Reason as the Leading Motive

Human Life and Freedom

Posted by Jerry on December 27, 2005

Sean, I've decided to continue our discussion on this topic here as a separate post – mainly for clarity.

First off, get the whole "christian" problem out of the way. They are irrelevant in our discussion. Objectivism does not tailor or adapt its premises of reality based on any problems posed by "christian" agendas. Reality is as is, and Objectivism seeks to recognize and understand it.

You said: "human beings cannot exist without existence"

I don't understand any difference. Human beings are existents in existence. Being, is existing – which is existence.

You said: "existence is good for existence, if existence were bad for existence then existence would cease to exist, or, at very least, would stagnate and cease to evolve; therefore, this is self-evident."

It is not self-evident to me. Infact, that whole argument makes no sense to me. How can "existence" per se have any value assessments? Who "exists" outside of existence to deem existence as "good" for existence"? The fact that I posit that question should itself be a flaw in logic – but I ask it because it arises out of your statement that "existence is good for existence". I fail to see how, why, and what the difference is.
How can existence cease to exist based upon a value assessment that it were "bad"? Stagnation and evolution occur to existence, in the context of existence.
Existence ceasing to exist is a contradiction of concepts.

You said: "freedom is necessary for existence to exist, if it was not, existence would be enslaved to nothingness, which, in concept and concrete reality, is preposterous."

Existence being "enslaved to nothingness" is not possible in "concrete reality", and hence is not preposterour — it is simply impossible. It is a contradiction, and contradictions cannot exist in reality. Freedom is not necessary for existence to exist. Infact, the discussion of the two in the same context is awkward, at best. Existence is a discussion of metaphysics, while freedom falls in the realm of ethics.
Existence just is.
Freedom is contingent upon existence.
Existence has ontological priority over freedom and every/any other value.

You said: "human life evolved because of the freedom of existence"

No. Infact, if you survey the history of human socio-biological evolution, it is not because of freedom that we evolved, but towards freedom that civilization has generally evolved.

You said: "one cannot value human life without valuing freedom and existence"

Again, I fail to see the difference between human life, and existence as such. Valuing human life is infact valuing the existence of human life — which is one and the same thing. Valuing "freedom" as a state of existence has to come logically after one has recognized that one exists and that one's existence is a value.

You said: "if one chooses to value human life MORE than freedom and existence, then one can irrationally justify destroying existence and/or enslaving freedom for the sake of human life, which, in the end, destroys human life."

None of that follows any logic. First off, I am not saying that one must value human life MORE than freedom… the difference here is not of quantity, it is of priority. The value of human life metaphysically rests on a separete, more fundamental plane that comes prior to the plane upon which values like freedom rest. The difference is not of "more" or "less", but of what flows logically from the other.

Justifying anything "irrationally" is a contradiction of terms. If it is irrational, it has not been justified, it has merely been stated based on whim, fancy, faith, or force. Justification necessarily implies rationality.

"Destroying existence… for the sake of human life" — I'm not sure again how and why you separate existence from human life. If, by existence, you mean other things besides humans, then I still do not see how and why that bears relevance to a discussion of freedom?

Anyway, well, I would strongly recommend reading "The Logical Structure of Objectivism" by David Kelley for an introductory understanding of this philosophy.


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