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There has been some great discussion about values lately, and so I'd like to present a brief case for my notion of a complex standard of value. Any feedback or criticism would be appreciated. This is only the beginning of a work in progress. I start with the idea that humans have three basic aspects: the physical, the mental, and the biological. Also, for each aspect we can hold a separate standard of value. For the physical it's pleasure over pain; for the mental, it's knowledge over ignorance; and for the biological, it's health over sickness. Next, many people seem to believe that man is primarily one of these aspects, while the others are secondary. They argue for what I call a simple standard of value. If man is primarily physical, then his standard of value is pleasure. If he's primarily mental, then his standard is knowledge. And if man is primarily biological, then the standard is health. I call such positions the Simple Man Fallacy. It means taking the standard of value for one aspect of man and applying it to the whole person. I suppose it's an example of the fallacy of composition. I believe it is critical that we form a complex standard of value which integrates the three standards of man's existence: pleasure, knowledge, and health. Rand of course argued for the standard of value being man's life. But there is much confusion over what that means precisely. She said it means: "that which is required for man's survival qua man." And what does that mean? She explained: This is a complex answer that is difficult to digest. For example, how do we figure out which terms, methods, conditions and goals are required for our survival as a rational being? Well, to answer that question, I suggest we consider in equal measure the three basic aspects of our existence: the physical, the mental, and the biological. We should formulate a complex standard of value which integrates our critical needs for pleasure, knowledge, and health.
I'm having trouble / confused with the following passage from OPAR: "A definition in terms of fundamentals can be formulated only by reference to one's full knowledge of the units. In order to identify a fundamental distinguishing characteristic (and a fundamental integrating characteristic—the genus), one must take into account all the known facts in the case. One must bear in mind how the units differ from other things, how they resemble other things, and what causal relationships obtain within these two sets of attributes. Only on this basis can one establish that a certain characteristic is fundamental (within that context of knowledge)." the attributes are differences and resemblances? I don't think a difference is an attribute. It's a property or some kinda relationship between attributes. what is meant by "what casual relationships obtain within these two sets of attributes". What kind of casual relationships? How can you go within attributes? On this basis - What basis? is it the basis of genus? or the previously mentioned attibutes / what casual relationships obtain. I've been working through this book for months and I'm still not even half way
There are many types of integration. There are integrations of units, which are involved in concept-formation. The new unity classifies the input material. There are integrations of facts where you arrive at an abstract principle. The new unity is more general than the starting input. There are integrations where a new fact is filed under an establish genus, such as a minor premise. There is demonstrating that a previously formed proposition can be deduced from some wider proposition. The unity recasts the starting material as a theorem. For example, Galileo's law of fall was arrived at through induction but can be deduced from Newton's laws of motion. There is identification of a previously known proposition as a corollary of some principle, as an implication rather than a deduction. For example, causality is a corollary of identity, not a deduction. There is spiral learning, where you grasp new knowledge about an old something There is a very simple form of integration where you identify what is related to a given fact. There is explanation, where the new unity is said to cause the referents of the starting the material. In these instances, the new unity either classifies, grounds, causes, or provides a more general reason for the starting material. Last night Bluecherry pointed out that ground, explanation, and reason relate the input to reality, whereas classification tells you where it goes in the filing system. The former are about serving as a basis. The latter is about recognizing hierarchy. What exactly is it that a unity does for input material? What action is the genus of all those actions?