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Moral Dilemmas

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Barmy Army, Jul 5, 2012.

?

Q1) Do you divert the train? Q2) Do you call the police? Q3) Do you keep your promise?

  1. Q1) Yes

    82.6%
  2. Q1) No

    17.4%
  3. Q2) Yes

    69.6%
  4. Q2) No

    26.1%
  5. Q3) Yes

    78.3%
  6. Q3) No

    17.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Manslaughter, yes. This is a moral dilemma though, so deciding counts as an action.

    We can't have that in a legal dilemma unless we start producing telepaths.
     
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    If you felt that the old man and the baby were equally important, why would you intervene? You are deciding to act to save the baby; if you feel that the old man is equally important, why would you kill him?

    Granted you may not care either way and so decide to stand by and do nothing because it makes no difference to you.

    Also granted that you may think the baby is more important than the old man, but not enough so that you could be bothered to act.

    I don't see how you can believe the old man is either more important than or equally important as the baby, but decide to act to kill him.
     
  3. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    By not acting I am letting the baby die, by acting I am killing the old man. For me there is a big difference between the two.
     
  4. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I would personally feign ignorance of the old man and tell the police I was rushing to save the baby. That may not make a difference in court but I'm inclined to believe it would carry weight with a jury.
     
    LKD likes this.
  5. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    If feel that the baby is equally important, why would you kill him/her (by deciding not to do anything)? This part is just glass is half empty/half full semantics, with a kill/save a life twist.

    Edit: sums it up nicely
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  6. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    It's not semantics at all. The difference is in actively doing something vs. letting things go as present circumstances dictate. By acting you have decided to change what was going to happen if you were not there; why would you change what was going to happen if they were equally important to you? What would impel you to take an active part to change things if either outcome is equally bad?

    You did not kill the baby by not doing anything; the circumstances were such that the baby was going to die unless you decided to change that.
     
  7. Old One

    Old One The Old Warrior ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I would without thinking save the baby. I don't know why, just a built in women and kids first and perhaps not in that order.
    Robery? When you start pointing guns around you must remember someone can be or will be shot. Call the cops.
    Break a promise to your father for 10Gs? I dislike my father intensly and would be bound to keep the dead mans request because of a promise I gave.
     
  8. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    From my viewpoint the person who has to make a choice is part of those circumstances. In my perspective, if we were to recreate the whole situation as a mathematical formula then not including the person and the part he/she could play in it would be just plain wrong, regardless of what he/she ultimately does or his/her intent.
     
  9. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Again, you haven't explained what would impel you to act if you felt both choices were equally bad.

    Let me propose something just a bit different to illustrate my point and then you tell me if you still think that it is equivalent to act vs. not act assuming the choice is equally bad.

    Let's propose that it is a three-way switch you are standing next to. The way it is set up is that the track is out on the rail the switch is currently set to. The drunk old man is on one of the other tracks, and the baby is on the other.

    So. If you do nothing the entire train derails and the dozens of people on the train will all die, and one of the cars will crush you. There are even several drunk old men and babies amongst the train riders. If you throw the switch one way, the old man dies; if you throw the switch the other way the baby dies.

    Do you now see the difference in that choice vs. the originally proposed one? Now, you must choose to act one way or the other (assuming you're not going to let everyone on board and yourself die due to your inaction that is).

    Now if you think the old man is just as important as the baby, I would say it could go either way. I don't see that happening in the original proposed dilemma.
     
  10. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


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    The elderly are kinda in that category too, for me. I think getting the baby before the train comes is the best option - ironically the more you deliberate, the surer you kill one of them ;) .

    In all three dilemmas, the situation is such that you can think of many ways to go around what is meant to be a choice with only two options. Getting the baby out yourself (putting yourself at risk to help another instead of deciding to let someone die), warning the people that you know and would expose them to the police if they do, trying to smuggle the ashes (or haggle about the price), and so on.
     
  11. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    :lol:
     
  12. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    What I've been trying to point out to you all this time is that you seem to think that (hypothetically) although you are physically there and you are part of the situation whether you like it or not, you seem predisposed to compartmentalize things so from your viewpoint you are somehow not actually part of the situation (ie, "let present circumstances proceed as they should").

    Now if you find the last paragraph outrageous, then that's simply how different your line of thinking is from mine. I do not think I can recreate my reasoning using your viewpoint. So... short of me actively forcing my ideals on you, I don't think I can explain it in some other way.

    Anyway for me your new example only introduces a compulsion to choose. That doesn't change the bottomline - that ultimately you make a choice/decision, that doing so counts as an act, and that act kills/saves one of them (or you and a dozen people).

    Note that I do not consider compulsion, blame, intent, regret, responsibility, or whatever in this part my observations - I try to look at these things as objectively as I can, and basically the person who makes the choice is to me simply a variable that is nevertheless a part of the big equation, whether it likes to be or not. If you can think like that, then if you can imagine yourself back into the situation then you know that whatever you decide (even if you decide to do nothing), it will (most probably) result with one of them dying anyway. So if you think they are equally important, then it no longer becomes about choosing whether to act, or not to act.

    Edit: mis-posted, continued
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  13. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Sorry, but making a choice is not acting. Acting means some action was taken. So, no I don't think you are not part of the situation; though one of my points is that if you were NOT part of the situation the baby would die and not the old man. And that's what makes it different.

    And you essentially contradict yourself in your last paragraph. You say my new situation introduces a compulsion to choose, yet in the very next sentence you say it's no different because you ultimately make a choice in either situation. So where is the compulsion to choose coming from in my new situation if in both situations you are choosing? There isn't one; there is a compulsion to ACT in the new situation that is not present in the original one. And as I've been saying THAT's the difference.
     
  14. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Paracelsi, there are a lot of people who do nothing in an emergency -- for whatever reason. A few months ago a two year old girl was hit by a car in China and for two hours people just walked by her while she cried. Women are raped (and killed) in public places and no one even calls the police.There are simply some people who would rather do nothing than get involved; I don't understand the mindset but I know it's real.
     
  15. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    What you describe is a known phenomena and now I can't remember its name but the point is that if the street had been empty and the child was crying most people would go help it, same with the assaulted woman but the more people there are around the less likely people are to help because they think "someone else will do it, someone else is better suited to do it". The presence of others gives you a way out of getting involved while if you are the only one around you are the only one who can help and most would.
     
  16. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I have heard of that too joacqin. It's counterintuitive, but it basically says the more people there are around to help you in a time of need, the less likely you are of actually receiving help. And I agree that it stems from the mindset you describe - there's someone else here who can help better than me.

    But that same person if they are the only person around, is likely to jump in, because of the mindset if I don't help than no one else can.
     
  17. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This was added after I responded.

    I don't think you are including everything that you should in your "equation". There is a different, greater, cost in acting vs. not acting so it must be included. So, again, if either way one of them will die and to you both of them are equally important why would you incur the extra cost of acting? In other words, as above, what would impel you to act?
     
  18. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Sometimes, in some places, there's a bit more to it though ... like real apathy and even genuine disdain for various cultures/races/national origins. In those cases the thinking is not "someone else will do it, someone else is better suited to do it," but "f*ck that guy/gal/kid." :shame:

    In some places, as per the above-described mentality, this has even been cheered on by the viewing public. That's not reluctance to help, it's active contempt for the victim (with maybe a twist of mob mentality thrown in).
     
  19. nunsbane

    nunsbane

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    Blackthorne, those who insist that all life is equally important are being dishonest with themselves and the forum. Almost all of us have held a baby and experienced it's helplessness and faultlessness first hand. There is no way to fight the biological and evolutionary forces which dictate that babies are to be preserved.**

    Your question has not been answered because of an unwillingness to honestly compare the value.

    **Unfortunately, many of us have also held blindly drunken men in our arms at some point...which makes my argument all the stronger. :)
     
  20. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    My question was only hypothetical - like the dilemmas themselves: Given the conditions specified, what do you think?

    However, though I don't say you should believe one way or the other, I deny your claim above. Given no other information, a baby is not inherently better than anyone else, and could very well be much worse. Given the information presented, I do not see any difference in value between the two. Helplessness and faultlessness are not valuable attributes, and the same could be said for the drunk old man; we have no information about the circumstances that brought either of them to the tracks in the condition they are in.

    I don't claim all life is equally important; I'm claiming that for me the information given does not differentiate the two in any important way.
     
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