How to Dissuade an Altruist
Jun 30, 2012
Every conclusion one reaches is conditioned by a certain context of knowledge, a context ordinarily consisting of a number of premises. In any intellectual discussion, therefore, we must consider our audience’s cognitive context. What then must we consider when trying to dissuade altruists? What are the premises conditioning a belief in the virtue of sacrifice and the evil of selfishness? More important, what is the hierarchical order in which we must address and refute those premises? And what kinds of concrete illustrations are required? Mr. Schwartz had to answer these questions in preparing to write his soon-to-be completed book on altruism, “The Tyranny of Need.” In this lecture, he explains how he chose the central points presented in his book and why he rejected various alternatives. He shows what Objectivists should take as the audience’s context if they want to make a convincing case against altruism and for egoism.