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What essentially is Good and Evil?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Justme, May 6, 2012.

  1. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    @Ascanuis: What I meant by that is that they claim that letting those thousands of people die is not evil because of the mad bomber created that situation, yet they ignore the mad bomber when it comes to shooting the girl. The mad bomber should excuse both options as justified or excuse neither option meaning both are evil. It should not matter for only one or another.

    After originally pointing out the flaws in your guys arguments, I have only been defending my position on those flaws. I'd be happy to move on if you guys were willing to move on, but since that doesn't seem the case....

    Words have what meaning we assign them and that is the only meaning. Just look at how words have evolved over the years to change their meaning. If words only meant exactly what they meant and nothing else, then we'd still be typing in ye olde english.

    I gave my view of the original topic back on the first page =_=

    @Fnord: One story I read claimed that you can usually tell the right thing because it's harder, while not perfect, I think that applies more often then not.

    @Steerpike: I get what you guys are saying, you just haven't convinced me in any way. Also, that people have differing views on it in the first place still strikes me as making it subjective and not objective.

    Anyways, since this thread seems to be winding down.

    I would first like to appologize to the original poster for hijacking this thread, despite the unpleasent argument it has helped me refine my views of good and evil tremendously which is good as I wanted to do a plot point of how squicky good and evil is.

    Secondly, I hold no ill will against those that disagree with me. You have not managed to convince me, and I maintain my orignal position, but I respect your right to your own view on the matter.

    Thirdly, I have what is called Aspergers, it is a type of high functioning autism. Essentially, I think differently then most people. I don't use this as an excuse, and I embrace my way of thinking, but it does mean that I can be a bit.... different at times.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    No worries, Queshire. I don't think anyone holds any ill will. Most of us here don't know one another outside of this forum, and it wouldn't make much sense to me to form real judgments about an individual based on posts online. I find the exchange to be entertaining, whether it takes on a certain degree of sarcasm and sniping or not (actually, I'm most used to online "debates" with close friends of mine, via an email list, and because of our familiarity with one another the discussions can denigrate to a contest of humorous jabs one another. Some of it goes way over the top, but we're all friends and no one takes it personally because we're all in on the 'game.').

    In any event, no apologies needed, in my view. I appreciate the banter and hope you enjoy the rest of your morning/afternoon as the case may be.
     
  3. ascanius

    ascanius Inkling

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    It was fun, though I will say that It became impossible for me to keep up with. It's kinda funny because I actually agree with you Queshire about the bomber but like you still maintain my arguments. I think everyone had good points. Like Steerpike said no need to apologize.
     
  4. Fnord

    Fnord Troubadour

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    In case anyone else needs more humor on this topic, someone sent me this today (timely!):

    Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

    (why are they always busting on economists? :mad:)
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I should add that I invariably find myself more humorous than anyone else does. I don't know if that's a problem or not :)
     
  6. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Late to party... any cake left and can I eat it too?
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    LOL. Nice one!
     
  8. Caliburn

    Caliburn New Member

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    See this is why I think the discussion was worthwhile even though opinions were conflicted.
    I came away with a sense that there is still plenty of room for good and evil in my project, but I get to put my own spin on the concepts regardless of how they apply to the real world. After all, what good is fantasy if not to entertain the impossible, the unbelievable, the impractical and the downright unthinkable?
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Yes, I think this is the important point in the context of fantasy writing. You can set up a fantasy world where good and evil are absolutes. You can set one up in which they are entirely subjective and everything is cast in shades of gray. You have the flexibility.
     
  10. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Before reading anyone elses posts I will write my answer.

    Good/evil is relative to the perspective. There is extremes to both sides that are obvious to the great majority of people.
    But in the middle, the angles change and good vs evil are different from various positions.

    Killing someone is considered evil, but if the person being killed is trying to harm/kill a child it is at least a lesser evil, if not good.
    thousands of people died in war is evil, but fighting the war to end mass killings of innocent people is considered good, or at least the lesser evil.

    No matter what ultimate evil a person can come up with, someone in the world can say there is a reason for it, or that there is a greater evil in not doing the "ultimate evil".
    Even the worst of Genecidal leaders, believes they did the "right" thing, or that their evil was the lesser evil. Even if only a madman could understand it.
     
  11. All good and evil are relative to a set of moral principles. You can choose any set of moral principles you want; the laws of physics will not stop you. They're only concerned with the motion of waves, energy, and particles, which are on a much smaller scale than notions of right or wrong.

    In practice, all existing societies have common moral principles that prohibit murder, rape, theft, etc., for one simple reason: the societies that didn't have those principles all got out-competed by the ones that did, and went extinct. It's evolution on the scale of civilizations.

    We might all agree that we think it's good not to murder/rape/steal, but again, there is nothing in the nature of the universe that prevents these things from happening. People are murdered, raped, and robbed all the time. Societies work hard to prevent these things, but they can never be wholly successful.

    Some people claim that the universe does have built-in moral principles of right and wrong, usually in the form of some deity or other. Of course, supporting this claim with evidence has proved somewhat problematic. ;)
     
    Fnord likes this.
  12. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Only problematic if you believe in scientific reductionism.
     
  13. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Can I ask, what if I'm willing to kill and then accept the consequences which society imposes on me? What's to prevent me from saying, "Society says that if I kill and rape and murder, they're going to execute me. Well, then I agree to those terms." Is there any logical argument which can be made to explain why I should not do such a thing?
     
  14. Fnord

    Fnord Troubadour

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    Or just science in general. Just because something can't be explained perfectly through science now, doesn't mean a scientific explanation doesn't exist for it (and thus the automatic explanation for what can't be explained residing in the supernatural). After all, incredulity was the defense against heliocentrism, understanding diseases and plagues, and various other things. We certainly know better now.
     
  15. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    Thread hop, because I can't handle eighteen pages of this: I really like the idea of a setting in which the laws of the universe enforce one moral code, but the protagonist lives by a completely different moral code. Moral relativism FTW! (I've already written one story in which an adulteress who goes to Hell is portrayed as a heroic figure. I've also considered a story in which any direct harm to another person negatively impacts one's luck, and the protagonist is a sadomasochist.)

    Might as well answer Devor as well: That's how big corporations often see it, paying fines for breaking the law when those fines are smaller than the profit they'll make.
     
  16. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    That's a little different - there's some degree of understanding that some regulations will be broken, in part because of how numerous they are, and how big organizations are. That's why, for instance, regulations come with a rating. That's also why it's not considered criminal.

    Didn't actually answer the question, though. There's plenty of people who think this way about personal morality. Is it in any way irrational within the perspective that morality is a social construct?
     
  17. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I would consider myself a scientifically minded person. But science cannot explain EVERYTHING, no matter how much time you give it. To say otherwise is hubris. Science has to assume a natural cause for an event because those are the only things its methodology can address. But it does not logically follow from that that supernatural causation does not or cannot exist. That would be circular logic. Saying that something cannot exist because you inquired about it using a methodology that excludes it as possibility to begin with.
     
  18. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    No, there is not. That's the problem with the idea of morality as a social construct. If morality is a social construct, there really is no force behind it unless I actually care what society thinks/does. If for some reason I don't care, then all bets are off. It's an imperfect system. Any system of morality that rises above this issue has to be one that does not have a human origin.
     
  19. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    The problem with science isn't science itself, but the human mind. There are just some things that the human mind simply can not grasp. Temporal paradoxes (Paradoxi?) being one of them. Just because we can't comprehend the explanation doesn't mean that there isn't an explanation.
     
  20. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I fail to see the problem with the only force morality having being what we give it, it's the same thing with money afterall...
     
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