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Laure

Why does man need a code of values?

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As I said on the other thread, morality is basically objective toward others (individual rights), subjective toward oneself (best for me). This leaves the Toohey area: He was evil. Why? Squishing people like Catharine was "best" for him. I think the only way to objectify morality toward me by me is to objectify it for Toohey. So the basic question is still on the table. The only way I can deal this with out of my present knowledge is to say that if I think Toohey is evil that is my subjective opinion and I therefore feel, for whatever reason, that for me not to be evil I must warn people about Toohey. I still lack objectification, except your life can be literally at stake if you drink his poison.

Let's try this: If you give more than you produce you subtract from yourself, if you give less than you produce you add to yourself. So if you want to be an effective altruist produce as much as possible, be Bill Gates. If you are encouraged to produce as little as possible while giving as much as possible even unto your death and destruction then that is evil for its practical ineffectiveness. It is anti-life.

People are social beings, most of them, to various extents. Morality has to encompass that. The altruism/self-interest debate has obscured this. Maybe Rand went too far in rejecting altruism. Altruism is the root of collectivism, but might there not be more to the concept then that? Might there be, say, at least two altruisms? Voluntary and involuntary?

(I have to stop here for now. I'm going to post this semi-coherence and edit it later so I don't lose what I have written so far.)

--Brant

Brant,

Why can't a "best for me" be objective? Two altruisms? While I think sacrificing others is evil, how is self-sacrifice better? :turned:

-Victor

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Okay, Victor, before I go to bed: What if some altruism isn't self-sacrifice or the sacrifice of others? That'd be self-interest. Is some altruism as self-interest a contradiction? Maybe we are trapped or limited by the terms we use. I've thought for years that Rand cut people in half--that the other side of Objectivism is a disowned, unacknowledged self. Young people can't see this; their ideal fate is Romeo and Juliet, a young couple consumed by themselves. "Atlas Shrugged" is especially for them. "The Fountainhead" too.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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Okay, Victor, before I go to bed: What if some altruism isn't self-sacrifice or the sacrifice of others?

--Brant

Then it would be charity or benevolence—which is fine. That is an exception in life, not a rule. Living your life is an enormous responsibility without taking on mankind. But self-interest does not exclude others. Do you associate with others because they need you--or becuase it benefits you? Ever tell a woman, "hey, you mean nothing to me, but hey, you NEED me--so therefore, I'm here for you." Let's see if she slaps you before canning you ass. :laugh:

Edited by Victor Pross

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Okay, Victor, before I go to bed: What if some altruism isn't self-sacrifice or the sacrifice of others?

--Brant

Then it would be charity or benevolence—which is fine. That is an exception in life, not a rule. Living your life is an enormous responsibility without taking on mankind. But self-interest does not exclude others. Do you associate with others because they need you--or becuase it benefits you? Ever tell a woman, "hey, you mean nothing to me, but hey, you NEED me--so therefore, I'm here for you." Let's see if she slaps you before canning you ass. :laugh:

Jesus, Victor. Our posts keep crossing. Read my edited post then comment. Goodnite.

--Brant

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Okay, Victor, before I go to bed: What if some altruism isn't self-sacrifice or the sacrifice of others?

--Brant

Then it would be charity or benevolence—which is fine. That is an exception in life, not a rule. Living your life is an enormous responsibility without taking on mankind. But self-interest does not exclude others. Do you associate with others because they need you--or becuase it benefits you? Ever tell a woman, "hey, you mean nothing to me, but hey, you NEED me--so therefore, I'm here for you." Let's see if she slaps you before canning you ass. :laugh:

Jesus, Victor. Our posts keep crossing. Read my edited post then comment. Goodnite.

--Brant

Good nite. Turning off the thinking cap now.

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Rand made the point that without life, there is no need of morality. Rocks don't need moral codes, people do. That is what she meant by "life is the standard".

No, that isn't what she meant by "life is the standard," Mike. To say that rocks don't need moral codes, people do is a truism. This doesn't give you a standard of ethics. A standard is a guage against which something is measured. That's the sense in which she was using the term "standard." You're an engineer, I believe. Think of the standards of measurement (e.g., of length, time, mass) which are used in physics to give a basis against which measurements can be compared. This is what she meant by "life as the standard." Daniel's point in regard to the "life as standard" issue is that this supposed standard can't be made precise to begin with and that it shifted from context to context in the way she actually used it.

As to Rand's being inspiring. However inspiring a writer someone is, this is no guarantee of the correctness of the person's logic.

(Btw, I share Rand's basic ethical framework, though I agree with Daniel that the supposed precision logic of her argument isn't there.)

Ellen

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“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” -Ayn Rand.

More formally put: A rational morality, in essence, is a code of values required by man for his survival, well-being and happiness.

Edited by Victor Pross

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Victor:

“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” -Ayn Rand.

More formally put: A rational morality, in essence, is a code of values required by man for his survival, well-being and happiness.

Hi Victor,

So with this as your standard, is suicide moral or not?

Yes or no?

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Victor:

“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” -Ayn Rand.

More formally put: A rational morality, in essence, is a code of values required by man for his survival, well-being and happiness.

Hi Victor,

So with this as your standard, is suicide moral or not?

Yes or no?

PS: I realised this might come off as unfriendly, when it is merely rushed. It's not intended to be so. I'm simply testing the standard you propose.

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Laure:

>OK Daniel, let's say we assume for a moment that "life" is a crappy standard. What standard do you propose?

I can only propose some general ethical rules, like of treating others as you would like to be treated, and trying to resolve clashes of values through debate and reason, rather than violence. I do not claim that I have 'solved' the is/ought dualism, I do not claim they can be fully logically justified, nor do I claim they represent any kind of ultimate ethical standard that all mankind must heed. I do not maintain they are immune from criticism - however I believe they stand up to criticism far better than other ethical rules, hence they are not relativistic.I do, however, take personal responsibility for adopting them, and for whatever the consequences are of adopting such values.

Thus my very modest answer is bound to disappoint those waiting for a prophetic or guru-like figure, who can discern mankind's ultimate ends with their millenial vision, and for whom valid logic need not apply, and who they would prefer to lift the responsibility of ethical decision making from their shoulders and place it on some kind an infallible system instead. However, those who believe in the autonomy of ethics, an autonomy which was first put forward as early as Socrates, and the importance of individual responsibility, will hopefully find some value in it.

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You do not have any choice about the outcome of a logical derivation. If "All men are mortal", and "Socrates is a man", the conclusion must be "Socrates is mortal" whether you like it or not. You have no choice in the matter.

Daniel,

Here is the whole crux of ethics: choice.

I have a few thoughts right now and hopefully I will elaborate further. If they seem a bit rambling, that is the nature of thinking as you go along.

We are doing is/ought on another thread, but I cannot deal with this issue without at least alluding to it. If I understand the issue correctly so far (and I admit I have not been able to do the reading on Hume, Popper, etc., just yet), the whole problem seems to be how to take choice out of volition. And the answer, of course is that you can't.

Ethics by definition is about choosing values according to a code and ethics only pertains to living beings with a rational capacity. A lower animal has no ethics (although it has values). But there is another element. A living being with a rational conceptual faculty—by definition—also has volition.

You can logically derive standards (for both cardinal and ordinal measurement), but you cannot logically derive the choice in applying them. Volition, like existence, identity, etc., is part of the given. It is merely identified. It is axiomatic. It is not logically derived. It is accepted through the impossibility of imagining it not existing while using it at the same time.

This is what makes including an big honking IF in the middle of any moral statement a necessity. This implication derives from the definition. Only a faculty with volition has the possibility of exercising an IF. A proper moral code ALWAYS includes the statement:

"If you want this result, you will do that."

This is basically what "should" or "ought" mean. There is no way to remove this statement without stepping outside of ethics altogether. It is like removing discrimination from definitions or numbers from mathematics.

If I understand Hume's problem so far (and, after some heavy thinking these last couple of days, I admit that I have yet to detect a problem per se), he wants to be able to formulate a moral principle, exclude choice from it, and say that it was logically derived. Like I said, you can't. You have removed a fundamental part.

Here is how this works in practice. If you want to make a general statement and claim that life is a rational standard of morality, you can never exclude the identification of whose life you are talking about. In dealing with ethics, this means the person who will apply the principle to his own actions. That is what ethics is for: applying principles to one's own life. (Applying moral principles to others is a question of rights, not ethics, and this is a whole new issue—a related one, but a new one.) So we are talking about a particular life. Not "life" as a general concept.

This is partly because of the component of volition. In ethics, by definition, we are looking for principles—and how to arrive at them—to guide choices. Well, there is no choice without the chooser. You can make a general statement about how we all are alive, but you cannot remove the individuality from each one of us and lump us all into a category like "life" that will automatically make choices. Only individuals choose. "Life" in itself does not choose.

So when a person says life is a standard to use in a syllogism for deriving a moral principle, he also has to say "whose life" and "if that person wishes to keep that life." The choice (in itself) of whether to keep his life is not a moral principle. It needs a moral principle to be made rationally. Whether he wishes to live or not depends on many factors. One of them is human nature. We can debate about certain characteristics of what human nature is, but there are some general characteristics that are "is" and not "ought" (living being that grows and dies, biped, rational faculty, volition, etc.). These are not open to choice.

But there is another biggie. And this is a big, big, big issue in ethics: context. All individuals come with unique contexts. Just as there is no way to eliminate choice from ethics, individuality from living beings, rational faculty from humans (all of these being defining characteristics, i.e., "differentia" or part of the "genus" in Rand-speak), there is no way to remove context from an individual living being. A living being does not only exist. It exists within a context. It can be old or young, healthy or terminally ill, disfigured or whole, etc. It also has an environment that is pretty varied here on earth.

In this sense, to answer your question in a more recent post, "is suicide moral or not?", you have to include an automatic drive to live that comes with being human, but you also have to include "suicide of whom?" as a fundamental element. And that "whom" will be individual and come with a context. Like I said, "life" does not choose. It especially does not choose suicide. Only individuals do.

So here are three components that are not present in Hume's statement: the "if," the individual chooser, and the context of that chooser. If your goal is to rationally derive principles for making choices, I don't see how these elements rationally can be left out.

Can one use the same equation for identifying facts to identify choices, and pretend that choice, the chooser and his context do not exist? No. Is that a problem for saying that ethics are rationally (or logically) derived? You and others have stated it is (if I understand correctly). You own words from above are: "You do not have any choice about the outcome of a logical derivation."

But I don't see a problem at all when you add the fundamental elements I just described. As I mentioned elsewhere, man has volition over what he does, but he has no choice over how the laws of nature operate.

If the whole problem is trying to make an improper fit of the problem to an unsuited equation (how to derive a prescriptive principle from a descriptive fact in a form that eliminates volition), the problem is not the reality of volition. It is in the use of that inadequate equation. Using the wrong equation is not rational. It only appears to be. Actually, it is irrational to do that. To be rational, you need to use an equation that includes all the elements of the issue.

I will have more to say later, but let's see where this goes first. In short and as a preview, there are two other issues involved that have direct bearing on this problem, since they are fundamental in defining rationality. One is whether you can eliminate external reality from mental operations and the other is accepting the fact that entities, not the reduced parts of them (unless they become entities in their own right), are primary existents.

Michael

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In thinking about it some more, it comes back to Rand's original question: do we need morality at all, and if so, why? So, for Dragonfly and others who believe morality only has to do with our relationship to other people: Why do you care, then? Why even worry about "being good" if it isn't "good for you" to be good? Do you fear God's punishment? If not, why should I give a damn about trying to treat other people properly? Why is it important?

Basically it boils down to my gut feeling that I should treat other people in a decent way, that is for example not to cheat them. I'm virtually unable to cheat someone (in a serious way, for example to get money, I'm not talking about a joke or a strategy to avoid obnoxious people), I would feel terribly ashamed, even if no one ever would detect my deception and that is a purely visceral reaction. I don't know how much that is due to genetic factors (some hard-wired empathy) and how much the result of my upbringing; probably both play a role. I see that I want to live in an environment where other people would treat me in the same way, and that it is therefore useful to formalize the behavior towards other people in a code, sustained by legal sanctions, as that would increase the probability of being treated in a way which would make life for me more agreeable. That I desire certain things, that I'm not indifferent at what happens to me, doesn't imply however that my desires should be subject to some code when they only concern myself, or if there is a code, then it is one I've determined exclusively for myself. If I one day want to jump from a bridge my only moral concern would be whether I would harm other people by that (for example causing serious grief to a loved one), but not whether I "ought" to live or not, that's only my business.

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Michael,

I have no significant quarrels that I see with your post; some details, yes, but not that I see -- on reading through your post twice -- with the "gist" of what you wrote.

I have the feeling though that somehow you aren't realizing that what you wrote is quite close to what Daniel and I are also saying.

Consider this paragraph:

If the whole problem is trying to make an improper fit of the problem to an unsuited equation (how to derive a prescriptive principle from a descriptive fact in a form that eliminates volition), the problem is not the reality of volition. It is in the use of that inadequate equation.

Are you aware that we're saying that "us[ing] that inadequate equation" is what Rand did in her passage which ends with her sweeping aside the is/ought problem as if she'd solved it? The point is: she did not succeed at deriving an "ought" from an "is" without that, as you put it, "big honking IF in the middle." The IF remains fully there; she hasn't eliminated it. Later, as I keep pointing out and no one seems to notice, she herself said, in her own way of saying this, that there's always the "big honking IF in the middle." See her article "Causality Versus Duty."

As I've also said, I think that one gets much farther in understanding her ethics is one just disregards her mistake in indicating that she'd solved the Humean problem.

(I also agree, as I've also said, that the problem isn't really a problem; it's an acknowledgment of the inescapability of volition. Hume thought it was a problem; I don't agree with Hume in his thinking of it thus; instead I agree with Daniel: it isn't a bug; it's a feature.)

Ellen

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Daniel,

With a cooler head having prevailed, let me approach this again. If I could take a few highlights from MSK’s post and condense it, as I understand it, it would be thus:

Man’s ability to conceptualize—mentally to abstract, isolate and integrate observed particulars—enables him in terms of principles, to project the long-range consequences his actions.* Volition means that man is the initiator of thought and action. And, I hasten to add, volition does not violate the principle of causality. Volition does not mean that man’s thoughts and actions are uncaused. It means: in regard to some thoughts and actions (excluding such things as reflex actions), man acts as a primary causal agent.* [Now, in this case, my approach in this regard differs from MSK’s]

Because man is free to choose his actions, because he is not biologically programmed to act in a give manner—he requires a code of values—a system of principles—to direct his choices. Man’s volitional nature necessitates that he chose to think and act in order to survive.* This is the crux of ethics, and this is, basically, why I keep relentlessly returning to the issue of life.

Man’s purposive nature means that man is goal-directed, that he is not bound to perceptual, range-of-the-moment responses. Man faces alternative and he is free to choose among them---if he conceptualizes his choice to think in terms of a purpose. A value preference necessarily implies a goal or end—that being: the object, process or state that is valued.

A summary:

A, man’s conceptual capacity is his ability to think in terms of principles.

B, man’s volition necessitates that he think in terms of principles

C, man’s purposiveness determines the content of those principles.

It is not enough for a person to know only the abstract role of principles in human survival—in some “abstract way”—one must be able to determine concretely, within the context of one’s own life, (as MSK emphasized) how to achieve the values required for one’s physical and mental well-being. Life is a discrete process.

As a predictive principle, a standard directs a man’s choices, thus providing a link between action and the acquisition of desired values. Therefore, a rational morality is one that recognizes the crucial role of standards in human survival, a morality based on a man’s need to achieve values consonant with his nature.

In my posts on these issues, I have been trying to illustrate the motivational link between rational ethics and human actions for the goal-directed final outcome: survival. And I am aware that there is a disagreement in philosophy over whether there is an “ultimate value”—a superlatively important value for which other values serves as means. But that is beyond the means of this short post.

-Victor

(Note from MSK:

* Phrases plagiarized from George H. Smith, Atheism: the Case Against God. See here for initial discovery, here for text with link to other forum and here for corrected text and source details. The plagiarized passages are identified in bold and linked to the corrected text. The post is left up out of respect to the posters on this thread, so as not to make hash out of their discussion. I cannot resist commenting that I am hugely flattered to have "a few highlights from MSK’s post" condensed by so eminent an author as Mr. Smith and published in his book.

OL extends its deepest apologies to George H. Smith.)

Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly

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Victor:

“The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” -Ayn Rand.

More formally put: A rational morality, in essence, is a code of values required by man for his survival, well-being and happiness.

Hi Victor,

So with this as your standard, is suicide moral or not?

Yes or no?

PS: I realised this might come off as unfriendly, when it is merely rushed. It's not intended to be so. I'm simply testing the standard you propose.

Oops, Daniel: That form of stating the issue doesn't propose a standard in terms of the goal. It doesn't say that "survival, well-being and happiness" is the standard of the good. Also it allows for the "if." To say that something's needed in order to enable me to live and flourish (flourishment is included in the formulation) doesn't say I have to decide to live on pain (woe, woe) of being "immoral" if I've had enough and would like to die. The formulation does however leave lots of fudge room and imprecision as to what's going to be called "a rational morality" and for questions of this type: suppose someone is happily and long-livedly living a peaceful life while fully believing in God the Father and thinking that morality comes from God, then do you have to say that that person's morality is "rational"?

The quoted Rand statement -- “The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” -- I like very much. Indeed I'd take that as the compressed essence of my own figuring out of my own personal ethical roadmap before I encountered Rand. It's a sentence I'd like to see emphasized and emphasized and then emphasized again in O'ist discussion of ethics. It says nothing about the purpose of ethics being to give you a set of snap judgments with which rapidly to condemn those who see things other than the way you do, and/or with which to rake your internal world over the coals of moral questioning and scourging.

Ellen

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Laure,

I would like to review the beginning of the arc of Rand's question "Why does man need a code of values?"

Rand first defines ethics. By her use of the comma, she shows right off that she is taking ethics and morality as interchangeable in her usage. She asks "What is morality, or ethics? It is a code of values to guide man's choices and actions---the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life."

To qualify as a moral value, even an incorrect moral value, it is not enough that it be a chosen value. On Rand's view, that is necessary but not sufficient. To be a moral value, even an incorrect moral value, it must be a value accepted by choice and one that affects the purpose and course of one's life. (In addition to Rand's statement of this in the preceding quotation, Peikoff stressed it in his 1976 lectures on her philosophy, and this point he placed in his OPAR on page 214).

It seems we have this logical embedding of the questions:

Does man need values? Why?

Does man need moral values? Why?

Does man need a code of moral values? Why?

Applying Rand's definition of what is a moral value, that last question comes to:

Does man need a code of values accepted by choice, where those values affect the purpose and course of his life?

Other philosophers have a different definition of what is a moral value---how those values are distinct from other chosen values---and, so, a different definition of what is an ethical code.

Robert Nozick took moral values to be the ones that pertain to one's treatment of people as value-seeking selves. The self at point could be oneself or another self. He conceived of selves as being at the centers of lives, so his situation of moral values is not altogether different than the situation given them by Rand.

Edited by Stephen Boydstun

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Are you aware that we're saying that "us[ing] that inadequate equation" is what Rand did in her passage which ends with her sweeping aside the is/ought problem as if she'd solved it? The point is: she did not succeed at deriving an "ought" from an "is" without that, as you put it, "big honking IF in the middle." The IF remains fully there; she hasn't eliminated it. Later, as I keep pointing out and no one seems to notice, she herself said, in her own way of saying this, that there's always the "big honking IF in the middle." See her article "Causality Versus Duty."

As I've also said, I think that one gets much farther in understanding her ethics is one just disregards her mistake in indicating that she'd solved the Humean problem.

Ellen,

Since it specifies the causal relation between a goal and the action to require it, a standard is best described as a statement of “natural necessity". The role of natural necessity in human motivation was known by Aristotle in what is called “practical reasoning” or a “practical syllogism.” Every statement of natural necessity is conditional: one ought to do this, IF one wants such and such. But so what? In a rational morality, there can be no “ought” divorced from purpose. A standard presupposes a goal and has relevance only within the context of the goal. Similarly, the application of a standard and the consequent “ought” have no relevance outside of the goal that made them possible.

-Victor

Edited by Victor Pross

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Michael, I like your post #36. You mention the "improper fit of the problem to an unsuited equation", and I think this is the crux of the is-ought thing. It's NOT "is-ought", it's "if-ought". It's not fair to say that Rand didn't solve the is-ought problem. The "solution" to Hume's problem is to note that he is using the wrong equation.

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Ellen,

Since it specifies the causal relation between a goal and the action to require it, a standard is best described as a statement of “natural necessity". The role of natural necessity in human motivation was known by Aristotle in what is called “practical reasoning” or a “practical syllogism.” Every statement of natural necessity is conditional: one ought to do this, IF one wants such and such. But so what? In a rational morality, there can be no “ought” divorced from purpose. A standard presupposes a goal and has relevance only within the context of the goal. Similarly, the application of a standard and the consequent “ought” have no relevance outside of the goal that made them possible.

-Victor

Fine, although I'd change the first sentence to: "Since it specifies the causal relation between a goal and the action to require it, a standard IN THE CONTEXT OF ETHICS is best described as a statement of 'natural necessity.'" But that isn't how she put it in Galt's Speech. Be my guest, and re-write what she wrote. Or better, IMO, ignore the mistake in how she did say it and proceed. Not intellectually respectable, IMO, is trying to twist what she wrote to fit the way one thinks the case would better have been presented. Also, one still is left with the question of whether she's correctly identified "natural necessity" in whole or in part.

Ellen

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Ellen,

My interest in these discussions is to solve an intellectual issue, not to vindicate Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand, as it stands though, has made leaps and bounds, and I am indebted to her for it—and I love her, but I love the truth more. I just want to let you know where I’m coming from. :)

-Victor

Edited by Victor Pross

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Michael, I like your post #36. You mention the "improper fit of the problem to an unsuited equation", and I think this is the crux of the is-ought thing. It's NOT "is-ought", it's "if-ought". It's not fair to say that Rand didn't solve the is-ought problem. The "solution" to Hume's problem is to note that he is using the wrong equation.

Laure,

It's perfectly fair to say she didn't solve the Humean problem, since she said she did. Had she said, the problem isn't a correctly formulated problem, no quarrel. But that is not what she said. She even proceeded to say in the article "The Objectivist Ethics": "to a living consciousness, every 'is' implies an 'ought.'" Not true.

Ellen

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Now you may passionately believe Rand has this right.. But this does not make it true, obviously. The price of commitment to rationality is, unfortunately, that sometimes we have to give up our most deeply cherished beliefs when confronted with serious criticism that we cannot rebut - like they say in science, when a beautiful theory must be given up due to a single ugly fact. This is the sort of situation I think you face here.

So, why are you so committed to rationality? Why be rational at all? Why be logical?

Darrell

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Ellen:

>I have the feeling though that somehow you (Michael K)aren't realizing that what you wrote is quite close to what Daniel and I are also saying.

Yes, exactly.

>Are you aware that we're saying that "us[ing] that inadequate equation" is what Rand did in her passage which ends with her sweeping aside the is/ought problem as if she'd solved it? The point is: she did not succeed at deriving an "ought" from an "is" without that, as you put it, "big honking IF in the middle." The IF remains fully there; she hasn't eliminated it. Later, as I keep pointing out and no one seems to notice, she herself said, in her own way of saying this, that there's always the "big honking IF in the middle." See her article "Causality Versus Duty."

This is an example of the confusion one encounters with Rand ( and other philosophers too). It seems regularly Rand said one thing, then denied it without realising it; or arrived at the very same conclusion those she repeatedly denigrated had, only using her own specialised terminology (ie "her own way of saying it"). This terminology is engineered to bridge the gap between what she did and what she thought she did; between her rhetoric and her achievement. Again, I offer the oxymoron "contextual absolute" as a central example of this verbal engineering, as it allows her to use "absolutes" as a stick to beat her rivals with, without ever really using them herself!

>As I've also said, I think that one gets much farther in understanding her ethics is one just disregards her mistake in indicating that she'd solved the Humean problem.

I think it is also a good vaccine against Randroidism to continue to point out that she did not in fact solve many of the problems she is thought to have by her fans (I would even add the problem of universals to that list, as while it is not an interesting problem IMO, I cannot see how her theory of concepts even begins to succeed) or even agrees at a deeper level with philosophers she entirely rejected. I actually agree with many of her ethics in a broad sense, and her generally inspirational ideas like productiveness and realism, but consider where she is right it is usually for the wrong reasons,which as I have said, Rand would hardly find satisfactory. The best thing to do is to appreciate her qualities, but where her underlying arguments are neither good nor original, simply face up to it.

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Ellen,

My interest in these discussions is to solve an intellectual issue, not to vindicate Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand, as it stands though, has made leaps and bounds, and I am indebted to her for it—and I love her, but I love the truth more. I just want to let you know where I’m coming from. :)

-Victor

Change one word in what you wrote, and it expresses just where I'm coming from (the word which would need to be changed in my case is "vindicate"; substitute "criticize").

Ellen

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Michael, I like your post #36. You mention the "improper fit of the problem to an unsuited equation", and I think this is the crux of the is-ought thing. It's NOT "is-ought", it's "if-ought". It's not fair to say that Rand didn't solve the is-ought problem. The "solution" to Hume's problem is to note that he is using the wrong equation.

Laure,

It's perfectly fair to say she didn't solve the Humean problem, since she said she did. Had she said, the problem isn't a correctly formulated problem, no quarrel. But that is not what she said. She even proceeded to say in the article "The Objectivist Ethics": "to a living consciousness, every 'is' implies an 'ought.'" Not true.

Ellen

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OK Ellen, I'll grant that she should have said that the problem wasn't correctly formulated, and maybe she could have worded her is-ought comments better. But I think she'd agree that Victor, Michael, and I "get" what she was saying. So, let's not nitpick. I think Rand did a good job laying out her arguments for rational egoism. (Like Victor, I'd say that I love Rand and have internalized her message, so sometimes I find myself assuming that my views = Rand's views = the Truth! :) )

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