Carmen Clark ceclark at students.wisc.edu
Wed Oct 13 02:54:46 CEST 2010

> Just because some morals are innate, does not imply that I feel I  
> therefore must
> follow them. But I certainly hold myself free to do so, and in  
> general feel
> inclined to do so. Does that mean I've fallen off the egoist wagon?  
> I don't
> think so. Acting egoistically precludes neither acting out of  
> altruistic
> impulses nor acting out of moral impulses.
> In the past I may have missed the distinction that makes the  
> difference - egoism
> isn't the refusal to follow such impulses, its the recognition that  
> one is in
> fact free to choose, and all rationalizations which attempt to  
> derive an ought
> from an is are fundamentally flawed.

Yes.  If it pleases you to behave altruistically in a situation or  
even predictably, as you please, your egoism is working. If it doesn't  
please you, it's still your call. On balance, it might be whim,  
purpose (impressing someone), or simply knowledge that you have a  
choice rather than an external imperative.

> The moral systems are the problem, the erroneous claims that your  
> service is
> owed.

Yes. At least using the moral system as a crutch or imperative. I  
think people could even choose a moral system and follow it out of  
free will, as they saw fit. The issue is whether it's the mature  
choice of a developed or aware individual.  Developed enough to be  
aware without letting some pressure or ideology or belief rule _them_.

> The New Atheist movement attracts
> plenty enough hatred by not believing in God. Try telling the world  
> you don't
> accept objective morality. Even the so called relativists tend to be  
> just
> cultural relativists - clinging to morality just as fiercely as a  
> fundamentalist
> clings to religion, but allowing others the leeway to cling to  
> prevalent
> morality of another town. But deny objective morality entirely -  
> sacrilege! Burn
> the infidel!

Aha.  Here's were the discussion thickens.  Objectivism.  Is there an  
'objective' reality that outweighs simple prediction in the natural  

Rand, I believe, said her young boyfriend who rejected her was not  
following "objective" sense or whatever.  He was supposedly  
objectively the man for her.

I would say "not."  Objective is affairs of the object world, which is  
_not_ somebody's idea of what "ought to be." Or their rationale for an  
outcome they would impose over someone's will or choice because they  
believed it "objectively" better for that person than their own  
choice.  We can say an elder person dying of cancer "objectively"  
might as well die, but if we take their life, we are imposing our  
values upon them, like it or not.  Sometimes it might have to be done,  
among nomads or whatever.  But unless the person makes that choice  
themselves, it's really not as "objective" as an intruder might hope.

> Yet another GS sighting. It seems to turn up everywhere.

> I sent an email to
> Daniel Dennett, asking him for a reference to Rapoport's Rules of  
> Debate he
> advocated in some lecture. He said he was looking for a good  
> reference himself.

Oh.  Dan.  That was not Rapoport.  That was Ed MacNeal, and the rules  
for debate were that you had to state your case until the other person  
could articulate it correctly.  It was some kind of war.  I will think  
of the name in a minute. I think it was a grokduel.

> I tracked down some. Turns out Rapoport was associated with GS, I  
> think as an
> editor of ETC,

Correct. He was also a pretty good theorist of g.s., coming from the  
physics point of view originally. He was a stunning fellow as a sort  
of Renaissance Man.  I wrote an article about him that was published  
in ETC some 8-10 years ago.  Some of his background (Who was Anatol  
Rapoport) was omitted.  I can fill that in.  I spent two full days  
interviewing him in Toronto and several months researching before the  

> and he originally adapted his Rules of Debate from Carl Rogers, a
> psychotherapist who also had GS roots. It would be interesting to  
> see a tree of
> GS influence. I wonder if Dennett is in any way influenced.

Who is Dennett?


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