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Everything posted by Xray

  1. Xray, This implies that the mind is not biological. I don't put mind outside biology. For no mind can exist without a biological body to perform the thinking. But a human mind can attribute subjective value/disvalue to things. I wouldn't call them "values". It's a biological program. It's biology, not philosophy. Thanks for the link, Michael. Interesting discussion between you and Steve Shmurak there! (Gotta run - I'll address your # 215 post later).
  2. But has your reply addressed my points and question, Brant? I had posted: "Every action can be traced back to self-interest as the motive. 'Altruism', is a misnomer, a fallacy. Fighting altruism is like Don Quijote fighting the windmills. Who here believes altruism does exist? I invite everyone to present examples of what they think is a truly altruistic action, and guarantee you I'll trace it back to the self-interest motive guiding the action." (end quote) I prefer specific, concrete examples since they serve as illustration of the issue in question. From you reply in # 208, I still don't know whether you think altruism exists or not. I'm an advocate of individualism, but find that Rand's (who also adcovates individualism) selection of alleged "objective" values is very arbitrary. The life of a human individual is not a static condition. It involves a vast array of ongoing evaluations, valuations, choices and actions. Ergo, by logical inference, "life as an 'objective' standard" proposes to set an "objective standard" of food, drink, socializing, entertainment, and virtually every aspect of an individual's life. Call it what you will, but to my way of thinking, dismissing personal preference does not fit well under the label, individualism. As for Uncle Jim, I addressed his post in detail. I don't agree with many points he made, for example, when he speaks of "values properly functioning humans" seek to gain, retain and maintain." (end quote) [# 118 in the Objectivist Ethics cardinal vaues thread] http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...4630&st=100 ). But what IS a "properly functioning" human? (P. S. If I were troll, I'd long since have vanished from here. Trolls don't want to get into detailed discussions, since they have zero interest in getting to the core of a topic.)
  3. A dish of ice cream is a fact. I value the dish of ice cream. Ergo, it's an "objective value?" If a person robs a bank, how does he accomplish this if not by recognition of facts? By his criteria that acting upon facts constitutes objective values, then, doesn't it logically follow that every end sought and reached is a matter of objective values regardless of personal preference?
  4. Please give an example of what you call a "subjective idea of self-interest", and "objective idea of self interest." Where has it been said that a conflict is an "objective value"? Life is a biological phenomenon. Valuing it or not lies in the mind of the valuer. "Liberty"alone without precising it further is an empty word shell only. Politicians btw are masters at throwing those rethorical baits at the public. "Freedom for the people" "values of society " - you name it. They know that people will fill these empty phrases with their personal "sense". As for "pursuit of happiness". A burglar rummaging through drawers is in pursuit of happiness too. So his pursuit is an objective value?
  5. I don't think you have understood my point here. The issue was two opposing belief systems (each based on a fallacy) battling each other. And who and on what grounds, decides what is a "whim", Uncle Jim? Any declared "standard of value" in philosophical systems is arbitrary and subjectively chosen. Philosophers (or any John or Jane Doe (for everyone has a philosophy), can think out for themselves a most elaborate system of standards of values - they remain subjective, how ever much they will try to sell them as objective merely because they themselves believe in them. The fact that there are no objective values may come as a shock to anyone who has held the belief that they exist. But those shocks can have a healing effect in that they tear off the mask off and give an unveiled look at just the facts. A simple look at history shows us how whole value systems held as objective by societies have completely vanished. Laws are not based on objective values either. For example, a government's decison to declare certain drugs as illegal (e. g. cannabis) while at the same time profiting via taxes from another drug (alcohol) declared as legal is not based on any objective values allegedly based on medical facts, but a completely arbitrary choice. Want some more examples? Today, Plato would probably get in conflict with the law with his value system involving the praise of homosexual love to adolescents. The actions people take are the means to achieve an individually chosen goal. "Value" implies a conscious mind attributing value, worth, to an issue. A plant for example can have no values, however much Rand seems to be convinced of the contrary. Given the existence of the great number of human conscious minds in the world, it follows that you get an infinite variety of chosen values. Surely you won't deny this? Value lies in the eyes of the valuer, Uncle Jim. I'll give you a very radical example in my next post but will wait for your reply to my questions first. Let's take a look at Rand's catalog of "cardinal values": "reason, purpose, self-esteem." and her "cardinal virtues: "rationality, productivenness, pride". So just curious: so they are yours (and every objectivst's) cardinal values and virtues too?
  6. Being alive is both causally and logically prior to anything else (for a human). That is why life occupies the Number One Spot on the scale of values. Nothing matters or is possible for a dead person. Ba'al Chatzaf Didn't you leave out something like whose scale of values? Where does individual volition factor in? As for Rand, is she not simply setting out her personal choice and pretending it has universal application? Is omitting the natural law fact of individual volition really dealing with "the facts of reality"? I concede that "Nothing matters or is possible for a dead person." It is true regardless of whether the deceased valued living or not. This an objective fact. This is biology, not philosophy. The issue imo is not the objective condition, but whether an individual subjectively values or disvalues the objective condition.
  7. Every action can be traced back to self-interest as the motive. 'Altruism', is a misnomer, a fallacy. Fighting altruism is like Don Quijote fighting the windmills. Who here believes altruism does exist? I invite everyone to present examples of what they think is a truly altruistic action, and guarantee you I'll trace it back to the self-interest motive guiding the action.
  8. But you will have to agree to the fact that a suicide bomber obviously values different things than you do - right? There is no getting around the fact that whatever is claimed to be a "value" is a subjective choice. The suicide bomber has merely chosen a different value for himself than you have. The term 'value' has no definitive meaning except attributing value to an end desired and to the means to achieve that end. The importance attributed to the end desired is a value judgement, i.e. subjective personal preference. The importance of the means is whether the means are suited to bring about the end desired. The religious suicide bomber and his parents value the promised afterlife as a reward for the deed. The means to achieve that end is a functioning bomb. Anlayzing these things requires a scientific "sine ira et studio" attitude; so when I put it like that, I leave out here my personal value judgements about suicide bombings and promised afterlives. I'm merely describing and explaining. And if you have ever discussed with fanatic believers (whether they are religious or not, radical Marxists for example fit that category too), they will present to you their values as objective too. Try it out (I have). So whenever two opposing parties battle each other over alleged "objective" values each claims to have "identified", we have the case of one fallacy fighting another.
  9. Unble Jim, you think the "human mind" mind creates life?? How does that work? How did 'life' come into existence? The human mind created it. What is life? It is a word! Every word ever created was created by a human mind. Consider the enormous impact on your thinking when you begin to realize what the human mind has created. Some examples: water, salt, space, time, distance, god, heaven, hell, universe, everything, "child kidnapping, raping, murdering bastards" etc., etc. Creating a word for a phenomenon is not the same as creating the phenomenon itself. For example, when at some time in English language history, the word "snow" was created to signify the white cold stuff falling fom the sky in some countries, it was of course not the white cold stuff itself which was created.
  10. Easy to find out since my profile here lists my first name.
  11. Although Rand's philosophy is a belief system imo, the issue for me is not about affirming or rejecting beliefs. It is proof and disproof which interest me. I'm not a "Mr".
  12. Unble Jim, you think the "human mind" mind creates life?? How does that work?
  13. Anything can be considered a value by individuals, yes. Rand tries to dilute the full implication of this hard fact by labeling "whims"certain individually chosen values. But here is the wrinkle: considering something a "whim" is a subjective value judgement too.
  14. That was my point precisely. There is no value in the non-sentient physical domain. It exists purely within the contexts of judgments made by sentient beings. In non-sentient nature there is nothing intrinsically valuable. Ba'al Chatzaf Exactly.
  15. It is a necessity, like an adequate intake of water. Like MSK pointed out in the water example, "When we observe human life, we see that without water, human beings die. This observation is also a cognitive abstraction of causality. It is a fact and nothing more." (end quote) I don't quarrel with this biological fact, but where does philosophy fit in? Isn't the philosophy part the choice to drink water and live, or don't drink water and die? Doesn't this recognize both subjective choice and objective causality? The "objective" in "objective fact" was used for stylistic emphasis because the discussion is about "objectivism". But you are correct: "fact" does not need the qualifier "objective" since 'objective' is implied in "fact". Nor can I. There are no subjective facts of course. Nor are there objective values.
  16. Mazlov speaks about a hierarchy of needs, not of values.
  17. ... is of no value to someone who plans to hang himself. Although air is an objective means to sustaining life, to value or not value it is subjective choice.
  18. This is exactly why value is not determined by human whim. It is determined by life. Just because "Jack" believed he could fly does not magically make that a value - to him. The effect of that belief on his life is the indicator of whether his belief is of value - to his life. Belief is not a value maker. That is the error of religion. When Jack, for whatever reason, believes he can fly and tries to do so by flailing his arms, at that moment, flying is a value to him. It does not matter whether Jack is locked up in a mental institution, whether he has had a few too many at a party with judgment impaired, or whether Jack is a small kid not yet having enough mental abilities to see the futility. In all cases, "Jack" is a volitional, goal-seeking identitiy. The goal is there in manifest character ("I want to fly"), but it is a subjectively chosen goal. Flying is perceived as a subjective value to Jack, only the means used to reach the goal are insufficient. It is means and only means, which are subject to proof or disproof. Another example (mentioned before in the discussion): it is objective fact that one cannot survive without water. No one will challenge this. However, this is not the issue. Although water is an objective means to sustaining life, to value, or not value this means (of life) is subjective choice.
  19. And what IS an objective value in your opinion? Could you give a concrete example?
  20. But isn't perceiving them as "viable" a subjective value judgement too? Could you please give an example of an objectivist "viable value" so we can discuss it? TIA.
  21. Values are always subjective, from which it follows that the value in "devaluing a valuing" is an individual, subjective issue too. It's like those Russian nested Matryoshska dolls where you get another exemplar when picking them apart. The dolls are always of the same material. When it comes to values, it starts with subjective and that's where it ends. Expecting to arrive at "objective" is as irratianal and futile as getting on a train and expecting it to fly. I always try to use examples for illustration - they are the flesh filling the skeleton of theoretic explanation with life. Here is one: about fifteen years ago, I decided to become a vegetarian. My decision was based on subjective personal preference, and not on an objective value, no matter how highly I personally may hold it as a value. It remains subjective. When I wrote here on the forum that I'm a member of PETA, a poster made fun of me, trying to "devalue my value" by jokingly giving another meaning to the acronym PETA (he called it "People Eating Tasty Animals"), (this poster was quite obviously a meat eater not sharing my personal values here. ) The value for him "in devaluing my value" was to bolster his own subjective value. The reverse happens quite often too: vegetarians can act almost like religious fanatics, lecturing non-vegetarians on the "ethical" way to eat, while what they are actually doing is to superimpose their own personal preferences upon others, telling them they "ought to" value what they prefer. I have never tried to (figuratively speaking) shove my soybean hamburgers down others' throats. But the qualifier is always value to whom? Values are attributed by someone to something. From which it follows that values can contradict each other.
  22. I take it you mean by "it is not a value" means the water has no value unless and until someone attributes value to the water? Am I reading you right?
  23. Not quite. Some values or both ontologically and logically prior to others. Life is required to do anything else, so life is the primary value. If you ain't alive, you are not going to seek or try to retain anything else. Certainly, one must be alive to attribute value. However, there is nothing in nature that precludes an individual from disvaluing life. On the principle that nothing has value unless and until someone attributes value to it, if an individual attributes no value to being alive, the alternative is valuing death. If this goal is reached, then what the person would have or have not valued if alive is an irrelevant and moot point isn't it? In reference to natural volition and personal preference, each side of an alternative is of equal standing in regard to nature. This puts the concept of "life as a standard" at zero; zero meaning there is no objective mandate that requires valuing life. On the other hand, there are animals which do not have the mental capacity and ability to make such a choice. "Life as a standard" may be appropriate to these creatures, but not to volitional entities with the ability to choose and act upon choice.