Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Nerian

  1. All non-zero temperature bodies produce electromagnetic radiation so generating heat in some sense always generates light Just playing.
  2. Sorry you feel that way. Who in their right mind would say I haven't at least done due diligence after all that? I just think a better philosophy can be constructed around the ideas that stand up. A return to egoism and a focus on individual happiness is so sorely needed for one thing. I value Rand's work immensely.
  3. Then can we throw out life as the standard of value? Unless you want life with its particular concrete values to be the standard of value, in which case, we are using values to determine a standard of value... which to my mind is about as circular as a circle.
  4. I guess a couple hundred hours of study wasn't enough for me then. My bad. .... or maybe the ideas don't make sense. I guess I can only go with my own judgement. That's all I have. I think I'm aware of the nuances that supposedly solve the problems, I just disagree with them. They are like backward rationalizations and switching meanings mid-argument in most cases. I don't think anyone would say I didn't put in enough study, if they knew how much time I've spent reading and listening to lectures about it. And anyone who thinks I never really understood the ideas, I dunno what to say. No true scotsman I suppose.
  5. What facts of reality make valuing that process of self sustaining action objective, when in the foundation of a system of objective values we have not yet established any objective values? (Since objective values stem from the choice to live in Objectivist theory, surely you cannot use these values to establish the very same values.) And in Objectivist theory, the values you enjoy are supposed to be rationally, objectively determined by the standard of life. Life is the standard of value, and enjoying life is part of life, and how does ne enjoy life? By pursuing and achieving ones values. What values? Those rational objective values, those that support your life! Can you see the problem here? How is this not sophistry? Does Objectivism really sanction enjoying yourself for its own sake? This is condemned as whim worship. Doing something 'because you feel like it' is an Objectivist sin. You're supposed to enjoy life the Objectivist way, the rational way! Otherwise you're not really happy, not really enjoying life. You're on a road to self destruction and your subconscious knows it! Isn't this just a convenient redefinition of terms? First we define it as a process of self sustaining action. Argue from this basis, and then we throw pleasure in because it's convenient. but those are some of the most enjoyable activities. And whence comes the judgement of rational? What I'm trying to point out is that the ethics cannot support the meta-ethical foundations of that very ethics. It's rational if it serves your life... which you value because you choose to live... which you choose on what rational basis? Remember what is rational to you is defined by your ethics and that is the very thing you are trying to establish.
  6. Happiness surely includes the positive emotions sometimes labelled joy. Feeling joy is doing life? How is this empirically true when there are millions of people living counterexamples right now? People doing life, living, surviving, in some cases doing very well, but suffering, unhappy, miserable and in some cases actually depressed. There are high functioning depressives out there. If happiness does not include that, then I have no idea what we are talking about by happiness, and I have little interest in it. What a chore if there's no reward. If you just redefine that as not really living, then that convinces me of nothing about reality. Let's just use terms in their plain meanings. Playing with definitions is meaningless. I really don't see the point in it. I want to get to truth about reality, not play with definitions until my model of reality fits conveniently. For many Objectivists, they never even read the original works! And they feel justified in this. True. But I just gave some opinions and people asked me questions and I responded. It has diverged away from the point, but isn't that the fun of a discussion forum? A spark leads to a fire. It'd be nice if there were a way to split a thread organically, rather than start a new one.
  7. Boom. Because it's a drive, an inclination, an instinct. Man has a nature. Man has innate drives. Values are not chosen. Don't be afraid to throw out tabula rasa.
  8. Isn't that just an apology for a circular argument? People survive all the time and aren't happy. The idea that you need to survive to be alive, and you need to be alive to bhappy, I have no problem with. Obviously, life is a prerequisite for, but doesn't lead to. And the fact that life is a prerequisite says nothing about what in life will make you happy. Achieving life might be in itself pretty boring and unfulfilling. Meaningless even. Life to life, what a drag. All behaviour is based on a drive. What other type of behaviour could there be? Non-driven behaviour? If you choose not to act on drive A that's just because drive B - not to act on it for some other drive - was stronger. I want the cake, but I don't want to be fat, so I don't eat it. A behaviour without a pre-rational drive is in essence a causeless behaviour. I find that logically incomprehensible. Perhaps you have a solution? Well, her whole idea that value's can be based on reason is a pretty big part of Rand. One can only reason from one's pre-rational values, to determine higher order abstract values. because abstract, rational values only have value if they fulfil some pre-rational value. I have no problem with principles that help guide one's actions like independence in matter and spirit, integrity, etc. But living by those principles isn't the path to happiness, nor are they totally required for happiness. They are just functionally useful for getting through life with less problems.
  9. What makes life worth living is not living life. Life for its own sake is tedious, boring, dutiful, meaningless. What makes life living is the concrete experiences one enjoys within it. The pleasures one derives from things. Satisfying one's desires. Pre-rational, visceral, gut-level enjoyment. Withouth rhyme or reason, you just like it. And then life has value as a means to those experiences. Life is not the end, it's a means to an end. Strikingly opposite to Objectivist thought. In my direct experience that is the case. All the Objectivist virtue and ethics couldn't make me happy or make me want to live. It's when I started listening to my own desires and pleasures, and enjoying things for their own intrinsic pleasure that life started to have value and happiness seemed possible. When you're depressed, the only thing that matters is how you feel. That life is a value has no power to shake them from their depression, because it's not true for them. Life is only a value if your specific life is a value to you for other things. Many Objectivists will shift gears and agree that's what they meant all along but they are doing a bait and switch with the meaning of the term life, and it contradicts the fine print of the ethics.
  10. If you are founding an objective morality, and you start that morality with a subjective whim, how can you call that an objective morality? When I say reason or an idea is sterile, I mean it to mean without any motive power. In OPAR, Peikoff condemns one who chooses not to live to lowest rung of hell.
  11. It escapes me too. It's not trying to prove a negative at all.
  12. Modern cognitive science, neuroscience, behavioural genetics and evolutionary psychology Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature Persistence of concepts is no sign of their validity. (if that's what you are insinuating) You can water down tabula rasa and it has some validity. It's true that we aren't born with proper knowledge or innate ideas of objects. But Rand herself said, you don't even have any innate tendancies and that man has no instincts, etc. She meant it in the strong sense, not the watered down sense.
  13. Well, the whole thesis of life as the standard of value, yet morality starts with a choice to live. Why choose to live? That the value in life is to be happy, but life is the standard of value, which makes all other values have value, and you be happy by achieving life, why achieve life, well to be happy, why be happy, to survive, why survive, cause happy. It's circular and sterile. And it contradicts what is understood about evolution and human psychology. And it even contradicts direct personal experience. And it even contradicts Objectivism's view that life's value is the things we enjoy in it. Which is it? And the answer in OPAR is just moralizing assuming the premise. Problems with the view of happiness and survival. Happiness is good because it helps survival, but the point of living is to be happy, but to be happy you must be successful at living, but being successful at living is the point of being happy. We really just want to be happy for its own sake. The way you want an orgasm 'cause it feels good. Pleasure is really the intrinsic value in life. And what we find pleasure in, and what makes us happy, is at root unchosen. Once you go looking into psychology, you find a world of interesting ideas about what we want for its own sake. What our innate drives are. That takes us onto tabula rasa in the face of all the logic and evidence counter to it. Innate drives and inclinations are almost self evident at this point. Especially if you recognize humans are animals like any other. It seems to me also that Objectivism makes no attempt to integrate itself with facts of human nature, what is understood about psychology and cognitive science, how desires and motivations actually work, where they come from and how they interact with our beliefs. Because of this, you find claims that are in gross contradiction with reality, such as reason can determine what is worth doing, that reason can motivate. And I believe it can cause suffering and emotional distress amongst believers. Rand's issues in her life initially surprised me, back when I read her biographies, but not anymore. They follow logically. Living in contradiction with reality is often painful.
  14. I do have an affinity for compatibilist arguments, but it seems to me that there is a point to the retort that it's merely shifting the definition and moving the goal post, not resolving the actual issue.
  15. That is true. Unfortunately, I've experienced the type of Objectivist who thinks failing so solve all questions in philosophy means one cannot be happy, is suspect morally, and cannot even hope to live on this earth without inevitable self destruction looming. But I can accept most are not like this.
  16. I'm not sure if I detect an accusatory tone or not. If asked, I'm happy to elaborate a bit. If you want elaboration and some amount of proof to accept a claim, that's natural, of course so, but you can't expect a full elaboration and proof every time someone states any opinion on a forum. Not only is that just impractical, it'd make any normal discussion impossible. You'd have to write an essay or a book in some cases. Hopefully that's not your attitude, and I misread the tone. If you determine there to be a genuine contradiction, one way to resolve it is to discard one or both of the contradicting premises. If neither premise can be discarded, the contradiction is left unresolved, and that is life. I note this problem and as stated try to resolve if I can. I may never. I don't think I have everything figured out. This may seem strange to Objectivists, to have unresolved questions. One example for me is the contradiction between my direct experience of my free will and the fact that there's no conception of free will that makes any sense in a universe with cause and effect. From subjective first person view it seems directly apparent that I have free will, but it also makes no sense from a third person view of the universe for free will to exist. (I don't find the Objectivist arguments persuasive.) Since I cannot get rid of cause and effect, and I see no way to resolve the contradiction. I have no resolution. One or both premises must be incorrect, but nevertheless I cannot determine which. I can only point out what I think are contradictions. The only fair and complete treatment would require me to go through OPAR line by line and point out exactly where it goes wrong in my view. I accept reason and evidence as the only way to know and understand anything about reality. Insofar as we know and understand anything about reality, we do so by reason (and evidence). a combination of statements, ideas, or features which are opposed to one another a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions a statement that is at variance with itself Yes. lol
  17. Try to resolve them where possible. I try to build a consistent and empirically verifiable world view. There are linguistic slight of hands, contradictions and plain empirically false premises in Objectivism too. That's why I have to discard a lot of it. Keeping only what makes sense and is verifiable. Sometimes when reading philosophy you can see how something is not quite right, but onto something important, has a point, while not being totally correct.
  18. But now we are talking on two seperate levels of reason for doing things. My subjective reason for doing things, and the reason for my psychology being set up to enjoy certain things. We enjoy sugar because it has calories and that helps our survival, but in the first person subjective experience, I don't eat to survive, I eat because I feel hungry or because I enjoy the sweet taste. Oftentimes, what we enjoy doing is counter to our survival. From the first person perspective, I enjoy myself for its own sake. It's what makes being alive even worth it in the first place. Survival is just a prerequisite, merely an instrumental value, to get what I really want.
  19. Yep. It's absurd. Throw it out. What makes life worth living has nothing to do with conditional state of existence. The idea that an immortal human would have no reason to act totally ignores the reality of human psychology. If I'm immortal, I can still enjoy the same things, so why wouldn't I? I don't enjoy myself to survive, I enjoy myself to enjoy myself.
  20. I really think not with the exception of a few who have become academic philosophers. When I had my disillusionment with Objectivism, I discovered a wonderful world of ideas beyond. Then I could come back and find a renewed appreciation for the good parts in Objectivist philosophy. Objectivism is like most other philosophies, it has its good parts, and it has its bad parts. Many Objectivists who hate Nietzsche, Hume and Kant and existentialism haven't really read them or given them a proper go. The intense moralizing makes it nearly impossible. I'm reminded of Bruce Lee's saying. 'Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.' - A great piece of meta-philosophical advice. I'll take the good ideas and discard the rest.
  21. Pleasure and Value

    Hell yes. I care not for Objectivism. I care for truth. In my estimation, there's a great deal of truth in Objectivism. I can hear Peikoff yelling in the distance, "if you reject any part, you must reject the whole for it is an integrated system!!!" lol I wanted to say this because it's the most salient thing that jumped out at me, but I want to go to the gym very soon, so that I may pursue the value of an aesthetic physique, so I may attract the women that I arbitrarily find sexually attractive due to my monkey brain wiring, so that I may satisfy my arbitrary monkey drives, and thereby experience pleasure, which is the only reason to live, but I was told to reply to everything in one post, rather than making several consecutive posts, but maybe moderators can understand that to do that I would have to type up everything all at once, read everything, formulate all my responses to everything into one large post, and then post it, or else I'm not allowed to respond to that which I have not responded yet, and I don't have the patience nor the stretches of time to sit here and respond to everything all at once. Is there any way I can get a pass for responding in dribs and drabs? Pleeeeeeaaaase. Or shall I just construct a gigantic response in a word document over a period of time and dump it all at once? Is this the fate to which I am cast? Grand overlords?
  22. Pleasure and Value

    If I'm saying we do not choose our values, and that they are innate, then I guess I'm arguing against Objectivism proper.
  23. Pleasure and Value

    Why do you enjoy laughing? Is it really because you sat down and decided life is your standard of value and then determined these things serve your life so I better damn well feel good when I do them? I simply do not think it works that way, and we all know damn well we enjoyed laughing with friends long before we learned of Objectivism.
  24. Pleasure and Value

    Around the 35:00 mark he says BOOM. Game. Set. Match. He just admitted it. They mean the joy, the positive emotional experience, that is what gives it the value, that's why you choose it as a value. But he then glosses over this as if he didn't just admit it was the joy, the feeling, that gives it meaning. But then what is it? Do these values make you feel joy because you achieve them? Or do you achieve them because they give you joy? I think they have it backwards. How could anyone choose them? Oh yeah, you really sat down and decided that logically friendship is good for you objectively, so therefore you are going to enjoy spending time with friends? Yeah, no. It doesn’t work that way! You enjoy their company and then you go, "god damn I like having friends!" and so friends are a value to you.
  25. Pleasure and Value

    A hilarious quote with a kernel of truth to it Albert Camus said the fundamental question of philosophy is whether or not you should commit suicide. Not sure I agree, but isn't it a legitimate question? Why live at all? I find your arguments convincing but I'm still on the fence if it's amoral. I have heard Kelly's explanation in his lectures 'Choosing life' but I can't remember what his conclusion was. I do remember he pointed out the absurdity of trying to condemn a man morally for not wanting to live. For someone who doesn't want to live, he says really the thing to do is to get them to connect with values. In other words, to get them to do things they enjoy... and we come full circle back to pleasure being the whole point - could one even say that it's the only reason anyone would choose to live. For anyone interested in these lectures they are on YouTube: I am listening to this lecture again, and it is very interesting. It has so much more meaning in the context of my recent questions about value and pleasure. Have a coffee... or suicide?