Jump to content






Photo
- - - - -

A Bold New Step for Objectivist Scholarship


  • Please log in to reply
353 replies to this topic

#41 Brant Gaede

Brant Gaede

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 16,038 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tucson, AZ
  • Interests:All kinds of stuff

Posted 06 February 2011 - 06:08 PM

TOUCHDOWN!

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#42 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 06 February 2011 - 11:53 PM

You have to wonder: why would someone who despises reading books on philosophy expect to be taken seriously as a philosophical thinker?

“All men by nature desire to know.” --Aristotle

Aristotle never met-- Oh, never mind.

#43 Michael Stuart Kelly

Michael Stuart Kelly

    $$$$$$

  • Root Admin
  • 20,485 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:56 PM

Dennis,

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I think Aristotle would have greatly enjoyed American football had it existed back then.

That's a quip, sure, but I'm also serious.

I really think he would have liked it--putting the human urge to violence under rules of civility, taking care with protection, using advanced thinking for judging strategies, tactics and opportunities, learning and executing high-level skills, and so on.

I might be wrong, but I remember reading somewhere that he liked the Olympics. If that's the case, I believe a Superbowl would have been a delight to him.

Michael

Know thyself...


#44 Philip Coates

Philip Coates

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 3,560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:--Playing Sports (running, basketball, body surfing)
    --Literature and History
    --Art Museums
    --Rock 'n Roll, Classical, Country and Western
    --Epistemology
    --Travel
    --Classic Old Movies

Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:59 PM

> You have to wonder: why would someone who despises reading books on philosophy expect to be taken seriously as a philosophical thinker? {Dennis]

There's a difference between reading books on subjects you already understand very well and reading books on new material and a difference between reading what Rand had to say and reading academic nit-picking about stuff that is already clear.

I'm really clear already on metaethics -- after decades of reading stuff and thinking on the subject. A book on induction or the philosophy of law would be another matter.

(That said, my smartass crack about a movie I found tedious shouldn't be taken too literally - or reacted to too snarkily. I have a full plate of to-be-reads, but at some point I may look at the book and if it's -really- well-written and discusses totally new applications or topics in an original or non-secondhand manner, read all or much of it.)

Dennis, a suggestion if you're telling people how great a book is: provide some evidence. A couple quotes or very perceptive or original lines which you underlined or put exclamation points next to as you read it.

Edited by Philip Coates, 07 February 2011 - 01:08 PM.


#45 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:09 AM

> You have to wonder: why would someone who despises reading books on philosophy expect to be taken seriously as a philosophical thinker? {Dennis]

There's a difference between reading books on subjects you already understand very well and reading books on new material and a difference between reading what Rand had to say and reading academic nit-picking about stuff that is already clear.

I'm really clear already on metaethics -- after decades of reading stuff and thinking on the subject. A book on induction or the philosophy of law would be another matter.

(That said, my smartass crack about a movie I found tedious shouldn't be taken too literally - or reacted to too snarkily. I have a full plate of to-be-reads, but at some point I may look at the book and if it's -really- well-written and discusses totally new applications or topics in an original or non-secondhand manner, read all or much of it.)

Dennis, a suggestion if you're telling people how great a book is: provide some evidence. A couple quotes or very perceptive or original lines which you underlined or put exclamation points next to as you read it.


Phil,

I apologize for the "snarkiness." I did not intend it that way. I was and I remain genuinely puzzled by your reaction.

I think I gave fairly clear indication of why I liked the book. I am in the process of writing a longer review. There are some unresolved questions in Rand's metaethics I want to write about. Since you already have all the answers, you obviously couldn't care less about that.

#46 Philip Coates

Philip Coates

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 3,560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:--Playing Sports (running, basketball, body surfing)
    --Literature and History
    --Art Museums
    --Rock 'n Roll, Classical, Country and Western
    --Epistemology
    --Travel
    --Classic Old Movies

Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:39 AM

> Since you already have all the answers...

I don't think I meant to suggest I have -all- the answers, just that I'm really very knowledgeable and certain generally on metaethics, enough to make that move down my list of to-be-reads compared to things where I know much less.

Edited by Philip Coates, 13 February 2011 - 09:46 AM.


#47 Philip Coates

Philip Coates

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 3,560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:--Playing Sports (running, basketball, body surfing)
    --Literature and History
    --Art Museums
    --Rock 'n Roll, Classical, Country and Western
    --Epistemology
    --Travel
    --Classic Old Movies

Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:41 AM

> There are some unresolved questions in Rand's metaethics I want to write about.

Can you name them briefly?

If so, I'll check your longer review to see what you think they are. (Assuming it's tightly edited and doesn't feel like a rough draft.)

Edited by Philip Coates, 13 February 2011 - 09:44 AM.


#48 Mary Lee Harsha

Mary Lee Harsha

    $$$

  • Members
  • 154 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:From Houston to East Bay area to Iowa
  • Interests:See About me page

Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:32 PM

I've been reading the book. I'm currently in "Metaethics: Objectivist and Analytic", Irfan Khawaja's article, "The Foundations of Ethics: Objectivism and Analytic Philosophy".

What lured me to the book was the name Ayn Rand. I had already read Tara Smith's book on Rand's Normative Ethics, so this looked like something worthwhile, too. The Editors said that they aimed the book at academic philosophers. That is NOT me, but it is fun to read something with a new intellectual flavor and I'm actually finding some further clarification of Rand's thinking just by coming at it from another point of view. Of course I keep my philosophy dictionary handy. For some reason, though I understood the fact that you can, if needed, trace your abstractions back to "the evidence of the senses", I had been sloughing off a little on the importance of accurate concept definitions to understand reality objectively. I don't think I will ever lose track of that again because it gets a good treatment in this article and I was just looking for that uderstanding again.

I'm not qualified to write a review of a book like this, so I will leave that to you higher level Objectivists. Suffice it to say, I love this stuff and I'm eagerly looking forward to what you all have to say about it.
The basic definition of the problem:
Capitalism + Egoism versus Collectivism + Altruism

#49 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 17 February 2011 - 02:50 PM

> There are some unresolved questions in Rand's metaethics I want to write about.

Can you name them briefly?

If so, I'll check your longer review to see what you think they are. (Assuming it's tightly edited and doesn't feel like a rough draft.)


Phil,

The main issue that concerns me is the premoral choice to live, and how this appears to put Objectivism’s ethical system on the same capricious footing as existentialism. It still is not entirely clear to me how we can square this notion with Rand’s answer to Hume’s fact-value dichotomy. My hope is that writing on it again will serve to make it clearer.

I say “again” because many years ago I wrote an article about this topic for Full Context, which you can read here ('The Choice to Live’). I want to update my thinking on the topic based on so much else that has been said, including this recent book from ARS.

BTW, I am a merciless self-editor, which may explain why I have no idea when the damn thing will be finished.

#50 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:21 PM


I'm not qualified to write a review of a book like this, so I will leave that to you higher level Objectivists. Suffice it to say, I love this stuff and I'm eagerly looking forward to what you all have to say about it.


Hmmmm. . .”Higher level Objectivists”. . .That’s just not how I think of myself at all.

Higher level human is more like it.

Posted Image

“What the heck are all those pathetic little things down there, anyway?”

P.S. Mary: If you read the book--especially this book--you are qualified to review it.

#51 Mary Lee Harsha

Mary Lee Harsha

    $$$

  • Members
  • 154 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:From Houston to East Bay area to Iowa
  • Interests:See About me page

Posted 18 February 2011 - 11:23 AM



I'm not qualified to write a review of a book like this, so I will leave that to you higher level Objectivists. Suffice it to say, I love this stuff and I'm eagerly looking forward to what you all have to say about it.


Hmmmm. . ."Higher level Objectivists". . .That's just not how I think of myself at all.

Higher level human is more like it.

Posted Image

"What the heck are all those pathetic little things down there, anyway?"

P.S. Mary: If you read the book--especially this book--you are qualified to review it.


By "higher level Objectivists" I meant "more highly educated", or "more knowledgable Objectivists". Got a little careless there with my meanings.
Read your article. I will look forward to seeing your new write up.
The basic definition of the problem:
Capitalism + Egoism versus Collectivism + Altruism

#52 Philip Coates

Philip Coates

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 3,560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:--Playing Sports (running, basketball, body surfing)
    --Literature and History
    --Art Museums
    --Rock 'n Roll, Classical, Country and Western
    --Epistemology
    --Travel
    --Classic Old Movies

Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:16 PM

> The main issue that concerns me is the premoral choice to live, and how this appears to put Objectivism’s ethical system on the same capricious footing as existentialism. It still is not entirely clear to me how we can square this notion with Rand’s answer to Hume’s fact-value dichotomy.

Dennis, in my view this falls into the category of 'formulation' issues. It's in part about how you word the answer. A common sense non-philosopher, man on the street would know there is something wrong - whether you call it morally wrong or premorally or practically - with:

1) an animal, a biological entity that chose not to live even on the level of mere survival(outside of excruciating pain or other emergency type issues)as well as something wrong with

2) an animal that chose not to commit suicide or starve itself to death and maybe even wanted to have a prosperous, satisfying, fulfilling life, but was not choosing correctly - whether willfully and defiantly or through being misguided by following the wrong code of values or through 'evasion' - and so was undercutting this . . .or, at the extreme, actually leading toward actual death.


So, it's just a 'formulation' question whether you want to call 1) immoral or premoral.

It doesn't drive one to amoralism or a problem with metaethical validation simply to say something like 1) is wrong biologically or at the root of ethics and 2) is wrong once you have chosen to live.

Call it biological immorality or amorality to choose not to live and substantive or further immorality to be inconsistent with the choice. I don't very much care and it doesn't really matter substantively as opposed to "how you word it".


[Aside: I believe it's actually a mistake of method, analogous to 'analysis paralysis', to confuse yourself by going much further with this issue [footnotes, learned references to Hume and the existentialists, etc.], once one understands that you can say it as simply and directly as I just did.]

Edited by Philip Coates, 18 February 2011 - 01:22 PM.


#53 Philip Coates

Philip Coates

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 3,560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:--Playing Sports (running, basketball, body surfing)
    --Literature and History
    --Art Museums
    --Rock 'n Roll, Classical, Country and Western
    --Epistemology
    --Travel
    --Classic Old Movies

Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:27 PM

By the way, I don't know if it's original with me or not, but the few paragraphs I posted above I would say are an essentially -full- philosophical solution to this issue of whether or not you call a choice not to live or live fully 'premoral' or 'immoral'. You really don't need to say much more, except to perfect what phrase you use to describe what is wrong with course of action 1) and what is wrong with course of action 2).

Edited by Philip Coates, 18 February 2011 - 01:29 PM.


#54 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:44 PM

By the way, I don't know if it's original with me or not, but the few paragraphs I posted above I would say are an essentially -full- philosophical solution to this issue of whether or not you call a choice not to live or live fully 'premoral' or 'immoral'. You really don't need to say much more, except to perfect what phrase you use to describe what is wrong with course of action 1) and what is wrong with course of action 2).


Phil,

If you are satisfied with your answer, let's leave the discussion there. Devote your energies to things you deem important, and I will do likewise.

I don't very much care and it doesn't really matter substantively as opposed to "how you word it".


That's obvious.

#55 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 18 February 2011 - 06:47 PM

By "higher level Objectivists" I meant "more highly educated", or "more knowledgable Objectivists". Got a little careless there with my meanings.

Read your article. I will look forward to seeing your new write up.


Mary--I'm glad you found the article worth your while.

#56 Philip Coates

Philip Coates

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 3,560 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:--Playing Sports (running, basketball, body surfing)
    --Literature and History
    --Art Museums
    --Rock 'n Roll, Classical, Country and Western
    --Epistemology
    --Travel
    --Classic Old Movies

Posted 18 February 2011 - 09:41 PM

> If you are satisfied with your answer, let's leave the discussion there. Devote your energies to things you deem important, and I will do likewise.

Works for me, Dennis. :-)

#57 Mary Lee Harsha

Mary Lee Harsha

    $$$

  • Members
  • 154 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:From Houston to East Bay area to Iowa
  • Interests:See About me page

Posted 19 February 2011 - 01:52 PM


By "higher level Objectivists" I meant "more highly educated", or "more knowledgable Objectivists". Got a little careless there with my meanings.

Read your article. I will look forward to seeing your new write up.


Mary--I'm glad you found the article worth your while.



In fact, so much so, that I am planning to take your advice and try reviewing the book after all. I've never done that before and it might be a good exercise.
The basic definition of the problem:
Capitalism + Egoism versus Collectivism + Altruism

#58 Xray

Xray

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 4,179 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 19 February 2011 - 02:56 PM

The main issue that concerns me is the premoral choice to live, and how this appears to put Objectivism’s ethical system on the same capricious footing as existentialism.

Re the "premoral choice to live" - How can one "choose" something one alread has? Imo it makes no sense choosing a stage (= living) one already is in.

As for a "moral" choice to live - again, choosing something one already has is redundant.
I suppose what is meant by moral choice to live is something like 'choosing to value life'.
But one can also choose not to value life, even to end it, and such subjective choice resulting in death cannot be called a 'whim', not need it be "irrational", or "blindly emotional" (Rand's idea of "subjective").

I have worked out and signed a living will clearly stating, should it ever become an issue, what kind of medical care I don't want to prolong my life at all costs.

From your article: http://culturalbarom...ce-to-live.html

Peikoff states that Objectivism “holds that facts—certain definite facts—do lead logically to values.

How so? How can one derive from the mere fact that something "is" how something "ought to" be? I cannot think of one single case where an "ought to" is derived from an "is" without a value judgement already contained in the premise.
Example:
"IS": There exist millions of stray dogs in the world.
"OUGHT" derived from the "IS": They ought to be taken to animal shelters where they get good care.

But every "ought" derived from an "is" rests on an premise already containing a value judgement (implying, in the above example, that stray dogs ought to be helped).

Cross-check: Individuals not sharing the value premise that stray dogs ought to be helped will arrive at a different "ought" here:
"IS": There exist millions of stray dogs in the world.
"OUGHT" derived from the "IS": They ought to be killed.
That's what actually happens in many countries where a stray dog's life is considered as of no value by many people.

So again, it is the premise already containing a value judgement which directs the 'ought' from 'is', and not the fact itself.

What ‘ought to be’ can be validated objectively.”

No moral 'ought to be' validation can be derived from an "is" without a specific moral code already directing the mind of the valuer.
So what is claimed to be "objective validation" in truth rests on a moral code influencing the validation.

3 And once validated in this way, what ‘ought to be’ is what man should do.

Isn't a 'one set for all' list of values for everybody the very opposite of individualism?

To hold that the category of what ‘ought to be’ for man includes the option to self-destruct, leaves the entire edifice of the Objectivist ethics dependent on the whim of the individual, and throws it into the realm of the arbitrary.

Translated: man has no option to choose his own values not fitting into the edifice of the Objectivist ethics.
Again, where is the individualism in that?

Edited by Xray, 19 February 2011 - 03:53 PM.


#59 whYNOT

whYNOT

    tony garland

  • Members
  • 3,404 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Republic of South Africa

Posted 19 February 2011 - 04:16 PM

Re the "premoral choice to live" - How can one "choose" something one alread has? Imo it makes no sense choosing a stage (= living) one already is in.

As for a "moral" choice to live - again, choosing something one already has is redundant.
I suppose what is meant by moral choice to live is something like 'choosing to value life'.
But one can also choose not to value life, even to end it, and such subjective choice resulting in death cannot be called a 'whim', not need it be "irrational", or "blindly emotional" (Rand's idea of "subjective").


Ha, "Ayn Rand debunked by Xray" - I can't wait to read the book.

If you would just give her teensy bit more respect Xray, you would have worked out by now that Rand's "choice to live" is not merely Joe Soap's choice to live, but choosing a life of objective values.
By that same token, a person who has long made that choice, can end his life, too, and by OBJECTIVE standards - and morally.
I ask you seriously, how possibly can you view that choice, by this person, to live, or to die, in the same mundanities you have used?


Tony
"To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge". Nicolaus Copernicus (An original objectivist) 1473-1543 ***No man may be smaller than his philosophy...***

#60 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 19 February 2011 - 05:07 PM



By "higher level Objectivists" I meant "more highly educated", or "more knowledgable Objectivists". Got a little careless there with my meanings.

Read your article. I will look forward to seeing your new write up.


Mary--I'm glad you found the article worth your while.


In fact, so much so, that I am planning to take your advice and try reviewing the book after all. I've never done that before and it might be a good exercise.


It would definitely be a good exercise. In fact, that's a huge part of my motivation to write--putting my thoughts down in words helps to clarify my thinking. If I am confused about something, that's the first thing I do--write it down as clearly as possible.

I will look forward to reading your review.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users