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Passions in Poetry

Is bad sometimes good?

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Kitherion
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0 posted 12-18-2008 01:42 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion


This is something I've pondered for a while now... does something bad, if done for the right reason make it good? Or is it still clearly definable as "bad?"

I suppose you could relate this back to Kohlberg theory of moral development...

Any thoughts?

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

Susan Caldwell
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1 posted 12-18-2008 10:42 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

according to whose standards?

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~
Marc-Andre
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2 posted 12-18-2008 03:13 PM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

When we say that man is a reasonable species, all it means is that man can always find a reason to justify what he has decided to do. (Non-verbatim quote from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, if my memory serves me right.)

Essorant
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3 posted 12-18-2008 04:31 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

No.  Drinking venom won't make it good to drink on behalf of intending to quench your thirst.  
Stephanos
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4 posted 12-18-2008 10:02 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Kith,

give me a real world example and let's discuss.  

Stephen
Kitherion
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5 posted 12-19-2008 01:51 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

Sure, okay. I will use Kohlbergs theory for the basis.

Let us for example say that Man A has a wife who is dying of a rare disease. He goes to a Chemist who finds a cure for the disease, however he charges an exorbitant fee that Man A cannot afford. In desperation out of the will to save his wife, Man A breaks into the Chemists laboratory and steals the cure.

What he did... right or wrong and why?

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

Kitherion
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6 posted 12-19-2008 01:57 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

Susan,

I'm speaking of the "general" - I use the term very liberally - standards that are in existance. Whether by religion or society, just what you fell is good or bad.

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

Kitherion
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7 posted 12-19-2008 01:58 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

Oh and Ess,

Drinking vemon isn't "bad" so to speak. detrimental to your health, but most certainly not bad... in my opinion that is.

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

Bob K
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8 posted 12-19-2008 03:59 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Kitheron,
  
           I don't necessarily disagree that judgements about bad and good are more slippery than folks generally treat them as being.  The example you give from Kohlberg is quite misleading, however.  He offers the example you quote as one of a series of questions designed to elicit the way people come to decisions about rightness and wrongness.  His studies were about moral reasoning.  He spoke about reference frames, and he made a considerable effort to make sure that nobody thought that he was saying any one form of moral reasoning in his system was superior to any other.  As far as he was concerned — the same way Jane Loevinger felt in her studies on ego development — was that even though it could be shown that these various forms of moral reasoning developed sequentially, and that they could not develop out of order, it could not be shown that this meant that any stage was "better" than any other.

     I heard students of Kohlberg — Robert Keegan in particular — make this point repeatedly in lectures on various forms of stage theory.  Kohlberg himself made the point in lectures at the Ed. School and the Divinity School at Harvard in the sixties and seventies.

     As far as rating answers given by test subjects, those trained in giving the Kohlberg protocols were trained to note the sort of thinking that went into coming to a given conclusion about Heinz and the Druggist, and not the actual conclusions themselves, which Kohlberg believed might be achieved through any of several different pathways.  He was interested in the moral reasoning process, and not so much the conclusions.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Kitherion
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9 posted 12-21-2008 11:16 PM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

Hi Bob

I am fully aware of why Kohlberg gave the example, but I was speaking in more of a philosophical way than a direct reference to the moral development structure that Kohlberg theorised. I did not request that the example given be broken down and sigularly discussed, I just wanted to know whether people thought that it is possible for something right to be wrong and visa-versa (Hence why I asked of they thought it to be such). The reason why I used Kohlberg was because it was the first thing that came to mind. So maybe I should use Klein and her theory of inner development.

But I didn't want to get into discussing the basis for the theory nor into the moral development of an individual

Anyway,
Hugs and Kisses

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

Bob K
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10 posted 12-22-2008 03:21 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     My Mistake, K.; of course you're right.

     But in answer to the basic question, I believe it would have to depend on which framework you answer the question from.  Not in terms of Kohlberg.  But some frames are quite absolute in their ways of understanding the world, aren't they, and don't admit of any other possibility of constructing the situation.  Right is always right; and wrong, wrong.

     My own understanding is that these things change constantly.

     Being creatures living inside a gravity well, I have noticed that much of our thinking about right and wrong seems to have constructed itself around the language of balance and stance.  We weigh things about their rightness and wrongness.  We think about our positions.  We try to determine how flexible we should be.  We strive to be upright, and to be balanced in our approaches.  Sometimes we take pride in being unyielding, and in standing firm.

     This language is much more dynamic on the whole than the language of absolutes, yet at the same time is broad enough to give us a vocabulary that can contain the thinking in absolutes as well.  It seems to be, though, that this is a different metaphorical level of thinking, a more nuanced and complex one, than the vocabulary of absolutes.

     One must also consider the dimension of the problem the intervention is targeted at in assessing goodness or badness, right?

     The Doctor cured Bob's pneumonia.

      Great!  As long as you're Bob.  As long as Bob wasn't hoping to die from a nice friendly case of pneumonia rather than a slow wasting and untreatably painful illness.
As long as you weren't a pneumonia bug who had ambitions for the kids going to graduate school someday.

     That's a few thoughts for now.  

All my best, Bob Kaven
Kitherion
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11 posted 12-24-2008 02:11 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

I am inclined to agree with you Bob, simply on the fact the moraliy - and thus right and wrong - are a continuous change. But, does this indicate that people should not live according to what is "morally" correct because sooner or later what they did would become the norm?

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

serenity blaze
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12 posted 12-24-2008 05:32 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

"As long as you weren't a pneumonia bug who had ambitions for the kids going to graduate school someday."



ty
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13 posted 12-30-2008 10:02 PM       View Profile for Falling rain   Email Falling rain   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Falling rain's Home Page   View IP for Falling rain

Puzzling question dear Sir,

In the venom situation its not smart to drink it. Would be lethal for you and taking great risk's. Now in the case of Man A being noble and saving his wife. True its good to help you wife but you'll end up being thrown in jail for stealing. Now in law what Man A did was wrong. He of course could of have found something else to heal her or let her die. In the end that was his choices but he chose wrong in stealing. So thus his butt is sitting in jail as we speak. lol
Just my thoughts on teh topic.

-Zach    

So together but so broken inside

Kitherion
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14 posted 01-01-2009 03:14 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

You know.... I have the sudden urge to become a pneumonia bug... -cue the angellic chorus and sudden brightening of the halo-

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

turtle
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15 posted 02-26-2009 09:15 PM       View Profile for turtle   Email turtle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for turtle

Quote:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is something I've pondered for a while now... does something bad, if done for the right reason make it good? Or is it still clearly definable as "bad?"

I suppose you could relate this back to Kohlberg theory of moral development...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I think you are confusing an action with its outcome.

If I were to hit you upside the head and you fell into a pile of money
Then my intention was bad, but the outcome was good.

If you were standing on a ledge and I reached out a hand to help, but you lost your balance and fell
off the ledge in reaching for my hand,
Then the intention was good, but the outcome was bad.

I think, what the intention is and what the outcome is are not related.

turtle

[This message has been edited by turtle (02-27-2009 02:34 PM).]

Bob K
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16 posted 02-27-2009 02:54 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     The conclusion you'd draw here would be one about your particular responsibility, I guess.  You are responsible for acting in good faith and intending to be of benefit.  These conditions being satisfied, then you feel that you can go ahead in good conscience.  Do I understand you correctly here?
Susan Caldwell
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17 posted 02-27-2009 11:04 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

As I pointed out before (I thought I did anyway) this is subjective (I am aware that even that may be/is subjective).

In the example Man A steals in order to heal.

I know that stealing is wrong, however, I may very well be prepared to suffer the consequences of my action because I believe saving my wife to be worth it.  

Someone else would/may feel differently.

My point being, that there would seem to be no clear cut, unanimous answer.  

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~

turtle
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18 posted 02-27-2009 03:37 PM       View Profile for turtle   Email turtle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for turtle

Quote:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the example Man A steals in order to heal.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a good example, Let me use this.

If man A steals and that violates the law then that action is bad.

If man A steals and his wife gets better then that outcome is good

If  man A steals and the store he stole from loses its profit
Then that outcome is bad.

If man A steals and goes to jail then that outcome (For him) is bad.
and if the store gets it product back, that outcome is good (For them).

An action is an intention, good or bad.

The outcome is fate good or bad

What is intended has no bearing on fate

Therefore man A's intention has no bearing on the good/bad of the outcome,
because the outcome is indeterminable at the time of the action.

To answer the question:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
does something bad, if done for the right reason make it good? Or is it still clearly definable as "bad?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This already defines the (action) as "bad". If man A is hopeful that his
wife will recover (outcome) that  doesn't change the premise here.
It has already been established that the action is bad.

  
Ron
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19 posted 02-27-2009 03:40 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

It's an old question, usually phrased as:

Does the end justify the means?


Bob K
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20 posted 02-27-2009 05:35 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     That is one point of view, and a valid one, as well.  

     It does, however, presume a world of forces and goals or, as Ron says, ends and means, without considering a world of agents, in Freudian terms but also I think in terms of grammar and linguistics, a world of subjects and objects.

     Not only are there ends and means, but folks use them on each other.  That means that people have to make choices not only of the ends but of the means to accomplish them.

     What happens the next time somebody asks your permission to be "brutally honest" if you don't give it?  

     What if you say instead, "No, thank you; I'd rather you thought of a clear, concise and kind way of conveying the same message. It may take a little more thought, but I'll wait"?  How many messages might be given different means?  In fact, Ron and I have had this discussion, or a variation of it, several times about my difficulties in extending my consciousness about this into my prose.  And here it is emerging as a piece of actual ethical discussion as at least a facet of the topic.

Curiously enough, Bob Kaven



    
turtle
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21 posted 02-27-2009 07:31 PM       View Profile for turtle   Email turtle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for turtle

Hi Ron,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Does the end justify the means?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


What end? What means? Justified in what way?

This is an unanswerable question.

In this question (This post) the means is specified "something bad"
and justified "for the right reason"

The only thing not specfied is "the end" which is undeterminable.
So this question is answerable, and that basically is, No,
Because "the end" at the time of the theft is undeterminable.

This of course is based on our current understanding of right and wrong
And as others point out, that changes over time.

Bob - you're off on a tangent here.....I can tell...lol

Grinch
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22 posted 02-27-2009 08:10 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
It's an old question, usually phrased as:

Does the end justify the means?


I agree.

The answer in both cases is a subjective choice influenced by perspective and measured in units of the greater good or least bad.

One man’s meat..

Bob K
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23 posted 02-27-2009 08:49 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Ends and means do not exist without an agent and an object, near as I can tell, unless you presuppose that God is both agent and object as your basic scenario.  Which means that the discussion pre-supposes God.

     Are you granting that?  
stacylynn418
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24 posted 03-07-2009 05:15 PM       View Profile for stacylynn418   Email stacylynn418   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for stacylynn418

I think that the world is not just black and white. There is really no one certain definition for any idea and a lot of things are up for interpretation. People have their own reasons for doing things, and sometimes even with the best intentions their actions are looked at as "bad". I think its really whatever you make of it yourself.
 
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