This is a question asked by my philosophy professor.
Why is it wrong to kill people? What is your answer?
And you cannot bring God or the law into your answer.
Also, the Golden Rule is not a legitamite answer. You can't say "You shouldn't kill people because I wouldn't want to be killed" or any variation upon that.
I disagree that a sociopath/psychopath/serial killer could act rationally. I don't think it is always a clear and deliberate choice they are making to go against their rationality, but they are just unrational. While the human species are capable of rational thought, I think in reality only most of humans are able to (mental/emotional/physical barriers preventing it).
I don't agree with the greater good. Kill one, save a thousand. Like a gang leader, drug lord, Hilter, Stalin, Voldemort, Queen Ranavalona, Pedro Alonso Lopez. Are you saying that Harry shouldn't have killed Voldemort? That life wouldn't have been better without these killers, if you had the chance to change history and save millions of people you wouldn't take the chance?
I don't understand the part about the war being wrong. War is wrong because you don't want someone to destroy your country? It's not wrong because of mass killings or whatever? But defense against the war is self-defense, and self-defense is okay, so the war is okay as long as your defending something? What does defense against the war mean?
What if I am not protecting myself, but I am protecting someone else? Either a stranger or someone I love? Is it still okay to kill them? A burglar is not pointing a gun at my head, but they are pointing a gun at my little sister's head, I am going to rip that bastard's head from his shoulders without a second thought.
Also, now that I think about it, who is Kant and why do I care what he thinks/says?
Kant was a human who is now dead and said some things that are interesting to some people. Those are reasons why you Might care, but they are not, of course reasons you Must care.
Well there are really two options in the case of rationality:
1) The killer acts rationally.
2) The killer can not act rationally.
Now, if the killer does not act rationally, then this cannot be his own choice, because then he would just rationally choose to defy rationality. Hence, if (2) is true, then the killer cannot be blamed for what he does: The killer is incapable of judgment and restraint. In that case, it would be morally wrong to punish him for it. You see this in law as well, namely with the insanity defense.
But on the other hand, it certainly does not seem to be the case that killers are absolutely irrational. They are capable of advanced reasoning and scheming, they almost always have their reasons for why they do what they do, and they rarely act without a plan. How is that irrational?
Now on to the greater good problem: I think you miss the point. Imagine you are in the forest with 10 of your friends. Suddenly a bear comes out of the bushes. Your friends quickly break both your legs so you become a distraction for the bear. All your friends are able to get away safely, but you die for them. Would you really like that situation? If you do, I suggest you commit suicide, because the organs in your body can easily save 10 people.
Lukas (or DaveBo), I need you to define your terms for me, like rationality. Also, though killers may have reasons for killing, is the act of taking another human life could be a rational act. Now, I agree with DaveBo that sometimes taking a life is justified, but I also think that most murders are not justified. Is someone trying to rob someone and then kills them for the money in their wallet rational? Let's say their gun accidently goes off, and all they got was twenty dollars. If it's an accident is it considered number 2, and if they killed them thinking there would be more money, or they really did kill them over twenty dollars, is that considered rational?
The greater good question: yes, now I am confused. However, in your example my friends didn't kill me, the bear killed me. And the greater good I suppose applies here, one death to save ten, and no I wouldn't be happy about it because in your story my friends betrayed me and left me to die, but that is not the same as killing Hitler for the greater good.
Note: I believe it is sometimes right to take a life.
I think you can rationalize with Sociopaths.
"If you shoot that gun at me, the gas will burn us both to death."
"OK, I'll use a knife".
Tooootally could happen with Sociapaths, and Psychoaths... I just think several discussions of right and wrong might fail to predict/alter their actions.
Yes. Those topics are hazy.
I recently said taking a life seems to me to be the choice in some circumstances.
That said, war sometimes contains those circumstances.
If I knew, or believed that the death camps were happening, and I felt that they'd be set up in London next. I would like to believe (Hypotheticals... are just that, hypotheticals)..that I would be willing to kill or die to make it more likely that death camps were stopped.
Grenada. Non-existent WMDs in Iraq. Vietnam (perhaps) Not all wars are worth their prices.
Ah! I see Kant's already come up! Excellent.
I think two different questions are being confused here. Are you looking for an argument for the moral principle "Killing is wrong" or are you looking for an argument that a sociopath/psychopath/etc would find convincing? These are two distinct questions.
If people were allowed to commit acts of murder, it would imply that life has no value, and assuming life is one of the only certainties we have in our existence, existence itself and all that it contains would become trivial. There would be no point in ever living if your life could become arbitrarily forfeit at any moment. There would be no structure. Everything would be subject to chaos in a world where nothing truly matters. Of course, it could be argued conversely that knowing you could die at any moment would make every moment you live more meaningful, but it seems sort of futile to me. /possibly nonsensical answer
There's also all the aforementioned about social norms and contracts and what have you.
yes, I like this. I don't feel comfortable that I could say what I mean with the right words on this topic, but I certainly think that what you've said is a very good point :)
im not real sure if i could answer this question. there are too many variables to consider in my point of view that is.
So you think it's okay to kill someone? Maybe? Sometimes? Why?