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Oooh this just keeps getting trickier huh? But I still think this is the best thread in PRP so far.

Would I make a martyr out of myself? I suppose you made it easier by saying its just about the moral implications as it falls on me to say that the answer should be yes. But I would want to make damn sure the people were worth saving ;).

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This is for Re-erjin999:

1. Now that you mention it, why don't you steal from those that have what you want?

The moral code with which I was brought up. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. I sure as heck dont want anyone stealing from me. I try to see it from others points of view. I really hate thieves and muggers.

2. Remember, we're just using hypothetical situations to help determine your conception of what is "good". Whether you'd have the strength to do the good thing doesn't really matter. I'm just asking you what you think you should do in such a situation.

Yeah, sorry ! I would hope I could make the right decision and take out one life to save many.  :-[

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Oh, what the hell, might as well join you...

1. A person is drowning in the sea. To save them, you need to swim over and drag them to the shore. Do you expend the effort to save them?

Yes. I have the power, and since nothing in my life "scared" me of saving another person, drowning in the sea or something, I would do it.

2. Same as above, except there are sharks in the sea. Do you expend the effort and take the risk of personal injury?

No, I would not save him. I would expect that a more cunning person would be there for the task. If not, then I would call the "rescuers", if not that I would find one as quickly as possible, and if not that then I don't know on what kind of island you put me on, Edric :D ...

The reason? The reason is simply because the person is drowning and that person is alone. In this case I say that it is better that one dies than the risk of two persons dying. I can't say really - I need numbers like what chances I have.

3. A terrorist wants to kill you. He takes one of your loved ones hostage and asks for your life in exchange for his/hers. Do you accept?

Tricky. How do I trust the terrorist to not kill one of my loved ones after he kills me? But assuming the terrorist is a very honest person, yes, I would sacrifice myself.

4. Same as above, but the hostage is not someone you love. It is an important scientific genius or world leader who you greatly admire. That person's death would be a greater loss to humanity than your death. Do you sacrifice yourself?

Assuming I was reborn and put in the same situation, with the previous terroris's son holding the gun this time, I would sacrifice myself again.

5. Would you give your life to save a million people? Why or why not?

Same as 3 and 4. The reason for this is that I know that I can't change the world or make it into a better place myself. I know myself - I know that I won't be a politician or revolutionary. I'd rather put my hope in the million people I'm saving by dying myself.

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Unfortunately, I am very selfish, let's see why...

I will not kill an innocent person to save myself because of:

1.) Guilt

2.) I might not get away with it

I will not kill an innocent person to save somebody else because:

1.) I don't give a damn

2.) Guilt

But, if the person's death has the potential to wreak havoc:

If I might be victimised in the event, I would. I look after myself.

If I'm safe, I don't give a damn.

If the person is very important to me, ie. family member, etc.... I will come up with an answer later, mmkay?

Regarding saving a person in the sea (the first 5 questions Edric O asked):

1.) How far is the person away from shore? I will first look at the danger to self. If percentage chance of success is close to zero, I would ignore because I do not deem it practical.

2.) Increases the calculated risk. Considering that I'm not very atheletic myself, the answer would most likely be 'no'.

3.) If the person is my loved one, things would change. Yes, I would willingly give up my life, especially if the implicated are my parents or my siblings.

4.) I don't care, I love myself more!

5.) Depends on the need to give myself up. If only I alone can save the world, why not? After all, there's quite a lot of glory in it after I die, right? ;)

If the person to be sacrificed can be anyone, I would prefer to stay alive and reap the benefits (ie. not dying) while some bugger gets killed for the benefit of a million people. After all, why me when anybody could do it? (this is different from asking "why must I be the only one who can save one million people?")

Note: I've answered without really basing on any moral principle, be it Utilitarian or deontological, but I might be applying these principles, maybe both, unconsciously. Thus, there might be double standards...

... all yours, Edric O!

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I said I like to think I don't have a moral code. It's entirely possible that there is one, lurking in the recesses of my subconscious, but I try not to pay too much attention to it. Also I think there is a distinction between moral codes and other principle-based systems, such as politeness or law.

Why do I wish to benefit myself? Because I like things that make me happy. Or at least don't make me unhappy. Usually. I don't think this constitutes a moral code, especially since I don't always follow it.

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As it stands now, all I can ask you is what exactly do you mean by "respect" for beings.

Drawing the lines between an individual and another ("respect"), is done by the general lines given in my post. This means coherence, "in essence of minimal losses within empirical environment and thus of rational understanding". Said otherwise, it is a minimal loss of freedom in the empirical world (Real Politics, Real Economics, etc.: one is not forced to be happy about it, but to aknowledge that the causes-effects are there), judged rationally (given the statement, still on and within the empirical world).

It leaves no choice but to attack the core ;)

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Sorry for the delay everyone, but I'm pretty busy with real life most of the time (which I why I don't post nearly as often as I used to).

We now return to your regularly scheduled discussion.

alchemi2:

Wasn't trying to cheat but explain, how i would think in that situation.

1) No i think killing for personal gain is wrong but i actually advocate the death penalty for certain crimes.

2) Possibly If i truly believed that my sacrifice would definitely make a per menant difference and the million contained people i cared about or thought were worth the sacrifice.

1. What kind of crimes? And do you support the death penalty as a punishment ("an eye for an eye") or as a deterrent (to make criminals think twice before committing certain crimes)?

2. Are the lives of people you care about worth more than the lives of people you don't care about? Why? And which people do you care about? (is it just friends and family, or also people who share your religious beliefs or social status or nationality?)

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Khan:

Oooh this just keeps getting trickier huh? But I still think this is the best thread in PRP so far.

Would I make a martyr out of myself? I suppose you made it easier by saying its just about the moral implications as it falls on me to say that the answer should be yes. But I would want to make damn sure the people were worth saving ;).

Thank you. :) Now for the follow-up questions:

1. You said you want to make sure that the people are worth saving. Do different lives hold more or less worth? If yes, how do you judge which lives are more valuable?

2. Suppose there is another person which is absolutely identical to you (same physical features, same mind, same personality, same thoughts and beliefs). Is this person's life less valuable to you than your own life? Why or why not?

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Otherman:

Nice to have you on board. :) Your answers are very consistently utilitarian (and they are very much like the answers I would give ;) ), so I might have some trouble coming up with questions. Hmmm, let's see...

On matters of life and death you are clearly utilitarian, and your first priority is the greatest good for all people involved. So I'll try to ask questions about situations where the greatest good is not so obvious.

Is it ok for a brother and sister to have (protected) sex with each other? Why or why not?

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gunner154:

Unfortunately, I am very selfish, let's see why...

Actually, you only explained how you are selfish, not why. So that's the first question I'll ask you: Why are you selfish?

I will not kill an innocent person to save myself because of:

1.) Guilt

2.) I might not get away with it

You would rather die than live with guilt or take the risk of getting caught?

I will not kill an innocent person to save somebody else because:

1.) I don't give a damn

2.) Guilt

But, if the person's death has the potential to wreak havoc:

If I might be victimised in the event, I would. I look after myself.

If I'm safe, I don't give a damn.

If the person is very important to me, ie. family member, etc.... I will come up with an answer later, mmkay?

So you care more about your life than about the life of any other person. Why?

3.) If the person is my loved one, things would change. Yes, I would willingly give up my life, especially if the implicated are my parents or my siblings.

Why are your loved ones more important than other people?

5.) Depends on the need to give myself up. If only I alone can save the world, why not? After all, there's quite a lot of glory in it after I die, right? ;)

So you would be willing to trade your life for glory? How much glory is enough to make it worth dying for?

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Dante:

I said I like to think I don't have a moral code. It's entirely possible that there is one, lurking in the recesses of my subconscious, but I try not to pay too much attention to it. Also I think there is a distinction between moral codes and other principle-based systems, such as politeness or law.

Why do I wish to benefit myself? Because I like things that make me happy. Or at least don't make me unhappy. Usually. I don't think this constitutes a moral code, especially since I don't always follow it.

Of course you like things that make you happy. That's a tautology (things that make you happy are by definition things you like). So, why do you want to be happy? (Please don't say "because happiness feels good" - that's another tautology. ;) Perhaps a better way to ask my question would be "Why is your happiness important?" )

And yes, it looks like you do have a moral code; specifically, a hedonistic one. If your own happiness is the purpose of your life, that makes you a hedonist.

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Egeides:

Drawing the lines between an individual and another ("respect"), is done by the general lines given in my post. This means coherence, "in essence of minimal losses within empirical environment and thus of rational understanding". Said otherwise, it is a minimal loss of freedom in the empirical world (Real Politics, Real Economics, etc.: one is not forced to be happy about it, but to aknowledge that the causes-effects are there), judged rationally (given the statement, still on and within the empirical world).

It leaves no choice but to attack the core ;)

Minimal loss of freedom? Hmmm... what is freedom? And what do you mean by minimal loss of rational understanding?

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1. What kind of crimes? And do you support the death penalty as a punishment ("an eye for an eye") or as a deterrent (to make criminals think twice before committing certain crimes)?

Murder where it is proved beyond doubt and was a deliberate calculated act.

Paedophiles, This is the vilest most unforgivable crime on the planet IMO and totally undefendable. The vast majority of Paedophiles admit they will re-offend. These monsters should be executed immediately no exceptions/excuses.

2. Are the lives of people you care about worth more than the lives of people you don't care about? Why? And which people do you care about? (is it just friends and family, or also people who share your religious beliefs or social status or nationality?)

The lives of people i know or respect mean more to me on a personal level, i would be more inclined to lay down my life for someone i know or have heard of rather than for a total stranger.

i wouldn't want to give up my life for a group of perverts or criminals or warmongering terrorist.

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Is it ok for a brother and sister to have (protected) sex with each other? Why or why not?

Not such a hard question. Since there are people who share the same parents who even created their own family, then yes, why shouldn't they? I can't argue personally, because I do not have a sister. But if two people love each other, then I don't think anything would get in their way, parents or not.

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gunner154:

Actually, you only explained how you are selfish, not why. So that's the first question I'll ask you: Why are you selfish?

You would rather die than live with guilt or take the risk of getting caught?

So you care more about your life than about the life of any other person. Why?

Why are your loved ones more important than other people?

So you would be willing to trade your life for glory? How much glory is enough to make it worth dying for?

Good point. I don't really know why I'm selfish anyway. Perhaps because of survival instincts? I don't really know, maybe I would leave an unconscious hint somewhere in my subsequent answers?:

Yes, I would rather die in such a scenario. Perhaps it's a defeatist attitude - I don't think I would be successful anyway. That second point was really applied as an even if argument. The main point was in the guilt. I wouldn't be able to live with myself killing another like that.

---

Because I'm selfish. Because it's going to be futile.

---

Because my loved ones are people I really care for, and I would want them to carry on with life or anything. Perhaps I would simply disregard their guilt and do the deeds myself. I wouldn't want them to suffer like that and leave me eventually.

---

When there's enough glory for me to be exalted as a martyr for the survival of mankind. Or when it's great enough for me to appear in History textbooks for an incredibly noble deed.

Well, maybe not. I came up with this point when I was discussing Utilitarianism with another, and I said "Well, even if we dragged him away and forced him to suffer so as to have us obtain a vaccine for the disease, at least he would be glorified and exalted by anybody who lives?"

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If happiness was the purpose of my life, I'd do more things that made me happy. I'd be a happier person, perhaps. I am not a happy person. Why is my happiness important? Technically it isn't. Nor is it the 'least unimportant,' if you get the difference. But it can be percieved that way. A bit like saying "The cube isn't red, you just percieve it as red. The cube is actually colourless."

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1. You said you want to make sure that the people are worth saving. Do different lives hold more or less worth? If yes, how do you judge which lives are more valuable?

2. Suppose there is another person which is absolutely identical to you (same physical features, same mind, same personality, same thoughts and beliefs). Is this person's life less valuable to you than your own life? Why or why not?

1. Well say my sacrifice would prevent the dropping of a nuclear bomb on london, I would do it. Most of the people I know live in london and a large portion of my family live here as well. I would want to sacrifice myself to save them. However I don't know anyone who lives in, say washington, LA, Paris etc. Although there may be great thinkers, scientists, doctors etc. living there I don't feel it would affect me as directly as a bomb on London or Adelaide (where most of my family live). So that would be the sort of criteria I would have in place for deciding whether or not I would sacrifice myself.

2. If they were exactly the same they would be equally as important, but only if they lived their life in the same fashion.

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A good question would be ... If a burglar was holding you at gunpoint while a second burglar was raping your mom/sister/wife.. would you risk your life to attempt to stop the rape?, assuming that once the rape was over the burglars would leave you in peace.

Alot of people would say :

1.) no because they dont think they would be able to pull it off and its not worth it to lose your life over a non-lethal attack

2.) yes because they couldnt just sit there and watch it

3.) no, because they would be too overcome with cowardice and fear.

What would you guys (the ones being tested by Edrico)  say to this scenario?

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Egeides:

And what do you mean by minimal loss of rational understanding?

I was misunderstood. I did not mean "minimal loss of rational understanding", but rather that it ("essence of minimal losses within empirical environment") was thus something which was then rationally understandable.

Egeides:

Minimal loss of freedom? Hmmm... what is freedom?

"Free" is the state of unhindrance [to simplify this specifc human case, let's say of the individual being since within empirical reality the whole does not have complete access to individuality ie.you can decide for your drunken/coma friend, but within limits of you translating accurately your being's will as his].

Nota bene: It does not impose to keep no rules, as it would be a hindrance in itself. Someone can choose a path with rules for himself as any path, including altruistic or for common goals (such as methods clarifying things, establishing boundaries, etc.).

Thus, in this social context:

With many individuals with possibilities which can cross others' possibilities, it is about keeping the total amount of freedom to the maximum "quantity" possible (again: by "minimal losses [of freedom] within empirical environment and thus of [/by] rational understanding"). [Take it as Utilitarianism turned for freedom instead of happiness, if you will; Utilitarian Kantianism?]

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Way to Necro Dante... you must be bored  ;)

I honestly think that   "The cube isn't red, you just percieve it as red. The cube is actually colourless."   Is what killed the thread.  That or lack of interest.    But i dont really care... this thread deteriorated into utilitarianism pretty fast.

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Actually, the fact that I didn't have the time to write thoughtful replies for the past 10 days is what killed the thread (or rather, put it in deep freeze - I do intend to come back to it by the end of this week).

Ultimately, what we need is some new Dune-related event (like the release of a new game) to draw fresh blood to FED2k and implicitly these forums, including PRP. But that's off-topic.

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What is so bad with inconsistent morale ?

Exemple:

I am french, i am against capital punishment and, any french citizen, anywhere in the world, whatever he has committed, should get maximum protection from the french government so that he has the right to live just as he would have in a french trial.

Although he is french and never killed anyone my morale doesn't apply to Zacarias Moussaoui.

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SpiceGuid, exceptions are not bad in my opinion as they can be a pragmatic reaction for something that just doesn't fit for the general case.

But then, this "general rule" you use the rest of the time is not meant to be a model for all your ethic, just for more "daily affairs". Maybe with time you will get a more advanced version of your current model which will include cases of exception (like "out needs to respect standards of the majority, like when travelling").

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