bradbradallen

Christian Objectivist

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And, since no one else has, can you come up with an example of an action that was not motivated by self interest?

TIA.

Is "motivated by self interest" the same thing as self interest?

Every action is motivated by self-interest, although the self-interest as the motive may not be as obvious in some actions as in others.

For example, when a kid in a sandbox snatches a shovel from another kid, the self-interest is obvious.

Whereas the action of another kid who voluntarily offers his shovel to another kid may look "altruistic" at first glance, but the action is also motivated by self interest (gaining the other kid's approval, not wanting to mess with a sandbox bully, etc.)

You did not answer my question. I don't think you understood it. Maybe you didn't see it. I don't know. I think it's a purblindness. There is a difference between subjective and objective self interest even though they frequently will or can coincide. The kid in the sandbox has true self interest in being a thief rather than a trader? Human beings are naturally productive, trading animals. This comes out of conceptual consciousness. To be a stealer or cannibalistic predator instead of a producer is to essentially traduce ones' humanity in spite of what ones' motivation might be. That's why we have laws and cops and wolves do not. Wolves can only be wolves. Humans, some humans, will be less than human. Humans cannot be more. Humans have to live up to their humanness. It's a moral imperative. It's all about expressions of free will. Denying free will is denying the humanity of humanity. that's a worse moral transgression in the abstract than any particular criminal or should be criminal act for it subsumes all criminal (immoral) acts.

--Brant

You asked: Is "motivated by self interest" the same thing as self interest? (end quote)

Imo asking this question back was an attempt on your part to evade the question I had asked you.

I'll repeat it here, elaborating a bit more:

Do you know of any action that was not motivated by self interest? That is, do you know of any action that was not intended by the actor to gain or hold something valued in self interest? However you want to slice it, it still comes up 100% self interest. Can you find an exception? If so, what? A simple yes or no and illustration is all that is required.

There is a difference between subjective and objective self interest even though they frequently will or can coincide.

Please provide specific example of what you claim is:

1) "subjective self-interest"

and

2)"objective self-interest"

The kid in the sandbox has true self interest in being a thief rather than a trader?

<.. snipped>

Don't evade what it is about:

The issue here is not about morally judging acts driven by self interest - it is about naming an action which you think is not driven by self-interest , i.e. "altruistic".

Edited by Xray

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x-ray, I think perhaps there are different levels of self-interest. The boy that steals the shovel may think he is acting in his own self-interest but he actually is not, because he is developing anti-social behaviour. So there is perceived (subjective?) self-interest and actual (objective?) self-interest?

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Don't evade what it is about:

The issue here is not about morally judging acts driven by self interest - it is about naming an action which you think is not driven by self-interest , i.e. "altruistic".

Nope. Jumping off a building thinking you can fly under the influence of drugs is not in ones' self interest regardless of motivation.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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Here is a simple selfish value choice for the alleged victim.

Do not sanction the act of the looter by being a victim and smack the little bastard in the mouth.

Trust me, he will leave your shovel alone.

Ragnar was my favorite character in Atlas along with Dr. Akston.

Adam

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Don't evade what it is about:

The issue here is not about morally judging acts driven by self interest - it is about naming an action which you think is not driven by self-interest , i.e. "altruistic".

Nope. Jumping off a building thinking you can fly under the influence of drugs is not in ones' self interest regardless of motivation.

--Brant

The issue is about self-interest being the motivating factor of every action a human being performs, regardless of the outcome.

The issue of drugs clouding a person's judgement as to whether he/she can fly is irrelvant here. The self-interest is the apparent wish to fly leading to the subsequent action. The means to achieve the end may not be appropriate, but this is not the point.

Edited by Xray

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Don't evade what it is about:

The issue here is not about morally judging acts driven by self interest - it is about naming an action which you think is not driven by self-interest , i.e. "altruistic".

Nope. Jumping off a building thinking you can fly under the influence of drugs is not in ones' self interest regardless of motivation.

--Brant

The issue is about self-interest being the motivating factor of every action a human being performs, regardless of the outcome.

The issue of drugs clouding a person's judgement as to whether he/she can fly is irrelvant here. The self-interest is the apparent wish to fly leading to the subsequent action. The means to achieve the end may not be appropriate, but this is not the point.

I would have a hard time arguing with your thesis of what motivates human action--i.e., self interest. Take Mother Teresa, for instance. She was angling for sainthood while doubting her religion. My own view of self interest isn't completely subjective being not so narrow.

Here's a free article from To The Point News OLers might find interesting:

http://www.tothepointnews.com/content/view/3635/2/

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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If you want to look at this, I strongly urge you to read:

Isn't everyone selfish? By Nathaniel Branden, September 1962 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter

and then

Counterfeit Individualism, by Nathaniel Branden, April 1962 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter

As it is, you are jousting with a windmill which is not even a remote caricature of Rand's position - not even that close.

Regards,

Bill P

I have read "Isn't Everyone Selfish" several times quite a while ago, so feel free to come up with specific quotes from it or from "Counterfeit Individualism" if you think N. Branden addressed the core of the issue. I can't see any evidence of it, which is why I'm curious for your quotes from said articles.

Branden is subjectively valuing people's choices in terms of the ideology they adhere to, which has nothing to do with the fact of self-interest being hardwired in us humans 100 per cent of the time as a natural law, guiding our actions.

Branden stops where he should start. For example, he cites a boy who "wants" to renounce his career because he has accepted the ethics of altruism", naively assuming that the boy is not driven by self-interest in making that choice.

The boy's self-interest here is obviously to gain the approval of the accepted authority/group of people /group of society who instilled this belief in him. I don't know if N. Branden posts at OL, but if he does, I'll be happy to invite him over here on this thread to present examples of actions which he thinks are not motivated by self-interest.

So my challenge to NB is no different from what I ask of you:

Mr. Branden, Bill P and all - feel free to come up with an example of what you think is a non self-interest driven action by a human being. We will then remove layer after layer from the surface to the last gossamer veil until you can finally see the self-interest as the driving force guiding the action.

So Bill, if you can get Mr. Branden to post on the forum, that would be great. I have long list of further questions I would like to ask him. In the meantime, I would appreciate answers from forum members, not some vague allusion where an answer is alleged to be.

[Bill P]:

As it is, you are jousting with a windmill which is not even a remote caricature of Rand's position - not even that close.

This is a bit abstract and obtuse. Just what exactly is it that you think I have missed about Rand's position? Does she not go on and on about "altruism" as if it's a viable philosophy? Do I not make it clear that my position is that altruism" is a myth? Have you refuted, or even attempted to refute, my position by offering an example of non self-interest?

Edited by Xray

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Nathaniel Branden later amended his position to state that if everyone can or is selfish all the time it is the self-interest of fools....I think this was in 'Honoring the Self'. I'm relying on my memory since I don't have a copy of 'Isn't Everyone Selfish' with me, but he said that the fact that all motivated behavior is self-motivated is a 'mere tautology' ; a strange statement for an Objectivist to say since 'A is A' would be considered a 'mere' tautology (the language of the Kantians). Thus his later revision. Though every one is selfish, not everyone strives for enlightened self-interest. There are two components to the formula, the first is volitional, the second differs in degree from individual to individual.

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I would have a hard time arguing with your thesis of what motivates human action--i.e., self interest. Take Mother Teresa, for instance. She was angling for sainthood while doubting her religion. My own view of self interest isn't completely subjective being not so narrow.

Here's a free article from To The Point News OLers might find interesting:

http://www.tothepointnews.com/content/view/3635/2/

--Brant

Religious believers' self-interest is mostly pretty manifest: wanting to please their god/get a favorable karma etc.

Mahatma Gandhi one said of himself (paraphrased): "I'm the biggest egoist one can think of - for all my efforts, be it in the realm of morality or in the realm of politcs (policy of non-violence) are driven by my personal yearning to gain 'moksha'". Which can be translated as salvation/liberation from the impulses tying the individual to earthly greed, desires etc.

Gandhi was honest about 100 per cent self interest motivating his actions.

Edited by Xray

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If you want to look at this, I strongly urge you to read:

Isn't everyone selfish? By Nathaniel Branden, September 1962 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter

and then

Counterfeit Individualism, by Nathaniel Branden, April 1962 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter

As it is, you are jousting with a windmill which is not even a remote caricature of Rand's position - not even that close.

Regards,

Bill P

I have read "Isn't Everyone Selfish" several times quite a while ago, so feel free to come up with specific quotes from it or from "Counterfeit Individualism" if you think N. Branden addressed the core of the issue. I can't see any evidence of it, which is why I'm curious for your quotes from said articles.

Branden is subjectively valuing people's choices in terms of the ideology they adhere to, which has nothing to do with the fact of self-interest being hardwired in us humans 100 per cent of the time as a natural law, guiding our actions.

Branden stops where he should start. For example, he cites a boy who "wants" to renounce his career because he has accepted the ethics of altruism", naively assuming that the boy is not driven by self-interest in accepting that choice.

The boy's self-interest here is obviously gaining the approval of the accepted authority/group of people /group of society who instilled this belief in him. I don't know if N. Branden posts here, but if he does, I'll be happy to invite him over here to present examples of actions of which he thinks they are not motivated by self-interest.

So my challenge to NB is no different from what I ask of you:

Mr. Branden, Bill P and all - feel free to come up with an example of what you think is a non self-interest driven action by a human being. We will then remove layer after layer from the surface to the last gossamer veil until you can finally see the self-interest as the driving force guiding the action.

So Bill, if you can get Mr. Branden to post on the forum, that would be great. I have long list of further questions I would like to ask him. In the meantime, I would appreciate answers from forum members, not some vague allusion where an answer is alleged to be.

[Bill P]:

As it is, you are jousting with a windmill which is not even a remote caricature of Rand's position - not even that close.

This is a bit abstract and obtuse. Just what exactly is it that you think I have missed about Rand's position? Does she not go on and on about "altruism" as if it's a viable philosophy? Do I not make it clear that my position is that altruism" is a myth? Have you refuted, or even attempted to refute, my position by offering an example of non self-interest?

Xray -

You continue to equivocate, and to (apparently) refuse to believe that people mean what they say they mean.

Please supply a clear definition of what you mean by selfish, and by self-interest.

Please supply a summary of what YOU UNDERSTAND Rand to mean by each of these terms.

You can't just take whatever definition YOU WANT TO, plug it into something Rand or Branden wrote, and then conclude they are speaking contradictions when you find a problem. If your purpose is actually to understand, you need to do a little work. It's not that hard - Rand and Branden do a pretty good job of offering explicit definition. You can try The Ayn Rand Lexicon online at http://aynrandlexicon.com/ to get a lot of quotes including definitional statements. You will learn from a brief reading of the entries there, or the two essays I have offered plus "The Objectivist Ethics," that the meanings YOU are imputing to selfish and self-interest are not those being used by Rand or Branden.

Bill P

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Xray -

You continue to equivocate, and to (apparently) refuse to believe that people mean what they say they mean.

Please supply a clear definition of what you mean by selfish, and by self-interest.

Please supply a summary of what YOU UNDERSTAND Rand to mean by each of these terms.

You can't just take whatever definition YOU WANT TO, plug it into something Rand or Branden wrote, and then conclude they are speaking contradictions when you find a problem. If your purpose is actually to understand, you need to do a little work. It's not that hard - Rand and Branden do a pretty good job of offering explicit definition. You can try The Ayn Rand Lexicon online at http://aynrandlexicon.com/ to get a lot of quotes including definitional statements. You will learn from a brief reading of the entries there, or the two essays I have offered plus "The Objectivist Ethics," that the meanings YOU are imputing to selfish and self-interest are not those being used by Rand or Branden.

Bill P

Please quote specific examples of where you think I "equivocated" and elaborate.

I have provided numerous examples on this board re my stance that we are ALL driven by self-interest 100 per cent of the time because it is natural law. It is biologically hardwired. Hence my rejection of Rand's artificial opposition "selfishness" vs. "altruism".

"Altruism" exists as an ideology only, but into which ironically Rand buys by believing people actually live this without self-interest motivating them.

Still waiting for your example of a non-self interest motivated action. Surely if you (like Rand) believes that altruistic actions exist, you could come up with at least one example to prove your point.

Edited by Xray

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Technically (technically), we always act out of self-interest (what we think is such).

Unfortunately, results often show that we aren't really so interested in ourselves after all. That's where all the fun starts.

Sometimes, too..do we argue with others, when we should (or really are) just arguing/debating with ourselves?

That causes frustrations in others when you dialogue. Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to make the distinction when you are in the middle of things.

For the most part, for what it is worth, I agree with where Michael is coming from (for above-stated, partly). The other component that makes me conclude that (and knowing him a bit, maybe he agrees): when you get the sense alone of equivocation going on, you know something is up. It is not unreasonable to first consider from where you think the source originates. Then, you check yourself (your premises, to use lingo). Unless you are seriously messed up, this inevitably leads you to "consider the source" again.

If you are honest enough, aware enough, to admit you have been equivocal some time or another, there is a payoff--you really know what that is. It is an excellent, reliable-as-it gets kind of knowing, and that includes being able to see it in others.

Edited by Rich Engle

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You can't just take whatever definition YOU WANT TO, plug it into something Rand or Branden wrote, and then conclude they are speaking contradictions when you find a problem.

Bill,

This is precisely what tired me and I started losing interest. It doesn't go anywhere toward understanding or communication. Just preaching.

You can get the same (with other kinds of ideas) at any orthodox church.

I have provided numerous examples on this board re my stance that we are ALL driven by self-interest 100 per cent of the time because it is natural law.

Xray,

You have preached this and repeated your position over and over irrespective of the ideas others mention, and presented your examples during the preaching and repetition. But your attribution of meaning to the vocabulary Rand and Branden is wrong.

I, for one, do not take you on faith and I'm not into preaching. Sorry, but merely repeating something never replaces a rational argument for me.

Since we cannot agree on meanings and you keep preaching, I don't know how to discuss ideas with you.

Michael

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I told you she was a nag.

And an effete nag.

gag

Not quite Ogden Nash's

"The Bronx...

No Thonx!"

Adam

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Bill,

This is precisely what tired me and I started losing interest. It doesn't go anywhere toward understanding or communication. Just preaching.

You can get the same (with other kinds of ideas) at any orthodox church.

....

Since we cannot agree on meanings and you keep preaching, I don't know how to discuss ideas with you.

You equate insisting on questions being answered with preaching?

Since we cannot agree on meanings and you keep preaching, I don't know how to discuss ideas with you.

Let me restate my position to see if that will clarify matters: Each human individual is by nature a volitional, valuing, goal-seeking entity.

These are objective, inherent characteristic not subject to alteration by beliefs or personal preferences. There is no more part time self interest than there is part time volition.

Valuing and goal-seeking is synonymous with self interest. It is a 100% natural condition. Ergo, there can be no contradiction. There cannot be any

action motivated by non self interest. It is virtually and naturally impossible. This is precisely the reason why no one can come up with an illustration of non self- interest. The question still stands and I'm still waiting for an answer that shows my conclusion to be in error.

Agree on the meaning I gave re self-interest?

If you disagree, why?

Imo Rand constructed her ethical universe on an opposition which takes the ideology of altruism seriously as a viable philosophy. That is, she bought into a fallacy by believing people actually live this without self-interest motivating them.

If you think I'm in error on this, feel free to refute, but please be specific.

EDIT - Read ITOE and you will see many examples of Rand using concept and category close together. That takes care of the first one.

If Rand uses the term 'category' as often as you claim she does, then why does it neither show up in the Rand lexicon nor in the index of ITOE?

Edited by Xray

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Technically (technically), we always act out of self-interest (what we think is such).

Unfortunately, results often show that we aren't really so interested in ourselves after all. That's where all the fun starts.

I'm very interested in being provided an example where results of a person's action show that they aren't really so interested in themselves after all.

For the most part, for what it is worth, I agree with where Michael is coming from (for above-stated, partly). The other component that makes me conclude that (and knowing him a bit, maybe he agrees): when you get the sense alone of equivocation going on, you know something is up. It is not unreasonable to first consider from where you think the source originates. Then, you check yourself (your premises, to use lingo). Unless you are seriously messed up, this inevitably leads you to "consider the source" again.

"to equivocate" = to avoid giving a clear or direct answer to a question (Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English).

I'm all for clarity. Would you care to name the questions you believe have been evaded by the "equivocator"? TIA.

Edited by Xray

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I told you she was a nag.

And an effete nag.

gag

Not quite Ogden Nash's

"The Bronx...

No Thonx!"

Adam

Do you think you can find time between quips to provide (as you promised) your mental map in response to my Cardinal

Values posts #223 and #243, and Existence Exists post #281?

Edited by Xray

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Agree on the meaning I gave re self-interest?

If you disagree, why?

I agree this is one meaning of self-interest. I do not agree that this is the meaning used in the contexts where you find your "contradictions."

Until you become interested in understanding the meanings that were actually used and stop preaching and pointing fingers at contradictions that don't exist, I have no way of communicating them to you.

Later, if real interest takes place, we can go into how cognitive and normative abstractions interact and what this means for the categories of objective and subjective, and what conceptual activity versus whim and what short-term, medium-term and long-term goals mean to self-interest and how these things can undermine each other (i.e., undermine self-interest).

If Rand uses the term 'category' as often as you claim she does, then why does it neither show up in the Rand lexicon nor in the index of ITOE?

Why ask me? Ask the heir and/or publisher. I neither wrote nor published the work.

I really don't have time to to spoonfeed people who should do their own homework and at least read Rand's literature once before challenging it, but here is an example (with the words "concept" and "category" in bold):

A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted.

The element of similarity is crucially involved in the formation of every concept; similarity, in this context, is the relationship between two or more existents which possess the same characteristic(s), but in different measure or degree.

Observe the multiple role of measurements in the process of concept-formation, in both of its two essential parts: differentiation and integration. Concepts cannot be formed at random. All concepts are formed by first differentiating two or more existents from other existents. All conceptual differentiations are made in terms of commensurable characteristics (i.e., characteristics possessing a common unit of measurement). No concept could be formed, for instance, by attempting to distinguish long objects from green objects. Incommensurable characteristics cannot be integrated into one unit.

Tables, for instance, are first differentiated from chairs, beds and other objects by means of the characteristic of shape, which is an attribute possessed by all the objects involved. Then, their particular kind of shape is set as the distinguishing characteristic of tables—i.e., a certain category of geometrical measurements of shape is specified. Then, within that category, the particular measurements of individual table-shapes are omitted.

Please note the fact that a given shape represents a certain category or set of geometrical measurements. Shape is an attribute; differences of shape—whether cubes, spheres, cones or any complex combinations—are a matter of differing measurements; any shape can be reduced to or expressed by a set of figures in terms of linear measurement. When, in the process of concept-formation, man observes that shape is a commensurable characteristic of certain objects, he does not have to measure all the shapes involved nor even to know how to measure them; he merely has to observe the element of similarity.

There are many more examples.

Michael

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Agree on the meaning I gave re self-interest?

If you disagree, why?

I agree this is one meaning of self-interest. I do not agree that this is the meaning used in the contexts where you find your "contradictions."

Until you become interested in understanding the meanings that were actually used and stop preaching and pointing fingers at contradictions that don't exist, I have no way of communicating them to you.

Later, if real interest takes place, we can go into how cognitive and normative abstractions interact and what this means for the categories of objective and subjective, and what conceptual activity versus whim and what short-term, medium-term and long-term goals mean to self-interest and how these things can undermine each other (i.e., undermine self-interest).

If Rand uses the term 'category' as often as you claim she does, then why does it neither show up in the Rand lexicon nor in the index of ITOE?

Why ask me? Ask the heir and/or publisher. I neither wrote nor published the work.

I really don't have time to to spoonfeed people who should do their own homework and at least read Rand's literature once before challenging it, but here is an example (with the words "concept" and "category" in bold):

A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted.

The element of similarity is crucially involved in the formation of every concept; similarity, in this context, is the relationship between two or more existents which possess the same characteristic(s), but in different measure or degree.

Observe the multiple role of measurements in the process of concept-formation, in both of its two essential parts: differentiation and integration. Concepts cannot be formed at random. All concepts are formed by first differentiating two or more existents from other existents. All conceptual differentiations are made in terms of commensurable characteristics (i.e., characteristics possessing a common unit of measurement). No concept could be formed, for instance, by attempting to distinguish long objects from green objects. Incommensurable characteristics cannot be integrated into one unit.

Tables, for instance, are first differentiated from chairs, beds and other objects by means of the characteristic of shape, which is an attribute possessed by all the objects involved. Then, their particular kind of shape is set as the distinguishing characteristic of tables—i.e., a certain category of geometrical measurements of shape is specified. Then, within that category, the particular measurements of individual table-shapes are omitted.

Please note the fact that a given shape represents a certain category or set of geometrical measurements. Shape is an attribute; differences of shape—whether cubes, spheres, cones or any complex combinations—are a matter of differing measurements; any shape can be reduced to or expressed by a set of figures in terms of linear measurement. When, in the process of concept-formation, man observes that shape is a commensurable characteristic of certain objects, he does not have to measure all the shapes involved nor even to know how to measure them; he merely has to observe the element of similarity.

There are many more examples.

Michael

The measurement example was the only one I could find in the book so far. There are some references to "category" by the professors Rand discusses with, but they are clearly referring to what she calls "concept". The professors' inference was correct btw, for Rand does use the term "concept" for what is actually "category".

Edited by Xray

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Until you become interested in understanding the meanings that were actually used and stop preaching and pointing fingers at contradictions that don't exist, I have no way of communicating them to you.

You seem to hold the idea of variable "meanings" and insist I do the same. But the very notion of multiple definitions is a contradiction. What is there to define except entities and relationships between entities? If an alleged definition is an abstract representation of an entity or a relationship, how can there be multiple definitions of the same entity, or same relationship?

The variable is a subjective value judgement to create a different "meaning" that does not conform to reality. The notion of multiple definitions comes from mentally melding the objective (definition) and subjective (value judgment) and calling all objective definition. This may satisfy some emotions derived from preconceived fallacy, but illusion does not work well in logical argument and not at all in attempted application.

Let's look at a definiton:

Electron: "an elementary particle consisting of a charge of negativeelectricity equal to about 1.602 × 10-19 coulomb and having a mass when at rest of about 9.109 × 10-31 kilogram or about 1?1836 that of a proton" (Webster's)

Where and what is the multiple definition of an electron? The principle illustrated is the identity, electron, is an objective existent existing independently of any value judgement. It serves as the basis for the definition and exist as a common frame of reference necessary for communication. This principle applies to all entities, to all relationships and to all communication via abstract symbols.

Question: Is a definition alleged to represent some aspect of objective reality? If not, what can it represent except non reality? If so, how can there be multiple definitions of a single term if not a "variable objective". Ergo, the notion of multiple definitions is an implicit declaration of "your truth" and "my truth"; which, of course depends on a "variable

objective reality", hence, no basis for truth at all.

I trust the foregoing explains WHY I don't blindly accept "Rand's meaning", or anyone else's meaning if it contradicts definition by entity identity.

"I agree this is one meaning of self-interest. I do not agree that this is

the meaning used in the contexts where you find your "contradictions."

I find the root contradiction in the idea that "self interest" has variable meanings. The contradiction is yours, not mine. The entity identity as reference for the definition is each human individual as a volitional, valuing, goal-seeking existent. The self interest is hardwired into this existent no less than volition. It's a constant, identifying characteristic.

You may or may not like a particular self interest. However, your value judgement does not change this absolute identity. You can call it "rational", "irrational" "absurd", or any other term you prefer reflecting your value judgement, but it doesn't change

reality; which is precisely why no one has come up with, or ever will come up with an action not motivated by self interest.

"With the exception of proper names, every word we use is a concept that stands for an unlimited number of concretes of a certain kind." (Rand)

Why on earth would I accept this contradiction when it not only contradicts Webster's, but my own observations and conclusions?

Concept - 1: something conceived in the mind: thought, notion (Webster's)

A category is A concept, but not concept per se. There are concepts of singular entity identity, relationships real or imagined without end. In short, concept, "conceived idea of" takes care of the whole shebang of ideas, thoughts and emotions

The Rand quote again makes it quite clear that she equates "concept" solely with "category".

Edited by Xray

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You seem to hold the idea of variable "meanings" and insist I do the same. But the very notion of multiple definitions is a contradiction.

Xray,

Good Lord!

You just took my breath away.

Of course I insist you do the same. Open any dictionary in any language on earth if you want to see multiple meanings for the vast majority of words ALL human beings use.

That is why people are supposed to start a discussion by defining terms and agreeing on meanings.

Sorry, but I just can't do it at this level.

I didn't even bother reading the rest of your post.

Michael

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Xray,

Good Lord!

You just took my breath away.

Of course I insist you do the same. Open any dictionary in any language on earth if you want to see multiple meanings for the vast majority of words ALL human beings use.

That is why people are supposed to start a discussion by defining terms and agreeing on meanings.

Sorry, but I just can't do it at this level.

I didn't even bother reading the rest of your post.

Michael

I took your breath away? Good Lord!

Don't panic, Michael. I'm certified for giving first aid (being a teacher, I constantly have to attend classes), and of course I'll help you regain it. :)

But kidding aside, Michael: the issue is not about lexicon entries offering several 'meanings' for a chain of letters/chain of sounds (homophony). Or language offering a variety of sound chains/chain of letters for a meaning (synonymy). I have studied linguistics, so this is a no-brainer for me.

But here we are talking about Ayn Rand's arbitrary personal definitions regarding language, which is an entirely different matter.

Edited by Xray

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Xray, I'll repost an adapted version of a post on another thread that may clarify things:

The confusion arises while in fact two different definitions of egoism/altruism are used, the subjective value definition (which is your definition, in which altruism does in fact not exist) and the objective definition, in which the effect of the action on the person who acts is considered (an altruistic action is in that definition an action that benefits other people but that is detrimental to the personal survival of the altruist, this is the standard definition in biology, mutatis mutandis for animals in general). Now it is suggested that Objectivism uses the objective definition (that is the theme of Isn't everyone selfish?), but that is only partly true: if it suits the Objectivist, he easily switches back to the subjective value definition. Take for example the mother who sacrifies her own life to save that of her child. In the objective definition this is obviously an altruistic action. But now the Objectivist suddenly claims that this is not true, while the value of the child and its survival is to the mother a greater value than that of her child. But that is exactly the definition that you use. So the Objectivist you cannot have his cake and eat it too. Either he defines altruism objectively and then he'll have to concede that the mother's behavior is altruistic, or he defines it subjectively and then he'll have to agree with you that everyone is selfish. At least you're consistent in your argument, but it is not true that there is only one single definition. I think the objective definition is more useful as it makes a real distinction between altruism and egoism possible, while the subjective definition boils down to a trivial tautology. The reason that the Objectivist uses a double standard is probably that he doesn't want to use the word 'altruism' for any action that he may approve and therefore defines the altruism of such actions away.

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The measurement example was the only one I could find in the book so far. There are some references to "category" by the professors Rand discusses with, but they are clearly referring to what she calls "concept". The professors' inference was correct btw, for Rand does use the term "concept" for what is actually "category".

The term "prof." that is used in the book does not refer to "professor" but to "professional", most of them were students at the time.

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The measurement example was the only one I could find in the book so far. There are some references to "category" by the professors Rand discusses with, but they are clearly referring to what she calls "concept". The professors' inference was correct btw, for Rand does use the term "concept" for what is actually "category".

The term "prof." that is used in the book does not refer to "professor" but to "professional", most of them were students at the time.

Thanks for the info, Dragonfly. This clears up the mostly deferential attitude by the questioners.

Edited by Xray

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