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     Objectivism Is the Everyman's Philosophy

    In the universe, what you see is what you get,

    figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,

    and each person's independence is respected by all

  • Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words

    • "Metaphysics: Objective Reality"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
    • "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
    • "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
    • "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"

    The Gettier counterexamples to Justified True Belief as knowledge

    patrik 7-2321
    By patrik 7-2321,
    So there was a guy in academic epistemology who allegedly turned the whole field upside down in the 1900's, by proving that having Justified True Belief in an idea is insufficient for having knowledge of said idea. Read up if you want:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettier_problem
    https://books.google.se/books?hl=sv&lr=&id=Gp9Umi2VEh8C&oi=fnd&pg=PA175&dq=Is+Justified+True+Belief+Knowledge%3F&ots=OGD1Xq6SY1&sig=qfXz6_nL9-_008Z6WmjehU7cKFU&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Is Justified True Belief Knowledge%3F&f=false How I would sum it up:
    Gettier provided some examples where an individual S deduces an idea Q which happens to be True, but the reasoning is based on a false premise P, which nonetheless is rationally Justified. Thus the individual does not know that the idea Q is true, and does not have knowledge of Q, but still Believes the idea. Thus it is claimed that S has Justified True Belief in something which is not knowledge, and JTB is an insufficient condition for knowledge. The whole thing bothers me and I'm trying to figure out why. Is this an attempt at proving that knowledge is impossible, or can it actually make rational sense within objectivist epistemology? What to make of it all?

    ADVICE FOR LEARNING AYN RANDS IDEAS?

    Phylo
    By Phylo,
    Does anybody offer any footnotes in regards to how to understand Ayn Rand's Ideas better, especially for a beginner as myself? I've read most of her fiction books now im into her non-fiction. Where does one begin to try to apply such a vast amount of data especially if one is new to abstraction mentally?

    Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Three Things

    1. The number of our year is prime. To mark the occasion, someone with a mathematical bent came up with a list of fun facts about 2017 titled, "2017 Is Not Just Another Prime Number." Among other things, T.J. Wei notes the following:
    All I can add is the following observation regarding the last two digits of the year: In American mm-dd-yy notation, 11-13-17 will be the last date featuring three consecutive primes until February 3, 2105.

    2. The bad news is that ransomware attacks are on the upswing. The good news is that there is now a place to turn to for help:
    See the bottom of the page for a list of decrypted ransomware threats.

    3. Permit me a bit of Inauguration Day humor. Let's hope Donald Trump's jawboning -- or ideas on trade and currency -- doesn't ultimately result in any of the old jobs in this gallery making a comeback.

    A couple would be illegal today, but the rest disappeared due to improved technology. The unseen part of that story is that technology freed up labor for other things and created even more jobs than were eliminated. Similar points can be made regarding free trade.

    Weekend Reading

    "Stealth humor is perfect for anyone who is too spineless to criticize openly and stand behind his opinions." -- Michael Hurd, in "Toxic Humor" at The Delaware Wave

    "There are no morally wrong or 'bad' feelings." -- Michael Hurd, in "To Thine Own Self..." at The Delaware Coast Press

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Choosing to Live, Choosing to Die

    DonAthos
    By DonAthos,
    Recently, this forum has seen a wide-ranging discussion of the morality of suicide, first in "Reification and Suicide" and then (and co-currently) in "Spies who Commit Suicide." It is perhaps one of the features of attempting to hold an integrated philosophy that the slightest string cannot be plucked without reverberating throughout the entire body, so that to question the morality of suicide also necessarily raises questions in a host of other related areas. In this case, it led to the creation of a further thread in "The Relationship Between Motivation and Purpose," and then my own thread, "Pleasure and Value." It did not stop there. In discussing my position regarding pleasure (which I have not yet fully explicated, nor applied, nor even grasped in its entirety), and referencing the topic of the morality of suicide which has helped to inform my position, another forum member raised the nature of "the choice to live," writing: When I attempted to argue that, indeed, suicide has bearing on morality -- and following the suggested path of discussion by calling into question whether "the very choice to live or not is a moral choice" -- I was castigated as follows: So I would ask any interested forum member to please forgive me for continuing to debate "the most central and important aspect of Objectivist philosophy," in this or any other manner, but in this thread I intend to demonstrate that the argument which states that "the entire subject of suicide" is somehow "outside of morality," or amoral, is faulty. To do so, and as the forum member who made this particular argument has apparently excused himself from the responsibility of defending it any further, I shall rely on a video presentation by Craig Biddle to supply the initial argument. I do not know Biddle generally, or his "standing" within the Objectivist community (insofar as such a thing should matter), but I shall use his thoughts as a springboard in lieu of another offered argument: I'm going to now try to relay Biddle's argument as I understand it, with intermittent commentary. As I do, please note that I do not have an official transcript of this video handy, so any errors in quoting, etc., are my own. Biddle starts by saying that the question "why should I choose to live" is "illegitimate" and doesn't need an answer. He then says that the only reason a person "needs values" is in order to live: "Life makes values possible and life makes values necessary; ...you don't need to seek [values] unless you want to remain alive." So far, this seems to re-enforce what I had been told by that forum member: the question "why should I choose to live" exists outside of morality. But there is then a turn in Biddle's video at about 2:23: He then introduces a (separate?) question "why should I continue living?" in some given context, such as with a painful, terminal illness. Biddle appears to consider this question "why should I continue living in X context" to be a meaningfully different question from "why should I choose to live?" And as regards the "continue living" question, Biddle seems to believe that there may well be an answer either for or against: "...it might be that he shouldn't [continue to live given his circumstances]; it might be that it would be better [for him] to 'leave life,' because 'remaining in life' is too painful." Biddle here is clearly saying that a choice to commit suicide may have reasons (in that it may "be better" to live or to die), that the question it answers is legitimate (as opposed to the earlier sense of "why should I choose to live" he had previously discussed), and it is my inference that such a choice thus pertains to morality. Further, I agree with him. When life is "too painful" (the details of which being appropriate to the suicide-specific threads linked above, but beyond our scope here), suicide may be the "right" or "justified" or "moral" choice; it may be "better" than the alternative. Let me stop here for a moment to observe that, should my understanding of Biddle's argument reflect "the Objectivist position" (which it might not; but as I say, this is the argument I have, so it is the one I will work with), then it immediately appears to contradict the forum member who initially upbraided me for deviating from his own understanding of Objectivism. Perhaps that is our question answered. But no matter. Let us continue with Biddle, because, while I have perhaps in some fashion satisfied the question that brought me to this topic, I have not yet satisfied myself that "the choice to live" is in any sense amoral, whether asking such an impertinent question could bring me into conflict with Biddle or any other (including Ayn Rand). Picking up at about 3:23, Biddle says, "Human life is not just...remaining alive...it is being able to pursue the kinds of goals that...deliver happiness and make life wonderful." I also agree with him completely on this point. He continues: "And if you can't do that, then the question 'should I continue to live?' can be valid." Again, agreed. Here's where things get interesting (and this part gets a little rough in my transcription, as I've had to elide much to preserve his meaning, so please listen to Biddle for yourself for full context, at about 3:50): "But absent a context like that [where suicide is justified due to painful circumstance]...we can answer the question 'is life worth living'? Yeah! 99.999% of the time for people, it is! There are very rare cases though when somebody is simply too ill or the situation is just too horrible [... ] I can see somebody asking the question [in those cases], 'Is it worth remaining alive?' But you can't answer the question 'why should I choose to live?' without the context to surround it. And if you have the context, it's a fairly easy answer to arrive at in most cases..." Okay, so let's assess where we are currently. Biddle started by saying that the question "why should I choose to live?" is an invalid question. Then he considered cases of (what I'd contend Peikoff would describe as "justified") suicide, and said that in such cases -- in such contexts -- it is valid to ask "why should I choose to (continue to) live?" Then he considered the case of people whose lives are not horrible (e.g. not doomed to a concentration camp; not plagued by painful, terminal illness; and etc.) and demonstrated that the question in such cases is also valid, in that it can be answered -- in the affirmative; which is to say, why should (most people) choose to live? Because... "I've got this great business. I've got this great family. I've got this great life. 'Should I keep living?' Of course!" And so, the question "why should I choose to live" becomes answerable for every human being who has a context. For some people, the context will be such that they should choose to die, in both reason and morality; for most people (99.999% of them), the context will be such that they should choose to continue living. If this question is "valid" and thus answerable for every human being who has a context (which means: every actual human being) I finally wonder... for whom is the question (as proposed initially) "illegitimate"? Biddle finally concludes (5:47): "The question ["why should I choose to live?"], sans context, is an illegitimate question, because it asks for a value when you simply don't need values unless you choose to live. Once you decide to live, if you decide to remain alive, then you need values...." Biddle is both right and wrong. His conclusion is consistent with his introduction, but it misses out on key insights from the bulk of his discussion and fails to reconcile them with his overall thesis; he cannot do so, in fact, because they are not compatible. The question "why should I choose to live," sans context, is illegitimate -- this is true. But this is because 1) there does not exist a human being (let alone one that could pose a question, or choose, or value) without a context; and 2) the question is not answerable without reference to that context. It is illegitimate because it asks for a value without a valuer. But once a context is supplied (and every human being, so far as I can tell, comes equipped with a context), both the questions "why should I choose to live" and "why should I choose to die" become answerable. In fact, Biddle says that it is "a fairly easy answer to arrive at." And I suspect that for the vast majority of people, that is true. The supposed illegitimacy of this question -- and I would also argue the "amoral" status of its answer -- stems from the supposition of a human being that could ask such questions, or "choose," or exist at all sans some context which will make both the question and answer meaningful -- and moral. But the supposition of such a human being is, itself, a contradiction in terms. And so I conclude (for now, at least) that the question "why should I choose to live" is a fully valid, legitimate, and (yes) moral question... but only for every human being who lived, lives or ever will live. I can live with that.

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