Twiffy wrote:I'm with you on a) and c). Regarding rationality, I do think that rationality is a pretty objective thing. In a lot of ways, it's the ability to think mathematically about non-mathematical concepts.
1) Free-market Capitalism. Libertarians will appreciate Ayn Rand's economic ideals, but most others agree that if there are no restrictions on pollution, for example, factories will satisfy their self-interest by saving money via not curbing pollution, not installing filters, etc. And this will result in a significantly worse world for everyone 100 years down the line, or even 15 years down the line, depending on the type and quantity of pollution.
Also, most people favor minimum wage laws, fair worker treatment polices, and so on.
2) The objective-ness of inane things. Ayn Rand claims that Objective Reality extends to notions like "this painting is good", or even "this sandwich is yummy". A sandwich is either objectively yummy, or not. If it is objectively yummy and someone eats the sandwich and finds it disgusting, they are simply wrong. Most of us intuitively object to this, because we classify taste under the category of "subjective" experiences. Some people find the sandwich yummy, others find it disgusting, but there's no objective truth to the matter.
3) The insistence on selfishness. Ayn Rand makes a few good points about how selfishness isn't bad, but then insists that one must be selfish at all times. In Atlas Shrugged, when one character helps another, they almost universally take pains to justify how their actions are selfish, and NOT selfless. The justifications come across to me as pained and dishonest. There is a selfish justification for selfless actions, but it seems to escape Ms. Rand.
4) The (mis)application of logic to her philosophy. Ayn Rand is fairly singular among rational philosophers. On one hand, she advocates rationality, which most agree is a good thing. On the other hand, she insists that her doctrine can be derived from pure logic. This is extremely unlikely. Theorems in logic don't look like "Capitalism is better than socialism." They look like "(A v B) ^ (-A) -> B." How could pure logic have any idea of what a human is, let alone what capitalism is, let ALONE the idea that capitalism is better than socialism???
It matters not whether the hamburger was made with more favored ingredients. "The hamburger is good because it is made with fresh ingredients". This statement is subjective. It doesn't matter if no one would argue against that statement. As long as someone canargue against that statement, it is no longer objective. One might say that it is better for your health. That would be objective. The taste of rotten hamburger may be pleasing to one and displeasing to another. So taste remains subjective.
I don't think everything can be declared objectively like mathematics.
Life isn't that serious, it's just an experiment.
Twiffy, one reason why Objectivism does not dry up and blow away is because people keep attacking it by misrepresenting it and insulting it rather than representing it accurately and completely and then responsibly refuting it. Itâ€™s easy to say Objectivists are stupid or that Rand is a moron, and it is not hard to find fault in Rand as a person or to find places where her philosophy is incomplete or vulnerable to criticism. However, much of her philosophy still holds up and is worthy of defense against cavalier attempts to dismiss it. We should not ridicule individualism and rejection of subjugation to god or society. We should not put down the defense of natural rights for all humans, a principle for which the United States stands. We should respect Randâ€™s authenticity. No, she was not a god, but she was also not a moron.
There is a difference of opinion on the dangers of pollution as opposed to the dangers of an economic collapse. When oneâ€™s house is being torn apart, does one rush to dust off the furniture? Yes, I agree that something needs to be done about toxic waste and factories which dump in otherwise clean rivers and fields, but I also think responsible industry can clean up after itself or suffer the repercussions of bad public relations, leaving itself open to competition from more responsible industry in a free market economy. Fair worker treatment policies can also be regulated by the invisible hand, according to respectable philosophers such as Robert Nozick, who differs from Rand only a little.
There is a difference of opinion on the dangers of pollution as opposed to the dangers of an economic collapse.
Fair worker treatment policies can also be regulated by the invisible hand, according to respectable philosophers such as Robert Nozick, who differs from Rand only a little.
You are exaggerating the â€œthis sandwich is yummyâ€ argument. I claim it is a straw man, and I challenge you to cite it in Objectivist literature.
Selfishness is a good thing which has been portrayed as evil for too long. Without self-interest, we wouldnâ€™t live long and flourish. Rational egoism is hard to refute. A rational egoist would choose to live in a moral community and be moral within it. It would be in his or her rational self-interest to do so. And, since our self-interests are often intertwined with the interests of others, I donâ€™t think is hard to justify helping others in the interest of self-interest. What would be wrong is to sell out, to live our lives for other people, rather than ourselves. It would be wrong to deny ourselves, like some religions tell us to do. It is our life, and we only have one. We should live it for ourselves.
She bases her views on A is A, the principle of identity, and says causation is a corollary, the law of identity applied to action. In A is A, she says man is an entity of a certain kind and requires conditions of existence for his proper survival qua man. These conditions include natural rights, the same rights advocated by Locke and Jefferson. Instead of basing these rights on faith, as religious conservatives do, she tries to justify them with logic. I think she could do better here, going into biology and linguistics to find a scientific basis for freedom and flourishing survival for man, and her philosophy of objective realty could use some help from a subjective and unsystematic philosophy like Sartreâ€™s existentialism. However, I applaud her effort. I donâ€™t think Objectivism is stupid.
Perhaps not. Russell and Whitehead tried. Goedel shot them down.
Free-market capitalism means no governmental restrictions on pollution.
Thus, if I am a paper manufacturer, I can choose to spend more money on pollution control, or save that money. Now, what is my expectation in the two different situations? Most Americans don't care about pollution laws.
There are many good examples where the spending the money necessary to curb pollution to a reasonable best-for-all level would result in a net loss, because the public wouldn't care enough to give you their business. On the other hand, if you instead offer lower prices than your competitor, which you are only able to afford because you DON'T spend money to curb pollution, people will be attracted to your lower prices, and you will get more business. Rational self-interest in this case really does mean "pollute and offer lower prices", and does NOT correpond to a best-in-general scenario.
Lastly, if you dismiss environmental issues as less significant, you're way off the mark. Every available scientific study indicates that humans will begin to suffer significantly because of environmental effects, in addition to the effects which we've already noticed (higher incidences of skin cancer, more respiratory diseases, increased natural disasters like Katrina).
Pollution has the capacity to render the earth uninhabitable by humans; economic collapse will just screw over a culture for a few decades. Pollution is by far the more important of the two, assuming we give a crap about future generations. Also, your implication that curbing pollution will result in economic collapse is ridiculous. Less profit for companies, better filters and better technology. It's an effort, not a risk, and it's shameful that Americans have done such a poor job in this regard to date.
You will probably disagree with this, but there is undeniable proof of this, and it's called the Prisoner's Dillema. (Look it up on Wikipedia if you are unfamiliar with it.) If both men act selfishly, they both get maximum jail time; if they both act selflessly, they get off easy. Selflessness, and putting oneself at personal risk, produces the optimal scenario in the Prisoner's Dillema, and in other situations as well (pollution).
In a multitude of examples, the "invisible hand" regulation fails miserably. It only succeeds in very isolated, specific circumstances.
Even if this weren't true (and it is), is there any good reason to NOT post these standard human-rights laws? If we do, the worst that happens is that employers can't mistreat their workers. If we don't, the worst that happens is that workers get mistreated. Clearly, the first is a better scenario than the second.
You are absolutely correct. It is nowhere in objectivist literature to the best of my knowledge
however, the point, that simple, subjective things are held by Rand to be objective, remains; and I contend that even though I intentionally chose a silly example to exemplify this aspect of Rand's philosophy, it is in no way inaccurate. But let us proceed on the topic of art, which certainly IS mentioned in Objectivist literature, and to which the same arguments and counterarguments certainly apply.
You say a rational egoist would choose to live in a moral community. Why wouldn't he choose to become a master thief, living an exciting lifestyle in which he benefitted, and didn't care about those who didn't benefit? If he's rational, he will accurately be able to make conclusions like "A implies B". If he's an egoist, he cares only for his own well being. Now, if he notices that he's smart and athletic, that he is dextrous and resourceful, and that he loves the idea of the superthief lifestyle he's seen in movies, what reason would he POSSIBLY have to not try it? He wouldn't be afraid of getting caught, because he's smart and rational enough to know that he can be a thief in certain areas with just about zero chance of failure. He certainly wouldn't care about hurting other people, because of his self-interest.
I have argued extensively for rational egoism, and I think I can support that a rational egoist would not steal, even if it appeared he or she could get away with it. It has to do with wanting to live authentically and not as a brain in a vat, faking reality. If a rational egoist had to choose between winning a race honestly or cheating to make people think he or she won, he or she would choose to win honestly.
MadMan's point is right on. A rational egoist will choose to cheat to win
No, Twiffy, a rational egoist would rather live authentically than in a faked reality.
NickOtani wrote:Becoming a predator is not in one's rational self-interest. It would not be rational to become a hypocrite and do to others what one would not want done to himself or herself. One would lose moral authority, integrety, and possibly become a parasite living on the productive accomplishments of honorable people.
First of all.. One would only lose moral authority, integrity, ect given one was CAUGHT! otherwise one could very simply retain authority and all other social "benefits" because they are granted by OTHERS not one self..
Secondly i find it amuzing that you should mention the risk of "becoming a parasite living on the productive accomplishments of honorable people." I would say that this is the case for all of us in one way or another.. what is honorable work? and what is parasitic?
Would you say that advertisement agencies are parasites, or honorable and productive members of society?
Bottom line is.. if you can make people pay you willingly... you have earned it.. if the Egoist believes he is serving as an example for all humans and that his actions alone will somehow cause all humans to act as he does... i'm sure you're right.. he might consider acting more "honorable".. but fact is... this is not the case.. he can act as he pleases and it will not alter the world.. a RATIONAL egoist, who wishes to avoid living in a "fake reality", might notice this little detail, and act accordingly.. how other people act depends entirely on their beliefs.. which CAN be manipulated.. to avoid utter chaos.. but this does not require the rational egoist to serve as an example.. only to APPEAR as one..
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