Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

All Activity

This stream auto-updates     

  1. Today
  2. Maybe this remains true. It seems that few in this thread take seriously the idea that war could erupt from these Tweets going back and forth -- and truly it is an absurd notion. Maybe Nicky's idea that this is all going according to some widely endorsed political strategy is sound, and will prove correct. But I find this to be a concerning development.
  3. I Fantasize About Other Women

    Not a big deal, actually I think that every man, even if has a hottest wife or girlfriend fantasize about other women...
  4. What Should A Guy Do If He's Attracted To A Woman?

    There is only 2 things: confidence and money, it is best to have them both, or at least one.
  5. Today I hired an escort, yet felt nothing

    Well, exactly.
  6. Death of a loved one

    First is best solution - only new love will cure old one... Sorry fgor your friend
  7. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    It would seem you gratuitously dropped in "the ideal" (with the motive of uncovering my "implicit" and 'latent' premises) when in fact I made no mention of the ideal, and would not imply it. Nor, of course, that there is any dichotomy between the moral and the practical. And of course, "it is crucial for long term flourishing to have a strong sense of self-esteem..."! Was that not what I said (or implied)? If one doesn't know one's "own reality", then how does one know one's consciousness? "Reality" is the reality of oneself too... How else would an individual know at which point he begins sacrificing his values, virtues and character for his 'flourishing'? If 'a goal' (of sorts) demands altruistic sacrifice, then it is not a rational goal, nor is it likely and possible he will flourish. That, explicitly, would appear to be "the case for Objectivism". I stand by what I said, and repeat that I don't see that consequentialism, the ends justifying the means, is anywhere evident in Objectivism. Do you know different? All in all, a good lecture which shouldn't go to waste.
  8. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    (leaving aside the dubious notion "his own reality") This hides (albeit poorly) a implicitly held contradiction. That somehow virtue and principle are beyond the achievement of a flourishing life. That the ideal is beyond, above or apart from the practical... above or beyond reality and nature and consequences. This is not the case for Objectivism. There is no dichotomy between rational and objectively identified means and ends. There is no dichotomy between the practical and the ideal, no dichotomy between virtue, principle, and reality. Morality is OBJECTIVE. It's standard is firmly rooted in reality, and every virtue, principle, and action of a moral man are purposefully adopted and taken according to that standard. As is hinted at it is impossible to "cheat reality". This also contains a latent error. It implies a man may reach "his goals" in ways which can either thwart or strengthen his self-esteem, when in fact self-esteem (being instrumental to his ultimate and on-going goal) is part of the goal. Self-esteem is simply unimportant to a man who does not choose to live, does not adopt life as the standard, or is misguided and not fully understood value, but to a man who fully understands the value of self-esteem to the achievement of life, he understands that it is crucial for long term flourishing to have a strong sense of self-esteem, and that it is an important means to the ultimate end. Each and every goal along the way and contributing to the ultimate goal of life, thus incorporates the goal of flourishing, staying mentally fit and healthy to continue pursuing the ultimate goal of life. IF a man sets as a particular goal the achievement of building a pyramid in the long term, taking a shortcut which requires the severing of his arm, may achieve some immediate short term goal but it thwarts achievement of his ultimate goal. A rational man does not shy from severing his arm because of some higher sense of self beyond reality, self, goals and life, he is neither irrational nor a supernaturalist, he shies away from severing his arm because such a thing WOULD be life defeating in general. It is not "how" one reaches goals that is crucial here, but whether or not he actually is reaching or thwarting his ultimate goal...
  9. From tech businessman Jacques Mattheij comes a life lesson about honesty, which includes the bonus of an example of the impossibility of applying moral principles in the absence of context. Mattheij describes an episode from his youth, when the growing evidence of his technological ability attracted the attention of a shady relative: ... I could easily see is that this would be a beginning, and a bad beginning too. You can bet that someone somewhere will lose because of crap like this. (Fortunately, now the EU has made odometer fraud illegal). You can also bet that once you've done this thing and accepted the payment that you're on the hook. You are now a criminal (or at least, you should be) and that means you're susceptible to blackmail. The next request might not be so easy to refuse and could be a lot worse in nature. So I wasn't really tempted, and I always felt that "but someone else will do it if I don't" was a lousy excuse. If you're reading this as a technical person: there will always be technically clueless people who will attempt to use you and your skills as tools to commit some crime. Be sure of two things: the first is that if the game is ever up they'll do everything they can to let you hold the bag on it and that once you're in you won't be getting out that easily.The young man's thinking reminds me of both (1) Ayn Rand's case against lying, as related by Leonard Peikoff in "My Thirty Years With Ayn Rand" and (2) the proper way to apply principles. Is it always wrong to lie, as, for example, Mattheij did when he told his relative he couldn't do what he was asked? Or might there be cases in which telling the truth would actually be wrong? Ayn Rand once summarized the virtue of honesty as follows:Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud -- that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee -- that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling -- that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.When a criminal, through the initiation of force (or the threat thereof) places you in a position in which your statement of a fact only makes him better able to make you act against your better judgment, you are in a situation in which telling him a lie is a perfectly moral (or, in some situations, the only) thing you can do in self-defense. This is not "stooping to his level" (as an intrinsicist might say), because you aren't trying to obtain anything by fraud. Nor is it an example of subjectivism, because one is actually doing this in order to continue acting (or once again be able to act) in accordance with one's best judgment. Neither inflexible commandments nor the fiction that reality is infinitely malleable can provide any useful guidance on the matter of how to live one's life. -- CAV Link to Original
  10. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    I must say, I can't see any hint of consequentialism in Objectivism. Unless taken in the casual sense, of directing one's actions towards their due consequences. But isn't this the idea that results and ends are all that count, regardless of how one arrives there? The Objectivist would not compromise his virtues or sacrifice values to attain an objective. He couldn't "cheat reality" nor his own reality. In itself, an important source of self-esteem is ~how~ he reaches his goals.
  11. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    But wasn't Roark "morally complete/grown up" at an early age, a young man? Or was he a work in progress? Same with Galt and his two buddies.
  12. I don't mean to say that someone with a faulty subconscious premise is acting immorally or we should say the person is immoral. They can fix it. But I can't even think of when someone was conflicted and a wholly-integrated as a person. In other words, the person may be good on the whole, but fail to be an ideal. That ideal man is the virtuous man. I see how the quote suggests that an unintegrated person could be also a virtuous person. "Bad" thoughts don't make you bad. But it doesn't refer to the ideal man. Now, Galt may have felt conflict, but I don't think Rand succeeded with Galt in portraying the ideal man. He was a supporting character and not concretized as deeply Dagny or Rearden. I'd say Galt was good on the whole and a great guy, but not an ideal. If he were wholly integrated, I don't think he'd feel a temptation to sabotage his own goal even for one second. Good people may struggle, but it's easy for the virtuous person. I don't think Rand said much on integrated virtue, only that we should seek to be our best and eliminate our internal conflicts. Since Rand's fiction mostly deals with character growth, it's fair to say she thought it took years to become that pillar of moral perfection. Psychologists can help us get there if we have trouble.
  13. Yesterday
  14. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    I have yet to find anything in Objectivist ethics which treats with any importance, anything which is inconsequential to a man's life or of no consequence to it. Any aspect of the ethics which defines any element of means are, to the extent they are considered ethical or pertaining to ethics purely directed to the ends. As such, I would submit that the whole of Objectivist ethics is decidedly and ultimately not inconsequential.
  15. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    People have to learn to handle their subconscious premises, and they can make innocent mistakes about it. Thus it doesn't follow that someone with an unbreached rationality will be perfectly integrated in his psychology. Conversely, it doesn't follow that someone who feels an out-of-context desire has been irrational somewhere. The long-term ideal of the rational man is to achieve perfect integration between conscious and subconscious, and this needs to be striven for. But its lack at any given time is not a sure sign of irrationality, and it doesn't defeat the virtue of actions based on explicit moral principle. Ayn Rand agreed with me: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/psychologizing.html#order_4 In Atlas Shrugged, Rand also had her supremely ideal man, John Galt, relate an instance in which he experienced an out-of-context desire while observing Hank Rearden. That he felt that desire did not make him immoral. A consequence of the view that you ascribe to Rand would be that psychology is an illegitimate profession: It would just be a sanction of irrationality: a cover that allows the irrational to pretend that they're rational. Any rational man would have his psychology completely figured out and integrated, with no conflicts. (The most we might say a psychologist would be useful for would be to hear about the patient's emotional conflicts and then condemn him for his bad premises. The psychologist would merely act as a form of punishment for a perpetrator of irrationality. But then this wouldn't require any specialized training, only philosophical education.)
  16. The DIM Hypothesis - by Leonard Peikoff

    Since the above quotes may be difficult to understand, I will interpret them in order to explain why I consider this a failure on Smith's part. In the quote Merleau-Ponty meant that a thing that caused no sensations cannot exist, and Reid meant that a thing that caused no sensations can exist. To be fair Merleua-Ponty should be considered a realist and Reid an idealist, the opposite of Smith's evaluations of them. On a related note, Smith believes that insects (and presumably other animals, except humans) don't feel sensations. This is absurd.
  17. Sure she does. What about all she says about moral perfection? What about the fact that attaining the most fundamental values requires constant and unbreached rationality? One must be at all times virtuous, if we use these standards at all. It's no wonder then that Rand sees the ideal man as an integrated person - having a virtuous character. If one is conflicted about their actions, that means there's a lack of integration somewhere. They have failed to be virtuous to some degree. Stated from the other side, acting with the proper principles will mean no conflict. Virtues must become so habituated that it feels natural. Of course we should be critical of other virtue ethicists who reecognize human nature differently. Rand still captures and follows Aristotle the way he thinks of virtue. Aristotle probably thought of virtuous character as innate, but that's inessential.
  18. You ask, essentially, how would it make any difference? If one has already chosen "to live rationally and with objectivity", why should holding "man's life [as] the standard of value" - vs. - one's own life as the standard of value, matter? Seeing that you've already made the volitional commitment to a life 'proper' to man qua man, I'd think, very little or not at all. I equivocate, because one has to take into account one's long term future. It would still serve one well to recognize that there exists a metaphysical, objective standard by which one is able to continue to gauge one's choices and decisions. However, for an individual arriving on the Objectivist scene, here I think making the distinction is vital. It is contradictory to carry both concepts -- "one's life as one's ultimate value", and also -- "one is the standard of value". (The standard - for whom? To others? Hardly. To oneself? Then it is not "a standard" one can use to measure by.) For clarity, at the least, all of one's attention and focus should instead be on the ultimate value in one's life, directed towards every chosen value - human, material, spiritual, etc. - which are discovered and sustained by that prime value and enrich it, in turn. As its final effect, rational selfishness has to be seen to be - liberating. It should never be constrictive nor cause one conflict. Personally speaking, this threw me too (many years ago). Even though from the first reading I intuitively "got" what Rand meant by the standard of value, I then succumbed to second thoughts and revised that it must mean each individual -"I" - was that standard. After all, I rationalized, this is an egoist ethics - therefore, what "I" ever deem to be of value, must be of objective value. (A modicum of good judgment prevented me from too many arbitrary or subjectively 'egotistic' value-choices, but it left doubt in my mind). It seems to me now (and speaking for myself again, also) that generally most young Objectivists are first struck by Rand's novels, then followed by the ethics, Capitalism, and individual rights, and it may take many quite some time to delve into and understand the metaphysics and epistemology which precede and justify those. Rational egoism - may- be viewed as a separate and floating abstraction. Out of the proper order and context then, one may lately learn that Objectivity is the mainstay of the Objectivist ethics.
  19. The DIM Hypothesis - by Leonard Peikoff

    A. D. Smith's biggest failure that I've noticed so far is that he thinks of Maurice Merleau-Ponty as an idealist based on this quote: And then states that Thomas Reid is a realist and quotes him thus:
  20. The DIM Hypothesis - by Leonard Peikoff

    An explanation of the cause of an illusion, from my point of view, is that a contrast causes sense data integrated into perception to disintegrate or break apart, dividing them into ones that remain unaffected because of their closeness to some features of perception and those that have changed through the contrast.
  21. The DIM Hypothesis - by Leonard Peikoff

    There are too many good points in that book, so I cannot share all of them, but here are two salient ones that at least relate, through criticism, to naive realism, which is how Oism is usually portrayed by its opponents: The idea here that the author is trying to communicate is that illusory sensation is a replacement of real sensation characterized by its conflict with perception itself, although it is contained in it because it affects perception, even though our brains modify the input as well. In other words, the difference is that integration of all sense data is not achieved when perception is "infected" (author's word) by illusion. Rather, what you get is the same as in popular illusions: there is a mix of sense data that correspond to "normal" (another author's word) perception and ones that do not, regardless of whether they are modified by our subjects or not.
  22. Last week
  23. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    To see the contrast between virtue ethicists and Objectivism on the nature of virtue as a character trait versus a principle of action, note how I say in the essay: This points to Aristotle's distinction between the virtuous man and the merely "continent" man. A virtuous man, according to Aristotle, not only acts rightly, he does so naturally. His whole psychology must be harmonized with right action. He has no temptation to do wrong, and no emotional responses that conflict with what he should do. If he did, he wouldn't be virtuous, but merely "continent." Ayn Rand doesn't hold this. She says that, so long as a man acts on the proper principle, he is to that extent virtuous. Whether he's conflicted about his action is irrelevant to the virtue of the action. As far as I'm aware, modern virtue ethicists follow Aristotle on this issue. They see virtue as fundamentally a character trait, not a principle of action that an emotionally conflicted agent can follow. They don't identify each virtue with the recognition of certain facts about reality and fundamental human nature. The other issue that divides Rand from the virtue ethicists is the fundamentality of virtue. Virtue ethicists hold virtues as irreducible, explaining eudaimonia in terms of virtues (as at least one of the components.) This makes their concept of eudaimonia moralized, (value-laden) and it means that they beg the question about what virtues are. Where the virtues come from is rationally inexplicable. Rand grounds her morality--including the moral virtues--in the concept of "life," and life is not moralized or value-laden. A key passage from the essay: Hence the conclusion that Objectivist Ethical Egoism is not a form of virtue ethics: Virtue ethics is not merely a concern with virtues or character traits. Other moral theories, like utilitarianism and deontological theories can also have concerns for virtues and character traits. What defines and differentiates virtue ethics from other ethical approaches is that it regards character traits ("virtues") as the fundamental guidelines of moral behavior, not to be explained in any deeper terms, nor judged by any deeper standard.
  24. Indeed, I read that funny too. On his blog post he argues that virtue can become traits of character when habituated and automotized, but then goes ahead and concludes Rand isn't a virtue ethicist. Of course Rand is a different species from, say, Aristotle, Anscombe, Foote, etc. but it seems odd to say she is not all in the same virtue theory genus. That would take a really controversial reading of her. There are some passages of Rand where she seems to say that virtue is merely an instrumental means to attaining life, but there's other passages where she talks about virtue as developing a character based on long term principled action. Peikoff in OPAR also talks about character as automatized morals. This is somewhat a matter of debate amongst Rand scholars in the instrumentalist vs constitutive reading of Rand. You could have a more consequentialist reading of her based on emphasizing the instrumentalist strand, but once you've accepted the need for automatizing long term principles, you've accepted that they are both a means to and component of an end. That would seem to put her rather comfortably in the virtue ethics camp.
  25. Standard of Value - Life, Posterity, Legacy

    As a man I can relate the reality of me to what I can learn about the reality of men who have lived and are living. It is easy to accept that objective knowledge gained about these other men (for shorthand ... knowledge about Man) is useful at least in part to my quest to understand myself. As a man choosing to live rationally and with objectivity, how would my life be impacted differently by choosing as my standard of morality "my life" and everything that entails and means, versus choosing, as you deem significant to put it, man's life as the standard?
  26. I don't know if that's really the idea. Wouldn't character traits be principles of action, as long as we say character traits can be cultivated? Some might describe these as immutable traits, sure. Virtue is still about the individual -being- good and as part of one's thinking. Objectivism just derives what virtue is differently than say, Aristotle, but the purpose to ethics for either one is guiding and habituating -being- good.
  27. SL, yes, Tara Smith's Normative Ethics I've long heard is considered a must read, I must get a copy. I've seen her give a talk on ARI Impact and read an essay of hers, "Money Is Time". What I saw of her original thinking while consistently objective approach to morality I found enjoyable and thought provoking. Some observations about the sometime debates critical of "objective" value: Admitting 'subjective value' - even in only some cases - has self-contradicting premises which need checking. I've heard some variations on the theme; e.g. that some specific value you choose can't be objective unless it's - "universal" - or made by an "ineffable" mind and with perfect knowledge - or empirically validated - or chosen dispassionately/impersonally. Any other method and choice will be considered to be "subjective". "If one knows that the good is *objective*--i.e. determined by the nature of reality, but to be discovered by man's mind ..." -and, much more besides from Rand you'll know and I don't need to repeat. An aside regarding what is the "standard of value" - and possibly one cause of the confusion - is that there IS an area in which one's own life is "the standard". One's emotional responses. "The capacity to experience pleasure or pain is innate in a man's body; it is part of his *nature*, part of the kind of entity he *is*. He has no choice about the standard that determines what will make him experience the physical sensation of pleasure or of pain. What is that standard? *His life*. VoS Then again you'll know, emotions are the consequence, and not to be the (attempted) cause or prime motivator of choices of values, and one won't arrive at "a state of non-contradictory joy" by reversing this causality.
  28. I hesitate to participate in this thought exercise because immortality is not even possible. How many memory cells do we have in our brain? When will the limit be reached? More importantly, the current nature that we have now will not allow the tolerance of immortality. If you are immortal, you will not be able to kill your self. It may be something you will wish to do. Our current makeup is that we end up with satiation. Like drinking water, you drink so much until you are done. Life also will have a point when you are done with it. If you are forced to drink water when you are not thirsty at all, you will vomit. The mental equivalent state of satiation is called boredom. There may be a specific threshold, let us say 153.3 thousand years. Anything past that threshold will be boring and eternal boredom is a terrible fate. We currently don't have protection against eternal boredom. Eventually, everything will be experienced and it will be abstracted. "Been there done that" will become been at that type of place and experienced it. To be immortal certain modification will have to be made to our Psychology. We will not be human anymore. Philosophically death is part of the definition of life. Psychologically death does give meaning to life. Even if, life just "is".
  1. Load more activity