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A philosophical question

 
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Which carries more ethical weight?
But it could have...!
66%
 66%  [ 2 ]
But it didn't...!
33%
 33%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 3

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USA LadyInque
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 9:25 am   Post subject: A philosophical question Reply with quote


This is an idea I've been kicking around for a while. Y'know when something really bad almost happens, often people will try to assign blame for it. For example: Your spouse leaves the baby gate open and the baby climbs the stairs to the top before you catch him.* Let the games begin.

"He could have fallen to his death!"
"But he didn't!"
"But he could have!"
[Repeat as necessary.]

So I'm asking, in a totally unscientific and non-rigorous way, which position carries more weight? In a fight with no winner, who wins? I put a poll at the top, but I'd be interested in why you think that, so post below.

Personally, I think "But it could have" is the stronger position. It's usually luck that something bad didn't happen, especially a preventable mishap. But then again, nothing ventured... What do you think?

* This is a hypothetical. Seriously.
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 11:27 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


I think both "arguments" carry an equal amount of... nothing. They're rather meaningless.

While the "But it didn't...!" option relies on good luck, the "But it could have...!" option kind of assumes bad luck.
There's no middle ground in the could've/didn't argument.

The baby could have fallen and broken its neck.
The baby crawled up the stairs unharmed in record time and won its parents a million dollar prize.
But it could also just have tumbled off a step or two and come away with nothing worse than a bruise and a bit of fright.

Could have is not the same as would have.
Did not is not the same as never will.

That's probably a bit more obvious when the thing in question doesn't involve babies or a third person.
That Austrian guy who jumped out of a plane from impossibly high up a couple of years back could've ended up as a lovely stain on the ground. But he didn't... he made a new world record or something.

Moral of the story? Don't mess with babies. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 12:58 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Fair enough. Leave the babies out of it, and just look at adults who jump out of planes.
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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 9:16 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


Alien_avatar makes a good point.

I think you should take a step back and consider what would've been the best option.

In the case of the baby, closing the baby gate would have been the best option, since even though the chance of the baby falling to its death could be only 1% it still outweighs the effort required to close the baby gate.
Take for instance the example of a kid in school not learning for an exam but still getting a sufficient grade. Yes, he could've failed. Perhaps the chance of failing was 40%. But he might be willing to take the risk if that means he can work a little overtime at the convenience store and get his finances back in order (or, realistically, play more video games). It's a consideration of advantages and disadvantages.

The argument of "but it could have" is then valuable to propose an additional disadvantage in this consideration. "But it didn't" less so.

There is also the separate issue of whether it is useful to discuss these things in hindsight. It might be useful for the next time the choice presents itself, but fighting is rarely good by itself.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 4:58 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Why would you jump out of a plane?
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 5:58 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Perhaps if the new I, Frankenstein was played as in-flight movie?
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:21 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


I loved that movie! Very Happy

Brainless fun.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:28 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


I think I agree with everything alien said, particularly her first statement:

alien_avatar wrote:
I think both "arguments" carry an equal amount of... nothing. They're rather meaningless.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:40 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Of course they're meaningless. Except people keep making them, so there. I was just hoping to get some interesting, if pointless, debate going here.

Sigh. I give up.
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