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James Bond

I think I might have to leave objectivism

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I'm starting to be persuaded by the arguments for anarcho-capitalism. If I do end up being completely persuaded, I would no longer be able to call myself an objectivist. Beyond that, I'm also starting to question the value of being associated with the philosophy of Ayn Rand. While agree with the tenets of Oism, I'm starting to wonder why I should specifically stick with the system of Oism rather than a more enumerative/academic approach to those same tenets. If you have any thoughts on why one should stick with a collected system rather than the alternative, I'd love to hear them.

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The question is, what about Oism do you think is wrong, and on what rational basis?

If you have studied Oism and accept it's premises and arguments, then you can only *leave* Oism by choosing irrationality.

That's entirely your choice.

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Your tagline seems to sum it up rather succinctly.

"If you permit it to be done, you deserve it." Ayn Rand

Is it even possible to divorce economics from ethics?

Edited by dream_weaver

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As for the choice between an academic approach vs. an integrated one, it strikes me as totally wrong-headed to put the "approach" first. Rather, you should first focus on the substance of the philosophy. What specifically is it about Objectivist that you believe is wrong?

You've suggested that specifically you reject the Objectivist position that the function of government is to have a monopoly on the use of force for the purpose of protecting individual rights. So is there a reason for rejecting this in favor of anarchy? If you don't understand anything about Objectivism then I suppose I could imagine that the idea of "principled freedom" might seem attractive, but if you do, then what argument for anarchy persuades you?

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James Bond, I am in a similar position as you, and have decided to say "I'm heavily influenced by Objectivism" instead of "I'm an Objectivist". I mean, if, like me, you think the argument for the necessity of government is flawed, but believe the whole of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and the derivation of the principle barring force and homesteading as the origin of property, then you are in agreement with vast majority of Objectivism. In fact, the only areas where you could possibly disagree are a) who exactly would be enforcing the law (what the law should be would be in common if you accept the Objectivist derivation of rights and property) and B) foreign policy (maybe, though you might also agree with the Objectivist position, given that we do in fact have a government in place along the present lines). These are two subcategories of the regions of a complete philosophy of life, and if you agree with the whole rest of Objectivist thought, I would say "heavily influenced by Objectivism" or "Objectivist-esque" or possibly, though not necessarily permissible would be "anarcho-Objectivist" if you really wanted to shorten it up (though I'm not sure if the latter would be good, to an Objectivist it would make clear exactly where you break with Objectivism, and that you agree with the rest; to the rest of the world it probably wouldn't be helpful, and possibly bad for the spread of the philosophy of Objectivism, as it might attach it with anarchists, which Objectivists are not).

Perhaps you could simply say this: "I'm an Objectivist, except I don't think there needs to be a government with a monopoly over a geographic region in order to enforce rights." That makes it very clear where you part ways.

I do expect anyone who is an anarcho-capitalist should refrain from calling themselves an Objectivist, without making it clear where they differ or at least making it clear there are some differences. As for that "academic approach", do you mean saying something like "I am a conceptualist empiricist, a rational egoist, and laissez-faire capitalist minarchist" instead of "Objectivist? Kind of a mouth-full, though it does give people an idea of where you're coming from for those who are unfamiliar with Objectivism.

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I'm starting to be persuaded by the arguments for anarcho-capitalism. If I do end up being completely persuaded, I would no longer be able to call myself an objectivist. Beyond that, I'm also starting to question the value of being associated with the philosophy of Ayn Rand. While agree with the tenets of Oism, I'm starting to wonder why I should specifically stick with the system of Oism rather than a more enumerative/academic approach to those same tenets. If you have any thoughts on why one should stick with a collected system rather than the alternative, I'd love to hear them.

Anarcho-Capitalism... bleh. Its a fallacy, reversal of cause and and effect.

Politics = Philosophers -> State -> Law -> Economics

Anarcho Capitalists think politics ideally is Economics -> Philosophers (individuals) -> Law -> Law Provider.

Anyways, could you be more specific about what you mean by a more "enumerative" or academic approach? Are you talking about Roderick Longe's work?

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The question is, what about Oism do you think is wrong, and on what rational basis?

If you have studied Oism and accept it's premises and arguments, then you can only *leave* Oism by choosing irrationality.

That's entirely your choice.

You raise an interesting point. Is it possible to leave Objectivism and still be rational? In order to do that, my personal philosophy would have to be more fully rational than Ayn Rand's. I think it may be.

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Anarcho-Capitalism... bleh. Its a fallacy, reversal of cause and and effect.

Politics = Philosophers -> State -> Law -> Economics

Anarcho Capitalists think politics ideally is Economics -> Philosophers (individuals) -> Law -> Law Provider.

Anyways, could you be more specific about what you mean by a more "enumerative" or academic approach? Are you talking about Roderick Longe's work?

I'm a fan of Roderick Long, and I think my view might be similar to his. Which is to say, perhaps I'm heavily influenced by objectivism, but outside Rand's closed system and more squarely positioned in general classical liberalism, peripateticism, and transhumanism.

You might argue I've never been an objectivist at all, because from the start I've agreed with David Kelley that objectivism, as a philosophy of reason, has precedence over Ayn Rand. You might be right. In that case, if you are right in your position, than so am I.

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You raise an interesting point. Is it possible to leave Objectivism and still be rational? In order to do that, my personal philosophy would have to be more fully rational than Ayn Rand's. I think it may be.

Objectivism isn't something you "leave," no membership is involved. As a philosophy on living life, it's a matter of deeming fundamental aspects of it as incorrect. The only thing you specified is that you disagree with the Objectivist position on government. What about everything else though? Where is it specifically that you diverge? I would suspect it's somewhere far before politics in hierarchy of knowledge; your political philosophy is dependent upon your ethical philosophy. You could have all the right premises about ethics, but that won't necessarily mean your political philosophy will then be correct. Still, you can't approach politics as something detached and floating on its own. You've barely provided anything about the particular points about Objectivism that you disagreed with. I don't even know of any "alternatives" to Objectivism that have the same tenets.

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I'm a fan of Roderick Long, and I think my view might be similar to his. Which is to say, perhaps I'm heavily influenced by objectivism, but outside Rand's closed system and more squarely positioned in general classical liberalism, peripateticism, and transhumanism.

You might argue I've never been an objectivist at all, because from the start I've agreed with David Kelley that objectivism, as a philosophy of reason, has precedence over Ayn Rand. You might be right. In that case, if you are right in your position, than so am I.

I may understand why you are attracted to the Academic approach to philosophy. For the most part, Academic philosophy is held to very strenuous standards to what you can or can not say is true, this is what I have been taught at least. I think this is especially true when considering people who challenge the status quo. This is why someone like Mises has to write about dozens of philosophical topic (polylogism for instance) before he can go about talking about how the logical structure of action implies capitalism.

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You might argue I've never been an objectivist at all, because from the start I've agreed with David Kelley that objectivism, as a philosophy of reason, has precedence over Ayn Rand. You might be right. In that case, if you are right in your position, than so am I.
You can always synthesize your own philosophy, using elements you agree with from elsewhere. The only requirement is that the pieces integrate right. Maybe you can call it "James Bondism".

Of course, if you call it "Bondism" someone is bound to come along and accuse you of creating a closed system, and tell you that the things that he thinks are rational are the real Bondism. It would be funny to see someone throw that strawman at you for a change.

Anyhow, more seriously, good luck on your search for truth.

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I would like for you to elaborate on why you think having a government is improper James Bond, especially since you are suggesting that the suggestion that there be one is flawed and that your own philosophy is more rational. I do not take affront to this comment of yours, but one should explain themselves when making those sort of comments out of common courtesy. If nothing else maybe we can get a better idea of what this disagreement is and better assist you with your original inquiry.

""I'm an Objectivist, except I don't think there needs to be a government with a monopoly over a geographic region in order to enforce rights." That makes it very clear where you part ways."

This is wrong, Objectivism is a system that requires a government. That is been made 100% clear many times over, end of story. You can say that you are influenced by Objectivism but to call yourself an Objectivist given the facts of your position would clearly be wrong. If you believe something else, call yourself something else, don't steal identifiers that don't correlate to your beliefs. It makes it seem like you don't know what you are talking about to those that know better, it harms the philosophy you left, it creates confusion...and a bunch of issues can arise that don't need to be brought about in the first place.

I also don't understand what you mean by "leave" Objectivism. Objectivism is not a religion, cult, club, or anything of that nature. You don't "leave" it, and suggesting you "might have to leave it" is improper given the nature of the philosophy of Objectivism.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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I'm always a bit baffled by why people seem to freight this sort of decision with such tremendous weight. Objectivism is a specific system of philosophical principles. If you understand and agree with them, then you're an Objectivist. If you don't, you aren't. That's simple enough. Whether you are rational and honest or irrational and dishonest depends entirely on the basis of your disagreement. If, to the best of your own ability and knowledge, you think you have identified an error or contradiction in the principles of Objectivism, then you should go by your own judgment and you are entirely rational and honest in doing so. If you're wrong, you'll figure it out on your own in due course, and reality will make you pay for the error.

It's worth pondering the distinctions between the following cases:

1) Disagreement with the actual philosophical principles of Objectivism.

2) Disagreement with the way these principles are applied to specific concretes by other self-proclaimed Objectivists.

3) Disagreement with the way these principles are formulated and defended by other self-proclaimed Objectivists.

4) Disagreement about the tactics and strategy used to advance these principles in the culture by other self-proclaimed Objectivists.

I think that (1) is the only thing that makes a person a non-Objectivist. (2), (3) and (4) may influence whether a person publicly describes themselves as one, or associates with the various organizations founded by Objectivists to advance the philosophy in various parts of the culture, but whether you are one is purely a matter of what you believe and why.

There's no shame in disagreement, as long as it's done honestly. I know some prominent Objectivists, like Paul Hsieh, who spent years chewing over various disagreements with Rand's philosophical principles before ultimately deciding they were true. I don't hold that against him -- quite the contrary. I greatly admire his intellectual integrity.

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If you pursue your contentions honestly and meticulously you'll either come to agreement with a far greater understanding or you'll have an opportunity to contribute to the field of knowledge. You may continue to profit from the insight of Ayn Rand without bearing her name on your chest when you enter into conversations.

The only problem I think that you have is that you think you must either be "inside" or "outside" of Objectivism.

Objectivism's not a house... or a dump truck.

Edited by Q.E.D.

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If you have any thoughts on why one should stick with a collected system rather than the alternative, I'd love to hear them.

That is the most basic question for anyone who first encounters philosophy. You are asking "What use is philosophy?". My (short) answer is this: The world is an interconnected whole, and so should be our knowledge of it. Attempting to validate pieces of information about reality outside the context of a fully integrated philosophical system, which forms the basis of one's knowledge about everything, is a futile effort. It will either paralyze you, or lead you to accept someone else's conclusions without validating them.

If you're looking for a better answer than that, you're in luck, since Ayn Rand published a whole book on the subject, title Philosophy: Who Needs It?

Here's a quote from the first chapter:

As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation—or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown.

As for whether you (or anyone else asking) should be an Objectivist, the answer is no. Objectivism is a philosophy, not a club. It is not a matter of membership, it is a matter of agreement with a set of ideas. So, "Should I be an Objectivist?" is equivalent to "Should I agree with Objectivism?". If you have to ask, obviously no. You should understand it, and then you'll either agree (and act on what you agree with) or not.

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That is the most basic question for anyone who first encounters philosophy. You are asking "What use is philosophy?". My (short) answer is this: The world is an interconnected whole, and so should be our knowledge of it. Attempting to validate pieces of information about reality outside the context of a fully integrated philosophical system, which forms the basis of one's knowledge about everything, is a futile effort. It will either paralyze you, or lead you to accept someone else's conclusions without validating them.

If you're looking for a better answer than that, you're in luck, since Ayn Rand published a whole book on the subject, title Philosophy: Who Needs It?

Here's a quote from the first chapter:

As for whether you (or anyone else asking) should be an Objectivist, the answer is no. Objectivism is a philosophy, not a club. It is not a matter of membership, it is a matter of agreement with a set of ideas. So, "Should I be an Objectivist?" is equivalent to "Should I agree with Objectivism?". If you have to ask, obviously no. You should understand it, and then you'll either agree (and act on what you agree with) or not.

Yes. Also 'leaving' O'ism is one thing, but how much will Objectivism leave you?

There isn't anything out there close to such a rational and integrated system, that I can see.B)

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That is the most basic question for anyone who first encounters philosophy. You are asking "What use is philosophy?". My (short) answer is this: The world is an interconnected whole, and so should be our knowledge of it. Attempting to validate pieces of information about reality outside the context of a fully integrated philosophical system, which forms the basis of one's knowledge about everything, is a futile effort. It will either paralyze you, or lead you to accept someone else's conclusions without validating them.

If you're looking for a better answer than that, you're in luck, since Ayn Rand published a whole book on the subject, title Philosophy: Who Needs It?

Here's a quote from the first chapter:

As for whether you (or anyone else asking) should be an Objectivist, the answer is no. Objectivism is a philosophy, not a club. It is not a matter of membership, it is a matter of agreement with a set of ideas. So, "Should I be an Objectivist?" is equivalent to "Should I agree with Objectivism?". If you have to ask, obviously no. You should understand it, and then you'll either agree (and act on what you agree with) or not.

I've read PWNI, and I appreciate it. But here's the thing. One can find all of the same tenets of objectivism throughout the history of philosophy, so why associate yourself with a philosophy that has a lot of negative externalities? Why not say I'm a transhumanist/atheist/capitalist/virtue theoriest/sense-datam critical realist/romantic realist? Why is that less useful than simply saying I'm an objectivist, and consequently attaching myself to a system that, like so many other associations, comes with imperfections. That's why I asked in the original post what the benefits of are of advocating a system, rather than advocating tenets.

Edited by James Bond

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I'm starting to be persuaded by the arguments for anarcho-capitalism. If I do end up being completely persuaded, I would no longer be able to call myself an objectivist. Beyond that, I'm also starting to question the value of being associated with the philosophy of Ayn Rand. While agree with the tenets of Oism, I'm starting to wonder why I should specifically stick with the system of Oism rather than a more enumerative/academic approach to those same tenets. If you have any thoughts on why one should stick with a collected system rather than the alternative, I'd love to hear them.

What, specifically, is this alternative? Where is there an "enumerative/academic approach to those same tenets?" Can you give one or two examples of the specific alternatives you are choosing over?

As to "why one should stick with a collected system rather than the alternative," that is, I'm afraid, a no-brainer. Why prefer something more complete over something less so? Why prefer something integrated over something less so? You get the point.

Being known to be an Objectivist while in academia is bothersome, no doubt. A personal warning, if I may: take yourself, your education, your path, very seriously.

Mindy

p.s. What in anarchism is seeming sensible--it isn't a very sound idea about society.

Edited by Mindy

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This is wrong, Objectivism is a system that requires a government. That is been made 100% clear many times over, end of story. You can say that you are influenced by Objectivism but to call yourself an Objectivist given the facts of your position would clearly be wrong. If you believe something else, call yourself something else, don't steal identifiers that don't correlate to your beliefs. It makes it seem like you don't know what you are talking about to those that know better, it harms the philosophy you left, it creates confusion...and a bunch of issues can arise that don't need to be brought about in the first place.

I also don't understand what you mean by "leave" Objectivism. Objectivism is not a religion, cult, club, or anything of that nature. You don't "leave" it, and suggesting you "might have to leave it" is improper given the nature of the philosophy of Objectivism.

A large proportion of my post was addressed to the topic you raise here (you quoted me, btw, I don't know if you realized that or not, thought you might have thought it was from James Bond). I gave a number of possible ways of saying the same thing. Saying "I am an Objectivist EXCEPT X" means that I am an Objectivist in every way excluding my opinion on X which is different from that of Objectivism. Indeed, the distinction is made absolutely clear. Saying "I am an Objectivist and an anarchist" would be totally wrong. Saying "I am an Objectivist except I don't believe a government is necessary" says two things: 1) In every issue except whether or not government is necessary, I agree, 2) Since the only place where I differ with Objectivism is that I do not believe a government is necessary, then obviously Objectivism holds that a government is necessary. The position of Objectivism is made clear, as well as where I disagree. It is the most concise and accurate way of representing someone like James Bond's (or possibly, as I am undecided on that issue, my own) philosophical position.

I would not, if I used such a construction, be stealing any identifier. "I am an Objectivist" means "I agree with all the tenets of the philosophy of Objectivism." "Except I do not believe government is necessary" then modifies that to say this: "I agree with all the tenets of the philosophy of Objectivism but one (and those later conclusions which depend upon it)- Objectivism says that government is necessary, but I do not believe that to be the case." It muddies the waters no more than saying "I am heavily influenced by Objectivism." Indeed, it makes it very very clear the separation between my views and those of Objectivism. If one were to have a conversation with someone who had said that they are "influenced by Objectivism", they would then, in order to make clear where they differ, have to later say (for example, when the subject of government came up) "and here is where I disagree with Objectivism" which is exactly the same as saying "I am an Objectivist except I don't think government is necessary."

Using concepts in this way is perfectly valid. It is indeed the whole reason for the concept "except": It enables you to shorten your manner of speaking without loss of information or clarity. Also, I never mentioned "leaving Objectivism", as that is absurd (for the reasons you stated).

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One can find all of the same tenets of objectivism throughout the history of philosophy, so why associate yourself with a philosophy that has a lot of negative externalities? Why not say I'm a transhumanist/atheist/capitalist/virtue theoriest/sense-datam critical realist/romantic realist? Why is that less useful than simply saying I'm an objectivist, and consequently attaching myself to a system that, like so many other associations, comes with imperfections. That's why I asked in the original post what the benefits of are of advocating a system, rather than advocating tenets.

Eh, I don't know if you can get exactly the concepts of Objectivism in other philosophies. Your list gives a general idea, but it takes a lot more talking than saying "Objectivist, except I don't think government is necessary". Okay, well maybe not. But the latter is a more precise way of stating your position, to those in the know about Objectivism at least. You could condense transhumanist and capitalist together with "extropian", though that term has gotten less popular (google it, it's probably right up your alley), just fyi.

DO NOT call yourself an Objectivist without some "except"s buddy, that is improper both epistemologically and morally. Another way is to say "I am a Bondist" if you like, though that would give no one any information about your philosophy, and would probably make people think you roleplay as 007 all the time, haha.

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One can find all of the same tenets of objectivism throughout the history of philosophy

That's only true the way it is true that one can come up with the Theory of Relativity from old Physics books. Sure, one can, in fact Einstein did, and he relied on nothing more than information about reality that was available for everyone to see and read about, to do it.

But no one else did. Not Relativity, and not Objectivism. Before Ayn Rand, no one even came close to the philosophical system she published in her books.

I've read PWNI, and I appreciate it. But here's the thing. One can find all of the same tenets of objectivism throughout the history of philosophy, so why associate yourself with a philosophy that has a lot of negative externalities? Why not say I'm a transhumanist/atheist/capitalist/virtue theoriest/sense-datam critical realist/romantic realist? Why is that less useful than simply saying I'm an objectivist, and consequently attaching myself to a system that, like so many other associations, comes with imperfections. That's why I asked in the original post what the benefits of are of advocating a system, rather than advocating tenets.

The benefit comes from being honest with yourself and others. Is Ayn Rand the source of your philosophy, or not? If she is, hiding that because it's convenient is the immoral, pragmatist approach.

One specific disadvantage is that the people you talk to won't have the chance to benefit from the books you read, and unless you can sit down with them and explain the philosophy from start to finish, will not have the chance to understand what you're talking about.

And, of course, anyone even remotely familiar with philosophy will recognize what you are talking about as Rand's work. No one will think that you perused old philosophy books and came up with the same exact philosophical system Rand did, they'll instead wonder why you're hiding the source of your "tenets".

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One can find all of the same tenets of objectivism throughout the history of philosophy, so why associate yourself with a philosophy that has a lot of negative externalities? Why not say I'm a transhumanist/atheist/capitalist/virtue theoriest/sense-datam critical realist/romantic realist?
So you don't actually disagree with Objectivism, you object to its reputation, right?

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3) Disagreement with the way these principles are formulated and defended by other self-proclaimed Objectivists.

I'd have to be this one, but not by "other self-proclaimed Objectivists", but by Ayn Rand and other mainstream Objectivists. I'm particularly bothered by their colorful and non-rigorous writing style, and their historic and theoretical understanding of anarchism, socialism and communism. Other than that, I agree with all the basic principles, so I don't think that would be obstacle for calling myself "Objectivist." Perhaps that would make me one of those neo-Objectivists, but I don't really care about tagging myself under any particular name, nor I have the need to go around saying that I am or am not an Objectivist.

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You should say "practical" or "non-theoretical", since you're the one who pushes a purely theoretical conception of communism that has never been existed in reality.

I'm pretty sure Rand had a solid grasp of the actual, historical practice of Communism, insofar as she grew up during its rise to power in Russia. She saw what Communist ideologues with political power did with it, up close and personal.

As for the 'colorful, non-rigorous' writing style complaint -- I think you have to be aware of the audience for which these people are writing. Most Objectivists write for what I call the intelligent layperson. For that audience a colorful, energetic and essentialized presentation works very well. Objectivists who are writing to a contemporary academic audience use a very different style -- drier, more detailed, different word choice -- because that's what that audience expects. Examples of the latter can be seen in the work of (for example) Tara Smith, Allan Gotthelf, Ben Bayer and Greg Salmieri. A few examples:

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