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Objectivism: Who Owns It?

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Considering the fact that man's life is the ultimate goal and that part of that goal means keeping your body alive, I would consider my body and body parts the product of my greatest effort of all., my survival. I would definitely consider my teeth a product of my efforts, just as my arms and legs are.

Let me see if I understand you. If a human did not make an effort to survive, would he have no body parts? Hardly. Consider that there are babies born without brains but who nonetheless have vital organs that can be transplanted into other infants. (See http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...751C1A961948260 ) We could hardly claim that these organs are the product of the brainless babies’ "efforts."

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No, because (as you seem to recognize below) it is not a unique name. Similarly, "The dog barked" is not a unique combination of words in the way that the text of Atlas Shrugged is.

(...)

I can call myself John Smith of 435 West 34th St., New York, NY to distinguish myself from others with the same name. Furthermore, if I become a best-selling author, those who wish to discuss John Smith and his book Making Your Heaven on Earth in print or in a public forum would have to obtain my permission

This seems like a contradiction. 'John Smith' isnt an original name, so you cant trademark it. It doesnt matter whether youre John Smith the plumber or John Smith the world-famous novelist - the name is still not original and hence cannot be registered as your trademark. I dont really have a problem with you preventing people from discussing the work of "John Smith of 435 West 34th St., New York, NY", but if they referred to you as just "John Smith" then they arent violating your rights.

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This seems like a contradiction. 'John Smith' isnt an original name, so you cant trademark it. It doesnt matter whether youre John Smith the plumber or John Smith the world-famous novelist - the name is still not original and hence cannot be registered as your trademark. I dont really have a problem with you preventing people from discussing the work of "John Smith of 435 West 34th St., New York, NY", but if they referred to you as just "John Smith" then they arent violating your rights.

Please note that I never said property rights in one's name is a matter of trademark law. So the question of originality does not come into play here. John Smith, noted author of Making Your Heaven on Earth, does not have the right to regulate the use of the name of John Smith, plumber. But he certainly has a moral right to require that those who mention Author John Smith's name and ideas in public forums obtain permission to do so.

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Let me see if I understand you. If a human did not make an effort to survive, would he have no body parts? Hardly. Consider that there are babies born without brains but who nonetheless have vital organs that can be transplanted into other infants. (See http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...751C1A961948260 ) We could hardly claim that these organs are the product of the brainless babies’ "efforts."

If a man did not make an effort to survive he would die. If he is dead what value could he possibly attach to his body.

Life does not simply exist. People are created through the joint efforts of the mother and father, mostly the mother. Until they learn how to reason for themselves and survive on their own, they must survive due to the efforts of those looking after them, this is why children must be represented by an adult. If the baby has no brain, it's not exactly what we would term a 'man' as it has no volitional capabilities or reasoning capacity and rights over the body parts would belong to the parents. It would only survive through their efforts.

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If a man did not make an effort to survive he would die. If he is dead what value could he possibly attach to his body.

Granted. But I was responding to your claim that "I would definitely consider my teeth a product of my efforts."

Given that there are stillborn, brain-dead and brainless infants and fetuses with vital organs, we must question the idea that body parts are a product of the effort of the individual holder of those parts.

Life does not simply exist. People are created through the joint efforts of the mother and father, mostly the mother. Until they learn how to reason for themselves and survive on their own, they must survive due to the efforts of those looking after them, this is why children must be represented by an adult. If the baby has no brain, it's not exactly what we would term a 'man' as it has no volitional capabilities or reasoning capacity and rights over the body parts would belong to the parents. It would only survive through their efforts.

Very well, then someone other than the brain-dead human owns its body parts. In any case, you have not proven that in all cases "body and body parts [are] the product of [one's] greatest effort" And you have not refuted the argument that my name, which is not the product of my efforts but of my parents’ efforts is still, by their will, my property.

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And you have not refuted the argument that my name, which is not the product of my efforts but of my parents’ efforts is still, by their will, my property.

Actually, I don't think you have actually established an argument, legally or morally, why someone cannot use your name without your expressed permission. You are simply a self-titled "extremist" who "believes" your name should be protected by law. In some respects, really in any respect that matters, it is protected.

Names are necessary titles of reference so that people can be uniquely identified when other people need to talk about them. The reputation of your name (or really your reputation as a person) IS something that you can protect by the power of law. In that respect you have a right to protect your name, but not from all possible usage. There is no reason nor necessity to protect the name itself from any possible unpermitted usage.

[Edit - Added word "possible" to last sentence for clarification - RC]

Edited by RationalCop
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Given that there are stillborn, brain-dead and brainless infants and fetuses with vital organs, we must question the idea that body parts are a product of the effort of the individual holder of those parts.

Very well, then someone other than the brain-dead human owns its body parts. In any case, you have not proven that in all cases "body and body parts [are] the product of [one's] greatest effort" And you have not refuted the argument that my name, which is not the product of my efforts but of my parents’ efforts is still, by their will, my property.

Ok first, if the biological body does not have a brain, no self-directed action, it can not own anything, let alone a name or it's leg. It is not a person, it is a body. It doesn't even have teeth at that point. Those are irrelevant to the discussion. I merely answered your bringing the example up to show that even in those cases the body is a result of someone's efforts.

Second, I am not trying to prove that a person's body is in every case a product of their effort. I am merely refuting your assertion that your teeth are not a product of your effort by giving you observable proof. Also, if your body is not your own, than you are refuting the whole base of Objectivism. How can you have as a standard of value your life if your body which gives you volition and reason is not your own?

Third, as for the argument that your name is owned solely by you, it's a foolish argument of which the onus of proof is on you, and I have seen no reason put forth that it should be so. Your identity is owned by you, it is a product of your efforts. Your body is a product of your efforts. Your name is not, it is merely a label.

Edited by Lathanar
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Ok first, if the biological body does not have a brain, no self-directed action, it can not own anything, let alone a name or it's leg. It is not a person, it is a body. It doesn't even have teeth at that point. Those are irrelevant to the discussion. I merely answered your bringing the example up to show that even in those cases the body is a result of someone's efforts.

Strawman. No one has claimed that an infant without a brain owns its organs. The issue is whether organs are the product of one's efforts. The existence of brainless infants with viable organs is proof that they are not.

Second, I am not trying to prove that a person's body is in every case a product of their effort. I am merely refuting your assertion that your teeth are not a product of your effort by giving you observable proof.
My teeth arrived in my mouth the same way organs arrived in the body of a brainless infant. It had nothing to do with effort.

Also, if your body is not your own, than you are refuting the whole base of Objectivism. How can you have as a standard of value your life if your body which gives you volition and reason is not your own?

Strawman number two. Since I never made such a claim, I am not obliged to defend it.

Third, as for the argument that your name is owned solely by you, it's a foolish argument of which the onus of proof is on you, and I have seen no reason put forth that it should be so.
I’ll refer you to my posts earlier in this thread. My name, like my body parts, is essential to my survival and thus is mine by right.

Your identity is owned by you, it is a product of your efforts. Your body is a product of your efforts. Your name is not, it is merely a label.

My name is an essential part of my identity. If someone uses my name in a way that I do not approve of then he has damaged my identity.

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Hello All,

Would it be accurate to say: any ideas directly deduced from principles laid down by Ayn Rand are part of Objectivism, but any new inductions would not be considered Objectivism? It may not be that simple, but it makes sense.

I generally think of all works by self-proclaimed Objectivist authors to be just that: new ideas from students of Objectivism. The new ideas are not part of Objectivism, even if they are consistent with it. Peikoff's works, for instance, are independent of Objectivism, as he frequently points out. His DIM Hypothesis is his own theory. It's his idea, and he named it himself. I don't understand all this hullabaloo with folks wanting to call their independent works "Objectivism." Why would you want to attribute your own work to someone else (like Rand)?

Daedalus,

If you want to claim that the use of someone else's name constitutes an initiation of force punishable by law, then the burden of proof lies with you to substantiate that claim, and I don't think you have done so convincingly here. The implications on free speech restrictions make your argument appear invalid ad absurdum. A president could copyright his name and no one could write negative editorials about him? Sounds dangerous to me.

--Dan Edge

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