Thursday, November 3, 2011

Objectivism Roundup 225

Welcome to the November 3, 2011 edition of objectivist round up, number 225.

Jim Woods presents The Prometheus Inquiry Concept posted at Words by Woods, saying, "Drafts an elevator pitch related to a private solution to the ubiquitous problems in private education."

Jared Rhoads presents An alternative format for an early Presidential debate posted at The Center for Objective Health Policy, saying, "How about instead of another large debate with all of the candidates on stage at once, we have the candidates draw straws and group them into a series of smaller debates."

Ari Armstrong presents Yes, A National Sales Tax is Constitutional posted at Free Colorado, saying, "A national sales tax is constitutional (but otherwise a very bad idea)."

Paul McKeever presents Atlas Shrugged Part 1: Review posted at Paul McKeever.

Ryan presents Some Facebook Shenanigans posted at Ryan's Rantings, saying, "Just a quick rundown of a small debate I participated in on facebook. It involved wealth redistributing, caring, and Halloween."

John Drake presents Confirmation bias posted at Try Reason!, saying, "What is confirmation bias and how can you avoid it? I tackle this problem in my latest post."

Alexander Marriott presents AM's Wit and Wisdom: Calling the Media—When is Ron Paul Going to Have to Answer? posted at Alexander Marriott's Wit and Wisdom, saying, "Can we count on a man who thinks theocratic, jihadist, holocaust denying Iran is no different than Cuba to defend American interests and allies? What if he did write his own newsletters, knows his advisors are anti-Semitic, nods and winks at his many Neo-Nazi supporters and knowingly endorses conspiracy-ridden screeds that pin all manner of crimes on a family of Jewish aristocrats and financiers? These are questions that need answering. But someone needs to ask him first."

Rational Jenn presents On Knitting, CrossFitting, and How I'm Growing as a Person Here posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "In the last year, I've discovered two new passions that I enjoy very much. Though at first knitting and CrossFit might seem to be completely opposite types of activities, it's the things they have in common that really appeal to me."

Gene Palmisano presents Unintended Consequences posted at The Metaphysical Lunch, saying, "Join me for the misnomer of the day."

Edward Cline presents Book Review: The Closing of the Muslim Mind posted at The Rule of Reason, saying, "Even if one has read the Koran, or sampled its most outrageous verses, injunctions, and imperatives, or discussed Islam with other concerned individuals, nothing could better guarantee a fundamental and essential grasp of the utter irrationality of Islam than Robert R. Reilly’s "The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamic Crisis.""

Diana Hsieh presents Video: Respect for the Transgendered posted at NoodleFood, saying, "In Sunday's webcast, I answered a question on which restrooms the transgendered in transition should use and discussed my general view of the respect due to the transgendered."

Thank you all again! That concludes this edition. Next week's edition is at The Playful Spirit. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the objectivist round up, to be hosted over at The Playful Spirit, using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Objectivism Roundup 221

Welcome to the October 6, 2011 edition of Objectivist Round-Up, number 221.

Kate Yoak presents Preschool due dilligence: naps posted at Parenting is..., saying, "After first despairing when I learned about the forced naps while visiting LePort school, I learned that this issue is not cut and dry. Today my daughter attends a school where that is not an issue."

Carl Svanberg presents Elizabeth Warren's Assault on Justice posted at The Cold Voice of Reason, saying, "Enjoy!"

John Drake presents GTD Habits posted at Try Reason!, saying, "Its the habits, not the technology that make GTD effective. Here are the habits I'm working to improve."

Rational Jenn presents The One About The Standardized Test posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "The decision about whether or not to comply with our state's standardized testing requirements for homeschoolers became a very interesting lesson in Civics, Government, and Ethics."

Ari Armstrong presents Pajamas Reply to Elizabeth Warren posted at Free Colorado, saying, "Elizabeth Warren invokes a 'social contract' to justify higher taxes on 'the rich.' Does her case hold water? I argue no in a piece for Pajamas Media."

John McVey presents OTI post #7 - Primacy of Existence posted at John J McVey, saying, "This finishes metaphysics, at least for the time being."

Paul Hsieh presents Don't Blame Capitalism for High Health Insurance Costs posted at We Stand FIRM, saying, "I'm honored that The Undercurrent published my latest OpEd as part of their Capitalism Awareness Week project!"

Santiago and Kelly Valenzuela presents Once Again, Immigrants Improperly Blamed posted at Mother of Exiles, saying, "Immigrants are being blamed for border crimes, but who is really to blame and are US border cities really as unsafe as conservatives claim?"

David C Lewis, RFA presents Can Your Financial Adviser Pick The Best Investment For You? | Twin Tier Financial posted at A Revolution In Financial Planning, saying, "I discuss the feasibility of selling investment recommendations."

Rational Jenn presents Parenting Thought of the Moment posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "A well-behaved kid isn't necessarily an obedient kid. (But there's more--go read the post!)"

David Baucom presents Gary Johnson on Republican Capitulation and His Presidential Bid posted at The Objective Standard Blog, saying, "Gary Johnson on Republican Capitulation and His Presidential Bid - (Not from my blog but my contribution to the TOS blog) A single Q&A I had with Johnson prior to, and not included in, my TOS interview with him"

Diana Hsieh presents NoodleCast #99: Live Rationally Selfish Webcast posted at NoodleFood, saying, "In Sunday's Rationally Selfish Webcast, I answered questions on fear of death, using the Do Not Call Registry, genetic influences on thinking, the morality of selling your body, and more. Listen to the podcast now, and join us for another episode on Sunday morning!"

Jason Stotts presents It’s About Time posted at Erosophia, saying, "Some states are now moving for legislation that removes the felony charge against teen sexting."

Gideon Reich presents Why I support Gary Johnson for President posted at Armchair Intellectual, saying, "My reasoning for supporting Gary Johnson for President."

That concludes this edition. Thank you all for submitting articles. To have articles showcased next week, submit your blog article to the next edition of Objectivist Round-Up using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. Our host next week is Rational Jenn.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

OTI post #7 - Primacy of Existence

Wrapping up metaphysics is the integration into a key point: the primacy of existence.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Plan for OTI work and economic analysis

I've been working on my plan for how this OTI work is to proceed. Recall that it is aimed not just at understanding Objectivism but of thoroughly digesting objectivity itself and applying this to economic science.

Also, there is one more topic in metaphysics I have to cover before I move on, so I edited OTI post 006 to remove the relevant side-comment in the opening words.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Roundup time is here again! Check out number 209 at Reepicheep's Coracle.


More mobile phone stuff

I've downloaded Blogger for Android. Now I can blog from where-ever I get an Optus signal.

Speaking of which, I had thought the remoteness of my workplace was why I was getting poor signal. It turns out that it is the building itself at fault - signal strength jumped up bigtime as sooned as I opened the metal back door of my lab. Mmmmm, Faraday cages...


Friday, July 8, 2011

OTI post #6 - Law of Causality

Continuing to look at metaphysics, he are my observations and inductive reconstruction of the Law of Causality.

Monday, June 27, 2011

OTI posting and conceptual hierarchies

I had intended that my next OTI post be on the Law of Non-Contradiction. I wont be doing that next, now. A discussion now would be out of hierarchial sequence because it is mostly about propositions and I haven't even gotten to abstractions of any kind yet. So, I am returning to my original intention - discussing the Law of Causality - even though my original motivation for discussing contradiction - this being the need to make use of the concept - still irks me. I'll have to deal with that fact in due time as well, then.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Some updates

No, I haven't given up blogging, I've just been busy.

I had been unbusy enough to start doing blog-related work again by last week, but a comment by Dr Binswanger on HBL regarding the Weights and Measures clause got me to looking at and editing my Constitution again. He said that the government has no business dictating weights and measures where instead that private organisations should be doing that kind of work and market forces converging on the convenient standards. To a great extent he has a point: no standard should be dictated.

That being said, I do think there is room for some creation by government of standards for government use. What I had in mind - actually before Dr Binswanger even raised the topic but which I had not incorporated in a new edit yet - was that there was a legitimate role for the military to set standards for its own needs of precision. In the US, for instance, I see no reason why a specification of weights and standards cannot be a part of the United States Military Standards.

Of course, as that wikipedia entry itself indicates, a proliferation of standards causes problems in its own right. And, there is no reason why these military standards cannot themselves just be drawn from pre-existing commercial and academic standards. But all this is just administrative issues that do not negate the principle: there are legitimate grounds for government interest in formulating at least some standards for its own needs. Then, with a decent set of those in place I further see no reason why private individuals and organisations can choose simply to refer to these military standards, so long as the right to use standards at odds with those of government devising is not abridged. For that reason I have kept a weights and measures clause in my own Constitution - but I did make sure to enumerate that right expressly and to shift responsibility for formulation from Justice to Defence.

The same principle is also applicable to accounting standards, given the legitimate need for law specifying standards for the recording and reporting of government accounts. And, sure enough, accounting standards are a hot-topic, too. Still, there is a provision for that in my own Constitution, which I have had there for a while and have left in for the same reason as above. As a practical point, however, it is probably better that the law in question just adopt commercial standards with only some adjustments - but that I leave to the accountants and the actual context in which a future LFC government finds itself.

While I was at it I took the opportunity to cut the whole thing back. At 17,500 words it is still just over twice as long as the US Constitution, but I did cut out about 3,000 words of material that is best left to statute created under the Reasonable Person standard. The files of the latest version - in Word Doc, PDF for A4 paper, and PDF for US Letter paper - are available in the File Cabinet. I am also told that the numbering system for the Word Doc doesn't work properly in Open Office or some other freeware (the same reason why I gave up on Google Docs, btw), so if the sections aren't numbered continously from 1 to 129 then take the PDF of your choice.

I increased the main version number from 12 to 13 because the deletion of a number of sections caused all the later ones after the first deletion to be renumbered, plus of course because of the substantial amount I cut out. Feel free to comment, and I will bear good commentary in mind for a future edit, but I wont be touching it for a while: now it's back to working on OTI posts.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

A simple connection

Of course *palm-forehead-smack*! I just realised - leftists look at the world of business and think it is a larger version of their tiresomely cliche` view of the schoolyard as seen in movies: brainless jocks at the top of the pecking order hoarding all the resources for their own interests, always bashing down the weaker but smarter kids, teachers/politicians dealing with insufficient funding unless they work in relation to the jocks' interests, etc etc etc. Heck, there's even at least one whiny song I know of explicitly about it - Simple Plan's "High School never ends".

Update: second *palm-forehead-smack*... the Comprachicos. Simple Plan don't know the half of it.

These movies and song etc are of course of the creations of other leftists, working from previous incarnations of the same mentality that set their premisses, and they so experience an echo-chamber that acts as psychological and psychepistemological reinforcement. That's the same lunatic mentality seen when they prattled on about how that the fake military letter about Bush at the heart of Rathergate was something that "bespeaks a truth" or whatever that commentary was even after the fakeness was demonstrated.

Question: is there any connection of the above to the hateful reaction to the Atlas Shrugged movie (which I haven't seen) that is more than just about the sociopolitical content? Specifically, I am wondering if they instinctively realise that the Altas Shrugged movie - however poor it may or may not be as a stand-alone piece of art - could hinder that echo-chamber mechanism at the unspoken psychoepistemological level. I am not in any position to find out, at present. This question must therefore one more thing for others, more immersed in concretes than I, to follow up on if they judge fit.


Objectivism Round-up 198

Welcome to the 28th April 2011 edition of the Objectivism Round-up, number 198!

It was ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand on Monday, and so I had occasion to review Miss Rand's words to the cadets at West Point in March 1974, reprinted as the title essay in "Philosophy: who needs it" :
The army of a free country has a great responsibility: the right to use force, but not as an instrument of compulsion and brute conquest - as the armies of other countries have done in their histories - only as an instrument of a free nation's self-defense, which means: the defense of man's individual rights. The principle of using force only in retaliation against those who initiate its use, is the principle of subordinating might to right. The highest integrity and sense of honor are required for such a task.

All those in armed service who have lived up to that, thank you. What you helped make possible was a world in which we could write and publish as we have done - but, as some of these entries show, what was won is steadily being lost. The philosophic fight is still being waged. And with that, on to the Roundup (and thanks to C August for pointing out the lack of submitters' additional commentary):

Roderick Fitts presents Induction and Reduction of “Values as Objective” posted at Inductive Quest, saying, "A reduction and induction of (most) of the steps Rand used to reach her theory that values are not intrinsic or subjective, but objective."

Roderick Fitts presents Induction of "The Arbitrary as Neither True Nor False" posted at Inductive Quest, saying, "My essay on inducing the principle that the arbitrary is not true or false, but noise that can't be processed cognitively. I also discuss how one should treat the arbitrary, and what to do with cases of "arbitrary claims with possible evidence.""

Jared Rhoads presents Twead #11: Reforming America's Healthcare System posted at The Lucidicus Project, saying, "This book is a nice collection of nine brief chapters by nine different health policy experts. Here are some notes and quotes."

Opus Dei presents Anti-social indeed! posted at Ayn and Self..., saying, "Batman is the perfect allegorical character of the 'anti-social' - the banned phantom of the Dark. And I always had him in mind whenever I turned the pages of 'The Fountainhead'. Howard Roark, the man who made possible the Enright House, the Stoggard Temple, the Cortland Homes, the Gail Wynand Building, the man who was one among the greats who contributed the most to society - that man was 'anti-social' indeed (pun intended)!"

Burgess Laughlin presents "Koran Reading Group" begins May 10 posted at The Main Event, saying, "The upcoming Koran Reading Group is a rare opportunity for serious students of history and dedicated pro-reason activists to study one of the most influential mystical texts of our time."

Ron Pisaturo presents Read Atlas Shrugged posted at Ron Pisaturo's Blog, saying, "Here is my way of describing the novel, while withholding spoilers, to those who have not yet read it.

[I neglected to submit this post last week. I hope it's okay to submit it now.]"

John Drake presents How to do Abstract Integrative Reading posted at Try Reason!, saying, "In this post, I summarize a chapter from Ed Locke's Study Methods & Motivation. I also develop a technique for application in my reading and in my teaching."

John McVey presents Lest We Forget posted at John J McVey, saying, "To the men and women in all branches of legitimate armed service, uniformed and not, who have taken an oath such that I may sleep soundly at night: thank you."

Edward Cline presents Off With Their Heads: Islamic “Lawfare” posted at The Rule of Reason, saying, "Lewis Carroll, for all his imagination, could not have imagined that he would make some relevant points in Alice in Wonderland about speaking up against those who would silence criticisms."

Rational Jenn presents Silent Auction Fundraiser for ATLOS posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "Help us spread the word about our silent auction! Online bidding has already started and it ends Saturday, April 30. Support a good cause (the Atlanta Objectivist Society) and win some awesome stuff at the same time!"

Rachel Miner presents Reposting: The Idiom Dictionary posted at The Playful Spirit, saying, "For those who didn't see my original post, this is a fun book that I've been building every week for years. I share the idea and some updates from the past year of entries."

Gene Palmisano presents Misnomer of the Week posted at The Metaphysical Lunch, saying, "By all means; read the misnomer of the week and click on the podcast (confessions of a neophyte objectivist, Part One) These contents are evolving rapidly, so stay tuned!"

Scott Connery presents Obama Launches Gas Price Investigation. We do the Legwork for him posted at Rational Public Radio, saying, "President Obama has launched a disingenuous investigation into gas prices in the hope that he can blame "speculators" and "big business". I do the homework to figure out who is really to blame."

Diana Hsieh presents NoodleCast #72: Live Rationally Selfish Webcast posted at NoodleFood, saying, "In Sunday's Rationally Selfish Webcast, I answered questions on the basis of manners, brutal honesty, right to legal counsel, government medical insurance, promoting objectivism, and the morality of sadism and masochism. Go listen... and join us on Sunday morning for another episode!"

Jason Stotts presents Compersion? posted at Erosophia, saying, "Here I analyze the idea of "compersion," finding one's partner's pleasure pleasant, and whether it is a legitimate phenomenon."

Shrikant Rangnekar presents Atlas Shrugged Movie Polls (Over 350+ answers and counting?) posted at Shrikant Rangnekar, saying, "See (over 3500+ answers) in 9 polls on Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged and participate in them all."

Roberto Sarrionandia presents Pomp and Cowardice posted at Roberto Sarrionandia, saying, "Altruism and moral cowardice dominate British foreign policy"

Benjamin Skipper presents Why Does Evasion Cause Pain? posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "For anyone who seen someone get an evasion exposed, it can be plainly witnessed the discomfort that it causes. Why is there such discomfort?"

Benjamin Skipper presents Loneliness and the Necessity of Friendship posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "I've always understood how great friendship is, but it wasn't until recently that I realized that my rejection of its necessity was due to false philosophical conceptions, namely that being physically alone is "bad" and that it can be cured with haphazard relationships."

C. August presents The Specific and the General posted at Titanic Deck Chairs, saying, "A brief discussion of two blog posts, the connection between them, and the state of American society."

Ari Armstrong presents No One Lives Forever posted at Free Colorado, saying, "Medical science might eventually enable to live a very long time, but not forever."

Jim Woods presents Federal Drinking Age is Irrational posted at Words by Woods, saying, "This law fosters disrespect for law and undermines honest communication."

Shrikant Rangnekar presents Atlas Shrugged Movie Report: Aglialoro Shrugged? posted at Shrikant Rangnekar.

Thank you all for your efforts this week. Next week, your hosts are Santiago and Kelly at Mother of Exiles. Submit your blog article to the next edition of objectivist round up using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Seen on the internet

Michael Moore hates guns because he is fearful of being mistaken for a rampaging, brain-damaged, feral hog and shot for public safety reasons.
- commenter deguello, here.

(Hat-tip: Dr Paul Hsieh on facebook).


Monday, April 25, 2011

Lest We Forget

Today, 25th April, it is ANZAC Day.

The day was initially instituted to remember those who died in the Gallipoli campaign, which was a horrendous affair marked also by great heroism on both sides. It has since grown to remember all the theatres in which Australian and New Zealander solders have fallen, to reflect on the cost of war and what it takes to defend our freedoms.

The word "sacrifice" is mentioned a lot. It is times like these one really feels the loss of not having a good solid and active verb for being willing to bear immense costs in order to secure and promote something of even greater value. When the servicemen and women mention this word the honest listener knows what they mean, and approve of that meaning and its spirit. And on the day, that's what is important - the battle for epistemology can be put aside until tomorrow.

In the meantime, this day is not over. I have not personally lost anyone in war, and I will not be a mere recreational griever cheapening the pain of those who have. But I do say this: for those who fell so that I may remain free, I am forever grateful, and to the men and women in still living and armed service, who have taken an oath such that I may sleep safely tonight,

thank you.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thorium reactors?

I saw a cool comment about wind turbines recently, wanted to post it with proper attributions, forgot where I saw it, so I googled it and found it:
wind turbines are nothing but prayer wheels for suburbanite Buddhists.
Down in the comments I saw one from Billy Beck, who gave a youtube link. I looked at it. Whoah! It is highly edited to be extremely fast-paced, and most of it will just fly right past you like a fighter jet on full afterburners if you're not already pretty much up to speed on chemistry and basic nuclear physics. But it is worth looking at if you are, or are willing to stop frequently and keep on going back to re-listen.

Btw, piece of trivia: that is an Australian 20c coin shown top left at the 15 min mark.

Speaking of money, there is a disclosure I should make: I own shares in Arafura Resources, whose interests includes thorium from rare earths processing.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rockwell Turbo Encabulator

I'll have to let my boss know about this. We've been having trouble with our own drives, particularly the wingle sprockets on our Type-42 Astatinic Dibromovitors. We use Rockwell Systems communications throughout, so they should be plug-n-play, so to speak. However, hypersaline environments are a challenge for most steels, so we'll probably have to get the hygrocontact parts custom made for us if being in 316SS is not available as a standard option. Could be pricy - 316 is a bitch to machine.


OTI post #5 - validation and importance

Okay, so I comprehend what each means, but what of their validation? And why all the song and dance anyway?

Monday, April 4, 2011

OTI post #4 - The Law of Identity

In previous OTI work I had covered the basic context, existence, and consciousness. Now it is time to pay attention to the Law of Identity.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

OTI post #3 - Consciousness is conscious

I'd previously started with material on context and method, and figured out how to arrive at existence exists from observation. Now to move on to consciousness. Again, this is probably longer than it needs to be, but it's done.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

God as government

This is fascinating - and telling... The cynical idea that religion and socialism are the only two alternatives.

The fact is that one cannot establish a philosophic positive by demolishing a negative. Commentary like this shows that atheism alone is nowhere near enough to establish liberty - without reason and egoism being proudly promoted as essential parts of the secularisation of society the sense-of-life of religion - not to mention the false alternative of dogmatism versus skepticism - will continue to poison the ethical and political codes even even alleged athiests, and the consequences of the spectacle itself gives fuel back to the religious cause.

The real enemy of man has always been religion, not socialism, for the latter feeds on the former and cannot survive long without its lasting influence. Religion must be despatched from this world - but the method of despatching it can only be by putting the greatness of "Reality, Reason, and Rights" in its place.



Rational Jenn has the Objectivist Roundup #192 up and running at her place! Looks as though there are also some new blogs to add to the list of places to visit, too.


Monday, March 14, 2011

OTI post #2 - Existence exists

In post #1 I began with a basic introduction and the context for the work. This is where I begin the actual work itself. I started my OTI work at "Chapter one" (of course!), but it is also within "Part One." Part one is all of metaphysics of relevance to me, with chapter one focussing specifically on the three axioms. I can't and wont commit to a set schedule of posting, though.

Chapter 1 has 5 sections so far (I've completed 4): intro, existence exists, consciousness is consciousness, a thing is itself, and these three as axioms. This post here contains the first two sections.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

OTI post #1

This is the inaugural post of my work on redoing my understanding of Objectivism, through induction, following on from my conclusions and resulution in January. The quantity of writing is probably overkill, at least early on, so be warned if you continue on. When I am satisfied with philosophy, at least in epistemology and ethics, sufficient to ground value theory, I will then tackle economics and economic method again.

The 'prerequisites' of this are: Understanding Objectivism, Objectivism Through Induction, The Logical Leap, OPAR, ITOE, and The Art of Thinking. Knowledge of logic wouldn't go astray either, but I will be investigating that directly for myself in time, too.

To start with, this is what I wrote as my own introduction.


Amy Mossoff has Roundup #191 up at The Little Things.


Saturday, February 26, 2011


Again, I have missed a few roundups. The latest, #189, is safely holed up in the foxhole with the atheist in it :)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

A question and a dare

A question for various segments of alleged atheists (they know who they are):

If you consider yourself truly to be atheist, why do speak and act as though emotions were some magical connection to an infallible source of truth and goodness that reason is impudent if it dares question?

Don't say I am not looking at you: all those who posit subjectivism - of either the individual or social variety - are as guilty as sin in this regard.

Emotions are essential for human life, without which life is neither worth living nor even capable of being lived. But emotions are not tools of cognition - they are not means by which one can determine "this is true" and "this is good". So, certainly, they have pride of place in human life - but cognition is not that place.

Here's the dare:

Find out how emotions arise. Then go find a standard of value without committing that sin in any shape or manner. And, once you've done that, question every value judgement you've ever made.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Category theory

Four years of engineering mathematics and we were never introduced to this. Whether or not it was used in formulating electrical engineering methodologies such as symmetrical components, however, is another matter. We never got into that kind of underlying theory, we just learned how to use various techniques to solve real-world problems.


Quick note on sim.eq's and econ method

I realised this morning that, unless I expressly say otherwise, someone is going to think I am setting up a lead-in to Walrasian equations for solving economic problems. So let me now expressly say that I intend no such thing, and that I would view an attempt of that nature as inane (and that's being charitable).

The application of the analogy of simultaneous equations to economics lies in the issues of concepts and principles. That is, complex phenomena can only be understood by first understanding the individual elements and lesser principles, which is conceptually akin to using the solutions found to simpler equations as means to solving the more complex equations. This is as far as it goes, albeit good enough to begin hammering stakes into the hearts of both empiricism and rationalism.

By the way, I reject the complaint about a lack of experimental ability in the humanities, leading to an alleged justification of pure rationalism in these fields, just the same way as we can reject the same approach is rejectable in astrophysics. It is not as though since we can't experiment by making up new planets and putting them in a variety of orbits that we can't be sure of the laws of planetary motion, or that this justifies some sort of attempt at arriving them through pure mathematical deduction divorced almost entirely from direct observation, is it? I do not have any respect for the Austrians' special-pleading for pure rationalism in economic theory. I am quite sure that Newton, Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, and a host of other figures who, through observation and inference from those observations, began to piece together the picture of how the solar system worked, would have some stern words to say to Austrians if they (the astronomers) heard the Austrians go on and on about the lack of experimental ability.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Inductive Quest

Thank you, Roderick, I'll be making use of this.


New Constitution, v12.3

I did an edit of my Constitution as a break from philosophising (yes, really). Version 12.3 is now available in the cabinet for your reading pleasure.


Simultaneous concretisation

During this revision of induction I had the intention of starting from scratch, given how fundamental the topic is and that I recognise my past methodology was highly questionable. I now attribute that, in part at least, to taking to Mill too enthusiastically. I now recall that it was from his "A System of Logic" that I got the idea, rightly criticised by Dr Peikoff, of treating induction as indicative and that a conclusion was settled when one could tie it back to something broader from which the initial induction could now be deduced. His methods, as elements, are fine, but that later wrap up method is way off. For that reason I have determined that I really ought start from scratch, paying very close attention to method.

Still, my post on the analogy to solving simultaneous equations did prompt me to try to find my old writings from back when I was first trying to digest Objectivism, not just the material on that ABC stuff but everything I wrote just to see how badly I did go wrong (I knew I did, so I didn't go looking for it before). Almost all of it is gone, though, both on my computer and physically. All I have seem to have left from back then (the general late 90's period) are three of those diagrams (the date-stamp says it is actually circa 1998, not 1996 as I had thought), some other trivial writings, my notes from Understanding Objectivism, and notes from other courses such as Objective Communication. To be honest, I am not all that fussed about this precisely because I now recognise that my own thoughts were deeply flawed, and because today the only things I would find valid is precisely what does still exist: those UO and OC notes. I do recall dumping some stuff for that very reason, but perhaps I was more thorough about doing so than I actually recall being. I do know there was a hard-drive crash involved, as well. *shrug*

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Simultaneous equations and induction

(Update for direct-hitters to this post: concretisation is here.)

A long time ago (circa 1996) I thought up an analogy in reasoning to the mathematical methodology of simultaneous equations. I eventually dropped it, however, because I thought it was too rationalistic (plus because I was being ridiculed for it - though somewhat deservedly at the time, too, I must add). I now realise that I was definitely on to something important back then and that I was wrong to drop it entirely.

What I had in mind back then was quite simple: if one knew the relationship between A and B, and one knew the relationship between A and C, where for instance A was oneself (ie one's consciousness), then one could identify the relationship between B and C as it stood independently of A (ie, contra Kant, conceptually able to identify things in themselves). Working on that principle, one can then tackle more and more complex relationships, succesively busting down complex equations into lesser ones and from there to the identification of individual variables. I had neat diagrams to go with it, too, such as:

The reason why I think that there is something valid in this for all thought in general (I've never rejected the fact that it was a definitely valid method of approaching the quantitative aspects of reality) is because of its connection to Mill's methods (particularly difference and agreement) and their connection in turn to the general cognitive processes of differentiation and integation. It is quite valid to view systematic methodologies for solving them, such as Gaussian Elimination, as being advanced implementations of Mill's methods to the mathematical realm. That is, what is GE but a complex method for the progressive discovery of residues? Taking it back to reality itself, what is the method of concomitant variations but the means of identifying the equations themselves? There's even analytical software available for that purpose - that is what all those statistical packages amount to, with the R-squared variables and the like indicating how much confidence one can place in the equations so generated from a mass of raw input data.

The other reason why I am reversing my past dropping is that Miss Rand noted that to invalidate concept formation one first had to invalidate algebra. The solving of simultaneous equations is an element of the subject of algebra! It is one of the methods that is directly applicable to reality itself. The fact that there really is a strong mathematical element to consciousness, along with that express identification, clearly suggests to me that the method of solving simultaneous equations ought be investigated by the epistemologist. But I am neither a professional mathematician nor a professional philosopher, so I will leave this for those professional epistemologists to develop.

That being said, I know what I know, I do know that I am on to something valid and that it is not to be dismissed as inherently rationalistic. "Everything in reality is simultaneous" notes Dr Peikoff in many places, and that hierarchy in epistemology existed because we had to approach reality in that fashion: knowledge is built on previous knowledge. I strongly suspect that this is also a tie-in with the spiral theory of knowledge, in particular applications, in that the more one knows the more one can go back and refine more detail out of equations that one had already partly solved in the past. Thus I will use it when and how I think appropriate, being careful of course not to get over-enthusiastic and rationalist about it.

Dr Peikoff also notes that science was nothing more than the conceptual unravelling of perceptual data. Miss Rand noted that cognition was a mathematical process. I would suggest, then, in combining the two along with recognition of Mill's methods and their derivatives (particularly in mathematics), is that science in large part consists of identifying the figurative or literal equations in reality or fragments thereof and also of contrasting various equations against each other to isolate ever smaller valid sub-equations and ultimately to identify the root irreducible variables.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

CR on unused credit limit

Following on from the previous post on these kinds of technicalities, this is my educated guess as to why there was a CR marker next to the unused portion of my credit-card limit. I'll have to look up a resource on accounting practice within retail banks, or be told by an actual bank's accountant, to find out whether I am right or wrong. That being said, I am sure enough in this guess not to be motivated to make a significant effort to find out formally. If I get the opportunity to do so that is not out of my way, sure, but not otherwise.

The appellation of CR is not accidental, nor a mere automatic repetition of such a tag in the software or whatnot. It is put there, knowingly and deliberately, for valid accounting reasons. The reason: contingent liability. The unused part of my credit limit is the amount of debt that I am authorised to cause the bank to go into. If I use that amount, I would cause the bank to then owe the merchants I've just traded with the amounts of the transactions in question. For example, if I buy $50 of petrol from Woolworths-Caltex with my credit card then I will then cause the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to owe Woolworths-Caltex that $50. That amount will then be deducted from my remaining unused credit and added into what I owe the bank.

Precisely because credit-card holders are capable of putting the card issuers in hock to others like this, it is prudent that the issuers keep a definite track of the amounts of contingent liability they are thus exposed to and in turn manage their financial and administrative practices accordingly - ie it is an example of using management accounting for its intended purpose. Thus, as liability, the unused credit amount (legal meaning of credit) is a credit-side entry (accounting meaning of credit) and so warrants the CR tag as per standard accounting practice.

Now, back to boning up on induction.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Concretising the possible flaws

For reference regarding what flaws in I've done so far in scattered episodes over the last three weeks, this is the work in progress. Be warned: it is messy, and skeletonish in places. As ever with me, mine out of it what you can if you're interested, but don't expect too much value.

Methodological flaw?

Some explanations are in order. One of the things I have been doing over the last several weeks is listening to the "Induction in Physics and Philosophy" and the "Objectivism Through Induction" recorded lectures. I bought them at OCON08 but totally forgot about them until recently, and I still haven't finished OTI (I'm currently on lecture 5). They are proving to be extremely valuable... and also making me question the extent to which I have gone wrong in what I thought was proper inductive validation by oneself of another's findings.

Of present concern is how I had tackled economics, which I began questioning when I wondered if I had been wrong to some degree in the method. What I had been doing, at least to some extent, was effectively Aristotle's induction-as-suggestion method.

For this I had gathered a host of examples, both those themselves mentioned elsewhere (Merton's original paper and Wikipedia, mostly), examples I recall from others' specific instances, and those of my own observation and experience, and then treated them as the data for a preliminary induction. The next step I took was to examine the causes (and I have come to the conclusion that there are but two direct causes and that the other causes of the phenomena are in fact causes of those first two causes), and so tie the phenomenon to various facts (the complexity of existence, human capacities for focus and evasion/pretence, other facets of volitional consciousness, and so on). Finally, I then sought to reduce all the critical concepts back to direct perception. It is the second step there - the tieing in with other facts - that I am finding is problematic in what I have done.

I am glad I caught this at an early stage rather than waste a large amount of time only to find out the fact of such wastage at a later date. I'd hate to be in a similar position to a researcher that von Mises wrote about, who spent - and thus wasted - almost his entire academic life in systematically calculating the elasticities of every significant commodity that people regularly consumed. Yet, for what I have done so far, I am not sure that I have done exactly what Dr Peikoff said was wrong. I was not avowedly looking for broader principles to deduce the law from... but until I spend time going over my work from scratch a second time and working to fully comprehend the lessons of OTI it may well be that I had been unwittingly making that mistake anyway, so don't expect further publication from me in the immediate future.

By the way, over the last week of December I realised that I - and evidently a great number of others - had been making a subtle mistake. There is a definite distinction between that which was unintended and that which was unanticipated, and the law applies to the latter, not the former. This was both Merton's original description, and also cross-ties better with all the implications that are in fact inferred from the law by most and all those that should be so inferred. But more on that when I do finish writing.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

CR and DR

RealistTheorist quickly got the easy answer: CR is short for credit, DR is short for debit. One cookie.

The significance in this context comes from how that in the accounts presented the CR and DR are quoted from the perspective of my bank (Commonwealth Bank of Australia). Whenever one looks at one's bank statement what one is actually looking at is an extract from that bank's own accounting books, made available to the extent that one has the right to look at those books.

To the bank, the amounts listed as CR are liabilities. From their perspective these amounts are payable to me - CBA owes me those amounts (and hence they are also receivables in my own perspective). Here is the rub: in regards to my relationship with the CBA I have property in receivables from it, not in cash held by it. The amounts receivable by me and payable by CBA are the principals in a creditor-debtor relationship between us (likewise the sole DR is the amount I owe to the CBA on my credit card, and which amount to them is a receivables asset and not indicative of ownership in part of my physical cash holdings). This what the law, actual financial practice, and actual accounting practice have all now long been saying.

I don't know of any who made the following mistake, and I never made it, but it wouldn't hurt to give this warning against it: take care not to make the rationalist deduction "the amounts are listed as credit-side entries in accounting therefore they are items of credit in financial law". In fact it is the other way around, because the law takes priority and is what causes that financial-credit to be required to be listed on the credit-side in the books. Note that there are other reasons for listing credit-side entries in the books besides law-of-credit payables. Not every liability is an amount of financial credit, the equity holdings are also credit-side, and there even "contra assets" that are effectively credit-side even though their source is attachment to particular entries in the asset column (which is on the debit-side). The two contexts - accounting and finance - happen to use the same word, but what each context takes the word to mean is different to what the other takes it to mean and there is one point of overlap in referents.

The upshot of all this is that it further concretises the fact that in the real world today the bulk of the money supply is credit - in Australia as of Nov 2010, currency was $47b and demand deposits were $215b, giving an M1 of $262b. The credit in question is part of the money supply, additional to actual notes and coins, because I can easily reassign to others my property in claims upon the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. These monetised-credit mechanics are already here, fully in place and eminently capable of serving the needs of a sophisticated economy - and while something physical somewhere is necessary the use of credit as money does not strictly require physical cash (pay particular attention to paragraph 3 of this). The only thing that the financial sector need do if the courts begin taking heed of the epistemological complaints regarding the use of the word 'deposit' is simply to refrain from using that word. Until the rationalists on the topic of FRB understand that fact they are going to get absolutely nowhere in terms of theory and, in terms of practice in the event they actually succeed in influencing the courts, they will find themselves in the same position as the British Currency School when its members railed against FRB on notes in the mid 19th century: simultaneously listened to and promptly stepped around.


The numerical entry under the "available funds" column for my credit card line is the amount remaining unused from my credit limit. That's the amount I could further borrow but have not actually borrowed, so it isn't credit I've actually taken. Similarly, to get the CC relationship started I didn't have to make any initial deposits or whatnot in, so it isn't credit that I've granted the bank and the bank does not owe me anything either. In short, it is not as simple as saying "It's CR because it is available credit" in rationalist fashion as already warned against. So, here's another question for you - what does the implied credit-side classification of CR there signify? This time I don't know for definite, but I do have an educated guess that I am confident of.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meanwhile on Netbank...

This is an extract from a screenshot of my internet banking website, half an hour ago:

Pop quiz: what do the "CR" and "DR" mean? What is their significance?


Saturday, January 1, 2011

An unwieldy but valuable book

One of the books I got for myself a little while back is a paperback version of J A Schumpeter's 'History of Economic Analysis.' Contentwise it is straight-forward enough so far (I'm on page 93 after about 10 days of scattered reading episodes), though it does presume quite a large amount of knowledge and breadth of reading on the part of the reader. That is sobering, but at least this doesn't get in the way of comprehending the content.

The problem is physical - the pages are too small given that there are over 1200 of them! This makes it difficult to get comfortable while reading it, necessitating a firm grip that is both tiring after a while and creates the danger of damaging the pages or the cover. I'd hate to try reading this while on a plane or train (or automobile)! Its present physical format is best suited to books of tables and statistics that are delved into for minutes at a time (there are engineers' handbooks bigger than this), not for in-depth narrative. It should have been physically constructed with a smaller number of larger pages. The pages are a dash taller than A5, whereas ideally they should be one third taller and wider, giving a total of an extra 78% of text space per page and hence reducing the page count to somewhere around 750 to 800.

Another problem with this book is that the printing and binding got messed up. I estimate that there are about half a dozen or so leaves missing from the front of the book. Fortunately this is just Mark Perlman's introduction and the book itself (so far) is intact, so I wont bother with the trouble of sending it back halfway across the planet.


Still misunderstood Pt 2

This continues and concludes my response to Doug, as per Max’s request.