Peter

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  1. Why did they let the resistor so close he could throw his protest sign into the reactor? That’s just plain dumb. And why isn’t Ya in charge of the corona virus? Let's go ask Alice. "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!" The poem "Jabberwocky" in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass is perhaps the most famous example of gibberish. Lewis Carroll, whose real name was actually Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was famed for his love of nonsensical language and inventing new words.
  2. Princess Ellen wrote: Now, the warming specifically of the Arctic might be cause for worry. And the Antarctic just reached 65 degrees F just above the ice. What if Canadas’s grain belt extended hundreds of miles further north? Moderate warming is good. This is dedicated to our beloved neighbor, Canada. We are best friends. Peter In the early mornin' rain With a dollar in my hand And an aching in my heart And my -pockets full of sand I'm a long ways from home And I missed my loved one so In the early mornin' rain With no place to go Out on runway number nine Big 707 set to go Well I'm out here on the grass Where the pavement never grows Where the liquor tasted good And the women all were fast There she goes my friend She's rolling out at last Hear the mighty engines roar See the silver wing on high She's away and westward bound For above the clouds she flies Where the mornin' rain don't fall And the sun always shines She'll be flying over my home In about three hours time This ol' airport's got me down It's no earthly good to me 'Cause I'm stuck here on the ground Cold and drunk as I might be Can't jump a jet plane Like you can a freight train So I best be on my way In the early mornin' rain So I best be on my way In the early mornin' rain So I best be on my way In the early mornin' rain. Songwriter: GORDON LIGHTFOOT
  3. Some basic definitions from Merriam Webster: Space: a limited extent in one, two, or three dimensions : distance, area, volume. A boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction <infinite space and time> b: physical space independent of what occupies it —called also absolute space. Time: The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues : duration b: a non-spatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed another from past through present to future. The point or period when something occurs: occasion. Rate of speed: tempo b: the grouping of the beats of music : rhythm. Finite as contrasted with infinite duration. Causation/Causality: a causal quality or agency. The relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated events or phenomena. Continuum: a coherent whole characterized as a collection, sequence, or progression of values or elements varying by minute degrees From “The Universe in a Nutshell,” by Stephen Hawking: “Any sound scientific theory, whether of time or any other concept, should in my opinion be based on the most workable philosophy of science: the positivist approach put forward by Karl Popper and others. According to this way of thinking, a scientific theory is a mathematical model that describes and codifies the observations we make. A good theory will describe a large range of phenomena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions that can be tested. If the predictions agree with the observations, the theory survives that test, though it can never be proven to be correct. On the other hand, if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify the theory. (At least, that is supposed to happen. In practice, people often question the accuracy of the observations and the reliability and moral character of those making the observations.) If one takes the positivist position, as I do, one cannot say what time actually is. All one can do is describe what has been found to be a very good mathematical model for time and say what predictions it makes.” end quote A contributor to Owl, Dawson Bethrick, Subject: RE: OWL: Objectivism and Time Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2004 18:23:52 -0800 wrote: “I think what is important about integrating the concept of time is to understand its proper place in the knowledge hierarchy: time is not an irreducible primary, for it presupposes motion (action, causality, etc.), and thus it must presuppose existence (since you cannot have motion, action or causality without something which moves or acts). (See for instance the discussion between Rand and Professors A, B, and E in the Appendix of ITOE, pp. 256-260.) This is not how many philosophers employ the term, however. Many couple the term with space (you've probably heard of "the space-time continuum"), but I think this can be very misleading, at least so far as I have come to understand these terms. David Harriman published an interesting lecture recording called "Physicists Lost in Space," where he discusses the misuse of the concept 'space' (it may be there that he elucidates the distinction about the concept time that I mentioned above, but I'm not sure of that).” end quote In the Ayn Rand Lexicon, Leonard Peikoff wrote, “Time is a measurement of motion; as such it is a type of relationship.” And Ayn Rand wrote in [ITOE, 2nd Ed., p. 56.]: “The units of the concept ‘consciousness’ are every state or process of awareness that one experiences, has ever experienced, or will ever experience (as well as similar units, a similar faculty, which one infers in other living entities). The measurements omitted from axiomatic concepts are all the measurements of all the existents they subsume; what is retained, metaphysically, is only a fundamental fact; what is retained, *epistemologically*, is only one category of measurement, omitting its particulars (time) - i.e., the fundamental fact is retained independent of any particular moment of awareness.” end quote Stephan Hawking observed on page 22 of his tenth anniversary edition of “A Brief History of Time”: “. . . . the theory of relativity put an end to the idea of absolute time! It appeared that each observer must have his own measure of time, as recorded by a clock carried with him, and that identical clocks carried by different observers would not necessarily agree.” end quote An aside from Me: Can we agree that the experience of time passing is Epistemological? It is a subjective measurement and personal feeling that describes events, differences, and changes. Yet, this personal measurement is “Objectively” identifying metaphysical events. “Time” is affected by gravity. Stephan Hawking observed on page 31 of his tenth anniversary edition of “A Brief History of Time”: “In general relativity, bodies always follow straight lines in four - dimensional space – time, but they nevertheless appear to us to move along curved paths in our three - dimensional space. (This is rather like watching an airplane flying over hilly ground. Although it follows a straight line in three – dimensional space, its shadow follows a curved path on the two - dimensional ground.) end quote From Me: To calibrate geo-synchronous positioning satellites in earth orbit, the differences in “the same time” in and out of heavier gravity are required to correctly position objects within feet of their true location. This is one very immediate and practical application of General Relativity. We are affected by the past, which is the nature of Causality, and we can view the past in “our future” because light travels at a constant speed as the Universe expands. We cannot change the past. We cannot view the future. "And that's all I have to say about that." Forrest Gump.
  4. You are wrong. Stephen H. and Albert E.
  5. The police arrested a man selling “secret formula” tablets he claimed gave eternal youth. It was actually the fifth time he had been caught for committing the same medical fraud. He had been arrested in 1794, 1856, 1928, and 1983. From Reader's Digest
  6. But I thought they were hip and funny . . . oh, I get it. Reverse Psychology!
  7. When I was a boy, I had a disease that required me to eat dirt three times a day in order to survive. It’s a good thing my older brother told me about it. onelinefun.com
  8. Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, and make sure they are not the same eight hours. T. Boone Pickens, businessman.
  9. There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for. J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. From Real Clear Politics. Upcoming Democratic Presidential Primary Polling. Nevada, Sanders plus 7. South Carolina, Biden by 8. Texas, Sanders by 2. Georgia, Biden by 18. Florida, Bloomberg by 1. Bloomberg by 1! Two quotes from Bloomin’ Onion. "Put the cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So, one of the unintended consequences is, 'Oh my god, you're arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.' Yes, that's true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why do we do it? Because that's where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them." “I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom.”
  11. Is the spread of the coronavirus inevitable? Is it “determined? America is going to unload Americans from a quarantined cruise ship soon. I remember Dennis May saying “humanity” would be much better off in the long run if the population dispersed. Get out of the cities. Spread out. I personally would rather wait for the vaccine rather than let America deal with an outbreak. So I looked up Dennis and found this old thread and I hope Michael won’t mind if I share it. I closed it up and deleted old web addresses. Ellen Stuttle was in fine form. Peter From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Dennis, I Hope You're Really Determined to Write That Book Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 11:24:45 -0600 Keyser Soze wrote: ...but of the philosophical relevance of an ethical system in what appears to me to be an absence of true choice in Determinism as I understand it. If ever there were a potential convert to Determinism in Atlantis, it most definitely would be me. But I haven't yet heard an argument that gets me off the fence. My sticking point is that Determinism gives the impression that we are fated, malleable automatons. My views are from the Hard Determinist camp and do not necessarily agree with those who are Soft Determinists, Compatibilists, or other non-Hard Determinists who none the less profess some agreement with Determinism. I have never read any Hard Determinist literature [just overviews] other than physics. I am unaware of any 20th or 21st century writings supporting hard determinism as related to philosophy. I sure they exist in some form but I have never seen them. The attempt to escape fatalism in its many variations is part of most philosophies and religions. There is psychological fatalism [which exists on all fronts] and worldview fatalism. I assume your concerns are about the latter. I would not ignore worldview fatalism in places other than Hard Determinism. I am not convinced that any philosophy or religion has presented anything which consistently and logically addresses fatalism with any success. What happens instead is faith, unclear reasoning, appeals to authority, or putting the question off as an unknown [never to be known]. Rather than delay or avoid the issue a Hard Determinist would make the most minimal assumptions based on the evidence and go from there. I would place the philosophical or religious attempt to define first causes into this same discussion. Materialist Fatalism [Hard Determinism] as it is called seems like a dead end philosophy because: Q. It is a hard sell. A. Since when does selling well make things right? Q. Reason cannot exist. A. If you don't assume volition at the outset but physics based feedback forces, reason does in fact exist as a subjective process. Q. Ethics cannot exist. A. How ethics are used is in no way changed. Individual perception of ethics in relation to fatalism occurs in and between all philosophies and religions. I don't see how blessings by some unknown god gives any more meaning to life than consistent application of causality. Hard Determinism concerns the root of all things. This root is important for consistent and logical development. Ethics exists at the further integration level. I have found that my day to day existence is very little affected by knowing that at the quantum level my pinky finger is supraluminally connected to the inside of George H. Smith's nose whether or not another finger is already there. Take some consolation in the fact that w e are and will always be in a learning process. I find nothing remarkable in the idea that subjectively we reason all the time but at the fundamental objective level the subjective mind is along for the ride. The subjective mind is objectively real but does not have the freedom subjectivity would lead us to believe it has. Attempting to escaping this reality may be appealing but it is without substance. If Hard Determinism is ultimately shown to be flawed it might very well have driven the discoveries other philosophies are willing to ignore or put off indefinitely. There is no shame in making an error when it is based on the most correct understanding of the known context. Making an honest dealer of another philosopher or creating a new philosophy is worthwhile in itself. I don't believe there is any error in assuming Hard Determinism given the present context. If others wish to prove me wrong, concrete evidence or consistent application of logic from what is known is the way to go. Dennis May From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Dennis, I Hope You're Really Determined to Write That Book Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 14:46:54 -0500. Dennis, you wrote: "I find nothing remarkable in the idea that subjectively we reason all the time but at the fundamental objective level the subjective mind is along for the ride." I'm grateful to you, Dennis, for writing this sentence, since it confirms unmistakably that indeed you are an epiphenomenalist -- a person who holds that mental activities are irrelevant to anything that happens, that everything in the universe would happen the same if there were no mental activities. On occasion I've had people tell me that you aren't really an epiphenomenalist, but the statement "at the fundamental objective level the subjective mind is along for the ride" is the quintessential epiphenomenalist claim. Please notice what this claim means: It means that nothing one thinks has any reference to reality or makes any difference to anything one does (including to what one concludes is true). Although I know that you don't get this point, Dennis, I hope that others here understand it: the epiphenomenalist claim invalidates science. Ellen S. From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Dennis, I Hope You're Really Determined to Write That Book Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 14:21:36 -0600 I wrote: I find nothing remarkable in the idea that subjectively we reason all the time but at the fundamental objective level the subjective mind is along for the ride. Ellen Stuttle wrote: Although I know that you don't get this point, Dennis, I hope that others here understand it: the epiphenomenalist claim invalidates science. My dictionary has no word "epiphenomenalist". Could you print out a complete definition for me? In any case I reject the claim that volition is a requirement for knowledge. Feedback from the environment provides the validation of knowledge. Since all knowledge is fed through a subjective process in any case, determinism remains irrelevant to the validity of the outcome. My subjective mind is part of the process of feedback. Objectively that process is not under subjective control. The Objectivist claim that subjective mental states create objective changes in objective reality violates Objectivist theory concerning the existence of objective reality independent of the mind, identity, and causality. Without identity and causality there is no science. I understand why Ellen claims hard determinism prevents knowledge and therefore science. I have yet to hear a valid counter claim of how other proposed solutions could be non-contradictory. Hard Determinism with the mind as observer or volition where the mind creates parts of reality continually but remains as subjective as the Hard Determinist model. Hard Determinism relies on one level of feedback, Objectivist volition creates another unnecessary and contradictory level of complexity on top of the same feedback Hard Determinists already have. Nothing is gained by the additional complexity except the forfeit of science and objective reality. If volition is proven, magic lives and science is but a convenience for those who have not yet mastered magic. With my new found volition powers to create reality I would focus all my powers on energy creation and additional volitional power enhancement. Soon my mind would be able to create reality out of nothing at all. Dennis May From: Michael Hardy To: atlantis Subject: ATL: epiphenomenalism Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 15:35:13 -0500 (EST) >My dictionary has no word "epiphenomenalist". Could you print out a complete definition for me? An epiphenomenalist is one who holds that the subjective mind is just along for the ride; it has no causal efficacy; it cannot have any effect on anything. Something without causal efficacy is called an epiphenomenon. Epiphenomenalism is the philosophical position that the subjective mind is an epiphenomenon. Mike Hardy From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: Dennis, I Hope You're Really Determined to Write That Book Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 17:05:15 -0500. Dennis wrote: "I find nothing remarkable in the idea that subjectively we reason all the time but at the fundamental objective level the subjective mind is along for the ride." I wrote: "...the statement 'at the fundamental objective level the subjective mind is along for the ride' is the quintessential epiphenomenalist claim. Please notice what this claim means: It means that nothing one thinks has any reference to reality or makes any difference to anything one does (including to what one concludes is true). Although I know that you don't get this point, Dennis, I hope that others here understand it: the epiphenomenalist claim invalidates science." Dennis says: My dictionary has no word "epiphenomenalist". Could you print out a complete definition for me? Actually, no, since I don't have an on-line dictionary, but I'll type a brief definition from The American College Dictionary, 1957. It's one of those definitions which refers one elsewhere. "epiphenomenalism" is defined as "*Philos*. automatism (def 2)." Looking under "automatism (def 2)," we find: "2. *Philos*. the doctrine that all activities of animals, including men [humans], are controlled only by physiological causes, consciousness being considered a noncausal byproduct; epiphenomenalism." (An "epiphenomenalist" is a person who espouses "epiphenomenalism.") You then say: >In any case I reject the claim that volition is a requirement for knowledge.... Dennis, this has happened every single time I've tried to communicate with you on these issues, and it's highly frustrating to me. You have immediately taken a leap to your views about volition, and your interpretation of the Objectivist theory thereof, but I didn't even say anything about volition in my above comments. I'm trying to get you to address the issues on a more basic level, at the level of any possible knowledge whatsoever, including sensory awareness. Maybe I misled you by using the words "thinks" and "concludes is true." If so, I'm sorry. But, please, could you try to address basics. Your claim that "the subjective mind is along for the ride" is the claim that NO mental experience tells you anything about the external world. This includes seeing, hearing, touching, etc., all the sensory processes. On the other hand, to say, as you then go on to say in your current post that "[your] subjective mind is part of the process of feedback" contradicts your statement that "the subjective mind is along for the ride," since the latter statement says that "the subjective mind" *isn't* "part of the process of feedback." You can't have it both ways, although you keep talking both ways. The instant you say that (what you call) the subjective mind is active in guiding an organism's behavior, you've already acknowledged a causal role for mental activities, however uncomfortable the acknowledgment makes you. Incidentally, I don't mean to deny that some of the questions you raise are difficult questions. I'm trying to get you to see that you have contradictory statements at the base of your approach, and that we won't get anywhere communicating unless we start at basics. Ellen S. From: Michael Hardy To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Dennis' determinism Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 17:15:39 -0500 (EST) Dennis May wrote: >Objectively that process is not under subjective control. The Objectivist claim that subjective mental states create objective changes in objective reality violates Objectivist theory concerning the existence of objective reality independent of the mind, identity, and causality. Dennis, you are incredibly confused. Ellen Stuttle and I and others have been telling you for a *long* time that causal efficacy of subjective states of mind is NOT the same thing as volition; that that's a much more basic thing than volition. Cats appear to have no free will, but subjective states of cats' minds nonetheless have effects. You've been saying for years that people who believe in volition keep telling you that their belief in volition is why they reject reductionism. But those who believe in volition, and some who do *not* believe in volition, have in fact kept telling you for years that belief in volition is *not* why they reject reductionism. This is a very simple point: The reason for rejecting the reducibility of consciousness applies as much to cats' minds, which lack volition, as to human minds, which have volition. This is the zillionth time I've told you this. Maybe all one zillion of them have greatly affected your mind but have had no effect on what you say or do. (People who don't appreciate irony are to skip the previous sentence.) Y ou seem to be missing Rand's distinction between "objective" and "intrinsic" as well, when you write about the "claim that subjective mental states create objective changes in objective reality." Mike Hardy From: "Jeff Olson" To: "atlantis" Subject: ATL: Are We the Sole Architects of Our Lives? (was: Can a determinist believe in ethics) Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 11:46:13 -0800 My thanks to Keyser Soze for some excellent questions about the rationale for attributing ultimate moral responsibility under determinism. Before I address the issue of responsibility under determinism, however, I want to discuss the basic question: To what extent are we the architect of our own values? Or, perhaps more fundamentally, how complete is our control over the factors that shape us? A common non-determinist assumption seems to be that unless we are the sole architect of ourselves and of our values, then these values -- and their attendant actions -- are obviously suspect, bereft of any significance beyond those of a machine or random events. Yet how many non-determinists would claim that we completely control all the factors that cause our behavior? With the possible exception of Ellen Moore, I have difficulty believing that anyone here would seriously assert this. The number of factors over which we have little or no control is clearly legion. The circumstances surrounding our birth and upbringing, our genetic inheritance -- our very nature -- are both beyond our control and beyond tabulation. For those who seriously examine this issue, the question isn't whether or not we have control over *all* the formative circumstances in our lives, but rather if our control is *sufficient* to be the decisive factor in our actions. My sense is that most reflective non-determinists of Objectivist persuasion would acknowledge formative events beyond our control, but would say that regardless of what has gone before, all human beings possess a "volitional consciousness" which gives them a crucial final say -- a "trump card," as it were -- with respect to their present behaviors. The premise, then, is that regardless of what we've experienced, what we make of these experiences is solely a matter of choice. This is an interesting claim, which I find both very understandable and highly problematic. Understandable, because our intelligence clearly functions as a filter for our experiences, interpreting and measuring the significance of events -- and as such certainly introduces an element of choice to our reactions to these events. Problematic, because how can the choices we make now be divorced from all our past experiences and choices? It's as though advocates of free will are arguing that we can constantly separate ourselves -- through some miraculous form of Olympian detachment -- from all the events that compose our lives. Once again, I find it hard to imagine a reflective non-determinist claiming that we can achieve a state of mind wherein events of our lives do not influence our decisions. Yet once such influences have been admitted, it seems ineluctable that our decisions flow from these influences (which is to place such influences in a causal category) -- for different influences create, at the very least, a different context for decision-making. Such different contexts, again, ineluctably, alter the decision-making base. One risks antinomy, I believe, in denying that any given decision-context will not tend to favor certain results over others. If one grants any import at all to past experiences and choices, it seems inescapable that we cannot make decisions irrespective of the influences of these past experiences and choices. In other words, **we would not make the choices we make now if it not for what has gone before**. Given the influence of past events, it follows that our present actions are, at least to some considerable extent, a product of past events; and as the product of past events, we cannot "freely" choose our present actions -- if by "free" we mean "sans all the factors past and present that compose us." In this sense, I think, it is accurate to say that our choices are "determined," *because we would not be making the same choices now if these factors were different*. A possible objection that are truly free because we can "volitionally" override, in effect, "all that composes us" strikes me as both unpalatable and absurd. What would we gain by being able to divorce ourselves from ourselves, even if we could? If we could suddenly will ourselves to act in ways apart from our character – our core selves -- then precisely who would be the one doing the willing? And what would be the reward? But even a being capable of such an act would never be metaphysically free, for its decisions would still be a product of everything that has gone before in its life. Perhaps such a being could make better decisions than we do, perhaps not; but I doubt its choices would be "freer" by any rational account. I will discuss the significance of these observations in an upcoming post. Best, Jeff From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: Are We the Sole Architects of Our Lives? (was: Can a determinist believe in ethics) Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 19:27:03 -0500 Jeff-O, you write: >My sense is that most reflective non-determinists of Objectivist persuasion would acknowledge formative events beyond our control, but would say that regardless of what has gone before, all human beings possess a "volitional consciousness" which gives them a crucial final say -- a "trump card," as it were -- with respect to their present behaviors. You continued:>The premise, then, is that regardless of what we've experienced, what we make of these experiences is solely a matter of choice. I think you've made an unwarranted leap between having "a crucial final say" and "what we make of...experiences is solely a matter of choice." How did the "solely" get in there? You proceed to argue for the view that **we would not make the choices we make now if it [were] not for what has gone before**. I, for one, agree with the statement as expressed, but how does it contradict having "a crucial final say"? Isn't the crucial final say the choice itself? You also write: >Given the influence of past events, it follows that our present actions are, at least to some considerable extent, a product of past events; and as the product of past events, we cannot "freely" choose our present actions -- if by "free" we mean "sans all the factors past and present that compose us." I wonder how many people on the list who consider themselves advocates of "free will" *do* mean by "free" "sans all the factors past and present that compose us." (As you know, I don't myself use the term "free will," but I'm not sure that any of those here who argue for "free will" are claiming that we have so radical a "freedom" as you describe.) Ellen S. From: "Dennis May" <determinism To: atlantisSubject: ATL: Re: Dennis, I Hope You're Really Determined to Write That Book Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 20:39:09 -0600 Clarification: The objective sub-atomic particles making up your body including your brain act deterministically. The subjective experience of mental activity is an objectively real process occurring among these deterministic sub-atomic particles. Your subjective experiences are objectively created by feedback processes in a deterministic environment. Your subjective mind is a part of this objective feedback process. If your subjective mind were disconnected from this feedback process it would appear ineffectual even in the subjective frame. For those who are not familiar with where this is coming from, think of what you would have to do to have a machine intelligence learn from the environment. Michael Hardy wrote: >Ellen Stuttle and I and others have been telling you for a *long* time that causal efficacy of subjective states of mind is NOT the same thing as volition; that that's a much more basic thing than volition. Cats appear to have no free will, but subjective states of cats' minds nonetheless have effects. But without causal efficacy the claim of volition is pointless. >The reason for rejecting the reducibility of consciousness applies as much to cats' minds, which lack volition, as to human minds, which have volition. Yet I have still never heard a good argument for rejecting reducibility in any case regardless of the purpose for proposing irreducibility. The best and brightest arguments proposed by those with long lists of credentials still came down to poor math skills and hand waiving. Those at the end of their prominent careers often seek to solve ultimate truths. >You seem to be missing Rand's distinction between "objective" and "intrinsic" as well, when you write about the "claim that subjective mental states create objective changes in objective reality." In a previous post replying to Ellen Moore I explained why Rand's use of the term "objective" was inappropriate. The sentence I wrote above is my interpretation of what results from the correct usage of the term "objective". Physics has been very concerned for a very long time about frames of reference and correct interpretations of the subjective and objective. A mind capable of causal efficacy or the more complex topic volition is changing objective reality using subjective mental states. A very interesting proposition indeed. Mike, implement this causal efficacy in silicon form and make yourself rich creating something out of nothing. Dennis May From: RogerEBissell To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: epiphenomenalism Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2001 01:19:42 EST Mike Hardy wrote: >An epiphenomenalist is one who holds that the subjective mind is just along for the ride; it has no causal efficacy; it cannot have any effect on anything. Something without causal efficacy is called an epiphenomenon. Epiphenomenalism is the philosophical position that the subjective mind is an epiphenomenon. Efficacy is power. Causal efficacy is the power to make something happen (i.e., to act). Entities have the power to act. Entities have causal efficacy -- and ~only~ entities have causal efficacy. Causality is the relationship between an entity which has the power to engage in some action or other, and the action which it engages in. It is a category mistake to refer to something other than an entity as having causal efficacy. However, although mind doesn't ~have~ causal efficacy, it ~is~ the causal efficacy of human beings to engage in certain kinds of action. Mind is a ~capacity~, a ~power~. But it ~is~ a power, it does not ~have~ a power. The human being is what ~has~ the power, and the particular power it has that we are talking about here is the mind. So, technically speaking, epiphenomenalism in regard to the mind is correct. However, the typical objection is misguided. That objection goes: if the mind doesn't have causal efficacy, then human history would have been the same without mind, which is absurd, so epiphenomenalism must be incorrect. The reply to this objection is: if humans didn't have minds, they wouldn't have the causal efficacy to engage in human action, for while mind doesn't ~have~ causal efficacy, mind ~is~ the causal efficacy of humans to take certain actions. Now, if someone wants to say that mind is the ~system~ of body parts~ that engage in conscious, human awareness, then I would agree that mind has causal efficacy, just as digestion considered as the system of body parts that engage in processing of food has causal efficacy. Most Objectivists, however, are loathe to identify mind with the body or any one or more of its parts -- a reluctance which I think is a remnant of a "yesterday philosophy" known as the mind-body dichotomy. 🙂 Best to all, Roger Bissell From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: Re: ATL: A question for Dennis Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 09:05:10 -0600 Jeff Olson wrote: >Is a hammer less objectively real than the particles which compose it? Wich is its more fundamental identity -- "particle-hood" or "hammer-hood"? Organization exists on many levels of objective reality. Sub-atomic particles, metallic crystals, wood or fiberglass fibers, the hammer's geometric construct, etc.. All are objective descriptions. In relation to a brain you have larger and smaller structures and the overall objective structure as well. I do not accept the mental apart from the objective physical structure defining it. Take away the physical structure and nothing remains. Dennis May From: "Ming Shan" To: jlolson Subject: Re: ATL: An Identity Question for Dennis Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 19:42:15 +0000 >From: "Jeff Olson" To: "atlantis" Subject: ATL: An Identity Question for Dennis Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2001 11:42:04 -0800 >Dennis, Is a hammer less objectively real than the particles which compose it? Which is its more fundamental identity -- "particle-hood" or "hammer-hood"? Jeff No level or scale of reality is more ontologically privileged than any other; the problem, therefore, does not lie in the "problem," it lies in the question, or, more accurately, in the supposition behind the question. Therefore, there is no such thing as a thing's "more fundamental identity. The description that an observer uses is a joint product of the characteristic scale he inhabits and the object's characteristic scale. Russell brought up this problem in Problems of Philosophy, when he tried to think about a table in the same way. See ya, Mingshan From: "Dennis May" To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Re: An Identity Question for Dennis Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 14:39:18 -0600 Mingshan's answer sounds good to me. The better question is why do you ask the question? Is there something to be gained by divorcing an article from its constituents? Dennis May
  12. Bloomin' Onion has been eating shrooms from Outback. I just can't image . . . . But maybe if she runs to be Der Fuhrer and he is her rich VP nominee.
  13. What? Me worry? MacDonald’s. 1948: hamburgers 15 cents, cheeseburgers 19 cents, fries 10 cents, soft drinks 10 cents and 15 cents, coffee 5 cents, shakes 20 cents. Today. Quarter Pounder with cheese meal: $5.79. Gold in 1933: $20.67 per troy ounce. 2017: $1,260.39 per ounce. Gold today: $1,633.90 per ounce. Deficit, Debt . . . .
  14. What was missing on that "Curb Your" clip was people applauding the MAGA hat, or at least smiling when they see someone else wearing one. The boss of the show must like Trump! joke. If he wears one, he must be one . . . of the astute elite. I have mentioned it before but in my neighborhood there are two "large" flags with Trump's name on them, just below the full sized American flags. I will get me a small one around October. I hope passing bikers don't honk their horns.
  15. Thank you for your service Brant. It’s still the silly hour so here goes. I was no fan of the poorly executed and unwisely fought war, but after the shooting at Kent State, why was that great anti - Vietnam War Song by the Buffalo Springfield named “For What It's Worth"? Seriously? And calling the police and the National Guard “the heat” is an obvious sign of communist indoctrination. The song should have been called, “Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep.” That's its best line. Listen to it again. Isn't that guitar work superb? “For What It's Worth” There's something happening here But what it is ain't exactly clear There's a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it's time we stop Children, what's that sound? Everybody look - what's going down? There's battle lines being drawn Nobody's right if everybody's wrong Young people speaking' their minds Getting so much resistance from behind It's time we stop Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look - what's going down? What a field day for the heat A thousand people in the street Singing songs and carrying signs Mostly saying, "hooray for our side" It's time we stop Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look - what's going down? Paranoia strikes deep Into your life it will creep It starts when you're always afraid Step out of line, the men come and take you away We better stop Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look - what's going down? We better stop Hey, what's that sound? Everybody look - what's going down? . . . .