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Harvey Meale

Metaphysics of Death

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This is a particularly intriguing field for me and I'm curious as to what other people think about it. Is death bad for us or not? If it is bad, just how is it so?

On one hand, we have Epicurus and Lucretius saying death is not a bad thing since experience terminates at death. Other scholars submit death is bad because it deprives us of continued good (i.e. life).

What are your thoughts on this?

 

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Not sure how seriously to take this, but one's own death is not "bad" thing, but the negation of the context in which both "good" and "bad" things happen to him, the negation of the thing that gives meaning to those terms. You could also say it's the result of bad things happening to a person.

Edited by happiness

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19 hours ago, happiness said:

but the negation of the context in which both "good" and "bad" things happen to him, the negation of the thing that gives meaning to those terms.

Right, so it would seem indeed that death can neither be good nor bad, or anywhere in between. It cannot have attributes that exist on such a scale, correct?
 

19 hours ago, happiness said:

You could also say it's the result of bad things happening to a person.

Well, of course. And of course you'd agree this doesn't make death itself bad. Dying, however, surely can be bad.

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Consider what is the "good".

Consider also how "avoidance" or the "seeking" of one's death is related to the good as defined.

Consider the difference between ascribing "good" and "bad" in the context of accident/external occurrence outside of a person's control and the context of action toward or away from something or in reaction to reality and probability.

Metaphysical givens simply ARE.  Given that we have a choice to act, though, every "is" implies an "ought", and "ought" presupposes a standard of the good.  Consider what IS the objective standard for the good...

....

Once death occurs there is no good or bad.  Generally speaking, prior to death, one sees that all good is made impossible by death, and insofar as one can act, one should act to avoid death.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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15 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Generally speaking, prior to death, one sees that all good is made impossible by death

I don't quite see how this is so. Could you elaborate please?

15 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

and insofar as one can act, one should act to avoid death

I think we do act to avoid death but I'm not convinced that we necessarily should.

13 hours ago, EC said:

How do you define metaphysics

In relation to death, the metaphysics looks at whether death is bad for us and if it is, how it is bad.

13 hours ago, EC said:

why is death "an intriguing field" for you? 

Imagine you knew for a fact that you got an infinite series of lives. Imagine, in addition to this fact, you knew as fact, that death itself was peaceful and harmless. Once you die, you'd seemingly immediately be birthed into a new life. How would you choose to live your life/lives?

Now imagine you knew you only got one shot at life. And that once you died, that's it. You're locked up in a great black box for the rest of eternity. How would you tiptoe around this life? And what would you do differently to the above instance?

I think if we can learn a bit about how death works and the significance of our experience/lives, we can learn how to better lead our lives.

Edited by Harvey Meale

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5 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

I think we do act to avoid death but I'm not convinced that we necessarily should.

Determine what you mean by "should". (and also "necessarily")  For whom? By what standard?  [Be careful of "floating abstractions"... and "the arbitrary".]  You need to define the good, i.e. the ethical standard, once you do, you will know what defines "should", "ought", and "morality", etc..

The quotes do not imply this is a subjective game of words, in fact this sort of discussion is the exact opposite.  Once one discovers morality and the objective meaning of should and ought, etc., the quotations in such discussions become unnecessary.

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5 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

 

21 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Generally speaking, prior to death, one sees that all good is made impossible by death

I don't quite see how this is so. Could you elaborate please?

 

[ASIDE/digression: I use the term "generally speaking" to avoid particular RARE contexts, where a shorter life (of even only minutes or seconds) spent selfishly protecting ones highest values like one's child or spouse, is of a higher value than a longer life of years spent devoid of those values and possibly spent in pain and regret.  Those emergency situations are not exceptions to the facts of reality or the standard of good, or the objectivity of ethics and morality, they are merely exceptional, i.e. extreme and difficult cases with abnormal contexts.  THAT SAID, one must note that even in those contexts, what is pursued is NOT death, but the result of the action one has chosen to take, for example saving one's child from a car which jumped a sidewalk... here death is the side-effect not the goal....  but this is a digression]

 

Referring to the above, the statement of course presupposes a particular objective standard for "the good".  Consider the following:

1.  Life of an individual, in the full meaning of a flourishing optimal life and the full meaning of what an individual human is and can be, is the standard of the good, and the individual whose individual life is that standard is the sole beneficiary of the good, i.e. rational egoism, or the ethics of selfishness.

2.  No other valid and objective standard for the good exists.  No other morality or ethics.  (this is not to be confused with politics)

3.  Values to be objective, must be validated in accordance with the standard of ethics, otherwise they are nonobjective.  However, they are contextual and variations of them are "optional".  Having a career which is planned and commensurate with your capability to support your life, rather than a strategy of random unplanned dishwashing and car window cleaning, carrying people's bags for change, might be an objective value (depending on your context.. your ability your situation etc).  In which case pursuing a the former would be objectively moral, while pursuing the latter would be objectively immoral.  However, in your context, given your abilities and preferences, becoming an artist or an engineer may both be "just as good".  Here there is an option as to the different ways to achieve the same objective value.  There may be a subjective choices about these different options, but there are no truly subjective values.  Either a something is objectively good for you to pursue or not.

4.  Actions which are self-sustaining, life promoting, or result in flourishing of the individual are by definition, not actions seeking death but committed in furtherance of the values, whether seeking or keeping them. 

 

Generally speaking, pursuit nothing "good" is achieved by the pursuit, the actual focused goal of seeking, one's death.

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EC    16
19 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

In relation to death, the metaphysics looks at whether death is bad for us and if it is, how it is bad.

Imagine you knew for a fact that you got an infinite series of lives. Imagine, in addition to this fact, you knew as fact, that death itself was peaceful and harmless. Once you die, you'd seemingly immediately be birthed into a new life. How would you choose to live your life/lives?

Now imagine you knew you only got one shot at life. And that once you died, that's it. You're locked up in a great black box for the rest of eternity. How would you tiptoe around this life? And what would you do differently to the above instance?

I think if we can learn a bit about how death works and the significance of our experience/lives, we can learn how to better lead our lives.

Metaphysics deals with the nature of what is.  Ethics is the branch of philosophy that deals with things being good or bad for man, and why.

I see no purpose in speculating about things in regards to death that we know are false. Imagining things to arbitrarily be possible when I know without doubt that they are false leads me no closer to understanding the nature of reality, and in fact leads me further from it.

We do understand death. It's the cessation of life. 

Edited by EC

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13 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Determine what you mean by "should". (and also "necessarily")  For whom? By what standard?

I'm referring to society/people in general.

13 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Generally speaking, pursuit nothing "good" is achieved by the pursuit, the actual focused goal of seeking, one's death.

Still not really getting the gist of what you're trying to say. I feel like you used the word "good" too many times in a discussion that I'd planned would be more about the "bad". Also not sure what you mean by seeking/pursuing one's death or its relevance.

15 minutes ago, EC said:

Metaphysics deals with the nature of what is.  Ethics is the branch of philosophy that deals with things being good or bad for man, and why.

In the context of the discussion of death, metaphysics is about whether death can be (is) bad and how the badness manifests. Note we're not referring to good/bad in the ethical sense here, but strictly what death means for the person who died. Ethics in death refers to topics including suicide, euthanasia, murder, etc which deals with another sort of good/bad in respect to morality.

19 minutes ago, EC said:

I see no purpose in speculating about things in regards to death that we know are false. Imagining things to arbitrarily be possible when I know without doubt that they are false leads me no closer to understanding the nature of reality, and in fact leads me further from it.

What are you talking about?

20 minutes ago, EC said:

We do understand death. It's the cessation of life. 

Obviously. This is hardly a satisfying metaphysical analysis, though.

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EC    16

Death means nothing with regard to a dead person. A dead person is no longer alive to analyze anything. Things can only be good or bad in regards to a mans life. Good and bad cannot even be defined outside of the context of a persons life with regard to man. Whenever a person discusses whether something is bad it's always an ethical question.

My statement that death is the cessation of life is all that can be said metaphysically. That's what it is, and nothing else.

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EC    16

I'll quote a few things just so you have an idea where I/we are coming from OP.

Life

There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence—and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of “Life” that makes the concept of “Value” possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.

For the New Intellectual

Galt’s Speech,
For the New Intellectual, 121

 

The branch of philosophy that studies existence is metaphysics. Metaphysics identifies the nature of the universe as a whole. It tells men what kind of world they live in, and whether there is a supernatural dimension beyond it. It tells men whether they live in a world of solid entities, natural laws, absolute facts, or in a world of illusory fragments, unpredictable miracles, and ceaseless flux. It tells men whether the things they perceive by their senses and mind form a comprehensible reality, with which they can deal, or some kind of unreal appearance, which leaves them staring and helpless.

The Ominous Parallels

Leonard Peikoff, 
The Ominous Parallels, 23

 

Evil

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.

Since reason is man’s basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil.

The Virtue of Selfishness

“The Objectivist Ethics,”
The Virtue of Selfishness, 23

Edited by EC

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I know perfectly well what these terms mean.

If you take a look at the synopsis of the book titled "The Metaphysics of Death" (Stanford University Press), a book which deals strictly with the metaphysics of death and not ethics, you'll read the following:

Quote

Though there are important connections between the more abstract questions addressed in this book and many contemporary moral issues, such as euthanasia, suicide, and abortion, the primary focus of this book is on metaphysical issues concerning the nature of death: What is the nature of the harm or bad involved in death? (If it is not pain, what is it, and how can it be bad?) Who is the subject of the harm or bad? (If the person is no longer alive, how can he be the subject of the bad? And if he is not the subject, who is? Can one have no harm with no subject?) When does the harm take place? etc etc...

In another book, Death, by professor Shelly Kagan of Yale, who is famous for his philosophical work on death and offers a free university course on death through Open Yale Courses agrees that metaphysics discusses the badness of death.

Maybe I need to rephrase it for your liking. Would you prefer "nature of mortality" or instead of metaphysics of death?

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Also, I'm asking this question in a general broader philosophical sense and I realise I'm going to get answers coming through the lens of objectivism here but I think we can have this discussion while removed from the ideology of objectivism. That said, I do certainly welcome objectivist opinions, of course.

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Here's another passage that did not make the lexicon from Galt's Speech:

Our [moral] terms and our motive power are the antithesis of yours. You have been using fear as your weapon and have been bringing death to man as his punishment for rejecting your morality. We offer him life as his reward for accepting ours.

"You who are worshippers of the zero—you have never discovered that achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. Joy is not 'the absence of pain,' intelligence is not 'the absence of stupidity,' light is not 'the absence of darkness,' an entity is not 'the absence of a nonentity.'

This weighs in well with the OP

On 10/11/2016 at 2:46 AM, Harvey Meale said:

[W]e have Epicurus and Lucretius saying death is not a bad thing since experience terminates at death.

We won't experience death, since experience is a relationship that occurs between existence and consciousness. We might experience dying, but death—as a cessation of consciousness—by necessity, banishes the possibility of ever actually experiencing death itself.

23 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

Now imagine you knew you only got one shot at life. And that once you died, that's it. You're locked up in a great black box for the rest of eternity. How would you tiptoe around this life? And what would you do differently to the above instance?

How would you tiptoe around this life? From the aforementioned "achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death" 'tiptoeing around' seems to cater to the 'avoiding death' side of the verbiage.

 

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3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

We won't experience death, since experience is a relationship that occurs between existence and consciousness. We might experience dying, but death—as a cessation of consciousness—by necessity, banishes the possibility of ever actually experiencing death itself.

100%

 

3 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

'tiptoeing around' seems to cater to the 'avoiding death' side of the verbiage.

Right, and I suspect people would be more inclined to avoid death in the latter case than the former one. Though I think it's logically unwarranted.

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Welcome to Objectivism Online, Harvey Meale.

We living animals are certainly wired up a lot for avoidance of death, for maintenance and growth, and for reproduction. Our human rationality extends somewhat our options on reproduction and on choice to die, and we can tailor those choices, hopefully sensitive to life-context, to goodness that is our life and the lives of our loved ones.

I don’t think any sense of metaphysical value-ranking is sensible outside the phenomena of life, the existence of life, the whole scheme of life on this planet. Outside the context of living existence, there is no better or worse in existence and no problems to be solved. The old talk of perfection-levels of existence or of being, in their widest sense, was a goof.

Before my existence, there was no me actual, potential, or temporal. Any potential of me was distributed in other, actual human life and its materials at hand. My nonexistence before my life was nothing bad (or good) to me who was only a potential from actual parents. My nonexistence and indeed the earlier nonexistence of life on the planet was nothing bad or good to the pre-life world. (Men have not spoken of the living God for nothing.)

But once I do become, come to live, dying is continuously largely a bad thing in that stop of life is bad, for largely, continuance of my life is good and is good for my fellows. Death of my loved ones is very largely bad for me, whatever to them in their life situation. Apart from me still living and apart from other life in the world, my coming back to not living is the end of time experienced and the end of bad or good.

There is much in agreement with Rand in this note, and this bit too is from her literature: Nothing can change the fact that we have been and been the mind and life and good and bad we were, even though all trace of our existence becomes erased and even if no mind remains in the universe. We living can love that fact. "We exist and we know that we exist, and we love that fact and our knowledge of it" --Augustine. To say "our knowledge" is to say a part of our living, in my view and in Aristotle's.

I know some of this note repeats ideas already expressed in this thread, but I wanted to say howdy, this is me, and to return the welcome stimulus to reflect on this topic.

Stephen

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14 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

Also, I'm asking this question in a general broader philosophical sense and I realise I'm going to get answers coming through the lens of objectivism here but I think we can have this discussion while removed from the ideology of objectivism. That said, I do certainly welcome objectivist opinions, of course.

Your terms "lens" of Objectivism, "ideology" of Objectivism, and that you (nonetheless) "welcome" Objectivist opinions, seem to imply much about your views of and perhaps your level of interest in the philosophy of Objectivism.

This leaves me wondering, why do you choose to discuss philosophy with Objectivists and well ... quite frankly... do you actually want to?

 

Objectivists here could shift into a mode of trying to second guess what other philosophies say about death, and perhaps poke holes (or fun?) but why bother?  All an Objectivist can do is tell you what he or she thinks is objectively true in regards to death and insofar as he or she is Objectivist (and understands Objectivism correctly) what you will get is Objectivist philosophy. 

 

Perhaps, if you are disinterested in anything an Objectivist might have to say, a completely open question to you would be appropriate now:

What are your thoughts on "the metaphysics of death"?

And if you would prefer we could then all just nod and say "I see..."

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Welcome to Objectivism Online, Harvey Meale.

Thank you very much! Great to be here. :)

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Before my existence, there was no me actual, potential, or temporal. Any potential of me was distributed in other, actual human life and its materials at hand. My nonexistence before my life was nothing bad (or good) to me who was only a potential from actual parents. My nonexistence and indeed the earlier nonexistence of life on the planet was nothing bad or good to the pre-life world.

This is more like the discussion I was hoping for! Story checks out.

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

But once I do become, come to live, dying is continuously largely a bad thing in that stop of life is bad, for largely, continuance of my life is good and is good for my fellows

Now we finally have some metaphysical discussion on the topic of death! For those still confused, this is what I'm alluding to. In the metaphysics of death, there are two opposing views: the Epicurean view and what we will call the Epicurean dilemma. You support the Epicurean dilemma perspective, as someone (as most people do) who sees death as bad.

The problem with your argument is how this badness manifests. For something bad to occur, one has to experience it as bad, correct? For experience to ensue, existence is predicated. Of course, if you are dead, you no longer exist. In the same way that once you're dead, the notion of "your fellows" also no longer exists, as "your" fails to reference anything at all.

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Death of my loved ones is very largely bad for me, whatever to them in their life situation

Absolutely.

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Nothing can change the fact that we have been and been the mind and life and good and bad we were, even though all trace of our existence becomes erased and even if no mind remains in the universe. We living can love that fact.

Is it a fact though? Or is this perhaps an example of her Esthetics? Am I doing it right?

15 hours ago, Boydstun said:

I know some of this note repeats ideas already expressed in this thread, but I wanted to say howdy, this is me, and to return the welcome stimulus to reflect on this topic.

Thanks for dropping in! Hope to converse further with you in the time to come. :)

9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Your terms "lens" of Objectivism, "ideology" of Objectivism, and that you (nonetheless) "welcome" Objectivist opinions, seem to imply much about your views of and perhaps your level of interest in the philosophy of Objectivism.

That would be a horribly misguided assumption. I am very interested in Objectivism but don't yet know much about it. I realise there may be a difference between metaphysics in general and metaphysics through the guise of Objectivism and I'm simply not familiar yet with the extent of that differentiation. 

9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

"ideology" of Objectivism

I don't know why you chose to include this in your post? It is an ideology...

9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

This leaves me wondering, why do you choose to discuss philosophy with Objectivists and well ... quite frankly... do you actually want to?

Absolutely! Anyone who prides themselves in their ability implement reason and logic in argument are the only people I want to discuss these ideas with. And who better than Objectivists?

I sincerely apologise if you feel as though I've implied that I'm above Objectivism or don't agree with it or that it is just another fruitless ideology.

 That was not my intention at all.

9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Objectivists here could shift into a mode of trying to second guess what other philosophies say about death, and perhaps poke holes (or fun?) but why bother?  All an Objectivist can do is tell you what he or she thinks is objectively true in regards to death and insofar as he or she is Objectivist (and understands Objectivism correctly) what you will get is Objectivist philosophy. 

And I welcome it, just as long as it doesn't preclude an in-depth analysis of the issue. And I don't see why it would either!

9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Perhaps, if you are disinterested in anything an Objectivist might have to say

You have mistaken me.

8 hours ago, Nicky said:

In Objectivism, ethics deals with what's good or bad, and metaphysics deals with what is. Objectivism does not describe reality and natural laws and phenomenons as good or bad, it only describes human choices as good or bad.

Okay, then I'm referring to metaphysics in the regular non-Objectivist sense. I don't know why we are all getting so caught up on terminology. I explained in an above post what the non-Objectivist interpretation of metaphysics with relevance to death is. And I have no idea why that view and the Objectivist view seem incompatible. It has the same meaning regardless of whether you look at it through the lens of Objectivism or otherwise. But for now let's ignore the use of the word "metaphysics" then for it seems as though people here are incapable of distinguishing between its Objectivist meaning and non-Objectivist meaning. Let's simply refer to it as "the nature of death" or "Is A's death bad for A?", to put it more simply.

8 hours ago, Nicky said:

With that out of the way, within the context of Ethics, Objectivism would consider as bad those deaths which are chosen for irrational reasons, it would consider good those deaths which are chosen for rational reasons, and it would consider amoral (neither good nor bad) those deaths which are inevitable.

I'm not interested in discussing the ethics of death. This thread is about the metaphysics of death. Note there is a difference between "badness" in a metaphysical sense and "moral/justifiable" in an ethical sense.

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HM

I am glad that I am mistaken.

I would suggest that you step away from some of your assumptions and premises.  Objectivism is fundamentally quite different from many schools of philosophy.  If you can't quite believe some things which seem radically different get ready to be surprised.  Many things which are taken for granted mainstream are identified as fallacies, many paradoxes or limited choices are identified as false dichotomies, and some concepts or issues are simply identified as non existant.

It's an integrated rather than a compartmentalized philosophy.  Be prepared to let go of what you now think and to get fundamental if you really want to get into what any Objectivist position really means.  

 

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21 hours ago, Nicky said:

(murder is considered bad because violating the rights of a fellow member of a civilized society is considered irrational)

You do have a way of boiling issues down to the essentials!

12 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

I don't know why we are all getting so caught up on terminology.

Objectivism upholds the absolutism of reason. If you want to understand reason, understand concepts. If you want to study reason, study concepts. Terminology is inexorably woven into this.

As soon as you asked, as you did in the OP "Is death bad for us or not? If it is bad, just how is it so?", you switched from a metaphysical evaluation to an ethical one. Is X good for me/bad for me, good for you/bad for you, good for us/bad for us, are all moral/ethical judgments.

 

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20 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

Let's simply refer to it as "the nature of death" or "Is A's death bad for A?", to put it more simply.

The second question definitely isn't a simplified version of "What is the nature of death?". Is that what you wish to discuss? What is the nature of death?

Because the concepts good and bad have nothing to do with the nature of death. Death is not good, it is not bad, it is not orange, and it is not bald. None of those are adjectives that apply to it.

Death is a defining characteristic of life. The fact that life can end is what differentiates life forms from inanimate entities. If life wasn't a finite process, life forms would have no reason to function towards any goal. The reason why life forms (everything from plants to humans) evolved to DO THINGS is because that's how they keep themselves alive. Their mortality is the reason why they need to be a PROCESS, that ACTS to sustain itself, rather than just sit there and exist indefinitely, the way inanimate matter does.

Another thing we can say about death is that it's a more fundamental concept than "good" and "bad". Good and bad are defined as a function of mortality, not the other way around. So, saying that "mortality is bad" would be circular. Ayn Rand illustrates this logical dependence (of good and bad, on mortality, rather than the other way around), with this hypothetical in The Virtue of Selfishness:

Quote

...try to imagine an immortal, indestructible robot, an entity which moves and acts, but which cannot be affected by anything, which cannot be changed in any respect, which cannot be damaged, injured or destroyed. Such an entity would not be able to have any values; it would have nothing to gain or to lose; it could not regard anything as for or against it, as serving or threatening its welfare, as fulfilling or frustrating its interests. It could have no interests and no goals.

In other words, nothing would be good or bad, to such a robot. You have to be mortal and vulnerable for things to be good or bad to you.

20 hours ago, Harvey Meale said:

But for now let's ignore the use of the word "metaphysics" then for it seems as though people here are incapable of distinguishing between its Objectivist meaning and non-Objectivist meaning.

And to me, it seems that the only non-standard use of the word "metaphysics" here is yours, because you're bringing concepts like good and bad, which are borrowed from ethics or religion, into it. Surely, there is non-Objectivist philosophy in the world that has some regard for reality and basic logic, and is not blatantly circular or based in religious mysticism.

Any such philosophy would keep the concepts good and bad out of metaphysics, because they make absolutely no sense in that context.

 

Edited by Nicky

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EC    16

Yeah, that's the fundamental disagreement in this thread. The metaphysics of anything, including death, can never be good or bad, because whatever it is, it is without evaluation. 

And none of us on the Objectivist side can't understand why he would want to evaluate something that simply is, essentially ethically.

It's like he's trying to mix metaphysics with other branches of philosophy while denying he's doing so for some reason. Or he want's us to use other untrue definitions of the various branches of philosophy, while suspending what we all see as the truth of our own definitions. 

In his last post he wants us to completely drop any philosophical branch concepts completely and instead use blankout in their place?

None of this is meant to insult you or anything OP. I think you are being honest and open while having good tone. While I haven't frequented this site in awhile, I am an Objectivist and have been a member since about '05. And I used to see people that weren't O'ist's come in here all the time with a bad tone and all they wanted to do was argue about everything while never attempting to learn the O'ist perspective, which is what this site is all about. 

So, that was basically a compliment. I'd recommend that you read Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand  by Leonard Peikoff and you should be able to get a solid understanding of the philosophy.

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On 10/14/2016 at 11:30 PM, Harvey Meale said:

For something bad to occur, one has to experience it as bad, correct?

Yes. And you're right; death isn't inherently good or bad - when considered in complete isolation.

However, as far as alternatives go, death is always worse than the continuation of life.

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