Sam, although there may be laws, that doesn't make those laws moral.
Yeah I've confronted them...we either go round in circles or they come to something similar to "round-about self-interest".Not at all surprising. In other words, they may deny that they're ethics is pointless, but they can't support it.
Your comments about emotions are correct.
JML, The problem is that your emotions aren't reliably correct. They may be based on value judgments, but those might be stale, or out of context, or anything else. Here's an example. Sometimes in movies you have the psycho killer running around being pure evil. And then when some woman gets a gun, she doesn't use it. "I can't kill another human being". Her emotion is a proper response to most people, but not to him. The emotion is out of context.
The difficult part of using your emotion in an emergency situation is that you can't evaluate the "gain" very well. If you're doing a cost-benefit analysis, or a risk-reward analysis, you have to know what the benefit/reward is. If you can't name it, you can't know that it's worth it. But then again, emergency situations suck, and you don't have time to figure out how to introspect on the fly. So you probably will do something if the risk is not significant, even if you can't be sure about the emotion. But the real point is that you should learn to quickly understand your emotions, learn to identify the values behind them, so you can evaluate them.
Also, I flinched a little when you said "should always rationalize your emotions afterwards". You're right that you need to go back and understand them, but rationalize isn't the right word.
You comments on the choice to save someone are interesting and clear. That's the kind of introspection that needs to be done on this issue.
Ahh...and finally, Martin.
I want to start with your last question:
If you are drowning in a pond somewhere...who would you rather walked by? Me? or Robot Boy up there?Indeed. Which would you rather count on? A person controlled by his whims, who believes that there is no reason to save you, but thinks that when the time comes he'll feel some desire to, if fear doesn't get in the way, and oh by the way he intends to shut down his reasoning mind for the duration of the event? Or someone who knows why he would save you, can identify the values at stake, is driven by principle and not by emotion, is going to look at the event clearly and rationally, will keep using his mind so that he doesn't get both of you killed, and oh by the way, also feels a strong desire to help (for rational reasons)?
Now Martin, a quick aside. I've always wanted to know, and you're the perfect person to tell me. Why is it that people who have no clue about Objectivism like to come on to Objectivist forums and argue with people that Objectivism is wrong while making a fool of themselves and their ignorance? Hope you'll help me out here.
Now you suggest I ignore the emotional element. Since everything I said has centered around understanding the emotion involved, I wonder how you came up with this profound insight?
And you still haven't provided a theory of emotions. You seem to treat them as absolutes, and not to be questioned. You claim that some emotions don't spring forth from reason (shall I take that to mean that some do?). But then you don't say where these causeless emotions come from. And since you've already said that your feelings about the drowning victim are not caused by any reasons (since there can't be any reason to save the person...your mind is convinced you should let him die), I take it this is one of your examples? So when you have a causeless emotion, your advice is to act on it! Or is it just when your life is at stake?
It's very amusing. Your seem primarily upset, not that I wouldn't save a person, but that I won't do it blindly on my emotions. For that, you call me a robot. Think you've persuaded anybody?
You start off with "A is A" - and from this deduce all the world knows to be true.That's appalling in its stupidity. What can you deduce from A is A? Don't you know that Objectivism is solidly based on induction? Don't you think you should at least familiarize yourself with someone else's opinions before you try to attack them? It's not like it's hard for you. We spell it out in article after article. There's even an Objectivism101 section on this site!
Whereas, we only have your posts to go on. And you say things like:
1.) "Should you start with emotions and try to derive reasons" - what means would you use? Objectivists have a view, based on our understanding of emotions, that allows us to analyze an emotion. But you say that some emotions (the one's you should follow in an emergency) have nothing to do with reason. So what is your means of derivation? Rationalization? You're not exactly making yourself understood. I suspect that's because you don't understand it yourself.
2.) "but not all emotions spring forth from reason" - again, you don't even bother explaining your theory of emotions. You try to sound mysterious so we'll think you're deep or something. But again you misunderstand your audience. We're used to people showing how deep they are by having a clear understanding of things, and being able to communicate it that way. People who like to hint at possible ideas without ever saying anything are just dull.
3.) "My real view is that true morality shines through when we move beyond both reason and emotions." Ooooh...that's impressive. Not. This is the worst sentence ever. You imply that there's something called "true morality", implying that everyone else's morality is wrong but with no statement of what it could mean. You use the phrase "shines through", which just shows you have no actual understanding of what you're saying, but want to give it a poetic spin. You say "beyond both reason and emotions", without stating what is beyond these two, or how it relates to anything else.
How are we supposed to take anything you say seriously?