Rand's gender hierarchy


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Does this mean you will not try to "rationalize your choice" about being "against murder" as a correct choice.

I won't try to rationalize my choice, I can give reasons why I prefer that choice, but I don't pretend that this is a scientific subject which allows only one outcome.

Does this mean that another's "subjective choice" to be "for murder" is equally valid?

Is there no way in your mind to decide which of the two choices is a correct choice?

"Valid" and "correct" are meaningless terms here, it is about my personal choice how I'd like to see society.

If you can choose one of the two choices as correct, by what standard?

If you can't choose one as correct, do you hold the two contradictory choices as "equally valid" if you can't rationalize your own choice?

As I said, "correct" and "valid" are in this regard meaningless terms, we are not talking about the speed of light or the mass of the electron. You can try to find an explanation of that choice in the genes, the upbringing, the environment etc., but it is still a personal choice.

What does it mean to you to be a "strong proponent" of something?

That I much prefer that "something", but I don't make the error of transforming my wishes into something objective, like the mass of the electron. There is more than one way to survive.

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Barbara Branden, The Passion of Ayn Rand, p. 18: "Man, she [A. Rand] would say, is defined by his relationship to reality - woman, by her relationship to man." Any female Objectivists here who would

I ask myself how e. g. literature professor Mimi Gladstein who recommended e.g. Dagny Taggart to her female students as a "role model", could have been so blind to Rand's male-female hierarchy which a

Maybe you don't want to know? What's so difficult to understand about e. g. the entity identity principle? Or do you believe objective values exist? If yes, feel free to list some here.

Brant (and others)--notice that Xray says she is against "advocating initiation of force and coercion". From this we may deduce that while she is against advocating initiation of force and coercion she is not against the use of initiation of force and coercion.

Also notice that she is proposing what can be only an objective value principle (since she thinks it applies to all others and not just herself). Thus either she believes in objective values despite all her talking here, or she does not really believe that we should not advocate initiation of force and coercion.

You don't grasp the term, "advocating"? How can one oppose advocating initiation of force while not at the same time sanction the use of initiation of force as you imply?

"Also notice that she is proposing what can be only an objective value principle (since she thinks it applies to all others and not just herself)(ibid)."

You presume to impose your thinking upon others and call it theirs. You fail to make a distinction between "I subjectively prefer non-

initiation of force and non-coercion and wish others would subjectively prefer the same" and imagine hopes of certain subjective preferences constitute an "objective value."

"Thus either she believes in objective values despite all her talking here, or she does not really believe that we should not advocate initiation of force and coercion." (ibid)

Please read my post # 468 where I elaborated on the issue.

Also keep in mind what you yourself have stated here: (bolding mine) (# 986)

[Jeffrey]:

As for being "in harmony with man's nature"--there is, I will say flat out, no objective way of determining what man's nature is. Man the Producer? Man the Spiritual Striver? Man the Lover? Man the Intellectual Thinker? Man the Divine Being Incarnate (that's the religious answer for you there)?

And since you can not say objectively what "Man's nature" is, you can not say what is objectively in harmony with it, nor what is of value for it.

Edit to add:

Don't bother trying to tell me what "man's nature" is. Whatever you think "man's nature" is, is merely your subjective belief of what that is; it's your subjective choice of a primary value, from which all your other values are derived; it's the ultimate statement of what Objectivism calls a person's "sense of life".

And I'll repeat that even in giving her definition of "value" Rand could not avoid stating the subjective element, even as she denied there was a subjective element. Hmmm. Does the term "stolen concept" apply there?

In # 1010, you wrote:

I'd counter to your explanation that there is no overlap. Either it's a fact or a value.

It struck me this morning that Rand's statement of what "value" is is really an anti-concept--conflating two entirely different things under the same rubric, and claiming that what goes for one goes for both. In this case she conflated facts (more precisely, entities which humans find valuable) and moral principles. That some foods are healthier for us than others is a fact. To arrange one's eating habits to take account of that is a moral principle, and therefore can be properly described as a value.

As a subjective value, since other human beings quite obviously can choose not to arrange their eating habits to take account of those foods.

I vividly recall some childhood encounters with so-called "healthy" foods: being given cod liver oil made me vomit, and the prospect of being served "healthy" carrot juice made my stomach turn. I just found the taste of both totally disgusting. In short, "value" is something which is always attributed subjectively, whether the issue is a child refusing to eat this or that, or military commanders refusing to empathize with the war victims of the "enemy country" they fighting against.

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Jeffrey: you also gave your clear stance on "egoism"(quoted in # 808)

[Jeffrey Smith on 16 August 2009 - 08:09 PM, said:

(To MSK)]:

"There is also the question of what "the mind knowing its own nature" means and what that leads to. I rather suspect that what you would say on that subject, and what I would say on that subject, are rather different. (Hint: it relates to why I can not accept any form of egoism, rational or otherwise.) But that's a rather different topic".

I replied:

Xray Posted 19 August 2009 - 11:25 AM

Jeffrey,

Your phrase "I cannot accept any form of egoism" caught my attention.

Are you an advocate of "altruism" then?

Imo your attitude re egoism directly opposes Rand's position.

Agree?

If not, why not?

Your motto:

"Magna est veritas et praevalebit."

If it is, and will prevail, then what do you think will be left of Objectivism?

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If values are objective (universal), then all persons would make the same valuations in regard to all things.

But what can be observed is that not all persons do not make the same valuations in regard in all things.

What else can be concluded other than values can't be anything but subjective?

1) Your reasoning commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. I think Merlin explained this fallacy to you somewhere up the thread. Here's a link to a quick explanation. (The first example given isn't worded well, but the rest is ok.)

2) Were you to substitute "truth" for values, would you stand by your own reasoning?

Viz:

If truth is objective (universal), then all persons would come to the same conclusion as to what's true in regard to all things. But what can be observed is that not all persons do come to the same conclusion as to what's true in regard to all things.

What else can be concluded other than that truth can't be anything but subjective?

3) Where, to begin with, do you get the idea that Rand claimed that values are universal? (Is that your idea? I've only read sporadic segments of this thread, and I'm not sure what you think Rand thought.)

Rand attempted to present a standard of value according to which values could be assessed in terms of whether or not their pursuit is conducive to the well-being of "man qua man." (I think that she has problems in her own reasoning, though this doesn't mean that the goal is unobtainable.) As best I recall, she never claimed that any value is universally held; instead she was abundantly clear on the contrary. However, the observed non-universality of values only supports the conclusion that "values can't be anything but subjective" if you're merely being tautological and all you mean by "subjective" is "not held by everyone." That isn't, as I think has been pointed out to you a number of times, what Rand meant in decrying "subjectivist" theories of value. She meant the idea that ethics can have no basis in facts of human existence, that there's no reasonable way of forming a fact-derived standard of value whereby to assess merit amongst competing values and value systems. She meant, in other words, the viewpoint which Dragonfly enunciates that "valid" and "correct" are terms without meaning in the context of ethics.

Ellen

PS to Brant -- this is the observation I looked at the thread again intending to make:

The Muslims are well past the gates of Vienna. On my recent stay in Vienna, I saw even more of them there than I saw three years ago -- and, again, as was the case three years ago, often they were in family groups with children in tow. I fear that the demographic infiltration bodes danger, as Oriana Fallaci warned -- and that the regnant subjectivist-ethics philosophy is handing the Muslims the keys of the city on a gilded platter.

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Here is the rub. Society (in other words, law, at least in principle) is based on ethics.

And those "ethics" quite obviously vary a great deal, which you you can see at glance if you make a little mental exercise and imagine you had been born into other societies.

Suppose you had been born and brought up in a religious fundamentalist Muslim society, or as the child of an Indian Yogi, or as the child of a Southern plantation slave owner, or into an Amazonas rain forest tribe, to name but a few - the code of ethics instlled in you would be quite different each time.

We are all brought up with "ethics", and imo becoming an independent thinker involves realizing as a first step the subjectivity of ethics.

Law can either be objective (i.e., based on man's nature and individual rights), or it can be at the whim of the rulers (i.e., subjective in relation to the rulers and simply commands to be obeyed by everyone else). I can't think of another realistic alternative.

If people are to live in an ethical society with objective laws, there must be objective values. An objective law without an objective value underpinning it is a contradiction.

There's more. Without objective laws based on objective values, there is only one social alternative that will arise irrespective of any blah blah blah about values being subjective: tribal warfare.

That's reality trumping the blah blah blah and it will trump it every time.

History has presented this over and over. One would think the apologists of subjective ethics would tire of it.

Michael

What has trumped in reality and history has been the presenting of one's subjective values as allegedly objective and imposing them onto others by force.

Tribal warfare is exactly that: One tribe deems itself as objectively more valuable that the other tribe and vice versa.

Religions and other ideological wars have been fought, with each party convinced of their so-called "objective values" they were fighting for, while it was in reality one fallacy fighting the other.

Law can either be objective (i.e., based on man's nature and individual rights)

The very notion of individual rights is a subjective value decision too. If it weren't a subjective, but an "objective" value, then everyone would adhere to this principle, which is not the case.

As for law - it is always "objective" in that it is established as an objective source one can refer to. That source is mostly in written form. Law is also arbitrary.

Whatever one's wishes for a society are, Michael, they remain based on subjective valuation. We may deplore this fact, it still remains a fact.

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Jeffrey: you also gave your clear stance on "egoism"(quoted in # 808)

[Jeffrey Smith on 16 August 2009 - 08:09 PM, said:

(To MSK)]:

"There is also the question of what "the mind knowing its own nature" means and what that leads to. I rather suspect that what you would say on that subject, and what I would say on that subject, are rather different. (Hint: it relates to why I can not accept any form of egoism, rational or otherwise.) But that's a rather different topic".

I replied:

Xray Posted 19 August 2009 - 11:25 AM

Jeffrey,

Your phrase "I cannot accept any form of egoism" caught my attention.

Are you an advocate of "altruism" then?

Imo your attitude re egoism directly opposes Rand's position.

Agree?

If not, why not?

Your motto:

"Magna est veritas et praevalebit."

If it is, and will prevail, then what do you think will be left of Objectivism?

1) I come at this from rather different starting point than Rand does, so to say my view opposes Rand's position would be unfair: it doesn't render her position invalid so much as it renders it irrelevant. Egoism is any philosophy which affirms the existence of the self/ego as a substantial entity. Having had certain experiences that can be best referred (for purposes of this discussion)to "egolessness" renders one unable to affirm the ego in the normal fashion.

Altruism is a form of irrational egoism. After all, to think that you must sacrifice your Self, you need to believe that you have a Self.

2) I hold to an objective theory of moral value, but my standard of value is not man's nature; it is the Universe's nature which provides the standard, or more precisely, That Which gives the universe its being. From that comes certain necessary inferences about the nature of man and the world in which he exists, and from that comes a viewpoint of morality and ethics that agrees with Objectivism on many, but not all, points. But Xray, I don't intend to exhibit the chain of logic involved therein for your benefit.

3) Just like anything else: so much as there is truth in Objectivism, it will endure, and no more than that.

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Ellen,

Since you are entering mid-stream, I will try to make it easier for you.

Xray uses key terms like "subjective" and "objective" like Rand meant the same thing by them as Xray does. This is an obvious fallacy of equivocation. Regardless, pointing out Xray's fallacies makes no difference to her. You may as well talk to a brick wall. The fallacy of affirming the consequent she committed and you pointed out is merely one of numerous examples. Like Wile E. Coyote, no matter how many times she is crushed, she returns for the next episode like nothing happened, repeating the same old blah-blah-blah she has done all along.

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Below are some questions I asked and Dragonfly's responses:

Does this mean you will not try to "rationalize your choice" about being "against murder" as a correct choice.

Does this mean that another's "subjective choice" to be "for murder" is equally valid?

Is there no way in your mind to decide which of the two choices is a correct choice?

"Valid" and "correct" are meaningless terms here, it is about my personal choice how I'd like to see society.

If you can choose one of the two choices as correct, by what standard?

If you can't choose one as correct, do you hold the two contradictory choices as "equally valid" if you can't rationalize your own choice?

As I said, "correct" and "valid" are in this regard meaningless terms, we are not talking about the speed of light or the mass of the electron.

The above indicates that Objectivism, and subjectivists such as Dragonfly, require a convincing argument to support the view that a true ethical theory can be formulated. I present an approach to that task in my essay “Objectivity and the Proof of Egoism,” The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2007. I extend David Kelley’s argument that:

“In dealing with the foundations of knowledge, David Kelley (1998, 17), in ‘Evidence and Justification,’ gives ‘a justification of knowledge that goes all the way down, based upon a set of epistemological standards to which all knowledge is subject.’ He starts 'all the way down' with a person’s very first awareness and provides justification of an entire hierarchy of knowledge. Similarly, a justification of normative judgments must be traced to such foundational roots.”

After some complex arguments, I assert:

“This analysis provides a criterion for ‘correspondence to reality’ in the realm of normative action. The action, its causes, and its consequences must integrate with the rest of one’s mental contents. For noncontradictory integration, volitional selection of action must be in accord with holding one’s own life as the motive and goal of one’s action.”

Valid actions are then those action that are in accord with the derived foundational principle.

If the proof holds, or can be made to hold, normative choices can then be properly assessed as valid or invalid, correct or incorrect. If one’s subjectivism is held as a matter of faith, the proof will be found inadequate. Even if committed to reason, the proof may be found inadequate. But, if one thinks a true ethical theory can be found, a proof must be found.

Kelley, David. 1998. Evidence and Justification. Poughkeepsie: The Institute for Objectivist Studies.

Hartford, Robert. 2007. Objectivity and the Proof of Egoism. The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 8, no. 2 (Spring): 291-303.

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Xray,

I am no longer reading your posts. I find neither value nor truth in them.

Michael

Her basic categories are immutable and she argues from them by asseveration: You have violated my categories therefore your arguments are illogical.

--Brant

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Rand: "A man is defined by his relationship to the universe, a woman by her relationship to a man."

Any female Objectivists here who would like to comment on this? I'm very interested in their opinion.

And what do the others think of Rand's statement?

GRRRR!!!

Barbara

I second that! Isn't this more a question of psychology? I mean, I don't see how the basic principles of Objectivism really supports this, but is Ayn Rand's own personal application - but I still don't see how her own philosophy would support it (like the whole woman shouldn't want to be a president thing. (But then again, I still won't call myself an Objectivist yet because I still have soooo much to learn before I make up my mind.)

I throw up a little in my mouth every time I read this kinda stuff. Seems very anti - individual to me. Very June Clever in a Gloria Steinham sort of way, no?

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Ellen,

Since you are entering mid-stream, I will try to make it easier for you.

Xray uses key terms like "subjective" and "objective" like Rand meant the same thing by them as Xray does. This is an obvious fallacy of equivocation. Regardless, pointing out Xray's fallacies makes no difference to her. You may as well talk to a brick wall. The fallacy of affirming the consequent she committed and you pointed out is merely one of numerous examples. Like Wile E. Coyote, no matter how many times she is crushed, she returns for the next episode like nothing happened, repeating the same old blah-blah-blah she has done all along.

Merlin, thanks.

Some skimming back through the history of the thread prior to my commenting convinces me you're right on all counts stated. ;-)

Ellen

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Xray uses key terms like "subjective" and "objective" like Rand meant the same thing by them as Xray does. This is an obvious fallacy of equivocation. Regardless, pointing out Xray's fallacies makes no difference to her. You may as well talk to a brick wall.

I often have the same impression of Objectivists, sometimes including Rand. They use terms like "subjective" and "objective" in quite a different way than what is commonly used, but often act as if they mean what everyone else means. Not only that, but they don't use the terms consistently amongst themselves. An Objectivist might say that objectivity is the process of volitionally adhering to reality by following rules of logic and reason, so, therefore, the Objectivist ethics is objective since Rand supported her views with logic and reason. But when others -- people ranging from Marxists to fellow Objectivists -- use logic and reason to disagree with some of Rand's views, and to support their own, Objectivists claim that their views are "subjective" or "non-objective."

Objectivists will state that being objective doesn't guarantee that one's conclusions will be right, they'll say that objectivity doesn't exclude the possibility of error, and they'll say that even Rand was sometimes mistaken while being objective. But then they'll apply what appears to be a completely different set of standards to what they take to be others' errors, seemingly at whim. Not only are these others' views in error, but they are "subjective," despite the fact that they were supported with logic and reason, and often times quite extensively and tenaciously supported.

J

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GIRLS HAVE HEAD START ON SNAKE AND SPIDER FEARS

Widespread dread of slithery, crawly things may start in infancy By Bruce Bower Web edition : Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Scary Snakes A new study finds that, at 11 months of age, girls but not boys rapidly learn to associate a fearful cartoon face — but not a happy face — with images of snakes and spiders. Infants of both sexes did not learn to associate either face with images of flowers or mushrooms.

Gut-wrenching fears of snakes and spiders may start early for many women. Before their first birthdays, girls but not boys adeptly learn to link the sight of these creatures to the frightened reactions of others, a new study suggests.

Only girls associated the snake or spider that they originally saw with a fearful reaction and then acted on that knowledge, looking longer at the unexpected appearance of a happy face with a new snake or spider, Rakison proposes. No other pair of images elicited longer gazes from girls or boys.

If confirmed in further studies, these findings support the idea that people have evolved a brain mechanism that primes them for learning to pair fear expressions with threats that would have repeatedly confronted prehistoric populations, Rakison proposes. In his view, bites from poisonous snakes and spiders presented a special danger to prehistoric women, whose children would have died or incurred great hardship without their mothers.

Surveys of adults and children find that 5.5 percent report snake phobias and 3.5 percent report spider phobias. These particular phobias affect roughly four times more women than men.

“The basis for women’s greater incidence of fear and phobias for snakes and spiders may be an evolved fear mechanism that operates during infancy and is especially sensitive in females,” Rakison says.

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Ted:

Thanks. Interesting study. I dislike the measurement criteria of "longest staring", but I would like to look at the internals of that study.

I am seeing this four to one ratio in several recent studies, e.g., women are 4 times more prone to depression based on brain shape and function if I remember correctly.

"Surveys of adults and children find that 5.5 percent report snake phobias and 3.5 percent report spider phobias. These particular phobias affect roughly four times more women than men."

Keep your eyes open for this particular ratio.

Adam

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Ellen,

Since you are entering mid-stream, I will try to make it easier for you.

Xray uses key terms like "subjective" and "objective" like Rand meant the same thing by them as Xray does. This is an obvious fallacy of equivocation. Regardless, pointing out Xray's fallacies makes no difference to her. You may as well talk to a brick wall. The fallacy of affirming the consequent she committed and you pointed out is merely one of numerous examples. Like Wile E. Coyote, no matter how many times she is crushed, she returns for the next episode like nothing happened, repeating the same old blah-blah-blah she has done all along.

Would you (or others) please post a verbatim definition Rand gave of the terms objective and subjective (not of objectivity/subjectiviy), we'll then compare them to the lexicon entries I gave and see if there is any difference.

As for fallacy, it lies in Rand marrying the terms "objective" and "value". A semantic mismatch if there ever was one.

The same applies to her claim that plants can seek values.

Without a volitional entity attributing value, to speak of "value" makes no sense. The irony is that Rand herself pointed out that valuing requires a valuer, that valuing implies choosing in the face of an alternative, and that without an alterntive, no values are possible.

Therefore a stomach can't choose not to digest, and a plant can't choose not to seek sunlight. It's a biological program in which the act of valuing does not come into play.

That "800 pound gorilla" as DF called it, is still in the room. Rand herself brought it there.

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Ted:

Thanks. Interesting study. I dislike the measurement criteria of "longest staring", but I would like to look at the internals of that study.

I am seeing this four to one ratio in several recent studies, e.g., women are 4 times more prone to depression based on brain shape and function if I remember correctly.

"Surveys of adults and children find that 5.5 percent report snake phobias and 3.5 percent report spider phobias. These particular phobias affect roughly four times more women than men."

Keep your eyes open for this particular ratio.

Adam

Barbara Branden's comments on this thread ("grrrr!") and on the prior gender role thread:

GOAL: To prove that the Objectivist philosophy logically entails rejection of gender roles

Andrew, you have done everything in your article to prove your point that rationalism, rather than rationality, demands. You have looked at various arguments, you have analyzed them, you have criticized them. What you have not done is to look at reality rather than at floating concepts in order to learn about the issue. Surely the first thing one must do in order to decide what is real and what is not is to examine the facts, to look at reality, to see what exists out there and to try to understand how it came into existence and what role it plays.

It may or may not be the case that Objectivism logically entails the rejection of gender roles. But if it does, it is only reality that will tell you if it's right or wrong to do so -- not the validity or invalidity of other people's concepts.

There's more I want to say on this issue, but for the moment I hope that what I have said will start a fruitful discussion of an immensely important epistemological issue.

Barbara

have been the most cogent.

There is a real difference between male and female nature, but Rand didn't capture it in a useful form. It's neither helpful to accept Rand's definition nor to deny that men and woman have different natures.

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GIRLS HAVE HEAD START ON SNAKE AND SPIDER FEARS

Widespread dread of slithery, crawly things may start in infancy By Bruce Bower Web edition : Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Scary Snakes A new study finds that, at 11 months of age, girls but not boys rapidly learn to associate a fearful cartoon face — but not a happy face — with images of snakes and spiders. Infants of both sexes did not learn to associate either face with images of flowers or mushrooms.

Gut-wrenching fears of snakes and spiders may start early for many women. Before their first birthdays, girls but not boys adeptly learn to link the sight of these creatures to the frightened reactions of others, a new study suggests.

Only girls associated the snake or spider that they originally saw with a fearful reaction and then acted on that knowledge, looking longer at the unexpected appearance of a happy face with a new snake or spider, Rakison proposes. No other pair of images elicited longer gazes from girls or boys.

If confirmed in further studies, these findings support the idea that people have evolved a brain mechanism that primes them for learning to pair fear expressions with threats that would have repeatedly confronted prehistoric populations, Rakison proposes. In his view, bites from poisonous snakes and spiders presented a special danger to prehistoric women, whose children would have died or incurred great hardship without their mothers.

Surveys of adults and children find that 5.5 percent report snake phobias and 3.5 percent report spider phobias. These particular phobias affect roughly four times more women than men.

“The basis for women’s greater incidence of fear and phobias for snakes and spiders may be an evolved fear mechanism that operates during infancy and is especially sensitive in females,” Rakison says.

Does Rakison have an explanation as to why men can have those phobias as well (albeit in a lower percentage)?

I'm asking this question because in my work as a teacher of 3 to 7 year-olds, I have observed the phobia in boys roughly as much as in girls of that age group.

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I am seeing this four to one ratio in several recent studies, e.g., women are 4 times more prone to depression based on brain shape and function if I remember correctly.

Women are more prone to depression based on brain shape and function? I'd like to see that study.

Statistics are based on data, so it lists the persons being treated for depression because they sought medical help or ended up in medical care (after a failed suicide attempt for example) and where diagnosed then.

Many men suffering from depression may not show up in these statistics because they do not want to admit they need help. Therefore the perfect image of 'male power self having things under control' uncritically accepeted as a standard, as an alleged "objective value", so to speak, could prevent them from reaching out for medical help.

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There is a real difference between male and female nature, but Rand didn't capture it in a useful form. It's neither helpful to accept Rand's definition nor to deny that men and woman have different natures.

Can the difference be "captured in a useful form" in your opinion?

If yes, maybe you could give it a try?

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x-ray:

I also think you might be interested in this study for now.

http://www.guardian....ence.psychology

Adam

Post Script:

Here it is, but it was 2 to 1 as the ratio.

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52445

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View PostXray, on 31 August 2009 - 07:02 AM, said:

"If values are objective (universal), then all persons would make the same valuations in regard to all things.

But what can be observed is that not all persons do not make the same valuations in regard in all things.

What else can be concluded other than values can't be anything but subjective?"

1) Your reasoning commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. I think Merlin explained this fallacy to you somewhere up the thread. Here's a link to a quick explanation. (The first example given isn't worded well, but the rest is ok.)

Do you know what "affirming the consequent" is all about?

The consequent is embedded in the premise and implied to be a logical derivative (see the link you gave).

The test is consequential conclusion weighed against the backdrop of reality.

First, let's set up the term, objective. The term, objective, is either referenced to independent of mind, or referenced to dependent on mind. If

the former, it is universal. If the latter, it is not universal. Ergo, to consider "values" objective is to logically infer universal.

To state the consequent as a positive is not necessarily to affirm it. It could be a lie. It's merely a derivative of the antecedent/consequent relationship. The real test is reality. The consequent (all persons would make the same valuations) is not affirmed. It is denied by the fact of variations in attributing value.

In other words, the logical correlation of "objective value" = universal values in conflict with the reality of personal preferences identifies the premise "objective value" as false.

"2) Were you to substitute "truth" for values, would you stand by your own reasoning?" (ibid)

First, the term, truth, without the question, truth about what, is a meaningless floating abstraction. Second, what, where and why influences

valuation. If someone is holding me at gunpoint and demanding certain information, while I value knowing the truth about the circumsztance, still I may decide not to divulge the demanded information.

As for substituting abstract "truth" for abstract "values", as surely as the term, truth, has no definitive meaning without truth about what, the term, "values" has no definitive meaning without value to whom for what purpose. In other words, you offer two floating abstractions while requesting a concrete answer. No sale.

If truth is objective (universal), then all persons would come to the same conclusion as to what's true in regard to all things." (ibid)

Yes, the truth ABOUT SOMETHING is a fact, hence, universal. However, what is not universal is omniscience, nor ever the desire, or capability for discerning all, or any particular truth. In other words, your premise is false. In fact, you say so yourself:

"But what can be observed is that not all persons do come to the same conclusion as to what's true in regard to all things."

Exactly. The same about observing subjective valuations as opposed to claiming "objective values."

"What else can be concluded other than that truth can't be anything but subjective?"

For starters, I conclude the premise of your syllogism is flawed as you so kindly pointed out. Naturally, you can't derive truth from a syllogism set on false premises. Your own conclusion exposed the flaw in the premise. Yet, you continued with the exposed flaw to arrive at yet another false conclusion: "What else can be concluded other than that truth can't be anything but subjective?"

"3) Where, to begin with, do you get the idea that Rand claimed that values are universal? (Is that your idea? I've only read sporadic segments of this thread, and I'm not sure what you think Rand thought.)

Since Rand shied away from directly defining the terms, objective and subjective, one has to travel through her words about objectivity to see

where she's coming from. When the dust settles, she lands on the idea of "values" to be discovered and "chosen or not" as opposed to the idea of

valuations being a very personal creative thing. I could cite a lot of Rand words logically arriving at this conclusion, but to simply and shorten, look at it this way:

What are your options? Valuations in accordance with personal beliefs and personal preferences? Or valuations in accordance with some valuing source

independent of personal valuations? Create? Or discover? Subjective? Or Objective? Individual? Or Universal?

"Rand attempted to present a standard of value according to which values could be assessed in terms of whether or not their pursuit is conducive to the well-being of "man qua man."

Here we go: "man qua man." Is that the nebulous "man in the abstract" Brant mentioned? I would really like to get acquainted with that phantom. :)

"(I think that she has problems in her own reasoning, though this doesn't mean that the goal is unobtainable.)"

Problems, yes indeed. What goal is that? Please describe this goal. Don't forget to mention who chose it.

"As best I recall, she never claimed that any value is universally held; instead she was abundantly clear on the contrary."

No she wasn't. What she claimed is "ought to be universally held". Why? The logical rationale is: Because the "values" are proper to "man qua man". So, she put the "universal values" as subject to choice; which is really saying that they are not really universal at all. They are her choices FOR OTHERS.

However, the observed non-universality of values only supports the conclusion that "values can't be anything but subjective" if you're merely

being tautological and all you mean by "subjective" is "not held by everyone."

What's tautological about observing and stating that each individual attributes value in step with beliefs and personal preferences? Do you see something to contradict this?

This is merely stating a fact of identity of each individual, i.e. natural law. "Not held by everyone" is confirmation of subjective value. Calling it tautological does not erase the fact. So, why on earth would you look straight at the fact that value is subjective, even offer confirmation, then deny it?

For example, Rand points out that the "little secretary" chooses a lipstick over a microscope; then, absurdly claims, "This doesn't mean that

value is subjective". Rand contradicts herself again.

"That isn't, as I think has been pointed out to you a number of times, what Rand meant in decrying "subjectivist" theories of value."

Here we go with the catch-all label. Who are these "subjectivists?" Exactly what theory or theories is Rand talking about?

"..... that there's no reasonable way of forming a fact-derived standard of value whereby to assess merit amongst competing values and value systems. She meant, in other words, the viewpoint which Dragonfly enunciates that "valid" and "correct" are terms without meaning in the context of ethics."

What Dragonfly, in essence, said quite clearly, and with which I agree, is that although he chooses non initiation of force and non coercion, he realizes it is his subjective choice, not an "objective" value. If I have misunderstood, I await DF's response and will stand corrected if necessary.

Edited by Xray
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