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All scenarios are equal. Each scenario is different.
Debate Score:4
Arguments:10
Total Votes:4
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 Each scenario is different. (4)

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Hypothetical(68) pic



How crucial is "intent"?

(This is a scenario I came up with that I don't believe I've seen in another form elsewhere; if I'm wrong, please direct me as I'm sure it's more coherent than mine) Let's say you set a glass of water on a table at the top of a flight of stairs in a duplex you're renting with some other college students. It's very close to the edge of the table, but you don't notice. You inform a roommate that lives upstairs that they're running late for work; so naturally, they rush to get ready. Upon reaching the steps, the vibrations from your roommates' hurried stepping causes the glass of water to fall, in turn causing them to slip and fall down the stairs; unfortunately, to their death. This incident, which we'll call A) no intention of leaving the glass by the edge, is labelled an accident.

Are you responsible for you roommates' death in this scenario?

Now, let's say you intentionally set the glass as close to the edge of the table as you could, with one of two possibilities being your motivation; B) as a misguided prank to make your roommate slip and stumble down the stairs, or C) with the intention of them falling to their deaths.

Do either of these intentions change the fact that it was a mere accident, caused by your roommate rushing to get to work? Should either B) or C) be labelled manslaughter, or even murder? I have pondered multiple additions and intentions to this scenario, but for the sake of simplicity I'll leave it with these three for now. Feel free to add your own hypothetical stipulations in your response that I may reply to.

All scenarios are equal.

Side Score: 0
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Each scenario is different.

Side Score: 4
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1 point

Knowing the intent of wrongdoers is the difference between trusting someone trying to kill you after they accidentally save your life and distrusting someone trying to save you after they slip up and accidentally put you in peril.

Short-term events should not influence how you long-term gamble with your trust and loyalties.

Side: Each scenario is different.
Hypothetical(68) Clarified
1 point

But the problem I see comes with conveying intent. Would someone trying to save you not show signs of wanting to save you, be it through facial expressions, verbal communication, etc.? Likewise with someone trying to kill you. It could also be inferred that both of your situations happen far less likely than their inverse counterparts. Meaning, I'm fairly certain more people who are trying to kill someone ends up killing them than ends up saving their life accidentally. Equally, I'm fairly certain more people who are trying to save someone end up helping them in some way rather than ending up putting them in more peril. Although this is speculation, I believe this to be at least semi-accurate through personal experience and logical reasoning.

My point here is my position is that every circumstance should be taken as is and interpreted. If someone saves you, you should admire the effort they expended to do so. If someone puts you in peril, you should analyze potential dangers surrounding contact with them in the future. Of course, this is the very bare bones of it. Logically reasoning these cases with an uncountable number of other factors would be significantly more accurate, obviously.

Side: All scenarios are equal.
Mingiwuwu(1481) Clarified
1 point

In the end I'll be running the gang, you'll end up back-stabbed to hell and back.

I know the truth and how people work. Just because it involves gambling and intuition doesn't mean you give up. You learn to read people by trial, error and reading books and articles by others who post the results of their trial and error experiments.

You're the type of guy who wants the girl you can't get, I'm the type of guy who doesn't even want to f*ck her it's too easy. We are at the two extremes of understanding people and I am not about to bow down to your BS of taking actions at face value.

Side: All scenarios are equal.
1 point

Intention in moral psychology is fascinating. While many people would regard these scenarios as different, for instance, that is less clearly the case in other scenarios (e.g. drunk driving).

Side: Each scenario is different.
Hypothetical(68) Clarified
1 point

The thing about cases such as drunk driving is that you bring in stimulants and the idea of impairment emerges; with the higher addition of factors brings a higher level of ambiguity. That's what interest me about these super simplified scenarios, it seems to show just how wide a gap intention can create in what, objectively, are three completely identicle scenarios. You set down a glass, a roommate rushes, the glass falls, the roommate falls.

Side: All scenarios are equal.
Jace(4706) Clarified
1 point

Yet the decision to become impaired is generally made in full cognizance that one will make poorer choices, including an increased risk to endanger oneself or others. The scenarios don't actually seem all that distinct to me, which is why their differential treatment in moral psych intrigues me I guess.

Side: All scenarios are equal.
1 point

It’s a very interesting question 👌 You say ......

Now, let's say you intentionally set the glass as close to the edge of the table as you could, with one of two possibilities being your motivation; B) as a misguided prank to make your roommate slip and stumble down the stairs, or C) with the intention of them falling to their deaths.

It’s all down to what did you intend in each scenario as in what was your goal ?

If it was intended as only a prank and it somehow went awry causing your roommate to fall to his/her death, it would be judged as an accidental death ,your intent was not to kill your roommate

If you did indeed use this unlikely ruse to cause your roommates death you are guilty of murder as your goal /intent was to kill.

The intriguing scenario you put forward is still pretty clear cut, I think the difference is how very unusual such a case is making a judgement seem a bit trickier

Side: Each scenario is different.
Hypothetical(68) Clarified
1 point

What I find fascinating about such a scenario is that, though it can be called clear cut, that's assuming one is positive on the intent of the perpetrator. If C) was your intent, but you claim B), who or what is there to object? The idea that something as completely intangible and indistuingishable to anyone but yourself as your intentions in this scenario, and the fact that your intent can make the difference between no consequences and most to all of your life in prison, is completely intriguing. Especially considering that, disregarding intent, you're left with three completely identicle scenarios in every way; but in at least one of those identicle scenarios, you'll be sent to prison for most to the rest of your life.

All in all, you could claim it was simply an accident and get away with murder; it seems the making of the perfect murderer is having the ability to not reveal your intent.

Side: All scenarios are equal.
Dermot(5453) Clarified
1 point

All in all, you could claim it was simply an accident and get away with murder; it seems the making of the perfect murderer is having the ability to not reveal your intent.

I’d say many’s the murder as been gotten away with as the cause of death looked accidental

Side: All scenarios are equal.
1 point

Intent is crucial in determining character, but because humans have the ability to lie, intent can't entirely be determined in all situations.

If I kill someone intentionally, in circumstances that look accidental and don't constitute criminal negligence, I will likely be acquitted regardless of my intent, unless I confess that intent.

But beyond legally, intent for me is personally important in maintaining my sense of moral goodness. I wouldn't intentionally kill someone because the consequences for my psyche would be Earth-shattering. So, on a legal level, intent is crucial IF it can be established. On a personal moral level, intent is always crucial.

Side: Each scenario is different.