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Bold Standard

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Posts posted by Bold Standard

  1. Those were the electrocution studies, right? My point is that the harm came not from the deception itself, but from what he got subjects to do to others.
    Yeah, the electrocution studies.

    Well.. How about this.. Suppose someone were going to do a study on the reactions of parents, after they are told that one of their children has been killed. Wouldn't it make an ethical difference whether these people's children had actually died, or whether researchers were making up that they had died, for the sake of studying their reactions?

    Well, that might not be a great example, becuase it's not the type of study people could really volunteer for anyway.. But my point is that it is possible to cause real psychological (and even physical, since it is directly tied to the psychological) harm to a person by giving him false information. I think it's unethical to expose subjects of an experiment to harm in that way.

    I have read somewhere that subjects of Milgram´s experiments had no problems. They have examined them after experiment and noone had any serious troubles.
    I believe your source was mistaken. I'll try and find some better sources when I have a chance..
  2. Bold Standard, you should realize that your question could be interpreted as being insulting to Ramare. She said nothing to imply that she views sex as a purely physical thing, divorced from spiritual values. Indeed, quite the opposite. I respectfully suggest withdrawing the question.
    I didn't intend my question to be insulting, but I don't withdraw it. It still seems like a contradiction to me. When Ramare says, "He should want me for everything I am," I interpret that as meaning he should be sexually attracted to her for everything she is, including her mind.. But then she says, "in the middle of sex, it ought to be all about my body." If the man "should" want her for her mind as well as her body, why shouldn't he think about her mind, and, for instance, the beauty of the spiritual connection between them, during sex? Is the implication that I'm a pervert for being turned on by thinking about these things during sex? I guess it's the "ought to" and the "all about" that I don't get--I don't think it would be bad or immoral to think only about a someone's body during sex (assuming that's not the only reason for having sex with that person) but I don't think it's wrong to think about other things either.
  3. Among many other things I happen to be a fan of acoustic guitar music, especially spanish/flamenco style.
    I love flamenco guitar music, too. There's something about those minor modes that really gets me, and the rhythms are so hypnotizing and seductive.

    What kind of music do you like? What are your absolute favorites?
    My absolute favorite band ever is Cocteau Twins. I think their
    is unmatched for its (usually) unabashed benevolence, fragile sense of beauty, full range of emotions, and always fresh, innovative sense of independence and exploration. I also think they have some of the most inventive melodies, and the most perfectionist devotion to unique and interesting tones and sound production of just about any post-1950s music.

    Other post -1950s music I like includes Felt, Lush (God were their harmonies hot), My Bloody Valentine (sexy arrangements), Swallow, Altered Images (straight new wave, but good), sometimes Smashing Pumpkins (one of the only rock bands I like besides Led Zeppelin).

    But I'm a music fanatic.. I could go on forever with music I like, especially if I get started with older music (I like most 20th century popular music of the '50s and earlier).

  4. I remember having the impression that Jesus is portrayed as a man of great self-esteem.
    I've never seen Jesus portrayed as a man of great self-esteem. He is usually portrayed as a man of great humility and meekness.

    But he certainly suffered from delusions of grandeur. He thought he was God. Whether that implies an abnormally low self esteem or is unrelated to self esteem is a question for a psychologist.. I'm not sure about it.

    [Edit: Ohh, hi, Gretchen! I just realized that's you.. I didn't know you post here. : )]

    The very essence of Christianity is suffering, self-sacrifice, and the total abnegation of man's life and well-being on earth. This is not a matter of interpretation, but of explicit and repeated statement throughout all of the relevant literature.
    Do you consider the writings of Thomas Aquinas to be relevant literature? (I think he would have disagreed with your view about the essence of Christianity, which seems to be the Augustinian interpretation).
  5. If you believe in "hands off" governing and free reign of interest; mind not my background or stance, but answer the question of what is wrong with the theory of welfare and income tax...

    Welfare and income tax are immoral because they violate the property rights of the individuals being taxed. No group of people (ie, the government) should have the power to seize wealth that was earned by other people, and spend it to serve ends they have in mind (whether those ends are egalitarian, utilitarian, or nihilistic)--people are ends in themselves, not means to the ends of others.

    What welfare ends up doing is rewarding the unproductive while punishing the productive. That is an obscene injustice. (These are just some brief preliminary arguments against welfare statism. For more complete arguments, see Atlas Shrugged and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, for starters).

  6. The difference between dirty talk and sensual talk is the same as the difference between f*cking and making love.

    But there is no difference between f*cking and making love. These are two words, with different moral evaluations, of the same act.

    The only way that I could understand people being thrilled by specifically *dirty* talk, as *opposed* to sensual talk, unless they are depraved, would be because of some sense of irony.. As in, "I know this act is not dirty at all, but is beautiful, yet I'm going to call it low and dirty, just to emphasize how non-low and non-dirty it is." Or something like that. But I've never been into talking dirty during sex.. When women I've been involved with have tried to talk dirty to me during sex, I usually just try not to let them see me rolling my eyes.

  7. For psych studies, it's just silliness to pretend that people are harmed by deceptive experiments.

    Not necessarily (umm, unless you're just trying to be deceptive--but I think maybe you're getting deception confused with irony ; P).. Serious psychological harm can be done to a person by deceptive experiments in psych studies, as evidenced by the subjects of Stanely Milgam's controversial, deceptive obedience experiments (some were traumatized to the point of having seizures), and other similar types of deceptive psychological experiments, of the variety which is now usually considered to be unethical.

  8. On this note, I am curious to hear what some of you have to say concerning the morality of a sorority who recruits prospective members largely based on appearance. It would be morally atrocious if a chapter only recruited girls who were visually stunning and held virtually no restrictions on the personal virtues of their members.
    I know nothing about sororities or fraternities, but why would this be morally atrocious? Why couldn't a sorority choose its members by any criteria it pleases? Also, why isn't beauty a "personal virtue"?

    I could see that it would be immoral if a sorority or some other organization chose its members based on looks, when it claimed to be judging them based on some other criteria and not that, because then it would be dishonest. But I can't understand why it would be inherently immoral to choose members based on looks.

    I work in the catering industry, which is largely about presentation, and I know people in this business are often hired based on looks (it's probably not official company policy, but I know there are clients who specifically request good looking staff). Physically unattractive people who are hard workers and generally competent often get paid less [so I hear] than pretty people who don't do much besides stand around looking pretty. That's just the way it is sometimes--guests often care more that their server is sexy than that they were served from the left and had full wine glasses all night. ::shrug:: [edit: Of course, the ideal is always to have servers who are pretty *and* competent. But pretty is more important, because the other problem can usually be fixed, for one thing.] If this kind of policy can work for a profit seeking business I don't see why it couldn't be rational for some college social club.

    It's definitely not the most immoral thing I've heard being associated with sororities or fraternities.

  9. Apples and oranges. :)

    Given that a value (the Good) implies a valuer, the question remains unanswered: Good for whom?

    I don't think Kant equates the good with a value (that would be the satisfaction of inclinations), rather he equates it with rational behavior (that's duty). [edit: And for him, rational behavior means that it must be universalizable.]

    In other words, does Kant answer the following question: Why act according to duty?
    As I understand it, for Kant, duty is an end in itself. Therefore, no answer need be given for why one should act from duty other than because it is his duty.
  10. My sources on this are not scholarly, and I'm not sure how to verify it.. But my understanding is that "man" was initially non-gender specific, and that originally the term "woman" merely described the type of man who has a womb (I read that they derived from Norse originally). That seems plausible to me, but I don't know.

  11. Hi everyone,

    I'm new to these forums. I'm a 23 year old objectivist (or I try my best) working in video games. I'm a game designer.

    Hello. : )

    May I ask what books you have read by Ayn Rand? That would help me to better understand the context you're coming from.

    Then I started thinking about my favorite arts again, especially modern ones that sold really well. Not only were they very individualistic, but they also happened to fit the right nitch at the right time. They were exactly what people wanted at the time.
    I don't know what your favorite arts are, but a lot of art that I enjoy contains themes that favor individualism (and volition, benevolent universe, comprehensibility, etc); and much of it was not successful at first, but over the long term was significantly more successful than initially successful competition that failed to uphold those themes.

    An example would be Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, which eventually became an enormous success after being rejected by numerous publishers, and receiving very little press and advertising from its publisher initially. It became popular through word of mouth and now continues to sell over a hundred thousand copies a year, 60 years later.

    Or, with Atlas Shrugged.. I don't see how it could be shown that AS was what people *wanted* (at least, what they knew they wanted). It seems like all of the literary trends of the time leading up to it being published were in the opposite direction. But I know very little about the science of marketing, and you seem knowledgeable about it. So maybe you could have anticipated the receptivity to Ayn Rand's books, when it seems that it might be counterintuitive for them to have been so successful (at least, the publishers she solicited early on seemed to think so).

  12. Kant was not anti-happiness. [...] So Kant is certainly not against happiness, but he does not view happiness as objectively good or evil in itself.
    Did you read the quote I provided, in which Kant says that happiness tends to "corrupt [the strict laws of duty] at their very source, and entirely to destroy their worth- a thing which even common practical reason cannot ultimately call good"? Is this not anti-happiness?

    Most of Kant's works are available as etexts--so even though you might not always get the specific translation you want, you can at least usually look up a page reference, just by doing a quick Google search, if you know basically what you're looking for. I find that references help--if someone can check your source, it makes it easier for him to understand your position, and also to learn more about the topic if it's interesting.

  13. How did he come up with the formulations, though?

    Oh, that's simple--it was just a priori synthesis of the manifold of pure intuitions. Duh, Mimpy! :)

    Actually, Kant's system and the ways he arrived at many of his conclusions place Kant's philosophy among the most tortuously complicated systems devised by a philosopher, IMO (at least, compared to philosophers prior to Kant). I don't know if this quote from Nietzsche is true, but it makes me laugh, and it might not be far from true:

    It seems to me that today attempts are made everywhere to divert attention from the actual influence Kant exerted on German philosophy, and especially to ignore prudently the value he set upon himself. Kant was first and foremost proud of his table of categories; with that in his hand he said: "This is the most difficult thing that could ever be undertaken on behalf of metaphysics."

    Let us only understand this "could be"! [...]

    But I think it is important to read and try to understand Kant's system--as offensive and boring and seemingly arbitrary as it can sometimes be. In a letter to John Hospers, Ayn Rand said this once, and I think she's right:

    I do not believe that modern philosophy can be discussed without reaching an understanding on Kant. Modern philosophy may and does depart from him on many issues, but it is his epistemological premises that have been accepted without challenge or proof. If you want to understand my philosophical position in a historical context, this is just a brief clue.

    I don't think that means you necessarily have to read him in the original (at least, in English translations I've read, he can sometimes be almost unintelligible, without having to practically diagram the sentences in your head to figure out what he's trying to say), but at least the best, least biased commentaries and analyses of his works you can find. Quaint aphorisms aside, his philosophy isn't always something so simple as can be explained on a message board (just as Ayn Rand's philosophy isn't, but more so, because he's one of those philosophers who was influenced by geometry, and they always tend to be more complicated! : )).

  14. Kant does not posit happiness, either of the self (egoism) or of the bulk of mankind (altruism) as a morally valuable goal.
    Using that definition, I agree with you. If you defined egoism as self interest, and altruism as self sacrifice, he would be an altruist, but he clearly thinks that people should sacrifice themselves for the sake of duty, rather than for the happiness of others. Kant was explicitly anti-happiness.

    Against all the commands of duty which reason represents to man as so deserving of respect, he feels in himself a powerful counterpoise in his wants and inclinations, the entire satisfaction of which he sums up under the name of happiness. Now reason issues its commands unyieldingly, without promising anything to the inclinations, and, as it were, with disregard and contempt for these claims, which are so impetuous, and at the same time so plausible, and which will not allow themselves to be suppressed by any command. Hence there arises a natural dialectic, i.e., a disposition, to argue against these strict laws of duty and to question their validity, or at least their purity and strictness; and, if possible, to make them more accordant with our wishes and inclinations, that is to say, to corrupt them at their very source, and entirely to destroy their worth- a thing which even common practical reason cannot ultimately call good.
  15. Of course, Kant was not an altruist at all, and explicitly refuted altruism in the second Critique. It's, like, in the text.

    Hello, welcome to the forum. Could you provide a reference for Kant refuting altruism in the second Critique (I assume you mean the second edition of CPR?). How are you defining "altruism" here?

    It is my understanding that the term "altruism" did not exist when Kant wrote CPR, and that the term was invented by Auguste Comte as a description of Kant's ethics. Is it your position that I'm mistaken about this, or that Comte was mistaken in his understanding of Kant's ethics (if so, in what way in particular?), or something else?

    But to say that an action can be motivated by two things at the same time would imply a duality of will that Kant could not tolerate.
    If that is true, that's an interesting aspect of Kant's position that I hadn't understood. Can you provide a reference in which Kant discusses his reasons for holding the position that an action can only have one motivation? (If you've come to the conclusion that Kant held that view based on another scholar's interpretation of Kant, I would appreciate it if you would point to that, but a primary source reference directly to Kant would be the most preferable).

    Kant did not really argue for theses and antitheses in the Antinomy of Pure Reason, but constructed plausible arguments for contradictory positions in order to demonstrate that the objects treated by those positions were not capable of rational insight. The point was not that both arguments were right but that both arguments were consistent, and since the principle of contradiction could not be violated, there must be something wrong not in the conclusions but in the nature of the subject matter.
    Based on my reading of CPR, I believe you are correct about this. It wasn't until Hegel that philosophers began arguing for a thesis *and* its antithesis (what Hegelians sometimes refer to as the identity of opposites), which is an essential component of Hegel's dialectic process, in which [paraphrasing] the contradiction which does and doesn't exist between the thesis and antithesis is and isn't resolved into a synthesis.
  16. It makes me wonder if one day someone will come along and, like Paul did for Judaism, reinvent Christianity for modern times, creating a new major religion. My guess would be no, since the NT is far more flexible than the OT. Every generation of Christians reinvents Christianity without having to abandon that ancient text. It took less than a thousand years from the writing of the OT before it had to be replaced. Meanwhile the NT is going on two thousand years.

    In the early days of the church, there were many, many sects and cults attempting to reinvent Christianity in various ways. Once the church gained political power, anyone who took a non-canonical view of Christianity was considered a heretic, and often executed.

    In modern times, now that there is religious freedom, there are once again many sects attempting to reinvent Christianity. Mormonism and Rastafarianism spring to mind.

    The New Testament was never intended to replace the Old Testament, only, supposedly, to supplement it (much like the Book of Mormon was supposed to do to the New Testament). Christians claim not to have abandoned the Old Testament--Jesus said, in Matthew 5:17-18, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled." ("The law, or the prophets" refers approximately to the OT).

  17. Knowledge of causality is true because it comes from observation of reality. But Kant claimed that the law of causality is false because it pertained to reality, of which no knowledge is possible.
    When did Kant claim that the law of causality is false? Kant thought causality was a contribution of consciousness, but he argued that it was objective since all humans must perceive causally, just as we must perceive spatially and temporally, etc. I'll have to look up a reference for that; but I'm pretty sure. Hume rejected causality, but Kant *claimed* to uphold it, though he attributed it to consciousness rather than to ("neumenal") reality.

    This-worldly values are good because they make it possible to for one to live. But Kant claimed that taking the actions required to sustain one's own life is vicious because the good is precisely the opposite: duty to others.
    I'm not disputing that Kant was guilty of hating the good for being the good, it's just that the way you put it before made it seem (to me) like you were suggesting he was explicit about that. He was explicit about a lot of pretty disturbing things, but that's one that I don't think he ever admitted to--he also never admitted that the Enlightenment virtues were true or good. I'm not sure if he realized that they were (if he did realize that, then that would make him much more evil, but I don't know how to verify that hypothesis one way or the other)..
  18. I would like to see a more direct excerpt where Kant states that any action where one derives pleasure (stemming from rational self-interest) cannot be moral. Most of the direct quotes I have seen seem to suggest that Kant argued

    (I) An action is moral if and only if it is motivated by one's duty.

    However, I would like to find corroborating evidence for Kant arguing:

    (II) An action cannot be in accordance with duty (and therefore cannot be moral) if it was also motivated by rational self-interest (even in addition to being motivated by duty).

    I don't think Kant argued for (II). (I) seems more accurate.

    I think Leonard Peikoff's analysis of Kant's ethics in The Ominous Parallels is correct and nicely stated:

    In theory, Kant states, a man deserves moral credit for an action done from duty, even if his inclinations also favor it—but only insofar as the latter are incidental and play no role in his motivation. But in practice, Kant maintains, whenever the two coincide no one can know that he has escaped the influence of inclination. For all practical purposes, therefore, a moral man must have no private stake in the outcome of his actions, no personal motive, no expectation of profit or gain of any kind.

    Even then, however, he cannot be sure that no fragment of desire is "secretly" moving him. The far clearer case, the one case in which a man can at least come close to knowing that he is moral, occurs when the man's desires clash with his duty and he acts in defiance of his desires.

    But I suggest that you read Kant's The Metaphysic of Morals sometime and judge for yourself what he meant. Also, this passage in The Ominous Parallels is followed by a very revealing quote from a different work by Kant, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, (which I haven't read yet, but looks like it will also be a good source on how Kant thought his ethics should be applied).

  19. Here's an article telling how he passed into law that school aged girls are required to get an STV vaccination.
    They are all required to get this vaccination, which is, by the way, 360$ a pop. Most medical insurance covers it; however, there are many, many uninsured families in Texas.

    Perry's friends are going to make a lot of money off of this vaccine.

  20. However, I am unsure why Kant is necessarily more evil than other D2 philosophers such as David Hume. Is it merely because Kant was more influential in terms of crippling the minds of subsequent generations?
    I think that Kant's influence is probably the most evil thing about him, if by evil you mean that which is detrimental to the life of the individual--he made Skepticism much more acceptable to the professional intellectuals than Hume did, and introduced the most systematic ethics of altruism that had ever been devised.

    Is "altruism" here being used in the Randian sense or under a different definition propounded by Kant?
    I don't recall ever seeing the specific quote about trying to "save altruism from Enlightenment influences," but a nice statement of Kant's ethics is in his Metaphysics of Morals. His presentation of altruism is astonishingly consistent and extreme. (The word "altruism" was coined by Auguste Comte, as a description of Kant's ethics).

    Kant looked around at the Enlightenment and understood, so he said that the Enlightenment and everything it stood for: causality, this-worldy values, etc., is false and vicious because it is true and good.
    I do not believe that Kant said that the Enlightenment values were "false and vicious because [they were] true and good." At any rate, I don't think it's appropriate to attribute a statement like that to a philosopher, even one as wicked and dangerous as Emmanuel Kant, without a direct reference.
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