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Direct Confrontation, or diversion?
Confrontation 2
Diversion 5
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Use of deception: always wrong?
Posted: 07 November 2007 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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In EoF, Sam berates his decision to help a woman escape her pimps(?) by acting crazy to the point of distracting them and letting her go. He says he would rather confront them so the next time they are “less likely” to mistreat her in public.
  I find that naive.
  His was a very pragmatic, brilliant solution to the problem, as there was a likelihood that he would be killed or at least beaten had he directly confronted them.
  To me, it’s the most favorable of 3 options (direct confrontation, distraction, do nothing) because the woman is not later blamed for “making a scene”, and Sam is kept safe.

Does anyone disagree?

[ Edited: 07 November 2007 10:06 AM by davelook]
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Posted: 07 November 2007 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Davelook,

I think you are right. I didn’t understand why Sam made such a big deal of this incident. What is the point in playing the hero if it gets you killed.
Pragmatism should be our guide here.
Leave the rest to law enforcement. That is what they are for.

BTW, if Sam would have beaten the crap out of them I doubt that these Cretans would have become model citizens as a result.

There are few people that I loathe more than men who are abusive towards women.

My suggested remedy for these numbnuts would be 5 years behind bars with Bubba as their new girlfriend.

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Posted: 07 November 2007 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Deception is sometimes important in teaching situations as well.  A friend of mine had been studying Tai Chi for several years.  He had a characteristic defect in his posture, but couldn’t be told to correct it because it was part of an ego defense he used.  So his teacher told him to move in a certain way doing his Tai Chi because it would “open up the Tan Tien and allow more chi to flow.”  Actually, all that was intended was that it would correct his postural defect—and it did.

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Posted: 08 November 2007 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Wow, I’m the only guy who voted for confrontation. (1/6)

I guess there’s a possible transgression, cuz whenever I’m deceived, I’m pretty f’kin’ pi$$ed off.  If deception is ever right, it necessitates breaking the golden rule.  But there are a lot of things that necessitate that.

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Posted: 09 November 2007 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Whether one confronts or uses diversion or does nothing is relative to the particular situation. An ad hoc perspective done retrospectively can help determine if the correct course of action was taken or not. I thought Sam was fairly clever.  I’ve found one doesn’t know how one will respond until actually called upon to respond…I responded instinctually when I hollered at a guy yelling and pushing his girlfriend in a parking lot. My friend found out and said I shouldn’t have done anything…he might have a gun was his concern. Perhaps, but I just reacted—and it worked btw—without really considering any negative consequences.
I’ve also found humor to be a good diversionary tactic, but it only applicable in non-violent situations. I’m somewhat amused ligh+bringer by your disgust of deception…I think it was Kant who wrote a philosophical little ditty illustrating that there are indeed times when deception (lying to a potentially dangerous madman looking for his wife who is hiding under a bed in your house) is the moral or ethical thing to do.

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Posted: 10 November 2007 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Whenever we have correctly identified a violator of ethical codes, then that person cannot be regarded as wholly morally competent. Thus, ideals that should govern relations between morally competent individuals are inapplicable in detail for the relation between a morally competent individual and one who is not.

For example, the ideal of dialogue is certainly something we should strive to work to realize, but that ideal should not, for example, be invoked in order to censure non-dialogual condemnation of criminal/immoral acts.

Similarly with ideals of honesty/telling of the truth.

The crux of the problem is, of course, how to identify the violator correctly..

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Posted: 10 November 2007 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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There are also to be considered cases of deception where the deception is meant to spare someone from ugly truths.

Suppose a terminal patient asks how her niece is doing, and you just have received news that that niece has been the victim of a terrible crime, say rape.
Should a person on the verge of death be burdened by that knowledge, or is it okay to say to her “just fine”?

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Posted: 10 November 2007 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 09 November 2007 06:12 PM

I’m somewhat amused ligh+bringer by your disgust of deception…

So I take it you enjoy being deceived.

I guess I halfways wrote it to be amusing.  I’m just still a bit shocked that no one outside of me would choose confrontation.  I think we can agree that a society in which no one is prepared to confront is in danger.

You guys seem to view lying as being deception by default.  I think deception is an entirely different animal.  Deception is manipulative, intended to make someone else act in a certain way / do things against their will.  Lying isn’t necessarily.  You can lie purely out of your own self-interest, or to prevent actions, or possibly other scenarios a lot less devious than mind control.

[quote author=“arildno”]There are also to be considered cases of deception where the deception is meant to spare someone from ugly truths.

This, I think, one of the worst kinds.  In my experience the truth tends to be ugly.  Denial is a vicious cycle – it only begets more and deeper denial.  That goes for both the deceiver and the deceived.

You provided an example in which a subject dies, as if that has to be “end of transaction”.  But let’s consider the other players here.  What about the niece?  What if her rape becomes her moment of triumph, as she hunts down her rapist and brings him to justice (in whatever way both niece and aunt would agree on “justice”)?  In which case, she’d rather have her aunt know about it.  And even if it was simply a terrible ugly thing that happened to her, you’ve made the decision to think for her.  What if she’d rather everyone knows about it in full, in that covering up the rape only reinforces her role as victim – which may lead to further negative consequences?  20 years down the road she may feel differently about telling or not telling her aunt.  At least if she was there, post-rape, at the deathbed, she’d know it was her decision and could face up to it in any case. 

And what about you, the liar (not deceiver) to the soon-to-be dead?  You’re the one who will have to live with the knowledge of what you’ve done.  What you’ve granted the dying person was a sense of closure, but in the process you’ve sacrificed your own.  The way I see it, you either are confident that lying was the prudent thing to do, which ultimately makes you more prone to lie in a variety of situations in the future; or there’s a question that remains.  What comfort or closure could you possibly grant to a dead person?  If there’s part of her that persists after death (say in the memories of others), how does it take the lie?  Are you really only just lying to the soon-to-be dead, or lying to yourself and others in the process? 

So if the question is “is it okay”, I guess it could be if those involved are prepared to face the consequences and at least be introspectively honest in the aftermath, to the degree it breaks a potential cycle of deception.  But simply telling the truth erases the necessity for that, and the therapy bills.

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Posted: 10 November 2007 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Death IS the “end of transaction”, for the one dying.

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Posted: 10 November 2007 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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ligh+bringer, In this case we were discussing using deception as a diversionary tactic as Sam did in Paris, not deception as a general rule to live by.
In my earlier example taken from Kant, because ‘never tell a lie’ appears to be your moral imperative, you would tell the madman with a gun where his wife is hiding—under your bed upstairs. Granted, you’re now known throughout the town to be as honest as Abe, but a woman is dead with a bullet to the head…

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Posted: 11 November 2007 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 10 November 2007 08:38 PM

ligh+bringer, In this case we were discussing using deception as a diversionary tactic as Sam did in Paris, not deception as a general rule to live by.

Are we using deception as a diversionary tactic, or diversion as a deceptive tactic?  Perhaps diversion doesn’t necessarily have to be deceptive.  It depends on if your honestly expressing yourself while diverting, and what the desired effect is.  Diversionary and stalling tactics fit a sort of null space between truth and lie: nothing’s happening, everybody’s happy.

If the desired effect is simply slowing or stopping, some gauge to how well diversion will work might have to be hashed out.  In Sam’s case (which was actually in Prague), diverting pimps was easy.  They are fairly rational entities mainly concerned with their finances.  Nonsensical ravings mean the same to them as it does to any of us.  If you’re dealing with a serial killer, or a muslim extremist, outright deception may be the only way.  That would entail not just stalling, but going so far as to attempt convincing them of a reality that is false (“your dog told me you don’t have to kill her” “Allah told me they ran out of virgins”) …at any rate lying so they don’t just stop and look, but actually change their intended plan of action.

Sam said he had failed because he was lying.  He started talking about being lost when he wasn’t.  But if in fact the pimps didn’t understand his English, it didn’t matter what he said.  It cut to a primal core in short order (confusion).  There are ways to do this with and without actual language, with and without deceptive intent - making a loud noise, or even just staring.

isocratic infidel - 10 November 2007 08:38 PM

In my earlier example taken from Kant, because ‘never tell a lie’ appears to be your moral imperative, you would tell the madman with a gun where his wife is hiding—under your bed upstairs. Granted, you’re now known throughout the town to be as honest as Abe, but a woman is dead with a bullet to the head…

That’s assuming I couldn’t stop him - through confrontation.  If I refuse to answer his question I’m not lying.  In a sense it doesn’t matter where I tell him his wife is, since I’m honestly expressing myself – I’m honestly expressing my fist in his face, or my elbow in his adams apple/collar bone.  After all, how can I be one hundred percent certain that she is under the bed?  If I say, “ I don’t know,” and that prompts said madman to stop for a split second and consider his options, advantage me: the confronter.

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Posted: 11 November 2007 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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“the confronter”: Maybe whether one confronts or diverts or does nothing at all is proportional to the amount of testosterone one has.
I wouldn’t confront Kant’s imaginary madman with a gun…I’d lie my pretty little ass off.

Sex, gender and general disposition surely play a role.

So are you saying, ligh+bringer, that there are indeed instances (in cases involving serial killers and muslim extremists) when lying would be the ethical/moral choice?

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Posted: 11 November 2007 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 11 November 2007 01:56 PM

“the confronter”: Maybe whether one confronts or diverts or does nothing at all is proportional to the amount of testosterone one has.
I wouldn’t confront Kant’s imaginary madman with a gun…I’d lie my pretty little ass off.

Sex, gender and general disposition surely play a role.

Easily they are, but I’m the only person on this forum with that disposition, and I know I’m not the only male.  It may be possible for a society to be in deficit of confronters when prevailing morals/ethics make deception prerequisite.  Maybe 1/6 is good enough, but let’s consider that being totally honest is not immoral.

If you want your moral/ethical system to boil down to a hormone I guess you have that choice, but I’d remind you that both men and women have testosterone, it’s just a bit more free-flowing in men.  I wouldn’t have the presence/absence of any hormone/neurotransmitter exempt anyone from morality. 

isocratic infidel - 11 November 2007 01:56 PM

So are you saying, ligh+bringer, that there are indeed instances (in cases involving serial killers and muslim extremists) when lying would be the ethical/moral choice?

I think that’s a pretty clear yes, but maybe it depends on why you’re lying.  You could be lying only to save your own “pretty little ass,” or so a larger group of others could live.  Kant’s example had us ponder one other individual outside of our selves.  A suicide bomber thinks bigger.

Sam emphasized that he not only lied, but lied out of fear.  If the trained reaction to being scared is just to lie until you get your way, that’s not moral.  Lying could be moral when the consequences are recognized and dealt with.  Just because we say it’s moral doesn’t mean it’s good.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Who ever said that deception should be considered a prerequisite in the making ethical/moral decisions? Certainly not me and my pretty little ass.  LOL
The point is, that in some cases, though it may appear contrary, lying or the use of deception in an attempt to divert, is the moral or ethical thing to do. To which, I think you agree.
And I never said, nor implyed that hormones have anything to do with ethical decision-making. What I said was, perhaps whether one instinctually reacts or decides to be confrontational or not may be proportional to the amount of testosterone one has. I included gender identification as a possible factor in how one might react in a situation where one is in a position to confront, divert or do nothing. Note:This does not lead to the conclusion that hormones and gender identification have anything to do with the ethical/moral decision-making process; it is only related to whether one is more prone to be confrontational or not. 
It seems to me that the only immoral behaviour in Sam’s case, would have been for him to do nothing.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 12 November 2007 03:42 PM

Who ever said that deception should be considered a prerequisite in the making ethical/moral decisions? Certainly not me and my pretty little ass.  LOL

I wasn’t pointing fingers at you, but 1/6 indicates to me that something is amiss.

I thought of something that undermines the testosterone hypothesis: In Kant’s example, simply substitute wife with daughter and liar/confronter with her mother.  Still presented with confront/divert/do nothing, but the chances of confrontation go way up, independent of testosterone.  If said mother chooses confrontation in other scenanrios it depends on her ability to extend maternal feelings/morality(instincts) to others.  There are cases where this extension seems to reach between species, much less to a madman’s wife.

This is still “related to whether one is more prone to be confrontational or not,” but I think the point Sam and I are trying to make is that confrontation is the more moral choice, whenever possible.

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Posted: 13 November 2007 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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I’d like to see a person in the position to do so make the morally correct choice and confront Ahmedinnahjacket’s sanctioning of the public hanging of two boys suspected of being homosexual. The man’s due some medieval justice. Whoops. Not very ethical of me…

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