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Ethics And Emergencies Essay

967 words - 4 pages

Ayn Rand was a prolific and very popular author. Her engaging philosophy has captured the minds of many students and professionals. Because Rand has written both fiction and philosophical essays, her influence has been felt in very different ways. For some she has provided an inspiring vision of a society of liberty and individualism through her fiction, particularly Atlas Shrugged. For others she has provided the main thrust of a philosophical justification for the advocacy of liberty and individualism. (1) Many readers are shocked to find a twentieth-century author who advocates moral absolutes with the vigor Rand does. She stands in sharp contrast to our culture of relativism. She opposes ...view middle of the document...

It is only to living entities that something may be good or evil.
All living organisms need sustenance and the actions appropriate for attaining it. Actions appropriate in this context are those that sustain the life of the entity. The entity's life is the standard for all such actions. That which is required for the survival of a living organism is determined by its nature. In this it has no choice. Then life may be viewed as the ultimate value, an end in itself, against which all other values and actions are judged proper or not. This is how Rand believes she has bridge the chasm between is and ought, that which an entity is determines what actions ought to be had. But there are some who are irrational and unproductive, these are the parasites. In order for them to survive they loot the goods of others. They may employ force or fraud. They deny their nature as human beings, productive human beings. In this they employ the methods of animals. But just as animals could not exist if they employed the methods of plants, so humans cannot exist by employing the methods of animals. If this keeps on their lives will be shortened.
For every individual human, his or her individual life is an end in itself. It is the ultimate value. To sacrifice it for any lesser value is evil. But just as humans may act toward their own destruction, so they must choose their own values, goals, and actions in order to maintain their lives. The three cardinal values are reason, purpose, and self-esteem. These correspond to the three cardinal virtues of rationality, productivity, and pride. At certain times it is clear that Rand is referring to human individuals. For example, when she writes, "The Objectivist ethics holds man's life as the standard of value, and his own life as the ethical purpose...

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