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Is objectivism consequentialist?

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

I would say that virtues are values but not an end in themselves. 

When I was researching what 2046 was saying regarding instrumental vs. constituent means, (if I understood it properly), what you are saying would be that virtues constitute what values are. I could easily be wrong on this one. That virtues do not necessarily cause values (not instrumental), they in a sense are values.

The problem is that virtues can be both. I value the virtue of rationality. I FEEL safer when I have a rational explanation for something strange. I want it. I prefer it. But it will cause a better easier life. If it caused a worse life, the virtue of rationality would be thrown away. Therefore the key to its "valuable-ness" is its instrumentality, its ability to cause, not what it is on its own.

 

I would go so far as to say almost all values (I am adhering here to the objective theory of values) in fact ARE instrumental, imho all but one value is instrumental, instrumental to the only value which is at once both an end in itself and a choice: life.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

I would say that virtues are values but not an end in themselves. 

When I was researching what 2046 was saying regarding instrumental vs. constituent means, (if I understood it properly), what you are saying would be that virtues constitute what values are. I could easily be wrong on this one. That virtues do not necessarily cause values (not instrumental), they in a sense are values.

The problem is that virtues can be both. I value the virtue of rationality. I FEEL safer when I have a rational explanation for something strange. I want it. I prefer it. But it will cause a better easier life. If it caused a worse life, the virtue of rationality would be thrown away. Therefore the key to its "valuable-ness" is its instrumentality, its ability to cause, not what it is on its own.

 

A reminder, reason is a value. "The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics--the three values which, together, are the means to and the realization of one's ultimate value, one's own life--are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."

I mention this in case it is reason you are actually meaning - "...when I have a rational explanation..."

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4 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

A reminder, reason is a value. "The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics--the three values which, together, are the means to and the realization of one's ultimate value, one's own life--are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."

I mention this in case it is reason you are actually meaning - "...when I have a rational explanation..."

Excellent quote...

I see it astutely and with care ensured that it was stated that these "cardinal" values are the means to the ultimate value.  Someone knew when and how to be careful not to be misinterpreted.

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I am sorry I don't get it.

44 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

A reminder, reason is a value.

Yes, so what caught your attention? I assume something could have been misinterpreted to say that reason was NOT a value. If so, what was it?

"The Objectivist position can be indicated in three words. The ultimate value is life. The primary virtue is rationality. The proper beneficiary is oneself." OPAR (p. 206).

46 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."

“Virtue,” in the Objectivist definition, is “the action by which one gains and keeps [a value].OPAR (p. 221).

So, to gain or keep Reason, is by the action of Rationality

"Since all the virtues are forms of rationality, the commitment to achieve moral perfection reduces ultimately to a single policy: the commitment to follow reason". OPAR (pp. 303-304).

To gain or keep Purpose, is by the action of Productive work. (how can one do productive work without a purpose)

To gain or keep Self-Esteem, is by the "action" of Pride

“Pride” is the commitment to achieve one’s own moral perfection.  OPAR (p. 303). So the action, in this case, is a conscious commitment. "The essence of pride is moral ambitiousness". OPAR (p. 304). If you are consistently morally ambitious, you cause "the good life" or is "the good life" moral ambitiousness?

I wonder if  Virtue Ethics equates "the commitment to achieve one’s own moral perfection" with "the good life". As in a constituent part of "the good life" is "the commitment to achieve one’s own moral perfection

 

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3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

I wonder if  Virtue Ethics equates "the commitment to achieve one’s own moral perfection" with "the good life". As in a constituent part of "the good life" is "the commitment to achieve one’s own moral perfection

 

Yes, in part so.

 

6 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I would go so far as to say almost all values (I am adhering here to the objective theory of values) in fact ARE instrumental, imho all but one value is instrumental, instrumental to the only value which is at once both an end in itself and a choice: life.

I don't think this is quite tenable. Some means are instrumental, other means are constitutive. 

Suppose that I want to play the Moonlight Sonata, and so I save money to buy a piano, and to buy sheet music, and to take piano lessons and so forth. These are all instrumental means to the end of playing the Moonlight Sonata. If you ask me why am I saving this money, why am I buying a piano, etc, I would say these are all means to my ultimate goal, which is to play the Moonlight Sonata. If I could play the Moonlight Sonata without having to go through these steps, it would still make conceptual sense.

But now suppose you come upon me in the middle of playing the Moonlight Sonata, and I'm hitting a particular note. And you ask me "why are you hitting that particular note? Is it just that you find that note valuable in and of itself?" And I would answer "no I'm playing that note because I want to play the Moonlight Sonata, and I can't play the Moonlight Sonata without playing that note at that point." Well, in a sense, then, playing that note is a means to playing the Moonlight Sonata, but it's not a means in the other way. It's not a means that's external to the end; it's a means that's part of the end.

When a means is external to or merely instrumental to an end, then it would make sense to say, "I wish I could have the end without having to go through all these means." I wish I could be at the top of the mountain without having to climb all this way up, or I wish I could play the Moonlight Sonata without having to save all this money to buy a piano. But it doesn't make any sense to say, "I wish I could play the Moonlight Sonata without having to play all these notes" because the Moonlight Sonata just is those notes in that order.

Virtue is of course going to be a constitutive means, because part of what eudaimonia or flourish is going to look like, is just that, practicing a life of habituated virtue and excellence of character, in being a fully integrated person (i.e. What Eiuol was saying in the thread a while ago.)

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14 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

If you are consistently morally ambitious, you cause "the good life" or is "the good life" moral ambitiousness?

 

 

 

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

Edited by whYNOT

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11 hours ago, 2046 said:

Some means are instrumental, other means are constitutive. 

You can't have your cake and eat it too.  Means presupposes an end to which it is directed and for which it is instrumental.  IF you were to attempt to claim that some thing is a supposed "means" while at the same time arguing it is no longer instrumental, but only constitutes the end you are claiming something is a means while claiming it is not a means.

Since that is a contradiction, you clearly cannot mean that, so you must mean that some means are only instrumental while other means are both instrumental to an end and part of that very end. 

But this conflates cause and effect, the action and the results of the action, actions and the capacity to act.

 

Playing a note, is in fact, the act of pressing a key which causes a particular musical note or sound.  The ACT is not the SOUND.  Playing Moonlight Sonata is the bringing about of a series of sounds (the end) consisting of pressing in sequence a series of keys in the right order at the right time (the means).  The pressing of the key is the cause, the sound the effect, the action by the subject has a result.

But indeed we know that the above ignores some of the results of the action.

Now consider the act of playing the same song over and over with a wider integration.  Each time one goes through the motion of playing, the effects of the actions include not only "Moonlight Sonata" in the air, but an improvement in the motor-neural pathways through the arm to the finger of the player, an improvement in the timing and hearing of the player, a more refined memorization of the subtlety of the piece allowing for better and better performances... the player in fact, by the act of playing has the effects of 1. producing the sounds of Moonlight Sonata, as well as 2. improving and refining the capability of the player to play the Moonlight Sonata.  The ultimate ends do not shift or drift by the player's having an affect on his ability to play, after all it IS his choice what the ultimate ends of his playing are directed (of course reality dictates the effectiveness of achieving his ends with particular means),  and if his playing is for producing Moonlight Sonata, it is a means for playing it now AND a means (by increasing his capacity to play it) of playing it better later.  This is in complete harmony with his desire (long range) to play Moonlight Sonata.

Note that a player does not refrain from practicing because it has the side effect of improving his capacity to play, he notes that the side effect of improving his capacity to play is itself ALSO instrumental to his playing Moonlight Sonata in the future.

His pressing the keys ARE NOT the ultimate ends, and his ability to play ARE NOT the ultimate ends either, BOTH are means to his chosen ends.  Of course various means to an ultimate end can be subsidiary ends along a chain of causality but they do NOT constitute the ultimate ends in and of themselves.

 

12 hours ago, 2046 said:

When a means is external to or merely instrumental to an end, then it would make sense to say, "I wish I could have the end without having to go through all these means." I wish I could be at the top of the mountain without having to climb all this way up, or I wish I could play the Moonlight Sonata without having to save all this money to buy a piano. But it doesn't make any sense to say, "I wish I could play the Moonlight Sonata without having to play all these notes" because the Moonlight Sonata just is those notes in that order.

This is a silly line of reasoning. 

Reality dictates what is required through cause and effect.  We often identify and use means "external to" or "merely instrumental" to an end without any need to wish the ends could be achieved without the means.  That's just plain wrong.

 

Assume I have chosen to live long range, and that I am rational.  Can you persuade me DIRECTLY using reason of any consequence in reality, any reason why, I should not adopt morality, principles, and virtues purely from an instrumental standpoint, i.e. only with the ultimate end of life long range in mind?

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3 hours ago, whYNOT said:

They are equivalent, in my mind. As with e.g. induction and deduction, they form an aligned 'two-way street'. This returns to the "how?" (in what manner) one reaches one's goals, I raised about consequentialism. To achieve some goal - but at small or great cost to one's integrity, honesty and so on, is not a gain, but a net loss

This is an example of a return on investment example. Isn't that based on consequences?

If an action causes you to loose your commitment to your moral perfection, the loss/consequence is immense. Your lack of virtue will come against your achieving your ultimate aim. As a consequence, it may cause reconsideration.

You don't maintain your virtues in a vacuum (without consequence in mind). There has to be a reason, a final cause. One may say that the nature of man requires virtues. But the nature of man requires survival and it is survival that requires virtues. Virtues do not require survival, they help cause it.

Bottom line, virtues are not the final cause, they are necessitated by the final cause.

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21 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

This is an example of a return on investment example. Isn't that based on consequences?

If an action causes you to loose your commitment to your moral perfection, the loss/consequence is immense. Your lack of virtue will come against your achieving your ultimate aim. As a consequence, it may cause reconsideration.

You don't maintain your virtues in a vacuum (without consequence in mind). There has to be a reason, a final cause. One may say that the nature of man requires virtues. But the nature of man requires survival and it is survival that requires virtues. Virtues do not require survival, they help cause it.

Bottom line, virtues are not the final cause, they are necessitated by the final cause.

Obviously, and it might need re-stating, virtues are the means to an end. Nobody has stated otherwise, I believe. The inversion, of placing virtue over value - and isolating virtues "in a vacuum" - is an error of intrinsicism sometimes made. To put it this way, as much as one prizes his virtues, moreso does he prize the values that follow from them. They have a hierarchical relationship and also a causal relationship, based and dependent upon one's cardinal values and virtues.   

"As a consequence, it [a lack of virtue] may cause reconsideration". (ET)

No. And there is no "may" about it.  What one reconsiders is: rational, virtuous action -> rational outcome.  A rational action presupposes it has virtue.

What result did I accomplish? Is it good (for me)? Was it what I wanted it to be? Could it be better? Which actions could I change? Simply, as one does for any endeavor, I am matching up my intentions and efforts, with what I finish up making (with the purpose of improving my performance).

This isn't consequentialism, which judges the 'good' (whether subjective, intrinsic, or objective) by results, "solely". Applied to rational selfishness, then, since I gained an achievement -- therefore I MUST have practiced the virtues of Objectivism... Not necessarily. Good conclusions often arrive from mixed premises. How much rationality, independence, justice, integrity - etc.- one brings to the actions is a prior commitment, not - only - to be reviewed and assessed after the fact.

And it could be overlooked that it is not only for the 'gaining' of goals that virtues are crucial, but equally for the ongoing 'keeping' of those values already attained. Also, one never knows, in reality, which specific virtue, or combination of, may be called upon next, from moment to moment. This and more, as I've learned by experience, settles for me the necessity of a conscious commitment to every "objective" virtue, full time. This morality is not called "rational" selfishness for little reason.

(Consequentialism seems like baking a cake without the recipe. See - it turned out fine and tasty! Therefore, it follows, I can repair an engine without using the engine's manual...)

Edited by whYNOT

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4 hours ago, whYNOT said:

This isn't consequentialism, which judges the 'good' (whether subjective, intrinsic, or objective) by results, "solely".

 

There is no disagreement that consequentialism devoid of causation not only is incompatible with Objectivism but is irrational.
If "truth is that which works, and its validity can be judged only by its (perceptual or accidental) consequences", then the truth one comes up with is irrational.

BUT If "truth is that which works, and its validity can be judged only by its (causal) consequences", then the truth one comes up with is reality.

We are both arguing against the case where consequentialism means "That which causes life, due to causality or accident (in hindsight) is Moral".

If you remove causality from the definition of consequentialism, consequence becomes an accident, unrelated events (Hume), unrelated occasions. Okay, if that is the definition, Objectivism can't be consequentialist.

The case can be made that virtue ethics and consequentialism are compatible, in fact, different sides of the same coin if ... they are both based on causality. Consequentialism devoid of causality, or virtue ethics devoid of causality ends up with an irrational ethics.

Now the problem I would have with virtue ethics is:

2046 seems to be arguing that virtues (actions) are an end in themselves. You do them for their own sake.
Virtue ethics is like an edict saying "go north". You go north, reach your destination and in the name of being virtuous, you continue going north. The concept of enough or "I'm done" gets lost unless you incorporate anticipated consequence. Without it, the desire to do something becomes unlimited, after all, there are not anticipated consequences to tell you when to stop.

On the other hand, with a results-oriented system (incorporating causation), you go toward the city and when you reach it, (based on anticipated consequence matching actual consequence) you are done. Now the "the final anticipated consequence/destination" drives you to find the next goal/consequence/destination.

The other problem I see with Virtue ethics is the problem of cultural influence, virtue is different in different cultures, without consequence, it is relative, subjective.
 

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19 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

There is no disagreement that consequentialism devoid of causation not only is incompatible with Objectivism but is irrational.
If "truth is that which works, and its validity can be judged only by its (perceptual or accidental) consequences", then the truth one comes up with is irrational.

BUT If "truth is that which works, and its validity can be judged only by its (causal) consequences", then the truth one comes up with is reality.

We are both arguing against the case where consequentialism means "That which causes life, due to causality or accident (in hindsight) is Moral".

If you remove causality from the definition of consequentialism, consequence becomes an accident, unrelated events (Hume), unrelated occasions. Okay, if that is the definition, Objectivism can't be consequentialist.

The case can be made that virtue ethics and consequentialism are compatible, in fact, different sides of the same coin if ... they are both based on causality. Consequentialism devoid of causality, or virtue ethics devoid of causality ends up with an irrational ethics.

Now the problem I would have with virtue ethics is:

2046 seems to be arguing that virtues (actions) are an end in themselves. You do them for their own sake.
Virtue ethics is like an edict saying "go north". You go north, reach your destination and in the name of being virtuous, you continue going north. The concept of enough or "I'm done" gets lost unless you incorporate anticipated consequence. Without it, the desire to do something becomes unlimited, after all, there are not anticipated consequences to tell you when to stop.

On the other hand, with a results-oriented system (incorporating causation), you go toward the city and when you reach it, (based on anticipated consequence matching actual consequence) you are done. Now the "the final anticipated consequence/destination" drives you to find the next goal/consequence/destination.

The other problem I see with Virtue ethics is the problem of cultural influence, virtue is different in different cultures, without consequence, it is relative, subjective.
 

Yes, almost no one thinks that consequential considerations and causality don't play into ethics at some point, even Kant would allow for that. He is even correct so far as to disagree with consequentialism as an instrumental strategy to promoting human wellbeing, but his solution was to make morality irrelevant to wellbeing/flourishing/self-interest entirely, whereas Rand's solution was to tie them more closely together by making morality a component of wellbeing/flourishing rather than a mere external means to it.

This is precisely because it doesn't make sense to say that Randian virtue is like "going north" and you would just stop once you reached your destination. Would John Galt stop being virtuous because he reached his goals? No, that makes no sense, this is precisely the grounds on which Rand criticized the utilitarian economists, such as Mises. Life is an ongoing process, and flourishing is going to require constant activity to maintain. That's why virtue is partially a means to happiness/wellbeing but also partially is an end in itself, only because it is a component of flourishing. It is not necessary for mere survival ("life long range"?) true, but flourishing (eudaimonia), yes.

Of course virtue will be combined with consequentialist considerations, e.g., Rand  in VOS uses virtues as principles to establish certain broad parameters, leaving it to practical wisdom to make them more specific in context. These are going to be where your instrumental means come into play.

As far as differing conceptions of virtue, yes true those exist. Virtue is a part of normative ethics and so will require a specific meta-ethical grounding. A comprehensive naturalist grounding can help sort through what conceptions of virtue are objective and ones that are not. (Cf. Tara Smith has a good analysis of some traditional virtues like temperance and charity and whatnot in ARNE.)

Edited by 2046

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8 hours ago, 2046 said:

That's why virtue is partially a means to happiness/wellbeing but also partially is an end in itself, only because it is a component of flourishing.

On what basis is virtue a "component of flourishing"?  Please support your claim with reasons.

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On ‎10‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 9:47 AM, 2046 said:

That's why virtue is partially a means to happiness/wellbeing but also partially is an end in itself, only because it is a component of flourishing.

2046

Please persuade, on this issue. I'm open to any rational argument grounded in the facts of reality.

Please, with evidence i.e. facts of reality, and reason, show me how virtue is a "component of flourishing".

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31 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

virtue is a "component of flourishing".

2046 brings up a relevant point.

Objectivism cannot be solely consequentialist because of a flaw of consequentialism. 
"When you reach the goal of being alive, do you stop?"

On 10/1/2017 at 6:47 AM, 2046 said:

Would John Galt stop being virtuous because he reached his goals? No

I will attempt an argument:

Rationality can be argued as being a type of life. That when one becomes rational, one is superimposing the rational life on top of their life. Sort of mixing an ingredient, a constituent. Adding salt is an instrumental means, but "salt in the food" is a consistent means that makes it salty.

Life is already an action when one looks at ethics and virtues.
Morality is for the living, not the dead.
So, ultimately, the value of morality is that it improves living.
Then Objectivism at its core becomes about self-improvement, improvement of one's life.

Virtue is an ingredient that modifies, life, the already active process in order to act differently. 
It is not creating life, it is modifying it, changing its constituents.
Before the virtue is inserted in life, it is instrumental, after it is inserted, it is a part of life.

Then there is a strong case that Objectivist ethics is a hybrid of the two. 
One cannot make a case that it is NOT consequentialist.
Like a ball that is color red and blue, it is not fundamentally a red ball.

I think that I assumed wrong that 2046 thinks that Objectivist ethics is Virtue ethics because he argues a combination. I don't know why he did not correct me.

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18 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Rationality can be argued as being a type of life.

Rationality is a capacity or a capability of an actor, not a type of life.

 

18 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Life is already an action when one looks at ethics and virtues.

Life is an action??  This is a bit of an equivocation. Life is an ongoing process which medical science can easily determine to differentiate a person from a corpse.  Not taking any action is not being dead... it will eventually lead to death.

 

18 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

morality is that it improves living

"Improves" living?  according to what standard?  What "improvement" is enough to warrant being labeled moral?  Why is an "improvement" required?

Morality makes life possible.

18 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Virtue is an ingredient that modifies, life, the already active process in order to act differently. 
It is not creating life, it is modifying it, changing its constituents.
Before the virtue is inserted in life, it is instrumental, after it is inserted, it is a part of life.

This, although poetic, is not grounded in reality, cause and effect, actions and results.  It is a bald assertion of vague metaphors... quite bereft of actual meaning.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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29 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Objectivism cannot be solely consequentialist because of a flaw of consequentialism. 
"When you reach the goal of being alive, do you stop?"

I think this is approaching things from the wrong direction.

We do not have a "goal of being alive." Something is either alive or it isn't. We don't start out not-alive, then set a goal for ourselves of "being alive," and then reach that goal, and then quit our pursuit contentedly because we have "achieved living." In order to have this conversation, entertain these thoughts, have "goals" at all, we are alive. But this state of "being alive" is not guaranteed to continue, and the choices we make (according to our values, our "goals") will determine whether we continue to live, or die.

If we speak of "life" as a "goal," sensibly, what we mean is that we wish to do what we can to continue to live: there is no endpoint, per se, no point at which we can say that we have "accomplished living," except for the unchosen endpoint of biological death (at which point we will cease to care about ethics altogether, no longer having any faculty to "care" or do anything else). If we want to speak of "consequences" in this sense, it is the consequences our choices and actions have with respect to furthering our life or cutting it short.

But moreover, and importantly, "life" in the sense of "life as the standard of value" is more than mere biological continuance, or longevity; a person in a coma or vegetative state, sustained indefinitely, while technically "alive" has not "achieved" the sort of state that we value and wish for ourselves. Neither would we want a life trapped in some dungeon, subjected to endless torture. Life is more than that, and "flourishing" or "eudaimonia" or "the good life," or etc., is characterized by emotional and physical pleasures (determined by our psychological and physiological nature).

"When you reach the goal of being alive"? How can one "reach" such a goal, so that we may sensibly ask whether it's time to stop, when there are yet pleasures to be won, happiness to be experienced, and life to be maintained such that we may go on and enjoy yet more? If we want to discuss consequences in the full context of the human experience, those are the consequences I would have in mind.

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Rationality is a capacity or a capability of an actor, not a type of life.

That is true. But it is also true that you can have a life where rationality is not chosen as "the way of life". As in, there is a rational life and there is an irrational life. A virtuous life vs. a non-virtuous life.

This is thinking in terms of material causation or constituent means.

One can argue that a table is caused by its legs. You can say that is not true, but in terms of material causation, it is true. I suspect that that is the core of the argument that "flourishing" is "constituted of virtue".

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Life is an action??  This is a bit of an equivocation. Life is an ongoing process which medical science can easily determine to differentiate a person from a corpse.  Not taking any action is not being dead... it will eventually lead to death.

An ongoing process is an action. I would agree that it is also a state of being. And yes, being "actionless" means "no life", death. Life is like a spinning wheel. When it spins, there is action, there is life. When the spinning stops, it is dead.

From a consequentialist perspective, the ultimate end is the spinning, the motion, the action. Life, "an end" can be looked at as a static state (existing), but the static state is an abstraction of motion, of change, of action. (as an aside ... Implying that "being" is, in fact, an action).

But consequentialism requires a destination, an end. Doesn't it?

 

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

"Improves" living?  according to what standard?  What "improvement" is enough to warrant being labeled moral?  Why is an "improvement" required?

Very good point. That makes it impossible for virtue ethics to be what Objectivist ethics is. But there is a problem with the next statement.

1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Morality makes life possible.

You were already alive when you were introduced to morality. It was not morality that made it possible. You may have to define morality.

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3 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

But consequentialism requires a destination, an end. Doesn't it?

An end which is a consequence.  Staying alive is a perfectly valid chosen consequence or chosen end which requires means.

 

17 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

One can argue that a table is caused by its legs. You can say that is not true, but in terms of material causation, it is true. I suspect that that is the core of the argument that "flourishing" is "constituted of virtue".

Nope.  The concrete thing in the shape of a table, is identifiable as a table.  The existence of the entirety of the object is not "caused" by the existence of any of its subcomponents.  It simply IS.

 

This is the first time I detect a desire in your responses, merely  to argue for the sake of arguing...  can you form a more coherent fact based argument?

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Just now, Easy Truth said:

Very good point. That makes it impossible for virtue ethics to be what Objectivist ethics is. But there is a problem with the next statement.

You were already alive when you were introduced to morality. It was not morality that made it possible. You may have to define morality.

We don't need to define morality... it makes it "possible" meaning enables one to continue to live over the long term.  My point is that the standard of morality is not "improvements in life or an improved life" it simply is "life". 

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1 minute ago, StrictlyLogical said:

This is the first time I detect a desire in your responses, merely  to argue for the sake of arguing...  can you form a more coherent fact based argument?

This is a learning exercise for me. I have thought that Objectivism is in fact consequentialist. But I am examining that maybe I was wrong.

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38 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

This is a learning exercise for me. I have thought that Objectivism is in fact consequentialist. But I am examining that maybe I was wrong.

Aha!  *Claps* This is perfect.  A learning exercise is precisely when one should apply rigorous, ruthless, absolute and precise rational thought as applied to reality.

Work through it out loud. 

What are we talking about?  Virtuous action.   Why action?  Virtuous non-action is impotent and irrelevant and is a contradiction in terms.

As a species of action what falls within the definition of virtuous and what does not?  Certainly we cannot simply say, because it's "virtuous".  That is circular.  Also we cannot define virtuous action as action which supports "itself".  This is self referential and likely meaningless, or suffers from a contradiction/paradox i.e. would make it incoherent.

Is eating a virtuous action? Certainly it is moral... perhaps healthy rational eating is a virtue. (it is not a cardinal virtue of course but a lesser one)  What makes healthy rational eating virtuous?  Are there side effects of healthy rational eating which are not virtuous or do not lend virtuosity or the status of virtue to the actions of healthy rational eating?

Go with this example or choose something else if you like... keep it grounded in reality and apply reason...

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"Virtue is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward or sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil. Life is the reward of virtue—and happiness is the goal and the reward of life."

-John Galt (from John Galt's speech)

Atlas Shrugged

by

Ayn Rand

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

"Virtue is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward or sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil. Life is the reward of virtue—and happiness is the goal and the reward of life."

-John Galt (from John Galt's speech)

Atlas Shrugged

by

Ayn Rand

A bold face quote does not an argument make. You have to understand the context this is coming from. Rand is having Galt refute her adversiaries in her trichotomy of value from intricisism and subjectivism. Specifically, the part of the quote after the "or" she is speaking to various medieval conceptions of virtue that are rather altruistic, and duty-based Kantian morals.

This however, rests upon two false assumptions. One is to regard virtue wholly, as Rand puts it, an "end in itself," the other is to regard as unconnected to happiness. Both assumptions are false for the reasons Rand gives. But, accordingly, the alternative to regarding virtue as an instrumental means isn't the above, but to partly regard virtue as a means to happiness and partly as an end in itself. It can be partly an end in itself in that it is, partly, constitutive of happiness, and therefore avoids being unconnected to happiness.

For reasons why we should regard virtue as a constitutive means rather than instrumental, I would just point to all the same arguments Aristotle gives in the Nicomachean Ethics. If beyond that and the arguments and reasons and examples I've already been giving, you just have to look at it inductively by analyzing the nature of virtue, means, ends, the various ends we have, and ultimate ends.

A helpful way to think about it is asking whether an end is logically separable from its means, or is the means external to the ends, or is part of the end just incorporated by the means. 

Also there is the aspect of character development, incorporating long term principled behavior into emotional motivation as well as behavioral dispositions. Part of being virtuous isn't just a "one and done" thing, once you've got happiness or eudaimonia then you've got it. It's an ongoing continuous process, one that has to be developed and achieved and continuously maintained in ones character traits.

Rand talks about a principled commitment to living rationally, for example. It's not just excercising a faculty here or there, a bunch of neurons fired and I made a deduction, it's about cultivating a disposition towards using ones faculty and valuing it as a method on principle. The virtues are not only an abstract or intellectual commitment to "okay I need to use reason or be productive," etc, but also emotional and motivational dispositions. Then once I act to achieve all of these concrete values, I can't simple say "I've got it, I'm done with virtue" I have to keep maintain them, which will commit me to keeping and maintaining the same methods, long term, that brought me to the party, so to speak.

Edited by 2046

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