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Is Objectivism a dogma?

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... I will concede that I'll never win the argument that selfish motives can be construed for everything, although I don't admit that is an accurate picture of reality. 

"Can be construed" sounds like you are implying that everyone is selfish. This is not part of the philosophy, but it is quite the opposite of what most Objectivists see when they look at other people. Most people are not selfish. Indeed, in the way Objectivism uses the term, many people who think of themselves as selfish are using the same word, but with a different meaning. Objectivists would call most of them selfless.

On the surface when I read her work it looks to me like she's dealing with some strange personal issue in her life ... 

OK - just for grins so we don't get distracted...

(hope you all aren't thin skinned when it comes to arguing)

You call those ridiculous barbs "arguing"? From your post, it appears you have some deep personal problems yourself. I hope you're not too thin skinned to be upset my that argument I just made. Edited by softwareNerd

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One last question Mperkel. If selfishness in practice is so "obviously wrong" why would you never be able to win the argument that selfish motives underly moral action?

Nimble,

For clarification, I'm not making a point that Selfishness is "obviously wrong". The part that I find obviously wrong is the attack on Selflessness. I'm actually conceeding on the first point because it is technically correct.

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Mperkel, you need to separate the concepts of 'Error of Knowledge' and 'Error of Judgement'. In my observations, Ayn Rand has never made a significant error of judgement (at the hieght of her time as a philosopher), she may have believed time was not relative at one point but that is simply an error of knowledge (or a lack thereof) and does not weigh on her integrity as a Philosopher.

If you begin to see what I am saying here you will understand why we do not consider ourselves infallible yet are still able to call ourselves Objectivists and you will be on the road to understanding Objectivism as a whole.

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(and why we have PhDs and not something else)
Like the degree D.Sc. -- Doctor of Science? Unfortunately, it is entirely impossible to evade the question of philosophical underpinnings in science. Not good science, but something that is called "science" nonetheless.

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You call those ridiculous barbs "arguing"? From your post, it appears you have some deep personal problems yourself. I hope you're not too thin skinned to be upset my that argument I just made.

My point for clarification is that it doesn't matter if I have personal problems. Everyone does. But when you are writing a phylosophy for others to "follow" then one should try to isolate their personal phobias from a statement of objective reality.

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Like the degree D.Sc. -- Doctor of Science? Unfortunately, it is entirely impossible to evade the question of philosophical underpinnings in science. Not good science, but something that is called "science" nonetheless.

Yes - but lots of Christians have PHDs so degrees don't make you right.

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If pure science means "science not based on philosophy," then "pure science" is fallacious. 

That's not what I said. What I said is that there is a difference, which you (Felipe) went on to explain well.

My point for clarification is that it doesn't matter if I have personal problems. Everyone does. But when you are writing a phylosophy for others to "follow" then one should try to isolate their personal phobias from a statement of objective reality.

I think that everyone who has posted in this thread except you would agree that Ayn Rand seperated her personal phobias from objective reality, and I'd bet that we've all read more of her material than you. (No offense intended)

Earlier I said that "I don't think Ayn Rand ever said that altruism is evil"--thanks to jrs for correcting me. I thought "charity" would qualify as a subset of "altruism," but in looking up "altruism" in Webster's, I saw that the first word in the definition was "Selfless." Ayn Rand did say that altruism is evil and it's very clear why she did it.

So, to mperkel--altruism is considered immoral by Objectivists because, since each man is an end in himself, it is irrational for one to sacrifice himself for the other selflessly. It is not immoral for Objectivists to help others if they're doing it to uphold their own values--even if just their own happiness--so you might see Objectivists engaging in something akin to "charity" (although by that I don't mean giving money to lazy people or anything like that). Like, for example, trying to help you to understand some of these concepts. (Although we do it mainly for the sake of working our brains, I think.)

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I don't think Rand ever said anything like "altruism is evil."

Acutally, she did. I remember a passage in which she was describing what was being taught in terms of Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics. Under ethics, she had written "evil ethics," and this of course referred to altruism.

As for your comment about how Objectivists are often altruistic, this is false. Objectivists are often benevolent; it is a TERRIBLE error to conflate benevolence and altruism, because altruism inevitably leads to the destruction of benevolence.

If there's anything I can do to help you with this error, let me know. It's something you should be "armed" to deal with. :)

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Nimble,

For clarification, I'm not making a point that Selfishness is "obviously wrong". The part that I find obviously wrong is the attack on Selflessness. I'm actually conceeding on the first point because it is technically correct.

You also need to read the article "Isn't everyone selfish?" in "The virtue of selfishness." It utterly demolishes the idea that "everyone is selfish," and so you should know that Objectivists do NOT subscribe to that false idea.

Edited by Inspector

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If there's anything I can do to help you with this error, let me know. It's something you should be "armed" to deal with. :)

I figured out the error already. Apparently you didn't read the post I made right before your post. That's okay though, thanks for the offer!

BTW, my confusion was really semantic, not conceptual.

Edited by valjean

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Yes - I'm not buying the "Virtue of Selfishness" and the dissing of altruism stuff. Yes I can see how someone can infer a selfish motive to everything but putting down altruism as if it were something evil - that's as ridiculous as being a moonie. I'm somewhat in shock that people who claim a relationship with reality would assert such a thing. 

Altruism, by definition, means other-ism and, as a code of ethics, holds that man MUST exist for THE SAKE OF OTHERS. Under such a code, the concept of gain is expunged from morality.

But - selflessness is a good thing and it is in fact why the human race evolved above the animals. Our very survival depends on selflessness.

Literal selflessness is impossible.

The way I see it - Objectivism is an endorsement of reality. Real reality the way it really is. But beyond that all I see is opinion. I see nothing special about capitalism. It has some advantages and drawbacks. It has never been done without a heavy mix of Socialism, nor could it work without it. 

What drawbacks? Why Socialism? Especially given that it has been proved that Socialism makes economic calculation impossible. Why could it not work without it?

So - what does the opinion that altruism is evil have to do with Objectivism? Especially when it's so blatantly wrong?

(hope you all aren't thin skinned when it comes to arguing)

If man is to serve others, then what are others for?

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I figured out the error already.  Apparently you didn't read the post I made right before your post.  That's okay though, thanks for the offer!

BTW, my confusion was really semantic, not conceptual.

Indeed! Well, mind your semantics anyway. :thumbsup:

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Just FYI guys!

mperkel came on over to www.infidelguy.com forum and started his crap about Objectvist. Here is his pittyfull attempt to paint Objectvist as hypocrites..

http://www.infidelguy.com/ftopic-11832-0.html

If you wanna read the last three or four pages and watch his downfall at (not to toot my own horn) my hands it's pretty funny.

In a nut shell he was saying that Objectivist are a cult because they do not accept the current definition of selfish. I tried to explain to him that Rand was simply defaulting back to an earlier definition of selfish as she explains in AVoS. But he persisted. Knowing that this guy is an atheist I asked him if he agreed with the current definition of atheist. Which according to webster, in the first definition are the words "archaic" and "wickedness".

1 archaic : UNGODLINESS, WICKEDNESS

I asked him if he agreed with that definition and he said no. I said so Objectivism is a cult because they reject the current definition of selfish but atheist according to you get a pass for doing the same thing with the word atheism? He did not answer the question even though I put it in front of him many times.

Also, he capitalized the word atheist repeatedly. Too many times for it to be mistaken as a typo. When asked why, he did not answer that either.

Also, I asked him what does he do with his extra income that he has left over after he pays for the basic needs of survival. He said that he spends it on entertainment. I called him a greedy bastard. He said that that wasn't greed it was " self interest ". I asked him at what point does self interest stop being self interest and start being greed. He said once he has had his "fair share".

And yes I asked him to define fair share and guess what? He refused again to answer the question and he has with drew his contradictory incoherent pityfull self from the thread.

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Just FYI guys!

mperkel came on over to www.infidelguy.com forum and started his crap about Objectvist. Here is his pittyfull attempt to paint Objectvist as hypocrites..

<Snip>

Also, I asked him what does he do with his extra income that he has left over after he pays for the basic needs of survival. He said that he spends it on entertainment. I called him a greedy bastard. He said that that wasn't greed it was " self interest ". I asked him at what point does self interest stop being self interest and start being greed. He said once he has had his "fair share".

And yes I asked him to define fair share and guess what? He refused again to answer the question and he has with drew his contradictory incoherent pityfull self from the thread.

Apparently, according to Objectivism, greed is good and generosity is bad although I missed it when reading all my books and Mperkel couldn't provide a quote.

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Wow. Just how much witch hunting goes on here anyway?

What do you mean by "witch hunting," and to whom were you referring when you said "here"?

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BTW, my confusion was really semantic, not conceptual.

This is a distinction I have never understood. What do you mean by "semantic" as distinct from "conceptual"?

Edited by BurgessLau

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On his website, The First One (as he calls himself) announces that the idea for his "church" came to him one night while smoking a joint.

Elsewhere, he elaborates:

"The drugs that have benefited me by opening up my mind are Marijuana and LSD. If not for those two drugs --- you would not be reading this web site. This idea of the Church of Reality was an idea that I came up with while stoned. I therefore give credit where credit is due. Since Pot caused the idea to occur --- and the very existence of the Church of Reality is a result of smoking pot --- I therefore declare Pot as a Holy Sacrament. "

And on a page directed at teens, he says:

"Shortly after my divorce when I learned that I got a judgement for more that 100% of everything I owned, my doctor put me on Pamalor, a common antidepressant. Pamalor turned me into a zombie and made me practically impotent. I merely existed and felt nothing, had no motivation, couldn't accomplish anything, and became basically useless. After two weeks of that I got off it. Getting stoned and laid a couple time a week had a much better result."

And he claims Objectivists give atheism a bad name?

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"The drugs that have benefited me by opening up my mind are Marijuana and LSD. If not for those two drugs --- you would not be reading this web site. "
I am quite prepared to believe him on this point.

This idea of the Church of Reality was an idea that I came up with while stoned.
This I can also believe.

Since Pot caused the idea to occur --- and the very existence of the Church of Reality is a result of smoking pot --- I therefore declare Pot as a Holy Sacrament.
Marijuana-based determinism.

"Shortly after my divorce when I learned that I got a judgement for more that 100% of everything I owned....
Sounds like his lawyer was stoned.

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For example - 200 years ago everyone "knew" that time was a universal constant and that all good clocks would agree on what time it was. But then came Einstein and he discovered that time was relative. An honest mistake. People who believed that time was constant were wrong. Eventually when Einstein was proved to be correct everyone accepted the change.

Are you sure time really exists . In GR there is no time . The universe is spatial and atemporal.

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Are you sure time really exists . In GR there is no time . The universe is spatial and atemporal.

So, "3:00 p.m." has no meaning to you? It doesn't exist at all?

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So, "3:00 p.m." has no meaning to you?  It doesn't exist at all?

no, it does not . Read General Theory of Relativity . Lesson for objectivists . What you percieve or what is intiutive may not be reality . A may not be A but only percieved as A .

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