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Everything posted by KyaryPamyu

  1. These three are actually the values that make up the Objectivist code of ethics. In The Objectivist Ethics, these values are related to the virtues as follows: Productiveness corresponds to Purpose Pride corresponds to Self-Esteem Rationality, Honesty, Independence, Integrity and Justice correspond to Reason At the time she wrote that list, she considered Independence to be the primary virtue - the others beings aspects of it. Later, she developed her mature ethical theory, which states that you can only pursue your self interest in consonance with reality - not it every way that might sound right to you. Therefore, the primary (and only) real virtue becomes rationality, and the others, including idependence, become aspects of rationality - of acting in consonance with reality. After quickly scanning the list above, courage and strenght are aspects of Integrity. Honor, self-confidence & self-respect are aspects of Pride. Wisdom is a result of being rational. According to Peikoff in his Advanced Seminars on OPAR, Rand didn't claim that her list of virtues was complete. She was open to additions as long as somebody could prove that something was a virtue. Based on her own life experience, she never discovered another principle that was a genuine virtue.
  2. Is existing a type of action, the same way rolling, flowing, walking and exploding is? In this case, the phenomenon of action must exist before anything engages in the specific action of existing. If you see 'it exists' not as an action, but as information about something - this cookie is brown, it's made of sugar, it exists (you're not bluffling, there's actually a cookie), then we're on the same page. Or perhaps you're thinking about living organisms, which act in a goal-directed way in order to preserve their life. But is a cookie also engaged in the action of existing?
  3. 'Existence' is a collective noun, and 'exists' is an adjective, not a verb. As in: existence is vast, existence is varied, existence is real, existence exists. In the dictionary, 'exist' is classified as a verb. Do you also see it as a verb?
  4. Yes, agreed. This is not the same thing at all. Existing is not an action or quality, it is a concept meant to help us distinguish between what is actually out there and what isn't. If you use existence to refer to that which is (as opposed to that which isn't), existence is every entity, every trait, every action, every doing. You don't do existing. Existence is the doing. To see what I mean more clearly, contrast 'existence is an action' with 'existence is the action' - substituting 'action' with any specific kind of action that you can think of.
  5. Existing is not an aspect of a thing's identity. By making this claim, you are starting with something existing (identity) and then you're adding to it an extra feature, 'existing,' to complement its other features. Existence is not an action, a property or a feature, it is the action, property or feature - and anything else that constitutes the universe. Existence is identity. When you say that something doesn't exist, you don't mean that something (existing in a state of existential limbo) is not engaged in the action of existing. What you mean is that it actually isn't there. Existing, acting and identity are abstractions. They can only be separated by a conceptual mind, as they are simultaneous metaphysically.
  6. This reminds me of the question, 'why is there something, rather than nothing?'. Suppose you answered, 'because of factor X'. But if factor X exists, you have not answered anything, because you're trying to figure out what caused everything that exists - including factor X. Nothing precedes existence. Before we philosophize about action, it must first exist.
  7. Nope. I didn't even hint at such an idea. What I said is that existing is not a type of action; rather, action is a type phenomenon that exists. Things change, move around and interact with each other. Based on this observation, you can form concepts such as movement, interaction etc., and unite them under the concept action. But actions are not platonic entites, they are aspects of a thing's identity. Actions are actions of things that exist. Existing is not an action, it is the precondition of action.
  8. No. If 'existing' was a type of action, actions would hold metaphysical primacy. In other words, first there would be the platonic form of action, from which its numerous manifestations (including 'existing') would spring. But actions can't have metaphysical primacy. Let's say for a moment that existing is a type of action. But what is the most fundamental thing you can say about action? That it exists. Entities that exist, act. Entities that do not exist, do not act.
  9. Integrate everything you do into a seamless whole. David Allen's GTD methodology is a great way to do this. Amy Peikoff did an interview with Dave Allen, if you're interested you can listen to it here. Always set specific work goals, such as: 'I want to find out how to do X in less time and with better results'. Not lying to yourself about where you are in relation to your goals. If applicable, don't be afraid to say 'I'm not where I want to be', or 'I have a long way to go'. Don't pretend to like things that you don't. For example, if a friend wants to discuss a movie you dislike, simply tell him that it's not your kind of thing, and change the topic. Strive to achieve a real understanding of the principles that you practice regularly, even if they were learned from other people. You can't make full use of a piece of information unless you know exactly what it refers to and why it's true. Form principles for your work, your romantic life, your thinking etc. and follow them. This virtue refers to all principles, not just moral ones. Check this post to learn how to form good principles. Stick to rational principles, even when it's hard. Weakness of will is weakness of vision; if you don't feel like respecting a principle that you know is true, remind yourself of the consequences that will follow if you break it. "I'm not brave enough to be a coward" - Ayn Rand Pride Don't create unearned guilt by blaming yourself for unintentional mistakes. Learn from them & move on. The Ben Franklin exercise that you mentioned. Seek the best in anything. Make a list of values (work, love, art, food, health etc.) and go over it daily/weekly. As yourself, 'how can I improve the quality of this area?'. In art, it might mean creating a reading list or a watchlist. In love, picking out some special lingerie for your kindred soul. In health, choosing to use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  10. Readers may decide for themselves. Thanks, you made some interesting points.
  11. "The answer lies in her writings", as in: the answer to what her actual views on philosophy were can be found in her written material. As far as I know, she disagreed that psychology should be part of philosophy. People sometimes use 'beautiful' when they mean that something is inspiring. They associate pleasant feelings with beauty. By this token, you can actually refer to anything you like as 'beautiful', even though somebody else with different values might look at those things and have no idea what you're talking about. Of course it is. It's a type of emotional fuel, as discussed early. That feeling of love for existence, or 'metaphysical joy' as Rand would call it, can be triggered by just about anything you like or pleases you. Which makes this type of thing a very broad category, just like 'physical exercise' is in relation to athletics, sex and foot-tapping. Bottomline: beauty is everywhere. Physical exercise is everywhere. Bundling all beautiful/inspiring things togheter muddles the differences between, for example, plot construction, characterization, drug-induced ecstacy, cuteness of kids and animals, becoming aware of the vastness of the universe, sexually tantalizing women's clothing/attitudes etc. Everything in the universe is interconnected, and every piece of knowledge has implications for countless other fields. But some cathegories are simply too broad to be of any practical use, except as broad descriptive terms. Imagine opening a fitness manual and seeing: pushups, squats, walk to the store, climb the stairs, have sex, dance to music, run from your fangirls, play volleyball.
  12. I see certain similarities between atheltics, sex, and foot-tapping. I don't think it's terribly controversial to put them into a category called 'physical exercise'. History would probably agree. Yet this would still mean uniting them on the basis of non-essentials. The answer ultimately lies in her writings. For now we'll have to agree to disagree.
  13. Well, yeah. I didn't request one or implied that it can be created at this stage. But without such a definitition it's tricky to see what you're hinting at/groping for. The way I see it, the similarities between beauty, the fine arts and inspirational experiences are there, but they seem too shallow to form a category. Comprehensive does not mean encyclopedic, otherwise her system would also include psychology as a branch (among other things). The study of beauty relies heavily on psychology, so it's not pure philosophy. Here's a directly related quote by Rand: (“The Chickens’ Homecoming,” Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p. 45). Bold mine. And another one: (“Philosophy: Who Needs It,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 2). Italics in original. Beauty is to aesthetics (Rand's use of the term) what physical exercise is to ethics. They can't be sundered. But ethics and aesthetics are pure philosophy, while exercise and beauty are not.
  14. It all boils down to how you define aesthetics. If you're using aesthetics to mean 'the beautiful', then subsuming beauty and the fine arts into a single category is out of the question. Let's assume for a moment that beauty is, indeed, crucial to the fine arts. Now let's draw a parralel. "Baking a cake (fine arts) requires flour (beauty). It's not the only ingredient that goes into a cake, but it's an important, foundational one. Therefore, cakes and flour are both part of the wider field, flour studies. They are related much too tightly. The study of flour production (or of its composition) is only part of the overall subject of flour, just as the study of baking cakes is part of (but not the whole of) the subject of flour". However, if you're using your suggested wider meaning of 'aesthetics', one that subsumes beauty and inspirational experiences, subsuming art and beauty could work. But for the moment you haven't given a genus and differentia, so I can't argue for or against it. At most, I can only say that I've never thought of sports as being beautiful (and by extension, aesthetically pleasing). I did find some instances to be inspirational. This makes sports share a characteristic with art, even though sports are games and art is, well, art. Using aesthetics to refer to beauty is fine. Renaming the fifth branch of Rand's system to 'Art' is also fine. But mixing them up is a stretch. Unless you can succesfully devise and defend a new concept of aesthetics.
  15. Maybe an analogy will be helpful. The principles of fitness teach you how to exercise for maximum benefits, how to avoid workout injuries, what to eat post-workout and so on. Football is a competitive game that makes use of those principles, and can even be considered a type of physical exercise. But the purpose of football isn't to become fit. Football is a competitive game. You're more likely to see people getting fit for professional football, rather than people going into professional football for the sake of becoming fit. Color, shape, line and beauty are the building blocks. Beauty is generally associated with a sense of harmony. Using patterns is ideal in art for many reasons, including intelligibility, unit-economy, greater appeal etc. A deeper issue would be whether all art should be beautiful. If the artist wants to portray hell on earth, does he need to paint beautifully? The benefits of beauty pertain more to consciousness than to the body - but this does not make floral arrangements less 'utilitarian'.
  16. The study of beauty would naturaly lead to the discovery of some principles of creating beautiful objects. So you could subsume beauty and the science of beauty into 'aesthetics'. But then you could not also subsume the principles of, for instance, plot construction into this wider category. I consider the decorative arts to be crafts, not art. I distinguish between beauty as such, beautiful crafts (such as dress design, flower arrangements) and what is referred to as the fine arts. Restricting 'aesthetics' to the philosophy of art slashes off a great deal of confusion. The common historical usage of 'aesthetics' is precisely where most of the confusions come from. I know. However, you could argue that the primary purpose of the decorative crafts is the pleasing of the senses. This is why you can't bundle them togheter with the fine arts. Aesthetics was not included in Rand's model for comprehensiveness, but because man needs a way to hold that comprehensive view of existence in his mind. Art is blood-related to philosophy in the sense that it concretizes it. Beauty, too, is very important, but it's not fundamental enough to include in such a system. But you can have a specialized 'philosophy of beauty', just like we have the philosophy of science, law, education etc.
  17. My interest was piqued when you suggested subsuming art and beauty into a higher concept (I draw a sharp distinction between them). Aesthetics is my life's passion, so feel free to make your ideas heard if you ever develop this point. They certainly do go hand in hand. But there's an important distinction to make, between the decorative arts and the fine arts. The first category is concerned with the creation of beautiful objects, while the second one uses beauty only as one means of effectively concretizing the abstract meaning of an artwork. 'Aesthetics' would subsume beauty and the theory behind the decorative arts, but not the whole of the fine arts. Objectivists typicaly use 'metaphysical experience' to denote an experience that is an end in itself and pertains to reality as a whole. According to Peikoff, this would include happiness, art, sports, sex and self-esteem (see section 6 if interested). The closest thing I can think of is the way in which integrating certain elements into a whole seems to create a mini-infrastructure. For example, jazz, dream-pop and Viennese waltz appear to have a very specific identity, even though all three of them are examples of music. Goths, punks, businessmen and bohemian artists are all men, but they seem to be vastly different from each other due to their stereotypical way of relating to things. Perhaps you are refering to some kind of personal/individual ethos? Rand's approach was that, apart from a view of the universe, a method of knowledge and a code of ethical and political values, Art is the only need of man within the province of pure philosophy. For her, the primary function of art is not to titillate the senses, but to help people hold in mind the massive context that underlies their daily existence. A study of beauty as such would rely heavily on psychology; aesthetics would be concerned only with establishing how to make use of that knowledge, i.e. use it to form aesthetic principles.
  18. How would you define a concept of 'aesthetics' that subsumes - among other things - beauty, art, design and displays of efficacy? The only common denominator that comes to my mind is that all of them can be metaphysical or inspirational. If such a concept does exist, it would be necessary to give another name to the specialized study of art. The word 'artsy' also comes to my mind, which is usually used to mean that something looks sophisticated or creative. But this wouldn't subsume all of the examples mentioned so far. The possibilities inherent in the field of art - things like variety and power of concretization - outshine those of sports events. This does not mean that people can't prefer sports to art. But I wouldn't go as far as saying that there's no way to establish a winner objectively. As for me, if I was given a choice between one hundred movies and one hundred tennis games, I'd definitely choose the movies.
  19. I consider 'beauty' and 'aesthetics' to be very different concepts. The first subsumes all instances of beauty - flowers, patterns, human faces - while the second one refers exclusively to the field of art. Beauty is traditionaly considered to be a fundamental characteristic of art, but it's neither its sole element, nor the main one. An exhaustive study of the phenomenon of beauty does not even begin to scratch the field of aesthetics. Watching sports is an end in itself and a glimpse into man's highest potential. In that sense it's a metaphysical experience, just like art. But sport and art aren't the only examples of metaphysical experiences. Watching a real-life hero succeed in a fight against evil can be metaphysical. Taking a walk around cherry blossom trees can be metaphysical, in the sense that it reminds you of the breathtaking beauty that is possible in life. In her novels, Ayn Rand mentions the pleasure of watching competent men do their job with superlative excellence. The characteristic that distinguishes art from all other types of metaphysical experience (such as sports), is that an artwork is created by purposefuly selecting elements and integrating them into a coherent whole that conveys something about life. The artist's toolbox is the whole of existence. You do not script and direct sport games, and even if you did, the amount of things a sports game can concretize is extremely limited, compared to an artistic medium like painting, literature or music. A better genus you could assign to sport is 'competitive game'. Ayn Rand described dance as a performance art, but she hastily added that the thing that's being performed is the music. There is no music score, dramatic script or poem being performed in a tennis game. To answer the thread's question: if emotional fuel is the standard of comparision, art is definitely superior to sports. My reasons can be found above.
  20. Which is better, chocolate or vanilla ice-cream? Within each category of values there is a high degree of optionality. When two choices are interchangeable, you need an objective criteria to pick a winner - and that criteria is precisely your personal taste. Unlike most food preferences, some tastes stem from subconscious convictions or automatized emotional associations. As long as you identify their source, tastes play an important role in choosing values.
  21. Briefly, an organism that is in perfect physical health, but miserable on the emotional level, is not flourishing. Any such inbalance takes its toll on its entire existence. Your concept of flourishing does not reflect reality. Perfect flourishing is not possible because people are confronted with limited time, energy and resources. As a result, they need to make their values play well togheter. For example, you might have to cut your workout time in half so that you have enough time to devote to composing music. It's a question of scale: If you're talking about a 'somewhat longer and healthier life' - 100% health vs 94% health - then it's a reasonable compromise. However, a compromise must be defensible. If your compromise literally makes you sick and miserable, then it is not an objective compromise, but self-immolation. You could argue that you can switch to a Paleo diet, which will not only stop the donut craving, but also allegedly make donuts taste unappealing. But you could equaly argue that donuts are delicious, and that it would be ridiculous to deprive yourself of this experience in the name of pristine (but joyless) health. When you're stealing, you're not sacrificing a lower value to a higher one; you're gaining a value at the price of bringing havoc into your life. Figuring out a flourishing strategy requires that you take in consideration your entire hierarchy of values, your natural abilities, your circumstances and countless other factors. If you can grasp this principle, the answer to your donut question will become obvious.
  22. How do you define the concept 'unhealthy'? Well, perhaps you can provide one non-lifeboat example where stealing is moral.
  23. Then you are sacrificing a lower value (perfect health) for the sake of a higher one, enjoyment - i.e. your donut addiction is not immoral. Of course, you must be able to explain to yourself why your compromise is ideal. This is discussed at lenght in the link I posted.
  24. The answers depend on your context. It's often necessary to sacrifice a lower value for the sake of a higher one; for example, spending the money you saved for a vacation in order to treat your sick spouse. Or, going through a period of withdrawal (suffering) in order to kick your smoking habit. Note that Objectivism does not equate flourishing with optimal health. The Objectivist Ethics teaches you how to establish the hierarchy of your values & integrate them into a seamless fabric (the value of Purpose); how to develop your thinking ability and practical knowledge (the value of Reason), how to earn genuine respect for your own character (the value of self-esteem, which is intricately tied to your motivation and ability to enjoy values). With that in mind, let's get back to donuts. The answer depends on a huge amount of factors, including your genetics, your overall diet, the amount of donuts you plan to binge on etc. A donut addiction is OK if the toll it will take on your future ability to enjoy life is minimal. The action becomes self-destructive (immoral) if you eat donuts while knowing that your vice will wreck your health in the long-run. (Not doing your research is also a form of playing with fire).
  25. Thanks for the notes, Grames. For those of you who completed this course, did you find it to be a worthwile investment? With the exception of the first lecture, this course seems to be merely a recapitulation of old and well-known material.
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