Automotive Deals HPCC Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it Jake Owen Fire TV Stick Sun Care Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer CafeSociety CafeSociety CafeSociety  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Water Sports
Profile for Craig Biddle > Reviews


Craig Biddle's Profile

Customer Reviews: 1
Top Reviewer Ranking: 40,201,489
Helpful Votes: 32

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Craig Biddle RSS Feed (Richmond, VA USA)

Page: 1
Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality
Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality
by Tara Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.60
44 used & new from $10.04

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be required reading in philosophy departments., July 9, 2002
Tara Smith begins Viable Values by carefully examining today's dominant schools of moral thought and demonstrating both the lack of and the need for an objective, fact-based answer to the question: Why be moral? Then, using a broad range of examples and anecdotes, she presents the facts that give rise to man's need of morality and ultimately shows that one should be moral because one's life depends on it. That is a good reason to be moral--and a good reason to read this book.
In essence, after exposing the baseless nature of contemporary ethical theory, Smith elaborates Ayn Rand's life-based metaethics and demonstrates that moral values are certain kinds of facts--facts pertaining to the requirements of human life and happiness. She presents a lucid validation of Rand's principle that man's life is the standard of moral value; and she shows that, accordingly, moral action is action that promotes one's life.
In support of her thesis, Smith offers a trove of crucial distinctions, essential integrations, and clarifying analogies. An example of the latter is her apt comparison of the theory of "intrinsic" value to the "look-say" method of teaching reading. Here is a brief excerpt:
"Look-say attaches sounds to particular letter strings and trains students to recognize those strings and pronounce the corresponding sounds. Because look-say does not teach the underlying architecture of words, however, a child acquires no techniques for navigating new words. He is trained to know what to say when he is confronted with words he has already seen but develops no understanding of why strings are pronounced as they are and thus is helpless when faced with previously unseen terms....
"The intrinsic value thesis resembles look-say teaching insofar as it offers no conceptual understanding of value. In renouncing objective criteria, advocates assume the same position as the instructor who points to a word, pronounces it, and prods students to mimic him.... The advocate of intrinsic value insists that he can spot it but provides no satisfactory account of how--and thus no means of verifying his claims.
"[The notion] that we can recognize intrinsic value when it occurs, although we cannot state its conditions....conjures former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's infamous declaration that he might never be able to define hardcore pornography, 'but I know it when I see it.' Such a stance should be an embarrassment to systematic ethics." (pp. 69-70)
Viable Values is an excellent book that should be required reading in philosophy departments worldwide. Unfortunately, however, although it was published over two and a half years ago, it still has not been recognized by Smith's peers or reviewed in an appropriate journal. This is a gross injustice--both to Smith and to students of philosophy.
If you are a philosopher, I urge you to read this book and review it in an academic journal. If you are not a philosopher, I urge you to read it and encourage any philosophers you know to do so as well. Your life depends on it, and if you read Viable Values, you will know why.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2015 5:36 AM PST

Page: 1