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PhilosophyGround >> I wouldn't Die for anything


7/30/06 8:15 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 30-Jul-06
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I wouldn't die for anything. Not to save my family, not for my country. In fact, if some alien creature came down and said "You..Earthling...the fate of human kind rests in your hands. I will photon blast every single human being on this planet to ashes and let you live OR I will kill only you and let everyone else live..what will thy choice be?" I'd choose to live. Is this irrational?
7/30/06 11:08 PM
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dnwsr
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Edited: 30-Jul-06
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haha, i'm sure others think it, but most won't admit to it. would you die for immortality?
7/31/06 1:04 AM
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dnwsr
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Edited: 31-Jul-06
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would you die for yourself? imagine a situation in which you were constantly tortured, but had the choice to die instead. would you continue to live under these circumstances or choose to die?
7/31/06 10:21 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 31-Jul-06
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I kinda understand your name now...
7/31/06 11:58 AM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 31-Jul-06
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I'd choose to die. C'mon guys, I have always wondered if this belief of mine would stand up to scrutiny. Throw me your best shots!
7/31/06 1:34 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 31-Jul-06
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I'm pretty sure that every sensible consequentialist ethic would value your life less than the life of all others together. I think your belief can only be justified on some natural rights account of ethics. But then again, I don't buy into that.
7/31/06 2:39 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 31-Jul-06
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Dogbert, Why should one put the life of others before oneself? Let's take a consequentialist theory like utilitarianism. Surely the group would be effected negatively by my decision to live. But why should the happiness of the group be my end all be all of my decision making?
8/1/06 3:51 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 01-Aug-06
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"But why should the happiness of the group be my end all be all of my decision making?" You should do what promotes the best consequences. If you don´t think your life outweights all others, it is clear what to do.
8/1/06 4:15 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 01-Aug-06
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Well if you have a choice btw: 1) Being killed by the alien so that the others could survive and 2) Refusing to be killed by the alien so you would all be killed which one would you choose? And as dnswr asked - would you die to get rid of huge amounts of pain. I know I would. P.S Should you be really discussing this sanguine. You are a determinist remember. What´s that choice you are talking about? ;)
8/1/06 3:28 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 01-Aug-06
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"You should do what promotes the best consequences. If you don?t think your life outweights all others, it is clear what to do." Best consequences for who? What is it that I am weighing? Indrek, I already answered both of those. Unless your 2nd proposition is just me dying or everyone dying(including myself) then I would go with just me dying.
8/2/06 8:31 AM
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Subadie
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Edited: 02-Aug-06
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Thats because you apparently do not have kids.
8/2/06 9:18 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 02-Aug-06
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"Best consequences for who? What is it that I am weighing?" There are several options mankind, all things living... Most views on justice require neutrality, that is it shouldn´t be biased to anyone, including you.
8/2/06 10:30 AM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 02-Aug-06
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Dogbert, I can't really make sense out of any type of morality that is not social contract theorist based. We live in a society as a system of give and take. It takes away our freedom to do whatever we want, but we get the benefits of social living.If part of the social contract requires one to give up their own life then, it is no longer in our benefit to be part of the social contract. The whole point of the contract is taken away from us. Subadie, The reason you would die for you kids is evolutionary. You are a slave to your genes so much so that you would give up your own life so that your offspring can continue to repopulate the world with your genetic code.
8/2/06 2:24 PM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 02-Aug-06
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Sanguine I agree wholeheartedly with that: "I can't really make sense out of any type of morality that is not social contract theorist based. We live in a society as a system of give and take. It takes away our freedom to do whatever we want, but we get the benefits of social living.If part of the social contract requires one to give up their own life then, it is no longer in our benefit to be part of the social contract. The whole point of the contract is taken away from us." and am currently writing about it... and to a large degree i am an agreement with that too: "The reason you would die for you kids is evolutionary. You are a slave to your genes so much so that you would give up your own life so that your offspring can continue to repopulate the world with your genetic code." Now my question to you is: The social contract theory is based on the point of CHOICE. How do you as a determinist do find a place for choice and place for any morality at all. I haven´t yet been able to form a coherent view of how determinism and morality can function together. Anyone help me?
8/2/06 8:05 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 02-Aug-06
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Indrek, Do you believe that dogs/chimpanzees/dolphins have 'free will' or are they subject to determinism? If you believe they are subject to determinism than human morality is analogous to morality that we displayed in the ape world. Chimps have social heirarchies, are expected to act in certain behaviors depending on different situations. A chimp can 'choose' to challenge for the position of alpha male. If a chimp acts out of line then other chimps will punish him. Does a dog 'choose' with his free will to chase down a frisbee, to act kindly to you, or to bite you? If you believe that dogs act under deterministic forces then you will understand why even with determinism we must punish people. Sure they couldn't have done otherwise, but neither could your dog. You must punish your dog and teach it how to act properly so that it will be tame and able to function properly in the behavioristic way that you want it to.
8/3/06 4:58 AM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 03-Aug-06
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The determinism question is not only or predominantly about punishing. Any idea of a "proper" act is kind of pointless without the notion of choice or isn´t it? But does determinism allow choice. Does it allow choice even on compatibilist versions? Regarding animals and humans. There is a distinction often made btw "moral agents" and "moral patients". A chimp or a dog or a little child will not understand the consequences of his action, he is not a moral agent who can think about different routes of action and about the consequences of his choices. This does obviously not cohere well with determinism, but it is still a common distinction in moral philosophy. So the analogy might not hold here as well as you think. As far as punishment goes, if determinism would hold then I personally think there could be no "punishment" in the current sense. I also think that the punishing and retributive practices of death penalty and imprisonment in bad conditions should be then abolished. The only case for locking the dangerous people up is that they are dangerous to others - but then they should be locked up in normal living conditions without guards (maybe to a restricted area with restricted economic possibilities and trade options - a world prison or smth) or then with guards if that is the particular moral option (to prevent them harming themselves and each other).
8/3/06 7:14 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 03-Aug-06
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"I can't really make sense out of any type of morality that is not social contract theorist based. We live in a society as a system of give and take. It takes away our freedom to do whatever we want, but we get the benefits of social living.If part of the social contract requires one to give up their own life then, it is no longer in our benefit to be part of the social contract. The whole point of the contract is taken away from us." Noooooo! The contract does pay! You get all the many many benefits society offers and only have to take the very, very small risk of being visited by an alien who wants your sacrifice in order to safe mankind. It can be quite rational to sign such a contract a priori.
8/3/06 10:52 AM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 03-Aug-06
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Dogbert, I think you misunderstood me. Part of the social contract is the understanding that if at any point the contract requires so much of you that you it would not be worth it for you to be in the contract then you no longer have to obide by its rules. Another question for you Dogbert...would you give up you life for the life of 5 other people? I'd guess no...and therefore on what grounds?
8/3/06 11:50 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 03-Aug-06
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"I think you misunderstood me. Part of the social contract is the understanding that if at any point the contract requires so much of you that you it would not be worth it for you to be in the contract then you no longer have to obide by its rules." If you only behave according to the contract if you like to- it is no contract at all. "Another question for you Dogbert...would you give up you life for the life of 5 other people? I'd guess no...and therefore on what grounds?" Depends on who the five people are, but how I would behave is irrelevant to how one ought to behave. Do as I say, not as I do... ;-) But I think one can justify the five person case on the grounds that knowing one hasn't to give up ones life as soon as it saves five lives is soo comforting and good that it outweights the expected benefit of the case where the option really arises. Btw: Is there any ethical theory you follow at all?
8/3/06 1:18 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 03-Aug-06 01:30 PM
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"If you only behave according to the contract if you like to- it is no contract at all." Think of it like a job. When you enter employment you sign a contract. The contract says that if you work here 8 hours a day the company will pay you X amount of money. But if the work becomes to overbearing for you, you are allowed to quit the job. There is no law that says "YOU HAVE TO WORK HERE FOREVER, EVEN IF THE JOB KILLS YOU", one is allowed to quit the contract at any time. As I am trying to point out , the ethics that make the most sense to me is social contract theory. If you read up on social contract theory what I am saying agrees with theory. One of the main reasons so many people are attracted to social contract theories is that it wouldn't demand you to give up your life for 5 random people. Nobody would actually do that. Under social contract theory it is understood that people live in a social agreement for the benefits of social living. Of course they have to give up a few freedoms, but it is understood that it is still beneficial for them to live within society. If at any point it would require them to give up their own life then it would not be beneficial for the person to live within society. Therefore it is not expected that one should have to do such a thing.
8/3/06 3:43 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 03-Aug-06
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I haven´t yet been able to form a coherent view of how determinism and morality can function together. Anyone help me?

Compatibilism is perhaps what you are looking for. Not that I think that view is convincing, but many important contemperary philosophers do.

8/3/06 4:13 PM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 03-Aug-06
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I know. I read Mackie´s "Ethics" lately and am writing on it right now. The part on determinism is still really hard for me to follow and swallow - how does compatibilism allow for choice. I just can´t seem to form any coherent idea about it. Can you help?
8/4/06 1:38 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 04-Aug-06 01:42 PM
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If I have understood compatibilism correctly, they state that even if you are determined to make a certain choice, it is still you making that choice. that is all they need to save moral responsability in their opinion, as opposed to the liberal idea of free choice, which must entail that you should have been able to choose differently then you actually did.
8/4/06 6:16 PM
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Indrek R.
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Edited: 04-Aug-06
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I cannot really understand how a choice is a choice if you cannot choose whether or not to do the action you are going to do. But then again I have the strange intuition that there is something eeky, incoherent or self-defeating in determinism anyway. Will be an interesting topic to study in the future.
8/5/06 3:19 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 05-Aug-06
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"Think of it like a job. When you enter employment you sign a contract. The contract says that if you work here 8 hours a day the company will pay you X amount of money. But if the work becomes to overbearing for you, you are allowed to quit the job. There is no law that says "YOU HAVE TO WORK HERE FOREVER, EVEN IF THE JOB KILLS YOU", one is allowed to quit the contract at any time." Uh no. There is a law that says you are not allowed to form such contracts (policymakers nowadays are against slavery). So the broader social contract requires that certain contracts are not allowed. This is no argument for such restrictions on the broader social contract. "As I am trying to point out , the ethics that make the most sense to me is social contract theory. If you read up on social contract theory what I am saying agrees with theory. One of the main reasons so many people are attracted to social contract theories is that it wouldn't demand you to give up your life for 5 random people." Depends on how broad you use the term "contract". Contracts behind a veil of ignorance could well allow for such rules. "Nobody would actually do that." ...ex post. "Under social contract theory it is understood that people live in a social agreement for the benefits of social living. Of course they have to give up a few freedoms, but it is understood that it is still beneficial for them to live within society." The social cotract usually can allow for penalties. Even under minimal contracts of the Nozick type you can get in prison. And not simply drop the agreement when being caught. Your social contract would certainly make for an miserable law system. "If at any point it would require them to give up their own life then it would not be beneficial for the person to live within society. Therefore it is not expected that one should have to do such a thing." Again. Contracts are usually made ex post. In some cases there are legal restrictions, but that's just the way it is.

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