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what specifically is man's nature?

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We know that if man acts against his nature, he has committed an immoral act. We know certain obvious aspects of his nature: capacity to contemplate, conceptualize, choose. He is physically vulnerable to certain diseases, etc. He has free will. He is a composite of mind and body. But many of us, I think, know not much more about it.

For example: Prove to me that homosexuality, or benevolence, incestuous love, is or is not in harmony with man's nature.

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We know that if man acts against his nature, he has committed an immoral act. We know certain obvious aspects of his nature: capacity to contemplate, conceptualize, choose. He is physically vulnerable to certain diseases, etc. He has free will. He is a composite of mind and body. But many of us, I think, know not much more about it.

For example: Prove to me that homosexuality, or benevolence, incestuous love, is or is not in harmony with man's nature.

You are using the word nature in two different senses, and that needs to be pointed out.

In one sense, or rather, on one level, man's nature consists of being conscious, having the faculty to focus and to choose to not focus or focus. Things like that. Those are inescapable and can not be acted against. It impossible for an entity to act against its own nature.

On another level, or in another sense, nature means "Man's needs". So a man needs to be educated, he need shelter, he needs good company, he needs to think, he needs to establish relationships with other men to live beyond primitive conditions. Acting against your nature in this sense means more along the lines to act in contradiction (or with ignorance of) one's needs.

Whether or not something is compatible with one's needs is very complicated, and can in fact very person to person. For instance, someone who is homosexual in certain areas of medieval europe should not pursue homosexual relationships, because it could get him killed. A modern man most likely should, because even though he may loose a lot from it, he will also be a live a better life. A person who is not homosexual, should not pretend to be homosexual in order to become popular among a certain crowd (as this will lead to disaster).

All the "shoulds" in the preceeding paragraph are presented in the context of "if one wants to live and flourish".

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We know that if man acts against his nature, he has committed an immoral act. We know certain obvious aspects of his nature: capacity to contemplate, conceptualize, choose. He is physically vulnerable to certain diseases, etc. He has free will. He is a composite of mind and body. But many of us, I think, know not much more about it.

For example: Prove to me that homosexuality, or benevolence, incestuous love, is or is not in harmony with man's nature.

In and of themselves, none of what you listed above is moral, - or, immoral, (IMO).

The Nature of Man, is, as rational animal, conscious, autonomous, and self - directed. (IOW>A rational, volitional, egoist). To act against this, would certainly be immoral.

The nature of, let's say, RayNewman, as individual, develops from that basis; as Hairnet says - your 'shoulds'.

Hairnet, I generally agree with your explanation, except for the utilitarian arguments about homosexuality. If it were in one's nature to be so, what would the effect to one's self worth be, to deny it? Or, the opposite, to fake it?

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In and of themselves, none of what you listed above is moral, - or, immoral, (IMO).

The Nature of Man, is, as rational animal, conscious, autonomous, and self - directed. (IOW>A rational, volitional, egoist). To act against this, would certainly be immoral.

The nature of, let's say, RayNewman, as individual, develops from that basis; as Hairnet says - your 'shoulds'.

Hairnet, I generally agree with your explanation, except for the utilitarian arguments about homosexuality. If it were in one's nature to be so, what would the effect to one's self worth be, to deny it? Or, the opposite, to fake it?

I don't think my arguments were quite utilitarian. I maybe you misread me because I was talking about one's decisions in relation to the attitudes of others. Ethics in general should not be thought about in that way, but sometimes the attitudes of others create a life or death situation.

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We know that if man acts against his nature, he has committed an immoral act.

I think what you have just said is either incorrect, or only part of the whole. Perhaps it helps to use in inversion to understand this idea.

A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man’s sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality.

~ Ayn Rand

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/morality.html

So now lets look at Homosexuality based on those grounds.

A person who is homosexual, just as with heterosexuals, presumably cannot choose whether or not upon seeing "suitable stimuli" they experience physical attraction. Thus, the attraction is not a choice, and thus, it cannot be considered an aspect of morality.

The next step is how one acts upon that attraction. They can

1) Use force to gratify themselves. This is immoral.

2) They can achieve gratification by Consensual means from another adult fully able to understand the choice. This is Moral.

- Note that "adult able to understand the choice" necessarily rules out minors and non-consensual means such as date-rape drugs.

3) They can choose not to act upon this attraction...

Now point 3 is the area I think you were interested in. That is to say, whether or not it is immoral not to act on ones "nature", which in this situation I am going to interpret to mean "The experiencing of homosexual attractions".

To answer this, I will once again turn to the words of Ayn Rand:

"Man must choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man—in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life."
~ Ayn Rand.
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