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Posts posted by splitprimary

  1. “anti-essentialism”, identity as “non-existent” and having any conception of it as “pathological”, “infectious”, and “ultimately harmful”… yeah i’d say that’s a true opposite!

    you say "Korzybski includes Kant in the aristotelian tradition", which i'd agree with, but i wonder, does he count anyone before him as anti-Aristotelean?

  2. this was not a personal question, the OP asks in the abstract. and he poses a new abstract question after the initial discussion on that one.

    even still, Eioul did start by asking questions! the other posts were good general advice. i don't see anywhere where someone has changed what they've said, even though when it finally did become personal (13 posts down the thread!), it clashed somewhat with the topic (as Nicky complained, not actually being an instance where the woman is known to be "unattainable").

    a lot of interesting issues have been discussed here: the validity of "league" thinking, whether avoidance of pain should be a motivating factor in decisions, how much inferiority/superiority in certain aspects counts in a relationship pairing, the possibility of self-perception being off, the error involved in jealously vs taking responsibility for one's own emotions and outcomes, the importance of communication..

    exactly what part of this do you wish had been avoided?

  3. i agree with Eioul here, if you think there could have been confusion and maybe even bitterness on her part, the best approach would be to let her know that you -are- interested in her, and didn't mean to come across otherwise. if you're able to explain it to us, you should be telling her instead! she's the one you want the relationship with. even ask her out, because it's not clear that the opportunity is lost yet, even if there is someone else in the picture now too. think about how much worse you'd feel later if you found out you'd called it and given up too soon, when you still did have a shot.

    my only caution is to really look at why you hesitated before and make sure before you get her involved again that the relationship moving forward is actually something you want and would be ready for. it's easy to idealize something after the fact when the possibility is far away, but your reaction at the time may be more reliable. don't assume that you just flaked out arbitrarily, maybe there was a reason, maybe it wasn't a mistake.

    even if it was, if you're not comfortable with her and feel "out of your league" because of her personality or experience, it's not going to work out. you should deal with that first. find out where it's coming from and get to a place where you can be confident that you're a good choice for her. then help her see that too.

    so your first step is to think.
    1- make sure that she is actually what you want
    2- make sure you really believe that you would be good for her (convince yourself)
    3- let her know both of those things! (convince her)

    if you've done this and she isn't interested, you won't feel the way that you do right now, because you'll know you did everything you could, and you'll think she's the one making the mistake.

  4. 12 hours ago, iflyboats said:

    Would it be immoral to drive past her house to see if her car is there or if anyone elese’s is? ... it could provide valid clues about her relationship status; however, if she knew, she’d undoubtedly be creeped out, so I think it would be immoral. 

    it's not a matter of it being immoral, it's just not a good way to handle it. from what we know about her (assertiveness, then texting the group about her potential romantic activity), she would be perfectly willing to tell you how serious the new interest is, all you have to do is ask. driving around would be wasting more time to obtain far less reliable info. and what it would show her if she did find out is that you'd rather try to collect information on her secretly than openly have a conversation, which doesn't reflect well on your ability to be in a relationship! should she want someone who would talk to her about their feelings and concerns and ask her questions directly, or someone who would snoop around and make assumptions? which would you prefer in a partner? if being with her is your goal then you want to work on being that kind of person, and these actions wouldn't be consistent with it, which is why it isn't feeling right to you.

  5. 18 hours ago, iflyboats said:

    she actually did initiate everything and had to work on me for weeks to get me to go out with her... There was a clear offer of sex on the table a month ago, I didn’t do anything

    2 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

    She expressed interest. You played hard to get and then acted disinterested.

    Agreed! She put herself out there, if you did nothing with that it would rightly be interpreted as rejection. Makes sense for her to "go cold" and it's understandable she has a bit of an edge now making it clear to you that she's moved on, since she's probably feeling hurt herself.

  6. 12 hours ago, iflyboats said:

    my “friend” texted in our group text that she was considering a sexual encounter with someone else after some drinks ... month ago we were going on dates and she was seriously talking about making me her conquest and ending her 14-month celibacy streak with me, then went cold on me the following week and has been treating me like a friend since.

    it's quite possible that the text was meant specifically for you to see, to elicit some reaction, but i don't have enough info to tell what the objective might be.
    if you analyze the time leading up to her "going cold" there may be clues about what triggered the sudden change, and a solid guess about that could help interpret signals now.

    7 hours ago, iflyboats said:

    Can a woman be attracted to/fall in love with an intellectually inferior man? Wasn’t Ayn Rand much more intellectually accomplished than Frank? How does that work if the woman is the stronger one?

    it depends on her hierarchy of values, not just on her actual traits. as intelligent and analytical as Rand was, she was an artist at heart and Frank had the aesthetic/stylistic flair she prized. she talked about his sense of life, and he was a major source of inspiration for her writing.
    it doesn't have to be intellect specifically that attraction is based on. the woman would just have to be able to look up to / admire the man in some dimension that's important to her.

    i thought the point was explained rather well on this blog:


    “A man's attractiveness to women hinges on her perception of his personal strength. A man could manifest his strength in many ways: he could be financially powerful (rich), physically powerful (tall or strong), socially powerful (confident), intellectually powerful (smart or witty), morally powerful (good), politically powerful (highly positioned), etc.; but unless you respect and admire him for his strength, however it is manifested, you will not be attracted to him. …

    As mentioned above, there are different types of power. While intelligence is undeniably important, what ultimately matters is that the man and woman both value the same manifestation(s) of power and that the man has the advantage in that regard - whether or not this includes intelligence specifically. So, for example, maybe he and she both care most about physical power. Even though she is smarter, she will still respect and admire him for his height and physical strength; and he will be proud to fill the role as the one who is physically stronger in the relationship. In most instances, couples will put various levels of value on some combination of the different manifestations of power rather than all of it on one of them.”



  7. Welcome to OO! :)

    On 4/13/2018 at 7:19 PM, intrinsicist said:

    You can become psychologically and emotionally twisted out of sync with reality through contempt for your own nature, the nature of man, or the nature of reality. This sort of malevolence is the place to start.

    -though i haven't read very much about it yet, there was a non-religious group based out of NYC that was having some success with this kind of approach:

  8. On 12/16/2017 at 12:29 PM, Eiuol said:

    psychiatrists have verified that dysphoria is real, and is rooted in some phenomenon relating one's sex to one's "feeling" of being.

    ...There may well be biological explanations ... The root of the feeling seems to be biological. Sorta like phantom limb syndrome. It isn't cured by psychotherapy"

    i did not attempt to deny that these people are genuinely experiencing a "bad feeling", my point was that that doesn't tell us anything further with certainty. (i didn't even contest the identification that it is was somehow "related to one's sex", that much would be true for both cases below.)

    i grant at least the possibility that there is some kind of rare medical condition that results in precisely this. but even if that were proven, the transgender assertion: “i am a [male/female] trapped in a [woman’s/man’s] body” would remain an extraordinary claim. just because some people were that way, would not mean that everyone complaining of dysphoria was. in any particular case, it would be difficult to determine on a psychological basis whether that’s what you were looking at, as opposed to what Don Athos is describing: a nurture-based dysphoria, that could potentially be alleviated by psychotherapy. it seems important to be able to differentiate the two.

    eventually there should be a way to verify if the biological condition was present, and i would think it would be very troubling for a psychologist to find that someone they had diagnosed that way and recommended SRS for, as it turned out didn’t have it and had actually been struggling with internalized societal or parental expectations instead, and that was their motivation for assuming a different outward presentation. the post-op suicide rates that CartsBeforeHorses brings up could even be explained by these misdiagnoses, while leaving a subset (who have something like Klinefelter syndrome or XX male syndrome or whatever it is), who surgical or hormonal treatments do help. if your unacknowledged deep motivation was to appease other people or seek approval, as Objectivists we wouldn't expect the transition to make you happier or give you self-esteem, not any more than Peter Keating achieved it with his architectural successes. if that's not caught early enough you're really finding out the hard way! i imagine that would be devastating- to put all your hopes in a procedure and go to such drastic measures, only to have it not work, to continue feeling as uncomfortable with yourself as ever. it would be the job of a good psychologist who cared about their patient to explore all this as thoroughly as possible to help them root that out and avoid such outcomes, not to just be affirming and enthusiastic. (the same would go for friends).

  9. On 12/11/2017 at 1:15 PM, DonAthos said:

    Insofar as you insist that gender and sex are synonymous (albeit that "gender" refers to humans), then "playing with dolls" would not have to do with gender, either.

    perfect response! his post that i liked has moved off of that original severely limited definition, he’s now smuggling in a lot more.

    On 12/11/2017 at 1:15 PM, DonAthos said:

    it would be too much of a digression for this thread, perhaps, but I'm not certain I agree that "a rational woman cannot want to be President" is the same sort of claim as "a woman ought not be President" or "...ought not want to be President.")

    i can’t help it, i’m so curious about “a rational woman cannot want to be President" not being the same as “a woman ought not want to be President”. is this due to some grammatical trickiness i’m not catching? it seems like saying that you can’t rationally want x.. is saying that you can only irrationally want x (or that wanting x is irrational)… which is saying that you ought not want x. it’s safe to say, like tautologically almost, that you ought not be irrational, yes? irrational always = bad? or, more simply, the rational will be the same as the good. that’s the only step i can see that i’m skipping or "extra" i'm bringing in. maybe you’re thinking you can “want x” in some way that’s arational, neither rational nor irrational?..

    i don’t mean to throw the thread off, but i have to know! the proof looks airtight to me!

    On 12/11/2017 at 1:15 PM, DonAthos said:

    So now, we're discussing the supposed "virtue" of acting in ways which are deemed "suitable for a woman." Well, if we'd like to know the root of things like "gender dysphoria," I expect it may have to do with assigning moral value to activities such as playing with dolls, along with (mis)identifying gender along those lines, as well (i.e. according to "gender role"), as is typical of children (and thus all humans, if at least initially) -- just as they are also forming a concept of self.

    -there are all kinds of things that parents assert (either explicitly or implicitly) that a child ought to do, as a matter of being a good and virtuous person. i don’t see how “playing with dolls” is any more significant or damage-inflicting a proposition than “going to church” or “brushing your teeth”, all of which the child may take on faith at first, but will eventually have to judge for themselves and either accept or reject. part of growing up is realizing that it’s possible for authority figures to be wrong, and daring to disagree with them.

    parents can’t help having opinions, and they’re not infallible. the only alternative to exposing your child to them would be to attempt to hide them, and that’s not without cost either.

    maybe playing with dolls has no real connection to being female they only mistakenly supposed it did, perhaps as a memorized association. maybe church isn’t valuable because the premises of religion are false. maybe certain hygiene rituals or diet advice that is passed down are silly wives tales or based on bad science and the child will find out they don’t actually improve health, or have negative effects instead. (-the parents don't know that already or they wouldn't be endorsing these things). it’s always hard to go against your parents expectations and your early conditioning. you will see kids have similar sort of identity crises over losing their religion, failing to be a good student or to perform well and enjoy a sport or activity a parent loved and strongly encouraged so they felt extreme pressure about, etc. depending on what it is, that can cause crippling guilt or anxiety disorders, an eating disorder, all kinds of complexes. feeling pressure to conform to some model that you don't fit isn’t an experience that’s unique to those with same-sex attraction or gender-nonconforming characteristics.

    but it’s possible to raise a child to be capable of independent judgment, and not self-destruct when they come up against a negative judgment of them- even if that judgment is your own.

    i think that’s a better solution than to attempt to eliminate any hint of a normative prescription that could influence them. because parents and teachers and peers also have a lot of -good- and helpful advice from their own discovery that will be hugely beneficial if shared.

    a very laissez-faire approach to parenting is in vogue now, and the “raising kids gender neutral” stuff is just one example of it. (just having both trucks and dolls available doesn’t constitute this btw, what follows is not directed at you). it’s very non-interference, sort of a “leave no carbon footprint” on your pristine “noble savage” offspring kind of mindset, trying to have a perfectly controlled and balanced environment with zero distortion, so you can see what naturally manifests. that can make sense as far as letting kids explore what they're good at, try out different skills.. but it can also become pathological. in the extreme it entails a very non-tabula rasa premise. if that were false, and instead children did need to be taught, what you’d actually be doing by following this is depriving your child of valuable guidance and stunting their development. they would feel lost and neglected more than happy and free to explore.

    the attachment theory stuff in psychology seems to be showing that the attunement that goes on in a close relationship, where parent and child have an affect on each other, is incredibly valuable in itself. the benefit of having that is usually going to outweigh miscellaneous negative -content- that may be transferred in the process. yes, being wrong and inadvertently imposing a false standard is going to be detrimental and leave your child with feelings of unearned guilt and inferiority. but trying to withhold your soul from them- never showing your thoughts and opinions and genuine reactions at all, out of fear of that, would be incredibly damaging in its own way!

  10. On 12/10/2017 at 5:14 PM, Eiuol said:

    You should be talking about feeling. Talking about conceptual identification isn't what anyone else is after. Any sort of awareness as a type of thing isn't conceptual. The "bad feeling" is neither an emotion nor a concept. It's not thinking one has a brain the opposite of the body. It's feeling that something is wrong, and later identified as stemming from something related to one's sex.

    -at all these steps, there is possibility of error in the identification. you're trying to translate a really basic, gut-level awareness and bring it up to the level of a conceptual statement. it's very hard to pinpoint what's wrong and people misattribute all the time. this is just introspection! in any instance of this, even a much more trivial one, it can take a wrong turn and yield an answer that’s off, which you might not realize for a long time.

    i might feel vaguely bad.. manage to trace it back to this morning.. realize it’s centered somehow around my sister.. eventually land on it being a certain comment i made in the conversation at breakfast.. and determine that i feel awful because i was overly critical of her. it could seem like the right answer because i’m getting close, so i might settle there. but with even further investigation and discrimination, it could turn out to have been a different emotional shade completely: i thought it was guilt for what i said, but actually it was regret that i hadn’t spoken up back when the honesty could have made more of a positive difference to her. or alternately, it could be that i snapped at her defensively, i got hurt by something she said just prior to this and the part of the conversation i'm fixated on is a decoy- the negative feeling actually coming from whatever insecurity she managed to brush against.

    i really like your description, that you start to try to put it into words, getting more precise: from “bad feeling” to “something wrong” to “this is somehow related to sex”.. eventually way down the line maybe you come to something like “i don’t identify with my biological sex, but with the opposite gender” that feels true. but that has been derived, there is so much that has gone into reaching that conclusion. it's not beyond challenge, and that’s what someone is doing when they express skepticism about the claim. they’re not automatically right making a call from the outside via observation or from their armchair of course, but this person doing the introspection is not necessarily right either just because they're up closer to it. friends and therapists help people disentangle and get to the root of what they’re actually feeling all the time; there is no rule that says the subject is always understanding themselves correctly.

  11. i'm saying that if you're an Objectivist you don't accept the fact that universals exist. (Rand did clarify in the ITOE Q+A that she did not mean "mental entity" literally). i think Objectivism as presented is a species of nominalism, but i do believe in universals myself. and i don't see any reason why someone couldn't take a position she rules out: that universals do exist in reality, but that we obtain knowledge of them through a mediated process of concept-formation much like she's outlined.


    "Rand appears to reject [the existence of real universals] on the grounds that, if universals were real, we would have to acquire our knowledge of them via “non-sensory” or “extrasensory” means.
    ...she rejects the combined claim that (a) there are real universals and that (b) we “perceive” them by a means other than the senses."

    but, "If there really are universals... we may give either an “active” or a “passive” account of knowledge. The acceptance of real universals leaves the problem of activity vs. passivity just where it was."


    "A (universal) realist is not, as such, committed to the view that the mind is “active” in the production of knowledge. The mind may in fact be active in such production, and I think that it clearly is. But the role of activity in an epistemology grounded in the reality of universals is not the same as in a nominalist account; a realist need not make the mind “active” just in order to account for the possibility of knowledge itself. The nominalist is in a far worse position. What nominalism needs is an account that describes just how the mind goes about “creating” (apparent) universals"

    this comes from an author you might be interested in.-http://www.scholardarity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Objectivism-and-the-Corruption-of-Rationality-Scott-Ryan.pdf  @Ilya Startsev pointed me to him, and i was reminded of it by your observation above about how one of the hallmarks of nominalism is that in the absence of an existent (the universal), there's a fixation on activity.

    he finds this sign in Rand, in her insistence about the activity of consciousness in concept-formation, and the aggressiveness of her opposition to any kind of naive/direct (Kelley uses the term "diaphanous") realist model.

    even your other example-

    On 12/13/2017 at 1:26 PM, MisterSwig said:

    We see nominalists who apply the rejection of universals to the standard of value itself: man's life. ..The default standard therefore becomes life qua life, meaning man’s self-generated activity.

    sounds just like her "Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action." (-FTNI)

  12. On 12/13/2017 at 1:26 PM, MisterSwig said:

    If you agree that Rand solved the problem of universals...

    ^is that your own opinion?
    i know you've said you don't want to make this thread about her theory of universals.. but your complaint against nominalism here is that it "argues against the existence of universals" and says that "only particular concretes exist". but Rand does not accept Aristotle's metaphysics concerning the real existence of universals either.
    2046 makes an important point here-

    On 12/9/2017 at 7:46 AM, 2046 said:

    You must be mistaking Rand's theory of universals for realism, for objectivism does not post that universals exist as a concrete thing in entities..



    "Let us note . . . the radical difference between Aristotle’s view of concepts and the Objectivist view, particularly in regard to the issue of essential characteristics.

    …Aristotle held that definitions refer to metaphysical essences, which exist in concretes as a special element or formative power.

    …Aristotle regarded “essence” as metaphysical; Objectivism regards it as epistemological."

    Peikoff, from DIM:


    Ayn Rand did have several disagreements with him... specifically, his idea that the grasp of similarity among objects is the grasp of a common form or structure intrinsic within them. AR rejects this 'intrinsicist' viewpoint, as she called it, on the grounds that it regards the object of conceptual awareness as a metaphysical ingredient of entities.

    In AR's theory, as I have indicated in chapter one, concepts are… only human devices, and thus nothing apart from man, but devices with a factual, mathematical base. So man does reach unity through abstraction, but he does not find it pre-existing in objects; he creates it by his mind's method of interrelating the measurements of the Many."

    but this leaves open any grouping as being equally valid if grounded in fact, and contextually pragmatic. rather than the concepts "male" and "female" that we currently have, (if there are no metaphysical essences to adhere to, and it's just a matter of pulling out any commonality of measurement to attach a label to), an argument could absolutely be made that we should have x different concepts, for various segments of a spectrum or constellations of properties. -which is the kind of expansion the non-binary crowd seems mostly to be endorsing. that would be at least a suggestion worthy of consideration under Objectivist epistemology.

  13. 12 minutes ago, intrinsicist said:

    Rand is still a D1 integrator here (using the DIM schema), she's just one step beyond the causal sex addict.. it's just that she is looking a little deeper and longer-range than he is. She fundamentally doesn't care about the self-consistency

    i guess "just one step beyond casual sex" is true not just in the motivation like you mentioned, but even to the form relationships take in her novels. they're "a little deeper and longer range" than hook-ups: usually affairs, usually not lasting the whole book, never marriage for main characters. as long as the people have valid reasons for admiring each other and that's what the isolated interactions are based on, that's good enough for her. "about self-consistency".. there isn't any necessary longevity to it. it lasts while it lasts.

    she doesn't seem to recognize any "directedness" to a sexual relationship; that a couple was sleeping together doesn't tell her anything about whether they will be together later on. so it's not a big issue for her when, dagny, say, switches lovers. nothing had to really go wrong for that to happen and it isn't difficult for the character, it's not seen as any kind of a tragedy. she engaged in them not expecting them to last.. which is really pretty contradictory to the whole activity, which naturally is bonding.

    i think this issue may have been the intention behind a post of @Anuj's- "Romantic Love and Promiscuity"

  14. but i think we’re missing the intention behind that part of the story in speculating about disorders. “at first” it says she was “shy and intimidated” as the reason for her for not immediately objecting, as anyone would expect from someone who isn’t okay with what’s happening. but it fills in some of her thought process as she considers it further and actually consents on the basis of her original conditional: “Maybe this is his way of saying he wants to be with me? That was the agreement”

    the interesting question here is whether there was a contract that for them to have sex meant agreement to be in a relationship, which he broke when he cut off contact right afterward, before anything else had really changed. there is a much better case for *that* action being immoral. then the argument is that this was a kind of fraud or theft, that he failed to deliver his end in an exchange once he had already been paid.

    JASKN tried to handle this objection in his retelling of the story from an innocent Chris’ perspective, and it would be pretty tricky to specify for what amount of time he had to remain in the relationship before changing his mind. but it does seem like a moral issue if he went ahead with sex without ever intending to be in a relationship or seeing himself as in one. and a single instance of sub-par sex, especially an awkward first time, is not really reasonable grounds for a breakup.

  15. 3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

    So first it is plausible with a disorder

    to be clear, i'm not at all convinced that it is plausible even with a disorder. it has not been established psychologically that someone with PTSD would suddenly behave like a pheasant instead of a human whenever they experienced unwelcome physical contact, and be completely unable to move or even vocalize for extended periods of time. i find that highly unlikely. i was just responding to your comment above that some kind of rare disorder was only one possible explanation among many, that this kind of "tonic immobility" is not even that abnormal to expect.

    i don’t think it’s reasonable to demand that people modify their behavior based on such fanciful possibilities that they have no grounds in their experience of human beings to postulate. it would be on par with being afraid to pour someone a glass of water because they might automatically drink it and have a medical condition unknown to you where it affects them like poison.

  16. the scenario as described is not plausible without a mental disorder. people try to get way too much mileage out of "She froze up" and it's not realistic.


    "Tonic immobility has at least some scientific pedigree. The “playing dead” mechanism of prey animals, particularly those that find themselves literally in the jaws of death, is well documented and likely adaptive; a predator might relax its grip if it believes the prey is dead, increasing the chance of escape. But research on the subject has focused primarily on small animals, notably poultry…

    To be sure, some people do freeze briefly in terrifying circumstances. But in her NIJ presentation, Campbell used the terms freeze and tonic immobility synonymously. These are two distinct phenomena, well documented in animals. Researchers describe a “freeze” as a momentary state of high alert that occurs before deciding whether and how to act. Charles A. Morgan III, a forensic psychiatrist at the University of New Haven who studies stress response in military personnel, says there’s ample evidence of this response on the part of people. But, he told me, “it’s not people acting like they’re zombies”; they generally return swiftly to responsiveness. Liz Phelps, a professor of psychology and neural science at NYU, concurs. She cited the Atlanta Olympic bombing as an example. A video of the event shows that when the bomb went off, many in the crowd froze. But it was “a momentary freeze before people started running. It’s such a subtle response in humans that it’s very hard to study,” she says.”

    “Tonic immobility might occur in people, but science hasn’t definitively shown this yet. … Tonic immobility’s frequent precursors in prey animals—physical restraint combined with an imminent threat to life—do describe some instances of rape. But the conditions that lead to many sexual-assault complaints on college campuses—alcohol combined with miscommunication—do not fit this template."


    and Eioul, it's not just kissing even by the original story. it was always "kissing and touching" and there's no reason that couldn't include "below the waist" (as it must have). Sally was "still mostly clothed", so by definition, she was partially undressed, which had happened during the make out session, which was consensual. and partially undressed in such a way that Chris was able to immediately "surprise" her in the dark without having to first get around undergarments, which would have given her enough warning about what was coming to object. so "taking this story as stated", to even make it coherent, it's necessary to infer this. it was already sexual before the lights went out.

  17. welcome to OO! i agree it would be great to see links to the podcast episodes and summaries of the objections discussed on them posted here! that would help us keep track and not forget and miss something interesting.

    there have been all kinds of arguments against Objectivist positions made over the years, more and less successfully. i imagine you have plenty to get you started. whenever you run short on material and need ideas, bump the thread again and let us know which branch of philosophy you're interested in getting into, and i'm sure we can suggest some sources.

  18. 5 hours ago, Ilya Startsev said:

    Kant seems to know minds better than people, thus allowing people who, he thinks, don't know their minds as well or well enough be forced to follow minds in power who know what the minds subservient to duty need to practice.

    what you've described above sounds a lot more like Plato's political ideas, not Kant's. the quote from Groundwork doesn't support this.

    what he is saying there is that principles come from human nature itself, they logically follow from the fact that we are rational beings. because of this nature, "man is an end in himself", and should always be treated that way (with "dignity"). it is the same point that Rand makes that initiating force against a rational agent violates their nature.

    here are a few more quotes from the preface to Groundwork that are similar to:
    "A rational being obeys no law other than that which he himself at the same time gives." that might make it clearer:

    • "We are subject to the moral law only because it is the necessary expression of our own nature as rational agents."
    • "If a rational agent is truly an end in himself, he must be the author of the laws which he is bound to obey”
    • "Rational agents as subjects are the -ground- of this categorical imperative."
    • "The law which we are bound to obey must be the product of our own will."
  19. there's a paper by David Kelley that deals with this too. in his third section, on Happiness, starting on page 72, he gives an even longer list of quotes, followed by:


    What I find interesting about such passages is the range of things that Rand asserts are fundamental purposes, values, commitments, and/or motivations. The list includes joy, purpose, work, existence, pride, achievement of one’s desires, one’s moral code, rectitude, virtue, happiness, realization of potential—and, of course, life. We could reduce the list to a few categories—perhaps life/existence, happiness, purpose/achievement, and virtue/pride. In any case, Rand’s ease in moving from one to another suggests that she sees them as intrinsically connected elements in the ultimate value. Those elements can be distinguished conceptually; we can analyze their multiple relationships and dependencies; but they cannot validly be treated as isolated atoms. They are structurally connected elements in the complex whole that is a life well-lived, the life we pursue as our ultimate value.


    Choosing to live means choosing the life one has, choosing to continue existing as an entity with a specific identity. It means choosing to continue a life with a unique, particular content that includes the things one has done; one’s traits, beliefs, goals, and circumstances; and the core purposes that one experiences as intrinsically valuable, constitutive rather than instrumental means to the ultimate value of one’s life. In this sense, the value of a life consists in the values in that life. In short, I do not see how one can separate life from its content, including its experiential content. (Of course one can change that content, even its basic elements: one can modify or abandon a purpose, enhance a virtue, overcome a fault, etc. But one does these things with the resources one has as the person one is, in pursuit of more fundamental goals.)


    If we take the primacy of existence seriously, and apply the principle to emotions as well as cognition, the object of an emotion is not external to the emotion. As a conscious state, the emotion is necessarily related to its object(s) in the world. … If we think of happiness as an ongoing, pervasive reaction to a life that is going well: One is happy about one’s life. One’s life is the internal object of the emotion, and to seek and experience that happiness is to seek and experience the value of one’s life.


  20. 20 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

    Egoism is ultimately a form of positive-utilitarianism

    it can sound like Objectivism is positive utilitarianism from some of the quotes that have been referenced here:

    "We exist for the sake of earning rewards", "live for the sake of such exalted moments as one may be able to achieve or experience", "basic motive is the desire to achieve values".

    these have plural terms: "rewards", "moments", "values", that can seem to suggest a mere collection of disconnected pleasures. Objectivism goes beyond basic utilitarianism though and sees them as having an integration to them, there being a "one in the many" (Peikoff's I-type in DIM Hypothesis).

    i think SL was getting at what unites them in talking about the experience of joy being tied to the flourishing *of a Man*. that's where these concepts of identity and integrity come into morality. it's expressed really well here (from Atlas Shrugged):


    Every form of happiness is one, every desire is driven by the same motor—by our love for a single value, for the highest potentiality of our own existence—and every achievement is an expression of it.


  21. 11 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

    Point 4 of The Ethics of Emergencies:
    And, in fact, a lethargic indifference to ethics, a hopelessly cynical amorality

    her list here is "If a man accepts the ethics of altruism, he suffers the following consequences..."

    so this is not helpful. we are aware that lifeboat scenarios can be used by altruists to reinforce their perspective. the question is whether they can alternatively be used for good!

  22. 6 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

    In the context of the planetary trolley "problem", do you think it is in Rearden's rational self-interest to refrain from pushing the button, and to allow everyone on earth, himself, Dagny, and Galt to die in order to avoid killing the stranger on the space station?

    i think there are significant differences between your asteroid example and the original trolley one. i'm not against discussing it, but it seems like we should examine the first problem before we complicate the thread by adding another and comparing and contrasting the two.

    20 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

    are you purely interested in historical examples of emergency hypotheticals being employed in the development of rational+egoistic ethics? or is it sufficient to show that this is possible?

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