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valjean

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Everything posted by valjean

  1. Come on, you guys are really letting me down! Why hasn't anyone railed about this sentence yet? : I think there is a little something wrong with the last Word.
  2. I wonder at what point those who print such things could be sued by the ARI for libel?
  3. The quality of education in the US is extremely high for those students that want to learn and excell. Any student in the US can go from kindegarten to having their Ph. D. if they want to at the public's expense, and that Ph. D. represents the same level of education as it would in any other country or if the student had not benefited from public money. I can also see that the public school system wastes billions of dollars annually, but that's mainly money it throws away on those that don't want to learn. High school is not for everybody--but everybody's forced to go, or at least lured because of the free breakfast and lunch for the poor. I still have failed to see an argument that can stand up to what the majority of Americans consider "common sense." Sure, I can see that taxing the public for education is "unjust" and "evil" and "perpetuates evil." It also perpetuates a higher standard of education, and although educational reform needs to take place, public education seems to most people to be something that's worth stealing for. Now I'm not trying to argue--I do see an answer to my original question--but it just doesn't seem powerful enough to counter most of the evil we see in modern society.
  4. I don't think this is really a sufficient response, because although it's a good point, most people would say, "What's a little stealing compared to a highly educated populace?," and I might be inclined to agree with them.
  5. I had written a long response to DavidOdden's last post, but Kevin Delaney beat me to posting, and I think his point gets directly to what I'm concerned with (assuming that DavidOdden and Objectivism itself would agree with what he said): "You cannot achieve a positive end by immoral means." I would like you to demonstrate why this is so. I will give you a counterexample. I go to an excellent public university which costs a fraction of what an equivalent private university would, but I think Rand would say it's immoral to coerce taxpayers to pay for some people's education; nevertheless, I think that the end is positive because a much larger number of people get a top-notch education this way and that's good for society--probably even the individual taxpayer who, although he is being coerced by the government in that his money is taken, probably does benefit from living in a society in which a much larger number of people are educated.
  6. Thanks DavidOdden. I agree with and understand what you said, but it's not what I was looking for. Sorry if it wasn't clear earlier. I am specifically concerned with situations in which the means are not held to be moral. So, I will rephrase the question: "Why don't ends justify immoral means?" (This comes specifically from the context of Machiavelli) A more general example I will give is: why isn't it okay to use coersion if it creates better ends?
  7. To say "the ends justify the means" would be to say that "the ends justify the means" in all situations, hypothetical or real. I'd like to exclude 'emergency situations' such as when one is stranded alone on an island and would have to take food from someone else's food store to survive. One example in which many argue "the ends justify the means" would be redistributing wealth to increase the overall happiness of a population. Please don't dwell on that example, though.
  8. [Moderator note: Merged related thread with earlier one. -sN] Why don't ends justify means? I know that this is an important principle in Objectivism, and it's one I've neglected to be skeptical about until recently. I don't have much literature myself at the moment, so I was hoping I could find a good answer here. If the answers I get don't make sense to me, I may follow up the question for clarification, but I don't intend to 'debate' or 'argue' about it. Thanks
  9. I apologize for not answering for a few days (let's just say I've been in deep thought), and for not having access to most of the Objectivist canon (such as the Ayn Rand Lexicon), and for being harsh earlier. AisA has pointed out something even I should have been aware of from my readings: "Happiness can properly be the purpose of ethics, but not the standard." That's why it's arbitrary in this discussion to discuss whether or not faith actually can or cannot make one happier. That doesn't have any application to whether or not one accepts faith--one should only accept faith if this is supported in some way by rationality. I want to continue to discuss whether or not the practice or process of faith could be supported by rationality. I don't fully accept myself that it can or cannot be, but I'd like to present the argument that it can be to further my understanding. My argument that the practice and process of faith, although it can have no rational proof within itself, can be rationally justified, can be is divided into two separate parts, as follows: Part 1: Faith could be used to artistically portray man romantically, not as we rationally know him to be but as he can and aught to be. Part 2: Life should imitate art because we, as humans, aspire to reach our fullest potential. Thus we should "accept" faith. I'd like to make some preliminary comments. First, I realize that most of the "faithful" would reject faith made by the rationale I provided as true faith, but that's beside the point. Second, I'd like to provide an example for Part 1. That example is "Religion X," in which the individual is personally "loved" by a beautiful "God" in whose image he was created, and in which the individual (i.e. his consciousness) is reincarnated infinitely (as a human being). (You may personally not agree that my example suffices for you, but it does for me, and that's the point anyway. And I did just make that up as an example, I don't really believe that .)
  10. I understood from the beginning that I was asking people to accept a fallacious premise for the sake of my question--of course I was disappointed when they wouldn't, just for the sake of theorizing--but sorry I've complained and I'll not do it again on purpose. I don't agree with any these statements. For example, I think it would make me happier to make the assumption that there is a blissful afterlife. I'm not trying to be stubborn or to "win" the argument--I just don't understand what's wrong with my thinking. Could someone offer me examples that prove what Felipe has said, or prove why my "assumption that there is a blissful afterlife" would do me more harm than good? Also, if you all think I'm just too stupid to understand, you can just give up--and I mean that--I know I look like an idiot right now, although I know I'm actually quite intelligent and I don't see that my thinking is flawed.
  11. Nxixcxk--thank you for finally answering my question. You're the first person to actually go along with my given assumption, rather than trying to argue that my question's invalid because I don't understand happiness. You needn't be suspicious of my motives--I know people occasionally appear on this forum who we should be suspicious of, but I'm not one. I'm simply trying to increase my understanding, and if you look in the past there have been times where I've grasped something I didn't before and admitted that I was wrong. It does make sense to me that if something makes one happier, one should do it. At least I've gotten one person to agree with me. I'll go ahead and assume that I'm correct on that point, and I'll go ahead and address the question that almost everybody else has in this thread: can having faith actually make one happier? BurgessLau--I intended faith to mean both an irrational set of beliefs and the process by which these beliefs are derived and held, depending on context. Also, you're right that "blind faith" is redundant--pardon me for using that term. I don't agree with either of these definitions of happiness (which I understand to be the same). I think this is where my thoughts diverge from Objectivism. Earlier I said: And I stand by that. I offer as proof the feeling I get when I see a beautiful painting, when I'm around my friends, or, perhaps, when I think about a happy afterlife. So BurgessLau and JMeganSnow and everyone else--can you explain where I'm going wrong in my take on happiness, and support your definition of it with some kind of proof? EDITED to add clarity
  12. I'd also like to thank you for the story! Just... wow.
  13. Rational_One: I agree with you about the Baptist minister. Still, I think some aspects of faith could be beneficial. For example, if someone simply decided that they thought heaven was a wonderful place and that they were going there--and that was the sum total of their religion--that might make them happier and thus it might be a valuable, rationally justified decision to make. Still, I am really trying to hold off on this discussion until we establish that it would be rational to have faith if it did indeed make one happy. Can't we please save this for another thread? We have to limit ourselves to one question at a time. Nxixcxk: In your last post, you're again getting off topic (or perhaps getting on topic with Rational_One but off my topic), and if you really want to discuss that, go ahead and make a thread questioning whether or not faith could make one happier. Sorry to both of you for being harsh, just trying to get my question answered. Which is again: For the purposes of this thread, if we assume that faith does make a specific person happier, is it rational for him to have faith?
  14. I'm flying off the handle because I don't want my question to be marginalized as "arbitrary" and "a loaded question, completely divorced from reality," as Rational_One accuses, because it is an important question to me. Pardon me for being harsh; I just felt that it might be necessary. I understand that my question is arbitrary once one fully accepts some things that I haven't gotten around to accepting yet, and this is just the first step, perhaps, to my accepting those things. Sorry I didn't just give you the benefit of the doubt on that. I don't have a definitive answer. Happiness is partially the fulfillment one feels after having produced or achieved some value; it's also a general feeling of satisfaction or metaphysical joy one feels independent of anything he or she actually does. Please give me a more correct summation of what happiness is and if that doesn't clear up my question, please help shed some light on it. That is possible, but I don't accept it as true that accepting faith inhibits one's life, necessarily. I feel like my question is just the first necessary step towards understanding why faith may or may not inhibit one's life. It may be that the answer to my question is yes, but that shouldn't undermine anything Ayn Rand said in itself, because almost everyone here has probably found that accepting faith does inhibit one's life, although obviously it's something I'm questioning at the moment. EDITED to try to fix formatting. I don't know why the quotes aren't working.
  15. Rational_One and Nxixcxk: Asking questions about faith is an important part of philosophy because, as JMeganSnow has said, philosophy is all about solving the problems of everyday life, and faith is definitely a problem of everyday life. You shouldn't just shrug off my quesion without answering it. That makes me assume that you can't answer it, and I'd consider it a very "Randoid" behavior. If people on this forum cannot answer me with a yes or no and a reason, I will assume that the answer is yes. I'll also assume that it's not worth my time to create the other thread asking whether or not happiness can be increased by having faith. I am asking a serious quesion and I am a serious participant in this forum; I'm not just a troller and I'm not just spouting absurdities. Please take me seriously.
  16. Felipe--I started to answer your question, but I suspect that you're trying to say that having some sort of faith cannot actually make one more happy, and that's a good topic for a different thread. I don't want to be rude, I just don't want to get too off topic. And if I'm wrong in that suspicion, please tell me your take on happiness. JMeganSnow--I agree with you. I didn't say that philosophy should be divorced from everyday life. I'm questioning whether having faith can be philosophically justified. DArcMatter--You're just trying to argue that having faith cannot make one happier. That's a good question for a new thread (the same one I suggested in response to Felipe's question). Before we start a thread on whether or not faith can make one happier, I'd like to answer the question: For the purposes of this thread, if we assume that faith does make a specific person happier, is it rational for him to have faith?
  17. Ayn Rand stated that it is imperative that we do not deny reality. I understand the importance of this in developing a system of rational philosophy, of course, but not necessarily in everyday life. For example, if it makes one happier to follow some religion, wouldn't it be rational to do so? Lets assume that the person in question rejected religion on the basis of Rand's philosophy (i.e. accepted that blind faith is irrational because there is no proof of it) but then decided that accepting that faith again might make them more happy. Please answer my question (yes/no) and state your reasons.
  18. I have a friend who was, in the past, a Jehovah's Witness. From what I understand, the Witnesses seek to interpret literally the Bible as originally written in Greek and Hebrew. This leads to a few key differences. Their local organizations (what most people would call "churches" but they would call "Kingdom Halls") are highly independent, at least when compared to Protestant denominations. There is much less focus on sermonizing (generally there are no sermons) and ritual, and the main focus is on personal and group Bible study. They also interpret the Bible as requiring that they stay out of politics. They believe very strongly in outreach. Almost all of the criticism of Jehovah's Witnesses is unfounded. They seem, to me, to be much more reasonable about most things than most other Christian denominations. Still, any faith-based religious community can be repressive for individuals (not to mention that it is, by defenition, based on something that cannot be proven).
  19. That's a good question. Still, I think it's possible to linguistically misrepresent something you're thinking correctly about. I'm kind of waiting for BurgessLau to tell us what he thinks, though, as I know he had something to say about it and will when he gets around to it.
  20. valjean

    "Bad" Writing

    Who are you faulting? Me? I stand by what I said; the standard definition given in dictionaries is not a complete explanation, and to say something looks like something is not a simile, but simply a visual comparison.
  21. valjean

    "Bad" Writing

    Still, AisA, regardless of why Eddie is here, don't you think the rewritten version of the passage is superior to Rand's? The reason I think this is an important question is because if we can come up with something better than what she wrote, we can perhaps come closer to understanding why some people claim Rand has significant flaws as a writer. *Edited to add last three words for clarity
  22. What I meant was that I was confused by language and the language I used was, thus, not appropriate to express what I was actually thinking. More specifically, by "semantic" I meant "having to do with language," and by "conceptual" i meant "having to do with thought."
  23. I think the position of ARI is that once cultural transformation is undergone, the legal aspects for retaining it will come with ease. That's why Objectivists are more concerned with changing the cultural outlook of America and the world, not rewriting the U.S. Constitution (at the moment) and such. However, I know there has been some attempt to rewrite the Constitution by members of the forum; it's an intriguing problem and I'm sure you can find it if you search.
  24. Are you saying you support the Republican party as a channel for Objectivist-oriented political change? If so, what do you think about the state of the GOP right now?
  25. valjean

    "Bad" Writing

    That's incorrect. It's sometimes (though not always) understood that a simile is a kind of metaphor. But what you have here is neither simile nor metaphor. You're just describing what something looks like. To be either a simile or a metaphor, the comparison has to do with the being or essence of the compared, which is why the word is if often seen in these forms of figurative language, but never the word looks. As for rewriting the passages--I think your version Eddie is better than both Rand's and the one I suggested earlier in the thread, simply because it adds even more clarity with a more appropriate number of words (i.e. fewer) for the amount of detail that is conveyed.
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