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Someone drops 50 dollars.

Emma

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If I saw them drop it, and I can catch up with them, I definitely would return it. If I find it and I didn't see who dropped, or if it looks like it's been there a while, I'd probably keep it. It's not like you can just hang up fliers saying "lost bill, call this number to claim." That wouldn't work.
 

Jamie

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Stole what? This fifty dollars, right here? Found it on the ground. No theft here, sorry. Not my fault they dropped it. Perfectly legal(unlike murder)

It affects us all, Batman. Sure, maybe that guy needs those 50 dollars to live. Maybe he doesn't. I do know I need all the money I can get, and it sure as hell isn't my "personal responsibility" to screw myself over to make sure some guy gets his money back.
Since when did "legal" = "moral"? What's wrong with you? You don't need to screw yourself over. You didn't have the ****ing money in the first place. "Maybe he needs the 50 dollars to live, but I don't care." Holy ****, you are a legitimate sociopath. I feel sick to my stomach right now.
 

Batman

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It affects us all, Batman. Sure, maybe that guy needs those 50 dollars to live. Maybe he doesn't. I do know I need all the money I can get, and it sure as hell isn't my "personal responsibility" to screw myself over to make sure some guy gets his money back.
So in other words you’re an enemy of the working class. I assume you consider yourself a socialist/communist of some sort considering your previous comment about dismantling capitalism and considering your user title. But you make it clear that your goal is to pursue your selfish desires at the expense of others, even the proletariat; pursuing your personal freedom by stepping on the freedom of others, contributing to the immobilization of the working class by jeopardizing their very means to life in a brutal system and contributing to relational alienation, which sounds like you like the capitalist system just fine as long as you benefit from it.

When they drop the money against their will and you see it happen, you have become a causal agent in potentially benefitting or hindering this person’s livelihood considering you have the ability to will a series of actions to lead to certain ends, which by any metric of moral theory qualifies you as a moral agent as well. So don’t pretend like it’s not stealing or at least comparable to stealing. If you’re a socialist and concerned about social rights activism, then I’m sure you’re aware of the philosophies of Martin Luther King Jr., and his brilliant ideas on the immorality of complacency and inaction in the face of injustice when one has a rational means to act to counter that injustice. If you’re a consistent socialist then you know this behavior of yours is materialistically unstable and in violation of any sort of ethics, including Marxist or anarchist ethics (Marx would call you a lumpenproletarian, a working class person who hinders the cause by being either class unconscious or just irrationally selfish in how you behave).

Now, given the system, it’s understandable why some people would not necessarily be decent human beings considering the system is so dehumanizing to the working class (and all other relevant groups intersectionally), forcing some into situations where being a terrible person is an explainable consequence of certain conditions. It’s understandable why the system would create the conditions for people like you to behave in this way, but unless your situation is so bad that you are in extreme poverty and literally unable to feed yourself or your family or whatever, I don’t see how you can, as an intellectual, rationally justify putting yourself above other people at their expense and claim to be logical and consistent. What’d you be exercising is irrational self-interest (which is diametrically opposed to rational self-interest). Just as the scarcity of resources in tandem with the industrial revolution and the demise of feudalism produced the bourgeoisie who as a class obviously pursue their own self-interests in a scarce-resource world with whatever tools they have (in this case the means of production and the state) are acting understandably selfishly but materialistically and ethically irrationally, so are you too, the proletarian who doesn’t mind acting selfishly with whatever tools you have, despite your selfishness being materialistically and ethically irrational (in both cases, means and mobility are being taken away at the expense of others; others whose means and mobility were not illegitimately obtained or wished for). In other words, if you’ve been shafted by the system your feeling on this topic is explainable, but not excusable. And if you want to be a consistent socialist you’re going to have to realize that and reevaluate your convictions.

All socialists of all types, from the Stalinists to the anarchists and everyone in between (and all decent human beings period), are unanimously against this attitude of yours unless your situation is so bad that it would be irrational to deny yourself the opportunity of taking the money lest your fundamental rights are in direct jeopardy (right to life, for instance). Considering you’re on a Zelda forum with a computer and internet connection playing video games on multi-hundred dollar game systems, I doubt you’re in such a dire position, impoverished by first world standards as you may be.

If you’re just a typical working class person living a typical Western working class life who isn’t starving or homeless or whatever, pocketing that money makes you a hypocrite to the socialist cause if you don’t know that person’s situation. Your attitude, instead of being “I don’t know if they need it or not, so I’ll take it” is wrong because it ignores the concept of the benefit of the doubt. Innocent before proven guilty isn’t just a nice saying; it’s a reasonable methodology in the context of unknown parameters when people's lives and livelihoods are at stake – it’s consistent logically with any system of justice that’s going to be based on a rational understanding of consequences in the face of the unknown. Your attitude should be “I don’t know if they need it or not, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, as I’d wish others to give me were the situation reversed.”

Which brings me to my final point; the justification for deciding to go through with that attitude despite your selfish desires to behave otherwise. I’ll let Thomas Nagel explain it for me in the spoiler:


I’ve only posted a few parts from the whole essay. Ellipses indicate skipped sections. Taken from “What Does it All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy”, by Thomas Nagel. Chapter 7, “Right and Wrong”. Oxford University Press, 1987.

--------------------

Suppose you work in a library, checking people’s books as they leave, and a friend asks you to let him smuggle out a hard-to-find reference work that he wants to own.

You might hesitate to agree for various reasons. You might be afraid that he’ll be caught, and that both you and he will then get into trouble. You might want the book to stay in the library so that you can consult it yourself.

But you may also think that what he proposes is wrong – that he shouldn’t do it and you shouldn’t help him. If you think that, what does it mean, and what, if anything, makes it true?

To say it’s wrong is not just to say it’s against the rules. There can be bad rules which prohibit what isn’t wrong – like a law against criticizing the government. A rule can also be bad because it requires something that is wrong – like a law that requires racial segregation in hotels and restaurants. The ideas of wrong and right are different from the ideas of what is and is not against the rules. Otherwise they couldn’t be used in the evaluation of rules as well as of actions.

If you think it would be wrong to help your friend steal the book, then you will feel uncomfortable about doing it: in some way you won’t want to do it, even if you are also reluctant to refuse help to a friend. Where does the desire not to do it come from; what is its motive, the reason behind it?

There are various ways in which something can be wrong, but in this case, if you had to explain it, you’d probably say that it would be unfair to other users of the library who may be just as interested in the book as your friend is, but who consult it in the reference room, where anyone who needs it can find it. You may also feel that to let him take it would betray your employers, who are paying you precisely to keep this sort of thing from happening.

These thoughts have to do with effects on others – not necessarily effects on their feelings, since they may never find out about it, but some kind of damage nevertheless. In general, the thought that something is wrong depends on its impact not just on the person who does it but on other people. They wouldn’t like it, and they’d object if they found out.

But suppose you try to explain all this to your friend, and he says, “I know the head librarian wouldn’t like it if he found out, and probably some of the other users of the library would be unhappy to find the book gone, but who cares? I want the book; why should I care about them?”

The argument that it would be wrong is supposed to give him a reason not to do it. But if someone just doesn’t care about other people, what reason does he have to refrain from doing any of the things usually thought to be wrong, if he can get away with it: what reason does he have not to kill, steal, lie or hurt others? If he can get what he wants by doing such thigs, why shouldn’t he? And if there’s no reason why he shouldn’t, in what sense is it wrong?

Of course most people do care about others to some extent. But if someone doesn’t care, most of us wouldn’t conclude that he’s exempt from morality. A person who kills someone just to steal his wallet, without caring about the victim, is not automatically excused. The fact that he doesn’t care doesn’t make it all right: He should care. But why should he care?

There have been many attempts to answer this question. One type of answer tries to identify something else that the person already cares about, and then connect morality to it.



This third objection also applies to other explanations of the force of morality which appeal to the interests of the person who must act. For example, it may be said that you should treat others with consideration so that they’ll do the same for you. This may be sound advice, but it is valid only so far as you think what you do will affect how others treat you. It’s not a reason for doing the right thing if others won’t find out about it, or against doing the wrong thing if you can get away with it (like being a hit and run driver).

There is no substitute for a direct concern for other people as the basis of morality. But morality is supposed to apply to everyone: and can we assume that everyone has such a concern for others? Obviously not: some people are very selfish, and even those who are not selfish may care only about the people they know, and not about everyone. So where will we find a reason that everyone has not to hurt other people, even those they don’t know?

Well, there’s one general argument against hurting other people which can be given to anybody who understands English (or any other language), and which seems to show that he has some reason to care about others, even if in the end his selfish motives are so strong that he persists in treating other people badly anyway. It’s an argument that I’m sure you’ve heard, and it goes like this: “How would you like it if someone did that to you?”

It’s not easy to explain how this argument is supposed to work. Suppose you’re about to steal someone else’s umbrella as you leave a restaurant in a rainstorm, and a bystander says, “How would you like it if someone did that to you?” Why is it supposed to make you hesitate, or feel guilty?

Obviously the direct answer to the question is supposed to be, “I wouldn’t like it at all!” But what’s the next step? Suppose you were to say “I wouldn’t like it if someone did that to me. But luckily no one is doing it to me. I’m doing it to someone else, and I don’t mind that at all!”

This answer misses the point of the question. When you are asked how you would like it if someone did that to you, you are supposed to think about all the feelings you would have if someone stole your umbrella. And that includes more than just “not liking it” – as you wouldn’t “like it” if you stubbed your toe on a rock. If someone stole your umbrella you’d resent it. You’d have feelings about the umbrella thief, not just about the loss of the umbrella. You’d think, “Where does he get off, taking my umbrella that I bought with my hard-earned money and that I had to the foresight to bring after reading the weather report? Why didn’t he bring his own umbrella?” and so forth.

When our own interests are threatened by the inconsiderate behavior of others, most of us find it easy to appreciate that those others have a reason to be more considerate. When you are hurt, you probably feel that other people should care about it: you don’t think it’s no concern of theirs, and that they have no reason to avoid hurting you. That is the feeling that “How would you like it?” argument is supposed to arouse.

Because if you admit that you would resent it if someone else did it to you, what you are now doing to him, you are admitting that you think he would have a reason not to do it to you. And if you admit that, you have to consider what that reasoning is. It couldn’t be just that it’s you that he’s hurting, of all the people in the world. There’s no special reason for him not to steal yourumbrella, as opposed to anyone else’s. There’s nothing so special about you. Whatever the reason is, it’s a reason he would have against hurting anyone else in the same way. And it’s a reason anyone else would have too, in a similar situation, against hurting you or anyone else.

But if it’s a reason anyone would have not to hurt anyone else in this way, then it’s a reason you have not to hurt someone else in this way (since anyone means everyone). Therefore it’s a reason not to steal the other person’s umbrella now.

This is a matter of simple consistency. Once you admit that another person would have a reason not to harm you in similar circumstances, you admit that another person would have a reason not to harm you in similar circumstances, and once you admit that the reason he would have is very general and doesn’t apply only to you, or to him, then to be consistent you have to admit that the same reason applies to you now. You shouldn’t steal the umbrella, and you ought to feel guilty if you do.

Someone could escape from this argument if, when he was asked, “How would you like it if someone did that to you?” he answered, “I wouldn’t resent it at all. I wouldn’t like it if someone stole my umbrella in a rainstorm, but I wouldn’t think there was any reason for him to consider my feelings about it.” But how many people could honestly give that answer? I think most people, unless they’re crazy, would think that their own interests and harms matter, not only to themselves, but in a way that gives other people a reason to care about them too. We all think that when we suffer it is not just bad for us, but bad, period.

The basis of morality is a belief that good and harm to particular people (or animals) is good or bad not just from their point of view, but from a more general point of view, which every thinking person can understand. That means that each person has a reason to consider not only his own interests but the interests of others in deciding what to do. And it isn’t enough if he is considerate only of some others – his family and friends, those he specially cares about. Of course he will care more about certain people, and also about himself. But he has some reason to consider the effect of what he does on the good or harm of everyone. If he’s like most of us, that is what he thinks others should do with regard to him, even if they aren’t friends of his.
 

Mellow Ezlo

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Stole what? This fifty dollars, right here? Found it on the ground. No theft here, sorry. Not my fault they dropped it. Perfectly legal(unlike murder)

It affects us all, Batman. Sure, maybe that guy needs those 50 dollars to live. Maybe he doesn't. I do know I need all the money I can get, and it sure as hell isn't my "personal responsibility" to screw myself over to make sure some guy gets his money back.
...Perfectly legal(unlike murder)

...Sure, maybe that guy needs those 50 dollars to live. Maybe he doesn't...
So, you're saying blatant theft of money is OK, and then you're straight up saying that you don't care whether or not he/she needed that money to live. That may have been all the money he had and he's gone a week without eating, but whatever I don't care, clearly I need the money more just because I want it lel KEK coolkeks

Honestly could you be more selfish? Also, that 50 dollars you just stole from that man may have been what he needed to live, and he's dead now. Does that not classify as murder? I'm not talking about from a legal standpoint but from a moral standpoint. By rejecting that man of his right to his own money, you indirectly caused his death.

I know that's a worst case scenario, but you need to think about that for something like this. And the fact that you yourself even mentioned it in your post makes me think that you don't at all need the $50 more than the person that dropped it and you're simply an extremely selfish person that doesn't care at all for the well being of others.

EDIT:
Yeah, sure. I can think of several people I would gladly murder.
nvm forget everything i said in this post
 
Last edited:

Batman

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bruh I'm literally homeless lmao
This changes the entire nature of this whole conversation (depending on what you mean by homeless, that is, and considering you spend time on a Zelda forum with internet I'm wondering what you mean by homeless). Having no access to shelter, a basic human necessity, is a big piece of information you should have provided when explaining yourself. It's a good idea to justify your theft by saying "not because I'm an asshole, but because I literally can't survive without doing so" or something along those lines. Otherwise, you get people all riled up saying morally outrageous things and having people think you're a sociopath. Most people are not without access to shelter, we're going to assume that RegalBryant from Zelda Dungeon isn't living under a bridge.

Anyway, the ethics of this is much more of a grey area and not as clear-cut as what I've described above. It's a good discussion in itself, but a different one. There are good arguments for and against why taking this money without having any shelter is in your rational self-interest if you are literally living in a dog-eat-dog world where your fundamental humanity is being challenged by your situation.
 

Jamie

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bruh I'm literally homeless lmao
I personally still don't care in terms of the morality of this. It's horrible that your life has ended up this way, But I don't think you literally need that particular $50 to survive. You're still alive, right? I'm sure you're fairly healthy considering you're spending time on a Zelda forum. How often does someone drop $50 in front of you? Basically never? So you don't need it. It's not like you're walking 3 hours a day for water and getting your dollar a day for a bit of bread. You're on an Internet forum for ****s sake. I'm sure your financial situation is worse than mine but it sure as **** isn't bad enough to justify taking that $50. I don't give a damn if it's legal, especially since you literally said "maybe they need that money to live" and then just didn't even care about that possibility. As Loz's excerpt said, "How would you feel if that happened to you?" If you'd feel bad or even resent them, you shouldn't do the same thing to other people. If you think it's all hunky dory, you're probably a sociopath.
 

Mudora

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This has actually happened to me on a number of occasions - not with money, but with items of monetary value, such as an expensive pair of sunglasses. Luckily, it wasn't a crowded area, so I knew exactly who dropped it and was able to return it to them. I wouldn't feel right keeping something that didn't belong to me, as after all, if someone witnessed me dropping something important, I would hope that they would be kind enough to return it to me. However, if I spotted fifty dollars just lying there with no apparent owner, then hey, why not!
 

Curmudgeon

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It affects us all, Batman. Sure, maybe that guy needs those 50 dollars to live. Maybe he doesn't. I do know I need all the money I can get, and it sure as hell isn't my "personal responsibility" to screw myself over to make sure some guy gets his money back.
your willingness to apply amoral
As Loz's excerpt said, "How would you feel if that happened to you?" If you'd feel bad or even resent them, you shouldn't do the same thing to other people. If you think it's all hunky dory, you're probably a sociopath.
The first formulation of Kant's Categorical Imperative - don't do something if everyone doing it would be detrimental (e.g. don't pee in the pool. imagine if everyone peed in the pool).

Stole what? This fifty dollars, right here? Found it on the ground. No theft here, sorry. Not my fault they dropped it. Perfectly legal(unlike murder)
when you attempt to use legal technicalities to skirt ethical considerations, don't be shocked when others do the same to you.

there are many places in this country where if someone sees you take $50 that belong to them, your next stop will either be the hospital or morgue and the only investigation the police will do is determine where to send the body.
 

Shroom

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there are many places in this country where if someone sees you take $50 that belong to them, your next stop will either be the hospital or morgue and the only investigation the police will do is determine where to send the body.
Uh oh! Might have to take this to the Necrophilia thread then!!! :coolsar:
 
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I personally still don't care in terms of the morality of this. It's horrible that your life has ended up this way, But I don't think you literally need that particular $50 to survive. You're still alive, right? I'm sure you're fairly healthy considering you're spending time on a Zelda forum. How often does someone drop $50 in front of you? Basically never? So you don't need it. It's not like you're walking 3 hours a day for water and getting your dollar a day for a bit of bread. You're on an Internet forum for ****s sake. I'm sure your financial situation is worse than mine but it sure as **** isn't bad enough to justify taking that $50. I don't give a damn if it's legal, especially since you literally said "maybe they need that money to live" and then just didn't even care about that possibility. As Loz's excerpt said, "How would you feel if that happened to you?" If you'd feel bad or even resent them, you shouldn't do the same thing to other people. If you think it's all hunky dory, you're probably a sociopath.
I want you to think long and hard about the likelihood of someone needing 50 dollars to live. Now I want you to think about how likely someone who needs 50 dollars to live walking around with that fifty dollars carelessly enough to let it fall on the street and not realize they dropped it. There is almost no chance that guy needs that money. It is a possibility that honestly isn't worth considering seeing as how ridiculously unlikely it is. If someone did the same to me, I would not be mad at them. Why would I? I'd probably be mad at myself for being careless, but I bear no ill will against whoever took it.

Sorry, I forgot that the internet is only accessible from fancy expensive computers only reachable by the most elite of the bourgeoisie and that a simple prole would be unable to visit a library or own a phone.

Gee, I didn't know you were certified to issue me a diagnosis just like that, Rep. Nice to know I'm a sociopath. I guess my psych was lying when she said I had an overabundance of empathy. Thanks. I gotta say, I really feel like you don't understand what a sociopath is despite the fact that you use it so often.
 

Jamie

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I want you to think long and hard about the likelihood of someone needing 50 dollars to live. Now I want you to think about how likely someone who needs 50 dollars to live walking around with that fifty dollars carelessly enough to let it fall on the street and not realize they dropped it. There is almost no chance that guy needs that money. It is a possibility that honestly isn't worth considering seeing as how ridiculously unlikely it is. If someone did the same to me, I would not be mad at them. Why would I? I'd probably be mad at myself for being careless, but I bear no ill will against whoever took it.

Sorry, I forgot that the internet is only accessible from fancy expensive computers only reachable by the most elite of the bourgeoisie and that a simple prole would be unable to visit a library or own a phone.

Gee, I didn't know you were certified to issue me a diagnosis just like that, Rep. Nice to know I'm a sociopath. I guess my psych was lying when she said I had an overabundance of empathy. Thanks. I gotta say, I really feel like you don't understand what a sociopath is despite the fact that you use it so often.
I never said you weren't homeless or that you're wealthy. I said you don't need that $50 to live. Unless you do, you have no real argument.

You are justifying taking the $50 just because someone dropped it. Your basic reasoning is "well, it benefits me, so whatever", that is incredibly selfish. You don't give a **** about the person in question, only about yourself; that's sociopathic. Don't sit here and try to justify your ****. At the very least admit how morally repugnant this is. As human beings, we DO have social responsibilities, otherwise things go to ****. You want to pretend you don't? Go ahead. But don't ****ing sit here with that "overabundance of empathy" ****. No one with an overabundance of empathy would take this $50 and not give it back. That's not very empathetic.

And sorry, I don't believe for a second that if you dropped your money, however much it is, and you knew for a fact someone saw you drop it, picked it up, and went off with it, that you wouldn't be thinking "what an asshole, I really needed that money". Even in some reality where you don't think that, I think everyone else would think that person was an asshole and he ABSOLUTELY lowered the quality of your life.

As loz said before, for a socialist, you seem to have very capitalistic ideals. The fact that you blame the system instead of the fact that you don't give a damn about the person dropping the money says enough about how "socialist" you really are.

Half this goddamn thread has been against you on this and you're still gonna pretend you're some morally righteous person who is just bleeding empathy. Empathy my ass. Anyone who wouldn't feel guilty at not returning someone's money is far from empathetic.
 

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