Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Objecting to Objectivism

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Objecting to Objectivism


    Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know. ~ M. King Hubbert

  • #2
    It seems like their primary philosophical objection to Objectivism is that it commits the so-called "naturalistic fallacy." That is, that it attempts to go straight from an "is" to an "ought." Their acceptance of the "subjectivity" of morality seems to be based on the idea that there is a distinction between objective facts and subjective values, and never the twain shall meet.

    However, this is incorrect. All moral systems, as a number of philosophers have pointed out, (Schopenhauer, Aristotle) depend on the acceptance of a particular philosophical anthropology--that is, a philosophical articulation of what it is to be human. This is usually impossible without some sort of cosmology, as well; one cannot know what a human is without knowing what man's place in the universe is. This was how Schopenhauer critiqued Kantian morality; Kant must accept the existence of God because deontology is meaningless without the existence of a single divine lawgiver.

    The creation of the fact-value distinction occurred hand in hand with the rise of secularism. There must be agreed-upon facts if there is to be any communication whatever between, e.g., atheists and Christians, but modes of moral valuation must necessarily be different. This causes us to be aware of a distinction between "facts," the things we all agree on, and "values," the things we don't, perceived as subjective states of being favorable or unfavorable to certain actions or states of being.

    The distinction covers over, however, the disagreements about facts which underly the differences between the various philosophical positions which come into conflict in a secular society. The Christian opposes pre-marital sex because man's nature was created in accordance with God's wishes, and God decrees that pre-marital sex is forbidden. The atheist does not oppose pre-marital sex because there are no divine decrees limiting action, and only natural (as opposed to supernatural) concerns are relevant the atheist's moral reasoning. Birth control pills and condoms prevent most of the consequences of sex, so there is likely no reason for the atheist to abstain. Thus, disagreements about "values" arise from disagreements about "facts."

    Ayn Rand's moral philosophy is certainly wrong, but not because it conflates subjective morality with objective fact. Rather, it is wrong because Rand is wrong about the facts. Her view of man is woefully incomplete since it fails to take into account the importance of community in the formation of the healthy individual.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hylomorphic View Post

      Ayn Rand's moral philosophy is certainly wrong, but not because it conflates subjective morality with objective fact. Rather, it is wrong because Rand is wrong about the facts. Her view of man is woefully incomplete since it fails to take into account the importance of community in the formation of the healthy individual.
      Exactly. She got human nature completely wrong.


      Geez, what a lame answer... it's fair to early in the morning for me to come up with a better one.

      Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know. ~ M. King Hubbert

      Comment


      • #4
        Rand defined herself as a "Romantic," and I think that's about right. The substance of her writing was contained in her fiction, not her prose--the latter being puerile, as best I recall.

        Her fictional representations of her Superior Type as well as other, lesser beings, provide insight into Rand's own personality. There are no children in any of her books. No one ever cries. No one ever questions themselves, and no one ever apologizes. There is no doubt--ever.

        These suggest archetypes--or cartoons. It is an understatement to say that Rand had a black-or-white view of reality.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hylomorphic View Post
          It seems like their primary philosophical objection to Objectivism is that it commits the so-called "naturalistic fallacy." That is, that it attempts to go straight from an "is" to an "ought." Their acceptance of the "subjectivity" of morality seems to be based on the idea that there is a distinction between objective facts and subjective values, and never the twain shall meet.

          However, this is incorrect. All moral systems, as a number of philosophers have pointed out, (Schopenhauer, Aristotle) depend on the acceptance of a particular philosophical anthropology--that is, a philosophical articulation of what it is to be human. This is usually impossible without some sort of cosmology, as well; one cannot know what a human is without knowing what man's place in the universe is. This was how Schopenhauer critiqued Kantian morality; Kant must accept the existence of God because deontology is meaningless without the existence of a single divine lawgiver.

          The creation of the fact-value distinction occurred hand in hand with the rise of secularism. There must be agreed-upon facts if there is to be any communication whatever between, e.g., atheists and Christians, but modes of moral valuation must necessarily be different. This causes us to be aware of a distinction between "facts," the things we all agree on, and "values," the things we don't, perceived as subjective states of being favorable or unfavorable to certain actions or states of being.

          The distinction covers over, however, the disagreements about facts which underly the differences between the various philosophical positions which come into conflict in a secular society. The Christian opposes pre-marital sex because man's nature was created in accordance with God's wishes, and God decrees that pre-marital sex is forbidden. The atheist does not oppose pre-marital sex because there are no divine decrees limiting action, and only natural (as opposed to supernatural) concerns are relevant the atheist's moral reasoning. Birth control pills and condoms prevent most of the consequences of sex, so there is likely no reason for the atheist to abstain. Thus, disagreements about "values" arise from disagreements about "facts."

          Ayn Rand's moral philosophy is certainly wrong, but not because it conflates subjective morality with objective fact. Rather, it is wrong because Rand is wrong about the facts. Her view of man is woefully incomplete since it fails to take into account the importance of community in the formation of the healthy individual.
          I totally agree with you. But for me the biggest thing that Rand does is that he not only goes from is to ought, but he presents a rather simplified view of nature itself. She is big on individualism, which is fine in itself, but she ignores that humans throughout history and prehistory were social animals. Without a society, humans perish. So any philospohy that puts individualism so high as to damage the society is going to cause suffering and death. Even American rugged individualism is likely to cause trouble if taken to an absurd extreme.

          But even then, ought to is will always be problematic. It misses prehaps the most important thing humans have -- reason. She never really seems to ask whether the acts that she suggests are good. It's more a question of does nature do it. Some animals eat their young. That doesn't mean that we should serve yearling human mutton. Besides which we have laws because we need to curb our wild natures, and very very few choose to live in a true state of nature or even minarchy. That disconect is a problem for Rand, and I never see her properly deal with it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by C. Iulia Regilia View Post
            I totally agree with you. But for me the biggest thing that Rand does is that he not only goes from is to ought, but he presents a rather simplified view of nature itself.

            EXTREME Thread necromancy. And two Freudian slips in a row. I can't decide if you were being facetious about Madame Rand's good looks, or earnest, sir. Either way, you made me laugh quite hard for a few seconds.

            Taciturn and prudent, and in war daring, should a king's children be;
            joyous and liberal every one should be until his hour of death.


            The Words of Odin the High One - translated by Benjamin Thorpe

            Comment


            • #7
              Interestingly enough, Rand always insisted (insisting was rather SOP for her) on using 'he' as the default pronoun, 'mankind,' and the like. She was a very masculine person, so I guess it isn't terribly surprising.

              Comment

              Working...
              X