Dalinar42

Cosmere Philosopher Official Thread

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This is the official Cosmere Philosophers thread! Here, you can post questions about the actions of different characters. All questions about morality, clarification, and general what if's are welcome here. Feel free to bring quotes from the old philosophers (Plato, Emerson, Socrates, Locke, etc.). The more evidence you have, the better.

 

Just a question to get the ball rolling:

 

If it would stop the Everstorm, would it be okay to kill all humans who became Radiants? Keep in mind that the Radiants all killed the spren they were bonded to and the Everstorm killed thousands more humans than just the few Radiants that would have to die to stop it. Life before death, but who's life and who's death?

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I see three points going into this.

1) The clasical argument whether or nor it is okay to kill an (or multiple) innocent to save the majority of humanity. This isn´t really a topic where you can find a clear right or wrong answer. Personally, I can´t agree with it, given that the Radiants in qustion didn´t actually do anything wrong. (The old Radiants that abandoned their oath don´t count, not only can´t you judge everyone for the actions of other members of their group we also don´t know enough about their motivation to judge. Given our information they might did what they had to do to stop the Desolations.)

 

2) Would Sprens get the clue and stop the bonding process, reducing the number from thousands to hundreds.

 

3) Is there an alternative, like Radiants breaking/quiting their oaths that stops the Everstorm without innocent death.

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I will address all three points as best I can, but it may not be correct.

 

1. There are many religions that believe it is okay to stop one person from corrupting the whole by killing the one "bad apple." It's actually something that is talked about specifically in the Book of Mormon (the LDS scripture). It says "It is better for one to die than for thousands to dwindle in unbelief." I might not have quoted that right, but you get my point.

 

2. Even if spren stopped bonding so many surge binders, the Everstorm would still have come because there were still some bonds made.

 

3. Would you count the spren's death as innocent? Breaking the oaths kills spren.

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1)As I said, I can see how someone would make that decision. However, the "bad apple" argument doesn´t work here it´s not like the Radiants one day decided that they should start a Desolation, so that they can have some fun killing Voidbringer, if anything it´s a consequence of the Oathpact. It´s ultimately murder for self-preservation or the greater good, whatever you want to call it.

 

2)Not so sure on that, Spren clearly are intelligent enough to stop bonding people, so they should get the clue eventually. Even then, the argument was less for myself, given that I still wouldn´t do it and more for other people, who may be.

 

3)We don´t really know enough about this to make a proper statement. Does every bond have to end with a "dead" Spren? Actively breaking it by going against your oathes seems to do so but from WoB bonds also break down, should the KR not continue to speak their oaths. That may allow the Spren to return to the cognitive realm, which doesn´t seem that bad from Windle´s description.

Additionally, when we have proof that Surgebinding causes Desolations and the Spren still force people to bond with them, then no I wouldn´t count them as innocent.

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There's also the problem of killing a hundred or so powerful Radiants. I don't know about you, but I don't think anyone has a chance at that. Except maybe Nale.

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Unless it's voluntary. Honor and all. Kill one hundred to save one thousand? 

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The above argument is based in the assumption that the morality of an action relies upon the intent of those who perform the action. Recall Jasnah's thief in the alley problem. When she taught philosophy to Shallan. Reread that, it is this same issue here. This is also the trolley problem. A common theme in philosophy is the sacrifice of one thing for another, a tipped scale. Likewise, is it better to break the morales you are protecting in order to protect your ability to hold them in the future, or rather to maintain those morales at the expense of your future ability to hold them. For example, a nation is at war to protect moral X, they fight an enemy that does not have moral X and is attempting to eradicate this nation. If this nation needs to break moral X in order to survive, thus enabling future adherence to moral X, should they do it? Or should they hold to moral X even though they may die for it. Martyrdom, or survival? At what cost? 

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I've always thought that the best solution to the trolley problem was to not change the tracks, rather, one should throw themselves in front of the trolley to derail it, thus saving both sets of people. Principles that revolve around reducing the harm of the many, even if it's at the expanse of the few, rely on sacrifice. Classic example: You have five people who need transplants to live, and one healthy person. If the five are guaranteed to recover if the operations are undergone, and the healthy man will die, is taking the healthy man's organs to give to the others the appropriate response? In my experience, people will rarely choose to undergo the operations. However, those who volunteer to sacrifice their health to protect the interests of the majority are often the one's who least deserve to die. 

But in reference to the above debate, we often have the moral obligation to stand up for our values. This is the basis of Eisenhower's containment policy. To prevent a domino effect that spreads unwanted morals, one must contain it at its source, no matter the cost. Even if we have to become like Truthless, at least the rest of our society/nation/family doesn't have to suffer the same fate. More often than not, someone has to take one for the team. 

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While I concur with the half of your argument concerning morals, the trolley solution is not quite right. The point of the trolley problem is to create an environment in which this decision must be made. Any holes in the environment are not relevant because the question is not actually how to save those people. The question is sacrifice of one for the good of all, not how to prevent death by train. So trying to derail the trolley also derails the moral question. It isn't a physical situation to begin with.

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Use Allomancy to Pull the trolley back.

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If I was on the side of humans, I would willingly kill radiants. Personaly, I am on the side of the Singers, so I wouldn't. But morally, I believe killing one to save many is fine. My mom doesn't like that.

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Was it immoral for Vin to dominate the Koloss considering it's so similar to what the Noblemen did to the Skaa?

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I, personally, believe it was immoral, as the Koloss are semi-intelligent beings. That would be like taking a big person with mental issues, and enslaving them because they don't have the same mental capacities as you.

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