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And what measure would you use to determine what is rational? If you value liberty then capitalism is certainly rational. But, if you value self-sacrifice than communism is "rational".


Actually, better yet. Go ahead and let's pretend that I am a socialist and explain, without using any value statements to make your case, why I'm not acting rationally.

Lemme try to help.

Survival and prospering of my species is my value, therefore i am altruistic. I sacrifice myself for the good of my group because my life has no individual meaning(I reject a mere feeling, a hormon of happiness as the meaning of life) and i can only achieve some higher goals(pursuit of knowledge for example) throught cooperation and sacrifice.

A common misunderstanding a lot of people have about objectivist's is that they are selfish. They are not. They are RATIONALLY selfish.

Objectivist's(from my experience) do the same thing for altruism.

The difference between pure altruism and rational altruism is immense.

How can altruism be rational? Simple. If the goal is the benefit of certain group, it seems obvious that one person is not the only one contributing to the group, therefore helping other people contribute by providing means and conditions for work to other people might in result have more effect than simply doing work for yourself. Also a side effect of this may cause the release of serotonin in our brain, which by the way is not the meaning of life.

Ugh, i feel very smart and objective now :smartass:

I think i am clear with my point, but currently i am very tired and English is not my first language so in the possible case that you don't know what the fuck am i talking about let me know xD

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Well I wouldn't say it's automatically irrational regardless of context. But I would say it's irrational, and even irrational in the sense of number 3 in my previous post in almost all cases because, in modern times, the context of knowledge one would have to be unaware of to advocate full-on socialism or communism is so huge as to render it highly implausible one honestly comes to the conclusion of socialism by mistake. And so can it be rational to be a socialist, I think the answer is yes, it's possible, but highly improbable.

If another person says he just simply "values socialism," in light of paragraph 4 above, the Objectivist would likely just ask why does he value socialism. For what reasons does he value socialism?

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... it highly implausible one honestly comes to the conclusion of socialism by mistake.

This gets to my original point and what I was trying to zero-in on originally. The "conclusion" in this case is a response to a goal or objective of government / society that is based on certain values. There is plenty of evidence that communism doesn't work. Yet, people still support it as a system of economics because they value equality over liberty (or something similar to that). Is it not possible that socialism is the right "conclusion" if one does not value liberty but values altruism, for example?

My point is, and always has been, is that rationalism is upheld here (at least in my experience) as the basis of ethics, government, etc. I'm just arguing that I don't think that is really true. What I'm arguing is that values supply the goals for which we build rational systems of thought and ethics and then rational or reasoned though and objectivity is used to support, enable, build and live out those value-judgements.

This is why, I think, that "it isn't rational" is a terrible argument when evaluation value-statements like "I prefer socialism". It is this that I was responding to. I don't disagree with the epistemology of Objectivity, but I do disagree with how it is fleshed out and practiced when discussing these issues, as if, man was void of emotion, value-judgements, etc.

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Right, well all action is based on values, not just political conclusions. Should I go to the movies, should I study for this test, should I take out the trash, etc. Value is linked with action itself. That's kind of the whole point about morality being that having no innate knowledge of what action to take, what values man should adopt, man must use his reason as a guide. Rand holds that reason is man's only guide to knowledge, including of what values to adopt, so is man's only guide to action.

If he says he values equality over liberty, then we argue about which is best. The argument would develop along familiar lines. Why does he value equality? For what reasons? Say, for reasons XYZ. Then why should we value XYZ? etc.

You can always question why you should value an end all the way until you get down to the foundation of ethics. So the point of objectivist ethics is that you do, in fact, question the ultimate ends and not just take any end and use reason to tell you the means to achieve it. Until you know why you should value the ultimate end, then we don't have a clear answer to why we should adopt any value.

True, in a formally logical sense, if I say:

1. Equality is the best way to organize society.

2. Socialism is the society based on equality.

3. Therefore we should have socialism.

Then this is a formally valid conclusion. But it's not clear that it's a true conclusion. If we don't do as Rand's Razor says "check your premises," then how do we know why we should adopt any value, because the truth of any deduction depends on its premises. If it turns out the premises are false, then "because it's irrational" is a pretty good answer. What good is starting with false premises and reaching false conclusions going to do you? Is never questioning your premises rational? Not in our sense of number 3 above, it would be an act of evasion. Instead, evidence and proof for the premises of value-judgments should be offered.

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I completely agree with what you wrote, and am glad we're starting to connect on each other's points. Whether you know it or not (or even agree with me) I think we agree more than you think. What I am trying to do (which you actually did so well for me) is destroy the forms of arguments I see here so often that neglect this circle-of-reason-and-values, for the lack of a better term.

If I'm not mistaken, Rand regarded existence as the primary "value". However, if this presupposition is not shared then it seems possible to me that perfectly rational people could disagree about any number of subsequent things and all maintain reason.

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Yeah, I think that's right. It comes down to the foundational question in ethics about if there is an "ultimate end" and if so, what is it? Of course there are skeptics that say no there isn't an ultimate end, or that reason can't apprehend one, but obviously Rand disagreed. In her formulation, it's actually not "existence," but it's "man's life qua man." If that sounds confusing, then a study of her ethics might be warranted, but basically Rand's ethics are biocentric and in the Aristotelian eudaimonist tradition. So it says the ultimate end is to live a flourishing and successful life (eudaimonia), and that the nature of value itself presuppose this because life is a precondition of holding any values (biocentrism.) Rand expounded this theory in Atlas Shrugged and later in her ethical book The Virtue of Selfishness. It can also be explained in Leonard Peikoff's OPAR, and there are whole school of non-Objectivist philosophers that hold this view in the modern Aristotelian tradition, such as Philippa Foot, Henry Veach, Roderick Long, Doug Rasmussen, and Doug den Uyl, if you want to look up their stuff.

But the best book just on this metaethical subject is Tara Smith's Viable Values:


Edited by 2046
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it's because a person can recognize something when it surprises them but can never guess what they didn't know what was going to happen and when people of differing intelligences come into contact the stupider one is going to want the things that the smarter person covets but won't know why they themselves should want it.

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