thomtg

Is Being Self-Interested the Same as Being Egoistic?

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[...]

The real epistemological bombshell is that Rand, by verbatim calling a "selfless man" (an altruist), an "egotist", she admits that altruists are driven by self-interest too (she calls it egotism, but this is of secondary importance here), thereby conceding (without realizing it) that there is no such thing as genuine altruism.

I am not here to debate altruism in this thread, which is why it was specifically spun out from the others. Here I am mainly interested in discussing the difference between being self-interested and being egoistic. (I will be happy to discuss altruism in another thread if it is to my self-interest.)

2. So, yes, I think that Keating's asking Roark to design the Cortlandt Homes for him was an unselfish act. Why? Because Keating well knew that a man's achievement is his own, and that any fame that follows is always derivative of that which one has achieved. Keating knew he could not achieve, but he wanted the fame. He desired a consequence contra to its cause. It was a desire for unreality that motivated him--the knowledge of the facts be damned. Since the act was motivated by this irrational desire, against the consent of his mind's rational judgments of causality; therefore, his asking Roark to do the work was an unselfish act.

Going by this definition, every thief, and robber and murderer would be unselfish too. But I suppose not even their defense lawyer would refer to them as unselfish, even if the lawyer were a Randist. :)

The problem with Rand is that she created her own linguistic universe, often using terms in complete contradiction to the accepted common language code.

For example, she ar... [...]

Precisely. Going by this definition, every thief, robber, and murderer would be considered unselfish. Observe the complete inversion of this conception of selfishness in contrast to the conventional view--as you say, it is "in complete contradiction to the accepted" meaning of the word. By the conventional view, one often hears that it is the thief or robber or murderer who was selfish and who did not think of anyone else but him. Not if one understands Ayn Rand's alternate conception.

You have identifed a major problem in discussing philosophy in general. This is not a problem specific to Rand, but it does happen that Rand brought into the world many new ideas about the nature of reality--much more than other philosophers--such that in order to discuss the Objectivist philosophy, we have to discern the conventional meaning of a word versus its Objectivist meaning.

This does not presume that we, you or me in particular, have to accept the Objectivist meaning of a word to be true. Nor does it presume that Ayn Rand has to accept the conventional meaning of a word to be true. Of course, if a word does have two meanings that are complete inversions of each other, then the two meanings cannot both be true. That is, at least one must be false. But so long as an individual is aware of the existence of two or more distinct, subtly different meanings to a word, he must pay special respect toward himself and his audience to specify and contextualize which meaning he means whenever he uses such an equivocal word in discourse.

To this last, I find Rand's usage of equivocal words to be very respectful toward her reader--if the reader grants her the principle of charity.

Nevertheless, while not presuming acceptance of the truth of a particular meaning, each individual does have a responsibility to himself to know which meaning he is using. Otherwise, it would be a form of bad faith. To use words equivocally--to equivocate--to himself is fallacious, i.e., an error of reasoning; and to equivocate deliberately to others is to mislead.

Observe how careful Ayn Rand was and how respectful she was to herself when she wrote in her journal about the character Peter Keating prior to the writing of Second-Hand Lives. Even to herself, and knowing that she was writing in the journal strictly for her eyes only, Rand was careful to say that Peter was an egoist "in the accepted meaning of the word." She was acknowledging the term to herself that there existed a meaning to the word that was accepted widely at the time. But she was not endorsing it to be true, to be correct, in her own mind. She merely recorded the fact of the existence of this meaning.

In publishing the novel The Fountainhead, Rand developed a brand new conception of an "egoist," a man who values his mind and who considers reason as his sole means of knowledge, as his sole guide to action. This was her projection of the ideal man. Howard Roark was this ideal man in this fictional world, not Peter Keating. Roark was the egoist. And in the writing of the novel, the reader is left no doubt which meaning Rand was using. Roark's courtroom speech and all the background facts about him leave no doubt to the discriminating reader about Rand's unequivocal meaning to "egoist." And even to forestall the possibility of a contextual error, Rand noted her usage of the word in the Introduction to the 25th anniversary edition, to make sure the reader to pay attention to her specific use and meaning of the word, and not to be mistaken ever that she was referring to the "accepted meaning of the word."

Thus the problem that you have identified is surmountable. When a word has multiple meanings, or when a word is discovered to have a new meaning (true or false), the author is responsible and must be careful to establish which meaning he is using. Likewise, the reader is equally responsible and must be discriminating to discern from the context of the writing which meaning was intended. Whether that meaning is true or false is a subsequent matter. The preliminaries must be this if the problem is to be avoided.

[...]
[...]

In her comment on the characters of The Fountainhead, pb, annex p. 696:

"A perfect example of a selfless man who is a ruthless unprincipled egotist - in the accepted meaning of the word." (end quote)

It is egotist with a 't' in between but I don't think the English language makes a real distinction betwen egoist and egotist - they're mere spelling variations.

What does Rand mean by "in the accepted meaning of the word" - accepted by whom?

Good catch, Xray! You found something I did not notice before.

[...]

Prior to the existence of the novel, there was on earth no such idea of "selfishness" (rational self-interest), no such idea of "egoist" (one who values his mind, with reason as his sole means of guidance), no such idea of "second-hander" (one who denies the self and acts on the opinions of others), etc. The annex reflects this and simply records a historical fact.

The "ego(t)ist" conception at the time before the novel is probably the Nietzschean "individualist" who would trample on anybody and everybody to get what he desired--e.g., pushing out an old architect in the firm, selling one's wife for a contract, etc.

What about Roark blowing up the building, potentially endangering other people's lives? Isn't that an act of ruthless egotism too? How can he, from a breach of contract, feel entilted to such an act of destruction? What does this say about the psychological make-up of this "hero" whom Rand created "as man should be"? And how does this act of violence gel with the Randian dogma of non-initiation of violence?

[...]

Great questions! Really great and penetrating. But I cannot answer your questions in the current context because I have not gotten permission from you to use the term "egoism" (or "egotism," or "egoist," or "egotist," or "egoistic," or "egotistic") in the precise meaning I have delineated. I am not asking that you grant me that "egoism" as I or Rand have defined it, is true. I am asking whether I may be permitted to use "egoism" in the new meaning unequivocally. That is, in order for me to continue the discussion, I need permission from you that you will interpret me as never using the word "egois___" in the conventionally accepted meaning of the word--that it will always mean what I have defined in the root post and Post #12--that while human action is totally motivated by self-interest, there are distinctions within "self-interest"--that there are "rational self-interest," "irrational self-interest," and volitionless "nonrational self-interest"--that "selfishness" is defined as "rational self-interest."

Will you permit me to have this privilege? With privilege, there is also responsibility. If I have your permission, I promise not to equivocate to mislead you in discussing these great questions, and I also promise that if I need to refer to another meaning of the term, that I will regiment its context. Until you grant me this permission, I am unable to continue.

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Can you give me an example of "rational selfishness" that does not contain a subjective value judgement?

A judgment that is not a subjective value judgment is a contradiction. All judgments are necessarily subjective. But do not confuse subjectivity with relativism. Even though I am not convinced of several aspects of Rand's ethical objectivism. For instance, the statement that survival is the ultimate telos of all life is blatantly false - survival is only a means to an end, which is reproduction - thus, survival is only the telos of all life in the sense that it leads to the survival of the species ... this need not have the otherwise devastating effect on Objectivist ethics that it would seem to imply when you consider that, unlike any other known lifeform, the human is a creature capable of self-created telos. Survival still factors heavily into the equation, but even though strong instincts draw us toward reproduction, it is not a necessity for a person to a live a full life. Survival, however, is.

Edited by Michelle R

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For instance, the statement that survival is the ultimate telos of all life is blatantly false - survival is only a means to an end, which is reproduction - thus, survival is only the telos of all life in the sense that it leads to the survival of the species ... this need not have the otherwise devastating effect on Objectivist ethics that it would seem to imply when you consider that, unlike any other known lifeform, the human is a creature capable of self-created telos. Survival still factors heavily into the equation, but even though strong instincts draw us toward reproduction, it is not a necessity for a person to a live a full life. Survival, however, is.

The term 'telos' of life (telos: Greek 'goal, aim') is often used by philospohers with the connotation 'ethical purpose '/'meaning/sense of life', and "ultimate telos" even reinfornces the "loadedness" of the term. Thereby a mere biological program (survival) is elevated to an almost religious-like status.

Edited by Xray

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[Xray]@ May 24 2009, 03:29 PM:

Can you give me an example of "rational selfishness" that does not contain a subjective value judgement?

[Michelle R]@ May 24 2009, 10:40 PM:

A judgment that is not a subjective value judgment is a contradiction. All judgments are necessarily subjective. But do not confuse subjectivity with relativism. Even though I am not convinced of several aspects of Rand's ethical objectivism. For instance, the statement that survival is the ultimate telos of all life is blatantly false - survival is only a means to an end, which is reproduction - thus, survival is only the telos of all life in the sense that it leads to the survival of the species ... this need not have the otherwise devastating effect on Objectivist ethics that it would seem to imply when you consider that, unlike any other known lifeform, the human is a creature capable of self-created telos. Survival still factors heavily into the equation, but even though strong instincts draw us toward reproduction, it is not a necessity for a person to a live a full life. Survival, however, is.

I asked, "Can you give me an example of "rational selfishness" that does not contain a subjective value judgement?" I do not see your answer as responsive to my question. Perhaps, some elaboration may better present my question and the why of it.

The issue is whether "rational self interest" can be objectively differentiated from "non rational self interest." If it can, by what objective criteria is this done? If by objective criteria, "rational self interest" stands as independent of any value judgement. If not, "rational self interest", or "irrational self interest" is simply a matter of personal preference, i.e., subjective value judgment. That is why I asked the question. I await your answer. TIA.

Edited by Xray

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"...often used by philospohers..." <<<< How often? Which philosophers?

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"...often used by philospohers..." <<<< How often? Which philosophers?
Christian philosphers have used it in that sense (Leibniz for example).

"Ultimate telos" has the ring of "ultimate sense" and "ultimate sense" often goes in the direction of religious sense.

But telos can be of course be used in a neutral sense too.

But against the backdrop Rand's "benevolent universe" idea, imo her use of "telos" has a ring to it which is not entirely neutral.

Telos (philosophy) [bolding mine]

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A telos (from the Greek τέλοϛ for "end", "purpose", or "goal") is an end or purpose, in a fairly constrained sense used by philosophers such as Aristotle. It is the root of the term "teleology," roughly the study of purposiveness, or the study of objects with a view to their aims, purposes, or intentions. Teleology figures centrally in Aristotle's biology and in his theory of causes. It is central to nearly all philosophical theories of history, such as those of Hegel and Marx. One running debate in contemporary philosophy of biology is to what extent teleological language (as in the "purposes" of various organs or life-processes) is unavoidable, or is simply a shorthand for ideas that can ultimately be spelled out nonteleologically. Philosophy of action also makes essential use of teleological vocabulary: on Davidson's account, an action is just something an agent does with an intention--that is, looking forward to some end to be achieved by the action.

In contrast to telos, techne is the rational method involved in producing an object or accomplishing a goal or objective.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telos_(philosophy) Edited by Xray

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Any non-christian philosophers?

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Now I have a metaphysical question?

Is it possible to nag yourself in a Randian universe?

Since you have taken up residence in this Randian universe, I would say it is opportune that you answer it yourself. :)

BTW, still waiting for your mental map you promised to present for comparison purposes. Did you lose it somewhere in the Randian universe and can't find it anymore? ;)

[selene]"It is also worthwhile to note that Rand is not an advocate of selfishness,

but of RATIONAL selfishness." <<<<which clearly implies an obverse of irrational

selfishness."

I ask you the same question as of Michelle: Can you give me an example of "rational self interest", or "irrational self interest" that does not contain a personal value judgement? I bet you can't.

For applying labels like "rational" or "irrational" here are purely subjective choices.

Edited by Xray

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Xray, I suggest a better dictionary.

--Brant

The dictionary I used has an a excellent reputation (Longman's).

Brant, I suggest that if you think you have found error in my posts, please quote what and say why.

"Aren't there degrees of self interest? " (Brant)

Absolutely not. By virtue of individual as an absolute and the characteristic of self interest as absolute, there are no degrees.

Degrees (in) of self interest is the same idea as a little bit dead or partially pregnant.

".....Xray does not wish to deal with the consequences of unbridled subjectivity, but reality must be referenced. Peter Keating may have subjectively acted in all cases in his self interest, but he ended up on a human trash pile, psychologically ruined." (Brant)

It looks to me like that Brant does not wish to deal with the objective fact of 100% self interest, yet admits that Keating did just that.

The end result of upon a "human trash pile" is subjective judgment totally irrelevant to the fact of self interest. It is no less a fixed fact than the identifying characteristic of volition. There are no "degrees" in objective identity. To claim otherwise is to confuse the actual with "subjectivity."

Edited by Xray

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Xray. I don't get any value out of our discussions, but for a man with one leg your idea of "self interest" hops around pretty good.

--Brant

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Xray. I don't get any value out of our discussions, but for a man with one leg your idea of "self interest" hops around pretty good.

--Brant

Hopping is moving, and we will move on the nitty gritty of the issue, that you can be sure of.

And to pick up on your tongue-in-cheek remark about the "one legged man" - speaking of legs, I'm afraid Ayn Rand's theory of the "selfless man" has no epistemological leg to stand on at all. For such a man does not exist - not even in her own fiction. :)

If you believe a selfless man exists, feel free present this human being to the posters here. We'll then do some litmus test on the alleged selflessess and see what remains of it.

Rand's theory is not only in blatant contradiction to obvious facts (i. e. it is based on a fallacy: the false premise of "objective values existing) - it is also in itself contradictory.

Want an an example? Ask and ya shall receive:

Rand verbatim calls Peter Keating "a perfect example of a selfless man".

Not let's look at Rand's definition of "selflessness" [altruism]

Atlas Shrugged, p. 323: Ivy Starnes to Dagny.

"That was our plan. It was based on the principle of selflessness [i. e. "altruism"] . It required men to be motivated not by personal gain, but by love for their brothers." (end quote)

Now with Keating being identified as "selfless" [i e. an "altruist"] , it logically follows that (again, according to Rand) he is motivated not by personal gain, but by love for his brothers." Right?

Seriously, Brant, do you really believe Keating was motivated by love of his "brother" (= fellow human being) Howard Roark and not by personal gain, when he asked him to do his work for him? :D

He was motivated by personal gain, wasn't he, Brant? It sticks out a mile.

So without realizing it, Rand herself, in her character Keating, has provided the illustration that altruistic human beings don't exist. She herself neutralizes the very opposition she created: which places the "altruist "group on one one side if the trench, and the "selfish" group on the other.

I'll use the term "collapsing opposition" for what happened here.

A contradiction is always two ideas opposing. Either one idea is correct and the other is fallacy, or both ideas are fallacy.

In Keating, we have the contradiction of an "altruist" motivated by personal gain.

Now we have to search for the fallacy or (fallacies) having such contradiction as a result.

No detective work needed, isn't there, Brant? Found the fallacy? I'm sure you have by now.

The fallacy uncovered is: There is no such thing as an altruistic human being.

Plain and simple. Ayn Rand herself has proved this point.

Bottom line: both Keating and Roark were motivated by 100 per cent self interest.

That Rand approved of Roark's self interest while disapproving of Keating's self interest is of no relevance here. It was an entirely personal choice on her part, i. e. a subjective value judgement.

Edited by Xray

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Ayn Rand considered a selfless man to be a man who did not honor his own humanity which is not plastic. Hence such a man could and would act in destructive ways as a matter of conscious choice. (Irrationality can lead to wrong choices. Also, a man might be as rational as possible but overwhelmed by circumstances anyway for there are no guarantees in life except we all bump into things and, hopefully, learn from them and move on.)

Now each person is an individual and different from all others. This is the plastic part of humanity. Some comes from genes and some comes from culture and choices made, personality and character.

Your position is it's selfish to rob banks and murder people no matter the circumstances or derivative motivation. This actually means you are amoral for you eschew morality. Essential morality is about right actions considering the commonality of human nature across all cultures. Selfish in Objectivism means yes to those right actions, selfless means no.

--Brant

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Ayn Rand considered a selfless man to be a man who did not honor his own humanity which is not plastic. Hence such a man could and would act in destructive ways as a matter of conscious choice. (Irrationality can lead to wrong choices. Also, a man might be as rational as possible but overwhelmed by circumstances anyway for there are no guarantees in life except we all bump into things and, hopefully, learn from them and move on.)

Now each person is an individual and different from all others. This is the plastic part of humanity. Some comes from genes and some comes from culture and choices made, personality and character.

Your position is it's selfish to rob banks and murder people no matter the circumstances or derivative motivation. This actually means you are amoral for you eschew morality. Essential morality is about right actions considering the commonality of human nature across all cultures. Selfish in Objectivism means yes to those right actions, selfless means no.

Again, you subject to the fallacy of sneaking in your subjective value judgments re my person's "morality" while conveniently ignoring my analysis, which was done "sine ira et studio", that is without subjectively valuing either Roark's or Keating's self interests.

Another fallacy in your thinking shows in the non-sequitur of your post where you infer from my concluding that no altruism and objective values exist, it means that I have no personal values (I suppose that's what you meant by calling me "amoral"). Of course I have my subjective values, just like you and everybody else. But I don't fall ino the epistemological trap of believing they or anyone else's (or those propagated by any ideologies) are "objective".

Here's my challenge to you: if you believe objective values exist, feel free to name them here, and we'll scrutinze them.

Essential morality is about right actions considering the commonality of human nature across all cultures.

You have opened the door wide here. Just go ahead and name concrete examples of what you think have been the "objective ethical values", what has been the "essential morality" considering the commonality of human nature across all cultures.

I'll guaranee you to find an opposing example each time, thereby exposing the belief in alleged objectve values as fallacy.

Your turn now, Brant.

Edited by Xray

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"...ignoring my analysis..." Which is objective, subjective or some other subjective or objectively defined word?

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Breathing is an objective value across all cultures.

I think that when Objectivists talk about 'objective values', an automatic physiological process like 'breathing' is not really the thing they have in mind. That would be bringing back the notion of 'value' to something that is necessary for mere survival, not specifically for survival 'as man qua man' and it is of course with respect to the latter that the notion of 'objective value' becomes problematic.

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Breathing is an objective value across all cultures.

I think that when Objectivists talk about 'objective values', an automatic physiological process like 'breathing' is not really the thing they have in mind. That would be bringing back the notion of 'value' to something that is necessary for mere survival, not specifically for survival 'as man qua man' and it is of course with respect to the latter that the notion of 'objective value' becomes problematic.

I'm just trying to blow a hole thru Xray's semantical concrete.

I don't plan on continuing the discussion, but the problematicalness of "objective value" is the same problematicalness of human knowledge generally--not reality per se.

--Brant

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Breathing is an objective value across all cultures.

I think that when Objectivists talk about 'objective values', an automatic physiological process like 'breathing' is not really the thing they have in mind. That would be bringing back the notion of 'value' to something that is necessary for mere survival, not specifically for survival 'as man qua man' and it is of course with respect to the latter that the notion of 'objective value' becomes problematic.

Exactly, Dragonfly. My May 23 reply to Ba'al Chatzaf addressed the same topic: http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...amp;#entry70553 8# (56):

"For when speaking about "life proper to man", Rand did not have biological necessities in mind like man's adequate oxygen intake. What she had in mind was that everyone "ought to" value what she prefers. Ethical values require a valuer, hence any ethical value can't be anything but subjective."

So it raises a red flag when a list of subjectively chosen ethical "values" ("Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem") and "virtues" ("Rationality, Productiveness, Pride") are declared as "objective" and proper to "man". (end quote)

The issue Rand had in mind is not the biological necessity for survival, but behavior as in psychological.

Handing over in the name of indivuidualism!) a laundry list of alleged values "proper to man" (infinite category) is denial

of the many individuals (finite existents). Ergo, "proper to man" is not individualism, but collectivism.

Rand is by no means a lone ranger here. For countless ideologists have, in the course of history, presented their alleged "objective" values as "proper to man", and often, when those ideological leaders were in a position of power to do so, they tried to imposed their value on other by using force.

Edited by Xray

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[Xray]@ May 24 2009, 03:29 PM:

Can you give me an example of "rational selfishness" that does not contain a subjective value judgement?

[Michelle R]@ May 24 2009, 10:40 PM:

A judgment that is not a subjective value judgment is a contradiction. All judgments are necessarily subjective. But do not confuse subjectivity with relativism. Even though I am not convinced of several aspects of Rand's ethical objectivism. For instance, the statement that survival is the ultimate telos of all life is blatantly false - survival is only a means to an end, which is reproduction - thus, survival is only the telos of all life in the sense that it leads to the survival of the species ... this need not have the otherwise devastating effect on Objectivist ethics that it would seem to imply when you consider that, unlike any other known lifeform, the human is a creature capable of self-created telos. Survival still factors heavily into the equation, but even though strong instincts draw us toward reproduction, it is not a necessity for a person to a live a full life. Survival, however, is.

I asked, "Can you give me an example of "rational selfishness" that does not contain a subjective value judgement?" I do not see your answer as responsive to my question. Perhaps, some elaboration may better present my question and the why of it.

The issue is whether "rational self interest" can be objectively differentiated from "non rational self interest." If it can, by what objective criteria is this done? If by objective criteria, "rational self interest" stands as independent of any value judgement. If not, "rational self interest", or "irrational self interest" is simply a matter of personal preference, i.e., subjective value judgment. That is why I asked the question. I await your answer. TIA.

I couldn't respond to your question as it was, because it contradicted itself. You did not say "How can rational and irrational self-interest be objectively differentiated?" You said: "Can you give me an example of 'rational selfishness' that does not contain a subjective value judgment?" As judgments are things made by subjects and not objects (a rock, tree, or flower cannot judge by the very nature of their Being), there is no such thing as a 'non-subjective judgment.' You seem to think the terms relative and subjective are interchangeable, which I rejected. A relative judgment is a judgment which has no authoritative epistemic basis, and holds only for the person holding that judgment. There is no objective ground on which a person might base that judgment.

Subjectivity relates to the conditions of consciousness, the subject thinking, the "I." As there must be a mind to generate a thought, again, a "non-subjective judgment" is a contradiction in terms. From this, we will see that the phrase "subjective judgment," while correct, is redundant.

If this use of terminology is peculiar to me, then I will apologize for presumptiousness. This is how I have always understood the meanings of these words.

Now, according to Rand (as we ARE discussing Rand's view on this), selfishness can be judged as rational or irrational depending upon how it relates to the conditions and qualities necessary for man's survival and flourishing on Earth, the 'objective' aspect of this. Because independence, self-esteem, honesty, etc. etc. all objectively aid man's life on Earth, a selfishness in tune with these qualities is rational. Keating, however, does not know either how to survive or to thrive on his own--he is a parasite who leeches off of Roark's creative genius--without Roark, Keating would never have gotten as far as he had--thus, Roark's selfishness is rational, and Keating's irrational. Roark's selfishness is in tune with the specific conditions of subjective existence which objectively benefit him and indirectly moves the world. You might put it to the desert island test. If stranded on a desert island, Roark, if he had the necessary materials, could survive. Keating, a man without rationality, independence, honesty, or intelligence, would die, even with the raw tools all around him.

Edited by Michelle R

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I'm just trying to blow a hole thru Xray's semantical concrete.
Which means you have not chosen the adequate operating tool. Breath against concrete clearly won't do the job. You should get yourself something else. :)
I don't plan on continuing the discussion, but the problematicalness of "objective value" is the same problematicalness of human knowledge generally--not reality per se.

--Brant

But Brant - do you always throw in the towel so fast? Where is your fighting spirit? Challenge, refute, disprove - fire on all cylinders with your examples of objective value! No need to run away.

Just read your last post:

I give up.

--Brant

Okay then. I regret your decision, for this would have been a most interesting debate.

Maybe someone else here will give it a try.

The challenge is: "objective values" don't exist. If you beliere they do exist re is, please name those values of which you think they are objective tn nd we'll do the litmus test on them.

Anyone?

Edited by Xray

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Breathing is an objective value across all cultures.

I think that when Objectivists talk about 'objective values', an automatic physiological process like 'breathing' is not really the thing they have in mind. That would be bringing back the notion of 'value' to something that is necessary for mere survival, not specifically for survival 'as man qua man' and it is of course with respect to the latter that the notion of 'objective value' becomes problematic.

I'm just trying to blow a hole thru Xray's semantical concrete.

I don't plan on continuing the discussion, but the problematicalness of "objective value" is the same problematicalness of human knowledge generally--not reality per se.

--Brant

I reject the terminology of 'objective value.' No value exists in nature. Valuation is a property of subjectivity. An objective morality still places subjective value on the goal of 'survival.' But, as I said before, certain values (independence, rationality, honesty, etc.) will objectively aid human survival, and others will not. The only leap of faith is choosing to survive and not to die. But once we make that leap, we can speak of objectivity in morality. I would say that morality only concerns those who wish to survive anyhow. It is a guide to living.

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I reject the terminology of 'objective value.' No value exists in nature. Valuation is a property of subjectivity. An objective morality still places subjective value on the goal of 'survival.' But, as I said before, certain values (independence, rationality, honesty, etc.) will objectively aid human survival, and others will not.

Those values may aid human survival for some persons, but not for all. Parasitism and dishonesty can also aid human survival, and people who rely on such behavior can be quite as rational as the independent, honest persons and they may be no less successful in their endeavors. That we may not like such behavior does not imply that it cannot be efficient and that such people cannot flourish, that would be merely wishful thinking.

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Again, we are still talking about the "crazy Russian woman's" statements and meanings ...yes.

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I'm just trying to blow a hole thru Xray's semantical concrete.
Which means you have not chosen the adequate operating tool. Breath against concrete clearly won't do the job. You should get yourself something else. :)
I don't plan on continuing the discussion, but the problematicalness of "objective value" is the same problematicalness of human knowledge generally--not reality per se.

--Brant

But Brant - do you always throw in the towel so fast? Where is your fighting spirit? Challenge, refute, disprove - fire on all cylinders with your examples of objective value! No need to run away.

Just read your last post:

I give up.

--Brant

Okay then. I regret your decision, for this would have been a most interesting debate.

Maybe someone else here will give it a try.

The challenge is: "objective values" don't exist. If you beliere they do exist re is, please name those values of which you think they are objective tn nd we'll do the litmus test on them.

Anyone?

"I give up" because I don't have time to take the time to get nowhere with you. All valuing is subjective, but not all human needs are. We can call these objective needs--needs needed for life and flourishing. We can call these needs values. Now if I want to kill myself by drowning, I'll swim out as far as I can and can't get back and I'll drown, valuing air no longer. But I have to swim out that far because my body will fight that subjective valuing by me with its objective need for air. The consequence of your position in all this is anything goes, from hedonism to murder and what have you. You can't objectify morality and politics. The other parts of the Objectivist philosophy are up in the air too. Honesty from you would be to acknowledge you are here to attack Objectivism and then do your worst/best.

--Brant

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