The “Ethics of Emergencies” is an essay published in “The Virtue of Selfishness.” It addresses two main issues: how to think about ethical problems, and when. The first is that this chapter was not written by Ayn Rand. Usually, this would not be especially important, since she did include it in the book. 1 Tara Smith, Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist (New York: . Rand’s essay “The Ethics of Emergencies”13 as discussing “the status of rights.

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raand The first is that there are beggarsand they are not in their predicament necessarily because they did not employ reason and selfishness enough, and are therefore not necessarily responsible for their having to beg.

However, one serious point of departure I have with philosopher Ayn Rand springs from her essay ‘The Ethics of Emergencies.

The Ethics of Emergencies | SOLO – Sense of Life Objectivists

All of reality though- of which chaos and strife and emergency are as much a part as peace and normalcy. We’ve a Universe of challange to cope with by the instrument of our philosophy. Rand also suggests that if you must steal in order to survive, then once life has returned to normal, you should make restitution to the owner. Aristotle versus Rand, Objectivist Studies, no. Objectivist principles are based on a benevolent universe – one where life is possible, and where you can make long-term decisions.

Wadsworth Publishing Company,p.

Ayn Rand: The Ethics of Emergencies

University of Notre Dame Press,p. I believe that she is as guilty as anyone for perpetuating this dichotomy, as I have already argued and will not dwell on further, here. Men can live on land, but not in water or in a raging fire. Ayn Rand’s philosophy would, but energencies this essay, be bunk. Your first post is, consciously I suppose, pure emotive rhetoric well, and an amusing cartoon.

You’re expected to learn the lesson of the conflict, and decide on a method of conduct that conforms to it. Create new account Request new password. This is because an emergency presents an entirely different context to our everyday existence. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Comment viewing options Flat list – collapsed Flat list – expanded Threaded list – collapsed Threaded list – expanded Date – newest first Date – oldest first 10 comments per page 30 comments per page 50 comments per page 70 comments per page 90 comments per page comments per page comments per page comments per page comments per page Select your preferred way to display the comments and click “Save settings” to activate your changes.


Log In Sign Up. Normal application to philosophy MUST function unless the premise is that the philosophy does not fulfil sthics function. Rand explains that for men hit by an emergency, “their only task is to return to those conditions under which their lives can continue”.

There are two problems here. And there is one reality and one correct metaphysics of reason! This sounds, to me, like love being based on whether the object of said feeling happens to have the amazing characteristics I have. I’m ready for emeregncies AND I’m ready for war. Or would one need to struggle against such a regime in the light of the moral values and virtues proper to free men? There’s a few variants, but essentially the story is that you’re stuck on any lifeboat with some other people, and there’s not enough water for everyone to survive the trip to shore.

I don’t actually consider any of my views as being dissenting of Objectivism. Predicate your philosophy on a Universe of peace and calm without factoring in hell and chaos?

Emergencifs the question in the Objectivist literature is whether Rand intended for the scope of moral principles to be universal with special application to such non-standard casesor limited to the standard cases implying that one steps outside the realm of morality when ayh with liars, thugs, or emergency situations. Again, unless someone is already predisposed towards empathy, Objective Ethics can only lead to rationalized selfish behavior.

Finally, an intriguing Appendix addresses the subtler aspects of Objectivist value theory in a discussion of egoistic friendship. I am not sure who would argue with this. Only certain moral principles. If life was hellish, and the universe unpredictable – all the time – then how could Objectivism help you? I would argue that her reaction to this is to paint the world as fundamentally fair, which is equally problematic.

There’s nothing in my philosophy that doesn’t hold up to hell or high water. Well, perhaps not the first sentence, but the rest is right on. It means that if life were like that normally, it would be impossible.


It is not that there is some separate end called happiness that one chases, causing everything else to be a mere instrument to the attainment of that end. In fact, normal morality does not apply at all in an emergency – defined in “The Ethics of Emergencies” as “an unchosen, unexpected event, limited in time, that creates conditions under which human survival is impossible”.

If Objectivism is no use to us at those times then what good is Objectivism now? There may be a disharmony of interests, or it may be impossible to maintain your life by your own effort, for example. A sociopath who followed Ayn Rand would have no reason to help a person being attacked, robbed, etc. Well that shut you up Submitted by Rick Giles on Sun, To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: The demands of the reality-oriented virtue of independence require each person to figure out with his own mind what is true.

McGraw- Hill,p. She also didn’t say – as you seem to imply – that philosophy does not apply. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

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Is there or is there not one reality and is there or is there not one metaphysic of reason? But according to you the first axiom of the universe which is Existence Exists is not valid! And emergenies to this supreme law of reality, the final say on this earth is always had by the highest. In our experience, it almost always is. Give me a break!

Seeking answers to these if can lead one to focus on sub-themes or to dwell on the narrative of a particular character in which one is interested, which easily distracts one from the underlying philosophical ideas that explain the larger context of conflict, choice, and character.

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