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Easy Truth

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Easy Truth last won the day on December 15 2019

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  1. Any example given can be reduced to There was benefit to self, directly or indirectly. There NO benefit to self, directly or indirectly. There is a problem that starts here: "When we do good, we do good for someone." The problem with that foundational statement ends up causing problems down the road. Once we think in terms of the beneficiary being only a SINGLE individual, you can easily argue against egoism. Good or evil. defined based on the beneficiary being an individual (one person), then "good or evil" would be clear cut and identifiable. The good would only have to go to one self, any one else benefits, the act is evil. The truth is that when we do good, we do good for "someone or some people". In other words, if we have done good, to say that it has always been only for one person would be false. You do good that effects one or more people. Since the core argument for egoism is that "the individual HAS TO BE the beneficiary", when you have an ethics of anti-egoism the justification shows up, meaning, if you should never get your paycheck, you will starve. Similarly, if you should NOT eat the results of the seeds you planted, you starve. But the absence of "self" in the transaction only identifies an evil transaction so it is helpful ONLY in that sense. It is reasonable to argue that while analyzing a human act, the fact that it is self interested or multi interested does not determine its good or evil. There are more factors to consider as in long range or short range, rational or childish. It is only those acts that absolutely and objectively have zero direct or indirect benefit that are evil. (in real life, it is hard to imagine any of us doing what we know to be completely useless, baseless, without a point or purpose, without ANY benefit at all). Therefore : Good cannot ALWAYS be identified solely on the basis of "selfish or selfless" because of more factors including the fact that some selfless actions can benefit indirectly.
  2. At what point, did egoism come into the picture as a basis for the good. Pleasure and pain imply the person feeling it, but similar to life, it could be mine, yours, theirs, or our life. I don't understand this statement. Isn't simply existing, being an end in itself? In that sense it is not unique. Can you please elaborate.
  3. What about human's insatiable lust for freedom and rationality? You don't see people desiring a worthwhile life and willing to pay a price to coexist with others? In fact, an appreciation for coexisting with others? If it were the way you describe, society only having irrationality and perhaps non-social members, no society can survive, no cohesion. But we have had continuous progress and casualties of war have decreased consistently. As far as I know, based on something Bill Gates said, even with the broken type of Crony Capitalism that we have in the world, poverty as we know it will be eradicated in something like 30 years.
  4. The question is if the result of the action you are describing is in fact rational and moral. If there is an automatic recognition and always a morally valid reaction, then it would go against Objectivism, since it would indicate you can know without thinking. As mentioned, the issue of Tabula Rasa is primarily applicable to the area of concept formation, in particular relating to ethics. Rand drives home the fact that concepts are not intrinsic within reality, rather a conscious effort is needed to create and validate them. Complicated concepts like free speech, rights, etc. require focus and figuring out. Evolution did not provide them. The moral way does not simply appear, it has to be created from within. Some sort of focus and figuring out is necessary to conceptualize. Concepts are not created by instinct. The area where concepts are stored is initially blank, Tabula Rasa. The primitive mind, or remnants of genetic mutations would reasonably be effecting us. Tabula Rasa does not mean absence of automatic reactions. Tabula Rasa requires automatic reaction (perception etc) as the basis of conscious actions. But a blank slate is not applicable to moods or tendencies, automatic attractions and repulsion. We can be born with them. We may all have a fear of falling as babies or discomfort from a spider, jump when we hear a sudden loud noise. Tendencies can be good or bad depending on the situation. An excessive tendency toward eating sugar is not a VALID ethical guidance that sugar is good. Sometimes sugar is good and sometimes it is bad, it has to be determined by thinking. In that sense, a primitive mind pushes toward a direction, if one is not actively watching where one is going, the inclined direction will be incessantly and excessively adhered to. Therefore a mood or tendency without any conscious checks and balances is immoral.
  5. That confirms my suspicion that the definition used was different. My apologies, I was slow at seeing this. This is a different usage of intrinsic value. If we are to precisely indicate "the birthplace of value", the final value does not answer the question "where do values come from, what is their basis". Based on the above definition, if value X causes value Y (which will be enjoyed for itself), then X derives its value from the "final" value (Y). Y is the final value and is the intrinsic value. What it should say is that Y is an arbitrary final value which we will call intrinsic. Any final value requires a valuer (for it to have value). The final value to whom. Otherwise, without a valuer, the value is value without valuer. What is happening here is the the final value of life is being treated as intrinsic, as it has a value regardless of valuer. As SL indicates, not necessarily a value for himself, it just is a value. Egoism is being removed from the equation. Life is a value, period. Not necessarily to the person living it. There is an assessment that that life is valuable based on unknown or unknowable criteria. Ultimately meaning values simply exist, and then jumping to organism unity as the final value. Which organism's life and for what organism is omitted. It just is valuable based on ... blank. There is nothing in the universe that indicates that unity is more valuable than chaos. Or that green is more valuable that yellow. Or that multiplication is better than addition. We can't just arbitrarily choose "multiplication" as being a final value and then saying that "addition" is an instrumental value now, it derives its value from "multiplication". After all, you can't multiply if you can't add.
  6. This intrinsic value seems to go away when this "someone" was the person who tried to cut my throat yesterday. Just because they exist, are human does not cause or necessitate value. So their potential in relation to me (my self interest) is going determine what I should do. If I do see that potential and it inspires "ME", I would agree, because it is to my self interest.
  7. Then minimizing casualties has something to do with your self interest, which is not being mentioned. Otherwise, there is no law in the universe which says 1 is better than 5.
  8. What is this greater good? The greater good must have a relationship to self, to self interest. If there is none, the judgement is arbitrary. There is no difference in value if you do one or the other. One can throw a dice or one can ignore. Same value. The question "why should I care" has to be answered first to place a value.
  9. You will have to elaborate. Both you and Boydstun are claiming that but right now it falls flat. Intrinsic value means value without a valuer, doesn't it? So it (the thing of value) would be valuable and as valuable to EVERYONE if the value was within itself (not based on the valuing). But it is not. People value the same thing differently. The question of intrinsic value does not go away with your answer. "The other" (as you say) also has to choose life for it to be the basis for values. The "value in themselves" that you point out may be confusing intrinsic value with something else. Like a value that is the end value, as in pleasure which does not have a further purpose (an end in itself). Or even the idea that our life is an end in itself and not in serving others. That is why I ask for an elaboration. There is no disagreement that life is the basis of value, just what intrinsic means. I understand in economics "gold" has intrinsic value but in this venue, abstract philosophy, intrinsic has different connotation.
  10. Has something changed in our current understanding. It seems that life is not a value unless you choose to value it nowadays. Or am I getting this wrong?
  11. But there is also the argument that "I can be happy no matter why my accomplishments". Not sure if that is in fact true or not. That: is there a need, a tendency, to experience "effectiveness" in the present? I still am exploring the meaning of "meaning" in this context. Still not clear about it.
  12. Fortunately the law does not recognize that either, including the fact that if you don't jump in the water to save a drowning person, it is not illegal as far as I know. Part of the "you didn't build that" argument, that you owe society, that you have to give back. As if Licensing is the cause of production. This is actually a common belief. That government causes production, so we should be grateful.
  13. Fair point. One can argue that if people could cite origins and history of ideas that we would be in better shape as a society or species. The basic benefit of history, that one does not have to repeat it. But most people don't want to know/research the historical source of an idea. Knowing the source has some benefit but does not provide a mastery that would make knowledge of history absolutely necessary. Citing sources are necessary in academics, or in legal court proceedings but not in the average conversation. For instance, identifying Trump as a pragmatist may be close to the truth, but can only predict in the most broad fashion what he would do next. It may help to know the historical arguments against pragmatism when objecting to some policy that he is promoting. But ultimately, isn't focusing, drilling down without citation effective enough? In other words, the argument has to stand on its own, no matter who made it first in history.
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