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Old 08-30-2010, 11:55 AM  
Taco John Taco John is offline
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Philosophy Discussion: Objectivism

I hear a lot from people about how Objectivism is evil. This is curious to me, because as far as I know, it's the most scientific philosophy imaginable. I would think more people would be accepting of it. I personally have certain problems with Ayn Rand, but I think Objectivism has a lot of merit.

Here is the philosophy in a nut shell:

1. What is best for supporting human life is the good.
2. Human life requires interaction with emperical reality.
3. Emperical reality is objective and rational, therefore:
4. That which is objective and rational is that which best supports the ability for human beings to survive, thus:
5. Rationality and Objectivity are the foundation of morality.

The only grounds that I can see to disagree with this are religious grounds. I'd be curious to see outside of religious grounds, what holes can be poked in this.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:35 PM   #2
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
The Pedestrian The Pedestrian is offline
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The first line of opposition I would see to this is in saying "human life" determines what is good. A lot of people would give a philosophy flak just because it says we are--as one group--better than all other species. Really, we may be great and have all this amazing civilization, but people tend to think animal rights really need to be taken into consideration.

On the other hand, if we were to assume that all decisions can be based on what is good for human life and go along with the list in its entirety, I would have one question for you. How can the data ever possibly stay current enough for humanity? We have millions of births and deaths every day, the environment and traumatic events changing how specific people think, and by the time all of the initial data can be collected for what one population needs, a whole new population has been created and destroyed. It's like trying to play pure democracy (or possibly communism) with 7 billion people.
I can, however, see one way to make this plan work. First, finish the Human Genome Project and figure out what all of the genes do as they interact with one another and the environment. Second, create scannable tattoos that will read a person's DNA and determine their exact personality at the time of the scan. Third, have a few hundred satellites scan tattoos from space and transmit that data into a gigantic supercomputer back on Earth. It can solve for people who are dying and being born. Finally, have the supercomputer continuously printing the data that determines morality.
But wait...oops...we've just created a robotic god, and a portion of humanity will refuse to listen to it because this whole philosophy has now become a religion.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
The Pedestrian The Pedestrian is offline
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...oh yeah, and that the collective unconscious is an irrational giant that would turn humanity into neurotic bees if they were forced to do things solely based on empirical data.
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:59 PM   #5
HolyHandgernade HolyHandgernade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
I hear a lot from people about how Objectivism is evil. This is curious to me, because as far as I know, it's the most scientific philosophy imaginable. I would think more people would be accepting of it. I personally have certain problems with Ayn Rand, but I think Objectivism has a lot of merit.

Here is the philosophy in a nut shell:

1. What is best for supporting human life is the good.
2. Human life requires interaction with emperical reality.
3. Emperical reality is objective and rational, therefore:
4. That which is objective and rational is that which best supports the ability for human beings to survive, thus:
5. Rationality and Objectivity are the foundation of morality.

The only grounds that I can see to disagree with this are religious grounds. I'd be curious to see outside of religious grounds, what holes can be poked in this.
The basic problem is also one that the French Romaticists faced, that is, the idea of the Noble Savage. The difference being instead of looking back for a pristine state, it looks towards its own ideal as the natural state of humanity. That is, its standard is the rational level of comprehension. Humanity, as a whole, operates on many different consciousness standards, many less advanced, some more so.

For instance, if we go with the first principle, but at a less evolved consciousness level, say a cannibalistic society, humanity is only extended to the boundaries of the tribe. Therefore, because cannibalism is used to support human life within the tribe, cannibalism is part of the good.

But, let's say we go the other way, beyond a rational based consciousness pattern. For example, many people feel that one cannot soley serve humanity if it also depletes the environment of sustainable resources for all life forms. This more "world-centric" view may find itself at odds with the "whatever is best for supporting human life" proposition. The oil spill might be an example of this if we determine that drilling for oil is what is best for supporting human life.

Beyond this philosophical point, objectivism tends to devalue, if not eliminate, subjective qualities. While it may be a good practice to master your emotions, it is often unhealthy to deny them, which is usually what occurs with most people who are not trained or tutored in recognizing the difference. For example, sexual encounters would be devalued for their emotional quality and looked upon more for their functionality. The pleasure derrived from sex would be seen more as a necessary product for the biological machine or as a means for reproduction only. Marriages would seem very unnecessary.

This is not to say the philosophy is completely without merits. In integral theory, we say all such systems are "true, but partial", because no system is capable of 100% error. The problem is when any one such system thinks they have "the answer", because while it can see its superiority to any system that evolved before it, it will try and sabatoge any system that tries to transcend it. It is a great philosophy to be exposed to, however, for people exiting a mythic structure consciousness level because those systems tended to stress the sacrifice of the self for some higher purpose dictated by the authority. Objectivism helps the individual to break from those restrictions into a rational individualism that benefits a society and the individual. This makes it ideal for democracies and free market systems. This type of individualism is different than the one that preceeded it, the "heroic consciousness" that centered on individual glory. It was the mythic structure that had to reign in these powerful, but often violent, personalities.

This ebb and flow of evolving consciousness patterns, with its shifting focus between the individual and the community, is what the philosophy fails to recognize. It sees all the preceeding patterns as deviations rather than natural progressions, and if it does recognize the progressions, it denies any further evolutions. This prevents it from noticing its pathology, which is the devaluation of the subjective aspect of reality.

-HH
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:06 PM   #6
Reaper16 Reaper16 is offline
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You are giving an incomplete summary of objectivism.
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