Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by bkildahl

  1. Any word on who'll be running it? I was really impressed with Christensen's speech at the Adam Smith Institute, so it would be great to see him in charge.
  2. I thought the choice to live, the choice to focus, and the choice to think were synonyms in Objectivist lingo.
  3. Your interlocutor's argument implies an infinite regress of reasons. Why A? Because B. Why B? C. Why C? D. Why D? E. I think Rand escapes that regress with her premoral and prerational choice to live. At the end of every one of those chains is the answer: Because I choose to live. And the follow-up why is invalid, because it asks for a rational argument to support a prerational choice.
  4. That makes sense. I remember thinking of him as my favorite journalist back when he was taking on the Teacher's Union, but stuff like that probably rankled ABC.
  5. 6/11 I think this is from one of John Stossel's old 20/20 segments. I'm glad he has his own show now, but sometimes I think he did more interesting and higher quality work for ABC.
  6. Analyzing the morality of the choice to live doesn't work because you have to use rationality to do it (for example, "it's illogical to make that decision without moral values"), and rationality also presupposes the choice to live. By the same token, analyzing the rationality of the choice to live doesn't work because you have to imply a moral evaluation to do it (for example, "it's bad to be arbitrary"), and moral evaluations also presuppose the choice to live. Both the applicability of morality and the applicability of rationality presuppose the choice to live, and these two ideas run interference for each other. I have to think about this some more, but it seems like a great argument. Thanks. I'll post in this thread again if I think of more questions.
  7. In the earlier linked video, Biddle argues that choosing to live is what gives rise to values. If that's true, then the choice itself is necessarily both considered and made prior to having values. And that values-less consideration and decision is something I can think of only one word to describe: arbitrary.
  8. Yes, it's a decision made using free will (which is the only way one can make a decision), but what is the motivation for the decision? Is there a reason to choose one way or the other, is it arbitrary, or should it be described some other way?
  9. At 01:40, Biddle says, "unless you choose to live," asserting that there's a choice to live made prior to the need for values. If that's the case, how should the decision to live be described? If arbitrary is the wrong word, what's the right one?
  10. Okay, so how do we get from those facts to objective morality? Or do Objectivists claim we don't need to?
  11. I don't think thought is uncontrollable. What I'm trying to figure out is whether or not morality is objective. And I think the way I got to my inference was by misunderstanding your bullet points. Maybe I can clarify by asking this: Is every instance of human thought an example of moral evaluation? If not, what can a human think about that doesn't involve moral evaluation?
  12. When you say valuing and thinking are nearly the same, are you implying that valuing is a very large subset of thinking? If so, what does man think about when he's not valuing? Is the answer (as suggested by the second bullet point) that he thinks about what his standard of value should be? If so, is this an implicit admission that his choice of standards is arbitrary?
  13. If you prefer, we can substitute one for the other. For what reason should one continue to live? The existence of the faculty of reason gives rise to choice, but says nothing about what choices should be made.
  14. "Why choose to (continue to) live?" doesn't presuppose purpose. It's a question about the possibility of objective purpose, which is given rise to by the existence of choice and the recognition that man makes a fundamental one with regard to his life.
  15. I'm happy to be corrected, but preferably with an actual argument.
  16. What infants do and why is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not continuing to choose life as an adult human being is moral. If Objectivism can't support choosing life over death (never mind choosing to live it fully with, paraphrasing Allison, happiness as the end of the game), then the morality of capitalism and Romanticism vanishes in a puff of smoke.
  17. "Words are meaningless" is, as you point out, self-defeating. It relies on the meaningfulness of words to declare them non-meaningful. "There's no reason to choose to continue to live" is not. Yes, I'm alive while saying that, but being alive isn't the same thing as relying on the morality of being alive. You're continuing to equate "It can't be shown that one ought to die" with "One ought not to die." It being morally correct to live and it being morally correct to die are not all-encompassing. It's possible that neither is moral.
  18. How do you make holy water? Boil the hell out of it.
  19. I isolated these two questions to reiterate a point from earlier. Human life is sustained volitionally, not automatically. Staying alive is not the default state. It requires knowledge of life's requirements and the choice to meet them. I'm not defending the idea that one ought to die. I'm asking you to defend the idea that he should live. In other words, it's possible that neither of these options can be shown to be moral, so defeating the morality of one doesn't affirm the other's. And as far as I understand it, your defense of choosing life is the hedonistic argument that death is painful and should therefore be avoided. Well, it's a fact that death can be painful, but that fact doesn't make staying alive morally correct (and consider the absurdity that if this were the right argument, it would only be correct to avoid painful death.)
  20. I wasn't asking whether you're currently alive or what decisions you've made in the past. I was asking why you continue to choose to live. Yes it does, but that says nothing about what your choice should have been. This is question-begging hedonism.
  21. You are alive today because you have chosen to live many times in the past, not because you haven't chosen to die. Human beings don't live automatically, so choosing to die isn't the only way to end up dead. Lack of choice is just as effective. So why (continue to) choose life?
  22. Yeah, that's what Jasser does too. He also refers to Christianity as having taken 1790 years to come to appreciate the need for the separation of church and state, implicitly giving more credit to the religion itself for the founding of the U.S. than I'm comfortable with, but making the point that he wants Islam to do the same.
  23. I'm interested to get this community's take on Zuhdi Jasser. He's a former Navy officer, doctor, and devout Muslim who has spent his free time for the last few years talking publicly about religious reform. He considers Islam compatible with the principle of individual rights, and though his point of view is probably very much in the minority, I've never heard someone who gives me more hope for the future of the world's second largest religion. Here's one of the debates posted on his YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10ZHq_Sp3YE What do you think?
  24. I love Jan Helfeld. In terms of trolling, he's second only to this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2ewcYuv10s But the first video you posted seems like it's not the original, so you might want to switch it to the one from his channel.
  • Create New...