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Leonid
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They survive qua parasites thanks to the morality of Altruism and sanction of the victims they loot. But, as Rand observed, every looter eventually runs out of victims.

Is that a historical or scientific fact? Since those living lives that don't meet Rand's standard have always been part of humanity, and are certainly part of it now, on what basis do you KNOW that they'll "run out of victims"? This seems highly unlikely. It makes for a nice theory, but it appears to be only that -- a nice, albeit subjective, theory.

Edited by dakota
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Unfortunately, I don't know much about him, nor anything about his psychology, so the point is not any useful.

I was merely answering a question someone here had asked: "For your uncle: Would he have described himself as happy? Did he ENJOY his life?"

I don't understand what's subjective about that. I mean, I say that that is good standard based upon what is needed for one's existence.

We agree -- it is a good standard. However, it is subjective, because it is merely a personal standard. It is not objective: if it were objective, then all who failed to live by that standard would die, or live shortened, unhealthy lives. However, people can and do thrive by living off of others; by merely floating along rather mindlesly (to judge by the contemptuous comments here on this forum, one gets the impression it is the vast majority of the human race); etc.

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Is that a historical or scientific fact? Since those living lives that don't meet Rand's standard have always been part of humanity, and are certainly part of it now, on what basis do you KNOW that they'll "run out of victims"? This seems highly unlikely. It makes for a nice theory, but it appears to be only that -- a nice, albeit subjective, theory.

Both. If you want statistics just compare life span before Industrial revolution when few people lived as parasites and most as victims and life span in our times when most people are living by reason.

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It is not objective: if it were objective, then all who failed to live by that standard would die, or live shortened, unhealthy lives. However, people can and do thrive by living off of others; by merely floating along rather mindlesly (to judge by the contemptuous comments here on this forum, one gets the impression it is the vast majority of the human race); etc.

I know of NONE such people. The only example you gave is your uncle, but to answer the question of if he was truly satisfied with his life, an extensive interview would be required. That isn't necessary, because the requirements for a flourishing existence are discovered by figuring out what is needed for one's existence. People do live off others, but thrive? You say that, but there's no kind of evidence you've given. I can point to the modern age and all sorts of achievements of people living for themselves. Flourishing existence has been created as a result of people at least implicitly taken life to be a standard of value. The functioning of the Internet wasn't accomplished by people producing literally nothing, it was built up by people striving for the best life possible. I'm sure the Internet has contributed to the flourishing key people who have developed the technology, which in turn contributed to my flourishing, which then leads me to pursuing my own goals easier.

I would request that you provide some evidence to your claim, preferably not a single person. I don't say life is an objective standard of value because I simply LIKE it. I do like the standard, but I can validate that by studying history, particularly advances due to the industrial revolution. WHY did the industrial revolution increase living standards? What are the ESSENTIAL features that made for more flourishing lives? Historical evidence is important here.

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Both. If you want statistics just compare life span before Industrial revolution when few people lived as parasites and most as victims and life span in our times when most people are living by reason.

This is such an odd statement, I barely know where to start...

You are conflating "reason" with "knowledge" and/or "applied knowledge". A person living in the Middle Ages was just as able to use his reason as a man living in New York City today. Reason inolves the application of logic and facts to situations: an orphan living in the slums of Calcutta is just as able to use his reason to survive as any other person, regardless of the his circumstances. What does differ are the circumstances and difficulties that individuals in different historical periods and/or economic conditions have to apply their reason to. On the other hand, the increase in life span has largely to do with better hygiene (applied knowledge). This in turn was based on knowledge of disease and the role bacteria; etc.; that is the accumulated knowledge advanced over centuries. (Much of the pioneering studies in the sciences were done in the Middle Ages.)

To claim that "most people are living by reason today" is to claim that man's nature has somehow changed, in a very short period of time. That's quite a claim. There is simply no scientific basis for that claim.

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We agree -- it is a good standard. However, it is subjective, because it is merely a personal standard. It is not objective: if it were objective, then all who failed to live by that standard would die, or live shortened, unhealthy lives. However, people can and do thrive by living off of others; by merely floating along rather mindlesly (to judge by the contemptuous comments here on this forum, one gets the impression it is the vast majority of the human race); etc.

Heres the problem as I see it: Youre confusing Rands meta-ethics with hre normative prescriptions. "Choosing" life as the standard is not a subjective decision that you make when you wake up in the morning, its a recognition of the fact that only life makes value possible, and that which furthers life (flourishing) is good, that which destroys life is bad. Theres nothing subjective about that. You cant say "well, you need food to survive, but Ive got this other method.... I use poison", its not a choice. It not open to debate.

If your confused about her meta-ethics, than I can see how her normative theory could seem subjective to you. However, its not.

The virtues that are laid out in Atlas Shrugged and Tara Smiths "Ayn Rands Normative Ethics" are objective in the sense that: given what type of creature man is, theres a certain way he ought to act in order to further his life. The virtues that she lays out all get their moral status from their practicality in furthering mans life. The fact that some people live as parasites, like the ones you mention, doesnt negate the fact that there is a best method for living a good life, and thats with a principled approach, adhereing to certain virtues.

All of this assumes that you want to live.

Edit: I can go into much greater detail about the isuue with your "free riders" or parasites living happily, later though, Ill want to use quotes and I dont have access to them now.

Edited by JayR
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I know of NONE such people.

That's amazing. That suggests that you're either quite young, and/or have social skill problems which keep you isolated. It would also suggest that you haven't paid much attention to the societal trend in Europe and in this country, which is for increasing numbers of people living off of others via government handouts.

The only example you gave is your uncle, but to answer the question of if he was truly satisfied with his life, an extensive interview would be required

Actually, I offered two, just for the sake of brevity. If you want, I could list more....but would that make my point any better? But to scientifically demonstrate the assertion made here that such parasites can't be happy, you would need to conduct "extensive interviews" of the whole welfare population and those who are living off of the inherited wealth of other people's labor. Have you done that?

That isn't necessary, because the requirements for a flourishing existence are discovered by figuring out what is needed for one's existence.

And that's my point: unless and until you can demonstrate that parasites and looters simply die or have short, miserable lives due to their sense of life, then it's just a subjective standard -- a good standard, mind you, but ultimately just an opinion (Rand's opinion) of what a "flourishing" life looks like. Certainly I've seen a hell of a lot of angst amongst the Objectivists posting here: the "self-improvement" forum frequently has topics such as "I'm depressed again", and so on. According to your standard, they ought to be happy because they're living the life Rand sees as optimal, right?

I'm sure the Internet has contributed to the flourishing key people who have developed the technology, which in turn contributed to my flourishing, which then leads me to pursuing my own goals easier.

Maybe if you spent less time on the Internet, and more time observing the world around you, then you might wouldn't have to admit, "I know of NONE such people".

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And that's my point: unless and until you can demonstrate that parasites and looters simply die or have short, miserable lives due to their sense of life, then it's just a subjective standard -- a good standard, mind you, but ultimately just an opinion (Rand's opinion) of what a "flourishing" life looks like.

Or long and miserable lives, you forgot that. I don't quite understand how technological advances of the modern age and the their consequences don't indicate at least some of what makes for a good life in general. One thing obviously brought about is longer life-spans. That isn't much a claim I think, so I think we agree on this point. Well, how exactly did these advancements come about? Was it by drifting through life? Was it best accomplished by relying on other people? Not really. Since you're the one claiming that people can be happy being moochers basically, you should provide your evidence. The evidence I'm going off is historical. There are certain requirements of existence, and living by those requirements means flourishing. You don't disagree about using reason, you seem to just be disagreeing about specifics. Can you explain to me how being a non-productive individual makes for a happy and good life? Even if you can't explain, please point to some society or person that we can discuss.

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Or long and miserable lives, you forgot that.

No, I didn't forget. However, if this completely objective standard of LIFE is to be accepted, then failing to live according to this standard would necessarily mean a shorter life expectancy. Everything else is quite subjective -- it is difficult to measure and rate happiness, and different people are made happy by different things and goals at different times in their lives.

. Can you explain to me how being a non-productive individual makes for a happy and good life?

I don't think it makes for a good life at all, but I will acknowledge that this is my subjective OPINION. If it were to cease being my opinion, and become an objective standard, then I would expect that those who don't meet my standard would die. That would be the natural outcome of poor choices. But that's not what happens -- the dependent claases in Europe and here continue to live day in, day out. I would guess that happiness or at least self-esteem would be higher amongst self-made men, but who knows? Maybe the dependent classes have concluded that they're happy enough. Maybe a life of security is what makes them happy (not everyone likes risk...), or a life of ease. I'm not happy about that, as you and I would agree on what makes for a "good" life, but it is not objective.

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The pupose of ethics is to define what people should do (or how they should act) to enhance their lives, agreed? In order to measure any activities effect on your life, there must be a standard in which to measure it against, agree?

Im just trying to pin down your actual argument.

Do you believe its possible for anything to be an objective value?

Edit: Objective values are not intrinsic values. Something objectively valuable to me may be of no value to you. Agree? Being agent relative doesnt make it subjective.

Edited by JayR
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The pupose of ethics is to define what people should do (or how they should act) to enhance their lives, agreed? In order to measure any activities effect on your life, there must be a standard in which to measure it against, agree?

Yes, we agree on both points. And we would probably agree on what that ethical code consists of.

Im just trying to pin down your actual argument.

I get the impression from this forum (I'd be happy to hear that my impression is erroneous) and my contact with Objectivists over the years, that they view their particular standard (as laid out by Rand) to be the definitive, final, and (this is where it gets problematic for me) scientifically verifiable standard. Disagreement with this standard constitutes a crime against reason itself. And yet people do indeed live and thrive despite non-adherence to the Objectivist standard.

Do you believe its possible for anything to be an objective value?

Yes, of course. If one values living, then one must secure food and drink in order to sustain life. This is a scientific fact. If one values health, then one must not engage in any number of activities (heavy smoking, heavy drinking, promisciuty) which science shows will adversely affect one's health. That's easy...but beyond these scientifically verifiable values, ethics would appear to be very subjective. For example, if I were a woman who valued and desired having a large and stable family life, reason would dictate that, based on data, I should marry a very religious person. Data shows that very religious persons (Orthodox Jews, observant Catholics, Mormans) have large families and relatively few divorces. Reason is being applied in this situation, but yet this scenario is one that I gather, from Objectivists, to be undesirable. Why? Probably because it reflects utilitarianism values, not Objectivist values. Yet I suspect that that the vast majority of people in this country do live according to utilitarian ethics in one form or another. They live according to what best suits their particular purpose...which is very subjective.

Please understand: I am not a relativist, nor am I a multiculturalist (multiculturism is, in my opinion, one of the most poisonous "isms" around). But beyond very basic and scientifically verifiable values, this appears to be subjective.

I am also confused by the comments on this thread: to read this forum is to get the idea that most of humanity is stupidly ignoring Rand. And yet a poster tells me that she doesn't know anyone who happily lives on the public dole or off the wealth of others. Well, which is it?

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...Disagreement with this standard constitutes a crime against reason itself. And yet people do indeed live and thrive despite non-adherence to the Objectivist standard...

Despite not completely adhering to the Objectivist standard, people successful in any respect will agree with some aspects of Objectivism. To the extent that they disagree, they do not achieve their full potential.

...For example, if I were a woman who valued and desired having a large and stable family life, reason would dictate that, based on data, I should marry a very religious person. Data shows that very religious persons (Orthodox Jews, observant Catholics, Mormans) have large families and relatively few divorces. Reason is being applied in this situation, but yet this scenario is one that I gather, from Objectivists, to be undesirable. Why? Probably because it reflects utilitarianism values, not Objectivist values. Yet I suspect that that the vast majority of people in this country do live according to utilitarian ethics in one form or another. They live according to what best suits their particular purpose...

Utilitarianism as I understand it is simply actions are valuable inasmuch as they create the greatest good for the greatest number of people. What best suits one's particular purpose is not necessarily good for the most people.

Furthermore, ends don't justify means. If you would like to have a large family, that's fine. But choosing to marry someone for this sole purpose is unreasonable. If you are not of the same faith, you are likely to sacrifice many other important values in pursuit of that one. I would like to see this data you reference and see whether the statistics include anything on the divorce rates among very religious persons married to very unreligious persons (e.g. atheists).

Edited by DancingBear
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Despite not completely adhering to the Objectivist standard, people successful in any respect will agree with some aspects of Objectivism. To the extent that they disagree, they do not achieve their full potential.

But this again posits an objective standard -- and where is the scientific proof of this? I have to say, the claims here smack of Catholicism, which does indeed claim an objective (transcendant, outside of man) standard, and then claims that other religions, to the extent they agree with Catholicism, are acting within reality and reason -- to the extent they disagree, they do not achieve their full potential. There is something oddly religious about the claims made here.

Utilitarianism as I understand it is simply actions are valuable inasmuch as they create the greatest good for the greatest number of people.What best suits one's particular purpose is not necessarily good for the most people.

As I understand it, there is a personal utilitarianism as well as the definition you provide: what works for me is what is best. Now, that may or may not have any impact on the "greatest good" (and how do you define the "greatest good"?), but it does serve (utilize) that particular person's wishes.

Furthermore, ends don't justify means.

I completely agree.

But choosing to marry someone for this sole purpose is unreasonable.

This is where we disagree, though we both would likely agree that the scenario is not desirable. The difference lies between what is "reasonable" and what is "desirable". It is perfectly reasonable for a woman, desiring X (a large,stable family, in the example I gave) to pursue X , using reason, if that is her highest value. You and I might disagree with her highest value, or disagree with the means by which she might pursue this end, but unfortunately I see no scientific, empirical evidence to negate her reasoning. Your and my disagreement is not based on science, but rather on our personal views as to what best constitutes a good "sense of life".

I would like to see this data you reference and see whether the statistics include anything on the divorce rates among very religious persons married to very unreligious persons (e.g. atheists).

This was a very good and reasonable request on your part, though it doesn't really address the larger questions here. Nevertheless, it did force me to review the information that I had only vaguely remembered, and I think it's fair to say that it isn't quite as black-and-white as I remembered it: the main study (barna) showed only Christian denominations, and made no distinction between religious affiliation and actual observance. Nor did it take into account Muslims, Buddhists, and other religions. But nevertheless it did show that the rate of atheist divorce is the same as some denominations, and less than "born again" Christians (a sorry lot, in my book...). So -- I apologize for the generalization. However, it still is true that among observant Catholics (i.e, those practicing NFP instead of artificial birth control)the divorce rate is about 2%. Ditto for Orthodox Jews. No divorce stats were provided for adherents of Islam, which is now the dominant religious force in the world. But yes, large family size coincides with observant religious belief; observant Catholics, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims have large families.

I could have used a different example, but the point is the same: not everyone values things as Rand did. I would likely side with Rand in most situations-- but I do recognize that unless objective science backs me up, it is just my opinion -- a well-reasoned opinion, yes, but ultimately an opinion, not a fact.

Edited by dakota
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But this again posits an objective standard -- and where is the scientific proof of this? I have to say, the claims here smack of Catholicism, which does indeed claim an objective (transcendant, outside of man) standard, ...

That is not what "objective" refers to. From the Lexicon:

Most people . . . think that abstract thinking must be “impersonal”—which means that ideas must hold no personal meaning, value or importance to the thinker. This notion rests on the premise that a personal interest is an agent of distortion. But “personal” does not mean “nonobjective”; it depends on the kind of person you are. If your thinking is determined by your emotions, then you will not be able to judge anything, personally or impersonally. But if you are the kind of person who knows that reality is not your enemy, that truth and knowledge are of crucial, personal, selfish importance to you and to your own life—then, the more passionately personal the thinking, the clearer and truer.
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In such a case what guides one's choices? If there is no standard, then any choice is as good or bad as any other. Without standard man will be in the position of Buridan's ass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buridan's_ass, completely paralyzed, unable to make any choices and to act at all.

I regard a standard of value as analogous to a standard of reason and men thought for years before logic was invented. To me a choice requires a reason, however fleeting, which serves as the cause of the choice (as in cause and effect), but does not necessarily require a standard. A standard is something more than a reason, it's something consistent where in the same situation again you would do the same thing. Due to our free will we're not forced to do that.

Luckily, this is not a case. As Ayn Rand observed, man implicitly discovers that his life is standard of value not by choice but via pain-pleasure mechanism. This is ostensive first hand knowledge. The rejection of this self-evident fact of reality and substitution of it by some arbitrary concept is a result of the failure to employ one rational faculty and, therefore a breach of morality.

It's not irrational to reject the pleasure/pain standard, sometimes exercise can hurt but be good for you, or recreational substances can feel good but rationally be bad for you. I think pleasure/pain is just where we get the basic idea that there could be a standard, but just like existence is the standard of reason, the choice of existence is the standard of value, not simple sensations. The equivalent standard in reason to pleasure/pain in ethics might be thinking something is true because it gives you the feeling of understanding, whether it is really true or not.

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Philosopher on 3.2.11

"I regard a standard of value as analogous to a standard of reason"

Standard is a concept of measure like meter or second. This is simply a frame of reference. Without such a standard value as man-man concept doesn't have identity, it would be floating abstraction, nothing in particular. That why the first question Ayn Rand asked in regard to ethics : value for whom or for what? The answer to such a question presupposes an antecedent existence of the standard of value. Reason, however, is metaphysically given property of man, although its use is volitional. Reason,doesn't require a standard of reason, it is by itself standard of anything. It's axiomatic concept and all other standards depend on it. That why in Objectivism the basic choice is not to live but to think. Life and reason are metaphysically given. If man chooses to use reason he chooses to carry on living.

"It's not irrational to reject the pleasure/pain standard, sometimes exercise can hurt but be good for you"

Pleasure-pain mechanism is a perceptual experience. Using this experience, man, who is conceptual being and doesn't operate on perceptual level, builds a concept of value (something which is good for me) as a first-degree concept and a standard of value-once's life- as the second degree concept, pretty much as he builds concept of "chair" and then "furniture". These concepts are based of the solid, first hand perception and build by means of reason. If man rejects these concepts and substitutes them by some second hand arbitrary concepts which don't pertain to reality, he rejects his own senses and reason. This is highly irrational. Your example of exercise's pain doesn't defeat the premise of the pleasure-pain mechanism as a basis for the concept of value. It simply demonstrates, that values have an hierarchy. In spite pain, exercise promotes and better life. However if you had the option to exercise without pain, you'd doubtlessly choose to do just that.

Edited by Leonid
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Standard is a concept of measure like meter or second. This is simply a frame of reference. Without such a standard value as man-man concept doesn't have identity, it would be floating abstraction, nothing in particular. That why the first question Ayn Rand asked in regard to ethics : value for whom or for what? The answer to such a question presupposes an antecedent existence of the standard of value. Reason, however, is metaphysically given property of man, although its use is volitional. Reason,doesn't require a standard of reason, it is by itself standard of anything. It's axiomatic concept and all other standards depend on it. That why in Objectivism the basic choice is not to live but to think. Life and reason are metaphysically given. If man chooses to use reason he chooses to carry on living.

I agree that a standard is something you measure against. And yes, value requires a "to whom" and "for what."

I agree that choosing is a natural ability of man and thinking is a natural ability, but valuing and reasoning are not. Value is choosing + a standard, reason is thinking + a standard. And the the standards in both cases have to be discovered (we are not born with the knowledge).

Pleasure-pain mechanism is a perceptual experience. Using this experience, man, who is conceptual being and doesn't operate on perceptual level, builds a concept of value (something which is good for me) as a first-degree concept and a standard of value-once's life- as the second degree concept, pretty much as he builds concept of "chair" and then "furniture". These concepts are based of the solid, first hand perception and build by means of reason. If man rejects these concepts and substitutes them by some second hand arbitrary concepts which don't pertain to reality, he rejects his own senses and reason. This is highly irrational. Your example of exercise's pain doesn't defeat the premise of the pleasure-pain mechanism as a basis for the concept of value. It simply demonstrates, that values have an hierarchy. In spite pain, exercise promotes and better life. However if you had the option to exercise without pain, you'd doubtlessly choose to do just that.

I think we're pretty much on the same page here. I don't disagree that pleasure/pain can get us to a concept of value. But once we're on the conceptual level we realize that anything that has a "to whom" and "for what" can also potentially serve as a standard. Then there's comes the question of proof of any given standard. And life is the only provable ultimate standard.

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...people do indeed survive -- and not just for a period of time, but for the same life-span as others -- despite being on welfare; merely carried along the cultural stream; living a life of ease off the labors of others; etc. "Optimal" would appear, then, to be subjective: it is Rand's idea of optimal, not one that scientific evidence supports. Not that her idea of a flourishing life doesn't constitute a good standard -- I believe it does -- but it is subjective. I'm sure, with even a very little thought, most here can think of examples around them.

Obviously there are activities that science can show have a life-shortening effect for most people: heavy smoking, heavy drinking, promiscuity, over-eating.

This focus on life-expectancy as the sole and ultimate form of evidence for an objective standard of life is misplaced. In order to show that a type of action is anti-life, it is enough to show that it has a negative (net) effect on the continuation of one's life.

I'll draw an analogy to health to illustrate this point (I'll actually use one of yours above). How do we know that promiscuity is an unhealthy behavior? Do we need to have longitudinal studies which follow a large sample of people through their lives, and show that the more promiscuous ones live for a shorter time? No, we do not. We merely need to look at the act of engaging in promiscuous sex itself. What are the negative consequences? Increased risk of contracting diseases or of impregnating someone you don't really know jump out as the two major ones. Are there correspondingly strong positive health consequences? Nope. Thus, if we can point to the overall consequences of the behavior as negative towards one's health, we are justified in proclaiming the behavior unhealthy. No lifespan studies needed.

This is indeed the approach that Rand takes in presenting arguments for her code of virtues. Take the paragraph in Galt's speech on the virtue of rationality, for instance:

Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking—that the mind is one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide of action—that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise—that a concession to the irrational invalidates one’s consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality—that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind—that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wish for the annihilation of existence and, properly, annihilates one’s consciousness.

Note that she calls attention to the negative effects of attempting to think and act on the basis of the irrational. Rationality is a virtue because irrationality as a practice has demonstrable negative consequences on the furtherance of one's life. We don't need to wait for the longitudinal studies of rational and irrational people; we can conceptually isolate the act of attempting to defy reason in making decisions, and illustrate the negative consequences of this. This is sufficient to demonstrate that rationality is objectively life-furthering.

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Mind is the only tool of human survival. I assume I don't have to argue that people don't live by instincts, innate knowledge, or divine revelation. If one doesn't live by his own mind, then he lives by using minds of others. That doesn't necessarily mean parasitism, since people with lesser minds can trade with those of the greater ability. The sheer number of the people of mind in our times is much bigger then in pre-industrial age and therefore the total standard of living , including life span in industrial countries is increasing. To see this obvious fact one has only to compare the standard of living and life expectancy in industrial countries with that of Africa. Average life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 36 years. Promiscuity also contributed to the shortening of the life span in Africa by promoting HIV epidemic.But never mind life span, think about the quality of life of the average African or Indian who lives on less then $1 a day.

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This focus on life-expectancy as the sole and ultimate form of evidence for an objective standard of life is misplaced. In order to show that a type of action is anti-life, it is enough to show that it has a negative (net) effect on the continuation of one's life.

Actually, I can use your second sentence here to show why your first sentence is in error.

Note that she calls attention to the negative effects of attempting to think and act on the basis of the irrational. Rationality is a virtue because irrationality as a practice has demonstrable negative consequences on the furtherance of one's life.

We don't disagree here at all. However, Objectivists seem to classify as "irrational" all kinds of personal choices, ethical systems, and behavior, despite many of them having no demonstrable effect on the continuation of one's life. It's just her personal code of ethics, yet it is treated as if it were proven by the scientific method.

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However, Objectivists seem to classify as "irrational" all kinds of personal choices, ethical systems, and behavior, despite many of them having no demonstrable effect on the continuation of one's life. It's just her personal code of ethics, yet it is treated as if it were proven by the scientific method.

If you are unclear about the demonstration of the validity of any particular moral principle, there are endless resources available, either in other threads on this forum or elsewhere online, where Objectivists have put forth such demonstrations. However, if you're simply interested in taking potshots at some nebulous 'what Objectivists have told me' without any substance, this forum is not the place for that.

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If you are unclear about the demonstration of the validity of any particular moral principle, there are endless resources available, either in other threads on this forum or elsewhere online, where Objectivists have put forth such demonstrations.

I have read Rand, have read many if the threads here, and have yet to see it demonstrated that the code of ethics Rand proposed is anything more than her largely subjective code of personal ethics. I happen to think they constitute an admirable code of ethics, but simply are not objective in the ordinary sense of the word. But thanks -- the conversation has been interesting.

Edited by dakota
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I have read Rand, have read many if the threads here, and have yet to see it demonstrated that the code of ethics Rand proposed is anything more than her largely subjective code of personal ethics. I happen to think they constitute an admirable code of ethics, but simply are not objective in the ordinary sense of the word. But thanks -- the conversation has been interesting.

Dude, you are too evasive to understand me now, but just in case, and also because I have time and consider it doing good, I'll set something straight.

You claim (without all the fluff) that "the code of ethics Rand proposed is ... her ... personal ethics". Truly. And, like all scientific models, it can be reproduced in the mind of other persons, validated independently, and used if valuable, or revised if insufficient in light of emerging facts.

You further assert that this code of ethics is "... not objective in the ordinary sense of the word." And here, you error. Check your premises. If Ayn's ethical code appears to contradict objectivity, or rely in any way on subjective, i.e., non-reproducible, representations, then please can you give me a SINGLE SOLITARY EXAMPLE?! No? I thought not. Your assertion is arbitrary on its face. But, let's poke into what it might be, this "ordinary sense" of the word "objective", that you are so fond of using as an evasion of the fact that Ayn was wholly objective in her ethics?

According to dictionary.com, the word "objective" used as an adjective modifier of ideas, such as "ethics", has the following relevant definition: "not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased".

Now, whether one LIKES Ayn's ethics or not is, perhaps, subjective (but only if you are somewhat irrational, in my experience -- wholly rational folk seem to like it unequivocally). But, her precepts are valid, inductions pristine, measurements reproducible, and conclusions unshakable ... can you honestly disagree, assuming you have read and understood OPAR? That is as objective, scientific as one can get.

- ico

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