Degrees of ethics

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PaulG
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 03:24 am
Hi everyone,

This is my 1st post other than an introduction, so please go easy on me Very Happy

Scenario: A and B work in the same agency which has a high level of responsibility in the community, as well as a significant contact with the police. Both individuals have been employed by the agency for approximately the same time. Both individuals regularly commit minor breaches of the law, however, A states that he can get away with it because of his relationship with the police. A has an expectation that any minor infractions of the legal system will be ignored or covered up because of that relationship. B, on the other hand accepts that the behaviour is illegal, however, states a willingness to accept full punishment, even increased punishment because of the position held.

Discussion: A's attitude suggests an expectation that an additional breach of ethical behaviour is an expectation. B believes that full punishment should be expected and, therefore, willing to accept that. A can be seen to be less ethical due to the expectation that further unethical behaviour will occur should A be caught. Therefore, B is in a more ethical position than A.

Questions: Is the above discussion valid? Can ethical behaviour be graded in terms of an individual's expectations?

I hope I have presented this sufficiently. If not, please let me know how to improve it.


PaulG.
 
de budding
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 04:12 am
@PaulG,
I think first that the assumption of law as a definitive ethical code needs addressing; here is a list from the BBC of the most 'most ludicrous laws'...

# 1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
# 2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down
# 3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store
# 4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned
# 5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter
# 6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet
# 7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen
# 8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing
# 9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armor
# 10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow

I personally disregard these laws, and could go on to assert that it is unethical to impose such a system of control on the general public. But lets assume that this is 'the' ethical code, and we are asking- if expectations (or intentions- expectations of one's actions/self) of an ethical sort count as ethical behavior, on the same level as committing ethical actions (ethical actions being that which are governed by law as 'legal').

I would say intentions and expectations count for a lot in a court of law, the difference between man slaughter and murder (the former within our law system being more ethical) is expectations or intentions is it not?

A man goes to push his wife (who is at the top of some stairs) and on approach expects himself to kill her in doing so, is comparable to a man who, on approach didn't expect himself to kill her, but expected himself to surprise her, as a joke, but unfortunately she fell down the stairs and died.

In this respect the expectations we have of our self and our actions governs how ethical we are, but this is coupled with actions. I don't think we can start to judge ethics in the scope of law without actions to impact and judge each other by. But once actions happen we then decide to look at the intentions and expectations of the commiter, to decide how 'evil' said person is. SO...

Quote:
Can ethical behavior be graded in terms of an individual's expectations?



I would say no, not of each other especially, just because I expect you or me to behave better just shows a more controlling and and domineering character. But if you couple your expectations with actions, i.e follow through and act out your expectations or, lead by example if you will. You are then being more ethical.

Also I want to quickly add that my personal ethical code (as opposed to law) could include such rules as- it is right to run over pedestrians who step into the road, and I expect people/myself to do this and I then go on to lead by example and act according to my expectations... In the eyes of every one I'm sure I am unethical... I think back to my first paragraph, there is no real objective ethical code, so there is no real right or wrong.

Dan.
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 04:32 am
@PaulG,
Individual expectations must submit to cultural expectations, therefore a non-criminal not submitting to criminal cultural expectations is breaching 'ethical behavior', e.g. when writers and cartoonists are on death-lists or thrown in jail.
 
PaulG
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 04:36 am
@de budding,
If I ever get to the UK, I'll try to find a tropical fish shop in Liverpool (sorry, couldn't help that).

I see your point, the reality of intent in any action does have an impact on the interpretation of that action. It can be said that actions, in and of themselves, have no value. The interpretation of those actions, either by the actor or observers, places a value on them. The example you gave of someone scaring someone else at the top of the stairs is a good one, but, I don't think it really fits with what I was initially writing about. Lets say that A and B both speed on their way to and from work. We have an action and an intention, but there is no legal intervention at this stage. A's belief that he will be let go because of an unethical act of the police would, I contend, appear to be more unethical to an outside observer than B's. I don't believe that this question is about actual criminal behaviour or judicial responses to such behaviour, as much as how individual's perceive their positions from both individual and social ethical positions.

PaulG.
 
de budding
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 05:16 am
@PaulG,
Quote:
A and B both speed on their way to and from work. We have an action and an intention, but there is no legal intervention at this stage. A's belief that he will be let go because of an unethical act of the police would, I contend, appear to be more unethical to an outside observer than B's
 
PaulG
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 04:35 pm
@de budding,
Ok de_budding, I think I have seen the error of my ways. I have been talking about what can only be seen as abstract concepts at this point, that is, neither A or B have had to demonstrate their convictions in terms of dealing with their behaviour.

PaulG.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2008 12:57 pm
@PaulG,
I would like to counter argue de_buddings position that ethical behavior is only relevant when having to demonstrate their convictions in terms of dealing with their behavior as PaulG puts it.

The thing aout ethical behavior is that, when operating under a hypothetical imperative, with a 'goal' in mind, one does not consider what actually is 'good'. One dreams the 'goal' to be 'good'. Such 'goals' will differ from person to person and therefore such 'goals' are called hypothetical; because of their subjective nature. No matter how lofty the 'goal', it cannot be 'good' for all. Take for example 'peace on earth'. That would not be 'good' for a slaverace for instance. That peace will only be 'good' for them when they are no longer slaves. At that precise moment this particual 'goal' would turn for that particular group.

A more prudent ethical position would be a categorical imperative, with duty to the (moral) law in mind. One takes such a position by acting only according to that maxim which one can think one would like everybody to act according to.

In that sense B indeed has the more ethical position, no question about it. The reason I am able to conclude this is because of the thought that no human actually knows what 'good' is, but can only guess at it.
 
de budding
 
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2008 03:05 pm
@Arjen,
I had an inkling you might reply Arjen; I buffed up on Kant's duty ethics and I have come to the conclusion that neither are really acting in what I would call an ethical sense, but if any one is, it is in fact A!. The two maxims that need to be subjected to the categorical imperative are... 'It is right to break the law if you can get away with it' (A) and, 'it is right to break the law if you accept the consequences when caught' (B)... do either of these 'maxims' show any sense when generalized and tested as categorical imperatives?

(A) generalized- It is right for every one to break the law if they can get away with it.

(B) generalized- It is right for every one to break the law as long as they accept the consequences... wait a minute do we have a choice to accept the consequences... NO! if your caught your caught, you do not get a choice- unless your B... so this can be revised as- it is right for every one to break the law.

At least A's maxim doesn't contradict itself, it implies a world where there are an elite few who have a right to break the law and it is not wrong for the to do so ( sure a little biased and elitist but better than B's world)... this is at least a functioning society- unlike B's! B's maxim when generalized implies a world where there is in fact no law, the maxim contradicts itself, 'It is right for every one to break the law' every one can break the law so there is in fact no law that exists, every one can and SHOULD (as it is right)- thuscan exist that mentions law. In this sense Arjen, is not A more ethical, in that he at least allows for law.

Is not A more ethical when the categorical imperative is used?

notes: The system I revised and used suggest we should- create maxims, like- 'it is right to break the law if you can get away with it'... you next have to generalize it (apply it to every one)- 'it is right for EVERYONE to break the law if they can get away with it'; after generalization if your maxim doesn't contradict itself you can at least say follow it with duty knowing your not following out of inclination, or to make yourself feel good about your self. I think what highlights this all, is you KNOW when you are doing something out of duty and when your doing it for self satisfaction, the 'sense of duty' is so obvious to me that I get frustrated to see people operate away from it... which most do Sad

And PaulG, I don't think there was any error in your ways, just difference of opinions. And personally I think a good will, a sense of duty and a good heart can only exist if you think and act in accordance to your own ethical maxims when no one else is around. :big-guns:love these new emoticons.

Dan.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 12:24 am
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
I had an inkling you might reply Arjen; I buffed up on Kant's duty ethics and I have come to the conclusion that neither are really acting in what I would call an ethical sense, but if any one is, it is in fact A!.

Well, well, mr. de_budding, when brushing up on Kant's ethics I would think you would have seperated the duty fotm the goal ethics. Wink

As wittgenstein say's:
"A philosopher not entering into discussions is like a boxer not entering into the ring."
So, put up your dukes! Smile

Somehow it feels as if you are actually trying to make Kant's ethics into a mockery of itself. In that sense you are most definately not ethical. The goal you are wielding is one that has in mind to overthrow the moral law. That reminds me of sophistry. Or am I mistaken?

Quote:

The two maxims that need to be subjected to the categorical imperative are... 'It is right to break the law if you can get away with it' (A) and, 'it is right to break the law if you accept the consequences when caught' (B)... do either of these 'maxims' show any sense when generalized and tested as categorical imperatives?

At this point it is still clear that A has no intention whatsoever to act in a way that A can also will everybody to act in such a manner; A has just the opposite intent. Thereby showing a very unethical position with a 'goal' that would do slavedrivers proud. B on the other hand has no expectations, but simply awaits his lot. Although the criminal act which put B in the situation to be judged was most likely not very ethical, at east B is not consciously working toward an overthrowal of equal rights or the suppression of others.

Quote:

(A) generalized- It is right for every one to break the law if they can get away with it.

(B) generalized- It is right for every one to break the law as long as they accept the consequences... wait a minute do we have a choice to accept the consequences... NO! if your caught your caught, you do not get a choice- unless your B... so this can be revised as- it is right for every one to break the law.

The generalisations you are making here are generalised by your own thought-objects I think. As stated above I also think you did so with a certain 'goal' in mind: the overthrowal of ethical behavior and equal rights in your reasoning.

A few remarks:
1) Your generalisation of A has nothing to do with A's intentions in the sense that A does not want everybody to get away with it, just him. As is always true for people wieding 'goals'; it would no longer be beneficial. People wielding 'goals' always use double standards.
2) Your generalisation of B has nothing to do with B's intentions in the sense that B is not concerned with anybody or anything else except seeing what is going to happen.
3) Although I may be reluctant to say that one should just await anothers judgement B at least has no intention to create a double standard and therefore (at this moment) is not acting in an unfair manner. B's intentions at this moment is at least not the most unethical, which A's intentions obviously are.

Quote:

At least A's maxim doesn't contradict itself, it implies a world where there are an elite few who have a right to break the law and it is not wrong for the to do so ( sure a little biased and elitist but better than B's world)... this is at least a functioning society- unlike B's! B's maxim when generalized implies a world where there is in fact no law, the maxim contradicts itself, 'It is right for every one to break the law' every one can break the law so there is in fact no law that exists, every one can and SHOULD (as it is right)- thuscan exist that mentions law. In this sense Arjen, is not A more ethical, in that he at least allows for law.

A's maxim does contradict itself because it has the necessity for a double standard. Only in your thought-objects is this the other way around.

Quote:

notes: The system I revised and used suggest we should- create maxims, like- 'it is right to break the law if you can get away with it'... you next have to generalize it (apply it to every one)- 'it is right for EVERYONE to break the law if they can get away with it'; after generalization if your maxim doesn't contradict itself you can at least say follow it with duty knowing your not following out of inclination, or to make yourself feel good about your self. I think what highlights this all, is you KNOW when you are doing something out of duty and when your doing it for self satisfaction, the 'sense of duty' is so obvious to me that I get frustrated to see people operate away from it... which most do Sad

Because of the double standard involved those maxims are hypothetical ('goals').




Well mr de_budding, will you at least tell e why you set out to contradict Kant's ethical philosophies?
 
de budding
 
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 04:11 am
@Arjen,
Arjen,
Ok so the mistake was when I qualified goals as ethical maxims? I was under the understanding that one can take an ethical opinion like- 'it is right to steal' and turn it into a universal generalization (to prove you will it to be universal and not just for yourself) - 'it is right for everyone to steal', and then look for contradiction in the universal, like it is impossible to steal if every one is morally obliged to steal because there is no personal property to steal, it is all stolen.

Quote:
Your generalization of A has nothing to do with A's intentions in the sense that A does not want everybody to get away with it, just him.


So A's maxim would be more along the lines of 'it is right for me and me only to break the law [because I can get away with it?] <--- this last bit needed? And that can't be generalized simply because it would contradict itself in that, A could not be the only one who could break the la if he applied it universally and every one could break the law. So in that respect I see that A has not even developed a ethical maxim, he is acting out of self concern only.

But B who happily speeds isn't applying his maxim either- B is not concerned with anybody or anything else except seeing what is going to happen. So it is right for him to speed [break the law] as long as his is preoccupied with seeing what is going to happen? Again I think no matter what spin we put on B, he will be breaking the law be and any maxim he tries to qualify as universal will include everybody breaking the law.

So am I wrong to suggest Kant would find neither A or B ethical because neither can generate a maxim 'whereby [they] can at the same time will it should become universal.' But we can in our own opinion of ethical operation suggest B is more ethical because at least his maxim can be generalized, where as as soon as A's maxim is generalized it contradicts itself because of the double standard (hypothetical goal). Any ethic that states 'me and me only' can never even get as far as being generalized and there for is more unethical than a maxim that can be generalized, but when it is shows contradictions, like 'every one breaking the law', if the law is broke by all, there is no law that exists to be broken.

So I repair what I say about A, and realize he is not even thinking ethically, but looking at B closer- he still has no ethical intentions and therefor they are no as bad as each other.:surrender:

Dan.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 08:30 pm
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
Arjen,
Ok so the mistake was when I qualified goals as ethical maxims? I was under the understanding that one can take an ethical opinion like- 'it is right to steal' and turn it into a universal generalization (to prove you will it to be universal and not just for yourself) - 'it is right for everyone to steal', and then look for contradiction in the universal, like it is impossible to steal if every one is morally obliged to steal because there is no personal property to steal, it is all stolen.

Let me first seperate two different uses of the words 'ethical behavior'.
1) The wide meaning: an action concerning not only the actor, but also contains a form of relation to others (which means just about all actions when viewed in a certain light).
2) The narrow meaning: an action which is to be taken as 'good'.

Maxims are the subjective principles that instigate decision making processes; a drive if you will. All actions therefore contain maxims. Maxims then are scrutinesed by our reason and then acted upon or not. A posteriori we can say that some actions were taken under a hypothetical or a categorical imperative.

'Goals' seperate theselves from maxims in the sense that 'goals' are present in acting, maxims are present before acting in the sense that it may a longing for a woman in a distant country while her address is unknown to you. One does not need to act on it. 'Goals' on the other hand, just as 'duties' exist in acting and defining of the imperative (andtherefore the action).

The universalisation is used to see if any double standard is used; if the action contradicts itself. The categorical imperative shows itself because there is no double standard used. The double standard always surfaces in the hypothetical standard though. It is not impossible to universalise the hypothetical imperative, the person acting under said imperative merely does not want everbody to act like him/her. Anyway, you were close, but definately no sigar. I think you mistook (purposefully?) the intent of PaulG.

Quote:

So A's maxim would be more along the lines of 'it is right for me and me only to break the law [because I can get away with it?] <--- this last bit needed? And that can't be generalized simply because it would contradict itself in that, A could not be the only one who could break the la if he applied it universally and every one could break the law. So in that respect I see that A has not even developed a ethical maxim, he is acting out of self concern only.

A is unethical in the sense that he is 'evil'. He wishes to get away with breaking the law because of an exceptional position. So, the double standard is immediately evident and, the double stanbdard even concern the creation of a double standard. He reminds me of Aristotle's 'ethics'. What a blackheart A must be.

Quote:

But B who happily speeds isn't applying his maxim either- B is not concerned with anybody or anything else except seeing what is going to happen. So it is right for him to speed [break the law] as long as his is preoccupied with seeing what is going to happen? Again I think no matter what spin we put on B, he will be breaking the law be and any maxim he tries to qualify as universal will include everybody breaking the law.

I will ignore the maxim remark.

I will also ignore the misconception concerning B's intentions.

B broke the law and now expects to be treated like any other who broke the law. There is no 'evil' intent in that. Apparently B had a reason for breaking the law which outweighed the personal risks of breaking the law. Although before the fact that may be 'not good' intent, behind the fact it is no more than that: a wandering from the law or somesuch; not an attempt to overthrow it or not be subjected to it.

One might say that one can will everyone to break the law when there is a good enough reason for it. I might speed to the hospital with a pregnant wife for instance(I am not married btw). Any reprimandes would be worth it.

Quote:

So am I wrong to suggest Kant would find neither A or B ethical because neither can generate a maxim 'whereby [they] can at the same time will it should become universal.' But we can in our own opinion of ethical operation suggest B is more ethical because at least his maxim can be generalized, where as as soon as A's maxim is generalized it contradicts itself because of the double standard (hypothetical goal). Any ethic that states 'me and me only' can never even get as far as being generalized and there for is more unethical than a maxim that can be generalized, but when it is shows contradictions, like 'every one breaking the law', if the law is broke by all, there is no law that exists to be broken.

B does reach a maxim where he can will it to be a universal law (ater the act). A on the other hand wishes for a situation in which the law does not permit such a universalisation.

Quote:

So I repair what I say about A, and realize he is not even thinking ethically, but looking at B closer- he still has no ethical intentions and therefor they are no as bad as each other.:surrender:

Dan.

Again I will ignore the defenition of ethical.

I hope you realise that you are twisting the examples around to make them fit your own 'goals'. You are reminding me very much of an 'Okke de G'. What 'goal' are you chasing after?
 
PaulG
 
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 03:31 am
@Arjen,
Does ethics have to include and actual behaviour? The belief that one should be "let off" because of one's position appears to me to be unethical. Should a police officer be let off an assault charge if he/she beats an offender during an arrest? If not, wouldn't a culture that supports that attitude be considered to be unethical?


PaulG.
 
de budding
 
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 05:44 am
@PaulG,
Arjen,

There are no goals involved, not that I know at least Arjen, simply a judgment of both men being as bad as each other.

A- breaks law (commits minor offenses)
B- breaks law (commits minor offenses)

These are a pair of unethical actions because they concern '

1) Everyone is subjected to the laws, and breaking them is a double standard
2) Breaking laws usually entails damage or hurt to others, hence why the actions are outlawed.

Now we are judging a second set of actions which are-

A- uses his position to excuse his actions
B- uses his position to excuse his actions

A uses his position to alleviate the criminal charges but accepts the unethical charges.
B uses his position to alleviate the unethical charges but accepts the criminal charges.

They have both created double standards and endangered others by breaking the law and both have used there position, albeit there career position or their ethically superior position to excuse them self's in one way or another.

I am simply denying that it is ok to break the law if you accept the consequences; the real tragic hero (as apposed to B) is C who refuses to break the law at all out of fear of being caught and out of duty to act unethical and not endanger others, and he does this knowing full well that people like B are breaking the law and then getting some ethical respect for accepting what they did and people like A out there getting away with it. It is hard to follow an ethical code that is so easily exploited.

The only goal here is that we should all follow the rules we define our countries conduct by, i.e. the laws that protect us from people like A and B who happily break the law and then make excuses afterwards to qualify there actions.

Dan.

 
de budding
 
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 07:10 am
@PaulG,
Quote:
Does ethics have to include and actual behavior? The belief that one should be "let off" because of one's position appears to me to be unethical. Should a police officer be let off an assault charge if he/she beats an offender during an arrest? If not, wouldn't a culture that supports that attitude be considered to be unethical?


Ethics must include behavior only, or the system of what is right/wrong when interacting with others would collapse under the weight of excuses and reasonings, like B who thinks he can commit crimes because of a specific attitude he has toward the law albeit a positive one.
The person who commits a crime should be punished for that, and if there is an opportunity for them to get off the hook, the person who offers to get them off the hook should be punished for that. The truly right thing for B to do would be to first blow the whistle on A and his actions and then turn himself in for the crimes he committed and commit no more.

I make lots of excuses for myself all the time, but I try my hardest to recognize when I'm doing this and don't let them manifest in actions, this is where the duty is. Even though you may not want to do what is right- whether it be because of the effort it takes, or because you think your an exception to the rule, still doing it and leading by example to keep things moving is what duty entails.

Sorry if I'm not making any sense or going in circles Very Happy Arjen will set me straight. :a-ok:

Dan.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 11:54 am
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
Arjen,

There are no goals involved, not that I know at least Arjen, simply a judgment of both men being as bad as each other.

I do not believe so. If that would be the case there would be no reason for the 'bending' of the examples and if done by accident it would be easily seen and admitted by you. You are 'bending' the examples, which points to a prior thought-object which needs to be satisfied. A conflict situation obviously exists which leads to a circulatory argument (and refutations).

Quote:

A- breaks law (commits minor offenses)
B- breaks law (commits minor offenses)

These are a pair of unethical actions because they concern '

1) Everyone is subjected to the laws, and breaking them is a double standard
2) Breaking laws usually entails damage or hurt to others, hence why the actions are outlawed.

You are mistaken. Laws are a double standard. Breaking laws does not damage or hurt to others. Laws entail damage or hurt to others. That is why they were created in the first place. You should study the difference between the social contract and laws. We discussed it before.

Anyway, breaking laws can or cannot entail damage or hurt to others. It is not decisive in it.

Quote:

Now we are judging a second set of actions which are-

A- uses his position to excuse his actions
B- uses his position to excuse his actions

B does not use his position to excuse his actions; only A does so. Why 'bend' the example?

opening post wrote:

Discussion: A's attitude suggests an expectation that an additional breach of ethical behaviour is an expectation. B believes that full punishment should be expected and, therefore, willing to accept that. A can be seen to be less ethical due to the expectation that further unethical behaviour will occur should A be caught. Therefore, B is in a more ethical position than A.


Quote:

A uses his position to alleviate the criminal charges but accepts the unethical charges.
B uses his position to alleviate the unethical charges but accepts the criminal charges.

A wills to use his position to create a situation in which ethical motivations in the narrow meaning will be blocked by law. B at no point uses his position to alleviate any unethical charges either. Why the 'bending'?

Quote:

They have both created double standards and endangered others by breaking the law and both have used there position, albeit there career position or their ethically superior position to excuse them self's in one way or another.

The breaking of the law is not under discussion, the intentions, hopes and actions of A and B when awaiting judgement are. Why the 'bending'?

Quote:

I am simply denying that it is ok to break the law if you accept the consequences; the real tragic hero (as apposed to B) is C who refuses to break the law at all out of fear of being caught and out of duty to act unethical and not endanger others, and he does this knowing full well that people like B are breaking the law and then getting some ethical respect for accepting what they did and people like A out there getting away with it. It is hard to follow an ethical code that is so easily exploited.

I take it you see things as black and white? Right or wrong and if not right, therefore wrong? That is the very definition of double morality. It points out why you like laws: you can hide behind them. This is your reason for the 'bending' I think: your definition of yourself as a 'good' lawobeying citizen.

To me the real hero is D. The man who has no preset judgements and tries to take every situation as a new one. The man who acts when acting is needed and accepts when accepting is needed. The tragedy of the D's is that those men will get in trouble 100% of the time because they will interfere with the double standards the laws impose on society.

Quote:

The only goal here is that we should all follow the rules we define our countries conduct by, i.e. the laws that protect us from people like A and B who happily break the law and then make excuses afterwards to qualify there actions.

Dan.

One question:
What happens when the laws are wrong?

Following your reasonings nothing can be done.

It is the same difference between empiricism and rationalism we discussed. In empiricism only circulatory arguments can exist: the thought-object is P and that is what the investigated will be about. At no point will the thought-object be questioned again. When following laws to the point you suggest they could never be broken; not even when millions will be deported to gas-chambers for instance. It seems to me no one in his right mind would accept that. I resist and will always resist such situations and at the same time hope that would become a universal maxim within the species.

It reminds me of this quote:

Lucianus wrote:

Pectore si fratris gladium juguloque parentis
Condere me jubeas, gravidaeque in viscera partu
Conjugis, invita peragam tamen omnia dextra.


Freely translated it means:

If you would command me to puncture the chest of my brother,
The throat of my father, And even the intenstines of my pregnant wife with my shortsword,
I will do all that, albeit it with revulsion.





In response to your second post I would like to say that it is a good one to use to show the circulatory reasoning:

Quote:

Ethics must include behavior only, or the system of what is right/wrong when interacting with others would collapse under the weight of excuses and reasonings, like B who thinks he can commit crimes because of a specific attitude he has toward the law albeit a positive one.
The person who commits a crime should be punished for that, and if there is an opportunity for them to get off the hook, the person who offers to get them off the hook should be punished for that. The truly right thing for B to do would be to first blow the whistle on A and his actions and then turn himself in for the crimes he committed and commit no more.

If indeed the person getting another off the hook should be punished there would be no more investigations into a persons intent. I might kill a person who is pointing a knife at my child (I have no child btw). If the factor that I was protecting my child does not weigh into the punishment then all that would remain would be the act in itself. In that sense only actions would be judged and the intentions forgotten. The laws themselves would thereby lose their intentions and promote criminality because when defending onself or ones own one becomes a criminal. So either the criminal is given free way or the victim becomes a criminal as well.

You seem of a mind to think that following the rules is 'good' and therefore argue that following the rules is 'good'. There appears the circulatory argument. It refutes itself in the sense that indeed following the rules to the letter would create 'good' if and only if each and every individual would act accordingly. Seeing as it is not the case that everybody follows the rules (a more accurate account would be that nobody follows the rules, except when it appears to benefit them) the rest would have to be forced or ignored, which leads to acts would are against the law. Thereby refuting itself.

Quote:

I make lots of excuses for myself all the time, but I try my hardest to recognize when I'm doing this and don't let them manifest in actions, this is where the duty is. Even though you may not want to do what is right- whether it be because of the effort it takes, or because you think your an exception to the rule, still doing it and leading by example to keep things moving is what duty entails.

The thing of it is that 'rules' have 'goals'. Things just are not black and white. In this case you are using 'the law' as a 'rulebase' to base your actions on. The reality of the matter is that any 'rulebase' can only be used for a double standard: either it is according to or against the 'rulebase'. The only possible solution to the dilemma is to wield an empty 'rulebase' so as to arrive at 'duty' instead of 'goal'. Laws therefore are by their very existance unethical in the narrow sense.

I hope this will shock everybody up a bit and make people realise what exactly is being asked of you when living in a society.
 
de budding
 
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 01:16 pm
@Arjen,
Ok I get it now and happpily yield.
A shocking truth it is indeed, but it leaves me feeling a little empty.

But if I go through all the effort of subjecting my actions to the categorical imperative and acting according to what I could will to be applied universally. I am going to be a sitting duck for theivs and liars, I will be exploited and no one will return the favor... in short I feel it will be futile. Why bother when no one else will?

I am also going to make sure I can see the difference between goals based on rule bases, and duties based on nothing. perhaps you could help with some direction Arjen.

Thanks for your response, I see my 'goal' now and feel a little shamed, I think it is more to do with my fear of being caught by the law due to my grandfather- an ex-police official and sharp-shooter, and his strong influence on me. On top of that it makes my blood boil to see other break the law when I feel enforced to follow it. Should I break it more?!

Dan.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 01:50 pm
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
Ok I get it now and happpily yield.
A shocking truth it is indeed, but it leaves me feeling a little empty.

Hurray for the absence of rulebases!
Wink

Quote:

But if I go through all the effort of subjecting my actions to the categorical imperative and acting according to what I could will to be applied universally. I am going to be a sitting duck for theivs and liars, I will be exploited and no one will return the favor... in short I feel it will be futile. Why bother when no one else will?

You get more apt at it, the moral reasonings can be done in a micro-second, trust me.

The reason to bother with it is to make sure that you are not the one acting in ways you would not like to be acted upon. That way each person is only responsible for him or herself. Change the world, start with yourself.
Wink

Quote:

I am also going to make sure I can see the difference between goals based on rule bases, and duties based on nothing. perhaps you could help with some direction Arjen.

Look up the logical formulations of the principle of explosion:
Ex Falso Sequitur Quodlibet.

This may give you far more questions at first, but it is an important step in understanding the way the human mind works and therefore how ethical formulations and judgements in general are formed.

A pm might be good, or a topic on this. Whichever you like.

Quote:

Thanks for your response, I see my 'goal' now and feel a little shamed,

Please don;t, you might feel deserving of punishment next.
Wink

Quote:

I think it is more to do with my fear of being caught by the law due to my grandfather- an ex-police official and sharp-shooter, and his strong influence on me. On top of that it makes my blood boil to see other break the law when I feel enforced to follow it. Should I break it more?!

Is the fact that someone breaks the law which makes your blood boil, or the unfairness of the action (the fact that someone is affected negatively) which makes your blood boil? Are you confusion the two?

I most likely will not have to remind you that there are many places now and in the past were laws include the right to slaves, the necessity of child sacrifices or the coersion of women by men. I do not agree with any of these laws and seeing them broken fills me with joy. I bet that happens to you too. So, laws have nothing to do with fairness, nor with justice. Laws merely have to do with the opinions of the people making the ;aws up. I find that those people are usually very unethical (in the narrow sense) and that everybody would be better off in the absence of laws.

I hope this seperation helps.

Smile
 
de budding
 
Reply Mon 7 Jul, 2008 02:18 pm
@Arjen,
Deserving of punishment! Can't you tell? I'm an emotional masochist :bigsmile:
I think when I see a law broke, commonly speeding for example, it is a mixture of the double standard- the fact I have to follow (albeit out of fear) and he doesn't (albeit out of idiocy), and the potential danger it inflicts on others, and the waste of fuel the needless acceleration outputs. So the unfairness predominately I would say.

Quote:
You get more apt at it, the moral reasonings can be done in a micro-second, trust me.

The reason to bother with it is to make sure that you are not the one acting in ways you would not like to be acted upon. That way each person is only responsible for him or herself. Change the world, start with yourself.
Wink


Well you haven't let me down yet, I will see how I go- starting with entering situations with such an open mind people raise a brow who know me (as mentioned in the pm's), and see how it works consulting Kant before an action when others are around. I got the whole holidays to practice!


Thanks for your responses and the link, I'll pm about the link as soon as I get confused!

Dan.
 
 

 
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