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What are YOUR criticisms of Objectivism?

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#1
Dormin111

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There are plenty of fine scholars of Objectivism on here and I am hoping to hear of some enlightened criticsms some of them may have of Ayn Ran'd explicit philosophical teachings.


Off the top of my head:

- Johnathan13 believes Rand's views on aesthetics are contradictory.
- Hotu Matua believes Rand's views on sex were mystical
- Nearly everyone believes Rand's views on homosexuality were outdated.

#2
JASKN

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Are you asking for criticisms of Objectivism's "core" positions, or Rand's derivative views based on those positions? The first you listed would be (arguably) categorized in the former, and the second and third in the latter.

Edited by JASKN, 17 April 2012 - 11:28 PM.

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#3
Dormin111

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I wasn't aware that there was much of a discrepency, but I suppose I am looking for disagreements with Rand's derivative views.

#4
Boydstun

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Concerning Core

Two of Rand’s ideas I find true, original, and important are these:

The first is Rand's idea that concepts of any particulars can be fashioned according to a principle of suspended particular measurement values along certain magnitude dimensions shared by particulars falling under those concepts. This conjecture is important as a distinct position in the theory of universals. It has implications for metaphysics and for philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science. I continue to develop the measurements-omitted theory of universals* and to put it to work in problems current in the philosophy of mathematics and science.

The second is Rand's idea that value occurs only on account of the existence of life. Where there is value, there is life; and where there is life, there are values.* The first thinker who really got some grip on this idea was a philosopher of whom Rand likely knew little. Shoshana Milgram has informed me he was being taught at Rand’s university, but Rand did not take that course. His name is Marie-Jean Guyau. His theory of ethics was individualistic, against Utilitarianism, and purely secular. His book presenting this theory is A Sketch of Morality without Obligation or Sanction (1885). His concept of what biological life fundamentally is was somewhat different than Rand’s, and that is one reason for the differences between his ethics and Rand’s.

I think Rand was mistaken in these ways:

Metaphysics – Rand’s is overly deterministic. (a, b)

In my 1991, [I wrote] “Identical existents, in given circumstances, will always produce results not wholly identical to results produced by different existents in those same circumstances.” In contrast Leonard Peikoff had maintained earlier that year that Rand’s law of identity entails the following: “In any given set of circumstances, there is only one action possible to an entity, the action expressive of its identity” (1991, 14). Dr. Peikoff’s formula can be read as not in contradiction with mine if his phrase only one action possible is taken to mean only one kind and range of action possible. But that is not the plain reading of his text. In his 1976 lectures The Philosophy of Objectivism (Lecture 2), also, he had maintained that Rand’s law of identity applied to action entailed that only a single action was physically possible to a thing in a given circumstance. Rand gave notice that those lectures were an accurate representation of her views, so I expect she shared the erroneous view expressed by Peikoff concerning uniquely determined outcome. (That there is a unique outcome in all cases is not in dispute; the issue is whether in all cases only that unique outcome was physically possible; see my 1997 reply to Rafael Eilon, 159–62.)

So I expect Rand meant “uniquely determined” in her 1973 formula for the law of physical causality: “All the countless forms, motions, combinations, and dissolutions of elements within the universe—from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life—are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved” (MvMM, 25). In any case, the error is easily corrected without major revision to her metaphysics or to its counters to Hume’s account of causation. [12/25/10]


Epistemology – Rand’s is overly to the side of the subject.

Ethics – Rand’s is overly egoistic (a, b).

There is . . . a thread of subjectivity in Rand’s conception of value and love and normative selfishness that is puckering up the fabric. In my judgment, that thread is unnecessary and should be removed. Speaking metaphorically, the solemnity of looking at the sky does not come only from the uplift of one’s head (HR V 598). In extreme desire for another person, the other does not recede in importance compared to the desire (GW IX 539). A rational desire to help someone in need is animated not only by “your own selfish pleasure in the value of his person and struggle” (AS 1060, emphasis added). Rather, it is enough for rational egoism that, by design, no actions be contrary self-benefit (of a self worth benefitting). The requirement that all actions should intend primarily self-benefit should be dropped. In this way, one can love persons simply for the particular ends-in-themselves that they are. [7/9/10]


Since you are interested in political philosophy, I will mention also that although there is some room for interpretation of Rand on the point, she may have made the error of assuming that individuals come to the state with their property rights in land (in the economic sense) already perfected, like their rights in their person. Murray Rothbard explicitly made that error. The corrective is here: a, b.

Dormin111, what do you find true, important, and distinctive to Rand in her writings? What of significance do you find incorrect?

Edited by Boydstun, 18 April 2012 - 09:09 AM.


#5
Dormin111

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I am just curious as to what individuals who are more experienced with Objectivism than I would have to say on the subject.

One criticism that I have always had of Rand was her views on sex, which I have seen Hotu Mantua summarize very well. I believe Rand arbitrarily declared sex to be more than just a physical activity when it is no such thing. I do not see anything wrong with promiscuity, nor anything immoral about prostitution as long as the activites are indulged in with proper moderation (ie. one should not forsake a meaningful relationship to spend more time with prostitutes).

I have not yet come to a full conclusion on whether or not drunkeness and getting high should be considered immoral. It seems to be in bad taste for an individual to seek pleasure by removing their ability to think and act as a coherent self. While I can see the appeal of getting tipsy, to actively seek drunkeness is far too similar to a chemically induced "blank-out" to make me feel comfortable. To be fair, I am not entirely certain on Rand's views on this subject, though I recall hearing that she and others in her circle drank regularly.


"Since you are interested in political philosophy, I will mention also that although there is some room for interpretation of Rand on the point, she may have made the error of assuming that individuals come to the state with their property rights in land (in the economic sense) already perfected, like their rights in their person."

Would you mind elaborating on what you mean here? I will read the links but I would like to take a stab at it alone first.

#6
Nicky

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“Identical existents, in given circumstances, will always produce results not wholly identical to results produced by different existents in those same circumstances.”

You are suggesting that some things would be identical, some would be different. Which?

Rather, it is enough for rational egoism that, by design, no actions be contrary self-benefit (of a self worth benefitting).

1. Self benefiting actions and not self benefiting actions form the totality of actions.
2. All self benefiting actions fit your requirement.

You agree with statements 1. and 2., right?

That means that there are only two options:

1. your criteria and Ayn Rand's one are the same. All and only self benefiting actions fit your criteria.
2. some not self benefiting actions fit your criteria.

I suspect your position is nr. 2. Which are these not self benefiting actions one should perform, and with what priority? Should they be done before self benefiting actions, should they be done after someone runs out of self benefiting actions to perform (which has to be never, right), should they be the same priority (one for me, one for you), should it be two for me, one for you, ten for me, one for you, etc.

And, more importantly, why? Keep in mind that all actions carry a cost. There are no "neutral actions". A not self benefiting actions is a sacrifice.

#7
intellectualammo

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Quickly,

for me I see things in terms of might, force, power, will - defensive and aggressive might. I think that when we are born, we are not born with inalienable rights, only when born into certain political-economic-social systems do we actually have any, not naturally, but artificially. Mother Nature gives birth to us, and this mother does not tell us what we can or can't do. We build up the social systems, philosophical systems, the rule of law, moral codes, etc. Conquering a girl 'caveman style' or conquering her Objectivist style - Mother Nature doesn't bat an eye to either way. Which is the 'right' way, which is the 'wrong'? We make right or wrong, artificially. What about hunger? Producing or looting? Why produce it if you can take it when you have the power ability to? Is that wrong? Is that right? We make it wrong or right. Nature doesn't see things in terms of right and wrong, only we do. That said, I am in support of laissez-faire capitalism and as long the system has enough power in order to do so, and to continually enforce it upon, that 'caveman style' of conquering is then pretty much prevented by the rule of rule, and the looters are as well.
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#8
JASKN

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I think that when we are born, we are not born with inalienable rights, only when born into certain political-economic-social systems do we actually have any, not naturally, but artificially. Mother Nature gives birth to us, and this mother does not tell us what we can or can't do. We build up the social systems, philosophical systems, the rule of law, moral codes, etc. Conquering a girl 'caveman style' or conquering her Objectivist style - Mother Nature doesn't bat an eye to either way. Which is the 'right' way, which is the 'wrong'? We make right or wrong, artificially. What about hunger? Producing or looting? Why produce it if you can take it when you have the power ability to? Is that wrong? Is that right? We make it wrong or right.

The OP asked for criticisms from those with a strong understanding of Rand's Objectivism, enough to disagree with her own derivative conclusions based on her philosophy. I think it's clear you are not one of those people. You may have a theory there, but it isn't based on Rand's philosophic principles.

There was no need to highlight that rights only exist within a socio-political context because that is Rand's position. All of her principles are built on the notion that man has an identity and that his identity necessitates certain ways of living and interacting with people, the primary of which is the necessary use of his own mind to flourish in his life. So, "we" don't make right and wrong, our nature of existence "makes" it. We only recognize our nature and what we need, with that very same mind.

As to why not loot, there are loads of threads on the Prudent Predator. In short, men must use their own minds to exist and flourish, and they have no right to use someone else's mind and the values his mind produces. No moral man -- that is, a man whose morality is based on the nature of his being, like Rand eloquently explained -- would accept another man leeching off of his own existence to feed the other's, and only moral men are the men who survive and flourish. This is the principle against the Prudent Predator. In practice, it wouldn't take long at all for a civilization to collapse if the majority of people were leaching off of the minority of people.
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#9
DonAthos

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There are plenty of fine scholars of Objectivism on here and I am hoping to hear of some enlightened criticsms some of them may have of Ayn Ran'd explicit philosophical teachings.


Off the top of my head:

- Johnathan13 believes Rand's views on aesthetics are contradictory.
- Hotu Matua believes Rand's views on sex were mystical
- Nearly everyone believes Rand's views on homosexuality were outdated.


That's a solid list, though each one would of course require a full discussion.

But to me, Jonathan has made some compelling arguments re: aesthetics that have probed me to explore those topics further, and now I'm not convinced that Rand's presentation of "aesthetics" is sufficient to address the entire area of what aesthetics actually is.

To sex and homosexuality, I would add her views on gender roles/psychology, e.g. that a rational woman would not wish to seek the Presidency, of her feminine nature.

And in a few threads across the board, I've challenged Rand's views on "intellectual property," and am increasingly of the opinion that she was mistaken; that "intellectual property" stands in opposition to her views on property and man's rights, generally, and is ultimately derived from an implicit mind/body split.

#10
intellectualammo

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There was no need to highlight that rights only exist within a socio-political context because that is Rand's position. All of her principles are built on the notion that man has an identity and that his identity necessitates certain ways of living and interacting with people, the primary of which is the necessary use of his own mind to flourish in his life. So, "we" don't make right and wrong, our nature of existence "makes" it. We only recognize our nature and what we need, with that very same mind.


Well said.

But this quote of hers throws me off:

"Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times."

Even outside of a political-economic-social system?
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#11
JASKN

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"Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times."

Even outside of a political-economic-social system?

This is just another way she is saying, "Man's nature doesn't change."

Edited by JASKN, 18 April 2012 - 01:23 PM.

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#12
Craig24

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Well said.

But this quote of hers throws me off:

"Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times."

Even outside of a political-economic-social system?


What is meant by "outside of a political-economic social system?". Rights are prior to any system and serve as the only justification for one.
People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it - walk. - Ayn Rand

#13
Tyco

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I'm not 100% sure that there's not a circular argument involved with the 'survival of man qua man' idea which says that because man must use reason to survive, he can derive all his values by identifying what lets him survive/thrive as a rational being. Man must do what is rational, which is defined as what allows his continued existence as a rational being.

#14
Nicky

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Conquering a girl 'caveman style' or conquering her Objectivist style - Mother Nature doesn't bat an eye to either way

Mother Nature doesn't exist, it's just a metaphor. But all human knowledge is the result of applying logic to reality (and logic itself is also based in reality).

The laws of physics are the result of physicists applying logic to reality (to physical reality).

The reason why there is a right way and a wrong way for an individual to act is because of reality. We derive moral principles from reality (the reality of the human condition, and of human nature), by applying logic to it.

The principles that guide human interactions are devised by applying logic to reality (to the reality of human societies and to the moral principles we also derived from reality). That is the source of individual rights: logic applied to reality.

Whenever people form a society, the principles derived from the reality of the human condition, human nature, and human societies, should be applied. If they aren't, there will be negative consequences. The source of those consequences is reality. (if what you're calling Mother Nature is in fact reality, then, in keeping with your metaphor, Mother Nature will bat more than an eye: she will come down on the transgressors with absolute might and certainty). You can count on those consequences with the same degree of certainty that you can count on a plane dropping from the sky if you shut its engines.

Edited by Nicky, 18 April 2012 - 05:46 PM.


#15
Eiuol

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One criticism that I have always had of Rand was her views on sex, which I have seen Hotu Mantua summarize very well. I believe Rand arbitrarily declared sex to be more than just a physical activity when it is no such thing. I do not see anything wrong with promiscuity, nor anything immoral about prostitution as long as the activites are indulged in with proper moderation (ie. one should not forsake a meaningful relationship to spend more time with prostitutes).


Rand wrote so little on the topic of sex that I don't think it's possible to even make many criticisms. There isn't that much to be critical of to evaluate. Rand certainly justified sex as a good thing precisely because it feels good, and also because it provides a type of self-affirmation. Other than that, you have to make conjectures to determine her views, unlike her views that she wrote on extensively like ethics. About the only thing I can say for sure is that Rand is basically sex-positive, although probably not to the extent that people today mean by sex-positive.

My point is that your criticisms seem to be just criticisms of Rand not having written more on the subject. If she wrote more, she may have made her errors more apparent, or she may have gave a more convincing explanation of her ideas.
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#16
intellectualammo

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Whenever people form a society, the principles derived from the reality of the human condition, human nature, and human societies, should be applied. If they aren't, there will be negative consequences. The source of those consequences is reality. (if what you're calling Mother Nature is in fact reality, then, in keeping with your metaphor, Mother Nature will bat more than an eye: she will come down on the transgressors with absolute might and certainty). You can count on those consequences with the same degree of certainty that you can count on a plane dropping from the sky if you shut its engines.


Mother Nature doesn't slap one's hand whether one picks fruit from a tree or picks someone's pocket. Only the person might. Or the system of defense in place that the person is in, might slap handcuffs around your wrists subordinating you to their rule of law.

'caveman style' - When there is no government, no jails, no laws, no tribe, no significant other, and there she is, and you can easily overpower her - there is absolutly no one else that can say to you whether or not it's right of you to just take her right then and there and fuck her or try to win her over to be able to. If you will not suffer any consequences, not illegal, no governemtn to protect her, no jail to lock you away in, no tribe to protect her, no SO around that might try to help protect his value, perhaps you would only suffer the consequence of blue balls if you don't get some off of her, and whether or not it's an action you would like to take or not, how to go about it, or not - is up to you. Many that feel empathy would not just take her, but take her own feelings, her, into consideration during their decision making, as there is nothing outside of her that you know of, to consider, since that's been ruled out.

'Objectivist style' - When there is a government, jails, laws, and there she is, and you can overpower her - there is a governemtn there to protect her, a jail for you to be placed in if caught and enforced, etc. So you simply decide whether or not it's an action you would like to take. If you are willing to do the time, then you might choose to do the crime, etc. You have much more to consider than simply just her and the action. If you do it, again, Mother Nature is not the one going to slap your hand, she might though and the cops will certainly slap handcuffs around your wrists and take you away, perhaps.

I'm glad we have sytem of defense that has enough might, force, will, finances, support, enforcers in order to be able to try to really prevent that from happening to a woman as there will be consequences if found guilty of doing so to her which is called 'rape'. So that's how you MAKE IT a WRONG action to take towards her.

Might makes right and wrong.

Edited by intellectualammo, 19 April 2012 - 12:15 PM.

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#17
Hairnet

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I absolutely agree with the idea behind playing to win.

intellectualammo, you do however seem to be missing something. In any system when you are trying to obtain a goal , you are not omniscient, you can't choose the strategy that will make you win, but the one that will give you the best chances of winning.

Although Ayn Rand removed herself from these sentiments, she did identify principles that would give someone the best chances of succeeding. Productivity is an extremely valid strategy for dealing with reality, looting on the other hand gets more dangerous as scale and time progress.

All we have to point out is the fact that most productive people live long lives that are of high quality, where as unproductive people and those who attempt to take from others usually end up killed, crippled, imprisoned, or exploited by one of their peers in crime. Criminal lifestyles basically fail at achieveing life goals the vast majority of the time. This is a fact in all societies. Just because someone is sometimes succesful at it every once and awhile doesn't validate the strategy just in the same way that in any game certain strategies are bad even though they may work against certain opponents.

Retroactively it is really easy to say "Oh yes, he succeeded and that validates his behavior", however what we must be saying is "Does that behavior give me a higher chance of succeeding in my life. or any given persons life"? .

Being a savage isn't wrong because some stronger guy made it wrong, its wrong because it has a very low chance of achieving anyone's goals.

I mean really all we have to do is compare more tyrannical societies to less tyrannical ones and we will see who is stronger.

Right makes Might.
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#18
intellectualammo

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Criminal lifestyles basically fail at achieveing life goals the vast majority of the time. This is a fact in all societies.


And that is precisely due to the amount of defensive might they have against what they call aggressors, transgressors, etc. This is precisely why a life of crime in such societies is not the kind of life people usually choose, which is the point, to not only curb, but prevent, eliminate that kind as much as possible. You aren't just up against a woman in a vacuum (woman in the wilderness alone) she is inside of a social construct, that has a rule of law that subordinates all, to it.

Just because someone is sometimes succesful at it every once and awhile doesn't validate the strategy just in the same way that in any game certain strategies are bad even though they may work against certain opponents.


It's context dependent. Is the game taking place in the wilderness, in a civilized society, etc.


I mean really all we have to do is compare more tyrannical societies to less tyrannical ones and we will see who is stronger.


Might, whether used aggressively or defensively - either way, can be very well be stronger at times than the other. For a short time, for a long time. All depends on how much might, power, will, forcer, enforcers, supporters, etc. that either have. And when they do, they say what is right and what is wrong.

Right makes Might.


Might makes Might

Edited by intellectualammo, 19 April 2012 - 12:41 PM.

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#19
Nicky

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Mother Nature doesn't slap one's hand whether one picks fruit from a tree or picks someone's pocket. Only the person might. Or the system of defense in place that the person is in, might slap handcuffs around your wrists subordinating you to their rule of law.

'caveman style' - When there is no government, no jails, no laws, no tribe, no significant other, and there she is, and you can easily overpower her - there is absolutly no one else that can say to you whether or not it's right of you to just take her right then and there and fuck her or try to win her over to be able to. If you will not suffer any consequences, not illegal, no governemtn to protect her, no jail to lock you away in, no tribe to protect her, no SO around that might try to help protect his value, perhaps you would only suffer the consequence of blue balls if you don't get some off of her, and whether or not it's an action you would like to take or not, how to go about it, or not - is up to you. Many that feel empathy would not just take her, but take her own feelings, her, into consideration during their decision making, as there is nothing outside of her that you know of, to consider, since that's been ruled out.

'Objectivist style' - When there is a government, jails, laws, and there she is, and you can overpower her - there is a governemtn there to protect her, a jail for you to be placed in if caught and enforced, etc. So you simply decide whether or not it's an action you would like to take. If you are willing to do the time, then you might choose to do the crime, etc. You have much more to consider than simply just her and the action. If you do it, again, Mother Nature is not the one going to slap your hand, she might though and the cops will certainly slap handcuffs around your wrists and take you away, perhaps.

I'm glad we have sytem of defense that has enough might, force, will, finances, support, enforcers in order to be able to try to really prevent that from happening to a woman as there will be consequences if found guilty of doing so to her which is called 'rape'. So that's how you MAKE IT a WRONG action to take towards her.

Might makes right and wrong.


You haven't addressed my point in any way, though. I submitted for your consideration the following thought: moral principles, just like the laws of physics, are based in reality. Do you disagree? If so, what's the difference between the two? Or are you claiming that the laws of physics are also artificial?

#20
Nicky

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Also, do you consider men to be part of this Mother Nature you insist on using, or separate, and why?

#21
Spiral Architect

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Mother Nature doesn't slap one's hand whether one picks fruit from a tree or picks someone's pocket. Only the person might. Or the system of defense in place that the person is in, might slap handcuffs around your wrists subordinating you to their rule of law.

'caveman style' - When there is no government, no jails, no laws, no tribe, no significant other, and there she is, and you can easily overpower her - there is absolutly no one else that can say to you whether or not it's right of you to just take her right then and there and fuck her or try to win her over to be able to. If you will not suffer any consequences, not illegal, no governemtn to protect her, no jail to lock you away in, no tribe to protect her, no SO around that might try to help protect his value, perhaps you would only suffer the consequence of blue balls if you don't get some off of her, and whether or not it's an action you would like to take or not, how to go about it, or not - is up to you. Many that feel empathy would not just take her, but take her own feelings, her, into consideration during their decision making, as there is nothing outside of her that you know of, to consider, since that's been ruled out.

'Objectivist style' - When there is a government, jails, laws, and there she is, and you can overpower her - there is a governemtn there to protect her, a jail for you to be placed in if caught and enforced, etc. So you simply decide whether or not it's an action you would like to take. If you are willing to do the time, then you might choose to do the crime, etc. You have much more to consider than simply just her and the action. If you do it, again, Mother Nature is not the one going to slap your hand, she might though and the cops will certainly slap handcuffs around your wrists and take you away, perhaps.

I'm glad we have sytem of defense that has enough might, force, will, finances, support, enforcers in order to be able to try to really prevent that from happening to a woman as there will be consequences if found guilty of doing so to her which is called 'rape'. So that's how you MAKE IT a WRONG action to take towards her.

Might makes right and wrong.


Wait a minute, are you actually saying that raping a woman is wrong only because the Government forces you to not do it?

Edited by Spiral Architect, 19 April 2012 - 02:24 PM.

Volition = Cognition - A deterministic philosophy is a contradiction in terms

#22
Dante

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Mother Nature doesn't slap one's hand whether one picks fruit from a tree or picks someone's pocket. Only the person might. Or the system of defense in place that the person is in, might slap handcuffs around your wrists subordinating you to their rule of law.

'caveman style' - When there is no government, no jails, no laws, no tribe, no significant other, and there she is, and you can easily overpower her - there is absolutly no one else that can say to you whether or not it's right of you to just take her right then and there and fuck her or try to win her over to be able to. If you will not suffer any consequences, not illegal, no governemtn to protect her, no jail to lock you away in, no tribe to protect her, no SO around that might try to help protect his value, perhaps you would only suffer the consequence of blue balls if you don't get some off of her, and whether or not it's an action you would like to take or not, how to go about it, or not - is up to you. Many that feel empathy would not just take her, but take her own feelings, her, into consideration during their decision making, as there is nothing outside of her that you know of, to consider, since that's been ruled out.

'Objectivist style' - When there is a government, jails, laws, and there she is, and you can overpower her - there is a governemtn there to protect her, a jail for you to be placed in if caught and enforced, etc. So you simply decide whether or not it's an action you would like to take. If you are willing to do the time, then you might choose to do the crime, etc. You have much more to consider than simply just her and the action. If you do it, again, Mother Nature is not the one going to slap your hand, she might though and the cops will certainly slap handcuffs around your wrists and take you away, perhaps.

I'm glad we have sytem of defense that has enough might, force, will, finances, support, enforcers in order to be able to try to really prevent that from happening to a woman as there will be consequences if found guilty of doing so to her which is called 'rape'. So that's how you MAKE IT a WRONG action to take towards her.

Might makes right and wrong.


To summarize, you completely disagree with the entirety of the Objectivist ethics, for which you would substitute hedonism.
"What kind of idea are you? Are you the kind that compromises, does deals, accommodates itself to society, aims to find a niche, to survive; or are you the cussed, bloody-minded, ramrod-backed type of damnfool notion that would rather break than sway with the breeze? – The kind that will almost certainly, ninety-nine times out of hundred, be smashed to bits; but, the hundredth time, will change the world." - Salman Rushdie

#23
Spiral Architect

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Rand wrote so little on the topic of sex that I don't think it's possible to even make many criticisms. There isn't that much to be critical of to evaluate. Rand certainly justified sex as a good thing precisely because it feels good, and also because it provides a type of self-affirmation. Other than that, you have to make conjectures to determine her views, unlike her views that she wrote on extensively like ethics. About the only thing I can say for sure is that Rand is basically sex-positive, although probably not to the extent that people today mean by sex-positive.

My point is that your criticisms seem to be just criticisms of Rand not having written more on the subject. If she wrote more, she may have made her errors more apparent, or she may have gave a more convincing explanation of her ideas.


A good source for a discussion on sex was the original NBI “Basic Principles of Objectivism". One lecture was dedicated to the subject.

Edited by Spiral Architect, 19 April 2012 - 02:44 PM.

Volition = Cognition - A deterministic philosophy is a contradiction in terms

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intellectualammo

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Also, do you consider men to be part of this Mother Nature you insist on using, or separate, and why?


It was a metaphor I was using.

Edited by intellectualammo, 19 April 2012 - 03:00 PM.

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Dormin111

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Rand wrote so little on the topic of sex that I don't think it's possible to even make many criticisms. There isn't that much to be critical of to evaluate. Rand certainly justified sex as a good thing precisely because it feels good, and also because it provides a type of self-affirmation. Other than that, you have to make conjectures to determine her views, unlike her views that she wrote on extensively like ethics. About the only thing I can say for sure is that Rand is basically sex-positive, although probably not to the extent that people today mean by sex-positive.

My point is that your criticisms seem to be just criticisms of Rand not having written more on the subject. If she wrote more, she may have made her errors more apparent, or she may have gave a more convincing explanation of her ideas.



From the Lexicon:

"Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another—an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire. Such a man (or woman) is incapable of experiencing a sexual desire divorced from spiritual values."

"The men who think that wealth comes from material resources and has no intellectual root or meaning, are the men who think—for the same reason—that sex is a physical capacity which functions independently of one’s mind, choice or code of values. They think that your body creates a desire and makes a choice for you just about in some such way as if iron ore transformed itself into railroad rails of its own volition."

And the most important one:

"Sex is one of the most important aspects of man’s life and, therefore, must never be approached lightly or casually. A sexual relationship is proper only on the ground of the highest values one can find in a human being. Sex must not be anything other than a response to values. And that is why I consider promiscuity immoral. Not because sex is evil, but because sex is too good and too important . . . ."


I don't see any adequate reason as to why sex is such a revered task that can never be done casually. To me, that is the equivilent to saying, "it is immoral to eat at MacDonald's when you could be eating filet mignon at a fancy restaurant." While of course I would prefer to always eat filet mignon, maybe some times I cannot afford it, or the restaurant is far away, or I just want something convienent.


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