Objectivism

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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Metacrock
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Re: Objectivism

Post by Metacrock » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:27 pm

I wish that Kane guy would come back
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Kane Augustus
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Re: Objectivism

Post by Kane Augustus » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:52 am

Metacrock wrote:I would like to introduce you to Kane. He's from Tweb and posts there under another name. He's really bright and a nice guy. I invited him to come here I think he will be a great member of the community.
Thank you for that auspicious introduction, Metacrock. :)
Metacrock wrote:Now that I gave him a big build up I can slap him in the face with my scathing attack on Rand. :mrgreen:

Seriously though, I can't say that I've studied objectivity systematically. I have read some of Rand. I have a lot of dealings with her followers in several venues in Dallas. I'm adamantly opposed to her view. Although, that may be more a function of the people presenting it.
The people presenting Objectivism tend to be the greatest dicouragements from Objectivism, unfortunately.
Metacrock wrote:Hey you didn't expect not to have disagreement right?
LOL! No, not at all.
Metacrock wrote:What do you like about her views?
I enjoy her view of people as noble creatures, fully capable of meeting reality head-on, without excuses, and with all the tools at their disposal (via reason) to meet and greet life with strength, dignity, poise, and limitless creativity.
Metacrock wrote:Let's cut to the chase. I think her views on selfishness as a virtue are untenable. It's a contradiction to the very concept of virtue. It's possible I'm just being exposed to people who don't really understand it. What's your take on it?
I'm going to deal quickly with your comments on selfishness as a virtue. And by that, I don't mean that I'm going to combat you and slay you with words or flashy rhetoric. However, I will only comment briefly on Rand's notion of the virtue of selfishness.

For Rand, "'value' is that which one acts to gain and keep, and 'virtue' is the action by which one gains and keeps it" (For the New Intellectual, p. 121). For Rand, life is the paramount value, so how one undertakes to preserve and improve one's life without enacting force on another is virtuous. Selfishness quite literally means "to do with one's own interests." And since everyone has an interest in preserving their life, or in adding enjoyment to their life, or in not having force enacted against their life, what one does to preserve their life and augment their happiness is necessarily 'selfish' because it is directed toward the enhancement of one's life.
Ayn Rand, [i][u]The Virtue of Selfishness[/u][/i], Introduction, wrote:This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.
That, in a nutshell, is Rand's view of selfishness as a virtue.

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Re: Objectivism

Post by Kane Augustus » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:14 pm

QuantumTroll wrote:Heya Kane, nice to have another non-believer on the board. I'm a skeptical agnostic and generally try to serve as a foil in some of the discussions here.
Hello QT! I'm sure we'll have a good many things to contribute here.
Boy, I have a very low opinion of Objectivism (at some point, I wrote a paper criticizing the philosophy in Atlas Shrugged), but I'm willing to listen to its merits if you want to explain what you see as the value and point of it. Maybe that should come first, so Metacrock and I don't make up a strawman. What do you like about Objectivism?
We'll, I answered this question in my reponse to Metacrock. I should add here, however, that I'm not at all an expert, or even a die-cast Objectivist. I'm intrigued by it, and learning about it.
To help prepare you for my likely response, here's a little about me and my background. I consider myself a very Christian sort of atheist, the Good Samaritan type. Before I met my wife, I was generally trying to love everyone equally and help humanity in general through science and humanism. I still try to do that, but now I spend a lot of time and energy on being a loving family-man sort of person. In general, I'm a fan of evidence-based thinking of all kinds, as I'm convinced that human intuition often tends to be wrong and facts have to come in to teach us counter-intuitive truths. So research and data is a good way to convince me of something, or as I like to say "the proof is in the pudding".
I can appreciate everything of what you have just written. Especially the part about being a loving family-man. I have five children, all 7 and under. And it's awesome!
Importantly, in this context, I live in Sweden and I fall slightly on the left side of the political scale here. This means I'm way off on the left on the American scale. As an illustration, my dad consistently votes for one of the most right-wing parties in Sweden, but in the US he's considered a full-blown socialist. I'm worse. I lived in the US for 12 years, and spent a number of those years politically active.

The mathematics of collective behavior is one of the research areas at my university that I'm most interested in, and I believe I have some unusual insight into how our society works from looking at it in this way. For example, it's led me to appreciate the ins and outs of how local (individual) decision-making yields global (societal) results. It's also led me to study chaos, or the limits in predicting the behavior of certain types of dynamical systems.

So you see, it'll probably be very hard to change my mind. But I'm genuinely interested in hearing what you think is good and worth listening to in Objectivism and may accept at least something, you know?
Wow! I have very little familiarity with chaos theory (spare what I have gleaned from a friend of mine who is studying physics at the Ph.D level), am not a socialist in any way that I am aware of, and enjoy learning new information -- and you probably have a lot of that to offer. So I look forward to your contributions, and perspectives.

ZAROVE
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Re: Objectivism

Post by ZAROVE » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:19 pm

Being a Socialist Objectivist is like being a Monarchist Socialist. its really an impossible contradiction in terms I’m sure the British will somehow cobble together to make sense of whilst the rest of the world wonders how we managed to do anything, as it will be a complicated mess that won't really work, but that somehow manages o get us from point A to point B, much like how we make cars.


Rand was a Libertarian, and a capitalist. Her Philosophy grew out of a rejection of the Fundamental Philosophy of her Childhood, Soviet Communism, itself based on the works of Marx as interpreted by Lenin.

Because she's an Atheist though Id wager loads of Neocons will say she was a Communist or Socialist, much like they claim I am.

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Re: Objectivism

Post by met » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:20 pm

ZAROVE wrote:Being a Socialist Objectivist is like being a Monarchist Socialist. its really an impossible contradiction in terms.

Seems workable to me,

Socialism is an economic and political theory advocating public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources.

just like, the Crown holds everything - all the means of production - but allocates it "for the good of all."
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

ZAROVE
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Re: Objectivism

Post by ZAROVE » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:51 pm

ACTUALLY, in a properly run Monarhcy ( NOT a Monarhcy in which the Monarch is a figurehead and the Democraticlaly eleced Cmmons controls everything) you can't have Socialism precicely becauseof the definition you just posted.


if the Crown owns everything, then its owned by a single person, the reignign Monarch. Its not owned "By the people".


Irt also precludes Cooperative management.


The Crown would own the company and appoint its heads, either directly, IE, the Queen would choose hwo runs it, or indireclty, via lower level maagers doign the workaday hiring for reginal areas or to fill up roles in the company.

In the end, it'd be a sort of "Crown Monopoly" if the Crown took over all of the means of Manufacture and distribution, not a Socialist modle. After all, the Crown woudl own and operate the businesses on its own perogative, not cooperatively in a Democraric Framework.

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Re: Objectivism

Post by Metacrock » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:40 pm

Kane Augustus wrote:I enjoy her view of people as noble creatures, fully capable of meeting reality head-on, without excuses, and with all the tools at their disposal (via reason) to meet and greet life with strength, dignity, poise, and limitless creativity.
The Bible says that.
Metacrock wrote:Let's cut to the chase. I think her views on selfishness as a virtue are untenable. It's a contradiction to the very concept of virtue. It's possible I'm just being exposed to people who don't really understand it. What's your take on it?
[qouoet]I'm going to deal quickly with your comments on selfishness as a virtue. And by that, I don't mean that I'm going to combat you and slay you with words or flashy rhetoric. However, I will only comment briefly on Rand's notion of the virtue of selfishness.

For Rand, "'value' is that which one acts to gain and keep, and 'virtue' is the action by which one gains and keeps it" (For the New Intellectual, p. 121).[/quote]

That's a reductionist concept of Virtue. the classical concept virtue is something you obtain that becomes part of you.
For Rand, life is the paramount value, so how one undertakes to preserve and improve one's life without enacting force on another is virtuous. Selfishness quite literally means "to do with one's own interests." And since everyone has an interest in preserving their life, or in adding enjoyment to their life, or in not having force enacted against their life, what one does to preserve their life and augment their happiness is necessarily 'selfish' because it is directed toward the enhancement of one's life.
Ayn Rand, [i][u]The Virtue of Selfishness[/u][/i], Introduction, wrote:This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.
That, in a nutshell, is Rand's view of selfishness as a virtue.

Please read Alasdair McIntyre After Virtue. I think it's a very important needed corrective to the modern reduction of virtue.

Selfishness is a dis value and a sin. The opposite of a virtue. She's taking the real power of it and turning it into something like a political stand or a consumer product rather than the fruit of your soul.
Have Theology, Will argue: wire Metacrock
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Re: Objectivism

Post by met » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:10 am

ZAROVE wrote:ACTUALLY, in a properly run Monarhcy ( NOT a Monarhcy in which the Monarch is a figurehead and the Democraticlaly eleced Cmmons controls everything) you can't have Socialism precicely becauseof the definition you just posted.


if the Crown owns everything, then its owned by a single person, the reignign Monarch. Its not owned "By the people".


Irt also precludes Cooperative management.


The Crown would own the company and appoint its heads, either directly, IE, the Queen would choose hwo runs it, or indireclty, via lower level maagers doign the workaday hiring for reginal areas or to fill up roles in the company.

In the end, it'd be a sort of "Crown Monopoly" if the Crown took over all of the means of Manufacture and distribution, not a Socialist modle. After all, the Crown woudl own and operate the businesses on its own perogative, not cooperatively in a Democraric Framework.

. . . well, there's a difference between "ownership" as it is demarcated on paper and the reality. "Ownership" may be a formal relation only, even in social terms, and not really allocate any control over whatever it is that's supposedly "owned" by someone. In this sense we could understand a "socialist monarchy" as just a particular, inheritable type of socialist dictatorship, couldn't we? The King holds rights over everything but ostensibly only acts in the general welfare, only in the best interests of all his subjects. And really, that's how monarchy's generally understood right? In that sense, it's akin to socialism since, in theory at least, the King or Queen IS the state, the personification of the state itself, and not really a "private" person at all.

Thus the King or Queen may say . . .
We are not amused

And therefore, the economic system based on monarchy isn't really "private"ownership at all, either.




I personally find the whole idea of "ownership" a bit baffling anyway. Clearly, "ownership" is a perception - or maybe a pretension - or maybe a comfortable illusion - and nothing more. Especially "ownership" of land. Like any human being could ever really own any part of the planet. You own some dirt? - no, it'd be more accurate to say the dirt "owns" you since all you are is a part of it. ;)
Last edited by met on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

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Re: Objectivism

Post by met » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:20 am

Metacrock wrote:
For Rand, life is the paramount value, so how one undertakes to preserve and improve one's life without enacting force on another is virtuous. Selfishness quite literally means "to do with one's own interests." And since everyone has an interest in preserving their life, or in adding enjoyment to their life, or in not having force enacted against their life, what one does to preserve their life and augment their happiness is necessarily 'selfish' because it is directed toward the enhancement of one's life.
Ayn Rand, [i][u]The Virtue of Selfishness[/u][/i], Introduction, wrote:This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.
That, in a nutshell, is Rand's view of selfishness as a virtue.

Please read Alasdair McIntyre After Virtue. I think it's a very important needed corrective to the modern reduction of virtue.

Selfishness is a dis value and a sin. The opposite of a virtue. She's taking the real power of it and turning it into something like a political stand or a consumer product rather than the fruit of your soul.

Kane, to what extent is Rand's redefinition meant to be ironic - redefining 'virute' in what is - to her - an essentially virtueless world? (in the classical sense of virute, i mean. .. )
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

Kane Augustus
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Re: Objectivism

Post by Kane Augustus » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:08 am

met wrote:Kane, to what extent is Rand's redefinition meant to be ironic - redefining 'virute' in what is - to her - an essentially virtueless world? (in the classical sense of virute, i mean. .. )
I suppose it's ironic in the sense that if the world is virtueless (which Rand did not believe, as far as I know) then it would serve to mark out a fundamental point of development for people in need of forming virtues.

Still, as noted above, I don't think Rand considered the world virtueless (please correct me if I'm wrong) so much as she considered the virtues of modern culture subjectivist, mixed up, misaligned, and in need of re-examination. For example, the four classic virtues are temperence, prudence, fortitude, justice. None of these would strike against Rand's notion of rational egoism. Indeed, Rand went so far as to state seven virtues that should immediately become apparent from leading a rational life, and that proceed from the truth that "existence exists" (A is A) and that our fundamental value should be "to live." Here are those seven virtues:
  • 1. Rationality
    2. Productiveness
    3. Pride
    4. Independence
    5. Integrity
    6. Honesty
    7. Justice
Nothing in the classic virtues chafes against Rand's list of virtues. It is only when we come up against the word "selfishness" that people become frightened of calling it a virtue. However that reluctance is based in a misapprehension of Rand's intent. Rand is not advocating being a slobbering marauder bent on adding to one's holdings and luxuries despite the suffering it would cause to others. That kind of unreasoning, inconsiderate person, to Rand, is a brute, and irrational. That kind of person is therefore not virtuous, but evil.

A rationally self-interested (selfish) person is one who does not condone the use of force to make personal gains against others. A rationally self-interested person is one who takes responsibility for his/her own life, makes choices that add to the overall happiness of his/her life, and does not let people talk him/her into making unnecessary sacrifices for some misconstrued altruistic agenda. A rationally self-interested person (a "prudent" person, according to classic virtues) is one who quite happily takes charge over, and responsibility for making their own way in life, and who disallows others to distract him/her from achieving the happiness that is of prime importance to him/her.

What is selfish is what is directed toward one's interests. Everyone acts this way about a good many things in their lives. However, because Rand formalized it, it becomes difficult for people to accept. And while this may be simplifying things a little too much, their non-acceptance of a formalized natural way of being -- selfish -- is an undisguised and unblushing refusal to consider their I-Thou relation to the world.

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