Objectivism and Me

For the past two months I’ve been reading a lot about Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. I’ve also had the pleasure of interacting with an Objectivist on his blog and over e-mail.

Immediately I was struck by how many viewpoints (political, philosophical, and ethical), resonated with me; I had held them explicitly or implicitly for a long time but was unable to articulate them or justify them properly. There were also many consequences of these viewpoints that disturbed me at first, especially political. However, as a free-thinker, consequences of truth do not bother me as much as truth itself.

I wanted to refrain from writing about Objectivism until I was knowledgeable enough to argue it properly; I have a responsibility to myself to make sure I know what I’m talking about. After being prompted by A Load of Bright though, I’ve decided to comment on it “as I go”, but I will avoid referring to myself as an Objectivist or debating the philosophy deeply for now. This is only fair to my readers and myself.

I have been very disappointed with how poor the quality of counter-arguments against Objectivism are. As well as reading about Ayn Rand, I have of course (to avoid confirmation bias) sought out opinions on Objectivism from non-Objectivists. Some of them were very balanced and generous. Some of them were blatantly hostile. But, for someone who has only been studying it for a month or two, I found I could already refute most of the nonsense they were saying. A common misrepresentation of Objectivism is: “every man for himself”, or “survival of the fittest”. This is false.

Objectivism is an entire philosophical system that accounts for knowledge, metaphysics, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. It is grounded on axioms of existence and sensory validity. Any attempts to deny these axioms involve their utilisation, which is self-refuting. From these, and the identity of man as a kind of being that acts volitionally, everything else follows.

The fundamental right, the only existing non-reducible right that exists, is man’s right over his own life. As a moral being, this is a necessary corollary of that status, otherwise it would be impossible for men to live together. Therefore, the politics of Objectivism are based on the realisation of the individual rights of men. The individual rights of men are non-negotiable, until and only if a man initiates the use of force against others; in doing so he has attempted to violate the rights of others and so forfeits his own.

I have come across people who reject the consequences of Objectivism; usually they appeal to an altruist or collectivist theory of ethics, or just emotion. In my limited experience talking about Objectivism, I’ve noticed these people find it hard (or impossible) to reject the premises of Objectivism, but will still disagree with the (usually) politic corollaries, not realising they’re blatantly contradicting themselves.

As I adopt more and more the philosophy of Objectivism, I am finding it harder and harder to identify myself as a Humanist. I disagree with the opinions of some humanists on a variety of issues (such as animals rights, environmentalism, and politics), and whilst Humanists do not necessarily have to agree on everything (it’s not a religion after all), it is some of the foundations of Humanism that I am at odds with, and I believe it is incomplete as a worldview. This will not stop me of course hosting the Humanist Symposium on 16th December, which I volunteered for. But I thought I would talk about how my philosophy and politics are progressing, and the direction I am heading.

Finally, Objectivism is appealing to me for several reasons: it emphasises the necessity of rationality and logical thinking; it ennobles humans by forcing us to think for ourselves, and means that we must face the consequences of our actions; it treats men as adults that aren’t entitled to a free lunch or to parasitize off other people; it provides an epistemology and morality that are universal and objective; it dispenses with the nihilism of philosophical scepticism; and it respects individual rights to the core.

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55 Responses to “Objectivism and Me”

  1. DaVincirapp Says:

    For me, Ayn Rand and objectivism were a starting point. I suffered through Atlas Shrugged when I was 17, (suffer because of the length of the book I should say)and subsequently read all her books. I find that objectivism makes me irritated, at least while I am reading it. Not irritated with objectivism, but irritated with everyone else in the world, especially Utilitarians. She expanded quite a lot on egoism, and it would seem to work, if the world and other people in it were as black and white as the people she writes about in her novels. I get the feeling that objectivism can only work if ‘everyone’ does it, it just can’t be implemented universally, or I should say that the people of the world just havent the wit to put it into practice. It does work as a personal philosophy though, but it will alienate a person almost as much as atheism does.

  2. evanescent Says:

    I’ve just started Atlast Shrugged myself; its size is daunting but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

    In the short time I’ve been studying Objectivism I’ve noticed the inconsistencies and contradictions in other worldviews and philosophies even more; especially altruism and Utilitarianism.

    I disagree with you that Objectivism can only work if “everyone does it”. No philosophical system is a guarantee that everyone will play by the rules. What I believe Objectivism is, is the only philosophical system that can be a proper guide to man and his actions, and provide a true objective morality, and the way for man to acheive his individual happiness rationally. It aspires towards eudemonia; the idea is not that Objectivism will only work in a “perfect world” but rather that Objectivism is the only way to acheive anything like a perfect free world in the first place.

  3. suvine.com Says:

    OMG I SO AGREE. I TALK ALOT ABOUT OBJECTIVISM. I AM A BIG FAN. COME VISIT ME AT SUVINE.COM.

  4. Mark Says:

    I was close to the point of calling myself an Objectivist two years ago. But I didn’t like the kind of person I was/turned into, didn’t like many of the personalities I was encountering, and came upon criticisms that I couldn’t overcome. Of course, those first two aren’t logical reasons for dropping the philosophy (without supplying an emotion- or attitude-related premise), but they may get one to dig deeper. I think a lot of the aversion to the philosophy is due to its association with its creator–Rand wasn’t the nicest of people, and neither are many of her followers.

    I became a liberal-ish moderate for around a year, and now I’m somewhere between libertarian and anarcho-capitalist. My views definitely aren’t set in stone, but I’m on the freedom end of the philosophical spectrum.

    I’m actually curious about Objectivism again (though not really about jumping onboard) and I’d like to see what all is wrong and right with/about it. It would be nice if we could dialogue about it. What say you? If you’d care to, I have a few links to criticisms of the philosophy. I’d like to know how someone on the path of Objectivism responds to them.

  5. Mark Says:

    This offer isn’t a snare, BTW.
    Oh, and I’ve read Atlas, as well.

  6. evanescent Says:

    Hi Mark,

    If you’d like to briefly state one criticism of Objectivism, then we’ll see where it goes from there; taking one objection at a time.

    I don’t think Objectivism should make people unkind, and although I get the impression Rand was a very to-the-point take-it-or-leave-it sort of person, I don’t know enough to say she wasn’t nice. The person who has most influenced me so far with Objectivism (Leitmotif) has been an intelligent gentleman.

    What seems to happen (so I’m told) is many young people encounter Objectivism, jump straight into it, recite all the statements of Rand like a creed without really understanding and assimilating the philosophy, then get bored of it and “grow out of” Objectivism. Objectivism is not a religion or creed to be memorised or learned by rote.

    (PS: I’d also like to say thank you to Matthew, you know who you are!)

  7. DaVincirapp Says:

    I noticed that while reading anything Ayn Rand wrote, I become very frustrated with just about everyone in my life. Her books are SOOO black and white that those you know in real life seem to fit the BAD people you read about in her books. You start to see slackers, incompetents, and responsibility avoiders everywhere. Her novels are a soap box for objectivism, and they are constructed to put that philosophy into a good light. Galt’s gulch is the way she chose to present the working model of her philosophy, which is a subset of society. I would like to have seen her handle objectivism in the real world.

  8. evanescent Says:

    Without having read any of her fiction just yet, I can’t comment either way.

    But just because the characters in her book might be painted in terms of black and white based on their philosophies, doesn’t mean that that is how people should be viewed in real life of course!

    For example, the protagonist might be a capitalist and a “good guy”, but that doesn’t make anyone who is an anti-capitalist a “bad guy” necessarily. Up until recently I considered democracy the only ethical form of government. Now I don’t. I wasn’t a bad person, I was just mistaken because I was philosophically and politically ignorant.

    I seriously doubt Rand intends to portray people in real life as either good or evil, rather the characters should be metaphors for those philosophies that are good or evil. (For example, a mixed bag of philosophies in real life would be if a person disregarded animal rights but rejected capitalism.) All of this is just my opinion however.

  9. M Says:

    It seems interesting to me that the common complaint about Rand’s characters is that they are too “black and white”. As a writer who wants to portray different philosophical viewpoints, it seem obvious that at least some of the Rand’s characters will be clear, stark examples.

    When you consider minor characters in the novels, they are only involved in a cursory way with the plot – we see only a small portion of what they see and think. It is expected that they will be written as one-dimensional characters with only one perspective.

    But the minor characters are not the whole story. The main characters in the novel: the protagonist, the antagonist, the foil, etc.; these characters make up the meat of the story and it is these characters where Ms Rand demonstrates her skill.

    Consider _Atlas_Shrugged_ which some people were discussing. John Galt is a main character, but is he the protagonist? No – he doesn’t even come into the story until the third part (I’m not giving anything away. It’s fairly obvious that he is missing and must eventually arrive on the scene). The main protagonist is Dagny Taggert – a powerful, driven, independent female executive of a major railroad company. She has many good qualities, but is still unable to see what is happening around her and must literally take on the world to survive. Hank Rearden, another powerful, driven protagonist, is clearly right with many of his ideas, but so flawed with other ideas that he simply placates to people in his personal life.

    When looking at these main characters of the novel, we see characters who are strong, interesting, dynamic, and conflicted. Their conflict with those who want to distroy them, and with others who want to, well, destroy them _is_ what makes the story. We cheer for the good in them and we commiserate as they strive to solve the flaws. And sometimes, by the end of the story, we identify a flaw in ourselves that we can now let go.

  10. Ergo Says:

    The black and white criticism is actually an identification of something true. It is much harder to think in terms of moral clarity than it is to concede to a moral grayness or a mental fog. Ultimately, all appeals to “nuance” are really an appeal to uphold the necessary context and analyze black/white issues under the appropriate context. To state that nothing in life is black and white is to–inadvertently–uphold the view that moral certitude is impossible, moral principles are not absolute, reason is not an absolute, that absolutism is a-contextual and unrelated to any other facts or relationships. These are remnants of bad philosophy (like skepticism) and religious intrinsicism.

    There is only one totality of existence, and all facts are therefore related. To think in black and white is to commit to an epistemic discipline–a policy of emulating the nature of reality: nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. What this means is precisely that we must align our epistemic behavior to the relatedness of nature and grasp that all our knowledge is contextually related and hierarchical. One may reserve judgment on an issue because one has not yet grasped all the necessary facts and relationships; but this does not mean that clarity or certitude is not possible, or that morality is gray, or that absolutism requires omniscience.

    One can state *absolutely* and with moral clarity, for example, that religious instrincism is evil, the notion of slavery to God is an abomination, that the doctrine of the Original Sin is evil, etc. These black and white moral evaluations are the result of careful evaluation of the facts and their relationships using our mind.

  11. DaVinci Says:

    I’m not trying to take away from the fact that it’s a good read. I try to read it every 5 years or so myself. I do not like who I become while I read it, but I tend to be rather intense anyway, at least if I don’t take my (self prescribed meds). I’ll try and find a part of the conversation I had with a friend of mine on the subject over at xanga. We had a real row over it as I recall, but there were some utilitarians there causing trouble, lol.

  12. Matthew Says:

    No need to thank me!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._A

    Look here, objectivism in comic book form.

  13. Moshellie Says:

    Although I am no expert in Objectivist philosophy, I too am taken by it.
    I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 15, and absolutely adored it. I’ve read the rest of Rand’s novels since… and will read the remainder of her works soon (I hope – as soon as school allows).
    I can say without a doubt that her writings have at the very least opened my mind up to philosophical thought.

  14. evanescent Says:

    Moshellie:

    I can say without a doubt that her writings have at the very least opened my mind up to philosophical thought.

    Ayn Rand:

    “A philosophical system is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought, or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions…”

  15. Mark Says:

    Ok, I mainly had a couple links in mind to recommend, one of which has criticisms from multiple sources (and some rebuttals to these criticisms), but I’ll start with one thing in particular.

    This piece is on Rand’s/Objectivism’s views on causation and free will:

    http://members.aol.com/kiekeben/rand.html

    I’m gonna share my response to that in this post, but please read the article before my response, if you would.

    ____________________________________________________
    Response:

    I’m a determinist, as well, so on everything outlined there except human action, I agree with Rand. However, I think her strong sense of individualism and probably the fact that she escaped from a communist country, when combined, led her/Peikoff to state or imply that humans are exempt from the deterministic/causal framework (or whatever you’d call the Objectivist views outlined farther up in that article).

    It’s clear to me that humans, being composed of things subject to causality and such, are just aggregates of those things (albeit with a different nature, dependent upon the structure of the consituents and upon their individual behaviors).

    I don’t have as much of a problem with what Rand made the axioms of Objectivism. I think at least some of her reasoning after those were established, though, was not so good.

  16. Mark Says:

    I guess you could say it would be a simple definitional error. Rand started out with the causal notion of possibility (where one result has a probability of 1, and all others have probabilities of 0) and then, when speaking of humans, switched over to the colloquial notion, which doesn’t include contextual limitations (i.e. causal conditions and such).

    For example, say my computer is on and I push the power button. Causally, it would be said that only that which is allowed by the computer’s parts will happen (i.e. stay on or turn off), i.e. there is only one possibility as to what will happen. Using the colloquial notion, though, we are concerned with two states the computer can be in: on or off. What we are concerned with dictates the states we consider possible, so it’s like we make a bubble in our mind and only consider things inside it.

    Not sure how clear that was….

  17. DaVinci Says:

    My best friend has been a philosophy professor for 25 years, what he says about Rand:
    “She had some good ideas — but she was no philosopher . . . more like a crusading fundamentalist ranter — reckless, simplistic, intellectually dishonest and full of righteous certitude. As she bizarrely imagined it, philosophy is “taught” in the universities just as catechism is taught in Sunday school — and she thought her own philosophy should be “taught” in place of what she imagined was being “taught” there.”

    This is the guy that introduced me to Rand in the first place.
    It’s a great way to start off in critical thinking though, I strongly believe that a person must also study ‘bad philosophy’ as well as good, so they can recognize it when they see it.
    He’s in a much better position to know than I am, and I refuse to argue for or against it.

    I prefer Compatibilism myself, but all of these philo’s can be argued out to some point where they break down.

  18. evanescent Says:

    Mark said:

    I’m a determinist, as well, so on everything outlined there except human action, I agree with Rand. However, I think her strong sense of individualism and probably the fact that she escaped from a communist country, when combined, led her/Peikoff to state or imply that humans are exempt from the deterministic/causal framework (or whatever you’d call the Objectivist views outlined farther up in that article).

    No doubt they believed humans have free will, but I don’t think Rand’s upbringing had anything to do with it.

    It’s clear to me that humans, being composed of things subject to causality and such, are just aggregates of those things (albeit with a different nature, dependent upon the structure of the consituents and upon their individual behaviors).

    This is the Fallacy of Composition I believe. Just because certain aspects of the universe are certainly bound to cause and effect outside their control, doesn’t mean humans are. And to say that humans have no free will because our constituent parts don’t is fallacious.

    A bike is more than the sum of it parts. And just because a wheel or a handle has a certain characteristic doesn’t mean the bike will. Conversely, just because a bike has a certain identify, does not mean that its constituent parts do.

    There is no doubt that the universe is largely deterministic. In fact, free will would be impossible unless it was. It is the nature of this universe as one of definite cause-begets-effect that makes knowledge possible, and makes human decision-making and responsibility possible. But I believe free will is best understood in terms of the volitional agent’s control and understanding of a decision. A man with total control but no understanding cannot be said to be acting freely. A man with total understanding but no control over his actions cannot be said to be acting freely either.

    The problem with strong determinism is that it reduces to “everything that happens was always going to happen”, which either begs the question or just a tautology. That is, to say that humans will always act a certain way consistent with their nature, experiences, and personalities, is to state the obvious. Moreover, a man who didn’t act consistently with his nature, experiences, and personality, but acted unpredictably and erratically, even to himself, would have no control over himself and could hardly be called free. For this reason I reject strong determinism. If a man understands and can control his actions then he can be said to be free in the meaningful sense of the word.

    Having free will does not mean that one is totally exempt from the causal nature of the universe. Since it is causality that makes free will POSSIBLE, we use the word “free” for humans because unlike everything else in the universe we can understand and control ourselves.

  19. DaVinci Says:

    “If a man understands and can control his actions then he can be said to be free in the meaningful sense of the word.”

    We can control our actions in the framework of ‘what is possible according to natural law which governs our actions, but is that actually free will. David Sosa explains it well.

    All of our actions are governed by physical law, chemical laws, electrical laws, and so on. This would suggest that we, (like everything else in the universe), are just the random playing out of subatomic particles, or as Sosa puts it, “a gear in a big deterministic physical machine”. That view doesn’t sound too free to me.

    “But I believe free will is best understood in terms of the volitional agent’s control and understanding of a decision.”

    But is this free will governed by determinism, or some other agent? We know that determinism breaks down at sub atomic levels, things seem random and cause and effect (the way we know them) just don’t apply.

    It’s a difficult question to answer, probably because we just don’t know enough yet about the universes’ first cause. It’s a good mental exercise.

  20. evanescent Says:

    Hi DaVinci, I understand exactly what you’re saying because I wrote an article myself not long so ago about free will and determinism (although I didn’t end up posting it).

    Does Sosa bring quantum physics into play?; an area of physics where our usual conceptions of predictability and randomness go right out the window? After all, if there is even one aspect of the universe that is not wholly deterministic then the entire universe itself, since an effect can have many preceding causes, is not purely deterministic.

    It simply does not follow that just because our constituent parts are ABSOLUTELY governed by physical laws (an undeniable fact), that the conscious result of the interaction of those parts itself is (that would be to commit the Fallacy of Composition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition). A rock, or a planet, or a water drop is forever bound to causality. Humans beings are incredibly limited by physical law, but no one would deny not being able to fly or not being able to travel faster than light limits our free will. So, if we accept that natural restrictions on our abilities do not limit our free will, what can we “free will” really is?

    Is free will the ability to act outside the realms of causality? I would clearly say not, and if we dismiss the “bound by causality” criteria then I believe we can dismiss Sosa too. Why? Because for True Free Will to be necessarily outside of causality that requires that Free actions be Causeless and Uncaused actions. By corollary, the only truly Free person would be someone who had NO IDEA what his next actions were going to be! Someone who had no clue what his actions from one minute to the next would have no control over himself and probably no understanding either. Is this what being free means? I doubt it.

    To quote from the SD:

    Today, the focus of the debate over human responsibility is on the capacity to control one’s thoughts and actions, rather than on the metaphysical presence or absence of a non-physical entity with will. Determinism is compatible with ‘free will’, though the term should be abandoned to indicate that the issue is one of capacity for controlling one’s thoughts and actions. That capacity is independent of the truth of materialism or dualism. Certain neurophysical and neurochemical conditions must hold before one can enjoy whatever freedom our species is capable of. A better understanding of these issues will not come from traditional philosophers debating free will vs. determinism. Neuroscientists will provide the knowledge, neurophilosophers the understanding.

    – Personally, I agree with sentiments here at The Skeptic’s Dictionary: http://www.skepdic.com/freewill.html

  21. Mark Says:

    “Just because certain aspects of the universe are certainly bound to cause and effect outside their control, doesn’t mean humans are.”

    Sure it does. Humans are a set of particulate entities that “obey” “laws” (i.e. have a nature)–they/we are an aggregate of these things, but with a certain basic form and certain functions dictated by our DNA and influenced by (albeit deterministically) by sensational stimuli. Every action of a human, everything that goes on in our heads or with our hands, is a motion of particles, each of which must “obey” its nature. Each of these motions is caused by another motion.

    “And to say that humans have no free will because our constituent parts don’t is fallacious.”

    Depends on how one defines “free will”. If one defines it such that a lack of it is just being coerced by other people, then the entire debacle is avoided. This is the definition of “free will” I use, because I think the term is useful enough to keep around. But with the definition stating that human will is not bound by the “laws” of the universe, it is most certainly a contradiction.

    “But I believe free will is best understood in terms of the volitional agent’s control and understanding of a decision.”

    Absolutely correct, but there are different ways in which the term “control” could apply. As a “prime mover”, for which there is no underlying cause, human control is nonexistent, because we must behave in a manner consistent with what I stated above (we otherwise couldn’t behave at all, i.e. we wouldn’t do anything).

    As far as control in social situations is concerned (an entirely different conceptual category than the physical), a person may have control. But then there’s always the issue of things such as the intake of ecstasy, etc.

    “Moreover, a man who didn’t act consistently with his nature, experiences, and personality, but acted unpredictably and erratically, even to himself, would have no control over himself and could hardly be called free.”

    Such a person is impossible in the first place, because nothing can act in a way inconsistent with its nature.

    “If a man understands and can control his actions then he can be said to be free in the meaningful sense of the word.”

    Which is on a whole different conceptual level than that to which the determinism I subscribe to applies… in a way. When I say I’m a determinist, I don’t stop at the social or psychological level, say. I stop at the level of the most basic physical existents I know of, because everything more complex is composed of them.

    “Having free will does not mean that one is totally exempt from the causal nature of the universe. Since it is causality that makes free will POSSIBLE, we use the word “free” for humans because unlike everything else in the universe we can understand and control ourselves.”

    That doesn’t conflict with strong determinism, though.

    “The problem with strong determinism is that it reduces to ‘everything that happens was always going to happen’, which either begs the question or just a tautology.”

    Neglecting quantum mechanics for the moment, because it is still on the fringe of science and could be deterministic in the normal sense, if we knew everything about every physical existent (including its nature so we could calculate), we would be able to predict the future states of every single thing with 100% accuracy. But even though relativity and the fact that our brains have limited storage capacity prohibit such a thing, the idea is that everything that exists behaves in a certain way and thus the state of the universe at any one point in time necessarily implies the state of the universe at any other point in time. This is how humans are 100% subject to determinism. “Control” and “free will” are not concepts which apply on this level, so I guess you could say that stating humans would have no free will or control if strong determinism is true is a category error.

  22. Mark Says:

    The real issue depends on one’s definition of “free will”.

    From Wikipedia:

    “Causal (or nomological) determinism is the thesis that future events are necessitated by past and present events combined with the laws of nature. Such determinism is sometimes illustrated by the thought experiment of Laplace’s demon. Imagine an entity that knows all facts about the past and the present, and knows all natural laws that govern the universe. Such an entity might, under certain circumstances, be able to use this knowledge to foresee the future, down to the smallest detail.[5] Simon-Pierre Laplace’s determinist dogma (as described by Stephen Hawking) is generally referred to as “scientific determinism” and predicated on the supposition that all events have a cause and effect and the precise combination of events at a particular time engender a particular outcome. [3]. This causal determinism has a direct relationship with predictability. (Perfect) predictability implies strict determinism, but lack of predictability does not necessarily imply lack of determinism. Limitations on predictability could alternatively be caused by lack of information, excessive complexity, etc. An example of this could be found by looking at a bomb dropping from the air. Through mathematics, we can predict the time the bomb will take to reach the ground, and we also know what will happen once the bomb explodes.”

  23. evanescent Says:

    Hi Mark,

    having clarified your position above much better I think (or perhaps I misunderstood?), I have to agree with you.

    When I use the expression “free will” I refer to an agent’s control and understanding. But I also subscribe to scientific determinism; although Laplace’s Demon does not exist, IF it did, it would be able to predict anything at any point in time which implies a purely deterministic universe. But, as we’ve both stated above, determinism by this understanding is compatible with free will in the sense discussed.

  24. schkippy Says:

    I really don’t get the value of all of this philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

    I’m going to go ahead and predict right here and now that whatever turns out to explain free will and consciousness is going to be quite a bit different from what any philosophical argument will get you. I feel like we’re 19th century physicists discussing the aether–too much philosophy, not enough empiricism! We’re the people in Plato’s cave, trying to name the shadows when we don’t even know what they are. Free will. Consciousness. I have a hypothesis about words like these: everybody has a different definition because everybody’s wrong!

  25. evanescent Says:

    everybody has a different definition because everybody’s wrong!

    If everybody’s wrong, that includes your opinion that ‘everybody is wrong’. Therefore, some people must be right.

  26. schkippy Says:

    No, that doesn’t quite work. Saying what something isn’t doesn’t necessarily postulate anything about what it actually is. If I say this object in my hand doesn’t have some attribute, what have I said about the attributes it actually does have? Nothing, without further information. The attributes the object could have range over a whole host of mutually disjoint possibilities. Ruling out a few of those attributes doesn’t necessarily say anything about those infinitely many other possibilities.

  27. evanescent Says:

    All fun aside, getting back to your original comment:

    I’m going to go ahead and predict right here and now that whatever turns out to explain free will and consciousness is going to be quite a bit different from what any philosophical argument will get you.

    That’s a rather sweeping and grand statement. I’m wondering what you’re basing it on?

    The concept of free can only be settled by empirical study of the universe and the human mind, and a philosophical system that accounts for that evidence. To quote Skepdic.com, ‘neuroscientsts will provide the knowledge, neurophilosophers the understanding.’

    I don’t believe free will in the sense I’ve discussed is that complicated an issue.

  28. schkippy Says:

    That’s a rather sweeping and grand statement. I’m wondering what you’re basing it on?

    As you said,

    The concept of free can only be settled by empirical study of the universe and the human mind, and a philosophical system that accounts for that evidence.

    On what evidence do current philosophical hypotheses base their ideas? We know quite a lot about the brain, but not nearly enough to justify what’s currently espoused. It can only be that these hypotheses were generated without sufficient evidence. That’s what I base my claim on. Consider that popular theories of the brain have been around since before evolution was even discovered. Even the ideas you espoused above aren’t new.

    I don’t believe free will in the sense I’ve discussed is that complicated an issue.

    Whether it’s complicated or not is irrelevant. I want to know if it’s true.

  29. evanescent Says:

    Schkippy, I’m not really sure where your scepticism comes from, but I think you’re saying that you don’t believe there is enough empirical evidence to settle the issue of free will.

    If I’m wrong, please correct me.

    If I’m right, I think it depends on your definition of free will. And that definition most definitely rests within the field of philosophy. Before you conduct an empirical study, you must know what you are studying, or expecting to prove or disprove.

    Do you have a definition or concept of Free Will you subscribe to? This is the starting point. This is why philosophers will explain and define the concept and its ramifications, and scientists will provide us with the facts of reality.

  30. Shaun Says:

    Evanescent,

    I’m glad to see that you are finding yourself in agreement with Objectivism. I completely understand when you say you held the principles to be implicitly and/or explicitly true but had no conscious defense until now. I found myself living the life of an Objectivist while believing it’s principles on an individual level — Rand simply organized what I already knew to be true in a coherent fashion.

    Atlas Shrugged is a fantastic read.

  31. schkippy Says:

    If I’m right, I think it depends on your definition of free will.

    Which definition of free will has empirical evidence supporting it?

    And that definition most definitely rests within the field of philosophy.

    If free will is a real phenomenon, then shouldn’t its definition be independent of any philosophical argument? It may coincide with a particular philosophical argument, but it doesn’t depend on that argument.

    Before you conduct an empirical study, you must know what you are studying, or expecting to prove or disprove.

    I don’t think that’s true at all. It can be true, but it isn’t in general. Many, if not most, empirical discoveries are made by analyzing data and discovering trends. Many are made by playing with mathematical models. “Eureka” moments seem to dominate scientific discoveries.

  32. Ergo Says:

    Free will is axiomatic in that every attempt to deny it is self-refuting. To deny free will, one must not simply make the decision to mount a denial (which is already a choice), but more fundamentally–and axiomatically–one must choose to bring one’s mind up to the level of cognitive and conceptual focus, of awareness of a task to be undertaken (in this case, of the task to mount a denial of free will). This raises of the consciousness to the general level of conceptual awareness–what Ayn Rand called the choice to focus or the choice to not focus and remain docile, passive, evasive, or in a state of numb stupor. This is the axiomatic fact of free will. Of course, there may be other pressures that can limit or hinder your ability to use your faculty of choice (volition), such as when you’re intoxicated or high on drugs.

    Science can only enlighten us about the ultimate “stuff” of what consciousness is “made of” or what free will (an attribute of our consciousness) is. It is properly the function of philosophy to identify its existence and define its nature–both ontologically and metaphysically.

  33. Peter Says:

    Objectivism and Humanism are about as compatible as bicycles and fish.

    How anyone could ever walk into calling themselves a Humanist, whilst really _feeling_ like an Objectivist all along – I have no idea.

    Whether you label Objectivism as ‘every man for himself’ or ‘rational self-interest’ or ‘consensual laissez-faire capitalism’ (an impossibility), none of them are or ever will be compatible with Humanism. Unless you use ‘consensual laissez-faire capitalism’ to buy and redefine what ‘Humanism’ means.

    Objectivism does indeed mean “every man for himself”. It means plenty of other horrible things, too, but I’m not sure why anyone would try to dress it up any anything else? It is what it is. Grab it and own it, or don’t – it’s your choice. You can even try to modify what ‘Objectivism’ means if you want, but the core of it, in plain terms, is ‘every man for himself’.

    Trying to explain away the depravity of ‘Objectivity’ as ‘an entire philosophical system that accounts for knowledge, metaphysics, ethics, politics, and aesthetics’ is depraved itself.

  34. evanescent Says:

    Hi Peter, I suspect you’re right: Objectivism and Humanism are incompatible. Perhaps this is because Objectivism is a rational philosophy that can explain where its values, morality, and knowledge come from, whereas humanists cannot agree on these things themselves, and seem to have a deep misunderstanding of the nature of Rights, amongst other things.

    Objectivism does not mean “every man for himself”, and unless you’ve studied it in detail I don’t think you can make that charge. If you have studied it in detail and understood it you wouldn’t have made that charge anyway.

    Your hostility to Objectivism is unfortunate but not uncommon; in the short time I’ve been studying the philosophy I’ve encountered similar opposition and resentment towards the philosophy of Rand. Fortunately, comments such as yours demonstrate the attack of a strawman, so I’m not fazed.

  35. Mark Says:

    How do you define “rights”, Evanescent?

  36. evanescent Says:

    The Virtue of Selfishness:

    A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

    A man on an island has no rights. Two or more men need rights in order to interact and still function as human beings. Rights are a moral principle, which means they apply to the actions of moral beings; that is why humans MUST have rights, and animals (for example) MUST NOT.

  37. db0 Says:

    Just to chip in and mention that this:

    Objectivism does not mean “every man for himself”, and unless you’ve studied it in detail I don’t think you can make that charge. If you have studied it in detail and understood it you wouldn’t have made that charge anyway.

    Reminds me of theistic arguments on why you cannot argue against (their brand of) theism unless you have studied it in detail and if you have really studied it in detail then you wouldn’t be arguing against it. The notion that someone could have studied Objectivism in detail and found it lacking is impossible to you.

    PS: This is the second time that an Objectivist has started a new post from a previous discussion while ignoring my arguments…

  38. evanescent Says:

    db0 said:

    The notion that someone could have studied Objectivism in detail and found it lacking is impossible to you.

    ‘Found it lacking’, based on what objective criteria? What epistemological and moral framework did you use to evaluate Objectivism and decide that it is not up to your acceptable standard?

    Since you are a self-confessed moral relativist, you have no standard from which to judge any position, so your opinion that Objectivism is “lacking” is meaningless.

  39. db0 Says:

    I was not talking about myself. I was stating that what you said seems eerily similar to a theists argument.

    I have not self-confessed anything. I have not put a label on myself, you have.
    I also have a standard to judge a position, mine the arguments that I base it on.

  40. evanescent Says:

    Theistic arguments are based on faith. Everything I’ve said is based on reason, and objective reality.

    On my blog and yours you have implicitly and explicitly admitted to subscribing to moral relativism. Are you now revoking that?

    Unless you identify what your objective standard is, i.e.: what standard are your arguments based on?, you cannot judge any position.

    The first thing you need to do is renounce moral relativism, and then suggest what your objective morality is. Given the many discussions we’ve had and your position that morality is dictated by the cultural norm, I think this will be impossible for you.

  41. db0 Says:

    The sentence you said. That: You cannot argue against Objectivism unless you’ve studied it and if you’ve studied it you would not argue against Objectivism is similar to the theistic argument: You cannot argue against God unless you’ve studied theology and apologetics, and if you’ve really studied those then you wouldn’t be arguing against god. Is the similarity clear?

    I have not admitted to any labels. I have stated why morality is subjective and presented arguments that neither you or Ergo has countered. You could not even counter the arguments of someone who believes morality is not strictly subjective.

    I can judge any position I wish. I don’t understand why you would think otherwise. The fact that my morality is as subjective as everyone else’s does not mean that it is not so far off from the accepted norm. In any case, I judge people for myself only, not for public consumption, which is what everyone is doing anyway.

    It is amazing that you ask me to renounce “moral relativism” (whatever you want that to mean, I am certain it is not what I mean) when you have not even bothered to argue against your case.

  42. evanescent Says:

    I have stated why morality is subjective and presented arguments that neither you or Ergo has countered. You could not even counter the arguments of someone who believes morality is not strictly subjective.

    So, is morally subjective or not, because here you say it is subjective, and then also say it is not strictly subjective. So, is some morality objective and some morality subjective?

    How do you expect me to refute what you say when it’s riddled with contradictions?

    You believe morality is subjective: ok. I say that’s wrong. Since morality is subjective, my opinion is just as valid as yours. So, my opinion that morality is not subjective is just as valid as your opinion that it is, so your opinion is either false or meaningless. Subjectivism always reduces to a contradiction, and contradictions do not occur in reality. Therefore, moral subjectivism is false. That is your position utterly refuted.

    Here’s an interesting thought experiment for closers based on your “cultural morality”: you believe morality is dictated by the cultural norm. Imagine a society where most of the people are Objectivists, is it now “moral” to be an Objectivist and you’d have to agree with whatever the cultural norm dictates.

    I can judge any position I wish. I don’t understand why you would think otherwise.

    By what standard can you judge anything? By what society says? Well what society deems acceptable today may change tomorrow, so what you judge today might change tomorrow. So your judgments are inherently capricious, whimsical, and ultimately meaningless.

  43. db0 Says:

    So, is morally subjective or not, because here you say it is subjective, and then also say it is not strictly subjective. So, is some morality objective and some morality subjective?

    You must have misunderstood me.
    I do not say that it is not strictly subjective, someone else does.

    Since morality is subjective, my opinion is just as valid as yours. So, my opinion that morality is not subjective is just as valid as your opinion that it is, so your opinion is either false or meaningless. Subjectivism always reduces to a contradiction, and contradictions do not occur in reality. Therefore, moral subjectivism is false. That is your position utterly refuted.

    No it’s not. Just because it is your opinion it does not mean that it is right. Also, morality is not strictly a matter of opinion, it is much more hard coded within us than that.
    What I say is that objectively, morality is subjective. It is not my opinion, It’s a fact.
    I have stated arguments for my case here and elsewhere. I am already in a discussion with others who are arguing for the contrary in a quite solid manner. You are invited to take part if you wish and present your case.

    Here’s an interesting thought experiment for closers based on your “cultural morality”: you believe morality is dictated by the cultural norm. Imagine a society where most of the people are Objectivists, is it now “moral” to be an Objectivist and you’d have to agree with whatever the cultural norm dictates.

    If I was raised in that society then I would be positively conditioned to Objectivism yes. Of course as any sceptical person, I would eventually form my own opinion and in the same way that my current morals do not perfectly match to the cultural norm, so, I expect, they would not match in your hypothetical scenario.

    By what standard can you judge anything? By what society says? Well what society deems acceptable today may change tomorrow, so what you judge today might change tomorrow. So your judgments are inherently capricious, whimsical, and ultimately meaningless.

    I judge by my own standards, and so do you and everyone else. You may call your standards objective so that you can face the world, sleep better or whatnot but I suffer no such illusions. I know that my standards are subjective but my choices and reasoning are based on objective facts and real-life experiences. Perhaps my interpretations are wrong and I have found myself to a inferior moral code but in that case, discussion and experience will allow me to change for the better (hopefully).

  44. evanescent Says:

    Just because it is your opinion it does not mean that it is right. Also, morality is not strictly a matter of opinion, it is much more hard coded within us than that.
    What I say is that objectively, morality is subjective. It is not my opinion, It’s a fact.
    I have stated arguments for my case here and elsewhere. I am already in a discussion with others who are arguing for the contrary in a quite solid manner. You are invited to take part if you wish and present your case…I would eventually form my own opinion and in the same way that my current morals do not perfectly match to the cultural norm

    Your own opinion, based on what? Where do you derive your sense of right and wrong? It is hard-coded into you, or do you form a moral opinion based on some intellectual process of your own? Which is it? You aren’t being clear on this at all.

    I judge by my own standards, and so do you and everyone else. You may call your standards objective so that you can face the world, sleep better or whatnot but I suffer no such illusions. I know that my standards are subjective but my choices and reasoning are based on objective facts and real-life experiences.

    This is a total and utter contradiction. Morality is a reasoned code to guide choices. How can you have objective reason with subjective standards. What exactly are your standards and where do they come from?

    If your standards are subjective then your decisions and actions will be subjective, there is no way to judge them right or wrong. Therefore morality is impossible.

    You seem very confused on this issue, and keep contradicting yourself. This isn’t surprising since your position itself is contradictory.

  45. Alonzo Fyfe Says:

    First, I think that the two of you can benefit by distinguishing three levels of moral speech.

    These are represented by the statements:

    (1) “Capital punishment is immoral”.

    (2) “The attitude that capital punishment is immoral is subjective.”

    (3) “The proposition, ‘The attitude that capital punishment is immoral is subjective’ is objective.”

    These are three perfectly consistent statements.

    If is false to claim that if (2) is true, then (3) must be false – or a person who asserts that (2) is true and (3) is true must be contradicting himself. (2) and (3) are talking about two different things.

    Statements about moral claims are not moral claims in the same way that statements about cars are not cars.

    For the record, I hold that (2) is false. Moral statements are statements that relate objects of evaluation and reasons for action. Those relationships either exist, or they do not exist, as a matter of objective fact. However, it is a mistake to argue that (2) is false because it contradicts (3).

    However, the subjectivist does have a potential problem with creating a contradiction here.

    The proposition “A is B” implies “It is not the case that A is not not-B.” Or, “Capital punishment is wrong” implies “It is not the case that capital punishment is permissible.”

    However, (2) implies that whether one adopts the attitude that capital punishment is wrong or capital punishment is permissible is purely subjective. There is no objective reason to reject the claim that capital punishment is permissible.

    Yet, addiressing this question to the subjectivist who holds that capital punishment is wrong, “Why is it that you have rejected the option that capital punishment is permissible when, at the same time, you claim that there is no reason to reject the proposition that capital punishment is permissible?”

    It is also important to recognize that we use moral reasons as reasons to kill or otherwise harm others. If these reasons to kill or otherwise harm others are ‘subjective’, then ultimately we do harm to others for no reason other than we want to.

    Ultimately, the subjectivist has to argue that his reasons for doing harm to others are just something that he made up – that he could have just as easily adopted a different set of reasons in which he would not have done harm to others – and there is no particular reason why he has decided to harm others rather than refrain from harming others.

    Victim: “Why are you going to kill me?”

    Subjectivist: “No reason. I just decided to be the type of person who kills people like you.”

  46. db0 Says:

    Thank you Alonzo for clearing up why I am not contradicting myself (Or at least it seems to me you did)

    In my case, the way I construct my morality and make my choices is based on Epicurean logic, that is (very simply), it is in my best interest to work in an “altruistic” manner which combines with my inherent personal drive to help others. Add to that my personal experiences and knowledge and you see where my morality comes from.

    Both of these, my inherent drive and my trust in the Epicurean philosophy are subjective. However the Epicurean philosophy itself has some merit objectively, as it seems to lead to a better life. My personal experiences and knowledge are objective but the way I have interpreted them I would classify as subjective.

    I am not certain how much sense this makes. I am certainly not confused as Evanescent wants to say but I will admit that I am not used to expressing myself on these issues

    So thus, I judge an action as morally right or wrong based on my subjective morality. Wether you find that to be impossible is irrelevant. I am perfectly capable of explaining to you why I will consider an action is moral or immoral the same way as anybody.

  47. evanescent Says:

    Actually db0, Alonzo showed exactly why your position is illogical. Hence the scenario he posited at the very end. In other words, right or wrong to you is whatever you feel it to be. So, if you felt that rape was moral then it would be. If you felt murder and theft was good, then it would be. You again admit that you have no standard by which to judge any action (if you had a standard, it would be objective), so your morality is meaningless.

    In db0’s mind, whatever he feels like doing is moral. What is there to stop him? Is there a guide to his actions that is based on something apart from his whim? No.

    …it is in my best interest to work in an “altruistic” manner

    How can sacrificing yourself be in your best interest? Altruism and selfishness are mutually exclusive. Altruism requires sacrifice. Selfishness requires rational self-interest. Altruism is irrational. Selfishness is rational.

  48. db0 Says:

    Well, right and wrong to me is whatever I feel it to be, same as you. That does not mean that I can change my morality on a whim as you want to imply, no more than I can change my sexual persuasion on a whim. I explained where my sense of right and wrong comes from and why I consider it subjective, like yours.

    I don’t understand how you go from that to declare that my morality is meaningless. Obviously it is not as it guides my actions. I must say that it has as much meaning as any morality can have. Now, which moral code is more beneficial to a person and society is a better question, one which we are doomed to disagree as our values, experiences and upbringing differ.

    “Altruism” (Notice the quotes. I used them to mean a generic materialistic altruism as I do not believe true altruism can exist) benefits me because it makes people like me. That in turn provides me with one of the three things I need in order to have a good and happy life: friends. Thus, no. My “altruism” is perfectly rational.

  49. evanescent Says:

    Well, right and wrong to me is whatever I feel it to be, same as you.

    No, right and wrong to me are what does or doesn’t maintain and sustain the life of a rational being. You have no such code.

    That does not mean that I can change my morality on a whim as you want to imply, no more than I can change my sexual persuasion on a whim.

    Your sexual persuasion is an objective fact about your identity however.

    Ok, let’s say you think rape is wrong. You feel it’s wrong, therefore it is to you. Let’s say I disagree with you and say that rape is acceptable. How can you prove me wrong? If my morality is just as subjective as yours, there is no way to decide between then. By what grounds do you assert that your morality is superior to mine and rape is wrong, apart from your word against mine? Now do you see the problem with moral subjectivism?

    I don’t intend to spend much more time discussing something as fundamental and obviously flawed as subjectivism. If you still can’t realise this, I’m not sure what more can be said.

    I used them to mean a generic materialistic altruism as I do not believe true altruism can exist) benefits me because it makes people like me. That in turn provides me with one of the three things I need in order to have a good and happy life: friends. Thus, no. My “altruism” is perfectly rational.

    Replace “altruism” for “generosity” and you’d be about right. You’re equivocating on the use of words. Altruism means “otherness”; sacrificial behaviour. The very fact that you’re nice to people (presumable YOU CHOOSE who you’re nice to??) in order to benefit yourself makes the act selfish. That is why selfishness is a rational virtue.

  50. db0 Says:

    No, right and wrong to me are what does or doesn’t maintain and sustain the life of a rational being. You have no such code.

    Your whole code is subjective.

    Ok, let’s say you think rape is wrong. You feel it’s wrong, therefore it is to you. Let’s say I disagree with you and say that rape is acceptable. How can you prove me wrong? If my morality is just as subjective as yours, there is no way to decide between then. By what grounds do you assert that your morality is superior to mine and rape is wrong, apart from your word against mine? Now do you see the problem with moral subjectivism?

    I can explain why rape is wrong on the basis that it violates the rights of others and incurs a huge psychological damage to the victim. It is also wrong because by doing this you are more likely than not to end up in jail and if not, to live in fear of discovery. It is not necessary, other than this reasoning, to prove anything. Either you follow the rules of the society you live in or you get ostracized/jailed.

    Replace “altruism” for “generosity” and you’d be about right. You’re equivocating on the use of words. Altruism means “otherness”; sacrificial behaviour. The very fact that you’re nice to people (presumable YOU CHOOSE who you’re nice to??) in order to benefit yourself makes the act selfish. That is why selfishness is a rational virtue.

    This expression of selfishness is superior to others. Selfishness by itself can be expressed in various ways and most of them are inferior. I’ve already written how there can be no true altruism. It is just impossible. Everyone is selfish (It all has to do with self preservation I believe) but the difference is how each of us expresses it. In the end, everyone expresses it in a different way because we all got different personalities.

    In the end, I|m not certain what this discussion (with me) is about. I just popped in to mention the similarity of what you said to a theist’s argument (which you’ve apparently accepted) and before I knew it, I was on the defense for some reason…

  51. evanescent Says:

    I can explain why rape is wrong on the basis that it violates the rights of others

    Hang on, is violating the rights of others wrong? Why?? I know why, but what is YOUR reason for saying so? And is it always wrong to violate the rights of others? In other words, is it an OBJECTIVE crime to violate the rights of others?

    Notice what you’re doing? You’re trying to claim an objective base for your subjective morality because you know you cannot make any claim without an appeal to objectivity.

    and incurs a huge psychological damage to the victim. It is also wrong because by doing this you are more likely than not to end up in jail and if not, to live in fear of discovery. It is not necessary, other than this reasoning, to prove anything. Either you follow the rules of the society you live in or you get ostracized/jailed.

    So right or wrong is whatever society decides? If society decided right wasn’t a crime, would that make it ok? If society decided to harvest the organs of the minority to save the sickly majority, would that make it morally acceptable? Yes, or no, and why? Subjectivity cannot answer this.

    Why bother passing any moral judgment on acts like rape or slavery?; society might change its mind in 10 years time and everything you accept as “right” or “wrong” will change; so forming any moral conclusion is irrelevant.

    This expression of selfishness is superior to others. Selfishness by itself can be expressed in various ways and most of them are inferior. I’ve already written how there can be no true altruism. It is just impossible. Everyone is selfish (It all has to do with self preservation I believe) but the difference is how each of us expresses it. In the end, everyone expresses it in a different way because we all got different personalities.

    I am only concerned with one definition of selfishness: rational self-interest; where no one is sacrificed to anyone; where nobody lives at anyone else’s expense.

    I just popped in to mention the similarity of what you said to a theist’s argument (which you’ve apparently accepted) and before I knew it, I was on the defense for some reason…

    And this accusation of “theism” is one of the reasons I am continuing the discussion. Another is your repeated contradictions. It is in my rational self-interest to defend my philosophical positions on my blog, and I am interested that my readers see it defended properly too. If you still can’t understand why subjectivism is meaningless then perhaps we should call it a day.

  52. db0 Says:

    Hang on, is violating the rights of others wrong? Why?? I know why, but what is YOUR reason for saying so? And is it always wrong to violate the rights of others? In other words, is it an OBJECTIVE crime to violate the rights of others?

    Because that’s how you and me have been raised. Respecting the rights of others (which society has defined) allows the current society to function. In a different society structure it might not have been wrong.

    Notice what you’re doing? You’re trying to claim an objective base for your subjective morality because you know you cannot make any claim without an appeal to objectivity.

    As I said before, my morality is subjective. I have based it on objective facts and subjective experience.

    So right or wrong is whatever society decides? If society decided right wasn’t a crime, would that make it ok? If society decided to harvest the organs of the minority to save the sickly majority, would that make it morally acceptable? Yes, or no, and why? Subjectivity cannot answer this

    It would be wrong for us but apparently not for them. If their society, with their abhorent practices however had the competitive advantage then our opinion would not matter.

    Right or wrong for each person is whatever they have been raised to believe plus any modification from their own experiences. Society just defines the commonly accepted norm which most of the time defines your base for morality.

    Why bother passing any moral judgment on acts like rape or slavery?; society might change its mind in 10 years time and everything you accept as “right” or “wrong” will change; so forming any moral conclusion is irrelevant.

    Because I live now and I find such acts wrong. Thus I express my personal opinion. Given enough similar opinions we are able to punish or ostracize the person we all consider to have acted wrong. Thus by passing my own judgment and explaining why I believe it is so then I help modify the society around me in a way that I find right.

    I am only concerned with one definition of selfishness: rational self-interest; where no one is sacrificed to anyone; where nobody lives at anyone else’s expense.

    Nobody does currently (or at least shouldn’t theoretically). Everyone provides for the common good.

    And this accusation of “theism” is one of the reasons I am continuing the discussion. Another is your repeated contradictions. It is in my rational self-interest to defend my philosophical positions on my blog, and I am interested that my readers see it defended properly too. If you still can’t understand why subjectivism is meaningless then perhaps we should call it a day.

    I did not accuse you of theism. I said that your argument is similar to a theist argument. You could not argue against my statement so you preferred to shift it to a personal attack.

    Perhaps we should call it a day. I am tired of having to defend myself.

  53. Ergo Says:

    Evanescent (and other interested readers),

    Here’s a link to an excellent essay on Defending Objectivism in response to the criticisms of an ex-Objectivist and utilitarian. I’m sure you’ll find the read insightful. It addresses many of the issues raised in your recent posts on Objectivist ideas.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060422025340/angermanagement.mu.nu/archives/020463.html

  54. guftafs Says:

    Congratulations on discovering Ayn Rand.

  55. What is Objectivism? « evanescent Says:

    […] exactly 12 months since this time last year, and secondly, it marks almost one year on from when I first started to study Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn […]


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