Search found 86 matches

by Lawrence Crocker
Thu May 14, 2015 12:59 pm
Forum: General Philosophical Discussion
Topic: Space, Time and Infinity
Replies: 39
Views: 5282

Re: Space, Time and Infinity

I understand "abstract" to imply "not physical." So understood there are no physical abstract symbols. Of course, people have made a certain large but finite number of physical symbols, instantiating (a smaller number of) abstract symbols. There is no mathematical proof of the finitude of physical s...
by Lawrence Crocker
Wed May 13, 2015 8:26 pm
Forum: General Philosophical Discussion
Topic: Space, Time and Infinity
Replies: 39
Views: 5282

Re: Space, Time and Infinity

I should have added that, although it cannot be that numbers are symbols (unless there are at most aleph null numbers), the idea that numbers are the creatures of symbolic activity is respectable. One of the chief tasks of this view is to flesh out what the creatures are and how mathematical activit...
by Lawrence Crocker
Wed May 13, 2015 8:03 pm
Forum: General Philosophical Discussion
Topic: Space, Time and Infinity
Replies: 39
Views: 5282

Re: Space, Time and Infinity

I took "symbols" in the post to which I was responding to be physical entities. I have no problem with an infinity of abstract symbols, such as the numerals in your example. Some abstract numerals, of course, will never exist physically -- a point of the strict finitists. More important, with respec...
by Lawrence Crocker
Tue May 12, 2015 3:26 pm
Forum: Applied Ethics
Topic: Death 'Penalty' revisited.
Replies: 50
Views: 6344

Re: Death 'Penalty' revisited.

I take it that the initiator of the thread finds the following reasoning attractive: 1. Neuroscientists can sometimes find neurological causes for a given behavior 2. Therefore, they could probably do so in every case if only they had a better grasp of the of the neural architecture and better instr...
by Lawrence Crocker
Mon May 11, 2015 12:55 pm
Forum: General Philosophical Discussion
Topic: Space, Time and Infinity
Replies: 39
Views: 5282

Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Numbers are not real as they are mathematical symbols and mathematics is abstract by definition If there are infinitely many numbers, numbers cannot be physical symbols as there are only finitely many symbols. There cannot even be a symbol (which must be of finite length) for the typical transcende...
by Lawrence Crocker
Mon May 11, 2015 12:40 pm
Forum: Aesthetics
Topic: The Aesthetics of Primes
Replies: 1
Views: 956

Re: The Aesthetics of Primes

For Zhang and G.H. Hardy, the answer is a definite yes. (I'm wondering if this has a relationship to the different orders of infinity?) Here's the article: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/pursuit-beauty PhilX From a distance, and without knowing much detail at all, it doesn't look as i...
by Lawrence Crocker
Sun May 10, 2015 10:07 pm
Forum: General Philosophical Discussion
Topic: I am looking for a hedonistic debate
Replies: 9
Views: 2047

Re: I am looking for a hedonistic debate

Some distinctions and observations that have been made in discussions of hedonism: Psychological hedonism: The only thing that is desired for itself is a pleasurable state of consciousness. Egoistic psychological hedonism: The only thing that any individual A desires for itself is A ’s pleasurable s...
by Lawrence Crocker
Sat May 09, 2015 1:21 pm
Forum: Political Philosophy
Topic: SOCIALISM IS THE USE OF FORCE TO TAKE AWAY FREEDOM
Replies: 233
Views: 42281

Re: SOCIALISM IS THE USE OF FORCE TO TAKE AWAY FREEDOM

This thread is now on the wrong side of moribund, but it provokes some thoughts by someone who has called himself a “socialist” for 54 years. You may pretty safely assume that no one else will have found this. So a comment would be a boon. I would congratulate the initiator of the thread for issuing...
by Lawrence Crocker
Mon May 04, 2015 9:14 pm
Forum: Articles in Philosophy Now
Topic: Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? by Michael Sandel
Replies: 2
Views: 678

Re: Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? by Michael Sandel

It has always been challenging to ferret out the specifics of Sandel's communitarianism. It looks as if this book will help, and Badger's review is a nice, if short, first step.
by Lawrence Crocker
Sat May 02, 2015 11:16 pm
Forum: Applied Ethics
Topic: Why I became a vegetarian...
Replies: 190
Views: 24708

Re: Why I became a vegetarian...

If I were asked to judge the debate so far, I would have to give the palm to the vegetarians. The argument that the pain of animals bred to be food doesn't count morally invites the objection that second and third generation slaves were bred to be slaves. They would not have existed but for slavery....
by Lawrence Crocker
Sat May 02, 2015 8:48 pm
Forum: Political Philosophy
Topic: In the USA you can be convicted of hate crimes.
Replies: 34
Views: 6585

Re: In the USA you can be convicted of hate crimes.

Several traditional crimes are made more severe by the "why". In many states the difference between first and second degree murder turns on this . The only crime defined in the Constitution is a particularly clear example. If you blow up a bridge for the joy of destruction, it is an arson. If you bl...
by Lawrence Crocker
Sat May 02, 2015 5:41 pm
Forum: Political Philosophy
Topic: In the USA you can be convicted of hate crimes.
Replies: 34
Views: 6585

Re: In the USA you can be convicted of hate crimes.

Some comments on hate crimes and US law: Not every violent crime motivating by and manifesting even racial hatred is covered by a hate crime enhancement. The federal Civil Rights Act covers only certain categories of protected activity, and, although it has been broadly interpreted at points, it wil...
by Lawrence Crocker
Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:40 pm
Forum: Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics
Topic: Infinity has gotten stranger
Replies: 46
Views: 8003

Re: Infinity has gotten stranger

Thanks for the correction. The current state of the art is 246, not 248. I do not want to deprecate Zhang's achievement. Still, there is a difference between 246 and 2. Looks as if there is hope for reducing it to gaps of 6, but the proof for the doubles may still elude for some time. I am not so cl...
by Lawrence Crocker
Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:48 pm
Forum: Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics
Topic: Infinity has gotten stranger
Replies: 46
Views: 8003

Re: Infinity has gotten stranger

[quote][The twin prime conjecture is no more. Yitang Zhang proved there are an infinite number of twin primes, even though they thin out as you go up the number line. /quote] This is not my understanding. I believe that extensions of Zhang's work have gotten us only to the point that there are infin...
by Lawrence Crocker
Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:13 pm
Forum: General Philosophical Discussion
Topic: Space, Time and Infinity
Replies: 39
Views: 5282

Re: Space, Time and Infinity

Kant concluded that space and time were forms imposed by our minds upon reality. One of his arguments, the "First Antinomy of Pure Reason" in his Critique of Pure Reason anticipates some of your thoughts here. The physicists tend to say that, although we can conceptualize infinite space and time inf...