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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » The trolley problems with Simpsons illustrations (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jonathan Townsend
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As Woland points out in his example, one option treats others as property.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Woland
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Yes, Jonathan, I think that's the distinction, and that's what reveals the sophistration of utilitarianism as such: using others as objects, not as subjects.

W/
Jonathan Townsend
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As far as the King or an agent of authority is concerned, what distinguishes an object from a subject?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Woland
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How the King treats the subject/object determines it. If the King takes into account that the object is a subject, then the way he treats it will show that he makes the distinction.

You are tending into dangerous territory here. Suffice it to say that the nature of the King's distinctions may not be always distinctive to a subjective observer.

Woland
gdw
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Quote:
On 2011-05-01 13:43, Woland wrote:
Compare and contrast:

I sympathize with your suffering, and I will contribute from my own resources to alleviate your lack; vs. I sympathize with your suffering, and I will take from my neighbor's resources to alleviate your lack.

I will give my own life to witness my belief; vs. I will take your life to witness my belief.

Woland


Or, I will contribute my own resources AND force everyone else in proximity to me to give of theirs as well simply because I think it's a cause worth contributing to?
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
landmark
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Quote:
On 2011-05-01 19:25, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
As far as the King or an agent of authority is concerned, what distinguishes an object from a subject?

Not a bad question to ask in light of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Anyway, we can't not communicate, and we can't not act. The outcomes of both other-centered and self-centered actions are equally unknowable. We just have to do the best we can with the information we have, and seek to find out more, ask others more, and understand more IMHO.
Woland
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How about this:

Quote:
"Take a look at the big, old, industrial cities, Detroit, for example," he said. "They've got a great mayor, Mayor (Dave) Bing, but the population has left. You've got to do something about that. And if I were the federal government, assuming you could wave a magic wand and pull everybody together, you pass a law letting immigrants come in as long as they agreed to go to Detroit and live there for five or ten years. Start businesses, take jobs, whatever."


Bloomberg and others of his ilk always got a solution that involves using the coercive power of the state to control other people's behavior.

Woland
gdw
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There are things people SHOULD do, and things they should HAVE to do, or, more rather should have to refrain from doing.

One SHOULD be good to their neighbors, where as one should HAVE to refrain from raping said neighbors. Anyone outside the neighborhood is up for grabs.

In situations like the trolley problem, a perceived net gain/save does not make the act of killing an individual suddenly "right." In taking that act, one is saying that killing that person is worth saving the others. If it is universally accepted as the "right" thing to do, then what is the "worth?" That is, what was the price payed by killing the individual?

Obviously the person killed payed a price, but the person who killed, what price did they accept was worth the act?

That is, in acting as such, one has said it is worth the price, or the consequences.

Looking at an other scenario, one has a starving family, and no money. Is it suddenly "right" for him to break into someone's house and steal their food? Even if the only other option is for their family to starve and die?

In such a situation, many would probably steal the food. They would do so knowing they could get caught, and thus accept that risk, essentially saying it is a price they are willing to pay.

That doesn't mean it is suddenly right to steal, or even just this one time.

Now it is possible that the homeowner feels feeding the man's family is worth his sacrifice of his food, and is willing to forgive.

So, back to the trolley, what I am saying is, one might view it as worth killing the one to save the many, though they have no right to make that choice for the one, in making that choice, they are agreeing to the consequences. If I say it is worth killing one to save many, then I am saying it is worth the consequences of killing that one.

It would not be "right" to kill Hitler (preemptively) but it would be worth the price, IMHO.
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
landmark
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Quote:
On 2011-05-01 19:39, Woland wrote:
How the King treats the subject/object determines it. If the King takes into account that the object is a subject, then the way he treats it will show that he makes the distinction.

You are tending into dangerous territory here. Suffice it to say that the nature of the King's distinctions may not be always distinctive to a subjective observer.

Woland

There are those who would say that making the distinction of King/Commoner is already treating humans as objects.
Woland
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1) Only if you don't believe there really is a King.

2) Only if you accept the neo-Confucian point-of-view, rather than the Confucian point-of-view. The King is really the servant of the subjects.
Woland
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Yes, gdw, sometimes a moral man will have to do something that isn't right.
landmark
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Quote:
On 2011-05-01 22:09, Woland wrote:
1) Only if you don't believe there really is a King.



Suppose for argument's sake I accept a Heavenly King. Must I then accept the objectification of Commoner in this world?
Woland
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If there is a Heavenly King, our understanding is that you are the subject, and not the object, of the world.
landmark
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Does this prevent others from treating me as an object?
gdw
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Quote:
On 2011-05-01 22:10, Woland wrote:
Yes, gdw, sometimes a moral man will have to do something that isn't right.


That's not quite what I was saying Woland. He does not HAVE to do it.
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
Woland
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1) Well, gdw, I wasn't responding exactly to your point of view. I am sympathetic to your point of view, and I agree that it is immoral to consider one person's life more valuable than another's, in the sort of situations the sophistrators have devised, above. But I do think there are situations in this life in which a bad choice is the best choice you have.

2) landmark, because other subjects have free will, they can treat you as an object. That doesn't mean that the King treats you as an object. Ultimately, those others are not treating you as an object, either. It only seems that way. Maya and such.

Woland
gdw
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"But I do think there are situations in this life in which a bad choice is the best choice you have. "

Yes, that I would pretty much agree with.
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
Woland
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Actualy, gdw, I was responding to this comment at the end of your post:

Quote:
It would not be "right" to kill Hitler (preemptively) but it would be worth the price, IMHO.


I apologize for forgetting that. I'm pleased that you agree that sometimes a bad choice is the best choice, and not making a choice is a choice, of course.

Woland
landmark
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Quote:
On 2011-05-02 07:05, Woland wrote:
1) Well, gdw, I wasn't responding exactly to your point of view. I am sympathetic to your point of view, and I agree that it is immoral to consider one person's life more valuable than another's, in the sort of situations the sophistrators have devised, above. But I do think there are situations in this life in which a bad choice is the best choice you have.

2) landmark, because other subjects have free will, they can treat you as an object. That doesn't mean that the King treats you as an object. Ultimately, those others are not treating you as an object, either. It only seems that way. Maya and such.

Woland

Well I guess I can only shrug my shoulders and say I'm so glad that exploitation of others in the name of divine hierarchy is only an illusion. It just doesn't speak well of the consistency of those who ask for I-Thou relationships, but believe some human beings are inherently more equal than others. I had thought that Orwell had already addressed that.
Woland
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Everything is an illusion.
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