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Is morality objectively derived from the facts of reality?

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tjfields
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I do think that man may discover and follow a set of principles and rules in accordance with his nature and the nature of reality, if he chooses to live.

Well okay then, but that's all Rand claimed her ethics to do. What your objection vis-a-vis the fact that murder is only prohibited by social consequences and nothing more points to is simply the consequentialism-deontology split.

 

First it ignores that social consequences might not be the only factors involved from the consequentialist point of view. Might a general propensity to commit murder actually inhibit a person's potential for being a flourishing individual human being (assuming we are accepting the background of Randian ethics) aside from the purely social consequences? But secondly, even so, are not these consequences real? Do not they consist of the "facts of reality" of man's nature, that when you live with other men and engage in relationships with them, that they will generally treat murderers with retaliatory force and legal punishment, and that that just might also inhibit one's individual flourishing? How is this summarily disqualified from the realm of objective without argument?

 

Now, notwithstanding the above, what the point does is simply challenge the connection between individual flourishing and rights, and there is of course a longstanding dispute over considerations of rights and considerations of social consequences, ie., whether the reason for having such an institution as human rights is grounded in its social utility, or whether justice is a matter of deontic respect for persons that goes beyond this. Well, of course, Rand rejected this dichotomy, since her ethics is a species of virtue ethics, that is, one that claims man's natural end is human flourishing. Respect for human rights is a component part of an ultimate end such that the value of respecting justice is not solely an instrumental means. And at the same time, she seemed to take into consideration the consequence-sensative aspects of setting up a normative framework in which a person with individual values and goals can achieve his flourishing. Again, nothing subjective about any of that, that is entirely grounded in the observation that we are a species with a definite nature and are also each have unique attributes and so forth.

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Just out of curiosity, would you consider someone that used the Oxford definition of 'objective'1, to guide his (or her) mental pursuits, an objectivist as well?

 

1. (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts:

Edited by dream_weaver
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