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various essays on Oist ethics

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I just finished reading through all of these. Great stuff. I put them in a good reading order.


1. Reformulation - living organisms and valuing. Rand's metaethics makes sense if we ditch the 'immortal robot' argument


2. Criticism - Rand and is/ought problem. Rand doesn't bridge the gap.


3. Criticism - role of consent in ethics. Rand's ethics are, by her own standard, reductionistically rationalistic and subjectivist.


4. Criticism - choice to live. Rand's assessment of the choice to live is terribly vague.


5. Criticism - rationality and survival. Rand's case for being rational repeatedly shifts back and forth between two different types of arguments.


6. Defense (rejoinder to 5) - Despite a misstatement or two, Rand's case for rationality is sound.


7. Defense (rejoinder to 4 and 5) - Rand's case for rationality is sound.


8. Criticism (rejoinder to 6 and 7) - Rand's case for being rational repeatedly shifts back and forth between two different types of arguments.


9. Reformulation (rejoinder to 7) - Rand's case for rationality doesn't quite work, but does if we make it more Aristotelian.

10. Reformulation (rejoinder to 7, 8, & 9) - Rand's case for rationality works with a little tweaking.

11/12 . (brief comments)




I tend to agree with the criticisms here. What I've gotten out of this is that it's probably the case that:

* The 'immortal robot' argument doesn't work

* The fact that someone contradicts themselves alone doesn't bridge the is/ought gap

* Rand's ethics are rationalistically reductionist (as opposed to taking a holistic approach)

* Rand's ethics are subjectivist (in an effort to be absurdly anti-paternalism)

* Immoral behavior won't necessarily hasten one's death

Edited by Mnrchst
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It is true that immoral behavior will not necessarily hasten one's death. But that doesn't exactly speak to the Objectivist position. Quality of life issues are also a consideration; some profoundly moral behavior could actually lead to early departure. Of course, admitting this may introduce problems for the "immortal robot" parable.

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