Re: Bad Attitude

Hal Finney (
Tue, 2 Sep 1997 22:58:18 -0700

[Reposting, I did not see this appear yesterday.]

EvMick writes:
> "At what point is it morally and ethically correct for a group to do
> something which is morally and ethically incorrect for an individual?"

I believe that the difference is not in the actual actions take, but in
the procedure followed to decide about the action. The idea is that if
you have multiple people deliberate, argue and debate about the right
thing to do, you are more likely to get a reasonable answer. The extremists
on all sides will hopefully cancel out.

(Of course this will not always be the case, due to group dynamics,
mob mentality, and such. Particularly when dealing with emotional
situations, people are easily swayed, even or especially as part of
a group, to take an action that they later regret. Recognizing this,
people often have found that their preferred method is to select from
among themselves someone judged exceptionally wise and fair, to give
him power to make the decisions, and then to support those, even when
they seem wrong in the heat of the moment.)

So the justification for group-oriented decision making is that it is
more likely to produce ethically correct answers. And a system which
produces more ethical answers can then be considered to be ethically
superior to one which does not.