Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FRB still misunderstood!

Commenter MadMax asked me if I could respond to a post by Doug Reich about Fractional Reserve Banking. The topicality of that topic is a bit more 'perishable' than econ method, so I decided the latter can wait and I spent what time I had this past week on making that response. Besides, it also ties in with some on-going email (and now tardy) discussions I've been having with a few people and they all have the same issue that is at fault with Doug's post. I hope that this will help clear up a few things in that regard.

Also, note that I am not here actually to defend FRB. Other than when there is a bona-fide physical dearth of specie, such as in remote and rarely-visited locations or where bad law hampers the circulation of specie, there is no economic benefit to the practice and so should be heavily frowned upon. There is no excuse for it in a free economy that has decent communication with the rest of the world.

This is not all of my response, and I’ll post the rest later (update, here it is). It is not the best time of year to be doing this sort of thing!

For those who missed it, previous posts by me are here, here, here and here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Busy until Christmas

Hi there, people

It has become and will continue to be a very busy December for me. I'll be working every day right until Christmas eve. I have notes prepared for my next example of using induction and deduction in how an economist should proceed - validation of the Law of Unintended Consequences. At this rate it wont be done until after Christmas.

Btw, this is Chienna:



As to the whys and wherefores, there are of course things I am not allowed to say but I can say that Cognis has officially been acquired by BASF as of 9 Dec. On Monday this week we each got a lanyard, a magnetic lapel pin, an informational fold-out, and a booklet of stickynotes, plus also a celebratory morning tea. I have no idea how hectic work will get once the integration process hits full swing, but there should be a lull between Christmas and Jan or Feb. I must say it has been good working for Cognis, and I can also say that I am glad I was there for all of its independent existence after Henkel carved itself up. Now it is on to a new future!

JJM

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roundups

I've missed a few Objectivism Roundups, I see.

Objectivism Roundup #171 was hosted by Kelly at Reepicheep'c Coracle,

Objectivism Roundup #172 was hosted by Lynne at 3-Ring Binder,

Objectivism Roundup #173 was hosted by Rachel the Lady Baker at The Playful Spirit,

Objectivism Roundup #174 was hosted by John Cox at Sacred Ego,

Objectivism Roundup #175 was hosted by The Secular Fox himself down in his Secular Foxhole,

And Objectivism Roundup #176 was hosted by our most gracious uber-Hostess, Jenn at Rational Jenn!

JJM

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Econ method 2

Edit 1: poor cut'n'paste management fixed
Edit 2A: For the record, just in case anyone's thinking it, I do NOT think I have added to Objectivism. My thoughts are my own, for my own sake.
Edit 2B: The content in question now also has an addendum.

This entire series on econ method from here on is a very truncated version of my own thoughts regarding induction and validation of various principles important to economics. It is the due concretisation of my post about proper economic method and my rejection of the exclusive use of deduction in determination of economic laws.

This post is not about showing a worked out theory of induction. Rather, it is simply a demonstration of the sort of work in conceptualisation and induction that the economist ought properly be performing to generate and validate economic laws. I leave the full discovery of the theory of induction and its full application to the social sciences and economics for intellectuals more immersed in such issues than I.

Nor will I show the validation of the axioms and causality, as that has already been done. If someone has an issue with just that much then he has bigger problems to deal with than economics. That being said, I will make direct use of one particular corollary of the laws of identity and causality, but more on that later.

Rather than wait until I’ve done the whole lot, which looks as though it is going to run into umpteen pages, here’s the early work that precedes economics proper and focuses on foundational concepts and principles. I'll finish it when I can, though no promises when.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Economic methodology

Here are some more thoughts I am working on. It's going to need more research, of course, but after much thought, reading, and integration, this is what I have come up with so far (in rough dot-point form) as to the methodology of the economic science:

- identify the nature of value, the nature of man, and the nature of society
- working from those, and observing key phenomena, identify the context of economics
- use that context to identify instances and characteristics of critical economic entities
- working with more observations and reasoning, continue to identify and refine valid economic concepts of economic actors and economic entities
- figure out what is rational for an individual to do in the economic context in relation to those actors and entities
- with observation of actual people, past and present, use the above to further determine what happens when lots of people actually act in that rational fashion, and attempt to identify principles of economic action
- use observations of deviations from what would normally be expected if people were acting rationally as you thought they should as guides for further questions to be asked and answered in the whole of the above fashion
- continue the above process, adding in more observations as required, in spiral fashion, to identify ever more economic principles and the structure of their interrelationships

As you might imagine, economic method is just scientific method (with due deference for its application to social sciences) applied specifically to the economic context. As to what exactly is the economic context, I have figured that out to my own satisfaction. I have also intended to publish an article on the topic for The Objective Standard for a while now, but I need to research the history of a particular critical point in more detail before I can finalise it. I need to ensconce myself in a good uni library again for a while, which I haven't had time or occasion to do for a long time. It's well overdue.

By the way, from what I have read, the Austrians focus heavily on the fifth there, and within that use almost exclusively deduction. Needless to say I raise an eyebrow at that blinkered methodology. There is nothing inherently wrong with point five, but the problem with the Austrians is that they treat that fifth point as an out of context primary, are highly rationalist in implementing it, and downplay (or worse) the necessary antecedent steps (the failure to be objective in formation of concepts and definitions is likewise common among rationalists). I have mined a fair bit of worthwhile material from the Austrians, particularly Menger and Bohm-Bawerk, and also von Mises, but I am not an Austrian and am not much of a fan of the later ones who came after von Mises.

That's enough for the time being.

JJM

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Historical data in the fractional reserve banking debate

Previous writing on FRB Revisited:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

First up, I did not think I was going to be original in the details. I got the two core elements of my own opinions from Bawerk and Mises, which along with other discussions of theory and history (eg Salsman) I integrated into my own thoughts. I did NOT get any of my thoughts from Rothbard. Any correspondence of mine with his will lie in the common reference to Mises plus clear thinking (to the extent possible to Rothbard), not of me reading Rothbard. Moreover, the modern debates have been formally raging for two centuries. I am fairly confident that someone somewhere, probably also now long dead, and perhaps now obscure, has already said what I have come to think as a result of my own judgement. If that includes by people I would otherwise hold in contempt, so be it, and I’ll not apologise for publishing thoughts of my own that others may wrongly presume be sanction of everything that those other people had to say.

(Edit: grammar + bad URL + a few expression faults + the three back-links)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

OR169

John Cox has the latest Objectivism Roundup over at Sacred Ego. Enjoy!

btw, I have checked for myself, by actually counting them up after a cut'n'paste from the Carnival banner on past Roundups, that this is indeed #169 (more precisely, that #164 was indeed #164). Just in case anyone was wondering.

JJM

Monday, October 4, 2010

OR168

Jenn has the latest Objectivist Round-up at Rational Jenn. Nothing from me this week, but still good stuff there. I especially recommend Miranda's visit to the High Museum.

JJM

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Modern Science Map

Crispian Jago's Modern Science Map (original post). I can't vouch for its accuracy (treat it as you would the content of a Wikipedia entry, since it contains links thereto), but the concept and execution is awesome!

JJM

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Writing and learning

I'm still not happy with my writing. For instance, Part Two is not all that clear, and lacks sufficient concretisation. The work on justifying the state as such also needs to be significantly redone, almost from scratch. And I am also going over my Constitution with a colder eye after some comments made to me elsewhere and me also independently realising that there are bits that ought be excised entirely. Of course, blogging etiquette requires that edits be marked as such, so they will be.

That is what I am here for. It's why I blog, to write, as well as on particular topics of interest to me. I have no illusions of being majorly influential here, but I publish it because now and then people have made identifications from previous blogging efforts of mine that they never realised before. Nor am I likely any time soon to be as good as Gus van Horn or Jim May, but in time I will get there, and continue to move under my own steam. Until then, I don't mind putting up material that is not greatly cringe-worthy and which a few mostly good people can mine for value.

JJM

Friday, September 24, 2010

OR167

Kelly Elmore has Objectivism Roundup 167 up and ready at Reepicheep's Coracle! I had submitted the photos post to the previous Roundup, but I missed the deadline by *that much*.

JJM

Fractional Reserve Banking, revisted - Part Three

Part Three – The other arguments and last words

Since I am an opponent of the practice, I will begin by dealing with the other arguments in favour of the practice. After that I will deal with other major arguments against the practice and show why they are also wrong.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fractional Reserve Banking, revisted - Part Two

Part Two – The problem with fractional reserve banking

In this Part I show the reasons why the practice of fractional reserve banking has nothing to offer. The physical argument consists of demonstrating the fact that the practice has a net negative influence on the drivers of real capital formation, and so leads to there being less total production than would exist without the practice. The monetary argument consists of naming and shaming the practice for what it is – mere monetary expansion – and showing that every deleterious consequence normally associated with such expansion applies equally strongly to the practice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fractional Reserve Banking, revisted - Part One

Since this topic has been done to death, and since under laissez-faire the practical problem is more or less negligible, unless you’re particularly interested in my thoughts feel free to roll your eyes and skip right over this one. I’m only bringing it up because of Dr Binswanger’s semi-regular reiteration of his belief of there being nothing wrong with it either morally or economically. I agree with the former, but not the latter. The wrongness with it today is a technical matter, no more than that. The historical origin of the practice does show grievous immoralities, but that is only particular implementations and doesn’t address the actual principles.

This Part One deals with what the practice is and what its major consequences in the first instance are. Part Two goes into the details to show why the practice has no merit. And then, Part Three responds to various arguments used by others on both the pro and anti sides.

Update: I've since done a post on how much one can draw from historical empirical data.

Dr Brook to speak in Sydney

Dr Brook is coming to Australia for a presentation on the 11th October this year in the Tattersalls Club in Sydney. The topic is the moral case for capitalism. I'll need to check with the boss because I live halfway across the country and will need to take a whole day off work, but I will certainly try to make it.

In the process I also discovered the Sydney Ayn Rand Meetup group, which I hadn't heard of before. I am not liable to go very often, but I would like to know what's on and when in the event that I am in town at the time.

JJM

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One JJM helps another

JJMcCullough's cartoons have long made me smile, so...
... how could I resist? *chinkchink* $25.

I pointed this one out to Zip not long after JJ published it. He just smiled and kept mum :)

JJM

New Q&A site

A new Objectivist Question & Answer site is up and running. Looks interesting, but to be really valuable there would have to be people involved who remember to keep answers on both a principles and concrete level, lest it become a mere source of out-of-context casuistry.

For those who want to promote it more on their own websites or blogs, the FAQ page has HTML code for your templates.

Edit: it is moderated by Greg Perkins, and so far the main answerers are doing both. Good. I've made my first contributions for this question and this question, awaiting Greg's approval.

JJM

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tweeting

I've decided to check out Twitter - I'm @jjmcvey.

Btw, the offending photo is:

The scar was caused by my boss's dog biting my face while I was trying to feed him, about three years ago.

When I set up this blog I was reluctant to upload it for fairly obvious reasons, but I figured that since I've had that photo up on ObjectivismOnline for years now it might as well stay in place for my general online presence until I get a new one done.

JJM

Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense

Hat tip: Zoe Brain. Creator: Crispian Jago.

JJM

New Constitution, v12.1

(Edit: I did not know it was Constitution Day in the US when I made this post - the timing was pure coincidence. I, despite not being an American, will be forever grateful that a group of men risked life and limb to found a country on such admirable principles, and draw much inspiration from what they achieved on this day in 1787. Thank you.)

I've completed a review of my Constitution after finding Google Sites. In due time I will make my Site dedicated to large articles on politics and economics, but for the time being it's what Google allows as a "file cabinet." Here's the URL. I'll sort out the existing commentary soon, too, and resume making new commentary when that's done. That too, will be in a separate file, which will grow over time. That means essentially that the blogposts I do here will be the individual extracts from that file.

For the record, it is version 12 because I've been writing this over the course of 15 years. Versions 1.1 to 10.5 were previously published under the IRC name "Legendre", with the last being updated in 2003. I hadn't touched it after that until I joined ObjectivismOnline. The version previously published on this blog I called v11.1, so since I did a major structural change the new version is 12.1.

Changes from v11.1 ...

OR166

Jason Stotts has the latest Objectivism Round-Up in Erosophia.

JJM

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lake Eyre 2010

This is about a third of the photos I took this weekend. Unfortunately they don't really give the sense of scale. If it helps, most of these photos were taken at about 5000 feet.

(Edit: I don't think what I thought was the Painted Desert was in fact the Painted Desert. Apparently the actual place was about 100k north-west of William Creek, and when we left we headed south.)

(Edit 2: Go Johnny GO!!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Response to anarchism: answer 2

To reiterate, the answer to the first question was that a man had a right to intervene unilaterally in others’ disputes existed when those others were using or were about to use force because the principles being used or set up by those others had a clear implication for that first man. It is in his interests to see to it, in at least some form and with major caveats, that principles and precedents in the use of force that are too much at variance with reason do not get a foothold within the minds of other men who are frequently in proximity to him (usually meaning those in his society), because those bad principles and precedents could be used against him. What else they do, outside their use of force, is not his concern, but when they are using force it becomes very much his concern.

The second question was how such a right lead to justifying a single government that rightfully had the monopoly on the non-emergency use of force. Again, I am presuming that most people recognise their moral obligations to act rationally and live according to principle, whose application to the use of force is the basis for that right and is the main part of the caveats surrounding its implementation.

Friday, September 10, 2010

OR165

Jenn has the latest edition of the Objectivist Roundup available for your thinking and acting pleasure!

JJM

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Technical updates

Just a quick note: Google Sites looks like a good replacement for Geocities, and includes a variant that is expressly set up as a "File Cabinet" system for the hosting of files for public availability. I'll be using that for my Constitution and other thoughts in future, along with an actual page relating to and organising the material.

JJM

Flaming June

Peter Cresswell has an image of Frederic Lord Leighton's "Flaming June" up. I have a print of this on my bedroom wall, approximately 2' by 3', which I got from the Art Gallery of New South Wales in the Domain in Sydney. He writes:
I think we need some beauty to remind us why life is worth living.
Amen.


JJM

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Response to anarchism: answer 1

Here’s the answer I came up with to the first question I left you with before. I will get to the second one tomorrow or Friday (but if not by Friday it will be on Sunday or Monday because I am taking a weekender that includes a joy-flight over Lake Eyre - I'll bring back lots of photos).

That first question was, how does one demonstrate some sort of right to intervene in others’ disputes at no disputants’ request and demand that they settle the disputes reasonably? Steve had this mostly right. The right comes from that the establishment or cementing of various principles of action in others’ minds may be identifiable as a causative factor in a future threat to one’s own interests, where those principles must include reference to use of force because this inclusion then generates the potential of being made subject to those principles and therefore justifies some sort of response through invoking the right to self-defence.

In regards to criminal action, unreasonable behaviour during the hearing of the dispute itself clearly indicates that someone is apt to be unreasonable in their general exercise of their right to use force in self-defence, but there is more than that to consider and the principle at issue covers all stages of the justice process. In the detection of crimes, how an aggrieved or representative thereof gathers evidence or other information is implicitly establishing principles of this and which may be applied in the future to me, not just by that aggrieved but by others following his cue. For example, when there is sufficient evidence for strong suspicion but not belief for guilt beyond reasonable doubt there are grounds for further evidence-gathering activities that would ordinarily be a breach of rights. Whoever invokes this against another is making it clear that they presume authority to invoke it against me, so I am justified in responding with force to ensure the establishment of the principle of using reason in its invocation even though I have no concrete interest in any particular matter at the time. Similarly, in sentencing of the guilty, an excessive sentence is itself a violation of the guilty party’s rights and, by implication, a threat to my own rights in the event I am guilty of something, while an inadequate sentence insufficiently discourages any others to commit crimes and which again puts me in the firing line. And so on.

The application of the right is broader than just criminal action, and covers civil action as well. A civil dispute ought to be settled privately if it can be, where ordinarily outside parties don’t have the right to intervene (hence to that extent Steve was partly right). However, if the dispute goes far enough such that each party is beginning to think of invoking its right to self-defence to defend what each believes is his entitlements, then again principles regarding the use of force are being put into play and give an opening for others to intervene, even without either party calling for such intervention. As with criminal cases, it is not just the resolution alone that is at issue, but also that one’s interest in the principles of the use of force includes interim measures prior to final resolution. For instance, if there is sufficient evidence for it someone may be justified in demanding that someone pause acting for a while until some investigation of potential for non-criminal but rights-violating action is undertaken, such as the question of whether a miner’s blasting is improperly destabilising someone else’s property above. That then leads a right to seek injunctions and other court orders, which are examples of remedies I mentioned in comments earlier. I am justified in taking an active interest in how such a right is invoked and using force myself in response to ensure that it is invoked reasonably.

In these examples and others like them, plus others still I could discuss, it is most definitely in my interests that the course of justice actually follows the virtue of justice and all the other virtues as appropriate. Moreover, because the security of rights in principle are at stake, the principles regarding the use of force are being invoked where it is clearly implied that I may be made subject to them in future, I in turn am justified in invoking my right to self-defence to ensure that reason and justice prevail not just in concrete but as principles that people are expected to adhere to. To deny there being any right to intervene in disputes is to deny the existence of principles and to eviscerate the right of self-defence. But the in-principle existence of such a right does not translate to carte-blanche right to action even if one were dedicated to being reasonable in acting, so the obvious next questions are of when do I have sufficient grounds for this and how am I entitled to act when I do have grounds. We’ll come back to that later because it is part of the answer to the second question.

JJM

Friday, September 3, 2010

I write like...

I found this on Myrhaf's old website on the off-chance he'd written something new there:


I write like
Jonathan Swift

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!



This is after me plugging in the first half dozen paragraphs from my chapter on value. I haven't read anywhere near enough of Swift (I think I read Gulliver's Travels, oh, twenty years or so ago as a child) to say whether I am tickled or irritated by the comparison, but I must say I do like this line from his epitaph: "Go forth, Voyager, and copy, if you can, this vigorous (to the best of his ability) Champion of Liberty."

JJM

OR164

Shea has OR164 fresh out of the oven! Get it while its hot! Good thing, too, it's been cold and wet down here today. Go on, tuck in!

JJM

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The impudence of authoritarians

Feh - each and every impudence condemning some thing has an equal and opposite impudence enjoining that same thing. Barely twelve hours between reports! Impudent bastards the lot of them.

The same one root impudence is not simply that the needs of collective are the primary consideration, but that the mere fact of man's capacity for choice and its exercise by private individuals in pursuit of their own desires irritates the hell out of the authoritarians. Some are still old-school thieves, while others are newly-revived older-school puritans. Whichever type the authoritarians are, leaving people to go to hell in their own damn way, to quote Wild Bill Hickock a la Deadwood, is of course out of the question.

(Edit: title fix)

JJM

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Response to anarchism: the questions

I've been mulling this one over for a while, but haven't researched it, so, yet again, I have no idea how original I am. I'm just putting my thoughts out there.

Everything in our social existence, including the operations of government, must be applications of what is right and wrong for individuals to do. Each individual must be able to identify what they are morally entitled to do and morally obliged to accept that others are morally entitled to do, at least in the first instance of such action. In regards to government, the anarchist is one who never gets past that final caveat, and says that there is only that "first instance" in all cases. They are not querying the use of voluntary mediation, for instance, but of the existence of the state, of a body embued with a monopoly on the non-emergency use of retaliatory force. It is that monopoly they reject, not the existence of a body as such. So, how does one respond to this without relying solely on mere pragmatic reference to separation of whim and force? How does one fully justify one's insistence for such a monopoly and even the right to enforce it upon others at the point of a gun?

After some thought I discovered that is actually quite simple in principle. Here's my thesis: if, when two parties A and B have a dispute, one can demonstrate that in at least some circumstances third party C is morally entitled to unilaterally intervene in that dispute and demand that it be settled in such-and-such reasonable fashion on pain of both A and B being subject to C's retaliation independently of the content of the dispute A and B have, and justify this unilateral intervention on the basis of C's own rational self-interests as an individual rather than reference to social good or whatnot, then as a matter of principle one has blown anarchism out of the water and has given the foundation of the State while retaining the principles of rationality, egoism and the inviolability of the rights of man all with their full force.

Reference to rights as the means to making society subject to the moral law, and of having a single body with a monopoly whose reason for being is so that the use of force is separated from the potential for individual whim, while entirely correct, comes after that. With that I leave you for now with two related questions: how does one make such a demonstration as a matter of principle, and, how does this translate into the State and all this entails? Have a think, and post a comment if you care to.

JJM

Sunday, August 29, 2010

OR162 and OR163

I missed the last two Roundups. Kendall hosted OR162 in Crucible and Column, and Martin hosted OR163 in Egoist. I should host one myself, one day.

Incidentally, our site had its first inspection by BASF people last week. There used to be four in the group, but two had to drop out. That left a Korean guy based in Hong Kong with fascinating stories to tell, who did the processes analysis, and an Australian based in Melbourne, who looked at the site for the SHEQ aspects. There are of course things I can't say, but from what I can gather they were impressed.

JJM

Hung Parliament and Republicanism

After our election on 21 August, we in Australia currently have ourselves a "hung parliament." A hung parliament is where no single party has a clear majority and so a Federal Executive Council (the Cabinet) - comprised of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of State - cannot be pre-determined by party operations and adopted by Parliament in a rubber-stamp fashion. Instead we get what we have now, a lot of wrangling between the major parties and each negotiating or whatnot with minor parties and independents. Until this is sorted we only have a "caretaker" government composed of the previous Council, insofar as Members retain their Seats in Parliament. Thus, despite the election, Ms Gillard is still our PM until a deal is struck somewhere that sees either Labor no longer have the upper hand or, if Labor does cobble up an alliance, she gets booted by her own party just as Rudd did.

This situation made me wonder whether I had underrated the importance of a particular reform. I have always been in favour of a republic in principle, but never got behind any of the Republican movements because their motives and priorities were, at best, skewiff. My own attitude had been that, yes, we should be a republic, but this was a low priority that paled in comparison to reform of powers of Parliament (the monstrosity that is Section 51). I still wont get behind any of the current Republican movements I am aware of and will until further notice consistently vote against them, but this situation has given me occasion to reconsider my own attitude.

(As to my own Constitution, I have since realised there were some errors in it, such as excessively making land ownership of the surface extend all the way down to the Mohorovicic Discontinuity. I'll resume posting commentary when I can get time.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

North Korea begins paying a debt

Headline from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's online news site:

"North Korea to pay off debt with roots"

You have to be Australian to appreciate that. Yet it fits, actually. It is not at all beyond the bounds of imagination to envisage NK's leaders forcibly turning the population to prostitution. Indeed, think of this: a damn fool woman gets herself into really serious trouble, and not surprisingly when she's getting close to bottom her thoughts begin turning to the streets.

That headline was, of course, totally deliberate, and apt even if crude. Most of the time the ABC is quite leftist, but every now and then someone throws in jibes against the left either because they can get away with it or because they are making token "See, we're not biased!" attempts. I have no idea which it is today.

JJM

Objectivist Roundup #161

Amy has OR161 up at The Little Things. First one for me in over half a year. That list of submissions is getting longer - awesome!


JJM

Monday, August 9, 2010

Work on value in my economics 'grimoire'

Short story: working a LOT and finding that seven months go by between blog posts of substance. There are a number of reasons, but honestly the main reason is slackness and low motivation to go online in the little spare time I had after work and before bed. As to work, my employer, Cognis, was also bought out by BASF, though the transfer won’t be complete until November. What happens to our site after that remains to be seen. It could be anything from a total shutdown to a large expansion, since we are a site that was already tiny by Cognis standards and is much tinier still by BASF standards. Time will tell.

Anyway, I’ve sorted out my response to the subjective-value criticism. Rather than go into a big song and dance here, and because most blogreaders presently don’t have the context for the criticism of my position anyway, I’ll just post relevant parts of the two offending chapters of my economics grimoire and note that the full response was included mostly as a new section in the later of those chapters and that the rest was included in a big edit of both chapters.

What follows is most of chapters 3 and 4 from Book 1, though I’ve left out material not relevant to the criticism of my position regarding subjective values. As an administrative note, I am posting these chapters section by section as individual posts because of their size, and reverse order so that they flow in proper order from top to bottom when viewed by the reader for the publication date. I am also well aware that much academic work needs to be done, and that there is probably way too much internal cross-referencing, but I’ll take care of all that over the course of time. My motive for writing it is primarily my own edification, and amongst other reasons I am retaining the heavy quantity of cross-referencing because in Word they are hyperlinks so I can flip back and forth between elements with ease. Thus, bluntly, you get what you get with no apologies! And, no, you’re not getting the other chapters – not yet and not without paying for them, that is.

Chapter 3 – Life, action, value

Chapter 4 - Man

I also know that the material is probably too advanced for being in Book 1 (see below), and in time I will break it up and put the heavier material into Book 2. For now it is just important to present the material as it is, in draft form, for the sake of finally making good on what I said I’d do.


3.1 Organisms and action

3.1 Organisms and action

3.2 The two-fold nature of value

3.2 The two-fold nature of value

3.3 The prerequisites of value

3.3 The prerequisites of value

3.4 The measurement of value

3.4 The measurement of value

3.5 Values as contextual

3.5 Values as contextual

4.1 Man and human action

4.1 Man and human action

4.2 Man’s need of morality

4.2 Man’s need of morality

4.3 Man’s formation of values

4.3 Man’s formation of values

4.4 Objective values

4.4 Objective values

4.5 Non-objective values

4.5 Non-objective values

4.6 Full rejection of intrinsic and subjective values

4.6 Full rejection of intrinsic and subjective values

Monday, March 8, 2010

Still alive

Yes, I am still alive and well. No industrial accidents, no legal trouble, no personal distress. I've just been working my backside off doing 12hr shifts 6 days a week (spending the 7th in bed on a shift-turn around on a Clayton's day-off) and finding that going online has been a very low priority recently.

I haven't even done that clean-up of the value post, such a slacker I am of late. I did start on this earlier this morning, and, although I am still doing 12hr shifts with no end in sight, it wont be long before I make good on my promise.

JJM

Friday, January 15, 2010

Roundup #131

C.August has Objectivist Roundup #131 up at Titanic Deck Chairs. My own contribution wasn't all that flash, but it broke my silence.

JJM

My Constitution, Section 31

Section 31 - Classification of nationality

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quick thoughts on subjective value

... I am beginning to think that I had been seriously over-analysing the issue with the theory value, and that my initial inclinations were in fact correct:

- firstly, that, although subjectivism in epistemology strongly tends to trumpet the use of emotion to ascertain truth or value, going so far as to equate subjectivism in epistemology with the use of emotions to that end is a mistake because, a), ulimately intrinsicism does exactly the same thing, and b), that the decision to make a final choice between equally valid objective options by emotion does NOT make such a choice subjective in the philosophical sense of the word (and that saying that this method does make them subjective makes ALL values whatsoever subjective at root, Kantian/Misesean style, because the potential for options is always open at the consumer-good level - and note that it is from these goods that all producer-goods get their own value in turn, hence Mises' Kantian method and disastrous conclusions)

- secondly, that intrinsicism is at heart just as arbitrary and dependent upon personal and social history and people's psychologies as subjectivism is, to the point of being almost indistinguishable from group-oriented subjectivism but for intrinsicism's group being everyone while group-subjectivism allows for a plurality of groups; when people default on reason what they come up with in its stead always comes back to personal psychology and psychoepistemology: remember, emotions are the products of ideas, and do not pop up inexplicably out of nowhere

- and thirdly, because intrinsicism and subjectivism are merely two different methods of arriving at the same core emotion-driven methodology and same rejection of and action in defiance of reason's fullest and proper use, the equation of the primacy-of-emotion with the subjective also has the effect of glossing over the differences in how exactly the emotions are improperly used in any case.

I asked myself the obvious question: if it is being posited that, contrary to my own statements, there are such things as subjective values (in the philosophical sense of the word), would there also be any such thing as intrinsic values? I realised that there were phenomena just as superficially plausible on the intrinsicist side as there were on the subjectivist side. When pushed further they both fell in a heap for the same reason - that consciousness is aware of existence, it has to process the content of that existence, and that there's no getting away from this. I'll explain it better later, but I thus came to the firmer conclusion of a NO on both accounts.

As a result of all this, I am going back to my original conclusion: that really, the primary alternative for values to a being operating on the conceptual level is between objective values on the one hand (including emotion-based choices between options that reason finds to be equally valid) and irrational values on the other. It is then later, after this, that those so inclined may divide irrational values into those arrived at an intrinsicist methodology versus those arrived at by a subjectivist methodology, without implying that the results were actually intrinsic values or subjective values respectively.

The other charge levied against me (and really, the main one) was of denying a role for volition in the creation of values. This too, I reject, mostly because it is claiming too much for what volition does, but again, more later.

I apologise for this being as rough as buggery. I will try to address it better this weekend.

JJM

What I have been doing lately

I've been busy at work. We stopped for three days over NY, and then back at work 7am last Monday morning for 12 hour shifts. It's been enjoyable, though.

One of the things I enjoyed doing the most was doing some repairs on a heavy sluice gate. I actually like welding, when I can get the legitimate opportunity to do it. A coworker and I spent a lovely 2 hours reattaching a 3mmx50mmx50mmx2m strip of 316SS angle to the top of the gate, plus some other work. Even though it was hot there was a nice breeze (necessitating the use of sticks rather than tigging it). As well as the sheer fun of the work, the way the sun reflected off the light ripples in the pink water (it's full of red algae) was very pleasing. Even the way that this messed with the autodark function in the welding helmet was amusing, and despite initial missgivings there was no problem with the function when the arc was on so I was at ease all the way through. I wont be posting any photos, though, partly because a secrecy agreement includes a NO PHOTOS stipulation, but also because the sheer ugliness of the weld is too embarrassing - I am not a professional welder and wont be invited to make certified pressure-vessels any time soon. Still, the bash-plate made from the angle ain't going nowhere, I had fun putting it in place, and was dissappointed that there wasn't more welding to do that day.

Another thing I was doing was getting inside the guts of some large machinery to remove the rust with an angle-grinder and flapper discs, prior to it being epoxy-painted. And yes, I had fun doing that, too. I had a choice between doing that and standing outside performing the oh-so-hard task of standing idly by a button while waiting for a truckie to say "that'll do" while pumping materials out and in of an ISO tanker. I opted for the power tools and the opportunity to make the sparks fly for half a day. Yup, I'm male.

Today was kinda mundane, just getting kitted out in food-grade clothing to do a final no-rinse sanitation and putting a spray-drier oven back together. The only powertool I got to play with was a 20-inch drum fan, and that just consisted of plugging the sucker in and turning it on. It did make a lovely din, though.

All that aside, I have had some time to think about more intellectual matters - I'll continue this in the next post...

JJM

Am I a teenager?

Here's a site that has that 'mosquito' sound that supposedly only under 25's can hear. (HT: Gus van Horn).
The Teenager Audio Test - Can you hear this sound?

Created by Oatmeal

I am 38 this year and I can hear that sound perfectly well - it's as annoying as all hell, actually. This sound is supposedly used in some shopping centres to keep unwanted youths away. I can tell you that if THAT was being piped to all the centre's PA speakers then they wont be getting a red cent from me as I probably wouldn't make it in the door.

I've long known that my hearing is excellent, and is probably notably above average, given the surprised looks I get from the sound-room clincial techs whenever I get my hearing tested for work purposes. I also recall, from about 1999 or so (ie age 26), going to an interactive science museum place in Brisbane. On one of the floors there was a soundmaker with a frequency dial. For my own edification I pushed it to see how high a pitch I could hear, and I managed to crank it up to a little over 17kHz. Even to this day I can hear the squeal of a CRT (eg TVs, monitors et al, that use old fashioned vacuum technology) - and when people scrape cuttlery over their dinner plates it gets on my nerves something shocking. If I were to hazard a guess, I could probably still hear reasonably well up to the vicinity of 12-15kHz today and without jacking the decibels to ridiculous levels to do so.

Of course, I also look after my hearing - I regularly wear ear muffs or use ear plugs and the like even when others don't bother, and I generally prefer silence (mostly because what's on the radio is absolute CRAP, but also because the sound interferes with my musing in my head). That being said, although 95% of the time I like my silence I am not averse to cranking up the volume on the work CD stacker once in a blue moon (ie when I have the place to myself and I wont disturb anyone else) to a level beyond what other people thinks is sane. Hell, sometimes the only thing that stops me from cranking it louder is that the window panes rattle a bit too much for comfort. Well, hey, there you have it - I am indeed a kid...

JJM

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Constitution, Section 25

Section 25 - Issue and execution of warrants

Note: I added in a new clause 1.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Roundup #129

I've been remiss in not posting the anouncements of the roundups being on. I wont miss them again.

The latest is over at Rational Jenn's place, where the theme is the best of 2009 (I had nothing to offer before Wednesday, so I am not in this round). Go enjoy!

JJM

Avatar

I saw it (in 2D) last Tuesday, and I've now got the time to do a quick response.