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David Kelley's Moral Theory Contra Objectivism

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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?

Obviously there are disagreements of perception when it comes to what is or is not rational. I think if an idea is not in honest error and is a case of willful irrationality then we can say that that idea is representative of an immoral and dishonest character. More than likely, one incident of willful irrationality could/will lead to others.

There is a enough scientific and psychological evidence to support the idea that homosexuality is a naturally occurring condition and that humans, and many other species of animals, display that condition throughout their population. Therefore I think EC's denial of those supported facts is a willful case of irrationality. I will not speak for Kelley's side of the argument, but I think that Peikoff would look at the situation and label EC as irrational. Peikoff himself was the leading figure within Objectivism to speak out against Rand's position on homosexuals.

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Therefore I think EC's denial of those supported facts is a willful case of irrationality. I will not speak for Kelley's side of the argument, but I think that Peikoff would look at the situation and label EC as irrational. Peikoff himself was the leading figure within Objectivism to speak out against Rand's position on homosexuals.

Hey Brandon, :)

Would you be willing to say that EC is immoral for his convictions relative to his views on the issue of Homosexuality? I agree with the method that Kelley suggests and I am willing to say that EC's position would land in an area for which honest error is unlikely. Therefore, I think his morality is in question based on his position alone. However, I am also willing to assume that EC's motives are not anti-life, anti-reason, anti-Objectivism. He might be willing to change his position, he might be interested in asking those of us that are Gay-Objectivists questions that may contradict or confirm his views. EC may also hold the opinion that we are evaders and be unwilling to sanction us any more than you or I would be willing to sanction him. I am concerned that if both of us assume this attitude that the conversation would be pointless.

Consider these quotes:

Of all the points I made in “A Question of Sanction,” none has

been so thoroughly discussed, or so often misunderstood, as the distinction

between error and evil. Peikoff has interpreted my position as a defense

of ivory-tower amoralism, a demand that ideas and intellectuals be

exempt from morality. This is a complete distortion. But he is right that my

position is quite different from his.

- David Kelley, The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 40

To pass a moral judgment on

someone for the ideas he holds, it is not enough merely to evaluate those

ideas by their consequences. We must also consider his motive: we must

consider whether and to what extent his beliefs are the product of a rational

process of thought.

- David Kelley, The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 50

The principles of justice also determine the limits of toleration.

Tolerance is not appropriate, as I said in “A Question of Sanction,” when

a person is willfully irrational. Thus I do not hold, as Peikoff claims, that

tolerance means suspending moral judgment in the realm of ideas. It means

suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence.

- David Kelley, The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, Page 62

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Obviously there are disagreements of perception when it comes to what is or is not rational. I think if an idea is not in honest error and is a case of willful irrationality then we can say that that idea is representative of an immoral and dishonest character. More than likely, one incident of willful irrationality could/will lead to others.

There is a enough scientific and psychological evidence to support the idea that homosexuality is a naturally occurring condition and that humans, and many other species of animals, display that condition throughout their population. Therefore I think EC's denial of those supported facts is a willful case of irrationality. I will not speak for Kelley's side of the argument, but I think that Peikoff would look at the situation and label EC as irrational. Peikoff himself was the leading figure within Objectivism to speak out against Rand's position on homosexuals.

There is also plenty of scientific "evidence supporting" global warming--supposedly. This doesn't mean that it actually exists or is man-made. Rather it shows a fundamental philosophical error in the case of most of these scientists. The same arguments can be made regarding homosexuality.

Please refrain from attacking my character on an anonymous message board where I can not fully and properly defend it. Thank you.

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… tolerance … means suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence.

Much could be said, but I think this is an incorrect usage of the word “tolerance” under any of the ordinarily-accepted senses and definitions.

The principles of justice -- such as implemented in criminal law as “presumed innocent until proven guilty” (who has the burden of proving a positive), the specific acts and intent that must be proven by the evidence (what must be proven to establish the positive), and even the evidentiary standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” (how the evidence must be evaluated) -- do not mean “suspending” (or any kind of holding in abeyance) of logical presumptions, standards, and judgment. This is not “tolerance” for a person accused of murder or other crime -- the judgment is and remains: “innocent until proven guilty.” Although the particulars may vary, the same principles of justice apply to every "realm."

Edited by Old Toad

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The same arguments can be made regarding homosexuality.

Are you saying there is no scientific evidence of homosexual behavior in any mammal species except humans?

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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.

If you want to discuss this topic the debate section of this forum is the proper place for it. I be happy to engage you if you like.

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If you want to discuss this topic the debate section of this forum is the proper place for it. I be happy to engage you if you like.

Hey Sophia,

Thanks for your participation. I'd be happy to participate in a debate on this issue. However, Brandon opened this thread to discuss Kelley contra Objectivism (Peikoff). As I understand the concept of a forum, I hope I am free to engage in a discussion here. Is there something special about the debate forums vs. this thread?

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Much could be said, but I think this is an incorrect usage of the word “tolerance” under any of the ordinarily-accepted senses and definitions.

The principles of justice -- such as implemented in criminal law as “presumed innocent until proven guilty” (who has the burden of proving a positive), the specific acts and intent that must be proven by the evidence (what must be proven to establish the positive), and even the evidentiary standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” (how the evidence must be evaluated) -- do not mean “suspending” (or any kind of holding in abeyance) of logical presumptions, standards, and judgment. This is not “tolerance” for a person accused of murder or other crime -- the judgment is and remains: “innocent until proven guilty.” Although the particulars may vary, the same principles of justice apply to every "realm."

In light of the objectivity of

knowledge and the distinction between error and evil, I will show in Section

IV that tolerance is the proper attitude toward people we disagree

with, unless and until we have evidence of their irrationality

.

- The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand - David Kelley - Page 16

The concept of toleration is used in many different contexts, but its core

meaning is to endure, allow, or put up with something. The concept presupposes

an object that is tolerated: something wrong, false, threatening,

painful, disagreeable—something of negative value significance. And it

presupposes an action one forbears from taking against that object. Where

no action is possible, tolerance is not an issue. We do not tolerate the law

of gravity, even when its consequences are inconvenient. To define toleration

in any context, therefore, we must specify the nature of the particular

object and action in question.

In regard to ideas, the object is a person with whom we disagree,

who holds a conviction we believe to be false. One action we forbear from

taking is that of silencing the person coercively, or compelling his assent

to our own ideas. This is political toleration, or freedom of speech and

conscience, which is not at issue here. We are concerned with tolerance as

an ethical virtue, a way of dealing with people that goes beyond respect

for their political rights. In this case, the action we forbear from taking is

that of condemning and ostracizing the person. It’s important to note that

the object of toleration is the person, not the ideas per se. Tolerance does

not mean refusing to express one’s belief that the ideas are false or that

their consequences are destructive. These issues are part of the normal

content of discussion and debate among people concerned with ideas.

Tolerance is a matter of one’s policy toward such people as individuals,

including one’s willingness to engage in discussion with them at all.

- The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand - David Kelley - Page 61

Toad,

Are you willing to tolerate EC's ideas? Would you be willing to engage him in discussion or will you infer that he is guilty of evasion based on his point of view alone? If you do conclude that he is guilty of evasion, would it not then be appropriate to remove your sanction?

Is this the approach that you think is livable, practical and moral? Is this what you do in your daily life? Consider this:

Objectivism, therefore, is "rigid," "narrow," "intolerant" and "closed-minded." If anyone

wants to reject Ayn Rand's ideas and invent a new viewpoint, he is free to do so—but

he cannot, as a matter of honesty, label his new ideas or himself "Objectivist."

- Fact and Value - Leonard Peikoff

I have no interest in Peikoff's version of Objectivism any more than it seems that EC is interested in a version of Objectivism that accepts homosexuality. When there is disagreement among rational men, I prefer this approach:

When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.

Ayn Rand - John Galt's speech, Atlas Shrugged, Page 1023

I would also like to ask why Ayn Rand would have bothered to name an intellectual heir if there is nothing to add or correct in regard to Objectivism? What makes someone right? What makes something consistent with Objectivism? What is more important to a true Objectivist, to be consistent with reality or to be consistent with "Objectivism?" I can only imagine that Ayn Rand named an intellectual heir because she wanted to trust in someone to protect her name. In my prideful opinion, such protection is not possible. Peikoff would have been exremunicated had Rand known that he would sell the movie rights to Atlas Shrugged (which includes the right to make any changes by the new owner). Is that behavior tolerable?

:lol:

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Yes. Read here.

It is also one of the forum rules:

  1. Consistency with the purpose of this site
    Participants agree not use the website to spread ideas contrary to Objectivism. Examples include religion, communism, "moral tolerationism," and libertarianism. Honest questions about such subjects are permitted.

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?act=boardrules

I think that so long as Donavon A. was discussing or talking about David Kelley's moral theory, that would be fine, but he seems to be a proponent of that moral theory, which is quite contrary to Objectivism and the purpose of this site.

Besides, I think he finds himself in a contradiction by claiming to be against irrationality and yet supporting David Kelley, Nathaniel Branden, and Barbara Branden as he does on his website and as he has presented that on various forums on this website.

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Yes. Read here.

Awesome,

Which particular issue between Peikoff and Kelley would you like to debate?

1. Open vs. Closed System

2. Judging ideas vs. actions

3. Tolerance

4. Libertarians

5. Sanction

6. Error vs. Evil

I have to admit, I am unfamiliar with how to start or accept participation in a one-on-one debate forum. Let me know.

:thumbsup:

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It is also one of the forum rules:
  1. Consistency with the purpose of this site
    Participants agree not use the website to spread ideas contrary to Objectivism. Examples include religion, communism, "moral tolerationism," and libertarianism. Honest questions about such subjects are permitted.

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?act=boardrules

I think that so long as Donavon A. was discussing or talking about David Kelley's moral theory, that would be fine, but he seems to be a proponent of that moral theory, which is quite contrary to Objectivism and the purpose of this site.

Besides, I think he finds himself in a contradiction by claiming to be against irrationality and yet supporting David Kelley, Nathaniel Branden, and Barbara Branden as he does on his website and as he has presented that on various forums on this website.

Hey Tom,

Are you in agreement with what EC is saying is consistent with Objectivism? That homosexuality is immoral! If so, then I wonder how you or he can claim any right to be here. As for my support of the Branden's, I support the works that they produced with Ayn Rand, the ideas that she endorsed. I am also aware that you had planned on attending The Basic Principles of Objectivism audio -lectures which were hosted by Nikki Allen. So I don't see what your point is, unless you wish to condemn your prior intentions. I also have skimmed over a copy of a paper you wrote in college in reference to David Kelley's The Evidence of the Senses . You wrote a note to Harry Binswanger stating that you found no errors in his book. I find so much of David Kelley's work to be fascinating and there are many of his views that I agree with. If you honestly believe that my arguments are worthless, my convictions irrational, then there should be nothing to fear in having a discussion or a debate with me, regardless of what that might mean to Objectivism.

Thanks for stopping by,

Donovan

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Are you in agreement with what EC is saying is consistent with Objectivism? That homosexuality is immoral! If so, then I wonder how you or he can claim any right to be here.

Oh, about 20 years or so I would have agreed with him that homosexuality is immoral. However, Dr. Peikoff has convinced me that it is not, and he discusses that issue in one of his recent podcasts. I'm not a homosexual nor do I have tendencies in that direction, but morality is about explicit choices, and who we find sexually attractive is not open to immediate volition. As Dr.Peikoff explains, there is a very long process involved in becoming who we are sexually, and they don't always involve actually explicit choices. Like sense of life it develops over time. Ayn Rand said that she found homosexuality to be disgusting, but she didn't say it was immoral.

As for my support of the Branden's, I support the works that they produced with Ayn Rand, the ideas that she endorsed. I am also aware that you had planned on attending The Basic Principles of Objectivism audio -lectures which were hosted by Nikki Allen. So I don't see what your point is, unless you wish to condemn your prior intentions.

Well, I'm curious about it, since Ayn Rand was present and endorsed it, but I don't really care to give the Brandens my moral sanction, not after what was said in The Passion of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden's position that becoming an Objectivist can lead to serious psychological problems. So, I would certainly never host anything produced by them. I might listen to it, but I am suspicious of people who want to promote it, as if it is totally fine to endorse Nathaniel Branden.

I also have skimmed over a copy of a paper you wrote in college in reference to David Kelley's The Evidence of the Senses . You wrote a note to Harry Binswanger stating that you found no errors in his book.

That paper was written over twenty years ago, and my stance on the evidence of the senses has changed. I now understand that the senses being accurate is axiomatic in nature, and that there is no need to write a 300 or so page book on the topic. Besides, I think there are errors in that book, as some of David Kelley's arguments come across as skeptical. But I didn't know that twenty years ago, and at the time, Kelley was an up and coming Objectivist intellectual, or so we thought.

I find so much of David Kelley's work to be fascinating and there are many of his views that I agree with. If you honestly believe that my arguments are worthless, my convictions irrational, then there should be nothing to fear in having a discussion or a debate with me, regardless of what that might mean to Objectivism.

I think you are new to Objectivism, but you did state earlier that you reject Fact and Value, which I think summarizes the Objectivist position on morality as it applies to ideas very well. And I think if you reject that paper, then you are not an Objectivist. That doesn't mean that I am going to condemn you outright, because I don't think you understand Objectivism, but past a certain point of understanding Objectivism, trying to hold onto Kelley's moral theory and be an Objectivist would result in evasion. You cannot have both Objectivism and Kelley's moral theory.

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Donovan,

I explained that this definition given by Kelley is wrong: "… tolerance … means suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence." Citing another defintion is irrelevant and not responsive.

When we lack sufficient evidence, the judgment should be insufficient evidence -- in any "realm." This is not "tolerance" or refusing to judge.

As for the rest much could be said, but I do not have time right now.

-- Toad

Edited by Old Toad

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Which particular issue between Peikoff and Kelley would you like to debate?

My offer refers to the statement I quoted in a post #31. It would be the issue of objective moral judgment with the emphasis on judgment of ideas as that seems to be at the heart of that disagreement.

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I have to admit, I am unfamiliar with how to start or accept participation in a one-on-one debate forum. Let me know.
You should first decide which affirmative proposition you want to defend: examples would be "Moral evaluation is impossible" or "Objectivism is not a specific philosophy with a definite nature". You would start a new thread in the debate forum, saying what claim you wish to defend and any other ground-rules of engagement that you feel are important (for example whether you want a standard one-on-one turn-taking debate or an unstructured blab session). "Tolerance" or "Libertarians" is not a subject for debate -- a debate addresses a specific, identifiable claim, and "Libertarians" is a noun, not a claim. I am assuming that you actually understand your position on the possibility of moral evaluation, thus if you hold that it is impossible to judge another person without knowing the mental state that results in their actions, that is the assertion you should make, and try to defend.

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Donovan,

I explained that this definition given by Kelley is wrong: "… tolerance … means suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence." Citing another defintion is irrelevant and not responsive.

When we lack sufficient evidence, the judgment should be insufficient evidence -- in any "realm." This is not "tolerance" or refusing to judge.

As for the rest much could be said, but I do not have time right now.

-- Toad

Hey Toad,

The relationship between ideas and motives is what is in question here. Can you always know someone's motives based on the ideas they hold? How one deals with others is the essential difference between Peikoff and Kelley. TOLERANCE IS NOT A REFUSAL TO JUDGE. In fact, tolerance is an approach that is taken AFTER one determines that there is not enough evidence that a person is immoral (willfully evading). It is an approach that one takes when one has evaluated something as not a big deal or when one has concluded that someone is sincerely mistaken. Actually, it appears many Objectivists do, in fact, suspend judgment when it comes to judging their parents, in-laws, childhood friends, etc. who are not Objectivists and are often guilty of willful evasion.

"tolerance … means suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence."

-Toad Quotes Kelley

Kelley means we suspend a moral judgment of the person's character when we lack evidence of malicious intent. In a criminal judgment, evidence is gathered, the validity of the evidence is weighed, and then the defendant is either pronounced guilty or innocent.

Example where tolerance does not apply:

You drive to work one day and a policeman pulls you over. He gives you a ticket and you go to court. The evidence is strong that you committed the offense and you did. You are pronounced guilty. Tolerance would not be an issue here.

Example where tolerance does apply:

You encounter a nice waitress at a restaurant and somehow she ends up telling you that she is a Democrat. In learning this, you ask yourself what is the probability that this person has been educated in Ayn Rand's philosophy on the subject of politics, etc. If you conclude that based on her context and the fact that her error is common; that she just has not seen or heard objective reasons why it's irrational to be a Democrat, then you can say her ideas are just false. Her motive and intention is probably not to destroy the United States or to vote the country into dictatorship/communism. You can practice tolerance in this case because you ARE in disagreement with her ideas and you have judged that she is not likely to fit the profile of one who "should have known what the function of government ought to be." In this situation, it is acceptable to have a civil attitude and it is not necessary to boycott the waitress or the restaurant.

In conclusion:

When there is agreement, however, tolerance is not an issue. But, when it comes to a person that is capable of reasoning and he demonstrates consistent evasion, lacks civility, or is physically threatening, it is not appropriate to be tolerant. According to Kelley: "THE PRINCIPLES OF JUSTICE ALSO DETERMINE THE LIMITS OF TOLERATION."

Kelley also states that when the action is very horrendous, you do not have to, nor should you, concern yourself about motives at all. Cold blooded murder is his example.

Tolerance in the realm of ideas is giving someone the benefit of the doubt until he demonstrates he does not deserve that benefit. Benevolence in the realm of actions is giving someone the benefit of the doubt until he demonstrates he does not deserve that benefit.

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I think you are new to Objectivism, but you did state earlier that you reject Fact and Value, which I think summarizes the Objectivist position on morality as it applies to ideas very well. And I think if you reject that paper, then you are not an Objectivist. That doesn't mean that I am going to condemn you outright, because I don't think you understand Objectivism, but past a certain point of understanding Objectivism, trying to hold onto Kelley's moral theory and be an Objectivist would result in evasion. You cannot have both Objectivism and Kelley's moral theory.

Hi Tom,

I would like you to define what you mean when you describe me as "new to Objectivism." If you look at the About Me on my profile, I have written a summary of my studies on Objectivism and philosophy. I find your statement to be nothing more than an Argument of Intimidation that implies if you disagree with Peikoff then surely you cannot be an Objectivist.

By the way, you never did respond to my point regarding Peikoff's sale of all the rights to produce an Atlas Shrugged movie. I cannot imagine Ayn Rand approving of or sanctioning that action.

Edited by Donovan.A

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....

Such issues will be a part of our discussion so let's not get into it here. I have started a thread in the debate section.

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I would like you to define what you mean when you describe me as "new to Objectivism." If you look at the About Me on my profile, I have written a summary of my studies on Objectivism and philosophy.

You can read all of that and listen to all of that in just a few years, but understanding it and seeing how Kelley contradicts Objectivism takes a lot longer, at least for some people. I was intimately involved in the original Kelley / Peikoff spilt, and it struck all of us in Dallas are out of the blue. I certainly did not understand the issues at first, and to top it off, we had had a major Objectivist conference in Dallas the weekend that Peter Schwartz came out with his original paper against Kelley. We all thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and there wasn't a clue at the conference by anyone that a spilt was coming up. So, I sympathize with your confusions. It took me a few years to understand the issue, and that was after a serious study of Objectivism for about eight years. However, I understand quite thoroughly that Kelley's moral stance regarding ideas is totally contrary to Objectivism.

If you take ideas seriously, then you have to realize that ideas are open to moral evaluation as is all of the man-made; and that a person must be held responsible for the ideas that he accepts and proselytizes.

I find your statement to be nothing more than an Argument of Intimidation that implies if you disagree with Peikoff then surely you cannot be an Objectivist.

You may very well be intimidated, but that doesn't make my argument an argument from intimidation. But, I will say it again, if you disagree with Fact and Value, then you do not take ideas seriously enough to be considered an Objectivist.

By the way, you never did respond to my point regarding Peikoff's sale of all the rights to produce an Atlas Shrugged movie. I cannot imagine Ayn Rand approving of or sanctioning that action.

Dr. Peikoff relates how it was that Ayn Rand had tried to find a producer for the Atlas Shrugged movie before she died. The problem was that no one would let her have final editing privileges. She had managed to get that with The Fountainhead movie, by a lot of persuasion and digging in her heals, but she couldn't find anyone to work with for Atlas Shrugged. Near her time of death, she basically told Dr. Peikoff to find a producer who really wants to produce it and let him produce it. So, yes, Dr. Peikoff was following Ayn Rand's advise.

Personally, I think the movie will be really screwed up; much worse than the James Bond movies were screwed up. But, the movie will lead to a resurgence of interest in the novel, and Ayn Rand knew that it would, and decided to let someone make the movie as an advertisement for the novel.

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I am also aware that you had planned on attending The Basic Principles of Objectivism audio -lectures which were hosted by Nikki Allen.

By the way, I decided not to attend this lecture series because of who was hosting it and their positions against Ayn Rand and Objectivism. It was some Dallas area Atheist club and they had an on-line newsletter that wrote a raving review of a book that trashed Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I didn't care to give them my sanction, so I did not attend.

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If you take ideas seriously, then you have to realize that ideas are open to moral evaluation as is all of the man-made; and that a person must be held responsible for the ideas that he accepts and proselytizes.

A person can be held responsible for the fact that he holds certain ideas and for spreading them or proselytizing. This is not the same as saying that he can be judged to be immoral simply (or even primarily) on the basis of the content of those ideas or conclusions without considering in full his reasons for holding them. Moreover, the ideas themselves have no power except to the extent that people act on them and for the reasons that they do choose to act on them. My understanding of Kelley's position is that one cannot simply ascribe a set of outcomes to the fact of someone holding a set of ideas based on your evaluation of those ideas or your evaluation of their implications. One has to evaluate what people actually do not just what they say or what you think they are saying. Otherwise, one gets into the position of telling people what they're thinking, whether they're thinking it or not i.e. telling them that they don't know their own views or their own reasons for holding them. It saves time, but it isn't rational.

More generally, and with respect to judgement, all that Kelley is saying, as I understand it, is "judge as accurately and fully as possible" not "do not judge at all". He recognizes that it may not be possible to reach a final definitive conclusion in certain cases, due to either constraints on one's time (or to one's estimate of the value and importance of forming a full judgement in a particular context) or lack of information. This is equivalent to a hung jury as opposed to one that decides "guilty" or "not guilty". Tolerance in this context is equivalent to a policy of "innocent until proven guilty".

My understanding of Peikoff's position is that he holds that one can evaluate the person, his motives and his psycho-epistemology solely or primarily through his ideas, and that one can do so by interpreting those ideas in terms of your own context or projection of those ideas, not those of the person holding them. Kelley's position is both the more logical and rational, in my judgement.

You may very well be intimidated, but that doesn't make my argument an argument from intimidation. But, I will say it again, if you disagree with Fact and Value, then you do not take ideas seriously enough to be considered an Objectivist.

The last sentence in your paragraph is essentially an ad hominem. Your posts seem to be saying that Objectivism is so incredibly complicated a philosophy that, in effect, no one can understand it without years of study, special tutelage from the experts, and that only after that process will the person be enlightened enough to accept absolutely the conclusions of those experts, in every context. And yet Rand held that philosphical truths were accessible to the ordinary mind. In fact, the whole point of philosophy, even highly original ones, but especially those that are rational, is that a person can and must work through them on their own, even if they could not discover the principles by themselves. Do you not see how close to a religious mindset the approach to Objectivism that you are defending actually is? It's virtually sacred texts, a priesthood, disciples, dogma, the very opposite of what Rand's philosophy actually says.

Fact and Value states Dr. Peikoff's interpretation of the issues involved, not an official Objectivist position no matter what status Rand gave him (after all, she endorsed Branden and even after the split acknowledged that everything he'd said or written prior to that had her approval). Unless Objectivism holds that it has a Pope whose pronouncements, ex cathedra, are to be considered infallible and perfect, the only thing a rational person is obliged to consider is whether the arguments he lays out are logical. The same is true for evaluating David Kelley's statements. A moral person judges both positions rationally and draws the appropriate conclusion. If one side doesn't like the other's conclusions, that is not enough to make one side immoral.

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You can read all of that and listen to all of that in just a few years, but understanding it and seeing how Kelley contradicts Objectivism takes a lot longer, at least for some people. I was intimately involved in the original Kelley / Peikoff spilt, and it struck all of us in Dallas are out of the blue. I certainly did not understand the issues at first, and to top it off, we had had a major Objectivist conference in Dallas the weekend that Peter Schwartz came out with his original paper against Kelley. We all thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and there wasn't a clue at the conference by anyone that a spilt was coming up. So, I sympathize with your confusions. It took me a few years to understand the issue, and that was after a serious study of Objectivism for about eight years. However, I understand quite thoroughly that Kelley's moral stance regarding ideas is totally contrary to Objectivism.

You know better than to say that I just found Ayn Rand yesterday, a few months ago, or even a few years ago. This is below you Tom.

If you take ideas seriously, then you have to realize that ideas are open to moral evaluation as is all of the man-made; and that a person must be held responsible for the ideas that he accepts and proselytizes.

Kelley does say that ideas can have moral significance. He says that the essential property of an idea is epistemological. Those who distort Kelley's view to be that one should be tolerant of evil and that no moral judgment of ideas is possible are mistaken and perhaps even dishonest.

You may very well be intimidated, but that doesn't make my argument an argument from intimidation. But, I will say it again, if you disagree with Fact and Value, then you do not take ideas seriously enough to be considered an Objectivist.

No, I am not intimidated by you or even a group of 1,000 people like you. I have stood my ground in the face of wider opposition, as any man of integrity and independence should be willing to do.

Dr. Peikoff relates how it was that Ayn Rand had tried to find a producer for the Atlas Shrugged movie before she died. The problem was that no one would let her have final editing privileges. She had managed to get that with The Fountainhead movie, by a lot of persuasion and digging in her heals, but she couldn't find anyone to work with for Atlas Shrugged. Near her time of death, she basically told Dr. Peikoff to find a producer who really wants to produce it and let him produce it. So, yes, Dr. Peikoff was following Ayn Rand's advise.

Personally, I think the movie will be really screwed up; much worse than the James Bond movies were screwed up. But, the movie will lead to a resurgence of interest in the novel, and Ayn Rand knew that it would, and decided to let someone make the movie as an advertisement for the novel.

Your answer on this point is weak at best. You have not addressed that Peikoff did not have to sell all rights to the script and you omit the fact Peikoff could have produced the script himself. I highly doubt that Ayn Rand would have been willing to just have Peikoff find a producer and let him produce it.

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You know better than to say that I just found Ayn Rand yesterday, a few months ago, or even a few years ago. This is below you Tom.

Donovan, it wasn't meant as an insult. I know your family and I realize that you were raised by parents who admire Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I wasn't trying to say that you had never heard of Objectivism up to a few years ago. But there is a difference between implicit and accepted knowledge from one's parents and a solid intellectual understanding of their philosophy. I was raised Catholic, and considered myself to be a Catholic, but I didn't fully understand what that actually meant until I was at least a teenager -- and the understanding really didn't kick in until I went to a Catholic university, where I could see the entire historic scope of Catholicism qua philosophy. I started to seriously question Catholicism qua philosophy once I read The Fountainhead in high school when I was about seventeen. And it took me a good ten years to re-integrate myself towards Objectivism.

This goes to a previous comment by another poster as to why it takes so long to become an Objectivist. If you were raised by parents who admire Objectivism, you can get a basic grasp of that philosophy by the time you are twelve, but that is too young to fully grasp the philosophy, it's basically implicit. If one was not raised by parents who admire Objectivism, then not only does one have to grasp the new philosophy, but one has to re-integrate one's life to Objectivism, and that cannot occur overnight. And even if one was raised by Objectivists, our culture is certainly not Objectivist or rational, and it is not until one is a young adult that one can clearly understand that and take a much more independent view of what is going on in the culture and fight it consciously.

Kelley does say that ideas can have moral significance. He says that the essential property of an idea is epistemological.

That is the point of contention. Epistemology is not disconnected from morality. Thinking is a type of action, and if one accepts irrational ideas then one is not rational, which means that one is not moral under Objectivism. The type of ideas that one accepts and promotes says a lot about how one's mind works -- i.e. whether one is rational or irrational. And if one accepts irrational ideas and promotes them, then one is not rational, which means that one is not moral.

Now, I will grant you that some people don't know the full implications of what they are promoting, and in those cases they are like Typhoid Mary, and morally they have to be treated the same way. They should not be tolerated; they should be told outright that what they are promoting is wrong, and if they continue to promote it then they will not be dealt with as rational adults. A rational, moral adult does not go around promoting ideas that he does not understand. A rational adult understands the importance of ideas and that ideas have consequences, and it is his moral responsibility to be aware of what he has accepted and is promoting.

No, I am not intimidated by you or even a group of 1,000 people like you. I have stood my ground in the face of wider opposition, as any man of integrity and independence should be willing to do.

But you claimed that I was giving an argument from intimidation. Saying that someone is not an Objectivist because he is promoting ideas contrary to Objectivism is not an argument from intimidation. Presidential candidate Obama is most certainly not an Objectivist, that is very clear from what he has said and what he is promoting, but saying that he is not an Objectivist, in and of itself, is not a moral condemnation. I do morally condemn him, but not because he is not an Objectivist, but rather because I know the consequences of what he is promoting and realize that he is not being rational and that he wants to initiate force via the government to nationalize the health industry and to force us to pay for further Faith Based Initiatives, which will lead to the destruction of this great country.

Your answer on this point is weak at best. You have not addressed that Peikoff did not have to sell all rights to the script and you omit the fact Peikoff could have produced the script himself. I highly doubt that Ayn Rand would have been willing to just have Peikoff find a producer and let him produce it.

I gave you the facts of the case. Besides, as far as I know, Dr. Peikoff has little or no artistic ability, so he could not write the script himself.

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Unless Objectivism holds that it has a Pope whose pronouncements, ex cathedra, are to be considered infallible and perfect, the only thing a rational person is obliged to consider is whether the arguments he lays out are logical. The same is true for evaluating David Kelley's statements. A moral person judges both positions rationally and draws the appropriate conclusion. If one side doesn't like the other's conclusions, that is not enough to make one side immoral.

I agree that there is no Pope in Objectivism. Not only in regards to the infallibility of his statements, but also Objectivism recognizes the the ultimate moral authority is one's own mind. In other words, Dr. Peikoff is not my moral authority, I am.

And you are right that in any debate, one side being right doesn't make the other side immoral. I do not consider people who disagree with me to be immoral. And I don't think that Dr. Peikoff considers those who disagree with him to be immoral. There is such a thing as rational disagreements, but if someone shows himself to be irrational, then he has to be morally evaluated as being immoral.

And, yes, one has to take a lot into account in deciding whether someone is immoral or not; however, the ideas that one accepts and promotes does give one an insight into how their mind works, and one can decide based on another's ideas if that person is being rational or not. But, in Objectivism one doesn't just say, "Well, epistemologically that guy is being irrational, but I don't think he is being immoral." Being rational is to be moral, and being irrational is to be immoral.

A given person may very well be mistaken about the ideas that he accepts and promotes; that is he may honestly not realize that he is holding an irrational position. But one ought not to tolerate his ideas even in that case. One ought not to just brush it off as having no significance. In the appropriate context, such as a discussion forum, he needs to be told that his ideas are wrong, and why they are wrong; and if he insists on holding that wrong idea against the facts and against all reason, then one has to judge him as being irrational, and therefore immoral.

As far as me taking a religious stance towards Objectivism; no, I don't do that. I have thought it through. I have not accepted any of it on faith, and I don't expect anyone else to accept it on faith. I try to explain my positions very carefully, and go through a great deal of effort to convince through rational persuasion. But, if in my judgement that person is not open to reason, then I judge him to be immoral; not merely epistemologically incorrect.

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