Why is murder actually wrong.

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  • Checkmate
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    This is a follow on to my last forum "Is meat eating morally justifiable", to which raised more questioned than answered. https://www.debateart.com/forum/topics/5147-is-meat-eating-morally-justifiable

    What is actually wrong about murder? There are four foreseeable answers which I will cover. 

    Subjectivism  

    According to subjectivism, to say that something is wrong is to claim that you personally disapprove of it. The problems with this is that murders would technically be justified as they believed what they did was right. 

    Inter-subjectivism

    According to inter-subjectivism, to say something is wrong is to claim your community disapproves of it. The problem with this is that communities may be wrong, as the Roman Catholics endorsed slavery, an unacceptable practice in todays world.  

    Emotivism (My personal go-to) 

    According to emotivism, to say something is wrong is not to make a claim at all. It is simply express personal disapproval. The problem with this is that it essentially eradicates the idea of morality as a whole. 

    Religion 

    Personally, I view this standpoint un-kindly, as it simply just postpones the mystery and is the "lazy way out" of what would be a fruitful discussion. To those who go to religion as an answer, I have one question. Are things wrong because they are wrong, or are they wrong because God says they are wrong. 


  • Sum1hugme
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    Violation of natural law could be another one
  • Theweakeredge
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    As as subjectivist, no.

    I define subjective in this term as something which is contingent on the mind to be true, whereas objective is something that is true independent of a mind/agent. Therefore unless someone has some unknowable knowledge of a universal moral standard, all morality is subjective.

    Specificially as humans we ought to value humans based on evolution, biological necessity and well as the logical thought: You ought to value yourself or there is no point to morality. From there it is fairly easy to come to the conclusion that we ought to value human welfare/well-being (in other words the physical and psychological state of the person)
  • skittlez09
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    if u believe its justifiable to kill animals by extension this translates into it being ok to kill humans 

    if u believe its unjustifiable u also would believe it'd be wrong to kill humans as both are sentient beings 

    its pretty much one or the other 
  • ethang5
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    Are you surprised that no one could tell you WHY murder is wrong?
  • Checkmate
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    I'm actually decently surprised, to tell the truth. 
  • ethang5
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    Decently?
  • fauxlaw
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    Murder, as opposed to killing, is strictly a legal distinction addressed only to our own species, Homo sapiens. It fits none of your four answers.
  • Checkmate
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    Well, when posting this forum, I really couldn't think about a possible answer. Why is murder wrong? To me, there is no answer so I wasn't shocked to find out that everyone was the same as me. 
  • Checkmate
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    --> @fauxlaw
    Yes, but why is it wrong? Why is killing a homo sapien wrong as opposed to killing a pigeon, which is right. 
  • fauxlaw
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    If you want an original answer, we must access the Pentateuch, specifically, Exodus. It is traditionally, but not probably written by Moses, and we certainly have no text dating from 14th to 13th century BCE; the timeframe of Moses. As he was raised as an Egyptian, though Hebrew, he likely wrote most accurately in new kingdom hieroglyphs, in which I happen to be fluent. There is no Egyptian text of the Pentateuch dating from 1300 - 1400 BCE. Variations of Hebrew date to half in to the 1st century CE. Before that, paleo-Hebrew from about 700 BCE. Before that a variety of Caananite language roots. All that to give historic perspective to what may have originally been written attributed to Moses, for which we do not have a shred of evidentiary scrolls. The best we have date after the Common Era. In the closest we have to original text, Hebrew, the seventh verse of Exodus 20 that we know as "Thou shalt not kill," the Hebrew and Paleo-Hebrew use a word that translates more correctly as "murder" than the common "kill."
    "Murder," as I said, related exclusively to the purposeless ending of exclusively human life. YHWH [God] commanded a prohibition of murder likely because man is His greatest and last creation, and the life form created in His express image, whereas other life forms are not [including other primates, which are easily distinguished from man] and was saying that we have not the right to take what He has created as close to Himself as can be made for a preparatory being on the path toward perfection, as all life forms are. It is well known that the Ten Commandments, effectively the Law, has root in such earlier civil law as the Code of Hammurabi, but it is older than that, and always attributed to deity.


  • ethang5
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    Well, when posting this forum, I really couldn't think about a possible answer. Why is murder wrong?
    This brings up immediate questions to me.
    1. If you can find no reason for why murder is wrong, have you ever murdered anyone?
    2. If no, what stops you from murder since you can't find any reason why its wrong?
    3. If someone was killing your loved one, would you stop them?
    4. If yes, why when by your own standard they aren't doing anything wrong?

    To me, there is no answer so I wasn't shocked to find out that everyone was the same as me.
    Not everyone is like you in this regard.
  • armoredcat
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    Nothing's wrong. Categorical imperatives are only institutional facts. 
  • Checkmate
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    Well it is important for me to state that I have a normal view on murder besides my rational interpretation. I believe murder is wrong. I will not murder anyone because I think it's wrong and if someone was killing my family member, I would stop them. But this is me being ignoring my rational side. Rationally, I cannot justify my strong believe that murder is wrong. 
  • ethang5
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    You may be the most rational and honest atheist I know.

    How about stealing? Do you also not know why it is wrong?
  • Checkmate
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    Hm, my answer would be that stealing is wrong because it involves the unconsented taking of anothers possession, but one could argue that this answer is not an answer, it is simply just describing what stealing is. 
  • Lemming
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    Maybe this is a stupid question, in fact, I'm pretty sure it is.
    But when you say 'right, or 'wrong, what do you mean?

    By that, maybe I'm saying that one could say that using the gold club like a pool cue on their first shot is 'wrong, because it goes against the common understanding of how one is supposed to hit the ball,
    One might say it's wrong because it's unlikely to achieve the assumed aim of whacking the ball a far distances off.
    Though maybe it amuses one to poke the ball like a pool player, and is to his mind thus right.

    But what I'm getting at, is the use of the words right and wrong in relation to 'aims, or 'context.

    'Some people figure that it doesn't devalue the meaning of right and wrong, that they're used in context.
    It's wrong to murder people for a thriving society because of game theory, or empathy, and so on.
    It's right to murder people because it's amusing, or one wants their stuff, and so on.

    . . .

    Though the question is why murder is wrong?
    Contextually speaking. .
    Because people in certain societies value other people's happiness, lives, and rights.
    Though then, one asks 'why do certain societies do that?
    Because of sympathy, empathy, game theory, tradition, historical progression, nature and nurture.

    . . .

    Odd, I feel like I've heard that before, contextually speaking, Ah, now I remember, Jacques Derrida.
    "there is nothing outside the text", I think.
    Mm, still don't know what that means.

    . . .

    Mind you, I 'still consider myself a moral nihilist, doublespeak aside.

    . . .

    Just my opinions/idle thoughts on the subject.
  • seldiora
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  • Lit
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    Why is murder actually wrong.
    Imagine a world where we are as we currently are but with one caveat: we can't speak. Now, we have the advantage of verbal communication to understand that humans have generally agreed at the root of the matter, that murder is wrong. With the caveat, we wouldn't be influenced by each other's words to agree or disagree one way or the other, but since we would remain the same otherwise, would we assume individual preference to the idea of murder? I imagine not, for a community that silently does not murder could not provoke the thought that it's of personal taste.

    If life is in itself a good thing, then the taking of life must be by nature contrary to what is good. Even a just murder in this perspective doesn't necessitate murder becoming good, because life should always hope to beget life and not take it. A necessary evil doesn't lessen the evil, but only makes it necessary. Murder in itself cannot be okay if it has to rely on it being just to be called so, and its only option is to rely on being just, because murder implies intent. You can kill accidentally but you can't murder accidentally. Kindness in itself is good because we don't need to justify its moment, the moment is now, forever.

    To put simply: murder is wrong because it has to have a reason (on the grounds of subjective and objective thought and everything in between) to become okay. It is not in itself an okay thing.
  • 3RU7AL
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    The problem with this is that it essentially eradicates the idea of morality as a whole. 
    I'm not sure how that could be considered a "problem".

    There is no detectable utility in ascribing a label of "evil" to a rabid dog.

    There is no reason to attempt to determine if the rabid dog is "acting according to its own personal will and autonomous agency".

    None of that is necessary.
  • ethang5
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    Exactly. So can we add stealing to the list of things you can find no reason for being wrong?
  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @Lit
    Imagine a world where we are as we currently are but with one caveat: we can't speak.
    Even apes punish liars.
  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @Lit
    If life is in itself a good thing, then the taking of life must be by nature contrary to what is good.
    Doesn't all life sustain itself by feeding on dead things?
  • EtrnlVw
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    It's simply wrong because you remove the choice of the other party involved. And this has nothing to do with being subjective, you violate the will of another being.

    I categorize morality as being either negative, positive or neutral. It makes it easier this way because it's much harder to categorize something as right or wrong and so it becomes subjective. Negative actions are those that cause harm to the self, others or nature. Positive actions are those that edify and bring good to the self, others or nature and neutral are actions that do neither. Again, these categories have nothing to do with subjectivism because causing harm is not subjective it's an objective observation.
    When you strip another person of their will you are robbing them of their choice to choose. When you murder, you violate a persons will by taking something of value from them, and perhaps causing them harm.


  • 3RU7AL
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    When you strip another person of their will you are robbing them of their choice to choose.
    What if your respective "wills" are in conflict?

    What if someone is trying to (or even just apparently trying to) rob you of your choice to choose?

    How is "self-defense" (or pre-emptive self-defense) quantitatively distinct from "murder"?