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TFBW's Forum • View topic - Atlas Shrugged

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 Post subject: Atlas Shrugged
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:36 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:24 pm 
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The more I stir this around, the muddier the water becomes. Initially, I had all sorts of analogues to low-level formatting, Turing Machines, shell accounts and such to try and make a point, but it turns out that was all really unsatisfactory for what I was trying to convey. So here's the basics:

I think there is a level of logic below what we normally think of as systematic logic (formal or informal) when we hear the word. A more fundamental logic that without it it would be impossible to form any thing resembling a coherent thought at all. This level of logic is absolutely essential. It's more instinctual, but that's not quite the right word either, because it is a step above that. It's more akin to that level of logic you described Adam an Eve as having prior to acquiring the knowledge of good and evil, but I can't think of a logical way to differentiate it. Without it, though, concepts like "I feel that it is false", "God told me it is false" or "the people have voted that it is false" would have no bearing and be absolutely vacuous. In fact, concepts couldn't even exist at all.

Surely philosophers have thought about this, but I haven't seen it specifically addressed by anyone. That leads me to believe that I am somehow overlooking something exceedingly simple and blatantly obvious.


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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:07 pm 
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I was watching my 2 year old granddaughter and our pets (2 dogs and a cat) playing with each other last night and while my granddaughter clearly had the intellectual advantage, they all demonstrated, to one degree or another, the sort of very basic logic I was trying to describe. I'm just not sure where the line gets drawn between that and the sort of logic that Galt mistakenly touts as the only thing necessary to derive a complete and internally consistent set of values.

Upon re-reading your post, I think I better understand what you were saying. Logic is inherently difficult if not impossible to pigeonhole which is more or less what Galt was claiming to have done and what I was more or less ineptly asking you to do.

Philosophy makes me dizzy, but I suppose it it were cut and dry, people wouldn't have been mulling over the same subjects for a couple of thousand years. Eh?


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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:06 pm 
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John Galt's problem is that he thinks that logic allows us to know things as they really are -- to be certain of facts about the world, and thus compel us to one singly rational course of action. The harsh reality is that logic is not capable of proving that it is both complete (capable of proving all truths) and consistent -- both of which would seem to be necessary as a foundation for using logic in the manner that Galt suggests, if we are to treat it with the unassailable certainty that he does.

Logic and mathematics are uniquely placed in that they actually posses the means to prove that they are incapable of certain proofs. Computer science has a similar issue of "non-computability", with the classic example being the "halting problem". Armed with the logical certainty that every possible coherent system of logic contains undecidable problems, it's a leap of faith to assert that logic can still answer all the important questions -- and leaps of faith are supposed to be anathema to John Galt.

Galt's problem is that he's ignorant, but he thinks that he's irrefutably correct. Your virtue is that you're ignorant and you know it. As a consequence, you've become aware of a problem that John Galt wouldn't even know how to notice.

The problem in question doesn't have a name of which I'm aware, but it's closely related to the problem of consciousness. Let's call it "the problem of intuition". Rather than discuss it here, however, I'll create a new topic in the philosophy section, since it's not particularly related to Atlas Shrugged. It might take me a while to write it up, but I'll post again here if it's going to take more than a few days.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:13 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:59 am 
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Be sure to spin it the right way.

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