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Old February 23 2013, 09:39 PM   #352
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Re: I hope for more traditional space battles

UFO wrote: View Post
Ignoring sensors, observed damage, and such like, the fact that Nero is talking rather than shooting might be clue. If he is so offended by Kirk I am not even sure there was a point in talking anyway.
I am not ignoring sensors or damage. The information Kirk has is not sufficient to establish that Nero is weaponless, that's all.

And I donít agree we (nor Kirk) know the things you went on to assume we do. Eg. We donít know Krik can save Nero. Kirk barely saved himself! Not that knowing them would justify anything in my view. The assumption it does is your unsupported opinion.
I don't really care if Kirk can or can't save Nero. Indeed, if he can't, all that does is remove one of the reasons why killing him would be wrong. But he appears to think that he can, so I dealt with that issue anyway.

How strange. I would not have said that any of the reasons you give are why it is typically wrong to do that. It is mostly wrong because we are robbing Nero or anyone in his position of their remaining life and that hasn't been removed.
Yeah, it's pretty clear that you and I approach the issue differently and with differing ethical assumptions.

In short, if Nero would be happy not to be in a blackhole, or to be rescued from such a predicament, then he his clearly not "indifferent to his death" (one of your conditions for it being OK to shoot him). This is what the hypothetical tells us. This was its purpose, not to give Nero options he doesn't have. The most you can say is, given his actual situation, he is resigned to his fate. But that is a very different thing.

Your mistake, it seems to me, is in assuming that someone making a choice that leads to their death implies that such a person is indifferent to their death. Obviously there are many situations where that isnít the case such as when someone puts their life at risk to protect their children. In no way are they indifferent to death. Neither is Nero as far as we can tell.
This is just a word game. Suppose that my very dear friend is suffering from a painful and debilitating illness. So crippling is this affliction that, though his pain is such that he wants nothing more than to die, he is unable even to end his own life. This friend asks me to assist in his suicide. Initially I agree, since I have determined using my criteria that it is not wrong to do so.

Now suppose that, just as I am about to painlessly inject him with a lethal dose of morphine, a thought occurs to me. Say, Bill, I ask him, even though in your current circumstances you want nothing more than to die, wouldn't you prefer to not have this disease? And Bill responds Don't be an idiot, of course I would.

Now, if Bill didn't have his illness, it would certainly be wrong of me to inject him, wouldn't it? Your reasoning would seem to imply that it would be wrong of me to inject him even though he does.

Of course it is ironic to spend so much effort on such an obvious point, only to have it be irrelevant to the question of whether it is right to kill someone if they did have that state of mind in Nero's position. Quite frankly it wouldn't change anything. Killing them would still be wrong. As far as I can see, you can't base general moral principles on such subjective and arbitrary opinions. Neither yours nor the ones you assign to Kirk.
Yeah, as I say, clearly we disagree. All I'll say is that your opinions are no less subjective and arbitrary than mine.

You haven't told me what you are trying to prove with your situation so I can't judge whether it matters or not. I am saying that in a theoretical situation X, Nero's likely reaction would show us Y. In this case his state of mind. All you have given me is a situation without saying what it is supposed to tell or prove to us. It could matter in a lot of ways. Who knows? What's crucial is that the thing being demonstrated is not dependent on the reality of the counterfactual. The counterfactual is just a tool.
I am saying that given circumstances X, Nero's state of mind is Y, and therefore Z, it is acceptable to pull the trigger.

You are responding by telling me that if circumstances were ¨X, then Nero's state of mind would be ¨Y, and therefore ¨Z (it is not acceptable to pull the trigger). And you are claiming ¨Z even though X is in fact the case.

However, it's also true that Kirk's circumstances are such that it's possible for him to rescue Nero (A), that he would save lives in doing so (B), and that therefore if Nero is willing to be rescued, then Kirk must rescue him (C).

However, if a crazed Vulcan is on board the Enterprise who can and will blow up the ship, then it is not possible for Kirk to rescue Nero (even if he beams Nero on to the Enterprise, Nero will die when the Vulcan destroys the ship), (¨A). Therefore Kirk will not save lives by attempting to rescue Nero, (¨B) and therefore Kirk must not rescue him (¨C), and in fact (I would argue) is compelled to pull the trigger (D).

Now you can see that both of these arguments proceed by claiming that a posited counterfactual alters the actual ethical circumstances simply by being posited, and that its falsehood is no objection to that. I don't agree and I think that if you still accept the XYZ argument, you must also accept the ABC argument.

Great, then if we assume there was a Romulan rescue ship (and you agree Nero would likely accept help from it), that would show us that he isn't indifferent to his death (not that it matters), just resigned and therefore, according to your own "rules", Kirk shouldn't shoot. Hallelujah, I think we have got there.
See above for why we aren't there yet.
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