Thursday, 22 May 2008

Randy Objectivists

Recently, in my search for the best ethically natural basis for morality, I came across a strange group that call themselves Objectivists, for clarification better called Randian Objectivists or, to save typing, Randians. This is based on the "philosophy" of a now deceased USA domiciled Russian emigre called Ayn Rand, better known as a fiction writer for "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead". (I put philosophy in scare quotes because nowhere else but in the USA is she considered a philosopher nor is she referenced by any philosophers of note.)

This will be the first of two posts on this topic which I recommend you make your own mind up on this group and philosophy. This post will track the interaction of various debates in the blogosphere between bloggers such as myself (martino), Alonzo Fyfe (The Atheist Ethicist), Konstantine (db0), Larry Hamelin (The Barefoot Bum), Mark C. and, on the other side, primarily the Randians Evanescent, Ergo, Apple and ThomasTG .

The follow up post will provide an analysis of what I have discovered.

In the beginning
This all started when I read "Owner's Manual" Morality on Alonzo's blog - this was way back in November of last year I see now! This referenced a post on db0's site Understanding of Morality which was triggered by (db0's) Objectivist Kick. So, unwisely(?), I arrived at the root of the trouble on Letimotif (Ergo's) Morality in the Jungle post and somewhat took over the debate that db0 had been banned from for, as far as I could see, ad hominem only reasons - since he calls himself a moral subjectivist and this, apparently, is a grave sin in Randian eyes and automatically disqualifies him from meta-ethical debate, which was a highly questionable way to avoid dealing with his interesting questions and certainly not the tactic of people who not only celebrate rationalism but also assert to that to be rational is to be moral. Ergo's actions appeared to be contradictory by taking the moral low ground even as he made his supposedly moral claims. You can decide as to whether that was a good decision by me to take on db0's points, as I informed him I was doing on Randian courtesy .

This all went quite for a while with an interlude specifically by me on Evanescent's post The Problem with Atheists Also there were posts by db0 on Objectivist topics including Comment on Subjective Morality , Objectivism, that I commented on. There was some interesting slightly related responses from Alonzo Fyfe due to debate between myself and db0 primarily in his Trans-Cultural Morality post, answered in Morality from the Ground Up which was important to me as this really helped me grok Desire Utilitarianism (what I now call here Desire Consequentialism), as did debating db0 as a tentative DU advocate.

And Finally
Alonzo Fyfe finally made a direct response on this topic in Evanescent on the Meaning of Life which was a response to Evanescent's The Meaning of Life: It’s Right Here. I and others commented on both posts. This led to a number of follow up posts including Alonzo's Life as The Ultimate Value, db0 responding to confusions over his moral subjectivism in Moral Relativism (and why I do not embrace it) and Yet more hypocricy from Objectivists, Evanescent replied to various points in Ultimate Value and Morality and the barefoot bum provided a couple posts in If you like Randianism and gave a good analysis of this whole mess in Atheism and reasoning, incidentally introducing me to a wonderful version of the equivocation fallacy, the "leg hopping fallacy".

Given all the above and my specific involvement, taking me away from posting on my own blog I thought it about time for me to summarize what I had found. First I needed trace all these posts in one place. Now db0 discovered a new web concept called PMOG the passively multiplayer online game which he discusses in PMOG: An unforeseen boon to the atheosphere. I will turn this epic journey(!) into a mission in PMOG once I have finished my follow up analysis post. If I have missed any key posts please add them as comments and I will update this post. (Please reserve any comments on Objectivism itself to the follow up post).


Anonymous said...

I'm glad that our discussions helped you progress your moral thinking. They have helped me considerably as well.

The way you're put the history of this whole discussion that spanned 5 different blogs is a nice touch.

I'm also glad that you consider PMOG a nice option as well and I'll be waiting for the upcoming mission :)

PS: My Alias is just Db0. Extended it's "Divided By Zer0" and my webpage name is "A Division by Zer0" :D

The Barefoot Bum said...

A nice analysis. Just a couple of quibbles: My last name is spelled "Hamelin" (as in the Pied Piper of), and my blog name and cognomen, "The Barefoot Bum", is capitalized normally.

The Barefoot Bum said...

(Note that Blogger displays all commenter names as all-lower-case regardless of the case of the original text. If you copy & paste, you'll see the original case.)

martino said...

Hi db0 and The Barefoot Bum

Post updated as you requested. Any blogs/posts I missed?

Db0 said...

Not as far as I see martino.

You know it's funny because I too pretty much discovered Randianism through Evanescent in one of his threads.

You would think that these apostles of Rand would be seeing that their "rationality" and way they argue is not only unconvincing but actively driving people away from their philosophy.

PS: Did you notice he has finally replied to you?

Anonymous said...

Forgot. I would suggest you don't create your mission until they fix the current issues

martino said...

db0 I will take todays (Friday) follow up post as a reply him. I will put a link their in the comments.

Yes cannot get the mission to work. I have not checked up yet what the issue you linked to is though.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been able to take a mission for the last few days :-/

Try to upgrade your firefox extension. Apparently that fixed it for a few people.