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whYNOT last won the day on July 24 2015

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  1. Beyond Morality

    In answer to your last question -- And how! It helps to get well acquainted with the credo when you see it in action and word every day (in some form, coercive, psychological, tacit, etc.). It must be much the same over in the US or anywhere in the West, that I've seen. Maybe, a little more rawly open and entitled here. Not that he 'invented' it, apart from naming this "altruism", but it was Comte who identified the phenomenon--and gave it further moral credibility as you know. I'm paraphrasing, but his justification was that each person, 'you', come into the world to a ready-made civilization and all the benefits of that. Therefore, it seemed to his logic, millions of people before you had worked towards your ends (a totally mystical premise). From that, he concluded, to sustain that society and its good, every child born, immediately has an automatic duty to continue the labor for "others". He literally wrote that about newborns, I saw in some passage. Not - of course - that "altruism" is put to anyone so explicitly and blatantly. The real premise remains implicit and insidious, under the cover of "good works", or what most would do - naturally - out of their chosen, identified values, when seeing the plight of anyone else perceived to be in distress. IOW, altruism takes what's generous and good-willed in people and perverts it against them, in the name of moral duty for all time and for all-comers. You'll see there is where "dependency" comes in, in my argument. (Not "inter-dependency", btw). "You" and your present life was the product of, and so, dependent on others - "You didn't build that!" - now others (here and in future) are dependent on you. To break the vicious dependency cycle only requires one person who states : "No". His life is his own, and he neither needs others' help nor accepts the obligation to live for others in turn - i.e. - the independent man, in mind, actions and values. Sure, there's most definitely "not enough" of the independent type. Many might believe there is something wrong and enslaving with the burden of self-sacrifice vs. other-sacrifice which societies place upon them, but haven't the intellectual ammunition to fight it. They just go along with everyone else, afraid of looking 'selfish'. To complete the toxic brew, collectivism and altruism link closely. Collectivism, as in each one derives his identity from and makes as his standard of value, the collective, race, 'group' -etc.. Here, the "opposite and enemy" of collectivism is of course individualism. That arrives at these two opposing diametric axes: independence-individualism versus altruism-collectivism. Again I think the latter, anti-freedom immorality can be broken with a resurgence by an intellectual minority, asserting that each individual's life and mind and well-being is (self-evidently) autonomous, therefore morally his own.
  2. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Really good work from you guys. As for 'objective value' in the minor things like taste preferences which are sometimes considered "subjective", I think of it exactly as in the manner in which one gains knowledge of facts from the senses, to the percepts, to identifications, integrations, to evaluations of facts - and so on. All the senses contribute to knowledge, bottom up, in one's cognition - equally, all the senses contribute to enjoyment, from top down, in one's value/evaluation. A hierarchy of value then, is congruent with one's hierarchy of knowledge. Hierarchical clarity answers most uncertainties attached to this, in my view. I think my opinion is consistent with Objectivism. "Survival" ~ for an individual choosing a life proper to man qua man ~ is identical to "flourishing", in my simple take on that matter. And happiness is to be found, taken and/or sought here and now - as well as in one's short and long future - especially not forgetting the "simple" pleasures.
  3. Beyond Morality

    Independence ¶ Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it—that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life—that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence. Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual --------- Easy Truth: "Independence implies a complete separation like a hermit". I think it's important to understand independence in its conceptual form, and then to see that in the context of altruism. It is specifically the lack and shortage of *mind* independence which strengthens societal and global altruism. The resurgence of either one defeats the other. When most men can and sometimes do, deal with each other from independent mind to independent mind -- that's the precondition for benevolence to all, and the condition inimical to altruism. That is, without the dutiful obligation, coercion and psychological pressure to take responsibility for another's life. One should first eliminate the supposition that altruism = charitable works, (helping someone in distress, etc. etc.) Charity has been sneaked in as the package deal with altruism, to conceal the intention to control men's minds by "moral" means. "It's your mind they want". (Galt) As Rand saw the consequences (we all can see), it's precisely this good will to help others back on their feet, that will be destroyed by the creed of altruism, which engenders all-round resentment and angry entitlement. Because altruism is above all, anti-life - unregarding of anyone's independent values, choices and identifications - ie. one's independent mind. For altruism to continue to exist, it is crucial that men don't think for themselves, but go on accepting the mystical cult of "other" (apart from those individuals whom one cares, for in any way - i.e., values, in their own right - but all anonymous people, anywhere). In other words, one has to "self-abnegate", or negate, submit and self-sacrifice one's own existence, value and values on demand, and suffer the guilt for never doing enough, as no one can. From experience and observation, I don't think any more that rational selfishness - in its entirety - is the diametric opposite or antidote to altruism. This pays overmuch regard to the anti-real, never justified, immoral creed; and further, rational selfishness, conversely, is all geared to what to live FOR. The single element within the Objectivist ethics of mind independence ( the person who asks "Why?" and will not accept the usual excuses for his sacrifice) alone suffices to strike it down.
  4. Well said, Strictly. I suggest as another approach (or perhaps a re-wording) to this well-discussed subject, that consequentialism is completely tied up with the retrospective, while the objective morality is largely pro-active. (Not to say - of course - that one doesn't compare the outcomes to actions taken - and vice-versa - after the fact). C. has a strong element of unguided hit- and- miss, trial and error, and experimentation - in disregard of the fact that reality is not very forgiving on one's life of excessive errors, mis-steps and misjudgments. It's not as though one has unlimited time and (physical, spiritual) resources to "get it right". Which feeds back to the over-riding questions: What is morality - why does man need a code of values? Rand has it that the second query is the prerequisite to determining the first. I'll roughly put it that one needs objectively-moral guidance - in advance - of choosing one's values and goals, and of selecting the essential steps to those ends. Having justified for oneself the 'rightness' of the ethics, by the identity of nature and man, it's all up to the individual to discover his own 'goodness'. Edit: Apologies, I've tacked this onto the wrong thread. Mixing up two interesting topics I guess ;(
  5. Beyond Morality

    ET: Following that 2014 post I was informed that Rand in fact didn't say this ("The true opposite and enemy...") by a prominent academic. So I no longer quote her as writing it. I had found the quote, attributed to her, some five years ago while pursuing links about Objectivism and ending up on someone's website (?), I don't remember, but I copied it down believing it as hers. The concept and the style it was worded looked all too familiar... Mainly I was much taken with what this says about not only altruism, but its 'opposite', independence and have viewed these in this light since then. I will add that I doubt that every single, informal, ad hoc comment by Rand has been noted and recorded, we know how ready she was to apply herself to any questions on any occasion. And even if she didn't say that, from the greater context of all she wrote of altruism, and all my experiences of altruism - in its full sense of self-sacrifice - with regard to independent and dependent minds , I remain firmly convinced that she could have.
  6. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Obviously, and it might need re-stating, virtues are the means to an end. Nobody has stated otherwise, I believe. The inversion, of placing virtue over value - and isolating virtues "in a vacuum" - is an error of intrinsicism sometimes made. To put it this way, as much as one prizes his virtues, moreso does he prize the values that follow from them. They have a hierarchical relationship and also a causal relationship, based and dependent upon one's cardinal values and virtues. "As a consequence, it [a lack of virtue] may cause reconsideration". (ET) No. And there is no "may" about it. What one reconsiders is: rational, virtuous action -> rational outcome. A rational action presupposes it has virtue. What result did I accomplish? Is it good (for me)? Was it what I wanted it to be? Could it be better? Which actions could I change? Simply, as one does for any endeavor, I am matching up my intentions and efforts, with what I finish up making (with the purpose of improving my performance). This isn't consequentialism, which judges the 'good' (whether subjective, intrinsic, or objective) by results, "solely". Applied to rational selfishness, then, since I gained an achievement -- therefore I MUST have practiced the virtues of Objectivism... Not necessarily. Good conclusions often arrive from mixed premises. How much rationality, independence, justice, integrity - etc.- one brings to the actions is a prior commitment, not - only - to be reviewed and assessed after the fact. And it could be overlooked that it is not only for the 'gaining' of goals that virtues are crucial, but equally for the ongoing 'keeping' of those values already attained. Also, one never knows, in reality, which specific virtue, or combination of, may be called upon next, from moment to moment. This and more, as I've learned by experience, settles for me the necessity of a conscious commitment to every "objective" virtue, full time. This morality is not called "rational" selfishness for little reason. (Consequentialism seems like baking a cake without the recipe. See - it turned out fine and tasty! Therefore, it follows, I can repair an engine without using the engine's manual...)
  7. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    They are equivalent, in my mind. As with e.g. induction and deduction, they form an aligned 'two-way street'. This returns to the "how?" (in what manner) one reaches one's goals, I raised about consequentialism. To achieve some goal - but at small or great cost to one's integrity, honesty and so on, is not a gain, but a net loss. I see there is agreement that one's virtues are also one's values, and since all values are ensconced in one's value-hierarchy, therefore virtues too, may equally be sacrificed to "a lesser or non-value". Material profits can't be allowed to substitute for (higher) values or virtues since the latter are with and for one, lifelong - and one's "goals" are never ending. Equally, material things cater for the cherry on top, which one makes and accepts as one's due rewards towards an enjoyable life. It may seem also, that some things just "fall into your lap". Undeserved, unpredicted, good fortune, accidental - or whatever. Because the causes bringing about effects (one discovers by experience) are seldom instantaneous, or even perfectly lucid in the moment, in reality. But these too, are one's subsequent, earned rewards for living a rationally moral life . I believe that in the final analysis, happiness, in all its manifestations, is a present 'spiritual' continuum, not only a future state.
  8. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    A reminder, reason is a value. "The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics--the three values which, together, are the means to and the realization of one's ultimate value, one's own life--are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride." I mention this in case it is reason you are actually meaning - "...when I have a rational explanation..."
  9. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Thank you. Still seems to me that any and all systems of ethics have the 'value' of some, or someone, or some ~entity~ in mind. Deontological, altruist, egoist, egotist, virtue ethics, religious. (Have I left any out?) The queries: "What sort of consequences count as good consequences?" - and- "Who is the primary beneficiary?" - and - "How are the consequences judged and who judges them?" ... are all implicit and explicit to any ethics. There is always a cause leading to an effect, and always the 'value' of that effect perceived to and for 'someone'. Objectivism simply recognizes you, the cause, ARE the effect - without breach. When it comes to assessing others' morality, all one has to go by is "the consequence" and concrete outcome or 'product' of their thoughts and virtue, - or lack of - and I think the one area consequentialism may not be superfluous. Virtues are values. Can anyone respond to that? (While everyone understands the proper relationship between value and virtue, virtues, the tools and means to one's values, are in themselves invaluable).
  10. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    If the Pragmatist epistemology is "truth is that which works", is consequentialism the ethics of Pragmatism? ("Human actions derive their moral worth solely from their outcomes and consequences") On the face of it there is an interesting parallel/intersection. Would a scholar here inform me? I hardly know anything about that philosophy.
  11. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    [The Pragmatists] declared that philosophy must be practical and that practicality consists of dispensing with all absolute principles and standards—that there is no such thing as objective reality or permanent truth—that truth is that which works, and its validity can be judged only by its consequences—that no facts can be known with certainty in advance, and anything may be tried by rule-of-thumb—that reality is not firm, but fluid and “indeterminate,” that there is no such thing as a distinction between an external world and a consciousness (between the perceived and the perceiver), there is only an undifferentiated package-deal labeled “experience,” and whatever one wishes to be true, is true, whatever one wishes to exist, does exist, provided it works or makes one feel better. “For the New Intellectual,”
  12. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    I was hypothetically taking the (extreme) consequentialist position. Wasn't that clear? You've made the contrast clear, from an O'ist position. Thanks.
  13. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    It is important to avoid conflating causality with consequentialism, imo. It is understood that identity/causation are foundational - and, perhaps the similarities with consequentialism can be attractive. There is a process preceding an effect, began by a volitional consciousness, the cause. Rational selfishness requires one's reasoned thinking translated into action, then translating into morally selfish consequences. Barring outside interference or unforseen circumstances and accidents, one expects a rational - good - outcome. But the outcome or product isn't the primary, determining factor of one's morality (qua consequentialism) the thinking and actions which initiated it are. To my way of seeing this, Objectivism's causation renders consequentialism - in its best, possible light - obsolete or superfluous.
  14. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    Well, who's to say for him? This is an imaginary "architect", after all. One kind may consider his and his work's integrity to be easily compromised, thereafter to be further compromised, until little remains of his integrity or pride in his productivity. Another, with the highest standards might rather choose work in a rock quarry for the interim. There are, in reality many alternatives for "survival". But exactly. Why should a consequentialist rule out murder? (Taking it to ridiculous extremes). If he appropriates wealth this way and he's not found out, he must by definition, consider that a moral act. If and when he's arrested, the moment the police arrive, then he will know the act was unethical.
  15. Is objectivism consequentialist?

    I think this debate all turns on one thing. That the "consequences" are indeed, rationally-moral goals. But what does consequentialism show us about what is moral or provide any guide? Nothing. Everyone has been presuming upon 'good consequences' - from the standpoint of Objectivism. Therefore, rational consequences imply consequentialism, which it does not. Consequentialism: 1. the theory that human actions derive their moral worth solely from their outcomes or consequences. 2. the theory that ethical decisions should be made on the basis of the expected outcome or consequence of the action. Which is mere pragmatism. Your goal as an architect is to be successful and wealthy. A potential client arrives, and all he asks is that you change your proposed drawings of a skyscraper to accomodate his love of Gothic churches. You are struggling, so it goes without saying that you do so. After all, by your doctrine the consequence (success) you seek determines your actions, and as such, is an "ethical decision", with "moral worth". Why should the integrity of the building and the designer matter? The concept, consequentialism has been around much longer. I think we can't adopt the notion into Objectivism (except to use it idiosyncratically - and so weaken or collapse its premise).