However, I refuse to blame someone that makes $400 a year for pirating my software. Those people aren't the problem.
I hear what you're saying. But you have to be careful with situational ethics. All distinctions such as these avoid dealing with the underlying issue by creating exceptions. And it leads down an endless path. By way of example: (see attachment in previous post)
I don't have an issue with people who are taking something against the wishes of its creator if they are making less than $400.
What about if they're making $450 or less?
I still don't have a problem with that...
Ok. How about $600?
Not too much a problem...
How about $100,000?
Yes. I'd have a problem with those people.
Because they can afford it.
How do you know they can? Or the people making only $400 can't?
Well...there's a big difference between $400 and $100,000...
So what? Maybe the $100K guy is paying all the medical bills for his mother and is broke for all intents and purposes. Maybe the guy with $400 has no bills or responsibilities because he lives with his parents who pay for everything and don't care. So that $400 is pure disposable money burning a hole in his pocket.
Well...you can come up with an exception for everything.
Precisely. If $400 is ok, why not $450? If $450 is ok, how about $600? If ...
Ok, ok. I see your point.
Glad you do. Because I grabbed a cracked copy of your software off the torrents last week.
That wasn't right of you to do that.
How can you know possibly argue that?
Because you could afford it. And so could a lot of the people who will be downloading it.
How can you possibly know that?
Something seems wrong with this argument you're making.
There's nothing wrong with it. You're the one that introduced exceptions into the debate as wildcard arguments. Once you do that, you can argue virtually anything and not be wrong.
But me no buts! Unless you want to go back and possibly consider there are the deeper issues of morality and personal responsibility lurking under all this - and trying to duck it by introducing exceptions isn't an effective way to get down to the real issue.
I'm a little conflicted by all of this.
Don't worry. We all are. So let's not let ourselves get distracted by bullshit arguments while we're trying to get it all sorted out.
Anybody ever tell you you're a royal pain in the butt sometimes?
At least once a day...it keeps me young.
Absolutely good points. It is by no means easy to "solve/resolve".
I think it is useful to point out 2 things that we tend not to address:
1) The actual situation as it is in all perceptions of reality
2) The resolution of the situation
Now, everything I had mentioned before fits in perfectly with #1 there. I'll go through 1 simple example to outline how #1 applies. (To be clear - #1 is an ideal - not a prescription for dealing with reality.)
Take the poor farmer who makes a few hundred dollars a year and his 13 year old kid. The kid manages to get a tiny bit of money from dad and uses it to go to the local cyber-cafe to play with and learn about computers. Now, the kid goes and pirates my software as the $50 price tag is simply so far removed from his reality that the only way he can possibly use it is to pirate it.
I can't say that I begrudge that kid.
Now, take your average kid in the first world that gets $20 or $50 a week in allowance. Now there's no excuse. Most likely... (see below)
There are objective measures that can be looked at, as above.
I also think that there are intentional measures that only reside inside of the person and that only the person can measure. Here, I mean those sets of principles, morals, and ethics that most of us have. They're not really worth talking about though because whenever we do, we end up projecting our own principles, morals and ethics onto others. The topic can only be approached through sympathy and empathy, which in a legal context, is moot. "Laws" are anything but sympathetic or empathetic (which is why we have no justice).
If we can try to understand what those 2 kids are thinking/feeling and their experience of reality, then I think we are in a better position to know what right and wrong is.
Now, take the second kid with the allowance... Suppose his dad expects him to save it, and the kid knows that if he doesn't, he'll get beat. I can't really begrudge the kid there.
It's only by trying to get an "inner understanding" of others that can tell us whether or not an action is right or wrong. However, this is in many cases simply impossible. I do not mean to imply that this is an always possible task.
Moving on to #2 there...
So, it boils down to #1 simply not being possible for mere mortals. We cannot know the mental/spiritual states of people with certainty or exactness. This makes #1 basically useless for the purposes of resolving quarrels.
It then falls to law... An imperfect system that doesn't really work very well, but works better than not having it at all. Kind of like trying to slice tomatoes with large rocks.
Where if we could have perfect understanding of all perceptions of reality (#1), we could resolve situations with trivial ease. Since we can't, we resort to what we can do.
But what we can do really boils down to a very, very, crude version of #1. We simply try to discount all mental/spiritual states of being and attempt to determine what the physical reality is. We then come up with sets of rules for that physical reality.
Physical reality is much simpler to deal with. It requires very little thought or reflection. We can measure physical reality. This is what makes it easy to agree upon. You can pick up a book from the table and bang me over the head with it. We both know that it is a book and we both know that I have a head.
Reality then diverges... I know the pain caused by the book connecting with my melon, but you don't know, and can't know.
So, our rules reflect that. We punish you not for the pain I was subjected to, but for the act that we can observe.
None of that is revolutionary or new. It's simply framing the situation differently than what most people are used to.
The current world religion of "science" is anything but scientific. We operate under what I believe to be false assumptions.
To be clear, the idea that all of reality can be reduced to empirical knowledge is not something that I can get on board with. I think Donald Davidson is pretty much bang on with Anomalous Monism.http://plato.stanford.edu...entries/anomalous-monism/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomalous_monism
My approach above reflects this, and under the current world religion of science and law, it suffers because it is outright rejected.
So, the slippery slope that you've outlined there fits very well into "objective reality" in that we can't determine what reality is for different people, and are constrained by that.
Again, to be clear, I'm not trying to offer a resolution to anything. I would leave that to greater minds than myself. I only attempt to offer a perspective that explains in part.
At some level, I think that most people will agree with some or much of what I've outlined, e.g. it's difficult to blame someone who is starving for stealing food. I think that we do have more than simple atoms and molecules between our ears. We are greater than the sum of our parts, and we transcend physical reality in many ways. i.e. We are souls that inhabit bodies.
It is unfortunate that we cannot have a system that works to address our reality.