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Do actions or character determine goodness?

zmikecuber
Posts: 4,090
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6/15/2015 10:59:35 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I know this question has been asked... but I had an interesting thought the other night.

We generally consider people to be good or bad based upon their actions. A man who regularly acts in a virtuous manner, despite how hard it is, we consider to be a good man. But a man who acts wrong and is weak we consider to be a bad man.

But is this the correct way to classify a good/bad man? Or should it be based upon their virtues/vices?

Let me elaborate.

Let's say a man, call him Raymond, has the vice of being easily influenced by peer pressure. In the circumstance where the peer pressure is to do something good, this isn't necessarily bad. However, say that the peer pressure encourages Raymond to smoke or do something damaging to his health. We would consider this Raymond to be a worse person than the first. However, take this further, and say that there is peer pressure for him to cheat on his spouse, or murder someone. We'd consider this Raymond to be a very bad man.

However, all the three Raymonds have the *exact same* vice.

The same can be said of serial killers who did so out of a sexual urge. Many people do not have the ability to control their sexual urges properly. Desire, not reason, guides their actions. For most people this may lead to one night stands, infidelity, etc... However, with serial killers this means killing and cannibalizing people. So are serial killers "worse" people than other people who have the same fault?

So how do we determine if someone is a "good" man or a "bad" man? This is of course, assuming there are moral and immoral actions. But is it the actions that the person takes, or their character, or a combination of both, which determines if they are a "good" or "bad" person?
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Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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6/16/2015 6:57:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/15/2015 10:59:35 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
I know this question has been asked... but I had an interesting thought the other night.

We generally consider people to be good or bad based upon their actions. A man who regularly acts in a virtuous manner, despite how hard it is, we consider to be a good man. But a man who acts wrong and is weak we consider to be a bad man.

But is this the correct way to classify a good/bad man? Or should it be based upon their virtues/vices?

Let me elaborate.

Let's say a man, call him Raymond, has the vice of being easily influenced by peer pressure. In the circumstance where the peer pressure is to do something good, this isn't necessarily bad. However, say that the peer pressure encourages Raymond to smoke or do something damaging to his health. We would consider this Raymond to be a worse person than the first. However, take this further, and say that there is peer pressure for him to cheat on his spouse, or murder someone. We'd consider this Raymond to be a very bad man.

However, all the three Raymonds have the *exact same* vice.

The same can be said of serial killers who did so out of a sexual urge. Many people do not have the ability to control their sexual urges properly. Desire, not reason, guides their actions. For most people this may lead to one night stands, infidelity, etc... However, with serial killers this means killing and cannibalizing people. So are serial killers "worse" people than other people who have the same fault?

So how do we determine if someone is a "good" man or a "bad" man? This is of course, assuming there are moral and immoral actions. But is it the actions that the person takes, or their character, or a combination of both, which determines if they are a "good" or "bad" person?

A tree is known by it's fruits..........

Actions speak louder than words..........

Results matter........

If you want to work here..............CLOSE !!!
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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6/16/2015 12:39:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think there is a difference between what makes somebody good/bad and how we can know somebody is good/bad. It is only by observing a person's behavior that we can determine whether they are good or bad. But their behavior results from there internal motives, desires, character, etc., so it's their character that makes them good/bad. Of course, character can be affected by outside influence.
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Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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6/16/2015 1:18:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/15/2015 10:59:35 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
I know this question has been asked... but I had an interesting thought the other night.

We generally consider people to be good or bad based upon their actions. A man who regularly acts in a virtuous manner, despite how hard it is, we consider to be a good man. But a man who acts wrong and is weak we consider to be a bad man.

But is this the correct way to classify a good/bad man? Or should it be based upon their virtues/vices?

Let me elaborate.

Let's say a man, call him Raymond, has the vice of being easily influenced by peer pressure. In the circumstance where the peer pressure is to do something good, this isn't necessarily bad. However, say that the peer pressure encourages Raymond to smoke or do something damaging to his health. We would consider this Raymond to be a worse person than the first. However, take this further, and say that there is peer pressure for him to cheat on his spouse, or murder someone. We'd consider this Raymond to be a very bad man.

However, all the three Raymonds have the *exact same* vice.
I think that Raymond is not exactly a good person in any of these three cases, since he does not show his conscience in any, but simply following his peers.
The same can be said of serial killers who did so out of a sexual urge. Many people do not have the ability to control their sexual urges properly. Desire, not reason, guides their actions. For most people this may lead to one night stands, infidelity, etc... However, with serial killers this means killing and cannibalizing people. So are serial killers "worse" people than other people who have the same fault?
Serial killers don't just have worse actions here - they also have worse characters IMO. People who have one-night stands, are unfaithful, etc. are bad people, but at least they still retain other parts of their conscience, i.e. not to rape or kill.
So how do we determine if someone is a "good" man or a "bad" man? This is of course, assuming there are moral and immoral actions. But is it the actions that the person takes, or their character, or a combination of both, which determines if they are a "good" or "bad" person?
I think both. Character is the main thing, and character dictates actions most of the time.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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