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Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: What have ETHICS got to do with it? Reply with quote

I have just read a couple of threads in this section, and I don't see much discussion of ethics at all. One, for instance, indulges smugness by giving us a forum to chew over the propriety of tasing 10-year-old girls.

Is there some ethical quandary there?

The thread isn't about ethics at all. It's about who you choose to empathize with, and affirming tastes. Otherwise, we'd be discussing some 'ethical standard' and arguing about how it applies in a particular case.

At least when the abortion issue comes up, it's partially an ethical discussion. Or, more properly, an escape from one. When, after all, is it OK to take someone's life from them? Tough one, isn't it? The No-Choice side invokes a stern code. The Pro-Death camp looks for a way out, and normally takes refuge in secrecy, pseudo-scientific jargon, and the illusion that the visit to an abortionist is in service of a noble cause -- but it's only as a way out of an ethical requirement on oneself.

I don't want to discuss abortions. Just so you know, I personally think abortion is a 'little murder', and I also think that nobody should be able to compel a woman to go through with a pregnancy she doesn't want. I also have been implicated in an abortion. I am not holier-than-thou. I think a lot of people occupy my position, but they act as if its ethics that concerns them. It's a sad thing at the best of times.

I don't find adding 'ethics' to the discussion does anything for the discussion. It smuggles in the squishy emotions that corrupt the genuinely ethical considerations. It replaces the reason element of the discussion with empathy.

Don't get me wrong -- empathy is valuable to fill out the understanding of people, and their experience of reality, but it is rarely used for all the parties to the dispute. And so it is almost always ethically prejudicial. That's my view.

At a different level -- foreign wars, etc ... the term 'ethics' is used even more deceptively. A discussion I have seen lots -- the PoW issue in Af'stan, just as an example. (Again, I don't want to discuss the issue itself, it's an example.) There, so-called 'ethical considerations' are being created as part of an active attempt to put obligations on our troops that they do not have. What are the ethical requirements in their situation? The other side, after all, kills all of its prisoners, unless they can redeem them for cash. Can a genuinely 'ethical' discussion act as if that doesn't count?

In real life, ethical discussions are most important when the issues are tough. Most times, if someone claims some kind of 'ethical superiority' for their views, they're engaging in propaganda.

The ethics of of war would look at war in general, and provide a guideline about the 'rules of war'. When is it OK to declare war? Is anyone 'innocent' in war?. Do both sides have to adhere to the same standard, or is there some justifiable reason one army should not retaliate in kind for what is inflicted on its own troops? Those are 'ethical questions'.

It looks as if the 'ethical discussions' on here rarely take place apart from a particular political context, and come after a position has already been taken, by someone defending that position. Often enough, that position is occupied because it gives the speaker a stick to hit their opponents with ... which, of course, makes it the furtherest thing from a genuinely ethical discussion.

Comments invited ...


Comments?
Craig
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the topics in this forum (and in fact all of the other forums here) have plenty to do with ethics. Any discussion that revolves around whether something is "right or wrong" or "good or bad" is an ethical discussion.
Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig wrote:
Most of the topics in this forum (and in fact all of the other forums here) have plenty to do with ethics. Any discussion that revolves around whether something is "right or wrong" or "good or bad" is an ethical discussion.


Hitler thought he was right ... So did Stalin.

Everybody thinks they're right. Thinking you're right and $3 gets you on the subway.

The point with 'ethics' is that there's some objective principle at the core, don't you think? An idea like the Good is that which produces the greatest happiness for the greatest number is an ethical principle.

Just saying ...
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What have ETHICS got to do with it?

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