Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Is Stealing to live Justified According to Objectivists

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

One of us will need to set out the factual situation prior to our analysis, i.e. the givens which are outside of the actor's choice (and not subject to being rewritten by either of us).  Shall you do it?  Or shall I?

SL, yes, the Andes one, or Devil's one. I said that before. As I said, the context is no food, you're trapped, and you've no sure idea of when you'll be saved. Here's the event: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Andes_flight_disaster

Devil, you're talking about a zero sum game situation. Someone had to die for someone else to live. That murder wasn't required doesn't mean "ah, yes, morality allowed me to live".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

...

Devil, you're talking about a zero sum game situation. Someone had to die for someone else to live. That murder wasn't required doesn't mean "ah, yes, morality allowed me to live".

Here is a factual account that I'll allow you et al to judge whether suitable or not of the kind of emergency situation involving life and death choices that required committing or abstaining from immoral choices: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party

There is no historical claim (that I am aware of) that any members of the party resorted to killing each other in order to survive, as natural causes ultimately provided the meal that allowed about half the party to survive.  Would the numbers have been improved if some had resulted to murder?  Some must have considered that an option, but didn't act on it.

Yes, I consider that morality allowed the survivors to last until rescue, and morality as a choice that prevented them from killing one another.  As I suggested earlier, death by nature is a moral choice as is causing the death of others in order to survive.  What is remarkable about this real lifeboat event is that all abstained from acts of aggression in order to survive, and yes many didn't, but none chose not to survive.

That speaks volumes about what a moral human being is all about...

"... more than the gleaming heroism or sullied villainy, the Donner Party is a story of hard decisions that were neither heroic nor villainous"

Edited by Devil's Advocate
addition of quote
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louie:

Ok let's look at the Andes context.

For fun we'll put you in the scenario and pretend you are one of the soccer players who has survived the crash unscathed.

What point in time shall we analyze? i.e. how many days after the crash would you like to look at?  We can start first thing in the morning of that day. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fact checking accounts about the Donner Party, I came across the following:

"After several more days—25 since they had left Truckee Lake—they came across Salvador and Luis, who had not eaten for about nine days and were close to death. William Foster, believing the flesh of the Native Americans was the group's last hope of avoiding imminent death from starvation, shot the pair."

So, apparently murder was committed on at least one occasion in order to survive.  So there you have survival by immoral means and death by moral means.

 

 

Edited by Devil's Advocate
clarification
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What point in time shall we analyze? i.e. how many days after the crash would you like to look at?  We can start first thing in the morning of that day. 

Well, if you're the only one who survived the crash, it doesn't really point out clearly the reasons morality cannot be applied to the situation. The other bodies would probably be ruined as food, and there isn't much you can find. Part of the idea is applying reason to your long-term self interest isn't possible, at best it'd always be short-range. The time point doesn't matter, the lifeboat scenario would last until you're rescued more or less. 

I re-read the "Ethics of Emergencies" again, I noticed that it's not really about the contexts in this thread. Mostly, it's about other people being in emergencies, and if/how you should help them if you're not in an emergency. It's aimed at addressing people who say it's moral to sacrifice yourself for others who are in an emergency. So Epistemologue is -generally- right as far as the first quote he posted, but it's not really the OP's type of question. The dictatorship quote, the second one, is more like the questions here. It was a quote from a poorly edited book though, so it's only useful as a broad hint at Rand's ideas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Well, if you're the only one who survived the crash, it doesn't really point out clearly the reasons morality cannot be applied to the situation. The other bodies would probably be ruined as food, and there isn't much you can find. Part of the idea is applying reason to your long-term self interest isn't possible, at best it'd always be short-range. The time point doesn't matter, the lifeboat scenario would last until you're rescued more or less. 

I re-read the "Ethics of Emergencies" again, I noticed that it's not really about the contexts in this thread. Mostly, it's about other people being in emergencies, and if/how you should help them if you're not in an emergency. It's aimed at addressing people who say it's moral to sacrifice yourself for others who are in an emergency. So Epistemologue is -generally- right as far as the first quote he posted, but it's not really the OP's type of question. The dictatorship quote, the second one, is more like the questions here. It was a quote from a poorly edited book though, so it's only useful as a broad hint at Rand's ideas.

I did not say you were the only survivor.

Since you said time point does not matter let's pick, the third day.

Any other FACTS of the situation we should clarify prior to beginning?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Well, if you're the only one who survived the crash, it doesn't really point out clearly the reasons morality cannot be applied to the situation. The other bodies would probably be ruined as food, and there isn't much you can find. Part of the idea is applying reason to your long-term self interest isn't possible, at best it'd always be short-range. The time point doesn't matter, the lifeboat scenario would last until you're rescued more or less. 

I re-read the "Ethics of Emergencies" again, I noticed that it's not really about the contexts in this thread. Mostly, it's about other people being in emergencies, and if/how you should help them if you're not in an emergency. It's aimed at addressing people who say it's moral to sacrifice yourself for others who are in an emergency. So Epistemologue is -generally- right as far as the first quote he posted, but it's not really the OP's type of question. The dictatorship quote, the second one, is more like the questions here. It was a quote from a poorly edited book though, so it's only useful as a broad hint at Rand's ideas.

I did not say you were the only survivor.

Since you said time point does not matter let's pick, the third day.

Any other FACTS of the situation we should clarify prior to beginning?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, I misread. There are no more parts to add, be as creative as you want in your reply. I don't care if you find -an- answer, I'm only asking how to find the morally correct answer, since you've claimed a moral answer can be found.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are now wasting you time. SL is either playing devil's advocate or not able to see the principle involved. E.g. I pointed out several days ago what you just said re EOEmergencies; he does not want to integrate what has already been posted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't believe time is wasted by trying to resolve an apparent impasse between credible positions.  Yourself and Eiuol argue that moral solutions aren't possible in emergency situations, and others including myself believe they are.  I would go so far as to say they are unavoidable based on Ayn Rand's comments on Emergencies and Morality in the Lexicon.

I'm looking forward to see where StrictlyLogical and Eiuol go with their exercise...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Sorry, I misread. There are no more parts to add, be as creative as you want in your reply. I don't care if you find -an- answer, I'm only asking how to find the morally correct answer, since you've claimed a moral answer can be found.

Let's begin shall we.

It is cold.  Dimly hoping at first that this is only a nightmare, as you regain full weary consciousness you settle back into a moment of stark, grim recognition.  This is real.  You and the others crash landed in the middle of nowhere with no food and no means of electronically communicating to the rest of the world.  This is the third morning, the sun rising over the mountains is beautiful, but you wish you were almost literally anywhere else. You sit up slowly, and think.  You do not know if anyone is searching for you, or intends to search for you. You do not know how far you are from the nearest possible help, you do not know how long you will be able to live without food.  You do not know if you have but days to live or if you will return somehow to civilization and possibly live decades.  For a moment of despair, you are afraid for what might happen to you, and in that moment feel you simply do not know what to do.


Is this an acceptable start to our investigation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Sorry, I misread. There are no more parts to add, be as creative as you want in your reply. I don't care if you find -an- answer, I'm only asking how to find the morally correct answer, since you've claimed a moral answer can be found.

Let's begin shall we.

It is cold.  Dimly hoping at first that this is only a nightmare, as you regain full weary consciousness you settle back into a moment of stark, grim recognition.  This is real.  You and the others crash landed in the middle of nowhere with no food and no means of electronically communicating to the rest of the world.  This is the third morning, the sun rising over the mountains is beautiful, but you wish you were almost literally anywhere else. You sit up slowly, and think.  You do not know if anyone is searching for you, or intends to search for you. You do not know how far you are from the nearest possible help, you do not know how long you will be able to live without food.  You do not know if you have but days to live or if you will return somehow to civilization and possibly live decades.  For a moment of despair, you are afraid for what might happen to you, and in that moment feel you simply do not know what to do.


Is this an acceptable start to our investigation?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SL, start however you want. It's a simple setup. As long as you explain how the reasons for decisions are good for moral reasons, not just merely preferring to be alive later, or preferring not to murder, then it's all fine. It may help your answer if you incorporate some of my post earlier where I found some of your claims about morality to be questionable. 

Edited by Eiuol
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, this post sure created quite a dialogue. I don't have time to read all the comments here, but I will just ask this one question that may or may not have been answered in this lengthy dialogue. Suppose that stealing is morally justifiable in a lifeboat scenario which is a premise I disagree with. Why does it not then follow that a person dying in a hospital has the right to free healthcare or to steal it from someone else. If life value by which everything else is derived in Objectivism, then doesn't a person's right to life supersede a person's right to their money or property?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, TLD said:

You are comparing an amoral question with a moral one. "No" to the last question of course.

Sorry, you'll just have to read the blog if you don't know the difference.

That's not my question. What I'm asking is if life by which everything else derives, then according to your objectivist ethics why should the scenario matter? I understand your position and I agree. I'm just wondering how you reconcile this belief with the notion that life is the primary virtue in Objectivism

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Aziz 2 Al-Jabir 2 said:

... If life value by which everything else is derived in Objectivism, then doesn't a person's right to life supersede a person's right to their money or property?

My position is that the justification for theft, as presented in your OP, contradicts a right to life.  It wouldn't be much of a foundation right if the primary implementation of it allowed for stealing.  Some argue that the apparent immorality of "necessary" stealing indicates emergency scenarios are amoral, because implementations of a right to life cannot be good (moral) and bad (immoral).

Objectivism holds that such contradictions don't exist, and whenever faced with an apparent one, to check your premises.  That is where we are at, although I've become concerned about StrictlyLogical's absence; Eiuol may have done him in.

Anyway, welcome back...  and watch your back with the advocates of amoral lifeboats...

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Devil's Advocate said:

Anyway, welcome back...  and watch your back with the advocates of amoral lifeboats...

LOL, isn't that the truth? :)

"As an Objectivist, I would never initiate the use of force against another man. It is the one thing that never may be sanctioned or forgiven."

*We find ourselves in a desert*

"I now may murder you for food. But don't worry; this isn't 'immoral' of me... exactly."

Edited by DonAthos
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then you die! If it's me or you, it's going to be me - to live the rest of my life as an Obj.ist. Why should I sacrifice my life for you? (And don't change the context; we're only talking about situations without rational choice.)

(I really don't know why do I keep trying. ☺☺☺)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, TLD said:

Then you die! If it's me or you, it's going to be me...

Now see? I think that this is perfectly expressive of an ethic! So to say this kind of thing, yet claim that there is no "morality" in an emergency... to me, well, it seems a bit contradictory.

It's not an ethic I think I agree with, personally. I would describe it as, "survival at all costs." And to speak to this question:

On 1/24/2016 at 3:17 PM, Aziz 2 Al-Jabir 2 said:

Suppose that stealing is morally justifiable in a lifeboat scenario which is a premise I disagree with. Why does it not then follow that a person dying in a hospital has the right to free healthcare or to steal it from someone else.

Well, I'm not sure why someone who believes in "survival at all costs" wouldn't be in favor of stealing healthcare from a fellow in a hospital. If they were dying of a disease, for instance, and couldn't afford the medication... why not commit armed robbery, if that seemed to be one's best chance for survival (howsoever short-term)?

But as for this...

3 hours ago, TLD said:

...to live the rest of my life as an Obj.ist.

Well, there's the rub. Because I'm not certain that I could do any/all things "in a lifeboat," and then "live the rest of my life as an Objectivist."

While I love life, I don't wish to survive as a brute. Actually... it's because I love life so much as I do that I don't wish to survive as a brute. It's worth too much to me.

And I expect that most here would understand that this doesn't mean I forswear violence; I continue to believe in the use of force... in retaliation and self-defense. So for me it becomes an interesting question, regarding someone like TLD.

I ask myself: suppose I were in a potentially "emergency" situation. While I'm trying to figure a way out of the Andes, say, how far should I trust him? Should I turn my back to him (literally)? Should I take some form of "preemptive action" in self-defense? Knowing what I know of him, it's unclear.

And actually... when I think about the OP -- the scenario of the lone man in the desert who comes upon a camp, where someone is (presumably) living productively, and with no initial sense of danger, or reason to suspect it from a stranger -- it occurs to me that these kinds of situations may be... asymmetrical. So who knows when you may be living in a camp, and some Objectivist (in the manner of TLD) may decide that he is in an emergency, and (morally?) authorized to initiate force in the name of "amorality"?

No. Perhaps, if one was boarding a plane with TLD and the flightplan took them over the Andes, it would be best to strap him down first. You know, just in case.

3 hours ago, TLD said:

(I really don't know why do I keep trying. ☺☺☺)

It's not for me to tell you what's worth your time, but you should know that such is life on a discussion board. People disagree, and sometimes even in the face of arguments that you consider to be beyond further question.

If that is too difficult to bear, then you may wish to consider that this might not be a very productive or satisfying pastime for yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

People disagree, and sometimes even in the face of arguments that you consider to be beyond further question.

The problem is repeatedly going over the same points, and anyone so far I argued against repeats things already said. It is frustrating to ask questions, then see responses taking a step backward apparently in shock that someone could possibly say the context merits no moral answer. I don't expect people to change their mind quickly, so if you'd like to move this forward, just respond to SL's elaborated hypothetical of mine. I'm being told there are indeed moral answers to be found even there, so I'd like to see a demonstration. I am glad to discuss it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The problem is repeatedly going over the same points, and anyone so far I argued against repeats things already said. It is frustrating to ask questions, then see responses taking a step backward apparently in shock that someone could possibly say the context merits no moral answer.

Oh, I can well empathize with feeling frustrated over the course of these sorts of discussions. I think that some ways of dealing with that frustration are potentially productive, and enrich this community, and others do not. Though I do not always succeed in this, it is my intention to support the former and to try to eliminate the latter.

Quote

I don't expect people to change their mind quickly, so if you'd like to move this forward, just respond to SL's elaborated hypothetical of mine. I'm being told there are indeed moral answers to be found even there, so I'd like to see a demonstration. I am glad to discuss it.

While I'm glad to discuss this topic overall, I would prefer to let SL continue with his own line of argumentation, should he choose to.

As for my own... I guess it falls out like this: I see morality/ethics as a "guide to action." Even in emergency situations (and even in "lifeboats"), people must act, and I think that we can still be guided in those actions by our values. For me, my ultimate value remains a vision of the kind of life I would like to live. I would act to achieve that life as best as I could, and I would not take actions which I know would have the result of destroying that life.

I recognize that in certain scenarios, that particular life I envision would be unavailable to me regardless of my choice. For instance, if I had to choose between my own death or murdering my wife in order to survive. That choice resolves to me as a choice between an extended physical survival, where I have sacrificed my spiritual self (e.g. the capacity for joy), and an abbreviated survival, where I am (howsoever briefly) fulfilled in knowing that something I value highly will yet survive me. The latter is worth far more than the former (which I consider to be, actually, a disvalue; a sentence), and this knowledge would guide me in my actions.

I account all of this to be an example of moral reasoning, and my choice to thus be a moral choice.

Edited by DonAthos
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...