organon

The legitimacy of parental obligation

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As defined above:

1. Virtue (defined as a quality of moral excellence, established by means of objective evaluation of the subject in the context of a moral standard)

Genus: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context

Differentia: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the positive nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context, specifically, the establishment of the subject of the evaluation as morally excellent

2. Virtue (defined as an act, morally excellent in nature, by which a value is gained and/or kept)

Genus: an act by which a value is gained and/or kept

Differentia: an act, established as morally excellent or good, by which a value is gained and/or kept

I addition to the epistemological problems with the above already discussed, these attempts at definition are also deficient because they are circular.

That is inherent in any attempt to define a term where a synonym for the term being defined (such as "moral excellence") is used in the definition. It reduces to virtue = moral excellence and the above attempts at definition are equivalent to

1. Virtue (defined as a quality of virtue, established by means of objective evaluation of the subject in the context of a moral standard)

Genus: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context

Differentia: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the positive nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context, specifically, the establishment of the subject of the evaluation as virtuous

2. Virtue (defined as an act, virtuous in nature, by which a value is gained and/or kept)

Genus: an act by which a value is gained and/or kept

Differentia: an act, established as virtuous or good, by which a value is gained and/or kept

This isn't defining. It is shuffling words around.

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Given Miss Rand's code, which offers man's life as the primary moral value, rationality is a virtue; deceit is not. And these are demonstrable.

Please provide me with a definition of virtue that follows the rules of definition. Preferably in one sentence.

Specify your meaning of virtue, whether (1) an act (as in "honesty is a virtue"); or (2) a quality (as in "he demonstrates virtue; he is virtuous"). Once you do this, refer to my last post; definitions for both are offered there, as well as a genus and differentia in each case.

YOU specify your meaning when you offer a definition. Since you haven't offered a proper definition, I don't know your meaning. I have already explained why your definition is unintelligible. I have pointed out several times the problems with your definition. If you have a problem with my request, please provide me with an explanation of why you can't fulfill my request for a proper definition, or why you disagree with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts.

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As defined above:

1. Virtue (defined as a quality of moral excellence, established by means of objective evaluation of the subject in the context of a moral standard)

Genus: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context

Differentia: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the positive nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context, specifically, the establishment of the subject of the evaluation as morally excellent

2. Virtue (defined as an act, morally excellent in nature, by which a value is gained and/or kept)

Genus: an act by which a value is gained and/or kept

Differentia: an act, established as morally excellent or good, by which a value is gained and/or kept

I addition to the epistemological problems with the above already discussed, these attempts at definition are also deficient because they are circular.

That is inherent in any attempt to define a term where a synonym for the term being defined (such as "moral excellence") is used in the definition. It reduces to virtue = moral excellence and the above attempts at definition are equivalent to

1. Virtue (defined as a quality of virtue, established by means of objective evaluation of the subject in the context of a moral standard)

Genus: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context

Differentia: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the positive nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context, specifically, the establishment of the subject of the evaluation as virtuous

2. Virtue (defined as an act, virtuous in nature, by which a value is gained and/or kept)

Genus: an act by which a value is gained and/or kept

Differentia: an act, established as virtuous or good, by which a value is gained and/or kept

This isn't defining. It is shuffling words around.

Betsy ... in what way is specifying that a thing or act is good circular, or "shuffling words around"?

In brief, I think the following can be offered with nothing being lost:

1. Virtue (defined as a quality): a quality of goodness, established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation.

"John Galt, a character in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, demonstrates virtue to an immense degree." (in the context of a rational code)

2. Virtue (defined as an act): an act that is good, by which values are gained and/or kept, established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation.

"Honesty is a virtue." (in the context of a rational code)

--

Given that, as the identification of the subject of the evaluation as good, or of a given value-directed act as good, goodness is the differentia in both cases, this is essential to the definition. It is not circular to indicate the differentia in the context of which the word is formed.

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... why you disagree with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts.

Paul, see if my response to Betsy above helps.

Given the lack of any evidentiary support for "disagreement [on my part] with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts", given that a definition in each case, as well as a genus and differentia in each case, have been provided, and given evidence to the contrary, i.e., there is nothing in Miss Rand's formulation of concept definition with which I disagree, the claim has no basis in reality I can identify at present.

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... the above attempts at definition are equivalent to

1. Virtue (defined as a quality of virtue, established by means of objective evaluation of the subject in the context of a moral standard)

Genus: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context

Differentia: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the positive nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context, specifically, the establishment of the subject of the evaluation as virtuous

2. Virtue (defined as an act, virtuous in nature, by which a value is gained and/or kept)

Genus: an act by which a value is gained and/or kept

Differentia: an act, established as virtuous or good, by which a value is gained and/or kept

This isn't defining. It is shuffling words around.

Were the word itself the only referent used in the definition of the word, this would be circular. This is not happening here.

1. Virtue (defined as a quality of goodness, established by means of objective evaluation of the subject in the context of a moral standard)

Genus: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context

Differentia: the identification via objective evaluation in a moral context of the positive nature of a thing, i.e., of its attributes in this context, specifically, the establishment of the subject of the evaluation as good

2. Virtue (defined as an act, good in nature, by which a value is gained and/or kept)

Genus: an act by which a value is gained and/or kept

Differentia: an act, established as good, by which a value is gained and/or kept

Such goodness identified in the context of the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation.

Again,

...

Given that, as the identification of the subject of the evaluation as good, or of a given value-directed act as good, goodness is the differentia in both cases, this is essential to the definition. It is not circular to indicate the differentia in the context of which the word is formed.

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... these attempts at definition are also deficient because they are circular.

...

This isn't defining. It is shuffling words around.

Betsy, you replace my definitions of the word, which requires the identification of goodness, with a definition that includes only the word itself, then claim my definitions are circular.

Given that, as the identification of the subject of the evaluation as good, or of a given value-directed act as good, goodness is the differentia in both cases, this is essential to the definition. It is not circular to indicate the differentia in the context of which the word is formed.

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Betsy ... in what way is specifying that a thing or act is good circular, or "shuffling words around"?

"Good" is an abstraction that means the same thing as "virtuous." Observe that Ayn Rand's definition ("An action that gains and keeps a value") does not use any positive moral evaluations at all. It simply tells you, in terms of essentials, what a virtue is in reality.

If I were to define a "werzing" as a "big lexit" and a "lexit" as a "small werzing" would you be able to recognize a werzing or a lexit if you saw one? Defining "virtue" in terms of "moral excellence" or "goodness" has the same problem. None of these terms, as presented, tell you what "virtue" or "moral excellence" or "goodness" actually are in reality other than the terms are related to each other.

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... why you disagree with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts.

Paul, see if my response to Betsy above helps.

Given the lack of any evidentiary support for "disagreement [on my part] with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts", given that a definition in each case, as well as a genus and differentia in each case, have been provided, and given evidence to the contrary, i.e., there is nothing in Miss Rand's formulation of concept definition with which I disagree, the claim has no basis in reality I can identify at present.

The problem is that the definition and genus and differentia provided indicate a serious misunderstanding of what a definition, genus, and differentia are or ought to be. I could call the Gettysburg Address a "definition," but that would not make it one.

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Given the lack of any evidentiary support for "disagreement [on my part] with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts", given that a definition in each case, as well as a genus and differentia in each case, have been provided, and given evidence to the contrary, i.e., there is nothing in Miss Rand's formulation of concept definition with which I disagree, the claim has no basis in reality I can identify at present.

Considering that it took over 200 post and innumerable request for you to offer a somewhat decent definition of virtue, which I'll talk about in another post, it certainly seemed like you either disagreed or had no understanding of Objectivist requirements of a proper definition. And I did not make a claim that you disagreed with her concept of definition. I asked you a question why you disagreed with it since you rejected the proper methodology after several requests.

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... why you disagree with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts.

Paul, see if my response to Betsy above helps.

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Definition 1

Genus: a quality

Differentia: of goodness, established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation

By “the basis of evaluation,” I take it to mean that you are referring to the evaluation of what constitutes goodness and not to the quality.

Definition 1 is a derivative use of the concept that depends on the moral code and/or how the individual who accepts the code behaves. “If a man deserves a job, there's no virtue in giving it to him.” (AS, Part1, Chap7, The Obj. Research CD). Definition 1 is the typical dictionary definition. It is not a philosophic issue and not a major concern in common usage.

Definition 2

Genus: an act

Differentia: that is good, by which values are gained and/or kept, established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation

There are several problems with this definition. By introducing “the good” at this point in the definition, what constitutes the good must previously have be known and defined. This means one has to define values and virtues in order to know what is good and how to acquire that which is good. One can not establish what is good without knowing the concept of value and virtue previously. Because you introduce the concept of good in your definition, you need to qualify your definition with the clause at the end. This is not only unnecessary, but improper for the definition. Many moralities define the good outside of the scope of man’s actions. Man is simply to follow the dictates of the authorities because this good is what the authorities say man should do. This is exemplified by religion and Kantian duty. Virtue, for these moralities, require man to act for advocated values even if it is harmful for individual men's values, i.e., it is not good. Why should Abraham kill his son? Not because it is good for Abraham (who was promised by God to be a patriarch of a new people and now had to kill the heir to that people), but because faith is an action by which he acquires the value of obedience to God and God's trust. So good is outside the context of what constitutes virtue.

"Virtue is the act by which one gains and/or keeps [value]." (VOS, The Objectivist Ethics, The Obj. Research CD)

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... why you disagree with the Objectivist formulation of how to define concepts.

Paul, see if my response to Betsy above helps.

--------------

Definition 1

Genus: a quality

Differentia: of goodness, established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation

By “the basis of evaluation,” I take it to mean that you are referring to the evaluation of what constitutes goodness and not to the quality.

Definition 1 is a derivative use of the concept that depends on the moral code and/or how the individual who accepts the code behaves. “If a man deserves a job, there's no virtue in giving it to him.” (AS, Part1, Chap7, The Obj. Research CD). Definition 1 is the typical dictionary definition. It is not a philosophic issue and not a major concern in common usage.

Definition 2

Genus: an act

Differentia: that is good, by which values are gained and/or kept, established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation

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Sorry, but there are two corrections.

Definition 1

Genus: a quality of goodness

Differentia: established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation

By “the basis of evaluation,” I take it to mean that you are referring to the evaluation of what constitutes goodness and not to the quality.

Definition 2

Genus: an act that is good

Differentia: by which values are gained and/or kept, established by reference to the moral standard forming the basis of the evaluation

The genus could be re-written as "a good act" or " a good quality".

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