View Single Post
Old February 26 2013, 11:33 PM   #408
UFO's Avatar
Re: I hope for more traditional space battles

yousirname wrote: View Post
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.
And yet I am still right on both counts. Your claim contradicted Kirk's behaviour and my second sentence is what the vast majority of unbiasied viewers would obviously agree with.

I consider smoking marijuana to be ethically acceptable. Your average police force certainly takes a contrary view. What do I care?
There will always be some more minor issues we disagree with "society" about, but when it comes to the basics they tend to centre around conflicts between "the value of life" and "quality of life". While I often come down on the latter side, I think the concept that life has intrinsic value and that we shouldn't just extinguish it because we believe "normal objections" have been removed, has value. It is obviously safer for a start. Although I don't claim society is always right, I think the latter principle has been tested in the cauldron of experience that purely utilitarian philosophies may not take adequate account of.

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.
No they don't but it helps to know what is being described so more precision would be helpful.
A) Those two words describe completely different states:
- Indifferent meaning: he doesnít care if he lives or dies
- Resigned meaning: he isnít necessarily happy with his death but has accepted it given his circumstances and decisions.
B) Neroís state of mind is not "indifference to his death".
(but see later comments on this issue where you appear to be describing a third state of mind)

Of course even the above is a red herring from my point of view as I donít see any way that another person's state of mind gives someone else a right to unilaterally decide if they die or not.

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.
In the original scenario there was definitely no compulsion so I imagine you are referring to the crazy Romulan analogy. That one is irrelevant to the initial issue because not only is it not the case, but it tells us nothing about the actual situation. The latter part seems to be the bit you are missing.

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.
No I'm not. I am not saying Kirk shouldn't pull the trigger because of a non existant Romulan rescue. He shouldn't pull the trigger because he doesn't have the state of mind you require him to have as I understood your requirement until recently.

Of course that recent clarification about your view of Nero's mind state, seems to make my counterfactual no longer relevent. This is obviously unfortunate as it was always clear I was objecting to the notion he was "indifferent to his death".

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.
No because as above I am not arguing Kirk should hold fire because of a non existient ďRomulan rescuerĒ, so I donít require you to abstain from euthanising him on the basis of a situation that doesnít exist. If your hypothetical told us something important about the actual situation, things might be different but I didnít see you suggesting that or what it might be.

Sadly many of my responses are probably now only of historical interest to explain why you thought my reasoning was in error.

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.
Thatís fair enough. Quite right. However I donít have a particularly good handle on you actual position (or at least the reasons behind it). Only two of the ďrulesĒ you have given seem reasonably general. The others don't appear to have any real bearing on such decisions.

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.
Partly thatís due to my above admission, but I am not so much ďinserting my ethical principlesĒ as simply stating my position. As I previously understood your poistion, your defence of Kirkís actions had already failed due to you not satisfying your own ethical criteria. Namely the requirement for Nero to be indifferent to his death (he isnít). That seems to have now changed.

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".
Iím sure you are right about that!

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.
As per my comments above, perhaps we have sorted out that definition problem. I have to say that "indifferent" or "pro death" attitudes on the part of the potential victim made a certain amount of sense from a purely logical standpoint (still not enough in my opinion of course). However the idea that it is OK to kill someone A) whose death is imminent and inevitable and B) who would rather die than accept help from the person who is thinking of killing them, not so much. Even on purely practical grounds, your criteria takes no account of Nero's possible mental illness etc, for a start.

By the way, as a matter of interest, would Kirk have to hold fire if there actually had been a Romulan in a position to help Nero and Nero was willing to accept it? Sounds like you are saying he would. But that woudl open up its own can of worms (which I have no desire to get into!).

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)?
I may not be following your meaning here but at the risk of injecting my own values, I would not agree it leaves Kirk ethically compelled to do anything. But it would provide a defendable reason for doing what actually happened. Of course the traditional Star Trek plot would have them thwarting the bad guy at the last moment and at least not gunning Nero down in cold blood.

yousirname wrote: View Post
UFO wrote: View Post
Are you aware of anyone who shares those particular criteria?
I would guess that most utilitarians or consequentialists would take a broadly similar view in their criteria, whether or not they actually agreed with me.
I can see that in terms of general philosophy, but I was thinking more of this specific situation. That, I suspect, they may have difficulty with.

Shazam! wrote: View Post
Of all the arguments to have over Star Trek, Kirk and co. blowing up the bad guys at the end is about as low down on the list as it gets.
I guess that would depend on what you value most about Star Trek.

EyalM wrote: View Post
How about Insurrection? The Enterprise left Rua'fu to be blow up even thought they could have beamed him on board.
And his only crime was trying to heal billions...
Another brilliant misrepresentation of the actual situation. Ie. He seemed willing to Kill Picard and others in aid of his cause. I am not however defending the premise behind the movie in general. Ideally they should have saved him too but at least they didn't execute him out of hand. So if it wasn't quite in earlier ST tradition it didn't cross the line in my view.

BillJ wrote: View Post
Anyone arguing that one Kirk's "fire everything" is anymore respectable than anothers is simply deluding themselves.
The Chang business is clearly a fair battle on the part of Kirk and Sulu given the need for split second decsions. Three or four shots per ship (obviously not "fire everything") is what would be expected and the whole thing was over in about 10 seconds. It is just not comparable with Nero's situation (unless you are highlighting the differences).
UFO is offline   Reply With Quote