Journal of Controversial Ideas

(ISSN: 2694-5991) Open Access Journal
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Controversial Ideas 2021, 1(1), 7; doi: 10.35995/jci01010007

A Puzzle about Self-Sacrificing Altruism

1 Department of Philosophy, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 Sep 2020 / Revised: 8 Jan 2021 / Accepted: 7 Mar 2021 / Published: 25 Apr 2021
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I present a puzzle concerning individual self-sacrificing altruism (SSA) that, to the best of my knowledge, has not been considered before. I develop an argument that challenges the common sense attitudes towards self-sacrificial altruism in typical, paradigmatic cases. I consider SSA involving sacrificing one’s life for other human beings, focusing, for the sake of simplicity, on saving a single person. We have reasons to think that many paradigmatic acts of SSA may, on reflection, be irrational, that typical moral heroes are mistaken, that dispositional self-sacrificers should perhaps resist their good urges to keep saving people, and that the enchantments of heroism should regularly be resisted.
Keywords: self-sacrifice; supererogation; altruism; moral calculation; romanticism; moral paradoxes; crazy ethics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
Smilansky, S. A Puzzle about Self-Sacrificing Altruism. Controversial_Ideas 2021, 1, 7.
Smilansky S. A Puzzle about Self-Sacrificing Altruism. Journal of Controversial Ideas. 2021; 1(1):7.
Smilansky, Saul. 2021. "A Puzzle about Self-Sacrificing Altruism." Controversial_Ideas 1, no. 1: 7.
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