Sign On
Create Account


single3-Sep-2012ethics/moralityKristal_Rose by votes36254.4%


Is it moral to capitalize on things which could be prevented?

For instance, presuming you believe suicide to be a tragedy, is it moral to use suicide victims as organ donors rather putting your resources to addressing suicide instead?

11Yes, you can't change the world, so make the best of what occurs anyhow.
5No opinion.
4No, one shouldn't foster activities which rely on the world being screwed up to start with.

posted 3-Sep-2012 9:19pm  
Work on both...
posted 3-Sep-2012 9:21pm  
I'm undecided.
I'll wear leather that results from slaughtering animals for food, even though I'd prefer people were vegetarians. If people stopped eating meat, I'd stop wearing leather that was the result of slaughter.

I do see it as hopeless to end carnivorism though, and will go with utilizing leather over campaigning against carnivores.
posted 3-Sep-2012 9:44pm  
This seems like a false dichotomy to me. We as a society can and should do both. I think the most moral thing is to do both.
LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
posted 3-Sep-2012 11:06pm  
I don't see why one excludes the other.

As for your explanation in qualification - i think waiting around and letting them commit suicide just so you can harvest their parts is reprehensible. It's totally different than using the organs after a suicide that no one saw coming.
(reply to bill, LindaH) posted 4-Sep-2012 7:46am  
Perhaps you don't see an individual's suicide (or traffic accident) coming, but you know 'someone's' body is coming down the pipeline from such phenomenon, you're capitalizing upon that, you're doing nothing to prevent it, and perhaps even it could be said that you're giving an inch of justification for it continuing. As Einstein said, you can't simultaneously prepare for and prevent war. It could definitely be said that my purchasing leathar sandals supports the slaughter of cattle, even though as I see it, the leathar is an unintended by product of the more voluminous slaughter of cattle for meat, and the former would not occur without the latter (due to my support anyhow).

If you were to get organs harvested in China, I'd definitely say you were supporting their policy of harvesting organs from convicted felons.
Had it been the case that stem cells were life saving, and the only source for them was abortions, I'm sure you would have seen a moral argument made towards justifying them, and people switching sides on that issue for that reason.

There was room for a third survey option, that of capitalizing on tragedy, but also doing something to prevent it in the future. As that would be a matter of degree though, it doesn't make for a convenient survey format.
posted 4-Sep-2012 8:38am  
Harvest away. They dont mind.
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 4-Sep-2012 9:14am  
Maybe it's hard to generalize this since to me the suicide example seems different than the leather example. And, you seem to be asking from a personal perspective where I'm more prone to thinking of it at a societal level. Thus, it's easier for me to think of doing both things. But, I think Einstein meant to direct that war quote at society, so maybe it's not so different.

I think suicide is hard to solve in the abstract, so expending resources on it likely becomes ineffective pretty quickly. I feel like we'll always have suicide. There are just some ways we can likely lower the rate a little perhaps. Also, my impression is that one person not using leather is kind of pointless given how pervasive the use of leather is. I guess my support for animal rights has a limit as well. The Chinese felon organs thing seems like a case where not taking the organs makes sense given the immorality of their source.

Anyway, most good ethical question are hard to answer, so this must be a good thing to ponder.
LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 4-Sep-2012 9:47am  
There's a difference between capitalizing after a suicide or an accident, and financially supporting a system where animals or people are deliberately set up for harvesting.

Should we not harvest anything from murder victims or car accident victims either? I see nothing wrong with the fact that a blind person was given sight after my cousin was killed. Neither do my aunt and uncle.
(reply to bill, LindaH) posted 4-Sep-2012 10:47am  
Now that you mention it, I didn't make a distinction between personal, and societal - probably because I don't draw such a distinction in my own life. I don't do things like own a car, if I don't believe society in general should be doing it.

Here's a more concrete fictional abstraction:
Suppose you have a sort of vampire, or body snatcher, or whatever you might call them, who can leave their body to possess another. They also have the ability to pass on an emulated experience to a passing soul. Their current body has contracted some fatal disabling disease, so they are looking for a new host. They wish to be moral about it, and not just snatch the body of someone who was perfectly happy living their life in theirs, so they've opted to find someone they are certain (they have their ways of knowing) is committing suicide, and snatch the body just before the person pulls the trigger or pops the pills, or whatever, and give them their intended experience before they pass off to the afterworld. Which of these then would be a moral way of going about it?

[ ] Grab someone they dont know, without intervention.
[ ] Try to talk them out of it (or assign someone proficient that task), but take the body if they don't change their mind.
[ ] Take a nice random body without intervention, but then try to prevent other suicides.
[ ] Get their permission beforehand, and perhaps even save them the effort of needing to find a gun.
[ ] Don't bother with the suicide thing, just grab any nice body. It's what body snatcher vampires do.

So is it your guys philosophy that taking advantage of something unfortunate which an individual can't change is personally acceptable (like using leather, even if you are against unnecessary animal slaughter)?
An alternative view, the one I generally hold, is that an individual should not accept societal practice, even if it's personally convenient, if they feel it is a poor choice for society to have made. True, one individual has no impact on the leather industry (let's change the example to carnivorism, since the leather thing was even more indirect), but society can not change unless all individuals step up to make the change.
As an example of that, one chinese resident can not change china's organ harvesting policy, and it could be argued that they should take what they can get, but we don't have the same policy here because the congregate of individuals here won't let it become the societal norm in the first place.

Unfortunately there's a lot of that sort of moral dilemna in modern life. If you use Federal Reserve currency, you are ultimately forcing the lower classes to pick up the slack of debt slavery (if not doing so yourself), but living without a car is tough enough, there's not much option to using money, even if using it does make you party to a crime of sorts.

Another example of my original survey question would be going into business mining the river tailings which result from run-off from clear cutting forests. You didn't cause it, but you are profiting from a situation which shouldn't have existed, and could be prevented. Perhaps that gray area could be made more clear if there were a non-profit agency trying to prevent the clear-cuts. If they asked for a donation, one you might otherwise have donated to, don't you think you might be swayed to decline, as helping the cause has become in conflict with your personal interests?

Society has a way of abstracting and removing personal responsibility, like in the case of capital punishment. Nazi Germany was an extreme case of people going along with something they would have never chosen personally.
Enheduanna Survey Central Subscriber
posted 4-Sep-2012 10:50am  
Why not do both? I don't think it's feasible to devote all our resources to a single goal; spreading it around seems like a better idea.
(reply to Enheduanna) posted 4-Sep-2012 11:09am  
It seems I have an obscure moral philosphy which doesn't even occur to others.
Thanks to this survey its beginning to dawn on me why we don't live in utopia, and that's because people find it more pragmatic to operate with current conditions, than they feel they have personal power to set alternative precedent.
In my thinking, a utopian society would have neither suicides nor organ harvesting, and thus, to achieve that future, it's everyone's personal responsibility to behave as if they lived in utopia, because utopia can never happen unless everyone behaves as if they were in utopia. Otherwise the world is a vicious circle. For instance you have to capitalize upon your neighbor to insure your own security, but only because everyone capitalizes upon each other in this society.
LindaH Silver Star Survey Creator
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 4-Sep-2012 11:26am  
The moral thing to do would be to try to talk them out of it, and if that doesn't work, get their permission.

What do you mean by 'mining the river tailings?'
posted 4-Sep-2012 6:47pm  
I really wouldn't consider organ donation as capitalizing , suicide or not. It's two completely different things, suicide prevention and organ donation.
(reply to LindaH) posted 4-Sep-2012 8:20pm  
Mineral mining is most efficient using sluice boxes/dredges in rivers with recently eroded hills. It's very destructive of the landscape, but could be justified if clear-cut lumber operations were causing the erosion in the first place, even though their practice is frowned upon as well.
posted 5-Sep-2012 7:16am  
Sorry, I'm swimming in grey areas.
Enheduanna Survey Central Subscriber
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 5-Sep-2012 11:57am  
I think it's true that most people are far more likely to take a pragmatic approach than you are. But you also have to recognize that there are degrees; to me, the idea of no suicide and no organ harvesting sounds impossible to attain. I could see technology possibly getting us to where we didn't need organs, and maybe we could develop a better understanding of the human brain that would allow us to prevent suicides, but I doubt it. But some things seem more achievable, and I imagine that more people would be willing to change their behavior for such things. Just look at how many more people recycle now than used to, for example. The idea of zero waste is still a long way off, but it must be something that people think is more likely to be realized.

I think it's also important to keep in mind that trying to tackle everything is just too overwhelming. If I think of all the things that I would like to see change in order to see my idea of utopia (and keeping in mind that my utopia may not be the same as yours!), I am likely to be filled with despair over the impossibility of achieving those goals and to just give up. I think progress is possible because people devote themselves to causes in smaller numbers, some tackling one issue, some focusing on another. I think most people probably have one thing they do to try to make the world better, even if it seems small and indirect.
posted 5-Sep-2012 5:59pm  
It would be moral to ask the survivors for permission. per example. And per example, why settle on just one of these examples, why not do both? Surely if there was a will there would be a way. I often thought, and have asked aloud, why don't those grossly overweight people that lose so much weight, they have their skin trimmed off...why don't they donate the skin to burn victims?

I don't know, give each option a shot, see the majority moral calculator is in the general public and make the most people happy as you can. If it's about money, who cares who's happy, take the moeny and run. There is no moral obligation in any circumstances, it's up to the consumer to make choices and decisions if they want that organ or not. Anyone that wants an organ that bad isn't going to judge how that organ got into the cooler.
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 5-Sep-2012 6:04pm  
Wearing anything that is not organic ought to be immoral.
If all the slaughtered meat were skinned, and the leather went to a good cause...say clothes for the underpriveledged, then more people would eat meat as a way to give.
(reply to Enheduanna) posted 6-Sep-2012 5:20am  
Sounds wise to me.
(reply to cloudhugger) posted 6-Sep-2012 5:35am  
"...why don't they donate the skin to burn victims? " - great idea, except I'm guessing there's no shortage of skin donors.
(reply to cloudhugger) posted 6-Sep-2012 5:41am  
> Wearing anything that is not organic ought to be immoral.
It's occurred to me that, fur, unlike acrylic coats, is a renewable resource, besides simply being so much nicer.

> If all the slaughtered meat were skinned, and the leather went to
> a good cause...say clothes for the underpriveledged, then more people
> would eat meat as a way to give.
That's kind of the crux of my survey question. People will justify the unthinkable if some good can come of it. It's a combination of two sorts of thinking, 'The ends justifies the means', and 'more good than harm'. Strict moral purists (well I suppose there all types) don't accept either of those premises to begin with.
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 6-Sep-2012 11:48am  
Yes, I see. I had to work out scenarios to fully get it. It makes me think about if someone doesn't accomplish a task, because they were busy...and another person asks what they were doing instead like it would make a difference. If I am on the computer answering surveys for 4 hours or if I am saving a busload of orphans from a fiery crash does it really make a difference to the person asking how the other person spent that time? It's making a society of multitudes of mini-judges.
(reply to cloudhugger) posted 6-Sep-2012 9:27pm  
I think you're on the same track. The stock phrase is 'think globally, act locally'.
posted 7-Sep-2012 4:27pm  
No opinion
posted 9-Sep-2012 6:56pm  
Sure why not? Morals are highly over rated...
posted 10-Sep-2012 12:43am  
No, that's is immoral to me.
posted 12-Sep-2012 7:59pm  
Only, and I repeat only, if the suicide victim has expressed their wish to have their body donated after they die. Otherwise, no.
Biggles Bronze Star Survey Creator
posted 15-Sep-2012 6:27pm  
Why can't you address the underlying problem and make the most of unfortunate outcomes? It's not like organ donation is taking resources away from preventing suicide.
jettles Survey Central Subscriber
posted 23-Sep-2012 5:51am  
these aren't a full set of answer options! while suicide is a tragedy or car accidents from texting or talking on the phone that cause deaths are tragedies so is losing people with failing kidneys or livers or whatever........ and addressing suicide prevention or education about preventing car accidents does not preclude using organs for people who need them! we are capable of doing more than one thing at a time.
jettles Survey Central Subscriber
(reply to Kristal_Rose) posted 23-Sep-2012 6:02am  
I think China's philosophy of harvesting has been different also in that they would move up a death penalty case for organs that were needed........ that is a line I would not cross. Causing the death to obtain organs is different then just obtaining them from an accident.
posted 25-Sep-2012 11:09am  
The people who handle organ transplants are not likely to be the same people that are dealing with suicides. They might both be working in the field of medicine, but that's as close as it gets.

If you are referring to society as a whole; there is no reason why both issues cannot be addressed. It doesn't have to be an either/or situation.

I think you are presenting a False dilemma.
(reply to bill) posted 25-Sep-2012 11:10am  
(reply to Zang) posted 25-Sep-2012 3:02pm  
I was just so happy to be able to use "false dichotomy" in a sentence.
(reply to bill) posted 27-Sep-2012 10:59am  
The only reason I didn't use the exact same phrase was because I linked it to Wikipedia and the article is called "False dilemma", so I changed it. smile
posted 27-Sep-2012 11:25am  
Question is what caused the individual to commit suicide or is it maybe a cover-up homicide?
(reply to Zang) posted 27-Sep-2012 12:52pm  
I almost did the same thing.

If you'd like to vote and/or comment on this survey, please Sign On

Link this survey:

Hits: 0 today (0 in the last 30 days)