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If Death exists (there is no other life after this one), then survival is the highest value. Since without being alive no other values are possible to actualize.

But if surivival is the highest value, then all our values should be subordinated to it. Therefore, we should always choose the _safest_ route. Therefore, if a person has a choice of living a brave life that would involve risk taking (even the risk of dying), or living a safe life - he should always choose the safest.

If the latter is a bad way of living, there is no Death. Or there is no logic. Or I am misusing logic.

Edited by samr
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Death is the final act of life.

Ummmm...I would have to disagree. Death is the cessation of life. Any "final act of life", by definition, is action of a living being, not a dead one. Death finishes all acts.

I don't understand what you're trying to say here.

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Fear of death is not a virtue.

The question is how can this be justified onthologically - what are the rational premises - if there are, that due to them fear of death is not a value.

If mind ceases at death, then it seems a premise for a fear of death.

Yet fear of death is not a good attitude to have, and it is an understandable emotion that death is not "the final end", that you always continue, in the form of memories of your friends, your legacy, the ideas you left behind and so on

. The important part of you doesn't die, in some sense. But what are the premises (if there are) that can justify this onthologically? Modern day onthology seems to argue for the worst.

(Buddhist onthology for example, argues that our mind continues after our death, and part of what continues with us is our character. THAT would be for example an onthological premise from which fear of death would not only be cowardice, but also would be irrational. ). But modern day brave people claim that you should take risks and do not spend your day fearing death, even though their onthology justifies just that.

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Fear of death is not a virtue.

The question is how can this be justified onthologically - what are the rational premises - if there are, that due to them fear of death is not a value.

If mind ceases at death, then it seems a premise for a fear of death.

Yet fear of death is not a good attitude to have, and it is an understandable emotion that death is not "the final end", that you always continue, in the form of memories of your friends, your legacy, the ideas you left behind and so on

. The important part of you doesn't die, in some sense. But what are the premises (if there are) that can justify this onthologically? Modern day onthology seems to argue for the worst.

(Buddhist onthology for example, argues that our mind continues after our death, and part of what continues with us is our character. THAT would be for example an onthological premise from which fear of death would not only be cowardice, but also would be irrational. ). But modern day brave people claim that you should take risks and do not spend your day fearing death, even though their onthology justifies just that.

What the heck is "onthology"?

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Apparently you think "onthology" is a word. Hint: it's not. So much for your sneering. But it is what I have come to expect from you.

Geez, this one’s for the birds. Or, rather, it’s one for Ornithology.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18UVdNoiMA4&feature=related

Remember though, what goes around comes around, do unto others etc. Do you ever make typos?

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Remember though, what goes around comes around, do unto others etc. Do you ever make typos?

The original poster was the one making the mistake, not once, but consistently throughout his post. That's why I asked what the heck "onthology" was, as it did not seem to be a typo. (But no, I didn't think that "ornithology" was what he intended!)

It was Chuff, a few posts later, that made a sneering comment. That's who I was responding to, no the original poster. Chuff has a tendency to be snide (or so I have experienced in the past) which is why I said that it was what I had come to expect.

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It was Chuff, a few posts later, that made a sneering comment. That's who I was responding to, no the original poster. Chuff has a tendency to be snide (or so I have experienced in the past) which is why I said that it was what I had come to expect.

What did Jesus say about the mote and the beam? And how about the love your enemies, and do good to those that harm you bit? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s no heavenly reward waiting for you!

Meanwhile for chuff, we have today’s Dan Quayle award:

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What did Jesus say about the mote and the beam? And how about the love your enemies, and do good to those that harm you bit?
'

Chuff was simply being snide, a snarky habit of his (and sometimes of mine). But I would hardly call him an "enemy" -- I don't know a thing about him. Nor has he harmed me in any way -- so just what are you talking about?

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Chuff was simply being snide, a snarky habit of his (and sometimes of mine). But I would hardly call him an "enemy" -- I don't know a thing about him. Nor has he harmed me in any way -- so just what are you talking about?

It’s the Holy Spirit working through me, to inspire you to be more Christ-like.

Now back to the OP. When I was running an Objectivist campus club we brought Andrew Bernstein to speak, and he did something on heroism, I can’t think of the title right now. The first questioner after the lecture did a speech on how heroism is all in vain because of death. After I don’t remember how many minutes Dr. Bernstein interrupted him saying “alright, enough, now does anyone have a real question”. The guy was stunned, and started talking again, and Bernstein cut him off saying “when your dead, your dead, so what, that’s not what I’m here to talk about!” It was a pretty memorable moment, without the sound of Bernstein’s vocal delivery (he sounds like he could have been a character in Goodfellas), I’m not sure the story comes across with the right flavor.

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It’s the Holy Spirit working through me, to inspire you to be more Christ-like.

Hah! Well, I can use all the inspiration you want to send my way...

Now back to the OP. When I was running an Objectivist campus club we brought Andrew Bernstein to speak, and he did something on heroism, I can’t think of the title right now. The first questioner after the lecture did a speech on how heroism is all in vain because of death. After I don’t remember how many minutes Dr. Bernstein interrupted him saying “alright, enough, now does anyone have a real question”. The guy was stunned, and started talking again, and Bernstein cut him off saying “when your dead, your dead, so what, that’s not what I’m here to talk about!” It was a pretty memorable moment, without the sound of Bernstein’s vocal delivery (he sounds like he could have been a character in Goodfellas), I’m not sure the story comes across with the right flavor.

Sounds like a good exchange. I have never bought (even when I was an atheist) the idea that if one believed there was no life after death, that that somehow made meaningful actions meaningless. Hell, then why not just sit in a corner and die sooner than later? I wonder how much of that is really a mask for the unwillingness to exert oneself to meaningful, purposeful action.

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if one believed there was no life after death, that that somehow made meaningful actions meaningless. Hell, then why not just sit in a corner and die sooner than later?

It is a valid argument, even if existentially it is not true. If there is no life after death, then meaningful actions have no ultimate meaning, no ultimate cause. (They have daily goals of course, but no ultimate one). Ayn Rand thought pursuing one's own destiny is a ultimate cause. (The highest meaning of your self).

However, I think that one might argue in the opposite way : a ultimate cause exists. One's own sense of living and creativity is a ultimate cause. When one is engrossed in these, he surpasses the fear of death. If there were no life after death, a ultimate cause could not exist. Therefore, there is life after death.

Edited by samr
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It is a valid argument, even if existentially it is not true. If there is no life after death, then meaningful actions have no ultimate meaning, no ultimate cause.

My life is my "ultimate cause". The actions that sustain it and make it flourish are "meaningful actions". Why would I need anything else to value life?

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In a letter to Professor John Hospers she responded with "the crucial issue here is: is the ultimate cause of man's behavior within his control—or is he ultimately moved and motivated by forces outside his control?" to distinguish between determinism and equating her view of the cause of human behavior from Freud's, in part to Hospers having wrote: "As long as we accept the statement that there ARE causes for human behavior, why need one be so alarmed that Freud has discovered what some of these causes are?"

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My life is my "ultimate cause". The actions that sustain it and make it flourish are "meaningful actions". Why would I need anything else to value life?

If life is a ultimate cause, then there are certain scenarios when one should choose to save his life, but act in a contrary way to his values.

Think of a person who is threatened that if he does not kill a person he loves, he will be killed himself. And has good reasons to believe the threat will be executed.

If life is the ultimate value, then it makes no sense to avoid killing the person you love. That's what ultimate means - the upper value.

(Acting to values can be rational _long term_. But not in specific situations, when you know you will die if you will act according to your values).

So, I think the only way to redeem it, would be to bring another life into the picture. (Though I am not sure how intellectually honest this is).

The basic idea behind the view of "another life" is twofold - one, that Something cannot turn into Nothing. Something is your consciousness in this case. Your life, what you are, in a poetic sense, cannot turn just into nothing.

Two, that it is _always_ useful to think long term. If this is true, that implies that there is another life which is the long term of this one.

Edited by samr
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