l_chaim29

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    Christopher Nicolas Parker

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  1. I have been listening to Itzhak Perlman, the famed violinist. I have decided that he plays the most beautiful music of any musician who's name I know of. You can get some good recordings of his music by going to last.fm.com Please enjoy!
  2. Does the type of problem I'm discussing have anything to do with what Rand said about emergency cases? Is it true-- in other words-- that when one has to choose between being rational and serving one's best interest that there is no best or worst choice...but that nonetheless the choice must be made? I think that the essay "The Ethics of Emergencies" by Rand only dealt with the example of helping OTHERS when they were in an emergency situation though.
  3. I did not realize when I wrote the above two messages that, for Rand, man does not mean merely someone with a POTENTIAL for reason, but who is actually actively rational. Consequently, I thought that "man's life" as her standard of morality was all about what she called "survival at any price". I apologize. Apparently one can only be a man, according to her definition of "man", if one is rational; since that's the case, it is obvious to me that a man of her ethics would not use others as if they were mere objects to adavance their own purposes. For every man is too be judged, as she would have said, according to whether his actions go against or flow logically FROM the metaphysically given; consequently, Rand's system is indeed a system of justice.
  4. Thank you very much Bob... That was very much appreciated;)
  5. I did a little more thinking about this topic last night and here are some of the new thoughts that I have gathered: Regarding my post, it seemed to me when I posted it that in issues where it seemed to me that one would have to choose between not taking advantage of people and surrendering a survival value OR taking advantage of others and obtaining thereby a survival value for oneself, that one would have to be choosing between what is RIGHT (in this particular instance, Not taking advantage of others), and what promoted one's own best interests. (I use the term "right" as synonomous with the term "rational" here.) It occured to me that when I thought of the possibility of having to choose between what is right and what promotes one's own welfare that the only reconciliation I could see between these two options (whereby they would be seen to be two different sides of a false dichotomy) was if it was true that you could not achieve your best interests by taking advantage of others. In turn, the only ways in which I could imagine that THAT might be possible would be either if a.)taking advantage of others can not be a means of achieving one's own welfare, or b.)you would, by taking advantage of others, be placing yourself in a situation in which you could not fully support the political rights which you needed for your own survival. Since the latter deals with political philosphy which depends on ethical philosophy for its content, I will not deal with the latter of the two here... The workings out of it should be apparent to me upon the deciding of whether a.) (above) is indeed a possibility. While I do think it possible that Rand herself may have given adequate argumentation that taking advantage of others CANNOT be a means to achieving one's survival values, (because it would, in such an attempt, be an example of taking/using the unearned or what does not belong to one, and therefore does not constitute a means of achievment), I still have to think on this issue myself a little more before it is very clear to me whether I agree with that argument. Perhaps I will end up thinking in the end that Rand was right all along. That is certainly a possibility. It seems obvious to me already, but I am a clarity-freak.
  6. Objectivists typically define reason as "the faculty which identifies and integrates the data provided by one's senses". This definition, however, leaves no room for identification or integration of concretes observed through introspection. Neither does it leave room for the possibility of identifying or integrating the concretes of the internal states of others, as these can only be inferred (in part) from the exisence of one's own awareness of one's own internal states.
  7. Leonard Peikoff states in Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand that the metaphysically given is absolute. He then goes on to say that the metaphysically given is that which MUST be, as well as that which man did NOT choose. He contrasts this group of facts with those which he calls "man-made" facts, and describes this latter group of facts as being the opposite and mutually exculsive group to that group which he called "the metaphysically given".... I wonder then what would be the metaphycal status to Peikoff (to use an example similar to one which he uses in the above-mentioned book) of a desert which men had NOT CHOSEN to irrigate but which certain men had the CAPACITY to choose to irrigate if they so wished (meaning they had the neccessary knowledge, etc...). This type of fact COULD have been otherwise (someone COULD have chosen for the dessert to be irrigated), and yet it is not a type of man-made fact. However, to rehash and cap off my argument, --as "the metaphysically given" and "the man-made" are described by Peikoff in the above ways (including their being mutually exclusive)-- it should be impossible, I would think, for Peikoff to believe in the existence of this "third" type of fact.
  8. I do believe that it is proper for a man to view every individual as properly being an end in himself; given the validity of this stance, and given the implications that this has for issues of what constitutes proper social relations (political or otherwise), I think that the Objectivist stance on ethics might need correcting. Objectivist philosphers state that the good consists in acting to sustain one's life; well, I think that it could properly be corrected by saying instead something along the lines that the good consists in sustaining one's own life while at the same time limiting those actions which sustain it to those which respect the proper use of the lives of others. I would say then that it might be the case that man's life (understood in the plural sense), is for each INDIVIDUAL the proper standard of value. I take all of this to be different from the Objectivist stances for the following reasons: 1). While Objectivist philosophers DO state that one should not sacrifice others to oneself, they also state that the good is that which best services one's own life (and they do not add any qualifying condtions to this statement). 2.) While the Objectivist stance may be that man's life (in the plural) is the proper standard of ethics for the individual (although I'm not certain if they mean it in the plural sense or not), they say that the fundamental issue that confronts the individual is his OWN life or death. I say that it is the sanctity of all human life. Though the Objectivist positions on issues of personal and social ethics might be consistent in regard to the issues I have treated above, I am not certain that this is the case. It is for this reason, in part, that I have said that the Objectivist views on personal ethics MIGHT need correcting. Please let me know if you have any light you can shed on this subject;)
  9. Alfonso, The issue to me is this: in order to commit suicide (and I'm keeping in mind only instances in which it would be RATIONAL to do so), you would have to act purposefully... You would problaby even have to act to get/keep a gun, bottle of pills or whatever and use whatever means you decided to in order to go through with it. According to Ayn Rand's definition of "value" then, you would have to act for a value(s). (That is, you would probably be acting to gain and\or keep whatever device you wanted to use to commit suicide with. And yet, to act for such a value (this is the crucial point here), you would NOT be acting with life as your ULTIMATE value. Ayn Rand says however that values make no sense without some ultimate value, and that that ultimate value can only logically be one's own life. I will admit, however, that Galt says that he would have no values under the circumstances you mentioned. However,what if, to commit suicide, he had to act to gain and/or keep something? If he did not have a tool to use to commit suicide, would he not go out and get or create it? And if someone tried to take it away from him to stop him, would he not act to keep it? It seems to me that if you want to die that you might have to act to gain and or keep something. The only way that I can accept the quote of Galt as being valid (in other words, to accept that he would be willing to commit suicide and to do whatever became neccessary to do so), is if I accept some definition of "value" other than Rands. For example, I might say that "value" is that which is an instance of the good; in accordance with that definition, Galt could still act to gain and or keep something--if that was neccesary for him to be able to commit suicide--, but he would not be acting for a value in terms of the new definition. Ayn Rand, in other words, seems to use another meaning for the word value than that she gave in her formal defnition when it comes to this qoute of Galt. Neither is this this first time that I know of where she did such... I once heard her say in a recording something like what she believed in was the value of the individual life. This may not sound like a contradiction to most "Objectivists", but to me it does. The reason is that Rand would say that a person should not always act to gain and/or keep their lives; and yet, she believes that the individual life is somehow a value. I don't think Rand was always trying to be very consitent with her statements, and I think that the areas of suicide, euthanasia, and the rights to do either were areas where she contradicted herself more tnan is scarcely believable for such an intelligent woman. I admire her on almost every issue except for these.
  10. Ayn Rand defines a value as "that which one acts to gain and/or keep"; she also says that values make no sense without one's LIFE as thier ULTIMATE VALUE. Hmm.... Well, it seems to me that I could be suffering from a horrible illness or something (and be right in the decision to end my life) and therefore a gun, or a few bottles of pills, etc... could be a "value" to me according to that definition... In other words, in such a situation, I could act to gain and/or keep one of thes things in order to serve my purpose of being able to kill myself. Yet, in this case, the value in question would not have my own life as its ULTIMATE value. I think that this is an exception to what Ayn Rand says about ethics. Let me know what you guys think though.... Especially any of you who knew Ayn Rand personally, and who might know her mind better than I could claim to.
  11. I was wondering whether when Objectivists say that man's life is the standard of morality they mean "man's" in the plural or in the singular sense. I know that Objectivism is not a form of collectivism, but just wanted to clear that up for myself;)
  12. I always had a somewhat hard time accepting what I envisioned the Objectivist ethics to be because of my stance on suicide and euthanasia. I have always believed that people have the right to take their own life or to be assisted in doing so, but even more fundamentally, that it is sometimes the moral thing to do. The way that I have seen the Objectivist ethics for a long time is that man's life as the standard of morality is the same thing as man's survivial being the standard of value. However, I have come to see that these things are different and lead to different results. If man's survival is the standard of value, for example, then any action that he takes which is against his survival is immoral ( and therefore suicide or asking for euthanasia are immoral). However, if man's life is the standard of value, then man may commit suicide in cases where he sees his values under attack if he hates seeing them under attack enough for it to make his life not worth living. For example, if man's life is your standard of value then seeing yourself be wasted away by some painful illness or watching good people die as the result of living in some horrible land ruled by a totalitarian government may be truly unnacceptable. Choosing to die under such circumstances may represent a stance that is for one's life, but not neccessarliy for one's survival. Just some thoughts that I have had lately that I thought might be able to help anybody else who was under the delusion that the Objectivist ethics represented any kind of survivalist system. ;) By the way, I'm not saying or implying by any of the above that any "survivalist Objectivists" actually believe that suicide or euthanasia are immoral; I'm just saying that it might lead to that conclusion and that there is an alternative to that stance which is Objectivist.
  13. OK, Roger... I thought that that was what she meant;)
  14. You don't have to "guess" what Rand means by her saying that the standard of morality is "man's life qua man." Just read "The Objectivist Ethics." On p. 17, she says "The standard [that determines what is proper for an organism to do] is the organism's life, or: that which is required for the organism's survival." She echoes this more specifically in regard to man on p. 25, where she says, "The standard of value of the Objectivist ethics...is ~man's~ life, or: that which is required for man's survival ~qua~ man." I.e., as man, as a rational being. Just below this, she gets even more specific: "the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are: thinking and productive work." So, the essential features of the standard of Objectivist morality and rationality and productivity. You can't survive as a rational being without thinking and producing, so they are what you should do, and they are the measuring stick for whether you are acting properly/morally as a rational being. REB Roger, Could you let me know a little bit more about what she means by "qua man"?
  15. Well, on a practical level, BECAUSE IT HURTS. Pain at that level might not threaten your life, but it would definitely interfere with your "activities of daily living," and it would interfere with your enjoyment and productivity in life. Plus, it would be damned annoying. Pam, Since this pain would not neccessarily ineterfere with your productive life (it would have to be a case of more SEVERE pain to do this at least, and some pains like I'm describing are known for being usually mild), and also because that's just not the only thing to consider here, I love your comment that it "would be damned annoying"... I laughed when I read that because I consider it to be the same way and, in fact, that is SUFFICIENT reason to me... However, if you read the post closer, I was asking for a response of a different kind than the one you gave. I don't desire to try and go into just what it was I was asking for right now (that would involve to much thought than I want to give it right now), but I wanted to say that I appreciating the "damn annoying" comment... That's just how I feel about it. lol