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"Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

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14 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Now that is fascinating. That would require an ability to compare my benefit vs. theirs.

That's a misunderstanding of "primary".  In this context it means, "first", not "greatest".  If you act, first, to benefit yourself and, second, to benefit another, you are the "primary" beneficiary, regardless of who (by whatever measure) gets more from your actions.

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

"other focused" is second handed, not altruistic.  

Okay, that's helping clarify something. So, then "other focused" is not altruistic, but it is non-egoistic (not self-interested), correct?

And also, non-egoistic does not mean altruistic.

Although, I want to make a case that it is.

If self-interested from an ethical directive means "I ought to put my needs first (always)" and altruism means "I ought to put myself second/last (always)", they don't overlap at least.

I suppose if they were exact opposites it would be:

"I ought to put my needs first (always)" vs. "I ought NOT to put my needs first (always)".

But that fits too. So what's the problem with that logic?

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15 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

That's a misunderstanding of "primary".  In this context it means, "first", not "greatest".  If you act, first, to benefit yourself and, second, to benefit another, you are the "primary" beneficiary, regardless of who (by whatever measure) gets more from your actions.

I'm trying to understand "acting first to benefit another, and second to benefit myself". It's impossible. When I think of action, it means "the action of a self-interested agent". First or second, the agent taking the action is self-interested.

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13 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Okay, that's helping clarify something. So, then "other focused" is not altruistic, but it is non-egoistic (not self-interested), correct?

And also, non-egoistic does not mean altruistic.

Although, I want to make a case that it is.

If self-interested from an ethical directive means "I ought to put my needs first (always)" and altruism means "I ought to put myself second/last (always)", they don't overlap at least.

I suppose if they were exact opposites it would be:

"I ought to put my needs first (always)" vs. "I ought NOT to put my needs first (always)".

But that fits too. So what's the problem with that logic?

What is the problem with what logic?

 

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5 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

I'm trying to understand "acting first to benefit another, and second to benefit myself". It's impossible. When I think of action, it means "the action of a self-interested agent". First or second, the agent taking the action is self-interested.

Don't forget the objective meaning of "self-interest".  An altruist, although "interested" in self-sacrifice, is not acting in his own objective self-interest, when he sacrifices himself to others.

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5 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What is the problem with what logic?

Ok, just tell me of the statement is true or false

1. non-egoistic does not mean altruistic

2. (not rational egoist) does not mean altruist (per rands definition of altruist)

3."other focused" is not altruistic

4." other focused" is non-egoistic

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7 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Don't forget the objective meaning of "self-interest".  An altruist, although "interested" in self-sacrifice, is not acting in his own objective self-interest, when he sacrifices himself to others.

Self-interest is one of those things that one can't divorce from their subjective experience. There is an intersection of subjective and objective in this area. What "you want" is relevant.

Isn't what "you want" both subjective and objective? Or are you defining self-interest as "what is good for you"?

As in "nutritional value" SHOULD always trump "tastes great". Then you get back into the "life qua man" argument.

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Just now, Easy Truth said:

Ok, just tell me of the statement is true or false

1. non-egoistic does not mean altruistic

2. (not rational egoist) does not mean altruist (per rands definition of altruist)

3."other focused" is not altruistic

4." other focused" is non-egoistic

First of all, non-X is either a negation, i.e. specifies absence of X, or specifies an opposite of X, but only if an opposite of X actually exists.  So keep that in mind when formulating or coining terms such as "non-egoistic"

Also recall altruism is an ethical term, it means "otherism" in ETHICS, that is what it means.  It would be a misuse of the term, even if you tried to limit it contextually, to claim you are an "altruist" when "people watching" at a coffee shop because you spend much more time watching other people than staring at yourself in a handheld mirror... There is no valid usage of the term "altruism" in the context of people watching.

 

1. Correct.  non-egoistic means anything inconsistent with egoism, including ethical nihilism.  That said, altruism is non-egoistic.  Black does not MEAN crows, but crows are black.

2.  see 1

3.  "other focused" simply means "focused on others" it has its own meaning and multiple possible contexts.  You CAN be focused on others when people watching.

4.  In the realm of ethics, IF you are focused on others rather than on an egoistic standard of morality, then you are by definition (in that instance" being non-egoistic.   IF you are focused on others FOR egoistic reasons, and it is BASED on an egoistic standard of morality, then in this instance "other focused" is egoistic.

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5 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Self-interest is one of those things that one can't divorce from their subjective experience. There is an intersection of subjective and objective in this area. What "you want" is relevant.

Isn't what "you want" both subjective and objective? Or are you defining self-interest as "what is good for you"?

As in "nutritional value" SHOULD always trump "tastes great". Then you get back into the "life qua man" argument.

Rand's theory of objective value is both crucial and central to the objectivity of her entire ethics.  I assume you are familiar with it. 

Things do NOT have intrinsic value, they have values and disvalues for you and your life.  The difficult task is tallying up the pros and cons of things in an objective way.  Spiritual (pertaining to the mind) values are immensely important.  Some will claim there are only SUBJECTIVE spiritual values.  This, I believe is a gross error, and I believe that Rand and Peikoff, and Tara Smith and others have made a strong enough case that values are objective, and some values are spiritual (pertaining to the mind).   

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1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

None of this is rocket science

Each unit must have the same essential characteristics.
There is an absolute requirement that essential characteristics of a concept be commensurable.
--
With these points, you are saying that the units of a concept share the same essential characteristics (with measurements omitted). If they share the same essential characteristics, they are by definition comparable by the same standard. This is why I think you've contradicted yourself. 

1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

So, yes, commensurability is essential to concept formation, but it is commensurability of characteristics, not commensurability of units, that is essential to concept formation.

How can you possibly separate the characteristics from the units? Since they cannot be separated (except cognitively), if you've identified commensurable characteristics, you've discovered a way that two units are commensurable (comparable by the same standard). You could "fake" commensurability with an arbitrary relationship. But if you already formed a valid concept, you would be certain that the relationship would not be arbitrary.

1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

So, even if one were to demonstrate that units of "value" are commensurable, it would be necessary to provein addition that the measure permits ordering.

I agree. If you disagree that all instances of value are commensurable, though, there's no use in demonstrating to you that all values can be ordered and ranked.

1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

But this works only because one is smuggling in a different notion of value

What would be different, besides being a subcategory of value? 
 

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On ‎7‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 9:54 PM, Invictus2017 said:

Instances of a concept possess the same essential characteristics.  The individual characteristics may be commensurable, but that in no way requires that the instances themselves are commensurable.  Even if the characteristics are all numerical, that does not imply any particular combination of them is meaningful or that any combination of them is meaningful. 

Also, keep in mind the context: Things that are greater or lesser against a scale.  A given characteristic may but need not be measurable on a scale of greater or lesser.  E.g., electrons and positrons have charges that are identical in magnitude but opposite in value, and which is positive is arbitrary -- one cannot say that because a positron has a positive charge and an electron a negative one, that the positron has a greater charge.  Also, there are characteristics that are not definable in number at all, such as the affect and evaluation that distinguishes different emotions.  Or organisms differentiated by mode of existence.

So, no, instances of a concept are not necessarily commensurable, especially not in the particular sense at issue.  The assertion of commensurability must be proven, not assumed.

I'm not sure what you mean, specifically, by "commensurable".

Something like "value", is context dependent applicable only to individuals (not some universal intrinsic quantity that can be added and subtracted in a collective mass of people).

It is the same as, for example, as specifying the measurements of the "a personal line of sight" (of a person in a crowd) "to a central statue" they all can look at.  One can say there exists a line of sight to the statue for each and every person. It exists.  But because no two people stand exactly the same in relation to the statue, each line of sight is unique.

 As a concept, "line of sight" is equally applicable to each person and objectively each person does stand, and must stand, somehow in  relation to the statue.  If you mean by "commensurable", the fact that the concept is applicable to any person standing in the crowd then I would say "line of sight" is commensurable.

If your definition of commensurable included the requirement that people had the same line of sight to the statue no matter where they were standing, or that there is a universal intrinsic quantity "line of sight" that can be calculated by adding "line of sight" of each of the people together, then I would have to disagree.  The resulting multiplicity of lines or even some mongrel mathematically calculated average line is not a personal line of sight from anyone to the statue and such a contradiction with the definition of a line of sight is incoherent.

A is a line of sight, B is a line of sight, A+B is NOT a conceptually valid line of sight.

Such a conception and requirement for "commensurate" in this realm and the realm of contextual objective personal value would be incoherent at worst, intrinsicist and rationalist at best (still bad).

Can you clarify what you mean by commensurate?

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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5 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Things do NOT have intrinsic value, they have values and disvalues for you and your life.  The difficult task is tallying up the pros and cons of things in an objective way.  Spiritual (pertaining to the mind) values are immensely important.  Some will claim there are only SUBJECTIVE spiritual values.  This, I believe is a gross error, and I believe that Rand and Peikoff, and Tara Smith and others have made a strong enough case that values are objective, and some values are spiritual (pertaining to the mind)

Yes, so interest alone is not what determines something is objectively a value, it is determined based on a rational determination of "does this advance my life qua man". The issue of addiction was brought up by Morris, and that makes things very complicated. As in "It makes me happy to do the heroin, and I know it will destroy a great deal of my life" but it is my top "want".

A tallying takes place, as in the top value, "should" be the one chosen. And with addictions (I suppose some sort of evasion takes place) and what is "most" wanted does not move up the ranks to the top.

But there is a rational complication with the issue of life qua man rather than "staying alive". It is in the case of "risk". One person wants to advance their life by knowingly doing something very dangerous ... but if it works, with great reward genuinely improving their life in every way.

The tallying in that case is highly influenced by personal temperament (risk tolerance) rather by some universal determination.

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

Yes, so interest alone is not what determines something is objectively a value, it is determined based on a rational determination of "does this advance my life qua man". The issue of addiction was brought up by Morris, and that makes things very complicated. As in "It makes me happy to do the heroin, and I know it will destroy a great deal of my life" but it is my top "want".

A tallying takes place, as in the top value, "should" be the one chosen. And with addictions (I suppose some sort of evasion takes place) and what is "most" wanted does not move up the ranks to the top.

But there is a rational complication with the issue of life qua man rather than "staying alive". It is in the case of "risk". One person wants to advance their life by knowingly doing something very dangerous ... but if it works, with great reward genuinely improving their life in every way.

The tallying in that case is highly influenced by personal temperament (risk tolerance) rather by some universal determination.

I don't know where "temperament" falls in level of importance among the factors, but yes, part of the context of objective value is of course (and we KNOW this) the valuer to whom such and such is a value... his/her situation, age, health, abilities, mentality, personality, etc. i.e. the persons identity forms a paramount context for the objective value.

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21 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Isn't what "you want" both subjective and objective? Or are you defining self-interest as "what is good for you"?

I have not read the OP or anything beyond this page yet....

Rational self interest refers to the intentional benificiary of the individual performing the action. Though one can say “but the “individual” is the self”, that is an equivocation of the actor with the intentional object, or benificiary of action. 

Do not confuse the object performing the action with the object of the action.

Objectivity is a relationship between subject and object. When one acts to persue ones own interests as the benificiary, in a way that accords with the nature of ones life and the nature of the existents instrumental to ones values as a means to sustaining and enhancing ones life, one is acting rationally and objectively in their self interest. 

You could say, one object is instrumental to the object weilding the instrument

People like Jordan Peterson have danced around the topic of self interest equivocating back and forth on this very issue. Oist need to take note of this. One in a rush to be “agreeable” will easily be manipulated by such nuance. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Plasmatic

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Easy Truth said:

“there is a rational complication with the issue of life qua man rather than "staying alive". It is in the case of "risk". One person wants to advance their life by knowingly doing something very dangerous ... but if it works, with great reward genuinely improving their life in every way.

The tallying in that case is highly influenced by personal temperament (risk tolerance) rather by some universal determination.”

 

Many have made issue with survival vs flourishing... 

Highly skilled athletes performing dangerous tasks consider techical skill to mitigate risk such that someone performing the same action is at a much greater risk. The academic leftists who have infected much of the literature on risk like to use it as an out of context innate trait they are seeking to cultivate in a would be revolutionary subject...

Edited by Plasmatic

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14 minutes ago, Plasmatic said:

Many have made issue with survival vs flourishing... 

Highly skilled athletes performing dangerous tasks consider techical skill to mitigate risk such that someone performing the same action is at a much greater risk. The academic leftists who have infected much of the literature on risk like to use it as an out of context innate trait they are seeking to cultivate in a would be revolutionary subject...

Plasmatic.. Easy Truth said that... not me.

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9 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Plasmatic.. Easy Truth said that... not me.

Yeah, I think it said your username because I snipped it from your post quoting Easy Truth? I will just quote it generically to fix it.

 

Edited by Plasmatic

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On 6/27/2018 at 9:06 AM, Invictus2017 said:

If, at this point, one drops the context, ignores the value hierarchy, one can mistakenly see a mother's actions that benefits her child but cost her dearly, or a soldier's putting his life on the line and even losing it, as actions "for others", a sort of altruism that egoism supposedly rejects.  But keeping the context, it's clear that the person who chooses motherhood also chooses the emotional bonding that requires that she "sacrifice".  But she does so for the long-term benefits of motherhood, as she conceives them.  Similarly for the soldier; if he chooses to defend his society, he also chooses the soldierly virtues that go with it, which may involve "sacrificing" his life.

Keeping the context, remembering that humans have a nature, and refusing to accept contradictions -- those are how and why Randian egoism, even though it requires that the beneficiary of one's actions be oneself, also permits and even requires acting for others, sometimes even "sacrificing" for others.

You benifit no one by doing this kind of word game. It only serves to needlesly muddy communication and provides a pretext for others to gain an “anchor” or handle to steer a conversation manipulatively. NLP practitioners look for this sort of linguistic opportunity often.

 

Edited by Plasmatic

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2 hours ago, Plasmatic said:

The academic leftists who have infected much of the literature on risk like to use it as an out of context innate trait they are seeking to cultivate in a would be revolutionary subject...

I've read about risk in terms of psychology in an academic setting. It's not treated as innate trait, although different people are willing to treat risks differently (but this is no different than any difference in skill). Who specifically sees risk tolerance as an innate trait? I mean, I'd like to read something about it. I'm skeptical that anyone besides a few fringe people who would treat risk as anything different than a variable in economic decision-making (or how people deal with uncertainty).

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Who specifically sees risk tolerance as an innate trait? 

Is “temperament” a skill? 

 

I am not interested in discussing this issue with you beyond what I am posting here.

 

The SEP article on risk contains no less than 5 definitions of risk. (So much for “anything other than”) In that very article “risk perception” in the psychometric model is claimed to be better understood as influenced by “attitude” and cited with sjoberg 2004

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/sj.embor.7400258

However, I am largely thinking of psychologist’s like Peterson who use “temperament” as a sort of inbuilt predisposition for things like political philosophy and risk avoidance. 

Edited by Plasmatic

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4 hours ago, Plasmatic said:

When one acts to persue ones own interests as the benificiary, in a way that accords with the nature of ones life and the nature of the existents instrumental to ones values as a means to sustaining and enhancing ones life, one is acting rationally and objectively in their self interest. 

Agreed. I also think that there is more confusion around the word "benefit" than there is around "beneficiary". I still maintain that the balance between pleasure and rationality is a slippery one in determining self-interest.

Perhaps one should think in terms of "rational pleasure" (or rationality based pleasure).

Isn't pleasure implicitly "egoistic"?

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Regarding commensurablity and life as the standard:

Two humans A and B both are alive and have digestive systems. A has an ulcer and B has a normally functioning stomach. 

A family dinner A and B are attending has only ulcer inflaming foods prepared.

Is this dinner equally good for both A and B’s life? Clearly not. 

Both A and B equally require food to sustain life. But the means to which each individuals context of survival is different.

That is the whole premise behind why the state cannot serve the interest of the individuals composing its citizens. 

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1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

Is “temperament” a skill? 

Kind of. I wouldn't use the word temperament at all, it makes for a muddy discussion and conceptual confusion. 

1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

The SEP article on risk contains no less than 5 definitions of risk.

Right, there are multiple definitions of risk. But this still all falls under economic decision-making. What you wrote about highly skilled athletes is along the lines of how academics (at least in psychology and economics) speak of risk. And some might consider risk tolerance out of context, which would be an error (I think that's Easy Truth's error). But the part where you added "seeking to cultivate it in a would be revolutionary subject" is what I'm disputing. 

1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

However, I am largely thinking of psychologist’s like Peterson who use “temperament” as a sort of inbuilt predisposition for things like political philosophy and risk avoidance. 

Then why did you say leftist academics if you were mainly referring to someone like Peterson? If you mean you were throwing in an aside about leftist academics specifically, I'm curious about specific people.

Edited by Eiuol

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14 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Kind of. I wouldn't use the word temperament at all, it makes for a muddy discussion and conceptual confusion. 

Right, there are multiple definitions of risk. But this still all falls under economic decision-making. What you wrote about highly skilled athletes is along the lines of how academics (at least in psychology and economics) speak of risk. And some might consider risk tolerance out of context, which would be an error (I think that's Easy Truth's error). But the part where you added "seeking to cultivate it in a would be revolutionary subject" is what I'm disputing. 

Then why did you say leftist academics if you were mainly referring to someone like Peterson?

This is why I find discussion with you useless. You reliably move the goal posts every time you are cornered. You clearly stated nothing about my comment on the goals of cultivation and explicitly asked:

Who specifically sees risk tolerance as an innate trait” and stated “I mean I would like to read something about it”

Which is exactly what I responded to.

Quote

Then why did you say leftist academics if you were mainly referring to someone like Peterson?

Because that is exactly what he is. By his own words. The fact that many think he is not is a testament to the utter lack of understanding in the culture of his philosophical background.

 

Edited by Plasmatic

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