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Everything posted by SoAMadDeathWish

  1. If you accept this conditional interpretation of Rand's ethics, then the last two sentences definitely do logically follow. Under this interpretation, the objectivist imperative has the logical form "If A, then B", more specifically "If you choose to live, then you ought to do so as a man." However, if you do not choose to live, i.e. you believe that "not A" is true and you also believe that the objectivist imperative is true (that "If A, then B" is true), then it does not follow that "B" or that "not B". You cannot rationally conclude that you ought to live as a man. Thus, if we know that Hitler does not choose to live, then we cannot say that he ought to live as a man. In conclusion, we cannot say he was doing anything wrong since no moral "oughts" apply to him. If you deny this anyway and believe that the objectivist imperative is true as well as that "Hitler ought to live as a man", then you're simply begging the question, and have no rational basis for ethics.
  2. Michael, yes the definition I gave was from psychology. Appropriate, I think, since I was in fact talking about the psychological phenomenon of intuition. You're making it seem like I'm trying to hide something. I'm not. I have never called intuition a math procedure. I merely said that that's how actual people think about math. Again, I don't understand what I've done to you to earn your enmity. This is the second time you've accused me of "playing games" or some such.
  3. It's not clear to me what point you're trying to make with your professor anecodte.... But to answer your question... I think the answer depends on what you mean by "complex variables". If you regard C as a real vector space, then it is isomorphic to R^2, and then I think that you can do physics without using complex variables. However, if you regard C as a complex vector space, then I'd have to say the answer is that you can't.
  4. Here's a definition from wikipedia: Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference and/or the use of reason. To illustrate further, you could use your understanding of the equation in my previous post to automatically intuit that e^(i*(pi/2)) = i, e^(i*(3pi/2)) = -i, e^(i*(pi/4)) = Sqrt(2)/2 + i*Sqrt(2)/2, etc. simply by fixing a unit length at the origin of the complex plane and rotating it by the apporpriate angle. You can therefore know a true statement without having to prove it rigorously first. This is how mathematicians work. They intuit a theorem first, and then try to prove it.
  5. The shape of spacetime is described by something called a metric tensor. The shape of spacetime explains gravitational effects, but extremely simple modifications to the metric tensor explain the spatial expansion of the universe. Matter and radiation in general relativity is described by a mathematical object called a stress-energy tensor. Making everything shrink in such a way as to reproduce the observations would require fine-tuning every single physical system in the universe. There is no simple modification you could make to the stress-energy tensor of a universe to explain the data, as far as I know.
  6. SoAMadDeathWish, What does understand "some equation or other on an intuitive level" mean? I've got nothing against equations and nothing against intuition, but I'm having trouble groking this. MIchael By that I mean to be able to connect the equation to some basic, concrete experience. For example, e^(i*(pi)) = -1 can be understood as a rotation of a unit length through 180 degrees around one of its ends.
  7. If time dilation were not an effect then there'd be no way to experimentally confirm it. Shayne sjw, you are confusing "events" and "observations". Time dilation is an observation that has to do with relationships among events but itself is not an event (and therefore needs no physical cause). You should educate yourself on the basiscs of the theory of relativity before attempting to criticize it and denouncing those better educated than you as frauds.
  8. Time dilation does not have a cause because it is not an event in the first place.
  9. My point is that, just because no one understands some equation or other on an intuitive level, it doesn't mean that QM is a bad theory. Which is what I think you were trying to say in the OP.
  10. Michael, I was only asking for your help. Whether you choose to give it or not is entirely up to you, but I don't think I've said or done anything to you to warrant such hostility.
  11. Thank you. If you could find the source of the confusion that would be really helpful.
  12. Okay, your quote from The Objectivist Ethics is about life being an end in itself, but the argument you present in #1 says nothing about acceptable means to that end. I don't think that matters when we have not yet established that C3 is true. Unless you adopt one or the other form of (P2) there can be no such thing as an Objectivist ethics. To reiterate, if you accept the first form of P2, then any means are acceptable for someone who does not choose life as the standard of value. Thus, we cannot rationally condemn non-objectivists. But if you go with the second version, then all means are necessarily acceptable as they all necessarily promote one's own life. I don't think that either of these conclusions are acceptable for a rational system of ethics.
  13. An appeal to consequences fallacy is not a method of induction, it's a fallacy and irrational no matter how you look at it.
  14. Hi Michael. Thank you for your thoughtful response. 1. The source for P1 is in my previous post in response to Merlin. 2. If Rand holds that art is an and in itself, then she is contradicting herself. 3. I understand the idea, and you've explained it quite clearly. However, your justification for the claim that "One ought to accept Man's life as the standard of value", i.e. "Nature will take care of you in pretty short order, anyway, and you will no longer exist." is merely an appeal to consequences.
  15. 1. Can you just post the relevant paragraph? It doesn't look like its available on Amazon's look inside feature. 2. It's from The Objectivist Ethics, and no. It seems to me that it says that only an agent's life could be an end in itself. The agent could have other values, but not as ends in themselves. 1. I suspect you used the Kindle edition. That's why I said hardbound or paperback. A search for motivation will get to page 554. 2. Where? Quote, please. 1. It won't let me look at it on any edition, even when I'm signed in. 2. There are multiple versions of the book, but this is the relevant passage:
  16. I understand what you're trying to say, Stephen. However, up until that point, Rand has not yet established that "only an agent’s own life is an end in itself setting the agent’s values for making that life" or that "Every life is an end in itself".
  17. 1. Can you just post the relevant paragraph? It doesn't look like its available on Amazon's look inside feature. 2. It's from The Objectivist Ethics, and no. It seems to me that it says that only an agent's life could be an end in itself. The agent could have other values, but not as ends in themselves.
  18. Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish from Game of Thrones. Sorry to say it, but none of Rand's villains come even close to how evil this guy is. He is 100% focused on obtaining power. Whereas Toohey and Taggart were trying to destroy what is good and human, Baelish, when he doesn't totally disregard them while comitting horrific misdeeds, sees the good and the human as mere obstacles at best and as detestable weakness at worst. He simply doesn't care. To top it all off he is really smart and good at what he does, and he does it in style.
  19. Exactly. It always astonishes me how alleged "scientists" are baffled when their tight little belief systems get shattered by facts. It's just journalism, calm down.
  20. Have you ever actually had any experience with modern physics or mathematics beyond the highschool level? The mathematics of even the simplest physical systems in GR and QM goes WAY beyond present human understanding very very quickly. I can't really explain how my computer works in everyday language, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a computer or that it doesn't work.
  21. Hi guys, this is gonna be my first post on this forum. A bit about myself, I've been an objectivist since I was 16, when my econ101 teacher in Highschool turned me onto Atlas Shrugged. I've been studying the works of Rand and Piekoff for about 6 years. Anyway... lately I've been talking about Objectivism with one of my friends by email. She pointed out what seems to be a flaw in Rand's argument for egoism. Now, she practically wrote a book about this, but to get to the bottom of it, the problem is basically this: P1: For all agents, only an agent's life is valuable as an end in itself. (P2): Agents ought to act to obtain their own values. C3: Therfore, agents ought to act to promote their own lives. The first problem is that Rand's ultimate conclusion, C3, does not follow unless you also accept the implicit premise (P2, a premise that Rand didn't include in her arguments, but that is necessary to keep the argument valid). There's something tricky about P2, though. In one sense (and I think the one that Rand seems to imply), the "ought" can be interpreted practically. That is, in the sense of, "If I want to quench my thirst, I ought to drink water". In this case, the premise is tautological, essentially saying that agents ought to do what they ought to do. However, the "practical interpretation" doesn't fit with the rest of the argument, because the "ought" in C3 is a moral "ought" and not a practical "ought". The conclusion that would follow from this interpretation of P2 would not be C3, but rather C3*: "If an agent values its life as an end in itself, then it ought to act to promote its own life". Now, obviously, there's no issue here if the agent values its life as an end in itself. But what if the agent doesn't value its life as an end in itself? In that case, we cannot conclude that it ought to act to promote its own life. More disturbingly, it would mean that the Toohey's and second-handers cannot be judged on the basis of rational ethics! If we accept the tautologous sense of P2, we are literally compelled to believe that "Hitler did nothing wrong"! The trouble with going in the other direction and interpreting P2 as a moral "ought" is that the argument then essentially begs the question. My objection at this point was that P2 is true by tautology, regardless of sense. However, if we accept that agents cannot choose other than to promote their moral values, then ethics becomes impossible! Any action you take would then necessarily be promoting your own life (even suicide). I've been going over this for hours and I can't figure out the flaw in her argument. Little help?