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who should determine what is "right"? posted 20 Nov 2004, 00:11 by Grantaire, Moderator

The will of the masses, or else the will of the powerful? Or what? view post

posted 20 Nov 2004, 02:11 by Da-krul, Auditor

No-One determines what is right but ourselves, we just get influenced by outside sources (For Good or For Worse). But for who has the most influence over what the Normal joe considers right or wrong, I would have to say the Massess. view post

posted 05 Dec 2004, 08:12 by saintjon, Auditor

Yeah if the masses don't like what the power tries to tell them you just get an overthrow. The trouble is when you get into different kinds of power. Some people's power derives specifically from their ability to influence the masses, like celebrities. but again, they can only go so far in a certain amount of time before the masses decide they don't like what they're hearing. view post

posted 11 Dec 2004, 15:12 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

It seems pretty clear that our intuitions of what's right or wrong are largely determined by the preexisting values of the communities we're socialized into as children. It's a matter of training. view post

posted 11 Dec 2004, 17:12 by Aesmael, Candidate

I would want to know first if there is such a thing as 'right' and how can it be identified - or even if it is a conditional thing or exists only after being 'created'/defined. But to be trite, 'right' should be those best able able to do so, whoever that turns out to be. Provided it does not conflict with the greater good and happiness of Aesmael. :lol: Hmm. Thought I had something more useful/interesting to respond with. If it comes back, so will I. view post

posted 14 Dec 2004, 21:12 by Anonymous, Subdidact

What is right? By asking the question and pondering, the answer is created. The questioner decides what is right, and decides who should decide. Of course, knowing what should happen in any given fantasy about right and wrong is different than affecting the outcome of the fantasy. view post

posted 03 Mar 2005, 02:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

Who should determine determine what is "right"? Why, me, of course! Is there any doubt? :roll: view post

posted 06 Mar 2006, 21:03 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

A massive super computer. view post

I'm confused... posted 07 Mar 2006, 15:03 by mr nobuddy, Candidate

Are you asking who determines what's right, or what should determine what's right? The first can be explained, but the second is a matter of opinion and of argumentations. I can do my best with the first one, but I am unable to decide on the second. I like to compare new ideas to mutations. According to the evolutionary theory, the species that is more adaptable to changing circumstances, or the mutation that makes a species more adaptable, will survive. The others will wither and die. Meaning that when ideas compete, the one that has an advantage over the other, be it providing evidence for it (evolutionary theory), or providing certainty in life (religion), or because they are more adaptable to a changing society, or because of other reasons. Slavery used to be accepted by society, but a mutation came to be, according to which slavery should be illigal. The mutation had the advantage over the traditional belief that people no longer saw blacks as "animals" or "inferior", but as normal human beings. And as is stated, in a way ideas are passed on like DNA. If you grow up in an environment where a certain idea dominates, you are likely to accept it rather than reject it. I wish I could add more, or make it a better explanation, but I can't. :? There is something missing in here, but I can't lay my finger on it. Tear this one apart if you wish. view post

posted 07 Mar 2006, 16:03 by unJon, Auditor

I think the missing link in that argument is equating "right" to "best able to multiply." There are a bunch of steps to that argument and cannot be taken for granted. view post

posted 08 Mar 2006, 14:03 by mr nobuddy, Candidate

You got me. And I seem to have killed this argument before it even had a decent launch. :? I'll try to give a countering argument, but I'll have to think on it. If I ever find one. Gods I suck at this. I fear that I can't find a countering argument. Sorry, it seems you win. :? :) view post

posted 14 Mar 2006, 18:03 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

well, one the one hand, i would say that it is up to the individual to decide what is right. however, what if one person thinks it is right to kill someone out of revenge? it is up to those who are in power to set out some rules and guidlines as to what is right and wrong. i don;t think those who are in power should decide upon things that are individual. for example, marijuana is illegal. they think it's wrong to smoke it. however, that should be something that is up to an individual to decide upon. holding the door for an elderly person is right, but people don;t do it as much as they should. certain things that affect other people should be outlined by the masses and those in power. things that only affect yourself whould be decided upon by yourself. view post

posted 15 Mar 2006, 04:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

funny, noone even attempted to suggest that right and wrong are inherent in the human mind....for the sake of argument, I'm gunna say that it is, I'm gunna rock the boat alittle :) . And in attempts to define right *hides behind bullet-proof glass* I'd say "right" or "good" is the conforming to nature....if man gets burnt by fire, he doesn't touch fire again. touching fire is bad. As for things like courtesy, kindness, compassion, and the many other things our society holds to be "good" I really can't say who should determine those to be benevolent, but I can't help but notice that these things are pretty much universally accepted as good in most societies. ok, that first part was more of a play on the words "good" and "bad" seeing as how the both have different connotations in different other words, I was bein a smartass :D [/i] view post

posted 15 Mar 2006, 11:03 by Peter, Auditor

[quote:1nj1ltaa]And in attempts to define right *hides behind bullet-proof glass* I'd say "right" or "good" is the conforming to nature....if man gets burnt by fire, he doesn't touch fire again. touching fire is bad[/quote:1nj1ltaa] First of all, we shouldn't use right and good as meaning the same thing, cos then we lose some rather useful distinctions. After all, we might want to distinguish between paying off a debt and giving to charity as moral actions. The former is morally and legally required (there was a promise), the amount of money to change hands is specified and once that amount has been paid the moral obligation disappears. The latter is morally required (on some accounts at least) or morally praiseworthy (on others), but there is no set amount which ought to be given, nor is there any foreseeable point where our moral obligations to be charitable are going to be completed. I would suggest that the former type of obligation be called 'right' and the latter 'good' and furthermore that we have duties towards both (duties of right and duties of benevolence). I should note that there are other accounts of 'good' and 'right', such as claiming that what is good is what creates happiness in the world and what is right is just what is most good. I prefer my version, I think it better captures our moral intuitions. [quote:1nj1ltaa]well, one the one hand, i would say that it is up to the individual to decide what is right. however, what if one person thinks it is right to kill someone out of revenge? it is up to those who are in power to set out some rules and guidlines as to what is right and wrong. [/quote:1nj1ltaa] If the government [i:1nj1ltaa]ought[/i:1nj1ltaa] to intervene and stop certain individuals from doing some things which he thinks of as 'right' then don't we think that this implies that really there is a right and a wrong and at least one of the two actors here is mistaken (of course both could be). So the prospective murderer thinks he is right in trying to kill someone and we think that he is wrong. But it cannot simply be up to the government to set up guidelines as to what is right and wrong, because they could be mistaken too, and governments can do a lot of damage when they think they are doing the right thing. After all, the Nazis thought it was right for ordinary citizens to hand Jews over to the state and they legislated to that effect. This hardly makes it right. So we get back to our conundrum, who decides what is right and how should we act on this. If we say the individual, we seem to be giving murderers free license. If we say the state we could be letting ourselves in for something worse. What is needed is some general set of principles, based upon some universal human (although not limited to humans) characteristic which creates a level playing field for people to debate on. Perhaps utility (happiness) can determine the right, or perhaps rationality. Of course there is no such universal system, but we can work towards one by rational dialogue. And with regards to the problem of state vs individual, what we need to do is to engage in a process of reflective equilibrium where we as citizens restrain the state, but the state also restrains us and eventually we will come to a point where we recognise the full legitimacy of what the state asks of us and the state recognises the full legitimacy of our control over it. Of course this will never come to pass, but it is an ideal we can work towards. P.S. Right now I should be preparing revision notes for my finals which start in just under 10 weeks. Yaaaaaaay, no wait... crap. view post

posted 29 Jul 2006, 08:07 by Iago, Candidate

the opposite of "wrong"? it seems a sterile, academic, and in my view, pointless question. A more important question is: what do I want? is that consistant with what I currently view as the greatest good for me? are there obstacles/risks associated in getting what I want? is the percieved benefit/gratification of getting what I want worth taking on the risks I have identified? I'm sure there are more questions I should be associating with "What do I want? (i.e. what is right?), but I just got back from lunch, and I think I have to go put my toilet into therapy. so......... wait for it......... right now, it's the right time for me to go drop a duece! and if I were a betting man, i would bet that I am going to feel al-right when I am done.... sweet. view post

posted 20 Aug 2006, 20:08 by Peter, Auditor

Right is the opposite of wrong. That might seem to be either hugely uninformative, or at best unargued. After all if that is the case, which I am assuming it is, then I can legitimately ask what is wrong. If you can then define wrong in some concrete terms and hence derive what is right all well and good, a useful contribution, provided one can argue the case for all this. If you then go on to define wrong as the opposite of right then you say nothing at all about either definition, at least nothing concrete. If that is your point, that nothing concrete can be said about these concepts because they are meaningless, then you should argue it, because it is at least contentious to claim that right and wrong are meaningless terms (after all many people appear to use and understand them in some sort of fashion and by the principle of charity we should give them the benefit of the doubt). Without dealing with the question of what right and wrong are it seems impossible to then claim that it is a futile question. If there is such a thing as right (as commonly understood), as I have argued (i.e. stemming from our basic capacity to think and act rationally), then the claim that self-interest is the only cogent methid of making decisions seems not only wrong, but utterly unfounded. At the very least, to be able to claim the ethical egoism (I presume you think that everyone should act in their own interests, not that everyone should act in your interests, if not, then why is what is logical for you not also logical for others) you espouse you must present some sort of argument. Why is it more important to ask what do I want? After all if there is such a thing as "right", then generally it is part of the definition of "right" that it is more important than desire. That one can "ought" to do X and want to do Y implies no contradiction, but that it is more important to do Y usually requires some explaining (like Nietzche's [i:1pvm2vgu]Beyond Good and Evil[/i:1pvm2vgu] etc.). Anyway, I am going to stop here as I want to play computer games :D . view post

posted 22 Aug 2006, 23:08 by vercint, Peralogue

Actually, right is the opposite of left. Which is why communists are so evil. view post

posted 23 Aug 2006, 05:08 by Harrol, Moderator

[quote:1qz5q90y]Actually, right is the opposite of left. Which is why communists are so evil.[/quote:1qz5q90y] That makes perfectly good sense. This debate seems to use alot of circular reasoning. Especially if you accept the belief that there are no absolutes. Even though the statement that there are no absolutes is an absolute in and of itself. view post

posted 24 Aug 2006, 09:08 by Peter, Auditor

[quote:1wj559ws]Quote: Actually, right is the opposite of left. Which is why communists are so evil. That makes perfectly good sense.[/quote:1wj559ws] If by this you mean precisely that we can know what left is by knowing that it is the opposite of right and vice cersa, then I do strongly disagree with this idea. To say [i:1wj559ws]only[/i:1wj559ws] that right is the opposite of left and vice versa does not tell us that they exist as a form of spatial relation, that they work laterally rather than vertically etc. and that doesn't seem to be reasonable. If not then I could claim to use blarg and blorg meaningfully but only say that blarg is the opposite of blorg and vice versa and surely no one would accept that blarg and blorg are meaningful (at least not as I have portrayed it) If on the other hand you mean that we can come to know one of the two meanings independently of the other (learning what left is first say) and can then extrapolate the other from this, then this is right, but fails to address the question of why we can learn left (presumably through observation, being told that x, y and z are to the left and abstracting what is similar, or learning to use language involving the word left in a publicly consistent manner etc.), but not learn right through exactly the same way. Hence, if the analogy between right and wrong and right and left is to be accurate (which you seem to be claiming), then you must, if you are to be consistent, admit that it is not only possible to give an account of these notions independently of the other, but that it is necessary to do so with at least one of them. [quote:1wj559ws]This debate seems to use alot of circular reasoning[/quote:1wj559ws] If so, could you point out where in the arguments so that I can defend myself, or reconsider my views in the light of the circularity. [quote:1wj559ws]Especially if you accept the belief that there are no absolutes. Even though the statement that there are no absolutes is an absolute in and of itself.[/quote:1wj559ws] If there is one absolute, what arguments do you have for this, for why should we accept this claim if it is not backed up (and any arguments that it is unimportant to have arguments for that claim will need to be absolute if you are right) and hence, these must presumably be absolute also, otherwise the absolute statement is unfounded and ungrounded. But if these arguments are absolute, then so must their premises and if those premises are absolute, then perhaps they need to be supported by other things. It seems to me that if you accept that there must be at least one absolute thing you already admit a number of other things, including logic, certain basic premises etc etc. But with those premises and logic it seems reasonable to think we can derive more conclusions. So it seems unlikely that the only absolutes there could be would be logic, certain premises and the conclusion that apart from these nothing is absolute. view post


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