Objectivism

Helping others is not explicitly prohibited in Objectivist philosophy: it is just not considered the highest moral good, in contrast to acting in one’s own, personal self-interest. It should be noted that acting in self-interest can result in assisting others indirectly: for example, in a capitalist society, my desire to sell a product and a consumer’s desire to purchase a product frequently result in both individuals benefiting from this exchange. But this is not the ultimate purpose and goal of the capitalist exchange. People may also help others to make themselves feel better but Rand regards this impulse as inferior to self-interested actions such as creating art or working to sustain one’s business.

Although in theory helping the poor is not banned in the Objectivist philosophy, all of Ayn Rand’s writings show profound mistrust of altruistic impulses and question the idea that helping the weakest members of society achieves any meaningful moral purpose. In The Fountainhead, the desire of architect Howard Roark to make great buildings is shown as antithetical to the need to create buildings that help the poor survive (Badhwar & Long 2015). Survival of the self is the greatest good, according to Rand. While conventional moral conceptions of capitalism suggest that self-interest results in benefits for all — for example, that Roark’s desire to live as an architect and make buildings would benefit both himself and others, in Rand’s view, the greatness of Roark must ultimately be distilled from any supposed benefits for others outside of the marketplace. The project Roark is contracted to create is evil because it is a housing project that is designed for the public good and does not realize his individual artistic vision. Those who wish to help the poor, in Rand’s view, either do so because they are covering up their real socialist agenda like Ellsworth Toohey or who, like Peter Keating, do so out of their inability to resist societal conventions and celebrate their own superiority and ambitions (Badhwar & Long 2015).

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PART 2: Laura Nash

Nash’s method reviews both the collective and individual implications of the ethical decision. Certain aspects of the problem-solving method like defining the problem accurately and looking at it from the ‘other side of the fence’ seem like common ‘good sense.’ Deciding who will receive a heart transplant, for example, would involve listing the pros and the cons of the benefits to the potential…

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