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Old 2010-09-01, 14:17   Link #81
Anh_Minh
I disagree with you all.
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Sometimes I think being smarter is a curse.

I'm a really smart person. I learn new concepts very quickly and I'm extremely creative when it comes to problem-solving. My success rates in these areas are also very high--rarely do I undertake an important task or job and find myself unable to complete it, or fail entirely.

The biggest problem with being very smart is that I'm not easily amused. It's very easy for me to get bored. My brain constantly craves input, new challenges, difficult problems to solve. Considering the current economic climate and my job--which requires virtually no brain activity--I am thoroughly, miserably bored most of the time.

I know some of you will immediately chime in with an admonition to stop my whining, there are people out there with no job at all, people who can't go to college, people who have no hope--and you know what? I don't give a shit. It's already been proven time and time again that boredom can be very bad for your health.

Being mind-numbingly bored is very stressful, and as we all know, high stress levels are very deleterious to one's health. Boredom is just one major contributor to a host of issues piling stress on top of me, and my health has been adversely affected as a result. I'm constantly cold. I have headaches frequently. I don't sleep well, nor do I derive much rest from the sleep I do get. All of these things just further increase my stress level.

I know things will get better and the huge lead blanket of stress will be mostly lifted from my shoulders once I get out of the shelter, but for now I'm still feeling the effects.
Personally, what I want to chime in with isn't that. I understand perfectly how irrelevant other people's unhappiness is to your own, and I know boredom can be quite painful. No, what I want to chime in with is "if you're so smart, get a better job". If you're so smart, can't you see the inconsistency of saying "I rule! I can solve anything easily!" in a breath, and "my life sucks" in the next?

For myself, despite the praise at my academic performance and general smarts, I've come to terms with the fact that in the ways that matter, I'm a complete dumbass.

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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Oh my god I don't even

That is the point. Competition ensures that the best beats the rest! That the available products and services are the best they can be, the cheapest they can be, and the most awesome they can be.

How is this not good for consumers again?
A nice theory that hasn't always born out. While it's true competition gives you an incentive to do better, you have to realize it doesn't come for free (as if anything ever did). Once you've introduced competition, well, suddenly everyone has to put more effort into marketing. It is, in fact, often more important than actually making a better product. It puts an intangible value into the product which objectively isn't there at all but is still bloody expensive.

Not only that, but you also have to make regulations to say what constitutes fair competition and on what basis to share indispensable resources (like railways for train companies). And all that comes with it: mechanisms to control the application of those rules, and mechanisms to deal with all the times they're broken (and someone gets caught).

So, yeah. Sometimes it works, sometimes, not so much.

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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
The problem is that "universality" is itself an illusion, possibly an artefact of human will. To use Kant's definition of categorical imperatives: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." The key idea here is that we have no way of knowing for sure what is absolutely universal, but by acting on a rule that can be applied universally, we will such a rule into existence. It's a somewhat messy idea that Schopenhauer later clarified by presenting the world simply as will and representation.

Ultimately, both philosophers accepted that we can't know the universal rule, but we can nevertheless act as though there was one. In the meantime, though, we will have to wade through a universe of subjective interpretations to get to such "universal" rules.
Yeah, but you've got to admit some things are more easily shared than others. That's the big problem when using your feelings as an argument. It's fine when you're preaching to the choir, but where does that leave you when you're talking with someone who feels differently? Why should he trust your feelings over his own?
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Old 2010-09-01, 15:31   Link #82
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Originally Posted by Jinto View Post
Okay, but objectively speaking you have to look at the whole thing, not just an aspect of another country/nation... the previous history, the mindset of the people there... and similar things. However, when you try to consider every tiny bit of information (which can be important - ref chaos theory) for a specific topic you will end up deciding over a very complex matter, and most people tend to do this subjectively (otherwise things like i.e. lobbyism wouldn't work so efficiently - you make people weighting certain aspects of a matter stronger/weaker than others, and thus influence the conclusions those people draw from the matter).
This is true; there are many factors to consider. But we can identify them and rate them on an intellectual level. There may be a degree of subjectiveness applied, but the goal of intellectualism is to reduce that as much as possible, and stick to the objective. To put this in the terms of an example...

Gas is more expensive in Europe. As a result, people drive less and the importance of what they look for in a new car, is how much gas it uses. These are objective reality, truthful factors. Now, if the US wants to reduce it's reliance on oil, it needs to get people to drive less and pick "smarter" cars. But no politician will suggest taxing gas more, or reducing the oil subsidy so that oil price goes up. Why? Because people would get angry at their gas price increasing, and the politician would be voted out.

We've just analyzed the problem and solution intellectually, even taking subjective and emotional factors into account.

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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
Pretty much everyone is driven by emotion on some level, even when they are thinking 'factually.' I remember watching a feature on television about a man with brain damage that had impaired his ability to feel emotion (for instance he lost his love for his family, quite sad). The interesting thing was, he couldn't even complete some simple tasks that one would believe unrelated to emotion. I can't track down the clip on youtube, but I'll keep looking as it is quite interesting.

My point in saying this is, we can't ever really escape emotional decision making. There are mental 'tools' we can use, though, that alter our ways of thinking towards more rational decisions.
To a degree, you are correct. What I liken the thought process to, is that of the traditional Vulcans of Star Trek. Emotion isn't suppressed; it's merely controlled. They don't deny emotion, but they don't let it control them, either. Logic, intellectualism, guides their decisions. When two Vulcans greet each other, they might still say, "It is good to see you are well." Emotion is implied, that they are joyous, but stated in an intellectual, logical fashion.

So what I see as the problem, is people making too many decisions on emotion alone. If I seem too focused on intellectualism, it's because I see too many emotional people, making too many emotional decisions, so I'm trying to tilt things back the other way in order to achieve balance. Emotion is essentially the anti-intellectualism.
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Old 2010-09-01, 18:22   Link #83
Nosauz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
Pretty much everyone is driven by emotion on some level, even when they are thinking 'factually.' I remember watching a feature on television about a man with brain damage that had impaired his ability to feel emotion (for instance he lost his love for his family, quite sad). The interesting thing was, he couldn't even complete some simple tasks that one would believe unrelated to emotion. I can't track down the clip on youtube, but I'll keep looking as it is quite interesting.

My point in saying this is, we can't ever really escape emotional decision making. There are mental 'tools' we can use, though, that alter our ways of thinking towards more rational decisions.
Read Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, it delves into the way humans are in fact beasts of emotions, and are easily suggested by others. It explains why even when confronted by facts people tend to keep the initial premises of how they perceive subject matter. In the end the first step is to realize our own biases, and our own emotions, and then attempt to objectively figure out the world we live in, but then again how can a blind lead the blind? All we can do is approximate the things going on this world and the less emotion and prejudice the better the picture we get, even if it is completely wrong it's at least closer to the truth than if we were to deduce this information in a emotional/prejudiced state.
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Old 2010-09-01, 23:50   Link #84
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Originally Posted by Kaijo View Post
This is true; there are many factors to consider. But we can identify them and rate them on an intellectual level. There may be a degree of subjectiveness applied, but the goal of intellectualism is to reduce that as much as possible, and stick to the objective.

...So what I see as the problem, is people making too many decisions on emotion alone. If I seem too focused on intellectualism, it's because I see too many emotional people, making too many emotional decisions, so I'm trying to tilt things back the other way in order to achieve balance. Emotion is essentially the anti-intellectualism.
Such absolute certainty, bordering almost on intellectual snobbery.

While I don't disagree entirely with the premise, let me try to show how emotions can be very much a part of many important moral dilemmas that are part of (though not all of) intellectual debate. I've adapted the following story from Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? by Michael J. Sandel, who is a professor of government at Harvard University.

I've taken several major liberties to shorten the story, so if some of the points don't come across clearly, the fault lies entirely with me, and not with Prof Sandel. To get the real deal, I highly recommend the book to those who are keen to read more about his theses on justice, especially those set in the context of American life and politics.

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To see how moral reasoning can proceed, let’s turn to a fanciful hypothetical story much discused by philosophers. Like all such tales, it involves a scenario stripped of many realistic complexities, so that we can focus on a limited number of philosophical issues.

The runaway trolley

Let’s assume, first of all, that you hold the principle that all life is sacred and that killing is wrong. You are opposed, for example, to the death penalty, believing it to be a form of cruelty which impinges on every individual’s — even a criminal’s — right to life.

Now, suppose you are standing on a bridge, overlooking a railway track. You see a trolley car hurtling down the track at 60mph. Up ahead of the trolley, you see five workers standing on the track, tools in hand. To your horror, the trolley doesn’t slow down, much less come to a halt. You see the driver’s terrified face and realise something awful: the brakes aren’t working. (Let’s assume you know this for sure.)

The trolley is about to crash into the five workers. You feel helpless to avert this disaster — until you notice, standing next to you on the bridge, a very heavy man. You could push him off the bridge, onto the track, into the path of the oncoming trolley. He would die, but the five workers would be saved. (You consider jumping onto the track yourself, but realise that you are too small to stop the trolley.)

Would pushing the heavy man onto the track be the right thing to do? Most people would say: "Of course not. It would be terribly wrong to push the man onto the track."

Pushing someone off a bridge to a certain death does seem to be an awful thing to do, even if it saves five innocent lives. But, then again, objectively speaking, pushing the heavy man off the bridge appears very rational: We trade one life to save five — it would appear to be an acceptable sacrifice.

Yet, it seems cruel to push a man to his death, even for a good cause. But is it any less cruel to let a trolley crush five men to death?

You face a very deliberate choice: To take the life of one person in order to prevent an even greater loss of life. Perhaps your reluctance to push the man off the bridge is mere squeamishness, a hesitation you should overcome. Pushing a man to his death with your bare hands does seem cruel, but doing the right thing is not always easy.

So, let's add a twist to the story: If we had reason to believe that the heavy man on the bridge was responsible for disabling the brakes of the trolley in the hope of killing the workers on the track (let’s say they were his enemies), the moral argument for pushing him onto the track would begin to look stronger.

True, we would need to know who his enemies were and why he wanted to kill them. If we learnt that the workers on the track were members of the French Resistance and the heavy man a bridge was a Nazi who had sought to kill them by disabling a trolley, the case for pushing him to save them suddenly seems very, very compelling.

But, then, what happened to your original, very objective, very universal principle: Killing is wrong? Why does it now seem acceptable to abandon that principle? Is it not because your emotions have come into play, influencing a choice you nonetheless desperately hope to make rationally?
* Passages in blue are completely original, my own words, inspired by other premises and conclusions Prof Sandel used in relation to the story. Other parts were paraphrased to condense the fable.
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Old 2010-09-02, 08:47   Link #85
Nosauz
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This is a philosophical question that most students come across when they take philosophy, but in the end it's whether you believe in moral relativism, as in everything needs to be in context or universal morality. The extension of the trolley problem you bring up is similar to one variance, which is the trolley car with the lever that allows you to divert the train, but in the end as a man in the trolley you have no knowledge of who the men are and what they are doing, all the information that you could possibly have must be given at the start or else the situation is too much of a deviation from the original trolley problem since you've given the conductor of the trolley more information of the global world, then you must compare it to the original trolley problem with this added global information.
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Old 2010-09-02, 09:50   Link #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Such absolute certainty, bordering almost on intellectual snobbery.
That's an emotional response on your part, devoid of intellectualism.

Quote:
While I don't disagree entirely with the premise, let me try to show how emotions can be very much a part of many important moral dilemmas that are part of (though not all of) intellectual debate. I've adapted the following story from Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? by Michael J. Sandel, who is a professor of government at Harvard University.
To be blunt, that's a bad hypothetical. Like most bad hypotheticals, it seeks to eliminate all other avenues of choice which would normally be present, making bad assumptions simply to get all the variables just right, which normally wouldn't happen. You're playing with extremely long odds. In your situation, I'd find another way to avoid losing anyone.

Having said that, I'll play your game, because the main idea you're trying to get across is a simple one: what is your choice when confronted with a situation where you could save many lies by sacrificing a few, or just one? I think, intellectually, we all know the answer. Anybody who has watched Star Trek II knows the answer an intellectual would take. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one."

But that's an option of extremely last resort. 95% of the time there is always another way, if your mind is open enough to see it. By playing puzzle games and considering riddles, a true intellectual can train their mind to see the possibilities; that's the whole reason puzzles exist.

My mom and dad liked to watch a lot of murder mysteries(a variant of the puzzle); my dad liked Columbo, and my mom liked Murder, She Wrote. In each show, there were always clues as to who did it if you could pick up on them, which the main character of each did. And I believe Columbo said once (or maybe it was someone else, can't find an exact person to attribute it to): "There are no perfect crimes; only imperfect investigations."

So, to put my own spin on it: "There is always a correct way forward, even if I don't see it at the moment."
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Old 2010-09-02, 10:23   Link #87
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Nosauz View Post
This is a philosophical question that most students come across when they take philosophy, but in the end it's whether you believe in moral relativism, as in everything needs to be in context or universal morality.
Precisely. And I aimed to show how knowledge of the context can drastically affect the way we judge the right decision to make.

If, for example, we hold to the universal rule — we must not kill — then whatever the circumstances, there can be only one right choice: You must choose not to push the heavy man off the bridge, because doing so would kill him.

But is that necessarily the right decision? From a coldly rational, utilitarian basis, it would seem wrong, because we would be letting five people die instead of just one. We lose more than we gain. So, despite this stark net-gain equation, what is it, really, that is holding us back from killing the heavy man?

Nothing more than the emotional attachment to the supposedly universal rule: We must not kill. Notice, then, how this emotional attachment is put to the test once we reveal that the heavy man is a Nazi plotting the five workers' deaths. If we know this to be true, would we still feel so charitable towards this man's welfare? Chances are, no. Most of us would not hesitate to push him off the bridge. Better the villain dies and we save five heroes.

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Originally Posted by Kaijo View Post
To be blunt, that's a bad hypothetical. Like most bad hypotheticals, it seeks to eliminate all other avenues of choice which would normally be present, making bad assumptions simply to get all the variables just right, which normally wouldn't happen. You're playing with extremely long odds. In your situation, I'd find another way to avoid losing anyone.
Read the book. Immediately following this supposedly "bad" example, the author uses a gut-wrenching real-life dilemma involving a special-forces team in Afghanistan, forced to choose whether to silence a goatherd who accidentally discovered their location. The five-man team decided not to, and later paid an extremely heavy price. All but one of them survived an ambush set up by fighters who had been informed by the spared goatherd. Not only that, a rescue team sent to save the special-forces team also suffered heavy casaulties, including several deaths.

Forced to reflect in retrospect, the sole survivor of the original team is now fiercely adamant that he made the wrong decision: He should have killed the goatherd, despite the moral quandry.

Like you said: The needs of the many outweigh those of the few. So, kill one goatherd, save many lives. Right or wrong?
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Old 2010-09-02, 10:37   Link #88
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Those situations being compared CANNOT be compared at all because if you were to that would be a logical fallacy because the information given to the conductor is different in the case, his state of mind is already biased by the information. The thing is the information changes the parameters of the experiment and the events are no longer comparable in a philosophical sense.
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Old 2010-09-02, 10:38   Link #89
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Awesome. The two intellectuals are at it again. *gets popcorn*

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Old 2010-09-02, 10:50   Link #90
Ricky Controversy
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Here's a thought. Why must we justify our decisions as right or condemn them as wrong to act on them? This strikes me as dishonest: we believe in our own moralities only as long as it is convenient for us to do so?

There is right and wrong, and then there is necessary. I believe it is possible to take necessary action while it remains wrong, and that the reason we shift 'right' so often to conform to 'necessary' is because we don't like being slapped in the face with the limits of our abilities. Is it reasonable to expect someone to be capable of solving all their problems the right way? No, we're human and we're going to screw up, but I think that failing to acknowledge the fact that it IS a screw up is dangerous.

Once you accept that killing a human being is actually 'right' in certain situations, rather than acknowledging it as necessary-but-wrong, you make yourself feel better at the cost of making yourself more open to further wrongdoing.
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:18   Link #91
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Nosauz View Post
Those situations being compared CANNOT be compared at all because if you were to that would be a logical fallacy because the information given to the conductor is different in the case, his state of mind is already biased by the information. The thing is the information changes the parameters of the experiment and the events are no longer comparable in a philosophical sense.
So you concede that more information can actually lead to biased decision-making, rather than making it intellectually more objective?

That said, let's return to supposedly oversimplified runaway-trolley thought experiment.

Suppose now the context is different. The five workers on the railway are the town hooligans who attacked the heavy man's younger sister, gang raping her and leaving her permanently scarred and crippled. The heavy man disabled the trolley's brakes precisely because he wanted revenge (let's assume that the town's judiciary is corrupt; the heavy man and you both know his sister will get no justice in court).

So, again: Would you push the heavy man off the bridge to save the five workers? It's still trade one life to save five lives. Right or wrong, in this case?
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:30   Link #92
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As the conductor I am not privy to that information, I can only make judgements with the information that is available to me, assuming that as in the original trolley problem, the trolley is a) moving so fast the five cannot escape in time, or the one cannot escape in time, b) the moment being captured is the instantaneous moment you decide who to kill/let die, for all the conductor to know, the five could be doctors and the one could be president of a country, but that's not what is important, because the trolley is moving so fast your deciding between 1 or 5, and of course the rational decision would be to kill the one whatever his motive to preserve five, but in the idea of absolute morality, choosing each is the one in the same, but then you can extend the problem by adding more people to one side and through that come to the assumption that human life is valueless because if killing 1 is the same as killing all is morally equivalent it doesn't matter who you kill. In the end it depends on how you think of the world, moral relativists will say that we are influenced by the constructs of society and culture whereas the absolutists will claim that there is a fundamental moral center and each decision is either morally apprehensive or morally acceptable.

I mean to answer your question, for me both choices are terrible but one is inevitable and at that point I don't think I could put decision into my hands, I'd much rather derail the train to avoid both and sacrifice my self, but that isn't within the parameter especially when my duty is to protect those on board the trolley. In the end both situations are equally bad and the only way I could decide would be to flip a coin, that is the only solution I could come up with without assaulting my morals. This situation also makes you the judge, jury and executioner, you have in essence become god, of that situation as solely you have the decision to kill or let live.

The truth is the truth, nothing can change that, the only thing that we can do is change our interpretation of what is the truth, the truthful information doesn't change but our perceived judgments doesn't diminish the value for truth seeking and information gathering. Let's say that in your situation so the five guys raped the fat guy's sister, but it turns out the sister of the fat guy killed half their gang and it's a case of retaliation in the most brutal sense possible, so although the fat man is doing a good thing for the wrong reason the five others did the wrong thing for the right reason. The facts still say that they did rape this girl, but now you've added a qualifier to their actions.

Last edited by Nosauz; 2010-09-02 at 11:42.
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:32   Link #93
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That's the problem with universal morality. It isn't very practical. No one is going to respond exactly according to their set-in-stone moral code every time.
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:32   Link #94
Ricky Controversy
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Very well, then let's return to supposedly oversimplified runaway-trolley thought experiment.

Suppose now the context is different. The five workers on the railway are the town hooligans who attacked the heavy man's younger sister, gang raping her and leaving her permanently scarred and crippled. The heavy man disabled the trolley's brakes precisely because he wanted revenge (let's assume that the town's judiciary is corrupt; the heavy man and you both know his sister will get no justice in court).

So, again: Would you push the heavy man off the bridge to save the five workers? It's still trade one life to save five lives. Right or wrong, in this case?
The problem with using the pasts of those involved as factors in the decision is that saving a life is an act which inherently banks on the future value of a life, not the past value. If those five people die, regardless of who are what they were, their future value is gone, but the value of their lives up to that point has already manifested itself.

Even if that weren't the case, that value is a tangled web of factors so distinct and farflung that there is literally no way a human being could know and process them all. Attempting to make a value judgment on the individual becomes futile at best and wildly harmful at worst, which is why moral codes tend to be broad in their dicta.
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:37   Link #95
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Originally Posted by Nosauz View Post
As the conductor I am not privy to that information, I can only make judgements with the information that is available to me, assuming that as in the original trolley problem, the trolley is a) moving so fast the five cannot escape in time, or the one cannot escape in time, b) the moment being captured is the instantaneous moment you decide who to kill/let die, for all the conductor to know, the five could be doctors and the one could be president of a country, but that's not what is important, because the trolley is moving so fast your deciding between 1 or 5, and of course the rational decision would be to kill the one whatever his motive to preserve five, but in the idea of absolute morality, choosing each is the one in the same, but then you can extend the problem by adding more people to one side and through that come to the assumption that human life is valueless because if killing 1 is the same as killing all is morally equivalent it doesn't matter who you kill. In the end it depends on how you think of the world, moral relativists will say that we are influenced by the constructs of society and culture whereas the absolutists will claim that there is a fundamental moral center and each decision is either morally apprehensive or morally acceptable.

I mean to answer your question, for me both choices are terrible but one is inevitable and at that point I don't think I could put decision into my hands, I'd much rather derail the train to avoid both and sacrifice my self, but that isn't within the parameter especially when my duty is to protect those on board the trolley. In the end both situations are equally bad and the only way I could decide would be to flip a coin, that is the only solution I could come up with without assaulting my morals.
The variation to the original problem is Prof Sandel's not mine. And, in any case, it doesn't matter. The point of the whole experiment is to make a choice given to a specific context. The experiment deliberately cuts off many possibilities, because it is meant to focus on our thought processes given the narrow range of choices.

The fact is, in real life, we have no perfect knowledge. All the time, we make decisions based on incomplete knowledge. Yet, somehow, those who favour "objective" decision-making seem to operate under the assumption that all factors can be known and measured in advance to derive a perfectly objective answer.

In truth, we all know that this is impossible in reality. When forced to make an instant decision in a field of imperfect knowledge, each of one us will have no choice but to rely on our moral instincts to make a snap judgment. And these instincts, on closer examination, will no doubt be influenced by a whole range of environment factors.

We are humans. We are creatures of emotion affected by our environments. This is an inescapable fact. To deny this is to deny we are human.

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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
That's the problem with universal morality. It isn't very practical. No one is going to respond exactly according to their set-in-stone moral code every time.
Exactly. A hard truth that took me a very long time to accept, as I believe Anh_Minh would remember.

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Originally Posted by Ricky Controversy View Post
Even if that weren't the case, that value is a tangled web of factors so distinct and farflung that there is literally no way a human being could know and process them all. Attempting to make a value judgment on the individual becomes futile at best and wildly harmful at worst, which is why moral codes tend to be broad in their dicta.
Again, exactly so. As I've said, in real life, we deal already with a tangled web of pre-existing factors. It is folly to think we can untangle ourselves from all of them. Rather, the intellectually honest thing to do is to confront our own biases where they exist, and force ourselves to examine the value and motives of our individual choices.

To me then, an intellectual is someone who always seeks to question assumptions, including his own. He doubts everything, including his own most cherished beliefs. The day an intellectual finds himself unable to debunk his own arguments is the day he has become drunk on his own superiority.

Or, to return to the prime mover of the Greek philosophical tradition, there is what Socrates famously said: "Scio nescio."

"I know that I know nothing." The starting point of any intellectual is to accept his own ignorance, to accept that one cannot know anything with absolute certainty even though one can feel confident about certain things.
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:48   Link #96
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
So you concede that more information can actually lead to biased decision-making, rather than making it intellectually more objective?

That said, let's return to supposedly oversimplified runaway-trolley thought experiment.

Suppose now the context is different. The five workers on the railway are the town hooligans who attacked the heavy man's younger sister, gang raping her and leaving her permanently scarred and crippled. The heavy man disabled the trolley's brakes precisely because he wanted revenge (let's assume that the town's judiciary is corrupt; the heavy man and you both know his sister will get no justice in court).

So, again: Would you push the heavy man off the bridge to save the five workers? It's still trade one life to save five lives. Right or wrong, in this case?
In all honesty, your construct cannot be representative for average decission making. In the real world you have to identify the common case first. Ideally the most common case is the primary target for rule/law/decission making.
Even in very modern societies you cannot have absolute fairness/justice. But a good system tries to minimize the negative effects for the majority at the expense of a minority that falls into special case categories.

If you make the extreme (seldom) case the primary target for rule/law/decission making, you will end up with a system that is at the best an obstruction for societal development and at the worst transforms the majority into those minority-individuums those laws/rules/decissions were made for.

A (psychological) dilemma is a construct that has no "convenient" solution, but we must not forget, that dilemmas are not the norm.
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:48   Link #97
Nosauz
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But that in turn leads to the nihilistic point of view that in the end we are merely just players acting out a play, and our misunderstandings are in fact not misunderstandings but the threads of fate that bind us. True we may not be able to the see the world for it's truth, but all we can do is to strive and find it, and always be searching for that truth, not the truth that we want to believe. Inevitably if I am to know nothing, then my life has no meaning as everything I know is not as it seems.
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Old 2010-09-02, 11:54   Link #98
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Nosauz View Post
Inevitably if I am to know nothing, then my life has no meaning as everything I know is not as it seems.
Which is incidentally very similar to one strand of Buddhist philosophy. Hence the desire to seek Nirvana, to escape from the illusion around us.

In any case, you misunderstand Socrates' words. He did not mean to say we can know nothing, but rather to remind us that we must accept our ignorance. No matter how much we think we know, there will always be at least one person who knows something we don't.

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In all honesty, your construct cannot be representative for average decission making... A (psychological) dilemma is a construct that has no "convenient" solution, but we must not forget, that dilemmas are not the norm.
Indeed so. But it remains the case that such dilemmas are the truest tests of our moral characters. We gain much insight by subjecting ourselves to such tests and this, hopefully, will help us make better decisions under average conditions, as we would thence be more aware of our true motives.
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Old 2010-09-02, 12:03   Link #99
Jinto
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Indeed so. But it remains the case that such dilemmas are the truest tests of our moral characters. We gain much insight by subjecting ourselves to such tests and this, hopefully, will help us make better decisions under average conditions, as we would thence be more aware of our true motives.
Sorry, but I cannot agree with this. As I wrote in my posting before... you should not base your rule/law/decission making on dilemmas. I tried to explain why. I don't see how the extreme cases are good models for decission making targeting the average cases. If you could at least explain me how and why.
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Old 2010-09-02, 12:05   Link #100
Nosauz
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Yes it is, but it's near impossible to reach nirvana, when you think about it, much like salvation through the church, in the end we search for these meanings to our lives in an attempt to justify and give value to our lives. To make sure our lives and our reason to live have a legacy, whether it's through infamy, gluttony, piousness, kindness, we still want to validate our existence, to make sure that the period after our name means something more than the journey that is our lives. Also Socrates may mean what you say he means, but his words are more truer to my interpretation in the sense that history itself cannot be known, the past and our study of history may have been completely flawed, and no one but those that lived in that time would know, and even if the written word can be passed down, it's veracity is not, only true experience in that context could lead you to understanding the time period. So in fact there are cases where we might be aware of our ignorance but no one alive knows the truth behind the situation, and hence the shattering of the notion that we can piecemeal a universal truth or even a societal construct, in the end we are just mice stuck in that mouse wheel forever to run, always thinking we are moving forward yet we only stand still, stuck in our ego, desperately trying to validate our ego.
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