A philosophical debate - Tools | INFJ Forum

A philosophical debate - Tools

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Creon, Mar 8, 2009.

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  1. Creon

    Creon Community Member

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    A couple of weeks ago I engaged in a philosophical conversation with a dear friend of mine regarding tools of society. We tried to approach the matter philosophically in order to understand the nature of differents kinds of tools humans use. In other words, we tried to find out whether a tool (for example, a gun) is tottaly neutral on its own, or if it is functional and benevolent for society or the exact opposite.

    We decided to refer to guns and money as tools, since they are the most controversial tools human kind possesses.
    The debate went on and on by presenting examples and we finally agreed that we disagreed.

    My friend insisted that tools depend on the nature of the person using them.
    If the person has intentions that a particular society considers to be beneficial, then a gun (or money) in his hands becomes a tool promoting wellfare and proggress in that society. If, on the other hand, the person has intentions that are in conflict with the principles of that particular society, then the tool becomes dysfuctional and problematic. He therefore reffered to the necessity of a gun in order to stop the malevolent intents of that specific person, again presenting the tool as a neutral factor in society.

    On the other hand, I insisted that every tool is made for a specific cause, but many tools are made in order to bring out malevolent actions. I said that humans are both "evil" and "good", and a gun or too much money will eventually corupt them, bringing out their "evil" self, thus endangering social wellfare. I concluded that guns are made to kill, and whether that action is considered acceptable in a society, it is always dysfuctional. Hence the very nature of some tools is malevolent.

    Since we both knew that in such a conversation noone is right and noone is wrong, and since we couldnt aggree, we decided to halt the conversation.

    I'd like to read your thoughts on the nature of some tools (or maybe every tool) in human society in general. If you feel like using religious and ethical reasons to support your statements, please do so.
     
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  2. mayflow

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    I think guns are meant to hurt and kill things. What else could they be used for?
    Money is not the same as guns in this light. It is meant to be a medium of exchange, methinks.
     
  3. Silently Honest

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    You can only do one thing with a gun.
     
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  4. just me

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    A gun or too much money will not eventually corrupt someone. The love of money may eventually corrupt someone.
    If I want to fix something and do not have the tool I am looking for and am in a hurry, I will use what is available to get the job done. I could kill a person with my bare hand. Is a hand a tool?
    Please, this is just for discussion and not an argument of any sort. I am trying to share my way of thinking.
     
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    #4 just me, Mar 8, 2009
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  5. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    SH, you're so wrong, with a gun you can shoot things, and, you can shoot other things.
     
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    Creon

    Creon Community Member

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    Yes, but according to my friend's way of thinking, in many societies killing wasn't a malevolent act. That is probably why he stated that it depends on the social context, hence its nature is neutral towards society.
     
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  7. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Guns are useful when fired overhead, up in the air during an argument.
    I'll be more serious in a little bit.
     
  8. Silently Honest

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    Ah, did your friend provide any examples, I'm interested in reading some.
     
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    Creon

    Creon Community Member

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    Yes. He provided many examples. Ancient Sparta, where in order for a Spartan to be considered an adult, he had to kill a slave in a way that the others wouldnt find out, to prove his cunning and ability to fight.

    I can think of others though.The case of public executions in middle ages was also considered a festival in England and France. Even though it was not a weapon that killed them, those killings were tottaly acceptable and without any form of opposition. The point being that if the person being killed is considered "evil", then his death by force is not considered malevolent. After the French revolution thousands were murdered without any penalty since they were considered that they were the kings men.

    I replied to him that even though those killings were socially acceptable, they were still dysfuctional, since they created huge hatred dividing society, and thus halting its progress and wellfare. In other words, that the weapons may have been used to kill in an acceptable social context, but they still served only to halt for social progress and probably against the wellfare of society.

    He then replied that the term " wellfare " must be used within the social needs of the age that the weapon is used. He argued, that the French revolutionaries considered those people to be evil, and hence using the weapons (which he considers to be neutral) in an malevolent way they killed for what they considered to be a "better future".

    I don't remember what was said after that. But the conversation continued.
     
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    #9 Creon, Mar 8, 2009
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  10. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    So you both seem to be saying that people create meaning and purpose with objects.

    You say that people invent tools which once used, manifest a latent property? But what is transferred to the tool is what is a latent attribute of its creator thus instilling the tool with the fixed and unchangeable objective?

    While your friend sees the purpose and intent of the tools people create as being plastic and re-definable.. which sounds kind of existential..

    So basically you are saying that there is an objective morality while your friend believes that morality is completely subjective.

    Just to clarify..
    Please tell me if I am way off.
     
    #10 acd, Mar 8, 2009
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    Creon

    Creon Community Member

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    I wouldnt say that thats a moral issue. We were arguing about the nature of tools in a social context, on the basis that social wellfare and proggress is the goal of every society. We didnt ecxactly speak about morality in general.According to me some tools are created only to create problems to society, while he says that every tool depends on the user to be used in a benevolent way or a malevolent way.
     
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    #11 Creon, Mar 8, 2009
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  12. just me

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    Taz, did you not talk about any thing else like a hammer or a wheel? Maybe a pot or a fork? It's supposed to be lawyers, guns, and money...by the way.:pound:
     
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  13. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    At least it seems like a moral issue.. the root of the intent. Who is to say what is going to progress society or cause problems for society, without talking about morality?
     
    #13 acd, Mar 8, 2009
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  14. mayflow

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    I don't think people create things like guns and atomic bombs for any other "latent" uses other than killing things. Maybe they mean them to kill to protect, but it's still to kill.
     
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    Creon

    Creon Community Member

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    I tottaly agree with you. But I think this conversation had to do more with fuctionality rather than morality. I'm not sure though. What do you think about tools(or guns if you prefer)?
     
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  16. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    They don't create the latent intent, it is already in them (supposedly) and then transferred to the tool. So the gun becomes a killing tool because there is inherently something destructive in humans. The gun becomes a tool to defend; to protect life because there is inherently a creator aspect in humans. So then people are prisoners of their tools because they are prisoners to their natures.
     
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    Creon

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    Yes, but couldnt we say that those very tools tempt humans to use violence and be corrupted? It begun just as you said, but later on didn't those tools start to have a negative influence on society, just because they existed?
    In other words, If I had a gun, and someone did something to me that I considered terrible (ex. killed a friend), would not the desire to kill that person become greater than if I had no such tool in my hands?

    I don't know If you understand what I'm trying to say. My English is not so good.
     
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    #17 Creon, Mar 8, 2009
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  18. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Ah, functionality. Yeah. I see that. I just have a habit of digging to the marrow.
    What do I think of these things? Nothing conclusive yet.
     
  19. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Your English is superb. But still, if the tools can 'tempt' and what's more 'corrupt' then that is the same as saying that it is the tool or object that bears the original intent and not the people themselves (who created the tools!). Actually now, given this, I disagree with you in the most lovingly way.

    It is possible that these tools are 'evil' because there is some 'evil' in their creators. However, I tend to agree with your friend that people can choose meaning and purpose freely and are not bound by their natures (if there does exist such a thing). If a society chooses that to kill who they deem to be traitors is good, then that is the meaning they choose.

    But yes.. I cannot choose to shoot flowers and rainbows and cotton candy out of a gun, nor can I fire a gun at someone's chest and eject the force and warmth of a loving embrace..
    But then again, maybe I could! Given I possessed the intelligence and technology to create such a tool.

    What to do what to do.. This is philosophy.. hardly any conclusions are drawn. We'll just think ourselves around and in circles and into a corner. That is what I love about it.
     
    #19 acd, Mar 8, 2009
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  20. mayflow

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    So - you see us humans as both creators and destroyers? And you make things rather complex and contemplative? and you see us as prisoners bound by our very natures? WEll, let's fuchin' break this jailhouse! I'll dig a tunnel, you get us some wine, and our love will revolutionize the world. (Or something) - What? I am just thinking here.
     
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