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Post 40

Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 7:20pmSanction this postReply
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Scott: Albert originally said:
OK - so what if the drowning man is your rival at work and your rival in love.
If you let him drown - you get the promotion and you get the girl.
You would still save him (I hope) - why?

You said:
How do you get a drowing man out of a lake with no risk?
First of all, it doesn't have to be a lake. It can be him floating down the river and you just throw him a life preserver from the bank.  .... no risk. (Ooops, maybe you might dislocate your shoulder). If he's in a lake and you're in a boat you can throw him a line and tow him back to shore ... where you're headed, anyway. (Ooops, again. You might have a heart attack because of the additional drag).

I guess there's just no way to avoid risk, so I'll just let him drown.

Sam


Post 41

Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 11:44pmSanction this postReply
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Lots of responses.

Majhoul asks "In other words how does an Objectivist go in his daily life in dealing with others that is different from the acts of a religious person for example".  I don't know about you, but I don't run across little old ladies crossing streets very often.  I certain have never ran into a drowning child I could save with little or no effort.  Which mean, practically speaking, that there's a world of difference between an Objectivist's day to day life, and that of an altruist.  We concentrate on seeking values, living a good life, and enjoying ourselves.  The altruist does what?  Runs around harassing little old ladies?  Probably not.  Probably they just feel guilty about not running into any drowning people.  And other than that, they just ignore their ethical theories.

MH says: "What I'm trying to get at is that to them, there is a justification to their moral views, it isn't just a pointless circle."  I bet they don't think too much about it either way.  Who becomes an altruist after careful deliberation?  Anyone? 

Have you confronted them with the pointlessness of it?  Or did they end up justifying it in terms of round-about self-interest? 

Martin says:
But what about an objectivist. "I want to help myself." Why? Uh...because it's the right thing to do. Why? Uh...because helping myself is good. That's circular.
How about if you showed that these actions improved your odds of survival?  Or if they provided genuine happiness?  Let's contrast, shall we?  One person is an altruist to help people.  Why help people?  No reason (except potentially the roundabout self-interest theory).  Another person seeks his rational self-interest.  Why?  Because it keeps him alive, and makes him happy.  Do you really think both are pointless?  What exactly do you define as having a point?

And then:
I have seen an article on this site about 'false dichotomies'. I think the 'selfish' VS 'altruistic' divide is the biggest of them all.

I wrote one.  And I agree that it's not a real dichotomy, but for different reasons than you.  It's not a dichotomy because there are other ethical systems available (i.e., it's non-exhaustive).  But it is mutually exclusive.

You seem to misunderstand ethics entirely, even what I wrote.  The fact that an action can benefit two people doesn't matter.  Ethics is not about judging a particular action in a void, and determining who the actual benefits.  Ethics is about choosing between actions.  If you have action A that benefits you and someone else, and action B who benefits you and someone else, how do you pick?  You pick by choosing a single standard to evaluate the two.  That standard is what we're talking about.  It may be that both actions benefit both, but you pick the one that benefits yourself  if you're "selfish" in the Objectivist sense.  You pick whichever helps the other person if you're "altruistic".  Our standard is our own interests.  An altruists standard is the other people.

That's why the two are mutually exclusive.  You're either picking based on one standard, or on the other.  You can't pick based on both (if they conflicted, you'd have to pick one over the other, if they didn't conflict, there'd be no meaning to using both standards, since either would do the trick).

Yes, you've pointed out an Objectivist view that often when you help yourself, you help others.  It's a general harmony of interest, and that's why society is a good thing when it's peacefully and voluntary.  But in the realm of ethical decision making, priority is given to one or the other.

As for all of the people who think Objectivism would lead to letting everyone drown needlessly, I'm tempted to just say "so what"?  If it were true that there's no possible selfish reason to save another human being with little or no effort, then what's the big deal?  Aren't you just letting your altruistic past catch up with you?  In other words, why are you so sure that it's the right thing to do?  Try a little introspection.

Scott is right, though.  It can't possibly be a duty to save the person.  If it was, there'd be no difference between that and every other duty to sacrifice.  Other people are not some kind of intrinsic value that we must protect despite the cost.  So if you want to justify it, you have to look at values gained or lost.


Post 42

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 12:09amSanction this postReply
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Well thanks for telling me that I "... seem to misunderstand ethics entirely"

Most of the things I say are to clarify and create discussion Joseph. These sorts of questions are useful to ask if they help to make an issue clear, don't you think? I think everyone's questions and comments have helped to clarrify some of the...issues involved in Objectivist "ethics".

"As for all of the people who think Objectivism would lead to letting everyone drown needlessly, I'm tempted to just say "so what"?"

- I am glad you are only tempted to say this and did not actually say it -

The problem with a lot of these ethical discussions is that they are so detached from reality. If A = Man, and B = Lake.... that's not life. Don't turn your ethical life into a pile of syllogisms.

What's the reality?

Let me just ask you Joseph, how you would feel sitting by and watching a man, a woman or ...let's say a child drown in front of you.

The horror in their eyes, desperate gasps for breathe, a muffled cry for help. Then the memory of the cold corpse floating just below the surface - the echoeing screams of the child's mother as she sees her baby's corpse - then looks at you - you who just stood and watched.

Would you try to gently explain to her that watching her child drown was the "rational" thing to do? Would anyone here... honestly. You are all talk. You would help - but you can't explain why... What does this say about Objectivism as a system of ethics?

The reality is that in this situation - you just act - you don't get out a pen and paper and work out balances of happiness like a Utilitarianist .. nor do you get out a copy of "The Virtue of Selfishness" to seek guidence about what to do. No time. Now!

Am i a heratic..when I say sometimes we have to say "f*ck reason" and just dive into the waves?

Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 43

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 1:04amSanction this postReply
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Martin,

I noticed you ignored what I said about making choices, and about life not always being an emergency, and about pointlessness.  Shall I take it that you understand and agree now?

Now, the reason I said I was tempted to to go along with the whole "let 'em drown" theory is that it would make all of you sit up and think about it a little more.  Either you concede that reason rejects saving a life, or you have to ask yourself why you would do it (what the reason is)?

You seem to have picked the first.  If I understand your position, your rational mind is fully convinced that you should let them die.  You can't think of a single reason to help them, except that you feel some inexplicable guilt in not doing it.  And your solution to this problem is that people should ignore their reasoning ability, and go with every vague emotion that happens to run by them.  Is that correct?  "F*ck reason!", and live your life by any random whims?  Interesting theory of yours.

The next interesting question is what you think is the source of emotions?  For instance, you assume when the man is drowning that I'll be upset.  But what if I tell you that he was a murderer and rapist?  He killed all of my closest friends.  He's been trying to kill me for days. I don't feel horrified that he's dying.  I feel happy and satisfied.  My theory of emotions requires some reason to back it up.  What does yours say?  Do you think we just feel things for no reason at all?  Do you think there's no reason at all that you'd be upset to see a child drowning before your eyes, but that you do anyway?  And why is a child a better candidate than an adult?  Are emotions automatic?  Do they necessarily lead you to the "right" course of action?  What is your theory?

You say:
Am i a heratic..when I say sometimes we have to say "f*ck reason" and just dive into the waves
So when do you go with reason?  When do you go with emotion?  Just when your life is at stake?  Is it just when the stakes are high that you ignore your mind and try to feel your way to a solution?  Do you go ahead and rely on  your mind when the results don't matter, but stop thinking when they do?  Or do you always reject reason and go with your feelings?

Those are mostly rhetorical questions.  You don't have to respond unless you think you'd like to stick to your statements.

The real point of this all is that there are reasons behind these feelings and there are reasons why we should try to save other people's lives (under certain circumstances).  Stopping at the point of "I feel it" is not an answer unless you plan on being consistent with that ethical rule of thumb.  The opposite view is also wrong.  That's the view that says "I feel like I should, but can't immediately, effortlessly come up with a good reason, so I'll just ignore my emotions".  A proper method would be to go and try to identify those reasons.  Why would you feel bad while watching a child die. Or an adult.  Are there conditions that would make you feel worse or better?  What values are there?  What effect would this have on the rest of your life?  Etc., etc.

This kind of introspection, where you have to go an identify values, isn't easy.  It's something that doesn't come up in a rule-based ethics where you do as you're told, or where you help other people based on their desires, not your own.  But if you want to act rationally, you have to be able to see the values that are there.  Otherwise, what cost is worth it?  What if you had to lose an arm or a leg in order to save the other person?  Blinding yourself to the actual costs and benefits isn't going to make them go away.

How important is any of this?  In specific terms, not at all.  How many people have to save a drowning man or something similar?  But the important point being made is what value other people have to you, how do you identify the source of your emotions, and what is your standard of evaluation for making the choices.  Universal points.  But the specific scenario is not very meaningful.


Post 44

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 6:48amSanction this postReply
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If you need a practical reason to save a drowning man at little risk or effort on your part, all you need do is look at the consequences of not doing so. You'll likely end up in jail.

It's called "depraved indifference."

Sam


Post 45

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 9:46amSanction this postReply
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Hey Joe,

Have you confronted them with the pointlessness of it?  Or did they end up justifying it in terms of round-about self-interest? 
Yeah I've confronted them...we either go round in circles or they come to something similar to "round-about self-interest".

The next interesting question is what you think is the source of emotions?  For instance, you assume when the man is drowning that I'll be upset.  But what if I tell you that he was a murderer and rapist?  He killed all of my closest friends.  He's been trying to kill me for days. I don't feel horrified that he's dying.  I feel happy and satisfied.  My theory of emotions requires some reason to back it up.  What does yours say?  Do you think we just feel things for no reason at all?  Do you think there's no reason at all that you'd be upset to see a child drowning before your eyes, but that you do anyway?

This wasn't specifically directed at me, but I do understand what you're getting at with this line of thought. Of course if the drowning man was a murderer or rapist I wouldn't help him at all. The emotion I would feel while seeing an innocent person drown would I imagine be some form of empathy, rationally based on my being a human who loves my life and him being a human at risk of losing his. That's why, barring any risk to myself, I would try to save a drowning swimmer. If there was some significant risk I would leave the actual rescue to the lifeguards and other rescue personnel (who of course have specialist training for dealing with such situations), though I would certainly stick around in case I could assist in some other way (giving first aid or whatever).

MH


Post 46

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 5:01amSanction this postReply
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Oh no I can't talk. I've got to spit! Why? Oh! It's all these words Joseph keeps shoving into my mouth!

The reason I made that post was to put a bit of realism into the situation. People like to discuss these sorts of issues as if they were doing an algebra assignment.

You can not ignore the emotional component... and sorry Joseph - but not all emotions spring forth from reason... maybe some reason (or what looks like reason) actually springs forth from emotion.

You are confused. You put the cart before the horse:

"A proper method would be to go and try to identify those reasons. Why would you feel bad while watching a child die."

So you already know you feel bad about it...now you try to fit some unnecessary and artificial construct around it. You are working backwards from the way you *claim* to work. You have the conclusion already... and are scrabbling desperatly around for the premisis!

If you really reasoned the way you claim you do you would start of with some premis and then from that deduce that you should feel a certain way. Oh yeah - but you do don't you? You start off with "A is A" - and from this deduce all the world knows to be true.

But seriously...

Should you start with emotions and try to derive reasons....or start with reason and try to derive what you *should* feel?

Maybe you should do both. Don't most people do both? Letting there be an ebb and flow between our emotions and our intellect. A two way road... So if I have 'discovered' by reason that a certain action is 'morally good' but I feel like crap afterwards... I can use those feelings to correct my ill reasoning. Likewise if I feel something is right - but then I discover an inconsistancy in my actions, I may begin to feel differently about it (the feelings change)

I feel like you are trying to get through life using only half of your faculties, Joseph - I really do. As if you have been handed two tools for dealing with life and you have thrown one away because someone told you it was made by a "mystic".

My real view is that true morality shines through when we move beyond both reason and emotions. I only tell you that so you will be able to have fun tearing apart my "human kind hating, scum eating, subhuman, immoral, unintelligent, mystical views...which (no doubt) will only lead to the enslavement of free men, the brainwashing of children, and the death of reason"

But then - let me ask the rest of the Forum this:

If you are drowning in a pond somewhere...who would you rather walked by? Me? or Robot Boy up there?

Post 47

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 5:38amSanction this postReply
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Joseph, I agree totally that we have to reflect on our emotions and feelings. Now one of the items that i am still searching out is in Atlas Shrugged Halley says "The difference is we know our emotions." My concern with this statement is only one thing. You cannot know all of your emotions in all contexts of life. But if they are based on your values then even though you may not understand why you have the emotion to save a life or whatever in an emergency situation that you should act upon these emotions. But, and another but, you should always use a rational mind when taking action on emotions by measuring risk and should always rationalize your emotions afterwards to help understand yourself better. What I am basically getting at is this. I would save the man as long as I did not risk my life to much. The thought of watching another life be drained from existence is horrifying to me.

It is horrifying because I value my life so much. To simplify I may put things in the context of my own life points. I have so many life points right now. If I watch this person die will I gain any life points, keep the same amount of life points, or would I lose life points? If I use my rational mind and I can save the persons life with minimal or no risk to my own life [and Sam has eloquently stated how this can be done, rationally.] then I can gain life points. [i.e. for affirmation that my rational mind is superior]. if I choose not to save him then I certainly lose life points because I would be affirming that i am not living my life by my own values and this can be a cause of guilt, objectively speaking, and can lead to a decrease in life points throughout time.

What a great thread this is!

-JML

Post 48

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 7:36amSanction this postReply
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Hello Martin,

you wrote:

Why would you try to cultivate these attributes in yourself?

Because they are benificial to you? - as an ''objectivist" this MUST be the case!
But then you find that what you are culltivating to be useful for you, also ends up to be useful to other people as well (which was my point - you don't NEED to be 'altruistic' - by helping yourself you also help others)

Me: No,Martin, not because I am an *objectivist* in the sense that label is often applied, but because they *are* beneficial to me. This doesnt need further reason. That aside, I cultivate those attributes *in the context of my values*. I don't "need" to be altruistic because 1) altruism is abhorrent, and goes against the core of my values, and, 2)benevolence is an act or attitude of good intent to someone else. The first in reality more than likely entails self sacrifice, the latter does not, in the way I practice it. Also, the first, altruism, is a *global* for lack of a better word, way of thinking and acting, applied to the wad. The second, *benevolence* is highly context specific, and selfish, applied to specific individuals. If I were *altruistic* I would save you even if you were evil and meant me or my loved ones harm. I would do this because I *ought* to, because my life principle in dealing with others was *altruism*. Since I am NOT altruistic, I would in benevolence (and lacking any reason to think you were evil, and did not mean me or my loved ones harm etc etc, save you if I could. I would do this because I value my life and the lives of good men. Since I have no knowledge of your *non goodness* there is a probability (maybe too strong a word), of your *goodness*. Now my definition of *good* is a matter for another discussion.

John
(Edited by John Newnham on 10/15, 7:15pm)


Post 49

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 3:35pmSanction this postReply
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Some comments:

Sam, although there may be laws, that doesn't make those laws moral.

MH:
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 say:
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?


Post 50

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 8:21pmSanction this postReply
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Joseph: Let's just cut to the chase if, late at night, you saw a man unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk would you bother to pick up your cell phone (maybe at the cost of a 10 cent call) and phone 911? If not, why not?

Maybe you'd have to spend half an hour talking to the police and ambulance driver and may become a suspect. But you could just disappear after making the call.

Sam

p.s. Remember Kitty Genovese?

http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/predators/kitty_genovese/1.html


Post 51

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 8:29pmSanction this postReply
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Just after I googled 'Kitty Genovese' and made the last post, I happened to see  another link, to TOC, on the same subject.

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/articles/csilk_why-kitty-genovese-die.asp

Sam


Post 52

Friday, October 15, 2004 - 8:34pmSanction this postReply
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Jeffrey says:

"What a great thread this is!"

I could not agree more. I am finding it both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. It is great to hear other people explain ideas which I do not agree with, nor fully understand, with calrity and insight. (yeah this means you Joseph...)

This may help to answer Josephs:

"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."

One point about that - I don't think Objectivism is exactly 'wrong'. If i did not find it a fascinating idea I would not bother to read the articles or the responses. But it being a new idea, I am not going to swallow it all down without asking a few questions first am I... perhaps I play the devils advocate card a bit too much sometimes... But I love reading your frustrated sounding responses! I think objectivism has some useful points to add to human understanding - but I don't think it is completely right.

With a little prodding I have gradually got you explain more carefully what you meant in your original essay (which was more an introduction that a real explanation) ... I am sort of like a gadfly (I flatter myself.....Socrates reference Joseph as I am sure you know)

Have you ever seen a film called "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? Not a great film.. but I think there is a character in it which sums up a lot of "rational ethics". He is the greek father who throughout the film tries to show how any word you give him - if you trace it back far enough comes from a greek word...even Kimona, from memory. He has already decided that the word comes from Greek before he starts his analysis - and as he is an intelligent man (at least with respect to this specialised skill) he is able to find the "Greek" root of any work he is given - yes even a Japanese one.

Now - a lot of objectivists work in a similar way. They take any view they happen to like... say that Islam is evil, homosexuality is moral, homosexuality is immoral, Islam is not evil, Bush is a good president.... anything at all - and then through their clever reasoning show how this belief comes from an original Greek word.... oooops. That's not right. They show how whatever belief they have grabbed onto comes from "reason" (by the way- did you know that the word reason - it is from greek - it come from the Greek word ......)

It shows great skill, like a Master chess players skill - but that is all. You still basically pluck your ethical beliefs out of the air ... AND THEN search around for reasons to support them. What I do is to move beyond the cluttered realm of reason to see the morality which shines through....Hey - there goes that poetic expression again? What do I mean by it?

I call it Buddha nature. Reason is a useful tool - but it will never touch buddha nature. Reason is like any other tool - it can be used to create wealth, heal, create concentration camps, raise children, or erase history.

Man's true nature is above reason and logic, and beyond emotion and feeling. What is left when you neither think nor feel about an action? How do you act then? Is this all just "vague statements" - me..."trying to sound deep"?

I think reason is a cage - one which traps people into confined little world views. when you break the chains of reason you have true freedom to act. This does not mean you do not think. You can use reason as a tool. (a tool AND a cage....ha ha ha) But when the job is done - put the tools down and enjoy life. Carrying that heavy tool bag everywhere will make you tired.

Now - use your reason to prove all this to be false.

Post 53

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 1:33amSanction this postReply
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Kitty Genovese died, because religion trains people to be zombie-fied, human-oid sheep without any consistent sense of free will or individual responsibility.  Those cattle were all sitting around like deer in headlights, waiting for Jehovah to "strike down the bad guy".

Anyone who claims that Genovese died because the bystanders were too individualistic is either a goddamn moron or liar, or a moronic liar.  A true individual would know that the world goes all to hell if the invidual doesn't stand up and do something

An Objectivist would have called the police, and been down there in a flash to help her.  I would have gotten my jollies out of making dog food out of that guy, and hearing him cry out for his momma. 


Post 54

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 6:51amSanction this postReply
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Matthew:

But note that the drowning swimmer has no moral claim on you. You may assist him if you choose, but you are not morally obligated to help. If we say that you ~are~ morally obligated to help, then we support an outside entity's ability to force unchosen action upon you. And down the road you go--there are always compelling reasons to allow 'one more' externally-imposed moral requirement. It cannot be a moral requirement to help, or the entire idea of owning your own life is out the window.

I overstate my position for clarity and maybe for sensationalism. Of course, I tend to help people in trouble, usually without thinking--if anything, I am too much of a softie--I like to help people. It probably provides little to no value to my life, but it is a remnant of my childhood teachings, that it is nice to help people in trouble. I still believe that it is nice to do a good turn for another when you can. I so love my life that it is esentially becomes an appreciation of all human life such that I feel happy when I can easily eliminate an obstacle for a person. That doesn't mean anyone can show up at my dorrstep and make a moral demand for action. And if I feel like pointing out directions to the French couple looking for the Sears Tower, I can choose to help or not, but I don't have to if I don't want to. I am just trying to clarify that morality is a call for action, and that proper morality can never be against self-interest.

Post 55

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 2:36pmSanction this postReply
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Scott,

I'll simply quote from my last response to you: "If I was out enjoying myself on a beach for the day, and saw a swimmer in difficulty, of course I would owe him nothing, he would have no rights over me."

MH


Post 56

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 2:59pmSanction this postReply
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The article by  Fred Groh of the Objectivist Center is directly relevant to the issue here. He presents views of both Machan and Kelley and compares them.

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/articles/fgroh_review-generosity.asp
Kelley argues that we ought to be benevolent, that benevolence and its components, including generosity, can be enormously beneficial to their practitioner
In addition to generosity, the virtues of benevolence include kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness, Machan notes.
Sam


Post 57

Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 7:21pmSanction this postReply
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Albert, you wrote:

"OK - so what if the drowning man is your rival at work and your rival in love.
If you let him drown - you get the promotion and you get the girl.
You would still save him (I hope) - why?

Because an honest person does not want the unearned, and could not live with it.

Barbara


Post 58

Sunday, October 17, 2004 - 12:23pmSanction this postReply
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I will probably re-post in a bit but i am morally obligated to play with my children. oh wait that makes it sound like such a chore. I am going to go increase my happiness. However, I did what to say that 1. I have found that you get more out of an objectivist my just asking and not playing devils advocate and 2. that I have found that if you just try to live objectivism first then you can just see which one "feels" better. or wait maybe I meant to say which one altruism or objectivism gives your life more happiness and the ability to make the right decisions.

Oh yeah and Joseph I see what you mean my "rationalize your emotions" that makes me cringe to I should have been more careful..

Thanks, JML
(Edited by Jeffrey M Lewis on 10/17, 3:06pm)


Post 59

Monday, October 18, 2004 - 4:08amSanction this postReply
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Martin, I just wanted to ask you question if you don't mind. Some definitions of Reason are:
-The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence.
-Good judgment; sound sense.
-A normal mental state; sanity: He has lost his reason.
-To talk or argue logically and persuasively

Do you think that we can live with logic, without intelligence or good judgement?

Or do you have another definition for reason? I agree it is a tool that you have the choice to use or not. But what kind of world do you see if we put it down and do not use it?

I just would like to understand your position a little better.

thanks, JML



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