The January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month is Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger.

Murder without guilt

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Sushan
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Re: Murder without guilt

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Mounce574 wrote: January 21st, 2023, 7:39 am I didn't feel guilt for those that I may have killed overseas because they were intending to kill me. As for taking a life, unless I am threatened, I would rather avoid the confrontation.
I assume that you are talking about killings in the war. Please correct me if I am wrong. In that case, yes, you have to defend yourself. But the initial choice to be in the battlefield and confront the enemy was yours. The enemy may had no intentions to kill you when you were at your home. But when you are at his territory, then it is whether the enemy or you. Both parties have the same choice, either to kill or be killed. In such a situation choosing to kill the other one will neither make you bad or good. But if you could have avoided the initial presence in the battle filed, then the situation would never have occurred.
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Re: Murder without guilt

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Good_Egg wrote: January 21st, 2023, 10:20 am I remember reading a (fictional) story about the mysterious case of a number of condemned prisoners who dropped dead as they were being marched out to the electric chair or the firing squad.

The culprit turned out to be a mad scientist character testing a new death ray.

Who had in effect reasoned that this was the minimum-guilt way of doing it...
Well, since they were already on the death raw, some might argue that it is okay to take their lives in any way. But the scientist had no ethical, moral, or legal right to do what he did. Maybe he was harbouring a greater thought and he was free of any guilt after completing his action. Someday he might be a Nobel Prize winner as well. Still, even in fiction, this has been a less guilt way but not a 'guilt-free' way.
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Re: Murder without guilt

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Alastair1980 wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:35 pm I think there is a difference between what someone, or many people, have come to expect as the psychological consequence of an action and what the 'correct' consequence should be. There doesn't seem to be any reason to believe that a person should feel guilt after having killing another besides our preference that they do so; alongside this, it's likely that murder would be far easier for a person incapable of feeling guilt (or similar emotions) and so in many instances it would be wrong for us to expect guilt.

Put simply, when anyone says that they believe a murderer 'should' feel guilty, this can only be taken to mean that they believe guilt to be the appropriate response; however, they have no grounds to suppose that it is in any way 'correct'.
If we look at this in another perspective, I think many of us had had moments of overwhelming anger that went up to a point to create thoughts in our head to kill the one who is the cause for all our trouble at the moment. But none of us (I suppose :wink: ) had committed any murder so far because we had so many factors to avoid us from doing anything so. Rational thinking and the feeling of guilt may have played a big role in that situation. And I think that was the appropriate feeling at that time and the correct one as well.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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Re: Murder without guilt

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Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:11 am I do not think murder is morally permissible, and therefore must carry the appropriate burden of guilt - and it is a heavy burden. You do not kill an individual, but the struggles of their ancestors, to survive, to breed, to bring future generations into the world to give life to the person you deprived of life. You also murder all future generations to whom this person may have given life.
All that said, some people deserve to die. Some people commit acts that are so pitiless, they forego a human right to life. To afford them a human right to life would be to debauch what it is to be human. It is they who killed their ancestors and forebears, it is they who deserve to die.
Sushan wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:47 amThose who are deserve to die (as you mentioned) have to be killed by someone in order to let them have what they deserve. But then the man who gives them what they deserve will simply be a killer, and why would he be any better than the ones who initially deserved death penalty?
Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 1:02 amWe might suppose, perhaps that the death penalty has some deterrent effect; such that the executioner makes a statement about what will not be tolerated, and thereby saves lives even as they take a life.
Sushan wrote: January 23rd, 2023, 3:08 amThe same deterrent effect will be there if I choose to kill a serial killer for the betterment of society. Many will be saved from death. But I will still be a murderer, and even the law enforcement authorities will chase after me. I might feel accomplishment and happiness within me. But that does not make me a good guy. But to the society I might be a hero. Still, I will be a killer and a bad guy. Ultimately the only difference between me and the serial killer will be the number of deaths that are written in front of our names.
You don't seem to grasp the concept of deterrent. It's against the law to commit murder. If those who commit murder are executed, this prevents other people from committing murder because they don't want to be executed themselves. They are deterred by the severity of the potential punishment.

Vigilantes are not a deterrent because they are inconsistent. Society cannot know if a vigilante will avenge a murder in the way they know the law will, at least try to punish murderers. You may take personal satisfaction from killing a serial killer, but it won't deter anyone else. That said, if you could prove the person was a serial killer - and prove that you had to kill them in order to save the lives of other people, that wouldn't be murder. That would be justifiable homicide.
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Re: Murder without guilt

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Mercury wrote: January 23rd, 2023, 5:26 am
Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:11 am I do not think murder is morally permissible, and therefore must carry the appropriate burden of guilt - and it is a heavy burden. You do not kill an individual, but the struggles of their ancestors, to survive, to breed, to bring future generations into the world to give life to the person you deprived of life. You also murder all future generations to whom this person may have given life.
All that said, some people deserve to die. Some people commit acts that are so pitiless, they forego a human right to life. To afford them a human right to life would be to debauch what it is to be human. It is they who killed their ancestors and forebears, it is they who deserve to die.
Sushan wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:47 amThose who are deserve to die (as you mentioned) have to be killed by someone in order to let them have what they deserve. But then the man who gives them what they deserve will simply be a killer, and why would he be any better than the ones who initially deserved death penalty?
Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 1:02 amWe might suppose, perhaps that the death penalty has some deterrent effect; such that the executioner makes a statement about what will not be tolerated, and thereby saves lives even as they take a life.
Sushan wrote: January 23rd, 2023, 3:08 amThe same deterrent effect will be there if I choose to kill a serial killer for the betterment of society. Many will be saved from death. But I will still be a murderer, and even the law enforcement authorities will chase after me. I might feel accomplishment and happiness within me. But that does not make me a good guy. But to the society I might be a hero. Still, I will be a killer and a bad guy. Ultimately the only difference between me and the serial killer will be the number of deaths that are written in front of our names.
You don't seem to grasp the concept of deterrent. It's against the law to commit murder. If those who commit murder are executed, this prevents other people from committing murder because they don't want to be executed themselves. They are deterred by the severity of the potential punishment.

Vigilantes are not a deterrent because they are inconsistent. Society cannot know if a vigilante will avenge a murder in the way they know the law will, at least try to punish murderers. You may take personal satisfaction from killing a serial killer, but it won't deter anyone else. That said, if you could prove the person was a serial killer - and prove that you had to kill them in order to save the lives of other people, that wouldn't be murder. That would be justifiable homicide.
I agree with the second part of your comment. But I am not very sure about the 'deterrent' part. Do we see a significant difference in the number of killings in the countries that practice capital punishment in comparison to the countries that do not practice that? I do not think so. I think the idea of any kind of punishment is this deterrent effect. But when I see the consistent number of crimes, I think either the humans are not learning anything, or the punishments are too light.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Murder without guilt

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Mercury wrote: January 23rd, 2023, 5:26 am
Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:11 am I do not think murder is morally permissible, and therefore must carry the appropriate burden of guilt - and it is a heavy burden. You do not kill an individual, but the struggles of their ancestors, to survive, to breed, to bring future generations into the world to give life to the person you deprived of life. You also murder all future generations to whom this person may have given life.
All that said, some people deserve to die. Some people commit acts that are so pitiless, they forego a human right to life. To afford them a human right to life would be to debauch what it is to be human. It is they who killed their ancestors and forebears, it is they who deserve to die.
Sushan wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:47 amThose who are deserve to die (as you mentioned) have to be killed by someone in order to let them have what they deserve. But then the man who gives them what they deserve will simply be a killer, and why would he be any better than the ones who initially deserved death penalty?
Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 1:02 amWe might suppose, perhaps that the death penalty has some deterrent effect; such that the executioner makes a statement about what will not be tolerated, and thereby saves lives even as they take a life.
Sushan wrote: January 23rd, 2023, 3:08 amThe same deterrent effect will be there if I choose to kill a serial killer for the betterment of society. Many will be saved from death. But I will still be a murderer, and even the law enforcement authorities will chase after me. I might feel accomplishment and happiness within me. But that does not make me a good guy. But to the society I might be a hero. Still, I will be a killer and a bad guy. Ultimately the only difference between me and the serial killer will be the number of deaths that are written in front of our names.
You don't seem to grasp the concept of deterrent. It's against the law to commit murder. If those who commit murder are executed, this prevents other people from committing murder because they don't want to be executed themselves. They are deterred by the severity of the potential punishment.

Vigilantes are not a deterrent because they are inconsistent. Society cannot know if a vigilante will avenge a murder in the way they know the law will, at least try to punish murderers. You may take personal satisfaction from killing a serial killer, but it won't deter anyone else. That said, if you could prove the person was a serial killer - and prove that you had to kill them in order to save the lives of other people, that wouldn't be murder. That would be justifiable homicide.
Sushan wrote: January 25th, 2023, 6:06 amI agree with the second part of your comment. But I am not very sure about the 'deterrent' part. Do we see a significant difference in the number of killings in the countries that practice capital punishment in comparison to the countries that do not practice that? I do not think so. I think the idea of any kind of punishment is this deterrent effect. But when I see the consistent number of crimes, I think either the humans are not learning anything, or the punishments are too light.
I looked it up, and in the US it seems that on the whole states with the death penalty have higher murder rates. It's not completely uniform, i.e. some states that have death penalty have lower murder rates than some that don't, but the overall figure - all states added together, is consistent over time. I'm still not entirely convinced because there's a lot more questions to be asked; not least - which is the cart and which the horse. i.e. do states have the death penalty because of all the people getting murdered - while others, don't have the death penalty because the murder rate is low? I'd need more detailed statistics. But at first glance, there's evidence in support of your argument.
All that said, I still maintain that some people deserve to die. I watched the Darrell Brooks trial, and he was sentenced to over 1000 years in jail. Which is to say, the vast majority of his sentence will not be carried out. Whereas, if he could have been sentenced to death 76 times - he could have served that sentence in each case.
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Re: Murder without guilt

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Mercury wrote: January 25th, 2023, 12:38 pm
Mercury wrote: January 23rd, 2023, 5:26 am
Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:11 am I do not think murder is morally permissible, and therefore must carry the appropriate burden of guilt - and it is a heavy burden. You do not kill an individual, but the struggles of their ancestors, to survive, to breed, to bring future generations into the world to give life to the person you deprived of life. You also murder all future generations to whom this person may have given life.
All that said, some people deserve to die. Some people commit acts that are so pitiless, they forego a human right to life. To afford them a human right to life would be to debauch what it is to be human. It is they who killed their ancestors and forebears, it is they who deserve to die.
Sushan wrote: January 21st, 2023, 12:47 amThose who are deserve to die (as you mentioned) have to be killed by someone in order to let them have what they deserve. But then the man who gives them what they deserve will simply be a killer, and why would he be any better than the ones who initially deserved death penalty?
Mercury wrote: January 21st, 2023, 1:02 amWe might suppose, perhaps that the death penalty has some deterrent effect; such that the executioner makes a statement about what will not be tolerated, and thereby saves lives even as they take a life.
Sushan wrote: January 23rd, 2023, 3:08 amThe same deterrent effect will be there if I choose to kill a serial killer for the betterment of society. Many will be saved from death. But I will still be a murderer, and even the law enforcement authorities will chase after me. I might feel accomplishment and happiness within me. But that does not make me a good guy. But to the society I might be a hero. Still, I will be a killer and a bad guy. Ultimately the only difference between me and the serial killer will be the number of deaths that are written in front of our names.
You don't seem to grasp the concept of deterrent. It's against the law to commit murder. If those who commit murder are executed, this prevents other people from committing murder because they don't want to be executed themselves. They are deterred by the severity of the potential punishment.

Vigilantes are not a deterrent because they are inconsistent. Society cannot know if a vigilante will avenge a murder in the way they know the law will, at least try to punish murderers. You may take personal satisfaction from killing a serial killer, but it won't deter anyone else. That said, if you could prove the person was a serial killer - and prove that you had to kill them in order to save the lives of other people, that wouldn't be murder. That would be justifiable homicide.
Sushan wrote: January 25th, 2023, 6:06 amI agree with the second part of your comment. But I am not very sure about the 'deterrent' part. Do we see a significant difference in the number of killings in the countries that practice capital punishment in comparison to the countries that do not practice that? I do not think so. I think the idea of any kind of punishment is this deterrent effect. But when I see the consistent number of crimes, I think either the humans are not learning anything, or the punishments are too light.
I looked it up, and in the US it seems that on the whole states with the death penalty have higher murder rates. It's not completely uniform, i.e. some states that have death penalty have lower murder rates than some that don't, but the overall figure - all states added together, is consistent over time. I'm still not entirely convinced because there's a lot more questions to be asked; not least - which is the cart and which the horse. i.e. do states have the death penalty because of all the people getting murdered - while others, don't have the death penalty because the murder rate is low? I'd need more detailed statistics. But at first glance, there's evidence in support of your argument.
All that said, I still maintain that some people deserve to die. I watched the Darrell Brooks trial, and he was sentenced to over 1000 years in jail. Which is to say, the vast majority of his sentence will not be carried out. Whereas, if he could have been sentenced to death 76 times - he could have served that sentence in each case.
Thank you for looking at the statistics regarding the matter. I think it is hard to control the human desires and thoughts by just showing either a reward or a punishment, like we do with lab rats.

I think that it might work in this way. If all the death penalties are recorded and shown to the others, if all the court orders are recorded and shown to the others, if corrupted government officials are punished and publicly humiliated, these will open at least some of the blind eyes. I have not heard about the Darrell Brooks Trial until you mentioned it. Then I saw the videos as well. So I too agree that the punishment was inadequate. But I think the criminals who saw this will think twice in the future (at least a better way to get away after committing a crime) before committing a new crime.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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