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Isn't Objectivism Redundant and Impractical?

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Look, you seem to indicating that Objectivism is just this "difficult" thing that every individual must "struggle" and strain to put its pieces together (presumably over a large number of years or a lifetime). Whats the point? Is there even any foreseeable benefit to doing so? Can you measure the time it takes and the payoff?

Atleast one can see the practical benefit and payoff to the years of struggle to get a phD in particle physics. I see no practical benefit to "struggling" to "integrate" Objectivism.

How is that a "philosophy for living on the earth" if most of your life is spent in agony and (needless) struggle?

I'd just take common sense over that anyday (and most people do). I don't see how its demonstrably any better.

I stand by my point that its a largely useless, redundant and impractical philosophy.

Do you consider growing your understanding of the world to be of benefit to yourself? If so, that would be a reason to go beyond "common sense." What makes you think it's been agony and struggle for proponents of Objectivism to learn its principles? Most people have decided to learn more about it because it was of interest to them.
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I admit to not reading through this thoroughly, but just wanted to mention this. MarcT, you seem to apply consequentialism to the question of happiness:- if one is happy, then the philosophy one l

That last post made me lose hope in this guy but I'd already written this, so let this be my last statement. No, not nessecarily. They are activities which can be pursued either productively

Your airplane won't fly on the moon. Your car won't drive on the ocean. An Objectivists probably won't be able to achieve happiness living in North Korea. Living by Objectivism will give you the best

If your premise is that self-delusion is ultimately more successful in achieving happiness, and assuming you yourself are in fact happily self-deluded, why are you seeking to determine the best means towards happiness with an objective line of questioning to determine the reality of your premise?

Because my usage of self-delusion (as a means or tool to achieve happiness and effectiveness) was in itself determined by a rational, objective process. I discovered the benefits of self-delusion via empirical studies that demonstrate its practical effectiveness.

I want to make it clear that I do not view myself as an irrationalist in any way whatsoever. All of my beliefs are based upon my own process of reasoning. Except my approach is a kind of radical empiricism.

Why is it important to validate that reality if delusion is sufficient to begin with?

Self-delusion is better understood in this context as a psychological tool to achieve an aim. In my case, the precise, scientific use of self-delusion to increase everything from self confidence to happiness.

Whether you like it or not, it is a fact and real feature of the human mind. I came here to pose a question regarding the practicality and efficiency of the strict rationalist approach taken by Objectivism in comparison with my own. If one is demonstrated to be clearly superior to the other I would then adopt one which is superior.

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Why do you want Objectivism to be true?

Because I am inspired by the heroism of the characters presented in Ayn Rand novels. The strength, certainty, and self-assuredness that they project. Their achievements. Their inner state of mind and happiness. In short, it's the idealism and romanticism ithat appeals to me more than anything about Objectivism.

In *that sense* I want it to be true.

I'd also want to live in the universe of Star Trek with warp drives, replicators and teleporters. Does'nt make it real, just an ideal world I'd like to live in.

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@ WhYNOT

When it comes to human happiness, there is NEVER

a guarantee. The state you refer to as happiness is a zombie-like trance. If that's good enough for you, great.

But happiness according to Objectivism is the natural state of man? Are you now denying that?

By removing the "certainty" of happiness your essentially saying Objectivism is no demonstrably better than any other philosophy in achieving ones aims. Your doing Objectivists a great disservice.

And the state I'm referring to is exactly what it means: Happiness. "Zombie-like" are persons strung out on mind-altering drugs designed to put them in that state. What I am describing can be a perfectly healthy and beneficial means of functioning cognitively.

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I came here to pose a question regarding the practicality and efficiency of the strict rationalist approach taken by Objectivism in comparison with my own. If one is demonstrated to be clearly superior to the other I would then adopt one which is superior.

Being "strictly" rational is only secondarily a question of practicality -- it is first a question of possibility. It is literally impossible to know, do, become, achieve, or feel anything beyond basic sense perception without rational evaluation. "Strictly" when talking about the human rational faculty only has meaning when applied to frequency -- that is, strictly really means being rational more often. When one is not rational, one can not do anything. If one has been rational before and chooses to be irrational now, it is only on the foundation of prior rationality that one can move forward and do anything else.

But happiness according to Objectivism is the natural state of man? Are you now denying that?

You are misinterpreting this concept. Happiness as man's natural state means that, in net and over the course of his life, man will be happy when existing in his natural state -- as a rational being in an environment which he models after his own needs and wants. It does not mean that happiness is automatic, and that man will be born and just walk around happy all the time for the duration of his life, without any effort on his part at all.
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Being "strictly" rational is only secondarily a question of practicality -- it is first a question of possibility. It is literally impossible to know, do, become, achieve, or feel anything beyond basic sense perception without rational evaluation. "Strictly" when talking about the human rational faculty only has meaning when applied to frequency -- that is, strictly really means being rational more often. When one is not rational, one can not do anything. If one has been rational before and chooses to be irrational now, it is only on the foundation of prior rationality that one can move forward and do anything else.

To clarify what I meant by "strict" rationality. In that sense, I meant the Objectivist emphasis on pure logical reasoning over empirical observation and testing procedures.

You are misinterpreting this concept. Happiness as man's natural state means that, in net and over the course of his life, man will be happy when existing in his natural state -- as a rational being in an environment which he models after his own needs and wants. It does not mean that happiness is automatic, and that man will be born and just walk around happy all the time for the duration of his life, without any effort on his part at all.

That's not what I was referring to. whYNOT said there is a "never a guarantee" to happiness. To which I replied if there is no sense of certainty of achieving happiness using the methods of Objectivism, how is it better or more scientific than any other philosophy that makes more or less similar claims (no guarantee or certainty)?

His statement on its face, seemed to to contradict the Objectivist concept of "natural happiness".

That is, if one does the things necessary to achieve happiness according to Objectivism, then there is no reason why one should not be happy. There should be certainty on this issue. He denies it.

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Computer games (and maybe sports) I believe are classified as "leisure" under objectivism.

However, if by being productive in this sense, you mean pursuing some sort of challenging activity, then I agree with you. Psychologically a rich person still needs to find some sort of purpose or challenge in their life, whatever it may be.

But lets be clear that a billionaire heir does not need to be "productive" in the economic sense at all.

Objectivism is not aiming for something as narrow as economic or tradable value when discussing productivity. This is clear when Rand clarifies that raising children and maintaining a home is a valid centralizing productive purpose. The key to this discussion of productivity is the value of purpose in human life, one or a few centralizing and organizing purposes. If you agree on the importance of that, that's most of the discussion right there.

Also, this whole discussion of the adoption of Objectivism strikes me as largely an irrelevant issue. The ideas in question are right there. We don't need some sort of 'barometer' to see whether the ideas are likely to be good ones. We can read them directly and judge for ourselves. It just seems to me that attempting to criticize Objectivism in any way other than discussing the ideas themselves is a waste of time.

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To clarify what I meant by "strict" rationality. In that sense, I meant the Objectivist emphasis on pure logical reasoning over empirical observation and testing procedures.

There is no such emphasis. Induction is a vitally important means to knowledge. There is no deduction and logical reasoning without induction, and I would challenge you to point to a statement in the Objectivist literature that contradicts this.

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Because my usage of self-delusion (as a means or tool to achieve happiness and effectiveness) was in itself determined by a rational, objective process.

Are you familiar with the Fallacy of the Stolen Concept?

In my case, the precise, scientific use of self-delusion to increase everything from self confidence to happiness.

How does one precisely and scientifically use "self-delusion" or "over-confidence" without using rationality as a primary? You are positing a contradiction, that one can choose to be rationally irrational.

Additionally, how does one choose to delude oneself IF they KNOW they are deluding their self? Earlier you made the claim that the information in those studies was easily and readily usable. I doubt that claim. One cannot just make themselves over-confident if they are not in the first place. One cannot simply ignore reality if seeking reality is something they already consider important.

Whether you like it or not, it is a fact and real feature of the human mind.

What in particular are you saying is a fact and real feature of the human mind? Self-delusion and over-confidence or the results of the studies you referenced?

Are you still not seeing the contradiction created by your premise and the "results" of those studies?

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Objectivism is not aiming for something as narrow as economic or tradable value when discussing productivity. This is clear when Rand clarifies that raising children and maintaining a home is a valid centralizing productive purpose. The key to this discussion of productivity is the value of purpose in human life, one or a few centralizing and organizing purposes. If you agree on the importance of that, that's most of the discussion right there.

My problem with the Objectivist concept of productiveness was not when it was mentioned in OPAR, that even rich heirs and billionaires need to be productive (as long as he meant "productive" as in challenging and not economic). But when he then when on to say that things like games and travel (in a billionaire heirs case) do not constitute productive work but leisure, which I disagree with.

So it is still a problem so long as Objectivism officially adopts this position.

Also, this whole discussion of the adoption of Objectivism strikes me as largely an irrelevant issue. The ideas in question areright there. We don't need some sort of 'barometer' to see whether the ideas are likely to be good ones. We can read them directly and judge for ourselves. It just seems to me that attempting to criticize Objectivism in any way other than discussing the ideas themselves is a waste of time.

Indeed, the ideas are "right there" and people are clearly getting exposed to Objectivist ideas. But hardly anyone is adopting them. It does'nt constitute absolute proof against your theory, but it still isn't a good sign either.

And I directly attacked several objectivist ideas (particularly ethics) separate from my criticisms of its lack of adoption. Refer to my first post.

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Indeed, the ideas are "right there" and people are clearly getting exposed to Objectivist ideas. But hardly anyone is adopting them. It does'nt constitute absolute proof against your theory, but it still isn't a good sign either.

I'm on book 5 of the Dexter series. I have no inclination of becoming a serial killer. While Rand may have intended AS to be a fictional extension of her philosophical beliefs, that does not mean the reader is going to read it with the intent of accepting it as more than "just a good story". On the other hand, the Bible is not presented as a fictional story, it is presented as reality with very scary eternal results if one does not heed its instructions. There is a huge difference there in the amount of psychological coercion going on.

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There is no such emphasis. Induction is a vitally important means to knowledge. There is no deduction and logical reasoning without induction, and I would challenge you to point to a statement in the Objectivist literature that contradicts this.

Let me pose a problem to illuminate what I am talking about:

Lets take the classic syllogism "All men are mortal". On it's face its logically sound and applies to all. Men are living things, all living things are mortal, therefore all men are mortal.

But let's say a scientist, today, invents a special serum that rearranges human DNA that makes himself immortal.

Is "all men are mortal" still correct? No.

Logic is just a mental construct that allows us to make generalizations based upon (readily) observed facts of reality. However certain details or variables regarding that particular fact (scientist with eternal life serum) may contradict your logical generalization.

This is the reason why empirical, special observation is ultimately superior to logical inference. Its the same as the "black swan" epistemological problem. All swans are white, until you observe a "black" swan. It means your logically inferred premise is wrong.

Objectivism rejects radical empiricism (pragmatism) and says that epistemologically, the truth can be gleaned through logical inference (because logic is based upon the facts of reality). When really logic is more like a rough (but mostly accurate) estimate.

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Are you familiar with the Fallacy of the Stolen Concept?

Yes. In what way is my statement using stolen concepts?

How does one precisely and scientifically use "self-delusion" or "over-confidence" without using rationality as a primary? You are positing a contradiction, that one can choose to be rationally irrational.

We *use* it every day. Its a basic human cognitive bias we are mostly not aware of. My point is that you can use it, against itself, to achieve "good" and "beneficial" ends.

Its not a "contradiction" at all because it happens, whether I say it does or not. What I am describing is empirically demonstrated and a *regular* feature of human cognitive function. Your playing too much with abstractions.

One cannot just make themselves over-confident if they are not in the first place. One cannot simply ignore reality if seeking reality is something they already consider important.

You obviously then, know very little about human psychology. We can cause ourselves to forget or ignore things. Thus, using self-delusion to our benefit.

For example you can *ignore* pain and eventually it will lessen. That's an example of using self-delusion to achieve a beneficial (less pain) result. It does'nt take away from the knowledge that you know something caused that pain, or even that it needs to be attended to. It just lessen the undesirable (pain) result.

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Let me pose a problem to illuminate what I am talking about:

Lets take the classic syllogism "All men are mortal". On it's face its logically sound and applies to all. Men are living things, all living things are mortal, therefore all men are mortal.

But let's say a scientist, today, invents a special serum that rearranges human DNA that makes himself immortal.

Is "all men are mortal" still correct? No.

This is just a variant on the fantasy 2d creature only capable of seeing 2d is impoverished compared to the reality observed by 3d capable creature - so how do we know that as 3d creatures our means of cognition is not impoverished to some fantasy 4d abilities?

Logic is just a mental construct that allows us to make generalizations based upon (readily) observed facts of reality. However certain details or variables regarding that particular fact (scientist with eternal life serum) may contradict your logical generalization.

This is the reason why empirical, special observation is ultimately superior to logical inference. Its the same as the "black swan" epistemological problem. All swans are white, until you observe a "black" swan. It means your logically inferred premise is wrong.

Objectivism rejects radical empiricism (pragmatism) and says that epistemologically, the truth can be gleaned through logical inference (because logic is based upon the facts of reality). When really logic is more like a rough (but mostly accurate) estimate.

Funny you should try to refer to an example Miss Rand uses to illustrate that color has no cognitive significance in the case of swans.Along the way you go from logic being "just a mental construct" to logic is "like a rough estimate". The law of identity cannot be circumvented.

How is that a "philosophy for living on the earth" if most of your life is spent in agony and (needless) struggle?

Then again, while reason is not automatic, I was not aware that it actually caused agony to some.

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Let me pose a problem to illuminate what I am talking about:

Lets take the classic syllogism "All men are mortal". On it's face its logically sound and applies to all. Men are living things, all living things are mortal, therefore all men are mortal.

But let's say a scientist, today, invents a special serum that rearranges human DNA that makes himself immortal.

Is "all men are mortal" still correct? No.

Logic is just a mental construct that allows us to make generalizations based upon (readily) observed facts of reality. However certain details or variables regarding that particular fact (scientist with eternal life serum) may contradict your logical generalization.

This is the reason why empirical, special observation is ultimately superior to logical inference. Its the same as the "black swan" epistemological problem. All swans are white, until you observe a "black" swan. It means your logically inferred premise is wrong.

Objectivism rejects radical empiricism (pragmatism) and says that epistemologically, the truth can be gleaned through logical inference (because logic is based upon the facts of reality). When really logic is more like a rough (but mostly accurate) estimate.

This is an interesting thread with everyone making some solid points, however, I think you redefine “logic” is an incorrect way. In your example of the syllogism “All men are mortal”, you note that is a scientist were to invent an eternal life serum, then that “contradict your logical generalization”. Maybe I misunderstand you, but the invention of the serum as a new premise will merely make the argument invalid. Logic still stands.

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@ WhYNOT

But happiness according to Objectivism is the natural state of man? Are you now denying that?

By removing the "certainty" of happiness your essentially saying Objectivism is no demonstrably better than any other philosophy in achieving ones aims. Your doing Objectivists a great disservice.

And the state I'm referring to is exactly what it means: Happiness. "Zombie-like" are persons strung out on mind-altering drugs designed to put them in that state. What I am describing can be a perfectly healthy and beneficial means of functioning cognitively.

."..the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life... "

As a declared empiricist, perhaps you don't recognise that this is a metaphysical statement. It pertains to

the nature of man, as Man. From it evolves the ethics of who 'ought' to benefit in an individual life.

Once again, "purpose", which carries no certainty of reward. It provides the tools to that end, pride being a major one.

Interesting though, that in contradiction to your empiricism, you uphold happiness as floating abstraction -

in a semi-mystical manner.

Why, happiness? What is happiness? Is it earned? Is it a 'given', that every spoiled child

has a 'right' to? If happiness is to be real, and constant, is it gained through reality and reason - or through

the dulling of consciousness, and "self-delusion"?

Lastly, must it be achieved whatever the sacrifice to oneself, and can it?

No answers from you; or even the right questions.

Only this: If Objectivism can't give me what I demand, then it's no better than Buddhism. (or words to that effect).

And,

"We can cause ourselves to forget or ignore things." Possibly, but where is the essential difference between

evasion of our emotions, mind and senses - and being "strung out on mind-altering drugs"?

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This is way more complicated than it needs to be. To go back to the basic points:

1. Productivity

What you have done is construct a one in a million scenario that is very unlikely then claimed that the idea of productivity is invalid because one aspect of it does not apply to your constructed scenario. This is similar to the “Ethics of Emergencies”; you are basing philosophic principles on unique circumstances as if they were the standard of life. You are ignoring the full definition of productivity and applying it to a nonstandard situation none of us are likely to ever encounter, then demand we justify it.

Productivity is the basic process of a human successfully working to gain or keep the values that sustain his life. Productivity is a value but the process is the virtue to the primary value Purpose. For normal day-to-day life a lot of productivity is the necessity of long term planning and work needed to survive and grow. It is necessary to live well. But it is also the process of working towards other values that are more specific to the individual that meets his specific goals. It is necessary to live well. Wealth is a small part of a much bigger principle.

Besides, to use your specific example it still doesn’t hold, as a billionaire is still going to be productive in either keeping his values (including his wealth) and earning new ones, or he will not be productive and loose them. His life will result in the consequences of those actions, for better or worse. History is filled with both. For the negative, “Shirtless to shirtless in three generations” is the classic example of what happens to those who did not live productive lives when handed wealth. The consequences of being a worthless playboy are so well documented in Rand’s writings I shouldn’t need to spell it out.

2. Growth as a Philosophy

You’re comparing a philosophy that is a mere 50 years old to several that were around for a very longer time. One of them took centuries to get off the ground. You’re also comparing them to Objectivism which, by definition, tells people point blank TO NOT accept its premises but question them every step of the way. Objectivism demands that people don’t “just jump in” but take time to think through every step and principle, then only come to conclusions through a process of voluntary thinking. Objectivism is a method of thinking, not a growth industry, and we don't force it on anyone.

Now compare that to Christianity. Christianity requires people to accept it on faith and for most of its history used force to spread itself. Objectivism demands peaceful conversation and voluntary rational acceptance. Anything less is unacceptable. If anything the fact Objectivism continues grow speaks well since its methods require time and quality in a culture that looks to quick fixes, mysticism, and coercion for answers.

3. “Market of Ideas”

This is just rewording the previous argument but trying to make a market case to justify it. In addition to my last point, I’ll point out that the best product may win out in the market place but not necessarily so. What sells is what is in demand. What is intellectually demanded is determined by the current culture and its predominant standards (or lack thereof). It is not surprising that a rational philosophy that expects reason would be in less demand in a society that mass markets the Kardashians, an orange goblin known as Snookie, or “Duh… Winning!”

Still in doubt? Turn on your television and tell me that the best product always wins. It obviously does not. If it did Fire Fly would still be on my TV while most of daytime programming would be Smithsonian curiosities.

4. Happiness

I have no idea what the heck you mean by happiness being self-delusional, or at least I hope your wording this very badly because of what it does say. If not then you have a very ugly view of people as a whole. The idea that the happiness I get from my marriage is a psychologically defective illusion, something that I’m kidding myself on, is so wrong and so monstrous I’m simply stunned. It would explain however why you consider productive work applicable only to earning money while the “market of ideas” (i.e. everyone else’s opinion) a determinate of value.

I hope that is not what you meant; I’m only adding this to let you clarify such a statement.

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If everyone could inherit billions of dollars and live a life of leisure without working, that would be all good and well.

But only a select few can inherit so much wealth. The purpose of philosophy is to teach man how to live. Whether or not there is a tiny handful of people who don't need to be productive to earn money doesn't say anything about the value of Objectivism or any other philosophy for that matter.

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@ dream weaver

This is just a variant on the fantasy 2d creature only capable of seeing 2d is impoverished compared to the reality observed by 3d capable creature - so how do we know that as 3d creatures our means of cognition is not impoverished to some fantasy 4d abilities?

Not sure what your point is here. I can't see the correlation of this with what I said.

Funny you should try to refer to an example Miss Rand uses to illustrate that color has no cognitive significance in the case of swans.Along the way you go from logic being "just a mental construct" to logic is "like a rough estimate". The law of identity cannot be circumvented.

Logic is a mental construct that is *used* as essentially a rough estimate when it makes logical statements such as "all men are mortal". "Mental construct" denotes what it is. "Rough estimate" is what it does. lol no I didn't "violate" the law of identity.

Then again, while reason is not automatic, I was not aware that it actually caused agony to some

Sure, like any prolonged period of strenuous exercise, the over-use of your brain can cause pain. Its taxing and does require energy. The brain has limits.

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Sure, like any prolonged period of strenuous exercise, the over-use of your brain can cause pain. Its taxing and does require energy. The brain has limits.

How does "over-using" your brain cause pain? The brain doesn't even have pain receptors! I assume you mean psychological pain, but I've never heard anyone ever claim too much *thinking* causes pain. Poor thinking, yes, but thinking? I'm not sure that makes sense. All I'm reading is some kind of Buddhist-like premise of life being suffering.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism :

"In the earliest Buddhist teachings, shared to some extent by all extant schools, the concept of liberation (Nirvana)—the goal of the Buddhist path—is closely related to the correct understanding of how the mind causes stress. In awakening to the true nature of clinging, one develops dispassion for the objects of clinging, and is liberated from suffering (dukkha) and the cycle of incessant rebirths (saṃsāra). To this end, the Buddha recommended viewing things as characterized by the three marks of existence."

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@ Mike

This is an interesting thread with everyone making some solid points, however, I think you redefine “logic” is an incorrect way. In your example of the syllogism “All men are mortal”, you note that is a scientist were to invent an eternal life serum, then that “contradict your logical generalization”. Maybe I misunderstand you, but the invention of the serum as a new premise will merely make the argument invalid. Logic still stands.

I meant logic is a mental construct we use to help make the universe intelligible and achieve a degree of consistency in our thought. Logic makes generalizations ("all men are mortal") that are accurate until we discover some fact or detail that would force us to revise our initial premise (eternal life serum).

But logic cannot "see details" and there is no way logic can "tell you" there is a eternal life serum in existence and that some man, somewhere is actually immortal. Someone who has "observed" and "verified" his immortality does, and thus, has *more* knowledge than the person who made the initial premise.

Only an empirical observation (i.e. first hand experience) can discover that there is in fact a serum that allows men to be immortal, in the end it would render our initial syllogism false. It's the rigidity of logic that gives us a good guidepost but not precise details. But as we all know, the devil is often in the details. Logic is a useful epistemological tool but not superior to empirical observation. Doesn't mean logic itself, is invalid, just imprecise.

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\

Logic is a mental construct that is *used* as essentially a rough estimate when it makes logical statements such as "all men are mortal". "Mental construct" denotes what it is. "Rough estimate" is what it does. lol no I didn't "violate" the law of identity.

Logic is a mental construct? What would you suggest the concept of logic constructed from?

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@ Spiral Architect

What you have done is construct a one in a million scenario that is very unlikely then claimed that the idea of productivity is invalid because one aspect of it does not apply to your constructed scenario. This is similar to the “Ethics of Emergencies”; you are basing philosophic principles on unique circumstances as if they were the standard of life. You are ignoring the full definition of productivity and applying it to a nonstandard situation none of us are likely to ever encounter, then demand we justify it.

No. This was a specific case mentioned in OPAR regarding rich people. OPAR said that even wealthy folks such as rich heirs must maintain the principle of "productivity" which precludes travel, games etc, which it deems non-work. I said that was non-sense. They don't realistically have to work in any capacity and can pursue a life of productive "play" and any challenging activity.

But realistically, even a multi-millionaire does'nt really have work either. They can live off of bank interest, investments etc. I think it depends on how you define "productivity".

Notice I did not mention the average person. If referring to the average person its largely correct. But you have to keep in mind context. Obviously it doesn't apply in the same way to billionaires.

The richer you are, the weaker the argument for "productivity" becomes.

Besides, to use your specific example it still doesn’t hold, as a billionaire is still going to be productive in either keeping his values (including his wealth) and earning new ones, or he will not be productive and loose them.

Actually a billionaire could live comfortably for the rest of his life without doing *anything* with his money. He could spend spend 2 million dollars a year and still never run out of money for the duration of his lifetime, having plenty to leave over to his heirs.

He could even litterally stuff it all in mattresses rather than banks and proceed live off it comfortably. He doesn't *have" to do anything. That's my point.

You’re comparing a philosophy that is a mere 50 years old to several that were around for a very longer time. One of them took centuries to get off the ground.

We are living in the digital age. Information spreads quickly. Millions of Ayn Rands books have been sold. Yet few people become Objectivists. Few people even see any benefit to seriously considering her ideas.

You can't use the "we have'nt had enough time" argument as I stated earlier. Other philosophies and religions have track records of spreading much faster than Objectivism in the same amount of time.

Hell, It can be argued that Christianity has spread more further, faster and has far more of a "transformative" effect on far more people than Objectivism, even in its early days. I already posted the link showing the rapid spread of Christianity in the early days of its formation.

This is just rewording the previous argument but trying to make a market case to justify it. In addition to my last point, I’ll point out that the best product may win out in the market place but not necessarily so. What sells is what is in demand

What causes something to be "in demand"? Does demand occur in a vacuum?

Could it be that there are "reasons" for something being "demanded"?

People find celebrity personalities (such as "snookie" or charlie sheen) to be entertaining and engaging. Which is why there is "demand" for them.

Likewise philosophies which are efficacious, likely to produce happiness, etc are also in demand, and can be ranked by relative effectiveness and popularity. But Objectivism is nowhere near the top of this list.

Probably the most popular Philosophy implicitly or explicity, today, is Pragmatism.

I have no idea what the heck you mean by happiness being self-delusional, or at least I hope your wording this very badly because of what it does say. If not then you have a very ugly view of people as a whole. The idea that the happiness I get from my marriage is a psychologically defective illusion, something that I’m kidding myself on, is so wrong and so monstrous I’m simply stunned. It would explain however why you consider productive work applicable only to earning money while the “market of ideas” (i.e. everyone else’s opinion) a determinate of value.

I'm not saying happiness is self-delusion. I'm saying we use self-delusion as a tool (sometimes unknowingly) to increase our happiness. We do it because it works. Because being hyper-rational can actually be counter-productive and cause depression. This is a psychological fact.

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