10
   

Ends/Means and History

 
 
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 01:12 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

Arjuna wrote:
The person who robs the bank is obviously convinced that it's a good/better/best way to achieve his goal. I say he's wrong.

Wrong? In what way??

He's undermining the social system that gives significance to money... his action is self-diminishing.

joefromchicago wrote:


Arjuna wrote:
Examine the difference between defining good as efficacious versus morally right. When do we say an action is one but not the other?

Whenever we believe that the facts and circumstances support that distinction.
Yea. Actually good always means efficacious.

When the connotation of the word changes, it's because your perspective changed. It has to do with objectivity.

I'm not saying this to argue with you. I'm coming up on a year of contributing to internet forums. I've been turned on to some great books... been challenged to think some things through. Some people have been gracious in bothering to explain their outlooks to me. That part is awesome. The conflict part... it's just a bunch of blah blah blah after a while.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 01:50 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

I think that if George Washington had robbed a bank to fund the Revolutionary Army, history (at least US history) would call that justified and not pegged him as evil because of it. If it was a British bank and he killed a few of the king's guards and a patron or two, I think that would be viewed sympathetically as well.


Probably. Of course actions are often judged by their motives. Why would you think I did not think that was true.
0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  0  
Reply Tue 7 Sep, 2010 02:00 pm
Politics and thus history have always used people as currency. A societal structure cannot be made or maintained without using people as currency. A policy cannot be set or a change cannot be made without using people as currency. History cannot be made without using people as currency.
0 Replies
 
HexHammer
 
  0  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 12:49 am
I'm appalled that so many clueless feelgood statements has been rewarded points, and those who state serious facts about the war, has been rewarded none, is this really how far (short) humans has come?

There was no justification for the Iraq war, quite the contrary. Iraq had NO relation to 9/11 what so ever, back in the 80'ies USA gave a billion $ shortly after Saddam gassed lots of Kurdish, well aware of his crime. USA even supported Saddam in his rebellion to take over Iraq.

Iraq is a soverin nation which you just can't invade, without breaking and violating all the rules of war, for that Bush should have been deemed a criminal and worse, pulling his friendly nations to the war.

Saddam is indeed a ruthless dictator in my eyes, but non the less he still had sanity which Imo was displayed with commenting his son "you don't choose your sons", implying he wasn't all that fond of him and his insane actions.

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 08:24 am
@Khethil,
Given that warfare, and inevitably on a large scale (vis-à-vis the population involved), has been a feature of every human culture of which we have a record; and given that the evidence from the contacts with neolithic tribes in Papua-New Guinea is that they will attempt to murder the members of any new tribe they run into--it seems to me that you need to define what is civilized, because by the criterion you use here, there never has been a human civilization.

Apart from that, i'd point out that i'm not trying to justify this war. I consider it to have been unjustifiable.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 08:29 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
I think that if George Washington had robbed a bank to fund the Revolutionary Army, history (at least US history) would call that justified and not pegged him as evil because of it. If it was a British bank and he killed a few of the king's guards and a patron or two, I think that would be viewed sympathetically as well.


Iosif Dugashvili (a.k.a. Joe Stalin) began his career with the Russian Workers' Party robbing banks to finance the party's operations. So do you think the case for Joe's virtue in that activity would be the same as George's would be in your hypotheical?
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 09:13 am
@Setanta,
Depends on who is writing the history.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 01:16 pm
Lots of good comments, thank you. Most have been along the lines of what I'd have expected.

Caroline wrote:
It depends what war you're talking about yes? What I mean is WW2 was about fighting for our freedom, loss of life was inevitable for the sake of our freedom.

Well, we're talkin about the Iraq war. But your point is well taken that war (in general) has many faces that motivate it.

engineer wrote:
... Is fighting the Taliban worth it for the Pakistanis? Wouldn't there be less loss of life in the short term by just allowing them to subjugate the rural areas of the country?

Good question - it speaks to the core issue at hand here: Is war justified if we think that it might turn out well. I say "think" because (obviously), we can't *know* what the future holds. My point - and ultimate question - is: Even if we think we do know, is killing on such a large scale every justified preemptively? If so, we have to ethically admit that taking massive numbers of lives is "OK". I don't disagree with you here - your questions are well placed. This all speaks to "Does the means justify the [likely] ends?". I'm not sure it does except in clear cases of self-defense. Even then it can be iffy given 'perceived' threats.

engineer wrote:
Any society that can even remotely be called 'civilized' sees war as unfortunate and works to prevent civilian casualties to the maximum extent possible. Personally I think history will be very harsh to the instigators of the Iraq war.

I couldn't agree more

joefromchicago wrote:
A nation's leadership is simply not allowed to start a war and then hope for the best, no more than an ordinary citizen is allowed to blow up a dam with the thought that "everything will somehow work out in the end." The Iraq War may indeed usher in an era of unexampled peace and prosperity to the Middle East. That still wouldn't make it justifiable.

This really summarizes my feelings on the subject. We couldn't have known the outcome, and since we weren't acting out of self-defense (recognizing a clear and present danger), it wasn't justified at all - regardless of how the future turns out

kennethamy wrote:
Probably. Of course actions are often judged by their motives...

This, of course, is true. But only to an extent. I know this is probably good fodder for another thread, but motives - I believe - should only play a part in our judgments of something being ethical or not. If we are to stand in judgement of a person; motives should play a large part - for judging the action itself, the effects take the bigger slice. This roughly a generalization, but I think it usually holds true.

HexHammer wrote:
Iraq is a soverin nation which you just can't invade, without breaking and violating all the rules of war, for that Bush should have been deemed a criminal and worse, pulling his friendly nations to the war.

This is undeniable. Unless it is proven that an nation is a clear and present ("clear" as in incontrovertible and "present" as in immediate), we can't claim defense. And to my ethical set, defense is the only justification for warring (as I've said, though, even that can be iffy unless the circumstances support the defense claim).

Setanta wrote:
...it seems to me that you need to define what is civilized, because by the criterion you use here, there never has been a human civilization.

Yes, it is a rather "broad" term - tending to mean just about whatever the speaker esteems as good, advanced, refined, etc. But I use it purposefully in this case; and, contextualizing it as a nation's attribute you've indeed taken it as intended. No, no civilization that goes to war - except under the most clear and undeniable threat to their existence - is what I'd call 'civilized'.

As perspective comes into view; That the war's real purpose was to seize resources, fatten both the military industrial complex (and industry in general) the loss of life becomes less justifiable. Add into this dank stew the timing that played off our pain and need to strike out following 9/11 to gain support - and it becomes a horrid, despicable dishonor we should all be ashamed of. I'm a veteran, and I know that those in uniform who went, suffered and died for this country did so with the best and most honorable intentions. I don't begrudge them; indeed! I think we should welcome them home with honest care and hefty resources in recognition of their sacrifice. Our nation's dishonor by waging this war is not their dishonor; I want to be very clear on this. In their minds when their people called they stood and answered the call, as I've myself done. That many did so with reservations speaks more of their love of their people and home. I'm only sorry it was used for such a dastardly deed.

I started this thread wondering if anyone believed there was any future outcome that might have justified the pain and death it brought. The answer I'm seeing is "No, there isn't"

Thanks
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 01:24 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:

I started this thread wondering if anyone believed there was any future outcome that might have justified the pain and death it brought. The answer I'm seeing is "No, there isn't"

Thanks
Agreed. The Iraqis and the world may yet see good that wouldn't have happened without that war. But to see the lives of people as something we paid in exchange for that good is wrong.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 01:29 pm
I think nothing justifies the loss of life except in self defense and there was no alternative. In most wars including the Iraqi war, civilians are killed which are innocent people who have nothing to do with the war, that is truly tragic, sad and totally unjustifiable , it's wrong.
0 Replies
 
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 02:37 pm
I mean why kill civilians anyway? (I mean on purpose). They are no threat. I don't understand why innocent people are targeted and killed during wars. What must the killers be thinking?
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 03:11 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline wrote:

I mean why kill civilians anyway? (I mean on purpose). They are no threat. I don't understand why innocent people are targeted and killed during wars. What must the killers be thinking?


Well, they may not be thinking. They may just do it out of sheer hate. Much of that is true about those who murder civilians in the Middle East. If they are thinking, then they do it because they believe it will terrorize people into giving in to their demands. That is what terrorism is all about.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Sep, 2010 03:38 pm
@Arjuna,
Arjuna wrote:


Yea. Actually good always means efficacious.


[/quote]

So Aristotle believed. He held that when we call something a good X" agathos" that was because we held that it was "good at being an X" or performing its function of being an X, so, for instance, a good watch watch (had there been watches at the time) would be a watch that was good at being a watch, which is to say, performing a watch's function whatever the function of a watch was. In other words, a good watch was an efficient watch. It did what watches ought to do. What ought watches to do? What is the function of a watch? To keep time accurately. so, a good watch is a watch that perform the function of a watch, to keep time accurately. And, it follow that a good watch will have just those feature which allow it to do what watches ought to do, whatever those features are. Aristotle carries on this analogy with persons. A good person is good at being a person, and will perform the function that persons have well or efficiently. And will, of course, have just hose characteristics which a person needs to have in order to perform the function of a person. Actually, here Aristotle takes a breath, and considers the question of whether people have functions just as (say) watches have functions, and asks rhetorically whether it is possible that everything else in the world has a function, but that only persons do not? And his answer is a resounding, no. (Of course, then, the question is raised, what then is the function of a person? And Aristotle discusses that, and he gives an answer which is not particularly convincing). But Aristotle's rhetorical question, can everything else have a function and people not, is an important one, since if we are going to say as you do, that "good" always means "efficacious", then we are agreeing (with Aristotle) that person have functions like watches. But is that really true? Jean Paul Sartre took up this issue with a vengeance, and answered that no, people are not like watches and they do not have functions, and so, to say of person that he is a good person is not to say that he is efficacious at being a person in the way that a good watch is efficacious at being a watch.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Sep, 2010 11:31 am
@kennethamy,
Great points.

Is a person an object like a hammer?

What does it mean to call someone a good person?

What are the outward signs?

0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EVERYONE! - Discussion by OmSigDAVID
WIND AND WATER - Discussion by Setanta
Who ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall? - Discussion by Walter Hinteler
True version of Vlad Dracula, 15'th century - Discussion by gungasnake
ONE SMALL STEP . . . - Discussion by Setanta
History of Gun Control - Discussion by gungasnake
Where did our notion of a 'scholar' come from? - Discussion by TuringEquivalent
 
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/30/2020 at 04:21:54