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David Kelley's Moral Theory Contra Objectivism

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brandonk2009
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First, he accepts the mind-body dichotomy implicit in the "motives vs. consequences" debate, and then writes in Truth and Toleration "In judging an action, therefore, we are concerned not only with its consequences, measured by the standard of life, but also with its source in the person’s motives, as measured by the standard of rationality. The question is how to integrate these two factors into a single judgment. Philosophers have long wrestled with this question; they have proposed various theories about the proper weight to assign to consequences on the one hand and motives on the other. The Objectivist ethics, unfortunately, has yet to address this question in any depth." (T&T pg 22).

An example of the mind-body dichotomy would be only focusing on motives or only focusing on consequences. Just as a person might focus only on reason or only on emotion. A person might feel they must choose between either reason or emotion, never seeing any correlation or connection between the two. If you were accused of murder, one of the importance considerations in the trial would be motive. The fact that someone kills another person by mistake does not make him a coldblooded, evil, murderer. The consequences between someone who commits manslaughter by mistake or murders someone is the same, death, but the moral judgment we must pass is not the same.

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Brandens pre-split work is valuable, because he was an objectivist->then openly and clearly changed his views. Kelley on the other hand doesnt seem like he changed his mind at any point, he seems to have always been a non-objectivist. And please tell us, which of Kelley's pre-Truth and Toleration work is valuable to Objectivism?

If you are concerned about endorsement, any and all of the works that were endorsed by ARI when Kelley worked for them, at the minimum: The Art of Reasoning, The Evidence of the Senses and his lecture course on The foundations of Knowledge. Fundamentally, all of a person's works should be judged on there own. I don't think it is necessary to always agree with everything that a person writes. I certainly do not agree with everything Ayn Rand ever said. If you do not find it valuable to study David Kelley's works, then don't.

Ahh, so this is the root of your many confusions. When you read you skim quickly and excitedly, skipping keys words such as negations. I can't help you with that.

Why are you evading, and not answering my question?

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Here's the curious thing. I don't know if I would characterize it as a mind / body dichotomy, but it is some sort of dichotomy, because to be rational means to have man's life as the standard. If you do not have man's life as the standard for morality, then you are not being rational. And morality is in the province of rationality -- to have some other standard than man's life is not to be moral in the rational sense of the word. Having man's life as the rational standard for morality was one of Miss Rand's greatest accomplishments. It is this connection and integration of rationality and man's life as the standard that makes the Objectivist ethics rational. So, by implication at least, to say rationality versus man's life as the standard is to throw out Miss Rand's integration of rationality and morality, which means to throw out the Objectivist ethics, which is certainly contradictory to Objectivism qua philosophy.

Life is the standard of value, rationality is the standard of virtue. Rationality is the only virtue that is not contextual. There are contexts in which it is perfectly acceptable to be dishonest, such as when a Nazi is at the door looking for the Jews you hid in your closet. It would be irrational to be honest in that context.

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Life is the standard of value, rationality is the standard of virtue. Rationality is the only virtue that is not contextual. There are contexts in which it is perfectly acceptable to be dishonest, such as when a Nazi is at the door looking for the Jews you hid in your closet. It would be irrational to be honest in that context.

But rationality is contextual -- rationality is understanding the facts of reality in an integrated manner and acting accordingly. You totally missed the point I was making. The context of rationality are facts. None of the explicit moralities presented to man prior to Objectivism were based upon facts -- they were based upon fantasies, either the fantasy of God handing it down to us or the fantasy of the collective good. Now the Ancient Greeks did have a pro-man's-life morality, but it was largely implicit and never developed into an actual science of ethics.

One cannot be rational with out some sort of fact based standard (implicitly or explicitly). If the so called standard it not based upon the facts of reality, then philosophically it is not really a standard but rather some sort of pseudo standard -- like following the edicts of the Bible God or following the edicts of the communist dictator or following the edicts of the Muslim fatwas. But these edicts are not based upon facts -- they are based upon the rantings of a God, a dictator, or a Mullah; edicts that are not based upon the facts of reality. And they are most certainly not based upon the factual nature of man.

This difference between the Objectivist ethics and all others is crucial to grasp for one to be an Objectivist, and to not understand that difference is to not be an Objectivist. So, if David Kelley is spreading the idea that there can be non-fact based rational codes of ethics, then he is preaching against Objectivism.

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Life is the standard of value, rationality is the standard of virtue.

Here's the integration: To have rationality as the standard of virtue is to have life -- man's life -- as the standard of value. There is no other grounds for a rational virtue. In other words, for "that which one acts to gain or to keep" to be rational, then man's life must be the standard for "that which one acts to gain or to keep." It is not as if one can be rational if one does not have man's life as the standard. One can be rationalistic and follow one's code of ethics to the letter, but that isn't rational its being rationalistic.

As to the motive aspects of all of this, yes one must take motive into account, and that does make the difference between manslaughter and murder. However, let's say the Marxist professor is only engaged in manslaughter because he does not intent to enslave all of mankind; his preaching will certainly lead to that, and so, at a minimum, if he doesn't change his preaching, then he ought to be shunned, at least until he understands that what he is preaching will lead to the enslavement of all of mankind.

Maybe Obama does not realize that by enacting what he is enacting then he will destroy capitalism and destroy the economic foundation of this country -- he still needs to be fought as if he were the enemy.

In Atlas Shrugged, Dagny didn't realize that she was feeding the looters, but John Galt still had to consider her to be one who was aiding and abetting the enemy.

Motive just means the difference between mistaken and evil, of having an accident and of deliberately trying to murder his fellow man. Nonetheless, the person who commits manslaughter is still responsible, unless it was totally out of his control (like a massive smashup on an icy road or something). But a person is responsible for the ideas that he accepts and spreads -- even if he accepts them through the failure to think it through.

There are professors of Kant and Marx who do not see what they are preaching and what will happen to mankind if what they are teaching is taken seriously and enacted. But they are not innocent for not thinking it through. They are teachers and it is their responsibility to think such things through; it is not their job to merely present what has been presented to them. They, above all, should be thinkers, and they should be presenting material in such a way that their students can go out and live in the world as independent thinkers. To default on this responsibility is to not have the requirements for being a teacher (that's the manslaughter angle).

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then Plasmatic answers to that exact statement directly by: "Also I heard Peikoff on a lecture yesterday state that he thinks its OK to read opposing philosophies but with the critical active position "'whats wrong with this.'"

Here's the thing though..I think the fact that someone had to ask Peikoff's permission to read other philosophies is very telling. To me it's pretty obvious that in order to be rational, of course you should read opposing philosophies. Can you picture Ragnar Danneskjold asking this/? No one should put anyone else's mind above their own, not even Peikoff's or Rand, even if you still agree with 99% of what they said. The 'permission' element speaks to the cultish/collectivist attitude which I don't like to see anywhere, but especially in the place where it should be last to exist--in objectivist groups.

Then someone answers: Thats wrong. Rand clearly did not think philosophy was irrelevant, she thought the exact opposite. She wrote a book called:"Philosophy, Who Needs It?" and clearly stated that everyone needs philosophy. Your statement about burning libraries absurd, she said no such thing.

I jokingly said that some ARI people would recommend burning Orwells/Newton's books since they weren't ARI objectivists. Bad joke. I obviously don't think Rand actually wanted to burn books. Dag.

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To me it's pretty obvious that in order to be rational, of course you should read opposing philosophies.
Do you think that a rational man should spend all of their time reading all of the works of every irrational opposing philosopher? Should a rational man also spend some time reading the works of philosophers whom he agrees with because he finds that they are speaking the truth?

Empty deontic claims that one should do everything are worthless in the face of reality, that man has limitations, and that in order to invest any time on any philosophical work, you need a rational basis for that expenditure. You need evidence that there is some merit in the work. You need to know that the work is not pure poison lacking any nutritional content.

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Do you think that a rational man should spend all of their time reading all of the works of every irrational opposing philosopher? Should a rational man also spend some time reading the works of philosophers whom he agrees with because he finds that they are speaking the truth?

For example, I want to become more rational. For this reason, I will keep on studying objectivist literature, since I find it to be the most true philosophy by far. I also plan on also reading some Kant, so I can get a first hand take on what I think of his ideas. As you say, I might conclude that there is little merit in Kant's work. Similarly, I would hope that a Kantian would read some Rand in order to form his own opinions on her. Even if his Kantian buddies tell him not to. My main point on this topic was expressed here:

I think the fact that someone had to ask Peikoff's permission to read other philosophies is very telling. To me it's pretty obvious that in order to be rational, of course you should read opposing philosophies. Can you picture Ragnar Danneskjold asking this/? No one should put anyone else's mind above their own, not even Peikoff's or Rand, even if you still agree with 99% of what they said. The 'permission' element speaks to the cultish/collectivist attitude which I don't like to see anywhere, but especially in the place where it should be last to exist--in objectivist groups.
Edited by James Bond
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My main point on this topic was expressed here:

I think the fact that someone had to ask Peikoff's permission to read other philosophies is very telling.

Nonsense! your initial point was directed at Peikoff/ARI directly:

If Peikoff/Schwartz had their way, they would never allow their disciples to read anything that wasn't written by someone from the ARI camp. Newton? He's a deist. Oh and he didn't smoke. He's evil. George Orwell? He's wasn't a radical for capitalism..he's evil. He thought Stalin was more evil than Kant. Burn his books. They never existed, actually (see Branden). Do you see what I'm getting at here? I'm being facetious, but there's truth in the bizarre judgments that Peikoff/his ilk makes.

You are now switching your goal posts from baseless accusations against Peikoff/ARI to followers whom lack individuation.

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I also plan on also reading some Kant, so I can get a first hand take on what I think of his ideas.
What rational process leads you to conclude that you should read Kant? Why Kant, rather and not any of a slew of other irrationalists? If it was an emotional decision, then you aren't doing anything to become more rational. If it was based in some fact of reality, you should be able to say what fact of reality leads you to read Kant, and not read other irrationalists. Who commanded or permitted you to read Kant?
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What rational process leads you to conclude that you should read Kant? Why Kant, rather and not any of a slew of other irrationalists? If it was an emotional decision, then you aren't doing anything to become more rational. If it was based in some fact of reality, you should be able to say what fact of reality leads you to read Kant, and not read other irrationalists. Who commanded or permitted you to read Kant?

Here's the rational process behind reading irratationalists. I want to make sure that I've thought independently about who's philosophy is right or wrong. I want knowledge from both sides of the spectrum. As you know, there's a lot of faulty knowledge out there. So yes, I will read some Kant, among other irrational thinkers. In order for me to judge Marx, Kant, or anyone else, I want to give each their own due process. This might mean that after one book, I'm disgusted and I toss the book away. But I don't think it's fair to condemn Kant/Marx without ever having read anything they wrote, or generally knowing their ideas. Overall, I will mainly continue to study the philosophies that I agree with (Rand, Aristotle, etc.).

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Here's the rational process behind reading irratationalists.
You're not answering the question that I asked. Why specifically are you reading Kant? Why not Schopenauer, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Nietsche, Popper, Descartes, Berkeley, Hobbes, Pierce, Rousseau, Bentham, Kierkegaard, Russell, Engels, Heidegger, Schlegel, Voltaire and the list goes on. You have a huge, open-ended obligation to read crap to prove to yourself that it's crap, all because you accept the arbitrary as making a moral claim on your life. The first step towards you being more rational is to stop accepting the arbitrary, and start making choices based on perceptible fact. By your standard, you are being irrational because you're not reading all works by all philosophers. Change your standard.
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You're not answering the question that I asked. Why specifically are you reading Kant? Why not Schopenauer, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Nietsche, Popper, Descartes, Berkeley, Hobbes, Pierce, Rousseau, Bentham, Kierkegaard, Russell, Engels, Heidegger, Schlegel, Voltaire and the list goes on. You have a huge, open-ended obligation to read crap to prove to yourself that it's crap, all because you accept the arbitrary as making a moral claim on your life. The first step towards you being more rational is to stop accepting the arbitrary, and start making choices based on perceptible fact. By your standard, you are being irrational because you're not reading all works by all philosophers. Change your standard.

Like I said, I plan on reading Kant, among lots of other 'crap.' It's not arbitrary. I specified that I would read Kant because is Rand's polar opposite, so he has a particular salience. My aim is to study mainly objectivism, and I also want to know who the enemy is. I am curious..don't you think it's a little silly for objectivists to ask Peikoff if they should read other philosophers?

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Like I said, I plan on reading Kant, among lots of other 'crap.' It's not arbitrary. I specified that I would read Kant because is Rand's polar opposite, so he has a particular salience.
On what perceptual basis did you reach that conclusion, without having read Kant? On what perceptual basis do you plan to decide which philosophers to read and which not to read. We can get to the question about advice once you actually understand how irrational it is to claim to "read everything".
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Some people can have pretty good reasons to read Kant, but "read everything" is definitely not one of those. "Read everything" is never actually meant as such...it's often a rationalization to say "read this one other viewpoint". So, someone might use "read everything" as a way of saying "read Little's physics", when they are not similarly recommending that people read Maudlin.

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On what perceptual basis did you reach that conclusion, without having read Kant? On what perceptual basis do you plan to decide which philosophers to read and which not to read. We can get to the question about advice once you actually understand how irrational it is to claim to "read everything".

I'll explain this nice and clear for you. Kant is a major figure in philosophy. I want to study philosophy. If I studied philosophy, but had never studied Kant, I would have a gap in my knowledge. I'm not arbitrarily choosing to only read Kant, or to read anything and everything. If I said I wanted to read 'everything' before, it was in the tone of wanting to be well read in philosophy. If that answer satisfies you Odden, what's your reply to the question of permission?

I'm afraid Plasmatic got your number, Bond. Why don't you address the obvious and contradictory change in your tenor?

I don't think so. My main point from the start has been the dangers of dogmatic objectivism, and Peikoff/Schwartz certainly deserve a mention in that discussion.

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... what's your reply to the question of permission?
You should ask the guy who asked for what you call "permission". Perhaps he was simply being dogmatic. What of it? Is it your thesis that there some dogmatic folk who agree with much of Objectivism, call themselves Objectvists, etc.? Of course there are. It's not good, and many a time and oft, people have lectured to such folk, or argued with such folks, trying to get them away from their dogmatism... and some change, and others don't. Do you have a more precise point than simply that some so-called Objectvists are dogmatic?

My main point from the start has been the dangers of dogmatic objectivism, and Peikoff/Schwartz certainly deserve a mention in that discussion.
Well Peikoff does deserve mention in a sense, because he has done a lot to try to get people to question any budding dogmatism. As a newbie, you're obviously unaware of this. If you continue to pursue Objectivism, check out Peikoff's "Understanding Objectivism" lecture series.
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If that answer satisfies you Odden, what's your reply to the question of permission?
You're completely evading the issue. Let me explain how a rational person should proceed. A rational person should proceed based on evidence, not emotion. Evidence should be evaluated as to credibility. There must be a known rational basis for reading Kant, or any other philosopher. If you do not have such evidence, but are interested in the question, then you need to find such evidence. The best way to do that is get an evaluation of the value of that supposed evidence from someone whose judgment you can trust. You need to know from an expect whether a given reading will be a waste of your time. A rational person then should ask the advice of an expert like Peikoff about the value of reading a particular philosopher.

I've observed that you yourself have problems of expression, that you are not able to clearly communicate your particular interest to others. I don't blame you for that; I encourage you to work on your thinking skills so that you always say exactly what you mean. If someone actually asked (and you are the one claiming that, AFAICT) "Is it okay to read the works of other philosophers?", that cannot be reasonably construed as a request for permission. It is a request for an evaluation. If you don't like the speaker's communicative problem, fine, we can look at what he actually said and explain to him how that might be misunderstood. But since you have the same kind of communicative problems, not being able to say exactly what you intended to communicate, then we need to work on your skills at the same time. My evaluation is that you just made that permission nonsense up based on a lack of understanding of different ways of asking questions.

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"Is it okay to read the works of other philosophers?", that cannot be reasonably construed as a request for permission. It is a request for an evaluation. If you don't like the speaker's communicative problem, fine, we can look at what he actually said and explain to him how that might be misunderstood. But since you have the same kind of communicative problems, not being able to say exactly what you intended to communicate, then we need to work on your skills at the same time. My evaluation is that you just made that permission nonsense up based on a lack of understanding of different ways of asking questions.

Thanks for coming out and saying this. It's ridiculous for those not knowledgeable about Objectivism and Ayn Rand and Dr. Peikoff to claim that we follow their permissions. It's just stupid, to put it bluntly. And I don't know why some of you guys have to go around manufacturing complaints about Ayn Rand and Peikoff. Should you read other philosophies, sure, if you are curious, or at least semi-professional and want to better understand the influence of philosophy on history. However, if you don't have Objectivism down firmly, you may very well find it extremely confusing to try to understand Kant and his ilk. Plato at least wrote intelligibly; Kant didn't. So, sure, have at it. But if you are going to consider Rand and Peikoff to be dogmatic given that they are very firm in their evaluations (a typical Kelleyite cry), then don't blame him or Rand if you get confused by reading these other philosophers without a rational guide. If you are seriously interested, then I would highly recommend Dr. Peikoff's courses on the History of Western Philosophy, a two volume set. It may seem expensive, but it is far less than the cost of a college diploma in philosophy, and far more valuable.

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Thanks for coming out and saying this. It's ridiculous for those not knowledgeable about Objectivism and Ayn Rand and Dr. Peikoff to claim that we follow their permissions. It's just stupid, to put it bluntly.

Perhaps you are free from any dogma, Mr. Miovas. But it's not stupid to fight dogma. The topic of dogma in objectivism has long been issue, and it's still pertinent today, although arguably it has been diminished of late.

I've observed that you yourself have problems of expression, that you are not able to clearly communicate your particular interest to others. I don't blame you for that; I encourage you to work on your thinking skills so that you always say exactly what you mean. If someone actually asked (and you are the one claiming that, AFAICT) "Is it okay to read the works of other philosophers?", that cannot be reasonably construed as a request for permission. My evaluation is that you just made that permission nonsense up based on a lack of understanding of different ways of asking questions.

I've observed that you need to work on reading between the lines. I'm frankly surprised that you think reading Kant is not an important part to studying philosophy, but perhaps you don't have a lot of knowledge on the entire field of philosophy, and that's okay. In any case, the topic of this thread is fact and value. I think it is valuable to understand the history of philosophy, and Kant is a part of that history. I find value in understanding the whole field. Perhaps you find value in specializing in objectivism. We're different people.

On asking Peikoff about the value of reading of reading opposing philosophies: Despite Peikoff being an expert, there can be little value in asking his opinion on whether to read opposing philosophies. A rational, independent mind should clearly be able to see that reading opposing philosophies is a integral part to understanding a debate. I called it permission because it demostrates potential dogma.

Edited by James Bond
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I've observed that you need to work on reading between the lines.
Reading between the lines is an intellectually slovenly practice and a smarmy technique of propagandizing, but I recognize that it exists. I know how to do it. The question is, do you recognize when a person is refusing to play along, when a person is demanding careful thought and attention to the actual meaning of words?
I'm frankly surprised that you think reading Kant is not an important part to studying philosophy
Oh, and I would also suggest that you work on your reading between the lines skills, since I have never claimed or implied that. That's a good example of the evil of "reading between the lines". The fact that I challenge the lack of logic in your assertion that a rational man must effectively do the impossible doesn't mean that I cannot imagine some person actually having a reason to study Kant. However, I have not seen such a reason given.

If your purpose is to be a professional academic philosopher, then certainly you must read Kant (along with all of the other wankers I names). For most Objectivists, that consideration is irrelevant. If your purpose is understanding reality, then Kant is important only if he makes clear and applicable statements (even if they are false). You haven't shown that he does, so until I see evidence that Kant is relevant, I have no rational basis for studying Kant. Based on my own limited reading of Kant, I see no fact that indicates to me that reading Kant is important. (In contrast, I would support reading Popper, because his statements are clear enough that you can actually do what Peikoff said you should do, namely read and show why he is wrong). The evidence available to me shows that Kant isn't even wrong.

Of course, direct evidence showing his relevance could persuade me to give him a closer reading.

I think it is valuable to understand the history of philosophy, and Kant is a part of that history.
I don't, unless you add some relevant context. Like, if you have a fascination with how ideas develop. That's an okay topic, but there are other and better ways to understand the topic. But that's not an intrinsically valid goal. A rational independent mind would not automatically accept second hand values from you. It may be relevant to your purposes to study Kant, but those standards are not generally applicable, for example, to rational Objectivists at large.

Needless to say, if you establish both that you have a good grasp of Objectivism and a good grasp of other philosophers, that is, if you do something to establish that your evaluation deserves respect -- as Peikoff has done -- then I would be willing to to consider your opinion. Nothing that you've said so far indicates that you're gone through any process of logical validation. So I'm simply objecting to your presumption that it's self evident that Kant is worth studying. I'm objecting to your disintegration of fact and value, the assumption of value when there is no fact.

A rational, independent mind should clearly be able to see that reading opposing philosophies is a integral part to understanding a debate.
Check your assumptions. That presupposes a particular purpose. In your mythical example, you haven't even made a credible showing of what the person's purpose is.If your purpose is "understanding reality" and not "understanding an academic debate", then Kant becomes completely irrelevant to the rational man, as far as I can see.
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But rationality is contextual -- rationality is understanding the facts of reality in an integrated manner and acting accordingly. You totally missed the point I was making. The context of rationality are facts. None of the explicit moralities presented to man prior to Objectivism were based upon facts -- they were based upon fantasies, either the fantasy of God handing it down to us or the fantasy of the collective good. Now the Ancient Greeks did have a pro-man's-life morality, but it was largely implicit and never developed into an actual science of ethics.

Rationality is not contextual, it is methodological. Knowledge is contextual, but the method for man to acquire knowledge is not. How else does one arrive at honesty as a virtue without rationality? When the link between epistemology and ethics is broken or ignored, rationalism is the only result. When one assess a value, he has to ask of value to whom and for what purpose, in relation to life and happiness. Life as the standard refers to the metaphysical, happiness refers to the spiritual to your consciousness. To ignore either happiness or life means to enter the mind-body dichotomy. There can be no compromise, no conflict between happiness and life. This is why rationality must be the standard of our actions. Morality is primarily focused on actions which is why actions speak louder than words. You can use deductive reasoning to hypothesize a person's motives from their actions, but you have to be very aware that this is not absolute.

Edited by Lorenzo de' Medici
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In any case, the topic of this thread is fact and value. I think it is valuable to understand the history of philosophy, and Kant is a part of that history. I find value in understanding the whole field. Perhaps you find value in specializing in objectivism. We're different people.

I agree that it is valuable to study other philosophies to a point. However, one really needs only to understand the most essential principles of a philosophy before assessing how much time and attention they deserve. It is valuable to be knowledgeable regarding todays predominant philosophies, mostly because we are fighting a war against those ideas and we know how dangerous most of these ideas are. It is through abstractions and principles that a person is able to perceive and integrate an idea as: true or false, right or wrong, valid or invalid, good or evil.

Consider the following:

"In your own profession, in military science, you know the importance of keeping track of the enemy's weapons, strategy and tactics- and of being prepared to counter them. The same is true in philosophy: you have to understand the enemy's ideas and be prepared to refute them, you have to know his basic arguments and be able to blast them." - Philosophy: Who Needs It, p.11

It is not possible to understand opposing ideas without studying, reading and perhaps even attending lectures and classes.

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Rationality is not contextual, it is methodological.

Rationality is not contextual in the sense Donavon was saying earlier about honesty; and honesty is not contextual in that way either. One should always be honest, but honesty means not taking the non-existent -- the unreal -- into account. What is unreal in the case of lying to a hold-up man is that he does not own the values he is attempting to hold up. In other words, it is proper to be honest by lying to the guy pointing a gun at you -- the honesty is that it is your values and not his, so lying to protect them is the honestly appropriate thing to do.

Life as the standard refers to the metaphysical, happiness refers to the spiritual (consciousness). To ignore either is to enter the mind-body dichotomy. There can be no compromise, no conflict between happiness and life. This is why rationality must be the standard of our actions. Morality is primarily focused on actions which is why actions speak louder than words. You can use deductive reasoning to hypothesize a person's motives from their actions, but you have to be very aware that this is not absolute.

There most definitely can be a breach between happiness and life, if one has irrational values; and that is why man's life is the standard of morality, not happiness. If you violate that, then you are being irrational.

And no, Kelley is wrong about morality primarily being focused on actions. If one is irrational in one's own mind and never acts against anyone else, one is being immoral. Rationality is about mental processing of information in a non-contradictory manner. If you hold onto a contradiction then you are being immoral.

It's not about figuring out someone's motives, but their mental processing: Is it rational or irrational? If it is rational, then he is virtuous; if it is irrational then it is viceful. So, if someone wrote something out that was irrational on the face of it -- i.e. contradicted reality and rational integration -- then he is irrational and immoral. If he was only mistaken, then he can change his mind (and write a retraction), but to fail to do so once his error is pointed out is to be irrational and therefore immoral.

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