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I am profoundly opposed to the philosophy of hedonism. Hedonism is the doctrine which holds that the good is whatever gives you pleasure and, therefore, pleasure is the standard of morality. Objectivism holds that the good must be defined by a rational standard of value, that pleasure is not a first cause, but only a consequence, that only the pleasure which proceeds from a rational value judgment can be regarded as moral, that pleasure, as such, is not a guide to action nor a standard of morality. To say that pleasure should be the standard of morality simply means that whichever values you happen to have chosen, consciously or subconsciously, rationally or irrationally, are right and moral. This means that you are to be guided by chance feelings, emotions and whims, not by your mind. My philosophy is the opposite of hedonism. I hold that one cannot achieve happiness by random, arbitrary or subjective means. One can achieve happiness only on the basis of rational values. By rational values, I do not mean anything that a man may arbitrarily or blindly declare to be rational. It is the province of morality, of the science of ethics, to define for men what is a rational standard and what are the rational values to pursue.

Attempting to say the above in the briefest possible way:

Hedonism: I like it; therefore it is good.

Objectivism: It is good; therefore I like it.

Let's apply that to some things.


Hedonism: I like Schubert's Trout Quintet; therefore it is good.

Objectivism: Schubert's Trout Quintet is good; therefore I like it.


Hedonism: I like my veggy mix; therefore it is good.

Objectivism: My veggy mix is good; therefore I like it.

To be a practising Objectivist (one who lives the philosophy instead of just talking about it) one must judge music and food and other things objectively and not hedonistically.

Do you?

If YES, then maybe we can get into how one judges music objectively and not hedonistically. And perhaps also food.

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I think that the black-white dilemma here is wrong in itself..

It is a rather non sequitor, a loop statement..

They appear to be two sides of the same coin...

As what defines that which is truly good for oneself? Either the subjective opinion of another person.. or the fulfillment of ONES OWN values which base what is good for oneself through the fulfillment of ones own values which are determined by what one chooses to believe is good for oneself, particularly ones self interest, ones self interest is governed by free will, and does not necessarily have to reflect an expansion of ones own existence, ones self interest can just as easily be the shortening of ones existence . we can escape the self, but we cannot escape self interest

For the man who truly wishes to end his life for the benefit of another, the good is to end his life for the benefit of another.. unless we have another external subject attempt to judge his good through their own values.. which becomes nothing more than an opinionated judgement..

Therefore all that is good is that which you like AND that which you like is that which is good...

Thats how I see it

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Hedonism means: I like it; therefore it is good.

Obviously there has to be at least a limit on hedonism if it is not outright rejected. If not, then:

1. A serial killer gets pleasure from killing; therefore killing is good. (I like it but it is not good.)

2. There are substances that make food taste good, even if the food is not fit to eat. And these substances are themselves bad for health. (I like it but it is not good.)

I am not trying to disagree with Objectivism or with Ayn Rand. I want to know how a practising Objectivist evaluates music. It is not: I like it; therefore it is good. Food, I understand to some degree, maybe. Music, I'm clueless.

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I am a musician, an audio designer, and a recording engineer.. and I personally reject the objectivist philosophy of evaluating art.. I am a believer that art lies both, in the world of subjectivity and objectivity.. subjectivity might be the ideas a certain musician presents- Marilyn Manson vibes with some people and not others.., objectivity being his ability to stay on beat, or play his instrument, and other technical skills.. a singer may have ideas I judge as excellent in my subjective tastes, but his preciseness, his details,and his execution being far from perfect.. ultimately leaving me un impressed.. same with a "boring" purely objective musician.. may be an excellent performer, and his ideas may be excellently categorized and organized, but they lack any kind of "inspiration" or "feeling" which would cause it to strike a chord with myself or others..

As you may realize.. I do not buy entirely that everything is objective, nor that everything is subjective, but in fact a blend of both..

My philosophy is subjectivity can present us with base ideas, and objectivity presents us with rational methods for executing them..


I view the objective balance issue on hedonism, to actually be an ultimate form of hedonism..

Your goal is to use rationality to sublimate smaller values (whims) in order to accumulate the largest value judgements possible... and what are value judgements except for that which brings you pleasure, otherwise why would you value it if it brings you pain

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Good post. One of the absolute breaks that I made with Ayn was her absurdly dogmatic and tyrannical pronouncements on art.

You should look up some of Jonathan's threads on aesthetics, he is very bright and argues well.


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