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DavidV
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I was unable to settle on a criteria for hate because there are two: how much of a threat to your values someone is, and how evil he is.  I think one should take both into consideration when deciding how much to hate someone.

Do you mean that literally or are you combining the emotion of hate and the actions taken in response to it?

The reason I ask is that there is no way of "deciding how much to hate" because, as Ayn Rand wrote, "Emotions are the AUTOMATIC results of man's value judgments integrated by his subconscious" [Emphasis mine.] The only thing you can decide, volitionally, is what to do about an emotion. There are options.

You can ignore the emotion and the facts which gave rise to it. Sometimes this is the rational thing to do such as when I ignore my fears and go to the dentist anyway. Usually it is not and you should, instead, examine the emotion, evaluate the events which triggered it, and decide on the best course of action. The constant practice of avoiding emotions and not introspecting and evaluating them leads to the practice becoming automatized -- i.e., repression. Repression, even if instituted as an honest mistake in early childhood, is extremely self-destructive.

You can -- and should -- act on the emotion if and when careful reflection leads you to understand what the most reasonable thing to do is. You should NOT act on an emotion you do not understand and/or that conflicts with your thinking.

So, you don't literally decide how much to hate. When you do feel the emotion of hate, the rational thing is to evaluate it to see if it is a response to a real threat to an important value, then think about what to do about it, and then, if necessary, do it.

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"The reason I ask is that there is no way of "deciding how much to hate" because, as Ayn Rand wrote, "Emotions are the AUTOMATIC results of man's value judgments integrated by his subconscious" [Emphasis mine.] The only thing you can decide, volitionally, is what to do about an emotion."

While this is true, one can change one's emotions by changing those value judgments. In other words, while it is not possible to decide 'how much to hate', one can decide whether or not it is appropriate to hate in a given circumstance, and thereby change the premises which lead to the hate.

Obviously, because these emotions are, as you say, automatic integrations made by the subconscious, these changes will not be immediate. But I would say they are ways of deciding 'how much to hate' - as well as when to hate, under what circumstances to hate, etc.

Im not certain if this is what you meant by "The only thing you can decide, volitionally, is what to do about an emotion" but I would definitely call it a volitional decision concerning what to do about an emotion. :lol:

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"The reason I ask is that there is no way of "deciding how much to hate" because, as Ayn Rand wrote, "Emotions are the AUTOMATIC results of man's value judgments integrated by his subconscious" [Emphasis mine.] The only thing you can decide, volitionally, is what to do about an emotion."

While this is true, one can change one's emotions by changing those value judgments.  In other words, while it is not possible to decide 'how much to hate', one can decide whether or not it is appropriate to hate in a given circumstance, and thereby change the premises which lead to the hate.

Of course.

Obviously, because these emotions are, as you say, automatic integrations made by the subconscious, these changes will not be immediate.  But I would say they are ways of deciding 'how much to hate' - as well as when, in what circumstances, etc.
Only indirectly. How much someone hates is an effect and changing emotions is best done on the level of causes -- i.e., by examining our values and the things which, in fact, may promote or threaten them.

Im not certain if this is what you meant by "The only thing you can decide, volitionally, is what to do about an emotion." but I would definitely call such a volitional decision concerning what to do about an emotion.  :lol:

So would I.

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It is important to note that hatred--as well as all other emotion--is, as non-volitional, exempt from moral judgment. As Betsy, points out, hatred may be neither proper nor improper.

One may use emotion, however, as a tool for identifing the necessary information to make a moral judgment. Particularly, one may use it to discover values. So, if one says: "it was improper to hate John," what one should really say (and hopefully what one intended to say) is: "the values which you hold, and which led you to hate John, are improper."

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"It is important to note that hatred--as well as all other emotion--is, as non-volitional, exempt from moral judgment."

Wait a minute. Are you suggesting it is improper to tell someone it is wrong for them to hate Howard Roark?

(Betsy - I agree, the effect is indirect because of the nature of emotions)

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Wait a minute. Are you suggesting it is improper to tell someone it is wrong for them to hate Howard Roark?

It is improper to condem that person for hating Howard Roark, yes, but not improper to condem him for the values which led him to hate Roark. Values, as volitional choices are subject to moral evaluation, emotions are not.

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One may use emotion, however, as a tool for identifing the necessary information to make a moral judgment.  Particularly, one may use it to discover values.  So, if one says: "it was improper to hate John,"  what one should really say (and hopefully what one intended to say) is: "the values which you hold, and which led you to hate John, are improper."

It may be true that the values leading to an emotional response may be in error, but the problem may also be that emotions, which operate automatically and often by perceptual association, may have automatically applied good values out of context.

He's a true and very personal example.

When I first discovered -- and immediately loved -- Ayn Rand's books way back in 1962, I eagerly tuned in when I heard she would be on television. As soon as she began to speak, I had a strong emotional reaction and it was negative!

"What am I seeing or hearing which makes me feel this way?" I asked myself.

It took just an instant to realize I was reacting to the fact that she was about the same age, similar in appearance, and spoke with exactly the same accent as my value-hating, misery-worshipping, Russian-Jewish immigrant aunts and uncles. The minute I realized that, and also saw that what she was saying was the exact opposite of what I would expect from Aunt Molly or Aunt Sue, the negative reaction vanished.

I have always been on the premise of accepting and understanding my own emotions and that helped me deal with the situation, but what if I had handled it differently?

What if I had concluded "This emotion is improper. I must have bad values somewhere," instead. A lot of people do. As a result the emotion would have persisted but I would haved tended to suppress (and eventually repress) it, and I would have had the additional burden of unearned guilt.

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Betsy, the emotion-response of hatred is something to judge, since its roots are chosen values, not automatic instincts. Emotion is a form of estimate formed from one's knowledge and one's values, only lightning-quick and automatized. A severely malformed emotion is not cause to judge the person whose emotion it is as severely malformed, true. Errors can creep up on anybody at any time. The things mention are indeed subject to full moral evaluation. However, the emotion of love for Islamofascist killers is improper, though it may be, at this moment, automatic and not consciously chosen. Moreover, your emotion re the TV program was an estimate of something; not necessarily the thing at hand, but perhaps something it reminded you of. Perhaps you misidentified the object of the emotion.

RichardHalley, there are two kinds of things one might mean by "hate": the emotion-response and the action-response [to evil]. "RH hating Islamofascist murderers" refers to the emotion-response, and "Islamofascist murderers hating RH" refers to the action-response. RH loathes them, and IFMs actively try to kill him. (Sorry for the graphic violence.)

GreedyCapitalist, I would say that the emotion-response is associated with active loathing, though one does not necessarily take violent action. The emotion-response is an estimate of both how evil a person is and how much he threatens one's own values; loathing is action based on the first, and the action-response of hatred is based on the second. In essence, one observed evil and responds to it in his head; then he must decide, Can I live with it, or must I destroy it? If the former, it's loathing; if the latter, it's (action) hatred.

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...the emotion of love for Islamofascist killers is improper, though it may be, at this moment, automatic and not consciously chosen.

feldblum-

Volition is a prerequisite for morality. Thus, the non-volitional is not subject to moral judgment. Emotions, being automatic, are non-volitional.

However, emotions are not causeless primaries. They are the result of our volitionally accepted value-judgments. These are subject to moral judgment.

In the case of someone who loves militant Islamists, we may properly condemn him, but it is not the emotion that we are condemning--it is the ideas that cause it.

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Firstly, feldblum, all of this emotion-response vs. action-response is unnecessary. Hatred speaks of an emotion, the actions which one chooses as a result of that emotion should not be refered to with the same word, else we infer that--in the same way that one does not directly control ones emotions--one does not directly control ones actions. When Islamic terrorists come to kill me, the action of coming to kill me is not to be refered to as hatred, but merely as "coming to kill me." By lumping the emotion and the resultant action of "hatred" into one word, you accomplish nothing but confusion.

...the emotion-response of hatred is something to judge, since its roots are chosen values, not automatic instincts.

The "emotion-response" of hatred is NOT something to judge, as it is subconscious, not directly volitional. As Rand wrote, "It is not man's subconscious, but his conscious mind that is subject to his direct control--and to moral judgment."

The fact that emotions are based in values only proves that emotions, as such, should not be judged, but rather that one should judge the values which cause them. Saying "It is wrong to hate Howard Roark," is essentially an attack on the values which drive one to hate Howard Roark, but it is an attack which avoids stating its target, and avoids proving its validity. If one wishes to condemn ones values, one should point out and condemn ones values, not their subconscious result. By condemning an emotion, one only puts up a straw-man.

Meanwhile, saying "It is wrong to kill Howard Roark," is essentially an attack on the action of killing Howard Roark, not the hatred of him. To lump the murder in with the hatred, again, causes nothing but confusion on the nature of both.

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How can one condemn the cause and not condemn the result?

Because, again, only the volitional is subject to moral judgment. Often, the results of one's volitional actions are also volitionally chosen. It is to that extent that "intention" plays a role in ethics. However, that is obviously not always the case. There are many cases where consequences follow from one's volitional actions that one did not choose. Emotions are one such type of case. Emotions, being automatic, are never "intended" in the sense of the word that implies volition.

Another note: while we cannot judge emotions as such, what we can judge in addition to their cause is how a person deals with them. If someone reads The Fountainhead for the first time and feels a negative emotion towards Howard Roark, that is not necessarily evil--that depends on what he does about it. If he examines the source of his emotion and discovers some subconsciously held premises that caused the emotion and which he then rejects, then he has been perfectly moral. If, however, he never examines the cause of the emotion, and continues to dislike Roark for years, then he is evading and is thus definitely subject to condemnation.

Edited by AshRyan
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Does anyone dispute that Osama bin Laden "hates" America and western civilization? While watching a video of Osama bin Laden engaging in his usual anti-western diatribes though, it is difficult if not impossible to detect hatred mainifesting itself outwardly as an emotion. His facial features reveal more of a smug contemptuousness. His actions though (through terrorist acts), are how he chooses to demonstrate his hatred. I suspect this man sleeps very well at night. He lives according to the values he has selected.

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Betsy, the emotion-response of hatred is something to judge, since its roots are chosen values, not automatic instincts.  Emotion is a form of estimate formed from one's knowledge and one's values, only lightning-quick and automatized.

I disagree. It is the chosen value which needs to be judged and, in order to do that properly, you need to first correctly identify what it is and its application in the context which gave rise to the emotion.

The proper epistemological approach to emotions -- or any other aspects of reality -- is to first identify and then evaluate. Sad to say, most people are poor introspectors who rush to judgment without understanding what they are judging. They usually end up unjustly condemning themselves and others and not really understanding their emotions.

A severely malformed emotion is not cause to judge the person whose emotion it is as severely malformed, true. 
There isn't really any such thing as as a "severely malformed emotion" any more than there is a "severely malformed perception." Both emotions and perceptions are automatic, mechanical, unchosen functions of consciousness.

However, the emotion of love for Islamofascist killers is improper, though it may be, at this moment, automatic and not consciously chosen.

Indeed! If someone felt that way, he should definitely find out where that emotion is coming from.

Especially if he is an Objectivist.

Moreover, your emotion re the TV program was an estimate of something; not necessarily the thing at hand, but perhaps something it reminded you of. 

Emotions are always estimates of something.

Perhaps you misidentified the object of the emotion.

I don't think so, but then, you probably never met my Aunt Molly and my Aunt Sue.

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Betsy Speicher wrote:

There isn't really any such thing as as a "severely malformed emotion" any more than there is a "severely malformed perception." Both emotions and perceptions are automatic, mechanical, unchosen functions of consciousness.

I agree with this, but I wonder... how could the fact that emotions are not proper objects of moral judgment cohere with this quote from Fact & Value?

"Now take the case of Ayn Rand, who discovered true ideas on a virtually unprecedented scale. Do any of you who agree with her philosophy respond to it by saying 'Yeah, it’s true' — without evaluation, emotion, passion? Not if you are moral."

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[H]ow could the fact that emotions are not proper objects of moral judgment cohere with this quote from Fact & Value?

"Now take the case of Ayn Rand, who discovered true ideas on a virtually unprecedented scale. Do any of you who agree with her philosophy respond to it by saying 'Yeah, it’s true' — without evaluation, emotion, passion? Not if you are moral."

I read that as saying that a moral person VALUES the truth. The truth is not just a bunch of words but something which is extremely IMPORTANT to a moral man.

Since it is not psychologically possible, even for a severely repressed person, to be emotionally indifferent to his own important values, it leads to the conclusion that such a person does not really value the truth that much.

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