stpeter

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Somehow I didn't find this website until today. Thanks to the proprietors for maintaining an open forum for discussion of Rand and Objectivism.

You can read my writings on philosophical topics here: https://stpeter.im/writings/

Because I'm very busy with my career and, in my spare time, with writing an epitome of Aristotle's ethics, my postings might be infrequent for the next few years. Please don't interpret inactivity for lack of interest.

--Peter Saint-Andre

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Peter,

Woah!

Welcome to OL!

I have read several of your writings--especially the article about metaphors in Rand's fiction, but there are other things I have read over the years. (I even have a folder on my hard disk with your name on it. :) ) I also have a copy of The Tao of Roark. Really cool.

I hope you enjoy it here.

You, to me, are one of the good guys.

btw - Pleased to meet you.

:) 

Michael

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Epicurus wrote and Saint Peter quoted on Amazon: "Reflect on what brings happiness, because if you have that you have everything, but if not you will do everything to attain it."

Very interesting. I was watching “The Good Doctor” on TV tonight. Even though The Doctor has autism, seems cold, is consumed with different subjects, and excludes most human interaction from his life (he’s definitely not a people person,) he still finds that he needs friends and a girl friend to feel *happy*. Peter

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Hi MSK (if I may) and Peter, thanks for the friendly welcome. These days I am very deep into Aristotle research (it helps that I know Greek), but Roger Bissell's recent paper on the law of identity in Aristotle and Rand has me interested in some comparative work on that topic and also on the origins of dialectic in Plato and Aristotle.

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22 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Peter,

Woah!

Welcome to OL!

I have read several of your writings--especially the article about metaphors in Rand's fiction, but there are other things I have read over the years. (I even have a folder on my hard disk with your name on it. :) ) I also have a copy of The Tao of Roark. Really cool.

I hope you enjoy it here.

You, to me, are one of the good guys.

btw - Pleased to meet you.

:) 

Michael

Grrrrrr!!

--😀

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Peter:  

I have taken a look at your website, which is fascinating.   Thank you for putting these materials in the public domain.   

I just read your translation of E's Letter to Menoikos and enjoyed it greatly.    Very interesting how much it reminded me of some Seneca's letter's (On the Shortness of Life?), at least in tone if not also in substance. 

Thanks again.   PDS

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

Grrrrrr!!

--😎

I suggest a long vacation in The Florida Keys to avoid snapping.

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5 hours ago, PDS said:

Peter:  

I have taken a look at your website, which is fascinating.   Thank you for putting these materials in the public domain.   

I just read your translation of E's Letter to Menoikos and enjoyed it greatly.    Very interesting how much it reminded me of some Seneca's letter's (On the Shortness of Life?), at least in tone if not also in substance. 

Thanks again.   PDS

Hi PDS,

Thanks for the kind words. Although the Stoics are enjoying a renaissance these days, I prefer Epicurus for his greater focus on the individual and for his more secular outlook (the Stoics make much of Providence and of accepting whatever God or Nature doles out). As you can see from my site, I've written a book on Epicurus, which you might enjoy as well.

Best,

Peter

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8 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

Grrrrrr!!

--😎

I still don't get it. Stop the barking! This song actually sounds quite good so lend it an ear. Closed up and chopped for brevity. Peter

You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift

 . . . . So oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh
You need to calm down
You're being too loud
And I'm just like oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh
You need to just stop
Like can you just not step on my gown?
You need to calm down

You are somebody that we don't know
But you're comin' at my friends like a missile
Why are you mad?
When you could be GLAAD? (You could be GLAAD)
Sunshine on the street at the parade
But you would rather be in the dark age
Just makin' that sign must've taken all night

 . . . . And we see you over there on the internet
Comparing all the girls who are killing it
But we figured you out
We all know now we all got crowns
You need to calm down

Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh
You need to calm down
You're being too loud
And I'm just like oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh (oh)
You need to just stop (can you stop?)
Like can you just not step on our gowns?
You need to calm down.
Songwriters: Joel Little, Taylor Swift

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On 11/12/2019 at 6:30 PM, stpeter said:

These days I am very deep into Aristotle research (it helps that I know Greek), but Roger Bissell's recent paper on the law of identity in Aristotle and Rand has me interested in some comparative work on that topic and also on the origins of dialectic in Plato and Aristotle.

Peter,

I don't know if the following will be useful to you, but there are a couple of ideas I want to throw at you. (Sorry I took so long to get to this. I'm working on a Wordpress project with a shot deadline and the technical stuff is kicking my ass. :) )

My mind took me in a different direction on epistemology and the nature of knowledge than finding origins.

First off, when I started talking about Rand online, I was soon in contact with Chris Sciabarra on the forums and I had a hell of a time understanding what dialectic meant. Saying Rand was a dialectical thinker did not make Chris many friends on the ortho side. All they could see was Hegel and Marx and red. :) But that story is for another context.

Slowly emerging from that time, I discovered that dialectical process only meant teasing out knowledge through interaction, often Q&A and even more often, between at least two different people. In fact, much of forum life is dialectical interaction. But back then, this didn't make any sense to me. And off I went on a journey to try to understand the human mind. How is, in essence, discussing a topic epistemology?

As I read and read and read, I finally came across something very interesting. It's a book by Iian McGilchrist. I want to go deep into this, but for the sake of brevity, let me just quote a couple of things I wrote about it and I am sure you will see the relevance.

On 6/23/2019 at 1:54 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

... see The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist for one of the most fascinating inquiries into right brain-left brain I have uncovered so far. I mention this because his findings are that each side has a particular view of the world--a view that is substantially different than the other--and we experience oscillations between the two as a single process.

and this:

On 10/18/2019 at 5:09 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I happen to like the Socratic method of digging information out of the right brain and underbelly of the mind in order to verbalize it through questions and discussion. (I can give you great books that discuss how this happens, starting with Iain McGilchrist's book on the divided brain. But there are many more I have read.) Much of the info in the brain has not been recorded in memory in verbal form, nor even the processing of it is in verbal form. So with questions and discussion, things often emerge and appear like they are new. And they are--in words. But the info was there all along. Also, the Socratic method allows the creative impulse to be added to that process so some truly new paths and dot-connections happen.

(Apropos, Rand used this method in a solitaire-like manner in her creative writing and later in her nonfiction. She would list a string of questions as they came to mind, then proceed to answer them as if they came from someone else. After she did that, she would choose what to pursue and what to discard.)

Like I said, I believe there is a world of topic to dig into here. I, for one, will be doing so when I get the time. 

Here is the second idea and it is related, although it deals with induction and deduction. And with artificial machine learning. I was reading about AI writing. There is a wicked little thing called Grover developed by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the University of Washington that, after you point it in the direction you want it to imitate and give it a topic, generates deepfake-like articles all by its lonesome. As I was reading around about this, I came across the following article by John Seabrook in The New Yorker:

Can a Machine Learn to Write for The New Yorker?

The passage that jumped out at me was the following:

Quote

There are two approaches to making a machine intelligent. Experts can teach the machine what they know, by imparting knowledge about a particular field and giving it rules to perform a set of functions; this method is sometimes termed knowledge-based. Or engineers can design a machine that has the capacity to learn for itself, so that when it is trained with the right data it can figure out its own rules for how to accomplish a task. That process is at work in machine learning. Humans integrate both types of intelligence so seamlessly that we hardly distinguish between them. You don’t need to think about how to ride a bicycle, for example, once you’ve mastered balancing and steering; however, you do need to think about how to avoid a pedestrian in the bike lane. But a machine that can learn through both methods would require nearly opposite kinds of systems: one that can operate deductively, by following hard-coded procedures; and one that can work inductively, by recognizing patterns in the data and computing the statistical probabilities of when they occur. Today’s A.I. systems are good at one or the other, but it’s hard for them to put the two kinds of learning together the way brains do.

The history of artificial intelligence, going back at least to the fifties, has been a kind of tortoise-versus-hare contest between these two approaches to making machines that can think. The hare is the knowledge-based method, which drove A.I. during its starry-eyed adolescence, in the sixties, when A.I.s showed that they could solve mathematical and scientific problems, play chess, and respond to questions from people with a pre-programmed set of methods for answering. Forward progress petered out by the seventies, in the so-called “A.I. winter.”

Machine learning, on the other hand, was for many years more a theoretical possibility than a practical approach to A.I. The basic idea—to design an artificial neural network that, in a crude, mechanistic way, resembled the one in our skulls—had been around for several decades, but until the early twenty-tens there were neither large enough data sets available with which to do the training nor the research money to pay for it.

The benefits and the drawbacks of both approaches to intelligence show clearly in “natural language processing”: the system by which machines understand and respond to human language. Over the decades, N.L.P. and its sister science, speech generation, have produced a steady flow of knowledge-based commercial applications of A.I. in language comprehension; Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri synthesize many of these advances. Language translation, a related field, also progressed along incremental improvements through many years of research, much of it conducted at I.B.M.’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

Until the recent advances in machine learning, nearly all progress in N.L.P. occurred by manually coding the rules that govern spelling, syntax, and grammar. “If the number of the subject and the number of the subject’s verb are not the same, flag as an error” is one such rule. “If the following noun begins with a vowel, the article ‘a’ takes an ‘n’ ” is another. Computational linguists translate these rules into the programming code that a computer can use to process language. It’s like turning words into math.

Rand's idea of concept formation was based on algebra.

Even though AI is more word manipulation than developing concepts, it's getting there--also through math. This is a link I am interested in following up on when I get the time.

Anywho, there she is.

My two cents.

My intent is not to impart knowledge, but dialectic if you find either of these ideas interesting or worth pursuing.

:) 

Apropos, Roger Bissell is one smart dude. And good luck with your own investigations.

Michael

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

(Apropos, Rand used this method in a solitaire-like manner in her creative writing and later in her nonfiction. She would list a string of questions as they came to mind, then proceed to answer them as if they came from someone else. After she did that, she would choose what to pursue and what to discard.)

3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

 

This is reminiscent of an old sci-fi novel called THE NEW ADAM by Stanley Weinbaum. In that book, there's a Nietzschean "ubermensch" of sorts who literally has two brains, and there are several passages depicting his mental  dual-brained interactions with himself in a similar manner.

"Edmund Hall, born a mutant with too many joints in his fingers and a double mind, tries to find a purpose in a society of humans. This superman is no caped crusader fighting for justice though. Rather, he is a dual-brained super-intellect with an IQ so far off the charts that normal human beings appear as Neanderthals next to him. In this story, our evolved human is born into modern society without anyone knowing his nature. While pondering whether he's a superman or the devil, he explores pleasure, power, and passion. Slowly he realizes the differences between himself and contemporary humans, and therein lies a fascinating story. "

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