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Objectivism Online Forum
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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"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    The family cannot survive without duty.

    Jason Hunter
    By Jason Hunter,
    Hi this is my first post. I've recently read Atlas Shrugged, Why Businessmen need philosophy and The Virtue of Selfishness. I've also read many parts of the lexicon and scanned forums etc. If my understanding of Objectivism is wrong please correct me. I'd like to hear responses to this issue. I am seriously struggling to get past some fundamental problems.  Salon released an article a few years ago claiming Objectivism is anti-family and the Atlas Society released an article in response which I found to be rather weak. (https://atlassociety.org/commentary/commentary-blog/5440-objectivism-is-not-anti-family). I've struggled to find many articles dealing with this issue and Rand herself didn't have a whole lot to say other than criticising duty to family members. My argument is as follows: Objectivism is fundamentally anti-family because it rejects the very essence of the family; duty/obligation. By relegating the family to the same plane as any other relationship among individuals (based on the trader principle), the family is effectively eradicated. Once the children reach adulthood, there is no distinction between family and a group of friends. As is often the case with friendship groups, they disperse over time as its members respond to changing conditions in their own lives. As their interests change, friends often lose the values they once held in common and naturally seek different avenues, forming new bonds and new friendship groups.  Without the traditional special status of family members (whereby blood means automatic obligation), the family is just as vulnerable to this turbulence among friendship groups. Or at the very least, significantly more vulnerable than it currently is. If one were to practice Objectivism, he must measure his relationships to family members in the same way he would with any other individual; purely by the values being traded.  But this conception of the family flies in the face of the actual family as it exists in reality. In the Atlas response, the writer admits that the "family is a vital institution" and is a "natural part of our propogation as a species" but this natural part also includes the sense of obligation to our family members whether it can be rationally justified or not.  The writer also deceives the ignorant reader by claiming that the Objectivist stance is merely a rejection of obligation toward extremes, like an "abusive parent". He asks the reader; "is it disdainful to say that this [the family] doesn't imply a blanket, open-ended, out-of-context obligation?". Such intellectual cowardice on display here. The Objectivist stance is not merely a rejection of blanket obligation. It is a rejection of any obligation whatsoever. The writer does not address this most important point. Most conservatives also reject blanket obligation. The limit of that toleration toward negative family members varies among individuals and cannot be defined. (talking about toleration, where is the comment section on that article?) The crux of the issue is that in typical situations where one would usually cut ties with a friend, one would make an extra effort to stay connected purely because that person is a family member. That extra push is crucial to the survival of the family and by extension the species.  When considering the Objectivist conception of the family in practice, one struggles to imagine a lasting society. Families would have little reason to stay together. The greatest unifying force is and has always been duty. Moreover, the incentive to have children in the first place would also be greatly diminished by eradicating the duty to pass on the genes or carry on the family name. It is telling that Rand spent little time addressing the family and in her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, the main characters don't have children. Even Rand herself abstained from having children.  Is it not obvious to Objectivists that human beings have and always will place greater irrational obligation on their most inner circle starting with the family, extending out to the community and the nation state? And that this process of human relationships is deeply interwoven in the process of survival of our species which has evolved over millions of years? i'll leave you with a quote from Adam Smith; "We do not love our country merely as part of the great society of mankind - we love it for its own sake. That wisdom which contrived the system of human affections, as well as that of every other part of nature, seems to have judged that the interest of the great society of mankind would be best promoted by directing the principal attention of each individual to that particular portion of it which is most within the sphere of both his abilities and understanding." (The Theory of Modern Sentiments, p.375).  I am strongly attracted to the Objectivist concept of indivdual rights and I wish I could subscribe to the philosophy in full (no half measures) but the somewhat sobering arguments of conservatism are a real barrier. 

    Reblogged:Parties Take Turns Blowing Opportunities

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    DC-area attorney Nick James and Brett Stephens of the New York Times write very different columns that each, in their own way, show how badly Americans crave a real alternative to the central planning of the Democratic Party and the central planning lite of the Republicans. First, we have James rightly arguing that it is not Kanye West who is nuts for supporting Donald Trump, but the black Americans who are piling abuse on tip of him for their decades of loyalty to the Democrats:
    But what policies, Van Horn? you might ask. Well, one can support Trump without being nuts, and while I agree that school choice (which James mentions Democrats opposing) would be a very good step in the right direction, Trump's trade policies -- which James seems to support -- will actually have similar job-destroying effects to many Democratic policies, such as the minimum wage, and for the same reasons. But James is right to indicate that West should hardly take flack for seeking an alternative. It's just too bad that Donald Trump is failing to offer a real one, just like Reagan did. The Republicans see themselves as more "practical," but seem oblivious to the need for questioning the moral base they share with the Democrats -- and thus still sets their agenda.

    Moving on over to Bret Stephens, we see the Democrats failing to take the high ground in the mid-term elections, where, he indicates
    , they could have brought rational discussion back. He borrows an apt metaphor, of the left "piercing its own tongue," so it can "marginalize itself and then enjoy its own company."
    Unlike the Republicans, who shy away from the collectivist political implications of the altruist morality they share with them, the Democrats embrace its ugliness to the point of alienating many people, and driving them into the arms of the Republicans.

    Too bad for now that we have a non-capitalist in the White House as the "alternative" to the party that so richly deserves irrelevance, and seems so hell-bent on achieving it. I hope he does not end up in the Hooveresque position of making them look like they deserve another chance in power.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    My Verses

    Boydstun
    By Boydstun,
    . These Words These words we read from some desire . . that someone live . . the this entire. Read is our reach, . . our grasp, our be . . life that is know . . wings that are free.   Copyright Stephen C. Boydstun 2016    

    Ontology via Contrast: a proposition concurrent with Objectivism?

    A.C.E.
    By A.C.E.,
    Ontology via Contrast is the idea that, at a fundamental level, entities exist entirely through contradistinction within the plenum universe.
    This proposition might become clearer if provisionally tacked-on to the three familiar ‘laws of thought’:  
    • Law of Identity: A is A
    • Law of Non-Contradiction: A is not non-A
    • Law of the Excluded Middle: A or non-A 
    +
    ◦ Proposition of Contradistinction: A is A because of non-A 

    Strictly speaking it doesn’t belong amongst the three classical ‘laws of thought’ because its validity can’t be judged by axiomatic logic alone, it’s ultimately an empirical issue. It intersects the bounds between metaphysics and physics.   The basic proposition is that ‘difference’ — perhaps the broadest term possible to describe physical reality — necessitates the hewing-out of both ‘figure’ and ‘ground’ reciprocally. An entity simply ‘is’ on account of its contrast with ‘whatever-it-is-not’ — its delineating surrounds (the rest of the universe too if considered holistically).
    This idea implies a further fusing of existence with identity: identity as contrast; existence as contradistinction. There’s no prioritizing of relations over relata entailed here, rather entity/attribute/differentiation would all effectively be the same thing at this fundamental level.    
    This proposition would have some profound consequences for the way we conceptualize reality ‘out there’ — but I don’t want to bog this topic down by unravelling those concomitant implications just yet, it would be too premature a digression down that beguiling Rationalist path!      Main question 
    Under an Objectivist remit, could this notion be rejected on metaphysical grounds (thus foreclosing such an enquiry in physics)?
    I look forward to your thoughts. 
    If anyone does chip in I’m sure to eventually post my responses or follow-up questions here, allowing for a good clear-headed day or so. 
    NB, if such a hypothesis already exists within the fields of ontology/mereology/physics, likely with its own established appellation, I haven’t yet come across it (nor anything similar on this forum) and would welcome enlightenment.  

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