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ethical relativism

is anyone on this forum *not* guilty of ethical relativism?

Lets hear from you :)
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 15th, 2006
Is "well, maybe this one time" relativism?
Permalink Philo 
January 15th, 2006
Im not entirely sure to be honest.

cynic....which form of 'ethical relativism' were you referring to?
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 15th, 2006
Who's cynic?

> which form of 'ethical relativism' were you referring to?

The least bad, of course.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 15th, 2006
a cynic writes..

accused(?) me of being a ethical relativist :)

Im not sure why he considers it a bad thing, *or* exactly which form he was referring to.
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 15th, 2006
Oh.

Doesn't he accuse everyone of being a moral relativist? Or maybe not him, but someone gets accused of that at least once a month around here.

On a completely unrelated note, I can't believe how long you kept that name.
Permalink MarkTAW 
January 15th, 2006
"Doesn't he accuse everyone of being a moral relativist?"

maybe. but it was *worse* than that.

he implied that certain people would think the less of my anonymous posts on this web forum because of this fact.

clearly thats a harsh indictment indeed.

a dagger aimed at the heart of my anonymous self.

the bastard.

so, Im just checking.....am I *really* the only ethical relativist here?
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 15th, 2006
" I can't believe how long you kept that name."

heh. me either. Ive grown kind of fond of it I must admit.
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 15th, 2006
Mat Hall's not just an ethical relativist, but a subjective relativist at that.
Permalink  
January 15th, 2006
I'm not into that relativism crap. I believe in God, baseball, apple pie and motherhood. And there aint no shades of grey from where I sit. Only liberals believe in that relativism shit.
Permalink Bubba 
January 15th, 2006
The deliberate killing of civilians is wrong whoever or whereever they are. Whatever the religion, whatever the race, whatever the ethnicity.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 16th, 2006
In case anyone's wondering what this is about in the thread "blowing up innocents. oops" JHC clarified some of his earlier comments thus:

"so...I feel genuinely sorry for these 17 killed peasants, and not the slightest bit sad for the 40 british civilians killed in the underground."

Which seems crystal clear, indicating his comments on 8/7/05* were genuine and not the common or garden troll I'd concluded they were at the time. Personally, I'm not sophist enough to accept the argument.

* http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?off.9.157754.173
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 16th, 2006
There's only one absolute, and that's that there's only one absolute. Everything else is relative.
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 16th, 2006
"The deliberate killing of civilians is wrong whoever or whereever they are."

how about deliberate vs non-deliberate but unavoidable?

say...al queda (sp?) targeting the underground as a symbolic point, with dead civilians the unavoidable collaterol damage?

or bush bombing baghdad, aiming at military targets but unavoidably killing civilians, incliding woman and children.

or terrorists deliberately killing the children in that school in wherever it was.


which of those 3 is worse? or are they all equal?
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
January 16th, 2006
It wouldn't be beyond the wit of man to bomb the Tube network over night when it was closed to the public, the likely casualties would be bill stickers then.

If you've made the valuation that individual human life, whatever its status or uniform, is less than the value of your aim then you won't care about loss of life. It's the irrationality of valuing the aim so highly which is the problem.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 16th, 2006
"al queda (sp?) targeting the underground as a symbolic point, with dead civilians the unavoidable collaterol damage?"

I think your assumption that dead civilians were an unavoidable consequence of the bombs is false. Had they planted the bombs in the trains and then detonated them at 3am there'd have been an awful lot fewer casualties.

"or bush bombing baghdad, aiming at military targets but unavoidably killing civilians, incliding woman and children."

I'm not convinced that blanket bombing was their only choice, but these days there seems to be a stubborn belief that all battles should be fought from the air first. If you know that your target is small and that a lot of civilians are around, chucking a load of dirty great bombs on the area seems a dumb strategy, and sending in the SAS (or equivalent) seems like it would have been a much better strategy.

"or terrorists deliberately killing the children in that school in wherever it was."

This one is just bad, full stop.

Anyway, of the three the third is probably the worst as it's almost irrefutable that the children were the target; at least the other two were intended to do some non-civilian-killing "good" (from the point of view of the agressor). Broadly speaking, though, no matter what your justifications, deliberately killing civilians[1] is bad, and being "less bad" than some other similar act is hardly something to be proud of.

[1] "Unavoidable collateral damage" is still deliberate killing of civilians -- if you know they're there and you know they're going to get caught up in your actions then you're killing them deliberately. They may not be your primary target, but so what?
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 16th, 2006
Obviously it was "unavoidable" that they chose rush hour. Imagine if they chosen 11.00 on a Sunday night - the tubes would have been packed...

As regards (y)our glorious leader's specific depredations - should there be grounds for prosecution under Protocol 1 Section 51 of the Conventions which cover these things then I'd cheer it from the roof tops. Although I think they're as likely to be prosecuted as the lads from Dewsbury...
Permalink a cynic writes... 
January 16th, 2006
"is anyone on this forum *not* guilty of ethical relativism?"

Personally, I believe there is Good and Bad in nearly every situation. I think the real measure is if someone can identify the Good vs the Bad and still make the decision.

Even saying "the world is full of greys" implicitly builds on the fact that there are Black and White somewhere in there...
Permalink KC 
January 16th, 2006
"implicitly builds on the fact that there are Black and White somewhere in there"

No it doesn't.
Permalink Mat Hall 
January 16th, 2006
War is evil even if it is neccessary.

Sometimes disagreemts that at first seem to stem from ethical differences is actually about difference in judgement of facts.

Imagine a Christian Al Qaeda organization that perform a 911 to say Iran and a leader of the organization is hiding in US. And say Iran can airbombing a US village. Would your judgement be any different?
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 16th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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