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Well whatever you are saying here is incorrect.

How can you identify that it is incorrect if you aren't sure what is being said? The "whatever you are saying" seems to indicate you aren't sure what is being said.

Also, I'm not clear on this distinction between being "honest" and being "truthful". Why aren't they the same thing? If you are making some distinction in the way you use these words, perhaps that clears things up, but I think it would be commonly understood that the words are virtually interchangeable.

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In Objectivism, honesty is the recognition that the unreal is not real; that the unreal contains no values, and that there are no values to be gained by being unreal (to reality or to oneself or to others). So, according to Objectivism, a die-hard Christian (especially of the Augustine persuasion) is not being honest; not by being motivated according to what is not real: God watching over you and deciding if you are going to heaven or to hell depending on how obedient you are to Him. Likewise for the person who is primarily motivated out of second-handedness never to lie (or not to get caught). Letting other's opinions of oneself guide one into kowtowing to their desires instead of your own is not being real to yourself (see Peter Keating). Keating was not a consistent lier in the sense of a continuous con-man, but he wasn't being honest, according to Objectivism.

Honesty is one of the Objectivist virtues and in compliance with rationality -- complete dedication to reality and not fakery of any kind. So, according to Objectivism, even someone who lies to protect a value from force or fraud is being honest; he's being dedicated to the fact that those who deal in force or fraud have no right to his property and that he does not have to cooperate with the force wielders or the defrauders.

To determine if someone is being honest or not according to Objectivism requires more than knowing if he ever told a lie; especially about those things closest to the perceptual level -- i.e. if he never calls a horse a cow, that is not sufficient to say that he is virtuous. The Objectivist virtues requires one to be dedicated to reality on all levels -- from the perceptual to the abstract. Since "God" is an invalid concept, those who are dedicated to Him are not being honest, at least not all the way. They might be Ok to deal with as one buys groceries from them or does other transactions based on trade, but trusting them with regard to morality is certainly not the way to go.

With that said, it is possible for one to be implicitly rational -- or at least groping in the right direction -- even though they have never heard of Objectivism. It all depends on how open they are to rationality or rational arguments. For example, a run of the mill modern Christian who agrees that we ought to obliterate militant Islam (in self-defense) is being more honest than the die-hard Christian who says that we ought to help them along because they are only doing what they are doing because they are down-trodden (altruism).

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God watching over you and deciding if you are going to heaven or to hell depending on how obedient you are to Him. Likewise for the person who is primarily motivated out of second-handedness never to lie (or not to get caught). Letting other's opinions of oneself guide one into kowtowing to their desires instead of your own is not being real to yourself (see Peter Keating).

I think you are confusing different virtues here. Do you believe a person can be honest while not being independent? Do you believe a person who is honest can also be irrational? (If you do, give examples; and reconcile with what you just wrote above).

OR: do you believe that no single virtue can be there if the other virtues are not there (in a person)?

[by the way, could you be bold enough to answer the Victor Hugo question I asked Marc above?]

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Hm. That’s an interesting assertion to make in a debate.

How can you identify that it is incorrect if you aren't sure what is being said? The "whatever you are saying" seems to indicate you aren't sure what is being said.

I am sure of what is being said and that it is incorrect, so here's an example of unrecognized (I was hoping the italics would help) sarcasm causing confusion and I apologize for that. However, I won't apologize for the implication. Blackdiamond, you said: "I did not say reality is true." so I quoted you saying just that:

Truth is reality (only the real is true, no?).

If you have another explanation for the above statement I would love to hear it.

I will answer the rest later.

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I think you are confusing different virtues here. Do you believe a person can be honest while not being independent? Do you believe a person who is honest can also be irrational? (If you do, give examples; and reconcile with what you just wrote above).

OR: do you believe that no single virtue can be there if the other virtues are not there (in a person)?

Virtue is one in Objectivism, and all the virtues are different focuses on the primary virtue of rationality; so, no, one cannot be irrational and honest, and one cannot be a dependent second-hander and be honest.

Look at it this way, if honesty is the recognition that the unreal is unreal, how is one going to decide what is real and what is not real? Only by being rational can one make that determination; the irrational cannot. The irrational person does not have a primary focus on the facts and integrating them together into higher and higher levels of valid concepts. He might decide to go by whatever is in his head, disregarding if this conforms to reality or not, so how can that be honest? And rationality requires a first-hand assessment of the facts, so if one goes by what others say instead of what one knows first-hand, then one is not being rational; which, again, in this context means not deciding what is real and what is not real and acting accordingly.

One could not have a dishonest person who is productive, because being productive means to create one's values or to trade for them; whereas a dishonest person will want to use force or fraud to get what he desires. One could not have a person who follows justice and irrationality at the same time, because justice is an aspect of recognizing what is real and what is not real when it comes to evaluating the characters of others and oneself. One could not have a man of integrity if he was dishonest, because integrity means acting according to one's thoughts that correspond to existence, as opposed to acting according to that which is unreal.

In other words, to be rational is to operate by all of the Objectivist virtues; to be irrational is to violate all of them.

"When one goes they all go," as someone quoted to me out of context a few years ago. It was out of context because he went through a great deal of trouble to confuse me so that I no longer knew what was real and what was not. In other words, he perpetrated an evil fraud onto me; which I will not forget and for which I will not forgive him.

[by the way, could you be bold enough to answer the Victor Hugo question I asked Marc above?]

Regarding Victor Hugo and honesty regarding religious people, I think one has to keep in mind that Hugo used his conception of God as an inspiring ideal. It was more of a grand conception of what was possible to man, rather than something lording over man and handing out commandments. And Hugo saw this potential in all people, which is why he was able to create such an inspiring story as Toilers of the Sea, the hero of which was a lonely fisherman worker type of guy. Honesty is the recognition that the unreal is unreal...can such a love be real?

For those who say that this particular story is just make-believe, I can tell you that I have felt such inspiration brought on by love; only to have her think that I was a beast after I had completed my heroic task. And perhaps not just for one woman, but for two. And neither of them recognized it.

A friend of mine who loved Hugo thought that Hugo had written Toilers of the Sea as a warning to men not to be like Gilliat. Though when something like heroic love arises, there is no sense telling that to that man; for he will do it anyhow. And not just once. I mean, the potential reward is just too great to pass up.

However, my friend also wondered if Durachette was fitting for Gilliat. That he had all of that ravishing passion boiling up from within for a wall flower just didn't seem fitting to him.

So, to quote Ayn Rand: It is possible and it is real.

I guess a man just has to make sure she is on the same page of the same story for it to work out.

Does that answer your question about Victor Hugo?

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...integrity means acting according to one's thoughts that correspond to existence, as opposed to acting according to that which is unreal.

...Regarding Victor Hugo and honesty regarding religious people, I think one has to keep in mind that Hugo used his conception of God as an inspiring ideal.

...Honesty is the recognition that the unreal is unreal...

...Does that answer your question about Victor Hugo?

No!

I need a less self-contradicting answer.

Did or did not Victor Hugo believe in the existence of God?

Was or was not Victor Hugo an honest (and productive) man?

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Did or did not Victor Hugo believe in the existence of God?

Was or was not Victor Hugo an honest (and productive) man?

I've answered your question, but let me try this again.

Victor Hugo used the term "God" to mean that which inspires a man to individual greatness, the struggle to gain values against incredible odds, the dedication to the pursuit of being good regardless of what confronts oneself, and the strength of spirit necessary to follow through with those aspirations. During that time period when Hugo lived, "God" had become secularized to mean the best within man as he lives in reality.

In other words, he was closer to being a Deist than he was to being a Baptist in that God created a stage on which man could achieve greatness, but he wasn't a Bible thumper.

The confusion here reminds me of a phrase used by Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead: searching for God and finding oneself. Does that make Ayn Rand a believer in God?

Re-read the introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of The Fountainhead to fully understand what I am talking about.

There are times when one cannot find the right words to convey something, because the religionists have usurped all the worshipping centered words.

To put it another way, Victor Hugo's heros were far too selfish in their pursuit of their personal values to be religious in any altruistic sense of that word, but he didn't know what else to call it; just as, I would argue, some of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America used the term "God." In other words, they didn't live for God, but rather for themselves, but didn't know how to put it into words.

Virtue was in transition and becoming more and more secularized, but it would take a genius such as Ayn Rand to fully secularize virtue, so that we can talk about existence and rationality instead of God and being dedicated to Him and the greatness He made possible to us.

So, yes, Victor Hugo was honest and productive -- inasmuch as he could be, but hampered by a primitive philosophy left over from the Dark Ages, which he didn't have the ability to fully overcome intellectually.

One has to judge what Victor Hugo meant by God by reading his novels, and not by the usage of the term by the die-hard religionists who wouldn't know an honest aspiration if it slapped them in the face.

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One has to judge what Victor Hugo meant by God by reading his novels, and not by the usage of the term by the die-hard religionists who wouldn't know an honest aspiration if it slapped them in the face.

I've read Les Miserables. I believe by 'God' Victor Hugo meant God; this was very clear. It might be true that he had a different conception of God than some people (after all, there are different churches even today - not just Baptists), but it is clear he believed in an existing being called God. And his heroes in Les Miserables were quite altruistic, I'm afraid. Giving to others was clearly presented as a major virtue in Les Miserables. Can you remember the whole story?

So, yes, Victor Hugo was honest and productive -- inasmuch as he could be, but hampered by a primitive philosophy left over from the Dark Ages, which he didn't have the ability to fully overcome intellectually.

And i did say earlier that people believe different things for different reasons, besides just dishonesty. It can be an intellectual barrier, a traditional barrier, a cultural barrier, or anything else that can give someone a wrong metaphysics (or metaethics); Dishonesty is not always the cause of wrong philosophy; not in Victor Hugo's day, and not in this day.

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I'm not clear on this distinction between being "honest" and being "truthful". Why aren't they the same thing? If you are making some distinction in the way you use these words, perhaps that clears things up, but I think it would be commonly understood that the words are virtually interchangeable. [bold emphasis added]

I'm not really interested in common usage. I'm interested in precisely defining the concepts I use. I believe there is a distinction between the two concepts and I believe Ayn Rand thought so too and that is why she named her virtue honesty and not truthfulness.

I agree that they are virtually interchangeable and have acknowledged such, however they are not the same thing.

I'll have to check but as I recall one of the reasons she made the distinction was to address the biblical injunction to never lie.

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I have a real problem with the assertion that lighting the cigarette and eating the cookie could be unintentional.

Whoa! I never said the action was unintentional. Almost all actions are intended -- i.e., motivated by something.

What I actually wrote was "I cannot know, with equal certainty, what you intended to do."

Fundamentally, human beings are responsible for their actions, they aren't mindless robots, they act according to their conscious intentions and free will. It may be that the intention to smoke or eat (to satisfy cravings, let's say) is contrary to a prior intention (to quit or cut back), but it is a conscious intention nonetheless. It may be satisfying an irrational desire, but it is an intention.

Of course it is. I never said otherwise.

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I must dispute this argument because of the premise it is based on: it assumes that the motive of a person is always important with respect to virtues (thus, if i don't know the motive then i can't know if the virtue exists, at least not with total certainty). That premise is false.

It is incorrect to assume I am saying that the motive of a person is always important with respect to judging his virtues from his actions, but it usually is. Would you conclude that Keating is just as virtuous as Roark because they both chose to be architects and they both went to the Stanton Institute? Why they did it makes a difference.

Let's take honesty. Is it necessary that the motive for honesty be right for one to be judged as honest? No. If a person always tells the truth merely because he does not want to burn in hell, does that mean he is not really honest? Or if a person only tells the truth because he wants people to respect him (which is a second-handed motive) or to become a "clear" soul (Scientologically), does that mean he is not really honest even if his words and actions always conform to reality?

What if someone really wants to tell a lie but refrains because he doesn't think he can get away with it right now. Does the fact that he told the truth right now prove he is honest?

Edited by Betsy
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It is incorrect to assume I am saying that the motive of a person is always important with respect to judging his virtues from his actions, but it usually is. Would you conclude that Keating is just as virtuous as Roark because they both chose to be architects and they both went to the Stanton Institute? Why they did it makes a difference.

When you just ask in general terms ("virtuous"), it is easy to argue that Keating is not as virtuous as Roark; that's because you are taking the virtues together in that assessment. But what if you separate the virtues? Would you say that Keating is necessarily not as productive as Roark? (The answer is probably yes in this specific case, but did it require a knowledge of the motives of the two?)

Secondly, you say the motive usually is (important). What about those times when the motive is not important, would you acknowledge that at least in those cases you can be as certain of another person's (particular) virtue as you are of your own? I ask this because, if I understood you correctly, you've been saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be as certain of another person's virtue (any particular virtue, of any particular person) as you are of your own. Since motive, as you now say, is not always important, would you say that your universal statement in this regard was wrong?

What if someone really wants to tell a lie but refrains because he doesn't think he can get away with it right now. Does the fact that he told the truth right now prove he is honest?

We are all agreed that this judgment (honesty) can only apply to someone who we know to be consistent at telling the truth. The argument is whether one can be as certain of such a person's honesty (or other virtue) as one is of oneself. Your example above gives a situation which is not under discussion because, even if this person's motive is right, we can't judge him to be honest unless we have enough evidence of his consistency in telling the truth, especially where it would hurt them as you said.

Edited by blackdiamond
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Hm. That’s an interesting assertion to make in a debate.

This is one of our problems. You see, I wasn't debating. I was trying to explicate the Objectivist view as I understand it. I wasn't sure if you were doing the same and that is why I twice asked. So please tell me if you are defending the Objectivist view of honesty as you understand it or if you are arguing against Objectivism. If the later we should move to the the debate forum.

It appears to me that you are saying what makes a person “truthful” is that they ALWAYS tell the truth (“always identify facts”). Whereas an honest person will not always tell the truth, but will always “conform to reality”.

Yes.

So, an honest person can not be truthful since by definition truthful means they have to ALWAYS tell the truth, even in emergencies. Therefore, you are saying an honest person can not be called truthful (by your own definition). And since you say it is WRONG for a person to ALWAYS tell the truth (even when they should not – like in emergencies), you are saying it is WRONG for a person to be truthful. Thus truthfulness (or to be a truthful person) is a vice.

... Well, ... OK, for the sake of argument I can agree with this but it isn't really what I meant and it ignores my explanation:

Being honest means not faking reality. Most of the time this entails being truthful. However, on occasion, being honest means lying (as in the example I gave of a pedophile). And yes, on those occasions where one should lie, being truthful would be a huge vice. Being truthful most of the time is covered by the virtue of honesty.

My simple answer (which I hinted on earlier) is that “truthful” or “honest” does not apply in an emergency situation or when dealing with an initiator of force. These terms apply to your character (as virtues) in normal every-day situations, but can not be used to describe you or your actions in emergency situations.

OK so let us talk about a non-emergency situation. Say some friendly stranger approaches you in the park, asks if you have children and then asks where you live, will you tell him the truth?

Also let me turn your question around and have you answer it. You need someone to manage your money and must decide between two men. They are equally competent and both always tell the truth. You interview them and ask them why they never lie. One tells you that he would be struck by lightning and go to hell if he did. The other explains that it is part of his personal and professional ethic to not lie and that it wouldn't be in his self interest to lie. Which one would you let manage your money?

Since you haven't answered let me ask you again; what is the meaning of this statement:

Truth is reality (only the real is true, no?).
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And i did say earlier that people believe different things for different reasons, besides just dishonesty. It can be an intellectual barrier, a traditional barrier, a cultural barrier, or anything else that can give someone a wrong metaphysics (or metaethics); Dishonesty is not always the cause of wrong philosophy; not in Victor Hugo's day, and not in this day.

It is certainly possible for someone to be brought up with a way of thinking that can be difficult to break; especially if he doesn't have access to a better way of thinking (or has never been introduced to a better way of thinking). Many students of Objectivism started off with some sort of religious background, and I can tell you from personal experience that this is a difficult mental habit to break; but it can be done. I don't know that I or they would or could have done it without Objectivism already there, but I was questioning my upbringing severely before coming across Objectivism. Past a certain point, as one becomes a young adult, at least in semi-free countries, there is a normal rebellion as one gets to the point where one will be held responsible for one's life determining decisions. The rebellion comes from wanting to take on that responsibility of one's whole adult life. And the more honest ones embrace reason whenever they come across it; even if it does lead to inner turmoil until one resolves out the issues to a more rational viewpoint.

But the person who holds onto the "barriers" that you mention when they come across something more rational are being dishonest; provided they are in a culture that will not kill them outright or severely physically or psychologically punish them for becoming more rational. If one has the freedom to become rational, then there is no excuse not to become rational. "I didn't know any better," might be a good excuse for how they were in the past, but if they are honest they will embrace reason and break through those barriers. Once one is a young adult, one can question one's philosophy; though, of course, some are better at that than others.

I don't really know much about Victor Hugo's background, but I will say that his metaethics is probably one reason why his heroes wound up defeated by the end of his novels. He didn't really have a fully integrated view of the nature of reality and man's place in it. His idea of God was secularized, but that would still delimit what man can achieve when compared to God. In other words, if a man is struggling to be God-like as opposed to being man-like...well, he is not going to be able to achieve that. Once that premise is accepted, then there isn't anything that a man can actually achieve that will ever compare to what God can do; which brings with it a sort of in-build defeatism.

And notice that Hugo's characters didn't have a sexual type of love, it was always very spiritual and non-physical -- i.e. it was Platonic. They didn't even strive for an earthly pleasure that could have been obtainable. I don't think Gilliat even fantasized about having sex with Durachette. And the one character who fell in love with a sexy young thing was the main character in Notre Dame -- a Catholic priest who was tormented by his sexual passions! Gwynplain had a thing for Josiana, who was sumptuous, but he only got to see her naked...and that was as far as that went.

So, Hugo's metaethics almost forbid earthly pleasures; not all of them, but the greatest ones. But that follows from having a metaethics derived from the belief in an Almighty Spiritual Being; even if one believes that the Supreme Being would take pleasure in observing man do great things.

In other words, there were contradictions in Hugo's view of reality and man's place in it. But he was still a great story writer in spite of those contradictions.

After all, great happiness on earth is not obtainable if one's metaethics are not true to existence and reason.

So, was Hugo honest? I would say yes he was, but he was mistaken.

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Would you say that Keating is necessarily not as productive as Roark? (The answer is probably yes in this specific case, but did it require a knowledge of the motives of the two?)

That depends on how one measures productiveness.

Secondly, you say the motive usually is (important). What about those times when the motive is not important, would you acknowledge that at least in those cases you can be as certain of another person's (particular) virtue as you are of your own?

Did you have a particular example in mind?

I ask this because, if I understood you correctly, you've been saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be as certain of another person's virtue (any particular virtue, of any particular person) as you are of your own. Since motive, as you now say, is not always important, would you say that your universal statement in this regard was wrong?

I don't believe I made a universal statement. As I recall, we were discussing assessing another person's honesty and you can never be as certain of another's honesty as you can be of your own.

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This is one of our problems. You see, I wasn't debating. I was trying to explicate the Objectivist view as I understand it. I wasn't sure if you were doing the same and that is why I twice asked. So please tell me if you are defending the Objectivist view of honesty as you understand it or if you are arguing against Objectivism. If the later we should move to the the debate forum.

Geez, did you have any evidence from anything i said that my intention was to argue against Objectivism (or was it just an arbitrary presumption - for you to even ask twice)? I was arguing against YOU. I was arguing against the Objectivist view as you understand it and you were defending it. Whether you recognise it or not, that constitutes a debate, albeit not the kind that is meant for the debate forum since neither of us is challenging Objectivism as such.

... Well, ... OK, for the sake of argument I can agree with this but it isn't really what I meant and it ignores my explanation

Your explanation came AFTER I made that statement (to which you later asked how I could have gathered that from what you said. I was only answering that question by explaining the reasoning process that led to that logical conclusion - that truthfulness is a vice - and your "explanation" did not discard that absurdity.)

But if we grant that "you" meant something else, then you still have to define what truthfulness means and why it is different from honesty, while avoiding an absurd logical conclusion. It is not enough to just say you believe Ayn Rand thought they were significantly different.

OK so let us talk about a non-emergency situation. Say some friendly stranger approaches you in the park, asks if you have children and then asks where you live, will you tell him the truth?

If I refuse to answer him, it does not mean i am untruthful (or that I've lied). I don't know where you got the idea that being truthful is equivalent to being stupid. I will ask the stranger why he wants to know those details and I will decide whether to disclose those details or not based on his reasons; I don't need to lie to him (it's not an emergency).

Also let me turn your question around and have you answer it. You need someone to manage your money and must decide between two men. They are equally competent and both always tell the truth. You interview them and ask them why they never lie. One tells you that he would be struck by lightning and go to hell if he did. The other explains that it is part of his personal and professional ethic to not lie and that it wouldn't be in his self interest to lie. Which one would you let manage your money?

If I need someone to manage my money, I will go with the "professional ethic" guy, not the "lightening" guy. This is because I need a rational guy to manage my money - not just an honest/truthful guy.

Since you haven't answered let me ask you again; what is the meaning of this statement:

I "haven't answered" because I already answered it.

As I said, I did not say reality is true. What I said was that reality is truth. For a person who is so strict on precisely differentiating concepts I don't know why you've kept insisting that it's the same thing. (Neither is "the real" synonymous with "reality" by the way).

My explanation of why I said reality is truth (or truth is reality) came in a later post, but it would require a whole new discussion to expand much further on it: "Reality is the metaphysical, truth the epistemological" is what I said (essentially). I am not claiming that Ayn Rand said this; it's my own thought. But if you believe it explicitly contradicts Objectivism, a brief reference would suffice, so that I could expand my knowledge. (Otherwise it will only distract from the focus of this thread).

Edited by blackdiamond
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That depends on how one measures productiveness.

Is there a measurement that requires motive (of the producer) as an essential factor? Isn't it totally a matter of results (that are visible to others)?

Did you have a particular example in mind?

No, not right now. But it was you who said "usually". Do you wish to revise that to "always"?

I don't believe I made a universal statement. As I recall, we were discussing assessing another person's honesty and you can never be as certain of another's honesty as you can be of your own.

No, you recall wrongly. You did not limit this failure at certainty to honesty alone:

It applies to all virtues. To be virtuous means to be virtuous all the time. Unless you are with someone all the time -- as you are with yourself -- you do not know what they actually do all the time. All you know is what they have done some of the time. Using that information, you make the best evaluation you can.

I haven't been as certain of others as I have been of myself, but with people I know very well, who have never exhibited any vice, and whose statements and actions integrate extremely well with the idea that they are virtuous, I am almost as certain of them as I am with myself.

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The whole point of my Victor Hugo example/question was to show that it is possible to judge a man as honest even if he is motivated by a wrong philosophy/idea/metaethics or whatever.

I think that is the wrong way of putting it. A better way of putting it is that it is possible for someone to be dedicated to existence -- in terms of deciding what is real and what is not and acting accordingly -- and yet be wrong about the fundamental aspects of existence and man's place in it. How wrong someone can be and still be considered wrong but mistaken instead of evasive might be difficult to determine ahead of time. To the extent that some religious people hold a view of existence that is very close to nature and only nature, I think is the standard.

In other words, rationally speaking, there is no need for God once someone understand the law of identity, and that a conscious Being is not necessary for there to be order in the universe. Existence exists, including the entities that comprise existence, and they are what they are because they are, not because Someone made them that way, or because Someone created the large scale structure of the universe (the laws of nature) such that things are what they are and act accordingly. It just is that way -- period. And no hocus pocus was ever needed.

But some people don't seem able to grasp this. I'm not sure why. Modern day conservative talk show hosts come to mind. A universe operating without the necessity of God making it all work properly is just unfathomable to them. Even Aquinas, who was among the very best of the religous thinkers couldn't get past that point. He could re-introduce Aristotle out of admiration, but he couldn't become a Pagan -- it was just beyond him to take that step.

However, with the advent of Objectivism, such conservatives -- especially insofar as they are familiar with Objectivism -- don't have the excusen of Aquinas of starting off in the Dark Ages. To the extent they do believe in God, they are stuck there when there is no need to be. And I'd be hard-pressed to say that they were not being dishonest. But I think that is a tough call and may have to be done on a case by case basis. If they act as if the existence of anything means that there must have been a God to bring it into existence, they might be rationalistic; which is a mistaken intellectual view. If they push God against reason, then that is when one would have to conclude that they are being irrational for the sake of non-reality. And I understand why some Objectivist think they have crossed that line.

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If they act as if the existence of anything means that there must have been a God to bring it into existence, they might be rationalistic; which is a mistaken intellectual view. If they push God against reason, then that is when one would have to conclude that they are being irrational for the sake of non-reality. And I understand why some Objectivist think they have crossed that line.

In thinking about this more, I would say that Dr. Peikoff's M1 category as outlined in his DIM Hypothesis Course might be the best way of classifying the religious person who is rational for most things, but then turns to God to explain other things. So long as a conception is close to the perceptual level, they can be quite rational; but once one reaches past a certain point of conceptualization, they become floating abstractionists.

For example, modern conservatives can understand why a free economy works best, but they can't fully understand the law of identity as it applies to the cosmic scale or as it applies to human evolution. The big issues, metaphysics and metaethics, for them, comes down to God makes it happen; because their concepts are not tied to reality past a certain point of conceptualization. And, to them, the invalid concept of "God" covers it. Mathematically, we have the concept "infinity" to cover really big numbers; whereas they have "God" to cover really big concepts (the nature of the universe and man's place in it).

Now, is one necessarily dishonest if one cannot grasp existence exists? or if one cannot grasp that existence works the way it does because it exists?

If one can grasp that an egg will break if it is dropped, but cannot grasp that an entity acts according to its nature; is one being dishonest? or is it a lack of thinking past a certain point? or of throwing everything into the God basket past a certain point?

Are they being dishonest or are they being non-conceptual, past that point? and is being non-conceptual being dishonest?

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If one can grasp that an egg will break if it is dropped, but cannot grasp that an entity acts according to its nature; is one being dishonest? or is it a lack of thinking past a certain point? or of throwing everything into the God basket past a certain point?

Are they being dishonest or are they being non-conceptual, past that point? and is being non-conceptual being dishonest?

It depends. If one does not learn that raw eggs will most likely break if dropped from a sufficient height onto a hard surface that could be willful/invincible ignorance or stupidity or laziness or inexperience. None of these characteristics are virtues but the last three are not evil per se.

Many folks are not brought up to be industrious and focused in using their mental apparatus. That could be a misfortune of upbringing. Being critical and precise in thought is not an innate or genetically wired in behavior. It is learned.

If you want to find out if a person evades or willfully denies what is contrary to his belief see how he behaves after he has been appropriately enlightened. If he grasps his newfound knowledge eagerly he is probably o.k.. He just lacks sophistication which is not a wrongdoing.

Bob Kolker

Edited by Robert J. Kolker
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If you want to find out if a person evades or willfully denies what is contrary to his belief see how he behaves after he has been appropriately enlightened. If he grasps his newfound knowledge eagerly he is probably o.k.. He just lacks sophistication which is not a wrongdoing.

I think this might be a generally good rule of thumb. However, when one is asked to re-think their entire way of thinking, there is going to be some resistance, at least at the beginning. But some people keep resisting even after they have been enlightened, and those are the ones who are difficult to evaluate, because the issue of evasive rather than mistaken comes into play.

The point I was getting at regarding the dropped egg was that some people can grasp that an egg will break without much of a problem, but they don't generalize it to all things act according to their nature. Thus, they hold onto some issues on a mangled abstract level.

For example, how did the earth come to be, was it a natural and only natural or was something else involved? At our local OPAR study group, we discussed this briefly. Some say that due to the perfection of the earth orbiting our particular sun that is orbiting a safe distance from the violent center of the galaxy and us being a safe distance from the sun so that we neither boil nor freeze that this set of circumstances could not have been accidentally beneficial, therefore God. However, what they don't think about is that if all of that were not true, we wouldn't be here writing about it in the first place. In other words, we evolved the way we did because it was a natural process under circumstances that were beneficial to life and eventually humans. Again, no hocus-pocus was involved. It was all natural and only natural.

But what do we make of people who just won't accept the natural and only the natural -- i.e. the law of identity and the law of causality? If they have to throw in hocus pocus or therefore God, are they necessarily being evasive? Is it obvious that only the natural is involved? Or is there some evidence that something other than the natural -- the super natural -- was involved in any of it? If one is going to hold the position that one must have faith there there is a God against all the evidence that He is not necessary, is he being evasive? Is he turning his mind away from that which is obvious by conscious intent, and if so, for the sake of what?

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.
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When you just ask in general terms ("virtuous"), it is easy to argue that Keating is not as virtuous as Roark; that's because you are taking the virtues together in that assessment. But what if you separate the virtues? Would you say that Keating is necessarily not as productive as Roark? (The answer is probably yes in this specific case, but did it require a knowledge of the motives of the two?)

I would definitely say that Keating is not as productive a Roark, precisely because Roark was an innovator whereas Keating was a second-hander. In other words, Keating could put together a building the way his ancestors or his contemporaries did, but he couldn't come up with anything new and revolutionary -- i.e. he wasn't productive on that scale. As we learn from both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, it is the innovators who are the most productive precisely because they do something other than the routine when it comes to solving a practical problem; and the practical is the moral, so to be exceedingly practical is to be exceedingly moral.

Now, did this have anything to do with their motives? I would say yes, in the sense that Roark had the motive to live like a man whereas Keating had the motive to live like less than a man. A big risk to Keating meant doing something that others may not like, even if it was just a little bit different than what they were able to envision without his aid as an architect. Roark had no such fear of being rejected. But then again, Keating had clients in order to build; whereas Roark built in order to have clients.

It makes a difference how productive one is going to be -- in the sense of creating something rather than copying something. In all areas, the innovator is always more productive, even if the copier makes a thousand copies and the innovator creates only one new item.

Edited by Thomas M. Miovas Jr.
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Geez, did you have any evidence from anything i said that my intention was to argue against Objectivism (or was it just an arbitrary presumption - for you to even ask twice)?

This question illustrates one of the points Betsy is trying to make -- that I really don't know your intention, which is why I asked. Your answer is relevant to how or if I will engage you.

Of course I had evidence. First you are wrong. Which I have found usually means either you misunderstand Objectivism or intend to argue against it -- which is why I asked the question. When you avoided answering it once, that was another piece of evidence. When you avoided answering it twice, that was another piece of evidence.

Your explanation came AFTER I made that statement

Incorrect, the explanation came BEFORE you made that statement, check the time stamp. Additionally an explanation was given before that even.

you still have to define what truthfulness means and why it is different from honesty, while avoiding an absurd logical conclusion.

I'll let my previous definitions stand, there is no logical absurdity.

Truth is an epistemological concept, honesty is an ethical one. The virtue of honesty entails more than just telling the truth. It entails facing the truth in every issue and respect and doing what is morally proper considering the truth.

I will ask the stranger why he wants to know those details and I will decide whether to disclose those details or not based on his reasons; I don't need to lie to him (it's not an emergency).

OK, this is the way you would handle it. But would you begrudge or consider immoral the person who lies to the stranger?

If I need someone to manage my money, I will go with the "professional ethic" guy, not the "lightening" guy. This is because I need a rational guy to manage my money - not just an honest/truthful guy.

Does being honest have anything to do with being rational? Could a person be rational and dishonest?

(Neither is "the real" synonymous with "reality" by the way).

What is "the real" then?

[...] I said reality is truth [...] if you believe it explicitly contradicts Objectivism, a brief reference would suffice, so that I could expand my knowledge.

I'll let you find the reference though it shouldn't really be necessary if I provide the definitions:

Reality is all that exists. Truth is the product of a rational consciousness identifying some aspect of reality.

Reality exists apart from consciousness, truth does not.

I'm not really interested in discussing this particular issue any further. There is a good section on honesty in OPAR. I regret that I was unable to explain it to you.

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