Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

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Do you want non-defensive, intentional killing of born, brain-alive humans to always be prohibited?

Yes, I want it to always be prohibited.
13
35%
No, I have exceptions. (Please explain.)
24
65%
 
Total votes: 37

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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by Scott »

LuckyR wrote: February 20th, 2021, 5:35 pm If you had Huntington's chorea and were starting to have symptoms at age 40 and your 20 year old daughter needed a heart transplant, would you donate your heart?
My daughter is 22 years younger than me, and I would gladly donate my heart to her if she would die if I didn't.
LuckyR wrote: February 20th, 2021, 5:35 pm Would the transplant surgeon behave immorally in your estimation ?
I don't understand the question. What do you mean by "immorally"?

@LuckyR, you may have answered the questions earlier in the topic, in which case please point me to those answers; otherwise if you don't mind please do answer the 6 sets of questions from the OP:
Scott wrote: April 14th, 2012, 5:46 pm 1. Do you support state-sponsored non-defensive, intentional killing for revenge? Always, sometimes or never? Do you support it only if it is an eye-for-an-eye, or would you possibly support it even if the one being non-defensively, intentionally killed hadn't non-defensively, intentionally killed anyone (e.g. the state-sponsored executions of people for the crimes of adultery or witchcraft)?

2. Do you support non-defensive, intentional killing for revenge when it is not state-sponsored? Always, sometimes or never? Do you support it only if it is an eye-for-an-eye, or would you possibly support it even if the one being non-defensively, intentionally killed hadn't non-defensively, intentionally killed anyone?

3. Do you support state-sponsored utilitarian non-defensive, intentional killing? Always, sometimes or never? If sometimes, under what conditions? If the death penalty deters more non-defensive, intentional killing than incarceration, would you support it?

4. Do you support utilitarian non-defensive, intentional killing that is not state-sponsored? Always, sometimes or never? If sometimes, under what conditions? What about the raft example? What about the cannibalism example? What if it deters non-defensive, intentional killing if civilians or other non-government groups non-defensively intentionally kill anyone who non-defensively, intentionally kills for other reasons?

5. Do you support state-sponsored non-defensive, intentional killing for nationalism or one's loved ones? Always, sometimes or never? If only sometimes, under what conditions? Would you support your government/race/religion non-defensively, intentionally killing civilians from another country/race/religion as terrorism if it would save the lives of some people from your country/race/religion even if the number saved from your country/race/religion was less than the number non-defensively, intentionally killed from their country/race/religion? Consider when the USA dropped nuclear bombs on Japanese cities filled with civilians; how do you feel about actions like that?

6. Do you support non-defensive, intentional killing for nationalism or one's loved ones that is not state-sponsored? Always, sometimes, never? If sometimes, under what conditions? What about the example of a father who non-defensively, intentionally kills a stranger to use the strangers organs as transplants to save his daughter's life?


My answer to all 6 questions is never. Frankly, I think non-defensive, intentional killing is a disgusting, barbaric practice that is most effectively dealt with using a zero tolerance policy and I see no convincing reason to make any exceptions for these few excuses.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by LuckyR »

Well since your surgeon would be killing you and the state grants him his medical license, you agree with state sponsored nondefensive killing.

Any surgeon willing to do the surgery would not be violating his personal moral code, thus would not be acting immorally from his perspective (others would naturally disagree some of the time).

As to the questions:

1. I have no moral problem with the death penalty in concept. Unfortunately since it is not practiced equitably I cannot support it in practice and am thus anti death penalty.

2. As I made clear in the Vengeance thread, I do support private retribution but only in cases where the state has no jurisdiction. As you know the justice system has jurisdiction in the area of crime, so I cannot see a situation for revenge killing as being the correct option in the west, with it's robust justice systems.

3. See number 1, though I support physician assisted suicide and the example I used in the previous post, just as you do.

4. I am open to the concept, though the only example I can think of is euthanasia.

5. I accept a certain amount of collateral damage of civilians in a wartime situation, but I do not support intentionally targeting civilians, a la Dresden or Hiroshima.

6. See number 2
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by Steve3007 »

Scott wrote:In this topic, I seek not to discuss situations in which the killer genuinely believes they are defensively killing or in which the killing is otherwise alleged to be defensive.

Rather, in this topic, I seek only to discuss situations in which the killer is intentionally committing non-defensive killing of another human against the other human's will, and even then only in cases where the other human is already born and brain-alive.
Yes, I appreciate that the topic is about intentional non-defensive killing. I mentioned defensive killing because I thought that the issue of defining non-defensive killing is essentially the same as that of defining defensive killing. i.e. if you define one you've defined the other. If you can't easily identify one then you can't can't easily identify the other. But I guess if we're specifically talking about intentional non-defensive killing, then the fact that it's intentional might make it certain to be non-defensive, because the killer declares "I am not claiming to be acting in self-defence here. I am happy to admit that I am not killing in self-defence.". Is that what you had in mind?
By comparison to the topics you mention, this topic is much more philosophically simple. Thanks to that relative philosophical simplicity, I and about 35% of the poll respondents can say resolutely that we always oppose such non-defensive intentional killing of born brain-alive humans. Perhaps more importantly, those ~35% of respondents and I can therefore presumably each make a personal commitment to ourselves to not engage in such intentional non-defensive killing of our fellow human being, a sort of self-chosen diet of behavior much like one might commit to a food diet.

For those who make exceptions and do support and/or who would wilfully and intentionally commit non-defensive killing of other humans, I would love to learn more about what those exceptions that they make are exactly, why they make those exceptions, and if that reasoning is consistent and logical (i.e. doesn't involve contradictions).
I would love to learn that too. I would be very surprised if people who fully understand the question would say that they support intentional non-defensive killing of people who don't want to be killed. As I've said, I think the vast majority of people who non-defensively kill claim that it is in some way defensive.
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by Steve3007 »

I can't edit the above, but if I could, for clarity, I'd remove the "self-" so it's clear that I realize we're discussing non-defensive generally and not specifically non-self-defensive.
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by Steve3007 »

I think the fact that we're talking about non-defensive killing and not non-self-defensive killing has a bearing on comments like this:
Terrapin Station wrote:Aside from that, I'm sure there are other situations where I'm not against intentional non-defensive killing. It would be difficult to list them all. And they'd include things like the classic moral dilemmas a la needing to kill one person to save a million, etc. (Although I suppose that could be framed as "defensive," but it's not the traditional sense of self-defense.)
I think other posters have also mentioned "kill a few to save many" type situations. For example, earlier in the topic someone mentioned the justifications given for the Hiroshima bombing. But I think all "kill a few to save many", or more generally "kill some to save some" type justifications are essentially defensive justifications. So I wouldn't count them as intentional non-defensive killing.
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by Scott »

Steve3007 wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 6:01 am
Scott wrote:In this topic, I seek not to discuss situations in which the killer genuinely believes they are defensively killing or in which the killing is otherwise alleged to be defensive.

Rather, in this topic, I seek only to discuss situations in which the killer is intentionally committing non-defensive killing of another human against the other human's will, and even then only in cases where the other human is already born and brain-alive.
Yes, I appreciate that the topic is about intentional non-defensive killing. I mentioned defensive killing because I thought that the issue of defining non-defensive killing is essentially the same as that of defining defensive killing. i.e. if you define one you've defined the other. If you can't easily identify one then you can't can't easily identify the other. But I guess if we're specifically talking about intentional non-defensive killing, then the fact that it's intentional might make it certain to be non-defensive, because the killer declares "I am not claiming to be acting in self-defence here. I am happy to admit that I am not killing in self-defence.". Is that what you had in mind?
Yes.
LuckyR wrote: February 21st, 2021, 3:54 am Well since your surgeon would be killing you and the state grants him his medical license, you agree with state sponsored nondefensive killing.
I understand your point. I did not properly clarify in the OP that in addition to the qualifiers of intentionalness and non-defensiveness, I also mean to isolate the killing to situations where the killing is non-consensual. In other words, assisted suicide is not included in what I mean by "intentional non-defensive killing".

This, anywhere where I have written "intentional non-defensive killing" please interpret the words as actually meaning "intentional non-defensive non-consensual killing".
LuckyR wrote: February 21st, 2021, 3:54 am 1. I have no moral problem with the death penalty in concept. Unfortunately since it is not practiced equitably I cannot support it in practice and am thus anti death penalty.

2. As I made clear in the Vengeance thread, I do support private retribution but only in cases where the state has no jurisdiction. As you know the justice system has jurisdiction in the area of crime, so I cannot see a situation for revenge killing as being the correct option in the west, with it's robust justice systems.

3. See number 1, though I support physician assisted suicide and the example I used in the previous post, just as you do.

4. I am open to the concept, though the only example I can think of is euthanasia.

5. I accept a certain amount of collateral damage of civilians in a wartime situation, but I do not support intentionally targeting civilians, a la Dresden or Hiroshima.

6. See number 2
To summarize, it seems that your answer to all six questions is 'sometimes', meaning that, in various circumstances, you would be willing to support all 6 types of intentional non-defensive [non-consensual] killing. Is that correct a summary of your answer?
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 4:03 pm
Steve3007 wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 6:01 am
Scott wrote:In this topic, I seek not to discuss situations in which the killer genuinely believes they are defensively killing or in which the killing is otherwise alleged to be defensive.

Rather, in this topic, I seek only to discuss situations in which the killer is intentionally committing non-defensive killing of another human against the other human's will, and even then only in cases where the other human is already born and brain-alive.
Yes, I appreciate that the topic is about intentional non-defensive killing. I mentioned defensive killing because I thought that the issue of defining non-defensive killing is essentially the same as that of defining defensive killing. i.e. if you define one you've defined the other. If you can't easily identify one then you can't can't easily identify the other. But I guess if we're specifically talking about intentional non-defensive killing, then the fact that it's intentional might make it certain to be non-defensive, because the killer declares "I am not claiming to be acting in self-defence here. I am happy to admit that I am not killing in self-defence.". Is that what you had in mind?
Yes.
LuckyR wrote: February 21st, 2021, 3:54 am Well since your surgeon would be killing you and the state grants him his medical license, you agree with state sponsored nondefensive killing.
I understand your point. I did not properly clarify in the OP that in addition to the qualifiers of intentionalness and non-defensiveness, I also mean to isolate the killing to situations where the killing is non-consensual. In other words, assisted suicide is not included in what I mean by "intentional non-defensive killing".

This, anywhere where I have written "intentional non-defensive killing" please interpret the words as actually meaning "intentional non-defensive non-consensual killing".
LuckyR wrote: February 21st, 2021, 3:54 am 1. I have no moral problem with the death penalty in concept. Unfortunately since it is not practiced equitably I cannot support it in practice and am thus anti death penalty.

2. As I made clear in the Vengeance thread, I do support private retribution but only in cases where the state has no jurisdiction. As you know the justice system has jurisdiction in the area of crime, so I cannot see a situation for revenge killing as being the correct option in the west, with it's robust justice systems.

3. See number 1, though I support physician assisted suicide and the example I used in the previous post, just as you do.

4. I am open to the concept, though the only example I can think of is euthanasia.

5. I accept a certain amount of collateral damage of civilians in a wartime situation, but I do not support intentionally targeting civilians, a la Dresden or Hiroshima.

6. See number 2
To summarize, it seems that your answer to all six questions is 'sometimes', meaning that, in various circumstances, you would be willing to support all 6 types of intentional non-defensive [non-consensual] killing. Is that correct a summary of your answer?
Ah so, I accept your moving of the goalposts to more accurately describe what you're after.

Because of this, neither of us support 3 nor 4. Theoretically I could support 1 and/or 2 in situations that essentially no one has seen. 5 is unchanged but my read of my own comments is that I do not support wartime targeting of civilians. I do not see a distinction between 6 and 2.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by Scott »

Scott wrote:I understand your point. I did not properly clarify in the OP that in addition to the qualifiers of intentionalness and non-defensiveness, I also mean to isolate the killing to situations where the killing is non-consensual. In other words, assisted suicide is not included in what I mean by "intentional non-defensive killing".

Thus, anywhere where I have written "intentional non-defensive killing" please interpret the words as actually meaning "intentional non-defensive non-consensual killing".
LuckyR wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 7:48 pm Ah so, I accept your moving of the goalposts to more accurately describe what you're after.
Thank you for your understanding, and thank you for wisely pointing out the case of assisted suicide (i.e. consensual killing), which reflects an oversight on my part. Depending on the other specifics of the situation, I can and do support suicide, assisted or otherwise. In fact, my desktop background is an image of the
LuckyR wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 7:48 pm Because of this, neither of us support 3 nor 4. Theoretically I could support 1 and/or 2 in situations that essentially no one has seen. 5 is unchanged but my read of my own comments is that I do not support wartime targeting of civilians. I do not see a distinction between 6 and 2.
In some sense, to me, there is no very meaningful difference between the six cases, at least not that would rationally affect one's choice to support killing.

With that said, the six questions are based on 4 variables that seem to affect some other people's willingness to tolerate killing. The first three of the four variable are:

- revenge (nobody is saved)

- utilitarianism (the total number saved is more than the number killed)

- nationalism, nepotism or other biased preferentialism (the number saved is merely equal to or less than the number killed)


#2 deals with situations where the killing is done for revenge, presumably as part of some kind of two-wrongs-make-a-right or eye-for-an-eye maxim, which make no sense to me at all. The killing is not a mean to an end (e.g. saving lives), but is the end. It may be comparable or analogous to a person eating simply because they have a primitive urge to eat, even if means overeating to morbid obesity and death. However, one who actually supports killing (or other similar non-defensive violence) for such a reason may be able to explain it differently, and I would be very interested in that explanation.

#6 deals with situations that are in some ways similar to utilitarianism, because the end goal is to save some people, but it lacks the the fundamental equality of humanity that underlies utilitarianism; so like a perverted utilitarianism for racists, nationalists, or nepotists. An example of number 6 would be a loving father who out of love for his daughter brutally kills two innocent children to harvest their organs to save his daughter, thus killing two to save one. He may do a DNA test on the two victims before slaughtering them to ensure they aren't also his daughters. Another example would be a racist who brutally kills two innocent people to harvest the organs to save one person from his own race because he values the lives of people with his same skin tone as being worth more than double lives of others who have a sufficiently different skin tone.

Where #2 may be represented by a primitive two-wrongs-make-a-right instinct, #6 may in contrast be represented by the primitive instincts of the common us-versus-them mentality that dehumanizes an out-group in favor of an in-group. Both of those may parallel the way that primitive urge of hunger can be associated with eating, including eating to the point of morbid obesity and death. Another parallel would be the behavior of not doing something because it is scary or causes a feeling of fear.

Needless to say, as philosophy-inclined folk, we realize reason is not a slave to such feelings and primitive urges. The choice to eat is very different than the feeling of hunger. As philosophers, we can assess the actual rationality of any rationalizations given by a hungry person trying to explain why they are choosing to eat, particularly to the degree those rationalizations go beyond non-transcendental identification with the bodily urges, such as someone who might say, "I am not brave at all; I simply don't do something if it is scary", "I have no interest in self-discipline, so I eat whenever I am hungry even if it makes me morbidly obese and will soon kill me," or "I am a total slave to my bodily urges, so when I have the urge to kill someone I do it--no other reasons or rationality needed."
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 10:08 pm
Scott wrote:I understand your point. I did not properly clarify in the OP that in addition to the qualifiers of intentionalness and non-defensiveness, I also mean to isolate the killing to situations where the killing is non-consensual. In other words, assisted suicide is not included in what I mean by "intentional non-defensive killing".

Thus, anywhere where I have written "intentional non-defensive killing" please interpret the words as actually meaning "intentional non-defensive non-consensual killing".
LuckyR wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 7:48 pm Ah so, I accept your moving of the goalposts to more accurately describe what you're after.
Thank you for your understanding, and thank you for wisely pointing out the case of assisted suicide (i.e. consensual killing), which reflects an oversight on my part. Depending on the other specifics of the situation, I can and do support suicide, assisted or otherwise. In fact, my desktop background is an image of the
LuckyR wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 7:48 pm Because of this, neither of us support 3 nor 4. Theoretically I could support 1 and/or 2 in situations that essentially no one has seen. 5 is unchanged but my read of my own comments is that I do not support wartime targeting of civilians. I do not see a distinction between 6 and 2.
In some sense, to me, there is no very meaningful difference between the six cases, at least not that would rationally affect one's choice to support killing.

With that said, the six questions are based on 4 variables that seem to affect some other people's willingness to tolerate killing. The first three of the four variable are:

- revenge (nobody is saved)

- utilitarianism (the total number saved is more than the number killed)

- nationalism, nepotism or other biased preferentialism (the number saved is merely equal to or less than the number killed)


#2 deals with situations where the killing is done for revenge, presumably as part of some kind of two-wrongs-make-a-right or eye-for-an-eye maxim, which make no sense to me at all. The killing is not a mean to an end (e.g. saving lives), but is the end. It may be comparable or analogous to a person eating simply because they have a primitive urge to eat, even if means overeating to morbid obesity and death. However, one who actually supports killing (or other similar non-defensive violence) for such a reason may be able to explain it differently, and I would be very interested in that explanation.

#6 deals with situations that are in some ways similar to utilitarianism, because the end goal is to save some people, but it lacks the the fundamental equality of humanity that underlies utilitarianism; so like a perverted utilitarianism for racists, nationalists, or nepotists. An example of number 6 would be a loving father who out of love for his daughter brutally kills two innocent children to harvest their organs to save his daughter, thus killing two to save one. He may do a DNA test on the two victims before slaughtering them to ensure they aren't also his daughters. Another example would be a racist who brutally kills two innocent people to harvest the organs to save one person from his own race because he values the lives of people with his same skin tone as being worth more than double lives of others who have a sufficiently different skin tone.

Where #2 may be represented by a primitive two-wrongs-make-a-right instinct, #6 may in contrast be represented by the primitive instincts of the common us-versus-them mentality that dehumanizes an out-group in favor of an in-group. Both of those may parallel the way that primitive urge of hunger can be associated with eating, including eating to the point of morbid obesity and death. Another parallel would be the behavior of not doing something because it is scary or causes a feeling of fear.

Needless to say, as philosophy-inclined folk, we realize reason is not a slave to such feelings and primitive urges. The choice to eat is very different than the feeling of hunger. As philosophers, we can assess the actual rationality of any rationalizations given by a hungry person trying to explain why they are choosing to eat, particularly to the degree those rationalizations go beyond non-transcendental identification with the bodily urges, such as someone who might say, "I am not brave at all; I simply don't do something if it is scary", "I have no interest in self-discipline, so I eat whenever I am hungry even if it makes me morbidly obese and will soon kill me," or "I am a total slave to my bodily urges, so when I have the urge to kill someone I do it--no other reasons or rationality needed."
To me the six can be boiled down to three: death penalty (state sponsored), revenge killing, and wartime targeting of civilians, the rest are murder, which doesn't need a category IMO since that is universally condemned. The three can be debated with intelligent arguments on either side.

For me, I absolutely don't have a problem with the death penalty in theory, however after even a cursory reflection on it, it is incorrect in two ways. Firstly, for the more heinous crimes it is too lenient and secondly the US justice system is too unequally and incorrectly applied, and death cannot be reversed. The US accounts for the vast majority of death penalty cases in the west.

Revenge killing is a little bit different in the sense that it is universally illegal yet could be morally acceptable IMO. True, the circumstances to pass muster would have to be unusual almost to the point of fiction, but possible.

Wartime targeting of civilians is frowned upon in general and often illegal. I have no tolerance of it personally, since it carries no strategic nor tactical advantage on the battlefield.

In the first two you seem to see a bright line between punishment (acceptable) and punishment to the point of death (never acceptable). This difference is, of course just a matter of degree, not concept. Thus why I don't share your categorical ban, since it isn't a separate category.
"As usual... it depends."
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