James Valliant discusses his book, Creating Christ, in which he and his coauthor Warren Fahy argue that the Roman emperors Nero, Vespasian, and Titus played an active role in the development of early Christianity. Valliant discusses the broader context of the Jewish-Roman conflict of the First Century, the themes of the Gospels, and the remarkable parallels between the Flavian emperors and the Christian story.
Philosopher Michael Huemer discusses his book, Dialogues on Ethical Vegetarianism, focusing on the problem of the severe suffering of most animals currently raised for their flesh, skin, milk, or eggs. He also discusses the difference between a strict vegan diet and a diet that includes bivalves and potentially lab-grown meat; the alternative strategy of reducing one’s consumption of animal products; the problem of social conformity; and more.
Writer and Director Robert Anthony Peters discusses his short film, Tank Man, in the context of Chinese politics. Peters, an actor as well, also offers advice to young actors, discusses his advocacy of liberty, and outlines what in Stoicism he finds valuable.
Here I reply to Mozes’s March 25, 2019, essay. My essay here is part of an exchange beginning with Mozes’s January 6 essay and continuing with my previous reply. Although I seek to put the present discussion in its broader context, I certainly do not try to recapitulate my entire case here, a fact to which I hope readers are sensitive. My goal here is to try to wrap up the exchange so that readers know where and how Mozes and I disagree.
Mozes and I agree very closely on the proper interpretation
of Ayn Rand’s metaethical theory. We disagree about whether that theory is
correct (I say no) and what the theory entails in terms of certain moral
commitments. We also disagree about whether my proposed alternative, that the
point of ethics is to help a person rationally integrate values experienced as
ends in themselves, can succeed.
A bit of background: Mozes, whom I met years ago at an
Objectivist event, has written important essays about Rand’s moral theory,
including one on the free-rider problem, several of which I discuss in my book.
In my view, Mozes is a widely underappreciated Objectivist theorist.
Here I do not limit myself to a point-by-point reply of Mozes’s commentary; I seek also to put the conversation in context and to expand my ideas in a way that I hope will prove helpful to the general reader.
I want to encourage Objectivists to bear in mind who has the burden of proof regarding Rand’s moral theory. Objectivists have the burden to prove both that the metaethics is valid and that it entails the sorts of values and actions that they say it does. Continue reading “Rand’s Ethics and the Burden of Proof”
Objectivists I know and know of tend to be smart, thoughtful, balanced, joyful, successful people. They do profoundly important work in such areas as education, technology, aviation, business, law, and philosophy. In many ways their productive achievements directly or indirectly benefit my life.