Morality and it's Imposition

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Morality and it's Imposition

Post by Red Aegis on Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:18 pm

A child is being beaten by some hypothetical person. Is it right to attack the aggressor? I think that it is. This use of force goes beyond one's need to defend one's self and towards the defense of another. This leap of sovereignty is not a trivial one and must be further examined if we are to reach the true nature of the right use of force.

If one is to agree that defending this hypothetical child is the right thing to do there are certain principles that one will probably hold.

One of those principles being that witnessing such an atrocity is simply displeasing to the witness and this would be enough to justify action. If this is the case, where is the line drawn between one's pleasure and right action. Is the desire for one not to view such a thing enough to warrant force? To do so would be to disable the aggressor's pleasure and assist the child's. Is this simply a case of two opinions against one enough to justify action against the dissent? I think that that is a weak argument that may easily be debunked so I won't go into it. The stronger is the argument for one's own desire to not see the beating.

This desire and justification for action implies that morality comes from what is pleasing to the individual. I see problems with this. One being that it is too lax a definition. This leads to an inability to give a coherent definition of justice between people (I know this is a consequentialist argument). Without this sense of justice, one's own justice only reaches as far as the power one has to force others.

Another issue that I see is the fleeting nature of human fancy. This being that what one finds pleasing is not a constant and changes with the times. I do not think it necessary to go further into evidence for this.

Now that I have dealt with some of the justifications based upon one's own fancy I'll move on to those based upon rights. These rights will be admittedly constructed from moral axioms of one's choosing but they will be applied towards all humanity. I think that this requires a prerequisite axiom that force is justified, providing a nice little bit of circular logic, but what the hell, let's go with it for a bit. When you extend these rights to other people the justification for force becomes much simpler.

To defend the rights of others one should use force. This is based upon an axiom that I will call "the self-defense" axiom. The term self-defense in this new sense defends not one's self but one's moral framework. What I mean by this is that if you see a violation of a person's rights based upon your own framework and you do nothing is that not invalidating your framework? I think that it does.

If we are to accept this self-defense axiom we could (going back to the original scenario) help the child without being philosophically inconsistent. The problem comes when this is applied to all humanity. Does this principle give a justification for a patriarchal authoritarian state?

I feel that I have put the the choice of non-action into an absurd position, and one must agree with action to be moral. The question of how far this self-defense principle goes on is another question that needs answering. I'm still looking for a balance before I set upon acting to my full ability, as I want to be as moral as I can be.

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Re: Morality and it's Imposition

Post by no-maps on Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:16 pm

There are a few potentialities for you to expand your meaning here.

The notion of doing something simply for pleasure is utilitarian. A person could be putting themselves at great risk for attacking someone who disciplines their child. The court could decide they used unnecessary force. The person could fight back. The act in itself is not rewarding to the actor. We can also say this person acts on some principle, such as the child is defenseless and the battle of adult and child is unfair. Therefore, the person who interferes is acting not out of pleasure but out of principle. Indeed, perhaps it distresses them to act out of principle as they do so. Morality has very little to do with this choice, and morality is becoming constantly less necessary as a pretext for some action. The potential person who interferes should consider why they do so from a communistic basis, and their every action should be an action towards transmuting the mode of production. Perhaps if he sees every child as the charge of every adult, including themselves, then they have every right to determine how the child is treated. If the abuse damages the child's potential, ie retards their development, then they are protecting society at large by intervening.

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