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The Golden Rule is not so Golden

the_croftmeister
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6/18/2013 4:23:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've been thinking about this one for a long time. It is used so much, and for me, it caused more consternation in my household than any other issue I can think of.

Everybody should know the Golden Rule in some form or another. It's basically a social maxim that says:
"Do unto others as you would have done unto you."
This is the most common one, but I've heard others. I've heard tell it originated in the bible but I have no idea how true that is.

Basically my argument goes like this.
We all want different things out of life. A reward for me is not a reward for someone else, I suppose it isn't exactly common for it to turn into a punishment, but I'm not going to rule it out as impossible.

I think of one particular example when my parents decided to buy me a phone because I'd done something good, I don't really remember what it was. I didn't need a simple phone, the one I had was perfectly fine and they weren't spending enough to get a better one. I told them that I would rather them either give me the money to put towards something else (like a better phone when I had the money) or to keep it so they didn't waste it on something I didn't need.

I was told I was ungrateful, and I was a teenager so I probably didn't express myself anywhere near as well as I do now. But my point still stands. What I saw as helping them (either giving me a reward I actually wanted or keeping their money), they saw as me being ungrateful. We both did unto each other as we would have done unto us and the result was that we all went away unhappy.

Does anyone else have experiences like this they would like to share?

I would propose the following maxim as a better alternative.

"Give unto others the value that they giveth unto you"
remembering always that the value you give to them is judged by their rules, and value given to you is always judged on yours.
Thoughts anyone?
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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6/18/2013 8:05:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/18/2013 4:23:47 AM, the_croftmeister wrote:
I've been thinking about this one for a long time. It is used so much, and for me, it caused more consternation in my household than any other issue I can think of.

Everybody should know the Golden Rule in some form or another. It's basically a social maxim that says:
"Do unto others as you would have done unto you."
This is the most common one, but I've heard others. I've heard tell it originated in the bible but I have no idea how true that is.

Basically my argument goes like this.
We all want different things out of life. A reward for me is not a reward for someone else, I suppose it isn't exactly common for it to turn into a punishment, but I'm not going to rule it out as impossible.

I think of one particular example when my parents decided to buy me a phone because I'd done something good, I don't really remember what it was. I didn't need a simple phone, the one I had was perfectly fine and they weren't spending enough to get a better one. I told them that I would rather them either give me the money to put towards something else (like a better phone when I had the money) or to keep it so they didn't waste it on something I didn't need.

I was told I was ungrateful, and I was a teenager so I probably didn't express myself anywhere near as well as I do now. But my point still stands. What I saw as helping them (either giving me a reward I actually wanted or keeping their money), they saw as me being ungrateful. We both did unto each other as we would have done unto us and the result was that we all went away unhappy.

Does anyone else have experiences like this they would like to share?

I would propose the following maxim as a better alternative.

"Give unto others the value that they giveth unto you"
remembering always that the value you give to them is judged by their rules, and value given to you is always judged on yours.
Thoughts anyone?

I think you're over-specifying the original phrase, to be honest. "Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself" can easily be interpreted as "reward others as to their desires and needs, just as you would wish to be rewarded yourself". It doesn't literally mean "if you want some new shoes, buy other people new shoes".
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/18/2013 9:51:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Yeah, it seems as though you interpret the Golden Rule a bit too literally, as the person above me said.

That being said, I think the Golden Rule sucks. I prefer the Silver Rule/negative Golden Rule:

"Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you."
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Graincruncher
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6/18/2013 11:09:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The negation is the same as the original statement though. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but there's no difference between the negative and positive formulations of the rule; "do help people who need it" is the same as "do not leave those who need help without it".
DetectableNinja
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6/18/2013 2:03:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/18/2013 11:09:43 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
The negation is the same as the original statement though. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but there's no difference between the negative and positive formulations of the rule; "do help people who need it" is the same as "do not leave those who need help without it".

What you just argued is just not a correct interpretation. The Golden Rule would say, taking your example: help others as you would want them to help you, whereas the Silver Rule would say: do not hurt others as you would not want them to hurt you.

No, they are very different in what they imply. The Golden Rule has a positive implication of action, whereas the Silver Rule has an implication of negative action. Instead of the implication being you are obliged to actively serve others, the implication is that you are obliged to not harm others. That's ultimately a better philosophy.

In essence, it's just like the conflict between negative liberty and positive liberty, with positive liberty/Golden Rule entitling everyone to be helped or given things, and with negative liberty/Silver Rule entitling everyone to not be harmed or interfered with.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/18/2013 5:25:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/18/2013 8:05:29 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
I think you're over-specifying the original phrase, to be honest. "Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself" can easily be interpreted as "reward others as to their desires and needs, just as you would wish to be rewarded yourself". It doesn't literally mean "if you want some new shoes, buy other people new shoes".

No, but most people take it to be somewhere inbetween. Of course we can argue interpretation until the cows come home, but would it not be better to have maxims that even in their literal interpretation make more sense than this? Even your reinterpreted one you could easily mistake it for implying that we can determine how other people want to be treated by investigating how we want to be treated (on second thoughts, this is often true but we can't 'rely' on it being true as this rule would have us do). I'm investigating whether a second rule might be useful to have to go along side it then.

I'm not saying that it is completely devoid of usefulness. Of course there are situations in which it can be used.

I'm saying that it has it backward for many (not most) situations. You should decide 'whether you want to reward them' and consider 'how they would want to be rewarded' any way of interpreting this meaning into the Golden Rule is convoluted because it reverses the direction of the thoughts.

What I want -> What I do for others (My thoughts => Your thoughts)
What you want -> What I do for you (Your thoughts => My actions)
Graincruncher
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6/19/2013 4:53:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/18/2013 2:03:47 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
What you just argued is just not a correct interpretation. The Golden Rule would say, taking your example: help others as you would want them to help you, whereas the Silver Rule would say: do not hurt others as you would not want them to hurt you.

No, they are very different in what they imply. The Golden Rule has a positive implication of action, whereas the Silver Rule has an implication of negative action. Instead of the implication being you are obliged to actively serve others, the implication is that you are obliged to not harm others. That's ultimately a better philosophy.

In essence, it's just like the conflict between negative liberty and positive liberty, with positive liberty/Golden Rule entitling everyone to be helped or given things, and with negative liberty/Silver Rule entitling everyone to not be harmed or interfered with.

A proposition can be framed in both positive and negative terms, which means you can phrase things in either model to lead to any outcome. "It is right to help those who need it" can be similarly stated as "it is wrong to cause suffering through inaction" - i.e. "do not do to others" can extend to "abandon them in times of need", just as readily as "do unto others" can extend to "let them sort it out themselves". I can't think of a single example that this wouldn't work for, although of course I would be interested in any you might have.

So if harm through inaction could motivate such in the negative conception, while the benefits of allowing someone autonomy may lead to a hands-off approach in the positive one, why differentiate? I'm not sold on the concept of purely negative liberty anyway, even if we take a simplified version where the negative definition of a concept is for some reason inadmissible. I'm certainly not sold on the idea that an obligation to cause no harm is necessarily better than an obligation to help, either. It seems to me that either we have to take into account harm through inaction or the negative conception, if anything, enables some rather unpleasant behaviours. With the positive conception this is not the case, unless of course you accept my position that the two are effectively interchangeable.

Like utilitarianism, there is little point to the Golden Rule outside of another moral framework and trying to operate it in such conditions can have some morally damaging results. It points in the right direction, morally speaking, but it is only that; a pointer. Individual cases must be judged on their own merit, with the Golden Rule - however phrased - simply acting as a single criteria out of many which must be taken into account.

At 6/18/2013 5:25:40 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
No, but most people take it to be somewhere inbetween. Of course we can argue interpretation until the cows come home, but would it not be better to have maxims that even in their literal interpretation make more sense than this? Even your reinterpreted one you could easily mistake it for implying that we can determine how other people want to be treated by investigating how we want to be treated (on second thoughts, this is often true but we can't 'rely' on it being true as this rule would have us do). I'm investigating whether a second rule might be useful to have to go along side it then.

I'm not saying that it is completely devoid of usefulness. Of course there are situations in which it can be used.

I'm saying that it has it backward for many (not most) situations. You should decide 'whether you want to reward them' and consider 'how they would want to be rewarded' any way of interpreting this meaning into the Golden Rule is convoluted because it reverses the direction of the thoughts.

What I want -> What I do for others (My thoughts => Your thoughts)
What you want -> What I do for you (Your thoughts => My actions)

As I've just said to DN, trying to apply any given moral rule as a sufficient system for making decisions is going to cause problems. Personally, I'd say that the Golden Rule is fairly straight forward to understand, so long as people think about it before applying it. This isn't a problem that will disappear by introducing more rules, because the kind of people who don't think about moral complexity aren't going to change their ways, since they'll just blindly ignore the nuance of the new rules as well.

So I'd still disagree the rule has anything wrong at all; people are failing to properly understand it, but the rule itself makes good sense and takes into account the objections you're raising. Sadly, this is pretty much the case for all moral positions, because a lot of people are intellectually and morally lazy to the point of just wanting a simple black & white rule to make their decisions for them and to which they can point when they fall short in some way. As such, "treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself" works fine so long as the person applying it takes into account a few fairly obvious facts, such as differences between individuals.
the_croftmeister
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6/19/2013 5:53:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 4:53:57 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
As I've just said to DN, trying to apply any given moral rule as a sufficient system for making decisions is going to cause problems. Personally, I'd say that the Golden Rule is fairly straight forward to understand, so long as people think about it before applying it. This isn't a problem that will disappear by introducing more rules, because the kind of people who don't think about moral complexity aren't going to change their ways, since they'll just blindly ignore the nuance of the new rules as well.

So I'd still disagree the rule has anything wrong at all; people are failing to properly understand it, but the rule itself makes good sense and takes into account the objections you're raising. Sadly, this is pretty much the case for all moral positions, because a lot of people are intellectually and morally lazy to the point of just wanting a simple black & white rule to make their decisions for them and to which they can point when they fall short in some way. As such, "treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself" works fine so long as the person applying it takes into account a few fairly obvious facts, such as differences between individuals.

Ahaha, I see that we are going to get into some real trouble here, because I was about to say something that I know you are going to disagree on based on our differences of opinion on the meaning of words. Since you believe there is normative force behind said meanings of course there is a 'correct' interpretation of the Golden Rule and so you can discuss people 'failing to understand it'. I don't hold such a view and see any interpretation as valid, thus it is important to pick a rule which is in some sense 'more likely' to lead to a desirable interpretation (given some moral standard to measure on be that objective or relativist).

This I think, is where our disagreement lies. Thoughts?
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/19/2013 6:01:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I never knew this was the Golden Rule. I always thought it was "guard your tool". That'd be the Devil's influence, right? But as regards OP, it seems a pretty solid rule really dude.

Like, a heroin addict might inject you with heroin while you're sleeping, but this is just God telling us once again that we're all family...
the_croftmeister
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6/19/2013 6:13:38 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 6:01:59 AM, PrivateEye wrote:
I never knew this was the Golden Rule. I always thought it was "guard your tool". That'd be the Devil's influence, right? But as regards OP, it seems a pretty solid rule really dude.

Like, a heroin addict might inject you with heroin while you're sleeping, but this is just God telling us once again that we're all family...

I'm confused, isn't that an argument against the Golden Rule?
If a heroin addict likes heroin then by the Golden Rule they might conceivably think you should like it too? But under a different rule ordering you to give them what they value if you value them they wouldn't since they would have to ask you if you like heroin first.
Is this what you were trying to say?

Also I realise that my previous rephrasing was wrong. I'm not sure in what words to say what I mean in a short and unambiguous way. Anybody have any ideas?
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 6:17:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
"Have others to to themselves what you would do to yourself" is even more moral again.
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 6:18:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 6:17:33 AM, PrivateEye wrote:
"Have others to to themselves what you would do to yourself" is even more moral again.

That is, combined with the Golden Rule, so you can't kill them.
Graincruncher
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6/19/2013 8:56:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 5:53:09 AM, the_croftmeister wrote:
Ahaha, I see that we are going to get into some real trouble here, because I was about to say something that I know you are going to disagree on based on our differences of opinion on the meaning of words. Since you believe there is normative force behind said meanings of course there is a 'correct' interpretation of the Golden Rule and so you can discuss people 'failing to understand it'. I don't hold such a view and see any interpretation as valid, thus it is important to pick a rule which is in some sense 'more likely' to lead to a desirable interpretation (given some moral standard to measure on be that objective or relativist).

I'm not arguing for an objective single interpretation, so I agree with you that there is not necessarily 'a' correct interpretation. However, the more thought and analysis are put into understanding the implications of the rule, I think it becomes clear that there are invalid, valid but inferior, and superior interpretations.

Ironically, this means that the problem is not with the interpretations of the rule, but the objections. There are no problems with the Golden Rule if you analyse it in a certain way (or possibly certain ways), which means the calls for annotations, extra rules and so forth are unnecessary. As with other philosophical problems, it only exists because the question being asked vanishes when the system involved is more fully understood.
the_croftmeister
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6/19/2013 4:42:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 8:56:52 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:53:09 AM, the_croftmeister wrote:
Ahaha, I see that we are going to get into some real trouble here, because I was about to say something that I know you are going to disagree on based on our differences of opinion on the meaning of words. Since you believe there is normative force behind said meanings of course there is a 'correct' interpretation of the Golden Rule and so you can discuss people 'failing to understand it'. I don't hold such a view and see any interpretation as valid, thus it is important to pick a rule which is in some sense 'more likely' to lead to a desirable interpretation (given some moral standard to measure on be that objective or relativist).

I'm not arguing for an objective single interpretation, so I agree with you that there is not necessarily 'a' correct interpretation. However, the more thought and analysis are put into understanding the implications of the rule, I think it becomes clear that there are invalid, valid but inferior, and superior interpretations.

Ironically, this means that the problem is not with the interpretations of the rule, but the objections. There are no problems with the Golden Rule if you analyse it in a certain way (or possibly certain ways), which means the calls for annotations, extra rules and so forth are unnecessary. As with other philosophical problems, it only exists because the question being asked vanishes when the system involved is more fully understood.

Of course there are, but you can't rely on someone looking at the rule and coming to what you consider to be a 'superior interpretation'. Surely as I said, it is worth considering rules that have 'more obvious' good interpretations. I'm talking about this rule in particular, just the idea in general now.
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 5:09:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
what do you think of my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the rule, croftmeister?
the_croftmeister
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6/19/2013 5:24:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 5:09:26 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
what do you think of my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the rule, croftmeister?

I'm not sure, I'm concerned about rules that require other people to do things to themselves. I think moral maxims like this should only concern what we do to others.
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 5:31:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 5:24:50 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:09:26 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
what do you think of my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the rule, croftmeister?

I'm not sure, I'm concerned about rules that require other people to do things to themselves. I think moral maxims like this should only concern what we do to others.

stupidity, however, is a terrible affliction, and my appendix allows for attempting to correct its effects. i think i saw you post recently as regards people's religious beliefs that you would prefer to leave them alone unless they become a danger. heroin is pretty dangerous dude.
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 5:36:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
i think my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the initial rule would serve on their own as a pretty solid foundation for society to be honest.
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 5:43:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
the "have others do to themselves..." bit is really subsumed by the initial rule though. after all, you would have someone free you from the affliction that was stupidity if you were about your right mind, wouldn't you? no harm to hammer things out though.
the_croftmeister
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6/19/2013 6:04:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 5:31:28 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:24:50 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:09:26 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
what do you think of my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the rule, croftmeister?

I'm not sure, I'm concerned about rules that require other people to do things to themselves. I think moral maxims like this should only concern what we do to others.

stupidity, however, is a terrible affliction, and my appendix allows for attempting to correct its effects. i think i saw you post recently as regards people's religious beliefs that you would prefer to leave them alone unless they become a danger. heroin is pretty dangerous dude.

Yes, but the reason always has to come from within. Do something to help the heroin addict because he is dangerous 'to you'. Do something to stop the heroin drug dealers because they might prey on people close to you when they are vulnerable and hence cause 'you' emotional pain. As soon as we say 'have others do to themselves' then we are legitimising actions that affect only the person themselves.
Let's take this extreme example. If I fell off a building and broke my neck such that I would be a quadriplegic I would want to kill myself. By your rule, this would mean I should try to help this person to kill themselves. They might not want to, but because I see that their suffering is going to be greater than if they don't, I am justified in believing I am making their existence better (if anyone was wondering, I believe that a person still exists even if they die it just happens that the temporal dimension of their existence no longer coincides with our world, so death is a feasible alternative to life with suffering because it decreases the net suffering over their lifetime). You might not agree, but that is the way that I see it. If I followed the Golden Rule, the situation is even worse, I could conceivably kill them myself because that is how I would want it done, dead before I wake up so I didn't have to know. Now I don't think either of these is an appropriate response. We don't have the right to make these choices for someone else unless we have been informed of their wishes prior to the event.

If the heroin addict asked me for help, or if his heroin addiction caused me emotional suffering then of course I would do something. Otherwise, I'd leave him be.
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 6:13:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 6:04:58 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:31:28 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:24:50 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:09:26 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
what do you think of my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the rule, croftmeister?

I'm not sure, I'm concerned about rules that require other people to do things to themselves. I think moral maxims like this should only concern what we do to others.

stupidity, however, is a terrible affliction, and my appendix allows for attempting to correct its effects. i think i saw you post recently as regards people's religious beliefs that you would prefer to leave them alone unless they become a danger. heroin is pretty dangerous dude.

Yes, but the reason always has to come from within. Do something to help the heroin addict because he is dangerous 'to you'. Do something to stop the heroin drug dealers because they might prey on people close to you when they are vulnerable and hence cause 'you' emotional pain. As soon as we say 'have others do to themselves' then we are legitimising actions that affect only the person themselves.
Let's take this extreme example. If I fell off a building and broke my neck such that I would be a quadriplegic I would want to kill myself. By your rule, this would mean I should try to help this person to kill themselves. They might not want to, but because I see that their suffering is going to be greater than if they don't, I am justified in believing I am making their existence better (if anyone was wondering, I believe that a person still exists even if they die it just happens that the temporal dimension of their existence no longer coincides with our world, so death is a feasible alternative to life with suffering because it decreases the net suffering over their lifetime). You might not agree, but that is the way that I see it. If I followed the Golden Rule, the situation is even worse, I could conceivably kill them myself because that is how I would want it done, dead before I wake up so I didn't have to know. Now I don't think either of these is an appropriate response. We don't have the right to make these choices for someone else unless we have been informed of their wishes prior to the event.

If the heroin addict asked me for help, or if his heroin addiction caused me emotional suffering then of course I would do something. Otherwise, I'd leave him be.

meh. we're not all so lucky as to have close friends and family, and then i was thinking along the lines of a government built on such foundations rather than each individual if that softens it.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/19/2013 6:32:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 6:13:42 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 6:04:58 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:31:28 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:24:50 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:09:26 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
what do you think of my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the rule, croftmeister?

I'm not sure, I'm concerned about rules that require other people to do things to themselves. I think moral maxims like this should only concern what we do to others.

stupidity, however, is a terrible affliction, and my appendix allows for attempting to correct its effects. i think i saw you post recently as regards people's religious beliefs that you would prefer to leave them alone unless they become a danger. heroin is pretty dangerous dude.

Yes, but the reason always has to come from within. Do something to help the heroin addict because he is dangerous 'to you'. Do something to stop the heroin drug dealers because they might prey on people close to you when they are vulnerable and hence cause 'you' emotional pain. As soon as we say 'have others do to themselves' then we are legitimising actions that affect only the person themselves.
Let's take this extreme example. If I fell off a building and broke my neck such that I would be a quadriplegic I would want to kill myself. By your rule, this would mean I should try to help this person to kill themselves. They might not want to, but because I see that their suffering is going to be greater than if they don't, I am justified in believing I am making their existence better (if anyone was wondering, I believe that a person still exists even if they die it just happens that the temporal dimension of their existence no longer coincides with our world, so death is a feasible alternative to life with suffering because it decreases the net suffering over their lifetime). You might not agree, but that is the way that I see it. If I followed the Golden Rule, the situation is even worse, I could conceivably kill them myself because that is how I would want it done, dead before I wake up so I didn't have to know. Now I don't think either of these is an appropriate response. We don't have the right to make these choices for someone else unless we have been informed of their wishes prior to the event.

If the heroin addict asked me for help, or if his heroin addiction caused me emotional suffering then of course I would do something. Otherwise, I'd leave him be.

meh. we're not all so lucky as to have close friends and family, and then i was thinking along the lines of a government built on such foundations rather than each individual if that softens it.

Yeah, that is a problem. Though being upset by someone else's suffering doesn't 'have' to be limited to friends and family. This is effectively what charity is about. Do something to help someone else because the fact that there is any suffering in the world is hurtful. A government could start with these principles in mind though I think it would be most effective at the local level. Larger organisations would have to have different principles I think.
PrivateEye
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6/19/2013 6:50:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 6:32:16 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 6:13:42 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 6:04:58 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:31:28 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:24:50 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 5:09:26 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
what do you think of my interpretation and subsequent appendix to the rule, croftmeister?

I'm not sure, I'm concerned about rules that require other people to do things to themselves. I think moral maxims like this should only concern what we do to others.

stupidity, however, is a terrible affliction, and my appendix allows for attempting to correct its effects. i think i saw you post recently as regards people's religious beliefs that you would prefer to leave them alone unless they become a danger. heroin is pretty dangerous dude.

Yes, but the reason always has to come from within. Do something to help the heroin addict because he is dangerous 'to you'. Do something to stop the heroin drug dealers because they might prey on people close to you when they are vulnerable and hence cause 'you' emotional pain. As soon as we say 'have others do to themselves' then we are legitimising actions that affect only the person themselves.
Let's take this extreme example. If I fell off a building and broke my neck such that I would be a quadriplegic I would want to kill myself. By your rule, this would mean I should try to help this person to kill themselves. They might not want to, but because I see that their suffering is going to be greater than if they don't, I am justified in believing I am making their existence better (if anyone was wondering, I believe that a person still exists even if they die it just happens that the temporal dimension of their existence no longer coincides with our world, so death is a feasible alternative to life with suffering because it decreases the net suffering over their lifetime). You might not agree, but that is the way that I see it. If I followed the Golden Rule, the situation is even worse, I could conceivably kill them myself because that is how I would want it done, dead before I wake up so I didn't have to know. Now I don't think either of these is an appropriate response. We don't have the right to make these choices for someone else unless we have been informed of their wishes prior to the event.

If the heroin addict asked me for help, or if his heroin addiction caused me emotional suffering then of course I would do something. Otherwise, I'd leave him be.

meh. we're not all so lucky as to have close friends and family, and then i was thinking along the lines of a government built on such foundations rather than each individual if that softens it.

Yeah, that is a problem. Though being upset by someone else's suffering doesn't 'have' to be limited to friends and family. This is effectively what charity is about. Do something to help someone else because the fact that there is any suffering in the world is hurtful. A government could start with these principles in mind though I think it would be most effective at the local level. Larger organisations would have to have different principles I think.

i don't think so. they actually seem the most appropriate principles for a government to me, or as the primary principles anyway. the room they'd leave for revision is what's most attractive about them to be honest, but then they'd also cover pretty much everything else too. it'd be a society very open to self-correction pretty much and then if the rule was considered for governmental structuring at the times of its conception, it'd have been the first call for democracy really.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/19/2013 7:18:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
i don't think so. they actually seem the most appropriate principles for a government to me, or as the primary principles anyway. the room they'd leave for revision is what's most attractive about them to be honest, but then they'd also cover pretty much everything else too. it'd be a society very open to self-correction pretty much and then if the rule was considered for governmental structuring at the times of its conception, it'd have been the first call for democracy really.

So what is wrong with a rule along the lines of 'Give individuals what they value, to the extent that you value them; take from individuals what they value, to the extent that you do not'? This might be a bit libertarian of me, I'm not sure.
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/19/2013 7:37:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 7:18:43 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
i don't think so. they actually seem the most appropriate principles for a government to me, or as the primary principles anyway. the room they'd leave for revision is what's most attractive about them to be honest, but then they'd also cover pretty much everything else too. it'd be a society very open to self-correction pretty much and then if the rule was considered for governmental structuring at the times of its conception, it'd have been the first call for democracy really.

So what is wrong with a rule along the lines of 'Give individuals what they value, to the extent that you value them; take from individuals what they value, to the extent that you do not'? This might be a bit libertarian of me, I'm not sure.

a bit libertarian :p
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/19/2013 7:40:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 7:37:59 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:18:43 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
i don't think so. they actually seem the most appropriate principles for a government to me, or as the primary principles anyway. the room they'd leave for revision is what's most attractive about them to be honest, but then they'd also cover pretty much everything else too. it'd be a society very open to self-correction pretty much and then if the rule was considered for governmental structuring at the times of its conception, it'd have been the first call for democracy really.

So what is wrong with a rule along the lines of 'Give individuals what they value, to the extent that you value them; take from individuals what they value, to the extent that you do not'? This might be a bit libertarian of me, I'm not sure.

a bit libertarian :p

Is it wrong 'because' it is libertarian? or do you have some reasoning to go along with that.
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/19/2013 7:45:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 7:40:20 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:37:59 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:18:43 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
i don't think so. they actually seem the most appropriate principles for a government to me, or as the primary principles anyway. the room they'd leave for revision is what's most attractive about them to be honest, but then they'd also cover pretty much everything else too. it'd be a society very open to self-correction pretty much and then if the rule was considered for governmental structuring at the times of its conception, it'd have been the first call for democracy really.

So what is wrong with a rule along the lines of 'Give individuals what they value, to the extent that you value them; take from individuals what they value, to the extent that you do not'? This might be a bit libertarian of me, I'm not sure.

a bit libertarian :p

Is it wrong 'because' it is libertarian? or do you have some reasoning to go along with that.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/19/2013 7:49:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 7:45:30 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:40:20 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:37:59 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:18:43 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
i don't think so. they actually seem the most appropriate principles for a government to me, or as the primary principles anyway. the room they'd leave for revision is what's most attractive about them to be honest, but then they'd also cover pretty much everything else too. it'd be a society very open to self-correction pretty much and then if the rule was considered for governmental structuring at the times of its conception, it'd have been the first call for democracy really.

So what is wrong with a rule along the lines of 'Give individuals what they value, to the extent that you value them; take from individuals what they value, to the extent that you do not'? This might be a bit libertarian of me, I'm not sure.

a bit libertarian :p

Is it wrong 'because' it is libertarian? or do you have some reasoning to go along with that.


So then if I value healthy children I wouldn't value the parents for not keeping their child healthy and thus would be justified in taking the child away. What's wrong with that?
PrivateEye
Posts: 972
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6/19/2013 7:51:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/19/2013 7:49:29 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:45:30 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:40:20 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:37:59 PM, PrivateEye wrote:
At 6/19/2013 7:18:43 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
i don't think so. they actually seem the most appropriate principles for a government to me, or as the primary principles anyway. the room they'd leave for revision is what's most attractive about them to be honest, but then they'd also cover pretty much everything else too. it'd be a society very open to self-correction pretty much and then if the rule was considered for governmental structuring at the times of its conception, it'd have been the first call for democracy really.

So what is wrong with a rule along the lines of 'Give individuals what they value, to the extent that you value them; take from individuals what they value, to the extent that you do not'? This might be a bit libertarian of me, I'm not sure.

a bit libertarian :p

Is it wrong 'because' it is libertarian? or do you have some reasoning to go along with that.


So then if I value healthy children I wouldn't value the parents for not keeping their child healthy and thus would be justified in taking the child away. What's wrong with that?

privately? what are you trying to do? start a war? i think civilized discussion goes a long way