September 17, 2007

Hide Your Women! The Altruists Aren't Raping People Again!

Colin McGinn has a post up on his blog which he believes decisively refutes ethical egoism as a rational system of ethics.

His argument consists of saying that ethical egoism is "rubbish." That sort of argument would never have passed in any of the philosophy classes I've taken, so it's needless to say that those of us who support ethical egoism are left unsatisfied with his ill-founded self-satisfaction.

Diana has been calling him to the mat on the discussion. I threw a tiny comment in there, too.

Impressively, it seems like most of the discussion pretty civil --although some of the comments are really quite ridiculous -- which is more than can be said of most of these sorts of exchanges that I see on the global intarwebs.

Update: In case you're confused, the title of this post refers to the shockingly common strawman that altruists often throw up -- Mr. McGinn does not fail -- that if it weren't for the morality of altruism, people would just go about raping people as it suits them. It frightens me to consider what might happen if these people wake up one day realizing how specious altruistic ethics are.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at September 17, 2007 01:00 PM | TrackBack

If I recall correctly, it was Hank Rearden who said to Fransisco D'Anconia (if not then it was the other way 'round) that he thought the key to a man's character lies not so much in knowing how he handles exceptional situations as it does in knowing what he chooses to pursue for joy, i.e. the normal order of things.

It is scarily interesting that the proponents of altruism who claim that altruism is the check on their impluses toward mayhem and violent crime. Is that what they consider to be the most satisfying pursuit of pleasure and joy? If so, then what an indictment of their characters!

Posted by: Rachel at September 17, 2007 04:49 PM


Which is worse, the wolf in sheep's clothing or the undisguised wolf; the altruist or the naked predator?

Posted by: Rachel at September 17, 2007 04:54 PM

If I weren't convinced that they're ugly people, I would definitely say that I prefer them naked, but as things stand I would just prefer they be honest and upfront about being evil.

Posted by: Flibbert at September 17, 2007 05:00 PM

"If I weren't convinced that they're ugly people, I would definitely say that I prefer them naked,"

LOL! :)

Posted by: Ergo at September 18, 2007 01:05 AM
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