Re: PHIL: Extropy, Boundaries and Suicide

Michael Lee Bowling (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 01:12:06 -0500 (EST)

On Tue, 24 Feb 1998, Paul Hughes wrote:

> Darren Reynolds wrote:
> > "True freedom requires a life without boundaries."
> >
> > The introductory message to this list claims that Extropians may have an
> > interest in "rational ethics (ethics for survival and flourishing)". This
> > must surprise a lot of list members, who seem to take a far more
> > libertarian view of ethics. Many here seem to take the view that it's OK to
> > do what you like, so long as you don't harm anyone else. I challenge those
> > people to place a boundary around causing "harm to anyone else". Every
> > action a person takes will affect every other person to some small extent.
> > You can't live your life without causing harm to someone else. All you can
> > do is mitigate the degree of harm whilst promoting your objectives. I for
> > one have an interest in the "rational ethics" declared in the introduction.
> Therefore, even my so called "good" actions could *indirectly* get someone
> killed. I could for example decide to spend a little extra time at home
> kissing my wife. Had I not chosen to do this, I would have driven down main
> street 3 minutes earlier, where I would have forced an otherwise speeding
> driver to slow down, because I was in front of him. Instead, I wasn't there,
> so he was able to speed through the red light where he killed two pedestrians.
I think we should not forget to focus on the fact that the "freedom to do
what you like so long as you don't harm anyone else" also means that
everyone else has the freedom to take measures to prevent inadvertant ill
effects of someone elses actions. Call it the freedom to take
responsibility for ones own safety.

Michael Bowling