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  1. #21
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    Re: What does it mean to intend an effect?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    This is a ******** irrelevant question.

    Suppose I personally oppose the death penalty, and suppose I'm a juror in a murder trial. The question I am being asked is, "Ought the defendant to be executed?" What is really being asked is, "Do you think that under applicable law the defendant's actions are sufficient to justify applying the death penalty?" So even if I think, "Nobody should ever be executed because the death penalty is wrong," if there were sufficient evidence I would say, "Yes, the defendant ought to be executed."

    The courtroom questions are completely irrelevant, because they're applying a legal paradigm, not a philosophical one.
    No, you're not being asked about the applicable penalty. You're being asked about whether the accused had the requisite intent. By even raising this consideration, you're being dishonest and disobeying the trial judge's directions.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  2. #22
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    Re: What does it mean to intend an effect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    No, you're not being asked about the applicable penalty. You're being asked about whether the accused had the requisite intent. By even raising this consideration, you're being dishonest and disobeying the trial judge's directions.
    I'm sorry, are you actually advocating that jury nullification is required? That failing to do so is "dishonest" and "disobeying the trial judge's directions"?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

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  3. #23
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    Re: What does it mean to intend an effect?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Well, there's the Catholic doctrine of double effect:

    This set of criteria states that an action having foreseen harmful effects practically inseparable from the good effect is justifiable if the following are true:

    1) the nature of the act is itself good, or at least morally neutral;
    2) the agent intends the good effect and not the bad either as a means to the good or as an end itself;
    3) the good effect outweighs the bad effect in circumstances sufficiently grave to justify causing the bad effect and the agent exercises due diligence to minimize the harm.

    Moral culpability and intent do not have to be equivalent.
    That makes sense. Regarding intent vs. God's will, I find this particular view also makes a lot of sense. What do you think?

    Not everything that happens (effects/circumstances) in our physical world is God’s will.
    Here are three possible ways to distinguish God’s will

    * The intentional will of God: What is God's intention? What is his original plan or hope? If sin and circumstances did not interfere, what would God will for us? This is God's ideal plan for us -- and we can rest assured that it is good.

    * The circumstantial will of God: We live in a world, though, where circumstances and evil -- sin -- interfere with the original intention of God. God doesn't leave us alone in these circumstances. His will works in particular circumstances, as well.

    * And the ultimate will of God: "God's final realization of his purposes" -- God will not be defeated, and his ultimate will for us -- redemption and reunification with God -- will happen. No circumstance can defeat his. "

    The Will of God
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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  4. #24
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    Re: What does it mean to intend an effect?

    When somebody says "that was my intent," what they are saying is "that was my reason for doing so;" or more exactly "I performed x so that I could acheive outcome y."

    The definition of "to intend" would then be: "To perform an action in a such a way that it is consitent with a goal, motive, or desire."

    This still leaves open the question though of whether or not killing innocent civilians is "consistent" with killing terrorists, so I think a better definition would be:
    "To perform an action with the desire that it causes a specific outcome, goal, or desire."

    Given this definition there was no "intending" to kill the innocent civilians, because their deaths didn't cause the terrorists' death - instead it was just an unfortunate side effect.

    Edit:
    Actually, here is another take:
    Intend really means the same thing as want. So "to intend an effect" means "to want an effect."
    The reason that I think this is because "intent" is a noun and it means "desire." 'Intend" is the verb form of intent and so it would mean "to desire." If we look at a chart it is easier to see why this is true:
    Noun(s): Desire~Intent, Effect, Benefit, Want, ...
    Verb(s): Desire~Intend, Affect, Benefit, Want, ...

    In other words, the verbs are the means to the end - which is the noun. I can have a desire for something and also be desiring something.

    Let's now look at the issue. "Intend " is a verb, but it is a state of being type of verb. So what "state of being" are we in when we intend? Well when somebody says "that was my intent" what they meant was analogous to "that was my desire" (I know that I said something completely opposite on the first part of this post - that's why I'm offering two different takes :p). Therefore, intend is defined as "the state of being in desire" which is just a fancy way of saying "wanting."

    Now we break off into two different tangents again. One way of looking at it is to say that "no, you didn't want to kill innocent civilians - the reason that you chose to use the bomb is because you had conflicting desires and the desire to kill the terrorists outweighed the desire to not kill the civilians." Another way of looking at it, which is what I think is causing the confusion in the first place - is the idea that if one desire outweighs another, then the other, lesser desire, literally becomes overrided and null. In other words, you can't not want to kill the civilians and also want to kill the terrorists - the two are inseperable. Or if I grumbled "I want to punch you right now - but I won't," do I actually want to punch you? No. I just wish that the world was structured in such a way that I could punch you and get away with - but this isn't the same as only wanting to punch you.

    If the former outlook is true, and humans are capable of having two conflicting desires (which might be a neurological impossibility, because whenever the human brain tries to focus on two things at once it blends them into one), then it can be reasonably said that even though the bomb was used it doesn't mean that we intended for the civilians' death. But if the latter idea is correct, then it means that if you decided to use the bomb you also intended for the civilians to die. I, personally, am more inclined to subscribe to the latter view, but that seems like a question for another debate.

    P.S. I apologize for typos, I am not exactly using the most ideal typing platform...
    Last edited by Soren; April 9th, 2012 at 08:05 PM.

  5. #25
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    Re: What does it mean to intend an effect?

    Come to think of it, the issue is purely semantic. Whether the killing of the civilian is said to be intentional or not has no bearing on whether it is morally (or legally for that matter) justifiable. If the moral position is of concern here (and, given the way the OP is formed, that seems to be the case), it makes not an iota of difference whether the killing is done "intentionally" or "knowingly". One way or another, you are consciously taking the life of another person in order to achieve some other goal. Whether the killing is justified depends on circumstances other than the definition of a word.

    If, however, moral considerations are totally irrelevant to the OP, then what's the point arguing about what a word means?
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

 

 
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