Applying the virtue of selfishness in 3 - Ethics Posted January 3, 2019 Hi @Jon Letendre, My argument (perhaps it wasn't clear enough) was that it only makes sense to think "middle-long-term", not "really-long-term", since if in the long-term consciousness doesn't survive, then values cannot apply in the really-long-term. I don't think that your points negate that. Quote 2) Lifespan suggests an extent of and the contours of planning and thinking, but I don’t agree that mortality makes them impossible. One can act for the future by say, fixing a leak in one’s roof. The happiness comes later, living with a perfect roof. Yet one contemplates that future happiness and is happy right then, while performing the work. Even if this is correct, it rests on the notion that future happiness will come. If consciousness doesn't survive the death of the body, then there is no future happiness to contemplate. Quote And one can envision the future and be happy or unhappy with how things will be even after death. If one has friends, loved ones, children, then one can have definite, present–day preferences for the future even though one will not themselves be there. So, one might replace their roof although they will enjoy only a fraction of said new roof’s lifespan — knowing this will be their children’s home and having preferences for how things will be for their children. But human lifespan does suggest a limit. If we and our friends lived for a thousand years then we could know our great, great, great, (insert about 40 more greats) grandchildren. We would care how the world is going to look in 3019, even though the doctor says we will certainly die in 2019. In the above paragraphs you do not refute my point, but just extend the length of the "middle" period. Perhaps the "middle" period does not end with one's immediate life, but ends with the life of friends and relatives. It is nevertheless true that with their death, meaning does end. So it doesn't make sense to think "really-long-term". Quote c) No, not always. For example, the principle of avoiding theft is overcome by self–preservation when I am lost in the woods and find your stocked cabin. 1) A question from daily-life : how do you decide in daily-life when to act by principle and when not? 2) A philosophic question : how do you define "a principle"? If a principle is not something to always abide by, what is the demarcation between a principle and between something you adapt for convenience's sake? Suppose I assert that there is just a difference of degree between the scenario in the OP, and the scenario of being lost in the woods and finding a cabin. It is not easy to fight alone against the state; not everybody can do it. And some people would be able to survive in the woods in a Robinson-Crusoe style without stealing. Is there anything you could reply to that? I understand what the definition of an absolute principle would be. An absolute principle would apply in each and every situation. I understand how would not having absolute principles be defined. But you seem to assert that a principle is something you sometimes abide by. Let's go again to the scenario in the OP. Suppose a person gave the name of the leaders to the authorities. He would argue that he does act on principles, only in this specific case it did not apply. What would you say to him \ to us? I think the idea of acting by principle is a good one. But its philosophical justification is very unclear to me. I will read sometime the book by Branden, perhaps then we can discuss it further.