Are There Moral Standards?

Dennis Edwall

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Hi Stephen,

I read your article, and you wrote a beautiful poem what appears to be so many years ago.

Thanks for your thoughts above, they bring a good perspective to the issue. In the above discussion I definitely injected some personal speculation based on an impression of Rand's character that might be off-topic.

What I'm attempting to do is speculate about the cognitive-emotional frame of reference through which she interacted with the world. You mentioned a difference between adult and child relationships. True, there are certainly differences in approach. What I am proposing though is that Rand likely chose to deal with relational issues from a standpoint of autonomous (i.e. justice/rights) thinking, regardless of age (Carol Gilligan will blow your mind on this topic if you haven't read her yet). I imagine that Rand might deal with a child from the similar moral thread of thinking as her adult relationships, but she would make accomodations for the child's cognitive abilities and dependent social position. However, if we look at relationships from a caring/interpersonal standpoint, promoting comfort and acceptance are inherent in the healthy nature of interpersonal ethics regardless of rights-related value orientation.

A discussion on the differences between rights-related and caring-related ethics does not imply a division between autonomous and non-autonomous thinking. What is really being identified here is the Mars-Venus type of "gender-role" orientations observed in American cluture. These differences are like having two minds in one head... Evidence suggests the brain mechanics, set of emotions, and cognitive processes related to each "gender-role" orientation are separate and distinct. So you see, Rand is using processes within her mind that are clearly integrated and correct from her orientation of thinking. However, her writings have not led me to believe that she accesses the mechanisms primarily attributed to experiences of empathy and consideration of others so frequently observed through interpersonal/caring/Venus orientations.


Edited by Christopher
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