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  1. #191
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    Just as we do not spend a lot of our lifetime validating the existence of miracles, in spite of the steady stream of "evidence" that allegedly supports them. Life is short!
    I'm not asking for much here, only that Rand should have done more than use some a-priorist argument that lacks empirical basis.

    But in a way you're correct. That kind of proof would require induction from evidence. And no amount of empirical evidence is sufficient to prove moral necessity. So it would literally either take forever to prove that life is the ultimate value, or we would have to make do with limited evidence.

    It's my observation that Rand only had faith in what she believed in, and waited for someone else to come along and do the hard work of providing some kind of evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    Rand does not start with a rationalist notion of an "ultimate value." That's what the mystics do. She specifically states that the first question is not what to value, but rather why does one need to have values in the first place?

    She then answers by stating the biological facts of life: that life consists of an unending sequence of alternative actions from which every living entity must select in order to continue its existence. Since man is volitional we must choose from those alternatives. The most fundamental of those is life or death.

    IF one chooses life, then it is one's fundamental goal and standard for measuring all other actions one selects. In order to deny life is the standard, you would have name a more fundamental alternative. And you can't choose death, because it obviates the need to have values, so it would not qualify as an ultimate value.
    I know she didn't start with "Life as ultimate value." I mentioned the alternatives of life and death which form the previous part of her argument, and I simply found it wanting. I should add that it is a simple truism that can't be used to justify any moral principle whatsoever.

    Choosing life, which you mentioned, also does not prove that life is the ultimate value. It only shows that someone chose an ultimate value. Death would certainly be an odd ultimate value, but in fact it can be such. It may be a dead-end, but it can serve as an ultimate value merely by choosing it. You may say that "death" makes all other valuation impossible. That's not true, as the case is that one only has to seek those values that make the value of death possible.
    "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.”

  2. #192
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    More desperation! Every now and then some feeling of inadequacy sweeps over you and you try to deprecate Objectivism with statements wholly irrelevant to its content. To wit:
    That is called "psychologizing." Have you read "The Psychology of Psychologizing" by Ayn Rand? If not, you may find it in the March 1971 of The Objectivist. I have the blue cover version of all those old newsletters and I've read them all twice through thoroughly.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    1) the "goddess" Rand hopes for a broad rebuttal of my thinking by associating it with the irrationality of religious devotion. If I were guilty of that, why don't you demonstrate it instead of insinuating it? Answer: because its only something you wish for, not something you know.
    I'm still waiting for Objectivists to demonstrate sufficient evidence that their beliefs are valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    2) what possible significance to the validity of the Objectivist system as a whole would there be if it agrees with accurate principles previously discovered by other philosophers? Furthermore, while your comments here testify to an extensive knowledge of the philosophy,
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    they also frequently red-flag a shallow grasp of some of its key principles.


    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    So until you document the alleged similarities, we can't be too sure that they are what you say they are. Just remember, that if you go to all that work to document them, the result will still say nothing about the validity of the ideas.
    Then I won't bother to go to all that trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    Ultimately, only ideas matter; and they stand or fall on their own merit.
    I thought only evidence mattered? Doh
    "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.”

  3. #193
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Funny, I've been talking about psychologizing here, and on another thread I found a perfect example of it.

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...-sign-off.html
    "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.”

  4. #194

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal+ View Post
    There's a problem right away. Empirical evidence? Not! To you it's about the concept, not the referents of the concept.
    Evidence of what? In discussing epistemology, you can focus on the concept and its referents separately, but in practice I don't see how you can separate them, nor what purpose it would serve.

    Yes, that is desirable, and in philosophy it's a rare thing to gain that kind of agreement. But in the long run nobody is convinced, and that's the problem.
    On the contrary, the progression of changing cultures throughout history is the product of subsequent generations of philosophers being convinced that the previous ones were wrong—whether they actually were or not.

    You missed my point. I'm not saying that the common usage involves force. I'm saying just the opposite, and my context is empirical - the observable fact is that people voluntarily take on duties, be it those of a judge, of a police officer, or perhaps even of a parent. And they call them duties, without any notion of external authoritarian force involved in their duties.
    Judge, policeman, and soldier are jobs. Calling them duties is just a form of elevated respect for the position (or in some cases self-puffery) ... like calling the judge "your Honor." And if in that job one regards it as a "calling" with "duties" then that would in fact be a moral imperative from authority in keeping with Rand's explanation, i.e. unnecessary. Just fulfilling the job description would fully suffice.

    Parenting is also not a duty. It is the proper response to fulfill one's moral obligation to take responsibility for the consequences of one's actions. If you create a helpless waif, you are the one responsible for raising it to self-sufficiency.

    That's a different context, assuming it still exists and isn't just a throwback to something that happened pre-1950s.
    Surely you jest ... Obama is riding high on his confidence that more than a simple majority want to "tax the rich," and if we were attacked tomorrow, the population would not hesitate to reinstate the draft. It's a long row to hoe to rid this land of "duties."

  5. #195
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    Evidence of what? In discussing epistemology, you can focus on the concept and its referents separately, but in practice I don't see how you can separate them, nor what purpose it would serve.
    You just separated them by talking solely about the definition of duty. There is more than one way of defining duty, and Rand does not have a monopoly on her personal definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    On the contrary, the progression of changing cultures throughout history is the product of subsequent generations of philosophers being convinced that the previous ones were wrong—whether they actually were or not.
    I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the various schools and how they fail to agree on terminology.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    Judge, policeman, and soldier are jobs. Calling them duties is just a form of elevated respect for the position (or in some cases self-puffery) ... like calling the judge "your Honor." And if in that job one regards it as a "calling" with "duties" then that would in fact be a moral imperative from authority in keeping with Rand's explanation, i.e. unnecessary. Just fulfilling the job description would fully suffice.

    Parenting is also not a duty. It is the proper response to fulfill one's moral obligation to take responsibility for the consequences of one's actions. If you create a helpless waif, you are the one responsible for raising it to self-sufficiency.
    All those things are duties by a definition that varies from yours. That does not render yours wrong, it's simply the wrong context.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    Surely you jest ... Obama is riding high on his confidence that more than a simple majority want to "tax the rich," and if we were attacked tomorrow, the population would not hesitate to reinstate the draft. It's a long row to hoe to rid this land of "duties."
    I'm not talking about the draft, as an example, but politicians and dictators appealing verbally to the idea of duty.
    "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.”

  6. #196
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B.simaruba View Post
    Just as we do not spend a lot of our lifetime validating the existence of miracles, in spite of the steady stream of "evidence" that allegedly supports them. Life is short!



    Rand does not start with a rationalist notion of an "ultimate value." That's what the mystics do. She specifically states that the first question is not what to value, but rather why does one need to have values in the first place?

    She then answers by stating the biological facts of life: that life consists of an unending sequence of alternative actions from which every living entity must select in order to continue its existence. Since man is volitional we must choose from those alternatives. The most fundamental of those is life or death.

    IF one chooses life, then it is one's fundamental goal and standard for measuring all other actions one selects. In order to deny life is the standard, you would have name a more fundamental alternative. And you can't choose death, because it obviates the need to have values, so it would not qualify as an ultimate value.

    Being the most fundamental goal doesn't automatically make it our highest value. You could argue that people choose to live because continued existence is the only way to achieve any other goal. For instance I need to be alive to support my children, this necesitates choosing to live, but my highest value then is their lives not my own.

  7. #197
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    Being the most fundamental goal doesn't automatically make it our highest value. You could argue that people choose to live because continued existence is the only way to achieve any other goal. For instance I need to be alive to support my children, this necesitates choosing to live, but my highest value then is their lives not my own.
    Interesting. The same could be said about Galt who was willing to die before seeing Dagny tortured.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
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  8. #198
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Parenting is a moral obligation to take responsibility for your actions enforced by who? I'm confused as to how this doesn't fit the objectivist definition of duty as submitting to outside authority? If it isn't in My rational self interest it's a duty correct? Also Rand stance on abortion seems to contradict your stance she does not see it as necessary for someone to take responsibility for conceiving a child. Unless of course we understand parenting to be the consequence of failure to obtain an abortion.



    Parenting is also not a duty. It is the proper response to fulfill one's moral obligation to take responsibility for the consequences of one's actions. If you create a helpless waif, you are the one responsible for raising it to self-sufficiency.



  9. #199
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal+ View Post
    Interesting. The same could be said about Galt who was willing to die before seeing Dagny tortured.
    What is the objectivist stance on dying for causes? If there is no afterlife, no gain for the individual after the fact, how is it ever justified to go against ones reason and eliminate oneself. What explains John Galts willingness to die?

  10. #200
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    What is the objectivist stance on dying for causes? If there is no afterlife, no gain for the individual after the fact, how is it ever justified to go against ones reason and eliminate oneself. What explains John Galts willingness to die?
    The context of the story was that there was the high probability that the government would arrest Dagny and try to torture her into revealing Galt's secret hangout. But of course more importantly was the love they had for each other, and on a philosophical level, the theory that one's love expresses the highest values within a person. How to explain the desire to die rather than see the object of value suffer? That seems to be a contradiction of rational egoism, but according to Rand it isn't a contradiction at all.
    "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.”

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