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Eiuol

Why is life not intrinsically good?

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No, I refer to the situation in which life cannot sustain itself. Properly speaking, this is not life but an agony. Process of dying cannot be qualified as life. In fact such a process is exact antithesis of life. The argument stays.

LOL

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However, isn't life good for all people in all circumstances, regardless of how it relates to an individual, because it is the only thing that enables a living entity to exist?

Yes you have to be alive to act, but that doesn't make life an intrinsic value, because you don't yet know that acting (any acting) is valuable. It's only after you have a proof of the value of life, that acting becomes valuable, and therefore also the ability to act. But by that stage you already know life is valuable.

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No, I refer to the situation in which life cannot sustain itself. Properly speaking, this is not life but an agony. Process of dying cannot be qualified as life. In fact such a process is exact antithesis of life. The argument stays.

Yes, in certain situations life has no value.

I agree with the second quoted section. The first is merely you backpedaling and playing semantic games and also claiming "a is not a" when you say "life is not life". You acknowledged that "in certain situations life has no value", that's good enough for me.

Other than that I see now how futile it is to reason with you on this topic.

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I agree with the second quoted section. The first is merely you backpedaling and playing semantic games and also claiming "a is not a" when you say "life is not life". You acknowledged that "in certain situations life has no value", that's good enough for me.

Other than that I see now how futile it is to reason with you on this topic.

Life which is agony, that is-process of dying, has no value. In spite that organism during such a process still alive, all its actions are opposite to the process of living. By definition such an organism cannot successfully pursuit any values and eventually ceases to exist. But obviously, if one ignores this essential difference, one run into contradictions. Life is life, but life which is agony is not. They are two different concepts.

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Life which is agony, that is-process of dying, has no value. In spite that organism during such a process still alive, all its actions are opposite to the process of living. By definition such an organism cannot successfully pursuit any values and eventually ceases to exist. But obviously, if one ignores this essential difference, one run into contradictions. Life is life, but life which is agony is not. They are two different concepts.

Equivocation

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This is not equivocation. We are talking here about two opposite processes-living and dying. They have different ontology, identity and causation but pertain to one object. Only living organism can live or die.

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As someone who has been suicidal, that statement (upon reflection) may be circular: my conception of death involved my seeing it as release from a physiological status, that is, chemical issues, as opposed to honour— given that life is a creation of physics/chemistry parameters, it is we the living who possess the necessary strength to consider it.. as a reductionist, I see our brain size/neural net efficiency as, upon becoming self-aware, the instigator, and thus exclaiming, "It is good"...

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As someone who has been suicidal, that statement (upon reflection) may be circular: my conception of death involved my seeing it as release from a physiological status, that is, chemical issues, as opposed to honour— given that life is a creation of physics/chemistry parameters, it is we the living who possess the necessary strength to consider it.. as a reductionist, I see our brain size/neural net efficiency as, upon becoming self-aware, the instigator, and thus exclaiming, "It is good"...

First, can you demonstrate the circularity? Second, life qua life is not creation of physics/chemistry parameters. Life is self-organization of physical and chemical elements into emergent structure. Such a structure possesses emergent properties which its parts don't possess-namely the ability to take self-generated goal-goal orientation action in order to sustain itself. This action could be driven only by self-causation when the cause is the goal projected into the future. Life, therefore, is irreducible phenomenon; reductionism doesn't apply to life-process. The basic irreducible unit of life is a cell. Molecules aren't alive. As a matter of fact, the term "molecular biology is an oxymoron". Mind is not the end in itself; it is a tool of human survival. When you proclaim "It is good" you mean it is good for your life. As Ayn Rand put it "All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil."(GS)

In fact, the process of dying is a process of reduction of life to its physical-chemical elements and such a process don’t require any self-generated action. If one is not in particular hurry to die, he could simply stop to act and Nature will take its course.

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Life is only a value to those who rationally choose it with consideration to all other circumstances affecting that person's life. It is rationally possible to choose death as a value over life given the right circumstances. In this case, life ceases to be of value. It doesn't matter that the heart keeps beating, the liver keeps functioning, skin cells keep growing, because they are not man's "life". In fact, they are now a dis-value to the man who rationally seeks to end his life, all of these functions being things that he seeks to no longer act to gain or keep; functions that he is acting to stop and no longer pursue. Man's mind determines his values, not the functioning of the parts of his body. While they are of value to a man who chooses to continue to pursue his life, they are no longer a value to the man who seeks stop them in order to achieve his new goal of death. I really can't think of a simpler way to demonstrate that to you.

If you want to keep talking about plants making choices and such... that's up to you. However, since this board is about Objectivism, a philosophy for guiding man's life, I'm going to bow out.

I would disagree that one might rationally choose death over life. Galt saying that he would kill himself to prevent Dagny's being tortured is not his choosing death over life, but of choosing Dagny's protection at the cost of his life, with the proviso that what life would be possible to him once he endured her being tortured was less than life qua man. The valuing that life qua man implies is impossible to someone who has accepted the price of such torture.

This is very much like suicide in the face of permanent, debilitating pain. Life qua man does not include lying drugged and moaning 24/7. For someone in that situation, life is already over. Disease has made living impossible, and suicide merely kills off the suffering, which is all that is left. I like to think of it as one's life versus one's living. The living of life can become impossible before organic integrity is wholly lost. But it is living, doing, that we want, and, in the absence of that, organic death doesn't matter.

The significance I find in this context is organic life is a value because it is a prerequisite for living in the sense of being more than a vegetable--for living the life of man qua man, in Rand's terms. The "living" sense of life can never be rationally rejected. In that sense, one cannot rationally choose death over life. Death has not become a value. Organic dissolution can be a value when it ends pain, and when living is no longer possible.

-- Mindy

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I would disagree that one might rationally choose death over life. Galt saying that he would kill himself to prevent Dagny's being tortured is not his choosing death over life, but of choosing Dagny's protection at the cost of his life, with the proviso that what life would be possible to him once he endured her being tortured was less than life qua man. The valuing that life qua man implies is impossible to someone who has accepted the price of such torture.

This is very much like suicide in the face of permanent, debilitating pain. Life qua man does not include lying drugged and moaning 24/7. For someone in that situation, life is already over. Disease has made living impossible, and suicide merely kills off the suffering, which is all that is left. I like to think of it as one's life versus one's living. The living of life can become impossible before organic integrity is wholly lost. But it is living, doing, that we want, and, in the absence of that, organic death doesn't matter.

The significance I find in this context is organic life is a value because it is a prerequisite for living in the sense of being more than a vegetable--for living the life of man qua man, in Rand's terms. The "living" sense of life can never be rationally rejected. In that sense, one cannot rationally choose death over life. Death has not become a value. Organic dissolution can be a value when it ends pain, and when living is no longer possible.

-- Mindy

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In certain circumstances the continuation of life is not a matter of choice. When life became an agony, that is-non life, one may choose not to prolong such a condition. This is not a choice of death over life but a choice to avoid prolonged agonizing dying. Such a choice is moral and just.

Edited by Leonid

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In certain circumstances the continuation of life is not a matter of choice. When life became an agony, that is-non life, one may choose not to prolong such a condition. This is not a choice of death over life but a choice to avoid prolonged agonizing dying.

And that is why life is not intrinsically good. Choosing to die *is* choosing death. When life becomes agony, life ceases to be of a value.

Mindy, how is organic dissolution, as you phrased it, anything besides death?

Edited by Eiuol

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And that is why life is not intrinsically good. Choosing to die *is* choosing death. When life becomes agony, life ceases to be of a value.

Mindy, how is organic dissolution, as you phrased it, anything besides death?

When life becomes agony it ceases to be life. The application of life's standards to the process of dying is contradiction in terms. Dying has nothing to do with the question whether life has intrinsic value.

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And that is why life is not intrinsically good. Choosing to die *is* choosing death. When life becomes agony, life ceases to be of a value.

Mindy, how is organic dissolution, as you phrased it, anything besides death?

I lost track of this thread. Organic dissolution leads to death, yes. But it is organic dissolution that is valued, not death. When living qua man is gone, man's life is gone. His organic dissolution is a way to dispose of the remains. All of this is only for the completely rational man, of course.

Note that the quotes of Rand's talking about "intrinsic good" don't say intrinsic value. What is good is an end, what is a value is a means to an end. That makes "intrinsic value" an oxymoron.

-- Mindy

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