Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
idobox
Posts: 1591
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:54 pm UTC
Location: Marseille, France

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby idobox » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:31 pm UTC

leady wrote:Yes intent is critical (animals aren't moral entities for example), but for the cp discussion you can be responsible without intent.

Personally I don't think good and evil are a single axis - I think thats D&Ds contribution to society :).

Morality in animals is a very different subject, but I don't think we're very special in that regard. Mammal pets know when they've done something wrong.

And the one axis thing is a simplification, sure, but a useful one. We take into consideration future harm vs immediate good, proximity of recipients and a lot of other things, but in the end, we sort options from worst to best.
If there is no answer, there is no question. If there is no solution, there is no problem.

Waffles to space = 100% pure WIN.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:01 pm UTC

idobox wrote:Am I the only one who thinks morality has little to do with the effects, and more with the intention.

In short, it doesn't matter if your actions actually help or harm people, what matters is if you try to help or harm. Of course it's better to actually help, but that's not what makes it moral. And being moral means choosing the option you believe to be the highest on the good/bad spectrum.


Nah.

Someone who's trying to do good things, but who invariably ends up with bad outcomes is...not going to be viewed very positively by those around him, and in fact, might well even develop a very negative view of his own actions. Such a situation is clearly not good or desirable(and in this case, the individual involved needs to take a harsh look at the methods he's using to achieve his ends).

Hell, most people have pretty good justifications in their minds for their actions, and almost everyone thinks of themselves as good, even if they're willing to do bad things to achieve those good ends. That doesn't make them actually good.

User avatar
VannA
White
Posts: 1446
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:57 am UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby VannA » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:47 pm UTC

Moral responsibility comes with prediction of consequences, not with intent.

Did you act with the prediction of good consequences, but was wrong? Then you're good, but foolish.
Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.

HungryHobo
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:28 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, it judges goodness differently. According to your system, if everyone else took slaves...and you did too, but treated them better than average, you would be a good person.

That's...problematic for many. It does end up looking rather a lot like relativism, so it's going to share it's flaws.


That's not what it would mean at all. Taking/buying slaves is an explicit action, not inaction and it's morality is not effected in the slightest.

I'm not saying that all actions are to be judged relative to other people: only inaction. that the default isn't nothing getting done, the default is the most likely outcome would have been had you not existed.

not acting when most others would can mean a worse outcome than had you never existed. that you existing and being a useless lump can make the world a worse place for others.

inheriting slaves might be problematic if you stuck to inaction and continued to own slaves but then that's problematic in your own "doing nothing can never be immoral" approach.

Not having a distinct person to pin it down to is basically going to make any such projection undefined, because the variation between human action is pretty great.


You can't say anything explicit about what any one person would do. you can however say things about probabilities. You have no idea exactly who would have bought your house but you can take a fairly reasonable guess about whether they'd be more likely to act or not.

Suzaku wrote:On the other hand, if you mean to say that you should try to be better than the current average on some fixed scale, then I completely agree and the only remaining discussion is what scale should be used.


My post only deals with his argument about inaction never being anything except morally neutral. it says nothing about actually taking actions.

I argue that inaction isn't always morally neutral when the majority would actually do something good because the basis of the argument is that had you not existed then they'd be no better off.

He uses a comparison to the null case: him not existing. but then he doesn't actually compare it to him not existing but rather with a void filling the space he does in life excluding others.

Under a comparison to you never existing :If the guy next to you on the bus collapses and you think "screw him, not my problem" and sit quietly letting him die that isn't morally neutral when the most likely outcome had you never existed is that whoever took the seat instead would have raised the alarm.

I don't actually subscribe to the belief that comparison to the null case should be the basis, I believe inaction can be morally wrong beyond that point but I'm just pointing out the hole in the argument that inaction can only be morally neutral on the basis that it's equivilent to you not existing.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby leady » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:12 am UTC

VannA wrote:Moral responsibility comes with prediction of consequences, not with intent.

Did you act with the prediction of good consequences, but was wrong? Then you're good, but foolish.


You also need to throw in that the actions themselves have to be moral, purely defining morality based on consequences (particularly predicted consequences) has a lot of bad scenarios

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby leady » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:39 am UTC

Kind of an aside but there is no inactive way to own slaves, because by its very definition slavery is involuntary.

Heres another way to argue the null example, if you personally help someone in the here and now, thats say 30 minutes of your time you could have been working to save 50 people out of sight (clean drinking water being what 10p a day ?). Again if inaction is immoral, then clearly prioritising 1 immediate intervention vs 50 out of sight is significantly less moral - assuming you agree that proximity can't be a good basis for morality. That way leads to everyone is evil all the time without exception because it has an infinite standard of "not immoral"

HungryHobo
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:01 pm UTC

leady wrote:Kind of an aside but there is no inactive way to own slaves, because by its very definition slavery is involuntary.


You could inherit slaves or shares in a company which owned slaves. passively, while you sleep, taking no action yourself.


leady wrote:That way leads to everyone is evil all the time without exception because it has an infinite standard of "not immoral"


You say that as if the fact that a lot of people would be considered immoral is a proof that it isn't the case.

Lets try a similar example: is slavery immoral? yes.
is living off the proceeds of slavery or supporting slavery immoral? it would have to be.

yet there's few things that aren't somehow tainted by slavery, particularly older things but even new products somewhere along the line you'll find some number of slaves. it might be the mines where some metal comes from, the plantations where the fibres for something was grown or swetshops where the product is assembled. there's still a lot of slaves around the world and very little is done about it.

Does that imply that almost everyone is to a greater or lesser extent not totally moral? yes.
Is that a proof that the basis, slavery or supporting slavery being immoral, is wrong? of course not.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

User avatar
idobox
Posts: 1591
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:54 pm UTC
Location: Marseille, France

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby idobox » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:56 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
idobox wrote:Am I the only one who thinks morality has little to do with the effects, and more with the intention.

In short, it doesn't matter if your actions actually help or harm people, what matters is if you try to help or harm. Of course it's better to actually help, but that's not what makes it moral. And being moral means choosing the option you believe to be the highest on the good/bad spectrum.


Nah.

Someone who's trying to do good things, but who invariably ends up with bad outcomes is...not going to be viewed very positively by those around him, and in fact, might well even develop a very negative view of his own actions. Such a situation is clearly not good or desirable(and in this case, the individual involved needs to take a harsh look at the methods he's using to achieve his ends).

Hell, most people have pretty good justifications in their minds for their actions, and almost everyone thinks of themselves as good, even if they're willing to do bad things to achieve those good ends. That doesn't make them actually good.


What I'm saying is morality isn't about how people see you, being moral is trying to do what you think is good. Sometimes, what's moral, and what's good are different, because of your inability to achieve your goals. If you help someone who had an accident, but because you're not trained end up harming him, you did a moral thing with a bad outcome. If you were more competent, you would have known that you shouldn't have touched the person, but that's not a question of morality.
And every body has a ethical code they betray regularly. Every time I walk by an homeless person and don't help, I feel bad about myself, but I value my money and free time more than my ethical code here.
If there is no answer, there is no question. If there is no solution, there is no problem.

Waffles to space = 100% pure WIN.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:04 pm UTC

Morality is what you do, not what you feel.

Hitler comparisons are tempting at this point...but if morality is merely about if YOU feel you're moral...well, then morality is entirely subjective, and not really worth mentioning. Anyone can say they're moral or immoral with no further justification, and the word loses meaning.

HungryHobo
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Hitler comparisons are tempting at this point...but if morality is merely about if YOU feel you're moral...well, then morality is entirely subjective, and not really worth mentioning. Anyone can say they're moral or immoral with no further justification, and the word loses meaning.


You assume that it has to be by the persons own measure of morality.
Someone could subscribe to a moral system in which it's immoral to help persecuted gays but help them anyway while thinking themselves a bad person (for betraying the motherland or whatever)but still be moral by our standards because they intend to help. Even if they're caught and fail to help we'd still judge them moral for the intention no matter the outcome.

You seem to imply that because hitler thought himself to be doing good that qualifies. it's not the desire to do good (by your own standards) which is the factor, it's the desire to do an act which we would classify as good which makes the difference.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

leady
Posts: 1592
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby leady » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:16 pm UTC

You could inherit slaves or shares in a company which owned slaves. passively, while you sleep, taking no action yourself.


and the instant you inherit them unless you continue to actively enslave them they are by default free - therefore direct slavery is always an active immoral action.

yet there's few things that aren't somehow tainted by slavery, particularly older things but even new products somewhere along the line you'll find some number of slaves. it might be the mines where some metal comes from, the plantations where the fibres for something was grown or sweatshops where the product is assembled. there's still a lot of slaves around the world and very little is done about it.


Just not true and you know it. Sure in a lot of the world the choices are turd and turder, i.e. choice of sweatshop or backbreaking subsistence farming - but that is not slavery. Hell how could you live in modern society if you thought that? or with yourself?

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:54 pm UTC

Perhaps it would be helpful to distinguish between categories like:

  • The permissibility of an action or omission
  • The virtue of an agent who performs an action or omission
  • The blame- or praiseworthiness of an agent who performs in action or omission
instead of just calling all of them "morality" and talking past one another for pages and pages.

This probably goes for every other thread on ethics in this forum, for that matter.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

HungryHobo
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Re: Capital Punishment/Death Penalty [Philosophy]

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:49 am UTC

leady wrote:Just not true and you know it.


what's your slavery footprint?

http://slaveryfootprint.org/survey/

http://www.beckybrasfield.com/wp-conten ... lavery.jpg

There's still tens of millions of slaves worldwide doing many of the worst jobs.

leady wrote:Hell how could you live in modern society if you thought that? or with yourself?


The same way people live with not acting to help others in any other case. they're not there in front of you, you're not doing it directly and personally you can't make it stop.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests