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Snarky rebuttal to altruism on House, M.D.

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Not necessarily - it could be a result of a generalization, either true or false.

And this is not an ideological error?

Also, unfriendly is not the same as a jerk. I see a jerk as someone who deliberately tries to humiliate people, and this is, of course, not the behavior I am defending. Can you explain what you mean by a jerk? If you consider House to be a jerk, I would say you consider anyone who says things that hurt others as a jerk. (please correct me on this or confirm)

Defining terms is a good idea.

Rude, offensive/disrespectful in manner and action, hurtfull and done with indifference to the facts about others (and thus indifference about what kind of treatment they deserve).

The question is not how much effort it takes, but what is the personal value that it gives the one who acts in this or that way, and how well their behavior expresses their personal values. If someone is bored by most people one meets, there is no reason on earth why one should congratulate them with smiles and "how are you doing" greetings. What do you think?

I don't consider that a personal value as I explained. Not recognizing the benefit of treating others according to how they deserve to be treated, not recognizing the value of other human life, if an innocent error, is based on ignorance. It is not in one's best long term interest. Can you survive that way? Sure, but you can also survive living as a predator. Objectivism is, however, about living life expertly.

I have to split this post.

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I see a face like this -

post-3106-1228420137_thumb.jpg

This face expresses puzzlement or maybe surprise.

And I am sick to my stomach. I don't care if this guy also has a job, a wife, kids he likes. With that kind of face (and the lack of thinking this face reveals) all other good things are insignificant to my hierarchy of values.

This is a suspension of rules of evidence, logic, and proof. This is NOT an objective judgment.

Thanks for taking my example out of its context and assuming something like this about my psychology.

Explain the context then. You offered it as an example of behavior so I treated it as such.

You make it sound like a sin to think badly of someone, unless you have done a full scale investigation.

I said no such thing. Judgment however has to be fact based.

A person should act based on what they feel toward people.

Since when your emotions are a source of knowledge about other people?

And especially when someone has a tendency to draw conclusions about others (which determines their emotional reactions toward them) while abandoning rules of evidence.

I am not a robot to serve the "standard of objective morality".

The moral is the practical. Reality is objective and thus moral rules based on reality (which includes man's identity) are objective. When it comes to cardinal rules the exceptions are a rare cases.

You are arguing here, in essence, against justice. You argue that it is in one's rational self interest to mistreat others you interact with. If you are not treating people according to objective criteria of judgment then you ARE mistreating them.

I am a person, and I will act toward people with reflection of the value that they are to me.

You are misinterpreting what contextual absolutes mean. Within specific context rules based on objective approach to reality are ABSOLUTES.

The approach toward most others you argue for in this thread is a very short in scope thinking. Failure to recognize a causal connection does not make it less right in reality and will not shelter you from consequences of being wrong (like for example loosing opportunities you would otherwise have if you were just). Some causal connections you can not predict.. that is why we have objective morality to guide us ... that is the only way we can live with efficiency long term.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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Someone could choose to communicate that aspect of themselves often as a way to find like-minded people

That is not true of House (this is not his search for like-values in others - how he chooses to behave makes him less admirable).

Independence is not hard to identify.

or out of interest in seeing how others respond to that aspect of them.

Why?

Ifat:

Another option is that they want to encourage other people around them to "grow a spine". To illustrate what I mean by the last, House was playing pranks on Wilson and yet at the same time encouraged Wilson to "fight back". Wilson is normally a pleaser kind of guy, who takes whatever crap necessary from people to "smoothen things over". But with house, he fights back. House releases a more true, selfish side of Wilson. So House's emphasis of "independence" (it was worse than that, but never mind the exact description now) actually served a very selfish purpose for House.

That is achieved by practicing independence which is not the same as what I wrote above.

One’s own independent judgment is the means by which one must choose one’s actions - it is not a form of validation.

Independence means not accepting an authority over your mind as a method. Independence is NOT making it known left and right how you don't care about others judgment.

For someone who insists of making sure you make the right judgment about people before deciding the worse about them, you sure exclude people who are not nice from that category. If they are not nice, you assume, it immediately means they are not rational, malevolent, second handers, Roark-imitators, or whatever other bad idea that could be out there.

Being wrong has a cause (some type of error) and an effect, a fact has it's identity, and I have provided my reasons. (BTW, I have not said "whatever other bad idea that could be out there").

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I'm going to try to start everything from the beginning tomorrow.

I started by having motivation to have this discussion with you (yes, particularly with you), but right now, it just seems almost impossible. Every time I try to concretize the ideas by bringing examples, you stay with abstractions. Every time I ask about some particular situation, you go back to general thinking, which to me, look like rationalism ("human imperfections are not metaphysical, therefore human essence is good, therefore a rational man who sees that people are good treats them by what they deserve, which is the virtue of justice") this all looks rationalistic to me and with no connection to real people and real dayily situations.

Also, along the last 2 pages I asked a lot of questions which you just ignored. Questions which for me were important for establishing common ground.

So right now it all looks to me like blah blah blah, unrelated to anything I was trying to discuss, ideas are flying all around.

I'll start it again tomorrow from scratch, probably in a different thread (since it's a different topic). If, in the future, you can give examples of real situations (or people) to illustrate your ideas, I would appreciate it.

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Every time I try to concretize the ideas by bringing examples, you stay with abstractions. Every time I ask about some particular situation, you go back to general thinking, which to me, look like rationalism.

I am taking a principled position.

------------------------

Without any evidence of evil, it is reasonable (I have given reasons for it) to conclude that another is potentially good character. Benevolent attitude is how one justly treats people of potentially good moral character which is also an application of the virtue of justice. That covers the potential of the situation which is really just an attitude. Our discussion went beyond the scenario in which little is known about another's moral worth. House acted like a jerk toward those he knew well, those who did not deserve such treatment not based on potentiality but actuality. Again how we treat others is an application of the virtue of justice.

---------

I am very annoyed by your response to me given how much time I have spend trying to be helpful. I am not sure if I will continue.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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I suppose that House is a kind of make-believe character who couldn't exist in real life. But he sure is funny! In the recent hostage episode, he rigged Cutty's desk so her drawer bottomed out, being a jerk to show his affinity for her. And she liked it! Ridiculous but hilarious!

Isn't that the grown up version of a "love punch"? Like when Wilson sawed half-way through his cane and house took a spill while walking down the hall?

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Isn't that the grown up version of a "love punch"? Like when Wilson sawed half-way through his cane and house took a spill while walking down the hall?

That's what I was thinking. It's like pulling the girls pigtails on the playground. It sounds silly but stuff like that works because it "gets into here head".

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Without any evidence of evil, it is reasonable (I have given reasons for it) to conclude that another is potentially good character. Benevolent attitude is how one justly treats people of potentially good moral character which is also an application of the virtue of justice. That covers the potential of the situation which is really just an attitude. Our discussion went beyond the scenario in which little is known about another's moral worth.

I agree, but (like you said) we were talking about acting toward people one already does have some knowledge of, not a complete question mark.

I am very annoyed by your response to me given how much time I have spend trying to be helpful. I am not sure if I will continue.

I don't see why you would get annoyed at me. What exactly was my "response" to you? Saying that I find your argument rationalistic? It's not an insult, it is my own impression, which I concluded was important to communicate so we can get somewhere if we are to continue this discussion. I respect you, which is the reason why I argue passionately. If I thought you were no good I would not have bothered at all (or would write something small to show errors that I find, but not to have a discussion).

Another thing, is that I don't think you were trying to be "helpful". You had your own reason to reply to my messages and your own values or ideas to speak out for.

For what it's worth, I'm sorry you feel bad, but I don't feel sorry for anything I've done.

Anyway, if there will be a discussion it will be on some other time.

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Saying that I find your argument rationalistic?

"human imperfections are not metaphysical, therefore human essence is good, therefore a rational man who sees that people are good treats them by what they deserve, which is the virtue of justice"

That is not a fair representation of my argument. That is what I am annoyed with.

Further, accusation of rationalism here should be followed with an explanation of which part is not tied to reality.

Which part of my support is not true? What facts contradict my view?

I respect you, which is the reason why I argue passionately.

Perhaps you don't realize when you don't show that respect.

Another thing, is that I don't think you were trying to be "helpful". You had your own reason to reply to my messages and your own values or ideas to speak out for.

You should not assume that my desire to be helpful to you was not done for a selfish reason (my own reason).

Anyway, if there will be a discussion it will be on some other time.

That is a good idea.

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I have watched the first (approximately) two and a half seasons of House, and I have loved almost every minute of it. To see such heroic competence portrayed in any form of art these days is rare indeed.

The essence of House's approach to his work is an incredible talent combined with an absolute devotion to reality. Whatever his flaws, House understands and applies the primacy of existence constantly and ruthlessly. The fact that House may make occasional nihilistic statements does not change what his actions demonstrate.

When I see House's approach to his work, I see the image of what a doctor can and should be. I see a man who revels in his ability to understand the human body and to use his mind to fight disease.

While House's psychology may be unfortunate, the most important part of an individual's character is his work. This is why Hank Rearden is heroic even before he corrects his psychological errors. In fact, my reaction to House is similar to my reaction to the (early) Rearden. Though they may be miserable and irrational at times, they exhibit a faculty of production which far outweighs their faults, and they inspire me to strive for the same level of competence in my own life.

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That is not a fair representation of my argument. That is what I am annoyed with.

Further, accusation of rationalism here should be followed with an explanation of which part is not tied to reality.

Which part of my support is not true? What facts contradict my view?

...

Perhaps you don't realize when you don't show that respect.

Getting your argument wrong, if I have, was not done on purpose. I do not need to misrepresent/invent something you say, there is nothing for me to gain from that.

I don't see rationalism as an insult. It's a mistaken approach someone can take. Your entire argument, every single one was on a completely abstract level. In that sense - it provided no connection to reality. When I tried to reduce it to concrete cases, you did not reply to my questions.

And I don't see anything I said that was disrespectful.

If you want to discuss this more write me a PM.

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It's a mistaken approach someone can take. Your entire argument, every single one was on a completely abstract level. In that sense - it provided no connection to reality. When I tried to reduce it to concrete cases, you did not reply to my questions.

What I have done is thinking in principle. I think you are perhaps mistaken what rationalism is.

I have asked you to provide specific answer to where the disconnection was. What facts contradict what I said? What facts have I not included that would change the conclusion? Answer that.

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What I have done is thinking in principle. I think you are perhaps mistaken what rationalism is.

I have asked you to provide specific answer to where the disconnection was. What facts contradict what I said? What facts have I not included that would change the conclusion? Answer that.

My answer lies in all the examples I gave in this thread. You made an abstract statement (fine by itself except it was over-generalized), then I pointed that it is an over-generalization by providing an example that does not fall into your generalization and asked you what you think about it. The replies you gave were again abstract generalizations (over-generalization).

In every step you tried to establish causal relationship between abstract ideas (like the metaphysical nature of man and what is a rational man's proper way of valuing people). It treats "the rational man" as a unified entity (an over-generalization), ignoring that rational men can be very different and value people very differently (without breaching their rationality). And yet from that abstract image of a "rational man" you continue to the next abstract conclusion. So this is why I find it rationalistic. What's the big deal anyway?

[ And while I'm making this post, I would like to correct one thing that I said. I said that I argue passionately because I respect you. But I over packaged the sentence. The truth is that I argue passionately because it reflects the value of the ideas to me. And I argue (or try to establish a discussion) because I respect you. But not both are because I respect you. ]

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It treats "the rational man" as a unified entity (an over-generalization), ignoring that rational men can be very different and value people very differently (without breaching their rationality).

Do you mean to say that the virtue of justice lies in the sphere of optional? Because THAT is what the above means (in the context of everything you have argued against in this thread).

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You made an abstract statement (fine by itself except it was over-generalized), then I pointed that it is an over-generalization by providing an example that does not fall into your generalization and asked you what you think about it.

I am puzzled by what you are saying here.

None of my abstractions were floating. Thus it is not rationalism.

A principle is an abstraction which subsumes a great number of concretes. It is only by means of principles (abstractions) that one can evaluate the concrete alternatives. Concrete problems cannot even be grasped, let alone judged or solved, without reference to abstract principles.

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Do you mean to say that the virtue of justice lies in the sphere of optional? Because THAT is what the above means (in the context of everything you have argued against in this thread).

OK, I think I see how what I said may seem so to you. You think (and correct me if I'm wrong) that what people deserve is out there in reality, in the person that they are. If someone is X,Y,Z then he deserves so and so, and every rational man should give him that, if he is to be just. Correct?

Edited by ifatart

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QUOTE (KendallJ @ Dec 1 2008, 08:03 PM) *

I personally have met a lot of people like House. None of them do I admire. Most of the people that I've met that are that bitter cannot sustain the motivation for a lifetime of productive acheivement that his character would seem to imply he's accomplished. When it comes to supposed brilliance like that, I go with Edison, true brilliance is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration. One cannot have a sense of purpose to be truly accomplished over time with that sort of mentality.

Isaac Newton apparently lived that kind of life, he was extremely misanthropic and generally cranky, dismissive, and condescending to everyone in his life. It seemed like people got in the way of his passion for alchemy, theology, and natural philosophy - and that irritated him. It was not until very late in his life that he developed close friends.

Perhaps the contradiction in House's character is similar, I've only watched through season 3 so far but I recall at one point he explicated stated that it was solving puzzles he liked the most, and being right about the result. However, why did the character choose medicine? He does, at times, go out of his way to help people -

such as saving the rich executive woman who was damaging her heart through medications she was giving herself to support her bulimic habit by putting her on the donor list after demanding she insist she wants to live, at great risk to his own career.

He seems to have some self loathing / altruistic streak as well,

such as sacrificing his potential happiness with reuniting with his ex wife, whom he clearly liked, by manipulating the situation to get her back together with her husband

. His behavior of

pushing his best friend as far as he could to see how far he could push a 'friend'

was despicable and very malevolent / 2nd handed behavior.

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And to post my own opinion...

The character of House is an illustration of dedication to the truth above all else. When all other people "round corners" and ignore small facts, house keeps insisting on integration. When the answer seems impossible and all others give up, he ruthlessly searches for an answer, never resting until he has got it figured out.

I believe he explicitly stated this in one episode.

His brilliance is a result of his method of thinking (logic) and his extraordinary dedication to his work and to discovering the truth (and save the patient's life).

He also explicitly stated that he does not care about the patients life, only in answering the question or solving the puzzle. I recall one episode where he suggested that he did not care if a treatment caused a patient to die if that treatment was a verification of what he thought the cause of the illness was, he professed to value solving puzzles more than the lives of his patients, though he never acted on this.

With people, he is not afraid to say things that may be unpleasant to other people.

He actually goes out of his way to say and do unpleasant things to other people. That is malevolent and 2nd handed.

He does not conform. He only does things if he finds it logical and if it fits his values. He is the opposite of the "accept all, be nice to all" - he is "respect if deserve, niceness is not important".

I don't know what house episodes you've been watching, but his guiding star is more like "be cranky and misanthropic all the time, and nice only if circumstances absolutely demand it to further your values"

Such as this

Wilson: She’s my cousin.

House: And your cousin doesn’t like the diagnosis. I wouldn’t either. Brain tumor, she’s gonna die, boring.

It's one thing to state a conclusion, it's another to do it without tact, it's yet another to add cynical / sarcastic twist to it. House routinely goes the extra step to add his misanthropic touch.

House is not fundamentally a 2nd hander, but a significant portion of his character, his perpetually desire to demonstrate his cynicism and malevolence, is.

If the social aspect in a rational man's life is so important to a piece of art - How do you explain The Fountainhead? Roark was not exactly a walking public relation agent.

A purely rational person (suppressing emotional interaction) is indifferent to strangers and their evaluations of him, a rational person with a malevolent sense of life is nihilistic and cynical to strangers. A rational person with a positive sense of life is benevolent and respectful to strangers until he has a reason not to be. Neither is 'right' or 'demanded' by 'true objectivism' but merely manifestations of your own outlook on life. Roark was respectful and benevolent to Keating, he was not cruel or derogatory.

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Do you mean to say that the virtue of justice lies in the sphere of optional? Because THAT is what the above means (in the context of everything you have argued against in this thread).

OK, I think I see how what I said may seem so to you. You think (and correct me if I'm wrong) that what people deserve is out there in reality, in the person that they are. If someone is X,Y,Z then he deserves so and so, and every rational man should give him that, if he is to be just. Correct?

Are you disputing that man's character is a fact?

I would like you to answer my questions instead of answering with another question.

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A purely rational person (suppressing emotional interaction) is indifferent to strangers and their evaluations of him, a rational person with a malevolent sense of life is nihilistic and cynical to strangers. A rational person with a positive sense of life is benevolent and respectful to strangers until he has a reason not to be. Neither is 'right' or 'demanded' by 'true objectivism' but merely manifestations of your own outlook on life. Roark was respectful and benevolent to Keating, he was not cruel or derogatory.

I agree with what you wrote here except for one thing. My claim goes a bit further. 100% rational and philosphically integrated, psychologically healthy person will necessarily grant others initial good will in most situations. After that, he judges them according to the moral character they have actualized. Indifference (the way you have stated) or malevolence is a mistake (and there maybe many reasons for why a person maybe making such a mistake). What one is responding is values in other people. A rational man, a valuer is not indiffrent or hostile to his values. A rational man grants others personal, individual value and appreciation, in proportion to their virtues.

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Are you disputing that man's character is a fact?

I would like you to answer my questions instead of answering with another question.

I am not disputing that a man's character is a fact. Now are you going to answer my question?

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I agree with what you wrote here except for one thing. My claim goes a bit further. 100% rational and philosphically integrated, psychologically healthy person will necessarily grant others initial good will in most situations. After that, he judges them according to the moral character they have actualized. Indifference (the way you have stated) or malevolence is a mistake (and there maybe many reasons for why a person maybe making such a mistake). What one is responding is values in other people. A rational man, a valuer is not indiffrent or hostile to his values. A rational man grants others personal, individual value and appreciation, in proportion to their virtues.

I agree entirely with your sentiment that initial benevolence is proper to a philosophically integrated and psychological healthy person and that is my fundamental outlook and basis for interaction, however at this time I am unable to argue that position coherently. I feel you are right and agree with you but require more introspection and investigation before I can make that positive claim myself. I'll be re-reading this thread closely. I see no way in which either an un-emtional indifference or initial malevolence are a proper component of a eudaemonic life.

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100% rational and philosphically integrated, psychologically healthy person will necessarily grant others initial good will in most situations.

Here you are talking about a complete question mark.

After that, he judges them according to the moral character they have actualized.

And here you are not - you are talking about a person someone meets face to face and interacts with. You are equivocating the two.

Also, this sentence shows again, that there is no reference to one's own personal values. Someone else's moral character is like a bill served to someone to which they must adhere. Other people are X,Y,Z, therefore, by the grace of that, they deserve to get X,Y,Z from you, and from anyone else, and this is what you must pursue, if you are to be just.

This is a wrong view of the virtue of justice. It seems to me that this is your view. Is it?

Indifference (the way you have stated) or malevolence is a mistake (and there maybe many reasons for why a person maybe making such a mistake).

Indifference or dislike toward (some or most) actual people someone meets cannot be right or wrong without reference to that person's own personal values, knowledge that they have about those people, and who those people are.

This is all repetitive. you must have said this same thing 3 times by now, without any progress in our discussion from your side whatsoever. Not sure there is a point to continue, but I'll stick around a bit more (until your next post) to decide.

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Here you are talking about a complete question mark.

And here you are not - you are talking about a person someone meets face to face and interacts with.

You are equivocating the two.

I have not been equivocating the two! Both however are a part of this discussion.

I wrote:

Without any evidence of evil, it is reasonable to conclude that another is potentially good character. Benevolent attitude is how one justly treats people of potentially good moral character which is also an application of the virtue of justice

To which you agreed so - Is that still under a dispute?

---------------------------------

Also, this sentence shows again, that there is no reference to one's own personal values. Someone else's moral character is like a bill served to someone to which they must adhere. Other people are X,Y,Z, therefore, by the grace of that, they deserve to get X,Y,Z from you, and from anyone else, and this is what you must pursue, if you are to be just.

This is a wrong view of the virtue of justice. It seems to me that this is your view. Is it?

Justice does not lie in the sphere of optional. This is not an issue of personal values - same way honesty is not an optional value.

If this is what you think - that could mean that you have misunderstood Objectivism on a fundamental level. I don't mean that as a derogatory comment - only as an observation which you may not have realized.

The exercise of justice is not an intrinsic duty (you seem to be ascribing that view to me) but rather it is a practical necessity of human life. Acting with Justice is an egoistic virtue; it is in your rational self interest.

What you wrote above is, again, not a fair summary (it does not follow from what I wrote). What someone "deserves" is a logical result that one can expect from that type of conduct or character in that situation. It is not "any deserve" based on who they are. The context of one's involvement is relevant. Obviously. What a friendly and helpful store clerk "deserves" from you based on your interaction with him is different from what your good friend "deserves" from you based on years of your mutual friendship.

I strongly suggest that you read Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist by Tara Smith. The whole book is worth your time but Chapter 6 which is 40 pages long deals specifically with Justice. I think you will find it very enlightening. I will be happy to discuss it with you after.

Edited by ~Sophia~

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Neither is 'right' or 'demanded' by 'true objectivism' but merely manifestations of your own outlook on life.

Objectivism does state which one is right (true).

Dr. Peikoff in one of his lectures said, for example:

If you hold the wrong ideas on any fundamental philosophic issue, that will undercut or destroy the benevolent universe premise.

(bold mine)

Edited by ~Sophia~

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