Going Galt... From The Gulch

Posted by rbroberg 2 years, 10 months ago to Philosophy
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This is not intended as a sleight of hand or as an insult to you personally. But I am going Galt... from the Gulch. Here's why:

Objectivism is taken to mean objective adherence to reality, i.e. that nature to be commanded must be obeyed. That a person's means to reality is sense perception which is integrated into abstract concepts, into language. That ethically, a person should not initiate the use of physical force against another. That self-interest is the only ethical driver for rational behavior, and that politics should protect self-interest in the face of the illegitimate use of force.

There are crucial problems with this set of ingredients. First, it does not explain miraculous events or even, if you prefer, breakthrough discoveries. One of my favorite examples is the story of Watson and Crick, who discovered the double helical structure of DNA on low doses of LSD. Another is the story of Archimedes bath whereby he discovered volumetric measurement through displacement. A third is Cuban Missile Crisis. Objectivism posits human ingenuity and achievement as a norm within the correct social conditions. But we find that small variations in a set of circumstances would have altered the outcomes of any of the above examples, circumstances unrelated to any personal ambition or other characteristic.

Second, Objectivism does not explain how abstract concepts are formed. It simply posits that generalizing, narrowing, abstracting, or specifying concepts are processes of the intellect that are formed using the laws of logic. But, logically, to be able to claim how a concept is formed, one cannot from a sense perception and laws of logic determine an action. An end must be defined in order to make the requisite decisions and take the requisite actions to meet that end. Objectivism defines this end as simply "life". It then defines life as "goal-directed action". This is circular reasoning.

Third, Objectivist ethics is rational egoism. Besides the oddity of enshrining the ego, which is debatable at the outset, Objectivist ethics does not define the ego. It simply puts "self-interest" in place of the ego. In no way does it explain the self-destructive aspects of human psychology that are evident even to the "optimists" who reject them. Thus, her ethics depend on a psychological, which is to say (emotional) not a philosophical (purely intellectual) concept.

That leads me to her description of emotion, which is that emotion is the result of value-based evaluation. What a person values, so the emotion will express itself. An unexplained or unfamiliar emotion, it is said by Objectivists, is simply the lack of rational understanding of our inner values. That if we had a rational understanding of our deepest inner values, we would understand the origins of all our emotions. Logically, this would mean that for all new emotions to be explicable, they would have to arise from situations that have been conceptualized previously. If I had not seen the Northern Lights, I would not have experienced emotions about seeing them. I could describe them with words of awe and wonder, but I could not have felt it without seeing it first. In fact, emotions themselves can and do change a persons values. Love.

For these reasons and more, Objectivism is not the right philosophy for me. Not only that: It is the myth of Midas. Everything it touches turns into gold, or, more precisely, a dollar evaluation. Is this correct? For men who valued salt, gold, dollars, or ginger beer, technological breakthroughs change our environment and our lives day by day. Not only that, but new experiences elicit new (and old) emotions day by day. These emotions can change our perception of the world just as easily as our rational values can affect our emotional judgments.

So I welcome the comments that I am an irrational mystic, a liberal traitor, or any number of things. I simply refuse cynicism and wish you all well. All the Best. I'm out.

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  • Posted by Lucky 2 years, 10 months ago
    To the many or the few who are sticking it out, a couple of comments.

    1. Stepping into a bath and watching water overflowing must have happened umpteen
    million times before and after Archimedes. But it was Archimedes who noticed
    and observed, who thought, who generalized the principle.
    Could it be that such miracles are commonplace? If so, we do not need more
    miracles, nor more luck, we need more geniuses. Or, can better thinking be

    2. 'Objectivism defines this end as simply "life". It then defines life as
    "goal-directed action". This is circular reasoning

    I am not familiar with that definition of life, it may be authentic, but also try
    defining life (as Dawkins) as actions of the selfish gene, the set of genes that
    acts only to survive by replication.
    Or, as a strict Objectivist, try, existence, identity, consciousness.

    The idea that Objectivism is defined only by dollar quantity is not even a
    simplification, it is wrong, used by emoting collectivist enemies. It is refuted
    by a reading of AS, there are 'values'. These come from what I may call the life
    force, otherwise defined above.
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  • Posted by $ allosaur 2 years, 10 months ago
    I'm a dictionary definition mystic but I do not see any reason for me to leave.
    I've learned a lot here. What I don't agree with I discard.
    I also manage to have a good time.
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