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Right or wrong?


Exorcet
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Imo there is no absoulte right or wrong - it also depends on the perspective and circumstances. No black or white ... but all grey.

 

Is it right to kill a man? No? Then why do you go to a "just" war? Or is it only sometimes right and sometimes not?

Killing has no moral weight. There is a difference between to kill and to murder and to kill unjustly.

 

Killing is just killing.

 

Murder is a subset of killing that is illegal. Illegal =/= morally wrong, but murder tends to be morally wrong because it's often an unjust killing.

 

An unjust killing is a violation of someone's right to live. You violate someone's rights by putting your desires above theirs and using force to obtain your desires at the cost of someone else's. Why is putting your desires above someone else's with force wrong? Because no one is special, ie there is no objective way to determine whose happiness is worth more than anyone else's.

 

Is it wrong if someone steals a bread?

Yes.

What if he was hungry and starving?

He still stole bread. Now someone else is possibly hungry and starving.

 

"Ethics" is no law of nature like "Gravity". Ethics is made up by man and is influence, maybe completely determined by the situation and circumstances man lives in. Different locations, different times ... different ethics.

Humans have come up with many artificial types of morality true. A lot of comes from people putting value into things that are valueless in this here only by physics universe. However objective facts can't be disputed. People are intelligent organisms, we are aware that we're not inherently super special (though there is some denial), and we know when we cause harm. If you kill someone else for no reason other than wanting to you're aware that you're putting your desires above someone else's. There's no way out for you, you've done wrong. On the other hand, not shaking someone's hand with your right hand because it's the 8th full moon of the year doesn't really have meaning. Someone in a culture where that is relevant might take offense at you using the wrong hand, but it's just a cultural thing.

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You differentiate between "killing" as the technical act of bringing someone from life to death and "murdering" as special form of "killing", as killing unjustly.

 

Let's not stick to terms and definitions. The real question here is, what is "unjustly". And that depends on the rules and laws a society has set up for cases like this, i.e. it depends on where you are and when you are.

 

Maybe staring this discussion right away with "killing" is a bit too much, too difficult. But the core problem, how to determine what is "right" and what is "wrong" can be found elsewhere, too.

 

The bread thief example again: A hungry man steals a bread from a rich man. Is what he does "wrong"? The rich man then takes back his bread and now the hungry man starves to death. Is it unjust what the rich man does? If "no", that would imply that "murdering" (as in putting the rich mans desires above the other man's) someone can be just. If "yes" then stealing is seemingly not simply just or unjust, but rather depends on the circumstances.

 

Or as you came up with the idea of a just war ...

There are two tribes and they both hunt and gather in the same area. One year there was not enough game and not enough plants anymore to feed both tribes. A war broke out and tribe A attacked the men of tribe B in the night and killed them all.

Was this a just war, because the B-guys were so selfish and did not want to share with the A-dudes? Or was it an unjust war because the A-dudes thought they deserved more and better than the B-guys?

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My two cents.

 

Self Defence = Right

 

To say killing is wrong is an oversimplification.

 

Stealing under any circumstance is wrong. But in the law (Of probably all countries.) there is such things as mitigating circumstances.

 

Going to war because there are not enough resources is wrong. Maybe the tribes should move apart. Maybe they shouldn't keep growing their populations to levels that are unsustainable.

But alas, the struggle over scarce resources are probably the reason for most strife (War, revolution, riots, crime, etc.) on the planet...

 

To say there are no moral absolutes are, in my opinion, utter bs. If you believe that, you should not complain if somebody do you wrong.


Edited by FanBoy2006.01
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(...)

 

To say killing is wrong is an oversimplification.

 

Stealing under any circumstance is wrong. But in the law (Of probably all countries.) there is such things as mitigating circumstances.

 

(...)

 

The terms killing and stealing can't be compared like that. Kill is neutral, take would also be neutral. Murder and steal are subjective.

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You differentiate between "killing" as the technical act of bringing someone from life to death and "murdering" as special form of "killing", as killing unjustly.

I listed three terms. Murder is not strictly unjust because murder depends on law. Law is not just by default. I'll go back to this in a bit as a later part of your post relates.

 

Let's not stick to terms and definitions. The real question here is, what is "unjustly". And that depends on the rules and laws a society has set up for cases like this, i.e. it depends on where you are and when you are.

Society does not get to decide what is just or not. That would make justice subjective and therefore pointless. Justice, if it exists, must be objective or it holds no value. I think that better terms to discuss though are "rights" and "harm".

 

Rights come from logic. Why do humans have a right to live but animals do not? Animals don't have logic. Give a human a gun and that human will know not to point it at someone else. Give a monkey a gun...

 

 

Logically, we can deduce that no one is special, so no ones wants are above another person's. This rules out forcing you will on someone else. If you don't agree with this and think you can force you will on someone else, that you shouldn't have a problem with someone forcing their will on you, someone like the police.

 

Maybe staring this discussion right away with "killing" is a bit too much, too difficult. But the core problem, how to determine what is "right" and what is "wrong" can be found elsewhere, too.

I think deciding what is right and wrong is easy, but what can be hard is determining who is right and wrong. It's easy to say respect someone's rights but it could be hard to figure out if Saddam Hussein really had horrible weapons that he was using on innocent people, or something.

 

The bread thief example again: A hungry man steals a bread from a rich man. Is what he does "wrong"?

Yes. Rich people are people too and I absolutely hate when people play the victim because they're not rich (not saying you are) that makes them even worse people.

 

The hungry person here is at fault for theft. He decided that his being alive is worth more than the rich man having his possessions. Now if this happened to me, I'd let the hungry person eat the bread (and maybe-possibly-if I was in a bad mood and this person acted like a jerk who was entitled to my property whenever he wanted have him arrested, and then possibly look for a homeless shelter for him if he had nothing). But if that's your bread he's eating you have every right to take it back and then charge him for what he ate.

 

The rich man then takes back his bread and now the hungry man starves to death. Is it unjust what the rich man does?

No. It lacks compassion, I'd be against it, but it was his bread.

 

If "no", that would imply that "murdering" (as in putting the rich mans desires above the other man's) someone can be just.

It does not, the hungry person violate the rights of the rich person, showing a lack of understanding. Now of course, if you're staving to death instincts will take over, but that doesn't justify doing what you want. You're in your rights to defend yourself from someone who's crazy because they forgot to take their medicine. You may try to peacefully subdue them or talk to reason to them, but if they run at you with a chainsaw and you have no choice to fight back you've done nothing wrong even though if the person had their senses they wouldn't have ever tried to harm you.

 

 

Or as you came up with the idea of a just war ...

There are two tribes and they both hunt and gather in the same area. One year there was not enough game and not enough plants anymore to feed both tribes. A war broke out and tribe A attacked the men of tribe B in the night and killed them all.

Was this a just war, because the B-guys were so selfish and did not want to share with the A-dudes? Or was it an unjust war because the A-dudes thought they deserved more and better than the B-guys?

Tribe A is at fault, had B fought back it would have been a just war on their side.

 

I'll note that you didn't mention that B was "selfish" until after the fact. What does selfish mean? You said there was not enough food to go around but did not mention what B did. Did they try to gather as much food as possible? If so, it would not have been nice, but it doesn't sound like they did any wrong. A could have gone and gathered food themselves and it should have been a roughly 50/50 split. A going to war just because B was better at gathering food is not morally correct. Also consider, what if B changed their mind after talks?

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Right and wrong is subjective. Objectively there is no right and wrong. The killing that I think is wrong I call murder. The taking that I think is wrong I call stealing.

 

To be honest I think the whole discussion of where the line between right and wrong is misses the point if it is not inside a subjective context because those concepts simply do not exist objectively.

 

(...)

 

To say there are no moral absolutes are, in my opinion, utter bs. If you believe that, you should not complain if somebody do you wrong.

 

Human morals are affected by culture/religion/etc. Name one thing you would say is absolutely wrong and I bet a person could be brainwashed into think that is right.

 

(...)

 

Society does not get to decide what is just or not. That would make justice subjective and therefore pointless. Justice, if it exists, must be objective or it holds no value.

 

(...)

 

Justice and injustice are concepts that are subjectively perceived. Why must it be objective to be meaningful? It is not pointless to those individuals whom it affects.

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Right and wrong is subjective. Objectively there is no right and wrong. The killing that I think is wrong I call murder. The taking that I think is wrong I call stealing.
. If there is no right and wrong, then those things aren't wrong. You just don't like them.

 

To be honest I think the whole discussion of where the line between right and wrong is misses the point if it is not inside a subjective context because those concepts simply do not exist objectively.

If right and wrong was subjective I wouldn't see the point to discussing it at all, I think that it's only a topic of debate if it's deemed objective. Why complain about anything if that's not the case?

 

The killing that you think is wrong, why do you call it murder if it's subjective?

 

 

 

Human morals are affected by culture/religion/etc. Name one thing you would say is absolutely wrong and I bet a person could be brainwashed into think that is right.

That's not a counter point. It would be one if that other person could justify that thing that is absolutely wrong objectively.

 

 

 

Justice and injustice are concepts that are subjectively perceived. Why must it be objective to be meaningful? It is not pointless to those individuals whom it affects.

That just it makes it those people's preference then. Objectivity is important because then you know how to react. In other words, someone unjustly kills your twin. That's wrong, so that person is put in jail.

 

If morality is subjective then the killer could have been doing a great good (in someone's mind) and should be free to go. You have no reason to jail the killer.

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If there is no right and wrong, then those things aren't wrong. You just don't like them.

 

What I think is subjective therefore I can apply the concept of right and wrong. But that is just my opinion. Someone else might have another opinion. What I think you're trying to get to is if there is an objective right and wrong regardless of anyone's opinion which there is not.

 

If right and wrong was subjective I wouldn't see the point to discussing it at all, I think that it's only a topic of debate if it's deemed objective. Why complain about anything if that's not the case?

 

The killing that you think is wrong, why do you call it murder if it's subjective?

 

Because that is my opinion and my opinion is subjective.

 

That's not a counter point. It would be one if that other person could justify that thing that is absolutely wrong objectively.

 

How could anyone justify something objectively? The justification would be subjective.

 

That just it makes it those people's preference then. Objectivity is important because then you know how to react. In other words, someone unjustly kills your twin. That's wrong, so that person is put in jail.

 

If morality is subjective then the killer could have been doing a great good (in someone's mind) and should be free to go. You have no reason to jail the killer.

 

What decides jail is the appropriate means to get justice? And how many days/months/years of it? People's opinions decide that and that is subjective.

 

Exactly. Don't you know the expression "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

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In the end it comes down to: if you don't adhere to the rules, you are "bad".

 

If you kill someone, but for reasons that are not covered by these rules, you are a evil, a so called "murderer". If you take something from someone, but do ignore the appropriate rules - like asking for it -, you are a "thief".

 

These rules are agreed upon by the society and are necessary to make a society functioning. In my eyes, there is no fundamental difference between a rule "don't take someone else's bread if he does not agree" or "don't take someone else's life if he does not agree" (especially as one can construct cases where both is essentially the same).

 

The basic priciple of such rules that a society has given itself - at least for the "western civilized world" - is probably "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.", which is also known as the "golden rule" or "ethic of reciprocity".

 

You usually don't kill someone, not because it is "wrong". You don't do it because you don't want it happen to yourself and you presume that everyone else feels and acts the same. I guess, this is roughly similar to what you meant with "logic" ...?

 

But it is, I would say, self-centered or even egoistic. You approach the situation from a "what will happen to ME"-perspective. Everything else, the rules that the society agrees upon, the laws build upon that - with varying grades of abstraction.

 

But there are/were different societies with different ideals - and therefore different rules and also different concepts of "good" and "evil", "right" or "wrong".

 

I've read about native american tribes that had no concept of "possession". If one took something that did not belong to him, he was not a thief. It was just the way they lived, how they shared their belongings. (this lead to servere trouble when they came in contact with the europeans ...)

 

The rules that a society has established to be adhered by it's members have only one goal: to act as "glue" and also as "lubricant" - to tie the members together and make the society functioning as whole. Without such rules, it would break apart - which would be (again, an egoistic aspect) be bad for the individuals.

 

In essence, "good" is what helps the society, "bad" is, what harms it. Excerting violence against random members leads to friction, disturbance, unrest, etc. which is usually harming the proper functioning of a society and thus considered "bad".

 

---

 

Omg. What a rant ... tbh, I am not sure if I now was actually supporting my own point or yours, lol. I just wrote down what came to my mind ...


Edited by Flagrum
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What I think is subjective therefore I can apply the concept of right and wrong. But that is just my opinion. Someone else might have another opinion.

So then how do you act appropriately? Vote? Average all the opinions? Do nothing?

 

What I think you're trying to get to is if there is an objective right and wrong regardless of anyone's opinion which there is not.

Yes, this is what I'm saying.

 

 

Because that is my opinion and my opinion is subjective.

Then, it doesn't really matter that someone is murdered. You could be bothered by it, but there is no reason to act. Would you agree with that?

 

 

 

How could anyone justify something objectively? The justification would be subjective.
Well that's the argument we're having. I was pointing out that brainwashing doesn't provide a counter argument. That just makes the brainwashed person brainwashed and wrong in the eyes of objective morality.

 

 

 

What decides jail is the appropriate means to get justice? And how many days/months/years of it? People's opinions decide that and that is subjective.
It goes back to what I said before. Rights come from logic. If you don't respect rights you show that you lack logic. If you lack logic you lack rights, so someone can put you in jail. For how long? Now that requires more thought. The goal in the law system should be to repay for loss (undo the rights violation) and to deter future crime. Where possible it might be better to just have someone pay for a crime (like the stolen bread example in here) since it's possible to go right back to where it all started. If someone is a repeat offender though, they're showing that they consistently lack the logic to respect rights and that they truly don't have rights of their own. The toughest part is we don't have a logic ruler, we can only infer logic from a person's behavior. The person who stole bread was wrong, but that doesn't mean he should be in jail forever. He was under pretty tough stress and he probably came back to his senses after getting some food. It really is a case that's best solved with repayment.

 

A murder with a remorseless killer on the other hand potentially hints that you're dealing with someone unable to respect rights (psychopath). You could lock that person away forever. Maybe they do show true remorse in jail. At that point you could set them free.

 

Exactly. Don't you know the expression "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

Of course, but that just means someone is wrong.

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If right and wrong was subjective I wouldn't see the point to discussing it at all, I think that it's only a topic of debate if it's deemed objective. Why complain about anything if that's not the case?

Absolutely the contrary ... if it were an objective concept, then there would be no need to discuss it. Mathematics is objective, you don't need to discuss it. It just "is".

But the question "what is right and wrong" is as old as mankind ... and perhaps even older ;o) And that there are seemingly different point of views here, that alone is already a strong indicator for that this topic is indeed highly subjective. And it makes absolutely sense to discuss subjective topics - to learn about other views, other ideas, other ways of thinking about something.

 

The killing that you think is wrong, why do you call it murder if it's subjective?

That is just a name, a different term for "someone who killed someone else in a way that is not covered by the rules that the society has agreed upon".

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So then how do you act appropriately? Vote? Average all the opinions? Do nothing?

 

It's up to any society to decide how they want to establish the laws. Like in a democracy we vote for politicians that promise varying levels of harsh punishments for things that we wouldn't want to be exposed to.

 

Then, it doesn't really matter that someone is murdered. You could be bothered by it, but there is no reason to act. Would you agree with that?

 

Subjectively it matters to people affected or even the society as a whole and they will act.

 

Well that's the argument we're having. I was pointing out that brainwashing doesn't provide a counter argument. That just makes the brainwashed person brainwashed and wrong in the eyes of objective morality..

 

The brainwashed person is wrong? Maybe I should define what I mean with brainwashing, I include culture and religion in that. So do you want to claim that your specific culture or religion is right and everyone else is wrong?

 

Of course, but that just means someone is wrong.

 

So you're saying one is objectively right and the other one is objectively wrong? Would you apply that logic on any two people of different opinions?

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Was going to edit this into old post, but login timer logged me off. I'll post thing and leave it so anyone who wants to reply can reply. Then I'll reply to everything later.

 

 

 

 

In the end it comes down to: if you don't adhere to the rules, you are "bad".

If by rules you mean those of society, I don't agree. Those are subjective and don't really mean anything.

 

These rules are agreed upon by the society and are necessary to make a society functioning.
Society does tend to make rules, but nothing is required beyond respecting rights (logic). Also, society can be very wrong. Pure democracy is unjust because it makes the majority superior just because it has more people. Slavery cannot be morally accepted, but it can be democratically voted on.

 

In my eyes, there is no fundamental difference between a rule "don't take someone else's bread if he does not agree" or "don't take someone else's life if he does not agree" (especially as one can construct cases where both is essentially the same).

I'm not sure what point you were getting at here, but I agree with what you wrote. Just replace rules with rights.

 

The basic priciple of such rules that a society has given itself - at least for the "western civilized world" - is probably "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.", which is also known as the "golden rule" or "ethic of reciprocity".

I always thought that was a poor rule when you can instead treat other people how they want to be treated, but that's nit-picky and offtopic. It is sort of close to the concept of rights though. "One should expect their own standards to apply to them".

 

Person A is hungry, Person A sees Person B with bread, Person A doesn't do anything because the bread belongs to B. End

 

Person A is hungry, Person A sees Person B with bread, Person A takes break because A wants bread. Person B punches A. A can't complain because A's standard (people can do what they want) was applied to A.

 

It's not that there is a golden law book binding us, it's just a logical outcome. If you think people are just in everything they do (subjective morality) you can't complain when people do anything, no matter what it is.

 

You usually don't kill someone, not because it is "wrong". You don't do it because you don't want it happen to yourself and you presume that everyone else feels and acts the same. I guess, this is roughly similar to what you meant with "logic" ...?
I disagree with the first part. I don't kill [unjustly] because it is wrong. I don't know how everyone else thinks, though I'm sure a few people would like to die, maybe those in dire terminal pain. Or maybe those in severe emotional distress. Statistically, most people want to live, and most people own their own bodies so I can't really do anything with them.

 

The rest of it I guess you could say is similar to my point. If you did kill unprovoked, why would you suddenly turn around and say that your death is wrong?

 

But it is, I would say, self-centered or even egoistic. You approach the situation from a "what will happen to ME"-perspective. Everything else, the rules that the society agrees upon, the laws build upon that - with varying grades of abstraction.
Self centered and egotistic are subjective. I'm looking for right and wrong.

 

But there are/were different societies with different ideals - and therefore different rules and also different concepts of "good" and "evil", "right" or "wrong".
Some of them got morality right, others got it wrong. Any society that said unprovoked killing was just was simply wrong. At the very least, if they believe that and follow that, they can't complain when someone else gets sick of it and kills them. Slavery is wrong. Arranged marriage is wrong. Etc.

 

I've read about native american tribes that had no concept of "possession". If one took something that did not belong to him, he was not a thief. It was just the way they lived, how they shared their belongings. (this lead to servere trouble when they came in contact with the europeans ...)
This is fine as long as everyone involved agreed with it (it becomes a rule as you put it). The Europeans who understood property would be right to complain about theft, but as with the starving person there are some extreme circumstances here. The Native Americans have become so wrapped up in their culture that they wrongly assumed it was shared by everyone. The solution wouldn't be to "put them in jail" but to explain how property works.

 

The rules that a society has established to be adhered by it's members have only one goal: to act as "glue" and also as "lubricant" - to tie the members together and make the society functioning as whole. Without such rules, it would break apart - which would be (again, an egoistic aspect) be bad for the individuals.
I agree that society tried to keep itself together. It can end badly though as things like majority > minority can take over in those cases. The goal should not be cohesion. The value of cohesion is subjective. The goal should be objective morality.

 

In essence, "good" is what helps the society, "bad" is, what harms it. Excerting violence against random members leads to friction, disturbance, unrest, etc. which is usually harming the proper functioning of a society and thus considered "bad".
That killing disrupts society doesn't matter. If everyone but me wanted to kill themselves, too bad for me, I'd have to go back to living in caves. I have no right to stop them just because I like society.

 

Omg. What a rant ... tbh, I am not sure if I now was actually supporting my own point or yours, lol. I just wrote down what came to my mind ...
Sometimes it's good to just think. This thread has given me a good few chances to do that as I read people's thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT

 

OK I lied, but this comment I had to reply to:

 

The brainwashed person is wrong? Maybe I should define what I mean with brainwashing, I include culture and religion in that. So do you want to claim that your specific culture or religion is right and everyone else is wrong?

 

Why is my culture right? My culture is as able to do wrong as all the other cultures. I'm looking for objective morality, not my culture's morality. All cultures are judged by the same rules and those rules aren't the pointless subjective ones that they make for themselves.


Edited by Exorcet

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Why is my culture right? My culture is as able to do wrong as all the other cultures. I'm looking for objective morality, not my culture's morality. All cultures are judged by the same rules and those rules aren't the pointless subjective ones that they make for themselves.

 

Take this example. If there was no people left on earth, would there still be a right and wrong? Because if so, that would be objective. But there can't be because it is subjective and there would be no one to judge what is right and wrong.

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Thanks for your reply, Excorcet. It's getting late here and I have to think about this all a bit before replying ... ;o)

 

But one thought regarding the native americans: when they met the europeans, violence broke out. They tried to take some of the fancy stuff the europeans brought with them, but the europeans thought they were trying to steal it. And shot the "thief". And the native americans killed the shooter - as he was unjustingly murdering their people.

 

The native americans did nothing wrong in their own eyes. The europeans did also nothing unjust. Retribution is not per se wrong.

 

But where is here the absolute, objective right or wrong then?

 

For my understanding, here is no right or wrong. Each party acted according to their respective rules of their society. What both parties maybe lacked to comprehend was, that these were two different societies with different rules - and to get along with each other, they had to form a new, third society, with new or adjusted rules.

 

Today both societies are in fact merged in the USA and the same situation today would have to be re-evaluated under the current set of rules. But in theory, the resulting merge of the two societies could have turned out differently - with also a different assessment of the incident.

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Heh, another thing ... eurofor brought me to this.

 

Mathematics is objective. It gives results, no matter if a human observes it or not.

 

That rights stem from logic can not be correct. Because that would mean, that ALSO animals were subject to this principle - which you deny as animals have no understanding of logic (I would disagree here to some extend, but that is a different topic).

 

But if logic as such is objective, it must be universally be appliable - even to animals. If in a pack of lions the new alpha male kills the offsprings of his predecessor - what does the logic say here? Is he "good" or "evil"?

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Absolutely the contrary ... if it were an objective concept, then there would be no need to discuss it. Mathematics is objective, you don't need to discuss it. It just "is".

The math itself is. This doesn't make it obvious. Just search for mathematical (and physical since physics relies on math) paradoxes. People didn't come pre-equipped with calculus, we had to wait for Newton.

 

But the question "what is right and wrong" is as old as mankind ... and perhaps even older ;o) And that there are seemingly different point of views here, that alone is already a strong indicator for that this topic is indeed highly subjective. And it makes absolutely sense to discuss subjective topics - to learn about other views, other ideas, other ways of thinking about something.

There are many different view points yes, but also many shared view points. People generally don't like murder or stealing. Maybe in those cases it's easier to the issue with allowing them.

 

As for objective and subjective discussion, you can have subjective discussion, but there isn't really an end to it. Go back to math. pi is an objective value, but we're still finding all the digits. There's more to "discuss" there. There is a lot to discuss in physics.

 

 

That is just a name, a different term for "someone who killed someone else in a way that is not covered by the rules that the society has agreed upon".

But eurofor found it wrong anyway. I don't see how it can be wrong if it's subjective.

 

It's up to any society to decide how they want to establish the laws. Like in a democracy we vote for politicians that promise varying levels of harsh punishments for things that we wouldn't want to be exposed to.

So a vote to establish slavery is fine? I'm not asking for your personally feeling there, but in general.

 

 

 

Subjectively it matters to people affected or even the society as a whole and they will act.
That would mean that if you don't like something you can respond in any manner you want, which basically says killing, theft, damaging property, etc is fine. That's not really much of a morality. They're acting on their feelings, with no objective base. It doesn't really make sense.

 

Now it's true that people will be affected and have their own subjective thoughts, etc. That's a fact (so it's objective that people will X,Y,Z). Do we agree there?

 

If so let's go to the next step > if people's thoughts are subjective, we can't choose some and say they are better than others. This means that no one has a right to force their will on someone else. All the wills are subjective afterall. Due to that, we can say that objectively, no one should be forcing their will on someone else. To force your will on someone else is unjustifiable, so it's wrong.

 

 

 

The brainwashed person is wrong? Maybe I should define what I mean with brainwashing, I include culture and religion in that. So do you want to claim that your specific culture or religion is right and everyone else is wrong?

I quoted this earlier, so I'll skip over.

 

 

 

So you're saying one is objectively right and the other one is objectively wrong? Would you apply that logic on any two people of different opinions?

Yes (though I wasn't totally clear on your wording - read on). Terrorist and freedom fighter conflict. Logically, no one can be both. If someone is called both, one of the people doing the labeling is wrong. I think it's easy to determine who is wrong.

 

Is the is person violating rights?

 

Yes >then this is not a freedom fighter

 

No > then this is not a terrorist

 

 

 

Take this example. If there was no people left on earth, would there still be a right and wrong?

 

Yes.

Because if so, that would be objective. But there can't be because it is subjective and there would be no one to judge what is right and wrong.

 

Suppose no one exists. If someone hypothetically existed and did 2+2 correctly, would the answer be 4?

 

If someone hypothetically existed and robbed a second hypothetically person, would the first person be guilty of a rights violation?

 

Thanks for your reply, Excorcet. It's getting late here and I have to think about this all a bit before replying ... ;o)

I burned more time writing this reply than I wanted too, so I know the feeling.

 

But one thought regarding the native americans: when they met the europeans, violence broke out. They tried to take some of the fancy stuff the europeans brought with them, but the europeans thought they were trying to steal it. And shot the "thief". And the native americans killed the shooter - as he was unjustingly murdering their people.

 

The native americans did nothing wrong in their own eyes. The europeans did also nothing unjust. Retribution is not per se wrong.

 

But where is here the absolute, objective right or wrong then?

The Native Americans were wrong for stealing (even if they didn't think they were). The Europeans were wrong for killing someone over a misunderstanding, they should have stopped whoever was taking things and tried to explain the situation.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think some people might get hung up on the Native Americans because they wouldn't think they were doing anything wrong, but let's break it down.

 

Euro shows up with things

 

NA comes to look at things

 

NA takes a thing because he thinks he can

 

Euro comes and says "wait you can't take that"

 

Important part

 

If NA takes the thing anyway (assuming Euro was understood), then NA will is being valued over Euro will. You can't do that because two subjective things have equal value (nothing). While that is true regardless, the culture NA is in may not recognize it and that's the complication. It still doesn't make theft acceptable though.

 

If NA doesn't take the thing (assuming Euro was understood), then all is well

 

For my understanding, here is no right or wrong. Each party acted according to their respective rules of their society. What both parties maybe lacked to comprehend was, that these were two different societies with different rules - and to get along with each other, they had to form a new, third society, with new or adjusted rules.

I think there was wrong, and well not much right, but the wrong wasn't really intentional, especially on the NA side. It wasn't anything that required taking a life, just a small correction. A third society isn't required. Both sides just needed to realize what was objective (theft) and that their subjective cultural ideas can't be expected to apply anywhere but in their culture. That's how I see it.

 

Today both societies are in fact merged in the USA and the same situation today would have to be re-evaluated under the current set of rules. But in theory, the resulting merge of the two societies could have turned out differently - with also a different assessment of the incident.

If the same thing happened today, I'd apply the same objectivity to it. Theft is wrong, killing someone at the first sight of displeasure with them is wrong.

 

Heh, another thing ... eurofor brought me to this.

 

Mathematics is objective. It gives results, no matter if a human observes it or not.

I think morality is the same.

 

That rights stem from logic can not be correct. Because that would mean, that ALSO animals were subject to this principle - which you deny as animals have no understanding of logic (I would disagree here to some extend, but that is a different topic).

Ask a blood thirsty bear to do 2+2 and you'll be mauled.

 

Ask a blood thirsty bear to tell you if murder is wrong and you'll be mauled.

 

That doesn't make math or morals less objective. The bear couldn't compute the answers, but the answers exist anyway.

 

With the logic thing, animals certainly do understand things like cause and effect, but they not like us in our ability to understand harm and force. Some are probably really close, like dolphins. Maybe after a few million years more of evolution we'll need to give them protection under law to respect their rights.

 

But if logic as such is objective, it must be universally be appliable - even to animals. If in a pack of lions the new alpha male kills the offsprings of his predecessor - what does the logic say here? Is he "good" or "evil"?

You need logic to have rights, no lions are capable of that level of logic so killing the cubs isn't like a person killing a person. The lion is not doing good or evil.

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Where is Nietzsche when you need to really drop a hand grenade on the forum discussion?

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Exorcet, you say, animals must _understand_ logic and the rights that are derived from that to actually have that right?

 

They must understand that, if they harm someone else that they could as well be harmed in the same way and if they don't like that, they also should not do it, correct? But as they don't really understand that concept, they do not have the right of an unharmed live. And we humans can kill them without violating any of their rights - as they have none?

 

But animals are living creatures with feelings, which can experience pain and which can suffer. Same as we humans do. In fact, there are severals laws that aim to prevent unnecessary harm to animals, that say cruelty against animals is bad, etc. because of that. People DO think, animals have rights.

 

And that is even according to your point of view the right thing. Logic does not need to be understood to be true. So animals must have right, even if they don't understand them.

 

So, imo you are contradicting yourself here a bit if you deny that animals have rights. And my question about the behavior of the alpha male lion is therefore still open.

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About NA vs euros:

In order to realize that both parties were doing something wrong, to realize that the euros might not like if the NA take away some of their belongings, they would first have to understand that the concept of property as such. But how can they do that if they don't know that different understandings of "having and using stuff" even exist.

 

You say, it does not matter as the logic exists independently from the understanding of it.

 

But there is no logic that indicates that there might exist different concepts, there is no right that can be derieved from any logic that plausibly explains that "stuff can be possessed by people" nor that "stuff belongs to everyone". So how can violating these concepts be considered as "wrong"?

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The main question here would be, where would objective morals come from?

 

A God? Unlikely, as he would also be a subject and would only enforce his subjective rules on us, as is evidence by religion, which tries to claim that moral objectivity can only come from its supernatural deity.

 

The physical rules of our universe? Again, no moral objectivity here, as the physical laws that govern our universe are no sentient beings and therefore can't care about morals and can't enforce them.

 

Right now I can't see evidence of an objective moral law giver, as any of those things would have to have sentience and a certain understanding of things to create morals, which in turn would make it a subject and that subject would only infuse its subjectivity into the moral code.

 

Many of the moral behaviours we as human species exhibit can also be seen, albeit to a lesser extent, in animals. Usually there are very specific cases when one being of a species kills another one of its own. Usually it has to do with culling those that are not of its own genes (male lions for example) or it is ingrained in the species (certain female spiders eating the males after sex). You have birds that have strong alpha males that give food to weaker or less successful males to garner favor with the females. Most of the things we do, that end up as one part of our moral code, have to do with the continuation of the species as a whole.

 

Each individual being has his own set of moral rules that are influenced by genetics, the community, life experiences and other things. A lot of individuals that share similar (not necessarily the exact same) outlooks on certain deeds like killing or taking something agree on a set of rules, those rules are then made into laws for that society and most of the time the effort is made to make them as objective as possible, yet we still need judges and juries to determine a sentence in the case one of the laws has been broken, as each case is again a very subjective matter.

 

To say that slavery or killing or stealing are wrong in an absolute manner is just a very untrue statement in my opinion, as absolutes never cover everything. There are exceptions to each an every case. Killing in self defence or the defence of others are examples when killing is seen as a necessary 'evil'. Stealing bread from the rich might not be 'right', but then again, how did the rich get their money? Often by exploitation of those that were less crafty than them, which, by the way, still is the case. Now certainly two wrongs don't make one right, but still, in the hearts and minds of the exploited a person like Robin Hood is a hero, he may that even be to some of the law enforcement, even though they might not admit it, yet he is a menace to those he takes from.

 

It is here just the concepts of right and wrong are ingrained in us from our childhood onwards. We are able to change our view of things, but many things we do pick up from our parents and the society we live in. Our 'enlightened' western society sees killing someone for adultery as a bad thing, in certain islamic regions it is just and right to stone adulterers to death.

 

There are so many more examples that you could show that morality is both subjective to individuals as well as to a certain type of society and that it has and will change with the circumstances and pressures put on those individuals and societies. This does even extent to less intelligent beings such as animals, as even they do form societies with rules and regulations, which certainly are not as complex as human societies, but they are there.

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Exorcet, I believe our main point of disagreement is that certain rights can be logically derieved from ... well, what exactly?

 

If I understood you correctly, then you say that every human is born equal. No one is "better" than any other, no one is inherently superior to some else. And therefore every human has the right to be treated as any other. Because humans tend to like staying alive, nobody may end the life of another without consent.

 

But the deduction, the "therefore" part, is somehow missing a step imo. There is no direct dependency between "because this" and "therefore that".

 

"Because creatures have legs, therefore they can walk." --> legs are necessary to walk, there is a logical dependency.

 

But what you say sounds to me similar to "Because creatures have extremities, therefore they can fly." No, not necessarily...

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can I have some of that sh^t you guys are on?? :D

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