Heh, on a lighter side to this topic- after I read this I realized that your name is I-fat... Just a funny coincidence. Certainly you would be if eating is your ultimate goal.
Back on topic.... this is an excerpt from one of our email conversations
HIM(dyske) ....(one of his reasons for emotions being the root) Say, I feel guilty about something that I did, but I can?t find any reason why I should feel guilty about it. So, I spend days thinking about why I?m feeling guilty, and finally I discover the reason. In this case, my emotion was the one which told me something about reality. My thoughts/reason only came after. If it wasn?t for my emotion being in touch with reality, I would have missed it entirely. Emotions can tell you a lot about reality that our thoughts are not capable of grasping.
ME - I had fun thinking about this. If emotions rule, then guilt is an impossible emotion. Guilt implies a contridiction in your actions agaisnt beliefs or "knowing better". The guilt you felt didnt tell you anything about reality, it told you about some subconcious premise you held. If emotions rule, then anything we do cannot bring about guilt. If your emotions lead you to cheating on your wife, then that is all the justification you need for doing it. If she gets upset, she is equally justified and both of you are right. Subjectivity sucks doesnt it.
HIM(dyske) - Here, you simply assume that "guilt implies a contradiction in your action against beliefs or knowing better." You don't question the legitimacy of this assumption and you based everything else on this as the indisputable truth. Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" deals with this issue directly. It is a story of Raskolnikov who thought he understood himself and the world correctly. He kills a lady thinking that he was doing something good, because he considered her as evil. He thought he had the perfect plan and the reasons for killing her. The only thing he was unable to foresee was his sense of guilt. Dostoevsky shows that our conscience is beyond our thoughts, beliefs, and knowledge. He shows that, no matter how smart we think we are, ultimately our own conscience will determine what is right and wrong, and that we cannot escape it.
In other words, guilt is not a contradiction between your action and your knowledge. It is a contradiction between your action and your conscience, which is in fact something beyond/separate from you. Conscience is not something we acquire through culture. More knowledge or education does not make your conscience stronger. Raskolnikov "believed" that killing the lady was good, and he was certain that he "knew better", yet his feelings of guilt contradicted him.
Now, you could argue that my assertion about guilt is false. True. You could. There is no way to prove this logically or scientifically. All that I'm trying to show you is that your argument is based on a mere assumption; it is not a proven concept.
You say, "If emotions rule, then anything we do cannot bring about guilt." Emotions are not products of logic as you seem to assume. Emotions don't necessarily make sense. Every day, we face all sorts of conflicting emotions. It's not like emotions come out of a single entity which is making sure that all of them have consistent reasons. So, it's the opposite of what you state above. Emotions could rule us and bring about all sorts of guilt.
As for the concept of existence: since you are referring me to Ayn Rand, I will refer you to Ludwig Wittgenstein who had very similar ideas in his first book, Tractatus, but later changed his mind and explained why he was wrong (particularly in "Philosophical Investigations"). This is the reason why I was never interested in Rand. Wittgenstein clearly shows why that type of thinking is misguided.
"Ontologically it says, essential to every valid concept is the fact of existence."
The first few pages of Tractatus explains this concept. The problem here is that it assumes that we all agree about what a "valid concept" is. She is assuming that "concepts" function like mathematics. No concept, especially philosophical concepts, could be proven to be "valid" in that way.
I say, "This is a chair." It sounds perfectly "valid", but as soon as someone like you come along and say, "No, it's not," the validity is in question. What I considered as a valid concept of "philosophy" is on a shaky ground with your assertion that my 18 month old daughter has a "philosophy". There is no accounting for validity.
As I explained before, there is no need to prove this validity in order for us to function every day. Without this "validity" we use our language and get things done fine. The assumption of the philosophers before Wittgenstein was that if there was no objectively verifiable validity, we would not be able to function. This is shown in his books to be false.