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Is Stealing to live Justified According to Objectivists

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Death is almost never in the long term interests  of an individual, unless (to cite an example of saving one's own child) the last few seconds in life knowing your child will live because you saved him, are worth more than an entire empty lifetime full of anguish without the child and knowing that you let him die.

I've "liked" your post, but I also want to call attention to the above, which I think is very insightful and, I suspect, speaks to not only my stance in this thread, but also many apparent "controversies" within Objectivist discussions on the subject of ethics.

If seems to me that there are some Objectivists who would hold that you should abandon your child to maximize your own survival odds, in the name of "life as the standard of value," or that one cannot assess such a scenario at all in terms of ethics, but I don't think either of those stances are correct. Instead, I believe you've presented the essence of the right approach here.

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27 minutes ago, TLD said:

I certainly would not mis-define such terms.

Some in this blog have confused "emergency" with "lifeboat" situations; i.e. emergencies where choices are still available and others where one's life depends on acting irrationally according to obj. principles. And we need to distinguish between - in the latter case - situations one has put himself into via wrong choices and not.

When in a situation without choice and providing no choice, a rational person may need to steal from another while not liking to do so. He would be aware of doing so and would not need to evade or re-define "theft."

You speak of "no choice", however, if man is volitional he can still choose to steal and live or to refrain from stealing and die.

As such there IS choice.  I think our ACTUAL difference, is what we think forms the basis (rational or not) for making that choice.  You know my answer, but I am still unsure of your position as to on what basis the person should (or alternatively "does") form that choice and why? [I assume here we are not dealing with an automaton, blind from drug use or delirious with starvation, in which case we would not be dealing with a "man", the rational animal]

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"No choice" meaning reasonable choice - i.e. excluding dying. You know what I am saying. Would I steal or kick another (not a loved one) out of a boat if I had to in order to live - in the context we have been discussing, yes. Would I be morally wrong? No.

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1 hour ago, TLD said:

"No choice" meaning reasonable choice - i.e. excluding dying. You know what I am saying. Would I steal or kick another (not a loved one) out of a boat if I had to in order to live - in the context we have been discussing, yes. Would I be morally wrong? No.

Correct me if I am incorrect, but I thought you were saying the situation did not admit of any moral analysis or judgment, either on our part or on the part of the actor, i.e. one would neither be morally right nor morally wrong, and that morality itself disappears from the situation, i.e. all action would be amoral (or extra-moral) as opposed to moral or immoral.

This apparent moral vacuum gives rise to my question, i.e. if the individual is not using morality as a guide to action what is he basing his choices on?  If he chooses to live, how can he but not try to choose what is most conducive to his long term rational self interest (which is morality)?  What exactly are you trying to say?

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What did I misunderstand?

I asked if a right to life allows the theft of property.  You are familiar with the Objectivist position:

"The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation." ~ ARL, Property Rights

Under normal circumstances I would presume an Objectivist to say, "No".  I am asking for your position regarding the theft of property in an emergency situation; one where you can choose not to.  If you take the Tent Owner's property in order to live, is it theft or not?

It is my position that a right to life (the source of all rights) doesn't allow the implementation of theft of property (as a right).

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1 hour ago, TLD said:

"No choice" meaning reasonable choice - i.e. excluding dying. You know what I am saying. Would I steal or kick another (not a loved one) out of a boat if I had to in order to live - in the context we have been discussing, yes. Would I be morally wrong? No.

Correct me if I am incorrect, but I thought you were saying the situation did not admit of any moral analysis or judgment, either on our part or on the part of the actor, i.e. one would neither be morally right nor morally wrong, and that morality itself disappears from the situation, i.e. all action would be amoral (or extra-moral) as opposed to moral or immoral.

This apparent moral vacuum gives rise to my question, i.e. if the individual is not using morality as a guide to action what is he basing his choices on?  If he chooses to live, how can he but not try to choose what is most conducive to his long term rational self interest (which is morality)?  What exactly are you trying to say?

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4 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

This apparent moral vacuum gives rise to my question, i.e. if the individual is not using morality as a guide to action what is he basing his choices on?  If he chooses to live, how can he but not try to choose what is most conducive to his long term rational self interest (which is morality)? 

The idea, at least on my end, is that a lifeboat situation (not just a dangerous situation) is one where "what is in my long-term rational self-interest" is impossible to answer. If you're trapped on a lifeboat with 5 people, with limited supplies of food, it's far from any metaphysically normal context. There are literally no applicable moral principles. No rational choices exist - rationality as we know it would be impossible. If a moral principle (not stealing) leads to you dying, either the principle is wrong (stealing is not actually wrong), or the principle doesn't apply (stealing in a lifeboat scenario isn't up for moral evaluation). Or a third answer is that your own life isn't what morality is about (like a categorical imperative).

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28 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

... If a moral principle (not stealing) leads to you dying, either the principle is wrong (stealing is not actually wrong), or the principle doesn't apply (stealing in a lifeboat scenario isn't up for moral evaluation). Or a third answer is that your own life isn't what morality is about (like a categorical imperative).

... or stealing is wrong, but what a reasonable man would do under the circumstances.  We don't need to go so far as to say there is a greater good involved, e.g. "I get to live, yay!"  And we don't need to pretend that some stealing is OK, e.g., "I mean after all, WTF was I suppose to do?!"

I think it basically comes down to, "Judge and prepare to be judged."

 

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38 minutes ago, Devil's Advocate said:

I asked if a right to life allows the theft of property.  You are familiar with the Objectivist position:

"The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation." ~ ARL, Property Rights

Under normal circumstances I would presume an Objectivist to say, "No".  I am asking for your position regarding the theft of property in an emergency situation; one where you can choose not to.  If you take the Tent Owner's property in order to live, is it theft or not?

It is my position that a right to life (the source of all rights) doesn't allow the implementation of theft of property (as a right).

You are reversing the hierarchy here.  Ethics is what politics is based on.  Rights come from a basis of ethics/morality.  Individual ethical choices, i.e. morality is not derived from rights i.e. ethics is not derived from politics.

If we are talking about morality, then we are strictly talking about rational self-interest and the choices which should be made on that basis.

If you want to talk politics, i.e. rights, crime and punishment, etc. then we have a different "kettle of fish".

 

There are extreme cases where a man is required to act morally, which due to context, constitutes commission of a crime, which may or may not be relatively benign.

Take the boring case (moral hypothesizers love to talk about death) where you see a very wealthy man (who happens to be your employer) is about to be hit by a falling tree which he does not see.  Of course he is wearing earphones and is seated on his property with signs about saying NO TRESPASSING.  In order to save his life, your job, generally a waste of time and resources and potentially years of misery, you quickly step onto the property and pull the man out of the path of the falling tree.  Does saving a man's life actually excuse your commission of a trespass?  Recall trespass IS a violation of property rights.

Of course the example is silly... most all contrived situations ARE silly.

 

The question here for you is, what ARE you trying to figure out... ?

1. what the man should do (rational self-interest), or

2. what a proper government should do (protection of individual rights, retaliatory force) to ensure justice, after he has done it?

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Can I take a poll here:

A.  Who thinks morality consists of

1. Small limited number of basic principles derived from the standard applicable to generally "normal" contexts

2. Application real time rational application of the moral standard to each new context as required.

3. A combination of 1 and 2, 1 when contexts allow it, 2 when contexts require it... i.e. when faced with a moral conundrum.

 

 B. Who thinks after having chosen to live:

I) A Man can justify on the basis of circumstance, the choice to act in absence of rationality and his life as the standard  i.e. justify choosing to jettison rational self-interest i.e. morality. That is to say a man who has the choice and the power to think about the crucial choices of existence can justify abstaining from it?

II) A Man should not abdicate his rational faculty as long as it within his power to use it and as long as choices present themselves to him.  i.e. a man should not abandon morality (rational self-interest) so long as he is capable of it.

Assuming that in neither of I or II above the man is incapable of rational thought and volition.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

lifeboat situation (not just a dangerous situation) is one where "what is in my long-term rational self-interest" is impossible to answer.

Of course it is impossible to know with certainty.  Decisions have to be made while judging the possible outcomes in response to possible actions and their likelihoods... none of which are known with certainty.  Not acting also needs to be judged in terms of likelihood of outcome.  It is ALWAYS impossible to be omniscient, that does not excuse a man for abdicating his free-will , rationality, and his life, in ANY circumstance he finds himself in where he is still factually capable of rational thought and making choices.

The choice NOT to jump in the water, NOT to throw anyone in the water, NOT to eat all the food right away, ARE ALL RATIONAL CHOICES, an hour after your cruise ship has sunk, everyone is still healthy and there is a nice little store of rations, reasonable likelihood of the scenarios taken into account.

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

it's far from any metaphysically normal context

Duh.  It does not mean you give up your mind anymore than being trapped in a cabin by a kidnapper ... not the normal context... is an excuse for simply waiting to be killed, rather than trying to break free at the proper time.

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

No rational choices exist - rationality as we know it would be impossible.

This is a bald assertion.  "Rational" does not label the decorum, the ease, the normalcy of a choice, it specifies the manner by which that choice was formulated and made.  A rational choice is one precisely which is made on the basis of rational thought.  Logical choices always exist as long as you are able to think and able to physically act on them.

There is no "rationality as we know it".  No Rationality as you know it or rationality as I know it .. There is only rationality. 

IF you are comatose in the boat, or IF you are blind drunk, or IF you are by virtue of an emotional condition paralyzed with abject fear and anxiety so that you actually cannot think.. THEN you would be incapable of rationality.  but if you are CAPABLE of rationality, it is possible, although some may choose to abandon it.

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

If a moral principle (not stealing) leads to you dying, either the principle is wrong (stealing is not actually wrong), or the principle doesn't apply (stealing in a lifeboat scenario isn't up for moral evaluation).

If you mean to say general moral principles like "don't lie" are NOT categorical imperatives, and that morality is always contextual, I would agree.  Recall, you should lie to a intruder who has broken into your home in the middle of the night and has asked you where your children are... in order to keep them safe.

The fact that you lie does NOT mean you have abandoned morality, it means you have in fact identified the necessary exceptional behavior required in the unique context to remain in accordance with the standard of your morality - rational self-interest.

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Or a third answer is that your own life isn't what morality is about (like a categorical imperative).

Which we reject.

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Can I take a poll here:

Sure.

I believe we're in substantial agreement. This will be a good way to test that.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

A.  Who thinks morality consists of

1. Small limited number of basic principles derived from the standard applicable to generally "normal" contexts

2. Application real time rational application of the moral standard to each new context as required.

3. A combination of 1 and 2, 1 when contexts allow it, 2 when contexts require it... i.e. when faced with a moral conundrum.

#3.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

 B. Who thinks after having chosen to live:

I) A Man can justify on the basis of circumstance, the choice to act in absence of rationality and his life as the standard  i.e. justify choosing to jettison rational self-interest i.e. morality. That is to say a man who has the choice and the power to think about the crucial choices of existence can justify abstaining from it?

II) A Man should not abdicate his rational faculty as long as it within his power to use it and as long as choices present themselves to him.  i.e. a man should not abandon morality (rational self-interest) so long as he is capable of it.

Assuming that in neither of I or II above the man is incapable of rational thought and volition.

II.

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

There is no "rationality as we know it".  No Rationality as you know it or rationality as I know it .. There is only rationality.

Rationality is based on your nature as human, but also rationality is based on living. I addressed similar claims multiple times in this thread. The ability to think isn't the same as the ability to be rational, rational is more specific than logical. I brought up the deeper issues 2 posts ago. By the way, "rationality as we know it" was supposed to mirror "the world as we know it", to emphasize the notion of obliterating the context of life, to emphasize imagery of death or dying.

That helps me lead to William O's post asking me about dictatorships. So far, I distinguished situations of duress (guns being pulled on you, being robbed, voluntarily fighting in a war), and true emergencies (being suddenly and violently invaded by Russia, stranded in the Andes after a plane crash, being placed in a Nazi concentration camp).  

Dictatorships are harder to consider, but strictly speaking, I'd say it works the same as a true emergency. A persistent and wholesale denial of rights obliterates life, and all people under a dictatorship are effectively dying. To be sure, you may be driven to find life again, or find nice things. Still, it's not life by any measure except survival, even if you wanted to make a life in the dictatorship. You may start a rebel group, and with them respect each person's rights because of its short-term benefits, but that's still not in a world where morality could serve its purpose. Indeed, it'd be a tragedy to exist there. There'd be no way to say if suicide, murder, theft, or still acting how you would in a non-dictatorship, were morally wrong. By what standard would it be wrong or right to do any of those? Not life - that was already denied to you in a dictatorship!

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Can I take a poll here:

A.  Who thinks morality consists of

1. Small limited number of basic principles derived from the standard applicable to generally "normal" contexts

2. Application real time rational application of the moral standard to each new context as required.

3. A combination of 1 and 2, 1 when contexts allow it, 2 when contexts require it... i.e. when faced with a moral conundrum.

This is pretty straight forward and cogent.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

 B. Who thinks after having chosen to live:

I) A Man can justify on the basis of circumstance, the choice to act in absence of rationality and his life as the standard  i.e. justify choosing to jettison rational self-interest i.e. morality. That is to say a man who has the choice and the power to think about the crucial choices of existence can justify abstaining from it?

II) A Man should not abdicate his rational faculty as long as it within his power to use it and as long as choices present themselves to him.  i.e. a man should not abandon morality (rational self-interest) so long as he is capable of it.

Assuming that in neither of I or II above the man is incapable of rational thought and volition.

Can the man who has chosen morality later chose to abdicate morality? He could.

Should the man who has chosen morality cling to it as long as it is within his power? I think he should.

Stepping back to the OP, there is a subtle switch from the context of Miss Rand's "Ethics of Emergency", it seems.

The question she addresses in the article would be akin to saying a man, having water in his possession sees an individual coming in across the desert, dehydrated, and near death. It's in his power to offer the man water to rescue/save the dehydrated man's life — not, as switched around, is it "moral" for the dehydrated man to just simply steal the water prior to appealing to the owner of the water for a drink. Offering the water would be an act of generosity on behalf of the owner of the water, not a moral duty. This presumes that the dehydrated individual is in a marginal and incidental situation in his life. The OP has already made clear that the water offered would not jeopardize the owner.

 

Edited by dream_weaver
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17 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

... There are extreme cases where a man is required to act morally, which due to context, constitutes commission of a crime, which may or may not be relatively benign...

The question here for you is, what ARE you trying to figure out... ?

1. what the man should do (rational self-interest), or

2. what a proper government should do (protection of individual rights, retaliatory force) to ensure justice, after he has done it?

I am trying to arrive the truth that lies between the two positions that morality does or doesn't apply to emergency situations.  We seem to agree that it does; that so long as choices are being made there is a moral context for judgment.  The OP presents an act of theft and asks if it is justified to save a life.  And again, we seem to agree that it is.  But theft is theft and by precise definition an immoral action, so we are faced with the uncomfortable conclusion that sometimes immoral actions are required to arrive at moral goals.  And that seems to be where the real argument about morality begins.

If, as you say, there are extreme cases of acts that in a legal context are criminal, then we would presume they are immoral or the law isn't objective.  In an emergency situation a theft can't be both moral and immoral, and declaring it amoral doesn't help us.  My position is that it is immoral, but excusable, that the man in the OP steals from the Tent Owner, provided he offers restitution afterwards; that the future restitution is what justifies and returns the sum of the dying man's actions to a moral pursuit of life.

The thin consistency I'm clinging to at this point is that a moral right to life doesn't create a right to steal; that theft is theft and must be accounted for and justified by restitution.

I think my response to your poll is in there somewhere...

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2 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

I am trying to arrive the truth that lies between the two positions that morality does or doesn't apply to emergency situations.  We seem to agree that it does; that so long as choices are being made there is a moral context for judgment.  The OP presents an act of theft and asks if it is justified to save a life.  And again, we seem to agree that it is.  But theft is theft and by precise definition an immoral action, so we are faced with the uncomfortable conclusion that sometimes immoral actions are required to arrive at moral goals.  And that seems to be where the real argument about morality begins.

If, as you say, there are extreme cases of acts that in a legal context are criminal, then we would presume they are immoral or the law isn't objective.  In an emergency situation a theft can't be both moral and immoral, and declaring it amoral doesn't help us.  My position is that it is immoral, but excusable, that the man in the OP steals from the Tent Owner, provided he offers restitution afterwards; that the future restitution is what justifies and returns the sum of the dying man's actions to a moral pursuit of life.

The thin consistency I'm clinging to at this point is that a moral right to life doesn't create a right to steal; that theft is theft and must be accounted for and justified by restitution.

I think my response to your poll is in there somewhere...

I would "agree" but in reverse.  Instead of immoral but excusable, I would say the action is moral but the violation of rights is inexcusable. 

The action is moral because of the standard of morality, which must be analyzed objectively from the context of the actor and the particular situation he finds himself in.  The violation of rights is inexcusable because no one has a right to violate anyone's rights, and a proper government can never fail to exercise the victims right of retaliatory action in the face of a violation of rights, unless perhaps waived explicitly by the victim.  If there is restitution, what it consists of must be just, and in accordance with a full accounting of the context.  It is the requirement for restitution which is consistent with the holding that the violation is inexcusable.

I understand you would like to see a consistency between the morality of action and the political framework of rights.  It is not misguided to look for such consistency, it is very present under normal circumstances.  It must be understood however, that due to the nature of exceptional circumstances, this is not always the case.


 

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14 hours ago, epistemologue said:

-Criticism of responses so far-

To those of you saying morality does not apply, contrast the two positions taken by Ayn Rand here:

and here:

Why has nobody in this thread defended the unequivocal statements of Ayn Rand in her original, definitive work, "The Ethics of Emergencies", written to address this very question, featured in the canonical book of Objectivist ethics, "The Virtue of Selfishness"? Why instead have they taken these other comments - which are highly contradictory to the canonical position of the Objectivist ethics, from an obscure Q&A session given years later, on a lecture concerning a very different subject - as not only the more important and more defining, but apparently the only position that anyone has even bothered to really consider here?

As Ayn Rand states in "The Ethics of Emergencies" very explicitly: morality always applies, to all of one's choices. When one is dealing with the circumstances of an emergency, that is merely another instance where one must apply their moral principles. You can always have a "long-term outlook of flourishing" and act accordingly, regardless of what situation you find yourself in currently.

Devil's Advocate makes great points -

How can you say that morality applies on a desert island - and that it doesn't apply on a lifeboat?

StrictlyLogical also points out the reality that emergencies are still situations where man has a choice and must act - and therefore where morality must apply:

 

-Answering the Question-

- If the scenario is as dream weaver described, where you're in Alaska and there are cabins about with food stocked that are not in use, and it's the social convention that one lost in the wilderness in an emergency is expected to be able to use these resources, then it wouldn't really be stealing.

- The original question is instead about a tent in the desert, where there's not necessarily any implied convention that you can use resources that you find because it's an emergency. Someone may even very well depend on those resources for their own life. But the original question is a little ambiguous - suppose you arrive at the tent on the verge of death, and nobody is home. The actions in that situation of a rational, benevolent person would be to share part of what they have with you given your desperate emergency, and in the absence of any definitive knowledge about their consent that's a fair assumption to make given a benevolent people premise (provided you assume this justly puts you in debt to them and will repay it on their terms).

- To answer the question in the fullest sense, we have to ask what should one do given the premise that the tent owner is there when you arrive, and even against benevolence and rationality they still explicitly deny consent to take their things. How could following the non-aggression principle to your very death be consistent with holding life as the highest value?

One might try to argue that holding life as the highest value doesn't simply mean a *physical life*,

but rather a *moral life*, in the same sense that man's highest purpose isn't merely "that which gives me pleasure" but rather, that which is the expression of my moral values AND gives me pleasure:

The attempt here would be to say that you *are* holding life as your highest value, by saying: by "life" you mean only a "principled life" - in this case a life of following the non-aggression principle.

However, this still doesn't really answer the question in its fullest sense. The will to live is the most fundamental principle of morality by virtue of being the most fundamental aspect of man's identity - as an organism who by nature faces the life or death alternative. Therefore one cannot ultimately make the argument that the will to principle and morality somehow supercedes the will to live, when life-sustaining action is the root of moral principles. In order to answer the question one must show that the will to principle and the will to life are consistent - one must show that choosing to actually die for the non-aggression principle really is the best action to take in order to live.

- The only way I know to answer this question is to say that death can be overcome and that we can have eternal life. By virtue of man's will to live, and the intelligibility and controllability of the nature of the universe, and given the lack of any complete proof of its impossibility and a benevolent universe premise, we should expect the progress of science and technology to, ultimately, reach the capability of immortal life and the resurrection of the dead.

Just as Howard Roark says in the Fountainhead that,

"The work of the creators has eliminated one form of disease after another, in man's body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive"

and

"The integrity of a man's creative work is of greater importance than any charitable endeavor"

The most effective way to follow one's will to live is to respect the creative work and property of others through the non-aggression principle, even to the point of dying on that hill. The spiritual values one pursues are far more important and consequential than anything physical that one can accomplish. Following one's principles is more practically effective in order to live in the long run than anything one would be able to physically do by violating them just to live a little while longer. This is how to reconcile holding life as the highest value with the principle of non-initiation of force.

I was going to select "Like this"... until I saw the bit about eternal life and resurrection.

You generally had my agreement up until that point...

After that I disagree... I can "live" with a little "initiation of aggression" and "restitution" if context requires it.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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46 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I would "agree" but in reverse.  Instead of immoral but excusable, I would say the action is moral but the violation of rights is inexcusable. 

The action is moral because of the standard of morality, which must be analyzed objectively from the context of the actor and the particular situation he finds himself in.  The violation of rights is inexcusable because no one has a right to violate anyone's rights...

I think the reality is that a violation of moral rights for fallible beings is unavoidable, not that that sanctions intentional violations.  It just allows objective observers (including the victim) to excuse unintentional transgressions depending on the circumstances.  It would be a curious standard of morality that considers an act of stealing moral in one circumstance and immoral in another.  One might as well declare all acts of stealing are amoral, as indeed some attempt to do in lieu of calling a spade a spade.

We are probably mostly in agreement so I’ll leave it for you and others to work out further, and observe from the sidelines for a bit…

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21 minutes ago, Devil's Advocate said:

It would be a curious standard of morality that considers an act of stealing moral in one circumstance and immoral in another.

Not "curious"... REVOLUTIONARY. 

One of the striking aspects of Rand's discovery is that "actions" analyzed in a vacuum cannot be determined as moral or immoral, because morality is CONTEXTUAL.  To determine whether any action X is or is not moral you need to take into account the entire context and then use the proper standard.

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15 hours ago, epistemologue said:

The most effective way to follow one's will to live is to respect the creative work and property of others through the non-aggression principle, even to the point of dying on that hill. The spiritual values one pursues are far more important and consequential than anything physical that one can accomplish. Following one's principles is more practically effective in order to live in the long run than anything one would be able to physically do by violating them just to live a little while longer. This is how to reconcile holding life as the highest value with the principle of non-initiation of force.

If morality is meant to serve your life, your flourishing, how does this make sense? It's one thing to die in the process of your life, it's another to die as a direct result of your principle. Yes, morality is about flourishing, but at the least, morality is never a cause of death. There's a major Christian vibe in all that, equating life to a disembodied soul such that being dead isn't really "dead", you're just waiting on revival. Don't ruin your soul now, it might ruin your resurrection! To be clear, that's describing a logical end. I want to know how a moral principle, if it really is one, can ever cause death. You seem to be saying "your body may die today in the Andes because you didn't murder someone to eat them as food, but who cares, spiritual values matter more". 

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

...  To determine whether any action X is or is not moral you need to take into account the entire context and then use the proper standard.

To my mind the only proper standard to determine a moral outcome is free will; no choice = amoral.

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

... morality is never a cause of death... I want to know how a moral principle, if it really is one, can ever cause death... 

By choosing it.

If the criticism for a moral imperative is that life is the only proper standard, you are essentially saying, "You can't choose death, because you can't choose death."   To believe that Life, only Life expresses a complete morality is wrong because without death as an option your goal becomes an absolute that you simply need to remain breathing to achieve... and guess what?  No one gets there.

I totally get that life can only be good for those who live to enjoy it; that ending the pain isn't the same as resting in peace.  But when considering final choices of the kind like taking the bullet for a loved one, we do a tremendous disservice to the fallen to claim that morality didn't apply to their choice.

I'd love to see this discussion move beyond advocacy for amoral lifeboats, or lifeboats that exclude immoral actions.  Morality is a measure of both the positive and the negative, or it is neither.

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