Flashcards in The "Conflicts" Of Men's Interests Deck (10):
Some students of Objectivism find it difficult to grasp the Objectivist principle that ...?
THERE ARE NO CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS AMONG RATIONAL MEN.
A typical question runs as follows:
Suppose two men apply for the same job.
Only one of them can be hired.
Isn't this an instance of a conflict of interests, and isn't the benefit of one man achieved at the price of the sacrifice of the other?
There are 4 INTERRELATED CONSIDERATIONS which are involved in a rational man's view of his interests, but which are IGNORED OR EVADED in the above question and in all similar approaches to the issue:
The term "interests" is a WIDE ABSTRACTION that covers the entire field of ethics.
It includes the issues of:
1. Man's values.
2. His desires.
3. His goals.
4. Their actual achievement in reality.
==> A man's "interests" depend on the kind of goals he chooses to pursue
==> his choice of goals depends on his desires ==> his desires depend on his values
==> and, for a rational man, his values depend on the judgment of his mind.
Desires (or feelings or emotions or wishes or whims) are NOT tools of cognition:
They are NOT a valid standard of value, nor a valid criterion of man's interests.
==> The mere fact that a man desires something does NOT constitute a proof that the object of his desire is GOOD.
==> NOR that its achievement is actually to his interest.
To claim that a man's interests are sacrificed whenever a desire of his is frustrated is to hold ...?
A SUBJECTIVIST view of man's values and interests.
Which means ==>
To believe that it is proper, moral and possible for man to achieve his goals, REGARDLESS of whether they contradict the facts of reality or not.
Which means ==>
To hold an irrational or mystical view of existence.
Which means ==> To deserve no further consideration.
In choosing his goals (the specific values he seeks to gain and/or keep), a rational man ...?
Is guided by his thinking (by a process of reason)-not by his feelings or desires.
==> He does not regard desires as IRREDUCIBLE PRIMARIES, as the given, which he is DESTINED IRRESISTIBLY to pursue.
==> He does NOT regard "because I WANT it" or "because I FEEL like it" as a sufficient cause and validation of his actions.
==> He chooses and/or identifies his desires by a process of reason, and he does not act to achieve a desire until and unless he is able to rationally to validate it IN THE FULL CONTEXT OF HIS KNOWLEDGE and of his other values and goals.
==> He does not act until he is able to say: "I want it because it is RIGHT.".
The Law of Identity (A is A) is a rational man's ...?
PARAMOUNT CONSIDERATION IN THE PROCESS OF DETERMINING HIS INTERESTS.
He knows that the CONTRADICTORY IS THE IMPOSSIBLE
==> that a contradiction cannot be achieved in reality and
==> that the attempt to achieve it can lead only to disaster and destruction.
THEREFORE, he does NOT permit himself to hold CONTRADICTORY VALUES, to pursue contradictory goals, or to imagine that the pursuit of a contradiction CAN EVER BE TO HIS INTEREST.
Only an irrationalist (or mystic or subjectivist-in which category I place all those who regard faith, feelings or desires as man's standard of value) exists in a ...?
PERPETUAL CONFLICT OF "INTERESTS".
Not only do his alleged interests clash with those of OTHER MEN, but they clash also WITH ONE ANOTHER.