trying to think

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  1. Hi @Jon Letendre, My argument (perhaps it wasn't clear enough) was that it only makes sense to think "middle-long-term", not "really-long-term", since if in the long-term consciousness doesn't survive, then values cannot apply in the really-long-term. I don't think that your points negate that. Even if this is correct, it rests on the notion that future happiness will come. If consciousness doesn't survive the death of the body, then there is no future happiness to contemplate. In the above paragraphs you do not refute my point, but just extend the length of the "middle" period. Perhaps the "middle" period does not end with one's immediate life, but ends with the life of friends and relatives. It is nevertheless true that with their death, meaning does end. So it doesn't make sense to think "really-long-term". 1) A question from daily-life : how do you decide in daily-life when to act by principle and when not? 2) A philosophic question : how do you define "a principle"? If a principle is not something to always abide by, what is the demarcation between a principle and between something you adapt for convenience's sake? Suppose I assert that there is just a difference of degree between the scenario in the OP, and the scenario of being lost in the woods and finding a cabin. It is not easy to fight alone against the state; not everybody can do it. And some people would be able to survive in the woods in a Robinson-Crusoe style without stealing. Is there anything you could reply to that? I understand what the definition of an absolute principle would be. An absolute principle would apply in each and every situation. I understand how would not having absolute principles be defined. But you seem to assert that a principle is something you sometimes abide by. Let's go again to the scenario in the OP. Suppose a person gave the name of the leaders to the authorities. He would argue that he does act on principles, only in this specific case it did not apply. What would you say to him \ to us? I think the idea of acting by principle is a good one. But its philosophical justification is very unclear to me. I will read sometime the book by Branden, perhaps then we can discuss it further.
  2. Hi @Jon Letendre, Thanks! It was very valuable to me. I think you nailed it. Ok, a few questions : 1) Can you recommend me something to read on this issue (acting on principle rather circumstances of the moment and long term vs short term) ? 2) I would assert that thinking long-term only makes sense in the case that the death of the physical body is not the death of our consciousness (a proposition which I personally find probable). In the case that the death of the physical body is also "death" of our consciousness, thinking "long-term" does not make literal sense. Since if so, in the really-long-term, there is no consciousness, and since without consciousness there is no value, in the really-long-term, for oneself, there is no value. So it personally interests me how objectivists are able to think long-term without thinking "really-long-term". I do think that in the quote bellow (beginning with "I would say to my fellows"), you have demonstrated excellent long-term-thinking, far beyond my personal capabilities. So, assuming that you probably believe (correct me if I am wrong) that annihilation and lack of values is the end of everything, can you reflect how is it possible to think long-term? Personally, I believe that it is not possible to prove that death of the physical body is annihilation of consciousness as well. Of course, we observe that embodied consciousness depends upon the material body and the brain. However, a disembodied consciousness is not something that we have the tools to observe. Since we lack the tools, we cannot successfully determine the proposition of complete annihilation to be true. So, for me, real-long-term thinking is something which can exist, at least theoretically. But this theoretical possibility does not leave me with enough tools of application in concrete human-life situations. c) Regarding the question on acting on principles rather than on the circumstances of the moment : Would you assert that one should always act on principle? Excellent, and describes what actually happened in the 20th century to a much better extent than my scenario.
  3. Hi @Michael Stuart Kelly, thank you for the answer! Nevertheless, I cannot find a single argument in the quotes you gave. The first quote describes literary tastes of Ayn Rand, the second describes the theme of We the Living. The third quote mentions that Frank O'Connor had a benevolent universe premise; good for him, but why is the premise true? I want to know why the malevolent universe premise is false. Where do you think would be a good place to start digging? I thought that the forums would be a good one...
  4. The argument from here "As the simplest empirical refutation of that metaphysics—as evidence of the fact that the material universe is not inimical to man and that catastrophes are the exception, not the rule of his existence—observe the fortunes made by insurance companies." seems to me a very bad one, frankly. All it means that the universe is less malevolent than is commonly believed by humans living in the 20-21 centuries. That's all.
  5. Where can I find the Objectivist arguments that we do not live in a malevolent universe?
  6. I am too not sure that I understand your position. Do you say that some values require no justification? I tend to believe that all values require justification. I am not saying that I am able to justify rationally the idea that all values require a justification. But it does seem true to me. Frankly speaking, there seems to be very little grounds of discussion amongst us, if so. Between a person that feels that values require a justification (though cannot rationally justify this ;) ), and a person who does not feel so, there is almost no common ground for discussion.
  7. Thanks. Yes. Ok, you assert that being treasonous is morally wrong. If so, I can ask how can the value of loyalty (opposite to treason) can be justified from rational self-interest? It seems moral, but my question is one of justification.
  8. I'll explain where am I coming from : As far as I understand, an ethics of selfishness implies that an ethical action is in the rational self-interest of the acting agent (short-term or long-term). Not giving the names of the leaders' to the authorities in East Berlin seems like a moral act to me. But I have a hard time explaining how it is moral from the point of view of rational self-interest. If one asserts that not giving the names of the leaders to the authorities is the rational self-interest of a person in such a situation, I would love to hear how. In case that you are interested in my own intuition on the subject - intuitively, it seems to me that thinking about rational self-interest in such a situation would cause one to give away the names of his friends rather than the other way around. If one gives away the names of the leaders, there are lots of benefits to it, material as well as those related to social status. On the other hand, if one withholds the names, reprecussions can be very severe.
  9. Hi, I have watched this movie trailer, and it got me thinking. In the movie trailer (I have not watched the movie), a situation is described where a group of teenagers (in Berlin, 1956) hold a minute of silence in solidarity with the Hungarian Uprising. The teachers learn of this, and want to know the names of the leaders of the group; so do the state officials. The group members are threatened to tell who the leaders are. It seems to me that not giving the names of the group leaders in such a case is a more virtuous choice. Assuming that you agree, can this be justified by an ethics of selfishness? If so, how?
  10. Hi. I am interested in the philosophy of freedom; somewhat critical of Objectivism. Hope that it can be a good place to discuss it.