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David Kelley's Moral Theory Contra Objectivism

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[While I am a "closed" system proponent, I do not really want to discuss that here. I shall state here that I do not consider Kelley's adjustments, developments, additions, etc. to be part of Objectivism (Rand's philosophy). While Kelley may have developed his theories in the Objectivist tradition (which is also questionable), I do not consider them part of Objectivism. This is comparative to Aristotle's philosophy and the other philosophers that studied and promoted ideas in the Aristotolian tradition (the same with Plato's philosophy vs. Platonic tradition, Kant's philosophy vs. Kantian tradition, etc.). With that said, I'll discuss the differences between Kelley's ideas on moral judgment in the Objectivist tradition, with that of Rand's (Objectivism's) theory of moral judgment.]

Note: All of Kelley's quotations are from "Truth and Toleration".

There is enough Objectivism in Kelley's moral judgment theory that one can say that it is almost Objectivist. Rand and Kelley both agreed on the necessity of moral judgment. Their theories deviate from one another in how they frame the discussion of it and the main problem with Kelley's theory is a product of that deviation.

Kelley writes:

The distinctive feature of moral judgment is the attribution of moral responsibility, of blame or credit for an action, and this is appropriate only where choice is involved... Since the fundamental choice is whether to think or not, whether to use our capacity for reason, we must judge people by how they make this choice. In judging an action, therefore, we are concerned not only with its consequences, measured by the standard of life, but also with its source in the person’s motives, as measured by the standard of rationality. The question is how to integrate these two factors into a single judgment. Philosophers have long wrestled with this question; they have proposed various theories about the proper weight to assign to consequences on the one hand and motives on the other. The Objectivist ethics, unfortunately, has yet to address this question in any depth. But it’s clear that we cannot ignore either factor.

The problem that philosophers have wrestled with so long is the dichotomy of the mind and body (or motive and consequence) and moral judgment. Two irrational products of this dichotomy are the Utilitarian and Kantian criteria of immorality. Utilitarians focus only on the consequence. Kantians focus only on the motive.

Kelley is wrong when he says: "The Objectivist ethics, unfortunately, has yet to address this question in any depth." Rand completely rejected the mind-body dichotomy all-together, she rejected that there was even a question to begin with. I'll agree that nowhere did Rand explicitly write on how to morally judge another, she mostly wrote one why man needs to do it.

However, Rand wrote in multiple essays and in her books about the mind and body of man. She made no distinction between what a man thought and what a man did, and she rejected every attempt at such a distinction. Every action of a man has a root in his thoughts. The very instant a man makes his thought known he is performing an action. At every level of a man's life there is a complete integration of his mind and his body.

From "The New Intellectual":

The New Intellectual … will discard … the soul-body dichotomy. He will discard its irrational conflicts and contradictions, such as: mind versus heart, thought versus action, reality versus desire, the practical versus the moral. He will be an integrated man, that is: a thinker who is a man of action. He will know that ideas divorced from consequent action are fraudulent, and that action divorced from ideas is suicidal.

Objectivism doesn't address the issue of the mind-body dichotomy because it already rejects it in its every form.

Kelley doesn't reject the mind-body dichotomy rather, he embraces the dichotomy by attempting to solve its "problem". One cannot create an Objectivist theory by embracing what Objectivism rejects. In order to discuss and create a properly Objectivist theory, one would have to reject the dichotomy and discuss the issue opposite of the way Kelley does.

Kelley separates moral judgment into four parts: Evaluating actions, Interpreting motives, Inferring character traits, and Judging the person. Kelley attempts to make a distinction between the actions and the motives of a person. That is not Objectivist in any form.

Rand said in a 1971 issue of "The Objectivist":

Moral judgment must be objective, i.e., based on perceivable, demonstrable facts. A man's moral character must be judged on the basis of his actions, his statements and his conscious convictions—not on the basis of inferences (usually, spurious) about his subconscious.

That is where a proper Objectivist theory of moral judgment must start and that is distinguishably different than what Kelley attempts to do.

Edited by brandonk2009

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Kelley doesn't reject the mind-body dichotomy rather, he embraces the dichotomy by attempting to solve its "problem". One cannot create an Objectivist theory by embracing what Objectivism rejects. In order to discuss and create a properly Objectivist theory, one would have to reject the dichotomy and discuss the issue opposite of the way Kelley does.

FYI, I wrote a detailed analysis of the mind-body dichotomy implicit in David Kelley's analysis of moral judgment about two years ago. You can find it on my web site. Since my analysis is rather lengthy, I won't repeat it here.

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FYI, I wrote a detailed analysis of the mind-body dichotomy implicit in David Kelley's analysis of moral judgment about two years ago. You can find it on my web site. Since my analysis is rather lengthy, I won't repeat it here.

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

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Brandon,

Can you apply this to some concretes? Ayn Rand usually suggested that all philosophical principles be applied to at least three. It seems like this issue is tied up in the abstract.

Hope to talk with you soon,

- Donovan

I'll give two examples of moral judgment without the mind-body split. You should read the link that Diana posted also, she has a few excellent examples as well. First though I'm going to discuss some things Peikoff said in "Fact and Value" (your favorite essay in the whole world, I know. :thumbsup:).

Peikoff wrote that: "Two crucial, related aspects must be borne in mind: existence and consciousness, or effect and cause. Existentially, an action of man is good or bad according to its effects: its effects, positive or negative, on man's life." This pertains to actions. Contrary to what Kelley did (i.e. split asunder the mind and body), Peikoff ties mind and body together when he writes: "Human action is not merely physical motion; it is a product of a man's ideas and value-judgments, true or false, which themselves derive from a certain kind of mental cause; ultimately, from thought or from evasion."

Earlier in the essay Peikoff explains the connection between fact and value. He shows that the facts that are true, will always be good and that the facts that are false, will always be bad. He shows that true ideas, values, etc. will always be good for one's life and that the true never breeds the bad. He also shows that false ideas will always be bad for one's life and that bad ideas can never be good.

So: True ideas=good effects. False ideas or evasion of facts=bad effects.

Moving on to the examples.

1) Dictator that murders a group of provably innocent people

2) Immanuel Kant, author of an evil philosophy

Mind-Body integration:

1) The effect was that a group of innocent people were murdered. That's a horrible effect meaning that it must have resulted from false ideas that the dictator had or that the dictator evaded several facts. If one can show that the cause of the murders (his ideas) was evil, i.e. a purposeful evasion or rejection of facts and reason, rather than an innocent error, i.e. not knowing and not having the ability to know the facts, then one can condemn his actions as evil. It does not take much knowledge, logic, or reason to come to the conclusion that murdering innocent people is wrong regardless of the reason this means that the dictator intentionally evaded thinking and using logic to act otherwise. We can demonstrate and present facts that show why his actions were evil, what the dictator promoted and said were evil, and we can say that his conscious convictions were evil knowing full well that he did not commit an honest error. Conclusion: Morally evil. Fight against the dictator, speak out against him, and never freely support him.

2) The effect was that through the amazing consistency (consistency within itself, not reality) of his philosophical system, Kant successfully influenced enough intellectuals to create a world where the philosophical ideas were anti-reason, anti-knowledge, anti-life It also enabled and helped every movement, since his philosophy's conception, to destroy everything good about humanity. It's a bad effect meaning that it had false ideas and that it evaded reality. We know that it was not an innocent error, Kant was too smart to commit an honest error. His philosophy and his actions show a consistent and conscious convictions to ideas that equal the destruction of life. Conclusion: Morally evil. Fight against his ideas and never support someone who promotes his ideas.

Notice here that I did not assign one standard for a man's effect (actions) and another for man's cause (motives). That is precisely what Kelley does:

"Before we can judge an action morally, we must evaluate it in the wider sense I described above. We must ask whether the action was good or bad, using life as our fundamental standard." and then he splits open thought from action when he gives a different standard to evaluate one's motive. "We must ask what goal the person was trying to pursue, and what connection he saw between his action and his goal, so that we can assess his rationality in choosing to act as he did." In other words one's cause/motive can be positive and rational, but the effect or action can be negative. But Objectivism rejects the idea that rational motives can breed evil and irrational actions.

His position is not Objectivist. To quote Diana: "According to Objectivism, valid principles of moral judgment must reflect the integration of mind and body inherent in human action. They must be well-grounded in the deep causal connections between a person's choices, thoughts, actions, and life." Kelley does not do that.

Edited by brandonk2009

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Does David Kelley believe that concepts are objective? I saw a youtube video where he describes (I think) justice as an objective concept. However, if he embraces the mind-body dichotomy, it is difficult for me to believe that he considers concepts to be objective.

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Does David Kelley believe that concepts are objective? I saw a youtube video where he describes (I think) justice as an objective concept. However, if he embraces the mind-body dichotomy, it is difficult for me to believe that he considers concepts to be objective.

To be honest I don't really know. I haven't read enough to definitely say 'yes' or 'no'. I read "A Question of Sanction" and I'm making my way through "Truth and Toleration". But even if he considers the concept to be objective he fails in delivering a comprehensive theory on moral judgment.

Edited by brandonk2009

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Does David Kelley believe that concepts are objective? I saw a youtube video where he describes (I think) justice as an objective concept. However, if he embraces the mind-body dichotomy, it is difficult for me to believe that he considers concepts to be objective.

He would say yes, and sometimes he sounds like it. However, his whole analysis of the requirements of objectivity in Truth and Toleration is completely wrong. It's actually quasi-Kantian. (I've never had a chance to write about that, unfortunately.) Based on my own readings, I'd say that DK doesn't understand what objectivity means in theory or requires in practice in Objectivism. That's what underlies his whole idea of the "open system," in fact.

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Does David Kelley believe that concepts are objective? I saw a youtube video where he describes (I think) justice as an objective concept.

If anyone is interested, the Youtube video that I was thinking of can be found here. If you go to about 2:25, you will find David Kelley discussing how he perceives that morality is objective.

As a side comment, I think Diana has summarized his views quite well. Although David Kelley uses the word "objective", I suspect that he uses the word to denote a very different concept than Leonard Peikoff does.

Edited by DarkWaters

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Does David Kelley believe that concepts are objective? I saw a youtube video where he describes (I think) justice as an objective concept. However, if he embraces the mind-body dichotomy, it is difficult for me to believe that he considers concepts to be objective.

It's extremely unlikely that Kelley's errors are totally honest ones. Kelley at one time understood Objectivism well enough to be able to communicate it on a high scholarly level; today he associates with every piece of intellectual riffraff and trash that happens to float his way.

Kelley's organization (The Atlas Society) is devoted to the anti-concept "tolerance," and takes the official position that Objectivism is not a firm philosophy authored by Ayn Rand, but is an "open system," re-writable by any random hooligan because he happens to feel like it.

Whatever profound thinking Kelley once did in his life, he clearly isn't doing much of it anymore. Who knows what's going on inside of his head — and who really cares?

Edited by Kevin Delaney

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As a postscript to the foregoing, contrast the interview with Kelley mentioned above with this one with Yaron Brook, done by the same organization on the same topic of Capitalism:

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Rand completely rejected the mind-body dichotomy all-together, she rejected that there was even a question to begin with. I'll agree that nowhere did Rand explicitly write on how to morally judge another, she mostly wrote one why man needs to do it.

Peikoff (F & V):

Now we must note that falsehood does not necessarily imply vice; honest errors of knowledge are possible. But such errors are not nearly so common as some people wish to think, especially in the field of philosophy.

When it comes to judging others (let's put philosophers aside) in terms of their ideas I find that honest errors of knowledge happen often.

Irrationality - willful indifference to or rejection of the facts of reality; the pursuit of desires contrary to facts; the attempt to defy reality by rejecting reason (non contradictory identification).

Virtue of rationality - commitment to the fullest perception of reality within one's power and to the constant, active expansion of one's perception, i.e., of one's knowledge.

A person can be commited to this process yet fail to identify a contradiction in one's thinking. One can hold a misconception or be ignorant of a crusial fact. I find that those are common occurances.

Thus when judging others for their ideas it is important to pay attention to how much they can be expected to know, in their context. Are they really showing a conscientious effort to understand?

Here is a very informative interview with Rand on the topic:

Ray Newman interview with Ayn Rand

NEWMAN: When do you classify someone as immoral?

RAND: Only when he has done...done, in fact, some immoral action... When someone in action [Rand's emphasis] does something which you know, can prove, is an immoral, vicious action -- a sin, not a value; or a vice (whichever you want to call it) -- then you have to judge him as he has proved. You never judge a person on mere potentials, and you seldom judge him on what he says, because most people do not really speak very exactly; and on the basis of some one inadvertant remark you would not judge a person as immoral. If, however, he goes about the country preaching immora ideas, then you would classify him as immoral.

NEWMAN: Well, there are people whom I meet who are mixed. In other words, they hold certain virtues, but then in particular situations they may act against the virtue -- or the sin or the evil.

RAND: Yes.

NEWMAN: Is that like, you can't be a little bit pregnant? Which is that if you're a little bit immoral, you're immoral? Your...your character is rated as immoral?

RAND: In fact, yes. But the important thing here is the degree of knowledge a given person has. If you do not know exactly the nature of what you are doing, then you can't be considered immoral -- particularly if it's a young person and it's correctible. A person can make a mistake and correct it. But it would have to be a major crime -- for instance, a person lying. Let's use that as an example. I would never forgive that at all. I would regard that as a top immorality, and regard that person as immoral, regardless of what kind of virtues he or she might have. Needless to say, if you have a robber or a murderer, or a person who is systematically breaking the rights of other people, you would call him immoral, no matter what lesser virtues he might have. So you, in judging people of mixed premises, as most people are, you have to balance, in effect hierarchically, the seriousness of their virtues and of their vices, and see what you get in the net result.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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Kelley's organization (The Atlas Society) is devoted to the anti-concept "tolerance"

I think there is a context in which tolerance or I would rather call it intellectual patience is proper and that is in the context of teacher - student relationship. When someone is still learning, working things out in their mind (and I don't mean that this has to be a young person) one should be given time. To me this is being respectful of the process which is necessary in order to practice the virtue of intellectual honesty/independence.

TAS, however, expands this concept way beyond this context.

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When it comes to judging others (let's put philosophers aside) in terms of their ideas I find that honest errors of knowledge happen often.

Irrationality - willful indifference to or rejection of the facts of reality; the pursuit of desires contrary to facts; the attempt to defy reality by rejecting reason (non contradictory identification).

Virtue of rationality - commitment to the fullest perception of reality within one's power and to the constant, active expansion of one's perception, i.e., of one's knowledge.

A person can be commited to this process yet fail to identify a contradiction in one's thinking. One can hold a misconception or be ignorant of a crusial fact. I find that those are common occurances.

Thus when judging others for their ideas it is important to pay attention to how much they can be expected to know, in their context. Are they really showing a conscientious effort to understand?

It's a good point and one that I agree with. You are immoral if you intentionally express an irrational idea or do some sort of intentional irrational action.

There is a difference between honest error and being immoral. In either case though, no matter to what degree of irrationality, intentional or unintentional, there is absolutely no excuse why one should tolerate the irrational. The irrational can lead to nothing good and nothing moral, it only leads to bad and can ultimately lead to immorality. One shouldn't tolerate the irrational, one should challenge it at the beginning.

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Brandon,

I would like to know how you think we should respond to this irrationality?

"They have a complete lack of moral worth. Just by the act of choosing to be "gay" they are destoying their life as a proper man (or woman) should live it."

Please note posts by EC:

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...l=homosexuality

Edited by Donovan.A

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It's a good point and one that I agree with. You are immoral if you intentionally express an irrational idea or do some sort of intentional irrational action.

There is a difference between honest error and being immoral. In either case though, no matter to what degree of irrationality, intentional or unintentional, there is absolutely no excuse why one should tolerate the irrational. The irrational can lead to nothing good and nothing moral, it only leads to bad and can ultimately lead to immorality. One shouldn't tolerate the irrational, one should challenge it at the beginning.

Why would anyone tolerate the rational or the moral? Toleration is something that is practiced in reference to something for which you dislike, otherwise tolerance would not even be an issue. What does it mean to not to tolerate something? Tolerance is not moral agnosticism, one must judge before one can tolerate. Essentially I am asking what response is appropriate based on the degree of irrationality? I would be willing to say not all degrees of irrationality will lead to death or even misery. For example I think smoking is irrational, I think not staying fit is irrational but are slightly over weight people immoral? Should I not tolerate their extra 5 lb. of body fat?

Take a look at your life for the past 3 days and write down what products you have purchased, who you have chosen to deal with and I'd like to see how you can say you have not tolerated irrationality even in the smallest degree.

Objectivism rejects the practice of mercy, but we also reject the practice vengeance. This means treating people justly as they ought to be treated based on their actions. This means to consider measurements and degree. A petty thief is not the same as a murder.

I would also like to question in practical terms how you can disregard motives when it comes to moral judgment?

Consider the following:

A Dr. that gives someone a medication. The intention is to help that person, unknown to that Dr. the person is severely allergic to the medication and dies.

Is this the same as someone who willfully wants to kill someone to steal their property, who rejects individual rights altogether?

In my opinion motive does make a big difference when it comes to moral and legal judgment.

Edited by Donovan.A

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For example I think smoking is irrational, I think not staying fit is irrational but are slightly over weight people immoral? Should I not tolerate their extra 5 lb. of body fat?

You are confusing the issue by equating tiny concrete issues with broad issues of principle. For instance, I don't associate with *anyone* who steals music, movies, or video games online because they are violating a fundamental moral principle: the idea of property rights. Show me the moral principle that would universally condemn smoking or being overweight. Those issues are a trade-off between, say, your personal enjoyment or *potentially* increased risk of a heart attack twenty years down the road.

Advocating evil and advocating lifestyle choices that you personally don't like are COMPLETELY different things. Tolerance of the latter can be beneficial to you because you can enjoy, say, an overweight person's company without obsessing over their health or visit your friend in their cluttered house without going insane and attacking the drapes with a flamethrower. Tolerance of the *former* is a DISASTER.

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Brandon,

I would like to know how you think we should respond to this irrationality?

"They have a complete lack of moral worth. Just by the act of choosing to be "gay" they are destoying their life as a proper man (or woman) should live it."

Please note posts by EC:

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...l=homosexuality

Maybe "complete lack of moral worth" was pushing it but what I said in NOT irrational. For a man or woman to be fully moral they MUST act as a man or woman should act since man is a unity of body and mind and all that that implies. Males and females have different genitalia because it is in their nature to be attracted to one another and mate. NOT males and males. To be gay one is at war with one's own nature. This is a fundemental contradiction. How is this irrational? And please think twice before you accuse me of "irrationality" again without at least asking for a clarification of my posts.

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Maybe "complete lack of moral worth" was pushing it but what I said in NOT irrational. For a man or woman to be fully moral they MUST act as a man or woman should act since man is a unity of body and mind and all that that implies. Males and females have different genitalia because it is in their nature to be attracted to one another and mate. NOT males and males. To be gay one is at war with one's own nature. This is a fundemental contradiction. How is this irrational? And please think twice before you accuse me of "irrationality" again without at least asking for a clarification of my posts.

I actually think your whole position is irrational. I am gay, so I know what it means to be gay. And, there are many other Objectivists who are also gay. I find your post to be extremely offensive. I might be willing to talk to you though I think that would require tolerance on my part. Contra to tolerating your ideas I can shun you completely, remove my sanction of you, pass a moral judgment on your character based on your ideas and assume that you are an evader. The point of this thread is, how to deal with others who you regard as irrational and immoral. When it comes to morality, do you consider degree and measurement or do you think in terms of black and white? Based on the issue of homosexuality and its rational and moral significance I think your ideas are fundamentally false. You are free to choose if you would like to have an exchange of thoughts with me or anyone else, I also have this choice. The point is that there is often much disagreement between what is and is not rational. It is not always easy to remember that knowledge, values and morality is contextual.

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You are confusing the issue by equating tiny concrete issues with broad issues of principle. For instance, I don't associate with *anyone* who steals music, movies, or video games online because they are violating a fundamental moral principle: the idea of property rights. Show me the moral principle that would universally condemn smoking or being overweight. Those issues are a trade-off between, say, your personal enjoyment or *potentially* increased risk of a heart attack twenty years down the road.

Advocating evil and advocating lifestyle choices that you personally don't like are COMPLETELY different things. Tolerance of the latter can be beneficial to you because you can enjoy, say, an overweight person's company without obsessing over their health or visit your friend in their cluttered house without going insane and attacking the drapes with a flamethrower. Tolerance of the *former* is a DISASTER.

Actually, you probably associate with and trade with people who believe in the concept of legalized theft. This is what I would consider a huge crumb of irrationality. How do you deal with such people? Is it moral tolerance to choose to deal with such people? I think that the rational is the moral. Lifestyle choices are not exempt from epistemological significance nor moral significance. The purpose of morality is to know how to act, and how to live. A person who degrades his self worth by not respecting his body is acting toward his own self destruction. This includes choosing to allow oneself to be obese. Damage is damage. Smoking is very damaging, and I think any objective pleasure that it offers does not objectively outweigh the hazards it can pose to your health. Now there is a spectrum here, smoking is not as bad as using heroin, and being 5 lb. overweight is not as bad as being 100 lb. overweight. When it comes to toleration, it is not moral to sanction ideas or actions which will in fact lead to your self destruction. But not all false ideas do in fact lead to total destruction. If that was the case than no person would be alive today. Some false ideas have a disastrous effect, some do not.

In regards to principles:

"A principle is “a fundamental, primary, or general truth, on which other truths depend.” Thus a principle is an abstraction which subsumes a great number of concretes. It is only by means of principles that one can set one’s long-range goals and evaluate the concrete alternatives of any given moment. It is only principles that enable a man to plan his future and to achieve it." - Ayn Rand Lexicon

http://www.aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/principles.html

Principles do not universally condemn actions because principles are general truths, this means they are contextual. A principle applied regardless of context is rationalism. Every abstraction regardless of how abstract, can and must be tied to reality. That being said, there would be no difference between someone who steals a CD valued at $9.99 vs. any other CD valued at $9.99 from a store. These 2 actions are equivalent. Meaning you do not condemn someone to death for stealing a Beetles CD and just fine someone else who steals a B-52's CD. Now compare the moral crime of stealing a B-52's CD to someone that believes that universal healthcare is good, and moral. Which is worse? Note that in the United States there is no jail time for holding the belief that universal healthcare is good, even though it requires more theft than what we have now. We should also consider that if and when universal healthcare is implemented it would certainly be far more damaging than having a B-52's CD stolen from my or your house. Actions are far more significant than words. This is mostly because people do not know what they really think. They are often sloppy in their thinking, and in their conversations.

Edited by Donovan.A

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Actually, you probably associate with and trade with people who believe in the concept of legalized theft.

Not on a personal level, I don't. Tolerance is also not about chance or impersonal associations because those do not imply a moral sanction for a person's beliefs. If I buy milk or t-shirts from someone, the only thing I'm conceivably sanctioning is the particular business practice they use in the context of that particular transaction. If I call someone my friend, however, I'm saying that I generally condone this person's behavior.

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Not on a personal level, I don't. Tolerance is also not about chance or impersonal associations because those do not imply a moral sanction for a person's beliefs.

So on a professional level you are willing to deal with people that hold irrational ideas? Do you think that ideas hold moral significance? If so, I am confused on how you calculate and apply tolerance in your life. I would like to make sure I am being clear on this point. I think that tolerance is only appropriate in regard to errors of knowledge. Toleration is not appropriate in regard to people that are willful evaders and clearly evil.

If I buy milk or t-shirts from someone, the only thing I'm conceivably sanctioning is the particular business practice they use in the context of that particular transaction.

Does this mean you would buy milk from the KKK?

If I call someone my friend, however, I'm saying that I generally condone this person's behavior.

Do you not judge them for their convictions?

Edited by Donovan.A

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Maybe "complete lack of moral worth" was pushing it but what I said in NOT irrational. For a man or woman to be fully moral they MUST act as a man or woman should act since man is a unity of body and mind and all that that implies. Males and females have different genitalia because it is in their nature to be attracted to one another and mate. NOT males and males. To be gay one is at war with one's own nature. This is a fundemental contradiction. How is this irrational? And please think twice before you accuse me of "irrationality" again without at least asking for a clarification of my posts.

There are many primates in nature that have gay/bisexual tendencies depending on the male to female ratio. In fact, many mammals have shown gay/bisexual tendencies and even preferences depending on a variety of other factors as well. Just because sexual organs have a function of reproduction does not mean that it is "in their nature" to be used just for reproduction. A study of nature shows that homosexuality is a natural occurrence and I think it is irrational to deny that.

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Hey Brandon,

I agree with your post. However, the reason why I pulled the quote from EC is to show that there is often disagreement on what is and is not rational. The purpose of this thread is to discuss how Kelley differs from Peikoff in regard to how one should evaluate a person based on their convictions and beliefs. We can also discuss to what degree ideas hold moral vs. epistemological significance. In this case, can we infer that EC is in honest error or is his position automatically representative of his moral character? As I understand Kelley this quote should apply:

I believe it is fruitless to define a category of inherently dishonest

ideas, and then try to list its members. A more accurate approach would be

to rank ideas on a continuum defined by the likelihood that adherents of

the idea are honest. At one extreme are issues about which any error is

almost certainly innocent. As we move along the continuum, the probability

shifts toward the assumption that the error springs from irrationality,

and proponents of the ideas must bear an increasingly heavy burden of

proving their intellectual honesty. The far end of this continuum is the

open rejection of reason as such.

- The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 58 Edited by Donovan.A

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