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Do you believe the death penalty is unethical?


Lyudmilascience
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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.

 

So the same behavior is moral under some circumstances but not under other? If so that is what I (and I believe StringJunky) have been arguing. Morals change in time and place.

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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


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

 

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.

The point is: one can't judge another system by ones own metric; every society and age has its own standards. To hold up any one set of moral standards as "objectively" just is not objective just because one says it is. There's no such thing as objective in this situation; what is the ultimate reference by which one measures against?

 

So the same behavior is moral under some circumstances but not under other? If so that is what I (and I believe StringJunky) have been arguing. Morals change in time and place.

Exactly. In a few hundred years time we in the first world now may be looked upon as quite savage by future moral/ethical standards in the way current society deals with things like criminality, mental illness, dissent etc....

Edited by StringJunky
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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.

Sam Harris popped into my mind exactly zero times while writing this. But I know you, like others, don't like me, so denigrating me is fun. I know I'm not smart (stupid actually), just say that if its what you feel. Don't pull your punches.

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Sam Harris popped into my mind exactly zero times while writing this. But I know you, like others, don't like me, so denigrating me is fun. I know I'm not smart (stupid actually), just say that if its what you feel. Don't pull your punches.

Personally, I think everybody has been quite amiable with you even though you've been quite difficult at times. Your assessment is wrong.

 

You need to realise that we are having a discussion and it has nothing to do with what people think about you. Get used to the idea that people will attack your ideas and opinions. It's what we do. Leave your ego and feelings at home when the discussion is about things other than yourself, like this thread. OK? ;)

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I know you, like others, don't like me, so denigrating me is fun. I know I'm not smart (stupid actually), just say that if its what you feel. Don't pull your punches.

You need to get a grip. I have no idea what you're talking about nor why you feel I was attacking you. I also don't care.

[mp][/mp]

So the same behavior is moral under some circumstances but not under other? If so that is what I (and I believe StringJunky) have been arguing. Morals change in time and place.

I think we largely agree here, I would however add that there's a little bit more to it than just relative morality.

 

There's the additional idea of being able to use the scientific method to objectively evaluate and compare different actions for their impact on the collective well-being of humanity.

 

Whether or not Tampitrump intended to introduce that idea, it's one I find both valuable and relevant. We can weigh and compare the morality of individual actions in the same way that we can weigh and compare individual stones. We can sum these data points and compare their relative values as we would with money where debts and surpluses accrue.

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[mp][/mp]

The point is: one can't judge another system by ones own metric; every society and age has its own standards. To hold up any one set of moral standards as "objectively" just is not objective just because one says it is. There's no such thing as objective in this situation; what is the ultimate reference by which one measures against?

I definitely understand your point, but I think this may be too big of a question for me to address in a single post. There are ways to approach this, though we do need to agree at some point on how.

 

I'm happy to return to this conversation with you if you want to dig deeper, but in the meantime below is an exploration of these exact ideas as well as a TED talk where they were introduced by Harris, who is far more articulate than me.

 

Summary/Review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3501430/

 

TED Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww

 

 

EDIT: mistakenly pasted the wrong link when originally submitting the post

Edited by iNow
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[mp][/mp] I think we largely agree here, I would however add that there's a little bit more to it than just relative morality.

 

There's the additional idea of being able to use the scientific method to objectively evaluate and compare different actions for their impact on the collective well-being of humanity.

 

Whether or not Tampitrump intended to introduce that idea, it's one I find both valuable and relevant. We can weigh and compare the morality of individual actions in the same way that we can weigh and compare individual stones. We can sum these data points and compare their relative values as we would with money where debts and surpluses accrue.

 

Interesting idea. We can build a "Ten Moral Commandments" much like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that we should actually be able to get people to agree to. They would just have to be general enough to be applicable to the varying environments of different places.

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My QuickTake on this is that once people agree maximizing wellbeing is the proper goal / consensus desired end state then many of the other details immediately become much simpler to work through.

I agree with your idea as desirable but when you think about it, all moral systems endeavour to maximise and foster community well-being. Every society has a different idea what Utopia looks like.

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My QuickTake on this is that once people agree maximizing wellbeing is the proper goal / consensus desired end state then many of the other details immediately become much simpler to work through.

 

 

 

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.

 

This sounds like Utilitarianism. (I'm not saying that is good or bad, just that it is a well-established philosophical position.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

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

 

Something that is lawful, or something that is accepted by a majority, does not make that something ethical. Ethical and lawful are separate things - although hopefully the two overlap.

 

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.

 

As Tampitump says, ethical / moral has a predefined intention - it is not relative. Ethics deals with such concepts as: upholding rights that are self-evident, protecting those that need protecting, ensuring fairness, etc .. Legalities deal with such concepts as what is allowed / not allowed by a society, punishments etc...

 

.

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As Tampitump says, ethical / moral has a predefined intention - it is not relative. Ethics deals with such concepts as: upholding rights that are self-evident, protecting those that need protecting, ensuring fairness, etc .. Legalities deal with such concepts as what is allowed / not allowed by a society, punishments etc....

No. Ethics is whatever the prevailing societal consensus is, whether it accords with our own view or not.

 

Good ethics could mean that any baby born with green eyes will be killed because "they are inherently evil and the spawn of the devil and, therefore, must not contaminate the gene pool"; it would be morally justified in such a society because it is consistent with that belief system.

Edited by StringJunky
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No. Ethics is whatever the prevailing societal consensus is, whether it accords with our own view or not.

 

Good ethics could mean that any baby born with green eyes will be killed because "they are inherently evil and the spawn of the devil and, therefore, must not contaminate the gene pool"; it would be morally justified in such a society because it is consistent with that belief system.

"plural noun. the ethics of journalism. moral code, morals, morality, moral stand, moral principles, moral values, rights and wrongs, principles, ideals, creed, credo, ethos, rules of conduct, standards (of behaviour), virtues, dictates of conscience"

 

Creed, ethos, code, standards, and etc are more than just the current prevailing societal consensus. Human knowledge is accumulative. We are constantly building it it as we go. As such best practices and standards for behavior reach beyond modern day trends. What is ethical is not merely what is popular.

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"plural noun. the ethics of journalism. moral code, morals, morality, moral stand, moral principles, moral values, rights and wrongs, principles, ideals, creed, credo, ethos, rules of conduct, standards (of behaviour), virtues, dictates of conscience"

 

Creed, ethos, code, standards, and etc are more than just the current prevailing societal consensus. Human knowledge is accumulative. We are constantly building it it as we go. As such best practices and standards for behavior reach beyond modern day trends. What is ethical is not merely what is popular.

You are not getting the point. I'm talking about what people believe is ethical within a particular age or society, Wring your hands and cry "Hail, Mary!" all you like but it doesn't change anything - things are/were as they were/are. If you want to think you have loftier ethics then fine but it doesn't matter.

 

There are some subjects, like this one, that many people lose their objectivity and their emotions come to the fore as though they feel the need to defend a position when it's not even under scrutiny.

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You are not getting the point. I'm talking about what people believe is ethical within a particular age or society, Wring your hands and cry "Hail, Mary!" all you like but it doesn't change anything - things are/were as they were/are. If you want to think you have loftier ethics then fine but it doesn't matter.

 

There are some subjects, like this one, that many people lose their objectivity and their emotions come to the fore as though they feel the need to defend a position when it's not even under scrutiny.

I don't understand this post as a response to mine. You are addressing things not contained in my post.

 

To your assertion about what I think I have and it not mattering; what does matter? This thread is about law/policy and not individual subjective internalization of ethics. Gov't policy as a reflection or practice of societal ethics functions differently than personal ethics. What is ethical is not merely what is popular is reflected in our government's systems of checks and balances. An elected official may be able to ride a specific wave of political opinion into office but then be stopped from enacting policy by the courts, states, and etc. In context I am not saying my ethics are loftier than yours nor am I being emotional. I feel you are over simplifying what ethics are and how they finction in our policy system by conflating them with feelings and opinions.

Edited by Ten oz
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I don't understand this post as a response to mine. You are addressing things not contained in my post.

 

To your assertion about what I think I have and it not mattering; what does matter? This thread is about law/policy and not individual subjective internalization of ethics. Gov't policy as a reflection or practice of societal ethics functions differently than personal ethics. What is ethical is not merely what is popular is reflected in our government's systems of checks and balances. An elected official may be able to ride a specific wave of political opinion into office but then be stopped from enacting policy by the courts, states, and etc. In context I am not saying my ethics are loftier than yours nor am I being emotional. I feel you are over simplifying what ethics are and how they finction in our policy system by conflating them with feelings and opinions.

The latest part of this discussion has been whether ethics can be determined objectively and Zapatos and I think not.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"What would happen if everyone did that?" there is a way of objectively judging morality.

 

I hate capital punishment BTW , but I also dislike Kant's categorical imperative, which I believe the quote above is an example of. Just sayin'

Hell no I ain't "just sayin'" ... the categorical imperative is a travesty against liberty and pragmatism. Sometimes.

Edited by Rasher Null
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While ever parents still tell their kids "Two wrongs don't make a right" the death penalty will remain unethical.

Similarly, while they ask kids "What would happen if everyone did that?" there is a way of objectively judging morality.

Unethical can't be determined by anyone except the supreme court. How about that?

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The courts deal with laws, not ethics.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, that makes sense now. That's why they determined that innocents could be executed without trial, evidence, or even an accusation, millions of them.... 58 million of them actually. But if their guilty then that's completely wrong to execute them without first giving them lots of tries to prove their innocent, and much much more. Yep. Nothing wrong there.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I believe people on death row should be given the opportunity to prove their innocence, but I still believe in the death penalty.

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Ohhhhhhhhhhh, that makes sense now. That's why they determined that innocents could be executed without trial, evidence, or even an accusation, millions of them.... 58 million of them actually. But if their guilty then that's completely wrong to execute them without first giving them lots of tries to prove their innocent, and much much more. Yep. Nothing wrong there.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I believe people on death row should be given the opportunity to prove their innocence, but I still believe in the death penalty.

 

It took me a good coupl of minutes to figure out you were talking about abortion, which seems like kind of a non-sequitur.

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