Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

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Fja1
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Fja1 »

Who in their right mind would kill a puppy for ANY REASON which doesn't concern the puppy's own well-being? I already have nightmares.
BobS
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by BobS »

Scott wrote: May 5th, 2021, 5:14 pmAssume that you could cure cancer, thereby saving many innocent lives, but to do so you had to murder an innocent child with your bare hands against the child's will while the child begs to live.
I just started reading this thread today, so if this thought, or a similar one, has already been expressed, apologies if I missed it by not reading closely enough.

Since the question is submitted in the category of morals and ethics, I assume that the issue is really whether it would be moral to kill a child in such circumstances.

My answer is no.

Beyond that, I suggest that anyone who considers the question a serious one should really be asked to answer two questions: (1) would you murder a kid in order to cure cancer; and (2) would you kill yourself in order to achieve such a goal? If it takes the interviewee more than a nanosecond to concede that the answers have to be the same, I'd say that his "moral system" can't possibly be one with which I'd care to be associated.
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Papus79
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Papus79 »

I think the thing that makes this one easier for me to process - the relata are fundamentally broken - ie. cancer's a rogue cell problem to do with telomeres, there's no 'dark soul' incarnate (innocent or otherwise) whose subconscious mind is metaphysically pulling strings on people to give them cancer, and you can tell that by cancer showing no sign of being a new phenomena nor something that's ebbed and flowed in terms of quantity that would map to the maturation curve of an individual.

I get that the assumptions of the question would say 'put that aside' but it's something I think we have no need to worry about.

The question that's scarier, considering the possibility that sexuality and health / wellness might have some direct tie-in, is whether it would be ethical to sacrifice the sexual autonomy of a person to someone whose lets say doing really advanced work in telomere regulation and might not even just have the cure to cancer in their hands but even the cure to senescence and the telomere tradeoff, that they're the only person who can do it, but to keep them functional and up to capacity they need to get laid and they happen to be a pedophile or they happen to be highly unattractive to the opposite sex. One would hope in the later case at least that with such a prominent person that there's a consenting adult who'd know about the situation who'd voluntarily step up to the plate, the former situation's illegal and I'm not sure what a culture would decide on looking at that (they'd probably say 'yes' but get a bad case of the Black Mirror heebie-jeebies afterward for having done so).
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
Protagoras
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Protagoras »

Scott wrote: May 5th, 2021, 5:14 pm Assume that you could cure cancer, thereby saving many innocent lives, but to do so you had to murder an innocent child with your bare hands against the child's will while the child begs to live.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's define the word 'murder' to simply mean intentional non-consensual non-defensive killing of another human being. Under that definition, even legal killing can be murder. (Under other primarily statist definitions, murder is defined in part by illegality, such that the Nazi government didn't murder any Jews since those vicious killings were legal, which is not how I would use the word.)

Imagine for whatever reason that it would be legal for you to murder the child or to not murder the child, and thus you do not need to worry about legal or other repercussions such as someone trying to kill you in revenge, regardless of what you choose.

In this hypothetical, essentially, the only thing that might stop you from murdering an innocent child with your bare hands is your human kindness, compassion, sympathy, and/or personal code of conduct (and/or your moral or religious beliefs if you have any).

Ex hypothesi, the utilitarian thing to do is to murder the child with your bare hands. If you are a utilitarian, and not a hypocrite, then it seems the answer is simple: You would murder the child with your bare hands while the child begs to live.

However, if, like me, you are not a utilitarian, then your answer is likely different.

So would you murder the child?

More simply, would you murder one innocent child with your bare hands to save multiple other innocent people?

My answer is clarified in detail in my topic, Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man. But the short version is this: I strictly choose to not engage in non-defensive non-consensual violence against my fellow human being, such as murder, rape, or slavery. Thus, I would not murder the child.

It's so simple for me, actually. No moral dilemma at all. No anxiety. No complex math. No shoulds. No oughts. No try. In that way, it's so easy to have inner peace. As long as I'm not murdering someone or such, I have inner peace. I could spot an asteroid flying towards the Earth about to kill us all with no hope of rescue for us, but as long as I know I am playing my cards the best I can (according to my simple easy-to-follow self-chosen rules such as no murdering), then I have inner peace. It's so simple, so easy, and so enjoyable to live like this. :)

I imagine for one who is willing to commit murder, it must be such an anxiety-ridden way to live--to entrust oneself with such a violent domineering responsibility, especially considering how humans like us can rarely even stick to a simple food diet. If you cannot trust yourself not to eat a cupcake, imagine trusting yourself with the power to murder. Yikes, sounds like an unpleasant way to live to me, but to each his own, I suppose. You would have to constantly worry about who to murder and not murder, and then you have to go tire yourself out murdering people, and then you have to wash the blood off your hands. To me, violent utilitarianism sounds so needlessly spiritually exhausting and worry-ridden. I don't know how one could maintain their inner peace while even partly implementing such an exhaustingly violent philosophy. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose.

I prefer the beautiful modest simplicity that is being a man of peace. What about you?

This question is the exact reason why philosophy as practiced is so ridiculous. This kind of question is something that would never enter my mind. The kind of questions a person asks in this vein are generally indicative of a traumatised or a narcissist.

What is even worse is a lot of the replies to this thread!
People are that jammed full of absurd logic that they say they would do it!!!!!!
The concept "greater good" has been misused by evil people for time. Ditto,utilitarianism.

In examining these threads it's clear that philosophy really does boil down to psychology. And it's clear many peoples moral compass is severely messed up.

A thread that really drives home the phrase "educated idiots".
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Sculptor1
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Protagoras wrote: July 18th, 2021, 5:04 pm
Scott wrote: May 5th, 2021, 5:14 pm Assume that you could cure cancer, thereby saving many innocent lives, but to do so you had to murder an innocent child with your bare hands against the child's will while the child begs to live.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's define the word 'murder' to simply mean intentional non-consensual non-defensive killing of another human being. Under that definition, even legal killing can be murder. (Under other primarily statist definitions, murder is defined in part by illegality, such that the Nazi government didn't murder any Jews since those vicious killings were legal, which is not how I would use the word.)

Imagine for whatever reason that it would be legal for you to murder the child or to not murder the child, and thus you do not need to worry about legal or other repercussions such as someone trying to kill you in revenge, regardless of what you choose.

In this hypothetical, essentially, the only thing that might stop you from murdering an innocent child with your bare hands is your human kindness, compassion, sympathy, and/or personal code of conduct (and/or your moral or religious beliefs if you have any).

Ex hypothesi, the utilitarian thing to do is to murder the child with your bare hands. If you are a utilitarian, and not a hypocrite, then it seems the answer is simple: You would murder the child with your bare hands while the child begs to live.

However, if, like me, you are not a utilitarian, then your answer is likely different.

So would you murder the child?

More simply, would you murder one innocent child with your bare hands to save multiple other innocent people?

My answer is clarified in detail in my topic, Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man. But the short version is this: I strictly choose to not engage in non-defensive non-consensual violence against my fellow human being, such as murder, rape, or slavery. Thus, I would not murder the child.

It's so simple for me, actually. No moral dilemma at all. No anxiety. No complex math. No shoulds. No oughts. No try. In that way, it's so easy to have inner peace. As long as I'm not murdering someone or such, I have inner peace. I could spot an asteroid flying towards the Earth about to kill us all with no hope of rescue for us, but as long as I know I am playing my cards the best I can (according to my simple easy-to-follow self-chosen rules such as no murdering), then I have inner peace. It's so simple, so easy, and so enjoyable to live like this. :)

I imagine for one who is willing to commit murder, it must be such an anxiety-ridden way to live--to entrust oneself with such a violent domineering responsibility, especially considering how humans like us can rarely even stick to a simple food diet. If you cannot trust yourself not to eat a cupcake, imagine trusting yourself with the power to murder. Yikes, sounds like an unpleasant way to live to me, but to each his own, I suppose. You would have to constantly worry about who to murder and not murder, and then you have to go tire yourself out murdering people, and then you have to wash the blood off your hands. To me, violent utilitarianism sounds so needlessly spiritually exhausting and worry-ridden. I don't know how one could maintain their inner peace while even partly implementing such an exhaustingly violent philosophy. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose.

I prefer the beautiful modest simplicity that is being a man of peace. What about you?

This question is the exact reason why philosophy as practiced is so ridiculous. This kind of question is something that would never enter my mind. The kind of questions a person asks in this vein are generally indicative of a traumatised or a narcissist.

What is even worse is a lot of the replies to this thread!
People are that jammed full of absurd logic that they say they would do it!!!!!!
The concept "greater good" has been misused by evil people for time. Ditto,utilitarianism.

In examining these threads it's clear that philosophy really does boil down to psychology. And it's clear many peoples moral compass is severely messed up.

A thread that really drives home the phrase "educated idiots".
Would you ever invent a ficticous and absurd hypotheical scenario as some sort of inflammatory click bait, I wonder?
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LuckyR
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by LuckyR »

Sculptor1 wrote: July 19th, 2021, 4:37 am
Protagoras wrote: July 18th, 2021, 5:04 pm
Scott wrote: May 5th, 2021, 5:14 pm Assume that you could cure cancer, thereby saving many innocent lives, but to do so you had to murder an innocent child with your bare hands against the child's will while the child begs to live.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's define the word 'murder' to simply mean intentional non-consensual non-defensive killing of another human being. Under that definition, even legal killing can be murder. (Under other primarily statist definitions, murder is defined in part by illegality, such that the Nazi government didn't murder any Jews since those vicious killings were legal, which is not how I would use the word.)

Imagine for whatever reason that it would be legal for you to murder the child or to not murder the child, and thus you do not need to worry about legal or other repercussions such as someone trying to kill you in revenge, regardless of what you choose.

In this hypothetical, essentially, the only thing that might stop you from murdering an innocent child with your bare hands is your human kindness, compassion, sympathy, and/or personal code of conduct (and/or your moral or religious beliefs if you have any).

Ex hypothesi, the utilitarian thing to do is to murder the child with your bare hands. If you are a utilitarian, and not a hypocrite, then it seems the answer is simple: You would murder the child with your bare hands while the child begs to live.

However, if, like me, you are not a utilitarian, then your answer is likely different.

So would you murder the child?

More simply, would you murder one innocent child with your bare hands to save multiple other innocent people?

My answer is clarified in detail in my topic, Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man. But the short version is this: I strictly choose to not engage in non-defensive non-consensual violence against my fellow human being, such as murder, rape, or slavery. Thus, I would not murder the child.

It's so simple for me, actually. No moral dilemma at all. No anxiety. No complex math. No shoulds. No oughts. No try. In that way, it's so easy to have inner peace. As long as I'm not murdering someone or such, I have inner peace. I could spot an asteroid flying towards the Earth about to kill us all with no hope of rescue for us, but as long as I know I am playing my cards the best I can (according to my simple easy-to-follow self-chosen rules such as no murdering), then I have inner peace. It's so simple, so easy, and so enjoyable to live like this. :)

I imagine for one who is willing to commit murder, it must be such an anxiety-ridden way to live--to entrust oneself with such a violent domineering responsibility, especially considering how humans like us can rarely even stick to a simple food diet. If you cannot trust yourself not to eat a cupcake, imagine trusting yourself with the power to murder. Yikes, sounds like an unpleasant way to live to me, but to each his own, I suppose. You would have to constantly worry about who to murder and not murder, and then you have to go tire yourself out murdering people, and then you have to wash the blood off your hands. To me, violent utilitarianism sounds so needlessly spiritually exhausting and worry-ridden. I don't know how one could maintain their inner peace while even partly implementing such an exhaustingly violent philosophy. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose.

I prefer the beautiful modest simplicity that is being a man of peace. What about you?

This question is the exact reason why philosophy as practiced is so ridiculous. This kind of question is something that would never enter my mind. The kind of questions a person asks in this vein are generally indicative of a traumatised or a narcissist.

What is even worse is a lot of the replies to this thread!
People are that jammed full of absurd logic that they say they would do it!!!!!!
The concept "greater good" has been misused by evil people for time. Ditto,utilitarianism.

In examining these threads it's clear that philosophy really does boil down to psychology. And it's clear many peoples moral compass is severely messed up.

A thread that really drives home the phrase "educated idiots".
Would you ever invent a ficticous and absurd hypotheical scenario as some sort of inflammatory click bait, I wonder?
Haven't you heard? Everyone is an idiot (except me of course, and maybe you).
"As usual... it depends."
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Sculptor1
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Sculptor1 »

LuckyR wrote: July 22nd, 2021, 1:39 am
Sculptor1 wrote: July 19th, 2021, 4:37 am
Protagoras wrote: July 18th, 2021, 5:04 pm
Scott wrote: May 5th, 2021, 5:14 pm Assume that you could cure cancer, thereby saving many innocent lives, but to do so you had to murder an innocent child with your bare hands against the child's will while the child begs to live.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's define the word 'murder' to simply mean intentional non-consensual non-defensive killing of another human being. Under that definition, even legal killing can be murder. (Under other primarily statist definitions, murder is defined in part by illegality, such that the Nazi government didn't murder any Jews since those vicious killings were legal, which is not how I would use the word.)

Imagine for whatever reason that it would be legal for you to murder the child or to not murder the child, and thus you do not need to worry about legal or other repercussions such as someone trying to kill you in revenge, regardless of what you choose.

In this hypothetical, essentially, the only thing that might stop you from murdering an innocent child with your bare hands is your human kindness, compassion, sympathy, and/or personal code of conduct (and/or your moral or religious beliefs if you have any).

Ex hypothesi, the utilitarian thing to do is to murder the child with your bare hands. If you are a utilitarian, and not a hypocrite, then it seems the answer is simple: You would murder the child with your bare hands while the child begs to live.

However, if, like me, you are not a utilitarian, then your answer is likely different.

So would you murder the child?

More simply, would you murder one innocent child with your bare hands to save multiple other innocent people?

My answer is clarified in detail in my topic, Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man. But the short version is this: I strictly choose to not engage in non-defensive non-consensual violence against my fellow human being, such as murder, rape, or slavery. Thus, I would not murder the child.

It's so simple for me, actually. No moral dilemma at all. No anxiety. No complex math. No shoulds. No oughts. No try. In that way, it's so easy to have inner peace. As long as I'm not murdering someone or such, I have inner peace. I could spot an asteroid flying towards the Earth about to kill us all with no hope of rescue for us, but as long as I know I am playing my cards the best I can (according to my simple easy-to-follow self-chosen rules such as no murdering), then I have inner peace. It's so simple, so easy, and so enjoyable to live like this. :)

I imagine for one who is willing to commit murder, it must be such an anxiety-ridden way to live--to entrust oneself with such a violent domineering responsibility, especially considering how humans like us can rarely even stick to a simple food diet. If you cannot trust yourself not to eat a cupcake, imagine trusting yourself with the power to murder. Yikes, sounds like an unpleasant way to live to me, but to each his own, I suppose. You would have to constantly worry about who to murder and not murder, and then you have to go tire yourself out murdering people, and then you have to wash the blood off your hands. To me, violent utilitarianism sounds so needlessly spiritually exhausting and worry-ridden. I don't know how one could maintain their inner peace while even partly implementing such an exhaustingly violent philosophy. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose.

I prefer the beautiful modest simplicity that is being a man of peace. What about you?

This question is the exact reason why philosophy as practiced is so ridiculous. This kind of question is something that would never enter my mind. The kind of questions a person asks in this vein are generally indicative of a traumatised or a narcissist.

What is even worse is a lot of the replies to this thread!
People are that jammed full of absurd logic that they say they would do it!!!!!!
The concept "greater good" has been misused by evil people for time. Ditto,utilitarianism.

In examining these threads it's clear that philosophy really does boil down to psychology. And it's clear many peoples moral compass is severely messed up.

A thread that really drives home the phrase "educated idiots".
Would you ever invent a ficticous and absurd hypotheical scenario as some sort of inflammatory click bait, I wonder?
Haven't you heard? Everyone is an idiot (except me of course, and maybe you).
People keep saying that, but I feel the need to wonder that it might not actually be the case :D
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Papus79
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Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Papus79 »

To put a positive spin on this perhaps - more than half of the work is figuring out in what way a starting premise or question might be broken, which is probably more often the issue in any of these threads than setting ground rules for how to pursue or chase a structurally sound premise.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
Neil Wallace
Posts: 31
Joined: December 15th, 2020, 5:03 pm

Re: Would you murder an innocent child with your bare hands to cure cancer?

Post by Neil Wallace »

Scott wrote: May 5th, 2021, 5:14 pm Assume that you could cure cancer, thereby saving many innocent lives, but to do so you had to murder an innocent child with your bare hands against the child's will while the child begs to live.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's define the word 'murder' to simply mean intentional non-consensual non-defensive killing of another human being. Under that definition, even legal killing can be murder. (Under other primarily statist definitions, murder is defined in part by illegality, such that the Nazi government didn't murder any Jews since those vicious killings were legal, which is not how I would use the word.)

Imagine for whatever reason that it would be legal for you to murder the child or to not murder the child, and thus you do not need to worry about legal or other repercussions such as someone trying to kill you in revenge, regardless of what you choose.

In this hypothetical, essentially, the only thing that might stop you from murdering an innocent child with your bare hands is your human kindness, compassion, sympathy, and/or personal code of conduct (and/or your moral or religious beliefs if you have any).

Ex hypothesi, the utilitarian thing to do is to murder the child with your bare hands. If you are a utilitarian, and not a hypocrite, then it seems the answer is simple: You would murder the child with your bare hands while the child begs to live.

However, if, like me, you are not a utilitarian, then your answer is likely different.

So would you murder the child?

More simply, would you murder one innocent child with your bare hands to save multiple other innocent people?

My answer is clarified in detail in my topic, Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man. But the short version is this: I strictly choose to not engage in non-defensive non-consensual violence against my fellow human being, such as murder, rape, or slavery. Thus, I would not murder the child.

It's so simple for me, actually. No moral dilemma at all. No anxiety. No complex math. No shoulds. No oughts. No try. In that way, it's so easy to have inner peace. As long as I'm not murdering someone or such, I have inner peace. I could spot an asteroid flying towards the Earth about to kill us all with no hope of rescue for us, but as long as I know I am playing my cards the best I can (according to my simple easy-to-follow self-chosen rules such as no murdering), then I have inner peace. It's so simple, so easy, and so enjoyable to live like this. :)

I imagine for one who is willing to commit murder, it must be such an anxiety-ridden way to live--to entrust oneself with such a violent domineering responsibility, especially considering how humans like us can rarely even stick to a simple food diet. If you cannot trust yourself not to eat a cupcake, imagine trusting yourself with the power to murder. Yikes, sounds like an unpleasant way to live to me, but to each his own, I suppose. You would have to constantly worry about who to murder and not murder, and then you have to go tire yourself out murdering people, and then you have to wash the blood off your hands. To me, violent utilitarianism sounds so needlessly spiritually exhausting and worry-ridden. I don't know how one could maintain their inner peace while even partly implementing such an exhaustingly violent philosophy. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose.

I prefer the beautiful modest simplicity that is being a man of peace. What about you?
The problem with the dilemna is that it lacks a causal probability to apply any kind of calculus to. There is no indication why murdering a child would cure cancer.
Hence you could say "Would you crush a grape to avoid a supernova"

A better formulation is the classic "would you push someone over railway bridge to stop a train about to crash into some unseen boulders in the tunnel"
There is a causal connection "The driver would see the falling body, and slam on the brakes before hitting the unseen boulder and hence potentially save the lives of the many over the few." Then you could begin to try and apply a morality calculus.

In my opinion the anthropomorphic morality calculus is simply a heuristic that evolved out of the African Plains. It is a course of actions that "generally speaking" lead to the preservation of the species. The morality calculus starts to break down when applied to outlier situations, such as situations mentioned. With an ever complex civilisation there may be situations to which our existing morality laws simply are not up to the task.

The morality rules as I see it tend towards preservation of the species and minimising of suffering with some additional emotional and cognitive blurriness that is used to tailor the heuristic to an ever changing evolving situation.
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