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Author Topic: Open-System Objectivism (Randian)  (Read 7008 times)

StudiodeKadent

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #75 on: June 16, 2012, 09:39:19 am »
Quote from: RandallS;60289
Whether or not there is a truly Objective Reality, I think Randian (and similar forms of) Philosophical Objectivism is at its core selfish nonsense. To me, it's similar to Rawl's Theory of Justice -- it sounds neat when you read it but reality doesn't work that way. In other words, I see both based on a very flawed view of what people are like.


Care to explain exactly why you disagree with Objectivism?

I have nothing against disagreement, that's perfectly okay. I just want to know why you disagree with it.

And Rand's concept of "selfish" is very different from the popular view of what "selfish" means. In common language, "selfish" means an unprincipled brute that will trample over piles of corpses to get their way. In Objectivism, all "selfish" means is that it is proper for individuals to live their lives for their own happiness and fulfillment.

What is it about Objectivism's "view of what people are like" that you disagree with?

Maps

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #76 on: June 16, 2012, 11:15:03 am »
Quote from: StudiodeKadent;60285
That said, I've met lots of people that actually resemble Rand's villains in some respects so I wouldn't go so far as to say they were painfully flat.

That said, I'm not here to defend Rand's art. I'm here to discuss and learn about various different belief systems. I mentioned my philosophy openly and the discussion went on (generally civilly).

Some people in real life are, unfortunately, pretty two-dimensional as well. :whis:

May I suggest, that if you're truly here to learn about other belief systems, you might eventually leave this thread and investigate the rest of the forum? The entire place is, pretty much, comprised of thousands of discussions about beliefs of every stripe. You might have better luck in approaching others in their discussions rather than expecting them to come here. Not saying that you should jump into a bunch of threads and start debating people, but that you would actually accomplish this learning by reading more of the forum. (That is, of course, if you haven't done so already.)

Also, correct me if I'm wrong Randall, but I believe that trying to dictate the terms of a forum topic is prohibited here. (Got dinged for it myself.)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 11:16:41 am by Maps »

StudiodeKadent

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #77 on: June 16, 2012, 02:10:19 pm »
Quote from: Maps;60307

May I suggest, that if you're truly here to learn about other belief systems, you might eventually leave this thread and investigate the rest of the forum? The entire place is, pretty much, comprised of thousands of discussions about beliefs of every stripe. You might have better luck in approaching others in their discussions rather than expecting them to come here. Not saying that you should jump into a bunch of threads and start debating people, but that you would actually accomplish this learning by reading more of the forum. (That is, of course, if you haven't done so already.)


I am reading plenty of topics on this forum. I'm not expecting anyone to come here. This was originally my intro topic, after all, but it became a discussion of the philosophy I agree with.

Also, your use of the phrase "if you're truly here to learn about other belief systems" sounds like (correct me if I'm wrong) you're questioning my motives. Not calling you out, but don't you think there's reason to accept my sincerity?

Quote
Also, correct me if I'm wrong Randall, but I believe that trying to dictate the terms of a forum topic is prohibited here. (Got dinged for it myself.)


If it is against the rules to dictate the terms of a topic, allow me to rephrase my former statement to the following:

"I'd rather not be placed in a situation where other people wish for me to answer for someone else's personality flaws and/or psychological quirks."

Juniperberry

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #78 on: June 16, 2012, 03:49:12 pm »
Quote from: StudiodeKadent;60262
I already linked you to an article which gave what Rand actually said about Hickman. She considered him a "purposeless monster" (her exact words). You might dismiss that article as "one blog" but said blog contains accurate quotes and exerpts from the relevant material.


What you aren't understanding is that that one blog didn't change my opinion of the Rand-Hickman issue. No one, not even Rand, said that going out and dismembering little girls is awesome cakes. She may have thought his actions were monstrous. Fine.

My issue is that  I would've spent more time reflecting on the pain of the child and the family. Rand chose to reflect on Hickman. It's a fundamental difference in perspective that has nothing to do with misreading the information.

Which is why the Objectivist principle of reality, that facts are facts independent of man's feelings, is crap.  We could go on and on about Rand-Hickman and never come to an agreement. Her writings are a fact in that they happened, but the reality of them is decided my man's evaluation of them. Even her truth of the matter is an emotional reality.

If this isn't in the realm of her philosophy, then Objectivism is flawed.

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Taking something written by Rand when she was very young (before even We The Living IIRC), then distorting it, and then claiming it as representative of her mature philosophical positions, is extremely intellectually dishonest (no, I'm not accusing you of being intellectually dishonest; as you have stated you aren't a Rand scholar and so you probably aren't familiar with the background material).


But its all of her works I find problems with.

If her mature philosophy of free trade is to become a possibility than who determines the value of items to be traded? If a man wishes to trade a bucket of worms for gold than how is it decided how they compare in value? Is it a reality--a fact?-- that gold is more valuable than worms, or is this an evaluation created by the feelings and perceptions of man?  Where is the Objectivism in market value? How do we come to an understanding for this that is seated in factual reality rather then perceptive reality?

Look, if a philosophy needs a lot of hemming and hawing and "yes, buts" and explanations on how it only works within certain instances and it only applies under certain circumstances then it isn't a viable philosophy anymore. Its no longer dealing in fundamental truths. If you have to bend and twist it into a semblance of reason than its unreasonable.



Quote
Not by the Aristotelian (and Randian) understandings of "objective reality." If there is something, and that something operates in a specific way, we're dealing with an objective reality (at least by the definition I am using).  



If reality were not objective (in the manner I am arguing), no hypotheses could ever be demonstrated. If reality were not objective (in the manner I am arguing) then there could be no facts in the first place.
Quote




Since reality must be shared, a man either sacrifices himself to the collective  or the collective must sacrifice themselves for the man. Either way, there must be a sacrifice and a collective. Rand's philosophy becomes moot.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Aine Llewellyn

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #79 on: June 16, 2012, 04:24:56 pm »
Quote from: StudiodeKadent;60285
You're entitled to your opinion of her art. I don't entirely agree (or entirely disagree for that matter). I do agree that some of her characters were painfully flat (John Galt being the worst offender).

That said, I've met lots of people that actually resemble Rand's villains in some respects so I wouldn't go so far as to say they were painfully flat.

That said, I'm not here to defend Rand's art. I'm here to discuss and learn about various different belief systems. I mentioned my philosophy openly and the discussion went on (generally civilly).

This thread is about discussing the philosophy first, not the artistic merits of her fiction per se. The reason I brought up the fact that she deliberately wrote in an idealized, allegorical manner was to point out the fact that one should not assume a literal reading of the text of her fictions will produce a reliable guide to Objectivist normative ethics.
 
Let's try and keep this thread focused on the discussion of ideas, rather than a "let's bash Ayn Rand as a person and a writer" party.

 
I only brought it up because you claimed she was fundamentally an artist, and I don't think she was.  She was a philosopher first, then an artist second (maybe third or forth).

Maps

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #80 on: June 16, 2012, 04:40:37 pm »
Quote from: StudiodeKadent;60326
I am reading plenty of topics on this forum. I'm not expecting anyone to come here. This was originally my intro topic, after all, but it became a discussion of the philosophy I agree with.

Also, your use of the phrase "if you're truly here to learn about other belief systems" sounds like (correct me if I'm wrong) you're questioning my motives. Not calling you out, but don't you think there's reason to accept my sincerity?


I see words, and I see actions (pretty silly to type out in reference to a stranger on an internet forum), and I put them together. The words being, "I have come to TC to learn about different belief systems." The actions being that I haven't seen you post anywhere else. Shrug. If you've been going around and reading lots of threads though, then great! (That's not something I can immediately see.) I hope the things people say and believe here have provided you with some good thought experiments, ideas to ruminate on, to accept, to reject, and just generally pique your interest. What other philosophies and worldviews have you seen discussed here that you found engaging?

And if I sound suspicious, it's probably because I am-- if an objectivist has ever asked me to share my opinion about something, it was only so they could refute rather than consider it.

RandallS

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #81 on: June 16, 2012, 09:44:27 pm »
Quote from: StudiodeKadent;60294
Care to explain exactly why you disagree with Objectivism?

I did that, at some length, in a paper for a philosophy class I typed up in the late 1970s. I don't see any reason to do it again here -- especially as I have never seen even the best refutation of a moral system change the mind of anyone who really believes in that system.

However, I will just say that I consider the "morality" Objectivism produces to be a "morality of evil" in that it justifies behavior that my moral code calls "evil."  That alone is sufficent reason for my rejection of it.
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StudiodeKadent

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #82 on: June 16, 2012, 10:28:38 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;60337
What you aren't understanding is that that one blog didn't change my opinion of the Rand-Hickman issue. No one, not even Rand, said that going out and dismembering little girls is awesome cakes. She may have thought his actions were monstrous. Fine.

My issue is that  I would've spent more time reflecting on the pain of the child and the family. Rand chose to reflect on Hickman. It's a fundamental difference in perspective that has nothing to do with misreading the information.


Rand's journals weren't necessarily a complete record of everything she ever thought. For all we know, she might have thought extensively about the little girl and her family. Granted, for all we know she might not have.

That said I understand why the omission troubles you.

Quote
If her mature philosophy of free trade is to become a possibility than who determines the value of items to be traded? If a man wishes to trade a bucket of worms for gold than how is it decided how they compare in value? Is it a reality--a fact?-- that gold is more valuable than worms, or is this an evaluation created by the feelings and perceptions of man?  Where is the Objectivism in market value?


Ahhh, this is a meaty subject!

Basically, you are conflating two different questions; one is the issue of moral value, and the other is the question of exchange value (or economic value, or market price).

The former is a question for ethics. The latter is a question for economics. The two questions are entirely different.

Rand herself accepted the Austrian School of economics, which is predicated on Economic Subjectivism (the proposition that market value only exists because subjects, for whatever reason, value certain things... i.e. people must desire the product for it to have a market price). So Rand saw no contradiction between her theory of ethics and the Subjectivist theory of economic value.

And as an Economist and Objectivist, I'm convinced this is correct. The subjective theory of economic value is perfectly compatible with Objectivist morality.

Quote
Look, if a philosophy needs a lot of hemming and hawing and "yes, buts" and explanations on how it only works within certain instances and it only applies under certain circumstances then it isn't a viable philosophy anymore. Its no longer dealing in fundamental truths.


By that standard, no philosophy is viable.

Quote
Since reality must be shared, a man either sacrifices himself to the collective  or the collective must sacrifice themselves for the man. Either way, there must be a sacrifice and a collective. Rand's philosophy becomes moot.


I disagree entirely. Sure, we must all inhabit reality together, but this scarcely necessitates a zero-sum game. Perhaps what you meant was that "resources must be shared," but this only necessitates zero-sum games if you fix the total quantity of resources constant. But to do this, you have to rule out things like technological innovation and discovery of new resources (and conversion of previously useless material into resources). Malthusian "Soylent Green"-type fantasies of completely exhausted resources have had a pretty bad track record, historically speaking. For more on this, you might want to look up the details of economist Julian Simon and his wager with environmental-catastrophist Paul Erlich.

That kind of zero-sum-game approach has been disproven by economists repeatedly. Mutual benefit, i.e. situations where no one is sacrificed, is a completely feasible outcome.

If you were correct, then we would have no economic growth.

Quote from: Maps;60340
I see words, and I see actions (pretty silly to type out in reference to a stranger on an internet forum), and I put them together. The words being, "I have come to TC to learn about different belief systems." The actions being that I haven't seen you post anywhere else. Shrug.


I've actually posted a thread in the Stories Of The Spirit SIG, and there's been some great discussion on it so far. You might want to check that out too. I'm also planning on posting a general discussion thread inquiring why/how the various people here came to their religious preferences.

Quote
If you've been going around and reading lots of threads though, then great! (That's not something I can immediately see.) I hope the things people say and believe here have provided you with some good thought experiments, ideas to ruminate on, to accept, to reject, and just generally pique your interest.


I have indeed found much fascinating material here. Thank you for the well-wishes.

Quote
What other philosophies and worldviews have you seen discussed here that you found engaging?


I find the various forms of Norse paganism (including but not limited to Asatru) interesting in various ways, because I like their picture of man's relationship to the divine.

I don't think they've been discussed here, but I have a slight amount of interest in LaVeyan beliefs (I should clarify that I strongly disagree with LaVey's meta-anthropology... his picture of human nature is dark, Hobbesian, anti-Enlightenment, and vile.... BUT he can get things right on occasion, or at least interesting and worth considering. That said, LaVeyans sometimes claim their philosophy is "Ayn Rand with trappings," and I disagree strongly with that), and the Temple Of Set (principally for their philosophy (which seems far closer to mine than LaVey's does), since I'm not hugely educated in the ceremonial magic traditions). That said, I find a lot of the Satanic stuff can... how do we put it... get preoccupied with DARK AND MYSTERIOUS public relations strategies (that said, unflattering stereotypes exist for ALL religious and philosophical groups).

Quote
And if I sound suspicious, it's probably because I am-- if an objectivist has ever asked me to share my opinion about something, it was only so they could refute rather than consider it.


I'm very sorry to hear about your poor experiences with those Objectivists. I've had similar negative experiences with them too, so I can understand why you'd be wary.
 
Quote from: RandallS;60376
However, I will just say that I consider the "morality" Objectivism produces to be a "morality of evil" in that it justifies behavior that my moral code calls "evil."  That alone is sufficent reason for my rejection of it.


Okay, so you disagree with the ethics. Thanks for being honest. And no, I don't think less of you for disagreeing.

Juniperberry

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #83 on: June 17, 2012, 08:57:02 am »
Quote
StudioDeKadent...


Well, I don't think I'm conflating....:) Here's the deal. I don't want to sit here and keep harassing(?) you over broad aspects of your philosophy. It would be easier for me if we were to discuss a specific situation and then compared and argued over each other's philosophical approach to it, rather than jumping across the board like we are.

Not necessarily a request, but a suggestion.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

StudiodeKadent

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Re: Non-Pagan Interested In Discussion
« Reply #84 on: June 17, 2012, 09:28:51 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;60469
Well, I don't think I'm conflating....:) Here's the deal. I don't want to sit here and keep harassing(?) you over broad aspects of your philosophy.


You aren't harassing me at all.

Quote
It would be easier for me if we were to discuss a specific situation and then compared and argued over each other's philosophical approach to it, rather than jumping across the board like we are.


I agree. Well, do you have a specific situation you'd like to discuss?

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