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Is he a hero?

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The plot is simple:

A girl wanted to suicide, for her boy friend dumped her. The moment she jumped into the water, a man walked by with his wife and his 4-year old daughter. When seeing this, the man did not hesitate to take off the clothes and also jumped into the cold water to save the girl. Through hard efforts, the girl was saved, however the man was out of strength and fell into the bottom of the water, dead, leaving his wife and his daughter crying on the beach sadly.

The girl was saved, however the man's family was broken.

The man is a soilder, who always thinks the interest of the people, the nation is prior to anything.

Later, the man has been received great honor due to his brave and giant action. The event touched lots of people...

What's your opinion towards the man? Do you think he is a hero?

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Its hard to say, but he could be a hero. I don't think he jumped in the water with the intention of dieing. I bet part of the reason for glorifying him so much, and this is what you seem to be suggesting, is that society always glorifies someone who seems to sacrifice himself. But was it really sacrifice? could the man bear to stand there and not do anything when he believed he could save her and still live?

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The plot is overly complicated, and should be reduced to essentials, eliminating the emotional crap, as in:

she jumped into the water, a man walked by

...

the man did not hesitate to take off the clothes and also jumped into the cold water to save the girl. Through hard efforts, the girl was saved, however the man was out of strength and fell into the bottom of the water, dead

So, yes. It is sad that he did not succeed in his plan.
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Prior to himself? In that case, the man is not only not a hero, but also a very bad soldier.

Besides this point it really comes down to what defines a hero, is it simply dying for something you believe in, was he not acting heroically/virtuously before he died?

This term is bandied about too much, in the news victims, martyrs and heroes are equated so often that they become indistinguishable.

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The plot is simple:

The man is a soilder, who always thinks the interest of the people, the nation is prior to anything.

Later, the man has been received great honor due to his brave and giant action. The event touched lots of people...

What's your opinion towards the man? Do you think he is a hero?

That would most certanly be a heroic act, however to want to protect the intrest of the people must not be confused with altruism. For a man to sacrifice himself for another would require him to want to sacrifice himself thus rendering it an act of egoism. It would only be altruistic if he didn't want to save her and specifically saved her because of that fact.

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Thanks for all your resonding.

I think till taday no one could excatly figure out how did the man think before he jumped into the water. No one is quallified to caculate out the possiblity that the man could be succeed in his "plan", neither did he.

He took action, he sacrified himself, he is glorified by the society and media, in all, he deserved it.

Definitely, there is no exact priciple to define the term "hero". However, hundreds of hundreds years, children are indoctricated that as a man he should be beneficial to the nation and society. It's a big dream.

Yet, does "to be a hero" serves to it? The situation becomes more controversial when the roles in the story swithes to a graduated college student who has a brilliant future and an old lady who surfers from severe illness and has just numbered days. Does the student has an responsibility to save the woman when she is in water?

What kind of "Hero" does our society need? Does "heroism" equeals to altruism? unselfishness?

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Does the student has a responsibility to save the woman when she is in water?

Nobody has an obligation to do anything for anybody else unless you want to, but even then it's still not an obligation.

What kind of "Hero" does our society need?

First of all our society should not be asuming that they "need" anybody else to be their hero, individuals should try to become their own hero to the best of their ability. Secondly the only hero "we need" is the innovator, for productive acheivement is man noblest activity and the driving force of every economy/society.

Does "heroism" equeals to altruism? unselfishness?

Absolutly not, but first of all lets figure out what "heroism" actually is. Do you define heroism as the ability to produce goods that will further the exsistence of man? Then the answer is no. Do you define heroism as simply lending a helping hand to others? Then the answer is still no.

The fact of the matter is that man by nature is a selfish being. This means that everything that we do is solely based upon what we specifically want to do. A man works to earn money why? because he wants to. A man wears clothes in public why? because he wants to. A man dives into a river to save an old woman why? because he wants to. A man gives to a charity why? because he wants to. A man claims to hate egoism why? because he wants to.

What most people don't seem to understand is the simple fact that to want is an act of egoism wether you like it or not. Remember, altruism is the doctrine of self sacrifice, in other words the only way to be an altruist without being a hypocrite is to do all the things listed above only replace the words "wants" with "doesn't want", and you'll see what I mean.

Edited by Miles White
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I'm rather baffled that any Objectivist might regard a person who died in the course of risking his own life in order to save a stranger attempting suicide as moral. If that's not the risk of all values for the sake of some much lesser value, then I'm not sure what is.

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The fact of the matter is that man by nature is a selfish being. This means that everything that we do is solely based upon what we specifically want to do. A man works to earn money why? because he wants to. A man wears clothes in public why? because he wants to. A man dives into a river to save an old woman why? because he wants to. A man gives to a charity why? because he wants to. A man claims to hate egoism why? because he wants to.

What most people don't seem to understand is the simple fact that to want is an act of egoism wether you like it or not. Remember, altruism is the doctrine of self sacrifice, in other words the only way to be an altruist without being a hypocrite is to do all the things listed above only replace the words "wants" with "doesn't want", and you'll see what I mean.

Just to be clear, that's psychological hedonism -- NOT egoism, and certainly not the rational egoism of Objectivism. It's also incoherent: if man were "by nature... a selfish being," then altruism would be impossible.

For further details, see "Isn't Everybody Selfish?" by Nathaniel Branden in The Virtue of Selfishness.

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if man were "by nature... a selfish being," then altruism would be impossible.

My point exactly.

I'm rather baffled that any Objectivist might regard a person who died in the course of risking his own life in order to save a stranger attempting suicide as moral. If that's not the risk of all values for the sake of some much lesser value, then I'm not sure what is.

Perhaps I misunderstood objectivist ethics. I always thought that man was by nature a selfish being, but maybe I am mistaking philosophical egoism with sphycological egoism. I always found shpycological egoism to make the most sense and only asumed that it can lead to philosophical egoism, in that case I do not credit what I said from above to be objectivist in nature.

As far as the person diving into a river to save a suicidal lady, I was not calling it a virtuous act but mearly saying that if the individual wanted to save her then it could not be considered a vice but neither should it be encouraged. Or in other words, if it would bring great discomfort to an individual if he did not sacrifice his life to save a woman then I could not see why he should be stoped, even though that is not quit a deed to be promoted.

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Perhaps I misunderstood objectivist ethics. I always thought that man was by nature a selfish being, but maybe I am mistaking philosophical egoism with sphycological egoism. I always found shpycological egoism to make the most sense and only asumed that it can lead to philosophical egoism, in that case I do not credit what I said from above to be objectivist in nature.

(1) To speak in terms of desires is hedonism, not egoism at all. Egoism concerns what is in a person's interests. Egoism concerns FACTS about what actually promotes a person's well-being, not mere desires, wants, and pleasures, as does hedonism.

(2) Psychological egoism and psychological hedonism deny free will. Consequently, ethical prescriptions are useless, as a person cannot but act in the way that their nature demands. So psychological egoism / hedonism does not lend any support whatsoever to ethical egoism / hedonism, but directly contradicts it.

(3) You do very seriously misunderstand the Objectivist ethics. It denies psychological egoism and endorses ethical egoism. You should read or re-read Ayn Rand's _The Objectivist Ethics_ and "Isn't Everybody Selfish" by Nathaniel Branden. (I might have the title of the NB article slightly wrong.) Both are in _The Virtue of Selfishness_. You ought to do that before you post any more on this issue, as otherwise you're just wasting everyone's time.

(4) Oh, and "shpycological" is not a word. It's "psychological." And "Objectivist" is capitalized.

Edited by dianahsieh
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  • 1 month later...
I'm rather baffled that any Objectivist might regard a person who died in the course of risking his own life in order to save a stranger attempting suicide as moral. If that's not the risk of all values for the sake of some much lesser value, then I'm not sure what is.

Firstly, I think it's worth noting that he probably didn't know at the time that her intentions were suicide. When one sees someone drowning, you don't automatically assume the worst.

Secondly, I'm sure his brain immediately calculated that there was a good chance of him saving her and surviving. So both of them surviving (which he figured was possible) was of greater value to him than leaving her for dead.

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