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"Egoism and Others" by Merlin Jetton

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1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

cornered

"Cornered"? From what I see, you gave me an answer without demonstrating in what way the facts you identify as entailing that academics in general "like to use it as an out of context innate trait they are seeking to cultivate in a would be revolutionary subject". If you don't want to talk about it, then just mention one academic. With the example you gave, it's really reaching and I think is a misreading of psychology literature. You did not actually identify someone who thinks risk tolerance is an innate trait (as opposed to a trait influenced by innate traits - a very different claim). 

Not to say that either claim is necessarily justified or valid. The important thing for this conversation is that risk can be evaluated by rational methods, as opposed to some kind of "feeling" or subjective assessment.

1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

Because that is exactly what he is. By his own words.

Where? You brought up Peterson twice, so it would be useful for all of us here for you to expand on this. Leaving aside the validity of his claims that cultural Marxism is a real thing, his vocal opposition to it would suggest that he is something besides a leftist.

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

"Cornered"? From what I see, you gave me an answer without demonstrating in what way the facts you identify as entailing that academics in general "like to use it as an out of context innate trait they are seeking to cultivate in a would be revolutionary subject". If you don't want to talk about it, then just mention one academic. With the example you gave, it's really reaching and I think is a misreading of psychology literature. You did not actually identify someone who thinks risk tolerance is an innate trait (as opposed to a trait influenced by innate traits - a very different claim). 

Not to say that either claim is necessarily justified or valid. The important thing for this conversation is that risk can be evaluated by rational methods, as opposed to some kind of "feeling" or subjective assessment.

 

I have already given you what you originally asked for. 

I am fine with you interpreting that however you want. I comfortable with others drawing their own conclusion.

 

Quote

Where? You brought up Peterson twice, so it would be useful for all of us here for you to expand on this. Leaving aside the validity of his claims that cultural Marxism is a real thing, his vocal opposition to it would suggest that he is something besides a leftist.

This is a non sequitur. Repudiating the type of socialism known as “cultural marxism” does not make one either a non-socialist, or a non leftist. 

I am working on extensive demonstration of Peterson’s actual traditionally leftist rooted philosophy and anyone interested can see it when I finish.

Edited by Plasmatic

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1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

Repudiating the type of socialism known as “cultural marxism” does not make one either a non-socialist, or a non leftist. 

Yeah, it wouldn't be proof (that's why I said suggest). But it can get complicated. I mean, for example, philosophically, neoconservatism stems from Leninism. We wouldn't call a neoconservative a "leftist", although it would be fair to say that it is rooted in explicitly leftist (anti-capitalist) thinking. Do you mean something like that kind of explanation? As far as I've seen, he never admitted or stated that he considers himself to be a thinker rooted in any leftist tradition. 

1 hour ago, Plasmatic said:

I am fine with you interpreting that however you want. I comfortable with others drawing their own conclusion.

Are/were you a graduate student in philosophy, psychology, or economics? If you aren't, there isn't much reason to think that your interpretation of the facts is correct, unless you spell out what you say more. I'm a graduate student in psychology, so that's good reason to at least say your claims about academics are on the right track. It doesn't help philosophy discussions to introduce controversial claims without explaining a lot.
 

Edited by Eiuol

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On 7/3/2018 at 12:29 PM, Eiuol said:

Each unit must have the same essential characteristics.
There is an absolute requirement that essential characteristics of a concept be commensurable.

We agree on these.

On 7/3/2018 at 12:29 PM, Eiuol said:

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. 

The discussion at hand comes from the notion that person A can get more from a voluntary exchange than person B.  For example, in one exchange, I get 10 dollars, you get a book.  To me, the 10 dollars is worth equal to or more than the book.  To you the book is worth equal to or more than the 10 dollars.  But what standard are we going to apply to say that I got more value getting 10 dollars and losing the book than you did getting the book and losing the 10 dollars?  What scale are we going to rank the value differences on so that such comparisons can be sensibly made? (For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to assume that we get value differences by measuring values on some scale and taking the difference.  Dealing directly with value differences is more complex, but leads to the same conclusion.)

My claim of incommensurability is that no such scale exists, outside of two useless (in this context) exceptions.  The first exception is the arbitrary scale, like assigning random numbers to things so that they can be "measured" that way.  The second involves scales that deal with something in addition to value.

Suppose, for example, that we used a scale of "survival importance", where we'd rank each value by an estimate of how long the person to whom it is a value could survive without it.  This wouldn't be very helpful with the example I just gave, because the durations of our lives are unlikely to be affected by whether or not we make the exchange.  OTOH, were I destitute and needed that 10 dollars to get a life-saving medicine, we could say that I got the better of that deal by this particular standard.

What makes this standard special?  Nothing.  Actually, because most exchanges don't have any determinate life-duration consequences, this is a particularly useless standard.  But we could have other standards; one for each way of measuring values.  We might assign to each value the time needed to acquire it, the money needed to acquire it, the degree of subjective satisfaction the value gives to the possessor, and so on.

The mere fact that there are more many such standards makes it clear that none of them can serve to address the problem at hand.  Any claim that I got more than you would net the immediate response of 'by which standard?" the answer to which could then be met by "oh yeah, well we're going to use this other standard instead".  There'd be no resolving this because, ultimately, there can be no answer to the question of which extrinsic consideration is the "right" one when addressing this problem.

What we need, instead, is some way of comparing values as such, without bringing in extrinsic considerations.  It is this that I am saying doesn't exist, when I say that values are incommensurable  There is no way to order your value qua value against my value qua value because the there are two different standards involved --  your life and my life.  You can measure your value against your life and I can measure my value against my life, but the one measurement has no relationship to the other.

On 7/3/2018 at 12:29 PM, Eiuol said:

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.

Measuring units by their commensurable characteristics may or may not be arbitrary, depending on the purpose of measuring  That certainly applies here, where there is no particular reason to consider one attribute of values as being "the" attribute for comparison purposes.

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On 7/3/2018 at 1:02 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

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

It's a tricky topic, but for present purposes it suffices to say that existents are commensurable if they can be meaningfully ordered by some property.  E.g., rocks are commensurable in that they can be meaningfully ordered by hardness.  But you can't say that rocks are commensurable in that they can be classified by type; there is no non-arbitrary ordering of the types of rocks (as far as I know).  Similarly, colors are commensurable because they can be meaningfully ordered by how they appear in a rainbow.

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10 hours ago, Plasmatic said:

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.

You benefit no one with gratuitous insults.  You also pretend to knowledge you do not have.

You have therefore earned a place in my ignore list.  Bye.

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2 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

You benefit no one with gratuitous insults.  You also pretend to knowledge you do not have.

You have therefore earned a place in my ignore list.  Bye.

Would be nice to know what insults you are referring to and what knowledge you claim to know I lack? 

Language games have a historically philosophical history and in particular using quotes to neutrualize a concept within a context where your comment would make no sense given the addition of the quotes.

The philisopher David Stove wrote about this quite a bit... 

 

For example “sacrifice” in scare quotes already means that you arent talking about giving up a higher value for a lesser one so there is nothing to “permit” as far as rational egoism goes. 

Edited by Plasmatic

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2 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

There'd be no resolving this because, ultimately, there can be no answer to the question of which extrinsic consideration is the "right" one when addressing this problem.

For sure, among subcategories of value, they can be compared in ways that broader categories cannot be. Not all values can be compared according to monetary value. In that way, no two things can be perfectly compared according to all characteristics. But there will be a minimum of at least one characteristic on which to compare. This might be difficult, and we might take a long time to find out how to "translate" the value of things according to life is the standard. But in principle, you can do it.

Like your rock example, you can't order rocks by type. Similarly, we can't rank values according to type. I don't think there is any nonarbitrary ordering of aesthetic value versus monetary value. This doesn't mean that the value of an apple can't be compared to the value of a painting. I don't think there is a direct comparison between the monetary value of an apple and the aesthetic value of a painting. But in general, we can consider them both as types of value, and by Rand's epistemology, we can compare them on the same scale. The only issue I think with my position is to demonstrate that all values can be compared quantitatively.

I think it's pretty clear though that Rand thought all concepts could be compared in a quantitative way (even if imprecisely). She seemed to take it for granted. I'd argue for that position and expand on what she left out. But it should be no issue to say she thought all values can be ranked as higher or lower in an objective way. It's why she would even talk about a hierarchy of values, and judge other people's hierarchy of values sometimes. I'd even go further to say that Rand got some of this thinking from Nietzsche. She just made his concern about ranking all things into something objective rather than his comparison in terms of psychology and predispositions alone. 
 

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On 6/26/2018 at 6:30 PM, merjet said:

The following are Rand's own words from VOS.

"Since all values have to be gained and/or kept by men's actions, any breach between actor and beneficiary necessitates an injustice: the sacrifice of some men to others, of the actors to the nonactors, of the moral to the immoral. Nothing could ever justify such a breach, and no one ever has. ... The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action" (Rand 1964, ix-x).

Hi merjet, I have always argued for this statement at its most simplistic, literal and 'transactional' level. You earn and deserve the fruits of your endeavors. In justice, there must be no interloper or interruption between what you do and what you gain. After which -- the proceeds of the "transaction" will  *then* be one's choice of how to disperse towards one's objectively selfish values - and given that one's values encompass the material-> spiritual range - first will be one's own life and its furtherance while to certainly include and benefit all others whom one values, finds worth in, likes, etc. (hierarchically, from our highest love -value, to donating support without deriving material benefit for a stranger). I can't find any contradiction in this with Rand's other writings (or actually, in real experience and consideration). To my mind, this is no more than a pretty basic precept of hers, a moral warning to those men who'd sacrifice other men.

The actor, the base of thought, virtue, work and effort is "you", inseparable from your value-choices, so "you" must be the initial, while not only and final, beneficiary.

My opinion in passing... (that may well have been covered within this long thread)

Edited by whYNOT

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On 6/27/2018 at 10:25 AM, 2046 said:

I don't get how "one can benefit others without self-sacrifice” isn't compatible with the above? It doesn't seem to follow, from the above quote, "another can never benefit from one's actions." I mean if you categorized it thusly:

(1) actions which benefit myself and not others

(2) actions which benefit both myself and others

(3) actions which benefit others and not myself.

......

 Of course, I haven't read the paper in question, and you could break the categories down a lot more, so I shall reserve my judgment, but it just seems silly to interpret that as "no one else can ever benefit from my actions." The scope of actions that fall under 2 that Rand does recommend, friendship, love, commerce, living in a human society, if all of these things seem squarely under 2, then it seems a big problem for merjets interpretation.

Silly? Carefully read the last sentence of what I quoted from VOS. It says "the beneficiary", which is singular and therefore excludes any beneficiary other than the actor. The part in the quote preceding the last sentence about any breach reinforces that.

So I don't agree that your #2 fits a literal interpretation of the quote from VOS. Only your #1 does. So the problem is for your non-literal interpretation.

You might believe that Ayn Rand did not intend my literal interpretation and your #2 fits Objectivism more broadly. I can buy that. Her fictional heroes and she herself at times acted in accordance with #2. To what extent she really meant what I quoted is debatable, but I think my literal interpretation is spot on.*  Maybe she got careless in a polemical mood, since what I quoted is an attack on Comtean altruism (self-sacrifice) as much as it is a positive statement about egoism. Maybe an error was made getting the essay into print.

Later in VOS she did approve of an actor benefiting others the actor values in emergencies. However, it did not include non-emergencies.

* The following is Rand's advice about reading philosophers. "You must attach clear, specific meanings to words, i.e., be able to identify their referents in reality. This is a precondition, without which neither critical judgment nor thinking of any kind is possible. [...] You must not take a catch phrase -- or any abstract statement -- as if it were approximate. Take it literally. Don’t translate it, don’t glamorize it, don’t make the mistake of thinking, as many people do: “Oh, nobody could possibly mean this!” and then proceed to endow it with some whitewashed meaning of your own." (“Philosophical Detection”, Philosophy: Who Needs It, p. 18-19)

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11 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Hi merjet, I have always argued for this statement at its most simplistic, literal and 'transactional' level. You earn and deserve the fruits of your endeavors. In justice, there must be no interloper or interruption between what you do and what you gain. [...]

The actor, the base of thought, virtue, work and effort is "you", inseparable from your value-choices, so "you" must be the initial, while not only and final, beneficiary.

Our ideas of what is a literal interpretation of the quote from Rand's VOS are very different. See the post I made moments ago for mine. I agree with much of what you say, but don't regard it as a literal interpretation of said quote. You say little about the actor benefiting anybody besides himself/herself. You don't use "breach" any, whereas Rand did, and she did not use "interloper", whereas you did. I'm also perplexed about your phrase "while not only [ ] beneficiary."

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4 hours ago, merjet said:

I agree with much of what you say, but don't regard it as a literal interpretation of said quote.

Litteral interpretation omitting context is meaningless.

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2 hours ago, merjet said:

So  I don't agree that your #2 fits a literal interpretation of the quote from VOS. Only your #1 does. So the problem is for your non-literal interpretation.

Let us review the Rand quotation again:

"Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action " (Rand 1964, ix-x).

If we're going to take the Randian "literalness" approach, where one does not "translate it" nor "endow it" with some "meaning of your own," then it seems neither necessarily follows.

My (1) would be something like:

[T]he actor must always be the beneficiary of his action, and no one else.

My (2) would be something like:

[T]he actor must always be the beneficiary of his action, and others can too.

Both add a predicate that is not literally present and endow it with meaning that is not literally present in the original single quotation. So if we're going on the literalness approach alone, you can't say only (1) follows. Strictly speaking, we don't know if others are allowed to benefit, based singularly on the literalness of the quotation. We don't know that they are or aren't. It is neither logically excluded or entailed.

Suppose in some cave somewhere, a long lost scroll of Socrates' writings were found. The scroll contained the following passage:

Scroll 1

Socrates: S must always P.

Suppose Scholar A had the following interpretation:

Scholar A: What Socrates means is S and only S must always P, and no one else. It's the only literal interpretation!

Suppose Scholar B had the following objection:

Scholar B: Well that's not literally what Socrates says here, clearly not the only interpretation. I assume Socrates means S must always P, and sometimes Q as well.

Strictly speaking, based on the Scroll 1 alone, both interpretations are "live options" as academics say, we can't infer one or the other just on the literal words of Socrates. Suppose then a second scroll is uncovered:

Scroll 2

Socrates: Men trade their goods or services by mutual consent to mutual advantage, according to their own independent, uncoerced judgment.

Every agreement is delimited, specified and subject to certain conditions, that is, dependent upon a mutual trade to mutual benefit.

In a free society, men deal with one another by voluntary, uncoerced exchange, by mutual consent to mutual profit...

Men trade their goods or services by mutual consent to mutual advantage...

It is a system where men deal with one another, not as victims and executioners, nor as masters and slaves, but as traders, by free, voluntary exchange to mutual benefit...

The deserved belongs in the selfish, commercial realm of mutual profit; it is only the undeserved that calls for that moral transaction which consists of profit to one at the price of disaster to the other.

(And I know I'm shifting from symbols to text here, but bear with me.) What would we then say about Scholar A's interpretation? Perhaps in the days when all we had was Scroll 1, it was a viable option. Even then, it wasn't the only option, because the predicate "and no one else" was added, that is, not literal, an endowment, if you will, like the character from the Chris Rock movie "Head of State," whose campaign slogan was "God bless America... and no place else!" It was an interpretation that wasn't logically incompatible, if not logically entailed. But now that we have Scroll 2, what would we say if Scholar A persisted that his interpretation of Socrates was the only one true logical interpretation? We might say that's just silly.

 

 

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12 hours ago, merjet said:

Our ideas of what is a literal interpretation of the quote from Rand's VOS are very different. See the post I made moments ago for mine. I agree with much of what you say, but don't regard it as a literal interpretation of said quote. You say little about the actor benefiting anybody besides himself/herself. You don't use "breach" any, whereas Rand did, and she did not use "interloper", whereas you did. I'm also perplexed about your phrase "while not only [ ] beneficiary."

"...that *concern with his own interests* is the essence of a moral existence, and that *man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions*."

"Since all values have to be gained and/or kept by men's actions...etc"

The lead-in from the previous paragraph is (I think) the proper context, by which Rand contrasts a moral existence with sacrificial altruism. Simply, men must not be separated by others from the benefits (of any kind) of their moral acts. She is opposing the individual's sacrifice here, primarily.

If you want that, you must do this. If you want to sustain your supreme value, life, you must act (and benefit from the acts). If you want to gain other values that enrich your life, the same. If you want to keep your intimate human values, ditto. I can't see a problem of inconsistency with Rand, in proposing "sub-beneficiary" for those human/spiritual values which one has to act to gain and/or keep, such as raising one's child, tending to a sick spouse, helping a struggling friend.

[And too, one's emotional responses (to one's value-judgments). E.g. seeing someone in trouble or suffering, perceiving the disvalue, and helping them financially or physically to 'get back on their feet' to regain their independence, will contain for one - we know from our experiences and as Rand put it - the beneficial element of "pleasure" (without guilt and moral duty)].

All these acts above and a multitude of others presuppose that the actor and the beneficiary are one and the same, causally and morally, without "breach". The 'resources' (esp. money, but not exclusively) one gains this way are alone those which enable one's gaining and/or keeping of - anything. Those fine emotions, the prerequisite of happiness, particularly. Anyone limiting or cutting into your resources commits your sacrifice.  

Edited by whYNOT

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On 7/4/2018 at 11:12 PM, Eiuol said:

But there will be a minimum of at least one characteristic on which to compare. This might be difficult, and we might take a long time to find out how to "translate" the value of things according to life is the standard. But in principle, you can do it.

You assert this.  But there is no reason to accept it as true.

On 7/4/2018 at 11:12 PM, Eiuol said:

But in general, we can consider them both as types of value, and by Rand's epistemology, we can compare them on the same scale.

Rand's epistemology makes no such claim.

On 7/4/2018 at 11:12 PM, Eiuol said:

But it should be no issue to say she thought all values can be ranked as higher or lower in an objective way.

Indeed she did -- a single person's values, ranked against his own values.

On 7/4/2018 at 11:12 PM, Eiuol said:

It's why she would even talk about a hierarchy of values, and judge other people's hierarchy of values sometimes.

But again, a single person's values.  Note also that her "hierarchy" was not of degree of value, but of logical interrelation and fundamentality. 

Added:

I note that with ethic's values, the hierarchy is the same for each person because the reasoning validating these values is the same for each person -- because they are the same kind of entity.  So with these -- abstract -- values, one could have a common ranking based on the common hierarchy.  But this isn't useful here, if for no other reason than that one exchanges concretes, not abstracts. 

Edited by Invictus2017
an additional thought

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On 7/7/2018 at 11:18 AM, Invictus2017 said:

You assert this.  But there is no reason to accept it as true.

It's true because if there is at least one characteristic in common between two or more things, you can compare them at least with that characteristic. I don't see how that needs further explanation; regardless of the particular measurements with which we measure that characteristic, they all share the same kind of measurement. When the particulars differ, you would need some kind of translation, some way to make explicit the measurement in common. If we can't in principle (i.e., given enough time) make this commonality explicit in explicit terms, then we have no business claiming there is any commonality between them.

On 7/7/2018 at 11:18 AM, Invictus2017 said:

Rand's epistemology makes no such claim.

What do you think measurement omission is? If we form all concepts by omitting measurements among particulars, and the omitted characteristic is a conceptual common denominator, then this entails that there will be some quantitative (or approximated by more and less) measurement in common between the particulars. You seem to think that measurement omission can mean omitting qualitative measurements. (I'd say that a qualitative measurement must ultimately boil down to a quantitative one. Otherwise, it's entirely subjective and a poor basis for a properly formed concept.)

On 7/7/2018 at 11:18 AM, Invictus2017 said:

But again, a single person's values.  Note also that her "hierarchy" was not of degree of value, but of logical interrelation and fundamentality. 

It's a ranking. Of course there is a logical interrelation, and fundamentality, but that's exactly how we go about ranking things. We can, for example, judge people as wrong to place their own life below someone else on their hierarchy of values. I can compare your hierarchy to my hierarchy, and with some reasoning, I can figure out how certain actions serve to benefit you. Importantly, I would need to ask you some questions about her actions. But it's not my psychology; as far as that, I'm not attempting to either say your mind is just as important as mine in my life, or that your mind is more important than mine. As far as this thread is concerned, I just need some estimate of how much, for example, it's worth it for you to play game of chess with me. In the same way I estimate it for myself. I could even determine if you are trying to acting in your self-interest. If you are trying to "butter me up", or feel like the psychological feeling of "dominating me", or letting me win because you think it's the nice thing to do. I think these are all examples of estimating the value you get out of it, and in all cases I am not getting the most value for myself.

I probably shouldn't say that I should always stand to gain the absolute most benefit, I can see actually how my wording early in the thread might suggest that a "disinterested" perspective determines who gets the most or least benefit. I should emphasize that the idea is to gain the most value from your own perspective, from the interests of your mind. You should be -THE- beneficiary. It's about me, what I get out of an exchange. And it's important to take into account the other person, especially since I want them to continue to provide a lot of value to me.

It should be clear, by the way, that I don't agree at all with the notion from Merlin that somehow, the other person (according to Rand) should not gain any benefit at all. "Literally" speaking, Rand didn't specify in that quote how much the other person should stand to gain in an exchange. If we want to figure that out, all we have to do is look at her claims that there are no conflicts of interest among rational men. That is, two people can stand to gain just as much while considering themselves -the- beneficiary.

On 7/7/2018 at 11:18 AM, Invictus2017 said:

So with these -- abstract -- values, one could have a common ranking based on the common hierarchy. 

Okay, but I wasn't arguing about that. You can estimate benefit without having to use a common hierarchy (in fact, all we need to know is that there is a hierarchy, even if none of it matches up). I don't have anything new to say though. We are probably at a point where it is better just to consider the ideas mentioned.

Edited by Eiuol

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12 hours ago, Eiuol said:

It's true because if there is at least one characteristic in common between two or more things, you can compare them at least with that characteristic.

Of course it is always possible to put things on a scale -- if you're willing to adopt an arbitrary scale.  So what?  The arbitrary is not of value.  The mere fact that you can compare characteristics does not mean that the resulting ranking is meaningful.  That you can rank values based on some feature of values in no way proves that there is a meaningful way to rank one person's values against those of another.  I say that you can't do it at all, because the relevant scale for each person's values is his own life.  You have yet to provide a reason for me to think otherwise.

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1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

he mere fact that you can compare characteristics does not mean that the resulting ranking is meaningful. 

It looks like you're starting to agree with some what I'm saying. Before, you were saying that it isn't possible to compare values between different individuals. Now, you seemed to acknowledge that we can compare values between different individuals, just that we can't rank those values. My claim is (1) that we can compare the values of different individuals in terms of contribution to their lives, and (2) because we already know value is a valid concept, measurement omission was used to form the concept of value, which requires that different referents can be ranked by some standard.

Both of these reasons are why you can determine the benefit someone gets from some action.
 

1 hour ago, Invictus2017 said:

I say that you can't do it at all, because the relevant scale for each person's values is his own life.  You have yet to provide a reason for me to think otherwise.

I'm not arguing that my values can be ranked against your values as if there were some platonic hierarchy of values. Rather, the fact that anyone has a hierarchy of values allows you to determine what benefit they get from an action. From there, if I wish, I can also say if my values contribute more to my life than your values are contributing. Say if you valued watching The Bachelor all day, but my main motivating factor is to be really good at soccer, I would be able to say that my values are contributing more to my life and are therefore superior. But not in the sense that there is a disinterested "value number" for soccer and The Bachelor. There is the set of values for different people, and we can compare those sets of values in terms of what they do to our lives.

Edited by Eiuol

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On 7/9/2018 at 3:33 AM, Eiuol said:

 

I probably shouldn't say that I should always stand to gain the absolute most benefit, I can see actually how my wording early in the thread might suggest that a "disinterested" perspective determines who gets the most or least benefit. I should emphasize that the idea is to gain the most value from your own perspective, from the interests of your mind. You should be -THE- beneficiary. It's about me, what I get out of an exchange. And it's important to take into account the other person, especially since I want them to continue to provide a lot of value to me.

It should be clear, by the way, that I don't agree at all with the notion from Merlin that somehow, the other person (according to Rand) should not gain any benefit at all. "Literally" speaking, Rand didn't specify in that quote how much the other person should stand to gain in an exchange. If we want to figure that out, all we have to do is look at her claims that there are no conflicts of interest among rational men. That is, two people can stand to gain just as much while considering themselves -the- beneficiary.

Okay, but I wasn't arguing about that. You can estimate benefit without having to use a common hierarchy (in fact, all we need to know is that there is a hierarchy, even if none of it matches up). I don't have anything new to say though. We are probably at a point where it is better just to consider the ideas mentioned.

 

I think that consideration of "exchange" is a red herring which is confusing things. Her statement does not specify other agents  - and not, whether or not anyone else should benefit or gain (or not) in 'a trade'. There isn't trade with others at this stage, only the actor and who benefits from his actions.

It simply and generally states a principle, that what one puts in, in "moral" effort, is what one should get out. Action - > benefit, without interference or sacrifice. At this stage there isn't "an other" implicit or explicit, only the rational selfishness of ("moral") productive work and the advantages one earns from it.

 The foundation for one's pursuance of life and happiness:

"SINCE all values have to be gained and or kept by men's moral actions, any breach"... (and so on)... therefore, and because of this, whatever resources or benefits etc. you earn from your work is yours to keep--in order to gain and keep your values (which I've said include also your human values).

"As a man sows, so shall he reap". Apt and accurate.

Edited by whYNOT

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On 7/9/2018 at 11:02 AM, Invictus2017 said:

You have yet to provide a reason for me to think otherwise.

This remains true.

I'm out of this discussion, since I can see no benefit to myself from further participation.

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SL, I don't understand why you click "Like" on a comment that just says he doesn't think I provided him with a good reason. The vendetta you have against me is very strange. 

19 hours ago, whYNOT said:

I think that consideration of "exchange" is a red herring which is confusing things. Her statement does not specify other agents  - and not, whether or not anyone else should benefit or gain (or not) in 'a trade'.

I agree. I wasn't arguing about the meaning of the quote in the first page though. We were discussing what it means to be the primary beneficiary (and if our respective benefits can be measured objectively).

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Eiuol, Right, and excuse me for butting in. 

I persisted on the topic because I think it is an error to take Rand in her statement as proclaiming some sort of imperative directed at a rational egoist - and so one must be sure to *always be* the beneficiary of *every* act...

Rather, it seems to me that hers is a generalized  'categorical injunction' (if I may call it) - to any readers - that it is an immorality to divide the beneficiary from actor, to take from him the fruits of his effort.

Is it proper to assist another person, say - someone physically struggling, or give words of advice - etc.etc. - when and if one is aware, nearby and able? Insert the countless incidents you know of. With no expectation of benefit or reward, and not accepted, if offered? Of course it is. One's many non-self sacrificial actions involving others didn't have to be specified by Rand, they're a given.

There are innumerable occasions of simple human contact when you may unknowingly have given someone a sort of spiritual boost, with only a word or two, a smile, or simply your presence. Times, others do the same for you. I think this is a form of trade and with no clear beneficiary and no gauge to measure the effects.

Way I see it, to adhere to one's rational egoism is and should be, an expansive and liberating life-experience, never a cramped or proscribed one. It's plain this object must have been Rand's purpose, far more than having concerns about whether this action might be "self-sacrifice". Similar to living in the freedom to act which individual rights brings, the overriding question at any stage for the consciously aware, volitional and thinking egoist (rational) is: What should I do (for my good)? And not: what may I not do - what am I permitted to do?

Cheers.

 

 

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On 7/6/2018 at 7:15 PM, whYNOT said:

All these acts above and a multitude of others presuppose that the actor and the beneficiary are one and the same, causally and morally, without "breach".

For a moment I thought you finally had grasped the implications of the passage from VOS cited in the third post in this thread. Then I read your latest post, which negated that thought. Then I saw your real name. Now I have a better understanding of what you have said, and may later say, in this thread. 

Edited by merjet

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Merjet, I did a web search on Tony Garland and found someone who lives in a different place from whYNOT and who I would not expect to post on this blog.  Farther down there was a Lowe's executive who lives in yet another place.  Can you clarify your reaction to his real name?

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17 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

Merjet, I did a web search on Tony Garland and found someone who lives in a different place from whYNOT and who I would not expect to post on this blog.  Farther down there was a Lowe's executive who lives in yet another place.  Can you clarify your reaction to his real name?

Objectivist Living: anthony

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