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X-Factor

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  1. I recently noticed an interesting sentence in TF: "It's like the shadows some say we'll see of the earth in that other world." Cameron commenting Roark's office. Just think of what this conveys to a thinking reader with the right background, and how!
  2. Apart from discussing whether this questionnaire will serve your purpose(s): I think it is problematic to construct a sort of philosophical compass with very short answers. The possible answers are very abstract and very vague. Take 4C: how should one balance emotions with thought? Could one say, "I feel like murdering my girlfriend who is unfaithful, but I think I should let her alone; as a compromise, I will hurt her with a knife"? One would have to be as exact as possible in formulating these answers.
  3. Thank you! Now I have a minor, technical question that has nothing to do with philosophy. In Think Twice, Serge says to Ingalls: "You had evidence against me yesterday. You didn't use it. You saved me." (Three Plays, Signet, p. 279). I know Think Twice quite well, but I couldn't figure out what was meant by evidence. What evidence did Ingalls have? Of course, this question is not important. Still, if anyone knows Think Twice well and can answer me, I'd be glad.
  4. d'Anconia Copper was not nationalized at that point of time, and I don't see any reason why the rumors could have been false. Another question: even if Danneskjöld did not tell a lie, why didn't Rearden answer? He could not have known that Danneskjöld did it with Francisco's consent. And Rearden could certainly remember what happened; the robbery cost him his friendship with Francisco.
  5. Hi, I have several questions with regard to Ayn Rand's novels. We could perhaps collect and answer here all the questions we have. I want to start here with two questions that came to my mind spontaneously: 1. In TF, Roark says to Wynand: "Mankind will never destroy itself, Mr. Wynand. Nor should it think of itself as destroyed." Do they talk abstractly about such a topic in such a situation - their last meeting, after Wynand has lost his fight - or am I right in gathering that Roark wants to encourage Wynand inasmuch as Wynand should not think of himself as destroyed? (p. 724, Penguin edition) 2. In AS, "[Rearden] was hearing that three ships of d'Anconia Copper (...) had been attacked by Ragnar Danneskjöld". Later (!), Danneskjöld tells Rearden: "I have never robbed a private ship". Is this a contradiction, does Danneskjöld tell a lie? Or does he tell the truth because he attacked d'Anconia Copper's ships with the consent of the owner? (pp. 458/532, Signet edition)
  6. Well, what is the harm of harming others? That you do not live the life that is appropriate to man qua man. It is not appropriate to man to gain "values" by force. That's why one should refrain from harming others.
  7. Yes, I can see your point. Perhaps it would really be better to point out that the situation is virtually impossible, and not to answer it because of that reason. Too many people would change the context and try to justify unjust and evil actions. Well, in the version presented here, it doesn't say that the woman's life is in immediate danger. I came across a version that says so. If it's "only" pain, my reasoning would not apply here, you're right.
  8. I have given it some further thought and I think I have to clarify what I said, especially the right to life and the right to property. One might think that I wanted to say that the right to life of the wife would be negated if she is not given the medicine. This, of course, is not true. What is crucial in this context is that the man eventually values his wife very high, so that he wouldn't want to live in the world without her. If so, it is morally okay for him to steal the medicine - he shouldn't sacrifice a value so high that after her death, he is not able to value anything any more. But this scenario has nothing at all to do with politics, and it is indeed a cheap trick.
  9. "Unless anyone else has a dissenting viewpoint?" I have. This is a scenario where one has to choose between the right to life and the right to property. Apart form the fact that the scenario is a bad trick, I will try to answer the question of morality in this context. It's the right to life that makes the right to property possible and necessary. I don't say that because of this, the state must confiscate all property if there's a human being whose life is in danger and can only be saved by means of something that is very expensive. But I say that it is not immoral to steal that medicine if the man values his wife very highly - and if, after her being cured, he tries everything to return the amount of money. Immoral actions are supposed to harm both the one who acts immorally and his eventual victim. This man is not harmed if he steals the medicine - if he values his wife highly enough. If he does, he would eventually die for her; so it certainly wouldn't be a sacrifice if he "just" stole something. One should act morally because of selfish reasons. What selfish reason is it that would forbid a man to steal? The right to property. But that is not a primary; the right to life is. So, in this context, I would say it would be morally okay for an individual - NOT for the state - to steal the medicine. Please forgive the eventual inaccuracy of language, I am not a native speaker.
  10. Values are a matter of choice. Man, as trees, is equipped to reproduce, but that doesn't mean that this has to be his ultimate value. Man is also equipped to scratch his head, but that is certainly not an end in itself. PS. Oh, a German Objectivist (at least, I hope so). Rare enough. Bist Du im StudiVZ?
  11. "La Source Vive" ist a very bad translation of TF. I don't think that a French translation of AS would be any better. The German translations are also disputable.
  12. I love Steve Ingalls' wit. For example, consider his very first phrases in Think Twice, or "I always wanted to know what one really did at such a moment". I think it was at night when I read this and I'm afraid I awakened everyone in the house by means of my laughter...
  13. "Basically, I don't see how turning down a commission was in his self-interest..." Ayn Rand writes about Frank Lloyd Wright in her Journals: he accepted once a commission where he had to make a compromise. Afterwards, he felt quite ashamed of it.
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