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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I don't know why it bothers you that I'm asking to qualify it better. It's vague.

I don't know why you believe anything bothers me; I'm only asking you to explain the meaning of the words you're using so I know exactly what you're asking me to do. Why does it bother you that I'm asking you to clarify yourself?

Speaking of: what do you mean by "vague"? That word seems a little indistinct and inspecific to me...

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

...I'm getting you to question the nature of pain.

And indeed you have (in part because I now have a headache). In my search for deeper meaning -- what is this "pain" thing others speak of...? -- I stumbled upon an old thread also dealing with suicide (one of several, as you might guess). In it I found this quote, which seems to come close to my own sentiment:

On 12/12/2004 at 9:29 AM, stephen_speicher said:

It is obviously an extremely serious choice, but if circumstances are such that happiness is not possible, if the pain of living overwhelms the desire for life, than suicide can be both a rational and moral act. The obvious example of this extreme act is a person who is so physically ill with a terminal disease, so racked with excruciating pain and so debilitated that living is no longer a positive value.

I say "seems to come close to my own sentiment," because unfortunately stephen_speicher uses the inscrutable term "excruciating pain," and I cannot make either heads or tails of what he means by it. Do you have any idea?

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On 11/19/2016 at 5:11 PM, itsjames said:

epistemologue, could you state your basic thesis in just a few sentences perhaps?

Sure, this is my basic point:

Suicide is a contradiction to the fundamental moral philosophy of Objectivism. It is the sacrifice of life for death; the sacrifice of the good for the sake of a zero. Even in the example of someone who is suffering extreme loss or torture, the achievement of values and happiness is still possible, life is still worth living, and suicide is still an irrational self-sacrifice.

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On 11/19/2016 at 7:06 PM, itsjames said:

In extreme cases, clear thinking might not be possible, even if you are still conscious. There is a scene from the movie "Fury" that comes to mind, where a soldier is burning alive, and without a second's thought he pulls out his pistol and shoots himself in the head. I'm not an expert on Objectivism's views on morality, but in my view, calling what that soldier did a "moral" issue is quite silly. There was no planning or thinking there, he just did it. Does that make him "immoral"? Does morality even apply in such a crazy situation? I don't see how it could.

Pulling out a pistol and shooting yourself in the head is not an unconscious bodily function, it's a volitionally chosen act.

Morality does apply in such a situation. I haven't seen that particular movie or that scene, but taking the example where you are on fire, the moral thing to do is to essentially stop, drop, and roll - i.e. to attempt to put the fire out and prevent further injury. 

Morality applies to all situations in which one is capable of volitional action. Among the volitional actions available to you (whether they are mental, such as thinking, remembering, imagining, creating, deducing, etc., or physical, such as speaking, moving your body, etc.), some of these actions will be irrational and some will be rational, some actions will work against your life and happiness, and some will work for it, and some will work for it better than others. The moral ideal is to choose the actions which will advance your life and happiness the most of them all, the optimal actions - to deliberately choose lesser actions instead, are irrational, immoral self-sacrifices in comparison.

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On 11/20/2016 at 1:51 PM, MisterSwig said:

But it's hard to fault a former athlete for wanting to die because he has no use of his legs or arms, or both. I mostly wanted to stress the importance of treating these cases on an individual basis.

In psychology, what Eiuol and I have described is called resilience. It's the ability to live a good life despite tremendous suffering or loss. 

Resilience is the ability to adjust your expectations and your goals according to your circumstances - even in the face of a dramatic change of your circumstances, as in the case of devastating loss or suffering. It's the ability to stay optimistic and look on the positive side - to seek and to find good things that are within your range.

Eiuol used the example of Christopher Reeves:

On 11/19/2016 at 7:45 PM, Eiuol said:

If you give up life because you were once a famous actor and are now a quadripalegic is plainly cowardly and foolish. Christopher Reeves still led a worthwhile life - that's who I am referring to. To give up as soon as life is a bit tough or needing to alter what -usually- makes you happiest. Changing course isn't the end.

If Reeves committed suicide he would have achieved less than he was capable of - it would have been self-sacrificial. And yet if Reeves held himself to the same standard of being an able-bodied Superman actor, something more than what he was capable of, he would have achieved nothing but failure - and would not have achieved the things he could, which would be equally self-destructive and self-sacrificial.

So the fault you would find with a former athlete or actor who decides to commit suicide because they can no longer pursue their previous career, is that they lack resilience (incidentally, watch the movie Me Before You for a dramatization of exactly this issue).

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On 11/21/2016 at 11:52 AM, MisterSwig said:

So, I ask you, if the football player with CTE or the soldier with dangerous psychological problems cannot sustain even a minimum, safe level of rationality, how can they be expected to operate on the premise of life? They were once a sort of superhuman, but now they've been reduced to the subhuman level, where a proper human existence is not available to them.

Are you just asking about a football player who has lost the ability to pursue the career he loves? My answer to that is that he ought to have resilience, he should find other values in life that make it worth living.

But that seems distinct from this other idea, that someone is damaged in such a way that the ability to think rationally is limited, which you also add the assumption that they are "dangerous". My answer to that is to seek treatment, even physically restrain one's self to prevent uncontrollable outbursts, take whatever actions are necessary in the context in which they now find themselves in order to seek out the positive achievements that are still possible to them.

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23 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

So the fault you would find with a former athlete or actor who decides to commit suicide because they can no longer pursue their previous career, is that they lack resilience

Is it "resilience" to so thoroughly depend upon the assistance of able-bodied people in order to simply survive? Or to be able to breathe even? If I'm totally paralyzed, it's not resilience that keeps me alive and going. It's my willingness to live as a fully dependent entity. I must be willing to burden others with my prolonged desire to live. These are the sorts of details you miss and don't consider when you make living a kind of duty. When you decide that life itself is valuable, regardless of the kind of life it is.

Edited by MisterSwig

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On 11/28/2016 at 1:04 PM, Eiuol said:

the pain ITSELF has at least more value than a zero by making yourself stronger.

This isn't what I meant. I'm not saying that pain as such is a positive value, but rather experience as such is a positive value, and so the experience of pain is a value as an experience - although because it's a painful experience, that means it's not the fullest, most positive experience that you could be having otherwise.

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33 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

Are you just asking about a football player who has lost the ability to pursue the career he loves?

No. Watch the movie Concussion.

I think you should study real examples of people who kill themselves for extraordinary reasons, before expecting resilience from such people. There are cases where these people were likely ten times more resilient than you or I could ever be. We're talking about people who went into battle as a career, either on the football field or in an actual war. And here you are pontificating on a philosophy forum, generally suggesting that they were cowards for committing suicide when they suffered from crippling diseases. 

Edited by MisterSwig

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14 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

I'm not saying that pain as such is a positive value, but rather experience as such is a positive value, and so the experience of pain is a value as an experience - although because it's a painful experience, that means it's not the fullest, most positive experience that you could be having otherwise.

Ah, a painful experience is a positive value (because all experience is a positive value)... just not the most positive value possible. Having your arm cut off is good (qua experience), just not so good as eating ice cream. Makes perfect sense.

If a person were slated to spend the rest of his life in a literal torture chamber, slowly having body parts cut off until he dies, he'd surely want to stick around for all of that -- hang on as long as possible -- for that sweet, sweet experience.

I think I'm a convert!

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

Is it "resilience" to so thoroughly depend upon the assistance of able-bodied people in order to simply survive? Or to be able to breathe even? If I'm totally paralyzed, it's not resilience that keeps me alive and going. It's my willingness to live as a fully dependent entity. I must be willing to burden others with my prolonged desire to live. These are the sorts of details you miss and don't consider when you make living a kind of duty. When you decide that life itself is valuable, regardless of the kind of life it is.

To "depend upon the assistance of able-bodied people" is not in itself a problem. You're not "a burden to others" or "living as a fully dependent entity", that's ridiculously disrespectful and inaccurate. There is no force involved, these people are helping because you're a value to them, they either personally want to keep you alive, or are being paid by you or people who value you to do so.

You're not forcing or defrauding them, you're getting out of them what you have earned, whether materially or spiritually.

Your virtue is still what you're surviving on, if you're in a wheelchair or in a coma or whatever the current situation is. To need help is not a black mark, as long as you're able to get it voluntarily.

"Me Before You" did that really well, they showed that the idea of suicide for the sake of your loved ones is a total lie, everyone else in the movie was completely against it. It devastated everyone else. It's up to the people in your life whether they choose to help you when you're debilitated or not. If you opt for suicide sacrificially, for their sake, that's not you being beneficent, that's you taking their choice away. I don't normally have to explain to Objectivists that sacrificing yourself for the sake of others is a bad way to go.

 

37 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

No. Watch the movie Concussion.

I think you should study real examples of people who kill themselves for extraordinary reasons, before expecting resilience from such people. There are cases where these people were likely ten times more resilient than you or I could ever be. We're talking about people who went into battle as a career, either on the football field or in an actual war. And here you are pontificating on a philosophy forum, generally suggesting that they are cowards for committing suicide when they suffered from crippling diseases. 

I'm not accusing anyone of being cowardly necessarily. The real difficulty with resilience is being able to adjust to a dramatically different context in life. This is not an easy step to make mentally or emotionally. Thinking that you have no values left in the world after a devastating loss can be an easy mistake to make. Realizing that you are still alive and conscious, and that it is a truly priceless opportunity, despite everything else having gone horribly wrong, is not always an obvious conclusion. I can be both empathetic with people and have the dignity to judge them morally. To drop your moral standards because someone is suffering is not doing them a service.

Edited by epistemologue

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18 minutes ago, epistemologue said:

To "depend upon the assistance of able-bodied people" is not in itself a problem.

One begins to wonder what you would consider to be "a problem."

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51 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

If I'm totally paralyzed, it's not resilience that keeps me alive and going. It's my willingness to live as a fully dependent entity. I must be willing to burden others with my prolonged desire to live. These are the sorts of details you miss and don't consider when you make living a kind of duty. When you decide that life itself is valuable, regardless of the kind of life it is.

I know more about this than I care to explain on a public forum, as in personal perspective.

In any case, this is exactly lack of resilience, lack of grit. It is, in fact, resilience for a physically dependent person to grasp that their mind is fully independent, and the value in life is to use that independent mind. Steven Hawking does it. He'd die right away if no one helped him. Perhaps it seems torturous, painful even, but there's no indication that it is for him. If his life were torturous to you, it is lack of grit, or a lack of imagination to see how it is still great to live that life.

I disagree that a pain experience qua experience is a positive, but I say that other experiences are present despite that pain, and those are valuable to some degree. Better yet, with a proper mindset, that pain diminishes to entirely bearable. As a minor example, my knee hurts a bit if I focus on pain from a minor injury, but it goes to the back of my mind as other experiences matter more and are present as a degree of pleasure.

If we mean endless torture, it really depends on what values already exist for that person. If NO values exist, apart from mere "aliveness", and ONLY pain is felt, that could make sense, except the nature of value makes any apparent pain always weaker and not overwhelming to consciousness. Either that or the torture itself will have literally destroyed your mind (PTSD is a real thing and real trauma, and if bad enough, can obliterate your mind). That's when suicide is "okay", but essentially it's all over anyway.

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I disagree that a pain experience qua experience is a positive, but I say that other experiences are present despite that pain, and those are valuable to some degree. Better yet, with a proper mindset, that pain diminishes to entirely bearable. As a minor example, my knee hurts a bit if I focus on pain from a minor injury, but it goes to the back of my mind as other experiences matter more and are present as a degree of pleasure.

We aren't talking about knee pain here. You realize that, right?

As I type this I'm living with neuropathy in my right leg down to my toes. And we aren't even talking about that sort of pain. So, let's keep some perspective.

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18 hours ago, DonAthos said:

In my search for deeper meaning -- what is this "pain" thing others speak of...? -- I stumbled upon an old thread also dealing with suicide (one of several, as you might guess). In it I found this quote, which seems to come close to my own sentiment:

Ease off the sarcasm. The bigger idea is that pain is necessarily a subjective experience related to one's evaluation of the situation and probably sense of life.

Another way to ask it... what is an example of unbearable pain for you, and for what reason would it be unbearable? The quote you gave provides no detail, just an assumption that a person can't be mistaken to say their pain is too much to bear. And I did answer how and if suicide may be "okay", but I'd say 99 years of pain is fine and better, unless we *also* assume the person has NO values to orient their mind towards. That's why the nature of the pain matters, what is available in life, how the pain is received, etc.

Presumably, Prince found life unbearable, that it was so painful, so he let himself die. We would be right to criticize him for wrongly judging his own life to be filled with pain and suffering such that pain killers were needed. That sort of torment was his own making.

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17 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Ease off the sarcasm.

Dude, I responded initially to your question "what is excruciating pain and emotional despair?" by flatly telling you that I wasn't going to participate in such games. (You have gone to college; presumably you know what "pain" is.) You pressed, implying that I somehow had a moral obligation to answer you, so I responded with a parody (which was also meant to be instructive)... and then you continued to press the issue, not by responding to my request for definitions of your terms (why not, Eiuol? have you asked yourself why you didn't just answer me and provide me those definitions?), but by restating your questions and implying that I'm bothered.

Well, at long last I am bothered. You have earned my sarcasm, and more than I have employed. You have also earned this response, such as it is.

17 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

The bigger idea is that pain is necessarily a subjective experience related to one's evaluation of the situation and probably sense of life.

Another way to ask it... what is an example of unbearable pain for you, and for what reason would it be unbearable? The quote you gave provides no detail, just an assumption that a person can't be mistaken to say their pain is too much to bear. And I did answer how and if suicide may be "okay", but I'd say 99 years of pain is fine and better, unless we *also* assume the person has NO values to orient their mind towards. That's why the nature of the pain matters, what is available in life, how the pain is received, etc.

I still will not play this game.

But may I ask -- are you suggesting that Objectivists (with the proper sense of life, naturally) do not feel pain?

17 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Presumably, Prince found life unbearable, that it was so painful, so he let himself die. We would be right to criticize him for wrongly judging his own life to be filled with pain and suffering such that pain killers were needed. That sort of torment was his own making.

I can't comment on Prince -- I don't know enough about him or his life. But... are you implying that there's something wrong with taking pain medication? You can't be, right? But at this point, I have no earthly idea.

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1 minute ago, DonAthos said:

But may I ask -- are you suggesting that Objectivists (with the proper sense of life, naturally) do not feel pain?

I can't comment on Prince -- I don't know enough about him or his life. But... are you implying that there's something wrong with taking pain medication? You can't be, right? But at this point, I have no earthly idea.

I asked you to define your terms, and the response treated it as though it should be obvious. Like any good writer ought to do, describe it! It's a thought experiment. Let's just forget about that and focus on -kinds- of pain instead for now.

Excruciating is a kind of physical pain, or it might mean an existential state. Physical pain will often be fleeting, and it really is manageable. If it is extended, then it goes into how I explained an answer does not matter for the experiment (and the duration makes no difference to those two answers).

Prince didn't just take pain meds as prescribed for knee pain, often painkiller addicts wrongly use the meds for their emotional despair. Prince became an addict, and died as a result. I am sure he had real reasons to be depressed, but I can't say he'd be thinking rationally if pain meds looked like a proper answer. This is meant to illustrate one main thing: one person's excruciating pain of despair is another person's painful despair to conquer. 

My Buddhist example earlier was also to say the proper mindset is to acknowledge pain but not embrace it. It would not manifest into exisential pain.

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9 hours ago, epistemologue said:

Sure, this is my basic point:

Suicide is a contradiction to the fundamental moral philosophy of Objectivism. It is the sacrifice of life for death; the sacrifice of the good for the sake of a zero.


You seem to believe that for Objectivism, morality is fundamentally about preserving "life". I don't think this is quite right, at least not in the sense you seem to mean. In my view, the Objectivist morality is about being oriented towards reality mentally. It's about forming concepts in a reality oriented way and then using those concepts while treating them according to what they are. For example, you form the concept of a tree (using a reality oriented mental process involving integration, differentiation, etc.). Then, you walk outside, see a tree, and say, "That's a tree". This is, I believe, what Objectivism regards as the essence of morality. The essence of immorality, I believe, consists in forming a "concept" by a non-reality oriented process (using your feelings, not thinking, not differentiating clearly, etc.) and then attempting to apply that concept to something in reality, which means: treating your "concept" as something that it is not. (You didn't really form the "concept" in a reality oriented way, and now you are treating it as though it does refer to reality.) I could be wrong, but I think this is what Rand may have meant by "evasion".

 

So the standard isn't exactly "life", as you mean it. Perhaps you could say the standard is existence, or maybe treating consciousness and existence according to what they are.

 

9 hours ago, epistemologue said:

Pulling out a pistol and shooting yourself in the head is not an unconscious bodily function, it's a volitionally chosen act.

Morality does apply in such a situation. I haven't seen that particular movie or that scene, but taking the example where you are on fire, the moral thing to do is to essentially stop, drop, and roll - i.e. to attempt to put the fire out and prevent further injury. 

 

Well, let's try to think about what mental process this guy may have gone through prior to pulling the trigger. He's in intense pain. He doesn't know how to stop it. He vaguely remembers that there is something in his holster that he could use to "make it go away". He doesn't know what that means exactly, but he knows that he needs to act immediately, since time is running short. So he quickly does the first thing that comes to mind and blows himself away.

 

Where is the evasion here? Sure, he's thinking quickly. After all, he's on fire. But I don't see that he is necessarily not treating his consciousness or anything in existence according to what they are. So, I still don't regard his action as being immoral.

Edited by itsjames

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9 hours ago, itsjames said:

You seem to believe that for Objectivism, morality is fundamentally about preserving "life". I don't think this is quite right, at least not in the sense you seem to mean. In my view, the Objectivist morality is about being oriented towards reality mentally. It's about forming concepts in a reality oriented way and then using those concepts while treating them according to what they are. For example, you form the concept of a tree (using a reality oriented mental process involving integration, differentiation, etc.). Then, you walk outside, see a tree, and say, "That's a tree". This is, I believe, what Objectivism regards as the essence of morality. The essence of immorality, I believe, consists in forming a "concept" by a non-reality oriented process (using your feelings, not thinking, not differentiating clearly, etc.) and then attempting to apply that concept to something in reality, which means: treating your "concept" as something that it is not. (You didn't really form the "concept" in a reality oriented way, and now you are treating it as though it does refer to reality.) I could be wrong, but I think this is what Rand may have meant by "evasion".

I don't agree with this account of the Objectivist ethics. It is a good piece of advice, epistemologically, but I don't think it is the basis for the distinction between morality and immorality, because you can unintentionally form invalid concepts. For example, many people who believe in God are basically honest, even though God is an invalid concept. I continue to find invalid and unexamined assumptions in my thinking on occasion, even years after learning of Objectivism.

I'm not saying this is irrelevant to morality, it's just a really demanding standard to set. Almost everyone has some invalid concepts at work in their thinking.

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13 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I asked you to define your terms, and the response treated it as though it should be obvious.

Yes, Eiuol, it should be obvious. Folks in this thread have been using "pain" -- including yourself -- since the OP:

Quote

Pain and fear are innate capacities to alert us that something is wrong, that there is a potential threat to our life and our pursuit of the good, but they do not by themselves offer us any positive value to seek. Pleasure tells us what is good, what is right, but pain can only tell us that something is wrong - it cannot tell us what is good or right.2 Rationally we can identify pain and suffering as a contradiction to the good, as a negative and an impediment, but innately pain simply does not offer us any pleasure, that is, it is a zero. It do not offer us the presence of any incentive to seek, so it cannot logically be the source of any conceptual values, nor can it be the fuel that makes us function.3

Why does this quote from the OP matter? Because it sets the context for this thread. If you could understand "pain" from the OP, then presumably the same term being employed when I use it in response will not throw you.

"Excruciating" comes from Latin, I believe, and it is an adjective meaning "intensely painful," which derives its meaning metaphorically from the torture/execution of crucifixion.

Does that help?

Quote

Like any good writer ought to do, describe it! It's a thought experiment.

A good writer knows not to describe every single thing -- you take certain things for granted, letting your reader fill in the necessary details, so that you can concentrate on the unusual and the remarkable. If you describe everything, you will drown your reader in a sea of unnecessary detail, such that nothing will stand out, nothing will draw the reader's focus.

My thought experiment is designed to focus on the ethical choice involved in suffering intensely -- and for a long period of time -- so that one may experience a moment of joy. It is meant to ask whether that suffering counts for anything, in terms of making that choice. Focusing on details about the mechanism of pain clouds the clarity which the thought experiment is meant to provide, and defeats its purpose.

Quote

Let's just forget about that and focus on -kinds- of pain instead for now.

Excruciating is a kind of physical pain, or it might mean an existential state. Physical pain will often be fleeting, and it really is manageable.

Again: the context for this has already been set. epistemologue spoke of "torture" and "the worst imaginable level of suffering and hell." Can you keep that context in mind, Eiuol? We are speaking of physical pain at least -- which may or may not involve an "existential state" (epistemologue has asserted that a man can be tortured and happy, but I consider that preposterous). It is not fleeting and it really is not manageable.

Meditation is potentially a wonderful practice, but we cannot will away all experience of pain; a Buddhist on the rack will feel it (and so will an Objectivist).

_______________________

The feedback I've received indicates that my initial attempt at constructing a useful thought experiment did not succeed. It is possible that nothing will. But here is a second attempt (this does not speak directly to suicide, perhaps, but it is meant to illuminate some of the underlying issues):

Imagine a woman at the end of her life. She has a disease and she is dying -- the doctor says she has three months to live. The doctor reports that there is an operation available... but she would need to have it immediately, and it would only extend her life by another three months. And there is an additional downside: the operation is such that she will be racked with terrible pain afterwards.

And so, she is presented with this: she may live another relatively pain-free three months, or she may live six months in (crosses fingers) excruciating pain...

My question here is not: "what would you choose" or "what should she choose," but do you believe that there is a real choice to be made here? The fact of the pain -- is it, or ought it be a factor, in this decision-making process? Or is six months of life simply superior to three months of life, regardless of the quality of experience (and specifically the level of pain) involved?

________________________

Edited to add:

May I set you a personal challenge, Eiuol? I have come to believe that you need to know more about pain. I don't want you to personally have to be nailed to a tree, however, to better understand "excruciating," and since you've brought up writing -- and I know that we are fellow writers -- how about this?

Write a short story involving literal torture and the victim's internal quest to find happiness despite it (do not hold back on the torture; put your protagonist to the test). See what happens, and what you can make believable for yourself.

And if you do this, please share the results with me. I'd like to see how you see this playing out.

Edited by DonAthos

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11 hours ago, itsjames said:

It's about forming concepts in a reality oriented way and then using those concepts while treating them according to what they are.

That has more to do with epistemology than ethics. Though it might be related to the virtue of honesty. Morality, however, is generally about forming a system of values that you use to figure out how to behave in particular situations, both in short-term and long-term scenarios. It's not about being devoted to living for the sake of life itself. And it's not about suffering through endless, tormenting pain for the sake of a joyless life. It's about making the right choices and seeking the right values based on your purpose in life. If your top purpose is survival, then you will tolerate hell for eternity rather than kill yourself. If your top purpose is happiness, then you won't.

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20 hours ago, epistemologue said:

If Reeves committed suicide he would have achieved less than he was capable of - it would have been self-sacrificial.

Maybe I've finally understood your position. It seems now that you place "achievement" as man's purpose in life. Despite all else, man must achieve the most that is possible to him. Anything less is sacrificing one's full potential.

Is that it?

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9 hours ago, William O said:

I don't agree with this account of the Objectivist ethics. It is a good piece of advice, epistemologically, but I don't think it is the basis for the distinction between morality and immorality, because you can unintentionally form invalid concepts. For example, many people who believe in God are basically honest, even though God is an invalid concept.

 

I'm not sure I agree that the belief in God -- and the practice of this belief -- can ever be honest, especially when the believer claims they are "certain". Sure, many believers can be honest in other areas of their lives, making them "basically" honest. But if honesty is the devotion to reality, I don't see how believing in God can be an honest thing. Please enlighten me, if you think I'm wrong.

 

9 hours ago, William O said:

I'm not saying this is irrelevant to morality, it's just a really demanding standard to set.

 

The standard which we are talking about (ie. treating things according to what they are) is reason. Of course its demanding. 

 

9 hours ago, William O said:

Almost everyone has some invalid concepts at work in their thinking.

 

The extent to which someone has and uses "concepts" like God, which have no referent in reality, is the extent to which they are irrational. Rationality/irrationality is the starting point for any discussion of what one "should" do. I don't see how there can be any other standard.

 

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6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

That has more to do with epistemology than ethics.

It (reason) has to do with both. I think it's the starting point for ethics. In Objectivism, isn't reason one of the cardinal values?

 

6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Though it might be related to the virtue of honesty.

Again, we're talking about reason and rationality. According to Objectivism, all the major virtues are simply different angles on the virtue of rationality as it's applied in different settings.

 

6 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Morality, however, is generally about forming a system of values ...

Okay, I agree. But what are the fundamental values?

 

 

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48 minutes ago, itsjames said:

Okay, I agree. But what are the fundamental values?

Reason, purpose, and self-esteem. Perhaps you could look them up. Rand wrote quite a lot about morality. Much of it is online. I'm short on time right now. I can go into it more tomorrow.

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10 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:
1 hour ago, itsjames said:

Okay, I agree. But what are the fundamental values?

 

10 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Reason, purpose, and self-esteem. Perhaps you could look them up. Rand wrote quite a lot about morality. Much of it is online. I'm short on time right now. I can go into it more tomorrow.

The purpose of my question was actually just to point to the fact that reason is a fundamental value, according to Objectivism. I believe it is too. My larger point is that you can't defend a stance on the morality/immorality of a certain action without reference to reason in some way. Yes, we have values other than reason, but reason sets the context for all values. In order for an action to be fundamentally bad, it has to be irrational.


By the way, I'm really more interested in what you think the fundamental values are. We can all read what Rand wrote and recite her arguments. I want to hear your arguments based on your own experiences and your own observations.

 

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