Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, Just War theory and other such hot topics.

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bobevenson
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by bobevenson » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:54 pm

Ginkgo wrote:
bobevenson wrote:In other words, your course of action is based on what somebody said 200 years ago, not what Bob the Baptist is telling you here and now, pointing out the present institutional evil you would be faced with and the consequences thereof that you would pay.

I know this is only a hypothetical, but you are actually advising me the break the law. You realize this, don't you?
You think the law is some kind of holy document? It's the law that would do you in, my friend.

Simon
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Simon » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:59 pm

...and of course the weakness of the Kantian approach is whose duties are better than others...

This threads seems to show quite nicely the advantage of adopting a virtue ethics approach!

Ginkgo
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Ginkgo » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:40 am

bobevenson wrote: You think the law is some kind of holy document. It's the law that would do you in my friend.
Simon wrote:...and of course the weakness of the Kantian approach is whose duties are better than others...

This threads seems to show quite nicely the advantage of adopting a virtue ethics approach!

When it come to the question,'What is the nature of morality?' we need to distinguish from the Kantian point of view between the person who acts from 'inclination' and a person who acts from 'a sense of duty'. Bob's example is one of a person who acts from inclination, rather than obligation.

In Kantian terms Bob's position in matters of morality appears to be that one should act upon inclination. He wants to partake in a course of action that pleases him the most in the stated circumstances. In other words, he wants to follow the path that he believes will result in the best outcome for himself and would advise others to do the same given similar circumstances.

Kant rejects this as a basis for morality. It is only when we suppress our inclinations and act from a sense of duty that we can be a moral person. Thus morality for Kant is bound up with one's duty and one's obligations. Kant believes that people tend to confuse the distinction between 'prudential action' and 'moral action'. A person (such as myself) who stays behind after a car accident may only be doing so because they are afraid of the legal consequences is only acting prudently and as such they are also not a moral person. As Kant's says,'Nothing can possibly be conceived in this world, or out of it, that can be called good without qualification, except a good will.' Kant then goes on to formulate the distinction between 'a hypothetical imperative' and 'the categorical imperative'.

bobevenson
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by bobevenson » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:00 pm

Ginkgo wrote:
It is only when we suppress our inclinations and act from a sense of duty that we can be a moral person.
You're saying that morality is acting from a sense of duty instilled by our most dangerous institutions, religion and government.

Simon
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Simon » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:55 pm

You're saying that morality is acting from a sense of duty instilled by our most dangerous institutions, religion and government.
Only if you are a Kantian.

Ginkgo
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Ginkgo » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:05 pm

bobevenson wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:
It is only when we suppress our inclinations and act from a sense of duty that we can be a moral person.
You're saying that morality is acting from a sense of duty instilled by our most dangerous institutions, religion and government.
Of course not, I'm not saying this and Kant certainly wouldn't say it.
Last edited by Ginkgo on Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ginkgo
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Ginkgo » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:06 pm

Simon wrote:
You're saying that morality is acting from a sense of duty instilled by our most dangerous institutions, religion and government.
Only if you are a Kantian.
I would strongly disagree with that.

Gee
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Gee » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:35 pm

bobevenson wrote: Oh, yes, there's a point to all of this. Let's face it, you didn't do anything wrong. The kid was 100% at fault, and in an AEP society, most people would probably do exactly what you said. But in today's society, the only rational thing to do is check to see if there are any witnesses, and if not, drive to the nearest pay phone, and in a disguised voice, call 911 and report the accident and location. Otherwise, your life as you know it will have ended. Investigation for DUI and a possible charge of vehicular homicide. Loss of driving privileges and skyrocketing insurance rates. Heavy media coverage and hate mail. Family lawsuits filed against you, etc., etc., etc. But, yeah, if you are ever in this type of situation, do it your way, my friend.
Well, Bobevenson;

You finally found a subject that we can agree on. In many cases, your above advice is the only reasonable and intelligent action to take. But I don't think that this is an issue of the ethics of the driver, it is an issue of the ethics of the laws that have been passed.

Governments are supposed to create laws that encourage order and stimulate the people to act in moral and ethical ways. The laws against drinking and driving do not do that, and in the case of Michigan's drunk driving laws -- they are insane.

My husband was a truck driver, so I will explain these laws to you as he explained them to me. He said, "Suppose that your Mother called and stated that her washer broke, so I drive the six blocks to your Mother's house to fix her washer on a hot summer day. When I finish, I am hot and sweaty, so she offers me a cold beer. We talk and I drink the beer before coming back home. On the way home, a driver coming from a side street does not stop and plows into the side of my car. There is no way that the accident is my fault, but Michigan is a no-fault State, so it doesn't matter. What does matter is that I have a CDL license because I am a truck driver, so I must immediately go to a hospital and have blood drawn because I have been in an accident. The other driver's alcohol level is irrelevant unless the police find a reason to question it. One beer is enough to make me lose my license, because it is a CDL, which means that I will get fired and probably not qualify for unemployment. I did nothing wrong, did something right by fixing the washer, but may be unemployed for years because of it."

I considered what he said and realized that the statistics would show that another truck driver was drinking and involved in an accident. This would imply that his drinking caused the accident, and that he was at fault, although neither would be true. If he could not find work and could not replace me at home so I could work, we would lose our home. We could not expect any help from the State -- unless I divorced him -- then the State would provide enough to pay the bills and for food and medical. It would be easy to divorce him because that is also "no-fault", and it would be necessary because Michigan does not support whole families. The thinking seems to be if he does not have a job, then he is a bum -- throw him out; but if you don't throw him out, then you are all bums -- so sleep in a car.

Michigan has some brilliant laws -- all designed to be for the good of the child. (Yes. This is sarcasm.)

So in your above scenario, doing the "right" thing could very well make it so that your own child is homeless, hungry, and/or without medical care. It could also cause a family to split up. Doesn't one have a duty to their own children? Or is that duty less important than "doing the right thing" so that a negligent family that allows a young boy to be in the street after dark gets to sue you?

Law should encourage ethical behavior, not discourage it.

Gee

Wyman
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Wyman » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:13 am

bobevenson wrote: Oh, yes, there's a point to all of this. Let's face it, you didn't do anything wrong. The kid was 100% at fault, and in an AEP society, most people would probably do exactly what you said. But in today's society, the only rational thing to do is check to see if there are any witnesses, and if not, drive to the nearest pay phone, and in a disguised voice, call 911 and report the accident and location. Otherwise, your life as you know it will have ended. Investigation for DUI and a possible charge of vehicular homicide. Loss of driving privileges and skyrocketing insurance rates. Heavy media coverage and hate mail. Family lawsuits filed against you, etc., etc., etc. But, yeah, if you are ever in this type of situation, do it your way, my friend.
Bob, your hypothetical answer avoids the hard questions. What if the boy needs help, such as CPR or pressure on a bleeding wound? In your answer, you seem to assume that the call to 911 (even thought there aren't any payphones anymore) will provide whatever emergency services are necessary, making the decision fairly easy. What if leaving the scene jeopardizes the boy's chances of survival?

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Arising_uk
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:27 am

Dear Bob,
I have an ethical dilemma I hope you can help me with.

I'm in correspondence with someone who thinks they are being divinely influenced by God and think themselves the next John the Baptist but it's obvious that they are under Satan's influence and are really being set-up to be the Anti-Baptist. Should I try to help them see the error of their ways as their immortal soul is in danger or should I just leave them to get their just desserts?

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Arising_uk
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:01 am

Hi Simon,
Simon wrote:
Oh, yes, there's a point to all of this. Let's face it, you didn't do anything wrong. The kid was 100% at fault, and in an AEP society, most people would probably do exactly what you said. But in today's society, the only rational thing to do is check to see if there are any witnesses, and if not, drive to the nearest pay phone, and in a disguised voice, call 911 and report the accident and location. Otherwise, your life as you know it will have ended. Investigation for DUI and a possible charge of vehicular homicide. Loss of driving privileges and skyrocketing insurance rates. Heavy media coverage and hate mail. Family lawsuits filed against you, etc., etc., etc. But, yeah, if you are ever in this type of situation, do it your way, my friend.
Consequentialism is not the only basis for ethics - and I would go further to argue that this situation is yet another example demonstrating the weakness of the consequentialist approach. In this situation most other perspectives (deontology, virtue, duty of care etc.) would care for the injured and admit their role in the incident.
I disagree as I think what bob is proposing is not a consequence ethical stance but just the rationalisations the amoral hedonist offers to justify themselves to themselves. Look how he proceeds, he knows that he is over the drink drive limit but claims he is the arbiter of such things so drives, he then says it's the kids fault not his, eschewing his supposed responsibility and ignoring that if he hadn't been intoxicated he may well have been aware of the child before they emerged from the vehicles as ones road awareness is clearer when sober, he then claims he would behave morally but its the inequity of the system that stops him, he tries to claim the mantle of morality by making a call to the emergency services but note that he says he would disguise his voice, I laughed at this at first as I thought it ridiculous that he thought he might be recognised - "That you bob?" - but then realised that he was already trying to cover his arse just in case he was found out later and wanted plausible deniability, but if he thought this might be a consequence then he should stop as if found out later he's made it even worse for himself so he's not thinking through the consequences but just trying to avoid having a moral code as, like I say, he just an amoral hedonist who thinks the world revolves around his needs.

You say the consequentialist approach would not come to the same decision as the other approaches but I disagree, although it does depend upon what one thinks it is to hold such an approach. So I think of myself as the holder of such an ethical position and here's why I would stop to assist the injured. When or if I have drunk until over the legal limit and then decide to drive as I've drunk very little and know myself capable of negotiating my way home as I've done so in the past, I also understand the possible consequences, I could get home with no problem for example but I could also find myself in the scenario described, if such then I would stop and assist the injured as one, it is my responsibly due to having considered the possible consequence and accepting the risks and two, I could not live with the consequences to my peace of mind of them dying through my inaction, that I may suffer all the consequences described is the penalty I pay for the moral decision I made in the first place and one that involved the possible consequences but at least I have kept to my ethical framework, anything else is just amorality. I guess you could call me a rational duty consequentialist. :)

bobevenson
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by bobevenson » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:11 pm

This type of quandary would not exist under AEP rule.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:47 pm

bobevenson wrote:This type of quandary would not exist under AEP rule.
There is no quandary to those who have an Ethic.
p.s.
Will you be giving advice to my posted ethical dilemma soon?

Ginkgo
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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:13 am

Arising_uk wrote:
bobevenson wrote:This type of quandary would not exist under AEP rule.
There is no quandary to those who have an Ethic.
p.s.
Will you be giving advice to my posted ethical dilemma soon?
I couldn't agree more Arising. In this case the driver has a moral and legal obligation to render assistance. It it happens that he is over the legal limit then he has to wear the consequences. This is a good example of having to accept responsibility for your actions.

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Re: Bob's Ethical Advice Column

Post by bobevenson » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:39 pm

Both of you are government slaves of the lowest order; not only does the government own you, it owns your mind; meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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