Rebirth of Reason

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Monday, December 23, 2013 - 5:28pmSanction this postReply
The title says it all. I once talked to someone whom said something along the lines of 'all morality is subjective.' With objectivism you get a standard to judge actions by (therefore making those judgements objective) but is the choice to follow that standard objective or subjective itself and what are the implications of the answer?

[Pre-moral choice is whether to choose life as one's standard of value.]

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Monday, December 23, 2013 - 6:42pmSanction this postReply
"Subjective" ethics means relative to an individual's goals, abilities, resources, and ambition... but not whatsoever based on observation... just arbitrary postulations on what a person's goals might be.

In Objectivism... Objectivism is a generalization of human's goals and methods to attain them, contrasted with other species in order to refine our differentiation in methods and goals. It is based on observation, induction, and deduction to identify the set of methods and goals of humans in general. Hence it is an ethics that is relative to humans in general particularly emphasizing the unique to-human parts. Hence both relativistic and observation based at the same time.


As for an individual's goals... I'd say that an individual's goals is completely defined by what they are, and an individual's future goals are defined by how they think and how reality works. Generally humans will have goals that are compatible with continuing the existence of human DNA (a la natural selection)... but particular individual humans at any point in time can have an infinite number of possibilities of detailed goals. In reality there is no "pre-moral"... our reality always exists and changes like it does, "pre-moral" is hence contradictory/impossible.
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores on 12/23, 6:56pm)

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 8:32amSanction this postReply
Brandon, if you read the relevant texts from Rand, you will find words and ideas different from Dean's.

For Rand, no "pre-moral" choice is possible because morality is a consequence of choice. The "pre-choice" is the blanking out, the evasion. Ultimately, for an individual it becomes the compulsive, defensive avoidance of unpleasant thoughts -- and they all become unpleasant.

You seem to be asking if faced with a choice in career or what movie to watch, should you decide first to make a subjective or objective decision, to engage a subjective or objective standard of value.

I just told my wife a shaggy dog story about some English guys who did not like flavored popcorn. It is not objective: it has nothing to do with their furthering of life as man-qua-man. But, really, if you do not like cinnamon popcorn, being forced by circumstances to eat it would be anti-life - at least a little, though hardly the end of life as a rational man.

For you to know all that - and I expect that you do - is the basis of objective choice. You have engaged your mind in consideration of a problem. You are not evading, but seeking.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013 - 11:20pmSanction this postReply

This topic has come up before. One thing that might help is that the pre-moral choice isn't whether you choose life as the standard or not. The pre-moral choice is to live. If you seek to live, there is an objectively good way to do it. But if you don't, morality doesn't apply.

There's been confusion on the topic. Some have argued that if you seek a different kind of life, say one filled with rape and killing, then you aren't seeking live and objective morality doesn't apply. But that's not right. If you want to live at all, there's a proper kind of life to live. You don't get to subjectively decide what kind of life you want to live. The kind of life you want to live is a moral choice, and you can be wrong.

The pre-moral choice is something more fundamental. Since we are volitional beings, we have to choose to think. We have to choose to focus. Not that this isn't a choice about what we are focusing on. It is more primary. Do you focus your mind at all? Or do you leave it unfocused?

Morality is concerned with the weighing of options. It is a method of evaluation. But the choice to focus precedes this kind of choice. When your mind is unfocused (like when you stare off into space and at some point bring yourself back and not remember where you were), there is no weighing of options.

The pre-moral choice to live is bound up with that pre-moral choice to focus or not. It's not a choice like any other. It's not a selection between alternatives. It is more of an exercise of your will. And once you make that "choice" to focus, to take action, to live, morality can then apply.

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