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luked977

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  1. I suppose the contradictory statements are as follows: 1.It is wrong to receive un-earned value (cake). 2.It is right to receive un-earned value (organ). I think that the organ is legitimately unearned. Many altruists give without accepting payment, they just won't let you "earn" the value that they are trying to give. To accept this form of value would be immoral (cake, etc). The organ situation is the same - an altruist is offering a value (his life), and rejecting compensation. Is it only in life or death situations in which it is acceptable to receive un-earned value at the expense of others?
  2. No, I haven't heard of this happening. And, yes, I've read "Ethics of Emergencies" when I read The Virtue of Selfishness. I just re-read it and found a few applicable quotes: "if one is drowning, one cannot expect a stranger to risk his life for one's sake, remembering that one's life cannot be as valuable to him as his own." This is the equivalent to the scenario that I proposed. I am drowning, or dying in need or organ, and I agree I cannot expect anyone to save me or donate their organ. What Rand never did was write from the perspective of the person being saved. Suppose it is your spouse who swims out to save you, or donates her organ. She dies out of rational knowledge that life would be unbearable without you. But what about your life? Would it not be unbearable with out her? She has potentially condemned you to the world she was escaping. "Observe also that the advocates of altruism are unable to base their ethics on any facts of men's normal existence and that they always offer "lifeboat" situations as examples from which to derive the rules of moral conduct. ("What should you do if you and another man are in a lifeboat that can carry only one?" etc.) The fact is that men do not live in lifeboats—and that a lifeboat is not the place on which to base one's metaphysics." Ok, so yes I agree, these situations don't happen often and they are not good examples to base a morality on. However, the contradiction is bothersome. And perhaps there is a middle ground example- cake being at the insignificant end of the scale and organ donation being at the most extreme. Also, a stranger was picked instead of a loved one to eliminate the situation in which you would deny the offer so as to save someone you valued.
  3. I recently had a discussion with a friend about objectivism. I explained that I am against an unequal exchange of value either in the form of giving or receiving. I used Galt's analogy of the cake: "I who do not accept the unearned, neither in values or in guilt, am here to ask the questions you evaded. Why is it moral to serve the happiness of others, but not your own? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others but immoral when experienced by you? If the sensation of eating cake is a value, why is it immoral indulgence in your stomach, but a moral goal for you to achieve in the stomach of others? Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it?" She found the idea interesting, but quickly responded by replacing the cake with an organ. The scenario goes that I am dying and in need of a vital organ. A stranger, acting under altruistic motives, offers to give their organ to me (it is understood that the stranger will die). I said that the stranger's act of sacrificing himself was immoral. She said that it was honorable. I was initially opposed to the idea of accepting the organ as it was an unearned value, yet I couldn't justify willingly extinguishing my own life and happiness as a matter of principle. I wouldn't accept the cake, but I would accept the organ. There is an obvious contradiction between action and ideology here. Any ideas how to eliminate this contradiction?
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