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Post 40

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 12:30pmSanction this postReply
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Pete,

I didn't attend the lecture (I was introducing the speaker who was talking at the same time.)  The Objectivist Center is currently reproducing the tapes to be put on CD.  We are taking orders first from attendees.  When we start taking orders from people who didn't attend I will post a notice and a link on SOLO.

Bill


Post 41

Saturday, July 23, 2005 - 6:39pmSanction this postReply
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This is the first ARI OCON summary I've seen on the web: http://www.livejournal.com/users/ishalltriumph/350999.html

Jim


Post 42

Saturday, July 23, 2005 - 10:20pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, James. A quote from the above linked website:

 

 

Yaron Brook's lecture on the neo-conservatives was a little vague and failed to say much more than his past lectures.

 

 

Thatís disappointing but hardly surprising.  Iím not sure that anything substantive has been added to our understanding of this subject since Ayn Randís denunciation of National Review in PLAYBOY IN 1964.  And I think itís difficult for Objectivists to defend the view that neocons are truly worse than todayís liberals.  At least they seem to be guided by something resembling principles, even if they are diluted by pragmatism and based on a false foundation.  The implicit nihilism of the left strikes me as being much more pernicious. 

 

Perhaps the danger derives from the long-term effects of religious belief, whereas nihilism tends to be self-annihilating. I suppose Peikoff's "DIM" hypothesis may be relevant here, once it is fully clarified. 


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Post 43

Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 7:59pmSanction this postReply
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Hi all. This is my first post on SOLO. I wrote up a summary of my impressions of the talks at the TOC Seminar, and posted loads of pictures, all here: http://joeduarte.blogspot.com

I also wrote a subtantial rebuttal of Ms. Hsieh's latest.

Cheers,

Joe Duarte

Post 44

Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 8:20pmSanction this postReply
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Welcome to SOLO, Joe! It was good to see you at TOC-Schenectady. I saw your blog entry. I did not go to Madeleine Cosmon's talk. I, like you, favor as free an immigration policy as possible given terrorist concerns.

Jim


Post 45

Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 11:37pmSanction this postReply
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Hello Joe-Joe. Welcome to SOLO.

Nice to see the pics from the TOC conference. Did you happen to catch the Stephan Hicks talks on Nietzsche? If so, can you give a little roundup?


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Post 46

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 8:51amSanction this postReply
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I didnít take notes, so I can only speak generally. Stephen ultimately took an inventory of a whole bunch of basic philosophical issues and questions, ranging from metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics. It was more than fifty in all. Then he noted Rand and Nietzscheís positions on these issues. The correlation was very low, probably less than 25% agreement. Some examples I remember relate to free will, primacy of existence, and power relationships. He set the stage by citing a lot of academics and intellectuals who tied Rand to Nietzsche, or who slammed Rand as a poor-manís Nietzsche Ė similar but not as smart, that sort of thing. The overarching theme of Stephenís talk was that there were massive, gaping differences between the two.

Post 47

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 8:30pmSanction this postReply
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I can't speak too highly of the virtues of taking notes, comprehensive ones, at summer conferences.

It's been somewhat a mystery to me over the years why very, very few people do this. Maybe it's understandable that one can get out of the habit of notetaking because of too many college or h.s. courses where the professor doesn't either doesn't have anything to say that is not in a hundred textbooks or most of what he says is nonsense or he is fuzzy or mealy-mouthed or unintelligible. But this is not true when you are listening to Kelley or Peikoff or most other Objectivist lecturers. As a speaker, I tend to have packed a tremendous amount of information into my talks whether on concretization or benevolence or cause and effect or history or epistemology and I feel insulted when people are not taking any notes. [I wonder how Kelley or Peikoff feel?]

You might think your memory or general intelligence will enable you to retain the bulk of what was said, but, as the posts on this subject and the lack of very detailed notes on this thread prove, that is not the case even for an event that transpired a couple weeks ago.

The real reason to take notes, even if you can't read them or they are cryptic [which was too often the case for me until I started to touch type them on a handheld PC], is that it focuses the mind. The people who take notes are forcing themselves to follow the theme, thread, details, arguments, even the many interesting side points.

[A similar principle applies to Ayn Rand's constantly capturing her ideas in written form -in journals, letters, the margins of books, keeping lists, etc. Writing is a lens to focus the mind far better than anyone can focus it otherwise: any and all kinds of writing including note taking.]

My technique is to try to write down every point the lecture covered (not every word, no one could type that fast. But every idea, whether it be thematic or supporting or a chain of reasoning - including the examples.) I would be willing to bet that I or any other good note taker would have a far better sense of what was said than anyone who didn't take pen out of pocket.

I always leave a day's lectures at the summer conferences feeling I've run a marathon, and knowing (assuming the lecturer was competent, and often even when he was not) -exactly- the structure of what he was talking about.

And what he missed or overlooked or erred on or didn't cover...so I know exactly what question I still want answered in the question period. That's the real reason I pop up and ask questions at almost every lecture back to the Peikoff days...I ask myself, what is the one further thing I would want to know that he can still tell me on this. [Not because I want to show off or attract attention as Robert B once rather cynically and unbenevolently claimed.]

I remember with Peikoff, I could never keep up..tons and tons of information. Less so with Kelley, but there is still a tendency there as well.

My fingers are usually sore at the end of each lecture. But it is a good kind of pain. It reminds me of the kind of fierceness of effort I used to put in running track in college and it sometimes seemed the only "clean" and bright and black and white and unambiguous part of what I did in those academic years

[ After this very ferocious kind of focus 9-5, the last thing I want to do in the evenings is talk philosophy...I gravitate to the group that is laughing the most and being the most silly or having the most fun in the common room or at the dinner table. ]

This whole approach works tremendously for me. It's the way I want to live.

Phil Coates

PS, If I'd seen a high level of detailed notes posted here or elsewhere and a serious interest in that kind of detailed chewing and study, I was going to reciprocate by posting some very substantive nuggets from my notes on past lectures over the last five, ten, or twenty years, especially the ones there are no tapes for. But I don't think that will happen at this point.

PPS, I do thank Jim for example for several of his helpful contributions...

Post 48

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 9:11pmSanction this postReply
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Side note - it might surprise you but I rarely make sketches of rendering ideas until perhaps just before going to do the work - instead, prefer writing down the ideas, verbalizing the notions, and actually find it does much better in crystalizing the final view than otherwise... for the reasons you gave...

Post 49

Monday, July 25, 2005 - 9:36pmSanction this postReply
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Phil,

To each his own. I only jot down a name, a book title, a website, a date or two out of a great lecture. Then I can pursue these leads after the conference. What do I do with all the time I save in the lecture by not following your note taking regimen? I have more time to examine the ready-made notes and AV displays provided by the lecturer and, most preciously, time to think over and "chew" the ideas presented.

Can I leave the lecture hall with as much detailed record of the lecture as Phil can with his copious notes? No. But I do order the Full Monty of CDs from the recorded lectures. I can listen to these in my car throughout the year, giving me the advantage of more detail than Phil's notes can give him, combined with a ready made venue which would not otherwise be exploited for intellectual gains.

When I teach software to engineers, scientists, and other technical people, I always get a few who are like you in that they are big on note-taking. When I see them sitting down and deploying their various notepads, electronic gadgets, etc., I say whoa, there! OK, we are going to go through this material three times.

The first time, I am going to demo it and explain what it does and what its principles of operation are. You are free to stop me at any time and ask questions. I will answer any question, but there will be no note-taking. The student's focus is on the screen, the data presented on the screen, and on my hands and voice, so that they are engaged as much as possible with what is happening, why, and the metaphors used to present the data and the user interface.

The second time, the student is going to be in the driver's seat, with me observing, answering questions, and guiding him out of blind alleys. He will try to repeat the operations he saw me perform earlier, stopping to ask questions on any point that confuses him. Again the focus is on the screen and what is going on in the computer and no notes are allowed.

The third time is a repeat of the second time, except that the student can take notes, and now has a better grasp of what the system and its interface are all about. So he can ask better questions and get good notes that will help him think it through later.

But, crucially, the notes were not distracting him from the screen and from my verbal explanations of what it all means during the critical period when he was first learning the basic concepts.

Maybe the bandwidth is a lot less in a many-to-one lecture format vs. a hands-on technical tutorial session, leaving otherwise idle hands with time to take notes.

Bill

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Post 50

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 7:45amSanction this postReply
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Phil-

Another of my condensations:

Objectivist Targets of Opportunity in Activism
(from Ed Hudgins' State of the Culture talk)

1. Explaining the conflict in society
2. Championing the primacy of property
3. Emphasizing the plague of paternalism
4. Claiming the individualist legacy
5. The moral defense of capitalism
6. Celebrating achievement
7. The hard nut: selling reason

Jim


Post 51

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 7:51amSanction this postReply
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Quote from Michael Newberry's Lecture:

"Create the highest, grandest vision of your life because you become what you believe."


Jim


Post 52

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 9:29amSanction this postReply
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Hi Bill,

> "What do I do with all the time I save in the lecture by not following your note taking regimen? I have...most preciously, time to think over and "chew" the ideas presented."

You can go back and chew and integrate them once you are sure you haven't missed anything important or enriching. I don't think the time to do this is while you still haven't identified all of them. My point is that by not taking notes in a dense and info-packed lecture you -will- miss ideas.

> "I have more time to examine the ready-made notes and AV displays provided by the lecturer"

Not all lecturers provide hand-outs or visuals in any significant degree. As far as the former, one can glace quickly at an outline while taking notes and look over other ones (such as bibliography) later. As far as the slides, I take notes on those as well if they are additional rather than simply repeated in the lecture.

> "I can listen to these in my car throughout the year, giving me the advantage of more detail than Phil's notes can give him."

Another thing I disagree with is the idea that listening to an oral presentation instead of reading or writing something is equally effective. You only fully see the structure, the nuances, the implications when you have something written out in front of you. You can much more readily scan it, see connections, back up and reread, catch something you missed the first time. Most people after they listen to a tape could not pass a detailed test on that talk as well as I or another detailed note-taker could after reading over our notes. I guaran-damn-tee it.

I would be up for some sort of contest at some point. :-)

Moreover, far from every lecture is recorded or sold on tape. And not everyone has the amount of driving time you do or the diligence or will actually pay the additional money to hear it a second time. And certainly very good lectures often do not make it into printed form, not even as a transcript for sale (a mistake in my view).

> "When I teach software to engineers, scientists, and other technical people, I always get a few who are like you in that they are big on note-taking. When I see them sitting down and deploying their various notepads, electronic gadgets, etc., I say whoa, there! OK, we are going to go through this material three times."

But my point is the Objectivist lecturer is only giving through his material once, not three times. And then you are on to the next event.

I will agree that the process one uses listening to a technical or hands-on lecture or demo is very often different. I was suggesting note-taking for this particular context.

Your general view is that note-taking would distract you and others from something else they should be doing with their mind during the lecture. My point is that note taking, done properly, IS the best use of one's mind for almost everyone during a lecture of the detail and challenging nature that an Objectivist often gives in those conferences.

And again, one proof is how little those who don't take notes have been able to offer on this thread immediately after the conference.

I resist the implication that there are no standards on how best to listen, that it's all a matter of quirky Howard Gardner thinking styles and your "comfort zone" and "whatever seems to work best for you." There -are- rules for how best to think. There are rules on how best to absorb, how best to listen, how best to focus.

And just because one is an Objectivist doesn't mean one has nothing to learn on how to do it better.

Focused note-taking is particularly important for the better lectures. I will often stop, or lower the laptop lid or check out the cute chick two rows down on the left if the guy is not saying anything or if I've already heard it ten times.

Philip Coates
(Edited by Philip Coates
on 7/26, 9:52am)

(Edited by Philip Coates
on 7/26, 10:04am)


Post 53

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 9:56amSanction this postReply
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Hi Jim,

Thanks for those seven points from Ed's lecture. [ You didn't do them from memory...you took notes right? :-) ]

I think they provide a good clue into some of the themes Ed will emphasize at TOC, in op-eds, in Navigator, etc.

Phil

Post 54

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 12:28pmSanction this postReply
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On Hudgins' 7 points:

They're "activism" like a wet blanket is a weapon.

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Post 55

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 1:03pmSanction this postReply
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OK,  Adam. They've offered their activism strategy to the marketplace and you've registered your vote. I'm just relaying points I thought folks here might be interested in.

BTW, I enjoyed your article on the ontology of emergence. I don't have the bandwidth to work through all the implications right now, but it is a terrific article.

Jim


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Post 56

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 10:33pmSanction this postReply
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Phil,

Perhaps you are graced with an ability to perform the physical act of writing better than I can, and without it interfering with your mental processes the way it does with mine.

I find the effort of hastily scribbling notes to be enormously tedious. When I have attempted it, my mental focus has been something like the following: listen, listen, listen, scribble, scribble, scribble, listen, listen, listen, scribble, scribble, scribble. And when I was finished, I had the notes to (at best) half a lecture, the half I heard when I wasn't scribbling. I was missing so much context from the gaps that the notes were mostly useless. I would rather hear the whole talk and rely on my brain to retain whatever it can.

Plus, at the conference I am on vacation and would prefer to save my energy for when I can get paid for it.

I agree with you about the written material part. I wish more Objectivist lectures were available in printed transcript form. The extent to which Objectivist scholarship is an oral tradition is lamentable.

As for the time spent driving: hey, if I did have notes, when would I have time to read them?

-Bill

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Post 57

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 - 3:33amSanction this postReply
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Mr Nevinóit's a notorious fact that the only reason you don't take notes is that you're not paying attention to anything other than the cute women in the audience; that the only things you write down are measurements (always had a problem with measurement-omission, eh Bill? :-)). In other words, Mr. Nevin, we are not fooled. And the only reason Mr. Coates' scribblings are so scribbled is that he tries, feverishly, to take notes AND grade the cute women simultaneously.

Dirty old men, the pair of you!! :-)

Linz

Post 58

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 - 11:27amSanction this postReply
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> Dirty old men, the pair of you!! [Linz]

Monsieur Perigo as usual has knifed to the pulsating heart or something of the issue.

Bill, I'm not sympathetic to the on vacation answer (for me the conferences offer more intellectual challenge and originality than some of my day jobs over the years). But you raise an interesting point here: "my mental focus has been something like the following: listen, listen, listen, scribble, scribble, scribble, listen, listen, listen, scribble, scribble, scribble. And when I was finished, I had the notes to (at best) half a lecture, the half I heard when I wasn't scribbling. I was missing so much context from the gaps that the notes were mostly useless."

I think that is a very valid issue.

There is an art to note-taking the way I described [#47, #52]. You do have to split your focus...and try to not miss anything. I've gotten good at it over the years, but it takes practice. For some people, it may be necessary to take fewer notes, for example because they write slowly if they want it to be legible, or they can't touch type. (Having a 2.5 lb. laptop enables me to take notes almost three times as fast and in great comfort...it's almost as good as an orgasm.)

I suspect most people don't take notes because they are not good at it, as I suspect may be true in your case. [No offense, dude!]

>"And the only reason Mr. Coates' scribblings are so scribbled is that he tries, feverishly, to take notes AND grade the cute women simultaneously." [Linz]

I didn't realize I was being quite that obvious. I gather that my well-earned reputation for subtlety and finesse has now come into question.

(Am I'm now entering the Andrew Bates Noiseless Delicacy League for walking softly and carrying a big shtick?)

Phil
(Edited by Philip Coates
on 7/27, 11:31am)


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