Arkadi

giving one's life in battle

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Michael--I am surprised you did not know that it is self-evident that no two notions are to be confused. Otherwise, you're just confirming that you're unwilling to help me understand Rand's notion of "standard" (which is, admittedly, somewhat enigmatic to me).

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p.s. And to be straightforward, this makes me doubt whether you have sufficiently clear understanding of the notion of "standard" yourself, for usually, from my experience, people who have a clear understanding of something are happy to share it.

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Arkadi,

I don't care what surprises you or what you doubt. I don't compete in these games.

However, please check the posting guidelines if you have any doubts about our posting policies. I'm the traffic cop, so please keep it respectful. You don't have to like it. 

Michael

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Standard of value from the Ayn Rand lexicon

From that there is this:  a standard is an abstract principle that serves as a measurement or gauge to guide a man's choices in the achievement of a concrete, specific purpose.

Applying that to my own situation, I have a high value concrete specific purpose of providing my son the means to become a productive, healthy, and happy individual who can reach his full potential as a human being.  In my daily life that means I also have to be productive, healthy, and happy.  In an emergency situation, if the only choice available to me to achieve that purpose were to give up my own life, then I would do so because, as I have already stated, the remainder of his life is of higher value to me than the remainder of my life.

Now, if I had other children, I don't know that I could say this as confidently.  Or if my son were already in some sort of situation that the remainder of his life would be short, I don't know about that, either, and honestly I don't like thinking about it.  In the case of the man who died along with the orphans, I can imagine (but no, I can't know for sure) that he valued highly the concrete, specific purpose of offering those children comfort and guidance, and he measured his achievement of that by staying with them.

This is my last contribution to this discussion as I don't know how to provide more clarity than this.  Good luck.

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dldelancey--Thank you very much! Again, as regards my personal views, I agree with you 100%. My only puzzlement is about squaring the statement "the remainder of his life is of higher value to me than the remainder of my life" with Rand's ethical theory. I.e., my question is how, on Rand's grounds, other persons' lives can possibly be of higher value to me than my own life. I understand that for you this question might be irrelevant but perhaps others might be willing and able to help me regarding it.

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13 hours ago, Arkadi said:

dldelancey--Thank you very much! Again, as regards my personal views, I agree with you 100%. My only puzzlement is about squaring the statement "the remainder of his life is of higher value to me than the remainder of my life" with Rand's ethical theory. I.e., my question is how, on Rand's grounds, other persons' lives can possibly be of higher value to me than my own life. I understand that for you this question might be irrelevant but perhaps others might be willing and able to help me regarding it.

Arkady the trouble is you say you understand, but continue to make the repeated error.

Since when, can one equate "other persons' lives" with one's child's life?! The most confirmed "selfless" altruist would baulk at this (and reveal his self-contradiction)..

Once again, one's life is the ultimate value, and the "capacity" for and "source" of value. No life, no value - no valuing, no being valued.

In the most extreme circumstance, one mother would place her child's life above her own - preferring of course that both could live and she'd continue to give value and receive value from his ongoing existence--but failing that, that his life, as an end in itself, would go on. Some other mother might not (which would speak for her 'capacity' to value).

If you don't understand 'value' you won't get rational selfishness, nor self-sacrifice, altruism.

Have you read The Ethics of Emergencies in TVoS? "The fact is that men do not live in lifeboats--and that a lifeboat is not the place on which to base one's metaphysics". Enough with friggin emergencies.

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Anthony--"Since when, can one equate "other persons' lives" with one's child's life?!"--Honestly, I fail to see why my child (suppose I have one) is not a person other than me. Are you saying me and my child make one (collective) person?!

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47 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

Anthony--"Since when, can one equate "other persons' lives" with one's child's life?!"--Honestly, I fail to see why my child (suppose I have one) is not a person other than me. Are you saying me and my child make one (collective) person?!

!!

Arakady, do you know 'value'? A few posts ago, you made a value-equivalence between "other persons' lives" and one's child. OK, if you want to be tendentious, one's child is indeed an 'other person'. If you had one, would he-she receive the same value in your mind as you'd give all and any 'other persons'? Less? - more? This is either the most singular skepticism or you've been playing me.

You haven't read VoS, I'm sure. I hope you do, with the same attention you gave Molyneux. Go to the source first I suggest.

(we lost the post numbers Michael ?)

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Anthony--"one's child is indeed an 'other person'. If you had one, would he-she receive the same value in your mind as you'd give all and any 'other persons'? Less?"--It would depend on what kind of father I'd be, and what are my relations with other persons in my life. E.g., I can easily imagine that the life of my lover(s) or friend(s) would have more value for me.

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Properly--usually--one doesn't give one's life in battle; one fights for one's life in battle, if only to help win it as long as you can.

(Reversion to thread topic.)

--Brant

a warrior is as a warrior does

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48 minutes ago, Arkadi said:

Anthony--"one's child is indeed an 'other person'. If you had one, would he-she receive the same value in your mind as you'd give all and any 'other persons'? Less?"--It would depend on what kind of father I'd be, and what are my relations with other persons in my life. E.g., I can easily imagine that the life of my lover(s) or friend(s) would have more value for me.

It's implicit that a child didn't choose her parents. She didn't choose to live. Her existence was a value-choice made by her parents, who, at least until her independence, morally owe her the highest and ongoing value, which is their love, support and attention. Everyone else near and dear to one, has merited the value one found and sees in them, but not a child.

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Anthony--I have just read "The Ethics o Emergencies" by Rand, as you advised. Thanks. It was definitely worth reading as it confirmed and brought to clarity what I had already inferred from other, mostly secondary sources. However, it does not address my question but only makes it more blatant. The phrase that is difficult for me to understand is this: "If [the person to be saved] is the man or woman one loves, then one can be willing to give one's life to save him or her--for the selfish reason that life without the loved person could be unbearable." My question is: why, on Rand's grounds, can such a reason possibly be deemed "selfish" (implying, rational)? (1) How can one possibly know that one's life will be, literally, unbearable? Lots of people lose their beloved spouses, the loss seems unbearable to them, they grieve for a while, but eventually they meet another partner with whom they fall in love and live a life full of value. (2) An addict might plausibly believe that her life would be unbearable without an object of her addiction. Is it a valid ethical ground for her to commit suicide if deprived of the indicated object. (3) One might argue that love-relationship could involve a commitment to give one's life, if needed, to save the life of one's lover. But one might ask, in response: Is it rational and selfish (in Rand's sense) to make such a commitment to begin with? NB: Rand does not say (as some people here were trying to convince me) that in cases of emergency no ethical rules apply. She only says that (a) in cases of emergency the rules are different than in normal life, and (b) one should not apply to normal life the rules applicable only in cases of emergency. So there is nothing wrong in being interested, as I am, in rules applicable  to the cases of emergency, given that I am not claiming them to be valid in normal life.

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p.s. I can easily imagine that some people might be not interested in the question that interests me. Yet I believe it to be unfair to suspect me in any kind of honesty solely on account of my posing this question. The question is valid on Rand's grounds, and getting the answer to it is of value for me personally. This is enough of a justification for posing it.

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Anthony--"It's implicit that a child didn't choose her parents. She didn't choose to live. Her existence was a value-choice made by her parents"--Does this mean that it is a moral duty for a parent to give his life, if needed, to save that of his child, regardless of whether the child is actually perceived by the parent as being of any value? If not, how is this relevant to the topic of our discussion? If yes, what's wrong with Rand's mother (as presented by Molyneux) performing her parental duties towards her children without perceiving her relationship with them as having any value?  Molyneux says this is precisely what altruism is. Is he wrong?

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Brant--"Properly--usually--one doesn't give one's life in battle; one fights for one's life in battle"--I have, based on some helpful responses here, clarified and slightly re-formulated my question, addressing it now to the citation from Rand that I posted. It is now not about giving one's life in battle but about giving one's life to save that of one's beloved. And yes, this does not happen normally. But does happen sometimes, nevertheless.

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2 hours ago, Arkadi said:

p.s. I can easily imagine that some people might be not interested in the question that interests me. Yet I believe it to be unfair to suspect me in any kind of honesty solely on account of my posing this question. The question is valid on Rand's grounds, and getting the answer to it is of value for me personally. This is enough of a justification for posing it.

I'm sorry, Arkadi. I believe you are sincere - just, ah - persistent..? It could help the context if you clarified your personal angle.

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Anthony--"It could help the context if you clarified your personal angle"--I am a philosopher, absolutely new to Ayn Rand, fascinated by her personality and some aspects by her thought, puzzled by others, which I am committed to figure out, as, on my intuitive assesment, understanding her thought is essential for fully connecting to my (relatively) new homeland, United States, which connection has a tremendous value for me. Is this account sufficient, in your view? I would be happy to answer any questions.

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p.s. In particular, being a fan of Aristotle, I am fascinated by Ayn Rand's bringing him back to life by drawing the implications of his thought relevant to our age.

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4 hours ago, Arkadi said:

Brant--"Properly--usually--one doesn't give one's life in battle; one fights for one's life in battle"--I have, based on some helpful responses here, clarified and slightly re-formulated my question, addressing it now to the citation from Rand that I posted. It is now not about giving one's life in battle but about giving one's life to save that of one's beloved. And yes, this does not happen normally. But does happen sometimes, nevertheless.

Okay. How would one feel after failing to give one's life to save one's beloved? Look at what would be ripped out of you. (I'm assuming a relationship of total commitment and devotion.)

Everything has a price.

--Brant

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Brant--"I'm assuming a relationship of total commitment and devotion"--What if one is totally committed and devoted to one's country? or to an idea? Would the same reasoning apply? E.g., there was a young Russian soldier recently who preferred to have his neck cut rather than to take off his cross from it, as the Chechens who had captured him demanded.

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