Affluence Argument

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #60 on: November 17, 2010, 06:07:17 PM »
It is too little too late, but I think I know how you might have claimed that iPod.

Consider this. Anyone who has less than you, is in more need than you. You should of course only donate to those who have less. You don't need to give Bill Gates money as a charitable donation to make sure he is ok. Now even if someone is only slightly poorer than you, they still do not have as much. By definition they are more needy than you.

The world's total household wealth is 125 trillion dollars. There are 6881800000 people on the planet. Therefore, if everyone donated to people until all the world's wealth was equalled and no one was any more needy than anyone else, everyone on the planet would have $18,163 dollars worth of assets.

Now you are a student. Do you have assets of less than $18,163? If the answer is yes, then you are not someone who should give to charity. You are actually someone who should be receiving. You are the needy. You are the very sort of person who should receive donations, as you do not yet have your fair share of the world's wealth. You are not expected to contribute. Only to receive.

How do you think that would have played out? Its cold hard reasoning, but it is indisputable, don't you think?

His response would be. "Which premise are you rejecting?"

Sorry made a mistake ... new angle.
Premise two. There is a difference. Jim is a wealthy stock broker who goes on scuba holidays. His net worth is more than $18000. Yours is not.

Bam, enjoy your ice-cream.

So let's tweek the thought experiment. Jim makes minimal wage. He is treating himself and wants to go scuba diving. Then the same situation occurs.

Is buying oxygen tanks that he will never intend to use over saving children justifiable now?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 06:10:30 PM by EnglshGentleman »

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Thork

Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #61 on: November 17, 2010, 06:22:12 PM »
It is too little too late, but I think I know how you might have claimed that iPod.

Consider this. Anyone who has less than you, is in more need than you. You should of course only donate to those who have less. You don't need to give Bill Gates money as a charitable donation to make sure he is ok. Now even if someone is only slightly poorer than you, they still do not have as much. By definition they are more needy than you.

The world's total household wealth is 125 trillion dollars. There are 6881800000 people on the planet. Therefore, if everyone donated to people until all the world's wealth was equalled and no one was any more needy than anyone else, everyone on the planet would have $18,163 dollars worth of assets.

Now you are a student. Do you have assets of less than $18,163? If the answer is yes, then you are not someone who should give to charity. You are actually someone who should be receiving. You are the needy. You are the very sort of person who should receive donations, as you do not yet have your fair share of the world's wealth. You are not expected to contribute. Only to receive.

How do you think that would have played out? Its cold hard reasoning, but it is indisputable, don't you think?

His response would be. "Which premise are you rejecting?"

Sorry made a mistake ... new angle.
Premise two. There is a difference. Jim is a wealthy stock broker who goes on scuba holidays. His net worth is more than $18000. Yours is not.

Bam, enjoy your ice-cream.

So let's tweek the thought experiment. Jim makes minimal wage. He is treating himself and wants to go scuba diving. Then the same situation occurs.

Is buying oxygen tanks that he will never intend to use over saving children justifiable now?
The supposition has to assume logic. If Jim earns minimum wage you can bet your ass he won't be wasting money on oxygen he doesn't need. Quiet simply he can't afford to. Only people with more money than they need can do that. No one who has a total net worth of less than $18000 wastes money when they don't have to. Should he spend the money on the children? Actually in a round about sort of a way no. He should pay if he is the only one there, but then be reimbursed by the rich to re-level his wealth, so net cost to him is zero. It is not his job under these rules to give anyone else money. That is the burden of those with over $18000.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #62 on: November 17, 2010, 06:27:06 PM »
It is too little too late, but I think I know how you might have claimed that iPod.

Consider this. Anyone who has less than you, is in more need than you. You should of course only donate to those who have less. You don't need to give Bill Gates money as a charitable donation to make sure he is ok. Now even if someone is only slightly poorer than you, they still do not have as much. By definition they are more needy than you.

The world's total household wealth is 125 trillion dollars. There are 6881800000 people on the planet. Therefore, if everyone donated to people until all the world's wealth was equalled and no one was any more needy than anyone else, everyone on the planet would have $18,163 dollars worth of assets.

Now you are a student. Do you have assets of less than $18,163? If the answer is yes, then you are not someone who should give to charity. You are actually someone who should be receiving. You are the needy. You are the very sort of person who should receive donations, as you do not yet have your fair share of the world's wealth. You are not expected to contribute. Only to receive.

How do you think that would have played out? Its cold hard reasoning, but it is indisputable, don't you think?

His response would be. "Which premise are you rejecting?"

Sorry made a mistake ... new angle.
Premise two. There is a difference. Jim is a wealthy stock broker who goes on scuba holidays. His net worth is more than $18000. Yours is not.

Bam, enjoy your ice-cream.

So let's tweek the thought experiment. Jim makes minimal wage. He is treating himself and wants to go scuba diving. Then the same situation occurs.

Is buying oxygen tanks that he will never intend to use over saving children justifiable now?
The supposition has to assume logic. If Jim earns minimum wage you can bet your ass he won't be wasting money on oxygen he doesn't need. Quiet simply he can't afford to. Only people with more money than they need can do that. No one who has a total net worth of less than $18000 wastes money when they don't have to. Should he spend the money on the children? Actually in a round about sort of a way no. He should pay if he is the only one there, but then be reimbursed by the rich to re-level his wealth, so net cost to him is zero. It is not his job under these rules to give anyone else money. That is the burden of those with over $18000.

It is absolutely logical. It is a thought experiment. I could change that one submarine to an entire armada of submarines that are trapped underwater if I wanted to. It is a thought experiment, so if that is how it went down, that is how it went down.

Also, if Jim did not make the luxurious purchase, than the argument doesn't apply to him, so this objection doesn't really do anything.

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Thork

Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #63 on: November 17, 2010, 06:32:48 PM »
Where is the problem? If Jim must be reimbursed, he has no problem. Whatever a person spends they always get put back to $18163. Nothing costs anyone. As soon as you lose out, someone richer must help the needy. Which is now Jim, out of pocket to the tune of some oxygen.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #64 on: November 17, 2010, 06:39:40 PM »
Where is the problem? If Jim must be reimbursed, he has no problem.

When did I say this?

Whatever a person spends they always get put back to $18163. Nothing costs anyone. As soon as you lose out, someone richer must help the needy. Which is now Jim, out of pocket to the tune of some oxygen.

Jim was going to pay out of pocket anyways. Remember the oxygen tanks?

Once again, you are reverting to, "I don't have a lot of money, so if I am going to spend it on myself and let those children suffocate."

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Thork

Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #65 on: November 17, 2010, 06:45:54 PM »
Where is the problem? If Jim must be reimbursed, he has no problem.

When did I say this?

Whatever a person spends they always get put back to $18163. Nothing costs anyone. As soon as you lose out, someone richer must help the needy. Which is now Jim, out of pocket to the tune of some oxygen.

Jim was going to pay out of pocket anyways. Remember the oxygen tanks?

Once again, you are reverting to, "I don't have a lot of money, so if I am going to spend it on myself and let those children suffocate."
No, the premise is that you can't enjoy an ice-cream. You can, you are the needy. Only once you acquire more than $18163 is it wrong. You must then give away your excess wealth until you are back to this number. Then you can buy whatever you like.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #66 on: November 17, 2010, 07:00:08 PM »
Where is the problem? If Jim must be reimbursed, he has no problem.

When did I say this?

Whatever a person spends they always get put back to $18163. Nothing costs anyone. As soon as you lose out, someone richer must help the needy. Which is now Jim, out of pocket to the tune of some oxygen.

Jim was going to pay out of pocket anyways. Remember the oxygen tanks?

Once again, you are reverting to, "I don't have a lot of money, so if I am going to spend it on myself and let those children suffocate."
No, the premise is that you can't enjoy an ice-cream. You can, you are the needy. Only once you acquire more than $18163 is it wrong. You must then give away your excess wealth until you are back to this number. Then you can buy whatever you like.

It says that nowhere in the premise.

Indulging in what I reasonably believe is a luxury instead of trying to prevent the horrific deaths of small innocent children.

There is no price tag on when someone is capable of doing this, and when they are not. Jim is indulging on something he knows is a luxury while he could easily prevent these deaths. It is easily within his power. It applies to him.

Are you saying that Jim's actions are immoral if he makes $18163.01 but if he makes $18163.00 he is perfectly fine?

This objection is ridiculous. Lets say I make only $2,000 a year. I am in school. I am in the public library and studying. There is only one other person in the library, the librarian. The librarian eats a Snickers bar, and suddenly has an extreme allergic reaction to it. There is an epee-pen dispenser on the wall, that for $5, I can get one to save her. Then I notice an ice-cream stand across the street, and I am awfully hungry. I then decide to buy ice-cream instead of saving her life. But it is ok. I make $,2000 a year.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 07:15:40 PM by EnglshGentleman »

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Thork

Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #67 on: November 17, 2010, 07:13:17 PM »
You are blurring the lines between a charitable donation and a must be solved right now problem. Jim has to act as he is the only one capable of doing so. But he is not the only one capable of donating to charity. Everyone who has more than $18163 can do that.

He is responsible for saving the children as it is directly up to him whether they live or die. It is not directly down to him is some African children need water to live. He cannot be expected to accept this burden if he earns less than the stated amount. He is the needy. He should receive not give. It is the rich in this case who should help the poor. Not Jim. The rich must give their money. You/Jim whoever can enjoy an ice-cream. Its one of the few meagre assets you have.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #68 on: November 17, 2010, 07:16:51 PM »
I edited for your ridiculous (sorry) needy argument.

You have given no reason why people under a certain amount can get away with letting people die. You have given no reason why people under that amount cannot give to people that are less fortunate then themselves. Are you seriously equating the situation of a person that makes $18,000 with one that makes $40? You are essentially saying, "He isn't as wealthy, so it isn't his problem."

It doesn't matter how wealthy you are. If you let someone die when it was well within your power to save them because you would rather have a luxury, you let them die.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 08:59:53 PM by EnglshGentleman »

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spanner34.5

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #69 on: November 18, 2010, 03:45:21 AM »
The whole initial statement is faulty. A submarine with life support failure will not normally kill through oxygen lack, but co2 poisoning. Introducing oxygen into the sub is unlikely to save anyone. If it is introduced under pressure much above atmospheric the oxygen becomes toxic it's self

If Jim is an experienced diver, he is likely to know this and not waste his money on an almost certain fools errand.
My I.Q. is 85. Or was it 58?

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Lord Wilmore

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #70 on: November 18, 2010, 04:32:49 AM »
As it turns out, it is very workable, it wouldn't destroy the world as we thought. People may be opposed to it, but it isn't unworkable.


I have to say, I've read the article/essay you sent me, and I don't really see where he deals with the point that a world without luxury is not psychologically sustainable. If it isn't, then some degree of luxury is necessary to make the world better. Thus it cannot be immoral.

The argument has no problem with luxury being good for the world. The argument has a problem with a person indulging in what they reasonably believe is a luxury instead of trying to prevent the horrific deaths of small innocent children. My professor actually accepted the premises and conclusion that we gave him.


But the conclusion does not refer to "indulging in what they reasonably believe is a luxury instead of trying to prevent the horrific deaths of small innocent children" as a whole. Instead it simply says "indulging in such a luxury [i.e. what I reasonably believe is a luxury] is immoral" (the "such a luxury" refers to the description in premise two, "what I reasonably believe is a luxury"). This is only valid if we accept the hidden/absent premise that we always possess the power to save the lives of small innocent children (through organisations like CARE etc). If we always possess the power to save the lives of small innocent children, then the conlusion is stating that any and all luxury purchases we make are immoral.


This is what I meant when I said his claim is actually a global claim rather than a local claim. It has been well disguised by hiding a necessary premise, but ultimately that conclusion applies to all purchases we make if you examine the implications of the argument.


I'm also not sure his economic argument about 'market forces' really holds water. 'Market forces' only function when profit is involved, and if all luxury is being given up then no real profit exists. Our capital must leave here in its totality to be invested in saving lives elsewhere. That is not economically sustainable, but again the fact that is not economically sustainable is not the point. The point is if luxury is necessary for the economic stability required to make the world better, then it cannot be immoral. I'd love to see someone knowledgeable in economics have a look at that section, because I believe it would collapse under scrutiny.

The main point was that even if we said that all people started donating because they didn't want to be immoral, there would be a point in which the people can no longer have the power to indulging in what they reasonably believe is a luxury instead of trying to prevent the horrific deaths of small innocent children. At a certain point they can no longer easily prevent these deaths, so the argument no longer applies, and buying luxuries ceases to be immoral. Note the argument also allows for a person to buy luxuries if they simply did not have a choice when it comes to buying luxuries or helping people.

When we formulated our argument, we failed to pay close attention to the wording of the premises. We assumed that it was towards the purchase of all luxuries, when it actually is not.


As I said above, I think the argument does cover all luxuries. Either we can always save the lives of small innocent children, and it applies to all luxuries, or we cannot always save the lives of small innocent children and the conclusion does not follow. The argument cannot have it both ways; it is only the hidden premise which allows it to appear as though it can.
"I want truth for truth's sake, not for the applaud or approval of men. I would not reject truth because it is unpopular, nor accept error because it is popular. I should rather be right and stand alone than run with the multitude and be wrong." - C.S. DeFord

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #71 on: November 18, 2010, 07:50:21 AM »
Again, you are misunderstanding the argument. Yes, it doesn't apply towards every moment that you buy stuff? Why?

"For purposes of the Affluence Argument, I take “luxury” to refer to something I purchase that has very little or no positive moral value.  Moreover, the argument applies to me only if I indulge in what I reasonably believe is something that has very little or no positive moral value.  A house, car, career, modest wardrobe, and many other possessions have more positive moral value than just a little bit."

When you no longer reasonably believe that such an object is merely a luxury, the argument no longer applies. When you can no longer easily prevent the deaths of children, the argument no longer applies.

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Lord Wilmore

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #72 on: November 18, 2010, 09:27:20 AM »
I really don't think I am. This isn't about how he defines luxury, or more accurately how he excludes certain things from the label 'luxury'. According to his argument, all luxury (however that may be defined) is immoral, because we can always save the lives of small innocent children. If some luxury (however that may be defined) is necessary, then that cannot be true.
"I want truth for truth's sake, not for the applaud or approval of men. I would not reject truth because it is unpopular, nor accept error because it is popular. I should rather be right and stand alone than run with the multitude and be wrong." - C.S. DeFord

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #73 on: November 18, 2010, 09:33:38 AM »
I really don't think I am. This isn't about how he defines luxury, or more accurately how he excludes certain things from the label 'luxury'. According to his argument, all luxury (however that may be defined) is immoral, because we can always save the lives of small innocent children. If some luxury (however that may be defined) is necessary, then that cannot be true.

If a certain luxury is necessary, then that means that it would have some amount of positive moral value, which means that it would cease to be a luxury at that point.

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Lord Wilmore

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #74 on: November 18, 2010, 10:09:42 AM »
If a certain luxury is necessary, then that means that it would have some amount of positive moral value, which means that it would cease to be a luxury at that point.


Such a line of thinking renders the main point absurd, and justifies most of the luxuries we use on a day to day basis rather than making them immoral. If it is okay to spend money on things which have no moral value other than that derived their status as purchases which have no moral value, we have reduced the argument to absurdity. Suddenly, things have positive moral value because they have no positive moral value. Their only value is derived from their status as luxuries. Things aren't luxuries because they are luxuries. The definition is thus implausible.
"I want truth for truth's sake, not for the applaud or approval of men. I would not reject truth because it is unpopular, nor accept error because it is popular. I should rather be right and stand alone than run with the multitude and be wrong." - C.S. DeFord

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #75 on: November 18, 2010, 10:29:40 AM »
Such a line of thinking renders the main point absurd, and justifies most of the luxuries we use on a day to day basis rather than making them immoral. If it is okay to spend money on things which have no moral value other than that derived their status as purchases which have no moral value, we have reduced the argument to absurdity.

Could you rephrase this? I don't quite understand what you are stating.

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Thork

Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #76 on: November 18, 2010, 10:31:08 AM »
I edited for your ridiculous (sorry) needy argument.

You have given no reason why people under a certain amount can get away with letting people die. You have given no reason why people under that amount cannot give to people that are less fortunate then themselves. Are you seriously equating the situation of a person that makes $18,000 with one that makes $40? You are essentially saying, "He isn't as wealthy, so it isn't his problem."

It doesn't matter how wealthy you are. If you let someone die when it was well within your power to save them because you would rather have a luxury, you let them die.
Well being as my argument has now been mentally filed on your ridiculous pile, I'll think I will leave it there. The only thing ridiculous are the initial premises. It boils down to owning luxuries is immoral. Well some people work hard for their money. They deserve to spend a bit on themselves and not be guilt tripped about it.

Do not bother to reply. I am sulking.  :'(

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #77 on: November 18, 2010, 10:37:30 AM »
Well being as my argument has now been mentally filed on your ridiculous pile, I'll think I will leave it there.

 :( Sorry.

Well some people work hard for their money. They deserve to spend a bit on themselves

But does this explain a morally relevant difference between my case and Kent’s?  No.  In fact, Kent makes the same assertions to justify his behavior.  But he still behaves immorally.  Since it’s not even a difference between my situation and Kent’s, it can’t be a morally relevant difference.  Finally, maybe I should work hard to prevent such horrific things from happening.

and not be guilt tripped about it.

And that is why this is a hard pill to swallow.

Do not bother to reply. I am sulking.  :'(

Too late.

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Lord Wilmore

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #78 on: November 18, 2010, 10:51:31 AM »
Such a line of thinking renders the main point absurd, and justifies most of the luxuries we use on a day to day basis rather than making them immoral. If it is okay to spend money on things which have no moral value other than that derived their status as purchases which have no moral value, we have reduced the argument to absurdity.

Could you rephrase this? I don't quite understand what you are stating.



We need some luxuries, agreed? Then those luxuries thus become a necessities because they are luxuries. They are luxuries (i.e. have no moral value), but we need luxuries, which makes them necessities, so they have moral value (because they are luxuries). Their only moral value comes from the fact that they are luxuries (and have no other moral value).
"I want truth for truth's sake, not for the applaud or approval of men. I would not reject truth because it is unpopular, nor accept error because it is popular. I should rather be right and stand alone than run with the multitude and be wrong." - C.S. DeFord

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Opportunity To Earn Money For Our Charity.
« Reply #79 on: November 19, 2010, 11:13:16 AM »
Such a line of thinking renders the main point absurd, and justifies most of the luxuries we use on a day to day basis rather than making them immoral. If it is okay to spend money on things which have no moral value other than that derived their status as purchases which have no moral value, we have reduced the argument to absurdity.

Could you rephrase this? I don't quite understand what you are stating.



We need some luxuries, agreed? Then those luxuries thus become a necessities because they are luxuries. They are luxuries (i.e. have no moral value), but we need luxuries, which makes them necessities, so they have moral value (because they are luxuries). Their only moral value comes from the fact that they are luxuries (and have no other moral value).

Yes, we need some luxuries. However, their moral value isn't derived from them merely being a luxury. They come from why people feel they are necessary. People don't think, "I need something!!" then run around and grab something random. For example, having large quantities of money can be a luxury. However, when you are putting that money into a saving's account for your child's college fund to try and ensure he has a successful future, then it gains some moral positive value. At that point, it is no longer a luxury.  Why? Because that object no longer has no or little moral value to you. Wanting to buy an ice-cream just because you saw it, and decided it looked tasty, in reality has little actual moral value, so it is still a luxury. Why considering whether or not a purchase or transaction is a luxury, think to yourself, "Can I reasonably say that this has moral value to me?". If the answer is no, then it is a luxury. If the answer is yes, then you need not to worry.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2011, 07:16:49 PM »
I think we should reopen this thread now that more philosophy people are back.

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Benocrates

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2011, 07:35:04 PM »
can you summarize where we're at? I don't necessarily want to read the whole thread.
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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #82 on: January 07, 2011, 08:10:46 PM »
can you summarize where we're at? I don't necessarily want to read the whole thread.

Just read the OP. Not much ground has been made on it.

Pretty much you have to find a situation where there is a morally relevant difference between the thought example, and your own actions.

This was an example as a person's objection to it in class, and his answer.

It’s MY money.  I worked hard for it.  I don’t work hard so that I have to give it to others.

 Reply:  But does this explain a morally relevant difference between my case and Jim’s?  No.  In fact, Jim makes the same assertions to justify his behavior.  But he still behaves immorally.  Since it’s not even a difference between my situation and Jim’s, it can’t be a morally relevant difference.  Finally, maybe I should work hard to prevent such horrific things from happening.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 08:21:19 PM by EnglshGentleman »

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ﮎingulaЯiτy

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #83 on: January 07, 2011, 09:59:37 PM »
I'm back for more devil's advocate:

Morality is an instinctual social construct that is limited to reasonable socially constructive behavior.
If the governing dynamics of morality were absolute laws, they might be able to be extended to non-local scenarios.

If the vast majority of the population didn't care about people they don't personally meet or know how could we say that morals apply that way?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 10:01:42 PM by ﮎingulaЯiτy »
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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #84 on: January 07, 2011, 10:04:31 PM »
I'm back for more devil's advocate:

Morality is an instinctual social construct that is limited to reasonable socially constructive behavior.
If the governing dynamics of morality were absolute laws, they might be able to be extended to non-local scenarios.

If the vast majority of the population didn't care about people they don't personally meet or know how could we say that morals apply that way?

How would that make any morally relevant difference between the situations? Or are you denying the first premise and are trying to argue that it wasn't an immoral act?

Are we to believe it is ok to brutally murder someone if you don't care about the person?

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ﮎingulaЯiτy

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #85 on: January 07, 2011, 10:26:23 PM »
Or are you denying the first premise and are trying to argue that it wasn't an immoral act?
Yes. I am highlighting the fact that morals are vague subjective principles. The more a collective of people is benefited by a moral principle, the more moral agreement there, and thus more moral clarity. It is perceived that murder is 'bad' based on the collective's need for their own security.

By examining the roots/origins of morality we can try to establish limits. Regrettably, extremely few people feel insecure or effected when they hear that children are starving in Africa. If they did feel the same level of care for them as their immediate peers, nobody could function. Every person on Earth would be dragged into hell. Convention tells us the morals apply universally like math, but how can that be completely accurate when virtually everyone doesn't feel the as morally offended as soon as the problem is distant and non-intrusive?

This argument is simply that morals are too vague and subjective to impose an absolute structure, which was implied in the premise.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 10:29:52 PM by ﮎingulaЯiτy »
If I was asked to imagine a perfect deity, I would never invent one that suffers from a multiple personality disorder. Christians get points for originality there.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #86 on: January 08, 2011, 08:06:15 AM »
Or are you denying the first premise and are trying to argue that it wasn't an immoral act?
Yes. I am highlighting the fact that morals are vague subjective principles. The more a collective of people is benefited by a moral principle, the more moral agreement there, and thus more moral clarity. It is perceived that murder is 'bad' based on the collective's need for their own security.

By examining the roots/origins of morality we can try to establish limits. Regrettably, extremely few people feel insecure or effected when they hear that children are starving in Africa. If they did feel the same level of care for them as their immediate peers, nobody could function. Every person on Earth would be dragged into hell. Convention tells us the morals apply universally like math, but how can that be completely accurate when virtually everyone doesn't feel the as morally offended as soon as the problem is distant and non-intrusive?

This argument is simply that morals are too vague and subjective to impose an absolute structure, which was implied in the premise.

You misunderstand the argument when you say, "Everyone would be dragged to hell". The argument only applies when you buy what you believe to be a luxury, while you could have prevented easily preventable deaths. When you are not doing, or are capable of one of these, it doesn't apply.

So it isn't an immoral act because of the proximity? That because the starving children are thousands of miles away, we become disconnected with them morally?

Alright, so lets say in the thought experiment, the pipe lines are traveling hundreds, even thousands of miles away to the suffocating children in the submarines. Knowing this, Jim thinks to himself, “Even though those of us here on the Cayman Islands filling our air tanks at O2 Inc. are in an especially good position to help the suffocating children, the children are so very far away.  I can’t even see them.  So, I’m not obligated to try to prevent their easily preventable deaths. So, I’ll fill up my spare air tanks and enjoy having them around on my yacht’s deck.

Verdict: Jim’s choosing to fill his extra tanks instead of directing the compressed air toward the suffocating children is still immoral, and since there is now no proximity difference between our scenarios, proximity cannot be a factor.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 08:10:23 AM by EnglshGentleman »

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General Disarray

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #87 on: January 08, 2011, 08:10:42 AM »
For practical purposes, people don't consider luxury immoral because they do not know about a specific situation they could (and should) help with. Most people, when personally confronted with a situation in which only they can save a life will do it, however people who are just vaguely aware of suffering and death elsewhere in the world (and are not personally confronted about it) are much less likely to do something about it.
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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #88 on: January 08, 2011, 08:13:57 AM »
For practical purposes, people don't consider luxury immoral because they do not know about a specific situation they could (and should) help with. Most people, when personally confronted with a situation in which only they can save a life will do it, however people who are just vaguely aware of suffering and death elsewhere in the world (and are not personally confronted about it) are much less likely to do something about it.

If a person does not know how to help the people, than the argument simply no longer applies to them. They do not satisfy the second premise of being capable of preventing the horrific deaths.

There may be an argument that addresses this objection to say they are still immoral, but that is not this one.

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General Disarray

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #89 on: January 08, 2011, 08:25:42 AM »
I think they are capable of it, they could voluntarily go out and do something about it. Everyone knows (to some extent) that there is suffering in the world, and that money could do something to help stop it, but if not confronted with a specific situation, they are more likely to help.
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