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Is objectivism consequentialist?

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

You can, morally speaking, sit next to the suicide using hemlock but you need to run away from the suicide with the Bomb.. it's the moral thing to do.

 

EDIT:  The above may seem flippant so I will complete my answer.  The above addresses ethical action by myself in view of my identification of these two people and that generally one is inimical to my life and the other is not a threat.

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "value significance".  I have already answered regarding moral action on my part, and implicit in that is an evaluation that the first person is a non-value while the second is a disvalue. 

If you are asking what my emotional reaction to these two people are, it is on the one hand profound sadness and on the other hand rage.  The sadness because of the potential (what perhaps could have been had the person chosen life, productivity, creativity, etc) of a person to be direct and indirect value in the complex web of existence, and the rage because of the destruction of presumably actual direct and indirect values other people represent (barring specific evidence to the contrary).

 

Socrates died for a cause he believed in (or so the accounts say). People can choose to go to war and easily die because what they believe in.
No matter if you are thinking of the survival demarcation of ethics or the flourishing demarcation, Socrates gave up something valuable for what he considered a higher value.
It seems like the morality is based on if you were him, or the guy sitting beside him.
So, good or bad depends on who you are.
Already there is a social context. 
But I guess its down the logic chain.
 

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31 minutes ago, 2046 said:

If Rand's ethics were only necessary for literal survival,

That would be an odd, untenable, and at the very least an ill defined position to take.

33 minutes ago, 2046 said:

If Rand's ethics were necessary, the human race would've died or long ago,

This also is so odd a proposition that it seems fantastical that anyone would have claimed it.

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

So your flourishing does not include other people in the picture?

Man’s survival qua man is now Robinson Crusoe instead of Hugh Hefner.

That's getting just a little personal.  That said, of course my idea of flourishing includes other people.. However, I prefer to deal with things in a logical order, and settling the fundamental issues of ethics is a prior condition to addressing a third level set of values.  So, I shall continue with the fundamentals and, once I've nailed them down to my satisfaction, I will turn to derivative issues.
 

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2 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Given two proposed suicidal methods, one which hurts others (let's say loved ones), and one that merely ends the life of the individual who has chosen to take his own life, but not bringing harm to those he loves, do we think that it's true of most suicidal people (let alone all) that there is no value significance whatsoever between them?

No reasoned value significance.  But we're creatures of emotion and habit, as well as reason, and so even if I have abandoned my reasoned commitment to values, I will likely act based on my automated values, or at least the most compelling of those values.
 

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11 minutes ago, Invictus2017 said:

That's getting just a little personal.  That said, of course my idea of flourishing includes other people.. However, I prefer to deal with things in a logical order, and settling the fundamental issues of ethics is a prior condition to addressing a third level set of values.  So, I shall continue with the fundamentals and, once I've nailed them down to my satisfaction, I will turn to derivative issues.
 

Sorry, I didn't mean "your" flourishing, but "one's" flourishing. Okay, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and wait. 

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

You can, morally speaking, sit next to the suicide using hemlock but you need to run away from the suicide with the Bomb.. it's the moral thing to do.

 

EDIT:  The above may seem flippant so I will complete my answer.  The above addresses ethical action by myself in view of my identification of these two people and that generally one is inimical to my life and the other is not a threat.

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "value significance".  I have already answered regarding moral action on my part, and implicit in that is an evaluation that the first person is a non-value while the second is a disvalue. 

If you are asking what my emotional reaction to these two people are, it is on the one hand profound sadness and on the other hand rage.  The sadness because of the potential (what perhaps could have been had the person chosen life, productivity, creativity, etc) of a person to be direct and indirect value in the complex web of existence, and the rage because of the destruction of presumably actual direct and indirect values other people represent (barring specific evidence to the contrary).

My apologies for the confusion. Rather, I was asking from the point of view of the suicidal man. Invictus had responded to Harrison, saying that to the man who no longer wishes to live, the choice of whether to blow up a bus of innocents alongside himself has no "value significance," meaning (as I take it) that such an act would be neither moral nor immoral (again: from the suicidal man's perspective), but amoral.

My observation, meant to challenge this (if lightly), is that I do not believe that in reality people who decide to commit suicide would attach zero "value significance" to their method of suicide; I think that most suicides, even in their last moments, would consider drinking hemlock to be far more ethical than blowing up the proverbial (or literal) nuns and orphans.

But is this irrational? If an Objectivist were to decide to commit suicide, making whatever "amoral" or "pre-moral" decision no longer to value life that we imagine such people do (which I am not convinced is actually a thing that exists, but whatever) -- then should that Objectivist consider all potential manners of exit (including the slaughter of others) ethically equivalent?

Just now, Invictus2017 said:

No reasoned value significance.  But we're creatures of emotion and habit, as well as reason, and so even if I have abandoned my reasoned commitment to values, I will likely act based on my automated values, or at least the most compelling of those values.

Perhaps.

Though based on my own understanding of "life as the standard of value," I would argue that I yet have reasoned value significance for opting not to harm those I love, even in the event of taking my own life... it is only the survivalist perspective, I believe, that necessitates that the suicidal man has no moral reason to prefer one method of suicide to any other.

Just then as a psa, if I ever decided to take my own life, it would still be safe to sit next to me on the bus; but I would not necessarily sit by a survivalist and count upon his "emotion and habit."

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25 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Though based on my own understanding of "life as the standard of value," I would argue that I yet have reasoned value significance for opting not to harm those I love, even in the event of taking my own life... it is only the survivalist perspective, I believe, that necessitates that the suicidal man has no moral reason to prefer one method of suicide to any other.

This does not depend on which flavor of ethics one adopts.  Every ethical proposition X, when fully stated, is of the form, "If you choose to live, then X."   (Or, rather, a more complicated X.  But that's a topic for another time.) The person who has not chosen to live has no reasoned ground to accept any X.  Of course, losing the reasoning that supported his values won't have much effect on his emotions, so one might expect such a person to act more or less as he would have prior to his choice to die, at least in areas not related to the reason for his choice.


 

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39 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Now, what kind of values is that?

Can you do something that is immoral it if is automatic?

In other words, I am wondering how it relates to ethics.

Objectivist dogma says that one's automated values reflect one's ethics.  The reality is rather more complicated than that. But one's ethics do strongly influence one's emotions and habits.  So, as a general rule, the person who has chosen to die is likely to continue (in most areas) as if he had not made that choice, simply because his programming gives the ethics he abandoned a kind of inertia. Thus, a man who loves his family but has chosen to die isn't likely to harm his family.  This won't be a reasoned choice, because he can't reach any reasoned ethical conclusions.  But, I expect, it would be a choice strongly supported by the emotions he feels in relation to his family.

A thing that is wholly automatic is wholly outside the province of ethics.  One's programming isn't quite that, in that it depends on one's prior choices.  So, it can be morally evaluated -- though not by the person who has chosen to die.
 

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3 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

That would be an odd, untenable, and at the very least an ill defined position to take.

This also is so odd a proposition that it seems fantastical that anyone would have claimed it.

Just to be clear, isn't that the position DA is taking, ad arguendo? Moreover, I think this is the actual position Kelley, Gotthelf, and Swartz have taken, even though there's a further (I think dubious) step to derive flourishing from survival (whereas, if flourishing is the ultimate end, survival would simply by a competent thereof.) Anyways, I thought your position was somewhat similar to the "survival into flourishing" one, correct me if I'm wrong.

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20 minutes ago, 2046 said:

Just to be clear, isn't that the position DA is taking, ad arguendo? Moreover, I think this is the actual position Kelley, Gotthelf, and Swartz have taken, even though there's a further (I think dubious) step to derive flourishing from survival (whereas, if flourishing is the ultimate end, survival would simply by a competent thereof.) Anyways, I thought your position was somewhat similar to the "survival into flourishing" one, correct me if I'm wrong.

Sigh.

Do you honestly believe there exists any type of flourishing in reality open to a man which does not in reality increase (even by the smallest infinitesimal amount) his chances of and his continued ability to survive?  Just a simple factual question.

To the extent the answer is no, is it not rational for a man wanting to survive as man and wise enough to see it, that he should choose to pursue all those types of flourishing?

And also to the extent that answer is yes, by what measure it is rationally possible to claim that the particular type of flourishing which does not lead to any increase whatever in a man's ability to survive is a type of flourishing at all?

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

- then should that Objectivist consider all potential manners of exit (including the slaughter of others) ethically equivalent?

Once he has chosen death he has ceased to be an Objectivist, and he certainly does not adhere to Objectivist ethics which is built upon the choice to live.  Whether or not he ascribes to a sort of ad hoc subjective ethics of his own invention and how he would evaluate these choices according to that ethics is a question open to pure speculation.

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Sigh.

Do you honestly believe there exists any type of flourishing in reality open to a man which does not in reality increase (even by the smallest infinitesimal amount) his chances of and his continued ability to survive?  Just a simple factual question.

To the extent the answer is no, is it not rational for a man wanting to survive as man and wise enough to see it, that he should choose to pursue all those types of flourishing.  

And also to the extent that answer is yes, by what measure it is rationally possible to claim that the particular type of flourishing which does not lead to any increase whatever in a man's ability to survive is a type of flourishing at all?

Yes! I agree with the other flourishers in this thread, that the idea that one's flourishing won't ever decrease life span or survival even infinitesimally (microscopically small!) to be wildly implausible. To a classical eudaimonist, especially a rational egoist, this would be just downright boring! Such a conception would be somewhere between a Bear Gryllsian and a Stoic, one should survive as long as possible without even microscopically lessening survival, achieving maybe a long, careful life of peaceful comfort and equanimity.

I say, F that. Galt, for example, threatens to kill himself if Dagny (his highest value) is harmed by the Thompson regime. He also risks and endures torture to stand up for his values. 

By what measure? Since life always involves trade offs, one is forced to choose between acceptance of minor values and major ones. I think choosing as much and as intense values as possible is a part of the nature of choosing. No truly human life can confine itself to activities pursued merely to keep yourself safe from the smallest of risks. 

I agree with Aristotle that a short, intense life more accurately embodies the fully self-actualized human life than a long, mild one. A truly human self-actualization includes a tense state of striving and alertness for value achievement that embodies a heroic vision. In fact, I think the requirements of flourishing demand of us to accept risks, certainly infitessimal (and sometimes more) to our survival.

In order to fulfill the requirements of courage, integrity, productiveness, pride, we should, as Nietzsche says "Live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas!" This should, of course be moderated by consequentialist (!) concerns (i.e., unity of virtue) of rationality, temperance, prudence. This, in the typical Aristotelian way, avoids the twin pitfalls of foolhardiness and timidity. 

 

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41 minutes ago, 2046 said:

In order to fulfill the requirements of courage, integrity, productiveness, pride, we should, as Nietzsche says "Live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas!" This should, of course be moderated by consequentialist (!) concerns (i.e., unity of virtue) of rationality, temperance, prudence. This, in the typical Aristotelian way, avoids the twin pitfalls of foolhardiness and timidity. 

2

Can this be categorized as hedonism moderated by consequentialist (!) concerns?

As in Virtuous Thrill Seeking.

I'm not attacking, just a philosophical question.

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9 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Can this be categorized as hedonism moderated by consequentialist (!) concerns?

As in Virtuous Thrill Seeking.

I'm not attacking, just a philosophical question.

It makes no sense to say hedonism with consequential considerations because pleasure/enjoyment are consequences. Hedonia as a standard is circular and untenable for the usual Aristotelian-Randian reasons.

Hedonism is more about felt good experiences and removal of bad experiences. Eudaemonia is more focusing on a way of function, of excellence in ones mode of functioning, achieving ones unique potentialities and fulfillment of purpose and personal growth. Sometimes we might actually want to feel to opposite of pleasure in order to get what we really want, as in Roark working in the quarry.

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10 hours ago, 2046 said:

Yes! I agree with the other flourishers in this thread, that the idea that one's flourishing won't ever decrease life span or survival even infinitesimally (microscopically small!) to be wildly implausible. To a classical eudaimonist, especially a rational egoist, this would be just downright boring! Such a conception would be somewhere between a Bear Gryllsian and a Stoic, one should survive as long as possible without even microscopically lessening survival, achieving maybe a long, careful life of peaceful comfort and equanimity.

I say, F that. Galt, for example, threatens to kill himself if Dagny (his highest value) is harmed by the Thompson regime. He also risks and endures torture to stand up for his values. 

By what measure? Since life always involves trade offs, one is forced to choose between acceptance of minor values and major ones. I think choosing as much and as intense values as possible is a part of the nature of choosing. No truly human life can confine itself to activities pursued merely to keep yourself safe from the smallest of risks. 

I agree with Aristotle that a short, intense life more accurately embodies the fully self-actualized human life than a long, mild one. A truly human self-actualization includes a tense state of striving and alertness for value achievement that embodies a heroic vision. In fact, I think the requirements of flourishing demand of us to accept risks, certainly infitessimal (and sometimes more) to our survival.

In order to fulfill the requirements of courage, integrity, productiveness, pride, we should, as Nietzsche says "Live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas!" This should, of course be moderated by consequentialist (!) concerns (i.e., unity of virtue) of rationality, temperance, prudence. This, in the typical Aristotelian way, avoids the twin pitfalls of foolhardiness and timidity. 

 

This is a straw man and a non sequitur. 

The subject of commentary and discussion was flourishing.  You just gone off... literally... into several irrelevant directions, and finally focused on the level of risks a person's actions represent and the willingness of a person to take specific kinds of risks of specific magnitude in order to ensure a value...  Your reasoning is pushing towards the ethics of emergencies and suicide.... and is an evasion from the question I asked.  Moreover, it says nothing about any type of flourishing. 

Granted these are all things you wish to discuss and I would be more than willing to discuss these but I do not appreciate the intellectual diversion tactics.  I would appreciate addressing the issue of flourishing, if you are willing.

So let's keep the discussion about the concept of flourishing itself.  And no, I am not talking about flourishing open to a plant, or an animal, but objective real flourishing open to a man.  We all intuitively know what a flourishing plant looks like, its leaves are bigger, greener, it reaches high into the sky and gathers ample light, its bark is shiny and thick and is effective to protect it, a flourishing animal will be tall and strong, and sharp and alert, its coat of a healthy sheen protecting it from the elements, a man... well this is what we need to define.. by way at first in the form of an answer to my question.. for which I am waiting.

 

You answered "yes" so I will assume you had your reasons.

Give me an example. Identify a single type or kind of flourishing which does not lead to any increase whatever in a man's ability to survive.  Is that kind of flourishing a physical kind? an emotional one? Financial? cognitive? Social? Introspective capacity? mental health? health in general?

Let's assume we take a man and assess all of his capacities in reference to reality, his ability to deal with reality (there being nothing else to deal with), and one particular capacity of which you identify as constituting a type of flourishing. Let's assume he has reached some level.  Depending upon the capacity and hence type of flourishing, you might:

1. define reaching that level of capacity as the measure of flourishing as against some lesser level which does not qualify as flourishing.  

2. define any level of that capacity as constituting flourishing according to your measure; or

3. define the measure of flourishing only as continually increasing that particular capacity.

These are all different ways to define a measure of a type of flourishing in connection with a man's capacity in reference to reality (as opposed to unreality, or a supernature).  By any of these types of measure of flourishing, all we know is that some magnitude or improvement or presence of a capacity of man (an actual aspect of a volitional acting organism man) will constitute a coordinate type of flourishing.  What remains to be answered is what particular capacities of man are connected with flourishing? 

Certainly it is not any capacity whatever.  A man might have the ability to see sunlight through his abdomen due to starvation... not likely an indication of flourishing.  What types of capacity constitute flourishing? 

I am not asking for a laundry list of random capacities "wise men of Greece" might have had but a conceptual foundation for judging upon what basis something constitutes flourishing.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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13 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

From what I am seeing both perspectives (flourishing or survival) hold this.

I do not believe that there are only two approaches on display in this thread, flourishing versus survival. Rather, I believe that there are nearly as many distinct conceptions of "life as the standard of value" as there are participants in this thread. Not everyone who adopts the term "survival" to describe what they mean are referring to the very same thing*, and the same is true of those who endorse "flourishing." Though on that point, I don't think that either "survival" or "flourishing," as typically used, are ideal labels for my own idea of "life" in this context.

_______________________

* I know that "survival" is sometimes preferred for the fact that it is, in theory, unambiguous. We all know what "survival" is, after all, when we use it to mean "the bare alternative of life versus death." But when such a thing is tested against certain raised examples (like Harrison's theoretical), then "survival" usually is held no longer to refer alone to "existence versus non-existence," but a specific kind of existence -- "existence as a man" -- which requires more than satisfying the bare alternative of life versus death, more than simply choosing to exist over not-existing. And thus, circuitously, he arrives at the "flourisher's" basic stance after all.

But Kelley's central question remains: how do we decide what goes into "flourishing" (even if this is put as "survival qua man" or etc.), or as he has it, "what gets included in the expanded idea of 'human life?'"

13 hours ago, Invictus2017 said:

This does not depend on which flavor of ethics one adopts.  Every ethical proposition X, when fully stated, is of the form, "If you choose to live, then X."   (Or, rather, a more complicated X.  But that's a topic for another time.) The person who has not chosen to live has no reasoned ground to accept any X.  Of course, losing the reasoning that supported his values won't have much effect on his emotions, so one might expect such a person to act more or less as he would have prior to his choice to die, at least in areas not related to the reason for his choice.

Responses to various hypotheticals and situations, I think, are almost more useful at this point than an attempt to define our positions abstractly. It helps me to understand various positions (including my own), for instance, to see responses like this.

I disagree that a person "who has not chosen to live" (which I regard a specious formulation) has, therefore, no "reasoned ground" to value anything -- even if alone the terms of their own death, and whether or not their loved ones are harmed in the process. When a parent makes some sort of "self-sacrifice" for the sake of preserving their childrens' lives, for instance, I don't think that means that the parent has no longer any "reasoned ground" to value their children.

For this is another way of restating, and begging, the survivalist's central premise: that the ultimate value is survival itself. Thus a parent should never be willing to die to save his child's life. But if we believe that, in some situations, it would be reasonable for a parent to do so... well then, we are appealing to some "more ultimate" value than his own individual survival. And that value remains, even when the parent has chosen against his own, literal survival.

11 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Once he has chosen death he has ceased to be an Objectivist...

And I disagree with this, as well. It is my understanding that Rand, Peikoff, and others, have spoken in support of suicide in certain circumstances, and I believe that support is consonant with both my understanding of "life as the standard of value," and Objectivism more generally.

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53 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Thus a parent should never be willing to die to save his child's life.

 

53 minutes ago, DonAthos said:

Rand, Peikoff, and others, have spoken in support of suicide in certain circumstances

 

 

Objectivism is a philosophy of life, how to live.  Philosophy itself is useless to an entity which chooses nonexistence.  Love of knowledge of reality (there is no other knowledge) has passed beyond the concern of an entity which has chosen non-existence and has rejected all of reality including all knowledge, ethics, politics etc.  An entity which chooses death rejects EVERYTHING ... it should be VERY clear that he is rejecting any philosophy for living.

 

Rand and Peikoff "support" suicide in the sense that they can find reasons for why a person would choose not to live.  A parent who decides to die to save a child realizes he would not be willing to live both without the child and the with knowledge he could have saved the child.  Slightly differently a parent who commits suicide after their child is killed by an accident, decides that they are not willing to live in a world without the child.  These are reasons why people choose death.  Neither Rand or Peikoff states that these reasons constitute "ethical" reasons. 

 

It would have been LAUGHABLY simple for either of these to have publically answered the INNUMERABLE questions posed regarding emergencies and suicides and the "moral status" of the "choice to live itself" by simply stating YES it is MORAL or ETHICALLY correct to "choose death".

The closest I've seen is that is ethically correct to risk death, i.e. the risk one "should" be willing to take is great for a great value, and statements to the effect that one "can be willing" to give one's life for the sake of a value he/she would not want to live without.

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5 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

A parent who decides to die to save a child realizes he would not be willing to live both without the child and the with knowledge he could have saved the child.

I agree. I would argue that such a parent values something more than his own, literal survival. Galt, too, apparently valued something more than his own, literal survival, when he threatened suicide rather than bear Dagny's torture (at least, if we can take him at his word). I consider these situations to be very similar in nature.

5 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

These are reasons why people choose death.  Neither Rand or Peikoff states that these reasons constitute "ethical" reasons.

Ethics, or morality, "is a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions." The parent above is guided in his choices and actions by his code of values, as is Galt, unless we hold them to be acting arbitrarily/by whim? But I don't think that they are. Yet their choices and actions indicate that they do not hold their own, literal survival as their "ultimate value." They value something else more.

We do not require Rand or Peikoff to state that these are "ethical" reasons or considerations or decisions; it is what it is, and we can figure it out on our own.

(Casting around, I found this defense of "moral suicide" which essentially -- though not totally -- agrees with my own, if anyone is interested. It is curious to note that the writer leads with Galt's willingness to commit suicide, then fails to justify it in his analysis; I do not know whether that was intentional, an oversight, or an irony.)

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the content of the Flourishing standard is arbitrary. After all, what gets included in the expanded idea of “human life?” Without an established procedure for determining what the good life is, it is hard to tell how one would exclude any kind of commonly observed behavior from “the good life.” For instance, a communitarian may think that man is by nature a political animal. He argues that man needs to be enmeshed in tradition and social rules, and that individual rights are therefore contrary to flourishing. How can a classical liberal advocate of life-as-flourishing objectively gainsay that? The communitarian and the classical liberal would end up arguing over the meaning of flourishing, over the standard of their supposedly shared ethics. Without a clear, fundamental criterion for determining what is and what is not of value, the flourishing idea of human life becomes a grab-bag of any human goods that one cares to deem essential

1

That was from David Kelly. What he brings up about the communitarian is why I think the Social Context has to be brought up early on. We also see the discussion about one's child. These are "other people". To ignore the nature of man, the social being, the need for others, be it for trade, knowledge, play, sex would have to be brought up earlier or it will be vulnerable to these arguments.

When survival, life vs. death is, in fact, the standard, the vulnerability goes away. The "for whom" is declared early on.

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13 hours ago, 2046 said:

In fact, I think the requirements of flourishing demand of us to accept risks, certainly infitessimal (and sometimes more) to our survival.

I think this smuggles in the premise that pursuing survival (the 'pure' type) would never require you to temporarily diminish your momentary wellbeing for the sake of increased survival later on. In reality, pursuing survival pretty much requires you to incur 'hits' to your momentary survival. As the norm, I might add.

A while ago I heard an anecdote by Harry Binswanger in which Ayn Rand was arguing with somebody who denied the law of Identity (A=A) on the grounds that a moving object has no particular spatial position. Every time you look at the object, it is in a different position, so where is it? Ayn Rand replied that the particular object isn't anywhere, it is in transition. Its identity is that it is changing its location.

I think that the same thing can be applied to ethics. In fact, it was captured by Rand in her definition of life: 'A process of self-sustaining, self-generated action'. While it may appear a stationary definition, it is exactly the opposite. Survival is not merely a process of staying alive - it is a constant, never ending departure from your current position to a better state. This fact seems to have a expression in the way our brains are made: once you get where you want, you always have to move higher and higher, because you become progressively desensitized to what you currently have. If you suddenly find yourself without intellectual challenge, or doing the same things over and over, you become bored out of your mind. A lot of  enjoyment is derived from the process of moving forward itself, from gaining values as well as enjoying values.

Just to be clear, I agree with SL (and even Kelley) that flourishing is not the goal of life. To sunder the two is to ignore the hierarchy: life -> value -> survival -> moving forward (flourshing). Ayn Rand understood survival to be a state of transition from a lower state of robustness to a higher one. Death is also a state of transition, which is why you can't judge somebody's course by the claim that he is 'happy'. If his happiness is a slow march into the Lion's den, he's wilfully undergoing a process of slow death, no matter how well he tends to his physical health in the meantime.

The excessive prudence that the' survivalist' displays is the result of his Gryllsian view of survival. He don't see the fact that life is actually a broad timeline filled with factors that cannot be separated from each other. Flourishers, on the other hand, tend to speak on the unstated, or unidentified premise that reality is full of things that conflict with survival while enabling flourishing. The flourishing-survival dichotomy is similar to the classical variants of the mind-body break: love vs sex, percepts vs. concepts. In reality, the thrill seeking & cool things that flourishers say they want to do (insteading of being tied to the 'boring' survivalist view) ARE what survival entails. A lack of pleasure and excitement is anti-life in the sense that it moves you away from survival and proper functioning.  

Rand captured this in the virtue of Pride: a person of unsundered rationality not only has the best life possible to him at any given moment in time, but he's also necessarily in a state of 'transition' to even higher self-esteem, wealth, health etc. Stilness means death, in the sense that every time somebody tries to remain where he already is ('freezing' his survival in place), he is actively hurting his survival, not maintaining it. In the example above, the hero does not gain five years of life by giving up his dream. Instead, he becomes spiritualy diseased.

A person who shortens his life for a fuller experience does not forfeit survival, he acts exclusively on the principle of survival. This is not a negation of A=A. Ayn Rand was clear that the standard of value is survival as a specific kind of being.

Survival as man does not mean merely longevity. It means pleasure, challenge, hobbies, love, art, friendship, constantly moving forward and other factors relevant to what he is. The values that man needs qua man are his actual means to longevity. A lot of people turn longevity into a contextless standard and then proceed to seek it in ways that not only hurts their own goal, but makes them survive not as men, but as diseased forms of life. Ayn Rand used the term 'metaphysical monstruosity' in Galt's Speech, and gave the example of a bird struggling to break its own wings, or a plant trying to destroy its own roots. So we can identfiy yet another dichotomy here: the longevity vs identity dichotomy. 

I think Rand would have agreed with me, since she put some examples in her books. For example, the before-mention Galt suicide threat, which appears in the same book as Galt's speech. Surely she must have counted on the fact that Galt's actions would shed some context on her abstract presentation. Galt is not choosing between death (suicide) and survival. He is choosing between two different types of death: by slow torture, or instantaneous. Galt is not motivated by any flourishing-survival dichotomy. His best use of reason told him that he has legitimate grounds to be 100% convinced that his life would become a living embodiment of precisely the thing that his own ethical code condemned. So paradoxically, his suicide over Dagny was a statement of a moral choice, in total agreement with survival qua man.

There are legitimate cases where a change to a different course really isn't possible. Let's look at Galt. He longed for Dagny for a decade, a process that slowly imprinted her into his psyche as each day passed. Every time he had trouble getting motivated, he used her as fuel. He watched her go into the beds of two men he admired. He then got her, but.. what if she died at the hands of a bunch of petty people that represent what he despises the most? 10 years of striving and emotional investment, negated in an instant. A decade of his life, wasted. He probably understood the repercussions on his psychology that her death would have caused. He would lose desire to do anything, no matter how heroically he'd try to get on track. Implying he then wasted 5 more years in depression, and that eventually his desire for women returned, what competiton would there be? If another mercilessly-rational woman with the brains and character to build the John Galt line in a collapsing country was around, he would have known about her. For him, it's either the vice-president or nothing. It would haunt him forever. So, contra SL, I would say that sometimes, but not always, 'pursuing a different dream' can be anti-life. 

I will go on a limb and say that the pure survivalist, Kelley-type position is really the absolute same as the flourisher position, when all of the factors are brought into question. The most ardent Flourisher is actually the most ardent, pure and bare-bones Survivalist. And all 'self-actualization'-based ethical systems are useless unless people understand that self-actualization is not an intrinsic end in itself, but the effect, the natural result of a survivalist ethics. The alternative is accidentaly pursuing 'self-actualization' in a way that goes against its root (survival), which leads to consequences that are too obvious to mention. The self-realization vs survival dichotomy.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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3 minutes ago, KyaryPamyu said:

I will go on a limb and say that the pure survivalist, Kelley-type position is really the absolute same as the flourisher position, when all of the factors are brought into question. The most ardent Flourisher is actually the most ardent, pure and bare-bones Survivalist. And all 'self-actualization'-based ethical systems are useless unless people understand that self-actualization is not an intrinsic end in itself, but the effect, the natural result of a survivalist ethics. The alternative is accidentaly pursuing 'self-actualization' in a way that goes against its root (survival), which leads to consequences that are too obvious to mention. The self-realization vs survival dichotomy.

From what I see Tara Smith also makes a similar case to what you say:

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I address the suspicion of equivocation between life and flourishing and the corollary objection that their requirements are not interchangeable. To dispel this concern, I demonstrate that life and flourishing actually reflect two perspectives on a single phenomenon. The "difference" between life and flourishing is built on exaggerated distinctions tions between quantity and quality of life and between needs and wants. Explaining the extent to which these are often differences of degree rather than of kind paves the way for understanding flourishing as a condition of life rather than an independent objective.

Tara Smith. Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality (Kindle Locations 134-137). Kindle Edition. 

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But she also makes a case for what SL is saying:

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Further, I argue that human beings need to flourish. Because life depends on actions and actions are volitional, a person's will to live is critical. The feelings associated with flourishing help sustain a person's motivation to engage in life-furthering actions. Insofar as the fact (as opposed to the feeling) of flourishing involves growth and strength, it is also essential to life.

Tara Smith. Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality (Kindle Locations 139-141). Kindle Edition. 

 

 

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