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SaulOhio

Rand's razor and selfishness.

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One of the most important lessons for concept formation that I have learned from Ayn Rand is to avoid package dealing. For instance, many people want to package some vice with the concept of self-interest when they use the word "selfish". To them, selfishness means not only self-interest, but disregard for other people, or short-sightedness, "greed", or their strawman version of "extreme individualism".

How is this related to Rand's Razor?

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/rands_razor.html

Quote

The requirements of cognition forbid the arbitrary grouping of existents, both in regard to isolation and to integration. They forbid the random coining of special concepts to designate any and every group of existents with any possible combination of characteristics. For example, there is no concept to designate “Beautiful blondes with blue eyes, 5’5” tall and 24 years old.” Such entities or groupings are identified descriptively. If such a special concept existed, it would lead to senseless duplication of cognitive effort (and to conceptual chaos): everything of significance discovered about that group would apply to all other young women as well. There would be no cognitive justification for such a concept—unless some essential characteristic were discovered, distinguishing such blondes from all other women and requiring special study, in which case a special concept would become necessary. . . .

In the process of determining conceptual classification, neither the essential similarities nor the essential differences among existents may be ignored, evaded or omitted once they have been observed. Just as the requirements of cognition forbid the arbitrary subdivision of concepts, so they forbid the arbitrary integration of concepts into a wider concept by means of obliterating their essential differences—which is an error (or falsification) proceeding from definitions by non-essentials. (This is the method involved in the obliteration of valid concepts by means of “anti-concepts.”)

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

Leonard Peikoff, “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,”
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 94

Would self-interest and that other vice be thought of as "existents" in the context of this explanation of Rand's Razor? Because there is no essential reason to group disregard for other people's rights with self-interest, and especially since Rand showed there is no conflict of interests between rational men, would rejecting such a package deal be an application of Rand's Razor?

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16 hours ago, SaulOhio said:

Because there is no essential reason to group disregard for other people's rights with self-interest, and especially since Rand showed there is no conflict of interests between rational men, would rejecting such a package deal be an application of Rand's Razor?

Yes.  

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