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Why O'ism shouldn't be spelled with a capital 'O'.

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Besides, the Christians believe that God is objective, and that ethics (his edicts) are objective rules of morality.

That isn't objectivity. They are deriving right and wrong from the commandments of God- not from the facts of reality. To a Christian, an action is good because God deems it as such. Morality is dependent on the opinion of God, as opposed to existing objectively.

And even their epistemology is objective - how to know reality (God)? Faith.

I don't understand what you mean here.

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Objective, in the loose meaning of the term, means absolute. There is proper objectivity, derived from facts of reality (it's verifiable and knowable by reason), and there's improper objectivity, such as the Christian faith (it's unknowable). But whatever else you can say, you cannot call Christians subjective. They are one of the last people who still believe in absolute metaphysics, absolute epistemology, and absolute ethics. They are objective, in a twisted sort of way.

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Besides, the Christians believe that God is objective, and that ethics (his edicts) are objective rules of morality. And even their epistemology is objective - how to know reality (God)? Faith. Christianity is objective, in a twisted and perverted sort of way.

Christians do not think that God is objective. My grandfather was a baptist pastor, I've spent enough time in church to know. Subjective means basically "to rely on consciousness/emotion", whereas objective means "to rely on existence".

The Christians do not rely on the existence of God, the omnipotent "thing". He is an omnipotent consciousness, who created the universe, the earth, and man on a whim -- and if you don't believe me, read the book of Genesis in any Bible.

Faith is not objective. Faith, but its very definition, is subjective. The only way to have faith is rely on emotion as a guide, which makes it subjective.

Refer to Lexicon page 486 in the paperback edition published 1986 (if there be multiple editions and the page number is different, its under "Subjectivism"), where "subjectivism" is clearly defined. If you want to know if Christians are subjective, refer to page 488, where subjectivism is examind "In Ethics".

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Objective, in the loose meaning of the term, means absolute.

Not by any definition I have come across in Objectivism.

Again, from Lexicon, page 345:

"Objectivity. ... Metaphysically, it is the recognition of the fact that reality exists idependent of any perceiver's consciousness. Epistemologically, it is the recognition of the fact that a perceiver's (man's) consciousness must acquire knowledge of reality by certain means (reason) in accordance with certain rules (logic)."

There is proper objectivity, derived from facts of reality (it's verifiable and knowable by reason), and there's improper objectivity, such as the Christian faith (it's unknowable).
If one were using the term according to your definition, that would be true. But that isn't what the word means.

But whatever else you can say, you cannot call Christians subjective. They are one of the last people who still believe in absolute metaphysics, absolute epistemology, and absolute ethics. They are objective, in a twisted sort of way.

Not really. The only abosolutism is that God's will is absolute. But that still leaves things open to God's will, i.e. whim. And that doesn't sound very definite or absolute to me.

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Tom, please keep AR's definition in context. She defined the proper kind of objectivity. Objective in the loose sense DOES mean absolute, she merely defined the proper kind of objectivity.

If god's will is absolute, that means it is objective, and thus everything that stems from it is objective. It is not a proper objective standard, but it is an objective standard.

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If god's will is absolute, that means it is objective, and thus everything that stems from it is objective. It is not a proper objective standard, but it is an objective standard.

How is the will of any consciousness, man's or otherwise, "absolute"?

In any context you care to imagine "God's will" means the same thing as "God's whim". I don't how you can apply the term "absolute" to something that is indeterminate until after the fact, even by God himself.

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Tom, please keep AR's definition in context.

Funny. I thought I was. Perhaps you need to review the title of this thread? I think it is you who has meandered out of context.

Besides, your 'loose objective' concept means nothing, since it is itself, not based on any existent I can see. The "will of God" being "absolute" is a contradiction in terms.

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Tom, please keep AR's definition in context. She defined the proper kind of objectivity. Objective in the loose sense DOES mean absolute, she merely defined the proper kind of objectivity.

If god's will is absolute, that means it is objective, and thus everything that stems from it is objective. It is not a proper objective standard, but it is an objective standard.

I am confused by your use of the terms "objective" and "absolute." Are you (1) using them in a metaphysical sense (independent of [human] consciousness) and (2) as synonyms for each other?

In one sense, the metaphysical one, what is objective is independent of consciousness. So, in that sense, it is true that Christians believe that God is independent of any individual worshipper's consciousness. But no Christian I have ever met or read about believes God is objective in any other sense of "objective" that I have ever heard -- certainly not in the epistemological sense. God doesn't need logic, they tell me, because he intuits: He just knows.

When you say, "loose sense," do you mean a conventional usage that people outside of Objectivism employ? If so, could you define that usage of "objectivity"? I have examined my unabridged dictionary and I have found no conncection between objective and absolute in common usage.

As for keeping context, doesn't Objectivism set the context for everything discussed in this forum? Even when we discuss other philosophies and their terminology and (invalid) ideas, it is still Objectivism that sets the context for our identifications and evaluations. If this isn't true, I would like to hear about it.

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Burgess:

Yes, Objectivism is absolutely the context for this thread. But Objectivism itself must be taken in context, as everything else. The definition of objectivity that was quoted from AR above, I think is taken out of context if it is used to define objectivity as such. From my understanding, the quote has AR identify proper objectivity, i.e. the foundation for the rest of her philosophy. But here, since we're talking about objectivity as such, of which there are proper and improper variants, using AR's quote would constitute taking her words out of context (unless it can be found that she did, indeed, intend the definition for every kind of objectivity, even the wrong one).

the 'loose' meaning of objectivity that I'm referring to is the everyday meaning people use, such as for example, "objective reporting" - independent of the reporter's values or desires.

"Objective" and "absolute" are not synonims exactly, but I guess they can be viewed as corollaries of one another, since "objective" is taken to mean something out there, independent of us, and "absolute" refers to something that is unchanging.

I've claimed that Christianity has objectivity in three most important aspects: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics.

The metaphysics you've agreed with me on, because if there's one concept that's always been objective in the history of man, it's been God.

The objectivity of Christian ethics flows directly from the metaphysics, since it is God's rules for proper behavior: "Thou shalt...". Since the source is objective, the result must be objective.

And as for epistemology, where you've raised doubts, I think that faith, in a very perverted sort of way, is an objective epistemology for Christians, in the sense that it deals directly with the nature of the world, as it appears to them, and it is not up to each individual Christian whether he can use faith or not. To know God (i.e. objective reality), he must use faith.

I'm not defending Christians here, but I am trying give credit where credit is due. And despite the fact that Christianity is primordial and primitive, it is (ironically) more advanced than the urbane and effete philosophy of modern skeptical and cynical atheist intellectuals.

TomL:

You're becoming contentious and arguing for the sake of argument, so I will refrain from replying to you in this thread also.

Edited by Free Capitalist

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The metaphysics you've agreed with me on, because if there's one concept that's always been objective in the history of man, it's been God.

The word "metaphysics" doesn't refer to a single entity. It refers to the nature of reality. The fact that Christians view God as existing objectively doesn't mean that they view the nature of reality as being objective. They don't think that the nature of God is dependent on their consciousness, but they do think that the nature of reality is dependent on God's consciousness. The belief that reality can be altered (or created) by anybody's consciousness is subjectivity.

The objectivity of Christian ethics flows directly from the metaphysics, since it is God's rules for proper behavior: "Thou shalt...". Since the source is objective, the result must be objective.

Do you agree that Christians believe that the concepts of good and bad are derived entirely from the commandment of God? If so, wouldn't this mean that the concepts of good and bad are a result of (and dependent upon) God's consciousness?

And as for epistemology, where you've raised doubts, I think that faith, in a very perverted sort of way, is an objective epistemology for Christians, in the sense that it deals directly with the nature of the world, as it appears to them, and it is not up to each individual Christian whether he can use faith or not. To know God (i.e. objective reality), he must use faith.

Faith doesn't deal directly with the nature of the reality. It seeks to discover truth through introspection alone. It ignores the nature of the reality by neglecting the fact that reason is the only tool for discovering the truth.

Here is how the Lexicon defines the word "objectivity":

Objectivity is both a metaphysical and an epistemological concept.  It pertains to the relationship of consciousness to existence.  Metaphysically, it is the recognition of the fact that reality exists independent of any perceiver's consciousness.  Epistemologically, it is the recognition of the fact that a perceiver's (man's) consciousness must acquire knowledge of reality by certain means (reason) in accordance with certain rules (logic).  This means that although reality is immutable and, in any given context, only one answer is true,  the truth is not automatically available to a human consciousness and can be obtained only by a certain mental process which is required of every man who seeks knowledge -- that there is no substitute for this process, no escape from the responsibility for it, no shortcuts, no special revelations to privileged observers -- and that there can be no such thing as a final "authority" in matters pertaining to human knowledge.  Metaphysically, the only authority is reality; epistemologically -- one's own mind.  The first is the ultimate arbiter of the second.

And this is the word you use to describe faith? Keep in mind that "objectivity" has both a metaphysical meaning and an epistemological meaning.

Edit: Added bold-emphasis to Lexicon quote.

Edited by Cole

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Yes, Objectivism is absolutely the context for this thread.

Then why are you trying to use a non-concept from society as "everyone commonly knows the term"?

But Objectivism itself must be taken in context, as everything else.
Whoa. Objectivism is not one example of many alternative philosophies, and cannot be compared directly to them. You seem to think that some context exists which presupposes Objectivism, and that is false. Objectivism starts in a place no other philosophy does. Objectivism (especially its metaphysics) pressuposes "context", not the other way around.

The definition of objectivity that was quoted from AR above, I think is taken out of context if it is used to define objectivity as such.

No. The definition as stated defines objectivity as such, and so does every other term in Lexicon that I've looked up.

From my understanding, the quote has AR identify proper objectivity, i.e. the

foundation for the rest of her philosophy.

The implied end of this sentence is "as opposed to other philosophies", and that is not true at all. We are talking about objectivity as such, which means "relying on existence" -- not "relying on what we feel existence probably is", which is the way you are using it. If the term means the latter, then yes, Christians are objective. But that's not what the term means at all, even if "most people" think it does.

But here, since we're talking about objectivity as such, of which there are proper and improper variants, using AR's quote would constitute taking her words out of context (unless it can be found that she did, indeed, intend the definition for every kind of objectivity, even the wrong one).
Objectivity as defined does not permit a "wrong" variant. It is to rely on existence, period. It is never wrong.

the 'loose' meaning of objectivity that I'm referring to is the everyday meaning people use, such as for example, "objective reporting" - independent of the reporter's values or desires.

If the context is Objectivism, and the thread is titled as such, then we don't care about the "everyday meaning people use", so far as we can throw it. The everyday meaning that people use is a lie and a contradiction. It is a non-concept, and it is useless to discuss anything using it.

"Objective" and "absolute" are not synonims exactly, but I guess they can be viewed as corollaries of one another, since "objective" is taken to mean something out there, independent of us, and "absolute" refers to something that is unchanging.

But if the Christian says that the absolute is the "will of God", he allows for that will to change. For God to change his mind. And that is the whole reason why they use the WILL of God and not the FACT of God as their excuse for every mishap that befalls them.

I've claimed that Christianity has objectivity in three most important aspects: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics.

The metaphysics you've agreed with me on, because if there's one concept that's always been objective in the history of man, it's been God.

You are wrong, it is not the FACT of God that is the basis of Christianity. They do not view God as a immutable constant floating in the ether. They give him a will, an ability to decide, and a means of changing his mind. Otherwise, they would be so frought with contradictions their whole system would fly apart from the force of itself spinning.

The objectivity of Christian ethics flows directly from the metaphysics, since it is God's rules for proper behavior: "Thou shalt...". Since the source is objective, the result must be objective.
This is called "dogma", not "objectivity". Dogma is a set of rules (or a philosophy) which is asserted based on the will, whim, or emotion of somebody. In the Christian case, it is God's ... but it is still his will, whim, or emotion which sets up the 10 commandments. Without God's will, the 10 commandments do not exist. (If they could exist apart from God's will, you might have a case).

And as for epistemology, where you've raised doubts, I think that faith, in a very perverted sort of way, is an objective epistemology for Christians, in the sense that it deals directly with the nature of the world, as it appears to them, and it is not up to each individual Christian whether he can use faith or not. To know God (i.e. objective reality), he must use faith.

You give Christians too much credit here. How much time have you spent trying to convince yourself that God exists? I spent years in the pews at my grandfather's church doing exactly that, so I know what the process is. Christians do not start with the objective premise that "the universe is what God made it to be" and then progress logically from there. If they actually tried that, there wouldn't be so many. No -- Christians accept faith and God based on emotion, and it is the only way to do so. It is either peer pressure, undeserved guilt, fear, or a combination of all of the above, but eventually they must succumb, irrationally, to their emotions before "faith" takes hold of their minds. There is nothing objective about the process at all.

Edited by TomL

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I'm not defending Christians here, but I am trying give credit where credit is due. And despite the fact that Christianity is primordial and primitive, it is (ironically) more advanced than the urbane and effete philosophy of modern skeptical and cynical atheist intellectuals.
I agree that I would rather be acquainted with a Christian that a skeptic or a cynic. The former thinks his ideas matter and stands up for them (wrong as they may be). The latter couldn't care less and states explicitly that ideas are worthless, which is something you cannot argue with and cannot respect in the slightest.

TomL:

You're becoming contentious and arguing for the sake of argument, so I will refrain from replying to you in this thread also.

You may continue to first accuse me of things, and then try to blame me for starting it, but anyone who reads the thread will be able, if they care, to know the truth.

Edited by TomL

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The fact that Christians view God as existing objectively doesn't mean that they view the nature of reality as being objective.

What he said. :thumbsup: That's what I've been saying, thanks for putting it in a way I hadn't thought of, Cole.

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They don't think that the nature of God is dependent on their consciousness, but they do think that the nature of reality is dependent on God's consciousness.
From the way I understand Christian mentality, to them God is reality. Reality is not the trees and the earth, but the mind of God, which makes all the rest possible.

This correction, if true, deals away with much of your objection. You seem to believe that reality is the same concept for all people, which it isn't. To mystical people, true reality is not at all the same as what you would call true reality. True, the actual physical environment is not objective to them, but the supernatural force underlying all things is objective to them.

If so, wouldn't this mean that the concepts of good and bad are a result of (and dependent upon) God's consciousness?
Yes, and therefore absolute.

As to your quote about objectivity, I already responded to that in my reply to Burgess. Keep AR's words in context, she's defining proper objectivity, not objectivity as such.

Edited by Free Capitalist

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From the way I understand Christian mentality, to them God is reality. Reality is not the trees and the earth, but the mind of God, which makes all the rest possible.

If this is the case, then I would still argue that they view reality as being subjective- subjective to the mind of God. In order for reality to be objective, it would have to exist independently of anybody's thoughts or wishes.

How do Christians believe that the universe was created?

Yes, and therefore absolute.

I don't consider "objective" and "absolute" to be synonyms. Your claim was that Christian ethics are objective. I didn't disagree that they are absolute.

As to your quote about objectivity, I already responded to that in my reply to Burgess. Keep AR's words in context, she's defining proper objectivity, not objectivity as such.

How was it taken out of context? I quoted, from the Lexicon, Ayn Rand's statement regarding objectivity as it pertains to epistemology. It was directly opposed to how you were using the word to describe faith- also in an epistemological context.

"Keep AR's words in context" isn't a catch-all rebuttal. You actually need to prove your accusation that the words were taken out of context, especially when I directly quoted a large portion of an essay by Ayn Rand.

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How do Christians believe that the universe was created?

It depends how you are using the word 'universe'. If you use the word 'universe' as Ayn Rand did, to mean "everything that exists", then Christians believe the universe is eternal since God exists and God is eternal (in Christian metaphysics). If you're using the word in a looser way to mean something analogous to the 'physical world' then they believe it was created by God. But I don't think that saying the physical world was created is necessarily subjective..

If this is the case, then I would still argue that they view reality as being subjective- subjective to the mind of God. In order for reality to be objective, it would have to exist independently of anybody's thoughts or wishes.
God is the ultimate reality in Christian metaphysics, and God is objective and exists independently of anybody's thoughts and wishes (in as much as the word 'objective' makes sense when used in this context). Edited by Hal

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From the way I understand Christian mentality, to them God is reality. Reality is not the trees and the earth, but the mind of God, which makes all the rest possible.

But you are ignoring the fact that it isn't so, and the only way they can say that "God is reality" is by means of emotion, which makes the statement "God is reality" entirely subjective.

It doesn't how deeply you wish to reduce with this logic, it will always depend on emotion.

This correction, if true, deals away with much of your objection. You seem to believe that reality is the same concept for all people, which it isn't.
Now you are showing yourself to be subjective, as well. What reality "is" and "is not" is not open to a person's judgement. It simply is. If someone makes an error in metaphysics and then they are consistent from that point, that doesn't magically make them "objective". It makes them such a deep subjectivist that they don't even see it themselves.

To mystical people, true reality is not at all the same as what you would call true reality. True, the actual physical environment is not objective to them, but the supernatural force underlying all things is objective to them.

So what? I am not concerned with what mystical people feel reality to be. They are wrong, and the only means by which they can make this error is called subjectivism. End of story.

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From the way I understand Christian mentality, to them God is reality. Reality is not the trees and the earth, but the mind of God, which makes all the rest possible.

After further thought, I've made some new conclusions;

The words "objective" and "subjective", in the metaphysical sense, describe a relationship. If the position is "God is reality," then neither of these words apply. If God and reality cannot be seperated, and are the same thing, then you cannot describe a relationship between them. They are a single entity. Relationships require multiple entities.

However, I suspect that most Christians actually do seperate God, reality, and humans. If this is the case, then the relationship between humans and God is objective, and the relationship between God and reality is subjective. If reality is dependent on another entity's thoughts/wishes, then this means that reality is subjective.

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God is the ultimate reality in Christian metaphysics, and God is objective and exists independently of anybody's thoughts and wishes (in as much as the word 'objective' makes sense when used in this context).

I thought it was clear that the issue being discussed here is the relationship between God and reality, and God and ethics. I never disagreed that the nature of God is not subjective to humans. In fact, I confirmed that this was the case. However, the relationship to God and reality is subjective (so long as the two can be analysed separately)- reality is altered by God's consciousness. The relationship between God and ethics is subjective- ethics are derived from God's opinion. If reality can be altered by anybody's consciousness (including God's), then it is subjective. If ethics are dependent on anybody's opinion (including God's), then they are subjective.

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No Cole, to a Christian, God IS reality. The relationship between him and the physical world is subjective, but the latter is not reality. You're assuming everyone equates the physical world with reality, an assumption which I already said is an unwarranted one. If God is reality, then Christian metaphysics, and therefore ethics, are objective. And so is the method used to know this Christian reality(God) - faith.

Just think Plato. He was the forerunner of Christian metaphysics, and his philosophy is clearly objective.

Edited by Free Capitalist

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No Cole, to a Christian, God IS reality.

You begin the sentence with "No," as if the remainder of the sentence was in disagreement to something I said. What are you disagreeing with? I acknowledged that Christians may viw God and reality as being inseperatable- as being a single entity. I said that if this is the case, then neither the term "objective" nor "subjective" could apply because those terms describe a relationship. Relationships require multiple entities.

Do you disagree that no relationship is possible if God and reality are a single entity? This would be necessary in order to say that Christian metaphysics is objective. If God is reality, then how can reality exist independently of God? How could you even analyse the two as being seperate concepts? You can't.

It would help if, in the future, you quoted the passage of my response that you are disagreeing with. That way I don't have to repeat myself and my position is not distorted.

You're assuming everyone equates the physical world with reality, an assumption which I already said is an unwarranted one

Where did I make this assumption? Quote me.

Also- avoiding questions is not conducive to intelligent discussions. This is another reason why direct quotations in your responses will help keep the discussion on track and help to avoid straw-man fallacies.

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to a Christian, God IS reality.

I think what Free Capitalist is trying to get to here is that, to a Christian, God is both reality in the sense that all causation in the universe comes from His consciousness, and the causal factor for reality in the sense that all existents were created by Him. This gives God a mixed, and contradictory metaphysics.

In other words, God is both equivocated with reality, and also the causation of reality at the same time. This is wholly contradictory, which makes identifying Christians as "objective" or "subjective" rather tricky, since they appear to be both at the same time.

It is this very contradiction, however, which ultimately decides the balance for "subjective", because if they were objective and began with the premise "God is reality", they would reject the idea that God created the universe -- because how can something create itself, especially if there is nothing in existence to create oneself from? The only way they can override their faculties of reason and "accept" this contradiction as true is ... emotion. The only deciding factor that allows them to whip out one premise or the other depends on the context of the moment, which in their minds changes from one instant to the next, and has no connection to the previous instant (i.e. compartmentalization).

If you don't believe me, ask a devout Christian if God is everything, and then ask him if God -created- everything. I'd be shocked if you don't get a "yes" answer to both.

Ultimately, if you pry long enough and deep enough, you'll ultimately get the response from every Christian that they can "feel" God's existence, or they "just know it" (same thing) -- and this feeling they have overrides every rational argument you can throw at them -- and they'll say so explicitly. If that isn't subjectivism, I don't know what is.

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When it comes down to it, it's difficult for reason-wielding atheists to discuss Christianity in a way that ignores its contradictory and illogical assertions. Typical discussion in regard to Christianity deals with pointing out the irrationality- not the proper way to categorize this irrationality.

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When it comes down to it, it's difficult for reason-wielding atheists to discuss Christianity in a way that ignores its contradictory and illogical assertions. Typical discussion in regard to Christianity deals with pointing out the irrationality- not the proper way to categorize this irrationality.

I agree. When my wife would identify some irrationality in a person or group, she used to ask "Why would they do that? It's irrational." I'd tell her, "You can't explain the irrational in rational terms, so don't try." Grasping this, she quit asking after a few tries ^_^

Edited by TomL

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