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Everything posted by StrictlyLogical

  1. His reliance on the term “absolute” when speaking of something’s existence (anything’s existence) is in fact redundant. The metaphysical existence of anything which exists IS absolute. The implication that some things can exist in some non-absolute manner contradicts what “exists” means. At any particular time something either exhibits volition or it does not... if it is present it exists in the something ... if it is not present it does not exist in the something... damaged brains run the entire spectrum as a function of the damage... it might even function volitionally at times and non volitionally at other times.
  2. Before you can even begin the attempt at coming to a conclusion regarding free will, i.e. to even ask if “free will” exists you need to clearly define what you mean. Otherwise you cannot assess evidence, as there would be nothing to assess the evidence against. So yes, you do have to get into just what you mean exactly by “determinism” and “entirely volitional”. If a thing acted outside the range of possibilities according to its nature it would violate causation. The question is what are the possibilities? and how is the eventual act deemed “free” rather than random on the one hand and determined on the other i.e. so that it is both a free choice and also accords with the identity of the actor. If you can’t come up with a workable definition of what exactly you mean by free will you can’t make any meaningful statement about whether humans possess it or not.
  3. LOL, no. I will respond to this challenge and bring closure to it... soon(ish).
  4. "Youth" if referring to a chronological and/or biological "age", as such, is not anything which can be pursued, it is merely a metaphysical fact of reality one goes through. "Youthfulness", if one defines this as the attributes and properties accompanying a person who is at some point their youth, is not a value in and of itself, as many aspects which can accompany "youth", immaturity, irrationality, some underdeveloped physical systems etc. are not (or not yet) conducive to maximal flourishing, but instead are various aspects of a person during stages of maturation, some good, some not so good. Statistically, it is true that some aspects of a person in their youth (at certain stages... once developed and in full health) represent well what state that aspect should be in when maximally flourishing, but that does not equate with "youthfulness" in general being maximally flourishing. Looked at critically, simply "youth" or "youthfulness" is not a synonym with maximal physical and psychological health, applied generally to all aspects of a person. It makes more sense to stay grounded in the concept of what maximally flourishing physically and mentally means, and to strive towards such a state, which might include striving toward the immune system of an X year old, the mind if a Y year old, and the cardiovascular system of a Z year old.
  5. Philosophers use "utilitarian" and "consequentialism" in some very specific ways which are not congruous with Objectivism. The similarities are that indeed for an objective reality based morality it MUST be evaluative on a factual basis only and must take into account all of reality including the nature and life of the actor (including a very deep and complex psychology) and causality long range... i.e. it IS about the consequences, but ALL of them. There is NO supernatural, extra-reality, collectivist, religious, intrinsic, or any other non "rational egoism" type of consideration... and you would be correct to understand this... but it is far from a simple accounting of superficials... flourishing for a normal human being requires not only physical but also psychological flourishing. "Sacrificing someone else for our own benefit would be worth it?" ... would be worth it if it were possible for it to be to one's actual benefit... taking sacrificing to mean violating their rights, initiating harm, not protecting your rights or preventing harm... if you are a normal human being I think you would be as successful - psychologically speaking - as you would be trying to "sacrifice" your target using a suicide vest. Psychotics and sociopaths (real ones... not the referent of the anti-concept lefties bandy about for people they disagree with) might be different... but objective morality is for human beings, who by their nature would not benefit long range (certainly not psychologically) from living a life of predation. In fact, any short cut in reality weakens the perpetrator, undercuts his ability to deal with reality and undermines his self-esteem.
  6. I do not believe Rand meant this as intrinsic value. All I know about Rand’s metaphysics and ethics screams at me that this is to be interpreted as “an end in itself to and for itself” not an intrinsic end to and for all existence the universe and everything, nor an end in some mystical non realm of floating value. In that sense, I take Rand to mean each life in reality is a selfish end only in itSELF. Nothing could be farther from intrinsic value IMHO. I know you do not use the term as Nozick used it, but I wonder how Rand would react to our little discussion about it’s appropriate use in this context.
  7. Why do you think Rand made the conscious choice to say “every man is an end in himself” rather that “a man’s life is an end in itself” or the life of every man is an end in itself or every life is an end in itself? Philosophically and technically did Rand mean by the phrase “end in himself” anything different from an “end in itself” or does it mean the exact same thing? Is she consciously choosing intrinsicism full stop.. here?
  8. I'm curious what is meant by "intrinsic value for x". IF an "intrinsic value" means "value in itself" how can it be qualified by "for x"? Can the same thing be an intrinsic value to me but not an intrinsic value to you? If so does not that destroy its "intrinsic property", if not does not that negate the qualifier "for me" and "for you" (i.e. render such a phrase as "for us" above meaningless?)
  9. Not sure what you mean by "nowadays"... but if you are saying value presupposes a "valuer" and hence that implies "intrinsic value" which is "valuable in itself" is impossible IF "in itself" means "independent of any valuer", (to whom and for what) you would be correct to raise the issue. Perhaps this merely indicates just how different Boydstun's views were back in the 80's or perhaps his views have not changed? Perhaps we can ask Boydstun if he still believes in "intrinsic value".
  10. I play a game with my son called real or imaginary... I say a word like “platypus” or “unicorn” or “skeleton” or “ghost” and he categorizes it by saying “real” or “imaginary”. He’s smart enough now that he says “extinct” for dinosaurs because they no longer exist. We have a lot of fun and superstitions like curses and ghosts are correctly identified as imaginary. I always am careful not to denigrate imaginary things as such, reminding him that pretending things and imagination are fun... but in the end some things are real and others simply are not.
  11. Infancy stands in great contrast to adulthood in many ways. The role of the parent is to provide for the child and oversee that tremendous transformation from an undeveloped nonrational dependent (indeed helpless) baby through to a fully mature (hopefully flourishing) rational independent adult. Santa Claus, stands with the baby bottle, the soother, the fluffy blanket, the picture books, and the ignorance of harshnesses of reality which accompany adulthood and which are generally inappropriate and/or too complex for a toddler to understand. Santa represents the bounty of virtue, the reward for being good and psychologically IS a bigger than life metaphor for the parents. As children move from dependency upon the parents, Santa will naturally fall away but the sense of reward and bounty will live on in self dependency and a sense of life that takes reality itself as benevolent... in that sense the child becomes his own parents and in a way his own Santa. Belief in a Santa being real, like the toys of youth, is perfectly fine when left behind appropriately as childhood things... but the idea and the sense of Santa is not inimical to life... but can be a valuable lesson for it.
  12. Objectivism is not for a society. It’s a philosophy which you, as an individual, either accept as correct or not. Your philosophy is a private personal thing... and if it is the correct one it can lead to knowledge and flourishing. If not, to ignorance and self destruction... the question is whether you believe Objectivism is the correct philosophy for living on earth, and hence whether you should adopt it, not whether any one else i your town, country or on the planet is willing or able to adopt it.
  13. Don't want to clutter this thread, but I remain curious!
  14. Every choice at its most basic level involves holding the alternatives in ones mind, assessing them, experiencing and apprehending them, even if only in the most basic fashion, and then making the choice (whose mechanism lies at the nexus of free will... which is another subject). I understand you are taking philosophy, and I, as having been an academic during my university years, know that a certain "disinterested-third-party-point-of-view" kicks in when "thinking" about things in the abstract. This is encouraged to fight things like bias...but what were are talking about here is decidedly NOT a "disinterested-third-party-point-of-view" type of consideration. Such a view and attitude toward the issue at hand is inappropriate and inapplicable... the human perspective of the alternative between life and death as a human is not a biased perspective, it's the only perspective faced with the choice to live or die as a human. To get at what explains the initial choice, you must drop your academic hat for a moment, you must step back home into yourself, as a human, and yes, "get real", and in the moment. Take a second and sit.. experience what you are, that you are... experience what it is to be. While reflecting thus, I have have a little "methodology of choosing" (to use your words) for you: think of all you have seen, the beautiful and the ugly and everything in between then try to think of the nothing think of all you've heard and smelled, tasted and felt then try to think of the nothing think of all the joys and sorrows, laughter and anger, all the excitement and all the naps then try to think of the nothing think of all the people you have known, know, and will know, those you love and hate and everything in between, your father, your mother, your wife, sons or daughters, your neighbors and friends and the grumpy people you avoid too then try to think of the nothing think of all of the things you pursue in life, the music, the art, the food, the activities, everything that that you value, everything that you have loved, love, or will love, think of all the things you've done, are doing or will do, and think of all the feeling and experiences and all the thoughts you have ever had, have or will have then contemplate nothing think of all you have been, are, and could be then ... nothing Once you have thought as outlined above long enough, you will know that you can choose, know you have decided to choose, and in fact have already chosen (by the mechanism of your own voluntary free will)... sitting with this realization you can contemplate that already made choice between: Living and non-existence. After (ONLY after) having experienced your own choice thus, FEEL FREE to put your disinterested third party hat back on, step away from your humanity, and in a rationalistic scowl confuse yourself into accepting that "everything versus nothing" cannot be the basis for any rational choice ... that everything cannot be reason for anything... but I STRONGLY suggest against it... instead I suggest letting this experience steep for a long time and then revisiting it with an open mind. Good Premises!
  15. At this point I find myself wondering if you have truly considered my precious answers. If you equate the choice of everything as against nothing as a whim, we really have nothing more to discuss. And incidentally, in the most private moments of your own thought you conceive that you personally have reason to live, that reason automatically is entailed in everything... to reject as arbitrary the choice to live is to reject every possible reason you personally have to live.
  16. Eric D Your example is similar to wishing to live for the experience of the pains of bleeding from slit wrists. Rands ethics is built on the simple choice to live... not a whim ridden bastardization of that choice coupled to conditions which are antithetical to life. Certainly one could debate the validation of such flawed versions of whim ridden ethics, but that is not a discussion of Rand’s conception.
  17. Reason does not validate ethics nor the choice to live. The choice to live is super rational or pre-rational, it justifies and necessitates the use of reason. Reason is not an intrinsic good or an end in itself. It serves life, not the other way around. Incidentally choosing to have an ethics might be super rational or pre rational but the content of ethics must be rational and reality based to achieve the goal of life. Rand’s ethics is rational but it is not “based” in not originates from some mystical or intrinsic reason. There is no dilemma.
  18. This is an interesting question but there are so many different people with so many different ways of living that it becomes complicated. Some people DO live life as a sort of unconscious non rational choice, in fact some people who tend to follow feeling absent thought are choosing irrationally all the time. The whole point of a rational morality is to shift the what is guiding those choices from whim wish and feeling towards focused rational awareness and deliberation. So I have to say that in reality a great many people choose life, choose to seek flourishing, but it is not really a conscious choice. Others choose self destructive behaviours, self sabotage, and quite fundamentally they have chosen oblivion even if only a slow and sad journey lasting the rest of their natural lives... Others are fully aware of their own well being, and that they themselves are the primary actor causally responsible for it, and consciously choose life. Now for these people what could be the reasons to choose life? Is the choice rational? What constitutes a reason to do anything? A goal. Although there may be reasons for choosing certain actions to achieve particular goal, namely, that the facts of reality are such that only certain actions lead to the goal, that goal does not serve as its own reason... the goals is only the reason for those particular actions. But soon one gets into what seems like an infinite regress... chasing goals which further other goals related to other goals etc. all across the face of the universe... but they all lead back to a fundamental undeniable truth of the first person experience ... existence or nonexistence. Bereft of humanity in a frenzy of academic torpor, a rationalist might try to view this question from the point of view of a blind universe or a platonic nirvana, which is not any kind of a point of view at all... and say there is no possible reason to choose life because there is no intrinsic goal in the universe...It must be an arbitrary choice. To a frenzied academic attempting to see with no vision, perhaps it would appear so. But to a living creature faced with the alternative of existence and non existence, every reason, every thing, every experience, indeed the whole universe, all of it, constitutes the reason(s) to live, and the alternative is nothing which cannot be a reason for anything. In a sense the choice is an arbitrary non-rational choice for which there are no intrinsic reasons but in another sense it is the least arbitrary and most rational choice for which there is literally every possible personal reason to make.
  19. I forgot to quote you in my recent post above.
  20. Eric D As a person who identified himself as an Objectivist, you must know that morality in a very real sense is nothing more than application of valid knowledge... one cannot search for a morality that tells them why they should live or criticize a morality which does not, such a requirement would be tantamount to alleging that a person is intrinsically obligated to live which is simply not am observable fact of reality. There is nothing in the fabric of the universe willing or obligating you to do anything or even to exist (not long range anyway). There are no dogmatic "thou shalts" written in the stars or in the vibrations of the ghostly neutrinos. The universe simply is, and you metaphysically simply are. That's it. It is the most simple, absolute, and undeniable fact you are in touch with, and it has an almost unfathomable complex causal chain behind it... but nothing more. Reality and you, there are no other facts, no floating dogmatic consciousnesses or consciences to tell you what to do with the fact that you are and moreover that you can choose to act in reality. Nothing intrinsic, nothing supernatural, nothing non-real, and in fact nothing real can tell you that you are obligated to live. There IS no such obligation. No one and no thing in the universe could convey any duty on you to choose to live or do anything as such. In fact no thing conveys any intrinsic obligation as such, since intrinsic obligations cannot exist. You are, and you act, but before you act you choose to act. What acts do you choose and why do you choose them? Well Nothing in the universe obligates you to any choice whatever, but it tells you that causes and effects cannot be sundered. That your specific acts can only result in certain effects, and also that by virtue of your nature, some actions are outside of your capacity. Morality is essentially a recognized body of knowledge of reality which acts as a guide to the choices and actions open to a living person which is conducive to life. I know of a former self proclaimed Objectivist who was very disturbed by morality originating with the choice to live... "its just a choice, a choice. a choice" he would say mockingly imitating some dogmatic Objectivist straw Man, the implication being that this answer was somehow an evasion of something more profound... he seemed to be pleading with his knowledge (or his ignorance) or pleading with his father, or his former priest, his childhood or the planet or the universe. The circular grasping cry "Tell me, I must live.. that there is a reason outside of myself, for why I should live"... revealed the gaping false hole left by the exit of religion and mysticism... it was vast and sorrowful... but his pleas and his search are in vain, and always will be. Reality IS, you ARE, YOU choose... and that's it. Once you do choose life however, there are so many options for how to go about living, and Rand had an answer about how to go about it... I like to think it is the correct one.
  21. is value pertaining to the well being of the mind There is a common misconception that the particular result from the application of objectivity to each person must be the same. in fact objectivity requires that particulars differ because people differ. A blood transfusion may be necessary for you to live. The wrong type of blood will kill you. This is an objective fact about your uniqueness. It illustrates that you cannot ignore the reality of your nature and magically make actions which are in reality harmful to you, good for you. You can subjectively wish that B positive blood will save you but if it is incompatible you can’t make it actually so. Objectivity of your decision is about getting things right about reality. As for “same conclusion” for everyone this is a mere incidental side effect. Morality is for you and is about you. Also note that the sameness depends on the level of abstraction. Clearly “get a transfusion of b positive blood when you are about to die from blood loss” is not applicable to everyone. Note, that “get a blood transfusion of your blood type when you are about to die from blood loss” is applicable to everyone. Once you have made the best choice to get a transfusion and live, an analysis of the applicability of the decision which is best for you to other people is a distraction a purely academic exercise. Engage in that once you’ve saved your life if you get enjoyment from musing about other people.
  22. Really choosing life, entails more than merely breathing for the next few seconds, it means choosing to live long range... choosing to choose life again the next day and the next ... indefinitely, for as long as you possibly can. The choice to continually choose life and to live as long as possible is simple, achieving it is complex. The potential for you to live as long as possible in future depends on your level of flourishing not just directly on your choices at any one time. You can’t choose to save yourself from an unexpected threat by jumping to safety if you have taken care of yourself so badly that you are simply incapable of it. Some events are unforeseen or cannot be predicted. The more physically strong you are the more likely you will survive accident or illness or other physically stressful events. The more mentally and emotionally strong you are the more likely you will survive extreme emotional trauma or events that may test your very will to live or test how quickly you can get back on your feet or how well you can will yourself to take care of yourself again. Your level of flourishing, your physical and mental health, is crucial to your likelihood of long term survival. As such every materiel and spiritual value that improves or contributes (in sum total) to your well being generally is objectively conducive to your flourishing and hence your choice to live in a world you simply cannot control. Your enjoyment at lunch is the product of your subjective tastes in food and ambience... but the spiritual value of your enjoyment and the mental well being it promotes, even if merely modestly incremental, are objectively good for you. All else being equal (the food is not poison, and the patrons not gang members liable to cause a shoot out) choose the place you enjoy the most, it’s objectively the best choice for you.
  23. Peikoff is no chump. I think what he did to change those formulations is objectively more correct.
  24. This seems like an arbitrary assertion on Kant’s part both in logic and reality.
  25. Why is the level of abstraction in the context of telling falsehoods at the highest noncontextual level of “lying to anyone for any purpose”? How would one decide the level of abstraction and context for moral questions pertaining to “cutting people”? Is it simply “Cutting anyone for any purpose” is either right or wrong or are we permitted more nuanced consideration of particulars and context here? If so, why are we permitted more precision wrt cutting compared with lying? If not, why not?
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