I know you didn't ask me, but one possibility is that it can cause observers to suffer.
Well, that may very well be true, but if it's his morality, why doesn't he get to create an exception for himself on this one occasion?
Again, under the pretense that he is a pacifist, it violates the virtue he set out for himself.
As it is his morality, it is also his body, etc. etc. Things that are ours are not necessarily changed by our whim. People can change, but not a whim. It takes time. If Mr. B (what an unfortunate name for a pacifist ) has been acting in such a way that a pacifist acts, then he is a pacifist at the time of this action.
Also, I realize that this process could be used to answer ANY ethical question, and so it seems a little cheap. I stepped back to this level of analysis because of how unusual the situation is: If they have agreements with each other, if they choose to act in certain ways, etc., seems more relevant to me than the fact that Mr. G is likely to die anyways -- rather, Mr. G is likely to die anyways, so consequentialism has less sway on my judgment than normal. I then think that the important thing is: What is Mr. B's motivation, and what is the relationship/social agreement between the two?
Let me see if I have this straight. If Mr. B. is a pacifist, and shooting Mr. G. would violate his own morality, you contend that he would act immorally by shooting Mr. G.
And he couldn't create an exception in this instance, because that would violate his morality too. The question, then, is why can't he create an exception to that rule? I suppose you'd answer that he'd be violating his morality by doing that, and he couldn't create an exception to that rule because he'd be violating his morality, and so on ad infinitum. Is that about right?
Well, I think his actions belie the notion that he could have ever been a pacifist, but I understand your general point. Would you, then, contend that consistency is always a virtue, or, more accurately, that virtues should always be consistent? In other words, in a system of virtue ethics, is it always true that someone is morally constrained to hold consistent virtues, or are those virtues allowed to shift over time?
What if they don't have any agreement at all?
Now, was Mr. Bullseye wrong to shoot Mr. Gravity?
even so, a week of life is much longer than the seconds joefromchicago is talking about in his hypothetical""enough so to make the two scenarios incomparable. Plus, it's life that the inmates were valuing, as judged by their choice not to go to Auschwitz voluntarily. Mr. Gravity's life, by contrast, is worthless to him, as judged by his decision to jump. That's a second dimension in which the two cases are incomparable.
The only way in which they're TRULY incomparable is that one is an event en masse, while the other is solitary.
Beyond that, it's totally arbitrary to pick a proximity to death beyond which it's no longer morally wrong to murder.
Aedes wrote:The only way in which they're TRULY incomparable is that one is an event en masse, while the other is solitary.
Although I disagree it's the only important difference, you're right it's the crucial one, and I didn't mention it. Thanks for the correction.
In joefromchicago's scenario, that amount is zero; in yours, it's nonzero. That's not an arbitrary distinction.
It's not arbitrary to say that the value of life depends on the amount of life being valued. In joefromchicago's scenario, that amount is zero;
Second, it is arbitrary to say that the value of life depends on the amount of life, since it means I could then arbitrarily end your life, and automatically your amount of life is zero.
Should we have reduced sentences for people who kill centenarians, since the centenarians have a shorter potential life ahead of them?
joefromchicago wrote:Now, was Mr. Bullseye wrong to shoot Mr. Gravity?
Of the 1.2 million people who died in the Auschwitz gas chambers, surely some of them would have died of natural causes before the end of the war under any circumstances.
So should the Nazis be held morally wrong only for the ones who wouldn't have died?
Let us suppose that Mr. Bullseye is the sworn enemy of Mr. Gravity. Indeed, their enmity is so bitter and ineradicable that one day Mr. Bullseye determines to go to the penthouse home of Mr. Gravity and shoot him dead. On his way to this grim assignment, Mr. Bullseye (who has excellent vision) notes that Mr. Gravity is standing on a window ledge 100 stories above the ground. Mr. Gravity then jumps. He is, without a doubt, going to be killed -- there is no earthly chance that he might survive such a fall. Given that Mr. Gravity is, for all intents and purposes, a dead man, the quick-thinking Mr. Bullseye, not one to be so easily thwarted by fate, decides to fulfill his life's ambition and shoot Mr. Gravity. He takes aim and fires, and Mr. Gravity is shot dead just as he passes the 40th floor. His lifeless body then plummets the remaining distance and splatters upon the sidewalk below.
Now, was Mr. Bullseye wrong to shoot Mr. Gravity?
Who is the most naughty of the two children and why?
stevecook172001 wrote:Who is the most naughty of the two children and why?
I would say that Harry is the more naughty of the two -- so naughty, in fact, that you seem to have felt the need to repeat his precautionary tale three times. But then I'm not a consequentialist.
Nevertheless, I'm not sure if there's a good analogy here. Remember, Mr. Gravity jumped off the building. He intended to kill himself. The fact that Mr. Bullseye killed him a few seconds before impact would presumably not have diminished Mr. Gravity's enjoyment of life by any significant amount, since he had already demonstrated his desire to die.
I find it odd if you think Harry was most naughty. Not because I disagree. Quite the opposite. Harry was indeed the naughtiest because his intentions were bad. It is the fact that you think this and yet have not applied the same moral reasoning to the case of the falling man.
Given all of the above, it one applies the same moral reasoning to the case of the falling man, it is of no moral relevance what the outcome of the shooting is. The fact that the man was going to die anyway from the fall in no way ameliorates the bad intention of the actor, in this case the person doing the shooting.
His intention was to do harm. Just like Harry.