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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Default Who Is The More EVIL: Rand, or Kant?

    Of course I'm referring to Ayn Rand and Immanuel Kant. It's relevant to put the two together in one post particularly since Rand considered Kant to be "the most evil man in mankind's history." Basically because he allegedly created the intellectual means by which widespread evil is created, not because he himself was some kind of mass murderer. But then neither was Ayn Rand, who is also thoroughly demonized, sometimes by people who do understand her and by some whose knowledge of her writings is fairly sketchy.

    One answer is that neither philosopher is evil per se. They were not psychopaths or sociopaths, or truly anti-social. Rand may have been functionally narcissistic and OCPD, she had an affair with Nathaniel Branden, but she didn't commit any jailable offenses. And Kant, as far as we know, was pure as the wind-driven snow, who died a virgin and who always slept with his hands on top of the covers.

    Another answer is that Rand is evil whereas Kant is not, because Rand created a philosophy that allegedly makes evil a possibility by giving it an excuse, and a selfish one at that.
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Rand, obviously, easily.

    It should be self evident but Kant believes no one should be a means to anothers end, Rand believes that John Gault shouldnt be a means to others ends but everyone is his means.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Rand, obviously, easily.

    It should be self evident but Kant believes no one should be a means to anothers end, Rand believes that John Gault shouldnt be a means to others ends but everyone is his means.
    In the OP I have edited in the Rand affair with Branden, because that goes opposite to Kant's image of being morally pure.

    I don't buy your take on Kant's moral philosophy, and I'm not sure you've accurately characterized Rand's. So you are in the "fairly sketchy knowledge" camp of Rand detractors. But as a Kant and Rand scholar, I can clarify all those kinds of issues.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    I forgot to add that I don't see how that makes Rand evil anyway, even if she held that kind of belief.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  5. #5
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    This may be unsatisfactorily meta for the OP, but I'm going to approach this be analyzing it through my own stalwart moral philosophy, which is basically that of a pluralistic, positive utilitarian.

    First of all, good and evil are too Boolean for me to generally use the word evil. Secondly, humans are too wide a variety and long a series of consequential events for me to just call a human being as a whole bad, except as some kind of average. What I can do assess the moral philosophies proposed by both individuals and determine which of the two is more conducive toward that which my moral philosophy considers wrong.

    To that end I would say Rand is worse, though I rather dislike Kantian deontological ethics. Both philosophies often encourage a human being to do things that would run against the most happiness for the most people for the most time, but while Kant's prescriptions only even incidentally do this, Rand's philosophy sometimes explicitly encourages people to do things that are mutually exclusive with that outcome, thus leaving me to presume that a person acting on Kantian ethics in a way that is acceptable to my philosophy is more plausible than one doing so by acting on Randian ethics.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    This may be unsatisfactorily meta for the OP, but I'm going to approach this be analyzing it through my own stalwart moral philosophy, which is basically that of a pluralistic, positive utilitarian.

    First of all, good and evil are too Boolean for me to generally use the word evil.
    That is a mathematical or scientific reply to almost any philosophy that creates absolute divisions. Sir James Jeans gave this subject a good treatment in his "Physics and Philosophy."

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Secondly, humans are too wide a variety and long a series of consequential events for me to just call a human being as a whole bad, except as some kind of average. What I can do assess the moral philosophies proposed by both individuals and determine which of the two is more conducive toward that which my moral philosophy considers wrong.

    To that end I would say Rand is worse, though I rather dislike Kantian deontological ethics. Both philosophies often encourage a human being to do things that would run against the most happiness for the most people for the most time, but while Kant's prescriptions only even incidentally do this,
    IOW, his moral theory might prescribe it, but not as a rule against general happiness per se...

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Rand's philosophy sometimes explicitly encourages people to do things that are mutually exclusive with that outcome, thus leaving me to presume that a person acting on Kantian ethics in a way that is acceptable to my philosophy is more plausible than one doing so by acting on Randian ethics.
    IOW, anti-Utilitarianism is what Rand's moral philosophy actually prescribes.

    You're pretty squarely reflecting Lark's sketchy knowledge of these issues.

    Rand's theory is anti-Utilitarian, but only because she rejected such collectivist "nonsense" as a general happiness. She would prefer to start on an individual basis, and if most individuals (in her view) would just practice her philosophy in full then a general happiness would be reached, numerically speaking. But that's not her goal, individual happiness is her goal. Then some will comment that it is to be achieved at the expense of others, but she would deny this vehemently. She would retort that it is Utilitarianism that sacrifices the happiness of a few for the general happiness of the collective many. And that the solution to this problem is not to think in "general" collectivist terms. Indeed, 100% happiness, not just general happiness, is attainable, and the only way to attain, ideally, 100% happiness is by starting on the level of the individual philosophic attitude or "sense of life." And only by working on this level via her philosophic principles.

    Kant's idea is a bit trickier to work with here as his views on Utilitarianism are buried within the depths of his ponderous tomes. But generally speaking, happiness was not a direct moral value. It is a feeling, and feelings as such will come and go, ebb and wane. He might say that Rand was trying to prove too much and may even state she was making some audacious claims about happiness regarding the efficacy of her philosophy, and moreover, that she obviously lacked a thorough education in psychological theory.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Kant was a wanker, at worst.

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    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    Kant was a wanker, at worst.
    He kept his hands on top of the blankets at night.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  9. #9
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    Hitler > Kant > Rand in evilness!


  10. #10
    Head Pigeon Mad Hatter's Avatar
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    / godwin

    // thread
    IN SERIO FATVITAS.

    -τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ-

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