Obligations to Help Others in Need
Webcast Q&A: Sunday, 27 November 2011, Question 2
In the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on 27 November 2011, I answered a question on obligations to help others in need.
Do we have an obligation to help others in need? Many people think that the need of others creates an obligation to help. Is that right or wrong? Why? When should a person help others?
My Answer, In Brief: All the arguments for moral obligations based on need fail. Every person's life – and hence, every person's needs – are his own responsibility. Moral obligations arise from a person's choices, and ought to be based on shared values and interests, not mere need.
- Download: MP3 Segment
- Duration: 17:38
To automatically download new podcast episodes to your computer, subscribe to the podcast feed of Philosophy in Action:
- Altruism: The Morality of Logical Fallacies and The Creed of Sacrifice vs. The Land of Liberty by Craig Biddle
- The Objectivist Ethics in The Virtue of Selfishness and "Causality Versus Duty" in Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand
- Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer
- Helping a Stranger in an Emergency on Philosophy in Action
- Should you help a man who's dying in front of you? on Objectivist Answers
Support Philosophy in Action
Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love producing every episode, but each requires requires our time, effort, and money – week in and week out. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.
Thank you, if you've contributed to Philosophy in Action! You make our work possible every week, and we're so grateful for that!
If you enjoy Philosophy in Action, please help us spread the word about it! Tell your friends about upcoming broadcasts by forwarding our newsletter. Link to episodes or segments from our topics archive. Share our blog posts, podcasts, and events on Facebook and Twitter. Rate and review the podcast in iTunes (M4A and MP3). We appreciate any and all of that!
About Philosophy in Action Radio
I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My dissertation defended moral responsibility and moral judgment against the doubts raised by Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer four meaty questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of practical importance.
If you join us for the live broadcasts, you can ask follow-up questions and make comments in the text-based chat. Otherwise, you can listen to the podcast by subscribing to our Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the show archives, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].