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Alright. BUT, this involves a very different principle of induction than is used in the physical sciences. All induction in the physical sciences, AFAIK, are statistical. So you cannot induce any principles, only statistical probabilities.

Howard Roark wouldn't say "With 99.5% certainity, this principles are correct".

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samr,

You have some basic learning to do.

I suggest learning what induction is before telling everybody it is what it isn't.

Here's a hint. Your premise is that you can have induction without deduction, and have deduction without induction, as stand-alone thinking systems that compete in the human mind for validity.

That's a premise you need to check.

Michael

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For example, I could never get an idea of what objectivism is like (as a living philosophy) from ARI. Their version of objectivism is : Read Ayn Rand. Then capitalize on her ideas, and make money from them. Also, spread their ideas.

And even not from Rand herself. I get a sense of what objectivism is much better from Atlas Society than from her.

But maybe it is just because I am copying people.

ARI's recommendation is a package containing sensible factual advice ('Read Ayn Rand') plus their value judgement ('capitalize on her ideas, make money from them, spread them') .

It is analogous to being given a cake, being told to taste it and then proceed to selling that type of cake oneself. The component left out is that one may not be as enthusiastic about the taste of the cake as those who recommend it.

How do you do this "objective thinking" thing? "Critical thinking". I just don't understand how it is done.

Sam:

Let's assume that you have decided to climb a small cliff so that you could dive into a beautiful pond to cool off on a hot day...

How would you critically evalute the risks and potential pleasures of the action?

Adam

If you are asking me _personally_, being the person I am right now, I would probably look at the cliff, think "what is the rational way to decide", then think "what is rational", then think "how to decide what is rational", and think ad infinitum without moving.

I guess that what you mean is a way of assessing risks versus pleasures. Having a primitive math-model. I want to go to the lake 10, the risk is 5, my fitness is 0.9 - let's do it.

Am I right?

Wouldn't the far more rational approch be to - literally - test the waters by checking the depth of the pond first before jumping into it?

(I think it is very non-objectivist. Howard Roark doesn't "assess" risks of being an unpopular architector, otherwise he would never do it. He has some principles into which he fits reality.

Do you really think that deciding to jump down a cliff despite the risk of breaking one's neck is a good example of fitting reality into one's principles?

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samr,

You have some basic learning to do. I suggest learning what induction is before telling everybody it is what it isn't. Here's a hint. Your premise is that you can have induction without deduction, and have deduction without induction, as stand-alone thinking systems that compete in the human mind for validity. That's a premise you need to check.

Michael

samr is not alone in that. I have spent much of this month with Karl Popper. samr is only repeating the common academic wisdom. That is reflected in his claim that 'objectively means "able to be measured by instruments"'. samr's understanding of induction is the accepted one. In my reviews of David Harriman's The Logical Leap, I suggested that it might have been better to call his method the objective one and leave "induction" as defined commonly by everyone else.

I agree with you, Michael, that objectivism is rational-empiricism and that the inductive and deductive are as you and I understand them. They are two sides of the same process of understanding. It is really up to us to tell "everyone else" what they are. In truth, you and I understand induction and deduction in their original classical senses. But in the 20th century, that changed. Popper, Russell, and Wittgenstein destroyed the foundations of knowledge and their inheritance is post-modernism. Actually and truly I can cite chapter and verse: postmodernism holds that logic is unreal and the senses are unreliable. And it is not that they teach this for the first time, but that the long, sad history of philosophy as they present it corroborates their claims... all the way back to Plato's cave and even before that.

To teach philosophy as the acquisition of knowledge would be to swim Niagara Falls upward -- though some do it. I see the popularity of Atlas Shrugged in particular and Ayn Rand's works in general as signaling a change in popular culture. That is reflected in the grants to colleges to teach capitalism and the smattering of objectivist and Objectivist professors. I have written here about Gregory Browne and his book, Necessary Factual Truth. I named my blog for that. I met hims at a midrange midwestern state university.

In the mean time, we have our exchanges with samr and others like him who are educated in the modern way. If you step back and read what he asks and suggests, he is cogent and insightful. He is just new to this. We have been at it for decades. I read Anthem in 1966.

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Alright. BUT, this involves a very different principle of induction than is used in the physical sciences. All induction in the physical sciences, AFAIK, are statistical. So you cannot induce any principles, only statistical probabilities.

Are you sure of that? Maybe 93.5% sure? To state that you cannot induce a principle is to state a principle. How do you know? Did you deduce that a priori with no referent to reality? Or do you doubt the strength of your principles because they do not always work as you expect or intend? In other words, samr, objectivism (rational-empiricism) is how you drive a car safely. You do not deduce a priori principles and seek statistical likelihoods. We all live according to objectivism and how well we do is a consequence of how clearly we think about what we perceive. When you pick a loaf of bread off the shelf, you do not question its existence, nor do you worry about the a priori foundations of mathematics when you pay for it. Reality is real.

I, personally, do not understand how his principles can be deduced from reality. They negate all the scientific method of observation and hypothesis. Probably there is a problem with the scientific method.... Ands objectively means "able to be measured by instruments".

Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. That is wrongly taken as a deductive syllogism no different from: samr is an elephant. All elephants are green. Therefore, samr is green. But the first has meaning; and the second is meaningless. Principles can be deduced from reality only. No other method works.

I assume that your quip about the scientific method was merely rhetorical.

What is an instrument? Instruments only report to the human senses. A meter stick or a radio telescope are only extensions of our senses. (And we have more than five, actually, but that is a different discussion.) By "instrument" you mean "an objective agent" something or someone outside yourself as a check against a psychological error. My wife and I often disagree about the colors of automobiles. We agree on the obvious ones: red, white, black, yellow... It is the new tones and classic hues like aquamarine and chartreuse, dusty rose and sunset pink, that separate us. In that we are instruments for each other. That is the sense you mean. Machinery alone tells you nothing until and unless you sense its information. So, in that, we agree: to be scientific a claim must be verifiable, which is why scientists publish. However, an assertion is objective if it is perceptible and explainable, whether anyone agrees with you or not.

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Michael E. Marrota,

I was stating what I believe to be the method used in the sciences today, not necessarily the correct method. I think that the method is mostly statistical.

Regarding

We all live according to objectivism and how well we do is a consequence of how clearly we think about what we perceive. When you pick a loaf of bread off the shelf, you do not question its existence, nor do you worry about the a priori foundations of mathematics when you pay for it. Reality is real.

am not sure that if we all use a certain way of thinking in everyday life, and need to use it in order to stay sane - it is a proof of its truth.

There is a delicate line between this, and appeal to consequences, that I do not know how to pass.

I don't think that the scientific method is the final arbiter of reality. Anything that would be the final arbiter of reality would be perfectly suited to describe every aspect of it. The scientific is not. It describes a part of reality, but it is open to question - with what precision. For example, I don't think you can understand human behaviour using the method of observation-hypothesis-experimentation, and statistics. (This was what I meant by "the scientific method").

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samr is not alone in that. I have spent much of this month with Karl Popper. samr is only repeating the common academic wisdom. That is reflected in his claim that 'objectively means "able to be measured by instruments"'. samr's understanding of induction is the accepted one. In my reviews of David Harriman's The Logical Leap, I suggested that it might have been better to call his method the objective one and leave "induction" as defined commonly by everyone else.

I still don't understand what this popular definition of induction is. Can you spell that out for me?

And Karl Popper was part of this re-defining effort?

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samr, I am sure that i am the person to explain this. I am working my way through it as well. To take the last point, first, Karl Popper did attack the problem of induction and his solution was the theory of "falsification." No amount of data can prove a hypothesis conclusively. All claims in science are only "contingent." However, a single instance can falsify a claim. (Popper also specified that this does not apply to outliers or non-reproducible singularities. The falsifying example must itself be objectively observable and within a general event. A single white raven proves nothing. However, a family of ravens would falsify the general claim that all ravens are black. Popper published The Logic of Scientific Discovery in 1935. It did not get much attention. He then wrote The Open Society and Its Enemies. It was not published until after World War II. However, it was the lever by which F. A. von Hayek brought Popper to the U.K., and the means by which his earlier works then gained attention.

I believe that Popper's theory of falsification gained nearly instant acceptance as the method of science, independently of whether or not it solved the problem of induction. This was in the same years as Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. As a new paradigm, Popper's theory of falsification completely swept the field. As a corollary, natural laws define what is impossible, what is disallowed in nature.

Objectivists dispute Popper's method. Science does not advance by disproofs and negations, they say, but by proof of assertions. The Obejctivist book on this is The Logical Leap by David Harriman. Actually holding a master's degree in physics himself, Harriman acknowledges Leonard Peikoff as his tutor in the philosophy of science. Harriman agrees that piling up instances proves nothing. You just have a lot more of the same. What makes science is the integration of this new observation with all previous truths to create a causal explanation. For that, one instance is enough if you correctly integrate fact and theory.

samr:"am not sure that if we all use a certain way of thinking in everyday life, and need to use it in order to stay sane - it is a proof of its truth."

I agree that the extraordinary madness of crowds (mass hysteria) certainly suggests that the truth can be elusive. In his book On the Gods the Roman jurist Cicero wrote, "We know the gods are real because people have reported seeing them and the senses are valid." Nonetheless, you expect to find truth somehow; and I agree.

The problem is finding that "somehow."

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samr, I am sure that i am the person to explain this.

I am not sure that I am the person to explain this. My second statement was that I am also only now working my way through some tough reading. I have no canonical answers here.

The books I read are not necessarily recommendations in the sense that I endorse them, but only cite them as the reading I have done.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuehn

The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper

The Logical Leap by David Harriman

The first two are mainstream. The first is a history of science. It is philosophical, as well. Harriam in Logical Leap takes both of those to task, though not explicitly. Harriman offers an Objectivist theory of induction and an Objectivist history of science to support his ideas on what induction really is.

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samr, I am sure that i am the person to explain this

Interesting, I have read (though I did, at least) this sentence in your original post, and was sure you said :

samr, I am not sure that i am the person to explain this

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Hmmm? This thread is called arguments. I will park this argument here.

Charles Gasparino, a free market guy on Fox, just said the US Government will still bail out banks that are “too big to fail,” like Bank of America. My first thought mirrored the hosts, Neal Cavuto’s: “Have we learned nothing?”

Then Gasparino explained it would be cheaper to give them a temporary loan, than to have the FDIC pay off a trillion dollars in lost assets. OK, I said to myself.

Then he said something I thought I would never hear from a Capitalist, that we should break up all these large, too big to fail banks in a free market way. The FDIC should refuse to insure huge, combined banks and THAT will tend to limit their size.

Interesting. Any thoughts?

Peter

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Here is a quote from Ayn Rand that has informed my own understanding. I believe it is one of her brilliant insights. The weird thing is that she did not expand on this thought. From ITOE, Chapter 3 - "Abstraction from Abstractions" (p. 28):

... the process of forming and applying concepts contains the essential pattern of two fundamental methods of cognition: induction and deduction.

The process of observing the facts of reality and of integrating them into concepts is, in essence, a process of induction. The process of subsuming new instances under a known concept is, in essence, a process of deduction.

The brilliant part is that both rely on observation, whether the person is observing outside reality or his own inner cognition. In other words, deduction is more than just an arbitrary game of strict rules for manipulating symbols (which is essentially the modern view from all I have seen so far).

In more other words, the processes of induction and deduction are only as valid as the soundness of the observer's observation faculties and the abstraction processing part of his mind. They need the strict rules for validity, too. But they also need an observer. It is folly to divorce logical reasoning from the human mind that performs it.

Michael

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samr, I am sure that i am the person to explain this

Interesting, I have read (though I did, at least) this sentence in your original post, and was sure you said :

samr, I am not sure that i am the person to explain this

It is interesting that you read the intention, not the actual words. If I had intended to explain it, then I would have used a different idiom. The one I used carries the word "not." I type faster than broadband sometimes and in any case, I left out the word NOT. I am NOT sure. So, rather than edit the original, thus changing history, I only posted the amendment to clarify what I meant, which I obviously failed to do. But in any case, you got the message. I just wanted to keep things straight if possible.

There was a Roman Jew named Josephus (Titus Flavius Josephus or Joseph ben Mattyahu). He wrote a history of the Jews. Whether he mentioned Jesus or not and what he said are uncertain today because all of the oldest manuscripts have been corrected, fixed, improved, restored, and conserved so many times that there is no way to know what was first laid down.

Long ago, there was a television show, "The Patty Duke Show." She was a teenager; her father worked at the newspaper. One day, he came home from work in a bad mood, because of an editorial he wrote. "It was fine," his wife said. "The editor changed one word," he grumbles. "Which word?" his wife asked. "Not."

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Then he said something I thought I would never hear from a Capitalist, that we should break up all these large, too big to fail banks in a free market way. The FDIC should refuse to insure huge, combined banks and THAT will tend to limit their size. Interesting. Any thoughts? Peter

Once the government interferes in a market, the next move to "uninterfere" only interferes further. If the FDIC insured some banks but not others, where would be the justice in that? The law requires this federal insurance. And, the Federal Reserve is also supposed to be the "banker's bank." Still, we have bank failures. In fact, in the 19th century glory days of gold, there was a similar federal requirement that to be a National Bank (Hometown National, First National, etc.), they had to deposite at least $25,000 in gold in the Treasury for which they would be given interest bearing bonds, against which they could lend up to 90% of the face value. Banks still failed.

Should home mortgages enjoy tax breaks? If they took them away, that would be a massive intervention, even though it would be freeing the market.

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... the process of forming and applying concepts contains the essential pattern of two fundamental methods of cognition: induction and deduction.

In more other words, the processes of induction and deduction are only as valid as the soundness of the observer's observation faculties and the abstraction processing part of his mind. They need the strict rules for validity, too. But they also need an observer. It is folly to divorce logical reasoning from the human mind that performs it.

Michael

Seems unarguable to me... However, I am finished now with Karl Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery and he argued it. More on Popper later. For now, the other side of the coin is that your perceptions must be logically coherent. If they are not, you squint, or tilt your head, put your ear to the surface, or reach again and feel, in short, you repeat the sensora until it meets some criterion of rational consistency, i.e., of non-contradiction.

Post-modernists claim to invalidate empirical knowledge by claiming that facts are theory-laden, that our ideas define reality. What they really do not want to confess is that their ideas provide no help in understanding reality. Objective theory is rationally consistent and empirically workable.

After his theory of gravitation was tested and validated by measuring the visible displacement of a star as seen as its light passed near the sun, Einstein was asked what he would have said if the displacement had not been found. His reply was that the experiment would need to be repeated until it came out right. That is not mindless rationalism but cogent objectivism. Good theory makes for good practice. Workable ideas bring consistent observations.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Sam,

My thoughts:

Style usually convolutes things, in that it turns arguments away from meanings & definitions and points them towards superficial labels.

I always go after clarity in discussions. I restate what the person is saying in simpler terms, and ask them immediately if I'm bothered by their choice of words. Also, in a lot of cases a person who just copies arguments (in other words, a hack) from other people can't rephrase or clarify their statements. Thus asking for clarification in arguments has two helpful effects:

(1) Allows for better discussion with people who are trying to find truth.

(2) Lets you avoid meaningless conversations and wasted time with people who aren't trying to find truth.

Mike

P.S. Do you have any experience with formal mathematical writing?

Mike,

How can the above help you with certain "Randians" that have the right definitions, and everything, but do not think for themselves?

(Actually, I do not mean the people here. People at ObjectivismOnline often seem like this).

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