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Everything posted by jacassidy2

  1. Welfare is a complex, many defining steps to the basics, derivative concept. Most people only understand the direct effect it has on them as a recipient or as a taxpayer. Politics, and its products, is far removed from basic ideas in ethics, which are somewhat removed from more basic ideas in epistemology and metaphysics. Because the ultimate truth in reality exists thru knowledge your friend will probably never seek, you cannot gain the value of informing them and changing their mind by debating the surface film of more fundamental knowledge. So the answer is no. Don't waste your time arguing. But I've been tempted in the past to plant an intellectual seed. Say something like, "that's great for you and you can go far if you try - but where did the value come from to make it possible?" "Who bought the food, shelter, or education you benefit from?" If they are a good person, they may increase the value of the gift in their mind and use it wisely.
  2. I'm new to this site and want to exercise my Objectivist muscles, but I don't find many mistakes in the posts I read. Nothing I can test my years of study on by offering a basic and fundamental piece of Aristotelian metaphysics or Randian Epistomology. So, I'll enjoy mostly learning by confirmation. The last handful of posts from "devil's Advocate," "plasmatic," and "dreamweaver" are so on point as to require no explanation or elucidation in the context of Objectivism. So why would those only moderately familiar with Ayn Rand be confused by such good explanations? ----- Because there is a misplaced cultural prejudice infused, in error, in the identity of the concepts selfishness and egoism. Since the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the idea of egoism/selfishness was equated with attaining value thru force/fraud - by using your physicality to overcome or your reason to trick. Just consider the social environment they existed in. These early thinkers originated, and later thinkers agreed, that the virtue of self interest and its related value, happiness, were tied to a malevolent view of human epistemology. While it is true that mechanistic and material aberrations occur in human physiology and psychology, the idea that human nature is confiscatory rather than productive is cultural, not metaphysical, and is an insult to human reason. In plain, non-academic, English - selfishness means, motivation in the objective benefit of the organism making the choice. Not in the socially, screwed up benefit, or the mentally defective benefit, but in the benefit based on identification of the real nature of the organism. Doing whatever occurs to you on a whim is not selfish by this definition - you have to use your reason. If you find happiness in exploitation of the work of others by force or fraud, then you are seeking happiness outside the metaphysical identity of human beings - you are not being selfish and you will, in the end, fail to achieve the value of happiness. You ignored the identity of your reason and instead acted based on the identity of a lower animal, a predator. You will know you didn't earn the value and must look over your shoulder for others who, mistakenly, think like you, and for the people you cheated. And so to the OP, you must abandon the common, cultural stolen concept of selfishness. It's not genetic or inherent, and it's only socially confiscatory if you accept bad definitions. The cognitive source of selfishness is not whim, it's reason.
  3. What do you mean by "nature" and by "selfishness?" By nature, do you mean "metaphysical material identity" or are you referring to a pre-birth or genetic mental endowment? The clearest answer in Objectivism requires this distinction. Otherwise you have to read thru questions about the place of biology and drug use as concrete examples of questions.
  4. The idea that reality is the one in the many was first proposed by Thales, thought by many to be the first philosopher. So, if you are new to philosophy, perhaps you are asking a good first question. When participating in discussions with others who propose this idea of "oneness" you might ask, "what do you mean by "oneness"?" Is it the material basis of matter you are asking about (and wondering how to think about the fact that direct/unaided human senses alone cannot perceive it) or are you proposing something about unity of form in non-material, derivative real things like human concepts? The answer you would find in Objectivism depends, in part, to the real nature of the question being asked. Because so few people you meet have any fundamental basis for their questions or conclusions, step one should be to get that person to be more specific about the question.
  5. No email validation after 3 hours????

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