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  1. Hey all, thanks for answering in my thread! Guyau, I agree with you, that arbitrary could be a stolen concept. But I am not saying that there at not non-arbitrary statements. I am asking, how we can achieve the same level of certainty about an abstraction as we have about an observation. There is a long way between arbitrary and certain. Something could be founded in evidence, hence not arbitrary but still just a hypothesis or theory. How can we ever say that our stories or interpretations are as true as something we observe with our eyes? Brant, I am not sure I follow. Conscio
  2. Hello all, I am currently doing a course in Radical Honesty (there are parallels imo to Objectivist ethics). One of the tenets of Radical Honesty is that only the noticings from your senses are true and real and everything your mind adds is a more or less arbitrary interpretation or story and cannot be considered THE truth. This idea reminds me of sensualism. The idea that only the material from our senses is true. Unfortunately I was unable to reconstruct a critique of sensualism. How can we say that our abstractions (interpretations of sensual noticings, sto
  3. Thanks for your reply! 1. This is a good point. As far as I understand it, Objectivism doesn't equate knowledge hierarchy with fundamentality. Fundamentality is one way of hierarchy, but there are others. Hierarchy means just what has to be learn first to understand something later. They do define fundamental as a root cause though -- this definition may be arbitrary, as you can use fundamental in any other way; e.g. in the building metaphor, as you point out, where the ground floor doesn't cause the upper floors. But I can't say I fully grasp the boundaries or purpose of the conce
  4. On this question, here is a rough transcript from Schwartz from his course on Essentials: The thought that fundamental is a relationship between cause and derivative while essence is a relationship between concept and one of the concept's characteristics might be a good starting point for an answer.
  5. Does the term essence always pertain to a concept, hence implying a fundamental, distinguishing characterizing that is similar among many units? Or can we have an essence of a single existent? e.g. What's the essence of man? Rational animal. What's the essence of that person? We wouldn't say rational animal, maybe we would say something about his beliefs, or gene distribution or upbringing...? Can we even speak of essences of existents or is essence reserved for concepts only? How does the essence of man and the essence of that person relate? Essence makes the thing that which i
  6. A fundamental is the root cause of a series of multi-level, branching effects. E.g. the patriarch and matriarch of a family line. Or rationality in man, it is the cause of many of man's distinguishing features, humor, culture, science. Essence is the things that makes the thing the which it is, that without which the thing wouldn't be what it is. The family line's essence is the founders' DNA, man's essence is rationality. In what way then are a fundamental and an essence different? Or how do they relate? We say an essence is a fundamental attribute; how is this definition no
  7. Hello, in terms of thinking, what is the relationship between the concepts Fundamentality, Essence, Principles and how do they differ from each other? For instance, you can say: One must think in principles; one must think in fundamentals; one must think in essences. What is meant in each case, and how is each case different to the other? Lastly, where is each case best used/applied? THANK YOU
  8. Thank you Korben! I've enjoyed Barbara's course and I'm about to acquire Peikoff's as well. Anyone more ideas? Can be technical philosophical literature as well.
  9. Hello all, I would like to study in depth the idea of thinking in (first) principles. I'll want to answer some questions, such as when do you know you've reached the highest abstraction in the context, what exactly makes a principle a principle, how do you find "the one in many", i.e. a recurring principle in many examples, how do you deduce/induce? a principle from facts. Could you kindly point me to some material helpful in studying the above? I like Objectivism's focus on principles in this way, however, I don't mean to only study Objectivist sources -- I know some of the a
  10. I would like to open a bit of a discourse about the idea that we could backwards engineer how our brains process information to create an artificially intelligent machine. To start here is a quote by Harry Binswanger from his book How we know that seeks limits this possibility: I follow his "answer" up to the bolded segment. Then I ask, could we not break down perception and emotions into algorithms? Why should these two phenomena not be replicable without life? I assume there is an answer that consciousness cannot be reduced to matter, but I'm questioning whether it woul
  11. I know the feeling of satisfaction watching things like this. check out - sort from top.
  12. thanks for the link. this makes sense, if one is truly on the brink of death starving, even regardless of the reasons why one got there, say by one's own fault, i'd still consider it an emergency if one's only choice is to steal or die. in a situation like this, it seems natural that all morality would fly out the window and one's only choice could be to survive and not to be moral. (unless the survival would carry cost so high it would make the gained life unliveable.)
  13. It can be argued that stealing is wrong, i.e. not in my self-interest, because I'll suffer consequences in form of guilt, not enjoying the stolen goods, etc. However, what if I am literally starving? How can you argue then that stealing is wrong according to the moral standard of self interest? If I'm starving, stealing is in my self-interest and wouldn't it then have to be morally right? Thank you.
  14. Just for starters "snitch" is from a criminal's vocabulary and is used to control other criminals and castrate the victims directly and indirectly. Nowhere is this more true than in prison. You are not in prison so you have no need to think of yourself like that. The problem is how do you REPORT malfeasance? Your wishy-washy way of bringing the matter up made you the "weak bitch" you say you don't want to be. Now that SOB has your number and you've damaged your credibility. You may not get that back without going to a new job and getting a clean sheet to work off of. There is the other problem
  15. Hi all, at work one of the co-workers is breaking rules and acting unethically to the degree of cheating people, both customers and colleagues. I confronted him and he replied: "I don't give a fuck, I'm here to make money. At the end of the day I don't care about customers or any of you." In a staff meeting with the manager, I brought up the issue somewhat and gave this person the chance to speak for himself. He denied and misrepresented. I didn't say what he told me, I didn't say how he openly admitted to me in private that he screws people intentionally, knowingly. I didn't say how I caught