07 August 2010

Worthy of study?

I’ve abstracted this from the context that inspired it because I think the abstract situation is more interesting that the specifics of one instance.

The Actor (in the general sense of “someone who does something”) thinks that their Activity is not worthy of study. They request that, upon their death, the Artifacts of their Activity be destroyed. An Observer, however, feels that the Activity is worthy of study. They work to try to preserve those Artifacts.

Let’s further assume that there is something significant about this particular Actor that distinguishes them from any other actors.

There are two aspects of this I wonder about: Selfishness and right versus wrong. (And what does this say about the rightness or wrongness of selfishness?)

Is the Observer’s desire to preserve those Artifacts against the Actor’s wishes selfish? Is it wrong for the Observer to take action to preserve them?

Is the Actor’s desire to have those Artifacts destroyed selfish? Is it wrong for the Actor to put into place measures that would hinder the Observer’s attempt to pursue their own activity of choice, studying the Actor’s Activity through studying those Artifacts?