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From this quote from Ayn Rand:

"The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics—the standard by which one judges what is good or evil—is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man."

 

What does man mean in this context such as it is.

 

Ethics is, after all, a set of hierarchical decision points that let us choose the least undesirable choice where all choices are undesirable. 

 

I'll appreciate all points of view.

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This is not an answer, because I can't quite get a handle on your question; but, hopefully this will spark some clarification and discussion.

 

"Man" has no special meaning...just human beings. However, the real key to your question might be in your definition of ethics. Rand would not see ethics as a science that tells you how to choose between multiple undesirable choices. The issue with such a definition is that the use of the term "undesirable" puts the focus on emotion rather than reason. Does it mean we should go ahead and do everything that we find desirable? Perhaps, but it depends on what one means by "desire". If one gives it a hedonistic / emotional connotation then, clearly, we should not do anything we find desirable. Even if we give the term a more reason-based meaning, we're still left with a problem: what is desirable if we base desire in reason? We can't assume it away: that begs the question.

 

Let me explain the "beg the question" point...

 

For example, some ethical systems say that every value we chase comes with a problem: we get tied into the value and the counter to the pleasure it brings us is the sadness when we lose it, and the satiation that makes us simply want more. Such an ethical system might say that the best approach is to limit one's goals to simple, achievable pleasures (e.g. see Epicureanism). It might even go further and say that one should keep reducing one's desires until nothing really matters too much (e.g., see some extremely ascetic ethical systems). Or, an ethical system might say that just as cells should contribute to the health of the organism, humans should contribute to the health of their societies (e.g. see Plato). 

 

These systems are giving us a world-view and a standard by which we judge certain actions to be good (rationally desirable). They don't beg the question of: how do we know what is desirable?

Edited by softwareNerd

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As SN said, I think some clarification would help as I might be answering the wrong point.  If you mean man - This is man as a human being and what is necessary for him to provide for his survival and thrive.  Thus, what he (man) has to do to thrive as a human (man).  Man qua man.  

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Ethics is, after all, a set of hierarchical decision points that let us choose the least undesirable choice where all choices are undesirable. 

In addition to what SN mentioned, that would also mean that there can't really be any moral "good"; just varying degrees of evil and various degrees of pain.  I prefer to think of ethics as a way to weigh and judge our desires, themselves; to see what's worth spending our finite lifespans in the pursuit of.

 

As for "qua man", man is a 'rational animal' because his primary means of survival is his mind.  If you stop thinking then you will die.

A man who doesn't live as "man qua man" is one who doesn't really want to be what he is; like a bird that wants to break its own wings.  He lives according to other peoples' decisions and thinks whatever other people think, because- while even that requires some amount of thought (if only to know what others think)- it allows him to survive on the least possible amount of it.

So living as "man qua man" means living as consciously as possible; looking with your own eyes and thinking with your own brain, making all of your own decisions for the purpose of optimizing your own longevity and prosperity.  It means to understand and embrace your own nature.

 

It's your 'proper estate'.  :thumbsup:

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From this quote from Ayn Rand:

"The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics—the standard by which one judges what is good or evil—is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man."

 

What does man mean in this context such as it is.

 

Ethics is, after all, a set of hierarchical decision points that let us choose the least undesirable choice where all choices are undesirable. 

 

I'll appreciate all points of view.

"Qua" is Latin for "in the capacity of" so "qua man" means, for Objectivism, pertaining to the capacity of man as a rational being.  Since reason is  his means of survival, the standard of good and evil in ethics pertains to actions and ideas that which enable man to live as a rational human being.

 

Objectivism strongly disagrees with your view of ethics.  It rejects utilitarianism completely. 

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In the phrase "Man's life", "Man" means an individual human being, not a species or race. You should equate "man" here, with "each man".

 

In the phrase "man's survival qua man" is not so much an appeal to man as "different" from anything else, so much as it is a re-affirmation of the law of identity: that a man's survival in any context depends upon a man's nature, a man IS what he is: you cannot ignore any of what a man is i.e. Man qua Man includes ALL he is, including the unique ability and requirement (to flourish)to be rational.

 

(Do not confuse the above identification "qua man" with only that which is uniquely human as such would mean a kind of denial of the totality of what each man is, you must embrace the unique whole of the nature of a man to determine what constitutes his survival and what serves it).

 

THAT determines good and evil for that man.  Remember although this is NOT subjectivism, the beneficiary of morality IS the individual, it is a morality of rational SELF interest.

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"Qua" is Latin for "in the capacity of" so "qua man" means, for Objectivism, pertaining to the capacity of man as a rational being.  Since reason is  his means of survival, the standard of good and evil in ethics pertains to actions and ideas that which enable man to live as a rational human being.

 

Objectivism strongly disagrees with your view of ethics.  It rejects utilitarianism completely. 

A is A, how do you get utilitarianism from:

 

"a set of hierarchical decision points that let us choose the least undesirable choice where all choices are undesirable."

 

 

If the standard of "desirable" is a man's life... etc this seems consistent with Objectivism although strangely worded in the negative.  (here I interpret "us" as "each of us")

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"

Objectivism strongly disagrees with your view of ethics.  It rejects utilitarianism completely. 

Well, since "utility" means usefulness, I think that Objectivism actually represents the only "Utilitarian philosophy".

 

"Utility" assumes some purpose to someone (just like "value").  The purpose of an irrational philosophy is analogous to that of an anesthetic; for its adherents it serves to distort their thoughts, numb their emotions and deaden their awareness of reality.

However, if one evaluates such philosophies even by that standard (their capacity to negate suffering, like an anesthetic), none of the dominant philosophies that have ever existed before have actually come close to achieving that goal because the only way to rid oneself of any knowledge of reality is to depart from it altogether.

If the 'goal' is an escape from pain then the only way to truly reach it is to die.

 

Since philosophies exist only in the minds of living people, who live in reality, a philosophy which affirms that- a philosophy for setting crooked thoughts straight, sharpening awareness and bringing reality into clear focus- is vastly more helpful for any of them, in any endeavor except suicide.

So I think Objectivism is the only real form of Utilitarianism.

 

You are, of course, correct; what most people refer to by that is fundamentally antithetical to O'ism.  I just think it's a worthwhile thing to point out.

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From this quote from Ayn Rand:

"The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics—the standard by which one judges what is good or evil—is man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man."

What does man mean in this context such as it is.

Ethics is, after all, a set of hierarchical decision points that let us choose the least undesirable choice where all choices are undesirable.

I'll appreciate all points of view.

Think of man as a variable in an algegraic expression; it means any, all, past, present and yet to be created rational animal. It identifies a certain category of entity in existence with a certain nature, with its most fundamental characteristic being its rational capacity. Like any variable you can fill any concrete instance into it, where you, me or Obama would satisfy the category of entity in question. Edited by m082844

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On 10/30/2014 at 11:19 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

In the phrase "man's survival qua man" is not so much an appeal to man as "different" from anything else, so much as it is a re-affirmation of the law of identity: that a man's survival in any context depends upon a man's nature, a man IS what he is: you cannot ignore any of what a man is i.e. Man qua Man includes ALL he is, including the unique ability and requirement (to flourish)to be rational.

Did I get this right? To flourish to be rational?

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4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Did I get this right? To flourish to be rational?

Unique ability to flourish in ways open to man alone and his unique requirement to be rational is what I may have been trying to say... the point is that man is ALL he is Not some small thing we pick and choose to see. A is A not .1066A

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On 10/28/2014 at 5:14 PM, FredrickD said:

Ethics is, after all, a set of hierarchical decision points that let us choose the least undesirable choice where all choices are undesirable.

OK Sartre. :P

 

@StrictlyLogical:

The Unicode Consortium says that A=65...

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Duplication of Expressions!!!

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