Monday, February 8, 2010

Kant and the Holocaust

By Hanno

After last weeks discussion, I wanted to investigate the Kantian response to the Gestapo argument. It may be, perhaps, that Dr. Furman's and Dr. Thomason's moral views are radically different than mine, that our intuitions are so far off, there is nothing really to discuss. That in and of itself raises some interesting questions about how philosophy works: what are the conditions under which discussion is fruitful? When does it descend into two ships passing in the night?

On the other hand, my colleagues could suffering from what my professors at Penn called "being caught in the gripes of a philosophical position." This means that someone has been working so long with a view that they stick to the implications of the view in the face of obvious counter intuitive results. They either bite the bullet, and accept the absurdity, or pretend to bite the bullet, and maintain what they no longer really believe. They remain consistent, but consistency is easy. Truth? Not so much.

So here we have the argument: it is 1941, Eastern Galicia. Jews in Jewish neighborhoods are routinely rounded up and shot. People who talk to them are shot. People who help them are shot. People in Germany may not have known yet what is happening. But no one in any community with a substantial number of Jews in the former state of Poland, or the newly conquered territory in the Ukraine, Russia, Belorussia, the Latvian states, etc., can have any doubts.

And here are two real examples, not made up for phil 201: "Not far from Trembowla, in a small town of Budzananow, a Roman Catholic Priest, Father Ufryjewicz, saved a whole Jewish family by baptizing them and giving them baptismal certificates, and forging his parish records in such a way that he created for them a complete set of Christian forebears. With false identities that he had created they were able to move from place to place, away from those who might know their real identities, and thus to survive.

In Turka, on the eve of deportation of the Jews in August 19442, sister Jadwiga, a nun who was also the head nurse of the local hospital, hid 12 year old Lidia Klieman in the cubicles of the men's bathroom, which was used as a broom closet. Lidia stayed hidden in the hospital for several weeks. Sister Jedwiga put her in a Catholic orphanage under the care of Sister Blanka Piglowska, who knew she was Jewish. When a suspicion arose in the orphanage that Lidia might be Jewish, it was Sister Blanka who obtained new false papers for her with a new name, Maria Wolosyznska. She then transferred the girl to another orphanage where the mother superior was hiding many Jewish girls. ... Lidia's mother had been denounced to the Gestapo while traveling on false papers, arrested and killed."

I use both of these examples, there are many others, because it is clear the people doing the rescuing had to lie, lie often and frequently, to save the lives of these girls, whose only 'crimes' were that they were Jewish.

On my own intution, these people, called the righteous among the nations, a title bestowed on Non-Jewish people who act righteously, and used now to designate people who put there lives on the line to save Jews with benefit to themselves, are heroes. They have 'moral courage,' the courage to do the right thing even if it may mean, and frequently did mean, very bad things will happen if discovered. I regard these actions as truly morally good and praiseworthy. Indeed, I wish I possessed that sort of courage, and hope never to be placed in a situation where the limits of my own moral courage are tested.

Now on Dr. Furman's account, because these people had to lie to save the lives of the innocent, they are not righteous at all, but are doing something wrong. To lie is always wrong. Our duty to save lives is 'imperfect' meaning it does not always apply. Only when the means are moral ought we do our imperfect duty. Since lying is against a perfect duty, it is wrong. These people, therefore, are not doing something praiseworthy and admirable, but morally wrong. they ought to have told the truth, that the girls and families in question were Jewish. It is true that they will all most likely perish, but that changes nothing. Bad things can happen when you cat morally.

I have no idea why he insists that lying is always bad, unless he sticks to it because lying fails the categorical imperative, that is, the maxim 'If I want x, I ought to lie' cannot be consistently universalized. That is, it is wrong because Kant says so. But I simply refuse to believe that TMF really believes the priest and the Sisters ought to have told the truth, that they would be doing the right thing if they had told the truth, but have in fact done something bad.

On my view if there is a day of judgment, it is the Righteous among the Nations who will have good things happened to them, not the truth tellers. If you really disagree, then our intuitions are so far from each other, there is little to discuss.

Next Week: Dr. Thomason: Kant's State of Nature Defense.


C. Ewing said...

I don't see the distinction between imperfect and perfect, and perhaps that is my core problem here. Of course, I'm also unclear on how we're supposed to form maxims.

Certainly, lying in order to accomplish X could potentially fail. And? Telling the truth in order to accomplish something could fail. Why can't we just swap out "lie" and "tell the truth" and come up with the same result? Anything used "as a means" can potentially fail in accomplishing its goal. I don't see why lying is the golden measure here.

Of course, holding to one's word (keeping a promise) is a perfect duty as well, right? What if, as I discover later, keeping promise A negates my ability to keep promise B, but I did not know this when the promises were made? I don't see how chronology has anything to do with my obligations, and so it's not clear that I can ignore one or the other simply based on seniority or newness. But I either fail one or I fail both duties. That seems rather lame. Surely, there is some way to determine which promise ought to be kept?

I think there's a lingering phantom of bad in and of itself here. That somehow lying is inherently bad. Surely, if lying is bad only because it fails as a universalized means, then there is some importance related to the consequence. It can't do (get the result) what it's supposed to do (grant the desired end) and that somehow makes it bad? And since obviously the good does not rest upon the consequence for Kant, that seems a little fishy. So there must be something else going on.

Of course, any notion of personal purity or virtue is right out the window. Sure, there are people of such a nature that telling the truth is their first impulse, that aiding others is simply habitual for them, etc., but those people aren't moral, and so virtuous persons are not (at least, automatically) moral persons. As such, that can't work.

But still, it seems like this duty to one's self (not lying, i.e. not sullying one's self with such impropriety) somehow outweighs duty to others. But the self-sacrifice example tosses that under the wheel. How is that not disregarding my own autonomy? How is that not treating my own person, as merely a means to an end? Not only should we not respect such behavior, but it seems it can't be morally allowable. But somehow, again, "I" am a special case "for myself". But I don't know why.

Feel encouraged to critique/correct/rebuke whatsoever strikes your fancy.

9 Finger Willy said...

I feel as if I am being tempted... time permitting I will address these questions and concerns...

For now, consider the following: Is there anything that is impermissible to save the innocent Jewish lives from the evil Nazis? If Hanno believes that there are some actions that are impermissible to save the lives of the innocent Jews then we are not as far apart as he might think, we simply disagree about what sort of acts are out of bounds...

And I can think of other cases that Hanno might find absurd that others would not...

Suppose a Christian must deny her faith to the Nazis to save the Jews. Should she do it? Suppose she does and the Nazis kill her anyway. What do you think God would think of her efforts?

9 Finger Willy said...

BTW: I assume God isn't a consequentialist.

C. Ewing said...

Is there anything that is impermissible to save the innocent Jewish lives from the evil Nazis?

Surely, there must be some actions, which would be impermissible. Fire bombing Dresden to save one family is probably off limits.

My concern is two fold. One: where is the harm of the lie? Or, if not harm, then what evil was done? And two: even if an evil of some sort was committed, why is evil or harm utterly impermissible? The harm of a surgical operation is obvious, but it is not obvious that an amputation is impermissible, especially if it can save the patient's life. Note that saving the life is not guaranteed. But chopping off one's leg surely seems to be a promise of harm. In what ways are the two examples different? Are they importantly different?

Hanno said...

Red herring, red herring, red herring. I'm talking about this case. Your position holds that these people are doing something wrong, or more precisely, that if you admit these people are doing an amazingly good thing, then you will be inconsistent when you judge some other case. To maintain Kant's view, you are willing to accept something absurd.

To say that God is not a consequentialist is just to say that God is on your side. But God is good, all the time. So you are really just saying that you are right. To assume what God does or does not value is to beg the question, unless you show me that God, too, thinks the Priest and the Sisters did the wrong thing. I call Bullshit. If there is a God, it is the Righteous who enjoy his favor. And if not, I dont want His favor.

And I grant others may have different intuitions. So? We have to start somewhere. And I'm not hearing you say your intuition is different than mine. I'm sure some Nazi m*therf*cker thinks the the Priest is roasting in hell. So what?

Hanno said...

c.e. The distinction between perfect and imperfect duties is fleshed out in several ways:

1] Duties which you must always follow vs duties that are good to follow. You ought to be helpful, but it is not required that you are helpful all the time everywhere.

2] Maxims that are logically inconsistent when universalized vs Maxims that are consistent when universalized, but not when actually willed as a universal law: It is consistent to have a law of nature: no one helps those in need. But in so far as everyone needs help at some point, to will such a maxim is inconsistent with your own will at that time.

C. Ewing said...


1. I rather thought it was obvious that I knew that one by how I've been talking.

2. I don't see how that holds with lying in all possible cases. And therein lies my difficulty.

Ex G1:

If I tell a lie in order to get what I want, and we universalize this so that whenever we are wanting something we are lying to get it, we will all lie in order to accomplish goals (universalized). So, instead of an underlying assumption of truth telling (we assume that most people tell the truth, at least most of the time) we wind up with an underlying assumption of falsity, which would surely cripple (or severely lame) our ability to communicate, and that seems like it's self-defeating.

Ex G2:

In scenario A, I will tell lie B, in order to accomplish goal C. Let's say, lying to get a second cookie from that guy on the corner who is giving out free samples (only one per customer, please). Doesn't seem like the same sort of problem will arise. Is it self-defeating or only potentially problematic? Looks like the latter of the two. Seems like I only have an imperfect duty to tell the truth in this case. Hell, the guy might even know you're lying and give you the second cookie any damn way.

And isn't that more like the Jew case?

Krista said...

CE: Aren't you just redescribing G1 in G2? Aren't you lying to get what you want in that case as well? You want a second cookie, you lie to get it, and claim that everyone should be allowed to do the same thing. But, in both cases what you want is to be the exception to the rule: you don't want everyone to get a second cookie because then there won't be cookies left for you. You want everyone else to only take one so that you can get more than your share. The self-defeating part is that you want to break the rule while at the same time keeping the rule in tact (that's the only way you can make yourself an exception). G2 just sounds like a more specific version of of the same thing.

C. Ewing said...

G2 just sounds like a more specific version of of the same thing.

Thank you! By the Gods, we have not yet passed in the night!

And that's precisely my damn point. G1 has no context. Our moral decisions, and thus the formation of maxims (at least in actual usage) are in specific cases, not whisked away to some aetheric Kantian sphere of angelic frivolities and Jungian shades, where the world and its moral agents are somehow shunted to separate compartments and ne're the two shall meet.

As such, G2 seems like a person forming a maxim, whereas G1 seems like some intellectual exercise with no substance. Perhaps, it's a nice little exercise for the process (the nuts and bolts) of forming a maxim, but such is nothing an actual agent could ever be expected to form in the world.

As such, it seems like we have some possibilities here:

1. Lying is a perfect duty, and as such (as per the example, G1) context plays no rule whatsoever in the formation of maxims.
2. Context does play a role, and G1 is just a "how to" example, and not for real world use.
3. Sometimes a given duty is imperfect and sometimes a given duty is perfect. It just depends.

Of course, if "thou shalt not commit suicide" is a perfect duty to one's self, but suicide in particular cases (self-sacrifice) is permissible, then 2/3 seem to be the real contenders, since situational concerns play an obviously pivotal role. Notice, all we need is that self-sacrifice is even permissible, since that would jettison it out of perfect duty status.

Hanno said...

In the actual state of affairs, there is, of course, almost no problem with lying. and that is the difficulty the Kantians use to undercut Humean ethics: the practical effects of lying rarely are bad, bad only for a short time, etc. So if we follow that line of thinking, there is no absolute prohibition against lying, true, but there is almost no prohibition against lying. And even if in actuality lying leads to a bad result, you would have to be wise enough to see that before you could accept that you ought not lie.

Yet telling the truth is the moral thing to do. in some sense they start with that. "Thou shalt not lie" is the primary example of a moral law.

That is why they go to the "aetheric Kantian sphere of angelic frivolities" and deal with consistent when universally maximized maxims as a purely logical feature of maxims.

In your example, you do not show that there are no perfect duties. You point out that there are only potential bad outcomes in G2, and no actual ones. and yet, it seems wrong to lie just to get an extra cookie. If so, actual harm done is not a very good guide to leading the moral life.

Take your tone down. Krista is a Kant scholar, and is trying to communicate to you in a civil way.

C. Ewing said...

Wasn't intended to be offensive or off-putting. My apologies.

Yet telling the truth is the moral thing to do.

In all cases or the proper cases?


The self-defeating part is that you want to break the rule while at the same time keeping the rule in tact (that's the only way you can make yourself an exception).

We can keep the rule intact insofar as people are willing to keep it intact and ignore it insofar as people are willing to ignore it. It seems to make little difference either way.

We can look at the Wal-Mart example with Hume (Hanno's intro example). If every time a cashier makes a small mistake in your favor, you keep it, it makes no real impact on the company or the cashier. Only if we know the cashier will have to pay the difference or be reprimanded does the harm come into play. Then we might second guess ourselves.

Some of us might feel a bit queasy about it, though. And on this I do see the point of the lying protest. But if the issue with maxim formation is on point, then it still seems we run into two obvious cases of direct conflict.

PD1. You have to keep a promise. If we allow exceptions to promises, then we run into the same problem we run into with lying. I have no reason to believe other people will keep their promises, and so the very concept of the promise becomes hollow. A promise that isn't a promise is no promise at all (obviously), and so we wind up with a perfect duty.

However, as Kant points out, we do not have anything even approaching absolute control of events. As such, it's perfectly plausible that we'll have promise A, promise B, and wind up with no way we can potentially keep both. Either, we need a way to determine which promise it kept, which is bizarre since they're both perfect duties and by definition you can't just pick-and-choose which perfect duties you perform, or we need some way to accommodate situational concerns (context) in the formation of our maxims. It's plausible that given the change of scenarios that one of these promise-duties would become imperfect, while the other could remain a perfect-duty, and as such the decision would be made for me.

PD2. Suicide is self-defeating. It disregards your own person as an end in itself and treats you as merely a means to an end. That's simply off limits.

However, if self-sacrifice is permissible, then I am--at least in certain situations, to be defined and justified later--allowed to kill myself. But as such, it seems like I'm disregarding a perfect duty in order to satisfy an imperfect duty. And obviously, we can't do that. However, if context is allowed to come into play, it's plausible that there could be such a situation as my duty to my own life becomes an imperfect duty as opposed to a perfect one, and keeping a promise (a perfect duty) might demand the sacrifice. It might also come down to two imperfect duties competing for my response. Both are more agreeable scenarios.

If PD1/PD2 are on point, then suddenly we're able to do the same sort of move with lying, which means in some cases it might be permissible or even demanded, if we comes across a case where lying is imperfect and runs counter to a perfect duty.

If they are not, then we have a real moral dilemma in the case of PD1, and Kant is just being inconsistent in the case of PD2.

Did that make my concerns and issues of contention more obvious?

Krista said...

In the Groundwork, Kant's prohibition on lying is rather specific. You can't kill yourself if you are miserable with your life. To do that is to put your sensible nature (your happiness) above your moral nature (end-in-itself). In that sense, self-sacrifice is permissible and not inconsistent with the the prohibition against suicide. You're allowed to die for your moral principles, you just can't die for your own happiness. To die for your principles is still to respect your moral self.

Perhaps I'm not clear on the contention about promise-keeping. As Hanno points out, maxims have to have be kept pretty general to maintain consistency, which is why we end up with "don't break promises" without any context. A prohibition on promise-breaking can't be contextual otherwise it isn't really a prohibition.

That doesn't rule out the possibility that you may at some point be forced to break a promise (you cannot be in two places at once even if you promised to go to two events in different places on the same night), but that doesn't mean that what you've done is no longer morally wrong. You've just been put in a situation (perhaps by your own forgetfulness) where you have to do something wrong and that is unfortunate. If you have to decide between promises, other perfect or imperfect duties may help you decide, but you still have to violate the perfect duty in at least one case.

C. Ewing said...

In the Groundwork, Kant's prohibition on lying is rather specific.

Lying or suicide? You follow up with talking about suicide/self-sacrifice, so this may just be a mix-up. You don't mention the lying prohibition throughout the rest of the post. If he does have more detailed comments on lying, I'd like to hear them.

To die for your principles is still to respect your moral self.

So I can disregard my own autonomy (kill myself) if I still hold myself (my principles) in the proper regard? That sounds an awful lot like I can disrespect my own person if I still respect my own person. So if duty to self comes against (as it seems to here) duty to self, how do you decide which duty is the one that contains the "ought"? How do we know when a given principle is worth dying for and when it's too trivial to justify my death? It still seems like we have no way to hedge out the ought when they conflict.

Do imperfect duties play a role? How could they? Imperfect duties can never trump perfect duties. So it's odd that they have decisive weight (though, surely they carry some weight, or they wouldn't be duties at all). Weighing various obligations and duties like some sort of balancing act sounds awfully akin to some sort of utilitarian model, and that can't be right.

If you have to decide between promises, other perfect or imperfect duties may help you decide, but you still have to violate the perfect duty in at least one case.

Violating the perfect duty may wind up being no fault of my own. If other persons in charge of scheduling screw up my schedule for me, it's not like "I" did something wrong. I just got screwed. It seems quite odd that I'm doing something morally wrong, yet my agency is not actually involved in the wrongness. How can simple happenstance make me immoral? Where is my autonomy involved here? Where is the improper act? I didn't commit any wrong action nor even refrain from committing an obligated action by my own devices. Being immoral through coincidence of occurrences seems fishy at best.

Krista said...

Sorry, I did mean 'suicide', not 'lying'.

Autonomy isn't something you have because of your sensible nature; it's a moral quality. But happiness is something we as sensible creatures pursue. My reading of the prohibition of suicide substantively different than that you are using yourself as a means. It's wrong because you are putting your own happiness above everything else, including your moral self. This reading comes from Kant's remarks on radical evil in the Religion, which is where he states that we cannot subordinate our moral selves to our sensible selves. You can disagree with Kant's two-selves view, but our autonomy and our happiness don't originate from the same "self" even though they are found within the same individual.

Scheduling conflicts, particularly those that come about through no doing of your own, do not amount to simultaneous promising. If my husband signs me up for ballroom dancing lessons without my knowledge, that's not the same thing as promising to go ballroom dancing. I assumed you were talking about the promises we take on intentionally -- I'm not sure what an unintentional promise would be. Negotiating a scheduling conflict isn't the same thing as breaking a promise.

There are two cases when you might take on two promises: You make promise A and then you make promise B, knowing that it conflicts with promise A at the time you make it. At that point you're making a false promise (promise B, which you know you can't keep) and you are intentionally violating the perfect duty.

You might also make promise A and then make promise B, not realizing at the time that you can't do both. You realize later that you can't do both and now you must choose which one to keep. No matter what you do you are breaking a promise and that is the wrong thing to do. That doesn't mean you can choose not to do it, especially if keeping both promises would involve being into two different places at the same time. In that sense, you find yourself screwed in that you are doing something wrong in breaking either promise, despite the fact that practically you have to do it. But, just because you have to choose to keep one promise rather than another, it doesn't mean that breaking the other promise is somehow not wrong after all.

C. Ewing said...

But, just because you have to choose to keep one promise rather than another, it doesn't mean that breaking the other promise is somehow not wrong after all.

So we're on the same page. But it still seems like I'm somehow being immoral through absolutely no fault of my own. Thus my question is: how is that even possible? How can I be responsible for this immorality which is bequeathed upon me through sheer happenstance? It's not at all obvious that "I" am culpable. Indeed, prima facie, it seems that I am not.

I made no bad decision. I did not willfully renege on the agreement. In short: the failure in question is not my failure. And it seems not only unfair, but straightforwardly unjust to hold me accountable for a failing which is not my doing. My good will was there. I just lack the ability to follow through, but through no fault of my own.

I was leaning towards the second case. It's rather obvious that a promise made under false pretenses is no promise at all. You'd be intentionally violating your duty because the promise being made was a sham to begin with.

You can disagree with Kant's two-selves view, but our autonomy and our happiness don't originate from the same "self" even though they are found within the same individual.

I'm not at all clear on that usage of "self".

In MoM Kant specifically speaks against suicide in terms of the individual being an end in itself. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with all of his work, and have never read Groundwork, so I can't speak on it.

I also wasn't talking about a conflict between the sensible self and the moral self at all. The issue was when autonomy versus principles comes into play. Certainly, as you stated, autonomy is a moral quality. The principles a person holds would also seem to be part of the moral self. As such, the conflict in question does not lie between the sensible self and the moral self, but between the moral self and the moral self. As such, it doesn't seem like it's an imperfect (sensible/happiness) versus a perfect (duty to your moral self) conflict, but rather a perfect duty (your obligation to yourself as an autonomous being/moral agent/person) versus another perfect duty (your obligation towards the moral principles, which help guide and ground your agency), which is the source of the tension.

And so I'm not sure how you make that decision. Which principles are so intrinsically a part of your moral self that they are perhaps worth the sacrifice? Which situations could arise where that call would have to be made? And in those circumstances, what accompanying imperfect duties and considerations would come into play in order to aid in making that decision?

It can't be that any given principle would be worthy, nor that any given life and death situation would call upon you to make such a choice. But when such a instance occurs, how do you hash it out? It's not obvious that you can. Perhaps, it's ultimately just a lose/lose situation.

C. Ewing said...

After reflecting on the meeting today, I think I have a case I rather like, and would enjoy hearing Krista's response. Other responses, naturally, are also welcome.

Let us say that you're the best man at your best friend's wedding. He asked you to attend. You're holding the rings as is often the case; you helped put together the bachelor party, and all the usual, etc.

The Big Day comes, and you've all arrived early. You're dressed in your tux, and waiting on people to arrive. You're wife is on her way, but she seems to be running late.

You notice that you have a missed call. You check your messages. It seems your wife was in a car accident on the way to the ceremony, and will be prepped for emergency surgery soon. She's asking for you.

Are you obligated to stay at the wedding and perform your duties as promised? This seems to be a true, genuine, absolute promise in the Kantian sense, and not the discussed promise* that Hanno proposed. He's your best friend. This is his wedding day. You agreed to be his best man. That seems like a big deal promise, and not just a "meet me for coffee" kind of promise. Maybe you can flake on coffee. You can't flake on best man duties.

On the other hand, there's your wife. In sickness and in health probably includes something like emergency surgery. Even if there's no explicit agreement of, "I will ditch my best friend's wedding in order to see you before you go into surgery after having a car wreck", it seems to be implied by the simple virtue of being her husband. I don't think this one's a stretch.

However, Krista was right in that in many cases we will hold a grudge, be resentful, upset, etc., when a promise is broken. And, in many cases, it's probably justified. Hanno is also right in that part of friendship is accepting the humanity of our friends, and forgiving their occasional lapses, even--and especially--in cases where it is their fault.

But it doesn't seem like anyone will be upset that you skip the wedding in order to tend to your wife. Indeed, it seems like it will be expected. Actually, it seems like they would be mortified--and here's the kicker--and rightly so, if you decided to not go to your wife (immediately, mind you) and instead stuck to your word to your best friend, and attend the ceremony, fulfilling your best man duties as originally planned.

It's not that you've failed one duty, and oh, shucks, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Now, you have to be immoral and break your promise to your friend in order to keep your commitment to your wife. That doesn't seem like a strong enough statement. Yes, you broke your promise. But it's not immoral. It's not even just permissible that you have done so. You ought to fulfill your duty to your wife, and part of that entails that you ought to break your promise to your best friend.

But this seems like something Kant can't make sense of. You ought to break your word in order to fulfill another duty. You are morally obligated to break one promise. It's not immoral. It's what morality--what your moral duty--actually commands of you.

We can make sense of this on other views. And I'm not going to say these other views will not have their own failings. Surely, they will. But these are the tragedies that befall us in life. It sucks to be this dude. I'm sure he would agree. But we don't need ethical theories to help us navigate cookie thievery. We need moral theories when we're stuck in hard places, making hard choices, and need something to help guide us. We all know not to copy our neighbor's test answers. We don't all know what to do when the doctor is suggesting we pull the plug. In this instance, at least, Kant seems to fail us.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Anonymous said...

engýa pára d'atē = "make a pledge and mischief is nigh"

People are ends unto themselves, and never means to an end. They can change their minds whenever they want. It's not "immoral" to change your mind in light of unanticipated events, although it would be incourteous to change it and not let the person you pledged it to know that you aren't going to keep your pledge.

No pledge should ever be construed as being "unconditional" for subsequent conditions can never be forecast in advance. Dropping dead before fulfilling a pledge is not "immoral."

And just become somwone DIDN'T hide a Jew from the NAZI's doesn't mean that the person is immoral. To EXPECT him to hide a Jew would be immoral. He/they are "ends unto themselves". Kindly allow them the priviledge of making up their own minds.

You "IMMORAL" people must REALLY hate liberty to keep assigning "duties" to people to achieve ends that have little to do with morality. And no, there is no moral duty to preserve the lives of anyone, not even yourself.