Are you a black and white thinker
August 17, 2021 3:12 pm
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A very thought provoking commentary. What are your thoughts?
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Comment on: "Are you a black and white thinker"
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by Curt Anderson on August 17, 2021 4:26 pm
I consider myself a nuanced thinker who sees shades of grey, although I can't say my reading of the article confirmed that.
Hypothetical moral dilemmas are sometimes proposed in which you are given the choice of passively causing the deaths of several innocent people, or actively saving the several although it costs the life of a single innocent person.
My understanding is that Jeremy Bentham would actively interfere and save the many but cause the death of one person. Immanuel Kant would passively allow the many to be killed.
Police are often obliged to follow the Jeremy Bentham formula. That is they kill the gunman to save the hostages. We don't consider the gunman innocent, but under the eyes of the law he's considered innocent until proven guilty. Soldiers face similar dilemmas.
The hypothetical moral dilemma above is a one-time incident in which you can choose to influence events or not, allow the deaths of many or cause the death of a single person.
How any of this applies to Afghanistan over the pass few days, I am not sure. We seem to have taken the Bentham position. There is the criminal offence of reckless disregard for life. That's when you have a conscious awareness of a danger and by inaction cause the deaths of others. Perhaps you fail to mention that a bridge is out. Afghanistan, if there is any analogy, it's like we warned people for twenty years that the bridge is out, yet the warnings were ignored or disagreed with. At a certain point, the moral obligation is fulfilled.
It reminds me a little of raising kids. After twenty years or so, they have to make their own choices and be responsible for their own future.
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