Boydstun Posted October 28, 2022 Report Share Posted October 28, 2022 (edited) In July 2006, I had written: "Rand thought that the justification for the virtue of honesty was only that it is in one's rational self-interest to be honest. That is false and psychologically inauthentic. When I tell someone the truth, it is not typically only because it is in my rational self-interest to do so. It is first and foremost because lying to someone is prima facie a rotten way to treat a person. Moreover, my concern for another's self-interest (e.g., not filling their mind with falsehoods) is not firstly a matter of being concerned for my rational self-interest, but of being concerned for theirs." I've come across a striking parallel in Michael Tomasello's A Natural History of Human Thinking: "And so, while there is still some way to go to get to truth as an 'objective' feature of human utterances (see chapter 4), if we want to explain the origins of humans' commitment to characterize the world accurately independent of any selfish purpose, then being committed to informing others of things honestly, for their not our benefit, is the starting point. The notion of truth thus entered the human psyche not with the advent of individual intentionality and its focus on accuracy in information acquisition but, rather, with the advent of joint intentionality and its focus on communicating cooperatively with others." (51–52) In this thread, I'll be examining all that Rand wrote concerning honesty and the coverage by Tara Smith of Rand's picture of the virtue of honesty. And I want to examine the book Honesty: The Philosophy and Psychology of a Neglected Virtue (2021) by Christian B. Miller. There is another book I began to discuss, last spring, here at Objectivism Online, whose title is On Sacrifice (2012), by Moshe Halbertal. I'll complete discussion of this book first. I came to open Tomasello's book, from which I quoted above, by way of completing the study of On Sacrifice. Halbertal concentrates on development of the idea(s) of sacrifice in the history of Judaism, from those ancient religious rituals to modern sacrifice for the state. It occurred to me that in my discussion I should situate Halbertal's coverage into the wider and farther-past account of human religious rituals set out in Religion in Human Evolution – From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age (2011), by Robert N. Bellah, which covers tribal religions (and production of meaning), subsequent archaic religions (meaning and power, god and king), and four cases of religion in the subsequent axial age: Israel, ancient Greece, China [late first millennium BCE], and ancient India. But halfway through that book, I thought of my books by Tomasello, which can fill out the scientific picture of human nature and its origins even farther back, back to separation of our lineage from the lineage of the great apes of today and join comparative capabilities of those two lineages (include Neanderthals with ours) with latest results in early childhood cognitive development. So, the order of productions will be: On Sacrifice (completion of that thread) Honesty (completion of this thread) Thirdly, an essay I plan to compose titled "A Passage to Reason" comparing Rand's conception from "The Missing Link" ("A certain hypothesis has haunted me for years. . . .") with the picture set out in the preceding readings. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ After those, I'll complete the long study "Dewey and Peikoff on Kant's Responsibility" (next year)—I haven't forgotten. Edited October 28, 2022 by Boydstun Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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