Talk to the Rand

Richard Goode's picture
Submitted by Richard Goode on Sat, 2007-12-15 02:26

The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world.

One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment.

But to pronounce moral judgment is an enormous responsibility. To be a judge, one must possess an unimpeachable character; one need not be omniscient or infallible, and it is not an issue of errors of knowledge; one needs an unbreached integrity, that is, the absence of any indulgence in conscious, willful evil. Just as a judge in a court of law may err, when the evidence is inconclusive, but may not evade the evidence available, nor accept bribes, nor allow any personal feeling, emotion, desire or fear to obstruct his mind's judgment of the facts of reality—so every rational person must maintain an equally strict and solemn integrity in the courtroom within his own mind, where the responsibility is more awesome than in a public tribunal, because he, the judge, is the only one to know when he has been impeached.

[The virtue of Rationality] means one's acceptance of the responsibility of forming one's own judgments and of living by the work of one's own mind (which is the virtue of Independence). It means that one must never sacrifice one's convictions to the opinions or wishes of others (which is the virtue of Integrity)—that one must never attempt to fake reality in any manner (which is the virtue of Honesty)...

A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest—but if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.

The Ayn Rand Lexicon


( categories: )

Ah yes...

Jameson's picture

I see the non-linear distinction you've made. By arrive I meant that to prove a concept, one would have to retrace it to the axioms of reality, right?

Glenn ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

This bit ...

Man-made concepts are developed to comprehend reality, and to be proven must arrive in sequence, like logic-dominoes, from the axiom of existence.

... may be rationalism. Eye We form concepts left, right and centre in no particular order long before we can consciously identify the process by which we do so—isolation, differentiation and integration—or even assign words to our concepts. It's not that we sit down and say, "Existence exists, therefore freedom and capitalism are good and Romantic Realism is the best form of art." Of course, as a rule, higher-level abstractions follow from lower-level ones. But at every stage, mistakes are possible, which is why we must constantly repair to the "world out there."

I think I've hit on a formula that requires taking a slight liberty with the language: valid cognition is empirically driven and logically deriven.

Point is, legitimate human cognition (and ethics) is logic applied to facts, reason applied to reality, concepts derived from percepts. And, Goode to the contrary notwithstanding, you can't have one without the other.

Actually, I just thought of an example of concept-formation that Goode might relate to. One could observe you, Glenn, and Goode, and isolate you both from several others around you like Lady Slapper and Kasper who have hair, based on that difference. One could integrate your and Goode's heads into the concept "bald" based on your distinguishing similarity. Now, is it an argument against the objectivity of concepts that they are precisely that, a mental integration? Does that fact mean that concepts are subjective, devoid of reference to the world out there, existing only in one's head? Au contraire, "world out there" is where the integration came from. "World out there" is what was integrated. The integration was objective. You are both bald. Smiling Smile

By Jove I think I've got it!

Jameson's picture

This has been an education.

The line in the sand is choice versus no choice – the man-made versus the already made. Metaphysical facts cannot be altered; what we perceive in reality is beyond our judgement. Man-made concepts are developed to comprehend reality, and to be proven must arrive in sequence, like logic-dominoes, from the axiom of existence. And because our consciousness, which perceives existence, is as axiomatic as the objects found in existence, concepts are as objective as the brain that devises them - provided they follow the laws of identity.

Context is everything. To lift a concept out of the middle of the context is to steal it. Objectivist ethics are based on the proposition that the concept value depends on the concept life, so, the concept ethics is only valid in the context of man pursuing his survival. Therefore the concept of ethics, which establishes the moral principles we use to determine what we need to survive, is just as objective as the food we eat to live. And because ethics must be identified by the cognitive mind, it is neither intrinsic nor subjective.

Kasper ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You to Goode:

And you said Linz was the one that confuses metaphysics and epistemology? Jesus Christ, you just equated the two.

Did he accuse me of that? Half the time I don't know whom he's replying to. But yes, he does it all the time. And yes, of course you're right: he's doing it here, confusing the metaphysical (inanimate matter) with the man-made (morality). I'm beginning to think he really doesn't get it. He treats morality as the metaphysical. It just is, there in nature, whether there are human beings here or not. How did it get there? Blank-out. And one just intuits it. How? Another blank-out. (Of course he could say that it comes from God and one gets it by prayer and/or God's grace, but I don't think he's quite ready for that.)

And the minute one suggests the possible interaction between reality and consciousness, an objective identification by the latter of the former, that is "subjectivism" because it's consciousness doing the identification. Fucked up as hell, but his pin-ups have said it for centuries.

Looks as though he and Reed are going to form Christian Libz. Hahahahaha! In Goode's case it should be New Age Libz, in order to accommodate Rosie as well. Evil

Unit. Read every word then integrate it with Lindsay's post.

Kasper's picture

A unit is an existent regarded as a separate member of a group of two or more similar members. (Two stones are two units; so are two square feet of ground, if regarded as distinct parts of a continuous stretch of ground.) Note that the concept “unit” involves an act of consciousness (a selective focus, a certain way of regarding things), but that it is not an arbitrary creation of consciousness: it is a method of identification or classification according to the attributes which a consciousness observes in reality. This method permits any number of classifications and cross-classifications: one may classify things according to their shape or color or weight or size or atomic structure; but the criterion of classification is not invented, it is perceived in reality. Thus the concept “unit” is a bridge between metaphysics and epistemology: units do not exist qua units, what exists are things, but units are things viewed by a consciousness in certain existing relationships.

Lindsay's post:
Now, according to you, Goode:

"Concepts are 'mental integrations', according to Rand. So good and bad are all in the mind, according to you. 'Objectivist ethics' is a misnomer. In truth, Objectivist ethics is essentially subjective, since good and bad, we're told, aren't out there in the world, they're in your head."

But what you're overlooking, Goode, is:

"Note that the concept 'unit' involves an act of consciousness (a selective focus, a certain way of regarding things), but that it is not an arbitrary creation of consciousness: it is a method of identification or classification according to the attributes which a consciousness observes in reality." (Italics mine)

See Goode, consciousness is not invalidated by the existence of something to be conscious of; reality is not negated by the existence of a consciousness that can conceptualise it. Valid conceptualisation is a two-way street, a volitional interaction between consciousness and reality. Good and bad are not 'all in the mind' at all. They're an evaluation by the mind of things in the world out there. You inadvertently (almost) got it when you (almost) said eating is good if you want to stay alive. Eating is good if you want to stay alive, Goode, and that's not arbitrary or subjective: it's true, i.e. objectively the case in the world out there. Humans must identify it conceptually.

Thoroughly stupid.

Kasper's picture

Goode said: "The first question in physics is not: Does man need inanimate matter? The first question in biology is not: Does man need living organisms? Such questions are never asked!"

And you said Linz was the one that confuses metaphysics and epistemology? Jesus Christ, you just equated the two.

Hahahaha. This is so stupid that it's delectable, I can barely contain myself..

One doesn't question physics or biology in the manner of "does man need them" because they simply are. They are 'out there'. They exist, as a fact.

Good, God, Goode, let's break this down for you.

Man is a being containing rationality and animality. You don't ask whether man needs to be man, do you??

To be rational requires an act of volition, a choice. To act in accordance with his nature in a manner that is life affirming or deminishing is a choice. Unlike animals who have instinct, man must aquire the knowledge necessary, by choice, so that he can make consistent and life affirming choices.
The question of does an animal containing a rational faculty that is volitional need a code that guides his choices and actions is mandatory.
The answer is yes if he is to be consistent. He must discover, by an act of conciousness identify, his nature and requirments to live.

The question: does man need a morality at all is a requirment because morality is an evaluative concept. There is no such thing as morality or rights 'out there' in reality, like a rock, biology.

Man being hungry and wanting to eat is biology. What to eat and deciding to feed himself is a choice.

You said that you recognise objective moral facts. Good. However, they are not intrinsic out there as methaphysical properties.

Demarcation

Richard Goode's picture

This is entirely circular, and therefore not an answer.

Well, Sharon, you seemed quite happy with

Biology studies living organism[s]

The prefix 'bio', of course, means "pertaining to living organisms"!

I think the question you're trying to ask is, what demarcates the moral? In other words, what is it about a moral question that makes it a moral question, and not some other kind of question? Am I right?

Goode luck Sharia

gregster's picture

And it's like watching two dogs chasing their tails. IMO.

"Sorry about that. Why don't

sharon's picture

"Sorry about that. Why don't you try to answer the question to your own satisfaction? And then present the argument you've been leading up to."

I would prefer if you answer the question. I am not asking you to agree or disagree with any specific purported answers or stands in ethical theories, but merely to identify a common link that ties all theories together that it becomes a study called “Ethics.”

"Ethics is (or purports to be) the study of the realm of moral facts, its purpose is to find out about it."

Come on. This is entirely circular, and therefore not an answer.

Jeee-zuz. Why not simply say: *Ethics* is (or purports to be) the study of the realm of *ethical* facts, its purpose is to find out about it.

Ethics

Richard Goode's picture

Let me put it this way: Physics studies inanimate matter, biology studies living organism, etc, all done for a specific purpose (and not to pass the class). So why, within the realm of philosophy, is ethics a study? What is the purpose of this human enterprise—this enterprise that has been given a branch within philosophy?

Ethics is (or purports to be) the study of the realm of moral facts, its purpose is to find out about it.

I feel as if my question has been dodged.

Sorry about that. Why don't you try to answer the question to your own satisfaction? And then present the argument you've been leading up to.

Rand is wrong when she says,

Let me stress this. The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is: Does man need values at all—and why?

The first question in physics is not: Does man need inanimate matter? The first question in biology is not: Does man need living organisms? Such questions are never asked! (Click the links to confirm this.)

Let me stress this. Objectivist ethics is certifiably bat-shit insane.

To whom ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Goode:

You're really not interested in facing up to the fact that Objectivist ethics is fundamentally flawed, are you?

To whom is that addressed?

Kasper, I’m sure Richard’s

sharon's picture

Kasper, I’m sure Richard’s crow epistemology can handle one more unit question.

Gawd Sharon

Kasper's picture

Don't provide the man a distraction. We were almost getting progress here.

Richard, I asked you this

sharon's picture

Richard, I asked you this question:

...if a philosophical field such as ethics is a legitimate study at all, what would be the purpose of it? What is ethics all about, leaving aside what ethical theories are plausible and which are bogus?

You answered: "In philosophy classes, ethics is the study of the realm of moral facts through the writings of philosophers on the subject. Or, perhaps, ethics is just the study of the writings of philosophers on the subject."

I feel as if my question has been dodged. Um, I wasn’t speaking of philosophy 101 classes and the like. Take a few steps back from the tree and look at that there forest. I am asking this: why is the study of ethics a general study at all--much more broadly than a university study or parlor game? Why is that philosophers and thinkers pursued the subject at all? WhY is it a field of study that has been given a name, er...namely ETHICS.

Let me put it this way: Physics studies inanimate matter, biology studies living organism, etc, all done for a specific purpose (and not to pass the class). So why, within the realm of philosophy, is ethics a study? What is the purpose of this human enterprise—this enterprise that has been given a branch within philosophy?

And although morality has been used as a manipulative tool, would you argue that that has been its exclusive purpose throughout all of human history?

Anything to avoid an argument

Richard Goode's picture

You're really not interested in facing up to the fact that Objectivist ethics is fundamentally flawed, are you?

Richard

Leonid's picture

"God and morality are both superstitions."
Define morality.

Sharon

Richard Goode's picture

Mr. Goode doesn’t know what he is talking about.

No, Sharon, I think it's you who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

What part of

Ethics is grounded in reality. There are objective moral facts. I didn't claim that ethics cannot be grounded in reality. I claimed that ethics isn't grounded in reason.

don't you understand?

An epistemological cesspool

sharon's picture

"Ethics is grounded in reality. There are objective moral facts. I didn't claim that ethics cannot be grounded in reality. I claimed that ethics isn't grounded in reason."

I thought I was going to jump into a challenging and intelligent debate, but now I realize, to my disappointment, that Mr. Goode doesn’t know what he is talking about.

On we go ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You tell me. You're the one defending the sham that is Objectivist ethics.

Here ya go Goode. From ITOE which you seemed to be happy to quote from:

"A unit is an existent regarded as a separate member of a group of two or more similar members. (Two stones are two units; so are two square feet of ground, if regarded as distinct parts of a continuous stretch of ground.)"

Now, according to you, Goode:

"Concepts are 'mental integrations', according to Rand. So good and bad are all in the mind, according to you. 'Objectivist ethics' is a misnomer. In truth, Objectivist ethics is essentially subjective, since good and bad, we're told, aren't out there in the world, they're in your head."

But what you're overlooking, Goode, is:

"Note that the concept 'unit' involves an act of consciousness (a selective focus, a certain way of regarding things), but that it is not an arbitrary creation of consciousness: it is a method of identification or classification according to the attributes which a consciousness observes in reality." (Italics mine)

See Goode, consciousness is not invalidated by the existence of something to be conscious of; reality is not negated by the existence of a consciousness that can conceptualise it. Valid conceptualisation is a two-way street, a volitional interaction between consciousness and reality. Good and bad are not 'all in the mind' at all. They're an evaluation by the mind of things in the world out there. You inadvertently (almost) got it when you (almost) said eating is good if you want to stay alive. Eating is good if you want to stay alive, Goode, and that's not arbitrary or subjective: it's true, i.e. objectively the case in the world out there. Humans must identify it conceptually.

Edited to add: please note, readers, this post is the coup de grace, and the culmination of this thread. I was hoping to drag Goode kicking and screaming to this point on his own, but he balked and I had to spell it out. If anyone doesn't get it, please keep coming back at me for clarification.

How do you know that

Robert's picture

biology isn't just a figment of your imagination?

No

Richard Goode's picture

What is a unit?

You tell me. You're the one defending the sham that is Objectivist ethics.

And I've no idea why you're calling the Objectivist ethics a sham when just a few posts back you endorsed it

I haven't endorsed Objectivist ethics. It's a sham.

And thus to eat is good, Goode. That's objective ethics, not biology (though derived from the facts of it).

You can't derive ethics from biology. If you think you can, why don't you show us how it's done?

Come now, Goode

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Just when you were doing so well.

I'll try again. What is a unit?

And I've no idea why you're calling the Objectivist ethics a sham when just a few posts back you endorsed it:

Yes, if you want to live you must eat. If you want to live, then eating is an objective requirement.

It's faith that's a sham, darling, and your pin-ups are shamans.

No

Richard Goode's picture

You claimed that ethics cannot be grounded in reality.

No, I didn't.

Ethics is grounded in reality. There are objective moral facts.

I didn't claim that ethics cannot be grounded in reality.

I claimed that ethics isn't grounded in reason.

You confuse metaphysics with epistemology, and necessity with contingency.

What is a unit?

Richard Goode's picture

He may be able to visualize four or five units—as, for instance, five trees.

Good and bad are mental integrations of... trees? Of what?

Regardless of what good and bad are concepts of, they're still in the mind and, therefore, subjective, according to you.

Objectivist ethics is not objective. It's a sham.

Robert - Atheists... Don't

reed's picture

Robert -
Atheists... Don't believe things on faith.

If atheists don't believe things on faith and "atheism" is not knowledge then what is it? Is it ignorance?

Well ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... so far so good, Goode. Now, carry on, Goode. What is a unit?

Randspeak

Richard Goode's picture

Mental integrations of what?

According to the Ayn Rand Lexicon, concepts are mental integrations "of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition" and/or "of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted."

I'm none the wiser.

Gawd, Goode

Lindsay Perigo's picture

How can you be so effing dense?!

All right, let's go through it. Mental integrations of what?

War is peace

Richard Goode's picture

Good and bad are evaluative concepts.

Concepts are "mental integrations", according to Rand.

So good and bad are all in the mind, according to you.

'Objectivist ethics' is a misnomer. In truth, Objectivist ethics is essentially subjective, since good and bad, we're told, aren't out there in the world, they're in your head.

Hey Kasper

gregster's picture

you're talking to the hand, and it holds no substance.

Well hurry up then. I'm not that patient.

Kasper's picture

You appear to have plenty of time to submit bull shit as an argument and complain that you haven't yet had the time to submit anything of substance, and I am the impatient one? Well....... Excuuuuuuuuse meeee!!!!

Kasper

Richard Goode's picture

Perhaps you should

Perhaps I should. Perhaps I will. The reason I haven't is not oversight, nor evasion, but that I'm busy and have other things to do.

Patience is a virtue.

Kevin Goode

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Goode is absolutely on a par with Kevin Owen. Both believe bullshit on faith, and believe faith to be epistemologically primary. Owen is not a threat to liberty, however, since what he believes on faith is clearly bullshit. Goode claims that the goodness of liberty is a matter of faith, and thus *is* a huge threat to liberty. I'm glad to read that he's no longer involved with Libertarianz. The Greens are his natural home.

Oversight or plain evasion? Dr. Goode?

Kasper's picture

Goode quates:
"[M]oralists are in an uncomfortable position. The conventions at work in our society allow us to ask each other to support the moral judgments we make. We can all begin to meet this demand, but only so far. Since we will never be able to prove our basic assumptions, our moral judgments will only be justifiable relative to judgments we can not justify"

Lindsay drew your attention to: "For a morality to be rational it is not required to prove that morality exists in nature."

Perhaps you should address the fact that there are no rights or morals on their own and that it is not necessary for them to be 'out there' in order to be objective.... Again, you keep upholding that the 'out there' is only what's objective and the 'in here' is necessarily subjective.... This is what I mean by the fact that you have made NO case for divorcing the concepts held in ones mind derived from a proper analysis of the facts of reality.

What part of this has not been refuted to your satisfaction?

You really are very similar to Kevin Owen. He never answers the hard pressing questions. You have made no case for your skepticism. The one's that you have alluded to in your "here, here and here" don't hold any water.

Try again.

Sharon

Richard Goode's picture

if a philosophical field such as ethics is a legitimate study at all, what would be the purpose of it? What is ethics all about, leaving aside what ethical theories are plausible and which are bogus?

Much of ethics comes down to justifying specific moral judgements (e.g., the United States should not have gone to war in Iraq in 2003) by appeal to facts (e.g., Iraq possessed no WMD) and general moral principles (e.g., the NIOF principle).

In philosophy classes, ethics is the study of the realm of moral facts through the writings of philosophers on the subject. Or, perhaps, ethics is just the study of the writings of philosophers on the subject.

Richard Garner says,

[M]oralists are in an uncomfortable position. The conventions at work in our society allow us to ask each other to support the moral judgments we make. We can all begin to meet this demand, but only so far. Since we will never be able to prove our basic assumptions, our moral judgments will only be justifiable relative to judgments we can not justify... The viability of applied ethics depends on a conspiracy to keep the lid on theoretical ethics by assuming that the challenges and objections of the skeptics and the nihilists are not lethal.

In other words, consider the possibility that ethics is a scam.

I am leading up to my argument.

I look forward to it.

Have you actually read much

reed's picture

Have you actually read much of Rand's ethical philosophy?
No.

Tell that to an Eskimo

gregster's picture

Putting on a jumper on a cold day is a moral act.

Morality is the science of human self-preservation.

Question for Reed

Jeff Perren's picture

Have you actually read much of Rand's ethical philosophy?

1. If your life is the

reed's picture

1. If your life is the standard of good then jumping on a grenade cannot be good.
2. Sometimes jumping on a grenade is good.
therefore
3. Your life is not the standard of good.

Also... putting on a jumper (or sweater) on a cold day is *not a moral act*.
*Note for Leonid - I'm not saying that putting on a jumper is an immoral act.

"I oppose the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid."

Robert's picture

On what grounds?

"I have no active role in the Libertarianz Party."

Granted. I should have used the past tense. My apologies.

"No, I'm an individualist."

Defined how? You claimed that ethics cannot be grounded in reality. How then do you check your 'individualist' premises? Do you have a really long dip-stick that you insert in your rear-end - or is that too much reality for you too?

And you have yet to tell is which systems of ethics/morality are perfect in your view.

Checkmate!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Yes, if you want to live you must eat. If you want to live, then eating is an objective requirement. But, contra Rand, that's basic biology, not ethics.

And thus to eat is good, Goode. That's objective ethics, not biology (though derived from the facts of it).

"Good and bad are evaluative

sharon's picture

"Good and bad are evaluative concepts."

Or normative abstractions.

"Yes, if you want to live

sharon's picture

"Yes, if you want to live you must eat. If you want to live, then eating is an objective requirement. But, contra Rand, that's basic biology, not ethics."

Um, yeah, I know it is. I am leading up to my argument. And if you would be so kind as to answer my first question—asked twice—we might be able to have an actual discussion about ethics instead of a piss war of words.

Dangers of Intrinsicism

Lindsay Perigo's picture

For a morality to be rational it is not required to prove that morality exists in nature. It doesn't, in fact. Nature simply is. To say morality inheres in it, whether self-sufficiently or implanted by God—to say, in effect, that morality is metaphysical—is intrinsicism, which, every second post, appears to be Goode's position. To say that the existence of good and bad can't be proven by science is incoherent. Good and bad are evaluative concepts. Objectivists strive to derive those concepts from facts, not intuitions or revelations from ghosts.

"Note to the man with Perigonitis..."

Robert's picture

Jeff, I do envy your ability to write clearly and with wit. Me, I would have stuck with "F... off!" But I can see now that that response would have lacked the requisite panache.

I don't know if Linz will do you justice and retract the suggestion of cowardice (implied or not), but I for one will miss your contributions if you choose to leave. If it helps, I don't think for an instant that Linz was seeking to malign you.

Sharon

Richard Goode's picture

Ah, the Objectivists are having Dr. Goode for lunch.

Ah, no. The Objectivists are working up a lather (in Jeff's case, literally), drooling and frothing at the mouth, but there's no actual eating.

Speaking of eating...

Would you agree that the “eating to stay alive” claim can be proven through science? Are you with me on that?

I'm with you on that.

I am interested in defining what is objectively required (or necessary) assuming a specific goal. For example, if I want to live... I must eat.

Yes, if you want to live you must eat. If you want to live, then eating is an objective requirement. But, contra Rand, that's basic biology, not ethics.

Do Black Holes exist?

Jameson's picture

Can't see them, smell them, taste them or hear them and you sure as hell wouldn't want to touch one. But they exist, proven scientifically through the observation of their effects on surrounding celestial bodies. Wind exists too, though it's entirely invisible. Can't see happiness either but a smile gives that away, as do the eyes and the endorphins. If we want evidence of rational ethics, Goode, we may observe the behaviour of those who live by them, then contrast and compare them with Manson, Adolf and you. Evil Evil Evil

Ambiguity

Jeff Perren's picture

"Ah, the Objectivists are having Dr. Goode for lunch."

I know you didn't mean it this way, but that's just about the most revolting image I can imagine. Smiling

Now I'm going to go read a Perry Mason novel and, so to speak, cleanse my palate.

Ah, the Objectivists are

sharon's picture

Ah, the Objectivists are having Dr. Goode for lunch.

ah

Kasper's picture

... but Glenn, that is a 'self-evident' truth which is logical only in theory but says nothing about the "facts here in the real world". Like the necessity to forticate acid into flour to reduce the incidence of SB. Evil

Easy

Jameson's picture

"Premise 1: Right and wrong can't be proven to exist through science."

1+1=2=right.

1-1=2=wrong.

Corrections

Jeff Perren's picture

I stand corrected on your profession. I accept that you are an anthropologist from Mars.

"Premise 1: Right and wrong can't be proven to exist through science."

That depends on what you mean. Do you consider philosophy a science? If so, P1 is false. If not, see comment on P2. (Also, you're either equivocating on the word "exist," or you're taking your usual Humean stance that only the perceptible is real. An error either way.)

"Premise 2: It's irrational to believe in the existence of something without scientific evidence."

Here again, it depends on what you mean by "scientific." There are other forms of gathering and evaluating evidence that are valid that may nor may not fall under the rubric "science," depending on your intended meaning for that term. (Studies of history, for example. Mathematics, too.) In the broadest sense of the term, all organized observation and rational analysis is science. Ben Franklin was "doing" science, albeit at a considerably less sophisticated level than is currently done. So is Dr. Ronald Pestritto in his book on Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism, unless you intend to regard "political science" as an inherently self-contradictory term, or at best an oxymoron. In another sense, the term only applies to very specific enterprises, such as chemistry. Which is it?

In any case, you've once again chosen to present your argument (as you did in the case of folic acid fortification) in two ways that are mystifying. One, you have a penchant for forming syllogisms that are - as near as I can make out - intended to be of the form: All A is B, All B is C, therefore All A is C, but don't quite fit that form. Your middles appear to be maldistributed. Your construction is so poor (or so devious, take your pick) it's hard to be sure.

More importantly, how you can reasonably expect to reduce a complex issue (like the relationship between freedom and health, or metaethics) to a simple two premise syllogism is odd, to be as generous as possible.

Note to the man with Perigonitis: Don't mistake my tone here for politeness toward Mr. Goode. The most effective way to expose a chef who is deliberately poisoning the soup is to expose his foul ingredients; ladling on thick insults with a big spoon serves more to mask his efforts and would spoil my dish. This is the final time I intend to give you any clues about my methods. You shout "The chef is an evil poisoner!" all you want. There's a valid place for that. In the meantime, I'm going to concentrate on pointing to the bottle of cyanide he's dumping into the meal. Let's agree to let each man do what he does best.

That said, one more aspersion cast my way and you're on your own, no matter your frustration or your preferred mode of fighting the battle. Show the proper, earned respect toward your Brother in Arms if you expect him to fight alongside you. Try to remember that this soldier is a Missouri mule and responds much more favorably to carrots than to sticks. Or, as my mother used to put it: "You can goad me a mile, but you can't push me an inch."

Several major corrections...

Richard Goode's picture

Mr. Goode... has no power to harm anyone but a few of his more gullible students

I don't have students. I'm not a philosophy professor.

Mr Goode is a prominent member of the NZ Libertarianz political party.

I have no active role in the Libertarianz Party.

Might is right.

No, it's not.

And there is no truth in your lexicon, remember?

No, I don't. Do you?

Nor is there any "wrong" in your lexicon.

Yes, there is.

the cult of nihilism, of which Goode is a card-carrying member

I'm not a nihilist.

you... propose to force bakers to include folate in their product

No, I don't. I oppose the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid.

you are a collectivist among other things.

No, I'm an individualist.

Truth is well-served by... your proclamation that there is no truth

There is no such proclamation.

Seeking a common ground

sharon's picture

Richard,

I am interested in defining what is objectively required (or necessary) assuming a specific goal. For example, if I want to live, I do not have to like a certain kind of food, however, I must eat. Yes, "eating" remains a preference (especially certain foods of my liking), but I do not have to eat, in the same way that I have to obey gravity - but "eating" is a universal, objective, and binding requirement for staying alive; it relies on biological facts that cannot be wished away. Would you agree that the “eating to stay alive” claim can be proven through science? Are you with me on that?

Let me help you out

Richard Goode's picture

Right and wrong don't exist. They can't be proven to exist through science, and to say that they exist without scientific evidence means you can believe anything could exist.

Let me help you out. This is an argument, not an avowal. To make it clear that I was presenting an argument, I prefaced my presentation of the argument with the words, "Here's an argument..."

Here's a more formal presentation of the same argument.

Premise 1: Right and wrong can't be proven to exist through science.
Premise 2: It's irrational to believe in the existence of something without scientific evidence.
Conclusion: Right and wrong don't exist.

This argument has the same logical structure as the argument below, due to another well-known philosopher.

God doesn't exist. He can't be proven to exist through science, and to say that he exists without scientific evidence means you can believe anything could exist.

Here's a more formal presentation of the same argument.

Premise 1: God can't be proven to exist through science.
Premise 2: It's irrational to believe in the existence of something without scientific evidence.
Conclusion: God doesn't exist.

If you endorse the latter argument and its conclusion, you must also endorse the former argument and its conclusion. Unless, of course, you believe that right and wrong can be proven to exist through science. (They can't.)

For a bunch of people who profess to hold reason as their only absolute, your almost total lack of interest (and, indeed, grasp) of logic and argument is remarkable.

Mr. P. ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

There's one detail you omit: that when I received your missive on Goode, I wrote back saying, "SAY IT!!!!!!!" (meaning say it publicly). You didn't respond.

To me your missive nailed it far better than your relatively genteel posts. It frustrates the hell out of me when folk say to me privately what they should be saying publicly but are not.

And I wasn't maligning you. You're far too valuable here for me to do that. If you hadn't stepped up no one would have known about whom I was talking.

I like to think of core SOLOists as a Band of Brothers. No place for faintness of heart or sweet nothings in the ears. I care nothing for private assurances. In the battle we're fighting public solidarity is extremely important, though there are quite a few I have difficulty convincing of that.

We are fortunate in having Dr. Goode. He is a worthy, spine-chilling exemplar of what it is we're battling against. Morality is a superstition. Morality doesn't exist. Morality does exist and is a matter of faith. We can't be certain of anything. We can be certain that our intuitions are accurate. Slayer is music. Etc., etc., etc.. Contradictory, incoherent, but with an underlying, deadly consistency: anti-mind.

Right and wrong exist.

Ptgymatic's picture

They are the character of one's actions which, correspondingly, serve one's life, or disable it. What's mysterious about that? Objectivism 101. Life is conditional.

Mindy

Athiests...

Robert's picture

Don't believe things on faith.

Should I take it from your closing line that you are not an atheist but are, in fact, a mystic?

"Here's an argument for you, Glenn."

Jameson's picture

"Right and wrong don't exist. They can't be proven to exist through science, and to say that they exist without scientific evidence means you can believe anything could exist. Ethics has no rational basis."

I don't doubt you could 'prove' the existence of the tooth fairy. Now if you'll pardon me, I'm off to take a bath with a wire brush.

One slight correction...

Robert's picture

"Mr. Goode, who is not a public figure and has no power to harm anyone but a few of his more gullible students,"

Mr Goode is a prominent member of the NZ Libertarianz political party. Linz's campaign is designed to illuminate Goode's philosophical beliefs in an attempt to immunize the rest of the (very small) party. I do not begrudge Goode's efforts to agitate on behalf of freedom in NZ. Here he has done sterling work and has stuck to the policies that Linz et al. came up with.

The problem will come when someone asks Goode a question that requires him to ad lib and answer. And as this Folate issue shows, his fascistic slip will show because the basis for his belief in freedom is illusionary.

When you look at Goode, you see a pre-parliamentary version of Arlen Specter or a George Bush. Someone who mouths the words, but doesn't believe them. You can see what happens when this sort of person comes into power by looking at the current news cycle.

So while Goode cannot harm US citizens. He is in a position to shoot Libertarianz in the foot. There is nothing more dangerous than an idiot with a PhD.

As for Linz. Take it as a backwards compliment (or should that be upside down compliment seeing as Linz is down under). He values your talent and intellect that he wants to see more of it, here. So he goads you into posting. Best thing is to tell him to fuck off and as penance make him buy the first three rounds the next time he materializes in your neck of the woods.

Deleted duplicate post

Robert's picture

Deleted duplicate post

Moral Pronouncements

Jeff Perren's picture

"Someone who hasn't the guts to say so publicly told me Goode made him feel like taking a shower. I fear the hot water would run out before I felt cleansed of this thing." [Linz]

Since Linz has taken to maligning me again, let's have it out in the open. Linz' comment is the result of an email I sent him a few days ago saying this:

"Some superstitions are stupid and stinking. Some superstitions - such
as morality and, perhaps, Christianity - are indispensable." [Goode]

[Jeff to Linz] Man, in my most cynical moments I have never dropped to the level of
this creature.

I remember an interview with Sean Connery during which he was asked, I'm
paraphrasing - but closely - the question and his answer, what was the
most important thing in the world to him. His reply was: "To feel good
inside my own skin at the end of the day." (I.e. - as was obvious from
his tone and phrasing - to possess integrity and avoid having a guilty
conscience from having compromised or chosen unworthy values. That is,
he was not - as the phrase might suggest if you hadn't seen the
interview - advocating mindless hedonism.)

I can't imagine how it must feel to live inside that skin at the end of
the day. And I hope I never can. Frankly, merely reading his words makes
me want to shower."

Once again, for reasons I've still not yet discovered, Linz insists on the most uncharitable interpretation of my actions. Why it should be regarded as morally obligatory, on pain of (I suppose) being regarded as lacking courage (and possibly integrity), to make one's every view of every villain publicly known is beyond me.

So be it. Now it is.

My purpose in writing these words to Linz, a mistake I won't make again, was to give him (and myself) a feeling of visibility, that there was someone who saw a little bit of the world as he did. That, apparently, is not sufficient. Apparently, it doesn't count if it isn't announced to the world. Refraining from doing so wasn't an absence of guts; read my blog if you think I'm too soft on villains. I've given up trying to explain to him my reasons, but I will to this audience. One of them is this: In cases such as Mr. Goode, who is not a public figure and has no power to harm anyone but a few of his more gullible students, there's no moral obligation to speak up every time he echoes David Hume. The occasional mocking remark is quite enough. The audience, I'm confident, already knows this. Why Linz does not is an ongoing mystery.

But you see ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... smarmball, I encourage contact with you. You flounced from here; I didn't banish you. Truth is well-served by the obviousness of your dissembling, including your proclamation that there is no truth, your evasion of my arguments and your guilt-by-outlandish-association game. Jehovah's Witnesses? Please, Goose—that's your domain. Faith, remember?

It remains true that I need to take a long shower to cleanse myself of you. That's not cultism; it's rational hygiene.

Note the total evasion of my points in my last post. Here they are again:

____________________

Right and wrong don't exist. They can't be proven to exist through science, and to say that they exist without scientific evidence means you can believe anything could exist [Goose].

But he just told us there was an objective morality.

This creature would just put anything out there for the sake of its word-games. It just did.

I wonder what game it would play with someone who proposed to kill it? "There's no right and wrong"? Yeah, that would work. "I just feel you shouldn't"? Yeah, that would work too.

More classic cult behaviour

Richard Goode's picture

In some cults, members are told to absolutely avoid any contact with people who have left the cult.* They are told that the departees are evil and dangerous, and must be shunned and ostracized. Good Scientologists may not have any contact with people who have been declared "Suppressive Persons." Jehovah's Witnesses may not talk to or associate with those who have been "disfellowshipped." Likewise, good Moonies may not communicate in any way with those who have left. That is an act of self-preservation for the cult: They don't want to risk their members being told some sensible things by people who were lucky enough to get out.

*If contact is unavoidable, take a shower to cleanse yourself.

Dissembling smarmy turd's "argument"

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Right and wrong don't exist. They can't be proven to exist through science, and to say that they exist without scientific evidence means you can believe anything could exist.

But he just told us there was an objective morality.

This creature would just put anything out there for the sake of its word-games. It just did.

I wonder what game it would play with someone who proposed to kill it? "There's no right and wrong"? That, that would work. "I just feel you shouldn't"? Yeah, that would work too.

Someone who hasn't the guts to say so publicly told me Goode made him feel like taking a shower. I fear the hot water would run out before I felt cleansed of this thing.

Glenn

Richard Goode's picture

Here's an argument for you, Glenn. Evil

Right and wrong don't exist. They can't be proven to exist through science, and to say that they exist without scientific evidence means you can believe anything could exist.

Ethics has no rational basis.

"So, Goode... you have a priori knowledge of what is right...?"

Jameson's picture

The longer this goes unanswered the thinner his shrill will get until he falsettos himself into a eunuch.

This is way better than watching Wimbledon. Evil

"My argument is here. Why don't you respond to it?"

Ptgymatic's picture

Goode, 8-11-09. I followed the link, and found an argument that Hitler was good for Swiss bankers, though he was bad for Jews, so neither judgment of him holds up as objective, that is, from everyone's point of view.

The Swiss bankers received large deposits from German Jews trying to protect their savings. This is a good thing for the Swiss bankers, and therefore Hitler was, for them, a good thing, the argument goes.

But how myopic do you have to be to grant this? The Swiss bankers who get the funds that were chased out of Germany also get the threats that set them moving. The very threats to life and property that Hitler made against German Jews apply to everyone with reach of his ambitions as a tyrant. Before Hitler, the Swiss bankers actually owned their deposits. With Hitler, their lives and property are only conditionally theirs, and the needs of the third Reich dictate how long Swiss bankers may delude themselves (if they did) that their swollen deposits ledgers are a blessing.

The same thing applies to Goode's baker scenario. Is forcing bakers to include supplements, at the cost of violating individual rights to property good for anybody? Children born to parents who won't bother about health are the victims of their parents' negligence.

Mindy

Curses!!!

Robert's picture

Grammatically slapped again!

Here, here and here.

Kasper's picture

Richard, here is a list of refutations by people that have exposed the error in your arguement.
1) Stolen concept
2) Intrinsic theory
3) Protectionsim against stupidity and negligence of some mothers as a cause for coercing bakers.

Leonid wrote: using these premises one may say: In real life thousands of children die every day from malnutrition. Mandatory distribution of bread (even without folic acid) could safe their lives. Freedom for bakers is bad for starving children. Or: South African doctors tend to emigrate; so many people couldn't get proper health service. Ban on doctors' emigration could improve morbidity and mortality rates. Freedom of doctors is bad for everybody else. Observe: mandatory means initiation of force. The guy is begging for "little coercion"

Glenn Jameson: "Freedom of bakers to choose not to include Vitamin D in their bread does indirectly result in more people being short."
Kaspers' comment on this one: Your body and its susceptibility to ailment is not a claim on another individual who might be able to do something about it.

Duncan:
" Freedom of bakers results in people having the freedom to choose to take folate supplements, or not. Some people do not, and more babies are born with spina bifida than would be the case if that freedom was removed. There is no direct causal link between voluntary folate fortification of bread, and spina bifida rates. The causality is indirect, and mediated by individual choice. What your argument boils down to is that, as some people choose poorly in the case of folate supplements, the right to choose should be denied everyone."

Jeff Perren: Freedom permits some individuals to jump off a bridge. Therefore freedom isn't good for everyone.
Freedom permits some individuals to bash others on the head. Therefore freedom isn't good for everyone.
Freedom permits husbands to lie to wives about banging their sisters without the wife's permission. Therefore freedom isn't good for everyone.

Glen Jameson: "B is a false statement. Goode: "Freedom (of bakers) isn't good for people with preventable spina bifida. (A fact of reality.)"

Kasper: Spina Bifida is a fact of reality for human beings that have inadequate nutrition. As you have noted, the resolution to this is to add folic acid to the diet. So do so. There is no case for coercing bakers to add it to their products, nor to toothpaste or water or anything else. Why isn't there? Because to attack the freedom of individuals is to act in a concrete bound pragmatism, i.e devoid of all other principles, only leaving the incidence of SB to deal with. If you were to act in that way you would have no freedom at all.

The only case you could have is to prove that the freedom of bakers is bad because they cause spina bifida. They don't cause it so their
freedom cannot be said to be bad or wrong.

Your stolen concept premise continues. You can't deny the validity of a concept by using that concept as a valid means to invalidate it. You use concepts within objectivism which you believe to be invalid, as valid tools to aid you in your assertions. This is an utter contradiction on your part.

Or

gregster's picture

Atlases Shrugged Smiling

"You mentioned earlier that

sharon's picture

"You mentioned earlier that there are very few perfect moral codes. Very well, name the perfect ones (in your opinion)."

Robert asks Richard to narrow it down to a specific ethics, I would like Richard to step back one foot more, as I already mentioned, and to name why there is this field in philosophy in the first place. To put it this way: what purpose does the investigation of ethics serve at all, no matter what ethical ideas we argue over, generally speaking.

Pedantic.

Robert's picture

Failing human life = dying. Dying is not considered by anyone with a scintilla of honesty to be synonymous with living.

Human life? Please. Don't be a total brick-brain. Of course Rand and Linz are talking about human life. That is apparent in any and all of their fucking writing. You deliberately ignored that context in order to be a pedantic git. Rand did not name her magnum opus Celery Shrugged that is enough of a clue to anyone with a brain larger than a peanut.

Thriving? Thriving by what measure? Oh that's right, you don't believe in tying your ethics to reality so you have no ruler to measure anything by.

In case it escaped you, Objectivism is not a philosophy for men plural. It is a philosophy for the INDIVIDUAL man. The goals of men (plural) are so damned disparate that they will conflict with one another (the reason this world is so fucked up -- as you lamented earlier).

Rand was (as far as I know) the only one to posit a philosophy for the INDIVIDUAL. It is why her magnum opus isn't called Atlas' Shrugged. Everyone else (it seems) is concerned with centrally planning a better human race. Rand sort to give the individual the tools to make himself better -- a self made man. Hence one mans definition of thriving may be scorned by another. That is unless you have made a virtue out of selfishness and understanding and adhering to reality (including the reality of your own abilities, situation and desires). Rand did this.

You do not. You rely on faith (aka a whim) to anchor your ethics. Thus you can whimsically propose to force bakers to include folate in their product even though your logical circle cannot be closed until you begin forcing pregnant women to eat that product.

IF you are being honest that your quibble has to do with the fact that you are a collectivist among other things. Only I don't believe you are being honest. There is no way in hell that you are this much of a Cretin. You must be pretending in order to stir shit.

Let's see:

You mentioned earlier that there are very few perfect moral codes. Very well, name the perfect ones (in your opinion).

Linz

Richard Goode's picture

Objectivists will deny that human flourishing is good? Here is what I *actually* said in the post to which this dissembling, smarmy turd links, in answer to his question, "Is life good?"

I wasn't being a dissembling, smarmy turd, I was being charitable.

Presumably, when you posit life as the standard of (moral) value, you mean human life - not the life of the Tsetse fly, Treponema pallidum or celery.

And, presumably, you posit a flourishing human life as the standard of value, not a failing one.

Rand refers to "that which is required for the survival of man qua man". Never mind surviving... what about thriving?!

time to jump in...

sharon's picture

Richard, a simple and straight forward question: Let’s step aside from the question of “objectivity in ethics” and “life as the standard” just for a moment, shall we? Let me ask this question: if a philosophical field such as ethics is a legitimate study at all, what would be the purpose of it? What is ethics all about, leaving aside what ethical theories are plausible and which are bogus? What is this ethics biz alllllllllllll about, eh?

Here's how it works

Richard Goode's picture

I put up an argument here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Then Linz accuses me of

evasive smart-assery in lieu of argumentation

and says I'll do

Anything but put up an argument and proceed in good faith.

Go figure.

"Rather than honestly and

sharon's picture

"Rather than honestly and intelligently debating with critics, using facts and logic, the cult will resort to low personal attacks on the critic, using name-calling, slander, condescending put-downs, libelous accusations, personal slurs, accusations of bad motives, and casting aspersions on the critic's intelligence and sanity"

Yep, as the resident anarchist on an Objectivist site, I have been on the receiving end of this. Sticking out tongue

More classic cult behaviour

Richard Goode's picture

Rather than honestly and intelligently debating with critics, using facts and logic, the cult will resort to low personal attacks on the critic, using name-calling, slander, condescending put-downs, libelous accusations, personal slurs, accusations of bad motives, and casting aspersions on the critic's intelligence and sanity

True intellectuals

Richard Goode's picture

no one could be more respectful of intellectuals than Objectivists. True intellectuals...

True intellectuals, like Hume and Kant? Einstein, perhaps?

And incidentally ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Contrary to the smarmy dissembling turd, no one could be more respectful of intellectuals than Objectivists. True intellectuals, not posturing pomo-dilettantes such as the philosophy professors cited in Winefield's and Perren's latest posts on the folic acid thread..

"There is an ancient slogan that applies to our present position: 'The King is dead—long live the King!' We can say with the same dedication to the future: 'The intellectuals are dead—long live the intellectuals!'—and then proceed to fulfill the responsibility which that honorable title once implied."

Here's how it works:

Lindsay Perigo's picture

A smarmy dissembling turd shows himself to be a smarmy dissembling turd by serially dishonest, evasive smart-assery in lieu of argumentation.

Linz calls smarmy dissembling turd a smarmy dissembling turd in light of overwhelming evidence.

Smarmy dissembling turd cries "Cultism!" "Irrational abusive anger!" and the like. Anything but put up an argument and proceed in good faith.

There's only one manifestation of "cultism" here: the cult of nihilism, of which Goode is a card-carrying member.

I can't speak for others but

Kasper's picture

I for one am angry at you.

Not because of your dessent.

But because of your blatant un-acknowledgment of where your theories crumble and your persistant repitition of refuted claims. These have consisted of your theory that concepts such as 'good' are intrinsic, also your blatant negation of an error pointed out to you, the stolen concept. It is dishonest and corrupt to continue an error that has been brought to your attention several times - not to mention you have not even acknowledge some them. You then proceeded to misconstrue Lindsays post by providing a paraphrase which was incorrect.

You have not presented a case of your own. This has been in debate for several weeks. You have spent all your time simply asserting that Objectivist ethics crumbles without presenting a proper case.

Kasper

Richard Goode's picture

So what part of this is incomprehendible to you?

Objectivist ethics isn't incomprehensible, it's just stupid.

I'm astounded that seemingly otherwise intelligent people believe this stuff. But the world is a fucked up place, so I suppose that Objectivist ethics fits well into the larger scheme of things.

I'm also astounded at the angry, abusive tirades with which my dissenting opinions are almost invariable received.

It's classic cult behaviour.

Cults almost invariably have strong contempt for the intellect, human intelligence, and any attempt to think independently. They even use the word "intellectual" as an insult.

The reason for such a strong anti-intellectual bias is simple: critical and analytical thought is very threatening to a cult's precepts. The cult's irrational dogma simply cannot stand up to rational examination, so the intellect is treated with scorn and contempt to try to preclude such examination.

Anti-intellectual attitudes, and contempt, fear, and hatred of the intellect — to the extent that the very word "intellectual" is a term of abuse — are typical of totalitarian regimes from Nazi Germany to Maoist China. They are also common features of totalist cults.

Ha!

Kasper's picture

That is because it cannot be coherently answered.

Typical Dishonesty by Dr Bad-Faith

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Objectivists will deny that human flourishing is good? Here is what I *actually* said in the post to which this dissembling, smarmy turd links, in answer to his question, "Is life good?" I leave it to readers to discern whether I'm denying that human flourishing is good, or whether this skank is just engaging in yet more supercilious smart-assery:

It is the *standard* of the good. Life simply is. Life is here. *We* are alive. We have no control over that. "Good" doesn't come into that part of it. Life is the standard of what enables us to *remain* alive, which we must choose to do, and the "good" consists of those choices that are life-conducive. If we choose death, like your headbanging friends, we should be consistent and commit suicide, not linger and make appalling noises as a career.
So, Goode, back to my question: you have a priori knowledge of what is right, right?

Note, my question has still not been answered.

RG

Kasper's picture

You've managed to corner yourself. The requirments of your nature as a human being means you need a morality. Human life as the standard of value for good vs bad gives good vs bad meaning by supplying a reference point.
Good vs bad without any standard of function is meaningLESS. Hence the flaw in the intrincisist premise.
There is no such thing as 'good' or 'bad' by itself, with no reference point. By the very concept of 'good' or 'bad' the underlying questions of for whom and for what are required. You deny these however, but you use these questions to argue your point for coercing bakers to add folic acid to flour to prevent spina bifida in babies. You can't deny the validity of a concept by using that concept as a valid tool to invalidate it. The agent relative required for establishing 'good' vs 'bad' is an irreducable primary required for morality. Human life as the standard of value is then derived from this.

On the one hand, Richard, you're saying it is invalid for objectivists to use an agent relative to denote 'good' but on the other hand it is valid to use an agent relative for when you decide what is good for babies with spina bifida or human flourishing.

Basic

Jeff

Richard Goode's picture

Objective, but with no rational basis? What does that mean?

By "no rational basis" I mean that we have no reason, other than pragmatism, to believe that there is such an objective moral code.

By "objective" do you simply mean "universal," or the other common meaning "exists, whether anyone recognizes it or not," or what?

I mean "exists, whether anyone recognizes it or not". It is, also, universal.

What are its tenets?

One of them is, "Human flourishing is good". Objectivists, of course, will deny this!

Thanks for asking.

Puzzled

Jeff Perren's picture

"There is an objective moral code." [Goode]

Objective, but with no rational basis? What does that mean? And what is this "objective moral code"? Does it have a name? What are its tenets?

By "objective" do you simply mean "universal," or the other common meaning "exists, whether anyone recognizes it or not," or what?

"In truth, Objectivist

Kasper's picture

"In truth, Objectivist ethics is essentially subjective, since it is grounded in your choice of life as your standard of value"

The choice of life as the standard of value is not an arbitrary one. The first question isn't: What kind of morality does man need. Rather, does man need morality at all? The answer to this is yes. You then take into account what was identified as mans nature, his identity, that is what kind of creature he is and combine this with his relationship to the external world. Based on this proper contextual observation, life as the standard of value is not arbitrary but a necessity.

I take it you have read all the reasons behind this in her books. So what part of this is incomprehendible to you?

Sharon

Richard Goode's picture

A simple and genuine question: do you only have issue with the Objectivist ethics, or with the idea of objectivity in ethics; that is, that there is an objective ethical code?

There is an objective moral code.

'Objectivist ethics' is a misnomer. In truth, Objectivist ethics is essentially subjective, since it is grounded in your choice of life as your standard of value.

Most moral systems are flawed. None provides a rational foundation for morality. However, faith (i.e., believing that ethics has a basis) is preferable to nihilism (i.e., believing that ethics has no basis). The other option is delusion - thinking that your favoured moral theory (e.g., Objectivist ethics) provides a rational foundation for ethics when, demonstrably, it doesn't.

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