Affluence Argument

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #90 on: January 08, 2011, 08:29:14 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.

You just said before though that they are not aware of how to do it. If a person does not know of any organizations, or relief groups, then they are not able to do anything. Now you are saying they can go do something about it, as if they know a means to help. Which is it?  ???
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 08:32:28 AM by EnglshGentleman »

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General Disarray

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #91 on: January 08, 2011, 08:47:59 AM »
You could actively seek out a relief organization and give them the money.

Taking a lesson from The Guide: at most times, things are 'somebody else's problem', it is only that we are presented with a specific situation and personally asked to help with it that it becomes 'my problem'.
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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #92 on: January 08, 2011, 09:39:08 AM »
You could actively seek out a relief organization and give them the money.

If this is the situation, and you do know how you can save the children, do explain the morally relevant difference between the thought experiment and the person you are describing. Again, it only immoral to do so when you DO have the ability.

How is Jim's situation any different than if you were to watch a commercial for "Save the Children" or see a advertisement for CARE.org?

Both are presenting you with the situation.

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General Disarray

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #93 on: January 08, 2011, 10:04:48 AM »
Not sure there is a difference, all things considered.
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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #94 on: January 08, 2011, 10:39:35 AM »
Not sure there is a difference, all things considered.

Ya. So I guess that person's actions would still be immoral.  :P

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General Disarray

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #95 on: January 08, 2011, 01:11:37 PM »
In my mind at least, there's a difference between some douchebag on tv showing you pictures of starving kids and begging for money, and the situation you presented.

In that case by doing something almost exactly identical to his regular activities, Jim could directly save lives. In the case of normal charitable donations, he would have to go out of his way and jump through hoops.

Also, the urgency of the situation as presented might play a role.
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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #96 on: January 08, 2011, 01:26:25 PM »
In my mind at least, there's a difference between some douchebag on tv showing you pictures of starving kids and begging for money, and the situation you presented.

In that case by doing something almost exactly identical to his regular activities, Jim could directly save lives. In the case of normal charitable donations, he would have to go out of his way and jump through hoops.

How exactly is it jumping through hoops? At care.org it literally takes like 2 minutes to make a donation, and for many of the call in ones it is the same. Manyorganizations try to make it as easy as possible just for this purpose.

Also, the urgency of the situation as presented might play a role.

How is there not a sense of urgency with the children in real life?

Besides, say in the thought experiment that the children will end up suffocating over a long period of time.

Is Jim free to pump the air to his tanks now?

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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #97 on: January 08, 2011, 07:26:05 PM »
My opinion: there is a difference between morality and social permissibility. Due to something called Dunbar's Number, a primate can only see about 150 people at a time as being real. Therefore, while the people in Darfur and the people on the submarine are both equally real, we only care about the kids on the submarine because they have sustenance in our minds. We know more about them, so they are more real. Not giving air to the kids is worse simply because air is more important than food or whatever it is our money gives to the poor folk in Darfur, but not giving money to charities is really just as bad, but culture in general permits it due to the fact that the people the charities help don't exist in our minds. It is socially permissible, but that doesn't make it okay.

On a lighter note: why the hell would you need six scuba tanks to go diving? Or even four? Two is too many! The amount of time he'll need to spend decompressing...

Also, a flaw I see in the question: if the dive shop cares enough to install a new button, why can't they just donate oxygen?
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #98 on: January 08, 2011, 07:38:36 PM »
My opinion: there is a difference between morality and social permissibility. Due to something called Dunbar's Number, a primate can only see about 150 people at a time as being real. Therefore, while the people in Darfur and the people on the submarine are both equally real, we only care about the kids on the submarine because they have sustenance in our minds. We know more about them, so they are more real. Not giving air to the kids is worse simply because air is more important than food or whatever it is our money gives to the poor folk in Darfur, but not giving money to charities is really just as bad, but culture in general permits it due to the fact that the people the charities help don't exist in our minds. It is socially permissible, but that doesn't make it okay.

So lets say that there is an entire fleet of submarines. There are thousands of school children suffocating!

Then Jim thinks to himself, "Since there is so many of them, and I know almost nothing about them, I might as well fill up my are tanks."

Is his act no longer immoral now?

Also, food is a requirement to survival, so how is denying children food any different to denying them air. In both situations the children will die.


On a lighter note: why the hell would you need six scuba tanks to go diving? Or even four? Two is too many! The amount of time he'll need to spend decompressing...

Exactly. They are luxuries, things he knows he does not need, and have little moral value.

Also, a flaw I see in the question: if the dive shop cares enough to install a new button, why can't they just donate oxygen?

This is completely irrelevant to the question. The pipelines are in place, but they have to have funds in order to be able to send oxygen over them.

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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #99 on: January 08, 2011, 07:52:21 PM »
My opinion: there is a difference between morality and social permissibility. Due to something called Dunbar's Number, a primate can only see about 150 people at a time as being real. Therefore, while the people in Darfur and the people on the submarine are both equally real, we only care about the kids on the submarine because they have sustenance in our minds. We know more about them, so they are more real. Not giving air to the kids is worse simply because air is more important than food or whatever it is our money gives to the poor folk in Darfur, but not giving money to charities is really just as bad, but culture in general permits it due to the fact that the people the charities help don't exist in our minds. It is socially permissible, but that doesn't make it okay.

So lets say that there is an entire fleet of submarines. There are thousands of school children suffocating!

Then Jim thinks to himself, "Since there is so many of them, and I know almost nothing about them, I might as well fill up my are tanks."

Is his act no longer immoral now?

I wasn't saying that it's okay, I was just saying why we think the way we do, and why allowing an anonymous Darfurian to die is socially permissible while letting the kids on the submarine die is not. Notice how I said that it doesn't make it okay.

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Also, food is a requirement to survival, so how is denying children food any different to denying them air. In both situations the children will die.

Because you can live for nearly a month without food, while you can only live a few minutes without air. If you look at it from an existential point of view, as I do, it is far worse.

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On a lighter note: why the hell would you need six scuba tanks to go diving? Or even four? Two is too many! The amount of time he'll need to spend decompressing...

Exactly. They are luxuries, things he knows he does not need, and have little moral value.

That was just me thinking out loud. I'm not saying what he did wasn't bad here, just explaining how we think and giving you more ammunition when speaking with your professor.


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Also, a flaw I see in the question: if the dive shop cares enough to install a new button, why can't they just donate oxygen?

This is completely irrelevant to the question. The pipelines are in place, but they have to have funds in order to be able to send oxygen over them.

Again, just me thinking out loud. I do that IRL too.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 08:01:48 PM by doyh »
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #100 on: January 08, 2011, 07:56:01 PM »
Alright.

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Benocrates

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #101 on: January 08, 2011, 08:05:31 PM »
I want to know what the existential difference is between denial of food and denial of air.
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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #102 on: January 08, 2011, 08:08:03 PM »
You live longer, so the difference is the same, technically speaking, as if you saved the three kids and they all died in a car accident a few weeks later.
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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Benocrates

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #103 on: January 08, 2011, 08:10:30 PM »
I do not understand
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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #104 on: January 08, 2011, 08:15:28 PM »
According to existentialism, you can't save a life. You can only prolong it.
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Benocrates

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #105 on: January 08, 2011, 08:20:03 PM »
lol...I suppose that's true. But to make some kind of moral calculation of life saved based on time seems quite absurd (if you'll forgive the pun).
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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #106 on: January 08, 2011, 08:24:21 PM »
Does it? Would you rather live for one more day, or one more week?
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Benocrates

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #107 on: January 08, 2011, 08:31:51 PM »
one day if the week involved torture, e.g. starvation
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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #108 on: January 08, 2011, 08:35:40 PM »
one day if the week involved torture, e.g. starvation

Is suffocation any better? I think that there are few cases in which life is worse than death.

Note: I'm also an atheist.
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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Benocrates

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #109 on: January 08, 2011, 08:36:51 PM »
so am I, but I think your view of existentialism needs some fleshing out. Try reading some of the heavyweights, Sartre is my personal fav.
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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #110 on: January 08, 2011, 09:11:26 PM »
You live longer, so the difference is the same, technically speaking, as if you saved the three kids and they all died in a car accident a few weeks later.

This is completely irrelevant since this does not show the moral difference.

Even if it did, we could just change the thought experiment so that the children all suffocated slowly.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #111 on: January 08, 2011, 09:13:10 PM »
Does Benocrates have anything to say on the Affluence Argument?

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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #112 on: January 08, 2011, 09:18:29 PM »
You live longer, so the difference is the same, technically speaking, as if you saved the three kids and they all died in a car accident a few weeks later.

This is completely irrelevant since this does not show the moral difference.

That is a matter of opinion.

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Even if it did, we could just change the thought experiment so that the children all suffocated slowly.

Then it would be morally the same. But it's still criminally negligent manslaughter, either way. I was just stating that it was slightly better.
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #113 on: January 08, 2011, 09:22:45 PM »
You live longer, so the difference is the same, technically speaking, as if you saved the three kids and they all died in a car accident a few weeks later.

This is completely irrelevant since this does not show the moral difference.

That is a matter of opinion.

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Even if it did, we could just change the thought experiment so that the children all suffocated slowly.

Then it would be morally the same. But it's still criminally negligent manslaughter, either way. I was just stating that it was slightly better.


It is not merely a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact. If you failed to show the morally relevant difference, than you didn't do it. You said it yourself that you failed to do so.

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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #114 on: January 08, 2011, 09:30:27 PM »
You live longer, so the difference is the same, technically speaking, as if you saved the three kids and they all died in a car accident a few weeks later.

This is completely irrelevant since this does not show the moral difference.

That is a matter of opinion.

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Even if it did, we could just change the thought experiment so that the children all suffocated slowly.

Then it would be morally the same. But it's still criminally negligent manslaughter, either way. I was just stating that it was slightly better.


It is not merely a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact. If you failed to show the morally relevant difference, than you didn't do it. You said it yourself that you failed to do so.

Morals are subjective.
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #115 on: January 08, 2011, 09:34:33 PM »
Morals are subjective.

Even if this were true, you have yet to explain the morally significant difference between the situations. This does not negate my statement. Regardless of what morality a person stands by, whether it was the morally right thing to let them die or not, you still did not prove a relevant difference between the scenarios, and that is fact.

If you want to debate morality's subjectivity, please do not bog up this thread with it. Make another thread, or post in another one that is already active.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 09:37:06 PM by EnglshGentleman »

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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #116 on: January 08, 2011, 09:38:58 PM »
Maybe I wasn't as clear as I thought I was. I believe that it is better to starve to death than to suffocate, as you are given more time on Earth. Therefore, I believe that it is morally better to allow someone to starve to death than to allow someone to suffocate, therefore, I believe that it is slightly better to give oxygen to the dying kids than to give food to the dying Darfurian.
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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Benocrates

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #117 on: January 08, 2011, 09:46:46 PM »
I What makes life more intrinsically worthwhile than otherwise? Suffering has no part of it?

And I'll give a comprehensive argument on the subject in a bit. To be honest I just haven't wanted to read and process this one yet.
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doyh

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #118 on: January 08, 2011, 09:50:55 PM »
I think that suffering would need to be on the level of actual torture to life not to be worthwhile. And when I say torture, I mean Unit 731-esque torture.
If we would all stop deflecting questions, maybe we could get somewhere.

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EnglshGentleman

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Re: Affluence Argument
« Reply #119 on: January 08, 2011, 10:02:10 PM »
Maybe I wasn't as clear as I thought I was. I believe that it is better to starve to death than to suffocate, as you are given more time on Earth. Therefore, I believe that it is morally better to allow someone to starve to death than to allow someone to suffocate, therefore, I believe that it is slightly better to give oxygen to the dying kids than to give food to the dying Darfurian.

Again, we can just change the thought experiment so that the children have plenty of food, but they will suffocate over a longer duration. The duration of death is the same now, and there is still no difference. I have said this plenty of times before.

And I'll give a comprehensive argument on the subject in a bit. To be honest I just haven't wanted to read and process this one yet.

 :P come on! I need some strong philosophical minds here!