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  1. 2 points
    Okay, in the spirit of the OP's request, this is my two cents: There is the psychological plane of existence, the experience of life, pain pleasure, happiness. Then there is the epistemological plane, the abstraction of life, the concept of flourishing and the moral code. And then the metaphysical plane, the organism, existence or nonexistence. From the metaphysical plane, the main thing that I learned from Rand was that there was no "my reality" vs. "your reality". There was just reality and the search for the truth is honorable. From the psychological/experiential plane: Objectivism taught me that I have a right to my life. I understood that when someone calls me selfish "they want something". I learned to strive for greatness rather than strive to look great. I found that if I held onto things that didn't make sense, if I went along for too long, I suddenly drowned in anxiety. I learned that living as a parasite can creep up on people. Objectivism gave me a path to follow to find my way back, to happiness. She awoke me to the existence of unearned guilt. I learn that when I have a sense of having achieved something, the pleasure was moral, it was good. And of course, I learned that the good was not what religion said and what a majority believed did not mean wisdom. Ultimately, with her attack on altruism, I learned that defining my boundaries, determining who I am and what I want was my fundamental responsibility and a never-ending task. She reminded me that the merging and melding with others, at the cost of my core self, was being dead before my time. And in the process, I have fought to hold on to who I am, to be myself. And now, I am here to learn what I put aside for later.
  2. 1 point
    I absolutely do believe that happiness is fundamental to the good life (but that the good life is not the experience of happiness alone); I utterly disagree that this is "something like hedonism." I meant "fundamental" in the sense of "the logical foundation of". I agree that happiness is essential to the good life, but not fundamental in the logical sense. To avoid a possible misunderstanding, I want to emphasize that logical priority is not the same thing as value priority. So, for example, if seeking happiness is down the logic chain from seeking material values, that merely means that the academic exercise of validating happiness as a value requires first validating material values. But that does not entail the proposition that material values are more important than happiness. The Randian position and, I think, yours could probably be better stated as "happiness is central and essential", rather than "happiness is fundamental". "Central" because everything leads to and is involved with happiness, and "essential", because an ethics that does not validate and elevate happiness would necessarily be worthless. As you've noted, your position and mine are not all that different. It's likely that many of the perceived differences aren't real but are instead an artifact of our differing usages of words. Anyway, to rephrase what I said earlier: Some things you have said suggest that you think that happiness is logically prior to ethics or that happiness is the value for which all other values are the means. Either of those views would amount to something like hedonism. However, most of what you say is not really consistent with either proposition. (I'm off to reread The Objectivist Ethics and will post a summary of my understanding of it in the other topic. Then I'll do the same with the relevant part of Kelley's work. Then I'll essay my own views. The point of the first two is not to start an argument about what they say, but to sharpen my understanding of the issues.)
  3. 1 point
    The page 2 link now points to page 2. StrictlyLogical, your breakdown on this has been impeccable thus far. I've found myself searching the CD for identity near nature, where the usage of nature and identity are nearly synonymous. In OPAR, Peikoff writes: "Happiness is properly the purpose of ethics, but not the standard." In The Objectivists Ethics, Rand serves as the voice of Peikoff's echo when she wrote: ""Happiness" can properly be the purpose of ethics, but not the standard." Buttressing this in Galt's Speech, Rand prefaced these last two excerpts with: "Man's life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man—for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life." Parsing for clarity requires the lens of reason be positioned such that the observations of the senses are in proper focus.
  4. 1 point
    I've read that, and I didn't take it as advocating survivalism. That said, I'm goiing to reread the relevant parts of LSO and also Rand's essay, whose links SL kindly posted in a new topic. I'll also post my substantive thoughts there; I'd only been posting here because, "when in Rome...." Is anyone here actually arguing that mere quantity of life is the goal of ethics? I haven't seen that from anyone. Certainly not from me! I don't take that as arguing survivalism; I understand it to mean merely that life/death is at the root of values, not the whole of values. The rest of his discussion doesn't support survivalism, at least as I recall it. I'll be rereading it shortly. You have said things that suggest that you think that happiness is fundamental. If you did think that, your view would be something like hedonism.
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