|Reviews for The virtue of pursuing happiness|
| No Trust 6/29/06 . chapter 4
“The first argument is a simple grammar change, I agree that one could change it that way, and perhaps it even sounds better. Personally, I agree with No Trust, “raises” does sound more professional. It is not even worth fighting over, not really sure why he brought it up.”
I brought it up because ‘begging the question’ is a specific logical fallacy, one which you were not accusing me of.
“But such judgments are arbitrary pronunciations of happiness because they do not deal with happiness at all; they deal with what one gains sensual pleasures from, pleasures with a lack of values.”
Values are arbitrary in the sense that there is no rational purpose for them. Rather, they are the reasons for what people do. People do not obtain values. Values are not means, they are ends. They are irrational facts of a person’s character.
“That is its definition; the definition is not subjective, in other words, the identity of happiness is not differentiable between people and is not subjective based on feelings, it is only the values to which people hold that changes what makes them feel happy, not the actual identity of happiness.”
You can say that the definition of happiness is ‘objective’, while values (what people have to do to be happy) are subjective. That’s fine, though it seems like unnecessary semantics to me.
“I judge something’s moral value as based on its ability to support life, without destroying more than it supports.”
This itself is agreeable to me, though I find a great deal to disagree with in the specifics of Objectivist morality.
“So while most (maybe all, but I doubt so) negatives come from the pursuit of happiness, all positives do.”
Everything that is a result of human action is a result of the pursuit of happiness.
Nature does not make moral judgments, or any other kind of judgment. One day, you will die. Your philosophy will not matter one way or the other.
| No Trust 6/28/06 . chapter 3
“This begs the question... subjective- to whom?”
Raises the question, not begs.
“Happiness is only subjective when it deals with irrelevant objects.”
This doesn’t even make sense. Sometimes happiness is subjective… sometimes it isn’t?
“Whoever listens to different people's likes and dislikes; he can choose to share their likes and dislikes”
I’m not sure how you’d go about choosing your likes and dislikes. Maybe self-hypnosis, but I’m skeptical.
“But does a person feel happy when they spend money that they stole (or got from some other immoral means).”
Some do. Some people get the same kind of ‘high’ from stealing that others might get from hunting, or boxing, or doing other painful or risky things. In a purely Darwinian sense, a thief has proven that he is ‘better’ than his victim at least for the moment, and that may be a source of pride.
“He experiences the sensual pleasure that such an item creates, but he does not truly feel happy; because happiness and joy come from the achieving of value.”
He achieves his value by stealing, and using the money to meet ends he wants to meet.
“He stole the money because he coveted the creator’s ability to create, and thought that by taking the money, he could substitute the effect (the creation of wealth) from the cause (creativity with purpose, intelligence with reason).”
Some people might steal out of jealousy. I doubt this motivates a high percentage of theft. Most people steal because they want to use the money to buy things, and stealing is more profitable in the time frame they want the money in than other actions they might take.
“People who earn money possess self-esteem, and take life as a joyful experience.”
“Those who have a philosophy of death (existence does not exist, because my feelings say it does not exist, or, in other words, a Kantian view)”
Kant did not believe anything resembling “existence doesn’t exist”. You’re going by what Rand (and her acolytes) say about Kant. Rand herself doesn’t seem to have read Kant, though she could simply be intellectually dishonest. Maybe she read Nietzsche, liked Nietzsche, Nietzsche didn’t like Kant, so she just decided he was the root of all that is wrong in the world (or at least, attached to the root, which is Plato or something).
“I do not believe that I was clear enough about the necessity of the other two bases of our government, the protection of property and the protection of life.”
The bases of “our” government are the bases or, rather, is the basIS of any organization: to profit.
“The government’s sole duty is to protect our ability to pursue happiness.”
Governments have no obligations. A government is by definition the sole enforcer of all agreements with it (except for those with comparably powerful governments). Their ‘duties’ are for them to unilaterally make up as they go along.
“You can do anything you wish, as long as what you wish does not violate the pursuit of others’ happiness”
I can name lots of perfectly harmless things I could be punished for doing. Of course, not as many as I could name if I was alive during the Rational Paradise of 18th Century America.
“In summary, the idea that happiness is subjective is one of the sole principals of those who say that reality is subjective.”
“It is not arbitrary to define happiness as the subconscious response to the value of something (the subconscious response to one's own values, as instilled by their conscious or subconscious acceptation of those values), because no other reasonable definition is given.”
Saying that it is ‘subconscious’ is the same as saying that it is subjective. In any case, values are subjective, so even if you want to get into twisted Randist semantic quibbling and say it’s objectively true that Person X is happy or not happy, it remains a fact that the actions that make people happy vary according to what their values happen to be, so saying that the pursuit of happiness is the highest law of morality simply negates morality altogether. The whole foundation of Rand’s ethics is not shaky; it is not there at all.
“You evade the question of what happiness is because you are afraid of the answerer; happiness is value.”
Happiness is getting/achieving what you value.
“And when you realize that the only thing to which you obtain happiness from is the despair of others, you evade the question by stating that value cannot be defined, and is arbitrary; that happiness cannot be defined, and is arbitrary.”
Actually, the despair of others does the opposite of make me happy. But don’t tell anyone I said that.
“I say that when you tell me that happiness cannot be defined, because its viewing and definition changes from person to person, that is arbitrary; because it leads to nothing but the absence of a statement.”
That something is subjective doesn’t mean that it can’t be defined. It means it’s defined as subjective. If someone says, “I like my steak raw” you’d know exactly what he means, even if the thought of eating blood-soaked raw meat grosses you out.
“The fact is that happiness is the subconscious reaction to what we have defined as valuable”
Judged, not defined.
“and a moral person experiences it when they see something of value”
This is tautological given that value is simply the person’s attitude toward something.
“But the freedom to pursue happiness protects the moral from the immoral; because the moral has no need of immorality; the creator has no need of the brute, or the slave driver, or the moocher.”
The freedom to pursue happiness is a meaningless concept.
“Also, Kant has been one of the most treasonous candidates against morality in our modern culture. His views corrupt everything that dictates how man must live in order to be happy, in order to survive.”
Treasonous? Do you people just use words without knowing what they mean? In any case his views have little influence on the lives of anyone, except maybe philosophy students who have to read him.
| No Trust 6/27/06 . chapter 2
Have any of you people ever even read Kant? And do you really believe he has had any significant effect at all on modern culture?
| No Trust 6/26/06 . chapter 1
Saying that the pursuit of happiness is the only moral rule is the same thing as saying that everything done is moral.
Unless you arbitrarily define 'happiness' to imply having certain ends, which is exactly what Objectivists do.
| Jacob and His Dream Machine 6/26/06 . chapter 1
im going to do this categorically, becuase that seems like the logical thing to do. But i would like to first expres my gratitude for your interest in this peice and fervent participation in this ideal, I think its very important.
Your first argument regarss to the ego. Which seems to be a very platoian veiw of the rules of the universe, as in purity of rules. that is to say, you regard egotism in the realm of absolution.
"A person who is truly selfish would require nobody's approval of his actions, no warrant to his being. He would be the warrant, and would exist on the sole level of his own mind, using only what he created."
this suggests that selfish actions are selfish only if it doesnt benifit anyone else or garner the approval of another. While this walks the line of the pure egoist, im sorry to say that pureity of socratic and platoian law does not exist in nature (entirely, i suppose). An action can of course be selfish and destructive but still be approved of by another, or even so much as benifit another. An extreme example is most any war. The hollocaust is another extreme example of this. I would like to note that i am not arguing pure egotism in my paper. Now with that established i can say that i never abdict the axiom of reason, in fact i implore the use of it. Reason is all that can save us from ourselves at this point. We as a culture beleive that we are the pinacle of evolution, that we own the world, and that we must conquer mentality allows people as a whole to beleive that they can do whatever the hell they want with it. Combine this with unquenshible desire (the pursuit of happiness) and you have everyone fistf*ing the world into oblivion. This mentality, as well as desire is the evil that i speak. Really im only trying to better express the second law of nature as told by The Buddah Guatama. That all suffering is a result of desire. My calling truth dead, meant that it cannot be found. Truth cannot be found while humanity lives by the myth that i earlier spoke of in the preceding paragraph. The moral truth (the disolving of the myth) is the way to unifying all modes of truth and finding an absolute. That is to say "enlightenment" but i am more western than eastern.
Had you read my second chapter, youd find that self sacrifice is not the most moral thing. I *despite my war example* do not like to bind myself by extremes.
I did not talk about such a country *that couldnt exist now ever, since its been tried*
read any paper on government by kant or thourough.
I also do not expect any revolution on the government shift of ideology has to happen in the home, parent to child. It could take ONE generation (idealisticly)
I do not deny the ability for happiness to exist, i only protest its pursuit at the level in which it has been pursued.
As long as man can only exist through the power of his mind (i.e. intelligence and creativity), and beleives that there is no greater law than the pursuit of happiness, he will have to go the way of Achillies.
"A short life of glory"
Thank you for your support *cuase thats what this is, and i hope for a response*
may i use your response in my paper?