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Old February 26 2013, 07:17 AM   #386
yousirname's Avatar
Re: I hope for more traditional space battles

UFO wrote: View Post
There is no way you can know that.
The whole scene was clearly intended to show Nero was defenceless.
I'll just leave those two sentences side by side without further comment.

I think your average police force would take a contrary view. I note the business about the victim’s mental state is missing form that list however. Preferring death doesn't cover it.
I consider smoking marijuana to be ethically acceptable. Your average police force certainly takes a contrary view. What do I care?

OK lets try again: For some reason, one of your criteria is that someone has to be "indifferent to their pending death"
I chose the word 'indifferent' to describe Nero's state of mind regarding his impending death. If you prefer the word 'resigned', so be it; I won't quibble over that. His state of mind does not change with the word we use to describe it.

By demonstrating that Nero would accept help from the right quarter if it had existed, my counterfactual shows that he wasn’t indifferent to his death even in the actual situation he faced. If someone is indifferent to their death they wouldn’t care if they could be saved. I think we agree Nero would care if only to continue his revenge and his attempts to make the universe safe for Romulans everywhere. By your own rules therefore, you have to hold off on pulling the trigger.
But I have already demonstrated, using the same logic that you have used above, that Kirk is ethically compelled to pull the trigger. And I see below that you seem to have ignored that.

With respect to your example above, I have never argued we should base our decisions on situations that are not the case. But such situations could tell us something about the actual case.
That's exactly what you're doing. You're arguing that Kirk must not pull the trigger because Nero would accept help from a Romulan, even though there is no Romulan there.

As for whether you would be right to inject poor old Bill, that could depend on a number of factors beyond his illness and his desire for death (how long-term his desire is, pain relief etc). But assuming they are accounted for, I have no issue with voluntary euthanasia. The voluntary bit is important however! Nero didn't volunteer from where I was sitting.
The voluntary part is only relevant insofar as it underscores the error in your reasoning. What matters is the logical form of the argument. Again, it follows the form of your Romulan rescuer argument - because Bill would prefer not to be ill, I must not euthanise him, despite his fervent pleas that I do so.

ETA this has nothing to do with your own ethical principles. It is given in this scenario that it is my principles we are considering; so any objection you may or may not have to euthanasia in and of itself isn't relevant, since we are starting from my ethical principles.

I am not being subjective in the sense that I don’t have to try to figure out how someone is feeling in order to decide if its "OK" to kill them or not. That is dangerous. We disagree on how Nero is feeling for example (although I trust that has now changed ). Based on more agreed moral principles, I would say its not OK no matter how he is feeling if I don't have his agreement along with any other relevant criteria (see above). Even then it can be debateable depending on circumstances.
I'm not saying that you're "being subjective". I'm simply noting that we clearly start from differing ethical principles.

I would note, however, that much of your argument has consisted of inserting your ethical principles into my reasoning and noting that once that's done, my conclusion no longer follows from the facts. It's no surprise that you arrive at a different conclusion from mine if you start from a different set of assumptions. It's also not at all persuasive.

As for my views being arbitrary, all moral principles probably come down to some sort of axiomatic position but generally one that has some social agreement, which yours do not appear to. In fact quite the reverse in my view.
Not that I care a fig for social agreement, but I will say, there's a reason those box-office-obsessed Hollywood producers put that scene in the climax of a tentpole summer release. And I'm not sure that reason is "Everyone agrees with UFO".

No, as demonstrated above, my counterfactual showed that Nero's state of mind was never Y, even in the actual situation (that turned out to be your subjective impression), and thus it was never OK to pull the trigger even by your criteria.
You have 'demonstrated', if I've understood you correctly, that you don't feel 'indifferent' is a suitable label for Nero's state of mind. You might as well be telling me that you prefer 'W' to 'Y'. Regardless of the label, Nero's state of mind regarding his death being what it is (viz. "I would rather die in agony than accept help from [Kirk]), then with everything else being as before, there's no change in my position.

That would at least give Kirk the excuse he so desperately needs.
So... you're not responding to the fact that the argument is logically identical to your Romulan rescuer argument and leaves Kirk ethically compelled to pull the trigger (a stronger view than the one I actually hold)?

Last edited by yousirname; February 26 2013 at 07:21 AM. Reason: Minor edit for clarity
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