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Nature of sexual attraction

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Maarten
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The purpose of this discussion is to discuss in detail what the nature of sexual attraction is, on what principles it rests, and how these can be applied to certain situations. I realize that this is quite ambitious in scope, but I chose to make a topic here rather than start another specific topic on it for a few reasons:

First of all, as everyone here knows topics that have to do with sex are highly controversial and they tend to get very big, very quickly. Usually the topics mushroom to like 10 pages in length and it becomes completely unclear what the actual discussion was about, and it does not at all help with arriving at a better understanding of the issues involved. In this subforum we both do not have to worry about discussing things that are not directly part of Objectivism, and the environment is more controlled, which should help the discussion remain much more focused.

Second of all, I do not think it is helping to have topics all over the place that partially overlap with each other, and because of the multitude of them it is very difficult to follow the discussions on any particular topic. I think it would be helpful to have one central topic where the principles are discussed in greater detail; that will allow new people who are interested in learning more about it to get a good grasp of the essentials before they start getting lost in the vast woods that are the sex topics on OO ;)

Having said that, I am starting this topic as a closed debate topic, so it will be just a 1v1 debate at first. If at some point we get stuck I might decide to open it to more people, or someone else can take over for one of the participants, but in the mean time it will be 1v1.

I have not yet formulated a concrete position on this issue, which is part of the reason why I want to start this topic. I will want to start out by investigating in a detailed manner what the (standard) Objectivist position* is on this subject, and only when we have largely finished this part of the discussion does it make sense to work on some concrete cases, and try to reduce the main positions in each particular debate to their essential assumptions. This means that I need someone who has a good grasp of Objectivism's position on the subject of sexual attraction (and sex in general).

The main goal of the first part of the debate will be, as I said, to determine what exactly the Objectivist position is on the subject, which means that we will have to reduce the standard argument down to the assumptions on which it is based, and do so explicitly. I think that almost every discussion in a topic about sex can be reduced to a disagreement on one, or several, fundamentals on which the normal position is based. Identifying what exactly these principles and assumptions are will be extremely helpful in untangling what the various disagreements are actually about.

*I realize that this may be asking the impossible, because from the many discussions it seems that there is no clear agreement on what the standard position of Objectivism is on this subject. So perhaps I should phrase it differently, it would be sufficient for my purposes to discuss this with someone who is convinced their position is fully consistent with Objectivism, and who thinks they are consistent about applying it.

Having said all that, I hope someone is interested in taking on this (admittedly) daunting task together with me :)

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Having said all that, I hope someone is interested in taking on this (admittedly) daunting task together with me :)

I would prefer to watch from the sidelines, but if no one else cares to, I'm probably the right kind of stupid to give it a shot. Again...if there are any others who want to, feel free to bench me.

edit:for spelling

Edited by aequalsa
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I can provide quotes from primary sources, if nothing else.

A one-on-one is definitely a good way to deal with the problems this kind of debate brings.

Now as for actually becoming involved? I don't know... I've already put way too much of my time into this subject and grow very weary of rehashing the same old same old. I'm of mixed feelings on this.

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The main goal of the first part of the debate will be, as I said, to determine what exactly the Objectivist position is on the subject, which means that we will have to reduce the standard argument down to the assumptions on which it is based, and do so explicitly.
Before we go any further, I would like a clarification on the question being debated. Personally, I don't think this is quite the right question you are looking to debate. The "Objectivist position" is only the position of Ayn Rand (or works she approved as "Objectivist"). I think that it is fairly clear from Francisco’s speech on sex (and other works) what her position on sex is. As to you implied question, "what do most Objectivists think about sex", I have to say: who cares? The question (I believe) you are asking is whether or not her views are correct (ie, in correspondence with reality), and if they are not, what are the correct views on sex. That is the debate you want to have. If I am mistaken, excuse my impertinence, but it seems like it would be pretty boring debate if it was only limited to what Ayn Rand thought about sex. Indeed, I think Ayn Rand wrote clearly enough that it would not be much of a "debate", but rather more along the lines of a study session of her views, though perhaps I am wrong. But in what I read of the sex threads, there wasn't much disagreement as to what Ayn Rand advocated, but rather whether it was right.

If this is indeed the debate you want to have, go for it. But if what Ayn Rand thought about sex is in question, we really two debates: What were Ayn Rand's view on sex?, and Are those views in correspondence with reality?

I don't think I have the time, nor knowledge, to participate, but thanks for proposing the debate.

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Before we go any further, I would like a clarification on the question being debated. Personally, I don't think this is quite the right question you are looking to debate. The "Objectivist position" is only the position of Ayn Rand (or works she approved as "Objectivist"). I think that it is fairly clear from Francisco’s speech on sex (and other works) what her position on sex is. As to you implied question, "what do most Objectivists think about sex", I have to say: who cares? The question (I believe) you are asking is whether or not her views are correct (ie, in correspondence with reality), and if they are not, what are the correct views on sex. That is the debate you want to have. If I am mistaken, excuse my impertinence, but it seems like it would be pretty boring debate if it was only limited to what Ayn Rand thought about sex. Indeed, I think Ayn Rand wrote clearly enough that it would not be much of a "debate", but rather more along the lines of a study session of her views, though perhaps I am wrong. But in what I read of the sex threads, there wasn't much disagreement as to what Ayn Rand advocated, but rather whether it was right.

If this is indeed the debate you want to have, go for it. But if what Ayn Rand thought about sex is in question, we really two debates: What were Ayn Rand's view on sex?, and Are those views in correspondence with reality?

I don't think I have the time, nor knowledge, to participate, but thanks for proposing the debate.

Ah, thanks for asking that. I guess my main purpose is to find out whether these views are correct, and to do that I need to know what exactly they are and on which facts of reality they rest.

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