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Eric D

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    I was a teenage Objectivist, but abandoned it shortly after I began to study philosophy at university.
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  1. I thought I did consider your precious answers. For instance, you said: You also said: As I argued above, it's a conceptual truth that a choice isn't something that happens to us; rather, it's the notion of something we do. And as you said, the choice to live is not rational (it's super- or pre-rational). But for a choice to be a choice, it must be grounded in something, if only a methodology of choosing, or it's not a choice. Now you seem opposed to the notion that Eiuol posited, and that I defended, above, viz. that the initial choice must therefore be based on whim. Y
  2. I don't think so. Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have considered whether the life of pleasure and power could be the good life. It has undeniable attractions, after all, and human history is in no small part a tale of those who have sought power and pleasure. The ancient philosophers answered that it could not be the good life, but they gave reasons for those answers. No one, as far as I can tell, has taken the life of pains of bleeding from slit wrists to be a contender for the good life, so there's a relevant disanalogy at work here. You seemed to concede
  3. Suppose I choose to live because I find that I desire to dominate and oppress others. Ex hypothesi, this cannot be a bad reason to choose to live, since this choice is essentially pre-rational. However, why isn't my reason then in the service of the whim on which that choice was based? That is, the choice to live isn't itself robust enough to ground what Rand goes on to do with it, and if her conception of practical reason makes it fundamentally dependent on that initial choice for its standards and aims, and if that initial choice is admittedly whim-based, then why wouldn't practical reason a
  4. Thanks Eioul, that's a very helpful answer indeed!
  5. Strictly Logical, maybe putting the question this way would help: Can I go wrong in choosing to live/not to live? That is, can I go wrong either (a) with respect to the choice itself (i.e. make the wrong choice), or (b) with respect to any reasons I might adduce for a particular choice (or is the notion that we adduce reasons to support the choice to live or not itself wrong, in the sense that this is fundamentally a non-rational choice)? And if I can go wrong with respect to either (a) or (b), is that a moral mistake, or a more broadly rational mistake? Finally, if I cannot go wrong in either
  6. What are you talking about? You can provide the context in the premises. Indeed, many arguments for a particular conclusion contain sub-arguments for each premise. This literally has nothing whatsoever to do with rationalism. Tell me, what is rationalism? I ask because you're not using the term as any philosopher I've read has used it.
  7. I'd agree in the sense that there's also 'nothing in the fabric of the universe willing or obligating' me to e.g. abide by modus tollens. That is, I tend to think that the normativity of (legitimate) moral precepts is no more spooky or bizarre than the normativity of (legitimate) logical precepts. When I violate a logical precept, I go wrong in thinking in an objective way, and when I violate a moral precept, I go wrong in acting in an objective way. Would you then say that the choice to live (or the choice not to live) is not rational (perhaps not in the sense of being irration
  8. I'm not likely to have much time to participate in this discussion for some weeks going forward, so I'd like to thank all of you for the enjoyable conversation. I hope to get clearer about how Rand thought about ethics from you in future discussions, or as we continue this discussion (since I will come back to check the thread when I have the time, and hope to respond to any additional comments that I find helpful).
  9. But I thought we were discussing the initial choice of whether to remain alive, not some proposed subsequent choice about how to remain alive. Indeed, the passage you just quoted seems to support the notion that there's a hypothetical imperative lurking somewhere here, for *if* you choose to remain alive, then you *must* do certain things, for those requirements are 'determined by [the organism's] nature'.
  10. Okay, but then how is that not a hypothetical imperative?
  11. If we choose not to live, have we violated any rational or moral precepts? Or is it the case that those rational and moral precepts depend for their normativity on our having decided to live in the first place?
  12. Dream_Weaver, if Rand thinks that all of morality depends on some fundamental choice, such as the choice to live - and if she thinks that the choice to live implies certain choices in action - then it's difficult to see how her ethics isn't based on a hypothetical imperative (though one formulated in terms of choosing, not willing). But we need not define hypothetical imperatives by contrasting them with categorical imperatives. Rather, we merely need define them in terms of their essential conditionality, i.e. an imperative is hypothetical when the necessity of willing/choosing to do such and
  13. Would you say that Rand's ethics in a sense starts with a hypothetical imperative, the antecedent of which is, 'If you will to live, then you must will to do such and such'? If that's right - or at least on the right track - then how would you fill out the consequent of that hypothetical imperative? Incidentally, I understand Kant's argument against the notion that morality can be reduced to hypothetical imperatives to go something like this: our concept of morality just is the concept of practical principles that bind all (well-functioning) rational beings, regardless of their particular
  14. Eiuol, I know that some philosophers - indeed, some exceptionally sharp and talented philosophers - would say that reasons are not shareable, but I have a difficult time seeing why anyone ought to believe that this is the case. So, suppose I believe that the fact that I find studying philosophy to be enjoyable counts as a reason for me to study philosophy. If someone else also enjoys studying philosophy, why wouldn't I be committed to the notion that that fact is minimally a pro tanto reason for her to study it as well? Sure, her situation may be such that it's not a sufficient reason to study
  15. Yes. Each person has his own mind, but now ask the all important further question: what does a practical being (here 'practical' concerns reflection on how to act) do with its mind qua practical being? It adduces reasons for acting! And if reasons are inherently shareable, then you implicitly acknowledge reasons to which others can appeal when you adduce reasons for your own actions (which you do whenever you act). And if you recognize their legitimacy in your own case, then it's only on pain of irrationality that you can refuse to acknowledge their legitimacy when others (in relevantly simila
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