Monday, March 06, 2006

Beatiffic Thinking

The right to life means the right to sustain and protect one's life. It means the right to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the preservation of his life. To sustain his life, man needs a method of survival-- he must use his rational faculty to gain knowledge and choose values, then act to acheive his values. The right to liberty is the right to this method; it is the right to choose, then act in accordance with ones judgement. To sustain his life, man needs to create the material means of his survival. The right to proerty is the right to this process; In Ayn Rands defenition, it "the right to gain, to keep, to dispose of material values." To sustain his life, man needs to be governed by a caertain motive-- his purpose must be his own welfare. The right to the pursuit of happiness is the right to this motive; it is the right to live for one's own sake and fulfillment."

6 Comments:

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Jesse Gritter Online said...

"To sustain his life, man needs a method of survival-- he must use his rational faculty to gain knowledge and choose values, then act to acheive his values. The right to liberty is the right to this method; it is the right to choose, then act in accordance with one's judgement."

But what if someone chose values that were contrary to what's been taught by Rand and Peikoff? What's being said in the quote above, then, is precisely the recipe for its own destruction.

I would rather say that the right to life, liberty, and happiness is absolute and true regardless as to whether or not one chooses these as their values.

Agree?

But the question is, if someone is an atheist like Rand was, then how would you prove something like that?

 
At 8:07 PM, Blogger angryroughneck said...

If someone declares his liberty and another refuses it then what choice is there? What compromise can there be between slavery and freedom? Can a man be partially indentured? No Either one is free or not free.

"if someone is an atheist like Rand was, then how would you prove something like that?"

I am not an atheist but I will tell you how Rand would answer your question about God.

The burden of proof is on you. You have declared that there is a god. So prove it. it is logically impossible to prove something doesn't exist whether it is God, the Bigfoot or Martians... because you are always open to the rhetort "well keep looking, you haven't looked everywhere yet."

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

atheists have values. stupid.

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Jesse Gritter Online said...

anonymous: "atheists have values."

I agree; they most certainly do. For example, they may or may not have a value that would permit them to call someone else "stupid" even when it's uncalled for. And if you read my comments again, you'll notice I neither said nor implied they didn't have values. I did mean to imply, however, that they can't prove a person ought to have one value or another -- because to do so suggests the existence of absolutes.

angryroughneck: "I am not an atheist but I will tell you how Rand would answer your question about God... The burden of proof is on you. You have declared that there is a god. So prove it. it is logically impossible to prove something doesn't exist whether it is God, the Bigfoot or Martians... because you are always open to the rhetort 'well keep looking, you haven't looked everywhere yet.'"

I've studied a little bit of Ayn Rand, so I know she'd respond this way. But her response -- that the burden of proof is on the one who makes the claim of God's existence -- only begs the question, since it assumes the very thing it needs to prove, i.e., that God hasn't made Himself known to everyone, even though He has made and does make Himself known to everyone.

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

Angry wrote:

"Can a man be partially indentured? No Either one is free or not free."

This is not right. We can be partial slaves. I am a slave from 2 to 4 in the afternoon, and "free" the rest of the time. I pay taxes, and if taxation is slavery (as Nozick adroitly argued), then I am partially indentured.

Jesse, Jesse, Jesse....
You write: "I did mean to imply, however, that they can't prove a person ought to have one value or another -- because to do so suggests the existence of absolutes."

It does no such thing, and a person can "prove" that we should prefer one value to another. Some evolutionary ethicists, for instance, suggest that *provided you want people to get along* you should hold value x, y, or z, rather than some other values.

David Hume argued (without gods) for a set of values that stemmed from our natural sympathy to one another, and for the need to cooperate. Decision theorists can give you value stories that also hinge on the need for cooperation.

Thomas Hobbes said that *provided we want to escape the state of nature* (which is nasty, brutish, and short), we need to "seek peace, and follow it," and be willing to give up a portion of our natural liberty to literally everything (including putting a knife in your back) in order to secure safety.

Ayn Rand has no God stories, but thinks that there are absolute values.

Look, the list is endless. We don't need the existence of absolutes to argue about values. We need local agreement on some preferred things to generate reasons for valuing one thing over another. In many cases, we will get tremendous agreement on certain preferences. Like, for instance, we don't like murder, slavery, and chaos. What do we need to avoid those?

Notice that they're hypothetical imperatives. *Provided* you want x, do or value or prefer y. The mistake is to think that just because the antecedent clause of the conditional is not absolute, that therefore values are impossible to prove or argue about.

 
At 1:36 PM, Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

Ooops, I did not mean to imply that I am, in fact, a slave from 2 to 4 in the afternoon. I meant that as a hypothetical.

 

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