Why wasn't Eddie Willers invited to Galt's Gulch?


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3 minutes ago, anthony said:

SL,

One needs to conceptualize to structurally retain a huge amount of knowledge; and to abstract, to reduce untold numbers of existents to their core nature. So one can mentally eliminate (e.g.) biological differences and other characteristics in order to  the totality of individual men - to "man" and his fundamental identity: his consciousness.

"How do you pick and choose?" A good question.

 

Fundamentality, Rule of.

[Definitions, ITOE]

"Now observe, on the above example [the definition of “man”], the process of determining an essential characteristic: the rule of fundamentality. When a given group of existents has more than one characteristic distinguishing it from other existents, man must observe the relationships among these various characteristics and discover the one on which all the others (or the greatest number of others) depend, i.e., the fundamental characteristic without which the others would not be possible. This fundamental characteristic is the essential distinguishing characteristic of the existents involved, and the proper defining characteristic of the concept.

Metaphysically, a fundamental characteristic is that distinctive characteristic which makes the greatest number of others possible; epistemologically, it is the one that explains the greatest number of others.

For instance, one could observe that man is the only animal who speaks English, wears wristwatches, flies airplanes, manufactures lipstick, studies geometry, reads newspapers, writes poems, darns socks, etc. None of these is an essential characteristic: none of them explains the others; none of them applies to all men; omit any or all of them, assume a man who has never done any of these things, and he will still be a man. But observe that all these activities (and innumerable others) require a conceptual grasp of reality, that an animal would not be able to understand them, that they are the expressions and consequences of man’s rational faculty, that an organism without that faculty would not be a man—and you will know why man’s rational faculty is his essential distinguishing and defining characteristic".

When determining how a man "should" descend a tree so as to avoid injury, does the fact that he has four limbs and no tail (as opposed to some other animals, which are not rational, who do), come into consideration, or does such a consideration only depend on the fact that he is rational?

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SL, That's part of the problem when using examples, and only examples, as the arguments. But there's even a deeper problem. Can a hatchling or chick build a nest by instinct? No it

I would think the reason a lot of discussions around instinctual behaviors and the like are center around infancy is due to the fact that infancy is the time with the least amount of experience, the i

TG, Now you are beginning to see it in all its glory. Once you see it, you can't unsee it. And then the argument always boils down to: An instinct is an instinct unless it isn't. O

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59 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

Actually, you didn't cover why other possible life forms that develop a form of rationality must have an identical standard of value to humans, neither before nor here.

All you do is proclaim it with the word "must."

Besides, you just misquoted yourself.

You didn't say: "Human, in some or any form."

You actually said (my emphasis):

and followed with your standard "must":

Why must we?

No real reason other than must is an end in itself.

:) 

Another term for this proposition is "false dichotomy."

Throw out observation as a fundamental form of validation and people can must all over themselves at will.

Michael

Michael, If there are life forms that develop rationality, they "must", logically and by definition, be conceptual beings, they must understand the value of values, and must, individually and collectively, know their own worth. Otherwise, they will not have survived. 

 

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Btw, in case it's not clear, this is a hypothetical "must" not a categorical one. IF - you want this you must do that.

There're no Objectivist categorical imperatives, as far as I know. There is causation.

If one values a good life, one must think and act towards it. 

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24 minutes ago, anthony said:

Michael, If there are life forms that develop rationality, they "must", logically and by definition, be conceptual beings, they must understand the value of values, and must, individually and collectively, know their own worth. Otherwise, they will not have survived. 

Tony,

See?

You are proving my point. 

"Must" rules all and it is not borne out by anything you have observed.

You just know that certain life forms cannot survive out there in the universe if they are not like the way you say.

And how do you know that?

You don't.

You deduced it from a proposition and made another proposition with it. But you can't validate it.

Sometimes, "I just don't know," works well. Especially when dealing with a great unknown like the rest of the universe beyond the part we do know.

I vastly prefer saying I don't know to Obama's, "The science is settled."

Some things are settled, but not our knowledge of anything concerning the entire universe. Just the fundamental axioms: existence, identity and consciousness exist. In the first two, we can know for certain. In the third, consciousness, we can only speculate once we leave earth.

Anyway, I don't do these discussions much because they never end and the world never changes because of them. No benefits ever come. Neither to me, to the one I am discussing this with, nor to the reader.

But they take up a shitload of time.

:) 

The good part is I like you and enjoy our time together. So as a pretext for that, this one is OK.

:) 

Michael

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25 minutes ago, anthony said:

... a hypothetical "must"...

Tony,

Now that is a mindfuck.

An A that is a hypothetical A. Not a categorical one...

In other words, A is A except when it isn't.

Then it's only a hypothetical A because otherwise it would be part of a categorical imperative, which doesn't exist.

So, ultimately, A doesn't exist, except when it does. As a hypothetical, that is... Which, technically, doesn't exist...

:)

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

Now that is a mindfuck.

An A that is a hypothetical A. Not a categorical one...

In other words, A is A except when it isn't.

Then it's only a hypothetical A because otherwise it would be part of a categorical imperative, which doesn't exist.

So, ultimately, A doesn't exist, except when it does. As a hypothetical, that is... Which, technically, doesn't exist...

:)

Michael

That hypothetical was plainly regarding the individual's selected ACTS.

(IF... must...)

I know you know the difference between the (volitional) man-made - and - the metaphysically given (absolutes). So - don't follow your argument. 

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

See?

You are proving my point. 

"Must" rules all and it is not borne out by anything you have observed.

You just know that certain life forms cannot survive out there in the universe if they are not like the way you say.

And how do you know that?

...

 

Some things are settled, but not our knowledge of anything concerning the entire universe. Just the fundamental axioms: existence, identity and consciousness exist. In the first two, we can know for certain. In the third, consciousness, we can only speculate once we leave earth.

 

Michael

Michael, A species that can apprehend existence and identity, i.e. can survive, has consciousness. Anywhere, any time.

I reckon it's easier to conceive of "God" than to conceive of many disparate forms of 'consciousness' which we cannot be conscious of.

(And both are impossible to conceive). :)

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14 minutes ago, anthony said:

So - don't follow your argument. 

Tony,

Yeah...

I left out a part. It's obvious to me but in case it isn't to others:

The "A" I was referring to is "must." 

Therefore, A "Must" that is a hypothetical Must. Not a categorical one... In other words, Must is Must except when it isn't... Then it's only a hypothetical Must because otherwise it would be part of a categorical imperative, which doesn't exist... So, ultimately, Must doesn't exist, except when it does. As a hypothetical, that is... Which, technically, doesn't exist...

:) 

Now here is the part I left out...

Er...

I forgot.

:evil:  :) 

Michael

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14 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

The "A" I was referring to is "must." 

Therefore, A "Must" that is a hypothetical Must. Not a categorical one... In other words, Must is Must except when it isn't... Then it's only a hypothetical Must because otherwise it would be part of a categorical imperative, which doesn't

 

Michael, for human actions there are always a choice and alternatives. There's nothing categorical. One is not dictated by one's existence to do ... anything,

If one wants to live, one must eat. If one wants to eat one must "earn his bread" (find it or make it or purchase it).

IF one chooses to live as "man" one must act according to man's known nature. A reasoning, rational, valuing, volitional consciousness.

Any organism, insect and animal has an innate 'standard of value'. Its own continuing life and the furtherance of its species. Which is automatic or instinctively built-in, to act (as best it can) by its nature, to make use of its immediate environment: Air, soil, sunlight, water and/or the presence of foodstuff, other animals to mate with. Etc. Lacking which it dies.

If humans had tried to live by that 'standard', they'd have perished way back. A human body has physical needs or 'dictates' but no means and built-in codes of morality to ~naturally~ fulfill them. He has to learn of and act by a standard of value, "man's" - not his own, 'automatic', subjective or intrinsic value -  to survive and thrive as mankind can and does.

(If he wants).

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10 hours ago, anthony said:

If humans had tried to live by that 'standard', they'd have perished way back. A human body has physical needs or 'dictates' but no means and built-in codes of morality to ~naturally~ fulfill them. He has to learn of and act by a standard of value, "man's" - not his own, 'automatic', subjective or intrinsic value -  to survive and thrive as mankind can and does.

(If he wants).

Tony,

That's a good paraphrase of what the lady wrote in VOS, but repeating it is also an argument by "she said so." Not by actual knowledge.

Here's a premise to check.

Do you believe in evolution?

If not, how do you suggest the human species appeared in nature? 

If so, how did the pre-human primates survive if not by instincts?

And if modern humans evolved from pre-human primates, where did those instincts go once a cortex able to develop conceptual thought evolved? 

And here is one of the most important questions of all. Have you ever looked at this issue beyond Objectivist literature?

There's a lot of solid knowledge out there.

Note: I'm not speaking against reason.

Michael

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19 hours ago, anthony said:

SL,

One needs to conceptualize to structurally retain a huge amount of knowledge; and to abstract, to reduce untold numbers of existents to their core nature. So one can mentally eliminate (e.g.) biological differences and other characteristics in order to  the totality of individual men - to "man" and his fundamental identity: his consciousness.

"How do you pick and choose?" A good question.

 

 

19 hours ago, Strictlylogical said:

When determining how a man "should" descend a tree so as to avoid injury, does the fact that he has four limbs and no tail (as opposed to some other animals, which are not rational, who do), come into consideration, or does such a consideration only depend on the fact that he is rational?

Is there "the principle behind anthony"? 

 

Something about how a conversation just stops... when there is only silence in response to some question ...

a something about the point at which there is no longer any reply?  Perhaps...

 

 

But I would rather that there were no such principle,

and that we could continue having a conversation.

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On 3/29/2021 at 12:40 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

That's a good paraphrase of what the lady wrote in VOS, but repeating it is also an argument by "she said so." Not by actual knowledge.

Here's a premise to check.

Do you believe in evolution?

If not, how do you suggest the human species appeared in nature? 

If so, how did the pre-human primates survive if not by instincts?

And if modern humans evolved from pre-human primates, where did those instincts go once a cortex able to develop conceptual thought evolved? 

And here is one of the most important questions of all. Have you ever looked at this issue beyond Objectivist literature?

There's a lot of solid knowledge out there.

Note: I'm not speaking against reason.

Michael

A simple answer to where did those instincts go? I see, read of, or experience, so few instincts remaining in the human being and myself that there's only one conclusion. We lost them.

Which ~naturally~ inarguably validates human evolution: beginning as 'animal' we became rational animal, developing an advanced brain in a process over 100's of thousands of years. When, and why, despite my strong interest in these scientific matters - I don't have to know. THAT it occurred there's no doubt.

I can't understand why you should see any contradictions here. Man is biological and rational, he didn't just emerge one day from nothing.

I have not only looked "beyond" the literature, I have observed and thought for decades about Rand's explication. From the bottom up. And seen it in action.

If one accepts the premises of her reasoning, one accepts the outcome. No man has a built-in code, a morality, of what to do in a situation: we need to learn one.

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35 minutes ago, anthony said:

I have not only looked "beyond" the literature...

Tony,

In other words, you are not familiar with the literature.

:)

37 minutes ago, anthony said:

I see, read of, or experience, so few instincts remaining in the human being and myself that there's only one conclusion. We lost them.

I can show you so many human instinct things that are repeatable and even programmable in the human brain, it would make your head spin. But you won't look.

So don't look and keep saying things like that. It's your life.

:) 

Michael

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46 minutes ago, anthony said:

I can't understand why you should see any contradictions here.

Tony,

What are you talking about?

I look, read, study, and learn.

I change presuppositions according to the facts I learn.

I'm not debating contradictions.

Would you have me bear false witness to my own mind so you could feel better?

:evil:  :) 

Michael

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2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

In other words, you are not familiar with the literature.

:)

I can show you so many human instinct things that are repeatable and even programmable in the human brain, it would make your head spin. But you won't look.

So don't look and keep saying things like that. It's your life.

:) 

Michael

Well, we'd have to agree on what instinct is. Then you could show some instances (not simply, the infant's sucking reflex).

Programmable, sure, in the sense that a mind can be forced - psychologically pressured - into modes of obedient, slavish (etc.) behavior by others' punishing/rewarding actions. Or, that everyone is born into a prevailing ethics held by adults which might become one's unquestioned moral norms. Or most pertinently that our brains are "self-programming", self-automatizing. Babies didn't know how to chew and eat food, but with patient, messy, feeding repetition by parents. That's what's called muscle memory, training one's brain to form new synaptic connections, over and over until e.g. swinging a golf club, driving a car, is second nature. I was aware of doing those things long before learning the behavioral, neural, etc., explanations, which assume upon them and explain them scientifically.

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On 3/28/2021 at 6:39 PM, Strictlylogical said:

When determining how a man "should" descend a tree so as to avoid injury, does the fact that he has four limbs and no tail (as opposed to some other animals, which are not rational, who do), come into consideration, or does such a consideration only depend on the fact that he is rational?

The first question is, why be up a tree? It's not one's natural habitat. First experience as I remember was looking up and thinking how exciting it would be to be up there. And to see down. Then came, how to do it? So I put one foot up on a limb and followed with the next, and so on. After a few painful tumbles I sort of mastered tree climbing. The "how should I" came after the "I want". IF I want that, I must do this. The value I anticipated initiated the actions, none of which came automatic or instinctively, but demanded rationality, identifying the nature of tree, and 'climbing' - and of gravity, when I erred. 

So that was learned experience.

Sorry if I don't understand the pertinence of this.

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Wherever in the universe there's a conscious and rational (i.e. valuing) species: Man's life is the standard of value - will equally apply. 

The principle is irrefutable, axiomatic. If not we doing the identifying and evaluating, who?

I've no problem to call that the ethical axiom.

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29 minutes ago, anthony said:

Well, we'd have to agree on what instinct is. Then you could show some instances (not simply, the infant's sucking reflex).

Programmable, sure, in the sense that a mind can be forced - psychologically pressured - into modes of obedient, slavish (etc.) behavior by others' punishing/rewarding actions. Or, that everyone is born into a prevailing ethics held by adults which might become one's unquestioned moral norms. Or most pertinently that our brains are "self-programming", self-automatizing. Babies didn't know how to chew and eat food, but with patient, messy, feeding repetition by parents. That's what's called muscle memory, training one's brain to form new synaptic connections, over and over until e.g. swinging a golf club, driving a car, is second nature. I was aware of doing those things long before learning the behavioral, neural, etc., explanations, which assume upon them and explain them scientifically.

Tony,

With all due respect, you are grasping at straws. You have no idea what you are talking about on this issue.

Really.

None.

I suggest you stick with Objectivist jargon and your understanding of Rand. It makes you happy.

:) 

I'm not being snarky nor snobbish. You are unwilling to learn and you want to teach others what you don't know by faking it. (It's pretty obvious.) I don't know what to do with that except to sidestep it. 

Michael

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2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

What are you talking about?

I look, read, study, and learn.

I change presuppositions according to the facts I learn.

 

:evil:  :) 

Michael

That's our difference. I don't "change" my earlier, induced facts achieved by my senses. That's the base on which I learned, and will learn further ('educated') knowledge to slot on top of. (Integration, as it is named). Facts which can be 'reduced' back to vision, touch, hearing.

Those aren't "presuppositions", they are independently acquired facts. Later, learned knowledge are the hypotheses put forward by other minds. They are often true and valuable, though not necessarily.

I don't have any reference but my own mind's hold on reality to assess them. Those things that you've advanced (evolution, neuroscience) have not a single contradiction to what I already knew.

As sciences I fully agree with their findings, and I regularly said so.

I.e. the sciences are compatible with one's knowledge; the brain is compatible with the mind. But it appears that it's you who's arguing for incompatibility and don't accept my agreement.

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2 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Tony,

Let's just give it a rest...

Michael

 

36 minutes ago, anthony said:

Wherever in the universe there's a conscious and rational (i.e. valuing) species: Man's life is the standard of value - will equally apply. 

The principle is irrefutable, axiomatic. If not we doing the identifying and evaluating, who?

I've no problem to call that the ethical axiom.

What? Nobody wants to discuss the ethical axiom?

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

The first question is, why be up a tree? It's not one's natural habitat. First experience as I remember was looking up and thinking how exciting it would be to be up there. And to see down. Then came, how to do it? So I put one foot up on a limb and followed with the next, and so on. After a few painful tumbles I sort of mastered tree climbing. The "how should I" came after the "I want". IF I want that, I must do this. The value I anticipated initiated the actions, none of which came automatic or instinctively, but demanded rationality, identifying the nature of tree, and 'climbing' - and of gravity, when I erred. 

So that was learned experience.

Sorry if I don't understand the pertinence of this.

Don't get hung up worrying about the pertinence... it's a simple question you can think about and answer straightforwardly and honestly.

As an alternative how about:

When determining whether a man "should" eat fast food (say greasy burgers), for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day of the week, or in fact should not do so, does the fact that he has a particular kind of digestive system and metabolism (which happens to be specific and different from that of some other animals which are not rational) come into consideration, or does such determining whether he should do so only depend on the facts that he is rational and the general fact that he is also an animal?

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Well, we'd have to agree on what instinct is. Then you could show some instances (not simply, the infant's sucking reflex).

Programmable, sure, in the sense that a mind can be forced - psychologically pressured - into modes of obedient, slavish (etc.) behavior by others' punishing/rewarding actions. Or, that everyone is born into a prevailing ethics held by adults which might become one's unquestioned moral norms. Or most pertinently that our brains are "self-programming", self-automatizing. Babies didn't know how to chew and eat food, but with patient, messy, feeding repetition by parents. That's what's called muscle memory, training one's brain to form new synaptic connections, over and over until e.g. swinging a golf club, driving a car, is second nature. I was aware of doing those things long before learning the behavioral, neural, etc., explanations, which assume upon them and explain them scientifically.

"not simply, the infant's suckling reflex" , did you mean that MSK would need a longer list of his supposed instincts to build his case, or that that specific reflex is of so little import to the continuation of the species that its mention is warrant-less ?

 

If babies need third party intervention to engage synaptic building, eg being taught how to chew, how do the muscles of the mouth and throat initiate suckling upon birth ? It's actually a miraculous happenstance that babies have trained synapes for this particular response, when our daughter was born the docs feared she did not posses the response and began training us to place neonatal gi , feeding tubes for what they considered about month of survival ( she turned 29 yrs this month :), luckily among other things she developed/exhibited the requisite latching reflex to self feed ).

Could synaptic connection building be considered instinctual ? From your description the need to train them , isn't? Parents need to initiate the training of the connections which then functions unguided ?

 

 

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1 hour ago, Strictlylogical said:

Don't get hung up worrying about the pertinence... it's a simple question you can think about and answer straightforwardly and honestly.

As an alternative how about:

When determining whether a man "should" eat fast food (say greasy burgers), for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day of the week, or in fact should not do so, does the fact that he has a particular kind of digestive system and metabolism (which happens to be similar to that of other animals, which are not rational) come into consideration, or does such determining whether he should do so only depend on the fact that he is rational?

 I don't understand why you are raising any incompatibilism of being both biological and rational animal. Envisaging any fissure between the 'meat and the mind', crudely. I've seen you write some good material on this.

If one wants to survive, be healthy, think well of oneself, be self-reliant, understand existence, develop his knowledge, create things, find non-destructive pleasures, have good relations with others, earn and own material goods and attain spiritual well being - etc. - in all, seek and maintain his purpose and happiness in life, nobody, traditionally has had any cohesive moral guidance.

Except for: "you Must - you Must Not".

By what standard? By whose standard?

You don't know by instinct what it good for you and what is poison, with food as well as moral ideas. (An eastern philosopher Lin Yutang remarked that every good philosophy should begin with men possessing stomachs...Fair enough).

The virtues, one's tools for life, singly and in combination, very well cover what a person "should" do for his objective good and fulfillment.

Yes, that does "depend on the fact that he is rational" (by one's nature - distinct from not always by one's thinking and actions). 

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1 hour ago, tmj said:

"not simply, the infant's suckling reflex" , did you mean that MSK would need a longer list of his supposed instincts to build his case, or that that specific reflex is of so little import to the continuation of the species that its mention is warrant-less ?

 

If babies need third party intervention to engage synaptic building, eg being taught how to chew, how do the muscles of the mouth and throat initiate suckling upon birth ? It's actually a miraculous happenstance that babies have trained synapes for this particular response, when our daughter was born the docs feared she did not posses the response and began training us to place neonatal gi , feeding tubes for what they considered about month of survival ( she turned 29 yrs this month :), luckily among other things she developed/exhibited the requisite latching reflex to self feed ).

Could synaptic connection building be considered instinctual ? From your description the need to train them , isn't? Parents need to initiate the training of the connections which then functions unguided ?

 

 

Interesting for me is how arguments for instinctual behaviors always revert to infant life. Not warrant-less, just not that significant. There are many things which cannot be instinctive to one when even a little past infancy. When expanding to the advanced mind of an adult, perhaps hundreds of choices per day that aren't instinctive: "What, when, why, where, who - how?"

Should I cross the street? Should I buy out that company?

Is "instinct" going to answer?

Now she's 29 (congrats Dad) ask her (for me) which instincts have, and are helped/helping her in her every choice and decision? Minor or major.

Everything one regularly does, first had to be learned and *self*-programmed in the brain's neural pathways, which might appear 'automated' which may feel 'instinctive'.

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