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Self-preservation and Happiness

Onkar Ghate

Presented at: Lyceum 1997

Date: Aug 09, 1997

The key to Ayn Rand's revolutionary moral code is that the only objective standard of value is man's life. It is often objected, however, that this means the ultimate end is "mere" physical survival or self-preservation, not the achievement of happiness- and even that a moral code is not necessary for self-preservation, since Bertrand Russell, for example, lived to 98. We will address the following in class: the idea that the course of action demanded by self-preservation, and thus morality, is all-encompassing––and how this is compatible, for example, with Russell living to 98: why self-preservation and the achievement of happiness are not two separate issues but aspects of the same issue: and why this particular confusion is so widespread in today's culture––i.e., the deeper metaphysical and epistemological roots which generate the confusion.



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