Valuing a Human Life

Written on June 2, 2013. Written by .

Can you put a price on a human life? This is a question that a lot of people have trouble answering honestly. They say “no”, but their actions say “yes”. In this video, Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman explains how people put a price on their own lives when buying cars. (It’s important to […]

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Moral Relativism

Written on October 30, 2010. Written by .

Humans are hedonization machines. According to the heirarchy of value, all values stem from the pleasure and pain of experience, and these values are our only fundamental guide to action. However, this is not always evident because we often act based on principle or investment. But if you think back to when that principle was […]

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An Interview with Ayn Rand

Written on July 26, 2009. Written by .

The following interview is fictitious, but is based entirely on quotations by Ayn Rand herself (see citations at the end). To the best of my knowledge, none of the quotations are taken grossly out of context. cspice: Your philosophy of Objectivism is based on self-interest. Would you say then, that you are a type of […]

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Freelancing

Written on March 17, 2009. Written by .

There are basically three ways to legally make money: you can be an employee, an entrepreneur, or a freelancer. From a moral point of view, these can be seen approximately as exploitee, exploiter, and the ideal worker (here I am using “entrepreneur” to mean someone who employs others). The concept of employment is inherently problematic. […]

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Initiation of Force vs. Victimization

Written on January 24, 2009. Written by .

New York Supreme Court Laying down the law. Photo courtesy of wallyg The term “initiation of force” comes up a lot in libertarian philosophy because it is the fundamental concept behind the non-agression principle, which states that the initiation of force is inherently illegitimate. Note that the word “initiation” is important because it allows the […]

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Prescriptive Philosophy

Written on August 30, 2008. Written by .

Abandoned Religion The prescriptive-descriptive question. Photo courtesy of Brandon Brubaker The spicy lifestyle morality states that one should maximize expected subjective life quality, subject to no additional constraints. Initially this seems like crazy advice. Almost every well-known moral philosophy has some explicit provision to prevent people from engaging in crime and violence. Even Objectivism, which […]

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Prostitution and Employment

Written on July 21, 2008. Written by .

Strip Club Some moral considerations. Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk Once when I was at a strip club in Mexico, I accidentally smiled at one of the strippers after she caught me looking at her. She walked over and sat down next to me thinking that I was interested in her services. I didn’t turn […]

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Voluntary Exploitation

Written on May 24, 2008. Written by .

Old Factory Worker Is it possible for a person to be exploited without the use of force? Photo courtesy of Yuliia Eric The dictionary says that exploitation means taking advantage of someone in an unfair way. Let’s consider an example. Suppose it requires two carpenters to build a house and that the opportunity to work […]

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Liability

Written on May 19, 2008. Written by .

Bugati Veyron If you accidentally damaged this car, should you have to pay for it? Photo courtesy of Mike Mertz Recently I was on a run in Bel Air and I noticed there was a car that was worth about an order of magnitude more than my net assets parked on the side of the […]

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