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
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
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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.