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Leonid

Whose is this life anyway

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"To ensure freedom of action in a social context" means to preserve undiminished the power or ability to act which he had outside of a social context even after entering a social context.

Nothing you wrote here makes any sense because you tried to redefine 'freedom of action' as just a another way to refer to the abstraction 'rights'. Freedom of action is the sum of possible actions open to one, and each action included in that sum would be have a particular physical component and thus be an observable particular, the opposite of an abstraction.

You should read my previous posts. Right is not abstraction. Moral principle to protect rights is. The premise of freedom is based on the right to live-right to act in order to survive. If you do it not by right but by permission that what you have is not a freedom.

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The purpose of individual rights is to protect the moral from the immoral.

They are the last line of defence for a moral person.

Does a theoretical, perfectly rational society need rights?

Did such a social code exist in Galt's Gulch? Not sure about that.

I think the fundamental concept that requires protection from others is one's self-

sovereignty - no better portrayed than by Aristotle's "I have gained this

from philosophy: that I do without being commanded, what others do only from

fear of the law."

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The purpose of individual rights is to protect the moral from the immoral.

They are the last line of defence for a moral person.

Does a theoretical, perfectly rational society need rights?

Did such a social code exist in Galt's Gulch? Not sure about that.

Rights are the very essence of any real-life Galt's Gulch.

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From a previous post of Leonid's

So political right in fact is a man-made moral principle which protects man's right to live, but this principle is not identical with man's right to live which is part of man's nature, faculty of his self-awareness and ,therefore natural and metaphysically given, as his volition and mind. If man's right to live is not natural then it is granted and man possesses his right to live by permission, which is contradiction in terms. Everyone who objects to the idea that man's rights are intrinsic to his very nature should also remember that contradictions don't exist.

Rights are not intrinsic. What is the meaning of a metaphysical given right? Consider a man drowning in the middle of an ocean. Will the ocean heed his cries for help and keep him afloat? No. (Heinlein 1959)

You are misapplying the principle of distinguishing the metaphysical from the man-made by asserting that if rights are man-made then they come from others or government and that is equivalent to living by permission. But man-made is a much broader categorization than you currently permit it to be. Apply the metaphysical vs. the man-made distinction to the correspondence principle of truth. Facts are metaphysical, truths are man-made. Rights are truths, that is the manner in which they are man-made. The truth "rights" corresponds to the facts of human nature, which is what is metaphysically given.

I find this effort to be essentially to advance straight from metaphysics to ethics and rights by skipping epistemology. It doesn't work.

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From a previous post of Leonid's

Rights are not intrinsic. What is the meaning of a metaphysical given right? Consider a man drowning in the middle of an ocean. Will the ocean heed his cries for help and keep him afloat? No. (Heinlein 1959)

You are misapplying the principle of distinguishing the metaphysical from the man-made by asserting that if rights are man-made then they come from others or government and that is equivalent to living by permission. But man-made is a much broader categorization than you currently permit it to be. Apply the metaphysical vs. the man-made distinction to the correspondence principle of truth. Facts are metaphysical, truths are man-made. Rights are truths, that is the manner in which they are man-made. The truth "rights" corresponds to the facts of human nature, which is what is metaphysically given.

I find this effort to be essentially to advance straight from metaphysics to ethics and rights by skipping epistemology. It doesn't work.

No, I don't skip epistemology. In my view right is a self-awareness of the metaphysical fact that man owns his life and therefore he's free to act in order to preserve and to advance it. Self-awareness, introspection belong to the field of epistemology exactly as all others mechanisms of perception. Moreover, without this self-awareness man cannot reach the concept of rights. Concept "is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition." So in order to form concept of rights man first has to be aware that rights exist as metaphysically given reality. A man who is drowning in the middle of ocean is acutely aware that he has right to live and will do everything in his power to preserve this right. Truth is made-made concept which designates the metaphysically given fact that A corresponds to reality. In this regard it is similar to the concept of rights which also designates a metaphysically giving reality:namely- all man have right to live.

Edited by Leonid

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whYNOT "Did such a social code exist in Galt's Gulch? Not sure about that."

Yes, it does. Social code is not only protection from criminals and government abuse. It's a code which protects the man's wellbeing, his right to live qua man in any kind of relationship with other people, including romantic love. As an example of such a code consider relation between Galt, Dagny and Francisco in Galt's Gulch. Dagny in love with Galt but still have feeling for Francisco.

" He was looking down at her, neither hiding what he felt nor implying any further demand. She drew back, knowing that she had felt the same desire as his." ( pg 772)

Galt is well aware of this but would Galt give up his life-long love for sake of " happiness" of his best friend? No, because that would mean to give up his right to live and in the process to destroy the lives of all three of them. The social conduct of Galt in this situation therefore is driven by his intrinsic knowledge that he has right for life and happiness. He rebukes Dagny for her attempt to test this knowledge. When Francisco invites Dagny to stay with him in Gulch instead to stay with Galt, she avoids the answer and let Galt to decide " I want the decision to be yours"-she said.( pg 796). Galt decided and said to Dagny:

"You had to put me to test in order to learn whether i'd fall to the lowest stage of altruism?...Nobody stays here by faking reality in any manner whatsoever" . ( 796-7)

. And this is the rule of social conduct in Galt's Gulch. Denial of reality inevitably would lead to negation of man's ownership on his life, his happiness and his right to live qua man. Ayn Rand then goes on the long and detailed explanation how such a self-denial would destroy the lives of all three of them. Even voluntary infringement of man's right for life and happiness which is a metaphysical cause of altruism couldn't bring anything except of suffering and destruction. That why altruism is impractical and that why you need social conduct based on your inalienable right to live in Galt's Gulch. That why you need your right to live, an acute awareness that you own your life in the middle of the ocean and on deserted island. Maybe in these situations you need it mostly.

Edited by Leonid

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Nope: I don't get it. In Galt's Gulch we're talking of the highest

level of rationally moral people.

If individual rights are a 'delimitation' of what one cannot do to

another, they also are no guide to what one should do. That's the preserve

of rational egoism.

Remember, these are highly aware people who hold no contradictions, and know

the consequences of their actions. Can such people have insoluble differences?

My understanding is rights are for present societies of mixed premises

and moralities, necessitating a properly minimal government to uphold

those rights - in the Gulch they are superfluous.

Am I so far off?

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whYNOT: "If individual rights are a 'delimitation' of what one cannot do to another, they also are no guide to what one should do. "

No, they are guides or rather foundation of guidance. Delimitation is a moral principle which protects rights, but right to live itself as part of man's self-consciousness is foundation of his standard of value. You know that you have right to live, your life is rightfully yours and if you want to keep this ownership you have to take certain course of actions in regard to the nature and to your fellow men.This course of actions defined by the moral code accepted by choice, your ethics, based on this standard. Social conduct means set of principles which regulate man's relationship with others. Non-initiation of force or delimitation as you call it is only one of them . In fact all Objectivist values and virtues are aimed to the preservation of man's right to live qua man. In my example this virtue is honesty, its violation spells disaster to everyone involved. Dagny tried little evasion when she refused to take decision and was properly rebuked for that.

Edited by Leonid

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whYNOT: "If individual rights are a 'delimitation' of what one cannot do to another, they also are no guide to what one should do. "

No, they are guides or rather foundation of guidance. Delimitation is a moral principle which protects rights, but right to live itself as part of man's self-consciousness is foundation of his standard of value. You know that you have right to live, your life is rightfully yours and if you want to keep this ownership you have to take certain course of actions in regard to the nature and to your fellow men.This course of actions defined by the moral code accepted by choice, your ethics, based on this standard. Social conduct means set of principles which regulate man's relationship with others. Non-initiation of force or delimitation as you call it is only one of them . In fact all Objectivist values and virtues are aimed to the preservation of man's right to live qua man.

Leon,

Look, I take as a 'given' that a rationally moral man or woman does not refuse others,

that which they take for themselves. Such is, I think, his and her respect for everyone's life,

and their 'self-ownership' of it. Social intercourse between such people requires then no

regulation or code.

On another note, it seems to me that the greatest evil perpetrated by Initiation of Force

(whether by government, or by a person) is coming between an individual and his direct relation

with reality.

(Thompson and Galt, remember?)

:)

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Tony : " Social intercourse between such people requires then no regulation or code."

Every human action is chosen and therefore requires code of values. What you mean in fact, that not always such a code has to be enforced or regulated. . If by social conduct you mean a code enforced by society, then you are right, but very often such a regulation is not required. Social conduct means much more then simple respect for everyone's life. It should be based on the system of values which pertains to reality. Although such a code is not enforced , it doesn't mean that violation of it, like faking reality for example, could go unpunished. The greatest evil is a betrayal of one own values by means of faking reality and whim worshiping which means a volitional negation of one's right to live. No government can perpetuate a damage greater than man can impose on himself and on others by using the wrong code of values as a basis for his social conduct. For elaboration read AS pg 797, where Rand explains what would happen to Galt, Dagny and Francisco if Galt were committing an act of self-sacrifice and giving up Dagny for Francisco's sake.

Edited by Leonid

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In my view right is a self-awareness of the metaphysical fact that man owns his life and therefore he's free to act in order to preserve and to advance it.

This sentence asserts that 'owns' is concept within metaphysics. It is not.

Self-awareness, introspection belong to the field of epistemology exactly as all others mechanisms of perception. Moreover, without this self-awareness man cannot reach the concept of rights.
This is dodging the point. The epistemology you are skipping over is the hierarchical reduction and validation of the concept of 'rights'. How convenient it would be if rights were first level and we could point to them in demonstration. But they are abstractions, and normative abstractions at that.

Concept "is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition." So in order to form concept of rights man first has to be aware that rights exist as metaphysically given reality.

If this were correct it would imply that it is not possible to make abstractions from abstractions. But it is possible to abstract from abstractions. Therefore this is wrong.

A man who is drowning in the middle of ocean is acutely aware that he has right to live and will do everything in his power to preserve this right.

Attempting to stay afloat in an ocean has nothing to do with rights, he may as well be contemplating the life affirming functions of art or the economic forecasts for the next financial quarter. The right to live applied to a man alone is completely meaningless in the objective sense that it fails to refer to anything existential.

Truth is made-made concept which designates the metaphysically given fact that A corresponds to reality.

No, facts do not correspond to reality, facts are reality. What corresponds or fails to correspond to reality are concepts, and concepts are never metaphysically given. All concepts are man made. Whether a concept A is valid or identifications of the nature A are correct is not metaphysically given.

There is a hierarchical reduction of rights which you should study.

Turning now to the question of logical validation: since they are not primaries, man's rights require proof through the appropriate process of reduction. In the Objectivist approach, the nature of such reduction is readily apparent. Each of man's rights has a specific source in the Objectivist ethics and, beneath that, in the Objectivist view of man's metaphysical nature (which in turn rests on the Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology). Man is a certain kind of living organism— which leads to his need of morality and to man's life being the moral standard—which leads to the right to act by the guidance of this standard, i.e., the right to life. Reason is man's basic means of survival—which leads to rationality being the primary virtue—which leads to the right to act according to one's judgment, i.e., the right to liberty. Unlike animals, man does not survive by adjusting to the given—which leads to productiveness being a cardinal virtue—which leads to the right to keep, use, and dispose of the things one has produced, i.e., the right to property. Reason is an attribute of the individual, one that demands, as a condition of its function, unbreached allegiance to reality—which leads to the ethics of egoism—which leads to the right to the pursuit of happiness.

Since a proper philosophy is an integrated system, each right rests not merely on a single ethical or metaphysical principle, but on all the principles just mentioned (and ultimately on all the principles, from every branch of philosophy, which precede the issue of rights).

So you are not merely skipping over epistemology but large swaths of ethics as well.

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Nope: I don't get it. In Galt's Gulch we're talking of the highest

level of rationally moral people.

If individual rights are a 'delimitation' of what one cannot do to

another, they also are no guide to what one should do. That's the preserve

of rational egoism.

Remember, these are highly aware people who hold no contradictions, and know

the consequences of their actions. Can such people have insoluble differences?

My understanding is rights are for present societies of mixed premises

and moralities, necessitating a properly minimal government to uphold

those rights - in the Gulch they are superfluous.

Am I so far off?

I think you need to contemplate further what moral perfection means to beings that are finite in their knowledge and ability to act and also fallible.

Conflicts do not need to be insoluble before a principle for resolving conflicts is necessary.

Yes, rights are necessary in Galt's Gulch. The fact that the inhabitants of the Gulch understood rights was what kept the place peaceful, and was a prerequisite for admission in the first place. The single provision made for enforcement, that Judge Narragansett would decide conflicts, was never used but that is evidence that rights were known and observed by the inhabitants not that rights were absent.

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Grames

I have to redefine my terms, otherwise our conversation looks like a dialogue between deaf and mute. You refer to political rights which is a man made concept, a moral law which protect man's right to live.Your quote from OPAR also refers to political rights-that is, branch of morality. I refer to metaphysical right which is an awareness of one's ownership on one own life. This awareness is metaphysical since it's inseparable from the self-awareness. The moment one is able to pronounce the word " I", he knows that he exists, and his life belongs to him. Without such a knowledge no volition, nor mind is possible. And for the proof simply ask yourself how do you know that you live by right? Do you need Locke or Rand to tell you this, or you learned it from the simple act of introspection? If you don't own your life by right, on what ground you can make any choices and act upon them? If you deny the metaphysical nature of right, then you cannot define right as freedom of action in social context. Right to live precedes volition and freedom. It also precedes the need to secure right in the social context- if there no rights, then there nothing to secure. In your quote Peikoff validates the need of protection of rights on the ground that if rights are violated man cannot exist and that is definitely true. The same time Peikoff confirms the metaphysical nature of rights.

"Man is a certain kind of living organism— which leads to his need of morality and to man's life being the moral standard—which leads to the right to act by the guidance of this standard, i.e., the right to life. "

In other words, man possesses rights simply by the virtue of being alive-and that what I claim as well. However right to live is not a derivate of right to act, it IS right to make choices and act upon them. Such a right is intrinsic to the human nature. In addition I'd say that man is aware that he is alive and this self-awareness is awareness of ownership on his own life. Rights, volition and morality are not deductive but inductive concepts. Man learns that life is standard of value via pleasure-pain mechanism long before he's able to form the first syllogism.

"Attempting to stay afloat in an ocean has nothing to do with rights, he may as well be contemplating the life affirming functions of art or the economic forecasts for the next financial quarter"

Then he most probably will drown

Edited by Leonid

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Morality is a code of values accepted by choice, but in order to make any choice man has to own his life by right. Right to live therefore precedes morality. If one doesn't live by right, he has no freedom to choose and to act upon his choices.

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On 4/25/2012 at 7:13 AM, whYNOT said:

Even to the extent of a society where individual rights have been eradicated, a person can not lose sovereign ownership of his life. I still maintain that this is not a "right" (which is man-made and man-observing) but rather is a "given" (by virtue of his existence.) The standard of value is not 'the Creator', nor is it other people, but the self.

So the torturer cannot ever force a victim to look at him (the torturer)  as "good". That is not part of human nature. The victim is "always" free to chose how he will view the torturer.

I wonder if the issue is a descriptive vs. prescriptive issue. That where individual rights have been eradicated, descriptively, people will still have choices to go to the left or the right. But individual rights are what a human should have (prescriptively) but are absent in those societies.

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