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Do you believe the death penalty is unethical?


Lyudmilascience
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Ethics is subjective: it's defined by the prevailing culture what is morally correct behaviour.

 

 

I disagree, I think basic ethics are innate and tied to our sense of fairness.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2193506/Humans-innate-sense-fairness-means-wed-short-changed-say-scientists.html

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/am-i-right/201301/fairness-is-innate-human-nature

 

 

Mankiw’s comment regarding fairness is more challenging. His analogy to beauty implies that judgments about fairness are no more objective than what constitutes beauty; it is purely subjective.

Mankiw’s idea about beauty is widespread and is right on one level. People do disagree about what is beautiful. But that doesn’t stop philosophers and critics from attempting to come up with some criteria that moves beyond subjective judgments. No aesthetic judgment is absolute, but some judgments are better than others.

Several studies demonstrate beauty may well be universal, even if not objective (I will write about this in a future blog). And the same may be said about fairness. There is no absolute standard and the judgment will be influenced by the facts and the context. Nevertheless, there is an identifiable core. Jonathan Haidt sees fairness as “related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy.”

 

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I disagree, I think basic ethics are innate and tied to our sense of fairness.

In Islamic cultures that means " Do to others as they would do to you"; an eye for an eye. The death penalty is "fair" in that culture.

 

As I said: culture defines morality.

Edited by StringJunky
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In a small tribe the idea of "an eye for an eye" is fair yes, but your conflating that culture with ours ( mega-tribes), to justify your position; that fact is 'your culture' does not think the death penalty is ethical/fair.


In Islamic cultures that means " Do to others as they would do to you"; an eye for an eye. The death penalty is "fair" in that culture.

 

As I said: culture defines morality.

 

 

Culture influences morality;but I was addressing your insistence that ethics are subjective.

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In Islamic cultures that means " Do to others as they would do to you"; an eye for an eye. The death penalty is "fair" in that culture.

 

As I said: culture defines morality.

Nice try.

But if you use the right quote "Do to others as you would have them do to you." you will see that it does not mean"an eye for an eye" - in fact it pretty much means the opposite.

 

So, which one do you actually think Islam means?

Of course, the answer is both- just like Christianity.

So, what you have (in both cases) is a "culture" where the scriptures are no use a as a guide to moral behaviour.

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Google search for "innate fairness"

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?site=webhp&q=innate+fairness&oq=innate&gs_l=serp.1.0.35i39l2j0i20j0l7.186644.188299.0.190238.6.6.0.0.0.0.106.504.4j2.6.0....0...1c.1.64.serp..0.6.503...0i131j0i67.4Ls6AvnuPNA

 

Google Scholar search for "innate fairness"

 

https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&q=innate+fairness&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=

 

As I said "culture defines influences ethics" but within an objective core sense of fairness.

Edited by dimreepr
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Nice try.

But if you use the right quote "Do to others as you would have them do to you." you will see that it does not mean"an eye for an eye" - in fact it pretty much means the opposite.

I know, but Islamic culture eg Saudi, acts, judicially, as I wrote.

Edited by StringJunky
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It's fine that you believe what you believe but don't call it objective and don't throw the subjectivity card in a subjective subject.

You are pretending as if there are not settled standards of behavior. There are many things as a society we have determined to unethical: stealing, lying, cheating, killing, raping, and etc. You are arguing a philosophical formality by ignoring that our society does in fact operate under various assumed ethics. While the concept of ethics can philosophically be considered subjective and evolving over time they do exist, are well known, and impact the way we live.

 

In a purely philosophical discussion about the human mind and behavior one can abstractly argue that nothing is right or wrong. That everything just is what it is and each person forms an opinion. In context to actual praticed law, the question as stated by this thread, ethics are not abstract concepts. We are discussing something that is tangible. Our system of laws are real, our prisons are real, our inmates are real, and when we kill someone they really die.

 

If everthing is subjective. Than why arrest anyone for anything? If ethics aren't contextually real and it is all just an individual opinion than every action is equally just. If I rape someone who is to say it is wrong; everything is "subjective" right? Society, for its own protection, does in fact have standards and ethics that we hold ourselves accountable for. It context to how our govt excutes law ethics is a real thing. They can be changed they are not monolithic yet do exist as an accepted standard.

A culture's ethics are subjectively derived, thus, it follows that it's citizens ethics are subjectively derived, generally.

You seem to be using the way a standard is created to dismiss said standard. I cannot ignore the law simply because I feel it was derived from opinions I do not share. Rather if I want it changed I must lobby against it and express a strong counter opinion. Killing someone for reasons other than self defense is unethical by our (western culture) standards. Those standards may have been derived from subjective philosophy, religious beliefs, and etc but are the standards we live by. The speed limit on the highway I drive to get to the store has a speed limit which I feel is purely arbitrary but I still am accountable to follow it. To break that limit would be wrong. Society would levy a fine against me if I broke that subjectively produced speed limit.

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I tried to show in my last post that there seems to be some semantic confusion here.

 

Again, even if one brings religious arguments into the discussion, it is, from a strictly ‘armchair philosophy’ point of view, objectively true in a logical sense that one can’t derive absolute and universal ethical standards from a plurality of individuals and cultures (i.e., owing to cultural relativism).

 

But it is just as objectively true that it is illogical for a society to be inconsistent with regards to the manner in which it defines and distributes justice:

 

  • It is objectively true that it is illogical for a society that claims that killing someone is always wrong except in cases of self defense (if that is indeed what the society claims) to kill (via the death penalty) for any number of other reasons such as murdering one’s wife in a jealous rage.
  • It is objectively true that it is illogical for a society that claims that guilt (or innocence) should be determined and dealt with in a rational and equitable manner if, in practice, it creates and implements a law (i.e., the option of capital punishment) largely (in a real world/historical sense) on beliefs based on such irrational emotions as vengeance and hatred.

 

In American society, (i.e., U.S.), as well as many others, blind Justice is the theory that law should be viewed objectively with, for example, the determination of innocence or guilt made without bias or prejudice. It is the idea behind the United States Supreme Court motto “Equal Justice Under Law” and is symbolized by the blindfolded statue of Lady Justice which is the symbol of the judiciary. The existence and dispensation of a law (e.g., the irreversible death penalty as an alternative to imprisonment) that can be defended at an ethical level for no other discernible "reason" other than prejudicial retribution and venomous vengeance is not in keeping with the concept and spirit of blind justice, particularly when it tends to uphold the right of an accused/convicted person to gain a reprieve or even compensation for a miscarriage of justice in all other situations other than those involving a handful of transgressions such as rape, murder, or stealing a cow.

 


scales-of-justice1.jpg

Edited by disarray
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  • 1 month later...

I think death penalty should continue on.....bringing the population down in jail would mean less energy, water, and food being used. Better for the environment and the Earth.

If we are doing it for the benefit of the Earth then perhaps we should also include the handicapped and people who have a BMI > 18%. I'm sure we can come up with others with a little thought.

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If we are doing it for the benefit of the Earth then perhaps we should also include the handicapped and people who have a BMI > 18%. I'm sure we can come up with others with a little thought.

We like to play favoritism and make up our own rules to suit our need though...just like in the US, it is animal abuse if you hurt cat or dog but not pigs and cows

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it depends on the moral code of a given society if it's ethical or not. I think it is too simplistic to judge from one culture's moral code upon anothers; the general consensus/consent of a participating society's population matters.

Could not possibly disagree with this more vehemently or passionately if I tried. Morality is NOT relative, especially when it comes to life/death. You cannot even get a moral code up and running without this basic, fundamental understanding that things like reciprocity and concern for fellow man leads to propagation of the species, and a better experience doing so, and that killing (even for retribution) does not benefit this, but damages it. By your position, the governments of medieval Europe "had their own morality," so they were okay. I guess North Korea is also okay in the way they treat their people? And the various theocracies of the middle east. They've got their own morality, who are we to judge? I cannot understand this way of thinking. No, morality is not relative. Even if people can form their own opinions on what's moral and what's not, morality still isn't relative. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi definitely thinks what he's doing is moral, but he's objectively wrong. What he does leads to suffering, pain, death, and detriment to human life, and a threat to the human species, as do the others mentioned above and others like them. Edited by Tampitump
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Could not possibly disagree with this more vehemently or passionately if I tried. Morality is NOT relative, especially when it comes to life/death. You cannot even get a moral code up and running without this basic, fundamental understanding that things like reciprocity and concern for fellow man leads to propagation of the species, and a better experience doing so, and that killing (even for retribution) does not benefit this, but damages it. By your position, the governments of medieval Europe "had their own morality," so they were okay. I guess North Korea is also okay in the way they treat their people? And the various theocracies of the middle east. They've got their own morality, who are we to judge? I cannot understand this way of thinking. No, morality is not relative. Even if people can form their own opinions on what's moral and what's not, morality still isn't relative. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi definitely thinks what he's doing is moral, but he's objectively wrong. What he does leads to suffering, pain, death, and detriment to human life, and a threat to the human species, as do the others mentioned above and others like them.

You are comparing your own moral standards to various scenarios when they are not appropriate and is actually an erroneous position to take. If the consensus or general acceptance of the people exists then that moral code is correct and ethical for them.

 

Being vehement or passionate does not increase the strength of ones argument.

Edited by StringJunky
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You are comparing your own moral standards to various scenarios when they are not appropriate and is actually an erroneous position to take. If the consensus or general acceptance of the people exists then that moral code is correct and ethical for them.

 

Being vehement or passionate does not increase the strength of ones argument.

Opinions on morality have nothing to do with what is objectively detrimental to human flourishing. Even if your position is correct, we should still live as though there is objective morality in my view. You seem to be advocating a sort of cultural-marxist version of moral-relativism that I think is totally wrong. There are some issues in which I don't feel I should impose my moral opinions on others (abortion is one of them), but I don't think you should look at other societies who, for instance, oppress women, and say "well, it works for them. That's 'their' morality, so its right by virtue of the fact that they think its moral." This is true, I think, even if the oppressed are desirous of their circumstances. We have instances like that happening in the world right now. It bothers me when someone wants to take that type of stance.

Edited by Tampitump
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Opinions on morality have nothing to do with what is objectively detrimental to human flourishing. Even if your position is correct, we should still live as though there is objective morality in my view. You seem to be advocating a sort of cultural-marxist version of moral-relativism that I think is totally wrong. There are some issues in which I don't feel I should impose my moral opinions on others (abortion is one of them), but I don't think you should look at other societies who, for instance, oppress women, and say "well, it works for them. That's 'their' morality, so its right by virtue of the fact that they think its moral." This is true, I think, even if the oppressed are desirous of their circumstances. We have instances like that happening in the world right now. It bothers me when someone wants to take that type of stance.

I'm not advocating, I'm just saying how it is. Also, it is the height of arrogance to think that ones moral stance - that was perhaps created in another time and/or place - is superior to some other nation or group. Egotistical or what? The thing is we have a habit of cherry-picking the elements we don't like in a society and then go ignoring the elements in our own society that are immoral from another group's perspective.

Edited by StringJunky
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Opinions on morality have nothing to do with what is objectively detrimental to human flourishing. Even if your position is correct, we should still live as though there is objective morality in my view. You seem to be advocating a sort of cultural-marxist version of moral-relativism that I think is totally wrong. There are some issues in which I don't feel I should impose my moral opinions on others (abortion is one of them), but I don't think you should look at other societies who, for instance, oppress women, and say "well, it works for them. That's 'their' morality, so its right by virtue of the fact that they think its moral." This is true, I think, even if the oppressed are desirous of their circumstances. We have instances like that happening in the world right now. It bothers me when someone wants to take that type of stance.

 

Since you think it is possible to determine morality objectively, perhaps you can resolve a morality debate my mother and I had for years.

Is it immoral if I don't keep holy the sabbath, or isn't it?

 

From the perspective of the devout Muslim for example, what you call 'oppressing women', they call 'following God's will to protect women'.

Why should they follow your 'objective' view of morality over a morality derived from God's word?

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Why should they follow your 'objective' view of morality over a morality derived from God's word?

Indeed, what believer will act against the prescribed will of their deity, particularly a long time ago in history.?

Edited by StringJunky
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Why should they follow your 'objective' view of morality over a morality derived from God's word?

 

Indeed, what believer will act against the prescribed will of their deity, particularly a long time ago in history.?

Because when I say objective, I don't not mean that in the logical absolute sense. I mean that if human well-being is the metric, then religious opinions are often in direct violation of objective facts regarding human well-being. Religions can encourage racism, misogyny, slavery, xenophobia, tribalism, genocide, war, etc. When they fail to act accordingly with human well-being, then they are violating objective moral standards. If you don't agree that what is in the best interest of the well-being of humans and animals is the standard for morality, then I don't see what else could possibly be that standard. I'm sure none of us in here agree that appeasing a vindictive dictator like a god is a standard for ethics. And even if there were a god, his opinions on ethics would just be his opinions. I don't think it is correct to conflate moral opinions with the truth of relative morality. It may be your opinion that the fun of killing someone outweighs the horrors of their suffering, I'd say that your opinions regarding morality are objectively wrong, because they violate the only standard that, to my mind, could ever be conceived for morality. Therefore, I think moral-relativism is wrong-headed. I do think that theocracy of the sort we've seen from medieval Europe and the current theocracies of the middle east are objectively wrong, even if the women there do prefer to have their education rights deprived and to be forced to dress in full cloth bags. Even if they do like the fact that their word in court is worth half of a man's, and that they are not allowed to drive vehicles. They are objectively wrong in my view.

Edited by Tampitump
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Here and elsewhere (free will thread), he's doing his best to support positions well articulated by Sam Harris. I'm sympathetic to this view and feel many (most?) of these objections have been addressed.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moral_Landscape

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values is a book by Sam Harris. In it, he promotes a science of morality and argues that many thinkers have long confused the relationship between morality, facts, and science. He aims to carve a third path between secularists who say morality is subjective (e.g. moral relativists), and religionists who say that morality is given by God and scripture. Harris contends that the only moral framework worth talking about is one where "morally good" things pertain to increases in the "well-being of conscious creatures". He then argues that, problems with philosophy of science and reason in general notwithstanding, 'moral questions' will have objectively right and wrong answers which are grounded in empirical facts about what causes people to flourish.

(snip)

Sam Harris's case starts with two premises: "(1) some people have better lives than others, and (2) these differences are related, in some lawful and not entirely arbitrary way, to states of the human brain and to states of the world".[2] The idea is that a person is simply describing material facts (many about their brain) when they describe possible "better" and "worse" lives for themselves. Granting this, Harris says we must conclude that there are facts about which courses of action will allow one to pursue a better life.

 

Harris attests to the importance of admitting that such facts exist, because he says this logic applies to groups of individuals as well. He suggests that there are better and worse ways for whole societies to pursue better lives. Just like at the scale of the individual, there may be multiple different paths and "peaks" to flourishing for societies - and many more ways to fail.

 

Harris then makes a pragmatic case that science could usefully define "morality" according to such facts (about people's wellbeing). Often his arguments point out that problems with this scientific definition of morality seem to be problems shared by all science, or reason and words in general. Harris also spends some time describing how science might engage nuances and challenges of identifying the best ways for individuals, and groups of individuals, to improve their lives. Many of these issues are covered below.


Is it immoral if I don't keep holy the sabbath, or isn't it?

Does doing so increase the well-being of you and/or those around you?

 

Is abortion in the best interest of the well being of humans?

Very possibly, yes. For the mother (once the emotional trauma heals) this could lead to increased long-term wellbeing, and even possibly it's better for the future potential offspring who may be abandoned if carried to term, unloved, unfed, uncared for, unsafe, uneducated, unhealthy, uneducated, etc...

 

Depends on the details and circumstances, but those are measurable and can be weighed against one another. That's the point.

Edited by iNow
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