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  2. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    We have an interesting confusion, brought about (first) by our different ideas of consequentialism. Definitions! Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of the conduct. [Wiki] Consequentialism is the view that normative properties depend only on consequences. [Stanford] Do you see the point? What is good is what works; what is bad, what doesn't work. Here is a totally a-principled, amoral, irrational and arbitrary approach to ethics. (And if it happens to "work" the first time, in one context, we'd just repeat it in other contexts until it fails). The contrasts with Objectivist theory hardly have to be mentioned. About the definition of justice-as-virtue I also disagree. There is a "justice" which Rand refers to in the Intro of VoS, that is of a far broader type than the virtue, and which I think you are thinking of and where I completely agree. "Since all values have to be gained and/or kept by men's actions, any breach between actor and beneficiary necessitates an injustice: the sacrifice of some men to others. [...]" In this reasoning, the actor (in his work effort, and so on) must receive all his due outcomes and rewards (material, intellectual)without interference or penalty - to support his values and life - and that is "justice" to him. I think of this as, roughly, 'justice in reality', and we can observe the principle carried into Rand's individual rights and Capitalism. Justice the virtue, I will look up and show a link next.
  3. Your question opens a number of other questions: I'll address the last question first: obviously a society formed on the Objectivist concepts of minimal government would be desirable. The practical creation of a micro-nation on earth comprised of Objectivists would have great difficulty protecting itself from hostile nations. It would also have problems with citizens who believe that there could be some "practical" solution to age-old problems, such as, common usage of certain resources and many of the very practical problems raised on this forum. What would prevent mysticism and altruism from reemerging as popular ideas? What would be the criterion for banishment? How would you qualify a citizen as being a "true" Objectivist? Would there be a court of judgment deciding ideological fitness of a citizen in question? The children of Obectivists may not necessarily agree with their parents. Would you create "special schools" for "proper orientation"? The real question of any nation's ability to endure would be the principles of its law of the land, its constitution. A society based on the protection of man's freedom would also protect his right to disagree with the majority.. Anyone promising utopia without working out the details should be held suspect. In my opinion, we will never see such a settlement of Objectivist on this planet, certainly not in the near-future. But, given time, perhaps a few hundred thousand committed Objectivists might stake out a piece of territory in fantastic futuristic experiment. It may become necessary for their survival. Atlas Shrugged was one such fantasy. Keep in mind that the citizens of Galt's Gulch had a fantastic futuristic means of defending their enclave. And we'll never know what sort of problems the next generation of Gulch dweller might have faced. All said, we will have to deal with reality as it is. For me, this means living my life for my own sake, defending my own person and ideas, and on occasion enjoying a persuasive conversation with a fellow traveler.
  4. Today
  5. The Greatest Salesman On Earth

    This is a very odd statement when you think of it rationally. The standard of the Good is that which furthers and supports man's life, Evil, is that which thwarts or destroys it. In a sense Evil then, is the principle of destruction, or death, implicit or explicit. If Evil has something in it which constitutes the seed of its own destruction, it must have something which acts against destruction,,, and in the end destroys Evil. the seed then, literally is some kind of Good. So what Karl Marx says (but clearly does not mean) is that Evil has some good in it, and what is more, it will bring evil to its own end. If one looks at the quote by Neil Gaiman an equally strange oddity appears. The evil itself is "ultimately negative" and it will "rebound upon the instigators". But the evil does not have the seed to destroy itself, it IS destruction. It brings down those who embrace it, but that is not some strange coincidence, it is the very definition of evil action, actions are identified as evil BECAUSE they are inimical to the very lives of those who engage in it. Evil does not have the seeds of its own destruction, it is destructive, it is negative, and its consequences are the thwarting and destruction of a man who engages in it. When it is at play, the principle of destruction triumphs whenever it destroys, it does not wreck itself, or founder upon rocks, it simply wins when its victim(s) dies.
  6. Yes. Living in a proper and moral society IS the incentive. There are practical difficulties in finding and defending such a place from savages from the outside who would wish to pillage its resources and/or take it over and rule... there are also practical difficulties from the inside, which include keeping the culture and philosophy strong, and not letting law making democracy destroy the constitutional republic which limits government to its proper role. Living in a moral and proper society would be invaluable to living a life on earth proper to man.
  7. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    This is not correct. This would be possible but for the following: 1. Reality 2. The nature of Man. 3. The standard of Morality being a man's life, long range. Consider any subsidiary (short term, small etc.) goal, which is pursued to serve as a means to the more ultimate goal, it must be in accord with the standard, which is life long range, so it cannot be harmful or an "unethical" means. Any and all goals, if moral, cannot be unethical in the way you suggest. Also be careful, virtues and principles, are useful because no one can predict with perfect certainty the consequences of each and every action, rough guidelines are useful, and efficient, because we are not omniscient and cannot take all consequences into consideration (we simply don't have the knowledge or the time). Man cannot be judged immoral because he is fallible. Edit: So in a real sense, because of Man's nature, one adopts principles and practices virtue, not because they are ends in themselves divorced from the standard of morality, but because they precisely are the most efficient and effective way to bring about, as a consequence of their adoption, the ends. If Man were omniscient, there would be no need of virtues or principles, he could simply choose actions one by one according to his values and knowing all the consequences. But that is not the nature of man.
  8. Over at the Washington Post, Alex Nowrasteh makes his case that conservatives have their own version of "political correctness:" Every group has implicit rules against certain opinions, actions and language as well as enforcement mechanisms -- and the patriotically correct are no exception. But they are different because they are near-uniformly unaware of how they are hewing to a code of speech and conduct similar to the PC lefties they claim to oppose. The modern form of political correctness on college campuses and the media is social tyranny with manners, while patriotic correctness is tyranny without the manners, and its adherents do not hesitate to use the law to advance their goals. If we have a term to describe this new phenomenon -- I nominate patriotic correctness. [links dropped, bold added]I'm not sure I agree that the left-wing version of this anti-intellectual phenomenon has manners, and I don't see how the lack of self-awareness on the part of anti-intellectuals on the right necessarily makes them "different" from leftists whose actions stifle debate. (Many of them also claim to support freedom of speech.) However, I do think that Nowrasteh is correct that in this, as in many other ways, many conservatives ape leftists. (My "favorite" is being accused of supporting "open borders" even after explaining the difference between my views on immigration from that idea.) That said, this piece raises an interesting issue: The first sentence in the above paragraph reeks a little of moral relativism, as if anyone who has a stand on anything will inevitably succumb to the temptation to throttle dissent. There is world of a difference between standing up for what one judges to be true and good, and attempting to force everyone else to either shut up or express agreement (genuine or feigned). One can, say, boycott or protest a public figure whose stated opinion one disagrees with, without being guilty of the vice(s) Nowrasteh is calling "political correctness." (These appear to be (1) anti-intellectualism and (2) a willingness to misuse government force to violate freedom of speech.) The text of the First Amendment.Indeed, we should consider what "political correctness" might actually mean. A privately-organized boycott, say by the owner of a radio station against a singer whose opinion he has an issue with, is not an abridgement by the government of freedom of speech. (It isn't a violation of any of the singer's rights, either: The owner doesn't owe anyone his property to use as a forum.) A "safe space" at a university run or financed by the government may be; various speech codes at such schools quite often are; and both, being financed by confiscated money, are wrong, anyway. This piece does not seem to make such a distinction. (This is, by the way, the same distinction Ayn Rand notes is missing when people wrongly speak of "economic power.") This distinction, between the action of rights-respecting, free individuals vs. government force, is important to bear in mind. Yet it seems to have been all but forgotten: Picketing and boycotting an event do not violate anyone's rights; forcibly blocking off an event, issuing threats, and yelling during the whole thing do. Nowrasteh doesn't seem to make such a distinction, but neither does anyone else. (Petwer Schwartz, author or In Defense of Selfishness, has some interesting thoughts on why the politically correct wouldn't care even if this were pointed out to them.) All that said, the meaning and validity of the term "political correctness" aside, the point about a disturbing cultural trend remains worthy of consideration: Some corners of the "right" are on a par with the left in terms of anti-intellectualism and enmity towards the free expression of ideas. -- CAV Link to Original
  9. Toward new epistemology

    Besides adding "or the constant noise or ringing happening in the background" to this passage, I'd also like to stress that this sensation of light or "light-show" as A. D. Smith calls it in his The Problem of Perception, is internal, rather than external, also implying that seeing darkness is a type of sensation rather than nothing. Additionally I would like to also differentiate between sensations of which we are unaware and sensations of which we are aware but not conscious: We may be not aware of these thoughts, such as when we close our eyes we may be unaware of all the internal photons that are continuously sensed in our eyes, or the constant noise or ringing happening in the background. On the other hand, we may be aware but not conscious of some sensations, such as when we sit we may be aware but not conscious of the chair and our body pushing against each other, or while living in a big city we may get used to noise, thus being aware but not conscious of it.
  10. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Based on this definition of consequentialism, it is a kind of ethics that is irrational. If any solution is ethical, then the least efficient, harmful, whim-based solutions that achieve the goal are ethical. Ironically, it would be an ethics (consequentialism) that does not take all consequences into consideration, which is necessary to choose the best "means". The modifications that you mention could change the definition dramatically. There could be a rational and an irrational version of consequentialism. So one could say the irrational version is not compatible with Objectivism but the rational version may be.
  11. What you say is true and all correct as far as Objectivism. "The ends justify the means" sums up consequentialism though. Not just that that there are ends, but that -any- means is appropriate as long as the end is correct. There are modifications to this, but any consequentialist philosophy is only concerned with the ends in principle. That is, ends external to you as a person, only the stuff that we see at the end. Objectivism strongly advocates integration of means and ends - it promotes selfishness because who we are as actors is primary. I don't think you disagree, I'm posting this as a way to show that I think you and whyNOT mostly agree. I'd argue not, or at least not until the end of a book. Even still, Roark had almost no internal conflicts. Since it was fiction, if anything, showing those conflicts detracts from portraying the ideal. In real life, the ideal takes a long time to form.
  12. If the billions(!) of people on the planet were so bad, so far from any value to be traded so as to require fleeing, they wouldn’t stand for a band of 100,000 individualists, and would loot and kill us all. Otherwise, there would be value to be traded, and the more people, the more value.
  13. The Greatest Salesman On Earth

    "You see, evil always contains the seeds of its own destruction.1 It is ultimately negative, and therefore encompasses its downfall even at its moments of apparent triumph. No matter how grandiose, how well-planned, how apparently foolproof of an evil plan, the inherent sinfulness will by definition rebound upon its instigators. No matter how apparently successful it may seem upon the way, at the end it will wreck itself. It will founder upon the rocks of iniquity and sink headfirst to vanish without trace into the seas of oblivion." — Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Mysticism, intrinsicism, subjectivism, skepticism (MISS) all contain the seed of their own destruction. The more difficult aspect of this identification is the level of objectivity required to reach and grasp this realization, much less convey the the former or the superior alternative offered by Objectivism. Part of the exchange between John Galt and Mr. Thompson comes to mind. Under MISS, just about every man woman and child seek to obey orders and do what others wish. Objectivism recognizes that such can be only after they have been taught how to do it. Looking to the concretes of history and discovering the guiding influence, role, or "invisible hand" of philosophy might be akin to watching a glacier advance or retreat. On average, a glacier moves a little more than an inch and a half in an hour. The concretes have to be identified and organized into principles, which in turn have to be organized and broader principles identified within and drawn forth in kind, and so on. While a great many MISS adherents sense something is amiss, most shrug it off thinking that something is off and that they just can't quite figure it out. 1. Evil has within it the seed of its own destruction. — Karl Marx
  14. Yesterday
  15. Strictly speaking, this is a contradiction in terms. If you were fully aware of what you were doing, you weren't evading per se. It might surprise you to know that many men who hire "escorts" have similar experiences to yours, even if they have never heard of Objectivism. Ongoing sexual loneliness can be terribly painful. If you've never experienced sex, you can feel like you're missing out on an essential part of life. (You are.) Under such circumstances, the idea of paying for sex — if only to see what it's like — can seem alluring. I don't think what you did is immoral, but I'm not surprised that it made you feel the way it did. You may think you wasted your money, but actually you didn't. You learned a valuable lesson that you should never forget. It's easy to think of sex as a physical experience with a strong spiritual component. In fact, the inverse is true. Sex minus any spiritual aspect — sex which is the result of a commercial transaction and is divorced from any larger relationship — is unsatisfying because it's essentially meaningless. We think we want the physical elements of sex, and we do, to a degree, but what we really want is the spiritual meaning that those physical elements convey and represent.
  16. Obviously, this isn't in the near term future, but if the Objectivist movement was to grow to, say, a few hundred thousand, would there be any incentive for them to band together and settle in a common area? Would this even be desirable?
  17. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    The ends, life, long range, is not required to "justify" anything. In fact "justice" itself is only validated because life requires it. Does life justify the virtue justice? No... life is first, justice (only one of many other things) follows as a requirement. The ends, life long range, in fact require the means, morality: virtue, principles, moral action, only because life long range is a consequence of them. What else could morality: virtue, principles, moral action possibly be for?
  18. 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.
  19. 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...
  20. 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.
  21. Today I hired an escort, yet felt nothing

    Well, exactly.
  22. Death of a loved one

    First is best solution - only new love will cure old one... Sorry fgor your friend
  23. 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.
  24. 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...
  25. 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
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
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