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     Objectivism Is the Everyman's Philosophy

    In the universe, what you see is what you get,

    figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,

    and each person's independence is respected by all

  • Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words

    • "Metaphysics: Objective Reality"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
    • "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
    • "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
    • "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"

    The Humanitarian with the Trolley

    By dream_weaver,
    The Humanitarian with the Trolley Robert Tracinski makes public, sometimes, publications that he sends out to former subscribers, of which I am one. This one struck me because it identifies insights, that once stated, seem obvious. Even with Rand's Ethics of Emergencies, and having seen variations on the Trolley Car Problem, the observations made are like ones I'd like to be able to make more often in life. He couches the dilemma early as: This is an old philosophical conundrum about a runaway streetcar, where you have to decide whether to pull a switch that will divert the trolley onto Track B–where it will kill a single person–thereby diverting it from Track A, where it would kill a whole crowd full of school kids who all look exactly like Oliver Twist from that old movie. We've seen variations here about stealing water in the desert to live. I've held the rather unsympathetic view that lifeboat scenarios do not merit much consideration. In this short piece, a predecessor to shed insight where he is intending to make a more public version, he states: Ayn Rand’s memorable rejoinder was in “The Ethics of Emergencies,” where she dismissed such “lifeboat” scenarios as irrelevant to morality. Moral principles are formed from and intended for the 99.9% of existence that happens when you are not in a life-and-death emergency. So the question is: why are philosophers so fascinated with those extremely rare scenarios? He directly address this in the next paragraph, but what really stood out was the assessment of what such an approach does in the culture: The cost of this is that in making philosophy seem more complex and difficult, these scenarios also make ethics seem irrelevant to all of our ordinary decisions. It’s just there for lifeboats and runaway trolleys, should such an emergency arise in the course of your everyday life. Bold, my emphasis added. A similar thought exists in political assessments were the contrast is sometimes drawn between the publicly stated 'unintended consequences' of a policy are re-couched as the 'intended consequences' of later analytical pieces of the same policies. He goes on: Yet there’s a deeper and much creepier attraction. Notice that all of these emergency situations have one thing in common: they require sacrifice. Somebody has to die if others are going to live. They all carry the implicit premise that moral problems require sacrifice, and that the main purpose of morality is to tell us who should be sacrificed to whom. Granted, in the water in the desert scenario, what is laid on the sacrificial alter is not life, per se, but of when property rights can be sacrificed, by whom, and for what. He sums these two up with the following: So the purpose of starting with the trollies and lifeboats is to instill in us the idea that morality is synonymous with altruism, that it is synonymous with a morality of sacrifice. Granted, these are not the explicitly stated premises of altruism, but when, other than a rare moment or two, does altruism state its premises explicitly? Altruism thrives by the unstated, the unnamed, the unidentified, — camouflaged to avoid detection and operate behind the scenes. Oh my. Am I touting conspiracy theory? I can only tout this tidbit that comes to mind from Galt's Speech: "It is a conspiracy of all those who seek, not to live, but to get away with living, those who seek to cut just one small corner of reality and are drawn, by feeling, to all the others who are busy cutting other corners—a conspiracy that unites by links of evasion all those who pursue a zero as a value[.] The last part that I'd like to share with you here from Robert's article is: Which is monstrous when you think about it. Under the guise of an exercise in moral clarity, the Trolley Problem is trying to convince us that otherwise decent men should be prepared to kill innocent people for the greater good. What other package dealings lie at the heart of other pseudo-ethical dilemmas?

    Reblogged:Lost Decorum, Missing Rewards

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    One of the things I like the most about headhunter Nick Corcodilos's blog, Ask the Headhunter, is that his advice for those who seek jobs (or employees) so readily translates to many other areas. A recent exampleof this was when he ended up discussing the importance of etiquette -- something that too many people seem to imagine is irrelevant to the hiring process. A hiring manager had written to him that a rejected applicant had seemed surprised to hear back at all. Corcodilos responded in part: Even my limited experience hiring babysitters provides evidence of the value of treating employees and potential employees like human beings. For example, I once managed to hire an excellent sitter months after I'd rejected her, because I mentioned in my "no thank you" letter that the rejection was merely because I'd found two good sitters already and didn't have enough work for a third. She remembered me when I contacted her later, after one of those became unavailable. As another example, I have also not had to advertise at all at least twice because sitters have volunteered that they had friends who also sat. If rudeness has its own penalties, benevolence has its own rewards.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Metaphysics of Death

    Harvey Meale
    By Harvey Meale,
    This is a particularly intriguing field for me and I'm curious as to what other people think about it. Is death bad for us or not? If it is bad, just how is it so? On one hand, we have Epicurus and Lucretius saying death is not a bad thing since experience terminates at death. Other scholars submit death is bad because it deprives us of continued good (i.e. life). What are your thoughts on this?  

    What is the difference between Aristotelian Logic and Logic

    By dream_weaver,
    The deductive forms of Aristotelian Logic comes in 256 forms, of which 24 are valid. (Reference: Wikipedia's Syllogism) There are 46 references, to date, of Aristotelian Logic being discussed on this forum. I've listened to Leonard Peikoff's Introduction to Logic course. This familiarizes me with the materials contained therein, but by no means makes me a master of their content. This course does not appear in the ARI Campus courses for free. I'm also on my first time listening to Aristotle's Posterior Analytics. This is not the translation Robert Mayhew suggests in his recorded talk Aristotle For Objectivists. I might also add, this is not the most user friendly reading of a text I've encountered either. I've also read, several times, David Harriman's book: The Logical Leap. This is considered to be the first objective examination of inductive logic from a perspective of Objectivism, thus falls under the Latin expression "Caveat Emptor".   Logic has two essential branches per Aristotle—deductive and inductive. Aristotle deals extensively with the deductive side, and is considered the Father of Logic from this aspect. Inductive logic is referenced in the Posterior Analytics, but is not treated as exhaustively.   The law of identity, or its corollary, as Aristotle did not state the law of identity explicitly, the law of non-contradiction, serves as the fulcrum for Aristotle's development of the syllogisms.   Logic, as Aristotle derived it, is considered to have an ontological basis. The first question I would ask, following this intro, is: If there is a difference between "Aristotelian Logic" and "being logical", is there an ontological basis for such a distinction?

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