Philosophy

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People

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Last night I attended a Greenwood city council meeting in which a smoking ban was presented. It was one of those experiences where I saw first hand the problems with our nation. The problem isn't the myraid number of issues facing our governments, but the simple fact that principled people are hard to come by.

Only one member of the council, Ron Deer, took a principled stand against the ban. Practically everyone else in the room was in favor of the ban, in favor of using the government to coerce smokers. The mayor even suggested that tobacco should be made illegal, hinting to his lack of integrity.

I'm left wondering how people who do not hold rational princples can be persuaded with a principled argument? It also begs to ask why our schools fail to turn out principled people?

Selfishness At Work

I have a random selection of blogs bookmarked. One of these is Bill Lovett's. I forget why I have his bookmarked, but I did come across a quote worth keeping track of though:

Collectively, a group of people is able to navigate a busy sidewalk because each person is looking out for his or herself, and miraculously that allows everyone to get to where they're going in a more-or-less efficient fashion [What if iPods could broadcast?].

That only proves once more that self-interest is the best way to go. If only certain people would accept that and hammer it into their skulls we might see better governance.

Objectivism and Common Sense

I just finished Nathaniel Branden's The Objectivist Ethics in an Information Age Economy. He ended with:

However, should the Objectivist ethics ever gain widespread social acceptance, you may be sure of one thing-it will not be called "the Objectivist ethics." It will be called, "Well, of course. It's obvious. Wake up, man, don't you realize this is the twenty-first century? What we're talking about-it's only common sense."

He is right. Part of the reason why I like Objectivism is that it is common sense. I didn't have to read all of Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism to grasp where it was going. I pretty much already knew it. Though my public education taught me about most of the topics, no teacher ever said "this is right".

Take capitalism for example. It was covered in my economics class, but my teacher didn't say "capitalism is right" though there was some condemnation of communism. He taught how the US's economy was a mixed economy, but did not denounce it. He should have since it is a compromise with socialism, or communism, which basically equates to the US economy being socialistic. He merely taught it as a fact without judgement. A judgement that I would have at least stressed had I been teaching.

I would have to do a deeper historical and sociological study to determine what is and was common sense. I am willing to say that Objectivism may actually be on track to being renamed as common sense as Branden concludes, at least here in America.

Nation founded on reason, not biblical principles

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Published in the Dec. 14th edition of the Daily Journal.

In the Nov. 26 edition of the Daily Journal, Paul Hammons wrote a letter to the editor that touched on quite a few things. He touched on the election, evolution and the founding of this country.

I will correct him on his statement that this country was founded on biblical principles because it’s an attempt to rewrite our history.

The governments of the Dark Ages were founded on Biblical principles. Those centuries were dark times that only saw meager progress. Hence why we call them the Dark Ages. The meager progress was directly related to the power of the Church, because the Church suppressed ideas and people who were critical of it, effectively keeping the majority of the people ignorant.

Whereas the United States was founded on the concepts of reason and individuality along with the three principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. None of which are Biblical, and none of which are detrimental to a strong society. In fact those principles are the sole reason we do have a strong society, because men are free to exchange ideas and live their lives as they see fit.

Oneness

During my browsings tonight I was led to the The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies from Saint Andre's blog. I wish they had articles available online, because this abstract intrigued me:

WHAT ARE ENTITIES?, pp. 67-86

DAVID J. JILK argues that the division of existence into entities is a result of epistemological processes and is not intrinsic to existence. The physical content of what we call an entity exists independent of any conscious observer. But that which we call an entity is not actually separate in reality from the rest of existence—its isolation as independent is solely the result of objective epistemological processes.

(JARS - Fall 2003)

Ah, existence is good.

The Cosmic Mind

I just read Computing the Cosmos, and the illustrations they have are beautiful. The Spongy Univers is a good one. It is interesting though, the similiarity between the Universe and neural structure. Compare:

Granted the function and structure of matter on galactic scales is far different from a neuron and the structure of the brain. It is amazing how self similiar the Universe is, and what humans (at least me) find beautiful. And who can refute that the Universe is thinking other than a dualist.

DIM Witted

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While waiting for Psi to compile I decided to find something to read. I headed over to CapMag.com and read Republican Health Care Contradictions. Surprisingly I saw Dr. Peikoff's DIM hypothesis in action. An example of Dis-integration and Mis-integration were given:

Unfortunately the choice for voters seems to be between bad principles with potentially disastrous consequences (the Democrats), and better—if superficial—principles to be implemented by pragmatists looking for any political excuse to ignore them (the Republicans). No one addresses the root problems.

Dis-integration is basically no integration of ideas. Mis-integration is the integration of ideas but not correctly, ie: not integrated with reality. It should be apparent who's who in the quote.

Marx

I just read Calling All Marxists! Life After Capitalism 2004 Conference on CapMag.com, and thought I should make a post about one of Mark's "teachings" that seem to have stuck in my head. I'm not a Marxism expert, but his idea of the public ownership of capital goods has stuck in my head. That's the idea that led to the form of Communism that is readily practiced. Since Marx called for a revolution, that idea got applied through government controlled economies.

Looking at the evolution of capitalism one can see that idea actually has been realized. It has been realized by corporations—publicly traded corporations. Anyone, not just the rich, can buy stock in any corporation traded on the stock market and be called an owner of that corporation. If they get voting stock, they get a say in how it runs.

So maybe Marx was a prophet—just an impatient one. Corporations are the embodiment of Marx's idea of public ownership of capital goods. Not the government controlled economies of the east.

Induction

I just spent the past hour listening to Leonard Peikoff's lecture on The One In the Many. He described the process in which he formulated his DIM hypthesis, and ended with a timeline his book on it. He said he was caught up with the formulating the problem of induction. Induction is defined as:

The act or process of reasoning from a part to a
whole, from particulars to generals, or from the
individual to the universal; also, the result or inference
so reached. (Open Aether's Dictionary Bot)

I'm going to make a prediction about his conclusion on induction. He's going to conclude with an objective definition of intuitive leaps. Eintstein said that it takes an intuitive leap to formulate a theory or to solve a problem. What is that intuitive leap? Peikoff defined intuition as abitrary in his lecture. The intuitive leap is the arbitrary leap from particulars into a greater whole. That leap alone is not the end. It results in a hypothesis that must be tested and verified against reality to produce a theory or solution.

Deriving the Angle Of the Earth's Axis

While the I download the latest copy of Psi I went outside for a smoke, and deduced the angle of the Earth's axis from the position of the sun. If you tracked the position of the sun from sun rise to now, it comes to about a 15 degree angle against a vertical. Here's a diagram:

       T
       |/N
     15+
      /|
     / |
----P--|---- horizon

Looking east, N is where the sun is now, and P is where the sun was at when it rose. A tree (T) made a nice vertical. If the Earth's axis was at zero degrees, the sun would rise in a straight line. It doesn't. So I guess I just proved that the Earth's axis is slanted by about 15 degrees.

And they say geometry doesn't come in handy.

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