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Random philosophical question of the day.
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Old 23 Feb 2009, 03:51   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Random philosophical question of the day.

If the ends don't justify the means, what does?
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Old 23 Feb 2009, 05:01   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

The imperative that you think it is right.

But justification is a very egotistical way of convincing yourself your right.
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Old 23 Feb 2009, 05:34   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

Nothing.

"The ends justify the means" implies that is that actions that would otherwise be considered immoral can become justified and commendable under certain circumstances. Whilst I won't be so naive as to say that there are no situations in which unpleasant courses of action are necessary, there are none in which I'd consider them to be truly "justified".

Example:
A guy with a gun breaks into my classroom, and shoots two people. I then shoot him. He dies. Most people would say I was perfectly justified in doing so, and that it was "the right thing to do". I would say that it was still morally wrong. However, as my other option is to sit back and let more people die, killing him was the least morally wrong action I had available to me.

A small difference, but in my opinion a profound one.
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Old 23 Feb 2009, 06:15   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyndmyr
If the ends don't justify the means, what does?
Isn't this like one of the most fundamental questions of philosophy? I mean at the end, this is the argument between extreme utilitarianism and extreme deontology.

I think a lot of it comes from how active you are in pursuing your ends.
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Old 23 Feb 2009, 15:15   #5 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyndmyr
If the ends don't justify the means, what does?
If the result X is given without
Z => Y <=> X
Is result X justified?

I guess it depends on what is meant by 'justification'. I mean there are different levels of justification;

--Personally
--Socially
--Legally
--Morally
--etc.

So you'd have to look at differing peoples points of view. In Faolins example the shooter, might believe he is justified in killing those people (perhaps we take the Terminator storyline and they are going to go on to kill thousands of people themselves). Does that justify his actions to the people in the room if he doesn't explain them? No.

To them all they have witnessed is someone enter the room and start killing people. Hence they are justified in concluding; "This is a crazed gunman, I have a gun, I'll shoot him dead and save my self and others in the room."

Then imagine the same scenario where the man explains to the people in the room, that these two people are going to/have caused great harm to others. Are the people in the room justified to play jury?

We are looking at the scenario from behind the fourth wall. While we might have our own opinions, they cannot be played out on stage without our interference. The only way to interfere is to be part of the scenario. Which means you yourself have imperfect knowledge. Therefore are you still justified in holding your opinion? Would you hold the same opinion?

The way I look at this is to say. The means justifies the means. You act because you can, how you act doesn't matter, unless you acting in a way that is in contravention of your own believes or experiences.

Hence you are playing the 'innocence' card. You don't try and justify it to yourself. You just do it. The results you can then interpret with hindsight. Essentially my spiritual philosophy of 'Empirical Theology' I act in a certain way (do and experiment), I observe the result of my actions, I see if I can glean any information off my actions. Rinse and repeat.

The end result is the boring bit, the thinking about how/what action I should take next is the fun in life!

Genmotty
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Old 24 Feb 2009, 06:31   #6 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

You act because you can, how you act doesn't matter, unless you acting in a way that is in contravention of your own believes or experiences.

Isn't this a contradiction?

I can shoot someone. Half of your post seems to be implying that I do it just to see what happens. Whereas this little nugget says that I should weigh the pros and cons of any action against my own beliefs and experiences. Which, in effect, is justifying the action to myself beforehand.
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Old 24 Feb 2009, 11:53   #7 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faolin
You act because you can, how you act doesn't matter, unless you acting in a way that is in contravention of your own believes or experiences.

Isn't this a contradiction?

I can shoot someone. Half of your post seems to be implying that I do it just to see what happens. Whereas this little nugget says that I should weigh the pros and cons of any action against my own beliefs and experiences. Which, in effect, is justifying the action to myself beforehand.
No. You comitt an action, what becomes of that action will be its result. But because you can act, it justifies action, rather than inaction. Unless your choice of inaction is your choice of action to comitt.

The question is about justification. But because we can rationally conclude our justification of our own actions will always be flawed (first half of previous post) then our personal beliefs of a situation are not a justification for comitting the action. We act because we can, rather than because of our beliefs, because there is many situations in which people have comitted actions against their own beliefs. It just so happens that most of the time most people act in accordance with their own beliefs.

Now when people have comitted actions against their own beliefs, there is a sense of guilt felt. As this is a negative emotion, and hence isn't all that productive to your psychological well being, minimizing the feeling of guilt is probably a good thing for you.

What I'm kind of implying with that is that, you rationalize your past actions to yourself, such that you feel (personally) justified in comitting that action, so that you don't feel as much guilt for comitting the action that is in contravention of your own beliefs.

If any of that makes sense to you...?

The statement has deeper meaning to it that the rest of the post, I'd hazard.

Gen
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Old 24 Feb 2009, 12:42   #8 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

if the ends don't justify the means then nothing does. In order to have a fair outlook on the world one must look at every situation in life as a balance scale. If the harm done outwieghs the positive outcome then only and idiot/greed monger would proceed, however if the positive outcome outwieghs the harm done, then one should proceed. it's simple algebra.
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Old 24 Feb 2009, 17:29   #9 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tausand sun
if the ends don't justify the means then nothing does. In order to have a fair outlook on the world one must look at every situation in life as a balance scale. If the harm done outwieghs the positive outcome then only and idiot/greed monger would proceed, however if the positive outcome outwieghs the harm done, then one should proceed. it's simple algebra.
I don't think it is quite that simple. Have your ever heard of the travelers paradox? Whereby two travellers have to write down the value of two identical items that an airport has lost upto the value of 100. If one of the players writes a number lower than the other, then that is taken as the value of the item, and that traveller gets that value, plus some (2) of the other travellers rembursement.

Both travellers should weight up the pros and cons and both write down 100 because they both get the money.

But in practice traveller B writes down 99, A writes down 100. B gets 101, A gets 98 pounds.

[hr]

B has obviously done something harmful to A, but ends up with a reward for doing so. Hence it's in his interests to do that. It's a pro for him, because he believes he is more vauble than this traveller he just met, hence he is trying to exploit the situation.

Now, what if A thinks in exactly the same way? You end up with a very irrational conclusion, where both travellers end up with 0 each, because they are trying to con the other out of money, and hence both lose.

What I'm trying to illustrate here is that you cannot hold a balenced view. It's impossible if your part of the senario. As all your choices reflect your participation in a senario, then you are part of the senario and hence can't be totally impartial.

Gen
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Old 24 Feb 2009, 19:25   #10 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Random philosophical question of the day.

how would that situation ever come up IRL, besides I never said the equations were easy just that they need to be set up to keep things fair.
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