moralist

How do you know murder is wrong?

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4 hours ago, anthony said:

 

Healthy signs of your skeptical certitude (!) being dented, finally. First you say "Moral import has to do with what we should and should not do". Now, you acknowledge "rational self interest". Wow.

Self. Should. Have you been recently discovering ought from is? I.e. - value?

There is no contradiction.  Rational Self Interest is served by behaving in a rational manner.  Very often the moral is the rational 

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Ba’al wrote: There is no contradiction.  Rational Self Interest is served by behaving in a rational manner.  Very often the moral is the rational. end quote  

What equivocation. Ba’al is a social being. He is seeking approval. Which means his words: ‘very often’ iare an irrational term. If you are rationally moral you are always morally correct in your rational assessment and you act accordingly. You are never a ‘DIRTY COP.’

Peter

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I haven't read the whole topic but the answer to the question is very easy and simple for any objectivist worthy of this name. Perhaps what I'm going to say has already been said.

  • By definition, moral choice, good and evil, presuppose values.
  • Values presuppose life.
  • Thus, destroying someone's life is against life, so against all values, in general.

No need of God.

Actually the idea of God can lead you easily to murder. Believing in God is based on faith, revelation. This means giving up (at least partially) his reason and this means that this kind of person can accept an idea that has no logical or rational justification, on the basis of a feeling, a desire, a revelation. On this basis, you can be led to murder. Or not. That's just chance, depending of your current desire, according to what your God is supposed to say, etc.

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On ‎5‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 1:45 PM, Peter said:

 Anyone on a pilgrimage is trying to be noticed.  

Does that mean we won't be seeing you at the Haj?

hajj.jpg

Aw... too bad, Peter. You're missing all the fun. smirk.gif

Greg

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18 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

There is no contradiction.  Rational Self Interest is served by behaving in a rational manner.  Very often the moral is the rational 

Most pragmatic of you. I can't think what I was expecting, after "Getting along in a community is an exercise in rational self interest".

The good of the collective, in effect, is the objective of the rationally selfish... no?

It all stems, I think from materialist reductionism, your not being able to physically see "a mind" on a MRI scan, as you like to tell us. Which guarantees one can't ~know~ "the self", nor "reason", and thereby not have a faintest notion of "rational self interest".

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37 minutes ago, anthony said:

Most pragmatic of you. I can't think what I was expecting, after "Getting along in a community is an exercise in rational self interest".

The good of the collective, in effect, is the objective of the rationally selfish... no?

It all stems, I think from materialist reductionism, your not being able to physically see "a mind" on a MRI scan, as you like to tell us. Which guarantees one can't ~know~ "the self", nor "reason", and thereby not have a faintest notion of "rational self interest".

Good of the Collective?  How about, instead,  functioning in the communities in which we live?  Do you know any genuine hermits or monks?  I don't. 

Humans do not exist atomically.  Humans live in and function in communities.  That is why the human race has been so successful.  

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6 hours ago, gio said:

I haven't read the whole topic but the answer to the question is very easy and simple for any objectivist worthy of this name. Perhaps what I'm going to say has already been said.

  • By definition, moral choice, good and evil, presuppose values.
  • Values presuppose life.
  • Thus, destroying someone's life is against life, so against all values, in general.

No need of God.

Actually the idea of God can lead you easily to murder. Believing in God is based on faith, revelation. This means giving up (at least partially) his reason and this means that this kind of person can accept an idea that has no logical or rational justification, on the basis of a feeling, a desire, a revelation. On this basis, you can be led to murder. Or not. That's just chance, depending of your current desire, according to what your God is supposed to say, etc.

Hi gio: What you say I agree with. Radical Islam is recent proof of what religion can be quickly and easily turned into. ('Faith and Force', by AR). Briefly, I have argued however, that Christians (for one religion) have matured and grown, to the point where they are the major proponents of 'life value'- while also, importantly, of Church and State separation too. So dispensing with "force", for the time being.

Do they have "value" right, but for the wrong reasons? Sure. But I don't see the moral ~or rational~ equivalent in the rising tide of a-principled, convictionless skepticism - the secularist Westerners who have quite renounced the concept of 'value' when turning away from religion, and gained - what? Science? Other 'gods', in the State, the People - the Earth? All I see on the whole, is the growth of something more dangerous to freedom, reason and individualism than religion in the West, and that's philosophic skepticism. Religion isn't going away, it is a fact of life - reality to be faced - and the logical, objective argument against Faith has limited appeal, anyway. You 'Believe', or you don't. With all our basic differences, I find more sense and rapport with many Christians, those who are decent, often rational, productive and self-responsible people, and who are under concerted attack by the hard Left, that 'religion' by another name (progressivism, etc.). They are anything but moral agnostics and moral relativists, as is the typical sign of amoral times. They personally 'know' why murder is wrong. And who would you prefer to be washed up on that deserted island with? :) After all this - if theocracy were on the rise in the West, I'd be arguing as strongly the other way.

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54 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

  Do you know any genuine hermits or monks?

 

Hearking back to your accusations of solipsism at egoists, some years ago.

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What’s that? Oh. George wants to talk about Objectivism, the law, and the originality of Obj.

 

From: "George H. Smith" Reply - To: <atlantis> Subject: ATL: Ayn Rand and the Founding Fathers (was Libertine Takeover ] Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001 21:40:35 -0500

 

Debbie Clark wrote: "Contrary to one of Ellen Moore's favorite misconceptions, Ayn Rand did not invent some new system of law and government derived from Objectivist principles she formulated, but rather upheld the same principles of our nation's founders.  There was nothing whatsoever original in anything Ayn Rand wrote concerning law and government.  That is by no means taking anything away from her, but is correctly placing her political philosophy within the context of a larger paradigm.  Ayn Rand's ideas of freedom were not unique, but were based on and derived from the philosophy of those before her -- not terribly much different than the way Thomas Jefferson borrowed words from John Locke in drafting the Declaration of Independence."

 

Although I agree with Debbie here (and I argued the point at greater length in *Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies,* pp. 205ff.), I think it is only fair to point out that, so far as I know, Rand did not claim any great originality for her theory of law and government. But this was not true of her political theory in general; she repeatedly claimed that previous philosophers had failed to provide an adequate foundation for individual freedom and limited government, owing to their (implicit or explicit) altruistic premises.

 

This latter claim is misleading, however, since rational self-interest (or "self-love") had been vigorously defended since at least the late sixteenth century, thanks largely to the Renaissance revival of, and interest in, the egoistic writings of Epicurus.

 

A *detailed* comparison of Ayn Rand's political theory with that of America's Founding Fathers is long overdue. Perhaps the most interesting difference pertains to the hypothetical "state of nature" (or society without government). Rand adopts a position that is eerily similar to that of Thomas Hobbes, who held that life in a society without government would be "nasty, brutish, and short" -- whereas most (though not all) Founding Fathers agreed with Locke that government is a "convenience" rather than a necessity; and that life in a state of nature, though by no means optimal, could nevertheless attain a fairly high degree of civilization.

 

The difference between Hobbes and Locke on whether social order is possible without government had far reaching implications (e.g., for the right of revolution), and it was often discussed by Jefferson, Paine, and others. Jefferson, for instance, once divided society in three basic forms. The first is "society without government"; the second is a representative form of government; and the third is "governments of force," a type that includes any government that rules without the consent of the people.

 

Jefferson regarded the first type -- society "without government" – as morally preferable, while also viewing it as impractical for any society "with any great deal of population." Thus, although anarchism worked for Indian tribes and other small societies, it was inappropriate for a larger society like the United States. (See Jefferson's letter to Madison, Jan. 30, 1787)

 

This suggestion that social order is possible without government, and that voluntary interaction (based on mutual self-interest) rather than government is the primary source of social order, is characteristic of Locke, Jefferson, Paine, and many others in the Radical Whig tradition. (Paine argues for this thesis at length in Part Two of *Rights of Man*). But this notion was anathema to Hobbes and his followers. And judging by some of Rand's comments, she seems to follow Hobbes on this point more than Locke. Ghs

 

From: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Ayn Rand in the 10th Century

Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 15:11:19 -0500

 

Here is a question for anyone who thinks that Ayn Rand owes nothing to her intellectual predecessors.

 

Suppose Ayn Rand had been born in the 10th century, in the middle of what is commonly known as the "Dark Ages." This was an age of tremendous superstition with no science to speak of, and before much of Greek philosophy (including the vast majority of Aristotle's works) had become known to Western thinkers.

 

So if Ayn Rand had been born in the 10th century, would she have been able to construct *every* aspect of her philosophy, as we now know it, in detail? If not, if there are some things that even Ayn Rand could not have derived from scratch, then what are they?

 

My point, of course, is that every thinker draws (to some extent) from their intellectual culture and from the achievements of previous thinkers. And in order fully to appreciate a thinker's originality, we must understand their similarities as well as their differences.

 

Given the repeated claims of Ellen Moore and Jason Alexander that I fail to appreciate Rand's originality in deriving an integrated philosophy, I would like to quote this passage from "Ayn Rand: Philosophy and Controversy" (in *Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies*). After noting that some of Rand's ideas had been defended by earlier philosophers, I continued:

 

"I do think that Rand was original in a more fundamental sense. A philosophy is (or should be) more than unconnected theories and arguments bundled together by a common name. A philosophy is an integrated and organized system of theories and arguments. Therefore, even if many elements of Objectivism can be found in other philosophers, this does not mean that Objectivism, considered as a philosophical system, is unoriginal." (p. 195)

 

I hope this passage (which I have quoted before, but to no effect) helps to keep future misrepresentations of my views to a minimum -- but I doubt it. Ghs

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Hearking back to your accusations of solipsism at egoists, some years ago.

It was a simple question.  And a simple "yes" or "no"  would do for an answer.
 

free piece of advice:  never look for motives in other people.  You don't have mental telepathy (neither do I)  and you will only find what you seek,  not necessarily what is there.  

95% of the time I pay attention only to manifest facts  -- things I can see first hand.  Five percent of the time I can be misled. 

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33 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

It was a simple question.  And a simple "yes" or "no"  would do for an answer.
 

free piece of advice:  never look for motives in other people.  You don't have mental telepathy (neither do I)  and you will only find what you seek,  not necessarily what is there.  

95% of the time I pay attention only to manifest facts  -- things I can see first hand.  Five percent of the time I can be misled. 

"Facts". Yes 'facts' according to someone else (such as Bob), bear looking at as closely as visible facts. After a lengthy time, it becomes clear - without telepathy - and one can, and has the moral right to, draw conclusions from his explicitly and implicitly-stated ideas of philosophy. Always assuming the someone is being sincere.

You don't like what I've garnered from you, Bob? But you said it, and often. Should I have forgotten?

As remarked, you equivocate.

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

"Facts". Yes 'facts' according to someone else (such as Bob), bear looking at as closely as visible facts. After a lengthy time, it becomes clear - without telepathy - and one can, and has the moral right to, draw conclusions from his explicitly and implicitly-stated ideas of philosophy. Always assuming the someone is being sincere.

You don't like what I've garnered from you, Bob? But you said it, and often. Should I have forgotten?

As remarked, you equivocate.

Facts can be established by well corroborated witness testimony.  When I read of experiments done by others I am accepting this witness testimony because the material is multiply corroborated by several independent parties.  Something we have to accept second hand because we have neither the time nor resources to get everything first hand.  If one must accept the word of others let it be we corroborated by several parties.  The probability of falsehood is thereby reduced (but not eliminated).  So to a certain extent we have to accept the word of others on "trust"  but not blind trust. In the sciences,  various protocols have evolved that enable  the use of second hand witness, but under conditions in  which falsehood is improbable.  

So I believe the accounts of verifying experiments as reported in the reputable scientific journals.  Occasionally mistakes get through but they are eventually found, advertised and resolved.  In the political realm much of what is reported is gossip, innuendo,  rumor and pure fabrication.  This is why I believe very little of what I hear and read in political contexts.  Politics is inherently dishonest and its practice of often corrupt. 

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4 hours ago, anthony said:

Hi gio: What you say I agree with. Radical Islam is recent proof of what religion can be quickly and easily turned into. ('Faith and Force', by AR). Briefly, I have argued however, that Christians (for one religion) have matured and grown, to the point where they are the major proponents of 'life value'- while also, importantly, of Church and State separation too. So dispensing with "force", for the time being.

Do they have "value" right, but for the wrong reasons? Sure. But I don't see the moral ~or rational~ equivalent in the rising tide of a-principled, convictionless skepticism - the secularist Westerners who have quite renounced the concept of 'value' when turning away from religion, and gained - what? Science? Other 'gods', the State, the People - the Earth? All I see on the whole, is the growth of something more dangerous to freedom, reason and individualism than religion in the West, and that's philosophic skepticism. Religion isn't going away, it is a fact of life - reality to be faced - and the logical, objective argument against Faith has limited appeal, anyway. You 'believe' or you don't. With all our basic differences, I find more sense and rapport with many Christians, those who are decent, often rational, productive and self-responsible people, and who are under concerted attack by the hard Left, a 'religion' by another name (progressivism, etc.). They are anything but moral agnostics and moral relativists, as is the typical sign of the times. They personally 'know' why murder is wrong. And who would you prefer to be washed up on that deserted island with? :) After all this - if theocracy were on the rise in the West, I'd be arguing much the other way.

Hi anthony! I didn't say christians are worse or better than leftists. I said that irrationality leads more easily to murder than rationality (because fundamentally, irrationality is the realm of arbitrariness). And the idea of God is irrational.
Thus, someone whose morality stems from God (or any other irrationnal idea) will be more inclined to murder than someone whose morality stems from reason.

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32 minutes ago, gio said:

the idea of God is irrational

Hey, wait a minute! The Immortal Indestructible Bachelor is perfectly plausible. Wouldn't have any motive to create anything, but certainly could be such a thing, the Unmoved Lump, indistinguishable from the physical universe in all its complexity -- the Prime Autopilot, deaf to whatever happens on Earth or anywhere else.

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3 hours ago, gio said:

And the idea of God is irrational.

Not necessarily.  If you take God to mean an energy-to work  flow, what you have is the current Cosmos and the second law of thermodynamics.   Who said God has to be a person?  Only the pre-scientific  primitives.  Spinoza took God to be the universe itself. 

The Deists have a workable notion of God.  The God of the Deists is so reasonable. 

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2 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Not necessarily.  If you take God to mean an energy-to work  flow, what you have is the current Cosmos and the second law of thermodynamics.   Who said God has to be a person?  Only the pre-scientific  primitives.  Spinoza took God to be the universe itself. 

The Deists have a workable notion of God.  The God of the Deists is so reasonable. 

Spinoza had it right. "All things noble are as difficult as they are rare." That's why he was excommunicated by the rabbis.

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On 5/10/2017 at 11:19 PM, Wolf DeVoon said:

Spinoza had it right. "All things noble are as difficult as they are rare." That's why he was excommunicated by the rabbis.

Indeed he was declared -harahm-.  He exposed the theology to be the nonsense it was.  Even so, the part of Judaism that survived the Enlightenment was the ethics derived from the nonsense which (miraculously) turned out to be the gold standard for human ethical systems.  I consider it a miracle (sort of) that a religion started by desert tribes whose behavior was no better than that of ISIS today  somehow evolved into a workable system of ethics.  It is the underlying ethics and even-handedness of Jewish ethical thinking that I have retained --- so i am still Jewish.  It is the theology that I have tossed. 

The theological contents of the Abrahamic Religions is -at best-  a cartoon of the underlying concept of an objective God (the workings of the cosmos) unsullied by sentiment and partiality.  Of the Abrahamic religions,  Judaism has blundered and lurched its way to be a usable collection of doctrines. Islam is the least sane of the Abrahamic religions  It is closer to the original state,  the religion of blood thirsty  desert warriors. Of that Wahabism and the ISIS  creed or currently the worst manifestations. 

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6 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Not necessarily.  If you take God to mean an energy-to work  flow, what you have is the current Cosmos and the second law of thermodynamics.   Who said God has to be a person?  Only the pre-scientific  primitives.  Spinoza took God to be the universe itself. 

By definition, the idea of God refers to a will. This is irrationnal.

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5 hours ago, gio said:

By definition, the idea of God refers to a will. This is irrationnal.

Then change the definition to a rational one.

--Brant

and get the truck back on the road

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6 hours ago, gio said:

By definition, the idea of God refers to a will. This is irrationnal.

What is  will?  The only will-engines  we know of  are physical  (like us for instance, made of atoms, and acting according to physical law).  Hence any act of will must,  in principle,  derive from or be consistent with physical  law. 

Are you saying a god must be conscious  in the sense that humans (and other sentient beings)  are conscious?  

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

Then change the definition to a rational one.

--Brant

and get the truck back on the road

Amen brother.  Let us put our backs into it!

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Bali Hai wrote: In the political realm much of what is reported is gossip, innuendo, rumor and pure fabrication. end quote

So you’re Not talking about what the politicians say, only what is reported about what they say? I don’t think they are that bad, and I like the Fox News motto, ‘We report, you decide.” For a while I was going to all the 6:30 news shows daily, and noting how biased the reporting was, how often they told you what to think, how often there were real, complete quotes, and how often the “selection” of stories slanted the news. There were a few bald faced lies, and the slant was uneven. Sorry that I did not write anything down. One day CBS would be terrible, but then the next day it wasn’t so bad, etc. I did notice that the weekend early news seemed even worse.

Peter   

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22 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Facts can be established by well corroborated witness testimony.  When I read of experiments done by others I am accepting this witness testimony ...

Nope. You hid away from my comments behind your science methodology again.

See: Everything in existence is a "fact", equally one person's utterance, thought or emotion or act, etc. Just like consciousness has a nature, the expressions of a mind have, too.

Fact: Someone 'abc' made a statement: xyz.

True or false, it is a fact. It occured in reality, made by a mind and absorbed by another.

I saw the fact of the statement, in this case yours about consciousness and its physical 'invisibility', many times.  I don't need witnesses to corroborate my eyes (nor, mental telepathy to establish your reductionist philosophy).

Empiricism is a very narrow and limiting epistemology, Bob. Not that you notice....

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Ba’al wrote about Spinoza and being culturally Jewish: Indeed he was declared -harahm-.  He exposed the theology to be the nonsense it was.  Even so, the part of Judaism that survived the Enlightenment was the ethics derived from the nonsense which (miraculously) turned out to be the gold standard for human ethical systems.  I consider it a miracle (sort of) that a religion started by desert tribes whose behavior was no better than that of ISIS today somehow evolved into a workable system of ethics.  It is the underlying ethics and even-handedness of Jewish ethical thinking that I have retained --- so I am still Jewish.  It is the theology that I have tossed. end quote

Well said. Yee haw! Desert Jews were cowboys. There was no Jewish Empire like the Romans, no United States of Jews at least until the rest of the Western World handed them a plot of land . . . but Jews as a group, have had a tremendous impact on Western Civilization. Was there ever a philosophical Jewish era like ancient Greece? The stereotypical Jew is smart, a bit amoral, a trader and a bargainer, not a murderous thug.  

Peter

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