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"Whitewashing attempt"[edit]

In case anyone else tries to claim that "Objectivism holds that FORCED altruism is evil and immoral, but that voluntary generosity is fine," the context of the second quote in the "Ethics" subsection is that John Galt's friend is charging him 25 cents for a day's use of his car, and Mr. Galt is explaining why his friend cannot just lend it to him for free. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:02, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Wow. The more I hear about that book, the more thrilling it sounds. Can't wait for the movie. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:38, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Ayn Rand also noted that people could trade non-materialistic values. For instance, how would a child pay it's parents for the work they do to care for it? They value the child's welfare. This is not to say that this is an innate value that all parents share. Also Galt was happy to pay the man 25 cents because he knew that his friend deserved payment for the wear and tear on his car. This is an example of trading materialistic values. According to Objectivism there are two things that other people provide, conversation and trade. Guidewog (talk) 01:48, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
This is true and it really is kind of strange to see a "rational wiki" riddicule a philosopher that tried to create a philosophy in order to make sure that others could remain rationaly self-serving, not because she (according to some) was an irrational, narcisistic b*tch. But because she wanted the best for mankind, since according to her use of logic she knew that it would ultimately be in everybodys interest and thus greatly in her interest.

Something to add, perhaps?[edit]

Does anyone think I should add anything to this article regarding the two factions of objectivism: Leonard Peikoff and his followers versus David Kelley and his followers, or would that not be relevant?Punky Your mental puke relief 03:59, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

By all means, add whatever you can! ħumanUser talk:Human 04:59, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes in my opinion you should talk about the split, especially if you can name a philosophical one. Guidewog (talk) 01:49, 20 September 2012 (UTC)


I've deleted the claim that Rand thought smoking was rational. The source of this was apparently a parody of Objectivism written by Murray Rothbard which someone took seriously.

Oh, I see, I'll put it back in. Aboriginal Noise What the ... 22:06, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
It should be noted that Rand stopped/tried to stop smoking and deffinately realized that it was irational.

Petr Beckmann, huh?[edit]

I had no inkling he was a randroid, though he did have a morbid hatred of the Romans. I never completely understood that. EVDebs (talk) 21:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Are wikis collaborative, and thus sinful for objectivists?[edit]

Objectivism Wiki. Also, what's with Jimbo's Wikipedia? Shouldn't it be editted by Randian experts instead of the masses and access to it sold or something?Civic Cat (talk) 22:52, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia is a perfect example of what Objectivism translates to in real life. Someone has a vision, maybe a factory owner, and all the work is done by other people. What's often said of Wikipedia, in a mock quote by Jimbo:
You write the articles, I cash the checks
Howard Roark would be powerless without engineers, construction workers, and whatnot. John Galt is useless without a labor force behind him. Objectivism's greatest failing is being incapable of recognizing one's own insignificance and powerlessness without the aid of others.--brxbrx-brxbrx 23:02, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
Not true, Howard Roark's character was capable of physical labor and engineering, Ayn Rand purposefully had him working in Quarries and other places to show that he could do the labor himself. He was interested in all aspects of building creation, as all good architects must be. The fact that he could accomplish more by directing and trading with others doesn't preclude him from doing the work himself. Also there is a difference between Material Works and Conceptual Works, without the labor he would have to build a small building, but without the concept there would be no building at all. Guidedog (talk) 12:41, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Brxbrx. However, I don't think he's paid by Wikimedia Foundation and WM only gets a fraction of, say, Microsoft gets, and you can freely download and use the content. Isn't this...,
Communism?   Civic Cat (talk) 23:36, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
well, Wales was rich before Wikipedia, because of trading stock or some crap like that. But the idea is, he gets the recognition for his Randroid project, even though others did the labor. Come to think of it, my argument is pretty flimsy. Whatever.--brxbrx-brxbrx 23:42, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
While Jimbo is a fairly famous figurehead, at least if you know your internet, Wikipedia's credit always flows towards its users. Almost anonymous because of their vast number, but the credit still collectively goes to them. Apart from perhaps the very first three-four edits, you know when it had the US flag because it was the only image Jim-bob had to hand, it's always been "the encyclopedia anyone can edit" not "Jimmy Wales' Super Project". And as a non-profit like RW, he might cash cheques but they're regulated and need to go entirely on hosting the supporting the site. ADK...I'll ruminate your guillotine! 23:50, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm trying to think what an Objectivist wiki would look like but, frankly, all I can come up with is Conservapedia. ADK...I'll endanger your oven! 23:51, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
Check the link at the top.;-)Civic Cat (talk) 23:54, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
It's not collectivism when Objectivists do it! Also, kinda disappointed there's no quantum crankery or relativity denial there, but there is the requisite global warming denial. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:40, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm an objectivist. In addition to maintaining my own wikidpad. I try to contribute to this wiki. I was drawn in by the rational part. So far I haven't found the rock solid facts and info I was hoping for. As far as Objectivist Wiki contributions, I find it quite helpful to myself. (Don't freak out. I control my own body, self, get it?) As far as wikimedia, I think that it's essential for them to maintain their non-profit status unless they are going to pay their contributors. They were thinking about issuing checks if I remember. However sometimes contributing is it's own reward. Collaboration is very important to Objectivists which is why we form tight communities with people that agree with us. An objectivist always wants to pay you, but you've got to set your own price. Guidewog (talk) 02:00, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
What would be an objectivist view on copyleft? I think that wikis are kosher because they are voluntary and operate within the sacred framework of intellectual property. A massive project like wikimedia might be considered a plot to force everyone into collectivism. -- (talk) 00:45, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Only collectivists have their own views. Objectivists, being the true individualists that they are, need only one individual's views, and that individual is Ms. Rand, whose views are by definition the only objective and rational views possible on any issue. Sadly for these valiant Objectivists, their Dear Leader has long ago departed into the great oblivion, without opining on this and many other pressing questions. What then is an objectivist to believe? How is one supposed to think, when the Leader can no longer think for you? --(((Zack Martin))) 07:24, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I've obviously never understood objectivism. At least if articles like this, this and this showcase their philosophy.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:31, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
@Maratrean: You win an internet.
@Bob: I think that's spam. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:36, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
It's easy - all of the productive editors have gone Galt, the wiki is slowly collapsing, and will turn into a graveyard for the looting spambots. That'll learn them. Röstigraben (talk) 18:43, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
But having little knowledge of this "spam" of which you speak and even less knowledge of objectivism - how is one to tell the difference?--BobSpring is sprung! 19:22, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I've seen too much of that type of spam at Palaeos, I delete about 20 items a day there. It's not usually worth reading but if you want to get familiar with it a lot of the time you'll find some there. Proxima Centauri (talk) 06:59, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
I've just deleted another load today and I expect more later this evening. Proxima Centauri (talk) 16:41, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Someone has installed a CAPTCHA now which I hope will stop the spam, if it doesn’t I will ask here about effective CAPTCHAs. Proxima Centauri (talk) 09:08, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Objectivism doesn't speak of sin, but of immorality. The only thing which is immoral according to objectivism is the act of placing your emotions, whishes, fears or whims above and before your reason and knowledge and thus other acts which requires that you do just that.


It looks silver worthy to me, but I'm me. Anyone else out there? ТyYes? 03:16, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Anyone? TyTy 02:49, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Sure. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:41, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
+1 Blue Talk 03:48, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I like the article but the organization and writing style could use some polishing. Where that puts it along the rating scale, I don't know. The topic is certainly on-mission so it would be nice if we could spruce it up a bit. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:22, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Y'all saddle sore?[edit]

Boy, you good chaps are sure grumped out by Objectivism. I love the top section of the article so much (Objectivism is a "philosophy", not a philosophy, for whackjobs and retarded teenage boys) that I feel it must stay there forever. It demonstrates uber-butthurtedness so well I feel it deserves an an article in its own right, but I'll have a go adding one or two facts in the article proper why not and see what happens. --PriorityQueue (talk) 08:35, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi. I'm personally indifferent to this topic one way or the other, but you might wish to get a bit more talk page interaction before changing too much of the article as you wouldn't want your additions to be removed at a stroke by those who are more involved.
For instance, might I suggest bringing here sections which are in need of improvement for discussion first. And then waiting 24 hours or so to see what opinions there are?--BobSpring is sprung! 09:09, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
The main problem with your additions is that the majority of them have been, at least, refuted by statements and positions held by Rand's Intellectual heir and ARI founder Leonard Piekoff. The Symphony of Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 09:17, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
But LP is a loony. There's a shitload of Objetivists out there and it seems that people always like to focus on the loonies and the worst to try to discredit the majority. If you're an atheist, you're Stalin! Why? Because he attended a Theological Seminary. I mean because he was an atheist. Honestly I think you're displaying a strong bias by choosing LP as a representative of all Objetvists today. Why not choose Yaron Brook for example? He's the president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. --PriorityQueue (talk) 09:47, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I've got to go right now, but there's a few things I'd like to whine about, I mean discuss, when I've got some spare time later on today. --PriorityQueue (talk) 09:49, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Dunno, sounds a little like "No True Objectivist" there, it's a difficult trap to avoid in this case. I mean, do you make the article about Ayn Rand or just about modern libertarians who might like her? Those who self-define as "Objectivists" or card-carrying members of the ARI? Rand might have some kind of intellectual successor, but would they really the "head" of the movement in the way David Miscaviage is the head of Scientology? Not necessarily. This is the problem with dealing with an idea that isn't an organised movement. There's no centralised doctrine to focus on and say "this is what we need to look at". But that said, it's not possible to truly critique a movement or philosophy without putting considerable focus on the totally-out-there loons - it's these people who are the most literal embodiment of an idea. Anyone less off-the-wall is, well, just plain boring to mention. Scarlet A.png...I'll advocate your hallway! 12:37, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
No, the "No True X" fallacy is that if a person is evil/immoral they can't possibly be an X; I'm not saying that is the case (there are crazies who are Objectivists, there are crazies from the furthest left to the furthest right), what I'm saying is that it's completely unreasonable, and displays a strong confirmation bias, to take a few crazies and a few crazy ideas and claim that those crazies and those crazy ideas are representative of all Objectivists. And most importantly the ideas of Objectivism have evolved a lot over the years and Ayn Rand's eccentricities and her private life shouldn't cloud the key ideas of the philosophy. If you want to choose one person as being the intellectual heir of Ayn Rand, a man who often lectures on Objectivism and is perhaps the best known Objectivist I'd go with Yaron Brook the president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. Well worth a quick YouTube search by the way. --PriorityQueue (talk) 13:03, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Okay I think the main thing that needs to be done to clean up the article and make it better fit its title is to stop focusing so much on the decades old private life of the long dead Ayn Rand and stop focusing on a few zany ideas of a few zany followers (even Michael Shermer falls into that trap) and focus more on what Objectivism means to most people that call themselves Objectivists today. You can still write it from a highly saddle sore perspective of course, you can still claim that these people are just dumb teenagers (no matter what their age, 24 myself) and they're all "whackjobs", but the title of the article is Obectivism not the private life of Ayn Rand and a few weird ideas cooked up fourty years ago.

Funnily enough I've noticed the libertarian article seems to be a lot more welcoming, it doesn't start "libertarians are a bunch of amoral, whim worshiping imbeciles who preach freedom for freedom's sake without responsibility and don't understand the difference between a marketplace of force and a marketplace of money" but rather "Libertarianism is the antonym of "authoritarianism." I don't know why this is because people often conflate Objectivism with libertarianism. I would of thought that if you hated one you'd have hated the other. Anyways, ideas? --PriorityQueue (talk) 11:03, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

that's not how you spell y'all, btw--User:Brxbrx/sig 11:46, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Good god, that's your answer? Are you trying to define pathetic or something? --PriorityQueue (talk) 11:57, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
FIFO, meet Brxbrx. Tytalk 11:59, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
A priority queue is not first in first out. Oh Christ! You've got me doing it now! Seriously though I've had a Wiki Walk and this Wiki is much more serious than I thought it was. I think this article belongs more on Encyclopedia Dramatica than on RationalWiki judging by some of the other articles I've seen. This crappy article is begging for a clean up. --PriorityQueue (talk) 12:08, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Computer scientist? What languages do you speak? C++ and Java for moi. Or are you not primarily a programmer? --PriorityQueue (talk) 12:13, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Originally C/C++, mostly Java, a bit of python and Scheme/LISP. Anyways, if you are planning radical shifts in an article you should mention discuss such things here on the talk page first. Tytalk 12:16, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
It's just that you're pushing the whole cowboy thing and you don't even get it right. I'm not currently in the mood to talk about objectivism, it just amused me that you botched a simple contraction--User:Brxbrx/sig 12:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
But aren't you guy that went into days of hysterics over minor criticisms of your botched grammar/punctuation when you were pushing the whole French thing? ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 13:52, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Okay then, I'll wait for somebody to respond to my two paragraphs above. The radical shift should be to stop talking so much about Ayn Rand and a few derps around her (tobacco smoking is a moral obligation? I mean come on) and stop using the tactic of using one bad (or crazy) egg to try and claim that all Objectivists are loonies. I'm an atheist and I'm so sick of that tactic, but at least anti-atheist bigots have more than one name to use! In short make the article about Objectivism not about Ayn Rand. And even on the Ayn Rand article I can't believe somebody would drag up such a trivial little non-event from four decades ago and give it pride of place. That seems like something a private detective hired by an angry Scientologist topdog would do to discredit an ex member who'd run to the BBC.

And as for the "cowboy" thing I've just got Applejack's voice in my head right now and I can't stop saying y'all (better?) sorry I offended your daft word spelling sensibilities. --PriorityQueue (talk) 12:35, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I won a spelling bee in fifth grade.--User:Brxbrx/sig 12:36, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Good for you. I won a Sega Game Gear via a colouring competition and may have convinced a major corporation to change their logo in the process. Come on. Enough silliness. --PriorityQueue (talk) 12:39, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, to put the problem simply: What is Objectivism if it isn't what was laid down by Ayn Rand? Scarlet A.png...I'll bomb your brand! 12:42, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I, of course, have no qualms with it changing and developing. It's no different to the fact that evolution as we understand it now isn't entirely the same as what Darwin wrote in Origin of Species. The difference being that that's science and has reality as it's arbitrator, while this is some kind of political philosophy. Answering "what is it?" is a lot more difficult if you wish to discount the founder of the movement who laid down the idea in the first place. Scarlet A.png...I'll crinkle your curry! 12:44, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not saying write an article that doesn't mention Ayn Rand, I'm saying don't write an article that reads like The Passion of Ayn Rand on steroids. And seeing as how this site is quite serious can't we make it a bit more serious? That reference to an incident (which I hadn't even heard of before reading the article) in which some derp said you must smoke because Ayn Rand did is just preposterous. Honestly, can we remove that, if nothing else? --PriorityQueue (talk) 12:54, 2 November 2011 (UTC)
You seem to be confused. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:37, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Then why so serious on other issues that don't automatically drive liberals into knicker twist mode? Seems the rest of the Wiki doesn't read like some babyish rant by an angry teenager in the way this article does. Strange double standard... --PriorityQueue (talk) 11:01, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Oooh, the "L" word! You've nailed us now -- we tremble before your Randian might. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Do your research sir; the term is randroid, randroid. If you're going to insult me rather than engage in rational debate then at least learn to do it right. --PriorityQueue (talk) 15:30, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

So who's butthurt, exactly?[edit]

The latest addition here is highly amusing.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:33, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Wow you found that a full ten minutes after it was added. On a completely different website. I'm impressed. Don't know what the smeg RationalWiki has to do with TV, but whatever. Found any other coincidental instances of butthurt on completely unrelated websites that you happened to discover ten minutes after they were added? Just asking. Thanks for that most interesting of links though. --PriorityQueue (talk) 16:46, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The really funny part is that I don't actively monitor that TVTropes article. I was using Google to find out if, er, you are the only Objectivist suddenly interested in RationalWiki. It is an interesting coincidence that RW's coverage of Objectivism is mentioned off-wiki at the same time someone is battling it on-wiki.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:52, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
Reaaaaally. LOL. Honestly though if you were going to make it more convincing you could have at least "discovered" it tomorrow or something. This just doesn't look very convincing now that both sides have been timestamped. --PriorityQueue (talk) 17:00, 3 November 2011 (UTC)


If this article is not a joke, and if it were indeed awarded a "bronze star," then I and as many people as I can persuade would never even consider donatiing a penny to support such subjective drivel.

Of course, the article is so poorly written and so juvenile in its quality, that I am sure that this must be a joke.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

if you're an objectivist, you wouldn't donate anyway, so no loss there. Sophiebecause liberals 20:24, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

RationalWiki seems to be filled with a lot of people who do not really understand what it means to be rational, and in stead copy the conclusions(some I agree with, some I don't) of other people who are considered rational, and then use any tactic to defend that. This is a bit sad, because there seems to also be some people interested in rational discourse around, but they drown completely in the mass of people who bow for the rationalcult. It is very similar to objectivistcult really. This article really illustrates it perfectly, and you only have to look over the page and this talk page to realize it. Any argument that agrees with the accepted conclusion goes. Of course you have to know just a little about the subject matter to see this. It might of course be that I have misunderstood the whole point of this site, and I am simply making an ass of myself here... Every time I have ended up on RationalWiki it was because some smart-ass on the internet was trying to make a point, gave up half way, and then simply posted a link to RationalWiki. I am beginning to suspect that the whole point of this page is make it easier to spot idiots on the internet, by encouraging them to refer to it's pages and participate here, thereby identifying themselves. Morten (talk) 15:04, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

You figured it out. And - look - it's working! :-)--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 16:45, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
You know, this is a wiki. It's easy enough to toss out blanket statements about how everything is terrible and wrong, but if you want to actually improve things rather than idly complain, go ahead and start editing. That's how this works. Cow...Hammertime! 15:18, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I thought this was supposed to be RATIONALWiki!
If you don't like it, give specific criticisms. Otherwise you're not setting your argument further one bit. Osaka Sun (talk) 15:26, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I have a theory. RationalWiki is some psychologists attempt to make the first Skeptic cult. Guidewog (talk) 03:08, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree that there is a lot of demagogery going on here. Not very rational and kind of disturbing, but fortunately it doesn't show up everywhere so there must still be some hope for this project. For now, I don't see the point in correcting the bogus article about Objectivism (which is written as if by some Youtube-troll really), but if it gets enough traction and comes anywhere close to Wikipedia, then I might start looking into it. Though I could be wrong, I really don't think that will happen.

On the Contradiction of Psychology[edit]

1. There is a distinct lack of scholarly articles to support this claim. 2. If your going to do it right you should at least support your assertion about Ayn Rand's epistomology. She wrote an entire book on the subject. She specifically stated that the sensory data, called percepts is integrated into concepts and the concepts affect interpretation of future percepts as they are integrated into concepts. Here is a video by a non-objectivist academic who studies epitomology for a living Jason J Campbell 3. Simply stating that our conciousness creates a facsimile of reality doesn't make it so, and it doesn't mean that our senses fail us in relation to living life in general. The article is suggesting that there is a world that we can't perceive supported by the science of psychology. Think about that, you can't sense something that you can't sense. Rand is not giving an empiricist or subjective stance, instead her hypothesis is an integration of previous work. What the article is arguing against, is empiricism, ala Kant's categories. 4. Objectivists favor Cognitive Behavioral Psychology theory, which is an accepted mainstream theory so objectivists do not deny the validity of studying psychology. 5. She did reject the behaviorist school. Guidewog (talk) 03:08, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

On the Claim of Evolution Denial[edit]

1. Rand did not deny Evolution as a theory. She admitted ignorance of the latest trends in evolutionary theory. 2. Rand rejected B.F. Skinner's behaviorist school of psychology, as all schools of psychology reject or modify today. 3. From this denial she rejected Evolutionary Psychology, especially as it related to Free Will. 4. She didn't believe that our evolution had a hard wired affect on our conciousness. Her argument was similar to Dawkin's lottery ticket argument before Dawkin's wrote it. That is that evolution makes us more likely to pass on our genes, but as Celebate monks will attest it doesn't always happen. Guidewog (talk) 03:10, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Objectivist Critiques of Modern Science[edit]

"In his book, "The Logical Leap" David Harriman discusses how scientific concepts evolve becoming more accurate as scientists integrate old well supported but weaker theories. His critique of Quantum Physics is actually similar to many skeptical critiques of crank physics. Namely, that modern physicists tend toward rationalism in their arguments when the evidence hasn't come in yet. He criticizes modern physicists for being too quick to judge philosophy as irrelevant to science while holding onto cultural philosophy like Kant's categories which leads to declarations that physics will never know the position and speed of particles despite advances in weak measurement. He also discusses how physics is influenced by Philosophy and the scientific method in detail with the help of Ayn Rand's conception of percepts"

To the extent that I understand what any of this is trying to say, it seems to fall into the usual trap that's normally reserved for pomos like Derrida and Lacan trying to talk about science -- it ignores the results that scientists get from using their work and throws a lot of stuff out there without trying to explain what expertise Harriman (or Rand for that matter) has on science to begin with. Can we please try to make some sense of this before we decide whether it belongs in the article? EVDebs (talk) 18:22, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
As much as I find it funny that you think Rand is Post Modern, I have to disagree. I mean to go back and reread my notes on the logical leap. The mistake I made was to say that Harriman's critique is similar to a skeptics. What he actually critiques is Modern Physics inability to describe a general principle that integrates the knowledge that came before it. He describes the interesting details of the history of physics from the Greeks to Newton. For instance the Greek view of Electricity being disconnected phenomena, to the Newtonian view of a single force that presents itself in several ways. So, I would say that this is a false claim that Harriman is at all like Derrida or Lacan. In fact his argument is that Physics isn't integrated enough. Like I said, I'll have to make some time to go back through my notes.
As for Rand, it's not what she has to say about physics that is important it's what she had to say about the scientific method. Harriman who is a professor of physics and philosophy has written much on the differences between various scientific methods that have been used, their flaws, and their successes. Empirical evidence is not discounted, however the interpretations of that evidence are criticized. I.E. those that discard causality or the law of non-contradiction (logic) to explain their theory. Guidewog (talk) 19:38, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
I didn't say she was postmodern; I said her feelings on science fall into the same line of thinking, that science must somehow coincide with their philosophy or it's inherently wrong. (See: Stalin/Lysenko, GW Bush, religious fundamentalists, the Men's Rights and Bell Curve movements, "drapetomania", etc.) Anyway, the key to challenging scientific orthodoxy is to a) make valid predictions with your theory and b) show, if the previous theories were wrong, why they still produced results. That's where the line is drawn between mavericks and crackpots. Put it this way -- by all indications, Stanley Prusiner is a 24 karat asshole. If he hadn't been correct about the existence of prions, no one would have ever heard of him, and he certainly would never have won a Nobel Prize. He met that burden despite obvious personality flaws. I don't see how Objectivist science has done that. EVDebs (talk) 19:58, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
You'll have to tell me more about the bell curve and men's rights movements. I agree that successful theories as you've stated are the benchmark of scientific success. I still don't see how David Harriman's book contradicts that. He is simply outlining how induction is necessary for the scientific method to operate. He claims that the method certain physicists are using is flawed. This is valid criticism. If you read it you would be more educated about Objectivism and his criticism. Some of the best skeptics and philosophers can state their opponents case before criticizing it. It's a technique that I find highly convincing.
I don't consider myself a skeptic, even though I consider myself pro-science. I agree with the skeptic's empirical viewpoint ala Comte and John Stuwart Mills, however they don't give science enough credit. Any field in science shouldn't contradict another field of science. Just as the philosophy of Objectivism shouldn't conflict with empirical evidence. Guidewog (talk) 22:17, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand the nature of scientific contradiction. When you have a situation like quantum gravity, where relativity and quantum mechanics are seemingly at odds, it's not that the science is contradictory per se; these things are happening, and the fact that they can't be reconciled under current theory means only that there's an underlying mechanism we don't understand yet, not that people in the field are wrong per se, for whatever value one attaches to "wrong". (Or, alternately, it's an indication that both theories are "wrong" (again, for whatever value you wish to pick for that) and that further work needs to be done to reconcile them.) The confirmation of the Higgs boson at CERN is yet another step in that direction. So far as anyone can tell, there is no reason to believe that a change in the underlying philosophy of scientific thinking will reconcile the two, only more data and better interpretations, especially when science as usual has worked very well for us for going on four centuries now. The Objectivist argument is essentially crackpot thinking dressed up in Randian terms, and it's also akin to conspiracy theory thinking, albeit substituting ineptitude for malice in its alleged motivations. EVDebs (talk) 02:47, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
I was just referring to the law of non-contradiction that is derived from the law of identity. I don't know what you mean by 'scientific contradiction'. I really hope there isn't a method of scientific contradiction because it would mean that postmodernism has finally crept it's way into the realm of the Scientific method. I can see it now, "That might be true for your science, but it's not true for mine." Today I will go back over my notes for the logical leap, if you have any research questions for me I'd be happy to look them up. Guidedog (talk) 11:45, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Relevant, but awkwardly wedged in[edit]

Objectivism holds, basically, that everyone should live by their own effort, neither accepting gifts from others nor giving them,saying that people should earn what they have or they will not value it.

Therefore, Objectivism holds that altruism is irrational and immoral, even if done voluntarily because people begin to rely on the charity of others to survive. objectivism morality is a system of values with a baseline using life. “Value” is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. The concept “value” is not a primary; it presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? It presupposes an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternative. Where no alternative exists, no goals and no values are possible. An ultimate value is that final goal or end to which all lesser goals are the means—and it sets the standard by which all lesser goals are evaluated. An organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil.-

(ayn rand, from the Objectivist ethics Paper delivered at the University of Wisconsin Symposium on “Ethics in Our Time” in Madison, Wisconsin, on February 9, 1961.)

What shall we do with this quote? It was stuffed in as a replacement for the Ethics section. EVDebs (talk) 20:13, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

We do not need to quote Rand at that length in the article. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 20:17, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Two (three) points I would like to call in:[edit]

1-. Why isn't the Epistemology's section, refuted in the same article? Also, I consider insufficient a mere quote to Ayn Rand to make for the section. We could add more quotes for the case (lol). It's too meager, and considering that it's the funding stone of all the irrationality (for example that odd cartessian subject she called back to justify egoism and discrediting collective reasoning), behind the cult, I consider it should be more extense (and intense...).

Or we could insist from the critics to Hegel, Kant or Platoo, and that Rand has to sustain herself by criticizing long dead authors rather than addressing some more recent, with more immediate and relevant contributions (I think at Popper, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Lakatos)... Also, there being so many articles addressing the question of crowd-thinking (crowd psychology, groupthink, herd mentality, Cultural relativism, and well, we could also add culture, learning, language, environment, perspetivism, etc...), we don't lack material inside the wicky to refutate Rand's assertions.

2-. Why don't we take unto the contradiction between the oh-so-realist Epistemological approach of objectivism, and the huge PIDOOMA of it's ethics? I mean, an argument such as "It's wrong and evil b'cuz I ain't likin'it!" cannot go unharmed in this wiki.

3-. How much are we going to take into account Ayn Rand? Personally, I don't consider it a philosophy, as long as The Secret or Judaism aren't. It's much more loaded of moral and ethical concerns than a genuine search for knowledge and understanding. It's not even a current of thought, it's a moralist way of seeing the world according to a single author that defined it and coined the name. Shouldn't we stay within how she described her "philosophy"? Rather than searching for her lost inheritor, I mean...

--Tasurinchi (talk) 23:16, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Wow, this is definitely a circlejerk if I ever saw one.[edit]

Posted this on the wrong page.

Why are my changes being reverted?

I'm using first-hand material straight from the source which this article discusses. Whether or not the reader thinks Objectivism is valid or not is up to them.

The previous section on ethics is both misinformed, and heavily opinionated without any proof.

It's even obvious in the diff:

Take it to the talk page of the article big dog. I'm sure someone will be in the mood for a boring argument about semantics and long discredited ideologies! When you emerge victorious I will say "I totally knew that guy was right" and it will be sweet. Tielec01 (talk) 06:18, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

... so here I am.

And here I am. I have to say I'm rather upset about this. Rationality requires an objective, rigorous, scientific view on things. I understand that Objectivism is a very black-and-white philosophy that doesn't give other philosophies the same courtesy. But, if the wiki has no standards on what is opinion vs what is fact, (ie, actually representing WHAT she wrote, vs what the wiki authors *interpret* from the writings) then it has no right to call itself rational in any sense of the word. Rationality doesn't reject novel, or even 'bizarre' ideas just because they question our basic assumptions on right and wrong. If anything, humanity will evolve and grow from even "rejected" philosophies.

This almost seems like censorship, fascism, and dare I say it... *fundamentalism* ;) — Unsigned, by: Xbittwiddler / talk / contribs

I'm pretty sure the reason you were reverted is because your edits were argumentative (in accusing the article's authors of having not read the source material), not because they were incorrect or we don't like what they say. You make some good points, but when you sling around words like "fascism" it makes you seem less like an earnest contributor and more like some random user looking for a fight. Wehpudicabok (talk) 06:39, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

To be fair, the previous contributor was equally as abrasive in his comparison of Objectivism to the philosophy of the sith from star wars. And he was setting up straw men left and right, taking quotes out of their content. He set a precedent, and none of his changes were removed for those reasons. I'm not entirely crazy to feel that my attempt to make the article less biased was justified. Although I did jump to confusions of fascism because I assumed it was removed for pointing out th straw men and misconceptions. I feel like both have to be in plain sight in order to have a rational discussion.

If I leave out accusations of not reading th source, and change my tone, will my edits be left intact?

Despite seeing Objectivism as a flawed utopian ideology, I still think there is value in individuals and in some parts of it. On top of that, I can't stand to see things demonized based on inaccurate evidence. Rational discourse shouldn't be a witch hunt as It so commonly devolves into. My apologies for any anger I displayed in the article. :P — Unsigned, by: Xbittwiddler / talk / contribs

On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. I noticed the Sith analogy too, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, & I've removed it. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:55, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I went ahead and reinstated your edits minus the accusations. Wehpudicabok (talk) 09:29, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
I undid the majority of them. Noting the benefits of altruism, and the failure of objectivism to solve the prisoners dilemma are important points. Resorting to "words have multiple meanings, they didn't mean altruism, or altruism, they meant altruism," is some serious reality denial. Hipocrite (talk) 11:57, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
It's not reality-denial. It really is one of the accepted definitions, though not commonly used in vernacular.
Merriam-Webster: "Altruism - 2: behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species"
Merriam-Webster: "Generous: 2b. liberal in giving : openhanded"
Liberal in giving != giving in such a way that is harmful to yourself. I don't see your point of contention on this. Of course altruism does have great benefits to many, but it doesn't make sense that because Objectivism attacks one form of altruism, you have to blur the distinction and erase content submitted by users, especially when the content makes the distinction clear using source material and references from dictionaries. Every philosophy and field of study has its own terminology. A Vector is not necessarily the same thing in mathematics as it is in a programming language.
As for the prisoner's dilemma, yeah, I agree that short-sighted selfishness would result in both prisoners confessing in order to get the possible rewards, and will both end up losing out, assuming they have no knowledge of each other or the outcomes. Without any other data, or sense of trust for your fellow man, the result would be sub-optimal.
I think a die-hard Objectivist would argue that a sub-optimal result in the face of insufficient data does not indicate a moral failure.
Personally, from a more practical point of view, I don't see how working with your fellow humans to improve conditions for the all is in direct conflict with self-interest. Ultimately, I feel that the only real reason people live in societies is to improve living conditions and guarantee safety for each individual, not because of some sense of duty to the community.
In a real scenario related to the prisoner's dilemma, such as Global Warming, it is in everyone's *self-interest* to trust others and work with them in order to achieve a long-term benefit (the prevention of climactic upheaval). Morals and philosophy only exist because human beings aren't independent savages living on their own islands. From what I've garnered about Objectivism, it merely holds that if the group consists of individuals who practice healthy egoism and respect for each others's rights to life, choice, and property, it is living in both a rational and moral way. I may be completely wrong about this. But I think, if Objectivism really IS all about "Me first, screw everyone else", their body of work wouldn't even bother including entire passages about how property rights are vital, about how human life has value that can never be replaced, etc.
The fact that Ayn Rand was histrionic, elitist, dramatic and abrasive about ethics while using her own sometimes imprecise terminology just proves she was an asshole. Someone being an asshole does not mean that we should censor and ridicule everything they said, especially on a website that presents itself as a source of rational analyses and fact-based writing. I don't see how offense and disagreement in any way shape or form justifies misrepresenting things the way YOU wish to represent them. If anything, those playing devil's advocates shouldn't be shut out in any rational discussion. Or am I misunderstanding the goal of this website?
Xbittwiddler (talk) 17:23, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Xbitt is right about Rand's stance on altruism -- welcome to the idiosyncratic semantics of Objectivism. Here is another quote: "My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue." -[1] This doesn't really disprove that Objectivism boils down to IGMFY, though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:26, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, not buying it. With perfect information about exactly what the other prisoner will do, it's always an optimal strategy to confess. Always. Without fail. Always confess. Trust is irrelevant, data irrelevent. Failing to confess is altruism, and thus immoral, per objectivism. Of course "working with your fellow humans to improve conditions for the all is in direct conflict with self-interest." You could just let everyone else do the work and just benefit. Any work you do is negligible, and as such you should free ride. You seem to think that objectivists believe something they don't profess to believe - that they merely "practice healthy egoism and respect for each others's rights to life, choice, and property." No. Hipocrite (talk) 18:30, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Liberal in giving != giving in such a way that is harmful to yourself". Do you think that this might involve just the slightest touch of opinion? Tielec01 (talk) 04:26, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Sooo, Ayn Rand equals Objectivism?[edit]

Well, I've read the article, which I very much enjoyed ... at first. There seem to be rather a lot of ad hominems for this Ayn Rand person, which surprised me somewhat. I mean, I haven't the slightest clue about the person herself or her books, but I get the feeling that we're trying to criticise objectivism here, right? It should be possible to give valid criticisms of objectivism (which the article does) and then let them speak for themselves, not supported by all this personal life mud flinging at its proponents (like this Ayn Rand, apparently). And if you're going to argue that all objectivism is is actually what this Ayn Rand thinks it is, then fine, then criticise what she thinks, not what she is (I realize that what she thinks may be a big part of what she is, but the distinction is still important, no?). I mean, when I criticise Marx's thoughts I try to avoid flinging mud on the person and fling mud on the thoughts instead, makes sense?

I would suggest cutting out all the vaguely related or completely unrelated ad hominems. Humour (aka snark) can still be added by ridiculing the ideas of objectivism itself instead of all these personal attacks which seem rather petty to a reader who is new to all this objectivism stuff (like me ... well, I've played Bioshock and read this article, but that's the extent of what I know). Well, unless you're going to claim that Ayn Rand equals Objectivism ... which sounds rather shallow. Nullahnung (talk) 09:09, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Ayn Rand created Objectivism; criticizing her beliefs here is valid. And while ad hominem certainly isn't a valid form of argument, keeping it here alongside actual arguments seems OK to me. Wehpudicabok [話] [変] 09:47, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
That seems fair, I suppose. Still don't like it, but I don't have to like it, so it's ok.
I was kinda hoping to go ahead and talk about some claims I've read from objectivists, like this one:
Objectivists claim that once you feel the urge for sex or child-raising, that because you made the choice it is then your responsibility to raise the child and that all of that falls outside the idea of trading, since children are incapable of trading.
The problem with talking about this one is that it's not entirely consistent with what Ayn Rand said (from what I've read), because she said that a person, no matter the age, is responsible for upholding the principle of value exchange (that would include children, if I'm not wrong). And so if objectivism is really as fundamentally about Ayn Rand as it seems, then it's pointless for me to talk about my above-mentioned example, since it can't be considered proper objectivist thought. (Note: All I've said up to this point of my post is basically just that I'm a bumbling idiot who would like to talk about irrelevant stuff. Sorry for wasting the time of anyone who bothered to read this. :P)
Other ridiculous claims about children from objectivists I've read are things like "There IS a trade! You can expect welfare from your children!" which sounds rather naive, haha. Nullahnung (talk) 10:04, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Persistence of straw men gets irritating[edit]

From the top, because I have the time right now:

Objectivism has an existence independent of its founder who, as has been noted already on this page, has been dead for over thirty years. Objectivism today does not, for example, appear to harbor Rand's considerable personal dislike of homosexuals. Give them some credit.

Under Ethics:

Straw man 1 - "Therefore, Objectivism holds that all forms of altruism are irrational and immoral, even if they are done voluntarily, as long as they have no material benefit to the altruistic individual."
Term of art; by 'altruism' as normally used this is simply not the case. The Galt speech, which the article considers sufficiently representative of Rand's views to quote, explicitly commends willingness to support a cause one believes in, financially or otherwise. Even ignoring that, where is the "material benefit" in Francisco d'Anconia's solid-gold dollar sign, erected at great expense for the sake of a joke? Where is the "material benefit" in commissioning an opera? These are events undertaken by protagonists in Galt's Gulch, so it may be inferred that the author does not describe them disapprovingly.
Straw man 2 - "This means that in situations like the Prisoner's dilemma each objectivist will try to benefit at the expense of the other and both will lose out. Rational individuals in prisoner's dilemma type positions should see cooperation and altruism is the better strategy."
The prisoner's dilemma presupposes that two individuals have already cooperated in some fashion and were presumably aware they might encounter it. The Nash equilibrium of the prisoner's dilemma happens to be the optimal strategy for the game under a particular set of assumptions, which assumptions those people might share, or they might decide in advance that one of them needs to be free more than the other (say, in pursuance of a cause they both support) and act according to that. Game theory in this application does not pose a problem to which a solution isn't already apparent.

Under Politics:

Straw man 3 - "...capitalism is held to be the only system in which it is possible for laws to be objective (because there is only one law allowed, aka. "Don't Touch My Stuff")"
Rand never used the term but clearly agreed with natural law as the basis of morality and ethics. Beyond that, all questions of ethics boil down to the twin concepts of ownership and damage (the "my" and "touch" in "Don't touch my stuff"); no claimant exists without ownership and no claim exists without damage. Going further, law that doesn't proceed by the natural-law approach is positive law - by definition, not objective.
Straw man 4 - "Objectivist politics either disregard or are unaware of the iron law of institutions. In the case of the economy, this law states that when not constrained by regulation, people or corporations will gain money and influence at the expense of the economy as a whole (e.g., Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae... the list goes on)."
For one, a great limitation in the number and scope of institutions seems like a start on this problem. For another, the institutions described as evidence are the beneficiaries of corporate privilege (like the ability to move across borders unchecked, which individuals can't do; a lender of last resort, which individuals don't have; and limited liability and its attendant moral hazard, which individuals can't enjoy) that Objectivist politics would put it outside the state's purview to grant. Though not explicitly Objectivist, a perusal of stuff by Samuel Edward Konkin provides plenty of discussion of the form of anti-corporate capitalism).

Under Criticism: (this was hard because almost every sentence constituted a straw man)

5 - "...the position that it is immoral to give, or to receive aid to another of any kind."
The important point omitted: without some perceived reward. Letting a stranger in out of the cold so as to set an example in case it happens to you one day? Your reward is your hope that the example is followed. Giving money to AIDS research? You benefit psychically from seeing it cured. Support the theater? You enjoy what it produces, or want others to be able to - more of that psychic benefit stuff. If you choose to do it because it benefits you on some level, material or otherwise, more power to ya.("A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality" and "The moral is the chosen, not the forced.")
6 - "and that altrusim is immoral.
Term of art. If you're getting some benefit to yourself, it doesn't fall under altruism in Randian thought. The altruism under discussion is the Sunday-school "because it's the right thing to do", with no consideration apart from divine command of what makes an action "right".
7 - "Firstly, this means that it is immoral to be a child, or to raise a child, since a child requires constant attention and aid from the parents.
Totally, one hundred percent wrong. A minor character in the chapter introducing Galt's Gulch discusses this.
8 - " don't consider self-sacrifice to be immoral, although Randian philosophy says that it is."
Again, term of art, and requires ignoring things Rand actually said. John Galt specifically describes shortly before his capture a backup plan in which under certain circumstances he would kill himself rather than submit to the police.

I don't have to agree with her on any particular thing to think misrepresenting her arguments is counterproductive; if you're going to attack her, attack the real McCoy. There's a big difference between killing a dragon and building a dragon-shaped piñata-cum-effigy and demanding a knighthood when you whack it open.

Frostbyte (talk) 07:24, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

I'll just address two points: First off, I can't claim to know what a "common" understanding of altruism is, but my personal one would completely align with the one this article seemed to use instead of yours. Altruism is helping others for the sake of helping others, without expecting anything in return. If you pay for a cause for the sake of the cause, especially if it is one that will benefit you personally most of all, then it is a bit questionable to call that altruistic. And second: " Beyond that, all questions of ethics boil down to the twin concepts of ownership and damage (the "my" and "touch" in "Don't touch my stuff")". No, just no. Not all ethics are derived from property rights and "ownership of the self". That's just completely, fundamentally untrue. In fact, what are probably the two major "top-level" ethical schools, utilitarianism and deontology, do not put property rights at their fundament at all. Also, "natural right" is just as subjective as positive right; it just pretends to be objective but in truth nobody can actually tell what "natural right" is supposed to be. It's basically "I say this is natural right, so we have to follow it / base our assumptions on what I say". This isn't the 18th century anymore. Philosophy and ethics have gotten over their obsession with "natural right". Octo8 (talk) 11:27, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Wrong, wronger, wrongest.
Your first point seems to be channeling Kant's denial that anything done to advance one's own cause can have moral significance, which objection was spurious even when he first voiced it because Socrates and Aristotle had shown thousands of years before that it can.
Second, Utilitarian ethics are not an argument against anything. Utilitarianism has two forms, one demonstrably false and the other self-contradictory. Act utilitarianism both assumes and requires a commensurability of utility which doesn't exist, making it simply wrong, and rule utilitarianism either entails rule fetishism, obeying rules even when they produce suboptimal outcomes, which is not utilitarian, or disobeying rules when obedience would produce a suboptimal outcome, which is act utilitarianism, which as noted is simply wrong. See Gary Chartier for more depth on the subject.
Third, what is the categorical imperative but a recognition of moral self-ownership (itself the basis of every theory of property I'm aware of)? "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end." (Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals) The objection which is at at the base of the injunction not to use people as a means to an end is one which explicitly outlines ownership (someone's self, the claimant) and damage (using them as means, the basis in one form or another of any claim). Deontological ethics precipitate the same rights as a natural-law approach because they are the result of a natural-law approach.
Frostbyte (talk) 19:14, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't talking about philosophy when I spoke about the definition of altruism. This is essentially a layman's wiki, so the most commonly understood meaning of the word should be used, and not what it might mean in philosophy. And even if we just talk philosophy it would be a bit difficult to ignore Kant, no matter how much one might disagree with him. The same holds true for utilitarianism: I think it's the only metaethical approach that makes sense, as it asks what actually the sense of ethics is, instead of presupposing an unproven "natural law" or the the "that is wrong because I say it is wrong" approach of deontology. But that doesn't even matter: You cannot deny the importance of utilitarianism in ethics. That would be plain absurd. So your statement that all ethics rests on property rights is simply demonstrably wrong. In fact, only a minority of them do - your reinterpretation of the Categorical Imperative is, ah, "creative" indeed. So, given this wiki's rule on snark, it's pretty fair to mock a philosophy holding to such a fringe view. Octo8 (talk) 19:48, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
If I were to drive Frostbyte's line of thinking to its logical conclusion, I would simply say that utilitarianism could not deal with any ethical questions without property/damage, because anything utilitarianism could be applied to already has the elements of property and damage in them, which are then used by utilitarianism. ;) Nullahnung (talk) 20:20, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
It can't deal with ethical questions. Utilitarian ethics are to natural law what Newtonian mechanics are to relativity: they give the right answer, sometimes, but only by accident, and the universe obeys the latter over the former without exception where they disagree. An ethical theory that denies both concepts of ownership (of any kind whatsoever, in Pareto-inefficient cases - any individual or group can be discarded without remorse if the situation might be improved by doing so) and damage (as long as Pareto efficiency is being pursued) is not an ethical theory. Frostbyte (talk) 05:44, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Look, you can disagree with utilitarianism all you want, personally. But you cannot deny that it is one of the major modern schools of ethics. That has nothing to do with how you evaluate that fact; it's a simple matter of observation. And this goes against your conclusion that all ethics are based on property rights. Octo8 (talk) 08:56, 25 February 2014 (UTC)


(EC)I won't try to address your points, because I am not familiar with objectivism myself. I will just say that I don't consider it immoral to be selfless, to help people because it is the right thing to do.
I do have my own gripe to add about the article. One section is just a quote and then "Enough said."... Now that is just jarring. More detail, please, or delete it. That is just insulting to the reader. There is also some more work to be done regarding ethics, like pointing out the naturalistic fallacy of deriving the ought of ethics from an is of the nature of life. Nullahnung (talk) 11:53, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Hume's "guillotine" is ridiculously overplayed anyway. The statement made is not that a value cannot be derived from a fact but that he perceived a logical inadequacy in attempts to do so. To say that an ought conclusion cannot follow from descriptive premises is to beg the question - the claim that ethical principles must be assumed as contradistinct from derived (i) is a rather stronger claim than the one actually made by Hume, that an ought is a lot harder to derive than an is; and (ii) either moots all ethics or reduces them to the tired arbitrariness of divine command. Frostbyte (talk) 19:32, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Divine command would in fact fall under the is-ought problem as well. Whoop dee doo, so Deity XYZ created the universe. How does from this follow that his/her/its commands are ethically justified? Of course you'd try to downplay the is-ought problem (otherwise you'd run into problems with your 'natural law' nonsense) but the distinction does hold: Just because something is or was a certain way can in no way mean it should be that way. How would such a logic even work? Why is something desirable just because that is how things currently are or were in the past? And see, that is why utilitarianism is the only logical metaethical approach. It derives oughts from oughts. Furthermore, it actually cares about the people's needs and benefits (if in a rather hamfisted way in Bentham's original thought), instead of some abstract principles like "natural law", that is to be followed just because it once may have existed, no matter if this actually benefits anybody! Octo8 (talk) 19:48, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
That isn't what natural law means. It means deriving the moral and ethical framework of law from man's nature: the universal requirements his survival qua man. Rand concluded (and with this I agree, and even utilitarians seem to agree) that the standard of morality in human interaction is human life. Self-ownership is a primary in natural law because the inalienability of particular aspects of man's mind and body is empirically obvious and logically self-evident, and further because given the standard of human life it's a non-negotiable necessity. Given the standard, which no moral theory disputes, these essential requirements are oughts, and further oughts, rights like free speech, free association (and with it free exchange), self-defense and property, flow naturally from them. Utilitarianism is an empirically invalid ethical theory because utility is not commensurable, meaning no objective conclusions can be drawn about it, and a fundamentally inadequate ethical theory because it denies ownership even of the self ("nonsense on stilts", though Jerry contradicts himself at length on this point, e.g. "Can it suffer?") and trivializes damage. One does not deify people by making person an afterthought. Frostbyte (talk) 05:40, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
"Self-ownership is a primary in natural law because the inalienability of particular aspects of man's mind and body is empirically obvious and logically self-evident, and further because given the standard of human life it's a non-negotiable necessity. Given the standard, which no moral theory disputes, these essential requirements are oughts, and further oughts, rights like free speech, free association (and with it free exchange), self-defense and property, flow naturally from them."
Still trying to derive ought from is, I see. You've done that by simply asserting that "some qualities that we naturally find desirable are oughts". That's a rather simplistic attempt at bridging the gap created by Hume's guillotine, I must say. Nullahnung (talk) 08:34, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
And fossils of animals not mentioned in the Bible are a simplistic disproof of YEC. Barring a demonstration that the is - the inalienability of the will - does not give rise rise to the primary ought - self-ownership, and universal, equal self-ownership at that, since all men possess that same inalienable will in equal measure, it's quite an adequate bridge. Frostbyte (talk) 10:11, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
That is a rather weak analogy, as the YEC Bible view is factually disprovable, making it rather different in nature to the is-ought-problem. You're essentially saying "nobody has disproven my assertion, and my assertion creates a link between a reality and ethics, therefore it is adequate". I say to you that while this created link may seem desirable, it is based on nothing but assertion, and therefore does not really bridge the gap. Nullahnung (talk) 11:09, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Free will is sufficient to prove self-ownership. Self-ownership is adequate for the rest. That is the connection. Not "this would be desirable" - "this follows". You profess the counter-view that reality and ethics aren't connected, but still hold an ethical theory, which means you don't hold to a necessary result of your avowed disconnect between ethics and reality; namely that any ethical theory is necessarily irrational. Frostbyte (talk) 22:20, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually, no, you're mixing something up. I don't perceive a disconnect between ethics and reality, I perceive a gap between is and ought that even a link between ethics and reality can't bridge (at least the one you've proposed). Nullahnung (talk) 23:08, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
What natural law means very much depends on whom you ask. The Ancients used it, Christians used it, and modern thinkers used it. Which, in itself, is telling. And historically, for most of them, it has meant trying to draw up a list of "natural" as opposed to "man-made" laws, or to think of a "natural state" of man. Needless to say, this has always been entirely non-empirical and of course does run afoul of the is-ought problem. What it has mostly come down was that certain thinkers tried to enshrine certain rules by claiming they were natural. So, most of the time "natural law" was essentially a deontologist approach: Rules are to be followed because they are rules. Which, IMO, doesn't really reflect a deep or even only critical thinking. What makes utilitarianism better is the consequentialist approach it uses: Actions can be judged on their outcome (or intended outcome - we have to allow for human error). Of course, the early attempts to have utility quantified were silly, but just as you insist that Objectivism has moved on since Rand, I must point out how much truer that is for utilitarianism: Bentham is not a messiah. For example, preference utilitarianism's admission that satisfaction is subjective to the desires of wildly varying individuals of course implies that utility can not be quantified. Generally, I'm personally most inclined towards preference utilitarianism and negative utilitarianism (i.e., not maximizing benefit but minimizing harm).
Aristotle never used the term, though he clearly understood the concept. Christian thinkers (I submit in evidence the Protestant Hugo de Groot (Grotius) of great note in the development of international law and the entire Jesuit Scholastic tradition, though Francisco Suarez in particular, and in further evidence the overt Scholastic influence on the rationalism of Enlightenment philosophy and its distinction) use it in the same sense as any modern work on the subject. As to preference utilitarianism, that is admittedly quite an advance over the Benthamite line, though it still suffers (albeit to a lesser extent) from the incommensurability problem - preferences present a lot of the same trouble. The notion of man as having no nature, while in vogue, doesn't jibe with empirical evidence - like impulses toward socialization and self-preservation. That no man is omniscient or infallible is similarly a law of his nature. I recommend The Ethics of Liberty for a better treatment of this derivation than I have space to provide. Frostbyte (talk) 10:33, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
As for your definition of "natural law" - freedom of speech etc do not logically follow from the necessity to survive. You added "survive qua human", but that is meaningless unless you want to posit an universal human nature... in which case we are back to just the point I've criticized about "natural law" all along, that it just posits stuff without empirical proof and goes from there. And if you do without a posited universal human nature, than free speech does not follow from man's necessity to survive. Also, your approach contradicts itself. "Inalienable" means "cannot be sold or given away"... so, basically, the exact opposite of property.
See above re the alleged positivism of the natural law approach, and Locke, Block or Rothbard for an explanation of the derivation of property. Typing into fixed-width text at this density is beginning to make my eyes hurt. Frostbyte (talk) 10:33, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Still, yes, I suppose one could frame human rights as a matter of self-ownership. In the end, much of the discussion is about framing and from which angle to approach an issue. However, while maybe a valid approach it simply seems like a silly one to me. Why frame it via property? It seems much simpler and more elegant to me to frame it as a matter of rights. Instead of humans owning themselves and hence having authority over themselves, they simply have rights. Makes just as much sense! Or framing it via utility / harm avoidal: Assuming that humans have rights gives them a protection against harm. Much more to the point! The problem with the "self-ownership" angle is twofold: 1) it gives undue importance to other property rights and 2) if you are your own property you can sell yourself. And your new owner can then sell you on, and so on. So, basically, it's a justification of slavery. Octo8 (talk) 08:56, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Property is a question of rights, so the approach isn't substantively different. Ownership of other things under particular conditions (Two Treatises covers this more than adequately) is one of a variety of rights which proceed from ownership of self. As to voluntary slave contracts, that problem was resolved decades ago by the observation that the inalienability of the will has implications which render such a contract unenforceable (propertarian anarchists tend to be quite familiar with objections of this sort, so check out The Ethics of Liberty as mentioned above. Frostbyte (talk) 10:33, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
@Octo8: It is worth noting something here. Divine command does not say "deity created, therefore his/her/its commands are ethically justified". It just says "we think what deity commands is ethically justified because we believe in the moral infallibility of deity". Nullahnung (talk) 20:05, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
@Frostbyte: You are right about one thing, that Hume did not say it was impossible to derive ought from is, but rather that a lot of work on ethics fails to do so, and that raises the question of how you would even go about doing such a thing. Our article on Hume's is-ought problem rather rashly makes Hume seem like he's saying it is impossible, and that is a gripe I have with that article too. It is worth noting here, though, that Hume does seem to be persuaded towards the notion that it is impossible (and one could say that he "essentially said" that it was impossible, though I would caution people not to do that).
As far as I know, objectivism hasn't successfully derived ought from is, though, merely tried (and failed). Of course I am open to you convincing me otherwise since you seem to know much more about objectivism than me. Nullahnung (talk) 21:34, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Your wiki makes me afraid and aroused[edit]

A "Silver Level article." That's hilarious. — Unsigned, by: ThisWikiSucks / talk / contribs

Humour is an important part of this site. Carpetsmoker (talk) 15:19, 5 December 2015 (UTC)


They don't like it.

FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 23:19, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

How should we please them? You could invite them over perhaps. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:22, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
Not saying we should. Just linking!
You might drown, should any more sarcasm drip off your words. ;P Mʀ. Wʜɪsᴋᴇʀs, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 23:28, 25 February 2016 (UTC)