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North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Philosophy: Ethics (Morality). Where Does It Come From?

Philosophy: Ethics (Morality). Where Does It Come From?

Old T.
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 1,037
[Metaphysics and epistemology] are the theoretical foundation of philosophy. The third branch — ethics — may be regarded as its technology. Ethics does not apply to everything that exists, only to man, but it applies to every aspect of man's life: his character, his actions, his values, his relationship to all of existence. Ethics, or morality, defines a code of values to guide man's choices and actions — the choices and actions that determine the course of his life.

… you cannot know what you should do until you know the nature of the universe you deal with, the nature of your means of cognition — and your own nature. Before you come to ethics, you must answer the questions posed by metaphysics and epistemology: Is man a rational being, able to deal with reality — or is he a helplessly blind misfit, a chip buffeted by the universal flux? Are achievement and enjoyment possible to man on earth — or is he doomed to failure and disaster? Depending on the answers, you can proceed to consider the questions posed by ethics: What is good or evil for man — and why? Should man's primary concern be a quest for joy — or an escape from suffering? Should man hold self-fulfillment — or self-destruction — as the goal of his life? Should man pursue his values — or should he place the interests of others above his own? Should man seek happiness — or self-sacrifice?

—Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It?
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