mercoledì 13 luglio 2016

Is Belief In the Moral Parity Thesis Dangerous?

  • Suppose that I come to believe, stupidly, that taking caffeine is dangerous. I announce henceforth that I will lock any people I catch drinking coffee in my basement for 30 days as a punishment. I see you walking out of Starbucks and try to grab you. You fight back, and, in the struggle, injure or kill me. What you did was permissible self-defense.
  • The “Moral Parity Thesis”holds that nothing magic happens if the would-be kidnapper is a cop rather than a private civilian.
  • Given that cops are armed and dangerous, it may not be strategic to do so, but morally, it’s permissible.
  • One putative objection to the Moral Parity Thesis is that it is dangerous, because people will misapply it.
  • This objection is closely related to a mistaken objection I was discussing this point with a law professor a few years ago, when the professor said, “So you think people may break unjust laws?”“Sure,”I responded, “And indeed I hope they do, if they can get away with it.”
  • LA DIFFERENZAI’m saying that some laws are in fact unjust—that there’s an independent moral truth about whether laws are just or not. When the law is in fact unjust, then there is no duty to obey it. That’s not the same thing as saying that you can break any law because you believe it’s unjust.”
  • TUTTE LE TEORIEthat’s a problem for every theory. Every moral theory says something like, ‘Under conditions A you must do X; under conditions B you must not do Y; etc.’The theories don’t say ‘Do X when you judge you’re in A’—
  • CONCLUSIONEThe fact that most people would botch applying a theory does not show that the theory is wrong.
  • ES UTILITARISMO So, for instance, suppose— as is often argued— that most people would misapply utilitarian moral standards. Perhaps applying utilitarianism is too hard for the common person. Even if so, this does not invalidate utilitarianism.
  • DRONI For instance, since our best evidence indicates that about 90% of drones strikes kill innocent people, a person might feel free to shoot down any drone she sees.
  • PROBABILITÀ Suppose A) I turn the corner and see a police office beating someone with a baton. Suppose in another scenario, B) I turn the corner and see an ordinary man beating another man with a bat. Now, it’s statistically more likely that cases like B are instances of injustice than cases like A—it’s more likely that a police officer beating a person is justified in doing so than a random person.
  • AL CONTRARIO All that said, I wonder if this objection mostly has the problem seems more plausible that citizens are more likely to engage in wrongful obedience than they are to engage in wrongful resistance. Consider: Many experiments show that we are biased to conform our opinion to that of the majority (or that of whatever group we want to be part of), even when it is irrational to do so. consider the Milgram experiment.
  • RESISTENZA VS OBBEDIENZA These are just two major experiments, of course. But in general, it seems that psychology shows that citizens tend to err on the side of wrongful obedience rather than the side on wrongful resistance.
  • CONCLUSIONE. Thus, to whatever extent these epistemic concerns push against my view, they push even harder against the other side.