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Lorenzo de' Medici (old)

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  1. Benevolence is appropriate if someone deserves it. When you lack the evidence that someone is guilty, offer them benevolence. But certainly, benevolence isn't a virtue is it? What value can be obtained by benevolence anyway? Why bother with such a marginal issue.
  2. No it has nothing to do with the thread. This is what happens when and if someone falls into a straw man. I expected intellectual honesty, I am concerned that the straw man you are presenting is not an error of knowledge. Check your facts. Have you actually read The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand? If not, then here is a link for you. Judge for yourself the validity of Kelley's arguments: The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand The confusion comes from people who accuse Kelley of something he does not say, not from David Kelley. If you want to debate the topic in person, I am willing to engage you, that is if you can abide by your own rules of civility. Just because the shoe fits, that does not mean it is your shoe. Why are you ignoring the supporting quote I provided from Nathaniel Branden's Basic Principles of Objectivism Course?
  3. Life is the standard of value, rationality is the standard of virtue. Rationality is the only virtue that is not contextual. There are contexts in which it is perfectly acceptable to be dishonest, such as when a Nazi is at the door looking for the Jews you hid in your closet. It would be irrational to be honest in that context.
  4. If you are concerned about endorsement, any and all of the works that were endorsed by ARI when Kelley worked for them, at the minimum: The Art of Reasoning, The Evidence of the Senses and his lecture course on The foundations of Knowledge. Fundamentally, all of a person's works should be judged on there own. I don't think it is necessary to always agree with everything that a person writes. I certainly do not agree with everything Ayn Rand ever said. If you do not find it valuable to study David Kelley's works, then don't. Why are you evading, and not answering my question?
  5. An example of the mind-body dichotomy would be only focusing on motives or only focusing on consequences. Just as a person might focus only on reason or only on emotion. A person might feel they must choose between either reason or emotion, never seeing any correlation or connection between the two. If you were accused of murder, one of the importance considerations in the trial would be motive. The fact that someone kills another person by mistake does not make him a coldblooded, evil, murderer. The consequences between someone who commits manslaughter by mistake or murders someone is the same, death, but the moral judgment we must pass is not the same.
  6. This is not an example of the mind-body dichotomy. As I have stated before, people can be disintegrated, meaning they do not have to act in accordance with their stated convictions. This is implicit in the fact that people have freewill. Aside from disintegration, to recognize that a person has a mind and a body and that they are not the same, which is why we have two different words for the concepts does not mean I or David Kelley regard the mind as in conflict with the body. The point you are trying to make here has no validity in my opinion. You could drop the word tolerance and instead call it benevolence when dealing with a person's ideas. A person can have conscious convictions that contradict their subconscious evaluations. You would benefit from listening to Edwin Locke's lecture on Reason and Emotion. I have already dealt with this. When motives are not consistent with consequences, this is called an accident. An accident can be good, it can be bad, it might even be neutral. I'm sure everyone here has done something they did not intend to do. You do not deserve praise or condemnation for an accident, but you may be legally responsible depending on the context. I agree with Kelley on this point. A person's motives should be judged by the standard of rationality, just as virtues are all variants of rationality. The metaphysical results of actions are appropriately evaluated by the standard of life. I do not see anything here that is worth commenting on.
  7. Kelley applies toleration mainly to the realm of ideas and benevolence mainly to actions. I believe that this is a helpful differentiation. You act with benevolence when you see that someone is suffering and you have little evidence that it is out of justice. With ideas, you can see that a person has accepted some false premises, or is confused, but you can and probably should give a person the benefit of the doubt before you judge their character on the whole. One often needs more evidence before you can know that someone is acting with malice intentions. And even when and if you do find that a person has been willfully evasive, and there are degrees of evasion. People can change and make amends for their evils. A moral judgment should fit the crime. Relationships between men are built on trust, past experiences and mutual investment. The more you have invested in a person, the more you are likely to offer toleration. This is most evident when it comes to how we judge family members and life long friends who do not share all of our values or ideas. Not all evasions are equal. The degree of evasion constitutes the degree of evil. The greater the mind the longer the range, the greater their virtue. I hold that there can be degrees of virtue just as there are degrees of vice. It is quite obvious with the virtue of productiveness that some people can be more productive than others.
  8. That is a good answer, but politics is the application of your ethical theories of philosophy. It seems to me that it is problematic to use the word evil as it is being used. You say that initiating force is the most evil thing possible, but then say that persuading people to self-destruct is more evil. Well, which is it? Which one is more evil? If words and thoughts are more dangerous than actions, then why not eliminate such a threat, if it is so clear that it will cause destruction? I thought that actions speak louder than words? Perhaps book burning is a good place to start? Also, who has the ultimate responsibility for their actions? The persuaded or the persuader? There is an element of determinism in the idea that by writing a book, that people will necessarily take to the ideas and implement them. It has taken thousands of years for a great mind to appear and make the discoveries that Ayn Rand did, but I do not think that her achievements were just a matter of being the most honest person that ever lived, I think she was a genius. I believe that Peikoff and I agree on that point, that she was not just honest but a genius.
  9. The point is, a person can be just as unfair to Peikoff's position as anyone here can and has been that opposes Kelley. Not that I believe that Peikoff is totally guilty of moralizing, and injustice.
  10. That is not fair to Kelley's argument. I could argue the same way about Peikoff because I think far more harm and danger comes from the opposite of Kelley's approach, which is: judge fast, judge now, forget waiting for all the facts, forget if you are right or wrong, ask questions later, if at all. Forget proportions (not one crumb), there are few errors in philosophy - so you are most likely evil, and you don't understand Objectivism unless you agree with me.
  11. Nobody tolerates virtue or rationality. Tolerance can only be applied to a specific spectrum of ideas or actions that a person disapproves of. If you state that only a person who deserves tolerance should receive it, fine. But that begs the question, how do you judge, how do you know who deserves tolerance, how much time should a person have to adapt, how much time should a person be allowed to learn, how much time does a person deserve? These are not easy questions, no magic bullet will work. For rationalists, moral judgment is quite easy because context is ignored. If we hold that ideas and actions are either good or evil, then what is the moral status of tolerance? Is tolerance, when practiced rationally, evil? Was the patience that Ayn Rand was often praised for a virtue or a vice?
  12. I don't think that is the debate, I think the debate involves knowing if one is guilty of sanctioning evil. For instance, you could spend a lot of time avoiding buying gas from Iran, if you can find out which gas is and is not from Iran. Is it sanction to buy gas that is 10% Iranian? Sanction means you morally approve, morally agree. The reason why the sanction issue even came up between Kelley and Peikoff is because Kelley spoke to Libertarians about why you need a rational philosophy to support capitalism. Consider this quote by Ayn Rand: "This is an insidious kind of intimidation: it equates a speaker’s views with those of the discussion’s sponsors. A man of integrity is conscientiously precise about the nature of his views on any subject. If his views are going to be judged, not by his own statements, but by the views of those who invite him to speak... then his only alternative is to accept no speaking engagements. If so, what happens to our freedom of speech?” “The Disenfranchisement of the Right,” The Ayn Rand Letter I (Dec.20, 1971), p. 26. This is false. You only judge to suspend moral appraisal of a person when you lack evidence. And this is not inconsistent with Objectivism. I quote again: “If you do not know how to judge the character of a person because the facts available to you are insufficient and the evidence of his flaws is inconclusive, you must give him the benefit of the doubt not on the ground of mercy but on the ground of justice. Because to let off the guilty is less disastrous than to condemn the innocent. Because virtues are more important than flaws. Because justice demands that a man be considered innocent until proved guilty and this principle applies in law courts as well as in your personal relationships with people. Except that in personal relationships, when you give the benefit of the doubt you do not dismiss the case. You wait for further evidence to prove the good or bad character of the person before you pass a moral judgment.” - The Basic Principles of Objectivism - Nathaniel Branden, Justice vs. Mercy Track 1 at 9:23 (This course was endorsed by Ayn Rand) "The principles of justice also determine the limits of toleration. Tolerance is not appropriate, as I said in “A Question of Sanction,” when a person is willfully irrational. Thus I do not hold, as Peikoff claims, that tolerance means suspending moral judgment in the realm of ideas. It means suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence." – David Kelley (The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand)
  13. Notice that Kelley states primarily, this does not mean that ideas cannot be judged by ethical standards. Kelley is also pointing to the different respects in which a person can be evil. Obviously you do not use force against people just because they believe in socialism or communism. This is correct, this is the link between epistemology and ethics. Otherwise your ethics are floating, disconnected from epistemology, aka: rationalism. I think his point here is to consider degree and measurement. Obviously, going to a party dressed inappropriately is a bad idea but I seriously doubt it warrants the label EVIL.
  14. I believe in the debate between Peikoff and Kelley the concrete was that Kant was more evil than Stalin because he made Stalin possible. I believe it is moral to shoot a Stalin or a Hitler on sight. If Kant is just as evil as or even more evil than Stalin, would you assassinate Kant? Would you assassinate an academic marxist? If you do not think you should assassinate an academic marxist, then it seems that you agree with Kelley because while it is true they are both evil, it is in different respects. It is because of that difference in respects that you can engage in discussion with a marxist and not with Stalin. Consider this quote by Ayn Rand: "I could deal with a Marxist with greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That's the libertarian movement." [FHF] - Ayn Rand Answers, P.72. (bold mine)
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