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RationalEgoist

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  1. Welcome to the forum, Pidge. Just a heads-up in case you didn't notice, but the last post in this thread was 8 years ago, so don't expect a reply from anyone.
  2. To the Readers of The Objectivist Forum, The Objectivist Forum, Vol. 1, No. 1 It seems to me that you're too caught up with calling yourself an Objectivist. Even if, in fact, you were not an Objectivist, does that take anything away from the highly virtuous actions you took during that period of time? I think not. Living virtuously in pursuit of your own happiness is the most important thing in the world. If you've rationally (and I cannot emphasize this enough) concluded that a departure from some of Rand's ideas will enhance your happiness, then you are in the right to act on that.
  3. By all means, give her credit. It doesn't imply calling yourself an Objectivist. Rand stated this straightforwardly when she said that "If you agree with some tenets of Objectivism, but disagree with others, do not call yourself an Objectivist; give proper authorship credit for the parts you agree with".
  4. I think the burden of proof lies on you to prove Objectivism is an open system. Given how fiercely protective Rand was of the name "Objectivism", I seriously doubt that she would approve of what it is you're doing. First of all, I never said that I agree with the entirety of Rand's metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics, so that's just sloppy reading on your part. I said I disagree "in particular" with her aesthetics, which doesn't mean I exclusively disagree with the aesthetics. But, more importantly, this is a blatant misrepresentation of what I said. You've created a strawman. My disagreements with her aesthetic theory are significantly wider than you imply in your post. It's humorous because I even said you are free to disagree with Rand's views on a specific work of art (and, by extension, her views on a specific artist) and still call yourself an Objectivist. So why make the silly point about not liking Victor Hugo? Did I say you can't think for your yourself? I'm saying you may not bring in your own ideas and conceptions into the philosophy of Objectivism and claim them as being part of it (even if they're consistent with it). On a sidenote, I almost didn't reply to this part because it's such an obvious smear on your part in the sense that you assume anyone who thinks Objectivism is a closed system must have thrown out their own independent thinking. Nonetheless, I thought it was worth it just to clear up your misunderstanding to any honest reader. This part wasn't geared towards me (and I'm sure KyaryPamyu will answer you with clarity as always), but I wanted to touch on what you wrote nonetheless. Objectivism being a closed system does not at all mean it is a "theory of everything" and that it is the end of all knowledge. Again, this is very belittling on your part because you can't seriously think that any of us would hold such a ridiculous view. We should strive to preserve the concept of Objectivism, and this is done by first giving Rand's philosophy the name "Objectivism" as a way to safeguard the concept with all its philosophical content. The name actually has to mean something, it has to refer to something. Bringing in a bunch of other ideas (in particular ideas which are essentially different from Rand's) from other people destroys the whole concept understandably leaving people confused as to what and what does not belong to the philosophy.
  5. Thank you for your cordial reply to my comment, Stephen. Well, you could reasonably discuss this, but I do not think I agree with your conclusion, although I am open to being persuaded. I make the same conceptual distinction you do, namely that there is a category which subsumes all the essential (and, at least to some extent, derivative) philosophic views that a philosopher published and then a category which subsumes the knowledge which is in line with that philosopher's views. Nonetheless, I do not think I would agree that a certain piece of philosophic or scientific knowledge belongs to a philosophy just because it is in line with said philosophy (provided, of course, that the originator of the philosophy did not explicitly say so). Peikoff, for instance, does not believe that his theory of induction is part of Objectivism, although he does believe it is in accordance with it. When he wrote OPAR, he was very clear that the book was merely his interpretation of Objectivism. To me, this is the correct approach. It does not muddy the waters, and it does not confuse a newcomer trying to understand what belongs to Objectivism and what does not. Also, when you write that "my stating it does not make it necessarily consistent with other parts of my philosophy", it appears to me that you are saying a philosophy can hold no contradictions. Is that a correct interpretation of what you meant? And since her theory of aesthetics does belong to the philosophy, I am not an adherent of it. To address your point on whether or not disagreement with her theory of aesthetics is essential enough to warrant not calling myself an Objectivist, I will say that if it were the case that I objected to an absolutely trivial and minor part of her aesthetics, then I would grant you that I would not be "off the hook" (as you put it) from being an Objectivist. But that is far from the case. I reject very substantive pieces of Rand's theory of aesthetics (including her definition of art, which I made a thread on once) to the point where the parts that I do find value in cannot possibly hold up the entire structure that is her theory. In other words, I am essentially rejecting her conceptualization regarding an entire branch of philosophy. Well, something tells me that Rand would not have considered me a proper follower of her philosophy had she known about these critical views I hold. Incidentally, I am currently in the process of doing an exhaustive write-up on all my disagreements with the Objectivist aesthetics. Besides, I am perfectly fine right here on the sidelines being merely an admirer and heavy sympathizer of Objectivism. I grant Rand's wish which stated that "If you accept some tenets of Objectivism, but disagree with others, do not call yourself an Objectivist". And, more relevantly to this thread, my not being an Objectivist does not mean I will watch in silence as so-called Objectivists are actively trying to push Objectivism in an impure form in direct opposition to Rand's own wishes. There is no contradiction there. And I am equally delighted that you understood the core of what I was getting at as is shown by the section of your reply that I bolded. You are certainly correct, and I could not agree with you more. Well said.
  6. Is the closed system idea truly so difficult a concept for people to adequately grasp? Forgive me, but I'm at a point now where I'm genuinely beginning to assume intellectual dishonesty when it comes to someone who has been an Objectivist for several years (or someone who claims to be well-read on Objectivism) and doesn't understand what a closed system means. Speaking for myself, I grasped it fairly quickly. Reading the essay "Fact and Value" a few years ago was enough, if I remember correctly. You can disagree with Rand on, say, the essence of femininity being hero-worship, the practice of homosexuality being disgusting, or her preference for cats over dogs and still be an Objectivist. You are also perfectly free to disagree with Rand's personal opinions on a specific work of art. Those topics do not properly belong to the field of philosophy, and ARI (including Dr. Peikoff himself) has constantly made this clear to my knowledge. Objectivism is forever a closed system, and the book on it was closed the day Rand passed away. Does that mean it's the end of philosophy? No. Does that mean you cannot build on top of Objectivist ideas? No, it only means you can't claim them to be a part of Objectivism (for the obvious reason that Rand is no longer with us to say if she would agree with an idea or not), although they can be consistent with the philosophy. I usually think of Peikoff's theory of induction here. I know Harry Binswanger has done some independent epistemological work as well. I'm speculating here, but I suspect that many of the people who claim Objectivism to be an open system (whatever that even means) simply want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to cling on to the aspects of the philosophy that they agree with, and then feel free to mix in their own ideas. But, sorry, it doesn't work that way. You're either an Objectivist or you're not. Stop looking for a third alternative when such an alternative doesn't exist. Obviously you are free to disagree with core parts (or even the entirety) of Objectivism, but then have the intellectual honesty to speak up and say you're not an Objectivist. That is what Rand wanted. Speaking for myself, I do NOT consider myself an Objectivist seeing as how I have disagreements with the core philosophy (in particular her aesthetics), although I still agree with the majority of it. I, however, never called myself an Objectivist unlike the open system advocates. I needed to get this off my chest.
  7. Wrong. Objectivism could be 100% incorrect and it would still remain a closed system. Whether or not it is a true philosophy has no relevance whatsoever. When we say that Objectivism is a closed system, we mean that it is the philosophical system that Ayn Rand developed and wrote about. You can certainly build on top of Rand's core philosophic ideas (see Peikoff's theory of induction), but this is not a part of Objectivism nonetheless. I would recommend Rand's essay titled "Who Is the Final Authority in Ethics?", as I judge it to be somewhat related.
  8. Well, having only seen The Shawshank Redemption once in my life, I will abstain from commenting on the specifics involving the plot. But I will say that it's perfectly legitimate to praise a movie for being well-made regardless of the moral values it portrays in a positive light.
  9. https://newideal.aynrand.org/ayn-rands-musical-biography/ Perhaps this article would be of interest to you. I particularly enjoy "Amina" composed by Paul Lincke, which you can find on YouTube.
  10. "Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born." This quote is from The Voice of Reason. It seems to contradict what you wrote above.
  11. To begin with, it would be good if you shared your definition of "life". Also, do you have any scientific sources for the assertion that an unborn entity perceives existence pre-birth?
  12. Welcome to the forum, Mr. Jenko. Fundamentally, this is a question of what kind of being individual rights pertain to. Rand held that rights, as a concept, apply exclusively to actual (as opposed to potential) human beings with the possession of a rational faculty. I have encountered Objectivists whose views on abortion differ, and there have been countless threads on the subject. Some hold the view that a woman should have the right to get an abortion until the point of birth (I believe this was Rand's own view) while others believe the cut-off point is when the baby is biologically viable, i.e., when it could survive independently of its host. For reading, you can begin by searching for "Abortion" and "Individual Rights" in the Ayn Rand Lexicon, and you'll get a number of passages from Rand's own writings as well as her lectures. It's a good resource in general if you're looking for quick answers.
  13. I'll chime in with my two cents. Rand was an explicit proponent of retributive justice. In one of the Q&A periods during the 1976 course that Leonard Peikoff gave on Objectivism, she strongly answered in the affirmative when asked if Objectivism believes in retributive justice, and here I mean that the term "retributive justice" was literally used in the formulation of the question so as to leave no doubt whatsoever about her views on it. In a different Q&A session, she stated that very little (if anything) is known about the rehabilitation of criminals, and that the rest of society doesn't owe the criminal a rehabilitation. One can draw the conclusion that these are two reasons as to why she wasn't in favor of rehabilitative justice. Whether or not you accept those arguments as being valid 40+ years later is up to you. But, on a more fundamental level, I believe that a belief in retributive justice logically follows if you hold that man possesses free will. You chose to violate the rights of another individual, and therefore deserve a proportional punishment that fits your crime. You're not a deterministic being who simply "couldn't help it". The criminal being separated from the civilized men and women makes them safer as a consequence. The notion of justifying retributive justice on the basis of making society safer is something that Rand herself expressed, so it's not as if I'm just inadvertently smuggling it in here. But, above all (as has already been stated), it's primarily a question of giving the criminal what they deserve. You deal in force, we answer you by force. If it's of any interest to you, Peikoff stated during his 1995 lecture titled "What to Do About Crime" that it would be beneficial if criminals learn to adopt positive behaviors during they stay in prison, so that they can become productive citizens when they have been released. I also believe he's in favor of prisoners being allowed to work in exchange for a small earning, but don't hold me to that. You can interpret that as a more favorable view towards rehabilitative justice if you'd like.
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