motherengine Posted May 16, 2015 Report Share Posted May 16, 2015 A Situational Argument: The laws of the area in which John lives prohibit drinking alcoholic beverages while driving on public roads. These laws are based on the fact that drinking alcohol impairs response time (among other factors) and the subsequent theory that drinking alcohol while driving is dangerous to the health of the driver and the health and welfare of others who are driving on the public roads. John enjoys drinking alcohol and driving on public roads. John does accept the theory concerning the danger to his health and the health of others. John does not care about the health and welfare of others and enjoys risking his own. John does not agree with the law against drinking and driving; he believes that such laws are human constructs which have no validity in any absolute sense. Once John is riding in the back of the police cruiser the cop begins to tell john that what he did was wrong. John asks the officer what he means by “wrong”. The officer says that it is illegal. John replies that the officer is using circular logic and/or being redundant. If the officer is saying that the action was illegal because it was illegal then he is being redundant. If the officer is saying that the action was wrong because it was illegal then he is still leaving out a definition of wrong, implying that it is wrong because it is wrong, which would be circular. The officer says that ‘wrong’ is what the society has deemed inappropriate behavior, thus making it illegal. John replies that the officer is appealing to the majority of people, as if he could possibly know what so many people actually believe, and as if such a tally of opinions could make something so in an absolute sense. The officer responds that what John did was not necessarily wrong in an absolute sense, but by societal standards and laws. John argues that if this is the case, the officer is again being redundant by saying that John’s action had violated societal standards because it was in opposition to societal standards. BEAT John tells the officer that he disagrees with societal standards and so his action was not actually wrong, but merely illegal and against societal standards. John suggests that the officer is being lazy by using a one syllable word in place of multiple syllable words, or that the officer actually does believe in an absolute righteousness concerning behavior. With this situation I am suggesting that ‘right and wrong’ is often used, not a simplistic rephrasing of ‘legal and illicit’ or ’acceptable and unjust’, but rather as a phrase concerning an absolutist judgment on human behavior. - Right and Wrong: Points of Contention 1- Words used to state the obvious. “That is wrong”. If something actually is wrong, then one is stating the obvious; e.g., watching a news program and saying “that is a news program”. Is it a pointless exclamation (e.g., “My God”)? If it is not stating the obvious or a pointless exclamation, then what is it? Is one trying to prove a point? What is the point? 2- Words used in place of other words. That is wrong; i.e., that is illegal. Even to say that there are species central universal ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ (are there?) and that one is merely referencing these is either stating the obvious or being redundant/circular (e.g., “That is wrong because we have evolved to believe that it is wrong”). 3- They are labels motivated by a need to feel in control of things that one finds disturbing, unpleasant and is not in control of (specifically concerning the assumed non-determined actions of others). They allow an emotional judgment to be vocalized giving a sense of control that doesn’t actually exist. 4- Confusing words. Many people have many differing meanings for such words and so they are vague and confuse rather than clarify whatever point one is attempting to make. What does ‘right’ mean? What does ‘wrong’ mean? Specifically? Wouldn’t it be far more logical/rational to use more specific and truly universal terminology when discussing matters concerning human behavior? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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