RE: Randian paradigm challenged

From: Ian Goddard (
Date: Wed Aug 02 2000 - 17:30:04 MDT

At 01:35 PM 08/02/2000 -0500, altamira wrote:

> > IAN: Actually I was asking if anyone
> > could identify an action and/or goal
> > of a self that's truly selfless. If
> > there are no examples, then the idea
> > of a selfless chosen action is a myth.
>I don't think it can be proved one way or the other, Ian, until people know
>more about how the mind works. There are numerous examples of people acting
>in ways that are against their own self interest, and there's no way to say
>for sure whether they mistakenly believe that what they're doing IS in their
>best interest, or whether they are not motivated by self interest after all.
> In living my life I operate under the assumption that people are motivated
>by self interest, and when someone tells me they're not I tend to watch my
>back when I'm around them. I'm fond of Ludwig von Mises' book _Human
>Action_ , and I like his argument against the existence of altruism. I just
>don't think you can say it's been proved that all people are always
>motivated by self interest.

   IAN: I think it's not accurate to imply
   I said "it's been proved that all people
   are always motivated by self interest."

   Saying I believe the selfish principle is
   a rule and soliciting examples that might
   contradict it is not to declare proof. As
   you note, it probably cannot be proved in
   the conventional sense of scientific proof.
   However, an absence of examples of selfless
   acts/goals would favor the selfish principle
   in the context of finding the most-likely truth.

Asking the "wrong questions," challenging the Official Story


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