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  1. #21

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    I'm largely an objectivist. I just wish that someone a little less insufferable than Ayn Rand were the poster child for objectivism.
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  2. #22
    Resident Snot-Nose GZA's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with you, Kiddo (didn't read the rest of the thread, but I will).

    Even objectivity is a choice made after subjective analysis of the word. And subjectivity is also impossible without external, independent variables in the word. The two depend on one another to exist and balance needs to exist.

    Mankind can not exist without collectivism, but the individual can not exist without egoism and self-interest. The collective is in turn an external, independant variable and the ways of self-interest are a subjective choice of opinion. Funny how these things come together

    That said, I'm definitely a relativist or whatever you called it (I've always thought of it as "subjectivity" myself). I beleive the economy exist for us, as a way to fund our social programs and keep the country (and consequently the world) in good shape. I believe that we need to help others in need.

    But I also beleive in individualism, I believe people should guide their life on self interest. The way I see it, what the vast majority of people would end up doing is going to contribute to the whole anyway. There are always the right people to go in and fill demand because there are all kinds of people who naturally gravitate to different feilds, so if you let them act in self interest, they will. As Ayn Rand said, ebing "selfish" isn't a bad thing, it's acting for your own interest. I think selfishness is only bad when it stops other people from accomplishing what they need/deserve. I beleive in individualism, and that everyone deserves equal opportunity to develop their individual niche and thrive in it and that it is wrong to put yourself ahead to get far by shutting others down. and at that point, everyone is once again just a guinea pig in the collective The way this all comes back

    Yep, I'm one more peice of evidence that F=relativist.

  3. #23
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMWarner View Post
    I'm largely an objectivist. I just wish that someone a little less insufferable than Ayn Rand were the poster child for objectivism.
    Yes, she rejected the relative and thus doomed her philosophy. You can't accept only one side of a coin.

    Quote Originally Posted by GZA View Post
    I pretty much agree with you, Kiddo (didn't read the rest of the thread, but I will).

    Even objectivity is a choice made after subjective analysis of the word. And subjectivity is also impossible without external, independent variables in the word. The two depend on one another to exist and balance needs to exist.

    Mankind can not exist without collectivism, but the individual can not exist without egoism and self-interest. The collective is in turn an external, independant variable and the ways of self-interest are a subjective choice of opinion. Funny how these things come together
    Thank you. Although I do prefer the word "relative" to "subjective". Subjective relates to taking place within the individual mind as in being influenced by personal opinion, whereas relative is the argument against the absolute since it is defined to being related to circumstances or extremal conditions. However, relativity is subjectively defined because it can only be interpreted within the mind. But as you seemed to express, objectivity is relative (subjective) and relativity (subjectivity) is objective. You seem to have also captured the idea that they are inseparable, and coexist.

    A professor once made this argument of the relative nature of objectivity.

    If you were an alien, living on a different planet at a different point in the universe, then all the human objective observations of the universe would probably be non existent to you. The parameters by which we percieve the universe could be completely different to aliens on another planet. For example, we percieve time the way we do because of the speed we are moving, however if our planet were moving faster, then we would experience time slower than we actually do.

    A scientist by the name of Einstein noticed this concept and deemed it the theory of relativity. All the measurements by which we understand time, (days, minutes, seconds) are based upon increments of how long it takes our planet to move around the sun. They are relative measurements, by which we make objective observations. In essence, every objective observation is based upon a relative measurement. Even our senses are relative experiences.

    If you were an alien who interpreted a higher wavelength of light, then concepts such as "red" and "green" would probably be nonexistant to you. These are interpretations of light relative to human beings. We can even observe this on our own planet? What does "red" and "green" mean to a colorblind person? They of course, interpret these colors differently and have no conception of how others perceive those colors. More proof of the relative nature of our sensory experiences.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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  4. #24

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    (Warning: Long post. But I hope it is sufficently partitioned for your to jump to the sections you find worth reading)

    The earlier part of your post made a lot of sense to me. To really be (as close to) objective (as we can get) we need to examine things from many points of view.

    But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    A professor once made this argument of the relative nature of objectivity.
    It is this sort of thing that I think takes "relativity" too far. Since I believe I understood what you were saying, I will attempt to make plain one so-called objectivist's objection to relativity when taken to this extent.

    Central to the counter-point is the notion of a "transformation".
    We'll start off simple with Newtonian mechanics, which is still considered a great appoximation for what we currently believe to be true.

    Let's say we are thinking about a completely inelastic collision (i.e. the bodies stick to each other). What direction are the velocities of the bodies? What are the speeds of the bodies? What about the kinetic energies of the bodies? All these answers change based of the refenrence frame.

    But the fact remains you are still describing the same collision. There will be well defined transformations of descriptions from various reference frames to the others.

    In addition, if you chose intertial reference frames, you will find that the law of conservation of momentum still holds.

    If you choose, non-inertial reference frames, there will be the existance of unacounted forces (which indicate that one is working from a non-intertial refence frame). But these are "artifacts" of the reference frame, "illusions" if you will.

    This is the second part of the counter point. How does a relativist distiguish illusion from reality?

    It seems like as extreme relativist position essentially says everything is an illusion. That, I think, is untenable (though I don't think many people take that extreme a position).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    If you were an alien, living on a different planet at a different point in the universe, then all the human objective observations of the universe would probably be non existent to you.
    You don't need to resort to alien life forms for this analogy. We know that fish and frogs and other animals percieve the world differently from human beings at a fundamental level.

    But these different perceptions still don't change the underlying reality.

    We can be fooled by optical illusions, but just because we percieve something doesn't make it real.

    Stare at something red for a long time, then look at a white wall and you will see a "negative" of the object you were staring at, but that doesn't make the negative real.

    Similarily, if you are anesthesized when someone kills you, you still die.

    A color blind person once argued with me that a particular countainer was not blue but black, but I told him he was color-blind. He refused to believe me, but I had to get other people to coroborate the "blueness" of the container.

    His perception of the equivelence of blue to black is an artifact, an illusion of his different perception. Not a different reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    The parameters by which we percieve the universe could be completely different to aliens on another planet. For example, we percieve time the way we do because of the speed we are moving, however if our planet were moving faster, then we would experience time slower than we actually do.

    A scientist by the name of Einstein noticed this concept and deemed it the theory of relativity.
    Again this is a matter of "transformations." Length contraction was actually something that came up in the Michelson Morley experiment when they tried to measure the speed of light through the ether.

    These types of weirdnesses (length contraction, time expansion, etc) were then captured by the Lorentz transformation

    Einstein actually made the philosophical leap to move our perceptions-of-space-and-time to the realm of "artifact" of reference frame, and speed-of-light-through-a-vaccum as a fundamental constant independent of reference frame (and of course gave us E=mc^2*(Lorentz Factor))

    Now to really test how much of a relativist vs. objectivist you are (I doubt anyone is that extreme):

    We have probably heard about the fact that if we leave earth at near the speed of light and come back at the speed of light, the people on earth will have aged.

    Consider this other situation:

    We have two spaceships in the middle of space. Bob is on one, Sarah is on the other. One of the spaceships takes off near the speed of light away from the other and comes back near the speed of light.

    From the reference frame of either Bob or Sarah's space ship, the other spaceship took of at the speed of light and came back.

    So who aged more when the meet up again? Is it that Bob aged from Sarah's perspective, but Sarah aged from Bob's? Is it just relative?

    No. One of them only had the illusion that the other went away and came back, but actually went away and came back himself/herself.

    There will be other artifacts that the actually travelling ship will also observe however, which would tim him/her off that his/her spaceship was in reality the one moving away and comming back.

    Twin paradox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Anyway, it seemed like what you were saying Kiddo, could have been misconstrued by some to mean that everything is an illusion, not that we percieve through things suceptable to illusion.

    I hope what I wrote made sense, though it was long.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Anyway, it seemed like what you were saying Kiddo, could have been misconstrued by some to mean that everything is an illusion, not that we percieve through things suceptable to illusion.

    I hope what I wrote made sense, though it was long.
    Wow, you really thought all this through.

    I don't think its an illusion, but I have come to the following conclusions about the nature of the universe.

    1. There is an objective reality.
    2. The objective reality can only be observed through relative means (sensory experiences, human cognition, measurement, etc.) and therefore it can only be known relatively.
    3. Our relative understanding of the objective universe (science, philosophy, etc.) is based upon standardized relative measurements (time, length, mass, etc.) and is therefore limited to certain parameters we have defined.
    4. Therefore, there is also a relative reality based upon human perception of the objective reality.
    5. The only reality that has meaning to humans is the relative one, since if we did not exist, there would be no one to percieve the objective one. Whereas the relative reality would cease to exist with us.

    And this is the tough one.

    6. Every individual experiences the relative reality differently.

    Now if you have any contention with any of those points then let me know.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Now if you have any contention with any of those points then let me know.
    We're pretty much in agreement on those points. Barring that I leave open the posibility of other entities (like God(s), or pets, or ...aliens) who could percieve things that could still be meaningful to humans.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    We're pretty much in agreement on those points. Barring that I leave open the posibility of other entities (like God(s), or pets, or ...aliens) who could percieve things that could still be meaningful to humans.
    Very good. Now I have a fairly logical basis to disagree with the Ayn Rand followers. Tell me what you think of my disagreements of Rand's primary principles.

    Reality exists as an objective absolute-facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

    That true. There exists an objective reality, but no human being will ever be able to percieve it.

    Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

    That isn't true because man's reason is a relative means of understanding the universe because it is based upon relative perceptions which come from relative sensory experiences. Man can only know the relative reality.

    And since all the rest of Ayn Rands moral/ethical/political/economic ideas are based on those principles, the objectivists have no grounding for arguing absolutist beliefs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Very good. Now I have a fairly logical basis to disagree with the Ayn Rand followers. Tell me what you think of my disagreements of Rand's primary principles.

    Reality exists as an objective absolute-facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.

    That true. There exists an objective reality, but no human being will ever be able to percieve it.
    Unfortunately, say "no human being will ever be able to percieve [objective reality]" is to bold a claim. In a way, it disproves itself.

    However, I would look at anyone who claims to have percieved absolute reality with a hefty dose of skepticism.

    This is similar to the idea Nocturne puts forth regarding criticalism vs. justificationism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

    That isn't true because man's reason is a relative means of understanding the universe because it is based upon relative perceptions which come from relative sensory experiences. Man can only know the relative reality.
    Although, I agree with you, I wouldn't actually claim it as logical. It is similar to the belief in God. One cannot prove these things in one direction or another.

    Like the existence of objective reality, human-kind's limit on being able to percieve it is something with mounting evidence on one-side.

    Still, some day, someone may be able to discover objective truth and prove humans can discover it (I think it unlikely)...
    or someday, someone may be able to "prove" there is no objective reality (but that still seems like a self-contradiction to me).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    And since all the rest of Ayn Rands moral/ethical/political/economic ideas are based on those principles, the objectivists have no grounding for arguing absolutist beliefs.
    I really dislike Ayn Rand's brand of objectivism. I find it overly simplistic, and often seems to require followers (and often others) to have inhuman (as in impossible for humans to exhibit) levels of rationality.

    "Homo-economicus" is another fallacy used by free-market promoters, with similarily irrational expectations of rationality.

    Still, there are some good things to keep in mind with regards to these things. I don't think they even make good "approximations" to the truth. But they are "impressionistic" of it.

    (That particular subtlety is something I have thought about a lot but not something I've really though about expressing. But if people are intersted, I can try to see if I can put the ideas into words)

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  9. #29
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    Somehow I doubt people will be able to discover objective truth. But if they do it certainly won't be within our lifetimes. And it definitely won't have anything to do with human values, morals, or ethics as Rand is trying to suggest.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
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  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Somehow I doubt people will be able to discover objective truth. But if they do it certainly won't be within our lifetimes. And it definitely won't have anything to do with human values, morals, or ethics as Rand is trying to suggest.
    I'm inclined to agree. It is clearer to me to say that we may discover objective truth, but never be certain that we found it.

    I also agree that finding objective truths having to do with human values, morals, or ethics are much harder than things having to do with unconcious objects in the world.

    But I want to live forever so that remak about "in our lifetimes"....

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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