Finders Keepers = Moral? | INFJ Forum

Finders Keepers = Moral?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by GaiaGraha, Jan 25, 2010.

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?
  1. Yes, always

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  2. Yes, in certain circumstances

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  3. No, never

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  1. GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    I know, this sounds kind of...elementary.
    Here's the deal:

    I went to a movie (Avatar, woo!) with some friends. One of those friends is one of my very best friends who we will call Julie for this, she is an ENFJ.

    I have always thought of Julie as a very moral, wise, loving, and powerful female. She grew up very poor in NY, NY and worked from a young age to help her mother support her and her younger brother. Now she is an intelligent young woman who is putting herself through college.

    ANYWAY
    So after the movie, we were walking out and Julie noticed a purple scarf on one of the seats in the theater and so she picked it up and said "Look, someone left their scarf!". I instantly said "Oh! Well, I'm sure they have a lost and found, and the person will come back and find it-", she cut me off and said "Lost and Found? Screw that, I'm keeping it! I found me a new scarf!" and she then smiled and wrapped it around her neck. I was baffled by this and I said "But...it's....not yours..." to which she replied "It is now." I tried to reason with her: "What is that was their FAVORITE scarf, or what if their grandma gave it to them?" and "What if they can't afford another scarf?" to which she replied "Then they shouldn't have left it!" I said "They obviously didn't leave it on purpose" and she said "Well, it couldn't matter that much if they didn't watch for it." And I just gave up after that.



    The thing is, it still REALLY bothers me. I have talked to other people and they agree that it was "wrong" or "bitchy" or "selfish" and that they would not personally do it, but I am the only one who is so very bothered by it. :/ I just, thought she was different than that I guess. It's not like she NEEDED that scarf- she has dozens!

    I mean, I know this could be seen as trivial, and I know there are FAR bigger moral concerns...it's just that this really irked me.

    So I wanted to ask you guys what you think about this.
    Is Finders Keepers really a valid excuse for the morality of keeping someone else's temporarily/accidentally misplaced personal items?
    Please explain?
     
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  2. Gaze

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    Admins can edit the question for you.
     
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  3. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    Well, how do you know the person didn't leave it on purpose? Maybe they left it specifically in that place so your friend would find it. Maybe it was an impromptu present from someone who has a dozen similar scarfs. Maybe the person couldn't be bothered to find a bin and just left it there, making your friend a good Samaritan for cleaning up garbage ;) Point is, you don't know why that scarf was left there, and you're only presuming it's because they accidentally forgot to take it with them. I don't think it matters either way, since it's likely been a while since you left the theater and now can't (practically) look for the original owner. Also, it's just a scarf, would you care that much if it was your scarf that somebody else picked up? If it were me I'd be glad someone else could find a use for it, and I'd try not to allow the same thing to happen again. I really don't think your friend did anything all that wrong. Possession is 9/10th's of the law, as they say ;)
     
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  4. OP
    GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    =_=

    I know that my morals are rigid, but I would never just keep something I found like that.
    It's like lying by omission.
     
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    #4 GaiaGraha, Jan 25, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  5. bamf

    bamf Is Watching You
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    I would have kept it if it tickled my fancy.

    Had it been something important like personal information, a purse/wallet, or money of more than a couple bucks, I would have turned it in.

    Then again, I could just have questionable morals when it comes to things like this. However, if someone ever claimed ownership of something I found (and it was reasonable to assume it was theirs), I'd give it back.
     
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  6. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    There have been numerous times when I forgot something and returned a few minutes later to retrieve it. I would be pretty irritated to find that someone else had claimed it in that time period. A scarf, while not hugely expensive, is plenty inconvenient to lose, and few people are so wealthy that they let those things go lightly.
     
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  7. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    No offense, but it is your own responsibility to look after your items. I've left things lying around too and have had them taken, so I know what it feels like, but I still think the onus is on owners to make sure their property is safe. If someone else picks it up in their absence, it is largely their own fault. It's a different case if the items were stolen.
     
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  8. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Yep, but then, you can always beat the shit out of them, or steal their car, or trash their car, or similar.
     
  9. OP
    GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    Yes, it is someone's responsibility to look after their own items, but that doesn't mean that it is ok to take advantage of someone's accidental slippage in that department. Obviously it isn't illegal to pick up something that someone JUST left and keep it, but I think it's pretty much an Asshole move. It's really just one step away from stealing.
    I just don't think it's right to take advantage of someone else's mistake.
     
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  10. BlinkandThink

    BlinkandThink Community Member

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    I think she shouldn't have taken the scarf. She doesn't have any idea who it belonged to: a teenager, an old woman, someone disabled, or just an absent-minded person who loved it or needed it. I would have taken it to lost & found.

    I wouldn't have judged her over it though ... the owner may have never bothered to come back for it. At least someone who likes the scarf gets to have it. It could be sitting in a box somewhere.
     
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  11. OP
    GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    Well, I dunno if I am judging her... she is still one of my best friends...it just really bothered me because I didn't think she would do that. I thought that her and I would kinda be on the same page on that topic...we usually agree on things.
    I dunno, I suppose I am judging her because I see her a little differently now. It actually has helped me to notice other unsavory things about her personality that I had previously glossed over (I tend to idealize people I like).
     
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  12. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    I think it depends on the context. If you see the owner leaving and notice they've left something behind, then you probably have the moral obligation to give the item back to them. But say, it's been hours and the owner is long gone, and there's no place you can hand the item in such as a "lost and found" box, then I think it's OK to keep it. It really depends on how far you're willing to go to take the alternative option.
     
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    #12 TinyBubbles, Jan 25, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  13. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Since noone's going to ask me what I mean...

    Society is maintained by a rather rigid respect towards personal and private property. If you don't respect other peoples, they've no responsibility to respect yours. I've left my N95 in countless bathrooms, and I've come back 6 - 30 minutes later and found it precisely there. This is a good thing, because otherwise I'd be looking at destroying a few peoples cars. Damn thing cost me an expensive plan, and it's more than a grands worth of phone.
     
  14. OP
    GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    I think you are right, that there are certain circumstances.

    But in this one, the person didn't even get a chance to find their poor purple scarf. Poor person. :(

    hahaha! I HAD wondered what you mean. Sorry I didn't inquire.
    And, btw:
    Awesome.
     
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    #14 GaiaGraha, Jan 25, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  15. BlinkandThink

    BlinkandThink Community Member

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    I've been in this position so many times, because I have a difficult time keeping track of my belongings ... I always have. And there have been times I've left things I really loved or needed and rushed back and found them taken. It sucks.

    But when I've found the item still there: :m168:
     
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    GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    hahaha! aw!
     
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  17. Tamagochi

    Tamagochi Sushi Destroyer
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    There are some cases when I would allow such behavior - for example if that scarf was lying in the middle of Sahara desert with no one around in a hundred miles. Otherwise I would be bothered by claiming.
     
  18. OP
    GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    haha! That's an interesting "otherwise".
     
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  19. DefectiveCreative

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    Yes it is, if that person reports their item as missing to the police then (assuming the police track down the person who picked it up) if the person who found it refuses to give that item back to its original owner then under the law it's considered theft.

    This is why there's usually a legal time limit for recovering or reclaiming lost items, you hand something you found to the police, they give the owner X amount of time to reclaim it, and if they don't then it's yours to keep.

    So basically, by not handing in the scarf or otherwise making an effort to find its true owner then in the eyes of the law your friend is a thief.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost,_mislaid,_and_abandoned_property
     
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  20. Celsius100

    Celsius100 Community Member

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    Eh, I've found a lot of things lying around, especially thumbdrives, at work around the open computer lab. Can't stand the thought that someone may be alarmed at losing it, or have important documents on it, so I've usually run it to the office and let the lost and found areas of the school know a full description of the item. Most of the items end up back in the hands of the party that lost them, which is a great feeling.

    I sort of suck at sternness with folks though over what may have accidentally been left behind. Most likely because I myself have had an awful time with my head being in the clouds and completely forgetting that I had something on me. Not to mention my inability to lose things in sensical places. I, in all honesty, found a photograph I had lost and given up hope on wedged between ketchup and chocolate syrup in the refrigerator.

    I dunno. If finders keepers meant anything to me, I'd certainly have a good number of car keys in tow, haha.
     
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