You are suggesting that just because someone "thinks" it is the right decision at a certain time means that it was?
Yes, at that time for that individual it was the right decision.
This is usually in direct contradiction with a person's present assessment of a past mistake ... If someone says "I know now that I was wrong in doing such and such", could you reasonably come and suggest to them that "no, you were right for that particular time and mindset you were in"?
No, Iíd have to give my honest opinion on the situation as I saw it but that isnít to say that I donít believe that action was undertaken because that person believed it was the right action. People make mistakes but they donít purposely set out to make them, to that person the action is right, it may be obviously wrong in my eyes but itís right for him at that time otherwise heíd recognise it as a mistake and not do it.
The only way that what you are saying could be true would be if there were no possiblity to have any true moral insight that matters. So that the realization that "I was wrong" would be merely a different alignment of molecules, a different color, a change that some may prefer, but not a true progression of anykind.
Or an assessment of the situation based upon a changed or different data set.
At a base level, it comes down to the belief that true moral knowledge or wisdom is not possible.
Wisdom and morality are two separate issues, one is not a necessary requirement to posses the other, if by true moral knowledge you mean one unified code of morals ,shared by all individuals, then no, in my opinion that is not possible.
In which case a child molester would be no less wise than a builder of orphanages.
If the child molester builds an orphanage they would be equally wise, if you mean two separate people either could be more or less wise than the other.
It is the realization that we are wrong which occurs "after the fact", not the wrongness itself.
Yes, but it only becomes recognisably wrong at that time, before that time it is, to all intents and purposes, right.
Nobody consciously chooses what is wrong? I know this is absolutely false from my own standpoint not to mention the countless testimonies of others. Sometimes I do wrong things with full knowledge that it is the wrong thing to do (usually for a selfish reason) and even with knowledge that I will regret it.
So you are saying that despite having an alternative that you considered better you still decided to act against such a better judgement? Iíd be interested to hear an example of one instance with details.
The deception that plays on the mind during such a temptation is that I will be better off doing things my way as opposed to the true moral insight which God has provided. Of course sometime later, I always come to admit that I was in error, because the truth can only be painted in a corner for so long.
But at the time you were convinced it was the right thing to do, so sure it was right that you actually did it, does that not suggest that at that time for that individual (you) the action was the right one. That only Ďsometime laterí did you change your assessment and decide that the action was wrong. That change is important, change can only take place from one state to another, on becomes off, up becomes down and right becomes wrong. Accepting that a change of state has taken place infers that the opposite state was in effect before such a change occurred, in the case of an action this would require that action was at one point right. At one point it was right to believe that the earth was flat, no other belief was thought possible, now most people accept that that belief is wrong but at one point it WAS right to believe to earth was flat.
Again you are making an unsupported (at least so far), assertion... that we cannot make a mistake. You've given no convincing reason as to why I should believe that an action cannot be wrong unwittingly, or that a wrong action cannot be done if the person has knowledge that it is wrong. Getting out of the world of philosophy for a moment, I have heard countless testimonies of repentance that say otherwise. If your view were to be followed then we would have to say that every vile, despicable, hateful action and crime that has ever been carried out under the sun was right.
I never said we can never make a mistake, let alone assert that fact, I said no person has ever consciously decided to do the wrong thing in preference to the right thing, thereís a big difference.
If I gave you a series of numbers and asked you to add them together it is possible for you to arrive at an answer that is incorrect, would the answer, to the best of your knowledge be the right one, even though I recognise it as being wrong?
If I asked you to add a series of numbers together and you arrived at two different numbers but knew that one of them was right which one would you give me as your answer? From your earlier statement you would have me believe that you would choose the wrong answer while in full knowledge and possession of the right answer. It may be possible but I find it hard to comprehend it ever happening.
According to this view, any punishment, or consequence imposed even by a justice system is unjust, because it was right for that person for the moment, how can we hold them accountable for what was "right". If a stranger brutally attacked your best friend for no good reason and ended his or her life, would you want to say that was right for that person to do it? Was Hitler's massacre of the Jews right for him? Or was it really an abominable action to be despised by all humankind, as a crime against humanity?
It was an abominable act, but do you actually believe that Hitler woke up one morning thinking Ďthis is the worst crime against humanity anyone can ever commit itíd be the biggest mistake a single person could undertake Ė Iíll do itĒ. Or do you think he actually believed that what he was doing was right? The fact that every other person on the planet since, and probably at the time, thought it was wrong doesnít mean he didnít think it was right.
With respect to punishment, the individual belief of right or wrong isnít a factor, Hitler was guilty of doing something wrong according to the judgement of society, and the fact that he believed he was right has no bearing on such a decision.
I guess it boils down to this issue. . . Is it possible to have any true moral insight or is it all a matter of preference. But again I maintain that inside where the conscience works, we know that morality is not anything we want to make it. And God has his own card to play ... I just try to help others to see it.
Itís all a matter of preference in my opinion, that isnít strictly true, to be more exact itís impossible to define a true moral insight due to the fact that everybody owns a different set of morals and they are constantly in flux.
You seem to infer that God has instilled in man a set of moral rules, rigid since time immemorial and clear for all to see. If that is the case why is morality subject to change and why are immoral acts committed?
[This message has been edited by Toad (08-22-2002 06:52 PM).]