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When murder isn't evil, what is slavery, torture, etc.


Gamer Talk

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Andoran

Hitdice wrote:
On topic: it's interesting to think about the legal status of dueling and blood feud style vengeance in a D&D world. It would suck to be on the receiving end of either, but they might fall well outside the legal definition of murder to the point of being cultural norms.

Hmmm. I'd be inclined to say that such things are usually only allowed in more Chaotic societies. The rule of law as such tends not to favor extra-legal means of ending disputes (which both of the listed examples inevitably are with the possible exception of trial by combat...and even that's iffy).

Now, that'll vary somewhat depending on the nature of said society with, say, a NG society having dueling usually only to first blood, and only under certain circumstances allowing duels to the death, and even then only under stringent rules, while a CE society (on the other hand) might allow duels to the death on the slightest retexts and with only very slight formalities involved to make it legal. And so on and so forth.

Andoran

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
Yes, killing someone for any reason is evil. Any reason. Thou shall not kill. Easy enough.

I disagree quite completely. Killing is often unfortunate, but by no means always. What about self defense? What about a serial killer, who will just keep torturing and killing unless stopped, and is about to get away, but you have him in your sights? What if there is someone you love in tremendous pain and they beg for death, literally, and mean it and the pain will only get worse from here? What if you've finally caught the monster who, say, tortured your wife to death?

Are any of those Evil? Maybe. Personally, I'd say none of them are really Evil (not even the fourth, though I know that viewing vengeance as potentially Good is controversial), and others might disagree on the last two...but those first two, it's real hard to argue that killing was a bad thing in those situations.

Irranshalee wrote:
If religion is an issue for you, I am sure I can find a few non-religious folks with similar viewpoints.

I'm sure you could. You could also easily find religious people (either Christian or non-Christian) who disagree with you in the strongest possible terms. Me, for example.

Irranshalee wrote:
This is not even a discussion. It simply is evil.

There clearly is a discussion, since so far you're the only person to advance this point. Everyone else seems to feel killing is sometimes justified.

Irranshalee wrote:
Soldiers are not evil by nature, but they must perform evil acts to survive and win.
No, they mustn't. Not necessarily anyway. Killing the enemy in wartime is not usually evil (though there are exceptions, such as people who've already surrendered).

I am not going to dissect your post as you did with mine. If you are actually a Christian go ask your priest if killing is an evil act even in the defense of someone else. You do not understand what is written.

You and many more are confused about justification. I believe someone made it quite clear before with a Serenity post. You can justify killing in any fashion you want but it still is an evil act. Every time.


Sorry to butt in however, attacking someone's belief is against this sites terms of use and doesn't further your counter argument. I've personally talked to monks who don't think certain killing is evil (one was pro-execution and the other had been an army chaplin) and they were both a lot more devout then I'll ever be.

Edit: For anyone curious, they both worked at an Our Lady of the Sacred Heart school were I was working and loved booze a lot more then me :)

Andoran

Irranshalee wrote:
I am not going to dissect your post as you did with mine. If you are actually a Christian go ask your priest if killing is an evil act even in the defense of someone else. You do not understand what is written.

I'm not Christian at all. I am religious, and very devout, however. The two are not synonymous.

I also think, however, that I could find more than a few Christians who would say that self-defense (or defense of one's family) wasn't a remotely evil act.

Irranshalee wrote:
You and many more are confused about justification. I believe someone made it quite clear before with a Serenity post. You can justify killing in any fashion you want but it still is an evil act. Every time.

Why does killing someone like a serial killer need to be justified? Or someone actively working to kill you? I mean, yeah, in practical terms you have to prove that something like that was the case (and will likely get arrested anyway in the first case), but we're talking morally justified here, not legally.

Why should acting to say, stop a murder, or punish a true monster, require any more justification than throwing water on a fire to put it out?

"He was coming at me with a knife, so I shot him." or "He tortured people to death and enjoyed it, so I shot him." aren't justifications, they are statements about events, and neither is evil on the face of it in any real sense (though the second is stupid, since it'll get you arrested).


The Best Goblin! wrote:

The alignment of the NPC should be based on the alignment philosophy of the DM.

Seeing that you're the DM, there is no way anyone here can give a fully thought-out moral doctrine in a small enough post that you can use it and then be informed enough to apply it consistently in your game.

This is an old, smelly can of worms and, as could be predicted, gets everyone pontificating as if they are the authority on a question that has never been definitively answered by the greatest minds ever, whether it be real-life morality or RPG morality, which should definitely be treated as different things.

For example, most here agree that sacrificing your child because God told you to is evil. Now, while I'd agree that anyone who does so today is almost certainly insane, I don't agree that the action is evil. If there is a God, such a being would define morality (we've correlated the two for most of recorded civilization, albeit with different gods and different codes), so if God really told someone to sacrifice their child, it wouldn't be evil. Nobody has to agree with me, and more importantly, if you wanted to say such an action isn't evil in your game, it doesn't matter what's true, or what anyone argues.

A better solution is to give you three simple ideas, let you pick one, and apply it in the way you see best in all situations, so as not to confuse your players, since the rules of alignment that you apply to your NPC should be the same ones you apply to them.

These three views broadly cover most, but not all, ethical systems:

Deontology (best known form: religious morals) - The morality of an action is defined by the characteristics of the action.

Consequentialism (best known form: utilitarianism) - The morality of an action is defined by its results. Long term results are usually only included in this if they are foreseeable.

Teleology - The morality of an action is defined by its intended purpose and/or the virtues (or lack thereof) that motivate the action.

The next question you need to...

I can't concur with this in it's entirety. Teleology is really just another word for consequentialism and may include utilitarianist viewpoints or hedonist viewpoints or existentialist viewpoints.

Ultimately, I do agree with your basic premise, that it really is up to the DM/GM to define "good", but I'm beginning to see an opportunity here to be a bit more flexible. I'm pondering, for a story, paladins who differ in the respect of what they believe is Good based upon competing moral theories (the theories endorsed by their respective deities). Where Erastil might be a deontologist, Iomedae might be a utilitarian, and Torag might be a subscriber to an evolutionarism. Conflict could easily occur when the determination of good/evil are at odds.


I actually like the alignment system and am surprised to see it so thoroughly bashed. If anything, I'd like to see third and fourth dimensions added. Of course, then we would really start getting some options and things start getting out of hand. It's probably not even necessary -- no need to pigeon-hole everyone. Here follows my general vision of it.

I basically see the middle of the compass (N) as being the least restrictive alignment, but also the least flavorful, least committed. I think of Neutral characters as the epitome of the fence-sitter who's really just walking through life with a blind eye to morality and order, just reacting as situations present themselves (unless they're committed to some sort of ideology of neutrality, which I have yet to hear a good moral framework to support).

Everything that radiates out from that center point restricts the character by some personality commitments. Evil is a commitment to Self or to Destruction, whereas Good is a commitment to Others or to Creation. Two options then with the Good/Evil alignments - egoism vs altruism or destruction vs creation. Law is a commitment to or need for order, whereas chaos is a commitment to or need for liberty.

So, on our compass from center, to the left we have (LN) those who are committed to either embracing the law's imposition of order on the world (because without it, life is unpredictable) or embracing a personal code that helps them to make consistent decisions in their life (maybe constant decision-making is too difficult or scary and having a common standard of behavior is a more comfortable way of living). And to the right (CN) we have those committed to anarchy (who are you to impose your laws on me? why am I going to commit myself to some code of behavior or follow antiquated traditions like an automaton? I'm the boss of me!). But neither having any real ideological preference for good or evil, except perhaps in a pragmatic way.

From center, if we go straight down to NE, we find people who are committed to themselves in almost the perfect way--taking what they want, as they can, with no moral compunctions. These people are often egoistic or hedonistic and have no compulsion to worry about anyone else. Stepping to the right from there, we find CE people who are committed to their own pleasures, as well, but what brings them pleasure is typically sadistic and violent in nature--they are short-sighted and delighting in cruelty and mayhem and the destruction of beautiful things (and non-beautiful things if nothing beautiful is left). On the other side of that evil layer is LE. These are often control freaks who use Order as a platform for achieving their goals, either with a personal code that helps them make choices in life quickly and decisively or external laws that help them to preserve power and work a system. Order gives them a sense of control over their lives and their destiny which they are typically eager to see improved. They may also be committed egoists or hedonists or some other self-serving philosophy to justify their "goodness" to everyone else.

I break down the Good alignments along the axis of deontology (LG being all deontologists) and consequentialism (CG being all consequentialists) - those that are NG are somewhere in the middle (they typically follow the law, because they think laws are a pretty good idea, but don't really have a philosophical commitment to them). I typically think of NG as people who look cynically at the notion of order and codes and think they're a bit stuffy, but understand that Order has its place and value in the world. The only question then becomes from where do the deontologists or consequentialists derive their moral authority. I allow that to be situational (each good person can have their own basis for the determination of good--there's generally a great deal of similarity in the end--I just ensure that LG characters believe that the Law is based on good principles and thus upholding the law is inherently good).

The most important point is this: In spite of the alignments, humans (and I would presume elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, etc..) are not perfect moral robots. They will react situationally, impulsively, or irrationally to stimuli. They are often conflicted between their beliefs and their emotions; their beliefs and their desires; their beliefs and their compassion. In this regard, only Lawful people are likely to have a problem with not staying true to their beliefs/code. Everyone else will just shrug and justify themselves. No one is always and purely one alignment. Playing a role that way leads to shallow characters, if you ask me.


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I think it's important to consider the situation in a fantasy world. It may not shift what Good and Evil is, but the basic setup would change rather a lot when compared to the world we have today.

We live in a pretty rigidly controlled society, one that would be considered excessively Lawful if described in a fantasy setting. We're talking modrons and formians Lawful here. We bend before the law, and we grumble about it, but we accept it because we see some other values in this that we appreciate. We are specialized, and apart from a hobby or two, we have a role as a worker and one as a family member. EVERYTHING else, we lay on someone else. Gathering food, protecting ourselves, health care, transportation... we outsource it all. By comparison, a fantasy setting is more or less defined by the fact that everyone has a lot more areas they need to deal with. Sure, there are temples you can go to for healing, and there are markets to buy food, but on the whole, each person faces a far more complex situation. In particular, defense is a serious consideration. Most people live in villages, and they need to participate in militia training so as to be able to defend their village, should the orcs come. For simple survival, then, high-minded morality is a serious problem.

If Bob the fantasy commoner sees an orc child defenseless, he doesn't see a harmless toddler. He sees a growing threat, remembers how twenty from his village were killed in the last orc raid two years ago, including his dad, uncle and sister. He sees his own children facing that same threat. He remembers the village elder teaching him that the orcs have been encroaching on this area for generations, and has never been able to talk to an orc, or known anyone who did. What is Bob going to do? Most likely, the orc child has poor news coming. Is Bob then an Evil person? I have a hard time seeing it. The difference here is not in morality. Killing the child is by all reasonable definitions an evil act. However, there is more leeway in these situations when it's your life at stake, commonly illustrated with lifeboat examples. I would argue that a harsher world should change the debate a bit. Note, though, that bigtime hero badasses would not be included in this - they are expected to handle themselves well anyway.

Andoran

jupistar wrote:
--I just ensure that LG characters believe that the Law is based on good principles and thus upholding the law is inherently good).

I agree with more or less your entire post except this bit. We've already had that argument in the Paladin thread, though, so I think we can skip it here. :)

Though I do think that defining Neutral Alignments as aretological as outlined in this makes a lot of sense. And indeed, also incorporate elements of that article as a whole into my Alignment structure (though I don't think they completely define it).


I've gotta admit, I'm enjoying the Game of Thrones dissection, and thank you, The Best Goblin, for giving me a workable system. Different games certainly have different morality requirements - harsh or otherwise.

Jupistar, I'm certainly not bashing the alignment system. It certainly is quite cool and works out WAAAAY better than the World of Darkness morality system where a series of bad rolls could leave someone a gibbering wreck even if every action was morally justified (if not Good, as Good suggests the height of morality). It's just about figuring out how I want to roll with alignment in my game as it's really more of a GM tool than an outright law.

In a game of G-rated fluffy bunnies, Chaotic Evil Bunny shoves a Bunny Baby out of the way to get to the carrots and Lawful Evil Bunny demands the Bunny Baby give him half of his carrots. In a harsh, grim game of heavy moral ambiguity, both of them could be Good as those are the greatest sins they've committed!

I like Sissyl's point because it shows how the needs of the world shift the way we should view alignment. In a dangerous world where certain creatures ARE going to hurt you, then killing them isn't an evil action as defined by Game Logic, no matter how old they are. In fact, it's a Good act (game reality and real reality are different matters, even in terms of IC morality systems).

In a better world where everything can theoretically be redeemed, then killing them becomes a neutral act because they may be evil now but might not be evil in future (players might start balking at murder, then). In this kinda world, I once randomly picked an evil thug with my paladin because he survived our initial assault at -2 hit points, I healed him, cuffed him, and dragged him along with us, trying to convert him, with the prison as the ultimate likelihood. I was a Lawful Good Paladin of Iomedae (shoulda been Sarenrae, in retrospect).

Then you've got the most complex worlds where everyone is capable of good and evil. Where the villain could be better than the alleged heroes and you can never be sure. Slap the players a few times with the 'You killed the good guy' and they'll certainly shy away from monster bashing.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
jupistar wrote:
--I just ensure that LG characters believe that the Law is based on good principles and thus upholding the law is inherently good).
I agree with more or less your entire post except this bit. We've already had that argument in the Paladin thread, though, so I think we can skip it here. :)

Yes, and I should have been more accurate in my language. It should have read: "I just ensure that LG characters believe that the Law should be based on good principles and thus upholding the law is inherently good." The idea being that just and fair laws are sufficient. But, the LG individual would want a body of law that is based on a moral framework.

Anyway, enough on that with you. :)

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Though I do think that defining Neutral Alignments as aretological as outlined in this makes a lot of sense. And indeed, also incorporate elements of that article as a whole into my Alignment structure (though I don't think they completely define it).

Yes. I very much like that idea. Aretological is a nice middle ground, but keep in mind, it's still teleological at it's core. Even trying to live a "virtuous life" (according to subjectively determined virtues, by the way), requires one look at the consequences of one's actions to determine if what one is doing is virtuous. Virtue ethics can build a deontological-like set of ethics, but it's more like a guide. They still are consequence-based thinkers and moralists.


laraqua wrote:
Jupistar, I'm certainly not bashing the alignment system. It certainly is quite cool and works out WAAAAY better than the World of Darkness morality system where a series of bad rolls could leave someone a gibbering wreck even if every action was morally justified (if not Good, as Good suggests the height of morality). It's just about figuring out how I want to roll with alignment in my game as it's really more of a GM tool than an outright law.

You don't think that "morally justified" = "Good"? I don't normally differentiate between the two. Could you give me an example of the difference?

I think Law/Chaos is pretty easily understood by most people (Order and Discipline vs the Natural, Law vs. Lawless, etc...), the real issue is one of Good/Evil, because then you get into the various moral frameworks and so forth. I would recommend using a single moral framework to base your decisions on, but allow your players to use a different one if they can adequately defend it. There are exceptions. I wouldn't ever allow a hedonist or egoist to call themselves "Good", regardless if they think that's it's sufficient to define Good.

laraqua wrote:
In a game of G-rated fluffy bunnies, Chaotic Evil Bunny shoves a Bunny Baby out of the way to get to the carrots and Lawful Evil Bunny demands the Bunny Baby give him half of his carrots. In a harsh, grim game of heavy moral ambiguity, both of them could be Good as those are the greatest sins they've committed!

Well, I would expect CE bunny to stomp on Bunny Baby. :)

But even in a harsh grim game with heavy moral ambiguity, I don't see how either could be perceived as Good. Maybe "less evil", but nothing close to Good. They're on the wrong side of the line.

laraqua wrote:
I like Sissyl's point because it shows how the needs of the world shift the way we should view alignment. In a dangerous world where certain creatures ARE going to hurt you, then killing them isn't an evil action as defined by Game Logic, no matter how old they are. In fact, it's a Good act (game reality and real reality are different matters, even in terms of IC morality systems).

I like Sissyl's point, too, as I've made it more than once. The real problem is the modern day moralizing that goes into it. Most people don't want a game where a farmer should be killing the young of any species, Orc or Goblin included. I don't see anything inherently wrong with it, from a moral viewpoint, but that's because I don't make my Orcs or Goblins morally ambiguous. They're bad and nothing's going to change that, except for some aberration in nature.

laraqua wrote:

In a better world where everything can theoretically be redeemed, then killing them becomes a neutral act because they may be evil now but might not be evil in future (players might start balking at murder, then). In this kinda world, I once randomly picked an evil thug with my paladin because he survived our initial assault at -2 hit points, I healed him, cuffed him, and dragged him along with us, trying to convert him, with the prison as the ultimate likelihood. I was a Lawful Good Paladin of Iomedae (shoulda been Sarenrae, in retrospect).

Then you've got the most complex worlds where everyone is capable of good and evil. Where the villain could be better than the alleged heroes and you can never be sure. Slap the players a few times with the 'You killed the good guy' and they'll certainly shy away from monster bashing.

Yeah, I tend to find those worlds to be where people feel a need to impose the moral handwringing of modern day situations on the game world. I leave that to my human(ish) species and let the rest be as they are (and not just from some poor cultural reason, either). I have several long posts on the subject of monsters and the moral clarity that should exist with regards to them.


jupistar, Ishmell, The Drunken Dragon, Irranshalee & Bruunwald you are missing the point of my argument which is killing and murder are the same thing. Each of you has pointed out that the only difference between murder and killing is the legality and morality of the action. Legality and morality change depending on the culture you’re in so if you take away the semantics you used every example I gave is both a murder and a killing. A purely good person wouldn’t call my examples murder but a purely lawful person would.


Anyone even remotely good would consider murdering your own children to be murder, evil on a scale rarely touched by humans, and if you do it because you hear voices, you are also insane. If your God tells you to do it for real, then that means your God is evil beyond redemption.


Sissyl wrote:
Anyone even remotely good would consider murdering your own children to be murder, evil on a scale rarely touched by humans, and if you do it because you hear voices, you are also insane. If your God tells you to do it for real, then that means your God is evil beyond redemption.

Most of the examples I gave is both a murder and a killing.

Better?


Actually I think you have it askew, depending on the culture a Lawful individual may see your examples as murder or morally neutral killing depending on their cultures social morals and mores while a Good individual would normally find Killing, morally neutral or otherwise, to be abhorrent.

Lawful, from what I've taken from Pathfinder, is the following of a social or moral code that the character believes to be just. The moral compass of Good and Evil within Pathfinder seems to be judged from an "Average DnD Player"'s perspective. Watching an Antipaladin murder a troupe of traveling halflings is Evil while saving the same group is Good. The reason I say that Good and Evil seems to be judged from an impartial third party is that the Gods have their own Alignments, to the extent that Clerics have to be with so many alignment shifts to maintain their powers. Asmodeus probably doesn't consider his actions to be Evil however from the games standpoint his alignment is Lawful Evil meaning that something, presumabaly the players and games creators, are judging the god and the majority believe he is Evil.


Jupistar = You don't think that "morally justified" = "Good"? I don't normally differentiate between the two. Could you give me an example of the difference?

My Response: The short answer is in semantics. I define 'good' in real life as not needing to be justified! In the real world, some would balk at considering any form of murder 'good' but they may agree that it is sometimes 'morally justified' such as when a man stabs another in the back to protect a child. They might say it's not a good, or pure, act, because murder is inherently wrong, but that without any other alternative, it was the best action they could have taken.

It can be tricky in a game, though, because some of us (myself especially) have these high and lofty ideals about what 'good' is and then I struggle because often things that are morally justified can straddle the line and it becomes tricky to know where, exactly, it sits.

As for the bunnies, if the worst thing anyone's ever done in a totally realistic game world is take someone else's carrots or shove them because they're hungry, I wouldn't demand an alignment change from good as I'm sure we've all been grouchy, temperamental, or selfish on occasion and that doesn't preclude good. If they made it a habit, sure, they'd be neutral as they make callousness a habit but I still wouldn't peg them as evil -- whereas in fluffy bunny world they would rate as evil.

So basically, depending on how you exaggerate the world, certain behaviors can become incredibly cruel or incredibly prosaic due to comparison.

On another note, a few people on here are arguing that murder can never be justified as 'good'. While that's a fine enough argument to have in real life, do you apply that in your game world? If so, how do you run your Pathfinder games without the players causing the deaths of others?


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:

Yes, killing someone for any reason is evil. Any reason. Thou shall not kill. Easy enough. If religion is an issue for you, I am sure I can find a few non-religious folks with similar viewpoints. This is not even a discussion. It simply is evil.

Soldiers are not evil by nature, but they must perform evil acts to survive and win.

If I understand you, it would be clearer to state that people are not evil, but must perform evil acts to survive, not merely soldiers.

I think he's right, actually. There is virtually no one, good or not, in reality that follows the alignment descriptions in their absolutes. Even the alignment system doesn't expect absolutes. Alignment recognizes your general attitude and such. One's alignment doesn't keep bouncing around with each thing roughly associated with an alignment. Someone who lives an orderly life, believes in a system or code, or generally just demonstrates a lawful alignment doesn't suddenly become neutral or chaotic because he decides to spice up his life by ordering off a menu randomly for lunch. :P

I think that's why soldiers often deserve our support. In many cases, they go out and have to do the stuff that no one else wants to do, for the betterment of their society (in theory at least; I won't pretend all soldiers throughout the world and history have been particularly noble, but I have several soldier friends who are IMHO quite good).

Most people don't come pre-programmed for shooting people. Taking lives is generally never a good thing. But it's something that may have to be done. That's why I don't believe Paladins can exist in a black and white game, because they are paradoxical. They are wholly good beings who train and excel at killing, killing, and killing some more; generally sentient beings as well (since you generally have to be capable of moral choice to have moral alignment). Killing is virtually the main thing the evil alignments are based around. Lots of killing. Paladins do that killing thing a lot.

One can be good and do evil things, and one can be evil and do good things. I think it's a bit wrong to try and justify the killing of sentient beings by using soldiers. I think it's disrespectful to the nature of killing sentient creatures, as well as disrespectful to the soldiers by using them as a trump card.

Comments such as "If you think killing is evil, then you must be calling soldiers evil, and that's offensive!" are very dishonest I feel. Most soldiers (I say most because I know of at least one who is) aren't soldiers just so they can kill people without repercussions. Being a soldier is generally, I believe, a lot deeper than that. There is the defending, protecting, and securing the safety of the people; and most of the soldiers I know in America are proud of the work that they do, and that work includes more than killing stuff. They may have to do evil things, but they do it because it serves a greater good (hopefully).


laraqua wrote:

My Response: The short answer is in semantics. I define 'good' in real life as not needing to be justified! In the real world, some would balk at considering any form of murder 'good' but they may agree that it is sometimes 'morally justified' such as when a man stabs another in the back to protect a child. They might say it's not a good, or pure, act, because murder is inherently wrong, but that without any other alternative, it was the best action they could have taken.

It can be tricky in a game, though, because some of us (myself especially) have these high and lofty ideals about what 'good' is and then I struggle because often things that are morally justified can straddle the line and it becomes tricky to know where, exactly, it sits.

You're right. It is a matter of semantics: to me, all Good is, by definition, morally justified. If I give an apple to starving boy, it's morally justified/it's Good. If I kill a man trying to stab that starving boy, it's morally justified/it's Good.

I don't have a lot of moral ambiguity in my fantasy world, but I do have a lot muddy-eyed thinkers in my real world. :)

laraqua wrote:

As for the bunnies, if the worst thing anyone's ever done in a totally realistic game world is take someone else's carrots or shove them because they're hungry, I wouldn't demand an alignment change from good as I'm sure we've all been grouchy, temperamental, or selfish on occasion and that doesn't preclude good. If they made it a habit, sure, they'd be neutral as they make callousness a habit but I still wouldn't peg them as evil -- whereas in fluffy bunny world they would rate as evil.

So basically, depending on how you exaggerate the world, certain behaviors can become incredibly cruel or incredibly prosaic due to comparison.

Understood. This is my fault. I was wrong in my perception. I saw "CE Bunny does X" and automatically saw everything through a prism of CE. You're right. If a guy just takes for himself and shoves the kid aside in the process, it's pretty selfish and is bad-tendencied, but doesn't make a person evil in itself.

laraqua wrote:
On another note, a few people on here are arguing that murder can never be justified as 'good'. While that's a fine enough argument to have in real life, do you apply that in your game world? If so, how do you run your Pathfinder games without the players causing the deaths of others?

That's because few people conflate all killing with murder. I certainly don't. I don't see killing a guy to protect a child as murder. It's defense of the innocent. Now, from a legal point of view, it might be murder, but that depends on the law of the land. Most people see murder as a moral issue, not a legal one (unless they're in court defending themselves :P). Basically, I think that most people do not use the word "murder" to describe morally justified killing. As a result, those killings that are murder (morally unjustified) are by definition not Good. I think that's really the issue at hand.

Anyone who takes the "all killing is evil" approach is probably a little short-sighted (no offense to those of you out there). Some people think stepping on an ant is evil. I don't. Some people think the death penalty is inherently evil--that life has some intrinsic value regardless of the nature of that life. I suppose these same people would be opposed to the eradication of mold? I don't know. I don't really talk well with people who are that radically different than me. I think some only give intrinsic value to sentient life. But I don't think sentience necessarily imparts value to life.


Yup, at this point I think we have to agree to disagree as a group, some of us, myself included, do not use the term kill in the same way as the word murder. Murder is morally loaded with the expectation that it was an "Evil" act and a Killing is used as a morally neutral term. Even if you disagree with the notion that sometimes death can becaused by another human and not be an evil act it is how we're using the term. Rather then continuing to argue somantics perhaps tell us, perhaps just me, I might be fighting a solo battle here, how you play a game where any killing no matter how justified is an evil act and how it has affected your PCs with Paladins being a particular curiosity of mine :)

Edit: Don't mean that snarkily, I'm curious how you play a purely black and white moral compass game, killing near anything that can have a class level is an evil act so I'm curious as to how you work this into a game where Great Cleave can make you a spree killer.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irranshalee wrote:

Yes, killing someone for any reason is evil. Any reason. Thou shall not kill. Easy enough. If religion is an issue for you, I am sure I can find a few non-religious folks with similar viewpoints. This is not even a discussion. It simply is evil.

Soldiers are not evil by nature, but they must perform evil acts to survive and win.

I don't personally care if you think killing is evil under any condition, but you need a reason other than the Bible. I'm sorry, but your bible's translation is insufficient. As someone who studies in the original Hebrew, I assure you that the commandment is not "You shall not kill". In Hebrew, it reads "Lo tirtsachah", which literally translates to "Don't murder." Even the word "you" ("ata" in Hebrew) is not in there. "Don't kill" would be "Lo tihragah" or perhaps "Lo tinkahah".

Manslaughter is not permitted, but does not carry the death penalty that "Lo tirtsachah" does.

Exodus 21:22-23 treats the killing of a fetus more like destruction of property than murder.

Killing that the Bible permits:
Slaughtering an animal for food
Avenging the blood of a relative who died of negligent manslaughter
Lawful war acts

Killing that the Bible mandates:
Slaughtering animals for sacrifice
Execution
There are cases of mandatory war
Killing the Amalekite if he does not accept laws of basic morality.
Killing an aggressive pursuer to save the life of the pursued.
It is even Biblically mandatory to kill someone in self defense, unless you clearly cannot save yourself.

It's fairly clear that the Bible only forbids murder, rather than killing in general.

Shadow Lodge

Murder is entirely a legal concept. It is possible to have murder fall anywhere on the alignment spectrum.

LG: The King Naxatharas was sending waves of raiders into other countries. An army was raised to slay him and a bounty was placed on his head by other nations.. despite his first law on his ascension to the throne being "No one is allowed to kill me". A paladin answered the call, took the vanguard, walked in the front door with his allies behind him, called the foul necromancer to meet his gods and cut off his head.

NG: As above or below.

CG: Lord Xerxes is invoking his right to primae noctis.

LN: I'm sorry sir. There's been a bureaucratic error and you've been placed on the executioners list by mistake, but I do have to follow the schedule after all. About that little village in the north a few years back...you really should have made a more thorough job of it.

LE: I'm sorry sir. I've made a bureaucratic error and you've been placed on the executioners list by mistake, but I do have to follow the schedule after all. About that cleaning you gave my cloak after I bumped into you in the market...you really should have made a more thorough job of it.

TN: Hey! I have morals. And a family to feed. *more gold pieces are slid across the table* My conscience is assuaged.

CN: Viva la Galt!

CE: Because it was there.

NE: I wanted his cloak.

Andoran

Example in the most simplest terms:

Bob is one of the kindest, most loving people on the planet.
Jack is a serial killer of children.
Cindy is a child.

Bob kills Jack to save Cindy.

Here is where most of you are confusing the adjectives of good and evil with nouns and verbs.

(Noun) Bob was and still is a good person.
(Verb) Saving Cindy was a good act.
(Verb) Killing Jack was an evil act.

Why is killing Jack and evil act? Because you are depriving Jack of life and you do not have the right to do it. You have become judge, jury, and executioner.

It is all in the way you look at the situation.

You cannot justify evil with goodness. It just doesn't work that way! You can try to spin it however you like but my point is still valid. Killing is always an evil act.

Look. Without a doubt, I believe I would kill Jack - without a doubt. I would even have some satisfaction in the fact that he no longer exists to hurt other people. But I also believe, I would feel remorse for taking his life. I know I should not have killed Jack, but I am selfish. I want the world to be a safe place for people who are loving and caring.


I'm sorry but again your arguing about a choice of wording that we defined earlier to mean something in the context of this thread. Also you're loading counter arguments into your own argument.

You've written...

Irranshalee wrote:

(Verb) Killing Jack was an evil act.

Why is killing Jack and evil act? Because you are depriving Jack of life and you do not have the right to do it. You have become judge, jury, and executioner.

So according to you vigilantism is evil, okay I can understand that even if it is a narrow construction, however you also say all killing is wrong no matter what.

Jack was executed after being judged by a jury of his peers.

According to you, the above is an evil act but you added that the act done by the killer of jack was evil due to their being no legal sanction "you do not have the right". So do you recognize the standing of state sanctioned killings or not?

Andoran

I gave one example. I am more than willing to explain every example you wish to pose.

Executing Jack is still an evil act. Whether 12 people decide it or the entire planet.

Ethics (lawful vs chaotic) has nothing to do with it.

I am speaking about morality (good vs evil). It is morally wrong to take a person's life.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irranshalee wrote:
I am speaking about morality (good vs evil). It is morally wrong to take a person's life.

Based on what?


Look, this isn't worth fighting over and if you truly believe that all killing is evil no matter what you've probably added all you can to this conversation. If you want to talk about how a completely black and white moral compass has effected your games I'm more then willing to listen but you'll have to accept that within this thread not everyone shares your black and white view on the taking of a life.

Andoran

The Best Goblin! wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
I am speaking about morality (good vs evil). It is morally wrong to take a person's life.
Based on what?

This. Why do you believe killing a person to be inherently evil?

Killing someone who's done no wrong is certainly Evil, but it's Evil because it's causing harm to someone who has done nothing to warrant that response. It's an injustice, an inappropriate and unwarranted act, and Evil for that reason. Killing a person in self defense is neither unjust, nor unwarranted. Why is it Evil?


I think torture is always evil while taking a life can not be. The only thing tourture could possibly benefit is sadists, tourture device makers, and pathogens in the person being tortured. How many plants and animals must die to keep that person in jail at what cost to other people and the environment when they do basicaly nothing good for society. Oh and the pollution to transfer the food to him.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
On topic: it's interesting to think about the legal status of dueling and blood feud style vengeance in a D&D world. It would suck to be on the receiving end of either, but they might fall well outside the legal definition of murder to the point of being cultural norms.

Hmmm. I'd be inclined to say that such things are usually only allowed in more Chaotic societies. The rule of law as such tends not to favor extra-legal means of ending disputes (which both of the listed examples inevitably are with the possible exception of trial by combat...and even that's iffy).

When Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr had their little disagreement, the reason they had to go to Jersey was because New York had already outlawed dueling. Hamilton made the fatal mistake of assuming that observing the form would be sufficient and he shot into the air. He underestimated however how long Burr had hated him though in balking first his run at the Presidency and then his attempt to create his own empire in the unsettled West. Burr went straight for the heart.

Andoran

Jörmungandr wrote:
Look, this isn't worth fighting over and if you truly believe that all killing is evil no matter what you've probably added all you can to this conversation. If you want to talk about how a completely black and white moral compass has effected your games I'm more then willing to listen but you'll have to accept that within this thread not everyone shares your black and white view on the taking of a life.

The "black and white view" is not mine. It is factual information. I cannot make it any more clearer than with my last example.

Instead of me making an argument for the truth of the matter, I would like to have you attempt to change my mind. Give me a step by step example of how killing is actually good. The act of it. Not the outcome of the death, but the actual act. It is my belief that most of you are confusing an action with an outcome.

So to clarify what I just said, I completely agree with those posting that goodness can come out of an evil act, but by definition black and white do not make white...
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Andoran

doctor_wu wrote:
I think torture is always evil while taking a life can not be. The only thing tourture could possibly benefit is sadists, tourture device makers, and pathogens in the person being tortured.

What about my consensual BDSM example? Or are we defining torture as non-consensual (as we probably should)? If we're defining it that way, I quite agree with you. Prolonged torture of any kind is not useful or justifiable in any real way, and thus basically always Evil.

doctor_wu wrote:
How many plants and animals must die to keep that person in jail at what cost to other people and the environment when they do basicaly nothing good for society. Oh and the pollution to transfer the food to him.

And here I'm starting to not follow you...is this an argument for execution instead of incarceration? If so, it's not a bad practical argument, but not necessarily a valid moral one.

Andoran

Deadmanwalking wrote:
The Best Goblin! wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
I am speaking about morality (good vs evil). It is morally wrong to take a person's life.
Based on what?

This. Why do you believe killing a person to be inherently evil?

Killing someone who's done no wrong is certainly Evil, but it's Evil because it's causing harm to someone who has done nothing to warrant that response. It's an injustice, an inappropriate and unwarranted act, and Evil for that reason. Killing a person in self defense is neither unjust, nor unwarranted. Why is it Evil?

Unwarranted? Unjust? You speak of ethics.

You response is baseless. Try again.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Irranshalee wrote:
The "black and white view" is not mine. It is factual information. I cannot make it any more clearer than with my last example.

Nothing using the word Evil is factual. Evil is a thought-construct, not a palpable physical force that can be measured (unlike in D&D), and any thought construct is subject to manipulation, modification, and alternate points of view.

Irranshalee wrote:
Instead of me making an argument for the truth of the matter, I would like to have you attempt to change my mind. Give me a step by step example of how killing is actually good. The act of it. Not the outcome of the death, but the actual act. It is my belief that most of you are confusing an action with an outcome.

What you're asking is impossible. Acts themselves are never anything but neutral, only in the context of outcomes and motivations can we begin to translate them into some meaningful ethical framework.

I mean, let's say I fire a gun. Or jump up and down. Is that Good? Is it Evil? Is it neither? There's no way to tell, no context for the act. The same is true of killing. Or anything else.

Irranshalee wrote:

So to clarify what I just said, I completely agree with those posting that goodness can come out of an evil act, but by definition black and white do not make white...

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...they make gray.

Again, how and why is an act Evil? I'm legitimately not understanding what you mean by an act being evil in and of itself.

Irranshalee wrote:
Unwarranted? Unjust? You speak of ethics.

Using what definition of ethics? There are several. I suspect I disagree with you on this, but I can't know that until you define your terms.

Irranshalee wrote:
You response is baseless. Try again.

You could try answering the question. Why is it you consider killing inherently Evil? You seem very unwilling to answer this simple question with anything but the most circular reasoning.

Andoran

Why is killing evil?

You are depriving something of life.

Explain to me how depriving something of life is neutral?

This conversation reminds me of debates on gun laws. I have heard so many people argue this point: "Guns kill people."

In nearly every instance of a gun death the fact remains, a gun did not kill a person. Someone killed a person. He simply used a gun instead of a knife or a rock. The gun was a tool - albeit it, a tool that made the killing easier.

Ethics is how a society views the world. When you speak of whether an action is justified, you are asking whether or not you had a right to act a certain way. This brings me back to the current alignment system. One should view his alignment as lawful and evil, not lawful evil. Makes things a whole lot easier.

BTW, I have given no circular reasoning. If you must attack me, quote examples. Otherwise your comments are baseless accusations.

Any chance you will stop dissecting my posts and make a wholly valid argument? I tire of your spin. You remind me of our current news stations.


Irranshalee wrote:

Why is killing evil?

You are depriving something of life.

Explain to me how depriving something of life is neutral?

That is an outcome. That is a consequence. Killing is not actually an action. Stabbing is an action. Shooting is an action. But you need not stab a person to stab or shoot a person to shoot. Killing is stabbing/shooting enough times or in specific way for a specific outcome to be realized. Reconsider your position on the inherent morality of action.

Irranshalee wrote:

This conversation reminds me of debates on gun laws. I have heard so many people argue this point: "Guns kill people."

In nearly every instance of a gun death the fact remains, a gun did not kill a person. Someone killed a person. He simply used a gun instead of a knife or a rock. The gun was a tool - albeit it, a tool that made the killing easier.

You're right. Guns don't kill people. And no one is making that argument. You're making a similar mistake. Pulling the trigger of a gun and pointing a gun are actions that are not inherently evil unless outcome and consequence are considered.

Irranshalee wrote:

Ethics is how a society views the world. When you speak of whether an action is justified, you are asking whether or not you had a right to act a certain way. This brings me back to the current alignment system. One should view his alignment as lawful and evil, not lawful evil. Makes things a whole lot easier.

BTW, I have given no circular reasoning. If you must attack me, quote examples. Otherwise your comments are baseless accusations.

Any chance you will stop dissecting my posts and make a wholly valid argument? I tire of your spin. You remind me of our current news stations.

Stop being rude. Most people are asking you to support your seemingly nonsensical position. You may think it makes sense, but no one else does. Recognize that and try to be more clear and make more sense.

If actions cannot be judged outside of intent or outcome, then you have to judge the entire outcome and the entire intent. The intent is not "to kill" in the case of self-defense. The action isn't "killing". The intent is "to kill to save my life" and the action is "defending myself" (and even that is an abstraction of a series of small actions, each inherently without moral content).

I don't agree that there really exists any strong defining line between morality and ethics--they are intertwined. One necessitates or explains the other.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irranshalee wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The Best Goblin! wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
I am speaking about morality (good vs evil). It is morally wrong to take a person's life.
Based on what?

This. Why do you believe killing a person to be inherently evil?

Killing someone who's done no wrong is certainly Evil, but it's Evil because it's causing harm to someone who has done nothing to warrant that response. It's an injustice, an inappropriate and unwarranted act, and Evil for that reason. Killing a person in self defense is neither unjust, nor unwarranted. Why is it Evil?

Unwarranted? Unjust? You speak of ethics.

You response is baseless. Try again.

You're differentiation between ethics and morals is illusory, and seem more influenced by rpg terms than reality. Morality is a term used in religious and general conversation, ethics is used in philosophy and legal terminology, but they both mean the same thing, a code by which right action is defined.

You're obviously a deontologist, you identify the morality of an action by the characteristics of the action is itself. That's fine, I'm also a deontologist. But a deontologist needs an outside source to define these characteristics. The most popular deontological source is the Bible.

You quoted the Bible, albeit incorrectly, with the commandment to not "kill". I gave you the original Hebrew, proving that the word best translates as "murder" (look it up, the root is resh-tzaddi-chet.)

So, since you cannot use the Bible as the source of your assertion, I'm dying to know what you base the idea that killing is evil (period, end of story) on. For example, many Jainists espouse this belief. Are you a Jainist? If so, my curiosity is slaked, and I'm done. If not, what is the basis for how you characterize actions?

Andoran

Irranshalee wrote:

Why is killing evil?

You are depriving something of life.

Okay! That's definitely an answer.

So now the question is: Why is depriving someone of life inherently bad? Do some people not abrogate their right to life by their actions? Do some people not wish to die, and should it not be their right to do so?

Is continued life always a Good thing? I rather think not.

Irranshalee wrote:
Explain to me how depriving something of life is neutral?

How is it not? It's bad for them, certainly, but not inherently either bad or good in it's own right. If it's done to protect an innocent, and makes the world a better place, how is it Evil? Both the intent and consequences are positive and Good, so how does the act of killing somehow definitionally make an act of pure motives and good results Evil?

Irranshalee wrote:
This conversation reminds me of debates on gun laws. I have heard so many people argue this point: "Guns kill people."

I'm a little unclear on what the two have to do with each other...

Irranshalee wrote:
In nearly every instance of a gun death the fact remains, a gun did not kill a person. Someone killed a person. He simply used a gun instead of a knife or a rock. The gun was a tool - albeit it, a tool that made the killing easier.

I actually agree with this...but to me it seems to support my point: My basic argument is that every act is a tool. How good or evil it is depends entirely on it's use.

Irranshalee wrote:
Ethics is how a society views the world. When you speak of whether an action is justified, you are asking whether or not you had a right to act a certain way. This brings me back to the current alignment system. One should view his alignment as lawful and evil, not lawful evil. Makes things a whole lot easier.

With that definition I completely disagree with your defining the concepts of 'unjust' or 'unwarranted' as Ethics.

Justice is a powerful moral concept, an ideal of fairness and goodness that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with law or society per se, as is the notion of not harming others without reason. I'm talking about moral rights here, not legal ones.

Irranshalee wrote:
BTW, I have given no circular reasoning. If you must attack me, quote examples. Otherwise your comments are baseless accusations.

You have previously responded to the question of why it is Evil to kill with "It is morally wrong to take another person's life." Which is basically the same as saying "Because it is."...which is kinda the definition of circular logic. I'm perfectly willing to believe that wasn't your intent, but it certainly came across that way.

Irranshalee wrote:
Any chance you will stop dissecting my posts and make a wholly valid argument? I tire of your spin. You remind me of our current news stations.

I'm sorry if the standard method of responding to long posts (which is used for clarity, so it is clear what I am responding to) is not to your liking.

As for a 'wholly valid' argument, I made one in my first post. That no action is inherently anything without context. You have yet to present any real refutations to it, any examples that contradict it.

And I'm not spinning a damn thing, I'm responding directly to what you are saying and questioning what framework you are using to reach these decisions, as well as perhaps demonstrating that that framework is not the only one that can be used to make moral decisions.

Andoran

jupistar wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:

Why is killing evil?

You are depriving something of life.

Explain to me how depriving something of life is neutral?

That is an outcome. That is a consequence. Killing is not actually an action. Stabbing is an action. Shooting is an action. But you need not stab a person to stab or shoot a person to shoot. Killing is stabbing/shooting enough times or in specific way for a specific outcome to be realized. Reconsider your position on the inherent morality of action.

What world do you live in? Kill is an action verb.

1. to deprive of life in any manner; cause the death of; slay.
2. to destroy; do away with; extinguish: His response killed our hopes.
3. to destroy or neutralize the active qualities of: to kill an odor.
4. to spoil the effect of: His extra brushwork killed the painting.

I run.
I kill.

Most actions cannot be judged without context. Killing is one of the few that can be.

Let's use an example most of you agree on. Murder. Is murder evil? Most if not all of you said yes. Let's keep in mind that the difference between kill and murder is intent, first degree includes premeditation.

Hypothetically, it is 1930. You know where Hitler is. You have seen the future. You have seen that he is responsible for millions of deaths. You plot to kill him. You eventually go through with it and murder him. You have saved millions of lives.

Do I really need to go through the thought progression here?

The point is subtle and missed by most people just as may and can or infer and imply are confused.

I am sorry if I sound rude. It is just my way. Please bear with my uncouth manner.

Andoran

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:

Why is killing evil?

You are depriving something of life.

Okay! That's definitely an answer.

So now the question is: Why is depriving someone of life inherently bad? Do some people not abrogate their right to life by their actions? Do some people not wish to die, and should it not be their right to do so?

Is continued life always a Good thing? I rather think not.

Irranshalee wrote:
Explain to me how depriving something of life is neutral?

How is it not? It's bad for them, certainly, but not inherently either bad or good in it's own right. If it's done to protect an innocent, and makes the world a better place, how is it Evil? Both the intent and consequences are positive and Good, so how does the act of killing somehow definitionally make an act of pure motives and good results Evil?

Irranshalee wrote:
This conversation reminds me of debates on gun laws. I have heard so many people argue this point: "Guns kill people."

I'm a little unclear on what the two have to do with each other...

Irranshalee wrote:
In nearly every instance of a gun death the fact remains, a gun did not kill a person. Someone killed a person. He simply used a gun instead of a knife or a rock. The gun was a tool - albeit it, a tool that made the killing easier.

I actually agree with this...but to me it seems to support my point: My basic argument is that every act is a tool. How good or evil it is depends entirely on it's use.

Irranshalee wrote:
Ethics is how a society views the world. When you speak of whether an action is justified, you are asking whether or not you had a right to act a certain way. This brings me back to the current alignment system. One should view his alignment as lawful and evil, not lawful evil. Makes things a whole lot easier.

With that definition I completely disagree with your defining the concepts of 'unjust' or 'unwarranted' as Ethics.

Justice is a powerful moral concept, an ideal of fairness and...

I am no longer going to read your posts or respond to your dissection of my thoughts. I tire of the spin.

I end posting to you with...

It appears to me that you are an "ends justify the means" person. If heaven and hell exist, I will save a seat for you on the bus. We can pass the time on the trip down discussing this thread.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irranshalee wrote:


What world do you live in? Kill is an action verb.

We shouldn't assume that grammar dictates reality. If I stab someone, stabbing is definitely an action I do. If it results in death, I have also killed. If it doesn't result in death, I have not killed. So killing is an action that is ascribed to me only after I have acted. It really is more related to the consequences of my actions than the actions themselves. This is something all consequentialists and most deontologists agree on.

Irranshalee wrote:


Most actions cannot be judged without context. Killing is one of the few that can be.

Let's use an example most of you agree on. Murder. Is murder evil? Most if not all of you said yes. Let's keep in mind that the difference between kill and murder is intent, first degree includes premeditation.

Hypothetically, it is 1930. You know where Hitler is. You have seen the future. You have seen that he is responsible for millions of deaths. You plot to kill him. You eventually go through with it and murder him. You have saved millions of lives.

First, since we all agreed that murder is wrong, but killing isn't necessarily wrong, you can't prove murdering Hitler is wrong to prove killing is wrong. It doesn't make any sense. Besides, most people don't consider a wartime political assassination murder, it's a war act, time travelling or not. To make that example begin to be admissible, we'd need to establish that wartime assassination is indeed murder, and that's a whole other discussion. Do you have a better example?

I'm still wondering what your source for characterizing the morality of actions is?

EDIT: Or... you're spent. Oh well.


Irranshalee wrote:
jupistar wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:

Why is killing evil?

You are depriving something of life.

Explain to me how depriving something of life is neutral?

That is an outcome. That is a consequence. Killing is not actually an action. Stabbing is an action. Shooting is an action. But you need not stab a person to stab or shoot a person to shoot. Killing is stabbing/shooting enough times or in specific way for a specific outcome to be realized. Reconsider your position on the inherent morality of action.
What world do you live in?

Rudeness is a choice and usually one made from arrogance. I bear with you because I think you might be able to see that your subtlety isn't all that subtle and that the truth is even more so.

Irranshalee wrote:

Kill is an action verb.

1. to deprive of life in any manner; cause the death of; slay.
2. to destroy; do away with; extinguish: His response killed our hopes.
3. to destroy or neutralize the active qualities of: to kill an odor.
4. to spoil the effect of: His extra brushwork killed the painting.

I run.
I kill.

Yes, but all actions are made up of smaller actions. So, I agree that I'm wrong with my literal, "killing is not an action", but the intent of my words remain. Each action taken by an intelligent being is with a goal in mind. I lift my foot -> I set my foot -> I lift my other foot. Thus, this series of non-related actions is given "purpose" by the outcome. I run. These sorts of actions are abstractions, much like bathing is an abstraction of a process that is generally demarcated by the moment you climb into a tub and the time you climb out and the series of actions that take place while in the tub. None of these individual pieces have any inherent moral content.

Irranshalee wrote:
Most actions cannot be judged without context. Killing is one of the few that can be.

Support this claim, please. Why is "killing" able to be judged without context?

Irranshalee wrote:

Let's use an example most of you agree on. Murder. Is murder evil? Most if not all of you said yes. Let's keep in mind that the difference between kill and murder is intent, first degree includes premeditation.

Hypothetically, it is 1930. You know where Hitler is. You have seen the future. You have seen that he is responsible for millions of deaths. You plot to kill him. You eventually go through with it and murder him. You have saved millions of lives.

Do I really need to go through the thought progression here?

The point is subtle and missed by most people just as may and can or infer and imply are confused.

I'm not sure you did make a point here. Please state it clearly.

Irranshalee wrote:
I am sorry if I sound rude. It is just my way. Please bear with my uncouth manner.

Your way is one of hubris. Unless you enjoy others being rude to you, reciprocate the respect of civility.

Andoran

The Best Goblin! wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
The Best Goblin! wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
I am speaking about morality (good vs evil). It is morally wrong to take a person's life.
Based on what?

This. Why do you believe killing a person to be inherently evil?

Killing someone who's done no wrong is certainly Evil, but it's Evil because it's causing harm to someone who has done nothing to warrant that response. It's an injustice, an inappropriate and unwarranted act, and Evil for that reason. Killing a person in self defense is neither unjust, nor unwarranted. Why is it Evil?

Unwarranted? Unjust? You speak of ethics.

You response is baseless. Try again.

You're differentiation between ethics and morals is illusory, and seem more influenced by rpg terms than reality. Morality is a term used in religious and general conversation, ethics is used in philosophy and legal terminology, but they both mean the same thing, a code by which right action is defined.

You're obviously a deontologist, you identify the morality of an action by the characteristics of the action is itself. That's fine, I'm also a deontologist. But a deontologist needs an outside source to define these characteristics. The most popular deontological source is the Bible.

You quoted the Bible, albeit incorrectly, with the commandment to not "kill". I gave you the original Hebrew, proving that the word best translates as "murder" (look it up, the root is resh-tzaddi-chet.)

So, since you cannot use the Bible as the source of your assertion, I'm dying to know what you base the idea that killing is evil (period, end of story) on. For example, many Jainists espouse this belief. Are you a Jainist? If so, my curiosity is slaked, and I'm done. If not, what is the basis for how you characterize actions?

Sorry bud. The subtle difference between ethics and morals is respectively social and personal. Everything else you typed is cluttering the actual definition.

I am not a deontologist.

Jainism. I had to look that up. Sadly, not very realistic. One can only hope for a world based on those beliefs. In any case, I am not a Jainist either.

Let me retype what I typed once before...

Your response is baseless. Try again.

Andoran

I like you Jupistar. Some day I hope my pride will die.

Would you do me a favor? Define these two words: evil and good.

In fact, let's all come to an agreement what these words mean. We might be able to make some progression if we can agree on their definitions.

Weigh in, folks.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irranshalee wrote:

Sorry bud. The subtle difference between ethics and morals is respectively social and personal. Everything else you typed is cluttering the actual definition.

I am not a deontologist.

Jainism. I had to look that up. Sadly, not very realistic. One can only hope for a world based on those beliefs. In any case, I am not a Jainist either.

Let me retype what I typed once before...

Your response is baseless. Try again.

Actually, the Oxford definition of ethics, sense 1:

"moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity"

Oxford definition of morality, sense 1:
"principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour"

Hmm... only the definition of ethics discusses any sense of personability, but you said it was the other way around. Oxford pretty much equates the two, and tend to be pretty credible when it comes to the English language.

You are a deontologist, by the way, because you definitely aren't a teleologist or consequentialist, and those are the only systematic ways of characterizing moral action. And if you could please, please tell me what your source for moral decisions is, I can understand where you're coming from!

Shadow Lodge

Irranshalee wrote:

Example in the most simplest terms:

Bob is one of the kindest, most loving people on the planet.
Jack is a serial killer of children.
Cindy is a child.

Bob kills Jack to save Cindy.

Here is where most of you are confusing the adjectives of good and evil with nouns and verbs.

(Noun) Bob was and still is a good person.
(Verb) Saving Cindy was a good act.
(Verb) Killing Jack was an evil act.

Well here's an odd question: How many times can Bob commit this allegedly evil act and still be a good person?

Andoran

The Best Goblin! wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:

Sorry bud. The subtle difference between ethics and morals is respectively social and personal. Everything else you typed is cluttering the actual definition.

I am not a deontologist.

Jainism. I had to look that up. Sadly, not very realistic. One can only hope for a world based on those beliefs. In any case, I am not a Jainist either.

Let me retype what I typed once before...

Your response is baseless. Try again.

Actually, the Oxford definition of ethics, sense 1:

"moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity"

Oxford definition of morality, sense 1:
"principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour"

Hmm... only the definition of ethics discusses any sense of personability, but you said it was the other way around. Oxford pretty much equates the two, and tend to be pretty credible when it comes to the English language.

You are a deontologist, by the way, because you definitely aren't a teleologist or consequentialist, and those are the only systematic ways of characterizing moral action. And if you could please, please tell me what your source for moral decisions is, I can understand where you're coming from!

Look up the word "ain't" in the OED.

Look up the word "can" in the OED and see if there is a definition of its usage for permission.

Our language gets muddier by the day.

Andoran

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:

Example in the most simplest terms:

Bob is one of the kindest, most loving people on the planet.
Jack is a serial killer of children.
Cindy is a child.

Bob kills Jack to save Cindy.

Here is where most of you are confusing the adjectives of good and evil with nouns and verbs.

(Noun) Bob was and still is a good person.
(Verb) Saving Cindy was a good act.
(Verb) Killing Jack was an evil act.

Well here's an odd question: How many times can Bob commit this allegedly evil act and still be a good person?

Not an odd question but a very good one. One thing I would like to clarify with your statement though, is the overall act seems neutral to me. He is doing something both evil and good.

Andoran

Irranshalee wrote:
I am no longer going to read your posts or respond to your dissection of my thoughts. I tire of the spin.

Because aiming for point-by-point discussions when there are at least three different issues going on is spin now?

Irranshalee wrote:

I end posting to you with...

It appears to me that you are an "ends justify the means" person. If heaven and hell exist, I will save a seat for you on the bus. We can pass the time on the trip down discussing this thread.

I am not. I have previously clarified why I am not.

And I am both certain I have never done anything deserving of Hell and vaguely tempted to go on a rant about self-hate, hypocrisy, and pointless guilt for entirely reasonable acts, as well as making assumptions about other people or refusing to accept the beliefs of others as remotely valid.

I'm not gonna do that, I'm just going to bow out of this thread before I'm insulted further. Because, yeah, I really don't need to be told I'm going to Hell for thinking self-defense is morally acceptable.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Irranshalee wrote:

Look up the word "ain't" in the OED.

Look up the word "can" in the OED and see if there is a definition of its usage for permission.

Our language gets muddier by the day.

I don't like "ain't", either, but a dictionary that doesn't acknowledge common usage is a bad dictionary. The idea that there was a time when "can" could not be used to ask permission is an illusion. Shakespeare used it in such a way. And even if that was the case, you still haven't convinced me that I should believe you over Oxford.

Andoran

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Irranshalee wrote:
I am no longer going to read your posts or respond to your dissection of my thoughts. I tire of the spin.

Because aiming for point-by-point discussions when there are at least three different issues going on is spin now?

Irranshalee wrote:

I end posting to you with...

It appears to me that you are an "ends justify the means" person. If heaven and hell exist, I will save a seat for you on the bus. We can pass the time on the trip down discussing this thread.

I am not. I have previously clarified why I am not.

And I am both certain I have never done anything deserving of Hell and vaguely tempted to go on a rant about self-hate, hypocrisy, and pointless guilt for entirely reasonable acts, as well as making assumptions about other people or refusing to accept the beliefs of others as remotely valid.

I'm not gonna do that, I'm just going to bow out of this thread before I'm insulted further. Because, yeah, I really don't need to be told I'm going to Hell for thinking self-defense is morally acceptable.

I am sorry if I insulted you. It was not my intent.

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