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Pride and egoism

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  • the13salmon
    A discussion over spring break about pride has provoked my mind with some questions... Pride is a virtue, provided that the basis of mans philosophy is life.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2004
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      A discussion over spring break about pride has provoked my mind with
      some questions...

      Pride is a virtue, provided that the basis of mans philosophy is
      life. This is evident by the facts of reality. Man needs to work
      to live. He needs his mind to produce anything of value such as
      food, shelter, computers, art. These things keep him alive.
      Realizing that he is a thinking person whose goal is his own
      happiness and survival, it is only right for him to feel confidence
      and hold himself in high self-esteem.
      This led to a discussion about Aristotle's "Golden Mean", which
      seems to me to be taken by most people as "everything in
      moderation." Since I was little, I have always thought this
      statement wrong. Everything in moderation? What about honesty? What
      about courage? It would be absurd to say those virtues should have
      an equal part in their opposites. The same should follow with pride,
      shouldn't it? If my pride is based on a rational egoism, on the
      facts of reality, how can I have too much of it?
      Arguements brought up against what I just said were sort of
      like "Well, you wouldn't want too much courage, because you wouldn't
      want to rush into battle and die right away", but these seem to be
      merely possible irrational reactions to emotions these virtues may
      be producing. Having too much courage doesn't make you do crazy
      stuff, just like having too much pride wouldn't either (once again,
      provided that the pride in question would be based on reality, and
      not some dreamed up fantasy about how great you are...which leads me
      to another question).
      It would be faulty to base your pride on lies and things you have
      never done, but isn't merely having potential as a thinking,
      rational human enough for at least some small amount of pride,
      certainly more than humility?
      Take this for example. Two men, on a desert island. Let's assume
      they are both suffering from amnesia. Man A says "Well, I can't
      survive here. After all, I am product of my environment, my mind is
      impotent, etc". Man B says "Using my mind, I will be able to build
      shelter, hunt and gather food, and live my life to the best of my
      ability." Now wouldn't it follow that man B should have some amount
      of pride for his thoughts alone if nothing else?
      Just some thoughts.
      Oh, also, I have heard it said that Ayn Rand has sort of finished
      what Aristotle started. What exactly does this mean? can specific
      examples be given? I know that she invented the whole idea of
      concept formation, so what did Aris think of this? Any examples
      would be welcome.

      Scott
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