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Everything posted by StrictlyLogical

  1. Every choice at its most basic level involves holding the alternatives in ones mind, assessing them, experiencing and apprehending them, even if only in the most basic fashion, and then making the choice (whose mechanism lies at the nexus of free will... which is another subject). I understand you are taking philosophy, and I, as having been an academic during my university years, know that a certain "disinterested-third-party-point-of-view" kicks in when "thinking" about things in the abstract. This is encouraged to fight things like bias...but what were are talking about here is decidedly NOT a "disinterested-third-party-point-of-view" type of consideration. Such a view and attitude toward the issue at hand is inappropriate and inapplicable... the human perspective of the alternative between life and death as a human is not a biased perspective, it's the only perspective faced with the choice to live or die as a human. To get at what explains the initial choice, you must drop your academic hat for a moment, you must step back home into yourself, as a human, and yes, "get real", and in the moment. Take a second and sit.. experience what you are, that you are... experience what it is to be. While reflecting thus, I have have a little "methodology of choosing" (to use your words) for you: think of all you have seen, the beautiful and the ugly and everything in between then try to think of the nothing think of all you've heard and smelled, tasted and felt then try to think of the nothing think of all the joys and sorrows, laughter and anger, all the excitement and all the naps then try to think of the nothing think of all the people you have known, know, and will know, those you love and hate and everything in between, your father, your mother, your wife, sons or daughters, your neighbors and friends and the grumpy people you avoid too then try to think of the nothing think of all of the things you pursue in life, the music, the art, the food, the activities, everything that that you value, everything that you have loved, love, or will love, think of all the things you've done, are doing or will do, and think of all the feeling and experiences and all the thoughts you have ever had, have or will have then contemplate nothing think of all you have been, are, and could be then ... nothing Once you have thought as outlined above long enough, you will know that you can choose, know you have decided to choose, and in fact have already chosen (by the mechanism of your own voluntary free will)... sitting with this realization you can contemplate that already made choice between: Living and non-existence. After (ONLY after) having experienced your own choice thus, FEEL FREE to put your disinterested third party hat back on, step away from your humanity, and in a rationalistic scowl confuse yourself into accepting that "everything versus nothing" cannot be the basis for any rational choice ... that everything cannot be reason for anything... but I STRONGLY suggest against it... instead I suggest letting this experience steep for a long time and then revisiting it with an open mind. Good Premises!
  2. At this point I find myself wondering if you have truly considered my precious answers. If you equate the choice of everything as against nothing as a whim, we really have nothing more to discuss. And incidentally, in the most private moments of your own thought you conceive that you personally have reason to live, that reason automatically is entailed in everything... to reject as arbitrary the choice to live is to reject every possible reason you personally have to live.
  3. Eric D Your example is similar to wishing to live for the experience of the pains of bleeding from slit wrists. Rands ethics is built on the simple choice to live... not a whim ridden bastardization of that choice coupled to conditions which are antithetical to life. Certainly one could debate the validation of such flawed versions of whim ridden ethics, but that is not a discussion of Rand’s conception.
  4. Reason does not validate ethics nor the choice to live. The choice to live is super rational or pre-rational, it justifies and necessitates the use of reason. Reason is not an intrinsic good or an end in itself. It serves life, not the other way around. Incidentally choosing to have an ethics might be super rational or pre rational but the content of ethics must be rational and reality based to achieve the goal of life. Rand’s ethics is rational but it is not “based” in not originates from some mystical or intrinsic reason. There is no dilemma.
  5. This is an interesting question but there are so many different people with so many different ways of living that it becomes complicated. Some people DO live life as a sort of unconscious non rational choice, in fact some people who tend to follow feeling absent thought are choosing irrationally all the time. The whole point of a rational morality is to shift the what is guiding those choices from whim wish and feeling towards focused rational awareness and deliberation. So I have to say that in reality a great many people choose life, choose to seek flourishing, but it is not really a conscious choice. Others choose self destructive behaviours, self sabotage, and quite fundamentally they have chosen oblivion even if only a slow and sad journey lasting the rest of their natural lives... Others are fully aware of their own well being, and that they themselves are the primary actor causally responsible for it, and consciously choose life. Now for these people what could be the reasons to choose life? Is the choice rational? What constitutes a reason to do anything? A goal. Although there may be reasons for choosing certain actions to achieve particular goal, namely, that the facts of reality are such that only certain actions lead to the goal, that goal does not serve as its own reason... the goals is only the reason for those particular actions. But soon one gets into what seems like an infinite regress... chasing goals which further other goals related to other goals etc. all across the face of the universe... but they all lead back to a fundamental undeniable truth of the first person experience ... existence or nonexistence. Bereft of humanity in a frenzy of academic torpor, a rationalist might try to view this question from the point of view of a blind universe or a platonic nirvana, which is not any kind of a point of view at all... and say there is no possible reason to choose life because there is no intrinsic goal in the universe...It must be an arbitrary choice. To a frenzied academic attempting to see with no vision, perhaps it would appear so. But to a living creature faced with the alternative of existence and non existence, every reason, every thing, every experience, indeed the whole universe, all of it, constitutes the reason(s) to live, and the alternative is nothing which cannot be a reason for anything. In a sense the choice is an arbitrary non-rational choice for which there are no intrinsic reasons but in another sense it is the least arbitrary and most rational choice for which there is literally every possible personal reason to make.
  6. I forgot to quote you in my recent post above.
  7. Eric D As a person who identified himself as an Objectivist, you must know that morality in a very real sense is nothing more than application of valid knowledge... one cannot search for a morality that tells them why they should live or criticize a morality which does not, such a requirement would be tantamount to alleging that a person is intrinsically obligated to live which is simply not am observable fact of reality. There is nothing in the fabric of the universe willing or obligating you to do anything or even to exist (not long range anyway). There are no dogmatic "thou shalts" written in the stars or in the vibrations of the ghostly neutrinos. The universe simply is, and you metaphysically simply are. That's it. It is the most simple, absolute, and undeniable fact you are in touch with, and it has an almost unfathomable complex causal chain behind it... but nothing more. Reality and you, there are no other facts, no floating dogmatic consciousnesses or consciences to tell you what to do with the fact that you are and moreover that you can choose to act in reality. Nothing intrinsic, nothing supernatural, nothing non-real, and in fact nothing real can tell you that you are obligated to live. There IS no such obligation. No one and no thing in the universe could convey any duty on you to choose to live or do anything as such. In fact no thing conveys any intrinsic obligation as such, since intrinsic obligations cannot exist. You are, and you act, but before you act you choose to act. What acts do you choose and why do you choose them? Well Nothing in the universe obligates you to any choice whatever, but it tells you that causes and effects cannot be sundered. That your specific acts can only result in certain effects, and also that by virtue of your nature, some actions are outside of your capacity. Morality is essentially a recognized body of knowledge of reality which acts as a guide to the choices and actions open to a living person which is conducive to life. I know of a former self proclaimed Objectivist who was very disturbed by morality originating with the choice to live... "its just a choice, a choice. a choice" he would say mockingly imitating some dogmatic Objectivist straw Man, the implication being that this answer was somehow an evasion of something more profound... he seemed to be pleading with his knowledge (or his ignorance) or pleading with his father, or his former priest, his childhood or the planet or the universe. The circular grasping cry "Tell me, I must live.. that there is a reason outside of myself, for why I should live"... revealed the gaping false hole left by the exit of religion and mysticism... it was vast and sorrowful... but his pleas and his search are in vain, and always will be. Reality IS, you ARE, YOU choose... and that's it. Once you do choose life however, there are so many options for how to go about living, and Rand had an answer about how to go about it... I like to think it is the correct one.
  8. is value pertaining to the well being of the mind There is a common misconception that the particular result from the application of objectivity to each person must be the same. in fact objectivity requires that particulars differ because people differ. A blood transfusion may be necessary for you to live. The wrong type of blood will kill you. This is an objective fact about your uniqueness. It illustrates that you cannot ignore the reality of your nature and magically make actions which are in reality harmful to you, good for you. You can subjectively wish that B positive blood will save you but if it is incompatible you can’t make it actually so. Objectivity of your decision is about getting things right about reality. As for “same conclusion” for everyone this is a mere incidental side effect. Morality is for you and is about you. Also note that the sameness depends on the level of abstraction. Clearly “get a transfusion of b positive blood when you are about to die from blood loss” is not applicable to everyone. Note, that “get a blood transfusion of your blood type when you are about to die from blood loss” is applicable to everyone. Once you have made the best choice to get a transfusion and live, an analysis of the applicability of the decision which is best for you to other people is a distraction a purely academic exercise. Engage in that once you’ve saved your life if you get enjoyment from musing about other people.
  9. Really choosing life, entails more than merely breathing for the next few seconds, it means choosing to live long range... choosing to choose life again the next day and the next ... indefinitely, for as long as you possibly can. The choice to continually choose life and to live as long as possible is simple, achieving it is complex. The potential for you to live as long as possible in future depends on your level of flourishing not just directly on your choices at any one time. You can’t choose to save yourself from an unexpected threat by jumping to safety if you have taken care of yourself so badly that you are simply incapable of it. Some events are unforeseen or cannot be predicted. The more physically strong you are the more likely you will survive accident or illness or other physically stressful events. The more mentally and emotionally strong you are the more likely you will survive extreme emotional trauma or events that may test your very will to live or test how quickly you can get back on your feet or how well you can will yourself to take care of yourself again. Your level of flourishing, your physical and mental health, is crucial to your likelihood of long term survival. As such every materiel and spiritual value that improves or contributes (in sum total) to your well being generally is objectively conducive to your flourishing and hence your choice to live in a world you simply cannot control. Your enjoyment at lunch is the product of your subjective tastes in food and ambience... but the spiritual value of your enjoyment and the mental well being it promotes, even if merely modestly incremental, are objectively good for you. All else being equal (the food is not poison, and the patrons not gang members liable to cause a shoot out) choose the place you enjoy the most, it’s objectively the best choice for you.
  10. Peikoff is no chump. I think what he did to change those formulations is objectively more correct.
  11. This seems like an arbitrary assertion on Kant’s part both in logic and reality.
  12. Why is the level of abstraction in the context of telling falsehoods at the highest noncontextual level of “lying to anyone for any purpose”? How would one decide the level of abstraction and context for moral questions pertaining to “cutting people”? Is it simply “Cutting anyone for any purpose” is either right or wrong or are we permitted more nuanced consideration of particulars and context here? If so, why are we permitted more precision wrt cutting compared with lying? If not, why not?
  13. DreamWeaver SoftwareNerd MisterSwig If any of you would like to have a 1on 1 or 4 way discussion on this topic, please PM me.
  14. No. You’ve taken over my characters and made them say what they would not say. This is not an honest discussion. It is a twisting of the position of my characters not a presentation of an alternative to both. You can’t say you disagree with both positions and then try to argue your case primarily by mischaracterizing those positions.
  15. One of the criticisms of Kant is his application of the above to honesty, in particular lying to a murderer. Kant who heard of this example himself remained adamant that lying to a murderer to prevent them from finding their quarry was wrong, but silence was permissible. Do you believe this is a flaw in Kant's ethics? or Do you believe the ethics is fine but this result is flawed due to a mistake in the application (even by Kant himself) of his ethics because it wholly ignores context? or Do you believe this does not constitute any kind of flaw in regards to Kant's ethics? Thank you for the example. What about a maxim like "Compliment every first, second, and third person you see, and insult every fourth person you see." Is it moral, immoral, or neither? Why? I am not convinced that everyone intends every act to be moral, nor that every act is an implicit adoption specifically of Kantian ethics... in particular with regards to universality. Does Kant claim that universality is intrinsically good? Why? Finally, again if I were innocent of all morality how would you persuade me into adopting Kant's ethics for myself?
  16. What defines "efficacy" in Kant's view? I was under the impression that a "Categorical Imperative" was absolute requirement that must be obeyed and is justified as an end in itself. Does Kant say anything about the adoption of the CI by any person as itself being good "for" anything, a choice, or an intrinsic good? Suppose for example I were innocent of all morality (not an Objectivist, Kantian, or Christian.. nothing) but a rational living being... how would you persuade me to adopt Kantian morality?
  17. I’m not seeing a non circular base for what is “moral” “good” and “right”. CI is logically consistent with itself, but then again we could baldly assert anything logically consistent with itself as the base of “morality” and we could baldly assert anything is intrinsically good. Intrinsic good lacks a “what” it is “good for” and cannot have a rational reality-based meaning.... and not having it... cannot be based on any actual “reason”.
  18. Rather than interject before you have a chance to read my entire post, I'll just say the substance of my post makes my position unambiguously clear. My last paragraph sums it up.
  19. What is a "right reason" according to Kant?
  20. I think Peikoff is being careful about the scope of the subject to be discussed. The realm of ethics in a philosophy (the study of knowledge) can only pertain to a volitional consciousness. The fact that unconscious life... AND unconscious processes are "determined" by "inbuilt" natures should be carefully separated from the task at hand, to discuss ethics and philosophy. This in no way implies that a man should ignore his knowledge about how his heart functions, in fact such knowledge can be crucial, but how his heart functions, like anything else a volitional consciousness can observe, is to be the subject of separate study.. study of the heart is part of the special sciences... To be sure what we glean from that study will become knowledge, but that study is not the science and study of how we validly obtain and apply knowledge (in general): which is philosophy. Funny. from the same quotes I am lead to believe Peikoff got it right. I do not think any "standard" guides something which is non-thinking. In the same ways "laws" and "principles" do not "guide" anything in physics... those things simply act in accord with their natures... they "follow" nothing, they are determined. We identify, conceptualize, and abstract... to understand... and those understandings take the form of laws and principles which connect things now with what we predict them to be later... or connect things now with how they were previously. So all life, like everything else, exhibits identity and causality and "lawful" behavior (a plant does not randomly grow up to be Hegel). They do not act the way they act because of the abstractions we have in our minds. We have formed those abstractions in our mind because of the ways they act. Now, only humans conceptualize, abstract, and can recognize and use standards or principles or laws of any kind. I believe Rand was being a bit metaphorical (and a little poetic) with her use of the term "standard of value" in the context of plants etc. because she wanted to relate and/or ground humans (who have unfortunately identified themselves only with the mind and not their biological metaphysical totality) back to reality and biology, So in the context of a plant, a "standard of value" must be a mental projection on our part on the behavior of the plant... which is not volitional in any way on the part of the plant. Plants cannot have standards. They have natures and deterministic processes. In the right environment they flourish, in the wrong ones they struggle or die... they simply cannot choose anything or adopt any standard. Peikoff changing to "implicitly" "inbuilt" standard "determining" from just "standard" "guiding" is a good thing... perhaps not going far enough... but then again, he could not have strayed too far from Rand's poetry, so maybe he found the right balance.
  21. I’ll discuss this with you. Start a new thread and we can discuss your hypothetical. That’s my offer.
  22. Please read the OP carefully and be intellectually honest and true to the botanist’s goal, the tree, and plan, to write a code for the gardener. I’ve about had it with straw men, double standards, evasion, ulterior motives, unoriginal thought, and twisting of words from others in the past, so please bring an open honest rational mind to this and we can have an interesting discussion. Perhaps your character can be a biologist sitting at the next table? I’ll give back any responses from the botanist and the friend. Sound good? A biologist at the next table overhears the conversation and decides to interject...
  23. I have asked politely that you refrain from going off topic in this thread. I in no way make excuses or justifications for my comments on your previous thread, but have asked that we conduct ourselves differently going forward. Do you believe purposefully going off topic after being politely asked to address the discussion of the OP constitutes correct and proper forum conduct? Are you of the view that past transgressions on my part justify current and/or future transgressions on your part? I ask you again, please, out of politeness stay on topic, or start a new one.
  24. Hello Whynot.. I have a particular discussion in mind for this thread. If you do not wish to have that discussion, and wish to have a discussion on a different topic of your choosing, please start your own thread.
  25. The OP was not about a moral code for the tree, as the tree cannot use one. The OP was, however, about a code of values to guide choices and actions for the gardener which are directed toward a certain end. It is the Objectivist friend who sees the abstract parallel and wishes to analyze the creation of such a code in an analogous fashion to his understanding (correct or not) of morality as he believes Rand formulated it. I now deeply regret going off topic, I should have stayed on point with the OP, since it is not fraught with all that baggage associated with the topic I went OFF on. I like your example of biology... clearly the science of biology consists of knowledge and abstract principles pertaining to biological entities. It must be kept in mind that the biological principles of trees do not apply to science of biology, those principles are part OF the science of biology and they apply to concrete individual trees. I am still eager for someone to make an HONEST attempt to write a convincing version of what this friend said about the actual differences between the two codes, and why (and how) the first code would actually be deficient. Of course I assume (for the nonce) it was possible for the friend to do this with valid arguments and no straw men...
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