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A dillema for the "moral" Absolutist...

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  • A dillema for the "moral" Absolutist...

    I know that among most people who ascribe to themselves an absolute "moral" system in our culture human life is viewed as something that is of great intrinsic value - it's held up as such that the preservation of it takes priority over anything else. In short, it's often taken for granted that one can't put a price on it. To this assertion, I vehemently disagree and wish to point out that one can put a price on human life - even the vaunted "moral" absolutist.

    Consider the following scenario: you are in a public place (mall, office, school, church, etc...) with some one close to you (a parent, sibbling, best friend, significant other, etc...) and suddenly a group of armed lunatics bursts in takes everyone in this gathering place hostage. For amusement, they randomly take ten people you don't know out of the group and place them on their knees - and then take that person of importance to you (parent, sibbling, friend, etc...) and put him/her on the floor apart from the others and then ask you to make a decision...

    1. Say the word and the ten strangers will immediately be released to go home, but the person close to you will be shot to pieces as they walk out the door.

    2. You and the one close to you can leave immediately, but only after the ten strangers have been killed.

    Note: fighting back is out of the question as there are too many of them and you can't match their firepower. So is stalling for time, as the gunmen give you only so much time to reach a decision before they simply eliminate you and the two parties in question.

    To the "moral" absolutist I ask you - what is your final answer?
    "When you realize what a joke everything is being the comedian is the only thing that makes any sense" - Edward Blake

    "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Nietzsche

  • #2
    Shoot the person who creates stupid situational ethics scenarios.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Door View Post
      Shoot the person who creates stupid situational ethics scenarios.
      It's definately not a stupid scenario - I know that many similar situations have already occured in war-torn portions of our world and seeing how the oceans don't protect us from this type of insanity anymore it could happen here as well.

      Now, are you willing to provide an answer? Or just hurl more baseless insults?
      "When you realize what a joke everything is being the comedian is the only thing that makes any sense" - Edward Blake

      "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Nietzsche

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Punisher1984 View Post
        I know that among most people who ascribe to themselves an absolute "moral" system in our culture human life is viewed as something that is of great intrinsic value - it's held up as such that the preservation of it takes priority over anything else. In short, it's often taken for granted that one can't put a price on it. To this assertion, I vehemently disagree and wish to point out that one can put a price on human life - even the vaunted "moral" absolutist.

        Consider the following scenario: you are in a public place (mall, office, school, church, etc...) with some one close to you (a parent, sibbling, best friend, significant other, etc...) and suddenly a group of armed lunatics bursts in takes everyone in this gathering place hostage. For amusement, they randomly take ten people you don't know out of the group and place them on their knees - and then take that person of importance to you (parent, sibbling, friend, etc...) and put him/her on the floor apart from the others and then ask you to make a decision...

        1. Say the word and the ten strangers will immediately be released to go home, but the person close to you will be shot to pieces as they walk out the door.

        2. You and the one close to you can leave immediately, but only after the ten strangers have been killed.

        Note: fighting back is out of the question as there are too many of them and you can't match their firepower. So is stalling for time, as the gunmen give you only so much time to reach a decision before they simply eliminate you and the two parties in question.

        To the "moral" absolutist I ask you - what is your final answer?
        Since I'm not a moral absolutist, but I am honest, my answer may not be to the liking of some, but, the ten would die.
        Do not go gentile into that good night. D.Thomas

        Out, Out, Brief Candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more, It is a tale told by an idiot, Full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. W.S.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lightbringer View Post
          Since I'm not a moral absolutist, but I am honest, my answer may not be to the liking of some, but, the ten would die.
          I'm certain that the Utilitarians amongs us would gasp with horror, but don't count me among them. I have an answer to the question as well, but I'll wait until I see more answers to reveal mine...
          "When you realize what a joke everything is being the comedian is the only thing that makes any sense" - Edward Blake

          "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Nietzsche

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Door View Post
            Shoot the person who creates stupid situational ethics scenarios.


            Yeah... like we are on this boat and we are all gonna die unless we eat the fat guy or toss out the old lady.

            But hey.... stupid situational ethics scenarios are the bread and butter of every "fresh out of college" high school teacher.
            Last edited by Knight; May 27th, 2008, 12:20 PM.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Knight View Post


              Yeah... like we are on this boat and we are all gonna die unless we eat the fat guy or toss out the old lady.
              It's easy to laugh when you live a life protected from them by the dominant social order - but what happens when that order disappears (as all of them eventually do, ours being no exception) and you find yourself surrounded by people who have reverted to their Hobbsian state of human existence?

              Now, would you care to answer the question?
              "When you realize what a joke everything is being the comedian is the only thing that makes any sense" - Edward Blake

              "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Nietzsche

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Punisher1984 View Post
                Now, would you care to answer the question?
                The answer is....

                You never do evil so that good might come of it.
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                • #9
                  To kill me and let them all go. If they refuse I would ask that the ten be set free. I don't fear death and would rather give 10 people the chance to live and be inspired by my sacrifice to live good lives and make something good of themselves. If you want to bring morals into it I would still do the same because the less suffering in the world the better. 2 lives compared to 10. Simple.
                  I'm not a sinner, or preacher, all I have is slight of hand.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EvilIsOnlyAConcept View Post
                    To kill me and let them all go. If they refuse I would ask that the ten be set free. I don't fear death and would rather give 10 people the chance to live and be inspired by my sacrifice to live good lives and make something good of themselves. If you want to bring morals into it I would still do the same because the less suffering in the world the better. 2 lives compared to 10. Simple.
                    Classic Utilitarian thinking: I find this thinking rather naive, but I see how you came to this conclusion - and it's the thought process behind the decision that I wish to emphasize.
                    "When you realize what a joke everything is being the comedian is the only thing that makes any sense" - Edward Blake

                    "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Nietzsche

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Knight View Post
                      The answer is....

                      You never do evil so that good might come of it.
                      I'll take that as "I wouldn't play along with the crazy gunmen" - in which case everyone dies. Congratulations, you just got everyone killed.
                      "When you realize what a joke everything is being the comedian is the only thing that makes any sense" - Edward Blake

                      "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Nietzsche

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Knight View Post


                        Yeah... like we are on this boat and we are all gonna die unless we eat the fat guy or toss out the old lady.

                        But hey.... stupid situational ethics scenarios are the bread and butter of every "freah out of college" high school teacher.


                        What if the fat guy is Michael Moore and the old lady is Hillary?

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                        • #13
                          Wow, who would have guessed that you would have a pre-packaged response to a two possibility scenario.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by koban View Post
                            What if the fat guy is Michael Moore and the old lady is Hillary?


                            Is there barbecue sauce available?
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Punisher1984 View Post
                              I'll take that as "I wouldn't play along with the crazy gunmen" - in which case everyone dies. Congratulations, you just got everyone killed.


                              For some reason, you appear to be placing the responsibility for the outcome on the person who has to decide instead of on those forcing the decision and doing the actual killing.


                              I wonder why?

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