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  1. 1 point

    Is objectivism consequentialist?

    To review the definition of consequentialism given at wikipedia: 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 that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. In an extreme form, the idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the saying, "the end justifies the means",[1] meaning that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable. Note that the definition gives absolutely no guidance on what code of values is used to determine what the meaning of "good" is. This is an empty doctrine, as value-free and meaningless as the Golden Rule of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". A blood thirsty conqueror can abide by the Golden Rule as long as he sincerely relishes combat and regards dying in battle as noble. A blood thirsty conqueror can also be a consequentialist using his own victory as his standard of the good. Yes, you can bolt the Objectivist standard of value - your own life - onto consequentialism. You can also do that with the Golden Rule. However, Objectivism does not reduce to consequentialism because you omit a core feature of the philosophy by omitting its theory of the good.
  2. 1 point

    False concept

    Gio, I would recommend listening to Leonard Peikoff's lecture series entitled "Unity in Epistemology and Ethics". I think it was the third lecture where he discusses a topic which is, in my view, closely related to your question. Basically, he argues that there are certain concepts which, in order to be properly understood and applied, must have two distinct definitions. The main concept he considers in the lecture is "value", but his analysis (which is still somewhat unrefined at the time this lecture was given) applies to other concepts too and I think also applies to the concept "concept", which is why I'm bring this up. For "value", the two definitions would be (roughly): 1. That which one acts to gain and/or keep, and 2. Something which one acts to gain and/or keep which sustains one's life. The second definition is "pure" form of the first, and refers to values in the complete and consistent sense. The first definition subsumes "values" which may in fact be life destroying (eg. "valuing" Nazism). With "concept", I think the analagous definitions would be (very roughly): 1. An idea represented by a word, and 2. A mental integration of two or more concretes [insert rest of Ayn Rand's definition here]. Peikoff offers his best explanation (at the time the lecture was delivered at least, which was in 1996) for why this is so. I think he argues that this only applies to certain normative concepts, or concepts which directly or indirectly refer to something volitional. Another example he gives is egoism. I think the basic point is that one first grasps these concepts in one context, and then discovers later on what their fully consistent definition is. Yet, the original definition is still useful since these concepts are still used and held by others in a form which is not fully consistent. If, having grasped the fully consistent definition of "concept", we did not permit ourselves to call things like "altruism" anti-concepts (thus viewing them as a subcategory of concepts), we would not be able to evaluate these anti-concepts at all; we wouldn't even be able to talk about them (because, "what" are they?).
  3. 1 point
    With objectivity, we give our self the best chance of knowing the absolute truth. One cannot delve deep into every area of reality. Some things are and will be accepted at face value by each one of us. Even if we are committed to being objective, we have to stop delving and confirming at some point. When one is committing to being objective and open to examining every area, it is finite, within reason. Many things are accepted uncritically. We can't know everything to the point of infallibility. We won't put much effort in certain areas but walk away with superficial facts. It is, in fact, the best choice. You can't read every book in the library. You have to live with some of your cursory assumptions in certain areas. With objectivity, we only give our self the best chance of obtaining the truth. But the knowledge we have is limited, fallible. Which means it is different from absolute reality. Which means it is different from each other.
  4. 1 point
    I only have a vague, mostly second-hand idea of Sam Harris; but, I agree that he differs from Objectivists in pretty fundamental ways. Indeed, a decade ago, most Objectivists who point out his good bits would probably have focused on his bad bits. I think the reason is that one picks one's battles: and, I assume more Objectivists who listen to Harris, link to him, etc. would also acknowledge his flaws. Analogously, the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan took the west from fighting an enemy whose philosophy was based on explicit naturalism and reason (the commies ) to an enemy with a mystical belief in the "uncreated" nature of an ancient scripture.
  5. 1 point
    Everybody does agree on everything. It only seems like they don't, because some people enjoy playing devil's advocate. In fact some people devote their entire lives to lying, even taking it so far as to cause bitter family breakups and global wars. So, you see, disagreement is actually a myth and reality is indeed objective.
  6. 1 point


    Sorry I'm late. Did somebody order a CODE RED? https://youtu.be/9FnO3igOkOk
  7. 1 point


    You think your statement is true, do you?