Total Posts:36|Showing Posts:1-30|Last Page
Jump to topic:

Moral thought experiment

dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,667
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 4:13:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think taking action to "punish" the convict would then become an act of vengeance that serves no purpose other than to satisfy one's feeling of justice. It is wholly unnecessary harm, so it is immoral, I think. I'm not sure of what other viewpoints can be had in this rigidly defined scenario.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 5:41:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 4:13:01 PM, Chaosism wrote:
I think taking action to "punish" the convict would then become an act of vengeance that serves no purpose other than to satisfy one's feeling of justice. It is wholly unnecessary harm, so it is immoral, I think. I'm not sure of what other viewpoints can be had in this rigidly defined scenario.

I'm inclined to agree.
Kozu
Posts: 381
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 6:41:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 4:13:01 PM, Chaosism wrote:
I think taking action to "punish" the convict would then become an act of vengeance that serves no purpose other than to satisfy one's feeling of justice. It is wholly unnecessary harm, so it is immoral, I think. I'm not sure of what other viewpoints can be had in this rigidly defined scenario.

I personally agree, however, OP wants to know "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?"

That being the case, it can be justifiable in a number of ways. The clear question is what moral system are you using? Under utilitarianism, there may not be much. Those who follow the categorical imperative though would be more then justified in killing the man, if only to serve their feelings of justice. Moral relativism makes it possible to justify it almost anyway you want.
JMcKinley
Posts: 314
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 6:55:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Additional punishment is justified. Justice does not require witnesses to be justified. It does not require that the punishment be a deterrent to others, or that the punishment protect others. Fair punishment for crimes committed is always justified.

Fair punishment for crimes committed requires no further justification. It is a noble pursuit in and of itself and does not necessarily need to provide a tangible benefit to anyone in order for it to be so.

In this case, given the unjust nature of the government, justice would need to be taken into the hands of the Captain and crew. It would be unjust to report the crime and endanger innocents.

Now as for what that punishment would entail at this point I don't know. But that child, although now dead, deserves justice, as does his family even though they may never know that justice was delivered.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,667
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 8:12:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 6:55:18 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
Additional punishment is justified. Justice does not require witnesses to be justified. It does not require that the punishment be a deterrent to others, or that the punishment protect others. Fair punishment for crimes committed is always justified.

Fair punishment for crimes committed requires no further justification. It is a noble pursuit in and of itself and does not necessarily need to provide a tangible benefit to anyone in order for it to be so.

In this case, given the unjust nature of the government, justice would need to be taken into the hands of the Captain and crew. It would be unjust to report the crime and endanger innocents.

Now as for what that punishment would entail at this point I don't know. But that child, although now dead, deserves justice, as does his family even though they may never know that justice was delivered.

That last sentence, I find intriguing. To say that the child deserves justice infers the assumption of two things: (a) that there will be "something" of that entity existing after its mortal demise, and (b) that said entity would still be concerned about its previous temporal mortal existence following the transcendence thereof. I personally don't find either of these plausible, but I would enjoy hearing argument to the contrary.

Also, let's assume for a second that the family will never know. What is accomplished through the delivery of justice if the family will remain ignorant? What I see from that is a powerful justification to fulfill one's own desire for retribution. This last statement applies to the idea that the child deserves justice, too.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,667
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 8:14:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 6:41:59 PM, Kozu wrote:
At 7/30/2015 4:13:01 PM, Chaosism wrote:
I think taking action to "punish" the convict would then become an act of vengeance that serves no purpose other than to satisfy one's feeling of justice. It is wholly unnecessary harm, so it is immoral, I think. I'm not sure of what other viewpoints can be had in this rigidly defined scenario.

I personally agree, however, OP wants to know "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?"

That being the case, it can be justifiable in a number of ways. The clear question is what moral system are you using? Under utilitarianism, there may not be much. Those who follow the categorical imperative though would be more then justified in killing the man, if only to serve their feelings of justice. Moral relativism makes it possible to justify it almost anyway you want.

OK. I am nowhere near as savvy as you guys around here. I have to look up a good portion of the terms that you casually use!
Kozu
Posts: 381
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/30/2015 8:31:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 8:14:18 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 7/30/2015 6:41:59 PM, Kozu wrote:
At 7/30/2015 4:13:01 PM, Chaosism wrote:
I think taking action to "punish" the convict would then become an act of vengeance that serves no purpose other than to satisfy one's feeling of justice. It is wholly unnecessary harm, so it is immoral, I think. I'm not sure of what other viewpoints can be had in this rigidly defined scenario.

I personally agree, however, OP wants to know "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?"

That being the case, it can be justifiable in a number of ways. The clear question is what moral system are you using? Under utilitarianism, there may not be much. Those who follow the categorical imperative though would be more then justified in killing the man, if only to serve their feelings of justice. Moral relativism makes it possible to justify it almost anyway you want.

OK. I am nowhere near as savvy as you guys around here. I have to look up a good portion of the terms that you casually use!

Lol, having a desk job is really educational.
skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,866
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/3/2015 6:56:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.

Push the perpetrator overboard. You don't directly cause their death, even though they might die. For all you know your punishment equates to nothing more than a long swim To a shore somewhere. And in the ship scenario I can't seem to grasp under any circumstance why everyone on board would be put to death. This is a rather strange variable.
Heterodox
Posts: 293
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/11/2015 8:21:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.

I would kill the man, to make sure he doesn't swim to another island. I would then kill myself for being a dbag working for the regime.
JMcKinley
Posts: 314
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/11/2015 1:10:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 8:12:14 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 7/30/2015 6:55:18 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
Additional punishment is justified. Justice does not require witnesses to be justified. It does not require that the punishment be a deterrent to others, or that the punishment protect others. Fair punishment for crimes committed is always justified.

Fair punishment for crimes committed requires no further justification. It is a noble pursuit in and of itself and does not necessarily need to provide a tangible benefit to anyone in order for it to be so.

In this case, given the unjust nature of the government, justice would need to be taken into the hands of the Captain and crew. It would be unjust to report the crime and endanger innocents.

Now as for what that punishment would entail at this point I don't know. But that child, although now dead, deserves justice, as does his family even though they may never know that justice was delivered.

That last sentence, I find intriguing. To say that the child deserves justice infers the assumption of two things: (a) that there will be "something" of that entity existing after its mortal demise, and (b) that said entity would still be concerned about its previous temporal mortal existence following the transcendence thereof. I personally don't find either of these plausible, but I would enjoy hearing argument to the contrary.


No, the child is gone, I wouldn't argue any of what you said. But their legacy and memory remains in those still living. It would be a dishonor to the child's legacy and all those who remember him to allow the crime to go unpunished.

Also, let's assume for a second that the family will never know. What is accomplished through the delivery of justice if the family will remain ignorant? What I see from that is a powerful justification to fulfill one's own desire for retribution. This last statement applies to the idea that the child deserves justice, too.

Justice is accomplished. Its a noble endeavor in its own right, even if no one else ever knows it was served. I would know, and I would feel better once it was accomplished. And what is so bad about retribution? I hear people talk about retribution with disdain when discussing the justice system, and I don't understand why. Retribution, within reasonable limits, seems only fair.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/11/2015 2:11:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/11/2015 8:21:38 AM, Heterodox wrote:
At 7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.

I would kill the man, to make sure he doesn't swim to another island. I would then kill myself for being a dbag working for the regime.

Kinda misses the point of the thought experiment
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,074
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/11/2015 2:30:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The way that I see it, justice is not limited by its utilitarian value. Justice is what it is, even if nobody benefits from it. In this example I think that the captain should kill the criminal, throw his body overboard, and neglect to include this information in reports. Justice would be served, nobody else would be punished. Besides, given what the criminal did to the child, it's likely that at least a few other prisoners on the island would've eventually suffered the same fate as that child at his hands. You're saving them through killing the man.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/11/2015 3:11:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/11/2015 2:30:09 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
The way that I see it, justice is not limited by its utilitarian value. Justice is what it is, even if nobody benefits from it. In this example I think that the captain should kill the criminal, throw his body overboard, and neglect to include this information in reports. Justice would be served, nobody else would be punished. Besides, given what the criminal did to the child, it's likely that at least a few other prisoners on the island would've eventually suffered the same fate as that child at his hands. You're saving them through killing the man.

What is the point of justice? Why not be unjust if the outcome is unilaterally & undeniably favourable to everyone involved?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,074
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/11/2015 3:32:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/11/2015 3:11:38 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 8/11/2015 2:30:09 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
The way that I see it, justice is not limited by its utilitarian value. Justice is what it is, even if nobody benefits from it. In this example I think that the captain should kill the criminal, throw his body overboard, and neglect to include this information in reports. Justice would be served, nobody else would be punished. Besides, given what the criminal did to the child, it's likely that at least a few other prisoners on the island would've eventually suffered the same fate as that child at his hands. You're saving them through killing the man.

What is the point of justice? Why not be unjust if the outcome is unilaterally & undeniably favourable to everyone involved?

The only person who would benefit from the prisoner escaping justice would be the prisoner in question. Besides, killing him would be the right thing to do. If the courts aren't going to provide proper justice, then is it not your responsibility as the captain to make things right and make sure justice is met?
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
derailed
Posts: 41
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/11/2015 11:35:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.

There are some variables to this scenario that haven't been included, and would need to be taken into consideration. If you don't report the crime, what do you do about the boy? If you hide this crime, you risk putting his family through the anguish of not knowing what happened to him. Whether this anguish is greater or lesser than the knowledge that he was raped and murdered is uncertain, but this indicates that failing to report the crime is not without its unintended negative consequences.

Also, not reporting the crime risks an investigation (since the family may remember that the ship was the last place they saw the boy, and inquire to the government about its current use). If the crime were somehow proved by an investigation, it might mean even harsher punishment than that previously suggested if the crime was reported (the crew and their families would be killed); perhaps they would be tortured before being killed for concealing the crime.

As to punishing the criminal, there's also the question of knowledge. If there is absolute certainty that no one would ever find out either about the crime or any punishment personally inflicted, the only reason to punish would seem to be out of vengeance. Even a belief in a categorical imperative might tell us that what the man did was wrong, but not that it is justified in punishing him. But what guarantee do we have that no one else would know? Are there other convicts on the ship? What if they hear about what the man has done, and that the captain would rather leave him unpunished rather than report him to authorities? They would be encouraged to do the same. Even if he was the only convict on the ship (which would seem a huge waste of resources), there's always the chance that the man finds a way back to civilization, or finds a way to communicate with others in society (a boat stumbles upon the island by accident one day, for example; someone on the boat hears of the crime, finds out it is unpunished, and when is in that situation himself, does the same thing, knowing he will not be punished). Again, this would implicitly endorse raping and killing in that situation as no punishment would be incurred, and could continue to affect other lives.

Although it's hard for me to imagine myself killing anyone, I'm inclined to think I'd be compelled to 2 courses of action, as it'd be hard to think I'd be OK with simply letting the man live the rest of his life on the island:
1) Kill the man myself, or with the cooperation of the crew, who agree it is unwise to contact the authorities (and thus have us all killed), but that the man should be punished. (Or perhaps we decide some other course of action besides killing; castration perhaps? Actually this seems in some ways more appealing.)
Upon return to the mainland, explain to the family our decision and hope they do not contact the authorities. (Seems like there might be less danger of them doing so than if it came out through an investigation.) Although this course of action is not a guarantee of safety, neither is remaining completely silent. It seems the most "moral" choice given the constraints while also not implicitly endorsing repugnant acts (child rape and murder), although the whole concept of morality seems pretty moot in such a society unless you are engaged in some form of active resistance against it.

2) Do nothing immediately, but go secretly to the family about what happened, and discuss their wishes. This seems the more risky option, as the family could either report it to authorities or decide upon an irrational, poorly planned course of vengeance, but if we consider the relational aspect of morality, there's something to be said about getting their input.

Note that I have hard time imagining myself as the sole moral agent in the scenario - wanting to involve either crew or family, if not both, in the "solution." Why should the individual (the captain) have the sole agency, responsibility, and power in such a scenario? These thought experiments always seem to leave out the social factor in moral questions, as if one person alone can decide what is right.
What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way. --Winslow Homer
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/12/2015 11:02:21 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
In general it should be unnecessary to involve your superiors unless you are unable to handle it at your own level. In this case handling it at your level is rather simple.

1) Tell a few buddies

Getting a team together should be the first step. Teamwork is vital in this scenario. If your new evil masters have stationed a few marines on the ship to keep order then grab a couple of them. They will be more than happy to help, trust me. If not then just grab a few random big guys who can be trusted to keep their mouths shut.

2) Talk to your techs

Tell them that you are very annoyed that the camera overlooking the starboard side of the ship was found to be inoperative during your last inspection of the ship. Such a thing is a saftey hazard because without that camera someone could suddenly go overboard on the starboard side and nobody would ever know. Tell them to take the camera down for maintenance around midnight tonight. If they insist the camera is fully functional (and of course it is) then explain the situation to them and ask them again to take the camera down for maintenance. They will get the message.

3) Accidents happen

A ship at sea is a dangerous place. Any number of things could go wrong, from seasickness to shipwrecks. In between these two extremes is the tired old story of a lone land lubber without his sea legs happening to take a stroll out over the starboard side of the deck late at night around 0200 or so. He must have slipped overboard while enjoying the beautiful ocean view. Too bad nobody was there to see what really happened... I mean help him! Yea, too bad nobody was there to help him... that's what I said... and besides, if anyone was there at the time they would recognize the man as the criminal who rapped a little child. Not that that has anything to do with anything...

4) Solid alabis

You know where everyone in your crew was that night because you happened to have a party at the mess hall to celebrate the new regime. If a small group just happened to slip out for half an hour before slipping back in well, you can't be expected to notice that. If anyone else happens to notice... well, those guys were probably just taking a leak. Right guys?

5) Drinks all around!

The volunteers in steps one and two went WAY above and beyond their required duties to help you see justice upheld. They deserve a pat on the back at least. When everyone makes it back to port, the drinks are on you.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Otokage
Posts: 2,347
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/12/2015 4:02:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.

I would probably not punish him, I mean, I would simply carry him to his isolation site. As for reporting the crime, I wouldn't do it if it endangers the people on the boat, and also because I won't feel prone to cooperate in any way with a regime I do not agree with.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,667
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/11/2015 1:10:06 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
At 7/30/2015 8:12:14 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 7/30/2015 6:55:18 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
Additional punishment is justified. Justice does not require witnesses to be justified. It does not require that the punishment be a deterrent to others, or that the punishment protect others. Fair punishment for crimes committed is always justified.

Fair punishment for crimes committed requires no further justification. It is a noble pursuit in and of itself and does not necessarily need to provide a tangible benefit to anyone in order for it to be so.

In this case, given the unjust nature of the government, justice would need to be taken into the hands of the Captain and crew. It would be unjust to report the crime and endanger innocents.

Now as for what that punishment would entail at this point I don't know. But that child, although now dead, deserves justice, as does his family even though they may never know that justice was delivered.

That last sentence, I find intriguing. To say that the child deserves justice infers the assumption of two things: (a) that there will be "something" of that entity existing after its mortal demise, and (b) that said entity would still be concerned about its previous temporal mortal existence following the transcendence thereof. I personally don't find either of these plausible, but I would enjoy hearing argument to the contrary.


No, the child is gone, I wouldn't argue any of what you said. But their legacy and memory remains in those still living. It would be a dishonor to the child's legacy and all those who remember him to allow the crime to go unpunished.

Also, let's assume for a second that the family will never know. What is accomplished through the delivery of justice if the family will remain ignorant? What I see from that is a powerful justification to fulfill one's own desire for retribution. This last statement applies to the idea that the child deserves justice, too.

Justice is accomplished. Its a noble endeavor in its own right, even if no one else ever knows it was served. I would know, and I would feel better once it was accomplished. And what is so bad about retribution? I hear people talk about retribution with disdain when discussing the justice system, and I don't understand why. Retribution, within reasonable limits, seems only fair.

If there are constructive outcomes to be had, such as providing a deterrent to those who may take similar action or to sate the family's anger in order to prevent negative emotional and irrational behavior, then I would agree that punishment is important.

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.
JMcKinley
Posts: 314
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/12/2015 7:57:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 8/11/2015 1:10:06 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
At 7/30/2015 8:12:14 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 7/30/2015 6:55:18 PM, JMcKinley wrote:
Additional punishment is justified. Justice does not require witnesses to be justified. It does not require that the punishment be a deterrent to others, or that the punishment protect others. Fair punishment for crimes committed is always justified.

Fair punishment for crimes committed requires no further justification. It is a noble pursuit in and of itself and does not necessarily need to provide a tangible benefit to anyone in order for it to be so.

In this case, given the unjust nature of the government, justice would need to be taken into the hands of the Captain and crew. It would be unjust to report the crime and endanger innocents.

Now as for what that punishment would entail at this point I don't know. But that child, although now dead, deserves justice, as does his family even though they may never know that justice was delivered.

That last sentence, I find intriguing. To say that the child deserves justice infers the assumption of two things: (a) that there will be "something" of that entity existing after its mortal demise, and (b) that said entity would still be concerned about its previous temporal mortal existence following the transcendence thereof. I personally don't find either of these plausible, but I would enjoy hearing argument to the contrary.


No, the child is gone, I wouldn't argue any of what you said. But their legacy and memory remains in those still living. It would be a dishonor to the child's legacy and all those who remember him to allow the crime to go unpunished.

Also, let's assume for a second that the family will never know. What is accomplished through the delivery of justice if the family will remain ignorant? What I see from that is a powerful justification to fulfill one's own desire for retribution. This last statement applies to the idea that the child deserves justice, too.

Justice is accomplished. Its a noble endeavor in its own right, even if no one else ever knows it was served. I would know, and I would feel better once it was accomplished. And what is so bad about retribution? I hear people talk about retribution with disdain when discussing the justice system, and I don't understand why. Retribution, within reasonable limits, seems only fair.

If there are constructive outcomes to be had, such as providing a deterrent to those who may take similar action or to sate the family's anger in order to prevent negative emotional and irrational behavior, then I would agree that punishment is important.

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The positive result is that I know that justice was accomplished. Immoral actions demand fair punishment. The fact that the guy has nothing left to lose anymore does not take away from that.
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
derailed
Posts: 41
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/13/2015 6:45:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.

If there is no objective sense of justice, and one's personal sense of justice requires necessary acts or acts that will result in positive outcomes (such as deterring other criminals or prevent the offender from harming another), there would be no benefit (justification) for punishment.

As my own post indicates, though, I do speculate there could be positive benefits to punishing the man, though not out of a sense of objective justice. This is not quite a moral dilemma, in which there truly would be no "right" answer or greater benefit to any course of action one choose.
What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way. --Winslow Homer
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/13/2015 10:43:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/13/2015 6:45:34 AM, derailed wrote:
At 8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.

If there is no objective sense of justice, and one's personal sense of justice requires necessary acts or acts that will result in positive outcomes (such as deterring other criminals or prevent the offender from harming another), there would be no benefit (justification) for punishment.

Im not buying it. There are just too many assumptions made in that response which I feel are unjustified.

Why does justice require a "positive outcome" in the first place? Why can justice not be positive on its own?

Why is "deterring other criminals or preventing the offender from harming another" considered a "positive outcome"?

Why is the happiness I feel when causing bad things to happen to bad people not considered a "positive outcome"?
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Chaosism
Posts: 2,667
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/13/2015 12:51:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.

There is no ultimately correct answer, here, so I am asserting my opinion. I do not believe that inflicting pain and suffering should ever be done unless there is a greater positive outcome that can be achieved. According to this scenario, "the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life". I would definitely agree that his removal from the world would serve to protect other people, but since he will be pacified, I find it wholly unnecessary to engage in vengeful savagery in order to fulfill my own personal desire for justice. Rationality should not be trumped by emotion.

Again, this is my subjective assessment. Personally, I don't find merit in vengeance for the sake of vengeance. This kind of thing can cause some pretty bad chain reactions between individuals or groups of people.
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/13/2015 7:05:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/13/2015 12:51:20 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.

There is no ultimately correct answer, here, so I am asserting my opinion. I do not believe that inflicting pain and suffering should ever be done unless there is a greater positive outcome that can be achieved. According to this scenario, "the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life". I would definitely agree that his removal from the world would serve to protect other people, but since he will be pacified, I find it wholly unnecessary to engage in vengeful savagery in order to fulfill my own personal desire for justice. Rationality should not be trumped by emotion.

Again, this is my subjective assessment. Personally, I don't find merit in vengeance for the sake of vengeance. This kind of thing can cause some pretty bad chain reactions between individuals or groups of people.

At least you admit that this is completely subjective, something that I think many here fail to recognize due to getting too caught up in trying to find a philosophical answer to the OPs question.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
derailed
Posts: 41
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/17/2015 4:16:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/13/2015 10:43:53 AM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/13/2015 6:45:34 AM, derailed wrote:
At 8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.

If there is no objective sense of justice, and one's personal sense of justice requires necessary acts or acts that will result in positive outcomes (such as deterring other criminals or prevent the offender from harming another), there would be no benefit (justification) for punishment.

Im not buying it. There are just too many assumptions made in that response which I feel are unjustified.

Why does justice require a "positive outcome" in the first place? Why can justice not be positive on its own?

You're asking for a meta-ethical justification for the original concept of justice Chaosism's response posed, and with which I mostly concur. Actually, I don't actually believe justice is a useful concept, from either a moral or legal point of view (especially since it is supposedly so central to our legal system but has failed to been adequately defined or actually used as a standard in legal decisions).

For those such as myself and (I assume) Chaosism, who do not believe in objective morality, justice does not prove to be a positive value in its own right because it does not necessarily have a positive role in improving moral and social relations. If there is no social benefit, than what is the point, besides a sort of (perhaps) egoistic satisfaction (which is not what justice is supposed to be)?

If we're working from a more coherent and socially-informed theory of justice, the answer might be different. We'd have to define what we mean by justice in the first place, and what its expected or at least desired outcomes are.

Why is "deterring other criminals or preventing the offender from harming another" considered a "positive outcome"?

Because it would prevent harm to others.

Why is the happiness I feel when causing bad things to happen to bad people not considered a "positive outcome"?

Because it's self-contradictory to value the reduction or prevention of harm to others while deriving satisfaction from that act. Even in the case when harm is necessary to "bad people" it's one thing to do so out of necessity, it is another to do it with pleasure. Taking pleasure in harm (like any other activity) increases one's inclination to engage in it; from a purely biological pov, chemicals are released that make acts of pleasure somewhat addictive, so acts of vengeance (even if they arguably have social utility) potentially encourage one to seek out such acts again--to act violently or aggressively towards others, even those one might not have previously considered "bad." Unless you believe that some kind of Dexter-like scenario--being a serial killer, so long as you only kill those who kill others--is acceptable (and realistic), which I don't.

This, of course, is rooted in the idea of socially useful acts and non-objective morality. The justification for such a system would require a much lengthier discussion that would be far outside the bounds of this particular thread.
What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way. --Winslow Homer
derailed
Posts: 41
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/17/2015 4:25:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/13/2015 7:05:40 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/13/2015 12:51:20 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.

There is no ultimately correct answer, here, so I am asserting my opinion. I do not believe that inflicting pain and suffering should ever be done unless there is a greater positive outcome that can be achieved. According to this scenario, "the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life". I would definitely agree that his removal from the world would serve to protect other people, but since he will be pacified, I find it wholly unnecessary to engage in vengeful savagery in order to fulfill my own personal desire for justice. Rationality should not be trumped by emotion.

Again, this is my subjective assessment. Personally, I don't find merit in vengeance for the sake of vengeance. This kind of thing can cause some pretty bad chain reactions between individuals or groups of people.

At least you admit that this is completely subjective, something that I think many here fail to recognize due to getting too caught up in trying to find a philosophical answer to the OPs question.

Many of us (including myself) have asserted that we don't believe in objective morality, so our answers have explicitly been, to a degree, subjective. Without objective morality there's never a definite "correct" answer, only well-reasoned answers. I don't see why one can't seek philosophical answers in a well-reasoned way while also admitting there's no single, irrefutable conclusion. Subjective doesn't mean that it's all baseless, personal opinion without good reasoning behind it.
What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way. --Winslow Homer
riveroaks
Posts: 265
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/17/2015 4:50:32 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.

This reminds me of Charlton Heston in Soilent Green -- faced with many ethical dilemmas.

If I am the captain of a ship, and my orders are to deposit the criminal onto the island, that is what I am going to do. The first rule of naval service is always to accomplish your primary mission. We read about it from English maritime history.

If there was a stow-away on the ship, and the criminal raped and killed him/her/it, and I was afraid of the political system in holding me and others responsible for his crime, naturally I would not put myself and the others at risk by doing anything other than carrying out the original primary mission.

There is always the risk that one of the crew may inform on the rest of us, although if the informant is at risk for the same maltreatment as the rest of us, then the risk is worth taking and the likelihood is small.

If I am truly worried about being maltreated by the regime, then I will take the ship and crew and we will seek asylum somewhere else.
riveroaks
Posts: 265
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/17/2015 4:54:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/17/2015 4:25:01 AM, derailed wrote:
At 8/13/2015 7:05:40 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/13/2015 12:51:20 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 8/12/2015 10:07:28 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/12/2015 7:26:04 PM, Chaosism wrote:

Justice is not an existent entity that needs to be served or satisfied. It is one's own sense of justice that one desires to satisfy. Justice only exists in our minds, so if negative actions (violence) are taken that are not necessary or that do not yield vastly greater positive outcomes, I believe it to be immoral. In this particular scenario and following the same assumption, there is no significant positive results yielded by killing the offender.

The bolded statement is A and the underlined statement is B. Please explain how A leads to B, I just can't see any logical connection there whatsoever.

There is no ultimately correct answer, here, so I am asserting my opinion. I do not believe that inflicting pain and suffering should ever be done unless there is a greater positive outcome that can be achieved. According to this scenario, "the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life". I would definitely agree that his removal from the world would serve to protect other people, but since he will be pacified, I find it wholly unnecessary to engage in vengeful savagery in order to fulfill my own personal desire for justice. Rationality should not be trumped by emotion.

Again, this is my subjective assessment. Personally, I don't find merit in vengeance for the sake of vengeance. This kind of thing can cause some pretty bad chain reactions between individuals or groups of people.

At least you admit that this is completely subjective, something that I think many here fail to recognize due to getting too caught up in trying to find a philosophical answer to the OPs question.

Many of us (including myself) have asserted that we don't believe in objective morality, so our answers have explicitly been, to a degree, subjective. Without objective morality there's never a definite "correct" answer, only well-reasoned answers. I don't see why one can't seek philosophical answers in a well-reasoned way while also admitting there's no single, irrefutable conclusion. Subjective doesn't mean that it's all baseless, personal opinion without good reasoning behind it.

There are normally limits written down somewhere (The Uniform Code Of Military Justice in the USA) which limit the powers of sea captains. Walking the plank is a pirate thing.

Adjudication is normally reserved for trained and empowered justices, not sea captains.

If we as a group were all shipwrecked on an island with no hope of imminent rescue, then a democratic vote might be taken to execute a murderer. However there would be repercussions once everyone was rescued and the act was reported back in civilization.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
8/19/2015 3:23:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 7/30/2015 5:45:56 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
A brutal regime has seized power in your country, and has enacted a platform designed to terrorize its citizens into submission. As part of this new platform, minor infractions carry harsh punishments. One of these punishments is to be sent to a desert island alone to spend the rest of one's life in isolation.

You are the captain of a ship whose job it is to transport convicted criminals to their designated islands. Normally the ship would only contain the crew and convicts, but this ship was recently confiscated from private hands and happens to have a small child locked in one of the bathrooms. You find that one of the convicts, upon discovering the child, raped and killed him without hesitation. You know that if you report the crime to the police it is likely that the entire crew and their families will all be executed.

Given that the man who committed the crime is about to be placed on an island where he will be able to hurt no one for the rest of his life, and given that you cannot report the incident to the police without putting many innocent people in jeopardy, you ask yourself "Is it morally justified to punish this man in any way whatsoever?" Punishing him would be out of pure spite, since it would not serve to deter future criminals (as no one would know about it) and would not protect society in any way, because the man is about to be cut off from all civilization anyway. Punishing him would only add to the amount of suffering overall.

He brutally took a life. He deserves to die in at least as brutal a way and I would accomplish that with all dispatch. I don't care one whit about abstract ideas of 'moral justification'. I'm concerned with ridding the world of amoral creatures who would take such an action without a grain of remorse. You may call me simple or unlearned but my outlook is straightforward. The logical end of all violence is death. This man did lethal violence upon an innocent child. He will do it again if the situation arises. The only sure way to prevent it is to kill him. I admit there is an element of revenge/retribution as well but the end result is one less potential killer of children in the world.