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    I mentioned earlier that my Nietzsche/Rand series of articles had been composed in 2010 for the Boydstun Corner at OBJECTIVIST LIVING, and that by now the series there had received 20,600 hits. I have now removed this series and a couple of others from that site because OL has taken on a type of outside advertising that I saw was dispersed within the Nietzsche/Rand thread. The ads use motion to get the eye's attention, distracting from extended concentration that these posts need in order to assimilate the information. The ads have headers like "Seven Women for Every Man" and other such irrelevant foolishness. So OBJECTIVISM ONLINE is now the exclusive public sharing place of these compositions.
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    Rand stated that she used "mental entity" metaphorically in the ITOE appendix (p. 157). "Mental something" was the closest she could get to identifying a concept metaphysically.
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    Critique of Ayn Rand’s Ethics

    The important thing to recognize is that Rand didn't address this question. Maybe she would have a good response to you, maybe she wouldn't. I'm not aware of anyone besides Tara Smith trying to address it. I'm sure some people have tried to from Rand's perspective, I'm just pointing out that it's not front and center. So the way SL answers your question would probably be different from me (even though I'm sure we would agree with what the moral implications are when we do choose to live). So don't think of this answer as replacing his, and I hope he doesn't see my response as trying to drown his out. You're right that her ethics have whim at their basis (choosing to live can be made for any reason at all without undermining her ethics), although I imagine someone here would disagree with me. I don't think this is problematic because this doesn't undermine or ignore that there is a such thing as a fact. In that way, reason is relevant, even if there is no ethical purpose for reasoning prior to the choice to live. After all, Rand considers epistemology hierarchically prior to ethics. You would have some sensation about the world around you from the moment you were born, or sensation within you, which is at least some dim awareness that there is such thing as reality. On some level, I don't know if Rand would accept such implications. She starts a sound a lot like Nietzsche. It says if the choice to live is equivalent to will to power. Will to power doesn't mean willing to show power over others. It means a will to show some kind of power over your individual life. There is no rational basis to such a will. If anything, we could call it will to reason, to point out that Rand still sees reasoned thinking as always relevant (distinct from rational thinking that assumes an end goal has been selected). Rand herself thought of her philosophy as a philosophy of reason first, not a philosophy of rational selfishness first. By the way, EC was referring to rationalism (lowercase 'r') with the definition that Peikoff uses in his lecture "Understanding Objectivism". It usually refers to talking about abstractions with absolutely no effort to concretize them or ground them.
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    Really choosing life, entails more than merely breathing for the next few seconds, it means choosing to live long range... choosing to choose life again the next day and the next ... indefinitely, for as long as you possibly can. The choice to continually choose life and to live as long as possible is simple, achieving it is complex. The potential for you to live as long as possible in future depends on your level of flourishing not just directly on your choices at any one time. You can’t choose to save yourself from an unexpected threat by jumping to safety if you have taken care of yourself so badly that you are simply incapable of it. Some events are unforeseen or cannot be predicted. The more physically strong you are the more likely you will survive accident or illness or other physically stressful events. The more mentally and emotionally strong you are the more likely you will survive extreme emotional trauma or events that may test your very will to live or test how quickly you can get back on your feet or how well you can will yourself to take care of yourself again. Your level of flourishing, your physical and mental health, is crucial to your likelihood of long term survival. As such every materiel and spiritual value that improves or contributes (in sum total) to your well being generally is objectively conducive to your flourishing and hence your choice to live in a world you simply cannot control. Your enjoyment at lunch is the product of your subjective tastes in food and ambience... but the spiritual value of your enjoyment and the mental well being it promotes, even if merely modestly incremental, are objectively good for you. All else being equal (the food is not poison, and the patrons not gang members liable to cause a shoot out) choose the place you enjoy the most, it’s objectively the best choice for you.
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