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David Kelley's Moral Theory Contra Objectivism

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brandonk2009
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Why? Explain why evil has a valid moral claim on you life, and deserves your sanction.

It's not a sanction. I can talk with or debate an academic Marxist, and that doesn't mean that I think his views have validity. I probably wouldn't want to be near him..but if I had to talk with him, I would make it clear that I thought his views were false and dangerous. Same with libertarians, or democrats, or religious people, only to a lesser degree.

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It's not a sanction.
It certainly is. To debate a Marxist, you are endorsing the claim that his position has enough validity that it's possible that he is right. You must condemn him first, and quite publically, before you talk to him. You only reason for talking "to" him should be, in a public forum, to demonstrate the nature of the evil and to combat it. You are talking as though you need to "understand" him before making up your mind, and you do not need to understand him, any more than you need to understand a rapist or a serial killer.
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It's not a sanction. I can talk with or debate an academic Marxist, and that doesn't mean that I think his views have validity. I probably wouldn't want to be near him..but if I had to talk with him, I would make it clear that I thought his views were false and dangerous. Same with libertarians, or democrats, or religious people, only to a lesser degree.

Notice that you did not say that you would make it clear to him that his ideas were evil. And I would most definitely say the same thing, if not more, about Kant. Both Kant and the Marxist professor are evil for spreading ideas that completely fly in the face of reality and would impose communism or worse on the whole country, if they could.

If you don't understand that Kant had to be evil to intentionally come up with his philosophy, then you will never consider any ideas or their creators to be evil; and that is the fundamental problem with Kelley's ideas on morality -- it leads you to not take ideas seriously. To take an idea seriously is to gage it against man's life as the standard and see if it is good for man or bad for man. If it is bad for man, then it is evil; if it is good for man, then it is virtuous. But you guys don't want to do that -- maybe you don't want that responsibility, I don't know, but I do know that not morally judging ideas is to say that ideas have no meaning in human life.

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Notice that you did not say that you would make it clear to him that his ideas were evil. And I would most definitely say the same thing, if not more, about Kant. Both Kant and the Marxist professor are evil for spreading ideas that completely fly in the face of reality and would impose communism or worse on the whole country, if they could.

If you don't understand that Kant had to be evil to intentionally come up with his philosophy, then you will never consider any ideas or their creators to be evil; and that is the fundamental problem with Kelley's ideas on morality -- it leads you to not take ideas seriously. To take an idea seriously is to gage it against man's life as the standard and see if it is good for man or bad for man. If it is bad for man, then it is evil; if it is good for man, then it is virtuous. But you guys don't want to do that -- maybe you don't want that responsibility, I don't know, but I do know that not morally judging ideas is to say that ideas have no meaning in human life.

I do judge ideas. I do think many of Kant's ideas were pure evil, but I don't think that Kant the man was as evil as Stalin. Proper judgement requires proportion. I do agree that ideas, facts, and values are all inseparable and to be taken very seriously, but I also believe in degrees.

I admit that I'm still very new to objectivism, and this debate in general. But I really don't think Kant intentionally wrote his philosophy with an evil intention to destroy the world. He wasn't an Ellsworth, in other words. The same way that you were not pure evil before you discovered objectivism. You were tolerant with yourself.

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I do judge ideas. I do think many of Kant's ideas were pure evil, but I don't think that Kant the man was as evil as Stalin. Proper judgement requires proportion. I do agree that ideas, facts, and values are all inseparable and to be taken very seriously, but I also believe in degrees.

I admit that I'm still very new to objectivism, and this debate in general. But I really don't think Kant intentionally wrote his philosophy with an evil intention to destroy the world. He wasn't an Ellsworth, in other words. The same way that you were not pure evil before you discovered objectivism. You were tolerant with yourself.

I would agree with you that there are degrees of evil, just as there are degrees of virtue. There are degrees of irrationality, just as there are degrees of rationality. Irrationality is the root of all evil, and the root of irrationality is evasion. In Galt's Speech, Rand writes that the source of evil is, "the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment..."

"Tolerance", as it is described and explained by Kelley, is not consistent with Objectivism. A crucial aspect of Kelley's view of tolerance is the suspension of judgment when we lack sufficient evidence. This means in effect that one ought to suspend from making judgment on all evidence currently available. David Odden writes the best reply in Post #83:

If one cannot judge until one "has all of the facts", then one cannot judge because one cannot be omniscient -- there is always the imaginary "possibility" of error for which there is no evidence. The only proper form of "suspending judgment" is contradiction-elimination -- the logical process of integrating seemingly-contradictory aspects of knowledge. This can only be done by making a judgment, as to which evidence is more relevant or reliable. Refusing to judge, specifically evading awareness of reality, is really one of the worst intellectual errors that a person can make.

Toleration is the giving of sanction. At every moment in our lives we must not willfully sanction the irrational—we must not sanction evil. This is not a impossible task, in fact, as Rand wrote in Virtue of Selfishness, it's quite easy: "When one deals with irrational persons, where argument is futile, a mere “I don’t agree with you” is sufficient to negate any implication of moral sanction." If it can be firmly established that Objectivism does not tolerate the sanction of the irrational, then what is left to tolerate? Only the rational. And here we have no problem.

Edited by brandonk2009
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Some objectivists condemn libertarians or socialists with the same blanket of judgement as they would a dictator.

Thats a bit out of context. I dont think there is anyone here who judges their neighbor who introduces himself "Hi, my name is Todd. I just moved next door, and i'm a libertarian" as equally evil as a dictator. Noone here is objecting to the fact that there are degrees of evil, what we are objecting to the fact that Kelley thinks that only actions should be judged, not the ideas that led to those actions. If your libertarian neighbor turns out to be intelligent, but still a subjectivist an a pacifist who thinks the US should not defend themselves, he most definitely is evil, and not just a little.

I assume my democratic neighbor (or libertarian) is open to reason (innocent), until I have evidence otherwise (guilty).

Well, kind of, if he is somewhat young, disinterested in ideas and hasnt just thought of things all that much. If he is a 40-year old social worker with a college degree, then he most definitely is not innocent.

People who actively profligate their bad ideas are evil. A Marxist professor is evil--but let's talk with him first before we condemn him. Let's debate him.

This must be the most absurd statement ever. Obviously we can debate him if we want to convice the listeners, but that doesnt mean that we shouldnt condemn him. Actually, that is the first thing you should do, and make it damn sure that you are there not to "learn his point of view", but to show others that it is evil.

Kant was not out to destroy mankind. That's absurd. He was a philosopher. He was wrong, and many of his ideas were pure evil, but he was not giving orders to Hitler. People who use force to slaughter millions are more evil than those who think about it.

You have a cartoon/comic book version of evil, that doesnt exist in the world. Evil people are not the ones who sit in their lairs rubbing their hands actively thinking "i am so evil, all i want is destruction, i want to kill as much as possible". Sure, there are sociopaths, but in general that is just a caricatyre of something that doesnt exist. It is their intentional evasion of reality that makes them evil, not the fact that they "openly" admit to themselves that all they want is concentration camps and gulags.

Your theory of evil, would actually make Jim Jones less evil than the people who killed themselves and their babies at Jonestown.

There are degrees of evil. It's lazy to say that everyone who isn't an ARI objectivist is evil..and it's false.

Yes there are degrees of evil, and it would most definitely be lazy to say that everyone who doesnt support ARI is evil, but when there actually are no people who claim that, your statement is absurd. No one disagrees with the degrees of evil part, but with the indefinite suspension of judgement and only judging actions, not ideas.

Similarly, objectivism is an integrated truth, but that 1% makes it an open system. More work needs to be done before it can be considered a well grounded philosophy, but as an idealogy it is bullet proof.

We can have the gay debate somewhere else, but whatever stance you have, that statement about gays was an application(either wrong or false) by Ayn Rand of her philosophy, not a principle of her philosophy. The fact whether Ayn Rand had or did not have wrong information about the nature of homosexuality, does not make Objectivism an open system. Whether Rand was wrong about gays, women, evolution etc. does not change her philosophy, whether ideas should be separated from action morally, does.

It's like saying that we can make Aristotle's philosophy "open", and include the Theory of Forms into Aristotle's philosophy, because Aristotle thought the world was flat.

And somewhere you asked whether i was evil, before i was an objectivist, and the answer in my case is yes. I did some serious evasion back in the day, where i ran into problems with my thinking and just shrugged them off. Some others here may have done the same, some others may have not. But i have no problem in admitting that i was evil.

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You have a cartoon/comic book version of evil, that doesnt exist in the world. Evil people are not the ones who sit in their lairs rubbing their hands actively thinking "i am so evil, all i want is destruction, i want to kill as much as possible". Sure, there are sociopaths, but in general that is just a caricatyre of something that doesnt exist. It is their intentional evasion of reality that makes them evil, not the fact that they "openly" admit to themselves that all they want is concentration camps and gulags.

Your theory of evil, would actually make Jim Jones less evil than the people who killed themselves and their babies at Jonestown.

Let me get clear on this. I am going to lie down on my bed, and deliberately sabotage my mind. I am going to force myself to become a Hindu. I am going to literally make myself believe that there are lots of gods with elephant heads and other strange appendages controlling reality. Then I am going to force myself to become an idealist on top of that, and to crown it all off I will make myself believe that a version of Marxism more Marxist than Marx is the correct political ideology - but I'm just going to stay in bed. I'm not going to act on any of my ideas. I have committed the grossest sequence of evasions possible. I am being more evasive of reality than Kant. Given that, am I more evil than Kant, Hitler, etc, by your criteria?

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Let me get clear on this. I am going to lie down on my bed, and deliberately sabotage my mind. I am going to force myself to become a Hindu. I am going to literally make myself believe that there are lots of gods with elephant heads and other strange appendages controlling reality. Then I am going to force myself to become an idealist on top of that, and to crown it all off I will make myself believe that a version of Marxism more Marxist than Marx is the correct political ideology - but I'm just going to stay in bed. I'm not going to act on any of my ideas. I have committed the grossest sequence of evasions possible. I am being more evasive of reality than Kant. Given that, am I more evil than Kant, Hitler, etc, by your criteria?

Teach and write books about your evasions as Kant did, and then we can have a valid comparison.

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I would agree with you that there are degrees of evil, just as there are degrees of virtue. There are degrees of irrationality, just as there are degrees of rationality.

In relation to virtue Peikoff said:

The virtue of independence consists in a man's primary orientation to reality, not to other men. In fundamental terms, we said, the independent man is as alone in society as on a desert island. Such a mode of life demands freedom. In order to be alone in the requisite sense, a man must be left alone.

A man yoked by law to the decisions of others, any others, whether his family, his race, his nation, or the entire world, must place people first in his mental hierarchy, above reason and reality. He must devote himself to imitating, cajoling, obeying (or forcing) the others in power, whatever they believe. By the nature of the system, those others are his means of survival: directly or indirectly, they control his intellectual tool, the means of cognition, and his material tools, the means of production.

Under any variant of statism, conformity to the man-made replaces conformity to the metaphysically given; because now the man-made, right or wrong, sets the terms of behavior. The rulers demand obedience at the point of a gun. Dissenters face fine, imprisonment, or death.

Degrees are irrelevant here. From the moment of a free society's first conscious breach of individual rights, the principle of independence has been dropped in favor of the principle of social conformity. The arena open to independence, therefore, starts to shrink and goes on shrinking (barring a fundamental change in the society's philosophy). Either independence, <opar_382> like every other virtue, is upheld as an absolute or not at all. The only system that can uphold it as an absolute is one that respects freedom as an absolute.

According to Objectivism, such a code must deal with three basic, interrelated questions. For what end should a man live? By what fundamental principle should he act in order to achieve this end? Who should profit from his actions? The answers to these questions define the ultimate value, the primary virtue, and the particular beneficiary upheld by an ethical code and reveal thereby its essence.

The Objectivist position can be indicated in three words. The ultimate value is life. The primary virtue is rationality. The proper beneficiary is oneself.

Edited by Plasmatic
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If you understand the nature of reason and rationality, and that these require a man to have a primary focus on reality and facts in an integrated manner, and if you realize that Kant's primary writings will cut a man's mind off from reality completely if they are followed consistently, then you have to understand that Kant was the most anti-reason philosopher who ever existed. And if you understand that Kant did this consistently and thoroughly, for every main branch of philosophy, then I don't understand how one can say that he didn't do that intentionally. That's like saying a man can write and write and write and not be remotely aware of what he is doing, or that he is not in control of what he is writing, that he didn't do it of his own free will intentionally, with clear intent to destroy the mind of anyone accepting his philosophy. And if one understand these issues, then one has to condemn Kant as the most evil man who has ever existed.

As to the relationship between Kant and the evil dictatorships that existed last century -- the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Communist Cuba -- these could only have arisen if the men in those countries were intellectually disarmed. And Kant did the disarming. So, Kant most definitely made those regimes possible. His philosophy made it impossible for those men to come up with a rational alternative to totalitarian dictatorship -- which is one reason why in practice of his philosophy that he must be condemned as the most evil man who ever lived.

Kant was well aware of The Enlightenment and the celebration of full reason, which mankind was aiming at, and he destroyed that. He took every argument of the skeptic and blew it up into a mind numbing collection of anti-reason verbiage, with the sole intent of destroying reason. He couldn't have done that non-intentionally and only accidentally. He had to do that with a clear purpose in mind, because he is just too damned consistent for it to have been otherwise.

To put this in perspective: Yes, those evil dictators killed many hundreds of millions of people, but Kant sought to destroy the mind of every man on earth; which makes him far more evil.

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Bond, you say you are new to Objectivism, and you seem to idolize David Kelley quite a bit.

Perhaps you haven't read David Kelley Versus Ayn Rand On Kant by Diana Mertz-Hsieh. You might want to peruse her blog on the Objectivist Center and read both her story and the arguments therein. If you say that an objectivist must, above all, recognize the validity of a logical argument regardless of what one wants to believe, then I am interested in observing your reaction to this information. Read slowly, there is quite a lot of it.

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I do judge ideas. I do think many of Kant's ideas were pure evil, but I don't think that Kant the man was as evil as Stalin.
To clarify, are you saying that you have never looked at someone and thought to yourself: "he's a really good guy", or at least "he seems to be a really good guy"?

I suppose the broadest question is the epistemological one: can we judge other people? Do we have any ability to at least make a decent guess after considering lots of evidence? Of course, one can jump to faulty, hasty conclusions about people: about the ideas they hold, about their experiences in coming to those ideas, and about their thought processes (for instance, whether they are deliberately trying to ignore some elephant in the room, or whether they're blind). However, such mistakes just mean we would need to improve our methodology, not that we should drop this area of cognition as completely futile.

At the ethical level, the first question is: why bother judging people? Remember, this is not about judging people rather than judging ideas. Of course we know we have to judge the merit of various ideas. In addition, the question is: does it help us in anyway to try to understand where other people are coming from, what they are thinking, and so on?

Those are the two key questions and I suggest it is helpful to forget the realms like politics or abstract ethics when you first consider them. Think of simpler examples first. For instance, consider a salesperson trying to close a sale with a client. The client wants a particular product. Does it matter to the salesman to understand why the customer wants that product? Is he at all able to gather this information, which is inside the client's head? Or, take the case of an employer interviewing a prospective employee, and ask similar questions. Can one person try to figure out something about the cognitive processes of the other person, and if so why would he want to figure it out?

That's the place to start... then work your way to judgments about other people's politics or ethics.

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Let me get clear on this. I am going to lie down on my bed, and deliberately sabotage my mind. I am going to force myself to become a Hindu. I am going to literally make myself believe that there are lots of gods with elephant heads and other strange appendages controlling reality. Then I am going to force myself to become an idealist on top of that, and to crown it all off I will make myself believe that a version of Marxism more Marxist than Marx is the correct political ideology - but I'm just going to stay in bed. I'm not going to act on any of my ideas. I have committed the grossest sequence of evasions possible. I am being more evasive of reality than Kant. Given that, am I more evil than Kant, Hitler, etc, by your criteria?

No, because you do not promote these ideas.

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Thats a bit out of context. I dont think there is anyone here who judges their neighbor who introduces himself "Hi, my name is Todd. I just moved next door, and i'm a libertarian" as equally evil as a dictator. Noone here is objecting to the fact that there are degrees of evil, what we are objecting to the fact that Kelley thinks that only actions should be judged, not the ideas that led to those actions. If your libertarian neighbor turns out to be intelligent, but still a subjectivist an a pacifist who thinks the US should not defend themselves, he most definitely is evil, and not just a little.

Peikoff/Schwartz/other objectivists seem to have trouble the degrees of evil concept, and I think it's an important thing to keep in mind.

Well, kind of, if he is somewhat young, disinterested in ideas and hasnt just thought of things all that much. If he is a 40-year old social worker with a college degree, then he most definitely is not innocent.

I disagree with the age distinction. I'm personally happy to talk to neighbors of all ages, if they ask about objectivism, whether they are 15 or 50.

This must be the most absurd statement ever. Obviously we can debate him if we want to convince the listeners, but that doesnt mean that we shouldnt condemn him. Actually, that is the first thing you should do, and make it damn sure that you are there not to "learn his point of view", but to show others that it is evil.

I said we should say he's evil (condemned).

You have a cartoon/comic book version of evil, that doesn't exist in the world. Evil people are not the ones who sit in their lairs rubbing their hands actively thinking "i am so evil, all i want is destruction, i want to kill as much as possible". Sure, there are sociopaths, but in general that is just a caricatyre of something that doesnt exist. It is their intentional evasion of reality that makes them evil, not the fact that they "openly" admit to themselves that all they want is concentration camps and gulags.

This relates back to the degrees of evil comment.

Yes there are degrees of evil, and it would most definitely be lazy to say that everyone who doesn't support ARI is evil, but when there actually are no people who claim that, your statement is absurd. No one disagrees with the degrees of evil part, but with the indefinite suspension of judgment and only judging actions, not ideas.

A lot of people are way to quick to judge without evidence or degree, in my opinion. The "ARI objectivists" comment was figurative/sarcastic to demonstrate this.

We can have the gay debate somewhere else, but whatever stance you have, that statement about gays was an application(either wrong or false) by Ayn Rand of her philosophy, not a principle of her philosophy. The fact whether Ayn Rand had or did not have wrong information about the nature of homosexuality, does not make Objectivism an open system. Whether Rand was wrong about gays, women, evolution etc. does not change her philosophy, whether ideas should be separated from action morally, does.

The deification of Ayn Rand makes some people try to integrate her dated opinions into her philosophy. I've seen this even on this board. She was tremendous, brilliant, unique, but nobody is perfect. Similar with her written philosophy, or Peikoff's, or Kelly's. Let's be smart about this. Let's have our minds be the final arbiter of truth.

That's one of my issues with Ayn Rand groups in general. A group or center with philosophy that values individualism becomes automatically susceptible to conformity.

It's like saying that we can make Aristotle's philosophy "open", and include the Theory of Forms into Aristotle's philosophy, because Aristotle thought the world was flat.

Then why do you consider Peikoff's work part of objectivist doctrine, but not other objectivist philosophers? If you take Ayn Rand's works alone, that's fine. But that means you can't call Peikoff's addition part of objectivism, and I bet you aren't willing to do that. Ayn Rand gave him her sanction, yes, but this is your definition.

I'm willing to call Peikoff's work objectivist, and I'm willing to call Kelly's works objectivist. The same way I'm willing to call Sartre and Neitschze's work existential.

If you want to distinguish between different philosophers, then do that.

And somewhere you asked whether i was evil, before i was an objectivist, and the answer in my case is yes. I did some serious evasion back in the day, where i ran into problems with my thinking and just shrugged them off. Some others here may have done the same, some others may have not. But i have no problem in admitting that i was evil.

I think I mispoke there..because I would call myself evil (at times) before I was an objectivist as well.

To Skaiscala: I will definitely check those out. I still have a lot of learning and thinking to do. I don't idolize Peikoff or Kelly. I respect both of them. I certainly don't agree with Peikoff/Kelly's/Rand's views 100%. I almost do though, which gives me the right to call myself an objectivist.

Here's one point I would like to make to all of you. A lot of people don't know objectivist philosophy. I want to evangelize, personally, because I think the philosophy is absolutely wonderful. I'm willing to talk to (tolerate) lots of people, young and old, and tell them about objectivism. That doesn't mean I sanction them or their beliefs, it means I see them as potential values. People may be able to pick of up different pieces (conservativism, atheism, etc.), but as a systematic philosophy, very view people know about objectivism. Even people who've read and appreciated Atlas Shrugged might not be aware that there is a philosophical movement.

Edited by James Bond
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Here's one point I would like to make to all of you. A lot of people don't know objectivist philosophy. I want to evangelize, personally, because I think the philosophy is absolutely wonderful. I'm willing to talk to (tolerate) lots of people, young and old, and tell them about objectivism. That doesn't mean I sanction them or their beliefs, it means I see them as potential values. People may be able to pick of up different pieces (conservativism, atheism, etc.), but as a systematic philosophy, very view people know about objectivism. Even people who've read and appreciated Atlas Shrugged might not be aware that there is a philosophical movement.
Is someone saying you should not this? It seems to me that you've basically built up some strawman picture of someone who calls themselves Objectivist and also claims that there are no degrees of evil and that anyone less than perfect should be condemned or shunned or something like that. That guy probably exists, but that's a caricature that has nothing to do with most Objectivists I know, nor the folks at the ARI.
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Peikoff/Schwartz/other objectivists seem to have trouble the degrees of evil concept, and I think it's an important thing to keep in mind.

No, they have a problem with the fact that we should tolerate these "lesser" evils, and suspend judgement.

I disagree with the age distinction. I'm personally happy to talk to neighbors of all ages, if they ask about objectivism, whether they are 15 or 50.

You really seem to be making a strawman here. No one is saying you shouldnt talk to people of all ages no matter what their philosophy.

A lot of people are way to quick to judge without evidence or degree, in my opinion. The "ARI objectivists" comment was figurative/sarcastic to demonstrate this.

Yes, sometimes people do that, but i haven't seen ARI or Peikoff do this all that much.

The deification of Ayn Rand makes some people try to integrate her dated opinions into her philosophy. I've seen this even on this board. She was tremendous, brilliant, unique, but nobody is perfect. Similar with her written philosophy, or Peikoff's, or Kelly's. Let's be smart about this. Let's have our minds be the final arbiter of truth.

It really seems you have some psychological problem of accepting perfection. Yes, she was human, she did mistakes, she did say things that aren't true, but her philosophy is perfect. And if it's not, show me where it's not. I don't understand youre "nobodys perfect" comment, if you dont offer any examples. As a blanket statement it's pretty similar to "the truth lies somewhere in between".

That's one of my issues with Ayn Rand groups in general. A group or center with philosophy that values individualism becomes automatically susceptible to conformity.

Yes, there are people who are interested in Objectivism because they have a wrong kind of hero worship, and they just like absolutes in general. This board has some, but you will not find those people at ARI.

Then why do you consider Peikoff's work part of objectivist doctrine, but not other objectivist philosophers? If you take Ayn Rand's works alone, that's fine. But that means you can't call Peikoff's addition part of objectivism, and I bet you aren't willing to do that. Ayn Rand gave him her sanction, yes, but this is your definition.

First of all, Peikoff hasn't added anything to the philosophy, nor went against any of its core principles. Second of all, Ayn Rand herself accepted the Ominous Parallel's as Objectivist. But OPAR is just a clear introduction to what Objectivism is, and thus it is Objectivist. And as Peikoff has stated, if he ever gets that "DIM" book out, that it will not be part of Objectivist philosophy, just an application of it to explain history.

What Kelley does, is not only add to the philosophy, but go against one of its major principles, and that is very different from writing an introduction of Objectivism.

I'm willing to call Peikoff's work objectivist, and I'm willing to call Kelly's works objectivist.

Then the word Objectivist means nothing, if it means contradictory things. Because you cant even call Kelleys books "applications" of Objectivist philosophy, because it doesnt even apply it, it goes against its basic principles.

I'm willing to talk to (tolerate) lots of people, young and old, and tell them about objectivism. That doesn't mean I sanction them or their beliefs, it means I see them as potential values. People may be able to pick of up different pieces (conservativism, atheism, etc.), but as a systematic philosophy, very view people know about objectivism. Even people who've read and appreciated Atlas Shrugged might not be aware that there is a philosophical movement.

You really have not understood where the schism between ARI and the "open system" lies. It is not in talking to irrational people, and talking to them is not toleration. Talking to them without clearly stating that you think they are wrong/evil.

This is an example of Kelley, and i dont understand how you can respect him:

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/ct-1540-T..._Terrorism.aspx

Some quotes from Kelleys speech to a muslim organization:

I am not a Muslim. Nor am I a Christian, or a Jew. My philosophy of life, Objectivism, is a secular philosophy. But we are gathered here to protest the evil of terrorism in the name of values that transcend differences in religion and worldview.

...to watch the brave people of Iraq being blown apart as they drive their children to school, as they wait in lines to enlist in the police force, as they try to build a democratic society...

The terrorists claim that violent jihad is the true path of Islam. I do not believe this for a minute.

Unfortunately, it is the Islamists who have so far had the loudest voice. That's why it's vitally important for Muslims themselves to speak out against the terrorists and reject their actions as evil—absolutely evil, no ifs, ands, or buts. Too many Islamic spokesmen have taken "Yes, but" attitudes: Yes, the violence is wrong but Palestinians are still oppressed… or Yes, but there is still discrimination against Arab-Americans… or Yes, whatever. Well, yes indeed, these issues deserve our attention. But they do not justify or excuse murder and destruction.

I salute Kamal Nawash for the absolute, unqualified stand he has taken, and for his courage and commitment in speaking out. I salute the Free Muslims Against Terrorism for sponsoring this rally. I urge everyone to support them and make common cause with them.

You understand that this is not just "talking" to religious people. This is utter sanction of islam and religion. Nowhere in his speech, does Kelley adress the evils of religion itself, the evils of mysticism.

And his last quote which i wanted to separate:

I appeal to all those, of any creed or philosophy, who stand for human life and happiness, for freedom, for progress and for its source—the free exercise of reason—to join in opposing those who want to control the mind, roll back progress, stifle freedom—and who are willing to kill and maim to do so.

This i unadulterated libertarianism. Its not just kind of libertarian, it is 100% what libertarianism is about. It doesnt matter why you support human life, happiness and freedom, and you can be of "any creed or philosophy", just as long as you support "freedom".

Really, have you been really aware of what kind of person Kelley is, and what he thinks is applicable with Objectivism, or do you really respect him after reading this....

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Provide proof of this claim please.

Just after a 2 minute browsing of "A Question of Sanction":

The concept of evil applies primarily to actions, and to the people who perform them. Schwartz asserts that we should not sanction the Soviets because they are “philosophical enemies.” This is a bizarre interpretation of their sins. Soviet tyrants are not evil because they believe in Marxian collectivism.They are evil because they have murdered millions of people and enslaved hundreds of millions more..

Truth and falsity, not good or evil, are the primary evaluative concepts that apply to ideas as such.

If we approach ideas with the question: true or false?, we stand ready to combat bad ideas by the only means appropriate to intellectual issues: open, rational discussion and debate. But if we approach ideas with the question: good or evil?, we will avoid debate for fear of sanctioning evil-doers.
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Both Kant and the Marxist professor are evil for spreading ideas that completely fly in the face of reality and would impose communism or worse on the whole country, if they could.

I believe in the debate between Peikoff and Kelley the concrete was that Kant was more evil than Stalin because he made Stalin possible. I believe it is moral to shoot a Stalin or a Hitler on sight. If Kant is just as evil as or even more evil than Stalin, would you assassinate Kant? Would you assassinate an academic marxist? If you do not think you should assassinate an academic marxist, then it seems that you agree with Kelley because while it is true they are both evil, it is in different respects. It is because of that difference in respects that you can engage in discussion with a marxist and not with Stalin.

Consider this quote by Ayn Rand:

"I could deal with a Marxist with greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That's the libertarian movement." [FHF] - Ayn Rand Answers, P.72. (bold mine)

Edited by Donovan.A
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The concept of evil applies primarily to actions, and to the people who perform them. Schwartz asserts that we should not sanction the Soviets because they are “philosophical enemies.” This is a bizarre interpretation of their sins. Soviet tyrants are not evil because they believe in Marxian collectivism.They are evil because they have murdered millions of people and enslaved hundreds of millions more..

Notice that Kelley states primarily, this does not mean that ideas cannot be judged by ethical standards.

Kelley is also pointing to the different respects in which a person can be evil. Obviously you do not use force against people just because they believe in socialism or communism.

Truth and falsity, not good or evil, are the primary evaluative concepts that apply to ideas as such.

This is correct, this is the link between epistemology and ethics. Otherwise your ethics are floating, disconnected from epistemology, aka: rationalism.

If we approach ideas with the question: true or false?, we stand ready to combat bad ideas by the only means appropriate to intellectual issues: open, rational discussion and debate. But if we approach ideas with the question: good or evil?, we will avoid debate for fear of sanctioning evil-doers.

I think his point here is to consider degree and measurement. Obviously, going to a party dressed inappropriately is a bad idea but I seriously doubt it warrants the label EVIL.

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What you need to understand James, is that the degree of evil is ultimately irrelevant. One should not willingly sanction any degree of evil, no matter how trivial.

I don't think that is the debate, I think the debate involves knowing if one is guilty of sanctioning evil. For instance, you could spend a lot of time avoiding buying gas from Iran, if you can find out which gas is and is not from Iran. Is it sanction to buy gas that is 10% Iranian? Sanction means you morally approve, morally agree.

The reason why the sanction issue even came up between Kelley and Peikoff is because Kelley spoke to Libertarians about why you need a rational philosophy to support capitalism.

Consider this quote by Ayn Rand:

"This is an insidious kind of intimidation: it equates a speaker’s views with

those of the discussion’s sponsors. A man of integrity is conscientiously precise about the

nature of his views on any subject. If his views are going to be judged, not by his own

statements, but by the views of those who invite him to speak... then his only alternative is to

accept no speaking engagements. If so, what happens to our freedom of speech?” “The

Disenfranchisement of the Right,” The Ayn Rand Letter I (Dec.20, 1971), p. 26.

"Tolerance", as it is described and explained by Kelley, is not consistent with Objectivism. A crucial aspect of Kelley's view of tolerance is the suspension of judgment when we lack sufficient evidence. This means in effect that one ought to suspend from making judgment on all evidence currently available.

This is false. You only judge to suspend moral appraisal of a person when you lack evidence. And this is not inconsistent with Objectivism. I quote again:

If you do not know how to judge the character of a person because the facts available to you are insufficient and the evidence of his flaws is inconclusive, you must give him the benefit of the doubt not on the ground of mercy but on the ground of justice. Because to let off the guilty is less disastrous than to condemn the innocent. Because virtues are more important than flaws. Because justice demands that a man be considered innocent until proved guilty and this principle applies in law courts as well as in your personal relationships with people. Except that in personal relationships, when you give the benefit of the doubt you do not dismiss the case. You wait for further evidence to prove the good or bad character of the person before you pass a moral judgment.” - The Basic Principles of Objectivism - Nathaniel Branden, Justice vs. Mercy Track 1 at 9:23

(This course was endorsed by Ayn Rand)

"The principles of justice also determine the limits of toleration.

Tolerance is not appropriate, as I said in “A Question of Sanction,” when

a person is willfully irrational. Thus I do not hold, as Peikoff claims, that

tolerance means suspending moral judgment in the realm of ideas. It means

suspending judgment when we lack sufficient evidence." – David Kelley (The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand)

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Toleration is the giving of sanction. At every moment in our lives we must not willfully sanction the irrational—we must not sanction evil. This is not a impossible task, in fact, as Rand wrote in Virtue of Selfishness, it's quite easy: "When one deals with irrational persons, where argument is futile, a mere “I don’t agree with you” is sufficient to negate any implication of moral sanction." If it can be firmly established that Objectivism does not tolerate the sanction of the irrational, then what is left to tolerate? Only the rational. And here we have no problem.

Nobody tolerates virtue or rationality. Tolerance can only be applied to a specific spectrum of ideas or actions that a person disapproves of. If you state that only a person who deserves tolerance should receive it, fine. But that begs the question, how do you judge, how do you know who deserves tolerance, how much time should a person have to adapt, how much time should a person be allowed to learn, how much time does a person deserve? These are not easy questions, no magic bullet will work. For rationalists, moral judgment is quite easy because context is ignored. If we hold that ideas and actions are either good or evil, then what is the moral status of tolerance? Is tolerance, when practiced rationally, evil? Was the patience that Ayn Rand was often praised for a virtue or a vice?

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Kelley's let's not judge people by their ideas most of the time is a philosophical error about a very significant issue and thus leading to very significant negative consequences.

That is not fair to Kelley's argument. I could argue the same way about Peikoff because I think far more harm and danger comes from the opposite of Kelley's approach, which is: judge fast, judge now, forget waiting for all the facts, forget if you are right or wrong, ask questions later, if at all. Forget proportions (not one crumb), there are few errors in philosophy - so you are most likely evil, and you don't understand Objectivism unless you agree with me.

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