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Objectivism

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message 1: by Prashant (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Prashant Is objectivism idealistic, or the world around us makes it look like it is?


message 2: by Gregg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:51AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Gregg Martinson Objectivism is just mean-spiritedness put through the wash of ideology and idealism.


message 3: by Charles (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Charles I'm an Objectivist, and I'm a heck of a nice guy, if I do say so myself. Enlighten yourself, Gregg, before you go around smearing people you don't know.


message 4: by Unanimo (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Unanimo Ayn Rand was a beautiful spirit.

America is not capitalist. Our government gives huge sums to corporations. Also, the civil liberties that Ayn Rand defends are indeed being taken from us. She knew that we would always be exploited via sentimental appeals to the common good. Look behind the mask. Ayn Rand loved the Bill of Rights and so do I. Washington D.C. uses the Bill of Rights for toilet paper.


message 5: by Joe (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joe The real question is one of the society versus the individual. Objectivism makes a powerful argument on behalf of the individual, but from my reading of The Fountainhead it simply goes too far: dismissing the society entirely to me seems just counterproductive. Humans are social creatures and we live in groups. Reconciling that with our individual wishes, dreams and desires is at the core of living in the modern world.

On a personal level, Objectivism frees us from enslavement of opinions and standards of our peers... but, if we're not careful, at a great cost. Howard Roarke is a genius but he's not a particularly easy guy to be around.

On a political level, individualism is great but are we really against food stamps and anti-poverty programs? Never mind public education, environmental protection laws, etc. In this regard, I feel objectivism is a strong-willed but flawed ideology, if only because it doesn't acknowledge any middle ground.


Charles With all due respect, Joe, you can't have a full understanding of the philosophy on an explicit level just by reading The Fountainhead. Have you read other books by Rand, in particular her non-fiction works which explain the details and principles of O'ism? (E.g., Philosophy: Who Needs It, or The Virtue of Selfishness.) Just so you know, I've read them all multiple times, and have been a "student of Objectivism" for almost twenty years now.

That people gain values from other people, and that our lives would be far less prosperous and enjoyable were we each just surviving alone on desert islands, is specifically acknowledged by Rand, and in fact embraced by her. She realizes that the society of others only multiplies and magnifies the capability of men to create values.

There is absolutely nothing "anti-social" about Rand's ideas. Rather, as you alluded to, her concern is largely (though not entirely) with freeing men from unjust bondage to one another, especially with regard to the largely self-imposed bondage of religious and/or secular altruism (the idea that an individual owes his existence to "the greater good", or "the less fortunate" - there is in fact no such debt). She figured out that the vast majority of people do not grasp on a fundamental level the implications of the ideas and values they accept. They don't see the contradictions which always (and necessarily) lead to the same sorts of conflicts, both internal and social, time after time after time.

And to answer your direct questions, yes, "we" Objectivists (I dare speak for all of us on these points) are most definitely against food stamps and anti-poverty programs when they are forced upon us by the government. That's slavery. If a person wants to be charitable, they are always free to be so in a free society, and that is their right (on a side note, some people claim that Rand was against charity in principle, but that is false). But for a gov't (or anyone else) to literally rob people via taxation in order to give away their money to "charitable" causes as the gov't sees fit, is nothing other than robbery/slavery.

There truly is no middle-ground between freedom and coercion. Either a man is free to own and direct himself and his actions, or someone else is "free" to coerce him to do things against his will. There can be no middle-ground there without making some men slaves to others.


message 7: by Marge (last edited Jun 05, 2008 01:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marge Smearing objectivists as mean-spirited means the reader didn't read the book. One of the truths Ayn Rand stresses is that without economic freedom there is no freedom. I've been an objectivist since I was a teenager and have seen my daughter thru two liver transplants and I also volunteer to promote organ donation. No one would call me mean-spirited, but they might call me a wonderful mother. Those without an argument throw mud.


Mark Since this is a discussion concerning "Objectivism", perhaps a definition from Rand herself would be helpful:

"Metaphysics: objective reality
Epistemology: reason
ethics: self-interest
Politics: Capitalism"

"1. Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.
2. You can't eat your cake and have it, too
3. Man is an end in himself (this is oddly Kantian, a philosopher she despised)
4. Give me liberty or give me death"

- Rand, The Voice of Reason;Introducing Objectivism,New American Library, 1988

Note: Based on the premise that there is an objective reality, we must use reason to survive/exist within that reality. Reason dictates that intentional choices create a kind of freedom that is only hindered by the reality that we live in. Self-interest becomes the mainstay ethic because each individual has the freedom to choose within a single objective reality that we must adhere to. Given these premises, the reasonable political/economic philosophy is one in which upholds individual freedoms; hence, a pure form of capitalism is created. Going backwards, limiting capitalism limits self-interest, which limits rationality (forcing mysticism in her terms), which goes against an objective reality.


message 9: by Meh (new) - rated it 2 stars

Meh First off, I'm no student of philosophy, I'm only 17. But what I took away from Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead is a worldview in which there's a small group of people that are smart, capable, and hard-working, and the rest of humanity is a parasite on them. Isn't that the premise of Atlas Shrugged? True, this isn't necessarily her complete philosophy, but I do think that she advocates a society of complete reason. Objectivity. I don't think any human society can do that, as our emotions are tied up in almost everything we do. In my view, there should be a balance between reason and emotion, with neither completly dominating.


Tyler Objectivism is a species of social Darwinism as advocated by Herbert Spencer. Desirabilty has an emotional component, so whether this proposed system appeals to you depends on your own psychological makeup and your personal feelings about other people. In other words, there's a subjective element to determining what counts as reason.

To the extent that it's a philosophy, Objectivism is very weak and mostly derivative. No philosophical system is immune from criticism. But because most Objectivists have little interest in any philosophy outside their own, it's more accurate to think of Objectivism as a worldview.

I cannot speak for Atlas Shrugged, but it's safe to say that The Fountainhead is literature, not philosophy. Many of Ayn Rand's ideas appear only obliquely or not at all in this book, and it presents no systematic philosophy. So to me, it is incorrect to classify the novel as philosophy or to think that a fully elaborated philosophical system has emerged from its pages.


message 11: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Tyler:
You state: Objectivism is a species of social Darwinism as advocated by Herbert Spencer.
I think this is a strawman argument. Social Darwinism has no metaphysic, no epistemology, no ethic, and no politic. It is what is called descriptive concept of society, not a prescriptive philosophy. Furthermore, Ayn Rand was primarily a philosopher; Herbert Spencer was a sociologist and was not proposing social Darwinism, but simply describing what he considered as a reality.
You state: “Desirabilty has an emotional component, so whether this proposed system appeals to you depends on your own psychological makeup and your personal feelings about other people. In other words, there's a subjective element to determining what counts as reason.”
This sort of thinking was exactly what Rand was against. Desire is solely an emotional stance (based on happiness). Rand’s metaphysic is that there is an objective reality. The appeal that we might or might not have to that reality is of no consequence, i.e. our psychological makeup and personal feelings have absolutely no bearing on the nature of reality. Furthermore, you are right: there is a “subjective element to reasoning”. In fact, reasoning is totally subjective, but it the type of reasoning (rational or emotional) and the relationship between that reasoning that changes the quality of that reasoning. Rand’s (and my) stance is that reasoning must relate to an objective reality in a truthful way.

You state: To the extent that it's a philosophy, Objectivism is very weak and mostly derivative. No philosophical system is immune from criticism. But because most Objectivists have little interest in any philosophy outside their own, it's more accurate to think of Objectivism as a worldview.
To say that “Objectivism is very weak and derivative” is an opinion, one in which you are certainly entitled to. But again, I believe that you are relying upon emotional appeals rather than rational argumentation, a point that Rand in fact makes about the nature of most societies. You are right that “no philosophical system is immune from criticism”; that, in fact, is the nature of philosophy. But, criticism based on emotional appeals have no relationship to objective reality, no relationship to rational thought, no relationship to any useable moral, and no relationship to a utilitarian politic. As far as your comment that “Objectivism is a world view”, I don’t understand exactly what you mean. What is a “world view”?

You state: I cannot speak for Atlas Shrugged, but it's safe to say that The Fountainhead is literature, not philosophy. Many of Ayn Rand's ideas appear only obliquely or not at all in this book, and it presents no systematic philosophy. So to me, it is incorrect to classify the novel as philosophy or to think that a fully elaborated philosophical system has emerged from its pages.

Here, I believe that you are right: Literature is typically not philosophical by nature. But one counterexample can be used with F. Nietzsche. He is a philosopher that makes use of literary forms and style. However, as a novel, the author (Ayn Rand) claims, The Fountainhead draws from her philosophy. I do believe that a novel can have an underlying ethic, for example, and as such can make a philosophical statement, such as Rand’s novels do.
Mark



message 12: by Tyler (last edited Sep 11, 2008 11:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tyler Hi Mark --

I appreciate your thoughts on this matter, but your post here is a bit long. Perhaps a better approach would be to discuss this in detail in the Atheist group, where a dedicated thread can take up the points you mention one by one. I'll be glad to explain there how I arrived at my thoughts on this matter. The group has at least one Ayn Rand supporter who might want to participate as well.


message 13: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Hi Tyler:
I'd be interested in the group. Lead the way!
thnx.
m


message 14: by Tyler (last edited Sep 12, 2008 12:12PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tyler Hi Mark -- There's a link to the group at the bottom of my profile.


message 15: by Jenna (last edited Aug 26, 2011 08:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenna Ojectivism.....holds that : Reality exists as an objective absolute that facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes, and fears.

Reason (the faculty which identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses) is man's only means of perceiving reality, his only source of knowledge, his only guide of action, and his basic means of survival.

Man--every man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.......Ayn Rand.


message 16: by Ashwini (last edited Sep 23, 2011 10:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ashwini Nocaste hi, news for everyone. objectivism and subjectivism are both parts of the same coin. when society becomes more and more objective, some people will break off and go in favour of subjectivism, and if it becomes tooooooooo subjectivist, some people again will break off and lean towards objectivity. thats the fact of life.

...so ya, there is no absolute truth as to a human's fate - in terms of objectivity or subjectivity. there are only causes and consequences. based upon that, a person derives his rationale. in an increasingly subjectivist society, a person's objective tendencies start getting choked, thats when he rebels against it. and when society becomes too objective, and starts becoming apathetic to groups, then another morality will emerge which will lean towards subjective considerations.

thats how shit works - the advaita to dvaita to advaita.


Jenna Lol, it's not a fact of life, it depends where you stand, and Objectivism change my life. You want it, because it makes sense.


Ashwini Nocaste there's a subjective element to determining what counts as reason.”

^true, and when one realizes that determination of reason is subjective for everrrryone, one has to lean towards objectiveness, so as to not place any one "circle of reason" as better over the other. Thats how from subjectivity, one is led to objectivity. And from objectivity, one is led to subjectivity.


Ashwini Nocaste Jenel wrote: "Lol, it's not a fact of life, it depends where you stand, and Objectivism change my life. You want it, because it makes sense."

m not saying either of subjectivism or objectivism is a fact of life- m saying that both are there as opposing forces and that is a fact of life. Life is always a sum of "theses" and "anti-theses" in the words of marx, if you may prefer, because western philosophy has no appropriate words to describe it.

of course, one can choose which lens to see life through with ;)


Jenna Exactly, my dear :)


Ashwini Nocaste then we are in agreement.

as of now i got objectivist lenses on B-)


Jenna Good :)


message 23: by Ashwini (last edited Sep 24, 2011 12:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ashwini Nocaste subjectivist shit, objectivist bliss.

but do you agree, if suppose the entire world had turned objectivist and to his own, would not then people turn to subjectivist values? because at the centre of it all, it is the man's urge to be different from the crowd that sets off this process.

like how we are leaning towards objectivism, in a world of shared cultural values and societies.


Jenna Yes, and No, because see how prevalent religions are, and somehow being a Catholic for almost my whole life, and suddenly I encounter Objectivism which make sense to me, and altered my dogma without hesitation. No, because even though Objective make sense to us, somehow religion is deeply rooted to peoples belief, so I doubt if that most people with religious belief will be going to subjective in order to be Objective.


Jenna My dear Ashwini, I am going to bed now :) coz it's 3a.m. here now in Florida, and love chatting wit you. Good night dear, later.


Ashwini Nocaste yes, you said religions are so prevalent, and then you said that you encountered objectivism. you also said that you altered your dogma without hesitation.

now lets extrapolate it further. lets suppose, every person on earth also experiences the same just as you did. then when everyone experiences the same, everyone will increasingly lean towards objectivism.

When its utter objectivism that is prevalent, it will be a completely individualistic society, that which will not be dedicated to any one else except one's own self.

When objectivism is no longer an escape, but rather the dogma of that society, it will become oppressive. lets suppose in a completely objectivist society, a person will be told to only look for his own interest. What if a person comes up then, who wants to feel compassion for others, and does not want to be merely an objective self?

Then there will start(according to me) a rebellion in intellectual circles for subjectivism, of moral values and ethics of the society than of just the self.

And then one must be willing to go over to subjectivism from objectivism thereon, because the only rule of life (a/o to me) is that there should be no dogma. neither of subjectivist religions, or objectivist selves.

We are a product of our subjective societies, hence our selves lean over to objectivism. In an objective society, people will (i am sure) lean over to subjectivism.


message 27: by Jenna (last edited Sep 24, 2011 03:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenna My dear Ashwini, I think it really depends on a person how he see to it :)because as of me, we human beings has to deal with subjectivism and Objectivism all the time. For example, I would say I will eat that chocolate cake, simply because it's delicious,and that my dear is subjectivism, and then you'll change your mind and being Objetive about the cake and say,if I'll eat that cake then, it will be bad for me because it's too much sweet and it's bad for your health. You can't deal with being Objectivist all the time unless you're a robot, and likewise you can't be being subjective all the time otherwise you'll become a zombie walking without thinking. I would say, that as a human being we have to be both being subjective and Objective, because it's impossible to have either one of them only, as for my explaination above. We need to be subjective to deal things that we wanted to do, and likewise we need to be Objective to follow a code of conduct or of ethics (morality) the choices of actions that determine the purpose and the course of our life, that's why we need them both.


Marina Fontaine You can be subjective about tastes. The point of Objectivism is that you CAN'T be subjective about values. Either stealing is wrong or it isn't. You can try to rationalize why you stole, but it would still be objectively wrong. The opposite of Objectivism is not "subjectivism" but moral relativism that holds that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong.


message 29: by Jenna (last edited Sep 24, 2011 07:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenna Masha, yes you can be subjective in everything you do, it's volitional my dear.We're are dealing subjective and Objectivity in everything we do. As I mentioned, you can't be objective only, otherwise you'll be a robot. Yes, you can be (subjective) about values since values is an Objective ethics, by not pursuing morality is (subjective). As for your example, to steal is objectively wrong, but to get tempted to steal it is still (subjective) event though it's wrong.


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