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(My answer to) four objections to Objectivism

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Objection #1: Long range philosophies cause people to get stuck in the future while forgetting to enjoy the present moment.
Answer to objection #1: Long range planning and productive work are activites that one does for his present-moment happiness, not solely for future benefits. Not planning for the future compromises your immediate enjoyment of life by causing anxiety and worry; planning for the future elevates your mood in anticipation of the good things that will come; finally, if you are able to enjoy the present moment, it's probably because you've done something right in the past, and you are reaping the results right now. There is no real dichotomy between enjoying the present and planning for the future. They are both the integral parts of your moment-to-moment enjoyment of life, since life only happens in the present moment.
Objection #2: Objectivism fails to justify the pursuit of happiness.

  • Clause one: if life appeared by cosmic chance and not by some pre-determined universal goal, life has no justification at all.

Answer to clause one: the labels 'justified' and 'not justified' are value judgements, and value judgements presuppose the goal of life. Clause one is therefore unintelligible, basically amounting to saying that living is not a good strategy if your goal is to live. Secondly, the way something got here does not invalidate its present, factual existence. Even if life appeared without some pre-determined universal teleology, it still exists and its existence is the starting point of discussion;  only the unreal is not a subject of debate.

  • Clause two: In Objectivism, there is no justification for the choice to live.
    • Variation one: you cannot justify choosing to live, because the choice is a primary (it is not necessitated by some previous, higher goal). Answer to variation one: 'justify' is used here as a stolen concept, dropping its root in the concept of life. You are trying to justify why choosing to live would help your goal of living life.
    • Variation two: choosing to live is a whim, because it is a primary (it is not necessitated by some previous, higher goal)Answer to variation two: a whim is a goal for which there is no actual necessity to engage in, relative to a preceding goal which is consonant with the root of values (life). Saying that choosing to live is a whim steals the concept and amounts to claiming that if you want to live, choosing to do so is a whim.
    • Variation three: In Objectivism, the choice to live is defined as an acceptance of reality, of your existence. Therefore, you are merely dutifuly being nature's servantAnswer to variation three: accepting one's own desire to live is not an act of submission to nature, any more than an inanimate object being itself is an act of submission to its identity. The desire to live is a metaphysically-given aspect of living organisms. In accepting this desire, people are not submitting to a natural edict, they are simply observing what is already true, i.e. their nature.
    • Variation four: Choosing to live is a moral choice. Answer to variation four: a moral choice is a choice that furthers man's goal of living a good life (it already presuposes that goal).

Objection #3: Objectivism tells people to grow and actualize their full potential. But why should you grow if the path is infinite, there being no particular point at which you can retire and be satisfied?
Answer to objection #3. This boils down to metaphysics. The concept of infinity cannot be actualized in practice. No matter how long a counting streak is, its actual lenght is dictated by where you stop counting. If growth was a limited endeavor, it would actually hurt happiness by physically limiting the amount of things you can enjoy. The only way to ensure long-term happiness is by never reaching a dead-end in your possibilities. Asking why you should grow is akin to asking: how will making myself happier make me happier?
Objection #4: If existence, not consciousness, is a primary, then the universe is my direct antagonist. It is not aware that I exist. It is not somehow linked to me in a common ground between consciousness and matter. Nothing happens for a predestined purpose or teleological program towards complete self-consciousness/merging with god. It has no ability to protect me. It can't hear my prayers. It has no will to decide against randomly sending a tsunami onto my house. I am to be held responsible for absolutely everything in my life.
Answer to objection #4: Man alone has a real, genuine capacity to use the metaphysically-given to further his own personal goals. This is in direct contrast to the universe itself, which is not alive and does not have goals. A universe that is 'separate from man' is implied to be a universe outside his reach, rendering him incapable to use it for his goals. But the universe is here for the picking. In fact, only the universe is here for the picking, being the only reality that exists, and both the source of life and life's value-warehouse. Given that values are a type of fact, choosing the correct values is not an instance of being a slave to the metaphysically-given, but the act of identifing the goodness which is already there for the picking as long as you earn it or work to create it. Saying that the universe limits your options is unintelligible insofar as 'values' becomes a stolen concept -  different values are only made possible by a specific context of facts and cannot exist in a vacuum. The enjoyment and meaning of values would be robbed from man if values were arbitrary (not objective, firm, absolute) or if the universe was alive and played favorites (personal achievement plays a big role in the ability to enjoy a value). Luckily, the universe is a given and not the product of the Absolute's fully free (i.e. arbitrary) desire to reach full self-consciousness.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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On 12/29/2018 at 12:28 AM, KorbenDallas said:

Is there more context?

These four objections are common criticisms of the Objectivist ethics which I've encountered in discussions or occured to me in my own study. I sum up the answers as follows:

1. Short and long-term actions are the component and symbiotic parts of one irreducible primary (i.e. happiness).
2. The process of life does not need justification, any more than any other existent. | The emergence of life, consciousness and free will from non-conscious processes is neither miraculous nor signaling the presence of an unconscious intelligence in matter which is blindly striving towards full self-consciousness.
3. The pursuit of excellence is an inherent, necessary and non-optional aspect of what life is (as against existentialism).
4. The metaphysical relationship between man and the universe is also the ideal/absolute best (i.e. that which is - the facts of reality - are the very roots and constituent parts of phenomena such as 'best', 'ideal', 'good', 'bad').

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