AYN RAND ETHICS OF EMERGENCIES PDF

She believes that there are 4 consequences of altruism, all of which are negative. These, simply put, are lack of self-esteem, lack of respect for others, a pessimistic view of life, and an indifference to ethics. She says that altruism hinders acts of true benevolence, and instead people act out of an obligation to others that has been internalized over time. Rand advocates action in such emergencies because of the high value of human life.

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Back to Lexicon It is important to differentiate between the rules of conduct in an emergency situation and the rules of conduct in the normal conditions of human existence. This does not mean a double standard of morality: the standard and the basic principles remain the same, but their application to either case requires precise definitions.

An emergency is an unchosen, unexpected event, limited in time, that creates conditions under which human survival is impossible — such as a flood, an earthquake, a fire, a shipwreck. Men can live on land, but not in water or in a raging fire.

Since men are not omnipotent, it is metaphysically possible for unforeseeable disasters to strike them, in which case their only task is to return to those conditions under which their lives can continue. By its nature, an emergency situation is temporary; if it were to last, men would perish. For instance, a man who values human life and is caught in a shipwreck, should help to save his fellow passengers though not at the expense of his own life.

But this does not mean that after they all reach shore, he should devote his efforts to saving his fellow passengers from poverty, ignorance, neurosis or whatever other troubles they might have. Nor does it mean that he should spend his life sailing the seven seas in search of shipwreck victims to save. The principle that one should help men in an emergency cannot be extended to regard all human suffering as an emergency and to turn the misfortune of some into a first mortgage on the lives of others.

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Ethics of Emergencies

Back to Lexicon It is important to differentiate between the rules of conduct in an emergency situation and the rules of conduct in the normal conditions of human existence. This does not mean a double standard of morality: the standard and the basic principles remain the same, but their application to either case requires precise definitions. An emergency is an unchosen, unexpected event, limited in time, that creates conditions under which human survival is impossible — such as a flood, an earthquake, a fire, a shipwreck. Men can live on land, but not in water or in a raging fire. Since men are not omnipotent, it is metaphysically possible for unforeseeable disasters to strike them, in which case their only task is to return to those conditions under which their lives can continue. By its nature, an emergency situation is temporary; if it were to last, men would perish. For instance, a man who values human life and is caught in a shipwreck, should help to save his fellow passengers though not at the expense of his own life.

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Emergencies

The title describes how some people base their ethical principles on emergency situations. The classic example is the "lifeboat" scenario. In order to live, you have to sacrifice someone else. The lesson of the scenario is that you have to choose between your life and the life of another person. What happens next is that this scenario is taken to be some kind of proof of moral principles. Will you choose to be a murderer?

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