## Case study in ethics

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### Re: Case study in ethics

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Serendipper wrote:Run from a bear and you're guaranteed to die. Stand and fight and you might live.

And standing tall and looking ready to fight is the best strategy at certain distances. You might not even have to fight. And you're right of course that the last thing you want to do is trigger predator chase instincts. A lot of big predators are not used to us as food but when we run, it screams ' catch me, kill me, eat me.' The last two not necessarily in that order.

I see that behavior all the time with cats: if one cat is irrationally scared of another and runs, it will cause the other cat to chase it because they are hardwired to pursue anything that runs, so the act of running reinforces the fear that wasn't even justified in the first place since it elicits a reaction that wouldn't have occurred if not for the running.

About 5 years ago I was supposed to be camping with my buddy, but he didn't show, so I was on a mountain all by myself for the weekend. I did a lot of riding around on the atv and consequently saw a lot of bears. I'd blast around a curve just in time to catch a bear nose-diving off a cliff like superman and that routine was quite entertaining for while, but eventually I become bored and decided I'd see how far up the mountain I could get. Finally I was pinned between some rocks where my efforts to escape using the winch killed the battery which stranded me on top of a mountain in bear territory with no gun or any sort of weapon and facing a 2-hour walk back to camp to retrieve a new battery.

So I'm walking along reviewing the data I gathered during my day of riding about how the bears would jump off a cliff when presented with something that they didn't understand at speed sufficient to surprise the bear, so I picked up a rock and a stick and my plan was that if I saw a bear, I'd immediately charge at it as fast as I could, like a wild idiot, while throwing the rock and waving the stick. Hopefully the bear would run before it thought, because if I gave it time to think, it would inevitably realize it is bigger than I am. Luckily I didn't have to implement the plan and probably the bears saw me before I saw them and they decided to stay away from the strange looking creature stomping along the trail. They watched me all night at camp though, but I had a 12ga and wasn't worried.

Anyway, running away is the worst thing you can do. The best thing you can do is scare the animal before it has time to consider the situation. It often works with people too because I've found that pushing my nose against someone else's nose followed by asking what they intend to do about it usually results in them turning around and walking off never to be a problem again, even if they are bigger. Paralleling the principle of not-running, if you ever find your arm in an animal's mouth, don't pull, but push further in and it will weaken their bite; they will let go like a gag reflex of something. Teeth and claws are angled back such that it's impossible to get away by pulling unless flesh is torn off.

If you find yourself in a situation where you're the prey, like a city street or prison, don't make eye contact with anyone! Mind your own business lest you reveal your weakness and become a certain target. If you do make eye contact, you must then attack or run to a safety. Running is almost never the answer and only is a viable solution if sound shelter can be reached in sufficient time.
Serendipper
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### Re: Case study in ethics

I think there is a kind of opposite of follow through. If you are going to run away from a fight, as a rule, or curl up, or let yourself get hit, othis is felt by human predators and bullies. The decision or inevitable tendency to act like prey in these situations attracts bullies, who are often scared, below the surface, and can smell a safe target.
Karpel Tunnel
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### Re: Case study in ethics

Greetings Serendipper

Thank you for telling us about your experiences five years ago with undomesticated bears on that mountain. It was interesting to hear about it.

Serendipper wrote:
... I've found that pushing my nose aginst someone else's nose followed by asking what they intend to do about it usually results in them turning around and walking off never to be a problem again, even if they are bigger.

This is ethics?

Recall that the theme of this thread is "a case study in ethics."
What you are saying here sounds like a good way to lose friends or at least to lose potential acquaintances.

Serendipper wrote:If you find yourself in a situation .... like a city street ... If you do make eye contact, you must then attack or run to a safety. Running is almost never the answer and only is a viable solution if sound shelter can be reached in sufficient time.

There is something to this counsel. When I was about 12, a member of a clique who hung out on the steps of a building across the street from my residence, came up to me and suddenly started shadow boxing in my face. I had recently studied Judo from a booklet on that subject. I made a lunge toward his throat, tripped him, he fell backwards onto the street. I hovered over him (looking macho) for another 30 seconds waiving my flat hands as I had seen martial arts fighters do.

Then, when a pack of his buddies got up to investigate why he was lying there flat on the street, I turned and ran toward my doorway, up the long flight of stairs to my apartment.

None of that gang of boys ever bothered me again. ...They never spoke to me again either; however my conscience has been bothering me for the rest of my natural life, as I wonder if I was responsible for giving that rather nice boy a brain concussion. The odds are I did not, but I can't help wondering.

So was it worth it??

THE BREAKTHROUGH - We Can Get Along After All (2018) [NEW]

[size=115]LIVING WELL: how ethics helps us flourish

BASIC ETHICS: a systematic approach (2014) http://tinyurl.com/mfcgzfz

thinkdr
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### Re: Case study in ethics

None of that gang of boys ever bothered me again. ...They never spoke to me again either; however my conscience has been bothering me for the rest of my natural life, as I wonder if I was responsible for giving that rather nice boy a brain concussion. The odds are I did not, but I can't help wondering.

So was it worth it??
Perhaps you taught "that rather nice boy" a valuable life lesson which discouraged him from doing 'unpleasant' things to other people.

He didn't bother you again, which is one positive result. There may well have been other positive results.

You don't know how it affected him ... how it changed his life.

Did you try to speak to them? Usually after a confrontation, there is a respect which makes dialog easier than before. Ironically, it's an opportunity for friendships to develop.
phyllo
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### Re: Case study in ethics

thinkdr wrote:
Serendipper wrote:
... I've found that pushing my nose aginst someone else's nose followed by asking what they intend to do about it usually results in them turning around and walking off never to be a problem again, even if they are bigger.

This is ethics?

Recall that the theme of this thread is "a case study in ethics."
What you are saying here sounds like a good way to lose friends or at least to lose potential acquaintances.

That isn't how to deal with friends; that is how to deal with threatening situations per your "the best strategy is to run" theory. If it's a change of topic, then you did it

Serendipper wrote:If you find yourself in a situation .... like a city street ... If you do make eye contact, you must then attack or run to a safety. Running is almost never the answer and only is a viable solution if sound shelter can be reached in sufficient time.

There is something to this counsel. When I was about 12, a member of a clique who hung out on the steps of a building across the street from my residence, came up to me and suddenly started shadow boxing in my face. I had recently studied Judo from a booklet on that subject. I made a lunge toward his throat, tripped him, he fell backwards onto the street. I hovered over him (looking macho) for another 30 seconds waiving my flat hands as I had seen martial arts fighters do.

Then, when a pack of his buddies got up to investigate why he was lying there flat on the street, I turned and ran toward my doorway, up the long flight of stairs to my apartment.

None of that gang of boys ever bothered me again. ...They never spoke to me again either; however my conscience has been bothering me for the rest of my natural life, as I wonder if I was responsible for giving that rather nice boy a brain concussion. The odds are I did not, but I can't help wondering.

So was it worth it??

If the boys left you alone, I suppose it was worth it.

Most people don't want to hit first, but you must...unless you're a pro fighter and just want to play, but if you want to survive, then you only fight fair as a last resort:

The philosophy I'm trying to convey is to attack rather than run:

The technique is isn't the art itself,
01:02
you know, like the technique is maybe 75%,
01:05
you know, maybe even less, maybe the
01:08
technique is 10% and the spirit
01:10
is 90%! That's what they mean by certain
01:13
martial artists have the type of
01:14
mentality that if they're in front
01:17
of 1,000 people, they will fight
01:19
those 1000 people and if they knew that
01:21
they could never win, then they would
01:22
attack.

I knew I could never win against a bear, so my only hope would have been to attack and maybe I could bluff the bear before it had time to consider the situation. Not attacking and just standing there would give the bear time to think. Running would cause the bear to chase me whether it intended to or not. So, the only way out is forward.

This reminds me of the old sermons I'd hear about the Armor of God that only protected your front, so the message was to face your enemy.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Your back side has no armor.

I was doing a roofing job for a customer when his neighbor came over complaining about all the plastic wrappers blowing around. He kept on and on until he called me down off the roof like a big tough guy, so I marched right up in his face and pushed my nose against his, then said "Now what are you going to do?" He didn't say anything, but turned and went home.

Another time I made a left turn out of a parking lot and accidentally cut someone off because I didn't see him. The guy was all kinds of pissed off, so he tailed me. I tried to outrun him, but couldn't lose him. My friend was riding with me and he said "turn here!" So I did and it was a dead end! Oops lol! Well, I drove to the end, circled around, jumped out and was ready before the guy could stop his car. I ran up to his window ready to fight and asked "Now what are you going to do?" He said "I'm going to drive to the police station and report you!" I started laughing and told him to knock himself out.

Most people just want to intimidate and I call their bluff that they're willing to cross a line. If they really wanted to fight, then they would be fighting rather than running their mouth. Of course, I try to be cool so as to not give people a reason to want to fight and I suppose that's where the ethics comes in, but I prefer to call it integrity.
Serendipper
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### Re: Case study in ethics

phyllo wrote:
None of that gang of boys ever bothered me again. ...They never spoke to me again either; however my conscience has been bothering me for the rest of my natural life, as I wonder if I was responsible for giving that rather nice boy a brain concussion. The odds are I did not, but I can't help wondering.

So was it worth it??
Perhaps you taught "that rather nice boy" a valuable life lesson which discouraged him from doing 'unpleasant' things to other people.

He didn't bother you again, which is one positive result. There may well have been other positive results.

You don't know how it affected him ... how it changed his life.

Did you try to speak to them? Usually after a confrontation, there is a respect which makes dialog easier than before. Ironically, it's an opportunity for friendships to develop.

Good point!
Serendipper
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### Re: Case study in ethics

thinkdr wrote:This is ethics?

Recall that the theme of this thread is "a case study in ethics."
This reaction is interesting and it is more common than I used to realize.
Instead of saying I think your ethics or your choices are actually not ethics, you class the other person's idea of what is good as not being ethics at all.

A more charitable read is that you and the other person disagree about the good. That you have an ethical disagreement.

Often conservatives saying the liberals have no morals or ethics, rather than saying that they think the liberals ethics are wrong for consequentialist or deontological grounds.

A few of us have been arguing that when confronted by violence or threats of violence it is good, at least in many cases, to respond with counterthreats - via posture, for example - refusals to bow down to the violence or threats and even to respond with violence.

This is part of an ethics that differs from yours. I have seen good arguments made on consequenatialist grounds. The effects of defending oneself, standing up for oneself are very complicated. Just as the consequences of running away. There are immediate consequences and there are long term consequences both for society and for the individual. If it becomes a rule that all good people are to run away, this will have long term consequences that are very hard to track. Likewise any other rule. Most of us, even those who argue that standing up and even responding to violence with violence, are good choices in some situations will also run. I mean, someone starts shooting at me and I am unarmed, which I always am, I will run or dive to the ground, etc. Having violence and threat as part of my repetoire also leads to consquences that are hard to track. We should all be humble in relaion to KNOWING FOR SURE what the consequences are of these choices. However I think quite strong arguments can be made for disagreeing with you on consequentialist grounds. Empathetic people are much more likely to listen to your rule and bullies will not. They will get to take up even more space in society if no one fights back.

There are also character and deontological based arguments in favor of not running away as a rule. That this leads to all sorts of side effects on one's character. That one has become less than one can be. No lion or even its prey will do this. Zebras break the jaws of lions on occasion and fight damn hard to live.

Why should empathetic humans make themselves into small entities for those who lack empathy or who can only feel good by making someone else feel bad?

Why is it necessarily ethical to give them even more room for their sadism and bullying?

You may disagree, you may still think that your ethics is better. But you have no ground to judge our positions as NOT ethics. You just don't like it.
Karpel Tunnel
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### Re: Case study in ethics

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Often conservatives saying the liberals have no morals or ethics, rather than saying that they think the liberals ethics are wrong for consequentialist or deontological grounds.

I think liberals are amoral and the only immorality is the assertion of morality. "No tolerance of intolerance!" they chant. So they're tolerant of anything except someone who is intolerant of something.
Serendipper
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### Re: Case study in ethics

Serendipper wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:Often conservatives saying the liberals have no morals or ethics, rather than saying that they think the liberals ethics are wrong for consequentialist or deontological grounds.

I think liberals are amoral and the only immorality is the assertion of morality. "No tolerance of intolerance!" they chant. So they're tolerant of anything except someone who is intolerant of something.
So liberals are amoral because on this issue you think they have a meta-intolerance and are therefore hypocrites on this issue? Their failure to, as you see, see a hypocrisy on this issue means that liberals are immoral. Liberals have not ever reached decisions for moral reasons?

And if the only immorality is the assertion of morality - which, it seems to me parallels exactly the hypocrisy you are accusing liberals of having - then conservatives would also be immoral.
Karpel Tunnel
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### Re: Case study in ethics

Please define "liberal," "conservative," and "moral" so that I can follow the discussion. I believe this would be helpful for other readers too.

THE BREAKTHROUGH - We Can Get Along After All (2018) [NEW]

[size=115]LIVING WELL: how ethics helps us flourish

BASIC ETHICS: a systematic approach (2014) http://tinyurl.com/mfcgzfz

thinkdr
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### Re: Case study in ethics

thinkdr wrote:Please define "liberal," "conservative," and "moral" so that I can follow the discussion. I believe this would be helpful for other readers too.

That's a good idea.

A conservative is someone who asserts morals, values, truth, objectivity while a liberal is the opposite. If someone considers themselvs a liberal who asserts objective truth that is different from popular conservatism, then I'd define them as a different type of conservative rather than labeling them a liberal simply because they are different from most conservatives.

A conservative would say that abortion is objectively wrong while a liberal would counter by saying there is no objective truth.

A conservative would say capital punishment is right because an eye for an eye, but a liberal would once again point out there is no objective truth.

A conservative would say homosexuality is unnatural but a liberal would say there is no such thing as unnatural.

So in essence a conservative is someone who clings to unprovable assumptions (objectivity, god, right and wrong) which would make a liberal his opposite who doesn't assert any objective claims except the assertion that objective claims cannot be substantiated and that unsubstantiated claims shouldn't be held and certainly not forced upon others. Therefore the liberal is someone values reason over faith and consequently takes an ends-justifying-the-means approach since there is no dogma saying it's illegal.

In philosophy class we debated whether it was morally right to kill a little old lady in order to save 1000 people. I think a conservative would say no because killing is objectively and absolutely wrong. I think a liberal would say 1000 people would suffer more than an old woman who is likely going to die soon anyway. The liberal would think it out and rationalize / justify while the conservative would stop where his dogma told him to. I think this is the reason liberals are more likely to shoot someone (no dogma saying not to).
Serendipper
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### Re: Case study in ethics

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Serendipper wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:Often conservatives saying the liberals have no morals or ethics, rather than saying that they think the liberals ethics are wrong for consequentialist or deontological grounds.

I think liberals are amoral and the only immorality is the assertion of morality. "No tolerance of intolerance!" they chant. So they're tolerant of anything except someone who is intolerant of something.
So liberals are amoral because on this issue you think they have a meta-intolerance and are therefore hypocrites on this issue? Their failure to, as you see, see a hypocrisy on this issue means that liberals are immoral. Liberals have not ever reached decisions for moral reasons?

I suppose they're hypocritical because in order to be inclusive, they have to tolerate the intolerants.

And if the only immorality is the assertion of morality - which, it seems to me parallels exactly the hypocrisy you are accusing liberals of having - then conservatives would also be immoral.

Right and it's because of arrogance. They are asserting themselves and asserting authority over others which is an imposition against autonomy. Without morality, I can't say that's immoral, but something is wrong with it, I just can't spit it out the way I want to.

But definitely the conservatives are immoral by their own assertion of morality. If I have a construct of morality to work with, knocking the strawman over is easy. The hard part is doing it without having morality to rely on. How can I say something is wrong if there is no wrong?
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### Re: Case study in ethics

Phyllo,

I use the word in the sense of "regard for one's own interests".

I agree with you there. That points to Prudence. An example of just that for me would be

Matthew 25 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Ten Virgins
25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

....

I think the first step to evaluating the morality of a situation is to drop yourself out of it. IOW, what is the evaluation if I am not involved? That produces a 'more' objective evaluation. It's a detached view with fewer personal biases.

The second step is to put yourself back in and decide what you are going to do.

The first step evaluated moral right and wrong. The second step evaluates a practical right and wrong personal response.

I agree with you here but is that such an easy thing to do for people?
Perhaps *morality* does not so much enter into the above Story but again prudence does.

If I had been one of those foolish virgins, ultimately I would have come to realize that I was not prepared, that it was *on me* not being let into the wedding banquet.
Was it selfish of the wise virgins not to share their oil with the others? No. It was practical.

The separation seems fairly natural. I don't think there is morality in the absence of other people.

I am not so sure that I agree with you here though I may be wrong. The dictionary defines morality as

noun
principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
synonyms: ethics, rights and wrongs, ethicality More

a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.

the extent to which an action is right or wrong.

How does an individual, him/her -self not enter into that equation? Are we not to act and behave with respect and regard to ourselves, in a right way, which does no harm to self just as we would with regard to others?

Alone on a deserted island, there is no moral right and wrong. There is, however, prudent action - actions which help your survival or hinder it, improve your quality of life or reduce it.

So, to act against one's self on that island, to take risks that might harm or kill, cannot be considered to be immoral?

If one goes against a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society. , that cannot be looked at as being immoral?

All life has value even if that person has to be alone on a desert island. If that person's belief system or moral code was to do everything possible to continue to live/exist/thrive, to make the best of what was given, couldn't you say that to act otherwise, to put himself in harm's way, would go against his idea of self and morality thereby his behavior becoming immoral - especially in light of the fact that he could someday be rescued?

Is my thinking flawed here? I do not understand how the behavior of an *individual* cannot be immoral when turned against himself. Are we to feel responsibility towards others but not toward ourselves when it comes to questions of life and death?

One can say that brushing your teeth is prudent both on a deserted island and within society - for your own personal health. If we consider it as part of morality, then people can say that you are being immoral if you don't brush your teeth. Does it seem reasonable to make it a moral issue? I don't think so.

lol. Yes, it is quite prudent to brush our teeth but that in itself is NOT a moral issue.
But I suppose if we stretch our thinking, it could be. Plaque on the teeth can lead to heart problems.
Anything which we deliberately do or neglect to do which can do us harm can be a part of a moral issue, no?

What say you? I was going to ask if I am wrong here but it isn't about that - it is about getting at the truth. So what say you?
“How can a bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?”
― William Blake

“Little Fly
Thy summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath:
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die”
― William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience

“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”
― William Blake

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