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    Kevin James Bywater, The Ethics of Ayn Rand

    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Johnathan R. Razorback

    Messages : 9923
    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    Kevin James Bywater, The Ethics of Ayn Rand Empty Kevin James Bywater, The Ethics of Ayn Rand

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback Ven 27 Nov - 14:29



    "The Precondition of Free Will (Consciousness and Rationality)

    Without the ability to choose, there could be no morality: “. . . morality deals only with issues open to man’s choice (i.e., to his free will) . . .” 17 Rand’s acknowledgment of free will is essential to her ethics, and thus to her politics. But there is some doubt as to whether she can justify her appropriation of it given her metaphysical materialism.

    To grasp the axiom that existence exists, means to grasp the fact that nature, i.e., the universe as a whole, cannot be created or annihilated, that it cannot come into or go out of existence. Whether its basic constituent elements are atoms, or subatomic particles, or some yet undiscovered forms of energy, it is not ruled by a consciousness or by a will or by chance, but by the Law of Identity. All the countless not ruled by a consciousness or by a will or by chance, but by the Law of Identity. All the countless forms, motions, combinations and dissolutions of elements within the universe — from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life — are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Nature is the metaphysically given — i.e., the nature of nature is outside the power of volition. 18 What does Rand mean by “nature”? She means “the universe as a whole [which] cannot be created or annihilated.” Elsewhere she ascribes this attribute to matter: “Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist” (OE, 16). 19 Thus, the universe is comprised purely of matter. This metaphysical perspective is known variously as metaphysical materialism, physicalism, and philosophical naturalism.

    Several problems attend such a metaphysical perspective such as the question of how consciousness and rationality arise from matter, as well as the difficulty of causal determinism. Rand seems logically bound to the view that mind (in contrast to brain), consciousness, and rationality somehow arise from matter. But she provides no accounting of how this is. She proposes a materialist metaphysic. Yet, she also affirms consciousness. But such a combination is self-stultifying. This can be seen in the following manner:

    First, she rejects miracles because they violate the law of (material) causality. She writes, “. . . the law of causality: it permits you no miracles.” 20

    Second, she has already proposed a metaphysical materialism by identifying the universe (all that exists) with matter.

    Third, since the universe is materialistic, that means that human beings are wholly materialistic.

    Fourth, since human beings must be solely material entities, they can act only as material entities; that is, determined by the law of causality. After all, “The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.” 21

    So, given that the universe/nature/matter is what exists (there being no supernatural); and given that matter is bound to operate according to the law of causality; human beings, being solely material entities, are bound by the law of causality. If this is so, then human beings are the common recipients of a causal determinism. This being so, it is incoherent to speak of human “free will.” But if there is no freewill — and ethics can only exist where authentic choices can be made (according to one’s free will), then there can be no ethics. Thus Rand’s position is self-refuting and must be rejected."

    « La question n’est pas de constater que les gens vivent plus ou moins pauvrement, mais toujours d’une manière qui leur échappe. »
    -Guy Debord, Critique de la séparation (1961).

    « Rien de grand ne s’est jamais accompli dans le monde sans passion. »
    -Hegel, La Raison dans l'Histoire.

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