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Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Ethics: Bang Bang- and I'm dead.

Have you ever thought how physically easy it is to kill someone? It's just one swift movement of pushing the neck back, or just stabbing them with a sharp knife- or nowadays, it's just a bullet fired by a gun. But then, why don't we go around murdering people? Why don't we kill those who surround us? Why not just destroy everyone that annoys us?

Societal moral codes, that have been ingrained into us. We cannot kill because we have been told that it is wrong? But wrong for whom, wrong for what? And when does kill equal murder? Who makes these decisions? The government? The law? The Church? Ultimately, all our moral codes come from religious backgrounds- in India it's horrible to kill (or murder) because of the influence of Hinduism- but here, in the UK, it's perfectly acceptable, because Christianity does not condemn the death of cattle.

Immediately, any philosopher or sociologist, would ask- where do these religious morals come from? Death to those who are in our way have not always been recognised as 'murder'. Even today, when we kill those innocent civillians in Iraq "for the greater good", we only see them as collatoral damage- not victims of murder. The Iraqis, of course, don't see it like that at all. So therefore we realise that death can be taken in different ways, through different perceptions. So then, what is 'law'?

The creation of International Judicary processes, such as the International Criminal Court system- would indicate that certain laws were 'universal' in human history. But are any laws universal? In the Congo, inter-tribal wars still go on. We condemn the Holocaust, and the Rwandan Genocide- but do those who committed the crimes see them as 'evil'? Therefore, is 'murder' really a universal moral code?

It argueable then to jump, and state that numerous people would agree that 'morality' is what being human is. The differentiation between being an animal and being a human is self-control- and if we follow that stream of thought- morality. Therefore morality is a human construct, and therefore not murdering someone is a construct (perhaps for making us feel different from animals?) This is a sketchy argument, I have to agree, but I'm sure you see where I'm coming from. Is morality, and therefore not committing murder, a way of us trying to seperate ourselves from other animals (here I am going all 'John Gray')?

I don't have any answers, and am in no way supporting murder, or killing things. My own background tells me to be vegetarian, and attempt to practise Ahimsa (or non-violence)- these are my societal moral codes, and therefore I do, in no way, endorse killing other people (or animals, for that matter). However this so-called code of peace and law, is what I question- murder was just an example.

Protested by PhiloNysh at 8:15:39 pm

Nysh
April 7, 2006   10:17 AM PDT
 
Firstly, on Kim's point about animals and murder- I have seen a lion kill another lion (not for food, but out of jealously and pride). But then again, it perfectly arguable that we do not have consciousness (as humans and as animals) and therefore even we are incapable of murder.

Oh and Steph, on Bentham's panopticon, I will have a look at it later- I did just Wiki it, but will investigate further later. BTW, it was Bentham who founded my University, and his body lies mummified in out Cloisters in a glass case (as according to his wishes).
Kim
April 5, 2006   01:08 PM PDT
 
Just a thought on that - do animals murder? dictionary definition: kill (a human being) intentionally and unlawfully.
I'm going to focus on the intentionally bit - have you ever seen an animal (or know of an animal) intentionally killing another animal without its reason being primal ie. for food or survival? In the back of my mind is the praying mantis... but I'm sure there's a valid explanation for that because it's all females that do it in the species.
Killing is natural - but murder wouldn't be. How could destroying your own race for any reason other than those primal ones I mentioned before be natural in the order of nature? I can't see where I'm going with this. So yeah, i think i just wanna stick up for the animals...





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Nishma. 18. Jain. Vegetarian. Indian background. History Buff. Read-a-holic. Philosopher. Walking Encyclopedia. Alias addict. Harry Potter obsessed. Over-opinionated. Environmentalist. Left-Wing inclined. Anti-Communist. Anti-Conservative. Progressive. Anti-Fascist. Scientist. Student. British/Australian. Resident of Australia. ex-Kenyan resident. ex-USA resident. BBC Radio listener. Anti-Alcohol. Anti-Drugs. Anti-Make-up. Pacifist. Truth-Seeking. Female



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