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Posted by Q on March 24, 192001 at 19:48:24:
In Reply to: Re: Ethical Egoism Revisited Q !!!! posted by I on March 24, 192001 at 17:48:30:
: : Murder is wrong because it violates the victim's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which Ayn Rand stressed on many occions.
This obviously isn't consistent within the spirit of egoism. Daniel focuses on the victim, not the agent herself. That's fine if the victim is the ethical egoist, or the focus of the problem, but she is not.
Is giving money to complete strangers moral because it improves the recipient's lifestyle?
: : As for Quintism: I might be missing something, but from an Objectivist point of view, it's not that bad. The only reason I see that "rational self-interest" is a better phrase than "acting rationally" is to make the philosophy clear for those who do not understand what rational is.
: Ayn Rand spent a life time describing in great detail exactly what she meant by rational self-interest. If my actions are rational, they will not be in disregard to anyone's rights. Conflicts of interest can and do arise in the course of people's lives. If me and Daniel are vying for the same , and we are both equally committed to the objective of obtaining that , we will both act in accordance with our ethical orientation: we will both attempt, by rational and reasonable means, to land the position. Still, one of us will be frustrated. If I get the , it does not mean that my actions are immoral because Daniel's self interests were not served by them.
In fact, you must argue that Daniel's loss of the does serve his self-interests. It was in Daniel's self-interest that you got the (provided you were rationally chosen).
:Now, if I lied about my qualifications, or slandered Daniel, then my actions would be immoral because I have obtained a goal by irrational means and have directly violated Daniel's rights by slandering him.
Either self-interest is always rational, somtimes rational, or never rational. A truly selfish person is concerned primarily with her own interests. Daniel's are a secondary consideration, if at all. The hypothetical action you outline above is only immoral, if there's a loss of self-esteem, decrease in the quality of life, or some other "objective" standard by which you can measure your mental/physical health.
If slandering someone does not make you feel bad especially in the long term, and there is no remorse, then, insanely enough, your clearly immoral actions, is egoistical and, therefore, "rational."
: Q, I'll admit I could be taking B's statements out of context, but I must say I don't think I am. He seems to be implying this:
: The ethical egoist would agree that Hitler's actions were immoral, but the egoist would say that the immorality consisted PRIMARILY in that he did not act in his best self interest.
You are very close. I'll describe B's comments even more boldly: He explcitly says that Hitler's actions were immoral because Hitler, the moral agent, acting against his own best interest. To make this extremely clear, the immorality ENTIRELY consists in Hitler disregarding his own actions.
If this is what B is implying, and I think it is, then the kind of ethical egoism he is talking about is NOT Objectivism. I would place such an "egoist" (ethical my a55) on the same moral ground as Hitler himself, maybe even lower.
: I want to also remind anyone interested that if they read the quote from B in Q's original post on this topic, there is no mention of the word "rational".
This is your central problem, I think. The rationality of ethical egoism is what's in question. You cannot define self-interest as rational. You cannot argue for "rational ethical egoism." That's absurd. I'll elaborate further...
: Quintism. Here we have an example of what I like to think of as a misleading cleverness. Q's statement is clever. Q is clever. I don't have it in front of me but you can read it for yourself. Q is trying to suggest that Ayn Rand just arbitrarily added the word "rational" onto the words "self-interest".
No, I am not arguing that. I think she delibrately loaded the term "self-interest" (or selfishness or egoism for that matter).
:He doesn't do it in a heavy-handed fashion, but uses subtlety and innuendo to make you believe the suggestion. He says, loosely, that he'll propose this great new philosophy called Quintism, which will admonish everyone to just "act rationally". It does sound pretty vacuous, doesn't it? Well, sure it does.
That's my exact intention. Quintism, as I propose it, is nothing by a satirical mockery of Rand's "rational ethical egoism." Saying that my ethical philosophy demands that one always act rationally is absurd. One must outline what actions are rational!
The way Rand phrases the self-interest vs. altruism debate is actually very funny. Okay, our values are constructed hierarchially. If we valued everything the same, then it would be extremely difficult to decide what to do. I might value writing this post (at this point in time) more than playing a computer game. So my hierarchy of values places being here, writing this, ABOVE playing Half-life TFC (computer game).
Rand says selfish people always act towards their highest value. Altruists actually sacrifice their higher values (in this case, writing this post), in favor of lower ones (playing the computer game). The problem here should be obvious to anyone who is not clinically retarded. Ethics attempts to tell us what is rational and what isn't.
Okay, let's forget Quintism for the moment. What arguments do you have against Rational Utilitarianism? Remember, I'm not simply arguing for Utilitarianism, but rational utilitarianism? How about Rational Kantianism? Any arguments against rational belief in the existence of God? This is pure nonsense! After arguing for rational utilitarianism, I'll compose arguments in favor of rational anti-utilitarianism.
: But Q admitted that he hasn't read much of Ayn Rand's work, so in a sense I don't blame him for his failure to recognize the extreme relevance the word "rational" has in regard to her philosophy.
I recognize you lifted the example of Daniel and yourself competing for a straight out of _The virtue of selfishness_.
: Q suggests that to an Objectivist, the "greatest moral evil" is to fail to act in one's own interest.
:Even if we pretend that Q used the word "rational" there,
Which would clearly be irrational.
:the umption is still incorrect.
It's not an umption. The statement directly follows from ethical egoism.
:To fail to act in one's own interest is just plain apathy, or stupidity. What Rand stressed as evil, among other things, was the Kantian view of morality, which proposes that an action must be considered morally superior if one receives little or no benefit from such action; and, subsequently, that the supreme moral virtue would be to subjugate one's own interests entirely to some other entity.
I suppose you've read Kant...
[snip Sartre-Rand... it's non-essential]
: Q, I see that you stand against a great many ideas, not just Objectivism, but I've not been able to determine what you stand FOR.
: I bear no ill will towards you, and I am honestly interested in your ideas. What is your stand on ethics and morality?
I'm confused, generally. I lean towards Utilitarianism, but I'm finding Kant (whose thought is prety anti-utilitarian) appealing as well....
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