AsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2033 times:
That bitch was too damned self-centered for my tastes.
Anyway... Would it be moral to save a drowning person? Rand's philosophy would indicate it is immoral to save a drowning person. It's not beneficial for the potential rescuer. There's nothing to gain by doing so.
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 40
Reply 3, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2023 times:
Ayn Rand's philosophy, as I understand it, is based on what creates the best potential for the operator. If saving a drowning person's life is guaranteed to bring attention and increase earning and power potential (such as the victim being a millionaire businessman or the event occuring in the presence of a large number of media reporters) then it might be moral. But generally altruistic efforts (as defined in most ethics systems) are not moral in her system.
Remember that ethics are systems for evaluation, while morals are personal beliefs.
If Rands philosophy was for a persons actions to coincide with personal gain, why then do the focus characters of Atlas Shrugged willingly destroy their own financal empires? Certainly such an action would be contrary to previous claims of Rands philosophy as it counters gains in income or power.
To a Randian Objectivist, mans moral purpose is dictated by his drive for personal happiness, and ownership of his self. Thus, if saving a person from drowning accomplishes that goal he would do it. Not because it would cause him increased earning or power potential.
Thus the extra marital affair between Dagny and Hank as well as the industrialists setting up a new society where they produce only for themsleves and not for financial gain.
Thus also why I don't think the question of the drowning man actually applies to Rand Objectivism, as I can't fathom a person who wouldn't accomplish personal happiness in the saving of another persons life. Now if we were to switch out the the literal and instead make the person "drowing" in debt. A Randian Objectivists wouldn't save this person by solvling their financial problems as that would keep the person from "owning themselves" by becoming indebted to another person for correcting their own problems.
MDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1980 times:
Slam, seeing as how she's already dead, it would be rather hard to do. On contemplation though, it might be unthecial for me, if I were a Randian Objectivist, to save a drowning Fidel Castro.. as I'm sure that such an act wouldn't accomplish any level of personal happiness. I can see quite a few people letting Mr. Limbaugh slip beneath the waves too.l
DL787932ER From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 597 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (9 years 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1966 times:
The question is unanswerable without knowing anything about the drowning person or the rescuer. Rand actually wrote on this specific topic in one of her essays; I believe it was in The Virtue of Selfishness but I'm not absolutely certain.
Rand would say that you should take a given action if it results in a higher value to you than that which you would lose by taking that action. Inherent value is meaningless - some person or thing has value only because someone else values it. That value will be different depending on the individual's goals - for example, I might be willing to pay more than retail price for a hot new pair of downhill skis, while someone who doesn't ski might attribute almost no value to skis.
In this case, whether it is moral or immoral to save a drowning person depends on that person and his or her value to the potential rescuer, compared to the risk to the rescuer. If the drowning person is valued highly enough by the rescuer - say, the rescuer's spouse or child - then it would be moral to save the drowning person even if the rescuer was certain to lose his life in the process. On the other hand, if the drowning person is not valued more than the rescuer's life, it would not necessarily be moral (though not necessarily immoral) to rescue the person - if the person is of small enough value, it might actually be immoral to rescue him if there is any significant risk. For example, I would not risk my life to save Osama bin Laden from drowning. But note that it always depends on the drowning person's value to the rescuer - while it might not be moral for me to risk my life to save bin Laden from drowning, it would almost certainly be moral for bin Laden's mother to save him.
I hope this explanation helps. It's oversimplified, to be sure, and you would certainly do well to find the essay I mentioned, but I don't think I made any significantly wrong statement.