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Post 0

Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 2:52pmSanction this postReply
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One of the saddest aspects of the Objectivist movement is the way you seem to have to tip-toe around certain issues, be sensitive to the point of infinity discussing them, be ultra-careful they rarely or never come up, and then brainwash yourself that no such issues or controversy even really exist. This is all quintessentially religious -- and absolutely alien to reason and philosophy.

On the issue of homosexuality, AR and ARI really seem to distinguish themselves with their intellectual dishonesty and moral cowardice. I welcome anything Chris and Lindsay can do to improve this. The ~whole~ Objectivist movement will benefit.



Post 1

Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 8:48amSanction this postReply
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Now, can we excise the following abomination too:

Under The Death Penalty:
"Rights stem from man's nature as a rational being, and a man living irrationally has no rights."

And under Rights:
"Rights are absolute"

Finally, under Rationality:
"It means using logic to weed out any contradictions."

So, are rights absolute? Or do they belong only to "Rational Beings"? How do you weed out this contradiction?


FYI, I agree with 90-95% of what you have on the site, especially the Trader Principle and Benevolence. Those two concepts have changed my life for the better. I no longer feel guilty for not helping out a mooch.

My aim with this post is to provoke a wholesale attempt at Rationality. If we can weed out those inconsistencies, such as Homosexuality and Absolute Rights, we can produce a completely rational system that will truly change the world.



Post 2

Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 3:50pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Alex,

I don't think that there is a contradiction between rights being contextual and rights being absolute. I think that rights are "contextually absolute". Absolute is not the same as intrinsic -- absolute means that they are unconditional and can not be abrogated by any government or person, given that the rights exist. It doesn't make sense to say that rights aren't absolute because plants don't have rights or that rights aren't absolute because a rock doesn't have rights, because rights simply don't apply to plants or rocks. But to those people who live by rationality, rights are absolute. To parasites and thugs, rights don't apply.

To complicate things, I think that different people, due to age, capacity, or behavior, have different rights. A child might have the right to life but not yet the right to property. But those rights that a person does have are absolute -- they can't be taken away because those rights are the metaphysically given and determined by the identity of the person.

Does this make sense?



Post 3

Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 12:25amSanction this postReply
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Alex,

Who/what were you quoting above?

Thanks



Post 4

Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 1:23amSanction this postReply
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He's quoting from the extensive Objectivism 101 section of this site which is mirrored from ImportanceOfPhilosophy.com.



Post 5

Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 1:46amSanction this postReply
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The second part of the following is a non-sequitur, & wrong:

"Rights stem from man's nature as a rational being, and a man living irrationally has no rights."

I'm seeing a lot of confusion here on the nature & status of rights. Then, too, I'm seeing confusion on another thread, where I'm reading that all evil is *equally* evil. It's alarming that folk can imagine that such bizarre conclusions are Objectivist.

Yup, there's work to do.



Post 6

Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 3:22pmSanction this postReply
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My understanding is that rights aren't contextual at all.

E.g., I have the right not to have force or fraud initiated against me.

If I assault you, and you defend yourself, you're in no way violating my rights, because *you aren't initiating force* against me, merely retaliating.

So there's no 'weighing up the rights of the victim & the criminal' - in the above example, NIOF and retaliatory force are perfectly compatible. If it were otherwise, I'd question whether either or both are genuinely rights.



Post 7

Monday, November 17, 2003 - 2:35pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff, no it doesn't make sense.

"to those people who live by rationality, rights are absolute"

So, how about I (a rational being) unilaterally declare you an irrational being. Sounds like dictatorship to me.

I'm not suggesting rocks (or Rand-forbid) animals have absolute rights, but humans. Once upon a time, you could lots of terrible things to people who were of an "inferior" race. The irrationality argument works the same way. Who determines who is being irrational, but more importantly, shouldn't I be able to live irrationally if I want to. I think there's this thing called Freedom of Speech that allows people to say all kinds of crazy, irrational things.

Jeff, you do raise an important point about children. How do you apply Objectivism to children. Incorporating the "sacrifices" required by parents into self-interest requires adopting concepts from evolutionary biology such as Richard Dawkins' Selfish Gene. I'd love to see (or perhaps write) an article with this perspective.



Post 8

Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 12:23amSanction this postReply
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Alex, I think that rights are metaphysically given, not declared by you, me, or the government. We can try to determine whether or not someone has rights, but we can not declare whether or not someone has rights. That's what Jefferson means, I think, when he says that rights are unalienable. So you can go right ahead and declare me an irrational being, but it doesn't make me an irrational being. Only my use or evasion of reason makes me an irrational being.

You say that all humans have absolute rights, but I absolutely 100% do not think rights have anything to do with Homo sapiens DNA. That would be totally arbitrary. Rights must be based upon a person's (or alien's or genetically modified chimp's) ability to reason and live in a harmony of interests with others.

As I said, I think that different people have different rights based upon their capacity and behavior. Children are no exception. Yes, there is freedom of speech, which is the recognition that merely saying most things is not an initiation of force. But that doesn't give some idiot the right to yell "Fire" in a crowded movie theater, because so doing IS an initiation of force.

(As a caveat, I don't think Rand explicitly says what I'm saying here, but I think that some things that she writes on rights are vague and contradictory, and my above conclusions are clarifications and choosing the correct stance out of contradictory stances.)



Post 9

Monday, December 22, 2003 - 8:43amSanction this postReply
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1. I emphatically do not buy this "parental sacrifice" idea -- nor that it has to incorporate anything from "evolutionary biology". Not in and of itself.
(Especially not from Dawkins. Dawkins seems like the wrong approach, personified: having made "evolution" into a substitute for the Christain God he supposedly dislikes so much, he then makes grandiose claims -- like trying to justify social evils like oppresive government or "conformity for it's own sake" or what have you, as "just human nature".
That does nothing for us, and it in fact, serves as an attempt to undercut the capacity humans have for rational action: if we're all just genetic drones -- then we have no capacity to actually THINK about our actions. it's just another form of that behavioral-determinism crap, really.

I admit that Dawkins has done some halfway decent work -- but much of it is laced with a very literally "dehumanizing" premise.

Now, on to the idea of 'parental sacrifice" being incompatible with self-interest. That's patently absurd. Rand amply covered the nature of 'sacrifice" -- and it's distinction from "giving" of other sorts.

"Sacrifice" -- in the Objectivist value system -- is defined as the "giving up of a value, for a LESSER value, OR A NON-VALUE." Anything else -- any other form of "giving" -- is trade-based (IE, BOTH parties get something out of the deal.)

Until and unless we snap ourselves OUT of this Behavioral-determinist "let's just turn every human action into a non-volitional response to our 'primate past', we're never going to make any headway whatsoever.

Sorry, Alex, but Dawkins "selfish gene" paradigm is not the way to proceed.



Post 10

Friday, December 26, 2003 - 9:58pmSanction this postReply
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Is Dawkins a statist ? I'm very dissapointed to hear it.

His idea of the selfish gene is correct, though. It's simply the fact that it is genes that are selected for, not individuals or species. It is about biology and has nothing to do with ethics or politics.

Of course free will is true, but I think Objectivists are too ignorant of evolutionary psychology, and consider free will as an absolute. No offense Henry, I'm not talking about you, but I think some Objectivists are simply afraid of science contradicting them.

Ron Merrill did good work in that subject. I would invite you to read his article :

http://www.monmouth.com/~adamreed/Ron_Merrill_writes/Miscelaneous/EddiesEnigma.htm

It's long, but it should be mandatory reading on SOLO HQ. Science must inform philosophy whether you like it or not.



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Post 11

Wednesday, July 20 - 5:49amSanction this postReply
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This was a Blast from the Past. The thread went to some interesting places. Much of that has been discussed and argued here these past nine years. It is difficult to know whether it is the ideas that are intractable or the people who propose them.

I like the Archives at logout.






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