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ObjectivistMathematician last won the day on July 10 2011

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  1. Morals are basically ''conditional'' statements, and there are no ''duties'' which apply automatically to all people. The goal of morality is not to perform your ''duties,'' but to gain rational values. "We have a duty not to leave our kids with a massive debt" If you care about your kids, and you value their welfare, you wouldn't want to leave them with debt. Plus, these debts (I'm assuming you're speaking of government debt) are often a result of very expensive and improper government programs, such as social security; I do not think I need to go in-depth on why such programs are wrong. Third, a government shouldn't cause debt, because that's just pushing a problem off for later; it's irresponsible and short-term. ''the libertarian that says 'It's our duty not to use force''' Objectivism definitely disagrees with the libertarian position, and holds that rights are not deontological, they are not given by divine permission, nor are they axiomatic. Humans have rights because they are the preconditions for a voluntary, proper society, and they are necessary for man's proper survival in a civilization. Thus, the reason we should not use force is, among other reasons, so that our rights can be recognized. What I was meaning to show in those two responses is that things like these can be reduced to more fundamental moral values, and not be passed off as duties without further questions. Also do note: sometimes people do use the word ''duty'' in a colloquial sense, simply meaning something one ought to do.
  2. Well, no, because free will doesn't imply that one's decisions are arbitrary. If someone is a fully rational person, you should have no problem predicting his behavior, other than certain errors of knowledge the two of you might have.
  3. Or maybe SN doesn't feel that it is okay to share private messages (emphasis on ''private'') publicly?
  4. Personally, I like this proof for Euler's formula better: So, both of those functions solve the differential equation y' - iy = 0, and they both equal 1 at x = 0. Therefore, they are equal. Then you just plug in pi for x, and you have e^(pi*i) = -1.
  5. 1) I highly doubt anyone would want to use money that isn't backed up by anything. It couldn't possibly even function as money, since it's not actually worth anything; it's just paper. People would be free to print paper and call it money, but that would be a useless endeavor. Just a side note: the standard would not necessarily be gold, it could be anything which the market decides. There would be no government-mandated gold standard. 2) Objectivism is not a religion. It is based off of reason. By virtue of being an Objectivist, one already knows why altruism and socialism are wrong, and would be able to explain his position. Religious people, however, simply accept their ideals on faith. To the point of why Objectivists believe altruism and socialism are wrong. If you don't know the answer to this, you're probably quite new to the philosophy, so I'd recommend The Virtue of Selfishness and Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. If you don't feel like investing in literature right now, you can read Rand's essay The Objectivist Ethics online (the ARI website has quite a few of Rand's essays from TVoS and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal). These should leave you with no questions as to why Objectivists believe altruism is wrong. Here's a short summary: values are that which one acts to gain/keep, and values are necessary because the life of a human is conditional, and it requires the pursuit of certain values (from simple things, like food, to more complex needs, such as purpose). Since values are based off of the condition's for one's survival, life is therefore the standard of value, i.e. the standard by which you judge value. If one's own life is the standard of value, it logically follows that an individual is the proper beneficiary of his own actions. What is in a person's self-interest is good, and what is harmful to a person's self-interest is bad. Therefore, altruism--altruism, being defined as the sacrifice of one's own values for the sake of someone else's interests, with no self-interest involved-- is basically the destruction of one's values for its own sake. That's why it is wrong. Socialism and communism are based off of the principle of altruism. 3) I don't even understand what the question is here. Sure, if someone does believe in free will based off of faith, and evades any arguments counter to their position, then this is irrational. However, this is not what Objectivism advocates. ''What some Objectivists you've seen do'' does not constitute as something about Objectivism. Although, I know the specific thread you're speaking of; the one where the OP knows man has free will, but sees an argument he cannot counter, so he comes to as this forum about it. There is nothing wrong with this. I'm assuming he understands why free will is axiomatic, and therefore undeniable; however, he simply sees one argument he cannot counter. 4) There have been many, many threads on this matter. Objectivism is a closed system. This does not mean that, as you seem to be implying, her beliefs should be accepted on faith, or that if someone disagrees with Ayn Rand here and there they need to change their beliefs only for the sake of being called an Objectivist. Objectivism is simply defined as the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and it is nothing more; it is not defined as ''A philosophy advocating objectivity, reason, self-interest, capitalism, and objective art.'' If you have a philosophy which is similar to Objectivism, but changed at some parts, it is simply a philosophy similar to Objectivism. If you feel that Rand's philosophy isn't perfect, or that it is false at some points, you are free to formulate your own philosophical views so long as you do so rationally; however, the crucial distinction is that the philosophy which you just formulated is not Objectivism (perhaps it is ''influenced by Objectivism''). Of course, the members here would believe that no such philosophy is necessary, since Objectivism is correct (since they're Objectivists).
  6. Your parents caused your existence, and lumberjacks caused the existence of your house. Your parents are separate and distinct from you, and lumberjacks are separate and distinct from your house. Saying ''X is caused'' presumes the existence of something separate from itself. This does not work with existence as a whole; there is nothing distinct or separate from existence.
  7. Existence did not cause itself to exist. It just exists. Maybe if you take ''existence causes itself to exist'' to mean ''things existed, and it is in their nature to continue existing, therefore they exist now,'' then maybe that makes sense. But saying that ''existence caused itself to exist'' in the sense that existence was caused by something external to itself, is still a contradiction; existence is not external to itself. As for what you brought up about the laws of thermodynamics: no one is trying to say that time is infinite. ''Existence is eternal'' does not mean that time is infinite. It simply means that time is a relational concept of entities which exist, i.e. time is within the universe. The universe, however, is not within, or measured by a time (nor by space, nor by color, etc.). Even if you don't yet understand what I mean, you should still understand why saying ''Something caused existence'' is a contradiction.
  8. Aliva, the reason why it's invalid to ask, ''what caused existence?'' is because this question presumes the existence of some entity separate from existence (in order to ''cause existence''), i.e. something existing outside of existence. This is a contradiction. The only boundaries outside of which Trebor wasn't thinking was the axiom of existence and the law of non-contradiction. To what other boundaries do you think he was ''limiting'' himself?
  9. When people hunt, they usually do it for sport, for the same reason someone would do any other kind of sport. If someone gets pleasure from torturing an animal, it would be because they value the animal being in pain for the sake of it being in pain, which is throughly irrational. Of course people have the right, but that doesn't make it moral; people have the right to get addicted to harmful drugs, too, but that's certainly not moral.
  10. Animals don't have rights, and you can kill them for food and whatnot. As for the morality of torturing animals for fun, I wouldn't say that that's immoral because it's destructive to the animal's welfare, but doing something like that could be a sign on deeper psychological issues. EDIT- Unless you're referring to things like hunting (killing animals for sport/pleasure), which would probably not be a sign of psychological problems, then there is no problem with that.
  11. After I finished reading Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology and Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, my thinking skills were noticeably improved. If your goal is to convey your thought simply and clearly, Rand's book The Art of Nonfiction seems to be ideal for that, but I cannot recommend it, as I have not read it yet.
  12. I've conversed with someone who is familiar with Indian philosophy, and depending on what schools you are referring to, karma can mean anything from the colloquial notion where how you act (morally) determines your destiny, to just causality.
  13. Does anyone else think this type of article is something you'd find on Maddox's site (''The Best Page in the Universe'')? It's just filled with stawmen, blatantly false statements about Objectivism, and mondless insults. So, apparently this is Sam's logic: people own what they produce, and they should be allowed to keep all of it. However, since they're doing something I don't like with their money, they don't get to keep it. People can keep their money and spend it voluntarily, just as long as they voluntarily do what I want with it. I don't even understand this statement. Is he saying the fact that ''Objectivism is autism rebranded'' is a reason that it would be a triumph of marketing? Are such rebrands of autism usually very successful? Furthermore, is he saying that making terrible literature out of awful philosophy is a marketing triumph? If anything, this article was terrible writing; it's just a hodgepodge of assertions, with each sentence having nothing to do with the ones before and after it. Yet, he doesn't believe initiation of force is evil, and he advocates having the state to make decisions for us. Now it's the ''malevolent universe premise'' which statists know and love so much. Of course having cerebral palsy is the normal condition of human life, and anyone who doesn't have it is lucky. Aye, but this won't happen, therefore we must coerce this 50% from them. It seems in this article Harris is really advocating selfishness (he even said that it would be in people's self-interest to donate to education and prevent poverty), but hes too caught up in the package-deal version of ''selfishness'' to know this. He then realizes the only real way to get rid of (proper) selfishness is with initiation of force. In other words, he knows ''short-sighted selfishness'' is bad, and knows proper selfishness requires coercion to prevent, and concludes that it is good to use coercion to prevent selfishness altogether-- if that's not equivocation, I don't know what is. All I had seen of Harris before this was his advocation of determinism (which was absolutely ridiculous), and his ''objective'' ethics, which was just unprincipled utilitarianism. I have no idea why people (atheists, namely) like him so much.
  14. Keynseian: ''The market sometimes fails.'' Me: ''Just because it fails in some short-term scenarios, does not mean that it isn't the best choice in the long run.'' Keynseian: ''In the long run, we're dead.'' Man, I've never been this good at rationalizing false ethics. Bravo.

  15. Fantastic show; easily my favorite drama series of all time. Sadly, I've heard that the next season (Season 5) will be its last. As for the philosophical question, I see nothing inherently immoral about manufacturing addictive drugs. Methamphetamine is a product which was in demand, people wanted it, and he could provide people with a better product. No one's rights are violated in the process (there are crimes involved in the drug dealing business, but I'm not referring to those), and everything is done voluntarily and honestly on Walter's part. The only thing immoral about it I can think of is that the illegal drug business is associated with crime, and he put himself in danger by getting involved. I can see why he'd need to get involved to pay for his chemotherapy, however, it was definitely a bad decision to accept the deal Gus offered for $3,000,000.
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