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PhilosophyGround >> if you saw a guy on the street...


10/29/06 10:32 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 29-Oct-06
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I would say that the folk concept of murder is something like "killing someone without having justification for that act (f.ex not for self-defence)". Manslaughter is really maybe an artificial legal concept, but murder is definately not. Law gets its content basically from morality anyway so it doesn´t matter much from which viewpoint you look at it - if you go deep enough they will converge. I.
10/29/06 5:46 PM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 29-Oct-06
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I see...so if morals don't exist, then laws wouldn't exist. Sounds about right :-) Cheers, Maryanne.
10/30/06 4:34 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 30-Oct-06
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No this is the wrong way around. Law is based on morality in most of the democratic countries - if you have law then this is basically morality. Of course some positive law in some regimes is also based on whatever besides morality, but that then is a different thing and that shouldn´t enter the discussion about murder anyway.
10/30/06 9:00 AM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 30-Oct-06
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"If you have law then this is basically morality" I think laws and morals are too different to be classified as basically the same. Personal morals decide what is right and wrong on the actions, motivations, and behaviour that individuals have learned, are born with, or developed naturally and uniquely between each individual. Laws are rules or sets of rules that have been created and enforced (generally by people who have been given/voted the right, the knowledge, licences, or concessions to do so) on others. I once read in a text book that the law considers itself independent of morality, even if a law happens to reflect or intends to reflect common held beliefs or morals. So unjust laws (like slavery and the like) and laws that are created to protect basic rights (laws against stealing and rape) would show that laws and morals can be opposed in some ways, or even work together in some ways. Laws can state what is wrong and what behaviour that is punishable (punishable being the key word here), where morals cannot be governed as it's in your heart and mind (so laws are governed externally and morals are governed internally- a moral person does the right thing according to their belief, not because they may or may not be punished because they broke a law).
10/31/06 3:05 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 31-Oct-06
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It all depends on how you view law and morals...
10/31/06 5:42 PM
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gambacz
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Edited: 31-Oct-06
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As I see it, the original question in essence addresses the issue whether someone is (morally) responsible for a certain (undesirable) state of affairs that he/she could have prevented. Are we responsible for our actions as well as non-actions, with regard to the result? Equally responsible, or responsible at all? Opinions vary :o). Additional considerations could and probably would play certain role in concrete cases. Now I don't know whether jspencer had it in mind in his/her original post, but becomes a big issue when applied to relations between states and responsibility of the wealthy ones for worldwide poverty and famine. Not by exploiting poor states by forcing them to participate in the liberal international economic order (as the radical left could argue), but simply by doing nothing (= not getting the guy in the street any water). Just some thoughts...
11/1/06 3:07 AM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 01-Nov-06
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Yeah, I suppose it did get a little off topic... Oh well, the joys of discussion. An ever-changing introduction of new thoughts and ideas :-)
11/4/06 10:28 PM
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cycklops
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Edited: 04-Nov-06
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Sounds like someone is taking Phil 101
11/4/06 10:33 PM
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cycklops
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Edited: 04-Nov-06
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oops, didn't look at the date. jspencer could be a Philosophy instructor by now.
11/4/06 11:30 PM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 04-Nov-06
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"Sounds like someone is taking Phil 101" Was that directed at me? If so, no Philosophy. Just Psychology and Legal Studies (as you should be able to tell) for me... :-)
11/5/06 1:09 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 05-Nov-06
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right, and Gambacz is correct. The original post likely intended to ask the question on whether or not you had done anything wrong in that situation, not whether or not you had commited a crime. These are two different questions of which bjjschoolgirl was trying to answer the latter, which probably wasn't the intention. A good example of this might be: What if you stole something that benefited you (say a loaf of bread when you are starving) that no one would otherwise ever miss, need, or profit from (perhaps it even would have gone moldy had you not stolen it). Some people would say you didn't do anything wrong in this situation, but you still commited a crime. Perhaps you could try to address the moral issue bjjschoolgirl? I'd be interested in your thoughts on that. -doug-
11/5/06 9:43 PM
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cycklops
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Edited: 05-Nov-06
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no it was n innocent jab at jspencer
11/6/06 12:58 AM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 06-Nov-06
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Hiya Doug, Coming from a girl who feels as guilty as sin if I don't put all the change in my wallet in a collecting tin if I see one, I'd feel pretty dam evil if there was a person right in front of me who died because I didn't give them a drink of water. That said, if I apply that to the situation of world poverty... I don't know. I know I don't do enough in trying to change the world's situation. It's a hard thing to do. I've just finished high school (well, still one exam to go) and moved out (first time in my new place last night, yay!), and I have very little time and money to spare. I don't want to be one of those people who pay the $1 a month and say they are making a difference... I want to do more. But right now I want to focus on getting myself set up in life by organising a job, home, and education. Is looking out for me and me alone make me a self obsessed and bad person for not trying to make a difference in the world? Or is trying to look out for myself making a difference? I just don't know... Cheers, Maryanne.
11/6/06 12:18 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 06-Nov-06
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I think you're still missing the point a little. While it is nice when feelings tie in with morals, this is not always the case, depending on your belief. In general, however, your feelings about morals could be mistaken, and so you still aren't quite answering the question (unless of course you think that morals and feelings are the same, in which case everyone who murders and feels no remorse has done nothing wrong, which i do not think you would like to argue). So, although you may feel bad about not giving up your water to the dying man, and although it may or may not be illegal, have you done anything WRONG? and why? -doug-
11/6/06 1:03 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 06-Nov-06
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Oh, and welcome to philosophy. They dont have PhD programs in it for nothing. These questions aren't easy, so dont make the mistake of thinking they are. I'll give some potential examples of when feelings, laws, and morals don't line up with intuition to give you an idea of what is being asked: 1. Imagine if someone close to you was a victim of a brutal violent crime and you know who commited it, and where to find them. In this situation many people would exact revenge on the offender, so lets say you killed the person. In this case you have done something illegal, and you have done something wrong (assuming that you believe all cases of aggrivated killing are morally wrong), but you might feel good about it, or feel that you have done what you needed to do. 2. Let's say you like to smoke pot. If so, you enjoy doing something that is illegal, but probably not morally wrong (at least not in most cases, and let's say you grow your own and dont support local drug dealers), and you dont feel bad about it at all. In fact, you probably feel pretty good. 3. If you were a white plantation owner with slaves in pre-civil war america, you probably felt fine about having slaves, and it was legal to own them as well, but we would consider such a situation to be immoral. 4. When i dont water my plants and they start to wilt and die, i feel bad about it, even though i havent done anything wrong (at least as far as most people are concerned) and i havent done anything illegal. 5. Some people may consider it morally wrong to support walmart, but it's legal to do so, and lots of people feel fine shopping there. (a stretch, i know, but hey, its an example). 6. Some people feel guilty about it, but they shop there anyway, in which case it may be immoral, and you don't feel good about it, but it's still legal. Hope that helps straighten things out a litte. Remember my question to you is, is it morally wrong to not give the guy water? Why? It may or may not be illegal, and you may or may not feel bad about it, but is it right, wrong, morally neutral, or non-moral? -doug-
11/6/06 10:12 PM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 06-Nov-06
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Hiya Doug, You've made me feel welcomed to the philosophy ground ;-) I suppose I think that people have a certain obligation to help out another when they are in need. Whether this obligation is based on morals or feelings, I guess I couldn't tell you. Sorry. And I know it's wrong to come to an answer without any proof or reasoning behind it. What was your opinion on the matter and why? Would be very interesting to read. Cheers, Maryanne.
11/7/06 11:55 AM
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vermonter
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Edited: 07-Nov-06
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"You've made me feel welcomed to the philosophy ground ;-) " Excellent! "I suppose I think that people have a certain obligation to help out another when they are in need. Whether this obligation is based on morals or feelings, I guess I couldn't tell you. Sorry." Well if you are compelled to study philosophy, it is typically because you want an answer to questions like this, are at least a better grasp on it. If an obligation does exist, what is it's origin? Good question. "And I know it's wrong to come to an answer without any proof or reasoning behind it." It may be illogical but i dont think it's wrong. :) "What was your opinion on the matter and why? Would be very interesting to read." Well i don't think you have done anything wrong if you don't give water to the guy, but i don't think anyone ever does anything "wrong" in a moral sense. Check out the following old thread which discusses this (and actually the concept of stealing not always being wrong too) topic more indepth for some ideas and for an explanation as to why i dont think its wrong: http://mma.tv/tuf/index.cfm?ac=ListMessages&PID=3&TID=557390&FID=86 -doug-
11/8/06 8:29 PM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 08-Nov-06
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That thread was an interesting read. Makes me think that maybe morals and the like are not innate, but more so developed in the society in which we grow. Is there any moral 'right' or 'wrong' for every specific situation... wow, kinda blows my mind just thinking on it all the more. Really very interesting :-)
11/9/06 10:24 AM
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vermonter
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Edited: 09-Nov-06
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Yeah morals are tricky things. What you're talking about there might be more like moral subjectivism or something like that. If you want to talk more about it, feel free to email me at bjjconditioning@yahoo.com I'm glad i got your mind working :) -doug-
11/9/06 4:32 PM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 09-Nov-06
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Mhh. "maybe morals and the like are not innate" what made you think that in the first place?
11/9/06 7:22 PM
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BjjSchoolGirl
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Edited: 09-Nov-06
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Probably my childlike illusions about people growing up. Made me feel safer when I was younger believing that people had some sort of inbuilt moral system that would stop them from hurting or taking advantage of me and the people I love. But the world is not like that, and it's a sad yet necessary thing to learn I suppose... Cheers, Maryanne.
11/10/06 2:59 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 10-Nov-06
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Well it´s not innate to the homo sapiens, but internalised while growing up so the effect can be pretty much the same. But the basis for morality is evolutionary in my opinion.
11/10/06 12:34 PM
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vermonter
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"But the basis for morality is evolutionary in my opinion. " So morals are physical structures evolved into the human brain? -doug-
11/10/06 1:16 PM
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Indrek R.
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No. Not really. A lot of the common intuitions about right and wrong are of evolutionary inheritance. This is a part of the base-morality. There is also a sort of second morality that is made up for different reasons: - to act as counterpoise to some of the evolutionary intuitions that people have - invoked on power and to be in someone´s interests This secondary code is then internalised by upbringing (the different codes that differ in societies). So we have both an evolutionary based base-morality or base-intuitions (some of which are not very "moral" in light of todays standards) and then we have also internalised the common moral conventions of our society. I personally think we can OVERCOME both, but the convention is so much easier to see through and act against - especially if it goes agains what is natural..what our genetic wants tell us to do. And so on. I.
11/10/06 1:40 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 10-Nov-06 01:41 PM
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I didnt ask about the "basis of morals", or our intuitions about them. I asked about morals themselves. If right and wrong did not exist before humans evolved, then what is the nature of a moral object, now that we have evolved (if such a thing there be)? It must be something physical right? Or do you suggest that abstract moral objects evolve along with physial ones? People can have all kinds of intuitions about things. But what is the real difference between a right action and a wrong one? -doug-

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