Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Does disagreement imply immorality?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

I've read a few posts, here and elsewhere, in which the posters seem to imply that someone who has learned of Objectivist philosophy, but still disagrees with their interpretation of any given Objectivist principle, is necessarily therefore somewhere in the spectrum of irrational to immoral. I'm not talking about monsters who think the entire world should be enslaved for their benefit; but much smaller disagreements, such as between an Objectivist and a secular humanist who disagrees with the Objectivist about various political issues.

If you present an argument based on Objectivism's axioms to someone, and they demonstrate that they follow and understand the argument, but they disagree with it (due to having a different set of axioms), does that mean they are being irrational? Does it mean they are immoral? Should they be shunned, or mocked, or accused of trollery? Does such disagreement mean it's not worth working with such people even for shared goals?

Or, let's take a different sort of disagreement, between two people, each of whom claim to be Objectivists, but find themselves disagreeing about some aspect of philosophy, neither able to convince the other. Does this imply that at least one of them is not a 'real' Objectivist, and should thus be treated as irrational, etc?

Or, phrased another way: do you believe that the only way a person can be moral is if they agree with your current beliefs about morality?

(As in my previous thread, this post is based on my outsider's perception of Objectivism and how Objectivists behave, and I freely acknowledge that the evidence of my experiences may have led me to faulty conclusions, in which case I would appreciate any help you would care to offer in correcting my flawed understanding.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
I've read a few posts, here and elsewhere, in which the posters seem to imply that someone who has learned of Objectivist philosophy, but still disagrees with their interpretation of any given Objectivist principle, is necessarily therefore somewhere in the spectrum of irrational to immoral.

Objectivist Ethics is defined a certain way, and Objectivist virtues are very specific things. Obviously, if you believe something different, and are or strive to be some other way, then you can't claim to be moral in the Objectivist sense. That would be an obvious contradiction. Objectivism does not define morality loosely, and there's a very good reason for that, in my view.

That said, Objectivists have no business interfering with the things you believe in, and the way you are. As long as you do not initiate force, or advocate the initiation of force in society, Objectivists will not consider you anything but a valuable potential trading partner, and even a friend.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Objectivist Ethics is defined a certain way, and Objectivist virtues are very specific things. Obviously, if you believe something different, and are or strive to be some other way, then you can't claim to be moral in the Objectivist sense. That would be an obvious contradiction. Objectivism does not define morality loosely, and there's a very good reason for that, in my view.

I'm glad to hear you say that - it seems to be quite close to my own recent insight about comparing different philosophical systems to Euclidean vs non-Euclidean geometries.

That said, Objectivists have no business interfering with the things you believe in, and the way you are. As long as you do not initiate force, or advocate the initiation of force in society, Objectivists will not consider you anything but a valuable potential trading partner, and even a friend.

That 'as long as' seems to have been the tricky point, at least in the last thread; according to some of the posters, believing that some sorts taxation may provide more good than harm (when used to fund certain specific life-saving systems) is, practically by definition, 'advocating the initiation of force in society', and thus people who "believe in taxation" do not fall under your "as long as" clause.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Or, let's take a different sort of disagreement, between two people, each of whom claim to be Objectivists, but find themselves disagreeing about some aspect of philosophy, neither able to convince the other. Does this imply that at least one of them is not a 'real' Objectivist, and should thus be treated as irrational, etc?

Can you be more specific what you mean by "some aspect of philosophy"?

I should mention that a person can have mistaken conclusions, so a disagreement alone won't indicate any irrationality.

Link to post
Share on other sites
That 'as long as' seems to have been the tricky point, at least in the last thread; according to some of the posters, believing that some sorts taxation may provide more good than harm (when used to fund certain specific life-saving systems) is, practically by definition, 'advocating the initiation of force in society', and thus people who "believe in taxation" do not fall under your "as long as" clause.

Force cannot be reasoned with. If one prefers to use force, one can only be avoided or met by force. There is no rational and peaceful way to deal with someone who is holding a gun to your head. As Ayn Rand put it:

"To interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, is to negate and paralyze his means of survival; to force him to act against his own judgment, is like forcing him to act against his own sight. Whoever, to whatever purpose or extent, initiates the use of force, is a killer acting on the premise of death in a manner wider than murder: the premise of destroying man’s capacity to live.

Do not open your mouth to tell me that your mind has convinced you of your right to force my mind. Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins. "

Link to post
Share on other sites

Saying that some posters here hold that disagreeing with their personal interpretation of Objectivism is basically an anonymous ad hominem remark. The question is whether you disagree with Objectivism. Disagreement with Objectivism is, at some level, an immoral choice, and context would have to make it clear what the nature of that immorality is. Having no opinion about some point of Objectivism is, on the other hand, not only not immoral, it is probably the proper choice. (It is also immoral to pretend to accept principles of Objectivism if you do not actually accept them).

Often, people who are ignorant of Objectivism decide on the basis of little understanding of Objectivism that they reject some particular point, one that they do not understand. The choice to reject a true proposition is obviously irrational, especially when one has the option of not rejecting the proposition, and instead studying the question further.

Disagreement that is not based in a real fact is irrational. If you can actually reduce the matter to a person rejecting the axioms, then of course you have a clear instance of irrationality. Axioms are not arbitrary whims. Whether or not a person should be mocked or banned, or conversed with, really depends on their conduct. If they show the basic signs of a rational mind, then the conversation might be worth continuing. If they simply can't be gotten through to, then some form of moving on is appropriate.

I suggest that if you're having problems, they could be based on expressive problems. Disagreements amongst Objectivists are common enough, and in my experience they typically reduce to unstated differences in assumptions. For example, debates might hinge on a particular concept, but one person if focusing not on the concept itself but on a word that refers to that concept.

Link to post
Share on other sites
If you present an argument based on Objectivism's axioms to someone, and they demonstrate that they follow and understand the argument, but they disagree with it (due to having a different set of axioms), does that mean they are being irrational? Does it mean they are immoral?

Disagreeing with some ideas is not what constitutes irrationality; irrationality means things like accepting a contradiction, evading an obvious truth, relying on emotions rather than reason as your tool of cognition, etc. So whether or not disagreeing with an Objectivist argument is irrational depends on what the reason for the disagreement is: if it's an irrational thinking process that leads to the disagreement, then the person is being irrational, but if not (e.g. if the reason for the disagreement is that the Objectivist position seems to contradict a premise that the person has been brought up with and unwittingly accepted as the truth), then the person is not necessarily irrational.

Some of the ideas of Objectivism are so undeniably true that disagreeing with them is prima facie evidence of irrationality; e.g. the Axiom of Existence. If somebody says he is not convinced that anything exists, he is clearly just being stupid on purpose.

Since the root virtue of Objectivist ethics is rationality, the concept "immoral" has, in the context of Objectivist ethics, the same set of people as its referents as "irrational." So, again, if the disagreement is caused by a refusal to think rationally, then the person is being immoral, but if there is a different reason, then that is not necessarily the case.

Should they be shunned, or mocked, or accused of trollery?

It is not always easy to tell why a person disagrees with an idea, so it is advisable to give him the benefit of the doubt first. If he consistently displays an unwillingness to hear reason, then sure, he should be put in his place.

Does such disagreement mean it's not worth working with such people even for shared goals?

In light of the above, let me rephrase the question: "Does irrationality mean it's not worth working with such people even for shared goals?"

It is impossible to be consistently irrational in all areas of life (doing so would mean a quick death), so it may well be possible to find areas where the person tends to act rationally, and then you can work together in those areas. For example, a person may have faith in God just because he feels better this way (clearly an example of irrational emotionalism), but may still be able to drive a vehicle safely, so there is no reason why you shouldn't let him give you a ride.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're also conflating strong rhetoric with a personal evaluation. It seems to me that at least some people do this because they're not used to hearing anything but vague mealy-mouthed niceness even when someone disagrees with them VERY strongly and says so in no uncertain terms. They take it personally.

Objectivists take ideas seriously. It's practically a pre-requisite for being interested in Objectivism at all. So if someone proposes an idea that is demonstrably contra-Objectivism around here, that idea will get denounced quite strongly and the person would be told that if they are really *advocating* that idea, they're behaving in an immoral fashion. But that doesn't mean people on the board aren't aware of the difference between being confused/mistaken/whatever and actually being evil.

Also remember that immorality, to an Objectivist, is (almost always) a fixable problem--and often quite easily fixable, since it just requires you to change your mind. An Objectivist saying "you're immoral!" or "that's immoral!" is not a Christian saying "you're going to hell!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

The status of "moral v. immoral" has two contexts, which are often confused:

An action can be deemed immoral in the general sense that it is not compatible with the Objectivist ethics. For example, the initiation of force is immoral according to the Objectivist ethics. Advocating the initiation of force is also not compatible with the Objectivist ethics, so one can generally deem speaking out in favor of the welfare state as immoral--it is against the proper behavior of a rational being.

When speaking of a specific action of an individual person, usually, the context of full knowledge of, and time to integrate, the Objectivist ethics cannot be assumed. Thus, one evaluates whether one is basically acting in accordance with reality--are they following the evidence of their senses, attempting to apply logic--do they ever willfully evade the facts of reality?

Human beings by their nature are not infallible, so mere errors in reasoning cannot be regarded as evasion. Particularly in today's society, with so many false ideas and facts being spread, there are in fact many ways a person can reach the wrong ideas by only errors in reasoning and errors of knowledge.

For example, there are so many errors of reasoning or knowledge that can lead a moral person today to advocate a limited form of welfare as a safety net.

A somewhat different example is that one can initiate force against another by accident. As long as the person makes amends, there is not necessarily any immorality. (Simple example: a car accident.) Even though in the abstract sense, the initiation of force is not moral per the Objectivist ethics.

Saying that some posters here hold that disagreeing with their personal interpretation of Objectivism is basically an anonymous ad hominem remark.

How is this ad hominem? (Now, you might argue that it's simply not true. But what if the poster cited names or posts? I'm not suggesting he do that, just illustrating that it's not ad hominem.) Ad hominem is attacking somebody personally to attempt to demonstrate that a different, unrelated argument they are making is not true. I don't see that happening here. I believe the poster is citing a certain belief that he believes to be untrue--and then stating that certain people hold it. That's not ad hominem.

Often, people who are ignorant of Objectivism decide on the basis of little understanding of Objectivism that they reject some particular point, one that they do not understand. The choice to reject a true proposition is obviously irrational,

Can't somebody reject a true proposition by honest error? To call it irrational, I think one would have to show evidence of a clear process of unreason, like deliberately avoiding facts that they don't know how to argue against.

especially when one has the option of not rejecting the proposition, and instead studying the question further.

can't somebody prematurely reach a conclusion through honest error?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Can't somebody reject a true proposition by honest error? To call it irrational, I think one would have to show evidence of a clear process of unreason, like deliberately avoiding facts that they don't know how to argue against.

can't somebody prematurely reach a conclusion through honest error?

Conclusion jumping could very well be made into an Olympic Event.

Bob Kolker

Link to post
Share on other sites
How is this ad hominem? (Now, you might argue that it's simply not true.
Without having the decency to name names and quoting text, he's referring to specific individuals, attempting to discredit Objectivism (w.r.t. the "Fact and Value" aspect) based on a supposed defect of those individuals. You're right, though, in addition it isn't true, a point I skipped.
Can't somebody reject a true proposition by honest error?
Certainly that's possible, but how could that apply here; or, what even hypothetically would be an example of such an "honest error"? Invoking "honest error" is a widely-played get out of moral evaluation free card in contemporary society. Be more specific about how one could reject Objectivism via "honest error".
can't somebody prematurely reach a conclusion through honest error?
How? When you know that there is evidence against your conclusion that you ignore, that is not an honest error. So how can one prematurely reach a conclusion that Objectivism is wrong? Conclusion-jumping is a specific instance of immoral conduct -- it is not a virtue. It cannot be morally neutral (since reaching a conclusion is always a voluntary act and in factt cannot be coerced).
When speaking of a specific action of an individual person, usually, the context of full knowledge of, and time to integrate, the Objectivist ethics cannot be assumed. Thus, one evaluates whether one is basically acting in accordance with reality--are they following the evidence of their senses, attempting to apply logic--do they ever willfully evade the facts of reality?
This is entirely false. The most important error is that it misconstrues the nature of moral evaluation. You must evaluate every choice that you face using your life as your standard of evaluation. You must not evade knowledge, you must apply reason. If your choose to drive stoned because you seek the thrill, you have made an immoral choice, evading your knowledge of the consequences of driving stoned on your life, and making a choice that contradicts your ultimate goal. The Objectivist ethics are fully applicable and relevant to all choices that you make. So it is wrong to say that a specific action of an individual is immune to Objectivist ethics.

This part especially: "basically acting in accordance with reality", "attempting to apply logic", "do they ever willfully evade"; this suggests to me that you think of moral evaluation as primarily a method for condemning the actions of other individuals. It is not. The root of Objectivist ethics is the individual, the principles that guide you in making choices in your quest to achieve your ultimate goal. The root of Objectivist ethics is not about the epistemological problems of how to evaluate the evidence that another person is evading knowledge or being illogical in making choices.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose where I take exception to the strong "that's immoral" reaction many Objectivists have when confronted with what they believe to be an error in logic or judgement in another is that new information is always coming at us. Many things that were a given later come out as wrong. I am not talking about fundemental points of philosophy but the finer points. On the smaller issues there is always the chance that the judgement one has made has been based on examining incomplete or inaccurate facts. That's why I feel that the automatic "that's immoral" tactic is counterproductive. I'm inclined to ask instead what facts the person is backing their assertion up with. Once you've thrown down the gauntlet of "immoral" a combative tone has been introduced into what should have been a sharing of ideas.

Lets say... Ayn Rand was on record as finding a homosexual lifestyle inferior. Now of course at the time homosexuality was regarded as a mental illness.

Very few Objectivists I know would agree with that today.

While I enjoy that Objectivists don't employ the usual mush-mouth way of mincing around points for fear of offending anyone at all I do think that a little more tact would often be a good thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I suppose where I take exception to the strong "that's immoral" reaction many Objectivists have when confronted with what they believe to be an error in logic or judgement in another is that new information is always coming at us.
Perhaps; except, I don't know what a strong "that's immoral" reaction is. When I know that a person is evading some knowledge, there's only one way to evaluate that fact, and that is to conclude "that was an immoral choice". Now if you're saying that you take exception to people who then scream repeatedly "G.D. you, you are a totally immoral scumbag who should be ashamed to exist", that would be way over the top. But I take exception at the claim that many Objectivists do that (or anything like that). The logically-derived conclusion "You are wrong" is not the same as the emotional reaction "You must die".
Once you've thrown down the gauntlet of "immoral" a combative tone has been introduced into what should have been a sharing of ideas.
You are totally wrong, and therefore immoral. I think the source of your error is revealed in the assumption that this should have been a sharing of ideas. On the contrary, I would say that this should be a cooperative elimination of error. When two people disagree, one of them is wrong. How do you deal with Mr. Wrong? One approach is to walk away in disgust, which means "This person is so irrational that I can't deal with him anymore". So we can rule that response out, because it contradicts the purpose of cooperative error-elimination.

We also have to eliminate anything that enables the survival of error -- that too obviously contradicts the purpose of cooperative error-elimination. Obliterate those errors when you identify them! So what does that leave us with: error-identification. Once an error has been identified, a rational person will reject the erroneous conclusion. If a conclusion is not clearly identified as erroneous, a rational person will not reject the conclusion.

When a person reaches an immoral conclusion, the proper response is to say "That's immoral" and show why. However when you have a bit of evidence telling you that the person evades their knowledge a bit, then you need to say "That's immoral". When you have repeated evidence of evasion and illogic then you should say "That's immoral", and at some point before you pop a vessel, you have to re-evaluate the morality of continuing to deal with such a person whose chosen nature is quite immoral. The question is, why would you have anything to do with a person who reaches immoral conclusions? I think it's primarily the presumption that the person can be reached by logic.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Without having the decency to name names and quoting text, he's referring to specific individuals, attempting to discredit Objectivism (w.r.t. the "Fact and Value" aspect) based on a supposed defect of those individuals. You're right, though, in addition it isn't true, a point I skipped.

I didn't read it as necessarily attempting to discredit Objectivism, but only criticizing what he regarded as a specific fallacy.

Certainly that's possible, but how could that apply here; or, what even hypothetically would be an example of such an "honest error"? Invoking "honest error" is a widely-played get out of moral evaluation free card in contemporary society. Be more specific about how one could reject Objectivism via "honest error".

Actually, I wasn't intentionally referring to a situation where a person is rejecting Objectivism as such after significant study of the philosophy. I would actually not comment on that matter, as it's a more complex issue than I've thought about, other than to say I can definitely imagine many examples where that would be immoral. However, if we're talking about a specific debate between two people over a less broad issue, then yes, I hold that a person can reject a true proposition by honest error. To say otherwise, would imply that the only alternatives, if one reaches a conclusion, are correctness or evasion.

To be clear, I don't believe the drivers of the major vices in the world today, like the diminishing freedom we face in the US and worldwide, environmentalism, etc. can be the result of honest error.

How? When you know that there is evidence against your conclusion that you ignore, that is not an honest error.

A person ignoring evidence against one's conclusion is actually the example I gave as something falling outside of honest error, which I described as irrational! (My specific example was evidence one does not know how to argue against, thus implying it was clearly brought to the person's attention.)

Reaching certainty about a conclusion is itself a reasoning process, which is subject to error. A person could incorrectly regard a piece of evidence as not being relevant one way or the other to a conclusion, thus not considering it any further.

So how can one prematurely reach a conclusion that Objectivism is wrong? Conclusion-jumping is a specific instance of immoral conduct -- it is not a virtue. It cannot be morally neutral (since reaching a conclusion is always a voluntary act and in factt cannot be coerced).

I believe that would depend on the nature of the "conclusion-jumping" in the specific case. If evasion is involved, then it is immoral. If the person is diligently working to reach the correct conclusion, but errs, that is not immoral. Further, if a person is working to expand their knowledge--of ethics, philosophy, or whatever field which will further their life--diligently considering all the facts available to them and never evading--it is morally good, even if they err.

This is entirely false. The most important error is that it misconstrues the nature of moral evaluation. You must evaluate every choice that you face using your life as your standard of evaluation. You must not evade knowledge, you must apply reason. If your choose to drive stoned because you seek the thrill, you have made an immoral choice, evading your knowledge of the consequences of driving stoned on your life, and making a choice that contradicts your ultimate goal. The Objectivist ethics are fully applicable and relevant to all choices that you make. So it is wrong to say that a specific action of an individual is immune to Objectivist ethics.

I agree with most of this, but not the first and last sentences as they apply to my argument: If one observes another making a choice not consistent with the Objectivist ethics, one should evaluate it in the context of one's own knowledge. However, the other person making the choice has a different context of knowledge. For example, if a knowledgeable Objectivist observes another donating to a beggar, stating they feel it is their duty, it would be immoral for the Objectivist to perform that same action because it would be blanking out their knowledge of Objectivism and what they know to be true. However, the other person may not have reached this conclusion due to evasion, but rather because they have passively accepted the virtue of altruism from constantly hearing it in society, and not realizing that there are other ethical alternatives. Yet, the action of self-sacrifice, in the abstract, is immoral as it is not compatible with man's life as the standard of value.

To say that an action cannot be morally evaluated in the context of a person's knowledge is to suppose infallibility (with the possibility of evasion).

This part especially: "basically acting in accordance with reality", "attempting to apply logic", "do they ever willfully evade"; this suggests to me that you think of moral evaluation as primarily a method for condemning the actions of other individuals. It is not. The root of Objectivist ethics is the individual, the principles that guide you in making choices in your quest to achieve your ultimate goal. The root of Objectivist ethics is not about the epistemological problems of how to evaluate the evidence that another person is evading knowledge or being illogical in making choices.

I don't believe evaluating whether a person is evading is the root of Objectivist ethics--I believe there are two contexts of classifying the morality of an action--the specific and the abstract. A person thoroughly knowledgeable about Objectivism can (and morally, must) apply the abstract evaluation, in the context of the Objectivist ethics, to their own actions. Any person must morally evaluate their own actions on the basis of their context of knowledge.

Link to post
Share on other sites
You are totally wrong, and therefore immoral. I think the source of your error is revealed in the assumption that this should have been a sharing of ideas

..and if not for the communicating (therefore sharing) of ideas why does anyone spend time on this forum?

If many are here to communicate (share) ideas then you are the one that is immoral (wrong), no?

Link to post
Share on other sites
..and if not for the communicating (therefore sharing) of ideas why does anyone spend time on this forum?
I believe because the majority of people on this forum, who AFAICT believe that Objectivism is in fact correct, wish to discuss specifics of the philosophy so that they can eliminate any errors in their understanding of Objectivism: to gain a firmer grasp of Objectivism. The primary goal is the elimination of error. The primary method of reaching that end is through communication of propositions. Sharing or other fuzzy-wuzzy concepts don't enter into it.
If many are here to communicate (share) ideas then you are the one that is immoral (wrong), no?
No, even if what you said were true (which I don't believe). First, as I said, "communication" is not a rational end -- it is a means to an end (so identify that end). Second, "sharing" is not the same as communicating; it is, roughly, altruism as applied to intellectual discourse (it is in contrast to intellectual action for one's own sake). Third, even if the majority of participants were here for the irrational purpose of communication for it's own sake, that would have no bearing on my choices. In fact, you didn't say "most", you merely said "many", which is, as you surely know, a close to meaningless claim (you'd be wrong if, what, only 3 people happened to have communication as end in itself as their purpose for being here, but you could call 4 "many"?).

If I believed that the participants in this forum were irredeemably irrational and did indeed hope only to experience the sharing or communication as an end, and that there were no rational souls here, then you might begin to make the case that my continuing to be here is immoral. But you have a mighty long way to go to persuade me of that. Like, an infinite way. And I'm morally certain that you don't believe that. But that's what would have to be true for it to be immoral for me to participate in a forum and advocate Objectivism.

Link to post
Share on other sites
However, if we're talking about a specific debate between two people over a less broad issue, then yes, I hold that a person can reject a true proposition by honest error. To say otherwise, would imply that the only alternatives, if one reaches a conclusion, are correctness or evasion.
Without an example of such a case, I am skeptical. What exactly do you think "honest error" is, as it might apply to a debate? The nature of a debate (especially a philosophical one) is that it has no deadline, therefore the debate can continue without the need to reach a conclusion (no matter how ill-supported) by a specific time. Reaching a conclusion prematurely is a choice -- a bad choice.
Reaching certainty about a conclusion is itself a reasoning process, which is subject to error. A person could incorrectly regard a piece of evidence as not being relevant one way or the other to a conclusion, thus not considering it any further.
The act of evaluating evidence is itself a rational process, subject to evaluation. A rational person has to integrate a lot of knowledge in order to properly conclude "this evidence is not relevant". If in fact this piece of evidence was relevant (for example, the fact that the orbit of Uranus does not match Newtonian mechanical prediction, idem the orbit of Mercury), then you have to be certain that the observation (evidence) is not logically related to the main hypothesis. So we would have to see how strong the person's evidence and logic are, when he concludes that a piece of evidence should be rejected.
If the person is diligently working to reach the correct conclusion, but errs, that is not immoral. Further, if a person is working to expand their knowledge--of ethics, philosophy, or whatever field which will further their life--diligently considering all the facts available to them and never evading--it is morally good, even if they err.
As for the latter, the question is not whether a person is by nature immoral, it is about whether a specific act is immoral. The former sounds nice, but too abstract for my taste. Error isn't a random event like radioactive decay -- my claim is that it is under volitional control.
If one observes another making a choice not consistent with the Objectivist ethics, one should evaluate it in the context of one's own knowledge. However, the other person making the choice has a different context of knowledge.
We agree here, and I suspect that the real, deeper points are lost in the dust of forum history (especially since this is rooted in a participant's unhappiness with an argument in a separate thread). My goal is to get the OP to do some honest introspection about his logic, to uncover those areas where he is evading knowledge, and to do a moral evaluation of his own choices. I think there are sufficient clues out there (generously provided by others) that this is possible. Then he could spend the $6 and correct some of those errors; or, hold no position w.r.t. Objectivism.
Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe because the majority of people on this forum, who AFAICT believe that Objectivism is in fact correct, wish to discuss specifics of the philosophy so that they can eliminate any errors in their understanding of Objectivism: to gain a firmer grasp of Objectivism. The primary goal is the elimination of error. The primary method of reaching that end is through communication of propositions. Sharing or other fuzzy-wuzzy concepts don't enter into it.No, even if what you said were true (which I don't believe). First, as I said, "communication" is not a rational end -- it is a means to an end (so identify that end). Second, "sharing" is not the same as communicating; it is, roughly, altruism as applied to intellectual discourse (it is in contrast to intellectual action for one's own sake). Third, even if the majority of participants were here for the irrational purpose of communication for it's own sake, that would have no bearing on my choices. In fact, you didn't say "most", you merely said "many", which is, as you surely know, a close to meaningless claim (you'd be wrong if, what, only 3 people happened to have communication as end in itself as their purpose for being here, but you could call 4 "many"?).

If I believed that the participants in this forum were irredeemably irrational and did indeed hope only to experience the sharing or communication as an end, and that there were no rational souls here, then you might begin to make the case that my continuing to be here is immoral. But you have a mighty long way to go to persuade me of that. Like, an infinite way. And I'm morally certain that you don't believe that. But that's what would have to be true for it to be immoral for me to participate in a forum and advocate Objectivism.

Okay... but then you are wrong (and therefore immoral) because you are starting from the faulty premise that sharing implies altruism.

While it may be used in such a manner on playgrounds and the like the definition of the word doesn't hold to that:

Main Entry: 3share

Function: verb

Inflected Form(s): shared; shar·ing

Date: 1590

transitive verb

1 : to divide and distribute in shares : apportion —usually used with out <shared out the land among his heirs>

2 a : to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others b : to have in common <they share a passion for opera>

3 : to grant or give a share in —often used with with <shared the last of her water with us>

4 : to tell (as thoughts, feelings, or experiences) to others —often used with with

intransitive verb

1 : to have a share —used with in <we all shared in the fruits of our labor>

2 : to apportion and take shares of something

3 : to talk about one's thoughts, feelings, or experiences with others

Definition 2a and intransitive definition 3 are what I was referencing in my earlier statement.

All I'm saying is that taken to it's logical conclusion what you are saying is that in essence, everyone who disagrees with you is immoral.

The reason I say this is:

1) you seem generally a rational person and therefore wouldn't tend to willfully hold a wrong idea

2) that means generally you would consider yourself correct in all thoughts you entertain

3) since it seems also logical that no one in the world would agree with you 100% about everything and you believe yourself correct about everything and error=immoral that everyone in the world in held as immoral by you

Am I making any errors in this statement?

Link to post
Share on other sites

There isn't anything wrong at all with sharing one's ideas and one's values, and I don't think Objectivists are against this. What the other side is usually against is being called immoral because they are being irrational (as evidenced by what they share and how their mind operates). So, yes, you will be judged based upon what you write in these forums -- morally judged as being rational or irrational, that is judged as being moral or immoral. Tolerating bad ideas is very bad because bad ideas need to be squashed relentlessly. Since man lives by reason, the irrational cannot be tolerated. One can be mistaken, but if you are mistaken then you ought to change your mind to the better idea once you hear it and think it through and realize that you were incorrect. Holding onto incorrect ideas no matter what because they are your ideals is irrational, and hence immoral. So, beware if you are dealing with an Objectivist. If you don't want to be morally judged, then I'd recommend staying away from Objectivists; because we hold that morality is integral to rationality. If you want to be irrational and spout irrationalities, I'd recommend going somewhere else.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay... but then you are wrong (and therefore immoral) because you are starting from the faulty premise that sharing implies altruism.
Well actually I start from the premise that the clause "into what should have been a sharing of ideas" incorrectly presupposes that the purpose of the forum is to "share ideas". The innocuous sense "to have in common" does exist, but doesn't make any sense when applied to "purpose for being here" -- "to have in common" is a static description of what is, which conflicts with the meaning of "what might be" that a goal refers to. If you intended some expression like "into a forum where we share certain specific ideas", then there would be no altruism involved, but then you wouldn't say such a thing because the whole point of yelling at someone who rejects Objectivism is that they do not share our common ideas / values.

Sense 1 is rather archaic, and we don't say "He shared out his estate to his 4 sons" anymore. Even the playground or communist senses are not literally defined so that the denotation clearly identifies the destruction of personal value, and yet sharing has very clear and well-earned filthy connotations. Thus it is not necessary to suggest that the purpose of the forum is to share -- the purpose of the forum is to gain value. To make a profit, intellectually at least.

All I'm saying is that taken to it's logical conclusion what you are saying is that in essence, everyone who disagrees with you is immoral.
That's not quite the same as saying that everyone who expresses disagreement with me is immoral. An expression of disagreement could be because of an actual disagreement, or it could be an problem in expression or comprehension where I used the wrong word or you didn't know the intended meaning of the word. I find that this arises very often. Let's take "disagree" to mean "grasp the meaning of and reject".

Not every conclusion that I seem to advance is proffered as "certain". I will tell you that there are multiple species of crow and that some of them (the one that you will be familiar with in pdx) are by nature black but others of them (found in Europe and Africa) are not all black, because I have studied the matter and have axiomatic knowledge of mixed-color crows. It would be immoral of you to reject this conclusion, unless you have evidence that I am a GD liar (and you don't). If I offer the conclusion that it will never be necessary for the security interests of the US to have spies trained to understand Chukchi, that is a conclusion that I can argue for and believe to be true with a strength of 95%, but I cannot offer that conclusion as something that is certain.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sense 1 is rather archaic, and we don't say and we don't say "He shared out his estate to his 4 sons" anymore

Obviously I don't want to transform this into the Objectivist stereotype of quibbling over words' meanings but since it seems our disagreement in this matter is at least in part based on word usage I'm going to point out that we do still use it in that manner but not in that specific sentence formation. While one wouldn't be likely anymore to say "He shared out his estate to his 4 sons" we would be likely to say something about one of the 4 sons' share of the estate. And in that manner which is still common usage I don't believe implies altruism.

In this matter I think we actually agree more than disagree but I have to get back to work. I'll think on some of the semantics involved in our discussion and get back to you when I have more time to be precise.

Also, it could be that I am thinking of immoral as a more weighted word than it would be in many of these contexts.

A thought... if someone disagrees with you (not you personally) and you fail to convince them in your argument is that not an immorality?

I mean in that, you made an error in judgement in thinking you could convince them...? Just thinking about all the implications of this topic...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Disagreement, in and of itself, does not imply irrationality and therefore does not imply vice or immorality. But it does depend one what the disagreement is over and what facts are in evidence to either side of the argument. Disagreement is not a problem among rational men because one side or the other can win the argument with a rational presentation of the facts. However, failing to convince your opponent does not imply vice either -- not for either side of the argument. To be irrational means to disregard the facts or to process the facts in a non-logical manner; and to those types of people I would say they are irrational and immoral. They may not yet know how to process information in a logical manner, but just because something is on your mind or processed by you doesn't mean you are being rational. Logic is the non-contradictory identification of the facts of reality as given by observation; so to deny the observation or to process the facts with contradictions means that one is not being logical and not being rational. While the benefit of the doubt can be given until one sizes up one's opponent, it can't be withdrawn forever, and one must go by the evidence as presented in the processing evident in one's opponent's mind. The manner in which your mind processes information is evident in how you reply -- that is your epistemology is evident when you say anything.

Link to post
Share on other sites
A thought... if someone disagrees with you (not you personally) and you fail to convince them in your argument is that not an immorality?

I mean in that, you made an error in judgement in thinking you could convince them...?

A person who otherwise behaves rationally can, by dint of his free will, reject a completely persuasive argument, by rejecting facts that he knows or not following logic. It is not possible to know the future, in that sense. So in engaging a person in a debate, you know that it is possible that the person will fail to follow logic. It would be a logical mistake to believe that you will convince him, but it is not logical mistake to believe that you can, even if in the end you don't. (Of course, when dealing with a generally irrational man, you would not conclude that you can convince him).

If for some bizarre reason I held the principle "I will debate a person only if I am certain that he will agree with me", then it would be immoral to contradict that principle. (Although I cannot see what could justify such a principle in the first place).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...