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  1. #1 is an intrusion into the neighbor's life in my opinion. How so ? Instead of being totally free to move around her house as she sees fit, she now has to take into account that I might be watching her. So for example, say she is a scientist thinking about a difficult problem while she's at home, naked on her bed. Suddenly she wants to go swim in her pool, but wait, she thinks that "that creepy neighbor might be watching me" and she puts on a swimsuit and loses her train of thought, rather than just going to her pool while continuing to think about her problem. The case could also be made that
  2. 2046, thanks for your answer, it shed a new light on my error. Before reading your post, I hadn't fully understood what Dr Salmieri meant by "rights are to force what inference rules are to logical validity". It's much clearer to me now. As you point out, the mistake I was making is, in essence, just another instance of the mind-body dichotomy. I keep falling into this one over and over for some reason. MisterSwig, the supermodel reference was a failed attempt at humor.
  3. I apologize if the meaning of my first post wasn't entirely clear. Bear with me, I'm not a native english speaker. To clarify, my confusion was not between what is right morally and what I have the right to do politically. And questions 1-8 weren't my primary purpose, since I have already answered them for myself (1-4 no 6-8 yes 5 not sure). What worried me is that my answer to these questions was purely subjective, without any basis in reality. If I use Dr Binswanger's definition "force is an actual or threatened nonconsensual physical contact with another person or his property", it do
  4. Thanks for the answers, this was really helpful to see the kind of reasoning needed to sort through particular examples. After my first post, I reread parts of "Foundations of a free society" carefully. I had actually read it from cover to cover but I hadn't fully understood it. Dr Salmieri's essay "Selfish regard for the rights of others", in particular, was a gold mine. Several quotes from the essay: As I understand it, to exercise physical force is simply to act on someone without her consent—to interfere in her life. That there is such a phenomenon can be understood without
  5. So first of all, what are rights ? The good life consists of thinking, acting on those thoughts, and then enjoying the rewards when those actions are successful. Anything that hinders that process is bad, i.e. anti-life. The initiation of force is evil because force hobbles the mind in one way or another. But how do you define force ? According to Dr Peikoff in the 1976 lectures with Ayn Rand sitting at the back, force is "the involuntary, executed by physical means". In OPAR, he defines force similarly as "coercion by physical agency". So let's say I build a house and A) a hu
  6. To softwareNerd: I am refering to the essay "man's rights" in the virtue of selfishness and to chapter 10: "government" subchapter "individual rights as absolute" in objectivism: the philosophy of Ayn Rand. To DavidOdden: thank you! That was clarifying to me. I had been struggling with the issue of rights for weeks and it all makes sense now. Until I read your comment about a pile of atoms, I wasn't even aware of the implicit mind/body dichotomy in my first post. I realize now that the rights to property and to the pursuit of happiness are two sides of the same coin, property in the mater
  7. My understanding of Ayn Rand is that individual rights are there to protect the individual from the collective. From that perspective, it is obvious that my right to life has to be a right. Otherwise, a majority could vote to kill me, just as the Athenians voted to kill Socrates. The right to liberty also has to be a right, because otherwise a majority could vote to put me in jail even if I haven't infringed on anyone else's rights. The right to dispose of the product of my work must be a right as well. What good is it if I am free to think and act on my thoughts, but if a major
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