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"Man's life"? Or, "your life"?

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If an intellectual were to state that his cognition and knowledge were "the standard of reality", any Objectivist would easily refute the proposition as subjectivist and primacy of consciousness.

Why then is it commonly accepted (I have heard and read fairly regularly) and not challenged, that: "an individual's life is the standard of value"? (Another way: - "My life is my standard of value")?

Rand's formulation reads: "The Objectivist ethics holds man's life as the *standard* of value--and *his own life* as the ethical *purpose* of every individual man." VoS

Not: "A" man's life, rather, "man's life".

The error could be made by a failure to discriminate the abstractions "man's life" and "standard" and "value" - from - one's individual, concrete life, while connecting them by a conceptual chain. After all, well-assumed to be moral lore in Objectivism is that one's life is one's highest and supreme value--so does this not conveniently converge with one's own life equally being one's "standard of value"?? 

Which one mistakenly arrives at by a self-referencing, circularity. Effect - I am my own "standard".  A conclusion which is ultimately subjective (and leaving one adrift from a "standard of value" to which to adhere).

Practically, this will be acted out as: whatever "I" choose and decide to be my value, is a value because "I" chose it. 

Furthering the mistake, when applied consistently to other individuals, comes about moral relativism: Whatever he/they select as a value is to be evaluated "good" because their own lives are their own standard of value, after all... 

An ethical standard and "gauge" and benchmark provide one an *objective* abstract means by which to measure one's values, and the pursuit of.

I.e.: Is ~this~ proper to the life of man, qua man? Yes ... then it is good for me.

 

Edited by whYNOT

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If you ARE a man (existence is identity) what would be different about a standard based on your survival qua WHAT you are (again existence is identity)?

How would/could the standards differ (applying the same quality of logic to each case)?

I remind you, in action, choice, general capacity, what are possible to men is possible to you and vice versa.

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

An ethical standard and "gauge" and benchmark provide one an *objective* abstract means by which to measure one's values, and the pursuit of.

I.e.: Is ~this~ proper to the life of man, qua man? Yes ... then it is good for me.

This strikes me as rationalistic. A chosen action is not good because it measures up to a chosen standard. It is quite the opposite way around. An abstract standard is good because it identifies actions which universally produce good results for individuals who act. Your specific life is not the standard, but it's a life from which the standard is abstracted. You therefore have to figure out what is actually, objectively good for your life, no matter how you interpret some abstract standard. The standard is only a guide, and it might be wrong, or you might be misunderstanding it.

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Man's life, qua man, reveals that if one doesn't eat, one starves.
Man's life, qua man, reveals that if one eats only carrots, malnutrition sets in.

Man's life, qua man provides the basis for nutritionist to study and identify optimal nutritional targets across a range of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Other data can show which foodstuff provides what amounts of what nutrition.

A shopping list based on a meal plan can choose to take this into account, . . . or not.
Is a healthy diet conducive to long term happiness in general, or even just yours in particular?

If the life of man, qua man is objective, presumably MisterSwig's, StrictlyLogical's or Dream_Weaver's life all fall within the specified ranges of the area(s) taken into consideration.

Our particular lives differ in many ways along many axis'. Staying within nutrition, I like mushrooms, I can include them in balanced amount to other selections. I don't care for liver, and can find other sources of the nutritional elements liver has to offer. If I disagree with the nutritional recommendations, I can discover for myself what a diet of cake and ice cream (or any other choice of diet) might do to me over the long haul.

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From The Virtue of Selfishness, 16-23:

"An organism's life is its *standard of value*: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil".

[An "organism", in Rand's examples, an amoeba, a plant, a body's circulatory system.]

"A plant has no choice of action; the goals it pursues are automatic and innate, determined by its nature..." 

[...]

"The range of actions required for the survival of the higher organisms is wider: it is proportionate to the range of their *consciousness*. [And so on, into sensations, retaining sensations - perception - etc.]

Distinction to be made. An (individual) plant's life is its OWN standard of value, its continuing existence is its sign of success, death is the measure of its failure (to an observer). Its life like all life is goal-directed action - but, non-purposively (unconsciously). Therefore the lack of sustenance, sunlight or shade in its vicinity, is 'evil' by the plant's standard of value. 

Whereas, man has no automatic survival code.

VoS "The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics--the standard by which one judges what is good or evil--is *man's life*, or: that which is required for man's survival qua man".

Survival "qua man", is of higher magnitude, while inclusive of his organism's survival. i.e. man's survival - "is proportionate to the range of [his] consciousness".

Simple biological existence, being human and having a pulse, is not a sufficient standard of value for "man's life". (As I think this)

Be that as it may, if one reads Rand's crucial distinction between "standard" ("an abstract principle that serves as a measurement or gauge to guide a man's choices in the achievement of a concrete, specific purpose") and an individual's "purpose", it is hardly possible, metaphysically and logically, to be left with the conviction that one's own life is - one's "standard" of value.

 

Edited by whYNOT

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

This strikes me as rationalistic. A chosen action is not good because it measures up to a chosen standard. It is quite the opposite way around. An abstract standard is good because it identifies actions which universally produce good results for individuals who act. Your specific life is not the standard, but it's a life from which the standard is abstracted. You therefore have to figure out what is actually, objectively good for your life, no matter how you interpret some abstract standard. The standard is only a guide, and it might be wrong, or you might be misunderstanding it.

One abstract value is productive work. Romantic love is a value. Friendship. Leisure.  etc.

So which specific career/profession, which particular partner, what friends, what concrete types of relaxation, hobby and sports activities-- do YOU choose for YOUR purpose?

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On 10/11/2019 at 6:10 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

If you ARE a man (existence is identity) what would be different about a standard based on your survival qua WHAT you are (again existence is identity)?

How would/could the standards differ (applying the same quality of logic to each case)?

I remind you, in action, choice, general capacity, what are possible to men is possible to you and vice versa.

What *is* man's nature is what he should do; what is value to man, and therefore for all men-individuals. So we have in Objectivism, identity- evaluation in ethics as in concept forming. We can see around us that the range of possible selections and choices of actions available to the individual are an enormous variety, near-infinite, in combinations. But one needn't and oughtn't set oneself to test them all out- i.e. - 'to see which works'. This would be (imo) an empirical-skeptical approach to ethics, the other side of a rationalist one (as in a reasonable suggestion made earlier). The objective standard of value held as man's life,  obviates all that; it supplies one with concepts and abstractions which point one to the good, or best choices, while avoiding the harmful.

OTOH, if "my life" were the standard of value, I might well be drawn, pragmatically/subjectively, to experience it ALL, (or as much as I could) - one act by one - intermixing the good and the bad, arbitrarily. I'd have no other, proper "standard" to assess my actions by. 

How could I know which is better for me, the value-differential between (say) productivity and hedonism, until I'd acted both out?

"Man has to be man by choice..." That says it. 

 

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3 hours ago, whYNOT said:

How could I know which is better for me, the value-differential between (say) productivity and hedonism, until I'd acted both out?

Is this applying the same logical rigour as you apply when you analyze a standard of man qua man?  I detect a double standard.   

How is it an answer of productivity versus hedonism could generally apply as a principle to man but not generally apply as a principle to you who ARE a man?  Are you somehow an exception to which principles of man do not apply?   

If you have an apple tree and your goal is to keep it alive, and you keep track of your success and want to rate the effectiveness of your actions, how would choosing as a standard the well being of your apple tree be somehow deficient if you take into account all you know about apple trees the fact that it IS an apple tree?

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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3 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Is this applying the same logical rigour as you apply when you analyze a standard of man qua man?  I detect a double standard.   

How is it an answer of productivity versus hedonism could generally apply as a principle to man but not generally apply as a principle to you who ARE a man?  Are you somehow an exception to which principles of man do not apply?   

If you have an apple tree and your goal is to keep it alive, and you keep track of your success and want to rate the effectiveness of your actions, how would choosing as a standard the well being of your apple tree be somehow deficient if you take into account all you know about apple trees the fact that it IS an apple tree?

Missing the point. Where did I introduce any "double standard"/"exception"? In this quote of mine you select, I tried to highlight the futility and irrationality of trying out *everything*, whether hedonist or productive acts, (etc.) - while having no recourse to guiding principles.

Man's life, as standard of value, and one's own life as highest value - are not opposed, as you suggest: they are, should be, integrated. "Man's life" establishes the metaphysical principle of ethics from which derives the ethics for an individual life. Again from the nature of man's life, was identified the Objectivist cardinal values and virtues which enable  a man to live as man. 

You may plant and nurture a tree in knowledge of the nature of an apple tree, its 'principle', while of course putting in the hours of  necessary work to fulfill its purpose. (It is a dual operation, recalling induction-deduction). Of course you might know nothing about growing trees and learn their principle as you go along.

Rand clarifies better than I:

""That which is required for the survival of man qua man" is an abstract principle that applies to every individual man. The task of applying this principle to a concrete, specific purpose--the purpose of living a life proper to a rational being--belongs to every individual man, and the life he has to live is his own". p25

Contrarily, if one decides to establish *one's own life* as 'the standard of value', one loses integrity with Rand's "abstract principle", and ... anything goes. (Possibly, as result, drifting into a form of egotism).

I.E. One may claim: "My own life is its own standard of value". Which means: "This value, my life, is the standard of value all to itself".**

Someone asks: By what standard is it a standard all to itself? "its own". And, for whom is it a standard of value? "For me". And so on to absurdity . The concept "standard" is rendered meaningless.

Well, as with the rest of O'ism, O'ist ethics is indeed radical. It doesn't come about arbitrarily or wishfully.

Rational selfishness is justified by an ~objective~ standard of value.

[**not to be confused with one's life "as an end in itself", which is true.]

 

 

Edited by whYNOT

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1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

I tried to highlight the futility and irrationality of trying out *everything*, whether hedonist or productive acts, (etc.) - while having no recourse to guiding principles.

Isn't this a straw man? Nobody is saying that each individual must try out everything for himself. We learn from what other people have done before us and during our lifetime.

Just because mommy tells you "don't lie," that doesn't mean lying is always bad for your specific life. If a criminal wants to find your children, should you do "the right thing" and tell him their actual location? No, because the good is not determined by its relationship to an abstract principle. It's determined by its effect on your life. In this case, lying to the criminal would most likely be the good.

As humans with memory, imagination, and reason, we collect data about what people have done in particular situations, and what they might have done, and we apply reason to figure out the proper choice in that situation, based on what actually happened and what might have happened. Then we come up with an abstract principle. In this example, we might conclude that lying to oneself is very bad, but lying to others depends on whether you're dealing with a friend or foe.

Regarding man's life as the standard of value, how does one arrive at that principle? Did mommy tell you to believe it? Or have you done the data collection and intellectual work to inductively grasp it for yourself? Why shouldn't god's will be the standard? Or the survival of your children or nation? The environment? Of what value is man's life if he disobeys his god, abandons his children, betrays his nation, or destroys his environment in pursuit of his own life?

Edited by MisterSwig

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3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Isn't this a straw man? Nobody is saying that each individual must try out everything for himself. We learn from what other people have done before us and during our lifetime.

Just because mommy tells you "don't lie," that doesn't mean lying is always bad for your specific life. If a criminal wants to find your children, should you do "the right thing" and tell him their actual location? No, because the good is not determined by its relationship to an abstract principle. It's determined by its effect on your life. In this case, lying to the criminal would most likely be the good.

As humans with memory, imagination, and reason, we collect data about what people have done in particular situations, and what they might have done, and we apply reason to figure out the proper choice in that situation, based on what actually happened and what might have happened. Then we come up with an abstract principle. In this example, we might conclude that lying to oneself is very bad, but lying to others depends on whether you're dealing with a friend or foe.

Regarding man's life as the standard of value, how does one arrive at that principle? Did mommy tell you to believe it? Or have you done the data collection and intellectual work to inductively grasp it for yourself? Why shouldn't god's will be the standard? Or the survival of your children or nation? The environment? Of what value is man's life if he disobeys his god, abandons his children, betrays his nation, or destroys his environment in pursuit of his own life?

 

No you didn't know. No amount of "data" was going to help. You took, as all Objectivists have, the genius of a philosopher's methodology to induce and derive your *present* ideas.

Without "man's life as the standard of value" you - too - could never have worked out this core, ethical principle. Nor would you have the values-virtues, derived from that. Nor could you alone have derived the axioms.

Not that you even accepted that principle, "man's life" at first: did you not call it "rationalistic"? Only a day ago. 

Thanks to Rand might be in order, that one can know the principles in advance of how one works them out. Be grateful to "mommy".  

Apart from quotations of hers, the rest is my own doing, errors and all. (But I remain firm on what I believe can be detrimental consequences for O'ists who misinterpret man's life to mean their own life, which I keep hearing. If no more than they lose the objective base of their ethics of rational egoism, and arrive at irreconciliable, self-contradicting premises).

  

 

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Your post is written very awkwardly, so I'll be as direct as I can and simply answering it.

Man's life is the standard of value. Given that each life has important contextual differences, selecting values - like what career you will pursue - depends upon knowing what your differences are.

Not sure what your question is, or if you even have a question.

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2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Not that you even accepted that principle, "man's life" at first: did you not call it "rationalistic"? Only a day ago. 

No, I called your argument rationalistic. 

2 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Without "man's life as the standard of value" you - too - could never have worked out this core, ethical principle. Nor would you have the values-virtues, derived from that. Nor could you alone have derived the axioms.

No, without Rand's evidence and reasoning, I probably couldn't have worked out the principle. But I definitely couldn't have worked it out without my personal experiences and observations which allow me to recognize the validity of her argument.

Again, you have it backwards. Values and virtues are not derived from an ethical principle. Your values precede any standard of values. You can't have a standard of something if that something doesn't first exist.

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22 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Your values precede any standard of values.

This reminds me of what Peikoff calls the principle of two definitions.

https://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/20023-notes-on-the-unity-in-epistemology-and-ethics/

Check out the notes on lecture three, and I really recommend listening to the lecture it is based on.

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7 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Your post is written very awkwardly, so I'll be as direct as I can and simply answering it.

Man's life is the standard of value. Given that each life has important contextual differences, selecting values - like what career you will pursue - depends upon knowing what your differences are.

Not sure what your question is, or if you even have a question.

It is an essay posing the question or problem in the title and then answering it in the negative.  I was wondering myself why he would argue such a thing but then he turned it around.

On 10/11/2019 at 11:31 AM, whYNOT said:

Why then is it commonly accepted (I have heard and read fairly regularly) and not challenged, that: "an individual's life is the standard of value"? (Another way: - "My life is my standard of value")?

Got any links to interesting examples?

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20 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Contrarily, if one decides to establish *one's own life* as 'the standard of value', one loses integrity with Rand's "abstract principle", and ... anything goes. (Possibly, as result, drifting into a form of egotism)

This is the double standard of logic and straw man in your thinking which you have not shown is true.  Not at all. 

How do you propose that a rational person with proper concept formation and mastery of abstractions and principles suddenly lose integrity ?

The logical implication you are making is that mere contemplation of any particular existent, automatically is accompanied by some kind of concrete bound psychosis which jettisons principles and concepts for momentary sensation, that contemplation also causing an amnesia surrounding the particular and its whole nature which one had previously grasped through integration and concept formation.  This sort of assumption has not here been shown to have any basis. 

Again, I ask: suppose that apple tree is (for whatever reason) my greatest joy and I want it to flourish.  To that end, how would actions consistent with and defined by a standard of its flourishing, not be conducive to achieving that goal, the good, which IS its flourishing?

Please try not to evade here... let’s hammer it out.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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5 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

... defined by a standard of its flourishing, not be conducive to achieving that goal, the good, which IS its flourishing?

Why don't you start by reconciling the concept of  "standard" and what it refers to in the phrase "standard of value" and your use of the same word and what it refers to in your phrase "a standard of its flourishing".

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9 minutes ago, Grames said:

Why don't you start by reconciling the concept of  "standard" and what it refers to in the phrase "standard of value" and your use of the same word and what it refers to in your phrase "a standard of its flourishing".

Reconcile?  In the apple tree example, since flourishing of the tree is the aim, a standard for action should include any and all knowledge, concepts, and principles which you could use to choose and ensure your actions are proper and effective for achieving your aim.

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Reconcile?  In the apple tree example, since flourishing of the tree is the aim, a standard for action should include any and all knowledge, concepts, and principles which you could use to choose and ensure your actions are proper and effective for achieving your aim.

Ok, what about the other half?  Relate to "standard of value" as Rand used it.  (This would be an example of integrating your knowledge, as discussed in another thread).

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18 hours ago, Grames said:

Ok, what about the other half?  Relate to "standard of value" as Rand used it.  (This would be an example of integrating your knowledge, as discussed in another thread).

I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel.  The purpose of the discussion I'm trying to have is not to just pronounce some answer... but to elicit thought and to arrive at a destination with whYNOT.

Let me just point out, whatever the knowledge which goes into ANY "standard" it must pertain to something in reality.  The knowledge which pertains to something in reality must be derived from and consistent with ALL you know about that something in reality which knowledge of course is hierarchical and pertains to the entirety of the relevant nature and identity of the something.

 

If I said "all your knowledge" about this apple tree (relevant to your aim) excludes what you know about trees, or plants, or living things, or entities... in what way would that make any sense? 

 

What if you were tasked with writing down a "guide", "recipe", "owner's manual", or "standard" for taking care of a specific apple tree which you were to give to a care taker robot to ensure the flourishing of the tree.  Would your "guide", "recipe", "owner's manual", or "standard" be derived from and consistent with ALL your knowledge about the apple tree?  What does this include or exclude?

 

There is no dichotomy between a thing and all that it IS. 

 

A manual for this tree must be derived from and consistent with all knowledge about the apple tree which includes all relevant knowledge about apple trees, trees, plants, living things and entities.  In that sense, the proper manual for "this apple tree" ALREADY includes everything relevant which you would also find in a proper manual about "apple trees".

Ignorance is counter productive, knowledge is hierarchical.

 

Applying a double standard to the rigor of logic applied in generating a manual for "this apple tree" versus generating a manual for "apple trees" is a straw man, whether intentional or not.

 

[Even though the more critical thinkers reading this will already know it, I would just like to note that this is in no way a discussion about concretes versus abstractions, nor about the use of concrete bound rules versus the use of principles]

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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On 10/11/2019 at 8:31 AM, whYNOT said:

The error could be made by a failure to discriminate the abstractions "man's life" and "standard" and "value" - from - one's individual, concrete life, while connecting them by a conceptual chain. After all, well-assumed to be moral lore in Objectivism is that one's life is one's highest and supreme value--so does this not conveniently converge with one's own life equally being one's "standard of value"??

Maybe the dispute stems from this issue of failing to discriminate the abstraction from the concrete. Do you accept that there are universal standards of value and particular standards of value? Consider what Rand said about ultimate values.

Quote

An ultimate value is that final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the means—and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are evaluated. An organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.

On one hand, she talks about "man's life" being "the standard of value." And, on the other hand, she says that "an organism's life is its standard of value." You seem to think that the latter, particular formulation pertains only to plants or unconscious organisms. But that isn't what Rand meant.

Quote

The maintenance of life and the pursuit of happiness are not two separate issues. To hold one’s own life as one’s ultimate value, and one’s own happiness as one’s highest purpose are two aspects of the same achievement. Existentially, the activity of pursuing rational goals is the activity of maintaining one’s life; psychologically, its result, reward and concomitant is an emotional state of happiness.

Because man is a living organism, his own life is his ultimate value, his particular standard of value. But he's also a conceptual organism, and so he's capable of also having an abstract standard of value, which takes into account his knowledge of man in general. He can therefore use both to evaluate his goals and actions. If he does something which makes him sick, he can evaluate that as bad based on his particular life, his sensation of pain. And if he's considering two possible goals or choices for action, he can evaluate them based on his abstract moral standards. Both standards are necessary and reinforcing, but without his particular life he would have no abstract standard. His own life is his primary standard, but it's not the universal standard, since universals are abstractions.

Edited by MisterSwig

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Maybe the dispute stems from this issue of failing to discriminate the abstraction from the concrete. Do you accept that there are universal standards of value and particular standards of value? Consider what Rand said about ultimate values.

On one hand, she talks about "man's life" being "the standard of value." And, on the other hand, she says that "an organism's life is its standard of value." You seem to think that the latter, particular formulation pertains only to plants or unconscious organisms. But that isn't what Rand meant.

Because man is a living organism, his own life is his ultimate value, his particular standard of value. But he's also a conceptual organism, and so he's capable of also having an abstract standard of value, which takes into account his knowledge of man in general. He can therefore use both to evaluate his goals and actions. If he does something which makes him sick, he can evaluate that as bad based on his particular life, his sensation of pain. And if he's considering two possible goals or choices for action, he can evaluate them based on his abstract moral standards. Both standards are necessary and reinforcing, but without his particular life he would have no abstract standard. His own life is his primary standard, but it's not the universal standard, since universals are abstractions.

But that IS "what Rand meant". I've been into that, with some extracted quotes. An organism has a standard of value entirely based on its single existence (or death). Good- it flourishes; bad - it dies. Organic/biological life is self-generated, goal-directed action - without 'purposiveness'. Men's lives need purposeful, goal-directed action. Men cannot be judged in the binary terms of life-death, they have to do more than merely exist as organisms - by a standard that's fitting to man's nature (consciousness) and to existence:  "man's life".

"...[to] choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man".

(On a personal note, I was one of those who were thrown initially by Rand's - apparent - ambiguity in her preamble, relating first to an "organism's" life (its own standard of value) and the individual's life (NOT his own standard of value) It is easy to conflate them). 

The Objectivist Ethics: 

Only a living entity can have goals or can originate them. And it is only a living organism that has the capacity for self-generated, goal-directed action. On the physical level, the functions of all living organisms, from the simplest to the most complex—from the nutritive function in the single cell of an amoeba to the blood circulation in the body of a man—are actions generated by the organism itself and directed to a single goal: the maintenance of the organism’s life.

An organism’s life depends on two factors: the material or fuel which it needs from the outside, from its physical background, and the action of its own body, the action of using that fuel properly. What standard determines what is proper in this context? The standard is the organism’s life, or: that which is required for the organism’s survival.

“The Objectivist Ethics,”
The Virtue of Selfishness, 16

[Note - "on the physical level".]

When applied to physical phenomena, such as the automatic functions of an organism, the term “goal-directed” is not to be taken to mean “purposive” (a concept applicable only to the actions of a consciousness) and is not to imply the existence of any teleological principle operating in insentient nature. I use the term “goal-directed,” in this context, to designate the fact that the automatic functions of living organisms are actions whose nature is such that they result in the preservation of an organism’s life."

 

Edited by whYNOT

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What do YOU mean, objectively speaking when you say "fitting to his nature and to existence".  Who judges and by what "standard" do you assess what is "fitting to his nature"?

 

Defining the proper "standard" as simply one that "fits his nature", is either circular (the good is what is good) or subjective or both.

 

This is a distraction from the OP which tries to distinguish between standards based on "Man's life" (whatever that is) and "Your life".

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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On 10/14/2019 at 1:11 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

This is the double standard of logic and straw man in your thinking which you have not shown is true.  Not at all. 

How do you propose that a rational person with proper concept formation and mastery of abstractions and principles suddenly lose integrity ?

The logical implication you are making is that mere contemplation of any particular existent, automatically is accompanied by some kind of concrete bound psychosis which jettisons principles and concepts for momentary sensation, that contemplation also causing an amnesia surrounding the particular and its whole nature which one had previously grasped through integration and concept formation.  This sort of assumption has not here been shown to have any basis. 

Again, I ask: suppose that apple tree is (for whatever reason) my greatest joy and I want it to flourish.  To that end, how would actions consistent with and defined by a standard of its flourishing, not be conducive to achieving that goal, the good, which IS its flourishing?

Please try not to evade here... let’s hammer it out.

One has no notion of what man/men can do, until one understands what he HAS - i.e.,  is capable of. That's understanding the identity of consciousness. Which ~specific~qualities and virtues he needs to promote and maintain, in order to survive and live as man, are contingent on the understanding of existence, of facing reality. 
'jettisons principles" and the rest is nonsensical. 

 

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