related to high-risk loans that were made for new home purchases. Lend money to those without income, and something's gonna give. But simply giving more money to those who demonstrate appropriate risk (via additional mortgages) is a very different beast altogether, and a much less threatening one.
  5. NBranden makes the claim that any form of physical discipline is antithetical to the psychological development of the child. He hesitantly suggests that if there could be any justification for physical discipline, it would be in response to a child physically assaulting another child, and then only with the intention of teaching the child to understand the pain of physical aggression through discipline. GS, you mentioned the idea that some people believe competition and achievement motivation are intertwined. There is a lot of psychology research that shows achievement motivation is based on a desire to achieve excellence in performance, to overcome moderately difficult challenges. Competition only plays a role in achievement when the focus of the competition is doing one's best (versus overcoming someone else). You're the best, and you know it. Nothing's ever gonna keep you down!
  6. I guess that's one way of looking at it. I think this might oversimplify things and doesn't really tell us how lives are saved. The general idea that seems go along with proliferation working to save lives is that armed conflicts in toto are avoid between nuclear powers. That might seem to be captured by your equation, but each part of the equation would be much more complicated in my view. The "% chance of nuclear war * lives cost," for example, doesn't mean much. What sorts of nuclear wars are likely and what are the likely lives lost for each sort? Just assuming there's one type of nuclear war and putting figures on this -- its likelihood and the numbers of lives likely lost -- oversimplifies in the extreme. And even the avoidance of armed conflicts seems hard to quantify and is likely complicated. The US-Soviet "Cold War," for example, still had armed conflicts, though it seems that both sides possessed significant nuclear arsenals prevent a total war of the sort that happened earlier in the 20th century between great powers. The same seems true of the India-Pakistan conflict. It appears far less likely now that Pakistan has some nuclear weapons that there will be a large scale conflict between India and Pakistan. Finally, this is all just a guess. There's no reliable method, in my mind, to actually figure out these percentages. So, the equation, to me, seems to cover up for a lack of knowledge rather than reveal anything profound. Don't you agree? (This certainly applies to Lemennicier's model too.) I wasn't really aiming to build a doctoral thesis off the equation. I wanted to point out that it is rather short-sighted for individuals to claim the benefits of nuclear proliferation (i.e. nuclear stasis) without taking into account the additional probability of a nuclear confrontation. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
  7. Obviously the question of whether nuclear proliferation is good is a mathematical question. As follows: % chance no use of nuclear weapons * lives saved - % chance of nuclear war * lives cost = total value Life is still the primary value, and the benefits have to be weighed against the potential risks involved. Chris
  8. I didn't think there was any question that morality is determined by the interaction of biology and environment. Morality is clearly something that is foundational to humans and also shaped through learning. Interesting idea to measure facial expressions. Suggests that moral emotions are similarly felt to non-moral emotions. On the flip side, facial expressions function as interpersonal communication, so we could also say that the face is simply communicating morality using pre-existing facial-expressive circuitry (which could be nearly identical to saying that moral emotions are built upon pre-existing emotional circuitry). Morality is two parts emotion, one part cognition. At least, that's what research suggests.
  9. So is their position that anything not art can be regulated?
  10. I read through the other article by Reason Magazine, but I'm still not fully clear on T&K's view. Can you perhaps provide an example of how they deal with a problem of art and under what circumstances their views conflict with Rand (i.e. what is an event that they take a clear position weighing art on public policy that would conflict with taking a position of human rights)?
  11. You're right to question such a position. I don't actually know whether cartoons and such abstract stuff are lawfully banned. But to the degree that culture controls law, we have laws that become as subjective as the culture. Imagine if it were illegal not to go to church on Sunday!
  12. Naturally the issue is about protection of rights, and whether the government should ban such pictures entirely or seek out evidence to determine motive is a difficult question. The black/white solution is really a means to preventing the motives, and in the process would hurt those innocent of such motives and not actually violating a person's rights, whereas the latter leaves gray areas that must be determined by courts. I prefer the latter in this case. There is also the issue of societal protection. If there is evidence that writing stories or drawing cartoons potentially motivates a desire that can in some cases result in actual abuse, then it is a social decision whether the banning of such material be instigated or not. We can happily say that the individual who actually commits a real physical assault should be the one responsible for the behavior, but it is absolutely not healthy to have such behavior promoted culturally. An abused child would be fully justified in asking what the hell was our culture doing by feeding into the desire that led to the abuse. So the decision on how to enact a protective law becomes even more complex.
  13. The example of children you bring up above I think represents not a law to censor art per se but rather a law to protect children. That is perhaps why the issue is so difficult to monitor. I think it is disgusting and abusive for a person to take such pictures with the intention of providing those pictures for a certain purpose. On the flip side, family video etc. that are innocent of such purpose and protect the privacy of the child (by not being displayed publicly) are of course ok. So the courts are really deciding whether the process by which those pictures are taken were protective of the child or not. This is a sticky issue, and it's hard to have decisions black/white when it's so easy to lie or fib about what one's intentions were.
  14. It gets even crazy. The "d" sound like dog and audacious (if I am choosing good examples, I might not be) are actually different frequencies of sound. If you record the frequencies produced for the "d" sound in both these words, they don't match up! What does match up is the shape of the mouth near the back of the throat when making the "d" sound in both these words, and that is what we perceive. In other words, when we listen to people speak, we hear sounds based on the shape of the mouth producing them and not just the actual frequencies being produced! THAT is evolution for you.
  15. Then there is the fact that people view art with different ways of judgment. Art is like wine, or perhaps wine like art - Quality of wine (personal preference) is determined by the following: To novices with little or no wine knowledge: wine quality is subjective with focus on sensory response (flavor, smoothness) To medium-knowledge individuals: quality is a mix of subjective and objective properties To wine experts: quality is objective with a focus on cognitive response (educated dimensions, structure, complexity of taste) Art is probably the same. Some people look at a picture and feel good probably because it has pretty colors, shapes that are associated with pleasure, warm or titillating situations, etc. Others look at a picture and really abstract meaning from the art, then derive an opinion from their cognitive evaluation.
  16. Just to reiterate Rand's position from what I recall: Art represents an abstraction of reality People like art because they share values with the reality that is represented by the art Therefore: people's artistic tastes can be judged because it is an expression of their values I think I've read other people posting that she also said artistic tastes can be arbitrary, so I don't really think she ever understood art completely.
  17. Actually, your post made a very cool point. Perceptions are automatically constructed and delivered to consciousness without conscious intervention. But the hard circuitry that delivers those finished products of perception are evolved. It's easily possible that the hardwiring could choose to shape sensory input into very different things than we observe. For example, I point out the McGurk Effect because it is just that cool: your eyes detect someone saying "ga." Your ears detect someone saying "ba." But you perceive someone saying "da." The perception combines two sensory inputs and produces a third that is, well, just not the real thing. But then that makes you wonder... what is the real thing? Watch and be amazed: After you watch the short 5-second video, listen to it again with your eyes closed.
  18. I'm curious as to your purpose for introducing the abstraction angle. Are you emphasizing the abstraction aspect in order to highlight the subjectivity generated by the observer?
  19. Yes. And not to suggest that perceptions are arbitrary either. I think the basis for perceiving the universe as we do is to be aware of aspects of reality that affect the makeup of our organism. We do not perceive the universe the way we do because it is the way the universe should be perceived. We perceive through our senses because the information provided by our senses help us navigate the world in a manner suitable/healthy for our organismic survival. So objectivity is fundamentally premised upon the organization of life. Further, it's impossible to say that life as we know it fundamentally explains the structure of the universe because we cannot perceive the universe in a way to understand life other than the way our own lives are organized (i.e. just because life evolved as such doesn't mean that the evolution of this life explains fundamentally how the universe operates). Claims about objectivity independent of life are at best circular. Or as Ted says it, "whooa"
  20. Another nice way to think about this would be to imagine the nervous system as a measurement instrument. The readings from an ohmmeter would display the existence of a pencil very differently than say an ultraviolet lens.
  21. There are some cultures that have numbers of 1, 2, and many (more than 2), but no other numbers. In this case, the teaching is culturally bound. This could probably be avoided by teaching methods, but just throwing it out there. GS, As for abstractions, I think there is a big difference between abstractions that we have control over and 'abstractions' that are automatically generated below the threshold of consciousness and cannot be regulated. For example, the Mcgurk Effect: There is a world of difference between perceptual abstractions and conceptual abstractions, and no doubt all mammals have the former. The question I think is whether they have the latter.
  22. It's interesting you reduced my post to the single crow-counting comment. But the point of this was simply that there are ways "counting" can occur that is theoretically non-conceptual. The fact that Alex the Parrot had a very small counting limit (7 I think) suggests that his counting ability is non-conceptual, otherwise there wouldn't be this rather arbitrary limit which basically matches amount of perceptual information that can be held by a mind. Very suspicious indeed, Alex!
  23. Bush's antiterrorist wiretapping has been found illegal (as it should be). But what really bothers me is that government classified documents cannot be used as evidence against the government. We sacrifice national security for international security in essence. Scary stuff http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/31/BANU1CNUF6.DTL
  24. Thank you for the nice post. I'd like to dovetail the conversation slightly into the direction of observing dualities. Some developmentalists argue that duality is a necessary step in expanding one's knowledge about the universe. Mind and body for instance. They both exist, and they must both be observed to exist separately before they can be integrated. Prior to being recognized as separate, the amalgamation doesn't allow a person to understand the key differences between the two.
  25. Despite much of the government and even some of the social norms, the U.S. is still one of the most culturally-individualistic nations in the world (if not the most). Emphasis on going out and earning success, standing alone, etc. are all ingrained into customs. Of course, if one prefers the communal warmth in other countries, there's nothing wrong with that. It's perfectly healthy and perfectly human, it's just not as "individualistic."