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Question: What is the smallest number of lives that you would be willing to kill one person to save?
2 - 8 (29.6%)
3-5 - 1 (3.7%)
6-15 - 2 (7.4%)
16-100 - 1 (3.7%)
101-1000 - 1 (3.7%)
1001-20000 - 0 (0%)
20001-1000000 - 0 (0%)
Over 1 million - 1 (3.7%)
Infinity - 13 (48.1%)
Total Voters: 27

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Author Topic: The Utilitarianism Versus Rights Poll  (Read 2053 times)
Topazan
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July 04, 2012, 06:15:06 AM
 #21

Even if everyone will die unless I cause one person to die, I would not do it.

O.o

I would not even hesitate to shoot that one person in your hypothetical scenario.

Well, it depends on the situation. If it were a black box, push the button, one random person dies, if not everyone dies, No, I'm not going to push that button. I will not become a murderer. On the other hand, if it was a man who had one of those magic black boxes that was going to kill everyone if he pushed it, I wouldn't hesitate to stop him, with lethal force if need be.
Hypothetically, would that change if he didn't know that pushing the button would kill everyone, and couldn't be convinced?


As to the topic, I really can't say I have one rule that I'd follow in every situation.  I guess that means my morals are weak, but my decision wouldn't be perfectly logical.

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July 04, 2012, 06:30:02 AM
 #22

Even if everyone will die unless I cause one person to die, I would not do it.

O.o

I would not even hesitate to shoot that one person in your hypothetical scenario.

Well, it depends on the situation. If it were a black box, push the button, one random person dies, if not everyone dies, No, I'm not going to push that button. I will not become a murderer. On the other hand, if it was a man who had one of those magic black boxes that was going to kill everyone if he pushed it, I wouldn't hesitate to stop him, with lethal force if need be.
Hypothetically, would that change if he didn't know that pushing the button would kill everyone, and couldn't be convinced?


As to the topic, I really can't say I have one rule that I'd follow in every situation.  I guess that means my morals are weak, but my decision wouldn't be perfectly logical.


Nope. I wouldn't change my stance if he didn't know, and wouldn't believe me when I told him.

And don't feel bad about not having one rule for every situation. There can't be. Every situation is unique, and will need to be dealt with on its own terms.

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Topazan
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July 04, 2012, 06:46:42 AM
 #23

Even if everyone will die unless I cause one person to die, I would not do it.

O.o

I would not even hesitate to shoot that one person in your hypothetical scenario.

Well, it depends on the situation. If it were a black box, push the button, one random person dies, if not everyone dies, No, I'm not going to push that button. I will not become a murderer. On the other hand, if it was a man who had one of those magic black boxes that was going to kill everyone if he pushed it, I wouldn't hesitate to stop him, with lethal force if need be.
Hypothetically, would that change if he didn't know that pushing the button would kill everyone, and couldn't be convinced?


As to the topic, I really can't say I have one rule that I'd follow in every situation.  I guess that means my morals are weak, but my decision wouldn't be perfectly logical.


Nope. I wouldn't change my stance if he didn't know, and wouldn't believe me when I told him.

And don't feel bad about not having one rule for every situation. There can't be. Every situation is unique, and will need to be dealt with on its own terms.
Interesting, so what distinguishes him from the random person that you wouldn't kill?  He is the cause of death, but he may as well have been randomly selected to be the cause of death.

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July 04, 2012, 07:32:11 AM
 #24

On the other hand, if it was a man who had one of those magic black boxes that was going to kill everyone if he pushed it, I wouldn't hesitate to stop him, with lethal force if need be.
Hypothetically, would that change if he didn't know that pushing the button would kill everyone, and couldn't be convinced?
Nope. I wouldn't change my stance if he didn't know, and wouldn't believe me when I told him.
Interesting, so what distinguishes him from the random person that you wouldn't kill?  He is the cause of death, but he may as well have been randomly selected to be the cause of death.

Well, true, but I have told him that pushing his button will kill everyone. He doesn't believe me, and is going to push it anyway.

To put the same situation another way, A man is holding a revolver, pointed at me. By some trick of the light, I can see the copper of the bullet in the next chamber to be fired. (Having never had this unfortunate view, I'm only assuming this is even possible - run with it.) He thinks the gun is unloaded, I can see that it is not. He is going to pull the trigger anyway. He is going to kill me, even though he does not know it - or rather, refuses to acknowledge it. I would be justified in stopping him by any means necessary, up to and including lethal force, though obviously since he doesn't know he's going to kill me, killing him should be my last resort.

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July 04, 2012, 07:43:12 AM
 #25

What I had more in mind was that you are incapable of communicating the danger to him.  Perhaps he doesn't understand your language, or is too far away to hear you.  In addition, perhaps he believes it will do something good.  I suppose it comes down to how much he's responsible for the damage?

Another question I would ask everyone in this thread:  Does it change your position if the one person you have to kill to save everyone is yourself?

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July 04, 2012, 07:47:30 AM
 #26

Does it change your position if the one person you have to kill to save everyone is yourself?

It changes the moral nature of it. It's open for consideration at that point.
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July 04, 2012, 07:54:30 AM
 #27

What I had more in mind was that you are incapable of communicating the danger to him.  Perhaps he doesn't understand your language, or is too far away to hear you.  In addition, perhaps he believes it will do something good.  I suppose it comes down to how much he's responsible for the damage?

Another question I would ask everyone in this thread:  Does it change your position if the one person you have to kill to save everyone is yourself?

That does make it more agonizing, I will admit. But as I said, just like my friend with the revolver, I know that pushing that button will kill not just myself and him, but everyone else as well, the decision is clear, prevent him, even if it means he dies. Where this differs from just some random dude on the street dying is that, whether he knows it or not, the man with the button is responsible for killing everyone, while the random dude is not.

On the second point, Either way, I'm dead, but I value the continuation of human life, not just my own, so on the scales where everyone dies, or I die and everyone else lives, again, the choice is clear.

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July 04, 2012, 08:20:29 AM
 #28

Assume that the people and person are all randomly selected from the world population at large, ie. if you do nothing, X randomly selected people will die, and if you act one randomly selected person will die. There are no legal or social consequences to you personally.

The proposed choices are only if you, as a human being, accept the rules. I would instead try to understand the rules, to be able to fight them back, or bend them to my will. As an example, I could organise a study to understand how the random choice is made. If we know who's going to die, we can act better and maybe keep that person alive for a little longer.

Your problem is humanity struggle as we know it. Everyday, people are being killed for millions of reason. Sometimes, some people kill people to "save" lifes, but in the end, it doesn't solve any problem at all. Some people don't kill and stay "virtuous", but they become an easy target for those who kill to "save" lifes.

It's not about who's more utilitarian or more righteous, it's about who's able to adapt depending on the current situation. As long your goal is to understand that random killing machine, you can use whatever tools you find most useful. Trying to impose your thinking is stupid, because the other person could be in a position where your way of thinking is fatal.
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July 04, 2012, 08:37:02 AM
 #29

Assume that the people and person are all randomly selected from the world population at large, ie. if you do nothing, X randomly selected people will die, and if you act one randomly selected person will die. There are no legal or social consequences to you personally.

The proposed choices are only if you, as a human being, accept the rules. I would instead try to understand the rules, to be able to fight them back, or bend them to my will. As an example, I could organise a study to understand how the random choice is made. If we know who's going to die, we can act better and maybe keep that person alive for a little longer.

Your problem is humanity struggle as we know it. Everyday, people are being killed for millions of reason. Sometimes, some people kill people to "save" lifes, but in the end, it doesn't solve any problem at all. Some people don't kill and stay "virtuous", but they become an easy target for those who kill to "save" lifes.

It's not about who's more utilitarian or more righteous, it's about who's able to adapt depending on the current situation. As long your goal is to understand that random killing machine, you can use whatever tools you find most useful. Trying to impose your thinking is stupid, because the other person could be in a position where your way of thinking is fatal.

Seriously: Consider a career in politics. That's a lot of words to have said absolutely nothing.

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July 04, 2012, 08:48:52 AM
 #30

Assume that the people and person are all randomly selected from the world population at large, ie. if you do nothing, X randomly selected people will die, and if you act one randomly selected person will die. There are no legal or social consequences to you personally.

The proposed choices are only if you, as a human being, accept the rules. I would instead try to understand the rules, to be able to fight them back, or bend them to my will. As an example, I could organise a study to understand how the random choice is made. If we know who's going to die, we can act better and maybe keep that person alive for a little longer.

Your problem is humanity struggle as we know it. Everyday, people are being killed for millions of reason. Sometimes, some people kill people to "save" lifes, but in the end, it doesn't solve any problem at all. Some people don't kill and stay "virtuous", but they become an easy target for those who kill to "save" lifes.

It's not about who's more utilitarian or more righteous, it's about who's able to adapt depending on the current situation. As long your goal is to understand that random killing machine, you can use whatever tools you find most useful. Trying to impose your thinking is stupid, because the other person could be in a position where your way of thinking is fatal.

Seriously: Consider a career in politics. That's a lot of words to have said absolutely nothing.

Ok, I'll explain otherwise:
Big thing is killing people and offers you 2 choices.
-Option A
-Option B

You guys are debating which option is better.
I propose that we kill the big killing machine instead, whatever the cost is. In the meantime, use the choice that profits the most for you, keeping in mind that we want to kill the big killing machine.

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July 04, 2012, 08:54:29 AM
 #31

Assume that the people and person are all randomly selected from the world population at large, ie. if you do nothing, X randomly selected people will die, and if you act one randomly selected person will die. There are no legal or social consequences to you personally.

The proposed choices are only if you, as a human being, accept the rules. I would instead try to understand the rules, to be able to fight them back, or bend them to my will. As an example, I could organise a study to understand how the random choice is made. If we know who's going to die, we can act better and maybe keep that person alive for a little longer.

Your problem is humanity struggle as we know it. Everyday, people are being killed for millions of reason. Sometimes, some people kill people to "save" lifes, but in the end, it doesn't solve any problem at all. Some people don't kill and stay "virtuous", but they become an easy target for those who kill to "save" lifes.

It's not about who's more utilitarian or more righteous, it's about who's able to adapt depending on the current situation. As long your goal is to understand that random killing machine, you can use whatever tools you find most useful. Trying to impose your thinking is stupid, because the other person could be in a position where your way of thinking is fatal.

Seriously: Consider a career in politics. That's a lot of words to have said absolutely nothing.

Ok, I'll explain otherwise:
Big thing is killing people and offers you 2 choices.
-Option A
-Option B

You guys are debating which option is better.
I propose that we kill the big killing machine instead, whatever the cost is. In the meantime, use the choice that profits the most for you, keeping in mind that we want to kill the big killing machine.


So we should kill Vitalik Buterin? Seems extreme.

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July 04, 2012, 09:06:47 AM
 #32

Ok, I'll explain otherwise:
Big thing is killing people and offers you 2 choices.
-Option A
-Option B

You guys are debating which option is better.
I propose that we kill the big killing machine instead, whatever the cost is. In the meantime, use the choice that profits the most for you, keeping in mind that we want to kill the big killing machine.

The "big killing machine" has the capability of killing people with impunity. Option A is killing one person to save the rest, Option B is doing nothing, resulting in the deaths of those people. There is no C, trying to destroy the "big killing machine" has the exact same effect as B.

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July 04, 2012, 02:07:55 PM
 #33

Assume that the people and person are all randomly selected from the world population at large, ie. if you do nothing, X randomly selected people will die, and if you act one randomly selected person will die. There are no legal or social consequences to you personally.

The proposed choices are only if you, as a human being, accept the rules. I would instead try to understand the rules, to be able to fight them back, or bend them to my will. As an example, I could organise a study to understand how the random choice is made. If we know who's going to die, we can act better and maybe keep that person alive for a little longer.

Your problem is humanity struggle as we know it. Everyday, people are being killed for millions of reason. Sometimes, some people kill people to "save" lifes, but in the end, it doesn't solve any problem at all. Some people don't kill and stay "virtuous", but they become an easy target for those who kill to "save" lifes.

It's not about who's more utilitarian or more righteous, it's about who's able to adapt depending on the current situation. As long your goal is to understand that random killing machine, you can use whatever tools you find most useful. Trying to impose your thinking is stupid, because the other person could be in a position where your way of thinking is fatal.

Seriously: Consider a career in politics. That's a lot of words to have said absolutely nothing.

Ok, I'll explain otherwise:
Big thing is killing people and offers you 2 choices.
-Option A
-Option B

You guys are debating which option is better.
I propose that we kill the big killing machine instead, whatever the cost is. In the meantime, use the choice that profits the most for you, keeping in mind that we want to kill the big killing machine.



This is a utilitarianism vs. rights/morality debate; you're subverting the whole point of the question with this argument.

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July 04, 2012, 05:25:39 PM
 #34

Ok, I'll explain otherwise:
Big thing is killing people and offers you 2 choices.
-Option A
-Option B

You guys are debating which option is better.
I propose that we kill the big killing machine instead, whatever the cost is. In the meantime, use the choice that profits the most for you, keeping in mind that we want to kill the big killing machine.
+1
I would only kill one. That is the person that created this game of death. If that is not possible, then I would let that person do whatever because they would not be trusted to do otherwise anyway. I don't believe in no-win scenarios, but death is not something I fear.

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July 04, 2012, 06:21:41 PM
 #35

Ok, I'll explain otherwise:
Big thing is killing people and offers you 2 choices.
-Option A
-Option B

You guys are debating which option is better.
I propose that we kill the big killing machine instead, whatever the cost is. In the meantime, use the choice that profits the most for you, keeping in mind that we want to kill the big killing machine.

The "big killing machine" has the capability of killing people with impunity. Option A is killing one person to save the rest, Option B is doing nothing, resulting in the deaths of those people. There is no C, trying to destroy the "big killing machine" has the exact same effect as B.

I know, because the machine is not stupid enough to give you that option on a silver plate. The "big killing machine" is happy that great intellectuals are fighting each other to find which option is better, so that it can continue to kill without being bothered. When a superior entity like the "big killing machine" has domination over a group, it prefers to make empty debate so the group can lose their time over it, than having this group use their time and knowledge to fight the "big killing machine".

Quote
This is a utilitarianism vs. rights/morality debate; you're subverting the whole point of the question with this argument.

Every debate has a context, you cannot just trash the context to analyze what pleases you. If I could give an example using the Allegory of the Cave, right now, you're debating over the shadows on the wall. Oh sure, you make big and long debates to determine if the utilitarianism shadow is better, or the right shadow is better. But I'm asking you, where these shadows come from? Why are you in a cave, looking at shadows in the first place?

Or using the context of the OP, why the fuck are you in a world where a "big killing machine" is killing random people in the first place? It's not about who is right in the debate, it's about winning against the machine.

My answer to this debate is, I'm ready to sacrifice all the lives we need to be able to win against the "big killing machine". In the meantime, it's important to keep enough humility to be able to switch on either side of the utilitarian/rights debate depending on the situation. The losers are the ones that are stuck on only one side, incapable of adapting their way of thinking if the situation change.
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July 09, 2012, 01:21:23 AM
 #36

In all situations:
To save myself or someone I loved i'd kill the entire human race

Only where i'd not be liable:
To save a random stranger who I don't know, i'd kill anyone who has themselves killed innocent people but nobody else




I believe this to be rational, if slightly sociopathic in some people's eyes
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