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  • in reply to: Non-discrimination ordinances (NDO) #20308

    The common refrain you refer to is taking public in two different meanings. on the one hand, public is addressing all individuals. Then, on the other it is synonymous with government.

    This is a problem. An NDO is in fact a discrimination ordinance. It is discrimination against individuals. It is of little difference if your preferences are by choice or innate, This is about group rights over individual rights. I bet you can think of plenty of examples where this kind of thinking has been deleterious not only to those outside of a particular group but to those individuals inside the group.

    in reply to: Is war for humanitarian reasons just? I say, yes. #20295

    hello sheyboer,

    When you say ” beating a child to death just because he can” you have concocted a scenario in which the passerby has perfect information, right down to the motive. It would seem clear in such a case that ignoring this situation would be morally reprehensible. Ethical duty, lets change the scenario. You are walking by when you see not one but three men beating a child(outcome unclear), you are not sure of the motive, they are heavily armed, they are police. What does sheyboer do, no, really what do you do? Do you have an ethical duty to make a widow of your wife and deprive your children of a father? You can’t be sure of how this situation unfolds, maybe you become labeled a cop killer, maybe a martyr. Maybe as a martyr you encourage other people to stand up to corrupt cops, maybe this turns into a war between police and civilians.

    Governments use people to murder and oppress other people. Take two groups of people, oppressor and oppressed, put the oppressed in power, the outcome is not harmony. Whatever the truth behind a war they are all couched in terms of humanitarian. There is no such thing as a humanitarian war. You are talking about a large group of people who are lied to by a small group of people, convinced they are duty bound or otherwise fighting some perceived injustice, being murdered by another large group of people who have been lied to. As far as I know Hitler never gave a speech to his masses where he stated “my fellow Germans we are a bunch of sick effers, are you with me!”.

    What is a preemptive attack? Striking a flotilla amassing at your border is a defensive act. Bombing a country for making threats of war is preemptive. Killing foreign civilians is not humanitarian. If the US put an end to Israeli oppression of Palastinians , how do you think the remaining Jews fare in the aftermath?

    Oddly enough, I think I could concoct a scenario for a just war but it would not be humanitarian. Thanks for the post, interesting topic to think about.

    in reply to: How to respond to ridicule #19220

    Hello gkisystems,
    I have long been interested in the mystery of pyramid construction at Giza. Until very recently I had never heard a plausible explanation of how they were constructed. I think, for some of us, when a satisfactory answer is not forthcoming we tend to be given to outlandish speculation. I don’t believe this is necessarily harmful. It is simply the ridiculous countering the ridiculous, after all, you have to start somewhere. After watching a video where a very plausible case was made for the construction techniques of the great pyramid, I was alarmed to find in the comments section an almost dogmatic adherence to some of the most flighty explanations ever propagated on this matter, as if a theory is more important than the truth. Quite an irony given the orthodoxy they are attempting to counter.
    My point is one about what do we really know, what do we believe we know, and why do we believe it. The accusation of “conspiracy theorist” doesn’t amount to much of a response but have you offered anything beyond speculation? You can have a number of facts that can lead one to wonder but it is less clear in these cases if the conclusion you have reached actually follows from them.
    There is, unfortunately, a good chance that the person you are debating has absolutely nothing to offer and you are being accused of wearing a tin foil hat by someone who is defending a position so thin that it is only held together by its repetition. Suffice it to say “everybody knows” is not a defense of your opponents position and if he is not willing to be held to the same standard of proof that you are then you are probably wasting your time. If you need to continue for some sense of personal satisfaction then defend your points, stay logical, and hurl the ad hominems with each rebut of their positions.

    in reply to: Ideas for New Courses #20258

    Hello Matt, if I recall correctly Tom has had many requests for a middle east course, which I would also be interested in, but has yet to find anyone that he would be comfortable with teaching it.

    in reply to: Subscription question #20297

    Hi pat, if you don’t renew you will be shutout from accessing the lectures and forums but if you download the lectures before your subscription ends then you can view them for as long as you keep the files.

    in reply to: Women In The Workplace #20286

    I have long held a similar view but have never bothered to research the topic. I wonder if Professor Herbener has any thoughts on this matter?

    in reply to: Climate Change #20199

    Hi Patricia,

    I can’t be sure of how well they have thought this all out but if the United States were covered with active volcanoes I am sure the government would go out of its way to incentivize people to live there.

    It is funny you mention misanthropes. I have a friend who argues about how awful people are to the planet and how much better off the planet would be without the presence of human stupidicus. You should have seen the look of dismay on his face when I explained to him that his environmental concerns are meaningless without people to experience it, as the state of the environment is only significant with its ability to support human beings. And the irony is that left on its own the planet will eventually wipe out all life as we know it and all but the truly misanthropic will be calling for man-made climate change to remedy us from this fate.

    in reply to: Climate Change #20197

    Hi CEOoftheSOFA,

    I’m not so sure about part of your conclusion. The people of undeveloped nations would probably like to develop. It seems to me, all this hoopla about climate change is being used to bring about things like cap and trade. This is a protectionist racket used to ensure only the largest and most wealthy firms are able to exist. In other words, smaller firms that cannot bear the additional costs find themselves effectively barred from entry. I would bet that if these large firms find the additional carbon costs too much, some sort of subsidy will come their way.

    What is an imbalance, we are told the climate has changed in the past, we are told it is changing now, what is balancing it? People have always lived around rivers, the rivers flooded so they lived outside of the flood plane, Now we live in the flood plane and act shocked when there is a flood. Humans have the ability to adapt to their environment and have the nerve to wave their hands when the environment doesn’t adapt to us.

    in reply to: God and Abstract Objects #19207

    Hello jerryb225,

    Let us first get Presuppositionalism out of the way. I think we are in accord on this matter. I hold to no religion. This does not prevent me from concluding that there is a god but I’m not presupposing it. If you can imagine my situation, I am not well received by the religious or the atheists. When I reference god, do not presume that I am referring to something in western culture that exalts one type of Caucasian over all others. Not that you are, just in case.

    Maybe I am missing something here but, it seems to me, the first two axioms do not work together.
    “hallucinations for example so that would definitely not exist independent of consciousness.”

    I think Rand would say hallucinations exist only in the mind, if not, hallucinations do not exist. Now, is consciousness created by the mind? If yes, then consciousness only exists in the mind or consciousness does not exist. You tell me “consciousness does exist” , now tell me if I’m missing an option but I think we are left with two possibilities: consciousness exists independent of consciousness (I know this seems ludicrous but that is the problem) or for her second axiom to work, it is a case of special pleading. So, if everything that exists exists independent of any consciousness then the axiom of existence is either incorrect or, inexplicably, she is allowing some special type of existence.

    ” perhaps there is another type of consciousness out there that doesn’t have these limitations”

    Are you conflating the senses with consciousness? Per your examples you have introduced different types of consciousness. Is someone who has never had the sense of sight less conscious? A dog has the same five senses as we do, in fact, its sense of smell and hearing are superior to ours and, I believe, its other three senses are similar, if not the same, to ours. Yet, do we consider the dog as being more conscious than us? If our thoughts come from our senses then does the dog have superior thoughts? Do we learn to think? If you never learned a language would your thoughts be unintelligible to you?

    “Imagine a child is born having no senses whatsoever”

    This probably precludes the child from having thoughts about the physical world, the world that is perceived by the senses. Now, you say the child can’t think until one of its senses are turned on. Does sight create thought?

    ” Imagine a vacuum of nothingness”

    I am sorry but I can not do this. If I imagine a state of non existence then I would imagine nothing to be something. Nothing would then not need to exist for me to have a comparative.

    “consciousness that had nothing to be conscious of is contradictory.”

    Yes, yes, Absolutely yes. But consciousness exists. I know I exist because I am conscious, I am conscious of my consciousness, I am self aware, I didn’t need to perceive a spoon or a cosmological teacup to come to that conclusion. I did, however, need to be conscious to perceive physical objects.

    I am conscious

    I agree that physical objects exist. Every physical object is made of something, cells, atoms, sub atomic particles, super strings(?), but matter can’t be reduced infinitely or it would have never began to exist in the first place. So I grant that there must be some physical element that is not made of another physical element. Is this element made of nothing or something which is not physical? It is impossible for nothing to exist. So, physical objects are made of something that is not physical. Metaphysical objects are reducible in the same way, the unmoved mover, the first cause sort of thing. I find the notion of the Logos or word of god to be both consistent and necessary to explain existence. That certainly does not lead me to the same conclusions that theologians have had about divine attributes but none of my arguments would begin with the claim, god does not exist. My view on these matters is not intractable but I have yet to hear anything from anybody that is more plausible.

    I am sure, to you, I have already stepped in it, so I will go one more. The statement; I am conscious doesn’t just mean I’m awake or aware, it means I am conscious – that is my I-ness my being. I am that I am.

    Jerry, I am frequently told by my friends that I am a good person and an asshole, usually in the same sentence. Please don’t take any of this as being flippant or disrespectful, just a conversation between two fellers.

    I am dearly sorry if all of this constitutes “highjacking your thread”. Please send Professor Casey an email, making him aware of your question.

    in reply to: WW1, and the German Invasion of France #16856

    Hi esselbach,

    This is a link to a YouTube vid: the world at war (Ralph raico)
    It’s pretty much the same answer that Dr. J laid out but some more context with everything else that was going on at the time. First 24 min he explains how Europe became imperialist, from there to about 55min is more to your question. I think you might like the whole lecture, hope I didn’t waste your time.

    in reply to: Property Rights #20169

    Hello Patricia,

    I think the situation you are describing is the formation of a monopoly among landlords in a free market. If all landlords created this stipulation then one of them would do well by catering to the desire to procreate and thus siphon a lot of renters to his dwellings. If you can still conceive of this monopoly existing, there are still some fundamental incentives to keep this situation from occurring.

    I don’t know about you but, It seems to me, we think entirely too much on the could and not the would. I cam across this scenario: Two men wash up on a deserted island, one conscious the other unconscious. The one man quickly builds a bamboo fence around his companion. when the companion wakes , the one man tells him he has homesteaded all the land around him and did not interfere with him while building the fence thus respecting his property rights.

    That’s the crux of it. My mind quickly goes to the fence, is he trapped? Has the companion been imprisoned? Is passively building a prison not an aggressive act? Let’s say that it is. The one man has no duty to allow the companion to stay on his land but does he have the right to block the companion from going back out to sea? Here’s why the one man has no incentive to imprison the companion in the first place. The companion would crush the one man’s head with a rock before taking his chances in the open sea. The one man does not want to fight to the death in the event the companion gets free. The one man crushes the companions head with a rock while he is still passed out. Why would this character go through all the trouble of constructing a prison in the first place just to uphold a law that no one is there to enforce.

    So, if you can envision a scenario where everyone in a voluntary society is somehow forced to accept a ban on reproduction, I think you would have a situation where some fed up individuals kill these landlords, repercussions be damned.

    in reply to: God and Abstract Objects #19204

    Hi jerryb225, thank you for continuing the conversation.

    You have introduced some new concepts to me. So I am taking my understanding of PoE & PoC from here.
    I don’t think I have explained the primacy issue and I’m not sure why I should feel compelled to justify myself based on a philosophy that seems purposely limited?

    The primacy of existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists, i.e., that the universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness), that things are what they are, that they possess a specific nature, an identity.

    Consciousness exists.
    Something that exists exists independent of consciousness.
    Therefore consciousness exists independent of consciousness.
    Consciousness cannot exist independent of consciousness.
    Therefore consciousness does not exist.

    If the very thing(consciousness) that perceives that which exists does not exist then the axiom of Primacy of existence is founded on something that does not exist. If I am in any way correct, then not only does the PoE require a hell of a lot of assumptions but is in fact contradictory.

    “It was aware of itself” seems to be too convenient and easy of an answer”

    I can’t imagine you would be satisfied with an inconvenient and difficult answer. So to say, consciousness with no substance or existence can’t identify itself as conscious, is to say, consciousness does not exist. Perhaps Rand’s intention was that consciousness is contingent on a physical object, such as the brain, and that may be so, for humans, but that certainly does not exhaust the cosmos.

    What do you think? I am pretty much a rookie at this sort of thing, so I don’t assert that I know Rand is wrong, even though it seems to me she was. I have a different take on the issue of existence that doesn’t seem to fit in the Objectivist universe.

    in reply to: Just reading #21194

    Professor Casey is just reading the Power Point presentation he created. They are provided separately with each lecture. It will still just be a guy reading but you an go as fast as you want. If you need a program to open them check out openoffice.org.

    in reply to: "Time fallacy? #19211

    Hi efremk,

    I don’t want to assume your preferences or what you may have already done but here is a reminder.

    “Your argument is wrong because we are in 2014 and not the 1950s.”

    Depending on what this is referring to, it may be a number of fallacies or none at all.
    Wikipedia has a long List of fallacies which I think goes a bit overboard. This site seems to have a more concise list of Logical Fallacies.

    It is important to keep in mind whether or not the initial argument is fallacious. If I argue: Something is true of 1950 therefore it is true of 2014. Something that is true in the 1950’s may be true in 2014 but, I believe, this might be a Falacy of composition. Something that is true of one year or group of years is not necessarily true of all years. The initial argument may commit a formal fallacy, such as affirming the consequent. People went to the movies in 1950, I just went to the movies, therefore it’s 1950. I think in such a case, “Your argument is wrong because we are in 2014 and not the 1950s.” would be valid.

    In the 1950’s communist rebels overthrew the Cuban government.
    There are communist rebels in the U.S.
    Therefore communist rebels might try to overthrow the U.S. government.

    In this case, “Your argument is wrong because we are in 2014 and not the 1950s.” might well be described as an Ignoratio elenchi. I admit, I have never come across this term before but, where arguments of refutation are concerned, it seems to occur quite frequently.

    Regarding a Time Fallacy. You might find either an Appeal to novelty or an Appeal to antiquity is taking place. For a slightly different take on appeal to novelty take a look at Chronological snobbery.
    Do not take my response as authoritative. I am trying to learn by doing sort of thing. So that professor Casey can approve or critique my understanding of this subject. I hope this was, at least, helpful.

    in reply to: God and Abstract Objects #19202

    Hello jerryb225,

    ” abstractions do not exist “out there” they only exist in the mind.”

    As far as I know,
    That we can be certain about existence comes from our ability to perceive that which is extant.
    That we can perceive anything is only through the mind.
    The mind exists because the mind perceives is own existence.
    Therefore our existence is metaphysical.
    Therefore we can not be certain that physical objects exist independently of the mind.

    Axiom: knowledge is attained through, and only through, Perception.

    It is through the mind, that I know physical objects exist independently of my ability to perceive.
    Therefore something can exist independent of my mind.

    Since all objects, physical and metaphysical, first begin in the mind and objects which are known through the mind can be perceived to be independent of the mind, then metaphysical objects can exist independently of the mind.

    If I consider some things to be self-evident, such as; there are physical objects that exist in the universe and their existence is independent of our ability to perceive them. If every conscious being* died (assuming that to be the end of consciousness), I feel certain that the physical objects, and for that matter the universe itself, would continue to exist, independent of an ability to be perceived. Now, the laws and mathematical axioms, if true, that govern the universe and those objects contained in, which are metaphysical, would not be expected to cease without our ability to perceive them.

    If in fact, it is true that metaphysical objects exist only in the mind then the metaphysical objects and the physical objects they govern would disappear with the end of consciousness. If so far, you believe I have gone off the rails, you might stop to consider, what is Force?

    I believe the implication here is; If future existence of objects is contingent on the mind and its ability to perceive them then the same too the existence of past objects. What should be immediately obvious about this is that consciousness would not only be the creator of existence but also the sustainer.

    fiat lux

    *Except 1. As it is, we know that existence seems to be all in the mind but not in our minds because people could not justifiably state that they are the creator and sustainer of existence. If my axiom is correct then something would have to first perceive itself in order to account for existence. There can only be one such entity because we can only perceive one existence. It can have no predecessor because an infinite regress has no beginning.

    I don’t mean this to be a proof of anything. I haven’t studied the philosophers nor am I certain that I have managed to stay logically consistent. I do believe I have offered something, at least, worthy of consideration.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 65 total)