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  2. There are I think two tremendous errors and bad consequences of accepting "one's own life is the standard of value". One is the circular illogic of applying one's own standard of value to one's own *value". (And losing any standard). The other is applying one's life as the standard of value - to others. Which means one sets the benchmark of value by one's life for what other individual lives and their values, must match. On one hand, an individual could end up in self-conflict, anxiety and confusion - subconsciously knowing he's living in self-contradiction. On the other, one may turn to "Nietzschean egoism": whatever I say goes. Whatever I choose is good. A possible additional side-effect being second-handedness. Hard to tell which is worse, they are both equally self-less outcomes. Morally, they boil down to self-sacrifice -or- sacrifice of others.
  3. The whole thing starts wrong with not applying the law of identity to man. With the premise that consciousness and one's own mind do not also have specific identity. The very first of which is its autonomy. Staying with just that single attribute, autonomy dictates that one can *only* be mind-independent. In dismissal of the "is/ought dichotomy", a man must act according to, and to the extent of his nature, using all his attributes: rationality, reason, free will, especially. From the identification of the attributes of "man" given to us by an objective metaphysician is how most individuals arrived at identifying one's own capacities. Few ever could achieve that by introspection and induction, nor a lifetime of observation of individual men. That outlines the necessity of a metaphysics, in this case the absolute reality of "man" and man's life. Switching to value - again, the all fits the one. What is one's and one's life-value is anything but arbitrary, subjective, intrinsic. Individual value - explicitly - comes about by one recognizing the "standard of value" (man's life) - to repeat, based upon the identity of those capacities man has. This abstract principle is nothing to fret about in one's daily, general living and pursuit of values, as I see this. E.g. "Am I - properly - living up to the standard of value, man's life?" It 'only' needs to be grasped and acknowledged, (as with the abstraction "reality" denoting every instance of reality). When explicitly recognized, and at times, revisited, the subconscious mind admits and holds that as a guiding principle for one's value-choices .
  4. Alongside Victor Hugo, Rand classified Dostoyevsky as a Romantic Realist. Most authors want to portray heroes, not just evil characters. So, it is easy to mistake this usually-present aspect for the essential characteristic. But, the essential characteristic of Romanticism (i.e. Rand's concept of it) is: volitional thought and action.
  5. Pundits of all stripes often speak of Ayn Rand as a prophet whenever recent events play out like those in her novels or her better-known commentary. Often, conservatives use the analogy in a "told-you-so" sense before flitting off to complain about the next entirely predictable result of cultural trends they'll fail to challenge, or even abet. And then there are leftists, who use the term derisively. When they're not putting words in her mouth in an effort to discredit her analysis, they're grasping at straws to portray her as a hysterical alarmist. The most recent event that made me think of Ayn Rand was Venezuela's inclusion on the UN Human Rights Council, as reported by a major conservative blog: Venezuela is a tragedy but the United Nations is a joke. The UN's Human Rights Council is composed of 47-members who are elected to three-year terms by UN members. Today, Venezuela was elected to one of two seats reserved for Latin American nations thanks to support from other socialist states...No. Hot Air didn't then go on to report this as yet another prophecy by Rand, but they could have: We need more reason, and less mumbo jumbo... (Image by Danny Trujillo, via Unsplash, license.) Psychologically, the U.N. has contributed a great deal to the gray swamp of demoralization -- of cynicism, bitterness, hopelessness, fear and nameless guilt -- which is swallowing the Western world. But the communist world has gained a moral sanction, a stamp of civilized respectability from the Western world -- it has gained the West's assistance in deceiving its victims -- it has gained the status and prestige of an equal partner, thus establishing the notion that the difference between human rights and mass slaughter is merely a difference of political opinion. ... Who, but a concrete-bound epistemological savage, could have expected any other results from such an "experiment in collaboration"? What would you expect from a crime-fighting committee whose board of directors included the leading gangsters of the community? [bold added]That the socialist gang running Venezuela is now an officially recognized champion of "human rights" is a travesty that should cause any nation serious about individual rights to at least threaten to withdraw from the UN in protest. (This assumes such a nation somehow was a member in the first place: I further agree with Ayn Rand that we shouldn't even be a member of the UN.) But I will not hold my breath. There will be no push to do this from the left, who want to flush our country down the same socialist toilet. And the right? Note the terms tragedy and joke: Much stronger terms are in order. The suffering and death caused by the "Bolivarians" are atrocities; and the UN is an abomination. But the right has failed for so long to challenge the altruistic base of socialism that I would be surprised to hear the first of those more proper terms used. And worse, so many accept so much of the culture uncritically that they additionally treat the UN as a metaphysical fact rather than as the man-made institution it is, hence the impotent sarcasm of calling the UN a joke. So, although nobody has said this is yet another fulfilled prophecy, it is. And these will keep coming until more people listen to and heed the warnings -- or until they can't keep coming. In the latter case, the real tragedy (for innocent victims, such as children) and the real atrocity (by those capable of thinking or acting to avert it, but who do not) will be the fact that any and all of these "prophecies" can be averted with the exertion of mental effort and moral courage. -- CAV Updates Today: Changed caption and reworded a sentence. Link to Original
  6. Skillet - Back from the Dead The visuals are spliced in from StarCraft.
  7. Earlier you referenced Peikoff's principle of two definitions, which he applied to the concept of value. I suspect that a similar principle applies to the concept of standard of value. In order to reach the narrower idea of a pro-life standard, you must begin with the broader set of standards, which includes all particular things and ideas by which you've evaluated your goals and actions. Consider this #2 definition of standard: I just pulled it from Google, but I think it is accurate. A standard doesn't have to be an abstraction. It can also be a real thing, i.e., your particular life. And since your life is an end in itself, it makes sense for it to be your concrete, metaphysical standard of value, the thing by which you should evaluate your actions. This doesn't mean that it should replace an abstract, moral standard. The two should be in harmony, otherwise you have a problem. This is a difficult idea to explain. I'll work on a more comprehensive statement, but I too want to avoid a "quote-battle" with Whynot, and I worry that's what it'll turn into if I start analyzing Rand in more detail. Instead, I would very much like to see Whynot fully address SL's "apple tree" example and your Peikoff reference to the principle of two definitions.
  8. Yesterday
  9. I mean, I don't disagree with your criticism here as far as whyNot's reasoning about the topic (a quote battle isn't helping anyone). But wouldn't this here be an example of trying to fit a bad phrasing to a fine concept? If you talk about an abstraction, you can't be talking about literally your own life. The only thing that can have a life is a specific entity. Yeah, you abstract from your own life (to do otherwise is rationalism usually), but you can't apply your own life as a standard to other people. In some sense, you could be the standard, to the extent that you are trying to take into account your individual differences. The problem with that is when we talk about standards, we are looking for what applies across all entities of a specific class. The word 'standard' would not be precise here.
  10. Yes yes. LIFE. Do I have to repeat goal-directed action, self-generated, etc, etc, in every post? You can read it higher up.
  11. Back to basics. You guys need some revision, from page one: "The first question that has to answered, as a precondition of any attempt to define, to judge or to accept any system of ethics, is: Why does man need any values at all -- and why? "Let me stress this. The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is: Does man need values at all--and why? "Is the concept of *value*, of "good or evil" an arbitrary human invention, unrelated to, underived from and unsupported by any facts of reality--or is it based on a *metaphysical fact, on an unalterable condition of man's existence? (I use the word "metaphysical" to mean: that which pertains to reality, to the nature of things, to existence)." p,1 The Objectivist Ethics. Etc. Right up to and beyond: "...holds man's life as the standard of value..." If there are sensible objections to Rand's justification, fine, I will be glad to hear. If there's agreement, then we agree on the basics, and can dive a little deeper. But we all should know the basics first, not garbled versions from secondary sources, or subjective reproductions that look good. "Independence" means not much, when one has subjective 'standards' of egoism.
  12. Consider a tyrant that plots to take over the world and an author that portrays the obstacles and struggles to overcome them and succeed at accomplishing the sinister objective. It may not be Romantic Realism in painting a picture that inspires you personally, but a power luster may find it inspirational to keep it under his pillow at night. It is like exploring the 'dark side' of the power of art.
  13. Man's life is his process of self-generated and self-sustaining action. You appear to be focusing on only one aspect of man, his existence, and dropping the context of his action. Man's life is not that which is fundamental to his existence, it's that which is his existence. A man acting to stay alive (to continue existing) is his life. Of course, a man can also act to end his life (to stop existing), which is his death. Therefore, each individual man must form a concept of his own life and death, and the actions which will produce either result. This is the sense in which his own life is his standard of value, and his own death is his standard of vice.
  14. Lets stop trying to characterize each other and deal with my example using independent thought. What is inappropriate or subjective with using “this apple tree” or “this apple orange tree” and all the knowledge that comes with it, (please see my above examples) as the standard to use in its care?
  15. This topic concerns "objective value" - derived from objective reality. *Which* value-system is the essential grounds for defining and creating a morality. I.E. Of value to whom? (The three theories of value you should know). Your tree theory is fine as far as objective fact goes; apparently you think the O'ist ethical theory offends or contradicts the utter uniqueness of every individual (which he/she is). That's badly mistaken, and a metaphysical -> individual error again. Further, you are seemingly confusing "personal" with "subjective".
  16. I don't need to search for previous examples of that erroneous interpretation. You are seeing them here. And it's increasingly clear that I have been quite well understood. The reactions demonstrate this. Thank you for the writing advice. You always did worry too much about style over substance.
  17. There's something one takes for granted on an Objectivist forum, that the distinction between an abstraction (man's life) and the concrete (an individual life) will be grasped. That one makes the conceptual connection from one to the other. *Of course* one's morality is individualistic and real to one, as one's life and being is real and concrete; arbitrarily throwing in "fundamentally" and your comments raises the doubt you know what metaphysical fundamentality means. "Man's life" = Fundamental to man and man's existence, according to the nature of his consciousness (consciousness, too, has identity) and the nature of existence. That's my (independent) assessment of the phrase, open to criticism. Therefore - fundamental to ALL men and all individuals. You, otoh, think that "morality" relates to either the individual or the group of people and society. (Even implying altruism...). So you pose a false dichotomy in your question. I suggest the social conception of "men" and "society" stems from universalism rather than a proper metaphysics of man. Before you irrelevantly get down to anyone's "psycho-epistemology and sense of life" you need to understand the abstractions involved here. I have been accurate to Objectivism, I think, but I don't see you being critical of Rand's "sense of life" in her ethics conception. Where do you believe Rand has her ethics wrong? More likely, where do you think you've misinterpreted her? I'll give it again: "The Objectivist ethics holds man's life as the STANDARD of value--and HIS OWN LIFE as the ETHICAL PURPOSE of every individual man". (AR's italics).
  18. Right, sure RR does. My point was about classical romanticism, that it was the precursor, respected by Rand in such passages as "...consider two statues of man: one as a Greek God, the other as a deformed medieval monstrosity. Both are metaphysical estimates of man ..."etc. And: "The most important principle of the esthetics of literature was formulated by Aristotle who said that fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history because "history represents things as they are, while fiction represents them as they might be and ought to be"". p80 I queried SNerd's remark that a novel can contain ~only~ evil people and still be Romantic Realism. What he's saying, I guess, and you are saying, is that evil people ("man", too) also have a volitional capacity (and supposedly don't activate their free will for rationality). I question if such a novel of such characters can possibly depict Romantic Realism when it shows a reader only the evil consequences of volition's opposite. "A deformed medieval monstrosity" comes to mind. And, yes: Naturalism (in novels and esp. modern movies, etc.) is the um, 'ideal' vehicle to represent men as helpless, determined victims in a pointless existence - or having evil "souls".
  19. I've seen it before, yes. But examples are still important if we want to concretize anything we say. If someone thinks that their own life is the standard of value, I think it's usually because it can be difficult to make the conceptual step that an abstract and universal code can be unified with a particular life. it just gets annoying when I'm not the only person who thinks you have poor writing, and you don't bother to improve it. You use grammar inappropriately, you use punctuation inappropriately. Your transition words are absent when they should be there. Your attempts at clarification usually do the opposite. Anyone can search.
  20. Correction: ...as what you the individual reader "ought to be". Romantic Realism holds man as a volitional being. Dr. Robert Stadler, for instance, Wesley Mouch and Elsworth Toohey had ink dedicated to providing a background to be taken into consideration. Are you puzzled how an evil person could produce Romantic Realism, or how evil people could be portrayed via Romantic Realism? The artist that holds and portrays the soul of man as a sewer can attempt to do so via Naturalism or Romantic Realism. Although I would have to question if this alone could be sufficient for an evil verdict.
  21. I’m not going to define anything for you, I’m looking for some independent thought. The apple tree is a perfect example we could discuss but you continue to evade precisely because it would require independent thought on your part. I am curious about your psycho epistemology and sense of life. Is morality primarily and fundamentally individualistic and personal? or contra is it something possessed and for a society or for any group or collection of people for that matter? If you are unwilling or unable to think independently, no real discussion of any kind is possible. One more hypothetical to add to the mix. What if you were a brilliant botanist and geneticist and you were able to create a hybrid apple orange tree ... and you created only one. Now suppose because of your brilliance you could from its unique genetic makeup predict and completely understand its requirements for life, some of which were similar to similar to apple trees others similar to orange trees and yet others new and similar to neither. Now suppose you write your guide to action, recipe of care, standard practices manual, whatever you call it, for your gardener, using all your knowledge. In what way would your utterly unique owners manual for the actual care of this apple orange tree be subjective?
  22. Glad that you got it. Why Grames understood early, despite "sty'e", is because he thinks in principles. Instances of an Objectivist here and there, misstating Rand's meaning are quite numerous. When I further saw that no one else made a correction, I inferred that the error is wide-spread. Examples of this would take a search into the forums I'm incapable of, and not really indicative of much. They were simply asserted, as matter-of-fact: e.g "The individual's life is his standard of value".
  23. Correction: ...as what you the individual reader "ought to be".
  24. I'm puzzled by how evil people would still portray Romantic Realism.
  25. Yeah, that's metaphysics for you. Bald assertion. This is this. This is not that. 1.Man's life is the standard of value. 2. An individual's life is not an individual's standard of value. I'd like to see your explanation of objective and objective value.
  26. They are mutually inclusive. In which case, did not Rand's novel portray "a volitional consciousness" as what man "ought to be"?
  27. Nope. Not by Rand's definition. The book can be about extremely evil people, and nothing else, and it would still be Romantic Realism.
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