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Worm discussion and debate thread

Discussion in 'CW Index' started by OverReactionGuy, Jul 23, 2015.

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  1. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy Verified Sanity

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    I don't know if this should go here or into the rants part of the site. But I'll put it here for now and if it turns into a ranting thread and what not, I'll ask a mod to move it.

    Anyway, this is exactly what it says on the tin.

    Want to discuss and debate about things that happened in Worm canon? Do it here.

    Personally I am expecting a lot of morality debates myself.

    Because that happens a lot.

    I probably wont be very active in the thread myself though.

    Since I avoided threads like this on SV.

    Anyway... have at it.

    Try to keep things civil though.
     
  2. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Transmitted from the Worm Ideas Thread because it does belong here.

    If Taylor's friends weren't the Undersiders and they discovered the robbery, it would absolutely be morally right to tell Armsmaster or whoever in the Protectorate is on hand. And before you start thinking 'yes, I'm right', no you're not. You're creating a situation that is completely different from the situation we're discussing, then planning to say, if this situation is true, then it's morally wrong in all situations. The thing is, that's not true. Circumstance ALWAYS impacts moral choice. The difference is NOT that she likes the Undersiders in one and not in the other, the difference is that in your scenario, there isn't a moral choice. There's no betrayal of trust because they're people she's never met before. You're creating an entirely different scenario and then saying, 'well if it's morally right here, it's always morally right' which is a fallacy.
     
  3. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    Or, and stay with me on this one, you can call the cops and have him sent to jail for his crimes.


    No she didn't. Because her obligation is to do the right thing, which is stopping a robbery, over any loyalty to her friends. If being loyal to your friends involves doing something you know to be wrong, which robbing a bank is, then your loyalty is misplaced. You're not obligated to be party to bad things because your friends are involved. Like by your logic if your buddy came up to you and talked about how he raped some girl last weekend, and you had no idea who she was you're seeming to argue that the moral thing is to not say anything and even try to protect him because you're friends with him.
     
  4. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    Except it does change the situation because her friendship is the only thing that alters the situation. Thus her morality is solely based on the idea that she likes these people. Her loyalty shouldn't be so strong that she willingly becomes party to a felony. That's the part I find so horrific. You're saying loyalty should have no limits. That you should stand by your friends even if you know they're doing wrong because that is more moral than stopping them. Like do you accept any limits? Rape, murder? Or is it just crimes like theft? Is your personal circle of friends the sole obligation a person has to moral behavior?
     
  5. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Alright folks. It's time for Ethics 101 with Professor Kamen. This is absurdly simplified, but it's important to make my point.

    There are three main kinds of ethics to determine whether something is morally wrong or not:

    Utilitarian Ethics: Taylor loves this one. It can be summarized most easily as 'the greatest good for the greatest number of people'. So if an action is for the benefit of society as a whole, even though it may cause individual harm, it can still be morally acceptable.
    Libertarian Ethics: also related to Egalitarian ethics. This one basically means all moral decisions are based on a set of 'rights' that all people have. Anything that violates these rights is morally wrong and should not be allowed. This is what your entire argument has been. The three most common rights agreed on by philosophers are Right to Life, Right to Liberty, and Right to Property. That means that anything the deprives a person of life (say murder) is wrong. Anything that deprives a person of liberty (including mental liberties like freedom of speech) is wrong. And anything that deprives a person of their rightful property (such as theft) is wrong.
    Virtue Ethics: this is what all our counter arguments have been. Virtue ethics' main point is that 'virtuous actions' meaning actions that adhere to virtues that are considered 'good' such as loyalty, courage, kindness, etc. are considered good and actions that do not are bad. My argument the entire time has been that Loyalty to her friends is a good thing, while she has no loyalty or responsibility to the people who would lose money if the bank is robbed or the Protectorate for that matter, so it's not morally wrong because she's staying true to an important virtue.

    You see, you're still doing the exact same thing. 'What she did is morally wrong because it's stealing and it's illegal' which falls under 'violating right to property'. Ergo, she's doing something wrong. I'm saying 'she had a responsibility to uphold her loyalty to a group she promised to work with' and therefore it's not morally wrong. That's the problem with both arguments actually. We're using entirely different systems of ethics to prove our points when they're entirely incompatible. You're saying 'virtues don't matter, the law is right', I'm saying 'virtues are more important than laws'. And virtue ethics have limits. So for example murder is wrong because care for another person's safety is a virtue to be upheld. However, in the case of the robbery, loyalty is a more important virtue than sanctity of another's property.
     
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  6. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    It's just so insane that you're arguing that protecting her friends is more important than any sense of right or wrong. I can't even fathom that. Like even using your own logic how is loyalty more important than the sanctity of someone else's property? That's basically saying that being selfish and self-serving and never looking past anything but yourself and your close friends is better than caring about the rights of others.
     
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  7. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    First, respect that there are moral points other than yours. Would you be offended if I called you insane for assuming the law is always right? Stop using loaded words to prove your point. Make an actual moral argument.

    Second, by the moral standards I'm using, protecting her friends is an intrinsic part of right and wrong. You're saying that caring for her friends should never be a part of a moral decision. Should she never care about her friends at all? Does she have no obligation to the people close to her? There's more to right and wrong than what the law says and you're completely ignoring that.

    You say that it's selfish and self serving to rob someone. I could turn that around. It's selfish and self serving to turn people who trust her into the police so she can make a name for herself as a hero. They trust her and what, she's supposed to say 'Fuck all of you, I'm going to be a super hero. Sorry you trusted me, gave me friends and a place to belong, I want to show the Protectorate that I can be a good hero'? That's WORSE than stealing from a bunch of people she's never met.

    One more thing:
    Rights, rights, you keep using that word. Rights mean nothing by the ethical standards I'm using. Rights are meaningless in Virtue Ethics. The character and intentions of the person acting and the virtues they are upholding are all that matter.

    Taylor's intentions: find out who the Undersider's boss is to eliminate a bigger threat than them. As in, protecting the city over all. Getting a little into Utilitarian ethics here, but it's relevant.
    Taylor's virtue: upholding loyalty to her friends.
     
  8. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    You can argue her motives behind her actions were wrong but going "I know what I'm doing is wrong, but I'm going to do it anyway because the people committing this crime are my friends" is in my view far worse, because then all that comes into play is if she personally cares about the people. It reduces morality to solely being about personal feelings. Basically saying that it's good to let or even join in on doing bad things so long as you know the people doing wrong better than anyone that gets hurt.

    So you're saying that loyalty is a more important virtue than caring about others? That it trumps the virtue of not hurting others? That it is better than respecting others? That being loyal is more important than not threatening people with death?
     
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  9. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Morality IS personal feelings. The exact definition is "a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society". Read, one held by a specific person. ALL MORAL DECISIONS ARE SUBJECTIVE. You are not wrong in saying that in your opinion it is wrong to put loyalty to one's friends over value of someone else's property. However, that does not automatically make my opinion that loyalty to friends is more important than valuing someone else's property wrong.

    I'm saying the loyalty to one's friends is more morally right than caring for another property. That word property is important. They're not committing murder, they're stealing from a bank. There is no intention to inflict physical harm on anyone. At worst, they intend to scare people. Hell, the worst mental damage anyone gets is Clockblocker develops a fear of insects and the thing with Amy, which was both not intentional and not Taylor's fault. No one is supposed to be hurt. I know, you're going to bring up the black widows on everyone. Except it's explicitly stated that they're there for the purpose of scaring people enough to keep them from trying to fight back, not actually harming anyone. Remember intentions are as critical as virtues. Taylor has no intention of hurting anyone in the bank, so that's irrelevant. Hell, there aren't even any civilian casualties caused in the bank heist aside from a handful of people getting bruised when the Undersiders sent the hostages outside as a distraction and they got shoved around by other hostages.
     
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  10. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    You seem to be arguing from the position that there is a single, objective morally correct action in every situation, which any person must take if put in that situation.

    This is entirely fallacious, whichever moral system you're using.

    Different people have different moral obligations. There is an obligation to "any random person", which will probably usually be the same for different people; this, for instance, is why we consider it 'wrong' to murder strangers. But this is relatively weaker than specific, personal obligations.

    Taylor has a specific, personal obligation to the Undersiders, not to betray them to their enemies. She obtained this obligation when she joined their team and agreed to do the job. This overrides her obligation to the bank to protect its property, which falls under "any random person" or even weaker. It also overrides her obligation to hypothetical bystanders to protect them from equally hypothetical collateral damage.

    This isn't always the case. If the Undersiders had gone out on a mission to kill enormous numbers of civilians, it would be entirely reasonable for Taylor to stop them, either (preferably) by herself or (if necessary) by calling in the Protectorate. But as it stands, you're saying that she's more obligated to keep the bank from losing some money, than she is obligated to keep her team from being captured by their enemies and destroyed as a faction. (And worse, in the case of Tt, who'd probably either get killed or locked in a basement by Coil.) That just isn't coherent; single layers of authority don't work as a societal principle.
     
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  11. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    It's not the property that is important here. It's the act of theft. Stealing is wrong. Hell Taylor herself recognizes this and didn't personally hold any loyalty to the Undersiders at the time any way. The whole argument is moot since they weren't her friends at the time. They trusted her, but she certainly didn't trust them and was planing on turning on them from the start.

    Yes, because stealing is morally wrong. Stopping a theft from happening is the right thing to do even if the people committing the theft are personal friends of yours. Also those "enemies" are the lawful authorities of the society they live in and their "faction" is a criminal gang. I find the way you phrased that very odd. It sounds like you're talking less about people committing crimes and more like all of this happened in a MMO.
     
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  12. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Perhaps you missed it the three times I said it. The Right to Property, the reason the moral school you are using to argue that stealing is wrong says stealing is wrong, is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to my argument. You cannot use one school of ethics to prove why another is wrong because they all contradict one another. It is impossible to prove one ethical theory wrong by arguing that a different ethical theory is correct simply because you agree with that ethical theory instead. The only way you can prove me wrong is by proving that loyalty to a friend is less important that respect for a stranger property WITHOUT using the argument that stealing is wrong on principle. That argument DOES NOT work in this discussion because it the right to property means nothing in context of virtue ethics.

    And upholding the virtue of loyalty does not have to mean Taylor feels loyalty to the Undersiders. By joining their team, she gave herself a responsibility to them, requiring her to uphold her promises of working with them and supporting them. Loyalty is intrinsically part of this unwritten agreement. It has nothing to do with Taylor feeling loyal to the Undersiders, it has everything to do with the basic principle of loyalty saying that as a member of the team, she is expected to act in the team's interests and not betray them to their enemies. Betraying the trust they hold in her is still a betrayal of loyalty, even if she does not feel loyal to them, ergo it is still wrong.
     
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  13. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    The 'lawful authorities' don't really have any special status here. The only thing which makes a government is control of territory, and the Protectorate don't hold exclusive control. Therefore, they aren't ontologically privileged over E88, ABB, the Adepts, or whomever, and it isn't a special moral fault to break the rules the Protectorate makes, any more than it's a special moral fault to break the rules E88, ABB, etc. make.

    Stealing is still, consequentially, an act against the public order, and so presumptively wrong. But it isn't some special brand of deontologically wrong that overrides all other moral obligations, like you're making it out to be.
     
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  14. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    So to try and summarize the entire argument so people don't start missing the forest for the trees, let me give it a shot.

    volantredx's argument is that breaking the law by harming others is morally wrong, and that if you know a friend is going to commit a crime, you are morally obligated to either stop them or notify the authorities. Note that the caveat is "harming others"; breaking Jim Crow laws and the like are perfectly acceptable.

    kamenhero25 and alethiophile's argument is that it is morally right to support your friends in whatever they do, even if it is in breaking the law and harming others. Loyalty to your friends is a greater virtue than respect for not harming others.

    If I am wrong in my summaries, let me know how and why, and I will make the necessary changes in an edit.

    I doubt I will convince anyone otherwise, and I doubt anyone will manage to convince me otherwise, but I am on the side of Volant this time. Let's leave it at that.


    Finally, this is to both sides of the debate: when debating, don't try and convince the other side that your opinion is right. Often they are firmly locked into their position and will not change it no matter what arguments are made. Instead, try and convince the audience that you are correct. It will make your argument(s) much more effective.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
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  15. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    That's slightly disingenuous. I argue that loyalty to a friend you are already promised to help is a greater virtue than respect for a stranger's property when you have only a distant obligation to them. There are virtues more important than personal loyalty certainly, but this one specific virtue is greater than the other specific virtue in this case.
     
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  16. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Keyword "slightly." But I've modified my post nonetheless.
     
  17. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Your wording is still slanted to make our argument sound different.

    A) It is not right to always support your friends no matter what. However, in this case the loyalty to the group is greater than the responsibility to strangers. Our argument has never spoken in broad 'this is always morally right' terms, because that's never true. In this particular case, we do see loyalty as more important. The in this particular case is important because circumstances change and alter how a person should react to a moral dilemma. The entire point of ethics is to determine on a case by case basis, since there will always be a situation where any kind of absolute law fails in regards to the scenario.
    B) You use the term 'respect for harming others' which is inexact and makes it sound like we'd approve of murder, which is not what we said at all. Notice how I've focused on the term property several times. That's because someone losing property is significantly less damaging than losing their life or receiving a serious injury. They are taking someone's property, not harming them or taking their lives. That's a major consideration of this argument.
     
  18. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I bet if somebody stole your stuff you'd consider it pretty damn harmful. And I fail to see why I should change it again. To rob a bank at gunpoint you have to threaten others with physical harm.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
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  19. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Which is worse, having your wallet stolen or being shot in the head?
     
  20. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    The two courses of action proposed here: canon, in which Taylor agrees to carry out the bank job and does so as agreed; or Volant's recommendation, in which Taylor agrees to carry out the bank job and notifies the Protectorate in advance to lead the Undersiders into a trap.

    The moral flaw of the canon action: the bank loses some money. (Possibly insured, in which case the insurance company loses some money.) Possibility of harm to bystanders if a cape fight breaks out.

    The moral flaw of the counterfactual action: the Undersiders are defeated by their enemies and destroyed as a faction. They're imprisoned; Aisha goes back to her junkie mom; Lisa probably gets killed or locked in a basement by Coil.

    Even from a purely consequentialist stance, it seems betraying them is worse.
     
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  21. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    That is a bad analogy. Just because one thing is more harmful doesn't make the other less harmful. Yes, being murdered is worse than being robbed, but that doesn't make being robbed not a crime.
     
  22. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Yay, we brought in the last ethical theory. Utilitarianism, the theory that gives no shits about the action itself as long as the results are good. Taylor utterly loves that one, and uses it all the god damn time in canon.

    No it's not. You want that to be true because if robbing someone is as bad as murdering them, that means you can make the claim that anything Taylor does that in any way inflicts any harm on someone is wrong no matter what. That's not true. The world is not black and white, all evils are not equal. Robbing someone is a lesser evil than killing someone, which is part of my argument. Arbitrarily saying that it is equal in every way to committing murder is a bad argument.

    Another thing, you're using that word crime. That's wrong. Repeat after me. Law does not equal good. Law does not automatically equal to moral right. Character and intentions of the person acting matters more than the rules around which the action is taking place. That is a central part of the argument.

    Oh, and basic fallacy in your statement here. By definition, if one thing is more, the other must be less because more and less are mutually exclusive. Something cannot be more than another thing without that other thing being less than it. That's what more and less mean.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
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  23. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    The problem with your argument is that you are using external knowledge that has no bearing on the circumstances. In this specific discussion of morality, we have to go off what Taylor knows.

    Taylor does not know about Brian's family situation. Nor does she know that Coil has a gun to Lisa's head. She also does not know about Regent being one of Heartbreaker's kids. Neither does she know the circumstances around Bitch's murder charge.

    I believe your "loyalty to friends" argument is also flawed. Yes, they are her friends. However, she just met them, and hasn't formed a strong bond with them yet.


    kamenhero25, could you use less broad terms? It makes your argument very hard to parse, and feels like you are intentionally using overly complicated words to stop me from successfully arguing against your position.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
  24. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Apologies, wasn't my intention. I get into technical terms when I get determined.

    Summary of my first point. All crimes are not equal, therefore it is possible to say that is it wrong to support her teammates in committing murder while it is still possible to say it is not wrong to support her teammates in committing theft. Theft is less wrong than murder because robbing someone of physical possessions is less morally wrong than robbing them of their life. Life and physical health is more valuable than any possession simple because people are more valuable than physical possessions.

    Summary of second point. Something being illegal does not automatically make it morally wrong. The character of the person doing the action and why they're doing the action is what determines if it's right or wrong. For a specific example, Robin Hood. He stole regularly, essentially making him a highway bandit, but he's a hero because he had a good reason for it. Taylor has a good reason because remaining loyal to a group that she has already promised to help is morally right by the simple fact that loyalty, and by extension not betraying people that trust her, is intrinsically a good thing.

    Summary of my third point. Your entire post there was a contradiction of itself. If something is more, than by simple definition the thing that it is more than is less than it. For simplicity's sake I'll use a very basic example. If a glass of water has more water in it than another, the other glass must has less water in it, because that is literally the definition of more and less.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
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  25. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    The meat of my argument isn't so much "loyalty to friends", though that's a big part of it. It's more "be trustworthy regarding the things people have trusted you with", combined with "keep your promises".

    The reason I consider these virtues to be most important — even above more classical ones like "don't randomly murder people" — is that they are the ones which allow cooperation, hence civilization. Someone can be the most wildly evil bastard you've ever met, boil a bunch of live kittens for breakfast every morning and spend the day stabbing small children, but if you know they keep their promises, you still have options for dealing with them. You can make peace, and trust they'll abide the terms; you can enter limited agreements, and trust they won't immediately screw you over. Conversely, someone who capriciously breaks their promises, even if they're less objectionable in other ways, is unreliable. At best they introduce enormous friction costs into any significant dealing, and at worst you can't deal with them at all.

    This is what you might call a practical approach to morality. The modern tendency is to try to define an enormous unending stream of rules that try to ensure no one ever gets hurt by anything (or an equivalent system, e.g. consequentialism), then define anyone who violates the rules as evil. This is completely useless, as you'll never actually successfully get any large group full only of people who will religiously follow every one of your rules. What you can do is enforce one rule — keep your promises — and let the rest work itself out naturally, via what promises people make to each other.

    Taylor made a promise, first when she joined the team not to betray the team, and second when she agreed to the job not to sabotage the job. It could certainly be argued that making either promise was wrong. But once they were made, it's far more destructive to break them — and set a precedent of breaking them — than it is to just go through with the dumb bank robbery.
     
  26. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Taylor also told Armsmaster that she would infiltrate the Undersiders, and serve as a mole to arrest them. As it is her first promise, shouldn't it take precedent over her unspoken agreement to the Undersiders?
     
  27. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    For an deal to be made, both parties must be in agreement. Armsmaster told her no and shot down the idea, even if he was being a horrible person in how he did so. Therefore, Taylor has no obligation to go through with her idea that he specifically said he wouldn't support. However, everyone involved in Taylor joining the Undersiders agreed on their part, including Taylor, even if she had the intention of backing out later.
     
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  28. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    So you feel that personal integrity is more vital to civilization than a code of laws and ethics? Because that's really not true. That's why one of the first things developed by civilizations are a code of laws. Otherwise what protection do you have from people taking your stuff? You may discount the value of property, but it is important to have that be protected. Without it then the world descend into those with power terrorizing those without. Like you may not get everyone to obey all the laws ever, and criminals exist, but a lot of people wouldn't obey the idea of just keeping promises. Hell like you point out an evil person could also be an honest person. That's not a good thing.
     
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  29. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Okay, let's get one thing straight here. You're not actually arguing the point anymore. You're arguing general moral theory because if you're trying to make a wide enough generalization that we'll agree, then trying to make the claim that your extremely vague generalization must be applied to every individual circumstance simply because you feel it's always morally right. Please, allow me to point out the fallacy here. THERE IS NO DEFINITIVE MORAL RULE. If you get generally enough with moral claims, they're always right because they can be applied to a theoretically infinite number of situations and be right in the majority of them.

    We have argued, repeatedly I might add, that in THIS CIRCUMSTANCE. I repeat, IN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE. You see, that’s something you seem incapable of understanding. There is not one definitive moral rule that you always follow and must apply to all circumstances. Every situation where you make a moral judgment must be considered separately and considered while applying every factor THAT PARTICULAR SITUATION demands. Your basic principle is not wrong. Nor do I think that law as a concept has no value in moral judgment. However the part that you utterly refuse to get, active ignore in fact, is that you are applying a generalization to a specific situation and then claiming that simply because the generalization can be called morally right that it is morally right in a circumstance with other consideration in play. Which is WRONG.
     
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  30. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    Because it doesn't matter. Allowing your friends to do something you know to be wrong because you don't want to break your word is always wrong. There isn't a single situation that Taylor isn't in the wrong for not turning the Undersiders in for the bank robbery. Stealing is always worse than not keeping your word. It doesn't matter who she's stealing from or what she promised.
     
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